Jiang Nian was frozen in the same posture for a long time.
His phone was pressed to his ear, his back was straight, and he was looking out the window without saying a word. No one knew if he was still talking on the phone, let alone what he was thinking right now.
The other people in the car all kept absolutely quiet.
The bridge they were on had been blocked for nearly an hour but the quickest way to get to the hospital was to cross this bridge. But who knew what kind of accident had happened on the other side that caused it to be so congested. Since a life was at stake, Xu Xinyi couldn’t sit still. She pulled open the car door and said to Anya, “We’re going to be stuck in traffic for a while like this. You wait here. I’ll just walk across this section of the bridge with Jiang Nian.”
She took a mask and hat that her assistant offered and then Xu Xinyi pulled Jiang Nian out of the car.
“Don’t worry, there are often traffic jams on this bridge. We’ll just take a taxi as soon as we cross the bridge. We’ll be there soon.”
Xu Xinyi walked vigorously and dragged Jiang Nian along behind her.
Jiang Nian took a few small steps but then stood in place when they reached the riverside.
“What’s the matter?”
Jiang Nian slowly dropped the cell phone that had been affixed to his ear. “He’s already dead.”
Xu Xinyi wanted to say something but stopped.
She did not know what had happened to Jiang Nian to make him say the word ‘dead’ so indifferently after the death of his own father.
There was no tremor in his voice, no sadness.
There was just an expression like it had nothing to do with him. He seemed very indifferent.
Even so, Xu Xinyi did not say anything lightly, she knew that people dealt with their joys and sorrows in different ways. Not to mention, she really didn’t know anything about Jiang Nian’s relationship with his father so she was not qualified to say anything.
“Don’t you want to go and take one last look?”
“He’s already dead. What’s the difference between seeing him now and seeing him later?”
The sky was covered with countless dark clouds that made the atmosphere heavy and dreary despite the bright lights that lined both sides of the bridge or the glowing multitude of headlights from the motionless traffic.
Jiang Nian slowly walked down the winding stone staircase near the entrance of the bridge. Xu Xinyi was concerned about Jiang Nian’s mood so she followed him down.
Jiang Nian stood by the river quietly and then turned to look at Xu Xinyi, “What a coincidence. Do you still remember this place?”
Xu Xinyi’s brow furrowed.
“My mother was a very gentle woman who loved that man so much that he was the only one in her heart. But then one day, I don’t know why, he kicked me and my mother out of the house. He said I was not his son and severed all ties with the two of us.”
“There was nothing my mother could do, nothing at all. And all she brought with her when she left that house was a single suitcase and me. After that, she worked hard to support me but she would still take every opportunity to go to his office or his home, trying to see him, but every time he wouldn’t even see her. She was humiliated over and over again until she died a year or so later. But even on her deathbed, she was still thinking about him.”
“I sold everything at home to settle my mother’s funeral affairs. And if I hadn’t met you that night, if you hadn’t bought me that food, I might have starved to death.”
“So I won’t forgive him. Even if he dies, I still won’t forgive him.”
Xu Xinyi looked at him in silence.
She remembered that not long after she and Yi Yang got married, they went back to the Yi estate so she could meet Old Master Yi for the first time. But then on the way back, Yi Yang couldn’t go back to Lanting because he suddenly had to go to the company so he threw her out of the car half-way. In order to calm herself down, she took a walk by the river and happened to meet Jiang Nian. She had not only bought him some food, but she had also given him all the cash she had with her.
It seemed the food she bought for Jiang Nian back then saved his life.
The traffic on the bridge suddenly began moving slowly above them. It seemed that whatever had been blocking the road had been removed so traffic was moving again.
Jiang Nian looked at Xu Xinyi and said, “Xu Xinyi, there’s no good end for people who are desperately in love.”
The congested traffic soon eased so, in less than half an hour, Jiang Nian and Xu Xinyi arrived at the hospital.
Yi Yang and some top executives from his company were still there in the hospital. After all, Jiang Cheng died suddenly amidst the cooperation talks with the Yi Group so they were duty-bound to take some responsibility.
“How are things?” Xu Xinyi walked quickly to Yi Yang’s side and asked him.
Yi Yang grabbed her cold hand and shook his head silently.
Jiang Huai had gone into the emergency room and still hadn’t come out.
The deceased was an important figure so it was not easy for the doctors to go in and disturb him, so the exact circumstances weren’t clear.
When Jiang Huai’s assistant saw Jiang Nian, his eyes lit up and he walked anxiously over to Jiang Nian. “Mr. Jiang is waiting for you in the emergency room.”
Jiang Nian stared at the door to the emergency room impassively. He looked so indifferent that people might be suspicious if this man in front of them and the dead man inside the emergency room really had a father-son relationship.
He walked slowly into the emergency room and looked around. There were white walls, white sheets, and stinging white fluorescents – it was as if he stepped into a world of silent white.
The man on the hospital bed had a sheet drawn over his head. There was a string of Buddhist prayer beads clasped in his old hand and there was a single ring on his ring finger.
Jiang Huai, who was standing near the hospital bed, heard footsteps behind him but he did not look back.
“He really changed a lot these past few years that you’ve been away. You may not believe it but, two years ago, he began to believe in Buddhism. He often instructed me to be a man of my word and to be upright when doing things. He also tidied up your room and waited every day for you to come back home.”
Jiang Huai sighed. “You should remember that when he went to pick you up two years ago, he didn’t have any white hair. But you can see him now, I would believe it even if you told me he was 70 years old.”
“You were still the one he was most concerned about right before the end. He told me to set a good example for you and not to spoil you. Now that he is dead, can’t you forgive him?”
“Do you remember when you were a child, he was always busy with work but he would always promise to play with you. And every time he had to break his appointment because he was busy with work he would be afraid that you might get angry and ignore him, so he would crawl on the ground and let you ride him like a horse to amuse you.”
Jiang Nian said calmly, “Because I was his son. But when I was not his son, I was nothing.”
“Would you like to see him?”
Jiang Nian did not shake his head or nod. He stood in front of the hospital bed and looked down at his own feet.
“I will remember the day you kicked me out for the rest of my life. I will always remember when my mother was dying of illness and I came to beg you for help, but you just called me a bastard…” Jiang Nian suddenly stopped speaking. He used his arm and wiped it across his eyes.
“Dad, I forgive you.”
A slight breeze came out of nowhere and swept over his ear, just like the breath his father had blown in his ear when he was young all those years ago.
After Jiang Cheng’s body was taken out of the hospital Xu Xinyi and Yi Yang returned to the Yi estate. It was already late in the morning, and both of them were exhausted.
But because Jiang Cheng’s death was a big event in City A Old Master Yi found about it early on and was waiting for Yi Yang to come back and report the details.
After he heard the whole process from Yi Yang, the Old Master sighed. Although their two families were not that close to each other anymore, they were at least old friends. Old Master Yi had watched Jiang Cheng grow up but now he would have to see him off. It weighed heavily on his heart.
“I understand this matter. I’ll see Jiang Cheng off at the funeral one final time.” The Old Master stood up and leaned heavily on his cane. “That’s enough for today. You must be exhausted too. Go get some rest.”
Mrs. Yi also got up to help the Old Master go upstairs to rest.
Xu Xinyi and Yi Yang watched the Old Master go upstairs before they both headed back to their own room.
Xu Xinyi had not known Jiang Cheng well or even met him, except for their encounter at her studio, but even so, she felt a little lost and confused when facing this sort of matter regarding life and death.
“What are you thinking about?”
Xu Xinyi shook her head. “I’m not thinking about anything.” Then she asked, “Do you know anything about Jiang Nian and his mother?”
“Why are you asking about this?”
Yi Yang seemed unwilling to talk about it, “Don’t ask about this. Just go to bed.”
After taking a bath and going to bed. Xu Xinyi couldn’t sleep. She rolled around the bed over and over again but she couldn’t sleep. She kept thinking about what Jiang Nian had said.
–As a matter of fact, Jiang Nian is right. Women are all emotional animals. So when you fall in love, it’s important to stay awake. You can’t only have love in your heart, otherwise, a man abandoning you is like the sky falling down.
Wasn’t ‘Xu Xinyi’ the best example? Didn’t she end up like that because she loved Yi Yang too much and she couldn’t extricate herself from him?
–“So what if Yi Yang seems inexplicably on my wavelength? I don’t believe that he really likes me and that he doesn’t like Xu Weiyin.”
–“If he had divorced me back then, would he have liked Xu Weiyin because I wasn’t around?”
–“…probably he would have. After all, Xu Weiyin is so beautiful and also so good at pretending. Without me fooling around around him, he may have already fallen in love with Xu Weiyin to the point where he couldn’t extricate himself by now.”
Yi Yang listened calmly from his side of the bed.
There was no denying that he had no feelings for Xu Xinyi back then or that he had been so dissatisfied with her way of doing things that he felt only disgust when he would hear news about her. Back then he had believed that divorce was the best choice for both of them.
If he hadn’t suddenly been able to hear the words in Xu Xinyi’s heart amidst the divorce, he would never have known that this seemingly strong and prickly woman actually had such a cute and naive side.
As for whether he might have fallen in love with Xu Weiyin.
Yi Yang thought about it seriously for a long time.
If it hadn’t been for Xu Xinyi, he might never have learned to see through the hearts of the people around him or found out how terrible the people who liked to pretend in front of him really were.
He probably would not have ever known about Qin Yan’s ulterior motives, let alone been able to see through Xu Weiyin’s deliberate calculations. Perhaps, because of Xu Weiyin’s deliberate scheming, he might have really ended up liking her.
“Are you asleep?” Xu Xinyi asked softly.
Yi Yang kept his eyes closed and didn’t move at all after Xu Xinyi’s question.
Xu Xinyi propped herself up on her elbows and looked at Yi Yang in the faint light of the bedside lamp. She sighed, “Do you like me? Or not? If you don’t like me, then I hope you could ask me for a divorce as soon as possible. But if you do like me. Well, I don’t know why you like me or how long you will like me for, but I wish you would let me know.”
There was no reply so Xu Xinyi laid back down.
Yi Yang opened his eyes and looked at Xu Xinyi’s profile.
Slowly the sound of her breathing even out and became uniform.
Yi Yang held her hand under the quilt.
A sly smile quietly appeared at the corners of Xu Xinyi’s lips.
–“I knew he was awake! He had better hurry up and let me know how much he likes me to my satisfaction. If not, we can spend the rest of our lives fighting it out.”
–“If I’m not satisfied, we’ll just get a divorce!”
Yi Yang was stunned. But, eventually, the corners of his mouth just turned up in a helpless smile.