He didn’t see off fireworks with his own hands but there was a kiss under the fireworks.
Chi Xueyan liked such small accidents that deviated from the track.
The fireworks this night didn’t seem to stop. The night sky was constantly lit up by sounds and colors, brilliant like a dream.
The lovers who had enough of the fireworks walked out of the garden and returned to the house. They said ‘Happy New Year’ to their families who welcomed the new year together.
Sheng Xiaoyue, who was standing in front of the living room window, quickly hid the thing in her hand behind the sofa pillow.
It was binoculars of the same type as the one in her son’s office.
She was just watching the fireworks in the sky just now, absolutely nothing else.
Chi Xueyan and He Qiao noticed her hurried movements and looked over with some surprise.
“Mom, are you looking for something?”
“…Eh? What?’ Sheng Xiaoyue hurriedly changed the topic. “It is finally midnight. Are you hungry? Do you want to eat a bowl of glutinous rice balls?”
“Or do you want to continue eating Xiao Chi’s birthday cake?” She changed the subject but she couldn’t hide the smile in her eyes. “It is all sweet anyway, very sweet—”
Chi Xueyan was taking off his scarf when he saw a round black corner sticking out of the edge of the pillow. It was a familiar observation tool.
This caused him to smile. His eyes curved but he didn’t expose her. “I want to eat glutinous rice balls.”
He Qiao also noticed that corner. A trace of helplessness flashed in his eyes and he responded warmly, “I’ll go to the kitchen to cook. Auntie should’ve bought it in advance, right?”
Sheng Xiaoyue walked briskly to the kitchen. “She has prepared a variety of flavors. You don’t need to cook them. I will do it myself. I still know how to cook glutinous rice balls. Do you want to eat the black sesame filling today?”
“By the way, go to the study to see your father and brother. They are both answering New Year’s calls. Come to the dining room in ten minutes.”
The coats and scarves with the winter chill were hung neatly on the hangers.
Before He Qiao went to the study to call people, he completely hid the exposed binoculars behind the pillow.
Ten minutes later, the hot glutinous rice balls were brought to the table in five small porcelain soup bowls.
It was after midnight and was full of the liveliness of reunion.
The glutinous rice balls in Chi Xueyan’s bowl were the most beautiful. They were all full and round with a bit of filling under the sofa skin. There was a soft cuteness reminiscent of the ceramic rabbit chopstick holders on the dining table.
He sincerely praised Sheng Xiaoyue’s level of cooking the glutinous rice balls. “I can’t cook such standard glutinous rice balls. I would definitely break the skin.”
The beautiful mother smiled with curved eyes. Her expression was somewhat smug. “This is very simple.”
In fact, she was about the same.
It was just that all the defective products were served in He Huaili’s bowl. Some of the glutinous rice balls were broken and the sweet black sesame filling flowed out. There were also some white glutinous rice balls that had fallen apart to the point where the original shape couldn’t be seen.
He pretended he didn’t notice it and didn’t expose it. He ate it silently.
The Spring Festival Gala on TV was still going on. In the joyful atmosphere of the new year, they finished eating the sweet glutinous rice balls and it was time to give red envelopes to the younger generation.
The older they got, the faster time went by. It was as if in the blink of an eye, the two sons grew up and were past the age where they imagined what to buy with the red envelope money.
In He Huaili’s memory, his oldest son was restrained and sensible. He would press every red envelope under the pillow, following the original intention of saving money in the new year. It was just as his biological mother taught him when he was a child.
His second son was just the opposite. His mother always taught him to enjoy life in time. So every time he received the lucky money, he would spend it within the first month. He used it to buy his favorite game consoles or gifts for his family.
Now He Xiao was in his 30s and hadn’t considered starting a family. He focused all his energy on his career and was more of a workaholic than his father, who started the foundation of the group.
Instead, He Qiao was the one who got married early. He was no longer greedy for fun and had an ideal for the future. He still had his naive enthusiasm and took care of his family. His holidays wouldn’t be used for overtime and business trips. He just accompanied his lover and family.
Time passed and the nature of the two children hadn’t changed.
He Huaili witnessed them growing up and witnessed his own aging.
It was another Spring Festival and there were more silver strands in his hair. His energy wasn’t as good as before.
In the past few years, he had completed a lot of the handover work.
It was as his wife said. He had lived for over 50 years and didn’t dare stop walking forward every day. At first, it was his responsibility to his family and then his responsibility to his company and employees, which meant countless families.
People weren’t machines. They made mistakes and got tired.
It was time to rest.
He Huaili finished eating the glutinous rice balls, put down the bowl and said in an ordinary tone, “I plan to step down as the chairman of the board in the next year.”
“In the future, you should still pick what you like and let go. Don’t feel too much pressure to take on responsibilities.”
He was ready to hand over his power to the other board leaders as well as his two equally good sons.
The Wanjia Group’s property was getting bigger and bigger. It was beyond the degree that one person could control alone. It was indeed a huge wealth that couldn’t be spent in several lifetimes.
He Huaili wasn’t worried that there would be disputes common in wealthy families. He knew everyone’s personalities and they weren’t greedy for fame or fortune.
After living to this age and looking back at the young children, he just wanted to say: let go and do what you like. It doesn’t matter even if you don’t want to inherit the family business.
In any case, they now had the confidence to accept failure and the freedom to not be bound by responsibility.
This was the lucky red envelope that He Huaili spent most of his life sealing.
No one was overly surprised by this decision that was suddenly officially announced, as if it had already been foreshadowed.
After a brief silence, He Xiao asked him, “Is it too soon?”
His expression was as usual, as if he was just worried that his father’s resignation was too hasty.
On the other hand, He Qiao gladly accepted his father’s entrustment like he was looking forward to the shining future. “I will let go and do it.”
Chi Xueyan wasn’t interested in business matters. He looked at the porcelain bowl without the glutinous rice balls.
In the clear soup, a drop of black sesame filling quietly spread.
Under the calm water was a dark tide that only he knew about.
For He Xiao, who had just learned the secret of transmigrating to the novel, the current ‘He Qiao’ should be like a very scheming villain.
For Chi Xueyan, the He Qiao who was unpredictable and talked about his career as a villain was the opposite of He Qiao, who concentrated on replicating the game’s flight records.
It was like the AB sides of the old-fashioned magnetic tape.
No matter which side it was, he liked it very much.
This ordinary and special birthday could be ranked in the top three of Chi Xueyan’s favorite days.
In the standard New Year’s Eve process that he had listed, there was one last thing left.
Go to bed after midnight.
At one o’clock in the morning, the continuous stream of fireworks and firecrackers outside finally stopped. There was the soundproof glass installed in the house and it wouldn’t affect sleep.
It was late at night. Due to the effect of the sweets, sleepiness started to sweep through Chi Xueyan’s mind.
He Qiao, who was replying to various New Year’s greetings on his phone, felt a gentle leaning force against his shoulder.
Chi Xueyan, who was also replying to messages, couldn’t sit still and subconsciously leaned against him.
He asked, “Are you sleepy?”
“Yes, I want to sleep.”
Chi Xueyan nodded slightly as he answered, his soft hair brushing against the other person’s neck.
Then He Qiao’s voice paused slightly. “…Let’s go back to the room.”
He put away his phone and went upstairs with Chi Xueyan. There was a rare silence where he didn’t know how to speak.
There was no more playing games at night and there was a deep burgundy bed in the bedroom.
This was the first time they shared a bed in the truest sense.
Even if this bed was spacious enough.
Even if Chi Xueyan’s tone was very pure and he was simply sleepy.
But when he returned to the room to be alone and saw the bed with a rich and ambiguous color, his heartbeat and thoughts were always disobedient.
For example, the porcelain plate containing half a portion of strawberries had long been a sharp contrast.
The left half was an empty and pure white while the right half was a gorgeous, blooming crimson.
Chi Xueyan went to wash up first.
Once he came out, his cheeks were a faint red from the heat. He looked listless and was obviously sleepy. Even his hair was blown particularly casually.
Thus, He Qiao took the hair dryer and carefully helped him dry his hair.
The damp ends of his hair left clear water marks between his fingers, which were evaporated by the continuous heat.
The noise of the hair dryer stopped. Finally, the bedtime process was over and Chi Xueyan didn’t thank his lover in an overly polite manner.
He naturally got into bed, wrapped himself in the quilt and said, “Good night.”
He Qiao turned off the lamp beside the bedroom before walking to the bathroom alone.
It was much like the night after the wedding.
He guessed that Chi Xueyan would be asleep by the time he came out of the bathroom.
This actually made him sigh with relief.
Last time, he went to sleep in another bedroom but he inexplicably lost sleep until dawn.
Today, they had to share the same room and even the same bed.
He Qiao couldn’t imagine how he would spend this night.
But at the very least, Chi Xueyan would sleep well.
Then when He Qiao walked lightly after taking a shower, he saw that the bedside lamp he turned off with his own hands had turned on again.
The person who had fallen asleep was leaning against the soft pillow, listening to his phone with a helpless expression.
After hearing the movement from the bathroom door, Chi Xueyan looked up and hurriedly waved at him, signaling for him to come over.
“Mom, He Qiao wants to say the New Year’s greetings to you.”
He Qiao: “……”
He had already sent a New Year’s greeting to Chi Xueyan’s parents, who were spending the Spring Festival and a honeymoon abroad, although he hadn’t received a reply.
A few seconds later, He Qiao received a belated reply from the phone.
Han Zhenzhen and Chi Zhongyuan spoke in a mysterious foreign language that made people confused.
Chi Xueyan successfully threw the hot potato to He Qiao and explained beside him, “It means Happy New Year. It is the language over there. The two of them learned this sentence this time.”
The couple on the other end of the phone heard his taunt and Han Zhenzhen immediately argued, “He Qiao, don’t listen to his nonsense! We know hello and goodbye too!”
To the side, Chi Zhongyuan spoke in a cooperative manner as if reciting a spell.
He Qiao still couldn’t understand but he heard the helpless laughter of the person beside him.
Chi Xueyan couldn’t bear their strange accents so he gave up the idea of sleeping. He took the initiative to come over and demonstrate the correct pronunciation. “It is the second time you are going here. Why aren’t you speaking in a standard manner yet?”
When the family of three first went to see the aurora in a small island country near the Arctic Circle, they learned several local phrases together.
Later, the couple quickly forgot it but Chi Xueyan always remembered.
He Qiao still couldn’t understand this language but he felt that the pronunciation of the person beside him was very good.
It was like a captivating spell.
He was very close, shoulder to shoulder, as if holding his arm. The dim light hovered over his lowered eyelashes.
…They suddenly lay together on the bed.
The sound of wind and laughter from over 7,000 kilometers away came over the phone.
There was also the gorgeous aurora in his imagination, a beauty that made people forget to breathe.
Han Zhenzhen shared her joy with them. “The aurora I saw last night was better than the one a few years ago. I took a lot of videos. I’ll go home to show you.”
Chi Zhongyuan was racking his brains to retaliate against his son’s taunt. “Maybe this is the feeling of a honeymoon. The scenery becomes even more beautiful. By the way, why haven’t the two of you gone on a honeymoon after so long?”
Immediately afterward, Old Chi replied to his own question, “Oh, because you have to go to work. It is really annoying to work for someone else, haha.”
Chi Xueyan: “……”
Today was obviously the first day of the holiday but hearing his father say this made him feel that he would be going to the clinic tomorrow.
“I have annual leave.”
He retorted briefly. Then he felt that this rebuttal seemed too weak in front of the two bosses, so he decided to end the conversation directly.
“I’m sleepy, I’m going to bed. We’ll talk tomorrow.”
Han Zhenzhen finally noticed the time. “Oh, it is almost 2 o’clock there. You go to sleep, Yan Yan. I’ll say one final word to He Qiao.”
Chi Xueyan, who was woken up by the call, actually wasn’t as sleepy as before. He lay back on the bed and listened to his mother talk to He Qiao.
“I didn’t think about the honeymoon before. Do you have any plans? If not, I think you can go in April. The temp is comfortable in spring and the scenery is beautiful. There is a place I have long wanted Yan Yan to go to. It is better for the two of you to go together…”
His mother’s last sentence was very long and she kept muttering. He Qiao was always gentle and patient. “Okay, I remember Mom.”
Hearing his lover call his mother like this, a strange feeling occurred in Chi Xueyan’s heart.
During the day, did He Qiao have a similar mood when listening to him call Sheng Xiaoyue in the same way.
It seemed to usher in a more thorough marriage.
They shared everything with each other. Even the blood relationship that had nothing to do with each other was given meaning.
Once the call from the land of the aurora was officially over, the bedroom became quiet again.
The air was suddenly filled with an inconspicuous fragrance. It was the smell after taking a shower.
There was a moment of silence before He Qiao looked away and asked him, “Turn off the light?”
The lights went out and the sound of breathing beside him became more and more vivid.
Chi Xueyan thought that there was still one step left before the most complete marriage.
They had been married for over half a year but he hadn’t communicated with He Qiao about this.
At first, it felt unnecessary since they weren’t really married. They didn’t have any feelings and it wouldn’t involve this part.
But now it was time for a formal discussion.
“I have something to tell you,” he said. “Come over a bit.”
He Qiao on the same bed seemed to be deliberately keeping a distance from him.
After he asked, He Qiao’s breath came closer but he didn’t speak.
In the dark room, Chi Xueyan couldn’t see his expression clearly and he was very curious.
Therefore, he simply took the initiative to lean over and almost slip into He Qiao’s arms.
Feeling the scorching body temperature of the person who suddenly froze, Chi Xueyan thought that their attitude toward this matter was indeed different.
“You should’ve discovered that for me, love is a dispensable thing.”
As he spoke, the person who was suddenly attacked recovered and stretched out his arms to hug him.
Chi Xueyan rested on He Qiao’s chest and heard a vague response from above him.
He Qiao replied in a very low voice.
Chi Xueyan said honestly, “Sleeping together is the same.”
He hadn’t been very interested in interpersonal relationships since he was a child, nor was he keen on intimate contact with people. This could be seen from the fact that he had been single for many years and could even be called frigid.
Maybe it was because the energy was spent elsewhere.
He looked like a person who had countless relationships, but he was actually frigid and insulated from love.
This should be unthinkable by He Qiao.
Even now, Chi Xueyan still felt that intimate contact, including s*x, was dispensable.
It was only after falling in love with He Qiao that he suddenly became fond of the other person’s embrace.
It was a simple embrace.
However, he would also fully consider the mood of his other half.
Chi Xueyan continued, “But if…”
He couldn’t finish his if.
It was because of the embrace that seemed to have become a bit heavier and he moved closer to the heartbeat of the other person.
The heartbeat was loud and the arms hugging him were tight.
A slightly hoarse voice was heard above him. “It is time for you to go to bed.”
There was an undeniable taste.
Chi Xueyan thought of this and couldn’t help smiling. “He Qiao.”
In the night when only the moonlight was left, the breath that was close at hand asked him, “What’s wrong?”
He replied honestly, “I just wanted to call you.”
Then he remembered something and asked, “Do you want to go on a honeymoon in spring?”
It took a while for the person who was called to answer.
“Sleep.” He Qiao’s words were short and powerful. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
He didn’t want to get out of bed to take a shower again.
Hearing this, the person in his arms laughed again.
The warm breath and light laughter stopped gently on his chest like a butterfly, setting off a storm flowing in the darkness.
Moments later, the person who released the butterfly said goodnight again.
He also whispered his name again, his voice serious and delicate.
“Good night, He Qiao.”