Luo Wencheng thought, this must be the most subtle and tactful rejection he had ever heard.
He thought again that Lu Chong’s perceptiveness was simply terrifying; the man had seen through his mind even though he revealed only a little bit of it.
At the same time, Lu Chong’s decisiveness was terrifying as well. As soon as Luo Wencheng showed a little bit of intention, Lu Chong immediately rejected him. And he even took care of his face and didn’t say it directly, he went around in such a big circle.
Should I say he was heartless, or should I thank him for his thoughtfulness?
Luo Wencheng thought about a lot of things for a while.
He thought about the past, the future, his struggles, his hesitation, his wanderings, the torment he had gone through, and how all of that was wiped away by Lu Chong’s decisive hand.
There was only one path left in front of him.
This was also good.
This path was also good.
Luo Wencheng repeated this to himself twice in his heart. As if completely exhausted all of a sudden, he blinked, feeling that the sun was a little too dazzling, making him dizzy. He slowly lowered his head, not daring to move too fast or too much, afraid that something would run out of his eyes.
“Is there any misunderstanding? You’re so good, sir, how could he not come back? Or, was he delayed by something, or…”
He clumsily, subconsciously tried to find something to say to relieve the awkward, suffocating, helpless emotions. As he said that, his heart ached for Lu Chong.
He felt sorry for Lu Chong.
Lu Chong was so good; he kept looking for that man for so many years, waiting for him for so many years. Why wasn’t that man willing to show up?
How could he not show up, just making one wait for him like that?
It was so pitiful.
What a pity.
Such a good year.
Such a good man.
Such a good man but he had to look for that person year after year, he was lonely, he couldn’t even get lively for the New Year. He lived alone in a big house with only one cat with him. That cat was also old and dying…
The pain in Luo Wencheng’s chest was almost suffocating.
Luo Wencheng looked at the ground and murmured, “Have you looked for him everywhere? What about the search notices, what about the advertisements? What’s his name, what does he look like, where did he go to school, how old is he, maybe I can help look for him…”
Lu Chong stood there and looked at him. For a moment, he almost wanted to step forward and hug the young man, but he restrained himself after all.
He couldn’t do that anymore, couldn’t give more false hints.
Lu Chong didn’t know when something between the two of them began to become different, and when he noticed it, it seemed too late.
Luo Wencheng was still young and had too much dependence on him, who helped him and saved him, so that it was normal to have a wrong perception of the relationship between them; it was he himself who did the wrong thing.
But it was impossible for him to be indifferent either, especially when the Luo family’s trash was pressing step by step and Luo Wencheng needed him; otherwise, with this child’s sensitivity, stubbornness and even hidden extremes, it was almost impossible to predict how the situation would develop.
Finally everything was over, but he didn’t have time to slowly distance the two of them, so he just…
He didn’t want to hurt Luo Wencheng, but there were some things that probably would be better to cut through quickly.
This thought made him take advantage of the situation.
Luo Wencheng was a smart child and would understand what he meant.
“I will find him.” Lu Chong said suddenly.
Luo Wencheng’s voice stopped abruptly; he paused for a while before he raised his head, looked at Lu Chong and said, “Really?”
Luo Wencheng smiled: “That’s good, that’s good.”
Because he hadn’t eaten lunch yet, Lu Chong asked Luo Wencheng to go back first, while he himself stayed behind. This time Luo Wencheng didn’t object and obediently got into the car, went back, ate his lunch, said hello to Uncle Ding, and went back to his room as if nothing had happened.
After closing the door behind him, he stood in a daze.
Looking around his room, he was wondering if he wanted to move out.
Suddenly there was a thin scratching sound outside the door. He walked over and opened the door, and saw the big cat squatting on the floor, retracting her front paw modestly, swinging her big tail and looking up at him. A pair of dark amber cat eyes shone brightly as she gave out a soft “meow”.
Luo Wencheng’s eyes slowly curved in a smile: “Ribs.”
He bent over and picked up the big cat, rubbed against her furry face, kissed her forehead and sat on the balcony with her in his arms: “Let’s bask in the sun.”
Kissed and touched, Ribs was very happy. She turned over and begged for a belly rub, meowing a few times.
When facing Lu Chong, she was not so gentle and well-behaved.
Luo Wencheng’s heart was softened by her adorableness, and he quickly rubbed her belly and scratched her fur.
After a while, Luo Wencheng went to bring a drawing board and set it up in front of him, sketching with one hand.
His right shoulder recovered well and he could move his arm more flexibly, so as long as he didn’t lift his arm too high or use it for too long, it was not too hard to draw.
He painted the distant scenery for a while, and the big cat lay on his lap. When he was tired, he took a nap with the cat.
Lu Chong came back late, looked at the hall and asked Uncle Ding, “Is Wencheng upstairs?”
“He went upstairs after lunch and never came out.” Uncle Ding didn’t know what happened, but he was keenly aware that something must have happened.
Sure enough, his master’s face showed a rare moment of hesitation, “There’s nothing unusual about him, is there?”
“No, same as usual. By the way, Ribs went to play with him and never came out either.” Uncle Ding said after a moment’s thought.
Lu Chong nodded, went upstairs, looked at the door of Luo Wencheng’s room from a distance, didn’t go over and went directly into the study.
Luo Wencheng had a dream. In his dream, he lived here quietly and safely for another half a year. Finally, he took a suitcase and said to Lu Chong, “Sir, I want to go on a trip.”
He happily said goodbye to Lu Chong, just like saying goodbye to an ordinary friend, and his heart was full of stability and satisfaction.
Luo Wencheng woke up. It was already dark and the wind was a little cold, but the big cat in his arms was warm, like a small heater.
“Meow.” Ribs was awake too.
“If you are hungry, let’s go eat.” He went out with the cat in his arms and at the entrance of the stairs met Lu Chong who was also going downstairs.
Luo Wencheng froze, but he remembered saying goodbye calmly and lightly in his dream, and his heart also became calm and light. He smiled and said: “Sir.”
Lu Chong greeted him and glanced at him. There was no sign of tears or sadness, although the young man had really looked like he was going to cry during the day.
The two went downstairs together, and Luo Wencheng suddenly said, “Sir, I would like to live here for another half a year… it won’t even take half a year, just a few months, and I will move out when the time comes.”
Lu Chong’s heart stagnated when he heard the caution in his tone.
He almost said, you can stay here as long as you want.
“Okay.” He finally said instead, paused, and then added, “Choose a place where you’d like to live, I will arrange it for you then.”
Luo Wencheng smiled: “Good, are you going to give me an apartment? Then I thank you in advance, sir.”
Luo Wencheng started school again.
He was driven to school by Zhou Qian every day. No matter how many classes he had, he left at seven o’clock in the morning and didn’t return until five or six in the afternoon.
When there was no class, he either went to the library to read or to the club, and in any case never went back earlier. This was the case every day, very regularly.
Before his case was overturned, the school was full of strange gazes, the kind full of disgusted contempt that people didn’t dare to express. But after the case was overturned, those who had talked about him on the forum or cursed him behind his back were somewhat embarrassed.
Luo Wencheng found that he was more popular than before, more people approached him for activities in the club, more people greeted him on the way, and teachers and students looked at him more kindly.
Luo Wencheng thought this was good.
A painting competition was held in the city. The theme was animals. After Luo Wencheng asked Lu Chong if he could paint Ribs, he spent two days painting a portrait of Ribs and took it to the competition.
There was nothing special about the painting, just the way Ribs squatted in front of his door that day, swinging her tail and looking up at him. The cute little girl was chubby, and Luo Wencheng’s delicate brushstrokes brought her fluffy, healthy fur to life. Her round amber eyes were full of innocence and concern that saved him from despair that day.
Zheng Chang and the others looked at it and said that this was a magical painting. People who were in a good mood felt happy when they looked at it, and people who were in a bad mood felt warm when they looked at it. But after looking at it for a long time, for some reason one would feel puzzling, even inexplicable sadness.
This picture soon won the award.
Luo Wencheng was awarded by the school and then qualified to continue participating in the provincial competition.
The members of the club asked Luo Wencheng to invite them to celebrate.
Luo Wencheng readily agreed.
Some people heckled and said that they wanted to go to “Golden Glory”. Now everyone knew that “Golden Glory” was Lu Chong’s business. Luo Wencheng smiled and said it was fine, but Zheng Chang had the good sense to avoid awkwardness and the group ended up going to a very famous KTV.
Luo Wencheng actually didn’t mind. It was okay to go to “Golden Glory”, just call Lu Chong and tell him, but KTV was fine too.
A group of people ordered drinks and then howled songs. Luo Wencheng also sang a love song without making a fuss. The rest of the time he was drinking silently, feeling that the wine was not intoxicating or having any taste, so he poured himself a full glass.
Zheng Chang next to him was taken aback: “Wencheng, can you drink?”
If he got drunk badly, who would be responsible? Zheng Chang was the only one in the group who could take responsibility.
“What did you say?” The karaoke was so loud that Luo Wencheng didn’t hear him clearly.
Zheng Chang had to say it again loudly.
Luo Wencheng smiled and took a big sip: “It’s okay, I used to be a bartender.” After a pause, he said to himself, “It’s not like you can die from drinking anyway.”
Zheng Chang couldn’t hear what he said, but when he saw him like this, he didn’t try to stop him anymore.
He didn’t know why, but although Luo Wencheng, who had returned to school, was more talkative and sociable than before and often had a smile on his face, Zheng Chang felt that this Luo Wencheng was somewhat unreal.
How to say it? Zheng Chang was the one Luo Wencheng spent the most time with, and after watching him for a while, Zheng Chang felt that he was pretending, pretending to be happy, pretending to be normal, and he felt tired for him, like watching a string that was so tight that it was about to break.
After Luo Wencheng drank two glasses of wine, he began to feel abnormally hot. He was very sensitive to alcohol. Even if it was a very low degree wine, he would be groggy after two glasses.
He poured himself a third glass, brought it to his mouth and put it down abruptly.
With a crisp sound, the wine spilled out, causing everyone to look over. The singer also stopped, and the room suddenly became quiet.
Luo Wencheng held his somewhat dizzy head and gasped a little, saying to himself: don’t allow any gaffe, Luo Wencheng, it’s ugly to drink like this to drown your sorrows, don’t you know? Be good; isn’t everything good?
You are happy, everyone is happy.
It’s like nothing happened.
It’s like nothing has changed.
He stood up and said to everyone with a smile: “Two glasses of wine are a bit too much for me. You guys go on, I’ll go out and get some fresh air.”
Zheng Chang wanted to follow but Luo Wencheng stopped him. He got out of the room and went to the restroom at the end of the corridor to wash his face. Then he looked at himself in the mirror and said in a daze: “I overestimated myself. It’s too difficult. It’s too difficult.”
Obviously living under the same roof with that man but not being able to touch; obviously feeling sad inside but pretending to be happy.
He didn’t want to leave. He thought it was good to live together, to have face-to-face meetings every day, but now it seemed that this was just a kind of torture for himself.
With some thoughts, it was okay as long as you held back and didn’t touch them, but once you touched them, you couldn’t take it back and pretend that nothing had happened.
Perhaps it was time for him to leave.
Another man came in and rushed to the sink to throw up.
Luo Wencheng leaned aside, as if he didn’t notice anything, until the man finished vomiting, rinsed his mouth and washed his face, and looked up at him, saying in amazement: “Luo Wencheng?”
Luo Wencheng looked over lazily, and it took him a few seconds to recognise the man: “Wei… Xingheng?”