Chapter 25

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Ji Xiao Zhuo had a suitcase himself. He pulled his suitcase out from the cupboard and started to throw things inside.

“I need to take this top because I look handsome in it.  I have to take this as well because mummy said I looked cute in it, and this one too… Ah, I need my blanket, pillow, and my Ultraman toy and car …” Ji Xiao Zhuo filled his suitcase as he muttered the list. Basically, he stuffed whatever he saw into his suitcase, and he soon found out there wasn’t enough space. He couldn’t fit his toy car in.

Ji Xiao Zhuo ended up putting his weight on the packed things as he hoped the pressure would force a little space for his toy car. But no matter how much pressure he put on the suitcase, there was not enough room for his toy.

When Tang Tang came in, she saw Ji Xiao Zhuo’s bottom sticking out while his body was practically in the suitcase. Tang Tang didn’t know what happened as she rushed to pull Xiao Zhuo out like a radish, “Bao Bao, what are you doing?”

With a red face, Ji Xiao Zhuo huffed, “Mummy, I can’t fit my car in. The suitcase is too small.”

After taking a glance at the suitcase, Tang Tang didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because it looked like the little one wanted to take everything with him. He had even packed his little pillow, blanket, and slippers.

Tang Tang spoke while taking out the unnecessary things, “Bao Bao, there are some things we don’t need to take with us. Daddy said we would occasionally come back here to live, so we can’t leave this home empty. We just need to pack some things like clothes and shoes. Everything else can be bought when we’re over there.

Ji Xiao Zhuo looked at the things that Tang Tang had taken out, such as his pillow and blanket. He felt a bit unwilling, but he nodded sensibly, “Alright. Then I’ll leave these things so I can use them when we come back, but mummy, ” Ji Xiao Zhuo pointed at his toys and asked, “I can’t take these either?” He was unwilling to leave his toys behind.

Tang Tang stroked his head, “It would be quite heavy to take too many of them, so let’s just bring one, ok? We will take more with us when we come back next time.”

After thinking for a moment, Ji Xiao Zhuo suffered in silence as he nodded. He carried his toys to the sofa and touched every single one of them. He looked like he was saying goodbye to them.

Tang Tang laughed and started to repack Xiao Zhuo’s suitcase.

When she thought that they would be moving to live with Bao Bao’s father from now on, Tang Tang felt her heart beat faster. They would soon see each other every day.

Thinking up to this point, Tang Tang suddenly remembered something important. She immediately dropped everything and rushed to her room to pull out the weighing machine. Tang Tang took a deep breath and stepped onto the device with her eyes closed. She looked like she was facing death. In her mind, she was praying that she had gained some weight. Then she slowly opened her eyes and looked at the numbers displayed on the machine.

“Ah! Why is it only 39kg! Why haven’t I even reached 40kg!” Tang Tang couldn’t help but wail in grief. She was very disappointed with the number.

For so many days, she hid from Xiao Zhuo like a mouse and secretly ate a lot of snacks every night. She ate until she was full before going to sleep. Also, she ate until she was very full during her three daily meals. Basically, she was eating like a pig, but she didn’ gain even 1kg!

Having heard Tang Tang’s wail, Ji Xiao Zhuo got frightened and ran into Tang Tang’s room, “What’s wrong, mummy?”

Tang Tang pointed at the weighing machine miserably. She looked like she had been wronged, “Look, Bao Bao, mummy has only gained a little bit of weight. My heart aches.”

Ji Xiao Zhuo blinked as he looked at the weighing machine. He read the numbers then started to count before he shouted out abruptly, “Ah, mummy. You only gained half a kilo!” Xiao Zhuo didn’t round the number as he didn’t understand smaller numbers yet.

Since she was unhappy, Tang Tang refuted, “I have gained 0.75kg. You didn’t count0.25kg, Bao Bao.”

“Oh,” replied Xiao Zhuo. He pulled on Tang Tang’s hand and comforted her, “Don’t be unhappy, mummy. Gaining 0.75kg is amazing! I just gained a kilo as well.”

Tang Tang wanted to cry. Even under strict control on the number of snacks that Ji Xiao Zhuo was allowed to consume, he still gained a kilo easily while she who spent so much effort didn’t even gain as much weight as Xiao Zhuo. It was so unfair!

After taking deep breaths, Tang Tang could only comfort herself, “At least I gained some weight. Mummy will work hard.”

“Work hard, mummy, I support you!”

Gaining new confidence, Tang Tang went to the supermarket to buy meat. The meat was not for herself though,  she was planning to make some meat sauces.

Tang Tang heard that there were already many families living in the military compound. When she arrived, they would be her neighbours, and she should at least greet them. She thought that if she took something with her as a gift to build a relationship, they could all get along with one another in the future as well as giving face to Bao Bao’s daddy.

Hehe. It was a great idea!

When Tang Tang had finished everything, Gu Zhang An received a notification from Ji Yan. On the next morning, Gu Zhang An had arrived early in his car to help Tang Tang and Xiao Zhuo move.

Tang Tang was pleasantly surprised when they got in the car because she saw Ji Yue already seated, “You’re also coming, Ji Yue?”

Ji Yue hugged Xiao Zhuo as she replied, “Of course. Naturally, I would lend a hand since you’re moving. I’ll help you unpack when we get there.”

Gu Zhang An, who was seated in the driver’s seat, laughed, “Don’t make it sound so nice, wife. Since when do you know how to unpack and organise things? It would be great if you didn’t cause trouble.”

Since she was exposed by her husband, Ji Yue got annoyed and pouted, “Can’t you give me some face? Don’t speak so bluntly, ah.”

Tang Tang smiled in amusement as she watched the scene. She thought that this couple was really refreshing, and their relationship was especially good. Tang Tang wondered if she and Bao Bao’s father could also …

Her face became red when she realised where her thoughts were going. Why did she keep thinking about weird things recently?  

The other three didn’t notice Tang Tang’s sudden red face. Ji Yue was currently rocking Ji Xiao Zhuo as she held him and said in a spoilt voice, “Darling, your Uncle Zhang An is bullying your auntie. Xiao Zhuo, quickly help your auntie take revenge.” 

Ji Xiao Zhuo looked at her like she was a wilful child. He patted on Ji Yue’s head and said in a deeper voice, “Be good. Uncle Zhang An actually dotes on you a lot.”

Immediately, Gu Zhang An laughed out loud, and then he gave Xiao Zhuo an appreciative look from the back mirror. “Look, even Xiao Zhuo knows I dote on you.”

Pretending to be angry, Ji Yue pinched Ji Xiao Zhuo’s cheeks, “Humph. How can you tell your Uncle Zhang An dotes on me?”

Ji Xiao Zhuo carefully recalled his memories before answering, “ I saw Uncle Zhang An carry you to a car on the beach. Ah, right, I saw Uncle wash your feet last time. My daddy does the same things to me as well, so that clearly means that Uncle dotes on you like how daddy dotes on me.” The things Xiao Zhuo mentioned happened in the villa they had stayed not too long ago.      

Ji Yue didn’t expect Xiao Zhuo to see those things. She felt her face go warm. 

But Ji Xiao Zhuo had a question to ask, “You’re an adult, auntie Ji Yue, so why do you need uncle Zhang An to carry you and wash your feet? I get help because I’m a child.”  

When the adults heard his question, Tang Tang couldn’t restrain her smile while the corners of Gu Zhang An’s lips, who was at the front, lifted up as well.

Ji Yue was embarrassed as she saw the secret smiles from the other two adults. She thickened her face and replied, “That’s because auntie Ji Yue is a beauty, and sometimes a child and a beauty are the same, so we can both enjoy these treatments. You may not understand now, but wait till you’re older. You will understand when you get a wife.”

After listening to the response, Ji Xiao Zhuo blinked before he started to crawl to Tang Tang from Ji Yue’s lap. He wrapped his hands around Tang Tang’s neck and got closer to her ears and quietly said, “Mummy, I think I should find a wife like you when I’m older. En, I don’t want a beauty.” He confirmed to himself that someone like his mummy was the best. 

Unfortunately, the car was only so big, so Ji Yue heard Xiao Zhuo even though he spoke quietly. Ji Yue was unwilling to accept as she placed her hand on her hip and said, “Ji Xiao Zhuo, let me tell you something, it’s impossible to find another person like your mother in the future. People who are as gentle and virtuous like her are extinct. Your father has already snatched the only one that exists. You won’t be able to find another one like your mother!”   

“Mummy, is it true?” Ji Xiao Zhuo asked with wide eyes. He had some doubts.

Tang Tang didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as she rushed to reconcile, “Don’t find someone like your mummy who doesn’t work or look good. A wife like that isn’t good. It’s better to look for someone like Auntie Ji Yue, who is pretty and works.” Taking someone like her out would just make him lose face. People like Ji Yue were someone who could be taken out. All men must be searching for someone like that, it was something that the little one did not understand yet.

Ji Xiao Zhuo promptly shook his head, “No, it’s better to be like you, mummy. I just like someone like you, if … if I can’t find someone like you, then I don’t want a wife. I’ll stay with mummy forever.”

All three adults smiled in amusement when they heard the little one’s words. Ji Yue teased, “But that’s not possible, ah, your mummy is your daddy’s. If you keep staying with your mummy, your daddy will get angry.”

It was obvious Ji Xiao Zhuo did not believe her as he waved his hand and said, “That won’t happen. Mummy is mine and daddies. We could always just share. Daddy won’t get angry.” 

Ji Yue laughed loudly. She couldn’t stop her fun and retorted, “But there will be times where your daddy will definitely think you are in the way as a third-wheel.”

Ji Xiao Zhuo may not understand the deeper meaning of Ji Yue’s words, but Tang Tang understood. Her face burned up, “Alright, Ji Yue, stop that now.”

Seeing Tang Tang’s red face, Ji Yue laughed meaningfully, “Ok, ok, I stop it now.” 

Xiao Zhuo took a peek at Tang Tang then at Ji Yue. He had a feeling that he had missed something.  

But the things that Ji Xiao didn’t understand now, he would soon understand a little in the future when he would frequently wake up in a bed that was different from the one he went to sleep in.

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As time went by, they drove further away from the bustling city and towards somewhere remote. After a while, the scenery got more and more desolate, and there were no houses or anything as they drove by. Just a single road that led to somewhere. 

Tang Tang guessed they would soon arrive at their destination. Her heartbeat got faster as she gradually grew nervous. Maybe he felt something familiar, but Xiao Zhuo, who was asleep, had woken up in Tang Tang’s embrace. 

Not long after Ji Xiao Zhuo woke up, the car stopped, and they heard Gu Zhang An say, “We’ve arrived.”

Both Tang Tang and Xiao Zhuo got more spirited and looked out of the window impatiently. The first thing they saw was a figure standing not too far while wearing camo clothing. Who else could be but Ji Yan?

Ji Xiao Zhuo instantly stuck his head out of the window and shouted, “Daddy! Daddy!”

Maybe she got infected by Xiao Zhuo, and Tang Tang also couldn’t help but call out as well, “Husband!”

Ji Yan’s face became a bit gentler. He walked up to open the car door. Ji Xiao Zhuo threw himself into Ji Yan’s embrace and hugged him tightly.

He patted the little one’s back and took a glance at Tang Tang before he spoke to Gu Zhang An and Ji Yue, “It’s been hard on you.”

Gu Zhang An didn’t pay attention to it and waved his hand.

At this moment, a couple of men, who were wearing the same clothing as Ji Yan, came closer to Ji Yan, and they saluted Tang Tang, “Hello, Sao Zi!”  

Tang Tang got startled by their loud voices. Then she realised that she had put all her attention on Ji Yan and didn’t notice there were other people behind him. She hurriedly smiled and nodded, “Hello. Hello, everyone.” 

Ji Yan introduced them to her, “They are a few of my comrades. They came with me to pick you two up.”

Without Ji Yan saying anything, Ji Xiao Zhuo greeted them. His voice loud and clear, “Hello, uncles! I’m daddy’s son. My name is Ji Zi Zhuo, but you can all call me Ji Xiao Zhuo.”

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Dong Li beamed as he clapped towards Ji Xiao Zhuo, “Come over here, little treasure, let uncle hold you. I held you before when you were born, but you probably forgot.”

Ji Xiao Zhuo threw himself into Dong Li’s embrace readily, “It doesn’t matter. I will be living here from now on. Uncle can come and visit, then you can see me frequently.”

Dong Li smiled as he nodded, “That’s right. Uncle can often go and see you now.” While having a free meal as well.

In the group, Zhang Cheng was standing on the side. Even though he was married, his wife was not willing to have children because of her career. Since he saw such a cute child, like Xiao Zhuo, Zhang Cheng felt envy and stepped closer and said, “Can you give me a hug as well, Xiao Zhuo?”

In response, Dong Li quickly carried Ji Xiao Zhuo and stepped away from Zhang Cheng, “Shoo, shoo, don’t steal him from me. I only just held him for a bit.”

Zhang Cheng got annoyed, “So what if I want to hold him for a bit? He’s not your child.”

Seeing that the two were going to start a fight, Ji Yan reached out and took Xiao Zhuo away from them. Then he simply led Tang Tang and the others to the building where their new apartment was. 

Dong Li and Zhang Cheng glared at each other at the back.

Ji Xiao Zhuo rested on Ji Yan’s shoulder helplessly before speaking ruefully, “Daddy, I think growing too cute looking is quite troublesome sometimes.” 

The corner of Ji Yan’s lips lifted. This was the first time he discovered his son had a humorous side. 

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Naturally, their group attracted other people’s attention at the apartment building. They all guessed that a new family was moving in and started to crowd around enthusiastically.  

A woman who appeared to be in her 40’s stepped up to speak to Ji Yan, “Xiao Ji, Is it your family that’s moving in?”

The woman was the wife of Ji Yan’s regiment commander, and she was quite close to Ji Yan. In reply, Ji Yan nodded, “Sao Zi, my wife and child are moving in to live here.”

The regiment commander’s wife was very happy, “En, that’s great. Your family can live together from now on. This must be your son. He’s really cute, ah.”

Ji Xiao Zhuo promptly greeted her sweetly, “Hello, auntie. My name is Ji Xiao Zhuo.”

“Oh my, he’s such a well-behaved child.” The woman pulled on Xiao Zhuo’s hand before looking at Tang Tang, with crutches, who was standing behind Ji Yan. Then she looked towards Ji Yue. She was uncertain who was Ji Yan’s wife. In her mind, she thought Ji Yue was more likely, but Tang Tang was standing closer to Ji Yan. So it should be Tang Tang, but looking at her appearance, the woman thought that may not be true since Ji Yan’s qualifications were excellent. 

Tang Tang felt her heart squeeze when she saw the woman looking so uncertain. Wasn’t it obvious since she was standing so close to Bao Bao’s daddy? Cry. Cry. How ugly was she, ah! Tang Tang lowered her head and looked at herself with grief. She still had a skeleton-like appearance. Tang Tang’s gaze lingered on herself for a second. She quickly decided that she couldn’t blame the other. Nevermind. Tang Tang decided to introduce herself instead.

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Just when Tang Tang opened her mouth to speak, she didn’t expect Ji Yan would beat her to it and introduce her, “Sao Zi, this is my wife, Tang Tang. As they have just moved in, I will be troubling to guide them.” 

The regiment commander’s wife blanked out for a moment before smiling, “Yes. Just look for me if there are any problems. Everyone who lives here is family. Don’t be courteous.”  

Tang Tang restrained the squeezing feeling she had and smiled sweetly, “Thank you, Sao Zi. You should come and visit once we have unpacked and settled in.”

“En, yes, I will definitely visit. You should go first since there must be lots to do. I won’t delay you.”

When the exchange ended, Ji Yan led them into the building. 

Once they disappeared into the building, the few wives gathered and started to gossip. 

“Was that really battalion commander Ji’s wife? Why is she …” They didn’t have the nerve to finish the sentence. 

“That’s right, ah. Battalion commander Ji’s is a talent and has very good academic qualifications. I always thought his wife would be like a goddess.”

“You shouldn’t judge a person by appearance. Maybe his wife is talented; otherwise, battalion commander Ji wouldn’t like her.  Previously, battalion commander Ji didn’t even spare a glance at the beauty of the cultural regiment team.” 

“That’s true …”

When the regiment commander’s wife saw that there were a few people discussing Tang Tang, she frowned and said, “Let’s not talk behind people’s back, ok. It’s their freedom to choose who they want. It’s fine as long as they like each other.”

The others knew they shouldn’t be talking behind someone’s back, so they smiled in embarrassment and quickly dispersed. 

But the rumour that battalion commander Ji has an ugly wife got spread around the entire housing building. 

- my thoughts:
Audio Recording can be found in the Youtube Channel Link. [https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk7bxIAoskXS8VKFXQuK75Q]
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