Unexpectedly, Sean, who looked thin, weak and frivolous, was a pretty reliable guy. He would come to the confinement room every day to show Feng Hua the day’s photos, and sometimes would even thoughtfully take videos. If it was inconvenient, he would put the photos in the crack of the door and stick notes on them, as serious as a middle school student. Had the signal in the confinement room not been blocked, Feng Hua would’ve been able to see Feng Yeran’s movements all the time.
On this day, Sean went straight into the confinement room and took out a large stack of photos from an envelope. Most of them focused on two people. One was Feng Yeran, of course, looking fresh in his autumn clothes, and the other was a tall, unfamiliar man.
Sean proudly introduced that this man was called Xiao Zhijie, was a rich second generation, specialised in finance, and was expected to inherit the family business this time back in China. He and Feng Yeran had known each other since kindergarten, and were considered best friends. When Feng Yeran was hit hard in high school, he was the one who had always been by Feng Yeran’s side, and whenever Feng Yeran got drunk in a bar, he was the one who carried Feng Yeran home. Feng Hua immediately remembered that Brother He had mentioned this man when he had gone to the bar with Feng Yeran before.
“I think this guy is a bit bent.” Sean grinned evilly.
“That’s not straight.”
“You’re still a child… Ah, okay, I’ll say it. It’s scary when you look at me like that. I’m saying that he’s probably interested in Feng Yeran. You see… he always stares at Feng Yeran, smiles too gently, and constantly wraps his arms around Feng Yeran’s waist… Eh, don’t burn the photos!”
On this day, it was inconvenient for Sean to come in, so he put the photos under the door.
From the photos, he could see that Feng Yeran did an experiment and wrote a report in the morning, went to a meeting in the afternoon, and then got into Xiao Zhijie’s car. The two of them talked and laughed in the car, then climbed a mountain and walked into a cemetery. Feng Yeran placed a bunch of flowers in front of a grave and Xiao Zhijie put his arm around Feng Yeran’s shoulder and whispered something. The owner of the grave was Feng Yeran’s mother, Yao Yumei…
Feng Yeran was interviewed all afternoon this day, and his stomach began to ache on the road, so he came to Feng Hua in the evening. Feng Hua was happy. But, he kept going on and on about other people, like the journalist who interviewed him today, the person he admired, his good friend, and the woman he liked. Right, he said that after he was interviewed today, he met the woman he liked—Chen Xuan—at the company.
On this day, Sean brought more material than usual, with various videos, recordings and photos. It turned out that Feng Yeran had attended his high school reunion today, and there were many unfamiliar faces there. Feng Yeran was smiling happily among those faces Feng Hua didn’t recognise at all, and several women were sitting beside him. He had a radiant face.
Feng Hua opened a video and watched it. It was ten minutes long, and every second was torture for Feng Hua.
Chen Xuan, dressed in a long white dress, was sitting next to Feng Yeran. Today, she had long, fluffy brown curls, with light makeup, looking very young. She was talking with Feng Yeran, laughing with her mouth covered every now and then. There wasn’t a hint of coldness at all, but rather some attentiveness.
“I went to see your interview last time. It was really great.”
“Yeah, to be honest, I was quite worried for you at the time. Your opponent asked several pointed questions and it felt like they wanted to target you, but you kept your attitude very gentle, answering easily without losing humour. It reminded me of you in the debate competition in high school. At that time, we were all sweating for you, but you didn’t even notice, every paragraph you said would stir up a round of applause. At the end, your opponent couldn’t say anything at all!”
“You still remember that…”
“Of course I do. I still often dream about our high school days.”
“Is that true… I thought you’d forgotten.”
Chen Xuan’s smile was a little bitter. She took a sip of wine. “Yeran, don’t blame me. I can’t help myself sometimes.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t talk today?”
“Mm.” Chen Xuan suddenly raised her head and looked at Feng Yeran. “But I can’t control myself. I want to talk to you. At least I can be free today. I’m still that Chen Xuan, not Feng Boran’s wife. I can choose which man to stay with, which man to talk to.”
With that, her cheeks flushed red, but Feng Yeran was obviously uneasy. There was still someone singing on stage, and many people playing games and laughing. His hand had covered the back of Chen Xuan’s, his back straight as he said, “Xiao Xuan… let’s…”
Before he finished, his hand suddenly ran away.
But Chen Xuan had already grabbed his hand and stood up. As the video shook, she could be heard saying to everyone, “I’ll go with Yeran first. Have fun everyone.”
The video didn’t stop. There were actually more than five minutes left.
But Feng Hua immediately closed the video, wanting to immediately delete all the data and everything he’d just seen.
Sean brought quite a lot of information, but Feng Hua didn’t look at it. He tossed the stuff aside and stood by the window in a daze.
On this day, Feng Hua just looked at some photos and then burned them. Feng Yeran and Chen Xuan were watching a movie at the cinema.
He didn’t look at any photos.
In the evening, Feng Yeran came with a stomachache and an irritating smell of perfume, the scent of Chen Xuan.
After Feng Hua treated Feng Yeran’s stomachache, Feng Yeran was about to fall asleep. However, Feng Hua still stubbornly carried Feng Yeran into the hot water and bathed him. Feng Yeran woke up in a daze, incredulous. “How did you carry me over here? You’re so strong now?”
After taking a bath, he finally had no smell of others. He lay on Feng Hua’s small bed and said what he’d seen and heard over the past few days. He didn’t lie. He talked about his friend Xiao Zhijie, about the recent interview, and about the woman he liked. He said he knew that it wouldn’t work out, but couldn’t help but want to be with that woman, and felt stupid. Now, he seemed to have long forgotten that Feng Hua had confessed to him.
“You’re stupid,” Feng Hua said.
“Haha, when did you become so arrogant, little guy?”
“You’re always talking about other people, when clearly I’m by your side.”
“Ahh, okay, I was wrong.”
Feng Yeran turned over and hugged Feng Hua. “So, tell me, what have you been doing these days?”
“Daze, sleep, think about you.”
“…Silly boy, you’re so mushy.”
“I’m going to sleep.”
That night, Feng Yeran slept next to Feng Hua, just like he used to. And Feng Hua did something he regretted. He peeped into Feng Yeran’s dream, which was almost self-abusive—
Feng Yeran, still a student, was wearing his school uniform, and turned his head every now and then to look at the long-haired girl to his back right, Chen Xuan.
Feng Yeran wrote a note to Chen Xuan and threw it towards her, only for it to hit the boy in front of him on the head, triggering a note war.
Feng Yeran carried a fainted Chen Xuan into the infirmary.
Feng Yeran was running on the sports field, while Chen Xuan shouted ‘come on’ from the side.
The two of them had become desk mates. Chen Xuan pouted as she drew a line in the middle of the desk, then stared at Feng Yeran.
Feng Yeran, who’d just woken up, saw a big piece of bread in front of him, which Chen Xuan had given him.
On the night of Halloween, Feng Yeran and Chen Xuan danced by the bonfire, then Chen Xuan stood on tiptoe and kissed Feng Yeran on the face.
Feng Yeran yelled at the fireworks, over and over again, Chen Xuan, I like you!
Chen Xuan, I like you.
Chen Xuan, I like you.
Chen Xuan, I like you…
Feng Hua forced himself to get out, but at the moment he pulled away, he heard the gasps of two people, which came from Feng Yeran’s dream. He didn’t dare imagine what was happening. No matter how high his IQ was and how many books he’d read, there was still too much he didn’t understand. He was almost horrified to see the changes in Feng Yeran’s body, to see him reaching his hand down almost unconsciously…
He seemed to see the dense silk threads again, the silk threads called Chen Xuan, tightly binding his Feng Yeran, contaminating his Ye’er… Just the thought that all Feng Yeran could think about at that moment was Chen Xuan made him feel sick…
As soon as he ran into the bathroom, he vomited. It was another sleepless night.
On the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th of October, for five consecutive days, Feng Hua stayed still alone, or dazed, or drew, or read, completely ignoring the information Sean brought back. But Sean wasn’t discouraged. He still persistently tailed Feng Yeran, trying to capture all of him.
On October 19th, Feng Hua looked at the photos, which he shouldn’t have.
Sean had shot very, very clearly, and densely, frame by frame. Quickly flipping through them, it was just like watching a film.
Feng Yeran and a half-masked Chen Xuan were dancing at a party. Chen Xuan was wearing a backless black evening dress. She nestled in Feng Yeran’s arms, and the two of them danced in a way that was close to embracing.
Then, they gazed at each other, affectionately.
Feng Yeran pulled Chen Xuan off the dance floor. In the half-dark and half-light, he took off Chen Xuan’s mask and buried his head to kiss her. Chen Xuan tilted her head and responded eagerly, hugging Feng Yeran’s back.
Several times, Feng Yeran looked up towards the camera, as if he’d noticed someone filming them.
His lips were crimson and slightly open, and his eyes were dark and filled with lust.
Looking at these photos, Feng Hua felt as if he were standing in front of the camera, watching it all. It seemed as if he could even hear Feng Yeran’s gasps, just like in the movie he had watched with him that day, the rapid gasps, the sucking sounds… The camera kept zooming in, and the picture was so clear that it seemed he could even see the sweat spilling from his forehead, the hot breath he exhaled…
In the waves of nausea, Feng Hua felt intense heat. He could hardly control himself, and made the exact same movements that Feng Yeran had made that night, moving roughly, mechanically, and almost self-abusively…
He was in so much pain, so much pain that he wanted to tear apart the woman who had defiled Ye’er right away, but at that moment, he only had this passionate Feng Yeran in his eyes, as if it wasn’t someone else but him making Feng Yeran passionate, as if Feng Yeran was staring at him with his lustful eyes, kissing him again and again with his moist lips…
The pleasure soon overwhelmed all the painful emotions. It was as if he’d forgotten everything, as if everything was bliss.
However, what extreme bliss brought was inevitably extreme devastation.
Feng Hua sat on the bed, looking blankly at his fingers filled with filth, and cried.
Around him, the stacks of photos instantly burned up, forming clusters of flames, like a group of disgusting, struggling ghosts.
Feng Hua howled, like a child who had broken a beautiful glass bottle.