152. I’ve Decided
YiHan sat down on the bed. A finger reached out to hover over JingYuan’s dark circles and slowly slid around them, still separated by air.
“If you’d really let me go, I would’ve been devastated to the point of death. You…” YiHan softly murmured. “I’ll trust you one more time. If you dare lie to me again, I’ll truly hate you.”
YiHan paused. After a brief second of hesitation, he continued, “If you get better fast, I’ll…I’ll go along with whatever you want. If you’re angry I didn’t trust you, I’ll let you vent your anger out on me. I promise I won’t fight back or talk back. Okay?” As he said so, his fingers slowly curled around JingYuan’s fingertips. The warmth of the other man made him feel like the gaping hole in his heart had been filled up once more. His heart finally didn’t feel like it was gushing out blood the entire time while letting in bursts of cold air.
YiHan softly sighed. At this very moment, his body felt as light as a feather. It was as if a heavy, giant boulder had been lifted off his back. YiHan leaned down and kissed JingYuan’s fingers before slouching down to rest his upper body on the edge of the bed.
Then, in a voice so soft that it nearly blended into the ambient noise of the room, YiHan whispered, “Since you say there can be no doubt about your love for me, you’re still mine. I gave you a chance. I tried to set you free. You refused it. It’s not my fault now. I’ll be bothering you for the rest of our lives. There won’t be any more chances for you to run.
“JingYuan, I’ve decided to hold on tight to you. The past few weeks had been torture and I hadn’t even left your side then. If I truly left you, the pain would be worse than death. Even if you truly are lying to me, I won’t let you go. I don’t care if it’s selfish. I don’t want to leave you anyway. I want to risk it. Even if I’m torn to pieces and shattered to the core, I’ll definitely cling onto you until that very moment.
YiHan then softly snickered to himself as his fingers scraped against JingYuan’s blanket. “But don’t worry. I’m much better now. I’m dumb. I’m easily fooled and used as a tool against my loved ones. I won’t be doing anything big or productive, but I can at least be a good child. I’ll tell you everything from now on. You’re smart. I’ll listen to everything you say. Then, I won’t make a mistake. Look, aren’t I doing well after I came back? I haven’t caused an incident yet.”
YiHan sighed. “JingYuan, I must’ve saved the world in a previous life. Why else would you fall in love with me? I’m so lucky.”
YiHan laid there for a while, covering JingYuan’s cold hands with his. Suddenly, he whispered, “I can’t tell you everything though. There’s at least one matter I can’t tell you. Actually, sometimes I wonder. You love me. So you might not find me disgusting even if you know about my past, right? But I still can’t say it. I wanted you to keep thinking of me as clean and pure. This will be the only thing I’ll be keeping a secret from you. I’ll take this to my grave. No one will ever know, especially you.”
YiHan was about to drift off to sleep when he heard someone lightly knocking on the door. Afraid that it might wake JingYuan up after the man had finally fallen asleep, YiHan hurriedly rose to his feet and opened the door. It was Chen Hong. The man had a pile of documents in his hands. He was about to speak when YiHan rose a finger to his lips in a shushing motion. Chen Hong quickly understood and closed his open mouth. The man took a step back.
YiHan looked back at the bed. JingYuan was still asleep and showed no signs of being disturbed. Letting out a sigh of relief, YiHan then stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him.
As the two men walked down to the living room, YiHan shot a glance at the stack of papers in Chen Hong’s arms and asked, “Here to deliver some documents to JingYuan?”
Chen Hong nodded. “Yes. Is Mr Mu asleep?”
“Yes,” YiHan replied. “He’d just fallen asleep. Finally, a proper, restful sleep. Leave the documents on the table. I’ll hand them to him once he wakes up.”
“Okay,” Chen Hong said, placing his armful of papers on the coffee table of the living room as the two sat down. After a quick scan of YiHan’s face, Chen Hong smiled and asked, “Has the ice between you two finally been broken? Mr Mu will soon get better then.”
“How did you know we were fighting?” YiHan asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I’ve worked under Mr Mu for years,” Chen Hong replied with a chuckle. “While I can’t say I understand every single move and expression he makes, I understand half of them at least. He’s someone who doesn’t wear his feelings on his sleeve. The only thing that can move him to this extreme is anything related to you, Little Master Bai. He had been feeling down before. I’m guessing it must’ve been because of issues in his relationship with you.”
“Oh? You seem quite knowledgeable on what goes on between us,” said YiHan.
Chen Hong quickly raised a hand to wave before him in a “no” gesture as he said, “No, no. Mr Mu rarely lets anyone know of what’s going on in his private life with you. However, he has loved you for years. Hence, I can make a few educated guesses based on his emotions and actions.”
The fist clenched tight on YiHan’s knee gradually loosened as YiHan calmly asked, “Loved me for years? You’re exaggerating, right?”
Chen Hong chuckled again. “Not at all. It’s been many years. As long as it concerns you, he will prioritise it, no matter how trivial the issue. As long as it’s a call from you, he needs to instantly take the call. No matter the time of day, even during meetings. He might even hang up on the other party just to answer your call. Then, even though it might just be a call you made out of boredom, he will wait for you to end the call first before going back to work. When this habit first started, there were many people in the company who were upset. They thought he was too lax in his work. They said you’ve severely affected Mr Mu’s work ethics. Some people tried criticising him about this habit. However, Mr Mu came straight out to all of the executives in the company and said, ‘He is the most important being in my life. If any of you have opinions about it, you’d best swallow those words back and keep them locked up. If I hear a single negative word about him, I don’t care who it is, but that person had best be ready to pack their things up on the spot.’
“That happened, hm, about three or four years ago. Everyone who’d worked in the company for that long knows of it. People say he’s just a bro-con, a slave to his little brother, but those who worked closer to him all knew that he’s not a slave of any family members. He’s just a man in love. Because it wasn’t a love voiced out loud before, no one dared to mention a word of it.
“There was a time when you and Mr Mu would come into the office together. As long as you’re there, the only apt description for Mr Mu would be lovestruck. But if there was a day when you weren’t around? Heh. Pardon my disrespect but he’s like a frost-covered – ahem – as if he was covered in frost. He’d exude a strong aura of helplessness. Everyone in the office now knows that if Little Master Bai is in, it doesn’t matter if they made a tiny little mistake. That’s because Mr Mu would be in a good mood and Mr Mu in a good mood would be much more tolerant.”
Chen Hong burst out chuckling again as he continued, “There’s something you still must not know of. There was a receptionist at the front desk who really liked you. Whenever you came in, the young girl’s gaze would follow you until the elevator doors closed behind you. After the second time it happened, she was sacked. Direct orders from Mr Mu. From then on, whenever you appear in the office, no one dared to stare or look at you. It didn’t matter if they were male, female, old or young. Haha. If possible, his jealousy might even extend to everyone under the sky and even the gods. Right, I hope you can keep what we talked about today a secret. I’m afraid my job might be at risk otherwise.”
It might be a stretch for Chen Hong to say his job would be at risk. He had been working by JingYuan’s side for years. He’s as loyal as can be and he’s JingYuan’s most trusted, most capable right-hand man. JingYuan wouldn’t kick him out over something so trivial. Nevertheless, it wasn’t unlikely for the man to be suspended for a few days or have his pay cut. That’s because Mu JingYuan was jealousy incarnate.
After seeing Chen Hong out, YiHan silently returned to JingYuan’s room. Sitting there by the bed, he blankly stared as JingYuan’s gaunt face. His gaze never shifted away, not even when daylight waned.
When JingYuan woke up, it was night. The room was dimly lit and YiHan was nowhere to be seen. The IV drip he was hooked to had been removed and he didn’t run as hot as he did before his nap. After some proper rest, JingYuan’s head didn’t feel as heavy as it did before and his body felt much lighter. He threw his blanket aside and got to his feet. Ignoring the slippers by his feet, he pattered around, looking for YiHan. JingYuan just didn’t feel safe without the young man in his sight.
“YiHan?” JingYuan softly called out, his voice hoarse.
Then, upon hearing a soft response coming from the sofa in the room, JingYuan quickly shuffled over. He was greeted with the sight of YiHan sitting crossed-legged on the sofa as he munched on an apple. His two cheeks bulged and shifted. The younger man looked just like a hamster nibbling away. On the coffee table before him, there were the remains of an orange YiHan had consumed.
JingYuan let out a sigh of relief. “You’re hungry? Why didn’t you go get some food downstairs? Fruits aren’t enough to fill your stomach.”
YiHan’s eyes scanned the older man from top to bottom, then he frowned. “Why don’t you have your slippers on? What if you catch a cold again?”
In response, JingYuan sat down beside YiHan. He placed his feet up on the sofa too. His long legs curled up as he leaned against the back of the sofa. Then, a cough escaped his throat.
YiHan gulped down the last bits of the apple in his mouth and laid a hand against JingYuan’s forehead. “You’re finally not burning up,” YiHan sighed as his tense face relaxed. “You nearly scared me to death.”
YiHan’s brows then came back together in a frown. “Tell me,” he continued, chin tilting up in a harrumph. “Did your fever come back in full force because you also decided to walk around with bare feet this morning? You sat on the floor, slept on it and ran out into the cold after a shower?”
“I’m not a child anymore,” JingYuan protested. “Why would I do that? I was sitting on the bed the whole time.” (You did start out sitting on the bed but did you forget about slipping down to sit on the floor?)
YiHan got to his feet and grabbed a throw blanket. “You’re not a kid?” YiHan asked as he covered the other man. “Do you not even know how this fever started? Who was the man who took a shower and ran out to the windy balcony with wet hair? Who was the one who’d been sick for nearly a month?”
“I only went out to smoke a cigarette,” JingYuan argued. “I was afraid of disturbing you…”
“Was it a cigarette or a pack?” YiHan asked. “The ashtray was full and overflowing.”
JingYuan pursed his lips and said nothing.
YiHan walked to the bed and returned with JingYuan’s slippers. He knelt down before JingYuan and commanded, “Feet.”
JingYuan looked down at him in confusion.
YiHan swayed the slippers in his hands to show the man he had them. “Put on your slippers. I’m hungry. Let’s go eat. You, too, haven’t eaten anything at all. I’ve had Ms Liu cook some congee. You can have some to warm up your belly.”
JingYuan uncurled his legs and placed his feet down. YiHan slipped JingYuan’s feet into the slippers before rising to grab a thick dressing gown.
“Come, put it on and let’s go,” YiHan said, shaking the robe out.
JingYuan pursed his lips again as he silently put the dressing gown on and followed YiHan down to the dining table.
Upon seeing the two men descend, Ms Liu swiftly, and carefully, ladled a bowl full of colourful congee and carried it out of the kitchen.
“Come quick, Mr Mu,” Ms Liu said with a smile as she placed the bowl on the table. “Little Master Bai made some vegetable congee for you, all by himself! He’d put in a lot of different vegetables. It’s so nutritious. I’ve kept it on a simmer the entire time. Come try it out! It’s a sign of Little Master Bai’s love after all!”