When Tang Yi went out, he vaguely heard Shen Fan’s mother reprimanding Shen Fan, which made him a little worried.
Zhou Hao had come all the way to deliver the mooncakes, carrying a crying Zhou Weiwei in the back seat. The little boy had just met his grandparents, but his grandparents’ home was too big and there were many strangers in the house, so he finally couldn’t help crying after two days of being good.
He missed his mother. During this time he had expressed his desire to see his mother more than once, and was suppressed by Zhou Hao with either coaxing or reasoning. This time, facing more than two dozen unfamiliar faces and five or six brightly dressed children at the Mid-Autumn Festival family banquet, his loneliness and fear surged all of a sudden.
Zhou Hao was not good at dealing with children. Previously, father and son were at peace with each other, for one thing, because they met seldom and Zhou Hao didn’t know about Zhou Weiwei’s crying. For the other thing, the child had just experienced being disliked by his mother and was subconsciously afraid of being disliked by Zhou Hao as well, so he was careful to behave in a positive way. This time, his crying and making a big fuss in front of the family’s many elder relatives really gave Zhou Hao a headache. It was only later when he had to deliver mooncakes to Tang Yi that he remembered and took the child for a drive along the way.
Tang Yi met the two of them at the intersection not far from Shen’s house. Zhou Weiwei called out for Tang Susu through the car window, his big eyes blinking before filling with tears. Tang Yi opened the car door and took him out, silently wiping his eyes.
Zhou Weiwei was also trying hard to wipe his eyes, but the more he wiped, the more tears there were, like beans popping down to the ground. He finally just let go and hugged Tang Yi’s leg, crying and sobbing.
Zhou Hao helplessly leaned against the car door, looking at Tang Yi coaxing the child in a soft voice, and his gaze unconsciously became gentler again.
“Can Weiwei meet his mother when he returns to T City?” Tang Yi finally couldn’t resist and turned to ask Zhou Hao.
Zhou Hao said, “Better not. If it weren’t for me not having children yet, Weiwei would definitely not be recognised by the Zhou family, and his unreliable mother would only hold him back in the future.”
Tang Yi could barely understand the meaning of this sentence and frowned.
Zhou Hao could see that he was confused and explained with a smile, “The men in the Zhou family are all sexually promiscuous, and I don’t know how many seeds are sown outside. I am afraid that there are no less than ten of my unknown brothers and sisters living in the world today. But as long as they were not given the name when they were born, they are all wild species.”
When Zhou Hao said this, his expression was flat but cold, vaguely mocking, seemingly disdainful of Zhou family men. Tang Yi knew that Zhou Hao’s self-discipline in this regard was simply polarising with the Zhou family men he described, so he just smiled, “Dare I say you came to me just to coax your child for you?”
“No,” Zhou Hao paused for a moment, the expression on his face easing, “I came over to give you mooncakes, and, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.”
Tang Yi carried the mooncakes back, and when he entered the house, he heard the faint sound of crying.
When Shen Fan opened the door, he looked a bit helpless and briefly explained the showdown that had just happened. Shen Fan’s mother believed that his relationship with Tang Yi was special, and even said that Shen Fan must be the one who was the bottom. Shen Fan’s understanding of men was limited to superficial emotional needs. Hearing various professional terms from his mother’s mouth, he blushed and almost dropped on his knees in shame.
He finally couldn’t bear it and exposed everything. His mother first said a few times that he had to check it properly and Shen Fan agreed. Then his mother couldn’t help crying again.
Big Beauty’s crying skills were profound, and the next day when Tang Yi was leaving she was still sobbing and choking hard.
“What a good child…” She took Tang Yi’s hand, took a closer look and said with her eyes flushed red, “Fine skin and tender flesh…”
Tang Yi: “!!!”
Mom Shen: “At a glance, just like my sister-in-law…”
Big Beauty’s instructions were not easy to put off, so Tang Yi went to the hospital with Shen Fan first thing after returning to T City, and stopped by to see Shen Fan’s brother Shen An who was working at the hospital.
Shen An was born to Shen Zuoyuan’s second wife. The second wife was chosen by Mrs. Shen herself for her son, but as a result after the marriage the new daughter-in-law didn’t respect her at all. The old lady lost the battle between the two and eventually died of hatred. Shen Zuoyuan divorced his wife for this. Shen An’s mother acquired a considerable fortune from the divorce and then married gracefully to the deputy director of the T City hospital.
Unexpectedly, Shen An and Shen Fan had a good relationship, and the two families had a lot of contact. When Shen Zuoyuan felt regretful and came back to find Shen Fan to replace him, it was Shen An’s mother who persuaded him, “Go on, get something out of it, it’s a bargain for that old man!”
Shen An was round and chubby and couldn’t help but smile when he saw Tang Yi, “Mr. Tang is finally here. The little nurses in our department were all looking forward to you.”
He was still in the internship stage and came there just as Tang Yi was admitted to the hospital. Shen Fan asked him to take care of Tang Yi more; as a result, he was treated as Tang Yi’s friend by the bunch of little nurses and was subjected to all kinds of gossip.
Teased by him, Tang Yi held back a smile and said, “Why, I haven’t seen anyone come out to greet me yet!”
“Not in the past two days,” Shen An changed his clothes and followed the two of them out, laughing heartily. “There’s a new handsome guy here with acute alcohol poisoning, huh, just in that room.”
The three of them passed by the door of an extraordinarily lively ward. The door was open, and Tang Yi was just about to take a look when he was tapped on the shoulder by Shen Fan.
“Where are we going to eat lunch?” Shen Fan asked him.
“The local restaurant.” Tang Yi thought for a moment, “The cakes there are good, my treat.”
Fat Sod watched Tang Yi walk past the door, and for a moment he even felt that Tang Yi had seen him and Gu Yanting.
The way Gu Yanting’s face turned livid, he obviously saw Tang Yi, too, and saw him even more clearly than Fat Sod did. Fat Sod moved his bloated body and said to the nurse with a smile, “Thank you, sister, I will definitely ask my sister-in-law to control him better in the future.”
When the little nurses heard about the “sister-in-law”, their eyes flashed and they left after a few more words. The room was instantly quiet. Fat Sod looked at Gu Yanting. The latter’s eyes were still fixed on the door, and it was only after a long time that he muttered, “Sure enough, Tang Yi…”
Last night Gu Yanting went to the bar alone and drank himself into a stupor, ruining the Mid-Autumn Festival for his fat brother who had to go to the police station to get help in handling him. When Gu Yanting walked out, he vomited badly and refused to listen to Fat Sod’s words. Even a good-tempered guy like Fat Sod couldn’t help but explode and throw him to the ground. “Boss, pull yourself together! It’s just a man, isn’t it? You’re drinking like a dog on such a big day while he’s probably having a good time somewhere!”
Gu Yanting looked at him blankly and innocently for a moment, then suddenly replied, “You’re lying!”
He perked up and tried to retort intermittently, “I’m… not a dog! Do dogs go to bars? Never… the city doesn’t allow them! You, you don’t fool me!”
Fan Sod choked on his rebuttal, unable to say anything, and could only try to drag him home in anger. He didn’t come in a car and taxis took a detour as soon as they saw the drunk man. Fat Sod was meditating trying to calm down when he finally noticed there was something wrong with Gu Yanting’s complexion and lip colour and called 120 in a flash of inspiration.
He knew about the break-up between Gu Yanting and Tang Yi for a long time. If there was anything wrong between these two, anyone would think Gu Yanting was to blame.
But at this moment, looking at Gu Yanting in such a miserable mess, Fat Sod couldn’t bear it. Besides, Gu Yanting was his friend.
“Boss, you…” Fat Sod tried to come up with the words of persuasion, stretching out his hand to Gu Yanting.
This hand seemed to bring the latter back to his senses. Before Fat Sod could react, Gu Yanting suddenly leaped off the bed, slipped on his shoes and ran out.
The restaurant Tang Yi chose was located diagonally opposite the hospital. Shen An’s work was rather tiring and Tang Yi chose this place so that he could finish eating early and go home to rest.
The three of them were laughing and joking over the meal, and Shen An was a hoot, making Tang Yi laugh so hard that his stomach hurt. After settling the bill, Shen An left first, and Tang Yi talked to Shen Fan some more and went to the washroom.
The restaurant had just been renovated and the washroom was magnificent, but unfortunately there were only two cubicles. Tang Yi was just about to wash his hands after using the toilet when he heard another person flush, followed by a click of the lock opening.
He didn’t care, but when he finished washing his hands, he raised his eyes to see Gu Yanting in the mirror, standing behind him.
Tang Yi was startled by this unpredictable appearance. Just as he was about to react, Gu Yanting strode over to him, grabbed his shoulders and turned him around. The two of them suddenly got face-to-face, pressed tightly together.
Tang Yi’s hands were still dripping with water, and the bewildered expression on his face caused Gu Yanting a moment of heart palpitations. However, when he thought of the man waiting outside, he still couldn’t help but grab Tang Yi’s collar and ask through the gritted teeth, “Shen Fan, isn’t it? It’s because of him that you broke up with me, right?”
Tang Yi frowned and instantly understood what Gu Yanting was thinking.
Gu Yanting’s body temperature was frighteningly high. His face was strangely flushed, but his hand gripping Tang Yi’s collar was shaking slightly. Tang Yi moved a little bit, only to find that Gu Yanting had no strength at all and he could free himself with a little bit of effort.
He was just about to deny it when he raised his eyes and saw Gu Yanting’s trembling, compressed lips. The two of them were so close to each other that they could see their own reflection in each other’s eyes and their breaths mingled. The shocked look in Gu Yanting’s eyes was all pain.
For a moment, Tang Yi felt that Gu Yanting loved him deeply.
Gu Yanting’s life had been smooth and it was rare to see him in pain. Such a look, though, Tang Yi had seen it on his own face before, on the day he found Gu Yanting’s email to Lin Rui. He had smashed the bathroom mirror in anger then, and all that was reflected in the broken glass was his own hideous appearance.
That look made Tang Yi feel terrible, but he had a very clear memory of the pain in his eyes. The double torment of disappointment and betrayal, the helplessness of loving deeply but not being able to get anything back, the madness of wanting to destroy everything, all intertwined and entangled, almost driving him crazy.
He knew he couldn’t get over that hurdle. It was not the matter of him deciding whether to forgive or not. Some things were just thorns planted in his heart, buried into the flesh over time. The surface was smooth and unscathed, but the inside hurt every time he moved.
Now, even if he cut out his heart, removed the flesh and pulled out the thorns, it would take a long time for the wound to heal. What’s more, Tang Yi was too self-reliant and proud; Gu Yanting lost all his trust at once, and all that was left was patience to hold on. How could he let his heart be tossed like that by someone? He would rather keep these thorns and tell himself that he didn’t care if it hurt.
Tang Yi hesitated; before he could say anything, Gu Yanting’s legs suddenly weakened and he tugged Tang Yi to the right, stumbling. Tang Yi was quick to support himself on the sink, but the next moment Gu Yanting wrapped his arms around him and fell down with him.
Tang Yi slammed into Gu Yanting’s face. The latter’s grunt when he hit the floor sounded quite ominous. Gu Yanting’s hands were protecting Tang Yi but he himself didn’t have a buffer. Tang Yi was so annoyed that he slapped the floor and was about to jump up and scold Gu Yanting for being crazy. However, just as he was about to get up, he felt his head sinking as Gu Yanting pressed the back of his head down and kissed him.
His lips were hot. As soon as Tang Yi lost his concentration, Gu Yanting caught his lower lip, and then his warm tongue drove straight in, disturbing and entangling.
Gu Yanting’s kiss followed no rules, and Tang Yi frowned in pain after some biting. He impatiently stretched out his hand to push Gu Yanting’s face away. The latter really didn’t have much strength, and Tang Yi pushed him down as soon as he tried.
Tang Yi, an absolute visual animal and a 100% veteran of the appearance appreciation society, was breathing heavily in the cramped space. Gu Yanting’s face was flushed and helpless and as he was pushed to the floor, the tiles reflected him very seductively. If it was a month ago, Tang Yi would have been happy to enjoy such beautiful scenery and probably would have indulged in some beastly behaviour.
But the timing was too unlucky. Tang Yi narrowed his eyes slightly and suddenly reached out to rub Gu Yanting’s thin, still moist lips, chuckling a little. “Didn’t you just ask me if I liked Shen Fan?” Tang Yi suddenly smiled and nodded affirmatively, “It is indeed him. I’m sorry I’ve only just let you know that I liked him before I started dating you. I had a crush on him for three years. He is mature, good, can earn money and knows how to be romantic. The chairman of the provincial university’s student union, I dreamt about him all the time.”
Gu Yanting’s face went white.
“Look, how can you compare to him? The two of us were together, and I was the only one in the family who could do anything. I didn’t like you that much to begin with, and when the novelty wore off, I wanted to break up with you a long time ago.”
Tang Yi finished this passage very skillfully and suddenly reached out and patted Gu Yanting’s sluggish face, sneering, “What, does it feel good?”
“You… you…” Gu Yanting’s eyes suddenly became watery. He struggled to open his eyes and tried to pretend to be calm as he asked, “Is it true?”
Tang Yi looked at him for a moment, “Yes.”
It was already afternoon when Gu Yanting returned to the hospital. Fat Sod was in the ward chatting with the older woman in the next bed, eating an orange given by her daughter.
Gu Yanting’s hospital gown was wrinkled and unsightly and his face was scraped. Fat Sod was startled and almost jumped up to his feet.
“Boss, what have you been doing?” Fat Sod felt that he, the bed chaperone, was going to have a heart attack sooner or later.
Gu Yanting didn’t say anything and got to the bed, lying down with no expression on his face.
This sleep lasted until late in the evening, when Fat Sod pushed Gu Yanting awake and asked him if he wanted him to buy something to eat. Gu Yanting froze for a moment before shaking his head.
“I’m getting out of the hospital,” he said softly, “Fatty, please, help me call my cousin.”