Edited by PohTaTvh
While in the state of shallow sleep, He An’s phone that was under the cushion on the couch started ringing. He rubbed his sleepy eyes, groping for the source of the sound. When he grabbed hold of it, displayed on the pixelated screen was Cheng Xiu’s name.
He An answered the call, greeting him.
“He An ahhhhhh, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to survive until the day I can call you! The evil capitalism, the cold-blooded, evil capitalist, his conscience has been fucked over a thousand times. Poor little Xiuxiu has also been completely exploited today, and has nothing left in him!”
The moment Cheng Xiu opened his mouth, his volume reached 90 decibels, and he sounded as though his soul was about to dissipate.
He An could not help laughing, “How could that be? You’re clearly so lively and energetic.”
“That’s because little Linglan is growing very well, and they’ve given their godfather the courage to live on!” Flattery spilled from Cheng Xiu’s lips. “How was the week? Has our Linglan been obedient? Did it grow a little bigger?”
He An looked at his stomach. The curve had already blocked his curled-up legs from view.
He answered gently, “It’s been pretty obedient, and it’s now a little bigger than before. However, now that it’s bigger, it moves around a lot more, and likes to torment me for no reason at all.”
“Is that so?” Cheng Xiu started worrying. “Are you hurt?”
He An supported his aching back, shifting himself to lie on his side. “It’s not very painful. It’s just that recently… I’ve often been feeling nervous easily. You know as well, without Feiluan’s pheromones to soothe it, Linglan would be less and less stable in the womb as time goes by. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to hold on long enough for it to be delivered safely.”
“No no no! Don’t jinx yourself!” Cheng Xiu was originally so exhausted that he had his head buried in his pillow. Upon hearing this, his entire person was like a frying pan on a stove, his words like oil splattering everywhere. “It’s now only thirty-odd weeks into the pregnancy, how would the baby come out so quickly? It’s all psychological! Remember, it’s only psychological!”
“Alright, alright, it’s psychological.”
He An laughed, repeating along with Cheng Xiu.
Cheng Xiu felt that he was duping himself as well as others, like a child who dared not face reality. He whined a little, grabbing his pillow and fussing, “He An, whether it’s psychological or not, you have to hold on no matter what, understand? This week, I’ve been so busy that I barely have any life in me left. Even my meals have to be taken on the go, and if I could use my hands, I would never use chopsticks, so I don’t have time to visit you at all. The goddamn place you’re staying now is so damn remote, even if there’s no traffic jam, I still need to drive for an hour. If the baby comes early, there’s not even anyone who can drive you to the hospital. You must try your best, and hold on until past New Year’s day. Once I’m done with all this nonsense, I’ll accompany you, alright?”
“Yes, I understand, I’ll definitely ask Linglan to be good,” He An stroked his belly, assuring Cheng Xiu. He asked, “Is there something going on in the company? I remember that you weren’t so busy last year.”
Cheng Xiu pounded his chest. “Because last year, President Zheng was—not—crazy!”
He An froze. “Feiluan? What happened to him?”
“What happened to him?!” Cheng Xiu immediately transformed into a babbling, sped-up radio. “He An, you really don’t know this. President Zheng hasn’t done it with you for two months, and he’s now like a walking TNT, a loaded cannon, and a nuclear reactor on fire. Wherever he goes, he would explode, and whoever he meets, he will scold. There’s not a day when he doesn’t rake anyone over the coils, and many colleagues from the secretarial department have been hugging their therapists and crying!”
He paused for a moment before continuing, “This afternoon, for some inexplicable reason, he insisted on giving the exemplary hotel on Huaining Road a spotcheck. Going in, he started nitpicking at everything, fabricating faults out of thin air, and criticised their VIP service that serves as a benchmark for everyone as being worthless. The manager of the VIP service felt that his character had been insulted, and so quit his job on the spot, yet President Zheng still pointed at his nose and asked him to scram. The other party happened to be an Alpha as well. He exploded in rage, picking up a vase and wanted to fight with President Zheng right there and then. If not for me and some others separating the two of them, today would have been a criminal case!”
He An’s heart seized, and when he heard the words “would have” he sighed in relief. “Then what about you? Did he make things difficult for you?”
“Me?” Cheng Xiu laughed. “On average, he’ll ask me to scram every hour and fire me three times a day, I’m already used to it. At first, I could only clock out late at night today, but ten minutes ago, he threw a pen and asked me to pack up and leave. I couldn’t hold myself back, and so I thanked him for his magnanimity and left right in front of him. Thinking about it now, it’s actually quite painful. I estimate I’ll be losing a year-end bonus.”
He An was speechless.
Hugging his fluffy pillow, Cheng Xiu lay down, some of his resentment fading a little. He continued complaining, “Actually, he already could no longer control his emotions last tuesday. He was bad-tempered, anxious, sensitive, and he had insomnia and poor appetite as well. He turned a blind eye to positive news, and he zoomed in onto the negative ones, completely refusing to listen to any explanations at all. This week, his condition was even worse, and yet he refused to admit that he had a problem. None of us could mention the words “pheromone imbalance”, and if someone mentioned it, he would explode. Originally, he was supposed to have two interviews, but I pushed them off. With his current condition, if he were to go for the interviews, the reporters would end up in hospital. Continuing on like this, before he dies, as his assistant, I would be dead first.”
He An heard what Cheng Xiu said, and his heart ached. Pushing himself up on the couch, he struggled to sit up. “Cheng Xiu, may… maybe I might be able to help. Do you know there’s a sort of scent diffuser, if you fill it with a fluid containing an Omega’s pheromones, and let the scent diffuse, it will be able to soothe an Alpha’s emotions. I’ll send you a small bottle tomorrow, and you can buy the diffuser, and place it in his office…”
“He An! What are you saying?!”
Cheng Xiu was a direct person, and he loudly stopped He An, “He’s already made the awesome decision to cut off ties with you, and you still want to send him your pheromones? With your current physical situation, what sort of fluids can you produce? With your pregnant body, are you going to cry, then go into premature labour? Or are you going to run a few kilometres and sweat it out, then go into premature labour? Or are you just going to cut into your veins, then go into premature labour? You’re about to be a father already, you should at least pay attention to Linglan’s safety! As for Zheng Feiluan… He deserves whatever he has, seeking death like this. You should just do him a favour, and let him be!”
Listening, He An gripped his blanket, sitting stiffly on the couch. For a long time, he could not say a word.
He knew the way he loved was contemptible, but knowing was one thing, and having someone talk to him about it was another. After the other party finished yelling at him about it, He An’s cheeks burned in pain, as though he did not receive a scolding over the phone, but a slap in the face.
When Cheng Xiu heard his silence, he understood that he had spoken wrongly. Extremely regretful, he formed sentences in his head in panic, wanting to apologise. Halfway through arranging his apology, he suddenly heard He An say, “Cheng Xiu, you’re right. I… I shouldn’t keep holding onto him. I won’t be like this anymore, really, I’ll place myself first. Believe me.”
He An was finally waking up!
Emotions ran through Cheng Xiu, and he was so moved that two drops of tears nearly fell from his eyes. He quickly went along and consoled He An. After the consolation, he remembered something urgent, and slapped his forehead. “He An, I nearly forgot about something important. I called you to inform you that you must be extremely careful when you’re home alone. No matter who knocks on the door, you can’t open it at all!”
“Because Zheng Feiluan is looking for you.” Cheng Xiu stopped joking, and spoke seriously, “These couple of weeks, he did not have time to go home, and he’s been staying in a suite in Jiusheng Jinyuan. Today, an attendant complained to me, saying that President Zheng has been going out in the middle of the night for three consecutive days, only coming back at dawn. Once he was back, he would tear through the room like a crazy man, destroying a lot of things. However, the next morning, after waking up, he would not remember anything, even asking the staff with a dark expression why they made a mess out of the room. At that time, I suspected that he went out looking for you, but I didn’t dare to confirm it. But in the end… Do you know what happened just now? Just now, I received a call from Maosheng Bank. They said, the person’s information that President Zheng provided did not open an account with Maosheng, and so they were unable to provide his billing address.”
“The… the bank?” He An’s face paled.
“Yes, the bank.” Cheng Xiu nodded. “I requested Maosheng to provide me the details, and they told me your name. I then shot off to ask Zheng Feiluan, but he had no idea about having called Maosheng at all. He An, I’m a 100% sure that when his mate-seeking disorder played up, he gave many higher-ups of the banks we work with a call, trying to find you through your billing address. If this method doesn’t work, he might even use more of his connections, and his methods may be even more crude. According to his societal connections, I estimate that he would appear at your door in about two to three days.”
He An’s heart pounded. Unconsciously, he turned towards his door — both the lock and the bolt were locked firmly. He confirmed it repeatedly before finally managing to make himself feel a little at ease.
Cheng Xiu said, “I know you’re softhearted, and you can’t bear to see him in this condition. However, you must endure it! The last time, he had nearly cause you to miscarriage. This time, if he were to touch you again, Linglan might really not be able to survive!”
“No, it won’t happen, I won’t open the door for him.” He An gripped his phone, looking very determined. “If he really comes here, I will call the police immediately, then you. Cheng Xiu, Linglan’s safety is more important than anything else. I won’t let Feiluan get his way again.”
Whether it was for his child or for himself, He An would never again let that man have his way unconditionally again.
He really would never do it again.
After ending his conversation with Cheng Xiu, the tiny rented place again returned to silence. He An lived on the first floor, and there would often be people walking past outside, their footsteps clearly heard. At night, it was so dark that he could not see his hand extended in front of him, and the light in the stairway was spoilt, so not a single bit of light entered the peephole. He An was terrified, afraid that he would hear a loud knocking on the door any moment.
“Don’t be scared, it’s very safe here.. Don’t be scared.”
He tugged at the blanket wrapped around himself, covering half his face. Softly, he comforted his child, as well as himself.
The next day was Christmas Eve. Fear lingered in He An’s heart. He dared not stay at home, and could only go to the nearby park and library to hide.
In the evening, the sky started getting dark.
Tonight, the headquarters of Jiusheng had their annual christmas party. He An calculated the time. The party was about to start officially, and Zheng Feiluan was most definitely there. There was no way that he could appear in Xijiao to look for him, as so He An mustered up his courage and went to the supermarket to get some groceries. With his shopping bags, he melded into the dark crowd and headed home.
Just when he made a turn, only a dozen steps away from his apartment building, he received a call from Cheng Xiu.
“He An!” Cheng Xiu shrieked, scaring him into nearly dropping his shopping bags. “Are you at home? If so, immediately lock your door! Lock it, bolt it, do everything you can!”
He An immediately sped up, jogging towards the building. “What happened?”
Cheng Xiu was about to break down. “President Zheng is missing! Jiusheng has a party tonight, and he should have arrived an hour ago. Now, there’s no hide or hair to be seen of him! I can’t get in touch with him, and his brother and father can’t either. No one is able to contact him!”
“I… I understand, I’m heading home right now!”
He An rushed into the apartment. While climbing the stairs, he looked down, searching for his keys in his pocket.
He did not notice that just five or six metres behind him, parked in the snow was a matte black Maybach that blended into the night. The driver’s seat was opened, the key still inserted, but there was no one in the car. The engine was still turned on, quietly buzzing. The car owner had left urgently, leaving an expensive car worth millions of dollars like trash by the road, not caring at all if it would be stolen or not.
He An took out his keys in a panic. When he made a turn in the stairway and looked up, his expression changed abruptly, and his feet came to a stop.
He saw Zheng Feiluan.
The man’s back was facing him. His head was bowed, his two hands pressed against the wall, looking like a wolf about to monopolise its prey as it stood guard outside the door. He exuded an extremely terrifying and ghastly aura, and the wall next to the door was covered all over with footprints.
He An was very scared. He wanted to turn and run, but was afraid that his footsteps would alert the highly sensitive man.
At this heart-pounding moment, unfortunately, Cheng Xiu’s voice rang brightly from his phone. “He An, are you home yet? I just heard from Taiguang Bank, they said that Zheng Feiluan had discovered your address from them an hour ago, and he’s probably on his way now!”
The stairway was dead silent, and so the shouts coming from the phone were even more piercing. Zheng Feiluan jolted. Following the sound, he slowly turned around, his dark eyes locking onto He An’s face as he stared motionless for a while.
Then, he smiled.
There was an extreme hunger and wild delight in having caught his prey displayed in that smile, leaving He An with chills running down his spine.
A black shirt, a bow tie, pointed leather shoes, and a pure white suit — this was a lost knight, walking slowly towards He An, as though he wanted to invite him to dance. He An was completely terror-stricken. Supporting himself against the wall, he retreated one step at a time.
Their distance grew closer. The shopping bags fell onto the ground, tofu, vegetables and potatoes scattering across the floor.
“He An, He An! Are you home yet?!”
Cheng Xiu did not get a response. Holding onto his phone, he broke out in sweat.
After a short moment of silence, he heard a sudden scream that belonged to He An over the phone, followed by the sound of a body slamming against the wall. Someone seemed to have roughly snatched the keys away, roughly inserted them into the lock, roughly unlocked the door, and then came a world-shaking slam of the door. The phone had been abandoned outside, and all the sounds were now softer, sounding muffled and far away. However, despite the case, through the door, Cheng Xiu could still hear He An desperately crying for help.
It was over.
Cheng Xiu looked at his phone blankly, thinking, everything was over.