DISCLAIMER: We don’t own any of the stories published. We don’t know any Chinese language and this is our first time MTL-ing a novel, expect inaccuracies in the translations.
❌ NO SPOILERS. WE ARE MTL-ING THIS AT THE SAME TIME WE’RE READING IT ❌
Translated by: jiejie
Chapter 19 – Warm and Cold
An Xumo was quietly eating fried rice. Zhang Zhiwei, who had finished chatting with Yan Xiangyan, turned around and saw him. He smiled and asked, “Is it good?”
An Xumo didn’t know why Zhang Zhiwei had asked him alone, but he nodded his head honestly and replied, “Delicious. Thank you, Teacher Zhang.”
Zhang Zhiwei had previously asked him to call him Uncle Zhang off-cam because he was in the same generation as An Xumo’s mother. But in front of the camera, Han Ming and the others called him “Brother Zhiwei” since An Xumo having to call him Uncle Zhang would appear a generation shorter. Zhang Zhiwei had specifically instructed him that it was fine to call him Teacher Zhang in front of the camera.
Zhang Zhiwei sighed lightly and said, “Do you guys know who I learned this fried rice from?”
Naturally, the others didn’t know but An Xumo had an inkling feeling that there was a reason for him to bring this up alone. Sure enough, Zhang Zhiwei said, “This is something I learned from Xiao Mo’s mother.”
“Back then, our family’s conditions weren’t good. A situation that none of you, young people may have experienced, but Xiangyan should know that at that time, the tuition fees for college were hard to come by, not to mention the living expenses. It was only later when I was able to take jobs at school to earn some extra money that things got a little better.” Zhang Zhiwei’s voice was laden with emotion.
“When I was in my first year of college, my senior sister was our teaching assistant. I was one of the worst in our class. There was a time when something went wrong at home and the living expenses didn’t come in. I couldn’t afford to order food in the dining hall. I just needed a steamed bun and ate the big packets of pickles from the canteen. After a long time, my senior sister found out and said it wasn’t good enough to eat this way. Thus, she gave me and another female student with extremely poor conditions, a big box of fried rice for the two of us.”
Zhang Zhiwei slowly told the story, attracting the attention of several people nearby.
“Sister’s condition wasn’t good either but she was skillful. Not only did she give us a stir-fry full of rice, but she also gave us two jars full of pickled vegetables and the salty sauce she made. It was those two jars of side dishes that got me through my worse days. Ai, I still sigh when I think about it. Telling you, young people about this feels like telling a story, but it was actually something we experienced at that time.”
“Yes,” Yan Xiangyan placed some shrimp and eggs into the bowl, “I was a little better off than Zhiwei back then, but it wasn’t much different. Now that the conditions are better, let alone young people, even when thinking about it ourselves, it feels like those days were like a dream. One moment it feels far away and another moment it feels like it just happened yesterday.”
Zhang Zhiwei smiled and patted An Xumo’s shoulder, “Xiao Mo, is the taste a little similar to what your mother made?”
An Xumo smiled but his chest felt a bit stuffy and his stomach was empty as if everything he had just eaten disappeared. The ferocious sense of hunger struck him as hard as the morning rain that landed on the shore. He was so hungry that he didn’t dare to stare directly at Zhou Jinchen. He could only whisper, “En, it’s delicious.” He mulled over and picked up the rice.
An Xumo felt cold and hungry, not only his stomach but his whole body was empty. He never thought about his parents, maybe he did, but that was a long, long time ago. He lived quietly by himself not caring about anything but food and Zhou Jinchen. Now that someone had told him that his mother was like this, the illusory dream showed a little outline. The warmth left behind made An Xumo, who had returned to the darkness, feel even colder.
It turns out that mom is not only a “shameless, cuckolding, not wanting face vixen” image, she also knows how to make delicious fried rice.
The lunch ended in a lively atmosphere. After chatting for a while, several people began to prepare dinner for the evening. Originally, the program team also arranged outdoor activities. After all, the beach in Sanya is so beautiful and the scenery is intoxicating enough. Unfortunately, the weather outside was still gloomy, so it’s not appropriate to light it. A well-fed Zhang Zhiwei laughed at the director’s group before he slowly began to work on the dinner.
The crabs must be steamed in the pot and the chicken soup must be simmered. Zhang Zhiwei directed Yi Tianming to help, while Yan Xiangyan called Han Ming to clean up the bedroom. Han Ming originally wanted to be with Zhou Jinchen, but the senior spoke up and he couldn’t refuse. He could only watch An Xumo and Zhou Jinchen stay in the same room.
The two of them were guests and they didn’t have much work to do, but if they weren’t active, they wouldn’t have much chance to be on camera. Therefore, they still need to find a way to do something. An Xumo’s lunch wasn’t very comfortable and he wasn’t sure if he was full or not. He had to wash the dishes after eating, so he moved the basin to the sink in the living room and prepared to wash the dishes.
An Xumo, who had never done much of this kind of work, washed the plastic lunch box. He was clumsy and made a lot of noise that Zhang Zhiwei, who was preparing dinner at the other end of the house had to check twice.
The more nervous he was, the more likely he was to make a mistake. An Xumo was fidgeting with a spoon when Zhou Jinchen, who had tied his apron, walked over and drove him away from the sink.
An Xumo honestly stood to the side, like a student who was scolded by a teacher in detention. He watched Zhou Jinchen stretching out his hand with his sleeves rolled up, his long and strong hand which had been pulled in by countless cameras, were soaked in the sink. He sorted the bowls and dishes methodically and cleaned them expertly.
Zhou Jinchen wore the sponsor’s logo which is the most common style, but since he’s tall, long-legged, and well-proportioned he looked like he just wore the apron as a design. Although he vaguely understood the other party’s intentions, An Xumo still felt that the two temperaments between homely and unrefined had reached the perfect fusion on Zhou Jinchen’s body at this time.
Thinking about it, this kind of contrast when put on the screen, would definitely attract a lot of likes. Zhou Jinchen wasn’t just putting on airs, he is more skilled in washing the dishes than the frazzled An Xumo. Thus, the reliable sense of home can be perfectly shown in him.
Naturally, the show won’t miss a single shot of this unexpectedly great material. Zhou Jinchen handed over the bowls after washing them while An Xumo dries them one by one and puts them away. There wasn’t much communication between the two but the effect of the shot was absolutely satisfying.
In the evening, the weather finally cleared up, the setting sun showed half a silhouette from the clouds in the sky and the fiery red color burned over half of the sea. The aroma of food wafted up in the cozy stone house, and the tinkling wind chimes shook on the eaves. Although it has always been known that the program is being recorded, the warm atmosphere still gave An Xumo great comfort.
By the time dinner was ready, the stars were beginning to shine. Five steamed crabs and six coconut chicken filled the table. Because An Xumo can’t eat seafood, Zhang Zhiwei scooped up his crab to make crab meat, and his share of coconut chicken was full enough for him to drink slowly.
Dinner is the main highlight of the program, and the group chatted while eating. At the end of the meal, they haven’t had enough time chatting, so they moved to the seaside to chat at Yan Xiangyan’s suggestion. The dark clouds dispersed and the sky was full of stars, the breeze was blowing away the heat of the day, and the waves beat gently at the shore. The slow and comfortable pace of life, rich in food, clothing, and beautiful scenery makes people feel pleasant.
A bonfire was lit on the beach, and the flames reflected everyone’s faces, complementing a gentle filler of lights. Zhou Jinchen, who hadn’t spoken much since the show, also talked with Zhang Zhiwei. An Xumo hugged his knees, leaned over his head, and listened as they talk about Zhou Jinchen’s previous film.
“Indeed, the literary films don’t dominate in the market but Jinchen ah, this film you made is definitely not a loss.” Zhang Zhiwei said, “Lin Rui talked with me and said he never expected to meet such a young and explosive partner. He’s been praising you, saying that your performance was better than his on 《Vanishing Train》 back then.”
Lin Rui is also a well-known Film Emperor, and 《Vanishing Train》 is the film where he won the best actor. Zhou Jinchen’s previous film was a collaboration with Lin Rui, and the two had a lot of interactions in the plot.
Zhou Jinchen smiled faintly, his handsome face showing in the firelight displayed a different kind of gentleness. Beside him, Han Ming has been looking sideways at him, but An Xumo only looked at him for a short while before looking away.
One look and his stomach is filled; warm, and sweet.
Zhou Jinchen said, “It was Brother Rui who took care of me and made this movie. He also taught me a lot.”
Zhang Zhiwei, on the other hand, shook his head and said, “Lin Rui also had the opportunity of 《Vanishing Train》 back then. Jinchen, I won’t say anything polite, but your chance is indeed about to arrive.”
Zhang Zhiwei’s words were indeed considered as a confession,To give one’s bare heart into somebody else’s keeping [idiom] there were still cameras filming next to him, so he must have been looking at Zhou Jinchen when he said that. At the side, Yang Xiangyan smiled, “It’s rare to see Zhiwei praise someone so much ah, Jinchen, if you really win an award, don’t forget to invite Zhiwei to dinner.”
“With the kindness of the two teachers,” Zhou Jinchen said with a deep smile, “I’m waiting to invite everyone to dinner.”
The atmosphere was good for a while that several people watched the night scenery by the beach a little longer until the wind gradually cooled down did they started to prepare and go back to their houses.
After the camera was put away, the bonfire was extinguished, and the beach without natural and artificial lights gradually dimmed. An Xumo went to the beach and picked up two seashells and returned. He saw that the others had already packed up and were preparing to go back. However, not far away, there was a slender figure standing alone, a man facing the sea.
An Xumo walked across the beach. He walked to a distance not far from the man, but his footsteps slowly stopped.
The man facing the sea was looking up at the calm and deep-sea in the distance. The pale starlight scattered down and landed on the corner of his brows. The light on the shore had already dimmed, but the man’s figure looked like a solidified field; both cold, hard, and heavy.
Zhou Jinchen is now different from the person who handled the shrimp line and washed the dishes skillfully. Even the smile and warmth he had when chatting by the bonfire has completely disappeared.
The camera moved away and the mask peeled off, An Xumo suddenly felt that this was the true face of the other party.
The author has something to say:
There is a small foreshadowing at the end of the last chapter. I don’t know if you saw it, but it’s about the brother’s attitude towards Xiao Mo.
It’s okay if you can’t see it, it will be explained later~
Qiaone: I’m terribly sorry for the delay (｡ŏ﹏ŏ)
jiejie: We got too busy that we didn’t have much time to publish (个_个)
We’ve already made an announcement about not being able to publish the chapter, but thankfully it’s all good now~~
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