The glutinous rice ball feast left Lin Ruoxi contented and full.
If it was not for the philanthropy routine placed upon them, Yang Chen was certain that they would procrastinate till dusk.
As he watched her chow down on those extra-large glutinous rice balls, Yang Chen could only wonder how many rice balls could fit into one human, but nonetheless he sat by patiently as she indulged in her guilty pleasure. When Lin Ruoxi finally finished, they immediately drove towards the orphanage.
All those presents were unsurprisingly prepared for more than one orphanage.
They made continuous trips to three different orphanages, which were all located by the suburban areas of Zhonghai. Every time they arrived at one, Lin Ruoxi would hop off the car, have a little meet and greet with the children before introducing them to new games as they mingled together.
As for Yang Chen, he was clearly just there as free labor, as he diligently brought boxes by boxes of toys and snacks into the center. When it came to distribution however, the job landed solely into Lin Ruoxi’s lap. Most notably because the children were hardly fond of Yang Chen and his seemingly cold appearance.
Yang Chen wanted to offer hugs to the kids, hopefully to at least build his attractiveness with the children, only to fail miserably. They were worried that this uncle was going to do bad things to them.
Seeing how bad he fared with the kids, the staff in the orphanages along with Lin Ruoxi burst into laughter.
Yang Chen was visibly frustrated, but to see Lin Ruoxi happier than usual, he understood that it was all worth it in the end. Understanding his own physique as far superior from a mortal, he had to find a way to boost the physiques of his women just to even have a chance of pregnancy. Otherwise, not only would he leave Lin Ruoxi with nothing but a dream, Guo Xuehua and Wang Ma would only continue to grow more frustrated at not being able to have a grandchild.
The last orphanage was exactly the one funded and built by Guo Xuehua, the one that Lin Ruoxi frequents, called New Hope.
As they stepped foot into the courtyard, the kids that were playing tag instantly halted their game as they gushed towards Lin Ruoxi, screaming and shouting in excitement.
Lin Ruoxi herself too was visibly excited to play with the kids. Her fatigue vanished into thin air as she took the role of ‘mother hen’ amongst the children who played as chicks and eagle.
[Eagle and Chicks is a very common Chinese game. Read about it here.]
Yang Chen made himself useful by taking the remaining boxes into the backyard, only to meet the orphanage’s person in-charge, President Cha, along the way as she expressed her gratitude. “Thank you so much for your effort. We have only ladies here, glad that you are here to help!”
To meet President Cha was like meeting an old acquaintance, not to mention that Zhenxiu was brought up by this graceful old woman. Yang Chen definitely did not miss the chance of expressing his utmost respect.
“It’s not a problem. The least I could do is hard labor tasks. These kids don’t seem to take too kindly to me haha.” Yang Chen self-deprecatingly joked. “Oh, by the way, did my mom stop by recently?”
President Cha was aware that Yang Chen and Lin Ruoxi was the son and daughter-in-law of Guo Xuehua as she nodded with a bright smile. “She came by earlier. She’s usually busiest on days like these, just a pit-stop before she went on to other orphanages. She even managed to inform me that Zhenxiu was about to take the college entrance examination so she couldn’t visit until it’s over. Madam Guo really is an attentive person.”
Yang Chen was a little touched as he nodded. Soon after, he was looking around for a spot to take a break before heading home. Right at that moment, he noticed a little silhouette by the corner of his gaze as she stood by the entrance of the orphanage.
It was a little girl presumably three to four years of age, dressed in a light blue polka dot one-piece dress with her chubby little legs exposed. Her hair was as black as ink in the shape of an adorable mushroom cut, her fair and chubby little face was innocent and adorable as her bubbly eyes seemed clear as glass.
The girl just stood there by the gate, with the absence of joy as she blankly stared at Lin Ruoxi amongst the other children from afar.
Amidst the pure innocence of a child, something much deeper lurked in her gaze.
Yang Chen winced his eyes as he felt something peculiar about this child, yet he was unable to tell what was off about her. He was mesmerized by her presence, unfazed by her porcelain face, but for something he could not explain.
“President Cha, that child, is she part of the orphanage?” Yang Chen questioned the elder by his side.
President Cha turned her gaze towards his fixation and instantaneously felt a sense of affection as she proclaimed. “Oh, isn’t she such a pretty little thing? I wonder which family she comes from, she looks just like a masterpiece. Well, of course, she’s not from here, look at her outfit. She probably comes from a well to do family with much to spare. Maybe her parents were just passing by with her, and she was attracted by the sounds of other children.”
Yang Chen nodded. As he grabbed some snacks, prepared to approach the child, an elegant woman who appeared to be her caretaker came by the little girl, held onto her hand, and took her away.
Even when she was being pulled away, the child had her gaze fixated on Lin Ruoxi.
“I guess that kid really likes Ruoxi a bunch huh, well it’s no surprise at this point I guess,” President Cha mentioned.
Yang Chen giggled as he thought the same. Regardless of how his assumptions go, there just isn’t any reason that little girl would have any specific emotions towards Lin Ruoxi, it very much could just be his wild predictions.
That slight encounter was then almost immediately brushed off by Yang Chen as he chatted with President Cha to pass the time.
Not too far away from the orphanage was a quaint tea parlor, right there was that elegant little pixie from before that was happily hopping up a fleet of seemingly worn out wooden stairs.
“Miss Lanlan, you must be careful. Don’t trip on… my gosh, my…”
The caretaker nervously followed the girl from behind, fearing for her life that the child would fall and injure herself.
The child however excitedly dashed up the stairs as her floral dress fluttered in the wind. She silently ran towards a tea table by the balcony, agilely hurled herself onto a chair, grabbed herself a cooled off cup of tea, and instantaneously started gulping down.
On the opposite corner of the table was an elegant, good-looking man, dressed in a striped polo shirt with a bead necklace on one hand and a paper fan on the other. He exuded an aura of maturity and wisdom. He gently moved the fan as he lovingly watched the girl gulp down on her tea before he gently replied, “Lanlan, you didn’t bully other kids again, did you?”
The little girl by the name of Lanlan placed the teacup down as she gloomily replied, “Grandpa, there’s this aunty who looks just like my mom.”
The little girl was emotionless, completely unamused despite her melodious voice.
Anyone present would be astonished to hear the little girl referring to the middle-aged man as her ‘grandpa’, and would be amazed at the self-maintenance of this man seemingly in his thirties.
The man turned towards the caretaker who was huffing and puffing as he enquired the cause and effect of her anxiety.
The caretaker cracked a smile as she gasped for air. “Sir, Miss Lanlan saw a really pretty woman over at the orphanage playing with the kids and thought she looked just like her mother.”
After he was aware of the situation, the man went silent for a moment before he flipped his paper fan and stoically explained, “Lanlan, Grandpa understands that you miss your mother. But I’ve said time and time again, your mother has gone to a faraway place and cannot return. As for your dad, when the time is right I’ll take you to meet him. When that day comes, you will have a new father and mot—”
“Lanlan has a mummy, and Lanlan’s mummy will never leave Lanlan alone!” Displeased, the child opened her pupils wide as she pouted.
The man halted his words as he lightly sighed, he reached out towards her head and stroked her hair. “Alright, alright, Lanlan’s mummy will surely come back. It’s Grandpa’s fault this time.”
Lanlan puffed up her cheeks as she appeared to have forgiven him, but was still unamused as she lifted her chubby hands and went straight for a green bean cake, before immediately binging on it.
As he watched upon her chubby face as she was munching down on the cake, he felt a little apologetic towards her as he gently questioned, “Lanlan, we’re going to stay here in Zhonghai from now on. How are you liking it?”
Lanlan blinked as she tried to grasp the situation, before she whispered, “Grandpa, you said you were going to take me to meet Daddy. Now that we’re staying here, does this mean Daddy is here?”
The man was caught off-guard as he gave a bitter smile. “Oh, you little munchkin.”
“Then why won’t you take me to see Daddy?” The child tilted her head coyly.
The man appeared rather frustrated as he tapped on his head with the now folded paper fan. “Oh Lanlan, Grandpa will do what’s best for you and your dad too. That means that there will be some waiting to do on your part, alright?”
Lanlan blankly stared at him, before she calmly nodded her head.
The caretaker by their side witnessed her obedience and got choked up from her emotions as she wiped her tears.
After a little more than half an hour, Yang Chen and Lin Ruoxi bid farewell to President Cha as they left the orphanage. In a blink of an eye it was already dusk, and they were aware that the elders were waiting at home for dinner to commence.
Yang Chen subconsciously opened the car door on the passenger side to allow Lin Ruoxi to enter first. As he was moving towards his side of the car, a thought sparked in his head.
Yang Chen lifted his head and stared across the far end of the street, which was where the tea parlor was located, which prompted him to frown from thought.
“What happened? Did you meet an acquaintance?” Lin Ruoxi asked with much curiosity.
As he came back to his senses, Yang Chen cracked a smile and replied, “Nope, just trying out my new stoic look.”
“Pfft. Let’s go, Mom’s probably waiting for us back home,” Lin Ruoxi responded as she rolled her eyes at him.
Yang Chen teasingly replied, “You might as well just say that you want to continue snacking on the glutinous rice balls as your main reason.”
Lin Ruoxi didn’t bother to reply as she turned towards the window. Despite her looking unamused, her ears had gotten visibly red, exposing her true intentions…