The medicine that Xie Min recommended didn’t do much for Sui Yang.
In the faint light of the night lamp, he stared at a small, barely noticeable lump in the blanket.
The pink LEGO bunny was a delicate toy that was easy to break. It was about the size of the peas used in fairy tales to test princesses. It could talk but couldn’t breathe. If you held it with one hand, you could give it an awkward hug with your fingers.
Sui Yang suddenly imagined a little bunny rubbing its legs against his hand, and his skin started to itch.
He was extremely disheveled tonight.
When Xie Min mentioned going home, his recurring ailment resurfaced. He had managed to maintain some control until then, calmly thinking of several excuses to be with Xie Min at his home during the car ride. He even planned out the next two weeks, figuring out which tasks he could postpone and finding opportunities to visit Yuhai. However, his desire for more time with Xie Min got the better of him. Despite being aware of the dangers, he found himself insisting that Xie Min take him to the study to retrieve his medication
Sui Yang raised his hand and examined the outline of his fingers in the darkness. His hand trembled slightly, but he opened and relaxed his fingers before placing them back on the bed.
Remembering how he pleaded with Xie Min to come back to the hotel with him, Sui Yang felt somewhat like an unattractive person.
But he was also unsure about how to choose the most respectful way for both him and Xie Min, and how they could maintain their dignity.
“Ah.” The small lump, deep in slumber, suddenly twitched and grumbled a curse word under the blanket.
Then the little bunny seemed to wake up, kicking off the covers. “What a strange dream. It made me so angry!”
Sui Yang asked him, “What dream did you have?”
“Are you awake?” The little bunny was surprised.
“Hmm.” Sui Yang couldn’t resist reaching out, bringing the cold plastic bunny closer, and pinching its face. “What dream did you have?”
“I dreamt that I asked you to inquire with Master Yi if there was any way for my soul to sleep until it could tolerate physical pain,” Xie Min recalled unhappily, “Master Yi said I had to be transferred into a container, but you bought me a tiny flowerpot and buried me in it.”
“……” Sui Yang didn’t offer any judgment.
Xie Min seemed still angry. “Why? Why did you bury me?”
“Young Master,” Sui Yang smiled and asked him, “Do you even blame me in your dreams?”
Xie Min stopped talking, so Sui Yang poked him and asked, “How did it feel being buried? Did you sprout?”
“Get lost. I woke up as soon as you started piling soil on me.”
“I’m sorry,” Sui Yang apologized proactively, “I shouldn’t have buried you.”
But Xie Min was difficult to handle and didn’t buy into Sui Yang’s approach. He warned Sui Yang not to be sarcastic and rolled over to sleep again.
After Xie Min and Sui Yang returned to the hotel, there was a brief period of silence. Then Xie Min changed the subject and reminded Sui Yang to take the medicine he had brought from his house. Sui Yang suspected that Xie Min had noticed his emotional outburst and was trying to lighten the atmosphere.
After all, Xie Min was indeed someone with a tough exterior but a soft heart. He didn’t easily change based on Sui Yang’s condition, whether in the present or in the past.
Sui Yang still couldn’t sleep and longed for the time he could spend with Xie Min.
Sui Yang had a mixed past. He used to have a life that others envied. Loving parents, a harmonious family, living in the most impressive mansion in the city, and a constant stream of guests coming and going. People always treated him with obvious or subtle flattery.
His father developed a gambling addiction, around the beginning of Sui Yang’s sophomore year.
His father started traveling frequently, initially winning but eventually losing, becoming unpredictable and rarely coming home.
Sometimes when Sui Yang went downstairs, he would see his mother calling his father, but he wouldn’t answer. She would then helplessly cry, while his grandmother sat beside her, embracing her shoulders and comforting her in a low voice.
Towards the end of his sophomore year, his father accumulated a substantial amount of debt. The funding for his investment projects became unsustainable, and the company faced cash flow problems. That’s when he finally returned home.
Sui Yang heard his father making one call after another to the bank, speaking in a submissive and low tone. Whenever his mother asked, he would angrily shout at her, berating her and telling her to shut up because “women don’t understand anything.” But when Sui Yang appeared in front of him, he immediately urged him to go upstairs and focus on studying, distancing himself from household matters. The family’s assets had been almost completely sold by his father, yet the holes couldn’t be filled.
During the summer vacation of his sophomore year, his father became increasingly despondent, often lost in thought. Random people would suddenly visit their mansion, even peering around near Sui Yang’s bedroom door.
After months of unpaid wages, on the night before Sui Yang returned to school, his father went missing for over twenty hours.
There was a typhoon that day. Sui Yang waited with his mother in the living room for his father to return. The crystal chandelier hung high from the ceiling, illuminating the spacious room.
However, outside the windows, it was pitch black, with the sound of rain and wind roaring in their ears. At around 2 AM, they received a call from the police.
His mother wasn’t skilled at driving, but they no longer had a chauffeur. Sui Yang watched his mother cry and saw her alternating between stepping on the brakes and the gas pedal as they headed towards the police station. The windshield wipers vigorously swiped away the rain, as if they were about to take flight. Suddenly, he thought he should learn to drive, so his mother would never have to sit in the driver’s seat again.
He became the only person his mother could rely on.
When they went to claim the body, his mother almost went into shock from crying, so she didn’t go inside. Sui Yang followed a young police officer into the morgue and saw his father’s appearance. It was difficult for Sui Yang to recall his own emotions at that moment. All he knew was that he calmly confirmed the identity, signed some documents, and memorized the process of claiming his father’s body. It felt as if, starting a few months ago, his emotions had been systematically drained from his body, leaving only rationality and responsibility.
On the day of his father’s cremation, the high school principal called Sui Yang to inform him that after deliberation by the board of directors, they had decided to waive his tuition fees. He could continue attending school until graduation.
At that time, a representative of unpaid workers from a construction site project was at Sui Yang’s house. Sui Yang asked his mother to stay upstairs. He couldn’t reach his lawyer on the phone, so he repeatedly assured the other party that the money would definitely be repaid. After hanging up with the principal, Sui Yang signed various messy documents brought by the representative, unsure of their legal validity.
Every day during that time, Sui Yang was surrounded by his father’s debts and lawsuits. Xie Min appeared in his life full of uncertainties like a constant, a utopia that provided him with a brief escape. His world also became somewhat different because of Xie Min.
One week after his father’s incident, Sui Yang returned to school.
He had too many things regarding the family situation to think about and had mentally prepared himself for the changes upon returning to school. Therefore, he wasn’t too concerned about the altered attitudes of his classmates towards him.
During the physics lab class, the teacher said they would form study groups. Sui Yang didn’t feel awkward and flipped through the lab materials in the back row.
A nameless elementary school student, whom he had previously argued with, suddenly came to team up with him, which surprised him.
Xie Min signed his own name on the screen, looking righteous, reminding Sui Yang of a mischievous puppy that could switch between being aggressive and gentle.
That day happened to be the first day Sui Yang, his mother, and grandmother moved into Baoqi Garden.
The mansion was seized, but the property in Baoqi Garden was something his father had purchased before being with his mother, a token of his love to please her. The property was registered under his grandmother’s name and temporarily unaffected.
Sui Yang had never been there before and it was the first time he slept on such a hard and small bed. He couldn’t sleep soundly. In a half-dream, half-awake state, he vividly remembered the childish expression of that self-righteous elementary school student who initially came to argue with him, accusing him of bullying girls. Suddenly, his mood became lighter.
Xie Min awkwardly stuffed a new phone into Sui Yang’s hand, as if doing the most embarrassing thing in the world. If Sui Yang didn’t accept it, Xie Min was truly planning to take away Sui Yang’s phone.
He bought school uniforms for Sui Yang along with a large suitcase. He packed the uniforms inside and clumsily dragged the suitcase all the way to the library, resembling a novice in charity work—clumsy but friendly.
Sui Yang first noticed the shift in his own feelings towards Xie Min, probably on the day when Xie Min was angry.
They ran into each other at school, and Xie Min walked over to say hello. Sui Yang saw that he was accompanied by a few people and didn’t want Xie Min’s friends to know about their frequent contact, so he responded with a somewhat cold attitude. Xie Min had a quick temper, and his face immediately soured. He turned away unhappily and left.
Sui Yang originally intended to explain briefly to Xie Min when they were together in the library later that evening while doing their homework. However, Xie Min didn’t show up.
Around seven o’clock, Sui Yang realized he was daydreaming. Unable to focus on anything, he decided to go home. As soon as he stepped out of the reading room’s door, he saw Xie Min, who looked drenched like a chicken caught in the rain.
After getting drenched in the rain, Xie Min looked somewhat comical. His hair stuck to his face, which should have appeared pitiful, but his expression clearly screamed, “I’m angry!” He glared at Sui Yang with liveliness, completely defenseless, as if he could be taken away and possessed just by reaching out a hand.
In reality, Sui Yang was well aware that one person couldn’t completely possess another, not even blood relatives like parents.
But Xie Min made Sui Yang feel safe. Xie Min was simple and easy to understand. Sui Yang could tease him and make him jump with anger, and when he treated Xie Min a little better, Xie Min would become proud.
When Xie Min was by Sui Yang’s side, Sui Yang felt his heart being filled with Xie Min’s intense reactions. It seemed like he regained the ability to be happy, as if granted by the heavens to be himself at certain moments, relieving some burdens and temporarily living as an ordinary high school student.
On the way home that day, Sui Yang’s thoughts were contradictory and irrational. He wondered why that kid with the last name Xie was always so adorable, while also thinking that he didn’t want to upset Xie Min anymore in the future.
Although he wasn’t able to achieve that.
Ten years had passed from age nineteen to twenty-nine, Sui Yang was still making Xie Min angry.
If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))