40. Don’t forget I love you.
On a warm night in early summer, layers of heatwaves rose in the air.
After spending only half an hour at the piano, Yu Xinqiao whispered to Xu Yanhuan, “Let’s go back to our room,” because Yu Xinqiao was afraid of dirtying the piano.
Xu Yanhuan obviously wanted to stay, leaning close to Yu Xinqiao and saying, “Give me a reason.”
The hot breath brushed against Yu Xinqiao’s ear, and his sweaty neck trembled as his mouth unconsciously opened.
“I… I can’t take it anymore…” Yu Xinqiao pleaded with a teary voice, “I can’t handle it. Let’s go back to our room ah… please gege, okay?”
Afterward, when asked who taught him that term of address, Yu Xinqiao covered his face with a blanket and said, “I came up with it myself.”
Anyway, he was now eighteen years old, so it was perfectly reasonable to call the twenty-four-year-old Xu Yanhuan “gege.”
Xu Yanhuan didn’t quite believe it. “Then, at the bar, Boss Xiao…”
“She taught me another one.”
“Let me hear it.”
“I’ll save it for the next time I want to tempt you.”
In any case, both parties were very satisfied with the effect of this new term of address.
Before going to sleep, Xu Yanhuan coaxed Yu Xinqiao to call it a few more times. Yu Xinqiao was so sleepy that he yawned continuously and mumbled indistinctly until he suddenly opened his eyes, realizing something. “You, Why… again?”
Xu Yanhuan glanced at him as if to say, “Asking a question you already know the answer to.”
Yu Xinqiao began to believe that he really had been thinking for six years.
Finally, unable to resist exhaustion any longer, Yu Xinqiao fell asleep first.
Xu Yanhuan got up and took a shower.
Coming out of the bathroom without any signs of sleepiness, Xu Yanhuan returned to the bedroom, took a cigarette and lighter from the bedside table, and stood up, glancing at the person sleeping soundly on the bed before turning towards the balcony.
He flicked the lighter wheel, and the tobacco ignited, emitting a faint crackling sound quieter than the wind. The flickering flame turned into a red spot reflected in his eyes, and the sudden tranquility made Xu Yanhuan feel at a loss.
From now on, there was no need to be suspicious or cautious anymore, no need to remind each time they went out, “Don’t open the door for strangers” and “Be careful.” The days when they couldn’t completely relax even while sleeping were finally over.
It was only at this moment that Xu Yanhuan truly realized that Xu Zhen was dead.
To die means to disappear from this world, unless subjectively desired. The living can no longer be influenced by the dead.
He finally died.
Xu Yanhuan had hoped for this day countless times, but when it truly arrived, it wasn’t as joyful as he had imagined. Instead, it brought a sense of relief, like unburdening oneself. The tension that had built up over the years loosened, and he felt as if he had become lighter, almost floating.
Taking a drag on his cigarette and exhaling slowly, Xu Yanhuan watched the smoke dissipate and vanish in the air. Suddenly, he heard footsteps behind him.
It was Yu Xinqiao, who had just woken up from a nap, rubbing his eyes as he approached. “Why aren’t you sleeping yet?”
At one-thirty in the morning, the city had entered its slumber, with distant lights shimmering.
The two stood side by side on the balcony, enjoying the breeze. Yu Xinqiao squinted his eyes and caught a faint scent of tobacco. Out of the blue, he remembered something and turned his head to ask the person beside him, “I heard you saved the video of me playing in the competition. Do you still have it?”
Regarding the incident where Yu Xinqiao’s piano video was mistakenly played during a speech competition at school, Xu Yanhuan chuckled. “They got lucky.”
“They” referred to the audience in the hall.
Xu Yanhuan had also saved a copy of the video on his phone. He pulled it up and played it, and Yu Xinqiao watched with great interest, remarking, “I was already impressive at twenty-one.”
After finishing watching, he noticed another video in the video album. The cover was pitch black, making it impossible to discern its contents.
Yu Xinqiao was curious about everything related to Xu Yanhuan. With his permission, he opened the video, which lasted a little over a minute and was shot in portrait mode, unlike the videos recorded on their current phones. Perhaps due to the covert filming, the screen was full of noise, making it difficult to see clearly.
Xu Yanhuan held the cigarette in his mouth and skillfully adjusted the brightness to the maximum. As Yu Xinqiao looked closer, he realized that the screen showed himself.
It was his eighteen-year-old self, sitting in a dark room with no lights on, leaning by the window of the corridor, bathed in the soft glow of moonlight.
Yu Xinqiao was stunned for a moment before realizing, “Back then, were you secretly filming me?”
“It doesn’t count as secret filming,” Xu Yanhuan said. “You didn’t forbid me from filming.”
Yu Xinqiao fell silent for a moment before saying, “You’re really…”
“You’re so mysterious.”
For Yu Xinqiao, it was impossible to hide his feelings for someone. He would express it in words and actions, incorporating “I like you” into every moment and every breath.
On the other hand, Xu Yanhuan was the opposite extreme. He was adept at concealing his affections deep within his heart. Even if accidentally exposed, he could cover it up with an indifferent attitude.
Yu Xinqiao deeply admired Xu Yanhuan’s skill of hiding his feelings, and he suddenly had a whimsical thought. “If we were to meet again, and I had already married someone else, would you feel reluctant or… unable to accept it?”
Xu Yanhuan was momentarily taken aback, then turned his head to look at Yu Xinqiao.
There was a surge of hidden turmoil in his gaze, a dangerous look that Yu Xinqiao had never seen before.
Xu Yanhuan acknowledged that he inherited certain traits from Xu Zhen, such as selfishness, greed, and the capacity for ruthless madness when necessary. These “bad” qualities were ingrained in his genes, and even with Xu Zhen’s death, they couldn’t be completely eradicated.
He had once told Yu Xinqiao, “I’m not a good person.”
Cupping Yu Xinqiao’s face, Xu Yanhuan lowered his head and kissed his slightly parted lips.
Then, pressing his lips against the corner of Yu Xinqiao’s mouth, he gave him an answer, “Then I’ll snatch you away and marry you.”
Accompanied by a faint heartbeat, Yu Xinqiao realized that he had started to like the smell of tobacco. But the prerequisite was that the scent came from Xu Yanhuan.
Narrowing his eyes, Yu Xinqiao tilted his face upwards, breathing heavily as he asked, “What if I refuse?”
Xu Yanhuan chuckled, seemingly questioning the validity of this assumption.
However, he still provided an answer.
In the vast darkness of the night, Xu Yanhuan’s voice was as seductive as a charm, “In that case, I will become your ‘unresolved resentment’.”
Two days later, after receiving Xu Zhen’s ashes, Xu Yanhuan, with Bai Wei’s approval, casually found a place to bury them.
Another two days later, Yu Xinqiao rushed to the next stop of his concert tour, Fengcheng.
The repertoire remained the same as before, but this time, Yu Xinqiao had coordinated in advance with the organizers. From the moment he got off the train, he was escorted by bodyguards, and the media interviews were strictly controlled in terms of attendance, implementing a one-person-one-number registration system to ensure that no more accidents would occur.
After the concert, Yu Xinqiao met Liang Yi in the hotel lobby to discuss the itinerary for the upcoming schedule.
Liang Yi helped arrange a magazine cover shoot for Yu Xinqiao, as well as an interview for a talk show, both scheduled for next week. Once the shoots were completed, they would have to hurry to the next city for the tour. Looking at the jam-packed schedule, Yu Xinqiao felt as if he had found a taste of being a star.
After their discussion, the two got up and walked towards the direction of the elevator. From a distance, they saw Xu Yanhuan and Shen Da also chatting face to face. Yu Xinqiao waved and shouted, “Hey, old man!”
Shen Da also turned his head and happily ran over, bouncing along the way. “Xiao Qiao, you played amazingly today!”
Yu Xinqiao accepted the praise and exchanged a knowing look with Liang Yi that said, “I knew it.”
Liang Yi cleared his throat uneasily. “Didn’t I tell you to wait for me in the room?”
Shen Da looked somewhat wronged. “It’s so stuffy in the room, so I came out to find you. I didn’t expect to run into Xu-ge…”
Six years ago, Xu Yanhuan briefly served as Shen Da’s tutor. The shadow cast by the academic overachiever was enormous, to the point that Shen Da now felt Xu Yanhuan’s gaze on him was no different from looking at someone with intellectual disabilities.
Yu Xinqiao was taken aback by Shen Da’s behavior resembling that of a little wife. In the elevator, he secretly asked Liang Yi, “Who’s the dominant one between you and the old man?”
Liang Yi finally stopped insisting on being a straight man and whispered, “Look at his imposing presence. Do you think I can overpower him?”
Maybe there was a chance back in school, but now…
Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but wonder, “Did you two… start dating in high school?”
Liang Yi immediately raised his voice, “Absolutely not.”
Shen Daye turned his head upon hearing the voice, but was pushed back by Liang Yi in annoyance, who scolded him, “What are you looking at? Look ahead!”
Back in the capital, Shen Daye treated Yu Xinqiao and Xu Yanhuan to a meal. His main purpose was to thank Yu Xinqiao for playing matchmaker. Shen Daye’s exact words were, “When you gave each of us a yellow crystal, it was like a divine prophecy.”
Yu Xinqiao coincidentally played the role of a matchmaker and graciously accepted their toasts, displaying an air of authority as if he were an elder, urging them to support and help each other until old age.
The result was that he ended up getting drunk. From the underground parking lot to the doorstep, Yu Xinqiao practically clung to Xu Yanhuan, nuzzling against his shoulder and saying, “The crystal I polished for you… it’s even more beautiful than theirs.”
Xu Yanhuan responded with a simple “Hmm” and said, “I know.”
Yu Xinqiao pouted and said, “No, you don’t…”
After placing Yu Xinqiao on the sofa, Xu Yanhuan turned to pour some water but was pulled back by Yu Xinqiao. “Don’t leave, stay with me and sleep.”
Xu Yanhuan had no choice but to lie down next to him, on his side. He thought to himself that it was a good thing they had a large sofa.
Yu Xinqiao always felt sleepy after drinking. He yawned so much that tears welled up in his eyes. Not wanting Xu Yanhuan to see, he buried his head in his embrace, and changed the subject, saying, “You haven’t praised me today.”
Xu Yanhuan complimented him, saying, “Xiao Qiao, you were great today too.”
With his eyes closed, Yu Xinqiao chuckled and asked, “Is there… a reward?”
Xu Yanhuan also smiled and leaned closer to his ear, whispering, “Shall we find the Blue Moonlight together?”
In a short slumber, Yu Xinqiao actually had a dream.
It was a dream he often had before, with ringing telephones and sweaty hands clutching the receiver. The difference this time was that the number was dialed correctly on the first try, and it only rang twice before someone answered. The voice on the other end was familiar, deep and pleasant. He said, “Xiao Qiao, wake up, the moon is showing its backside.”
And so, Yu Xinqiao woke up.
It was 11 o’clock at night, and there was only a bedside lamp illuminating the bedroom. He picked up the glass on the bedside table and took a sip of water. Yu Xinqiao got out of bed slowly, put on his slippers, and walked outside.
There was no one in the dining room. The study across from it had its door slightly ajar, casting a narrow beam of light on the floor.
Pushing the door open, the first thing that caught his eye was the piano placed by the window. Remembering what Xu Yanhuan had done to him on this piano a few days ago, Yu Xinqiao blushed.
The desk against the wall had a desk lamp on, as if guiding him. Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but walk towards it.
Xu Yanhuan’s desk was cluttered with various things: pens, a computer, a glasses case, legal codes, and piles of documents, making it difficult to find anything.
The leftmost drawer was half-opened, and Yu Xinqiao walked around to close it but hesitated. He decided to pull it open instead, placing his hand on the edge of the drawer, and suddenly caught a glimpse of a faint blue light.
Yu Xinqiao had already forgotten what he had said to Xu Yanhuan before going to sleep. After a moment of hesitation, he decided to open the drawer and leaned over, peering inside.
The drawer was mostly empty, with an A4-sized transparent file bag placed on top, containing a jewelry box. Through the glass lid, he could clearly see a round and smooth stone lying inside.
With a grayish-white base color, no matter from which angle, it emitted a refracted blue light.
It was precisely the blue moonstone that Yu Xinqiao had spent countless efforts polishing, thinking he hadn’t been able to give it away.
He placed the stone in his palm, feeling its warmth before reluctantly putting it back. Yu Xinqiao exhaled a breath and suppressed the surging emotions in his heart. After the surprise, he was left with a sense of tranquility that smoothed over his regrets.
And underneath that box, at the top of the transparent file bag, several blue envelopes were particularly familiar.
Carefully pulling out the contents of the file bag, Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but complain when he confirmed that those envelopes were the love letters he had written to Xu Yanhuan back then – what a proud and stubborn man.
Weren’t they all thrown away? Look at these obvious signs of being read. Who knows how many times they’ve been looked at?
Yu Xinqiao remembered what he had written, so he didn’t open them. He set the envelopes aside and moved on to the next two documents.
One of them was a personal property certificate, detailing all the assets currently owned by Xu Yanhuan, including the funds and stocks he had invested in, as well as his average monthly salary for the past six months. The back even included calculations from authoritative institutions predicting his salary increase for the next fifteen years. According to these predictions, Xu Yanhuan would be able to clear all debts, including the mortgage, within the next ten years.
The word “prediction” was circled with a pen, and next to it was Xu Yanhuan’s handwritten note: conservative estimate, it will actually be faster.
Yu Xinqiao smiled knowingly.
The second document was a will.
Yu Xinqiao had seen his own will before, so he understood the format of a will and knew that it needed to be notarized to take effect.
What set Xu Yanhuan’s will apart from others was its simplicity. It contained only one line: “I voluntarily bequeath all my property to Yu Xinqiao.”
Below were his signature, the notary office seal, and the date.
Yu Xinqiao still remembered the farce caused by the will two months ago, and Xu Yanhuan must have had a plan back then.
He was suspected, falsely accused, but knew that defending himself would be futile. He could only use his actions to tell Yu Xinqiao, “I’m not with you for money, and I’m willing to give everything for you.”
As long as you’re willing to believe.
Feeling a twinge in his nose, Yu Xinqiao cursed himself in his heart for being so foolish back then, and also mocked Xu Yanhuan for not being smart enough. A simple “I like you” would have solved everything, but he insisted on proving it through various convoluted methods.
And the last item in that file bag was another envelope.
Different from the one he had just set aside, this one looked new, with a bright blue color untouched by wind and rain. He pulled out a thin sheet of letter paper from inside, and when he opened it, a faint fragrance of ink could be smelled.
Obviously, Xu Yanhuan wasn’t good at writing love letters because this letter had neither a heading nor a signature.
But it brought Yu Xinqiao even more shock than all the previous items combined.
Right in the center of the letter paper, written in Xu Yanhuan’s strong and forceful handwriting were the words:
“For the rest of our lives, don’t let resentment separate us.
And don’t forget, I love you.”
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.