Chapter 44 Fragile
“Jian Chi, the New Year’s Ball is coming soon.”
Before the group homework was completed, Zhang Yang slumped on the table and was lazy, sharing the gossip that filled his stomach, “Are you going to attend? The ball will be very lively, you will definitely like it.”
Jian Chi didn’t stop tapping his fingers on the keyboard, and asked without looking up, “New Year’s Eve Ball?”
“Saintston has a New Year’s Eve ball with McCurry Girls’ School every year. It’s a good time to meet new friends.”
Zhang Yang winked and smiled, obviously this ‘new friend’ meant more than just the word “friend”. “Someone posted a discussion on HS a month ago, I guess they all want to meet a marriage partner who catches their eyes. These guys staying in a monk temple for so long, everyone must be holding back their big moves.”
“You have to choose a marriage partner this early?”
“It’s not too early, my dad asked me this question before, but our family is not a big family, so he has no requirements for my choice,” Zhang Yang leaned over and sighed, “but staying here, what options are there? I forget what it’s like to talk to girls when I see a bunch of guys every day.”
Jian Chi smiled, “There are not many days left until New Year’s Eve, you will soon be able to relive the feeling of talking to a girl.”
“I hope so. I have met a few girls at the dance party in the past two years, but there is no follow-up in chatting. Jian Chi, I don’t seem to have heard you mention your relationship history,” Zhang Yang said with a smile then bumping Jian Chi’s arm gently, “Have you ever liked any girl?”
The hand of typing slowly stopped, Jian Chi didn’t think about life as Yun Cheng for a long time, as if everything happened yesterday.
The word ‘like’ doesn’t have any deep meaning to him, let alone a specific person, but when he was a freshman in high school, he had a hazy affection for a girl in his class, who had long hair. With a long ponytail, she was graceful and quiet. She was gentle no matter who she spoke to, even the loner Jian Chi was no exception. However, Jian Chi later found out that he had no so-called impulse or adoration for that girl. This kind of feeling was just a yearning for beautiful things and people. Until now, it was difficult for him to distinguish the boundary between good feelings and liking.
This has never been a necessity for Jian Chi, and there was nothing difficult to explain, but when Zhang Yang asked, he naturally thought about it and shook his head, “No. I’ll share the document with you and I’m done.”
“Really? You wouldn’t… eh? Have you written it all?” Zhang Yang rubbed his head embarrassingly, “Why do I feel like I haven’t done anything? It would be nice if Wen Chuan came. I don’t understand anything, so I can’t help you.”
Wen Chuan took a day off, and Jian Chi sent him a message in the morning asking if he needed him to send him his notes, but he had not received a reply yet. This was obviously a bit out of the norm. Jian Chi was struggling to decide whether to make a phone call during his lunch break. If something happened to Wen Chuan alone in the dormitory, it may be difficult for anyone to find out.
Before the call was made, Wen Chuan’s message came back after class: Thank you for your notes.
Jian Chi stopped and asked: is your body okay?
W: It’s fine.
W: Didn’t sleep well last night.
Looking at this line of words, Jian Chi did not continue to ask, and glanced at the time on the screen: Then have a good rest in the afternoon, have you eaten lunch?
W: No appetite.
If Jian Chi didn’t notice Wen Chuan’s strangeness when he saw this, he would be too slow. His request for leave was obviously not just because he didn’t have a good rest.
Searching for the memories of the plot in his mind, Jian Chi remembered that Wen Chuan’s grandmother had a serious illness here, but fortunately, the treatment was timely, and finally it was just one big fright.
The last time he had a low-grade fever, Wen Chuan came over to take care of him and cleaned his whole house along the way. Although this was a bit exaggerated, it was obviously false to say that he was not moved. Jian Chi thought for a while, then asked: Do you want me and Zhang Yang to bring some lunch later?
After a long time, Wen Chuan seemed to see the message: En.
He always liked to send ‘en’, but Jian Chi felt that today’s ‘en’ looked especially down.
After hearing about it, Zhang Yang readily agreed to visit Wen Chuan together, he didn’t forget to say on the way, “It’s the first time I’ve been to the BC’s dormitory, I wonder what it’s like inside. I heard that there are four floors, and every BC is allocated a whole floor. Can it be possible to get up in the middle of the night and sleep in every room?”
The single-family apartment building so close at hand reminded Jian Chi of the not-so-good memories of that day, and he couldn’t laugh when he heard Zhang Yang’s ridicule. The brooch was brought back in the end. He thought about it all night and couldn’t come up with a better solution. If he pretended to pick it up on the road and handed it back to the student council, Shao Hang might not let it go so easily.
The only good thing is that this brooch does not need to be worn. Even if Shao Hang gave it to him, he still had the right to throw the brooch into the drawer to eat dust. Forgetting Shao Hang’s items being in his private space might be better for his mood.
After the third ring of the doorbell, there was movement. Wen Chuan opened the door and stood behind it, his long hair casually scattered behind him and hanging on his shoulders, looking a little messy. The curtains behind him were tightly closed, and the dim light seemed to hide his face in the darkness, casting half a shadow on the glamorous eyebrows and the bridge of his nose. The bottom of his eyes seemed to be bloodshot. He turned sideways to let Jian Chi and Zhang Yang in, and bent down to take out two new pairs of slippers.
On the way, Zhang Yang was still talking about taking a good look at BC’s dormitory but now ge was embarrassed to look around when he saw Wen Chuan, who was weak and gloomy, so he opened the curtains and let the sunlight in. Jian Chi put the packaged meals on the table and looked back at Wen Chuan, who was still standing there, “I didn’t buy much, just eat a little to pamper your stomach.”
This sentence made Wen Chuan move. He sat on the chair and whispered ‘thank you’. He ate his meal in small bites, not looking very interested. Zhang Yang sat aside as the mood maker of the group, and told Wen Chuan the results of the last chemistry exam with admiration. Hearing that he got tenth place on the test, Wen Chuan did not show any mood swings. Jian Chi observed his expression and felt that Wen Chuan seemed to be in a quiet daze. Such a face, even in a trance, inexplicably, it added a touch of attractiveness, a fragile beauty.
The lunch break was about to end, and Zhang Yang had to leave first for the next class. Although Jian Chi didn’t have a class, he hesitated on whether he should leave but Wen Chuan pinched the hem of his clothes, and pursed his dry lips, “Can you sit with me for a while?”
Jian Chi had no reason to refuse.
The room retained the original furnishings, it was not very neat. After Wen Chuan cleaned up the table, he turned on the TV and played the daily noon news. Jian Chi sat next to him without making a sound. Inexplicably, Wen Chuan felt like he had taken off the thorns on his back and curled up in his own place. His safe corner was very pitiful.
“Want to chat?”
He thought that Wen Chuan might be silent, or continue to be in a trance, but he didn’t expect him to lower the volume of the TV. His calm voice was thicker than usual, overshadowing the news broadcast, “My grandmother is hospitalized.”
Jian Chi knew sooner or later that this would be the answer, but he couldn’t say it, and asked with concern: “Is it serious? I remember that if something goes wrong at home, the school will approve leaving the school.”
“It’s no use,” Wen Chuan seemed to be trying to hold back something. The arm holding the remote control shook indistinctly, and pain was surging in, “She fell down and was admitted to the hospital last night. The doctor said she was too old and already has high blood pressure, the situation is not optimistic. I can’t do anything now. Except waiting for the results, nothing can help.”
“Did you have a rest last night?”
“I could not sleep.”
Wen Chuan put down the remote control and looked at Jian Chi’s worried eyes, as if he wanted to show a fine expression, but he couldn’t. Those eyes that were quenched with coldness like a snake when they first met, showed a touch of fragility and struggle at this moment. He stretched out his hand and lowered it slowly, clutching the sofa cushion tightly, his knuckles pale.
“Jian Chi, I’m scared.”
His voice was trembling.
“It’ll be fine,” Jian Chi’s voice paused, and he patted Wen Chuan’s arm in a soothing way, “Grandma will be fine, I assure you.”
“She is the only one who treats me as a family member,” Wen Chuan lowered his eyes, his lips filled with a deep astringency, “When I was seventeen, I fled from my previous home with no money. Jiang Cheng is a small place but the place is also divided into a slum area. On the first night I went there, my grandmother took me in. She said that I was pitiful and was still so young. She introduced me to a job. Without her, I don’t even know where I’d be or how I’d be. Her son died a few years ago, and she is now the only one who supports the pancake stand, living with her granddaughter. Sometimes there are gangsters who don’t pay for the pancakes, so I have to go to help them drive out those people.”
Wen Chuan seemed to be talking about himself and someone else’s story. Jian Chi listened quietly.
“I originally thought that such a simple and happy life could last a long time, but Fu Zhenhao’s people came over. The bargaining chip he took out was to take care of my grandmother and Jing Jing and provide the best medical conditions for her. What I have to do is to return to the Fu house, let Fu Boyu, his real son, feel a sense of crisis and stop indulging in eating, drinking, and having fun. I’m just a tool in their hands.”
“You won’t stay in the Fu family for the rest of your life,” Jian Chi said earnestly, “when you leave Saintston and go to university, you can go far, far away, leave the Fu family completely, and bring your real family.”
The last sentence made Wen Chuan’s eyelashes tremble in the darkness. After his expression changed, his voice was filled with cold determination: “I will not run away, I will return everything they gave me. Tuition, medical expenses, these things don’t belong to me in the first place, and I don’t want to take them away. The most important thing they gave me was the opportunity, I thought it was impossible to come back to study in this lifetime.”
Jian Chi couldn’t tell what was surging in his heart. With a little dampness, he pressed his chest and couldn’t breathe. After a long time, he finally asked: “Why did you drop out of school?”
“I was adopted, and they had their own son, so I became the superfluous one,” Wen Chuan said lightly, as if recalling the scene. He looked at the void in silence for a long time, “Once I heard them arguing in the room. My uncle wanted to help me finish high school and college, but my aunt disagreed. Considering their son’s expenses for the next few decades, I proposed to leave, and they didn’t stop me.”
His feeling was not clear at first, but Wen Chuan’s voice gradually fell heavily in his heart. Jian Chi never thought that when the originally light paragraphs of words were transformed into a person’s real life trajectory, this feeling would be so powerful and heavy.
In Wen Chuan’s 20 years, he had never been firmly chosen once, whether it was his adoptive parents or his biological parents.
“Grandma will get better, you don’t have to worry,” Jian Chi had never spoken in such a firm tone. He looked into Wen Chuan’s eyes, “What you need to do now is to go back to your room and have a good night’s sleep. Just wait until you wake up and receive good news from the hospital, I will be there with you.”
Looking at each other for a long time, silently in the dark, frame after frame slowly brushed by. Wen Chuan stood up on the sofa, and the thin figure swayed along. Jian Chi knew that he had reached his limit, and wanted to go over to support him, but Wen Chuan’s arms wrapped around his body and turned into a tight and inseparable hug.
“Thank you, Jian Chi.”
Wen Chuan leaned on his shoulder, his voice low and powerful penetrating his eardrums. After a few pats, Jian Chi raised his hand and patted his back lightly.
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