Chapter 321 – The Wei Family’s Call
Wei Wei stared at the dumpling in Chen Li’s hand, his voice filled with anticipation.
“Well, here you go.” Chen Li casually handed over the dough-made rabbit to Wei Wei.
“Thank you, Brother Chen Li! Brother Chen Li, you’re amazing!” Wei Wei excitedly took the lifelike rabbit.
Meanwhile, Qiuqiu lay on the floor crying, making noises that seemed to say, “If you don’t pay attention to me, I’m really going to cry.”
Feeling sorry for Qiuqiu, Wei Wei crouched down with the dough rabbit in hand and gently lifted the soft Qiuqiu. Glancing between the misshapen dough rabbit and the still whining Qiuqiu, Wei Wei bit his lip and addressed Qiuqiu, “Qiuqiu, here.”
Chen Li had sculpted the rabbit based on Qiuqiu’s teether. When Qiuqiu saw the dough rabbit, mistaking it for his teether, he reached out to grab it. Lacking control, his grab deformed the entire dough rabbit.
“Ah…” Qiuqiu stared at the now deformed dough rabbit in his hand, looking stunned.
Wei Wei felt a pang of regret at the loss of the cute rabbit. But in the next moment, seeing Qiuqiu’s action, Wei Wei disregarded the regret. Qiuqiu was trying to put the misshapen dough into his mouth!
“Qiuqiu, you can’t eat that!” Wei Wei held Qiuqiu’s hand, which felt soft and delicate. Afraid to exert pressure, Wei Wei held it gently, then turned to Chen Li for help. “Brother Chen Li, Qiuqiu put the flour in his mouth!”
Chen Li immediately put down the half-folded dumplings in his hand and walked over to Qiuqiu.
Qiuqiu probably found the soft dough amusing to play with. When Chen Li approached to take it, Qiuqiu didn’t give it up. His mouth was wide open, seemingly ready to eat the dough.
“Qiuqiu, be good, give it to Daddy.” Chen Li tried to pry the dough from Qiuqiu’s hand. Although he didn’t use much force, Qiuqiu also lacked strength, so it quickly came out of his grip. Chen Li then washed his hands and handed Qiuqiu the teether.
As Qiuqiu nibbled on the rabbit teether’s ear, he made some noises. When Chen Li carried him over to Wei Chen, Qiuqiu extended his hand toward Wei Chen and leaned in his direction, saying, “Da… da…”
Qiuqiu had been able to say “dad” for a few days, but he rarely said it unless Wei Chen and Chen Li coaxed him for a while. It was rare for him to proactively call out like this.
Wei Chen immediately lifted Qiuqiu as he called him “dad,” with Qiuqiu tugging at Wei Chen’s shoulders, looking quite upset.
“This little guy has quite the temper!” Chen Yunlan laughed while talking, using the flour on his hand to touch Qiuqiu’s tender face, leaving a white mark.
Apparently aware of Chen Yunlan’s words, Qiuqiu turned his head away from him while on Wei Chen’s shoulder, continuing to make sounds of dissatisfaction. Rather than invoking pity from the adults, this action only led to laughter. Unhappy with the laughter, Qiuqiu cried for a bit but soon joined in with laughter himself.
Wei Wei tugged at Chen Li’s clothes, and when Chen Li looked at him, he said, “Brother Chen Li, I’m sorry. I didn’t know Qiuqiu would eat the flour.”
Chen Li ruffled Wei Wei’s hair. “You did nothing wrong.” Then he sculpted another flour rabbit and handed it to Wei Wei.
“Thank you, Brother Chen Li!” Wei Wei held the dough rabbit, relieved of his previously cautious nature.
Ultimately, at twelve or thirteen years old, despite experiencing certain things, the inner innocence of a child persisted, allowing them to remain joyous for a long time over something as simple as a flour rabbit.
With several skilled hands working together, they quickly finished wrapping all the dumplings. Chen Yunlan and Fang Yun continued in the kitchen, busy with the New Year’s Eve dinner. Wei Chen took Qiuqiu to wash his face, and during the dumpling wrapping, Qiuqiu had encountered quite a bit of flour—his face and body were covered, and Wei Chen had some on himself too.
Not long after Wei Chen took Qiuqiu into the bathroom, his phone rang. Chen Li, who was nearby, called out to Wei Chen inside the bathroom, “Achen, your phone’s ringing, no caller ID.”
Through the bathroom door, Wei Chen responded, “Li Li, can you answer it for me?”
“Okay.” Chen Li swiped to answer the call. “Hello?”
The person on the other end didn’t pay attention to the voice and directly spoke, “Achen, it’s me.”
Chen Li listened intently for a while before recognizing it was Grandfather Wei’s voice. Gripping the phone tightly, he was momentarily at a loss for words.
Not getting a response, Grandfather Wei felt a bit uneasy. “Achen… Are you there?”
“Grandfather, it’s me, Chen Li,” Chen Li finally said, after a long pause.
Now, Grandfather Wei was the one taken aback, leaving Chen Li thinking Grandfather Wei might have already hung up. Finally, Grandfather Wei’s voice came again, calm without revealing any particular emotion. “It’s Chen Li. Where’s Achen?”
“Achen is washing Qiuqiu’s face. Should I call him over?” Not knowing what to say to Grandfather Wei, Chen Li thought it best to have Wei Chen take the call.
“No rush, no rush,” Grandfather Wei quickly interjected. “Is Qiuqiu doing well?”
Grandfather Wei was aware that several months ago, Wei Chen and Chen Li had a child. However, he didn’t know if the child was conceived through surrogacy or adopted. He hadn’t considered this child as a part of the Wei family’s lineage, hence hadn’t thought of including the child in the family records. But now, he wanted to chat with Chen Li. Upon learning Chen Li’s background, he always wanted to improve their relationship but hadn’t found an opportunity. This chance to talk with Chen Li was one he didn’t want to let go of.
As Chen Li lifted himself slightly, Grandfather Wei’s question prompted him to sit back down, feeling a bit reserved as he held the phone. “Qiuqiu is doing fine, eating and sleeping well.”
“That’s good,” Grandfather Wei’s voice remained neutral. He continued, “And how about you? Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere?”
“I’m fine,” Chen Li replied succinctly, each question receiving a direct answer. They engaged in some awkward small talk for a few minutes until Wei Chen asked, “Whose call is it?”
“It’s Grandfather’s,” Chen Li moved the phone a little further away.
Just by looking at Chen Li’s expression, Wei Chen knew which grandfather it was. Even though they weren’t face to face, the atmosphere was a bit awkward. Wei Chen finally emerged, carrying the now tidied-up Qiuqiu, and walked over to Chen Li.
He placed Qiuqiu in Chen Li’s arms, took the phone, and moved to the balcony. “Grandfather, it’s me,” Wei Chen said, his voice calm, devoid of any emotion.
“Ah, I see,” Grandfather Wei got straight to the point. “Are you not planning to come back for the Spring Festival today? How about staying for a few days in the lunar New Year?”
“Let’s see. If work can’t do without me, I’ll have to return to the company on the third day of the lunar year,” Wei Chen replied truthfully. Indeed, he didn’t have plans to return to Shanghai for the Lunar New Year celebrations this year.
Grandfather Qu didn’t return to Shanghai this year. He celebrated the New Year at the Sheng family’s home in Beijing, where he and Chen Li would visit directly, conveniently avoiding Shanghai.
On the other end of the phone, there was a moment of silence due to Wei Chen’s response. Finally, Grandfather Wei asked, “Achen, are you still blaming Grandpa?” A sense of helplessness and sorrow emerged in his voice, possibly appealing to emotions.
“Not at all.”
“Achen, Grandpa has your best interests at heart!” Grandfather Wei listened to Wei Chen’s cold tone and involuntarily quickened his speech.
“Grandfather’s goodwill, Achen acknowledges.” Wei Chen held the phone, his knuckles slightly pale, clear about his intentions, whether for himself or for the Wei family.
Grandfather Wei realized Wei Chen wasn’t receptive to anything at the moment. He sighed heavily, “Forget it. In a few days, I’ll let Zhenxiong go to Beijing. I heard that Fang Yun has returned. Zhenxiong still owes an apology to Fang Yun.” Grandfather Wei, feeling helpless, came up with this excuse.
“Grandfather, there’s no need.” Wei Chen decisively said, believing it’s better for Wei Zhenxiong, who once caused Fang Yun significant harm, not to appear at this time.
It wasn’t sure if Wei Chen’s rejection got through to the old man. After exchanging a few words of blessings, the old man hung up.
The phone beeped as Wei Chen put it away, then he turned to look at the busy Fang Yun in the dining room. Just as the New Year’s Eve dinner was all set, darkness fell outside, and stars, a rare sight, appeared in the sky. A crescent moon hung high.
Fang Yun looked up and saw Wei Chen, calling out, “Achen, come in and eat!”
“Okay,” Wei Chen replied, making a promise in his heart that this time, he wouldn’t let his mother suffer any more harm.
The dinner was naturally sumptuous, and everyone gathered around the table. Even Qiuqiu had his own seat—an infant’s high chair with a small table attached.
With a soft spoon given by Chen Li in hand, Qiuqiu, excited, waved his arms as he eyed the dishes on the table, as if he could eat all of them.
After Wei Chen came in and settled beside Chen Li, the latter glanced at Wei Chen with a touch of concern.
Wei Chen shook his head at Chen Li, indicating he was fine. Chen Li then turned his attention to the spread of delicious food on the table, swallowing hard, his big bright eyes seemingly eager to devour everything.
As Chen Yunlan placed the last bowl of soup on the table, the New Year’s Eve dinner began. The dumplings, already cooked, had a coin tucked inside. Wei Chen had covertly marked one of them. It didn’t take long for him to find it and place it in Chen Li’s bowl.
“Take it slow,” Wei Chen patted the hurried Chen Li as a reminder.
However, when it came to eating, the telepathy between Chen Li and Wei Chen wasn’t so effective. Chen Li, oblivious to Wei Chen’s hint, wolfed down the entire dumpling in a few bites.
Then there was a click—the sound of biting onto the coin!