Chapter 13 – The Taste of Home
Novel t.i.tle: 一生之计在于春 (Spring is the Plan of Life)
Author：御小凡 (Yu Xiaofan)
Translator: K (@kin0monogatari)
Protagonists: 姚锦夕 (Yao Jinxi -MC), 吴洋 (Wu Yang -ML)
*Please read at knoxt.s.p.a.ce, the original site of translation. TQ*
The two of them chatted until it was close to noon.
The crowd inside KFC gradually grew and Wu Yang glanced at his wrist.w.a.tch. “Do you want to have lunch here?”
Yao Jinxi brushed his bangs aside. He stood up and replied, “I can tolerate their breakfast here. But I’ll pa.s.s on their fast food for lunch. I’ll head home first. You finish your meal and go to work.”
Wu Yang stood up as well, following his lead. “I took the whole day off just now. Are you going home now?”
—Of course, where else would I go?
Yao Jinxi nodded and scratched the back of his head. “Do you want to come with me?”
It was quite clear. But he only asked to hear Wu Yang’s question, “Won’t I be bothering you?”
“We’re already so familiar. Your words sound insincere,” Yao Jinxi muttered as he took out his keys and tossed them to Wu Yang. “You take a taxi and wait for me there. I need to buy some groceries first.”
Wu Yang received the keys. The small object still carried Yao Jinxi’s warmth. Holding it, he felt a sense of happiness in his heart and his smile brightened. “I’ll accompany you.”
“I’m riding my bike. How will you accompany me? Will you run behind me? You’d better go to my place and wait for me,” Yao Jinxi gave the order, mounted his bicycle, and left. Before leaving, he reminded him, “I don’t have my keys with me. So get there early and don’t make me wait at the door.”
He didn’t even notice the casual yet familiar tone. But after such an open and heartfelt conversation, it had become completely natural between them.
Wu Yang watched Yao Jinxi ride away on his bicycle. He stood there thoughtfully for a while before putting the keys in his pocket and heading to the taxi stand.
There was still meat in the fridge so Yao Jinxi had only bought some vegetables and eggs. He hung the plastic bag on his bicycle’s handlebars, swaying as he rode back to the tea shop. The door was already open. Upon entering, Yao Jinxi was surprised to see Wu Yang handing a box to a woman.
His own things were easily recognizable. Yao Jinxi recognized the high-quality tea leaves left over from his previous collaboration with He Qi. Regular customers wouldn’t even spare them a glance. He had casually placed them on the shelf and hadn’t paid much attention to them.
“Please take your time,” Wu Yang said with a professional smile, escorting the unfamiliar face out. Yao Jinxi stood silently by the side. When the lady left, Wu Yang greeted Yao Jinxi with a smile. “You’re back?”
“Oh, who was that just now?” Yao Jinxi asked casually, glancing towards the door with curiosity.
“A customer,” Wu Yang handed the money to Yao Jinxi. “This is the payment.”
Yao Jinxi: “…”
So, you’ve started selling tea leaves as well?
Wu Yang raised his gla.s.ses and seemed in a rather good mood as he explained, “She just happened to come in and take a look around. So I sold her the most expensive one. Besides, we don’t drink it here anyway.”
—Is that really how it happened?
“How do you manage to persuade people like that…” Yao Jinxi accepted the money with a bewildered expression. When he saw Wu Yang reaching for the plastic bag, he moved aside. “I’ll go prepare lunch. You can help me look after the shop while I’m gone. If there are any customers, just call me.”
The kitchen was located at the back of the ground floor. The bathroom occupied the same spot on the second floor. So, Wu Yang sat in the shop, listening to the sounds from the kitchen. He felt as if he were basking in the sunlight, relaxed and content. He even felt safe.
This was an experience he couldn’t feel at any other time. Only when he was with Yao Jinxi did his mood become this good and he could truly relax.
Wu Yang toyed with the key in his hand, knowing that he would eventually have to return it.
Yao Jinxi called from inside, “Spread some newspapers on the table. They’re in the bottom drawer.”
Once Wu Yang had done as instructed, Yao Jinxi came out holding the dishes. “It’s just a simple home-cooked meal. Don’t be too picky.”
Yao Jinxi had prepared quick and easy dishes: tomato and egg stir-fry, fish-flavoured eggplant, and two bowls of rice on the tea table. It wasn’t particularly fancy. But Yao Jinxi didn’t mind these formalities in his everyday life, which was quite different from his tea sessions. “Oh, I forgot to ask if you have any dietary restrictions?”
Wu Yang picked up his chopsticks. “I’m not picky about eating.”
“That’s good then. Ruonan doesn’t like potatoes. She’s really hard to please,” Yao Jinxi said as he took a mouthful of the tomato and egg stir-fry. “Try this one. I’m quite confident in it. Oh, wait. I meant to say I’m confident with it deep in KFC’s ketchup.”
“I see,” Wu Yang chuckled, finally understanding why he wanted ketchup.
Yao Jinxi continued to explain enthusiastically, “You know… KFC’s ketchup packets are numbered from 1 to 8, with increasing levels of sourness. But if you mix different numbered packets together, the taste is just right.”
Wu Yang laughed, “Then I’ll bring you some more packets the next time I go to KFC.”
“Sure. That sounds good,” Yao Jinxi replied, though he still found it a bit odd. Wu Yang didn’t strike him as someone who enjoyed fast food. So why did he talk like he went there every day? “Oh, my keys.”
He noticed the keys that Wu Yang had placed on the table nearby and quickly grabbed them. “I’m always forgetting them. I lost my keys before and had to get Ruonan to make a spare.”
Wu Yang’s smile faded slightly. He casually asked, “Does she have a copy of your house keys?”
Yao Jinxi scooped a generous portion of tomato and egg stir-fry onto his plate, mixing it with rice. “Um, yeah. Because I often lose my keys. It’s more convenient for her to have a spare.”
“Oh…” Wu Yang’s expression darkened slightly. But his tone remained casual. “You two seem to have a good relations.h.i.+p.”
Yao Jinxi chewed his food, not wanting to elaborate. He responded with a couple of non-committal hums.
“Maybe this is a bit abrupt…” Wu Yang’s mind had s.h.i.+fted away from the food. He wasn’t entirely sure why he had suddenly become so fixated on this matter. “I’m just guessing. Do you have feelings for Xia Ruonan?”
Yao Jinxi covered his mouth to prevent food from spraying out. His eyes widened as he stared at Wu Yang. He chewed a few times and swallowed his food whole, then asked, “Why are you so nosy?”
Finding his wide-eyed expression quite cute, Wu Yang was adept at handling such conversations and politely smiled. “As a friend, I was just curious because, after all, Xia Ruonan already has a boyfriend. So I thought there might be something going on.”
“Isn’t that still being nosy? But I’m not a scapegoat. It’s just that our relations.h.i.+p is really good,” Yao Jinxi said while biting the tip of his chopsticks. Suddenly, he started to laugh. “Speaking of which, I initially thought you were interested in Ruonan.”
This answer seemed to open up room for further exploration. But relentlessly pursuing the topic might lead to the other person’s displeasure. Maybe he could inquire further from Xia Ruonan herself?
Continuing along with Yao Jinxi’s lead, Wu Yang spoke with a hint of apology and sincerity in his voice, “I’m sorry for any misunderstanding. I don’t have those kinds of feelings for her.”
“What’s there to apologise for…” This conversation made Yao Jinxi twitch slightly. As a gay man, he couldn’t quite handle a handsome guy talking to him in such an ambiguous manner. It made it seem like they had something going on between them. But seeing that the other person was so relaxed about it, it was probably just his personality.
Perhaps he was being overly sensitive, Yao Jinxi felt a bit annoyed. Deciding to remain silent, he focused on eating.
There were only two dishes. Nothing too complex. But they were delicious and had flavours that complemented rice well. Both of them finished their second bowl of rice and the plates were nearly empty.
Wu Yang sighed, “It’s been a while since I’ve eaten this much.”
Yao Jinxi immediately chuckled, “You make it sound like you can never afford a meal.”
Wu Yang laughed along with him, offering no further explanation.
It had been a long time since he found eating to be a joyful activity. One significant symptom of depression was a decrease in appet.i.te. Combined with Wu Yang’s irregular sleep schedule, his appet.i.te had suffered even more. Eating had become more of a task for him, regardless of whether he was facing a bowl of instant noodles or a gourmet feast; it was all the same for Wu Yang.
Suddenly, Yao Jinxi became serious. “Hey, I have a question.”
Wu Yang also turned serious. “What is it?”
Yao Jinxi asked, “Will you come over for meals often in the future?”
This question hit the nail on the head. Was he asking him to come or not to come? Wu Yang quickly thought for a moment and chose a relatively less a.s.sertive response, “Will that be okay?”
“There’s nothing wrong with that. But…” Yao Jinxi pointed to the empty plates and chopsticks on the table, “then I have to tell you in advance. If you’re going to be a long-term dine-in guest, we need to follow some rules. If I cook, you wash the dishes.”
Wu Yang smiled and asked, “Wash the dishes?”
Yao Jinxi gathered the two pairs of chopsticks together, looking quite serious. “Being fair is important in life. I cook, you wash the dishes. That’s fair, right?”
There was no way around it. He really disliked doing the dishes. Because he always washed his hands before making tea, he was accustomed to that clean and refres.h.i.+ng feeling. Was.h.i.+ng dishes left Yao Jinxi feeling uncomfortable because of the greasiness.
“Just this?” Wu Yang asked, already starting to efficiently collect the plates and chopsticks. Yao Jinxi nodded and raised an eyebrow. “You can wash them properly, right?”
Wu Yang stood up with the stacked dishes and chopsticks. “This should be fine. I’ve washed plenty of dishes before.”
Yao Jinxi grinned. “Great. Thank you.”
Even though he’d asked Wu Yang to do the dishes, Yao Jinxi couldn’t help but keep an eye on things. The kitchen wasn’t very large. With two grown men inside, it felt a bit cramped. Yao Jinxi stood by the kitchen door, arms crossed, watching Wu Yang wash the dishes. They chatted casually as Yao Jinxi occasionally pointed out where things should be placed.
Their conversation revolved around trivial matters. The smell of cooking oil lingered in the kitchen, with the exhaust fan humming loudly.
It felt like… they’re family.
Wu Yang meticulously washed the dishes, engaging in a casual back-and-forth with Yao Jinxi. However, his mind was wandering.
He was thinking about how to continue his relations.h.i.+p with Yao Jinxi.
Surprisingly, he felt lost in this regard.
Wu Yang wasn’t clueless about how to interact with people. In fact, he was quite adept at it. He had developed instinctive coping mechanisms, including with Xia Ruonan and many others who had been pulled into his life during his times of illness. Ultimately, they were just tools to him.
As long as someone was there to accompany him, things weren’t as bad. His solution was to have someone there, just as anyone in extreme cold would seek something to keep warm. He always managed to find appropriate compensation for these people.
This method was perfect. It was smooth enough to satisfy everyone involved.
But Yao Jinxi was different. Wu Yang couldn’t help but feel that using him as just a ‘tool’ would be a waste. In his own way, despite his lack of emotional understanding and his mind plagued by mental illness, Yao Jinxi was like a campfire compared to the sun.
It wasn’t until he met Yao Jinxi that Wu Yang felt there might be a chance to heal his long-standing emotional wounds. So, defining Yao Jinxi in any particular role felt too shallow for him.
*Translator’s Note: Aiya…WY was already getting possessive hahaha -K
Next update: 2023.10.07