Xie Min’s mood changed significantly as he sat back on the plane to Yuanguang with Sui Yang.
His head drooped. Feeling downcast and almost withdrawn, he squatted on the ledge near the cabin window, watching the airplane slowly cross the milky-white translucent clouds outside.
While he watched, Xie Min suddenly couldn’t differentiate between the time and space he was in, feeling as though he was about to merge into the clouds, his legs suspended, rising with the plane, transforming into a four-dimensional being capable of time travel.
He thought that this could be attributed to the sudden upheaval in his life, going from being busy with work to suddenly having free time, trapped in the body of a useless little bunny. It was challenging for anyone to adjust immediately.
Sui Yang solemnly stroked his bunny’s back, pulling him out of his fantasies.
Xie Min wanted to escape but didn’t dare to move. He felt that Sui Yang portrayed a successful person with a strange toy obsession a bit too convincingly, easily scaring those around him.
However, Sui Yang is extremely stubborn and behaves in a way that suggests that as long as he feels justified, it is others who bear the discomfort.
After disembarking from the plane, Sui Yang immediately took Xie Min to the company to work.
Due to Xie Min’s father’s insistence, he stayed an extra day in Yuhai, making the schedule very tight. Xie Min felt somewhat guilty and stayed silently in Sui Yang’s pocket.
Being jostled around in the pocket, Xie Min curled up into a small ball, avoiding reality and giving up on thinking, falling into a long sleep.
The dream was filled with darkness, devoid of any plot, and rhythmic sounds echoed from all sides. In the dream, Xie Min knew he was dreaming, so he lay peacefully, without saying a word, emptying his mind.
When Sui Yang woke him up again, it was already half past midnight.
Xie Min realized they were back at Sui Yang’s house for some reason. Feeling a bit tired, he initially didn’t speak to Sui Yang. Sui Yang approached him, continuously calling his name, causing a disturbance until he finally said, “Stop bothering me.”
Hearing Xie Min’s voice, Sui Yang finally stopped. He paused for a few seconds before asking, “What’s wrong? Did you not wake up properly? Or is it uncomfortable in the pocket?”
Squatting in Sui Yang’s hand, Xie Min thought for a moment and said, “No, I just felt a little dizzy. Can I not go to work with you later? It’s not convenient for you to have to take care of me.”
Sui Yang didn’t seem willing to agree at first. Xie Min recognized that expression on his face. But for some reason, after thinking for a while, he agreed to Xie Min’s request. “Tomorrow, I’ll have someone come to install a camera first. Once it’s installed, you can stay at home by yourself.”
Xie Min felt something strange but didn’t speak. Sui Yang patiently explained, “I’m afraid you’ll break your leg again like the last time you fell on the floor. What if the maid comes to clean and sweeps away your leg, we have to rummage through the trash bin—”
“That’s enough, stop talking,” Xie Min interrupted his ghost story. “Just go ahead and install it.”
Sui Yang smiled gently at him.
It was a smile of satisfaction on Sui Yang’s face regarding the negotiation outcome, and Xie Min recognized it.
Sui Yang’s eyes were bright, looking very alert. Despite the late hour, he showed no signs of fatigue.
“Aren’t you tired?” Xie Min couldn’t help but ask. “You’ve been busy all day, but you seem more energetic than me who has slept for a whole day.”
Xie Min had a demanding workload, with no time for rest, and he looked tired when he was alone.
“I’m fine,” Sui Yang said, poking Xie Min’s bunny face and suddenly saying, “I used to watch animal documentaries that mentioned how baby rabbits have higher sleep requirements. It’s normal for you to sleep more than me.”
“Get lost.” Xie Min was extremely speechless. “I’m not a real rabbit, you know.”
Sui Yang responded with a “Hmm” and went to freshen up for a while. He returned, wiping his wet hair. Ignoring Xie Min’s resistance, he carefully wiped Xie Min’s bunny body all over and brought him back to the room to sleep.
Lying in the bedding, Xie Min listened to Sui Yang’s steady breathing and couldn’t help but glance in Sui Yang’s direction.
Sui Yang slept on his back, assuming an unconventional sleeping posture.
Xie Min stared at his silhouette, pondering the reason behind his effort to help him. Xie Min didn’t consider himself to be that important to Sui Yang.
Over the past years, Xie Min realized that he still couldn’t understand what Sui Yang was thinking. Sometimes he thought he knew, but quickly found himself unsure again. The only thing Xie Min was certain of was Sui Yang’s stable demeanor, unaffected by external factors, due to a solid, towering wall around his heart.
At times, Xie Min eagerly removed a brick, thinking it would provide a glimpse inside, only to discover that the wall was infinitely thick, as if no one could dig to its core or truly touch him.
Sui Yang was someone who could always maintain a calm, realistic outlook, only engaging in hopeful endeavors. It was likely the same now.
Involuntarily, Xie Min wondered if, unable to find a solution, Sui Yang would give up on saving him because he was too troublesome. Would he send him to a strange, deserted place, letting him live a lonely life inside the body of a toy bunny until old age?
If toy bunny could even grow old.
“Xie Min, are you asleep?” Xie Min was lost in his bleak future imagination when he suddenly heard Sui Yang speak.
Sui Yang leaned over, and in the dimly lit room, Xie Min caught sight of his eyes. He couldn’t discern Sui Yang’s gaze, but he felt Sui Yang’s focus.
“Not asleep,” Xie Min replied.
“What are you thinking about?” Sui Yang asked softly.
Xie Min felt a bit guilty for no apparent reason and whispered, “Nothing in particular.”
Sui Yang reached out, holding onto the blanket that was weighing down on Xie Min. Xie Min found his hand heavy, making him uncomfortable. Through the blanket, he kicked Sui Yang with his hind leg, but Sui Yang pretended not to feel it and didn’t move. “Xie Min.”
“It’s heavy,” Xie Min said.
Finally, Sui Yang shifted his hand slightly downward.
Somehow, Xie Min couldn’t change his habit of speaking his mind directly and blurted out, “Sui Yang, bringing me back, don’t you find it troublesome?”
Sui Yang paused and replied, “I don’t find it troublesome. Why would you think that?” Sui Yang lifted the blanket covering Xie Min, gently pinching his back, lifting Xie Min up and placing him very close to himself. Their faces were almost touching as he told Xie Min, “I don’t consider it a bother.”
Xie Min still couldn’t say he fully believed it, but Sui Yang’s words sounded sincere, so he didn’t question further.
Because Sui Yang’s patience and gentleness were just like before, almost indistinguishable, and Xie Min was forced to be close to Sui Yang, just a slight movement away from touching his face.
Xie Min, just like before, couldn’t control his thoughts as memories of their past together resurfaced in his head.
Those memories made him feel lost, unwilling, and unnecessary, but they also stirred something in his heart.
After his father’s accident, Sui Yang’s life became difficult, but he didn’t seem to change much. He had always been polite and composed, even during lab sessions, where he casually referred to Xie Min as an elementary school student, maintaining his usual laid-back attitude.
Initially, Xie Min chose to team up with Sui Yang because he couldn’t stand how other classmates avoided him like a plague. Apart from their biweekly physics experiments, they had no private contact.
In the fourth week of school, the teacher started assigning group projects that required students to complete tasks after class and deliver a joint presentation two weeks later. Xie Min finally asked Sui Yang for his contact information, intending to schedule a time to work together on weekends.
That day, Sui Yang took out his phone, and at first glance, Xie Min noticed the cracked screen. The cracks were in the lower left corner of the screen, making it difficult to press the numbers and letters on the left side.
Xie Min glanced up at Sui Yang, who showed no particular expression on his face, as if a cracked phone screen was normal. However, Sui Yang pressed the “1” key several times without success.
Somehow, Xie Min felt like he had seen something he shouldn’t have in Sui Yang’s privacy. His heart started beating rapidly, and he quickly said, “Give me your number.”
He took out his own phone, entered the phone number Sui Yang provided, and dialed it, skipping the step of Sui Yang inputting the number.
After school, the driver picked up Xie Min and Xie Cheng to go home.
Xie Min remembered that it was a cloudy day, with few cars on the road. Xie Cheng wore headphones and loudly sang an unpleasant song next to him, while the image of Sui Yang’s cracked phone screen lingered in his mind.
When they passed by a shopping mall, Xie Min called out to the driver, mentioning that he had plans with a classmate and asked the driver to stop at the mall entrance. He then walked in alone.
He knew it wasn’t necessary, understanding that he and Sui Yang weren’t close enough for such gestures. However, he still bought a new phone and kept it in his backpack before taking a taxi home.
On Saturday, Xie Min and Sui Yang agreed to meet at a district library in another area to work on their group project.
Sui Yang arrived earlier than him, dressed in a plain white t-shirt, sitting alone at a table in the reading area with a computer in front of him. There were many students like that in the library, but Sui Yang did stand out, appearing quite handsome. As Xie Min walked in, he noticed many people stealing glances at Sui Yang.
Xie Min sat down next to him and leaned over to look at Sui Yang’s screen. Sui Yang had already written the beginning of the assignment.
“You write so fast,” Xie Min remembered saying, because he had the phone in his backpack, feeling a bit nervous.
“Just a few lines, nothing too fast,” that’s how Sui Yang replied. “Take a look and see if it’s usable.”
As this was the first time Xie Min engaged in personal charity work, he felt quite inexperienced. Upon seeing Sui Yang in person, he forgot the planned process of giving him the phone and directly took out the bag containing the phone from his backpack, stuffing it into Sui Yang’s arms.
He didn’t look at Sui Yang but heard Sui Yang ask, “What’s this?”
“I had an extra phone, so I’m giving it to you,” Xie Min mumbled, wanting to change the subject. Without even seeing what Sui Yang had written, he praised, “You wrote it really well.”
Sui Yang glanced at the phone and said, “Thank you, but I don’t need it.” Then he asked Xie Min, “Did you really read it?”
“If I’m giving it to you, just take it,” Xie Min said softly, lowering his gaze. “I already bought it.”
It seemed like Sui Yang still didn’t intend to accept it and wanted to return the phone to Xie Min. Xie Min nudged Sui Yang’s hand and said, “If you won’t take it, I’ll steal your old phone.”
Then he heard Sui Yang laugh and say, “How come you already know how to do illegal things when you’re just an elementary school student?”
Xie Min cursed at him, poking the phone bag towards him, and said, “Return it to me when you become well-off in the future.”
After a moment of silence, Sui Yang didn’t insist further and said, “I’ll return it to you later,” accepting the phone that Xie Min had bought. The two of them started focusing on their assignment at the library, not bringing up the topic again.
Upon returning home, Xie Min struggled internally and secretly ordered two sets of school uniforms for Sui Yang. When the delivery arrived, he forcefully handed them to Sui Yang using the same approach.
Sui Yang never accepted things from others, so that was when Xie Min realized that Sui Yang treated him differently, as someone special. In the quiet late nights, trapped inside the little bunny’s body, Xie Min’s thoughts wandered aimlessly, realizing that Sui Yang was now far beyond being well-off, but it seemed like he still hadn’t returned the money for the phone and school uniforms.
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