149. Massive Misunderstanding
YiHan wasn’t afraid of JingYuan at all. They’ve already broached the subject. There wasn’t anything to worry about anymore. At the thought of that nightmarish day, his eyes went red.
“Last time, when Dr Zhou came to give me a check-up, you were all hiding in the study room, talking about it. I left my room in search of you. I accidentally overheard what you guys were saying. JingYuan, how I’d wished my life had stopped that day. How I wish it’d stopped the moment I stepped out of my room so I would never have to know of your ‘cure’!”
JingYuan stepped forward to engulf YiHan in a hug. Heedless of the other’s struggle, JingYuan held tight and rumbled, “You must’ve only heard the start of our conversation, HanHan. You must trust me. My love for you has never been faked. I don’t know when it started but I’ve fallen in love with you. I fell in love with you long before my deal with XueQing, long before you dated Tao Qi. Do you know why I would agree to XueQing’s suggestion? Because I thought there was no way we’d be together, ever. It was just an engagement in name. What did it matter? HanHan, you can’t doubt me like this. Can’t you feel my affection for you?”
YiHan’s struggle proved fruitless. “JingYuan, look,” he sighed, all strength drained out of him. “It’s because you can say that without any hesitation or pressure that I’d believe what I overheard. I know you’ve doted on me the whole time we were growing up. I’m sick. You’re afraid I’d suddenly close my mind off and decide to end my life with one slash. You want me to hold beautiful hopes for life. You’ve worked too hard for my sake. JingYuan, I really don’t need all of that. I’m telling you, right here, right now. I won’t attempt suicide ever again. I will live a good life. Your mission is now complete. You can return to your ‘normal’ life!
“I never planned on speaking a word of this. I thought I could play along. This whole show will act out smoothly and I’ll soon ‘get better’. You’ll then step out of the show as planned and I can head to my little nest. Everyone will go their own way. How nice would that be? No one would find it awkward at all. Wouldn’t it be the greatest outcome for us all? Why, just as I take a step back, would you not step out of this situation? You’re clearly lying to me! Why must you press me to stay committed to this act? You’re talking of marriage again? Don’t you think it’s hilarious for you to mention it at this time?”
JingYuan was so angry that his dark spots in his vision had bloomed into a field. His arms tightened around YiHan as he said, “This is your secret? What is your ‘little nest’? That house? You want to hide in there all alone and leave me forever? Do you think I think of myself as a medicine to cure you? HanHan, I’m really not that heroic! If not because I love you and I want to be with you, how could I have agreed to this? Did you know how ecstatic I was on the night of the old Mr Yan’s birthday party? It was the happiest day of my life! I’ll admit. I am hiding something from you, but it’s absolutely not about my feelings for you! Yes, when your parents found out you were mentally ill, they wanted me to comfort you. But we had already gotten together by then. I didn’t say anything then. I was afraid they’d object to our relationship. It was just an opportunity for us to go along with it. I know now I was wrong. I shouldn’t have used such a method to gain their assent! If I’d just came out clean to them about our relationship, such a massive misunderstanding wouldn’t have happened!”
The long bout of fever JingYuan was going through had his strength waning out not long after the fight started. Soon, YiHan could struggle away out of the man’s embrace.
“A misunderstanding?” YiHan asked, head lowered as he took a step back. “JingYuan, I truly don’t dare to believe you anymore. My mind is not as smart as yours. There’s no way I can tell which of what you said is the truth and which is a lie. If you truly thought of me as a younger brother, if you truly love me, then stop lying to me. I only want the truth. I don’t want to live in a dream that’ll shatter in an instant.”
When YiHan shoved himself out of JingYuan’s embrace, the impact also pushed JingYuan backwards until he sat back down on the bed. The man sat there, head in his hands. He looked like a shrivelled shell of who he used to be
“YiHan, you don’t trust me,” said JingYuan, “With just a few incomplete sentences, you’ve declared all of my feelings for you false. Were all the moments we’d spent together worth nothing to you? Why do you have no faith in me? XueQing knows of my feelings too. Do you trust your sister? Or do you think everyone is working together to fool you?”
YiHan twisted his head to the side. “I know you’re all doing it for my sake. I’m not blaming you. There’s just no need for us to keep dragging both of us down to a halt in our lives. You should have your own life. You’ve done enough for me…”
JingYuan’s head snapped up. His eyes were bloodshot as he shouted, “Bai YiHan!”
YiHan was startled.
The other man swiped a hand across his face. It was now stuck in an emotionless state yet a tear slowly rolled down his cheek.
“I’m sorry,” JingYuan hoarsely rumbled. “I didn’t mean to shout at you. But you… I don’t understand. How can you so easily say you’d give up on me? I thought you loved me. While you might not love me as much as I do you, but i-it’s also love. Was I thinking too highly of myself?”
YiHan stared into JingYuan’s red eyes. The man’s face was pale and devoid of blood. His fingers were quivering. There was a tear streak on the face, something that should never appear on the man’s face. YiHan could feel his heart shattering from the pain of it all. This was the man he’d loved for two lifetimes. How could YiHan just let go of him? However, YiHan’s love was too strong and too deeply embedded in his being. He didn’t know what was the best choice for the man he loved. YiHan could play the fool to make JingYuan stay by his side. As long as he doesn’t “get better”, JingYuan would stay by his side. A day more with the man is better than nothing. Still, he didn’t want JingYuan to waste away the prime of his life. He didn’t want the man to sacrifice anything for him. He thought by setting the man free, only one of them would have to deal with the agony of being separated. But why was the other man in so much pain? Did he truly love YiHan?
YiHan’s breathing came out in harsh, rapid pants. His mouth opened and closed again and again but he never could muster the courage to voice the question. He ran his hands through his hair in frustration as he dashed out of the room.
JingYuan stared at the closed door. His mind blanked out as he sat there in silence for a while. Suddenly he shot up and swept everything on the headboard off. As the items crashed into the floor, his chest heaved up and down in quick succession. Dark spots grew once more in his vision. He stood still, body swaying, as his mind slowly whirred. He then picked up his phone off the floor and made a call.
“No matter the circumstances, do not let Little Master Bai leave the house,” JingYuan rasped into the phone. He then paused for a brief moment before adding on, “Remember, don’t frighten him. Also, anyone who dares lay a finger on him will be killed!”
The man then hung up. His figure slid down to the floor beside his bed as his head drooped down. He sat there, slouched and unmoving.
As for YiHan, he’d rushed about in the hallways in a panic from the moment he’d left JingYuan’s room. He returned to the room JingYuan had arranged for him. Pushing open the door revealed a room that made his heart race in distress once more. He hurriedly turned and dashed down the stairs, hoping to get some fresh air in the gardens outside. Every room in this house had signs of JingYuan’s presence. The aura threatened to engulf him.
However, the instant he reached the front doors, two men in black suits appeared out of thin air to block the door. They were two exceedingly large and muscular men with faces so strict and solemn that they looked like guardians of hell.
“Little Master Bai, please turn back,” one of the two men uttered in a deep and low voice.
“What’s the meaning of this?” YiHan shot back with a frown.
“Little Master Bai, please turn back,” the man repeated.
“Why?” YiHan’s hands were clenched into fists. “Is this JingYuan’s order? Does he want to imprison me?”
“Little Master Bai, please turn back,” the man robotically repeated.
YiHan took a step forward. The two men took a step backwards too.
“Little Master Bai, please turn back!” repeated the man once more. This time, his voice was lower and there was a hint of threat in it.
YiHan stopped. He stood there and stared into their eyes for a solid minute before his shoulders drooped and he turned to head back into the room he was assigned too. With a loud bang, the door was slammed shut behind him.
The two men at the door stood there in silence for a long while. Then, the man who’d spoken to YiHan gently patted the other man on the shoulder.
“Pan Wen, don’t be scared,” said the man in the same robotic voice he’d used with YiHan. “It’s fine now. He shouldn’t be back anytime soon.”
The other man immediately crumpled. He was caught by Wei Wu, the man beside him, who had been ready for Pan Wen’s reaction. Pan Wen leaned his head into Wei Wu’s shoulder.
“Waah, that was so scary!” meekly sobbed Pan Wen in a coarse, harsh voice. “He nearly walked right up to us!”
“I was scared too,” Wei Wu replied, voice still the same as before. “Thank goodness he didn’t continue pressing forward.”
“Aah,” Pan Wen continued sobbing, “Boss’s order is so tough! We can’t let him leave and we can’t touch him at all! Thankfully, Master Bai didn’t force his way through. If he insisted on leaving, what should we do? Do we hurt ourselves to scare him back?”
“The master said not to frighten him,” said Wei Wu.
“That means,” Pan Wen mewled, “we can’t even scare him off. We can only wait for death. Say, if he wants to leave again, do you think we can force him back by suddenly kneeling and begging?”
Wei Wu turned to Pan Wen and said, as monotone as ever, “You don’t need to do that. I’ll kneel.”
Pan Wen paused, shocked. He then slammed a punch into Wei Wu’s chest as his face blushed red.
“Oh, you’re so mean,” Pan Wen coyly responded. “You’re trying to sweet-talk me again…”
Wei Wu choked on his own breath from the impact of the other man’s “bashful” punch. He had to clear his throat a few times and let out a long exhale before he regained his normal, deep voice.
“It’s no sweet talk,” Wei Wu said. “I’m serious.”
Pan Wen leaned against Wei Wu with a face filled with bliss. “Alright,” he sweetly murmured. “I know what you mean. There’s no need to keep telling me. It’s quite embarrassing, you meanie~”
“Unfortunately,” Pan Wen continued with a sigh, “we’re on the job right now. We can’t go and do it. What a waste of a nice atmosphere.”
Wei Wu’s bronze skin was overtaken by a blush that made him glow. “T-T-Tonight, we’ll be changing shifts with Qin Ying and the others.”
“Oh, you beast,” Pan Wen demurely pouted, “you’re never satisfied. I feel like I’m being shattered to pieces with how you torment me.”
Wei Wu: “…”
YiHan threw himself onto the bed in his room. His hair was in a mess with how his hands kept ruffling and tugging at it. What was this? Imprisonment? Everything is out in the open now. Why did JingYuan still want to trap him in here?
YiHan wrecked all of the brain cells his tiny mind could gather to think hard about everything that had happened between him and JingYuan. The more he pondered, the more of a mess his thoughts were. He couldn’t even hash out a single clear train of thought. He desperately wanted to believe everything JingYuan had said but he was too scared of being disappointed again. It would push him off the cliff into the deep end of despair.
Hands wrapped around his head, he collapsed back on the bed.
“JingYuan,” he muttered, “JingYuan, why must you always give me hope? What if I truly believe you but you were fooling me once more? I would surely loathe you then.”