Fight the Landlord, Fall in Love - novelonlinefull.com
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Chapter 13 - BGM: A Little Sweet
“Uh, ahem.” Sun Zinan was afraid he would do something too affectionate in this public setting, so he quickly changed the subject. “Since you’re not busy these days, I’ll fulfill my promise from last time. If you don’t mind, you can stay with me for a week so you don’t have to run back and forth…”
“Of course I don’t mind.” Tang Kai released his embrace and smiled, then took his hand. He said softly, “This is all I wished for.”
Sun Zinan felt so weak from his smile that his bones were softening. Forget about the Lu Terrace or the Tongque Terrace, if Tang Kai asked for a s.p.a.ceship launcher at this moment, Sun Zinan would be willing to pay for it.
Just as he was being entranced into this tempest of thoughts all by himself, he heard the dong dong sounds of footsteps and a small figure shot up to the two men like a cannon. His momentum was too strong and he tripped over his left foot and fell with a slap in front of Sun Zinan’s foot.
Sun Zinan jumped back in fright and Tang Kai supported him by his shoulders. The child didn’t cry. He got up and promptly ran back to his parent, hugging his mother’s leg as he said clearly, “Mama, those two uncles are holding hands!”
This child’s voice was very loud and his voice was as noticeable as a trumpet. Hearing his shouts, Sun Zinan put a hand to his forehead in despair.
The child’s mother smiled awkwardly with an apologetic look in her eyes. “I’m so sorry.”
Sun Zinan immediately changed his facial expression and nodded at her politely. “No worries.”
In the next second however, the comrade standing next to him bent down and stared at the child with a stern, tears-inducing teacher’s face. “Little friend, do you have anyone you like?”
The little boy shook his head in confusion.
“You hold hands with the person you like.” Tang Kai raised their clasped hands and shook it in front of the child like he was showing off. “You don’t like anyone, so you don’t understand.”
The little friend, his parent, and Sun Zinan, “…”
Sun Zinan shook off his grip and said earnestly to the child’s bewildered parent, “I’m so sorry.”
By the time the mother and son had turned away, Sun Zinan had stopped floating in the clouds. What straight eyebrows and starry eyes, what immortal deity coming down to earth? They were all just beautiful illusions. The more attractive the man, the more deceitful he was.
Having achieved victory in battle against a child, Tang Kai went off to pick a few toiletries, feeling very pleased with himself. Sun Zinan remained standing where he was, musing deeply for a moment before saying remorsefully, “Kai ah.”
Tang Kai, “What is it?”
Sun Zinan, “Based on your performance just now, I think you shoplifted your PhD.”
Tang Kai, “Ah?”
“You bought it at too unreasonable of a price, it’s easy to reveal you cheated.” Sun Zinan said anxiously, “I think elementary school curriculum suits you very well.”
How could there be such a person in this world! It was fine to call him childish, but he had to question his intelligence in such a roundabout way!
a.s.sociate professor at this country’s top university and highly intelligent elite Tang Kai, who had never dropped below the top three scores in any exam since he was a child, fumed with rage. “You’re annoying. I’m going to throw a tantrum!”
Sun Zinan, “What did I say? Your degree was definitely shoplifted.”
Things like shampoo and body wash could be shared, but shaving razors and cups had to be bought separately. Tang Kai stood in front of the row of daily necessities, his expression as careful as if he were a.n.a.lyzing an autopsy table. Sun Zinan could not understand what there was to be indecisive about when buying a towel and toothbrush. He reached over and poked at his sides with a finger. “Professor Tang? You don’t have a phobia of making choices, right?”
Tang Kai said confidently, “Right.”
“Oh my G.o.d.” Sun Zinan had been tempered by him to the point of exhaustion. He leaned forward and sighed, “Is it okay if you use the same as mine? Let’s fix your OCD a little.”
“Okay.” Tang Kai’s response was very contented.
Sun Zinan quickly dropped a few items into the shopping cart. As Tang Kai ecstatically pushed the cart to the checkout counter, Sun Zinan suddenly felt like he had been tricked. “Were you standing there and waiting for me to choose matching couple items?”
Professor Tang said with a strong sense of righteousness, “Nothing of the sort.”
Sure enough, he had been tricked.
Tang Kai walked side by side with him, occasionally glancing over. Seeing that Sun Zinan was pretending nothing had happened, the corners of his lips quirked up, and he wanted to reach out and hug him again.
He had always been inside that ivory tower, gazing loftily at the faraway world of mortals. Some people said that the world was a crumbling abyss; others called it an impenetrable siege. Tang Kai had drifted along its boundaries, unable to enter. Like a person craning their head over the edge of a cliff, he held a lingering, secret longing along with fear.
And now that he had finally taken a step outside, he was determined to not turn back. He thought he had made enough psychological preparations before jumping down, but who knew that the wind whistling in his ears would be so loud. Yet he fell into a ma.s.s of tenderness that was even lighter than clouds.
They had delayed themselves at the supermarket for a while; by the time they returned home, it was already 7 o’clock. Sun Zinan changed his clothes and put on an ap.r.o.n. He first nimbly handled the duck and simmered it slowly over the fire. Then he made the rice and chopped up the various vegetables and ingredients. Tang Kai had no notion of what it meant to be a guest. He followed Sun Zinan around like a little tail, and Sun Zinan tried multiple times but failed to drive him out. Fortunately, the open kitchen had a lot of s.p.a.ce. He wasn’t afraid that the hot pots and oil would burn Tang Kai, so he just let him be.
Tang Kai washed the fruits and vegetables with dedication. Bathed under the warm yellow light of the kitchen, he listened to the water splashing, the hot soup boiling, and the movements of the spatula colliding with the pot. He didn’t need to raise his head to see Sun Zinan’s figure standing in front of the chopping board. The sound of his voice and the fragrance of the kitchen surrounded him like a dense net of dust. Breaking free was futile; the more he sank into it the more addicting it became.
He finished washing the cherries and drained them, then took a paper towel and wiped his hands. He said out of the blue, “I…haven’t been in a kitchen for a long time.”
“En.” Sun Zinan didn’t raise his head as he placed the gourd onto a plate. “I guessed so. The kitchen drains at your house are probably covered in cobwebs.”
Tang Kai was originally a bit moved, but he was so stirred up he began laughing.
His parents were both very accomplished figures, each working on successful careers in their own fields. Their son was also intelligent and obedient, and never made anyone worry over his studies and life.
In the past few years, because their family had not dragged anyone behind, they had not given much thought about each other. The times they ate together at one table each year were few and far between. Tang Kai didn’t have any complaints about his parents; in fact, he was very thankful they were so open-minded and respectful. It was just that people always sought to fill up the gaps left by what they lacked in childhood. If he could choose something that was too difficult to let go in his almost thirty years of life, something that he couldn’t erase, it wouldn’t be the flowery highlights of his achievements, but the steamy kitchen he was in with the person he was standing side by side with.
“Did you wash them all?” Sun Zinan placed the plate of gourd in a steamer and glanced at the sink. “Take the fruit to the table and get bowls and chopsticks. Wash your hands and wait for dinner.”
Tang Kai took a cherry from the plate and dangled it in front of his mouth. “Have a taste.”
Sun Zinan came over and took it in his mouth. “It’s sweet.”
Tang Kai made an ‘en’ sound.
The lights streamed down, leaving a golden, powdery halo at the end of his eyelashes. His lowered gaze was too beautiful and Sun Zinan couldn’t hold back his admiration. He pinched the side of Tang Kai’s face. “You’re also sweet.”
Tang Kai was stunned.
The feeling of his face being pinched was too electric; Sun Zinan’s nails pierced his skin and directly affected his nerves. He immediately turned and ran away like a good housewife who had been teased by some pa.s.sing man on the streets.
Sun Zinan rubbed his fingers together and wondered, “You’re embarra.s.sed?”
Dinner was beer braised duck, gourd steamed with garlic and rice noodles, and a seaweed egg drop soup. The packed crystals of rice were steaming with heat. The plates were all in matching designs, organized neatly on the marble dining table. It was both beautiful and pleasing to the eye for those with OCD.
Tang Kai and Sun Zinan sat across from each other. To each of them, this scene seemed to have become a familiar part of their lives.
“Try the duck meat; it’s a success.” Sun Zinan had already begun thinking of ways to change up the recipe. “Next time we can try adding some shiitake mushrooms and potatoes.”
As reality proved, Sun Zinan’s talent in cooking could not result in failure, even if he was just reading off a recipe. Tang Kai had tried beer braised duck from a southern snack shop before, and he had also tried the beer braised duck at the school cafeteria. He felt like the product Sun Zinan had created was a completely different dish.
Restaurants tended to chop the whole duck into multiple pieces and stir fry it. Cooking it at home gave it a more springy, delicate texture. Duck legs were thick and had few bones. They were also tender. Once they were diced into cubes, they could be first blanched to remove their gaminess. Heat up some oil with chili peppers for fragrance, then add the duck along with ginger and garlic. After stir frying, one should add beer and rice wine, then simmer it over a small fire until it was ready to be ladled onto a plate. Each piece of duck meat was evenly coated in a light brown sauce. The fragrance of wine completely masked the gaminess of the duck and created a perfect blend of slight spiciness and richness, without being too oily.
The steamed gourd with garlic minced meat and rice noodles didn’t require a high level of skill but it was perfectly refreshing to eat in summer; the seaweed egg drop soup had a handful of small dried shrimp, which added an even fresher and richer taste to it. Even though one could barely feel the summer heat in the air-conditioned room, Sun Zinan still tried to stick to seasonal produce when he cooked. He tried to match the ingredients in a way that avoided spoiling their appet.i.tes.
It was evident that the pickiness of a Virgo could only be cured by themselves.
Tang Kai only had the greatest praise for this meal; he ate everything in his bowl and didn’t pick at anything.
Sun Zinan didn’t eat very much as usual, and Tang Kai volunteered to do the dishes by himself. Sun Zinan didn’t fight him for it and said, “There’s a dishwasher in the kitchen, just put it in there.”
Tang Kai took away the plate for bones, and said unsurely, “You don’t need help in the kitchen, don’t need a dishwasher, don’t need a cleaner…Director Sun, are you lacking a chauffeur? The type with a PhD?”
“Don’t lack a driver.” Sun Zinan laughed leisurely. “But I do lack a boyfriend.”
Tang Kai asked unrestrainedly, “What are your requirements?”
“Someone who looks like you would be a good fit.”
As Sun Zinan spoke, he abruptly recalled something he had forgotten in the depths of his mind, and called out to Tang Kai, “Right, are you free next Wednesday night?”
“I’m free. What’s up?” Tang Kai asked.
“My old man’s 77th birthday is soon. He called me today and wanted to invite you to his birthday party and meet him.” Sun Zinan tended to be a reserved person, and he felt like it wasn’t quite yet time to meet the parents. He was afraid Tang Kai would feel too pressured, so he added, “You don’t have to come, and you don’t have to save me any face. Only come if you want to—you won’t get any prizes for attending.”
Facing this att.i.tude, Tang Kai didn’t feel like he should be too serious, nor take it too lightly. “Wasn’t our blind date approved by your dad?”
Sun Zinan nodded.
“Do you have any particularly difficult second uncles or sister-in-laws? Any ex-girlfriends everyone still likes? Or any children with your ex-wife back at home?”
Sun Zinan gave him a kick under the table. “What nonsense are you spouting?”
“Then that’s that.” Tang Kai smiled as he said, “We’ve eaten together, and we’re about to sleep together. Since I’ve become your honorable boyfriend, why shouldn’t I go when invited?”