Translated by: Jia
TLC by: AlexPT
Edited by: Planetes
Yi Tian threw these bits and pieces of information in his hands onto the table without a word.
How could the person who remembered to leave money to a stranger with family difficulties before seeking death and the person who drugged him be the same person, he thought.
This person clearly became greedy after knowing his family background, and he was clearly no different from men and women who tried to climb into his bed by all means. He was hypocritical, vile, good at disguising himself with pity, and he was simply a nasty, dirty and unpleasant person.
But scattered across the table were copies of letters of gratitude he wrote, letters he left for xiao-Yiyi, and notices posted by xiao-Yiyi’s parents in search for him, all of them silently refuting him.
Yi Tian suddenly recalled a time when he went with a group of friends to a hot spring. A couple of them egged him on to call Mu Ran over. When Mu Ran arrived, they made him wait in the courtyard downstairs, even deliberately turning off Yi Tian’s phone.
After a long time, Mu Ran could not find Yi Tian. He could only gesture and ask the passing staff, remaining where he was in a daze after the other party shook their heads. This wasn’t enough for Lin Han, and he made people go downstairs to act as passing strangers, hitting on him. The group of people upstairs laughed their heads off as they watched him desperately wave his hands and back away with a reddened face.
From the blazing sun hanging high in the skies till the bright moon taking light, he waited in that small courtyard for the whole day.
They sat upstairs in the luxurious private room, drinking the finest sake, eating plates of the best Japanese cuisine, thinking of various ideas to prank him and see him make a fool of himself. It was basically monkey business. Yi Tian thought that even the most tolerant people would flip out by this time, but when he appeared in front of Mu Ran, Mu Ran was only relieved. He smiled and said, “You scared me! Your phone suddenly turned off, I thought something had happened.”
How did he feel at that time? Did he even feel a slightest bit of guilt or unease? Yi Tian had long forgotten. Now, thinking back, he just felt so uneasy that he couldn’t breathe.
Yi Tian got up and crouched down in front of Mu Ran. He looked up to him and asked, “What do you like about me?”
The person being questioned looked at the floor in a dazed manner with his head down, as if he had not heard anything.
Yi Tian reached out to brush his hair away from his forehead and found a rather inconspicuous scar on the top left of his forehead. He had noticed this scar when he was washing Mu Ran’s hair, and only now did he know that it was the result of an ashtray smashed by his former foster parents. Yi Tian reached out and gently touched the area that differed slightly from the surrounding skin tone, leaning in to kiss it.
Later that evening, Lin Han called him saying that he had booked a place in Yayuan and invited Yi Tian over for dinner tomorrow. Ever since Mu Ran got into an accident till now, he had never taken the initiative to contact Yi Tian, and he himself felt a little guilty too.
Yi Tian looked at the sleepy person sitting on the couch with his head hanging low. Inexplicably, anger stirred up within his heart. The tone of his voice was not pleasant as he said, “I’ll pass, you guys go ahead,” hanging up as soon as he finished speaking.
It was only a matter of minutes before He Xudong’s call came.
“Lin Han just called me, asking if you are still mad at him. What did you do to him to make him sound so sad?” Although He Xudong did not support Yi Tian and Lin Han being together, after personally witnessing Lin Han’s years of infatuation towards Yi Tian, he more or less still wanted to help him. It wasn’t that he wanted Yi Tian to fall in love with Lin Han either, as both their families would definitely go crazy, but He Xudong also thought that it was unnecessary for them to be on such bad terms because of Mu Ran.
“Nothing much,” Yi Tian replied a little perfunctorily.
“Right now, your sympathy is stirred up because you feel pity for that person. Others don’t, but I know you well, Yi Tian. Once you have lost interest and are tired of this caring game, you will throw him out and leave him to perish by himself. Are you going to fall out with Lin Han because of him?”
Yi Tian could not be bothered to explain more. He just replied curtly with “Something’s up” and hung up.
He Xudong stared at the phone that was hung up, finally letting out a “Fuck” after failing to holding it back. Xu Ran sneered. “He Xudong, once you are done with the game of loving your wife, are you going to throw me out and let me perish by myself too?” He Xudong gaped at his wife dumbfoundedly, the words “who have I provoked” written across his face.
The corners of Xu Ran’s mouth quirked as she got up to leave. He Xudong pounced on her, crying out “my wife” grief-strickenly with tears flowing down his face. Xu Ran raised her foot and kicked him away, slamming the door of the study shut and carefully reading the information material given by Su Wenyang.
About an hour later, He Xudong was preparing milk for Xu Ran when he heard the sound of something being thrown to the ground from the study. He Xudong was stunned for a moment and hurried to the study. As soon as he opened the door, Xu Ran was standing in front of the study desk, the wooden chair fallen on the ground.
Startled, He Xudong rushed towards her and held her in his arms, repeatedly asking her what happened.
Xu Ran had no reaction to being held in He Xudong’s arms. She clenched her fists, trembling all over as she took deep breaths through her mouth. Thinking back on the things she had just read from the materials, and the way Mu Ran kept apologising to the void over and over again after answering her questions in a trance at the hospital that day, she could not help but bury her head in He Xudong’s arms, clutching his clothes and bursting into tears.
He Xudong’s heart ached at her cries. He hugged her tightly, kissing her hair while comforting her softly with his head lowered.
It took a long time before Xu Ran stopped crying. She pushed He Xudong away, and the first thing she said was, “I want to take Mu Ran away.”
He Xudong forced a smile and reached out to wipe off the tears on her face. “Wife, you’re joking, right?” Xu Ran dodged his hand and looked at him expressionlessly. “Do I look like I’m joking?”
He Xudong’s face changed and dropped his usual frivolous look, “I object.”
Xu Ran looked up to meet his gaze and chuckled. “He Xudong, during the three years when Mu Ran was together with Yi Tian, do you dare say that you did not do anything to him in private? Are you not guilty of what he has become today?”
He Xudong froze, then clenched his teeth. Xu Ran did not question him about anything after she came out from that visit. He thought that Mu Ran did not tell on him. Who would have thought… He Xudong clenched his fists.
Xu Ran saw what was on his mind and said coldly, “He did not say anything. It is just my assumption. I did not question you before just because I didn’t want to know.” Xu Ran knew very well the type of person He Xudong used to be. With that behaviour of his, with just her toes, she knew what sort of bad things he would do to Mu Ran.
He Xudong’s face fell and he did not speak further, which in a way implicitly confirmed Xu Ran’s words.
Xu Ran looked at his hardened face and mumbled vaguely, “We are both so different… How did we end up together…” After a pause, she said seriously, “Actually, it is not too late for you to regret it.”
He Xudong gasped and looked at Xu Ran incredulously. Xu Ran’s eyes were red from crying, her face still streaked with tear stains, and her mouth tightly pursed without a trace of jest.
He Xudong stared at her for a long while before admitting defeat. He stepped forward, buried his head in Xu Ran’s nape, and said in an aggrieved voice, “Never again.” He Xudong knew that he had a bad personality, and he had hurt many before Xu Ran. But as the saying went, there would always be one that conquer another. As long as it was something that Xu Ran did not like, he was willing to change. As long as it was something Xu Ran hated, he would never do it again.
Xu Ran was taken aback and slowly reached out to hug He Xudong, her eyes turning wet yet again. She was the youngest daughter in the family with two older brothers before her. Since childhood, she had been doted on by her family. To say that she was raised in the palm of their hands was not an overstatement. Later, she met He Xudong, who caved in to her in everything and could not bear to say anything harsh to her.
But that person, after so many years, apart from that mute woman, had anyone ever cared for him? When he was alone and helpless, did anyone ever stand before him? When he was in tears, was there a hug that embraced him? Was there such a time, even if it was just once?
As she thought about it, she started to choke up again.
This time, He Xudong did not question further and just kept on patting her back gently, whispering comforting words in her ear.