Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 5: Don't bite me!
Jiang Wenjuan brought Pei Chuan home. She washed his face and took a cup of water to rinse his mouth.
Pei Chuan had been quiet all along. Jiang Wenjuan looked at the child’s pale clear profile and caressed his black hair with some light movements while asking, “Why did Xiao Chuan bite Chen Hu?”
Pei Chuan lowered his eyelashes and said, “He stole my cookie.”
Jiang Wenjuan frowned.
She knew that Pei Chuan was lying. Their family was considered to be the most affluent in the entire neighborhood. That kind of sandwich cookie may not be available in other people’s homes, but their home not only had cookies but also chocolates. Therefore Pei Chuan wouldn’t fight over a biscuit.
Even if the child didn’t say so, her eyes subconsciously fell on Pei Chuan’s legs and there were tears in her eyes. Jiang Wenjuan actually understood that it must be because of his legs.
She gently hugged him and then smiled, “Mommy is going to cook dinner. You can eat in a while. Is there anything particular Pei Chuan wants to eat?”
Pei Chuan shook his head. He dark-eyed looked at Jiang Wenjuan’s busy figure quietly and thoughtfully.
Pei Haobin didn’t come home until late in the evening. He was recently on the hunt for a drug criminal and was often busy until late at night. When he came back, the atmosphere of the entire house became quiet for a second.
Pei Chuan’s family had a color TV set in the living room, which was a rare item in 1996. Jiang Wenjuan was watching a singing program with Pei Chuan. Despite noticing Pei Haobin’s return, Pei Wenjuan didn’t turn around to look at him. Instead, it was Pei Haobin who took the lead to say, “I’m back.”
He came over and first looked at his tired wife before caressing his son’s little head.
Pei Chuan tilted his head to look at his father. His eyes were very clear without any trace of resentment. Looking at such pure eyes, Pei Haobin’s heart ached imperceptibly.
Jiang Wenjuan blamed him for getting Pei Chuan into trouble, and the two of them quarreled every now and then.
Last night, both of them were busy as Jiang Wenjuan was the section chief of emergency surgery and Pei Haobin was also still working. Both of them thought that the other one had picked up Pei Chuan. However when they came back, they realized that neither of them had gone to pick him up from the kindergarten. Jiang Wenjuan cried hysterically all night.
Although it was an arranged marriage, the couple was very sweet when they first got married. In particular, after the birth of Pei Chuan, this happiness reached its peak. However, when Pei Chuan’s legs were broken, Jiang Wenjuan couldn’t help but hate Pei Haobin.
She hated her husband for the retaliation brought by his work on their family and getting their child’s calves cut off by criminals when he was only at the age of four.
At that time, when she saw Pei Chuan covered in blood, Jiang Wenjuan was so heartbroken that she felt devastated.
Pei Haobin found that there wasn’t any food kept for him in the kitchen, so he settled down to finish his own bowl of noodles. After he finished eating, he came back to talk to Pei Chuan for a while. The little boy very sensibly answered to whatever Pei Haobin asked of him.
Jiang Wenjuan watched them with cold eyes. At nine o’clock in the evening, she helped Pei Chuan wash his face to let him go to sleep.
The little boy reached his hand to pull at the hem of her dress.
He looked up to further say, “I want to take a shower.”
“You haven’t done much activity today and it wasn’t a very hot day either. You are not dirty so you can have a bath some other day.”
Pei Chuan pursed his lips and said, “I want to take a shower.”
He hadn’t told Jiang Wenjuan the reason for the fight with Chen Hu yet. Thinking this, Jiang Wenjuan frowned but in the end, she still went to boil water for him.
Then she undressed Pei Chuan and put the skinny little boy into the wooden tub.
Pei Chuan quietly looked at his unsightly limbs with dark eyes.
Jiang Wenjuan also noticed it, thus causing almost an unbearable pain in her heart. However, she could not let her young son wash it by himself. She patiently washed him and dried off the water with a towel before taking him to bed.
Before going to bed, Jiang Wenjuan couldn’t help but advise, “Don’t hold it in if you want to pee. You should tell your teacher and mom, okay?”
“I know.” Then he said softly, “Mom, tell me a story.”
Jiang Wenjuan had just smiled and agreed to him when someone knocked on the door outside, “Dr. Jiang! Is Dr. Jiang here?”
Pei Chuan watched as his mother hurried out without a second thought and didn’t come back to complete the promise.
He couldn’t hear the story and calmly turned his gaze to the wall on the other side. There used to be a scale on the wall that he previously marked by chalk. It could be easily used to measure a child’s height. He recalled Mum and Dad used to take him joyfully once every year to measure his height.
It was later wiped away by Pei Haobin in tears, leaving only a vague trace.
Pei Chuan stared at it for a long time before closing his eyes.
He realized that he would never grow as tall as his father.
On the 3rd of August, it was Fang Minjun’s birthday. Teacher Zhao gathered all the children in the kindergarten to sing a birthday song for her.
Bei Yao also sat in the crowd while clapping her little hands and singing. However, altogether she was very anxious.
‘Why didn't Pei Chuan come to kindergarten?’
Bei Yao couldn’t help but ask Teacher Zhao, who then said, “Pei Chuan’s mother said he won’t come to kindergarten anymore. She will send him directly to pre-school in september.”
Bei Yao was dumbfounded.
In her shallow memory, she knew about this preschool. This preschool was inside the Yubo Elementary School. It was a bit far and in a different direction from the kindergarten.
Just like her last life, Pei Chuan didn’t finish his kindergarten in the end.
Teacher Zhao sighed. She pitied Pei Chuan, but she also understood that Pei Chuan was not fit to stay here.
That day, all the children in the kindergarten saw Pei Chuan fighting. His dark eyes were without any color, and he posed himself to be cold to the world. His crazed biting of Chen Hu’s arm scared out all the children.
Little Bei Yao was very sad.
When Zhao Zhilan dragged her on the way home, Bei Yao was still thinking about it. In the afternoon Zhao Xiu came knocking at the door with half a palm-sized cake in her hand.
Zhao Xiu’s cheekbones were very high and her eyebrows were also very fine. As soon as she entered the door, she handed the cake to Zhao Zhilan and then pinched Bei Yao’s little face.
Bei Yao blinked her big eyes innocently and shouted in her glutinous voice, “Auntie Xiu.”
Zhao Xiu smiled, “Our Yao Yao’s face is so comfortable to touch, come give aunt a look ah. I heard that you were sick before, but you haven’t become thinner because of your illness. This little face is so round, anyone would know at first glance that you’re blessed.”
Bei Yao subconsciously looked at her mother.
Zhao Zhilan’s face was as black as the bottom of a pot. However, off to the side, Zhao Xiu still continued, “Alas, it’s unlike my family’s Min Min, she doesn’t grow fat. Although, everyone says she looks like Chang Xue and will look good when she grows up. However, when I had a look at Yao Yao, I found her looking cuter than before.”
Zhao Zhilan smiled that was unlike a smile, “You jest, your Minmin looks very good.”
Having received a compliment for Fang Minjun, Zhao Xiu walked away satisfied.
Chang Xue was a Hong Kong star that everyone was familiar with these days and she had made many movies. When Bei Yao was in elementary school, she still liked the comedy movies of this good-looking actress. In 1996, Chang Xue was known as the “Jade Girl”, and Fang Minjun, who looked seven points similar to her, was known as the “Little Jade Girl”.
Bei Yao felt something was wrong, but her memory stopped at the third grade, and she couldn’t remember what it was.
She thought frustratingly that she was so fat while Fang Minjun was indeed light and pretty.
Zhao Zhilan was even more furious. She herself was slightly overweight and was afraid of being called so by people, but Zhao Xiu always used the soft knife. What’s good with having a daughter who looks like Chang Xue! She is not the real Chang Xue. It is still her little girl Yao Yao that looks cute and adorable.
Bei Yao tiptoed to get the cake on the table, Zhao Zhilan noticed her and said, “You just ate the meal. If the cake is not digested, you will have a stomach ache.”
That cake was a sponge cake, also known as a margarine cake. Zhao Zhilan was very reluctant to buy it as she couldn’t afford it because she had to raise their entire family. On Bei Yao’s birthday, she would at most buy a packet of fruit candies and cook a bowl of Egg tong sui. (T/N: Egg tong sui is a classic sweet soup within Cantonese cuisine, essentially a sweet version of egg drop soup.)
Although Bei Yao was a little greedy she shook her head and her eyes smiled into two curved crescent moons as she said, “Split the cake into two. One is for mother and another is for Pei Chuan.”
She made a cutting motion with her small hand.
Hearing her, Zhao Zhilan was stunned for a long time. Finally, she nodded affirmatively, “Yes, I’ll get some for that child.”
Zhao Zhilan cut it open and looked at her daughter, who was watching it all with longing eyes. She was not even tall enough to reach the table, yet her heart was so soft and considerate. She looked really funny. Zhao Zhilan generously said, “Mom doesn’t like to eat it. I’ll keep it for you. Let’s get it for Pei Chuan first.”
Bypassing the green shade of the neighborhood, some households had planted a few vegetables in the green bushes in front of the community.
Pei Chuan’s house was just across the street. Mother and daughter went to the other side of the street and walked upstairs to the fourth floor before knocking on the door.
The heavy footsteps sounded, and the next moment there appeared the firm face of Pei Haobin. The man was upright and worked as a crime police officer. He carefully tried to recognize the seemingly familiar mother and daughter; they seemed to be from the same neighborhood. He was somewhat embarrassed to forget their names.
Zhao Zhilan smiled understandingly and said, “Hello Officer Pei! My surname is Zhao. My daughter Yao Yao and Xiao Chuan are classmates, so we came over to give him a cake.”
Pei Haobin looked down and saw a little girl with her hair tied into two flower buns. The little girl had big watery eyes and a very fair complexion. Her eyelashes were long and curled. She looked like a soft new year’s doll.
The little doll was a little bit scared. Under Zhao Zhilan’s instructions, she shouted in a soft milky voice, “Uncle”.
The resolute Pei Haobin was also softened by her adorableness. He smiled kindly and said, “Xiao Chuan is in his room. Yao Yao, you go over and take a look at him. Xiao Zhao, don’t hesitate. Please come in and have a seat. I’ll pour water for you.”
“No, you don’t have to. I just came to give a cake. Officer Pei, I’m ok. You do your work. Yao Yao, you go check on Xiao Chuan and come out when you are done.”
Bei Yao got the instruction and carefully carrying the cake she followed Pei Haobin to Pei Chuan’s room.
Pei Haobin pushed open the door. There was a little boy writing at the desk with the correct posture.
He was preparing to enter preschool.
“Xiao Chuan, this kid came to see you.”
Bei Yao looked at Pei Chuan nervously. His room was larger than hers with a simple design. His things were neatly arranged, unlike her mother’s joke that her room was like a kitten’s nest.
Pei Chuan turned his head. His dark eyes passed by his father’s tall figure and looked at the young girl.
She was carrying a cake half the size of an adult’s palm. When she saw him looking over, she was wondering for a while whether to smile or not as she approached him with some timidity.
She held her hands high while saying, “Pei Chuan, it’s for you to eat.”
He looked at her in silence.
This was a girl who was not afraid of a setback.
The first time she gave him a paper airplane, he tore it and hit her hand.
The second time it was the brightest lotus flower of the summer which he threw on the table.
This time it was a cake with incomplete flowers on the cream.
She looked at him anxiously with her clear and soft eyes.
He remembered she was still very young, more than a year younger than him. And she was expected to be in kindergarten for another year. He was going to preschool next month, so he probably wouldn’t see her for a very long time.
He reached out and took the cake she cherished.
The little girl’s almond eyes lit up as bright as crushed crystals, and she told him with her eyes that the terrible-looking cake was delicious, or was at least her favorite.
Pei Chuan still hadn’t said a word to her.
Not even a word of thanks.
However, Bei Yao was so happy that her little round face was puffed up with happiness and she was about to follow Uncle Pei out.
However, her collar was pulled from behind her.
A force pulled her backward.
She turned back and saw the little boy’s imposing black eyes.
Bei Yao remembered Pei Chuan beating Chen Hu the same way that day, dragging him over and then….. She subconsciously wanted to cover her arms.
‘Don’t bite me!'
If Pei Chuan didn’t like it, she would never come again. She was afraid of the pain.
She was just about to call out to Uncle Pei. But the quiet boy put a handful of chocolates in her little pocket, then loosened her collar, signaling that she could go.
Bei Yao felt the candy in her pocket that stuck out, and looked up at him again.
He still hadn’t said a word to her, but turned his head to hold the pencil and sat down to write.
The boy started to write one after another strong and powerful square strokes with pencil.
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