Your Distance - 43
Bai Changyi was used to eating both Chinese and Western food, but was more inclined towards Western food. When it came to cooking, he could cook both Chinese and Western food, but it was the first time in his life he was making dumplings.
It was even more impossible for young master Ting, who found even preparing sauce to eat cucumbers with troublesome, to have wrapped dumplings before.
Currently, he was sitting on the kitchen countertop, one leg bent and the other leisurely swinging back and forth. Holding up his phone, Ting Shuang gave Bai Changyi instuctions on how to prepare the dumpling filling according to the recipe on it, “Chop green onions, ginger, and dried shrimps… We have to add an egg in too…”
While cutting the ingredients, Bai Changyi said, “Take an egg out.” Afraid that Ting Shuang might not even know where the eggs were, he added, “It’s in the refrigerator.”
“Alright,” Ting Shuang got off the countertop, took an egg from the refrigerator, simply placed it by the edge of the counter, and continued reading the recipe, “Stir the chopped green onion, ginger, and shrimp into the minced pork filling… Then add salt and e—”
The word “egg” hadn’t fully made its way out of his throat, before he heard a crack as the egg rolled off the counter and fell onto the ground.
It broke so badly he couldn’t bear to look at it.
Bai Changyi first glanced at the egg white and yolk seeping out of the broken eggshell on the ground, before looking up at Ting Shuang.
The look from Bai Changyi’s eyes seemed to say: ?
In it was pure confusion and incomprehension, as well as a trace of shock that wasn’t easily detected.
“Um… The egg… It rolls…” Ting Shuang had no idea what he was talking about.
Of course the egg rolls, and Ting Shuang scolded himself. Did he have to do an experiment in order to realise such a thing?
Ting Shuang felt like the meaning behind Bai Changyi’s “mm” was a mystery.
He suddenly understood the reason behind the shock in Bai Changyi’s eyes. It was the shock of realising that the IQ of someone who was one of the hind legs of humanity could be this low…
“Recently, I’ve been thinking…” Ting Shuang tried to change the subject as he used kitchen towels to clean up the floor, “I’ve been wondering about whether I should change my part-time job… To one that’s more professional… The rent of the apartment I rented is quite high. Starting from next month—”
His phone vibrated. It was an unknown number.
“I’ll answer a call.” Ting Shuang didn’t have time to wash his hands, so he turned on the speaker-mode using a clean finger, “Ting.”
A German voice rang out from the speaker, “Hello, may I ask if you’re looking for a tenant, Ting? The apartment on 16 Brahms Street?”
“Yes, I’m looking for a tenant after I move out, starting from next month. I don’t live there anymore, but I haven’t moved some of my personal belongings. If you need, I can deal with my belongings in advance, to let you move in this month.” Ting Shuang threw the egg and paper towels into the trash can. “If it is convenient for you, we can settle a time for you to come look at the house… May I ask how to address you?”
“Jonas.” Hearing the news that he could move in early, the person on the other side of the call seemed very happy, “Are you free tomorrow at 6.30pm, or the day after?”
“I’m free tomorrow, I’ll see you at 16 Brahms Street.” After settling on the time, Ting Shuang hung up and went to wash his hands.
Water flowed steadily between his fingers and from the back of the hand, washing away the layers of foam from the hand wash on the surface of his skin.
“You want to change your apartment.” Bai Changyi asked casually, “Where are you moving to?”
Changing his apartment?
As it moved to turn off the faucet, Ting Shuang’s hand paused. For a moment, he hadn’t realised what Bai Changyi was talking about.
The water continuously flowed out from the faucet, and the foam that had gathered in the basin was also washed away.
“Where am I moving to?” Ting Shuang didn’t know why he repeated the question, back facing Bai Changyi.
“I should always know your address.” After mixing the dumpling filling, Bai Changyi said with a smile, “You said you wanted dumplings with thin skin and a lot of filling. Come and see if this much meat is enough.”
“Oh…” Ting Shuang turned off the faucet, dried his hands, and walked up beside Bai Changyi.
The thin dumpling skin was lying on the palm of Bai Changyi’s left hand, while a generous lump of filling was pinched between two chopsticks. The mouth-watering meat filling was wrapped in a thin layer of egg white, with minced green onions and ginger mixed in. At one glance, he just knew that it would be delicious.
Bai Changyi’s fingertips were also stained with flour.
Ting Shuang looked at Bai Changyi’s side profile. Under the kitchen lights, that face looked exceptionally soft and approachable.
“Look at the dumpling, not me,” Bai Changyi reminded him, laughing.
“Mm…” Ting Shuang’s gaze fell back to the dumpling filling, “That’s enough meat… This much is just right.”
Bai Changyi nodded, and started wrapping the dumplings with that amount of filling.
“I…” Ting Shuang picked up a pair of chopsticks and also started learning how to wrap dumplings, “About the apartment…”
He didn’t know how to start.
Wrapping the dumplings very slowly, he talked even slower.
He couldn’t figure out what went wrong.
He wanted to withdraw the rent, but Bai Laoban thought he was going to change apartments…
Bai Changyi even asked him where he was moving to…
Did that mean that he had to move out of here?
But it was clearly Bai Changyi who had asked him to live here…
At the very most, he’d lived here for only around two weeks.
He recalled what Bai Changyi had said at that time, “You can’t live in this house right now. Pack up your things and live with me.”
You can’t live in this house right now…
That means after his house was good enough for him to live in, he had to move back in?
In this period of time during which they lived together, Bai Changyi clearly did not mention the word “cohabitate”. Although Ting Shuang hadn’t directly mentioned these two words, he’d always assumed that they were cohabitating.
Could it be that what Bai Changyi had in mind was… to let him stay for a few days?
How could letting him stay for a few days be the same as cohabitating?
Damn it, could it be that he had been… flattering himself the entire time?
When he thought of it that way, Ting Shuang couldn’t help but ask three questions from the depths of his soul–
If they weren’t cohabitating, then why tell him to use the things in his house freely?
If they weren’t cohabitating, then why did he have to get used to his various habits?
If they weren’t cohabitating, then why did he have to add his fingerprint to the lock of the front door so that it could recognise him, and tell him the password, so that he could come and go at will?
Wasn’t that cohabitation?
… No, that wasn’t right.
Ting Shuang calmed down and thought about it, then realized that these didn’t seem to mean anything at all… In the past, whenever a friend came to his house to play, he would let them eat and play freely. If a particularly good friend wanted to live with him for a while, he would also get used to their habits, and even give spare keys to his friends, so that they could come in and go out freely…
All that didn’t mean that he wanted to cohabitate with them.
But the relationship between Bai Changyi and him… was not one between friends.
They were lovers.
Even though they were just a couple who hadn’t been together for long…
… Right, the point was that they hadn’t been together for long.
Who gave him the confidence to think that him going over to stay meant that they were going to cohabitate?
Bai Changyi didn’t say how long he was letting Ting Shuang stay, so just like that, he’d decided to move in entirely?
Bai Laoban was just generous, okay?
After talking about dating and staying at each others’ houses, who wouldn’t be embarrassed to directly tell the other to scram?
But everyone had to have at least a bit of self-consciousness, right?
This was really fucking embarrassing.
The young master’s self-esteem.
Ting Shuang instantly thought of the egg that had fallen and cracked on the ground.
One should be honest and frank when dating, but he felt too ashamed to talk about this kind of misunderstanding that only happened because he had been too excited…
Young master Ting‘s heart was raging on the inside, but on the outside it looked as if he was just frustrated with wrapping the dumpling in his hand.
Seeing that he hadn’t continued his sentence, Bai Changyi asked, “What about the apartment?”
“The apartment…” Ting Shuang awkwardly pinched together the skin of an ugly-looking dumpling, looking as if he was only speaking with awkward pauses because he was entirely focused on the dumplings. “Well… Wasn’t the previous one too expensive… There are a lot of mosquitoes too… I’m planning to move… Sigh… Say, why is it so difficult for me to wrap a single dumpling…”
“Like this,” Bai Changyi took the dumpling from Ting Shuang and demonstrated how to do it correctly, “Roll it up like this, then fold it back. Where are you moving to?”
“Let me learn for a bit…” Ting Shuang took another piece of dumpling skin, put the filling on it, and looked down to examine it, “I’m moving to… I’m still thinking… I have two that fit my interests…”
“You can wait until the new apartment is confirmed before you withdraw the rent. It’s safer that way,” Bai Changyi said.
Wait until after the new apartment is confirmed?
Ting Shuang felt depressed.
Currently, he still didn’t know where the fuck the new apartment would be.
“…Oh.” Ting Shuang sulked as he wrapped a few more dumplings that turned out ugly beyond comparison. Then he silently rubbed all the flour on his fingers onto Bai Changyi’s back.
If you’ve been keeping up with the updates, you might have noticed that I previously used ‘wonton’s instead of ‘dumpling’s in chapter 42. But I realised when Ting Shuang first brought up how he wanted to eat it, i translated it as ‘dumpling’, so I changed it back from ‘wonton’. Sorry for the inconsistency!
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