Chi Xueyan was stunned. He remembered the last time the two of them had a conversation in the bathroom of this master bedroom.
He hadn’t forgotten what he said, but he was a bit surprised that He Qiao remembered it and really mentioned he was about to use it.
Sure enough, he was a meticulous person.
“Yes, what do you want to cash in?” He didn’t forget to remind this person again that he was too lazy to learn one thing. “Except for cooking.”
“Not cooking,” He Qiao said. “It is my birthday.”
From a close distance, he looked at Chi Xueyan seriously. “I will tell my family that you will arrange how to spend Christmas Eve.”
On the first day of December, this was the first time that Chi Xueyan was reminded of the holiday that wouldn’t come until the end of the month.
He was a bit surprised but not too surprised.
In the eyes of outsiders of the way they got along, He Qiao was more infatuated and he would indeed put in the bathwater in advance for his lover every day. Chi Xueyan, who could do whatever he wanted, would arbitrarily decide how his lover’s birthday would be spent.
When there were no outsiders, these lies didn’t need to be enforced. It was enough to make them up.
He Qiao really did it, spending more energy beyond the agreement. Therefore, Chi Xueyan took the initiative to promise some extra details as a reward.
Now it was his turn to deliver on that promise.
It was a fair and reasonable exchange.
“Okay.” Chi Xueyan didn’t raise any objections to him and said again, “Good night.”
He Qiao got the answer, left the bathroom and gently closed the door of the master bedroom.
Chi Xueyan sank into the hot water that had just the right temperature.
His wet red hair was soaked in the transparent water and quietly slipped away.
He suddenly remembered his black hair that was dyed red because of a little boy.
There was a sense of mission to be Santa Claus again.
This time, it was during the real Christmas season.
Dyeing his hair was the first time and arranging a birthday for another person was also a first time.
It was fresh and confusing.
For most people, a birthday might be the most special day of the year but for Chi Xueyan, every day could be very special.
He didn’t have any interest in these ordinary arrangements such as baking a cake himself, cooking for the birthday star, going out to watch movies, lighting candles and blowing them out together at night and unwrapping gifts prepared in advance.
Chi Xueyan had never had such a routine birthday unless he happened to want to feel ‘normal’ that year.
He even decided what to do when it was his own birthday.
It was because inspiration often came from unpredictable moments.
Moreover, this might be a type of inheritance.
The three members had very similar attitudes to this. There was no plan in advance and they just casually thought of it at will.
One time on Han Zhenzhen’s birthday, the whole family went to the maternity hospital for half a day. Babies were constantly being born in the hospital and the corridors were full of people laughing or crying. New life was born in hope.
Her eyes were rarely red. The next second, she smiled and said emotionally, ‘Fortunately when I was pregnant with Chi Xueyan, the little baby was very beautiful at birth and well-behaved. You didn’t make me suffer too much.’
Once on Chi Zhongyuan’s birthday, they accompanied him to donate blood but failed. They had to temporarily go to the supermarket to sweep up the snacks and sugar. Han Zhenzhen and Chi Xueyan pushed a shopping cart alone and couldn’t stop laughing the whole time.
It was because the tall and burly Chi Zhongyuan actually became dizzy at the sight of blood and it was only his own blood.
Chi Xueyan thought that this might’ve subconsciously prompted his father to train his skills to the point where he never tasted defeat or he might’ve been doubly humiliated.
What type of birthday would He Qiao like?
He didn’t know.
It was because he didn’t know the real He Qiao at all.
In his mind, He Qiao was blank, just like the annual summary document on his computer.
…He remembered this again when he was free.
Why did people have to write endless reports?
Chi Xueyan was forced to withdraw from his thoughts and think about He Qiao’s birthday another day.
So today’s bath time was exceptionally short.
After returning to the bedroom and lying down, Chi Xueyan even dreamed of the sound of tapping on the keyboard.
One document was the annual report and the other document was the birthday arrangement.
The things that bothered him suddenly became two.
December 2nd felt like a year.
Chi Xueyan thought that the early winter he was about to experience would be the unhappiest in his memory.
However, that weekend, both problems were solved at the same time.
As usual, he and He Qiao were home.
After eating lunch, Chi Xueyan planned to go out and visit the newly opened haunted house in the city alone.
He was getting up from the dining room when He Qiao suddenly asked him, “Have you been in a bad mood lately?”
Chi Xueyan’s footsteps paused and he looked back. “Is it obvious?”
In fact, his life hadn’t changed much in appearance. He would still wait for He Qiao to get off work, too lazy to drive. Once he got used to it, there were countless times that it happened. In addition, the sofa in that office was very comfortable.
The relationship and communication between the two of them were as usual. It was because Chi Xueyan was most annoyed at the thought of writing the report, not the birthday, so he wouldn’t vent his negative feelings toward unrelated people.
He Qiao nodded. “During this time, you’ve rarely come to the window to see the scenery.
It was a meticulous angle he never would’ve imagined.
Chi Xueyan didn’t think much of it and admitted cheerfully, “I am annoyed about writing the year-end summary. It is easy to think about it every time my mind wanders.”
He walked out while also explaining his reason for going out. “Therefore, I am preparing to go to a haunted house to find inspiration.”
He had just finished speaking when He Qiao’s gentle voice was heard behind him. “Do you want me to help you write it?”
Chi Xueyan stopped abruptly.
It was once again an offer he couldn’t refuse.
He Qiao loved to read the news and often read various work-related reports. He was naturally more familiar with this style of writing.
Chi Xueyan instantly gave up on the idea of going out.
Suddenly, he had a hint of inspiration for the birthday.
He turned to He Qiao and asked, “Are you free this afternoon?”
He Qiao replied quickly, “I will finish it before dinner.”
The afternoon sunlight flooded this colorful home.
He Qiao sat in the dining room and used his computer to write the annual work summary of a children’s dentist.
Chi Xueyan sat beside him and explained some proper nouns to him.
At the current pace, it would be done in half an hour.
He Qiao really knew how to write this type of thing better than him.
The house was very quiet with only the regular sound of typing. In the quiet passage of time, Chi Xueyan gradually developed a rare feeling of youth.
It was because this was a landscape he was particularly familiar with.
It was just that the tool had changed from a ballpoint pen in high school to a computer today.
The people around him had changed from a table mate whose appearance was long forgotten to his current agreement lover.
As a student, he often had various activities to participate in and everyone had to submit a reflection afterward.
Of course, Chi Xueyan knew what should be written in this type of report.
But he didn’t want to write it.
His real ideas were always far-fetched and sometimes deviant.
Therefore, Chi Xueyan made a deal with his tablemate at that time. He would answer all the difficult questions that his tablemate didn’t understand while his table mate would help him write all the activity reflections that needed to be handed in.
It was boring to write according to rigid rules, but it was fun to watch others write according to rigid rules.
Watching He Qiao write a work report in the tone of a children’s dentist was much more interesting than watching his tablemate write impressions of the exhibition without any perspective.
The more focused He Qiao’s expression was, the more Chi Xueyan wanted to chat with him about some inexplicable things.
In any case, they were almost finished.
“Do you remember what I said last time about taking the test?”
“I remember,” He Qiao answered him while continuing to type. “Tickets for the fan meeting.”
The day after Chi Xueyan mentioned it, He Qiao gave him the ticket to the fan meeting and it was one of the best seats in the arena.
“I think you should’ve guessed who I want to give it to,” Chi Xueyan said. “In fact, the result is quite easy to guess. He refused it.”
The sound of typing slowed down a bit.
It seemed to take a few seconds for He Qiao to withdraw his mind from the world of dentists. He asked, “How did you give it to him?”
“Through Wang Shaojing,” Chi Xueyan said. “I don’t have Lu Siyi’s contact information but on the day he went to the lost and found, he added Old Wang.”
Speaking of this, he seemed to remember something funny. There was a smile in his eyes as he took the initiative to hand the phone to He Qiao.
“I asked Old Wang to give him the ticket in the name of winning a draw. You can see the rest for yourself.”
On the screen was the chat interface between Chi Xueyan and Wang Shaojing. It stayed on a screenshot posted by the other person.
He Qiao clicked on the screenshot. It showed the conversation between Wang Shaojing and Lu Siyi, the latter of which had a long nickname.
[Graduate Student with No Interest in Horror Movies: When was this draw? Did I participate?]
[SCA Bar-Wang: …Don’t you want something free? I drew it randomly from my friends list!]
[Graduate Student with No Interest in Horror Movies: Thanks but no thanks. I am busy in the laboratory.]
[SCA Bar-Wang: This singer has been very popular recently and the streets are full of his songs. It is difficult to find a ticket.]
[Graduate Student with No Interest in Horror Movies: Sorry, I haven’t heard of him. I am very busy with the laboratory. Is there anything else?]
At the bottom was a string of ellipses sent by Wang Shaojing and a bowing ‘sorry for disturbing you’ meme.
He Qiao read the screenshot and heard Chi Xueyan say with a smile, “After he told him, I joked with him and asked him if he wanted to drag this person to the fan meeting.”
“Old Wang sent me a lot of ellipses and asked me why I was doing this.”
“I said,” he paused. “I want to see if the fortune teller’s prophecy works.”
The innocent fortune teller took the blame again.
Therefore, Chi Xueyan was happy. “Then Old Wang specially sent a voice message and loudly told me to get lost.
“I think he might want to curse every time he hears the word fortune teller in the future.”
When Chi Xueyan told the story, his eyes were full of the afternoon sunlight and He Qiao laughed too.
The cold wind spread through the Morandi green window frames where winter and spring alternated.
He Qiao remembered the only unresolved detail. “What about that ticket?”
“Old Wang gave it to a regular customer of the bar. She used to like Duan Ruo’s songs. Then she graduated and started working, so she didn’t have time to pay attention to these things anymore. She just learned that he came back under a new name.”
Chi Xueyan said, “It can be regarded as an old fan. It is in line with this fan meeting, right?”
“Yes,” He Qiao replied. “The ticket went to the right person.”
It seemed like a perfect ending.
At the same time, the last full stop fell on the document.
He Qiao pushed the computer back a bit. “I’m done writing.”
In the moment of silence, Chi Xueyan heard what he meant. He first put down the annual summary that was finally completed and asked, “Do you think their encounter isn’t correct?”
There were obviously two protagonists in the novel.
After discovering that the trajectory of the two people was getting further and further apart and might never intersect again, Chi Xueyan once sighed that he really had a bit of a villain talent.
This time, he did nothing yet he inexplicably broke up a pair of protagonists who should’ve loved each other.
He Qiao was silent for a while before answering him, “Perhaps they don’t think so in the book, but in my opinion, yes.”
He skipped Lu Siyi’s part and only mentioned the other protagonist. “Duan Ruo should’ve liked another person initially. Later, he gave up on this liking himself.
This was a detail that Chi Xueyan didn’t know before. He was a bit stunned before soon realizing who the other person was referring to. “He Xiao?”
He Qiao nodded slightly.
Chi Xueyan also understood the reason behind it in an instant.
The difference between people was like a magnetic attraction.
Similarity was also an attraction.
The talented singer was betrayed by his once trusted partner and didn’t have the luck to come back sooner. In the novel, he stumbled for too long and had a long and difficult period of darkness. Those who hadn’t experienced it personally couldn’t truly empathize with it.
He Xiao had also experienced a long period of darkness and was still in the darkness. He had never walked out of his childhood memories.
The former might still believe in love, but he had lost the innocence and courage of a moth flying to the flames.
The latter lost the ability to handle any type of love correctly.
Chi Xueyan thought quietly for a long time before asking He Qiao, “Do they really like each other?”
He was asking about the two protagonists.
He Qiao answered him in the most objective way. “None of them seem to have personalities who will force themselves.”
Like wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime emotion.
They did like the person around them.
It was also true that there were regrets for the people who were no longer around, even though they perhaps might not even be aware of it.
This was a regret that came only once in a lifetime and was difficult to recover once missed.
Chi Xueyan understood what he meant and sighed with relief. “There always seems to be many regrets in life.”
“What a sad novel,” he said. “No one can have the purest happiness, even if it seems like it.”
After speaking, Chi Xueyan stared at the computer screen that was still lit up in front of him. He chuckled, his eyes clear and bright.
“However, I have no regrets—at least this year.”
The annual report that plagued him for a week was completely resolved.
He could continue to enjoy the newly arrived winter.
Chi Xueyan put down his feelings for the novel and asked the people around him about the reality that was more within reach. “What type of birthday do you like?”
“An unexpected one.” He Qiao didn’t hesitate much as if he had already prepared an action. “In addition, the one you like.”
Hearing this, Chi Xueyan teased him. “This makes the difficulty sound very low.”
He Qiao said, “It is also more like the arrangement you would make.”
The red-haired young man sitting opposite him nodded, calmly acknowledging this judgment of himself. He simply said, “I will arrange it.”
The peaceful afternoon outside the window started to gradually transition to a beautiful dusk.
He Qiao heard the sound of something gentle landing in his heart.
He remained silent and simply copied the other person’s sentence pattern. “I will look forward to it.”
Chi Xueyan was an unpredictable person who often did things that others found unexpected.
In a sense, he was also a very simple person.
All his emotions were written in his actions and never hidden.
He no longer went to the window to see the scenery because he had something in mind.
He didn’t ask about the birthday because he didn’t care.
During this period of time, He Qiao actually clearly felt the change in Chi Xueyan’s attitude toward him.
Under this change, the two of them got along more naturally in private. They were like friends who appreciated and knew each other well without deliberately staying away and drawing a line.
However, compared to before the wedding, the biggest difference was that Chi Xueyan wouldn’t take the initiative to do anything.
For example, he previously took the initiative to ask to participate in the adventure of the typhoon night and ask him about his past experience.
All that remained was the ordinary relationship within the boundaries of friends and some of the compromises naturally included in the agreement marriage.
Chi Xueyan wouldn’t ask anything about the birthday arrangement and plans and would cooperate no matter what.
Forget taking the initiative to suggest how to celebrate birthdays and Christmas Eve which obviously required a more intimate relationship.
The window in his heart had closed for a long time.
Even though he appeared by the window, he was separated by glass and couldn’t touch the wind.
The window might be full of roses but he wouldn’t walk into the wind.
Chi Xueyan acquiesced that the window wouldn’t be opened again and abandoned his curiosity about the wind itself. He stopped asking some important questions that would change their relationship.
It was because he took caution from the unfinished story.
This in itself was a warning from the wind.
It was a strange fate.
But at least it was a regret that could be made up for.
The wind didn’t want to open this glass window with sudden destruction.
He wanted to use softer methods, such as making a wish.
He Qiao knew that Chi Xueyan would seriously fulfill certain wishes.
In particular, the quirky yet sincere wishes.
It was like dyeing his black hair a deep red without saying a word for the little boy he met by chance in the clinic.
Such a dazzling hair color suited his name and personality even more. It also suited this season where snowflakes dotted his hair.
The winter atmosphere was becoming stronger.
The annual report problem was solved and Chi Xueyan started to reappear in the office window.
His mind continued to wander as he gazed absent-mindedly at the clouds and trees, the road and windows, the wind and balloon man.
For He Qiao, this was a new landscape.
It was because he guessed that in these seemingly ordinary observations, there were new strands of thought.
It was related to Christmas Eve.
It was also related to him.
This was an imagination that would make people who were in unrequited love feel very happy.
As December gradually came to an end, one store after another on Maple Leaf Road placed sparkling snowflakes and smiling Santa Claus stickers on the glass windows one after another.
Tonight was Christmas Eve.
Early in the morning, He Qiao walked out of his room. The house was very quiet. Chi Xueyan had already gone out.
Yesterday as they said goodnight to each other, Chi Xueyan still didn’t mention tomorrow’s arrangements to him. Everything was as usual.
So at this moment, He Qiao wasn’t surprised.
It was a wish he had made, an unexpected birthday.
There was one less pair of shoes at the entrance, but something more on the sofa in the living room.
It was a set of casually folded clothes with a note.
He Qiao picked up the note and a smile flashed in his eyes.
This was the second note he would carefully treasure.
Half an hour later, He Qiao appeared at the agreed upon place on the note.
A busy intersection, surrounded by wide roads, filled with the sound of car motors and horns.
Chi Xueyan seemed to have just arrived.
He wore a black hat and stood across the road with a bag that appeared to contain breakfast.
This was the first time He Qiao had seen him wearing a hat.
He Qiao didn’t wear the white shirt and black coat that had remained unchanged since he took over the company. Instead, he wore the clothes that Chi Xueyan had picked out in advance and placed on the sofa.
A light gray sweatshirt, dark brown jacket and blurred and soft colors.
It was similar to the style of the clothes he wore today.
Seeing that he arrived on time, Chi Xueyan took the initiative to raise his hand, as if signaling for him to come over.
However, He Qiao was distracted. He failed to respond in time and forgot to take a step forward.
He just watched intently.
Seeing that he hadn’t moved for a long time, the person in the hat was too lazy to cross the road or speak loudly. He simply took out his phone.
The sun was so strong that He Qiao couldn’t see Chi Xueyan’s expression covered by the brim of the hat. Still, he had a soft ringing from his jacket pocket.
Under the shadow of the sky and clouds, the flowing crowd became an unreal dream. There was only one clear figure, a somewhat small shape outlined by the bright light in this bustling and empty world.
He was standing across the road, holding his phone and staring at it. The traffic lights beside him kept flashing.
The brim of the black hat was lowered but his crimson hair and snowflake earrings could still be seen.
At this moment, He Qiao suddenly wanted to hug him.
He seemed to want to hug more than kiss.
Once the call connected, Chi Xueyan’s voice entered his ears. It clearly contained a laugh.
“Come and take you on an adventure.”