In the morning, Xie Min woke up to the noise of Sui Yang and the secretary talking on the phone.
“I had something to do from 3 PM to evening.”
He heard Sui Yang’s indistinct and hushed voice. He opened his eyes, looked around, but couldn’t spot Sui Yang anywhere.
Still half-asleep, he slowly moved his body towards the edge of the bed. The sheets were a bit slippery. After a few tries, he unexpectedly slid down from the edge of the bed, falling to the ground with a “whoosh” sound.
The hotel’s carpet was gray and had short, soft fibers. It cushioned his fall gently. He landed on all fours, lying on the carpet, which instantly woke him up.
“I’m available for lunch today,” Sui Yang continued talking on the phone, speaking softly as if trying not to disturb anyone. “I have no problem.” However, he was still not in Xie Min’s line of sight.
Due to a past accident, Xie Min carefully checked the stability of his limbs before hopping towards the foot of the bed. He hadn’t jumped far when he caught sight of Sui Yang.
For someone only a few centimeters tall like Xie Min, Sui Yang was unbelievably tall, like a towering skyscraper. He was neatly dressed, wearing earphones, standing by the screen next to the sofa, facing the window, telling the other person, “There’s a slim chance I’ll come to Yuhai next week. Okay, if the landlord is available, let me know.”
For some reason, Xie Min didn’t speak and quietly squatted on the floor, carefully observing Sui Yang.
After hanging up the phone, Sui Yang didn’t sit down. He walked to the window and stared blankly at the cityscape outside. His posture was upright, almost motionless, making Xie Min feel like he belonged in a city advertisement.
The hotel room was on the fifty-ninth floor, providing a panoramic view of almost half of Yuhai City. However, Xie Min was currently a little bunny and could only judge that it was a cloudy day with low visibility from the grey sky within his line of sight. There was no sunshine, but rather some fog.
Shortly after, the secretary returned the call and informed Sui Yang that the landlord had agreed. Sui Yang then contacted his secretary to book a restaurant closer to Baoqi Garden.
Ending the call with the secretary, Sui Yang no longer looked out the window. He walked towards the bedroom but didn’t look down and almost stepped on Xie Min.
Seeing Sui Yang’s shoe sole coming towards him, Xie Min shouted, “Sui Yang!”
Sui Yang froze in place, pulled his foot back, and nervously lowered his head. After seeing Xie Min, he bent down and picked him up. “What are you doing here?”
“I fell off the bed and came over to see,” Xie Min, still trembling with fear, huddled in Sui Yang’s palm and asked, “Did you arrange to meet the landlord for lunch?”
“Yeah, they’re going on a week-long trip starting tomorrow. Only today at noon is available, so I planned to have a meal together and chat.”
Sui Yang’s attitude was natural, as if he were the protagonist in an animation or fantasy movie. He calmly accepted reality and treated the LEGO bunny as the real Xie Min.
Xie Min looked at Sui Yang’s face, which was so close, and silently thought that if it were his own toys turning into Sui Yang, he would probably burst into laughter frequently. Moreover, he wouldn’t have enough time to play pranks or disassemble Sui Yang like Sui Yang did to him. It seemed impossible for him to talk to toys as seriously as Sui Yang did.
At eleven o’clock in the afternoon, Sui Yang and Xie Min arrived at the restaurant first.
The restaurant had a tranquil atmosphere. A rectangular table for four was placed in the center of a private room, with potted plants and pebbles outside the floor-to-ceiling windows. As soon as Sui Yang sat down, he took out Xie Min and placed him on the table, seemingly not intending to put him back in his pocket.
After the waiter left, Xie Min hopped closer to Sui Yang and asked, “Is it okay to have me placed like this? Won’t it look a bit strange?”
This semi-new, pink LEGO bunny didn’t match the rustic decor of the restaurant. It was clearly not part of the restaurant’s decoration and appeared to belong to someone no older than ten.
“It’s alright,” Sui Yang said, “It’s not a formal occasion.”
Indeed, Xie Min didn’t like the stuffy darkness of the pocket, so he obediently squatted on the side and told Sui Yang, “Thank you, I won’t move.”
Shortly after, there was a knock on the door, and the secretary, the landlord and his wife followed the waiter into the private room.
The landlord was a middle-aged man, dressed appropriately and had a good bearing. According to Sui Yang’s secretary, both the couple were university professors.
The four of them exchanged a few words, and the landlord took the lead, telling Sui Yang that this was their first home. Every corner of the room was designed and decorated by the couple together, so they had deep emotional attachment to it.
Due to relocating and their child going to college, they had moved out and lived elsewhere for several months. However, despite the secretary inquiring about their intention to sell the house multiple times, they remained hesitant.
“But yesterday, Xiao Xu told me about your reason for buying the house,” the landlord glanced at the secretary and smiled at Sui Yang, “After discussing it with my wife, we have decided to embrace the beauty of adulthood.”
He proposed a reasonable and even slightly lower price, but made a request that Sui Yang should not make major renovations to the house and should not rent it out.
Sui Yang agreed, and they signed the contract.
Things unexpectedly went smoothly. After the meal, Sui Yang checked the time and suggested going to the house for a quick look. The landlord readily agreed, but mentioned that they had something to do in the afternoon, so they handed the keys to Xiao Xu.
When Sui Yang paid the bill and got up, he casually picked up the little bunny from the table. The landlord’s wife noticed it and approached Sui Yang with a smiling face, “So, this little rabbit was brought by Mr. Sui. Do you also enjoy playing with LEGO?”
Xie Min happened to be facing Sui Yang and could see his expression clearly. Sui Yang’s response of “yes” seemed genuine, as he earnestly replied, “It’s my lucky charm and has brought me a lot of good luck. This time, I really wanted to buy the house, so I brought it along.”
“Well, it seems you’ve succeeded,” the landlord said. “It appears to be quite effective.”
Xiao Xu joined in and commented, “This little bunny is actually quite cute. It’s my daughter’s favorite color. Could it be a gift from your girlfriend?”
“More or less,” Sui Yang casually fabricated in front of Xie Min, making up a story, “It was left by my ex.”
Xie Min was annoyed by Sui Yang’s nonsense but couldn’t react. It was only when Sui Yang put him back in his pocket that Xie Min kicked his hand lightly, not daring to kick too hard for fear of revealing that something was moving in Sui Yang’s pocket.
Sui Yang took Xiao Xu’s car and went to Baoqi Garden.
Baoqi Garden was a small residential complex that had been around for almost twenty years. The parking spaces were on the ground level and very limited. Xiao Xu spent nearly ten minutes searching before finding a parking spot.
Bored inside the dark pocket, Xie Min waited for a while. Finally, when the car was parked, he heard the sound of Sui Yang undoing his seatbelt and opening the car door.
After getting out of the car, with the pocket swaying back and forth, Xie Min felt dizzy. He extended his paw and clawed the pocket to maintain his balance, while pricking up his ears to listen to the ambient sounds. Combined with distant memories, he tried to determine their location.
“Beep,” the sound of the access card swiping and the door opening. They climbed up to the third floor.
After entering the apartment, Sui Yang told Xiao Xu that he wanted to be alone for a while, so Xiao Xu left. With a barely audible sound of the door closing, a hand reached into the pocket and pulled Xie Min out.
Xie Min regained the light and finally saw the current state of the house he hadn’t visited in ten years.
“How does it look?” Sui Yang gently held the LEGO bunny and let it survey the room.
Some of the furniture had been taken away, and some were covered with plastic covers. The interior was cleaned thoroughly. The landlord had lived here for ten years, and though the decor was no longer brand new, it was well-maintained. However, it looked completely different from what Xie Min remembered.
Sui Yang’s home was originally outdated and sparsely furnished, but the landlord couple transformed it into an American-style design with white as the main color. The curtains and wall colors were soft and gentle.
“I can’t recognize it anymore,” Xie Min admitted candidly.
He felt like he was looking at a magnified version of a house that was still unfamiliar to him.
The landlord even replaced the window frames in the living room. Only when looking out through the window, seeing the brown exterior wall of the opposite main building, did it give him a faint sense of familiarity.
Sui Yang softly replied with a “Hmm. I feel the same way.”
“Are you going to buy it and keep it as a collection?” Xie Min asked him.
“I plan to live here when I come back to Yuhai. My mom also wants to come back, but it’s not confirmed yet.”
In reality, Xie Min felt that, considering Sui Yang’s status, it was not suitable or convenient for him to live in an old neighborhood like Baoqi Garden. However, he didn’t say anything about it.
The two remained silent as Sui Yang took Xie Min for a stroll, exploring the rooms.
The size of this house was neither too big nor too small, just a little over a hundred square meters, with two bedrooms, a living room, and a bathroom.
As they reached the vicinity of the bathroom, Sui Yang paused for a moment and suddenly said to Xie Min, “There was someone who came to my house for the first time and couldn’t adjust the water temperature. He mistakenly thought my house didn’t have hot water, and stubbornly showered with cold water without asking me.”
Xie Min was slightly taken aback. He hadn’t expected Sui Yang’s audacity to reach such a level. It was one thing to bring up the past incident again, but distorting the truth was too much. He immediately refuted, “Wasn’t it because you didn’t mention that the hot and cold water were reversed in your house?”
Sui Yang continued talking to himself, “At that time, I thought you were amazing, taking a cold shower in winter without complaint.”
“How dare you say that,” Xie Min became furious and gave Sui Yang’s hand a smack. “I demand compensation for emotional distress!”
Sui Yang laughed, grabbing Xie Min closer to himself and said, “Sure, how much do you want?”
He looked extremely handsome, and his smile was captivating. There was a hint of indulgence and familiarity in his expression that could easily be misunderstood. Xie Min looked into his eyes, memories he had deliberately tried to forget flooded back into his mind. He felt irritated and cursed Sui Yang, “Get lost, you can’t afford it.”
In reality, Sui Yang was no longer the same person as before. He had already become successful, rarely encountering a price he couldn’t afford. However, being told this by Xie Min, he didn’t seem to feel any loss of face. He remained silent for a few seconds before calmly admitting, “You’re right.”
The heating in the room was turned on, creating an uneasy atmosphere.
Sui Yang draped his coat over his elbow and lowered his head, gazing at Xie Min.
Xie Min felt that there might be something wrong with Sui Yang’s mind. He lowered the bunny’s head and stared at the lines on Sui Yang’s palm without saying a word.
After a moment, Sui Yang lightly touched Xie Min’s head with his other hand, trying to defuse the tension. “Xie Min, let’s go back to the hotel and wait for Jiang Ci, okay?” He added, “Thank you for accompanying me to see the house.”
Xie Min didn’t respond verbally, but he pressed his hind paw against Sui Yang’s hand. Sui Yang held onto him and led him away from there.
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