The vinegar at home had just run out, so Tang Cuo took some change and went to the supermarket, which was just a few steps away from downstairs.
He didn’t bring his phone when he went out.
The phone he left on the sofa kept ringing, one after another.
At first, Tang Xu ignored it, but seeing the persistence, he thought there might be an emergency, so he walked out of the kitchen.
He picked up the phone and saw that it was a number without a name displayed.
After a brief thought, he answered.
Tang Xu greeted, but there was no sound on the other end.
Tang Xu was puzzled, so he asked again.
“Hello, Tang Cuo’s phone is not with him now.
Do you have something urgent to tell him?”
In the car, Tang Yishan looked at Xiang Wan with one eye and didn’t speak, using his eyes to ask her what was wrong.
Xiang Wan blinked, lowered her eyes, and suppressed the waves of shock and fear in her heart.
“Hello, I am Tang Cuo’s mother.
I came to the school to look for him but he is not here.
Can I ask where he is now?”
Even Tang Xu was taken aback by this sudden situation.
Tang Xu thought for a moment and said, “Ms.
Xiang, I am Tang Xu.
I don’t know if you still remember me.
Tang Cuo is with me now, but he has gone out.
Do you want to see him?”
Xiang Wan was stunned.
Of course, she remembered this name.
After hanging up the phone, Tang Yishan pulled Xiang Wan, who was lost in thought, and asked, “What’s wrong?”
Xiang Wan bit her lip and took a deep breath.
“Cuo Cuo, and…”
She couldn’t decide on the right word because she couldn’t tell whether it was more shocking that Tang Cuo was living with a man or that he was living with Tang Xu.
“He’s living with a man, and that man is Tang Xu.
Yes, the same Tang Xu you were thinking of.”
Tang Yishan was also stunned after hearing this.
“Wait a minute, are you sure they’re living together? It’s dinner time now; maybe they’re just having a meal together, right?”
With a click of her tongue, Xiang Wan said, “Your son doesn’t stay at school much.
He came back home with me during the weekend and brought a bunch of new clothes that he hasn’t taken back to school yet.
Now,” Xiang Wan raised her wrist to check her watch, “it’s 7:02.
I called your son’s phone, and a man named Tang Xu answered.
This man lived with your son seven or eight years ago.
Comrade Tang Yishan, can you now deduce the current relationship between your son and this man named Tang Xu?”
Tang Yishan stared blankly, then took a deep breath and said heavily, “No solution.
Tell me the address.”
On the other side, Tang Cuo had just come back with a bottle of vinegar, humming a tune as he walked in the door.
However, he saw Tang Xu sitting on the sofa with his arms crossed.
“What are you doing?” Tang Cuo asked strangely as he changed his shoes.
Tang Xu looked at him and slowly reached out a hand towards him.
Tang Cuo walked over, confused, and was pulled to sit next to him.
“Your phone was ringing just now, and I was afraid it was something urgent, so I answered it for you.” Tang Xu pursed his lips.
“There was no caller ID, but when I answered it, I found out it was your mother looking for you.”
Tang Cuo’s eyes widened suddenly, and he couldn’t speak properly.
“My, my mother?”
He swallowed and asked in a soft voice, “And then?”
“They are at the school and want to see you.
I don’t think my house is a good place, and you haven’t eaten yet, so we arranged to meet at a restaurant near the school.
We need to prepare and go now.”
Tang Xu stood up first.
I was also thinking about finding a chance to explain the situation to your parents.
Tang Cuo, on the other hand, didn’t move and looked at him with a pitiful expression.
Tang Xu patted his head and reassured him, “It’s okay; leave it to me.
Let’s go; we shouldn’t keep them waiting too long.”
Unable to help it, Tang Cuo hesitated and said, “My legs are weak…”
The two looked at each other for two seconds, and Tang Xu suddenly burst out laughing.
“You’re such a coward.”
He half-helped and half-carried Tang Cuo up, and before they left, Tang Xu remembered the phone call earlier and asked, “Why didn’t you save your mom’s phone number?”
Tang Cuo put on a mournful face while changing shoes.
“If I saved it as ‘Mom,’ what if my phone gets stolen and someone uses it to scam my mom?”
Tang Xu had always been fearless since he was young, so he naturally didn’t think about this.
“…Your sense of precaution is quite strong.”
“What He Zhong told me…” Tang Cuo felt a bit wronged.
If he hadn’t listened to He Zhong, things wouldn’t have escalated so quickly.
In no time, the two arrived at the restaurant they had agreed on.
Before getting off the car, Tang Cuo grabbed Tang Xu’s hand.
“Let’s say it together later.”
“Okay,” Tang Xu squeezed his hand back.
“They’re your parents, so don’t be nervous.”
They walked into a small private room, where Tang Cuo’s parents were already seated.
Two cups of tea had been placed in front of them, empty at the bottom.
Speaking of which, Tang Xu had considered for a long time how to address Xiang Wan and Tang Yishan earlier.
In the end, he still followed the previous form of address, “Mr.
Tang” and “Mrs.
As soon as the four of them sat down, the waiter began serving dishes.
Xiang Wan said to Tang Cuo, “I heard that you haven’t eaten yet.
I was afraid you’d be hungry, so I ordered dishes that you like.”
It was an innocuous statement, but Tang Xu could sense the attitude behind it.
The private room had a small round table, with Tang Cuo sitting next to Xiang Wan and Tang Xu on the other side.
Tang Cuo reached out and held Xiang Wan’s hand, rubbing it twice, his eyes full of remorse.
Xiang Wan patted his hand and said, “Let’s eat first.”
Contrary to what Tanguo had expected, this meal was surprisingly similar to their usual gatherings.
Apart from him, the other three people exchanged greetings and talked about their respective jobs.
Tang Yishan and Xiang Wan were both in engineering and could talk quite a bit about their work, making them colleagues with Tang Xu.
In the end, it was Tang Yishan who brought up the topic they were all curious about.
When everyone had finished eating, he picked up a cold dish and asked, “We didn’t know that you two had reconnected.
How did that happen?”
Actually, Tang Cuo is a person with a soft heart.
Tang Yishan’s words made him feel guilty, as if he had become a deceiver.
He quickly explained, “I didn’t really mean to hide it from you; I just haven’t figured out how to tell you yet.”
Xiang Wan patted him and didn’t say anything.
Tang Yishan sat there with a polite smile, looking at Tang Xu.
Tang Xu put down his chopsticks and spoke up.
“I teach at the University of Science and Technology.
After Tang Cuo’s third year, I met him again.
We are together now, and when he doesn’t have to rush to class the next day, we live together.”
Smart people usually have two ways of talking with each other: either indirectly and circuitously or straightforwardly and bluntly.
Faced with parents who care about their child and are such logical thinkers, it is obviously necessary to take the direct approach to increase their favorability—briefly explain the situation and firmly express your attitude.
“I understand that because of my gender and identity, it will be difficult for you to accept.
I have no right to describe Tang Cuo’s feelings for me, but I would like to declare my feelings for him first.
I love him very much; he is my first love and will be my last.
Tang and Mrs.
Xiang, we have known each other for a long time, and I have evaluated you before.
Now I hope you can evaluate me as well.
I hope to get your approval and permission, because I want to be with him in the future, to accompany him and take care of him.”
Throughout the entire conversation, Xiang Wan remained silent.
After Tang Xu finished speaking, she slowly raised her head, looking at Tang Xu with an almost scrutinising gaze.
After a moment, she spoke up: “I do find it difficult to accept.
Tang, I am extremely grateful to you for entrusting Cuo Cuo to us.
Thank you for giving us such a good child.
I don’t know if I have been a competent mother all these years, but today, I’m afraid I have to intervene appropriately.”
She also put down her chopsticks with a light clatter, but the sound made Tang Cuo think of the shocking wood in ancient courtrooms.
“I want to ask you a few questions,” Xiang Wan continued.
Tang Cuo was about to speak, but Tang Xu interrupted him.
“Please go ahead and ask.”
“When you handed Cuo Cuo over to us, he was still a child, as you said, and you had just reunited for a year.
So when did you start liking him or loving him?”
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, in the following conversation, Xiang Wan dropped the honorific titles.
Tang Cuo didn’t notice, but Tang Xu did.
In fact, Xiang Wan had thought about this question many times herself.
She believed that in the future, whenever she told any friend about her relationship with Tang Cuo, this would be one of their points of concern.
However, Tang Cuo, as one of the parties involved and the person most qualified to care about this question, had never asked her about it.
Following his thoughts, he unconsciously looked at Tang Cuo, who happened to be looking at him too.
“Although I am almost ten years older than him, to be honest, I have no experience in love.
I cannot accurately define the boundary between love and not-love in terms of time.
What I can say is that my feelings for him now are genuine love, not anything else.”
Tang Cuo had never thought about this question before.
He listened to Tang Xu’s solemn words, his blood boiling and not quite calm.
He also wanted to explain his thoughts, but was stopped by Xiang Wan.
“Okay, let’s talk about your thoughts when we get back, okay?”
“But I,” he glanced at Tang Xu and then turned to Xiang Wan, “just wanted to say that I love him too.”
Tang Yishan sighed at this point, looking at Xiang Wan’s unfriendly expression, and raised a hand to signal Tang Cuo to stop talking.
Until they packed up and left, Xiang Wan didn’t say anything.
When they walked out of the restaurant, Tang Yishan asked Tang Cuo where he was going.
At this point, Tang Cuo didn’t dare say that he was going to Tang Xu’s house.
He obediently replied, “Back to school.”
Xiang Wan nodded and then spoke again: “Alright, let’s go then.
Get in the car, and we’ll give you a ride.”
Tang Cuo leaned over Xiang Wan’s shoulder to look for Tang Xu, who nodded and mouthed something to him.
The atmosphere in the car remained overly quiet, with both Xiang Wan and Tang Cuo sitting in the back seat.
Tang Cuo leaned on his arm and moved closer to Xiang Wan, whispering, “Mom, I’m sorry.”
Xiang Wan shifted her gaze from the window to Tang Cuo’s face and forced a smile, which seemed a bit forced.
“Cuo Cuo, you should have told us earlier.”
Tang Cuo knew he had no grounds to argue, so after a brief silence, he continued to mutter, “I’m sorry.”
Before getting off the car, Xiang Wan stopped him.
“I said you should have told me earlier, not because I wanted to stop you.
It’s just that I feel like you were probably the weaker one in this relationship.
As parents, we always hope our children can get the best, and love is no exception.
If you had told us earlier, we could have helped you and protected you.”
Tang Cuo didn’t expect that’s what Xiang Wan would say.
He couldn’t find the right words to respond for a moment and looked at Xiang Wan with tears in his eyes, as if he were foolish.
He always thought Xiang Wan was very gentle—not the gentleness of a Jiangnan woman, but the kind of gentleness that made him feel warmth in his heart.
Perhaps a mother’s eyes were always a special word, describing a feeling that belonged only to each child, different from each other but with a similar power.
“If you find someone who can accompany you for a lifetime, then your dad and I will definitely be happy.
But Mom is afraid because this person is too special to you.
I’m afraid—what if he’s not the one, What if you’re wrong?”
Having said that, Xiang Wan didn’t continue.
She rubbed Tang Cuo’s palm and said, “So, we want to help you and make sure everything is okay.
Don’t think we’re nagging.”
“I don’t think so.” Tang Cuo hurriedly said, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault.
I should have told you earlier, but I was afraid you couldn’t accept it, and I was afraid you would be angry, so I kept putting it off…”
Whenever facing Xiang Wan, Tang Cuo would become very emotional.
Xiang Wan touched his cheek and said, “Alright, why cry over this matter, young man.
Go back and rest.”
Tang Cuo rubbed his eyes hard and then leaned over, extending his arms tightly around Xiang Wan.
When he got off the car, Xiang Wan wiped the corner of her eyes and calmly said to Tang Yishan, “Let’s go.
let’s go back and find Tang Xu.”
Tang Yishan held the steering wheel and sighed, “You are all old foxes, but my son is a little white rabbit.
You even said those things that made him cry.”
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