When Chen Yuchuan walked out of the concert hall by himself, he took out his mobile phone and checked the time.
Just as he was about to press the lock screen button, his finger suddenly paused, and he stared at the screensaver on his phone.
Maybe it was because he’d gotten used to the picture after having it as a screensaver for so long that he’d forgotten that he hadn’t changed the screensaver photo.
It was a photo of himself and Lu Yang, which he’d taken casually.
Chen Yuchuan counted the time. It was about seven to eight years ago, but he couldn’t remember exactly when it was taken.
He just remembered that it was a very ordinary morning. The night before, Lu Yang had drunk too much at a party, and so he had asked Chen Yuchuan to pick him up.
When they got off the taxi, it got a little awkward because Chen Yuchuan didn’t immediately help Lu Yang.
Lu Yang was different from Chen Yuchuan. When Chen Yuchuan drank too much, he became noisy and energetic. Meanwhile, when Lu Yang drank too much, he became very quiet, but his temper was like a sullen child. He had to be coaxed to bed, he had to be coaxed for everything.
When Lu Yang went upstairs, he was still angry with Chen Yuchuan. Chen Yuchuan followed behind and stretched out his hand twice, but it was thrown away.
Chen Yuchuan was also hot-tempered. Halfway up, he grabbed Lu Yang’s arm and hugged him. In the end, Lu Yang stood on the steps of the second floor, refusing to move at all. As a result, Chen Yuchuan had to coax him to go up one step at a time.
The next day, Lu Yang woke up later than Chen Yuchuan, which was a rare event in itself. He woke up with his shoulders exposed and the comforter drawn up to his chest. He found himself squinting at a camera, which made him a little unhappy.
Chen Yuchuan held up his mobile phone, bumped shoulders with him, and said, “Hubby, smile. I’ll take a picture to use as a screensaver and as a background for our chat.”
Lu Yang didn’t smile, but turned to look at him very seriously. On the screen, Chen Yuchuan’s head was tilted so that it was resting on Lu Yang’s shoulder. He was grinning widely at the camera, his index and middle fingers stretched out to compare them to the camera.
Chen Yuchuan frowned at the screensaver, and after unlocking it, he rummaged through his album.
There were almost no pictures in his album that could be used as a screensaver. He wasn’t in the habit of taking pictures of himself. Basically, everything in his album was either pictures of himself and Lu Yang or pictures of just Lu Yang. There were also a few work pictures sent by the company’s employees.
He searched from beginning to end but could not find a replacement.
In the end, he decided to give up. Exiting the album, he turned off the screen, put his phone back in his pants pocket, and took out the cigarette case and lighter stored in there.
The weather forecast said that it would be chilly, and indeed that temperature had dropped a lot in the past few days. Thick and low dark clouds hung in the sky all day long, and the cold wind was persistently fierce.
With the cigarette in his mouth, Chen Yuchuan put on his long, camel windbreaker and walked to the stone pillar beside the hall to get out of the wind.
He leaned against the stone pillar and used his hand to block the wind from putting out the lighter as he lit his cigarette.
Chen Yuchuan had only taken two sips when he heard someone calling his name.
“Brother Chuan, there you are. I was just asking my assistant to look for you.”
Chen Yuchuan raised his head and greeted Hua Song. With the cigarette held between his fingers, he stretched out the other hand and shook hands with him. He said, “Tonight’s concert was a success. Congratulations.”
Hua Song was still quite young. Chen Yuchuan recalled hearing Man Yunxin saying that he was just 28 this year. He was wearing the same black tuxedo he’d worn for his performances, and in his arms was Chen Yuchuan’s flowers.
“Thank you, Brother Chuan.” Hua Song looked down at the flowers in his arms and added, “Thank you, Brother Chuan, for giving me flowers.”
After saying this, he asked, “By the way, did you come by yourself tonight? I thought teacher said that you’ll come with Brother Yang.”
“He’s on a business trip,” Chen Yuchuan said.
“Are you leaving? Shall I take you back?” Hua Song said and made a gesture of invitation to Chen Yuchuan. “My car is parked in the parking lot over there.”
Chen Yuchuan waved the hand that was holding his cigarette and said, “Don’t bother, don’t bother. Your concert has just ended, and you should have a lot of work still to do. I drove here by myself.”
Hua Song retracted his hand, said oh regretfully, and then added with a smile, “When Brother Chuan have time, I’ll invite you again…I’ll take you out for dinner with Brother Yang.”
Chen Yuchuan responded casually, “Later, when there’s time.”
Afterward, he tugged his collar closer to his neck, said goodbye to Hua Song, and turned to walk toward the parking lot.
As soon as Chen Yuchuan opened the car door and sat in, his phone rang. He took it out and saw that it was a call from Xiao Lei, Lu Yang’s driver.
He hesitated for a few seconds but still pressed the answer button. After saying hello, he asked, “Xiao Lei, what’s wrong?”
No one spoke, so Chen Yuchuan asked again, “Xiao Lei?”
“Sister-in-law, it’s me.” This time Xiao Lei responded, his voice sounded small amidst the noisy background.
“What’s wrong?” Chen Yuchuan asked.
Xiao Lei replied, “Sister-in-law, boss and I are blocked on the expressway. There’s a multi-car accident up ahead and the expressway is blocked. I was afraid that you might be worried about boss, so I just wanted to give you a call to let you know.”
“You don’t need to call me, I don’t care.” Chen Yuchuan turned on the engine, but he merely held the steering wheel, unmoving.
As soon as Xiao Lei heard Chen Yuchuan’s words, he looked into the rearview mirror at Lu Yang, who was sitting in the back seat with his eyes closed, and knew that there was something wrong between the two of them.
He quickly said, “Boss was socializing today and he ended up drinking a lot of alcohol, so he fell asleep in the back seat.”
Chen Yuchuan held the phone for a few seconds, but in the end, he didn’t say a word and instead hung up directly.
Xiao Lei thought that Chen Yuchuan would care to say a few words, but he didn’t. He looked at the phone that had been hung up on so suddenly, and then raised his gaze to look at his boss through the rearview mirror. This time, Lu Yang’s eyes were half-opened.
“Who told you to call?” Lu Yang asked in a deep voice.
Xiao Lei replied, “Boss, I was afraid my sister-in-law will worry about you.”
Lu Yang closed his eyes again and asked vaguely, “What did he say?”
“He said…” Xiao Lei thought of Chen Yuchuan’s words, but chose not to convey them. “Sister-in-law said to send you home safely.”
Lu Yang’s eyes were a little red after drinking and they felt sore and swollen when opened. He closed his eyes again and asked with obvious disbelief, “Did he say that?”
Xiao Lei nodded. “Yes, that’s what he said.”
“Was he angry?” Lu Yang asked.
Xiao Lei was stunned by this question. Chen Yuchuan’s tone was clearly fiery, so much so that he could tell right away.
But listening to boss now, it was as if he was expecting him to be angry.
Xiao Lei couldn’t figure it out and so he didn’t know how to answer this question. Luckily, Lu Yang didn’t continue to ask and simply closed his eyes, seeming to have fallen asleep again.
It was after 12 o’clock when Chen Yuchuan got home. When he drove back, he accidentally got on the wrong elevated highway, and it took him a long time to realize this. When he realized this, he wanted to turn back, but by that time, the car was just about to merge onto the Huancheng Expressway.
Finally, the car ran out of gas and he had to refuel before driving it back.
But when he opened the door, he became somewhat puzzled. Chubby wasn’t waiting for him. He didn’t hear Cubby’s excited barks or scratching at the door. However, he quickly realized that there was someone at home and that he was familiar with this person.
Sure enough, when he opened the door, the light in the living room was on, and Chubby was already asleep in his dog bed.
Lu Yang was lying on his side on the sofa, and Xiao Lei was sitting on the single sofa next to him with his head resting on the backseat, snoring with his mouth open.
Xiao Lei hadn’t fallen asleep for long when he heard the sound of the door opening and footsteps entering. He came awake, and when he saw that Chen Yuchuan was back, he stood up and rubbed his eyes.
“Sister-in-law, you’re back.”
Chen Yuchuan took off his coat and threw it on the sofa, half of it covering Lu Yang’s calf.
He took two steps toward the sofa, glanced at the still sleeping Lu Yang, and turned his head to ask Xiao Lei, “Why did you bring him here?”
Xiao Lei was still disoriented. Not knowing what was wrong, he said, “Sister-in-law, the boss drank too much. When we got off the expressway, I sent him home. If I don’t send him here, where would I send him?”
Chen Yuchuan looked at Xiao Lei, who was still disoriented from sleep, and gritted his teeth to prevent himself from scolding. His chest rose and fell, and finally he said, “It’s alright. It’s getting late so you should go home and rest. Your wife and children are still waiting for you at home.”
Xiao Lei heard Chen Yuchuan’s words and didn’t even wait for a second. He raised his legs and ran away, but before leaving, he said, “Sister-in-law, the boss has a meeting tomorrow morning. I’ll come back and pick him up in the morning.”
Chen Yuchuan wanted to say, “Don’t bother coming to pick him up here,” but before he could say anything, Xiao Lei had already left.
“It’s a pity to be a driver at your speed,” Chen Yuchuan muttered while looking at the closed door.
Not bothering to change his shoes, Chen Yuchuan walked around the sofa several times. The sounds of his leather shoes on the wooden floor were especially loud at night.
Chen Yuchuan was tired from walking. Standing beside the sofa, he lifted his leg and nudged Lu Yang’s calf with the toes of his shoe, calling him loudly, “Lu Yang, Lu Yang, wake up. Hurry and get up.”
Lu Yang turned over, but didn’t wake up. He’d originally been lying on his side, facing the back of the sofa, but now he was lying flat on his back, his hand raised to cover his forehead and eyes.
Chen Yuchuan’s coat on Lu Yang’s calf slid down a little. A large corner had slid to the floor, but it didn’t fall off completely.
Seeing that he hadn’t woken up yet, Chen Yuchuan bent down and shook his legs forcefully. Raising his voice, he shouted, “Lu Yang, get up. This is my house. If you want to sleep, go back to your own house and sleep.”
Lu Yang moved his arm over his eyes, so that only his lips and chin were exposed. Chen Yuchuan noted that Lu Yang’s chin was tense and so he thought that he was awake. Just as he was about to let Lu Yang go, he saw that Lu Yang’s other arm was covering his chest. His chin was still tense, but he didn’t seem to have woken up.
Discouraged all of a sudden, Chen Yuchuan no longer shouted and urged Lu Yang. He stood beside him silently, looking at him for a long time.
Lu Yang was too tall. Although the sofa wasn’t small, he still had to sleep with his legs bent. His shoes had been taken off, and he was wearing only socks.
Chen Yuchuan guessed that Xiao Lei had taken off Lu Yang’s shoes for him.
After watching Lu Yang for a while, he went into the bathroom to take a shower and then entered the bedroom to sleep.
But he wasn’t able to fall asleep. The sound of his breathing when he turned over was louder than the rustling of the fabric.
He was awake until past three in the morning, when he suddenly heard a little noise in the living room. First, it was the sound of bare feet walking on the floor, followed by the sound of the refrigerator opening and closing. A few seconds later, there was the sound of the bottle cap being twisted, and then again, came the sound of light footsteps on the floor.
Chen Yuchuan kicked away the comforter, jumped off the bed, opened the door, and stood at the doorway with his arms folded, looking into the living room.
Lu Yang was sitting on the sofa, drinking from a bottle of cold water. The water in the bottle was halfway gone, and as he drank, he was looking back at him.
Chen Yuchuan waited for him to put down the water bottle before asking, “President Lu, is my sofa comfortable to sleep on?”
Lu Yang moved his stiff neck, obviously not feeling well. He didn’t speak, but just looked at him.
Chen Yuchuan asked again, “Do you remember how you got here?”
Lu Yang said, “Xiao Lei sent me here.”
“So you remember.” Chen Yuchuan took two steps into the living room. “You remember, but you still came to my house?”
“Xiao Lei didn’t know we were divorced, so he sent me over.” Lu Yang pulled his tie loose. After a while, he stood up and said, “I’m here to find a document.”
Lu Yang swept a glance around the house and said, “My things seem to be gone. I was waiting for you to come back so I could ask you and ended up falling asleep.”
Chen Yuchuan thought about it, but he couldn’t recall any documents among the things he had put away. He said, “Don’t be so certain. Now that we’re divorced, why would I keep your things?”
“This document is very important. I’ll leave as soon as I find it,” Lu Yang said. Then he asked again, “You threw all my things away?”
Chen Yuchuan directly strode to the sofa and stopped in front of Lu Yang. Frowning, he said, “I said that there’s no documents and so there’s no documents. This matter of our divorce, others don’t seem to know. Do you not know yourself?”
Lu Yang released his tie and said, “I know. I always knew.”
After he finished speaking, he turned around and walked toward the door. After putting on his shoes, he turned and said, “I’ll come and pick up Chubby this weekend. I’ll make an appointment with you in advance to pick you up. The family dinner next weekend is the last time I promised my parents, and then I’ll find a suitable opportunity to tell my parents and friends. Something like tonight won’t happen again.”
“It had better not happen again, President Lu…”
“Did you go to the concert?” Lu Yang asked suddenly.
Chen Yuchuan didn’t answer, but his eyes were fierce. He went to the concert by himself, and so the fire in his heart was reflected in his eyes, as if wanting to burn Lu Yang.
Lu Yang continued, “I couldn’t go to the concert because I was stuck on the expressway. I sent you a WeChat, but you had blocked me.”
Chen Yuchuan remembered that two days ago he had indeed blocked Lu Yang on his WeChat.
After Lu Yang finished speaking, he kept looking at Chen Yuchuan standing in the living room. The ice-cold water he’d just drank washed away the dryness at the base of his tongue.
His eyes, red from drinking, looked extremely serious as he gazed at Chen Yuchuan, so serious that it made people fall straight into it with unsteady legs.
Lu Yang pulled his tie again and said slowly, “Xiao Chuan’er, I’ve been thinking, after suddenly separating from the person we’ve been with for 16 years, what would I become, what would you become? But now, I suddenly feel that divorcing seemed to be the right thing to do…You’ve become the same as you were before, becoming fierce when you’re angry. Not at all like how you’d been the past 6 months, when you would yield to me in everything, as if you’re enduring me. Xiao Chuan’er, all that time, I’ve been watching it and it really made me weary…”
As Chen Yuchuan listened to Lu Yang’s words, the fire in his eyes suddenly disappeared. But his eyes weren’t anxious. He seemed to be looking at Lu Yang and yet not looking at him, as if not understanding what Lu Yang was trying to say.
But Lu Yang didn’t wait for Chen Yuchuan to speak. He turned and left.