204. Two Separate Families
Yan Cheng stood in silence for a few moments, jaws clenched tight. His hands reached up to roughly scrub at his face as he wearily said, “You’re both right. Your grandfather’s an old man now. He should be enjoying a peaceful life. Every day, I have to go to the office. Work is so busy that it’s inevitable that I can’t spend much time with him. When Mu ChuanYu and his wife passed away, Mu JingYuan became a family head while he’s still a young man. Then, Qi Kun was paralysed. Qi MingYang also took control of the Qi Group at a young age. The Bai and Chen family have both handed the power down to the younger generation. You’re both adults now and you’re not any weaker than them. Either of you could act independently and hold your front. The Yan family cannot be left behind. This city is yours in the end. From tomorrow onwards, I’ll be transferring my shares over to you two. Your grandfather needs someone to take care of him. I won’t be heading into the office tomorrow. If you ever encounter something you can’t resolve, you can ask me. Bai FuRen is right. We should retire while we’re not so old that we can’t support you from behind the scenes. Once we’re old, you guys are capable enough to do anything. We don’t need to worry at all.”
“Father, that’s not what we meant!” Yan Hui and Yan Yan gasped.
“I know,” Cheng said, tiredly waving his hand. “Frankly, I’ve had the idea for quite a while. I envied Bai FuRen for he could retire early and enjoy a tranquil life behind the scenes. I just couldn’t help but worry about your aunt. What happened today has been a warning to me. I can’t take care of her matters anymore. I’m getting old. It’s time for me to retire. I was so busy with work over the past few decades that I couldn’t properly spend time with your mother. I owe her a lot. I’ll have spare time in the future. I can also focus on being with your mother and taking care of your grandfather by her side. We can dabble in gardening and raise a cat or dog. I’ll lead a life of leisure.”
Hui and Yan both objected to the idea. The three men debated about it for a long while but Cheng was adamant. And so, the decision was finalised.
The next morning, Bai YiHan, who had been notified of the situation, rushed over to the hospital to check in on the old Mr Yan. The elderly man had stabilised by then. He was leaning against the headboard and enjoying a cup of warm water with the help of his son.
“Little YiHan,” the old Mr Yan looked up and said with a smile, “you’re here. News spreads fast.”
YiHan walked over to the bed and placed the flowers and basket of fruits on the bedside table. “Grandpa Yan, I’m sorry,” YiHan apologised. “This started because of me. How do you feel now?” YiHan then turned and greeted Cheng, “Uncle Yan.”
“Silly boy,” the old Mr Yan said with a smile, “how can this be blamed on you? I still have to apologise to you. I didn’t raise my daughter properly. It’s why you had to suffer that injustice.”
“It’s none of your fault,” YiHan said with a wave of his hand. “You’ve gone through a very risky situation this time. I was shocked when I heard the news. Are you alright now?”
“Don’t worry, YiHan,” Cheng warmly answered. “He’s stable now. He only needs to stay for a few days of treatment and he has to be more careful with his health from now on.”
“With a bad heart, the worst is extreme emotions.” YiHan nodded in agreement. “You must be cautious. Grandpa Yan, you must try and relax. Don’t worry so much about everything. When you’re sick, Uncle Yan, Hui and the rest suffer the most.”
The old Mr Yan nodded with a smile.
YiHan carefully scanned the elderly man’s face. The old Mr Yan’s smile didn’t look as sincere as it used to be. There’s always a hint of bitterness in it now. YiHan couldn’t help but let out a sigh.
“Grandpa Yan, don’t panic,” YiHan said. “I’ll talk to JingYuan and my siblings about the He Group. JingYuan is truly angry this time. He’s a little too harsh in his actions. However, he did say that he wouldn’t do anything significant to the He Group, even if it’s just for your sake. It’s just that…he’s finding it rather hard to calm down.”
“I know you’re a good kid,” the old Mr Yan said, patting YiHan on the hand. “You don’t hold grudges and you’re not vengeful when other people offend you. If not for that Mu boy, I would be worried that you might be bullied. You don’t need to worry about me when it comes to the He Group. After this incident, I’ve thought things through. I’m old now. I can’t do anything and I don’t want to. I only want to live a few more years in peace. Once I’ve seen enough of this world, I can go and be with Grandma Yan.”
“Don’t speak of nonsense!” YiHan and Cheng simultaneously said.
“Okay, okay,” the old Mr Yan said, smile never faltering. “I won’t speak of it. I’m old now. It’s certainly bad luck for me to say things like that. Relax. Even if it’s for sake of the love of Cheng and the other kids, I will try my best to live a few years more.”
Cheng placed the cup down to look away. He swiftly raised a hand to wipe at his face.
The room’s door opened once more, making way for a burly middle-aged man with a thermal jug.
“Second Uncle Yan,” YiHan greeted with a smile.
“Mn,” Yan Ping replied. “You’ve come, Little YiHan. My father and Pei-Pei have mentioned you a lot lately. You’re very kind to be here so early.”
Yan Ping’s figure wasn’t elegant and slender like his brother’s. Instead, the man had a rough look to him with the aura and dignity of someone who had always had the upper hand. He had a very strong presence.
YiHan had only met Ping a few times. At Yan’s engagement party, the man came and went in a hurry. Ping didn’t even see Yan Miao, who had come late. If the man was there that night, perhaps Miao might’ve held back a little. The woman wasn’t afraid of her father and she definitely wasn’t afraid of her big brother. The person she was most afraid of was her second brother. No matter what Miao thought of her second brother’s words, she would never dare to explicitly defy them.
Honestly, it wasn’t any wonder that Miao would be afraid of Ping. Faced with the man himself, YiHan was always subconsciously a little nervous.
“Grandpa Yan is sick,” YiHan said, smiling. “I’m partly responsible. I have to visit him.”
A tiny smile appeared on Ping’s usually stern face. The man placed the jug down on the table as his large hand patted YiHan on the shoulder. “Little guy, don’t take on the responsibility all the time. My father’s illness can’t be blamed on you no matter what. Don’t overthink it.”
“Yes,” Cheng said. “This kid apologised the moment he stepped through the door. My father’s right, actually. It’s the Yan family who should apologise. What do you have to be sorry for?”
YiHan dipped his head, a smile on his lips as he rubbed his ear with a hand. The old Mr Yan was smiling as he nodded in agreement.
“Little YiHan,” Ping said, sitting down, “you must understand that Yan Miao isn’t one of us from now on. There are no major connections between us. You can even think of us as two completely separate families. Don’t think too much about it.”
YiHan’s eyes darted up. “I understand, Second Uncle Yan,” he said, a smile slowly spreading on his face.
“YiHan’s a smart kid,” Ping said to the old Mr Yan, smiling. “He’s just too honest.”
The old Mr Yan had remained silent when Ping mentioned the phrase “two completely separate families”. Cheng didn’t react as well.
“Yes,” the old Mr Yan replied. “I was just saying that without the Mu kid, Little YiHan would absolutely be bullied.”
“No way,” Ping said. “Do you not know just how much the Bai family treasures him? In the worst-case scenario, he still has you.”
“Second Uncle Yan is right,” YiHan said to the old Mr Yan. “When I was kidnapped last time, it was all thanks to you that I was rescued in time.”
Ping nodded. “That time was certainly dangerous. Be it pressure from my father or the timely rescue of JingYuan and his team, not one of them can be subtracted. Speaking of which, have they still not found the mastermind?”
YiHan shook his head. “This case is quite the troublesome one. Feng Qun died while the rest of the kidnappers had very limited knowledge of the situation. All of our leads have essentially been cut off. However, JingYuan mentioned before that they’d found a lead. I believe the truth will be found soon.”
“The faster they do so, the better,” the old Mr Yan said. “With such a mastermind hiding in the shadows, it makes one feel like they’re choking, unable to eat or sleep in peace.”
“JingYuan and my brother have been keeping close tabs on this investigation,” YiHan said. “The police may have closed the case but Officer Chen and Fang Yi have secretly continued the investigation. However, ever since that incident, it’s as if ‘that person’ never existed. He’s gone into hiding and hasn’t made a move since. To find him is an extremely tough task. But don’t worry, Grandpa Yan. I believe in Officer Chen’s capabilities. It’s only a matter of time before we find the mastermind. Don’t think too much about this case. We don’t want your mood to be affected. Right now, the most important thing you must do is let go and relax. Don’t think about anything. Don’t worry about anything. Focus on your treatment and get better soon. Once you’re back home, I’ll go over and play chess with you.”
The old Mr Yan’s head kept nodding. “Yes, okay. Little YiHan, you must stay true to your word. Ever since you and JingYuan were registered, you rarely come visit me anymore.”
At the sight of YiHan blushing, the three men of the Yan family, rather unkindly, broke out in laughter.
Even when YiHan was gone, the smile on the old Mr Yan’s face did not fade away. The elderly man turned to Cheng and said, “Look, this child has more of a heart than your little sister.”
At that, the room immediately quieted down.
Ping’s relaxed gaze disappeared. “Miao hasn’t made a move at all?” he rumbled.
“I haven’t called her,” Cheng instinctively replied. He was afraid that Miao might say something to anger their father if she came.
Ping harrumphed. “So you called Bai YiHan? He’s received the news so why wouldn’t Miao know?”
Cheng cautiously glanced at the old Mr Yan. Deep down, he begrudged his little brother for his words. It was fine if they all knew what was going on but if they explicitly acknowledged it, their father might be upset again.
Thankfully, the old Mr Yan was lost in thought and his expression didn’t change at all.
As if he didn’t understand what his big brother meant by that look, Ping knelt by the old Mr Yan’s bed, grabbed his father by the hand and said, “In the past few years, I’ve slowly opened my eyes to Miao’s true personality. My heart has already grown cold to her. In her eyes, in her heart, we are nothing. We haven’t lost her because we never had her. However, you still have us – Big Brother, Sister-in-Law, me, Zhou Xiao, Yan Hui, Yan Yan and Yan Pei. We’re all together, happy and healthy. Well, Father?”
“Ping, what are you saying?” Cheng exclaimed in panic.
Ping turned to look at his brother. “I’ve wanted to say this for a long time but I was afraid our father would be upset. However, after this incident, I’ve realised I was wrong. If we don’t cut things off, chaos would ensue instead. I don’t want to see our father be hospitalised once more because of her matters! I’m fine if she doesn’t bother to take care of our father but how dare she shout and scream at our father, hurting his heart and risking his life! I cannot forgive her actions. She is over thirty now. Her life’s direction is set. She should already have her future path planned out. The Yan family owes her nothing. We, her father and brothers, don’t owe her anything either! Conversely, she still owes Father a debt of gratitude for he raised her. Either way, I don’t plan on caring for her. Low-quality mud cannot stick to a wall. In the end, all we receive for our effort is a bundle full of blame.”