IWOL Chapter 354: A Good Performance

Dong Yi obviously had a lot of interest in Cui Zuojing. “How old is Xiao Cui this year?”

“Twenty-four.”

“Already twenty-four.” Su Daijun was surprised. “I thought you’re 20 years old. You look like you’ve just graduated.”

He hadn’t graduated, much less seen what a university looked like. Cui Zuojing smiled and said, “I probably just look young.”

Su Daijun noticed Cui Zuojing’s obvious northern accent and said, “Where is Xiao Cui from?”

“From Shandong. This is the first time I came to Shanghai. I haven’t yet found a suitable apartment and so Dong Zheng allowed me to temporarily stay with him.”

Cui Zuojing responded to Dong Zheng’s parent’s “cross-examination,” seemingly relaxed and comfortable, but in fact he was nervous to death. He and Dong Zheng had spoken about a lot of these things beforehand. It would be embarrassing if their responses were different.

Why isn’t Dong Zheng here yet? He couldn’t hold himself back anymore and glanced at the clock on the wall. It was already 5:40.

Dong Linhai helpfully interjected, “Mom, dad, are you two checking the household registration? Your questions are so detailed.”

“Xiao Cui came to Shanghai from so far away, what’s wrong with asking some questions?” Su Daijun patted Dong Linhai’s arm and said. Regardless of how much she’d been a sweet and caring secretary back then, her heart for gossip inevitably became stronger as she got older. She looked at the young man on the other side and saw that he looked very clean and clean, and continued to say, “How long have you and A’Zheng known each other?”

“About three to four years ago, I wasn’t careful and ended up hitting the car in front of me. During the process of dealing with the accident, I met him and got to know him.” Cui Zuojing subconsciously replied, using the event from the Corridor of Memory. Then, he immediately realized that he didn’t even have a driver’s license, so how could he chase after him.

Fortunately, no one else knew about it.

In fact, without Dong Zheng here and by chatting with the unfamiliar Cui Zuojing, there wasn’t much to say except to get a good understanding of the situation. Dong Yi asked, “Where did Xiao Cui graduate?”

“I didn’t go to university.” Seeing that Dong Yi and Su Daijun were a little surprised at his words, Cui Zuojing pinched his earlobe in embarrassment and said, “When I was sixteen, on the way home from school, I got stabbed more than ten times and nearly died. After a hard year of recuperation, I barely managed to catch up and have been focusing on self-studying rather than going to school.:

“So it was like this.” Su Daijun didn’t realize Cui Zuojing had such a bitter experience and quickly apologized, saying, “Pardon us, Xiao Cui. Your Uncle didn’t know that this happened. He didn’t mean to deliberately make you mention it.”

“It’s been many years already, and I’ve more or less gotten past it.” Cui Zuojing smiled. “It’s just that I feel very regretful about having missed out on attending school. Back then, my grades were pretty good. It’s a pity.”

As soon as his voice fell, he heard the sound of the key being inserted into the keyhole. The four people turned their heads in unisom to look. Dong Zheng walked in, panting slightly. He’d clearly been rushing, but he glanced at Cui Zuojing calmly and said, “Dad, mom, you’re here.”

“Welcome back, A’Zheng.” Su Daijun smiled. “Your dad suddenly wanted to come and have a look this afternoon. We were a little anxious, I hope we didn’t disturb you?”

“It’s nothing.” Dong Zheng put his keys on the table, rolled his sleeves up to his elbows, and said, “It’s time for dinner. What would you like to eat? Should we cook at home or go outside for a meal?”

As soon as he learned that his parents were coming over, he’d called Cui Zuojing immediately. But after several calls, Cui Zuojing didn’t answer or respond back. Dong Zheng knew that he was definitely playing games, so he had no choice but to rush back. Aftering pulling the car to a stop, he nearly ran the entire way from the elevator to the house, for fear that something might happen to Cui Zuojing. He was so anxious that a thin layer of sweat had broken out over his skin.

Fortunately, everything was peaceful. Dong Zheng wasn’t afraid that their relationship might be discovered. After all, they planned to make it public one day. It was just that now wasn’t the right time. Both his and Cui Zuojing’s families needed to be prepared first, otherwise them coming out so suddenly might cause scars on the others’ hearts.

After leaving the Pure White Realm, Dong Zheng paid more attention to fostering his relationship with his family more than ever before. In the past, he’d silently wanted to leave Dong Yi, wanting to stay away from his home like an outsider. It was to the extent that Dong Yi and the long deficient child that was himself ended up probing around each other, cautious and solemn.

“I can cook,” Cui Zuojing volunteered. “My cooking skills aren’t bad, and there are ingredients at home. I just don’t know if Uncle and Aunt would like to taste it.”

Dong Linhai’s eyes lit up. “Eat! That’ll be great!”

When Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai first came to Pure White Land, they didn’t know how to cook and had to spend precious points to eat out. Therefore, Cui Zuojing ended up take on the responsibility of feeding the stupid master and his stupider brother. Later, whenever he felt like it, he would sometimes go to the kitchen and prepare food with Lillian. As a result, his cooking skills improved.

“Then, I’ll go and make a few dishes. It’ll take about an hour. If Aunt and Uncle are hungry, you can eat some fruit first.” Cui Zuojing got up and rolled up his sleeves. Su Daijun wanted to help, but Dong Zheng stopped her.

“I’ll go help him. Mom, you came here from a long distance, so relax and watch TV and wait to eat.”

First, Dong Zheng went to the bedroom to change clothes, conveniently putting one of the two pillows on the bed in the closet. Soon after, he went to the kitchen. Su Daijun criticized Dong Linhai, hating iron for not becoming steel. “Look at Xiao Cui, now look at you. When washing the dishes, you even drop and break them. If you don’t learn anything, once you find a girlfriend in the future, what would both of you do if neither of you know how to cook?”

Dong Linhai said very naturally, “Eat takeout, go to the restaurant. How can two big people still starve to death?”

In the meantime, as Cui Zuojng was putting on the apron, Dong Zheng entered the kitchen and helped him fasten the ties behind his waist.

“I ordered a charcoal-grilled fish from downstairs, and it’ll be delivered in a while. The rest, you just cook whatever you want.”

“Whatever I want?” Cui Zuojing opened the refrigerator and sighed while looking at the ingredients. He said, “Since ancient times, doing whatever is the most difficult. I’ll just make a main dish, then some little stir-fries, and then cook mung beans and rice soup. I don’t know if your parents are used to eating northern cuisine.”

Anyway, Cui Zuojing wasn’t used to Shanghai’s cuisine. The food here was too sweet for him, so if he wasn’t particularly lazy, he still preferred to cook for himself.

Cui Zuojing took the meat out and melted it. He washed the rapeseed and dried shrimp and ordered Dong Zheng to soak the vermicelli. Dong Zheng was very capable of doing this. He used kitchen shears to open the bag of vermicelli and soaked the noodles in a basin. With both hands still wet, he stuck close to Cui Zuojing, who was cutting green onions, and lowered his head to kiss the side of his face.

Cui Zuojing turned his head and let Dong Zheng kiss the corner of his mouth. Jabbing Dong Zheng with his elbow, he said, “You don’t need to do anything else. Go and accompany your parents.”

Cui Zuojing knife work was really fast. Within a few seconds, the onions, ginger, and garlic were cut and set aside. There was no expression on his face as he turned on the natural gas to heat the pot. When Dong Zheng saw that the hands that used to hold a sharp Tang sword had now turned to chopping various ingredients, he couldn’t help feeling a little sad. A’Zuo, he….was probably more suited to life in the Pure White Realm.

Even he couldn’t help but miss that powerful self with the kernel ability, let alone Cui Zuojing. The young man who fought with the sword had now returned to his ordinary life, just like a grown-up child who’d returned from Peter Pan’s Neverland.

“What are you doing?” Seeing that Dong Zheng hadn’t left yet, Cui Zuojing deliberately touched his eyes with his garlic tainted hands and smiled, “You want to stay and help me?”

The smile in his eyes was still bright. The light of enthusiasm and hope for the future that Dong Zheng was most familiar with was still there.

“If you need help with anything, call me and I’ll come and help.” Dong Zheng helped roll up the sleeves that were sliding down his elbows. Without disturbing Cui Zuojing any longer, he left the kitchen.

Dong Yi was looking at the other rooms. When he noticed that Dong Zheng was coming out of the kitchen, he silently moved his eyes away from the electric toothbrushes placed side by side on the bathroom counter. Dong Zheng was taller than him. Unlike Dong Linhai, who looked more like him, Dong Zheng’s looks and character were more like his deceased mother. Although this child wasn’t particularly close to him, Dong Yi still clearly remembered all stages of his childhood.

He asked Dong Zheng, “Does Xiao Cui usually sleep in the study?”

Dong Zheng suddenly realized that although the master bedroom had been cleaned up to show only one person sleeping there, the second bedroom didn’t look like anyone was staying there. In fact, because he often worked there, the study had more traces of human activities.

“Yes, he often uses the computer in the study room, so he usually just sleeps there.”

Dong Yi nodded and didn’t say anything. Dong Zheng didn’t know what he was thinking and so he was a little nervous, or…was he looking forward to something else?

They made small talk. Originally, Dong Yi and Su Daijun were worried about Dong Zheng’s physical condition. After all, that shadow in his mind was really scary, but seeing him moving around, they felt much relieved.

“Now that Xiao Cui is living here with you, you can have a companion. It’s better than you being alone.” Su Daijun obviously liked Cui Zuojing very much. She lowered her voice to the sounds of cooking in the kitchen and asked, “Did he come to Shanghai to look for a job? It won’t be easy to find a good job without a diploma.”

“He’s currently working as a game up host. If he needs a job, he can come work at my company.” After a pause, he added, “After all, we’re very good friends. I’ll help him as much or as little as he needs.”

“Yes, since you’re friends, then help more.” Su Daijun didn’t notice it, but Dong Yi surreptitiously and quietly glanced at Dong Zheng several times.

The fish from the restaurant soon arrived. After half an hour, Cui Zuojing finally finished his work in the kitchen. He was hot from head to toe, and as Dong Linhai helped him bring out the bowls and chopsticks, he could smell the oily smoke on his own body. After changing his clothes, he took the time to blow dry his hair for a few minutes.

Afterward, all five people sat around the dining table and ate a lively meal. Su Daijun really liked Cui Zuojing, who was a polite, sweat-hearted young man who could cook, making Dong Linhai somewhat envious,

Dong Yi opened a bottle of wine, and everyone drank some except for Su Daijun, who had to drive back. Cui Zuojing’s ability to hold his alcohol was incomparable, far exceeding Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai’s. In the end, he was left to drink with Dong Yi. Dong Yi had no idea what he’d gotten himself into. As he talked to Cui Zuojing, he drank one cup after another until he got himself drunk.

By the time they were done drinking and eating, it was nearly nine o’clock. Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai took their drunk father away while Su Daijun complained about how Dong Yi had drunk so much again. Her noisy voice followed them into the elevator and disappeared from Cui Zuojing’s ears. He supported himself against the wall and returned to the living room. Then he sat on the sofa and took a deep breath.

Dong Yi’s ability to hold his liquor was hardened by countless dinners. Cui Zuojing was inevitably drunk. He felt over-warmed, and his hands and feet felt awkward. He stared at the lights on the ceiling for a while, closed his eyes, and finally put down all his precautions and relaxed.

Dong Zheng’s parents seemed to like him very much. He seemed to have done quite well.

Five minutes later, Dong Zheng returned. There was a mess on the table that needed to be cleaned up, but he didn’t pay attention to it and instead walked over to Cui Zuojing’s side. He slowly squatted down and reached out to touch the drunken young man’s flushed face.

Cui Zuojing’s eyes were closed, and under the hollow of Dong Zheng’s palm, his skin felt a little hot. Dong Zheng couldn’t remember how long it’d been since he’d seen Cui Zuojing drunk.

“Bed time?” he whispered.

Cui Zuojing stretched out his hands and finally opened his eyes. His eyes looked like a puddle of water, swiftly moving and blurred. He asked like a child eager for affirmation, “Was my performance good today?”

“Very good.” Dong Zheng lifted him into his arms, stepped over the empty wine bottle on the floor, and went to the bedroom. He gently put Cui Zuojing on the bed and was just about to go and clean up the mess in the living room when his wrist was caught.

Dong Zheng turned his head back. Cui Zuojing was silently looking at Dong Zheng, and Dong Zheng could see himself reflected in his eyes.

As if he was expecting something.

Dong Zheng couldn’t help but laugh. Ignoring the mess in the living room, he leaned down and pressed a kiss to those slightly parted lips.

For him, Cui Zuojing wasn’t an adult who had left Neverland, but the eternally youthful Peter Pan.

 


<< Previous  |  Chapters Next >>


 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bald_alberu
Bald_alberu
2 years ago

It’s so wholesome 😭😭😭😭

theeggmonger
theeggmonger
1 year ago

DZ’s dad definetly has suspicions, but looks like CXJ is well liked, so hopefully no problems!
Thank you for the chapter!