Xie Min spent the afternoon in Sui Yang’s office, receiving sunlight.
Sui Yang put a tablet in front of Xie Min and played movies for him. He even used a cigarette box to create a makeshift beach bed, allowing the toy bunny to relax and lie down.
The toy bunny’s carefree manner of watching movies made Sui Yang avoid switching modes to ensure Xie Min’s comfort. Whenever there were matters to attend to, Sui Yang went to the conference room.
The sun shone on the pink LEGO bunny, making its smooth plastic gleam. Xie Min felt like the king of this company, just a pair of sunglasses away from a true vacation.
Approaching four o’clock, Sui Yang answered a phone call.
During a break in the movie, Xie Min overheard Sui Yang speaking and realized it was Sui Yang’s mother on the other end of the line.
Sui Yang looked up at Xie Min, who was not far away. After a brief thought, he said “okay” several times before ending the call. Sui Yang then asked Xie Min, “Can you accompany me to my mom’s place for dinner tonight?”
“If you don’t want to go,” he said, “I’ll take you home first.”
Xie Min hadn’t seen Sui Yang’s mother for a long time. Since he really liked the family atmosphere, he said “yes.”
At half-past five, Sui Yang finished work, tidied up Xie Min’s vacation area, and took Xie Min downstairs.
He drove himself, placed Xie Min on the seat, fastened the seatbelt on the passenger side, and then secured Xie Min in the seatbelt. “Safe travel.”
Xie Min’s belly and hind legs were wrapped by the seatbelt, with the front legs resting on the strap. “Is this really necessary?”
“You are too light,” Sui Yang said as he checked Xie Min’s bunny ears, as if making sure they were secure. “You might fly out during braking.”
“I can stay in your pocket,” Xie Min reminded him, “or in the cup holder.”
“That wouldn’t have been respectful enough for Mr. Xie,” Sui Yang replied.
Xie Min didn’t feel like arguing with him and adjusted his sitting position, choosing to remain silent.
Sui Yang’s mother didn’t live too far from Sui Yang’s company.
Actually, Xie Min knew about her. She had remarried a well-known writer and was said to be living a very happy life.
After parking the car, Sui Yang put Xie Min in his pocket. Sui Yang’s mother lived on the first floor, and after a short walk, Sui Yang pressed the doorbell. Before long, Xie Min heard Auntie’s voice saying, “You’re here? It’s quite early today.”
Her voice had hardly changed in the past ten years, still smooth and pleasant. Sui Yang’s stepfather spoke in a kind manner, calling Sui Yang’s name and mentioning that he had bought a new can of tea, freshly brewed, urging Sui Yang to taste it quickly.
Xie Min crouched inside the pocket, with only a thin beam of light above. Perhaps out of boredom, Xie Min listened attentively to Sui Yang’s conversation with his family. Sui Yang’s mother and stepfather seemed to have a good relationship. Sui Yang’s mother complained that Sui Yang called less often, while the stepfather mentioned stewing an old duck and the flowers blooming in the yard on the ground floor.
Xie Min’s own home didn’t have the feeling of a real home. Throughout a few experiences or observations of family life, it was all found in Sui Yang’s place.
However, upon entering the dining room, Xie Min keenly sensed a slight change in the atmosphere.
The entire room fell silent for a few seconds, and then Auntie spoke, “Come, Sui Yang. This is Songyu, your uncle’s friend’s daughter, an art teacher. She came this afternoon to teach me how to paint, so I invited her to have dinner with us.”
Sui Yang remained quiet. Xie Min felt that he seemed a bit tense, although not entirely certain.
“Hello,” a girl said, “I’m Du Songyu. Auntie always mentioned you.I finally get to meet you today.”
Xie Min had encountered this kind of blind date scheme before. However, due to different parent-child relationship situations, Xie Min was disobedient in this regard. In the past, when tricked by his father into going out for a meal, Xie Min didn’t even want to sit down for a moment. Pretending to receive a phone call, Xie Min would quickly ran away.
His father felt ashamed and scolded him severely, but he never attempted to deceive him again.
Of course, Sui Yang couldn’t be like him. Sui Yang politely greeted with a “hello.”
Xie Min couldn’t smell or taste anything but crouched in the pocket, he did not feel tired at all. With ears perked up, Xie Min listened to the conversation happening on the table.
After getting through the initial awkwardness, Auntie brought up the fact that Sui Yang had purchased a property in Baoqi Garden.
“I showed your uncle the photos you sent me, and we both loved them,” she laughed. “The landlord decorated it with great taste.”
“Your mother always wants to go back. We plan to stay in Yuhai for a while until April,” his stepfather said. “I talked to her about it. If she likes it, we’ll stay in Yuhai. It doesn’t matter where I am as long as your mother is happy.”
“Speaking of Yuhai,” Auntie’s voice hesitated for a moment, and then her tone shifted. She said, “Today, I read a news article online about Xie Min being in a car accident. Is it the same Xie Min who used to come to our house frequently? He looks like him in the photos.”
Sui Yang finally reacted, making a soft “Hmm” and confirming, “Yes, it’s him.”
“Is it the Xie Min from Wanzhuang Real Estate?” Du Songyu interjected.
“You know about him too, Xiao Yu?” Auntie asked.
“My college roommate works in his company. These past few days, the entire company has been in turmoil,” she paused and continued, “She used to praise Mr. Xie every day in our dorm group, saying he’s so handsome that he could become a star. So, you two know each other?”
“He was Sui Yang’s classmate and used to come to our house for meals,” Auntie said. “But ever since we moved to Yuanguang, it seems like Sui Yang hasn’t had much contact with him, right?”
Perhaps because Sui Yang still hadn’t spoken, Auntie didn’t want an awkward silence and added, “When Xie Min first came, he stood next to Sui Yang, thin and small like a child. But in the photos, he was wearing a suit and became so handsome, as if he suddenly grew up.”
“Really?” Du Songyu asked. “Wasn’t he handsome in the photos before?”
“He dressed differently,” Xie Min finally heard Sui Yang say a longer sentence. “He doesn’t photograph well, but he looks even better in person.”
Auntie had a soft heart and didn’t want to participate in their discussion about Xie Min’s appearance. Worried, she said, “I don’t know when he will wake up. Why is he still in a coma? The news said his injuries weren’t severe.”
Sui Yang’s stepfather then began citing medical cases, slowly shifting the topic away from Xie Min.
After finishing the dinner, Sui Yang sat for about ten minutes and then announced that he had to leave.
“Wait a moment,” Auntie said. “Could you help me drop Songyu off at home first?”
Sui Yang hardly hesitated and informed her that he had to attend a work dinner, so it might be inconvenient for him to give a ride.
“I already messaged the driver before dinner,” Sui Yang said. “He’s already here. Let him take Songyu out.”
The situation was quite awkward for Auntie. Xie Min felt that Sui Yang didn’t speak much tonight, not giving Auntie face. Du Songyu, carefree as ever, didn’t seem to mind and happily said, “No problem. I can actually ride my bike back home.”
Sui Yang stood up, bid farewell to Auntie and his stepfather, and accompanied Du Songyu to the door. He opened the car door for her and saw her off inside.
Only then did Xie Min feel Sui Yang’s hand reaching into the pocket, gripping onto Xie Min.
Sui Yang took Xie Min out, and finally, Xie Min saw the surroundings.
Auntie lived in a lively old neighborhood, with trees and flowers growing densely. Bicycles and electric scooters were parked along the road. It was already dark, and the lights in the surrounding buildings were on. Xie Min could hear the sounds of cooking and laughter.
“Was this dinner boring?” There was no one else on the road, and Sui Yang asked Xie Min softly.
Xie Min said, “No, it wasn’t. I haven’t seen Auntie in a long time.”
Sui Yang didn’t say much more.
After getting into Sui Yang’s car, Xie Min was once again fastened with a seatbelt. Sui Yang drove out of the neighborhood and suddenly said to Xie Min, “I’m sorry, I didn’t expect it to be this kind of dinner.”
Xie Min paused for a moment, then realized what Sui Yang meant but didn’t understand the reason behind his apology.
“No need to apologize,” Xie Min smiled. “I had a good time listening, and at my age, my dad often urges me to meet girls.”
“Have you been there?” Sui Yang drove slowly, and his voice was low.
The car’s screen emitted a faint light, tuned to a radio channel, but Sui Yang muted it.
Something seemed stuck in Xie Min’s heart. Although he could have easily said he hadn’t been there, he replied to Sui Yang, “Maybe once or twice.”
Sui Yang made a soft “Hmm” sound, then after a few seconds, asked, “Have you met anyone you liked?”
Xie Min thought that there was no one he liked, but he felt that answering truthfully would make the conversation even stranger. So, he said, “Whether I like someone or not doesn’t matter. Right now, I don’t even know how to turn back into a human.”
“Are you implying something by saying that?” Sui Yang pressed on.
Sui Yang’s series of inexplicable questions made Xie Min feel increasingly irritated. He felt like he was the only one trying to have a meaningful conversation. Suppressing his impatience, he said, “I don’t know. Why are you asking so many things?”
Whether Sui Yang sensed his annoyance or not, he quieted down for a brief moment. But soon, he said even more absurd words in a calm tone, calling Xie Min by name, “Will you invite me to your wedding in the future?”
Xie Min turned to look at him. Sui Yang showed no emotions, didn’t lower his gaze, and even seemed to be smiling while casually joking with Xie Min. Unable to tolerate his nonsensical talk, Xie Min couldn’t help but curse at him, “Are you insane? Can you speak normally?”
Sui Yang stopped asking questions.
Under the streetlights at half-past seven, the red glow of the setting sun enveloped the entire sky. The elevated highway was filled with vehicles in a rush to get home from work. Being small, Xie Min could only see the top of the cars and the creamy clouds spread across the sky like brushstrokes.
The car slowly moved along with the flow of traffic, remaining silent for a long time. Xie Min began to suspect that he was being influenced by Sui Yang’s abnormal behavior, causing his own emotions to feel off.
Without looking at Sui Yang, Xie Min simply said, “Sui Yang.”
Sui Yang asked him softly, “What’s wrong?”
“Then, would you invite me to your wedding for a celebration?”
“I don’t have that plan,” Sui Yang immediately replied.
Xie Min couldn’t help but feel amazed at how skilled Sui Yang was with words. He couldn’t have imagined such a response. But there was no reason to be angry, so Xie Min smiled and said, “Alright then.”
The elevated road was surrounded by tall buildings, and the prosperity of Yuanguang stretched from the skyline to the city center. The city where Sui Yang currently lived felt unfamiliar to Xie Min.
In the quiet and incredibly spacious car compartment, Xie Min pondered that it was better to be a pet bunny than a human. As a human, there were no choices in life and no hope for love.
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