198. I’ll Make Her Understand
Bai Yan had followed along. When he heard what Bai YiHan said, an irresistible urge made him pinch his little brother’s cheeks and say, “You’re so tolerant. But it’s good for you to have a big heart. Your mood wouldn’t be soured by this then. Leave the rest to us.”
Yan Yan’s eyes were lowered and focused on twining his fingers around Xu YouRan’s, acting as though he didn’t understand what Bai Yan meant by “the rest”.
Mu JingYuan smacked Bai Yan’s hand away as he grumbled, “You’re making his cheeks all red.” He gently massaged YiHan’s completely unmarked cheeks and shot Bai Yan a glare.
“JingYuan, I’m warning you,” Bai Yan angrily huffed, “that’s about enough out of you. I am his big brother. Could I have pinched him that hard? Last time, XueQing merely hugged him and your face went dark and gloomy. Can we not even touch our own little brother? Stop going overboard with this!”
“We’re already registered!” JingYuan self-righteously stated. “I am his lawful partner. I have the right to stop anyone from going near him or hurting him.”
Bai Yan glared back. “I am his brother! You think I’d ‘hurt’ him? Mu JingYuan, stop it with the lies!”
JingYuan pointed at YiHan’s perfect cheeks and glumly said, “You pinched his cheeks so hard that they were red. Is that not hurting him?”
Bai Yan flew into a rage. “Don’t accuse me of a false crime! Do you think I wouldn’t know my strength? Also, how are they red?”
“Does it only counts as harm if you’ve pinched him so hard that the marks can still be seen the next morning?” JingYuan asked. “It’s been a few minutes. The marks are already gone.”
Bai Yan gaped at JingYuan. His finger quivered as it pointed at JingYuan. It took Bai Yan a few long minutes before he could speak.
“JingYuan, are you still the Mu JingYuan I knew?” asked Bai Yan. “You weren’t like this before. Why have you grown more immature as you age? You’ve started to act unreasonably!”
There was a barely noticeable blush on JingYuan’s face. He gave a loud harrumphed and kept quiet.
Yan Yan and YouRan were both focused on twining their fingers together as they listened to the family heads of two of the great families in the city argued. YouRan’s shoulders shook and trembled. Yan Yan, holding back his grin, patted his lover on the shoulder.
YiHan covered his face with his hands. Did his big brother think he wasn’t being immature by arguing so hard with JingYuan that his ears turned red? Did Bai Yan not see Jiang-ge turning his face away to laugh? Had Bai Yan not ruined his composed and mature image in Jiang-ge’s mind?
JingYuan shot YiHan a glance and harrumphed once more.
YiHan knew JingYuan better than most people. He knew that harrumph was directed at him.
“What is it?” YiHan hurried turned to JingYuan and asked.
JingYuan did not speak.
YiHan tugged at JingYuan’s hands and craned his neck around to look into JingYuan’s eyes. “How have I upset you?” he asked.
“I know you’re on your brother’s side,” JingYuan finally said.
“Am I?” YiHan replied, surprised. “I didn’t speak a word at all.”
“You’re covered your face with your hands,” JingYuan solemnly said. “Were you not trying to help him hide the evidence?”
“I…really wasn’t. I didn’t mean it like that,” said YiHan. He raised his hands up in the air. “Trust me.”
Jiang Hua comfortingly patted Bai Yan, who looked like he was having chest pains, on the back. Yan turned to his lover and said, “Do you see that, Hua? And he gets upset at me when I say he’s jealousy incarnate. He’s even jealous of YiHan’s own brother!”
Bai Yan then turned to his little brother and said in a frustrated manner, “Why are you like this? Why are you still comforting him? You’re spoiling him rotten!”
JingYuan was in a good mood because of YiHan’s words. When he heard what Bai Yan said, his eyes squinted as he said to the other man, “Ah Yan, are you trying to make us fight?”
“I’m not Big Brother anymore? Also, so what if I am?” Bai Yan scoffed. “Do you think I don’t know what you’re capable of? Even if I try and rile you up for the rest of our lives, would you even dare to lay a finger on my brother?”
“Brother,” YiHan sighed, “please stop making things worse as well.”
“I called you my brother because HanHan and I are married,” said JingYuan. “It’s best if I call you what he calls you. As for riling us up, why would I ever touch my HanHan? I’ll just fight the person trying to make us fight.”
“Can you not go on about ‘being registered’ all the time?” Bai Yan asked, exasperated. “Do you think I don’t know that?”
“It’s the truth,” JingYuan said, leaning back on the couch. “Why can’t I mention it?”
Bai Yan turned back to Jiang Hua and said, “Look at him. He acts like no one else can be registered. Let’s get our marriage certificate tomorrow.”
To that, JingYuan only replied with one word, “Heh.”
Something about JingYuan today rubbed Bai Yan the wrong way. Enraged to the point of being unable to sit still any longer, Bai Yan stood up, pulling Jiang Hua up with him, and said, “We’ll be engaged tomorrow and registered the day after! Just you wait!”
“Save the talk for when you can show me the red book with your certificate,” JingYuan said.
Bai Yan turned and stomped away.
“Are you happy now that you’ve pissed him off?” YiHan softly asked.
JingYuan looked at YiHan. He bit his lip and didn’t reply.
“Alright,” YiHan said, holding the older man’s hand. “I know you’re in a bad mood. Actually, I really don’t think much of it. We might not be respected by everyone but if we’re respected by our friends and family, those we respect, then it’s enough for me. One day, everyone will realise that all sincere feelings and love should be respected as long as it’s not morally wrong and if it doesn’t hurt the innocent. We might not be able to see it happen but I believe that day will come. Today is a day for our friends. Cheer up. Don’t be upset, please?”
JingYuan’s hand tightened around YiHan’s. “I’m sorry,” JingYuan said, turning to Yan Yan, “for making a mess of your engagement party.”
Yan Yan gave a bitter smile. “Just as YiHan said to YouRan, what happened today is none of your fault. It is someone from my family who decided to kick up a fuss. Who can do anything about that? I don’t even have any right to complain. I know that you’ve already held back for YouRan and me. Today, you didn’t turn hostile on the spot and even let my aunt walk out of the door with her head held high.”
“You are you; Yan Miao is Yan Miao,” said JingYuan. “I have always been able to separate my foes from my friends. She had the guts to attack YiHan. That’s a declaration of war. Wouldn’t I be a coward if I didn’t respond?”
“Believe me…she might think highly of herself but she’s not so crazy. She must not have meant to declare war against you. She just thinks that you should be lenient on her and pretend that you heard nothing.”
“However, I am not obliged to do so,” said JingYuan. I am not her father nor am I her brother. Even if I am, she targeted YiHan. That can never be forgiven.”
“What a pity she doesn’t understand that,” Yan Yan said with a shrug.
“I will make her understand,” JingYuan slowly stated.
YouRan looked at his calm lover: This man’s planning to teach your aunt a lesson yet you’re still stoking the flames. Is it really okay?
Yan Yan responded with a slight smile: Exceedingly so.
Bai Yan walked over to the windows and gazed out at the outside scenery with squinted eyes.
The Yan family’s old family home had a wonderful garden. During the summer, it’s bustling with life with flowers and flourishing plants everywhere. There was even a tree archway. It was currently winter. All life had wilted in the garden. The trees were all bare of leaves. The old Mr Yan didn’t like looking at such a bleak scene. To cheer his father up, Yan Cheng would have the servants hang up fake tree leaves in the winter. The ground was also sprinkled with fake flowers that looked very real. While the sight wasn’t as vibrant as it was in the summer, and even though the old Mr Yan knew that it was all faked, it made the old Mr Yan very happy. It was a symbol of his son’s love for him. That was enough to make up for all the faults this fake garden had.
As it was Yan Yan’s engagement party, the garden outside was lit up. The trees had also been freshly redecorated. The garden looked so lively.
Jiang Hua took a sip of his wine and softly commented, “Why are you acting like a kid today? Your face is all red from arguing with JingYuan.”
Bai Yan chuckled. “JingYuan’s not in a good mood today. I spoke with him to make him relax a little.”
Jiang Hua softly laughed. “He’s in a bad mood? I think you’re the same too.”
“You know me well,” Bai Yan said with a smile.
Jiang Hua turned to look out of the window as well. His eyes were dark and his voice was low as he said, “It’s not just because I know you but also because I feel the same. YiHan is the first person to call me brother, my first family member. We have what we have now because of him. I cannot allow anyone else to speak badly of him. Even if my social status is not comparable to the Third Miss of the Yan family. I will also give her some trouble.”
Bai Yan held tightly to Jiang Hua’s hand. “You know me well so how can I not know you? I know what you feel for YiHan. The room in our home that I can’t even sleep in says everything. Also, who said you can’t be compared to her? Don’t forget; you are the partner of the Bai family head. Jiang Hua, you have to be used to my existence. Get used to handing me some responsibilities. Don’t just charge ahead alone when anything happens.”
Jiang Hua turned to look back at him, his eyes squinted in a smile. “I know. It’s my bad.” He looked down in thought for a moment. “That room in our home… Whenever YiHan is free, he’ll stay over, so…”
“Do you think I’m Mu JingYuan, jealousy incarnate?” Bai Yan said, stuck between crying and laughing. “Would I be jealous of my own little brother? I know what YiHan means to you. I understand you.”
Jiang Hua looked up. His eyes shimmered with what seemed like tears but a blink later, it was as if the tears never existed. He gave Bai Yan a smile that encompassed the warmth that Bai Yan loved the most.
The day after the engagement party, after some thought, Yan Cheng told his father what happened with his sister. His heart jumped and raced as he watched his father’s face turn red, then white, then red again. He couldn’t help but grumble deep down about Yan Miao. That girl was over thirty now but she’s still so inconsiderate. Their father was an old man yet he had to worry over her.
However, the old Mr Yan was more resilient and calmer than his son expected. The elderly man was able to calm his breathing down but his face still looked pale.
“Father, how do you feel?” Kong Wen cautiously asked. She glanced at her husband. Should they call for the family doctor?
The old Mr Yan patted her on the hand she had around his arm and slowly said, “Don’t worry. I’ve yet to make myself collapse from anger.”
Kong Wen nodded, still worried. After a moment of contemplation, she said, “I’ll go get you a cup of warm milk.” She sneakily winked at the old Mr Yan. Realising it was a signal to him that she’d add sugar to the milk, the old Mr Yan nodded. His heart was conflicted. His daughter-in-law was trying to comfort him like he was a child.
“I’m sorry, Father,” Yan Cheng apologised. “I was there at the time but I couldn’t keep a hold of the situation and I couldn’t stop Miao-Miao.”
“That’s not your fault,” the old Mr Yan calmly said. “Yan Miao’s personality is not one you can keep a hold on. Since you can’t control her, how can you control the situation?”
My sincere apologies for the delayed updates. I hadn’t realised how much time paperwork for a deceased person would take up. On the bright side, it’s December! Advent Calendar time. I’ll be updating a chapter a day with some double updates whenever I am able to. I had planned for this month to be full of double-update days but then Windows Backup failed me. I didn’t realise it doesn’t save the latest version of the file, even if you tell it to save everything. In fact, the file version it saved is from around a year ago. Until the mystery is unravelled when my laptop returns from ASUS (again), I’ll be going back to manual backups for my files.