On New Year’s Eve, the sun finally shone after days of rainy weather.
The streets were crowded with people, men, women and children, going in and out preparing for the New Year.
Lu Ying and Brother Yang were the only two people left in the bakery at this time, as everyone else had gone home for the holidays.
There were not enough people, and Brother Yang didn’t want to recruit part-time workers for the New Year, so he took Lu Ying with him every day to teach while guarding the shop.
The goods sold were limited in quantity, so basically everything was snapped up by the people from the neighbourhood every morning when the bakery was open at nine o’clock, in less than an hour.
Then Lu Ying learned for the whole day and got to know a lot in a short time.
Brother Yang didn’t seem to be busy these days and stayed in the bakery every day to teach his apprentice.
“Are the cranberry biscuits sold out again?”
“Sorry, the last tin has just been sold.”
“Ah ah, I’m too late…”
Lu Ying went to the inner room and behind the customers’ backs quietly wrapped a pile of nougat, various nut snacks, seaweed rolls, spicy rice crust, and home-fried fragrant melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, puddings and other rich snacks.
These were specially prepared by the two of them for the New Year.
Everyone was usually busy, but on New Year’s Eve they all returned to the mountain.
Except for Brother Gou who rarely came back for the New Year because of his special occupation, the rest of them would get together no matter what.
Sometimes it was in their Qixia Mountain, sometimes on the other side of Caifeng City, in Songhe Mountain.
This year it was Qixia Mountain’s turn.
At noon Brother Yang put up a closing sign on the shop; the two of them closed the door and went on with their work.
“Brother Yang is great.
This pot of pumpkin seeds tastes delicious.” Lu Ying was amazed as he tasted the milk-sweet pumpkin seeds that had just come out of the pot.
Compared with the previous pot of salty melon seeds, he preferred the sweet ones.
The sweet treats made by Brother Yang were even more unique; no matter how much you ate them, you wouldn’t get tired of them.
Unlike the desserts in other cake shops; even though he and Zaizai were never picky eaters, they could eat the things in a cake shop once, twice, and the third time they wouldn’t want it anymore.
Yang Sigu chewed a piece of nougat and laughed, “You always say everything is delicious, my ears are getting calloused.”
Lu Ying laughed and scratched his head, “I’m telling the truth.”
“After today we will officially enter the Year of the Pig, do you have any plans?” Yang Sigu asked.
Lu Ying was taken aback and replied honestly, “No, not yet.
Now that I’ve put aside all my other work, I will concentrate on the bakery.
As long as Brother Yang doesn’t kick me out, I’ll keep on doing it.”
“You’ve mastered everything I’ve taught you very quickly.
After half a year you’ll be perfectly capable of setting up your own business.
Don’t you want to be your own boss?”
“Ah… opening my own shop?” Lu Ying had never thought about it.
He felt he was still a newcomer, and it would cost a lot to open a shop.
Don’t look at Brother Yang’s bakery business being particularly good; the initial investment was very large.
For example, this storefront was bought by Brother Yang.
He also used the best ingredients, never choosing cheaper counterparts, only taking what he was satisfied with.
Add the shop’s utility bills, labour costs, everything was very expensive.
If it were him, Lu Ying wouldn’t even think about buying a storefront; but was it cheaper to rent one? It was simply not feasible to open a shop.
And the most important thing was that he had to be with his child in the evenings.
If he became a boss, he would be busy from morning to night, which would be definitely more tiring and busy than a part-time job.
Brother Yang was in a stable situation now and could be more leisurely, but in the early days he had been too busy to see anyone.
Lu Ying thought about it for a while and shook his head: “It’s not possible in a short time.
Zaizai will be six years old at the beginning of the year.
I’ve heard that primary schools are a lot of pressure nowadays, with many of the assignments requiring personal tutoring by parents every day, and teachers assigning homework directly in mobile phone WeChat groups, some of which have to be completed using mobile phone software.
If the results are not good, you have to find training classes… terrible.”
Lu Ying was trembling with fear.
In kindergarten, as long as you see the child go there happily, all things are okay.
Anyway, the biggest problem in kindergarten is that children easily get sick.
This concern didn’t exist in his family; Zaizai was immune to a hundred poisons, so to say.
If kindergarten was the easy mode, primary school was the normal mode, middle school was the difficult mode and high school was the hell mode.
Lu Ying was worried that his son who was not proficient in maths would turn primary school into the difficult mode o(╥﹏╥)o.
Yang Sigu frowned at his words, “Raising a child is actually so troublesome?”
“What do you think…” Lu Ying couldn’t help but roll his eyes.
Although Brother Yang was older, he had always been free to enjoy life and probably hadn’t had much contact with children at all.
Yang Sigu sighed: “I thought that if it was a trivial matter of being short of money, I would lend it to you.” But it was indeed a bit difficult to combine the career growth with raising a child.
Although he had never raised a child, he was 100% convinced that a child needed a parent, and that a parent who was too busy to see a child every day would be derelict, unless there was a substitute guardian in the family.
But Lu Ying was a single parent.
“I mean, didn’t Zaizai’s father come to see you? It looks like he has never forgotten his old feelings for you, so why hasn’t he come again for a long time?” Yang Sigu thought to himself: if he is an irresponsible scumbag, I’ll throw him out next time I see him.
Lu Ying hung his head to pack the things and muttered in a cranky voice, “I don’t need him to…” Qin Zhuopu didn’t come, but there were many text messages.
Lu Ying never replied.
Yang Sigu looked at him, “I don’t think you have completely let him go.”
“……” Lu Ying didn’t dare to speak.
“Okay, there’s no rush on all this anyway.
Let me know if you need any ideas later.”
“Thank you, Brother Yang.”
Hearing a ruckus outside, Yang Sigu knew without looking up who had arrived.
Lu Ying hurriedly went to open the door and looked at his friends standing in front of him with smiles on their faces.
“Little piggy Lu, long time no see! Haha, how cute.” Brother Wang, the biggest one, was the first to rush over, grab Lu Ying’s head and squeeze it vigorously: “What have you been up to these days, you aren’t even posting in your Moments!”
“Brother Wang, Brother Hou! Sister Tu! Ah, Xiaotu is here too, is everyone else here?” Lu Ying was smiling from ear to ear.
Ji Xiaofeng nodded, “You have a lot of face, everyone is here this time.
Some are on the mountain, some are out shopping in the market.
We’re here to pick you and Brother Yang up.
Are the tasty things ready?”
“Yes, it’s ready, it’s being packed.” Lu Ying nodded and asked incredulously, “Is Brother Gou back too?”
“Wow!” Lu Ying was overwhelmed with joy.
It was not easy for everyone to get together, but this year they were all here.
The last time they had all gotten together was the day Zaizai was born.
There was strength in numbers and the group quickly packed and loaded all the food into the car.
Before nightfall, everyone was back on Qixia Mountain.
As the darkness deepened, the cold mountain forest was gradually covered in a thick fog.
Every household in the community was brightly lit, and the aromas of reunion dinner filled everywhere.
Smelling the lingering smell of food, in front of a dark door, a man was standing alone, smoking a cigarette, leaning against the closed door and looking at the sky.
After five minutes, the man took out his mobile phone to make a call.
‘The number you have called is not in the service area…’
Annoyed, the man put out his cigarette and continued to dial, over and over again.
Where the hell had he gone instead of staying at home with his child on New Year’s Eve? There was no one in the bakery and the apartment was locked.
The phone was still not in the service area…
Suddenly, the man remembered a place, Qixia Mountain.
He must be there!
The man was so excited that he moved immediately, ready to go, but then he thought about something and stopped, took out a pen and paper from his briefcase and wrote down a message, stuffing it through the door so that if the owner came back he would see it without missing it.
Leaving the community, the man walked straight towards Qixia Mountain, not even realising that he was no stranger to the road leading to it, as if he knew it all too well.
On New Year’s Eve, walking alone on a winding country road, he thought that there should be a small village ahead, called Lujia Village, where most of the people were surnamed Lu.
As the man walked, he saw the lights, and the village was indeed still there.
The man entered the village decisively.
In the mountain forest, a group of people were sitting in a spacious house eating the New Year’s reunion dinner.
At a glance, almost all of them were young people, except for a little fat child sandwiched in the middle.
After the meal, all the adults flashed their New Year’s weapons in unison: red envelopes!
As the youngest one, Lu Zaizai took the lead in gathering the harvest of red envelopes!
“Thank you, Uncle Hou, thank you, Uncle Gou, thank you, Aunt Tu…” Lu Zaizai thanked everyone one by one and stuffed all the red envelopes into his father Lu Ying’s arms: “Dad, I’ll give you all my red envelopes~~”
“Haha, Zaizai is so good and well behaved.” Aunt Tu, who sat next to Lu Zaizai, chatted with him from time to time.
Lu Ying politely said a few words and also took out the prepared red envelope, stood up and handed it to Aunt Tu’s only son, “Xiaotu, this is the New Year’s money for you.
I wish you good luck in the Year of the Pig and good luck in your studies.”
The teenage boy, Qin Xiaotu, took the red envelope and politely thanked him, “Thank you, Uncle Lu, for your blessing.”
Everyone followed Lu Ying’s example and continued to give red envelopes to Qin Xiaotu.
After some more fuss, they left the dinner table and crowded outside the house.
In a short while, everyone ran out of sight, disappearing in the mountain forest.
The only ones left were two kids and Elder Xu.
Elder Xu, the caretaker of the house, brought out a pile of fireworks from the house and called the two children, “Come, come, let’s blow up the fireworks.”
The elder brother Qin Xiaotu took the little brother Lu Zaizai’s hand and led him with a whoop of joy .
At the foot of Qixia Mountain, Lujia Village.
The dusty man stood in the village, gazing up at Qixia Mountain in the night.
Through the incredibly thick fog he could hear the happy laughter of children coming from the mountain.
The person he was looking for must be there.
Lu Ying: We have to be more restrained on the mountain, we can’t show our love in front of people.
Lu Ying: I’m afraid you’ll be bitten by a dog.
Qin: There are dogs on the mountain?
Lu Ying: A group of single dogs, ah ^_^
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