Although Yi Hui in the past was not smart and his intelligence was equivalent to that of a young child, he actually didn’t like to cry very much.
He knew he had grown taller and had been in the world longer than those children. His mother didn’t cry when she was sick and in pain and his brother didn’t cry when he was busy at work. He was an adult just like them. Crying couldn’t solve any problems and it was very embarrassing.
But for some reason, as long as Zhou Jinheng was there, he couldn’t help it.
He was crying the first time they met.
It was a spring afternoon, and a ray of the slanting sun swept in along the edge of the window, dividing the drawing paper in front of him into light and dark halves. The students in the front row were drawing sketches and the rustle of pencils rubbing against the paper made the atmosphere of the entire studio very peaceful.
Yi Hui was sitting in the corner of the back row. The more anxious he felt, the more his hand holding a brush trembled. The moment the tip of the brush approached the paper, it trembled even more and the lines that came out were crooked, twisted, and very ugly.
He bit his lower lip, controlled his wrist and tried to get rid of the distracting thoughts. His mother was waiting for him in the hospital, waiting for him to finish his painting of the flowers outside the window to bring to her.
Although everyone kept it a secret from him, he still guessed from his mother’s half-conscious state and the doctor’s expression when he spoke that his mother would leave him soon.
His mother said that she wanted to see the flowers in spring, how could he not satisfy her wish?
Thinking of this, Yi Hui took a deep breath, changed to a new drawing paper and opened his eyes desperately, holding his breath. Just as he was about to start drawing, there was a slight click behind him.
The window opened, first in a slit, then letting in the pouring sunlight. Then a figure blocked most of the light, grabbed the edge of the window with both hands, stretched out their long legs and jumped down neatly.
It was a young boy.
The window was very small, but the boy was very tall. It could be seen that it was not the first time that he had done this kind of thing.
When he got into the studio, the boy patted his hands, dusting them off casually, and put one hand back in his pocket. When he turned around, there was still a trace of triumph on his face that he hadn’t had time to hide.
Then he met Yi Hui’s inquiring gaze.
His expression turned gloomy very quickly, covering a little discomfort and embarrassment, and the boy preemptively stared fiercely: “What are you looking at?”
Yi Hui shook his head, trying to say that he didn’t do it on purpose. Perhaps the sunlight outside the window was too dazzling. As he blinked, the tears that had been in his eyes for a long time burst out.
The boy obviously didn’t expect to scare someone into crying. He said “Hey” uncomfortably. He took two steps forward and pulled out his hand from the pocket of his pants to grope the pocket of his school uniform. He didn’t find anything. He said awkwardly: “What are you crying for?”
Yi Hui turned away embarrassedly, clutching his cuffs and wiping his tears indiscriminately while shaking his head, meaning “It’s none of your business”, but the boy misunderstood. Seeing that there was no teacher on the platform, he strode around him, squatted down, raised his head and observed: “You’re really crying… am I that fierce?”
There was impatience and chagrin in the boy’s tone, and Yi Hui was extremely embarrassed to hear it. However, he felt so sad and he couldn’t stop his tears once he started crying. He simply let go and wept, covering his face with his arms, trying not to make a sound.
After venting enough, he sobbed and put down his arms, and with his eyes blurred by tears, he saw that the boy was still there.
“Finished crying?” The boy sneered but his expression did not show contempt. He handed over a handkerchief that he had found somewhere, “Wipe it. If I scared you just now… sorry.”
The boy was obviously not good at behaving humbly and apologizing. With his neck strained, he looked like he was refusing to admit his mistake and his eyes moved away, not meeting Yi Hui’s gaze.
Yi Hui, conscious of the trouble he was causing, took the handkerchief and whispered “Thank you”.
He wanted to wipe his tears and snot clean and explain to the boy that he didn’t cry because of him, but the boy stood up and wandered to the seat at the back of the studio. Three chairs were grouped together there. He laid down, picked up a book to cover his face, crossed his legs and fell asleep.
Yi Hui had many doubts in his heart. Who was he? Why did he want to come in through the window?
But these things were not important and they were not what he should have asked.
Folding the handkerchief carefully, Yi Hui focused and continued to draw.
After crying, his mood was really much more comfortable and once he was fully engaged, his efficiency also increased. Not long after, the drawing paper was covered with soft lines. A thin branch curved up, full of budding and already blooming flowers mixed together.
“The painting’s not bad.”
The moment the voice suddenly sounded above his head, Yi Hui was startled and his hand couldn’t help but slacken.
The boy stretched out his hand to catch the brush and stuffed it back into Yi Hui’s fingers: “Am I really that scary?”
Yi Hui tilted his head slightly, facing the boy’s bleary, half-narrowed sleepy eyes. He yawned as if there was no one else around and continued to evaluate the painting, pointing his slender finger on the drawing paper: “Here and here, it would be better to have a brighter colour.”
Listening to his low, lazy voice and his casual tone, Yi Hui took a closer look at the two places he was referring to and found that what he said made sense.
“Thank you, thank you.” Yi Hui thanked him again, moved his butt to the side and invited the boy to sit down.
The boy waved his hand, raised his arms and stretched out. He twisted his neck and glanced towards the front: “If you really want to thank me, draw me a picture next time.”
Yi Hui nodded solemnly: “What, what picture?”
“A portrait.” The boy squinted his eyes and smiled at him, then put his index finger to his lips, lowered his voice and said, “It’s a secret between us, don’t tell anyone.”
This was their first encounter.
At that time, Zhou Jinheng was still studying, and with the vigour of a teenager, he recklessly entered Yi Hui’s world and was carefully cherished by Yi Hui in his heart along with the scent of flowers and the sounds of birds of that spring afternoon.
Later, when they met again at the blind date dinner, Yi Hui thought it was fate. Even if the other party no longer remembered their first encounter in the studio that day, Yi Hui still believed that they had a lot of time in the future and he could slowly make him remember, and then make more and better memories.
He immersed himself in this sweetness on his own initiative, ignoring the reason why Zhou Jinheng appeared in the studio at the time, as well as the disinterest and boredom Zhou Jinheng hardly concealed when facing him.
There were some things in his previous life that he didn’t understand until the end but he suddenly had an epiphany after changing his body. Yi Hui smiled bitterly. In the past, he thought that by working hard, he would be no different from normal people. Now he knew that stupidity really came from nature, otherwise he would not have been dying and still doing silly things until the end of his life.
Jiang Xuemei was about to come back. Jiang Yimang sat aside and observed Yi Hui. Seeing him crying and laughing, she didn’t dare to say anything.
After a while, Yi Hui comforted her: “I’m fine, don’t worry.”
Jiang Yimang was still suspicious: “Then… why did you cry just now?”
Yi Hui thought for a while and said, “There was sand in my eyes.”
“Che, are you fooling a kid?” Jiang Yimang rolled her eyes fiercely and then began to use her imagination, “Let me guess… In fact, you are also a fan of HengHeng, right? The hidden kind, you’re afraid that people say you are a big old man who is chasing stars, oh – no wonder you were in a hurry to get away from the hotel just now, knowing you’d cry if you saw your idol, right?”
Yi Hui was speechless with his sister’s sky-breaking brain but could not think of any other better explanation, so he simply did not answer.
Jiang Yimang thought he had acquiesced and bounced on the bed, saying that there was a fan meeting tomorrow and asking Yi Hui to go with her.
“I’m not going.” Yi Hui avoided instinctively, “I didn’t sleep well yesterday, so I want to sleep a little longer.”
Jiang Yimang held his arm coquettishly: “Why don’t you just go to bed early tonight? The competition is the day after tomorrow, so come with me tomorrow, okay, brother?”
Yi Hui was softened by her “brother” call and said helplessly: “Want to see me cry again?”
Recalling his face wet with tears, Jiang Yimang shuddered, weighed it again, let go of his arm and decided to give up.
He was crying so frighteningly at that time. He obviously didn’t make a sound, but his empty eyes seemed to be filled with boundless despair as if one could drown in them.
In the Garden Hotel not far away, Zhou Jinheng, who had just returned from the company, was worrying about tomorrow’s meeting.
Who had an idea of holding a fan meeting at this time? He had never bothered to put on a fake smile in front of people. If Yi Hui did not show up, he would probably go on stage with a black face tomorrow and then be criticized by major media outlets for acting like a big shot.
Where the h*ll did the little fool go? Zhou Jinheng didn’t know how many times he asked this question today.
But there was no answer. His mind was in a mess and he couldn’t figure out a clue to follow. The overwhelming irritability almost swallowed his last trace of sanity.
Zhou Jinheng’s mobile phone hadn’t been ringing for a long time after the Weibo message was sent out. He couldn’t wait. He returned to the capital and settled down. On the way out of the hotel to the company, he called the old b*stard and asked if the little fool had contacted him.
The old b*stard held a grudge and said sarcastically: “He’s your spouse and you don’t know where he’s gone, so you come and ask me, his father-in-law?”
Zhou Jinheng gritted his teeth: “Legally speaking, he is not my spouse yet.“ He was afraid that if the old b*stard felt unhappy, he wouldn’t tell him even if he had news, so he suppressed his temper and said, “If he contacts you, please let me know as soon as possible.”
Before hanging up the phone, he still had to listen to a lecture. Because the promise to take Yi Hui to the family gathering fell through, the old b*stard felt humiliated and scolded him for his incompetence and for not even being able to coax a fool.
Zhou Jinheng was so angry at the time that he almost bought a plane ticket and went back to kick the newly rescued snowflakes (flower) to death again.
Now that he had calmed down, he felt that the old b*stard’s provocative tactics were as ridiculous as ever.
It’s not that he couldn’t coax, it’s that he didn’t bother to coax at all. The little fool was so clingy that he didn’t need to do anything, he just followed him around anyway. Even if he got angry, it didn’t last long. A casual apology, and the little fool would stop hiding and would smile.
Even so, Zhou Jinheng decided to step down on his pride and take the initiative to find him. It was just this once, let’s just take pity on him for not coming home for half a month. He must have been crying somewhere, waiting for Zhou Jinheng to go and find him.
After two years in the entertainment industry, Zhou Jinheng was also familiar with the ways of the world and was reluctant to seek help from his dog friends in S City. He was afraid to owe others. After thinking about it, he dialed a number marked “Yang Chengxuan”.
Listening to him explain, Yang Chengxuan pondered for a moment and asked, “Isn’t Fang Yuqing back?”
Zhou Jinheng felt puzzled: “What does his coming back have to do with me looking for the little fool?”
Yang Chengxuan chuckled: “I thought you would dump that fool.”
Zhou Jinheng was stunned. Fang Yuqing has been back home for several days. They talked on the phone and had dinner together. He reminisced about the past and looked forward to the future. During this time, he never had the idea of getting rid of the little fool.
The Zhou family chose to marry the Yi family because they were in dire straits and needed help. After two years, the Zhou family’s business was back on track again. The old b*stard did not let him back out of this marriage because he was afraid that outsiders would say that their family had crossed the river and demolished the bridge. But why did he never think about backing out of this marriage either?
This so-called marriage had always been a joke in Zhou Jinheng’s eyes. If Fang Yuqing hadn’t left him to go abroad, he would have never agreed so easily. But he was disheartened and disillusioned.
If being an actor was the only thing that allowed him to regain his fighting spirit, then entering into such a ridiculous marriage relationship with Yi Hui was to distract him and alleviate the pain of lovesickness. In layman’s terms, it was for healing.
No matter how high-sounding the excuse was, it was undeniable that he and the Zhou family had used Yi Hui. The difference was that the Zhou family used him openly and he used him secretly. In comparison, he was more despicable.
Let’s be nice to him in the future, Zhou Jinheng thought, so that when the time comes for us to really separate, we won’t feel guilty about it.
What’s more, the little fool was so easy to coax, if he went back to his home in S City a few more times a month, he would be so happy that he would soar.
What was important was to get the little fool back first.
At the end of the call just now, Yang Chengxuan reminded him that he needed to recall the last time he met or talked with the little fool. Zhou Jinheng tried to recall, but he didn’t have a clue even though he got a headache from thinking.
It was his birthday that day. He only remembered that he had drunk a lot of alcohol and his mind was muddled. Before that, he seemed to have promised the little fool to spend time together and then he received a call.……
Right at that moment the mobile phone thrown on the bed rang loudly.
It was his brother-in-law again, Cheng Feichi.
Pinching the center of his eyebrows and taking two deep breaths, Zhou Jinheng sat down by the bed and accepted the call.
The man on the other end was the first to speak: “Has Yi Hui come home yet?”
Zhou Jinheng usually had little contact with this high-ranking brother-in-law of his and they had little understanding of each other. It made sense that he should be a very easy-going person in private, otherwise the little fool would not be so close to him. But once the titular brother-in-law turned to face him, his attitude immediately sharpened. There was no trace of kinship and the undisguised indifference could be felt across the phone line.
Zhou Jinheng’s attitude naturally didn’t get any better either: “No, I asked someone to check it out and there should be results soon.”
Cheng Feichi asked rhetorically: “Why aren’t you looking for him?”
“I have looked for him, I have searched all the places I could,” Zhou Jinheng said angrily, “Who knows where he is hiding?”
Cheng Feichi said solemnly: “I should ask you that.”
Zhou Jinheng almost laughed angrily: “What, did he inform me before he ran away from home, or did he leave me any clues? I am not a roundworm in his belly. God knows whether he will go east or go west after he leaves the house, and whether he will go to heaven or enter the earth?”
He was talking confidently but doubts grew in his mind.
He faintly realized that something was wrong.
The Yi family had a lot of power in S City. Even if the old man of the Yi family was too lazy to take care of this stupid kid, the brother-in-law would not let it go. However, Cheng Feichi’s call to him meant that he had not found anything.
He thought that the man on the other end would hang up unceremoniously after hearing these words but he didn’t.
The two fell into silence at the same time. After about half a minute, Zhou Jinheng was about to ask him when he last contacted Yi Hui. The man on the other end of the phone said first: “Half a month ago, the night before I went abroad, Yi Hui sent me a text message.”
Zhou Jinheng couldn’t help but prick up his ears: “What did he send?”
After another two or three seconds of silence, Cheng Feichi said word for word: “He wrote, ‘Brother, he treats me very well, don’t worry about me anymore.’ ”