After Being Scummed – Chapter 27

Let’s play together!

Blink, and it’s New Year’s Eve. Yin Bai gave red envelopes to the few employees following her and arranged for Zhang Yu to send them home for the Lunar New Year.

Zhang Yu currently lives locally and stayed with Yin Bai at the villa until the 29th. On the morning of New Year’s Eve, she also went back home. Without Zhang Yu, the villa felt empty, and Yin Bai wasn’t too keen on facing it. She planned to stay in bed until late morning and then pay a visit.

However, just as she was about to go back to sleep, Yin Bai’s phone rang. She answered it, still half-asleep, and her voice was not quite clear: “Hello?”

On the other end of the phone, Zhou Jingyou sounded somewhat surprised, with a gentle laugh: ‘Are you still in bed?’

It was already quite late in the morning, but Zhou Jingyou’s voice was as melodious and enchanting as a nightingale singing with the morning dew.

Yin Bai turned over but still had no desire to get up. She mumbled indistinctly, “No, your family wouldn’t be having dinner at this hour, would they?”

Zhou Jingyou laughed, “Of course not, it’s time for breakfast. By the way, were the ingredients from Treasure Delights that you had someone send over?”

Yin Bai made a soft noise of agreement, her voice almost inaudible, “Yes, I can’t really freeload off you, can I?” Yin Bai yawned, sounding very drowsy, “I didn’t order anything specific. You can make whatever you like from the ingredients, or if you don’t want to, you can give them to someone else.”

Zhou Jingyou let out a light sigh, “What a waste.” She paused and asked, “By the way, I just received a white snow and red plum jade screen. Could that also be from you?”

Yin Bai buried her head in the blankets, her voice muffled, “Yes, I bought it a few years ago. I thought it would fit your home’s decorating style. Let’s consider it a gift for your mother…”

Zhou Jingyou chuckled softly, “Delicious, do you want something sweet or savory?”

Sweet or savory?

These two flavors ran through Yin Bai’s mind, partially clearing her groggy consciousness. She grabbed her phone and stuck her head out from under the blankets, asking in a flustered manner, “Savory? Why are there savory dumplings? This isn’t scientific; what kind of dark culinary creation is this?”

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Her excited emotions came through clearly from the phone, and Zhou Jingyou even had a moment of sympathy, thinking she must have been startled awake. Zhou Jingyou held her arm and gently explained, “Some people like savory dumplings. My mom and I prefer them. The kids here prefer sweet ones.”

Yin Bai took a curious breath, saying, “Interesting! What’s the filling for the savory ones?”

Zhou Jingyou paused and told Yin Bai, “It’s a meat filling with a bit of chili, but it’s not very spicy.”

Yin Bai sighed, “You people really can put chili in everything! No wonder you’re a Yun City girl! A little chili!”

Zhou Jingyou raised the corner of her lips, lowered her gaze, and softly asked, “So, do you want to have tangyuan1? If you do, I’ll have the kids pack it in a thermal container and have them bring it to you.”

“Of course!” Yin Bai lay on her back, turned over, and half-closed her eyes as she said, “Free takeout, can’t pass that up!”

She said it emphatically, and Zhou Jingyou’s smile deepened, “So, do you want sweet or savory?”

“Sweet!” Yin Bai said loudly, then paused and added softly after a moment, “And also a savory one, just to try.”

Zhou Jingyou replied with a simple “Sure.” Shortly after, she had the kids knock on Yin Bai’s door, carrying half a box of tangyuan.

As it was the children visiting, Yin Bai didn’t bother changing into her pajamas. She tidied up her hair and went outside to greet her young friends, joining them to have a little bit to eat.

After breakfast, the two kids urged Yin Bai to change her clothes and informed her that Zhou Jingyou was preparing a meal. They encouraged Yin Bai to come over and play with them.

Feeling that she had nothing better to do at home, Yin Bai decided to change locations and spend time with the children. She clapped her hands and cheerfully agreed to their request, “Alright, wait for me, I’ll change my clothes and join you in a bit.”

The two children chimed in unison, “Alright!”

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Yin Bai headed to her dressing room and, among a pile of newly arrived spring outfits, chose a cream-colored lace blouse. She paired it with coffee-colored striped trousers and a coat in the same color palette. She wore Martin boots and took her newly acquired cane. Then, she left with her little companions.

Of course, before leaving, she didn’t forget to bring the gifts she had prepared in advance. She arrived at Zhou Jingyou’s place with a bunch of packages.

Zhou Jingyou didn’t expect the kids to have called her, and when she saw Yin Bai arriving with a heap of gifts, she was quite surprised, “Didn’t we already exchange gifts this morning? Why did you bring so many things now?”

This seemed a bit too extravagant!

Yin Bai, leaning on her cane, handed over the items in her hand to Zhou Jingyou while saying, “I heard from Zhang Yu that it’s customary to bring gifts when visiting for the New Year. So, I brought something for your mom, your sister, and for you as well. Just small tokens of respect.”

After giving the gifts, she gestured to the two kids beside her, “As for my friends, they came to my place yesterday and already took their gifts, so no need to worry about them.”

Zhou Jingyou chuckled and invited Yin Bai inside, “You really… went all out. We’re just having a New Year’s Eve dinner.”

She handed Yin Bai some indoor slippers and said, “Today, I’ll trouble you to change your shoes.”

Yin Bai gladly agreed, “Of course.”

Yin Bai and the children changed into indoor slippers at the entrance, and with the support of her cane, she smiled at Zhou Jingyou, “Well, it should be a bit more elaborate since you invited me to spend the New Year together.”

Wen Wen, who had finished changing her shoes, eagerly grabbed Yin Bai’s waist and pulled her forward, saying, “Hurry, let’s do puzzles today. I’ve been playing with Tong Tong for a long time, and we haven’t finished it!”

Tong Tong held Yin Bai’s hand, as if helping her walk, and chimed in, “That’s because big sister is too slow and can’t tell the pieces apart!”

Yin Bai, being pulled by them and using her cane to walk slowly, said with a hint of helplessness, “Alright, alright, we’ll play. But, my friends, can you please stop pulling me? I’m about to topple over!”

After all, she was a little cripple and couldn’t walk fast!

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The two children, hearing her plea, slowed down and compromised, saying, “Okay, okay, we’ll wait for you!”

Zhou Jingyou carried the items in her hand and walked slowly behind the three of them. She watched Yin Bai, who was using a cane and struggling to keep up with the children’s pace, hobbling along.

The distance from the entrance to the sofa wasn’t far at all. Yin Bai was a tall person with long legs, yet it took considerable effort for her to traverse this short distance.

Zhou Jingyou’s gaze shifted downward, focusing on Yin Bai’s legs. Her left leg was intact, but her right leg moved as though it had a heavy lead ball tied to it. With each step, her left leg led, and her right leg followed slowly. The strides were small, yet each step was taken with determination.

If one hadn’t witnessed such a scene, even Zhou Jingyou would find it hard to believe that Yin Bai had a disability. However, in all seriousness, having a physical disability shouldn’t define a person or make them any less.

Shouldn’t the awkwardness caused by physical disability be treated with dignity? Does it really diminish a person’s inner brilliance?

Not necessarily.

With this thought in mind, Zhou Jingyou finally saw Yin Bai sit on the sofa, leaning on her cane. She watched as Yin Bai took a deep breath and turned to the two young children with a cheerful smile, “Alright, bring out your puzzles, and let’s play!”

“Alright!”

The children cheered and retrieved scattered puzzle pieces, joining Yin Bai in the game.

Zhou Jingyou stood at the edge of the sofa, watching the three of them enjoy themselves, and couldn’t help but break into a warm smile.

She thought to herself that considering Yin Bai’s character, it would be overly sentimental and misguided to pity her solely based on her appearance and disability.

Such things were best not to dwell on too much.

With this in mind, Zhou Jingyou looked at the three on the sofa and asked, “While you’re playing, would you like something to drink? I’ll bring it for you in a bit!”

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Yin Bai looked up and smiled, saying, “Thank you, Teacher Zhou!”

The two little rascals chimed in, giggling, “Thank you, Teacher Zhou!”

Zhou Jingyou fell silent for a moment and chose not to correct the two children’s address. She turned around, placed the gifts, prepared a fruit platter and snacks for them, and then headed to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Yin Bai spent a good while with the children, and they made a joyful ruckus in the living room.

When Mrs. Sun Yulan emerged from her study, she saw the three of them huddled together, heads close, picking up puzzle pieces and working on their game.

Observing their cheerful atmosphere, Sun Yulan walked over to join them, standing by the coffee table and watching for a while.

Yin Bai, in the midst of her enjoyment, suddenly felt a pair of eyes on her. She instinctively looked up and unsurprisingly found herself under the scrutiny of an elegant older woman dressed in a dark green qipao with a well-coiled headdress adorned with flowers. The woman wore gold-rimmed glasses and stood gracefully by her side, attentively studying her.

Yin Bai blinked and somewhat uncertainly greeted, “Hello, Aunt?” She looked at the woman’s face, which bore a striking resemblance to Zhou Jingyou, albeit with a more serious expression. Based on appearances alone, she surmised that this was probably Zhou Jingyou’s mother.

Yin Bai was facing a friend’s elder relative for the first time, and she couldn’t help feeling a bit nervous.

Sun Yulan nodded and made a sound of agreement. She glanced at Yin Bai and then at the two children who were still engrossed in their puzzle, hesitating for a moment. Tentatively, she asked, “Is this… fun?”

The old professor had been deeply engrossed in her academic pursuits and hadn’t experienced the simple joys of family for a long time.

Yin Bai observed her somewhat awkward and yet eager demeanor and couldn’t help but feel that this Aunt might, like herself, not be particularly adept at interacting with strangers.

Yin Bai shifted her position, looked up at Sun Yulan, and offered a warm smile, saying, “It’s quite interesting. Would you like to join us?”

Sun Yulan’s gaze drifted away from Yin Bai and returned to the puzzle. She spoke sparingly, uttering five words, “No need, you all play.”

Having said this, Sun Yulan sat down on the sofa beside Yin Bai.

Yin Bai glanced at her, then at the children who were still engrossed in their puzzle, shook her head, and resumed playing.



  1. Tangyuan are a traditional Chinese dessert made of glutinous rice shaped into balls that are served in a hot broth or syrup. They come in varying sizes, anything between a marble to a ping pong ball, and are sometimes stuffed with filling.

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Kat

Isn’t dumpling really savory? i’m confused

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