178. Is That so Hard to Understand?
He Yuan stood up and slowly walked closer to YouRan. His face darkened as he said, “You’re disgusted at the sight of me? Who do you think you are? With a snap of my fingers, countless beautiful men and women would fall before me. You say you’re disgusted just by looking at me? What are you pretending to be so high and mighty for? Oh, are you upset I never gave you any money? That’s because it was a game. As a normal white-collar worker whose salary isn’t that great, how could I have that much money? It wasn’t like I didn’t give any. You just didn’t want it. Oh, was it too little? But since everything’s out in the open now, money is naturally not a problem. However, if you still won’t wise up, I don’t think you want to know just what I can do.”
YouRan clenched his teeth. “I don’t care about your money and I don’t want you. I’m fine living alone. I’ll thank you as long as you stay away from me!”
He Yuan chuckled. “Looks like you still don’t understand what I can do to you. Let me give you an example. At the very least…” He leaned in close and slowly spoke into YouRan’s ear, “I. Can. Ruin. Your. Entire. Life.”
Looking into YouRan’s wide eyes, He Yuan’s lips widened into a cold smirk. “Don’t you like writing novels? With a single word, I can make the world be filled with evidence of your bad deeds. What’s true? What’s false? As long as I say it’s a fact, it’s a fact. When everyone thinks you’re an evil man who’s rotten to the core, do you think anyone would read your books?”
YouRan couldn’t hold back anymore. “You’re shameless!” he roared as he slapped the other man. He Yuan never thought YouRan would have the guts to hit him. Caught off-guard, the slap landed squarely on his cheek. In a fit of intense rage, He Yuan hit back with a punch to YouRan’s jaw.
YouRan was a thin man. He was no match for He Yuan. That one punch forced him back several steps. He Yuan seized his chance to kick YouRan on the stomach and push him onto the ground.
The agony emitting from his abdomen sapped away YouRan’s ability to climb back up to his feet. YouRan struggled to stand but then He Yuan grabbed YouRan by the hair and pulled his head back. Gazing down at the face that mesmerised him, He Yuan couldn’t resist the urge to stroke it. His grip on YouRan’s hair loosened slightly.
“Why must you fight with me over this?” He Yuan softly asked. “Wouldn’t it be nice for us to go back to how things were? I really do like you.”
Pain had painted YouRan’s face a stark white. A mocking smile grew on his face. “Dream. On! Even if you kill me, I will never be a lover to a vile cheater like you. The thought of having been with you made me wish I can peel off my skin.”
Anger, born from humiliation, made He Yuan tug hard at YouRan’s hair, drawing a pained moan from the other man. “You ungrateful thing,” He Yuan spat through gritted teeth. “If you won’t take what I’ve given you out of kindness, you will be punished. Since this is what you think, I don’t need to hold back from you anymore. Do you think I wouldn’t dare to kill you?”
“Come on, then,” YouRan mockingly said.
He Yuan had been suppressing his emotions for the past few days. YouRan’s words were the trigger to make his rage burst. He pushed YouRan back onto the ground before dragging him up again by the collar of his shirt.
“What a shame to just kill you,” He Yuan sneered. “Why don’t I put you to full use?” As he said so, he began tearing away at YouRan’s clothing. The other man did his best to struggle away. Fortunately, it was a cold day and YouRan had put on more layers than usual. When he arrived back home, he was in such a hurry to write that he didn’t take off his knitted layer. His sweater had no buttons. It had to be pulled off over the man’s head. Under YouRan’s intense struggle, He Yuan could do nothing about the sweater for now. Fuming, he turned his attention to YouRan’s pants.
The two men were in a soundless struggle when someone began knocking on the door. He Yuan rose. His face twisted.
YouRan took the opportunity to push the man away and darted for the door. He Yuan hurriedly grabbed YouRan by the ankle and tugged. Unbalanced, YouRan fell to the floor with a loud bang. He knew the person on the other side of the door was most likely Yan or the others. He opened his mouth to scream for help when He Yuan’s hands covered his mouth and nose. All he could do was let out helpless, muffled calls.
He Yuan was frankly panicking too. He had been lying in wait for days. Finally, YouRan was alone. He Yuan planned on breaking things off with the man and seal off the man’s mouth, threaten him to not speak of what happened between them. However, the sight of the man made He Yuan reluctant to part with the man. After all, he really liked this man. There was no one else more suited to his tastes than Xu YouRan. That was why he tried to risk continuing their relationship. He didn’t think YouRan would be so stubborn. The younger man wasn’t afraid of his threats. YouRan even did all he could to agitate him. Even more unthinkable, someone else was here after such a short amount of time. Damn it. Weren’t these people meant to be at work or in class?
When the person outside the apartment heard nothing, they called out, “YouRan? Are you home?” It was Yan Yan.
YouRan’s eyes were red. He mustered up all the strength he could to struggle out of He Yuan’s hold, to get He Yuan’s hands away from his mouth. But He Yuan’s hands seemed to be welded to his face. YouRan couldn’t get them off no matter how hard he tried. In He Yuan’s attempt to keep YouRan from making a sound, even YouRan’s nose was covered. YouRan had no way to breathe. He struggled hard. He could feel his vision slowly going dark. Would he be suffocated to death here, today?
He Yuan kept a tight hold on YouRan’s mouth and nose, hoping the person outside the apartment would leave when he heard nothing. He didn’t realise YouRan’s struggles getting weaker and weaker.
Yan was certain YouRan was home but no matter how long he knocked, there was no response. He did just hear a faint bang coming from within. Yan raised his voice and called out once more. There was still no response. His heart went cold. Something must’ve happened. If it wasn’t He Yuan, it would’ve meant YouRan fell and was knocked unconscious.
Yan’s thoughts made him break out in a cold sweat. He didn’t bother wasting his energy knocking on the door and began to kick down the door. A few hard stomps later, the dust of the door frame and walls were all shaken off but the security door was as sturdy as ever. There was no way Yan could kick it down quick enough. It’d take too long if he asked the security guards for the backup key. Trepidation burned in his eyes. How he wished he could shatter this darned door with a single kick.
When He Yuan realised Yan Yan didn’t leave and instead began to frantically charge at the door, He Yuan felt his heart fly out of his throat. This door couldn’t hold on for long. Even if Yan Yan couldn’t kick it down now, the loud ruckus he’s causing would attract the guards of the area. As long as Yan, an apartment owner, states his suspicions of something happening to his neighbour, the guards will get a copy of the key and open the door. What should he do?
As He Yuan panicked, he suddenly realised it had been a while since he felt any struggling from YouRan. Stunned, he looked down to find YouRan’s face a pale white. The other man’s eyes were closed. There was no way to know if the man was dead or alive. Shocked, He Yuan hurriedly let go.
Finally, YouRan had the space to breathe. The additional ear-shattering banging on the door slowly woke up his drowsy mind.
“Xu YouRan!” He Yuan said, smacking the other man in the face. “Wake up! Don’t play dead!”
YouRan kept his eyes closed. He didn’t move. Just as He Yuan was beyond himself with panic at the thought of the younger man being dead, YouRan burst into motion. Perhaps it was an extraordinary rush of adrenaline and strength that came from a human’s instinctual yearning for life. In one swift move, YouRan rose up and flung the unprepared He Yuan to the side. Without regard for anything else, he crawled to his feet and ran for the door. He Yuan hastily followed suit and tackled YouRan. The two men weren’t far from the door. That tackle slammed both men against the door. He Yuan held back nothing. A pained exhale left YouRan’s lips. Still, YouRan’s hand scrambled for the door handle. YouRan pressed down on the door handle with one hard push.
On the other side of the door, Yan’s foot just so happened to have landed on the door in a kick. The door was slammed open, flinging the two men in the apartment away from the doorway.
YouRan immediately slid down to the floor, unconscious. He had used up all of his strength in the last struggle. When he saw the door open, he was so relieved that he fainted.
Yan charged into the apartment. He saw YouRan lying on the ground, clothes in disarray, while one of his slim wrists was in He Yuan’s grip. Yan felt his blood rushing to his head. His eyes went red with blood. He strode into the apartment, kicked He Yuan away and snatched YouRan from the other man’s grasp.
“YouRan!” Yan shouted again and again as he shook the man in his arms. There was no reply. Yan was so angry that he felt like he could kill someone. He didn’t know just how hurt YouRan was. The man wouldn’t wake up no matter how hard Yan shook him. Yan couldn’t help but feel anxiety rise in him.
He Yuan was shocked stiff at the sight of Yan Yan. When he was kicked to the ground, his entire body hurt. It was as if all of his organs had been twisted together. He couldn’t find the strength to stand up.
Yan insistently attempted to wake YouRan up but nothing happened. Just as he was about to call for an ambulance, he heard YouRan cough. The man slowly opened his eyes.
“YouRan!” Yan happily cried. “YouRan, how do you feel? Where are you hurt? I’ll take you to the hospital now! It’ll be fine. Don’t worry!”
YouRan slowly shook his head. His body felt so weak and powerless. Even an attempt to raise his hand was too much for him. Still, he raised his hand to hold Yan’s hand, the hand that was going to embrace him.
“I’m fine,” YouRan softly said. “He nearly suffocated me. I just haven’t recovered. I’m fine after a little rest.”
Yan hurriedly lifted YouRan up into a carry. As his hand patted YouRan’s back in a soothing gesture, Yan coldly stared at He Yuan. There were a few moments of silence.
Then, in the most spine-chilling voice he had ever used in his whole life, Yan said, “How is the head of the He family so free as to come to my lover’s home?”
When those words were spoken, it wasn’t just He Yuan who was stunned. YouRan, who was busy trying to catch his breath, was too. YouRan’s breath caught in his throat. Stuck, YouRan’s eyes went wide.
Yan patted YouRan on the chest. “Exhale,” Yan whispered.
Without thinking, YouRan exhaled as Yan told him to. A tinge of healthy pink eventually returned to YouRan’s pale face.
He Yuan had fallen to sit on the ground when he realised he was cornered. When he heard what Yan said, his eyes popped out of his head in surprise.
“Your lover?” said He Yuan. “Are you joking?”
“Do you think I’m in the mood to joke with you?” Yan smirked.
“How can it be possible?” He Yuan’s jaw dropped in shock.
“How can it not be?” Yan asked. “Don’t you know he’s Nan Shan?”
“Nan Shan?” He Yuan was confused.
Yan tilted his chin up and coldly stated, “That’s right. I am a fan of Nan Shan’s books. Perhaps it was a gift from the gods. I moved out and, coincidentally, I became his neighbour. After interacting with him in such close quarters, my admiration for him turned into love. Is that so hard to understand?”
He Yuan’s head was sent spinning by Yan’s answer. “You…”