Xie Min was well acquainted with Renshan Hospital for two reasons. Firstly, the hospital’s director was his former classmate. Secondly, he and his father jointly donated to construct the hospital’s new inpatient building. The director was aware that Xie Min tended to neglect his health once he started working. He frequently called him personally to express concern, urging him to undergo medical check-ups and providing analysis of the reports. During the construction period of the inpatient building, the director also visited a few times to observe the progress.
Xie Min counted Sui Yang’s footsteps in his pocket and felt that they were nearing the entrance of the large building. Just as he was about to enter, he heard Chi Yuan’s voice.
“Mr. Jiang,” Chi Yuan’s voice sounded somewhat tired. Noticing the unfamiliar Sui Yang, he politely asked, “Who is this?”
“This is Sui Yang, the President of Nanyuan Holdings and an old classmate of mine and A’Min’s,” Jiang Ci introduced promptly. “He is also concerned about A’Min and happened to be in Yuhai for some business. When he heard about A’Min’s situation, he wanted to visit together.”
“Hello, Mr. Sui,” Chi Yuan paused briefly and said, “Mr. Jiang, according to Mr. Xie’s request, we weren’t supposed to receive any visitors. You have a good relationship with Mr. Xie, but I haven’t heard Mr. Xie mention Mr. Sui before… Considering Mr. Xie’s current situation, it may not be convenient to accommodate Mr. Sui along with him.”
After listening, Xie Min felt a mix of emotions. He thought Chi Yuan was principled and had a good attitude, but it would have been even better if it hadn’t been him who was being kept outside.
Sui Yang’s hand remained on Xie Min’s cheek, not taking it away. Xie Min thought that Sui Yang, with his hands in his pockets, must have seemed impolite. This could be one of the reasons why Chi Yuan declined the visit.
“I understood what you meant,” Xie Min heard Sui Yang say, “Xie Min and I were high school classmates. It had been a long time since we last saw each other. However, he recently contacted me to discuss a potential collaboration. We had agreed to meet for a meal when I came to Yuhai. Unfortunately, he had an accident just a few days later. I don’t visit Yuhai often, but upon hearing from A’Ci, I couldn’t ignore it and decided to come here.
“Since I’ve already made the effort to come,” Sui Yang sounded sincere, “Assistant Chi, could you please allow me to go up and see him?”
Chi Yuan hesitated as expected. After stepping away for a while, he likely made a phone call to Xie Min’s father. When he returned, he said to Sui Yang, “Thank you, Mr. Sui, for coming to visit Mr. Xie. Let’s go upstairs.”
Xie Min crouched silently in the corner of Sui Yang’s pocket, listening attentively. He felt Sui Yang touch his head again, unsure if it was a show of accomplishment or a display of his storytelling ability.
They ascended from the elevator to the twelfth floor. The corridor led straight to Xie Min’s hospital room.
Chi Yuan opened the door, and Sui Yang and Jiang Ci walked in together. Xie Min focused all his attention, listening closely. Suddenly, his feet dangled, and everything before him brightened. To his surprise, when no one was paying attention, Sui Yang boldly took him out from his pocket, loosely cupping him in his palm.
The little bunny head remained wedged between Sui Yang’s fingers, stealing glimpses of the scene inside the hospital room.
Sunlight poured in through the window, illuminating the floor but falling short of the hospital bed. Chi Yuan stood across from it, appearing utterly exhausted.
On the bed lay Xie Min himself, dressed in a light blue hospital gown, with an intravenous needle inserted in the back of his hand, receiving a saline drip.
Sui Yang moved a little closer, allowing Xie Min to observe his own face. His eyes were closed, and his expression appeared serene. The skin on his face and hands seemed pale and almost transparent, lacking vitality. The blanket covered his chest, and the monitor screen next to the bed blinked rhythmically. In just a few days, Xie Min seemed to have significantly slimmed down.
Jiang Ci sighed in the nearby vicinity.
Somehow, Xie Min’s mind went blank. He stared intently at himself on the hospital bed, experiencing an indescribable fear from the depths of his heart.
There was no sense of connection with his own physical body, which was close to him.
Those mystical terms like magnetic field, soul, and attraction were all absent. He remained dry and firmly entrenched within the LEGO bunny, huddled in Sui Yang’s palm.
The visit didn’t last long. Chi Yuan received a phone call and whispered, “Mr. Xie.” Then, he hurriedly walked out.
Xie Min absentmindedly wondered how the projects in the company were progressing. He didn’t know who was in charge now, perhaps it was Jian Liqun along with his father. The thought made him feel uneasy and fearful.
He felt that he had lost the courage to let Sui Yang hand him over to the assistant because the LEGO bunny seemed to hold little value for his father and the company.
Xie Min gently clung to Sui Yang’s finger with his front paws, feeling like a useless extraterrestrial creature seeking protection, burdened with a heavy and bewildered heart.
Chi Yuan returned after finishing the call, approaching Sui Yang, and naturally Sui Yang returned Xie Min to his pocket. The surroundings turned pitch black. Sui Yang still maintained his impolite posture with hands in his pockets, enveloping the little bunny’s body, giving Xie Min a slight illusion of safety.
“Mr. Sui,” Chi Yuan said, “Chairman Xie appreciates your concern for Mr. Xie and would like to ask if you have time to have dinner together.”
Xie Min remained calm, understanding that this was indeed something his father would do. Even though his son was still lying in the hospital bed, uncertain when he would wake up, as long as his father deemed it necessary, he could use this situation to build relationships. It was like a rainy day over a decade ago when he never sternly stopped Xie Min, who intended to take a shortcut and have Sui Yang pick him up for school. He never ordered Xie Min to stay away from Sui Yang.”If you want to make friends, make sure you understand what kind of person they are and don’t cause trouble for your family.”
Xie Min wished he was still in control of his own body so he could refuse his father on behalf of Sui Yang, saying that Sui Yang had work tomorrow and needed to head back to Yuanguang immediately. If he was awake inside his body, Sui Yang wouldn’t have to tell Chi Yuan, “It’s okay.”
After leaving the hospital room, Sui Yang made a call to his secretary, postponing his return to Yuanguang until tomorrow morning and temporarily putting two other engagements on hold. Xie Min’s father’s driver came to pick up Sui Yang, and they arrived at a business banquet restaurant under the company’s umbrella. Xie Min’s mood plummeted from the moment he heard his father’s voice inside the pocket.
Xie Min’s father engaged in a lengthy discussion about business and inquired about Sui Yang’s past relationship with Xie Min. Not wanting to listen to the specific details, Xie Min lay flat inside the pocket, forcing himself to think about things that could help him focus and escape.
He tried to recall the work that left a deep impression before the accident, attempting to remember the content of every document he could think of. Eventually, unable to come up with anything to concentrate on, he resorted to reminiscing.
In a rare moment, Xie Min reflected on his sophomore year of high school.
After a misunderstanding led to friction between Sui Yang and Xie Min, they would occasionally bump into each other at school. Sui Yang would playfully call Xie Min an elementary school student with a smirk on his face, teasing him. Xie Min disliked it so much, but since he was at fault initially, he had no way to respond. There was a time when he would avoid Sui Yang whenever he saw him from afar.
However, a few months later, something happened in Sui Yang’s family.
On the second day of their sophomore year, newspapers and various news headlines prominently reported that Yuhai’s wealthy businessman, Sui Gaozhuo, had committed suicide by jumping off the top floor of a construction site where workers had been owed months of wages. The news highlighted his multiple investment failures and massive gambling debts. He left behind a suicide note and a slew of legal disputes for his wife and son. Suddenly, everyone began discussing the matter.
After missing a week of classes, Sui Yang returned to school. On his first day back, Xie Min saw him in the cafeteria, but Sui Yang didn’t notice Xie Min. He was accompanied by only one or two friends, each wearing a different expression. Wherever he went, the surroundings grew quiet.
That evening, Xie Min’s father unusually came home for dinner and asked about Sui Yang at school. He mentioned that because Sui Yang’s father had made significant donations to the school in the past, the school had decided to waive various fees for Sui Yang, ensuring that he could complete high school.
The next day, Xie Min went to attend an optional physics lab session and discovered that Sui Yang was also there.
In the first class, students were required to form pairs for a small group activity. The teacher mentioned that students could freely choose their partners. As the dozen or so students began looking around with subtle expressions, making eye contact, nobody formally looked in Sui Yang’s direction. However, they exchanged glances as if teasing one another, urging each other to team up with Sui Yang.
Sui Yang remained calm, keeping his head down as he flipped through the book on his desk.
Xie Min felt annoyed watching the people around him constantly making small movements. Ignoring the classmate next to him who asked about forming a pair, Xie Min grabbed his book and walked to the back row where Sui Yang was seated. He dropped the lab manual onto the table, creating a noticeable sound in the quiet lab.
Sui Yang was much taller than Xie Min. With Xie Min standing so close, he felt a slight sense of pressure. Xie Min didn’t lift his head to look at him. After a few seconds, he heard Sui Yang whisper, “Elementary school student, is this our first time being in the same class?”
Xie Min ignored him, keeping his head down. He picked up the capacitive pen used for the tablet on the desk, selected their names in the group formation interface on the screen, and clicked submit. From the corner of his eye, Xie Min noticed that Sui Yang’s uniform sleeves seemed a bit short. Sui Yang must have grown taller again.
His uniform jacket seemed somewhat worn out and in need of replacement, but he hadn’t gotten a new one.
Xie Min suddenly remembered seeing Sui Yang on stage during the freshman opening ceremony in their first year of high school. He thought to himself how pretentious Sui Yang looked, wearing a perfectly pressed school uniform that fit better than anyone else’s.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?” Sui Yang asked him again.
Coincidentally, the screen refreshed, requesting each group member to write their signatures. Xie Min signed his own and handed the pen to Sui Yang before saying, “Don’t call me elementary school student.'”
Sui Yang lowered his head to look at him, accepted the pen, and smiled as if he found it amusing.
Xie Min noticed that Sui Yang seemed tired lately. His smile was forced, but he still had that poised and handsome aura that Xie Min had once thought was affected. Sui Yang glanced at the screen, signed his name, and said, “Alright, Xie Min.” It was the first time he said Xie Min’s name in full.
With that thought, Sui Yang’s dinner with Xie Min’s father finally came to an end.
Sui Yang didn’t drink much and didn’t show signs of being drunk. Sometimes, he would reach into his pocket, seemingly intending to touch Xie Min’s ears or paws without a clear purpose.
Xie Min’s father personally accompanied the driver to send Sui Yang back to the hotel. Once upstairs, Sui Yang took Xie Min out and sat down on the couch, looking down at Xie Min. After observing for a while, he asked, “Are you still planning to let me hand you over to your subordinate? He seems to follow your father’s orders well and doesn’t have much autonomy in your company.”
Xie Min was silent for a moment and said, “I don’t know.”
“Xie Min,” Sui Yang paused and suddenly suggested, “If you’re willing, I can provide temporary shelter for you.”
Xie Min glanced at him, and he added, “I can help you find experts in this field. There’s a vice president in my company who is fond of such things. Every time we start a new production line, he brings in people to perform rituals and even apprentices with them.”
“What kind of people are in your company?” Xie Min couldn’t help but ask.
Sui Yang smiled, touched his bunny paw, and asked, “Is it okay? If you want, I can try to bring you back to Yuhai more often to visit.”
Xie Min looked at Sui Yang. Sui Yang’s expression seemed trustworthy and earnest, rare without that look of about to tease Xie Min.
After a moment, Xie Min still found it difficult to say the word “okay.” Instead, he scratched Sui Yang’s palm with his hind leg.
“I’ll take that as your agreement,” Sui Yang said. “Is that alright?”
His voice was so soft and gentle that it almost triggered post-traumatic stress disorder in Xie Min. Feeling low-spirited and dizzy, Xie Min thanked him with a barely audible voice.
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