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Chapter 36 Disruption

Noticing Ren Zhouyuan’s gaze, Leonid spread his hands as if to ask whether he should pick up.

Ren Zhouyuan felt like he was trying to move a rock that would inevitably fall on his own feet. Even though he knew Natasha was an ex, he still felt a little unhappy. But as a man he felt like he couldn’t fuss too much about the whole ordeal. He nodded, casting a look at Leonid that simply said “do what you like.”

And so Leonid hung up the phone call.

Ren Zhouyuan: “…”

Before he could even put the phone back into his pocket, the screen lit up. Ren Zhouyuan signed. “Just pick up. Maybe she’s calling more than once because it’s urgent.”

With a shrug, Leonid picked up the phone obediently. Out of habit he held the phone further from his face. Two seconds later, when no hysterical crying rang out, he finally brought his phone back to his ear with some surprise.

“Natasha?” he asked with furrowed brows. On the other end there was only the background noise. After a while Leonid finally heard Natasha’s voice again. She was crying as usual, although this time it didn’t sound like whining for no reason.

After a while, her pitiful voice said, “I’m lost.”

Glancing at his phone screen quickly, Leonid lifted it back to his ear. “Where are you?”

Observing Leonid’s expression closely, Ren Zhouyuan’s hand tightened around An An’s, so that the boy raised his head and started looking back and forth between the two adults.

In silence Leonid listened to the phone. Finally he responded with “Got it” before hanging up and putting his phone back in his pocket. This time the phone didn’t ring again.

“Is something wrong?” Ren Zhouyuan asked.

Leonid was exasperated. “She’s lost in Disneyland. She can’t speak Japanese or English, so I might have to go pick her up.”

“She’s here too?” Ren Zhouyuan asked in shock.

Leonid nodded. “Not sure how she found out.” He glanced at Ren Zhouyuan. “You…”

The whole thing sounded very odd, but thinking about her alone in a foreign land, unable to understand anything, Ren Zhouyuan did feel bad. “Go pick her up then,” he said, “An An and I will line up here. Call us if anything happens.”

Hearing this, Leonid stared at him for quite a while, until he felt his scalp begin to tingle as he wondered what he’d said wrong. Only after a while did he nod, pat An An on the head and then turn away.

Perhaps it was just Ren Zhouyuan mishearing things. He thought he heard Leonid sigh the moment he turned around.

He assumed Leonid would escort Natasha out separately. What he didn’t expect was that when he and An An finished the ride, they were greeted at the exit by the pair.

Taking An An’s hand and walking up, he glanced at Natasha, whose eyes were still red, before looking at Leonid again. “Why did you come back here?”

Leonid took An An into his arms. “She says she doesn’t want to go home.”

They were speaking in Chinese when they said this. To improve his own conversational skills, Leonid had requested they talk to each other in Chinese. But Natasha couldn’t understand anything. She was already unhappy when she saw Ren Zhouyuan walk over, and seeing An An made her jaw drop, filling her heart with shock and panic.

Latching onto Leonid’s arm, she glared at An An. Her face, rosy from crying, and her iron hot glare scared An An into frowning and burying his head deep into Leonid’s shoulder.

Leonid patted An An on the back to comfort him, shooting Natasha a cautioning look. Picking up on the signal, she shuddered and grabbed her hand back.

The atmosphere wasn’t looking good. Ren Zhouyuan wasn’t good at handling these kinds of situation. They stood there, staring at each other, until finally An An clambered off from Leonid’s shoulders, demanding Ren Zhouyuan to pick him up, and pointing his back at Natasha so he didn’t have to look at this strange lady.

All of this seemed quite awkward to Ren Zhouyuan. He wanted to bring An An away with him, but leaving Leonid behind alone to confront Natasha didn’t seem quite right either. Natasha’s hostility was obvious, and he could guess its overall source.

He made an exasperated face at Leonid, who responded with a shrug and a look that seemed to say “this is all your fault.”

Their trip had been disrupted. An An didn’t even get to see the fireworks he was looking forward to, so his impression of this strange woman worsened even further. On their way back to the hotel Natasha trailed Leonid closely. Each time Ren Zhouyuan glanced back at her, he saw her gaze moving nonstop between An An and Leonid and thought it seemed like she wasn’t much of a shady character after all, since she expressed everything she thought so clearly on her face. If the situation hadn’t been this way, he wouldn’t be able to really dislike her either.

They ate dinner at the hotel restaurant together. Among the four, only Leonid and An An chowed down like there was nothing wrong with the world. Seeming to realize she was here to snatch someone from him, An An (who was usually ignoring Leonid) finally put in the effort to pay attention to him. He kept snatching little chunks of meat from his plate, and pushing carrot chunks from his own plate toward him.

Leonid took whatever he was given. Judging from his expression he was happy with his son’s attempt at helping him. Only Ren Zhouyuan was unhappy with this. He glared at An An several times, and didn’t manage to stop him. Seeing that he had no intention of giving up, he gave into his own anger and reached over to Leonid’s plate, forking up the carrots and pressing them to An An’s mouth, forcing him to eat them.

An An seemed to think this was even funnier, and continued doing what he was doing with a giggle. Ren Zhouyuan kept grabbing carrots from the plate and pinching his face so he’d eat them. With an expression that implied he was willing to keep spoiling them, Leonid let them continue, without a care in the world that his plate was becoming a complete mess.

With the family of three showing off their relationship, Natasha as a bystander could only really stab listlessly at the food on her own plate. Staring at An An’s face, she felt a deep discomfort. But when she saw Ren Zhouyuan acting like the child’s mother, the discomfort turned into a different kind of envy.

Putting down her utensils, she gathered up enough courage to grab Leonid’s arm and say to Ren Zhouyuan, “Where are you guys heading later?”

At the same time Ren Zhouyuan and An An stared at her, both of them frowning at what she was doing.

Leonid peeled her hands away from him without expression. “I’ll get someone to drop you off in a moment.”

“No!” Natasha cried, “You have no right to do this!”

“And I have no obligation to accompany you. I thought I had already explained this to you.”

Natasha bit down on her lip in silence. Her mournful look made it clear she didn’t want to listen to him. After a moment’s thought she seemed to decided to take the smart route. This time she didn’t plan to go directly against Leonid, instead turning to Ren Zhouyuan. “Hello, what’s your name? My name is Natasha.”

Hesitating, Ren Zhouyuan cast a helpless look at Leonid, whose expression was steadily darkening. “Natasha!” he said, just suppressing his anger.

Waving him off with her hand, she kept looking at Ren Zhouyuan.

Ren Zhouyuan laughed awkwardly, introducing himself simply. Natasha didn’t pay any attention to what he was actually saying, waiting for him to finish before saying, “Mr. Ren, let me explain. I don’t know Japanese or English, and Leonid is the only one I know here. I’ve always wanted to come to Disneyland because they don’t have one in Russia, but there was never anyone to accompany me. Now Leonid is here, I decided to follow him.”

Her expression was incredibly pitiful. “You’ve all played the whole day, haven’t you? Would you mind letting Leonid come with me for a while?”

Ren Zhouyuan had never been so exasperated. He wanted Leonid to reject Natasha on his own, but for once the man himself was silent. With so many eyes on him, he couldn’t say anything no matter how mad he was.

“I don’t mind.” He glanced at Leonid. “But you’ll need to ask if he’s willing or not. It’s not my decision to make.”

Natasha’s eyes lit up at this. She shoved Leonid. “See, he doesn’t mind. Let’s go then!”

Looking at Ren Zhouyuan, Leonid’s face turned into the familiar coldness from beforehand. Right when Ren Zhouyuan was expecting him to reject Natasha, he instead wiped his mouth, stood up, said “let’s go” to Natasha, and left the restaurant.

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