Xu Ling was holding a few bills and was hesitating over which flavor of potato chips to buy when he turned and saw Ning Sheng.
It had been several days since they last met, and Ning Sheng seemed to have lost weight again. His wrist, which was resting on his thigh, looked delicate and fair.
For good luck, the caregiver had dressed Ning Sheng in a red cotton jacket today, making his skin even whiter, and his clear black eyes were exceptionally charming.
“Ning Ning.” Xu Ling said, then seemed to remember something and used his hand to cover a hole on his sleeve.
Ning Sheng: “…”
The last time they met, weren’t they barking at each other by the sandbox? Why did Xu Ling now look like he was the one being bullied?
He hadn’t bullied anyone.
“Come here.” Ning Sheng beckoned.
The little devil king hesitated for a moment and then walked forward.
“What are you looking at?” Ning Sheng asked him.
“The cucumber flavor.” Xu Ling replied honestly, “It’s just five cents more.”
Ning Sheng: “…”
Xu Ling, who would be able to buy a whole bunch of potato chip factories in the future, couldn’t even afford a single bag now.
“Let’s buy ten bags.” He told the caregiver.
“Doesn’t your new dad even provide you with proper clothes?” Ning Sheng asked him.
Xu Ling seemed even more embarrassed.
“It was blown open.” He said.
Ning Sheng didn’t understand. “What’s ‘blown open’?”
“Don’t you set off firecrackers?” Xu Ling asked him.
Ning Sheng shook his head.
Then while the caregiver and housekeeper were still picking out items, Xu Ling pushed Ning Sheng to the side of the supermarket door, reached into his pocket, found a square box, and pulled out a small cylindrical red firecracker from it.
“Here, hold this.” Xu Ling told him, “and throw it on the ground.”
Ning Sheng: “?”
What kind of childish game was this?
He tossed the firecracker on the ground, but nothing happened.
“You need to put some force into it.” Xu Ling said anxiously, bending down to pick up the red firecracker and handing it back to him.
This time, Ning Sheng threw it forcefully onto the ground, and it exploded right by Xu Ling’s feet, making Xu Ling jump in surprise.
“Dummy.” Ning Sheng laughed.
He threw another one on the ground, and the small sparks lit up the floor briefly.
It was… actually quite fun.
“Ning Ning, throw it over here!” Xu Ling shouted, pointing to a pile of fallen leaves on the ground.
Ning Sheng did as he was told, and the leaves scattered, mingling with a faint smell of gunpowder.
An elderly lady passing by was startled and scolded them, “Little brats, what are you doing fooling around outside instead of at home doing your homework?”
Ning Sheng laughed out loud again.
“Do you want me to go and buy another box?” Xu Ling asked him.
Ning Sheng: “But I thought you didn’t have money.”
“It’s okay.” Xu Ling said, “He will ask my dad for it.”
When the caregiver and housekeeper came out with several large bags, they could see the two little children in the distance playing with firecrackers.
“Ning…” The housekeeper began to intervene but was stopped by the caregiver.
“Let him play.” The caregiver said, “He’s never been this happy before.”
Ning Sheng went wild with Xu Ling for quite a while before he realized that the housekeeper and caregiver were sitting on a bench nearby, waiting for him.
He felt a bit embarrassed.
His hair was disheveled and he had red firecracker residue all over him. His hands smelled of ash and gunpowder and he looked like he had been pulled out of a pile of ashes.
At this moment, he felt that he wasn’t much different from Xu Ling.
“Little young master, should we go home?” The housekeeper called out to him.
“En.” Ning Sheng nodded.
“Bye-bye.” He said to Xu Ling.
A hand grabbed onto his clothes.
“Do you play firecrackers with others too?” Xu Ling asked.
Ning Sheng thought for a moment. “I don’t.”
He didn’t have any other friends.
Then it wasn’t known what Xu Ling was thinking as he skipped away with a large bag of potato chips cheerfully.
Ning Sheng: “…”
He sat in the car, watching the people and things of Qing’an Town as they passed by.
The childhood that he had missed suddenly came back to him.
His grandmother was waiting for him at home.
“Ning Ning.” She called, “Grandma is thinking of finding you a tutor.”
Ning Sheng: “…”
It was here, she was preparing a tutor for him.
“The kindergarten teaches too little.” His grandmother continued, “Grandma is going to hire a language teacher for you so we’ll develop some more hobbies.”
Ning Sheng, who had just finished playing with firecrackers, collapsed.
“When the time comes, let’s invite Li Haoyue to our house to study with you, okay?” His grandmother said.
The math nerd?
Suddenly, Ning Sheng seemed to understand why Xu Ling had been unhappy that day.
Perhaps in the world of kids, things were very simple: what’s best is the best, and forever is forever.
With Li Haoyue appearing by his side, Xu Ling wasn’t happy.
“I don’t want to.” Ning Sheng refused.
“You actually want to right?” His grandmother chuckled. “Our Ning Ning always says one thing but means another.”
Ning Sheng: “I really don’t want to!”
Please spare him.
He didn’t want to hung out with that math genius who had a handful of good grades at such a young age.
But his grandmother was sure that he wanted to learn with that obedient child and teased him with a knowing smile.
The bold and confident smile of Xu Ling from when they were playing with firecrackers flashed in his mind.
There was no other choice.
Closing his eyes, Ning Sheng made up his mind.
He didn’t care about dignity.
He flapped his arms and rolled around on the sofa.
“I don’t want the math nerd, wu wu wu wu!” He wailed, “I want to be with Xu Ling!”
Ning Sheng: “I want Xu Ling!”
Ning Sheng: “I only want Xu Ling!”
His Grandmother: “…”
Please kindly turn off the adblock, thank you.