The driver followed Liang Chong’s instructions and took Ning Yiwei back home.
Ning Yiwei wandered downstairs for a while, waiting until the blood on his lips had stopped seeping, before slowly entering the building.
He closed his lips and touched the wound with his tongue, tasting the blood.
Liang Chong must have already taken off from the airport. Ning Yiwei glanced at his watch, the elevator door opened, and he walked inside, catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He took a step forward, closely observing the thin and frail boy reflected in the mirror.
The person in the mirror had hands hanging by his sides, making eye contact with Ning Yiwei.
He wore a loose hoodie with long sleeves that covered his fingertips. Ning Yiwei blinked, and he blinked too. Ning Yiwei nodded, and he nodded in response. Ning Yiwei raised his hand slightly, letting his fingers come out of the sleeve and gently tapped his own hand in the mirror.
Perhaps due to the elevator’s high color temperature lighting, his complexion appeared pale, as if suffering from severe anemia. However, his lips were unnaturally red, slightly swollen, and had a few obvious cuts.
Ning Yiwei rarely paid such close attention to himself. He didn’t value his appearance or care about his looks. But at this moment, he couldn’t help but be concerned.
He wasn’t exactly good-looking, Ning Yiwei thought, and he only knew how to study. Would Liang Chong really like him?
But if he didn’t like him, why would he kiss him? And if he did like him, what did he like about him?
The elevator reached the twenty-seventh floor. Ning Yiwei withdrew his hand, which had lightly touched the mirror, took a step back, turned around, and walked out of the elevator.
In the living room, Lu Jiaqin was mopping the floor. When she saw Ning Yiwei entering, she put down the mop and asked if he had eaten. Ning Yiwei lied, saying he had already eaten. Lu Jiaqin then worriedly told him, “Mrs. Liang received a phone call just now and left in a hurry. It seems that Mr. Liang encountered some trouble.”
Afraid that Lu Jiaqin would notice the wound on his lip, Ning Yiwei lowered his head, picked up Lu Jiaqin’s mop, and helped her mop the floor. He also asked her if she wanted to go out shopping with friends.
But Lu Jiaqin had lost interest. So they decided to thoroughly clean the house and throw away all the things that hadn’t been discarded before, making the home tidy. She was busy with housework and didn’t notice any difference in Ning Yiwei.
After dinner, Ning Qiang came to pick up Lu Jiaqin. They were going to the north to visit an orchard and had booked overnight train tickets.
Ning Yiwei helped Lu Jiaqin carry the luggage downstairs, greeted his father, watched them leave, then went back upstairs. After washing up, he wandered around the house, inside and out, and finally lay down on his own bed. However, no matter how he lay, it didn’t feel comfortable. In the end, he sat up, walked out the door, and went to Liang Chong’s place.
On the way to Liang Chong’s house, Ning Yiwei checked the time and thought Liang Chong should have landed by now. Ning Yiwei really wanted to ask Liang Chong why he kissed him, but he didn’t dare to disturb him hastily. He held his phone, unsure who to contact.
Asking Zhou Zirui wasn’t an option. This wasn’t a topic suitable for discussing with Zhou Zirui. He wasn’t good at this, and his cousin wouldn’t understand either.
He had to wait until Liang Chong’s dad recovered and Liang Chong returned before discussing it.
Late at night, with few cars on the road, Ning Yiwei quickly arrived at Liang Chong’s house. As the elevator door opened, the entrance light turned on. Of course, Liang Chong wasn’t home. Ning Yiwei slowly climbed up the stairs and reached Liang Chong’s bedroom door.
Liang Chong’s door wasn’t locked, and it opened with a push of the handle. Ning Yiwei turned on the light. Liang Chong’s room was neat, with a large bed and the sheets tidily arranged by a housekeeper, folded at one corner.
Ning Yiwei touched Liang Chong’s bedding with his hand, then took off his clothes and slipped inside, lying on his side. With a hint of shyness, he grabbed the excess blanket and held it in his embrace.
The sheets and blanket were initially cold but quickly warmed up from Ning Yiwei’s body heat.
Liang Chong’s duvet cover matched the room’s main color scheme, and the fabric was different from what Ning Yiwei had in his room. Ning Yiwei felt Liang Chong’s fabric was thicker, but it could also be an illusion. The pillow and duvet cover carried the familiar scent of laundry detergent, a fragrance Ning Yiwei knew well.
Ning Yiwei was only wearing underwear, feeling quite unlike himself. He picked up the phone placed on the bedside table. After pondering for a while, he sent a very short message to Liang Chong: “Have you arrived?”
After a while, Liang Chong replied, “I have.”
“How is Uncle?” Ning Yiwei asked.
“Waiting for the doctor,” Liang Chong replied. “We have a donor now, preparing for the transplant next week.”
“The success rate of heart transplants is close to one hundred percent,” Ning Yiwei immediately said. “Uncle must be the luckiest one with the lowest chance of rejection among that one percent.”
“Thank you,” Liang Chong’s tone was dry and it seemed like he was tired and busy. But he also appeared cautious, as if unwilling to say much to Ning Yiwei.
Ning Yiwei stared at the two words from Liang Chong, huddled in the blanket. It took him a long time to type out seven wordss and a punctuation mark, but once he finished, he sent it: “I really want to be with you.”
Liang Chong’s response wasn’t what Ning Yiwei had anticipated. He asked Ning Yiwei, “Why?”
This question was difficult to answer, and Ning Yiwei enjoyed challenging questions. So he thought of many ways to answer, typed out numerous words, deleted them repeatedly. When he was about to start a new line, Liang Chong called him.
Ning Yiwei answered, but Liang Chong didn’t say anything. Ning Yiwei didn’t know what to say either. The two of them remained silent for at least half a minute until Liang Chong finally gave Ning Yiwei a small hint, “Why do you want to come and be with me?”
Liang Chong didn’t sound as weak and exhausted as Ning Yiwei had imagined. His tone was relaxed and normal, although there was some background noise.
Ning Yiwei felt a sense of sadness as if his exam paper had been taken away by the teacher halfway through. He melancholically said to Liang Chong, “I haven’t figured out how to answer yet.”
However, Liang Chong didn’t understand Ning Yiwei. Perhaps his thinking was closer to that of a normal person. He told Ning Yiwei, “Just say what you think.”
Ning Yiwei didn’t understand why holding the phone receiver too close to his ear and Liang Chong speaking softly would make the blanket provide better insulation. But regardless, he suddenly felt too hot, so he reached out and pulled the blanket down a bit. Then he heard Liang Chong ask him, “Aren’t you angry?”
“I thought you wouldn’t contact me again,” Liang Chong said again.
Liang Chong’s voice rarely carried a hint of awkwardness and probing. However, Ning Yiwei was still engrossed in the previous question. He responded in a bewildered manner, “Angry about what?” After racking his brain, he came up with a somewhat acceptable answer, “I just wanted to come and be with you.”
He believed that during Liang Chong’s moments of sadness, he should be by Liang Chong’s side because every time before, Ning Yiwei had been there. He couldn’t abandon him halfway. Therefore, he shouldn’t be absent in the future either.
“I feel like you relax a little when I’m around,” Ning Yiwei said. “Do you?”
Liang Chong paused for a moment. Ning Yiwei thought he was about to admit something, but Liang Chong softly said, “You already know.”
“Of course,” Ning Yiwei boasted, “I know everything.”
Liang Chong laughed, not sincerely agreeing with him, “Hmm, you’re right.”
Ning Yiwei suddenly wanted to confess to Liang Chong that he had been sleeping in his bed. But just as he spoke the word “Liang,” a burst of noisy sounds came from Liang Chong’s end of the phone. Then someone spoke to Liang Chong, and Ning Yiwei could vaguely hear Kang Minmin’s voice.
Liang Chong and the phone’s microphone were a bit far apart, making his voice muffled. Ning Yiwei perked up his ears and heard Liang Chong say, “Ning Yiwei’s on the phone.” After a brief whispering sound, Liang Chong’s voice became clear again as he said to Ning Yiwei, “Something has come up, I can’t talk now. Don’t come over, and don’t wander around, got it?”
He hung up the phone before Ning Yiwei could say, “Got it.”
Shamelessly occupying Liang Chong’s bed, Ning Yiwei retraced the ten or so years of his acquaintance with Liang Chong. He recalled the kiss Liang Chong gave him in the car that afternoon, buried his face shyly into Liang Chong’s pillow, closed his eyes, and fell asleep, enveloped in Liang Chong’s scent.
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