To some extent, Liang Qichao was considered fortunate as he had a suitable heart donor on the day he fell ill. The donor was a middle-aged man who had died in a car accident and had agreed to donate his organs. He was being kept alive by a machine, waiting for the doctors to arrive in Australia for the transplant operation.
However, on the flip side, Liang Qichao’s luck wasn’t too good.
He had already undergone two surgeries on his chest, and his health was very poor. He needed vein reconstruction to ensure the transplant’s success rate. Liang Chong found the best doctor from Mayo Clinic to perform the surgery for him.
Liang Chong personally went to pick up the doctor’s team early in the morning when they arrived. On the way to the airport, he leaned back in his seat, closing his eyes to rest.
Liang Chong had hardly slept in the past few days. Kang Minmin’s mood was very low, and he had to take care of her. He couldn’t leave important decisions to the company, and he had to closely monitor the surgical arrangements without any relaxation. Despite feeling completely exhausted, he couldn’t seem to sleep deeply, as if he had lost the ability to sleep.
At the hospital, before the surgery, the lead surgeon carefully reviewed Liang Qichao’s various indicator reports. It seemed somewhat reassuring, which made Liang Chong and Kang Minmin feel a little relieved.
When the red light indicating surgery in progress lit up at the hospital, Liang Chong let out a sigh of relief. He stood outside the door for a while, then followed Kang Minmin to the waiting room.
They had done everything they could, and now they had to leave it in the hands of fate.
Soothing music played in the waiting room, and the decor was soft in color. Perhaps it was meant to provide some comfort to the patients’ families and make the waiting time feel shorter.
But perhaps Liang Chong was too unaffected by the outside world. None of these things could bring him comfort. Instead, he felt the music was too loud and noisy. He waved to his assistant, signaling them to lower the volume.
As the music volume decreased, Liang Chong thought for a moment, put on his headphones, and prepared to make a call to Ning Yiwei.
This week, Ning Yiwei didn’t dare to bother him much. Every day, he would hesitantly ask Liang Chong for a morning and evening greeting and occasionally inquire if he had eaten, like an empty-nest elderly person longing to contact their children but unable to do so.
However, it was only when Liang Chong received Ning Yiwei’s text messages and opened them that he would suddenly become clear-headed, realizing that he was still alive.
Liang Chong used to think that Ning Yiwei’s innocence provided too many opportunities for others to take advantage of. But Ning Yiwei’s magnanimity, not holding grudges, made Liang Chong feel fortunate to have him back after losing him.
Perhaps Ning Yiwei would understand.
Liang Chong even started having such dreams.
It was lunchtime in China at the moment. Ning Yiwei knew today was the day of Liang Qichao’s transplant surgery. Perhaps afraid of disturbing Liang Chong, he didn’t even send a morning greeting message.
Liang Chong looked at the photo of Ning Yiwei on the “Little Slave” page of his newly set up contacts. It was a picture taken on Ning Yiwei’s birthday last year, with cream smeared all over his face by Liang Chong. Liang Chong thought to himself that if he called Ning Yiwei now, he would surely be pleasantly surprised. So he leaned back in his chair and dialed the number.
Unexpectedly, it only rang once, and Ning Yiwei hung up on him.
Maybe he pressed the wrong button out of excitement.
Liang Chong sat up straight, took a sip of water, and decided to give Ning Yiwei another chance. He dialed again, but this time it was disconnected after only half a ring.
A few seconds later, Ning Yiwei sent him a message saying, “I’m in a weekly meeting!”
He attached a photo that was secretly taken of Professor Kong Shenfeng sitting in the front row and added, “Professor Kong is here too, it’s quite rare!”
Liang Chong replied with a simple “Oh,” feeling like he was waking up from a dream. Ning Yiwei wouldn’t understand.
Perhaps during the moment when Liang Chong lowered his head to read the message, Kang Minmin walked over and sat across from him. “What are you smiling at?”
Liang Chong put away his phone, looked up at Kang Minmin for a moment, furrowed his brows slightly, and replied, “Was I smiling?”
“I haven’t seen you smile like this in a long time,” Kang Minmin said. “Were you chatting with Weiwei?”
Her complexion was pale, and she had lost weight. There was a hint of sigh in her gaze, but her tone was calm, as if as long as Liang Qichao and Liang Chong were safe, she wouldn’t care about anything else.
“Hmm,” Liang Chong admitted.
He didn’t talk much with Kang Minmin. He felt the air inside was still too stuffy, so he told her and went alone to the smoking room between the two buildings of the hospital. He lit a cigarette.
Liang Chong had quit smoking ever since Ning Yiwei stole a cigarette from him. He didn’t quit completely, but every time he smoked, he would think of Ning Yiwei puffing smoke in his car.
That day, Ning Yiwei tried to hold the cigarette with two fingers like Liang Chong, and the smoke came out from between his lips. Liang Chong saw him opening the car door and was startled, like a child caught by the master for doing something naughty. He kept his head down and didn’t say a word throughout the journey.
Liang Chong took a drag, closed his eyes, and imagined the taste of kissing Ning Yiwei. When he opened his eyes, through the glass door of the smoking room, he saw someone standing in the middle of the porch about ten meters away.
The person had their back to the smoking room, with a small and slender figure wearing a light-colored hoodie. There was a large backpack next to their feet, halfway unzipped, as if they had just taken something out of it and hadn’t had time to close it. They stood motionless, their head down, as if looking at their phone. The back of their neck was delicate and fair, making Liang Chong feel a sense of familiarity.
In fact, the familiarity was a bit excessive.
Liang Chong stood still for a few seconds, extinguished the cigarette, and walked quickly towards the person.
Ning Yiwei was completely focused on using a rather undignified function on his phone. He was entering Liang Chong’s account username and password into an official app to locate Liang Chong’s whereabouts.
It wasn’t that Ning Yiwei was snooping or memorizing Liang Chong’s account information. It was Liang Chong who entered the password without even hiding it from Ning Yiwei. Ning Yiwei had a good memory and couldn’t help but remember it.
This could be completely attributed to Liang Chong’s own responsibility. It had nothing to do with Ning Yiwei.
Initially, remembering the account information had no purpose. It was only when Ning Yiwei came to Australia to find Liang Chong but didn’t want Liang Chong to know, that it became useful.
With the help of this function, Ning Yiwei found the hospital where Liang Chong was located. He took a taxi and came over but got lost in this large hospital.
According to the map, the small dot representing Liang Chong’s location was very close to him, or more precisely, the two dots almost overlapped. But Ning Yiwei had already checked his surroundings and there was no one around.
Ning Yiwei zoomed in on the map, preparing to carefully study whether Liang Chong was on the floor above him when suddenly a strong force came from behind. Someone hugged Ning Yiwei from behind, putting their entire weight on Ning Yiwei’s back. Ning Yiwei’s legs went weak, almost falling to his knees. He was so frightened that he almost dropped his phone. Ning Yiwei tightened his grip on the phone, turned his head, and saw Liang Chong’s chin and lips. Looking up, he met Liang Chong’s calm gaze.
“In a weekly meeting,” Liang Chong said coldly.
He released Ning Yiwei and repeated, “Professor Kong is here too.”
“Hey,” Ning Yiwei relaxed and smiled somewhat smugly. “Those who fall for my tricks should reflect on why they are so easily deceived.”
“Is that so,” Liang Chong said ominously. “Blaming myself for being too foolish?”
Ning Yiwei flinched and quickly apologized, “Sometimes, it’s not entirely the fault of the deceived being too foolish. It’s because the deceiver’s intelligence is just too high.”
Before he could finish his sentence, Liang Chong punished him with a light tap on the forehead, neither too light nor too heavy. “Be quiet.”
Ning Yiwei covered his forehead and looked at Liang Chong silently.
“Have you eaten?” Liang Chong whispered to Ning Yiwei again.
Ning Yiwei shook his head, pursed his lips, and watched as Liang Chong bent down to adjust his backpack for him. He lifted it up, raised his leg, and walked towards one of the buildings. Liang Chong took a few steps, turned around, and saw that Ning Yiwei hadn’t caught up. He stopped and waited for Ning Yiwei to reach him, then matched Ning Yiwei’s pace and walked slowly by his side.
It was early spring in Australia, a mix of warmth and chill. Between the two buildings, there was a large undulating lawn. The edges of the lawn were adorned with landscape flowers, with most of them in bloom. A delicate fragrance enveloped passersby from all directions.
As they turned a corner, medical personnel walked by and nodded at Liang Chong as a sign of acknowledgement. Ning Yiwei took the opportunity to ask, “Is the surgery still ongoing?”
Liang Chong nodded, glanced at Ning Yiwei, paused for a moment, and finally asked Ning Yiwei, “Didn’t I tell you not to come?”
Not knowing how to respond, Ning Yiwei remained silent and attempted to hold Liang Chong’s hand to divert the conversation.
Whether Liang Chong was happy or not on the surface, Ning Yiwei couldn’t tell. As soon as Ning Yiwei’s fingertips touched the back of Liang Chong’s hand, Liang Chong grabbed him with great force, causing Ning Yiwei some pain in his grip.
“Why did you deceive me?” Liang Chong asked softly without looking at Ning Yiwei.
Ning Yiwei turned his face to look at Liang Chong. Liang Chong seemed somewhat embarrassed, staring straight ahead, as if he was unaccustomed to it or struggling.
“Then why did you kiss me?” Ning Yiwei looked at Liang Chong for a moment and asked in return.
Liang Chong remained silent, as if he wasn’t prepared with an answer to the question. Ning Yiwei didn’t want to press further, so he responded to Liang Chong’s question and changed the subject. “I didn’t want to trouble you to come and pick me up. You have so much going on.”
In the hospital cafeteria, Liang Chong ordered a simple meal for Ning Yiwei. The two of them sat at a window seat, with a view of the furry green lawn outside.
Ning Yiwei ate a few bites and felt full. Sipping his juice, he said to Liang Chong, “But will Auntie find it strange to see me?”
Liang Chong picked up a napkin, gently wiped the corner of Ning Yiwei’s lips, and lightly touched Ning Yiwei’s face with his knuckles. After finishing wiping, he said, “No, she won’t.”
“Hmm.” Ning Yiwei bit the straw and grabbed Liang Chong’s hand when he tried to take it back. He held it tightly in his palm, preparing to ask Liang Chong a question he had been contemplating throughout the journey.
In all the university coursework, Ning Yiwei never needed to think for long about any exercise.
But the homework that Liang Chong had given him was extremely difficult. Ning Yiwei tirelessly pondered and contemplated, only catching a glimpse of a tiny portion of the truth.
Ning Yiwei asked Liang Chong, “Do you think I don’t know anything?”
Liang Chong’s expression gave Ning Yiwei the answer.
So Ning Yiwei clarified, “Actually, I know everything.”
“What do you know?” Liang Chong asked.
“I know,” Ning Yiwei blushed a little, his voice becoming softer but still clear enough, “You want me to be with you, so I came.”
Liang Chong’s hand felt warm, and there was a hint of complexity and self-restraint in his gaze, which made Ning Yiwei feel impulsive. He spoke to Liang Chong, “Sometimes I feel like you’re very tired.”
Liang Chong didn’t deny or agree. Ning Yiwei carefully observed his facial expression. He continued, “It’s just a feeling. During those times, I often feel helpless because your work is not my area of expertise. But whatever you ask of me, I will do it for you because I can do things for you.”
After hearing this, Liang Chong smiled gently at Ning Yiwei.
Encouraged, Ning Yiwei continued, “I looked up ‘liking someone’ on Wikipedia before. I couldn’t find a concise definition, but combining descriptions from many articles, I think it’s rare to find someone like me who wants to give you good things and is willing to do anything for you. If you like me, you don’t need to hesitate anymore. We can be together directly.”
Ning Yiwei thought he was cleverly concealing his possessiveness and jealousy while confessing because those aspects didn’t sound appealing or precious when packaged with his liking.
No one would choose graphite over a sparkling diamond, even though they have the same composition.
His confession could also be seen as childish. He talked about being in a relationship like a supermarket offering free samples. Liang Chong passing by could take a taste and if he liked it, he could take it home.
However, Ning Yiwei couldn’t think of anything else. That was all he had.
Seeing Liang Chong remain silent after listening, staring straight at him, Ning Yiwei quickly patched up, “You can also tell me the answer later. I know it’s not a good time now.”
After seeing Ning Yiwei finish eating, Liang Chong stood up and said, “Let’s go.”
Ning Yiwei quickly caught up, and when Liang Chong walked slowly, he held Ning Yiwei’s hand, continuing to walk without stopping. They exited the cafeteria, passed through the hallway, and stopped near a staircase that appeared rarely visited.
He pulled Ning Yiwei into the small space under the stairs, wordlessly leaning closer.
Liang Chong was tall, blocking out most of the outside light. He held Ning Yiwei’s chin, lowered his head, and gently kissed Ning Yiwei.
They kissed for a while, then Liang Chong moved away from Ning Yiwei’s lips, slightly leaned down, and embraced Ning Yiwei, burying his head between Ning Yiwei’s neck and shoulder.
Ning Yiwei awkwardly lifted his hand and hugged Liang Chong back, contemplating whether this could be considered a subtle answer or not.
If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))