The coin in the palm of his hand.
It took Chi Xueyan several seconds to remember the metaphor he casually said four months ago.
That night, he put four coins into the game console full of unknown stories one by one. Four lives flowed from it, which made him understand the complex relationship between the He family where it was difficult to conclude simple right and wrong.
A pragmatic idealist, a naive artist, a happy fool and a paranoid person who had lost his mother and walked into the darkness.
After listening to these four stories, Chi Xueyan sighed. He found that what he wanted to know more was the fifth story that took place outside the novel.
What type of life did the mysterious book transmigrator, He Qiao, have?
Couples deserved to know each other, to know everything about each other.
Even if he never had the experience of love, he naturally knew this common sense.
It was the instinctive desire to explore when his heartbeat came. No teaching was required.
It was an exchange born of love.
Unfortunately, He Qiao asked him the origin of his hair color that night but didn’t accept the fifth coin.
The days passed like water. Four months later, on the same day, the night of the 24th.
It was the same Perfect Summer and the same soundproof back seat of the car.
The opposite season and the opposite questioner.
In the strange coincidence of time and scene, would he still want to throw this coin into the game console that was finally opened again?
Chi Xueyan actually didn’t know.
He had just cleaned up his mood and constructed his youth, which might’ve been lacking.
This was Chi Xueyan’s way of getting along with himself. He didn’t expect or need a response for others.
On Christmas Eve, under the surface of revisiting the old place and celebrating He Qiao’s birthday, there was another layer of narrative buried. This was a secret that belonged to him alone.
For him, everything in life was fine now.
It was so good that no changes had to be made.
There was no need to forcefully smooth out the disappointment of being rejected.
Chi Xueyan gradually understood that he probably wouldn’t throw this coin.
After all, love was an adventure with an unknown ending. It was just like how Su Yu was sincere to every girlfriend, but over the years, love continued to ignite and extinguish and lovers came and went. Only the friend who patiently listened to his complaints didn’t change.
Chi Xueyan liked the way he got along with He Qiao during this time.
It wasn’t love, but it made him feel relaxed and pleasant.
He also didn’t care about the relationship of the contract marriage. It was because he changed back to the Chi Xueyan who didn’t want to fall in love and preferred to be single. His married status wasn’t an obstacle. Instead, it was the most trouble-free excuse when rejecting others.
If He Qiao wanted to have a real marriage with someone in the future, he would cooperate to clarify the relationship and was willing to divorce at any time.
Therefore, no matter from what perspective, there was no need to take unnecessary risks.
After getting along for a long time, he seemed to be infected by He Qiao’s meticulous rationality.
It was like how He Qiao was forced to wear a completely different style of clothes.
Chi Xueyan thought so.
From the moment these words came out, the back seat of the car fell quiet for a long time. It was so quiet that there was only the sound of each other’s breathing.
He didn’t think about how to reject this belated response, but their eyes kept meeting.
Chi Xueyan felt that He Qiao should’ve been able to read the silent answer from his undisguised eyes long ago.
He decided to say something casually to break the closed silence of this winter night, so that this trip would be a very ordinary birthday and it would also end with ordinary and bland words.
For example, ‘You’ve given all the coins to the boss’ or ‘there is a cake store in front. I didn’t prepare a birthday cake in advance. Do you want the driver to park there?’
But strangely, Chi Xueyan couldn’t say those words.
He kept looking into He Qiao’s eyes and didn’t see any complicated emotions such as understanding, disappointment or loneliness.
There was only pure waiting.
This person was waiting for him to answer this question, even if the answer was clear.
Their quietly intertwined gazes in the air gave Chi Xueyan an illusion.
It was as if it wasn’t only He Qiao, but even he himself had been waiting a long time.
Therefore, he suddenly and temporarily changed the words that he was about to speak.
His life was always full of elusive irrationality.
“If the story you prepared is boring enough—” Chi Xueyan said abruptly. “I will use it up.”
For the first time, he wanted to hear the funny opposite.
“It is a boring story that isn’t as interesting as One Thousand and One Nights.’
This was the excuse He Qiao used to reject him.
What if it wasn’t an excuse but a fact?
In the closed window, this was the only possible gap. Perhaps the wind would blow in from there?
Chi Xueyan’s tone was very ordinary, as casual and willful as always.
But the person who heard this sentence finally received a birthday present that belonged to tonight.
A coin gently fell into the console.
“I didn’t lie to you. It is indeed a boring story and it can be told in just one sentence.”
It was a short sentence.
Immediately afterward, Chi Xueyan heard the gentle voice of the person beside him as always.
“I don’t know my past.”
The coin landed with a clear and beautiful sound.
He exchanged the fifth coin for the simplest and most unusual answer.
Chi Xueyan always thought that He Qiao was just bringing unknown stories. He never expected He Qiao to be the unknown itself.
So he didn’t have any story to tell about himself.
He didn’t seem to feel empty and confused by it.
After He Qiao finished speaking, he stared at Chi Xueyan intently. There were no unnecessary emotions in his eyes, only a hint of worry that Chi Xueyan didn’t believe it.
Chi Xueyan looked at the familiar face of the person beside him and blinked abruptly. He didn’t respond immediately.
He tried to sort out his thoughts.
Assuming that everything that He Qiao said was a fact in his eyes, then under the existing conditions, the most logical inference was that he wasn’t an outsider. In other words, he was the ‘He Qiao’ in the novel who predicted the ‘future’ in some way.
However, there were so many differences between the two people with the same name and surname.
They had different personalities, different hobbies, different sexual orientations, different life plans and even different attitudes toward their older brother.
It wasn’t a type of calm and disengagement that could be achieved through a disguise.
Chi Xueyan didn’t know where He Qiao came from and He Qiao himself didn’t know.
It sounded absurd but like every conversation in the past, no matter whether it was true or not, Chi Xueyan still chose to believe in his words.
Therefore, he didn’t ask who He Qiao really was. He just asked about trivial things.
“Is today your actual birthday?”
“Why do you like to watch the news?”
He Qiao’s answer was the same as in the Internet cafe. “Sometimes, I think it looks good.”
He just added a memory that occurred somewhere.
“I’ve only seen some of the news about this world and it is all about things that will happen in the future.”
Details without coordinates made up the only fragments of memories he had.
His hobbies and personality had never been known.
He Qiao finally confessed his true self, but he was still the mysterious book transmigrator.
It was as if nothing had changed yet everything had changed.
Chi Xueyan found that he didn’t have an emotion that seemed more reasonable and difficult to accept.
Almost without hesitation, he accepted this story that was both boring and bizarre.
Perhaps it was because a long time ago, the name ‘He Qiao’ was bound to the unknown in his heart.
A life that could never be certain, an unknown that could never be determined.
Chi Xueyan was quiet for a moment. His words jumped to a part that had nothing to do with He Qiao.
“In the novel, how did I die?”
He had never asked this question before and He Qiao didn’t take the initiative to bring it up.
Chi Xueyan might’ve been scoffing at his mother’s enthusiasm for fortune telling since he was a child. After accepting that the world was a novel, such a prophetic, tragic ending always sounded unpleasant.
It was living in a horror movie with a bloody ending already written. For the rest of his life, he had to watch out for some type of death omen that suddenly emerged.
Now he suddenly wanted to know.
But like his own origin, He Qiao still failed to give a definite answer.
He looked into Chi Xueyan’s eyes and said frankly, “I don’t know the specific way. I just know that it happened.”
Hearing this, Chi Xueyan thought for a while and tried to translate it. “It is like an inconspicuous corner of the novel. There was simply a sentence that said the villain died, but didn’t write the cause of death. Even the person who did the good deed wasn’t mentioned?”
He Qiao nodded slightly at his words.
Chi Xueyan laughed with a bit of surprise.
The person who wrote the story probably really liked his character. The author unnecessarily described the trivial details of them without earrings yet was reluctant to spend pen and ink to describe the tragic ending he deserved.
At this moment, he only had one question left to ask.
The night grew stronger and the glass windows of the stores outside the car window flashed, covered with red and white snowflakes and Christmas hats. There were two completely different colors but it contained a warmth that should be there.
He Qiao seriously answered every question of the person beside him.
Every question in a flat tone made an indescribable joy rise in his heart.
Chi Xueyan believed what he said.
He didn’t question this story that didn’t sound like the truth.
His gaze was as bright as ever, without any confusion, bewilderment or fear.
Before tonight, He Qiao had wondered countless times if Chi Xueyan would be afraid of the approach of a person with no origin.
The unknown meant fear in many people’s minds, but not him.
However, this was a question that took some time to confirm.
He Qiao had a deep understanding of Chi Xueyan’s character both in the novel and in the real world, but he subconsciously wanted to be more cautious.
This was something where there was no turning back if he took one wrong step.
Fortunately, there was still a long road ahead to travel.
Before he really started trying to change their relationship, there was only one thing he had left to confess.
In addition, there was always a tacit understanding of unknown origin between them.
The moment He Qiao was about to speak, he heard Chi Xueyan ask a question as if he had insight into the answer. “The story behind that birthday photo, who did I tell in the book?”
Then He Qiao released this secret that he kept alone and replied softly, “He Qiao.”
The red-haired young man didn’t show any surprise in his expression and he instead laughed. “Yes, I guess it.”
“The logic is finally complete.” His tone seemed to be analyzing the plot of a detective novel. “With your usual attitude, you shouldn’t offer a contract marriage with the future villain.”
“Unless you think it is necessary. For example, He Qiao isn’t an insignificant little supporting role. He has another special intersection with me.”
This was the classic logic of reasoning. It was simple and effective.
“Moreover, I don’t think I would like Lu Siyi very much,” Chi Xueyan added with some disgust. “He doesn’t even like to watch SCALPEL.”
It was his private logic that led to the same answer together.
He Qiao knew that Chi Xueyan had always been smart, much smarter than himself.
He put aside his concern for the plot of the original novel early on, distinguishing the differences between the two worlds. He calmly faced every character he encountered in the novel, including He Qiao, who was no longer ‘He Qiao.’
“I like He Qiao in the novel and you said that He Qiao died.” Chi Xueyan continued with his next reasoning question. “Was it because of me? Was he someone who was hurt due to the villain?”
“No, he was just unlucky.”
He Qiao maintained the same answer as the past.
He just added a detail that happened in the novel.
“You didn’t hurt him, you were good to him,” He Qiao said. “Meeting you was the luckiest thing for him.”
No matter what world he was in, no matter whether he expressed or not, Chi Xueyan had always been very good to the people he loved.
Finally, He Qiao said, “I’m sorry, I concealed this matter from you before.”
Chi Xueyan was quiet for a long time. He wasn’t angry but he didn’t accept his apology. He just started talking.
“This time, it turns out that you owed me a detail but it seems there is no way to return it to me.”
He Qiao understood what he meant.
On the night when the blind date ended, Chi Xueyan confirmed with him the authenticity of transmigrating to a novel in the hot pot restaurant. He Qiao only talked about the photo as evidence, but he didn’t expect it to mean a hidden love.
This was originally a secret that only Chi Xueyan knew.
It was a secret about love that had been settled over a long time.
He was a man with no origin, an incomplete memory and no traces of love.
However, He Qiao thought that this might be the only thing that surprised Chi Xueyan tonight.
He could exchange this detail related to love.
It was because after coming to this world, he had many new memories in his life.
Chi Xueyan saw the person beside him shake his head.
He Qiao told him, “I will look down to avoid your gaze when I lie.”
Chi Xueyan tried to recall it but he didn’t have any impression. When talking to him, He Qiao had always talked to him head on, just like tonight.
As expected, he showed deep surprise in his eyes. He Qiao smiled before saying softly, “I rarely lie in front of you.”
Except for the subconscious hidden feelings.
There were only three times that he intentionally concealed important novel facts from Chi Xueyan.
The time when Chi Xueyan confirmed the birthday photo story to him, the time when Chi Xueyan asked about the role of ‘He Qiao’ in the novel and the time he wondered if ‘Lu Siyi’ had ever liked him at all.
At first, he felt that the plot of the novel was a type of fate hanging high above his head. He didn’t want to be dragged by fate.
Now he was aware of the growing difference between the two words. From the beginning, he simply followed the direction of his heart.
The two protagonists were the same. Both of them had embarked on different paths from the novel. The current life seemed to be the trajectory that was more acceptable in their hearts.
Therefore, He Qiao no longer minded the entangled fate of ‘He Qiao’ and ‘Chi Xueyan’ in the original novel.
The other He Qiao had become reticent due to heavy pain while the other Chi Xueyan didn’t have black snowflake earrings and was no longer a dentist.
It was completely different from them.
Still, he seemed to mind that some traces left by ‘Chi Xueyan’ later on in the life of ‘Lu Siyi’ might be a type of heartbeat that the latter didn’t notice until the story came to an abrupt end.
The protagonist was in a labyrinth.
The bystander always saw better.
He Qiao didn’t want to tell Chi Xueyan about it.
It should be a selfish concealment.
‘There should be a new story,’ he thought.
Different worlds, different people, different beginnings, different endings.
After crossing the lonely long street, at the end of the road, the car slowly stopped next to the new house with warm tones.
He Qiao got out of the car first. He turned around and reached out to gently block the top of the door, so that the person who got out of the car later wouldn’t accidentally touch it.
The moment he waited for Chi Xueyan to walk into the house together, he fully described the details of the exchange, like the most serious summary.
In the rainy night, he gazed into his lover’s eyes which were as bright as stars.
It was a clear and cloudless Christmas Eve and he finally used all the coins in his coat pocket. His body seemed to be covered with light snowflakes.
“This is something that has already happened and something that only I know.”
“Now you can easily confirm if I am lying or not.”