It was seven o’clock in the evening of February 27th.
The rain and snow that lasted for a day and a night just stopped, and the whole world was covered with wet sticky snow. Clothes and hair clung to skin and scalp, and the air was so cold that it was stinging, like the smell of rotting blood filling the nose.
Qi Chuan waited outside the ward for three hours, while Fu Ge called Qi Han’s name sixty-eight times in the ward.
He was packing Qi Han’s things; the only luggage left was of no value and didn’t need to be taken away, like drawing paper stamped with a bellflower pattern, dinner plates with a bear and a bunch of cartoon hand warmers.
And every time Fu Ge put away something, he would tirelessly ask: “Ah Han, will you take this with you?”
He repeated the same thing sixty-eight times, never getting an answer.
Until Qi Chuan opened the door that seemed to separate reality and illusion, and called him in a hoarse voice: “Xiao Ge, it’s time to go, Grandpa is waiting for us.”
Fu Ge didn’t even turn his head, his thin waist bent down to get something, his tone calm like a pool of stagnant water: “Wait, it’s almost three o’clock.”
Qi Chuan: “What happens at three o’clock?”
Fu Ge: “At three o’clock he comes to bring me French fries, today they are honey butter flavoured.”
This was a habit and a little secret between him and Qi Han. Every day at three o’clock in the afternoon, Qi Han would knock on his window on time and smuggle a portion of French fries to feed him under the doctor’s nose.
It was almost three o’clock, and his French fries were about to arrive.
But Qi Chuan said, “He won’t be here today. Nor will he be in the future.”
After clenching his hands for a second, Fu Ge didn’t raise his eyes, but said softly: “It’s impossible. He is very punctual and will come every day. He asked me to wait for him this morning.”
Qi Chuan’s eyes flushed, he took a deep breath and said loudly: “That happened the morning before yesterday, and he has already been arrested.”
With a clang, the hanger in his hand fell to the floor, and Fu Ge blinked blankly, his face empty as if he had just woken up from a dream: “Already… arrested…”
“Yes, you got married yesterday. According to the plan, the police arrived fifteen minutes after the wedding started and took him away.”
Fu Ge stood there motionless, looking into the distance with empty eyes for a long time, and finally focused his gaze with difficulty, “Ah so, I forgot…”
His memory was confused again, so badly that he had forgotten all about what happened yesterday, and the last memory in his head was that Qi Han asked him to wait for French fries the morning before.
“Then today… there will be no French fries…” Fu Ge looked at the dinner plate with a little bear and thought to himself: he has obviously prepared the plate.
Qi Chuan closed his eyes and took out the digital planet brooch from his pocket, “If you want French fries, I will buy them for you in a while. The priority now is to help you restore your memory.”
“Don’t—” Fu Ge avoided Qi Chuan’s hand, and his dull eyes glanced at the blurred, imaginary figure in the corner as he said, “Don’t bother, I don’t really want to remember.”
Qi Chuan was taken aback, followed his gaze to the empty corner, and understood everything. “Xiao Ge, are you hallucinating again? Did you see him again? What did he tell you?”
“Well, so what if I saw him, does it matter?”
“Of course it matters. As your psychiatrist, I must fully understand your mental state.”
Fu Ge was silent, stunned for a long time, and suddenly raised his eyes to look at the corner again. The blurry phantom was reaching out to him, his pale lips twitching.
The young Beta repeated: “He said, congratulations on the baby’s being discharged from the hospital. We can finally go home together.”
Fu Ge lit a cigarette when he sat in the car. The wind blowing from nowhere brought the snow that didn’t melt, scraping his face.
The ash was flying backward, and he was going forward. The man was moving forward, but the heart would never be able to keep up.
“Go home first or buy French fries first?” Qi Chuan asked.
Fu Ge thought for a long time and said, “Let’s go back to the winery first.”
“What are you going to do there? The matter is over.”
Fu Ge didn’t answer, and suddenly asked, “Was I happy yesterday?”
His red eyes were suddenly raised, and Qi Chuan looked at him in the rearview mirror: “Well, you drank and danced yesterday.”
“Ah, that’s it, I should’ve been happy.”
The hand holding the steering wheel suddenly clenched, and what Qi Chuan didn’t say was: you danced in the snow.
It was snowing heavily, and Fu Ge danced for a long time. The rain and snow mixed with Qi Han’s blood on the lawn. After he finished the dance, he lay there, motionless, as sluggish as a walking dead.
Fu Ge had a fever because of the snow and slept for a day and a night. When Qi Chuan came over, he had just woken up.
Qi Han was arrested and all related assets under his name were frozen. Only this winery was spared, so the scene there now was exactly like when the wedding was interrupted.
“Is there no one to clean up here?” Fu Ge asked, looking at the wreckage.
Qi Chuan said: “The guests left soon after the accident. The wedding company only took some of the things because of bad luck. This winery is not open to the public. Qi Han gave three days off to the people who took care of it before, and they haven’t come back yet.”
Fu Ge smiled bitterly, “It’s really bad luck.”
His first wedding was ruined by Qi Han, and his second wedding was ruined by him. Maybe he was destined to be alone in this life.
Qi Chuan was silent for a while and then took him by the shoulders, “Shall we go back? Grandpa is still waiting at home. Or do you want to find a quiet place?”
Fu Ge didn’t respond. He just walked in silence along the rose path he had designed, picking up the garbage there piece by piece.
Although the rain melted most of the snow, the rose path was still covered with a not-so-thin layer. Fu Ge’s fingers plunged in the snow and soaked in it, freezing to blue and white, but he moved as if he couldn’t feel it.
Qi Chuan looked at his back and suddenly felt that Fu Ge was also like a broken rose.
It was cut off at the wrong time of the flowering season and left in the gutter for many, many years. It finally waited until the moment when it saw the sun again, but then it was covered by a layer of snow.
He had finally waited until his flowering period, only to be withered forever.
“Xiao Ge, what are you doing?” Qi Chuan’s voice was a little hoarse.
Fu Ge’s face was horribly pale, but the corners of his eyes and the tip of his nose were red from the cold. He looked as if he was crying, but Qi Chuan knew he would not; at least today, he would not allow himself to shed a tear.
If he couldn’t cry, he could only smile, and his smile was hard to look at. His thin hands dug out a rose from the snow, and his bloodshot eyes were so desperate and pitiful, as if the last breath of his life was cut off.
“You go back first, I want to go somewhere by myself.”
Fu Ge took three things with him, an unopened bottle of wedding wine, a box of wedding cakes that was blocked by a table and was not soaked, and a bouquet of Juliet roses that he had tied himself.
These things were carefully placed in front of Qi Ji’s tomb, next to the invitation cards Qi Han had left that night. There were so many things representing the wedding, and now they were all together.
Fu Ge wiped off the snow on the tombstone with his sleeve. He didn’t dare to look at Qi Ji’s photo. He sat with his back to the tombstone, lit a cigarette and pressed it to his left wrist, almost completely covered with burns from cigarette butts.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have lit a cigarette in front of you, but I have no other way to stay awake.”
He only burned himself with the cigarette and put it out. He didn’t throw it on the ground, but put it in his pocket, and then he didn’t make another sound.
The ground under him was very cold, and the wind in the cemetery was icy. Fu Ge raised his eyes and looked at the grey sky. After a long time, he finally opened his mouth: “Yesterday… we got married, and he was taken away by the police.”
“I know I shouldn’t show up in front of you again, but I… I have nowhere else to go… I can’t find my father’s grave…”
After the death of Fu Ge’s biological father, in addition to his daily life expenses, a large inheritance was left, which Fu Ge couldn’t inherit until he became an adult.
In order to defraud him of his inheritance, his adoptive father Fu Zhenying had been concealing his father’s burial place. Fu Ge agreed to accompany Qi Han to drink with his guests to see Fu Zhenying and ask where his father was buried.
But Qi Han had lied to him.
Until Fu Zhenying was executed, he didn’t let Fu Ge meet him, and Fu Ge had lost his last chance to find his father.
“We haven’t seen each other for sixteen years. I don’t know where he is buried. I can’t find him. Is anyone going to visit him during Qingming? On a snowy day, does anyone wipe the snow on his tombstone? I got married twice, and I didn’t know where to send the invitation twice. After so many years, does he even think about me…”
Fu Ge buried his face in his knees, holding tightly an invitation card that hadn’t been sent out, “Uncle Qi, I miss my father so much, but I don’t even have a picture of him anymore…”
Fu Ge’s father died unexpectedly when Fu Ge was seven years old, and everything was taken over by Fu Zhenying. Only some old toys and a handful of photos were left for Fu Ge as mementoes.
But later, Fu Zhenying’s crimes were revealed, and the Fu family’s property was confiscated. The court only gave Fu Ge one day to get his worthless belongings, but Fu Ge failed to go home, he was locked up in the small house by Qi Han.
When he came out, the photos were gone, the toys were gone, the home was gone, and he had lost his mind.
He wanted to draw a portrait of his father, but he couldn’t pick up a brush, and when he could pick up a brush again, the face in his memory was already blurred.
“I used to hear people say that if a child is going to do something big, he must report to his parents and elders in advance. It’s like making a wish. You have to come and repay the wish whether you succeed or not. Ah Han can’t come anymore, so I’ll take his place.”
He didn’t dare to turn his head until this moment, pushing the wedding cake and wedding wine forward a little, “I made the wedding cake, and he picked the wedding wine. It’s a little damp, don’t dislike it, have some.”
A large bouquet of wet roses next to him was about to freeze. Fu Ge used the warmth of his palms to rub the petals and arranged them for Qi Ji to see.
“Do you know what kind of rose this is?”
Fu Ge asked and replied himself: “Juliet. He planted it himself.”
Qi Han started planting them when he came back from Litang. He also found someone to build a professional flower shed for this purpose. He watered and fertilised them every day, taking care of them day and night. It took two stages to raise these hundreds of the most beautiful roses.
Orange on the inside and pink on the outside, with the petals clustered together; just like Fu Ge’s lips, or like the flesh of a ripe peach.
“He showed me the flowers on the day of his success.” Fu Ge recalled the scene that day, spread his arms and gestured, “He held such a big bunch. There was still mud on his trouser legs, but he was happy like a fool, so excited that he didn’t sleep well all night, dreaming about those flowers.”
Fu Ge suddenly smiled, “He was so happy, really happy, I haven’t seen him smile so happily for a long, long time. Just like I was back then. I was looking forward to this wedding with all my life.”
“Then of course I couldn’t let him down…”
The young Beta closed his eyes, and his voice was hoarse: “Don’t worry, he won’t be in much pain, I got it all planned.”
The time the police arrived, the route they came in, the seats of the guests, and the petals that were blown into the air by a blower, Fu Ge had rehearsed it with his people many, many times to ensure that the maximum time from the beginning of the event to the end would not exceed ten minutes.
“It’s like a muddled dream, a revolving lantern before death, just like… what I experienced back then, it’s over quickly, he won’t hurt, it won’t hurt very much…”
As he spoke, he suddenly paused, his throat choked, and his dazed eyes were wet, as if he couldn’t figure out something: “I got it all planned, he shouldn’t… have been in that much pain…”
The blurred memories were like sharp steel wires, dividing his mind into countless pieces. The scenes from yesterday appeared one by one like a replay of a dream. Fu Ge seemed to be under a giant bell, with these scenes swarming around him and stabbing his eyes and heart.
Qi Han was smashed on the head by a police baton, his leg was broken, he was beaten to the ground and someone was sitting on his back. He dragged his body, crawling towards him, begging him to put on the ring, and was grabbed and forced to kneel on the ground again, asking him if it was a lie from beginning to end…
Later, the time was shattered, and the blood stained the fragments red.
Fu Ge choked and said, “He vomited a lot of blood, really a lot, and he vomited it on the arch. The heavy rain last night didn’t wash away his blood. Maybe it was because I told him that I had burned what he had saved.”
“But I destroyed a lot of his stuff, burned it and smashed it, why only this time… he looked so desperate…”
The bloodshot eyes were completely dimmed, as if they would never be bright again; they couldn’t even be called eyes anymore, just two bloody holes used to store the pupils.
“I didn’t know what was in that room. I stole his key and took a peek. There was too little time, I only saw the door sign.”
Fu Ge didn’t know that Qi Han already knew his plans like the back of his hand, let alone the fact that what was kept in Room 404 of Shengde Hospital were the relics Qi Han had saved for himself.
He only saw the sentence “All the happiness in my short, barren life” on the door sign, so he made up his mind to destroy the things in this room.
“Why should he be happy when I became like this…”
As soon as the two of them left the hospital and rushed to the wedding scene, he had someone smash the door, take out all the things inside and burn them all.
“This is the only one left.” Fu Ge took out a palm-sized kraft paper bag from his pocket and handed it to the tomb. “I didn’t look at it and I didn’t burn it. I’ll leave it to you as a memory.”
He stood up, gave a final bow and turned to leave
The kraft paper bag was suddenly blown by the wind into a puddle filled with snow and stagnant water. Fu Ge hurriedly picked it up, but the side that fell into the water was still soaked.
Afraid that the things inside would also be wet, he opened the paper bag and poured the contents into his hand. A ribbon with a prayer wheel rolled out. It was the white khata bracelet Qi Han had made for him.
“Why is it here… didn’t I throw it away…”
With a tremor in his heart, Fu Ge immediately reached into the paper bag and pulled out an old piece of silk paper.
It was the silk paper that he had made back then, the one he put in his sketch book and used to stall Fu Zhenying.
On the front was his drawing of Qi Han, and on the back, in the Alpha’s handwriting, the first half of the folded section read—
[Actually, I also made a bracelet for myself, but I didn’t dare to wear it.
Because Xiao Ge said that bracelets can bless people to live a long life and be a hundred years old, but I can’t, I’m going to die. The wedding is the last deadline he left me.
My Little Song hates me to the bone, and has been planning this for many years, but in the last step, I want to help him, I can’t let him work too hard.]
Fu Ge’s fingers stiffened, and his breathing and heartbeat suddenly stopped.
His body wrapped in a down jacket collapsed as if he had plunged into an ice cellar, and the boiling blood flowed from the soles of his feet to the top or his head, almost bursting from his eyes full of disbelief.
“What’s going on…”
“How could this happen… he… he knew everything…”
“Why would he know…”
He knew I hated him, knew my plans… knew I was going to harm him… knew that I wanted him to die from beginning to end?
Then why did he jump into my trap?…
A gust of wind suddenly blew from the top of the hill, carrying snow and smashing it on the tombstone.
Fu Ge lay on the ground, like a Juliet tower frozen in ice and snow, broken by the wind, its petals falling off and its core withered.
Snowflakes fell to the ground, and tears fell on the snow drop by drop. Fu Ge desperately wiped his wet face with his frozen hands.
His eyes were so blurred with tears that he couldn’t see anything clearly. He hurriedly picked up the soaked paper and unfolded the folded lower part of it.
The blurred handwriting gradually becomes clear in his vision—
[After the wedding, I will turn myself in.
I know he won’t be able to act anymore. He can’t help vomiting even when he touches the corner of my clothes. Moreover, the gland trade has a great impact, and I am afraid that he will be implicated by me if he doesn’t plan well.
The death penalty is inevitable, and I deserve it.
The relics have been packed up and stored in Room 404. I hope Chen Xing can help me collect them and bury them with me far away from him.
On the night I was allergic on Mount Genie, before I was about to die, I looked at Xiao Ge’s back as he rode away and thought, why don’t I stop struggling.
If God is willing to give me an afterlife, maybe those things can no longer appear in my life.
I don’t want to be beaten, I don’t want to be afraid of needles, I don’t want my father to die in front of me, I don’t want to be in rut, I don’t want to get out of control anymore, let alone… abuse him…
I just want to be an ordinary, somewhat normal person.
I really want, so badly, to love him properly.
I want to have a family with him.]