After the three-person roundtable discussion ended, Xu Luoyang was taken by Qi Chang’an to the bedroom. Two light-colored pillows were arranged side by side on the large bed, and in the bathroom, there were two towels and two cups, all of them designed for couples.
Relaxing, Xu Luoyang stood by the floor-to-ceiling window, stepped on the soft carpet, and then lay down directly on the floor. Flexing his long legs, he reached out to Qi Chang’an, smiling happily, “Let’s high-five to celebrate passing the first stage of meeting the parents!”
Cooperating, Qi Chang’an gave him a high-five before simply copying him, laying down on the carpet as well. Then he looked at the vast sky outside beyond the glass of the French window and said softly, “I’ve never looked at the sky from this angle in this room.”
Although it was a very ordinary statement, Xu Luoyang felt a strange sourness in his heart. Hooking his finger with Qi Chang’an’s, he tried to change the topic, “Speaking of which, does big brother not like desserts? I saw that he only ate the half portion of dessert you gave him.”
“It’s not that he doesn’t like them, but that when he was a child, our father told him that eating sweets would affect his brain’s efficiency, so he rarely eats them.” Qi Chang’an replied with a smile. “But as long as it’s something I give him, he’ll finish it.”
“Sigh, my family is the same way! My dad doesn’t like fruits, but if I give him some, he’ll eat them all, even though he would have a look of disgust on his face while eating because he had this teenage belief that geniuses don’t need fruits.”
Rolling over, Xu Luoyang placed his long legs directly on Qi Chang’an. Then reaching out, he half hugged him then fell silent for a moment. “Fortunately.”
Fortunately Qi Chang’yin was around.
Understanding what Xu Luoyang was celebrating, Qi Chang’an kissed his forehead.
Six o’clock was dinner time, and the dining table was a long table. Qi Chang’yin sat on one side, and Xu Luoyang sat beside Qi Chang’an on the other. The housekeeper, Aunt Jiang directed the chefs to serve the dishes, said, “I hope the three of you enjoy your meal.” and then left with them.
Looking at the dishes laid out on the table, Xu Luoyang smiled at Qi Chang’yin, “Thank you, big brother. I like them all.”
Seeing his radiant smile, Qi Chang’yin nodded, “Mhmm, I’m glad you like it.”
Blinking, Xu Luoyang realized that it was just as Chang’an had said, Qi Chang’yin seemed even more nervous than him?
It was quiet at the table. Qi Chang’yin put down his spoon and looked across at Xu Luoyang, who was helping Qi Chang’an with his food. He expertly avoided all the foods Qi Chang’an couldn’t touch and placed the fish into Qi Chang’an’s bowl while carefully removing the bones and skin, his movements skillful, showing that this habit had been maintained for a long time.
And Qi Chang’an’s appetite had also increased significantly.
After another spoonful of rib soup, Qi Chang’yin withdrew his gaze and found the soup much tastier than before.
The next morning, Xu Luoyang woke up at six o’clock and lay in bed with his eyes open for a while. Then getting up quietly, he changed into his clothes after freshening up, and only after he made sure that Qi Chang’an was still asleep did he leave the bedroom.
Walking out to the lawn outside, he shivered in the cold wind, then he patted his face and prepared to find a place to take a walk– good habits had to be maintained, no neglect was allowed!
However worried that Qi Chang’an might wake up and not find him, he didn’t go far. He stayed near the bedroom window, drew a circle on the ground for himself, then started moving within that circle.
After about half an hour of exercise, he stopped to rest and noticed a white towel being handed to him from the side.
“Big brother?” Xu Luoyang froze for a moment, then standing up hurriedly, took the towel with both hands, flashing a bright smile as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. “Good morning, big brother!”
“Hmm, good morning.” Qi Chang’yin’s attire today was more casual, and his presence wasn’t as imposing as the day before.
Considering that he was Qi Chang’an’s big brother, Xu Luoyang’s tone also relaxed a bit. “Chang’an is still asleep. He attended the Silver Awards banquet the night before, and it didn’t end until after midnight, then he returned to the hotel in the early hours, so he didn’t get enough rest.”
Qi Chang’yin nodded then suddenly asked, “Did he have a nightmare last night?”
Thinking about it seriously, Xu Luoyang shook his head. “No, he didn’t. He fell asleep quickly last night, woke up once during the night, but fell asleep again quickly.” After saying that, he heard Qi Chang’yin say, “That bedroom is where Chang’an used to stay when he was a child.”
Xu Luoyang’s heart clenched for a moment, but he didn’t speak. He put his hands in his pockets and unconsciously tilted his head to look at the bedroom window on the second floor.
“After they passed away, I moved with Chang’an but after two years, Chang’an came to me and said he wanted to move back. I asked him why, and he said that running away isn’t a solution. At first, I didn’t agree, but he persuaded me, so we moved back.”
Qi Chang’yin also looked at the bedroom window. “When we first moved back, Chang’an would have nightmares almost every night, dreaming that Shen Zhe Mei said he was sick or something similar. He lost his appetite, often had stomachaches, and ate very little. He quickly became thin. I tried to convince him to move away with me, but he refused.”
As he spoke, he turned to Xu Luoyang. “You should know why.”
Xu Luoyang nodded. “En. For Chang’an, no matter where he is, he probably wouldn’t have been able to forget these things, so he simply moved back here, probably thinking it’s a way to confront his past.”
“Yes.” Qi Chang’yin nodded and asked, “Chang’an told you everything?”
“If you mean the illness, he told me everything.” As Xu Luoyang mentioned this, he felt a bitterness in his mouth. His clenched fist tightening, he hesitated for a few seconds then asked, “Why, did Shen Zhe Mei do that?”
Qi Chang’yin took a moment before responding, “Munchausen syndrome by proxy.” 1代理型孟乔森综合征 – Munchausen syndrome by proxy 2Factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA), also known as fabricated or induced illness by carers (FII), and first named as Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP), is a condition in which a caregiver creates the appearance of health problems in another person, typically their child. This may include injuring the child or altering test samples. The caregiver then presents the person as being sick or injured. Permanent injury or death of the victim may occur as a result of the disorder. The behaviour occurs without a specific benefit to the caregiver. [Wikipedia]
Xu Luoyang nodded. After Qi Chang’an had told him about his childhood, he had researched the condition and suspected it might be this illness, but he hadn’t been too sure.
“Her mother passed away at a very young age, her father had constant affairs, and she was neglected from a young age, so she had an extremely sensitive personality. After she married my father, Qi Shiyan, she placed almost all her hopes and dependence on her husband. But she didn’t get the response she expected because her husband valued his work and the continuation of the Qi family more.
I’m the eldest son of the Qi family, so I had a private tutor come to teach me from the age of three, and I was busy every day, so gradually, we grew distant, and when I was twelve and sent to a boarding school, her inner turmoil intensified because her husband and her eldest son, me, were growing further apart.”
”So, she just–” Xu Luoyang felt a surge of anger and wasn’t able to finish his sentence. His eyes stinging, he looked up at the somewhat gloomy sky and asked instead, “Is it because of the ‘Rose 3The ‘Mei’ in Shen Zhe Mei’s name means ‘Rose’‘ in her name that Chang’an is afraid of roses, especially the red ones?”
“Not really.” Qi Chang’yin’s voice, compared to before, had become a lot more low. “Shen Zhe Mei really liked roses. There used to be many rose bushes in this lawn, and most of her clothes had rose patterns in them, as well as her having a lot of rose-shaped jewelry.”
Saying up until this point, he paused, as if calming his emotions. After a while, he continued, “When I was eighteen, I suddenly received a call from Chang’an. He called from my father’s phone and said, ‘Big brother, can you come back now? Mom shot and klled dad and then klled herself.'”
Xu Luoyang’s fists clenched instantly, and in that moment, the stinging pain from his nails digging into his flesh couldn’t overshadow the pain welling up in his heart.
At that time, Qi Chang’an was only twelve years old.
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