Had he not known him well enough, Yi Hui would have thought he did it on purpose.
Making him leave would not only seem very rude, but also would admit the suspicion “I am Yi Hui”. Not making him leave was tantamount to acquiescing in disguise that he could continue to haunt him. In short, there was no correct way to respond.
Yi Hui couldn’t make up his mind. He hesitated for a while but before he could answer, the two who went to buy drinks came back.
“Four bottles of exactly the same mineral water, don’t pick and choose.” Tang Wenxi distributed them one by one, went to Yi Hui’s side, looked at Zhou Jinheng who was standing there, and then turned to look at him, “What did you two talk about just now? Why don’t you keep talking?”
“Nothing.” Yi Hui unscrewed the bottle cap and took a big sip.
The four of them continued to walk together.
The second half of the road was slightly more difficult to walk. The stone slab road was paved only halfway up the mountain. There were fewer tourists here. Most people stopped at the platform just now. There was an open view and a large green area in the sunlight, a perfect location for either watching the scenery or having a picnic and relaxing.
However, Tang Wenxi said that if you started climbing, you had to go to the top of the mountain, otherwise it didn’t count as having been here. Yi Hui also didn’t want to have a picnic, so he continued to climb even though his legs were already soft.
The mud path seemed to have been made by people who had gone up the mountain before. It had steep twists and turns, some parts of it were high and some were low. Without Tang Wenxi, he might not have been able to climb up some places at all.
They found it difficult to walk and the people behind them were naturally out of breath. Yang Chengxuan yelled non-stop that he couldn’t climb anymore. Yi Hui saw Tang Wenxi turn his head frequently, looking helpless, and said, “You go back, I can climb alone.”
Tang Wenxi quickly said “I’ll be right back” and rushed back along the path. Yi Hui looked up at the road ahead, silently cheering himself up. He clutched the backpack straps on his shoulders and kept climbing.
It turned out that it was fine to be alone. When he saw he would reach the highest point after another section of the path, Yi Hui could no longer hear the voices behind him. He wanted to wait for them for a while, but when he thought that Zhou Jinheng was also there, he changed his mind, thinking that he could just as well wait for them at the top of the mountain where there had to be some people to strengthen his courage.
Only when he reached the top of the mountain did he find that there was no one there. A platform for tourists among the green trees was empty. Yi Hui climbed up and leaned against the railing to look around. He found that the scenery here was beautiful. He glanced over the mountains, rocks and vegetation and could see the azure sea in the distance.
He put down his backpack and sat on a low stone by the railing. The mountain breeze dried the sweat on his forehead. He stretched out his hands and let the cool breeze pass through his fingers and brush his palms. Exhaling, he finally found a little pleasure in climbing.
It was a pity that the pleasure was fleeting and the sky changed before he had time to experience it carefully.
Yi Hui checked the weather forecast yesterday and it said that it would be sunny and cloudy today. So, seeing the dark clouds gradually obscuring the sun at this moment, he wasn’t very worried. He thought that once the others reached the top of the mountain, they would go home soon anyway.
Who would have thought that after he’d waited for them for a while, they still didn’t come. What did come were the first drops of rain.
Yi Hui panicked a little and took out his mobile phone to call Tang Wenxi. The signal on the mountain was not good, but he finally got through and waited until the other end was connected. The voice sounded intermittent and almost inaudible. He only heard Tang Wenxi say something like ”Stay still“ and ”We’ll be there right away.” When he called again, there was a busy tone. With the weather changing, the signal became more and more volatile.
He wanted to call home, but halfway through the call, he hung up. Yi Hui didn’t think it was necessary; it would only make his mother and younger sister anxious. It was a mountain near his home and the altitude was not high. Even if it rained and he was trapped here for a while, it would be fine. It was not dark and it was not that he couldn’t get down.
His thoughts were relaxed but the actual situation was not optimistic.
Thick dark clouds surged from all directions and soon the rain fell, drenching the dry slate floor of the platform in a blink of an eye. Yi Hui had nowhere to hide from the rain. He opened the bag, took out the tent and put it over his head. The raindrops fell on the rainproof cloth above his head like pebbles. This violent, noisy sound made Yi Hui’s heart beat wildly, as if he was experiencing a catastrophe alone.
It felt like deja vu. Yi Hui wrapped the tent tightly around him and kept his eyes wide open, desperately trying not to recall. But the sight in front of him was still too close. Overlapping with the scenes in the depths of his memory, just hearing the similar sounds, the picture stood before his eyes .
It didn’t rain that night, but the sound of the howling wind didn’t stop for a moment, accompanied by the rustling sound of swaying branches. It didn’t sound like the wind was blowing the leaves but rather as if the leaves were cutting the wind, splitting the originally intact section into pieces, into spikes and needles that pierced holes in Yi Hui’s hard-built defense.
The current situation was worse than in the past but he was not the Yi Hui who used to only foolishly wait for someone to save him. If he was scared, he knew how to run quickly. He put the bag back on his shoulders, draped the tent cloth over himself to block the rain, left the platform and walked slowly back along the path.
The mountain road was muddy with rain and the rain got in his eyes blocking his vision. In two steps, Yi Hui slipped because he stepped on a wrong place. He got up and moved on. He miscalculated the height and distance on a steep step. His foot landed on nothing and he fell straight forward. Fortunately, there were no obstacles such as stones in front of him. He fell to the ground feeling a dull pain in his knees.
Yi Hui propped himself up, then stood up, not caring to check whether his pants were torn or whether the mountain road was slippery. There was only one thought in his mind: to go down the mountain quickly.
He stumbled down the hill, as if he would be caught if he didn’t run. Caught and put in the little house where no one would come to save him.
Yi Hui couldn’t remember how many more times he stumbled. He lost all his five senses while running. He couldn’t see the road ahead and couldn’t hear anyone calling him. He was rushing like a headless fly. When he crashed into the man’s arms, he thought he had finally escaped.
Zhou Jinheng didn’t expect to find him here. He walked with difficulty along the road up the mountain. He just recognized a string of footsteps in the sounds of wind and rain. When he looked up, he saw a figure rushing towards him in a daze. Subconsciously, he opened his arms. If he hadn’t reacted in time, it might have ended in a fall.
Taking two steps back to stabilize the man, Zhou Jinheng called softly, “HuiHui?”
The man in his arms did not speak or move, only his shoulders trembled violently as he gasped rapidly.
After confirming that this was Yi Hui, Zhou Jinheng tightened his arms, put his chin on the top of Yi Hui’s head buried against his chest and said with a sigh of relief: “It’s okay, don’t be afraid, I’m here.”
But they hadn’t escaped the mountain yet.
The rain was getting heavier and heavier, and seeing that it wouldn’t stop for a while, Yi Hui wanted to continue going down, but the stone road soaked in rainwater was more difficult to walk than the mud road, so slippery that every step was dangerous. Zhou Jinheng walked in front of him and stretched out his hand but Yi Hui didn’t hold it, so he had to walk by his side and protect him with his raised arms.
Yi Hui felt that it was more dangerous and simply stopped walking. On the platform halfway up the mountain, he went to an open space, took off the rainproof cloth and backpack, and started to set up the tent.
He had never assembled this thing. Even if the portable version was easy to operate, it was still very nerve-wracking. The brackets went into the holes but he didn’t know how to fix them. After a long time, he found that he was assembling it in a reversed order and had to disassemble it and start over.
After, Zhou Jinheng helped him to set it up.
Zhou Jinheng played the role of a soldier when he first debuted. In order to look realistic, he learned many survival skills before filming, including setting up a tent. Zhou Jinheng learned everything quickly. Yi Hui, who was practicing with him at home at the time, felt quite depressed. He hoped they could play together for a while longer.
Unexpectedly remembering the past, Yi Hui, who was squatting in the tent, saw the curtain open but forgot to stop Zhou Jinheng from getting in.
Even though it was noisy in the tent because of the wind and rain, Yi Hui could still hear his rustling movements, followed by a beam of warm yellow light that illuminated Zhou Jinheng’s rain-soaked face.
“It’s dark outside, you can take this.” He bent down, supporting himself on the ground with one hand, put his mobile phone on the blanket in front of Yi Hui and crawled back.
When he almost left and was about to put down the curtain, he added: “I’m just outside, call me if you need something.”
What could he need? The tent was set up, there was food and drinks in his bag and even a change of clothes. It was not impossible to stay here for a night.
Speaking of staying overnight, Yi Hui couldn’t help but think of Tang Wenxi, who said that he was going to camp with him on the mountain. When Zhou Jinheng set up the tent just now, he said that the two of them went down the mountain to find help. Although he knew that it was the safest way, Yi Hui still thought that this was the guy who claimed to value friends the most. If it weren’t for Yang Chengxuan who was the only one in his eyes, would Tang Wenxi leave him here alone?
When he put on clean clothes, his anger almost disappeared. Yi Hui picked up the mobile phone and found that there was a bit of signal at this moment, so he hurriedly called home and told Jiang Yimang that he was trapped in the mountain because of the rain. When the rain stopped, he would go home. He asked her to tell their mother not to worry.
Jiang Yimang yelled on the other end of the phone: “Oh my God, are you alone, brother?”
Yi Hui glanced at the curtain: “No, there is someone.”
“Oh, I see.” Jiang Yimang’s mood switched. She had been nervous a moment ago but now she laughed, “Then you guys have fun, don’t worry about going down the mountain, you can come back tomorrow morning.”
Yi Hui hung up the phone, puzzled.
When he took out the tissue from his bag, he suddenly remembered the face dripping with water in the light of the mobile phone just now. Sitting in a tent set up by someone else and using someone else’s mobile phone to illuminate it, Yi Hui felt guilty and defensive. He stretched out his legs and checked. It seemed that the space in the tent was not too small and the two of them would not be unable to stay away from each other.
What’s more, it was still raining outside; you wouldn’t even leave a stranger outside in the rain.
After a long period of psychological preparation, he made sure that he had completely placed himself into Jiang Yihui’s state of mind, crawled to the door, opened the curtain and said to the outside: “It’s raining heavily, come in and hide from the rain.”
A small tent stood on the platform halfway up the mountain and there was a dim light coming through the door curtain.
Yi Hui handed a tissue to Zhou Jinheng and took another to wipe his eyes. When he opened his eyes, he found that the man opposite him was looking at him. Yi Hui subconsciously lowered his eyelashes and narrowed his eyes, fearing that Zhou Jinheng might notice that he had cried.
Fortunately, the rain was heavy enough just now and no one could see the tears that overflowed his eyes the moment he relaxed. Fortunately, the light at the moment was faint and the slight trace of redness in his eyes was almost invisible.
Zhou Jinheng didn’t look for too long, turning his gaze elsewhere. At least judging by his posture, he didn’t seem uncomfortable. One of his long legs was stretched on the ground, the other bent, and he held his hand on his knee in a relaxed manner. With just a glance, Yi Hui saw a scabbed twisted wound on the side of his hand.
It hurt just to look at it. Yi Hui shuddered, then turned over his backpack distractedly and pulled out a blanket in the color matching the tent, tied with a rope tightly.
The rope must have been tied by Jiang Xuemei who made several knots. Yi Hui kept his nails short and couldn’t untie a knot for a long time. When he was exhausted and about to give up, a slender hand stretched out and took the blanket tied into a ball.
Pulling out a lighter and a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, Zhou Jinheng picked out an untouched cigarette and put it in his mouth. After lighting the lighter, he suddenly remembered something and asked, “Can I smoke? Just for a moment.”
Yi Hui was stunned: “Ah, yes.”
Zhou Jinheng skillfully lit the cigarette he was holding, then put down the lighter and pressed the cigarette to burn the rope. As the smell of the burnt fabric reached their noses, the rope fell apart. The position and the pressure of the cigarette was just right and the blanket was not scorched at all.
Taking the blanket, Yi Hui whispered “thank you”.
He selfishly encompassed everything he wanted to say in these two words, including thanking Zhou Jinheng for returning to find him. Other than that, he didn’t want to have any fundamental communication with this man.
Perhaps because of the previous unpleasant encounters, as well as Yi Hui not giving him a good face today in front of his friends, Zhou Jinheng was in a bad mood and did not respond when he heard his thanks. He stuffed the cigarette back into his mouth, inhaled and opened the curtain to exhale the smoke.
After he did it several times, Yi Hui, who didn’t want to pay attention to him, couldn’t help but focus his gaze on him again.
In his memory, Zhou Jinheng only smoked during the filming because of the role.
He was only eighteen years old when he made his debut. He was forced into marriage by his family at the most rebellious age. That was probably the most depressing period of his life. Even so, Yi Hui did not see him degenerate; drinking and socializing were fine to a certain degree but smoking, if someone urged him to smoke he would never fall for it.
At this moment, there was a cigarette pressed between his beautifully shaped thin lips, its light getting dimmer as the tobacco burned. When the cigarette was transferred between his index and middle fingers, the sound of exhaling the smoke was like a sigh, and Yi Hui was dazed.
When did he learn to smoke?
Feeling the never-ending gaze on him again, Zhou Jinheng threw the cigarette he’d barely started to smoke outside, watched the little fire be extinguished by the rain, turned his head and said, “Yang Chengxuan left his cigarettes there. I have no smoking addiction.”
Yi Hui felt embarrassed to be read so easily and moved back a little with the blanket in his arms, as if he was trying to say, ”What does it have to do with me?”
He heard an unexplainable chuckle and raised his head. A pair of dark quiet eyes met his gaze.
“I have grown up.” Zhou Jinheng looked at Yi Hui, his voice steady and firm, “You can believe me.”