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The afternoon in the south was very hot, and even with the windows closed, the sound of cicadas was still noisy.
Yi Hui had hardly slept last night. He wanted to lie down for a while after dinner, but when he closed his eyes, his heart was beating fast and hard and his eyelids were also pulsing badly. After turning over and changing his position several times, he simply got out of bed, walked to the table and sat down.
When he looked up, he felt that the room was much more empty. Realizing that it was because he had cleaned up too many things, Yi Hui rubbed his forehead, then opened the drawer, took out a pen holder, a box of tissues and other stuff that had been put away to make room for those things and filled the empty spaces one by one.
After lying down on the table and resting for a while, Yi Hui reached out to the bedside in a daze to touch the Doraemon puzzle he was putting together. After groping for a long time, he didn’t touch anything. The quiet fragrance lingering in the room also disappeared. Yi Hui suddenly opened his eyes and woke up completely.
When he went downstairs, he could only hear his own footsteps. Jiang Xuemei and Jiang Yimang were both in their rooms. The loquat tree in the yard stood alone. Occasionally, the wind blew the leaves, making them rustle slightly. Everything was quiet as if nothing had happened.
Entering the studio and looking at the painting board standing by the window, Yi Hui felt a little strange.
Since he started using a tablet, he had rarely come here to paint. Even if he painted by hand, he would rather be in the yard, because he could hear the laughter and voices of passers-by there and could be the first to catch the footsteps of his family coming back.
This dream had been going on for so long that he almost thought it was real.
There was no Dora-Hum-Hum at all, and such a good mother and sister did not belong to him. He should have learned enough lessons in his previous life, but only now had he figured out how to write the words ”wishful thinking”.
Jiang Yimang didn’t say hello to Yi Hui when she went to school in the afternoon. In the studio he heard the sound of the metal door closing. He wanted to go out and have a look, but he was afraid that the man hadn’t left yet. He only stood at the door for a while and made sure that Jiang Yimang had gone far before going back to his room.
Before lunch, Yi Hui told her everything; including what happened before he took over the body, including Jiang Yihui’s death.
No matter how quick and lively Jiang Yimang was, she couldn’t help but be shocked when she heard a fantastic story like that. Halfway through Yi Hui’s story, she raised her hand and motioned him to stop: “Wait, wait… In other words, you know that this is someone else’s body but you didn’t tell us anything and occupied it with a peace of mind for more than half a year?”
She was right; Yi Hui had no words to justify himself and could only say, “I’m sorry.”
Thinking about it carefully, his behaviour was no different from that of the man who approached him under a fake name. Whether it was out of kindness or for self-protection, it was deception anyway.
If he could return this body to Jiang Yihui, even if he were to return it immediately, he would have done it without saying a word.
He shouldn’t have been alive in the first place.
When he didn’t know what he could do, he chose to paint.
In the middle of the afternoon, Yi Hui mixed the colours and was about to dip his brush when his mobile phone suddenly vibrated.
It was a message from Jiang Yimang: Did you tell Mom?
She stopped calling him ”brother”. He calculated the time; she must have thought about it for two full classes. Yi Hui sighed and replied: Not yet
Jiang Yimang: Tell her as soon as possible
Then another one was sent: If Mom has no opinion, I can accept it
Yi Hui was a little confused, not sure what she meant by these words. When he was just about to ask, Jiang Yimang changed the subject and said: Is it true what you said about Zhou Jinheng?
Yi Hui didn’t know how much she could believe him and replied hopelessly: True, except for concealing my identity and not telling you, everything else is true
Jiang Yimang replied with the word ”good”.
Unable to see her, Yi Hui felt uncertain, staring at the clock and waiting anxiously.
Seeing that it was the break between classes again, he planned to send a message and say something else, but Jiang Yimang took the lead: At noon I couldn’t accept it for a while and was a bit fierce. And for talking about marriage without knowing the situation… Sorry
Yi Hui stared at the screen, unable to believe his eyes.
He didn’t expect to get his sister’s understanding so quickly, and in turn, receive her apology.
He typed a few words at a loss. Jiang Yimang didn’t seem to plan to wait for his reply. She just said what he wanted to say: I thought that you were sick for a while and seemed to become a new person. It turned out that I was not attentive enough, it was really a new person.
Yi Hui was still dumbfounded. His reason told him that Jiang Yimang had already figured it out and accepted it. Emotionally, he still felt that he was unforgivable: Don’t you hate me?
Jiang Yimang: Why should I hate you? This kind of thing was arranged by God, it’s not you who planned it. Besides, you treat me and Mom so well, I’m not blind… Thank you for these days.
Yi Hui read this message back and forth several times, until tears flowed and the words on the screen could not be seen clearly.
With his tears streaming down and laughing at the same time, he felt stupid. A few hours ago, he wanted to give his life back. Now he felt terribly in love with this world and this family. He was in his twenties, this hypocrisy was ridiculous.
On this day, Jiang Yimang came back earlier than Jiang Xuemei. The first thing she did when she got home and put down her school bag was not to look for something to eat or turn on the computer to surf the Internet. She took out the cross stitch that was almost finished, spread it out on a small wooden table in the yard and then looked for a lighter everywhere.
The only lighter in the family was bought by Yi Hui for the scented candle. After searching in the house for a long time, she remembered that he had thrown it out with the pile of things in the morning.
Jiang Yimang took some money and ran out. Yi Hui followed to the door worriedly. Jiang Yimang put her hand on the doorknob and suddenly turned around when she was about to open it: “Promise me not to go out. And no matter what happens, you are not allowed to open the door.”
Yi Hui nodded blankly. Seeing Jiang Yimang pull open the metal door and then look left and right before going out, he belatedly remembered that the man might still be here.
The shop was less than two hundred meters away across the road, but Jiang Yimang had been there for fifteen minutes. When she came back, her eyes were red and she sniffed, as if she had cried.
Yi Hui asked her what was wrong. Her mouth flattened and she was about to cry again: “I don’t want to talk to him, I don’t want to talk to him… why is he so annoying! Fancy that, I liked him so much, fancy that, I trusted him so much, thinking that you were just making trouble, fancy that, I still wanted to give him medicine for his injury, bah, let him hurt to death…”
After cursing for a while, she let it all out and as if she had finally found a reason to cry. Jiang Yimang burst into tears, continued to curse without minding her appearance: “Why didn’t you throw everything at him today, just smash him silly? B*stards, men are all b*stards!”
Yi Hui hurriedly handed her a paper towel and explained, “I didn’t mean to smash him… I, I am also a man.”
“Just b*stards, they’re all b*stards!” Jiang Yimang looked like a woman whose heart was broken by a scumbag, wiping her tears fiercely while talking nonsense, “Zhou Jinheng is an *sshole, and Jiang Yihui is also an asshole. When he was alive, he had a stinky face and was not good to me or Mom. Who allowed him to leave without saying a word? I called him “brother” so many times since I was a kid, did I call him that for nothing? He’s so cheap, he didn’t fulfill his obligation to be a brother. Who allowed him to leave?”
Yi Hui’s heart was sour when he heard it.
Before confessing, he knew they would be hurt, but he couldn’t hide it anymore. During the day, he could still spend his time in the shade of the trees, but once the sun went down, he would always be enveloped in a strong sense of guilt and his dreams at midnight were full of dark people, pointing at him and scolding him for taking over the magpie’s nest and for stealing someone’s life.
Rebirth was not what he wished for, but he did occupy this body and enjoy the love that did not belong to him. He had an obligation to tell them the truth, and in fairness to them, they should also be informed of the truth.
Jiang Yimang’s tears started when she said that and once the gates were opened, she couldn’t stop.
Yi Hui didn’t know how to coax her and kept saying sorry. Jiang Yimang, who was sobbing, glared at him: “What are you sorry for? He wronged you… Don’t worry, I will keep your secret. Won’t tell him a word, see if I’m not mad at him!”
Yi Hui did not expect Jiang Yimang to “turn from pink to black” in an instant. His thoughts were pessimistic; it was good enough to be forgiven but Jiang Yimang had known that man longer than she knew him. Even if she was angry at first, after some time her feelings would come back.
After all, he was a famous actor. As an actor, he was dedicated and excellent, no one would dislike him.
Unexpectedly, Jiang Yimang saw everything as either black or white, and since she said she didn’t love him, she wouldn’t love him. When she piled up the photo posters and the cross stitch in the yard and prepared to light the fire, Yi Hui stopped her and persuaded her to think about it again. With a wave of her hand, she lit a rolled-up piece of white paper and threw it down gracefully: “Idols or something are not as important as my brother. Bye bye, you!”
As a result, the things failed to burn. The weather was humid, and the fire was extinguished by the wind after a short while.
The two looked at each other and burst into tears and laughter.
The heavy atmosphere was relieved by this laughter. Under Yi Hui’s persuasion, Jiang Yimang abandoned the environmentally friendly practice of burning, found a plastic bag to put those things in and told Yi Hui as she packed them: “Mom will be back later, don’t tell her I was burning things in the yard.”
When it came to his mother, Yi Hui’s mood suddenly became melancholy again: “Okay, I won’t tell.”
Jiang Yimang pushed him with her elbow: “Are you afraid that Mom will be sad?”
Yi Hui gave a low “en”.
Jiang Yimang quickly packed up the things and held her chin in a daze, as if struggling with what to say.
“Actually, don’t worry too much.” She said at the end, “From what I can see, Mom might have known a long time ago.”
The turmoil calmed down by nightfall.
After seeing Jiang Xuemei walk into the house, Zhou Jinheng leaned against the wall and stood for a long time. When the lights in the kitchen and dining room went out and the lights upstairs went on, he had time to look away and coughed as soon as he lowered his head.
He had no water all day and his throat was very dry. Last year there was Jiang Yimang who sneaked out to him to deliver messages and, along the way, brought him some food and drinks. This time even the fan was offended and he might have to starve to death here.
He could make a joke but he couldn’t laugh. Zhou Jinheng didn’t know what was the point of staying here. He just didn’t want to leave, fearing that once he left, he would not find anyone when he came back.
He didn’t dare to knock on the door, because he knew that even if the door opened, he would be blasted out again.
At this moment, the wound on his cheek began to hurt faintly, and Zhou Jinheng thought that he might have some karma with this place as he was injured every time he came here.
But this pain was nothing, the pain in his heart was worse.
He watched the things being thrown out and felt so much pain. How much it must have hurt his little fool to put these things that he used to treasure one by one into the box and then throw them out the door one by one.
He deserved it, but what did the little fool do wrong? It was just that in the previous life, he had looked at the wrong person, he had fallen in love with the wrong person and now he had to be haunted by himself again in this life. No wonder he didn’t want to see him, no wonder he wanted to smash him, and no wonder he didn’t want to go home with him.
Raising his hand and touching the wound on his cheek, Zhou Jinheng thought bittersweetly that it needed to be taken care of as soon as possible. The little fool was a face-con, although he did not not admit it, being “handsome” was clearly his primary criteria for choosing a mate.
Yang Chengxuan called later, and Zhou Jinheng asked him to bring medicine for the injury if he wanted to come over. Yang Chengxuan said in surprise, “Did he hit you?”
“No, I accidentally bumped into something.”
Yang Chengxuan didn’t believe it: “How many times have I told you that it’s not Yi Hui. You can just find a substitute, fine, but what’s the point of playing around and getting yourself involved?”
“I’m not playing.” Zhou Jinheng said, “He is not a substitute either.”
Yang Chengxuan didn’t go hopping mad this time but said with a sneer: “I think you have really been smitten. Wait, Lao Zi will bring you a few good things to wake you up.”
Hanging up the phone, Zhou Jinheng bent his legs and sat down at the wall, intending to spend the night here.
In such a desperate situation, he still didn’t forget to smooth out the hem of his clothes. Yi Hui had to go out some time. Maybe he could meet him again tomorrow, so he can’t look too wretched.
It’s not easy to meet, so he had to make a good impression.
As he thought this, Zhou Jinheng’s sanity was already beginning to fade. After more than ten hours of travel and the lack of timely treatment of his wound, he had a fever in the middle of the night when the heat had subsided and the temperature had dropped.
His head was groggy. He fell asleep but thought he was still awake, and when he woke up, he thought he was dreaming.
In the dream, his little fool held the Doraemon doll in his right hand and stretched out his left hand to him, smiling and asking him to take him home.
The first rays of sunlight in the early morning fell on his body, and he opened his eyes to see that it was not the man in the dream in front of him. Zhou Jinheng exhaled a burning breath through his nose, felt physical discomfort, frowned and said dumbly: “Why are you here?”
Yang Chengxuan grabbed his arm and pulled him up, saying fiercely: “If I didn’t come, you would have died here!”
After being helped to the car, Zhou Jinheng raised his hand and pressed his temple: “It’s okay, I can’t die.”
Yang Chengxuan didn’t get into the car, walked around with his arms crossed a few times to dissipate some of his anger and returned to face Zhou Jinheng, still not in a good mood: “I have never seen you in love like this before. Squatting by the door for love? Is there any trick I haven’t seen before, why don’t you use them all at once and let me watch it live?”
Zhou Jinheng found a bottle of water in the back seat, unscrewed it and took a few gulps: “I’ve used them all. Help me think whether there are any other tricks.”
“F*ck tricks, if I knew that helping you would make you such a mess, I would have cut off ties with you!”
“It’s not too late.” Zhou Jinheng stretched out his legs to get out of the car, but his limbs were too weak and he couldn’t stand up. He closed his eyes and pulled the corners of his mouth into a dry smile, “For the sake of us being friends, let me take a break and I will go down right away.”
“Driving me away, right? Okay, I’ll leave.“ When Yang Chengxuan saw his appearance, he was so angry that he didn’t want to care about him anymore. He reached inside the compartment near the driver’s seat, took out a palm-sized handbag and threw it into Zhou Jinheng’s arms. “Then please look at it for the sake of us being friends. Take a look at these things I worked so hard to get for you. Don’t blame me for not waking you up from your madness when you get your normal brain back.”
Zhou Jinheng thought there was injury medicine in the bag. He reached in and touched a stack of paper. The first page was headed with the words “Medical Certificate of Death” in large black letters, and the name of the deceased, Yi Hui, was written in the next line.
Thin sheets of paper with the word “death” in each column, the date of death, the place of death, the cause of death; the whole document was filled with incomprehensible things.
Zhou Jinheng scanned through the pages in a single glance, turning them quickly. The next one was a cremation certificate, with Yi Hui’s name also written in the field for the name of the deceased.
“Why are you giving me these?”
Zhou Jinheng’s voice was calm, but his hands shook so much that he couldn’t hold the paper. As he hastily folded back a few sheets of paper, a photo caught inside slipped into his lap. It was a black and white photo of a man smiling innocently, showing two small pointed tiger teeth, exactly as he had seen from afar in the funeral hall.
“What am I doing? Using ironclad facts to prove to you that he is dead.” Yang Chengxuan said. He pointed at the small courtyard of the Jiang family not far away, then turned back and poked the man in the photo, saying with a sneer, “Who the hell is that in there? Zhou Jinheng, how old are you, do you still believe in reincarnation?”
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