41. Really your person
When Yu Xinqiao arrived on the balcony, Xu Yanhuan had finished smoking the last two cigarettes in the cigarette box.
Yu Xinqiao walked over quickly and almost threw herself into Xu Yanhuan’s arms. With a slightly awkward and blushing face, she said, “I haven’t forgotten either…”
Confirming that he had seen the things in the drawer, Xu Yanhuan smiled and said, “You said you would remember me for a lifetime.”
It was from the first love letter Yu Xinqiao wrote to Xu Yanhuan during high school, where she listed the reasons why Xu Yanhuan and she should date. Reason number two: Yu Xinqiao is a loyal and devoted good boy. If you date him, you will be his first love. He will remember you for a lifetime.
“Am I your first love then?” Yu Xinqiao asked.
Without hesitation, Xu Yanhuan replied, “Yes.”
“In these six years, haven’t you been in a relationship with anyone else?”
“I heard that many people pursued you in college.”
“Don’t you also have people pursuing you?”
“Hmm, maybe in those six years, I changed boyfriends like changing clothes. I don’t know how many I had.”
“Then I am also your first love.” Xu Yanhuan held the person in his arms tightly. “From now on, you can only have me.”
Yu Xinqiao rubbed her chin against his shoulder and said, “Alright, considering that you replied to my love letter, I won’t look for anyone else in the future.”
Although she hadn’t actually looked for anyone else before.
Later, Yu Xinqiao customized a crystal base for the blue moonstone and also had Xu Yanhuan’s letter to him preserved.
Huang He accompanied him. Whenever they entered a new environment, Mr. Huang could quickly grasp the surrounding situation. Even the most hidden corner shops couldn’t escape his surveillance.
Seeing how precious that piece of paper was to Yu Xinqiao, Huang He chuckled, trembling with laughter. “Could this be the only love letter you’ve ever received in your life?”
“Yeah, so what?” Yu Xinqiao retorted, not satisfied. “Boss Huang, have you received many?”
“Well, I’ve received a few.” Huang He shrugged. “I should have brought them along for preservation. They could be family heirlooms in the future.”
This time, it was said that Huang He strained his waist while moving goods, so Yu Xinqiao specially brought a fruit basket to his door to offer condolences.
In reality, it wasn’t serious. He could still walk and had the strength to joke around.
The fruit basket contained apples. When they returned to the shop, Huang He was itching to make baked apples and asked Yu Xinqiao if he remembered the taste from back then.
“I remember. It was the olive oil version of baked apples with baijiu. The taste was pretty good,” Yu Xinqiao said. “I also remember the stories you told me back then.”
Huang He laughed, “Your memory is good. Are you sure you’re not faking amnesia?”
Just as he was about to say something, he saw Huang He raise his head and look towards the door, his smile freezing.
Yu Xinqiao also turned her head and was surprised to see a familiar face, her eyes widening.
It was Lu Meng, who had heard about Huang He straining his waist and rushed over.
Meeting Yu Xinqiao, Lu Meng didn’t show any awkwardness and greeted him with a smile, “What a coincidence, Xiao Yu.”
Yu Xinqiao, like Xu Yanhuan, called her Lu Meng jie. After exchanging pleasantries, he voluntarily retreated to a corner, playing the piano while paying attention to the situation there.
Since they entered the room, those two hadn’t exchanged a single word.
Huang He sat at the table, supporting his waist as he worked on his baked apples, while Lu Meng put down her bag and busied herself with cleaning, wiping the table, sweeping the floor, and doing any tasks that needed to be done. Occasionally, she handed Huang He a spoon or took a fruit knife.
Their state resembled that of an old married couple who understood each other’s needs without the need for words.
It seems that Lu Meng often comes here.
As for the reason, combined with the story Huang He told about the boy and girl back then, Yu Xinqiao had a clear understanding.
Childhood sweethearts, they entered university together. The girl was unwilling to live an ordinary life and became a mistress to a prominent figure in the industry for the sake of her future, while the boy remained “widowed” until now.
Once the story turned into reality, it had a similar fable-like warning effect.
Yu Xinqiao began to understand the intention behind Huang He telling him this story and also understood the specific meaning of Lu Meng’s words from last time, “I don’t want to see him repeat my mistakes.”
The greatest regret in life is continuously regretting past regrets. Once certain grievances arise, they may never be erased.
Today, Yu Xinqiao took a taxi to come here, and Xu Yanhuan happened to come to pick him up after work.
Behind Huang He’s shop, there was a small kitchen. Lu Meng bought groceries to cook, and when they left, she invited them to have a meal here.
“No, thanks,” Xu Yanhuan politely declined. “We have other plans for tonight.”
Sitting in the car, Yu Xinqiao said, “So you already knew about the relationship between Huang He and Lu Mengjie.”
“Not for long. It’s been almost a year since Huang He moved to the capital, and that’s when I found out.”
At that time, the situation was similar to now. Xu Yanhuan helped Huang He move the piano during his spare time and happened to meet Lu Meng.
Later, under Xu Yanhuan’s repeated “interrogation,” Huang He admitted that the reason Lu Meng went to Xuncheng to provide legal assistance to them back then was because Huang He wrote her a letter, asking if she was willing to help them, mother and son.
Yu Xinqiao suddenly realized that Huang He was the behind-the-scenes benefactor.
“Does that mean Huang He also studied law?”
“Yes,” Xu Yanhuan said, “but he didn’t work in the field after graduating.”
Instead, he opened a shop in Xuncheng and started selling second-hand pianos.
“It seems like he did it to heal his emotional wounds,” Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but sigh. “It’s a pity. Huang He is so kind; he would have been a great lawyer.”
As for Lu Meng, Yu Xinqiao asked if she was still with that prominent figure. Xu Yanhuan replied, “They have already broken up. It happened around the time when Lu Mengjie started her own law firm.”
It was said that the separation was not easy. Lu Meng accompanied him for ten years, exhausting her youth, thinking they could part ways amicably. However, the prominent figure refused to let go and created several difficulties for her in the industry when she first started her business.
It was during this time that Huang He moved back to the capital and kept a close eye on Lu Meng’s personal safety.
Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but sigh again, “No wonder he didn’t want us to know that he was helping behind the scenes.”
Although one cannot hide the truth, any relationship that remains entangled cannot escape the judgment and gossip of others.
Regarding this, Yu Xinqiao and Xu Yanhuan shared the same attitude—they did not express their opinions and did not take sides.
“Who doesn’t have a dark past?” Yu Xinqiao shrugged, imitating Huang He. “They know what they’re doing.”
After all, the answers lie within themselves, and others have no right to interfere.
By the time the concert tour was halfway through, Yu Xinqiao had gained some fame in China.
Numerous invitations for various activities kept pouring in. Often, as soon as he landed, he would be picked up by a car, either for a recording or a cover shoot. He was so busy that he hardly had time to rest.
However, Yu Xinqiao did not forget his true calling and set a strict rule for himself—no engagements unrelated to music. There was a reality show invitation before, and after he and Liang Yi counted the zeros behind the appearance fee several times, he sadly declined.
Even so, Yu Xinqiao’s current schedule was already overwhelming.
In mid-July, there was a cocktail party organized by an orchestra. Yu Xinqiao didn’t like social occasions, but he had no reason to refuse.
He had intended to ask Xu Yanhuan to accompany him, but that day happened to be the sixth anniversary of Xingchen Law Firm’s establishment, and they had a dinner gathering there, so Yu Xinqiao had to attend alone.
At the entrance, he signed his name on the sign-in board. The greeter was the conductor of the orchestra, who had taken care of Yu Xinqiao during several previous performances.
As they walked inside together, a man in a suit approached and struck up a conversation. Yu Xinqiao took a closer look—it was Xie Ming’an.
Ten minutes later, the conductor left for some urgent matter, and Yu Xinqiao held a glass of wine, chatting with Xie Ming’an.
In the past few months, they had only occasionally contacted each other through WeChat, and now that they met in person, they found themselves at a loss for words.
They made small talk about the industry for a while when Xie Ming’an suddenly said, “By the way, I haven’t congratulated you on your marriage. Happy belated wedding.”
“We got married last year, so it’s not that new anymore,” Yu Xinqiao replied.
Xie Ming’an sighed dejectedly, “It seems like I really don’t have a chance.”
Yu Xinqiao was most afraid of him bringing this up. “…You’re still young, and you’ll meet someone better in the future.”
Only later did he remember that Xie Ming’an was two years younger than him and in the prime of his life.
“Thanks for your kind words,” Xie Ming’an took a sip of his drink. “But I heard that lawyers in China are busy, earn little money, and are prone to baldness and premature ejaculation. If you regret your choice, feel free to come to me anytime.”
“…” Yu Xinqiao was speechless for a moment. “Thank you for your concern, but I never regret my choices.”
At the end of the event, Xu Yanhuan was waiting at the entrance.
Yu Xinqiao hurriedly walked up, but Xie Ming’an followed along.
Having had a few drinks, Xie Ming’an seemed genuinely discontented and introduced himself to Xu Yanhuan again, emphasizing that he had known Yu Xinqiao for six years and—
“Aren’t you already married?” When they shook hands, Xie Ming’an smiled somewhat teasingly. “Why don’t you even have a ring?”
The car ride home was silent.
Yu Xinqiao couldn’t stand the “calm before the storm” atmosphere and reached out to turn on the car’s FM radio.
A classic love song was playing, with a melancholic male voice singing—
The gentle man is like the ocean, love hidden at crucial moments, while heartache gathers with an open chest, becoming the moonlight that watches from afar, not a wall that obstructs you.
Such a terrifying song, better turn it off quickly.
Yu Xinqiao stole a glance at Xu Yanhuan’s cold and indifferent profile, pursing his lips, and sweat formed in Yu Xinqiao’s palms.
When they arrived home, Xu Yanhuan went to the study, and Yu Xinqiao went back to the room to change into comfortable clothes. Then, he tiptoed his way to the study.
Stopping at the doorway, he stuck half of his head inside to take a look. Xu Yanhuan was sitting at the desk, wiping his glasses. He looked up when he heard the sound and gave Yu Xinqiao a gaze devoid of any particular emotion, as if saying, “Come here.”
Yu Xinqiao obediently went over and sat on Xu Yanhuan’s lap.
He took off the glasses from Xu Yanhuan’s hand again, and Yu Xinqiao wrapped his arms around Xu Yanhuan’s shoulders. Leaning in, he kissed his slightly pursed lips and then brushed against his prominent Adam’s apple as he negotiated with him, “In the future, unbutton one more button on your shirts, so I can still kiss your collarbone…”
The response he received was a hand embracing his waist and a torrential kiss.
Amongst them, there was an imperceptible anger. Yu Xinqiao knew that Xu Yanhuan was angry, so he deliberately took the initiative. And Xu Yanhuan knew it was a trap, but once he compromised, he would no longer have the opportunity to interrogate him. Nevertheless, Xu Yanhuan threw caution to the wind and jumped in.
Who let Yu Xinqiao know him like the back of his hand, making it effortlessly skillful to deceive him.
After the kiss, Xu Yanhuan held Yu Xinqiao in one hand and opened a drawer with the other.
When he took out a ring box hidden deep in the drawer, he accidentally let Yu Xinqiao see a thick dictionary inside.
Yu Xinqiao smiled, “What else are you hiding? Why not take everything out at once?”
Xu Yanhuan pushed away his hand and closed the dictionary, saying, “It’s stained with blood. I’m afraid you’ll find it disgusting.”
This reminded Yu Xinqiao of the first time he went to Xu Yanhuan’s house when Xu Yanhuan also took the dictionary away and refused to show it to him. Although the reasons were different back then, Xu Yanhuan was afraid that Yu Xinqiao would discover his feelings.
But Yu Xinqiao said, “I’m not disgusted.”
He reached out to flip through the dictionary, gently touching the dried bloodstains on the concert tickets. He had a vague feeling that each dried and solidified trace was proof that Xu Yanhuan had loved him six years ago.
Yu Xinqiao leaned against Xu Yanhuan and whispered softly, “I haven’t had the chance to say this, but I love everything about you.”
Similar words resurfaced in the night.
At the crucial moment, Yu Xinqiao clung to Xu Yanhuan, asking him to do it inside, reasoning that it was his belonging.
No man could resist such an invitation.
Xu Yanhuan’s eyes were filled with pure fascination and a desire so intense it could devour a person, with no need to hide anymore.
And Yu Xinqiao willingly indulged in this deep sea.
Everything proceeded smoothly according to Yu Xinqiao’s plan.
Although in the middle, Yu Xinqiao was once caught off guard. Xu Yanhuan raised the ring, wearing a somewhat sinister expression as he asked, “Why don’t you want to wear it?”
Yu Xinqiao reached out to grab it but couldn’t reach, and he said in a hesitant voice, “Give it to me…”
Xu Yanhuan remained unmoved, a stark contrast to his lower half, and said, “Answer me first.”
Yu Xinqiao had no choice but to resort to delaying tactics. With teary eyes, he pretended to be innocent and said, “Brother, did you forget? I’m only eighteen now, right?”
Later in the evening, Yu Xinqiao looked at the platinum ring on his ring finger and asked the person beside him, “These rings must be quite expensive, right?”
It was the custom-made ring Xu Yanhuan ordered when they got married last year, with their initials engraved on the ring band.
After trying it on at that time, they put the rings back. Yu Xinqiao wasn’t accustomed to wearing a ring while playing the piano, so when Xu Yanhuan saw him not wearing it, he put his own ring away as well.
“Not expensive,” Xu Yanhuan said, “Just needed it urgently at that time, so I paid a rush fee.”
Rush fees usually mean doubling the price, and Yu Xinqiao turned his head and asked, “What were you in a rush for?”
“I was afraid you would run away.”
“Do you think a ring can trap me?”
Xu Yanhuan glanced at his hand wearing the ring and said, “Isn’t it trapping you now?”
Yu Xinqiao burst into laughter.
After taking a short break, Yu Xinqiao opened the notes on his phone and said, “Now that we’re both wearing the rings, let’s set some ground rules.”
He claimed it was based on the principles of fairness, justice, and transparency, but in reality, it was Yu Xinqiao making demands.
“First, quit smoking for the sake of our health.”
“Second, it’s okay to get jealous, but don’t sulk.”
“Third, from now on, no matter what happens, whether it’s good or bad, you have to tell me and not keep it from me.”
“Mhm… I’ll try my best.”
Yu Xinqiao frowned, “I don’t like the phrase ‘try my best,’ it doesn’t sound reassuring.”
In order to ease his concerns, Xu Yanhuan reluctantly changed his wording, “Okay, I won’t keep it from you.”
After setting the rules, Yu Xinqiao felt relieved and wanted to eat an apple.
While Xu Yanhuan went to the kitchen, Yu Xinqiao turned on the projector in the room and randomly chose a movie as background sound.
It was still early, so he ate his apple while glancing at the plot. It was about a female protagonist suffering from short-term memory loss, her memories stuck on the day before a car accident. Every day she woke up, she didn’t recognize the male lead, even though they had been married for many years.
There was a strange sense of resonance between the movie and reality. Yu Xinqiao asked Xu Yanhuan, “What if I recover my memory and forget everything that happened during this time? What would we do?”
Although it was a hypothetical question, it wasn’t entirely without possibility, considering how melodramatic relationships were portrayed in TV dramas.
Xu Yanhuan pondered for a moment and said, “Then I’ll pursue you all over again.”
Considering all that had happened since the car accident earlier this year, Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but feel apprehensive. “You’re not tired of it?”
“It’s not considered tiring,” Xu Yanhuan said.
Compared to the efforts Yu Xinqiao had put in when pursuing him six years ago, making him pursue a few more times wouldn’t be a big deal.
Yu Xinqiao was quite satisfied with Xu Yanhuan’s response.
He forked a piece of apple and brought it to Xu Yanhuan’s lips, announcing, “Congratulations, you don’t have to pursue me again.”
“I’ve already remembered everything.”
The story Boss Huang told is in Chapter 37 of the flashback.
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.