134. Strange Feelings
“Your flight ticket’s all booked?” YiHan asked as he fidgeted with his cup.
“Mn,” Jiang Hua softly replied.
YiHan paused and asked, “You’ll be flying tomorrow. Are you all packed up? Are you missing anything?”
Jiang Hua smiled and replied, “I’m all packed-up. There’s nothing much to bring, honestly. Just a few sets of clothes. The rest I can buy over there.”
“Mn,” YiHan said, nodding. “Jiang-ge, if there’s anything you can’t get used to or you find uncomfortable over at ChangCheng, do call me.”
Jiang Hua smiled and nodded in reply.
YiHan glanced up at the man again. “Why don’t you just stay?” YiHan suddenly burst out with, frustration evident in his voice. “Just quit. With your capabilities, you can find success anywhere. You can at least head into the Mu Group. There’s no need to run off to some freezing city like ChangCheng.”
Jiang Hua couldn’t help but laugh at that. “The company has never treated me badly. Why resign? I’m going to ChangCheng to be the Executive Manager of the entire branch office. It’s actually a promotion.”
“To anyone else, it’d be a promotion,” YiHan griped. “To you, that might not be it. You don’t need to comfort me with that. I know. It’s because my brother gave the order. If he says so, you’ll do it. Damn my brother!”
JingYuan soothingly patted his lover on the hand. “Alright now. Jiang Hua’s only going to ChangCheng. He’s not going overseas. It’s only a few hours by plane. If you miss him, you can visit him anytime. A phone call, a video call, a message, you can always contact him. Don’t throw a tantrum and make things hard for Jiang Hua, okay?”
YiHan sulkily nodded.
Jiang Hua glanced at YiHan again and did his best to change the topic. “Right. YiHan, there’s someone who’d be flying off with me tomorrow.”
YiHan’s head shot up at that. “Someone’s going with you? Who?”
“Lu FengYu,” Jiang Hua sighed.
“Him?” YiHan’s jaw dropped.
“Yes,” Jiang Hua said with a nod. “He just told me yesterday. He said his family had a branch office at ChangCheng too. He’s applied to be transferred over. He even booked the same flight as I did.”
YiHan’s eyes darted around as he thought before he finally smiled and said, “Okay. If you two leave together, he’ll at least be a familiar face. You can be there for each other or at worst, someone you can talk to. It’d be good for you.”
Jiang Hua glanced at YiHan’s bright smile and mumbled, “Why do you sound like you know him well? I don’t remember telling you about him before.”
“We don’t really know each other,” YiHan said. “I just met him once. Ah, right. I forgot to tell you. Two weeks ago, when you got drunk at the bar, there were a few men who wished to whisk you off as you were unconscious. The bartender, Zhu Xun, called me about it but it’d take us some time to even get there. Thankfully, Lu FengYu was there too. He and Zhu Xun risked their lives protecting you. They stalled things out long enough for JingYuan and me to arrive. By the time we rushed in, Lu FengYu’s clothes were torn and tugged into rags. He still insisted on protecting you. People started throwing punches soon after. During the fight, the man was very brave. Don’t be mistaken by his slender frame. He’s quite a force when he puts his mind to it. His eyes were red with rage then. Later on, he told me you were friends.
I just knew it. There’s no way a normal person would risk their lives just to be a hero. Since you’re both friends, you can take care of each other in ChangCheng. Judging by how he acted during the night at the bar, I could tell he truly cares for you. With someone like him going with you, I can relax a little.”
“Huh?” Jiang Hua was shocked. “Something like that happened!”
YiHan shot him a side-eye. “What do you think? That’s why I said you were in danger. When I answered the phone call, I was nearly keeled over from fright. JingYuan and I flew right over. I didn’t tell you the morning after because I was afraid of scaring you. Let’s see if you dare go get drunk at a bar all alone now, especially in a bar like The Dusky Alley. Do you know how lawless it can be in there? I’m afraid of telling you and scaring away your pure little soul.”
“And you still dare mention it,” JingYuan harrumphed. “You know how chaotic it can be and yet you just charged straight in!”
“Yes,” Jiang Hua chimed in. “How do you know so much about the place?”
YiHan had only thought to seize this rare chance to lecture Jiang Hua. Why was the fire directed at him now? YiHan timidly scratched his cheek and cleared his throat.
“That’s something from before,” YiHan said. “I haven’t been there for a long while now.”
“Feng Qun took you there, didn’t he?” JingYuan coldly barked out. “I’ve always told you he’s not a good man but you’d protect him all the time! You nearly decided to give up on our relationship once just for him!”
YiHan didn’t think JingYuan would bring out old issues. He was in the wrong for everything that had happened so all he could do was smile apologetically and tug sweetly at JingYuan’s sleeve.
“I was lost in life back then,” YiHan begged. “I promise I won’t go to The Dusky Alley anymore. There’s actually nothing fun to do in there. It’s not as interesting as watching you work in your office.”
“Is watching me as I work that hard?” JingYuan emotionlessly asked. “You’re using it in a negative light.”
YiHan glared at the man. “I didn’t mean that, JingYuan. How was it negative? There’s no deeper meaning to my words.”
JingYuan sighed, “I know. I’m always keeping a leash on you. I won’t let you go play by yourself. It makes you feel very bored. However, the hidden mastermind has yet to be caught. ‘They’ are in the shadows while you’re in the light. There’s no measure too protective against the unknown. If you head out of the house alone, my heart will always be racing in worry. Be patient just a little longer. We’ve got a lead now. Once that bastard’s been found and you’re safe, you can do anything you want.”
YiHan shook his head and waved a hand in refusal. “No, JingYuan. I don’t feel restricted at all. You don’t have to rush. I think what we have now is fine. I was speaking the truth. It’s very interesting to watch you work. I love it.”
JingYuan kept silent at that as his ears were tinted pink.
Jiang Hua watched as the two lovers shot back and forth at each other. He couldn’t tell just who was wrapped around whose pinkie now. He couldn’t help but let out a chuckle at the sight before him.
“YiHan,” Jiang Hua said, “what’s so interesting about watching someone else work?”
“One,” YiHan replied with a straight face, “he looks so handsome when he’s working.” JingYuan took a sip of water as his eyes bored holes into the window, his ears bright red.
“Two,” YiHan continued, “to play and have fun while someone is working beside me somehow makes me feel happy and content. (*≧ω≦*)”
JingYuan turned back around. “Why do you still act like a child?” He didn’t know if he should laugh or cry at YiHan’s admission.
“With someone willing to spoil one so, who wouldn’t want to be a kid forever?” Jiang Hua laughed.
Indeed. Those who appear strong and resilient always have a past no one would be willing to relive. No one was born strong. One’s maturity required time and, more importantly, suffering. Someone who had never experienced the tough whirlwinds of life would maintain a childish heart until the day they die.
Jiang Hua, for example, was a warm-hearted and mature man. He was extremely detail-oriented in his life. Everything he did was thoroughly considered and analysed first. This was because he was abandoned at birth. He grew up without anyone to rely on. He never knew a family. From the moment he could think, he was alone. He was the only one he could depend on in everything. That’s why he could be so mature and dependable at such a young age. He’d even begun preparing a “retirement fund” for himself.
Mu JingYuan, as another example, was a man with a powerful presence. In the world of business, there were many sly foxes, old and young. He could run rings around them all and make his strategies come true all because his parents passed away when he was still a young child. His extended family schemed and fought each other for the family fortunes. While he had the Bai family to help him, they weren’t truly part of the Mu family. There were many things he had to do himself. While he got used to the pain of losing both of his parents at once, he still had to focus on protecting the company his parents poured their blood and sweat into. Years ago, people called him “the smiling tiger” as he’d always be smiling. His smile would never reach his eyes though. However, in the past two years, his place as the head of the Mu Group was solidified and stable. That fake smile had since vanished from his face. Now, whenever anyone spots a smile on his face, they’d be shivering in fear while their toes went numb. JingYuan was born with a stern face, thin lips and straight brows. When he wasn’t smiling, that chilling aura multiplied. A bored glance could make the target of the glace feel as though there were daggers prickling against their skin. It was only this year after he’d confirmed his romantic relationship with YiHan did that thorny man relax. His figure softened. Like a sword being sheathed, his thorns retracted. Still, it only made him more mysterious and harder to judge.
Even YiHan himself wasn’t the foolish and naive Little Master Bai he once was. He had been forced to face too much of the darkness in life to remain the same. His soul had been tainted. It was only before his beloved family could he relax to the point of speaking and acting without thinking twice.
They were not born with their strengths. Behind those strong backs were countless anguish and tears.
JingYuan raised a hand and stroked YiHan’s hair. “You can a child your whole life then,” he gently said.
YiHan’s hand shot up to smack the hand away. “A man’s head is like a tiger’s butt,” he grumbled. “They can’t be touched! You’ve got to change this bad habit of yours!”
JingYuan held up his hands, palms out to express his refusal to obey.
Jiang Hua chuckled harder. His mood relaxing with the air.
That evening, after XueQing and the Bai parents had wandered up to bed, YiHan seized the moment Yan was still sitting with them and asked his lover, JingYuan, what time is Jiang-ge’s flight tomorrow?”
Yan’s fingers, frozen against on the arm of couch he was on, twitched.
JingYuan glanced at Yan before dotingly sighed and replied, “Ten o’clock in the morning. Didn’t you say you’d be sending him off? Don’t oversleep.”
“Of course I wouldn’t. You’d be going with me tomorrow, right?” YiHan shot back.
“Of course. I’ll be your driver.”
“You can just wake me up then. Oh.” YiHan paused. “Jiang-ge said he’d be leaving for ChangCheng for good. He won’t be back anymore.”
Yan’s fingers twitched again.
“It’s easy to book a flight over. If you miss him, you can fly over and stay with him for a few days,” JingYuan said.
YiHan snuck peek at the Yan’s blank face before replying, “True. I’ve helped Jiang-ge sold off his apartment already. I’ve transferred the money over. Once he lands in ChangCheng, he can buy a new place and settle in straight away. He told me he’d decorate a room just for me. I can stay over anytime I want.”