On the way back from Mount Xun, Xie Min finally sat back in the passenger seat and fastened with seatbelt, no longer hanging in mid-air.
Sui Yang suddenly became quiet and opened the convertible. Xie Min couldn’t feel it, but by listening to the wind, he felt that if Sui Yang drove any faster, he would be blown away and end up in some unknown ditch, so he huddled under the seatbelt.
He covered himself with the seatbelt like a blanket and looked up at the stars.
Xie Min didn’t know what Sui Yang was thinking when he fell silent, but Xie Min thought of the night when Sui Yang kissed him for the first time.
In Yuhai, February was very cold.
After the new year began, Xie Min started staying overnight at Sui Yang’s house more and more frequently. His father only came home a few times a month, but even when he did, he didn’t care where Xie Min was. On the other hand, Sui Yang’s mother and grandmother treated Xie Min with great kindness, and he increasingly didn’t want to go back to his own cold and lifeless home with the annoying Xie Cheng. He started relying on the warmth of Baoqi Garden.
At that time, Xie Min had a very positive self-perception. He often secretly believed that Sui Yang and he were actually very close, and that Sui Yang treated him differently from other people.
Sui Yang was more polite to others but often maintained a certain distance and showed some aloofness in their interactions. Even though he mocked Xie Min for being like a runaway purebred puppy, Sui Yang’s behavior actually allowed it. He never refused when Xie Min asked to stay overnight. When Xie Min’s hands and feet became cold before sleep, he would snuggle up to Sui Yang for warmth. Sui Yang would only say that Xie Min was a princess from the kingdom of ice and snow and never pushed him away.
Xie Min was initially very angry on Sui Yang’s birthday night.
Xie Min knew it was Sui Yang’s birthday. Coincidentally, Sui Yang’s mother and grandmother had gone to Yuanguang to borrow money from relatives. Xie Min wanted to accompany Sui Yang, so he secretly ordered a cake and planned to bring it to the library, hoping to return to Baoqi Garden early to eat it together.
Unexpectedly, after school, Xie Min took the cake to the library, but Sui Yang didn’t show up and didn’t answer his calls.
Xie Min kept calling from 6:30 until 8:00. Sui Yang finally answered, sounding innocent and claiming that he “didn’t hear the phone ringing.” Xie Min was so angry that he felt dizzy and cursed while running to the location Sui Yang sent him.
The construction site where Sui Yang stayed felt like a graveyard. Xie Min couldn’t understand why someone would come alone to such a place on their birthday.
Xie Min wasn’t dressed warmly enough and shivered in the cold wind of the suburbs. The construction site was completely dark at night, and taxi drivers only wanted to stop where there were roads. After getting closer to the construction site, there was no source of light at all. He used the flashlight on his phone as a makeshift torch and walked on the bumpy muddy ground for a long time until he found Sui Yang standing alone by the rusty gate, lost in thought. Xie Min became even angrier and asked Sui Yang what he was doing and if he was planning to become a homeless person in the abandoned building.
The surroundings were empty, making Xie Min’s voice sound very loud.
Xie Min had a bigger temper back then than now. While scolding, he also felt wronged and asked Sui Yang, “Why are you randomly running around? I even ordered a cake for you.” Xie Min was so angry that he felt like crying.
Sui Yang looked at him without speaking.
The two remained silent for half a minute. A gust of cold wind blew, causing Xie Min in the darkness to shiver.
As Xie Min thought about the cake he had spent a long time ordering, which was still in the library locker, his anger flared up again. He wanted to continue complaining about Sui Yang’s rude behavior of not answering the phone, but Sui Yang suddenly lowered his head, leaned closer, and kissed his lips.
That night, there were more stars in the sky outside Yuhai than in Yuanguang.
Their first kiss was simply their lips touching. Sui Yang’s mouth was as cold as Xie Min’s, with a slight warmth seeping from within. He pressed Xie Min’s lips tightly, more than just a light touch.
Xie Min was shocked, forgetting his anger and not even remembering how Sui Yang led him to the waiting taxi by the roadside.
Sui Yang stayed outside longer than Xie Min, but his hands were slightly warmer. In the backseat of the taxi, Sui Yang silently held Xie Min’s fingers, using the warmth of his palms to warm them up.
It was already ten o’clock when they returned to Baoqi Garden after retrieving the cake from the library locker.
Sui Yang untied the ribbon on the cake, and Xie Min took out the candles and placed them in the center of the cake.
Xie Min thought the overly fancy cakes didn’t look good, so he chose a plain white one.
After lighting the candles, Xie Min asked Sui Yang to sing a birthday song with him, but Sui Yang refused. Xie Min believed a birthday song should have a beginning and an end, so he confidently clapped his hands and sang the entire song alone. Sui Yang laughed rudely, which made Xie Min extremely angry. He pushed Sui Yang forcefully, but Sui Yang insincerely put on a serious expression and said, “Sorry, I won’t laugh anymore.” He made a quick wish in a matter of seconds and blew out the candles.
They each had a piece of cake but couldn’t eat a second one.
Xie Min put down the fork, took a shower, opened his backpack, and started working on the homework he hadn’t done because he was searching for Sui Yang.
After finishing his shower, Sui Yang came out and stood beside Xie Min. He lowered his head and watched Xie Min solve math problems, then after a while, he pointed out, “This step seems to be wrong.”
He got close to Xie Min, and when Xie Min looked up at him, intending to ask where the mistake was, he unintentionally blurted out, “Sui Yang, why did you kiss me earlier?”
Sui Yang had better mental composure than his language and behavior. There was no hint of nervousness as he playfully countered Xie Min’s question with “Can’t I kiss you?”
Just as Xie Min was about to ask him to speak properly, Sui Yang lowered his head and kissed Xie Min again.
Even to this day, Xie Min’s heart would race faster when he remembered Sui Yang’s kisses.
Sui Yang had thin lips, and there was a scent of citrus-scented body wash on him. He wore a white T-shirt of a relatively expensive brand, which Xie Min also had, but it looked slightly worn out. At that time, the lights in the Baoqi Garden were ordinary round pendant lights, emitting a cool-toned light that lacked warmth.
“Xie Min, can’t I kiss you?” Sui Yang playfully asked again, then he grabbed Xie Min’s elbow and took the liberty of prying open Xie Min’s teeth. It made Xie Min’s face heat up as if it was going to catch fire, and it prevented Xie Min from completing his homework. In the end, he had to stay up all night to finish it.
Whether in the past or now, everyone Xie Min knows seemed to believe that Sui Yang had good manners and knew how to handle situations. But Xie Min felt that Sui Yang acted unreasonably, was very stubborn and self-centered, and spoke in a confusing manner, often with ill intentions.
But even so, Sui Yang still fascinated Xie Min greatly.
Xie Min was so captivated that nearly ten years had passed, and despite both of them growing up, Xie Min couldn’t resist completely or remain completely unaffected.
On the way back home from Mount Xun, Xie Min became somewhat tired, drifting in and out of sleep.
After entering the house, Sui Yang grabbed him and softly called his name twice, but Xie Min didn’t have the energy to respond, so he stayed still and didn’t say anything.
Sui Yang walked to the counter, setting him aside first, then called out to him again to confirm that he still wouldn’t speak. He took out a white paper bag, seemingly brought home the day before, and poured a glass of water.
Xie Min saw the paper bag up close, with colorful words on it, reminiscent of a medication bag. He opened his mouth and asked, “What is this?”
Sui Yang’s hand, while opening the bag, paused briefly, and he told him, “Nutritional supplements. To help with sleep. I haven’t been sleeping well during the change of seasons.”
“This bag looks like prescription medicine,” Xie Min, despite being tired, still had some basic knowledge and yawned while pointing it out.
Sui Yang remained silent. After Xie Min spoke, he felt some of his drowsiness dissipate, and he continued the conversation, “My doctor recommended a bottle of over-the-counter ones to me, and it helped me sleep soundly. But I forgot the name, so when I go back, I can check and let you know. Prescription medication has a strong effect and isn’t very good for the body.”
“Thank you.” Sui Yang folded the bag and put it away. “I won’t eat it for now.”
“Good,” Xie Min praised his cooperation and casually asked, “Do you have severe insomnia?”
Xie Min yawned again, and Sui Yang took him and gently placed him on the bed, letting him sleep.
The next day, Xie Min noticed that Sui Yang seemed to suddenly enjoy the feeling of working from home and having a semi-vacation. For the following few days, Sui Yang would go to the company in the morning and return home in the afternoon.
Late Thursday night, when Sui Yang’s mother called again, Xie Min was watching the news. From Sui Yang’s response, it seemed like she wanted to return to Yuhai and see the condition of the house in Baoqi Garden.
Sui Yang asked his secretary to arrange the itinerary and asked Xie Min, “Would you like to visit Renshan Hospital again?”
Xie Min hadn’t been taking care of his health lately, and staying at Sui Yang’s house was getting boring. He did feel a bit curious to check if the caregiver had been taking good care of his body, so he said, “Yes,” and couldn’t help adding, “Sui Yang, if my dad hired an irresponsible caregiver, will I get bedsores from lying for so long?”
Sui Yang looked at him without saying a word.
“We need to find a way to get rid of the caregiver,” Xie Min pondered, “and then you can help me check my back, okay?”
“I’ll contact your assistant first, and see if we can arrange a visit.”
The trip back to Yuhai was scheduled for Saturday noon. At first, Sui Yang didn’t mention taking Xie Min along.
Once on the plane, Xie Min, unusually, didn’t feel sleepy and spent the entire journey eavesdropping on the conversation between Sui Yang’s mother and him.
Sui Yang’s mother half-seriously and half-jokingly complained that Sui Yang was no longer young and had no desire to start a family. She mentioned the girl, Du Songyu, who had visited their house and spoke highly of her. She asked Sui Yang what he thought of her.
“She’s quite nice,” Sui Yang said in a calm and slightly low voice. “But I’m not considering those things yet.”
“You’re not in your twenties anymore,” his mother complained. “How can you still have no plans? Who at your age hasn’t even been in a relationship once? Business is never-ending.”
Sui Yang remained silent, but his stepfather intervened, saying that nowadays, children have their own ideas, and the elders shouldn’t interfere too much.
His mother muttered a few more words and then said, “Next week is your birthday. Can you come home to celebrate this time? You work overtime every year. I’ve never seen a child like you who doesn’t prioritize their own affairs.”
“We’ll see when the time comes,” Sui Yang replied to her.
For some reason, Sui Yang’s hand reached into his pocket and lightly touched Xie Min, rubbing his fingertip against Xie Min’s front paw.
Xie Min initially didn’t want to pay attention to him, but Sui Yang kept persisting. Eventually, Xie Min lightly tapped Sui Yang’s finger with his paw.
Sui Yang paused for a second, then daringly grabbed hold of Xie Min, took him out of his pocket, and placed him in his palm, then put him on his own lap.
Fortunately, his mother started talking to her stepfather about their past life and didn’t pay attention to what he was doing.
Sui Yang took the tablet that was holding the documents in front of him and placed it where his mother couldn’t see, then quietly wrote two huge words on the screen with a stylus: “VERY BORING.”
Xie Min felt that Sui Yang was incredibly childish. Suddenly, Sui Yang placed the pen on the little bunny’s shoulder, allowing the pen tip to touch the screen. Whenever Xie Min moved, the pen would leave marks.
Of course, Xie Min wasn’t someone as mentally immature as Sui Yang. However, the pen pressing on his shoulder was a bit heavy, and it seemed that Sui Yang wouldn’t take the pen away unless he wrote something. After some consideration, Xie Min squatted down on his hind legs, moved left and right, and finally, before the plane landed, successfully wrote the crooked word “idiot.”
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