44 - I'm a father of two (5)
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As soon as the snow stopped, it slowly melted, and those outside would be covered in goosebumps after taking a breath. Shi Changle couldn't stand being stuck inside, crying to go out and play.
"Ge, shall we go to the amusement park? There's a new one on Zhongxing Avenue. I heard that the haunted house there is particularly scary."
Shi Changan was working on a question. He checked the solution process he calculated on the draft paper, "Then you can go through these notes."
"Hey, you can just write it for me." Shi Changle curled his lips nonchalantly, "Our handwriting looks the same anyway, no one will notice."
Shi Changan spread out a new draft page and continued to work on the problem.
"I'm going to find Dad!" Shi Changle ran out violently, slamming the door shut and bringing in a cold gust of air.
Shi Changan's brows lightly moved, and the nib of the pen slammed hard on the draft paper, leaving a black spot which stood out within the rows of neat formulas.
Ten seconds later, the chair foot rubbed against the wooden floor, and the door opened and closed again.
Lu Shenxing was being troubled by Shi Yiwei, the eldest sister of the original Shi Ze. She called him every day, saying that her son had transferred schools and wanted to move in.
Then Liu Daliang would be running about. Having two in his family was already troubling enough, if another was added, then his days would be endless.
"Da Jie, I'll rent you a apartment here." Lu Shenxing said, "It's more convenient to live near the school."
Shi Yiwei said from the other side, "A'ze, your house is so big, why spend more money to rent fir a single person?" She seems to be getting her nails done in some store, "The three children have barely met each other, Daliang can also help Changan Changle with homework."
Lu Shenxing's mouth twitched. What could be learnt from Liu Daliang?
"Dad, don't let Daliang come over, I don't like him."
Shi Changle next to him wasn't happy. His cousin always wanted to ask Dad to buy him gifts but Dad belonged to him, why should he get gifts?
Lu Shenxing got up and walked to the window, "Da Jie, that's my offer. I can arrange it for you as soon as possible."
Shi Yiwei obviously just wanted to have him take care of her child, she was just waiting for him to take the initiative to mention it.
"What are you doing?"
Shi Changle stopped the action of pulling at his files, he laughed, "Ge wants to go to the amusement park today, he asked me to talk to Dad."
Why didn't he just come himself? Lu Shenxing frowned. The door was knocked twice and he looked over to find Shi Changan standing there.
Shi Changle behind him stretched his neck and winked at Shi Changan.
Lu Shenxing looked at his watch, "If you want to go to the amusement park, we'll need to hurry. Dad needs to go out of town this afternoon."
"Dad, you're the best!" Shi Changle shouted and went running to his room to change clothes.
Lu Shenxing glanced at the black-haired boy weirdly, didn't he want to go to the playground? Why does he look so dull?
Shi Changan pursed his lips. Dad would easily agree to what Changle wanted. It had always been this way and it would never change.
During winter vacation, there were still a lot of people at the amusement park, especially a newly opened one. Most were there for the opening sale prices and fresh experience.
Shi Changle was digging in happily to some ice cream, taking a bite, his cold teeth ached, and his whole body was shivering from inside out. It was a feeling that could only be experienced when the air was freezing.
Shi Changan had a bad stomach and never ate ice cream. He bought a hot cup of milk tea.
"Ge, let's swap!" Shi Changle passed over his leftover ice cream, "I want to drink your milk tea."
"Your brother can't eat ice." Lu Shenxing pulled out a twenty bill from the wallet, "Changle, you can go and buy another cup."
"No, dad, I want to drink Changan's." Shi Changle pulled Lu Shenxing's sleeve and swayed from side to side.
Lu Shenxing's expression darkened, "Shi Changle, I'll let the driver take you back if you make trouble."
"Dad..." Shi Changle's face turned pale, his mouth was flat, and tears were rolling in his eyes. He looked pitiful, as if it was Lu Shenxing who had wronged him.
Passersby cast their gazes and glanced at Lu Shenxing. He took a deep breath and forced a smile, "Go, Dad will take you to buy something to drink."
Shi Changan froze in place, his thoughts still stuck on the phrase 'can't eat ice', when did Dad notice? Someone called his name, he looked up, and saw the tall man looking at him through the bustling crowd, concern in his eyes.
"There are so many people, hold Dad's hand, don't get distracted." Lu Shenxing grabbed Shi Changan.
"Okay." Shi Changan took a sip of milk tea, the warmth from the hand holding his spread all the way through him, and he felt very warm.
Shi Changle bit his lower lip and made a snort from his nose.
When buying milk tea, Shi Changle stared at the chocolate flavor, but chose the same original flavor as Shi Changan. He threw it away after a sip and said he didn't like it.
Lu Shenxing resisted the urge to explode, if he didn't like what did he buy it for? Were they really brothers? They were really nothing alike. He felt increasingly that Shi Changle wasn't naive at all, he was young, but he thought about things carefully.
Those who came to the amusement park for the haunted house were all there seeking a thrill. Lu Shenxing led the two children in. The inside was dark and there was a breeze was blowing, drilling into their collars. It was extremely cold and gloomy.
Shi Changle's timid voice sounded in the darkness, "Dad, I'm scared."
Lu Shenxing kept walking, "Then go outside."
"No!" Shi Changle moved restlessly, "I want to stay."
"Changan?" Lu Shenxing noticed something wrong with the child on his right.
Shi Changan didn't speak, but stood closer to Lu Shenxing. Lu Shenxing could feel the tension radiating off him.
"What are you shouting for?" Lu Shenxing's forehead veins throbbed wildly.
"A hand touched my foot just now!" Shi Changle eyes were wide, "Dad, ge, there's really a ghost!"
Shi Changle screamed the whole way, not with fear, but pure excitement. On the other hand, Shi Changan, who really was afraid, remained silent, crushing Lu Shenxing's hand.
Something entangled his leg, and Lu Shenxing lifted his foot and kicked it hard.
The female ghost who was lying on the ground with her head on the floor let out a scream of pain. She held her injured hand looking aggrieved.
"I'll keep away the ghosts." Lu Shenxing comforted Shi Changan, who hadn't made a sound since they'd come in.
Shi Changan frowned, but him followed step by step.
After playing in the haunted house, Shi Changle also wanted to ride the roller coaster, pulling Shi Changan to accompany him.
After getting off the roller coaster, Shi Changan's face was pale and his lips seemed to lack blood. He squatted down on the ground.
"Ge, are you okay?" Shi Changle said guiltily, "I'm sorry I forgot that you were afraid of riding roller coasters."
Shi Changan spoke, his question seemed to carry a lot of meaning, "Changle, are you happy?"
"Yeah!" Shi Changle had a bright smile on his face, "I have Dad and my brother with me, of course I'm happy."
Shi Changan didn't respond but found a place to sit and rest.
Lu Shenxing in the cafeteria was holding a few bottles of water and tissues, looking speechlessly at the little boy crying on the ground in front of him, and the girl with the iconic ponytail beside him.
Picking up her brother, Zhou Rui apologized.
Looking down at the udon soup on his coat, Lu Shenxing resolved to go through the plot thoroughly before going out again so he could avoid all opportunities to meet Zhou Rui.
"Sir, I'm so sorry, my brother wasn't walking steadily just now and dirtied your clothes." Zhou Rui's heart was thrumming, that coat looked so expensive.
"It's fine." Lu Shenxing went to the cashier to pay.
Zhou Rui hugged her younger brother, feeling overwhelmed, "Why don't you tell me how much clothes are, I have..."
A sharp gaze swept over her, and she immediately closed her mouth, thinking he was a weird person.
At the end of the winter vacation, the temperature was still very low. Those who had to go to work and start school, were reluctant to even leave their beds.
Huang Kuo, who had overslept, threw his bicycle aside and ran into the classroom, sliding into his chair, "Quickly, Changan, let me copy your homework."
His hand stopped suddenly, then he turned his head and said affirmatively, "You're not Changan, you're Changle!"
The black-haired boy frowned as he handed the workbook over, and said lightly, "Huang Kuo, what are you talking about? Did you not wake up?"
Huang Kuo put down the homework and said impatiently, "You don't need to pretend, you are you, and Chang'an is Chang'an. Even if you learn like him, you won't be him."
The silence on the black-haired boy's face split in an instant, as if a bay of lake water suddenly boiled, he said coldly, "Huang Kuo, you're so annoying."
Huang Kuo sneered twice in response. He stared at the back of the head of the other boy in the first row. Changan, did you get kicked in the head by a donkey? Playing identity swap?
"Why can you recognize me?" Shi Changle irritably grabbed at his black hair that disgusted him. He didn't understand the difference between him and his brother. They played this game several times during winter vacation, and even Dad was fooled by them he didn't figure it out even once.
Huang Kuo snorted and grinned, "I don't want to tell you."
Shi Changle took away the workbook from under his arm.
"What the hell!" Huang Kuo pushed the table vigorously and got up to look for Shi Changan. "Why are you playing this stupid identity swap game with him?" He didn't like Changle at all, acting as if everyone else should live for him.
Shi Changan touched his dyed chestnut hair and said, "Guess he lost again."
"..." Huang Kuo whispered, "Changan, can you dye your hair back, every time I look at you, I want to beat you up."
Shi Changan picked up the textbook and covered his face, "If you don't want to see it, don't look."
Huang Kuo cursed and didn't know where to direct his anger. He lay down on the table and stared at Shi Changan in front of him. He didn't hear a word the teacher said.
He didn't do his winter homework, so he was invited by the teacher to the office to talk about his life. When he came back, he made a stinky face. When he passed by Shi Changan, he snorted heavily, indicating that he was still depressed.
Shi Changle ate his chocolate slowly. "My brother's homework was copied off me." The meaning of 'please me' was in between the lines.
"Who farted?" Huang Kuo pulled his ears.
Shi Changle laughed in his heart. He really didn't know what his brother was thinking. He was friends with the son of a reform-through-labor prisoner. For some reason Dad had invited him to dinner at home, too.
The other students wondered, wasn't Huang Kuo good friends with Shi Changan? Why were they both disgusted with each other today? They looked like they wanted to build a wall between the desks.
Shi Changle moved his gaze from the blackboard to his brother's back. Since he was a child his brother had been trying hard to catch up and surpass him. But he always got the rewards and applause, Dad's pride had always been him.
Even in this class, everyone looked at him, paid attention to him. Except for Huang Kuo. Shi Changle curled his fingers one after another and there was glint in his eyes.
On the roof of the teaching building, Shi Changle lay on the railing, facing the wind and said, "Ge, you and Huang Kuo have a good relationship. Dad can't tell us apart but he knows at a glance."
Shi Changan squinted his eyes, his chestnut hair was drawn into a messy arc by the wind. He heard the envious voice in his ear, "I don't have any friends like that."
"Ge, I really don't like black." Shi Changle tilted his head and smiled, "Why don't you dye it back."
Shi Changan turned his head to look at him, then retracted his gaze to look at the distant sky, "It's you who likes brown hair, not me."
Perhaps the person who had always followed him had changed, Shi Changle was taken aback, "Right."
"I'll dye my hair back to brown after school. Let's go together. I won't play this game in the future. It's boring, don't you think?"
He thought he would want to swap again and also get Dad's attention like that time, but in fact he didn't.
Shi Changan raised his chin slightly, "En."
"Hey, Ge, tell me about Huang Kuo, I heard that his dad was in prison..." Shi Changle put his arms around Shi Changan's neck from behind, "What's the up with that? Tell me."
After that, every time Shi Changan talked to Huang Kuo Shi Changle stepped in.
The atmosphere in the classroom was weird. Shi Changle, who had always looked down on Huang Kuo's poor family, leaned on him with a smile. Meanwhile, his deskmate Shi Changan just sat with his comic book.
"Are you fucking done?" Huang Kuo had several pimples on his forehead. Was this guy's sick in the head? What was he sticking to him every day for? He didn't have any time to play with Changan.
"Not done." Shi Changle kicked a stone. "You and I are friends, I'll help you. You'll definitely be in the top ten. Then you'll have face and your parents will be happy."
"I don't need you!" Huang Kuo tossed the basketball, lifted up his vest and wiped the sweat off his face indiscriminately. He stormed off annoyed, Shi Changle smiled and followed after him.
"Do you want me to buy you water?"
"You're so annoying!" Huang Kuo yelled. How could Changan have such a twin brother. He couldn't do anything when this doppelganger was around.
Shi Changan, who was upstairs in the classroom, saw the scene on the basketball court. He pursed his lips and turned to leave. You already have enough. Why can't you let go of my only friend?
Changle, haven't you learnt to be content?
Sorry, I didn't update yesterday, Christmas shenanigans have been eating up all my reading time.