GC: Chapter 155

155. Wedding Date

JingYuan gazed deep into YiHan’s eyes. He leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. Then, with the most serious tone he had ever used in his whole life, he said, “I do.”

YiHan smiled as he leaned in to land a gentle peck on JingYuan’s fingers. “Ceremony complete,” he said. “From today onwards, you are mine, for real. You can’t run even if you want to.”

JingYuan maintained eye contact as he said, “My home is wherever you are. Where can I go? Get up. Doesn’t your back hurt?”

The smile on YiHan’s face widened into a beaming, blinding grin, revealing his two dimples. Then, he stood up, a hand supporting his back which felt like it was being snapped in half. He trembled as he shuffled back into bed. He wrapped his arms around JingYuan’s waist once more as he buried his face in the other man’s abdomen.

“JingYuan, did you know?” YiHan let out a muffled chuckle. “I was so nervous just now. Aah, now that I think of it, isn’t our proposal way too simple? We have no flowers, no rings. I’m even in my sleepwear while you’re on an IV drip! How are we going to leave behind a perfect memory? This should be considered a dark moment in our past.”

JingYuan said nothing. All he did was pull YiHan up higher by the arms until the younger man was sprawled all over JingYuan’s chest. Confused, YiHan tentatively shifted to put his ear right against JingYuan’s chest. Oh, this man. His heart was thumping hard. It was thumping to the same rhythm his was beating out. YiHan laughed as he leaned up to place his chest against JingYuan’s. The two hearts thumped and raced and slowed until, gradually, they began to beat in unison.

Perhaps joyful events had health benefits, mentally and physically. Soon after that day, JingYuan’s body recovered. Just a few more days of medication and JingYuan’s fever was all gone. He was also back at full energy levels. Having gone through a few days of IV drip, JingYuan merely looked like a thinner version of his usual self now. There was not a sign of sickness on him at all. YiHan was in a good mood too. He’d frequently cook vegetable congee for JingYuan. Because of the frequent practice, he’d gotten much better at cooking. The congee also looked much more appetising than it did when YiHan first tried his hand at cooking.

The wedding was now formally in progress. YiHan’s parents were in fervent support of the wedding and JingYuan thought the faster the wedding was held, the better. Still, winter in the city was freezing. YiHan had a habit of never holding any major events in the winter. JingYuan understood that habit though so, after a family meeting with the rest of the Bai family, they finally decided on having the wedding in summer next year. They’d host an engagement party first. It would be held in a month and act as their public announcement.

The President of Mu Group and the youngest son of the Bai family will be joining hands in marriage. The news of their marriages exploded among the citizens of the city. Many people sighed and gossiped. The youngest son of the Bai family might hold no power in the Bai Group but he owned a lot of the Bai Group stocks. The two involved were both men. There was no such thing as a bridal price or dowry. The Bai and Mu families were close in the first place. Now, they’re joined in marriage. It’d be too polite and estranging to say they’re entering an equal partnership. It was more apt to say they’ve merged. Based on how lovestruck Mu JingYuan acted when it came to the Little Master of the Bai family, he had likely long since thought of the Bai family as his own. He was even more engrossed with the affairs of the Bai family than the family members were. Wait, no. They were getting married. He would truly be a Bai family member then. While the Bai and Mu families are considered separate families, they can be treated as a single entity. That meant, from now on, they’d be the largest and most powerful family of the city.

Frankly, not many people in the know were surprised by the news. Everyone knew the two families were close. This was just another addition to their bond. It didn’t change much. Anyone who’s anyone in the city would know the Little Master Bai was the apple of Mu JingYuan’s eye. Even when held in his palms, he’d be afraid of scaring the younger man. If Bai YiHan was a candy, Mu JingYuan would be afraid of melting the other man by merely closing his mouth around him. If someone dared to lay a single finger on the Little Master Bai? The first to go berserk might not be Bai YiHan’s parents but Mu JingYuan. The two might have known each other since they were children but nothing tied them together. At most, one might call them childhood besties. Mu JingYuan’s protective tendencies were really just him marking his territory. Many people in the city understood that but with the two men’s social ranks, no one dared to speak of it unless the two publicised it. It was no surprise that the two men would be announcing their engagement.

Meanwhile, with the Chen family, Madam Chen had already started inviting Ma Bai out on social outings like shopping or going to a spa together. They act so much like sisters who’d grown up together. Madam Chen would keep directing the conversation to XueQing’s relationship with TianYang. She wanted to know just what the Bai family thought of marriage. With an idiotic, lovestruck fool for a son, this mother had gone all out. XueQing intended to wait for a while longer. Their father had just retired while it had only been a short while since Bai Yan had formally taken over the reins of the company. She hoped to stay in the Bai Group for a while longer and help her brother achieve full control over the Bai Group.

The Chen family’s response was of understanding. TianYang was a brain-dead fan of XueQing. While he dreamed of getting married as soon as possible, he had stated his unconditional support of XueQing’s decision.

As for Yan, the man would often be found staying the night at Jiang Hua’s place. The Bai family were all overjoyed at him finally being in a relationship. The only thing Yan’s family had yet to do was celebrate publicly with fireworks. In regards to his stayovers at Hua’s home, they were all in full support. If the man ever slept in his own home for more than a day or two, someone in his family would start worrying. They’d ask him if Hua had finally gotten rid of his bad taste in men, if Hua had dumped Yan. The man was rendered speechless each time. Every day, it felt like his family was eagerly hoping to “marry him off” to Hua right away. They’d always push him to sleep at the other man’s home. Then, every few days, the Bai family would invite Hua over for dinner. Each time that Hua stepped into the Bai family home, Yan would find himself wondering if he was the one who’d been picked up from the trash while Hua was the true son they’d found after losing him in an incident. Yan would be sitting beside Hua but his family would just shower Hua with love while not even bothering to glance at Yan. It made the feeling of being ignored worse.

***

During one afternoon, YiHan was sitting in a cafe with Fang Yi. While stirring the coffee in his cup, YiHan asked the man, “So you two are still at a stalemate? It’s been so long. Why drag it out? It’s not good for anyone.”

The policeman pursed his lips and replied, “I don’t want this to happen either but he just wouldn’t leave. I’ve tried chasing him out several times but he’d insist on lounging around in my home. What can I do?”

YiHan let go of his teaspoon and sighed, “Ah-Yi, it’s just an identity. Is there a need to be so angry? He truly treats you well. You should be able to see that.”

The other man frowned. “YiHan, you know who he is. He’s…the head of the Hidden Dragon! I’m just a mere cop. Let’s put aside belonging to different sides of society for now. Even if we can work on the same side of the law, we have nothing in common. We can’t be friends!”

“Why do you have nothing in common? Weren’t you two good friends before you found out who he is?” YiHan asked.

The man’s frown deepened. “As you’ve said, I didn’t know back then. But now that I know it, it’s already a kindness that I didn’t arrest him on the spot.”

YiHan shrugged. “See? It’s because he knew this is how you’d react that he didn’t dare come clean.”

The policeman rubbed at his forehead. “I’m a cop, YiHan. While I’m nobody, being a cop has always been a childhood dream of mine. I can’t give up on it.”

“No one’s asking you to give up on your job,” YiHan said. “He didn’t say that, right?”

“He didn’t say it but think about it. How can a policeman be friends with a triad boss? I really don’t get it. Why would the head of the Hidden Dragon throw away his dignity and persist on staying in my home? Why can I chase him out?”

YiHan sighed. “Ah-Yi, you are a straightforward, passionate, bold and observant man. There’s nothing wrong with you but you’re just too uptight, too concerned about the details. Does it matter who he is? I think what’s more important is his personality. Yes, to the Hidden Dragon gang, he’s the head, Qin Feng. But when he’s in your home, he’s Qin An, just a bored street thug who jokes around all day long. Ah-Yi, you need to understand. This world is not split into black and white. There’s a reason the Hidden Dragon exists. I think the true trump card our society has is the Hidden Dragon gang that’s being helmed by Qin Feng. We should thank him. In this world, it can’t just be the police who can right injustices. Qin Feng’s not a bad man. You should give him a chance to explain himself. Also, there’s no way that I’d believe you don’t miss your past friendship with him at all.”

Fang Yi scrubbed at his face and leaned back against his chair. No words were spoken.

YiHan glanced at him before continuing, “When I first met him, when I first knew who he truly was, I was actually afraid for you. I worried. After all, Qin Feng is no kind gentleman. Standing next to him, you looked like the little white rabbit engulfed in the fierce beast’s embrace. Hey, don’t get angry. It’s just a simile. But that’s what I truly thought. However, JingYuan told me Qin Feng held no ill will to you.

“That man knows right from wrong. He’s also grateful and knows to pay back his debts. His ‘evil’ nature is evident on his face. He’s not like those false gentlemen in high society. He won’t look good-natured while hiding his evil within. Then, through you, I got to know him a little better. JingYuan and I have been keeping an eye on him this whole time. Our conclusion is he’s very safe when it comes to you. While he used a fake identity, his heart and personality were true. In that case, what’s there to fight about?”

Fang Yi bit his lip and said, “I know you won’t harm me. I also know he has absolutely no bad intentions when it comes to me but I just can’t get over it. Oh, right. I haven’t congratulated you. Your relationship with Mr Mu has finally borne fruit.”

“Thank you,” YiHan couldn’t help but smile as he said that. “I didn’t think we’d get married so soon but he’s in a rush. I’d be spending the rest of my life with him regardless of marriage, so it didn’t matter to me when we do it.”

“The wedding date is next year?” Fang Yi asked with a smile of his own.

YiHan nodded.

“When do you plan on getting registered?” asked the man.

“JingYuan’s thinking of next month. We’ll get it done after the engagement party,” replied YiHan.

Fang Yi let out a laugh as he said, “Mr Mu sure is in a hurry. I think he can’t wait a single minute longer. He must wish you two could get registered right now.”

YiHan paused in contemplation before replying, “I’m actually quite eager for it too. Ah-Yi, before, I thought a marriage certificate is just a piece of paper. It has no use. The law’s powers in regards to marriage are limited. So many people who have gotten married and divorced. Now, I’m longing to witness that piece of paper be filled with both of our names. I feel like I’ve been possessed or something. I didn’t feel it when we first set the wedding date, but now that it’s confirmed, time feels so slow. A day feels like a year. How I wish the wedding would be tomorrow and avoid any hesitation altogether.”

Translator’s Note

Ah-Yi: Ah = prefix added to make a name into an affectionate/friendly nickname. It has been left in for Fang Yi as some readers have commented that merely using “Yi” can get confusing, especially with YiHan’s name thrown into the paragraph.


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GC: Chapter 154

154. Will You?

Looking down at YiHan, JingYuan’s breathing started coming out in harsh pants once more. He resisted the urge to continue further and retreated. Then, he moved from the back of YiHan’s neck to YiHan’s lips.

“Meanie!” JingYuan spat out after a few pecks to YiHan’s lips.

When Dr Chen arrived, it was noon. To his surprise, YiHan was still asleep.

Deep within JingYuan, he was upset at how Dr Chen kept shooting glances at YiHan while conducting a medical check-up on JingYuan.

“He’s exhausted from having to take care of me for the past month,” JingYuan muttered. “Be quiet. Don’t wake him up.”

Dr Chen nodded in agreement and said, “Indeed. The Little Master has been cherished and pampered from his birth. He had never been through tough times before. He must be tired. Fatigue isn’t the real issue. More important is his worry for your body, Mr Mu. Madam Bai has told me his appetite has been quite lacking lately. She had me secretly proved a few supplements for him. I don’t know if he took them or not, though.”

When JingYuan heard Dr Chen described YiHan as “cherished and pampered from birth” and “had never been through tough times”, it reminded him of the “disaster” hiding beneath the blanket. The dissatisfaction in his heart grew even more. He was so focused on beating himself up that he didn’t even know when the needle was inserted into his veins.

YiHan finally woke up by the time JingYuan was done with his second bag of saline drip. YiHan tossed and turned to rest on his other side before opening his eyes. At first, all he could see was the muscular chest of a man, covered by the thin fabric of sleepwear. Still dazed and drowsy from sleep, YiHan lifted a hand to rest against it. It took him a few blinks before his eyes decided to wander upward and straight into the loving eyes of JingYuan. As if he’d been possessed, YiHan clambered straight up without hesitation and kissed those thin lips.

“Morning,” YiHan said, his voice hoarse from last night’s activities.

All blood in JingYuan’s body had fled to his groin at YiHan’s seductive actions. He wanted so badly to pounce and take him then and there.

“It’s not morning anymore,” JingYuan replied in an equally hoarse voice. “It’s the afternoon.”

“Oh,” YiHan blankly replied. Then, he slowly leaned down to rest against JingYuan’s shoulder.

Five seconds passed.

“What?” YiHan yelped, suddenly surging upright. “It’s already the afternoon?” He leapt up and out of the bed. However, because of the sudden brash movement, it tugged at his strained waist and injured spot. With another loud yelp, he fell back in bed. His face went stark white with pain.

Shocked, JingYuan hurriedly reached out to pull YiHan back up. He paid no attention to the needle and tube still connected to his hand. YiHan’s sharp eyes caught the glint of the needle.

“Don’t move!” YiHan shouted in the loudest voice he could muster.

JingYuan instantly froze. By the time the man came back to his senses, YiHan had already climbed back up in a sitting position. The moment the younger man was upright, he pushed JingYuan back against the headboard. He then leaned forward to check on JingYuan’s hands. Thankfully, JingYuan’s actions hadn’t disturbed the needle too much. There was nothing wrong with the drip either.

YiHan let out a sigh of relief and grumbled, “Are you a fool? You’re still on a drip! How could you just move without care?”

JingYuan wrapped his other hand around YiHan and mumbled, “Does it hurt a lot? It’s my fault. I went overboard last night.”

YiHan’s face immediately went red and he stuttered, “I was a consenting participant. How is it your fault? What’s bad about it?”

“Your behind and knees are all hurt. Did you know that?” JingYuan rumbled, hand raised to stroke YiHan’s cheek. “Why didn’t you say you were in pain?”

“Huh? Oh, it’s fine. It’ll heal up in two days.”

“My question is why didn’t you tell me you were in pain.”

“We were both enjoying ourselves.” YiHan ruffled in hair. “If I tell you, the mood would be ruined. Anyway, it didn’t feel painful at all.”

JingYuan grabbed YiHan by the arm. “When I was cleaning up after, you were still bleeding. And your knees are all bruised. How can you say it didn’t hurt at all?”

YiHan carefully tilted himself to sit while leaning on his side instead of letting his butts bear his weight. “JingYuan,” he sighed in exasperation, “can we not talk about this during the day in such a serious tone? It’s so embarrassing. Right. When did Dr Chen come in? Why didn’t you wake me up? What will happen to my dignity now that he’s seen me sleeping in the middle of the day?”

JingYuan stared at YiHan for a moment before stroking YiHan on the head and going along with the topic change. “He came during noon. I told him you hadn’t been sleeping well lately. It’s exhaustion.”

YiHan nodded in reply. Then, he began to shuffle his way off the bed.

JingYuan reached out and pulled YiHan back. “You’re still wounded. Where do you want to go?”

Tugging at the hand around his arm, YiHan replied, “How is this a wound? I’m going to get you some food.”

JingYuan didn’t let go. Instead, he pulled YiHan further into his embrace. “We can just ask Ms Liu to bring us some food. You don’t need to go. Just lie here with me.”

Afraid that struggling any more would result in JingYuan attempting to use the hand with the needle, YiHan obediently shuffled back into JingYuan’s embrace. “It’s past noon. I’m not sick. It’s shameful for me to still be lying in bed. I won’t.”

JingYuan patted the spot on the bed next to him and said, “Sprawl out over here. I’ll give you a massage. Does your waist not hurt?”

It truly was still in pain. YiHan hesitated but still went along with the suggestion.

JingYuan’s hand rubbed and kneaded at the back of YiHan’s waist. The force he used was just right.

“HanHan, you–”

“JingYuan, are you angry with me?” YiHan interrupted, voice muffled from being face down on the bed.

“I am,” JingYuan honestly replied. “Do you trust me now?”

“I do,” YiHan glumly replied.

“Then I’ll do my best and forgive you,” JingYuan chuckled.

Still, YiHan felt the need to explain himself. “I’m just…afraid. Afraid you’ll be made to do something you don’t like, to be with someone you don’t want to be with. Our relationship should be based on our true desires within our hearts, not on other external factors. I want you to be able to do whatever you please, to be with whoever you want to be with. I don’t want you to be forced into anything at all. Mn. I just want you to be happy and free to live life as you wish.”

JingYuan stopped smiling and solemnly replied, “My greatest wish it to be with you. There are no external factors. I’m happy as long as we’re happy together.”

YiHan laughed and replied, “Okay, I got it. Actually, I feel like it’s such a pity for you to be with me.”

“How is it a pity?” JingYuan was not happy with what he heard. “Do you think we’re not fit for each other?”

“Look,” YiHan said, “you’re the head of the Mu family, the great CEO of the Mu Group. I am a second-generation rich kid who has no skills or knowledge. You’re smart. Nothing can defeat you. I’m stupid. I also have bad tastes. Wait, no. It’s not all bad. At least, I have good tastes in falling in love with you. But I might’ve used up all of my potential in falling in love with you. Everyone else I’ve befriended is either a backstabber ora schemer. Anyway, you’re like the dragon among mere mortals while I’m just society’s trash. We’re polar opposites. How are we fit for each other?”

JingYuan couldn’t help but give YiHan’s back a light pat as he angrily rebuked, “What are you babbling about? Society’s trash? Who told you that?”

YiHan let out a hiss. “No one. I just thought of that myself.”

JingYuan had immediately regretted patting YiHan on the back the moment his palm landed. He hurriedly rubbed and soothed at the spot when YiHan yelped in pain.

“HanHan, I don’t care where you heard such dastardly descriptions from but I won’t allow you to put yourself down,” said JingYuan. His voice was much gentler now. “You are the third son of the Bai family, the entire family’s precious baby and the lover of Mu JingYuan, me. In my heart, no one is better than you. I am older than you by a few years. I watched you grow up. While you can be a little lost sometimes, you are pure and cute. Your purity didn’t disappear with age. It has always been with you. Even to this day, you are genuine, kind and grateful. You show your true self to me, to your family. Hidden within your soul is the best of humanity. Otherwise, why do you think the old Mr Yan, the man who has seen through countless people and has numerous people begging to win his favour, why would he like you out of everyone at the party? Yes, you have many flaws. You can be selfish at times and you love to split hairs over nothing, but your strengths are like the sun. They shine so brightly that your flaws are never given a chance to shine. To be honest, even if you truly are useless, I like you. There is no logic to my love.”

The more JingYuan talked, the closer YiHan’s face got to steaming and boiling over. “You make it sound like I’m an angel,” YiHan muttered. “You’re just boasting. You are the lover who is blind to all or the old grandma selling her wares, just the boasts of a biased seller…”

JingYuan gave a low chuckle. “At least you still remember I’m your “lover”. No more trying to push me out?”

YiHan looked up into his eyes. “Look at you. You just said you were going to forgive me and now you’re going through our past again. I’ll be frank with you. Don’t take whatever I’ve said at face value. It’s always easier to talk about doing something than actually doing it. If you truly didn’t love me and would get married to someone else in the future, I might not live for more than a few years.”

“Don’t say that!” JingYuan barked.

“It’s true. The frustration would just broil and build inside me to the point of death. Anyway, I can’t even sleep without you. Before we got together, I could still handle it. But then we slept together and we parted. It was like someone who’d just had a taste of the pleasures sex can give but was forced to cut it all off straight away. The itch was just too much.”

A dark cloud loomed over JingYuan’s face. He gave YiHan’s head a harsh stroke and rub and said, “I told you to not go on about such nonsense! Why are you still going on? Also, what kind of comparison is that?”

YiHan turned to lean on his side and looked at JingYuan. “What comparison?” he asked with an evil smirk. “It’s normal. We’ve all been through it before. You know.”

JingYuan gave YiHan the side-eye. “And you still wouldn’t let me touch you for a whole month. If not for that, I wouldn’t go so crazy last night…” JingYuan interrupted himself with a smack to his own head and said, aggravation in his voice, “I’d gone insane last night. I actually hurt you.”

YiHan shuffled forward and hugged JingYuan around the waist. “When did I not let you touch me? I was afraid you were actually an unwilling participant in our relationship.” When JingYuan’s face became even more upset, YiHan hurriedly continued, “Okay, okay. I know. It’s all my fault. I should’ve been more confident. I’m quite the charmer, don’t you think? I have you wrapped around my pinkie. Tee-hee. My life is complete even if I achieve nothing but this.”

JingYuan didn’t know whether to cry or laugh at that. He went along with YiHan’s hug and fully embraced the man. His hand gently patted YiHan on the back as he contemplated his next words.

“Well,” JingYuan finally uttered, “when are we getting married?”

YiHan was silent. Then, the man climbed out of the bed. JingYuan’s heart jolted in fear.

To JingYuan’s surprise, YiHan limped back to the bed with a hand supporting his back. He knelt down on one knee and placed his hands on the fingertips of JingYuan’s hand, the hand that had a needle sticking out of it.

“JingYuan,” YiHan solemnly said, looking up at the other man, “will you marry me? Will you be my lawfully-wedded spouse? No matter how stupid or useless I am, you won’t abandon me. To be by my side until the very last breaths of our lives?”


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GC: Chapter 153

153. Why Are You So Contradictory?

Behind JingYuan, YiHan fervently waved his hands in a “no” gesture at Ms Liu. However, Ms Liu had always been the kind to speak her mind without hesitation. By the time she noticed YiHan’s actions, she had already finished prattling about how YiHan had made congee for JingYuan.

“Shoot, I forgot,” Ms Liu dazedly said. “Little Master said that I can’t tell you.”

At Ms Liu’s words, YiHan helplessly hung his head low.

JingYuan turned around. His dark eyes burned into YiHan’s scalp as the other man adamantly looked at the floor instead of at JingYuan.

“Hurry up and go eat!” YiHan said, still hanging his head as he pushed JingYuan along to the table. “It’ll get cold.”

JingYuan obediently walked over to the dining table. As he sat down, Ms Liu scurried away back into the kitchen.

“Well, erm,” YiHan softly said, “try it. I’ve had a taste test. This congee might not look the best but it tastes fine.”

JingYuan scooped some congee up with the spoon Ms Liu had placed beside the bowl and took a bite of it.

“Well?” YiHan couldn’t stop himself from eagerly asking. “Does it tastes too salty? I hear sick people would always find food a little saltier than usual so I only put a tiny bit of salt.”

To JingYuan, it wasn’t too salty. In fact, he couldn’t taste any salt at all. “It’s really good. Hm,” JingYuan said. “It looks good, very appetising.” (Note: the congee is colourful. It looks something like the concoction witches in cartoons are always stirring in their pot.)

YiHan pursed his lips. He tried to resist from smiling but he still failed, letting a little loose into his face. “Mn,” YiHan said, trying to hold onto his composure, “it’s the first time I’ve tried cooking congee. I didn’t do all that well. I’ll try and cook more for you. I’ll get better with practice.”

JingYuan was so touched that he was nearly brought to tears. “You don’t need to cook for me all the time. Cooking is hard work and it’s dangerous.”

“It’s not hard work,” YiHan gently replied, looking into JingYuan’s eyes. “I had never experienced the joy of cooking before. When I was cooking today, the thought of making food for you made me so happy.”

JingYuan’s body truly felt as light as feather now. His joy made him feel as if he could fly. Before he lost all control to the happiness, JingYuan cleared his throat and dipped his head down to focus on the congee before him. Both of his ears were flushed red.

Ms Liu walked out of the kitchen with a tray filled with a bowl of rice and a few side dishes that were blander and less oily than usual. “You’re sick, sir. These dishes are better for you and gentler on your stomach. Once you’re better, I’ll cook up a delicious feast.”

Ms Liu placed the dishes on the table and swiftly returned to the kitchen.

“She ran so fast,” YiHan burst out chuckling.

JingYuan glanced up at YiHan, looked down and glanced at YiHan again. There was a warm smile on his face.

After dinner, the couple returned to their rooms. JingYuan went straight into the bathroom. The man had broken out in a sweat during his afternoon nap. He felt so sticky and uncomfortable that he had to wash the sweat off. Sitting in the bathtub, JingYuan closed his eyes and thought about YiHan’s attitude throughout the day. When he heard a noise at the door, he opened his eyes and turned. It was YiHan in a long dressing gown. His hair was still dripping wet as he walked further into the bathroom.

“I came,” YiHan bit his lip and said upon seeing JingYuan looking at him, “to help you with your shower.”

“It’s fine,” JingYuan warmly responded. “I can do it myself. You’re exhausted. Go to bed first.”

YiHan pursed his lips and said, “Your fever just broke. Your strength must not be back yet. Showering uses up quite a lot of stamina.”

JingYuan kept quiet and looked back at YiHan. After staring into each other’s eyes for a long while, YiHan felt like JingYuan had seen through every nook and cranny in his soul. YiHan bit down hard at his lips and twisted his head to a side.

“Hurry up then,” YiHan whispered. “I’ll be waiting outside.”

YiHan had just taken a step when he heard JingYuan call out to him, “YiHan.”

YiHan stopped but he didn’t look back.

JingYuan sighed and said, “I am rather tired. It’d be nice if you help me.”

YiHan’s fingers twisted and played with the belt of his sleeping robe. Then, he turned and walked to the bathtub. He knelt down and solemnly helped JingYuan wash up.

The man in the bathtub silently stared at YiHan. Those dark eyes boring into YiHan made him a little uneasy.

“What are you looking at me for?” YiHan glumly blurted.

JingYuan didn’t speak for a moment before replying, “Your sleeves are wet.”

YiHan hummed in response and said, “It’s fine. I’ll get changed later.”

“Wet clothes don’t feel nice against the skin,” JingYuan solemnly said. “The bathroom’s not cold. Why not take it off?”

YiHan’s hands froze. He pulled them out of the water and slowly pulled his robe open. The dressing gown slid open, revealing a fair body covered only by a tiny piece of underwear.

JingYuan took in a deeper inhale as his fingers clutched hard at the edges of the bathtub. He said nothing.

YiHan placed his dressing gown to the side and reached down into the water again. His hands felt much warmer now to JingYuan.

YiHan continued washing JingYuan for a few minutes before stopping and mumbling, “You…”

JingYuan glanced down and what he saw peeking at him from beneath the water made him slap his forehead.

“HanHan,” said JingYuan, “I want to kiss you.”

YiHan froze up. He felt a little jolt of electricity run through his body at those words. He pursed his lips again and shuffled forward.

“Then, kiss me,” YiHan whispered. “Why ask?”

JingYuan gave YiHan a deep look before his chest surged forward. His arms stretched out and pulled YiHan into his embrace by the neck. Then, he dipped his head to kiss the other man.

The instant their lips met, the two men let out a sigh of satisfaction. It was a passionate kiss and JingYuan’s actions could be considered biting instead. YiHan opened his lips and welcomed JingYuan’s tongue. Little moans and whimper escaped from his throat. It seemed like JingYuan had sucked in all the air from his lungs. His vision swam and wavered. Before his vision went black, JingYuan pulled him into the bathtub. With water loudly splashing out of the tub, YiHan was in the tub with JingYuan while the only piece of fabric on YiHan’s body was soaked through. It clung tightly on YiHan’s body while turning semi-transparent. However, it was an eyesore to JingYuan. Soon, it was cruelly stripped off and thrown to the wet bathroom tiles.

JingYuan thrust and turned and plunged for so long that YiHan couldn’t even moan or whimper. When they moved back to the bedroom, YiHan was as limp as a doll. JingYuan shoved a ball of blanket under YiHan’s hips. By the time YiHan nodded off to sleep, he’d lost count of how many times they’d been at it and he was still swaying and bumping against the bundle of fabric.

On the next morning, the sun shone brightly down on the bed. YiHan was still fast asleep while JingYuan, who’d “worked” for the whole night, was much more energetic than the day before. The man was sitting on the bed, clothed and frowning in frustration.

YiHan was in the same position as he was in last night after JingYuan cleaned him up. He didn’t move an inch at all. His breathing was deep and even while dark skin enveloped his eyes. He showed no signs of waking up at all.

The blanket ended just over YiHan’s shoulder, revealing a neck full of blue-green hickeys. JingYuan knew all too well what was hidden beneath the blanket. There wouldn’t be a single inch of skin that was free of love bites. The thighs were the most severely bruised. They weren’t dotted with bruises. Patches upon patches wrapped around YiHan’s leg. No one could tell YiHan’s skin was supposed to be fair and pale underneath all the bruises. His lips were red and swollen. His dark circles were dark and deep. YiHan had also gotten much thinner over the past few weeks. Curled into a tiny ball under the blanket, YiHan looked as miserable as pitiful as anyone can be.

JingYuan ruffled his hair in anger. How he wished he could punch himself in the face. When he did it with YiHan before, he’d always been extremely careful to control his strength. Occasionally, he’d lose control but he had never hurt YiHan. He knew there was some anger in his actions last night. Combined with how long it had been since he’d achieved release, JingYuan had lost control.

Once more, JingYuan pulled the blanket away from YiHan’s form. In a touch so soft that it would even disturb a hair on YiHan, he ran his hand over the knees covered in medication cream. Then, he let out another deep sigh.

During the latter parts of the night, YiHan had gotten hurt. It must’ve hurt then, right? But YiHan said nothing. He just let JingYuan continue without any signs of pain. This had been how YiHan acted during their entire relationship, except for the month or so they’d spent in a cold war. YiHan was always like this. No matter how the man acted during the day, he’d just go along with whatever JingYuan wanted in bed. He would never say no.

JingYuan didn’t get it at all. Why was YiHan like this? Logically speaking, someone who’d grown up with a temper would be more self-centred in bed. He should wish for other people to go along with his wants instead. Why was it absolute obedience instead when it came to JingYuan?

JingYuan leaned down and wrapped YiHan, and the blanket covering him, in an embrace. He sighed again. There was actually nothing to ponder about here. There was only one explanation for YiHan’s actions. It’s because YiHan loved him. Since YiHan was so deeply in love with him, why wouldn’t the man trust him? Why would the man not try even fighting back when he heard what he did back at the study? Why did YiHan so easily decide to let go?

JingYuan kissed the back of YiHan’s neck and whispered, “HanHan, why are you so contradictory?”

Translator’s Notes:

Limp as a doll: The text originally had it as “Myasthenia gravis” (MG), a neuromuscular/autoimmune disease that leads to muscle weakness which usually affects the nerves and/or muscles around the head, neck and chest. However, the Chinese name literally translates to “strengthless muscle disease” so the author might not really mean MG specifically.

Blackout during sex: Please remember that this would usually be considered rape unless discussed about beforehand. Consent only matters if the participant is awake and it can be taken away at any moment.

To those who are celebrating, have a happy Lunar New Year! There will still be updates next week.


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GC: Chapter 152

152. I’ve Decided

YiHan sat down on the bed. A finger reached out to hover over JingYuan’s dark circles and slowly slid around them, still separated by air.

“If you’d really let me go, I would’ve been devastated to the point of death. You…” YiHan softly murmured. “I’ll trust you one more time. If you dare lie to me again, I’ll truly hate you.”

YiHan paused. After a brief second of hesitation, he continued, “If you get better fast, I’ll…I’ll go along with whatever you want. If you’re angry I didn’t trust you, I’ll let you vent your anger out on me. I promise I won’t fight back or talk back. Okay?” As he said so, his fingers slowly curled around JingYuan’s fingertips. The warmth of the other man made him feel like the gaping hole in his heart had been filled up once more. His heart finally didn’t feel like it was gushing out blood the entire time while letting in bursts of cold air.

YiHan softly sighed. At this very moment, his body felt as light as a feather. It was as if a heavy, giant boulder had been lifted off his back. YiHan leaned down and kissed JingYuan’s fingers before slouching down to rest his upper body on the edge of the bed.

Then, in a voice so soft that it nearly blended into the ambient noise of the room, YiHan whispered, “Since you say there can be no doubt about your love for me, you’re still mine. I gave you a chance. I tried to set you free. You refused it. It’s not my fault now. I’ll be bothering you for the rest of our lives. There won’t be any more chances for you to run.

“JingYuan, I’ve decided to hold on tight to you. The past few weeks had been torture and I hadn’t even left your side then. If I truly left you, the pain would be worse than death. Even if you truly are lying to me, I won’t let you go. I don’t care if it’s selfish. I don’t want to leave you anyway. I want to risk it. Even if I’m torn to pieces and shattered to the core, I’ll definitely cling onto you until that very moment.

YiHan then softly snickered to himself as his fingers scraped against JingYuan’s blanket. “But don’t worry. I’m much better now. I’m dumb. I’m easily fooled and used as a tool against my loved ones. I won’t be doing anything big or productive, but I can at least be a good child. I’ll tell you everything from now on. You’re smart. I’ll listen to everything you say. Then, I won’t make a mistake. Look, aren’t I doing well after I came back? I haven’t caused an incident yet.”

YiHan sighed. “JingYuan, I must’ve saved the world in a previous life. Why else would you fall in love with me? I’m so lucky.”

YiHan laid there for a while, covering JingYuan’s cold hands with his. Suddenly, he whispered, “I can’t tell you everything though. There’s at least one matter I can’t tell you. Actually, sometimes I wonder. You love me. So you might not find me disgusting even if you know about my past, right? But I still can’t say it. I wanted you to keep thinking of me as clean and pure. This will be the only thing I’ll be keeping a secret from you. I’ll take this to my grave. No one will ever know, especially you.”

YiHan was about to drift off to sleep when he heard someone lightly knocking on the door. Afraid that it might wake JingYuan up after the man had finally fallen asleep, YiHan hurriedly rose to his feet and opened the door. It was Chen Hong. The man had a pile of documents in his hands. He was about to speak when YiHan rose a finger to his lips in a shushing motion. Chen Hong quickly understood and closed his open mouth. The man took a step back.

YiHan looked back at the bed. JingYuan was still asleep and showed no signs of being disturbed. Letting out a sigh of relief, YiHan then stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him.

As the two men walked down to the living room, YiHan shot a glance at the stack of papers in Chen Hong’s arms and asked, “Here to deliver some documents to JingYuan?”

Chen Hong nodded. “Yes. Is Mr Mu asleep?”

“Yes,” YiHan replied. “He’d just fallen asleep. Finally, a proper, restful sleep. Leave the documents on the table. I’ll hand them to him once he wakes up.”

“Okay,” Chen Hong said, placing his armful of papers on the coffee table of the living room as the two sat down. After a quick scan of YiHan’s face, Chen Hong smiled and asked, “Has the ice between you two finally been broken? Mr Mu will soon get better then.”

“How did you know we were fighting?” YiHan asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I’ve worked under Mr Mu for years,” Chen Hong replied with a chuckle. “While I can’t say I understand every single move and expression he makes, I understand half of them at least. He’s someone who doesn’t wear his feelings on his sleeve. The only thing that can move him to this extreme is anything related to you, Little Master Bai. He had been feeling down before. I’m guessing it must’ve been because of issues in his relationship with you.”

“Oh? You seem quite knowledgeable on what goes on between us,” said YiHan.

Chen Hong quickly raised a hand to wave before him in a “no” gesture as he said, “No, no. Mr Mu rarely lets anyone know of what’s going on in his private life with you. However, he has loved you for years. Hence, I can make a few educated guesses based on his emotions and actions.”

The fist clenched tight on YiHan’s knee gradually loosened as YiHan calmly asked, “Loved me for years? You’re exaggerating, right?”

Chen Hong chuckled again. “Not at all. It’s been many years. As long as it concerns you, he will prioritise it, no matter how trivial the issue. As long as it’s a call from you, he needs to instantly take the call. No matter the time of day, even during meetings. He might even hang up on the other party just to answer your call. Then, even though it might just be a call you made out of boredom, he will wait for you to end the call first before going back to work. When this habit first started, there were many people in the company who were upset. They thought he was too lax in his work. They said you’ve severely affected Mr Mu’s work ethics. Some people tried criticising him about this habit. However, Mr Mu came straight out to all of the executives in the company and said, ‘He is the most important being in my life. If any of you have opinions about it, you’d best swallow those words back and keep them locked up. If I hear a single negative word about him, I don’t care who it is, but that person had best be ready to pack their things up on the spot.’

 “That happened, hm, about three or four years ago. Everyone who’d worked in the company for that long knows of it. People say he’s just a bro-con, a slave to his little brother, but those who worked closer to him all knew that he’s not a slave of any family members. He’s just a man in love. Because it wasn’t a love voiced out loud before, no one dared to mention a word of it.

“There was a time when you and Mr Mu would come into the office together. As long as you’re there, the only apt description for Mr Mu would be lovestruck. But if there was a day when you weren’t around? Heh. Pardon my disrespect but he’s like a frost-covered – ahem – as if he was covered in frost. He’d exude a strong aura of helplessness. Everyone in the office now knows that if Little Master Bai is in, it doesn’t matter if they made a tiny little mistake. That’s because Mr Mu would be in a good mood and Mr Mu in a good mood would be much more tolerant.”

Chen Hong burst out chuckling again as he continued, “There’s something you still must not know of. There was a receptionist at the front desk who really liked you. Whenever you came in, the young girl’s gaze would follow you until the elevator doors closed behind you. After the second time it happened, she was sacked. Direct orders from Mr Mu. From then on, whenever you appear in the office, no one dared to stare or look at you. It didn’t matter if they were male, female, old or young. Haha. If possible, his jealousy might even extend to everyone under the sky and even the gods. Right, I hope you can keep what we talked about today a secret. I’m afraid my job might be at risk otherwise.”

It might be a stretch for Chen Hong to say his job would be at risk. He had been working by JingYuan’s side for years. He’s as loyal as can be and he’s JingYuan’s most trusted, most capable right-hand man. JingYuan wouldn’t kick him out over something so trivial. Nevertheless, it wasn’t unlikely for the man to be suspended for a few days or have his pay cut. That’s because Mu JingYuan was jealousy incarnate.

After seeing Chen Hong out, YiHan silently returned to JingYuan’s room. Sitting there by the bed, he blankly stared as JingYuan’s gaunt face. His gaze never shifted away, not even when daylight waned.

***

When JingYuan woke up, it was night. The room was dimly lit and YiHan was nowhere to be seen. The IV drip he was hooked to had been removed and he didn’t run as hot as he did before his nap. After some proper rest, JingYuan’s head didn’t feel as heavy as it did before and his body felt much lighter. He threw his blanket aside and got to his feet. Ignoring the slippers by his feet, he pattered around, looking for YiHan. JingYuan just didn’t feel safe without the young man in his sight.

“YiHan?” JingYuan softly called out, his voice hoarse.

Then, upon hearing a soft response coming from the sofa in the room, JingYuan quickly shuffled over. He was greeted with the sight of YiHan sitting crossed-legged on the sofa as he munched on an apple. His two cheeks bulged and shifted. The younger man looked just like a hamster nibbling away. On the coffee table before him, there were the remains of an orange YiHan had consumed.

JingYuan let out a sigh of relief. “You’re hungry? Why didn’t you go get some food downstairs? Fruits aren’t enough to fill your stomach.”

YiHan’s eyes scanned the older man from top to bottom, then he frowned. “Why don’t you have your slippers on? What if you catch a cold again?”

In response, JingYuan sat down beside YiHan. He placed his feet up on the sofa too. His long legs curled up as he leaned against the back of the sofa. Then, a cough escaped his throat.

YiHan gulped down the last bits of the apple in his mouth and laid a hand against JingYuan’s forehead. “You’re finally not burning up,” YiHan sighed as his tense face relaxed. “You nearly scared me to death.”

YiHan’s brows then came back together in a frown. “Tell me,” he continued, chin tilting up in a harrumph. “Did your fever come back in full force because you also decided to walk around with bare feet this morning? You sat on the floor, slept on it and ran out into the cold after a shower?”

“I’m not a child anymore,” JingYuan protested. “Why would I do that? I was sitting on the bed the whole time.” (You did start out sitting on the bed but did you forget about slipping down to sit on the floor?)

YiHan got to his feet and grabbed a throw blanket. “You’re not a kid?” YiHan asked as he covered the other man. “Do you not even know how this fever started? Who was the man who took a shower and ran out to the windy balcony with wet hair? Who was the one who’d been sick for nearly a month?”

“I only went out to smoke a cigarette,” JingYuan argued. “I was afraid of disturbing you…”

“Was it a cigarette or a pack?” YiHan asked. “The ashtray was full and overflowing.”

JingYuan pursed his lips and said nothing.

YiHan walked to the bed and returned with JingYuan’s slippers. He knelt down before JingYuan and commanded, “Feet.”

JingYuan looked down at him in confusion.

YiHan swayed the slippers in his hands to show the man he had them. “Put on your slippers. I’m hungry. Let’s go eat. You, too, haven’t eaten anything at all. I’ve had Ms Liu cook some congee. You can have some to warm up your belly.”

JingYuan uncurled his legs and placed his feet down. YiHan slipped JingYuan’s feet into the slippers before rising to grab a thick dressing gown.

“Come, put it on and let’s go,” YiHan said, shaking the robe out.

JingYuan pursed his lips again as he silently put the dressing gown on and followed YiHan down to the dining table.

Upon seeing the two men descend, Ms Liu swiftly, and carefully, ladled a bowl full of colourful congee and carried it out of the kitchen.

“Come quick, Mr Mu,” Ms Liu said with a smile as she placed the bowl on the table. “Little Master Bai made some vegetable congee for you, all by himself! He’d put in a lot of different vegetables. It’s so nutritious. I’ve kept it on a simmer the entire time. Come try it out! It’s a sign of Little Master Bai’s love after all!”


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GC: Chapter 151

151. Mu Family Home’s Clinic

The two men were stuck in a stalemate for a while before something clicked in YiHan’s mind.

“Are you afraid I’ll run away?” YiHan asked.

JingYuan’s eyes went wide. They stared at him as though they were asking why was YiHan so smart all of a sudden.

“Don’t look at me like that,” YiHan continued. “You weren’t this opposed to going to the hospital before. Today, you wouldn’t go no matter what and then there are the two men by the door, guarding it. It’s not hard to guess. Relax. I never planned on running away in the first place. You now have a high fever. Where would I go? Let go already. I’ll go get a change of clothes for you. Since you don’t want to move, I’ll carry you to the car.”

JingYuan blinked at YiHan but he didn’t let go of YiHan’s hand. Instead, his eyes slid close.

“Mu JingYuan!” YiHan furiously said. “Don’t you pretend to be asleep! Let me go! You’re nearly cooked through! Do you want to turn into an idiot?”

JingYuan’s eyes twitched but his eyelids remained shut.

YiHan was so enraged that he could blow up the house. He forgot all about the lies and the worries. He dragged JingYuan up to carry him on his back.

“Whatever,” YiHan barked out. “Let’s not get changed then. I won’t be the one embarrassed then. I’ll carry you to the car now! You always like to say I have a child’s temper. Look at you now! Your tantrum is so much worse than any of mine! You have a high fever and we don’t know why at all. What if it’s a lung infection? What if it’s a disease or a virus? How can you still think about something so trivial? Do you even know your priorities?”

“I do,” JingYuan finally whispered. “You.” Either way, I can’t let you leave this house.

YiHan was stunned. All strength left his body. He silently wiped at his eyes. Then, just as he was about to speak, Dr Chen came jogging into the room, panting as he stepped through the door. YiHan hurriedly shifted JingYuan back on the bed and moved aside for Dr Chen.

“Dr Chen, hurry,” YiHan said. “Take a look at him. His fever died down this morning but in just a few hours, he’s suddenly burning again! What’s going on?”

Dr Chen didn’t dare waste a single second. He immediately stepped forward for a thorough check of JingYuan and also took some blood to test later.

“Mr Mu,” said Dr Chen, “I’d need to conduct a blood test for you and it’d be for the best if you had a chest scan done. Would it be better if we head to the hospital now?”

For a moment, JingYuan kept quiet. Then, he answered, “We can have the blood test and scans done here. My father’s body was rather sickly before his death. He also didn’t like going to the hospital. My mother bought all the equipment they needed and built a clinic here. After their deaths, I’ve sealed off the clinic. However, everything in there still works perfectly. They’re regularly maintained. There’d be no problems with a few simple tests.”

“Then,” Dr Chen asked, “can I use it?”

“Since I mentioned the clinic, of course it can be used,” JingYuan calmly said. He then looked up at Wei Wu who’d led Dr Chen up. “The key is with Pan Wen. Tell him to open the door. We’ll be there in a few minutes.”

Wei Wu grunted a confirmation and left the room.

YiHan stared at JingYuan, dazed. He knew the Mu family home had a clinic. He might’ve been a tiny child back then but he remembered everything about this clearly. JingYuan’s father, Mu ChuanYu, was an especially kind and gentle man. While corny, it’d be apt to call him the perfect gentleman, courteous, polite, and respectful.

Mu ChuanYu had the brightest eyes ever. He had the most gentle of personalities. YiHan had always thought the man was the closest anyone could get to being perfect. Unfortunately, when God opens a door for you, He would never forget to close off the windows. Mu ChuanYu was born a sickly man. He had a very weak body and would frequently fall sick. He’s the kind of man who’d always be stuffed full of medicine.

JingYuan’s mother, ShiYing, was the classic “strong woman” type. Her gaze was fierce and piercing while her lips were thin and constantly pursed together. JingYuan’s looks were largely inherited from his mother. Her wrists were as strong as steel. She’s like a whirlwind of decisiveness and efficiency. She was the exact opposite of what people usually thought women should act like. Everyone who knew the couple thought their personalities must’ve been swapped at birth. However, this great and strong woman had given all the tenderness in her to ChuanYu. The man’s health had never been the best so she couldn’t bear to let him tire himself out with work. Back then, she managed the entire company alone and she was so successful at it that none of the other Mu family members could say a word of opposition.

The private hospital YiHan had been admitted to in the previous few times? That was specifically started up by ShiYing just for her husband. However, ChuanYu had an intense dislike for hospitals. When ShiYing knew of it, she pulled a few strings to purchase the equipment needed to build a clinic in their home. She then paid high salaries for a few medical experts to frequent the Mu family home. This way, as long as ChuanYu’s health hadn’t deteriorated into a critical state, the man could undergo all checks and treatments in the comfort of his own home.

Everyone knew the man could never live long, not with the state of his body. No one could’ve imagined that the cause of his death would be a sudden car crash.  The crash claimed the lives of the couple in the prime of their lives. After their deaths, JingYuan dismissed the medical staff they’d hired and sealed off the clinic. That place was proof of his mother’s love for his father. The mere sight of the place would remind JingYuan of them. Hence, he had never stepped a foot in there ever since their deaths. He merely arranged for technicians to periodically service the machines. Everyone in the Mu family knew the clinic existed but no one would dare to mention borrowing it. That clinic was built for Mu ChuanYu. Now that Mu ChuanYu was dead, no one would be fit to use it. Of course, no one except for Mu ChuanYu’s only son, JingYuan.

YiHan thought the clinic would never see the light of day again. Who knew it’d be so easily unearthed?

The clinic was built in the basement of the mansion. It’s a huge space with all the necessary machines. It could even act as a miniature hospital. The sight of the place would astound anyone who walked in. Its existence was the culmination of the Mu Group’s riches and ShiYing’s charm. It fully represented the passionate love ShiYing held for ChuanYu.

YiHan helped Jingyuan down the steps. Once more, the lights went bright and the machines whirred. Looking at it, YiHan grimaced.

“What is it?” JingYuan softly asked. “Not happy?”

YiHan turned to JingYuan and replied, “I thought you’d never open this place up ever again.”

The other man sighed and said, “I thought so too.”

YiHan was confused. “Then why…?” Looking at JingYuan’s face turning away, YiHan continued, shocked, “Is it just because you don’t want me to step a foot out of this house? This is just so…! This is Uncle Mu’s private place. You would open it just for something like this?”

“When I locked this place up, I intended to not let anyone else touch anything in here,” JingYuan murmured. “They exist for my father. My father’s gone so they shouldn’t serve anyone else.”

“Then…”

“But the dead will never come back. I left this place be as a memorial to my father. But if it can help me make you stay, my father will definitely support my move.”

YiHan’s tongue twisted into a knot. “I told you. I won’t leave! Anyway, I can run but my home can’t! Where would I run off to? There was absolutely no need for you to unlock this place!”

JingYuan’s eyes drifted down to the floor. “You don’t trust me. Why should I trust you? I don’t want to bear any risk of losing you. There is a need for this clinic to be reopened. YiHan, it doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. I love you. I cannot tolerate any doubts about it. Even if you think I’m just bluffing to calm you down and you’d never believe me again, I will not let go. Since you think everything between us is just a lie, let the lie continue for the rest of our lives then!”

YiHan’s mouth gaped open. “Then hurry up and get better. Don’t be all sickly. I…”

Wei Wu was walking behind the couple. Watching a thin and tiny Bai YiHan precariously supporting Mu JingYuan as they walked forward was a terrifying sight for him. While JingYuan was much thinner than he was before, his bone structure was still gigantic in comparison. The two stumbled and swayed forward with Wei Wu constantly afraid that they’d both collapse any moment. Just as the thought popped into his head, YiHan’s feet tripped and his entire being tilted towards JingYuan. Wei Wu still remembered his boss’s orders. He didn’t dare touch YiHan so he reached out to support JingYuan and pull both men back upright.

YiHan’s heart skipped when his feet had slipped. He was going to use his body to shield JingYuan from the floor when someone pulled them to their feet. YiHan turned around to shoot the person a grateful look but…!

Wei Wu had a hand on JingYuan’s shoulder and another on JingYuan’s waist. Combined with Wei Wu’s huge form, it looked like the man had pulled JingYuan into his embrace!

YiHan shot a stern glare at Wei Wu’s hands. Despite his slightly round and babyish eyes, his glare was forceful enough to project the aura of a ferocious being!

Wei Wu hurriedly took his hands away from JingYuan and swiftly took a step back. His face was as solemn and stern as usual.

YiHan shot the man a few more glares and took a few deep breaths. Only then did he turn back to JingYuan and tugged JingYuan, who was really rather large compared to him, into his embrace. Then, the two stumbled along to their destination.

JingYuan sneakily looked back and gave Wei Wu a slight smile of approval.

Wei Wu who had yet to move: “…”

Pan Wen walked over and chuckled, “Fell flat on your face? You must’ve grown some balls to be bold enough to touch someone else’s man.”

“I was only afraid they’d fall,” Wei Wu blankly replied with an innocent face.

Pan Wen reached out and poked Wei Wu on the cheek and said in a rather amorous manner, “Are you a fool? What kind of person do you think Mr Mu is? Even if he has a fever, there’s no way he can’t stand on his own two feet. Even if you didn’t help them, they would never have fallen.”

Wei Wu was visibly confused.

“Lil Wu,” Pan Wen said, eyes squinting in a smile, “have all the brain cells in your mind been squished out of your brain by your muscles? An occasional show of weakness is a kind of romantic play between lovers. You never seem to get it at all.”

Wei Wu frowned and pondered for a moment. Then, he nodded and said, “It doesn’t matter if I don’t get it. It’s fine as long as you don’t hate me for it.”

Pan Wen froze and “gently” tapped his head against Wei Wu’s chest. “Oh, you,” he coyly said. “Of course I wouldn’t hate you for it. If I do, no one would want you.”

Wei Wu was forced a few steps back by that head bump. He paused for a second to compose himself before replying, “I’m fine as long as I have you. I don’t need to get anything.”

Pan Wen replied with a loud kiss on the cheek and said, “Thus, we’re born to be together. Let’s go do it tonight!”

Wei Wu’s face flushed red as he excitedly mumbled an “mn”.

***

JingYuan had a chest scan and a blood test done. The results showed that he had a slight lung infection. Dr Chen prescribed some medication for him, then JingYuan returned to his bedroom for a saline drip. YiHan returned to his room. He looked at the mess of a room and sighed. He silently packed his belongings and moved them into JingYuan’s room. By the time YiHan entered the room, JingYuan was fast asleep, exhausted by the day’s events.


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GC: Chapter 150

150. Dream

Perhaps it was because YiHan hadn’t been resting well lately. Perhaps it was because a tiny flame of hope was lit up in him. YiHan actually drifted off to sleep soon after he laid down on the bed.

Hazily, he saw JingYuan looking into his eyes. The other man’s eyes were filled to the brim with love. In the deep and mesmerising voice unique to JingYuan, the man repeatedly spoke into his ears.

“HanHan, this really is my dream life. I hope our lives can stay the same even as we grow old. Just like today. We’ll shower together in the evenings and dry each other’s hair.”

“I like to dry your hair. I like to wash your face, wash your back. I like doing anything and everything for you. When I was taking care of you at the hospital, your parents would often say I’m running myself ragged. However, I felt so happy. You’d obediently sit on the bed and wait for me to wash your face with a wet towel. You were just so adorable. I like it even when helping you in the toilet.”

“HanHan, before, I could still control myself. But ever since I’ve gotten together with you, I’ve realised I’m becoming more and more of a pervert. I want to hold you every single moment of the day. My hands never want to part with your skin. I’m always thinking about kissing you. It doesn’t matter if it’s your hair or your feet. I also want to be in the bed with you forever. When you change clothes, I want to lean in and take in your scent. HanHan, I might be touched starved or something worse. I want to turn you into a tiny version of yourself so I can bring you with me everywhere I go. I don’t want to be parted from you, not even for a minute.”

“HanHan, the other half of my life’s goals consists of loving you, protecting you, grow old with you and do my best to live just a little longer than you so you’ll never feel lonely.”

JingYuan repeated those lines over and over again. Gradually, the love in his eyes turned into sorrow. His voice slowly deepened and softened.

“HanHan, you reject being intimate with me. You reject my kisses. HanHan, do you…regret being with me? Is that it?”

“You wouldn’t marry me. You refuse to be near me. HanHan, I…I’m terrified.”

“I thought you loved me. While you might not love me as much as I do you, but i-it’s also love. Was I thinking too highly of myself?”

“Must you torture me so? HanHan, do you still…love me?”

“YiHan, you don’t trust me. With just a few incomplete sentences, you’ve declared all of my feelings for you false. Were all the moments we’d spent together worth nothing to you? Why do you have no faith in me?”

“I don’t understand. How can you so easily say you’d give up on me? I thought you loved me. HanHan, what am I to you?”

JingYuan just stood there. His eyes were overwhelmed by sadness. His face, attacked by immense frustration. Bloody tears streaked down the man’s cheeks.

“HanHan, I whole-heartedly loved you,” he mumbled, “but you’d treat me like this. I don’t want to love you anymore. You’re like a stone that I can never warm up. You’re so very cold…”

YiHan felt a pang in his heart. Panic rose in him. He wanted to embrace the other man. He strained and strained but his body just wouldn’t move. He wanted to shout out, “Don’t be sad! I love you too! I never wanted to give up on you!” but he couldn’t. He couldn’t do anything but watch as JingYuan became more and more depressed. The man grew more and more disappointed in him until he finally turned and left him.

YiHan’s mind was in a mess. He panicked. He did his best to shout for JingYuan, to chase after him, but his legs just wouldn’t move and his voice just wouldn’t work. All he could do was stand there and silently roar over and over again, “JingYuan, come back! Come back!”

***

JingYuan sat on the floor for a long time. He didn’t know how long. All he knew was chaos ruled his mind. He thought he’d given YiHan all the love that existed within him. Why did YiHan cut off everything between them without a single question? Was YiHan that eager to leave him because he felt as though he’d been cheated? Can YiHan ever trust him again? How should he explain things so YiHan would believe him?

His mind buzzed with random thoughts of how to explain himself, how to save their relationship, how to resolve this misunderstanding standing between them. At least he now knew why YiHan suddenly distanced himself from him and began rejecting his affection, right? He could only plan properly once he knew the reason. This was an improvement, JingYuan consoled himself.

He seemed to have made up many plans, yet it seemed like he couldn’t think of a plan at all. He only knew he absolutely can’t let YiHan leave. They were so close to being together forever. JingYuan can’t let go! He won’t let go!

JingYuan sat there on the icy cold floor for hours, lost in his thoughts. He didn’t even shift or twitch during this time. The longer he sat there, the heavier his head felt.

What was HanHan doing now? Was he asleep? Did he try to leave? If so, would he be even angrier at being stopped by JingYuan’s men? What should JingYuan do to be forgiven? HanHan had his guard up against him. HanHan wouldn’t believe a single word he said. How should he prove his love for HanHan was true?

JingYuan thumped his head hard with a hand. He wayed to his feet and shuffled out of his room. He didn’t want to be all alone anymore. He desperately needed to look in on YiHan. Just a glance.

He walked to YiHan’s door. He stopped. His hand raised, poised to knock on the door. He hesitated. If HanHan was asleep, would a knock on the door wake the younger man up?

He bit down on his lip and decided to just open the door. The handle turned and the door opened. It wasn’t locked. He let out a soft sigh of relief as he bitterly chuckled on the inside. He had fallen so far. He wanted to cheer and giggle at how YiHan felt safe enough not to lock his bedroom door.

JingYuan gently swung the door open. As expected, YiHan was fast asleep. However, the younger man wasn’t sleeping properly at all. YiHan’s head was laying on the mattress with no pillow underneath it. His blanket was still folded away. The man slept horizontally across the bed with his normal clothes still on.

JingYuan’s heart throbbed. Thank goodness he’d come to take a look at the silly young man. Autumn was here. If YiHan had slept through the night as is, the man would’ve caught a cold. In what JingYuan thought to be a “quick walk”, he walked over to the bed. His arms stretched out, about to carry YiHan up in his arms, when he heard a slurred mumble. He froze. Thinking YiHan had been woken up by his entrance, JingYuan looked down in guilt. Contrary to expectations, YiHan was still asleep. But the man’s brows were locked in a tight frown. YiHan’s fair, smooth forehead was covered in a sheen of sweat. Tears streamed from his closed eyes.

Fear struck JingYuan’s heart. He hurriedly knelt down by the bed and attempt to wake YiHan up with a few shoves.

“HanHan?” JingYuan called out. “Is it a nightmare? Wake up!”

In YiHan’s dreams, he was staring at JingYuan’s back as the other man gradually disappeared from his view as YiHan was stuck helpless. YiHan felt as though he was drowning in a deep, dark void of despair when he suddenly heard a panicked voice shouting into his ears.

“HanHan?” the voice shouted. “HanHan, wake up! Wake up!”

It was JingYuan! YiHan’s eyes snapped wide open to be greeted with JingYuan’s flushed face hovering above his. The dejection and sorrow YiHan felt in his dream surged to the front of his mind. YiHan threw his arms around the older man’s neck.

“JingYuan!” YiHan sobbed. “You’re back! You came back…Don’t go. Please. I beg you…”

The force of YiHan throwing himself at JingYuan nearly toppled the sick man. JingYuan swiftly sat up on the bed and wrapped YiHan in a similarly tight embrace.

“I’m not going anywhere,” JingYuan couldn’t help but say. “You’re here. Where can I go? HanHan, was it your dream? Don’t be scared. It’s just a dream, a lie. It’s fine. Don’t be scared. It’s all my fault. I shouted at you and force you to sleep alone.”

YiHan’s hands clutched at the back of JingYuan’s shirt. His mind was still drowning in the bits and pieces he remembered from his dream. His entire body was trembling. His shirt was soaked through with sweat. JingYuan felt as if he could die at the sight. Before he knew it, a hand raised to wipe the tears and sweat off YiHan’s face.

“Don’t cry, babe,” JingYuan softly cooed, his other hand gently patting YiHan on the back. “Don’t cry. Nothing in your dream is real.”

YiHan lifted his hands and stroked JingYuan’s face. “JingYuan,” he muttered, “I’m not a rock. You can warm me up.”

JingYuan’s mind sluggishly tried to comprehend YiHan’s words. “What did you say?” he mumbled back. “Who would dare say you’re a rock?”

As YiHan’s hands lingered over JingYuan’s face, he suddenly realised JingYuan’s temperature didn’t feel right. That thought dragged him out of his dreamy haze. He was wide awake now. He hurriedly touched his forehead against JingYuan’s. All he could feel was a broiling heat. JingYuan’s skin was boiling. YiHan shot to his feet and hopped for the phone on his bedside table. Then, he ran back to press JingYuan, who was staring at him in confusion, back onto the bed. Only then did YiHan turn his attention to the phone to call Dr Chen. As the phone rang, he stomped and paced in circles.

“JingYuan has a high fever!” YiHan barked into the phone the moment he heard someone answer the call. “It’s particularly bad! Hurry over! Wait, no! We’re at the Mu family home! Come to the Mu family home!”

YiHan hung up and threw the phone aside. Then, YiHan “pounced” on the bed. His hands fluttered all over JingYuan’s face and body. Every inch of skin he touched felt hot to the touch. YiHan was so distressed that he could cry.

“Why is it so bad all of a sudden?” YiHan repeatedly mumbled. “It just died off this morning…”

The younger man climbed out of the bed to search for the thermometer. After thoroughly sanitising the device, he shoved it in JingYuan’s mouth. He then hurried away to fetch some wet towels to wipe the man down in an attempt to lower JingYuan’s temperature.

“Why hasn’t Dr Chen arrived yet?” YiHan muttered as he fussed. “He should be here by now. Why isn’t he here yet? Is traffic bad?”

YiHan took the thermometer from JingYuan’s mouth and glanced at it. It was nearly 40 degrees Celsius. His hand shivered so hard that he nearly threw it away.

“Let’s not wait for Dr Chen,” YiHan said, turning back to JingYuan. “How about we head straight for the hospital?” As he said so, he turned away to look for a change for clothes.

JingYuan’s hand shot out and grabbed YiHan by the hand. “It’s fine, HanHan,” said the man. His eyes shimmered from the tears his eyes had produced in response to his fever. “I’ll be fine after taking some aspirin or something. We’ve been to the hospital before, haven’t we? They found nothing wrong with me anyway. If we go, they’ll only give me a saline IV drip and some pills. Dr Chen can do that.”

YiHan’s hand turned and held JingYuan’s hand in return. “Your fever wasn’t so high before,” YiHan said, his other hand reaching up to grasp at his hair. “Just why did it suddenly worsen?

We have to do a thorough check at the hospital. They have all the equipment we’d need there. Let’s hurry.”

“It’s fine,” JingYuan insisted, hand stubbornly pulling YiHan back. “I don’t want to move right now. I know my body. There’s nothing to worry about at all.”

“The heck you know that!” YiHan roared in fury. “You say you know your limits every time! In the end, you’ve been sick for weeks! There’s not an ounce of flesh on you anymore! You’re all skin and bones!”

“It’s not that bad…”

“Stop wasting time,” YiHan said, tugging his hand back. “Come with me!”

JingYuan pursed his lips. He said nothing but he didn’t let go either.

With how high JingYuan’s fever was, he was nearly out of strength. If YiHan really wanted to get away from JingYuan’s grip, there was no way JingYuan could stop him. However, that tiny flicker of hope had just been reignited in YiHan’s heart. Combined with the dream he just had and the red flush overtaking JingYuan’s face, how could YiHan bear to truly struggle away? How could he when JingYuan was so visibly unwilling to let go? YiHan couldn’t do it, so they were stuck in a stalemate.


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GC: Chapter 149

149. Massive Misunderstanding

YiHan wasn’t afraid of JingYuan at all. They’ve already broached the subject. There wasn’t anything to worry about anymore. At the thought of that nightmarish day, his eyes went red.
“Last time, when Dr Zhou came to give me a check-up, you were all hiding in the study room, talking about it. I left my room in search of you. I accidentally overheard what you guys were saying. JingYuan, how I’d wished my life had stopped that day. How I wish it’d stopped the moment I stepped out of my room so I would never have to know of your ‘cure’!”
JingYuan stepped forward to engulf YiHan in a hug. Heedless of the other’s struggle, JingYuan held tight and rumbled, “You must’ve only heard the start of our conversation, HanHan. You must trust me. My love for you has never been faked. I don’t know when it started but I’ve fallen in love with you. I fell in love with you long before my deal with XueQing, long before you dated Tao Qi. Do you know why I would agree to XueQing’s suggestion? Because I thought there was no way we’d be together, ever. It was just an engagement in name. What did it matter? HanHan, you can’t doubt me like this. Can’t you feel my affection for you?”
YiHan’s struggle proved fruitless. “JingYuan, look,” he sighed, all strength drained out of him. “It’s because you can say that without any hesitation or pressure that I’d believe what I overheard. I know you’ve doted on me the whole time we were growing up. I’m sick. You’re afraid I’d suddenly close my mind off and decide to end my life with one slash. You want me to hold beautiful hopes for life. You’ve worked too hard for my sake. JingYuan, I really don’t need all of that. I’m telling you, right here, right now. I won’t attempt suicide ever again. I will live a good life. Your mission is now complete. You can return to your ‘normal’ life!
“I never planned on speaking a word of this. I thought I could play along. This whole show will act out smoothly and I’ll soon ‘get better’. You’ll then step out of the show as planned and I can head to my little nest. Everyone will go their own way. How nice would that be? No one would find it awkward at all. Wouldn’t it be the greatest outcome for us all? Why, just as I take a step back, would you not step out of this situation? You’re clearly lying to me! Why must you press me to stay committed to this act? You’re talking of marriage again? Don’t you think it’s hilarious for you to mention it at this time?”
JingYuan was so angry that his dark spots in his vision had bloomed into a field. His arms tightened around YiHan as he said, “This is your secret? What is your ‘little nest’? That house? You want to hide in there all alone and leave me forever? Do you think I think of myself as a medicine to cure you? HanHan, I’m really not that heroic! If not because I love you and I want to be with you, how could I have agreed to this? Did you know how ecstatic I was on the night of the old Mr Yan’s birthday party? It was the happiest day of my life! I’ll admit. I am hiding something from you, but it’s absolutely not about my feelings for you! Yes, when your parents found out you were mentally ill, they wanted me to comfort you. But we had already gotten together by then. I didn’t say anything then. I was afraid they’d object to our relationship. It was just an opportunity for us to go along with it. I know now I was wrong. I shouldn’t have used such a method to gain their assent! If I’d just came out clean to them about our relationship, such a massive misunderstanding wouldn’t have happened!”
The long bout of fever JingYuan was going through had his strength waning out not long after the fight started. Soon, YiHan could struggle away out of the man’s embrace.
“A misunderstanding?” YiHan asked, head lowered as he took a step back. “JingYuan, I truly don’t dare to believe you anymore. My mind is not as smart as yours. There’s no way I can tell which of what you said is the truth and which is a lie. If you truly thought of me as a younger brother, if you truly love me, then stop lying to me. I only want the truth. I don’t want to live in a dream that’ll shatter in an instant.”
When YiHan shoved himself out of JingYuan’s embrace, the impact also pushed JingYuan backwards until he sat back down on the bed. The man sat there, head in his hands. He looked like a shrivelled shell of who he used to be
“YiHan, you don’t trust me,” said JingYuan, “With just a few incomplete sentences, you’ve declared all of my feelings for you false. Were all the moments we’d spent together worth nothing to you? Why do you have no faith in me? XueQing knows of my feelings too. Do you trust your sister? Or do you think everyone is working together to fool you?”
YiHan twisted his head to the side. “I know you’re all doing it for my sake. I’m not blaming you. There’s just no need for us to keep dragging both of us down to a halt in our lives. You should have your own life. You’ve done enough for me…”
JingYuan’s head snapped up. His eyes were bloodshot as he shouted, “Bai YiHan!”
YiHan was startled.
The other man swiped a hand across his face. It was now stuck in an emotionless state yet a tear slowly rolled down his cheek.
“I’m sorry,” JingYuan hoarsely rumbled. “I didn’t mean to shout at you. But you… I don’t understand. How can you so easily say you’d give up on me? I thought you loved me. While you might not love me as much as I do you, but i-it’s also love. Was I thinking too highly of myself?”
YiHan stared into JingYuan’s red eyes. The man’s face was pale and devoid of blood. His fingers were quivering. There was a tear streak on the face, something that should never appear on the man’s face. YiHan could feel his heart shattering from the pain of it all. This was the man he’d loved for two lifetimes. How could YiHan just let go of him? However, YiHan’s love was too strong and too deeply embedded in his being. He didn’t know what was the best choice for the man he loved. YiHan could play the fool to make JingYuan stay by his side. As long as he doesn’t “get better”, JingYuan would stay by his side. A day more with the man is better than nothing. Still, he didn’t want JingYuan to waste away the prime of his life. He didn’t want the man to sacrifice anything for him. He thought by setting the man free, only one of them would have to deal with the agony of being separated. But why was the other man in so much pain? Did he truly love YiHan?
YiHan’s breathing came out in harsh, rapid pants. His mouth opened and closed again and again but he never could muster the courage to voice the question. He ran his hands through his hair in frustration as he dashed out of the room.
JingYuan stared at the closed door. His mind blanked out as he sat there in silence for a while. Suddenly he shot up and swept everything on the headboard off. As the items crashed into the floor, his chest heaved up and down in quick succession. Dark spots grew once more in his vision. He stood still, body swaying, as his mind slowly whirred. He then picked up his phone off the floor and made a call.
“No matter the circumstances, do not let Little Master Bai leave the house,” JingYuan rasped into the phone. He then paused for a brief moment before adding on, “Remember, don’t frighten him. Also, anyone who dares lay a finger on him will be killed!”
The man then hung up. His figure slid down to the floor beside his bed as his head drooped down. He sat there, slouched and unmoving.
As for YiHan, he’d rushed about in the hallways in a panic from the moment he’d left JingYuan’s room. He returned to the room JingYuan had arranged for him. Pushing open the door revealed a room that made his heart race in distress once more. He hurriedly turned and dashed down the stairs, hoping to get some fresh air in the gardens outside. Every room in this house had signs of JingYuan’s presence. The aura threatened to engulf him.
However, the instant he reached the front doors, two men in black suits appeared out of thin air to block the door. They were two exceedingly large and muscular men with faces so strict and solemn that they looked like guardians of hell.
“Little Master Bai, please turn back,” one of the two men uttered in a deep and low voice.
“What’s the meaning of this?” YiHan shot back with a frown.
“Little Master Bai, please turn back,” the man repeated.
“Why?” YiHan’s hands were clenched into fists. “Is this JingYuan’s order? Does he want to imprison me?”
“Little Master Bai, please turn back,” the man robotically repeated.
YiHan took a step forward. The two men took a step backwards too.
“Little Master Bai, please turn back!” repeated the man once more. This time, his voice was lower and there was a hint of threat in it.
YiHan stopped. He stood there and stared into their eyes for a solid minute before his shoulders drooped and he turned to head back into the room he was assigned too. With a loud bang, the door was slammed shut behind him.
The two men at the door stood there in silence for a long while. Then, the man who’d spoken to YiHan gently patted the other man on the shoulder.
“Pan Wen, don’t be scared,” said the man in the same robotic voice he’d used with YiHan. “It’s fine now. He shouldn’t be back anytime soon.”
The other man immediately crumpled. He was caught by Wei Wu, the man beside him, who had been ready for Pan Wen’s reaction. Pan Wen leaned his head into Wei Wu’s shoulder.
“Waah, that was so scary!” meekly sobbed Pan Wen in a coarse, harsh voice. “He nearly walked right up to us!”
“I was scared too,” Wei Wu replied, voice still the same as before. “Thank goodness he didn’t continue pressing forward.”
“Aah,” Pan Wen continued sobbing, “Boss’s order is so tough! We can’t let him leave and we can’t touch him at all! Thankfully, Master Bai didn’t force his way through. If he insisted on leaving, what should we do? Do we hurt ourselves to scare him back?”
“The master said not to frighten him,” said Wei Wu.
“That means,” Pan Wen mewled, “we can’t even scare him off. We can only wait for death. Say, if he wants to leave again, do you think we can force him back by suddenly kneeling and begging?”
Wei Wu turned to Pan Wen and said, as monotone as ever, “You don’t need to do that. I’ll kneel.”
Pan Wen paused, shocked. He then slammed a punch into Wei Wu’s chest as his face blushed red.
“Oh, you’re so mean,” Pan Wen coyly responded. “You’re trying to sweet-talk me again…”
Wei Wu choked on his own breath from the impact of the other man’s “bashful” punch. He had to clear his throat a few times and let out a long exhale before he regained his normal, deep voice.
“It’s no sweet talk,” Wei Wu said. “I’m serious.”
Pan Wen leaned against Wei Wu with a face filled with bliss. “Alright,” he sweetly murmured. “I know what you mean. There’s no need to keep telling me. It’s quite embarrassing, you meanie~”
“Unfortunately,” Pan Wen continued with a sigh, “we’re on the job right now. We can’t go and do it. What a waste of a nice atmosphere.”
Wei Wu’s bronze skin was overtaken by a blush that made him glow. “T-T-Tonight, we’ll be changing shifts with Qin Ying and the others.”
“Oh, you beast,” Pan Wen demurely pouted, “you’re never satisfied. I feel like I’m being shattered to pieces with how you torment me.”
Wei Wu: “…”


YiHan threw himself onto the bed in his room. His hair was in a mess with how his hands kept ruffling and tugging at it. What was this? Imprisonment? Everything is out in the open now. Why did JingYuan still want to trap him in here?
YiHan wrecked all of the brain cells his tiny mind could gather to think hard about everything that had happened between him and JingYuan. The more he pondered, the more of a mess his thoughts were. He couldn’t even hash out a single clear train of thought. He desperately wanted to believe everything JingYuan had said but he was too scared of being disappointed again. It would push him off the cliff into the deep end of despair.
Hands wrapped around his head, he collapsed back on the bed.
“JingYuan,” he muttered, “JingYuan, why must you always give me hope? What if I truly believe you but you were fooling me once more? I would surely loathe you then.”


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GC: Chapter 148

148. Do You Still Love Me?

JingYuan looked at YiHan. The younger man didn’t look like he was feeling well.

“HanHan doesn’t need to go with me,” JingYuan hurriedly said. “Let him have a few days of rest.”

“You’re sick,” said FuRen. The tone in his voice brooked argument. “There’s no way we can let you go back alone. Anyway, HanHan’s worried about you. Even if he doesn’t go with you, he couldn’t rest easy. Why not let him follow you? He’d be much more at ease. If you’re really upset over his fatigue, then get better faster. Right. JingYuan, you still have a fever. You look very sickly. Go lie back down.”

JingYuan stood up and, with the help of YiHan’s support, wobbled his way up the stairs.

“Why did you say yes?” Ma asked in confusion. Her gaze followed the two young men’s figures as they ascended to their room. “There are more people here. It’d be much easier to take care of JingYuan. HanHan wouldn’t need to work so hard. When they’re back at JingYuan’s place, HanHan will be doing it all alone. How could he do it all by himself?”

FuRen sighed and replied, “XiaoRan, you must notice it too. There’s something off between them. I’ve noticed it before but it was all in the back of my head. Dr Zhou said HanHan was getting better and JingYuan said he truly loved HanHan, that he wanted to be married to HanHan. There was so much good news that I didn’t think anything bad about it. However, ever since JingYuan fell sick, the air between the two grew worse. Quarrels between lovers aren’t scary. What’s worth being afraid of is this kind of stiff awkwardness that doesn’t go away or intensify. JingYuan doesn’t have a weak body. If not for something in his mind weighing him down, this fever wouldn’t have dragged on for so long. Look at how JingYuan acted just now. He’s adamant on leaving. If he really left this home by himself, their relationship might turn sour. Why not let them both go? Without any outsiders, those two can fully focus on resolving whatever’s keeping them apart. They’re a couple. There’s nothing they can’t overcome. They just need to be honest and communicate.”

Ma sighed, “But HanHan, he…”

FuRen embraced her around the shoulders and said, “Don’t worry, dear. Do you not know how JingYuan treats HanHan? Even if they fight, the man won’t let our son suffer much.”

Ma nodded. “True. Ugh, these two kids make me worry so. Children really are a burden on their parents.”

FuRen gently patted her on the shoulder and softly said, “That’s why I chased them out. Let’s leave them to it! They’ll resolve this matter themselves!”

Ma couldn’t help but chuckle at that as she gave her husband the side-eye.

The night passed without another word spoken on the matter. On the next morning, Chen Hong rushed over the first thing he could. He hurriedly packed the two young men’s belongings into his car before waiting in the car.

JingYuan’s fever had died down that same morning. His forehead was still covered in a thin sheen of sweat as he walked down the stairs with YiHan’s hand firmly in his.

“Once you’re back home, remember to rest often,” Ma said, stepping up to the two as they walked off the stairwell. “Don’t worry too much about work. Rest well and take it easy. Only then can you get better faster.”

“Okay,” JingYuan replied with a smile. “Don’t worry, Aunt.”

Ma then turned to YiHan. As she gently smoothed out YiHan’s collar, she said, “HanHan, you’re an adult now. Don’t keep throwing childish temper tantrums. JingYuan’s still sick. You have to take good care of him and yourself. Don’t cave into your emotions.”

YiHan tugged his hand out of JingYuan’s to wrap his arms around his mother. “I know, Ma.”

JingYuan’s hand clenched around where warmth once was but he remained silent.

The couple then walked towards the car. Along the way, YiHan’s feet dragged across the ground as he kept sneaking glances back at his mother.

Beside him in the car, JingYuan whispered, “Do you not want to leave? I know. You’ve rarely left your home. You must not be used to it. Why don’t you stay? I’m fine going home by myself.”

YiHan turned to look at JingYuan. The man was as thin as a rake.

“It’s fine,” said YiHan, heart aching at the sight of his love. “I can’t stay there forever. I also can’t help but worry if you’re alone.”

JingYuan sighed. His fingers twitched as the urge to grab YiHan’s hand rose again, but his hands remained where they were. The journey to the Mu family home was spent in silence. The mansion was huge and very empty. Only a few servants were occupying the place. They kept the mansion clean. The entire place felt rather desolate.

JingYuan led YiHan to a room. “You’ll stay here for now,” he warmly said. “I’ve made a call last night. Everything in this room has been changed and refreshed according to your preference. What do you think? I’ll be staying next door. If you need anything, just call for me. You know Aunt Liu, the cook. If there’s anything you wish to eat, let her know. You’ve visited this place before. You should still remember where everything is. You must be tired, right? You didn’t sleep well last night and you woke up early this morning just to pack. You can take a nap first.”

YiHan didn’t step through the door JingYuan was holding open. The man turned around to look at the sickly man and asked, “Aren’t we sleeping together?”

JingYuan lifted a hand to ruffle YiHan’s hair and said, “How many times do I have to tell you? It’d be easier for me to pass this cold to you if we sleep together. Anyway, I’m always coughing at night. I’d be disturbing you. If you’re here alone, you can have a good night’s sleep. I’ve also had the servants work overnight to install a bell by your bed. It’s connected to my room. If there’s anything you need, use it to call for me.”

“Did you bring me here for a vacation?” YiHan asked. “What’s the difference between me staying home and staying here then?”

“HanHan,” JingYuan sighed, “listen to me. You look pale and you’ve grown thinner. You need proper rest.”

“I’m not a child!” YiHan huffed in frustration. “Listen? My face is pale because your fever just won’t go away. I’m worried! I’ll be fine once you are! If you sleep by yourself, who’d hand you water when you have a coughing fit?”

“It’s just a cup of water,” JingYuan calmly replied. “I can get it myself.”

“You can do anything by yourself, so what do you need me for?” YiHan questioned.

“I just can’t bear to see you suffer,” said JingYuan.

“And I can’t bear to see you sick,” YiHan said, pushing the man away from the room. “While you’re not bothered by coughing fits, hurry up and take a nap in your room. You didn’t sleep at all last night.”

JingYuan was shoved into his own room. Upon noticing the two’s entrance, Chen Hong swiftly finished packing away his boss’s belongings and stealthily left the room.

YiHan pushed JingYuan to sit on on the bed. He turned to search for a set of the older man’s sleepwear. He then brought the clothes back to JingYuan, intent on helping the sick man change into them.

JingYuan laid a hand over YiHan’s to stop the other’s movements. “I can change by myself. Go take a nap in your room.”

“I won’t. I’ll sleep here,” YiHan sulkily said. Having said that, he raised his hands once more to unbutton the other’s shirt.

JingYuan laid his hands over YiHan’s once more and sighed, “Behave, HanHan. Go on. I can change my clothes by myself.”

“There’s not a spot on you that I haven’t seen before,” YiHan pouted. “What’s there to be embarrassed about? Hurry up and get changed so you can sleep!”

YiHan then changed JingYuan out of his clothes and into his sleepwear. His actions brooked no arguments. YiHan didn’t spend an extra moment looking at the other’s body and his hands did their best to keep away from JingYuan’s skin. The change was swift.

“Now, sleep,” YiHan exhaled. “I’ll be playing with my phone on the couch.”

JingYuan reached out with a skinny arm and grabbed YiHan by the wrist. He had tried to hold the urge back but he failed.

“HanHan,” JingYuan blurted, “I don’t get it. Just what went wrong between the two of us? Why are we like this now? Can you tell me? If I did something to upset you, tell me. If you…you…If you’re regretting this, I…”

YiHan had been suppressing his emotions for a while now. The stress and JingYuan’s words made him burst out, “Can you stop thinking about all this rubbish all the time? How many times have I told you? It’s fine! I’m fine!”

JingYuan bitterly smiled. He’d already spoken up about it. Might as well just get to the core of the issue.

“Rubbish?” JingYuan softly said. “It’s been over a month. Your rejection of me is written all over your face. You wouldn’t be intimate with me. In this entire month, we’ve only done it once. You even… Every time I asked you, you said you’re fine. However, I can feel that you’re unhappy. You wouldn’t tell me anything though. We slowly drifted apart. Now, I’d have to think and hesitate for a long time before I even touch you. Before your family, we can maintain the facade. But once we’re in our room, you’d rarely even talk to me. Did you know, HanHan? I’ve thought about this for a long time. I wanted to much to force an answer out of you no matter the consequences. But I’m scared. I’m scared once I ask, we can’t even have this peaceful appearance. Until now, I’ve yet to muster the courage to even mention marriage again. We can’t keep going on like this. We can’t live out the rest of our lives distant from each other. HanHan, do you still want to live out the rest of your life with me?”

YiHan smacked himself hard on the head as he seethed, “JingYuan, you’re sick. Sick people love to think about all sorts of nonsense. Take a nap. Sleep well and recover soon. We can  talk about this once you’re all healed up, okay?”

JingYuan raised his voice. “Why are you always avoiding my question? You bought a place behind my back. What is your plan? HanHan, just what are you thinking? Must you torture me so? HanHan, do you still…love me?”

JingYuan’s continued questioning made YiHan’s will to suppress his anger crumble. “How dare you ask me! What about you? Do you have to courage to say you truly love me? I know you did a lot for me. I’m very grateful but I don’t want that kind of sacrifice anymore! I’m tired too!”

JingYuan was stunned. His grip around YiHan’s hand loosened. YiHan immediately tugged his wrist out of the other man’s hand, hard. JingYuan looked down at his empty palm.

“Just what do you mean?” JingYuan hoarsely shouted. “Why would you doubt my feelings for you? I love you! There’s no question about it. I can say that to you regardless of the time!”

YiHan had been beating himself up over letting his emotions overwhelm him to the point of letting his mouth slip. Upon hearing JingYuan talk back, YiHan decided to just let it all out.

“JingYuan,” YiHan said, “we’re already at this point. You don’t need to keep acting. I know you’re doing this for me but I’m fine now. I don’t need you, the ‘cure’, to save me!”

JingYuan shot to his feet. The sudden movement had his head spinning but he couldn’t be bothered to worry about it. Ignoring the dark spots blooming in his vision, he hurriedly stepped forward to YiHan.

“What are you babbling about?” yelped JingYuan.

“Babbling?” YiHan asked. “Mu JingYuan, do you have the guts to say everything we have right now isn’t all a lie? Of course, you all lied to me out of the kindness in your hearts. You want to save me, yeah? You’ve made a great ‘sacrifice’ in order to save me. You gave up on your engagement with my sister. You had to held in your disgust as you dated a man. You even had to act all lovey-dovey with me. You’ve gone to the extremes just for me. I know you’re good to me, but this ‘sacrifice’ is too much. It’s too heavy. It’s not something I can bear. Heh. You moan about how I won’t do it with you. Actually, what’s there for me to care about? I’ve done it with you plenty of times. What’s there to be prudish about? In our relationship, I am the one who has the upper hand. I am the one who has gained the most. I am being considerate here. I’m decreasing the burden so you don’t have to ‘sacrifice’ so much!”

JingYuan’s breaths were coming out in harsh pants now. His eyes were open wide as he roared, “Where did you hear all that? Who told you?”


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GC: Chapter 147

147. Moving Back

YiHan’s mouth opened and closed. He sadly rebuked, “Grandpa, you wouldn’t understand.” We can’t be true lovers. Everything has been a lie.

“I certainly don’t understand about what’s going on between you kids,” the old Mr Bai interrupted. “However, you should know just how JingYuan has treated you all this time. I can see it. He keeps trying to get close to you but you keep rejecting him. It’s just tragic. It hurts a lot. No matter how strong and powerful he is outside the house, the softest side of him has always been exposed to you. Every move you make, every word you say, they can hurt him. As a lover, you should protect the soft, weak part of him. You shouldn’t use your advantage to hurt him. Right? Mn. Of course, if he did something wrong and made my precious little one upset, he must be punished in some way or other!”

But JingYuan didn’t do anything wrong. Still, who should be blamed for their current situation? YiHan leaned his head against his grandfather’s shoulder. His head was a mess. When the agony that came from knowing the truth faded away and his heart slowly calmed, it wasn’t like he hadn’t doubted it. Those minuscule acts of love between JingYuan and him were too realistic. If JingYuan was merely pretending to be his lover, then the man had put in too much into his act. His actions, his gaze, those flirtatious lines filled to the brim with love and the passionate frenzy that occurred in their bed; were they all fake too? If the man only thought of him as a younger brother, how could the man act so natural while doing all those things?

When JingYuan spoke of their marriage, his eyes were glimmering bright like stars. When YiHan rejected him, he was as dejected as a big, fluffy dog that’d been abandoned by its owner. Did the man fake all those reactions?

YiHan could easily sway JingYuan’s focus, control his emotions. Was that something a “younger brother” can do? YiHan couldn’t resist thinking back to everything that had happened between them. He remembered clearly everything they’d done together, everything down to the most minute details. Every time he recalled those memories, he couldn’t help but think what he’d overheard that day was just a prank. Nevertheless, he knew what he heard was the truth. Ever since that day, his mother’s mood was noticeably brighter. She would be smiling day in, day out. His father was the same. Bai FuRen was visibly more carefree, more relaxed. YiHan knew it was all because he was going to be “better” soon.

Before, he was sent reeling in shock by the sudden arrival of a happy life that he completely gave up on his brain. It was never smart in the first place. When he found out about the truth, he’d spent several minutes going through his memories. Only then did he realise everything had been so easy that it felt deliberate. Now that he thought about it, those “happy times” that made him feel as if he was dreaming were probably all arranged for by his family. It was their “cure”.

The only person he couldn’t understand was JingYuan. His disappointment and bewilderment were too real. His overwhelming passion and love were too genuine. It was all so genuine that he couldn’t resist wanting to believe it. However, he didn’t dare. He was too afraid to trust it anymore. When he was freshly reborn, JingYuan’s attitude broke through all previous expectations. YiHan thought it was because he was a fool in his past life. He only looked at the surface and brushed past the one he loved in life. What he heard that day changed that perception once more. What he overheard cruelly told him the perfect love he had was just a lie, a trap. It was deception he couldn’t even get angry at.

JingYuan’s love for YiHan was as deep as the seas, so everyone said. But every time he heard that another knife stabbed into his heart. He wanted to believe in it. He didn’t have the courage to. If there’s no hope, there’ll be no disappointment. If he experienced disappointment once more, then he’d fall into a spiral of despair. Leaving everything awkwardly hanging in the air, unsaid, also made the both of them upset. He so dearly wished for an end to things between them. He didn’t care if that meant breaking up or getting married.

To be honest, he very much hoped what he overhead was just a misunderstanding. However, the chances of it being true were slim. It was so very slim that the tiny hope didn’t dare to shine bright or it’d be snuffed out. It was so slim that YiHan suppressed it and pushed it into the back of his mind.

“Give me some time,” YiHan faintly whispered to his grandfather. He was so lost and so tired. “Indeed, we can’t drag things on any longer.”

The old Mr Bai’s heart clenched hard at the sorrow he heard in YiHan’s voice. He gently patted YiHan’s back and replied, “Alright. Don’t be sad, my dearest. I won’t ask anymore. I’ll leave your matters to be resolved by you two. You’re an adult now, HanHan. You can take care of many issues by yourself. If there’s anything you don’t understand, you can come and ask me. Your grandmother and I have thrived together in happiness for years. I’m very experienced.”

YiHan wrapped his arms around his grandfather’s neck. “Okay.”

***

YiHan planned on having a discussion when JingYuan was fully recovered from his fever. He wanted to end it all quickly. Secretly, without telling anyone, he bought a place. He’d be moving out soon after everything. Perhaps he could ask someone to act with him to prove he’d fallen in love with someone else, just like what XueQing and JingYuan did when they broke off their engagement. He’d then move out with the excuse that he wanted some private time with his new partner. This was the best way to avoid letting anything slip as time went on. Everyone would be happy. No one would be troubled by it. However, XueQing’s love with TianYang was true whilst his would be fake. Even so, what did it matter as long as everyone was fine?

The plan, however, never really came to fruition anytime soon. Everyone said those who rarely get sick would suffer terribly when they do. Perhaps there was truth in that. JingYuan’s fever was so serious that the illness took as long to leave as someone unravelling a silk cocoon one strand at a time. After two whole weeks, the man was still sick. JingYuan grew as thin as a rake. His sensual collarbone now jutted out of his skin. It was a harsh sight to behold.

When it came to work, it was mostly done via Chen Hong. The man would send the important documents over to the Bai family home. Every day, JingYuan had to perk himself up for a video conference and ensure the company continued working as usual.

In the Bai family home.

“HanHan, is JingYuan still asleep?” Ma asked with a frown. She was lounging on the living room sofa with her husband and youngest son.

“Yes,” YiHan replied, a hand rising to massage his forehead. “He was coughing the whole night long. He only fell into a proper sleep at dawn. He’s still quite warm today.”

“We’ve been to all the major hospitals,” Ma sighed. “We’ve asked the family doctor to check on him again and again. JingYuan had his pills. He’d been injected with anti-inflammatory drugs. Why is he still not getting better? He’s going to wither into nothing but skin and bones soon.”

She then caressed her youngest son’s worried face. “You haven’t been sleeping well, have you? You’ve been taking care of him. Look at you. You’re also quite thin. Why don’t you go take a nap while he’s still asleep? If he wakes up, Aunt Yang and I can take care of him.”

“I’m fine,” said YiHan, smiling. “I’m not tired.”

“My son’s all grown up,” Ma lovingly chuckled. “He knows how to care for someone now.” Her gaze slowly wandered across the room and, upon sweeping by the staircase, froze. “JingYuan,” she exclaimed in surprise, “you’re up. How do you feel?”

JingYuan was standing on top of the stairwell. His face was a pasty white. His lips were equally as pale. He had put on his usual black collar shirt and black slacks before he left his room. That made him look even more sickly and thin. His slightly downcast eyes were staring straight at YiHan.

“I’m fine,” JingYuan replied to Ma, forcing a smile as he said so. “I’m much better now.”

“You say that every time. Are you hungry? Aunt Yang made some congee. Have a bowl,” Ma huffed.

JingYuan softly cleared his throat and slowly descended as he coarsely said, “It’s fine. I’m not hungry.”

FuRen who’d been keeping silent the entire time then frowned and spoke up, “Look at you. You’re sick. How can you not eat? How will you get better?”

YiHan rose to support JingYuan as the older man reached the bottom of the stairs. While JingYuan’s head was still drowsy from the fever, he still was conscious enough to not want to burden YiHan with his body weight. JingYuan merely used the chance to clamp down on the hand offered. The two walked back to the sofa YiHan had vacated. Even then, JingYuan wasn’t willing to let go. He kept a tight grip on YiHan’s hand and turned to FuRen.

“Maybe it’s because I just woke up,” said the man with a smile. “I truly don’t feel hungry at all. I’ll have some later.” The man had actually been awake for a while. He’d just been spacing out.

YiHan’s hand unwitting clenched around JingYuan’s.

The older man turned to him and asked, a happy little lilt in his voice, “What is it?”

“Nothing,” YiHan said, turning to look away.

JingYuan’s eyes lowered as he pursed his lips. He softly coughed and turned to YiHan’s parents. “Uncle, Aunt, I plan on moving back tomorrow.”

YiHan’s head shot back to look at JingYuan.

“Why do you want to move back all of a sudden?” Ma asked in shock. “There’ll only be you and your servants there. What are you going back for? Anyway, you’re sick. Who’d take care of you if you go?”

“I’m a big man,” said JingYuan with another smile. “It’s just a cold. I don’t need to be taken care of all the time. Anyway, I have a family doctor and some servants over there. They can check in on my once in a while.”

Ma glanced at the upset expression on her youngest son’s face and gently replied, “Everything’s going well here. What made you think of moving back and now of all times?”

“It’s not really easy for Chen Hong to come here every day,” said JingYuan. “It’s also a bother. If Anyway, I’m always coughing through the night. HanHan is a light sleeper and he’s so close to me all the time that I’m worried I’d pass the cold onto him. I’ve asked him to sleep in his own room for a good night’s sleep but he refused. I’m now too afraid to cough at night but I can’t even hold them in. He has been disturbed by my coughs so often that he’s so much thinner now. His body is frail. It can’t handle going through this any longer. I want to head home. Once I’m better and if…HanHan wishes for it, I’ll move back here.”

There was a moment of silence before FuRen suddenly asked, “Did you two fight?”

JingYuan reflexively tightened his grip around YiHan’s hand. He remained silent. He couldn’t say no.

“Of course not,” YiHan rebuked with a strained smile. “We’re fine. He didn’t discuss this with me either about wanting to move back.”

“There’s nothing strange about a couple fighting. Something has been off between you two lately. If JingYuan truly wants to move back home, YiHan can follow along to take care of him. JingYuan cannot go back alone. You’re both adults. We might be your elders but we can’t help you when it comes to relationships. You two communicate and resolve your issues,” said FuRen. “Alright, YiHan. You don’t need to explain anything. Your father’s not a fool.”


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GC: Chapter 146

146. He’s Sick

YiHan quietly panicked. He thought back to how he’d been behaving for the past 2 weeks. How could he say he didn’t do all that without the slightest urge for revenge? He deliberately refused JingYuan’s marriage proposal. The reason he gave was awkward and ridiculous. He intentionally avoided JingYuan’s touch and wouldn’t go to JingYuan’s office with the man. He could handle watching JingYuan get disappointed. He told himself he was going to set JingYuan free but the sight of JingYuan’s drooped shoulders sparked off some glee deep within his mean heart. Did fYiHan not love JingYuan as much as he thought he did?

JingYuan did all of this for him. While the man lied to him, the man sacrificed a lot too. What right did he have to “revenge”? He really was that selfish Bai YiHan from his last life. Even when he’d been taught lesson after lesson and was given a brand new chance, he was still unable to change his innate nature.

“HanHan, just what is it?” JingYuan worriedly asked upon not receiving an answer from YiHan. “Can you tell me? What happened? We can resolve it together.”

YiHan absolutely could not tell JingYuan. If he spoke up, everyone would feel awkward. Was there a need for that?

YiHan sighed and pushed JingYuan back down on the bed. He tucked the older man in and gently replied, “Nothing happened. Don’t think too deep into it. You’ve been standing outside for so long that the chill has set into your bones. I’ll pour you a cup of hot water. Once you finish the glass, rest up. Don’t catch a cold.”

YiHan got out of bed to get him a mug of hot water. As JingYuan watched YiHan walk back to the bed and stand by it, holding out the cup, all JingYuan could feel was a ball of frustration get stuck in his chest. It wouldn’t burst out of his mouth nor would it settle down. It felt so uncomfortable.

The older man finished the water in the mug and laid back into his pillow. His eyes slid close. The bed dipped slightly as YiHan climbed into bed too and laid down beside him.

“Sleep,” YiHan whispered, laying a hand against JingYuan’s forehead to check his temperature. “Don’t think of all that nonsense. You have work tomorrow.”

JingYuan’s eyes remained close as his hand shot up and grabbed YiHan’s retreating hand. He pulled it to rest on his chest, right above his heart. Not a word was spoken.

When YiHan woke up on the next morning, JingYuan, who was usually up by then, was still asleep. His brows were locked together. He didn’t seem to have slept well. Their linked hands were still placed on top of JingYuan’s heart, as they were when they fell asleep last night. YiHan sighed. How could the man have slept well with a weight pressing down on his heart?

YiHan tried to pull his hand out but JingYuan’s grip tightened instead. Helpless, YiHan could only lay back down in the same position as he woke up in. Time slowly ticked past but JingYuan showed no signs of waking up any time soon. The bed was also getting rather hot. It wasn’t early morning anymore. The Mu Group office building was rather far from the old Mr Bai’s house. Even if JingYuan woke up now, he’d still arrive late at the office.

YiHan gently shook the sleeping man. “JingYuan, wake up. It’s getting late.”

YiHan shook and shook but JingYuan remained asleep. YiHan’s heart sank. He shook JingYuan with all his might and shouted, “JingYuan, wake up!”

The man merely frowned harder. He still didn’t wake up.

YiHan couldn’t hold back any longer. He forcefully tugged his hand out of JingYuan’s grip and got up, wanting to call for some help. However, the moment YiHan pulled his hand away, JingYuan’s eyes shot open. They were bloodshot. The man’s hand hurriedly began groping around until he found YiHan’s wrist. When he had YiHan’s hand in his once more, the man let out a sigh of relief.

“What time is it?” JingYuan rasped.

YiHan placed a hand against JingYuan’s forehead. “JingYuan, you’re burning up!” he gasped. “I’ll go call for the doctor now.”

YiHan was about to leave the bed when JingYuan pulled him back. “No need to make a big fuss,” JingYuan hoarsely said. “I feel fine. I’ll be okay after I take some medicine for it.” He turned around to glance at the clock. “Ah. I’m late. This place is quite far from the office.”

“No way!” YiHan shouted in anger. “How could you act so nonchalant about your own health? Your forehead is as hot as can be. How can you go to work?”

“But there’s a lot of important things I have to attend to today,” JingYuan said.

YiHan didn’t have it in his heart to pull his hand away from JingYuan’s grip again. “When do you ever not have important arrangements? You still stayed at home day after day before we came here.”

“That was to be with you,” said JingYuan with a straight face. “How can it be the same?”

“What kind of logic is that?” YiHan glared at the man with wide eyes. “You being with me is just hanging out with me. There was nothing to be done but you took a day off just because you wanted to. You even told me, ‘I’ve paid for so many workers. I don’t need to do everything myself’. Now that you’re sick, you still want to go to work? Do you not know how to prioritise?”

“Of course I know what’s important and what’s not,” JingYuan said. His face blatantly told YiHan the man thought he was throwing a tantrum again. “This is not some serious fever. How can I delay work for it?”

YiHan was shocked at how unphased the man was. His voice couldn’t help but grow louder as he asked, “So hanging out with me is worth delaying work for?”

“Of course,” JingYuan glumly replied. “You still liked hanging out with me, fooling around with me, back then. Right. Do you want to go with me to the office today?” As he said so, the man pushed himself upright with a hand against the bed.

It was only then did JingYuan realise he’d been holding YiHan’s wrist hostage the entire time. He hurriedly checked it over. He only let it go when not a single bruise or mark was found.

JingYuan was about to put his slippers on and stand up from the bed when YiHan grabbed him by the back of his shirt. A tug from YiHan was enough to send JingYuan hurling back onto the bed. The man’s head was throbbing before his fall. After the fall, his head began spinning as his vision went black.

YiHan’s two hands held on tight to JingYuan’s scalding face as he darkly said, “Since my mood is so important to you, I’ll tell you right now that I’m not happy. I want you to stay at home with me.”

The spots in JingYuan’s eyes were dispersing as his brains slowly processed through YiHan’s words. Once the words clicked in his mind, his headache suddenly didn’t feel as bad as he thought.

“Okay,” JingYuan said, eyes gently gazing at YiHan. “I’ll stay home with you.”

The older man’s eyes were teary and hazy due to his fever. The sight made YiHan’s heart clench in agony. He couldn’t help but dip his head down, wanting to kiss the other. However, just as their lips were about to meet, he stopped. All of a sudden, an awkward silence dominated the room.

JingYuan smiled and poked YiHan, softly pushing the younger man away. “Don’t get so close to me. You might get sick too.”

YiHan’s hands clenched at the blanket. Then, he stood up and went downstairs to call for the family doctor using the house phone. He then headed back upstairs to help JingYuan lower his temperature via wet cloths. He was bustling to and fro until Dr Chen’s arrival. The doctor came and gave JingYuan some fever medication. He also hooked JingYuan up to an IV saline infusion. Perhaps the pain-relieving properties of the drug had sedative effects. The man also didn’t sleep well the night before. Soon after Dr Chen’s visit, JingYuan fell into a deep sleep once again.

YiHan dazedly stared at the saline solution in the IV drip before his eyes slowly turned to JingYuan’s face. A few moments later, he stepped forward and tucked the man in. He then left the room and headed downstairs.

Ma Bai spotted YiHan as he descended down the stairs. “How is JingYuan doing?” she worriedly asked.

“He only caught a cold,” YiHan replied. “It should be alright. He’s already asleep.”

“JingYuan’s body has always been a strong one, why did he fall sick out of the blue?” she sighed. “He was doing fine yesterday.”

YiHan pursed his lips and paused for a second before replying, “Perhaps after his shower last night, he got sick while enjoying the breeze.”

“Why was that child so careless?” Ma sighed again. “You too. Why didn’t you remind him? HanHan, love is a two-way street. It can’t just be him being concerned for you, him taking care of you. You have to care for him and worry for him too. No matter how strong one is to the outside world, he’ll always need a lover’s care.”

YiHan kept silent and nodded.

“HanHan’s an adult now,” the old Mr Bai said. “I’m sure he understands these concepts. There’s no need to go on about it. Those who should be heading back, go. HanHan will be staying to take care of JingYuan. Even if you guys stay here, you can’t help with anything.”

Once the rest of YiHan’s family had left the manor, the old Mr Bai patted the seat beside him and called out with a benevolent smile, “HanHan, come and sit beside Grandpa.”

The old Mr Bai then waited until YiHan sat down before asking him with a smile, eyes glancing up the stairs, “HanHan, tell me. Are you and JingYuan fighting?”

YiHan was stunned. “No,” he hurriedly said. “Why do you think that?”

“Your grandfather has been through all this before,” the old Mr Bai chuckled. “Ever since your arrival yesterday, I’ve been observing the couples in this family. Your brother and sister are doing alright with their partners, but you and JingYuan… Hm, how shall I say this? You look fine on the surface but you two…” He then pointed at his own eyes and laughed, “Your eyes never met even once. JingYuan was acting normal but I could see he wasn’t in a great mood. And then there’s you, my dearest little one. You weren’t happy either. I knew you two must’ve argued. Back when your grandmother was around, we acted the same way too. When everything was going fine, we were as sweet as honey to each other. When we’re angry, dark clouds would loom over our heads. I’m very familiar with such a situation.”

“Is it that,” YiHan stiffly asked, “obvious?”

The old Mr Bai gave another chuckle and patted YiHan on the hand. “Of course it’s obvious. You might look like a smart kid but you’re actually quite straightforward and frank. You don’t know how to act at all. Your parents are careless people. I won’t even speak of your brother. He’s just a walking plank of wood. He’s lucky Jiang Hua’s eyes weren’t that good. It’s the only reason he could get a boyfriend. Your sister’s an observant girl but her heart is now always hanging onto Chen TianYang. The only reason they didn’t notice was that each one of them was foolishly oblivious. Your grandfather might be getting on in age but my eyes are still fine. I could instantly tell you two were upset with each other. Right, little one?”

YiHan bit his lip and said nothing.

The old Mr Bai tilted his head as he looked at YiHan. “A couple can fight but they cannot wage a cold war. This would hurt your love and your bodies. Look at JingYuan. As your mother said, his health had always been the best. Why did he get sick so easily?”

The hands laying on YiHan’s knees balled up into fists.

“There’s a saying among traditional Chinese medicine practitioners,” the old Mr Bai continued. “The fire in one’s heart is the source of all illnesses. He’s feeling down on the inside. The pressure building up in his heart had been whirling in him. Just one little prod is enough to make him crumble. Last night’s ‘cold’ was that tiny push. JingYuan’s an adult. His parents passed away early. He’s much more mature than most kids. How could he not know to take care of himself? If not for his preoccupied mind, why would he run out and enjoy the breeze just after a shower? HanHan, no matter what arguments happen between you two, you can’t ignore your bodies. He’s sick now yet you’re the one who hurts most on the inside. Yes?”

The old Mr Bai paused and observed the emotions on YiHan’s face before saying, “Back when your grandmother was around, I’d be the one apologising first every time we fought. Think. How could someone be forever in the wrong? This is a compromise between a couple. Someone must take a step back and apologise before your happy lives can continue on. Your grandmother had an explosive and impulsive temper. She was also thin-skinned. I love her so what’s wrong with compromising a little? She knew I backed down as a compromise. Every time I did so, she’d treat me even better than before. Just as your mother said, love is a two-way street. As a man, isn’t it normal to compromise so your partner won’t be upset? It’s the same logic. HanHan, as you were growing up, it’d been JingYuan doting on you, loving you, letting you win. Now that you’re an adult, what’s wrong with backing down for once?”

Translator’s Notes:

Pain-relieving properties…sedative effects: The actual translation here is “perhaps there are sedative components to the drug”. However, that’s largely untrue for drugs used for fevers. The drowsiness is due to the pain relief properties (analgesic). Drugs prescribed for fever are rarely classified as “sedatives”.


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