Chapter 8: Flicker of Hope
Looking at the white wall as if I was there, he asked softly and gently.
Then, he touched his neck out of habit. His necklace was gone
He panicked immediately.
It was taken off since it hindered the operation. Xia Mingxiu placed it in the inner pocket of the overcoat and hung the coat nearby.
But Luo Yuchen wasn’t aware. He called for the nurse and asked, “Where is my ring?”
Naturally, the nurse didn’t know about the ring. And with Luo Yuchen desparately asking without the slightest calm, they could only look at each other in dismay.
Luo Yuchen was so anxious to the point that he was turning crazy, but he couldn’t do anything. The nurse pressed him back down on the bed as someone called Xia Mingxiu.
Luo Yuchen covered his head with the blanket. From the outside, I could see him trembling. I thought he was crying.
I have never seen Luo Yuchen so distressed before. Or rather, I have never seen him be so distressed because of me that he was unable to vent.
Right now, I was like an oyster. The pearl I protected so painstakingly for many years was extracted out after I died and willfully worn. Although I was so distressed to the point of going crazy, I had no way to put it back in my shell to take care of again.
I was right beside him, but I wasn’t even able to hug him when he was trying so hard to stifle his sobs.
I hated how powerless I was.
Xia Mingxiu rushed to the hospital in the afternoon. After listening to the doctor and the nurse’s complaints, he reached into the pocket of the coat and took out the necklace with the ring, handing it to Luo Yuchen.
By now, Luo Yuchen had already calmed down. He silently took the necklace and wore it. Then he closed his eyes and no longer spoke.
I saw the boundary he set clearly. He had cruelly left Xia Mingxiu outside that boundary of his world.
His world was already pitch black, even Xia Mingxiu’s radiance wasn’t able to shine through.
Even though Luo Yuchen treated Xia Mingxiu like this, Xia Mingxiu still stayed by his side and quietly took care of him.
Luo Yuchen was soon discharged, but he kept staying at home. He wasn’t active, didn’t pick up any calls, and didn’t meet anyone.
“You haven’t eaten for the entire day. Have some milk.” Xia Mingxiu carried a coffee cup filled with warm milk to Luo Yuchen.
Luo Yuchen had been ignoring Xia Mingxiu’s consolation for the whole day, but he suddenly moved when he saw the cup of milk.
Only I understood.
I didn’t know why Xia Mingxiu had used the coffee cup to hold the milk. This had been a habit of mine, or should I say, a weird habit I purposefully took on. I had gladly and pretentiously thought this was a little secret between Luo Yuchen and I.
I long knew that I had to leave Luo Yuchen one day, so I purposely had some weird habits that were different from others. After we separated, even if he couldn’t remember me, he might still remember those weird habits of mine.
Sadly, I realised that this habit wasn’t exclusive to me.
Luo Yuchen sat up obediently and took the cup of milk.
The steam coming off the milk was so hot it fogged his eyes.
He drank a few mouthfuls of it.
I saw tears hang at the corner of his eyes. He wasn’t able to hold them back, so he cried silently.
Xia Mingxiu didn’t know what he had done wrong when he saw Luo Yuchen’s tears and was clueless on what to do.
I finally understood why I was still here to watch everything.
The eighteen levels of hell that people always talked about were all about physical torture.
I was starting to wonder if the place I was at now was the real hell.
There was no physical pain, only my heart being tormented as if it was stabbed by knives.
God didn’t forget me, and neither was he giving me a trial. He was mocking me and gloating at my misfortune as I suffered in hell, the place I was standing at now.
He mocked that I’ve been making mistakes for my entire life, mocked that I had given up on my precious life so easily, and mocked that I had selfishly dragged everyone into my unfortunate life.
He was probably mocking the unwillingness, helplessness, and weakness I was feeling right now.
He didn’t let me speak or act. I could only watch as the tragedy played out.
What else could happen next?
I didn’t know, and I didn’t dare to think about it.
Half a month quickly passed by, and it was already March. The snow had melted and was replaced by green.
Despite that, the place that contained the happy and painful memories of my entire life was still cold and freezing.
Luo Yuchen had already ditched half a month of work. Things were getting troublesome, and the company had already given him a severe ultimatum.
Despite that, he still lay half-dead on the sofa. He was listless and just stared off into space.
Xia Mingxiu tried his best for that half a month, but his efforts were all in vain. He wasn’t able to do anything and could only worry for Luo Yuchen.
Luo Yuchen had been feeling extremely dejected and had to be taken care of by Xia Mingxiu even though Xia Mingxiu was busy with his work. If Xia Mingxiu wasn’t around, Luo Yuchen might just turn into mold without anyone realising.
I also had no idea how much Xia Mingxiu had to speak for Luo Yuchen and help him make connections in the company.
I was no longer the director. He could no longer do whatever he wanted without fear. Now that it was Fang Xieyi in power, he would definitely not let Luo Yuchen do whatever he wanted.
Xia Mingxiu kept staying by Luo Yuchen’s side and supported him silently.
I had to admit that I couldn’t win against him.
Xia Mingxiu was much more perfect, stronger, and greater than me. Luo Yuchen should know that even though what he had done to me was wrong, it was already too late. If he didn’t treasure Xia Mingxiu who was by his side now, it would only lead to another irreparable mistake.
‘Appreciate the person before you’. It was such a simple principle, yet Luo Yuchen remained dimwitted and just didn’t get it.
Xia Mingxiu was once someone who wore the sunlight on his body and was bright. However, he was dimming because of Luo Yuchen.
It really was a nightmare. I was already awake, but I still didn’t understand why everything had changed. Everyone’s life suddenly became dark and gloomy.
I was stupid and didn’t have any complex thoughts. Initially, I had only thought that after I ended my life, everyone would become happy.
I had thought that if I was gone, Fang Xieyi and Xiao Lu wouldn’t have to see me secretly cry everyday. They wouldn’t have to contact all the various hospitals and donors and become so worn out searching for that glimmer of hope. Xia Mingxiu wouldn’t have to look at me with guilt everyday, not daring to snatch Luo Yuchen away from me because of his gratitude for me even though he clearly liked Luo Yuchen. Luo Yuchen would finally be able to do what he wanted and like who he truly liked.
What happened in the end? I had caused Fang Xieyi to lose all hope, I had made Xiao Lu sad, and had caused Luo Yuchen and Xia Mingxiu to sink into the abyss of guilt and remorse.
I always knew that the fluttering wings of a butterfly could cause a ripple effect. But I never expected to be a foolish butterfly that would cause a hurricane, resulting in such a tragedy.
In the end, the foolish butterfly received its retribution. It had to watch everything happen, yet wasn’t able to return to the days of the past.
The weather gradually became warmer. When the sunlight of March penetrated through the chill of spring and spread its warmth for the first time, Luo Yuchen finally got up from the sofa.
Xia Mingxiu watched as Luo Yuchen slowly made his way to the terrace. He took a deep breath in the morning wind. The cold wind had a trace of warmth as it ruffled his hair. He looked as beautiful, elegant, stylish, and moving as before.
He turned his head to look at Xia Mingxiu. His face showed somewhat of a dream-like smile, but his words were bone-chilling, “Xiao Heng isn’t dead. I know it.”
He smiled too brilliantly. I didn’t know what he fantasized about that made him so happy, but he didn’t realize Xia Mingxiu’s expression instantly filled with sadness and horror when he heard his strange words.
Luo Yuchen finally returned back to normal. He was no longer depressed, but he wasn’t especially happy either. Instead, he reverted back to the person I was familiar with for the ten years I was by his side. The person with extreme indifference and calmness. He worked normally, sang normally, and ate normally.
But the concern on Xia Mingxiu’s face increased each passing day.
This extremely sudden and strange normalcy caused a chill in our hearts.
He no longer mentioned the two words “Xiao Heng”, as if I had never existed in his life.
Nevertheless, that didn’t mean his conclusion of “Xiao Heng isn’t dead” never existed.
Just because he didn’t mention it didn’t mean that his overly normal life to the point of being abnormal was ought to be.
Afterwards, Xia Mingxiu couldn’t help but take the risk of upsetting Luo Yuchen and asked, “Should we go and see Xiao Heng?”
I would like to see too. I wanted to know if Fang Xieyi had buried me somewhere magnificent.
When I finally came into contact with a computer during middle school, the first game I played was “Xuan-Yuan Sword 3: Beyond the Clouds and Mountains”. I fantasized my grave to be at the place inside the game where beautiful, foolish girls were buried. On an isle, I would rest quietly with a white cross erected above my grave. People who missed me would place wreaths above my gravestone.
If Fang Xieyi bought me a poor-looking grave, I definitely wouldn’t forgive him.
Hearing Xia Mingxiu’s words, Luo Yuchen laughed, “What are we supposed to be seeing? How do we see? Did Fang Xieyi tell you which hospital he is at?”
Biting his lips, Xia Mingxiu softly reminded him in fear, “Xiao Heng is already…”
Not letting Xia Mingxiu finish his sentence, Luo Yuchen interrupted him coldly, “He’s just holding a grudge against me. Once his anger subsides, he will come back. I know him.”
Xia Mingxiu looked at Luo Yuchen who displayed an expression of calm and didn’t dare to speak again.
He was lying to himself, but he was doing it as if it was natural, as if he truly believed his own lie.
I couldn’t help but worry as I watched Luo Yuchen escape from reality.
What happened afterward reinforced my worries. Luo Yuchen had actually bought an expensive diamond watch, saying that it was going to be my birthday present.
My birthday was in April. He never bought me any gifts before.
But that wasn’t the point. He clearly knew that I was already dead.
Xia Mingxiu was visibly frightened by Luo Yuchen’s action. Luo Yuchen smiled as he looked at the prestigious watch shining brightly under the sun. Seeing this, Xia Mingxiu couldn’t help but tremble.
In the end, it was still Xiao Lu who took over. His face still showed the injury from before. However, he was probably unable to reject this task since it was Xia Mingxiu who sought him for help.
For the second time, he told Luo Yuchen clearly, “Xiao Heng committed suicide by cutting his wrist on the second day he moved out from your house.”
Luo Yuchen didn’t jump at him like he did previously. Instead, he ignored Xiao Lu like how he ignored me for the past ten years. Without saying a word, Luo Yuchen smiled as he fiddled with his watch.
Then he seemed to receive a sudden shock. Looking up, he asked Xiao Lu impatiently, “Repeat what you just said. When did he commit suicide?”
Ecstasy could be seen shining through Luo Yuchen’s eyes. Seeing his expression, I suddenly remembered that day.
“On the second day he moved out from your house. The 3rd of December.”
Luo Yuchen’s tense muscles quickly relaxed. He laughed strangely and finally felt relieved. He took in a deep breath, the expression on his face overflowed with a sense of ease. Luo Yuchen’s eyes shone proudly as he said, “Indeed, you guys were lying to me.”
Xiao Lu’s body moved. He had the urge to come forward and punch Luo Yuchen, but he was stopped by Xia Mingxiu.
“On the 28th of December, Xiao Heng had spent a night at my house. He took care of me and cooked for me.” Luo Yuchen looked up, seemingly pleased. He stared fiercely at Xiao Lu, as if he was showing off before his love rival.
“Bullshit.” Grinding his teeth, Lu Weixi stared back at him just as fiercely.
It was the dark and chaotic night when he was sick. It was the night that I was miraculously able to hug him one last time.
I felt thankful for god’s pity, thankful for this unforgettable warmth that would forever be engraved in my mind even though it had dissipated.
But now it had tragically become Luo Yuchen’s false hope. It was a night that shouldn’t have occured.
Evidently, I was still stupid even after my death. I had once again done something I shouldn’t have done.
This mistake would drive Luo Yuchen crazy and perhaps the people around him as well.
Fortunately, I was already dead. If I was still alive, everything would become messier with the way I did things. I really didn’t understand the meaning of my existence.
My every action was a mistake even after my death.
After hearing what he had been wanting to hear, Luo Yuchen was no longer interested in dealing with Xiao Lu. He stood up elegantly, and with a friendly smile on his face, walked toward Xiao Lu, planning to ask him to leave.
Before sending Xiao Lu off, Luo Yuchen suddenly thought of something.
His expression became gentler. He said to Xiao Lu with a smile, “Please help me tell Xiao Heng that I will be waiting for him. He waited for me for ten years. I will wait for him my entire life. Tell him that I will be waiting for him at home, that he can come back anytime he wants.”
Looking at Luo Yuchen, a pained expression flashed across Xiao Lu’s face. But Luo Yuchen had already left with a smile.
When I looked back at Xiao Lu, he was crying again.
As for me, my soul was almost torn apart by Luo Yuchen’s cruel gentleness.
Wait for me? Luo Yuchen, you wish to wait for me?
Why are you so foolish from the beginning to the end?
For the past ten years, you’ve never noticed my worth. Now you are saying that you will wait for me for your entire life.
Your entire life is still so long. There is still so much happiness left for you, just how much can I amount to?
You said that you will wait for me at home, that I can go back anytime I want.
However I can no longer go back.
I’m such a foolish person. I’ve made an irreversible mistake and can never ever go back again.
What should I do? I can no longer go back. I’ve taken the wrong path for far too long and have gone too far.
I can no longer see the pathway back.
It’s too late. Far too late.
I’m really sorry.
It’s already beyond hope.
I could only hope for Xia Mingxiu to pull him back from the edge of the cliff.
At night, Xia Mingxiu said to Luo Yuchen, “I’ve arranged for a psychiatrist on Sunday.”
I was really grateful for Xia Mingxiu’s firm resolution.
He knew that Luo Yuchen hovered over the border of sanity and insanity and that it would be dire if he was left alone.
“Why should I see a psychiatrist for no reason?” Luo Yuchen smiled and absentmindedly continued fiddling with his watch.
“You’re not normal.” said Xia Mingxiu.
“You’re the one who isn’t normal.” Luo Yuchen smiled again while remaining distant like usual.
Xia Mingxiu walked over. He stood before Luo Yuchen and looked at him calmly.
He was shorter than Luo Yuchen, wasn’t as robust as Luo Yuchen, and was weaker than Luo Yuchen, but he had the courage we never had, the courage and determination that he would be able to overcome all obstacles to see the light and hope.
He said to Luo Yuchen, “Wake up. Xiao Heng is already dead.”
Fortunately, Luo Yuchen didn’t rage and do anything that he might have regretted doing in the future.
But it was horrifying instead. Contrary to the normal Luo Yuchen who was always cold and indifferent, he was abnormally gentle. Like a confused student asking the teacher a question, Luo Yuchen looked at Xia Mingxiu doubtfully and asked word by word, “Why are all of you saying that he is dead?”
“Luo Yuchen, please wake up.” Xia Mingxiu continued looking at him resolutely as tears filled his eyes.
“Don’t cry.” Luo Yuchen looked at him. With a gentle smile, he said, “But that’s indeed a lie isn’t it? Don’t worry, I’m not crazy. That day, Xiao Heng cooked porridge for me and you ate it as well…”
“That’s just your own imagination!” Xia Mingxiu firmly grabbed hold of Luo Yuchen, his tears flowing like rain as he said, “I don’t know whether you were sleepwalking or just lying to yourself. I will tell you again. Xiao Heng is dead. He has committed suicide. He will never come back again, and he will never return to your side again–”
Xia Mingxiu started bawling and hugged Luo Yuchen, causing Luo Yuchen to slide down to the floor.
“He isn’t dead,” he mumbled. “He came here before. Why do all of you not believe me…”
“Luo Yuchen, stop lying to yourself!” Xia Mingxiu shook his head strongly. He gripped onto Luo Yuchen, “If he really came, why was there no one around when I came back? Who else saw him other than you? Why didn’t he stay? Why didn’t he call a doctor for you?”
“If he really came, how did he get in? He returned the keys to you, and you even changed your lock!”
“I… I must have forgotten to lock the door… And…” Luo Yuchen was unable to answer Xia Mingxiu’s barrage of questions. He hurriedly grabbed hold of his last straw of hope and said, “He clearly helped me bandage my wound. You saw it too. And the porridge…”
That porridge was a piece of evidence that I shouldn’t have left behind.
Xia Mingxiu was angered to the point of laughing, “You probably made that yourself! Luo Yuchen, does it feel good to lie to yourself? Tell me!”
Luo Yuchen replied, “No, it really was Xiao Heng…”
It was futile no matter how much Luo Yuchen explained. Because it was something impossible. In this world, there was only me, someone who could no longer speak up for him and prove that what he said was the truth.
But I would rather Luo Yuchen be convinced by Xia Mingxiu now and think that it was just him dreaming.
If he accepted the fact that I was already dead, he could have a new start with Xia Mingxiu. That would definitely be better than him lying to himself and causing everyone to be hurt.
“It’s impossible for Xiao Heng to come. At that time, he was already gone. He will never come again. I beg you to stop dreaming!” Xia Mingxiu wouldn’t believe in the evidence mentioned by Luo Yuchen. Someone’s life and death wasn’t a topic that could be joked about. Fang Xieyi and Lu Weixi’s affirmations were definitely more convincing than Luo Yuchen’s insanity.
Luo Yuchen rebutted anxiously, “That’s not true! It was definitely Xiao Heng. It was definitely him! It’s already been ten years… I can tell it was Xiao Heng’s cooking with just one taste…” He tried all he could to explain, even to the point of crying. He still looked at Xia Mingxiu, confused as he asked, “He is clearly alive… why are all of you saying that he is dead…”
I couldn’t watch this helpless misery any further.
I could feel all of Luo Yuchen’s hesitation, agony, suffering, and misery. It was painful.
I was clearly right beside him. I could clearly see his pain and misery. Yet I was unable to help him lighten his burden. I wasn’t able to stretch out my hand and help him wipe the tears away.
I could only silently watch as he suffered in pain because of me.
“Get up.” Xia Mingxiu suddenly wiped away his tears and stood up. He pulled Luo Yuchen up from the floor.
Pushing away his previous gloominess and sadness, he looked at Luo Yuchen resolutely. He stared into Luo Yuchen’s eyes deeply.
“Xiao Heng is dead.” He calmly stated the fact once again.
He was calm to the point of being cold and resolute, to the point of desperation.
He was no longer the tolerant, kind, gentle, and weak Xia Mingxiu in the past few months. His strength from the depths of his character radiated.
The strong, brave, and dazzling Xia Mingxiu that I was so jealous and envious of was finally back.
Luo Yuchen shook his head. Only I knew that he wasn’t lying to himself. Only I knew that he truly believed that I was alive. In addition, he wasn’t believing blindly without any evidence.
But everyone else thought he was just being crazy.
Xia Mingxiu suddenly hugged him. He hugged Luo Yuchen tightly and firmly, not letting Luo Yuchen have a chance to struggle.
Xia Mingxiu spoke lightly by Luo Yuchen’s ears, “Luo Yuchen, Luo Yuchen. Stop thinking about him. You still have me…”
Luo Yuchen stared blankly at a loss.
“You still have me. I’m always by your side.” Xia Mingxiu continued speaking unhurriedly and softly by Luo Yuchen’s ears, as if he was hypnotising Luo Yuchen.
I knew that he wasn’t trying to hypnotise. That was Xia Mingxiu’s true heartfelt words.
He hid himself in one corner and secretly protected Luo Yuchen from the side. He willingly took the position of a friend, but that didn’t mean he had given up.
He was waiting for Luo Yuchen to look back, waiting for him to come back.
He had been bearing with it for a very, very long time.
I could understand Xia Mingxiu’s action and that little bit of motive in his heart.
Because I was once just like him.
I was much more overbearing. Nevertheless, I was also waiting in one corner like a turtle for the past ten years. I was also waiting for Luo Yuchen to come back home.
How foolish. I just realised that we were all foolish.
Xia Mingxiu shouldn’t have taken this path.
I think Xiao Heng is talking about the harem of girls who is by the side of the game’s main character.