Lu Yang knew that Chen Yuchuan had drunk too much and was speaking in anger. He tried to calm down as much as possible and said in a calm voice, “In the future, drink less at bars.”
Chen Yuchuan snorted and knocked his thumb on the butt of the cigarette, causing burnt-gray ash to float down. Finally, he laughed, his voice particularly clear despite the smoke, filled with a bit of displeasure.
“Lu Yang, divorce is divorce. We’re like strangers now, and in the future, we won’t have anything to do with each other anymore. Legally, we used to be the closest, but now we aren’t. Don’t talk nonsense in front of me. Don’t come at me and say ‘We can continue to be good friends after breaking up.’ We’ve slept together for 16 years. Can we be friends again? Is it possible? Do you think it’s possible?”
Having said his piece, Chen Yuchuan held the cigarette to his mouth again, biting down hard with his teeth. The tip of his tongue became quickly soaked with bitterness, and he pulled out the cigarette.
Pinching the cigarette butt that he’d crushed, he shoved the red end of the cigarette into the ashtray on the coffee table, so that the clean blue ashtray now smelled of ashes.
When he lit another cigarette, Lu Yang took two steps forward with his luggage, the wheels making a muffled sound as they rolled against the floor.
His shoulder brushed against Chen Yuchuan as he snatched the cigarette from him and put it out in the ashtray.
Lu Yang said, “Although we’re divorced, there’s no need to make fun of your body. After all, you’re not young anymore.
Chen Yuchuan felt the empty space between his fingers and shouted back, “I know I’m fucking old. You’re four fucking years older than me. What? Compared to you, I’m much younger. I haven’t even said it, but you’ve got the nerve to say it first?!”
Lu Yang was so furious with him that he nearly completely crushed the handle of his suitcase. After so many years of quarreling with Chen Yuchuan, he’d never won against him. His tongue had never been as nimble as Chen Yuchuan’s.
Chen Yuchuan was different from him. He could speak sweetly and sarcastically, kindly and recklessly. Now matter what, he would casually say whatever came to mind. All he had to do was open his mouth.
Lu Yang took a deep breath, pressed his tongue against the inside of his cheek, took a few more deep breaths, and said in a low voice, “Xiao Chuan, curb your temper more in the future.”
Chen Yuchuan didn’t intend to explode. But after hearing Lu Yang’s words, he exploded anyway.
He grabbed Lu Yang’s shirt collar, his fists tight against Lu Yang’s throat, his eyes red. “Lu Yang, what are you trying to say? My temper has always been like this. You’ve been with me for 16 years, but you’re just finding this out? Now that we’re separated, you want to educate me?”
Lu Yang’s throat began to ache. With tense jaw, he wrapped his hands over Chen Yuchuan’s fists and pried his fingers open one at a time.
But after Chen Yuchuan’s fingers were completely separated, a silver circle of light slipped from his palm, spun twice in the air, and landed on the wooden floor.
It was the ring that Chen Yuchuan had been holding tightly in his palm. He didn’t even know how he’d managed to open his hand and grabbed Lu Yang’s collar.
Then he recalled that he’d been holding the ring too tightly, and it’d slipped into the tip of his ring finger, hooked just like that.
In the sudden silence, there were only a few loud and quiet dings as the ring rolled away.
Chen Yuchuan’s eye followed the ring, and he watched it stop by the sofa, smeared with a little soot.
He stood there in a daze for a long time. Finally, he rubbed his face, and his expression became a little cold. The little ring that had fallen onto the ground had pierced his momentum a little.
And now, he was like a deflated balloon.
Lu Yang’s eyes moved, but he continued to gaze fixedly at Chen Yuchuan.
Chen Yuchuan said weakly, “Lu Yang, really, you don’t have to look at me like that. Don’t think that I think that you still love me.”
Seeing how laughable he was now, Chen Yuchuan smiled bitterly. “It’s not like I’m not unaware, like I didn’t know that you still have that Ye Guanghe in your heart, right? As soon as he returned to China, were you so anxious to get rid of me?”
He paused, then added, “Have you ever loved me at all in the past 16 years?”
Chen Yuchuan really drank too much tonight. If he was completely sober, he wouldn’t have spoken like that. He could become angry and blow up, but he would never ask whether Lu Yang had loved him at all.
He blamed alcohol for the ring that had just fallen on the ground, causing him to be discovered by Lu Yang. And he also blamed himself.
He regretted his action.
Sure enough, when he grabbed Lu Yang’s by the collar, Lu Yang wasn’t angry. But after he said those words, he saw storm clouds start to gather in Lu Yang’s eyes.
Chen Yuchuan knew that the storm clouds came not because he’d heard Ye Guanghe’s name, but because of his last words.
Not to mention Ye Guanghe, whether Lu Yang loved him (Chen Yuchuan) or not, Chen Yuchuan, the person involved, knew best.
Lu Yang had loved him like he loved life.
In the past, whenever he made Lu Yang angry by saying the wrong thing, he would start playing tricks in the next second. He would cling onto Lu Yang, calling him husband or brother, so that Lu Yang’s anger wouldn’t even last until the next day.
These 16 years of habits and muscle memory still made Chen Yuchaun open his mouth and move his arms subconsciously.
But in the end, he just swallowed, and then leaned back, his body feeling empty, and his hands propped on the sofa.
Just looking at Lu Yang.
Lu Yang took a few steps forward, stopped in front of Chen Yuchuan, and looked back at him with hooded eyes.
Chen Yuchuan was 1.8 meters tall, but Lu Yang was half a head taller than him and his shoulders were wider than his.
In the end, Lu Yang didn’t say anything. He simply looked at Chen Yuchuan for a few seconds, and once the storm in his eyes subsided a little, he tore off the tie around his neck.
When he opened the door with suitcase in hand, the cold wind blew in from outside, making Chen Yuchuan shiver.
After vomiting, his throat was sore and itchy, and it became worse with the wind. He leaned bent over on the sofa, coughing for a long time. He coughed so much that gold stars began to swim in front of his vision, and the corners of his eyes grew red.
When he was finally able to sit on the sofa, he saw a bottle of iodine and some cotton balls on the coffee table.
He looked down at the wound on the back of his hand, then he raised his hands and rubbed his eyes. He wanted to sweep the bottle of iodine off the table, but when his fingers touched the red bottle, he stopped and held it instead.
The originally peaceful divorce seemed to have suddenly become less peaceful.
But what was the use of peace? Divorce was divorce. What was the fucking use of peace?