As the Chinese New Year approached, Chen Yuchuan was very obedient and always went to the hospital on time. And every time, Lu Yang accompanied him.
Chen Yuchuan felt that his sleep condition had improved a lot. He continued to take the medicine that was prescribed by the doctor Lu Yang had found.
However, he didn’t think that the improvement in his sleep had anything to do with the medicine. Because, as long as Lu Yang was traveling for business, he would suffer from insomnia.
Lu Yang tried to reduce the number of business trips he had to take as much as possible and any problems that could be resolved remotely would be done so.
When Lu Yang did have to go on a business trip, Chen Yuchuan’s sleep would become poor again. Sometimes, he wouldn’t be able to sleep until late into the night. Sometimes he would wake up after only a few hours of sleep and would have to take medicine again.
Lu Yang’s current business trip was outside of China. He’d been gone for five days, and it would be another three days before he returned.
When Chen Yuchuan woke up again at 1 am that night, he took another pill. But even after closing his eyes for a long time, he still couldn’t sleep. He looked at his phone and saw that u Yang had sent him a short 15-second video.
He clicked on the video. The video Xiao Lei had taken revealed three quarters of Lu Yang’s profile while he was in the middle of a meeting.
Lu Yang was looking down at the documents in his hand, and when he looked up, he began talking in English to the foreigner on the opposite side. From time to time, he would pick up the pen and write on the document.
Although Chen Yuchuan couldn’t understand what Lu Yang was saying, he still thought that Lu Yang looked incredibly handsome and his speaking voice was very nice.
Chen Yuchuan knew that Lu Yang knew many things that he himself didn’t know. Every time something unfamiliar would come up, he would ask Lu Yang, and every time, Lu Yang would answer him very patiently.
Right now, on Lu Yang’s side, it would still be daytime.
In the video, the sunlight streamed in from the window behind Lu Yang, and there were a few white clouds floating in the blue sky.
Chen Yuchuan watched the video several times and finally fell asleep in the middle of watching it.
Half asleep, he seemed to hear very light footsteps walking around in the living room, and finally, there came the sounds of the bedroom door opening.
At first, he thought he was dreaming, so he didn’t wake up and didn’t open his eyes. But then, he felt the familiar breath on the top of his head, and his phone was taken away.
Opening his eyes, Chen Yuchuan turned over. Knowing it was Lu Yang, he whispered, “Yang ge? Why are you back already?”
“I just got home.” Lu Yang took off his coat and put it on the bedside.
Chen Yuchuan rubbed his eyes and sat up, leaning his head against the headboard. The bedroom light wasn’t turned on, but the door was open, allowing the light from the living room to stream in. He could see that Lu Yang hadn’t changed his clothes yet. Only his coat was off, and his hair was a little messy.
“Did I wake you up? Or are you having trouble sleeping again?” Lu Yang asked.
Chen Yuchuan sat up even more and rubbed his face. “I seemed to be asleep and yet not asleep. I heard a little noise and thought I was dreaming. Since you’re not at home, I haven’t been sleeping very well and always woke up periodically. Why are you back? Don’t you have three days left?”
“The matter is settled so I came back. Go back to sleep. I’ll take a shower first.”
When Lu Yang turned around, Chen Yuchuan grabbed the cuff of his shirt. His index finger slipped through the slit of Lu Yang’s cuff, and he scratched Lu Yang’s wrist with his nails. “Yang ge, why don’t we fight again now? Maybe I can win this time.”
Lu Yang smiled and turned back to lightly pinch Chen Yuchuan’s mouth. “We’re not fighting. Go to sleep.”
With a laugh, Chen Yuchuan let go of Lu Yang’s cuff and laid back down. Pulling the comforter over his face, he said, “Yang ge, go to sleep early after taking a shower. Good night.”
They were still sleeping in separate rooms, with Chen Yuchuan in the master bedroom and Lu Yang in the spare bedroom.
They had gone to the boxing gym together several times already, but Lu Yang had not once gone easy on him, and so he had not won yet.
Fearing that Chen Yuchuan would feel suffocated, Lu Yang pulled the comforter away from his face. “Don’t sleep with your face covered.”
Chen Yuchuan responded with a nasal hum to indicate that he heard and then promptly turned over so that his back was to Lu Yang and the door.
There was the sound of Lu Yang walking to the door, followed by the click of the door as it closed, turning the room pitched back once more.
Chen Yuchuan twisted and turned a few times. Finally, he got up, put on the coat that Lu Yang had just taken off, took a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out from the nightstand drawer, and stepped out onto the balcony.
He had put the cigarette case in there more than a month ago. At first, there were five cigarettes left in it, and now there are still five.
Taking out a cigarette, he held it in his mouth and continuously pressed on the gear of the lighter with his other hand. The lighter clicked, and a small flame flickered to life, the heat burning Chen Yuchuan’s thumb.
But he did not light the cigarette in his mouth. He was just playing around, not really intending to smoke, even though he was addicted to smoking.
Since he’d promised Lu Yang that he would stop smoking, he fully intended to do so. He also knew that if he didn’t quit now, it wouldn’t be as easy to quit later.
He opened a small slit in the balcony window, and when the wind slipped in through the crack, he shrank back, shivered, and promptly closed the window again.
As soon as he closed the window, he heard footsteps behind him and turned with the cigarette still in his mouth.
“Didn’t you say you’ll stop smoking?” The light in the bedroom came on, showing Lu Yang dressed in pajamas with his hair half-dry.
Chen Yuchuan, still holding the cigarette in his mouth, grinned at Lu Yang. He removed the cigarette, took two steps forward, and said, “I’m not smoking. I was just playing with it, since I couldn’t sleep and am addicted to cigarettes. I’ll go back to bed now.”
After saying this, he tried to go back into the bedroom, but as he brushed past Lu Yang’s shoulder, Lu Yang held his arm and pulled him closer.
“What’s wrong?” Chen Yuchuan asked.
Lu Yang turned slightly so that his body was at Chen Yuchuan’s side. Lowering his head, he smelled Chen Yuchuan’s neck.
Feeling Lu Yang’s warm breath on the side of his neck, Chen Yuchuan’s neck tingled a little, and he tilted his head and rubbed his neck on his shoulder.
“There’s no smell of smoke, right? I’m really not smoking,” Chen Yuchuan repeated.
Lu Yang raised his head, and holding Chen Yuchuan’s chin in his palm, he lowered his head again. The tip of his nose brushed against Chen Yuchuan’s lips.
Chen Yuchuan lowered his eyelids. He deliberately raised his neck and rubbed his lips against the tip of Lu Yang’s nose. “There’s no smell of smoke, right?”
“Mmn,” Lu Yang responded and let go of Chen Yuchuan’s arm.
In the bedroom, Chen Yuchaun threw away the cigarette and the lighter, took off the coat, and got into bed.
As soon as he lay down, he felt the comforter on his body being lightly lifted, and a warm, slightly damp chest pressed against his back.
Lu Yang hugged Chen Yuchuan from behind, pressing his palm against his belly. “Sleep well.”
It had been a long time since Chen Yuchuan slept in the same bed with Lu Yang. But with Lu Yang lying next to him and telling him to sleep well, he became more awake than ever.
He directly turned over and buried himself into Lu Yang’s arms. “Why aren’t you sleeping next door today?”
“Because I’m sleeping with you.”
Chen Yuchuan pressed his ear against Lu Yang’s chest, listening to the sound of his heart beating rhythmically in the silence of the night.
“Yang ge, whenever I think about it, I still feel so terrified.”
As he spoke, he listened to Lu Yang’s heartbeat, and his voice seemed to have reached inside Lu Yang’s chest and wrapped around his heartbeat, before being reverberated back to his ears.
Lu Yang patted Chen Yuchuan’s back. “Don’t be afraid.”
Chen Yuchuan raised his head and said, “I really cooperated with the doctor, so why am I not all better yet.”
“Don’t worry,” Lu Yang comforted. “It’s only been less than two months. If you don’t want to go next time, you don’t have to go.”
“I’ll go,” Chen Yuchuan insisted. “I still have to go. What if I don’t get better?”
Lu Yang held Chen Yuchuan’s hand underneath the comforter and pressed it against his chest. This time, Chen Yuchuan didn’t struggle or recoil.
“Look, it is effective. You’re actually not that scared anymore.”
“That’s right.” Chen Yuchuan rubbed Lu Yang’s chest twice through his pajamas. Finally, he lifted Lu Yang’s pajama shirt and placed his hand directly against his chest. He felt the shape of the scar and traced his fingers back and forth along the raised edges. The more he touched, the more sour his fingertips felt.
“When you fell unconscious, and I woke up,” Chen Yuchuan recalled with his eyes closed, “I smelled the overpowering scent of gasoline. Suddenly, there was the sound of many people talking, and of steel pipes falling to the ground. Mixed together, these sounds were especially harsh. When I opened my eyes, all I saw was red. It was everywhere. I didn’t know what was wrong. My head was hurting, and my arms were hurting. And blood, blood was dripping on my body, on my hair, on my face, on my eyelids, into my eyes. My body was full of your blood. No matter how much I called for you, you would not wake up. I called you and I called you, and still you didn’t wake up. And I thought…”
Chen Yuchuan paused here, unable to follow that thought. He turned his body around.
“Later, I heard the sound of an ambulance and saw a doctor wearing a red coat. I knew it was white, but there was so much blood in my eyes. I asked them to save you first. I called them, but they didn’t seem to hear me. Someone said that, because of the location I was in, I must be dragged out first. They put me on a stretcher, and I tried to climb off, but they held me down. I could only watch helplessly as you were carried into another ambulance. There were so many red coats surrounding you that I couldn’t even see you anymore…”
“The doctor examined me, and I was only slightly injured. Our parents and I waited outside the door of the operating room. I didn’t know how long it was. I just remembered doctors and nurses running in and out of the room, asking us to sign several critical illness forms. At the time, my mind was completely empty. I didn’t know what this meant until the second form. You know, I had never believed in ghosts or gods, but in that moment in my heart, I begged all the gods that I knew. I begged them, I begged that I was willing to die directly as long as you are well. I would exchange my life for yours…”
Lu Yang patted his back. Chen Yuchuan didn’t continue and only said, “Pei, pei, pei. It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s better not to talk about dying.”
This was the first time Chen Yuchuan had taken the initiative to talk to Lu Yang about this, and so this was also the first time he’d heard about what happened from Chen Yuchuan’s perspective. He continued patting Chen Yuchuan on the back, saying, “Everything is alright now.”
“It’s alright now, but you were in the hospital for a month. During that whole time, I hadn’t been able to sleep. I was afraid that the moment I closed my eyes, you would disappear. Even when I did sleep, my dreams were colored in red. Now that I think about it, my sleep problems seemed to have started at that time.”
After saying this, he added, “I feel that Dr. Lin’s medicine isn’t as good as you. When you’re here, I no longer seem to have insomnia.”
“Then take me as medicine,” Lu Yang said.
Chen Yuchuan laughed. “Before eating, wait for me for a few more days…”
Xixi: Wow. No wonder Chen Yuchuan was traumatized. Dude was probably suffering from PTSD.