94. Little Brother Might Like JingYuan
As Yan spoke, telling his father to take his mother home, he kept motioning at his father to look at his little brother’s hands. FuRen followed Yan’s gaze. What he saw prompted him to hurriedly say, “The kids are right. XiaoRan, you must be exhausted. Let’s head home first. JingYuan dotes on HanHan so much. Would you really be worried about him not taking good care of our son?”
FuRen kept pushing his wife out of the room as he verbally ushered her out. Then, he whispered into her ear, “Let’s head home first. I’ve got something to tell you.”
Ma was still uneasy but, at the sight of her husband’s serious eyes, she kept quiet and followed him out.
XueQing and Yan exchanged a glance. “We’ll see them out,” she then said, pulling TianYang along with her out of the room with Yan following suit.
Now, only JingYuan and YiHan were left in the room. YiHan silently stared at JingYuan for a few moments, then reached out to grab the other’s hand.
“JingYuan, you came. I’m so happy,” he said with a gentle smile.
JingYuan’s heart ached so badly it felt like it was cramping up. His free hand came up and caressed YiHan’s soft cheek. “Happy? You’re so badly hurt. You scared me. Even now, just thinking about how I found you makes my legs buckle. It’s all my fault. I didn’t protect you properly. You were hurt right under my watch.”
“You’re not a fortune teller. How could you predict the future?” YiHan asked, pressing his lips together to hold his smile back. “Say, you’ve been by my side a lot lately. I wasn’t even meant to leave home today. Did you know there was danger lurking around? Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to you. I worried you.”
The other man grabbed YiHan’s hand and rubbed his cheek against it. He kissed YiHan’s palm. “You’ve said it yourself,” JingYuan said, distress in his voice. “I’m not a fortune teller. How could I have known there’d be danger? We just got together. Isn’t it our honeymoon period? Naturally, I’d want to be by your side every day, every moment. I wanted you to stay home today because I wanted to be able to see you the second I came back. What? Am I too clingy?”
YiHan couldn’t hold back his smile anymore. A chuckle burst through his lips. If the world knew the great CEO Mr Mu would talk like a distraught and wronged wife, the Mu Group’s stock prices would plummet.
Still, YiHan had to comfort his lover when he’s in such agony. “I would never say that. Why would I? These days, I’ve been doing my best not to burst out laughing in joy. Unlike me, an unemployed man, you’re always busy. Every day, my mind keeps making up plans to make you stay away from work. I wanted you by my side. Thankfully, our hearts seemed to know what the other was thinking. Before any of my nonsensical plans were started, you stayed. Look at me. When you’re by my side, no one would dare come near me. As soon as you leave me, I get hurt.”
Love swelled in JingYuan and he couldn’t hold himself back anymore. He leaned down to peck YiHan’s nose.
“Little one, you finally learned how to speak to your lover. If things really are as you say, then I must not stray even an inch away from you. Right?” said JingYuan.
YiHan blinked. “Then should I start showering you with praise and flattery, my dear guardian angel?”
“I look forward to it. Do your best. Ah, you must be tired. Was today terrifying?” JingYuan asked. He tenderly touched the bandages on YiHan’s wrist. His teeth were clamped down so tightly that blood would be drawn soon.
YiHan spread his arms out and JingYuan swiftly leaned in for a semi-hug, arms hovering around the man in the bed. YiHan tilted his head to kiss JingYuan on the cheek.
“At first, I was a little scared,” YiHan said. “Then, Feng Qun brought up that foul desire of his. I’m already in a relationship with you, I thought. If I can’t resist him, then I’ll drag him to hell with me. I thought I was dead.” He chuckled. A tear sliding down his cheek. “But you came. When you were standing before me, my fear vanished. I was afraid of nothing. When I saw you, my heart calmed down. It had never been so calm before. I was ecstatic. JingYuan, you came to save me. Even if I really died, I would’ve died without regrets.”
JingYuan kissed the tear away from YiHan’s face and tightened his embrace. “What nonsense are you talking about?” he asked in a low tone. “Nothing is worth you dying with your enemy. Why would I not save you if you’re in danger? Even if I risk my life doing so, I will save you. Remember. No matter when or what happens, your life is the most important thing here. If anything happened to you, I’d…I’d follow you. It’s as you said. We’re now together. No matter where we go, we should always be together.”
YiHan was stunned. What else could he ask for but this? Nothing. He lacked nothing in life now.
XueQing dragged TianYang out of the room, then told him to head home. Then, she raced ahead with Yan to catch up with their parents. Under the bemused gaze of Ma, they got in the car.
Yan slipped into the driver’s seat. “Let’s go home first,” he said.
FuRen patted his wife on the hand as reassurance as XueQing kept quiet with her eyes lowered.
The journey was spent in silence.
“Just what are you keeping from me?” Ma asked when the whole family was gathered in the living room. “Is it about HanHan?”
FuRen glanced at his wife and hesitated.
“Father, I don’t want a repeat of today,” XueQing said. “We didn’t plan on telling Mother this because we were worried about her health, but now…it’s too dangerous. HanHan stayed strong this time, but what if this happens again? We might not even need to wait!”
“There are always limits to human strength,” Yan said. “We still don’t know who ‘that person’ is. We can never be on our guard all the time. She should be aware.”
“Just what are you guys talking about?” Ma shouted in worry. “What is it that all of you know but me? I have the right to know about my son! Bai FuRen, tell me!”
“Don’t panic, XiaoRan. Don’t worry,” FuRen hurriedly spoke up. “I’ll tell you.” He then told her everything about YiHan and their guesses about what happened to him. “We didn’t tell you because we were worried you’d panic and stress yourself out. We didn’t think…”
Ma was trembling in anger. “You didn’t think, in my ignorance, I’d take HanHan out of the house and nearly killed him? What do you think I am? A flimsy paper doll that’ll break at a touch? Have you never heard of the phrase, ‘women may be weak, but mothers are strong’? You didn’t tell. You let me lead HanHan into the beast’s maws like a fool!”
Ma’s chest rose and fell in quick bursts, her face as pale as a ghost.
FuRen was terrified at his wife’s outburst. “Calm down, XiaoRan. Don’t be mad,” he hastily assured. “I only did it out of panic. Thank goodness HanHan’s fine now. We must now come together as a family and help HanHan recover!”
XueQing and Yan had also evacuated their seats to kneel down before Ma. Through their comforting words, Ma’s breathing slowed down back to a regular rhythm.
“Why did you guys insist on letting JingYuan take care of HanHan overnight on that day?” Ma asked, brows locked in a frown. “While he’s very close to us and he’s engaged to XueQing, they’re not married yet. Even then, it’s unreasonable for a brother-in-law to take care of our son as his entire family stay home. There’s no way you wouldn’t know how strange it is. Why?”
“HanHan’s hand was clutching tight at JingYuan’s shirt,” FuRen sighed. “I thought it’d be good for HanHan. It’d be a comfort for HanHan to have JingYuan by his side. We can only ask it of him.”
Yan wiped the tears streaking down his face away, heedless of how undignified he looked then. He shot a long glance at his sister before saying, pain in his voice, “Ever since he was a child, HanHan had been exceptionally close to JingYuan. He’s a bold child. He did as he pleased with no subtlety most of the time. The only one who could sway his mind are us and JingYuan. He listens to JingYuan the most and JingYuan always knew what to do with him. After all these years, we’ve gotten used to it. Last time, he…nearly killed himself. JingYuan was the one to stop him. From what we’ve heard from JingYuan, I think that no one else could’ve calmed HanHan down quickly enough for him to give up on his suicide attempt, if we were even able to stop HanHan from doing the deed.”
Yan paused, glancing at XueQing again. “I found it strange too,” he sighed. “Why would HanHan think something happen just because he woke up to sharing the same bed with JingYuan. Anyone else would think JingYuan must’ve fallen asleep in exhaustion from taking care of him. It’s normal. Why would HanHan suspect they’ve done it, that they’ve done something wrong and betrayed XueQing? Why did he think of committing suicide because of that? I thought it was because of the vile manipulations of the person who lead him astray. Then…his hand…it clutched at JingYuan’s shirt so very hard that his knuckles were white. I thought, what if he’s…he thinks…JingYuan…”
Ma’s face went paler than before and FuRen’s breathing came out harsher. XueQing also looked rather queasy. She could feel guilt gnawing away at her.
“Yan, you mean HanHan is gay and he’s fallen in love with JingYuan?” Ma slowly said after a long pause. “Have you forgotten about his ex-girlfriend? JingYuan is also his brother-in-law.”
An idea hit XueQing then. She gripped hard at the arm of the sofa before her. It was a bet she had to take. She took a moment to gather her words before saying, “Actually, I did suspect what Yan just said too.”
FuRen’s head jerked up to look at her and so did the other two. XueQing cleared her throat before solemnly saying, “I did mention it before. HanHan seemed to be very much against my marriage with JingYuan. He didn’t say anything but if anyone mentions it, he’ll get depressed. Based on what we know, HanHan was likely manipulated by that person during the time he was fighting with JingYuan. Not long after JingYuan left on a business trip, HanHan suddenly turned into a ‘good kid’. He ‘matured’. While he changed a lot, he was only much more appreciative of his family. He didn’t show any signs of self-harm. So why did he suddenly break down that morning?
“I’ve thought about it over and over again. My guess is HanHan realised he like men back then and developed feelings for JingYuan. In his panic, he found himself a girlfriend. He wanted to ‘make himself straight again’. From what I know, one’s sexual preferences are not something that can be forcefully changed. Naturally, HanHan failed. After he broke up with that girlfriend, he was unable to face his sexuality. That’s why his temper became so explosive. He started giving up on himself. He was unable to look at JingYuan properly. That’s why he kept picking fights for no reason. He wanted to banish those feelings through ruining his relationship with JingYuan. Then, ‘that person’ started their schemes. Perhaps they wanted to make HanHan unknowingly destroy himself. But HanHan’s much stronger than they thought. He only learned to treasure what he had. When JingYuan returned, HanHan kept hiding from him. That was an anomaly but none of us paid attention to it back then. When JingYuan and I announced our engagement, HanHan’s mood dipped extremely low. However, he’s ‘mature’ now. So he didn’t cause a fuss. Instead, he wished us happiness. He must’ve been in so much pain then but he forced himself to smile through it.
“He got drunk on that night. After he woke up, he found himself in the same bed as JingYuan. Because of his own feelings, he thought something must’ve happened between him and JingYuan. In his guilt, the pain that had been building up in him overwhelmed him. Due to that person’s manipulations, his mind was already weak. It broke through his mental barriers. He thought he ‘shouldn’t have existed’. Perhaps he merely wanted to end his pain. He told JingYuan, ‘Once I die, everything will be okay. It’ll be better for everyone.’ It’s clear he included himself in that statement. Maybe he thought the only way he could be free from the pain was death.
That’s why JingYuan and I decided to postpone the engagement. We found out how much HanHan disliked it. We did it for his sake. You must’ve realised. During the time since then, his mood has gotten better but he was always worried and stressed out. I kept a close eye on him. The way he looked at JingYuan was definitely not the way one would look at their brother-in-law. He had been trying to hide it from the start. For our sakes. Then, today, he was kidnapped. He nearly…died. JingYuan rushed over to save him. That one action affected HanHan so much that he couldn’t hold back his emotions anymore. That was why Yan knew.
“If we never realised, HanHan might’ve kept it a secret his whole life. Even if he recovers, he would never be happy. Perhaps, to hide the truth from us, he’ll choose to distance himself from us. He might end up alone his entire life.”
Women may be weak, but mothers are strong: Quote found in Chapter I Found, but Lost, Book V In Dæemone Deus, Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo. The Asian internet always misquote it to “women are weak but mothers are strong” and often cite Asian authors as the source. It’s probably due to Asian authors paraphrasing the Asian translation of Victor Hugo’s text without deliberately naming him