Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Buses came and went, and people on the platform changed from one to another.
This interview video and several other commercials were playing on a loop, and Lu Rong was standing on the platform with his shoebox in his hand, watching in awe until he was knocked over by a crowd of passengers and realized it was time to go back.
He didn’t take the bus, but walked back down the street.
The man, An, the international movie star, was his brother Shen Jize, as he had just confirmed repeatedly on the big screen.
Lu Rong turned on his phone and started searching.
It took a long time for the lowest-end smartphone to show An’s business card, but there was no personal information, only the name of a film and awards. He clicked into Weibo, and only found a bunch of screaming or licking, the rest were posters in high resolution, without any valid information about An.
Lu Rong clicked on those pictures to save them, his smartphone froze, and he didn’t know whether they were saved or not, so he clicked several times in a row.
He continued to walk back, his eyes glowing, his face flushed with excitement. A few flashes of lightning in the sky, the sky darkened, and it looked like it was going to rain. All the pedestrians on the road were running, only he remained at the same pace, immersed in his thoughts.
The wind blowing was cool, but it couldn’t blow away the heat of his heart. His soft hair in the wind became a mess, just like his chaotic mood at this time. When he arrived at the stopping point to board the shuttle bus back to town, the rain poured down. He gazed at the rainwater flowing through the window, and in the noise of the rain, which was rather quiet, he repeatedly remembered the face he had just seen on the big screen.
When he got home, he looked no different than usual, having his usual dinner and sitting under the eaves to play a little ball with the dog before giving Grandpa Cai the word to go back inside and rest.
“So early?” Grandpa Cai was reading the news on his phone, his eyes looking at Lu Rong from above his presbyopic glasses.
“I’m a little tired today and want to go to bed early.” Lu Rong said.
“Go and take a glass of that brain tonic.”
Lu Rong said wanly, “Grandpa, I’ve already graduated, so I don’t need to drink that anymore.”
“There’s still half a box left, so you have to drink it. It hasn’t expired yet.”
Lu Rong went to the medicine box and took a bottle of the brain tonic, unscrewed the glass cap and drank it as he walked upstairs, throwing the empty bottle in the trash before entering the room.
Closing the door and closing the curtains, he fell heavily onto the bed and pulled the towel quilt aside to cover his face. The sound of the TV came from downstairs, and Grandpa Cai was watching a war drama, with the hero and heroine’s resounding dialogues drifting into the room every now and then.
A few moments later, Lu Rong abruptly ripped off the quilt, rolled out of bed, went to the depths of the closet, pulled out a steel cookie box, opened the lid, and took out a hard piece of paper from inside.
The paper was yellowed because it was too old, torn and glued back together, with a sliver of unevenness on it. He rubbed his fingers over the words on it, and the bumps gently grazed his fingertips.
Lu Rong stared at the remittance slip for a while, then put it back into the cookie box and shoved it back into the depths of the closet. Leaning back on the edge of the bed, he took out his phone and clicked on Weibo.
He looked up An’s Weibo number and found it. The number of followers had already increased to more than 10 million and was still growing. His last tweet was posted when he started, with a short sentence, [Hello, I’m An.]
Lu Rong read this many times, as if he wanted to see something unusual in the middle. Only when the sound of Grandpa Cai closing the courtyard door came from downstairs, was he ready to turn off his phone and go to sleep.
But just as he was about to quit Weibo, a new one suddenly came up. It was a photo of a huge white wing and thick curling clouds, with the words: accidental but inevitable.
Lu Rong sat up violently from the bed, his heart bursting with excitement.
——Brother had posted a new tweet.
He clicked on the photo to enlarge it, and repeatedly pondered the words ‘accidental’ and ‘inevitable’, but nothing came to mind. The following comments were all speculation about whether An had returned to China for promotion and how much he wanted to see the movie soon.
Lu Rong watched for a long time, including all those comments, before lying down on the bed and looking at the ceiling, quietly dazed. The initial excitement of recognizing the person had passed, and a feeling of sadness came over him.
Will Brother still remember him?
The promises they made when they were children, the things they experienced together, the feelings that seemed indestructible to him, but were they just as important to his brother? What if he didn’t remember him, or if he didn’t care about what happened in the past?
Lu Rong tossed and turned, rolling from side to side with the covers over his head, and then suddenly lifted the covers and sat up with a messy head.
No! No matter whether Shen Jize remembered or not, he had to find him.
It didn’t matter if he had forgotten, he could tell him about the past, then he could always remember. It didn’t matter if he was indifferent, he would pester him and call him Brother, using his favorite kind of tone.
The day would come when he would look at him again, with the most tender eyes, and his mouth calling ‘Rong Rong’. And he didn’t believe Shen Jize would forget him at all. They had worshipped before God and Buddha, and they had said they would stay with each other forever.
Lu Rong had never forgotten his promise, and he believed Shen Jize would never forget it either. When he thought of this, he felt like a fire was lit in his heart, burning his whole chest, and had to open the window to let the blowing wind in to feel better.
The huge plane landed steadily on the runway, glided some distance and then stopped, and the passengers disembarked in an orderly manner. A young man with broad shoulders and a narrow waist and a slender body drew attention in the crowd of passengers.
He wore a large pair of black sunglasses that blocked his eyebrows. But the bridge of his nose was high, his lips were perfectly shaped, and his face was well-defined. His thin black jacket was open, and under it was a short-sleeved T-shirt of the same color, with a nice muscular line faintly visible under the fabric. His hair was a little messy, a few strands hanging down on his forehead, but it made him look sexy and casual.
A baby-faced assistant-like person pushed some big suitcases behind him, another assistant chased after him and asked in a low voice, “Brother An, have you posted a weibo earlier?”
Shen Jize didn’t answer, which meant there was no denial.
“Can I ask, what does ‘accidental but inevitable’ mean?” The assistant, Gao Kai, asked the question with a stiff upper lip.
Shen Jize gave him a faint sideways glance.
Gao Kai made a gesture to the doll-faced assistant Xiao Chu who was pushing the box behind him, and Xiao Chu immediately rushed up to explain, “Kate asked us to ask. She said that every post you send, she must understand what is expressed in order to deal with some sudden accidents. After all, you aren’t an ordinary person now, and she’s your manager, you say anything to the outside world casually, even if it’s only a punctuation mark—”
“There’s no meaning.” Shen Jize faintly interrupted Xiao Chu’s words.
Gao Kai repeated blankly, “There’s no meaning…”
“Yes, it’s just a few words I wrote at random, it doesn’t mean anything.” Shen Jize gently pushed down his sunglasses, the action was very dashing. When he saw the two assistants looking at each other, he explained a few more words, “The words don’t need to have any meaning, they just need to be in the clouds.”
After saying that, he didn’t care if the two understood, his long legs continued to walk forward. There was a sentence in his heart that he didn’t say: no one can understand, including myself, this is the name of the game.
After all, the domestic publicity had just begun, and he didn’t reveal his itinerary, only posted a picture of the plane on Twitter, so Shen Jize and his team left the airport, and boarded the waiting luxury business car, and not a passerby recognized him in the process.
As the business car headed for the pre-booked hotel, Shen Jize took off his sunglasses and leaned back in his seat, looking out the window with a slight sideways glance. The colorful neon lights through the window reflected the interior of the car, and his face was quiet, as if he was thinking about something, but also as if he wasn’t thinking about anything.
“Brother An, you used to live in the capital, didn’t you? Has it changed much between then and now? Do you need me to show you around?” Xiao Chu asked.
Shen Jize didn’t make a sound, and just when Xiao Chu thought he wouldn’t answer, a light but magnetic male voice rang out, “No, I am more familiar with it than you.”
“…Oh.” Knowing that he wasn’t interested in chatting, she shut up knowingly.
The business car arrived at the hotel parking lot, Shen Jize entered the pre-booked room.
Xiao Chu packed a few full suitcases for him, while Gao Kai took out his notepad and began to report on tomorrow’s itinerary.
“I will pick you up at eight o’clock and go to the TV station to do a talk show. Don’t worry, the host has already explained that the questions asked are very simple. The designer and makeup artist will come at 2:00 p.m. and leave at 5:00 p.m. to meet the director for the 8:00 p.m. premiere…”
Shen Jize had taken off his jacket and paced from the refrigerator to the floor-to-ceiling window, listening thoughtlessly while watching the lights in the distance. When he raised his hand and tilted his neck to drink, the muscle line behind his back instantly tightened, incredibly smooth. With the swallowing action, his Adam’s apple rolled up and down, emitting a strong masculine charm.
Gao Kai stood at his side, looking at him and dazed off, the words in his mouth also stopped. Only when Shen Jize suddenly turned his head to look at him, did he react and hurriedly say, “This is the schedule for tomorrow, Brother An rest well. Tomorrow Xiao Chu will pick you up.”
“Okay.” Shen Jize turned back and continued to drink water.
Xiao Chu also unpacked his suitcase and hung all his clothes in the closet, sniffed and nodded to Gao Cai, and the two left the room together.
Grandpa Cai was in a good mood today, so he fried some good dishes and put a jar of plum wine on the table, “Come drink with Grandpa.”
The two of them drank almost half of the plum wine, and Lu Rong’s cheeks were flushed.
After dinner, Grandpa Cai leaned back on the sofa, humming opera lyrics with his eyes slightly closed, while Lu Rong washed the dishes in the kitchen. When he came out, he sat beside Grandpa Cai and gave him a back rub and shoulder squeeze.
“What do you have to tell me again? Go ahead.” Grandpa Cai is used to seeing him do these tricks.
Lu Rong first called out petulantly to Grandpa and then said, “Grandpa, I want to go to the city.”
Grandpa Cai asked, “Go to the city? What do you want to do?”
“Look for a job. I can’t stay at home all the time. Besides, you still urge me to leave soon every day.” Lu Rong rarely lied to Grandpa Cai, his eyes drifting around. He studied computer science in college, and all his classmates had started looking for jobs, but he was the only one who wasn’t in a hurry and stayed at home.
The one who was less anxious than him was Grandpa Cai.
Before the college entrance exam, other parents forced their children to read books, but Grandpa Cai was worried about Lu Rong’s eyes going blind, his brain going bad, so he tried every possible way to rush him to go out to play.
His exact words were: Grades aren’t important. If he couldn’t study, they would open a store in town, or working part-time was also very good.
He also said he had saved up money and could study, or he couldn’t study and open a store, so Lu Rong shouldn’t panic. So on the day Lu Rong got his college entrance exam results, he wore his old-fashioned glasses for a long time and asked, ‘This means that the money is for the tuition fee?’
Lu Rong wrapped his arms around Grandpa Cai’s neck from behind and smiled cheekily, ‘Grandpa, your dream of becoming a store owner has been shattered.’
Lu Rong had wanted to go back to the county after a while to look for a job, but he didn’t think so now, he wanted to go to the capital to find Shen Jize.
He also wanted to find Wang Tu.
A doubt that had been hidden in his heart all these years was where Wang Tu had gone. As he grew older, he felt more and more that there was something fishy about the night Wang Tu threw him away, guessing that there was something else going on.
He was only four years old when he was abducted and had forgotten the exact location of his home. When he grew up, based on those sparse fragments of memory, he guessed that the place he lived at first was the capital.
Grandpa Cai was aware of where his home was because the police station had found out his identity, but he didn’t dare to ask Grandpa Cai for fear of breaking his heart.
If he went to the capital and took the time to find it himself, he may be able to find it.
Grandpa Cai didn’t know what he was planning to do and said, “Do you want to go to the county? Then let’s go tomorrow and see if we can find a suitable job.”
Lu Rong pounded his back while hesitantly saying, “Grandpa, I’m not going to the county, I want to go to the capital.”
“The capital? That far?” Grandpa Cai sat up straight.
Lu Rong lowered his head and didn’t dare to look at him, only mumbling, “Grandpa, I want to go to the capital to find a job. It’s farther away from home than the county, but…”
He knew Grandpa Cai didn’t feel comfortable with him going so far away, and his own intention had always been to find a job in the county and just stay with Grandpa. But now it was different. He was going to find his brother, and even if he had to go back to the county later, before that, he had to find Shen Jize first.
He didn’t expect Grandpa Cai would only be stunned for a moment before he said, “Go, go, go! My child has the ambition to go to the capital.” Seeing that Lu Rong looked a bit sad, he also said comfortingly, “Now transportation is really convenient, so you can come back when you have a vacation, besides, when you settle down, can’t Grandpa also visit you?” Seeing that Lu Rong didn’t speak, he asked, “Then where will you live in the capital? You have to find a place to stay for a while.”
Lu Rong said, “Grandpa, do you remember Li Song, who was one year ahead of me? He didn’t come back for the holidays and rented a house near the school and said he could let me stay there.”
Lu Rong intended to stay at Li Song’s place, if there was a vacant room he could use, then share, if not, he would temporarily settle for a few days, and then go outside to find a house.
Grandpa Cai remembered Li Song and had a good impression of him, so when he heard Lu Rong say he would stay at his place, he put his mind at ease. He patted Lu Rong’s hand on his shoulder, “Since my grandson wants to visit the capital, he should go.”
Lu Rong buried his head between Grandpa Cai’s neck and didn’t look up for half a day.
In the silence, only the rustling of ginkgo leaves could be heard outside the window. A few moments later, Grandpa Cai suddenly read out an unfamiliar address.
“Rong Rong, this is your former home. If you go to the capital, it’s the right time to visit.”
Lu Rong knew that although he didn’t say anything, Grandpa understood everything. He remained silent, only wiping his tear-wet eyes on Grandpa Cai’s shoulder.
A week later, at the train station in the capital. Lu Rong followed the crowd out of the station, carrying his school bag, a small flowered cloth bag, and a large bulging woven bag. He struggled to dodge the sneaky lodgers and stumbled for a long time before boarding a bus that was parked outside.
He talked to Li Song on the phone before he left, but who knew that Li Song had gone out of town for the past few days and wasn’t in the capital. When he heard that Lu Rong was coming to the capital, he hurriedly contacted his landlord to ask him to open the door for Lu Rong, but it turned out that the landlord had an incident at his old home and also went back home.
“It’s okay Brother Song, I can stay in a hotel.” Lu Rong reassured him in turn. But he didn’t tell Grandpa Cai about it. If he found out that Li Song wasn’t there, he would be very worried.
“Who’s looking for me? Who’s looking for me, the cute little baby?” A milky child’s voice, at the loud and clear volume of a cottage phone, spread throughout the train.
Lu Rong heard his cell phone ringing, put down the big woven bag in his hand, took off the school bag behind him, and fumbled around inside. It was a ringtone that a female student in his class had secretly set for him when he was studying, and he hadn’t taken it to heart, so he didn’t bother to change it.
“Who’s looking for me? Who’s looking for me, the cute little baby?” The child’s voice continued, and everyone looked at the sound to see an unusually strikingly beautiful man, rummaging through his bag in a panic to find the source of the voice.
The man pursed his lips somewhat, his fair cheeks flushed, and there were vague dimples on each side. He was wearing an ordinary t-shirt and shorts, but washed very clean, and on his feet was a pair of canvas shoes without a brand. He was like a spring in the mountains, revealing the innocence and youthfulness rarely seen in this city.
Hearing the phone ring, some of the passengers put on a good-natured smile, and two girls of Lu Rong’s age stared at him without blinking, seemingly holding back their laughter.
Lu Rong finally fished out his cell phone and pressed the connect button, “Grandpa… Mn, I’m here, I haven’t had a chance to call… It’s not hot, I’ll drink more water… Take care of yourself… I know, don’t worry.”
Although Lu Rong kept his voice low, everyone around him heard the conversation and the smiles on their faces deepened.