Initially, he thought that he would be taken to a residential area but he quickly realized that it was the wrong route. Remembering how YanMingXiu got beaten by YanFei, he couldn’t help but worry what YanFei would do to him. Someone who could do that to his own son, what can’t he do to an outsider he disliked. ZhouXiang can’t help but worry about his own personal safety.


When he went downstairs to buy food, he only brought his keys and ¥200. He didn’t even bring his cell phone so even if he wanted to call YanMingXiu at this time, he couldn’t. Laughing at himself for making a fuss, at the same time, he felt that this matter is not that simple.


The military vehicle took him to a place he had never been to before. They had to pass through three levels of security. Just that alone, one can tell that only very important people live here. ZhouXiang grabbed his fleece pajama pants and finally start to feel embarrassed.


The car turned into a courtyard and stopped. A three-story villa appeared in front of him. He remembered seeing several similar villas during the few minutes drive but they were far apart.


“Mr. Zhou, please get out of the car.”


ZhouXiang wrapped his coat tightly around himself. It’s March and the weather is already warming up but he didn’t feel cold. Subconsciously, he merely wanted to hide his gray striped pajamas.


Once he got inside the house, ZhouXiang is a bit dumbfounded.


He had already seen everyone in the house. It is the Yan family, from young to old, all sitting around the dining table, only YanMingSu is absent. YanDeJiang sat in the patriarch spot and was sizing him up while holding a teacup. Everyone else is looking at him.


ZhouXiang can’t describe the predicament he is in at this time. YanDeJiang said to the officer who took him here, “ZhangWu, how can you let him come dressed like that?”


ZhangWu responded expressionlessly, “Sir, you said to bring him here within half an hour.”


“Then you should’ve let him change clothes.”


“Sir, it would have taken more than half an hour if he was to change his clothes.”


“Fuck, your brain is made of eucalyptus (stupid/blockhead).” YanDeJiang waved his hand, “You go and eat.”


The officer turned and left, leaving Zhou Xiang standing awkwardly alone at the entrance.


A house full of Yan family members, although they are casually dressed, at least no one is wearing pajamas at home. ZhouXiang straighten his back, trying to make himself look less embarrassing.


YanMingXiu smiled at him, “I’ll go with you to change. There are two sets of suits in my car.”


“Ah, okay.”


YanMingXiu was about to get up when YanDeJiang raised his hand to stop him, “Forget it. There are no outsiders here.”


YanMingXiu is stunned and quickly turned to ZhouXiang, “Xiang Ge, come and sit.” He stood up and pulled out the chair next to him.


After ZhouXiang took his seat, he found himself sitting opposite of WangYuDong and YanMingMei. Both of them narrowed their eyes at him contemptuously.


ZhouXiang turned his gaze to the side and didn’t pay much attention to them.


YanDeJiang patted the table, “Start dinner.”


Two aunties began to serve the dishes from the kitchen on the table, filling it in a short time. These are ordinary home-cooked dishes. Their lifestyle is different from ZhouXiang’s imagination.


YanDeJiang tapped the table with his finger, “You are ZhouXiang right? Where do you work?”


ZhouXiang responded, “I work in a film company.”


“Oh, you’re an actor then.”


“Yes.”


YanDeJiang nodded his head and picked up his chopsticks, “Everyone, let’s eat.”


After he moved his chopsticks, everyone started to eat.


ZhouXiang quietly turned and glanced at YanMingXiu, using his expression to discreetly ask him what’s going on. YanMingXiu held his hand under the table, with his voice lowered, “It’s nothing, don’t worry, just eat.”


YanFei turned his head and looked at them coldly.


YanMingXiu didn’t respond. Because one of his arms still couldn’t move, ZhouXiang helped him pick the food from the dishes and put it in his bowl so he can eat it with a spoon. These back and forth actions originally appear to be a normal thing but because of the intimate relationship between the two, it looks awkward in front of other people’s eyes.


ZhouXiang felt a few pairs of eyes looking at them from time to time. This meal is eaten as if he is sitting on pins and needles.


At this time, YanDeJiang spoke. His voice sounded very calm and the rate of his speech is very slow. But before he finished speaking, no one dared to say a word, “How long have you known each other?”


YanMingXiu responded, “One year.”


“Only a year?” YanDeJiang smiled, “It’s only a year and you guys have already decided to be seriously committed…not giving a care for family’s consent? Kids are always going to be kids.”


YanMingXiu quietly took out a napkin to wipe his mouth. He didn’t look at anyone, nor did he intend to respond.


YanDeJiang voiced, “MingXiu, for this you caused such a huge ruckus in the family and also got beaten. Is it worth it?”


YanMingXiu softly responded, “It is.”


YanDeJiang laughed, “If you feel that it’s worth it, then its fine. If you regret in the future, nobody will clean up this mess for you.”


YanMingXiu nodded seriously.


YanDeJiang then said to YanFei, “You are already at this age, why are you still taking this so hard? Let the children live their lives. I’m old. I have limited energy. I can’t work that many more years so I need to contribute the little energy I have toward the country. I don’t have time to be dealing with your affairs. YanFei, don’t bother me with these trifle matters anymore in the future. I’m advising you to be more open-minded. The more open-minded you are, the more relaxed you will be.”


YanFei angrily angrily, “Dad, you’re just going to let him be like that?”


“I am too lazy to care about him.” YanDeJiang then glanced at YanMingMei, “It’s not the same with MingMei. MingMei is a girl. You need to take good care of her and don’t let her suffer. Leave the two boys alone and let them do whatever they want. Why are you caring so much for? Don’t you feel tired?”


YanFei is simply dumbfounded, “Dad, if I brought a man back home 30 years ago, what would you have thought?”


“30 years ago, I was not open-minded like this. My words will stop here. Whether you interfere or not, I don’t care. You can’t control your son, what’s the point of getting me involved? Anyways, my advice to you is to sleep when you want to sleep, eat when you want to eat. If you have free time, go play some golf. Don’t bring worries upon yourself.” YanDeJiang sipped his tea and narrowed his eyes at YanMingXiu and ZhouXiang, “Moreover, these two kids have just met for a year and have already determined that they can’t live without each other. There’ll definitely be a good show in the future. What’s your hurry?”


YanMingXiu and ZhouXiang looked at each other, their hands clasped even tighter under the table.


Perhaps in YanDeJiang’s eyes, they are just youngsters with feelings that can easily come and go without lasting. Sooner or later, they will separate without anyone’s interference. What YanDeJiang didn’t know is that, what they had already experienced is more than what others have experienced in a lifetime. Even then, they still couldn’t separate after going through so many challenges and tribulations. What reason could there be in the future that would separate them?


YanDeJiang’s expression suddenly darkened. He looks at WangYuDong and YanMingMei, “MingMei.”


“Grandpa.” YanMingMei’s usual arrogance had disappeared. She looked particularly well-behaved.


YanDeJiang didn’t even glance at WangYuDong as he slowly uttered, “Your father only has one daughter. The entire family dotes on you. But some issues with principles, especially those that could cause devastating impact to the family’s interest, you need to look at it clearly. Don’t turn your elbow outward (T/N). Don’t forget what your surname is. If something really happened, don’t blame the elders for not showing mercy. You guys asked for it.”


T/N: 別胳膊肘往外拐: Don’t turn your elbow outward means don’t be selfish and not recognized right from wrong.


His tone in the last sentence is very stern. WangYuDong got so frightened that he was shaking, too scared to even breathe. He didn’t dare to lift his head as he sat stiffly.


YanMingMei’s voice trembled, “Grandpa…I understand.”


“Mnnn.” YanDeJiang took a sip of tea, “After dinner, you guys go back to your own homes. The children have all grown up and have their own families. YanFei, stay and play chess with me.”


“Yes, Dad.”


YanMingXiu stood up and hesitated for a long while before calling out, “Dad.”


YanFei didn’t turn back but stopped walking.


YanFei sighed, “If you plan on staying here for the night, remember to let your mom know.”


YanFei humphed and followed YanDeJiang upstairs without turning his head.


Mother Yan sighed, “Just ignore him. He’s like that.”


YanMingXiu didn’t take it to heart. He turned and looked at ZhouXiang, “Xiang Ge, you’re not nervous anymore right?”


ZhouXiang took a deep breath, “Don’t mention it. Let’s just leave quickly.”


WangYuDong groaned and glared at ZhouXiang. ZhouXiang also looked at him coldly, refusing to show any weakness. He grabbed YanMingXiu’s arm, “Let’s go. You drove here right?”


“JiangYuan drove me.”


“Where is he?”


“Having dinner with Uncle Zhang. Don’t worry about him, you can drive.”


“Okay.”


The two had just planned to leave when WangYuDong suddenly called out, “MingXiu.”


YanMingXiu glanced at him, waiting for him to speak.


“We haven’t seen you for a long time and you haven’t been picking up my phone calls. I don’t know the meaning of this. Is it that difficult for me to ask you something?”


YanMingXiu looked at him coldly and didn’t say anything.


Mother Yan and YanMingMei looked at them nervously.


“I want to talk to you about my dad’s matter. I went to see big brother, but you know how hard it is to communicate with big brother with his attitude. Only you can help me. You really can’t just leave me to die right?”


YanMingXiu responded faintly, “There is a huge price for helping you; I’m also not a money printing machine.”


WangYuDong quickly added, “But we are family.”


YanMingMei interrupted, “Yes. MingXiu, such a big matter happened. Both of you can’t be so unconcerned!”


“Didn’t Grandpa already said? You guys asked for it. Brother-in-law, what you and your father did the last two years, you guys know best. Dad won’t get involved in these matters but big brother and I saw it very clearly. But because we considered you guys as part of the family, we continued to turn a blind eye. We didn’t expect you guys to go even further in intensifying the matter, not even considering the consequences at all. This is election year, Grandpa will soon be withdrawing from the office. When he is in office, obviously nobody would dare stir up any troubles. But what happens when he steps down? All you guys cared about is money, how to get money through any reprehensible means, did you ever care about the interest of the family?”


WangYuDong’s face turned pale. He couldn’t utter a word.


YanMingXiu coldly added, “Now that something happened so you thought of us. Isn’t it too late? This matter… we still have to think about it. Just don’t count on us helping. Even now, your father is not willing to take out his own money, you take us as fools? If he doesn’t want to take out his own money, he might as well just wait to live in prison then.”


WangYuDong’s body shook as he held onto the chair to sit down.


YanMingMei looked anxiously at her mother but Mother Yan shook her head helplessly, expressing that there’s nothing she could do about it. YanMingMei then looked at her brother pleadingly. YanMingXiu glanced at her, “Sis, your favoritism needs to stop. You are a part of his family, but also a part of our family. Use your brain and have a bit of consideration for our family. This is all I’m going to say. You guys find a way to resolve this. If you can’t take out the cash in a week, then I no longer care about this matter.”


YanMingXiu pulled ZhouXiang up from the chair, “Xiang Ge, let’s go.”


ZhouXiang followed him closely to the door. Before he walked out, he turned and glance back at WangYuDong. He had never seen WangYuDong looking so despair. The blow that this incident gave him is apparently not one he had ever experienced.


ZhouXiang once thought that he would be very happy seeing WangYuDong looking like this one day. But the fact is, he didn’t feel anything at all. It is like WangYuDong is a stranger who has nothing to do with him. Actually, he is indeed an insignificant person.


ZhouXiang realized that his state of mind had changed a lot, which is a good sign.


When the two got into the car, ZhouXiang finally could talk openly. He quickly asked, “What the hell is going on today? Fuck, I was in my pajamas and was just thinking of going out to get some food but once I got out of the neighborhood, I was pulled into a car. I thought I was getting kidnapped.”


YanMingXiu’s responded by immediately hugging him. A bit excited as he said, “Xiang Ge, we’re free for the time being.”


“Really?”


“Really. Today is a family meal. My grandfather called you here. You still don’t understand?”


ZhouXiang turned his head around and pondered over it, “That’s not right. Your grandfather didn’t say any good words.”


“My grandfather is only concerned with major matters. Ours is too trivial, he’s too lazy to care. But he dotes heavily on my sister ever since we were children. He doing this today, in a way is to compromise with me on behalf of my father. He won’t care about our matters but I have to help WangYuDong overcome this crisis.”


ZhouXiang was stunned, “This….your family’s matters are really complicated.”


YanMingXiu kissed him intensely, “It is also your family now too.”


“Nope, this is your family matters. I’m only involved with you. I don’t want to get involve with your family. This water is too deep, I won’t be able to float.”


YanMingXiu responded softly, “Don’t worry. With me here, I won’t let you drown.”


ZhouXiang smiled and kissed him back, “Can we be free for a long time?”


“Yes.” YanMingXiu tightened his arms around his waist and muttered, “Xiang Ge, even in my dreams, I want to be with you without any apprehensions.”


ZhouXiang laughed twice, “I also want that too.”


From the beginning, I’ve wanted this even more than you.


End of the chapter