“Lu Jiuding, I’m leaving! I’m not coming back when I leave this time!”
“Then I’ll find you.”
“No, you can’t find me.”
“Can’t you not leave?”
“But I’m going home… Hey, are you sad? Don’t be sad, you will meet other friends, and I also have many friends.”
“Say something, you’re not going to cry, are you?”
“…I just want you to be my friend.”
“Hey, how can someone your age be more coquettish than me? Just treat it as if I moved. When your good friend moves, you will be very sad first. You will miss him every day. But after a while, you will forget him. And you will make other friends soon, just like one doesn’t like the same person forever.”
The young man in his memory said it with certainty and confidence.
And he himself in his memory was sad and resentful at that time and said in a sullen voice: “I won’t. I won’t make other friends. I… I will only like you.”
“Hey?” The young man suddenly became shy, scratched his head, and then showed a distressed expression, “But if we can’t meet, you will soon forget me.”
“You will definitely!”
The two looked at each other childishly, and finally the other party lost the battle, squatted on the ground and plucked the grass: “But it will really take a long, long, long time for us to see each other again. Will you really not forget me?”
“I won’t.” He squatted down happily and cautiously, “I will never forget you for the rest of my life.”
“Well, then let me count, ten years, you will be able to see me in ten years… Hey, no, it’s thirteen years… Well, maybe it’s not enough, then at most fifteen years. I will definitely come to you in fifteen years, okay?”
In his memory he was stunned: “Ten, fifteen years? So long?”
“Hey! Who just said that it doesn’t matter if it is for the rest of your life?”
“But, but, you can tell me your address, and I’ll find you,” he said cautiously.
“I told you you can’t find me.” The young man muttered, “It’s useless to look for me.”
“What if you don’t come in fifteen years?”
“Well, that would be me forgetting about you.”
“Oh, I’m joking. If I don’t come to you, you, you build an amusement park in Beicheng next to Haining, in the wasteland where we hid together. A big, big one. I will definitely come to play there when I see it, and then you will find me!”
“An amusement park?”
“Yes ah, but don’t worry, I’ll come to you first, we’ll build the amusement park together, I’ll draw the plans, you’ll pay for it.”
“Then it’s a deal, let’s pinky swear!”
“Fifteen years.” Lu Chong gently stroked the concept drawing of the amusement park, “You said fifteen years, but it’s been sixteen years, and you still haven’t come.
“You are right, no one can only like one person for the rest of their lives. I betrayed my promise and I can’t control my heart.
“I even thought at one point that I would just leave it like that, live my own life, take control of the people around me, and just let you be a thing of the past.
“I almost did that too.”
When he hugged Luo Wencheng and when he kissed Luo Wencheng, he really thought about it that way. The warmth at hand was too tempting. The young man’s eyes, words, body temperature, smile, everything was far more attractive to him than he had expected. This kind of predictable, palpable happiness could make the calmest person lose his mind.
Especially after he had been alone for so many years.
“Isn’t it awful?
“After all, I have become what you hate the most.”
Swinging from side to side, happy with the new and tired of the old, ungrateful…
Lu Chong smiled wryly and propped himself up on the table, his tall, upright body hunched down for the first time, as if he was already overwhelmed.
Luo Wencheng’s life had become ordinary again.
He was waiting for Lu Chong to give him an answer, but it seemed difficult for the other party to respond.
Lu Chong even started not coming back at night.
He hadn’t even stayed out at night after he politely rejected Luo Wencheng at the amusement park.
Luo Wencheng looked at his hands and asked himself in his heart, was he pushing too hard?
Should he have played dumb and stayed dumb? Once the window paper was pierced, the two of them couldn’t maintain even a superficially calm and friendly relationship.
Downstairs, there was the sound of Lu Chong coming back. Luo Wencheng’s dazed eyes slowly focused, and his expression became fierce a little bit.
It was either 1 or 0, either life or death. He didn’t want to live a life where he didn’t know the end, where he was guessing and waiting every day.
Everyone is a man, so why do you want to squirm like a woman? Just say one word, whether it works or not.
He opened the door of the room just as Lu Chong came up from downstairs. He paused when he saw Luo Wencheng: “Still awake.”
Luo Wencheng walked over step by step and looked up at him quietly. The man was still calm, and his eyes were still filled with the familiar warmth. If you ignored the bloodshot eyes, ignored the tired look and the dodging gaze, nothing had changed.
“You haven’t slept well for a few days, have you?” Luo Wencheng asked suddenly.
Lu Chong: “I have been… these days.”
“Have I made it difficult for you?”
Lu Chong didn’t say anything.
“Have I made you feel very painful?”
Lu Chong closed his eyes: “Wencheng, I have thought about it, I…”
Luo Wencheng suddenly took a step back. Just now, the bravado of either death or life, like a punctured balloon, disappeared without a trace. He avoided Lu Chong’s gaze: “I’ll make you something to eat.”
Then he hurriedly went downstairs.
This was the longest time Luo Wencheng had ever spent making noodles.
He made them again and again, bowl after bowl, before he finally made a bowl that he was satisfied with.
The chef who got out of bed in the middle of the night to help him because Luo Wencheng was half-disabled was confused and distressed: “Aren’t those bowls good? What a pity to throw them away.”
Luo Wencheng murmured in a low voice: “For the last time, of course it must be the most perfect.”
“What did you say?”
“It’s nothing. There is a good beginning and a good end,” he said slowly, then added with a smile, “You can serve it to Mr. Lu for me.”
“Won’t you go by yourself?”
“My hands are sore, I can’t carry it.” Luo Wencheng said, “I’ll go to bed first.”
Luo Wencheng went upstairs without looking in the direction of Lu Chong’s room. He slowly walked into his own room and slowly looked around the room.
This was the same action he had done after returning from the amusement park back then, but the difference was that this time, after looking around the room, he slowly opened the wardrobe and began to pack his things.
There didn’t seem to be much to pack, though. Every piece of clothing and every item in here had been added since he had come in here; none of it belonged to him.
He had come to this place, entered this room, avenged himself, fulfilled a long-cherished wish, done what he had wanted to do in his life, and now it was time to leave.
He had come with a calculating heart, and now it made sense for this heart to leave a little wounded.
He stood on the balcony in the wind, watching the sky brighten from the deep blackness little by little and the sun rising from among the clouds, casting a million rays of light.
The sound of servants walking around in the villa reached him, and some people started watering the garden.
There was the sound of a car starting downstairs; that man was probably going out.
Luo Wencheng straightened his clothes, picked up his drawing board and went downstairs.
Walking by the kitchen door, he saw the servant pouring a bowl of noodles into the trash can.
A bowl full of perfectly good, well done noodles.
“What a pity, not eating a single bite of such good noodles.”
“It’s a pity about the noodles, it’s a pity about those pastries and snacks, Young Master Luo has been making them for ages.”
“Forget it, just get used to it. This is only a two-day portion, it’s been like this for most of the previous year. It’s a pity that Young Master Luo’s heart is in it.”
“Who says it isn’t. I sometimes want to persuade him not to do it, but I dare not speak.”
“You guys say this has been the case for most of the previous year?” An indifferent voice suddenly sounded, and the two servants were startled: “Young Master Luo!”
“You guys say,” Luo Wencheng walked into the kitchen and looked at the noodles that were dumped in the trash can together with some small pastries and other dishes he had made in the past two days, “This has been the case for most of the year? All dumped like this?”
The two servants looked at each other and said boldly: “Yes ah. Master doesn’t touch what you make, and others don’t dare to touch those things. In the end, they can only be dumped like this.”
Luo Wencheng looked at the things in the trash can. Those things used to be so beautiful and exquisite, but now they became a pile of garbage pasted together, disgusting to look at.
Luo Wencheng’s body swayed slightly, and he supported himself on the door frame.
A shadow appeared in the corner of his eye. He raised his eyes; his vision was a little blurred. He lowered his head and blinked. When he looked again, it turned out that Lu Chong, who had gone and returned, was standing not far away, looking at him with a complicated expression.
Luo Wencheng slowly straightened up and looked at him: “Why didn’t you just tell me?”
Before Lu Chong could answer, he smiled again: “Were you worried that I would be embarrassed to eat and drink for nothing here?”
He smiled, but this smile was more ugly than crying. Lu Chong looked at him steadily without saying a word.
Luo Wencheng himself probably realised that he was laughing ugly, so the smile slowly faded away. He walked over slowly, trying to say something, but he didn’t seem to know what to say. After a while, he said, “I’m leaving, but before I leave, I want to ask you one last question.”
Lu Chong said, “Go ahead.”
“You have a deep affection for that person, right?”
“Then did you hesitate in the past few days, or did you make a decision but didn’t know how to tell me? In the process, were your feelings for me and your feelings for that person placed on the same scale, or were you worried that I would be sad after you explained it to me?”
Lu Chong didn’t answer immediately.
Luo Wencheng said calmly: “I want to hear the truth.”
“Both.” Lu Chong paused for a moment, “Mostly the latter.”
Luo Wencheng smiled in relief, thinking to himself, sure enough. But that “both” was a comfort, right?
After all, it was not exactly his self-indulgence, he just… overestimated his weight.
He said, “Thank you, I see. In the past few days and for more than half a year, I have caused you a lot of trouble. And while it would be nice to say that I’d be at your disposal if you needed me in the future, I don’t think you have much use for me, and you probably don’t want to see me again. So…”
His voice was very soft, very soft: “Let’s leave it at that.”
He bypassed Lu Chong and walked out the door. Zhou Qian appeared: “Young Master Luo, do you want to use the car?”
“No need.” Luo Wencheng shook his head, “None of that will be necessary in the future, thank you so much for this time.”
He strode out of the gate and onto the road outside. After walking for about five minutes, there was a platform. A bus just stopped. He didn’t see which way it was, so he went straight up.
In the villa, Zhou Qian looked, somewhat puzzled, at his master who was standing motionless outside the living room, wondering if he should go after Luo Wencheng.
At this point, Lu Chong finally reacted, and suddenly shouted: “Lao Ding!”
These two words were heavier than ever before and contained a hint of anger.
Lao Ding, who was hiding somewhere just now, walked out.
Lu Chong looked at him coldly: “Why?”
“What do you mean, sir?”
“Can’t you even control the mouths of the servants?”
The two servants were still hiding in the kitchen, leaning against each other and trembling.
Lao Ding’s expression didn’t change as he said calmly: “I just did what I had to do.”
“This is what you had to do?”
“When that kid first came, I also liked him very much, especially when the things he made were to Master’s liking and when Master said more and smiled more because of him. But these days, the existence of that kid seems to have become more and more distressing for Master. I wish he could make Master come out of the past, but since he can’t and Master has already made a decision in his heart, his presence has become redundant and the source of troubles. So it is best for him to leave.”
Lao Ding analysed it respectfully and methodically: “Doesn’t Master think so too? If you can’t do it, sir, then let Lao Ding do it for you.”
In a situation like the present, revealing that Luo Wencheng’s so-called love food was garbage that would eventually be dumped was like a slap in his face. On the one hand, it showed him that what he thought he could do for Lu Chong was a joke, and on the other hand, it was impossible for anyone with shame and self-respect to continue living here after having his heart thrown to the trash like this.
This was the simplest, most peaceful and effective method available.
Although it might really hurt a bit.
Lu Chong was naturally aware of this, and while he knew that the two of them should distance themselves, he couldn’t bear to hurt Luo Wencheng, even if it meant politely hinting to him to move out.
In fact, he had already planned to give this villa to Luo Wencheng and find another place to live for himself. He delayed moving just because he was worried about hurting Luo Wencheng.
He wanted to find a way to have the best of both worlds, but there was no such thing as having the best of both worlds.
He couldn’t blame Lao Ding either, because the person who hurt Luo Wencheng was ultimately him.
The food was not something Lao Ding wanted to dump, he was the one who refused to touch it.
But that didn’t mean that he could tolerate Lao Ding doing this.
He said coldly: “Go back to Beijing.”