ZhouXiang ha just gotten home with ChenYing when the phone rang. He picked up and saw that it is a text message from YanMingXiu asking him to go over now. He had planned to personally cook a meal today, but now he had to find an excuse to leave.
After he arrived at the condo, YanMingXiu hadn’t returned yet. ZhouXiang remembered that he hadn’t had time to eat so he turned on the stove to cook some noodles for himself. As he was cooking, the doorbell rang.
ZhouXiang washed his hands and went to open the door. He casually looked through the peephole and thought that it was YanMingXiu forgetting to bring his key so he opened the door. As soon as he opened the door, he paused and stared blankly. Looking closely, the person standing outside the door is not YanMingXiu but look so much like YanMingXiu, just a few years older. This person’s temperament is calm and reserved, like YanMingXiu. It is a look that is not easy for people to get close but he's not as gloomy looking as YanMingXiu.
He immediately realized that this person might be YanMingXiu's older brother.
The man standing at the door gave him a fleeting glance. He didn't seem at all surprise. He said, “I am MingXiu’s older brother, my name is YanMingSu.”
ZhouXiang nodded, “Please come in.” He could pretty much guess YanMingSu's purpose for coming. He's heard that this person is highly prestigious, is young and promising; it is unimaginable how far his future career can go.
YanMingSu walked in as if this was his home. He looked around the condo, “I heard that this condo was originally prepared for me. MingXiu can be so rash. I'm only one person, why do I need to live in such a big place?"
YanMingSu glanced at ZhouXiang and intentionally pointed out, “But he's done things even more rash."
ZhouXiang responded casually, “Have a sit. He'll be back soon. Things between you and your brother should be discussed amongst yourselves."
He is not at all interested in YanMingSu's purpose for coming here since he's already taken the money. Although the transfer of the condo is not yet complete, he didn't care whether he gets it or not. With the money he already has, plus his own work, he'll be able to manage ChenYing’s treatment as well as support them. Besides, his and YanMingXiu's relationship is not one that is deeply in love where they rely on each other. He really hopes that it's like those scenes in those melodrama TV series where this big brother from the Yan family will throw a check on his face. He'll happily take the money and leave.
He dreamed of being farther away from YanMingXiu. Being too close is too painful. If not for ChenYing, he would never torture himself in such a way.
YanMingSu seems to be a little surprised. This person didn't appear to be nervous or lowly, which makes him feel quite unexpected. He (YanMingSu) really didn't know whether he (ZhouXiang) completely lacked shame or was the barrier in his heart really that strong.
YanMingSu sat down on the sofa and asked, “What's your name?”
YanMingSu narrowed his eyes, “What?”
“ZhouXiang, the Zhou from Duke of Zhou and Xiang from "flying Xiang.” ZhouXiang pointed to the kitchen, “I'm cooking noodle right now, have a sit, I'm going to go check on it (the noodles).”
YanMingSu looked at ZhouXiang's back silhouette.
ZhouXiang? This person is also ZhouXiang?
This name was once taboo between him and YanMingXiu. During the time when his dumb brother was on the verge of death because of a man, he had constantly heard this name from YanMingXiu’s mouth. He was extremely busy with his work during the time but still had to watch over YanMingXiu and hide it from the family. At the time, he even had the inclination to kill YanMingXiu.
But he had no choice. He could not resurrect the dead.
Finally, he had no choice but to seek out his Master in hoping that his Master could persuade YanMingXiu. He didn’t know what his Master said to YanMingXiu but at least he was able to pull YanMingXiu back from verge of collapse. Just that YanMingXiu had turned into a person like that of the walking dead that he is today.
The name that made him feel full of hatred … the name that he had avoided, he's actually hearing it again.
If he hadn’t seen ZhouXiang's picture, he would have also been skeptical on whether ZhouXiang had really died and not just YanMingXiu's delusion in not being able to accept this reality.
He soon came to understand why his brother kept this person with the same name by his side.
He calmly looked toward the direction where ZhouXiang had disappeared; his heart is in chaos.
The reason he came over today is only because he had heard that YanMingXiu had essentially 'bought' a minor actor as a kept lover so he wanted to come and see. If this person is someone that is reliable, someone whose heart is upright (not scheming), then he will turn a blind eye. If only YanMingXiu could come out of this so called 'ZhouXiang' abyss, this is most important as compared to his dislike toward women.
But he never thought that even after three years, YanMingXiu never left this abyss, instead he fell deeper and deeper into it.
He felt such despair and hopelessness for his little brother.
After a while, ZhouXiang brought out a bowl of noodles, “Mr. Yan, have you eaten yet?”
“I haven’t, do you mind (if I eat)?”
YanMingSu assessed him up and down, “Go right ahead.”
ZhouXiang wasn't at all modest as he went to sit down on the table and buried his head in the bowl of noodle. Whatever these two brothers have to discuss, he decided that he wouldn't even care a bit and wouldn't worry over it. If this bowl of noodle was going to be his last meal in his place, he'll whole-heartedly finish eating it.
YanMingXiu returned before he finished eating.
When he saw YanMingSu, he was obviously stunned. Then, he nodded and faintly said, “Da Ge(T/N).”
T/N: Da Ge – Older brother.
YanMingSu sees YanMingXiu’s obviously emaciated face and only felt angry and resentment. He pointed to ZhouXiang, “How long has it been (referring to ZhouXiang)?”
YanMingXiu responded expressionlessly, “A few months.”
"You've made me restless just when I return, what is the meaning of this?”
YanMingXiu didn't answer but instead asked, “When can I see JiKong Master? I need to see him.”
YanMingSu frowned, “Master is in a retreat. You'll have to wait.”
"I have to see him after."
YanMingSu suppressed his anger, “Come here. I have something to ask you.”
YanMingSu stood up and took the lead to the study.
YanMingXiu glanced at ZhouXiang, displeased, "Who allowed you to open the door for him.”
ZhouXiang responded, “You look too much alike. I just glance at the peephole and thought it was you." He put down his chopsticks, “I'm going to go back first.”
YanMingXiu raised his hand to stop him, “Go wait upstairs.”
ZhouXiang wanted to say something but hesitated. In the end, he cleaned up and went upstairs. He can faintly hear arguments coming from downstairs. The soundproofing in the house is very good so the sounds he heard were very low. If he wasn't listening carefully, he could hardly notice it. So he definitely couldn't hear exactly what they were arguing about.
Whatever they are arguing about is not his concern. ZhouXiang looked at his watch. It was already late so he took a shower and planned on going to sleep.
He looked at the calendar on his cell phone before going to bed. There are four more days before his parents’ death anniversary. Time really flew by.
Checking his schedule, he realized that CaiWei had arranged a magazine audition for him on that day. He thought of pushing this off tomorrow. On that day, he only wanted to observe his parents and spend that day at the cemetery.
ZhouXiang fell asleep as soon as his head hit the bed. Sleeping into the middle of the night, there are movements on his side. When he opened his eyes, he felt a dark shadow climbing onto bed, reeking of alcohol.
ZhouXiang turned on the bedside lamp, “YanMingXiu?”
YanMingXiu didn’t say anything but flopped onto bed with his slender arm embracing his waist.
ZhouXiang asked, “How did you get back?” But he immediately realized that YanMingXiu didn't feel a bit cold and is wearing the same clothes as when he came back earlier today. It's obvious that he didn't come back from anywhere, but he actually didn't go out at all.
Could it be that he had been drinking this entire time downstairs?
YanMingXiu gripped his lapel (front of his shirt) and without really focusing on him, muttered, “ZhouXiang… do you know… do you know … I missed you so much.”
ZhouXiang's entire body jolted.
“Do you know? You certainly don’t know… they also don’t believe it, only I know… you…” Like a child, YanMingXiu buried his face in ZhouXiang's embrace, desperately trying to get closer, as if he was trying to get into his body.
ZhouXiang only felt confused, his mind in chaos.
He's calling for ZhouXiang… it's himself right?… not the original owner of this body, but… the real him? His words can only be explained this way.
YanMingXiu missed him? Does he really? Because he is dead?
Maybe, YanMingXiu really do a have a bit of affection for him. After all, they have lived together for a year. If only he was not “dead,” he would never have known. ZhouXiang's heart is a mixture of flavors. He can't say clearly what flavor he is feeling. If he had heard these words in the past, he would have been very happy. For these words, he likely would have given in regardless of what YanMingXiu had done to him. Unfortunately, up until the accident, YanMingXiu never even gave him a glimmer of hope. Now…even if he heard such words, he only felt chills.
There is some good that can come out of dying once. A lot of things that he had once wanted in the past, right now, he no longer wanted it.
YanMingXiu’s body is very hot as he clung to him. Most of his body was lying on him and he couldn’t move. Allowing YanMingXiu to hold him tightly, he looked up at the ceiling absentmindedly. Despite feeling tired and sleepy, he couldn't sleep.
ZhouXiang, I miss you very much…
Such a good sentence, even if it was intoxicated words, it would have been good if he (older ZhouXiang) had heard it earlier.
Now…. It's all too late. He no longer needed it.
Before daylight, ZhouXiang left.
He still had to go to work and likely will be busy the entire day.
When he went to pick up the things from the company, he bumped into CaiWei.
CaiWei’s expression is a bit stiff, but looked directly at him.
ZhouXiang had already made up his mind to confess to CaiWei and tell him the truth after his parent's death anniversary. He's already at his limit in keeping this secret. No matter what happens afterwards, he wanted to say it now so that he could be free and also allow CaiWei to be free.
With this idea in mind, he felt much lighter with his guilt and guilty conscience in facing CaiWei; his entire person becoming calm and at peace. He took the initiative to say, “Wei Ge, were you okay that day? You drank a lot.”
CaiWei responded with a “Mnnn” sound, “I had too much to drink. Don't mind the things that I said.”
“It's fine. I also drank a lot. I don’t remember much." ZhouXiang smiled warmly and looked at CaiWei just like before.
CaiWei trembled and asked, “You came by to get something?”
“Yeah, I need to return the props to the MeiYing production team. Ah Liu told me to bring the bill over.”
"Fine, go do your work,” CaiWei turned to leave.
“The audition you arranged on me for the 16th, something came up, I won't be able to go.”
CaiWei clenched his fists subconsciously and lowly uttered, “That's fine.” After responding, he quickly left.
ZhouXiang look at CaiWei's back view. He sensitively detected that CaiWei felt unfamiliar toward him. He felt a little uncomfortable, not knowing whether CaiWei would blame him after finding out the truth and when he will forgive him.
ZhouXiang wiped his face and forced his spirits up. Then, he went to take care of the work that he had to do.
End of the chapter