20. Escaping in Panic
To the Bai family, it’s only been half a month. In reality, it’s been more than two years since YiHan last saw Mu JingYuan. Everyone says that a trip back to one’s hometown after a while would incite complicated feelings, but it’s the same when meeting someone again after a long time. While YiHan had already decided to treat JingYuan as his future brother-in-law, when it was time to come face-to-face with him again, it made YiHan remember the heartache from before. Thus, he could only ignore JingYuan for now. The longer he could avoid seeing JingYuan, the better.
Perhaps YiHan was truly weak and a coward. The arrogant and wild personality he had all came from being spoiled by his family. He’s really just pretending to be a tiger with a frail, paper-thin mask that’d crumble with a single poke at it.
However, he didn’t spend too long acting as a cowardly turtle shrinking into its shell. After two weeks or so, YiHan was caught off-guard by JingYuan’s return.
YiHan had just turned around the corner of the staircase when he heard the ever-familiar voice of Mu JingYuan sounding out from downstairs. He knew that voice as well as if it was carved into his bones, yet those deep smooth notes seemed to ring out from far off in the distance. His feet froze. As he died, his greatest wish then was to see JingYuan one last time. But now that he knew for sure JingYuan was just downstairs, he couldn’t move his feet at all. In the end, his cowardly mind decided to run in panic.
Mu JingYuan was paying attention to every creak and noise coming from above the whole time. He clearly heard those familiar footsteps. They walked down, paused before the stairway, then turned back. He heaved a sigh in his mind. It seemed like HanHan was still angry at him. His HanHan was just a tad selfish before, but his temper recently took a turn for the worse. It’d go from being happy to angry and back with no way of predicting it. No, that’s wrong. HanHan’s temper never improved. It’d stay gloomy and he’d always speak in a strange way that kept implying things. Mention it to him and he’d fly into a fury before continuing on with the cold war. It really exhausted JingYuan, mentally and physically.
Bai YiHan was like a child who never learned to grow up. His actions and words were all born from his current feelings. Only this time, no one knew what was making him so angry. He’s been fussing about it for so long and there wasn’t a single sign of his anger abating. In the past, he’d cause a ruckus and start a cold war, which would never last more than a week. Sooner or later, YiHan would not be able to resist from contacting JingYuan. However, JingYuan just so happened to be on a business trip this time. It’s been over half a month since they last saw each other with no contact at all. YiHan would ignore all of JingYuan’s calls. Now that JingYuan’s in YiHan’s home, YiHan still looked as if he was refusing to meet with JingYuan. JingYuan really didn’t know what he should do.
Ma looked on as Mu JingYuan’s brows furrowed further and further before she let out a faint sigh. “JingYuan, did you argue with HanHan? He was in a terrible mood some time ago and you never came over. Did his immaturity and selfish nature anger you? You too know HanHan’s personality is like a child. You’ve got to be more forgiving. He really, really respects you. He might be a bit too impulsive and hasty, but most people and issues can’t affect him at all. He’d usually just let it go and forget about them. It’s only when he argues with you would his mood drop that badly,” she said.
JingYuan gave a bitter smile. “Aunt Bai, how can I not understand HanHan’s personality? You know as well. Just trying to make him happy and soothing him is a task I can’t finish. How could I be angry at him? Perhaps I accidentally offended him or made him angry in some way. He got so very angry and fussed about it for a while. He’s still not willing to talk to me,” he said.
Ma glanced at the empty stairway and let out another sigh. “This child is just too wilful. We’ve spoiled him. We thought he’d matured quite a lot recently. We didn’t think he’d still be so obstinate when it relates to you.” Upon noticing JingYuan’s confused gaze, she continued in a somewhat bragging manner. “You must not know it yet due to your recent absenteeism. Ever since that day when HanHan woke up crying from a nightmare, he’d become much more considerate and mature. Not once has he thrown a temper tantrum since then. He’d also frequently show his care for me and his father, and his brother and sister. We’re all so happy and relieved.”
“He suddenly matured? Did something happen?” JingYuan asked with a deep frown.
“You went on the same train of thought as us,” she said with a smile. “We did wonder if he was bullied or traumatised during his time out of the house. His brother and father even sent bodyguards stalking after him. But during these weeks, he rarely left the house. Even if he did, it was for nothing and he did nothing. He didn’t even hang out with those drinking buddies of his. The men were just withdrawn a few days ago. Looks like he really did just grow up.”
1. “Tiger with a frail, paper-thin mask that’d crumble with a single poke at it”: Literally translated, it means “Paper Tiger”. A slang/idiom/noun for people who pretend to be stronger and cooler than they actually are. An easier way to visualise it is imagining it’s referring to the paper dolls used in shadow puppetry. A tiger paper puppet’s shadow would look like a real tiger, but in the light, it’s just a fragile piece of paper on sticks.
2. “Drinking buddies”: Literal translation = “Meat and wine friends”. Synonymous with the term/idiom “fox and dog friends”. It refers to friends who love to drink, have sex, go clubbing/partying, and are generally viewed as the worst kind of influence ever because they’re only there for one’s money.