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Cheng Zi had always wanted to raise a cat, but Lu Shenxing thought he was dreaming, "The cat's hair will go everywhere, it'll smell, and the chairs, sofa, bed, table, coffee table, everything in the house, will get paw prints on it."
"...Forget it, I didn't mention it." Cheng Zi's hair raised in a defensive posture.
Within a few days, Cheng Zi somehow returned with two goldfish. Within half a month, the fish's eyes widened, his belly bulged, and he ascended to heaven because he was fed too much.
Lu Shenxing, who came back from work, put his briefcase on the sofa, took off his suit jacket and went over, reaching out to touch the top of Cheng Zi's black hair, "Sorry, and condolences."
Cheng Zi's mouth twitched, holding the fish tank and continuing to see the two fish off.
In order to catch up with work, Cheng Zi stopped working from 9 to 5 and often worked overtime. It became common to stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning. His working hours were chaotic and he often dragged his tired feet home to find Lu Shenxing already asleep, and they barely exchanged a word.
The reduced time spent together made Cheng Zi feel uneasy. He refused his boss’s offer and quit his job to join a real estate company.
Lu Shenxing was confused when he found out, "Why didn't you come to me?"
Cheng Zi didn't say that he had seriously considered it, and also specifically searched up the benefits and drawbacks of couples working in the same company, before finally deciding to choose a different company.
"Go and grab the packages from the study." Lu Shenxing didn't question him further, and hurried to change clothes and prepare to go out.
Cheng Zi grabbed the packages, and the two went to Cheng Tiandao's for dinner.
"Lao Qi, don't blame me for speaking badly. When you are old, if you don't have kids, who will take care of you?" Cheng Tiandao frowned and took a sip of white wine, "Are you really planning to go to a nursing home like a lonely old man?"
A lonely old man? Lu Shenxing's facial muscles twitched, "Da Ge, I have a family, I have a wife."
"Xiao Zi will grow old one day too." Cheng Tiandao stared at him.
"When he gets old, I should already be visiting King Yan." Lu Shenxing smiled.
"..." Cheng Tiandao listened to the other party's indifferent tone, as if meeting the King of Hell was the same as visiting an old friend.
"Having a child creates expectation and hope, it's wonderful."
Before Cheng Tiandao could say anything more, he glanced at his son looking at him. His eyes darkened, and he turned his gaze away with a guilty conscience.
Walking by, Cheng Zi glanced at the wine glass on the table, "Dad, what did the doctor say?"
"I can't drink." Cheng Tiandao coughed, "Xiao Shu is here and I'm in a good mood, so I took a sip."
He secretly winked at Lu Shenxing, Lu Shenxing pretended not to see it.
"Fine, I promise not to drink." Cheng Tiandao surrendered under Cheng Zi's gaze.
Ten years after Lu Shenxing and Cheng Zi got married, Cheng Tiandao became ill, he could no longer recognise those around him and Fang Wen had to accompany him to eat and drink.
Cheng Xiaomi, who was already in primary school, was well-behaved and sensible. When she saw Lu Shenxing, she called him Xiao Shu sweetly. She would lie by his ear and whisper Saozi when she was being naughty.
Lu Shenxing was grabbed by her hand and taken to her room, saying that she wanted him to see her painting.
"This is my father and this is my mother." Cheng Xiaomi laughed, showing a smile with missing front teeth, looking cute, "This is me." She smiled again, "There are more, this is my brother and my uncle."
Lu Shenxing glanced at the painting that Cheng Xiaomi was holding. All the faces of the crooked people were painted colourfully, and there were small trees, the sun, and a small river beside it.
This was a child’s world, clean, simple and beautiful.
"Xiao Shu, why doesn't dad recognize me?" Cheng Xiaomi's mouth flattened, and her finger poked the first dwarf with a very aggrieved voice.
Lu Shenxing rubbed the little girl's face and wiped away the tears on it. He had seen too much birth, old age, sickness and death, and was already numb, making it difficult to be moved.
In a room downstairs, the old man on the bed was in a daze. He was saying something, his crooked mouth dripping with saliva that was wiped off by a handkerchief.
"Xiao Zi, we can't take this money."
Fang Wen pushed back the card handed over by Cheng Zi, "Your dad has worked hard for a lifetime, and he has a lot of savings, it's enough for us."
"Then take it as me giving it to Xiaomi." Cheng Zi put it in Fang Wen's hand and turned away before she could refuse again.
Fang Wen raised her hand and wiped her eyes, ai.
Four years later, Cheng Tiandao left them. Cheng Zi was in a meeting that day. When he heard Cheng Xiaomi's sobs the pen in his hand fell.
About four years of carrying for him day and night, Fang Wen’s hope and sorrow had been exhausted. She calmly took care of Cheng Tiandao’s funeral, and only Cheng Xiaomi cried as she called for her father.
Lu Shenxing was wearing a black suit, blending with the umbrella in his hand. He stood next to Cheng Zi, looking at the person on the tombstone, it felt indescribable.
"Lao Qi, Da Ge is gone, why don't you take it seriously?" Lao San said angrily.
Lu Shenxing's eyes were very dry, and there was no obvious sadness on his face. It was indeed easy to assume that he was attending a stranger's funeral.
Lao Liu, Cheng Tianyuan frowned, "San Ge, Lao Qi just isn't good with words."
I think he is cold-blooded, Lao San grouched. He glanced at the tombstone, then turned to his wife and children and left together.
Lu Shenxing took out a handkerchief and gave it to Cheng Zi. He sighed, "How old are you, wipe your nose."
Cheng Zi lowered his head in answer, his nose muffled.
As soon as her husband left, Fang Wen's life centred around her daughter, Cheng Xiaomi. She carefully supported her to go to university, taught her how to be a woman, and was very proud.
Cheng Xiaomi had her own family, she loved her husband and lovely children, and the elderly Fang Wen finally had no worries and walked away quietly.
Life is inseparable from joy and sorrow. Some people cry, some laugh, there is death, and there is rebirth.
Two years after Fang Wen left, Cheng Xiaomi became pregnant again. She wanted to adopt the child to Cheng Zi, but Cheng Zi refused without hesitation.
"I don't want to share him with anyone."
Cheng Xiaomi was taken aback. She could never understand her brother's love for Xiao Shu. It was too extreme, but Xiao Shu never rejected it, as if he'd been accustomed to it for several lifetimes.
One time when Lu Shenxing and Cheng Zi were traveling, they met Wei Ni and her family of three. When they talked about the paintings in the sketchbook that year, Cheng Zi smiled.
"Why didn't I notice?" Wei Ni felt speechless.
Cheng Zi stared at the man who was sitting by the river fishing with his back facing him. Even he didn't even notice it. When he finally realised, there was no way out.
At night, Lu Shenxing noticed that the person in his arms was moving like a loach, his breathing was choked. He hugged Cheng Zi from behind. The two of them played under the quilt for a long time.
The inventory was completely gone, Lu Shenxing went to the road the next day to be a good boy who picked up a penny and gave it to the police.
Year after year passed, Lu Shenxing was too old to walk. He was still in this world, Cheng Zi and their home felt real, and the tasks and systems seemed to be nothing but a dream.
Cheng Zi's biggest wish in his life was to keep his husband at home and let him depend on him. He finally got his wish at the age of 49.
When spring arrived, people tended to get sleepy. When they finally wake up, the birds outside are already clamoring and making noise.
Lu Shenxing slumped under the covers and smelled the scent of steamed buns.
"Xiao Shu, get up and have breakfast."
Cheng Zi took a rag and wiped the table back and forth twice. Then he brought out the millet porridge and the white steamed buns that were just out of the pot, and stirred gently the bowl with a spoon to let the heat dissipate.
Just as he'd roused himself, the quilt was lifted. Lu Shenxing squinted his eyes and put on the clothes Cheng Zi had put on the bedside, then went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and wash his face.
There was no mirror in front of the sink, as requested by Lu Shenxing, because he didn't want to see a wrinkled old man at all.
"Xiao Shu, the porridge is going to be cold."
Cheng Zi's voice rang from outside, and Lu Shenxing wiped his face, "Don't you need to go to the company today?"
"I'll stay with you at home all day today." Cheng Zi curled his lips in Lu Shenxing's confused eyes, "Today is your birthday."
"Zhizi, thank you for not saying which birthday." Lu Shenxing cast a blank look.
The corner of Cheng Zi's mouth twitched, "Xiao Shu, you really don't have to worry about what you look like, you are still..."
Before he could finish his sentence, Lu Shenxing stuffed a bun in his mouth.
After eating Cheng Zi's porridge, Lu Shenxing looked at the bird cage hanging by the door. When he was hungry, someone cooked, and when it was cold, someone gave him clothes. He had lived for many years.
Longevity noodles have been cooked many times, he was quite proficient by now. Cheng Zi used chopsticks to pick up a piece of noodle and put it in Lu Shenxing's mouth.
"Can I really live a long life if I eat a whole strand?" Lu Shenxing slurped as he was careful while eating the noodles.
Cheng Zi's hand paused, his eyes lowered and he held his chopsticks seriously without moving.
He said he'd accompany Lu Shenxing for a day, and he really stayed by his side all day, keeping his eyes on him.
Having eaten early in the evening, Cheng Zi soaked Lu Shenxing's feet, and after a while he put his own feet in, rubbing against his as before.
Lu Shenxing toed the back of his instep. He was wearing reading glasses, and watching the replay of yesterday's football match, "Be good, don't make trouble."
"I watched it, it ended three to one." Cheng Zi said slowly.
"..." Lu Shenxing.
Grumpy, Lu Shenxing didn't pay attention to him until he went to bed.
Cheng Zi reached into Lu Shenxing's sparse white hair, and pressed his fingers against his scalp, combing them through with gentle movements.
"Don't touch it anymore, if you keep touching it, it will fall out." Lu Shenxing put Cheng Zi's hand down next to the pillow.
"Xiao Shu, let me tell you a story." Cheng Zi said while lying next to him, holding his head. "Once upon a time there was a kitten who liked to eat fish. One day he went for a walk by the river and saw a fish lying on the bank..."
Lu Shenxing's thoughts grew deeper and deeper, and he fell asleep to the sound of Cheng Zi's gentle voice.
"The kitten fell in love with the fish, and they lived happily together." Cheng Zi kissed Lu Shenxing on the forehead and said softly, "Good night, Xiao Shu."
Late at night, he heard wind and rain faintly, and wondered how many peach blossoms had fallen from the peach tree in the courtyard.