Along the way, Lin Ke’er was slightly absent-minded. She was a kindhearted person; although she was very afraid of Xiao Chen in school, she also secretly felt grateful to Xiao Chen. This was a contradictory mentality but seeing that Xiao Chen could pull himself up by relying on himself right now, Lin Ke’er truly felt happy for him.
However, who was that plump sister next to him? In the past, Tang Tang wasn’t well-known on the morning market street. Xiao Chen’s deep-fried breadstick’s popularity was also a matter in the recent several days and Lin Ke’er’s family’s vendor stall was relatively far away, so not knowing Tang Tang was normal.
“What are you thinking girl? What’s occupying your mind? Are you dating someone at school?” Lin Mu1 said while glaring when she saw Lin Ke’er standing there daydreaming and not helping with setting up the vendor.
“Ah……n……no……” Lin Ke’er was frightened back into her body and hastily began to help her mother set up the vendor.
“Don’t mess around, you hear me? Your old mother is counting on you to return with a wealthy son-in-law in the future!” Lin Mu snorted: “Do you hear me?”
“I……I understand……” Lin Ke’er lowered her head and bit her lower lip, thinking about Xiao Chen……her response to him was that he was allowed to pursue her, but was he a wealthy son-in-law? Perhaps in the past……now……
Suddenly, Lin Ke’er discovered that she seemed to be thinking too much. This was a matter that hadn’t even begun to take shape, what was she randomly thinking for? What’s more, this was only her wishful thinking. Perhaps Xiao Chen’s courting was just something that he had done out of entertainment?
After letting out a sigh, Lin Ke’er started helping her mother to select spinach while Lin Ke’er’s father, Lin Dongliang, also began heating up the beef soup……
The sales of Xiao Chen’s deep-fried breadsticks were on fire and that drove on the sales volume of the soft tofu. In the past, there was only soy milk, so maybe some people didn’t buy any2, but now that there was soft tofu, those who didn’t like drinking soy milk now had another option.
It was just that Xiao Chen was even busier; deep-frying breadsticks and honey fruit over here and helping Tang Tang make soft tofu over there, leaving him no time to raise his head, so he was bustling around with his head down for an entire morning.
However, Xiao Chen felt that it was very fulfilling. Although there wasn’t much money to be earned, at least he was working to earn money. Xiao Chen felt that in his 18 years of living, these were his most enriching days.
Today, Second High had their exams and First High as well, so Lin Ke’er could go to school a bit later. Up until 9 o’clock, she stuck it out without breakfast.
When the customers lessened a bit, she suddenly raised her head, pursed her lips, and said to Lin Mu: “Mom……I’m hungry, I want to eat some breakfast……”
“Eat breakfast? Eat what breakfast? Isn’t there banmian right here? If you want to eat, boil yourself a bowl!” Lin Mu wrinkled her brows.
“I want……to go eat something else……” Lin Ke’er lowered her head, not daring to look at her mother as she spoke in a low voice.
“Something else? Your own home has stuff yet you want to eat something else? You think your family is very wealthy? You’re a rich second-generation, yes?” Lin Mu instantly pulled her face when she heard Lin Ke’er’s words.
“Settle down, wife, if Ke’er wants to eat, let her eat. It’s not a lot of money anyway.” Lin Dongliang took out 10 RMB from the money box, thought for a bit, then took out an extra 5 RMB and gave it to Lin Ke’er while saying: “Go, girl, it isn’t too busy right now.”
“You’re spoiling our child!” Lin Mu was a little unhappy seeing Lin Dongliang giving Lin Ke’er money, but didn’t go stop it again.
Lin Ke’er knew her home’s circumstances. Although they couldn’t be considered the worst on the morning market street, they absolutely weren’t considered well-off. They were a double unemployed family that depended on the morning market street meagerness to make a living. Luckily, Lin Ke’er’s grades were outstanding and was able to receive at least a 1,000 RMB scholarship every exam. Otherwise, she probably would have already dropped out of school.
Yet, in Lin Ke’er’s eyes, even if her family was in harder conditions, it wouldn’t be as hard as Xiao Chen’s condition. He had been driven out of his clan and had no source of income. In every single possibility, it was impossible for an aloof young master like him to come to the morning market street to sell breakfast. How much pain was a young master like him, who attached so much importance to face, suffering?
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After a moment of hesitation, Lin Ke’er placed the baseball cap that she usually used when boiling noodles onto her head. She didn’t want Xiao Chen to see her; she feared injuring Xiao Chen’s self-esteem.
In the past, he was that arrogant; now, he degenerated to this state. Wasn’t it clear that he wouldn’t want any acquaintances to see this3? Lin Ke’er simply wanted to silently aid him.
Lin Ke’er tightly grasped the 15 RMB in fear of losing it. She usually didn’t spend any money in school; she had a transportation card4 for commuting and a food card for the school cafeteria, so she usually didn’t have any money to place in her pockets.
When she arrived in the vicinity of Xiao Chen’s breakfast stall, she saw a mountain of finished deep-fried breadsticks on the vendor stand. She suddenly felt a pang of sympathy in her heart. In her opinion, Xiao Chen was a pampered5 young master, where could he have made breakfast before?
This deep-fried breadstick is definitely unpalatable, that’s why there’s so many that haven’t sold!
Actually, this was because Tang Tang prepared too much dough today. Moreover, it wasn’t mealtime at this moment, it was more of those going to work and going to school that were eating breakfast, the rush period between 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock. One would have to wait until noon for more guests.
Lin Ke’er didn’t directly walk over, but rather chose to walk over during the period of time when Xiao Chen was turned around to. She clenched her teeth, handed over 15 RMB to Tang Tang and said: “Give me one soy milk and with the remaining money……I want it all to be deep-fried breadstick.”
“Eh? You want so much?” Tang Tang stared blankly. One soy milk was 1 RMB, the remaining 14 RMB was to buy deep-fried breadsticks? Could all of this be eaten? How big was this person’s appetite? Tang Tang looked at Lin Ke’er’s dainty figure and gave a lot of salutes to her in her mind! If this was given to her, Tang Tang, and Xiao Chen to eat, they might be able to eat it, but……this person before her was also a rice bucket6? It didn’t seem like it.
“Umm……it’s for my entire family to eat!” Lin Ke’er also felt that her action was a bit shocking. Fearing Xiao Chen turning around, she hastily made up an excuse: “My family is also in the morning market, over there……”
“Oh……” Tang Tang nodded: “From the looks of your uniform, if you’re not in First High, that means you’re in Second High? We should be fellow students! Not only so, we are also people of the same trade, then I’ll give you a bit more. In any case, we won’t be sold out today and we have to take an exam soon.”
As she spoke, Tang Tang gave Lin Ke’er the quantity of almost three bowls of soymilk and 20 RMB’s worth of deep-fried breadstick.
“Thank you elder sister……you’re both in Second High?” Lin Ke’er carefully asked.
“En.” Tang Tang nodded. She didn’t recognize Lin Ke’er, but also didn’t guard against her.
Lin Ke’er saw that Xiao Chen was almost done and about to turn around, so she hastily took the stuff and turned to go: “Goodbye elder sister, I fear that my family over there is busy……”
“Oh, it’s no problem, see you.” Tang Tang didn’t suspect anything.
Xiao Chen turned around and immediately surprised to see the greater part of the deep-fried breadsticks gone from the stand: “So much was sold as I was putting things away?”
“En, a pretty and adorable younger sister’s family is also on the morning market street, so I gave a bit more.” Tang Tang replied.
“Oh.” Xiao Chen nodded and started to continue packing away the stuff.
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Lin Ke’er carried the soy milk and deep-fried breadstick back to her family’s banmian stand. When Lin Mu saw how much Lin Ke’er brought with her, she immediately stared blankly, then spoke furiously: “Dammit girl, why did you buy so much? You spent all the money?”
“I……I……I heard that their deep-fried breadstick and soy milk are quite delicious, so I bought more to give mom and dad a taste……” Lin Ke’er lowered her head and didn’t dare look at her mother; this was her first time lying to her parents. In her opinion, Xiao Chen’s deep-fried breadstick definitely wasn’t delicious, otherwise how could there be so many leftover unsold.
“15 RMB is how much 2 bowls of banmian sell for, you black sheep of the family!” Lin Mu angrily said.
“Alright, it’s our child’s filial piety. Moreover, 15 RMB being able to buy so much is very cost-effective. We also sell wheat-based food and if we calculate the costs, this is simply no profit on their side. We’ve gained 2-3 RMB from this 15 RMB!” Lin Dongliang mediated with a gentle chuckle: “Girl, let’s eat together!”
“En, en!” Lin Ke’er let out a sigh of relief, but felt confused in her heart. Her father turned her aid to Xiao Chen into filial piety towards him, making Lin Ke’er feel uncomfortable. It was like deceiving her parents, but she couldn’t tell the truth.
Lin Ke’er knew that if she did say it, her family would definitely misunderstand her for puppy love; wouldn’t that be like asking to be beaten?
At this time, Lin Mu carefully looked over the deep-fried breadstick and changed her previous black face, instead becoming all smiles: “You really shouldn’t have spoke. They really gave a lot, I just happened to be hungry.”
When Lin Ke’er saw her mother not angry, she promptly looked for three bowls and poured the soy milk in them. Then, she picked up a deep-fried breadstick and sat on the side, eating in silence.
But after one bite, Lin Ke’er was instantly shocked! This deep-fried breadstick’s way of deep-frying was flexible and crisp, the heat control didn’t need to be said, there wasn’t any extra oil, and it left behind a lingering aromatic aftertaste!
This was the deep-fried breadstick that Xiao Chen deep-fried? Lin Ke’er originally thought that the deep-fried breadsticks weren’t delicious because they weren’t selling out, but she didn’t expect it to be this delicious, it truly made her feel that it was inconceivable.
“Huh? It really can’t be seen about how truly delicious this deep-fried breadstick is.” Lin Dongliang took a bite and praised it to high heaven: “Where did you buy this?”
“In the front, a plump elder sister sells it, it seems like she’s also a student.” Lin Ke’er responded: “She saw that I was also a student, so she gave me a lot more.”
“That’s great, you’ll go buy again tomorrow!” It wasn’t strange for Lin Mu to want to benefit from others because it would be out of question if she wasn’t careful with money with their noodle business: “Our family eating noodles all the time isn’t good, we should occasionally change flavors!”
“Oh……” Lin Ke’er actually couldn’t get herself to be happy. Although her mother allowed her to go buy again tomorrow, could she still go buy so much? It was probably not possible; when that happened, her mother definitely wouldn’t let her go buy in the future.
These deep-fried breadsticks seemed to be a lot, but it wasn’t much for a family of three. In particular, Lin Dongliang and Lin Mu naturally had a large food capacity with such a labor-intensive job in the early morning.
“I’m done eating, I’ll be going to school……” Lin Ke’er was very happy to see Xiao Chen today, but also a little nervous. Xiao Chen had transformed and was no longer that young master that didn’t shrink from any crime. Then……if he wants to pursue me, how should I respond to him?
Indeed, in Lin Ke’er’s eyes, the Xiao Chen in the past didn’t shrink from any crime and this was the reason why she was very scared of Xiao Chen.
Lin Ke’er was a bit worried about personal gains and losses.
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- TLN: Lin Mu can also mean ‘mother Lin’ and ‘Mother Lin’ is the term LNMTL uses by the way. I will be using Lin Mu as a temporary name for Lin Ke’er’s mother, I guess. I might change after I find out what her real name is. ↩
- TLN: Refers to deep-fried breadstick. ↩
- TLN: Meanwhile, he’s like I give no craps. Pretty obvious from the attitude he gave Chen Jinpeng. ↩
- TLN: Term used here is ‘一卡通’ which is a Beijing transportation card (subway & bus), but I generalized it to transportation card because language barriers. As for me, I live in NYC, so I go by metrocard(which I’m not going to use as a term). ↩
- TLN: The phrase used here is ‘衣来伸手饭来张口’ which has the literal meaning of ‘clothes come, hands out; food comes, mouth open’ but can be translated into pampered because that’s basically the description of these actions. That is: when the clothes comes, the person just needs to dress; when the food comes, the person just needs to open his/her mouth to eat. ↩
- TLN: A way to call someone a glutton or useless. ↩
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