Chapter 43: The Insecurities
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Times of calm past by quickly, summer soon turned into autumn, and it was getting dark earlier in the day. Li Sui came home from work, the moment he walked through the door, he saw Lu Shang sitting in a wheelchair, reaching out for the book on the floor. Li Sui quickly walked over and crouched down to pick it up for him.
“You’re so early today.” Lu Shang heard the sounds and touched Li Sui’s hand.
Li Sui immediately held his hand back, he perceived that Lu Shang was a little cold, so he pulled his blanket up and said softly, “Aunt Lu is going back home, so I am afraid you might be bored at home alone.”
Lu Shang replied, “Hmn,” then added, “Don’t postpone your work.”
Li Sui couldn’t care less, he got up and walked towards the wheelchair. Li Sui put his hands on Lu Shang’s temples, pressing them gently, he asked: “Are you feeling better today?”
Lu Shang was comfortable with Li Sui massaging him, even his eyes squinted as he answered, “Hmn, much better.”
Last month was windy, Lu Shang went to a river to fish. It rained a little, and when he comes back, he caught a cold, and he had a high fever for a few nights. Li Sui was naturally angry and anxious, he was afraid that Lu Shang won’t take his medicine on time, so he especially took work off. Li Sui stayed at home to take care of him for a few days, only returning to work after Lu Shang’s fever had gone down.
The past years were too smooth and peaceful, Lu Shang would sometimes forget that he was a chronically ill patient. It was as if this fever suddenly startled and woke all his diseases up, his immune system was obviously more fragile after the cold. Lu Shang wasn’t in good spirits, and the weight he just managed to put on were gone again in no time.
Uncle Yuen mentioned several times to hire a few caretakers to Li Sui, in case if anything happened to Lu Shang at home, someone would know immediately. Who knew that Lu Shang would be disgusted by the idea, he just said, “I have not reached that state yet.”
With that, Li Sui clammed up, and he never mentioned it again.
People always said that people with long-term illnesses tend to have odd tempers, on this point, though, Lu Shang was different. He was only extremely stubborn on this particular matter. Li Sui couldn’t change his mind on this, but it also didn’t feel right to force it against his will, he was too afraid that it would make him angry, so all he could do was to pay more attention.
When Dr. Leung came to check up on Lu Shang, his expression didn’t look good, but he did not say much either. He only told Lu Shang to reduce the number of movements, he advised controlling salt intake strictly. Li Sui couldn’t help but worry, although, in recent years, there weren’t any significant problems with Lu Shang’s heart, he was always concerned. Li Sui knew that no matter how carefully he took care of Lu Shang, whenever Lu Shang got sick, it would be much more serious than when ordinary people got sick. The main problem was his weak heart function, care alone wouldn’t cure it.
Li Sui massaged Lu Shang’s head for a bit more, then pushed him to the side of the fireplace, “What you want to eat tonight, I’ll make it for you.”
Lu Shang was about to open his mouth when Li Sui added, “Only light and blend food, though.”
So Lu Shang did not speak anymore, looking like he had completely lost interest in dinner. Li Sui thought about how Lu Shang only had plain porridge for almost the entire month, and he felt terrible, so he softened up, “I will make you a roasted fish.”
Lu Shang never objected to what Li Sui decided to make. Li Sui cleaned the fish, then with slices of ginger, the pickled the fish. After soaking the fish in sauce and spices, he put it into the oven. While Li Sui was busy with all that, Lu Shang turned to ask him, “What is Liu XinTian doing recently?”
“He’s been busy lately. He was working with a couple of old shareholders, I guess he can’t wait anymore.” Li Sui’s hands skillfully moved then abruptly stopped, “Oh yeah, he also visited Miss Meng’s residence a few days ago.”
Lu Shang froze slightly in surprise, “XinYou?”
Meng XinYou got married some years back, her husband was a young and talented politician, his surname was Xu. Of course, Liu XinTian wasn’t there to find Meng XinYou, but Mr. Xu, who was notorious for being sly. The Meng family had nearly 20% of Tong Yan shares, although those were premarital properties, with Meng XinYou’s rational personality, even Lu Shang was not sure which side she will be stand on.
This was indeed difficult, if Meng XinYou changed to support her husband, then they would lose a reliable ally. It could be said that Liu XinTian had caught onto their weakness this time.
“Stop thinking about it, eat something first.” Li Sui moved Lu Shang’s wheelchair to the dining table.
The roasted fish did not have hot sauce or salt in it, but the taste was delicious, the sauce had soaked well into the tender meat. Lu Shang could not see clearly, so Li Sui was afraid he would be choked by fishbones, he separated the fish into small pieces and fed him with a pair of chopsticks.
“Is it delicious?” Li Sui especially liked seeing Lu Shang eat the food he made, he always felt bliss when Lu Shang eats them.
Lu Shang nodded, though his thoughts were apparently not focused on the food. Lu Shang asked, “How’s your border project going?”
Speaking of that, a bit of regret flashed past Li Sui’s heart, “Small SiMa discussed it with me and decided to give up on foreign trade, we’re only taking in-country trade.”
Lu Shang was slightly surprised, “Why, once the project is done, you can immediately get a firmer stance in Tong Yan.”
Li Sui pulled out a piece of paper to wipe Lu Shang’s mouth, “Everything else was going fine, but we can’t bypass the customs, this needs the government’s approval. Liu XinTian is stopping that from happening, so it is complicated.”
Lu Shang went silent after listening.
“It doesn’t matter, we have other projects, it’s fine even if we don’t have this one, “ Li Sui said with a smile. He then changed the subject, “The Golden Sands Shore has finished construction and is almost ready for business. I am afraid at the end of this month, I’ll have to travel there, do you want to go with me?”
Lu Shang turned his head over from the silence, with a slight smile, he said, “Yes.”
In the evening, when Lu Shang had already fallen asleep, Li Sui walked to the balcony and dialed an unknown phone number.
In recent years, he expanded the search, even more, leaving contact information to almost all the places that helped people find a match for heart donors. Li Sui would ask once every few months, waiting for a miracle with his most pious of hearts. Sadly, his wish was never granted.
After dialing, Li Sui communicated with the person on the other end for a while, still only to get a depressing reply.
“I see, thank you.” Li Sui hung the phone up and sighed with his head down.
A door apart, the person in the bed was already deep in sleep, his pale cheek sank deep into the pillow. Li Sui looked through the glass balcony door, his eyes fell onto Lu Shang, softening his expression a little. At the same time, he could not help but feel a burst of sourness in his nasal cavity.
Li Sui always thought that no matter how bad a person’s luck was, as long as that person kept repeating the same task, a hundred times, a thousand times…… Then eventually, that person should succeed at least once, but no. The heavens seemed to have used up all his luck just for him to meet the man in front of him.
Sometimes he couldn’t help but think, if he could reverse time, he would rather not be with Lu Shang. Even if it was at the expense of his own life, he would want Lu Shang to have a healthy body. At least not like now, having to endure sickness all day, every day.
People who had never been ill would never know how difficult it was sick. There were a lot of things that Lu Shang would never say, nor reveal. However, Li Sui understood in his heart that Lu Shang had fears too, fear of pain, fear of bitterness, and fear of one day falling asleep and never wake up again. Whenever night falls, Lu Shang wouldn’t be able to see clearly with his eyes. At times like that, he tended to just sit quietly in his wheelchair. Sometimes when Li Sui look at him like that, he just couldn’t help but wonder, what was he thinking?
People often said that reasonable people would have good rewards. Li Sui found that to be sadly false, Lu Shang was the kindest person he had ever met after all.
Due to his body condition, Lu Shang wouldn’t go to the company anymore, all company matters were dealt with by Li Sui. Only occasionally when there were important decisions to make, would Li Sui take the work home, the two of them would discuss it together.
This day, after working-hours ended, Li Sui still hadn’t left the building. Li Sui was in the archives with Uncle Yuen, trying to find some old documents. Three years ago, when Li Sui took over handling Tong Yan, Lu Shang sent Uncle Yuen to Li Sui’s side, leaving only Xiao Zhao to help him drive.
The two of them were sorting through the documents when Uncle Yuen’s mobile phone suddenly rang.
The archives room was tranquil, and the two of them were not far apart, so it was easy to hear the voice from the other end of the phone. Li Sui heard a slightly familiar voice, so after Uncle Yuen hung up, Li Sui cast him a questioning look.
A touch of awkwardness appeared on Uncle Yuen’s face, he said apologetically, “Sorry, but I have to leave.”
Li Sui nodded, “If you have something to do, then go, I can find it myself.”
When Uncle Yuen put down the well-organized documents and was about to leave, Li Sui suddenly remembered something, he called out and asked, “Was that Xiao Tang who called just now?”
“Hmm, yes…” Uncle Yuen answered hesitantly.
Xiao Tang was the young lady who called Li Sui for help during that shareholders’ meeting a few years ago. She had quite an impression in Li Sui’s mind, seeing that Uncle Yuen looked odd, Li Sui couldn’t help but ask, “What’s wrong?”
Uncle Yuen’s awkward expression intensified, after hesitating for a moment, he said truthfully, “… It’s Mr. Lu.”
Li Sui’s hand holding the document shook unconsciously.
“In the afternoon, Mr. Lu brought three people with him to meet with some government officials. All of them are drunk now, they didn’t even let the driver off the hook. Only Xiao Tang had a little bit of consciousness left, so she just called me to pick them up.”
If even the driver was drunk, then how drunk would the others be?
Li Sui’s face darkened terribly, he immediately got up and walked past Uncle Yuen, leaving only two words behind, “I’m going.”
On the way, Li Sui tried his best to control his emotions. He shouldn’t get angry, he shouldn’t lose his temper, he shouldn’t use violence. Even though Lu Shang went out without saying a word to him, even though as a heart patient, Lu Shang hid from him had alcohol, he even got drunk, even though…… Li Sui closed his eyes and took a deep breath, but he still couldn’t hold it back. Li Sui hit his fist hard on the steering wheel, so angry that he gritted his teeth to the point that they might break.
Gritting his teeth and being angry all the way, Li Sui even thought of words to question Lu Shang. The second he opened the door to the private room though, he saw the person curling up on the sofa, and all the previous emotions were gone, only leaving worry.
“Lu Shang?” Li Sui walked over and gently patted him, Lu Shang was unresponsive.
The room was heavily soaked in the smell of wine, most of the guests were gone, only a few were still in the room lying on their sides. Li Sui shook Xiao Tang a bit, she was still awake but was also so drunk that she couldn’t walk straight, her eyes were confused, but she finally found her balance after some work.
“Can you walk? Where do you live?”
Xiao Tang hit the back of her head with her hand, luckily she was still quite conscious, she waved her hand and said, “No, I’ll be fine. Just help me get a few rooms upstairs to put the rest in. You should get Lu Shang home quickly though, he drank too much……”
Li Sui turned to look at Lu Shang, seeing his furrowed eyebrows and his hand that was tightly pressing on his chest. Li Sui’s heart jumped up to his throat, “How much did he drink?”
“At least four glasses of white wine.”
Li Sui’s eyes fell onto the glasses on the table, his fists clenched.
Fortunately, the guest rooms were just upstairs. Li Sui got three single-person bedrooms, and sent the drunk people there one by one, he even called room service to take care of them. As soon as that was done, Li Sui quickly brought Li Sui out of the hotel.
Lu Shang could hold his liquor, but because of health reasons, he almost never drank alcohol. In Tong Yan no one dared make Lu Shang drink alcohol, so being drunk to the extent of having zero consciousness was a first.
Leaving the hotel, Li Sui placed Lu Shang in the back seat of the car. He climbed over to carefully open Lu Shang’s eyelids for examination. Li Sui was still not assured, he intended to take him to the hospital. Just as Li Sui reached for the handle of the door, he was suddenly pulled.
Li Sui turned his head back to see a pair of foggy eyes looking at him. As Lu Shang was drunk, his eyes were covered with a layer of watery mist. The parking lot was dimly lit, the wind was pouring in from the exits. It was so quiet that there seemed to be distinct echoes around them.
“Don’t go.” Lu Shang moved his lips, and his voice was hoarse.
Two simple words dredged all the emotions swelling in Li Sui’s heart up. Li Sui’s throat was sore, he tried swallowing, leaning down, he looked at Lu Shang, “Do you think I won’t be angry at you, no matter what you do?”
Lu Shang stared at Li Sui, Lu Shang’s face gradually revealed a nervous expression. Lu Shang rubbed his face on the back of Li Sui’s hand, trying to flatter him, “Please don’t be angry…”
Li Sui only felt pain in his eyes, he pulled his hand away, not meeting Lu Shang’s gaze.
Not being able to feel Li Sui’s hand, Lu Shang appeared to be a little depressed. Lu Shang’s teary eyes chased after him, “Your border project, I helped you make it happen. Aren’t you glad about that?”
“Who asked you to?” Li Sui’s eyes were bloodshot, tears were welling in his eyes.
“You want to,” Lu Shang reached out to him, but he really had no strength left, so his hand fell back down, helpless, “…… I know you want to.”
Li Sui closed his eyes, then opened them again to see Lu Shang looking at him with pleading eyes. Finally, Li Sui gave up, he leaned over to put his arms around Lu Shang, “I just want you to be healthy and well, how do you not understand that……”
Li Sui had to admit, Lu Shang had gambled correctly yet again. He really couldn’t get angry with him. This person’s every move, every smile, had firmly touched Li Sui’s heart, even if he knew that Lu Shang was intentional, he couldn’t be angry with him.
Half was punishment, and a half was worry, Li Sui brought Lu Shang to the hospital despite his objections. Being drunk like this, naturally, Li Sui would not be able to avoid being scolded by Dr. Leung. Li Sui knew that he hadn’t fulfilled his duties as a good guardian, so he listened to Dr. Leung’s scolding silently.
The results of the examination were not satisfactory, alcohol did a lot of damage to his heart. Lu Shang had a severe cold just a while ago, his body had not recovered yet, this action was no different than added hail to a snowstorm. Li Sui’s heart sank after listening to Leung ZiRui. After Li Sui fed Lu Shang the prescribed medicine, Lu Shang couldn’t resist the drowsiness caused by medication and wine. Lu Shang fell asleep, curling up near the head of the bed, as soon as Li Sui finished pouring another glass of water.
Li Sui covered him with a blanket, he stared at the man for a moment, then turned to Leung ZiRui’s office.
“Dr. Leung.” Li Sui knocked on the door.
Leung ZiRui was writing a report in front of the computer, he turned his head to look at him.
“Please tell me honestly, is Lu Shang hiding something from me again?”
Leung ZiRui was surprised, “Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know, I just have a bad feeling.” Li Sui sighed wearily.
Leung ZiRui said, “From the results of the examination, no. That I can assure you, but……”
Li Sui looked up, Leung ZiRui was frowning as he continued, “He is very aware of his own physical condition, most of the time, even more than me, his doctor. When is it that he doesn’t need treatment, and when he needs it, he has a clear idea in his head. That is why when I prescribe him medicine if he doesn’t eat it, I won’t force him to. When he needs treatment, though, even if I say nothing, he will still come to me.”
“In other words, if even he starts to focus on his illness, then you really should be extra mindful.” Leung ZiRui then asked, “What? Did you notice something abnormal?”
Li Sui shook his head, “No, I’m just feeling very uneasy.”
“Don’t overthink things.” Leung ZiRui comforted him.
Li Sui nodded and did not speak further.
The border project was indeed a good way to help Li Sui get a firmer stand in the company. Once it was done, it was basically equivalent to being backed by the government. It would become a strong defense for Li Sui, even if in the future Liu XinTian managed to get all of Tong Yan’s shareholders on his side, Li Sui would still have enough capital to compete with him.
But at present, Liu XinTian had not gone that far yet. This project wasn’t the only solution, Li Sui honestly felt a little scared having Lu Shang in a rush to pave the way for him.