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Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Ji Bie felt a bit sleepy when he returned to his room, so he took a nap. Just as he put on his clothes, the maid knocked on the door and softly invited him to the main hall for the New Year’s Eve dinner.

With many people coming for the New Year, the rooms were arranged by generation. The younger generation of the Duan family and relatives mostly stayed in the side building, but Duan Zhu and Duan Yuan lived in the main building. Ji Bie was assigned to a guest room deep inside the third floor of the side building, quite far from the main hall.

Ji Bie checked his phone and saw a message from Duan Weiran. She lived on the second floor and asked Ji Bie when he would leave and if he wanted to go together.

Ji Bie remembered the strength with which Duan Zhu had pinched his ankle earlier, so he didn’t dare to appear in the main hall with Duan Weiran rashly.

He didn’t reply to the message and went to the main hall first. There were already over ten people sitting around the large dinner table. Duan Zhu and Duan Yuan were sitting beside Mr. Duan, next to their grandparents.

Ji Bie greeted everyone politely and tactfully found a seat in a corner. After a while, Duan Weiran entered with her parents. She glanced at Ji Bie and deliberately sat down next to him.

“Why didn’t you reply to my message?” Duan Weiran asked him.

Ji Bie pretended to be clueless. “I just didn’t check my phone.”

As soon as he finished speaking, his phone vibrated in his pocket.

Duan Weiran chuckled, and Ji Bie took out his phone to check. It was a message from Duan Zhu: “Come over.”

Ji Bie glanced at Duan Zhu, who was also looking at him. Ji Bie lowered his head and replied, “Not today.”

“Tomorrow then?” Duan Zhu quietly messaged him back.

“You said you’re only staying for a day. Shouldn’t you take me wherever I want to go, Young Master?” Ji Bie replied, then smiled and stared at Duan Zhu. Seeing Duan Zhu quickly lower his head and glance at his phone before looking back at Ji Bie, Ji Bie knew he hit a nerve.

Mr. Duan noticed Duan Zhu’s actions, tapped the table with his fingertips, reminding Duan Zhu to mind his manners. Duan Zhu put away his phone and didn’t send any more messages.

“Ji Bie,” Duan Weiran called him.

Ji Bie also put away his phone, turned to Duan Weiran, and said, “Yes?” She didn’t say anything else.

The clock struck six times, and the servants began to serve food and pour wine. The New Year’s Eve dinner was about to begin.

Old Father Duan saw that the wine had been poured, raised his glass, and seemed to remember something. He put it down and paused the meal, saying to his wife, “Don’t you have something to do?”

“Oh,” Old Mother Duan smiled and said to Duan Zhu, “Xiao Zhu, come over here.”

Duan Zhu stood up, walked to the main seat, respectfully bowed and spoke to his grandmother. After a few words with his grandmother, she patted his hand and turned to the people at the table, saying, “Time flies. The eldest child in our family is going to join the company this year. As everyone knows, my husband and I treat our family members equally. However, if everything big and small in the family is divided equally, it will be chaotic. So, it’s better to clarify some things early on. Xiao Zhu is about to go to college soon. What your father passed down to you from me will be handed over to you earlier. You should learn well from your father. As for the other younger generations in our family, if they are willing to follow Duan Zhu, they should follow him well.”

“This is the talisman your grandfather and I prepared for you, with the longest-lasting pearl inside,” Mrs. Duan took out a small red velvet pouch and placed it in Duan Zhu’s hand, “It can ward off disasters for you. Keep it hidden and carry it with you.”

Duan Zhu closed his palm, nodding solemnly, and carefully put it away.

Ji Bie rested his chin on his hand, observing the expressions of the people at the table, finding it quite interesting. Mr. Duan and the other parents seemed to already know about it, only Mrs. Duan’s face changed slightly, her lips turning pale, appearing somewhat surprised.

Mr. Duan’s second brother was the first to stand up and toast Duan Zhu, saying to let Duan Zhu take care of his cousin a bit, not to mind his dullness.

During the New Year’s Eve dinner, everyone toasted with Duan Zhu, except for Ji Bie.

Ji Bie had always been like an invisible person. Whether he was polite or impolite, his actions would go unnoticed.

After dinner, the scheduled program began. According to Mr. Duan’s rules, everyone had to gather in the main building to watch the CCTV New Year’s Gala, followed by another meal of New Year’s tangyuan, completing the set of festivities.

Ji Bie didn’t enjoy watching these things. He quickly fell asleep, knowing that nobody would pay attention to him anyway. He slipped back to his room to sleep before ten o’clock.

He had slept for a while when his phone woke him up with a flurry of messages from friends wishing him Happy New Year. Ji Bie checked the time—it was nearly midnight. Just as he was about to reply to the messages, there were three knocks on the door. Ji Bie went to open it, and in came the future head of the Duan family, not looking cool at all.

It was clear he had come secretly.

“Why does the Young Master have time to visit me?” Ji Bie asked knowingly.

Duan Zhu turned off the ceiling light in Ji Bie’s room, leaving only a warm glow from the wall lamp.

Ji Bie was handsome, with long eyes and slightly upturned corners, and his lips were pale pink and thin. They would only turn red and slightly moist with desire after being kissed by Duan Zhu for a long time, giving off a hint of longing and vitality that captivated people’s attention.

Duan Zhu enveloped Ji Bie, holding him in his arms, and shared a lingering kiss that spanned the New Year. Duan Zhu was warm all over, with not a single soft spot on his body. His eyes had a mature steadiness that seemed to exceed his actual age, as if he were always ready to face any challenge.

And today was one of the most important days of Duan Zhu’s life. Everyone wanted to find him, talk to him, but here he was running to Ji Bie’s annex building room at midnight, kissing him until the distant clock tower chimed the first sound of the new year, and he didn’t leave.

“I still want to spend New Year with you.” Duan Zhu only moved a little, and Ji Bie leaned softly against the wall, looking at Duan Zhu.

“I have to stay here this year,” Duan Zhu said. “Tomorrow, I have to go out with Grandpa and Grandma.”

Ji Bie nodded. “Go ahead, don’t worry.”

“Next year,” Duan Zhu kissed Ji Bie’s face, “I’ll take you out. Be good tonight and don’t hang around with Duan Weiran.”

Ji Bie smiled, and Duan Zhu said seriously again, “You’re a year older now, know your limits.”

Ji Bie hugged Duan Zhu’s waist and said he understood.

The window in Ji Bie’s room wasn’t closed, and the maid’s voice calling for Duan Zhu came from outside. Ji Bie looked up and said to Duan Zhu, “They’re all looking for you, Young Master.”

Duan Zhu asked if Ji Bie wanted to go eat tangyuan together. Ji Bie didn’t want to, and Duan Zhu didn’t insist. He kissed Ji Bie’s face before leaving.

After a while, the maid knocked on the door, holding a plate with a bowl of tangyuan on it. She said it was sent up by the Young Master. Ji Bie watched her put the tangyuan on the table, then leave and close the door. He walked to the table, scooped up one with a spoon, and put it in his mouth.

There would be symbolic fillings in the New Year’s tangyuan. Ji Bie had eight in his bowl, and somehow, each one was filled with sugar. Ji Bie didn’t eat much that night, he managed to finish all eight tangyuan, his mouth overwhelmed with sweetness.

He stood up to go wash up and noticed something in his coat pocket. Without much thought, he reached in and felt something soft and fluffy.

Ji Bie lowered his head to take a look, and there it was, the red velvet pouch Mrs. Duan had solemnly given to Duan Zhu, resting quietly in his hand.

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