Ji Sheng remembered that Xie Xuanming hadn’t said to him “Happy birthday” in the end.
He swallowed hard and turned his head.
The cold light from the corridor shone on Xie Xuanming’s face, illuminating his indifferent expression and leaving a few ripples in his eyes.
The birthday congratulation that had been missed two years ago was made up for in the end.
Ji Sheng stared at Xie Xuanming in a daze for a while, and then lowered his eyes in what seemed like a compromise mixed with self-loathing, and said, “Thank you.”
The two sat in silence, neither of them speaking again.
Four minutes was not a very long time, in a few breaths it was past twelve.
At the moment when the hour and minute hands coincide at the top, Ji Sheng felt as if everything was an illusion, and as soon as the minute hand moved, he would be back to being “Ji Hui”, while Xie Xuanming would forget the truth.
He was in a trance when the lawyer pushed the door open and broke the icy silence between them.
Ji Sheng stood up at once, but Xie Xuanming was still one step ahead of him. Ji Sheng just had time to straighten up while Xie Xuanming had already passed him and walked towards the lawyer.
Ji Sheng could only stop and watch Xie Xuanming step forward and talk to the lawyer in a low voice, and come back a few minutes later.
“Qingchu is digging its heels in, your mother can’t come out today yet.” The pronoun Xie Xuanming used sounded very natural, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, it’s not your problem.” Ji Sheng whispered, “But her health…”
“It’s a special case. It’s been applied for. Although you can’t see unrelated people, she should be sent to the hospital today for tests and you can go to the hospital, too.”
“Good.” Ji Sheng felt as if a big stone fell off his heart, “I’m sorry to trouble you.”
“It’s okay.” Xie Xuanming’s expression was still unreadable, “I will follow up on the situation. I will tell you as soon as there is progress. It’s too late. Let’s go back first.”
Ji Sheng lowered his head, thinking about Xie Xuanming’s previous statement that he would contact him if there was some news regarding the collapse, but he hadn’t actually contacted him again.
Although that was a special situation.
And it was clearly not the right time to bring that up.
So Ji Sheng only nodded in the end and said yes.
Xie Xuanming drove the car here by himself. When they were getting in the car, Ji Sheng habitually pulled on the handle of the rear seat door, but Xie Xuanming held his wrist down.
When the warm palm touched his wrist, for a moment Ji Sheng felt the illusion of the phantom pain cutting through his wrist.
So he reflexively withdrew his hand in an abrupt movement. Xie Xuanming’s hand was shoved away and the back of his hand hit the car with a muffled, quite heavy sound.
Ji Sheng didn’t expect to hit Xie Xuanming, so he hurriedly said, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” Xie Xuanming withdrew his hand and leaned forward to pull open the passenger door, “Take the co-pilot.”
Ji Sheng originally thought that Xie Xuanming had asked him to take the co-pilot because he wanted to talk to him about something. After all, there was a lot to talk about and there was a need to talk about it.
But Xie Xuanming drove the car without saying a word, looking out the window from time to time, as if searching for something absent-mindedly.
Ji Sheng couldn’t hold back from glancing at him now and then. Xie Xuanming’s knuckles holding the steering wheel were visibly reddened.
This redness was particularly obvious on the hand that looked like a work of art.
Ji Sheng felt a little guilty: “Does it hurt?”
Xie Xuanming did not answer immediately. He glanced to follow his line of sight and said when he found the source of the topic: “A bit.”
The conversation was repeated as the wheels of the car turned; Ji Sheng looked away and quietly opened the window.
The 20-year-old Xie Xuanming on the other end of the phone said softly: “It won’t hurt if you sing me a song.”
It was light and airy, and the wind swept in and was gone again.
He eventually said nothing else.
Xie Xuanming parked the car on the side of the road.
“You stay in the car.” He unbuckled the seat belt.
“What are you going to do?” Ji Sheng had already discovered that he wasn’t driving to the villa area, so he asked.
“Buy a cake, wait a minute.” Xie Xuanming said and got out of the car.
Ji Sheng suddenly turned to see that a bakery on the other side of the road was still lit up with a warm orange light.
“It’s past the point…” Ji Sheng muttered quietly.
Xie Xuanming got out of the car and naturally couldn’t hear him. He looked at the bakery window for a while, pushed the door open and pointed to a cake in the window to the shop assistant.
Ji Sheng looked at it and suddenly caught a glimpse of a few orange and yellow fruits on the cake.
This body seemed to be allergic to mangoes.
Ji Sheng pushed the door to go and mention it to Xie Xuanming.
But he pulled his handle twice and was stunned.
The car door was locked.
Xie Xuanming came back with the cake, unlocked the car, opened the door and put the cake in the back seat.
“That cake.” Ji Sheng asked, “Is the fruit on it yellow peach or mango?”
“Yellow peach, there is no mango cake in their bakery.” Xie Xuanming said.
“That’s good.” Ji Sheng breathed a sigh of relief, “Ji Hui is allergic to mango.”
Xie Xuanming’s movement to start the car stuck for a second, and then a second later he gripped the steering wheel as if nothing happened.
“That’s quite a pity.” He said, “I remember you liked mangoes a lot.”
Ji Sheng was taken aback for a moment, suddenly having the urge to ask:
What else do you remember?
But he returned to the villa, listened to a birthday song, made a wish, cut the cake and finished eating it… and he didn’t ask.
How to sleep at night was another big problem. Ji Sheng originally wanted to sleep in the guest room, but he knew that Xie Xuanming was unlikely to agree, so he took a step back and offered to sleep on the sofa bed as usual, but Xie Xuanming also refused.
So the two of them ended up tugging the corners of the quilt, lying stiffly on the same bed.
Fortunately, the bed in the master bedroom was large enough, two metres wide, and there was more than enough space for two people to sleep.
They didn’t even need to get close to each other.
Ji Sheng thought he would not be able to sleep, but in fact he started to feel sleepy as soon as he put his head on the pillow, and his eyelids couldn’t stop drooping.
But before he fell asleep, Ji Sheng still had one question to ask Xie Xuanming.
“When did you know?” he asked very gently.
“I guessed some of it before.” Xie Xuanming’s voice was flat, “Handwriting, stage style, children’s toothpaste, fruit candy, fear of heights… there were too many coincidences.”
It was quite a lot, Ji Sheng thought as he stared into the darkness.
How could he imagine that Xie Xuanming wouldn’t think of it?
He kept looking at the ceiling until his eyelids drooped again, and when he was half asleep and half awake, he heard Xie Xuanming ask, “And when did you know?”
Know that he had guessed his identity, or know of his love?
Ji Sheng didn’t want to guess, didn’t answer, and drifted off to sleep.
Early the next morning, when Ji Sheng woke up, Xie Xuanming was already dressed neatly, standing by the window calling someone.
Ji Sheng didn’t want to disturb him, so he got out of bed lightly and headed for the bathroom downstairs. But as soon as he took a step, Xie Xuanming turned around and asked, “Where are you going?”
“To wash.” Ji Sheng paused, unable to resist a yawn.
“Use the bathroom upstairs.” Xie Xuanming said.
“The toothbrush and toothpaste are downstairs.” Ji Sheng said.
“…Then go down first. You can use the main bathroom in the future, so you don’t have to run around.” Xie Xuanming said after pausing for a few seconds.
In the future, he would have to live in the room with Xie Xuanming.
Ji Sheng held a handful of water and poured it on his face.
Nothing was clear…
Xie Xuanming apparently didn’t have a clear idea either.
They were just muddling through.
Ji Sheng walked out of the bathroom and saw that Xie Xuanming also came down and waited on the sofa.
Seeing him come out, Xie Xuanming raised his head and said, “Ji Yueming’s health is stable. More needs to be discussed with the Qingchu side.”
“The surveillance over there caught the person who caused the collapse, and the police launched a manhunt. It’s probably the same person who attacked Ji Hui before. It is not safe for now, so it is better for you to stay with me first.”
“Okay.” Ji Sheng nodded obediently.
Xie Xuanming stared at him for a while, then turned away as if relieved: “Do you have anything to say?”
“Yes.” Ji Sheng took out his mobile phone from his pocket. There was a missed call and a few messages on it. “Sheng Kongzhi asked me to meet.”
“You pulled him out of the blacklist?”
“Well, I was in a hurry to ask about Ji… my mother’s situation, so…” Ji Sheng said, “Should I meet him?”
“Oh, I didn’t mean to question you.” Xie Xuanming explained unhurriedly, and suddenly asked, “Does he know that you are Ji Sheng?”
Ji Sheng thought he might just ask that as well.
“I didn’t tell him, but he guessed.”
Xie Xuanming looked colder and very unhappy.
Ji Sheng returned to the original question.
“Am I going to meet him?”
“Do you want to meet him?”
“A bit.” Ji Sheng added an explanation, “I want to ask him something about Qingchu, and the collapse… these things are all related to him… it may be some crazy sisheng again… or simply the previous one.”
He tried to make up for it, but Xie Xuanming’s expression was still unsightly.
Ji Sheng could only say: “But if you don’t want me to go, I won’t go. There are always other ways to check these things…”
“I don’t want you to go.” Xie Xuanming’s answer was dry and sharp, his expression as frank as when he was seventeen.
“Then I won’t go.” Ji Sheng also replied sharply.
After he finished speaking, Xie Xuanming seemed to want to say something, but in the end he only said: “How is the injured musician in Ji Hui’s band?”
Ji Sheng was stunned for two seconds before he realized that he was talking about Lu Haoren, and replied: “He is in good condition, but the doctor said that it is best to recuperate, and he might not be able to catch up with the next competition.”
“Oh.” Xie Xuanming didn’t seem to really care about Niepan’s performance in “Music First 2” either, “So are you going to withdraw from the competition?”
“This collapse has already proved that people in the shadows would do whatever it takes. It is too dangerous to stay in the show. Withdrawing from the competition is the safest choice.”
“What about Niepan?” Ji Sheng blurted out.
“It has nothing to do with me.” Xie Xuanming finally showed a hint of hidden gloomy emotions, “It has nothing to do with you, the fact is that it only has something to do with Ji Hui… Are you Ji Hui?”
Xie Xuanming neatly disconnected Ji Sheng from Ji Hui, and also cut off Ji Sheng’s possibility of fishing in muddy waters to fool around with his identity.
It was only at this moment that Ji Sheng realized that Xie Xuanming cared so much about the difference between “Ji Sheng” and “Ji Hui”.
He was speechless for a while, and said ten seconds later: “But I can’t ruin the future of others just because I want to save myself.”
Ji Sheng clarified his meaning: “And the person who wants to harm me has already done whatever it takes. Whether I am on “Music First” or any other show, or somewhere else, those who want to do it will eventually do it… If I want to deal with it once and for all, I can only draw them out and make them take legal responsibility. If I continue to show up, it’s the best way to fish… and I can’t spend my life hiding and not going out.”
“You can hide with me for the rest of your life.” Xie Xuanming said coldly, “I don’t mind.”
“I mind.” Ji Sheng said helplessly, “Of course I don’t mind hiding with ‘you’, but I mind ‘hiding’…”
“I know.” Xie Xuanming interrupted him, “So the problem now is that Niepan wants to participate in the next competition, but there is a shortage of people?”
“…that’s right.” Ji Sheng was a bit stunned by this sudden turn.
“What does that musician play? Guitar? Keyboard?”
“Lead singer, no instruments…” Ji Sheng said, suddenly thinking of something, “Wait, do you want to…”
“That would be a good solution.” Xie Xuanming took a step forward and the corner of his coat brushed over the back of Ji Sheng’s hand. He lowered his head, looked at Ji Sheng and said, “The next public performance, I’ll be your lead singer.”
10 thoughts on “Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 65”
waaah- it needs time, true. There is a lot to unpacked but I’m sure I’m getting close. This time, its the both of you together.
Despite all the misunderstandings (mainly intentional *coughwhitemoonlightcough*), I do love it that JS and XX realized early on what they meant to each other. In other novels, the MC would know they’re not a substitute like…halfway the novel and the ML would find out the MC’s real identity during the climax. >.>
Yes, I was also happy about it! Dog blood is mild in this one 🙂
Aaaaaaa comeback is real
I do think Xiao Xie is sane enough not to consider Ji Hui is Ji Sheng, even if there is some similarities, even if he was often called lunatics.
Apparently I was wrong.
And somehow it seems more awkward when Ji Sheng identity has been cleared.
I’m kinda miss the early days of they started living together which I read like, hours ago.
How confident Ji Sheng is to be his own substitute, which he really believe is not Xiao Xie’s moonlight.
They will have a lot of awkwardness in the next chapters until they figure it out… well, Ji Sheng mostly will work on it, because Xiao Xie is really a mess.
Thank you ❤️