On the fourteenth day, Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai were finally discharged from the hospital. Dong Yi and Su Daijun came on that day. After that, he was supposed to go back with his family and celebrate with his relatives.
Cui Zuojing also went to the hospital. Dong Zheng’s parents were already there, and he only watched from a distance. Dong Zheng finally took off his hospital gown and changed into his own personal clothes. He was dressed in a black shirt and black pants. He stood tall and straight, unlike a patient who had been lying in a hospital for half a month.
Dong Zheng went to go through the discharge procedures. He saw Cui Zuojing on the other side of the hallway some distance away, and smiles immediately appeared at the corners of his eyes. Dong Yi and Su Daijun were still packing things in the ward. He walked toward Cui Zuojing and made a gesture to him. They entered the elevator one after another.
There were already other people in the elevator. Cui Zuojing stood next to Dong Zheng in the back by the elevator wall. He quietly hooked Dong Zheng’s finger and felt him grip back.
This kind of sneaky and affectionate action made Cui Zuojing feel embarrassed for a moment. He raised his head, glanced at Dong Zheng, and saw the other party looking forward as if nothing had happened. He couldn’t help but smirked and put his hand into Dong Zheng’s pant pocket. Just as he was about to do something bad, his hand was held down.
Cui Zuojing wanted to pull his hand out, but Dong Zheng refused to release him. He wanted to go in and stretch out in a certain direction, but Dong Zheng didn’t give way either. So he was firmly pressed by Dong Zheng without advancing or retreating. In May, through a thin layer of clothes, he gradually felt the temperature of Dong Zheng’s skin.
Cui Zuojing jabbed Dong Zheng’s leg dishonestly with his fingers. Fortunately, the elevator quickly stopped on the third floor. Dong Zheng finally let go and walked out of the elevator. He glanced back at Cui Zuojing, and Cui Zuojing clearly saw the amusement that he couldn’t hide.
Cui Zuojing stuck out his tongue towards his back and hurriedly followed behind him. There were a lot of people in the hospital. While Dong Zheng looked for the window to handle the discharge procedures, Cui Zuojing took out his mobile phone and snapped a picture of him.
In the camera, Dong Zheng stood out even more due to his height advantage. He was looking for a window among the crowd. The cuffs of his black shirt were rolled up a little, revealing a dark blue watch and a slip in his hand. He was quite tall and stood straight and upright. The lines of his eyebrow bones and the bridge of his nose were not as exaggerated as Europeans, but they were also quite profound and quite good. Of course, Cui Zuojing won’t deny that he was also looking at Dong Zheng through his own filter.
After the car accident, Dong Zheng’s craniocerebral injury mainly manifested as a concussion and an intracranial congestion. The part of the congestion was very magical and did not compress his brain tissue. After consultation with experts, it was determined that a craniotomy wasn’t necessary so he managed to keep his head of hair.
Cui Zuojing thought this photo was quite useful and set it as a screensaver before sending a copy to his sister. Ten seconds later, his sister responded with a message.
Potato Chips ovo: Fuck, a handsome guy!
Potato Chips ovo: Is this your friend?
Potato Chips ovo: Fuck, so handsome. Does he have a girlfriend? Do I get benefits for knowing you?”
The corners of Cui Zuojing’s lips lifted up and he replied, “He doesn’t have a girlfriend, but are you sure you want to grab someone else’s boyfriend?”
When a series of “?????” followed, Cui Zuijing smiled from ear to ear, full of a sense of accomplishment. Dong Zheng had already found the window and was waiting in line. When he raised his head, he found Cui Zuojing looking at him.
Cui Zuojing waved his mobile phone at him. Dong Zheng should have seen the screensaver, otherwise his eyes would not have blinked like that to conceal his emotions. After getting along and being together for this long, Cui Zuojing knew his little movements well.
The procedures were completed quickly, and he was discharged from the hospital. By then, everything was packed. Dong Yi, Su Daijun and Dong Linhai came down, and Cui Zuojing watched as the family of four went to the parking lot. He disappeared behind the closed elevator door and left the hospital to return to Dong Zheng’s house.
He estimated that Dong Zheng shouldn’t be able to come back today. Cui Zuojing was paralyzed on the couch, flipping through their chat records. The most recent one was a few minutes ago when he reached the building and saw a Siamese cat being taken for a walk by its owner. He suddenly felt emotional and took a picture to share with Dong Zheng.
It would not summon ghosts from the shadows, not turn other cats into its spies, nor would it transform its opponents into a cat when they became weak and injured.
It was just an ordinary Siamese, blue-eyed with a coal-digger’s face, smart and lively, and only meowing.
There were no more Queen after them, no heirs, and no more endless boxes.
Lying on the couch, Cui Zuojing suddenly felt a sense of unreality, accompanied by an emptiness that was difficult to describe. He’d left the fantasy world he was familiar with, and lost his ability to be proud. From a legend that was destined to be circulated for a long time, he became an ordinary person without a name.
…and not even a high school diploma to his name.
This psychological gap was really uncomfortable. At this moment, a message popped up that diverted Cui Zuojing’s attention. Dong Zheng was already at home, and he took a picture of his family’s house from the outside.
A villa, with a detached garage and a large garden.
Cui Zuojing put his cell phone down expressionlessly, pressed his pillow to his face, and suddenly felt even more empty.
To celebrate the brothers’ discharge from the hospital, Dong Zheng’s family called a group of relatives over for dinner. Dong Zheng took a shower and cleaned up. His paternal grandfather, and his second uncle and aunt were there. Everyone was fussing after Dong Linhai, and so when Dong Zheng arrived, the firepower was immediately transferred. Dong Linhai, who had been bombarded for a long time, showed a grateful expression at having escaped for the day.
Although Dong Linhai managed to escape from the undivided attention, he still heard his aunt sighing to his mother, “Why did I feel that Linhai suddenly became a lot more sensible after this incident?”
Su Daijun agreed. “Yes, it seems like he suddenly grew up.”
Was I that ignorant before? Dong Linhai took a huge swallow of the coke and thought. To be honest, the accomplishments that the Pure White Realm had brought him was hard to describe in words. The understanding of the impermanence of life and death, the friendships he’d had, and the determination to return to reality. He would never forget them.
Everyone was concerned about the shadow in Dong Zheng’s head. As Dong Zheng answered various questions from his relatives, from time to time, he would look at his mobile phone, for fear of missing anything from Cui Zuojing.
But there was none. After he sent a photo of the house, Cui Zuojing had sent back a “So beautiful,” but there were no more messages after that. Dong Zheng didn’t know what Cui Zuojing was doing now, and so he inexplicably felt a little anxious. This anxiety had been quite serious when the blood contract was first removed, primarily because he’d become accustomed to Cui Zuojing’s existence. But with time, this anxiety had slowly faded away. Now, it seems to have come back.
Dong Zheng didn’t know why. He thought about it, and he figured that it might have something to do with the fact that he’d just come back from the Pure White Realm and needed more time to adjust.
The dinner was very lively. The house had more than 20 people that span four generations. With laughter, they continued to celebrate the safe return of the two brothers. Because he was still recuperating, Dong Zheng couldn’t drink. Just like the younger generation Dong Linhai, his cup was filled with a carbonated drink.
Everything in front of him suddenly reminded him of the scenes in the castle. Every night, the Wonton Insurgency would sit around the table like this. Victor would definitely drink a little wine, and Fu Zhe would always be so calm and relaxed. Lillian would also be there. The light was warm and bright, illuminating the glistening brightness and the hope in their eyes.
What was A’Zuo doing now? After thinking this, he sent a message to Cui Zuojing.
Cui Zuojing quickly replied, “I accidentally fell asleep. I’m a little hungry and am getting ready to go and find something to eat.”
Dong Zheng could imagine him slowly climbing up from the couch. He would rub his messy hair and squint his sleepy eyes at the darkness. Dong Yi, who was sitting next to Dong Zheng, noticed the unusual upturn at the corners of his son’s lips. His eyes were curious, but in the end, he didn’t say anything.
Two hours later, dinner was over. Grandpa had bad legs and would be staying overnight, but the rest of the relatives left one after another. Su Daijun and the nanny aunt were cleaning the table together, and Dong Linhai consciously went to help. Dong Zheng glanced at the time and saw that it was nine o’clock. He put on his clothes, grabbed his car keys, and told Dong Yi, “Dad, I’m leaving.”
Dong Yi was a little surprised. “It’s so late. What are you going to do?”
“Find a friend.”
Dong Yi frowned, but only said, “Be careful on the road.”
In the end, Dong Zheng was an adult and Dong Yi was no longer in charge of him. He remembered the slight anxiousness Dong Zheng had inadvertently revealed during dinner. This was his biological son, after all, so how could he not notice?
Dong Zheng got into the driver’s seat. He sat for a moment, holding the steering wheel. Although he’d experienced three years in the Pure White Realm, driving in the real world still left him with some psychological shadows.
He went to the house he’d purchased. From outside, he could see that the windows were bright, indicating that Cui Zuojing was home. Dong Zheng stopped the car, hurried upstairs, and opened the door of his house.
The light in the living room was on, and a corner of the blanket on the couch had slipped to the ground. Cui Zuojing had obviously slept there. His phone rested on the coffee table, along with an opened bottle of red wine. Dong Zheng couldn’t remember having ever bought it.
The person he wanted to see most was nowhere to be seen. Dong Zheng looked around out on the balcony, but there was no one there. The door to the master bedroom was closed. Dong Zheng turned the handle and pushed the door open into darkness. He reached for the switch, and as the light flickered on, he suddenly felt a gust of wind passing behind his back. Then his eyes went dark.
Dong Zheng stood still, feeling the warm breath on the back of his neck and smelling the rich scent of wine. But he didn’t bother removing the hands away from his eyes. Instead, he reached behind him and touched the other person’s waist.
This method worked, because Cui Zuojing hissed and turned away.
“What are you doing? Do you want to scare me to death?” Dong Zheng smiled and turned around. He saw that Cui Zuojingw as wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. A moment ago, he was joking around, but now his forehead had a light sweat to it.
“Aren’t you having dinner with your relatives? Why are you here?” Cui Zuojing didn’t think that Dong Zheng would come back. In fact, he’d heard the sound of Dong Zheng taking out his keys in front of the door. He wanted to joke scare him, so that he wouldn’t so feel awkward.
“It’s over.” Dong Zheng looked into Cui Zuojing’s eyes and asked, “Don’t you want me to come back?”
“Of course.” Cui Zuojing cupped Dong Zheng’s face and rose up to kiss him, with the smell of red wine still lingering on his lips. He pointed to the living room and said with a sense of accomplishment, “I have cleaned the furniture and the floors. The plants are all watered, all just so that you won’t have to clean when you come back. It looks great.”
Dong Zheng looked around and suddenly remembered something. He smiled and teasingly agreed, “It’s pretty good. Cui Dolly really deserves his reputation.”
Cui Zuojing was stunned for a moment, and then reacted with fury, “Get lost! You’re the maid!”
He pushed Dong Zheng all the way to the bed and sat on him aggressively, not saying a word. Regardless of whether his neck was red with anger or shame, he gazed down at Dong Zheng from above for a few seconds. Then suddenly, he laughed and rolled next to him.
Now that this other person was here, this home had the breath of liveliness he wanted.
“We should raise a cat.” In the end, he whispered this.