Chapter Eighteen (Part 2 of 2)
Translated by trungtnguyen123
An Xiao Li’s family home on the fifth floor was the same layout as the other floors in the building, it only included one large bedroom and one small bedroom. Qin Sang’s family home was below An Xiao Li’s family home, on the fourth floor. Qin Sang was able to share the large bedroom with her mum, Ye Dao and Li Wei Ran could sleep in the small bedroom.
An Xiao Li’s sleeping arrangement wasn’t easily solved as Qin Sang’s sleeping arrangement. Since Chen Yu Bai was visiting as Miss Chen’s nephew, An Xiao Li didn’t have a place to sleep. Miss Chen gave Chen Yu Bai the special treatment and she didn’t hesitate to boot An Xiao Li downstairs to squeeze in the same bed as Ye Dao and Qin Sang.
An Xiao Li wore a night shirt with a cartoon printed on it and she hugged her white rabbit to the living room of her family home and refused to go downstairs.
Miss Chen’s order wasn’t up for negotiation so when she saw An Xiao Li standing stubbornly in the living room, she couldn’t hold back and used her palm to push An Xiao Li’s stubborn head.
The moment Chen Yu Bai stepped out of the small bedroom he saw Xiao Li let Miss Chen vent on Xiao Li without protest. Even though Miss Chen was his aunt, he was still angry seeing someone hurt Xiao Li.
But when An Xiao Li spotted Chen Yu Bai, she hugged her rabbit and quickly disappeared from her family home. An Xiao Li and her rabbit flew downstairs and knocked on the front door of Qin Sang’s family home to seek refuge.
Inside An Xiao Li’s family home, Chen Yu Bai calmly stopped the angry Miss Chen from ordering Xiao Li to come back. ‘Chen Yin Ren, aunt you’re getting fiercer by the day.’
‘You don’t know what she’s like. If she’s not hit then her skin will be itchy. I’m angry to death, she’s clumsy and fickle…’ Miss Chen said.
‘Didn’t you say she’s an angel?’ Chen Yu Bai asked.
Chen Yu Bai remembered that year Miss Chen brought her husband’s daughter to Chen Yu Bai’s family home, Miss Chen looked the happiest he’d seen her that year.
At that time Miss Chen was adamant about marrying a poor widower with a little daughter. The Chen household battled with Miss Chen to the point of trembling heaven and earth. The Chen household’s strong pressure of disapproval didn’t waver Miss Chen’s decision. Miss Chen packed her belongings and at night left with the poor widower and the little girl. Before Miss Chen left she vowed that she’d cut all ties with the Chen household.
When the ‘little strange creature’ visited Chen Yu Bai’s home, he didn’t want to be separated from Miss Chen. At night before Miss Chen left, Miss Chen talked to him the whole night. Miss Chen talked about her life dream, her life happiness, the man she loved and… An Xiao Li.
‘Xiao Li is different to you… that’s not right, Xiao Li is different to other kids. She’s a little angel, she doesn’t understand anything but yet she understands everything,’ Miss Chen said.
At that time Miss Chen was young and clinked a glass of wine with Chen Yu Bai’s glass of wine. Miss Chen tilted her head back and gulped down the wine.
Chen Yu Bai was annoyed whilst listening to Miss Chen’s romanticised depiction of Miss Chen’s new family, he quietly drank his glass of wine.
‘She’s a really happy kid, An Bu San taught her well. She’s polite and understands the situation. She’s like pure sunshine above the clouds in the sky. But I can see in her eyes that she worries about living a hard life. Her worries are really… naive, she knows clearly this world doesn’t exist without windy storms. But she can make her sky clear blue without a single cloud. Yu Bai, she and her dad makes me feel that everything is a lot simpler than I thought it can ever be. Just being with them, no matter how hard life is, I’ll always be happy. So I need to leave, do you understand?’ Miss Chen said.
The teen Chen Yu Bai didn’t understand. At that time he started testing out his skills in the share market world. Everything at that time was simple, everything fell into two categories – 1, were things that he needed and 2, were things that he didn’t need.
The teen Chen Yu Bai didn’t hold back Miss Chen who he had the best relationship with in the Chen household. But the teen Chen Yu Bai was vindictive, he remembered very clearly the little girl named ‘An Xiao Li.’
Angel? The teen Chen Yu Bai was truly curious what an angel looked like.
The teen Chen Yu Bai used his cold eyes to hide his feelings of attachment, and the adult Chen Yu Bai felt he was still the teen Chen Yu Bai. The adult Chen Yu Bai stared at the cluttered shoes at the door and smiled. Xiao Li wasn’t an angel, she was more of a dummy.
Miss Chen was abundant in many years of life experiences. She easily recognised the suspicious change in Chen Yu Bai – she’d never seen her nephew smiled warmly. She sighed on the inside and patted his shoulder. ‘I’m only going to say this much. I’ve raised her for many years, she’s like my own daughter. I’m not going to let her be heartbroken and hurt.’
Chen Yu Bai understood Miss Chen knew about him and Xiao Li but he didn’t admit it to Miss Chen, he only responded ‘oh’ to acknowledge that he heard Miss Chen’s warning.
An Bu San happily stepped out of the study room with a chess board and a cup of tea in his hands. ‘Miss Chen, call downstairs and summon the little boy to play chess with me.’
Chen Yu Bai was extremely modest with Xiao Li’s dad. ‘Uncle, I just learnt how to play chess. Can uncle teach me a few chess strategies?’
An Bu San loved juniors who were humble and respectable the most and excitedly nodded his head. Miss Chen fumed, she looked at her oblivious and gullible husband who didn’t understand the situation and it made her more frustrated. Miss Chen packed away the chess board and made An Bu San and Chen Yu Bai exchanged a Miss-Chen-is-too-fierce look with each other. ‘Ate enough yet? Both of you go to sleep!’
Downstairs the little boy that played chess with An Bu San had an urgent matter to attend to and left Qin Sang’s family home. An Xiao Li crawled into Qin Sang’s bed. Qin Sang went to her mum’s room to get an extra bed sheet and pillow and informed her mum that Li Wei Ran left already. Ye Dao listened calmly to Qin Sang and didn’t ask any questions.
In Qin Sang’s room, neither Qin Sang nor An Xiao Li could sleep. They both laid quietly on the bed so the ring tone of An Xiao Li’s phone intruded their quiet reflections.
An Xiao Li saw the caller ID was ‘little Bai’ and the photo under the caller ID was of Chen Yu Bai sleeping. Even though in the photo he was sleeping deeply, she never knew why his lips were smiling.
That photo appearing in the middle of the night was like a sharp thorn pierced into An Xiao Li’s heart. She pressed the reject call button.
Then An Xiao Li thought about Chen Yu Bai’s temperament and she was certain he would call her again so she texted him. ‘What is it? I’m sleeping.’
‘I have something to say to you. Come outside,’ Chen Yu Bai texted.
‘No, I’m cold,’ An Xiao Li texted.
Whilst An Xiao Li quietly waited for Chen Yu Bai’s text, she tidied the clutter in her heart – she got rid of each piece of clutter one by one, each stick and each stone.
It seemed An Xiao Li suddenly realised, what Miss Chen’s nephew trampled over was the last shred of happiness she saved for him. A man however good and brilliant, could only be held onto temporarily and in the future it wasn’t certain he’d stay. An Xiao Li no longer felt she could believe that love could conquer all.
Chen Yu Bai called An Xiao Li again and she pressed the reject call button again then she waited for a long time for his text.
‘An Xiao Li!’ Chen Yu Bai texted.
‘Yes?’ An Xiao Li texted.
‘I didn’t purposely hide it from you, don’t be angry,’ Chen Yu Bai texted.
‘I’m not angry,’ An Xiao Li texted.
‘Then tomorrow I’ll talk to Miss Chen about us,’ Chen Yu Bai texted.
‘What about us?’ An Xiao Li texted.
‘About us getting engaged soon,’ Chen Yu Bai texted.
An Xiao Li didn’t feel any excitement about Chen Yu Bai’s text reply instead she felt more tired. She texted one last text to him and switched off her phone. ‘No, don’t tell them about us. I’m sleepy, will discuss more tomorrow. Good night.’
Qin Sang heard An Xiao Li’s phone was switched off. ‘Done thinking yet?
‘Still thinking,’ An Xiao Li said
‘Take your time thinking,’ Qin Sang said.
‘Um,’ An Xiao Li said.
Night was the gentlest calm dish in the world. At three in the morning, An Xiao Li sighed and Qin Sang sighed too.
‘I want to break up with him,’ An Xiao Li said.
‘I want to tell him the truth,’ Qin Sang said.
‘What?’ An Xiao Li and Qin Sang said at the same time.
Qin Sang rolled over and faced An Xiao Li. ‘Xiao Li, are you serious?’
‘Um… I love him, but he’s not compatible with me. It’s not equal between us. Perhaps, he likes me. But it’s most likely in a lifetime he can’t do one thing, which is love me. Even something as important as being Miss Chen’s nephew, he hid it from me. It shows he’s still not certain about us. Sang Sang, I can only live a few decades. Why do I need to accept feeling hurt for that long? I need to find a man who’ll treat me good,’ An Xiao Li said.
Qin Sang quietly listened to An Xiao Li. She stretched out an arm and hugged An Xiao Li’s shoulder. ‘It turns out you understand already.’
‘Sang Sang, I want to break up. Like you said at the start, it’s better for Chu Hao Ran to remember me for the rest of his life. I want little Bai to remember me for the rest of his life too,’ An Xiao Li said.
Qin Sang heard An Xiao Li’s hope and thought it was laughable. Chu Hao Ran wasn’t in the same league as Chen Yu Bai. Breaking up with Chu Hao Ran was easy. But breaking up with Chen Yu Bai… would be a lot harder.
‘Sang Sang, it’s hard to deal with Chen Yu Bai. You have to help me,’ An Xiao Li said.
‘If you truly don’t love him anymore, it’s not hard to break up with him. The hardest thing about love always lies within a person’s heart. Xiao Li, I’ll support whatever decision you make but you need to think about it carefully,’ Qin Sang said.
An Xiao Li wanted to cry when she thought about no longer having a man named little Bai in her life. But the shock she received from him in the afternoon was too big and she was determined. ‘Um, I thought about it carefully already. I want to break up with him.’
Qin Sang and An Xiao Li couldn’t sleep all night but slept soundly in the morning. Ye Dao saw it was snowing outside and didn’t wake up Qin Sang. Ye Dao went to mark her students’ end of semester exams at school.
Upstairs Chen Yu Bai didn’t know if it was sleeping on an unfamiliar bed or if he didn’t have Xiao Li sleeping next to him, but he couldn’t sleep peacefully all night. When he was half dreaming and half awake, he wanted to hug Xiao Li but she wasn’t sleeping in his arms. Then he remembered that Miss dummy was still angry and slept downstairs.
What was there to be angry about? Chen Yu Bai washed his face and saw the light bluish bruise under his eye bags. He felt frustrated and he regretted spoiling Xiao Li.
Chen Yu Bai called Xiao Li’s phone and it was still switched off. By the time it was nine, he couldn’t wait anymore. He called Qin Sang, but Qin Sang’s phone was switched off too. He saw Miss Chen and An Bu San went to their school to mark end of semester exams and thought that Ye Dao would be at school too. He put on his jacket and went downstairs.
Chen Yu Bai knocked on the front door of Qin Sang’s family home. Qin Sang opened the door. She wore a velvet robe over her night shirt that exposed her long healthy legs. Within a second he thought about the innocent pitta bird on Xiao Li’s night shirt. Then he awkwardly looked away and coughed a few times. ‘Where’s Xiao Li?’
Qin Sang was still in a dreamy state and scratched her head. ‘Sleeping.’
Chen Yu Bai saw Qin Sang’s rare dazed face that was usually coldly calm and he spoke gentler. ‘Can I inconvenient you to sleep in another room? I want to talk to Xiao Li.’
‘No,’ Qin Sang said.
Qin Sang rubbed her eyes and turned around to go back to sleep in her room.
Chen Yu Bai waited for a long time but Qin Sang didn’t move to another room to sleep. He knew that Qin Sang purposely made it hard for him to talk to Xiao Li.
Chen Yu Bai sat on the sofa and waited in the living room of Qin Sang’s family home until the afternoon. Ye Dao opened the front door and the moment she stepped inside she felt a murderous aura. Ye Dao looked at the sofa in the living room and saw Miss Chen’s nephew.
‘What are you doing sitting on the sofa by yourself? Where’s Sang Sang and Xiao Li?’ Ye Dao asked.
Chen Yu Bai smiled and spoke politely. ‘I came to look for Xiao Li. But Qin Sang isn’t awake yet. It’s nothing, I’ll wait for a while.’ He looked at his watch. ‘No rush.’
Ye Dao raised her eyebrows and strode to Qin Sang’s room. She put her bag down and shook both Qin Sang and Xiao Li awake.
An Xiao Li’s hair was messy, she rubbed her eyes and stepped outside Qin Sang’s room. Whilst she was yawning she spotted Chen Yu Bai standing in the living room. He stood with his arms crossed and he was staring at her.
An Xiao Li remembered what happened yesterday and within a second she felt he was hateable. ‘What are you doing here?’
Chen Yu Bai sighed. He stepped toward Xiao Li, fixed her messy hair and pinched her cheek. ‘I came to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry, don’t be angry anymore, ok?’
An Xiao Li was quiet, because it was rare that Chen Yu Bai put aside his pride and apologised. In that moment Qin Sang in her night shirt ‘flew’ passed Chen Yu Bai and An Xiao Li into the bathroom to wash her face.
An Xiao Li composed herself. ‘Go upstairs first. Later I’ll come upstairs and we can talk.’
Chen Yu Bai hesitated whether to go upstairs and wait. But whilst he was indecisive, Qin Sang in her night shirt flew from the bathroom and straight to her room. He knew clearly it was Qin Sang’s influence that made Xiao Li determined and his face felt colder.
Chen Yu Bai admitted to himself that he lowered his head to his lowest tolerated threshold, he coldly strode outside.
Half an hour later, An Xiao Li went upstairs. Chen Yu Bai sat on the sofa and unhappily waited in the living room. She didn’t panic as she did in the past when she saw that he was angry. She calmly went to her room, changed her clothes, brushed her hair and went to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of milk.
‘What do you want to say to me?’ An Xiao Li asked calmly.
Chen Yu Bai was never patient as he was in Xiao Li’s family home. But he was wrong first. He took a deep breath and spoke calmly. ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have hid my relationship with Miss Chen from you.’
‘I accept your apology. Is there anything else?’ An Xiao Li said.
Chen Yu Bai wrinkled his forehead. ‘Don’t you want to know… when I recognised you?’
‘If you don’t want to tell me, even if I asked it’ll be pointless. That aspect about you I know too well,’ An Xiao Li said.
An Xiao Li used the excuse of drinking milk to bend her head and avoid looking at Chen Yu Bai’s eyes.
Chen Yu Bai laughed coldly. ‘What else did Qin Sang teach you?’
‘Is my IQ that low that I need to rely on someone else to understand those kind of things?’ An Xiao Li asked.
Chen Yu Bai was choked for words.
‘You’ve never promised me anything so I thought I don’t need to formally say I want to break up with you. But, Chen Yu Bai, I’m formally telling you – from this moment, the only connection that we have is that we’re cousins through marriage. My parents don’t know about our past so there’s no need to tell them. It’s up to you if you want to stay here and celebrate New Year, because we’re still cousins and hosting you for a few days isn’t an issue,’ An Xiao Li recited what she memorised last night.
Chen Yu Bai laughed coldly and his stomach ached. ‘An Xiao Li, I’m not a person without principles, you shouldn’t take it too far.’
‘I’m a person with principles too, you shouldn’t take it too far either,’ An Xiao Li said coldly.
An Xiao Li’s back was actually sweating, because Chen Yu Bai’s expression was too scary.
The wind banged against the windows, there was no heater inside the living room and both Chen Yu Bai and An Xiao Li were cold and quiet. Finally, he realised that Miss dummy was truly angry, the determined look in her eyes froze his heart.
It was the first time in Chen Yu Bai’s life that he felt scared. But he knew he’d never meet a second person with the same look in Xiao Li’s eyes that made him felt compassionate and scared to that extent.
‘What is it that you want…’ Chen Yu Bai surrendered.
Chen Yu Bai was tired and asked An Xiao Li, whatever she wanted he was willing to let her have her way.
‘Chen Yu Bai, I don’t need you anymore,’ An Xiao Li said. She gripped her hands and forced herself to continue. ‘I want to be far away from you. I want to find someone who is compatible with me more than you. That someone doesn’t need to be as handsome as you or rich as you. I just need that someone to treat me better than you treat me and who can bring more happiness into my life than you can.’
Chen Yu Bai admitted that his heart was always covered in ice. But in that moment Xiao Li’s words made his icy heart melt into the coldest water, it was so cold that there was no warm steam at all.
‘Very good, very smooth,’ Chen Yu Bai said. He clapped his hands. ‘An Xiao Li, you’re too good. Go ahead and find your happiness, I won’t stop you.’
End of Chapter Eighteen (Part 2 of 2)
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