As soon as he found out he didn’t have any mental problems, Wang Xiaoming became lively again.
As long as he was fine, there was nothing he couldn’t overcome.
After he circled his office three times, he finally decided to visit Xiang Wenxun to make sure that he had made it safely back.
Baal demanded unhappily, “If he was going to die, he’d be dead by now. What use is it for you to go now?”
Wang Xiaoming shivered in fear and said after a long moment of silence, “To take care of the body.”
Baal thought about the new development of the Black Star Pearl, which was clearly not in the original plan, and realized he had to negotiate with Xiang Wenxun again. So he agreed begrudgingly.
Wang Xiaoming looked at the time and found that in a little bit, Sharky and the others would come to give him the latest update on cleaning the Silver House. So that they wouldn’t wait around aimlessly, he made a point of writing a note and leaving it on the desk.
Baal glanced at it. “Meeting’s over?”
Wang Xiaoming answered, “That’s the only power I have.”
Baal recalled that there had been a human named A-Dou. At first, he had thought that the human must be a fictional character. How could a real emperor have been that useless? Now, he thought there really were people that couldn’t be propped up despite all efforts.
When they reached the office on the top floor, it was still the secretary who greeted them.
“Is President Xiang here?” Wang Xiaoming waited in terror for the secretary to answer.
The secretary’s lips, painted bright pink with lipstick, opened and shut as she gently said, “He’s not here.”
Wang Xiaoming’s heart sank.
The secretary watched his face pale and asked curiously, “Xinxin Realty’s President is here and President Xiang went down to greet him. Did something happen?”
Color rushed back into Wang Xiaoming’s face. “You mean, President Xiang’s okay?”
“Was something supposed to happen to him?” The female instinct, and the secretary’s desire for gossip, both stood at attention.
Wang Xiaoming gave a dry laugh. “I mean… uh…”
Baal crossed his arms against his chest and looked casually at the ceiling.
The secretary gave him an expectant look. “Uh?”
“Uh, just, we just ate together.”
“Ate together?” A look crossed the secretary’s face. She had been with Xiang Wenxun for so long and, with the exception of Tao Le and Chu Zhao, she had not heard of Xiang Wenxun treating any other employee to a meal just by themselves.
“Then, he left in a hurry.” Wang Xiaoming wiped the cold sweat from his forehead.
The secretary assessed him.
“So, I just wanted to ask,” Wang Xiaoming continued, “is he alright?”
The secretary hid her thoughts and asked with a smile, “Then did anything happen during the meal?”
“Happen?” Wang Xiaoming tried really hard to remember and then slowly turned beet red.
Baal’s mocking sounds soon turned to displeased sounds.
The secretary watched the expression on Wang Xiaoming’s face and various guesses flashed through her mind. But she revealed none of that on her face as she said, “President Xiang will be back soon. Will you wait for him in his office?”
“No, no need.” Wang Xiaoming hurriedly shook his head. “I just want to make sure that he’s alright. As long as he’s alright,” he said. He turned around to leave when he suddenly heard the secretary say slowly from behind him, “Don’t tell me you rejected President Xiang?”
Wang Xiaoming froze and turned around in shock.
The secretary was surer than ever that she had guessed right and sighed deliberately, “You’re right to be cautious.”
Wang Xiaoming was utterly confused.
“President Xiang might be a good man but two men can’t be together for their entire lives.”
Wang Xiaoming’s body trembled.
Her words were like a thorn that mercilessly stabbed into the weak spot that he had tried very hard to ignore and exposed all of his worries hidden in the deepest part of his heart.
From the moment he had realized he was gay, his life would not follow the path that society laid out for him.
For example, if he wasn’t gay, then even if he couldn’t find a girlfriend at university or at work, it wouldn’t matter. He could have been open about going on matchmaking dates. But he was gay and that circle instantly shrank to the point of suffocating him.
He didn’t dare go to gay bars to find a partner because he was afraid the other person just wanted to have fun. He was at a complete loss as to how to find a life partner.
When he liked Chang Haitao, he had told himself that this was fine. At least he had a crush to sustain himself spiritually. Even if Chang Haitao married one day, he could move to somewhere close to them and then watch how happy Haitao was from the sidelines. Haitao’s happiness would be his happiness.
He thought he had prepared himself, but he hadn’t. He thought he could endure it, but he couldn’t.
At the thought of a lifetime together, his entire heart ached as if someone twisted it.
Persistence was a terrifying word. It blocked out the future.
But he couldn’t force himself to like women. Humans only lived once just as some plants only bloomed for a season. Especially someone so unlucky as himself who could die randomly at any given moment. How could he spend his time doing things he didn’t enjoy?
The secretary saw that he was frowning and, after a long moment of silence, assumed that he had something against homosexuals. She gentled her voice and explained, “You need to get used to things like that at the Silver House. You probably know a bit about what’s going on between Jie and Mr. Tao, right?”
Wang Xiaoming’s eyes moved.
“Mr. Tao is a stockholder. You need to be careful what you say,” the secretary said meaningfully.
Wang Xiaoming finally found a thread amongst his tangled thoughts and asked, “You’re telling me that Mr. Tao will kill everyone who knows about him and Jie?”
The secretary, “…”
Wang Xiaoming didn’t understand what the changing expressions on her face meant and decided to ignore them. As long as he knew Xiang Wenxun was still alive, that was great.
Baal demanded, “Go book an appointment. I want to talk to them.”
Wang Xiaoming asked in surprise, “You’re interested in the secretary?”
The secretary had good hearing and her ears immediately perked up as she asked with a smile, “What?”
Baal’s lips twitched and said, “I meant go ask for an appointment with Xiang Wenxun!”
Wang Xiaoming immediately changed his tune and said, “I just said, I’ll need to trouble the secretary.”
The secretary wasn’t so easily fooled and looked him up and down quizzically. “But I heard ‘interested’?”
Wang Xiaoming nodded several times, “Yes, yes, interested is right. Interested in the secretary’s… uh… abilities. To help.”
“What do you need my help with?” The secretary didn’t force the issue.
Wang Xiaoming said, “I wanted to ask you to find me a time to chat with President Xiang.”
The secretary gave him a strange look, “Didn’t I tell you to go wait for him in his office?”
Wang Xiaoming paused, “Oh, yes. Ah, yes.”
The secretary murmured quietly just as he stepped past her into the office, “Does your family have a history of mental illnesses?”
Wang Xiaoming practically jumped into the air and lowered his voice to say, “What’s the difference between mental illness and neurological illness?”
The secretary answered after thinking about it, “One is for the psychiatrist and one is for the neurologist.”
They walked into the office and Wang Xiaoming was still uneasy. “Baal, tell me, do I really have a neurological problem?”
Baal asked in a sour mood, “How should I know?”
Wang Xiaoming pursed his lips and demanded, “You’re a fallen angel. How could you not know?”
Baal answered, “But I’m not a fallen angel from the neurology department!”
Wang Xiaoming was silent for so long that Baal thought he had completely forgotten about the topic. Then he suddenly blurted out, “Maybe I should go to the hospital and check it out?”
Baal was about to say, “whatever,” when his mind reassessed mid-speech and he changed it to, “No need.”
What if the diagnosis got confirmed? He’d be so embarrassed. The rumor would spread among Heaven and Hell that Baal was the object of affection of a neurologically ill person!
Baal answered, “Because it doesn’t matter if you have a neurological problem or not.”
Wang Xiaoming frowned. “Is it because mental problems are worse?”
“I meant,” Baal took a deep breath and continued, “it doesn’t matter if you have a neurological problem. I won’t think less of you.” Blame it all on Lucifer who tossed the Black Star Pearl into this guy!
He didn’t hear a response for quite a while and couldn’t help but turn around to see Wang Xiaoming looking at him stupidly, with something that was suspiciously tear-like in the corners of his eyes.
“What’s up with you?”
“Nothing.” Wang Xiaoming quickly bent down and raised his hands to wipe away the tears.
Baal hated it when people kept things quiet. Lucifer was exactly like that; no matter how displeased he was, he’d never say it. It’d be easier to visit the graveyard to figure out who Lucifer hated. “Say it!”
Wang Xiaoming hiccuped in fright, “I, I’m just touched.”
“Touched?” Baal’s tone of voice was strange.
“You’re the first to say that no matter what happens you won’t leave me.”
“I just said that it doesn’t matter if you’re neurologically…” Wang Xiaoming’s bright and shining eyes made Baal swallow his words.
The handle turned with an audible click and the door opened.
Xiang Wenxun walked in, smelling of alcohol.
Wang Xiaoming instantly greeted nervously, “President Xiang.”
“Need something?” He closed the door and then calmly took off his jacket and hung it up on the clothing rack.
“I,” Wang Xiaoming sneaked a glance over at Baal and gathered his courage to say, “Baal asked me to come to apologize to you!”
Baal’s eyebrows raised.
“That, he, he couldn’t control his magic.” Wang Xiaoming used up all of his feeble imagination to make up a story, “He had wanted to, do, do magic, as a surprise.” He could feel the fire coming from Baal without even looking at him.
“When did I say I wanted to apologize?”
“When did I say I wanted to do a magic trick?”
“When did I say I wanted to give him a surprise?”
Baal’s anger was like a machine gun that kept spewing bullets at the back of Wang Xiaoming’s head.
Wang Xiaoming lowered his head even further and stood in one place, unmoving.
Xiang Wenxun looked at him for a few seconds and then said with a smile, “I accept your apology.”
Wang Xiaoming paused and then said, “Ah, it’s not mine. It’s Baal’s.”
Xiang Wenxun smiled but said nothing.
Under his understanding gaze and smile, Wang Xiaoming quietly stopped saying anything.
“I heard you had something to discuss with me?” Xiang Wenxun slowly asked.
Wang Xiaoming glanced at Baal as he said, “Not me, Baal.”
“Oh?” Though Xiang Wenxun asked a question, his expression was not surprised at all.