Thursday, June 30, 2016

Love Late vol. 2 - ch18

Translator: dairytea
Proofreaders: ayszhang, Marcia, m@o, Kai, happyBuddha
Love Late Vol. 2
2nd release of the day! Sorry for the long wait. >__<
Chapter Eighteen

For the next few days, Shao Yan traveled abroad on business.  Even though he called me daily, I still felt empty.
One day when I had finished my work and was idly flipping through data at the office, I saw Ke Luo come in.  I waved at him.  “Come on in.  If you have time to kill, play a game with your uncle.”
I felt proud of myself as soon as I made the remark.  With this elder’s speech and manner of mine, I seemed far from the wounded person who’d been rejected by him.  I’d appeared to have turned over a new leaf and gained a new life.
Ke Luo looked at me.  “Shao Yan called me last night.”
I laughed.  “Well, he’s a business man.  He has to expand his network.  Making more contacts is a must.”
“He invited me out for a drink.”
“That’s normal.  When you have the time, you should also socialize a bit.”
“Lee, I don’t think he was inviting me out late at night for business socializing.”
I stood up at once and blew a fuse.  “What the hell are you saying!”
My reaction was so intense that even he was startled.
“Shao Yan isn’t even in the country.  How could he have invited you out for a drink in the middle of the night?”
Ke Luo was very shocked.  “He’s not in the country?”
I smiled.  “That’s right.  It’s a shame you didn’t find out clearly, or else you wouldn’t have made up a lie like that.”
Ke Luo blushed a little and furrowed his brows.  “But I didn’t.”
“All right.  At any rate, between the two of you, one has to be telling a lie.”  I looked at him and scoffed, “So why would I believe you and not him?”
Ke Luo firmly said, “He’s lying to you.”
I couldn’t tolerate it anymore and furiously shouted, “What would you gain from ruining my life?  Even if I break up with Shao Yan, what would you get out of it?”
Ke Luo’s face turned entirely red.  His eyes widened, yet he didn’t say a word.
“You just want to feel loved, that’s all.  You want someone to pamper you, to dote on you.  Go home to Uncle Lu.  Don’t come to me.  It’s your business if you want to spend the rest of your life waiting for Shu Nian.  I certainly wouldn’t want to waste my time in vain for you.”
During the silence that followed, my cell phone rang.  I glanced at the screen and smiled as I picked up the call.  “Shao Yan?”
The man on the other end was sweet and gentle.  “Darling, I’m at the airport.  I’m back early…”
By the time I had finished the long phone call and turned around, Ke Luo had already left.  I probably hurt his feelings. 
Of course I didn’t believe he’d tell a lie.  If I had to choose between trusting Shao Yan or him, I’d in fact choose him.
It’s just that sometimes acting naïve and obstinate is necessary.
I couldn’t admit I had lost.  What’s more, I couldn’t admit to him that I had lost.

That evening, I met up with Shao Yan.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and we were all over each other as a result.
After we made love, I leaned against the headboard of the bed, smoking.  “How was the weather in Tokyo?”
He languorously said, “It was okay.  I was going to get you a gift, but because I was in such a hurry to finish things up, I didn’t have time to go pick one.”
With a smile, I said, “You were away in Tokyo, yet someone said that you had asked him out for a drink yesterday in the middle of the night?”
Shao Yan immediately sat up, surprised and aggrieved.  “What do you mean?  How could I have done something like that?!  How can you think so lowly of me?”
I quickly wrapped my arms around him, consoling him, “Look at you, so tense.  It’s because I don’t believe it that I brought it up as a joke.”
Shao Yan was still mad.  “Who’s the bastard that’s starting rumors behind my back?”
I smiled and said, “Just gossip from a nobody.  No need to bother with it.  You have nothing to fear as long as you have nothing to hide.”
Seeing as he was still upset, I had no choice but to use the most primitive method to settle the problem.  Lifting his spirits as well as points farther south I embraced him and kissed him.

It was already around ten the next morning when I came back from Shao Yan’s place. Although the sun was already high, I didn’t actually sleep that many hours.  I felt top-heavy as I walked.
As expected, excessive sensual indulgence is bad for the health.  I had to have something like some nourishing soup.
I was rummaging for pills in my room when I suddenly heard Shu Nian knock on my door and cheerfully call out, “Brother, are you all set?  The cake is done.  Come out and eat.”
I made a sound of acknowledgement and opened the door with my facial mask still on—a ghastly green face.
Not only do men have to boost their virility and work out, but they have to maintain their complexion after staying up late.  Facial care isn’t only meant for women.  A rough-skinned man smiling with a face full of wrinkles would spoil one’s appetite just the same.  Since my hunting targets were pretty boys, don’t tell me I should use the creases on my face to crush them to death?
Making your partner happy is also a type of virtue.  Considering how long I have lived with them, it wouldn’t be a shock to bro and Xie Nan to see me taking care of my youthful appearance.
However, who would have thought that as soon as I took a couple steps out, I would hear Ke Luo’s voice?
I stopped at once, frozen on the spot.  Neither moving forward nor turning around was a choice.
Fine, it’s no big deal.  To me, he’s now just an old friend.  It’s not as if he’s Shao Yan.  No matter how wretched and broken-down I looked, he’s seen it all before.  There’s no need to care about my image and whatnot by now.
After struggling internally for almost a minute, with my entire body still stuck to the wall and borrowing the tall potted green plant as cover, I moved like a flounder towards the bathroom.
After moving halfway, I heard Xie Yan say, “Hey, Lee, what’re you doing?  I can see the top of your head.”
With no way out, I emerged, only to come face-to-face with Ke Luo.  Xie Yan gave out a “pfft,” spraying a mouthful of tea.  I desperately wanted to wring his neck.
Seeing as Ke Luo was looking at me, my reaction was to roll my two big eyes at him.
It’s because of him that I spent the entire last night working hard to soothe someone.  I was burnt out, on the verge of sexually-induced kidney deficiency.
Forcing myself to calm down, I walked off to wash my face, returned to the living room, sat down, and ignored Ke Luo’s presence.  With an oblivious expression, I forked up a piece of cake and ate as if nothing had happened.
Yet Xie Yan still wouldn’t let me off the hook.  “Why the hell would you put on a facial mask in the middle of the day!”
“Just as you finish indulging in pleasure is when you need to care for your body the most, you know.  It’s unrestrained lechers like you who’ll age faster.”
Ke Luo looked slightly embarrassed.  Shu Nian, the victim of the unrestrained lecher, was also fidgety and quickly changed the subject.  “Uh, um, Xiao Luo, are you almost done with work?”
“Mmhm, I’m going back home tomorrow.”
“You haven’t stayed that long this time.”  He sighed and said, “We all think about you often.  When will you come again?”
Xie Yan, look after your wife.  The two are acting all lovey-dovey like this and you’re still eating.  Eat yourself to death.  Aren’t you afraid that my brother will run off with him?
“You guys take your time talking.  I’m going to bed.  I worked too hard last night.”
I stood up.  After staggering a couple steps, my cell phone rang.  I knew who it was from the ringtone.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Hi, darling…”  Continuous sweetness, like honey mixed with oil—this was just the atmosphere I wanted to create. 
Xie Yan gave a creeped-out face of disgust.  I’d already walked away when he hollered from behind me, “I can’t take it anymore.  So when are you guys going to break up!” 
How dare you curse me? You should be wondering when Shu Nian is going to dump you.

But that ill-omened mouth of Xie Yan was always good at forecasting the bad, never the good.
A few days later, thanks to that rotten mouth of his, I suddenly noticed that my body—my lower half to be exact—felt a bit different.  Of course, someone like me who clings to life couldn’t put it off, let alone be embarrassed.  I went to the hospital for a check-up immediately.
I was tormented and reminded by the doctor with a deadpan face that “sex life is prohibited until you are better.” Clutching that balled-up test result, I was so angry that my vision blurred and I nearly spurted out blood.
I’d always been careful.  Even though I had slept around in the past playing the love game, I had always emerged from it unscathed.  Now that I had a long-term partner, I couldn’t have been more reserved and more loyal, yet he actually gave me a disease!
It wasn’t that terrible a disease, and I only needed to follow the doctor’s advice to take the medicine and the shots since it was discovered early on.  Still, this was practically my life’s greatest humiliation.  Being caught in bed cheating wasn’t as repulsive as this.  It was more disgusting than swallowing a swarm of flies.
I couldn’t delude myself anymore, and Shao Yan had no way of denying it this time.  If he had kept it strictly between us like I did, how could he have brought back this pollution?
So under my interrogation, he confessed brokenheartedly, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault.  Maybe it was when I was overseas, out drinking with a friend, and we just happened to…”
Enough is enough.  Shut your yapping.  I don’t care who the adulterer is.
“Lee, you should know.  It’s hard to avoid temptation close at hand for people like us.”
You have temptation, and I don’t?  I’ve restrained myself, so why can’t you?
“It was just a fling.  Don’t get so worked up.  I love you.”
Fling, my ass.  I’ve lived half my life, and I’ve never been this virtuous before.  No one would believe me if I told them that I’ve been sleeping with only one person for three months.
Rarely would I turn a new leaf and aim to remain faithful to the end, and yet he had to have a mishap.  Could it be God’s way of telling me to stick to a life of debauchery and continue my profession as a playboy?
“Lee, don’t be like this.  I thought you were more mature than this.”
That’s right, when I started my philandering days, you were still in diapers, so it’s better that you stop embarrassing yourself with the high school drama dialogue now.
“Lee, please forgive me.  I really, truly love you.”
Fine, given that he keeps saying that he loves me, maybe I can forgive him.
When he’s dead, that is.
Although I was dissolute and lecherous, I knew how to write the word, ‘loyal.’  I would never do anything requiring an apology before ending a relationship, or else Lin Jing wouldn’t have stayed friends with me for so many years even after we split up.
Abiding by the rules of the game is called amorous.  Having an outside affair is called obscene.  And still wanting to crawl back after cheating, that’s just downright humiliating.

Over the next few days, my voice mail was crammed with Shao Yan’s messages to the verge of exploding, droning on and on with the same old stuff.
“Forgive me.  I really, truly love you.  So what if I did it with someone else?  My heart belongs to you.  Sex and love are two completely different things.”
Why would I want that pig heart of yours?  If I have to separate sex and love, then I’m fine with just sex.  You think your heart is so precious?
“Lee, don’t be so petty.  You have to be tolerant when it comes to feelings.  How else can love last for long?”
You’ve got to be kidding me.  You didn’t know I was petty until now?
If I could be so generous, I would’ve long become second place for Ke Luo and lived the good life with a beauty in my arms.  Why should I torment myself, and when would a brat like you ever have had a chance?

I stopped paying attention to Shao Yan.  When the phone rang, I killed it off at once.  Yet he was unrelenting.  For a whole day, he called Shu Nian’s house nonstop.  He continuously sent big bouquets of roses to my workplace and the house.
What for?  If flowers could help, every unhappy couple in this world could just open up a flower shop.
He might as well send chrysanthemums.  I could place them all on his grave in the future.
I was really furious, to be quite frank.  Regardless of how Shao Yan repented and pleaded, or how he condemned, cursed in rage, and even threatened, I’d completely brush it off.
Even Xie Yan gave me the thumbs up.  “Kudos!  You’re ruthless enough.  You’ve got backbone!  I admire you.  Here, have a drink!”
All he and Shu Nian knew was that I was having a fight with Shao Yan, but they didn’t know why we were fighting.
 How could someone like me who strives to be strong let others see my scars?
If I didn’t put up a ruthless, ‘let him go to hell’ face, it would seem like I was weak, that I had lost and was hurt.
Fine, damn it!  How could I not be hurt? 
I was being extremely stubborn to pretend that I wasn’t suffering.
Every time I wanted to live my life with sincerity, no good came from it.  I might as well continue being frivolous until I’m sixty.  By the time I’ve played to the point that my skin is wrinkled, there won’t really be anything to agonize about.
For a moment my anger surpassed my heartache at the thought of how Shao Yan appeared madly in love with me on the one hand and continuously cheated with someone else on the other, lying until it became second nature, dissolute to the point of making it a habit.  I was unable to stomach this kind of insult.

As the saying goes, ‘it never rains but it pours,’ so I was also becoming aware that misfortune seemed to be contagious.  I had bad luck from LA to T city.  After coming to S city, Xie Yan had become unlucky as well.
Events didn’t bode well for Xie Yan’s recent investment.  Investing heavily in the research and development of an electronic product, he had been very confident that it would attract a new flow of consumers.  But before officially launching it into the market, another company unexpectedly made the first move to release almost the exact same product at a much lower cost.
Before we could recover from the blow, every subsequent remedial measure was also thwarted, one after the other.  Any move we made seemed to have been foreseen by the other party.  No matter how innovative the idea was, the other party would be one step ahead, always in front of us, as if a ghost were playing tricks on us.  Inevitably, we were worn out after a number of rounds.
What had originally been a plan to generate immense profit was now turned to scrap.  If we abandoned it, the financial and labor losses would be huge, but there was no way to recover the funds.  I didn’t want it to completely die off like this.  And having to give it a steady flow of lifeblood, I was afraid that if it went on like this, the harbor freight that the Xie household had just started running smoothly would also be dragged down.
Just investigating and reorganizing the Xie Corporation’s entire information security took great efforts.  The more time they took to investigate, the longer the list of suspects grew.  For the moment, everyone felt insecure.  But even so, confidential company information continued to leak, and the liquidity diminished with each passing day, gradually sinking into an increasingly awkward situation.
Since the loss was unbearable, Xie Yan had no choice but to sacrifice an arm to save the body selling a portion of his equity to fill up the bottomless pit.
I was already down in the dumps, and with this I was swept sixty thousand feet under.  My relationship with the Xie Corporation was nothing more than that of strangers coming together by chance.  If it encounters danger, I could just brush the dust off my shoulder and leave, but what of that obstinate bro of mine?

And when I was exceedingly busy for the sake of the company, Shao Yan still repeated daily, like a tape recorder, mushy words such as “I’ll do anything you want me to do.  I’m willing to give everything for your forgiveness,” making Xie Yan laugh at me.
You’ll do anything?  What timing.  I’ll give you one chance to be the love master.  Let’s see if you qualify.
I finally answered Shao Yan’s call.  Of course, it would be untrue to say I didn’t feel any knots in my chest from heartache.  But how could I stomach even a delicacy, knowing that it was touched by shit?
“Lee, just think of everything in the past as my fault.  Forgive me.  Let’s start all over again, okay?”
Sitting across from him, I drank half of my glass of wine and clearly enunciated, “I want you to provide a loan to Xie Yan.”
“If you want to sit down and calmly talk with me, the condition is to give a low-interest loan to Xie Yan.
“If you sincerely act on it, we’ll start over as strangers.  Otherwise, avoid appearing in front of me again.  I’ll punch you once for every fucking time I see you.”
A lot of people take “starting over again” as a miracle cure for a broken relationship.  Fuck, who wants to start over with you?  If you want to start all over, you have to pay the price.  Do you really expect to be able to write everything off at one stroke with just a flip of the switch?  We’re not equipped with a reset button.
I’m not the good-hearted type, and I won’t be taken advantage of.  Do you think I will suffer a betrayal, then not bother about it and turn around and leave?  Or maybe you want me to simply forgive and become friends afterwards?  In your wildest dreams!  Being a love master isn’t that easy.  If you lack the ability to sort it out, then don’t have an affair.
Shao Yan blanked out, and then said with a smile, “Lee, you really are different than the others.  You’ve mesmerized me.”
Mesmerized, my ass.  You high?
“Very well.”
I lifted my wine glass, and we clinked our glasses.
Master Xie, I’ve done my very best for you.  If you don’t take good care of that foolish bro of mine, I’ll definitely bring you to meet your end.
Shao Yan said again, “I will do that, but I won’t break up with you.”
I smiled.
“Lee, you should know very well that no one will love you and be loved by you like me.  It’s so difficult to meet someone who makes you feel loved.  I know I made a terrible mistake, but don’t give up on me like this, okay?”
I stopped smiling and drank my drink.
He was without a doubt too narcissistic.
But I’d stumbled along up until now and experienced so much.  How many could say they’ve truly been “in love” anyway?
Never knowing where one’s next love will be, when he’ll appear, or if he’ll really appear.
I’d always believed that there must be one person in this world who can make you happy.  He has to exist somewhere.  One day he’ll inevitably cross your path.  All those who haven’t found him yet shouldn’t feel downhearted.
Yet now I’d started to doubt.  Could that person be like me, unbearably worn-out during the endless search and, rather than continuing, only wanting to find someplace to stop?
Life is short.  You may not be able to really wait for that person.  You may already be old before finding him.
For all I know, maybe the outcome of being too persistent is to grow old in solitary.
“Just think it over.  Lee, I truly like you a lot.”
I suddenly realized that, sure enough, nothing was that perfect in this world.  Only by being in a relationship without any responsibility would you be able to do what you want to your heart’s content.  For someone who is so carefree that he can recklessly fall in love, it’s unlikely that his feelings will last long.
And as for that persistent, stubborn one, I probably can’t wait forever for him to turn around and love me.
I drank another glass and smilingly said, “I’ll think about it.”
Those past several years, I always thought that so long as I wait a bit more, just a little bit longer, perhaps the next time will be different.  Perhaps the person who is truly worth your emotional investment would appear—someone who can make your palms sweat and your heart race, someone to make you feel that life is complete, that just you and he together make the entire world.
But I wasn’t young anymore.  If I didn’t want to spend my last years alone, was my only option to yield and back down?  Did I have to pick up something dirty, clean it off, and eat it?

I promised Shao Yan I’d “think about it,” but I couldn’t think it through, so I invited Lu Yu out for a drink.  His bold and heedless nature could make me feel better and make my mind more open.  Maybe then I could figure it out.
“Hey, Lee, I think I saw you dating that man from the Shao family.
“Had dated, had,” I said listlessly.
“Huh?  You guys broke up?”  The ill-informed man scratched his head.  “You might as well break it off with him.  They may appear glamorous, but in fact they’re already just about rotten with only an empty shell left.”
I was shocked.  “What do you mean?”
“They’ve had an internal problem for a long time now.  It’s probably irreparable.  In any case, the debt they owe us has already piled to a large amount.  They keep dragging it on without paying back.”
I set my glass down, furrowing my brow as I carefully thought back.  Usually when I was with Shao Yan, I thought he was as extravagant as before.  There was no sign at all that he had any financial stress.
“Sooner or later we’ll have to force them to cough up the money.  It’s better that you’re not involved with him, or else I’m afraid I’d have to have a falling out with you.”  Lu Yu took a sip of his drink.  “Collecting debt in the criminal underworld isn’t easy.  He has someone backing him up at the moment, so I’ll have to plan thoroughly before I make my move.”
“Who’s backing him up?”
“Tong Shan.  I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him.”
My blood froze in an instant.
“If you see him by any chance, don’t be deceived by his appearance.  Fuck, I’ve fallen into his trap before.  He’s sly.  Oh, yeah, you’d better be more careful when working for the Xie household.  That old Tong Shan’s appetite is huge.  He has a great interest in seaports.”
My heart pounded.  After a moment of silence, it suddenly became clear.
The portion of the stock Xie Yan sold to raise money for urgent reinforcement was already a risk.  Unable to retreat, if another problem arose with the funds, then the seaports might really be taken over by someone else.
I had been bewildered as to how the unknown company that surfaced could have such capability as to confront Xie Yan.  Yet I never thought the unexpected player could be the man by the name of Tong.
But even if it were Tong Shan, how did he know the Xie household’s inside information in such detail when we were taking strict precautions?
While I almost doubted it, the answer became clear as daylight.  I almost blew my top, nearly losing my breath.
It was hopeless even if the Xie Corporation data security was completely watertight.  I’d take the company’s data home, and Xie Yan would put important items on his computer, backing them up one by one.  Even though encryption measures were taken, so long as competitors get their hands on it, they would inevitably have a way to decode it.
While Shao Yan and I had been dating, he was a frequent visitor.  In private, he had been my intimate boyfriend.  In public, he had never had any conflicts of interest with Xie Yan before.  We had let our guard down completely around him.
Son of a bitch!  At that moment, I couldn’t think of a better word to describe him.  Not only was the lower half of the man’s body filthy, even his actions were filthy.
There were two things I hated the most: the first was stealing someone’s lover, the second was stealing someone’s possessions.  He actually had it in him to do them both.

I started involving myself with Shao Yan again, purely “starting over.”  I continued to take him to my house and have him stay for meals.
Xie Yan’s luck turned for the better.  A basically worthless piece of land with no prospects to speak of was actually bought by someone for a sky-high price.  We struck it rich.  It just so happened that the earnings could be used to tide us over during our financial difficulty.
It’d probably take more time for Tong Shan to catch on that the perfect secret plan for the Xie family to use the land’s various factors to achieve an economic revival was no more than a pile of seemingly beautiful bullshit.  Of course, here I had to thank Boss Lu Yu for his expertise in fabricating rumors and for the manpower support.
Soon after, the word that a large quantity of private goods was arriving at S city somehow leaked out, and they were seized by a gang on the waters.  It was dog eat dog.  It was none of anyone’s business.
We received a portion of the profit from Lu Yu in return for help to setting up the trap.  Even I was taken aback by the amount.  Lu Yu also said he never imagined that the goods would be so valuable and even include military arms.  Tong Shan and Shao Yan’s loss would without a doubt be more life-threatening than Xie Yan’s at that time.  And I obviously didn’t feel guilty.  I was never a righteous man.
Although collaborating with the underworld was somewhat awkward, and the money was dangerous to hold onto, Xie Yan finally recovered.  During this time, no one leaked secrets or stirred up any trouble.  The company returned to running peacefully once again.  It’s unlikely that my bro’s pension would have any problems, and I didn’t feel as guilty as I had been from inviting a wolf into the house.
Shao Yan also suddenly disappeared.  My face brightened just from imagining his face.  Xie Yan and I even took the threat letters we received as a joke.
In fact we didn’t do anything.  We typed a bunch of bullshit on a heavily protected computer. Shao Yan had to peek at our private documents, and he just had to believe everything after reading it. He believed everything, fine, but he just had to tell someone. There was no one else to blame but himself.
If he were a bit more sincere, I wouldn’t have treated him like this.

One day, I got off work early.  When I went to retrieve my car, the parking lot was unusually quiet.  There was only the sound of my footsteps.  It sounded rather cold and desolate.  I was still a few steps away from the car, but I pressed the key remote for fun.
The alarm didn’t immediately chirp, as if it was jammed.  Just as I was about to press the remote a second time, my fingers stiffened.
The car didn’t seem to be exactly the same as when I had parked it.
As though some kind of sixth sense acted up, my eye suddenly twitched, and I turned around and ran.
I’d only run a few steps when I heard an explosion and felt my back become scorching hot.  For a moment, I was not touching the ground.  My body was lifted by the blast and thrown forward a great distance.
When I woke from the momentary dizziness caused by the impact, I was still in a bit of a daze.  I knew I had escaped death even though my body and face were numb from the fiery pain.  I actually had no feeling in my back for a while and wasn’t sure if it was burning.  I could only turn over with great effort in hope that the fire would be put out if it was.
By the time I saw the situation clearly, the parking lot was already a disaster.  The nearby car also suffered from the impact and had disintegrated into a pile of burning scrap metal.  The chain of explosions was devastating.
If I had been in the car or a little closer, there might not be even a piece of me left right now.
The commotion was so loud that I could hear voices from the building.  Soon, a lot of people would probably come to see what had happened.  I was afraid there would be a backup ambush and didn’t have the nerve to stay at all.  With a gasp of breath, I struggled to get up.
Staggering out of the parking lot, I stretched my hand out to flag down the first car that passed me.  The car came to a stop and backed up.  The driver was obviously alarmed by my appearance.  Without a word, he quickly opened the car door to let me in.  But how was I supposed to sit?  I could only curl on my side in the back seat with difficulty.
The best luck I had today was running into such a kind driver.  With no need for me to tell him, he automatically sped the entire way to the hospital, running countless red lights.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was almost speechless.  The driver was a boy with a rather small build, but he somehow managed to help me into the hospital. He took care of the paperwork afterwards and even made an anonymous call to the police for me.
Before entering the operating room, I asked him, “Sir, could I trouble you to make…a phone call to…my younger brother for me.”
Once he heard the words, “younger brother,” he brightened up and said with emotion, “You and your brother must be very close.”
Even if you’re not close to your brother, you’d still have to see each other once before you die!
Cell phone use was prohibited in the hospital, so he memorized the number I gave him and dashed off to call Shu Nian.  I didn’t have to listen to the conversation to imagine Shu Nian’s reaction.
“Your brother is really worried about you.”  When he sprinted back, he appeared moved.  He followed me all the way to the entrance of the operating room.  “Don’t be afraid.  It’ll be alright.  My younger brother happens to be a chief physician at this hospital.  You can ask for him if you have any complications.  Hang in there!”
He didn’t look much older than a high school student, yet his younger brother was a chief physician?  My head was spinning again. 
However I had to admit, his constant babbling and his odd, otherworldly thinking kept my mind busy, making the pain more bearable.
After the anesthesia from my surgery wore off, what I saw as soon as I opened my eyes was Shu Nian’s face.
“Hi,” I greeted him casually.
I had thought Shu Nian would, after the emotional shock, be in a weak condition and on the verge of collapsing.  Who knew he would actually appear with blood-shot eyes as if he were spoiling for a fight.
“Where’s the bastard who did this!?”
To my surprise, the incident incited his masculine spirit.  As the elder brother, I was really quite touched by it.
“I-I was almost scared to death.”  After the rage passed, his blood-shot eyes turned very red brimming with tears.  Sure enough this guy…
“When I arrived I heard you were undergoing surgery.  I-I thought you were…”
“No way.  They say ‘bad things last longer. I have incredible luck.’.”
Consoling him was apparently not working.  As he looked at me wrapped up like a mummy, he started sobbing.
I sighed.  This guy still hasn’t bettered himself.
After consoling him for a while, I warned, “Oh yeah, don’t tell Ke Luo.”
I didn’t want Ke Luo to see me as a joke.  I had shown off my partner before him, and as it turned out, my partner was not only a scumbag but someone who even would kill without mercy.
This was the same as taking a hit right to my face.  At the time, I had even boasted about stuff like being happily in love.  What a laugh. 
I don’t think I could stand his pity.
“But if by chance he sees the news broadcast on TV and finds out what happened to you…”
“Then just say I died.”
“D-don’t say such things!”
I quickly started to console the distraught Shu Nian again, unaware that others had entered the room.  The driver, who had good-heartedly kept Shu Nian company in watching over me, walked over to greet us enthusiastically.
“Luo Shao Gong, Luo Shao Gong!  The brothers inside are so touching.”
My face darkened.
Two young men had entered.  The one with a face of an idol, but dressed in a white coat and was pulled over by the driver, must be his younger brother, even though the pair were poles apart. The other one must be the doctor in charge of my case.
As expected, Shu Nian was extremely grateful to the two brothers, shedding tears of gratitude.  The doctor began to tell me of my current condition.  It was basically stable.  The winter clothes I wore were thick, and the degree of burn on my back wasn’t severe.  It’s just that the damage on my exposed hands and face weren’t light.
In fact, I was mentally prepared. I could recall that split second when I felt the ground scrape off a layer of my skin and flesh, damaging it all.
“You might be disfigured.”
Damn it!  I could feel the vein on my forehead pop out. 
Don’t joke with me!
Shu Nian was one step ahead of me, turning deathly pale.  “Disfigured?”
“It’s only a possibility.  We’ll perform reconstructive surgery.  If you recover well, then there’s no problem, but it’s best that you be mentally prepared.  Furthermore, after the restoration there may be some differences from your original appearance.
For some reason, I actually felt a tinge of joy the moment I heard the word, “differences.”
Just as well. I’ll fix the damaged parts.  I want a full makeover.  Then I won’t be a Shu Nian look-alike.
Perhaps I could take advantage of the opportunity and request to look like Brad Pitt or Jude Law.
But this was nothing more than finding the silver lining.  I felt bitterness inside.
Shit, what kind of fortune is this?
Maybe my life’s greatest curse was for my heart to be stirred.  I had wanted to live my life with Lin Jing, and he ran off.  I found Ke Luo, who was obstinate, and then the firm was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy.  And Shao Yan, fairly speaking, didn’t really have any integrity left to speak of, and as a result my looks, which I had taken so much pride in, were ruined.
Son of a bitch!
Dairytea: Whew, three more chapters...and whole bunch of extras to go. Thank you, my dear editors, for all your hard work & my awesome readers for continuing to follow me on Lee's journey to love and happiness.  While you all are waiting for the next chapter, another group is translating Lu Feng and Cheng Yi Chen's story.  Check our link page for the link.  AND the first movie for Shu Nian and Xie Yan's story is out!  You can find it on Youtube. ;)

Chapter 17

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