163. That Man
JingYuan glanced down at YiHan’s phone once more. “Well, you’ve said it already. Let it be,” JingYuan said, holding back a laugh as he did. “It’s not a bad idea to cut things off as soon as possible. Tell him means we can’t leave him any further delusions. It’s better to just rip off the band-aid. However, you two aren’t close enough yet. You can’t give him the emotional support he’ll need.”
YiHan’s eyes lit up. “If he can get into a true relationship right after, that’d be amazing. That is proper emotional support.”
“Of course, that’d be the best-case scenario,” JingYuan said with a shrug. “Unfortunately, that depends on luck. We can’t forcefully push him into a match.”
The lightbulb in YiHan’s eyes dimmed. “What do we do then?” he mumbled.
“Don’t worry,” said JingYuan. “What you just said must’ve felt like a tornado hitting him. Give him some time to think about it.”
Just then, YiHan’s phone chimed. It was a QQ notification sound. YiHan hurriedly clicked into it. As expected, it was Nan Shan.
[YouRan: Why do you say that?]
YiHan’s eyes pleaded JingYuan for help. “What do I do? What do I say?”
“Just go with what you think,” JingYuan said. Then, after a brief pause, he added, “Once you’ve spoken, do not leave a single shred of doubt.”
YiHan bit down at his lip. His fingers began clacking away as he composed his message.
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: If there’s nothing special going on in his life and he’ll usually be in his home, attending to his own business, and only ever visit every few days, plus if he rarely ever stays overnight, that means he should have his own family.]
think about it. If he’s married, he’ll have a wife and perhaps even kids. Of course, he’ll have to head home every day to be with his wife and kids. He can only visit his mistress when he’s free. He can’t even stay the night because frequently spending nights out of his home will arouse his wife’s suspicions.]
[YouRan: I’m not a mistress!]
That message was instantly deleted two seconds after it was sent.
JingYuan saw the message too. “Looks like it’s even more unthinkable for him to want to be a mistress than we thought.”
After a while, Nan Shan sent another message.
[YouRan: You saw that?]
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I trust you’re not.]
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: While we’ve only met once and we haven’t really talked much, I believe that you will never be a homewrecker.]
[YouRan: Thank you.]
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: He lied to you, didn’t he? He told you he was single? What do you know of his family or personal history?]
It was a very long time before YiHan received a reply.
[YouRan: I don’t know. I only know his name and phone number. He said his family’s not important. He wasn’t willing to talk about it so I didn’t ask any more questions. But I believe he didn’t lie to me.]
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: There aren’t a lot of things that is hard to talk about. If he loves you, his family is something you must both face one day. You’ll know sooner or later. Why can’t you ask? Has he ever mentioned marriage to you? How long have you two been together?]
The pause this time was longer than the last.
[YouRan: Nearly five years.]
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: It’s been nearly five years and you’ve never talked about marriage?]
YiHan waited and waited. His phone remained silent.
Staring down at the phone screen, which had gone dark long ago, YiHan frowned and said, “He’s not replying. Is he angry?”
“Don’t panic. Give him some time to consider it. If that person has been lying to him the whole time and he had been fooled, a single poke by you would certainly lead him to think of more holes in that man’s behaviour. His pause means he’s starting to feel uneasy. He only has a low EQ and rarely interacts with the outside world. He’s not dumb.”
“They say when lovers quarrel, you should always tell them to make up and not tell them to split,” YiHan sighed, throwing himself on the couch. “Yeh, I’ve only ever been doing all I can to get them to split up.”
“Because they’re not lovers,” said JingYuan, “and they’ll never be lovers.”
“Yes,” said YiHan. “Nan Shan is so unlucky to have met such a scumbag. His mother had it worse too. She also met a scumbag. Wait, no. At least when she was with Chu FangMing, the man was still single. She was only cheated on. Nan Shan, on the other hand, was cheated on by that scumbag and forced to be a ‘mistress’. Ugh. I don’t know which of the two is considered unluckier, but they’ve had all the bad luck in the world.”
“There are plenty of such situations happening all over the world,” said JingYuan. “We just don’t know of them.”
“True,” said YiHan. “There are too many men in the world who wish to enjoy being surrounded by multiple lovers. It’s not just the men either. There are women who are like that.”
“I think that Nan Shan and his mother aren’t particularly unlucky. There are plenty of people in the world who’d encountered similar scumbags. However, they have families and friends by their sides. They have plenty of people who love them. Perhaps they lack romance but they aren’t lacking in love. Thus, most people can easily differentiate between what’s true and what’s fake. Even if they were careless, they’ll merely experience an unpleasant relationship. But Nan Shan and his mother are different. Nan Shan’s mother lost both of her parents at a young age. Because of her inheritance, she was exposed to the ugly truths behind her relatives’ smiles. She had been all by herself for years. She was only a young girl. It’s already a hard task for her to persevere that long. She craved love and a family more than the average person. She might even yearn more for them than Jiang Hua. He was abandoned as a baby. He had never once felt the warmth of a family. She’s different.
“She had once enjoyed the comfort of a family before losing it all. It’s like throwing someone who’d grown used to living in the south straight into the northern pole. She would recklessly flutter straight to a fire that could warm her up. This fire was Chu FangMing who was attracted by her beauty. Unfortunately, Chu FangMing wasn’t a good man. For his family inheritance, his marriage must be useful to his future. Xu JinXuan was clearly unable to do that. Hence, their relationship was destined to be doomed. When Chu FangMing broke up with her and swiftly got married, if she could be slightly more open-minded, her looks and good qualities would definitely allow her to find someone who loved her even more. She might possess the happiness she longed for then. But the second major loss in her life had shattered her world. She no longer believed in love yet she desperately needed a family. That was why she insisted on giving birth to Nan Shan. She ignored the possible consequences and her own health. She let herself die an early death. Because of how he grew up, Nan Shan repeated his mother’s tragic story. It gave that man a chance to take advantage of.
“They were unlucky. They couldn’t meet the right person at the right time. When they were stuck deep in the mud, no one gave them a hand and pulled them out. They sank deeper and deeper into the mud until Xu JinXuan died at a young age while Nan Shan committed suicide by jumping off a building.”
YiHan let out a deep sigh. “Yes. These two just had to exceptionally gorgeous. They were more likely to attract trash. If only they could appear a little more average, they might even achieve a peaceful life. What a pity. When a beautiful person who craves love meets trash, that’s a terrifying tragedy. However, there’s simply more trash than ever these days!”
“Alright, don’t be upset,” JingYuan said, walking over to sit down by YiHan’s side. “There are plenty of people like that. We can’t take care of all of them.”
“Indeed, I can’t get rid of most of the trash in the world,” YiHan furiously said, “but this one has barged right into my palms. I will never forgive him! Furthermore, the one he’s lying to is my idol! How utterly disgusting for him to cheat on a poor young man like Nan Shan!”
“Don’t worry,” JingYuan softly said, stroking YiHan’s hair back. “As the spouse of a fan, I will help your idol out. Having someone like you working hard to save him must be the luckiest thing to have ever happened to him in his entire cursed life.”
“No,” YiHan said, body leaning over to sprawl over JingYuan’s. “I’m not saving him. It’s his talent that saved him. Without his talent, he couldn’t have written such amazing books. I wouldn’t have known his existence then.”
JingYuan’s hands continued running through YiHan’s hair and replied, “Mn. Whatever you say is right.”
As per JingYuan’s expectations, that man was very enthralled with Nan Shan. By the third day, the men keeping thorough surveillance of Nan Shan’s home had found signs of the man. They immediately snapped a few photos of him and passed them onto their bosses.
There were many photographs of the man. There were some of his side profile, some of his back and even a picture of him turning back and looking straight at the camera. There were photos of him from all angles. That man had a cap and a mask on. His clothes were so average that one would never be able to pick him out from a crowd. If his destination wasn’t obviously Nan Shan’s home, it would be hard for anyone to have paid attention to him.
YiHan looked through the photos over and over again for a long time before angrily throwing them away. “What is this? Does he think he’s acting in one of the Infernal Affairs movies? He’s covered so much of himself up that I can’t even see his face. Looks like we’ll have to hire some professionals to find him.”
“There’s no need,” JingYuan darkly said after a long moment of silence. “I know him.”
“You do?” YiHan was surprised. “Who is it? Why don’t I know him?”
“If he changes his outfit and takes off his cap and mask, you’d recognise him too,” said JingYuan. “But you’re not familiar with him.”
“Oh, stop stalling and just tell me,” YiHan anxiously said. “Just who is it? You’re driving me to panic.”
JingYuan held up the only photo they had of the man’s face from the front. In the image, the man was wrapped up in layers of clothing. Only his eyes could be seen out of his entire face. Still, it was enough to give them some information. The man wasn’t particularly young nor was he old. He looked like he was in his mid or late thirties. He took great care of his skin. His figure was rather tall and muscular. While he had a mask on, it was clear that he had a sharp jawline. The tiny patch of skin around his eyes was as fair as can be.
“Speak,” YiHan urged. “Just who is this man? Are you close to him?”
JingYuan held YiHan by the hand and slowly said, “We’re not close but I’ve seen him plenty of times. You know how good my memory is. There aren’t many in our social circle whom I can’t recognise. No matter how tightly wrapped up he is, just a pair of eyes is enough if it’s someone I know.”
“Well, who is he then?” YiHan asked. “Is it really bad for you to name him?”
“Not that,” JingYuan solemnly said. “I had just never thought it could be him. He is actually connected to Yan Pei. No wonder Yan Pei didn’t save Nan Shan in your dream.”
YiHan’s heart froze. “This man is that powerful? He even outranks Pei-Pei by that much?”
“It’s not because he’s powerful or strong,” JingYuan said. “It’s his wife. She is one of Yan Pei’s older family members. You were right. This man’s wife is more powerful than he is. Everything makes sense now.”
Get into a true relationship right after: This is called a rebound. In reality, approach all rebound relationships with caution. They rarely go right as the person who had a break-up is still carrying unresolved emotional baggage with them. It is not anyone’s responsibility to fix another person. Relationships are not there to make anyone a better person or to heal them up.
If only they could appear a little more average: Victim-blaming here, but it’s super common to hear musings like this, e.g. “If only she didn’t wear those clothes” or “if only he didn’t walk home that late”.
Infernal Affairs: A series of crime-action films.