Watching a scary movie before going to bed, Xie Min’s sleep was affected. His dreams became a bit frightening.
He had another dream where he found himself in darkness, wrapped in a thin film. Many needles poked the film, causing him some pain but not too intense. It made him panic. He moved around, trying to avoid the needles, and slept very tired.
Finally, in the morning, he managed to escape from the needle pricks, and Sui Yang started calling him to wake up.
Sui Yang scratched Xie Min’s hand. He pushed back with closed eyes, but he couldn’t push anything away. Feeling exhausted, he crawled under the pillow like a tired rabbit, and weakly scolded Sui Yang, “Didn’t you say you were going to work and I could stay home?”
“Didn’t I tell you last night? Mr. Wu came back from his business trip. Come to the company with me,” Sui Yang gently dragged Xie Min by his hind legs, pulling him out from under the pillow, and said, “Why do you sleep so much?”
Then he held Xie Min in his hands and told him to wake up.
“I can’t wake up,” Xie Min was annoyed, and he angrily mumbled, “Baby rabbits sleep a lot. I’m a baby rabbit.”
He heard Sui Yang laughing at him. Sui Yang said, “You can sleep on the way. Don’t you want to know the progress?”
Xie Min could never argue with Sui Yang, and Sui Yang made a valid point. So he reluctantly agreed, “Okay, fine.” He allowed Sui Yang to put him in his pocket and took away his chance to relax at home alone.
Sui Yang came to wake him up only after having breakfast and didn’t speak to Xie Min along the way.
Xie Min dozed off, half asleep and half awake, until he reached Sui Yang’s office. He finally woke up but didn’t feel like talking. Like a wise little rabbit, he sat calmly on Sui Yang’s desk.
Sui Yang dealt with some documents, took a call from his secretary, and then gently touched Xie Min’s rabbit face. “Are you awake?”
Xie Min didn’t know what was wrong with him. He felt mentally unwell and weakly replied with a “Hmm.” Sui Yang then said, “Mr. Wu has arrived. He’ll be here in my office soon.”
“Should I go back into your pocket?” Xie Min suggested.
Not long after, Sui Yang’s door was knocked open.
A solidly built middle-aged man walked in and said, “Mr. President, do you need something?”
Sui Yang had mentioned to Xie Min last night that this vice president was named Wu Kaikang. He used to be his father’s old subordinate and one of the few remaining veterans in the company.
Every time the company opened a new production line, Mr. Wu had to find a master to perform a ritual. Some executives in the company had objections to this, but Mr. Wu was diligent in his work and had extensive management experience. Sui Yang believed it was harmless and never interfered.
Sui Yang asked him to sit down and inquired about the details of his business trip. Then he brought up the main topic, “Did you mention to me that you found a master and became his disciple?”
“Yes, I asked to be the apprentice of Master Yi Zong from the outer sect,” Wu Kaikang said with a hint of pride.
“Could you tell me about Master Yi Zong’s areas of expertise?” Sui Yang cautiously chose his words, which inexplicably amused Xie Min. “I’ve been troubled lately and wanted to consult the master.”
“Oh,” Wu Kaikang paused for a moment, as if wanting to ask about the troubles but immediately suppressing his curiosity. He continued, “Master Yi Zong specializes in feng shui, divination, and destiny alteration. What kind of troubles do you have, Mr. President? If you’re interested, I can show you Master Yi Zong’s personal website where you can find his profile.”
He took out his phone, performed a few actions, and handed the phone to Sui Yang.
Xie Min couldn’t see the screen but could only see Sui Yang’s focused expression as he read.
After reading for a moment, Sui Yang returned the phone to Wu Kaikang and said, “Mr. Wu, could you help me contact Master Yi Zong? I want to communicate with him as soon as possible.”
Wu Kaikang readily agreed, took back the phone, dialed a number, and put it on speaker.
The person who answered the call sounded young and mentioned that the master was currently busy with a ritual and couldn’t talk.
Wu Kaikang asked if it was possible to schedule a consultation. The person checked the schedule and offered several available time slots, considering Wu Kaikang as half a fellow disciple and a loyal customer. They mentioned a discounted price of 2,800 yuan for the consultation and 8,800 yuan for resolving the issue, and requested the payment to be made to the original account.
Xie Min listened to the proficient and business-like tone of Master Yi Zong’s disciple and silently marked this path as unfeasible in his mind. However, Sui Yang remained unfazed and transferred the money, earnestly inquiring about the process. He also entered Master Yi Zong’s contact information and arranged a video call for 8:30 a.m. the day after tomorrow.
Once Wu Kaikang left, Xie Min couldn’t help but say, “Seems like it’s not very reliable.”
“You have to give it a try,” Sui Yang replied without affirming or denying. When Xie Min remained silent, Sui Yang continued, “Why don’t you accompany me to work the day after tomorrow? I have a meeting, so I’ll ask the secretary to reschedule it.”
Xie Min looked at him for a while and said, “Thank you.” Then he added, “Actually, if there’s a meeting, we can schedule it when you have free time. It doesn’t have to be the nearest available time.”
“It’s not an important meeting,” Sui Yang reassured, gently patting Xie Min’s front paw. Suddenly, he said, “Xie Min, you’ve become more sensible.”
The way he spoke made Xie Min feel like he was still the somewhat willful high school student. Xie Min didn’t particularly like it when Sui Yang said such things, as it brought up associations with the past, so he chose not to respond.
“Don’t worry too much,” Sui Yang, seemingly unaware of Xie Min’s resistance, consoled him. “Just treat it as a vacation in Yuanguang. It’s been a long time since you had a good rest, right?”
Sui Yang’s patience and tone were both natural. Xie Min couldn’t pinpoint what felt odd, but it indeed felt strange. It weighed on his mood, not lightening it, but rather adding to his inner turmoil.
He felt like he was being masochistic, wishing secretly that Sui Yang would be less kind to him. Perhaps he didn’t want to experience the pain again.
Sui Yang’s patience and natural demeanor didn’t necessarily imply ambiguity and thoughtfulness. It was more likely because Sui Yang was accustomed to being thorough and considerate.
Xie Min despised getting hurt. Right now, all he wanted was carefree happiness and to avoid further troubles caused by misinterpretation.
He had misinterpreted Sui Yang’s thoughtfulness before. He had learned from experience.
In his sophomore year, Xie Min couldn’t recall the exact month, perhaps it was November, he had a quarrel with Xie Cheng over a trivial matter, and they ended up fighting. Xie Min felt disgusted sitting on the same school bus with Xie Cheng and didn’t want to be in the same space with him at home either.
Jiang Ci had poor academic performance and had to attend tutoring sessions right after school. Xie Min had no one to turn to and nowhere to go. He spent a couple of nights wandering aimlessly until he decided to cross to Sui Yang’s library in a different district where he studied in the evenings. They worked on their physics experiment assignments together, and for some inexplicable reason, Xie Min started going there every day, staying until after nine before taking a taxi home.
At that time, Xie Min’s family business had grown larger, and his father was busy every day, barely present. He didn’t have time to manage Xie Min and Xie Cheng, so he hired a tutor to teach them at home. Xie Min excelled academically and never wanted to attend those sessions.
The library where Sui Yang stayed wasn’t very big but had a tranquil atmosphere, suitable for studying.
Despite Sui Yang teasing him all the time, Xie Min would still honestly admit that he enjoyed being with Sui Yang and understood why Sui Yang had been popular before. They spent several hours together every day, but Xie Min never felt that it was too long. In fact, he wanted to stay a bit longer each day, as going home meant facing Xie Cheng’s face, which annoyed him. However, Sui Yang considered it unsafe for Xie Min to return home too late, so he would urge Xie Min to leave by nine o’clock.
This went on for over a month. Xie Min privately believed that he and Sui Yang could be considered good friends. One morning, after class, he walked together with Jiang Ci and a few other classmates when they encountered Sui Yang walking towards them.
Apart from their lab classes, Xie Min rarely bumped into Sui Yang at school. So he felt somewhat delighted and approached Sui Yang with familiarity to greet him. However, this turned out to be the coldest encounter Xie Min could recall with Sui Yang. Sui Yang glanced at Xie Min, then at the people beside him, nodded at him, and walked away.
To be honest, Sui Yang wasn’t exactly impolite, but he suddenly became distant, leaving Xie Min feeling perplexed and somewhat hurt.
After school, Xie Min, still angry about Sui Yang’s behavior during the day, didn’t go to the library and instead wandered around the shopping mall alone.
As he strolled around, Xie Min couldn’t explain why, but he found himself wanting to buy things for Sui Yang. He managed to resist the urge. By the time it was past seven o’clock and Sui Yang hadn’t messaged him, Xie Min couldn’t understand his own intentions. He ended up taking a taxi to the library.
As soon as Xie Min got into the car, it started raining. When he arrived at his destination, the rain grew heavier instead of stopping.
There was a 200-meter stretch in front of the library where cars couldn’t pass. Xie Min could have asked the driver to turn back home directly, but he really wanted to see Sui Yang, rain or not. He braved the rain and got drenched while walking all the way to the library. When he entered, his coat was soaked through. Xie Min was on the verge of losing his temper. He walked angrily towards the reading room but soon saw Sui Yang coming out with his backpack.
Sui Yang noticed Xie Min’s bedraggled appearance and finally showed a hint of surprise. His brows furrowed as he asked Xie Min, “What happened?”
Still angry, Xie Min retorted in an annoyed tone, “It’s raining. What else could have happened?”
Finally, Sui Yang seemed to realize his guilt and felt remorse. Instead of engaging in a verbal battle with Xie Min, he took him to the restroom, removed his own coat, and gave it to Xie Min. Sui Yang touched Xie Min’s school sweater and said that Xie Min was soaked.
“It’s too cold like this,” he said to Xie Min, “Why don’t you come to my place, take a shower, and change into dry clothes? My house is very close.”
The restroom lacked sufficient heating, and Xie Min, caught up in his anger, hadn’t noticed it before. Now, he realized how cold he was, but still glancing at Sui Yang unhappily. Sui Yang’s expression turned somewhat helpless. He buttoned up the coat Xie Min was wearing, which happened to be his own, and said, “Let’s go, okay? You’ll catch a cold if you don’t take a shower. Let’s put the anger aside for now.”
Xie Min remembered wanting to say, “You know I’m angry too,” but Sui Yang’s soft-spoken manner made him feel a bit more forgiving. So he simply followed Sui Yang, quietly taking shelter under his umbrella as they made their way back to Sui Yang’s home.
It was a five-minute walk from the library to Baoqi Garden, and then an additional three minutes to reach Sui Yang’s house. Xie Min would later make this journey many times.
The first time they went, the rain stopped just as they reached Sui Yang’s building. Along the way, Sui Yang explained that he hadn’t greeted Xie Min properly at school because he didn’t want others to know about their close relationship, in order to spare Xie Min any trouble. Xie Min listened attentively.
Sui Yang lived on the fourth floor with his mother and grandmother.
On that day, his grandmother was sleeping, and his mother was stewing pork rib soup. When she came out and saw Xie Min, she wore a curious expression. She asked why this classmate was so wet and inquired about Xie Min’s name, mentioning that it was the first time Sui Yang had brought a classmate home.
She was very beautiful, with slender fingers, resembling an elegant and privileged lady. Although the house was not large, it was clean.
Sui Yang placed his hand on Xie Min’s shoulder, smiling as he said to his mother, “It’s because this classmate didn’t bring an umbrella and got caught in the rain.”
These were memories that Xie Min genuinely cherished from the depths of his heart, without any flaws or mistakes.
However, he thought that maybe his misinterpretation was also genuine because despite having a carefree life since childhood, he had never truly received love. So when he received even a small amount, he considered it significant, like a toddler encountering a golden retriever and believing it to be the biggest dog in the world.
It was likely that Sui Yang did indeed like him, just not to the extent that Xie Min had imagined.
Looking at Sui Yang, who was diligently working like a serious-minded rabbit, Xie Min thought to himself that this time he must not misinterpret again.
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