When Zhan Weiyang came down to the first floor, Pei Qing had come back from playing basketball. He was sitting on the sofa in the living room, talking to his grandma.
Grandma was seventy this year. The year before last, she had a fall when she was on a bus, and since then, she couldn’t get around much and didn’t go out much. Zhan Pengcheng hired a caregiver to take care of Grandma at home while also cooking for the children.
The caregiver’s surname is Luo, and Zhan Weiyang called her Auntie Luo. Auntie Luo had been working at Zhan’s house for two years and had become familiar with the children. She often said that looking at Zhan Weiyang was like looking at her own children.
Grandma was still wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a thin knitted sweater. Her slender figure seemed to sink into the sofa. He didn’t know what Pei Qing said to her, but her withered mouth opened into a full smile, and her eyes narrowed into deep, crinkled seams.
Pei Qing was the first to notice Zhan Weiyang coming downstairs. He turned his head and looked over, smiled slightly and greeted, “Weiyang.”
Grandma turned around and saw Zhan Weiyang and said, “Yangyang, you are awake from your nap?”
Zhan Weiyang nodded, greeted “Grandma”, then looked at Pei Qing and greeted him “Qing ge”. After greeting them, Zhan Weiyang wanted to walk outside. He stopped after taking two steps, turned around and greeted “Auntie Luo” obediently, and then continued to walk to the door.
As soon as he opened the door, his whole body was immersed in the warm sunshine. Despite the impending end of summer vacation, the summer heat persisted, reluctant to dissipate, enveloping everything with its lingering intensity.
Zhan Weiyang couldn’t help but squint his eyes and raise his head to let the sunlight shine from his forehead to his toes.
Zhan Pengcheng drove a seven-seater off-road vehicle out of the garage and parked it in front of his house. He lowered the window and said to Zhan Weiyang, who was standing at the door basking in the sun, “Yangyang, get in the car quickly.” His tone was full of concern as if he couldn’t bear to see Zhan Weiyang sweat a little in the heat.
Zhan Weiyang didn’t move. He turned around and saw that Zhan Weiguang had come downstairs. He must have just taken a shower and changed clothes. He and Pei Qing were helping Grandma towards the outside, one on each side.
Zhan Pengcheng got out of the car and opened the back seat door.
Zhan Weiyang got into the car silently, got into the last row of seats and sat down alone.
Today, the whole family went out for dinner together. Zhan Pengcheng was driving, Grandma and Aunt Luo sat in the middle row of seats, and Zhan Weiguang voluntarily gave the front passenger seat to Pei Qing. He moved to the back row, taking a seat with one space between him and Zhan Weiyang.
Pei Qing was sitting in the passenger seat, making a phone call to a restaurant to reserve a table.
The whole family seemed to like Pei Qing. Zhan Weiyang thought a little casually, yawned and put his forehead against the warm car window.
The dinner was a roast duck.
Zhan Weiyang liked roast duck very much. Although he didn’t like cucumbers and spring onions, it didn’t stop him from eating plump roast duck dipped in sauce and wrapped in thin wrapping.
Every time they went out to eat roast duck, Zhan Pengcheng’s favourite thing was to wrap the roast duck for Zhan Weiyang. While he was wrapping it, he was still chatting with Pei Qing.
Zhan Weiyang heard Zhan Pengcheng ask Pei Qing about his internship, and Pei Qing began to tell Zhan Pengcheng what the company where he was interning was like.
They chatted for most of the meal, and when Zhan Weiyang was almost full, he heard Zhan Pengcheng suddenly say, “Weiguang will go back to school the day after tomorrow.”
Zhan Weiguang had been absently playing with his mobile phone, and only then did he suddenly raise his head and look at Zhan Pengcheng.
Zhan Pengcheng continued, “I’m going on a business trip tomorrow. This trip out is quite troublesome, and it might take about a month. I don’t know if I can find time to come back in the middle of the trip.”
Pei Qing had already put down his chopsticks. He leaned on the back of his chair and listened quietly to Zhan Pengcheng’s words.
Zhan Pengcheng’s words were all addressed to Pei Qing, “At that time, there will only be you and Yangyang at home, as well as Grandma and Auntie Luo.”
Pei Qing understood what Zhan Pengcheng meant and said, “I will take good care of the family. Don’t worry, Uncle.”
Zhan Weiyang looked at the remaining pieces of roast duck on the plate on the table and couldn’t help but pick up another piece with his chopsticks, dip it in the noodles sauce and put it directly into his mouth.
Zhan Pengcheng said, “Auntie Luo does all the cooking and cleaning. In fact, you don’t have to do anything, just help look after Yangyang. You have a driving licence, right? I’ll leave the car keys behind. If there’s anything, like if Grandma isn’t feeling well, you help Yangyang.”
Zhan Weiyang couldn’t help but turn his head to look at Pei Qing, who happened to be looking towards him as well. As soon as their eyes made contact, Zhan Weiyang turned his head away.
Pei Qing said, “I will.”
Zhan Weiguang reached out and picked up a chopstick and pointed it at Zhan Weiyang, “Don’t cause trouble for Qing ge.”
Zhan Weiyang didn’t say anything, but Zhan Pengcheng said, “Don’t bully your little brother.”
Zhan Weiguang curled his lips disdainfully.
Pei Qing smiled and said, “Weiyang is very well-behaved.”
“Ah—” For some reason, Zhan Pengcheng suddenly sighed softly. He thought for a while and then said to Pei Qing, “There’s one more thing that’s going to cause you some trouble. “
Pei Qing said, “Uncle, please don’t mind me.”
Zhan Pengcheng said, “Yangyang is already a sophomore in high school after all. The day students at their school don’t have to attend evening self-study sessions. I think someone needs to be there to make sure he’s studying at home. Would it be too much trouble for you to keep an eye on him every night?”
Pei Qing turned his head slightly and looked at Zhan Weiyang, smiling and said, “Of course it won’t. I also need to read books at night, so it’s just as well that I’m going to study with Weiyang.”
Zhan Pengcheng sounded a little embarrassed, “Yangyang’s grades are not very good—” At this point, he quickly added, “He is either stupid or he has difficulty concentrating. If no one is supervising him, he will definitely not be able to concentrate on his studies.”
As soon as he finished speaking, Grandma said next to him, “Not true, Yangyang is not stupid at all.”
Zhan Weiyang licked a little sweet noodle sauce off his chopsticks, thinking about how Zhan Weiguang had said that he was stupid, but he didn’t care much about whether he was stupid or not.
Pei Qing still had a smile on her face and said, “Weiyang is quite smart. Many children are smart, but they just don’t focus on studying.”
Zhan Pengcheng nodded repeatedly. Obviously, the comment was well-received in his case.
The family then liked Pei Qing even more.
After dinner, they went home and went to their rooms to take a shower and go to bed.
Grandma and Auntie Luo stayed on the first floor, Zhan Weiguang stayed alone on the third floor, and Zhan Weiyang, Zhan Pengcheng and Pei Qing’s rooms were all on the second floor.
There were two bathrooms on the second floor, one in Zhan Pengcheng’s master bedroom and one shared in the corridor.
Zhan Weiyang took his pyjamas and trousers and was about to take a shower, and just as he opened the door to his room, he saw that the door to Pei Qing’s room over the corridor was open.
He didn’t know why the door was opened, so he quickly hid back and listened with his ear to the door as Pei Qing walked into the bathroom and closed the door.
Zhan Weiyang waited for a while before coming out of the room. He walked to the bathroom door and, leaning against it, could hear the sound of water inside. It seemed like Pei Qing was taking a shower.
He hesitated and took his clothes to Zhan Pengcheng’s room. He took a shower in the small bathroom in Zhan Pengcheng’s room and came out. Zhan Pengcheng was packing his luggage beside the bed. There was an open suitcase on the floor, half of which was already filled with things.
Zhan Weiyang walked over and squatted next to Zhan Pengcheng.
Zhan Pengcheng folded the clothes and put them down. He turned around and touched Zhan Weiyang’s head and said to him, “Dad would not be home. You must listen to what Qing gege and Grandma say.”
Zhan Weiyang nodded.
Zhan Pengcheng sighed again for some reason. He raised his hand, hugged Zhan Weiyang’s head, and said, “It’s okay, Dad won’t be far away. If you need anything, just call Dad. Dad will be back soon; don’t be afraid.”
Zhan Weiyang let him hug without resisting.
After hugging him for a while, Zhan Pengcheng let go, patted Zhan Weiyang on the shoulder and said, “Go to sleep. When you wake up, Dad will be gone.”
Zhan Weiyang walked to the door and said to Zhan Pengcheng, “Dad, come back soon.”
Zhan Pengcheng smiled, “Okay, son.”
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