“Five more minutes of pursuit.”
“The arrow is on the bowstring, and it has to be released.
Just as they were passionately kissing, their clothes in disarray, Yu Xinqiao suddenly pushed Xu Yanhuan.
One push wasn’t enough, so Xu Yanhuan was pushed back further, his eyes filled with confusion amidst the lingering desire.
Yu Xinqiao’s lips were bitten red, and his eyes glistened with moisture. He hesitated, “We don’t have… you know.”
Xu Yanhuan didn’t understand, “You know what?”
Yu Xinqiao blushed with embarrassment, unable to speak it out loud, “That thing.”
After a moment of thought, Xu Yanhuan understood, “Oh, that thing.” He chuckled softly, “Are you in such a hurry?”
Yu Xinqiao was dumbfounded. So, you didn’t want to do that with me?
In the end, due to external circumstances, the activity did not proceed further. They helped each other solve the problem instead.
Afterward, Yu Xinqiao was covered in sweat and felt the need to take a shower, as his cleanliness obsession kicked in.
Just as he entered the shower room, he heard the bathroom door being pushed open, followed by the sliding glass door of the shower room.
When he came out, Yu Xinqiao had no strength left in his legs, trembling heavily. Xu Yanhuan had to carry him back to bed.
As soon as he lay down, Yu Xinqiao immediately pulled the blanket over himself, refusing to show his face.
But Xu Yanhuan insisted on pulling his head out, kissing his forehead, and saying, “You’ve worked hard.”
Yu Xinqiao’s ears, which had just cooled down, blushed again prominently.
In the following days, both of them were busy.
Xu Yanhuan was preparing the trial materials for the Xiaohai case. He heard that Xiaohai’s comatose father had awakened in the hospital, but suffered severe brain damage, causing paralysis and the inability to take care of himself. Yu Xinqiao asked, “Since the person is still alive, can Xiaohai’s charges be reduced?”
Xu Yanhuan gave an affirmative answer, but…
“Xiaohai’s family is in a difficult situation, and the living expenses are already a great burden for them.”
So, Yu Xinqiao contacted Liang Yi and helped raise donations for Xiaohai and his mother on the platform. He himself made a considerable donation.
Liang Yi shook his head and said, “Tsk tsk, he’s a lawyer, and you’re still doing charity work.”
“This is doing a good deed, consider it accumulating merit,” Yu Xinqiao said. “You’re also doing charity work, going home every day to cook for your grandfather.”
Liang Yi choked, “I’m already urging him to leave. I even reminded him to go back yesterday.”
“You don’t need to explain to me,” Yu Xinqiao shrugged. “At most, I’m just a matchmaker. I can tie the knot, but whether it holds or not depends on you two.”
“…” Liang Yi jumped up in anger. “Tie the knot? Bullshit! Laozi is a tough, straight guy!”
Yu Xinqiao shook his head upon hearing that.
The concert preparations were in the final stages. The thirteen tour cities were confirmed, starting from Xuncheng and ending in the capital.
Yu Xinqiao pondered, “The first show is scheduled in Xuncheng. It’s not because of me, right?”
Liang Yi snorted, “You’re overthinking. It was randomly arranged based on the venue’s available time slots.”
Yu Xinqiao asked the organizers to get a few tickets for the first show. When he returned home, he saw Xu Yanhuan standing on the balcony, making a phone call with a cigarette in his other hand.
Approaching closer, he faintly heard words like “released from prison” and “stay safe.” Xu Yanhuan noticed someone approaching, said, “Alright then,” and hung up the phone, waving at Yu Xinqiao.
Yu Xinqiao looked disgusted. “There’s a smell of smoke. I’m not coming over.”
When Xu Yanhuan extinguished the cigarette and the wind dispersed the smoke, Yu Xinqiao walked to the balcony, leaning on the railing with his hands. “Calling Aunt Bai Wei?”
Xu Yanhuan responded with a sound of agreement, “Mmm.”
Yu Xinqiao awkwardly took out a few tickets from his pocket. “On the 2nd of next month, the first show. If you and Aunt Bai have time, you can come and enjoy.”
Xu Yanhuan raised an eyebrow, “Aren’t you afraid I’ll fall asleep again?”
“Sleep if you want, I won’t be able to see it,” Yu Xinqiao said casually, but in his heart, he clearly didn’t think so. “When it gets reported in newspapers and magazines that ‘Yu Xinqiao’s first performance ends with the audience sleeping,’ the only one embarrassed will be me.”
With a smile, Xu Yanhuan took the tickets and said, “Then I’ll finish my work quickly, get a good sleep, and strive not to doze off by then.”
Yu Xinqiao’s lips curled up, thinking that’s about right.
Xiaohai’s case went to trial at the end of April. Due to the defendant being a minor, the trial was not open to the public.
On that day, Yu Xinqiao still went, hitching a ride with Xu Yanhuan. At the entrance, he met Xiaohai’s mother, who seemed much better than before. She expressed gratitude to Yu Xinqiao and said she had received a lot of donations. Once Xiaohai’s health improved, she would return to work diligently, and they would be able to get by.
Xiaohai’s mother even presented a banner to Xu Yanhuan and Yu Xinqiao, with the words “Integrity and Justice, Carving Merit.” Yu Xinqiao felt unworthy, but Xu Yanhuan asked him to hold it, so he had no choice but to embrace the rolled-up banner and sit on a chair in the courthouse’s resting area, waiting.
There was still some time before the trial began. Xu Yanhuan went to prepare in the back, while Yu Xinqiao boredly played with his phone. The girl sitting next to him suddenly spoke, “Excuse me, are you Mr. Yu Xinqiao?”
Yu Xinqiao was not accustomed to being called “Mr.” Being stopped by a stranger, he was initially surprised. “Do you know me?”
The girl, in her early twenties, held a stack of documents and had an obvious student aura. She looked at Yu Xinqiao with a kind of inexplicable reverence. “I’m an intern at Starlight Law Firm. I graduated from the same law school at the Capital University as Senior Xu. You can call me Xiao He.”
Yu Xinqiao understood that she was his junior.
“Although I can’t attend the trial today, I still want to be the first to know the verdict, so I came here under the guise of delivering documents,” He Xuemei said.
“Is this considered skipping class?” Yu Xinqiao chuckled and asked.
“I don’t think so,” He Xuemei shrugged. “At least Senior Xu knew I was coming.”
When asked how she knew him, He Xuemei had a playful look on her face. “Among the law students of our graduating class, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know you.”
She explained that Xu Yanhuan had always been a prominent figure in the Law School. Since his freshman year, he had been pursued by many, but he had rejected all of them, claiming that he already had someone he liked.
Upon hearing this, Yu Xinqiao let out a dry laugh. “He deceived you all.”
He Xuemei said, “We thought the same. Xu Senior doesn’t seem like the type to be interested in anyone. But then, during a department gathering, we played Truth or Dare, and when asked about the type of person he likes, Xu Senior gave a very specific answer.”
“…How specific?” Yu Xinqiao asked.
“He said he likes someone with fair skin, big eyes, a height of over 1.7 meters, good at English, and even better at playing the piano.”
“Later, when Xu Senior was about to graduate, the Law School held a speech competition. As an outstanding student representative, Xu Senior prepared a USB drive in advance and gave it to the staff. However, there were only two files on that USB drive. The staff accidentally opened a video of you participating in a piano competition abroad.”
“The Xiaosai competition?”
“I think so, but it was really amazing.” He Xuemei smiled. “The entire department watched it, and even those who couldn’t attend in person watched the broadcast. Since then, we all knew that the person Xu Senior likes is you, and no one has been clamoring to pursue him anymore.”
The trial lasted for a full four hours.
After the court adjourned, Yu Xinqiao learned the result of the first trial from Xu Yanhuan. The defendant, Shen Xiaohai, who had reached the age of sixteen, was deemed criminally responsible and was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for one year, for causing serious injury due to negligence.
Considering the extensive history of domestic violence suffered by Shen Xiaohai and his mother, Shen Xiaohai’s remorse and physical condition, as well as the influence of public opinion, He Xuemei also said that this was considered a very favorable outcome.
Shen Xiaohai’s mother was also relatively satisfied with the verdict and had no plans to appeal.
“Lawyer Xu said that if Shen Xiaohai doesn’t violate the rules during the probationary period, the sentence won’t be executed. I will take good care of him and ensure he recovers well, sincerely repenting.”
Before parting ways, there were heartfelt expressions of gratitude once again. After managing to politely decline Shen Xiaohai’s mother’s invitation to have a meal, Yu Xinqiao felt as if he had just finished a tough battle, taking a long breath in the car.
Originally planning to give He Xuemei a ride, she said she had plans with someone else and quickly disappeared. Xu Yanhuan happened to be free, so Yu Xinqiao asked if he was interested in watching a movie, to which he responded, “Sure.”
The two of them had lunch at a dumpling restaurant downstairs from the law firm and then headed directly to the nearby commercial street.
This street was a well-known bustling area in the capital, offering everything from food to clothing, housing, and entertainment. It was Yu Xinqiao’s first time here since losing his memory, and everything felt different. Even seeing a sign felt novel.
The movie theater, however, hadn’t changed much. It had undergone renovations and looked more modern, with two additional IMAX theaters.
They chose a blockbuster movie. Once seated, Yu Xinqiao happily held a drink in one hand and a bucket of popcorn in the other, while Xu Yanhuan wore 3D glasses and dozed off amidst the thunderous sound effects.
Knowing how hard he had been working lately, Yu Xinqiao not only didn’t wake him up but also reached out and turned his head, allowing him to lean on his shoulder and sleep.
After an hour and forty minutes, Xu Yanhuan gradually woke up, only to be greeted by Yu Xinqiao’s bright smile.
Yu Xinqiao moved his shoulder while handing over the popcorn bucket. “Can’t finish it. Help me.”
Xu Yanhuan took it, somewhat dazed, and lowered his head to find that there was still more than half left. “…”
They came out of the movie theater with plenty of time left, so they wandered around the surrounding area.
Yu Xinqiao hadn’t bought new clothes in a long time and couldn’t resist stepping into a trendy brand store.
Trying one item after another, he hesitated between two hoodies and asked for the opinion of his companion. Xu Yanhuan decisively said, “Buy both.”
Yu Xinqiao felt he was right. Even if he regained her memories, the 24-year-old Yu Xinqiao would definitely love shopping for clothes. He reached into his pocket to take out his phone for payment, but Xu Yanhuan was already one step ahead, taking out his card to pay.
Due to some lingering historical concerns, as they walked out with shopping bags in hand, Yu Xinqiao asked, “Didn’t you handle two unpaid cases in a row…”
“And you still have to pay the mortgage…”
“It’s not that you’re maxing out your credit card, right?”
Xu Yanhuan chuckled. “What if I am? Are you afraid I won’t be able to pay it back?”
“No.” Yu Xinqiao immediately denied it. “I was just asking.”
To reassure Yu Xinqiao, Xu Yanhuan told him about his income over the past six months and some investments he had made outside.
This left Yu Xinqiao stunned. “And the down payment for the house…”
“My mom, Uncle Wang, and Sister Lu helped me with that. I gave them IOUs, and I’m in the process of repaying them.”
“So, considering all that, you still have a lot of pressure.”
“In the field of law, salaries increase with experience. They will be higher and higher in the future.”
“Higher than mine?”
“… Not for now,” Xu Yanhuan replied.
“It’s okay. Our prime time as pianists is short-lived, unlike you guys who get better with time,” Yu Xinqiao comforted him. “In the face of difficulties, don’t always bear it alone. You still have me as your support.”
Xu Yanhuan was momentarily stunned.
Since he could remember, he had been accustomed to facing difficulties on his own, not wanting to burden anyone or even have his mother worry about him. But now someone was telling him, “You’re not alone, you have me.”
This feeling was truly peculiar. His heart felt like it was immersed in a warm spring, inexplicably soft. It was as if he had been in darkness for a long time and finally caught a glimpse of dawn.
Yu Xinqiao was not used to saying such “cheesy” words. After speaking, his cheeks started to blush, and he hurriedly changed the subject. “Hey, look over there! They sell ice cream!”
The commercial street was bustling with people, and the food stalls were particularly crowded. Xu Yanhuan asked Yu Xinqiao to sit on a bench while he stood in line.
Before leaving, he reminded Yu Xinqiao not to wander off and to wait for him here.
Yu Xinqiao nodded and promised, but couldn’t help but tease, “You’re so repetitive every time. You’re so verbose, as if I’m still a child.”
Xu Yanhuan left with peace of mind.
This shop was a famous internet sensation, but luckily, making ice cream was relatively simple, and the line moved quickly. In less than ten minutes, it was Xu Yanhuan’s turn.
He bought the most expensive and intricately designed ice cream in the shop for Yu Xinqiao, packed it up, and turned around. However, there was no trace of Yu Xinqiao near the bench.
In fact, Yu Xinqiao hadn’t gone far.
He was drawn to a girl who was walking several small dogs. He followed them to a nearby square by the hot springs and took out his phone to take pictures of the dogs.
The girl had brought the dogs for a photo shoot and was very welcoming to passersby who stopped to admire them. After getting permission, Yu Xinqiao even took a picture with two of the dogs. He was ecstatic when the dogs licked his face, thinking that fluffy dogs were the best and that he should teach his prickly hedgehog at home how to be affectionate like them.
After hugging the dogs, he returned the way he came. Not seeing anyone at the ice cream shop or near the bench, he looked around and spotted Xu Yanhuan talking to someone who looked like a police officer up ahead.
Jumping up and waving his hand through the crowd, Yu Xinqiao called out, “Xu Yanhuan!”
Xu Yanhuan turned back at the sound, and in that instant their eyes met, Yu Xinqiao saw his previously solemn expression instantly relax.
Pushing through the crowd, Xu Yanhuan walked briskly towards him. Yu Xinqiao saw the ice cream in Xu Yanhuan’s hand but before he could say anything, his arm was pulled forward forcefully, and he crashed into Xu Yanhuan’s embrace.
As Yu Xinqiao regained his senses, he quickly struggled to move backward. “Don’t… I just hugged a dog!”
Xu Yanhuan was most allergic to cat and dog fur. It not only caused rashes but also respiratory infections. However, even though he knew the consequences, he held onto Yu Xinqiao tightly, as if trying to merge him into his bones and blood.
“Where did you go?” Xu Yanhuan slightly bent over, his rapid breaths audible near Yu Xinqiao’s ear. “Didn’t I tell you not to wander?”
Yu Xinqiao was taken aback by his excessive reaction. He dared not speak loudly, fearing to scare him further. “I… I was just by the fountain over there, not far away.”
He couldn’t help but recall a similar incident when he was eighteen. On the way home from school, Yu Xinqiao deliberately hid in a side alley. Xu Yanhuan couldn’t hear his footsteps and turned back to find him. When Yu Xinqiao suddenly appeared, Xu Yanhuan’s face turned pale, and he sternly reprimanded Yu Xinqiao, telling him not to play such pranks.
Back then, Yu Xinqiao thought Xu Yanhuan was just overly rigid. Now he realized that Xu Yanhuan was simply afraid of losing him.
Thinking about what his junior sister said earlier in the morning, while his body ached from being tightly held, Yu Xinqiao mumbled in a daze, “Could it be that I was wrong? Did Xu Yanhuan’s feelings for me develop earlier than I imagined?”
He had thought that when Xu Yanhuan was eighteen, his feelings for Yu Xinqiao were at most a vague fondness. Being proposed to six years later was a fortunate coincidence, with both of them being single. It was worth trying to see if they could adapt to each other. He even thought that perhaps Xu Yanhuan hadn’t found a suitable marriage partner in all these years and ended up thinking that Yu Xinqiao was the best choice.
But the consecutive events forced him to overturn this idea. After all, the burning breath and the scorching embrace were all real, unable to be faked.
The two of them hugged tightly on the crowded street for a long time, so long that Yu Xinqiao began to worry about Xu Yanhuan’s condition. He lifted his hand and gently patted his back, telling him, “I’m right here, I won’t go anywhere.”
Gradually, their tightly clasped arms loosened, Xu Yanhuan regained his breath, took a step back, and looked at Yu Xinqiao with a rare hint of embarrassment in his eyes.
Before he could speak, Yu Xinqiao interjected, “I want to ask you two questions.”
Xu Yanhuan pressed his lips together. “Go ahead.”
“Am I the first person in this world to call you ‘baby’?”
Seemingly unexpected by this question, Xu Yanhuan paused for a moment and answered truthfully, “Yes.”
Yu Xinqiao continued, “Am I the first person in this world that you pursued?”
With almost no hesitation, Xu Yanhuan gave an affirmative response once again, “Yes.”
Yu Xinqiao unconditionally believed his words and then gave an instruction, “Then continue pursuing me.”
“Pursue me for another five minutes, and I’ll agree.”
Now it was Xu Yanhuan’s turn to be confused. “Five minutes?”
“Yes, it’s already quite long.” Yu Xinqiao said, “Honestly, I can’t even wait for five minutes.”
During his teenage years, Yu Xinqiao spent a lot of time waiting—for Xu Yanhuan’s acceptance and for Xu Yanhuan to reciprocate his feelings. He always thought that the distance between them narrowed because he kept running while Xu Yanhuan only needed to stand there and wait for him to come over.
Now he finally realized that when the night fell, when he was asleep, Xu Yanhuan had also walked alone in the darkness, groping his way towards him.
This relationship was never one-sided.
Confirming this matter was more inspiring to Yu Xinqiao than anything else.
He was so excited that his heart was pounding in his chest. He grabbed Xu Yanhuan’s arm and pulled him forward.
When asked where they were going, Yu Xinqiao turned around with a confident smile. Blushing, he leaned close to Xu Yanhuan’s ear and whispered with a breathy voice, “To buy condoms.”
After they finished their purchase, five minutes must have passed by now.
Upon hearing this explosive answer, Xu Yanhuan first paused in his footsteps, then withdrew his arm from Yu Xinqiao’s grasp.
Just as Yu Xinqiao thought he was about to make a hasty retreat, Xu Yanhuan grabbed his hand. It was the hand that he had wanted to hold when they were eighteen but didn’t dare.
Then he looked at him and smiled, saying, “Alright.”
Finally, he let out a loud sneeze.
Certified member of the IIO(International Introverts Organization), PhD holder in Overthinking and Ghosting, Spokesperson for BOBAH(Benefits of Being a Homebody), Founder of SFA(Salted Fish Association), Brand Ambassador for Couch Potato fall line Pajama set.