Gu Yanting’s first reaction was confusion.
He had thought about a lot of things that Tang Yi might have minded, including the hospital incident, but he had no impression of any emails. Tang Yi said “think about it”, obviously he didn’t want to get his answer right away. Gu Yanting endured for a while and finally touched his nose and asked, “Well, what is the password of my mailbox again?”
His mailbox was mostly used at the university to submit reports and papers. In the first two years after graduation, Gu Yanting also used it to contact a few classmates, but then he gradually forgot about it. At this moment, he was not even sure of the name of his mailbox, not to mention the content of the email.
Tang Yi glanced at him in surprise, and after a while slowly gave him a string of letters.
After Gu Yanting got the password, he couldn’t sit still. In the end, Tang Yi decisively pulled him back and pressed him fiercely on the seat.
“It’s not a big deal. Look for it when you have time later.” Tang Yi said helplessly, “Can you finish the meal first?”
“I… I don’t feel too good.” Gu Yanting raised his head and looked at him, “It’s not a big deal but you still remember it so clearly after so long. I must have made some political mistake. Hey, no, can you let me take a look first? If I don’t see it, I won’t be able to eat, sleep, and live tonight! What’s it called?” Gu Yanting thought for a moment and remembered, “Ah, cannot rest or eat in peace.”
Tang Yi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Gu Yanting prepared dinner with great care. Except for the fish balls and shrimp balls for the hot pot, the vegetables were all chosen to Tang Yi’s liking, washed and cut neatly. The meat was also sliced evenly and placed on the plate in a flower shape. Mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and other ingredients were also placed on the fish plate, from smaller to bigger.
This was a lot of work, and the contrast was even greater when it was done by such a careless rough man like Gu Yanting. At least if Tang Yi were to ask himself, he wouldn’t bother putting in the effort just to make dinner look good, unless it was a special holiday or when he was particularly happy.
Gu Yanting was still making noise, but he also learned to read faces. Seeing that Tang Yi was really not angry and calculating, he just accepted it, leaned forward and said, “Why don’t you kiss me to give me some strength to eat?”
“…” Tang Yi raised his eyebrows steeply.
Gu Yanting’s heart jumped at once and he wanted to change his words when he felt a loud “smooch” on his forehead, followed by Tang Yi’s somewhat breathless voice, “Eat quickly. If you don’t eat right now, you’ll have to add water.”
Tang Yi’s mobile phone rang halfway through dinner. When he went to answer the phone, Gu Yanting was busy pinching the meat and delivering it to the mouth of the puppy who was spinning under his feet, calling him “Oreo” while feeding him.
The puppy’s name was something Gu Yanting had just learned last time, and Tang Yi unapologetically admitted that Fanfan’s name had something to do with Shen Fan, who had given him the dog. Gu Yanting’s jealousy ran rampant and his first reaction was to send the little one away, the further away the better. But this idea was quickly dispelled by him himself. He loved puppies and kittens and was worried that the little one’s new owner would treat him badly, so he finally made up his mind to change the dog’s name while Tang Yi wasn’t paying attention.
The breed of the puppy was a border collie, and the hair on his neck was white(1). Gu Yanting’s mind flashed with inspiration and he remembered the Oreos on TV that were supposed to be licked and dipped in milk. He seized every opportunity and bombarded the little guy with sugar-coated cannonballs. After a few slices of meat in the evening, the little guy accepted the new name “Oreo”.
Gu Yanting glanced at the balcony while feeding the dog, but he didn’t know that Tang Yi on the balcony had seen his little moves a long time ago.
Tang Yi looked at the man and the dog who were eating happily. The corners of his mouth curled slightly, and then he listened to the phone caller say, “I know it’s a bit awkward to make this request now. If it’s inconvenient for you, just refuse. I will explain it to him.”
Zhou Hao’s voice was a little hoarse, but it was still hard to resist the low tone and the softness of the past.
Tang Yi thought that Zhou Hao likely was pinching his brow with one hand at the moment while holding his mobile phone in the other. Tang Yi could even hear his exhaustion from a few words, but Zhou Hao deliberately concealed it and Tang Yi didn’t want to expose it.
Tang Yi withdrew his gaze, looked down at his feet and was silent for a while before saying, “I see, you can give him the phone.”
After all, dinner couldn’t be eaten in peace. After Gu Yanting confirmed that the little guy had officially accepted the new name of “Oreo”, he saw Tang Yi coming back and wanted to take credit, but Tang Yi turned around and went to the bedroom. After a while, Tang Yi put on his coat and picked up his bag, obviously going out.
Gu Yanting was taken aback for a moment, and it took him a long time to react, “Are you going out?”
“En, a friend is sick, I’ll go and have a look.” Tang Yi’s face didn’t look too good, and he didn’t really want to talk. Gu Yanting hurriedly went to get dressed to accompany him, but saw Tang Yi’s face change as he stopped him, “I can go by myself, you still have to take care of ‘Oreo’, don’t you? He hasn’t pooped tonight. Take him for a walk before going to bed. The pooper scooper is in the toilet.”
“Ah, you know, is Oreo kinda fancy, too foreign…” Gu Yanting revealed his careful thoughts as soon as he spoke, was startled and touched his nose embarrassedly, “Then take care on the way.”
“En.” Tang Yi nodded, and when he was about to leave, he was stopped by Gu Yanting again. The latter stuffed the cash from his wallet into Tang Yi’s bag and asked anxiously, “Don’t drive, you can take a taxi there. Don’t rush on the road, it’ll be fine.”
Tang Yi stood at the door, paused and wanted to say something but then stopped. Gu Yanting couldn’t help smiling, quickly gave him a kiss on the forehead and whispered, “I’ll be waiting for you.”
At this time, it was only eight o’clock in the evening. After Gu Yanting sent Tang Yi away, he had no appetite for the vegetables and meat on the table, so he turned on the TV and started training the dog with dog snacks.
At half past nine, Oreo finished gnawing a piece of dog chew and after drinking some water began to whine. Gu Yanting quickly tied the leash and took him out.
At half past ten Oreo had already retreated into the kennel, and Gu Yanting held his mobile phone waiting for the text message that didn’t come. He began to have bad thoughts.
At half past eleven, Gu Yanting had made a dozen trips up and down the stairs, calling Tang Yi’s phone but not getting through, and was starting to panic. However, he didn’t know what he could do. Tang Yi didn’t take the key when he left, and Gu Yanting was afraid that if he went out to look for him, Tang Yi wouldn’t be able to get in when he returned.
Later, Gu Yanting’s frequency of looking at his watch had become once in three-five minutes. The door of the apartment was opened by him, and he ran to the door to take a look as soon as there was any movement. Later, he could even distinguish the sound of the elevator running. As soon as the extremely slight sound of the elevator closing the door sounded, he ran out in his slippers and stared at the numbers of the floors changing.
At twelve o’clock, Tang Yi hadn’t come back yet. Gu Yanting used his mobile phone to search for the latest news of T City, and then turned to searching for the news in the last few hours with keywords such as ”car accident”. Finally, he used his mobile phone to listen to the city’s traffic broadcast. Every time the host talked about the night road conditions, his ear stuck to his mobile phone and he couldn’t wait for them to finish the news with bated breath.
In fact, there were not many road conditions worth broadcasting at night. At most, the host told to pay attention to slippery roads where the snowfall was too heavy. There were so few cars in this shitty weather that even bumps were rare.
Oreo was alarmed by the uneasiness that filled the whole apartment, nestling in his kennel but looking around with his eyes open and bewildered. After listening for a while, Gu Yanting finally stopped running back and forth. His excessive nervousness caused his stomach to protest so strongly that the chillies he had eaten at lunchtime were swirling and jumping around in his stomach as if settling accounts with him, trampling on him viciously.
Gu Yanting’s stomach was burning and uncomfortable. He couldn’t vomit, and he was nauseous whether he sat down or stood. Finally, he weakly hugged the toilet and used something to press the root of his tongue. Only then did he return the hot pot and chillies in his stomach, mixed with a lot of bitter gastric juice, to the toilet pod.
Fortunately, he was in good health. After he came out, he found the stomach medicine that Tang Yi always had ready, and then pulled out the anti-inflammatory medicine and cold medicine, drinking them all indiscriminately, finally making himself more comfortable.
It was just that this comfort didn’t last long. After a while, his mobile phone, which had been quiet all night, rang abruptly like a reanimated corpse. Gu Yanting hurriedly reached out and grabbed it. When it connected, before a word could pop out of his mouth, he heard a man’s low voice over there, “Is it Gu Yanting?”
Gu Yanting was taken aback, and then he heard the other side continue in a low voice, “I am Tang Yi’s friend, he may not be able to go back tonight and asked me to tell you.”
“……” It took a long time for Gu Yanting to react. He slowly breathed a sigh of relief but then a more complicated and difficult emotion emerged. When he spoke again, his voice was a bit similar to the other party’s but the trembling in it could still vaguely be distinguished, “Is he okay?”
The man on the other end of the phone waited patiently and replied after a while, “He’s fine.”
“Good, that’s good.”
Gu Yanting hung up the phone quickly, afraid that the other party would say one more word. He wandered around the apartment a few times, and finally went to the bedroom quietly. He slept heavily in the second half of the night, and after waking up the next day, he looked at the ceiling for a long time before he had to frown at the stench outside the door and walk out.
Gu Yanting got up late, and the toilet door had been closed by him last night. Oreo got up early to go to the toilet to poop but couldn’t get in no matter how he struggled to pull the door open. When Gu Yanting came out, he was startled by Oreo’s aggrieved and self-blaming eyes for a long time, then he sighed and went to clean up.
Tang Yi had not come back yet.
He didn’t have many friends. Shen Fan’s voice was different from that of the man last night. As for Tang Yi’s most familiar colleague in the company, Gu Yanting also saw him when he came to sign the contract last time. Besides, that kind of voice and tone were completely typical of someone who was in a high position or holding a lot of power.
Gu Yanting couldn’t think of anyone else except Zhou Hao.
The same Zhou Hao who had told Tang Yi on Christmas Eve that he hadn’t brought his underwear, and the same Zhou Hao who Tang Yi couldn’t stop thinking about when he was drunk. Gu Yanting’s heart was congested. He was very wary of Shen Fan, but that worry was completely different from the one he had of Zhou Hao.
Shen Fan was a popular figure at the university. Although Tang Yi made it clear in no uncertain terms that he had a crush on Shen Fan when they broke up, Gu Yanting had always been sceptical. Part of this was due to his understanding of Tang Yi. Although Tang Yi seemed to be humble, he never believed in evil and crooked things. Gu Yanting supposed that there were things Tang Yi couldn’t do, but he never believed that there were things Tang Yi didn’t dare to do.
Besides, Tang Yi was quite conceited in front of him before and there was no need to explain what he was going to do. The more he explained, the more suspicious it was. On the contrary, it was Zhou Hao, whom Tang Yi rarely mentioned, who really seemed to be a special existence.
Gu Yanting didn’t eat breakfast. He didn’t have any appetite. Yesterday’s hot pot hadn’t been washed, and the hot pot ingredients congealed into a thick layer of red oil on the surface of the pot. His carefully sliced potatoes had turned black, the spinach he hadn’t finished was wilted, the mushrooms were dry, and even the few remaining slices of meat were so hard that they looked like calluses.
He looked at the pot several times, but he didn’t have the mood or the energy to scrub it. In the end, he felt that he really didn’t have any strength, so he called Fat Sod.
Fat Sod came over quickly, like a summoned chubby magic animal, with his wife and child in tow. Gu Yanting greeted Fat Sod’s wife weakly and, finally driven into the bedroom by Fat Sod, didn’t forget to find a piece of chocolate for his goddaughter who was blinking at him.
He had acute gastroenteritis and fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, and was sweating all over the place. Fat Sod bought him medicine and said viciously, “What a disgrace! Such a big man! I’m ashamed of you for acting like a disgruntled woman!”
He was originally shopping with his wife and daughter nearby and he didn’t expect Gu Yanting’s phone call to be so urgent. As soon as he entered the apartment, he saw Gu Yanting looking like he had been abandoned and was dying. Later, when he found out the truth, he was a bit speechless.
He gritted his teeth and wiped the sweat from Gu Yanting’s forehead. Although his words were vicious, his movements were very light.
Gu Yanting wrinkled his eyebrows uncomfortably, leaned against the bed and closed his eyes for a while before sighing in a low voice. In the living room Fat Sod’s wife was quietly coaxing the little girl to play with Oreo, her voice soft and her appearance gentle.
Gu Yanting whispered mindlessly, “I just wanted to have a word with you, what could I possibly want? Fat Sod, love your wife well.”
Fat Sod was taken aback for a moment and rolled his eyes, “Nonsense! Of course I love my wife.”
Gu Yanting let out an “en” and didn’t say anything else. After a while, Fat Sod thought he had fallen asleep, but as soon as he was about to leave on tiptoe, he saw Gu Yanting lean against the head of the bed with a white face, as if talking to himself.
“I have done a lot of things before. Tang Yi said I was wrong, but in my heart I thought it was just inappropriate.”
“But now, I know it was really wrong. I have never been so sorry, let alone been so sad. Today I am not afraid of being abandoned by him. I just remember that before, he also had to watch me hang on to someone else with all my heart, ignoring him.”
“But I have you, I have Mom and Dad, and I know he loves me. But at that time he only had me.”
Fat Sod’s footsteps paused and he glanced at Gu Yanting in surprise.
Gu Yanting sighed heavily; his lips moved but he didn’t make a sound again.
Fat Sod hesitated for a while and couldn’t help but sit back, sighed and said to him, “It’s best that you figured it out. I was afraid you’d come back to provoke him, and when Lin Rui beckoned you, you’d follow him spinelessly. If Lin Rui was an object, it would be okay, you could just throw it away. But he is an individual. If you throw him away, he might still be able to stick. You can’t expel him from the country or throw him into outer space.”
Gu Yanting didn’t speak but opened his eyes and tilted his head towards Fat Sod.
Fat Sod looked at him and said, “It’s useless to regret it now. Just think about it in the future, and don’t do stupid things. Didn’t you say he saved your life? What if he uses this to get at Brother Tang? Think about how you will deal with him in case he demands something to repay his kindness and talk about things.”
Gu Yanting was surprised when Fat Sod brought up Lin Rui and suddenly remembered what Tang Yi said last night, so he paused and asked, “Do you know my email?”
It was almost noon when Fat Sod saw that Gu Yanting’s fever subsided and he was focused on going through his mailbox intently, so he took his wife and left with the child in his arms. Fat Sod’s wife cleaned up the kitchen before leaving. She also knew about Tang Yi and Gu Yanting. After entering the elevator, she teased the child and asked her husband, “Should we contact Brother Tang?”
Fat Sod’s face was happily pulled by the baby girl; he grinned and said, “No need. ”
“But it looks like Xiao Gu is very sad. We wouldn’t know if we haven’t seen him. But since we have seen, we should let Brother Tang know, right?” Although Gu Yanting was older than Fat Sod, she couldn’t call him Brother Gu when she saw that face, so she called him Xiao Gu instead.
Fat Sod’s wife was delicate-minded, afraid that Tang Yi would not know that Gu Yanting was sick. And sick people are easily depressed. Gu Yanting might be even sadder if it went on like this. Who knew that Fat Sod would kiss his daughter’s hand and reply quickly, “He deserves it.”
Tang Yi really didn’t know that Gu Yanting was sick, but there was nothing he could do if he knew it. Weiwei got into trouble in the Zhou family and ran away after being reprimanded by his grandfather and grandmother in turn. Zhou Hao almost went through the whole C City, mobilising all his contacts, and finally found him in a small park in T City.
When Weiwei was found, he had already spent the night huddling next to the trash can in the park and developed a high fever the next day. Zhou Hao came to pick him up in person, but Weiwei was stubborn and refused to see a doctor. The doctor gave him a hanging bottle but Weiwei deliberately used force and quickly pushed out the needle. Later, the doctor changed to an injection, and Weiwei didn’t relax his muscles at all. His buttocks were tight. The two adults held him down and the doctor patted the place where he was about to stick the needle for a while, and finally stuck it in forcefully, but it was difficult to push in. Weiwei screamed in pain, his eyes were bloodshot, but he still refused to let out a breath.
In the end, Zhou Hao compromised. He asked Zhou Weiwei what the hell he was doing.
Weiwei looked at him for a long time, and finally his eyes widened and he burst into tears abruptly.
He said he wanted to find his mom. If he can’t find his mom, can you ask Uncle Tang? If it’s inconvenient for Uncle Tang either, then please let me go on my own, and I will pay you back when I earn money.
He was only five years old, and he learned to settle for the next best thing like a little adult, and to use “inconvenient” euphemistically to express his meaning.
In the end, Zhou Hao’s face was livid, and he was in a stalemate with Weiwei for a whole day. During the night, Weiwei’s high fever recurred. Zhou Hao silently watched him and finally made the call to Tang Yi.
Tang Yi had never directly experienced the power of the Zhou family, but from Zhou Hao’s understated narrative, he faintly realised one or two things. Zhou Hao didn’t come to him not because he didn’t want to trouble him, but because he asked someone to directly check the surveillance near his company and apartment, and found that there were no children there.
Zhou Hao didn’t want to put too much pressure on him, so he just said that Weiwei was crying for him and asked him if it was convenient for him to come. Tang Yi only learned about the whole story after arriving at Zhou Hao’s small villa in T City.
When Weiwei saw him, his eyes opened wide. His small mouth was tightly pursed and his nose was bulged round. Tang Yi took a step towards him and saw big tears falling from the child’s eyes like broken strings of beads.
He cried out “Uncle Tang” softly, and then howled for half the night. Tang Yi couldn’t leave as Weiwei held on to his clothes, so he waited until the middle of the night to remember to let Gu Yanting know. He couldn’t move and his mobile phone ran out of battery, so he asked Zhou Hao to make a call for him.
After he came, the little guy obediently allowed to give him a hanging bottle, and his hand without a needle tightly held Tang Yi as he looked at Tang Yi calmly, “Uncle Tang, can I live with you from now on?”
Tang Yi lowered his head and touched Weiwei’s head gently, trying to change the subject. Then he heard Weiwei say, “I know, you and my father are not friends anymore. It’s okay if you don’t agree.”
Zhou Hao stood at the door, neither coming in nor walking away, his face calm. Hearing this, he froze for a moment and glanced at Tang Yi.
Tang Yi smiled, his tone very gentle, “Who did you hear it from? Don’t think about it. Uncle Tang is just a little busy. Your father is also very busy.”
Weiwei was still looking at him. Tang Yi saw him suck in a sharp breath and push back the tears filling his eyes. It was just that his voice was still a bit breathless from crying, “I eat very little and I don’t cry often. I will study hard and earn money in the future. Uncle Tang, can’t you really think about it?”
What grievances Zhou Weiwei had suffered in the Zhou family and what his grandparents had done, Tang Yi didn’t know until the end. This seemed to be related to the internal affairs of the Zhou family again, but for a child as understanding and stoic as Weiwei, who almost no longer looked like a child at all, to be pushed to this point was completely beyond his imagination.
When Tang Yi first met Weiwei, the child was only two years old, looking for his mother quietly with his innocent eyes wide open. Shen Fan was right; Tang Yi always regarded Weiwei as a miniature of himself. The more sensible this child was, the more distressed Tang Yi felt.
When Tang Yi was young, he didn’t feel that he was suffering. He hadn’t experienced anything good, so he didn’t feel that he had experienced anything bad. However, now that he was an adult, watching a child fall into a situation similar to his own back then, he couldn’t help but sigh in his heart. He finally answered Weiwei with a quiet “yes”.
Zhou Hao stared at him with burning eyes for a long time and finally turned to leave, saying only two things.
“I hope I can visit Weiwei often in the future.” And, “In return, I will help you with Gu Yanting’s affairs.”
- A border collie puppy with a donkey face… maybe, like that? 🙂