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Chapter 11: A New Start


Was this what a real deep sleep felt like? You didn’t feel hot or cold, you didn’t feel happy or sad, you wouldn’t think of anything, and you couldn’t feel anything.

Then, there would always be that indistinct voice or a ray of sunlight that woke you up.

No one would be completely clear-headed when they just woke up. It was the same for me. I needed a certain amount of time to recall where I was and what I was doing.

“Hey, Xiao Heng, Xiao Heng!”

Who was being so persistent… 

I opened my eyes slowly. What came into view was a blinding white color. I was dazzled by it and ended up closing my eyes immediately.

“He’s really awake…” A cold and low voice sounded by my ear.

It’s familiar. It’s too familiar. Who might it be? Someone who always had such a sarcastic and smug tone.

“Xiao Heng. Xiao Heng. Wake up, stop sleeping.” He said as he nudged me again. I tried my best and opened my eyes once again.

I couldn’t help but squint my eyes due to the glaring lights.

Where was I?

“Stop acting dead. Get yourself together!” The voice sounded again.

After my eyes finally got used to the brightness, I turned my head towards the source of the voice. That person was handsome and elegant, and his face naturally carried a scornful look. It was indeed him.

“Fang Xieyi…” I called out softly. My throat was dry, so my voice sounded unclear. It didn’t feel like my own voice. I tried moving, but even my limbs didn’t feel like mine. I couldn’t control them well.

What’s going on… Where was I, and what was I doing…

“You’re actually awake.” He smiled at me. It was a sinister smile that revealed his snow-white teeth. He asked, “Do you know how long you have slept?” 

I was confused by his question. Right now, I didn’t even know whether I was on my own bed. What year and month was it? Was it morning or night? I knew nothing.

However, memories soon flooded my head like a storm. I have yet to understand what was going on, but my whole head was already filled with Luo Yuchen. Him grinding his teeth, his cold and solitary figure, his smile and look of despair.

“Luo Yuchen…”

Fang Xieyi’s face visibly darkened. He said, “You’re hopeless. Why is he still the first person you remember when you just woke up!”

“I… I’m still alive…” I suddenly gained awareness and remembered everything that had happened. The bone-chilling cold water was the only thing I felt after I cut my wrist, and it was also what I felt after I carried Luo Yuchen out of the water for the very last time.

I tried lifting my arm. It didn’t feel like mine. It was extremely stiff, but I still tried my best to move it. It was also very straining to move my body. I looked at my own hand and saw that it was flesh and blood. I tried to touch something. I could touch objects, and my hand brought them warmth.

I was really still alive?

There was a hideous scar on my left wrist.

It wasn’t there before.

I looked at it in a daze.

“That’s right. Though, I have a knife. Do you wish to try and die again?” Fang Xieyi said this with his usual cold voice, one that hit a person when they were down.

I still haven’t understood many things, but I didn’t wish to die anymore. So I shook my head.

I should be dead, and if I was unlucky, my soul might also have dissipated. Why was I suddenly alive now and lying on the bed with blood and flesh?

Was I dreaming? Don’t tell me that everything that had happened was all just a nightmare?

It seemed too realistic for a nightmare.

If it was just a nightmare, what’s with the ugly scar on my wrist.

The hug, pain, heartache, and despair I felt was so vivid. In the four months I spent with him, every day was so precious to the point of heartbreaking. How could it all be just my imagination?

That was why I should already be dead.

Hoping to receive an answer, I looked up at Fang Xieyi.

Seeing the confusion on my face, Fang Xieyi said coldly, “Today is the 3rd of May. It is the half-year anniversary of your suicide attempt and coma.

Suicide… Suicide attempt… 

My mind blanked out as if an explosion had occurred within.

Attempt. Attempt means that it wasn’t successful.

I tried commiting suicide, but I didn’t die.

Ha. I laughed.

Suicide attempt?

“Vegetative state?” As my head was still in a mess, only these two words came out as I pointed at myself while looking at Fang Xieyi. I was too shocked and agitated. My brain was not working as well as usual. I didn’t even know what I wished to express.

Nevertheless, Fang Xieyi probably understood. He sneered, “Not so advanced. It’s just that you almost died but didn’t manage to, yet you kept refusing to wake up.”

I slept for half a year, in which four months was spent by Luo Yuchen’s side. It was now the beginning of May, and the last time I left Luo Yuchen was April… 

Although the information wasn’t too complicated on their own, it made my head a mess when they came at me all at once. However, a thought suddenly flashed through my mind, and an explanation formed in my head.

I never died. I have been by Luo Yuchen’s side as a living spirit.

I wasn’t haunting as a dead spirit. Instead, I was having an out-of-body experience.

The reason why I slept for so long even though I didn’t die was because my soul ran off somewhere else.

My god.

Although I prayed to god, I never believed that people had “souls”.

I wasn’t aware that I became a spirit during the period I was with Luo Yuchen.

Now that I realized I was still alive, I was slightly creeped out. So it turned out that there really were ‘those kinds of things’ in the world, and I had once been “those kinds of things.”

Learning about a secret of the world that I wasn’t supposed to know made me uncomfortable. Some people may have been jealous of those masters that could communicate with “those kinds of things”, but I felt like it would be better off not having that kind of ability.

Therefore, I was a little perturbed despite surviving the disaster.

Of course, I soon started forgetting about the spirit issue, because I was now submerged in shock about the fact that I was “still alive”.

There were many people in the world who lived their lives not knowing what it was like to live after the disaster. It was the first time for me.

What was it like? I think it felt similar to a poor family suddenly winning the lottery with a prize of ten million dollars.

What was different, however, was the fact that winning money was nothing compared to gaining back a life.

I couldn’t believe such a miraculous thing happened. I really wanted to laugh out loud and thank heaven.

Heaven wouldn’t suddenly treat one so well. I was long aware of this fact. Right now, I only needed to ascertain one thing before I could laugh out loud and truly feel happy.

I held on to Fang Xieyi and asked, “How is Luo Yuchen?”

Fang Xieyi looked at me in anger and helplessness for my disappointing question.

“How is he?” Feeling anxious, I grabbed him and started shaking him as I asked.

“Not good.” replied Fang Xieyi.

I let go of him, feeling rest assured. “Not good” was two words that made me feel the most rest assured when it came out of Fang Xieyi’s mouth. If something happened to Luo Yuchen, Fang Xieyi would either lie to me saying that Luo Yuchen was doing very well, or tell me the cruel truth directly. He was this kind of person.

“Not good” meant that the worst had not happened.

“However… I think he has reflected…” Fang Xieyi added lightly.

I didn’t pay close attention to why Fang Xieyi’s hostility towards Luo Yuchen wasn’t as strong as before. I also didn’t think much about what he meant by “reflected.”

He didn’t have to tell me that Luo Yuchen had reflected for me to know. I have always been by Luo Yuchen’s side and saw his extreme changes when everyone thought I was in a coma.

To Fang Xieyi, I was still the Xiao Heng who tried to kill myself half a year ago due to being heartbroken. But he didn’t know that I have also learnt a lot during this half a year.

“I want to see Luo Yuchen.” I said.

Hearing my words, Fang Xieyi heaved out a sigh and tried his best not to turn mad. To him, I was probably someone who couldn’t be saved. I was so into Luo Yuchen that I looked for him immediately after I woke up despite the whole ordeal.

In my case however, I knew that I wanted to see him immediately.

I already let the chance slip once. I definitely couldn’t let it slip a second time.

I think we’ve already had enough of the pain of not being able to redeem after making mistakes.

Under my insistence, Fang Xieyi called Luo Yuchen. The call was short and simple. He only said “Xiao Heng woke up, are you coming or not” before hanging up. Actually, it was currently midnight. I shouldn’t be so stubborn, but I wanted to see Luo Yuchen. I thought he probably wanted to see me too. 

I wonder what the reunion would be like after all that we have experienced.

“Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu broke up.” Seeing my stubbornness, Fang Xieyi gave in and told me the events that happened. He leaned against the windowsill and said slowly, “I think he probably likes you.”

Then, he prepared himself to watch me act like the female lead of a soap opera.

Unfortunately for Fang Xieyi, he didn’t see the moved or overjoyed look that he had imagined on my unperturbed expression. On the other hand, I was very pleased. My calmness made him feel defeated, but I was happy to be able to see a rare defeated look on his face.

Fang Xieyi looked at me, the person who slept for half a year that suddenly became less expressive and predictable, and asked, “Don’t tell me you finally thought it through and wish to break up with him. That’s why you are calling him here so late at night?”

How was that possible? I rolled my eyes at Fang Xieyi. He looked at me strangely for a good while before saying, “Why do I feel like you have changed?”

Because… many things have happened in the past half-year.

When I watched everything as a bystander, I finally understood and came to accept everything.

I felt that I could finally make the correct decision on the path I was treading.

I didn’t manage to find my way back on the right track after being lost, but the Earth was round. After making a wrong turn, I walked a whole big and arduous circle and finally managed to reach the goal. It was something worth celebrating.

I was not sure whether everything that happened right now was just heaven’s mercy, another round of an evil joke or another important test. All I could do was to go along with my fate. But regardless of what was going to happen, I hoped that I could bring happiness to the person I loved this time.

I won’t break my promise again.

“I’m sorry.” I looked at my brother, a person who had a wicked tongue but still came to see me on such a late night and said sincerely, “Fang Xieyi, I have troubled you.”

I gave everyone trouble and made them sad.

I would apologize to Xiao Lu and Xia Mingxiu the next time I saw them.

I would apologize seriously.

“Forget it.” Visibly embarrassed, Fang Xieyi turned his head away and said, “You should apologize to Xiao Lu instead. He cried the most.”

“Since that’s the case, why did you tell him that I was dead?” Now that I remembered this, I felt depressed. At that time, Xiao Lu wasn’t joking around when he was going to fight Luo Yuchen.

Since Fang Xieyi already knew that I wasn’t dead, my former self who didn’t know about it couldn’t really be considered the culprit who caused so many people to be upset. Instead, it was Fang Xieyi who had always been unpredictable, sly, and evil.

“How did you know that I told him you were dead?” Fang Xieyi looked back at me and questioned my complaint.

“Why else would Xiao Lu cry?” My answer somewhat managed to toss the ball back. I couldn’t possibly say that I saw it for myself when I was floating by Luo Yuchen’s side could I? Who would believe it?

“The doctor said that the chances of you waking up is very low. If you keep on sleeping, isn’t that almost the same as being dead?” Fang Xieyi appeared righteous and open-minded. With a “this has nothing to do with me” stance, he quibbled, “And with you not wanting to wake up, who knows whether you will live or die in the end? If I give Xiao Lu and the rest a false hope and you end up dying, won’t they be even more upset?”

I became moody from hearing such an unreasonable explanation.

“In addition, I won’t let Luo Yuchen be happy even if you are not dead. If you are really dead, then all the more so for me to make sure that he and Xia Mingxiu won’t be happy for their entire lives.” Fang Xieyi revealed his two sharp tiger teeth as he smiled sinisterly like a vampire. Not only did Fang Xieyi not feel ashamed of his words, he even felt satisfied with himself. He earnestly added, “I’m doing this for you.”

He was actually acting like a protective brother that brought justice to his younger brother by punishing the heartbreaker.

I was rendered speechless by him.

“Then… is Xia Mingxiu okay?” I asked worriedly after much consideration.

We have hurt him too much.

Although he and Luo Yuchen had once done me wrong, it was now us who have hurt him.

Xia Mingxiu was a very sensitive person. He had noticed much earlier than any other person, including me and Luo Yuchen, that Luo Yuchen’s heart was gradually moving away from him.

This whole matter was unfair to him. Despite that, he often put in a good word for me. He silently stayed by Luo Yuchen’s side and quietly went from a lover back to a good friend. He never uttered a word of complaint, even his tears were hidden from Luo Yuchen.

I felt ashamed of myself after seeing his actions and his way of love.

He was indeed much, much more perfect than us. He deserved a better person’s love and cherishing.

I always thought that if I had the chance to restart, I would want to be friends with Xia Mingxiu. I wouldn’t let my ugly, jealous heart take control and push him away again.

He had long treated me as a friend and stretched out his hands. It was me who had been ignoring him all this while.

This time, I wished to be his friend. I wished that we could be very good friends.

“He should be fine… He has always been strong. And… “ Fang Xieyi thought for a moment and said a little unhappily, “There’s Xiao Lu.”

Fang Xieyi didn’t show much, but I knew that he was in fact unhappy. If it wasn’t for the fact that Xiao Lu was his good brother and that rabbits did not eat the grass around their burrows[1], Fang Xieyi would have already made his move on someone that fit his taste so much. Unfortunately for Fang Xieyi, his moment of kindness caused such a perfect spare tire to be snatched away. He could only sigh about it.

However, there was still a long way to go for the emotional and simple-minded Xiao Lu and the delicate and careful Xia Mingxiu.

I could only wish for their happiness quietly in my heart.

I also wished that the diamond bachelor standing by my side could find his happiness too.

But I was unable to imagine just who was able to match with this handsome, sly, elegant, and unpredictable older brother.

I had a feeling that his prey would be full of misery.

“Fang Xieyi, why do you treat me so well?” I suddenly felt like teasing my haughty brother.

Fang Xieyi was good at acting cool. Therefore, this type of mushy question was hard for him. He was caught off guard by my sudden question, and his face reddened as expected. He turned away and exclaimed in frustration, “You’re my younger brother!” 

“But we didn’t even meet each other until I turned 21. We didn’t even know each other existed. You could have chosen to ignore me. You also have a reason to hate me.”

I finally got the chance to ask the question I had been curious about.

I didn’t understand why Fang Xieyi pampered me so much and treated me so generously.

Because of my existence, he was no longer the only one. My existence broke his family apart and hurt his mother’s feelings. I deprived him of many things that should have belonged to him, and I caused a lot of messes that he had to clean up. Why did he still treat me so well?

“Because I’m very kind.” Fang Xieyi, the person who was always cold to the point he didn’t sympathize with a stray dog, raised his head and boasted without shame.

After saying so, he cleared his throat. He himself probably felt like what he said wasn’t convincing at all.

“I knew I had a younger brother ever since I was six. Although my mother had argued with my father about this countless times, I just thought that he was very, very cute when I first saw the photo.

My looks could actually be considered cute? For a moment, I started doubting Fang Xieyi’s aesthetic sense.

“Xiao Heng, how great would it be if you weren’t my brother?” Fang Xieyi looked at me suddenly. His eyes were bright, seemingly like a lake that reflected the sunlight. The whirling emotion within his eyes was startling.

I froze, not knowing what to do.

I never thought it would be like this. The reason for Fang Xieyi’s kindness, which didn’t have a bottom line, had always been an uncertainty that haunted me. However, I never expected that… 

“Hahahahahaha~~ You fell for it. You finally fell for it…” Fang Xieyi suddenly started laughing so much that he collapsed on my bed. Without any regard for his image, he pounded on the bed board and said while gasping for breath, “You? Seriously? So silly, you actually believed it…”

My face was full of black lines as I wondered whether the current Fang Xieyi was being possessed by Xiao Lu.

It had become his permanent habit to tease or dupe the people around him.

“Ai, you’re the type that is especially interesting to tease. The reason I can remain so happy whenever I see you is because you’re always making trouble and have a lot of gossip to talk about.” said Fang Xieyi with a smile, clearly showing his true nature which lacked sympathy and brotherly love.

But despite how much Fang Xieyi teased me, I still knew that his feelings towards me weren’t anything less.

I was not referring to the forbidden feelings he used to scare me. Instead, I was referring to the bond and love brought about due to us being blood related.

This type of love was the most selfless, familial love. 

The people who loved you may leave because you did something wrong. However, your family would still be willing to stay with you and protect you even if you made a mistake. 

We could truly call this kind of feeling “selfless love.”

I just realized that I have been selflessly loved by this person all this time.

He was my half brother, and he was also the most outstanding person amongst everybody I knew.

I have been unconsciously and impulsively hurting the people around me, and the hurt he received was definitely the most.

I might have treated Luo Yuchen very well for the past ten years, but I have also forced him to do many things.

For ten years, I received Fang Xieyi’s warmth and protection. Yet, he never asked for anything in return.

How could I feel that life had no meaning without Luo Yuchen?

I had Fang Xieyi, Xiao Lu, and many other friends. I had people who cared for me and cherished me, as well as people I cared for and cherished.

I was starting to understand Xia Mingxiu’s source of strength.

Back then, despite being terminally ill with little hope, he had parents who loved him, family members, Luo Yuchen, and my not-so-sincere self around him. We continuously gave him care and support that helped him overcome the great obstacle and allowed him to grab hold of fate.

Even if there were people who left afterwards or forgot, the courage and faith that was ingrained would still stay on.

This was the ray of sunlight that Xia Mingxiu was able to grab hold of and spread to everyone around him through his smiles.

As long as you looked around yourself, everyone would have someone by their side silently lighting a path to lead you into the right direction, no matter how dark the place you were in.

There would always be someone by your side quietly protecting you, despite the fact that he didn’t say or ask for anything.

We should know that we were not the only ones suffering or hurt.

It was the same for everyone.

Therefore, we could see the light and hope. We could gather our courage to walk on and push forth no matter what we faced.

I felt like I finally understood what it meant to be strong, because I realized that there was always someone around me.

I should stay strong for the people I loved and the people who loved me. I should have courage and hold the best wishes for this world.

I didn’t have to envy other people or feel jealous of their bright life.

Because, I knew that I would also be someone who carried the light of life. I would use my courage to bring warmth to the people around me.

“Fang Xieyi, I… will never do something silly again.” I lowered my head and sincerely admitted to my mistake.

“Hmph.” Fang Xieyi sneered, “It’s fine if you want to do it again. Next time, I will definitely help you as a friend and add in a few more cuts, lest you end up lying here in a fake vegetative state and waste my money.”

I looked at Fang Xieyi helplessly. It was so hard for me to create this atmosphere, why couldn’t this person say something nicer?

Forget it… 

There were some things that didn’t need to be said. It was enough as long as we understood it in our hearts.

It was enough as long as we understood.


Footnotes:

[1]Rabbits do not eat the grass around their burrows – Fang Xieyi didn’t want to snatch from his good friend. 


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