In that moment, Yan Rui felt like his heart was stabbed with hundreds of needles, the pain caused his body to tremble.
Duan Chen’s thin lips moved: “You already know that I only keep obedient ones around.”
“I…I understand. I will move out. I will move out once I go back.” His thin shoulders look a little fragile as it drooped down. Yan Rui’s eyes were now red and reflected a deep bottomless panic. He knew that only holding on to the identity of a “fiancée” can he then stay by Duan Chen’s side. He cannot have the engagement annulled.
Duan Chen looked at his cowardly and incompetent demeanor. How dare such a man pester him.
Duan Chen disliked Yan Rui. He had been in a position of power for a long time and was used to dominating everything. Yan Rui’s sudden arrival into his life took him by surprise and for the first time, he felt that he was not fully in control.
The elevator soon arrived. Yan Rui was unwilling to part with Duan Chen as he had not seen him for a long time. After today, he did not know when he would see him again. He knew that Duan Chen abhorred him but he could not control how he felt for him. Even when he was bullied to tears and in pain, he still liked him.
His feelings for Duan Chen need no reciprocation. As long as there was a place for him to observe him from afar, it was sufficient. Breathing heavily again, Yan Rui could not hold back this time and sniffled as he entered the elevator. His long eyelashes flickered as he looked back at Duan Chen with eyes so pure and infatuated.
Again with this look! Duan Chen’s gaze was cold, his “peach blossom” eyes which tilted upward slightly were looking sinister.1Note: “Peach blossom” is used to describe the shape of eyes which is considered highly captivating.
Yan Rui seemed to be looking at him, but at the same seemed to be looking at another person through him. There were many times Duan Chen suspected that Yan Rui had recognised him for someone else.
“Ah Chen, I’m going back.” What Yan Rui actually wanted to say was that he was going home, but what Duan Chen had just mentioned in the ward was deeply imprinted in his mind, constantly reminding him that it was not his home. He thought he would have found a home by finding Duan Chen, but no, he was still the same homeless little beast hiding in the garbage bin.
Duan Chen watched him walk in and suddenly opened his mouth to ask: “Yan Rui, what exactly do you like about me?”
His voice was as flat and calm as if he was just casually enquiring about how the weather was outside. The elevator door moved quickly, and when Duan Chen finished his question, the door had already closed. The surrounding was a deathly silence with only the sound of the elevator running.
Yan Rui was the only one in the empty elevator but he was used to standing in a corner, leaning forward with his head hanging down and staring at his toes.
The last question from Duan Chen was still echoing in his ears.
What exactly do you like about him? Yan Rui had no answers. Perhaps, he was born to love him.
Duan Chen looked at the tightly shut door, why Yan Rui liked him was a mystery that he had not been able to solve.
He had no shortage of suitors around him, both men and women, but a non-human like Yan Rui is a first.
He met Yan Rui for the first time on a blind date arranged by his grandmother. Yan Rui sat opposite him, his gaze pure as that of a child’s. He disclosed his identity without reservation and told him that he was a snake demon who had cultivated into a man and would not turn into a snake again. He also said that his blood and scales could save people and were panacea to prolong life.
Afraid that he did not believe him, Yan Rui brought him to the washroom and revealed two sharp fangs and the snake scales on his legs. He was not concerned that Duan Chen would be afraid and even told him that he liked him.
Yan Rui liked him. Did he like his face, or his identity?
He had always shown the worst side of himself to Yan Rui, his cruel words and taunts, beating him up and bullying him to tears. But Yan Rui had never once said anything about leaving him, and even obeyed him to save Zhou Ran.
He must have been born to be a wretched being.
Duan Chen returned to the ward and when Zhou Ran saw him, the corners of his lips turned upwards forming a smile. He hugged his arm: “Why are you back so soon? Has Yan Rui already left?”
“I sent him to the elevator.” Duan Chen placed his hand on his shoulder and slightly brushed Zhou Ran away before reaching for his phone in his pocket.
Zhou Ran saw that he was neither not happy nor angry but he was not in the best of mood at the moment. He reached out to cover the screen of his phone: “Ah Chen, look at me.” Duan Chen lowered his eyes to look at him, his pupils had a peerless depth which intimidated most people.
But Zhou Ran was not afraid because he had been by his side for a decade and had long understood this man. He knew his likes and dislikes, knew how to cajole him to make him care. Zhou Ran ran his hands across Duan Chen’s cold fair fingers. This man was the pride of heavens and was naturally blessed with a pair of good-looking hands with well-defined joints, long finger bones and nails which were neatly trimmed.
“Are you blaming me for being nosy and asking you to send Yan Rui off?”
“Don’t think too much, you know I can never blame you.” Duan Chen said seriously. “Didn’t you want me to watch the snow with you? Do you still want to?”
Seeing that Duan Chen still remembered what he casually said, Zhou Ran’s heart was elated: “I do.”
Duan Chen caressed him by his waist and carried him onto the chair in front of the window. He then covered him well with a woolen blanket.
This time the snow was much lighter than before and the street lights on the outside were dim. The heavy snow from earlier had coated the road white. The lights cast long shadows from the numerous ginkgo trees along the road. Such a snow scene was not exactly mesmerising but it did add to the ambience.
“Can Yan Rui get a cab at this time?”
“Why do you care about him?”
“I just feel sorry for him. The snow is so deep and the weather is so cold. He just lost blood, what if…….” Zhou Ran proded and looked at Duan Chen.
“Don’t worry, he won’t die.” As a beast who had lived for ten thousand years, how could anything happen to him. Even if he were to die himself, Yan Rui would still be alive and well.
“Even if there is no danger to his life, what if he catches a cold? Ah Chen, you really do not worry or care about him at all?”
As always, gentle, kind and selfless. This was the Zhou Ran he knew, the Zhou Ran who Duan Chen liked.
Duan Chen caressed his face, his fingertips brushed his eyebrows, his dark eyes slowly moving and admiring: “You should worry about yourself, quickly get well and move to my place to live with me.”
When Yan Rui stepped out of the hospital, he slipped on the snow and fell backwards into more snow which got onto his hair and face. He shivered and shook his head to shake the snow off his body. The feeling of falling into the snow was highly unpleasant, not only will the skin sting from the cold, even the bones will tingle inside.
Yan Rui felt cold and exhausted. With each inhalation of the cold air into the nose down to his lungs, there was a stabbing pain in his chest. It felt like a pair of hands ripping at it, making every breath a moment of torment.
Yan Rui stood up weakly, lifting his left foot to support and drag his right foot which had already lost all sensation.
This lone shadow slowly disappeared into the night. Remembering that Duan Chen wanted to accompany Zhou Ran to view the snow scene, Yan Rui turned back to look at the hospital behind him.
When he caught sight of two obscure figures in the window of the ward on the third floor, his vision suddenly blurred. Warm tears rolled down uncontrollably and smashed into the snow, becoming ice themselves.
Duan Chan was accompanying Zhou Ran to enjoy the snow scene, while he was running alone in wind and snow. The difference was that great.
It was already 6am in the morning when he got home. Yan Rui’s face was almost translucent white and even the bruise on his lips caused by the cold had lost its colour.
The villa was not heated and the empty house was a deathly cold.
Yan Rui entered the bathroom to draw hot water into the bathtub. The person who was struggling to stay alive a moment ago was now soaked in the bathtub like a dead man. Other than the sound of the hot water flowing out from the tap, the room was silent.
The man’s body was half floating in the water and his clothes were fully soaked and felt heavy on him. Yan Rui did not care. After feeling the warmth, he was finally able to stop holding off his fatigue and closed his eyes at ease.
Yan Rui soaked in the tub from 6 to 7am before he opened his eyes. His skin and flesh were puffy from the long soak.
Sitting in the water, he began to remove his now heavy clothes. Just when he was done, a hurried knock came from the outside and made a “dong dong” thumping noise against the solid wooden door.
“Little beast, open the door!”