161. You Have to Understand
YiHan and JingYuan scoured over the chat logs with Xu YouRan. After a thorough analysis, they’ve concluded that the man was interested in nothing but writing stories. He wasn’t materialistic nor did he want a grand quality of life. He also had quite a low emotional quotient. His personality was very reactive. He didn’t seem like the kind of person who’d throw caution to the wind, do anything and everything for love. The more YiHan got to know him, the more certain YiHan was that something fishy was going on with those crimes Xu YouRan was accused of.
Chen Hong was very efficient. By the third night, he arrived at their doorstep with Nan Shan’s file.
Nan Shan was the bastard son of Chu FangMing of the Chu family. While the Chu family can’t compete with the five great families in the city, they were considered one of the bigger clans. Chu FangMing was the second son of the family. As he married the daughter of the Qi family’s branch family, the Qi family helped him overthrow his older brother. In one swift move, Chu FangMing became the master of the house. Nan Shan’s mother was an orphan. Her name was Xu JinXuan. Her parents both passed away in a plane crash during a business trip. They left her with a house and a huge sum of insurance money. She was a talented student and majored in the arts. There was a sweet, elegant sort of beauty to her. She was a bright and intelligent woman, the kind that shone bright with every move. When Chu FangMing was a young man, he fell in love with her at first sight. He courted her with a passionate fervour. In the end, he won her over. He had his happy ending. Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last long. She, who craved for warmth, thought she was in a relationship aiming for marriage. However, Chu FangMing merely wanted a period of romance. This relationship would end with Chu FangMing marrying the Qi family’s daughter.
When the two broke up, Xu JinXuan drowned in despair. Then, she found out she was pregnant. She had planned on aborting this unwanted child but she desperately needed family then. She finally chose to give birth to the baby and that son was Nan Shan.
After the baby was born, Xu JinXuan named him Xu YouRan after a phrase from a classic poem, “leisurely meeting the Southern Mountain”. Because she was afraid Chu FangMing would find out about the boy, she decided not to publicise her newborn baby. The confinement lady she hired had a dubious character. JinXuan caught her secretly pinching YouRan hard, so she fired her. She didn’t bother hiring another confinement lady afterwards. In her confinement month, JinXuan had to take care of a baby all by herself. Combined with her depression, she fell ill. She didn’t care. Hence, when YouRan was still a little child, she was already in a terrible state of health. When he was fifteen years old, Xu JinXuan passed away.
Frankly, the woman was too naive. She thought she hid her child well but Chu FangMing knew of Xu YouRan’s existence early into the pregnancy. He just pretended not to as he was afraid of starting unwanted trouble. He was even prepared to turn the tables around and put the blame on her should she attempt to approach him with the child in tow. To his surprise, Xu JinXuan never once tried to seek him out, not even on her death bed. This made him frequently think of the beautiful and sensible young woman.
Xu YouRan inherited most of his looks from his mother. He was attractive but melancholy always hung around him. He didn’t like to talk much and he didn’t have any friends. He lived alone in the apartment his mother left to him. He began writing novels under the penname “Nan Shan” when he was still in university. After graduation, he began to work full-time on his novels. He rarely left his home. Xu YouRan’s life story was simple. One glance and everything could be understood. The only complicated issue in his life was his mysterious boyfriend. That man would frequently seek out YouRan but no one knew who that man was. All the investigators could find was they’ve been dating for a very long time. Their relationship started in YouRan’s university days.
“This mysterious man,” YiHan said, putting down the file, “is likely that married man.”
JingYuan leaned back against the back of the sofa as he peeled an orange. “The only thing we don’t know is if Nan Shan knows the other man is married.”
“How can he not?” YiHan asked. “Do you suspect he’s being lied to?”
JingYuan separated the oranges into little slices and carefully picked away the white pith. “It’s very likely,” he said as he handed YiHan a slice. “Look at how he lives his life. He’s an aloof man of little words. He’s always been alone. People like him are more likely to crave the warmth and love of another. Just like his mother. Someone just needs to appear and be slightly better to him than other people, spout a few lines of love, and he’ll easily fall into the trap. His personality is less proactive and more reactive. He never leaves his place unless it’s to buy what’s needed for him to survive. When the two meet, it’s always the other man who approaches him. If that man said he was single, do you think Nan Shan would believe him or not?”
YiHan finished his slice of orange and accepted another. He nodded and said, “You’re absolutely right. With how Nan Shan grew up, he would never have dated the other man if he knew that man was married. Now that I think of it, in the future, he’ll find out the boyfriend he thought he was mutually in love with was actually married for years. He would be referred to as the homewrecker. He’d be doxed and his reputation would be torn into shreds. Then, that man’s wife would appear in his home and humiliate him…
“How could he be able to handle such a series of attacks? No wonder he chose death.”
YiHan stuffed the rest of the orange into his mouth and gulped after a few haphazard chews. He then grabbed JingYuan’s hand and continued, “I can’t do this, Mu-Mu. My heart is so angry that it’s thumping hard. We cannot let Nan Shan suffer through that! I must protect my idol! Hand in hand, us husbands will be joined in stomping that scumbag to death!”
JingYuan ruffled YiHan’s hair in exasperation. He turned his hand to hold YiHan’s hand back and said, “Okay, we’ll stomp that scumbag but you have to chew properly before you swallow. You won’t risk choking then.”
“I have you, right?” YiHan said, sticking his tongue out at JingYuan. “I’m not scared.”
“What use would I be?” JingYuan asked. “I can’t choke on your behalf. You’d be the one suffering.”
“You’ll find a way to save me anyway!” YiHan insisted.
All JingYuan could reply to that was, “Okay, okay. I’ll have a way. I’d think of a plan.”
YiHan’s face went serious as he pumped his fist and said, “First, we must find out just who that man is, his identity and his family background. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles!”
JingYuan chuckled. “Oh? You’ve learned how to use that proverb now. Don’t worry. I’ve already ordered Chen Hong to arrange some men to keep an eye on Nan Shan’s home every minute of the day. That man just needs to appear and we can get a photograph of him. Once we know who that person is, we can find out whether our hypothesis is correct. Only then can we plan the next step.”
Stuffing a slice of orange into YiHan’s mouth, JingYuan smiled and continued, “Leave this investigation to me. You have a mission too.”
YiHan sat up straight as his mouth furiously chewed.
“You are to get as close to Nan Shan as you can,” JingYuan said. “You are to support him in his times of need. He is lacking a friend. Once we find out who that man is and if our guess is correct, we’d need you to slowly guide him to realising the deception. Implicitly tell him to leave the other as soon as possible. He would certainly be hurt but we’ll do our best to reduce it to the minimum. We can only take care of that scumbag as we wish once Nan Shan has fully withdrawn from the situation. Of course, if we were wrong, you must advise him to let go of the relationship. That man has a wife yet wishes to date another man. There’s no way that man would be a good guy.”
YiHan gave a hard nod and solemnly swore, “Don’t worry. I promise I’ll complete the mission.”
“And one more important thing,” JingYuan solemnly said.
YiHan’s eyes gleamed up at JingYuan.
“Most importantly,” JingYuan said with a serious face, “support is only support. Comforting him must only be that. You can never ever let him fall in love with you! This is extremely crucial!”
YiHan was speechless. “Don’t worry. Your fiancée isn’t that alluring…”
“You are exceedingly wrong on that,” JingYuan said. “This is absolutely possible. Either way, you must be careful. If he ever leans towards that, I’ll personally strangle him to death.”
YiHan dropped his head into his free palm. “Do you think everyone is as blind as you are when it comes to finding their other half? You’re clearly the blossoming flower here yet you insist on planting yourself on crap…”
JingYuan let go of YiHan’s hand and looked deep into YiHan’s eyes. “I’ve read something before that is very appropriate as a response to your words. Even if I’m a blossoming flower, I am an old, wilting blossom; even if you’re crap, you’re the freshest, youngest crap there is. Anyway, flowers can only bloom better if they’re planted on dung. Nothing is a better combination than a flowering blossom and cow poop…”
YiHan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but he was touched. “What are you saying? What’s with all that weird logic?”
JingYuan kissed YiHan on the lips and mumbled, “They’re not weird. They’re proper logic.”
YiHan’s mirthful eyes slowly slid shut and he opened his mouth without prompting.
A kiss later, JingYuan let out a quiet chuckle.
“What is it?” YiHan softly asked.
JingYuan licked his lips and laughed, “Tastes like oranges.”
YiHan blushed as his embarrassment turned into anger. “Well, I love oranges! My whole body stinks of oranges. I’ll suffocate you!”
JingYuan scooped YiHan up into his arms. As he walked to the bed, he nibbled on YiHan’s lips. “What a coincidence. I love oranges too. There’s a large orange here for me to eat. How nice.”
A night of passionate warring later, YiHan’s arms and legs were sore and his eyes were heavy. Those eyes remained closed throughout their morning routine as JingYuan dressed himself, cleaned them both up, and pack YiHan up to bring him along to the office. YiHan was even carried into the car by JingYuan. He had lost all dignity before the other people in the mansion. There was no fear of losing face at all. Getting out of the car was a different story. He still wanted to maintain a dignified image before the employees of Mu Group. He did his best to straighten his back and sulkily walked forward. The moment the elevator doors closed behind the couple, YiHan slumped over and tilted to the side. JingYuan caught him and held him up in his arms.
“If it hurts, why must you come?” JingYuan asked, heart aching. “You can rest for half a day at home. Once you’ve had enough sleep, I can go back and fetch you. Isn’t that nice?”
“You cruel thing,” YiHan griped. “I came all because you looked too pitiful when walking out the door all alone! How can you be so ungrateful?”
“How am I ungrateful?” JingYuan protested. “I’m so moved by it. I just feel bad for you.”
“I begged you for so long last night but you wouldn’t stop,” YiHan pouted. “You wouldn’t even slow down. Now you say you feel bad for me?”
A little laugh burst out of JingYuan. He then cleared his throat and said, “HanHan, that really can’t be slowed down or stopped. You have to understand.”
“What’s there to understand?” YiHan rolled his eyes and replied.
“I love you,” JingYuan wholeheartedly confessed. “I can’t stop myself at the sight of you, let alone in that kind of situation. Yo–”
The elevator doors were about to slide open so YiHan, face flushed red, slapped his hands across JingYuan’s mouth and exclaimed, “No more!”
Chen Hong lowered his head and stared at the floor. “Little Master Bai. Mr Mu,” he greeted.
Confinement: This is referring to postpartum confinement. Despite Google’s labelling, this is not an archaic practice. Women who had just given birth are meant to stay indoors for a month after childbirth. There are various rules to it that’s related to Traditional Chinese Medicine logic. As women are often weakened during this recovery time, they’re advised to avoid any actions that might cause a cold, e.g. exposing oneself to cold winds and letting wet hair air dry instead of towelling/blow-drying their hair. This is also the time when the new mothers are fed protein-rich food and “heaty” food like ginger. Some of those special dishes are also considered helpful for breastmilk production.