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Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

ATCF Ch 63 – A Ring

Since they were already here, Jiang Li didn’t plan on returning to the hotel so soon. She looked at Tong Yi and said, “Let’s go to that alley over there and have some barbecue!”

Seeing the anticipation in her eyes, Tong Yi decided not to ruin the moment by reminding her that barbecue was junk food. With a nod, he replied, “Okay, it’s my treat today. Let’s eat our fill.”

The two walked side by side to a popular roadside barbecue stall in the nearby alley. After Jiang Li ordered a bunch of dishes, she hesitated for a moment and then told the owner, “We’ll also have two bottles of beer.”

Tong Yi was surprised, “How about we drink soy milk instead?”

Jiang Li shook her head, “I’m of legal age now, I can drink alcohol.”

Tong Yi argued with her, “You still have three hours to go until your 18th birthday.”

“If I can receive my birthday gifts in advance, then naturally I can drink in advance too,” Jiang Li stated confidently.

The barbecue stall owner, a man in his fifties, grinned at their conversation, “Young man, being a boyfriend means you have to behave like one. Nowadays, not many girls like boys who nag like an old dad.”

Tong Yi instinctively retorted, “We’re not…”

Seeing his bewildered look, Jiang Li couldn’t resist pouring oil into the flame, “The boss is right. Someone like him is destined to become a chaste monk.”

Tong Yi: “…”

Whatever! If Jiang Xiao Li didn’t care, why should he?

Besides, since the owner mistook them for a couple, then… he and Jiang Xiao Li must be quite a match, right?

While Tong Yi was still in a daze, Jiang Li had already picked up two bottles of beer from the transparent storage cabinet. She then fetched a bottle opener from the owner and went to open the beer. It was her first time opening a beer, and without much experience, the foam surged out the moment the cap was pried off, covering her hand in foam.

Seeing this, Tong Yi finally snapped back to reality. He came over, grabbed a handful of napkins from the holder, and gave them to her, saying, “Here, use these to wipe your hands. I’ll open the other bottle.”

Jiang Li nodded, “Alright, you go ahead.”

After both bottles were opened, Jiang Li clinked hers against Tong Yi’s, and, imitating the people nearby, took her first sip of beer. But after just one taste, she couldn’t help but frown, “This tastes really strange, doesn’t it?”

Tong Yi burst into laughter, “Well, you will become an adult soon. It’s natural to occasionally drink something that tastes weird.”

After saying this, he nonchalantly finished his bottle, leaving Jiang Li utterly astonished.

Jiang Li glanced at her barely-touched bottle of beer and decided not to force herself. Her main goal today was to enjoy the barbecue, not necessarily the alcohol. She didn’t expect Tong Yi to pick up her beer bottle and unhesitatingly take a sip.

“…” Jiang Li was dumbfounded. She wanted to remind Tong Yi that she had already drunk from that bottle. Why wasn’t he bothered by that?

“Hello, Brother. This sister is so beautiful, why don’t you buy her a flower?” Suddenly, a little girl appeared in front of Jiang Li, looking at Tong Yi across from her. Today was Christmas Eve, and the temperature was around zero degrees. The flower-selling girl was dressed quite thinly and sniffled as she spoke.

“My flowers are very cheap, ten yuan each,” the little girl added cautiously, as if afraid Tong Yi would refuse her.

Seeing the flower-selling girl reminded Jiang Li of the children in the orphanage. She took out her phone, ready to scan the QR code and buy a few flowers.

But Tong Yi suddenly spoke, “Give me ten.”

As he spoke, Tong Yi picked up his phone from the table, scanned it, and paid a hundred yuan.

The little girl’s eyes sparkled with surprise. She immediately counted out eleven roses, wrapped them up, and handed them to Jiang Li, “Sister, here are your flowers.”

Jiang Li pointed out, “There’s one extra!”

The little girl smiled shyly, “The extra one is a gift because eleven roses have a special meaning!”

Tong Yi’s eyebrows twitched twice, and just as he was about to send the girl away, he heard Jiang Li ask, “What’s the special meaning of eleven flowers? Does it represent being single?”

The flower-selling girl was momentarily startled, then quickly shook her head, “No, eleven roses mean devoted entirely to one person, and also represent one in heart and mind — a wholehearted devotion for a lifetime.” She glanced at Tong Yi again and added, “I wish brother and sister would grow old together. See you again!”

After the girl had left, Jiang Li raised an eyebrow at Tong Yi, “Hear what she said? Seems like eleven roses represent ‘wholehearted devotion for a lifetime.’”

What then, did Tong Yi mean when he gave her eleven lipsticks?

Tong Yi put his hand under the table and fiddled with the seam of his pants. After a few awkward seconds, he coughed lightly and said in a calm tone: “Well, yeah. But it’s all a gimmick made for marketing purposes, right? Nothing serious.”

Jiang Li nodded slowly, “Yeah, I think so too.”

Seeing that she was convinced by his words, Tong Yi inexplicably breathed a sigh of relief. Although Jiang Xiao Li was of age now, she hadn’t taken her college entrance exams yet; some things were not appropriate to be said at this time. Moreover, he hadn’t yet figured out the best way to convey her feelings to her.

Watching Jiang Li holding the roses, Tong Yi hesitated only for a moment before suggesting, “How about we take a photo together?”

He moved next to Jiang Li, opened the camera app on his phone, and was about to make a heart shape with his hands when he heard Jiang Li say in a cool tone, “Big Nephew, you seem to have grown in courage, huh?”

Tong Yi was taken aback, “What courage?”

Jiang Li gave him a half-smiling look, reached out, and moved the two empty beer bottles from the small wooden table to the ground.

“You taking a photo, or are you planning to tattle on me to my grandpa for drinking secretly outside?

Tong Yi: …

At that instant, Tong Yi had a sudden realization that his future wouldn’t be easy.

That year’s Christmas Eve coincidentally fell on a weekend. As usual, Jiang Ruo logged into her account to livestream and sell products. Having done livestreaming for a few years now, she had accumulated a group of loyal followers who would regularly watch her streams on schedule. Whenever she promoted books or stationery, these fans would make purchases, and some would even send virtual gifts during her streams to show their support.

Thanks to the income from livestreaming, Jiang Ruo led a relatively comfortable life and developed a habit of saving money. With regular income and savings, she now had a sense of security.

After ending the stream, Jiang Ruo noticed her parents had not yet returned home, leaving the house feeling cold and empty. She knew that her parents had been arguing a lot recently. Nowadays, Dad hardly came home, and Mom, after making new friends, frequently went out for beauty treatments or Mahjong games, spending less and less time at home.

But today… she had hoped her parents would return on time, because it was her eighteenth birthday.

Jiang Zhou could see Jiang Ruo was feeling down and spoke softly, “Ruoruo, I’ve prepared a birthday present for you. Would you like to see it?”

Seeing Jiang Ruo didn’t respond, Jiang Zhou gently took her hand and led her to the door of his room.

After opening the door, Jiang Ruo immediately saw a Christmas tree and decorative lights in the room, as well as roses arranged in the shape of a heart on the floor.

Red and white roses alternated to spell out a few words: Ruoruo, happy birthday.

Her brother had placed a desk in the center of the room, on which stood a large cake with a figurine on top that looked exactly like her.

Tears glistened in Jiang Ruo’s eyes as she turned back to Jiang Zhou, “Brother, when did you prepare all this?” It turned out, not everyone had forgotten her birthday; her brother had secretly prepared a surprise for her.

“I just did it,” Jiang Zhou said tenderly.

Jiang Ruo nodded, “I’ve always known, Brother, you’re the kindest person to me in this world.”

Jiang Ruo walked to the big cake and was about to cut it when she suddenly realized that the figurine on top was wearing a ring that shimmered with a stunning diamond.

Jiang Ruo was obviously stunned. She pointed to the ring, “Brother, this is…”

The ring’s presence here meant it was a gift from her brother. But rings carry a special meaning, and her brother shouldn’t be giving her something like this!”

Jiang Zhou’s eyes were full of tenderness, “It’s your birthday gift. Do you like it?”

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