Unsure if it was because of the foot bath or Tang Tang’s massage, Ji Yan didn’t feel weird due to an extra person sleeping in his bed. Instead, he slept especially well, and when he woke up, he felt bright and energetic.
Ji Yan silently stared at his feet as he thought about what happened last night, the scene of a pair of white hands massaging his feet. He unconsciously turned and looked at Tang Tang, who was sleeping soundly. After a period of time, he stood up quietly and went to do his morning routine.
At the training grounds, Ji Yan stood at the front and solemnly faced the soldiers under his command and told them their first training drill, “Carry 30 kilos. Destination: the peak of JiXi mountain!”
Immediately, all the members of the unit wailed anguishedly in their hearts. They all thought that even if they didn't die today, they would at least lose a layer of skin, but no one dared to express their feelings on their faces. Under Ji Yan’s command, everyone nimbly grabbed a rucksack and ran towards the mountain orderly.
Ji Yan carried 35 kilos, took the lead, and ran at the front. He required everyone behind him to run at the same pace as him. No one was allowed to fall behind.
Dong Li also led his unit and joined up. He let his deputy run behind the team and keep an eye on everyone. Dong Li speeded up to catch up with Ji Yan and asked curiously, “Lao Ji, did you take a stimulant? Why are you running so fast? You’re not worried about your unit dying under your torture?”
Remaining focused, Ji Yan did not glance or answer back.
Dong Li clicked his tongue and then said with a slight sourness that he did not notice seeping in, “It’s really not the same now that your wife and child have moved in. You get to eat and drink well every day. Hmm, unlike us, singles, who can only eat whatever is available at the canteen. It can’t be compared.” As he spoke, he remembered Tang Tang’s cooking and almost salivated.
Casting a side glance at Dong Li, Ji Yan knew what he was planning and originally planned to ignore him. But Ji Yan remembered Tang Tang’s plan of inviting everyone for a meal, so Ji Yan let him know. “Come to my home for a meal tonight. Tang Tang wants to thank you guys for your help.”
“Really, ah?” Dong Li’s eyes shined with excitement. With a sudden rush of strength, he patted on Ji Yan’s arm and said, “Let’s compete, Lao Ji. Let’s see who reaches the mountain top first!”
Ji Yan glanced silently at Dong Li. In the next second, the corners of Ji Yan’s lips lifted. He dashed ahead while leaving a sentence behind, “Tonight’s alcohol will be covered by the loser.”
“Ah.” Dong Li also rushed to catch up. Two figures were seen dashing up the mountain.
Looking at them, the two units also got excited and made bets about which team leader would win. They betted on the usual.
When the training ended in the evening, Zhang Cheng happily patted on Dong Li’s shoulder and said, “Dong Li, I heard you’re covering for everyone’s alcohol tonight? Brother, you’re so generous, ah!”
Dong Li rolled his eyes. He shifted his shoulder to fling off the hand of the person who was taking joy in his misfortune. “Go, go, go. Don’t throw stones at the fallen. You’re acting like you have won over Lao Ji!”
Zhang Cheng smiled more joyously and held his hand up while saying with self-awareness, “I know my limitations. I won’t compete with Lao Ji. Instead, I have always been bravely facing the disparity between our abilities. “
Dong Li was so angry that his liver hurt and decided to end his friendship with Zhang Cheng for three minutes.
The two of them joked around until they reached the third floor of the apartment. Zhang Cheng stood at his house entrance before facing Dong Li, “You should go first. My wife has just got home from work. I’ll wait for her to finish tidying up. We’ll come in a bit.”
Dong Li was already used to Zhang Cheng’s whipped behaviour. He didn’t think anything about it and simply went into Ji Yan’s home while carrying the alcohol.
At Zhang Cheng’s home, Fang Yu Wei was currently seated at the dressing table, brushing her hair. Zhang Cheng leaned down from behind and spoke by her ear.
“Wife, we should go over now. Everyone else should have arrived by now.”
Leaning back, Fang Yu Wei continued to brush her hair, “Let’s wait a bit more. They’re only at our opposite, and the meal is definitely not ready yet. If we're going to sit around over there, we might as well stay at home. It’s more comfortable at home.”
“Wife, you should go over and help Sao Zi. It’s not good if we just go and eat.”
Fang Yu Wei looked up at him, displeased, “What can I help with? Won’t I just be a hindrance rather than help?”
Zhang Cheng shut his mouth and agreed with her thoughts. His wife had been pampered since young. The largest hardship in her life was following him to live at the base. Normally, she couldn’t even make a bowl of noodles. She would be more of a hindrance if she tried to help.
“Wife, Ji Yan’s family just moved in recently, and they’re already inviting people over for a meal. We have moved in for so long now, but we still haven’t invited anyone over for a meal yet. Don’t you think we should also invite some guests over? Otherwise, it can’t be explained.”
Pausing her movements, Fang Yu Wei turned around and lopped her arms around his neck and said, “It’s fine if you really want to invite people over for a meal. But the issue is that I can’t cook and you can only cook vegetables till they’re edible at best. How can we invite guests like this, ah?”
Zhang Cheng scratched his head and carefully suggested, “Then .. How about buying takeout when you finish work? The brothers won’t say anything about it. The main thing is to have a gathering and have a nice time together.”
After thinking for a moment, Fang Yu Wei suddenly said, “Ah, how about asking Ji Yan’s wife to help us? I saw that her cooking skills are good, and we live opposite each other. She should be able to help, right? I’ll buy the ingredients and let her help us cook for the meal, alright?”
“This …” Zhang Cheng was hesitant, “That, will it be ok? It would be quite troublesome to cook the meal.”
Fang Yu Wei blinked, “It should be ok. Ji Yan’s wife doesn’t work. All she does is stay at home to cook and do some chores. She has plenty of time. I’m really busy teaching the high school’s graduating class. It’s a little thing, so she should be willing to help. When the time comes, I’ll buy some fruits to thank her.”
Zhang Cheng hesitated, but he nodded in the end. “Alright, you’ll speak to Sao Zi about it and see if she’s willing. Don’t force her if she’s not willing.”
Fang Yu Wei nodded.
For tonight's meal, Tang Tang prepared many dishes. She practically cooked everything she specialised in. After all, this was the first meal they invited guests over, so it was really important. She wanted to do it properly as she couldn’t make Ji Yan lose face.
The few soldiers under Ji Yan’s command originally wanted to come in and help her out, but she urged them out. Tang Tang washed a few bowls of fruit and took them out. Also, she let Ji Xiao Zhuo entertain the guests and told him not to let the guests work.
Ji Xiao Zhuo confidently accepted his task. The little one was like a model son and enthusiastically took care of the guests. He gave an apple to one older brother and one tangerine to another brother. After that, he asked if anyone wanted water. He didn’t have to serve them so well, and after a while, everyone in the group of rough men had carried him and rubbed him. In the end, they all wanted to take Xiao Zhuo home.
Seeing that Ji Xiao Zhuo was treating the guests so well, Ji Yan passed the responsibility to Xiao Zhuo. Ji Yan rolled up his sleeves and entered the kitchen to help Tang Tang. Since there were so many dishes to make today, he was afraid she would be too busy.
The regimental commander’s wife was also in the kitchen to help out. Even though she wanted to help, she was there only to accompany Tang Tang and chat because everything was already arranged. Although it was very busy, she couldn’t help with much as everything that was required was already prepared. When she saw Ji Yan enter the kitchen, she teased, “Ji Yan, ah, Sao Zi came to help, but I didn’t do anything in the end. Your wife is too capable.”
Watching Tang Tang’s fluid movements, a hint of a smile flashed across Ji Yan’s eyes.
Tang Tang spared a moment to look back at Ji Yan. She smiled and said, “Husband, you can take the bowls, cups, and everything else out and arrange them on the table. Then arrange the chairs as well. The meal will be ready soon.”
Ji Yan nodded and took the bowls, chopsticks, and everything else from the side and carried them out. Once everything had been arranged, he went back to the kitchen to bring the dishes out.
When Ji Xiao Zhuo saw the dishes on the table, he knew the meal was going to start. He waved his hand and announced, “The meal is ready. Let’s go to the table and eat. Don’t be courteous.”
Everyone was amused by the little one. But they really weren't polite and swarmed the table like bees. Seeing the table full of dishes, they almost couldn’t stop their saliva from dripping. Honestly, they were already hungry when they smelt the fragrance wafting from the kitchen. They all wished in their hearts that the meal would be ready sooner.
The cooking skill of their leader’s wife was great! They wanted to find a wife like that, ah.
Ji Yan called everyone to the table and opened the alcohol to pour a cup for everyone. When he noticed Zhang Cheng had not arrived, Ji Yan wrinkled his brows and waved his hand at Ji Xiao Zhuo, “Xiao Zhuo, go to the opposite door and call uncle Zhang Cheng’s family over to eat.”
“Alright, daddy.” Ji Xiao Zhuo accepted the order and quickly rushed out on his short legs. He knocked on the door of the opposite apartment and called out in a sticky voice, “Uncle Zhang Cheng, the meal is ready. Let’s quickly go and eat ~”
After a few minutes, Zhang Cheng entered Ji Yan’s home while carrying Ji Xiao Zhuo. Fang Yu Wei followed from behind. Zhang Cheng smiled apologetically, “Sorry, I just took a shower.”
Everyone else retorted back one by one, “You’re so picky. We all came here still sweaty while you came after a shower. Are you deliberately hinting that we’re filthy?!”
Zhang Cheng proudly flung his head, “I’m different to you guys who don’t have standards.”
When they heard his words, everyone else wanted to strangle him.
The meal started livelily. No one restrained themselves. Instead, they all ate and drank to their heart's content, and since the soldiers could eat a lot, the dishes on the table quickly disappeared.
Luckily, Tang Tang made a lot, and new dishes were quickly added to the table. When one plate was taken away, two new dishes would replace it immediately. Everyone was satisfied and enjoyed themselves.
They managed to squeeze everyone around the dining table, but Tang Tang didn’t plan to join them. Instead, she kept some of the food and ate with the regimental commander’s wife in the kitchen. They didn’t want to fight with the soldiers for food at the table.
The meal lasted till about 9 pm. When Tang Tang went to clear the table, she immediately thought that soldiers could really eat. All the plates were empty. Apart from the remaining sauces, the plates were all clean. There wasn’t even a single vegetable left on the plates.
The regimental commander’s wife helped her clear up and smiled while saying, “Normally, there would be some food left, but your cooking is so delicious.”
Tang Tang was very happy. It was a great sense of accomplishment for her to see all the food she made was eaten.
The soldiers under Ji Yan’s command were very diligent. After they finished eating, they took the initiative to clean their mess. They put the rubbish in the bin, wiped the table, and swept the floor. If Tang Tang didn’t stop them, they would have even washed all dishes.
Tang Tang’s fondness for these adorable soldiers increased a lot, so she made some sobering soup for everyone to drink before letting them leave.
Seeing that Tang Tang was going to the kitchen to wash the dishes, Fang Yu Wei secretly entered the kitchen as well while everyone else was busy drinking the sobering soup.
At night, Tang Tang prepared hot water for Ji Yan’s foot bath again. Naturally, Ji Xiao Zhuo would get a foot bath as well.
After last night’s experience, Ji Yan was prepared, so he calmly accepted it. He was still a bit awkward when Tang Tang massaged his feet, but his face was expressionless, so it made people think he was calm. At least, it made Tang Tang think that he had accepted her goodwill, and she was feeling elated inside.
Tang Tang massaged the pressure points on his feet while saying, “Husband, Zhang Cheng’s wife came to find me when I was washing the dishes. She asked me for help.”
Ji Yan looked at her with inquiry in his eyes.
“She said she has moved in for some time, but she still hasn't invited everyone for a meal. She wanted to, but her cooking skills are not good, and she is afraid that the guests won’t be satisfied. She wanted me to cook for her and asked if I was willing.”
Ji Yan stayed silent for a moment before replying, “What do you think?”
“I agreed. Cooking a meal is not an inconvenient thing. We’re neighbours, so we should help each other. Also, Zhang Cheng’s wife is a high school teacher in charge of a class. She’s very busy working. It’s not a big deal if I help her. What do you think, husband?” It was in Tang Tang’s nature to have a favourable impression on teachers as she thought teachers were a noble occupation. Teachers who educated people made others feel respect for them.
Ji Yan pursed his lips and spoke after a while, “Since you have agreed, you can go and help, but don’t tire yourself out. Your leg injury has not properly healed yet.”
Tang Tang felt a sweetness seeped in her heart and happily nodded, “I will take notice to not tire myself.”
Ji Yan lowered his gaze to avoid Tang Tang’s warm smile.
After she finished giving a foot bath to the father and son, Tang Tang sneaked to the kitchen to eat her “beautification meal” before she went to bed. Once she finished snacking, Tang Tang didn’t go straight to bed like usual. Instead, she was on her phone while lying on the bed. Her brows were wrinkled, and her expression was solemn.
Ji Xiao Zhuo was curious and looked at what his mummy was doing. But he didn’t understand and couldn’t help but ask, “Mummy, what are you doing?”
Tang Tang worked hard to remember the steps, but she just couldn’t remember and answered him depressed, “Mummy is researching how to buy things online, but mummy is stupid. Your big sister Wen Wen showed mummy a few times, but mummy can’t remember.”
When Wen Wen heard that Tang Tang wanted to buy some Chinese medicinal herbs, but didn’t know where; she recommended Tang Tang to buy them online. While Tang Tang knew that people in this world didn’t need to go out to buy things and could get what they wanted to be delivered to the doorstep, this skill was too difficult for her. Tang Tang simply didn’t know what to do.
Wen Wen was shocked for a long time when she realised that Tang Tang didn’t know how to shop online. After that, Wen Wen simply downloaded the Taobao app on Tang Tang’s phone and registered an account for her. Then Wen Wen explained online shopping to her for half a day.
At that time, Tang Tang didn’t really understand when she listened to the explanation, so she wanted to study it. She really wanted to learn how to shop online so she wouldn't need to travel large distances with her crutches to buy things.
Although Ji Xiao Zhuo was a clever child, he had never experienced online shopping, and Ji Yan didn't teach him about it either, so Xiao Zhuo could only blink. “Mummy, Bao Bao also doesn’t know how ~,” Xiao Zhuo said with embarrassment.
Tang Tang pinched his cheeks, “It doesn’t matter. Mummy can study and learn alone.”
Ji Xiao Zhuo became solemn as well. The mother and son studied and discussed it together, but they weren’t making progress.
Ji Yan cleared his throat and had to put his book down.
The mother and son unanimously looked at him. Both of them were asking him what was wrong with their eyes.
Ji Yan signaled to the phone in Tang Tang’s hands, “Want to shop online?”
Tang Tang nodded.
“Want me to teach you?”
At first, Tang Tang blanked before realising that Ji Yan wanted to teach her about online shopping. Her eyes instantly brightened and crawled to pass her phone to him. She nodded while smiling stupidly, “Yes! Teach me, husband.”
He didn’t know why, but when he saw Tang Tang like that, Ji Yan couldn’t stop lifting the corner of his mouth. Ji Yan took Tang Tang’s phone and patted the spot beside him, “Come here.”
Tang Tang immediately moved closer while Ji Xiao Zhuo followed from behind. The mother and son pair soon crowded next to Ji Yan.
Since Xiao Zhuo was afraid that his mummy couldn't watch properly, he climbed into Ji Yan’s embrace. So the spot next to Ji Yan was left for Tang Tang.
Upon seeing this, Ji Yan didn’t say anything. He held onto Xiao Zhuo as he shifted his position a little before explaining in detail to Tang Tang about how to shop online. Ji Yan bound one of his cards to Tang Tang’s account so it would automatically bill his card in the future whenever she shopped.
Ji Yan first went to find the medicinal herbs that Tang Tang wanted and added one of them to the shopping basket and paid for it as a demonstration. Once Tang Tang had learned it properly, he let her buy the remaining things herself.
This time Tang Tang really learnt it. By imitating Ji Yan’s demonstration, Tang Tang bought everything she needed, and when Ji Yan said she was successful, she was so glad. Tang Tang gave Ji Xiao Zhuo two big kisses and said, “Bao Bao, mummy has learnt it!”
Ji Xiao Zhuo was also very happy for his mother and returned her kisses and gave her a thumbs up, “You’re amazing mummy~.”
Ji Yan smiled quietly as he watched their silly antics.
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