Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 42: Happy Tangyuan
NOTE: Chapter 39 was missing before. It has been updated now. Read the missing chapter here.
Despite knowing he was on a mission, looking at the unfamiliar, "corrupted" son, Pei Haobin still took a few steps over, his face becoming ugly: "Bastard! What are you doing?"
The scene froze for a moment and time seemed to slow down. At first, the lively atmosphere was at a standstill when the police came in. Almost everyone was looking at Pei Haobin and the police officers with him, but the captain went straight to the bar and let the inquiring eyes focus on Pei Chuan.
Pei Chuan removed the cigarette between his lips with two fingers and extinguished it on the bar counter/table. Since the last time Pei Chuan's prosthesis had been bitten and left, Pei Haobin had not been able to find him.
Pei Chuan knew this person too well. Pei Haobin separated official affairs and private affairs. Even if he wanted to find him, he could only ask his colleagues as much as possible rather than using authority for personal gain. Pei Chuan had left a lot of “clues'' for him, but with Pei Haobin’s strength, he would only get further from the truth the more he searched. This had been the case a year ago, and it would still be the same a year later.
However, Pei Haobin wouldn’t ask the teenage girl in his community about it. He was cold-hearted, and his relationship with the neighbors was average. More likely, he also didn’t want Pei Chuan to return.
After all, when Pei Chuan had been at home, the atmosphere in the house had been frozen. Wouldn’t it hinder their family’s harmony?
Pei Chuan’s indifferent attitude angered Pei Haobin. He raised his hand and slapped him.
A clear and sharp sound echoed and the music stopped. Pei Chuan didn’t dodge, and the slap numbed half of his face. He turned his head sideways: “Officer Pei, take this slap as repayment for your cheap sperm.”
The crowd was roaring when they saw the scene. Pei Chuan’s voice wasn’t very loud, and only the bartender heard these words.
Pei Haobin’s heart trembled and he took two steps back.
Pei Chuan wiped the corner of his mouth with his thumb. His mouth was awfully painful, and there was a slight trace of blood seeping. Jin Ziyang and the others hadn’t seen this scene from the end of the hall. Only Ji Wei who sat the closest saw it. Ji Wei was shocked; he came over and whispered: “The police cannot hit people indiscriminately ah.”
Pei Haobin regretted it a bit, but that slap also hurt his hand. However, Pei Chuan had thorns in his eyes, nailing his footsteps in place.
Behind him, a police officer said: “Captain, there is still official business to do, Zhao Ping is still in Qing Shi.”
Pei Haobin stammered: “I… Pei Chuan…” In the end, he said nothing. He led the people to the seventh floor to search.
This incident seemed to only be a small episode, and the music continued. Half of Pei Chuan’s face was red and swollen. He looked at the dazzling room and let out a laugh with a low voice.
Wasn’t he only a combination of worthless sperm and eggs?
Ji Wei hesitatingly asked: “Brother Chuan, are you okay?”
Pei Chuan said: “En.”
Ji Wei: “Oh.” He didn’t know how to comfort others. He felt that Brother Chuan had no smile on his face and was very sad. But if Pei Chuan said he was fine, then he must be fine.
Ji Wei said: “Then I’ll go back to study?”
He watched as the figure of Ji Wei walked towards the corner. He worked hard, but it wasn’t going to work. Just like in ancient times, no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t win the scholarship. Pei Chuan looked at him but didn’t think he was pathetic. After all, he himself was more pathetic than Ji Wei.
He lowered his eyes and lit another cigarette.
Bai Yutong was reluctant to go out. She originally hadn’t gotten into high school, after Cao Li married Pei Haobin, she had found connections to let her daughter attend high school. She argued: "Mom, you know I'm afraid of him, I don’t want to go!"
Cao Li squinted at her: “If you don’t go, do you want your mother to go! That kid actually went to study in City C and lied to us all along. Your Uncle Pei couldn’t sleep well these two nights, he’s feeling uncomfortable. We have to share his worries. Only by making him like us more will we have a good life in the future."
Bai Yutong said, "I haven't been to the third middle school."
"No one will ask if you don’t speak first! Anyway, you have to go and see him today, otherwise, people will talk about me. We’ll move in a few days, so don’t hold me back at this kind of important time."
Thinking about the luxurious new house, Bai Yutong had no other choice but to go to Third High School.
Standing at Third High School’s schoolyard, her mouth began to twitch. This school was a lot better than hers. Her school used rubber mats for the sports field, but here they used real grass.
The cripple was studying here, which was quite incredible when one thought about it.
Third High School had just finished their classes. She asked one by one until she reached second-year class 9. Pei Chuan was sitting by the window. Bai Yutong knocked as she called: “Hey, you come out for a bit.”
Everyone in the class looked over.
Bai Yutong was impatient: “Pei Chuan!”
Pei Chuan frowned then walked out.
Bai Yutong thought to herself that she had lost her face. She did not want to be associated with this person at all. There were so many people watching.
Bai Yutong did not know what kind of status Pei Chuan had in Class 9. In her mind, everyone must have known that Pei Chuan was a cripple and was staying away. She fished out 800 yuan from her coat pocket, counted it, and passed it to Pei Chuan: "My mother gave it to you, don't be ungrateful."
Pei Chuan looked at her expressionlessly. His pupils were dark, and it was strange when he didn't speak.
Bai Yutong remembered when he had killed that big dog with the virus. Her heart became timid. However, with so many people watching, she had some courage in her heart. She threw a few red banknotes to Pei Chuan: “Hurry up, I still have to go back.”
Pei Chuan didn’t pick it up. The money fell on the ground, scattering everywhere.
Bai Yutong was distressed over the money, so she squatted down to pick it up.
In the back of the classroom, Jin Ziyang and the others looked, dumbfounded. Pei Chuan turned around and entered the classroom. This time Bai Yutong didn’t call him anymore. If he didn’t want to then forget it, it wasn’t her business if he died out of poverty. Moreover, she could keep the 800 yuan!
Bai Yutong left and the class was quiet.
Someone whispered: “Isn’t Pei Chuan quite rich? How come that girl…”
“Shh, keep your voice down, don’t let them hear you.”
Pei Chuan sat down, Ji Wei turned his head away and wrote his homework with a guilty conscience. He always felt that it was better to not bother Brother Chuan when he was having bad luck.
Jin Ziyang asked carelessly: “ Brother Chuan, who is that girl? How dare she give you money.”
Zheng Hang pulled him. Jin Ziyang said: “What are you pulling me for?”
“Can’t you just shut up? Even Brother Wei has more sense than you.”
Jin Ziyang shut up.
However, this matter still fermented for a few days. Never underestimate the power of searching for others’ information.
Pei Chuan, who had been thought to be an invisible rich kid, had a father who was a criminal police officer, and his stepsister had come to school to give him money.
Those who used to be afraid to provoke him said: "I thought he was so awesome to be acting like that, but it turned out he was so fucking poor that he needed people to give him money."
Some people laughed.
"His face isn’t asking to be hit with money, right?"
Some even wrote sarcastic posts in the school’s forum. Although they had been quickly deleted, many people still knew about it.
Chen Feifei saw the post and she was so shocked her jaw fell to the ground.
Some of the posts were particularly hard to read. In the past, when Pei Chuan and Jin Ziyang played, they drove luxury cars. Although people were picking on him, most of them were just praising him being rich and handsome. Now knowing that his family wasn’t something to be “afraid of”, those unpleasant words were thrown down like rain.
They were still in the afternoon class third period. Chen Feifei was playing with her phone in class, resulting in the post being seen. After the class was over she quietly told Bei Yao.
“I remember you know him, right?”
Bei Yao was silent for a moment: “Feifei, if the next period’s teacher asks, just say I have a stomach ache in the toilet.”
“Eh eh you…”
It was the end of October and the first spring rain was falling outside.
Bei Yao opened her umbrella and ran into the rain.
That umbrella was goose-yellow. It had been her last year’s birthday present from the girls in the neighborhood.
The ginkgo leaves in the Third High School had been beaten by the rain and littered the ground. Pei Chuan sat on the basketball bench, smoking. He was surrounded by a pile of cigarette butts, there was a rain shelter over his head, and his body was a little damp with a slight chill of autumn’s air.
The tips of Bei Yao’s hair and shoes were wet. She walked past the layers of seats and stopped beside him.
Water dripping from the edge of her goose-yellow umbrella was puddled beside her. He raised his eyes, his dark pupils reflecting her beautiful appearance.
The hair on the boy’s forehead was slightly wet, and half of his face was still red and swollen. She gently called: “Pei Chuan.”
Pei Chuan put out his cigarette: “What are you doing here?”
“I’m worried you’re sad.”
“I’m not sad.” He was used to it. Wasn’t it that that home only brought him this kind of feeling?
Bei Yao put down the umbrella and squatted down in front of him, between piles of cigarettes.
He opened his mouth, wanting to say that the places beside him were dirty. The next moment, there was a cool feeling on the right side of his face. It was very light and gentle.
He looked at her incredulously in disbelief. She looked up, her fingertips gently cupping his cheek: “So, are you hurt?”
He subconsciously held the hand on his cheek.
The young girl’s hand was very tender as if there were no bones in it. But because she had wandered in the middle of rain in Autumn, there was some coolness in it.
The palm of his hand was hot. In an instant, he took off her little hand as if he had been electrified.
“Not hurt.” He spoke with a hoarse voice.
He told himself, for her it was like petting a wounded dog or cat. There was no other meaning, don’t think about it, you’re not allowed to.
Bei Yao was embarrassed: “But I’ve skipped class, I cannot skip class for nothing ah.”
He was stunned.
Her almond eyes curved and slowly bloomed into a smile: “Pei Chuan, you invite me to dinner.”
At least don’t smoke alone in such a gloomy place.
Pei Chuan lowered his eyes and, with great difficulty, said: “You go by yourself.”
He took out some money from his wallet and handed it to her.
She did not take it: “Why is your temperament so bad, makes me so angry.”
He pursed his lips, eyes dimming, and was quiet. She had said his temperament was bad, he knew. He couldn’t say anything nice and hadn’t been likable since he was a kid.
She smiled: “Forget it, whose fault it is that I can’t get angry easily. Then I’ll buy you dinner, okay?”
He didn’t say a word.
She reached out to pull him: "There’s a really good restaurant outside your school. Have you tried it before? The last time I came back from a night-time self-study session, I bought some take-out from there. My roommates all said it was delicious."
Her strength was little like a cat, but he couldn't help but follow her to stand up.
Walking out of the gloomy basketball court, she opened her goose-yellow umbrella. On the umbrella, there was a large-headed duck with its beak wide open. It looked silly.
She stood on tiptoes and took him under the umbrella: "My umbrella is small, don't get wet."
He took the umbrella and held it up for her.
The young girl was petite, leaning closely, there was a faint fragrance. Even though the sky was raining, there was no trace of gloominess. A rainy place was actually brighter than the basketball court that could’ve covered the rain just a few minutes ago.
She led him forward: "Turn right, yes yes, I remember… Hmm… What is it called again? It's Happy Tangyuan*."
(*TL: Tangyuan (汤圆) or Yuanxiao (元宵) is a traditional Chinese dessert made of boiled glutinous rice ball/dumplings soup with or without a filling. It's usually eaten during the Lantern Festival (元宵节))
He was tall and half of his shoulders were wet. She was well protected, her voice light and lively under the umbrella.
He followed where she pointed. It was a restaurant selling dumpling soup. It was small and cramped.
After more than a year in the Third High School, he had never known there was such a place outside his school.
The boss lady had seen Bei Yao once and remembered it clearly. It was the first time in her life seeing such a beautiful girl.
Bei Yao pulled him to sit down. His whole body stiffened. The boss lady said: "The little miss came again, did you bring your older brother?"
Bei Yao smiled and nodded her head.
Pei Chuan lowered his eyes, eyelashes dropping. He put away her umbrella next to her in silence.
Bei Yao felt that he was suddenly in a bad mood.
The boss lady wiped her hands on her apron: "What do you want to eat?"
Bei Yao said: "I want Fruit Tangyuan, he… wants the signature dish Happy Tangyuan."
He raised his eyes. Her almond eyes looked like the surface of water ripple, brimming with sparkle and laughter, it was able to squeeze people's hearts. His anger stopped immediately and he was silent.
Pei Chuan pursed his lips: "I didn't say I wanted to eat that."
She was laying on the table, overwhelmed with joy: "Just try it, it's delicious." The girl's voice was so soft that he couldn't refute with a single word. Pei Chuan's finger trembled, somewhat annoyed with embarrassment.
The Tangyuans were cooked quickly. There were two bowls of Tangyuan. The bowl of Fruit Tangyuan looked very ordinary.
The more expensive one was Happy Tangyuan which had a smiley face on it made of colorful dumplings.
Bei Yao said: "Isn't it pretty?"
Pei Chuan: "En."
"Happy Tangyuan has sesame seed filling. En, it's those black dots. If you don't like to eat food that is too sweet, just give it to me. Don't waste food." She pushed her bowl over.
His heart felt like it had been scratched softly. He whispered: "I'm not a picky eater."
The girl pursed her lips then smiled: "Oh, oh, Pei Chuan is a good child."
He clenched the spoon tightly. He had even forgotten why he had been angry today. He randomly scooped one into his mouth.
She ate with a refined and elegant manner and sighed softly in her heart. Pei Unhappy had grown up, but he was still not very happy.
It must’ve been painful and sorrowful to be slapped by his own dad, right? Who in the world would get used to pain and sorrow?
The warm temperatures from the tangyuan dispelled the coldness of autumn.
After finishing eating, Pei Chuan naturally wouldn't let her pay. He frowned and told her to sit down, then went inside the store to find the boss lady.
The boss lady smiled: "How's it, little friend? Our signature tangyuan isn't bad, right?"
He didn't say a word and handed over a hundred yuan notes.
The boss lady asked: "Do you have a small change?"
Seeing that the teenager still didn't say anything, the boss lady knew that he didn't like to speak to people. So she looked down to find the change.
After a while, she heard the boy speak.
"I'm not her brother." After he said this, he didn't wait for the change. He walked out of the store with some embarrassment that was too hard to say.
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