Chapter 284 – Completion of the Work
After a passionate and satisfying intimate encounter, the couple found themselves surprisingly wide awake.
Wei Chen gently placed his ear on Chen Li’s belly. Chen Li was almost six months pregnant, his belly visibly enlarged, allowing the little one inside to perceive changes in the outside world and respond.
At this moment, Wei Chen guessed the little one inside Chen Li’s belly was quite lively. He placed his ear against his belly, softly communicating with the unborn child.
“Baby, do you miss Big Dad?” Wei Chen seemed cautious but radiated joy between his brows.
Perhaps hearing Wei Chen’s voice, the little one extended a fist, creating a small imprint on Chen Li’s belly that coincidentally landed on Wei Chen’s face.
Wei Chen felt it and instantly registered surprise in his eyes—his child heard his voice!
This slight movement of the baby inside Chen Li’s belly acted like a switch, triggering Wei Chen’s talkative nature. He started chattering incessantly to the little one.
The baby cooperated, responding to Wei Chen’s words with punches and kicks. Wei Chen even felt as if the baby was somersaulting.
This caused some discomfort for Chen Li. As the baby grew, its movements became more pronounced. These recent days, especially at night, the baby became active, kicking and tossing, often waking Chen Li up in pain. He would gently soothe the baby by caressing his belly.
Despite feeling a bit of discomfort, Chen Li felt happy seeing Wei Chen’s excitement while talking to their unborn child. So, he disregarded the pain.
After chatting with the baby for a while, Wei Chen embraced Chen Li. The joy in his eyes hadn’t faded as he kissed Chen Li’s cheek, saying, “Li Li, you’ve worked hard.”
Chen Li shook his head, “Not hard.”
Indeed, it wasn’t hard because the baby in his belly was the crystallization of their love, their child. So, amidst this happiness, the slight discomfort seemed less burdensome.
Later, the couple remained awake, discussing matters related to the baby until late into the night when Chen Li finally fell asleep in Wei Chen’s embrace.
“Goodnight, Li Li.” Wei Chen extended his hand to turn off the bedside lamp. In the darkness, he placed his hand on Chen Li’s belly, “Goodnight, baby.”
The baby seemed to sense something and kicked Wei Chen’s hand gently. Wei Chen softly caressed Chen Li’s taut belly, and soon enough, the baby inside fell asleep, no longer disturbing Chen Li.
The night passed quietly, and soon, it was morning again.
Wei Chen came back, and Chen Li felt like indulging in a lie-in again. Due to jet lag, Wei Chen hadn’t woken up in the morning. Chen Yunlan had prepared breakfast, but seeing the two hadn’t come downstairs, he let them continue sleeping.
Due to the time difference, Fang Yun woke up later. When she came downstairs and found that Chen Yunlan had prepared breakfast, she was surprised. After tasting the breakfast, she was even more astonished, unable to comprehend how Chen Yunlan, a young master, had such excellent culinary skills.
Fang Yun gave Chen Yunlan a thumbs-up for the meal.
Shortly after, Wei Wei also came down. Full of energy despite the time difference, the child had no trouble after breakfast and played around the estate with Carl and Mary’s two kids. The estate was vast enough for the three children to play and run around freely.
After finishing breakfast, Fang Yun chatted with Chen Yunlan about simple matters, mostly revolving around Chen Li and Wei Chen.
Approaching noon, Chen Li and Wei Chen finally came downstairs. Chen Li even yawned loudly, clearly not having slept enough. However, hunger overcame the need for more sleep, forcing him awake.
As they descended, Chen Yunlan and Fang Yun were still chatting. Upon seeing them, Chen Yunlan addressed the couple, “There are sandwiches in the kitchen, have a little to fill your stomachs.”
Chen Li grabbed Wei Chen’s hand and, wearing slippers, headed into the kitchen. Shortly after, he emerged with a sandwich in hand.
Women’s intuition is often accurate and uncanny. By the afternoon, Fang Yun had noticed something from Chen Yunlan’s careful attitude towards Wei Chen and Chen Li.
But Fang Yun chose not to say anything, continuing to observe quietly. Her observations only made the situation more puzzling. No matter how she looked at it, Chen Li seemed to be pregnant!
But how could that be? Chen Li was a man, how could he be pregnant?
With this confusion, Fang Yun sought out Wei Chen.
At that moment, Wei Chen was handling files on the computer while Chen Li sat by the window drawing. Fang Yun called Wei Chen outside, and upon seeing their backs, Chen Li resumed drawing.
As Chen Li produced more and more artworks on that particular theme, plans for an art exhibition resurfaced. The exhibition didn’t require numerous paintings, just around twenty would suffice.
Chen Li already had over ten paintings in hand. With a few more, he would reach the required count.
Seeing Chen Li’s belly growing day by day, the three elders collectively decided to hold the art exhibition for Chen Li at the end of the next month. The time left until the exhibition was only about forty days.
Despite the elders discussing the timing with Chen Li, he remained unfazed. In fact, he seemed somewhat eager for the exhibition because he couldn’t wait to show something to the people here.
Chen Li continued with his paintings.
While Fang Yun called Wei Chen to the bedroom door, and without beating around the bush, she straightforwardly asked, “Achen, is Chen Li a woman?” This was the only explanation for Chen Li’s pregnant-like condition.
This abrupt and unexpected question hit Wei Chen hard. For a moment, he was taken aback, but when he regained his senses, he understood why Fang Yun had asked. “Mom, Li Li is a man, that’s absolutely true,” Wei Chen answered, denying her suspicion.
Fang Yun was puzzled. Could she have been mistaken?
“Mom, you’re not wrong. Li Li is indeed pregnant,” Wei Chen stated plainly.
This revelation shocked Fang Yun even more. “He… but he’s a man, right? How could he be pregnant? Has medical technology abroad advanced so much that it allows men to get pregnant?” This was a somewhat normal train of thought. At this point, Fang Yun even felt as if Chen Li was an extraterrestrial or possessed by some supernatural being. How else could he be pregnant?
Seeing Fang Yun’s incredulous expression, Wei Chen explained, “It’s indeed a miraculous thing. Some men have the genetic capability to bear children, although they may outwardly appear like ordinary men.”
Fang Yun found it all rather perplexing. She couldn’t immediately accept this worldview. She waved her hand at Wei Chen, “Let me process this.” Supporting her slightly throbbing head, she clarified, “So, you’re saying that Chen Li has the genetic ability to bear children, so even though he’s a man, he can still get pregnant and have children?”
Wei Chen nodded, “That’s correct.”
Fang Yun’s thoughts wandered, “Are there any differences between children born to men and women?” In reality, Fang Yun wanted to ask if children born to men would have any defects, similar to offspring from close relatives marrying. But considering that Chen Li was currently carrying her grandchild, it didn’t feel appropriate to ask so directly.
“There aren’t any differences,” Wei Chen said, at least from what he knew, children born from men didn’t seem any different from others.
Relieved, Fang Yun said, “That’s good.” Then, belatedly, she exclaimed, “Am I going to be a grandmother? Achen, am I going to be a grandmother?”
Wei Chen nodded, “That’s right.”
Fang Yun was ecstatic. “I have to discuss Chen Li’s diet with the family, ensure the nutrition for Chen Li’s child, make sure my grandchild eats well and sleeps well!”
At that moment, Fang Yun felt that Chen Li was the perfect partner for her son. Not only did her son adore Chen Li, but he would also give birth to her grandchild!
Fang Yun hurriedly left Wei Chen’s bedroom, actually going downstairs to discuss Chen Li’s future diet with Chen Yunlan. This seriousness in her approach made Chen Yunlan take it seriously too.
Wei Chen shook his head and returned to his room. To be honest, this feeling made him feel somewhat unfamiliar. What he couldn’t have in his past life, and what he had already given up on in this life, suddenly appeared before him. Wei Chen found it a bit hard to adapt, but this feeling towards the person wasn’t dislike; in fact, there was a faint sense of liking.
When Chen Li saw Wei Chen return, he set down his paintbrush and asked, “What did Mom call you out for?”
It wasn’t that Chen Li was curious, but when Fang Yun came in just now, her gaze was truly peculiar, filled with scrutiny and disbelief.
Wei Chen walked over to Chen Li’s side, his gaze falling upon his painting. “Mom asked me if you were a woman.”
Chen Li was puzzled. Why would Fang Yun ask this?
“Because she thinks only women can get pregnant. She knows about your pregnancy.” Wei Chen bent down, pulling Chen Li, who was sitting, into his arms and said.
Actually, Wei Chen wasn’t surprised at all that Fang Yun knew about Chen Li’s pregnancy. Firstly, Chen Li’s belly was indeed getting bigger, and secondly, neither he nor Chen Yunlan intended to hide it. They just displayed their daily status in front of Fang Yun, so if she discovered Chen Li’s pregnancy, it wasn’t really surprising.
“Oh.” Chen Li understood and continued painting.
However, Chen Li didn’t know that from this day forward, Chen Yunlan and Fang Yun would take turns to take care of him, truly treating him as someone to be nurtured. Today it was this supplement soup, and tomorrow it would be something else.
Fortunately, it was early spring now. Otherwise, with this kind of supplementing in summer, it would definitely lead to excessive internal heat.
At first, Chen Li was attracted to these tastefully prepared supplement soups, but after a few days, he grew completely weary of them. Drinking soup every day would indeed become tiresome.
As Chen Li grew tired of these soups, it was Wei Chen who was troubled because when Chen Yunlan and Fang Yun brought the supplements, Chen Li would pretend to take a sip. Once they left, Chen Li would look at Wei Chen with big eyes and say, “Brother Achen”.
Wei Chen couldn’t resist and drank most of the soup, leaving the rest for Chen Li to finish himself.
Under this bombardment of supplement soups, a month later, Chen Li did indeed gain a lot of weight, and his face became plump.
Chen Li had a baby face, and with a bit more flesh, he looked several years younger, maybe sixteen or seventeen, but definitely younger.
During this time, Chen Li also finished all the works he was going to exhibit at the art show, not just oil paintings but also several Chinese traditional paintings.
When Zhuge Yu and Sylvester received news that Chen Li had completed all the works for the exhibition, they specially made a trip. It took them over an hour to finish viewing these twenty pieces, and after seeing them, they were so stunned that they couldn’t regain their composure for a long time.
Zhuge Yu even had tears in his eyes, feeling an inexplicable surge of aspiration and ambition.
Sylvester even bowed to one of the paintings and said, “I’m sorry.”
All of Chen Li’s paintings had a soul, but the soul within these paintings was different from his previous works. The soul within these current paintings was grander and more powerful.
Zhuge Yu, Sylvester, and even Chen Yunlan, who witnessed the completion of these paintings, were overturned by the overwhelming impact presented by the twenty completed works laid out in front of them.
The three of them lingered for a long, long time in front of these twenty works. Some emotions diffused and unfolded in their hearts, emotions that were hard to articulate but repeatedly struck at their souls like waves. Just when they thought the largest wave had passed, the next moment brought an even bigger wave crashing over them, flipping their worlds upside down.
The three titans of the art world stood before these twenty pieces for an entire afternoon. After that afternoon passed, they secluded themselves in the study and engaged in an intense discussion about the upcoming art exhibition.
This time, the three of them didn’t argue due to differences of opinion. On the contrary, they unanimously agreed that this exhibition must be grandly organized and that it was crucial to ensure more people could witness it.
“I have an idea.” After the heated discussion, Chen Yunlan pointed at the table.
Zhuge Yu and Sylvester turned their gaze toward Chen Yunlan, curious about her suggestion.
“This exhibition needs a sponsor. We want it to be grand, right? With a sponsor, making it grand won’t be difficult,” Chen Yunlan said, his eyes gleaming with excitement.
“So, who’s the sponsor?” Zhuge Yu asked. “Don’t keep us in suspense!” There was urgency in his tone.
Sylvester was also curious, looking at Chen Yunlan with an equally pressing gaze.
Chen Yunlan didn’t beat around the bush. He said directly, “The Cultural Propaganda Department of China.”
As soon as he finished speaking, Chen Yunlan heard the sharp intake of breath from Zhuge Yu and Sylvester. Clearly, they hadn’t anticipated that he would propose such a significant idea!
However, after the surprise subsided, both of them found the approach feasible. If they aimed for grandeur, why not seek a sponsor with significant authority to amplify the impact of the exhibition?
And the Cultural Propaganda Department of China was undoubtedly the most influential sponsor. Their promotional capabilities were far beyond what the three of them could manage individually, considering the vast difference between an individual’s reach and that of a nation.
The three of them weren’t worried about whether Chen Li’s paintings would be able to get the Cultural Propaganda Department to agree to be the organizer because they believed that the content and emotions reflected in Chen Li’s paintings were among what the Cultural Propaganda Department wanted to showcase to the world.
Moreover, the emotions conveyed in Chen Li’s paintings were too impactful, instantly striking people’s hearts more directly than some videos and propaganda.
After discussing, they immediately confirmed their decision. Zhuge Yu took charge of contacting the Cultural Propaganda Department, having connections in that field.
With everything settled, Zhuge Yu swiftly scanned all of Chen Li’s works into files. The next noon, in a hurry, he rushed back to China, preparing to discuss the organization of the art exhibition with the Cultural Propaganda Department.
Meanwhile, Chen Yunlan and Sylvester waited in F Country for news.
Once Zhuge Yu returned to China, without even taking a moment to rest, he went straight to the minister of the Cultural Propaganda Department. There was some rapport between them, so the minister was somewhat surprised when Zhuge Yu personally approached him.
Zhuge Yu straightforwardly explained his purpose to the minister. The minister furrowed his brows immediately, feeling Zhuge Yu’s idea was far-fetched.
“A private art exhibition being sponsored by a country’s cultural propaganda department? Isn’t that too ambitious?” thought the minister.
Knowing what the minister was thinking, Zhuge Yu didn’t say much. He directly opened his laptop, displaying scanned images of Chen Li’s works in front of the minister.
The minister glanced at Zhuge Yu, unable to decipher Zhuge Yu’s intentions, but his attention was caught by the images on the computer screen. Once he started looking, he couldn’t look away. Eventually, it took over an hour to go through twenty paintings.
By the time he finished viewing the last painting, tears were streaming down the minister’s face. He felt anger and emotion, but at that moment, the overwhelming feeling in his heart was a surge of patriotic love and an unprecedented sense of national pride.
Zhuge Yu calmly observed the minister. He wasn’t worried about the minister’s response.
As expected, after another ten minutes, the minister restrained his surging emotions and looked at Zhuge Yu seriously, saying, “I will do my best to secure the sponsorship for this art exhibition, but I have one condition for you.”
“What condition?” Zhuge Yu asked.
“I want this exhibition not only to be displayed in F Country but to be exhibited worldwide!” solemnly stated the minister, tears glistening in his eyes.
With just twenty paintings, they accurately depicted the history of China, especially its recent history, including moments of humiliation.
Ah, nationalism, don’t mind it too much. Authors are kinda required to include this to stay safe. Some C-readers are also fed up with this… XD