Chapter 39: Relapse
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When Li Sui got home, no one was in the living room. Only the bedside lamp was still turned on in their bedroom, Lu Shang had already fallen asleep.
Li Sui walked inside quietly, he sat on the side of the bed. When Lu Shang slept, he always tended to curl himself up, whichever made Li Sui want to hug him from behind. The lights inside the room were dim, half of the sleeping person’s face was buried in the pillow, his bangs were randomly laid on his forehead, his lips were slightly pursed together, and they were a bit white. Li Sui had already seen Lu Shang’s sleeping face for a million times, yet he still managed to get enchanted by it every time. After immersing himself at the moment for a bit, Li Sui couldn’t help but reach his hand out to brush Lu Shang’s scattered bangs away, then leaned into land a soft kiss on Lu Shang’s forehead. After that, Li Sui carefully pulled the blanket up before he went to the bathroom to wash himself up.
Sometimes Li Sui found it odd, he always heard people say that love was something that fades. The longer two people were together, the blander their relationship would become. However, even over years of staying by Lu Shang’s side, he only found himself becoming more affectionate as he learned more about him. Lu Shang’s every move, the way he spoke, the angle of his smile, and everything about him enchanted Li Sui. Li Sui wouldn’t be fed up nor bored, even if he were to sit here all-day watching Lu Shang.
Li Sui kept the showering noise to the bare minimum, but when he finished, Lu Shang was still awake, Lu Shang was squinting his eyes and looking at Li Sui.
“Did I wake you up?” Li Sui sounded apologetic, he climbed onto the bed and hugged Lu Shang from behind.
A wave of hot air spread towards Lu Shang, he leaned on Li Sui’s arm and took a little sniff, “There’s less alcoholic smell on you than I thought there’d be.”
“I only had a little, brother Zuo said he was going to drink less alcohol.” Li Sui kissed Lu Shang’s ear, then said, “I bought a tank for your turtle, it’s downstairs.”
Lu Shang just gave a soft “hand,” Lu Shang’s voice was a little stuffy, Li Sui noticed and raised his head a little, asking, “Do you have a cold?”
“No, I’m just sleepy.” Lu Shang turned around to face Li Sui.
Li Sui saw that Lu Shang’s eyelids were drooping, his eyelashes seemed to be batting slightly as well. That got Li Sui cautious, he said with certainty, “There’s something on your mind.”
Lu Shang was a bit shocked, then he clasped onto Li Sui’s hand, he said in a soft voice, “Li Sui. We can’t have kids, do you find that unfortunate.”
Li Sui didn’t expect he’d say this, so he froze.
“If you want a child, you can go find a surrogate.” Lu Shang added, “I don’t mind.”
Lu Shang was speaking with sincerity, but Li Sui didn’t like what he was hearing. Li Sui knew that Lu Shang must be thinking about this all of a sudden because of Zuo Chao, though Lu Shang never seemed to be scared of dying, in truth, he did think about it a lot. Lu Shang was most likely scared that when he died one day, Li Sui will be all alone. If they had a child though, at least Li Sui would still have a family left, that could at least be a comfort.
“What nonsense are you talking about?” Li Sui felt soreness in his nose, the second he imagined Lu Shang thinking about things like this made his heartache. Li Sui extended his arms to pull Lu Shang into a tight embrace, “You know how much I love you, no one can replace that, not even my offspring. I don’t want to share the love I have for you with anyone, no matter if it’s now or in the future, my love is all yours.”
Lu Shang seemed to want to say something else. Li Sui tightened his arms and cut him off, he said, “Okay, don’t mention this again from now on. If you like children, let’s be Zuo Chao’s kid’s godfathers. You can be the godfather, and I will be ‘god dad.’ What do you say about that?”
“I think the child will have a financial crisis when we get old,” Lu Shang said with a smile.
Li Sui relaxed his arm and stroked Lu Shang’s head, “There is me, I will take care of you.”
The two of them cuddled each other for a while, chatting a bit about company things. Neither of them was sleepy; Lu Shang slept too much during the day, and Li Sui was too excited from all the talking, his stomach growled so he got up to make them both a late-night snack.
“It’s late. Red meat is hard to digest, so I’ll fry you a fish steak,” Li Sui said as he rummaged through the refrigerator.
“Hmm,” Lu Shang answered while sitting on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket. He was looking at Li Sui, almost like a little bird waiting to be fed.
“Why didn’t you touch dinner? Were you feeling sick?” Li Sui was only wearing a thin shirt and an apron, his sharp shoulder blades were showing.
Li Sui took a bit of time to glance back at Lu Shang, he found Lu Shang staring at him. Li Sui smiled as he said, “Why are you looking at me?”
“You’re good to look at,” said Lu Shang with a faint smile. After a short pause, he added, “I want to look at you some more.”
Li Sui had an odd feeling, Lu Shang rarely use this tone to speak, but maybe people got more emotional late at night, so he didn’t put much thought into it. Seeing Lu Shang wrapped himself tighter in the blanket, Li Sui asked, “Are you cold? I’ll get you a coat.”
Lu Shang shook his head, but Li Sui was still worried. After turning the stove off, he quickly went upstairs to get a thick, goose feather coat. Li Sui covered him up with the jacket, leaving only his head to be shown.
“Wait. I’ll feed you soon.” Li Sui combed Lu Shang’s hair tidy with his hand and laughed.
The fish steak was delivered here only this evening, so it was very fresh. The bones were shaved clean, and the fishy smell was removed with Brandy, it was seasoned with a bit of lemon juice and pepper. The fragrance sipped out almost immediately after the met was put on the frying pan. Li Sui didn’t add much seasoning, the amount of oil and salt added were not hefty either. The meat was tender and easy to digest,
perfect for a late-night snake.
Li Sui propped his head up with his hand, his elbow on the table. He was sitting on the opposite side of Lu Shang, watching him eating the food slowly and elegantly, and he felt content in his heart. In his mind, enjoying life was nothing grand. The simple act of cooking a meal with all his heart and feeding his lover was more than enough.
“Have you eaten enough?” Li Sui waited for Lu Shang to finish eating, then smiled as he pulled out a piece of paper towel for Lu Shang to clean his mouth.
Lu Shang nodded and looked at the glass tank on the coffee table.
“It’s for the little turtle, do you want to move it now?”
Lu Shang shook his head, “Tomorrow.” After replying, he went for Li Sui’s hand and said, “I’m sleepy now, accompany me to bed?”
“You’ve just eaten, so you should do some exercise.” Though Li Sui lectured him about that, he still let Lu Shang lead him to the bedroom passively.
Lu Shang seemed to have thought of something and turned around with a faint smile, “Then let’s ‘exercise.’”
At the end of the day, they didn’t “exercise.” Though Lu Shang suggested it, Li Sui knew that his complexion was not good, his lips were white, and his legs were swelling a bit as well. So after washing up, Li Sui massaged Lu Shang’s acupoints, and they hugged each other to sleep afterward.
Soon after, their leisure days came to an end, as the most troublesome annual thing arrived——Shareholder Dividend Meetings. Li Sui was so busy that his feet rarely got the chance to rest; running around back and forth from the construction site, the company, and home. Lu Shang wasn’t any better off, his schedule from 8:00 in the morning to 12:00 in the evening was packed with listening to work reports from various branches or meetings on financial affairs. Neither could spare even a second for a little breather.
When Li Sui got home in the evening, Lu Shang was still looking at the financial statements in the living room. Li Sui saw that Lu Shang’s eyes were almost glued to the paper, he walked forward to straightened Lu Shang’s back, “How many do you have left? Leave it for tomorrow.”
“Almost. I need to remember a few numbers for the meeting tomorrow.” Lu Shang read the report as he marked something in a notebook.
“I’ll heat the bathwater for you.” Li Sui didn’t want to disturb him, so he fed the little turtle two pieces of meat himself. Before he went up to the stairs, he leaned on the railings and stared at the sight of an entirely focused Lu Shang, he did not take his eyes away for a long time.
The more Li Sui looked, the more he felt a sense of oddness. Li Sui frowned and began to have an idea of what was odd exactly—— Was the period Lu Shang wear glasses getting longer and longer?
Once he noticed, Li Sui could no longer let it out of his mind. After several more days of observation, he finally discovered the patterns. During the day, if the weather was good, Lu Shang would not wear glasses, if it was snowing or raining, he would sometimes wear the glasses. At night, however, Lu Shang would wear the glasses through the whole night until they go to bed together.
In the evening, while Lu Shang was taking a bath, Li Sui took Lu Shang’s glasses out and tried them on. It was an ordinary pair of glasses with correctional properties, but Li Sui didn’t suffer from long sight or short sight, he only felt dizzy wearing it and could not tell what exactly the glasses were for.
Did Lu Shang’s vision deteriorate? But getting short sight was but a small matter, why would he hide that from him? Unless…
Over the past years, he had been diligently learning all kinds of medical-related knowledge. He knew that people’s eyeballs would already be stabilized in adulthood, and the possibility of developing short sight would be reduced. So, either the sudden deterioration had to do with overusing his eyes, or with the internal changes of his body. For example, virus infection, cancer, high blood pressure… Anyone of those ideas was enough to make Li Sui’s heart jump.
The next day, when they were having breakfast, Lu Shang felt Li Sui glancing back and forth at him, he could not help but wonder, so he asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing,” Li Sui said, then turning his eyes away, “Is the shareholders meeting today?”
“Yes,” said Lu Shang while nodding, “There will be a prize-giving ceremony at the commerce building today. Can you go there?”
Li Sui did not want to be separated from Lu Shang, especially during such an important event, but if he didn’t go, then Uncle Yuen would have to attend. Uncle Yuen had worked as an assistant in Tong Yan for many years, and he knew the other shareholders well, so he was much more of a help than Li Sui would be at the meeting.
As such, Li Sui nodded and agreed to it.
As soon as one entered the Tong Yan building, the tense atmosphere shrouding the company was more than evident. Most of the veteran workers were prepared, they knew better than to piss the higher-ups on this day, so everyone was exceptionally diligent in their duties.
“Xiao Tang, go check if the technician had fixed the air-conditioner yet?” Someone asked outside the office.
“I called him. The technician said some parts were broken, and he was going to buy the parts, so at best it would be fixed in the afternoon.”
“It could break down any day, why does it have to be today?”
Xiao Tang was a young new female employee in the finance department, she was usually interested in gossip and other useless facts. Unfortunately for her, she was assigned by the finance department manager to attend the meeting along with several veterans in her department. It was a difficult job, as soon as she walked into the ice-cold conference room, she felt her face breaking down.
Mainly the Shareholders Dividend Meeting was just a battle between shareholders and the ones in charge of the company. The annual profit of the company was just so much, the people in charge wanted to keep the money for company operations and to expand the size of the company. As for the shareholders, they invested cash in the company, so every year, they depended on how the meeting went to get money into their pockets. Both sides had legitimate reasons to argue, but the amount of money available was limited. For each of their own interests, an argument was unavoidable.
In previous years, Lu Shang had strictly followed the usual distribution plan of the company, but this year was different. Tong Yan was in the middle of transitioning, the company needed to branch out into more industries and establish the image of a conglomerate, all of which cost money. Lu Shang had to increase company reserves and that as expected, led to the dissatisfaction of many shareholders.
“I am not even going to start on the 10% that are listed as company reserves every year, now you want to raise it to 40% after deducting the tax. Are you kidding me, director Lu?” The first to object was a fat man called Fang Miao.
“10% is the established amount that should be listed as company reserves, that is in the company rules, which has nothing to do with my wishes,” said Lu Shang. After a short pause, he continued, “The funds will not be wasted. The usages are all listed clearly here, on white paper with black words. The accountants are here as well, if you don’t understand them, we can explore them one by one.”
“Then I really do have something to explore.” Fang Miao pulled out a stack of paper and flung it across the meeting table to Lu Shang. That was obviously very impolite, Uncle Yuen frowned and wanted to say something, but was stopped by Lu Shang.
“Here, last year, only 50 million Yuan was planned for purchasing materials in the first phase construction of the Golden Sands Shore project, how did you spend 80 million Yuan instead? I’d like to ask, where have you used this excess 30 million Yuan on?”
There was no air-conditioning in the conference room. After half an hour of sitting still in the freezing room, Lu Shang’s hands and feet were cold, and his heart rate began to spike. Lu Shang changed his sitting posture a bit while secretly pressing on his chest a little.
“There are special explanations for the additional 30 million yuan used, all of which have been approved by the board of directors. Xiao Tang, get the documents for him,” Lu Shang said.
Xiao Tang hurriedly went to look for the file, only to have Fang Miao interrupt her, “Don’t use the board of directors to trick me, the directors are all your people anyways. Let me ask you again, how did you reach this value?”
Lu Shang glanced at him, then putting up with the aching in his chest, he reached for the papers on the table. Lu Shang only just flipped the documents open, and suddenly he felt severe dizziness, everything in front of him was fuzzy. It was as if he had been pushed into the water, and everything was covered up by a gray veil in an instant.
This was the worst timing for a relapse. Lu Shang’s hand, which was holding the document shock, cold sweat dripped down.
Li Sui had just finished his business in the commerce building when his mobile phone rang.
In the day when Li Sui left home in a hurry, he packed in a bottle of Lu Shang’s DanShen tablets into his own bag. When Li Sui was pulling out his phone now, the bottle rolled out, the lid was loose, and the tablets sprinkled all over the ground.
Li Sui looked down at the medicine on the ground, he felt his heart shook, this were not DanShen tablets as labeled on the bottle.
Fearing that he misunderstood, Li Sui picked up the bottle and did a detailed observation. The medicine labeled was one of Lu Shang’s usual prescriptions, Li Sui was sure of it. However, they were not the tablets Li Sui was familiar with. The color, shape, and smell were all different. Obviously, the contents of the bottle were deliberately replaced, but when did Lu Shang replace it? Why didn’t Li Sui know?
A gust of cold wind blew past him, making the flag above him flutter. Li Sui stood in the wind, he had an epiphany, his brain finally connected the series of events that had been happening, wearing glasses, the broken bowl in the kitchen, bruises on his forehead, and mistaking him as Aunt Lu…. All of these seemed to be pointing at a single conclusion——
The mobile phone rang hurriedly, and after a finally exhausted howl, it stopped. Li Sui returned from his thoughts, but instead of returning the call, he called Leung ZiRui worryingly, as if he wanted more proof to be convinced, he felt his heart jumping, as if it could reach his throat, “Doctor Leung, please tell me, Lu Shang’s eyes……are they having problems?”
Leung ZiRui froze for a moment, he did not answer directly, but asked, “What do you mean?”
Li Sui directly voiced out all his guesses in a hurry, “Is it caused by his heart? Is his short-sightedness severe? Why did he have to switch medicines?”
After Leung ZiRui heard what Li Sui had to say, he sighed painfully. Knowing that he could no longer hide it for Lu Shang, he spits everything out, “He doesn’t have short-sight, he’s almost going blind.”