Chapter 6: The Forgotten Corner
Tang Lin’s voice dissipated in the living room. Perhaps it was only one or two seconds, but for Fan Peiyang, who was standing there, it felt like a century.
Tang Lin’s reaction was wrong.
In that moment when he was called, countless speculations and deductions rushed into Fan Peiyang’s brain. Or perhaps they had been lurking there all along, waiting for an opportunity. These rational, irrational, scientific, absurd, rigorous, and insane scenarios, all the various catastrophic consequences that Fan Peiyang had preconceived, now poured out.
To contain all of this, Fan Peiyang had to exert almost all his strength.
Finally, he turned around in silence.
All the joy, excitement, anticipation, and eagerness that couldn’t be concealed earlier had vanished from his eyes. Only Tang Lin’s figure remained, lonely and reflected in those deep black eyes.
“Do you not know what I’m doing?” He countered Tang Lin. Inside, his world was in turmoil, but he didn’t reveal a trace of it in his voice.
As their eyes locked, Tang Lin suddenly felt a bit flustered. For a brief moment, he thought he might have made a mistake.
Yet, in the end, he shook his head and said, “I really don’t know.”
Fan Peiyang tilted his head slightly and narrowed his eyes, a habit he had when scrutinizing and thinking deeply.
He wanted to identify the change in Tang Lin, to contrast this Tang Lin with the one from before, and pinpoint where the issue lay.
It wasn’t his personality.
When he woke up outside the Wishing House, he was clearly bewildered and skeptical but still managed to mock Fan Peiyang’s clumsy lies—that was Tang Lin.
Knowing that Fan Peiyang had used a wish to make him healthy, he gave a genuine hug and thanked him—that was Tang Lin.
He would smile warmly in front of others, but he would reveal his true nature, cold and aloof, only when they were alone—still Tang Lin.
But the old Tang Lin wouldn’t have pushed him away.
If the stationery hadn’t caused any change in his personality, the only remaining possibility was his memories.
“Are you planning to stand there until daybreak?” Tang Lin’s eyes were getting tired after staring at Fan Peiyang for so long.
Fan Peiyang finally took a step forward, approaching him.
Instinctively, Tang Lin leaned back a little. He had just recovered from a serious illness and couldn’t resist being tackled over and over again.
Unexpectedly, when Fan Peiyang reached him, he simply turned and sat back in his original seat.
“I’ll ask, you answer,” Fan Peiyang said.
Tang Lin sat upright and attentive, “Alright.”
Fan Peiyang asked, “Do you remember this place?”
Tang Lin replied, “Of course, this is your villa, and the only reason you bought it was because it’s close to our company.”
“Our company?” Fan Peiyang’s tone slightly raised as he grasped the key point.
“The company we co-founded,” Tang Lin replied. “Or did you take the opportunity to transfer assets while I was ill?”
Fan Peiyang didn’t pay attention to the joke and continued to stare at him intently. “Indeed, it’s a company we established together, so you are also the CEO.”
“I didn’t even know I got promoted,” Tang Lin raised an eyebrow, his tone becoming colder. “Fan Peiyang, if you continue with this kind of trap-style questioning, I’m not playing along.”
“You remember it all?”
“I remember everything,” Tang Lin said, unsure of what Fan Peiyang was trying to prove. “I may have something wrong in my head, but I’m not stupid. If you ask me about the financial statements from two years ago, I can still recite them.”
Fan Peiyang commented, “You are the best Chief Financial Officer.”
Tang Lin: “”An objective fact.”
“My Chief Financial Officer.”
Tang Lin: “…….”
Tang Lin felt that there was something strange about the way Fan Peiyang said it.
The night grew darker, but moonlight couldn’t penetrate the room. The lights were too bright, almost blinding and dizzying.
Fan Peiyang’s calm face revealed no emotions, no one could tell that his mind was racing, analyzing everything that had happened since Tang Lin stopped him. From being called by Tang Lin to now, he hadn’t stopped processing it for a moment.
Tang Lin remembered the company, his position, getting sick, and even their shared experience of starting a business together. So he didn’t have amnesia? But if he remembered everything, then why…
“Do you remember this place?” he suddenly spoke again.
Tang Lin was puzzled, “You’ve already asked that question.”
“I mean,” Fan Peiyang paused, “do you remember the interior decoration here?”
Tang Lin’s eyes flickered with emotion for a split second, “Are you sure you want to talk about this?”
Fan Peiyang remained resolute, unmoving like a mountain.
“Fine,” Tang Lin acquiesced. He looked around the living room as if he were an emotionless assassin. “No matter how many times we’ve discussed it, I’m willing to say it again: your taste is absolutely terrible…”
Fan Peiyang interrupted, “When we were decorating, I asked for your opinion.”
Tang Lin responded, “Yes, and after I provided you with countless style suggestions like retro European, American country, new Chinese, Mediterranean, and more, you chose an extremely minimalistic and cold style.”
Even though he had been mocked, Fan Peiyang’s mood lightened considerably, there was a subtle change in his voice as he asked, “What did you say when you came to visit the villa right after the renovation was completed?”
Tang Lin thought carefully for a while but couldn’t recall anything particularly memorable. “Sorry, I really can’t remember that.”
Fan Peiyang was taken aback. His hope had just emerged, only to be dashed unexpectedly.
At that time, Tang Lin had said: Fan Peiyang, you’ve successfully dispelled my desire for cohabitation.
He hadn’t intentionally committed it to memory, but he remembered. Yet Tang Lin, who was so attentive, had forgotten.
“But I remember this,” Tang Lin tried to make amends, sensing Fan Peiyang’s disappointment. He raised his head and looked at a potted crane orchid not far away. “I gave this to you, and it hadn’t bloomed when I gave it to you.”
It was a pot of crane orchids, standing by the French window. It had grown tall and lush, and above the crowded leaves, three peculiarly shaped flowers with bright orange and a hint of purple resembled three birds about to take flight.
“You’ve taken good care of it,” Tang Lin added a dry compliment after some hesitation.
Fan Peiyang responded, “When you brought it over, you said something too.”
Tang Lin: “……”
Fan Peiyang: “You forgot?”
Tang Lin: “I never knew your memory was so good.”
Fan Peiyang: “It’s your memory that has worsened.”
Back then, Tang Lin had said: President Fan, this plant is much more delicate than me. Please don’t let it die no matter what.
He asked: What if it dies?
The reply he received was: Then I won’t want you anymore.
He hadn’t given Tang Lin the chance to not want him. The crane orchid thrived, but the one who sent it had forgotten everything.
There was no need for any more absurd question and answer games. The situation couldn’t be more apparent. Tang Lin remembered everything but had forgotten their emotional connection.
Fan Peiyang couldn’t understand it.
In his hand, he held the healing stationery, along with “[Heal] Recovery from Serious Illness” and “[Heal] Hua Tuo in the World.” However, he didn’t want to be just on the road to recovery; he wanted to be fully healed. He also couldn’t fully trust Hua Tuo because even miracle doctors had illnesses they couldn’t cure. So, he ultimately chose “[Heal] As Good as New.”
He was prepared for any stationery to produce unexpected effects, and even Tang Lin’s memories reverting to before his illness could be explained. But that stationery was like a surgical knife, precisely removing all the fragments related to his and Tang Lin’s relationship. Why?
“If you have no more question now…” Tang Lin said, “Can I ask a question?”
Fan Peiyang snapped back to attention, meeting Tang Lin’s cold gaze. “Do you want to ask if your memory is faulty?”
Tang Lin replied, “You wouldn’t ask me those questions for no reason.”
Fan Peiyang smiled briefly, though the smile didn’t reach his eyes before dissipating. “It’s not a big issue; you just forgot the relationship between us.”
Tang Lin asked, “What relationship?”
Fan Peiyang: “The kind that rationalizes the series of actions I just took.”
Tang Lin’s brows furrowed deeply. He rarely did this; usually, even if he was unhappy or troubled, he would only furrow his brows slightly. But now, he couldn’t control himself. What Fan Peiyang had said was too incredulous, and he couldn’t stay composed.
If anyone else had pinned him down on the couch and, after being rejected, told him that they could do such a thing because of their relationship, regardless of who it was, except for Fan Peiyang, he could make them regret knowing him.
But it had to be Fan Peiyang.
This was his friend from the past, someone he could have staked his life on. Moreover, just a few hours ago, this person had used a wish to give him a new lease on life.
“Evidence,” Tang Lin took a deep breath, trying to keep his composure. “You say we have such a relationship, where’s the evidence?”
Without hesitation, Fan Peiyang stood up, walked out of the living room.
He returned with various items – a suit, a shirt, pajamas, slippers, toiletries, and more.
The clothes were in Tang Lin’s size, the slippers were a designer original he loved, and the toiletries didn’t indicate ownership, but there were duplicates of everything, enough to prove that there was a resident or someone who could stay over at any time at Fan Peiyang’s place.
“They’re all mine,” Tang Lin claimed without hesitation.
“Is that enough?”
Tang Lin pursed his lips and, after a long silence, sighed in resignation. “These can only prove that I often stay here. In fact, even before you bought this place, I often spent the night at your old house. Your houses were always better than mine.”
Fan Peiyang stared at him intensely, his gaze carrying an overwhelming pressure, and he asked, almost word by word, “So, what evidence do you want?”
Tang Lin didn’t hesitate and met that gaze head-on. “Our together photos, love letters, chat logs… or maybe some videos,” he casually shrugged, “if there are any.”
Fan Peiyang fell silent.
“None of them?” Tang Lin squinted suspiciously. “Even if we were too busy for romance, there isn’t even a chat log that can prove our relationship?”
Fan Peiyang replied, “We usually don’t chat on our phones; we call each other if we need to.”
Tang Lin retorted, “Clearly, you don’t have the habit of recording phone calls.”
The grandfather clock emitted a soft “tick,” a small mechanical sound as the hour, minute, and second hands aligned perfectly.
It was twelve o’clock, midnight.
Tang Lin had spent the entire night sitting with Fan Peiyang in the living room, and they hadn’t made any significant breakthroughs.
“I’m going to sleep in the guest room.” He said. He didn’t want to stay up all night on the first day of regaining his health. Besides, the oppressive atmosphere in the living room was becoming unbearable.
Fan Peiyang stood up as well.
Tang Lin didn’t say anything. He walked to the guest room where he usually stayed, opened the door, and found that the room’s furnishings remained unchanged.
Once inside, Tang Lin turned to close the door, but Fan Peiyang took a long step and entered.
Tang Lin raised an eyebrow. “What’s this supposed to mean?”
“Maybe trying it out will clarify everything,” Fan Peiyang said naturally.
Tang Lin stared at him for a solid two seconds, then raised his hand and pushed him out cleanly.
Fan Peiyang stood in front of the tightly closed solid wood door, he didn’t appear too frustrated because of being expelled.
This was expected.
Tang Lin’s memory loss, on the other hand, was unexpected.
When he had just learned about the Wishing House, he thought it was the luckiest thing that had ever happened to him.
Now he realized that luck had a price.
Separated by a single door, Tang Lin lay down on the bed and took his phone out for the first time that night.
Why not watch it in the living room? Perhaps subconsciously, he was also a bit afraid.
After returning from that strange place, he had been busy with his return to Beijing, medical examinations, and hospitalization. During this time, he had hardly touched his phone. If what Fan Peiyang said was true, and he had lost some memories, maybe his current recognition of his own phone was also missing.
There was no evidence on Fan Peiyang’s phone.
Would there be any on his?
He turned off the overhead light, turned on the bedside lamp, and the room dimmed.
Tang Lin unlocked his phone, scrolled through chat apps, then checked his messages, calls, notes, and memos.
There was truly nothing, the only thing he could confirm was that he had frequent phone conversations with Fan Peiyang.
Finally, he reached his photo album, which he had saved for last.
Gently tapping it open, he found that most recent photos were taken in the hospital: doctors, nurses, the park, flower beds, and also Dan Yunsong, and himself.
Even when he was sick, he didn’t forget to take selfies. Tang Lin was rather proud of his attitude.
Scrolling back, it was still the hospital. He hadn’t realized he had taken so many photos, as if he wanted to capture every moment of his life, especially the moments when he was unwell.
Going further back, it was finally before he got sick. The number of photos started to decrease, and sometimes he wouldn’t take any for two months.
The timeline suddenly sped up, and with just a couple of swipes, he went back four years.
Tang Lin’s scrolling finger suddenly stopped at a selfie.
It was from four years ago, in September, with the timestamp reading 23:15.
Fan Peiyang was sitting on the couch he had just occupied, seemingly asleep. The owner of the phone had sneakily kissed him and shamelessly taken a photo together.
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