After instructing a subordinate to pick a cake for Sui Yang, Xie Min fell asleep.
He slept restlessly, and when he woke up in the morning, he felt pain all over his body again during the doctor’s rounds. The pain was bearable but impossible to ignore, like a chronic illness that slowly tormented him without causing death.
His doctor was gentle, asked about his feelings, and gave him a small dose of painkillers. After receiving the injection, Xie Min felt his body getting lighter and duller, relieving the pain. He stayed in bed for some time and later, with the assistance of a nurse, went to the bathroom and took a shower.
The bathroom had warm lighting, and he didn’t pay much attention to his body. After finishing, he sat in front of the mirror while the nurse blow-dried his hair.
The last time he glanced in the mirror, he resembled a little pink toy rabbit standing next to the towering figure of Sui Yang. He had a proud and animated appearance. But now, back in his own body, devoid of the adorable charm of a toy, he was the real Xie Min confined to a hospital bed for a month, feeling frustrated.
Just yesterday, a hairstylist came and cut his hair to its original style, no longer covering his eyes, but the person in the mirror still looked pale and weak.
Xie Min was considered tall, and he had always been slim. When he used to exercise regularly, he could be described as well-proportioned. Now, he had become much thinner, wearing a round-neck patient gown, looking very dejected.
Xie Min knew deep down that if Sui Yang hadn’t suddenly wanted to visit him, he wouldn’t have cared about his appearance that much.
However, when meeting Sui Yang, Xie Min still wished he could be like the last auction. Dressed in fancy clothes, buying two famous paintings, and grabbing attention at the event. Otherwise, it would be better not to meet, avoiding the uneasiness and annoyance.
The hairdryer made a noise near Xie Min’s ears, causing him a headache. He stared at his dark eyes in the mirror, lost in endless thoughts.
After ten years of no contact, Xie Min felt even more confused about Sui Yang.
Sui Yang treated Xie Min with great care, and this sudden transformation into a small rabbit proved to be quite helpful. Sui Yang assisted Xie Min in numerous ways, and Xie Min found it hard to reject any of Sui Yang’s requests. However, Xie Min still couldn’t understand why Sui Yang, who was perfectly fine, insisted on coming to his hospital room to celebrate his birthday.
Because Sui Yang’s attitude towards Xie Min wasn’t ambiguous—they were both very realistic now, with no intentions of reviving their past. After thinking it over, Xie Min found Sui Yang’s birthday celebration in Yuhai somewhat strange and unnecessary.
Despite considering many reasons, none fully explained it. In the end, Xie Min concluded that it was Sui Yang’s nostalgia that drove him. After all, they had genuinely been happy together. For Sui Yang, Xie Min must have been someone special. Sui Yang probably wanted to have a slightly more special birthday.
With dry hair, Xie Min returned to the hospital bed, and Chi Yuan arrived.
Hearing that Xie Min had regained some spirit, his father asked Chi Yuan to bring recent project files from the company, hoping Xie Min would familiarize himself with them quickly to ensure a smoother return to work after rehabilitation.
Xie Min was used to his father’s dominance and didn’t resist. He glanced through a few documents, felt dizzy, put down the tablet, and his phone vibrated.
Sui Yang sent a message saying he was about to take off. Xie Min looked at the phone screen but didn’t reply. Unexpectedly, someone he didn’t expect walked into the hospital room.
Xie Cheng dyed his hair blue, wearing trendy brand T-shirts and several gold chains around his neck, making a jingling sound. Chi Yuan stood up nervously, blocking him at the edge of the hospital bed. “Mr. Xie.”
“Not dead, huh?” Xie Cheng didn’t look at Chi Yuan, but rather at Xie Min, snorting coldly.
Xie Min should have been annoyed, but Xie Cheng’s appearance was somewhat ridiculous, so he didn’t get angry. “What are you wearing? Did you join the circus after your company went bankrupt? How did the security let you in?”
“What do you know?” Xie Cheng glared at him. “I’m your older brother. Why can’t I come?”
Xie Min smiled and didn’t comment.
“Mr. Xie, I forgot to brief the new person,” Chi Yuan looked at the somewhat bewildered security guard behind Xie Cheng, hesitantly asking Xie Min, “Should I…?”
Xie Cheng’s face turned ugly. Xie Min waved his hand, saying it wasn’t necessary, then asked Xie Cheng, “What are you here for?”
“To see if you’re dead or not,” Xie Cheng smirked. “Look at how skinny and ugly you’ve become.”
Xie Min was already concerned about his appearance, and upon hearing this, his face turned cold. “If you can’t speak properly, then leave.”
“Fine,” Xie Cheng shrugged. “Getting hit by a car made you even more bad-tempered.”
Xie Min looked at him expressionlessly. Xie Cheng glanced at Chi Yuan a few times, as if hinting to give them some privacy, but Chi Yuan remained unmoved. Xie Min found it somewhat amusing, but pretended not to notice. “Is there anything else? If not, then leave.”
Xie Cheng’s suggestive gaze had no effect, so he eventually gave up and said to Xie Min, “I’m leaving. Just wanted to let you know.”
Xie Min stared at his dazzling blue hair, feeling stunned for a moment.
“I quit the company a few days ago.” Xie Cheng’s expression was less punchable as he calmly informed Xie Min.
“Did Dad kick you out?” Xie Min hadn’t expected that.
“Not entirely,” Xie Cheng scratched his head and said, “I didn’t want to stay either. It’s just not my thing.”
Xie Min laughed. “After thirty years, you finally figured it out.”
Xie Cheng was six months older, always foolish and clumsy since childhood, setting his expectations high but lacking the skills to match. He had a temper that rivaled their father’s. His academic performance was poor, his graduation certificate seemed like something he bought, and he caused trouble while chasing girls. He made a mess of things at work, and his life was filled with failures.
“I’m planning to go to Yuanguang,” Xie Cheng added.
Xie Min was somewhat surprised, “Why go to Yuanguang?”
“My girlfriend lives there,” Xie Cheng said. “She’s a celebrity. If your hand isn’t broken, you can search her online.”
“…You’re going to live off her?” Xie Min looked at Xie Cheng and sighed.
Xie Cheng jumped up, “I have a plan, you know. Anyway, I won’t be in Yuhai anymore. Dad said he’ll pretend I never existed. From now on, he only has one son, you.”
Xie Cheng’s expression was serious, a side of him that Xie Min hadn’t seen before. “When Dad kicked me out, I actually felt quite relieved. You wouldn’t understand. After all these years, I’ve been working tirelessly at the company, and no one appreciates me. Since I started dating my girlfriend, I’ve realized a lot of things and become more at peace. You wouldn’t understand if you haven’t been in a relationship.”
Seeing him immersed in love, Xie Min couldn’t help but laugh. “Did you settle the debt you owe to the bar owner then?”
“All that was made up for attention. It’s fake news,” Xie Cheng’s face turned red. “When have I ever left a tab?”
Seeing Xie Min still laughing, he scolded, “Stop reading those trivial rumors, okay?” Then, with a satisfied smile, he added, “So, you’ve seen my girlfriend, right? Isn’t she beautiful?”
“I didn’t pay attention.” Xie Min didn’t want to play along and deflate his ego. “I only saw your conversation with the boss.”
Strangely, Xie Cheng didn’t argue with him anymore. He just sighed and said, “Before I leave, I thought I should let you know that from now on, you’ll be the only one left in this place.”
After finishing his words, Xie Cheng didn’t linger any longer. He said goodbye, making a jingling sound as he left the hospital room.
Left alone, Xie Min sat on the hospital bed, contemplating the last words Xie Cheng left behind.
Even Xie Cheng had left the place that confined them. From now on, only Xie Min remained in Yuhai, enduring under the control of his father.
Xie Min felt even lonelier.
Xie Cheng, so foolish at the age of thirty, with an empty mind and no achievements, dressed like an alternative rapper, managed to find true love. Xie Cheng had more courage and luck than Xie Min, being able to leave home and their father with the person he liked.
Meanwhile, Xie Min had a pile of pending documents by his side, needing to worry about company affairs that didn’t belong to him while his body hadn’t fully recovered. The person he liked had already rejected him. Today, Xie Min would play the role of a magnanimous ex-boyfriend and friend, accompanying Sui Yang for an unambiguous birthday celebration, preparing to enter a hopeless but proper track.
Xie Min had never imagined that one day he would feel a similar sense of jealousy towards Xie Cheng.
The January morning sun in Yuhai shone warmly into the room. Xie Min had seen it rise not a hundred but at least fifty times, yet the sun wouldn’t change just because Xie Min felt weary. The repetitive and uninteresting days were utterly dull, but he had no way to change it.
Xie Min didn’t want to dwell on it anymore. He had lunch, turned on the TV, and searched for the television drama featuring Xie Cheng’s girlfriend, Yan Shuangwen, to watch.
The drama was a time-traveling web series, with Yan Shuangwen as the female lead. She was indeed beautiful, such a waste to be in a relationship with Xie Cheng.
After watching two episodes, Xie Min suddenly remembered and picked up his phone. Sui Yang hadn’t sent any more messages. Judging by the time, Sui Yang should have already landed. Xie Min replied with a “Happy birthday.” Just a few minutes later, the person he had wished appeared in front of him.
Sui Yang had also had a haircut and was wearing a black coat, looking mature and handsome compared to the schoolboy wearing a uniform from their childhood. Xie Min felt that Sui Yang was the kind of person who would turn heads wherever he went. He was so successful now, and distant.
Now, back in his own body, Sui Yang was no longer a giant to Xie Min. Their proportions seemed normal. In that fleeting moment when their eyes met, Xie Min became dazed and nervous. Despite living together for a month, Xie Min felt as if it was the first time in ten years since he had seen Sui Yang.
His heart was pounding intensely, suspecting that he might be blushing. He mentally scolded himself, resolving not to let it show.
Sui Yang held his phone and stopped about two meters away from Xie Min’s hospital bed. He smiled at him and said, “Thank you for the birthday wishes.”
“You’re welcome,” Xie Min regained some remnants of his sanity and calmly said, “But the cake hasn’t arrived yet.”
He sent Chi Yuan to inquire about it, causing both Chi Yuan and the nurse to leave the room.
Sui Yang naturally took off his coat and sat on the chair beside Xie Min’s hospital bed. He said, “No problem,” glanced at the television, and asked Xie Min, “Why are you watching this?”
“It’s the drama that Xie Cheng’s girlfriend is in,” Xie Min couldn’t help but tell Sui Yang about Xie Cheng’s recent visit, indignantly saying, “Why is it that Xie Cheng can find such a good girlfriend?”
Sui Yang didn’t say anything, watching with him for a moment.
Xie Min glanced at his watch. It was only two in the afternoon, so he casually asked Sui Yang, “How are you planning for dinner?”
“No plans,” Sui Yang said, his eyes fixed on Xie Min’s face.
Xie Min felt uneasy, thinking about what Xie Cheng had said about him being ugly. He wished he could place a folding screen between himself and Sui Yang, and he blurted out, “I can’t leave the hospital. Does Jiang Ci know you’re here? If not, I can treat both of you to a meal.”
“What do you mean?” Sui Yang still looked at him intently. “Aren’t you coming?”
Xie Min made a sound of agreement but still couldn’t bear Sui Yang’s gaze. He turned his head and glanced at Sui Yang. “Stop staring at me.”
Sui Yang’s gaze was actually very gentle, but it made Xie Min even more uncomfortable. Sui Yang continued to look at him and asked, “Why?” Xie Min wanted to turn Sui Yang’s face toward the television screen with his own hands and said, “It’s not pleasant to look at, watch TV instead.”
“It’s not unpleasant to look at,” Sui Yang told him, but still averted his gaze.
Xie Min felt agitated and restless.
“I don’t want to bother Jiang Ci,” Sui Yang changed the topic. “Can we have the meal here?”
“The hospital food is tasteless,” Xie Min turned his head and glanced at him. “It’s bland, I don’t even like eating it. It wouldn’t be auspicious to have it on your birthday either.”
“I’m not superstitious, I prefer mild flavors. Or I can order takeout and have it here with you. Would that be alright?”
Not immediately hearing his response, Sui Yang called his name again, “Xie Min, is it okay?”
Sui Yang was looking at Xie Min again, and Xie Min had no idea how to refuse him. He became almost annoyed. In his peripheral vision, Sui Yang reached out his hand, as if he had the habit of wanting to touch the ears of a little bunny, but of course, that wasn’t appropriate, so Sui Yang didn’t actually touch him.
“Because I have something to do tomorrow, I’ll leave after the meal,” Sui Yang explained. “I don’t want to rush to too many places. It’s not for any other reason.”
With Sui Yang’s insistence, Xie Min had no valid reason to refuse, so he reluctantly said to Sui Yang, “Okay, I’ll find a hotel for the meal.” Suddenly, Sui Yang said, “Xie Min, after you’ve lost weight, you look a bit like a little bunny. Because you’re so fair, and your face has become more slender.”
“Get lost,” Xie Min said, “I’m a man.”
Sui Yang smiled and, keeping Xie Min company, they resumed watching the television drama. It was just like being at Sui Yang’s house before.
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