When Li Shuyi left the hospital, it was already nine o’clock. He hadn’t rested much all day and was pissed off by Jin Yan, so even when he noticed that there were people from the Bai family following him, he couldn’t be bothered to get angry.
Actually, when he scolded Jin Yan for being an ungrateful brat, he was being quite unreasonable. Jin Yan was anything but ungrateful; he was clearly too grateful, which was why he remained so utterly devoted to Bai Hao.
Li Shuyi still remembered the first time he saw Jin Yan. That kid was hiding behind the garden, holding a chicken leg and gnawing on it with a mouth full of grease. At that moment, when he saw Li Shuyi, he was so startled that he didn’t even run away; he just stuffed the whole chicken leg into his mouth, almost needing to be sent to the hospital for rescue.
Li Shuyi had heard before that Bai Jing’s nephew, who had lost both his parents, had picked up a little beggar. However, he hadn’t paid much attention to it. It was only until he met Jin Yan that he found the kid rather amusing.
Bai Hao was only 13 years old at the time, and due to his unusual background, he had been raised outside the Bai family. He was quite scheming and not a likable child, while Jin Yan was a simple-minded fool, bouncing around like an excited little donkey all day.
Li Shuyi was busy dealing with people at the time, it was either him killing someone or someone else killing him. As a result, it was rare to come across someone as foolish as Jin Yan in real life. So, from time to time, he would playfully tease Jin Yan, scaring him off every time he saw him and making Jin Yan run for his life.
Later, when Bai Hao went abroad for studies and Jin Yan couldn’t go with him, Li Shuyi took him in and raised him for several years. Now that Bai Hao has returned, this little rascal still keeps finding opportunities to run to Bai Hao’s side. Sometimes, Li Shuyi can’t help but want to say some harsh words to wake him up. But thinking about it, he can only swallow back those words one by one. When it comes to matters of the heart, he of all people had no right to lecture Jin Yan.
Li Shuyi had been too lost in his thoughts, only snapping back to reality when he reached the first security checkpoint at the residence. This place was a gated estate villa developed by the Bai family, with strict security and high levels of privacy. There were only 10 families in the area they were in, and each villa came with a garden roughly four or five times the size of the building area. In the highly coveted real estate market of Jinhai City, this place was truly invaluable. When Li Shuyi helped the Bai family acquire this land back in the day, it had taken a tremendous amount of effort, and who knows how many people harbored deep resentment against him behind their backs for it.
As Li Shuyi parked the car in the garage and had just stepped out, the housekeeper, Uncle Wu, came out to greet him. Uncle Wu personally took the luggage from Li Shuyi’s hands and smiled warmly at him, saying, “Mr. Li, you’re back.”
Uncle Wu was a person Bai Jing’s grandfather left for Bai Jing. He watched Bai Jing grow up and took care of him in many ways. While he was referred to as the housekeeper, in reality, he was actually a very important elder. It was already quite late at this time, and the old housekeeper was getting on in years and should have rested long ago. Li Shuyi nodded in response to his words, “You go and rest, no need to worry about me.”
Uncle Wu remained smiling and welcomed him into the house, saying, “I’ve prepared some food for you. Would you like to have some before resting?”
Li Shuyi’s recent sleep and appetite have been poor. He hadn’t eaten much all day and has no appetite even now. However, he didn’t want to disappoint the old man’s kind gesture, so he nodded.
As he took off his coat and sat down at the dining table, he heard a noise at the door. Uncle Wu brought over a bowl of stomach-warming soup and smiled, saying, “It should be the young master returning.”
Li Shuyi let out an “Mn” and lifted the bowl, lowering his eyes and taking a sip of the soup without getting up to greet the person. He waited until the footsteps approached and eventually stopped in front of him. Only then did he set down the bowl and raise his head.
It had to be acknowledged that Bai Jing possessed an incredibly handsome face. A high nose bridge, thin lips, and facial features that seemed meticulously sculpted from the eyebrows to the chin. Even the faint scent of alcohol he carried only made him appear more lazily alluring. His appearance lacked the sharpness and cruelty that Li Shuyi had, but the aura of superiority in his every gesture and movement made him all the more captivating and unapproachable.
Li Shuyi had known Bai Jing for nearly twenty years, from their youth until now. He had thought that he had long since had his emotions under control, yet at this moment, he still found himself momentarily lost in him.
Perhaps due to some discomfort from the alcohol, Bai Jing had been massaging his temples since he sat down. Li Shuyi regained his composure and after watching him drink some hangover soup, he asked, “Should we call a doctor over?”
Bai Jing waved his hand, raised his head, and unbuttoned his cufflinks, saying, “Elder Wei came, I drank a bit too much today.” Elder Wei had once held significant power at the very top, and although he had retired, he still wielded considerable influence in various circles. That’s why Bai Jing had put in extra effort to attend to him today.
This name quickly flashed through Li Shuyi’s mind, connecting it to recently received news. His tone turned somewhat cold as he asked, “He wants to get involved in the project in the eastern part of the city?” The old city area in the eastern part of Jinhai City was set to develop a project that, once completed, will become a semi-central area of Jinhai City, integrating tourism and residential elements. It was the largest and most iconic project in Jinhai City in recent years, and Li Shuyi had been in charge of it.
Bai Jing shook his head and smiled, saying, “I brought it up, but he said that Wei family won’t be getting involved in this matter.” Since Elder Wei’s retirement, the Wei family had kept a low profile, and some people wanted to partner with them, but it was clear that the Wei family was not interested in getting involved in such murky waters.
Li Shuyi felt relieved and changed the topic, discussing the recent overseas collaboration they had just finalized. Bai Jing listened attentively, occasionally raising some questions.
Uncle Wu arranged the dishes for the two of them at the dining table and couldn’t help but sigh softly. After not seeing each other for over half a month, there were no hugs, kisses, no tender words, not even the usual polite inquiries. What should have been a pleasant dinner for a long-awaited reunion had turned into a business meeting once again.
They talked late into the night, and when Li Shuyi went to take a shower, he was incredibly tired. He didn’t even notice when the bathroom door opened. It wasn’t until Bai Jing came up from behind, encircling his waist and pulling him into his arms, that he finally realized.
Li Shuyi was covered in moisture from the shower, but Bai Jing didn’t seem to mind. He tightened his arms around him and furrowed his brows as he asked, “Why have you lost so much weight?”
Li Shuyi’s expression remained as cold as ever as he replied, “It’ll be fine after I nurture myself for a few days.” He was very close to Bai Jing, and he could feel a reaction from the person behind him as they spoke. Li Shuyi hesitated for a moment, then pulled away from Bai Jing’s grasp and turned around, about to kneel down.
Bai Jing sensed his intentions and grabbed his wrist, pulling him back up. Li Shuyi was puzzled, so he raised his head to meet Bai Jing’s eyes.
Bai Jing released Li Shuyi’s hand and wiped away the water droplets rolling down his face. His gaze briefly passed over the scars on Li Shuyi’s body from gunshot wounds. He let out a sigh and said, “No need, not today.” Without waiting for Li Shuyi to say anything further, he turned and walked away.
Li Shuyi watched as he walked away, and after a momentary daze, he turned to his indifferent expression.
When he came out of the shower, Bai Jing had already fallen asleep. Li Shuyi turned off the bedside lamp, and lay down, facing Bai Jing’s direction but with a significant gap between them. That’s how their relationship was – distant, and never confiding in each other. It was like a tight string that could snap at any moment. Bai Jing might not care at all, considering that if it weren’t for his deliberate interference, he would have already been engaged three years ago.
With these thoughts in mind, Li Shuyi chuckled at himself. His former psychologist had once said that his feelings for Bai Jing were somewhat pathological, but no matter how deep they dug or how much they tried to induce him, no one could get more out of his mouth. His defenses were too strong, and no matter how skilled a psychologist was, they couldn’t break through. However, Li Shuyi wasn’t overly concerned about it. He knew where the problem lay and was well aware that no one could save him. So, even though he knew that Bai Jing didn’t love him, he still went to great lengths to stay by his side.
Just like a dying withered tree, tightly grasping the last living nourishment.
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