Chapter 24 – A Different Daily Life (Part 1)
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*
At 7 a.m., Wu Yang drove to Yao Jinxi’s shop, bringing soy milk, fried dough sticks, steamed dumplings, xiaolongbao, preserved egg and lean meat congee, and also some tea eggs.
“You bought so much?” Yao Jinxi was surprised. As usual, he tried to explain Wu Yang’s actions to himself, “Is the shop owner your friend?”
“Actually, my business hasn’t expanded into a breakfast shop yet,” Wu Yang chuckled.
Saying this, he handed over a pile of breakfast items. Yao Jinxi took them and placed them on the table. “Why did you buy so much?”
“I guessed you hadn’t had breakfast. But I didn’t know what you like. So I bought a variety of them,” Wu Yang explained as he went into the kitchen to get bowls and chopsticks.
Yao Jinxi paused for a moment before casually replying, “Well, luckily I haven’t had breakfast. Or you would’ve wasted a lot.”
Wu Yang just smiled, not offering any further comment. He seemed gentle and approachable.
The table was filled with a variety of foods. Yao Jinxi couldn’t help feeling nostalgic. “It’s been so long since I had breakfast… Come to think of it, the last time was also with you.”
“I’m honoured,” Wu Yang set the table for them. “Do you want soy milk or congee?”
Yao Jinxi hesitated for a while, feeling torn between the two options. Finally, he said, “Um… I can’t decide. So, I’ll have a bit of both.”
Wu Yang, being generous, poured half a bowl of soy milk for him and took half a bowl of congee for himself. He then placed them in front of Yao Jinxi. “Try them both. Just eat what you like.”
“Um, what about you?” Yao Jinxi found the congee to be fragrant. But soy milk with fried dough sticks used to be his favourite. He hadn’t had it in years.
Wu Yang didn’t answer and instead urged, “Go ahead. It’s getting cold.”
Yao Jinxi couldn’t keep refusing. So he dipped pieces of fried dough into the soy milk and took a bite. The crispy texture of the fried dough mixed with the sweet soy milk created a delightful combination in his mouth, making Yao Jinxi involuntarily squint his eyes in enjoyment.
Wu Yang was eating xiaolongbao and found Yao Jinxi’s satisfied expression amusing. “You really like this, don’t you?”
“Well, it’s been a while. I used to love soy milk with fried dough sticks for breakfast,” Yao Jinxi said while taking another piece.
Wu Yang poured the remaining soy milk into Yao Jinxi’s bowl. Seeing his satisfied expression, he felt as though he was pouring milk for a cat.
Watching Yao Jinxi concentrate on eating his breakfast, Wu Yang had an itchy feeling in his heart. He wanted to touch his hair or do something else affectionate towards him.
Feeling satisfied, Yao Jinxi looked up at Wu Yang and asked, “Aren’t you eating?”
“I usually don’t eat much in the morning,” Wu Yang handed him a tissue and pointed to the corner of his own mouth. Following his gesture, Yao Jinxi noticed a ring of soy milk on his lips and awkwardly wiped it away.
Wu Yang couldn’t help but think; why does this guy look so cute in whatever he is doing?
Unaware of how the other person felt about him, Yao Jinxi focused on his breakfast while occasionally engaging in conversation with Wu Yang. Their conversation during breakfast was casual. Wu Yang didn’t bring up Yao Jinxi’s unusual early morning call.
Yao Jinxi didn’t bring it up either.
But it was okay. They chatted and found solace in each other’s company in the simplicity of their daily lives. It was heartwarming to have someone to accompany you when you needed it most. It was something only those who truly understood loneliness could appreciate.
They were both such people.
That’s why they could offer help when needed, without being overly attentive and also without feeling awkward. It was also done without asking too many questions.
When breakfast ended, Yao Jinxi had completely calmed down. The anxiety about what lay ahead had diminished. Wu Yang, of course, diligently cleaned up and suggested, “Is it a good time to go grocery shopping now?”
Yao Jinxi glanced at the time: 8:30 a.m. It was a bit late for the morning market, but still fresher than the noon market. They decided to walk together to the grocery mart. Two tall men discussed what to have for lunch while choosing vegetables, without any hint of awkwardness between them.
“Hey, these cuc.u.mbers look fresh,” Yao Jinxi handed Wu Yang the plastic bag and picked out a few cuc.u.mbers. “How much is this?”
The vendor quoted a price, indicating that their product was reliable.
“Not bad. How about stir-fried cuc.u.mber and scrambled eggs?” Yao Jinxi asked, turning to Wu Yang. Wu Yang paid the vendor and said, “Sure.”
Yao Jinxi picked a few more items. He then stood up and hesitated. “Actually, we could make some soup too. What do you think?”
“Either way is fine,” Wu Yang knew that in the kitchen, the power lay in the hands of the one who knew how to cook. He handed Yao Jinxi some money.
Yao Jinxi noticed his vibrating phone in his pocket.
It was a text message.
He could guess who it was from. He sighed softly.
After buying groceries, Yao Jinxi’s phone had already rung twice. He checked and indeed, it was a message from Yao Jinchen.
Yao Jinchen asked if he could deliver lunch for him today because he didn’t want to eat the company’s lunch.
Yao Jinxi stared at the message for a few seconds before deciding to ignore it. He opened his tea shop and Wu Yang was helping him. They both silently performed their respective tasks.
Before long, Yao Jinchen called him.
“Brother, why aren’t you replying to my messages?” His tone had a hint of annoyance. Yao Jinxi retorted, “What’s wrong with the company’s lunch? You’re a grown man. Why are you so picky?”
Yao Jinchen sounded a bit aggrieved, “It’s not that I can’t eat it. I just want to eat what you cook.”
“Are you not planning to come over tonight?” Yao Jinxi guessed Yao Jinchen’s intention. “I also have my own business, you know. You’re working now, can’t you understand that?”
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a long time. Yao Jinxi checked his phone screen. If it weren’t for the ongoing call timer, he would’ve thought Yao Jinchen had hung up.
He put the phone back to his ear. “If you have nothing else to say, I’ll hang up now. Aren’t you working? Calling during working hours might affect your performance.”
“Brother,” Yao Jinchen’s voice came out low and trembling. It was filled with anxiety, “You’ve changed, brother.”
Changed in what terms?
Yao Jinxi was momentarily confused but then realised what he meant. He forced a weak smile and said, “What are you talking about? It’s been so many years. Of course people change.”
“No, brother. I haven’t changed.”
Yao Jinchen’s voice quivered slightly. He sounded anxious, “Do you know how I’ve spent all these years? I’ve always been thinking about you. I’m scared, you know? Scared that you’ll hate me. I’m scared that you’ll forget about me… Me and mom. Brother, it’s been so long. Do you not miss us?”
Those words struck Yao Jinxi’s heart. He felt a sharp pang of sadness and he felt like his tears were about to well up. He felt like he was on the verge of crying uncontrollably.
He closed his eyes. His voice was tinged with a hint of nasal congestion. “It’s just that I didn’t want to bring you lunch. It’s nothing serious.”
But Yao Jinchen still said to him, “I really miss you, brother…”
There was a hint of sadness and intimacy in these words. It was laced with the coquettishness of a younger brother towards his older brother. Yao Jinxi knew Yao Jinchen very well. This child was trying to prove his importance by troubling himself.
But no matter what, that guy is still his younger brother…
Yao Jinxi sighed and spoke in an annoyed tone for the first time today, “Okay, I’ll just deliver it to you? Then you go back to work quickly.”
Yao Jinchen finally sounded happy. He hung up the phone cheerfully.
“Wu Yang,” Yao Jinxi didn’t know that Wu Yang had been paying attention to the conversation, “Could you do me a favour and watch the shop during lunchtime?”
Wu Yang asked instead, “Are you going somewhere? I’ll drive you there.”
“Well, I have to go to Jinchen’s company. No need to drive me there. There’s a customer who promised to pick up something at noon. So I have to ask you to help me deal with it.”
Wu Yang had no reason to refuse this request, so he agreed.
Since he was going to Yao Jinchen’s company to deliver lunch, Yao Jinxi began preparing lunch early. He packed some of each dish for Yao Jinchen and used the lunchbox left behind by Xia Ruonan.
“I’ve packed the food for you. Just heat it up when you’re ready,” Yao Jinxi instructed Wu Yang, “You don’t need to wait for me.”
Wu Yang asked, “Are you coming back to eat?”
The lunch he prepared was only for one person. The lunchbox wasn’t big enough for more. So, Yao Jinxi had considered that, at most, Wu Yang might need some leftovers for dinner. “Just save some for me. I’ll eat when I get back. I have to go now.”
The sun was s.h.i.+ning brightly outside. Yao Jinxi hung the lunchbox on the front of his bike and pedalled toward the address Yao Jinchen had sent. The sun was so intense that he had to squint his eyes. White spots filled his vision.
A long time ago, it had been like this too. Yao Jinxi and Yao Jinchen were only four years apart in age. But in their single-parent household, taking care of his younger brother had always fallen on Yao Jinxi’s shoulders.
When Yao Jinxi was in the first year of junior high, Yao Jinchen was in the third grade of elementary school. Their mother, Yao Hong, worked all day. It was Yao Jinxi who went home for lunch to prepare meals for himself and his brother.
When Yao Jinxi reached the first year of senior high, Yao Jinchen entered junior high. Even then, Yao Jinxi still went home for lunch to prepare meals for both of them.
Back then, their family was still together and they were still naive. Those were good times.
Maybe it was his fault for being gay.
Yao Jinxi sighed and shook his head. The intense sunlight made him feel dizzy. Luckily, the company wasn’t far away. He parked his bike on the roadside and called Yao Jinchen. Soon, someone came out of the company’s entrance.
“Brother!” Yao Jinchen appeared genuinely happy. His face was radiant, almost as bright as the sunlight outside. He lit up even more when he saw Yao Jinxi carrying the lunchbox. “Let’s eat together?”
Yao Jinxi only then noticed that Yao Jinchen was holding something too—a disposable lunchbox. “I came to deliver this to you and then I was planning to leave. If you’re done eating, make sure to bring the lunchbox back to me.”
“Huh?” Yao Jinchen quickly grabbed the lunchbox from Yao Jinxi’s hand, holding it in his other hand as he walked to find a place. “Oh, it’s so sunny today. Aren’t you tired from going back and forth? I have a two-hour lunch break. Let’s eat together. It’s almost lunchtime.”
Yao Jinxi was persuaded by Yao Jinchen and they found some tables and chairs outside a nearby convenience store. Yao Jinchen quickly occupied two seats. “You sit here. I’ll go inside and buy drinks.”
At the moment, Yao Jinxi still hadn’t touched the drink Yao Jinchen had brought. Yao Jinchen probably thought he liked tea. So he picked up a bottle of tea-based beverage. Unfortunately, Yao Jinxi wasn’t a fan of tea-flavoured drinks with artificial flavours.
*Author’s Note: In our office building area, there are sun umbrellas and chairs outside the 7-11. However, it seems that I’ve walked around and found that most 7-11s near residential areas don’t have them【Rubs chin】.
Thank you to Guo Yimin, 13590903, and Cat Ball for the votes! (＞ω＜) Aiyaaa. Cat Ball’s username is so cute. Can I give it a little squeeze? =Q=【Rolls around】
Oh, by the way, there will be an update tomorrow too=w=
*Translator’s Note: Why is YJC so annoying??? -K
“Xiaolongbao” (also spelled “xiao long bao” or “小笼包” in Chinese) refers to a type of Chinese steamed dumpling that is often a.s.sociated with the cuisine of Shanghai. “Xiaolong” means “small steaming basket,” and “bao” means “bun” or “dumpling.” Therefore, “xiaolongbao” can be translated as “small steamed buns” or “small steamed dumplings.”
These dumplings are typically made from a delicate, thin wheat flour dough wrapped around a flavorful filling. The filling often consists of minced pork, along with a gelatinized meat broth or aspic that turns into a flavorful soup when steamed. As a result, when you bite into a properly made xiaolongbao, you experience a burst of hot, savoury broth along with the tender meat filling.
Xiaolongbao are typically served with a dipping sauce made from black vinegar and ginger. They are a popular and beloved dim sum item enjoyed in Chinese cuisine and around the world.
Next update: 2023.10.29