Shen Fan’s brain circuit twisted into a mosquito incense coil, and when he realised where Tang Yi had misunderstood him, he snorted with a poof.
Had he known that, when he poured Tang Yi’s coffee, he really should’ve poured a cup for himself as well.
“No, it’s not, ahem…” Shen Fan’s face turned purple as he coughed, his sword eyebrows twisted in a frown, and it took him a long time to get over it. But when he turned around and saw a wary Tang Yi, he almost lost his breath again, “I, I didn’t mean that.”
Tang Yi: “……”
Shen Fan said helplessly, “I’m straight!”
Tang Yi: “……”
Shen Fan: “……”
“I’m really straight, don’t you believe…” He choked, not really being able to do anything about it.
Tang Yi slowly relaxed but the look in his eyes was still wrong, “Then what do you mean?”
In the morning, Shen Fan intercepted the things that others had given him, and now he called him out alone and said that he shouldn’t be with Gu Yanting anymore. Except for the fact that Shen Fan was interested in him and wanted to pursue him, he really didn’t have a reasonable explanation for this matter.
Shen Fan hesitated for a moment. Seeing Tang Yi’s expression full of suspicion, he let out a long sigh, “I… hey, I don’t know how to say it, Tang Yi. If it is correct, you should be my younger brother.”
Tang Yi: “……” Tang Yi’s eyes this time were not suspicious anymore; he seemed to be looking at a psychopath.
Shen Fan was a good-looking man, different from Zhou Hao and Gu Yanting’s “sharp-nosed, hot-eyed” style of handsome. He was more in line with the style of a young warrior with sword eyebrows and a righteous aura all over his body. Tang Yi secretly weighed it up in his heart. Shen Fan indeed didn’t look bent, but if he were bent… arousing a man’s desire to conquer made it easier.
But wasn’t it a bit of a stretch to pull this ‘younger brother’ thing?…
Shen Fan expected him to react like this. After thinking about it, he pointed to Tang Yi first, and then to himself, “Don’t you think we are a bit alike?”
The first time Tang Yi saw Shen Fan properly was at the banquet. At that time, Shen Fan smiled slightly and the tear mole on his face stirred his heart, so he paid a bit more attention.
But his eyebrows… Tang Yi looked at Shen Fan seriously, and Shen Fan cooperated with him and turned his face. Tang Yi looked him up and down and could only say truthfully, “I don’t think so.”
Shen Fan: “……”
Tang Yi said, “But the back is a bit similar.”
When he entered the office, he looked at Shen Fan standing in front of the floor-to-ceiling window and thought the sight was familiar. Only now did he realise that it wasn’t familiar, it was that he had a picture of himself, taken by Gu Yanting from behind when he and Gu Yanting went to the seaside to retrace their steps on the Yuelao Bridge.
Tang Yi didn’t like taking photos and there were very few photos left. The somewhat blurred back photo was used as a screensaver by Gu Yanting for two years, so he himself had some impression.
Shen Fan finally let out a sigh of relief and said a bit helplessly, “I asked you to come here just for this.”
“I have an uncle who left with his wife and child when he was young and has not been heard from all these years.”
The Shen family was an affluent family long ago, but when Grandpa Shen was young, he was brave enough to keep up with the trend of the times, not only helping the poor during the turmoil and sending food to them, but also dividing up his family’s fields and courtyards to the poor and needy.
He had the foresight to join the trend of the poor farmers early on. The advantage of this was that he was accidentally in the right place at the right time and was spared from being dragged out to the street during the subsequent clearance(1). But the downside was that Grandma Shen, who married into the Shen family when it was rich, went crazy. She was one of the few literate people, but she was not cultured enough to have a good temperament.
When she was young, she was an overbearing wife, and when her children grew up, she became a wicked mother-in-law.
It is always particularly scary when bad people become old. Even those who are not confrontational can be disgusting when getting old, not to mention that Grandma Shen was confrontational and could bring up the way of filial piety without spitting out a single dirty word.
Shen Fan’s mother suffered from this for a long time, and Shen Fan’s father, who was a filial fool, only said that his wife was unfilial. Shen Fan remembered things very early and knew that his uncle’s family would often help. Later, when his uncle separated, he took Grandma Shen away. It was only then that Shen Fan’s family settled down.
The uncle’s family lived not far from them, and they also had a young son, Shen Yi. When Shen Fan was two years old, he ran around quite well and often went to play with his little brother wearing baby pants.
Then one day the uncle’s family suddenly moved away.
It was said that on the day they left, the uncle and Grandma Shen had a big fight. He left without taking anything except for his wife and child. At that time, little Shen Yi was suffering from paediatric pneumonia. Shen Fan’s mother went out to look for her husband’s younger brother and his wife several times to no avail, and later, unable to bear the old woman’s various oppressions, she divorced Shen Fan’s father.
The story of those past years was somewhat hopeless. Shen Fan spent two years with his younger brother and was more impressed by his handsome uncle and his beautiful aunt with her phoenix eyes. When he couldn’t open the door of his uncle’s house, he cried for a whole afternoon, and later followed his mother to look for the whereabouts of that family of three, unknowingly falling prey to a mental condition that made him see his younger brother in everyone.
“Before you, I’ve mistakenly identified four or five brothers.” Shen Fan sighed.
These four or five were the ones he had identified after many investigations. At that time, his father had already started a business and never wronged Shen Fan in any way in terms of money. He treated those “brothers” he found as good as he could, and by the time he later met their parents or noticed that the other party was trying to fool him, he had already spent a lot of money in vain.
The truth is that care is confusing. The always smart Shen Fan was afraid to miss a little bit of information. He was the same as his mother; the two of them were good at everything but were always helpless when it came to finding people.
When Tang Yi first heard this, he thought it was absurd. But now he raised his eyes to look at the sound of the voice and saw that Shen Fan’s eyes seemed to fill with tears under the long, feathery eyelashes. He couldn’t help but feel a little softer in his heart.
However, the corners of Shen Fan’s eyes only reddened for a moment. He let out a self-deprecating laugh, turning his head away for a moment before turning back, as if nothing had happened. He smiled and said, “I saw you at the university’s faculty office when I graduated in my senior year and then, after I reacted, I couldn’t find you. I didn’t know your name then and I had to wait until you were almost done with school to see you at a party.”
It was a party for the school basketball team and Gu Yanting took Tang Yi to it. During the graduation season, people who used to know each other always got together. Since after this farewell, they might never have the chance to get together again, the young men would cheer up each other with wine and food. When Shen Fan accidentally bumped into Tang Yi that day, his heart almost flew out.
Time was running out, and with a two year difference between them and not many common acquaintances there was no way to get started. Shen Fan was too late to find out the name of the beautiful, cold man wearing black-rimmed glasses next to Gu Yanting, but he recognised Gu Yanting.
So Shen Fan approached the head of Gu Yanting’s department and followed him to the graduation dinner.
The large-scale graduation dinner was crowded. The head of the university came to have a drink and give a speech, the head of the department came to have a drink and sigh. Shen Fan didn’t attend his own graduation dinner, and now he was showing his face to participate. When the head of the department wanted him to make a speech as a senior, Shen Fan had already gone into the crowd to search for Tang Yi’s shadow.
He made a mistake. No matter how bold Gu Yanting was, he didn’t bring Tang Yi to his graduation dinner. He mentioned, though, how that Tang Yi guy would make a fuss afterwards.
Shen Fan’s gaze sank when he understood that Tang Yi was not Gu Yanting’s classmate. He looked around and his face darkened as if he had been served a chopped-off head to eat. He stared at Gu Yanting and gritted his teeth for a long time before slowly putting it on his account.
Later times demanded his undivided attention. This matter had been dragging for more than twenty years and was indeed not a top priority. Shen Fan began to establish contacts in the company at that time, knowing that he would have to take over the burden from his father sooner or later, so he also accepted it.
This time, Lin Rui was on the same flight from Beijing as him. Shen Fan was entrusted by Lin Rui’s stepfather, Mr. Wang, to drop Lin Rui off from the airport. When the guy was delivered to KTV, Shen Fan saw Gu Yanting and sat down quietly in the corner, as if spellbound.
Then halfway through the party, he finally saw the man he waited for.
He didn’t have time to talk to Tang Yi then. He called him to his office because he had too many things on his hands and didn’t have much time to slowly reach out to explain. Besides, he didn’t like Gu Yanting at all, and he wanted Tang Yi to recognise him immediately and then kick Gu Yanting out.
Tang Yi looked at Shen Fan for a while, but finally smiled and shook his head.
If Tang Yi’s past life could be summed up in a famous book, it would be called “Les Misérables”. And if the reason for being “miserable” could be traced back to its roots, it would be nothing more than the fact that he had no parents. A child without a father and mother had no one to look after him, no one to teach him, and all of Tang Yi’s skills in dealing with people were initially learned under the eyes and fists of outsiders.
When he was a child, he felt he lived like a dog. If someone rewarded him with a bone, he had to wag his tail, or else he would lose the bone if he didn’t please that someone. If someone didn’t like him, he had to run away with his tail between his legs, otherwise, if he was killed by someone, he would not even have the chance to pick up the bone. Life was fucked up, but living was instinctive.
His first concept of parents was not from being pampered by his parents, as it was for other children, but from writing an essay in primary school titled “I Love My Dad (Mom)”. The teacher who offered the topic had obviously forgotten that there were such creatures as orphans in the world. Tang Yi looked at the test paper blankly and tried his best to describe a “dad” according to the appearance of the village head Wang Muzi.
It was not that no one had asked him in the past twenty years, “Do you miss your parents?” Those who asked didn’t mean to poke at his scars, they just couldn’t resist their curiosity. There were times when Tang Yi thought about it seriously and could only shake his head, “No.”
He said, “I don’t know what my parents are like.”
The part of Tang Yi’s world that lacked a father and a mother was like a blank space on a piece of drawing paper; he didn’t know what colours to put on it, so he left it empty. He didn’t expect that one day there would finally be some outline of it, but it was inevitably chilling.
If what Shen Fan said was true, his family had been forced to leave home. Then in the next few years that pair of parents who, he was subconsciously sure, had abandoned him in all probability had something happen to them and were gone.
Never to be found again. Notwithstanding his future glory or hardship, the word “parents” would be a dark scene in the movie. For a few seconds, before he was sensible, it flashed past him and there was no possibility of playback.
If they were gone, they were gone, and there was probably not even a shovelful of earth that belonged to them.
Suddenly Tang Yi thought, don’t listen, don’t believe! What kind of crap is this, there’s not even a single piece of evidence! But his jaw that gradually tightened and his lips that began to tremble, as well as his hands that couldn’t restrain a light tremor, made him vaguely scared.
Tears fell suddenly.
Shen Fan watched from the side, and his eyes went fiercely red. Tang Yi stood straight, like an upright poplar, but the heavy sorrow that overflowed from the depths of his soul made Shen Fan open his mouth and tremble before the words came out.
He stepped over the short distance between them and hugged Tang Yi violently, saying in a low voice, “It’s okay, you still have your brother.”
- This means Grandpa Shen joined the Cultural Revolution in time and didn’t suffer from it