The day Tang Wenxi reappeared after a long silence, Yi Hui had just put Jiang Yimang on the plane home. Hearing that he was coming to the station, he rushed over there.
There was no one at the place where they were supposed to meet. When a grimy passerby rushed up and hugged him, Yi Hui was so frightened that he almost jumped up. He recognized Tang Wenxi by his familiar apricot eyes. Yi Hui felt even more surprised: “Why are you tanned like this?”
Tang Wenxi touched his face suspiciously: “Am I that dark? Oh, it’s okay, as long as you can recognize me.”
When asked what he had been doing these days, he said that he had gone to the mountains to get some fresh air. Yi Hui touched his own skin that not only did not tan in the summer but became even whiter. When the fake getting some fresh air met the real getting some fresh air, he couldn’t help but feel ashamed.
The two found a milk tea shop and sat down. Tang Wenxi took out a box from his bag: “I’ve come a long way to bring you back a gift.”
Yi Hui opened the box and saw a butterfly specimen there.
“It’s a Purple Emperor. Isn’t it pretty?” Tang Wenxi was very proud, “I caught it in the mountains and made it into a specimen overnight, so I wanted to bring it back for you to see.”
Yi Hui brushed his fingers over the butterfly’s intricately patterned wings without touching them, nodded and said, “It looks good.” After a while, he raised his head and asked, “Wanted to bring it back for me to see? I didn’t say that I wanted to see butterflies.”
“Between the two of us, it’s fine for you to just listen to those words.” After being stared at by Yi Hui, Tang Wenxi had no choice but to admit, “He said that he wanted to see it. I promised to catch one and give it to him, but now he doesn’t want it anymore… Don’t dislike it.”
Yi Hui couldn’t dislike it, so he took the butterfly specimen and gave him a painting in exchange.
Tang Wenxi looked at his portrait smiling and said in surprise, “When did you draw this?”
“I started it while you were not paying attention and painted it while you were away.” Yi Hui said.
Tang Wenxi scratched his head: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disappear on you. The signal in the mountains was so poor that nothing could be sent out.”
Yi Hui knew that he was healing his emotional injury and he wasn’t angry with him. He ordered several portions of milk tea with different flavours: “Let’s not talk about the unhappy things, come on, let’s drink to our successful collection of local cultural material.”
After drinking, he was really a little drunk.
Tang Wenxi went to S City straight from the mountains. At this moment, milk tea wasn’t enough to cheer him up. He put his head on Yi Hui’s shoulder, belched, and said, “Who said getting closer to nature would open your heart? Bullsh*t, why do I hate him more and more?”
Yi Hui obediently rested his head on his head: “Do not listen to their nonsense. Feelings are either love or hate. It is a lie to say that ‘you can still be friends after breaking up’.”
Tang Wenxi grinned: “Classmate Jiang, this is the most adult-like thing you have said since I met you.”
Yi Hui pretended to be angry and said, “You laugh at me like I’m a child?”
Tang Wenxi shook his head against his shoulder: “No, the feeling you give me is… well protected, simple to the point of being a little naive, as can be seen from your work.”
Yi Hui didn’t seem to understand: “Is this a compliment to me?”
“Of course.” Tang Wenxi narrowed his eyes, “You don’t even know how envious I am of you. After so many things, you can still maintain your enthusiasm. I’m just… I’m full of bad ideas, just wanting to have him also taste my suffering.”
“Who hasn’t thought that way,” Yi Hui said slowly, “but what if you let him taste it? Not only will you not feel happy, you will also feel sadder.”
Tang Wenxi raised his head and looked straight at Yi Hui: “There was a situation like that for you.”
Yi Hui smiled at him: “No, it’s just a feeling.”
Tang Wenxi turned to him and leaned closer to whisper a name: “Dora-Hum-Hum?”
In the urban area thirty kilometres away, Zhou Jinheng, who was listening to the discussion at the company, sneezed.
After the meeting, Xiao Lin walked over: “Do you need cold medicine, or do you want to just go to the hospital for an injection? You’re going to the set tomorrow, this state is not okay.”
Zhou Jinheng took a tissue to wipe his nose, then turned his wrist. The newly grown skin was red and tight after scalding, but it was not obvious and did not affect his movements.
He said: “Don’t worry, I won’t neglect the work I have already taken on.”
Zhou Jinheng, who had been free for a few months, only running a few casual jobs, has picked up a new TV series. From the investment of funds to the production team, it was at an ordinary level. If it hadn’t been for the original strike incident that made too much noise and caused him to have a bad reputation in the circle, he wouldn’t have missed the previous big productions.
The company was very worried about this, but fortunately, Zhou Jinheng started acting at a young age and it was not difficult to help him rise again. He had also obediently taken the TV series arranged for this time. During the contract period, the company was still very happy to continue to promote him. In the future, even if he went out and started his own studio, they could count on him remembering their good attitude and giving them some help.
Zhou Jinheng naturally understood these things they thought of, but the main reason he took over the TV series without saying a word was that it was filmed in S City, with a few occasional scenes filmed in the surrounding cities. He could go home at any time when he had no scenes to participate in.
Saying fiercely that he could support Yi Hui for a few lifetimes, he definitely needed a job for it. He had to work a lot and filming in the surrounding area was the best choice.
In the evening, the company booked a private room nearby to celebrate Zhou Jinheng’s comeback. Xiao Lin said that this term was not used appropriately. He never left, so he didn’t need to come back. Zhou Jinheng smiled and patted him on the shoulder.
With him not participating in socialising for a long time, everyone seized the opportunity to persuade him to drink. After Zhou Jinheng had two drinks, he said he couldn’t drink anymore.
Everyone here had worked with him for three or four years, and they all knew that he once had a confidential marriage contract. The agent teased: “Why, is there someone new hidden in the house again?”
He wanted to say that it was the same someone but thinking that Yi Hui still didn’t want to admit his identity, Zhou Jinheng smiled dryly and said, “En, he doesn’t like me drinking. You smokers also stay away, do not get the smell of smoke on me.”
Yi Hui was sensitive to odours. Whenever he went home these days, Yi Hui would know if he had applied the anti-scald medicine just by sniffing. Once he forgot and, for fear of being condemned, said he had applied it in the car. Yi Hui grabbed his hand, probed around the wound and lowered his small face: “Lie, you obviously didn’t apply it.”
Thinking that this was a disguised concern, Zhou Jinheng couldn’t help raising the corners of his mouth.
“I think you want to kill the public relations department.” After teasing, the agent asked, “Then will you continue to hide it this time or…”
When Zhou Jinheng first entered the company, his plan was to take the route of the actual skill faction. Who knew that his appearance was too attractive and would entice a bunch of girl fans. So the company had a plan long ago and didn’t want him to hide it blindly.
Hearing that, Zhou Jinheng couldn’t help laughing again. The end of the year was approaching, and with it, the six month time limit was getting closer and closer. Although Yi Hui had softened on the surface, he was still not sure what Yi Hui thought and whether he was willing to give him a chance, or.……
He didn’t dare to ask, thinking that if he delayed one more day, he could work harder for one more day. If one day he would be lucky enough to poke a soft spot in Yi Hui’s heart, would he be able to leave him behind?
He didn’t know why Yi Hui liked him in the past, but even if he knew it, it would definitely be useless to apply his old skills now that times had changed. Zhou Jinheng sighed secretly, picked up his mobile phone and sent a message to Yi Hui, saying that he would return late tonight and he should eat by himself.
Recently, he occasionally texted Yi Hui to report on things that he thought were necessary. Although he never got a reply, Yi Hui at least did not object and did not block him.
So this time Zhou Jinheng didn’t expect to get a reply. Half an hour later, when he saw a digit “3” appearing on the screen of his mobile phone, he was stunned for a while. After checking it several times, he was sure that it was Yi Hui’s reply to the text message.
In the darkness, near Qingdai Mountain on the outskirts of the city, a van was stuck at the intersection. In a narrow alley full of abandoned furniture, Yi Hui and Tang Wenxi sat back to back on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.
There were three strong men in front of them. One was repairing the car in the alley, and the other two, one holding a knife and one holding a stick, sat on a small table, staring at them in the light of the street lamp.
Yi Hui’s head was still a little dizzy. He only remembered that he and Tang Wenxi came out of the milk tea shop and turned to take a bus. They were caught off guard and attacked from behind, then they woke up here.
Tang Wenxi woke up earlier than him, and after struggling for a long time without being able to untie the rope on Yi Hui’s wrists, he had to give up. The mobile phone he was holding in the palm of his hand was quietly hidden under his butt.
As soon as he hid it, it vibrated. For fear that the sound would be heard, Tang Wenxi looked for something to say: “Do you smoke, brothers?”
The thinner of the two illuminated him with a flashlight: “Don’t try to play tricks, I’m warning you. It wasn’t you who we were supposed to catch. Saying less might let you stay alive.”
Yi Hui was taken aback. Just now, he was guessing that this group of people were coming at him. Sure enough, Tang Wenxi was just unlucky to be caught along the way.
He poked Tang Wenxi’s arm with the fingers he could still move, telling him to keep silent. He didn’t know if Tang Wenxi didn’t receive the signal or misunderstood it, since he kept talking: “I have a pack of good cigarettes with me. If brothers don’t want to smoke, can you light one for me? It’s the first time I’m getting robbed, I’m almost scared enough to pee.”
The fat man who was sitting there with his legs crossed laughed, turning the handle of his knife. The light reflecting the blade made one’s eyes ache: “Robbed? Do you look down on us brothers?”
The street lamp was dim, and the two of them were sitting with their backs to the light. Yi Hui couldn’t see what they looked like. He felt more and more that things were not good. If the gangsters were masked, it would be okay. Since they didn’t hide their faces, they must have been not afraid at all, because they didn’t plan to leave them alive.
However, these people didn’t look like vicious outlaw bandits. At least they didn’t look very experienced. They came out to kidnap people in a car that broke halfway. Even he, a fool, knew that the things had to be done quickly. The longer it took, the more traces left, the lower the probability of success.
Yi Hui was calm and composed: “Then what did you bring us here for?”
The fat man said, “Someone entrusted us to teach you a lesson.”
Before Yi Hui had time to ask, Tang Wenxi rushed ahead and raised his voice: “Then you must have made a mistake. My friend is the kindest guy in the world and never offended anyone.”
The skinny man took out a photo from his pocket and compared it: “It’s clearly you, Jiang Yihui, right?”
Yi Hui was taken aback for a moment, then after thinking about it, he made a guess: “The one who entrusted you to teach me a lesson is an artist, right?”
The fat man smiled silently, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
Tang Wenxi also remembered: “Is it the scammer who accused you of copying him last year? That’s nasty, you’ve been kind enough to let him off the hook and he’s retaliating?”
Yi Hui felt cold. That incident was all handled by Zhou Jinheng at the time, and apart from those comments, he was not hurt in any other way, but only now did he realize what it meant to have a sinister heart.
Since the car over there was not repaired yet, the fat man had time to chat with them: “You don’t know who you offended?” As he said it, he raised his chin and said to the skinny man, “There is more than one, right?”
The skinny man curved his mouth in a smile: “Originally, he only wanted us to teach you a lesson. But after that, another guy came and said that he wanted to increase our wages. We thought about it and decided to get paid twice, why not?”
Yi Hui was confused and didn’t understand. Tang Wenxi “leaned” again, and bumped him with his shoulder: “Who else did you offend? This one wants you dead.”
Yi Hui was usually very nerdy, his interpersonal relationships were so simple that he could count the number of people he knew on two hands. Following the clue and thinking a little, he couldn’t help but draw a breath, was it Fang ……
“Brother, you can tell us the names of these two people now that we are here, so that we can die with a clear conscience.” Tang Wenxi said.
The skinny man slapped the palm of his hand with a stick: “There are rules in our business, besides, you are not…”
Halfway through the conversation, a voice came from the alley: “Come and have a look, isn’t the engine broken too?”
The fat man stood up and walked over swearing, a knife in his hand: “What use do you have if you can’t even repair a broken car after this long? We’re lucky there is no one in here, otherwise I would be thrown into the slammer again just after I got out, because of you two.”
“Hey, boss.” With the fat man far away, Tang Wenxi said to the skinny man sitting in the same place, “Boss, you really don’t smoke? I have a pack of imported cigarettes in my pocket. Let’s make a deal, you can just leave me wherever you want after you smoke this cigarette, it’s none of my business in the first place, right?”
The skinny man, who had always been in a sidekick position, could not help but wag his tail in triumph when he was called boss. He turned his head to look at the two idiots who were fiddling with something in the front of the car, thinking that no one would ever know.
Tang Wenxi took advantage of this moment to turn his head and whisper to Yi Hui: “When he comes over, I will stand up and slam him against the wall, so you can take the opportunity to run.”
Yi Hui guessed that what Tang Wenxi had just said had other purposes, but he didn’t expect it to be to save him, and hurriedly said, “No, it’s too dangerous. They want me. You–”
“Yeah, they want you, so they won’t do anything to me. Later, when the car is repaired, it will be more difficult to run away.” Tang Wenxi blinked and gave a sly smile, “There is only such a chance. You listen to me. When I stand up, you run and run in the direction of the car’s rear. Isn’t the text message already sent out? You go find that Dora-Hum-Hum, I don’t know what else, don’t…”
Yi Hui wanted to stop him, but it was too late. The skinny man walked up to them saying, “You have a good eye”. Tang Wenxi finally hooked Yi Hui’s fingers, as if silently telling him to listen. When the skinny man was next to him, he abruptly let go of Yi Hui’s hand, jumped up to his feet and rushed forward with his body bent.
Everything happened too fast. Yi Hui had no choice. He gritted his teeth, got up and ran to the alley as Tang Wenxi said. There was a muffled sound from behind and he turned his head to look halfway. Tang Wenxi was knocked to the ground with a stick. The skinny man was sitting on the ground, yelling: “He’s running away, running away, hurry up and catch him!”
Yi Hui wanted to go back and see how Tang Wenxi was doing. Thinking of his instructions and his wish, he turned his head and continued to run.
When he reached the entrance of the alley, the two people buried in the front of the car poked out their heads, unaware. The fat man was stunned for a while before he understood what was going on. With a “f*ck”, he hurriedly picked up the knife and chased after him.
Yi Hui couldn’t run fast, plus his hands were tied behind his back, so he couldn’t keep his balance. As soon as he was out of the alley, he tripped over a pit on the ground and plunged forward. Before he could get up, his collar was grabbed by the fat man.
The skinny man who came later picked up the tape and wrapped it around his mouth, so that he couldn’t scream anymore. Then his feet were tied up and Yi Hui was thrown into the cargo trunk of the car. The overhead cooler was working and the cold air filled the compartment with a humming sound.
The door was not closed, Yi Hui’s hands and feet were tied, and he couldn’t sit up even after turning over several times.
No one passed by in this kind of remote place. He could only look at the night outside with his eyes wide open and listen to the three of them discuss how to deal with him.
“Even if it can’t be repaired, it should be fine to drive to the mountain. Let’s go quickly, there can be no more delays.”
“There is still a section of road to go later, and if we lock him in, he will freeze to death.”
“Why don’t you open the cargo trunk door?”
“Stupid, won’t he be discovered if you open the door?”
“Then drive faster, throw him on the mountain and leave.”
“Will this work…”
“Why not, not to mention freezing to death in the car, who do you think will survive the mountains in this weather?”
“What about the kid who was caught by accident?”
“Just throw him here. He’s knocked out, I guess he’ll wake up in a while and won’t die.”
Hearing this, Yi Hui breathed a sigh of relief; Tang Wenxi was fine.
After the three of them had finished discussing, two men opened the door and got in the car. The skinny man walked around to the trunk and stepped on the ladder to close the door of the cargo trunk. Yi Hui struggled again, and while the door was not tightly closed, he used the strength he gathered to open the door and roll out. .
The distance from the cargo trunk to the ground was quite high, and Yi Hui’s vision went black with pain the moment his body landed. He tried desperately to stay awake, recalling the self-defense method taught by Zhou Jinheng. He bent his legs to accumulate strength and slammed his feet when the skinny man came close. The skinny man fell to the ground with an “ow”.
However, this trick could only be used to delay time and enough to deal with one person only. The two people who had already gotten into the car heard the sound, lifted Yi Hui up again and threw him into the car.
The skinny man suffered a few losses from two unarmed people who were tied up. He was so angry that he raised a stick to beat Yi Hui up. He was pulled away by the one who repaired the car: “Forget it, forget it, it’s been too long, there will be police patrols later. Let’s go.”
The fat man and the car repairer returned to the car. The skinny man stepped on the ladder and spat at Yi Hui: “Little brat, you’ll die by Lao Zi’s hand.”
After the toss just now, Yi Hui couldn’t muster any strength anymore. He could barely open his eyes, watching the car door close slowly, lying back limp and powerless.
When encountering this kind of thing, it was impossible not to be afraid. He once died in the mountains, and he wondered if the mountains they talked about were colder than this refrigerated trunk.
He didn’t know if anyone would come to save him this time.
After waiting for a while, he didn’t hear the sound of the door closing and locking.
Yi Hui took a deep breath, pricked up his ears and listened intently. Only a few muffled thumps of flesh on flesh could be distinguished, interspersed with a few yells of pain.
He thought that the three of them were fighting and he held up his head with difficulty, just in time to see the door that was about to be closed suddenly open wide and a familiar figure surrounded by street lights appeared in front of his eyes.
“HuiHui, are you in there?”
The moment he heard this voice, Yi Hui’s heart suddenly began to beat wildly. Not the heartbeat of fear and panic, but the one of relief and joy after having waited for a long, long time and finally getting there.
He had come.
After Zhou Jinheng made sure that Yi Hui was inside, he raised his leg and climbed up to the cargo trunk.
The temperature inside was very low. He could feel the biting cold when he touched the edge. He was so anxious to get Yi Hui home that he didn’t notice one of the three men he had taken down behind him standing up with a knife.
The shout of “Hui” was replaced halfway with a muffled groan. Zhou Jinheng half fell on the edge of the trunk, then pushed himself up sharply. He jumped in, rolled to Yi Hui’s side, held his head and picked him up, first removing the tape wrapped around his mouth.
“Door, door…” Yi Hui, who was just able to speak, hissed, not bothering to catch his breath.
But it was too late. The moment Zhou Jinheng turned his head, the door of the cargo trunk was closed heavily and the world was completely plunged into darkness.
In the dark, he untied the rope on his hands and feet. Yi Hui’s limbs that had been tied for a long time were still stiff, so Zhou Jinheng hugged him into his arms: “Don’t be afraid, I’m here, don’t be afraid…”
Tears that had been suppressed for a long time slipped silently down his cheeks at this moment. Yi Hui opened his mouth. He had a lot to say, but he couldn’t say a word. He could only shake his head desperately telling him that he was not afraid.
Zhou Jinheng rushed all the way and had a fight, but he didn’t lose what he brought. He took off the scarf and wrapped it around Yi Hui patiently: “It’s a bit cold, put the scarf on first.”
The car started and drove somewhere. Yi Hui sat on his knees in embarrassment, letting Zhou Jinheng fiddle with him. In the dark, he seemed to be able to see his eyes looking at him, as bright and reassuring as he had seen in his dreams.
“You…” Yi Hui said stumblingly, “How did you know I was asking for help.”
When he woke up in the alley, Tang Wenxi’s mobile phone was no longer on his body but Yi Hui’s was spared because it was hidden in the pants pocket under his coat.
Yi Hui had just received a text message from Zhou Jinheng the moment before he was knocked out. He was walking on the road thinking about how to reply, so he unlocked the text message interface with his hands behind his back. He didn’t have time to switch and typed on the keyboard by memory. He knew that the message had been sent out but he didn’t expect Zhou Jinheng to guess it so quickly and rush over so quickly.
“I didn’t know you were asking for help, I thought–” Zhou Jinheng pulled down the scarf he had just tied, held Yi Hui’s face, leaned over and dropped a soft kiss on his lips.
“You just sent a ‘3’, I thought you were asking for a kiss.” Zhou Jinheng said, smiling, “The opportunity was rare. I was afraid that you would regret it, so I came here as soon as possible.”
There was still a touch of lingering dampness on his lips. Yi Hui was frozen for a moment and then realized that Zhou Jinheng was joking to cheer him up. He couldn’t laugh under these dangerous circumstances. He raised his hand and pushed him, and heard a suppressed cry of pain.
Yi Hui hurriedly sat up, holding his shoulders and groping around to check: “What’s the matter, where does it hurt?”
There was no light source in the cargo trunk, and after touching for a long time, he didn’t find anything. Zhou Jinheng pressed his hand down gently: “Good boy, don’t touch. It’s too cold here. You will catch a cold. Let’s go home and…”
The temperature in the cargo trunk was getting lower, and every time he said a word there was a spray of hot air on Yi Hui’s face. The more Zhou Jinheng evaded him in such an unusual manner, the more Yi Hui felt alarmed: “What’s wrong, where are you hurt, let me see.”
Zhou Jinheng couldn’t cope with him. Sighing, he leaned forward and hugged him again: “Let your husband hug you for a while, just for a while.”
Yi Hui was silent, and the movement of his hands stopped.
Their chests were close together, the different frequencies of their heartbeats transmitted to each other through the skin. In a daze, Yi Hui seemed to have returned to his previous life. The man holding him casually called himself “husband” and when he was sad, he curled his lips in a smile and said, “What’s there to cry for, isn’t your husband here?”
Yi Hui choked, slowly raised his arms and hugged Zhou Jinheng back.
In the airtight compartment, the smell of rust solidified as soon as it was released into the air. Zhou Jinheng seemed to be enduring great pain and, as if he had exhausted all his strength in the struggle just now, the weight of his body was pressing on Yi Hui little by little.
The hand that rested on his broad back first felt a raised object like a knife handle. Yi Hui did not dare to breathe, did not dare to exert any strength at all, and moved his left hand slowly downwards, feeling his trembling palm fill with a sticky liquid.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” Zhou Jinheng closed his eyes and whispered in Yi Hui’s ear, his breathing rapid and weak, “This time, I’m not too late.”