————————————


Seeing that his daddy was just thinking and didn't say anything, Ji Xiao Zhuo moved his body to Ji Yan’s chest as he didn’t want to be ignored. His little hands touched the stubble on Ji Yan’s chin and asked, “Daddy, how many days are you staying for?”


Ji Yan supported Xiao Zhuo so he wouldn’t fall, “Daddy will be staying for five days this time.”


“Wa– Five days!” Ji Xiao Zhuo’s eyes lit up. For Ji Yan, five days was considered to be a long break. Ji Xiao Zhuo had never spent so many days together with his daddy in one go. Xiao Zhuo was so happy that he couldn't help but ask the question he cared about the most, “Daddy, daddy, where are you taking me to play?”


Ji Yan laughed lightly. His expression had a touch of gentleness, which was rare for anyone else to see, “Alright, daddy will take you to play. Don’t you have school holidays soon? I’ll take you out during the holidays.”


“That’s great!” I want to go to the theme park and the aquarium. Many of my classmates went there before.” Although there wasn’t any jealousy in his expression, Xiao Zhuo still wanted to go to those places with his mummy and daddy.


“Ok. We’ll go.” Because he had no time and Tang Tang never cared in the past, the little one had never been to the places where all children loved to go and play. Since he was free this time, how couldn't he agree?


“Um –.” Ji Xiao Zhuo was really happy, so he rolled around on Ji Yan like a little caterpillar. He rolled around as he spoke, “Then, are you going to take me to the nursery tomorrow, daddy?”


“Of course, daddy will drive to the nursery tomorrow.”


Ji Xiao Zhuo stopped rolling, and instead, he sat up and faced Ji Yan, “And mummy as well. I want you and mummy to drop me off at the nursery tomorrow. I also want both of you to pick me up. We can’t leave mummy alone. She will cry if she can’t see me.” Mummy couldn't part from him.


“. . . Ok,” Ji Yan replied.


The little one became very excited when he thought about tomorrow as both his parents would take him to the nursery together. Realizing that it was not the best idea to express his emotions on top of his father, Xiao Zhuo got off Ji Yan and rolled around on the bed. He only stopped when he got tired. Afterwards Xiao Zhuo lifted his chubby legs and swayed them while humming a song, but no one understood what song he was humming.


Ji Yan discovered that Ji Xiao Zhuo was much happier this time compared to the other times he came back. Even though Xiao Zhuo had always been a lot livelier in front of him, compared to being in front of other people, he had never been so happy. Was it because of Tang Tang’s change?


Ji Yan suddenly thought that maybe he made the correct decision when he didn't divorce Tang Tang a few years ago. Xiao Zhuo was finally receiving the mother’s love that he had always been hoping to have.


                                             ————————————


On the next day, Ji Yan woke up at six like usual. He glanced at Ji Xiao Zhuo and saw that the little one was spread out with his stomach out as he slept deeply. Ji Yan covered Xiao Zhuo’s stomach with the blanket before he quietly left and went to the bathroom to brush his teeth.


Tang Tang was shocked when she saw Ji Yan, “You … Why are you up so early?”


Ji Yan didn’t think she would be awake so early either. He nodded to her as a greeting, “I’m going out for a run.”


“Oh, okay. I’m going to make breakfast. Is there anything you like in particular? I can make it for you.”


Initially, Ji Yan wanted to say that he could buy breakfast outside, but he decided to swallow those words down, “Anything will be fine. Xiao Zhuo and I are not picky.” 


“Eh … okay. I’ll make some meat congee,  steam buns, and fried gyoza. Bao Bao loves gyoza.”


Ji Yan nodded. Suddenly, he didn’t know what else to say, so he just opened the front door and went out for a morning run.


“Fu–,” Tang Tang only dared to release her breath and pat her chest when the front door closed. Honestly, the calm demeanor that she portrayed when she was talking to him was false. Tang Tang would still get nervous around him, but she didn't want him to notice, so she could only pretend to be calm.


Ai … For some reason, she would always feel slightly ashamed whenever Ji Yan was in front of her.


Tang Tang touched her face before going back to her room. Then, she gazed at her reflection in the mirror.


Even though she knew her current appearance was ugly, she suddenly felt she looked even worse now compared to when she saw herself for the first time.


The purplish bruises on her face had yet to disappear. The bruises on her dry yellow skin, made her appearance look scary. Also, after eating so much for so many days, she still looked like a skeleton. What was even worse was her dry long hair. It looked like grass that would instantly burn once lit. Such a horrible appearance, she really didn’t know how the original owner had abused herself to become like this.


Also, she had been earnestly washing her face to moisturize her skin, but why were there no improvements at all?


Whenever she thought about Bao Bao’s daddy seeing her ugly appearance when he looked at her, Tang Tang wanted to cover up her face. It was amazing that Bao Bao’s daddy could speak to her without changing his expression. Sigh. His wife was so ugly. It was unfortunate for him.


Was there a way for her to become prettier? Or at least make her look less ugly?


After thinking about it for what felt like half a day, Tang Tang gloomily sighed. She couldn’t think of anything. She resigned and went back to the kitchen to cook. Since she didn’t have any beauty, she could only be virtuous and prove that she was not incompetent.


Ji Yan had a large appetite, and Tang Tang could only guess roughly the amount of food he could eat. So for breakfast, Tang Tang made twice as much than usual. It didn't matter if there were food leftovers because she definitely couldn’t let Bao Bao’s daddy go hungry.


It was a coincidence that the timing was perfect. Just as Tang Tang finished cooking, the front door opened. She glanced out and saw Ji Yan, who was full of sweat, come in. Sweat was dripping from his hair, and his shirt clung to him. It outlined his chest and muscles. He was extruding strength and power. For some reason, he made people blush.


Tang Tang looked away very quickly. She didn’t dare to keep looking at him. She tried to control her heartbeat as she said, “You, you’ve returned. I just finished cooking. We can eat very soon.”


Ji Yan replied with an ‘En’ and walked towards one of the rooms, “I’m going to take a shower and then wake Xiao Zhuo up.”


“Ok.” Tang Tang patted her warm cheeks and calmed down. She bought breakfast out to the table. Tang Tang first served three bowls of congee before arranging the chopsticks and spoons. Once everything was set, she sat down and waited for the father and son duo.


Ji Yan’s actions were fast. Very soon, he came out while carrying a sleepy Xiao Zhuo. The little one didn’t sleep well last night as he was too excited. At the moment, he still wasn’t willing to wake up, so Ji Yan had to carry him.


But Tang Tang’s cooking was very enticing because the little one’s eyes opened wide as soon as he smelled the aroma of the food. In front of delicious food, his sleepiness went away quickly. 


“Wa– Mummy, there are buns and gyoza! My favourites!” Ji Xiao Zhuo leaped onto his seat and looked cheerfully at the food on the table.


Since Tang Tang knew that he liked it, she placed the plate of gyoza closer to Xiao Zhuo, “Then you need to eat a lot.”


“No problem!” The little one said in english. After that, Xiao Zhuo grabbed a gyoza and placed it in his mouth. His eyes smiled as if he was in a food advertisement. He faced Tang Tang and gave her a big thumbs up, “Mummy, it’s delicious!”


Tang Tang was elated from his praise and smiled widely.


Ji Yan was silently devouring the food with his head lowered. He had to admit that her cooking skills were very good, in fact, they were great. Even though he usually didn’t care too much about food, he couldn’t stop eating.


For breakfast, Tang Tang ate a bowl of congee, one bun, and one gyoza. Ji Xiao Zhuo had a bowl of congee, one bun, and two gyozas. While everything else was finished off by Ji Yan, there weren't any food leftovers.


Ji Xiao Zhuo, who was now resting and holding his stomach while letting out a burp, wasn't the only one who ate too much. Ji Yan couldn't control himself and ate too much. Seeing that Tang Tang was not currently present, Ji Xiao Zhuo took the opportunity and secretly whispered to Ji Yan, “Daddy, isn’t mummy’s cooking delicious, ah?” Pride filled his voice.


Ji Yan paused before making a low ‘En’ sound. He couldn’t lie.


“Mummy is the best!” Ji Xiao Zhuo was proud and quickly carried on, “Then if you come back often in the future. You can frequently eat Mummy’s delicious cooking.”


The little one tried to use delicious food to lure his daddy to come home more frequently.


How could Ji Yan not notice his intentions? Ji Yan's heart softened as he stroked Xiao Zhuo’s head, “Ok. Daddy will try to come back more often.” He knew that the little one missed him and wanted to see him more often, but he was a soldier, he couldn't forget his duty. Ji Yan couldn’t constantly stay by his child’s side like a normal father. He had always felt guilty about this.


If he left the military … Ji Yan quickly gave up on this thought.


After eating breakfast, the little one carried his school bag as he called Tang Tang, “Mummy, hurry up. Today Daddy is going to take me to the nursery. We are going to sit in daddy’s car. Daddy’s car is very very big,” said Xiao Zhuo as used his arms to make a big circle.


Tang Tang looked at Ji Yan with uncertainty. She didn’t know if he wanted her to come along.


Since her leg was injured, she would just be holding them back if she went with them.


Ji Yan nodded towards her, “Let’s all go.”


Tang Tang was happy inside and instantly went to the front door to change shoes. Her speed was even faster than Xiao Zhuo’s. It was like she was afraid that Ji Yan would change his mind.


Ji Yan drove an SUV. It was very spacious, but it had one disadvantage. The step was too high. An injured person like Tang Tang couldn’t lift her leg that high.


She had no tears even if she wanted to cry. After trying a couple of times, she still couldn’t get on, and her face turned red.


After Ji Yan lifted Xiao Zhuo and placed him in the car, he noticed that Tang Tang was working hard to climb on, but she just kept failing. For some reason, he felt rather amused.


Ji Yan cleared his throat after watching her for a few seconds. Then he walked closer to Tang Tang,  he put his arm went around her waist and lifted her. It was so easy; it was almost like lifting Xiao Zhuo.


Tang Tang was shocked. Afterward, her face reddened uncontrollably. She felt like she would burn up. That was the first time that a man had carried her. She tried her best to maintain her calm, but her heart was beating so fast that it felt like it was going to come out of her chest. 


Ji Xiao Zhuo put a hand on Tang Tang’s forehead with worry and said, “Mummy, are you ill? Why is your face so red?”


Tang Tang’s temperature went up again. She covered her cheeks, “Mummy is not ill. I’m just too warm.”


“Really? Then I’ll fan you.” The little one promptly waved his hands to fan Tang Tang. He put a lot of effort into it.


Tang Tang bit her lip as she glanced at Ji Yan in the driver’s seat. She released a sigh of relief when she saw that he wasn’t paying attention to what she and Xiao Zhuo were saying. Tang Tang stopped Xiao Zhuo’s hands, “Okay, okay, Mummy isn't hot anymore. Thank you, Bao Bao.”


Only after confirming that she was not hot anymore, did Ji Xiao Zhuo put his hands down.


                                             ————————————


When they arrived at the nursery, both Ji Yan and Tang Tang went to see Xiao Zhuo off. They left the nursery after agreeing to pick up Xiao Zhuo when the nursery ended. During the drive back, Ji Yan asked, “Do you need to get anything? We can buy it before going back.” Last night, the little one had mentioned their difficulties when he went shopping with Tang Tang las time. Since Ji Yan was back, he could help out when they’re buying things.


“There’s not much food left in the fridge. We should buy more and stock up.” Tang Tang took up his offer because it was too hard for her to go alone.


Ji Yan nodded and drove the car to the supermarket’s car park. When he led Tang Tang to the supermarket, he purposely slowed down to match Tang Tang’s speed, so his long legs were walking at a snail's pace.


Tang Tang noticed his actions. In her mind, she thought that Ji Yan was too good. Such an attentive and considerate man was now her husband, ah. Tang Tang felt sweet inside. 


This time, Tang Tang purposely bought a lot of meat. There was chicken, duck, fish, beef, and pork, etc. Tang Tang had already noticed that Ji Yan liked meat and that he wasn’t fond of vegetables. For this part, Ji Yan and Ji Xiao Zhuo were the same.


Once she finished getting the food, Tang Tang went to stock on things for daily use. Without noticing, the shopping trolley was soon filled up. They had to use two large bags to fit everything. Just when Tang Tang reached out to hold one bag, she was stopped by Ji Yan, “You won’t be able to lift it. I’ll carry the bags.” Then he easily carried a bag in each hand like it weighed nothing and walked towards the exit.


Unconsciously, Tang Tang thought about her previous trip to the supermarket. At that time, it was difficult for her and Xiao Zhuo to carry one bag together. They were sweating when they got home, and Xiao Zhuo had said that it would be great if his daddy was present. Now that his daddy was here, Tang Tang couldn't agree more with the little one.


“Brother Ji Yan–“


Just when Tang Tang was secretly smiling, a female voice interrupted her thoughts.


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