Two hours ago.
As dusk approached, there was still a stagnant atmosphere in the meeting room and the discussion was deadlocked. The staff member who spoke was sweating and occasionally looked at the handsome man in the main seat from time to time out of the corner of his eyes.
There was an obvious long pause in his speed and the man interrupted. “That’s all?”
His expression was still kind, but his gaze was stern. The invisible coercion faintly made people breathless.
The employee immediately bowed nervously and apologized. “I’m sorry. Mr He, it is my problem…”
As he was trailing off nervously, the screen of He Xiao’s phone next to his laptop lit up.
He caught a glimpse of the caller’s name and quickly picked it up.
A familiar voice came from the earpiece.
“Brother, are you busy today? Do you have to work overtime? You must go home for dinner in the evening. I have something very important to say—”
He Xiao heard his younger brother’s nagging. His eyes softened and he replied, “Okay.”
After he finished the call, he looked around at his cautious subordinates in the meeting room and said indifferently, “Disperse.”
The secretary on the side immediately picked up his laptop. He Xiao, who was in a suit and a tie, got up and left, leaving only the flat sentence, “Call me again next time when you are ready.”
Everyone sighed with relief when they saw the boss walking out of the meeting room. The employee, who had just spoken, wiped away his sweat and collapsed back in his chair.
Fortunately, the call of President He’s younger brother came in time.
Almost everyone thought so.
They couldn’t hear President He’s call but they could accurately guess who called based on his action of answering the phone in the middle of the meeting and the slight change in his demeanor.
He Xiao was vigorous and started his career at a young age, but he had a good relationship with his only younger brother, He Qiao.
This rather harmonious atmosphere was rare in a wealthy family, which was usually full of conflicts of interest and calculations.
Perhaps it was because the structure of his family was extremely simple. His father He Huaili started from scratch when he was young. He started from a roadside snack store with his childhood sweetheart, his first wife who died young. Later, he worked alone and experienced a total of nearly 40 years of ups and downs. Finally, he became the huge catering giant known today, the Wanjia Group.
There were no intricate relationships in the Wanjia Group. There was only He Huaili himself. Later, there was his business-minded oldest son, He Xiao.
He Huali’s other son never entered the public eye. It was supposedly because he wasn’t interested in doing business. In any case, there was such a huge family property. No matter how the brothers divided it, they could go several lifetimes without spending it all.
All in all, the Wanjia Group’s business territory was huge. He Huaili was busy all day and didn’t leave much time for his family. His current wife, Sheng Xiaoyue was kind and straightforward. She took good care of the brothers.
Perhaps it was because the older brother was like a father. He Xiao and He Qiao were ten years apart but they had a very close relationship.
It was a story that everyone knew.
It was a reasonable story with no faults.
Half an hour later, He Xiao walked into his house at dusk and loosened his tie.
Today’s sunset was pink.
A bouquet of fresh pink roses covered with dew was placed on the dining table. Sheng Xiaoyue’s expression was bright as she handled it with scissors.
Seeing He Qiao come back so early, Sheng Xiaoyue took the initiative to say, “He Qiao also called you?”
He Xiao nodded. She was even more puzzled and pointed at the bouquet. “He said that he bought this in a flower store on the way home. Why do you think he went to the flower store?”
“I don’t know.” He Xiao asked, “Where is he?”
Sheng Xiaoyue put the trimmed pink roses into a vase and said in a blank tone, “He is rummaging through your father’s wine cabinet. He was in a rush as soon as he got home.”
He Xiao softly soothed her. “I’ll go and take a look.”
He walked into the wine cellar and saw He Qiao holding his mobile phone. He Qiao looked at the screen for a while and then the labels in the wine cabinet. It was as if he was looking for a bottle of wine that was more expensive.
Hearing the movement on the stairs, He Qiao turned his head and immediately said, “Brother, you’re back.”
“Yes.” He Xiao stood in the middle of the stairs and looked down at him. “The wine placed on the first row of the cabinet is the best.”
He Qiao followed his advice and carefully took a bottle down. “Can I take one and give it away? Uncles should like this, right?”
“That depends on who you want to give it to.” He Xiao smiled. “What is so important today?”
He Qiao heard this question and put the bottle down. He cleared his throat. Then after a moment of deliberation, he solemnly took out something from his shirt pocket.
The dim light of the cellar shone on the golden text of the red cover.
There was fleeting surprise on He Xiao’s face.
After a short silence, he met He Qiao’s expectant gaze and asked, “With Xiao Chi?”
“Yes.” He Qiao’s excitement was overflowing from his words. “Brother, you are right. He is a very special person.”
He Xiao’s hand instinctively pressed against the staircase railing as he said gently, “But you just met yesterday. Why did you decide to get married today?”
He Qiao’s move exceeded his expectations.
“I like him.” He Qiao’s answer was simple and straightforward. “He is the same.”
This shouldn’t be the answer.
He Xiao’s attitude became more patient. “I’m not against the two of you getting along, but isn’t this too fast?”
He thought of something and asked in a deep voice, “Are the two of you fooling around again? It is like when you lost a bet and went to the hospital to draw blood?”
A hint of unnaturalness flashed in He Qiao’s expression and he flatly denied it. “Of course not! How can I joke about such a thing?”
He Xiao looked at him. The fingers on the railing gradually relaxed and he reminded with the attitude of a brother, “Marriage isn’t child’s play.”
It seemed that he had found fragments of the correct answer.
“I know. I am taking it seriously.” He Qiao lowered his head. “I really like him.”
“What about him?”
“Him as well.” The eyes of his always obedient younger brother shone brightly. “The matter of marriage was brought up by him of his own initiative.”
He Xiao recalled the red-haired young man he had seen in the morning.
In all fairness, apart from the influence of his background, his younger brother was obviously bleak in front of Chi Xueyan.
It was like He Qiao’s worry after the blind date ended. Perhaps he was too boring.
However, Chi Xueyan took the initiative to become interested in such a He Qiao and even hurriedly decided to get married.
Strong partners, unequal feelings, a hasty decision and difficult to determine motives…
Everything led to unhappiness.
He Xiao seemed to have glimpsed the jigsaw puzzle that would slowly fill up with time in the future.
Thus, his fingers left the railing and his voice slowed down. “This is your marriage. It is up to you to decide. If you feel it is right, do it.”
The good-natured older brother habitually indulged him.
“Thank you, Brother!”
He Qiao was excited. He looked up at He Xiao standing on the stairs and pleaded, “You will help me convince our father, right?”
He Xiao smiled and didn’t answer directly. He looked at the bottle of wine that was put aside. “Uncle Chi loves to drink. You are right to give wine.”
“Aunt Han is a bit superstitious. She has told Xiao Chi’s fortune, which is why she let him go on blind dates.”
“Dad is coming back soon. Don’t stay down there for too long.”
He Xiao turned and left the wine cellar. His warm ending words dissipated on the cold and hard steps.
After a long time, He Qiao picked up the bottle of wine in an expressionless manner.
People with an ego tended to only believe in the answer they had in their minds. They were always sure that things wouldn’t go out of control.
By following this principle, it wasn’t too difficult to deal with the deep-hearted He Xiao.
He Qiao walked up the stairs in silence and his clear footsteps echoed in the quiet space.
In the story that he hadn’t told Chi Xueyan in detail, the villainous Chi Xueyan wasn’t the only one who didn’t end well.
In the story, He Qiao spent more than 20 years in an innocent and stupid manner. He always indulged in the illusion of happiness that was deliberately woven by He Xiao. He mistakenly sought his brother’s approval until everything he had in his life collapsed and fell into the abyss without being able to turn back.
It was one of the things he regretted the most before he died.
He Qiao wouldn’t let this regret repeat itself.
Just like the current Chi Xueyan, he wanted to change the fate that was doomed to destruction.
The night outside the window deepened.
Under the reflection of the pale pink roses, a dinner full of surprises was spread out on the dining table.
Sheng Xiaoyue was very easy to coax. She saw the new car He Qiao bought that was completely different from his previous aesthetics, the appearance of her son rushing out the door last night and the roses he brought back on a whim tonight. He almost instantly believed in this flood of love.
She had no objection to this sudden marriage and even supported her son who was in love at this moment—as long as He Qiao was happy.
The only thing Sheng Xiaoyue complained about was how He Qiao secretly took away the household registration book without saying a word, so she missed the most important moment when her son received the certificate. He should’ve brought Chi Xueyan back today.
He Huaili, who seldom went home early for dinner, was different.
He had reached the age of knowing his destiny. His short black hair had some silver threads mixed in. He had just returned from inspecting a factory and there was exhaustion that couldn’t be concealed on his face. Even so, he still listened carefully to his son’s account of this turbulent day, especially sitting side by side with his partner and watching with overflowing joy as the photographer pressed the shutter.
He Huaili didn’t say a word after listening to all of this. Under He Qiao’s increasingly nervous gaze, he gently bowed his head and signaled for the family to eat first. He had a gentle yet stern demeanor, much like He Xiao.
To be exact, He Xiao was like him.
He Qiao ate two bites and couldn’t help saying, “Dad, you won’t object to the two of us being together, right?”
He asked eagerly and He Huaili had to put down his chopsticks and answer his younger son in a measured tone, “I have no objection.”
Before He Qiao could feel happy, he heard his father continue saying, “But I don’t support it either.”
“I think you don’t know each other well and should get to know each other a bit longer.” He Huali’s voice was calm. “The certificate has already been obtained so it can only be like this first. As for the wedding, we will consider it later.”
He Qiao still wanted to say something but the listening He Xiao suddenly interjected.
“Let’s eat first. The food is getting cold.” He Xiao gave vegetables to his younger brother. “I’ll talk about this later.”
He immediately turned to look at his father and said with a smile, “Dad, I have seen Xiao Chi. He is a good young man.”
He Huaili was noncommittal. He heard his very measured eldest son talk about the trivial matters of life and occasionally said a few words.
He quickly finished dinner. He took the jade he asked his mother for and the wine he chose before the meal, and hurried to leave.
Sheng Xiaoyue was making a list of books for the housekeeper to buy. Half was about how to manage a marriage and the other half was about how parents should get along with their married children. Seeing this, she stopped him. “Where are you going?”
He Qiao glanced at his father sitting on the sofa reading a newspaper and coughed. “I ordered flowers and rings. I’m going to get them now.”
Sheng Xiaoyue finally realized. She smiled and put on a complaining tone, “It turns out that the flowers given to me were incidental.”
“I was wrong, Mom.” He Qiao coaxed her while walking out. “I will buy it for you tomorrow.”
“I’m just teasing you. Come back early tonight.” Sheng Xiaoyue looked at his back, thought for a moment and quickly added, “It’s fine if you don’t come back. Just remember to tell your family!”
“I will come back.” He Qiao’s words floated over. “Dad, you aren’t drinking this anyway. I only took one bottle.”
He Huaili shook his head helplessly and turned silently to the next page of his newspaper.
The newly married young man couldn’t wait to leave the house, his steps full of fluttering joy.
His figure was elongated by the street lamps in the garden. In the dark night, he was almost rendered into a completely unfamiliar shape.
He Xiao stood in front of the window and stared thoughtfully at his brother’s back.
It wasn’t until he walked into the garage that he looked back in the direction of his home. Then, as usual, he waved his hand to his respected brother.
He Xiao smiled and nodded in response.
It was still his naive and simply younger brother.
The fiery red sports car sped away.
He Qiao took flowers, the ring and gifts to visit the elders he was meeting for the first time.
Chi Xueyan made a good start, so he continued the drama of pretending to be in love.
In the strange Chi family’s dining room, the iced mung bean soup was shiny and cool.
After chatting briefly with He Qiao, Aunt Han dragged away Uncle Chi, who looked imposing, while Aunt Ling finished work and rested. The elders tacitly left space for him and Chi Xueyan.
Chi Xueyan had just eaten dinner. He thought for a few seconds and gave him an invitation. “Do you want to go for a walk?”
He Qiao heard his gentle voice. “Okay.”
The evening wind outside was blowing. There was an oppressive humidity from the dry heat, like a silent storm.
After a long day, in the night with the sound of cicadas, He Qiao finally felt tired.
He was a completely different person from when he was facing his family.
When facing Chi Xueyan, he had to carefully consider how to deal with his relationship with this dangerous villain.
Walking through this strange and complicated story wasn’t an easy task.
He wanted to get the support of the head of the family, He Huali, as soon as possible. Then he would hold the wedding, naturally move out of his house and start a relatively free new life.
The ‘lover’ beside him knew nothing of his thoughts. He was just staring up at the bright moon in the night sky.
The water-like moonlight fell on his fiery hair.
“Did you settle them?” Chi Xueyan asked.
He Qiao knew what he was asking and replied, “My father still needs time to accept it.”
“So you passed your brother’s test.” Chi Xueyan understood what he meant and praised it. “Excellent.”
He Qiao didn’t speak again. He just stood quietly in the silent night soaked with moonlight.
Soon, Chi Xueyan laughed softly and looked at him sideways. “Are we considered accomplices?”
Accomplices who knew each other’s secrets and conspired to deceive their loved ones.
He Qiao thought, ‘This seems to be a more appropriate adjective than partner.’
Before he could respond, Chi Xueyan asked again, “I remember you said you don’t like men?”
He Qiao nodded slightly.
“Then you will work harder than me.” Chi Xueyan seemed to be thinking seriously about it. “We are married and physical contact in front of outsiders is inevitable.”
He Qiao told him, “I will cooperate.”
“Really?” Chi Xueyan looked at him with great interest and pointed out, “My parents must be secretly watching us from the window at this time.”
He Qiao understood it in his heart. “Do you want to hold hands?”
Chi Xueyan looked at the hand he took the initiative to hold out and couldn’t help teasing with a smile, “This is a handshake.”
He touched He Qiao’s arm, signaled for him to put it down and walked forward. “Let’s go for a walk.”
He Qiao walked side by side with him across the grass.
The grass under his feet stretched softly. It was an ordinary moment but warmth surged from the palm hanging at his side.
Chi Xueyan’s eyes curved when looking at He Qiao. It was as if he had found something funny. “Be patient and treat it as a friendship between accomplices.”
He Qiao’s footsteps paused slightly before soon returning to normal.
He touched a temperature that seemed to give people a moment of respite.
Thus, he quietly relieved the tension of his palm. He actively searched for the scattered gaps in the other person’s fingers until he interlocked their fingers together.
From behind, this was obviously a pair of intimate lovers. Their long, dark shadows nestled and intertwined on the pavement.
Chi Xueyan raised an eyebrow. “You are a quick learner.”
“What should I call you?” Illuminated by the yellow street lamp, He Qiao looked as usual. He held hands with the other person and walked, his voice gentle. “Xiao Chi?”
The author has something to say:
The taste of a moon kiss.