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Chapter 1: The Grief of the One Who Loses Their Way


I’ve always thought that there wouldn’t be any souls left behind when people died. Even if there was, they were probably there due to their deep obsession, strong resentment or their unwillingness to leave. They would ultimately become evil ghosts and roam the world.

Looking at it now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I’ve died.

I committed suicide by cutting my wrist.

When I died, I wasn’t obsessed with anything. I didn’t feel resentful and I wasn’t unwilling to leave.

I just felt that there was no more meaning in life.

When a person reaches a certain level of despair, dying isn’t a scary thing. The only thing I remembered was the ice cold water flowing over the wound on my wrist and the pool of water steadily turning from pink to bright red. Then, I slowly closed my eyes.

I’ve finally let everything go. I’ve finally let him go.

This time, I’m really letting you go.

From the bottom of my heart, I hope you find happiness.

I had never expected that I would still wake up. Of course, “waking up” is a meaningless word to me now. Perhaps, I should say that I’d never expected myself to see the light again. Everything was just a blur and I had no awareness. Now that I think about it, my body was very light, as if it was being dragged by something. I started floating about like a leaf and I found myself hung in the air. I didn’t feel warm or cold; I also didn’t feel pain or sadness. I just floated lightly and my surroundings were dark and quiet.

Then, there was a ray of light. Gradually, the light became brighter and I saw a nostalgic light.

The scene before me gradually became clearer.

I looked around me in a trance. It was an awfully familiar place. It was his and my home.

The flooring was made of redwood and there was a soft and large white sofa. The decorative floor lamp was emitting a dim and warm yellow light, lighting up his quiet sleeping face as usual.

I started admiring this sight almost instantly.

He liked to sleep on the soft sofa with the dim table lamp switched on and he had always tossed and turned when he was asleep. As for me, I liked to sit by his side, secretly watching him when he was deep asleep. I liked watching his chiseled, handsome face as well as the silver cross earring shining faintly.

“Hnn…” He turned over slightly. Seemingly feeling cold, his hand stretched out to find the intricate Indian blanket.

Due to his tosses and turns, the blanket had long fallen onto the floor. In the past, it was always me who secretly helped him with the blanket. However, I’m unable to do so now.

Unable to feel the blanket, he was forced awake. Similar to the times that I was caught peeping at him, my heart jumped like a thief that was caught. Nevertheless, his sight swept past me. He stretched out his hand and picked up the blanket on the floor.

He couldn’t see me.

When he stretched out his hand, his hand had went through me. However, both of us felt nothing.

It doesn’t matter. He had always treated me as though I was invisible even when he could see me. When he was still able to touch me, he had always tried his best not to.

I watched as he continued sleeping.

I should be shouting. I should be in hysteria. I should be grabbing god by the collar, shaking him and asking him what was going on.

However, I didn’t see god. I didn’t see the Black and White Impermanence. I didn’t see Hades. I didn’t see any legendary figure that could guide me.

I died, but I didn’t go to heaven or hell. I had ridiculously turned into a lonely ghost.

I’m even bounded to him. What’s the term for this? Earthbound spirit?

Something probably went wrong with the procedures. Maybe, my situation was like the story “Ghost”, where the gates to heaven opened behind me but I didn’t see it. Or perhaps, the Black and White Impermanence was busy today and accidentally left me here.

Or perhaps, I thought that I didn’t care but was actually full of obsession, resentment and unwillingness to leave him.

I don’t know.

When I started growing awareness, I was already floating by his side. Floating wasn’t a really accurate word to describe myself. Although my body was very light, my feet were still touching the ground, as if I was alive.

Naturally, he couldn’t see me. Neither did he knew of my existence. However, when he moved, I would be dragged along with him.

I made an approximation and the furthest I could go was a three-metre radius from him.

Actually, the first time I gained awareness was earlier. I suddenly realized that I was in a car and he was sitting at the rear seat with a tired face. I could tell that he had a fully scheduled day.

It’s so hard being a celebrity.

I stretched out my hand but was unable to touch him.

Then, I followed him back to this awfully familiar place.

The curtains were still the same. It was unseemly with yellow tassels and cute ducks printed on it. It was hung by me but it didn’t match the luxurious yet simple looking room in any way.

The arrangement of the room didn’t change much.

But in the photo frame above the table, it was no longer the picture of me sticking to him, looking at a sunflower dazedly. It had changed to him with the other person. In the picture, the bright and beautiful person was wearing a kitty apparel and smiling brightly. He was forced to wear a doggy apparel but still looked tall and handsome. Although his face was cold, there was still a trace of warmth that was hard to detect.

I already knew that this would happen but I still felt disheartened when I saw it.

The two of them were both famous celebrities. Not only did they love each other privately, but they were also an official pairing made by the company. They had many fans. Every day, a bunch of lovestruck fans would send their blessings on the official website and blogs. Just scrolling through it would make one’s eyes dazzled.

Every time I saw this scene, I always felt like jumping in and shouting, “In ten years, Luo Yuchen will be mine, Xiao Heng’s!”

Now that I think about it, I was just like the hated second female lead (villainess) in every novel. (Sorry, usually the second male lead is well liked but the second female lead is always asking to be hated). Like a trouble maker, I disrupted the love between a couple and got the bad ending that I deserved.

In the end, I got the ending of a villainess who hindered the main couple’s happiness.

I also realized that the huge and magnificent poster of him that I had insisted on sticking on the wall were removed by him.

I’ve no idea where he had thrown them too. Man, I’ve cherished them so much.

Nevermind, why am I still fussing about this now?

When he entered the bathroom, I could peep at him showering. I felt less despicable due to the three-metre radius boundary. Even though the glass was frosted, I could vaguely see his tall, beautiful, and well-built figure.

Even now, I still wished to look at him. Maybe I became his earthbound ghost because I’m too obsessed with him.

I thought that I could escape after I died.

I didn’t learn from my mistake. My heart was still with him even after I died.

Still, it’s not too bad. Because I’m dead, I wouldn’t be able to ask him for anything. My lowly self wouldn’t be able to force his high figure to satisfy myself. 

A soul doesn’t seem to need sleep.

Hence, whenever he sleeps, I would greedily look at him. Because I couldn’t touch or hug him, I could only greedily watch him but even so, I felt satisfied.

I’m truly beyond cure.

It has already been ten years.

I should be content.

I still remember our innocent days. We ran together on the green soccer fields and laughed together. We ambitiously said that we would enter the national team after winning the youth cup, that we would play soccer together forever.

His saying was: “Luo Yuchen was the best forward and Xiao Heng was the best goalkeeper.”

I still remember his young face brightly shining against the setting sun as he turned his head around.

He said: “With Xiao Heng behind me, I felt assured.”

Because of this sentence, I relentlessly practiced without him knowing, even when I was full of injuries.

At that time, he treated me as his best friend. Wearing the coat of ‘best friend’, I enjoyed his warmth. At that time, nothing happened and nothing changed.

That period of time was my most precious memory.

Unknowingly, the sky had already brightened. I was startled by the piercing ring of the alarm clock. When we were together, the alarm clock was never used because I liked to personally wake him up.

It was because I especially liked to see the dazed Luo Yuchen when he just woke up.

It was the only time he wouldn’t look at me so coldly.

In moments where he was dazed, he wouldn’t be angry with me.

He woke up and casually washed up. After changing his clothes, he went out.

He didn’t eat breakfast.

He was born with a weak stomach. In the past, I would prepare a glass of warm milk for him every morning. Even though he was always annoyed, he would still eat a little. But now… I couldn’t do anything at all.

To be honest, it was already unrelated to me.

I was brought into the car by him. Seeing his expressionless face, I started laughing at myself. I’m already dead. Why am I still worried about him? He didn’t even cared about my concerns when I was alive. I suddenly felt that I was very pathetic.

Therefore, I didn’t look at him. Turning my head away, I looked outside the car window. The dark glass reflected the side view of his face and didn’t have my reflection.

Damn it.

I could see my own hands and legs when I stood. However, I couldn’t see myself at all in the reflective items.

I couldn’t touch anything. It was either me who went through them or them that went through me.

I could speak but no one could hear me.

I’m basically abandoned by the world.

Forget it.

Reaching the studio, I got off the car along with him. I couldn’t help but feel perturbed as I entered the building with him. I had actually came here before. This entire building and company was once mine. I came to the studio to watch him both openly and secretly numerous times. However, I had always watched from afar.

Yet now, I could stand so closely to him and admire this celebrity’s magnificent figure.

Luo Yuchen was naturally handsome and attractive. His perfect body and exquisite skin wasn’t something that could be forced out using makeup and costumes. Nevertheless, he was still dragged into putting on a thick layer of makeup and a custom-made costume. After all preparations were complete, my sexy god glamorously appeared. He was gorgeous and brilliant.

The cameras moved in various angles and Luo Yuchen compliantly posed in various styles, be it mature or sexy. I saw all the workers beside me staring straight at him, unable to look away. Some of them didn’t even realized that they had dropped the item they were holding in their hands.

I had often hid myself in a dark corner and watched this sight. My heart would feel both sweet and sour.

Sweet – Because this person that everyone was looking at was mine.

Sour – Because lots and lots of people were looking at him and admiring him. Yet, his eyes were cold like ice with no one in his sight.

He rarely smiled and took all his photos with a cold expression.

Yet, many people loved his cold demeanor.

The only time he showed any trace of affection was when he took photos with Xia Mingxiu.

Perhaps, he might have smiled when the two of them were alone.

A long, long time ago, he was always smiling without worry.

It’s all my fault.

“Mr. Luo Yuchen…”

The photographer suddenly stopped and spoke.

Luo Yuchen didn’t move. Using his eyes, he signaled the person to continue speaking.

Sure enough, he’s a bigshot.

“Um… Could you please remove your earrings for a moment…”

I observed him. Indeed, the cross earring looked a little mismatching with the top quality Lu De Vici suit he was wearing.

If I was still alive, I would definitely laugh at Mr. Lu De Vici who was reputed as a chief designer the next time I see him. I would say: “Xiao[1] Lu, the earring you personally designed, which is one of its kind, did not match with the suit designed by your subordinate.”

Luo Yuchen gave the photographer a glance. The photographer was visibly uneasy. The people by the side were also sweating due to nervousness.

Of course they were. Luo Yuchen has debuted for five years and achieved tremendous success. He had numerous changes in style. The only thing that never changed was the silver cross earring on his left ear.

Many hosts in variety shows tried all that they could to sweet talk him, just to know the origin and story behind the earring.

Speaking about the earring, it was one of the few things I’m proud of in my life.

It was actually a gift to him from me during his eighteenth birthday.

It was probably the only decent looking one amongst all the gifts I gave him. After all, I specially looked for the world famous chief fashion designer, Lu De Vici, to custom-make this earring for him. Therefore, even the picky him still liked it after so long.

I was the one who forced him to never remove it. I forced him to wear it for almost ten years.

Now, it was no longer necessary to wear it.

Indeed, he removed the earring and randomly tossed it to one side onto the floor, just like how he was able to throw away all my efforts.

I’m already used to it. This day would come sooner or later. Although I saw it happening, it doesn’t count since I’m already dead.

Naturally, some small fry would quickly pick it up for him.

However, the person who picked it up had a long pair of legs and a perfect figure. When he stood back up, it was as if everything was in slow motion. He had golden hair and his exquisite facial features carried a helpless smile.

Xia Mingxiu.

As always, he was like a sun, shining brightly at life.

He was a perfect person that I was so jealous of when I was alive.

Now, I’m finally able to evaluate his appearance normally as an outsider.

“Mr. Xia Mingxiu is here too!”

Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu looked into each other’s eyes for a moment. It was just a moment, but I could see the warmth in Luo Yuchen’s eyes. One that I’ve never seen before.

Actually, I did see it before. I had seen it but it was never directed at me. Every time he and Xia Mingxiu took a photo together, he always had those eyes.

I knew that I had already lost thoroughly. I was fighting a losing battle which I had no chance of turning the tides.

It was all because my lover’s heart was never with me and my love rival was just too strong.

Xia Mingxiu’s current popularity did not lose to Luo Yuchen one bit. However, he wasn’t arrogant and he never acted like a bigshot. It may be due to the different paths they took. Luo Yuchen was purely a singer but Xia Mingxiu leaned towards being a movie actor. Luo Yuchen’s strong and domineering demeanor could be let loose on the stage. As for Xia Mingxiu, the gentle ‘boy next door’ image created for the screen caused many innocent teenage girls to be infatuated.

Now, the gentle ‘boy next door’ was currently quietly seated on a shabby stool by the side, watching the celebrity in a suit and tie continue with his work. In an instant, the walls in which paint was slightly peeling off became a gorgeous palace colonnade and the shabby stool became a throne. Xia Mingxiu sat there leisurely and looked as elegant as a prince. The smile on his face looked even brighter than his innocent smile when he sat on a flower stand and waited for the female lead in his most classic television drama he filmed.

Someone who was a million times better than me… 

I knew this since the beginning. However, it felt especially stronger today.

After Luo Yuchen finished his photoshoot for the Lu De Vici advertisement, he and Xia Mingxiu had to immediately head to another photoshoot for a Valentine’s Day chocolate advertisement. When they were heading to the next studio, I saw Xia Mingxiu who took the earring, wanting to return it to Luo Yuchen.

Luo Yuchen glanced at it indifferently before saying, “Throw it away.”

I felt a stab in my heart.

I thought that one wouldn’t feel pain after he died. It seems like it was all nonsense.

“What are you saying?” Xia Mingxiu glared at him and shoved the earring into his hand.

“It was a gift from Xiao Heng.” Luo Yuchen was still indifferent. However, he was looking at the silver object as if he was looking at garbage. Those were the eyes I feared the most. In an instant, I felt so ashamed.

But anyway, he didn’t know that I was here and he didn’t have to face me. This was great news for me.

“I know. You don’t have to show me your determination this way. It isn’t the item’s fault. It’s made of silver and it’s even branded. Quickly wear it.”

I was amazed. Even though I knew Xia Mingxiu was different from me, I didn’t expect him to be so broad-minded.

Maybe it was due to his lack of jealousy that he wouldn’t become uglier but would only become prettier.

After receiving the earring from Xia Mingxiu’s hand, Luo Yuchen threw it out of the window.

The company’s artificial lake that was raising swans was outside.

The silver colored earring formed a brilliant arc before sinking into the water.

It felt similar to pouring cash into the water. At least I got to experience wasting money like a rich person in the end. I guess this isn’t so bad.

“What are you doing!” I didn’t even flare up. Yet, Xia Mingxiu was raging.

“I feel disgusted seeing that thing!” Luo Yuchen said indifferently. Then he ignored Xia Mingxiu and walked away by himself.

Xia Mingxiu was left behind facing a bunch of staff.

I gloated immediately. So it wasn’t only me. If Xia Mingxiu angered Luo Yuchen, he would also receive such treatment.

Regrettably, I didn’t see a hurt expression on Xia Mingxiu’s face. He didn’t look dejected either. In the subsequent candy advertisement, he was still smiling brightly in the photos.

The background of the advertisement was a tiny house filled with pink balloons. Xia Mingxiu and Luo Yuchen were wearing a red bow tie similar to the one worn by Conan. Hugging the sweet candy jar, they looked so harmonious. Under the warm pink lighting, Xia Mingxiu’s pretty and delicate face looked as tender as a fruit. Unexpectedly, Luo Yuchen also looked a little cute.

When this is put up, the official website would probably be flooded with people commenting “these two cuties”.

They looked really, really compatible.

There was a distinctive difference between me, who was not so good looking, and this tender looking young man.

Actually, before I met Luo Yuchen, I had thought that I was considered “handsome”. After meeting him, I was quickly defeated. Then, I met Xia Mingxiu. Although I felt that I wasn’t as good looking as him, I was probably more manly and had more charm than him. But obviously, the hundreds of thousands of fans and Luo Yuchen didn’t think so.

If you compare yourself with others, you would only anger yourself.

He was done with this life..

After the photoshoot was over, the two of them had to rush off to film a public announcement. Since they were made an official pairing, they attended many programs together. Of course, Luo Yuchen’s bare ear today got the attention and the questions of the nosy female host. Throughout the whole event, Luo Yuchen’s face was black without caring about where he was. Xia Mingxiu did well as a “Mr. Good”, trying his best to improve the mood.

When night came, the two of them finally finished an entire day of work and walked together to the carpark. Xia Mingxiu opened the door to the front passenger seat of Luo Yuchen’s car and sat inside.

Well, this wasn’t unexpected. I had already moved out of our “home” for a few days.

Since I moved out, it’s normal that Xia Mingxiu would move in.

It was me who didn’t want to move away, strictly upholding to the principle: “old does not go, new does not come”.

Now that the side character was finally gone, it was the main character’s time to continue the story.

In any case, if the news of their cohabitation was leaked out, it would only make the fans more fanatic. This was a stark difference from me, who had to completely hide the fact that I was living with him.

It would be so distasteful to hear a celebrity cohabitating with the director of an entertainment company.

“Hey, I’m still not done regarding the matters of the earring.” Just when I thought I needed a moment to calm down and think, I heard Xia Mingxiu speak.

I saw Luo Yuchen’s face instantly darkened and thought that this was the warning sign that he was about to rage. At times like this, it was wise to stop talking.

“Why do you hate Xiao Heng so much?” Not batting an eye to it, Xia Mingxiu continued asking.

Xia Mingxiu was seemingly speaking up for me but I wouldn’t be responsible if he stirred up a hornet’s nest. Hence, I waited for the drama. I waited to see him getting scolded.

In the end, all Luo Yuchen did was coldly asking him to keep quiet. I could tell that Luo Yuchen used up all of his self-control to force out that sentence. 

If it was me, I would probably be beaten up for repeatedly asking him these taboo questions.

I was really pathetic when I was alive. Getting beaten by him seemed to be a habitual thing.

Sometimes, the injuries were so serious that I had to be admitted into the hospital.

Now that I think about it, the days that I was alive were much worse than now.

However, it seemed that Mr. Xia Mingxiu did not understand Luo Yuchen well enough. Not only did he not keep quiet, he continued speaking righteously, “Luo Yuchen, please have a proper talk with me. I know of the matters between the two of you. I know he was wrong to use improper means to keep you. However, he has already let you go. Can you at least not be hostile towards him?”

I was stunned when I heard him. Then I couldn’t help but laugh. Xiao Heng, you’re so pathetic. Even your love rival pities you. He didn’t mind angering that person just to speak up for you.

After laughing, I reflected.

I’ve long known that Xia Mingxiu was a good person. I’ve also known him for a long time. However, I was unable to treat him as a friend because of Luo Yuchen. He didn’t know the reason but he still tried his best to be my friend. He treated me with warmth and always tried to help me. However, I couldn’t accept him. He could help me with everything except the most important thing that I needed.

Was he able to give Luo Yuchen to me? He wasn’t.

Hence, I was jealous of him and hated him.

Surprisingly, Luo Yuchen kept quiet. Seeing his ever changing expression, I laughed again. Looks like the violent and prideful Luo Yuchen also had times where he had to admit defeat. I sighed. Xia Mingxiu and I were essentially at a different level. After offending Luo Yuchen, he could still stay seated at the front passenger seat unperturbed. If it was me, Luo Yuchen would have immediately driven me out of the car and I would have to pitifully walk home alone.

But now, he could only give a long sigh and continue driving.


Footnotes:

[1]Xiao – Xiao(小) here means ‘little’, usually used as endearment. Xiao Heng’s surname of Xiao(肖) is not the same Xiao.


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