The sound of Lu Yang closing the door woke Chubby. Chubby got up from his dog bed and walked to the door with his tail wagging. He raised his head to listen to the familiar footsteps outside and barked at the door a few times.
Chen Yuchuan stood in the living room and called Chubby, “Come here, Chubby. Your mother is gone.”
Chubby heard Chen Yuchuan calling him. He turned and ran to his father, feeling that his father was particularly sad. Tilting his head, he rubbed against his father’s leg and barked twice, as if to comfort him.
The floor was a little cold, seeming to send chills straight through the bottom of Chen Yuchuan’s feet.
Chen Yuchuan sat on the sofa with his legs pulled up cross-legged. He glanced at the jacket on the sofa and pulled it over to cover his legs and feet. Then as he subconsciously rubbed Chubby’s beck, he thought about what Lu Yang had just said.
Lu Yang had said, there will be no next time.
Lu Yang had said, divorcing seems to be the right thing…
Chen Yuchuan sat on the sofa and thought about it for a long time. He thought about things from a long time ago, and he thought about the current state of things.
He thought for a whie and then he would stop for a while, and this cycle of thinking would repeat.
In fact, he and Lu Yang had always known how to communicate effectively. In the past, if they had any problems, they would resolve them quickly with an agreed-upon method, regardless of whatever that may be.
If they could communicate, then they would communicate. If they couldn’t, they would quarrel. And if they were unable to resolve, they would take it to the boxing gym.
Contradictions and problems piled up until it became unbearable. Inevitably, one day, even a small ant and a small hole can cause their seemingly indestructible relationship to crumble.
This kind of problem still appeared in the end.
Chen Yuchuan knew that his relationship with Lu Yang had changed a lot in the past six months.
They rarely quarreled. His temper seemed to have vanished. When facing Lu Yang, he always followed in whatever he said. Whatever Lu Yang said, he would say yes. No matter what Lu Yang did, there would be no fight.
On the surface, their relationship seemed to be very good.
But was it good though? If it was so good, then why did he suffer from insomnia? Why would Lu Yang prefer to go to the boxing gym rather than come home straight away?
In fact, their relationship wasn’t good at all…
It was just that Chen Yuchuan himself didn’t want to admit it. During that time, he had tried so hard and so carefully to manage their relationship.
As Chen Yuchuan thought about it, his mind began to grow confused again. When he continued to probe bit by bit, he arrived at the crux of the problem in their relationship half a year ago, and a few scattered images flashed across his mind.
His vision blurred for a moment. His body swayed, and even his breathing seemed to have hitched to a stop. His thin pajamas outlined the curve of his back and the slump of his shoulders.
He absolutely did not want to continue this train of thought. And so, his thoughts came to a complete halt as he forcibly shut down those memories and thoughts that were like entangling ropes.
He looked down at Chubby, touched him, and asked in a low voice, “I treated him better than ever before. I learned to cook soup. I no longer made trouble, no longer tormented him. I no longer got angry, and I also stopped being deliberately provocative. These were all wrong, weren’t they?”
Chubby couldn’t give Chen Yuchuan an answer, but just rubbed against his palm.
As Lu Yang was walking downstairs, he heard Chubby barking after him. He stopped at the corner of the fourth floor. Leaning on the railing, he turned to look back. It wasn’t until Chubby stopped barking did he continue making his way downstairs.
The sound-activated lights in the stairwell were completely broken, and even though the sound of Lu Yang’s footsteps going downstairs was rather heavy, it never came on.
He took a taxi directly to the gate of his community and returned to his house in Jade Lake.
When he and Chen Yuchian first started living together, they had lived here for a time.
After Chen Yuchuan purchased the apartment, everything was repurchased for that place, and all their old things were left here. Whenever they had errands nearby, and it ran too late, they would stay here for the night.
Lu Yang stood in front of the door for a while, rubbing his throbbing temple. Then he entered the lock password.
He opened the door, took off his shoes, threw his coat on the sofa, and entered the bathroom. He turned on the shower and let the water ran over his body, even as he shed his clothes.
Soon, all the soaked clothes on his body was discarded at his feet, and the sounds of water falling on his clothes was different from the sounds of water falling on tiled floor.
When Xiao Lei arrived the next day, he knocked on the door for a long time, until Chubby entered the bedroom and woke Chen Yuchuan up.
When Chen Yuchuan opened the door, Xiao Lei was startled. He looked at Chen Yuchuan’s messy hair and the heavy dark circles underneath his empty eyes, and for a brief moment, he thought that he’d knocked on the wrong door.
“Sister-in-law, sister-in-law…” Xiao Lei stammered, “You, you didn’t sleep well last night?”
With the door opened, the wind blew in from outside and the cold completely woke Chen Yuchuan up. Looking at Xiao Lei, he asked, “Xiao Lei, why are you here? What time is it?”
“It’s half past six. The boss has a meeting in the morning. Last night, I said that I would pick him up in the morning. I parked the car downstairs, but when I called Boss, he didn’t answer so I came up and knocked on the door,” Xiao Lei said, looking into the room. He asked, “Is Boss still up?”
Chen Yuchuan said, “He’s not here.”
“President Lu left?”
“He left last night.”
“Sister-in-law, Boss ran away from home?” Xiao Lei asked in surprise.
He’d been Lu Yang’s driver for six years, and he’d seen the boss quarreled with the lady boss, but there had never been a situation where the boss actually ran away from home in the middle of the night.
“It’s not a quarrel.” Chen Yuchuan waved his hand, not wanting to say much. “He’s in the house over at Jade Lake. Go and pick him up over there.”
When Chen Yuchuan was saying this, he didn’t feel that it was anything. But when he closed the door, he felt that he’d said it with too much certainty.
Lu Yang had so many houses. The house over at Jade Lake was the farthest from the company, and so he may not necessarily be staying there.
That night, when Chen Yuchuan went to the boxing gym, he didn’t see Lu Yang. The front desk staff also wasn’t Xiao Yang. After swiping his card, he asked casually, “Where’s Xiao Yang? Is he off work today?”
“Xiao Yang is in Mr. Qi’s office. Do you need him for something?” the staff replied.
“Brother Qi is here today?”
“He arrived this afternoon.”
Chen Yuchuan thanked the staff and went straight to Qi Yun’s office, while carrying boxing gloves. He didn’t know if that idiot had returned to the gym to make trouble.
Qi Yun’s office was on the second floor. When Chen Yuchuan stopped at the door and lightly knocked on it, he heard a small sound coming from the office.
The moment he heard what that sound was, he regretted that he’d come at this time.
Just as he was about to turn away, Qi Yun’s office door opened and Xiao Yang appeared, his shirt a little wrinkled, his face unnaturally red. Pale-lipped and nervous, he avoided looking at Chen Yuchuan.
Embarrassed, Chen Yuchuan didn’t know how to react. But Xiao Yang said hello first. “Chuan, Brother Chuan.”
“Is he inside?” Chen Yuchuan turned his body sideways and scratched his head. “Is Qi Yun inside?”
Xiao Yang nodded, blushing.
Qi Yun’s voice came from inside. “Xiao Yang, you can return to work.”
Xiao Yang walked out with his head lowered.
After entering, Chen Yuchuan said, “Damn.” He walked over to Qi Yun’s desk, put his boxing gloves down on the desk, and said, “Brother Qi, I really didn’t mean to disturb you. I didn’t realize it before. Brother Qi, when did you get together with Xiao Yang?”
Qi Yun sat on the office chair with a cigarette in his mouth. His clothes were neat and tidy, and not even a button was crooked. Except for his eyes, his demeanor was much calmer than Xiao Yang’s.
Qi Yun was two years older than Lu Yang and had turned forty this year. In their circle of friends, his was a notorious playboy and had always been single. The person with him would change one after another and would no longer be seen but once.
Qi Yun loved to play. He liked exciting sports, and so in the past, he would play in the mountains and sea nearly every day. In recent years, he had stopped going as much and would stay home more often.
Removing the cigarette from his mouth, Qi Yun shook his head and said, “We’re not together. We’re just sleeping with each other. Why are you here today?”
“I’ve been here a lot lately,” Chen Yuchuan said, no longer commenting on Qi Yun’s love life. He dragged a chair from the side and sat across from Qi Yun at his desk. He said, “I had a fight with someone here two days ago. I don’t know if that person came back or not.”
“It was the fool who made trouble first, so he didn’t dare come back to make trouble again. If he did come again, I would definitely kick him out. I don’t accept that kind of person here,” Qi Yun said.
Chen Yuchuan was relieved. “It’s good that he didn’t come back to make trouble.”
He sat on the chair with his long legs crossed. Watching Qi Yun smoke, his addiction to smoking flared up and he touched his pockets, only to find it empty. He pointed a finger at Qi Yun and said, “Brother Qi, give me a cigarette.”
Qi Yun played with the lighter in his hands and said, “Before, when I offered it to you, you told me you don’t smoke…”
Having said this, he pointed to the case of cigarettes on his desk and said, “Help yourself.”
Chen Yuchuan picked up the cigarette case and lighter on the table, lit one, and joined Qi Yun in smoking.
He was glad Qi Yun wasn’t someone prone to nosiness, because he really didn’t want to talk about his and Lu Yang’s divorce.
As long as one of their mutual friends knew about this kind of thing, it was impossible for the rest to not find out. It was just a matter of time. Qi Yun obviously knew about it.
When Chen Yuchuan was done smoking his cigarette, Qi Yun asked, “Since you’ve come here, do you want to go out and practice together?”
Chen Yuchuan put out the cigarette butt in the ashtray, stood up, and picked up his boxing gloves on the table. Waving his hand weakly, he said, “Maybe some other day. Brother Qi, after smoking this cigarette, I’ve discovered that all the strengths I had when I first came in have now floated away. I really don’t have the strength today…”
Qi Yun wasn’t a talkative person, but he still said, “I don’t know why you’re tormenting yourself.”
Chen Yuchuan was silent for a while, and his heart silently said: After so many years of tormenting each other, instead of continuing on, we gave up…