Flying Ash Chapter 28

Chapter 28

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He didn’t sleep well all night again.

Yi Hui tossed and turned heavily, waking up the man lying next to him several times. At dawn, Tang Wenxi put his arm across Yi Hui and murmured vaguely without opening his eyes: “What’s the matter? The guy was so handsome that you can’t sleep?”

It was Zhou Jinheng. A few hours ago, on the deserted road, there were only three people. Tang Wenxi, who threatened to call the police, turned around and saw Zhou Jinheng’s face. The police were not called and the shame of being caught and restrained was forgotten as he said, “D*mn, do all thieves look like this nowadays?”

He didn’t pay attention to the entertainment industry, he just thought that the man was good-looking. With the artist’s appreciation of everything beautiful, he bluntly flipped out his WeChat QR code and begged to be added as a friend, painstakingly advising Zhou Jinheng to stop stealing chickens and dogs and saying he could introduce him to a studio as a model.

This interruption prevented the other two men from speaking. Yi Hui didn’t know what to say. He retreated far enough to feel safe and lowered his eyes in silence. When he heard Tang Wenxi ask about the man’s height and measurements, a manifestation of his occupational disease, he raised his hand and pulled his arm: “It’s late, let’s go back.”

When they left, Tang Wenxi still turned his head from time to time to look: “Tsk, his figure is great, he can walk on the catwalk… Why is he still standing there, as if he is looking at you… Wait a minute, Classmate Jiang, do you know him?”

Yi Hui nodded, then quickly shook his head: “I don’t know.”

At dawn, Tang Wenxi got up and stretched his lazy waist. The first thing he did after he regained his senses was to confirm with Yi Hui: “You really don’t know that handsome guy last night?”

Yi Hui felt that if he continued to ask, he would be “beaten into submission”, so he took a step back and said, “I’ve met him a few times, but I don’t know him well.”

“I knew it!“ Tang Wenxi finally managed to pry out the truth, how could he let him go so easily, “What is the relationship between you two, quickly tell me.”

Yi Hui regretted it as soon as he admitted it. He thought it would be better to bite the bullet and deny it to the end. While boiling water to avoid Tang Wenxi’s questioning, he was forced to answer: “I don’t know him well. I saw him at the painting exhibition… He mistook me for someone else.”

Tang Wenxi held his head to think and concluded after a while: “It turns out that he is not a thief.”

Yi Hui was amused: “Have you ever seen a thief dressed like that?”

Tang Wenxi thought about it for a while, felt that it made sense and suddenly realized with a slap on his forehead: “I see, he was there to chase you.”

Yi Hui: “…”

“Think about it, isn’t it one of the most ancient ways to strike up a conversation – saying that you look like someone he knows?” Tang Wenxi analized it carefully, “You said that he has been pestering you recently, isn’t he just courting you?”

Yi Hui was stunned. The first thing that came to mind was Zhou Jinheng’s overwhelmed face in the dim street lights last night.

If he had no memories of the previous life, Yi Hui might have believed it stupidly. At this moment, he might be blushing and struggling with whether to deny it.

But he knew better than anyone else that Zhou Jinheng chased him because he looked like Yi Hui. As for whether it was out of guilt or due to the pressure from others, he had no way of knowing and he didn’t want to know.

“Impossible.” Yi Hui shook his head firmly, then forced himself to smile, hiding the helplessness in his heart behind his relaxed tone, “You have seen him. With his looks, there can only be others who chase him.”

This statement was confirmed in the days that followed.

No matter where he went to play with Tang Wenxi, that man never appeared again. As sensitive as Tang Wenxi was, he didn’t feel anyone followed them. At first he was relaxed but within two days he started shaking his head in disgust: “So he’s not chasing? Couldn’t he hold on a little longer? Young people nowadays are so boring.”

Now that he mentioned it, Yi Hui couldn’t help but use the occasion to admonish him: “In the future, if you encounter this kind of situation again, don’t rush up and fight. What if the other party has a weapon on him?”

Tang Wenxi scratched his head: “I didn’t know he was so good and could restrain me one-handedly. Luckily he wasn’t a bad guy or it would’ve been my Tou Qi.” (first 7-day period after a person’s death) Saying that, he shuddered, slapped his chest and added in a sudden shock, “Hey, Classmate Jiang, do you think he regards me as a rival, that’s why he was so fierce? You didn’t feel the strength of that hand. I have rough skin and thick flesh so I could withstand it. You, with your thin arms and legs, you might’ve been broken.”

Yi Hui thought that he had felt that strength more than once but didn’t say anything: “If you know it’s dangerous, don’t be so impulsive next time.”

He didn’t believe in the love rival theory, unless Zhou Jinheng was really crazy.

Whether the man was crazy or not, he didn’t know; but Yi Hui really felt the recent abnormality of Dora-hum-hum.

In the evening of that day, he received another message from Dora-hum-hum: Will you return late today?

Inexplicably, he sounded like a wife blaming her husband for not coming home early after getting off work.

When this thought flashed in his mind, Yi Hui felt that it made no sense. The guy just cared about him. He reassured himself and replied: No, I’m already on my way back

The other end seemed to breathe a sigh of relief: Okay, pay attention to safety.

In the past few days, Yi Hui and Tang Wenxi had wandered around almost every playable place together. The closer ones were okay, but going to the further ones would inevitably mean coming back later. Dora-hum-hum kept telling him “It’s not safe.” From time to time, he sent messages to confirm Yi Hui’s location and reminded him not to talk to strangers and to go home early.

Yi Hui was embarrassed and said euphemistically once: I am a man, besides, I have a friend with me.

Dora-hum-hum’s answer was very strange: Friend?

Yi Hui replied: Yes, my friend, my university classmate

Dora-hum-hum: That’s good.

Yi Hui thought about it for a long time, unable to figure out why it was good. He simply attributed it to Hum-Hum’s kind concern for him. Out of a sense of gratitude, he shared his happiness: I only recently learned that we can have so much fun here

Dora-hum-hum: For example?

Yi Hui told him the most interesting things he had seen and heard in the past few days, and also sent him a few photos of the seaside.

Dora-hum-hum: It’s so beautiful.

For some unknown reason, Yi Hui could always read that he was depressed between the lines. In relation to the previous conversation, it was easy to guess that it was probably because of another relationship setback.

Yi Hui was not good at comforting people, so he continued to use clumsy methods: When you come here, I will take you to play

Dora-hum-hum: I took a screenshot.

Yi Hui: Why do you keep taking screenshots, do I look so untrustworthy [Doraemon smile]

Dora-hum-hum: I’m afraid you’ll forget.

Yi Hui: I have a good memory, I don’t forget easily

The other side paused for a moment and wrote: It’s good to forget.

After a while, another reply came: Forget all the unhappy things, remember just the happy ones.

Because of this incomprehensible sentence, Yi Hui felt that he had wasted Jiang Yihui’s brain and was still terribly stupid.

In this case, he remembered the advice given to him by Dr. Liu. Write more, draw more, use your hands and your mind and challenge new content that had not been tried before, and it will help to expand the mind and develop the brain.

So Yi Hui took a job to paint a group portrait of Jiang Yimang’s sisters. Girls often heard Jiang Yimang boast that her brother had won the gold medal in the national painting competition and they all had great expectations. In addition to sending photos, each person also listed a dress code, with six of them requiring skirts.

Yi Hui was obviously used to painting men and very bad at painting girls, especially girls in floral skirts. The portrait painted for Jiang Yimang could be regarded as a painstaking work that exhausted his lifelong learning.

Fortunately, there were professionals around. As a fashion design enthusiast, Tang Wenxi gave him a lot of opinions and when Yi Hui couldn’t draw the dynamics of a flowing skirt, he even wrapped himself in a bath towel and used Yi Hui’s bed as a catwalk, standing on it and spinning around to lift the skirt and tossing his hair, “The shyness of a young girl, can you see?”

Yi Hui shuddered and raised his hand to cover his eyes: “I see it, I see it, you can come down.”

When Yi Hui was drawing the outline, Tang Wenxi sat in boredom beside him, shaking his legs. His next words were like a thunderbolt out of the blue: “Classmate Jiang, do you like boys?”

Yi Hui suddenly jerked and drew a line out of the frame.

“Oh, don’t be nervous, I’m just asking casually, we are both artists, there is nothing to panic about.” Tang Wenxi giggled, “When I was in school, your sexuality was a topic that our department and even the whole school talked about. At that time, there was a voting post in the school forum. I made six finsta accounts and voted for ‘Jiang Yihui likes boys’.”

Yi Hui was in a complicated mood; he couldn’t hide the truth about himself but he didn’t expect Jiang Yihui also to.……

Tang Wenxi was so delighted that his mouth stretched almost to his ears: “It seems that I guessed right?”

Yi Hui was still struggling whether to admit it when Tang Wenxi went ahead and cleared up the suspicion first: “I didn’t ask this because I have a crush on you. I only feel admiration for Classmate Jiang… Although I also like men.”

Yi Hui nodded shyly.

Everyone had some curiosity, and he also wanted to know if the boy Tang Wenxi liked was someone he knew.

The first time the two young men talked about emotional issues, their embarrassment finally prevailed over their desire to confide. In the afterthought, Tang Wenxi became shy and retreated, refusing to say anything. Thinking that he would get to know one day, Yi Hui righteously decided not to pursue the matter.

He just didn’t expect this day would come so quickly.

After playing in the small town for nearly half a month, Tang Wenxi felt that if he stayed any longer, his teacher might chase him back to the capital in person. Lamenting, he booked a plane ticket online.

He didn’t want to waste the days before leaving and decided to use them to go on a scenic tour. Since they’ve played in the water already, he dragged Yi Hui to climb the mountains.

Yi Hui liked peace and tranquility and didn’t want to go but his mother and sister persuaded him to go out for a walk. He was practically packed up and thrown out of the house. Jiang Xuemei even arranged a tent for him, saying that if it was too late, he could stay on the mountain for a night. If he didn’t stay overnight, he could use it as a picnic mat, or to hide from the rain. Anyway, it was killing two birds with one stone.

The tent was quite heavy, and Yi Hui sighed all the way to the foot of the mountain and then watched Tang Wenxi rush towards someone ahead. It was only then did he realize that his position today had changed from Tang Wenxi’s play companion to a light bulb (third wheel).

Walking up to the beginning of the narrow mountain path, Yang Chengxuan looked at the sign placed on the side of the road and cursed with a cigarette in his mouth: “What kind of crappy mountain is smoke-free?”

Tang Wenxi scowled, “If there is no smoking ban, do you think they’re waiting for you to set fire to the mountain?”

The two bickered in the front. Yi Hui fell behind and looked around, nervous.

When they were formally introduced to each other just now, Tang Wenxi said that they met by chance. Yi Hui didn’t quite believe it. Yang Chengxuan patted his empty pockets and said that he had decided to come here on a whim and didn’t bring any change of clothes. Yi Hui reluctantly persuaded himself not to be nervous.

He always felt that Yang Chengxuan looked at him with a kind of inquiry and playfulness, as if he was looking at a commodity. If it weren’t for Tang Wenxi, he would definitely find an excuse to turn around and run away.

Among the three people, Tang Wenxi was the only one who didn’t feel uncomfortable. He wanted to climb the mountain with all his heart. His backpack was tied up and his shoelaces were fastened. He was about to start walking when he was stopped by Yang Chengxuan: “You two just brought one tent?”

Tang Wenxi replied, “Yes, we won’t stay overnight, it’s enough for three people.”

“Who said three people?” Yang Chengxuan laughed, raised his chin and pointed behind Yi Hui, “Here, I have a friend.”

Hearing the word “friend”, Yi Hui knew that something was wrong. He stayed where he was. Only when the man came up to him, blocking the light, a good half a head taller than him, did the reality of having met again descend on him.

“This is my friend, Zhou Jinheng.”

Yang Chengxuan introduced him as if nothing was wrong. Zhou Jinheng was wearing a mask (mouth mask; not actual mask) and Tang Wenxi didn’t recognize him at a glance. He smiled and shook hands with him, saying “Hello.” Yi Hui, who was standing aside, was one of the two people confused.

The other one was Zhou Jinheng.

Although his face was covered with the mask, Yi Hui was able to see the dismay in his eyes. He didn’t seem to know that he would meet him here.

Once they met, they started climbing the mountain.

Yi Hui couldn’t explain anything to Tang Wenxi, nor could he leave him here alone. Since he couldn’t walk away, he tried to stay as far from the man as possible, dragging Tang Wenxi forward at the maximal speed.

The mountains on the southern coast were not high in altitude and the neat stone road was easy to walk. After climbing halfway up the mountain in a burst, Tang Wenxi yelled that he couldn’t walk anymore and Yi Hui, who was panting heavily, stopped.

Sitting down on a stone bench far away from the other two men, Tang Wenxi was so easy-going that he didn’t notice anything wrong with Yi Hui at all. When Yang Chengxuan asked him to go buy water together, he hurriedly went and Yi Hui couldn’t stop him.

Today was a working day, and there were not many people climbing the mountain and even fewer people rested on the platform. Fearing to meet the man’s gaze accidentally, Yi Hui lowered his head to play with the pendant on his bag.

It was given to him by Jiang Yimang yesterday. It was a round circle half of a palm in size, with a circle of rhinestones on its surface in an outline of a bright ferris wheel. It also had a long and thick tassel. At this moment, Yi Hui was fiddling with the tassel,  concentrating on counting how many cords there were.

But that man’s sense of presence was too strong. With him simply walking over and standing there for less than ten seconds, Yi Hui was flustered, his thoughts tied in knots. He even lost count.

“I really didn’t know you would be here.”

The moment his too familiar, deep voice reached Yi Hui’s ears, his hand shook and a mass of tangled tassel cords slipped from his palm, which caused Zhou Jinheng to look at his hand.

After looking at it for a few moments, he looked away. Pursing his lips briefly, Zhou Jinheng continued what he had just started saying: “If you don’t want to see me, I will leave now.”

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