Chapter 28: Just for a Little While
Translator: Noodletown Translated Editor: Noodletown Translated
Staring at her, Hao Ren thought, “Weren’t you just ignoring me moments ago?
Nonetheless, he was not the one to hold a grudge. He turned around and picked up his keycard. “Let’s go.”
Zhao Yanzi secretly felt relieved as she was totally expecting Hao Ren to reject her. As a stranger in a strange place, she would hate to eat out alone. If only her parents were around or her stomach was not violently voicing its dissatisfaction, she would not have come to ask Hao Ren so shamelessly.
Her fierceness had further weakened as she recalled how she intentionally ignored Hao Ren only moments ago and now had to beg him to go eat out with her.
The two walked out of the hotel and were in search of small restaurants. It was already past nine and was approaching ten o’clock at night. Most of the restaurants had already closed. Not knowing where to look, they searched somewhat aimlessly in the areas close to the hotel. The fact that they could not find a restaurant that was open had made them even more hungry.
Afraid that she might get lost, Zhao Yanzi was staying close to Hao Ren. Walking along a somewhat desolate street, Hao Ren had finally spotted a small restaurant ahead of them that was still operating.
They rushed into the restaurant and were about to place two orders of food when they realized that there were a bunch of husky and muscular men in there. Some of them had their heads shaved, others were shirtless, and all of them were cursing and trying to drink as much as they could.
Zhao Yanzi was scared and wanted to drag Hao Ren out of the restaurant. Hao Ren, on the other hand, gently grabbed her hand and comforted, “It’s okay.”
He was absolutely starving and had no more energy to look for any other restaurants. Besides, it was almost next to impossible to find another restaurant that was still open at this hour.
He led Zhao Yanzi to a corner and seated themselves. He then said to the owner who had come up to greet them, “Two bowls of rice – one with shredded pork and garlic sauce and one with sauteed pork and green peppers, please.”
He ordered on Zhao Yanzi’s behalf without consulting her first. If it were any other times, she would definitely be “scolding” him for being disrespectful. But now, she was alarmingly watching the “dangerous men” around them and was too preoccupied to object to Hao Ren.
“Where there are people, there are drunkards. I’ll knock you out in three drinks, or I’ll knock you out in five…” The men at the other tables were drinking and chanting as they played their drinking games. As the atmosphere became more fervent, their voices grew louder.
Zhao Yanzi thought for a moment and decided to move from the seat across from Hao Ren to the one beside him instead.
Her alarmed and panicky look reminded Hao Ren of a startled little bird. He chuckled and reached out his hand.
Zhao Yanzi was confused. Moments later, she realized that Hao Ren was asking her to hold his hand.
“Screw you!” Zhao Yanzi scolded quietly. “I am not that scared,” she thought.
Soon, the piping hot rice bowls had been served. Zhao Yanzi randomly picked one and started engulfing it.
So did Hao Ren. He picked up the other rice bowl and started devouring it like crazy.
Their actions were so synchronized that they probably appeared to others as a very compatible couple.
After dinner, the two felt that their stomachs had been filled with warmth. As Zhao Yanzi refused to stay in the restaurant for any longer, she asked Hao Ren to pay the bill and got out of there immediately.
This little town at the foot of the mountain was incredibly quiet. At night, the distant mountain range could be seen generating a continuous and endless shadow.
The moon was shining gently on the two of them, projecting two shadows on the smooth concrete path; one was tall, and the other was short.
Observing their shadows that were touching each other ahead of her, Zhao Yanzi suddenly realized that she was standing too close to Hao Ren and quickly pulled herself away.
Shuu, shuuu… Out of nowhere, a wildcat appeared and caused Zhao Yanzi to jump up and move closer to Hao Ren again.
Facing her, Hao Ren once again placed his hand in front of her.
Zhao Yanzi looked at him and paused for a few seconds. “Just for a little while,” she said.
As she finished, she placed her hand into Hao Ren’s palm.
All of a sudden, she no longer felt anxious and uneasy. Instead, she felt calm. Moreover, any changes in their surrounding were not evoking much fear in her anymore.
Hao Ren did not say much. He quietly focused on leading her back to the hotel along the paths they had previously taken.
A peaceful small town, a serene mountain range, light breathing, gentle footsteps, and the slight warmth of the hand… it was all so tranquil.
After walking for about fifteen minutes, they had arrived at the parking lot in front of the hotel, and their view instantly brightened.
Hao Ren let go of Zhao Yanzi’s hand. Zhao Yanzi turned and looked at Hao Ren as if she was ready to spew the harshest remarks. However, she decided to swallow it down instead.
Her face had turned bright red as she somehow found herself useless and incompetent. Abruptly, she went into the hotel looking seemingly irritated. Hao Ren had no clue what was going on in her head. All he knew was that Zhao Yanzi was not the gentle and friendly type.
Following her, Hao Ren walked into the hotel and returned to his room. To his surprise, he discovered that Zhao Guang was still not back yet.
“Zhao Yanzi’s parents must be catching up with their friend and lost track of time,” he thought.
He lay down on the bed and opened Zhao Yanzi’s pink backpack. He took out the camera and found that they had only taken one photo with it the entire day. The only photo was the one where Zhao Yanzi was sitting on the step and looking up angrily with her cheeks puffed up.
“She is actually not that annoying…” Hao Ren shook his head and laughed as he put away the camera.
After he finished taking a hot shower, he realized that Zhao Guang had come back.
Zhao Guang briefly inquired about their day on the mountain, and Hao Ren also briefly responded to his inquiry. Without any further questioning, Zhao Guang nodded, acknowledging his response, and went on to shower in the bathroom.
Feeling nervous and awkward, Hao Ren got into bed. He was guessing that in the room across from theirs, Zhao Hongyu must be asking Zhao Yanzi about their day as well.
It had been a scary and thrilling day. Nevertheless, he had successfully brought Zhao Yanzi down without anyone getting hurt. It was not an easy task to take care of that little girl.
Having labored all day, Hao Ren quickly fell asleep before Zhao Guang could even come out of the bathroom.
When he woke up the next day, Hao Ren found Zhao Guang sitting on the sofa watching TV.
“Were you exhausted yesterday?” Zhao Guang asked as he saw that Hao Ren had woke up.
“A little bit,” Hao Ren answered.
“We are going to eat at a nearby Farmer Host in a bit. Afterward, we will be heading home,” Zhao Guang told him.
“Ok.” Hao Ren nodded his head. He thought for a second and spoke again, “Thank you very much for your hospitality these days.”
“Alright, go freshen up.” Zhao Guang walked over to the window and pulled open the curtains.
It was a drizzling and foggy day. The mountain view was hazy but splendid. A swift breeze came in through the window and started diffusing in the room. It was even colder than what they had encountered yesterday, but it was refreshing and awakening.
Hao Ren put on his shirt and went over to the bathroom to freshen up. When he was ready, he followed Zhao Guang out, and they went to knock on the door across from theirs.
When the door opened, Zhao Hongyu appeared, and Zhao Yanzi was following closely behind her mother.
Zhao Yanzi was wearing a milky colored long T-shirt with a pair of gorgeous aubergine leggings; it was a beautiful and classic combination. Not only did the T-shirt look lovely on her, the tight leggings perfectly outlined the elegant and slender curves of her legs. Hao Ren couldn’t help but keep glancing at her.
On the other hand, Zhao Hongyu was wearing a Bohemian style floral dress. The excessive abstract floral patterns worked very well with the loose and flowy style, making her look casual and stunning at the same time.
Both the mother and the daughter were each wearing a straw hat. The coffee-colored broad-brimmed straw hat perfectly matched the dark and light patches on Zhao Hongyu’s dress, accentuating her elegance. Differently, the straw hat seemed a little out of place when it was matched with the rest of Zhao Yanzi’s outfit. However, the fact that it was unconventional brought a sense of delight to the gloomy weather outside.
“Let’s go.” Zhao Hongyu tenderly held onto Zhao Yanzi’s hand as she gave her keycard to Zhao Guang.
Zhao Guang lead Hao Ren, and the four of them walked towards the hotel reception along the red-carpeted hall.
Walking through the winding corridor of the hotel, Hao Ren saw GreenStone Mountain. Showered with drizzling rain and mist, it was like an impressionistic landscape painting.
For a second, Hao Ren genuinely felt like he was a part of the family.