Chapter 8: First World (8)
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Realizing that he had said something wrong, Liu Lang was resilient and immediately turned around and apologized to Bai Duan for not being careful with his words. Liu Lang had always been cautious, and he himself admitted that he had great patience with beautiful people, both men and women. Besides, he was much older than Bai Duan who was just a minor. Naturally, he should be more seductive; otherwise, he would be too ungrateful.
Stopping, Liu Lang turned to Bai Duan, “Sorry, I just had a bad tone. I have no malice, but I am really not familiar with Zheng Xu. I know some news, but there may be some misunderstanding.” He blinked wittily. “You know, those of us born in wedlock have a natural hostility towards illegitimate children. It’s inevitable that we get angry with our enemies and don’t like to associate with them very much.”
Although Bai Duan was still not very happy, Liu Lang seemed sincere, and he could really understand the other’s feelings, so he finally eased his face.
Papa Bai and Mama Bai always loved each other. They worked and lived together. Papa Bai had no chance to derail and no idea of derailment. Therefore, naturally, the Bai family was harmonious and happy.
But the saying that ‘men will go bad if they have money’ was not a hollow idea. It was not uncommon for them to have loved ones or even illegitimate children. As a child born in wedlock, he stood in the position of acknowledging children born in marriage and rejecting illegitimate children who would only destroy family harmony, even if they were innocent and unable to choose.
However, Bai Xu was different. Bai Duan couldn’t see him from the perspective of being an illegitimate child. In Bai Duan’s heart, Bai Xu was only his brother, a member of the Bai family, and even…he could even be his future lover.
In the four years of separation, Bai Duan firmly affirmed his love for Bai Xu, but once he knew it was love, he stood to gain and lose more and more. Just as Bai Xu repeatedly emphasized that he was not allowed to fall in love before he left, Bai Duan was also worried about whether there would be other people around his brother. After all, when he was young, his feelings were always impulsive and shallow, which was easily diluted by time.
Bai Duan’s living environment was effortless, and he was devoted to studying and examinations. But Bai Xu was different since the Zheng family was complicated. His father, Zheng Ershao, was also a playboy with elegant wine and colorful flags flying. Bai Duan was really afraid of what lousy influence Bai Xu would suffer and change his mind.
He and Bai Xu were just ‘brothers’ and had never exchanged ideas. Even if Bai Xu changed his mind, he was in no position to criticize the other. The thought of Bai Xu hugging and kissing others made his heart ache as if his life had lost its goal. Therefore, he was unwilling to wait and dare not wait any longer too. He wanted to see his brother as soon as possible, to confirm the other party’s mind, and to put an end to his fantasy.
“He’s not the illegitimate son of the Zheng family. He’s my brother. He’s the one who has registered permanent residence at my house.” Bai Duan licked his lips and retorted in a low voice with dissatisfaction. Although Bai Xu’s name had been moved to the Zheng family registry, he had also settled in the Bai family’s registry book for six years.
“Really? What’s the matter?” Liu Lang was very curious and asked enthusiastically, and Bai Duan did not hide it. He explained in detail how his family adopted Bai Xu and how he was robbed by the Zheng family.
Liu Lang suddenly realized that Bai Duan missed his brother’s appearance after not seeing him for four years, and was envious of him— he also wanted to have such a sweet and beautiful brother!
Liu Lang lightly patted Bai Duan’s shoulder, and having wrapped up the whole incident, patted his own chest to show that he would help the other gain information on Bai Xu’s situation. If there was a chance, he would undoubtedly facilitate the two brothers to meet.
Hearing Liu Lang’s solemn promise, Bai Duan involuntarily bent his mouth, showing a glimmer of genuine pleasure and laughter, and immediately looked straight at Liu Lang.
After some exchanges, the relationship between Bai Duan and Liu Lang had greatly improved. Suddenly, the relationship between Bai Duan and Liu Lang leaped from being strangers to friends. This caused the guest and the host to naturally enjoy each other’s presence.
At the dinner table, Liu Lang first introduced Bai Duan to the environment of Beijing University and the Zheng family situation, but Bai Duan was obviously not very interested in it until Liu Lang talked about ‘Zheng Xu’ and the Zheng family, which made Bai Duan suddenly raise his head and look at the other intently.
Looking at Bai Duan as if he were a small animal, Liu Lang was amused, and he lived up to the other’s expectations.
Although the social status of Papa Bai and Mama Bai had improved, they were far away from the capital city after all. People around them did not gossip about other people’s household affairs because of their status. Naturally, they were no better informed than Liu Lang, who had been mixed up in the circle of high-class young people in the capital.
According to Liu Lang, the Zheng family was big, but it was only the main house that held power, while the rest did not have much say. Master Zheng fought with his brothers for most of his life, which secured his position in power. He had two sons, and the eldest son was more respected. Now he had gradually taken over the Zheng family at Master Zheng’s command. His son had also entered the company and held a prominent position, while his daughter married a man and became a rich wife.
Compared with the eldest son, Zheng Ershao, the second son, was obviously not very successful. Old Master Zheng suffered from the brother struggle in his early years. He naturally accepted the lesson and was therefore, unwilling to bring up another ambitious second son which would only lead to another brother struggle.
Zheng Ershao did not know whether he was born to be impotent or whether he knew what Master Zheng meant. He was always the second young master who read old books and spent a lot of time outside, even after he married a wife with a fierce temper.
Mrs. Zheng Ershao was a poor woman, and her biological mother died very early. When she was young, she experienced the pain of occupying the magpie nest with her illegitimate sibling. Her father did not love her mother, so she could only protect herself and developed a sharp temper that refused to suffer. Nevertheless, she did not get any benefit from her stepmother. Otherwise, she would not have been inferior to the Zheng family and her parents would not have decided to marry her to Zheng Ershao, the second-generation young master who had no future and had an artificial heart.
The Zheng Ershao husband and wife pair were cold-hearted and lived separately from each other. Mrs. Zheng Ershao threw herself on her son after she refused to let her husband’s prodigal son come back. The only requirement for Zheng Ershao was that he couldn’t bring his lover and illegitimate son home— absolutely not.
Unfortunately, the poor woman had a bad life. Four years ago, her only hope was kidnapped. Although he was rescued successfully, since the young man was spoiled from his childhood, he was not only frightened but also fell gravely ill, had a high fever and was burned into a fool because of not being treated in time.
Although Zheng Ershao was not respected, he could not only have an idiot son, so despite Mrs. Zheng Ershao’s strong opposition, the Zheng family still took the illegitimate son ‘Zheng Xu’ back into the Zheng family.
“Mrs. Zheng Ershao’s temper is not very good, and after her son’s affairs, her attitude towards Zheng Xu…is naturally not so good.” To avoid worrying about Bai Duan, Liu Lang had to choose some more euphemistic words, but this did not prevent Bai Duan from understanding Bai Xu’s situation. Obviously, Bai Xu had a lousy life in the Zheng family, terrible, even if he had no worries about food and clothing, but he had a father and a mother who hated him deeply, and his life could not be considered to be comfortable.
Liu Lang raised his eyebrows lightly and put a shrimp in Bai Duan’s bowl with chopsticks. “It’s not too bad. After all, he is a child the Zheng family recognized on their own initiative. If he’s too miserable, wouldn’t that make the outsiders see how much of a joke that family really is?”
Bai Duan looked at the shrimp in his bowl, but it was a little difficult to eat it. Because of Bai Xu’s conscious teaching, besides his parents and Bai Xu, Bai Duan never accepted other people’s feeding. Although Bai Xu has been away for four years, this habit has been retained by Bai Duan.
However, Bai Duan also understood Liu Lang’s good intentions and hoped to have a good relationship with him so he would explore more about his brother’s situation. After a moment of hesitation, he finally broke his habits and peeled the shrimp shell before stuffing it into his mouth.
When the food was just entering his mouth, Bai Duan suddenly felt a strong sense of being watched. He turned his head unconsciously and looked out of the shop through the window, but found nothing.
“What’s wrong?” Liu Lang asked doubtfully.
Bai Duan was restless, but could not say anything. He shook his head and tried to distract himself. “What about Brother— I mean Zheng Xu? How much do you know about him after he returned to the Zheng house?”
“I don’t know much about Zheng Xu, but I heard that he is an honest man. If he knows that he is unwelcome, he doesn’t jump around very much. He always keeps his nose to the grindstone and is like an invisible person. If you hadn’t mentioned it today, I would have forgotten his existence.” Liu Lang shrugged. “As for the specific situation, I have to help you find out.”
“Thank you very much.” Bai Duan nodded gently and sincerely thanked him.
Although he did not break off contact with Bai Xu, he was still worried that the other party would report good news or bad news. Naturally, he hoped to know Bai Xu’s four years of life in more detail and from the perspective of others. This was also the reason why Bai Duan came to Beijing without giving Bai Xu word. First, he wanted to surprise his brother. Second, he hoped that he would see Bai Xu in his ‘real’ life without being lied to.
As he talked about interesting topics, he could not help but eat a bit of his meal. When Bai Duan checked out with Liu Lang, the sky was already slightly dim.
The hotel was not far from Liu Lang’s rental apartment. Liu Lang suggested that they go home after a walk and eat. Naturally, there was no objection to Bai Duan. After all, he lived in Liu Lang’s house, and he was a guest at his disposal.
On the way back to the apartment, Bai Duan was a little restless. He felt that someone was following him, and the person was closely watching his every move.
Seeing Bai Duan looking back frequently, Liu Lang was somewhat puzzled, “What’s the matter?”
“… I feel that someone is watching me.” Bai Duan frowned in a puzzled tone.
“Isn’t that normal?” Liu Lang laughed, took advantage of Bai Duan’s distraction to put his hand on his shoulder, hooked the soft hair around Bai Duan’s ear and said, “On the street, the turnaround rate is 100%! After the beginning of school, you will be the new idol in Beijing University.”
Bai Duan turned his head uncomfortably to avoid Liu Lang’s hand, “I don’t mean that.”
“Well, I know. It’s a joke.” Liu Lang retracted his arm. He watched Bai Duan walk a few steps and pull away from him. He rubbed his hand on Bai Duan’s shoulder unconsciously.
Somehow, in that instant, he had a strong sense of crisis, as if he would be cut if he did something else to his brother. After grabbing his hair, Liu Lang was puzzled for a while. After all, he took this feeling as insignificant and threw it behind his head. He quickly caught up with Bai Duan.
Not far from the corner, Bai Xu walked out from the shadows and stared at the shadow of Bai Duan and Liu Lang walking side by side, narrowing his eyes slightly.