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TATSD Chapter 14

Chapter 14

  “Where did this plate of dumplings come from? Did you bring them?”


    There was an extra plate of dumplings at home, and no one else was present, Aunt Zhou reacted immediately. However, she was different from Zhao Dalong, and her reaction to this matter was very calm, “Come on, the food is ready, you two sit down and eat together.”


    Aunt Zhou has always been very friendly, this is undeniable.


    She put down the scrambled eggs and vegetables with garlic sprouts in her hands, and stretched out her hand to pull Liu Yimian, “Don’t be shy to you aunt, just treat this as your home, come, try my cooking.”


    Liu Yimian said embarrassedly, “Auntie, I have eaten at home.”


    “It’s fine that you’ve eaten, you should eat more. Look at your small body, I’m afraid you’ll be blown away by the wind.”


    Liu Yimian retorted in a low voice, “No, I’m pretty heavy too.”


    Aunt Zhou was much stronger than Liu Yimian, she pulled hard, and Liu Yimian sat on the bench. She placed both dishes in front of Liu Yimian, and kept asking him to eat. Zhao Hu, who was watching, was depressed and doubted who was her son.


    Aunt Zhou tasted a dumpling and was very pleasantly surprised: “This is what you made? It’s stuffed with chives and pork, and I even could taste eggs. Auntie’s family could only have these during the holidays, and you must be doing well recently… …”


    Liu Yimian secretly glanced at Ji Wei, with admiration in his eyes, “Brother Ji did it, I only prepared the dough.”


    Hearing this, Zhao Dalong glanced at Ji Wei, then at the dumplings, and then Ji Weiyi again, his face full of shock, “What? This is made by you?”


    Aunt Zhou glared at Zhao Dalong, “Hello? He is someone we watched growing up. Watch your manner?”


    Zhao Dalong said angrily: “I thought it was this “brother” who cooked it, but I didn’t expect you to have this skill.”


    Liu Yimian straightened his back, a little proud, “Uncle Zhao, Brother Ji has been selling pancakes on West Street for a while now. The business is very good. We will let you try it someday.”


    Zhao Dalong nodded in response but did not speak.


    Aunt Zhou said again: “Why did you think of making dumplings all of a sudden? The two of you are still young, you should save the money, you shouldn’t spend it like this. When Mianmian gets married into your family, you will need money to rebuild the house or something.”


    Referring to the marriage, Liu Yimian’s ears slowly turned red, his head bowed slightly, and he didn’t make a sound.


    Ji Wei finally responded, “Aunt Zhou, let’s not think about it too much. Mianmian is still young, I am not considering this yet.”


    Aunt Zhou was unhappy, “What do you mean Mianmian is still young? I married into Lao Zhao’s family when I was fifteen years old, and the “brothers” from other families get married when he was still fifteen or sixteen years old? Is it after you make some money, you started to dislike our Mianmian?”


    Ji Wei knew that Aunt Zhou liked Liu Yimian, she was behaving like an old hen protecting her chick. “I just want Mianmian to study hard now. I’m not the material for studying. Maybe he can get ahead in the future.”


    Everyone at the table, including Liu Yimian, turned to look at Ji Wei.




    Aunt Zhou finally choked out a word after a long time.


    “Brother Ji, you—” Liu Yimian nervously grabbed the corner of his clothes, “really?”


    “Of course, why should I lie to you?” Ji Wei walked over to Liu Yimian and patted him on the head, “Little fool, didn’t I keep telling you to study and write?”


    After speaking, Ji Wei rubbed his head again, so much so that the hair on Liu Yimian became a mess.


    “But Mianmian is a “brother”, what kind of book is he reading? Are you still going to take the Imperial exam?” After Aunt Zhou finished speaking, she laughed to herself.


    Ji Wei did not have the intention to ask Liu Yimian to take the exam. It’s just that he really doesn’t like their attitude towards the “brother”, it was as though they are a woman.


    At least in Ji Wei’s view, the “brother” is no different from ordinary men except for fertility.


    In addition to being a modern person, Ji Wei has spent many years in a Western society that pays more attention to equality and freedom. In the same industry, in addition to competing with men, he also needs to compete with women. There are many excellent female pastry chefs, and they are no worse than men. The idea of ​​equality for everyone is more deeply rooted in his heart.


    “Brothers” is also a man. The country did not prohibit “brothers” from taking the Imperial examination. The reason why we haven’t heard of it is just that very few of them went, and even fewer pass the test. What if Mianmian is one of those one of a million?” After speaking and looking at the jaw-dropping expressions on their faces, he felt a burst of despair.


    That’s no need to tell them more, so long as he knows what he is doing.


    Then he brought up another topic, “I came here today to thank Uncle Zhao for helping me.”


    Aunt Zhou glanced at Zhao Dalong with a smile, “How can Lao Zhao help you? He can’t even take care of himself.”


    Zhao Dalong didn’t care about her, but said, “This thing belongs to Master Zhang. If you want to thank him, go to Zhang’s house to thank him directly.”


    “I planned to do that, but I have to prepare something well before I go over. I have to thank Uncle Zhao first? After all, if you don’t give it to me, I can’t use it.”


    Zhao Dalong muttered: “You’re welcome.”


    Liu Yimian couldn’t resist Aunt Zhou’s enthusiasm, so he ate two mouthfuls of scrambled eggs with garlic sprouts. In the end, his stomach couldn’t take it anymore, so he struggled to get up and hide behind Ji Wei.


    Ji Wei saw that their dumplings were almost finished, so he decided to go home. Before leaving, Aunt Zhou asked them to take the hawthorn.


    He didn’t expect to stay at Aunt Zhou’s house for so long, by the time they got home, it was already 9:00 p.m. They didn’t plan to do anything else. After taking turns to bathe, the two went back to the bedroom.


    Ji Wei was bored sitting on the bed and started counting money. He decided to check his income and expenditure over the last few days. After calculating, he had nearly thirty taels of silver at home.


    For ordinary people in Changliu Town, a family only earns one or two taels per month. Thirty taels of silver can only be saved if a family of three goes without food or drink for three years. Ji Wei made the amount after setting up a stall for just half a month.


    The money is not a small amount, but every step in the future will cost money, so it is better to save some money.


    Especially now that the pancakes are selling well, many people have begun to imitate it. Although it can’t be as fragrant and delicious as Ji Wei’s, it is not exclusive after all.


    It’s only been less than a month, Ji Wei believes that very soon, he will not be the only one selling pancakes on the street. The competition will be fierce, and the profit margin will shrink again and again.  He did not expect to do this for a living long term, the small profit now was beyond his expectations.


    According to Ji Wei’s plan, when he decided on what to sell next and how to sell it, he will withdraw from the pancake market and give way to other villagers.


    Ji Wei sealed the money in the jar and hid it under the bed. Sitting at the table, he took out a sheet of paper from Liu Yimian’s calligraphy stack, wrote down the chaotic thoughts in his mind, and scribbled and corrected it until it left only a few choices.


    He stared for a while, crumpled the paper, and threw it away.


    Liu Yimian, who was secretly glancing at Ji Wei while practicing calligraphy, couldn’t help but ask, “What’s wrong?”


    “Waste paper, no need for it anymore.”


    Ji Wei saw that the copybook in front of him was full of words, and asked: “Finished?”


    Liu Yimian acknowledged. Ji Wei took away the piece of paper he had just written, corrected a few small problems, and complimented him with a few words which made Liu Yimian’s cheeks hot and eyebrows curled with joy.


    “The characters are looking a little bit better. It’s better than the beginning. I’ll write a few more for you these few days.”


    After Ji Wei finished speaking, Liu Yimian obediently acknowledged. He packed up all the pen, ink, paper, and inkstone on the table.


    Ji Wei suddenly said, “Let’s take a look at the cloth we bought today. If you were to make clothes for yourself, do you still have to measure the size? Just as I’m free today, I’ll measure it for you.”


    Liu Yimian whispered no, he said he knew his size.


    Ji Wei asked back: “Can’t you trust me? It’s been a long time since you made cloth, and the original size is long gone.”


    Then he pulled a long face.


    Liu Yimian came over obediently, took out a soft ruler and handed it to Ji Wei. He then stand in front of him motionlessly.


    “How to measure? Where to measure?”


    Ji Weike has never made clothes before and has never touched on this topic. He had no idea where to start with a tape measure. He gestured the tape at Liu Yimian’s shoulder and asked him if this was correct.


    “Shoulder width, waist circumference, upper and lower @ body length…” Liu Yimian gestured for the position and said a little embarrassedly, “I’ll do it myself.”


    “Stand up!”


    Ji Wei grabbed Liu Yimian’s shoulders with both hands, forcing Liu Yimian to turn around. Holding a soft ruler in each hand, he pressed it against his shoulder, “Twelve inches.”


    After measuring Liu Yimian, Ji Wei measured his own shoulder, which was four inches longer than Liu Yimian.


    No wonder Mianmian looked thin and small when he was standing beside him.


    Ji Wei held a soft ruler, wrapped her arms around Liu Yimian’s waist, and hugged Liu Yimian in a very intimate posture.


    With his back to Ji Wei, Liu Yimian could feel the heat from his body through the thin summer clothes, which caused his cheek to burn red. Even his round eyes became watery, and the whole person froze there, looking at a complete loss.


    “Less than twenty.”


    Ji Wei let go and couldn’t help saying: “Mianmian, your little waist is really thin, I didn’t dare to exert any force, for fear that it will break it.” Although this is an exaggeration, in Ji Wei’s opinion, Liu Yimian is too thin.


    Standing in front of him, he could only reach the height of his chest, it is estimated that he is less than 1.6 meters.


    Although the people here were mostly malnourished, they generally do not grow tall. When he was growing up at his age, a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old boy, whose height was already approaching 1.7 meters. Unlike Liu Yimian who looks like someone that could be blown away by a gust of wind.


    Ji Wei finished measuring his length up and down again, only to realize that the boy didn’t say a word.


    Throwing the soft ruler on the table, Ji Wei turned Liu Yimian around only to realize how red his neck looked. He quickly put the back of his hand on his forehead, it was unusually hot.


    “Why don’t you tell me that you’re running a temperature?” Ji Wei grabbed his wrist and was about to pull Liu Yimian out to see the doctor, “Do you still have the strength to walk? Or I’ll carry you!”


    Ji Wei squatted down and waited for a long time, but he didn’t feel anyone crawling on his back.


    “Brother Ji, I don’t have a fever.” Liu Yimian couldn’t say anything, for fear that Ji Wei would laugh at him, “I…I….—”


    He lowered his head, and a strand of soft hair floated beside his ears, which complemented his thin white neck and exquisite auricles.


    Ji Wei frowned at him and suddenly realized what happened after a long time.


    He was feeling shy.


    But when he looked like this, he’s really cute, it makes people want to bully him.


    Ji Wei playfully stretched out two fingers and raised the boy’s small jaw. Sure enough, he saw his lips were pursed and his eyes were fluttering, and he didn’t dare to look at him.


    “Am I a man-eating beast? Why are you so afraid of me.” Ji Wei pretended to be sad.


    Liu Yimian shook her head vigorously and said loudly, “Brother Ji is a good man, a great man!”


    “If I’m a good guy, so why didn’t you dare to look at me?”


    Liu Yimian’s small eyelashes flickered like a fan, he finally summoned up the courage to slowly raise his head.


    As soon as he met Ji Wei’s smiling eyes, he was pressed into his arms and had his head rubbed hard.


    “Okay, I’m teasing you. It’s not good for a boy to be so shy, it’s easy to be bullied.” Ji Wei patted him on the shoulder, saying that it was getting late, and asked him to rest earlier.


    Liu Yimian slowly separated from Ji Wei and said softly, “I’m not afraid, Brother Ji will protect me.”


    Ji Weiyi was stunned, and his heart was instantly overwhelmed by some kind of emotion.



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