“Get in!” The two simple words were like a voice from heaven to Shen Xi, devastated by the rainstorm.
Shen Xi was about to get up instinctively but when he saw the driver clearly, he hesitated. It was not Lao K but Li Mingxuan who called him to get in the car.
Shen Xi did not move.
Li Mingxuan thought that thunder was too loud and Shen Xi hadn’t heard his words, so he shouted again, “Get in!”
With this shout, Li Mingxuan clearly saw Shen Xi’s hesitation. Glancing at the heavy rain outside, Li Mingxuan said nothing, opened the car door and jogged towards Shen Xi in the rain.
The moment he touched Shen Xi, his hand felt cold. With a slight effort, Li Mingxuan pulled Shen Xi up and rushed to the car in a few steps to shove Shen Xi in.
Li Mingxuan’s action was so fast that before Shen Xi could react, he was already sitting in the car. In an instant, Li Mingxuan neatly bypassed the front of the car, opened the door and sat beside Shen Xi.
Shen Xi’s brow furrowed slightly; he was about to say thank you when a clean jacket was handed over to him.
“Take off your shirt and change into this, be careful not to catch a cold.”
Hearing unquestionable concern in this low magnetic voice, Shen Xi hesitantly glanced at Li Mingxuan and took the jacket as he was told.
Seeing this, Li Mingxuan could only let out a silent sigh.
At first he was a bit angry, planning to ask Shen Xi why he refused to get in the car, but when he saw Shen Xi’s current appearance, his anger disappeared. Perhaps because he had been trapped in the rain for too long, Shen Xi looked miserable at this moment, drenched from head to toe, and his face was even paler than usual, but there was still the aura of rejection around him, as if he was a thousand miles away. For some reason, Shen Xi’s appearance reminded Li Mingxuan of a puppy he had seen not long ago.
It was a rather pretty little golden retriever, and it was a rainy day when Li Mingxuan saw it. Under the pouring rain, the little golden retriever was wet all over and was lying on the side of the road shivering. Mingfei, who was sitting in the back of the car, felt sorry for it and wanted to take it home. But no matter how Mingfei tried to entice it, the little golden retriever refused to come near them and looked at them warily. Eventually Mingfei had to give up in desperation. As they drove away, Li Mingxuan looked out of the car window and saw the little golden retriever shrinking into a ball, deeply alienated from all the humans around him who tried to get close to it.
Mingfei was sure that the puppy must have experienced abandonment by its owner to become so wary and detached from humans.
So what had Shen Xi experienced to make him wary and alienated?
When Li Mingxuan thought about it, his heart softened.
Speaking of which, Li Mingxuan now had very mixed feelings about Shen Xi. In the past twenty years or so, Shen Xi had been a stranger related by blood to Li Mingxuan. He was the younger brother that Shen Ji didn’t want to talk about, he was the fop who caused trouble according to Shen Cheng, he was the nephew that his mother felt guilty about, and he was an outcast by default for the entire Shen family, including the Li family.
But all that started changing when he met Shen Xi on the plane back to China.
Perhaps because the two had spent more time together in this period than in the previous twenty years, Shen Xi in Li Mingxuan’s eyes was no longer just a name or a topic of conversation of other people, but a living person.
Shen Xi would laugh, he would be aggrieved, he would pretend to be strong, and he would get drunk late at night alone. Every time Li Mingxuan met Shen Xi, he got to know him better. He could no longer be indifferent to Shen Xi as he used to be and turn a blind eye to Shen Xi’s affairs.
Li Mingxuan smiled silently and bitterly. Perhaps everyone’s indifference to Shen Xi stemmed from this. Because of indifference there would be no feelings, and when faced with a choice, a decision would be made without hesitation.
Li Mingxuan’s gaze couldn’t help turning to Shen Xi. At this time, Shen Xi had just stripped off his wet clothes, revealing his fair skin.
Noticing Li Mingxuan’s gaze, Shen Xi looked back suspiciously. Showing a kind smile, Li Mingxuan averted his eyes, handed the tissues to Shen Xi and asked while driving, “Take you back to the hotel?”
Shen Xi nodded and put Li Mingxuan’s jacket on, adding after a moment’s thought, “Thank you, Cousin Mingxuan.”
Li Mingxuan chuckled and asked teasingly, “Why did you refuse to get in the car just now, so I had to go and invite you personally?”
Shen Xi explained, “Because I already found a friend to pick me up and I didn’t want to bother Cousin.”
“Then do you want to talk to your friend?” Li Mingxuan asked casually.
Shen Xi shook his head, “The phone got wet and I don’t remember his number.”
Li Mingxuan smiled and changed the subject, “Why did Xiao Xi think of coming to the cemetery today?”
After the question was asked, there was silence in the car. Shen Xi did not answer and Li Mingxuan looked at Shen Xi in surprise. The smile on Shen Xi’s face disappeared and he lowered his eyes, “Today is my mother’s birthday.”
Li Mingxuan paused, looked at Shen Xi for a while, and said seriously, “Sorry! ”
Li Mingxuan’s eyes were so solemn that Shen Xi evaded and responded indifferently, “It doesn’t matter, it had nothing to do with you.”
Yes, it didn’t matter; Shen Xi’s expression was indifferent as he looked out the window. He was used to it, used to being ignored by the Shen family, used to the fact that he was the only person in the world who remembered his mother. Maybe you could also add the unknown man who left the flowers. Thinking of the bunch of lily of the valley flowers in front of the tombstone, Shen Xi felt his mood improve, but he didn’t want to speak anymore.
Once again, Li Mingxuan sighed silently.
The rain outside the window was getting heavier and heavier, the sky was getting darker and the whole world seemed to be immersed in the rain.
Shen Xi sat quietly in the car; the chill in his heart seemed to recede a little with the chill in his body.
Li Mingxuan didn’t speak again, concentrating on driving the car carefully through the rain. From Shen Xi’s perspective, Li Mingxuan’s profile looked very handsome, and with that focused expression on his face, he was very attractive.
Shen Xi had known Li Mingxuan all his life. Unlike his own notorious reputation, Li Mingxuan’s reputation in the upper class circles of Zhongjing was very good. He was a graduate of a prestigious school, the heir of the family, capable and skillful, and more importantly, Shen Xi had never heard of any scandal involving Li Mingxuan over the years. Such a clean-cut man was naturally the ideal son-in-law in many people’s eyes, and of course so was Shen Ji. Both of them had always been recognized as golden bachelors in their circle.
Thinking of this, Shen Xi suddenly glanced at Li Mingxuan strangely. The situation of Li Mingxuan and Shen Ji was too similar. The two of them couldn’t really have an affair, could they?
Shen Xi’s gaze was so strange that Li Mingxuan was vaguely aware of it, “What’s wrong?”
Shen Xi shook his head, “Just thinking when I can get back to the hotel.”
Li Mingxuan glanced at the GPS and said soothingly, “Should be there soon.”
Shen Xi looked away, his previous suspicions surfacing once more. Li Mingxuan’s concern for him did not seem fake, so what was he really after?
Shen Xi was so engrossed in his thoughts that he missed the moment the hotel had already appeared in front of him.
Taking a look at the rain that was not decreasing at all, Shen Xi thought about the difficult road conditions and took the initiative to invite Li Mingxuan, “Cousin Mingxuan, do you want to go up and sit down?” As he said that, Shen Xi’s gaze fell on Li Mingxuan’s half-wet clothes.
Li Mingxuan was surprised by Shen Xi’s offer and nodded without hesitation.
Returning to his room wrapped in Li Mingxuan’s jacket, Shen Xi found a few clothes that he hadn’t worn much and handed them to Li Mingxuan, motioning him to take a shower first. There was not much height difference between the two of them, but Shen Xi was thinner. These clothes might be tighter on Li Mingxuan, but they were more comfortable than wet clothes.
Li Mingxuan did not take the clothes, “Xiao Xi, you wash first.” Li Mingxuan was more worried about Shen Xi than about himself. After being stuck in the heavy rain for so long, even now Shen Xi’s face hadn’t recovered much colour.
It was this kind of concern again. Shen Xi faintly resisted it in his heart, but after taking a look at his drenched pants, Shen Xi nodded and didn’t insist anymore.
The sound of water soon came from the bathroom, and Li Mingxuan casually looked around the living room. The last time he had sent the drunk Shen Xi back, he hadn’t paid much attention to the state of the room. Only when he took a look this time did Li Mingxuan notice the oddity.
The entire room was surprisingly tidy. All of Shen Xi’s personal belongings were neatly arranged without any clutter. The hotel cleaning usually did not touch the guests’ personal belongings, so did Shen Xi do this himself?
Li Mingxuan’s amazement only lasted for a moment before his attention was quickly drawn to a photograph on the table. The photo seemed to have been taken when Shen Xi was a baby and it looked like it was of Shen Xi’s grandfather, mother and uncle. Shen Xi was estimated to be less than a year old at that time, and was smiling happily at the camera in ignorance.
Li Mingxuan fell silent, unable to imagine how Shen Xi would feel looking at this photo every day.
The phone in the room rang at this moment.
“Xiao Xixi, you’re back at the hotel? You’re so bad, you had me worried sick.” Li Mingxuan had just picked up the phone and before he could say anything, the other side of the phone had already rattled a few phrases. What puzzled Li Mingxuan even more was that the voice coming from the phone clearly belonged to a man but it seemed the other party was pinching his throat in a pretentious manner.
Li Mingxuan’s face couldn’t help but darken. Could this be the friend who was going to pick up Shen Xi? It made him wonder what kind of people Shen Xi usually associated with!
Enduring his discomfort at the other party’s voice, Li Mingxuan said, “I’m Shen Xi’s cousin, Shen Xi is taking a shower. Who are you?”
“Cousin? You’re Li Mingxuan?” The other party’s voice suddenly rose and then the man shot a question, “What did you just say, Shen Xi is taking a shower?” It was a tone of complete disbelief.
Li Mingxuan was surprised by the other party’s attitude, but still gave an “en”.
There was silence on the other side of the phone, and only after a while did a feeble male voice say, “Please tell Xiao Xi that Wang Xinghai is looking for him. I’m relieved he’s back home.”
The phone was quickly hung up and a thoughtful expression appeared on Li Mingxuan’s face.
“Who’s calling?” Shen Xi’s voice came from behind.
Li Mingxuan turned his head to look, but saw Shen Xi standing at the door of the bathroom fully dressed.
Thinking about the tone of the man on the phone just now, Li Mingxuan laughed lightly, “A man calling himself Wang Xinghai is looking for you.”
“Wang Xinghai?” Doubt flashed in Shen Xi’s eyes; then it occurred to him that wasn’t Wang Xinghai the name of Lao K? Back then, he had even used this name to make fun of Lao K. A big guy with a scummy beard with such a literary name.
With a casual nod, Shen Xi gestured to the direction of the bathroom. After Li Mingxuan went in, Shen Xi dialled back the number in the call log.
“Hello, it’s me!”
“The stimulation is too great, I am in a weak state, please do not disturb.”
“Get lost!” Shen Xi said dryly.
Lao K immediately came to life, “What’s going on? Why is Li Mingxuan with you, and you’re taking a shower?”
Shen Xi snorted coldly, “Isn’t it because you were too slow to get to the cemetery? I just happened to meet him and came back first. Don’t you take a shower after getting wet?”
The gap between Shen Xi’s answer and Lao K’s expectations was too wide, and Lao K immediately lost all interest, lazily humming on the phone.
“Where are you now?” Shen Xi asked kindly.
“Guess what, I got stuck in the cemetery in the pouring rain trying to pick you up. I don’t dare drive in this damn weather!” Lao K immediately complained. Shen Xi chuckled and suggested seriously, “Well, the cemetery in the rain is something special, you can take your time and enjoy the view.”
“Xiao Xixi, you’re so heartless!”
Shen Xi couldn’t help laughing out loud.
The two of them just chatted away, and Shen Xi tried to hang up the phone several times, but was stopped by Lao K crying and making trouble. Thinking of Lao K getting trapped in the cemetery because he went to pick him up, Shen Xi indulged him on a rare occasion.
What Li Mingxuan saw when he came out of the shower was Shen Xi smiling with the phone in his hand.
Although Shen Xi was not smiling at him, the heartfelt pleasure on Shen Xi’s face seemed to be infectious. Looking at Shen Xi’s curved eyes, Li Mingxuan was stunned for the first time.