16 - He doesn't want to go back
Wei Ruxia didn't think she could fight very well, she was actually a very peaceful person. But what happened today made it difficult to prove her ‘peacefulness’.
Reaching up and squeezing her earlobe, Wei Ruxia looked at Luo Tang with a smile, then turned her head, put on her earphones and closed her eyes.
The outskirts town where Li Suhe lived was called Yizhen. It was a well-known livable town in Ancheng.
The town was divided into north and south. In the middle was the main river - the Yi River. The north and south streets were connected by stone arch bridges that spanned the Yi River. The town was very peaceful and in the afternoon, a few women washed clothes by the river while the children played on the bank, it was particularly lively.
They disembarked at the town station, walked over the stone arch bridge and entered the main road of the town. The buildings in town were the kind of high-walled buildings that were common south of the Yangtze River. The roads were paved with bluestone that had been smoothed from heavy use and the cool breeze in the small alleys made Wei Ruxia very comfortable.
"My grandmother's house is at the back of town, leaning on the mountain." After walking for a while, afraid that Luo Tang would be annoyed, Wei Ruxia explained.
Luo Tang wasn't bothered by the walk. He followed Wei Ruxia and watched her jump squares. She stepped on the centre of each bluestone slab with every step, accurately stepping onto the next bluestone slab everytime.
The small town in early autumn was much cooler than the city. Wei Ruxia seemed to be immune to the cold, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. She walked with her pale long legs exposed, like when they were gathering lotus roots in the lotus pond.
The two talked and walked, and soon walked out of the alley. After exiting the alley, their originally narrow line of sight suddenly opened up.
Wei Ruxia looked up at the house full of flowers on the hillside not far away, and smiled and introduced Luo Tang, "That's my grandma's house."
Following Wei Ruxia's gaze, Luo Tang saw a sea of white flowers.
Li Suhe was a flower lover, most of the flowers in Wei Zishan's villa were planted by her. Compared with the flowers in the courtyard of other people's homes in their community, you would already consider it a lot. But the amount of flowers in Wei Zishan's villa were insignificant compared to those of Li Suhe's house.
There were many varieties of flowers in Li Suhe's yard, which were planted around the edges of the yard and along the low wall. The low wall was made of bluestone, and the perennial rain had made the wall grow a light layer of dark green moss, making it look full of life.
The most conspicuous flower in her house was the vine rose on the tall lattice in the middle of the yard. The vine rose could bloom through three of the four seasons, and this was a season of blooming. The white and tender petals envelop the pale pink flower centre, like a girl's budding heart.
Li Suhe had cultivated the vine rose in the yard for a long time, and now it covered the whole lattice. Under the lattice was a low bench made of wood, a small square table was placed on the bench. In summer, you could enjoy the shade and watch the night sky.
Li Suhe was still very ill in the morning. After taking medicine at noon and waking up after a sleep, she was more than half healed. Wei Ruxia called her when she first got on the bus, and when she was almost due to arrive, Li Suhe went to the kitchen to cook. When she heard the sound of the gate opening, she patted the flour on her hands and walked out of the kitchen.
Wei Ruxia hadn't even called for her grandma yet, and her grandma had already come out of the kitchen. When Wei Ruxia saw the old lady, she yelled, "Grandma."
The old lady hadn't seen her granddaughter for a month, and her heart felt tight. Wei Ruxia came over, and after she reached out and touched her face, she kindly ordered, "Go wash your hands, and the food will be ready soon."
Patting Wei Ruxia on the shoulder and letting her go to the sink to wash her hands, Li Suhe gratefully looked at Luo Tang behind her. The teenager still had his white headphones hanging around his neck, and he was standing in the yard wearing a white T shirt, as if he had come out of the sun.
The smile on her face deepened, Li Suhe was grateful to Luo Tang and felt as if she were looking at her own grandson, "Thank you, Luo Tang, I troubled you for the trip. Go and wash your hands. Let's have dinner soon."
It was 4:30 in the afternoon, and there was still some time before dinner. When Wei Ruxia came she told Li Suhe that the two didn't have lunch in order to catch the bus, so Li Suhe prepared a large meal in advance.
Li Suhe arranged the meal very carefully and prepared two different cuisines for the children, so one could enjoy northern cuisine and the other southern cuisine.
It had been a long time since she had eaten the food made by her grandma and Wei Ruxia had a good appetite. She bit into the braised meat and watched Luo Tang eating sweet and sour spare ribs opposite her.
Next to her, Li Suhe also looked at Luo Tang and asked with a smile, "Does it taste good?"
Luo Tang held the chopsticks with his slender fingers slightly bent, the joints were beautiful and delicate. When he ate slowly, although he was only a sixteen-year-old boy, he had a gentle and elegant temperament.
"It's delicious." Luo Tang replied truthfully.
Wei Ruxia swallowed and said to her grandma, "He and my dad have similar tastes."
Luo Tang raised her eyes and glanced at her, and Wei Ruxia smiled at him.
"Really?" Li Suhe was surprised, and then said, "Then you can learn how to cook from me, so you can cook something for Luo Tang in the future."
Li Suhe just spoke casually, regarding them as good friends that could help each other out. Wei Ruxia also heard it this way, but she didn't agree. She said, "It won't taste good if I make it. Last time he tasted the osmanthus glutinous rice and lotus root, Luo Tang didn't eat it again."
Wei Ruxia had talked to Li Suhe about this dish. She didn't control the heat well enough when preparing the dish and when the sugar was added it was too bitter to eat. Luo Tang could only take a bite.
Li Suhe was amused by the affairs of the two children.
Wei Ruxia was also laughing with her grandmother, and when she noticed Luo Tang's gaze on the opposite side, her smile remained unchanged, but she covered her mouth with her hand to prevent it from being seen by him.
Her white and slender fingers were slightly bent, and the girl's light brown eyes shone with laughter. She asked Luo Tang in a muffled voice with her mouth covered, "What?"
Luo Tang looked at her with a crooked smile, his eyes remained unchanged, and said, "I'll eat it all next time."
The smile on her face stagnated slightly, and then became bigger again. Wei Ruxia put down her hand, then used her chopsticks to hold a small piece of sweet and sour pork in front of him, and whispered, "Don't forget your words."
Luo Tang was only responsible for sending Wei Ruxia over, and he had to take the bus back to the city that afternoon. After eating, Wei Ruxia took Luo Tang to the station.
The bus from Yizhen to the city departed every two hours on average, with the last bus at 5:30 in the afternoon.
As soon as the two entered the station to buy tickets, the lady at the ticket window said to them, "The last bus broke down. A technician is repairing it, but it can't leave tonight. You'll have to wait until tomorrow."
Wei Ruxia was stunned by the lady's words. She raised her head and glanced at Luo Tang next to her, he had also heard it. Wei Ruxia said to him, "I'll go over there and have a look."
The two of them left the ticket counter and went directly into the parking lot. The bus with the sign for the city was surrounded by people like it was a sick cow. Except for the driver and the mechanic, presumably they all wanted to go back to the city.
"We can't leave, you'll have to hurry back tomorrow." The driver said again to the passengers beside him.
As the surrounding passengers heard the news they dispersed. Watching the crowd go, Wei Ruxia raised her hand to shade her eyes, frowning and said, "What should we do?"
After asking, she took out her phone and called her grandma first.
"Luo Tang can stay here tonight, you sleep with me, and Luo Tang can take your room." Li Suhe arranged.
Her grandma's house only had two bedrooms and two beds. She didn't mind sleeping with her grandma, but she wasn't sure if Luo Tang would be willing to use her bed.
When she'd called her grandma, Wei Ruxia had pressed the speakerphone, so Luo Tang could also hear what her grandma had just said. He stood beside her, the setting sun stretching his shadow until it was very long, just enough to cover Wei Ruxia.
"Is that okay with you?" Wei Ruxia asked, looking up at the silent Luo Tang.
Luo Tang looked down at her. Under his thick eyelashes, his eyes were still bottomless and Wei Ruxia couldn't see his emotions. When she was about to reply to her grandma, Luo Tang spoke, "Yes, I don't mind which bed."
The matter was settled. Wei Ruxia took Luo Tang to the town and bought him toiletries, and then the two returned home.
To be honest, Wei Ruxia was also very happy to have him stay here for one more night. She wanted to be with her grandma, but she also wanted to hang out with friends.
After the two returned, Wei Ruxia took Luo Tang's toiletries and returned to her room and put them away. Her room was a bit girly and vibrant, but it would be okay to stay in for one night. Her grandma kept it very clean.
"You're back?" Li Suhe came out of the kitchen with a plate of cut watermelon in her hand.
After greeting Li Suhe and taking the fruit plate, Wei Ruxia looked at Li Suhe. Her face was a little pale, and Wei Ruxia said, "Are you feeling sick again? You can go and rest."
Since returning from Ancheng last time, Li Suhe had been ill several times in a row. Her body was tired and her head ached. She could bear it, but she couldn't travel to Ancheng to visit Wei Ruxia. This time, she was obviously much better than the previous few times. The medicine prescribed by the doctor was taken, but there were good days and bad days.
Listening to Wei Ruxia's words, Li Suhe didn't insist. She squeezed her granddaughter's face and smiled, "Then I'll go to bed. The sun will go down in a bit and you can take Luo Tang to the river for a walk."
The river Li Suhe mentioned was the creek at the foot of the mountain. The stream ran between two forests, and the water was clean and clear, and cold. In the summer Li Suhe took her there to cool off.
"I know." Wei Ruxia replied, and then took the watermelon and supported Li Suhe back to her room.
Li Suhe had already called Yang Shuru about the fact that Luo Tang couldn’t return home tonight. With Wei Ruxia, Yang Shuru had always been at ease and listening to Luo Tang's tone, he seemed quite willing to stay there.
Thinking this, Yang Shuru deliberately wanted to tease her son and said, "Why don't I let Uncle Chen pick you up?"
Uncle Chen was the driver from the Luo family estate. He sent him to school when he was in middle school. Later in high school, Luo Tang insisted on taking the subway by himself, so Uncle Chen went back to the estate.
Listening to Yang Shuru, Luo Tang glanced down at the golden tea flower that was blooming on the wall, and refused, "No, I'll take the bus home by myself tomorrow afternoon."
"Why tomorrow afternoon?" Yang Shuru asked, "Won't there be a bus back in the morning?"
On the other end of the phone, Luo Tang didn't answer.
At that moment, Yang Shuru suddenly realized that something was wrong, she snorted and said to Luo Tang, "Luo Tang, do you not want to come back?"
Luo Tang didn't answer, he hung up the phone.
When he hung up the phone and turned around, he saw Wei Ruxia who was sitting under the climbing rose and eating watermelon.
She'd changed into white cotton shorts and her hair was tied into a bun. She sat cross-legged under the sky full of flowers. Occasionally white petals fell on her head and shoulders and when she lowered her head, the petals fell onto the bench.
After blowing away the petals, the girl smiled at the corner of her lips, and the smile filled her face, looking very comfortable. She noticed Luo Tang's gaze and saw that he had finished up his phone call. Wei Ruxia beckoned and said, "Come and eat watermelon."
Luo Tang got up and walked over.
When Luo Tang sat down, Wei Ruxia ate the watermelon in her hand. It was boring for the two of them to just sit and eat so she took two watermelons of the same size and handed one to Luo Tang. Then she took one herself and raised her head to ask, "Would you like to have a watermelon eating contest?"
Wei Ruxia's face was full of excitement. She was very relaxed here, not like when she was at her father's villa.
"Okay." Luo Tang agreed.
She said it was just a game and something to do while they were bored, the stakes were also very random. The one who lost would buy the winner Cornettos for a week.
Wei Ruxia held the watermelon with her eyes focused. She looked at Luo Tang and shouted "Start". Then, before Luo Tang could take the first bite, Wei Ruxia took the watermelon and gnawed it until only the skin of the watermelon was left.
She raised her arms and puffed her cheeks, which were full of sweet melon flesh.
After she put down the watermelon peel, Luo Tang just looked at her quietly. The boy looked angelic, his slender fingers pinched the unfinished watermelon. The fiery red flesh and emerald green skin make him look like a charcoal out of a watercolour painting. He didn't hear Wei Ruxia's victory cheering, as he stretched out his hand to Wei Ruxia's face.
His hand still had the fragrance of watermelon, and his cold white skin made his hands look a bit cold. His fingertips stayed on the tip of her nose and pinched a watermelon seed.
The black watermelon seeds lay still on his fingertips, and the boy asked, "Can you taste the sweetness when you eat it so fast?"
The corner of Wei Ruxia's eyes curled, and she licked her lips. The watermelon juice that hadn't dried up was sweet and refreshing.
"It's sweet, you should try it."
Luo Tang didn't taste the watermelon. He thought of the words his mother asked him before he hung up the phone. He looked at Wei Ruxia, his heart beating like a watermelon seed dancing on a drum.
She was right, he didn't want to go back, he wanted to stay wherever the one in front of him was.
The author has something to say:
Small theater 1:
Tangtang: I slept in your bed tonight, rounding up I've slept with you.
Small theater 2:
Tangtang: Is watermelon sweeter than me?
Kukuxia: Not really.