Translated by Neirith

Episode Nine – Let’s Build Our House (5)

Xia Zhi then called his director and asked for a half-day off.
He gave the dog a careful wash and, after washing, discovered that it was a mutt with one ear up and one ear down.
There were wounds all over its snout, and its tail was broken with a large portion missing.
Much of its fur was missing in chunks, as if it had been involved in fights.
It looked quite miserable and entirely out of luck.

The dog was extraordinarily well-behaved while being bathed, and simply laid on its belly, rolling over motionlessly as it was being blown dry.
Xia Zhi was extremely happy, and after washing, played with it for a long time until Ye Qia returned.

“Why are you still here?”

“I asked for leave.” Xia Zhi teased the dog with a tennis ball, looking entirely too leisurely.
“Doesn’t it look good?”

Quite frankly, Ye Qia thought the dog was unbelievably ugly.
It had tri-colored fur with an indistinguishable face, and an emaciated body.
But, since Xia Zhi liked it, he couldn’t say otherwise.

“If it looks good, it looks good.
But it’s almost three o’clock.”

Xia Zhi suddenly froze, rapidly raising his head to look at the clock on the wall.
Jumping up like he’d been pricked by a needle, he ran out of the door in a panic.
After a few seconds, he ran back in and kicked off his slippers, putting on his leather shoes.
He took a few steps before he was called back by Ye Qia’s holler, “You forgot your bag!”

By the time he got to the office, it was already three fifty-five in the afternoon.
His director had an indescribably ugly look on his face, like dark clouds flashing with thunder and lightning.

“Where have you been?”

“My car broke down!” Xia Zhi panted, red in the face.
“I ran here!”

The director raised his brows.
“You ran here?”

“Yeah!” With great effort, Xia Zhi pulled out a tissue and put on a natural expression.
“I’m exhausted.”

The director looked suspicious.
“I seem to recall that you take the metro?”

“Yeah, the metro… It broke down.” Xia Zhi began to sweat on his forehead.
“Heard there was a temporary closure.”

“I didn’t hear about this.”

“Director, stop worrying about these trifles! Don’t you know how many tasks I have today? Stop bothering me!”

After much difficulty, he was able to get rid of his suspicious director.
Xia Zhi relaxed, touching his chair before he pretended to fax something, make a call, and fiddle with his computer a bit.
He anxiously fidgeted, and after looking around to see that nobody was paying attention to him, secretly called his home phone.

Ye Qia picked up and immediately answered, “The dog is fine.”

Xia Zhi choked and said in a tiny voice, “How did you know I was calling about the dog?”

“If you weren’t asking about the dog, you would’ve called my cellphone.” Ye Qia said in a teasing manner, “Are you telling me you’re not calling about the dog?”

Xia Zhi held his breath for a few moments before he blurted out, “How is the dog?”

“It’s good.” Ye Qia laughed.
“It’s very active.
I took it to the nearby vet for an exam.
The vet said there weren’t any big issues.”

“No big issue means what kind of issues?” Xia Zhi asked impatiently, “I just know it must’ve been abused before.”

“Aren’t you imagining too much?”

“Its tail has been broken!”

“The vet said that’s from fighting with other male dogs.”

“Anyways, my fat boy can’t be bullied!”

Ye Qia remained silent for a bit.
“Who’s your fat boy?”

“The dog.”

Ye Qia peered at the “fat boy” and its obvious ribs.
“This name is no good.
Change it!”

“No changing!” Xia Zhi stopped before saying angrily, “I have always wanted to raise a fat dog! The rounder the feel, the better! Right now, he’s thin, so I’ll make him fat!”

“Change it.”

“This is my childhood dream!”

“Change it.”

“Just what is your problem with fat boy?!”

“That’s the same nickname as one of my clients.”

Xia Zhi was made momentarily speechless before he pretended that nothing had happened, asking nonchalantly, “What do you want to name it?”

The dog’s name was ultimately decided to be “Michelle.” Even though the vet had determined that this was a male dog, Ye Qia’s clients had too many dog-like nicknames.
Xia Zhi much thought about names were all rejected unilaterally.
In the end, he brought out a name that was originally reserved for his “puppy daughter,” and it was finally accepted. 

“Puppy daughter?” When Ye Qia heard this address during dinner, he had a complicated look.
“Then what are you? A dog daddy?”

Xia Zhi stared at this roommate of his.
“You just don’t understand.
I’m raising this dog as my child.”

Ye Qia’s eyebrows flew upward as he lowered his head to eat, muttering, “Then I guess I raise men as dogs.”


Pets and the like, in the eyes of people who didn’t like them, only seemed to be mere animals.
But to the ones who loved then, they were undoubtedly family members.
It just so happened that Ye Qia and Xia Zhi happened to be representatives of these two opposing views, so conflict was inevitable.

Xia Zhi’s attention toward Ye Qia had been taken away by Michelle, and he was extremely dissatisfied.
Although he didn’t say anything about it, the frequency of their “bed play” had been dreadfully low recently.
More frightening was that Xia Zhi didn’t mind at all, and said not a word about it.
After coming home from work, the first thing he shouted was “Michelle,” and Michelle, who had been waiting at the door, would stick out his tongue and welcome his master home.

When it was Ye Qia’s turn to come home, he would enter to find Michelle sitting at the entrance a few steps away, lowering his head and glancing at him out of the corner of his eyes.
After waiting for him to come in, he would get up and walk away silently.
If Xia Zhi wasn’t home, man and dog would keep their distance, not a bit of contact to be found between them.

Over time, Xia Zhi’s “Michelle Syndrome” became more and more severe, and Ye Qia sometimes couldn’t help but think about ways to throw this family member away.
He was extremely disdainful of things that distracted attention from the one he liked.
Especially this kind of large scale, omnidirectionally-complete distraction. 

He wasn’t tolerant, he was “uncle”* intolerant! *a pun, since uncle sounds like “lose” in Chinese, so he’s saying he can’t lose to the dog

“Are you going to take Michelle to obedience training this weekend? Didn’t we already plan to go swimming?” 

Xia Zhi didn’t seem to notice Ye Qia’s bad tone of voice and replied cheerily, “The vet said Michelle is really smart and his IQ is really high.
I want to send him for training.
It’s not expensive, only around five thousand… What are you doing?”

“I’m throwing Michelle away.”

“Huh?” Xia Zhi noticed that Ye Qia was holding Michelle’s leash and only then reacted, “What the fuck! How dare you!”

“Don’t you think you’re paying too much attention to Michelle?” Ye Qia resentfully eyed Xia Zhi.
“There’s a third person in this house.”

“Third person in this house? Then you admit that Michelle is your family member?”


“Wait a minute!” Seeing that Ye Qia was about to leave, Xia Zhi ran up and pounced on him, holding him as he shouted, “I was wrong! I was wrong! Don’t be reckless!”

“I think there are other households more fitting to raise Michelle.”

“There aren’t!” Xia Zhi was unable to move Ye Qia, so he strode to the door and blocked it with his body, saying ferociously, “Nobody is better than me at raising Michelle! Look! Michelle isn’t willing to leave!”

The two of them looked down at Michelle, only to see a pair of pitiful eyes.

As soon as he saw this, Xia Zhi was infuriated.
“You scared him!”

“How do you know he’s scared?”

“Because kids are always scared when their parents fight!” Xia Zhi shouted loudly, “I was the same back then, I understand!”

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