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Chapter 18: The Lin Family


Getting off the car, I looked up and saw a middle-aged man on the second- floor balcony, resting his arms on the white marble handrail, examining us from above.

Lin Ye turned around following my gaze, and greeted, “Dad.”

The sunset behind the man obscured his expression. He waved at Lin Ye, “You come back fast. Come in.” He had a throaty voice and talked in a slow, relaxed manner.

Lin Ye went in, took off the coat for the maid to hang up, and led me upstairs. We pushed the door open and saw Master Lin sitting in the main seat[1] looking at us, this time allowing me to see his face.

His hair was completely gray without a single trace of black, but his face was abnormally young, not a bit like someone who was almost sixty. He had sword-like eyebrows and deep eyes, high and straight nose. His thin lips curved slightly into a smile.

Very chiseled face. Fortunately, Lin Ye didn’t look like his dad.

“Good evening, Uncle Lin.” I walked forward with a perfect submissive smile of a junior.

“This must be Jiang Jun. I was on a business trip, so didn’t have time to invite you earlier.” He nodded at me with a kind look.

I hurriedly replied, “You are too humble. I have arrived in City B for so long. I should have visited you a long time ago.”

Master Lin pointed at the chairs, “Please sit.”

Lin Ye and I sat down. Master Lin was smiley, “Look at this handsome man! Are you used to living in City B?”

“Everything is good. I bought a house nearby a while ago; now I have already moved in. It’s comfy.”

“Alas, it’s good to be young! Adapting so well to new environments, and full of energy! This get’s me so jealous just by looking at you youngsters.”

“No way, I think you look more healthy and energetic than many of us.”

As we were chatting, the dishes were served on the table one by one.

“Lin Ye, fill the cups.” Master Lin pointed to the empty cups on the table.

“Hey, this is too much. Let me do it instead.”

But Lin Ye pressed on my shoulder and stood up, quickly opened a bottle of Maotai, poured his old man and me a full cup with the liquor filled exactly to the brim. “You are the guest today. Sit down.”

“Come, let’s drink this first.” Master Lin didn’t put on airs, lifted his cup and said, “Lin Ye talked about you all the time in the past, and today I finally know who you are. Since he was a child, Lin Ye has almost no friends, and you are the only one that followed him here from City X. As a father, I…”

I drained the cup, “Uncle Lin, you might not know, but Lin Ye was very popular in City X. Sometimes, he was too busy even to put me on his schedule.”

Lin Ye didn’t say anything, just sat next to us serving his father and me at the dinner table, with a gentle smile at the corner of his lips, quiet and graceful, like a lovely doll.

“I just came back, and Lin Ye told me you helped him manage the company very well, which is a great relief for me. I know this child is naughty, so you need to assist him more in the future.”

“You are too flattering. Bo Le comes the first, then the swift horse[2]. Lin Ye is the captain; I am but a crew.”

Like this, the meal finished in cups and cups of liquor, and small talks.

“Go cut us some fruit.” Master Lin ordered Lin Ye. He nodded and left with a gentle smile.

Master Lin talked to me smiling, looking at Lin Ye’s figure, “This kid lost his mom since young, so his temper is a bit strange. Please understand and tolerate him more.”

“We get along quite well.”

“Speaking of that friend of yours… I have talked to someone about him.”

A sudden uncontrollable quiver hit me, “How…How is it?”

“Don’t worry. Things can’t go wrong.”

“Thank you, Uncle Lin.” I bowed slightly to him from the chair.

“Do you blame Lin Ye?”

My expression froze for a moment, and I could almost sense his examining stare cutting and hurting my back.

I lowered my eyes and smiled, “What is there to blame him? It’s all my brother’s fault. If he can come out this time, I will surely punish him.”

Master Lin patted on my shoulder. I raised my eyes, and he looked as generous and kind as before, “Come visit often. You are always welcome.”

=======

The chilly wind gave me a shiver. Lin Ye was accompanying me on my walk home, as ordered by his father since I lived close to them.

The gravel path beneath my feet felt a bit rough. Lin Ye walked silently next to me and lit up a cigarette. The gloom on his face darkened the air around us.

He stared straight ahead as if he was not bothered to talk to me.

“So your dad dislikes you?” Since he was not willing to bring it up, I broke the silence.

“Shut up.”

“Considering our relationship, I was expecting him to get a butcher knife and chop me up. I even washed my neck to prepare myself for it.”

He leered at me fiercely, frowning.

I smiled in the darkness. A wave of cold wind attacked us. I took off my jacket and wrapped it around Lin Ye, “Don’t get cold, honey.”


Footnotes:

[1]The main seat: usually the seat in the middle facing the door, which is the seat where the most important person sits.

[2]This is from a quote of famous writer Han Yu in Tang Dynasty: Bo Le comes first, then the swift horses. Swift horses are common, but Bo Le is rare. (There are many talents in the world, but it is rare to find someone who can discover talents.) Bo Le is talented in recognizing swift horses. Bo Le = good talent agent, and swift horses = talents.


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