Separated by the wall, Li Mingxuan did not hear Shen Xi’s words.
He left his and Shen Xi’s home as if escaping, and only when he stepped into the empty elevator did Li Mingxuan’s mask collapse. He slammed his fist on the elevator door and closed his eyes in pain. It had only been a few minutes since he left Shen Xi, and he was already missing him. If he could, he would go back and hold Shen Xi tightly in his arms, but his pride would not allow it.
Before today, he had never asked Shen Xi if he liked him. He knew that Shen Xi had not necessarily been with him because he liked him in the first place, and he knew that Shen Xi had been avoiding all his plans for the future. He said to himself that because of his experiences at a young age, Shen Xi was wary of people and that he had to be patient enough to stay by Shen Xi’s side, that he only wanted Shen Xi to be with him. But today when all the truth was revealed, he no longer had the courage to stay. His original confidence dissipated with Shen Xi’s story. If everything that happened after Shen Xi’s return to China was a calculation, then what was Shen Xi doing with him? He wondered if Shen Xi was happy with his company when he was full of joy, grateful and doing his best to stay by Shen Xi’s side. Or was it that to Shen Xi, his presence was dispensable, that it was just Shen Xi pushing the boat along the water?
The elevator door slowly opened with a thud, and Li Mingxuan opened his eyes, his gaze falling on the familiar floor button. When he thought that he would be leaving Shen Xi completely, Li Mingxuan felt an indescribable suffocation in his heart, as if a big hand had gripped his whole heart tightly. A painful look flashed in his eyes and he finally left the building decisively.
Shen Xi stood quietly in front of the window, watching Li Mingxuan’s figure walk away. Perhaps because he had expected this scene, he felt that he was not really sad, but his heart felt empty. The big hole that had been gradually filled up by Li Mingxuan’s presence seemed to be open once again, and something was screaming inside him, a cold feeling spreading in his heart.
Shen Xi suddenly remembered that when he and Li Mingxuan were together, Li Mingxuan had said that he would never leave him, no matter in life or in death. He did not believe in Li Mingxuan’s promise at first, but later, perhaps because the other party had done too well, he gradually believed in it. But in the end, Li Mingxuan, like his mother and grandfather, chose to abandon him, leaving him alone. In life or in death? Perhaps he was destined to be alone.
Shen Xi stood in silence for a long time, memories of Li Mingxuan from his two lives alternating in his mind, finally settling on the desperate expression on his face just now. Shen Xi shook his head, pushing the image of Li Mingxuan out of his mind. He could not give up his choice because of Li Mingxuan, and Li Mingxuan would not be able to stay by his side as if nothing had happened after knowing everything, so it was best to part ways. Since they would never cross paths again, he would try his best to forget Li Mingxuan. Once he watched Shen Group change hands, he would be able to leave here without any worries, and everything related to the Shen family would no longer be relevant to him. He would start afresh abroad, a real start.
While Shen Xi was alone and silent, Li Mingxuan was driving aimlessly around Zhongjing. Shen Bixue had called him a few times, but he hadn’t answered any of the calls. He knew that his mother and uncle were deeply attached to each other and his mother would definitely want him to be at the hospital at this time. But thinking about Shen Xi, he really didn’t have the heart to take care of his mother’s mood at this time, especially as he didn’t know how to face his uncle and Shen Ji there.
Shen Dehan’s affairs, Shen Group affairs, Shen Xi confessed all his calculations in front of him. He had no way to comment on the right or wrong of what Shen Xi had done, but in his heart he was heartbroken for Shen Xi. He didn’t know if Shen Xi was worried about him telling Shen Dehan all this when he confessed, but Li Mingxuan subconsciously wanted to hide Shen Xi’s secret. A bitter smile curved the corner of Li Mingxuan’s mouth. He could no longer deceive himself and maintain an illusion of peace between Shen Xi and the Shen family. Now that things had come to this point, he needed to make a choice, and he had already made it instinctively. Perhaps in his heart, Shen Xi was more important than everything else, after all.
That night Li Mingxuan went to Ye Han’s place instead of going back to the Li family. He was worried that his father might see something, and he had no intention of telling his family about his break-up with Shen Xi.
Ye Han was obviously very surprised by Li Mingxuan’s sudden arrival. He quickly realised what was wrong from Li Mingxuan’s expression, but thoughtfully did not ask more questions.
“What can I get you to drink?”
Li Mingxuan was in a depressed mood, “Whatever.”
Ye Han thought for a moment and carried a few cans of beer and put them in front of Li Mingxuan.
“Although it’s not a good idea to drink to drown your sorrows, it might be more comfortable to get drunk.”
Li Mingxuan laughed bitterly, “Do I look that bad?”
Ye Han nodded and commented briefly, “As if your soul is lost. This is the first time I’ve seen you look like this.”
Li Mingxuan listened to Ye Han’s words as he leaned back on the sofa, wretched and dejected, his expression unable to hide his pain, “I broke up with Shen Xi.”
Although he had already guessed that Li Mingxuan’s current state had something to do with Shen Xi, this news still took Ye Han by surprise. He thought that the two of them just quarrelled at most.
“Why?” Ye Han suddenly thought of something and raised his eyebrows, “Because of Lu Gesen?”
Li Mingxuan shook his head, “It has nothing to do with Lu Gesen, it’s my problem.”
Ye Han didn’t really believe in Li Mingxuan’s words. He knew how Li Mingxuan felt about Shen Xi; no matter how he looked at it, Li Mingxuan wouldn’t be willing to break up.
A trace of bitterness flashed across Li Mingxuan’s face, “You should have heard about the scandal that broke out in the Shen family today, right?”
Ye Han’s eyes flashed and a hint of weirdness appeared on his face, “Could it be that Shen Xi did it?”
Li Mingxuan nodded. Ye Han looked at Li Mingxuan in shock and couldn’t help but say, “Calculating his own father to lose his reputation, Shen Xi is really ruthless. But one might say that the Shen family wronged Shen Xi indeed. Although Shen Xi was a bit ruthless in doing so, it was justifiable. You wouldn’t break up with him because of this, right?”
The words “break up” made Li Mingxuan’s expression even more wretched, “Not only this matter, behind everything that has happened to Shen Group in the past six months or so is Xiao Xi’s shadow. Everything has been his calculation from the time he returned to China.”
Ye Han looked incredulous, “Even being with you is a calculation?”
Li Mingxuan covered his eyes in pain, “I don’t know. Xiao Xi has never revealed his interest in Shen Group in front of me, let alone revealing his intention to calculate Shen Group. What could he gain by being with me?”
Li Mingxuan did not believe that Shen Xi was with him to gain anything. In fact, Shen Xi had never asked anything from him. But he could not find any reason for Shen Xi to be with him.
Ye Han sighed, “Is it because of these things that Shen Xi has done? You know, based on what the Shen family did to Shen Xi in the past, it’s normal for Shen Xi to have thoughts of revenge.”
Li Mingxuan smiled bitterly, “I know, I can understand Xiao Xi’s revenge, I just don’t know what I am to him. From the beginning to the end, this relationship was always my initiative, he just passively accepted everything. I always thought I could get him to reciprocate in return for my dedication, but if the feelings he showed in front of me were all fake, then what is all my dedication?”
This was what really made Li Mingxuan suffer.
Ye Han let out a silent sigh. He really didn’t know what to say when it came to feelings, he could only dryly console Li Mingxuan, “It’s better to break up, there’s no guarantee that these things Shen Xi did will not be known by the Shen family one day. Instead of you being caught in the middle then, it’s better to separate early.”
When he said this, Ye Han suddenly thought of what Li Mingxuan had asked him to do, “Should I continue to investigate Lu Gesen? Since he stayed abroad most of the time before, the results of the investigation might take a little time.”
Li Mingxuan wanted to give up, but when he thought about Shen Xi’s closed-mouth attitude towards Lu Gesen, he nodded. That night, Ye Han drank a lot with Li Mingxuan and listened to Li Mingxuan talk about Shen Xi over and over again. Ye Han really felt that love was a harmful thing.
For the next two days, Li Mingxuan remained with Ye Han, and his family did not know about his break-up with Shen Xi. During this period, he accompanied his mother to the hospital once. Shen Dehan was awake, but he had suffered a full-body stroke and was completely incapacitated. Affected by the stroke, Shen Dehan could no longer speak coherently. No matter how hard Shen Dehan tried, he could only make some babbling sounds. Shen Bixue was very worried about his current state and spent the last few days at the hospital, fearing that something might happen to Shen Dehan.
That afternoon, Li Mingxuan accompanied his father to the hospital once again and saw Shen Bixue discontentedly saying something to the nurses. Seeing the two of them, Shen Bixue hurriedly said a few words to the nurses and let them leave.
“What’s wrong?” Li Xiyong said.
Shen Bixue sighed, “Big Brother is in a bad mood and refuses to take the medicine. These little nurses, instead of coaxing him, forcefully made Big Brother take medicine, so I said a few words to them.”
Li Xiyong knew that Shen Bixue was in an agitated mood, so he said soothingly, “They are doing it for Dehan’s own good, it’s not good for Dehan not to take his medicine.” Li Xiyong turned his head and looked at Li Mingxuan, “Mingxuan, you stay with your mother outside for a while, I’ll go and see your uncle.”
After Li Xiyong finished speaking, he gently patted Shen Bixue’s shoulder. Shen Bixue knew she was not in the right mood, so she took a deep breath and nodded.
Li Xiyong’s figure quickly disappeared in the ward. Li Mingxuan looked at Shen Bixue with concern, “Mother, Father brought over shredded chicken porridge from Zhou Ji, do you want some?”
Shen Bixue shook her head. Although she tried to control her emotions, she could not help but complain to her son, “I don’t have the appetite to eat porridge. Your uncle had an accident, but Ah Cheng and Xiao Xi didn’t come to the hospital once, and even Ah Ji left after a few hurried visits. Your uncle is lying there all alone, what is so important that Ah Ji and the others can’t stay at the hospital?”
Li Mingxuan listened to Shen Bixue’s complaint and explained softly, “Didn’t I tell you that Xiao Xi had been recuperating at home after he was sick? I was the one who didn’t let him come to the hospital. As for Ah Cheng, he is at a critical moment in his recovery from drug addiction, Ah Ji simply doesn’t feel at ease leaving him at home alone and will inevitably be a little negligent towards Uncle.”
Shen Bixue frowned and couldn’t help but say, “Forget about Ah Ji and Ah Cheng, tell me the truth, is Xiao Xi really sick? Did you not allow him to come or did he not want to come?”
“Why would Mother ask that?”
Shen Bixue looked at her son and said disappointedly, “Mingxuan, no matter what, your uncle is Xiao Xi’s father. Even if your uncle has wronged Xiao Xi, but he is like this now, it’s time to leave the past behind, you should advise him to come.”
A touch of bitterness flashed across Li Mingxuan’s face as he looked up at his mother and said seriously, “Mother, do you really think that after all these years of Uncle’s indifference to Xiao Xi and Xiao Xi knowing what happened in the previous generation, he can act as if nothing has happened and come to the hospital to play the role of a filial son as you want him to?”
Li Mingxuan’s words caused Shen Bixue to stare, “Mingxuan?”
Li Mingxuan lowered his eyes, “Mother, if it were you, could you have pretended that nothing had happened?”
Shen Bixue looked shocked. She could not have imagined that Li Mingxuan would say that. Li Mingxuan ignored his mother’s expression and said in a low voice, “Mother, you always want Xiao Xi to compromise, Xiao Xi to give in to Uncle, but why can’t Uncle give in? You’ve seen the way Uncle treated Xiao Xi for so many years, do you really think he will change his attitude if Xiao Xi just compromises? Obviously, it is Uncle who has done wrong, why is it Xiao Xi who you want to compromise?”
Li Mingxuan took a deep breath, “I am sorry, Xiao Xi is really sick. Mother, you should not ask anymore.”
After Li Mingxuan finished speaking, he turned around and walked to the side of the corridor; he couldn’t help but bow his head and smile bitterly. For some reason, he almost couldn’t control his emotions after hearing that his mother once again wanted Shen Xi to forget about the past. He had thought a lot after leaving Shen Xi in the past two days. Perhaps he had really been a selfish bastard in the past. It’s not that he didn’t know about the rift between Shen Xi and the Shen family, but he had been too selfish, wanting both Shen Xi’s feelings and the affection of the Shen family. He thought he had put himself in Shen Xi’s shoes, but he had to admit that, whether or not Shen Xi intentionally misled him, he had always wanted Shen Xi to act as if nothing had happened, just like his mother.
He was not unaware of the injustice the Shen family had done to Shen Xi, he was not unaware of Shen Xi’s hatred for Shen Dehan, but after Shen Xi had implicitly accepted his fate, after Shen Xi had made it clear that he had no intention of being interested in Shen Group, after Shen Xi had indicated that he could not do without the Shen family, he had acquiesced to this attitude of Shen Xi, he had taken Shen Xi’s compromise and concession as a matter of course. How was he any different from his mother in this way?
Li Mingxuan thought bitterly that he had always been self-righteous, he had never really figured out what Shen Xi truly wanted, he felt that he had given his feelings in exchange for an equal response from Shen Xi, but he had never even thought about whether his feelings were what Shen Xi needed.