Chapter 7: Wings of a Butterfly
There wasn’t anything like a mini shrine at home, so Xia Mingxiu wrapped the protective talismans with a good quality scarf and kept them in the cabinet.
Today, at this very moment, I could no longer say that he was faking his kindness. I finally understood Xia Mingxiu for the first time.
He clearly cried secretly, but still smiled when facing the heartless Luo Yuchen. Like a good friend, he helped Luo Yuchen without saying anything for himself.
It felt like everything had reversed. I became the Xia Mingxiu from ten years ago, and he became the me from ten years ago.
In the past, Luo Yuchen and I were worried about him. Now, he and Luo Yuchen were worried about me.
It didn’t matter how sincere his ‘worry’ was. Whether it stemmed from giving Luo Yuchen face or truly from the bottom of his heart, he kept it inside and couldn’t utter even a single complaint.
I couldn’t help but think. When I was by Luo Yuchen’ side, he only had Xia Mingxiu in his eyes. Now that Xia Mingxiu was by his side, he was thinking of me.
What were Xia Mingxiu and I? His white and red rose?
Did the mosquito blood on the wall become a cinnabar mole on his heart? And did the unattainable light before his bed become a grain of rice stuck on his shirt?
He was simply finding trouble on purpose.
The people by Luo Yuchen’s side would only be hurt by what he did.
I was no longer around, and Xia Mingxiu was such a good person. Luo Yuchen should cherish him.
For the people by his side, Xia Mingxiu always did well as an actor. Being kind was Xia Mingxiu’s nature. He was never like Luo Yuchen, who was unable to smile for a photo for the whole day if his mood was terrible. Xia Mingxiu always thought of others, be it in front of the screen or on the hospital bed. When he had to smile even though he wanted to cry, he would still smile brightly.
In the end, he went down the same wrong road as me. He acted strong in front of Luo Yuchen but was hurt. However, I felt that he was definitely stronger than me. He should be able to obtain what he wanted in the end.
I hope that this person who was more perfect and stronger than me could replace me and give Luo Yuchen happiness.
Having a break during Chinese New Year was something impossible for celebrities. From the first to the fifth day of Chinese New Year, Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu were both busy attending all the various entertainment shows. They played games in front of everyone, entertaining both themselves as well as the audience.
In the blink of an eye, it was the 13th of February. Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day.
I have been waiting for the day Luo Yuchen’s new album will be released.
Though, it was a pity I couldn’t hold it with my own hands.
The video shops have already put up large posters of Luo Yuchen, waiting for the day the new album will be added to their display rack.
The poster this time was quite charming. He was dressed in a golden suit, which was different from the usual cold Luo Yuchen who always wore dark colours. He also hugged a large, fluffy dog and smiled very cutely.
My Luo Yuchen had never been so adorable. I was so close to salivating as I stared at the poster.
If I was still alive, I would definitely make this poster life-size and stick it on my wall to look at everyday.
Nevertheless, the real Luo Yuchen was still cold and wore dark-coloured clothing. He wasn’t very excited about the release. He was still unable to contact me and was weary because of Xia Mingxiu’s heartless ridicule.
“Xiao Heng is ignoring you even on Valentine’s day. Perhaps he’s serious this time? Maybe he suddenly found that he had many high-quality handsome men by his side and finally decided to abandon you?”
Hearing this, Luo Yuchen stared at Xia Mingxiu miserably.
“Look, I’m speaking the truth. In the previous years, he would fly to the workshop in Switzerland and personally make you dark chocolates. This year, he didn’t even call you.” Xia Mingxiu ‘kindly’ reminded him. “Think about it. He has the handsome and rich Fang Xieyi as well as the flawless Xiao Lu by his side. Up till now, I’m still wondering why he fell for you.”
Xia Mingxiu was usually an angel, but when he was being vicious, he hit the nail on the head. Luo Yuchen had evidently received a blow.
That’s right. You ate my chocolate for ten years, yet you still threw me away. Did you still hope for me to go so far and do something so foolish for you?
Xia Mingxiu reminded me once again that I had done many foolish things when I was still alive.
Naturally, Valentine’s day was a major event amongst all the commemorative days I celebrated with Luo Yuchen every year. Despite that, we didn’t celebrate Valentine’s day together even once.
Why? Because I was always on the plane during the day coming back from Switzerland. I was worried that the chocolate would melt if the temperature was too warm.
However, he would always return when it was early morning the next day. Most of the time, he returned with Xia Mingxiu. I didn’t even want to ask about it.
I would only be torturing myself if I asked.
Fortunately, he liked Swiss dark chocolate, so he didn’t reject the chocolates even if they were made by me.
To add on, how could the things I make for him not be made meticulously? The taste of the chocolate was definitely one of the best in the world.
I always felt that it wasn’t so bad. If I ever ruin my father’s company due to my poor skills, I could still become a chocolate master.
During the afternoon on the 13th, snowflakes filled the sky again. It would likely be a beautiful, white Valentine’s Day tomorrow.
For some reason however, I felt sorrowful as I stared at it.
On a snow-filled Valentine’s day, the romantic people would enjoy a romantic day. However, a lonely person would probably feel more alone…
The sight of the two of them talking and laughing was much more beautiful. Xia Mingxiu was wearing a warm-looking blue scarf, and Luo Yuchen was dressed thinly as usual. He was like this every winter. I was always trembling even though I was dressed like a bun. I didn’t understand how he could withstand the bone-piercing cold when he was dressed like that.
I could only say that god has even taken “beautiful, ice-cold man” into consideration when he designed Luo Yuchen’s beautiful appearance.
They walked towards the underground parking lot together. When they made a turn at the corner of the stairs, they met Mr. Lu De Vici coincidentally.
Xiao Lu was also lightly dressed. He was wearing a V-neck sweater and a shirt. All of his designs were clearly trendy, yet he liked wearing retro, British-styled clothing.
Thinking about it, I haven’t seen Xiao Lu for a very long time. Ever since his trip to L.A and Milan, he had been travelling around the world and was quite busy. I secretly pitied him. He wasn’t able to catch Xia Mingxiu and Luo Yuchen’s relationship deteriorate and take advantage of it.
After greeting each other, they went down together. Previously, they were forcefully dragged along by me. That was why they went out together often. However, Luo Yuchen’s attitude had always been cold. Additionally, Xiao Lu always felt that I was suffering. More often than not, the two of them would be glaring at each other when they met. The two of them hadn’t met much afterwards even after Xiao Lu became the manager of the company. On the other hand, Xia Mingxiu who often wasn’t on the invite list quickly got along with Xiao Lu. Ever since he became the brand ambassador of Xiao Lu’s new series, they became closer.
“I’ve heard that the ‘Midsummer Wind’ series was very successful at Paris’ catwalk. Congratulations.”
Xia Mingxiu’s compliment made Xiao Lu smile happily. However, Xia Mingxiu probably didn’t understand the true meaning behind his expression.
Luo Yuchen gave them a glance and forced a smile. I knew that he was probably thinking in his heart “what’s up with ‘Midsummer Wind’ in the middle of winter” or something along those lines.
Anyway, there just seemed to be a natural animosity between him and Xiao Lu.
I’ve always been worried about Xiao Lu. I was afraid that Xia Mingxiu would ask Xiao Lu about me. Xiao Lu had always been straightforward, I wasn’t sure if he could handle it.
I finally heaved a sigh of relief when I saw them go separate ways to their own cars.
But suddenly, Xia Mingxiu dragged Luo Yuchen along to Xiao Lu. Like a smart alec, he wanted to help Luo Yuchen.
He knocked on Xiao Lu’s car window and asked, “Lu, do you know… how Xiao Heng is doing?”
I really wished that Xiao Lu was as cold and indifferent as Fang Xieyi, driving away without giving them a glance.
Unfortunately, Xiao Lu visibly stiffened. I immediately had a bad feeling. It was very likely that he had heard about what happened to me from Fang Xieyi. He lived overseas for a very long time and was a candid person who spoke whatever was on his mind. He might say something unneeded because of Xia Mingxiu’s question.
However, it seemed that I had placed too much trust in Xiao Lu.
“…Xiao Heng…you say?” He asked with difficulty.
“Yes, has he done his operation? How is his recovery? I’m sure you know. Could you bring us to meet him?”
With a red face, Luo Yuchen pulled Xia Mingxiu back somewhat angrily.. Despite that, Xia Mingxiu broke free from his hand with a smile, looking happy.
On the contrary, Xiao Lu didn’t think that there was anything to be happy about. Seeing Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu’s relaxed look, he was baffled.
“Are you guys… unaware?” Xiao Lu’s current expression was dark. Sadness and condemnation that was hard to detect hid under his expression.
I knew that this time, it really was the end.
Xiao Lu wouldn’t bother thinking about why they didn’t know. He wouldn’t think about the consequences if he were to tell them the truth. He wouldn’t think about whether or not I wanted Luo Yuchen, the person I loved the most, to know about my death.
Xiao Lu would determine whether something was right or wrong with only a one track mind. He would refute someone’s mistake and tell them the truth.
Therefore, when Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu were still comprehending the meaning behind his “are you guys unaware”, Xiao Lu struck them thoughtlessly. They were thoroughly stupefied.
He was very baffled, innocent and bitter. He was also resentful that they didn’t know even though they were my lover and friend respectively. He said seriously:
“Xiao Heng has already passed away.”
Although I was mentally prepared to hear someone announce my death for the first time, my mind still blanked out.
It felt like I was killed once again.
I lowered my head and felt a pang in my heart. I didn’t dare look at Luo Yuchen’s expression.
There was only silence, and everything felt empty.
I started desperately hoping, hoping that things would be just like how I imagined before I died: even if Luo Yuchen were to know the truth a few years later, he might sigh about it, but wouldn’t mind it. Maybe my death would make him a little guilty, but my death would probably be similar to that of a pet he raised dying. He would definitely be sad, but not to the point that he wouldn’t want to live anymore.
However, what I was currently afraid of was how he would react after hearing such news without being prepared.
I placed my hand on his palm which was slightly trembling, hoping that there would be a little bit of warmth for him.
How I wished I could hold Luo Yuchen’s hand and squeeze his palm. In the past, I always used this secret method that belonged to us to comfort him.
I still didn’t dare look up at his face.
Xia Mingxiu was the first to recover from the shock. Biting his lip, he asked with a trembling voice in disbelief, “But… didn’t he find a suitable bone marrow?”
Xiao Lu just came to the realisation that he had said something he shouldn’t have. However, it was clearly too late. Seeing Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu’s pale expressions, he could only bite the bullet and tell the truth.
“… It had nothing to do with his illness… Xiao Heng died by suicide.”
Right after he finished speaking, the car door was opened forcefully. Luo Yuchen pulled him out and shoved him against the car.
Luo Yuchen’s expression was so distorted it looked horrifying, and veins were visible on his white, slender hand. He gripped onto Xiao Lu as if he was ready to beat him to a pulp.
“Nonsense! How is that possible?” Holding Xiao Lu by the neck, he spoke in a low yet roaring voice, “How dare you curse Xiao Heng. How dare you curse Xiao Heng!!”
Xia Mingxiu was so stunned he didn’t manage to pull Luo Yuchen back.
I have seen Luo Yuchen angry before, but it was completely different this time.
Whenever he directed his anger at me, I didn’t dare provoke him and only lowered my head.
But now, I only wanted to hug him.
I felt that if I was able to hug him, he would be able to calm down. He wouldn’t be so angry and in so much pain anymore.
Right now, he was like a wounded beast, crazily acting strong and hiding his wound.
Despite that, the hunter with his rifle was not in the mood to pity his weak resistance.
Xiao Lu was angered as he was unable to break free from Luo Yuchen after struggling. To add on, even though he often spoke scornfully about my infatuation, he always stood protectively by my side. Just like Fang Xieyi, he looked at Luo Yuchen as if looking at a heartless heartbreaker. Luo Yuchen’s sudden outburst caused anger to rush to Xiao Lu’s head, and he actually yelled, “Isn’t it all your fault that Xiao Heng committed suicide!”
Lu Weixi, you can’t put it that way…
For the first time, I felt that the usually gentle Xiao Lu was very cruel.
Luo Yuchen stared blankly. His expression became fiercer, but tears flowed down his cheeks. Releasing Xiao Lu, Luo Yuchen shook his head blankly. Then, he squeezed his chest, seeming to be in a lot of pain. Yet, he still shook his head with much effort.
I almost turned crazy watching this scene.
Luo Yuchen closed his eyes and calmed himself. He looked up afterwards but didn’t wipe his tears. He didn’t seem to realise that he was crying. He seemed to have thought something through. Looking expressionlessly at Xiao Lu with red eyes, he said, “You’re lying.”
I was not sure whether he was too shocked or too hurt that he chose not to believe.
Behind him, Xia Mingxiu held Luo Yuchen’s arm in concern, but his hand was shoved aside ruthlessly.
He couldn’t accept any conciliation or any pity, since it would mean he accepted the fact that I had left him forever.
He could only deceive himself as hostility filled the air around him. He stopped attacking, but glared fiercely at Xiao Lu. He said with clenched teeth, “I don’t believe it.”
He already had no idea who he was saying that to.
Xiao Lu was momentarily stunned by his fierce yet grief-stricken look and didn’t know what to do. Xia Mingxiu, who stood behind Luo Yuchen, desperately signaled with his eyes for Xiao Lu to leave quickly.
What was done was done. Xiao Lu could only listen to Xia Mingxiu’s wish. He turned back to his car and prepared to leave.
But how could Luo Yuchen let him leave? Ignoring the fact that Xia Mingxiu was pulling him back, he rushed forward and forcefully pulled Xiao Lu to a stop. Xiao Lu had just managed to get away from him, yet he was held back again. After much struggling, he finally turned around and pushed Luo Yuchen down to the floor in frustration.
Actually, Xiao Lu wasn’t wrong. He just wasn’t supposed to tell Luo Yuchen the truth, though it was also unintentional on his part.
Nevertheless, Luo Yuchen was clearly angered, as if it was Xiao Lu who caused my death. He jumped up and chased after Xiao Lu. With a punch, he sent Xiao Lu stumbling towards the wall on the side.
Xiao Lu wiped the corner of his lips. Not wanting to lose, he retaliated and threw Luo Yuchen to the floor.
“Luo Yuchen and Lu Weixi, please stop.” Xia Mingxiu chased after them and caught up from behind, but he wasn’t able to stop the brawl. The two of them fought on the floor like two ferocious beasts, crazily pouncing on the other.
“Say it! Say that he’s fine! Say that you were just lying! Say it!” Luo Yuchen held down Xiao Lu and ruthlessly pushed Xiao Lu’s head into the cement floor.
“You… bastard…” Xiao Lu’s head hit the floor a few times, but his arrogance didn’t dissipate but rose instead. He violently grabbed Luo Yuchen and flipped him over, holding Luo Yuchen down. Strangling him, he roared, “Luo Yuchen, you bastard. I won’t let you off!”
He slapped Luo Yuchen relentlessly, causing him to be dazed. Then, Xiao Lu proceeded to strangle Luo Yuchen, as if he wanted to strangle him to death.
“You… caused his death… you… bastard…” Xiao Lu suddenly cried. He pressed Luo Yuchen down as if he wanted to kill him, yet he suddenly lost all his vigor and started sobbing.
He cried so badly, even Luo Yuchen stopped struggling and looked at him with eyes full of fear and despair.
Xia Mingxiu stood on the side and cried silently.
A hand stretched over and pulled Xiao Lu up gently yet strongly.
No one realised when he appeared at the parking lot.
He was still as elegant and still as cold. He helped Xiao Lu up expressionlessly, then held him in his arms and gently patted his back.
Xiao Lu continued sobbing in his embrace.
Fang Xieyi gave Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu a cold glance before helping Xiao Lu, who sobbed until he was out of breath, into the car.
Before Fang Xieyi got in, he turned back and gave Luo Yuchen one last look. He seemed to be looking at him in mockery. It was rather cruel.
Luo Yuchen stared fixedly with a stiff body as Fang Xieyi sped away in his silver Mercedes.
He didn’t dare face the despair before him. Just one glance made him feel like his heart was stabbed by a knife.
Xia Mingxiu went forward to help him. Losing all of his resistance, he let Xia Mingxiu pull him up and stuff him into the car.
He seemed to be tired, as he silently closed his eyes.
Xia Mingxiu didn’t know how to console him and could only stay quiet.
Ever since that night, Luo Yuchen had become quiet.
The next day was the 14th of February, the day his new album released. Ever since morning, his phone had been ringing nonstop. Luo Yuchen didn’t answer any of the calls. Feeling irritated, he switched off his phone.
Most likely, the sales have surpassed millions and people were calling to congratulate him.
If it was the usual, there should be a celebration for him to attend tonight…
However, he didn’t move at all. He laid on the sofa for the whole day, neither eating nor drinking.
Before Xia Mingxiu left for work, he prepared a lot of food and left them in the fridge, but he didn’t touch any of it.
He tortured himself just like this.
I knew that his stomach was starting to hurt again. He was curled up on the sofa with a pale face, pressing his stomach subconsciously.
Despite that, he still wouldn’t eat.
I wasn’t able to do anything even though I saw him in pain. I tried my best to hug him from behind, but it was all in vain.
I wished to tell him that I was right beside him, so he didn’t have to suffer like this. I wished to tell him that I saw and felt all of his grief and remorse.
The pain inflicted and what happened in the past no longer mattered. I would forgive them all.
Sadly, even if I have forgiven, the past could no longer be recovered.
What was the longest distance in the world?
I remembered a poet’s high sounding words: The longest distance in the world is not life and death…
It was all nonsense.
The person who said this sentence definitely didn’t experience the separation from a loved one because of death.
I also once thought that the distance between life and death was not longer than the distance between our hearts, even though we were so close physically.
But now, I realised how wrong I was.
I stood in front of you, but you didn’t know that I loved you. That’s okay, since I could let you know anytime.
There was so much in the world. Regardless of how many misunderstandings, or how much suffering there was, it could still be resolved if one apologised sincerely and the other one forgave.
No matter how dangerous and long the road may be, one would be able to make it through if he set his mind on it.
If one was still alive, it could still be recovered, and there was definitely still another chance.
However, the price of my stupid, reckless, and irresponsible action was too much and too heavy.
We could no longer go back to the days of the past.
Why was it that I, who was never once decisive in my life, made this one ridiculous and wrong decision?
Actually, Luo Yuchen had never been wrong. It was me who was too selfish. I felt that my happiness was too uncertain, so I thought of either throwing everything away and restarting from the beginning or just ending everything once and for all.
I couldn’t blame him for letting me see a flicker of hope in my dark world.
After all, it was me who threw away the possibility of attaining happiness. This might even ruin the most important person to me in this world.
I have sinned so much that it was unforgivable.
When Xia Mingxiu returned at night, he noticed Luo Yuchen’s discomfort. Ignoring his resistance, Xia Mingxiu brought him to the hospital.
I had thought that it wasn’t anything serious, but he was actually suffering from gastrointestinal perforation. Once again, he tossed and turned about in the hospital.
After taking care of him, Xia Mingxiu still had to work. He was tired, but he still smiled gently without a single complaint.
I didn’t think this was good. He was becoming more and more like my past self. If he continued putting up a strong front and forced himself to push on, he might fall apart one day just like how I did and lose all of his courage and will to fight.
Nevertheless, Xia Mingxiu was probably stronger than me.
When Luo Yuchen was all alone in the ward, he woke up. Looking at the ceiling, he asked the air dazedly, “If I died of pain, would you still come and see me?”
Although he had fiercely refuted it before, he accepted the fact that I was dead when no one was around.
It was so unbelievable that I actually felt somewhat betrayed. It was as if Luo Yuchen was supposed to believe that I was still alive, and he should be searching for me.
It was so disgraceful of me to have this idea. I wasn’t able to accept it.
I realised that I truly was too greedy, contradictory, and despicable. I was worried about Luo Yuchen, yet I secretly hoped for him to not forget me so easily.
I was even greedy for his remorse, sadness, and pain. Why was I like this? Then what about him? What about Xia Mingxiu? What happened to my previous selfless wish of wanting them to be happy together?
I was so despicable. Even though he was in pain, I was all cool and calm on the side.
He was still staring into the air, but the air wasn’t able to answer him. Even though I was right beside him, I wasn’t able to answer either.
With sadness, grievance, anger, and indignation, he asked lightly, “Xiao Heng, you really don’t want me anymore?”
His voice was so lonely. My back felt a chill.
What Xiao Heng just said originated from a chinese novel called “Red and White Rose”. I used “white and red rose” above because Chinese and English have different sentence structures. The red rose refers to Xiao Heng and the white rose refers to Xia Mingxiu.
“mosquito blood on the wall become a cinnabar mole on his heart” – Initially, Xiao Heng was so insignificant and unpleasant looking in Luo Yuchen’s eyes, just like mosquito blood on the wall. But now, he held a position in Luo Yuchen’s heart. Blood and cinnabar mole are both red, used to refer to Xiao Heng as a red rose.
“unattainable light before his bed became a grain of rice stuck on his shirt” – On the other hand, Xia Mingxiu was once unattainable by Luo Yuchen and was held in high reverance. Now that he was with Luo Yuchen, he had seemingly become a stain, just like a grain of rice stuck on one’s shirt. Light and rice are both white, used to refer to Xia Mingxiu as the white rose.
This novel was published in 1944, which was the time when there was still gender inequality. The perception of women as the red and white rose description above was all from the perspective of the man who was with these two women.