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Chapter 25.1

It was now 12 o’clock on the dot, but when Qi Chang’an looked up, he found that the light in his room on the ninth floor was still on, and he was almost certain that Xu Luoyang would wait for him to go back to his room and say good night before going to bed.

His emotions were like vines breaking out of the ground, hard to control. Qi Chang’an hesitated for a moment before finally pressing Qi Chang’yin’s number.

“Chang’an?” Qi Chang’yin’s voice was still the same calm and low voice it had always been, but if you listened carefully, you would find the surprise hidden in it.

Qi Chang’an tried to control his emotions, but he couldn’t hide the hint of excitement in his voice: “Big brother, I seem to have fallen in love with someone.”

As he said this, the fog in front of his eyes seemed to be lifted and he couldn’t help but smile.

Yes, he had fallen in love with him.

Qi Chang’yin on the other end of the phone was silent for a few seconds and asked, “Can you tell me what kind of person he is?”

Qi Chang’an leaned back in his chair, relaxed, his eyes fixed on Xu Luoyang’s window, not having to organise his words at all. “He is very welcoming and I am happy with him. He takes care of me and I can’t help but want to take care of him, not wanting to make him sad, not wanting him to suffer in any way.”

Qi Chang’an slowly closed his eyes, “I like to see him smile. When he smiles, I am happy too.”

Qi Chang’yin was sitting in his office with a thick stack of documents that needed to be signed in front of him. It was noon in Montreal, but as he looked out the window at the blinding sunlight, a sourness suddenly rose up in his heart.

He had never imagined that his brother would one day tell him in such an apprehensive and excited tone: ‘Big brother, I seem to have fallen in love with someone’.

For as long as he could remember, Qi Chang’an hadn’t had a presence in their house since he was a child because their mother always said he was ‘seriously sick’ and was prone to allergies and had severe asthma. So the place where he lived was strictly disinfected and no one was allowed near it. After the age of five, Qi Chang’an became increasingly ill, needed oxygen every day, could not exercise strenuously and occasionally used a wheelchair to walk downstairs.

He was six years older than his little brother, and when he wasn’t even seven years old, he was sent to boarding school abroad and rarely came home. Slowly, he only remembered his little brother as a fragile being who was bedridden, unable to feed himself, had a nasal feeding tube, an oxygen mask and could not be approached easily.

He even vividly remembered the time he picked a blooming rose in his mother’s garden and showed it to Qi Chang’an, only for his mother to scream, cry and scold him, saying he was trying to kill his brother.

Since then, he never dared to do such a thing again. He was a big brother, so he had to protect him and look after him.

It wasn’t until later that he realised he hadn’t done it at all.

“Big brother?” Qi Chang’an’s voice came through the receiver, “Are you listening?”

Qi Chang’yin knew he couldn’t see, but he still nodded, “I’m listening. He….. is Xu Luoyang, isn’t he?” He often followed Qi Chang’an’s news from time to time and lately, the names ‘Qi Chang’an’ and ‘Xu Luoyang’ were always linked together.

“You know?” The smile in Qi Chang’an’s voice became obvious, “It’s him.”

“Chang’an, can you accept being close to him?”

“Yes, it’s fine if it’s Luoyang.” Qi Chang’an paused for a moment before saying, “I like being in contact with him, his warmth is very comforting.”

Qi Chang’yin’s eyes swelled slightly as he got up and stood by the floor-to-ceiling window, continuing to ask patiently, “And does he like you? Do you want to tell him about your feelings?”

“I won’t tell him.” This time the answer was quick and Qi Chang’an’s tone calmed down significantly as he explained again, “He sees me as a very good friend.”

“Won’t it….. be difficult for you?”

“No.” Qi Chang’an thought for a moment and said, “Big brother, have you ever experienced a feeling like this? It’s like a tender shoot growing in your heart, you take care of it, water it, watch it grow and you’re satisfied, but you don’t dare touch it.”

Qi Chang’yin asked with difficulty, “Why don’t you dare?”

“Because it will hurt him.” A bitter smile spread across the corners of Qi Chang’an’s mouth, “It would also scare him.”

For the past fourteen years, his enemy had been himself. He’d had to walk a tightrope and had had to find a balanced fulcrum to hold up his normal exterior.

But inside there was too much unquenchable greed, gradually twisted longing, indelible hatred and fear, and a profound sense of inferiority.

And Xu Luoyang was so beautiful that he would stop at nothing to possess, plunder and claim him.

He couldn’t bear to do that to him.

Hearing Qi Chang’an’s words, it was as if Qi Chang’yin was being tortured and it was as if he was seeing the Qi Chang’an of fourteen years ago again when he had just turned twelve, standing barefoot before him, pale and with anxious eyes, “Big brother, do you believe me? I’m not sick, I’m really not sick.”

After closing his eyes, Qi Chang’yin spoke, saying in a serious tone, “Whatever decision you make, I will support you.”

When Qi Chang’an returned to his room, it was nearly 1 a.m. He had just unbuttoned his jacket when a knock sounded at the door. He raised his voice and said, “The door is unlocked.”

As soon as the words left his mouth, the wooden door opened a crack and a stuffed plush pig appeared, followed by Xu Luoyang’s fake voice: “I’m here to say good night!” After saying this, he also imitated two pig squeals, but it didn’t really sound like it.

Qi Chang’an said with amusement, “You’re here, but where’s your master?”

“Over here!” Xu Luoyang squeezed himself in through the doorway hastily to indicate his presence. He had already changed into his pajamas and sitting unhurriedly on the edge of the bed, he looked up at Qi Chang’an: “You’ve been out in the open for so long, are you cold?” Saying this, he reached out to touch the back of Qi Chang’an’s hand, his eyes widening the instant he did it: “So cold!”

Qi Chang’an didn’t move: “En, it’s a little cold, so what should we do?”

Xu Luoyang didn’t notice the trap and putting the plush pig aside, grabbed Qi Chang’an’s hand and put it directly on his neck, smiling, “I’ll warm it up for you!”

Feeling the warmth coming from his palm, Qi Chang’an regretted it – he would get addicted.

Xu Luoyang didn’t notice anything wrong, he just kept his posture as he told him, “Right, when you weren’t around just now, Director Zhang came to inform us that the investors would be coming over in a few days and invited the whole crew to dinner.”

“Investors?” Qi Chang’an recalled for a few seconds, a little uncertain, “The two people from the Spire? They are…..”

“Wang Linxian and He Weifeng.” Remembering their names, Xu Luoyang reminded Qi Chang’an, thought about something for a moment and couldn’t help but say, “The Buddha jumping over the wall there is really good!”

Qi Chang’an laughed, “Then the next time we go to B City, should we go there again?”

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