Shen Xi was really happy to meet Fang Luowei and that night he chased Lao K to investigate Fang Luowei’s debt to the loan sharks.
Lao K had become accustomed to being squeezed by Shen Xi and resigned himself to taking the few pieces of information that Shen Xi had provided and searching through the vast sea of people in Zhongjing.
Over the course of a few days, the information about Fang Luowei arrived in Shen Xi’s hands intermittently. Fang Luowei had not come to Zhongjing alone, as Shen Xi had thought, but with his grandparents. His grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease and was receiving treatment in the hospital at this time. What Shen Xi didn’t expect was that Fang Luowei was signed as a singer to a lesser-known record label in Zhongjing, and strangely enough, he was blocked by the company before he even made his debut.
This information was unknown to Shen Xi in his previous life. When he met Fang Luowei, Fang Luowei was already in prison. They became acquainted half a year later. At that time, although Fang Luowei had mentioned his past to Shen Xi, he only said that his relatives were all dead and he was alone, his only hobby was singing and he dreamed of standing on the stage of the largest Star Pavilion in Zhongjing one day.
Holding the information in his hand, Shen Xi fell into deep thought. According to Lao K’s investigation, although Fang Luowei’s grandmother was confused, she was not in poor health, not to mention that his grandfather was in quite good health. So what had happened to make Fang Luowei lose his only two relatives in just half a year’s time?
As for Fang Luowei’s grandmother’s illness, Shen Xi felt that this seemed to be the reason why Fang Luowei was willing to borrow from loan sharks, but unfortunately, with a population of tens of millions of people in Zhongjing, there were too many such thugs, and for now Lao K couldn’t find out who the loan shark who lent Fang Luowei money was.
Shen Xi had a vague feeling that what he did not know was the key to Fang Luowei’s imprisonment, and that if he wanted to change Fang Luowei’s fate, he could only start from here.
In the past few days, while asking Lao K to inquire about Fang Luowei’s past, Shen Xi also took the time to make contact with him, but unfortunately, time was too short and Fang Luowei was too busy, so Shen Xi only had the cheek to meet Fang Luowei once.
On the one hand, Shen Xi was trying his best to get close to Fang Luowei, and on the other hand, Fang Luowei had a vague sense of Shen Xi’s unusual enthusiasm. Although he had doubts in his mind, he did not feel the slightest bit of malice in Shen Xi, but Shen Xi’s attitude made him more and more puzzled.
Because of his grandmother’s hospitalisation, Fang Luowei had been busy working odd jobs to earn money, and hadn’t bothered to pay attention to the recent newspaper articles about the Shen family. It was only when he met Shen Xi by chance that day that Fang Luowei realised that this Shen Xi was the same Shen Xi as mentioned in the newspapers. For this reason, he specially found a few recent newspapers to read.
The newspaper information about Shen Xi was very detailed, the third son of the Shen family in Zhongjing, one of the rightful heirs of the Shen family. Apart from Shen Xi’s life, the reports also deliberately brought up all of Shen Xi’s past misdeeds. Although the reporters had not caught Shen Xi doing anything bad since his return from abroad, there was unanimous speculation that Shen Xi had purposely restrained himself because of his father’s serious illness, and there were even guesses as to how soon Shen Sanshao would go back to his old ways.
Fang Luowei didn’t fully believe the newspaper reports. Although he hadn’t known Shen Xi for long and was suspicious of his unexplained enthusiasm, he felt that Shen Xi was not the kind of fop who caused trouble, as the reports suggested. Even if Shen Xi was as reported, it was still his father’s fault. Shen Xi had not been an adult yet five years ago, so why did he drink and race cars so often without his father disciplining him? Thinking about the complicated situation of the Shen family as described in the newspapers, the half-brothers, the illegitimate son seizing power or something, Fang Luowei had a little more sympathy for Shen Xi.
In this state of mind, when Shen Xi called again to ask for a meeting, Fang Luowei gave him the address of his grandmother’s hospital and apologised that he couldn’t get away to go out. Shen Xi obviously didn’t mind. Although he had known about the place from Lao K’s information, he still pretended to be hearing about it for the first time and carefully wrote down the address Fang Luowei had given.
An hour later, Shen Xi appeared outside the ward with a large bag in his hand.
Through the glass window, Shen Xi did not see Fang Luowei inside the ward, but only two grey-haired old people, whom Shen Xi recognised as Fang Luowei’s grandfather and grandmother.
The relationship between the two old people was obviously very good. Shen Xi watched as Fang Luowei’s grandfather carefully helped his grandmother to lie down and gently tucked in the corners of the blanket. Grandma had a faint smile on her face as she looked intently at her husband, a strong current of warmth flowing between them.
Shen Xi’s heart softened and his eyes unconsciously filled with envy.
“Why don’t you go in?” Fang Luowei, who had returned from fetching medicine, looked at Shen Xi, who was standing at the door, in surprise.
Shen Xi smiled and replied, “Your grandfather and grandmother have such a good relationship.”
Fang Luowei smiled, “They’ve been supporting each other for their whole lives, they’ve permeated each other’s lives. You know what? Grandma doesn’t remember anyone now, the only person she remembers is Grandpa.”
Shen Xi raised an eyebrow, “You’re jealous?”
Fang Luowei nodded graciously, “Yes, I used to be Grandma’s little baby, and now in her eyes I am the big bad guy who steals Grandpa from her.”
Shen Xi was so amused by Fang Luowei that he laughed, and was pulled into the ward by Fang Luowei amidst the laughter.
Fang Luowei’s grandfather was very fond of Shen Xi, and after a few words, he had already asked Shen Xi to follow Fang Luowei’s example and call him Grandpa.
The word “Grandpa” made Shen Xi look dazed for a moment, and when he came back to his senses, he looked at the old man’s kind smiling face and gently called out, “Grandpa.”
“Eh!” The old man approved loudly, and Shen Xi’s eyes uncontrollably moistened. He smiled and turned in the direction of the grandmother, trying to conceal the sadness on his face.
Fang Luowei pretended not to see Shen Xi’s abnormality and pulled Shen Xi to stand by his grandmother’s side, pointing at him and saying, “Grandma, this is Shen Xi.”
Grandma did not say anything, but just kept smiling at Shen Xi. Shen Xi took a step forward and squatted in front of her, “Grandma.”
Grandma’s soft gaze fell on Shen Xi’s face; she stretched out a dry hand to touch Shen Xi’s head, “Xiao Wei is good, Grandma will buy you candy.”
A huge smile bloomed on Shen Xi’s face and he nodded. Behind him, Fang Luowei didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
That afternoon, Shen Xi felt the long-lost family warmth from Fang Luowei’s grandparents, the kind of pulsating warmth that finally relaxed Shen Xi’s heart that had been tense since his rebirth. For the first time, he was not scheming but simply thought of himself as the grandson of the two old people, talking with them, walking with them and reminiscing with them about Fang Luowei’s childhood.
Whenever Grandpa talked about Fang Luowei’s embarrassing childhood stories, Fang Luowei would helplessly hold his forehead, and to Shen Xi’s laughter, Grandma would say each time tirelessly, “Xiao Wei is good, Grandma will buy you candy.”
After a lively afternoon, Grandma finally couldn’t bear the fatigue and fell into a deep sleep, and Grandpa quietly sat next to her, carefully combing the white hair on her head.
Shen Xi looked at the scene with a gentle expression, and quietly turned away to leave.
“What, are you leaving?” Fang Luowei asked.
Shen Xi nodded, “There are still things to do at home.”
Fang Luowei sent Shen Xi to the stairway, “Be careful on your way.”
Shen Xi looked at Fang Luowei and nodded with a smile.
After he left the hospital, the gentleness on Shen Xi’s face was quickly replaced with a blank look. Taking out his mobile phone from his pocket, Shen Xi opened a text message sent by Chu Qianqian not long ago, with only a few short words, “I will go to Shen’s house tonight.”
Shen Xi raised his eyebrows; he didn’t expect Chu Qianqian to act so quickly. After a moment of contemplation, Shen Xi decided to make a trip home. He wanted to see Shen Ji’s reaction with his own eyes.
It was the evening rush hour in Zhongjing, so Shen Xi stopped a taxi and gave his address, then habitually closed his eyes to rest. His sleep was very bad and in his present life he had been plagued by nightmares from his previous life. Shen Xi sometimes wondered why he had been reborn but was still trapped in that blood-soaked night from his previous life.
For several years abroad Shen Xi had persevered in seeing a psychiatrist just so he could get a good night’s sleep. When he returned home, the matter was delayed because he didn’t want the reporters to find out about such a thing.
Shen Xi suddenly thought of the two days when he had a fever. There were no nightmares and the warm and reassuring feeling in his dreams made him sleep until dawn. Although Shen Xi did not say so, he understood in his heart that the embrace he felt in his sleep was not an illusion. In those days, he and Li Mingxuan were the only two people in the room, so it was obvious who was embracing him.
Shen Xi frowned nervously and an absurd thought came to his mind. The next moment, a hint of self-deprecation curved the corner of Shen Xi’s mouth, and that thought was thrown into the back of his mind.
After a long hour and a half, Shen Xi stood at the entrance of the Shen family’s house. To his surprise, Li Mingxuan was also there.
Li Mingxuan was obviously surprised by Shen Xi’s appearance and subconsciously froze for a moment. He had been looking for Shen Ji for something, and he thought he would stay behind for a while afterwards since he hadn’t been to the Shen’s house for a long time, but he didn’t expect to meet Shen Xi there.
This was the first time they met since Shen Xi had left that day. The strange look on Li Mingxuan’s face was fleeting and he quickly returned to his normal self. He nodded at Shen Xi restrainedly and quickly averted his eyes.
It was not only Li Mingxuan who was surprised by Shen Xi’s arrival, but the other people in the house as well.
“Why are you back?” Shen Cheng was the first to question.
Shen Xi snorted, “Isn’t this my home?”
Shen Cheng choked and tried to say something else but shut his mouth under Shen Ji’s cold eyes.
Shen Ji did not speak to Shen Xi, but only nodded at him, and then looked at the documents in front of him. Shen Cheng sat there with a puzzled expression, refusing to speak because he had been snapped at by Shen Ji. Li Mingxuan restrained himself from looking at Shen Xi, his eyes resting on the cup of tea in his hand. Since they didn’t say anything, Shen Xi naturally wouldn’t take the initiative to speak either, and silence filled the living room until Shen Dehan’s voice sounded outside the door.
“Xiao Chu, it’s your first time here, don’t be polite, just treat this place as your home.”
As soon as he heard these words, Shen Ji’s face changed. He looked towards the door incredulously. Shen Xi’s gaze fell on Shen Ji’s face and a sneer appeared at the corner of his mouth. Looking at Shen Ji’s reaction, it was obvious that his father had made the decision on the spur of the moment and had not mentioned this to his family beforehand. He didn’t know what Chu Qianqian had done but it was really a huge “surprise”.
With Shen Dehan’s words, the door was slowly pushed open, and Shen Dehan walked in, carefully protecting Chu Qianqian in his arms. Chu Qianqian looked very wretched, her knee-length dress was torn in several places and her exposed calf was bruised. Her eyes were red and swollen, and it seemed that she had not expected to see so many people, so she instinctively shrank into Shen Dehan’s arms.
Shen Xi clearly saw that Shen Dehan’s face was full of pity.
Unfortunately, Shen Ji did not feel the same pity as his father and stepped forward to block them.
Shen Dehan’s face darkened in displeasure, “Ah Ji.”
Shen Ji refused to step back and just looked at Chu Qianqian coldly.
Shen Dehan felt a little embarrassed and raised his voice, “Ah Ji.”
Shen Ji didn’t say anything, standing straight confronting his father. As soon as Shen Cheng saw that the situation was not good, he immediately came closer. “Big Brother, we’ll talk about what’s going on later, Cousin is still here.”
Shen Ji gave Shen Cheng a fierce glance; Shen Cheng touched his nose and took a step back, not daring to speak again. To be honest, Shen Cheng couldn’t understand his big brother’s thinking. It was just a little love affair, why should he care so much? There was already one Zhou Mingmei anyway, so what about another one? Even if Chu Qianqian had the ability to give birth to a son, it would only be an illegitimate son who couldn’t get on the stage like Shen Rong, so why bother to put a strain on the relationship with his father over this.
Shen Ji still refused to speak and confronted Shen Dehan, silently expressing his attitude.
Li Mingxuan looked at the confrontation in the living room with a wry smile. His status was not suitable to get involved.
In the middle of the scene, Chu Qianqian pulled Shen Dehan’s sleeve and tried to squeeze out a smile on her face, “Mr. Shen, thank you for today, I suddenly remembered that I still have things to do at home, I’ll leave first.” After this sentence Chu Qianqian was about to turn around, when Shen Ji said directly, “Scram!”
As soon as the word “scram” was uttered, Shen Dehan was furious and, without thinking, slapped Shen Ji across the face.
This incident obviously shocked everyone. Shen Dehan looked at his hand hesitantly, unable to believe that he had struck his most beloved son.
Shen Xi raised his eyebrows; this scene was really getting more and more interesting.
Li Mingxuan sighed silently. He really did not want to get involved in the affairs of his uncle’s family, but the situation before him was such that he could not afford to stay on the sidelines. He walked up to Shen Ji’s side while the other people in the living room obviously had not yet reacted to the slap.
Li Mingxuan pulled Shen Ji aside and said to Shen Dehan, “Uncle, Ah Ji was just quick-mouthed, he didn’t mean to offend the guest.”
These words allowed Shen Dehan to find a foundation, and he said in a deep voice, “No matter whether he meant it or not, it is always wrong for Ah Ji to be rude to the guests, so let’s forget it this time.”
Shen Dehan looked at Shen Ji guiltily as he said this. Shen Ji gave his father a deep look, turned his head without saying a word and went back to his room.
Shen Cheng gave Li Mingxuan a wink and carefully followed Shen Ji. Li Mingxuan smiled bitterly and stayed by Shen Dehan’s side, accompanying him in the change of subject.
What happened after that was of no concern to Shen Xi. He left the Shen family satisfied after Shen Ji returned to his room. He had waited for this day for a long time; a gap had been created between Shen Ji and his father and what he wanted to do was to widen this gap further. Thinking of his next step, Shen Xi smiled faintly.
The night had not yet completely enveloped the city, and the sunset, as bright red as blood, was still blazing in the sky, unwilling to fade.
Shen Xi looked away from the sunset and closed his eyes comfortably. When a breeze blew by, he felt someone stand beside him.
Opening his eyes, he met Li Mingxuan’s gaze.
“Are you hungry? I still owe you a meal.” Li Mingxuan didn’t know himself how he had ghosted up to Shen Xi and blurted out this sentence. He had intended to leave and tried hard to do so, but when he looked at Shen Xi’s lonely figure in the twilight, he couldn’t move away.
Shen Xi did not say anything, but only looked at Li Mingxuan inquiringly. His black eyes seemed to be shrouded in a layer of mist and his emotions inside could not be seen.
Li Mingxuan looked into Shen Xi’s eyes, only to feel that he had taken a step closer to the cliff.