“I’m looking for Yan Yue, is he here?”
The man who spoke was well-mannered and his voice was very nice, sounding slightly magnetic, very comfortable to the ears.
Lu Lingxi was taken aback for a moment. It was the first time someone came to the shop looking for Yan Yue. When he recovered, he curved his eyes and said politely, “Big Brother Yan is not here right now, he went to the plant nursery to bring some goods. He should be back soon. Do you want to sit for a while and wait for Big Brother Yan?”
His smile was clean, his voice clear and his tone sincere. The scrutiny in the visitor’s eyes slowly faded away to reveal a warm smile. “Yes, I’ll trouble you. I’m Ye Kang, you’re Lu Lingxi, right?”
“Huh?” Lu Lingxi was a little surprised, then smiled, “I’m Lu Lingxi, was it Big Brother Yan who told you about me?”
Ye Kang smiled without saying anything, but in his heart he groaned that Yan Yue was like a giant dragon that had found a treasure and couldn’t wait to hide Lu Lingxi securely. How could he be willing to tell him?
Yan Yue and he had grown up together and had always talked about everything, and even the private matters of the family that outsiders would feel ashamed of had never been concealed from Ye Kang. Only when it came to Lu Lingxi did Yan Yue refuse to say anything, so much so that he was not even willing to reveal the boy’s name. It was Su Lang who called him a few days ago and mentioned that he had accidentally met Yan Yue. After that, Ye Kang asked for the location and followed the trail.
Ye Kang also kept it from Yan Yue this time. He was a bit concerned about Yan Yue. Ye Kang was never worried about the battles of the Yan family. He believed that Yan Yue could handle them well. But he was a bit uneasy about this Lu Lingxi who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Used to all kinds of conspiracy theories, Ye Kang felt that Lu Lingxi’s appearance was too much of a coincidence, and the more unusual Yan Yue’s reaction was, the more it showed the influence Lu Lingxi had on him. After thinking about it, Ye Kang decided to come and see Lu Lingxi in person.
After seeing him, Ye Kang finally put his mind at ease. As a psychologist Yan Yue called “half-assed”, Ye Kang felt that he was quite accurate in reading people. The young man in front of him looked simple and gullible, not well-versed in the ways of the world. He had been worried that the young man had bewitched Yan Yue, but now it seemed that he needed to do the opposite, as it was not certain who was fooling whom.
With this in mind, Ye Kang’s expression became gentler. He had the same good looks as Yan Yue, and unlike Yan Yue, who was cold to outsiders, Ye Kang always knew how to use these looks to gain the goodwill of others. He had studied psychology at university and it would not be an exaggeration to say that he was good at coaxing people. After a few words of conversation, Lu Lingxi’s goodwill towards him went up. Ye Kang’s speech was not too fast or too slow and the rhythm was controlled quite well, so he was able to get a lot of information out of Lu Lingxi’s mouth without saying much himself.
“Big Brother Yan is very nice, he saved Dahei, and Dahei likes Big Brother Yan a lot.”
“Big Brother Yan looks a bit cold, but although his face is cold, his heart is warm. He is actually a good person.”
“Big Brother Yan has helped me a lot. Many of the regular customers in the neighbourhood also like Big Brother Yan. Last time Grandma Wang even said she wanted to introduce a girlfriend for Big Brother Yan.”
Ye Kang had a smile on his face, but in his heart he was a little surprised. If Su Lang had not told him the address, he would have thought that the Yan Yue that Lu Lingxi was talking about was not the same person as the Yan Yue he knew. Perhaps because of his special family environment, in Ye Kang’s eyes, Yan Yue was somewhat cold in nature, with a strong sense of self-restraint and a slight perfectionism. He was not only strict with himself, but also with those around him. Yan Yue’s life was like a machine working, meticulous but no fun.
But in Lu Lingxi’s eyes, Yan Yue was a completely different person. He was full of love, he would rescue a stray dog on a rainy night, he would visit an injured dog every day during his lunch break, he would help strangers he met, he loved flowers and plants, he was soft-hearted and compassionate. To be honest, Ye Kang and Yan Yue had known each other for more than twenty years, but this was the first time he had heard of Yan Yue having these qualities.
Ye Kang looked at Lu Lingxi thoughtfully. The young man’s eyes were clear and his body had a very comfortable aura, and when he spoke of Yan Yue, his eyes were curved and full of trust. He truly believed that Yan Yue was the kind of person he was talking about, without the slightest doubt. Ye Kang probably understood somewhat why Yan Yue was so unusual to the young man. There was an attraction about Lu Lingxi, like warmth mixed with light. He could imagine Yan Yue’s first reaction when he saw the boy. Someone like Yan Yue, who had lacked warmth since childhood and lived in that kind of chaotic family, would inevitably be unable to resist this attraction and control his desire to get closer.
It was as if a person had been walking for a long time in a dark and cold tunnel; when a bright light suddenly appeared in front of him, he would subconsciously approach and would follow that bright light.
Ye Kang was analysing it in his mind out of habit when a big black dog suddenly rushed in through the door. This should be Dahei? Ye Kang guessed. Sure enough, Lu Lingxi’s eyes lit up, “Dahei, you’re back, where’s Big Brother Yan?”
The man came in; all his attention was fixed on Lu Lingxi, not even a single extra glance spared to the surroundings. The corner of Ye Kang’s mouth twitched. For the first time he felt that he had no sense of existence. The Yan Yue in front of him was somewhat different from his memory. He had taken off his usual shirt and trousers and wore a simple and fresh t-shirt and shorts, looking full of vitality. Ye Kang remembered that when Yan Yue was abroad, his shirt was straight and buttoned up to the top in the 30-degree heat. He hardly ever saw Yan Yue wearing a t-shirt.
Ye Kang coughed slightly, “Yan Yue.”
Lu Lingxi said at the same time, “Big Brother Yan, there’s someone looking for you.”
Yan Yue turned around somewhat in surprise. “Ye Kang.” His glare at Ye Kang contained a warning. Ye Kang immediately raised his hand playfully and made a gesture that both of them understood, letting Yan Yue know, don’t worry, I didn’t say anything.
Yan Yue smirked and averted his eyes, placing the pile of flower pots he was carrying on the ground. The pots at the top were stuffed with small bags of nutrient fertiliser, apparently to save space. He had brought back quite a few flower pots this time, and when Lu Lingxi wanted to come out to help, Yan Yue stopped him and gestured to Ye Kang, “The two of us will be enough. It’s hot outside, Xiao Xi, you don’t need to go out.”
Ye Kang: “……”
It took the two of them three times to finish unloading the car, and Ye Kang patted the dusty trunk in distress and said, “Baby, your master treats you like this, treats you like a truck, do you want to change the master?”
Yan Yue didn’t bother to pay attention to Ye Kang, threw him a bottle of water, interrupting his performance, leaned against the car and asked carelessly, “Come on, did Su Lang tell you?”
Ye Kang smiled and said narcissistically, “You know, as Professor Susan’s most outstanding student, if I wanted to set up a conversation, Su Lang would not even notice.”
Yan Yue hummed thoughtfully and said abruptly, “How much did you find out from Xiao Xi?”
Ye Kang laughed heartily, “Enough for me to write a thesis on how a pervert disguises himself as a decent guy to get close to an innocent young man in a deliberate manner.”
Yan Yue: “……”
Ye Kang continued to tease, “I didn’t even know that I had a caring, compassionate and kind-hearted friend by my side. Honestly, you know I’ve liked this car for quite a while. You see, you’re full of kindness to strangers, shouldn’t you be even more kind to me? As a good brother, shouldn’t you fulfil my wish?”
Yan Yue glanced at him expressionlessly as Ye Kang continued without fear of death, “Xiao Xi is watching from inside, keep smiling, don’t spoil your image in his mind, ah.”
Yan Yue finally couldn’t hold back, “…get lost.”
Ye Kang laughed out loud, and after he finished laughing, he said with a straight face, “Do you feel that you’re a little more popular now?”
Yan Yue was not impressed, “Was I not popular before?”
Ye Kang nodded solemnly. “Before, you were either expressionless, or you smiled and even the curvature of your mouth looked like it was finely calculated in advance. That is, I don’t dislike you, but ask around in your circle of classmates. Who won’t say you live like a machine?”
Yan Yue hooked up the corner of his mouth without saying anything, and looked up through the window at Lu Lingxi who was lowering his head to tidy up the potted plants. A touch of tenderness flashed in his eyes.
Ye Kang noticed it, put away his joking attitude and said earnestly, “Are you serious?”
Yan Yue gave an “en”.
Ye Kang thought about Yan Yue’s family, “Your parents, they…”
Yan Yue looked indifferent, “Since they thought I could stand on my own enough to survive alone in the old mansion when I was six, there’s no need to wait until I’m twenty-seven to come back to pick up the role of the caring parents trying to dictate me what to do with my life.”
What he said was mean; Ye Kang sighed, “Just make your own decisions.”
Through the window, Lu Lingxi glanced at Yan Yue, who was talking to Ye Kang outside, with a little confusion in his heart. He didn’t know what the two were talking about; Yan Yue’s expression was somewhat cold, his brows slightly furrowed with a hint of disgust. He had rarely seen Yan Yue look like this. Only when he heard Yan Yue’s call back then in the car; it seemed that the other party mentioned Yan Yue’s younger brother and Yan Yue showed this kind of true disgust. Could it be that Ye Kang also mentioned Yan Yue’s younger brother just now? Did the other party do something to make Yan Yue angry again?
Outside Tiny Garden, Ye Kang was somewhat gloating, “Did you find someone to push Yin Ya into Hopewell? Do you know that she is competing with Yan Hai in a high-profile manner for the qualification to go abroad? The two sides are fighting quite a lot lately.”
Yan Yue’s expression was slightly cold, with a faint trace of mockery. “Hasn’t she always wanted to enter Hopewell? I’m just fulfilling her wish.”
Ye Kang shook his head, “I’ve heard that Uncle Yan has quite a headache.”
Yan Yue had little reaction to these words, saying indifferently, “He should have expected this day to come when he made plans for Yan Hai.”
Ye Kang, who had always been on Yan Yue’s side, acted as if he had not heard Yan Yue’s somewhat rebellious words. He finished the water in his hand in one gulp and threw the empty bottle to the trash can, perfectly hitting the aim, and then asked, “What are you going to do? Stay in Fengcheng all the time?”
Yan Yue nodded, “An Jie will be here soon. I need a favour from you.”
Yan Yue tapped on the car and said in a deep voice, “Make a false impression to the outside world that I’m going abroad to recuperate.”
Right now Yan Hai and Yin Ya were busy fighting for power, so he guessed no one would care about him. But when Yan Shihai finished dealing with the matter of Hopewell after a while, he might remember he still had a son who was forgotten in the back of his mind. Then, in case he found Xiao Xi… Yan Yue didn’t want to involve Xiao Xi at all. It wouldn’t be difficult to do such a thing, forging an exit document would be no problem. Yan Yue was looking for Ye Kang to be his witness. It was estimated no one would doubt Ye Kang’s words, and Yan Yue could stay in Fengcheng without worry.
Ye Kang almost agreed but… his eyes fell on the car behind Yan Yue.
Yan Yue looked at him with a smirk, pulled out the keys and threw them to him.
“A bargain for you.”
“I’m also doing you a favour. This car is too flashy. Come to think about it, I’ll give you my soon-to-be-scrapped VW to drive over later, it will definitely let you blend into the crowd without being conspicuous at all.”
Yan Yue: “……”
Ye Kang cheekily spent the afternoon in Tiny Garden and in the evening announced that he wanted to invite Lu Lingxi to dinner. Lu Lingxi closed Tiny Garden and politely declined Ye Kang’s invitation. He had to go to the plant nursery to prepare the green plants that Brother Li wanted.
Yan Yue, of course, had to go with him, and before leaving, he thought of tricking Ye Kang into getting into the car as well. Although he wanted to stay overnight in the countryside after working late like he did last time, in view of the huge order this time, the thought of not wanting Lu Lingxi to be too tired prevailed. As a strong labourer, Ye Kang could still be of some use. Not knowing what they were going to do, Ye Kang followed in a daze to the plant nursery. By the time he regretted it, he was already on the outskirts of the city and couldn’t go back even if he wanted to. The three of them, plus Uncle Li, finished by eleven o’clock and finally had all the potted plants that Brother Li wanted ready.
On the way back, Lu Lingxi was a bit sleepy and unknowingly fell asleep with Dahei in his arms. Yan Yue saw him sleeping in the rearview mirror and subconsciously slowed down the car, driving more smoothly.
Ye Kang angrily complained about Yan Yue’s unfair treatment in a low voice. His back was about to break, how come he didn’t see Yan Yue being considerate of him?
Yan Yue glanced at him, “My advantage isn’t that easy to take.”
Ye Kang was speechless for a long time, and then changed the subject bluntly. “By the way, I said the name Lu Lingxi sounded a bit familiar. I suddenly remembered why when I was moving that pot. You know the Zhongjing Lu family, right? The youngest son of their family was called Lu Lingxi. But I heard that he passed away two months ago.”
The words “passed away” caused Yan Yue to feel a little uncomfortable, and he casually asked, “The Lu Lingxi you’re talking about was not in good health?”
Ye Kang smiled sarcastically, “The one who is not in good health is his brother Lu Wei’an. You’ve been abroad and don’t know the situation of their family. You have an impression of Lu Wei’an, right? We met him when he was a child, he was skinny and small, not at all eye-catching. Later, he got leukaemia, and his mother gave birth to another child, Lu Lingxi. Isn’t it true that leukaemia requires a bone marrow transplantation from a matching donor? They say that Lu Lingxi was specially born to transplant bone marrow to Lu Wei’an. The Lu family had been keeping him at home all these years, and he didn’t come out often to see people. Some time ago, I heard that Lu Wei’an’s condition deteriorated again, and then I don’t know what happened but something went wrong during the operation. By the way, Su Lang was in charge of Lu Wei’an before he resigned. I think Su Lang also resigned because he was implicated by this accident.”
Yan Yue was not very interested in the affairs of the Lu family in Zhongjing, but when he heard the reason for Su Lang’s resignation, he suddenly thought of Su Lang’s tone when he mentioned Lu Lingxi at the door of Tiny Garden last time, and frowned imperceptibly. He vaguely felt that Su Lang seemed to be treating Xiao Xi as a stand-in for that Lu Lingxi, and this feeling made him a little uncomfortable.
Xiao Xi was Xiao Xi, the unique Lu Lingxi in this world.
Ye Kang was still talking about the gossip of the Lu family, “You know Lu Wei’an’s mother, right? The daughter of the Li family, and it is said that she is planning to have another child, for the sake of Lu Wei’an. But this news was denied by the Lu family. I heard it was because Lu Wei’an’s father didn’t agree.”
Yan Yue’s interest in gossip was not as high as Ye Kang’s, and he just listened with a bland expression, occasionally adding a response.
Neither of them noticed that Lu Lingxi had woken up at some point and was silent the whole way, hugging Dahei without making a single sound. Dahei quietly licked Lu Lingxi’s fingers, his moist eyes looking tenderly at Lu Lingxi. Lu Lingxi tightened his arms and gave a light smile to Dahei.
When Yan Yue dropped Lu Lingxi off at home, Lu Lingxi got out of the car rubbing his eyes as if he had just woken up.
“Sleep early.” Yan Yue rubbed Lu Lingxi’s head.
Lu Lingxi nodded obediently.
Yan Yue was keenly aware that Lu Lingxi seemed to be in a bad mood, “What, tired?”
Lu Lingxi rubbed his stomach and found an excuse, “I’m hungry.”
Yan Yue smiled, “Do you want to go for a snack with me?”
“No, Mom must have left dinner for me.” Lu Lingxi refused.
“Good then, hurry up and go back. Eat less to digest the food easier.”
Lu Lingxi nodded and ran back with Dahei by his side. He was just talking casually, but as soon as he turned on the light, he found a note on the dining table in the living room. Wang Shuxiu had left dinner for him in the fridge.
Lu Lingxi opened the fridge and took out the fresh-keeping box, smiling faintly at the ribs inside. The small grievance that had arisen from hearing the news about the Lu family earlier also dissipated in the aroma of the food.
Three days later, Lu Lingxi delivered the potted plants Brother Li had asked for to their unit as promised. Also coming to make the delivery was an employee from another gardening shop. The two companies met together at the entrance, and unlike Lu Lingxi and Yi Hang who drove a small broken Jinbei, the other gardening company was obviously very wealthy, directly driving a van.
Yi Hang bumped Lu Lingxi enviously, “Lao San, see our goal?”
Lu Lingxi nodded, “I see, I’ll buy it for you after I work hard to make money.”
Yi Hang hooked Lu Lingxi’s neck in satisfaction, “Lao San is good.”
Lu Lingxi curved his eyes and smiled.
After receiving Lu Lingxi’s call, Li Weisheng quickly rushed out. “Xiao Xi is here.”
“Brother Li.” Lu Lingxi greeted him politely.
Li Weisheng was about to say something when a young man jumped out of the van next to him and squeezed in front of Lu Lingxi, smiling warmly at Brother Li, “Brother Li.”
Li Weisheng nodded, “Xiao Qiu, you’re here. You have to be careful with the potted plants this time. If the boss is not satisfied, you’ll have to take them back.”
“Don’t worry, Brother Li, there’s absolutely no problem this time.”
The young man smiled fawningly at Brother Li, turning his head while Brother Li wasn’t looking to fiercely glare at Lu Lingxi. Don’t think he didn’t know that it was this kid’s gardening shop that had stolen their business. This kid dared to compete with them without even bothering to inquire about the status of their Qiu Tian Gardening in Fengcheng, he really didn’t know what he was doing.
He would like to see how good the potted plants cultivated by that Tiny Garden could be, worthy of Brother Li returning all the potted plants they had sent last time.