The He family belonged to an ordinary family that lived in an upper middle-class community. It was almost six o’clock when Su Fu drove into the community parking. During summer vacation, cram schools were very busy. Su Fu had classes all morning and afternoon.
His current job was working as an English teacher at an educational institution. He earned a good salary by teaching remedial classes. He lost his previous job at No. 1 Middle School in City A several years back. A few months after he entered the He family, the school received report that he was gay and dismissed him. After that, several other middle schools in City A also heard the news and refused to hire him.
During that time, He Shaoqi rose to the position of marketing manager at a Duan Group branch. Since he was so happy, Su Fu didn’t show much negative emotion about his job loss and went to work at an educational institution within a month. In fact, during that time, his heart felt very uncomfortable. He lost a decent job and was ridiculed by mother He. It wasn’t too much to say that he was near emotional collapse, but no one comforted him. No one talked to him. So, he had to endure it.
When he reached the door upstairs, Su Fu paused in front of the door. He felt confused and helpless.
To be honest, he didn’t want to go in at all. For him, this family never gave him a sense of warmness, only fatigue and pain. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to leave, but he and He Shaoqi had been together for almost ten years. After his birthday this year, it would be a full ten years. Even if his feelings were gradually consumed by the tiredness of life, he didn’t want to give up. Besides, they now had Juan Juan. Father He and mother He didn’t have much affection for Juan Juan. After the freshness passed, they became bored with him. In He Shaoqi’s eyes, Juan Juan was just an explanation for his parents. They didn’t have much affection. Su Fu felt distressed and couldn’t bear to leave him at this home.
Before the exhaustion of his entire body and the confusion in his mind were relieved, the faint cry of a child inside made Su Fu feel tight. He took the key to open the door without regard to his personal reluctance of entering.
As soon as the door opened, Juan Juan’s cries were heard in Su Fu’s ears. He felt as if his heart had been tugged at. In the living room, mother He was sitting on the sofa, her hands hadn’t stopped hitting Juan Juan.
Su Fu hurried over to seize the child and coaxed him lovingly into his arms.
“Don’t cry Juan Juan. Little dad comes back, don’t cry.” (T/N: little dad refers to Su Fu)
When the child reached Su Fu’s arms, it seemed that he had found some emotional support. The crying immediately subsided, but tears continued to flow out. His little face was buried on Su Fu’s shoulder while his little hand tightly clutched Su Fu’s clothes.
Mother He saw one big one and one small one being like this, her face became very ugly. The dissatisfaction on her face was visibly naked.
Su Fu calmed down the child before going to see mother He. He forced down the anger in his heart and asked in a conciliatory way: “What did he do to make aunt angry? Such a small child couldn’t bear the beating.”
“Naughty children like to play and play without looking. Do you see how many cups and bowls he broke! You will contact a nursery tomorrow to send the child there. I don’t have time to watch him at home!”
Mother He’s voice was very sharp, especially when she was scolding people. It sounded very uncomfortable. Su Fu lowered his eyes and patted the child’s back. He was the cleverest and most obedient child Su Fu had ever seen. The child was two years old when he was brought back. He was young but still understood something. He probably knew that he was an orphan. Therefore, after coming to this house, he always behaved cleverly and didn’t give the adults any trouble. Mother He said that he was being naughty. It’s clearly impossible.
Su Fu chose not to argue with mother He on this issue. Juan Juan was only three years old now. He had been living in an orphanage since childhood. Sending him to a nursery now would definitely cause harm to his psychology, which Su Fu couldn’t agree with.
“Juan Juan can enter a small class next year. If aunt doesn’t have time, I’ll take him with me. There’s no need for the nursery. The child will be afraid.”
Mother He glanced at Su Fu but said nothing for a moment. Then she coldly spoke, “Shaoqi is working overtime tonight. You can make your own dinner.”
Having said that, she ignored Su Fu and went back to her room.
In general, only when He Shaoqi came home to eat would Su Fu eat with father He and mother He. As long as He Shaoqi didn’t come back to eat, father He and mother He would eat first. They wouldn’t wait for Su Fu. Su Fu had long been accustomed to this and became numb.
After seeing mother He returning to her room and closing the door, Su Fu kissed Juan Juan’s forehead. He held the still sobbing child back to his small room.
The He family’s apartment had four rooms, two living rooms, one kitchen and one bathroom. One of the room belonged to father He and mother He. The second was shared by Su Fu and He Shaoqi. The last two were a study and a mahjong room. The mahjong room was the place where mother He invited friends to have fun. Since she adopted Juan Juan, she had to change the mahjong room into Juan Juan’s room. For this reason, mother He hadn’t been happy for a long time.
After placing Juan Juan on the bed, Su Fu went to soak a towel in warm water to wipe the child’s face. The child had stopped crying and was sitting very cleverly beside Su Fu.
The child was brought back by the He family. He naturally took their surname. He was called He Sujuan because the child had soft curly hair. This child with the He surname wasn’t close to the He family, but to Su Fu. This child was very sensitive. Whoever was good or bad to him, his heart was clear.
After washing the child’s face and hands, Su Fu took off his little pants and looked at his red buttocks to make sure that he wasn’t hurt except for a little redness.
While holding the child in his arms and gently rubbing his soft curly hair, Su Fu asked softly, “Juan Juan, tell little dad why she beat you?”
The child held Su Fu’s finger in his small hand and looked trustingly at his little dad before whispering with his red eyes: “Grandma was gone, was alone, thirsty, want to pour water and drop a lot of bowls. Then grandma got angry and hit Juan Juan.”
Juan Juan came from an orphanage. No one liked him much except for Su Fu after he entered the He family. The child appeared quiet. It’s possible that he was somewhat autistic and not very talkative at ordinary times. Now he was three years old. Many children were fluent in their speech. But when Juan Juan spoke long sentences, he still stumbled.
Su Fu listened patiently to the children’s milky voice. He understood what Juan Juan meant. Mother He went out to play by herself. She left Juan Juan alone at home. He was thirsty and climbed on the stool to get a cup of water in the cupboard. When he took the cup, he knocked over several cups and bowls in the cupboard.
“Does grandma usually leave you alone at home?”
Juan Juan carefully looked at Su Fu with his eyes, then nodded with injustice.
Su Fu’s heart was in turmoil. He felt very uncomfortable. Which of the three-year-old children in other families weren’t always accompanied by several adults for fear that something might happen to them? But what about this child? Who clamored to adopt a child in the beginning, but now left such a small child alone?!
Juan Juan wrinkled his face and looked at the silent Su Fu.
Su Fu reluctantly smiled and kissed the child’s face. “How about little dad take care of you?”
There was a flash of light in the child’s eyes and he asked expectantly, “Can it be? Will little dad always be with me?”
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Su Fu replied softly: “Yes, little dad will always be with you.”
“But Grandma said that little dad is going to have a younger brother. Wouldn’t you stop caring about Juan Juan?” The voice of this saying was very small. All children were afraid of being abandoned as long as they thought about it.
Su Fu’s smiling face collapsed. He was silent for a moment. When the child couldn’t wait for the answer and wanted to cry, Su Fu gently rubbed the child’s head again.
“Little dad won’t give birth to a younger brother, nor will he stop caring about Juan Juan. Juan Juan will always be my little baby.”
It’s ridiculous for a man to have a child or to have a uterus transplant. There’s no precedent in the world for a man to transplant a uterus in order to give birth. Su Fu didn’t want to be the first one to do this, just to satisfy a person who regarded him as an eyesore.
When the child heard Su Fu’s answer, he finally showed a sweet smile and nestled contentedly in Su Fu’s arms.
“Juan Juan, have you had dinner?”
Juan Juan shook his head and whispered that he was hungry, as if it was a great sin.
Mother He really calculated him?! She wouldn’t even prepare dinner for such a small child?!
Su Fu’s heart stirred again, but he endured it. He touched his little head and asked, “Is it okay for little dad to cook noodles?”
“Okay, Juan Juan likes everything little dad cooks.”
The weather was still very hot, even at night. Su Fu first turned on the air conditioner in Juan Juan’s room, then took the child to the kitchen to cook a bowl of beef noodles. Afterward, both father and son held a bowl of hot beef noodles to slurp and eat together in Juan Juan’s small room.
After washing the pot and bowls, Su Fu went to take a bath for Juan Juan. Once he took care of Juan Juan, he went back to his room to take a bath and sleep.
At 9 o’clock in the evening, Su Fu was lying in bed. Before long, He Shaoqi came back. Su Fu looked at the time. He came back more than an hour earlier than before.
He Shaoqi was very tired. He pulled off his tie and fell on the bed.
“Have you had dinner? Do you want me to cook noodles for you?” Su Fu sat up and asked him.
“No, I have eaten.” He Shaoqi rubbed his temples to relieve fatigue.
Seeing that he was tired, Su Fu said nothing more: “You’re tired. I’ll get a towel to wipe your face.”
Su Fu had some regrets. He didn’t know when it started. When he saw He Shaoqi coming home, his heart was no longer as happy as when he was first in love. Maybe such feeling was diluted by time. Maybe it was eroded by daily livings.
Just as he was about to get up and get out of bed, He Shaoqi grabbed Su Fu’s hand. “I’ll just take a shower myself later. I have something to tell you.”
He Shaoqi sat up and leaned against the bed.
Su Fu nodded and sat cross-legged beside him.
He Shaoqi was probably considering his wording. He wasn’t in a hurry to speak. He just held Su Fu’s hand, pinched then looked at it. Nearly ten years later, both of them were almost in their thirties. Because of his long-term use of pens to write, his Su Fu’s fingers had given birth to cocoons. They were no longer as slender and soft as when they were first in love. He Shaoqi’s eyes stayed on Su Fu’s hand for a while. He finally frowned slightly and let go.
Su Fu didn’t miss He Shaoqi’s frown. He couldn’t say what it was like in his heart. He didn’t feel well, but he was already numb. He withdrew his hand and placed it on his knee while twitching slightly. Then he didn’t feel comfortable and held it in his other hand while waiting for He Shaoqi’s words.
“As for the matter that Mom said earlier about having a child via uterus transplant. I have checked it out. Mom wasn’t making it up. The largest hospital, Linshi, is indeed studying the possibility of a uterus transplant and men giving birth to children. They need volunteers. The process will be free of charge.”
After hearing this, Su Fu’s heart thumped. He thought that the matter was over, but he didn’t expect it to come back.
Su Fu lowered his eyes. “Why do you want to do this? If aunt wants a grandchild, she can just go abroad to find a surrogate.”
“IVF, surrogacy, these I have thought about, but as you know, my mother’s heart is very stuffy. These channels of having children in her eyes are unfamiliar. She doesn’t know their origin and the cost is too high. Besides, wouldn’t the child have nothing to do with you? This isn’t fair to you.”
Was it fair for you to let a man enter a research with unknown degree of danger to have a child? Su Fu was silent and felt mixed in his heart. In fact, He Shaoqi was really a filial son. In his heart, Su Fu would never be better than mother He. He Shaoqi would agree to the death of him one day because of mother He.
He Shaoqi saw that Su Fu wasn’t happy and didn’t force him anymore. He touched his tightly held hands and said in a soft tone: “Don’t worry, you should think more about this matter. You don’t have to answer in a hurry.”
After He Shaoqi said this, he approached Su Fu and raised his head to kiss him on the lips. While kissing, he slowly put Su Fu down on the bed.
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Feeling He Shaoqi’s kiss from his lips all the way down his neck, Su Fu was stiff. In fact, they had done very little in the past year or two. The last time should be a few months ago. Su Fu felt a little uncomfortable because of their closeness now.
Su Fu lifted up his head and let He Shaoqi kiss him, but his hands held the sheets as if he didn’t know where to put them. His heart was a little tangled. He felt strange since they hadn’t done it for a long time. But it’s rare that He Shaoqi was interested. Maybe, this was also an opportunity to warm up their feelings. Su Fu didn’t want his coldness to break He Shaoqi interest.
After adapting for a while, Su Fu raised his hand to take off He Shaoqi’s clothes. But when He Shaoqi’s shirt was half taken off, he suddenly saw deep and shallow bite marks on his shoulder. Su Fu’s entire body felt like a basin of cold water was poured on him. He was cold all over, especially in his heart.
He Shaoqi was having an affair. Su Fu was vaguely aware of it last year. At that time, he was still deluding himself. Maybe it was just a need for social activities at work. He wasn’t sure and hadn’t dared to ask. But now that he saw the bite marks, he understood everything.
His eyes began to turn red. Su Fu endured it and pushed aside He Shaoqi, who was in high spirits.
He Shaoqi was at his fiery point and was puzzled by Su Fu’s push. “What’s the matter?”
“I’m not in a good mood today. I’ll sleep with Juan Juan.” Gathering his pajamas, Su Fu got up and left the bed.
He Shaoqi grabbed Su Fu’s hand. His face was a little heavy. “What are you doing? I’m all like this, and you just leave?!”
Su Fu stood for a while. He looked at the hand caught by He Shaoqi. After a period of silence, he finally couldn’t resist and finally asked a difficult question that had been hovering in his heart for a long time.
“Shaoqi, do you still love me?”
Su Fu’s voice was very light. It floated into He Shaoqi’s ear like a feather but crashed into his heart like a hammer, making him uncomfortable.
He Shaoqi frowned and testily tugged at his shirt. He got out of bed and stood in front of Su Fu. “What’s the matter with you recently? The more you nag, the more you’re like a woman. “
Su Fu’s heart jumped. The coldness in his heart spread to its apex. He wasn’t a quarrelsome person, but his heart felt very bitter, bitter to the extreme. Even the corners of his mouth couldn’t help but curl out a wry smile. Since he entered the He family, he had been doing this and that like a wife every day. If he continued to endure, he would live more and more like a woman.
“I’ll go to take care of Juan Juan.”
In the end, Su Fu said nothing and left in silence.
He Shaoqi watched Su Fu leave. He blanked out for a moment. Then he tore off his clothes and fell bitterly on the bed. He felt irritated and kicked the bed angrily.
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