Translator’s note: It looks like a continuation of the airport meeting after Chen Xing’s return in Chapter 74, but it is a bit of an alternative timeline, or rather, the events in Chapter 74 seem to be set in an alternative timeline to give closure to those who don’t want to read extras. As you can see, the events here happen after Qi Han and Fu Ge are already married.
The moon was bright and fragrant, illuminating the night all around, and only Chen Xing’s small room couldn’t be touched by the moonlight.
He chose this room because there were no windows here, and the absolutely enclosed small space was like a big clam isolated from the world where he could live in peace. Here he could cower in his shell and be the little fool that no one wanted.
“Grandma, are you asleep?” Chen Xing asked the old lady’s posthumous photo in the middle of the bookshelf as he poured the wine, then looked at his watch and smiled dryly. ”Must be asleep, it’s nine o’clock.”
He fished out a pack of colourful granules from his pocket and poured them into a water cup shaped like a flower pot.
The hot water was added into the cup, and the stream of water smashed the layer of the granules and turned them foggy, which looked particularly lively.
Chen Xing liked everything lively, liked fireworks, liked a simple and noisy life; but since he was five or six years old, these things had been completely out of his reach.
The granules dissolved in water and the cup was placed in front of Grandma, while he held a wine glass in his hand, leaned in and clinked it gently with a crisp sound, ”Grandma, I’m home.”
His movements were so natural as if nothing had changed. He was still the one who rushed home first after school and was happy with his grandmother’s company.
“I’ll have to go out after a while and I won’t be back for a long time this time. I might be on a business trip, I might travel, or I might have an affair with a beautiful little O.”
He stifled a laugh, squeezed the flower pot cup and looked in, and explained to his grandmother: ”These granules were brought from the US, it says something about it being a chlorophyll supplement, you can get up tomorrow and try it, well… I’ll try a sip first.”
He raised his head and took a big gulp, and spit it out with a puff, frowning bitterly: ”Fuck, what the hell is this? It’s harder to drink than a big carp turned into juice…”
The big carp that was swimming next to him was immediately unhappy when it heard this. It raised its tail and slapped the fish tank, spat out bubbles and looked at Chen Xing very fiercely.
It looked like it was scolding him.
Chen Xing looked straight at it, wiped his mouth and scolded the fish: ”What’s the matter with you, Qi Dabao, I owe you a fart.”
This big carp called ”Qi Dabao” was a substitute of the fish that Chen Xing raised and killed when he was a child, but its temper was a little more explosive.
Every time Chen Xing changed the water, the carp would jump up in anger and smack Chen Xing several times, as if fearing that this 250 man would kill it, and it would follow in the footsteps of the white moonlight.
Chen Xing pulled the chair and sat down, tapped the fish tank with his fingers and teased the carp. As soon as the chatterbox was opened, he started talking like spilling the beans.
He talked about how annoying it was to work abroad, how punchy the pheromones of foreign O were, and how happy his good buddy was now.
“Yes, yes, it’s Qi Han, my brother.”
Seeing the big carp tilt its tail, as if he was cheering him on, Chen Xing smiled and sprinkled some fish food for him: ”You still remember him. I can’t believe it, he is already married, and his son is six years old. He has an adult and he has a child, and very beautiful ones. Think about it, we made an appointment to go to the nursing home to fight nurses together when we got old, never tying a knot in this life—”
As Chen Xing said these words, his voice paused, and the sour wine rose to his eyes. He chuckled and blinked: ”How could anyone be alone forever? People… five years, ten years later… can always find company…”
Only he was different.
He was always driven away, always left behind, and finally accepted his fate, was obediently ready to die alone, but he didn’t expect that person once again to break into his life off guard.
It was so easy to arouse the little hope in his heart, deceiving him into dizziness, to make him suffer from gains and losses and wait for him again.
And then, when he was ready, he was told that this time it was a long-planned drama.
At the age of eighteen, Qi Chuan lied to him to escape his stepmother, and at the age of twenty-three, Qi Chuan lied to him to help Fu Ge take revenge.
From the age of five to the present, Qi Chuan left him three times and lied to him twice, as if Chen Xing was always the first to think of when he needed someone to use.
“After all, I’m a fool.” Chen Xing looked at the big carp, smiled and said, ”Fools are the best to lie to, he has known it since he was a child.”
His fingers pressed to the fish tank, following the trajectory of the big carp as it swam, but his eyes fell on the photos on the wall behind the tank through the double layer of glass, blankly.
As he traced Qi Chuan’s eyebrows with his eyes, it seemed that his wildly beating heart made it difficult to breathe.
Five minutes later, he threw all the fish food in his hand into the tank, stood up and took a deep breath, as if talking to someone: ”Brother, that’s it. It’s over… let’s stop here.”
He was stupid, but he was not cheap. Some losses, if it was not enough to eat them once, then twice should be enough. Whoever the fuck would want to toss and toss, he was not that much of an idiot.
“I’ll take Grandma and the fish away, burn all your photos, I’m off to England on business next month. I’ll be back in two years at the earliest, hopefully you’ll be married and have children by then. So let’s not leave any unholy involvement and don’t make me sick.”
The doorbell rang twice as soon as he finished talking. Chen Xing still remembered that Qi Han said at the airport that he would send someone to bring him supper.
“Wait a minute!”
He took a tissue and wiped his hands clean, and walked to the door quickly. He still planned to go out and buy two packs of cigarettes after supper, but he didn’t expect that the door would open, and the man in the photos would be standing outside, alive and well.
Qi Chuan raised his bloodshot eyes and said in a muffled voice: ”Xiao Xing…”
Chen Xing’s breath stopped for a moment and his left finger suddenly slammed into the keyhole when the two words were said.
A sharp splitting sound was very clear in the corridor. His nail broke, a third deep into the flesh.
The blood that flowed instantly stained his nails red, dripping down his fingers. It hurt like hell.
Chen Xing looked over in a daze, and what he thought at that moment turned out to be: the nails are the hardest part of the human body, how can they be so bad?
He must’ve hit hard.
“It’s you.” After being silent for a full three minutes, he finally took the lead in speaking, but didn’t raise his head, just saying that in a flat tone.
It was as if he didn’t have those pictures hanging behind him, and he hadn’t been snooping on Qi Chuan for years like a pervert.
But his lowered eyes were blinking desperately, trying to hold back the tears. He was extremely embarrassed and forced himself not to be embarrassed.
“Is there anything wrong that you come here so late?” Chen Xing, who adjusted his expression, put his finger in his mouth and sucked, swallowing the taste of rust mixed with saliva.
Qi Chuan was still looking at the photos on the wall as if his soul was out of his body, as if someone had smashed a hole in his head with the tip of a knife, pulling flesh and blood out.
His breathing stopped, his heartbeat stopped, his dark eyes turned red and hot, and the blood vessels in them seemed on the verge of bursting.
Before today, he thought that Chen Xing had let go of the old past and lived happily under Qi Han’s wing. But the facts in front of him were like a soldering iron pressed to his heart, cruelly and bluntly telling him that that little fool might not be able to get out of the snowy moat in the middle of winter until now.
“President Qi?” Chen Xing called out again impatiently.
Qi Chuan’s gaze fell on his finger, and his heart clenched, ”Let’s deal with the wound first.”
“There’s no rush, just say what you need to, and I’ll wait for you to leave before doing it.”
This was an obvious eviction order.
Qi Chuan was quiet for two seconds, then raised his foot and squeezed into the door, ”Let me help you.”
Chen Xing turned his head and looked at the photos on the wall, nodded, and then nodded again, this time with a smile, ”Then let’s talk by the way.”
He turned sideways and let Qi Chuan in, closing the door. But he was not going to entertain the guest, only took out the medicine box to disinfect the wound.
“I’ll help you.” Qi Chuan stretched out his hand.
“Don’t touch me.” Chen Xing’s tone was very calm, and he didn’t even raise his head. ”I don’t like unfamiliar people getting too close to me.”
Qi Chuan paused, retracted his hand in a daze, and looked at the room cautiously. When he saw the old lady’s photo, his breathing obviously hitched. For a moment, it felt as if someone had pierced his heart with a knife.
He didn’t dare to think about how desperate Chen Xing should be after he said something like that that year, and then learned of his grandmother’s death, and how determined he was when he jumped into the moat.
The moat in the snow was so cold, and the biting chill could freeze people to death. How could Chen Xing, who was so afraid of the cold, have jumped into the moat without hesitation if he hadn’t really lost all hope?
“Can I offer incense to Grandma Zhang?”
“No.” Chen Xing dipped a cotton ball in alcohol, pressed it on the exposed flesh, and stated: ”She doesn’t know you.”
Qi Chuan’s hand with the incense stopped and dropped in silence.
That was right, Grandma didn’t know him, she only knew Qi Dabao, but he could never change back to Qi Dabao again.
“President Qi, don’t do the whole ‘want to talk about it’ thing. If you have anything to ask, ask quickly. I’m too sleepy and I’m in a hurry to go to bed.”
As if he wasn’t embarrassed by the photos in the slightest, he sat squarely in his chair, crossed his legs, lifted his head and looked up at Qi Chuan.
The two people were facing each other, one sitting, the other standing, but Chen Xing, who was sitting on the chair, seemed to be looking down on him.
Qi Chuan kept his eyes downcast, paced a few steps and leaned against the table, ”Pick up what you want to talk about, and what you don’t want to talk about can be never mentioned.”
Chen Xing sneered, ”You are really more pretentious than me. Fine, if you don’t ask, I’ll ask for you.”
He tapped the desktop with his fingers and asked himself, ”What the hell is this little shitty room? The secret base of the Poor Infatuated A, aka myself. It’s where I’ve hidden all the stuff I couldn’t get rid of over the years.”
With his slender index finger stretched out to the wall again, Chen Xing continued: ”Why hang your pictures on the wall? It’s obvious, I’m stupid, I’m cheap, I was tricked by you to sleep and be played with for more than three months before, and I’m still in love with you. I hide in the room to look at things and think of people.”
When he said these words, he spoke very quickly, expressionlessly, and every word was so light that he seemed to be reading the subject report, without any trace of embarrassment.
But Qi Chuan’s heart ached to hear it, as if he was watching him cut himself open with a knife, picking out the rotten flesh and holding it up to be tried.
What he saw in Chen Xing’s face was a great, long-standing sorrow. The wounds had been left untreated for so long that they had become an old disease, and no amount of salt rubbed into them would hurt anymore.
Behind the ultime freedom was endless despair.
But why was this happening?
Obviously, at the airport just now, Qi Chuan could still see that Chen Xing asked Qi Han to help cover up because he didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of him.
“What? Surprised, huh?” Chen Xing let out a chuckle, raised his eyes and looked at him from the bottom up: ”Think I shouldn’t be like this?”
Qi Chuan only blinked. His emotions had always been restrained, as if he was an uncracked walnut, but Chen Xing could easily distinguish the changes.
He smiled and asked rhetorically: ”Then what do you think I should do? Be hysterical? Crying bitterly? Or should I run away like at the airport?”
Chen Xing shook his head and said softly: ”No, it really won’t do. I’m twenty-five, not fifteen. I’ve been in the Chamber of Commerce for three or four years since I graduated from college. I’m not the stupid fool I used to be.”
“If you came back a few years earlier, before I knew that you came to me this time to take advantage of me, I might really give you a good show of love and death. It’s a pity that you didn’t come back.”
Qi Chuan clenched his fists and frowned slightly, disapproving of what he was saying about himself: ”You have never been stupid, and I didn’t seek you out this time to help Xiao Ge take revenge.”
Chen Xing snorted, as if he had heard some big joke: ”Don’t pretend, it’s too funny coming from your mouth.”
“Xiao Xing, I’m back this time—”
“Stop! Stop, stop, stop!” Chen Xing waved his hand at him, and said wearily: ”Stop it, you didn’t say anything when I asked you to, now be smart and keep your mouth shut.”
“I spent the first twenty years of my life looking for excuses for other people, now I don’t want to look for them and I don’t want to listen to them, no matter what you want to say. No matter what you want to explain, back then and about what’s going on now, it doesn’t make any difference to me.”
Raising his hand to drink all the wine in the glass, Chen Xing looked at Qi Chuan and said, ”Do you understand? President Qi, don’t explain, it’s boring.”
Qi Chuan looked into his eyes and slowly lowered his head: ”I won’t mention it again.”
There was silence between them again, and this time it was Qi Chuan who broke the deadlock first: ”I came over here to ask how your health is. I have a friend who works in psychology, who said he had seen you go to counselling.”
Chen Xing’s expression was cold: ”I’m fine, don’t worry about it, I went to consult a psychologist with long legs.”
Qi Chuan: ”……”
Caught off guard and choked, Qi Chuan tentatively said, ”I have a friend abroad who is very good at psychology. I’ve invited him to come, so if you have time, let him take a look at you.”
The words had barely left his mouth when he heard a thud. A cup hit the table, and Chen Xing’s face was full of annoyance: ”Didn’t you hear what I said? Is it because you want to fuck me? Just say a word, and when you’re done, get out of here, I won’t charge you.”
“Xiao Xing!” Qi Chuan raised his eyes at him abruptly: ”Don’t speak with such self-contempt.”
Chen Xing shrugged, ”You don’t want to play dirty, do you want to get platonic? You don’t want to rekindle your relationship with me, do you, President Qi?”
He only felt like he wanted to laugh when he asked this, ”Stop it, you are not Qi Han, and I am not Fu Ge. We have never loved each other to death. We were all mercenary and selfish, so don’t put on the image of being deeply in love. If you don’t mind being disgusting, I still find it troublesome.”
Whatever Qi Chuan wanted to say, Chen Xing quickly patted his hand and interrupted him: “Actually, I’ve just figured out our shit. It’s no big deal, I’ll be blunt with you. I was a fool in your eyes and you’re a shit in mine now. Not to mention rekindling our relationship, it’s not even necessary to pretend to be friends, so let’s just disperse.”
Qi Chuan squeezed his wrist, rubbed it twice and said, ”I don’t want to get back together with you, let alone disturb your life, I just want to accompany you to see Will King for a check-up. If everything is okay, I will disappear before your eyes immediately and never haunt you again.”
Chen Xing seemed to be bargaining, hesitated for half a minute, and asked, ”How long will the check-up take?”
“One week, five days if it’s fast, don’t be afraid, I will be with you the whole time.”
Chen Xing replied immediately, ”Politely declined, haha, I’m quite sick of you.”
“Xiao Xing, don’t joke with your health!”
Chen Xing was really annoyed: ”You just can’t stop, right? It’s none of your business whether I’m dead or alive!”
He got up and shoved the man on the shoulder, ”Scram! Get out of here! Don’t disturb my sleep!”
Qi Chuan didn’t dare to hold his hand hard, so he could only give in and step back, ”I swear I just want to take you to the doctor, not to pester you.”
“I don’t care what you want to do! Don’t bother me— ah!”
Chen Xing pushed Qi Chuan to the door but tripped and lunged towards him. Qi Chuan quickly opened his arms to catch him, and the two bumped together into the low cabinet by the door.
With a crash, the wooden cabinet door was knocked open, and countless small white bottles fell to the ground.
Chen Xing was stunned for a moment, then his face suddenly changed, and he rushed over to block the medicine.
Qi Chuan thought of something, held him back, grabbed a bottle of medicine forcefully, and his pupils shrank suddenly after just one look.
There were dozens of medicine bottles scattered on the floor, of all kinds, some empty, some full, and some half full. Qi Chuan looked like he was angry and distressed; his tall body trembled uncontrollably, and his glaring eyes almost spewed fire.
“Chen Xing… do you take hallucinogenic drugs for a long time?!”
Chen Xing panicked completely, not daring to turn his head and look at him. His pale face turned red and then white again. ”No, it’s none of your business, just leave.”
Qi Chuan’s long, narrow eyes stared at him with a deadly gaze: ”How long have you been taking them?”
Chen Xing gritted his teeth and punched him in the face: ”I said it’s none of your business!”
The change happened too quickly, and the two seemed to start fighting without warning. But in fact, it was all Chen Xing’s unilateral violence, and Qi Chuan just held him as he let him vent, his red eyes full of tears.
Chen Xing panted, hitting him, punching fiercely and viciously, as if venting his anger and his grievances: ”What the hell are you doing coming back now! Nothing can be repaired anymore!”
He grabbed Qi Chuan by the collar and pulled him up, punching him on the bridge of his nose, furious and desperate, as if the last fig leaf was ripped away: ”Who do you think you are? Huh? Who the hell do you think you are! You don’t want peace and quiet, you have to tear your fucking face off (shed the pretense of cordiality)! What are you doing talking to a fool? Aren’t you afraid to bring down your IQ level!”
“Xiao Xing!” Qi Chuan covered his mouth and choked: ”I never thought you were a fool, never, it was because of—”
“Bullshit!” Chen Xing interrupted him with a roar. ”There are only two people in this world who have never thought I am a fool, my grandmother and Qi Dabao, but they are all dead! They don’t want me anymore…”
Tears fell drop by drop. Chen Xing slowly stopped, his body swaying uncontrollably.
Qi Chuan knew that this was sequelae of long-term drug use, and his heart was in so much pain that he could only hug Chen Xing and coax him lightly: ”Don’t cry. Don’t cry, Qi Dabao is not dead, he has always been there, he will give you whatever you want, and he will never lie to you again, okay?”
Chen Xing’s consciousness was a little refreshed, and he looked at him in amusement, his chapped lips trembling a few times before squeezing out the words: ”What I want? Since when am I qualified to tell others what I want…”
He smiled very lightly, but the wet corners of his eyes seemed to hold the grievances of many years, ”I want my parents not to abandon me, I want my grandma not to drive me away, I want Qi Dabao to say goodbye to me before leaving. I want Qi Chuan to really love me when I am eighteen. Is it a lot? Is it very difficult?”
Chen Xing still can’t figure it out: ”Don’t you all know that I am a fool? Don’t you all tease the fools? Why don’t you want to fool me about such simple things and give it to me? Why? Why the hell?!”
He cried and fell into Qi Chuan’s arms, and Qi Chuan hugged him with his eyes red, so much in pain that every breath pierced his heart like a thousand arrows.
“Xiao Xing, hallucinogens, how long have you been taking them?”
Chen Xing said: ”More than four years…”
Qi Chuan choked and closed his eyes: ”Why do you take them?”
Chen Xing lay on his shoulder, tears slipping from the corners of his curved eyes: ”Because when I take them, someone wants me… Grandma, Qi Dabao, Qi Chuan, they all come back to me. I don’t want to live alone, Brother, I can’t stand the pain anymore…”