Translated by Ying from Exiled Rebels
Xia Yao arrived back at the hospital after getting money from home to pay his mother’s medical fees only to find that Zhao WenHua had already covered them.
“I do not think that you currently have the ability to pay for your mother’s medical costs.” Zhao WenHua said bluntly. “Perhaps you could go running to your – mm, how to call him – little boyfriend? You could ask him to cover you mother’s expenses instead? I wonder how your mother will feel, after knowing that her own son had begged another man for money in order to save her.” The last sentence uttered by Zhao WenHua addressed the issue with overflowing ridicule.
Xia Yao furiously clenched his fists as though his life depended on it.
“What the hell are you trying to do?” Xia Yao said in a low voice, let out as a growl from the back of his throat.
Zhao WenHua stood next to Xia Yao and sighed. “I’m not trying to do anything. Although your mother and I were never married, there were still feelings between us. Now that she’s in trouble, there’s no way I can just watch on and do nothing.”
The cold white lights of the hospital shone down on Xia Yao’s shoulders, he glared at the shadow cast by Zhao WenHua next to him, his anger rushing in towards him as though they were waves crashing on a sandy shore. But he couldn’t, he couldn’t tell that person to get lost. As Zhao WenHua had said, he could indeed go to Zhou Du’s parents to help him through this. But if his mother knew the nature of the relationship between him and Zhou Du, would she refuse the Zhou family’s help?
Xia Yao was afraid, afraid and wary that his mother would react as she had in his past life. He was afraid that under such circumstances, his mother would corner him into making a decision that he would not be able to reverse.
Zhao WenHua stretched out his hand and patted Xia Yao’s shoulder. “Since getting off the plane you haven’t even had a drink of water, right now, your mother is in trouble. The most important thing for you to do is to take care of yourself. From now on, she only has you to turn to.”
This sentence said by Zhao WenHua went straight to Xia Yao’s heart and he released his hold on the clouds of fury previously brewing inside of him. He lifted his head and looked at Zhao WenHua’s face before reluctantly murmuring his thanks.
Zhao WenHua shook his head slightly then walked past him, brushing shoulders, “I’ll take you to eat something.”
After Zhao WenHua had taken Xia Yao out for a meal, he went off to a hotel on his own. Xia Yao planned to stay the night at the hospital but the doctor told him to go home and rest.
“Even if you do stay at the hospital, there’s nothing you can do. Your mother’s condition doesn’t allow visitors and the rooms always have nurses and doctors present, you should go home for the night and come here early tomorrow morning.”
Xia Yao thanked the doctor and ended up taking his advice and heading home. However, as Xia Yao lay in his bed, he couldn’t find any hint of sleepiness. He picked up his phone, opened his contacts and stared at Zhou Du’s name for a very long time. He stared at it for so long that his eyes ached. Only then did he slowly allow his eyes to slide shut.
“Zhou Du, what should I do?” Xia Yao murmured while pressing his phone into his embrace.
The next day, before dawn had even cracked, Xia Yao quickly tidied up before taking off for the hospital.
Since he hadn’t slept much the previous night, his eyes were bloodshot. The hospital in the early hours of the morning was extremely quiet. Xia Yao wasn’t in the mood for breakfast so he just bought some soy milk. Once he had had a few mouthfuls, he threw the remainder of his meal into a nearby bin. He didn’t have much cash on him at the moment, he was lucky that his mother had told him about the savings that she had kept at home but he wasn’t sure how long that money could support his mother for.
The nurse on duty was just about to swap shifts; when she saw Xia Yao, she greeted him.
“Your mother’s condition isn’t that bad.” She said as she gave Xia Yao a shallow smile. “Don’t worry too much, she already passed the critical stage last night. The treatment required afterwards shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Thanks.” After Xia Yao finished listening to the nurse comforting him, he thanked her from the bottom of his heart.
“No worries. In a moment, the doctor will come to work, then you can ask him if you can see your mother.” After the nurse passed on this piece of information to Xia Yao, she left.
Xia Yao sat in front of his mother’s room, waiting patiently. It wasn’t until the doctor arrived that he could inquire about his mother’s condition.
The doctor called Xia Yao to his office and upon seeing that he looked quite young, asked, “That man from yesterday was your father, right? He didn’t come today?”
Xia Yao froze up for a second; unsure on how he should reply to the doctor’s question. “He has something going on. If there is any new information you can tell me, I’m of age already.”
The doctor laughed softly once then said, “Your mother has already passed the critical stage. You can come back to visit in the afternoon.” After he spoke those words, he turned and left.
Xia Yao stubbornly stayed in the hospital, it was past nine when Zhao WenHua turned up.
He had probably been to ask the doctor about the circumstances around his mother and when he got to Xia Yao’s side, he told him, “Your mother has passed the critical stage already, you shouldn’t worry too much.”
Xia Yao lifted his head and gave him a glance and a “mm” of acknowledgement and didn’t say anything else.
Zhao WenHua sat down and continued talking. “Because of her condition, you mother will have to undergo a second operation.”
Xia Yao hurriedly snapped his head around to look at Zhao WenHua.
“You don’t have to worry about this, it’s a skin transplant operation, I’ve already spoken to the doctor in charge of your mother and if you agree, we will transfer your mother to a hospital in B City. I know a private hospital that is quite good over there. Otherwise, once your school term starts, you’re going to have to leave her behind here.”
“I…” Xia Yao was about to give a reply of his own before Zhao WenHua cut him off.
“I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to abandon your studies and stay by your mother’s side until she recovers, right? Let’s not dwell on whether or not I will agree to this arrangement. Do you think that your mother will be happy when she wakes up and she finds out what you’ve done?”
Xia Yao silently closed his mouth again after hearing Zhao WenHua speak.
Zhao WenHua sighed as he looked at his son’s side profile. “I know that you must feel very uncomfortable using my money, right? How about this, I’m not just going to give you this money, after you finish your studies you can return it to me over time. Of course, however you look at it, we are still blood-related so I will not be taking any interest. Right now, the best thing you can do is concentrate on your studies, find a good job and give your mother a good environment to live in.”
Xia Yao didn’t expect to hear these things from Zhao WenHua and he was silent for a long time before giving his thanks to the man.
Zhao WenHua sighed and patted Xia Yao’s shoulder in reply. Zhao WenHua had helped him out big time in this incident – this was something that Xia Yao could not deny. He still hated the man with a passion, but at the same time, he was grateful to him for saving his mother.
In the afternoon, Xia Yao went into his mother’s room with Zhao WenHua to visit. Looking at his mother lying in bed like that made his heart ache. Perhaps he should have told his mother that he was coming back in advance, if he had, she would definitely have come to pick him up, and in that case, none of this would have happened. Nevertheless, at the same time, Xia Yao knew with a certainty that even if his mother hadn’t gotten in trouble, she would have eventually if she had kept her hold on that money.
In the end, this all came down to him being useless. So what if he had been reborn to live this life again? He still hadn’t been able to change anything for his mother.
The visitation times were extremely short and Xia Yao came out of the hospital room with a heavy heart. After Zhao WenHua had finished taking a call, he told Xia Yao that he had to go to B City immediately and left his phone number and card behind for him.
Xia Yao wanted to reject the contact information offered, but he didn’t. He knew that right now, he had no choice but to accept Zhao WenHua’s help. He had originally thought that Zhao WenHua would give out conditions in return for his help, for example, accepting him as his father. But to his surprise, Zhao WenHua hadn’t mentioned anything of the sort.
After he got home at night, he received a call from Zhou Du.
The voice on the other end was hoarse, Xia Yao’s hold on the phone loosened and tightened, his mind conflicted over whether or not to tell Zhou Du about his mother’s condition.
Zhou Du’s voice sounded exhausted as he spoke. “My grandmother isn’t going to be around much longer.”
Xia Yao’s heart gave a jerk. “What happened?”
Zhou Du had a moment’s pause before replying. “She was getting old, this was bound to happen. Xia Yao, I feel terrible. I want to see you so badly.”
Xia Yao’s eyes were growing hot and prickled. “Zhou Du, I really want to see you too.” He curled up inside his blankets, speaking softly.
When Zhao WenHua returned from B City, he brought with him a medical team and went directly to the doctor in charge of his mother. Only then did Xia Yao know that Zhao WenHua had already contacted and settled all of the arrangements in B City. His feelings were conflicted, to say the least.
B City’s hospitals had much better environments than the ones in H city, Xia Yao would have his own private room in the hospital to rest in, that way, he didn’t have to run back to school every night. After they had transferred back to B City, Zhao WenHua’s visits became much less frequent.
The new visitation arrangements actually relaxed Xia Yao; he really didn’t know how he should face Zhao WenHua. He couldn’t possibly treat the man as air, nor could he bring himself to treat him as a relative. However, even if Zhao WenHua didn’t visit, his wife did.
Xia Yao composed his feelings; he told himself that Zhao WenHua was part of a family with this extravagant woman. He could only tell himself to try his best to regard Zhao WenHua as a charitable donor. The private hospital’s canteen had quite a few levels and Zhao WenHua’s wife, Wang YuTing, took Xia Yao to the café on the third floor.
Xia Yao sat with his hands in his lap, staring at the hot coffee in front of him. His fingers tangled, silently sitting.
Seeing how Xia Yao looked, Wang YuTing gave him a gentle smile. “If it weren’t for the fact that your mother was in the hospital here, I think you probably wouldn’t have come to have this cup of coffee with me.”
Xia Yao pursed his lips and remained silent.
Wang YuTing let out a sigh. “Your mother has probably already told you about all those things from the past, I know that you hate me, but towards your father, I…”
“Mrs. Zhao,” Xia Yao suddenly interrupted, “I don’t have a father, and I hope that you will remember this point.”
After hearing him say this, Wang YuTing’s brow furrowed temporarily before that gentle smile made a comeback. “These are things that you are saying out of anger. Even if you don’t want to recognise your relationship with Zhao WenHua and continue to deny it, he is, and always will be, your father.”
Wang YuTing’s speech was like fuel to fire, triggering an inferno of fury to rage within Xia Yao in an instant.