As it was New Year’s, we could’ve gone on a vacation but since it was freezing, Han Lei and I rationally chose to stay cooped up at home.

After a few days, one of our three neighbors couldn’t held back and dragged us out.

One afternoon, Liu Jun knocked on our doors and had us gather in front of our doors to discuss his idea with us.

We all leaned on our doors wearing thick coats and attentively listened to Liu Jun’s idea.

“I know that everyone doesn’t want to go out these days cause it’s cold,” Liu Jun embraced Jiang Mo Mo’s shoulder and said, “so I propose that we all have a fiery and hot night together! Good idea, right? Please clap your hands!” Thereafter, he started clapping.

Everyone besides Jiang Mo Mo: “…”

Puhh-leeassee, what’s the difference between him saying and not saying it? He completely didn’t even touch upon the main point! What did he mean by hot and fiery?!

“Get to the point.” Han Lei stood behind me with his arms wrapped around my shoulders.

“Oh? I didn’t say the main point?” Liu Jun pretended to act dumb and smilingly said, “I was thinking of having a table full of Sichuan dishes for everyone to eat. When it’s cold, it’s best to eat chilli to warm ourselves up, what ya think? Interested?”

“You’re going to cook it?” Han Lei once again asked everyone’s inner thoughts.

“NO! NO! NO!” Liu Jun shook his index finger, “It’s most satisfying when we cook it ourselves so each pair cooks one dish then we all eat it together.”

We all contemplated the proposal and thought it was feasible so everyone nodded.

Liu Jing asked, “Whose house are we going to cook it at?”

“Your house!” Liu Jun and I replied to her in an atypical unison.

Seems like we were of the same type. Liu Jun and I smiled at one another and as expected, we could see the same thought and intent in each other’s eyes.

“Why?” He Yi puzzledly asked.

“Cause you guys are the easiest to bully.” Han Lei calmly concluded.

Ultimately, under everyone’s “coercion”, Liu Jing and He Yi accepted the fact and sincerely offered their kitchen and dining table.

Since everyone had to make a dish, we all went to the supermarket together.

Actually, this wasn’t that hard for me. Let’s not talk about my skills first, just by having Han Lei with me, I’m chillin. With Han Lei’s cooking skills, do I even have to worry about the quality of this dish?

The main point of Sichuan cuisine was that it needed to be SPICY. The first thing we bought when we entered the supermarket was hot peppers, buying whichever one was the spiciest. I bet it’s gonna spice them to death.

After buying the peppers, Han Lei and I suddenly had no idea where to go because we hadn’t even discussed what we were going to cook yet. Frankly, I only ate Sichuan cuisine once and it was an authentic dish too. The only impression I had was that it was very spicy since I was still a child at the time. Thus, I entrusted the task for Han Lei to decide and promised that I wouldn’t steal his limelight tonight.

“You’re just simply lazy!” Han Lei lightly pinched my nose and protested.

So what if I’m lazy! Bite me?!

Seeing my shamelessness, Han Lei admitted defeat. He led me to the chicken section and said that he was going to cook Shancheng Spicy Chicken.

Great, I love eating meat most.

After getting our ingredients, everyone assembled at Liu Jing and He Yi’s home.

Although each pair had to cook one dish, everyone still tacitly prepared for a rich hotpot and of course, it was spicy.

Han Lei, Liu Jing, Su Xun, and Liu Jun were ready to show their skills and lined up to use the kitchen while He Yi, Qin Hao, Jiang Mo Mo and I prepared the hotpot and arranged the table.

Everyone was bustling with noise and excitement.

The four of us gathered in front of the table and hesitated on how much peppers we should put exactly for the hot pot base.  

Qin Hao suggested, “Since its Sichuan cuisine, let’s put more in!”

“Then I’m going to put all of it!” I picked up a pile of peppers and prepared to add them into the hot pot.

“Wait! Are you sure?” He Yi couldn’t help but asked.

“Don’t worry about him, put it all in! Xiao Ying Ying, bravely put it in!” Jiang Mo Mo forthrightly said.

Thus, my hand shook and all the peppers were added into the pot.

Two hours later, everyone sat down at the dining table. The table was covered with red, seemingly with just one look, you were able to see the hot peppers.

As for the dish that each pair made: Han Lei’s Shancheng Spicy Chicken, Liu Jing’s Spicy Escargots, Su Xun’s Sichuan Boiled Pork and Liu Jun’s Hot and Sour Fish with Pickled Vegetables.

The water in the pot was boiling, a thick layer of chilli oil and peppers simmered, making people drool and ready to take on the challenge.

Did we perhaps go overboard by adding that many peppers in? It seems like every dish was spicy.

Looking at everyone’s masterpiece, we all tacitly laughed. No one took the initiative to start moving their chopsticks, a seldom show of mutual modest decline.

Just at this time, Liu Jun got up and took out Wang Lao Ji from the fridge. “For fear of excessive heat, please drink Wang Lao Ji.”

heat* – In Chinese Traditional Medicine, excessive heat usually leads to a sore throat so you would drink herbal medicine to cleanse away the heat. Wang Lao Ji is an herbal medicine beverage widely popular in China. It’s not bitter but slightly on the sweet side. 

Since nobody moved their chopsticks, I courageously became the first one to eat. First, I picked up a piece of chicken cause that’s what my man cooked so of course, I would be the first one to support him. Yep, it was definitely spicy enough!

Although it was spicy but it was so yummy so even if my eyes were watering up, I continued eating.  

After I started eating, everyone followed suit, stuffing themselves up.

Soon, the table was left with only peppers. Everyone was gorging themselves with meat while sweating and having a runny nose. Each and everyone of us was a tragic sight for the eyes, it was truly horrid.

The windows were opened and the cold wind came in but it was still not enough. Drinking a box of Wang Lao Ji was also not enough. The napkins were all used up and everyone’s shouting was still not enough.

After eating till full, everyone laid against their chair with sweat on their foreheads, clothes getting taken off one by one. Everyone’s faces were flushed, nose red, and lips swollen. It was both a sorry and a funny sight.

After the madness, we laughed and scolded Liu Jun’s rotten idea while cleaning up. Then, everyone fled back to their homes to heal.

Lying in bed, I still felt that my lips were hot and numb.

It was rare for Han Lei to not disturb me tonight. Instead he was obediently laying beside me.

I purposefully laid on my stomach and teased him, “Honey, why are you so well-behaved tonight?”

Han Lei grinned and said, “So you were this disappointed. I was originally going to be considerate cause of your swollen lips but it seems like I don’t need to.”

Thereafter, he attempted to touch my “sexy swollen lips”. You’ve gotta be kidding, my lips right now sting just by touching air. If he touched them, would I still be able to even use them? Hence, I dodged left and right to keep him from succeeding.

The second before I fell asleep, I couldn’t help but cursed out in the darkness, “Honey, can I curse Liu Jun for my sausage-like lips?”

“I have no objection, count my portion in too.” Han Lei chuckled.

“Liu Jun ah Liu Jun, I sincerely curse that your sausage-like lips are the biggest!”