Full Level Bigshot Only Takes the Career Path Chapter 74.1
“Isn’t that right?” Auntie Zheng smiled, “I even heard from your cousin that you two made it to the trending topics several times. Your uncle also mentioned how you two were inseparable since childhood.”
Suddenly, something came to Zhao Yao’s mind, and he cautiously said, “I remember his nickname was Peipei…?”
“That’s right. When you were a child, you used to call him Peipei Ge. At that time, the Pei family’s old mansion was right next to your maternal grandfather’s. During school breaks, he loved coming over to our house to find you. Sometimes, even before your mother brought you over, he would visit every few days to check in.” Auntie Zheng remembered these things about the kids quite well, primarily because of the strong bond between the two of them, and the elderly in the family often mentioned it. Some things become deeply ingrained after being mentioned repeatedly.
Zhao Yao remembered that the older kid was called Peipei but had no idea his actual name was Pei Mingzan. In their childhood, many of the older kids had nicknames, and a lot of people just referred to that kid as Peipei. He had assumed that the kid’s real name was probably something similar… little did he know his real name was Pei Mingzan.
Seeing Zhao Yao’s interest in their childhood memories, Auntie thought of the photo album that Uncle Wang had brought earlier. “Wait a moment. You and that kid took many childhood photos together. We have them in the family album.”
She left for a while and returned with the photo album in her hands.
As Zhao Yao looked at her flipping through the album, he saw several consecutive pictures showing him with Pei Mingzhan during their childhood. There were photos of them from when they were not yet close friends to when Pei Mingzhan started taking Zhao Yao around to play. Some pictures showed them playing in the small courtyard outside Grandfather’s house, others had them at the basketball court, and there were even photos of them flying kites in the fields… Some memories had been deeply buried, but when he saw these photos, vague impressions began to resurface.
So that older kid was Pei Mingzhan?
Peipei was a boy with a buzz cut, and he looked a bit fiercer than other kids his age. He was also very clever and easily became the leader of the local children back then.
Zhao Yao couldn’t recall exactly how they had met, but he remembered that the boy had come with snacks to apologize and eventually led him to play together.
Zhao Yao suddenly thought of when he had first met Pei Mingzhan. Pei Mingzhan had been paying a lot of attention to him right from the start. Even before they had spent significant time together. The real opportunity for them to get to know each other better was when they worked together on the “Mi Ying” drama. Considering Pei Mingzhan’s position and work ethic, he should have been busy with other things during their breaks. But during that time, Pei Mingzhan would finish his scenes and then start explaining the details of the drama production and the shooting process to Zhao Yao… Over time, the planned shooting schedule extended.
Another important memory was during Zhao Yao’s hospitalization when Pei Mingzhan had been incredibly caring.
Now they were in a romantic relationship, but looking back at that time, he thought Pei Mingzan had been so close to him because of the on-set accident as he was feeling guilty. But upon closer reflection, he realized that Pei Mingzan had been the same way long before the accident. Zhao Yao couldn’t help but wonder if Pei Mingzan had known about their childhood acquaintance for a long time.
“This one is from the time your grandmother made a small costume for you to wear. It was probably the first time you put it on, and you cried a lot. Your mother had to persuade you to try it on.”
She pointed at a photo, “See the door in the background? The person peeking from behind it is Peipei. He was shy and didn’t dare to come in.”
Zhao Yao looked closely and could indeed see a little boy with a buzz cut, although the face in the picture was a bit blurred.
He couldn’t remember clearly, so he asked, “Why was he shy?”
His Aunt laughed out loud at this and said, “At that time, he thought you were a girl. He secretly asked his family members which family’s little girl you were. Later, his older brother jokingly told him that you were his first love, and he blushed.”
The Pei family used to live next door to the Zheng family’s old mansion, and because Pei Mingzhan’s mother had been classmates with Zhao Yao’s mother, the two families had a close relationship. They both knew a lot about each other. And it was a matter between two kids. At that time, they were still very young. So, the elders used to tease the two kids for fun. Aunt had just married into the Zheng family not long ago, and so she remembered these things quite clearly.
Children’s faces are naturally tender, and when they put on costumes and wigs, it’s easy to see why Pei Mingzhan might have mistaken Zhao Yao for a girl. As Zhao Yao flipped through the photo album, he saw many childhood pictures, including ones with Pei Mingzhan and other kids. This album had more pictures than the one at his house. Many of the photos, upon closer inspection and with his Aunt’s explanations, brought back memories of those times.
Did he meet Pei Mingzhan so early on?
In fact, he didn’t spend much time here. It was only during the ages of five or six that he came here more frequently. At first, he didn’t know many kids, but later, he befriended Peipei Ge by chance, and they began playing together. These memories were quite distant. He couldn’t recall them unless someone reminded him. He didn’t pay much attention to these childhood memories, so who could remember so much from when they were five or six years old?
Pei Mingzhan was a few years older, and at that time, he had just started primary school. Zhao Yao didn’t remember Pei Mingzhan, but it seemed Pei Mingzhan remembered him.
“I have never seen these photos,” Zhao Yao commented as he flipped through another one.
His Aunt paused slightly upon hearing this and explained, “These photos were brought over from your grandparents’ side. Your grandfather loved taking pictures. Whenever you were at their place, he would love taking pictures of you.”
As Zhao Yao continued flipping through the album, he indeed found many individual photos of himself. Some were from when he was three or four years old, and others from when he was four or five.
His Aunt was talking for a while when a maid came to find her outside. In the end, she had to temporarily leave him due to other matters. Zhao Yao was left alone, flipping through the photos one by one.
As Zhao Yao looked at these photos, he had been somewhat nostalgic before, but now he couldn’t wait to see Pei Mingzan’s appearance in those pictures. In the end, he could only feel that the eyes in those photos resembled the current Pei Mingzan. The photos captured various scenes, but the young Pei Mingzan from the past was livelier and more playful than he was now. Looking at the pictures, you could clearly see his playful spirit.
After he finished looking at the photos, he picked up his phone, and thought of calling Pei Mingzhan. But before he could dial the number, he hesitated.
What was he going to ask?
This turn of events was completely unexpected for Zhao Yao. He had a premonition that they might have met before, but he didn’t expect it to be when they were so young, back when he couldn’t remember much. But with Pei Mingzan’s intelligence, he might have known about this from the beginning.
Upon closer examination, this matter seemed like an ordinary occurrence when considered in isolation, but when you changed the participants and the timing, everything suddenly became strangely intriguing.
This matter, when examined closely, seemed like just an ordinary thing in everyday life. However, when you change the subject and the timing, everything inexplicably becomes strange.
“Pei Mingzan, Peipei?” Zhao Yao mumbled Peipei’s nickname and suddenly felt that this nickname on Pei Mingzan was inexplicably cute, especially when associated with Pei Mingzhan.
He returned to the front of the album and began taking photos with his phone, saving each picture one by one.
Zhao Yao had no idea how late it was until Pei Mingzan’s phone call came in.
He snapped out of his reverie, staring at the name on his phone’s screen, and answered, “Hello?”
They had a routine of talking on the phone every night, but today’s call was a bit late. Pei Mingzan’s voice sounded a bit hoarse over the phone. He was still recovering from his cold.
“Have you finished eating?” Pei Mingzan noticed the silence on his end and asked, “I heard you have a younger cousin. Did he cause trouble for you?”
Zhao Yao closed the album and replied, “He’s just a teenager, and we’re not close, so why would he cause trouble for me?”
Those two kids were quite well-behaved. During meals, they would answer a few questions from the adults but would occupy themselves with other activities afterward. They were much more disciplined than the kids in Zhao’s family. Zhao Yao remembered when he used to live with the Zhao family. His father was still in good health. Occasionally, Bai Chengxue would find reasons to host a family feast and invite many people, including kids of a similar age. But those kids were quite rowdy.
The children in the Zheng family understood manners and boundaries. Zhao Yao noticed that the younger child would size him up during meals but only referred to him as “Da Ge” when talking and would not ask more questions.
“Is that Xiao Yao?”
Pei Mingzhan was listening to him while Mother Pei was standing next to him, quietly asking him. He had to nod and give Mother Pei a signal, after which she reluctantly left.
Zhao Yao asked, “I think I just heard someone talking?”
Pei Mingzhan sighed, “It was my mom. She just asked me who I was talking to.”
He hadn’t told his family about his relationship with Zhao Yao yet. But he had mentioned that Zhao Yao might come to his home during the New Year holiday. Since then, his mom had been asking questions.
“Pei Mingzhan, I have something to ask you.” Zhao Yao thought Pei Mingzhan should know about their childhood because, during those times, he used to call him by name, occasionally calling him Xiao Yao. He had always felt like he and Pei Mingzhan had met somewhere before and thought it might have been during their early or middle school years. Now, he realized that they were childhood friends. “Did you know me from before?”
Pei Mingzhan hesitated for a moment and asked, “Why do you ask that?”
Zhao Yao fell silent for a while and then said, “I always feel this way, like you’ve been too good to me.”
Pei Mingzhan stood on the balcony of the second floor, the night breeze brushing by, and the moon hung high in the distance.
“I know.” He smiled, “but that’s not important.”
There were several childhood toys scattered in the room, and Zhao Yao noticed a small kite hanging on the wall opposite him.
“Why is it not important?” Zhao Yao leaned against the edge of the bed and placed the photo album aside.
“Why isn’t it important?” Zhao Yao leaned against the bed, placing the photo album to the side.
“It’s not important because I want you to know that my intentions are sincere. Knowing you isn’t for the sake of connections or getting close to you. If possible, I’d like us to get to know each other from an equal standpoint,” Pei Mingzhan thought for a moment and continued, “So whether you want to remember it or not, it doesn’t matter. After all, I’m your boyfriend now.”
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