“You are not… say it again, you are not?”
Zhou Jinheng’s voice was very low and no emotion could be heard in it. If not for his slightly jerking cheeks as if he was gritting his teeth to hold back something, Yi Hui would have almost thought that he was not angry but was just repeatedly asking for confirmation in hope to get the most accurate answer.
Yi Hui took a deep breath and said, “I am not.”
After saying that, he released the tension in his body and found that it was not that difficult to lie.
Especially after saying it once, it became very easy to say it again, and Zhou Jinheng’s sneer failed to make him feel scared again.
After another chuckle, Zhou Jinheng asked, “At the airport that time, at the painting exhibition, how can you explain your reaction?”
“I’m afraid of people. Of course I want to avoid the crowd at the airport.” Yi Hui answered each point, “Normal people are nervous and scared when they are stopped by a stranger in a public place like at the painting exhibition.”
These answers made perfect sense, but because of his inability to find loopholes, Zhou Jinheng had even more doubts in his heart. When he asked the next question, he was not as confident as before: “Then you… why did you draw me?”
He was talking about the painting that won the award and participated in the exhibition.
Yi Hui expected that he would be asked this and recited the hastily prepared explanation: “My sister is your fan. When I participated in the competition, I accidentally drew a figure that looked similar to you. Later, I felt that there might be a suspicion of copyright infringement, so I took the initiative to pay a penalty for breach of contract and withdrew the painting.”
This answer, which was even more impeccable than earlier, left Zhou Jinheng stunned for a moment.
He still didn’t believe it, but there was no way to brush it off with another chuckle, “Accidentally? What a good ‘accident’.”
Yi Hui strained his neck to meet his eyes, his frank gaze tearing the little confidence he had left to shreds.
Zhou Jinheng’s throat was tight, his breath was heavy, and he struggled like an arrow at the end of its flight: “Don’t lie to me, don’t try to lie to me… No matter what you become, I can recognize you.”
Until he returned home and laid on the bed, all that Yi Hui could see were those bloodshot eyes and the two tiny versions of himself reflecting in them.
He rolled over and covered his head with a quilt. The hand that had been squeezed hard still felt a little painful. He hugged that hand and pressed it to his chest. It felt chilly at first but got a little more comfortable later.
When he was about to fall asleep, he took off the mask he was using as a disguise and temporarily let go of his identity as Jiang Yihui. In his drowsiness, Yi Hui thought wistfully: why couldn’t you have done it sooner, held HuiHui’s hand a little sooner, held it as tightly as you did today. Maybe he would have lasted a little longer, lasted until you found how good he was, lasted until you were willing to look back at him.
After dreaming all night, Yi Hui woke up and sat by the bed for a long time, rubbing his dizzy head, unable to recall a coherent plot in his dreams, only remembering some strange fragments.
For example, Jiang Yimang killed his favorite big goose and braised it and five large porcelain bowls were not enough to hold it.
Because the picture was too real and shocking, he hurriedly called Aunt Qiu and learned that the geese were all staying behind the fence. Before he could even hang up the phone and breathe a sigh of relief, Jiang Yimang was laughing so hard that he couldn’t find a hole in the ground to hide in .
“If I really kill the goose, I won’t let you find out. I’ll tell you after you eat the goose meat cleanly.” The more Jiang Yimang thought about it, the more amused she felt. She hugged her stomach with a painful laugh and said, “Ouch, brother, are you going to make me laugh to death early in the morning so that you can inherit my unfinished math homework?”
Jiang Xuemei came out of the room and asked in confusion, “What math homework?”
Jiang Yimang reacted extremely quickly, using Yi Hui as a shield: “Brother thought I had killed his goose, so he called Aunt Qiu to confirm the safety of the goose.”
Jiang Xuemei smiled when she heard it: “It’s just across the muddy road, open the window and yell, no need to call.”
Of course, Yi Hui would not say that he was afraid of being heard by someone who might be laying in ambush anywhere. He blushed and said, “It’s faster to call.”
The family of three happily finished breakfast. Yi Hui didn’t even look out of the yard when he was hanging the clothes to dry. When Yi Hui returned to the house, he used his mobile phone to check whether the flower fertiliser he had bought had arrived, and when he logged out, his finger accidentally clicked on the text messages. Two unread messages that he had deliberately ignored, opened in front of him.
One was from yesterday afternoon: [Where did you go? When will you be back? 】
One was from last night: [Can you give me a reply? I am very worried】
These two lines made Yi Hui even more dazed than before.
Why was he worried?
How would he reply?
However, the man did not send any more text messages today, which made Yi Hui feel a little relieved and think that the face-to-face rejection that Dr. Liu recommended was really effective.
Moreover, he was already Jiang Yihui and even though the changes could not be called earth-shaking, at least he was very different from before. Jiang Xuemei and Jiang Yimang were not able to notice anything. How could that man recognize him?
He must be scaring himself again. That man used to bully him for being stupid, always joking and teasing him with his nonsense, and now he was using the same method to frighten him as if he was still the same fool who believed everything he said?
Yi Hui, who had always been calm, in a rare moment of irritation pushed his bicycle out when he went to take the geese for a walk in the afternoon.
He thought with confidence that riding was faster than walking, and if he encountered that kind of situation again, he would never be caught.
The precautions this time were superfluous.
Yi Hui didn’t ride the bicycle much. He rode very slowly and cautiously. He was not even as fast as the geese. Three large white geese rushed ahead of him and he was left behind, still keeping his eyes on the ground and going at a tortoise pace for fear of tripping into a pothole as he had done that day.
On the way back, the geese, perhaps sated and energised, ran even more happily, fluttering their wings, as if they were going to break the long-distance running record.
Yi Hui couldn’t keep up; fearing that the geese would run away and be lost, he hastily accelerated, stepping on the pedals.
As soon as he sped up, he couldn’t keep the front steady. The front wheel was about to roll into a deep pothole in the road but the rear wheel was suddenly locked in place and the bicycle skewed, changing direction and going around the edge of the pothole.
Yi Hui was so frightened by this thrilling event that his heart beat wildly. While thinking that Jiang Yihui definitely could not ride a bike, otherwise he would have some muscle memory left in this body, he turned his head and looked back. As he expected, there was no one.
Lucky, Yi Hui thought while breathing a sigh of relief.
The figure on the bicycle gradually drifted away. Zhou Jinheng was sitting crookedly in the high grass at the side of the road after dodging too quickly.
He wanted to prop himself to stand up, but his palms were cut by shards of glass buried in the mud. He stood up and patted the soil all over his body and then looked at the fresh wounds on his hands. He thought with joy that the new injuries overlapped the old ones. Now there was another excuse to take leave from filming.
When he called Xiao Lin to take a few more days off, Xiao Lin replied sadly: “Brother, can I call you brother? You really can’t take any more time off. They are waiting for you to start working over here. The injury on your face can’t be seen under the foundation. The crew paid for insurance and also sent an apology. If you say you won’t come, isn’t it like slapping everyone in the face?”
After listening to his complaint, Zhou Jinheng continued to call him “brother” politely, pretended to be weak and said, “Not only my face, but also my hands are injured and infected, and there are signs of fever. I’m going to hold a weapon in that role and there are quite a few close-ups of my hands, so I can’t really shoot it.”
After receiving a photo of his hand injury, Xiao Lin replied with a string of abbreviations and finally agreed to ask for leave for him.
Zhou Jinheng liked filming. In the past, the only reason for him to take a break was illness. He had never thought that the first time he would make up a reason for his absence was to coax his wife to go home.
Lifting the corners of his mouth, Zhou Jinheng laughed helplessly. His wife refused to go home with him and pretended not to know him. What should he do?
He knew that he was like a perverted stalker these days, and if he kept wandering in front of Yi Hui, he might scare him enough to call the police. The little fool was too timid to ride his bike fast, and it must have been hard for him to be forced to say those words yesterday.
Since Yi Hui was unwilling, they would not meet for a while. He did not want to lose control and freak out in front of him again.
Casting a quick glance just now, Zhou Jinheng saw that Yi Hui’s chin was still red. Last night, he thought he didn’t exert much strength, but he forgot how stoic the little fool was; even if it hurt a lot, he wouldn’t make a sound.
It was time to learn to control his temper, Zhou Jinheng thought. At least so that he wasn’t so afraid of him, at least for him to go home willingly.
Yi Hui knew nothing about him making arrangements and plans. He walked into the yard humming “Good Luck Coming” and told Jiang Yimang, who came back from school, that he was not only lucky today but also took his bicycle skills to the next level.
Jiang Yimang still remembered what happened in the morning and squinted at him: “Did you ride a bike to herd the geese? Have you taken a closer look to see if your geese lacks any arms and legs?”
Yi Hui’s face was hot when he said, “No, no, not a feather is missing.”
In the evening, the family watched TV in the living room after dinner. When the mobile phone on the table vibrated, Yi Hui shivered instinctively. He picked up the phone but didn’t dare to look at it. He quickly removed the top prompt and put it back.
After he repeated that several times, Jiang Yimang couldn’t stand it anymore: “Who is it? If you don’t want to receive text messages, just block them.”
After listening to her explanation of the term “blacklisting”, Yi Hui widened his eyes and said, “Can it be done?”
Jiang Yimang rolled her eyes fiercely: “Brother, you should go out more in the future. Staying at home all day, you’ll quickly turn dumb.”
Yi Hui thought that he was originally a fool and it was normal for a fool not to know how to do such things.
He went back to his room, closed the door, opened the familiar number lying on the SMS interface, pulled it down and blocked it, all in one go.
Putting down the phone, he felt that his world was very clean and there was nothing to scare him anymore. The phone even seemed to look a lot more pleasing to the eye.
The next morning, under the guidance of Jiang Yimang, Yi Hui set up a Weibo account on his mobile phone and registered an account.
It was the time to choose a name. He wanted to choose one of the following: “Sunshine Sky”, “Ray of Sunshine Forever” or “Shining Shining Little World” (1). Jiang Yimang rolled her eyes when she heard it and said that no young man would stuff his name into his web name, it was just too corny.
After thinking about it, Yi Hui felt that it made sense. He humbly listened to Jiang Yimang have a heated discussion with the little sisters in the group and finally decide on his name before she went to school.
The early morning sun was just right. Yi Hui sat by the window holding his mobile phone. Following the note left by Jiang Yimang, he struggled to type the words “① Xiao Hui Xia” (2), and used his mobile phone number for real-name authentication. When he posted his first Weibo, he couldn’t find where the circled “1” was, so he just sent it out: hello everyone, I am one Xiao Hui Xia.
Xiao Hui Xia hasn’t started publishing his works yet. Apart from Jiang Yimang and a few of her little sisters, there were just a few zombie accounts in the list of followers.
Yi Hui didn’t understand what a zombie account was. Jiang Yimang used WeChat voice to tell him between classes. He didn’t understand it so he just ignored it. As long as someone paid attention to him, he was happy.
In the afternoon, he used the tablet to draw up a cartoon drawing. When he drew the outline, he felt that it looked good. It was not even a problem to make it an avatar. He couldn’t help but want to post it to Weibo that he just opened, to share it. He picked up the phone and found that there was a new follower and a new message.
Yi Hui looked at it for a long time, not knowing what the nature of this new fan called “Dora-hum-hum” was. (3)
He remembered Jiang Yimang saying that zombie accounts would not leave him a message or give him a like, but this person left a message as soon as he appeared. He shouldn’t be a zombie, could he?
And the Doraemon avatar was so cute.
Dora-hum-hum: Hello [rose]
Yi Hui stared at the rose for a while, inexplicably a little shy.
Roses symbolized love, how can they be given casually?
(1) All the names use the character 晖 (hui) – sunshine, shine
(2) “hui” in Latin letters(3) Dora-hum-hum (哆啦哼哼) pronounced duō-lā-hēng-hēng