In fact, torment could only make a person feel pain to the point of wanting to end themselves in the very beginning. As time went on, one would get used to it, and one’s senses would go numb in order to soothe oneself. It was nothing but two years anyway—he had managed to last five years after all.
It was a rainy day on his release, and the sky was gray and dreary.
It was very similar to the downpour from seven years ago.
A deadly silence permeated the air as an inexplicable sense of loneliness filled his heart.
Even though he should clearly feel happy about getting released from prison.
Someone called out to him from behind, cutting crisply through the spattering of the rain.
As he turned around, the car stopped. A woman in heels holding an umbrella jogged over to him. “Meng Fu.”
“Yeah, it’s me. You still remember me. That’s good.”
She raised her arm and lifted the umbrella over Meng Fu’s head with some effort. “You’ve grown taller.”
He did not speak. Memories of the dressed-up woman before him had already faded away in his mind. He took the umbrella from her and held it for her.
Through the process, he avoided Xie Zhenzhen’s hand.
Dejected, Xie Zhenzhen let go. “Come on, let’s grab something to eat.”
He looked at Xie Zhenzhen’s car. It was a red sports car, not the same one from seven years ago. He suddenly had a fear of cars, and this fear caused his body to freeze up instantly.
Hesitantly, he moved over to the sports car. After sending Xie Zhenzhen in, he shut the car door.
“Why aren’t you getting in?”
He shook his head. “Don’t mind me, you go ahead. I’ll take the umbrella as a gift.”
Without any hesitation, he turned around and continued walking.
After taking just a few steps, the sports car whistled past him. He knew that Xie Zhenzhen was pissed, but wasn’t this what he expected?
Not far away, a man seated inside a black car watched the scene with a dark gaze, a meaningful smile curving up his lips.
Even if a man’s let out of one cage, he’ll still fall into another. Isn’t that so?
“Mr. Gu, should we continue following him?”
He’d let him enjoy himself for a while, then he’d carve even deeper wounds into him. That way, the scars would hurt even more.
A series of knocks rang out from the door like a desperate cry. “Auntie, Auntie! Auntie, Ye Yan!”
He went straight to his aunt’s house, but unexpectedly, nobody was answering.
He had no idea where they were so he could only sit at their doorstep and wait for them to return.
The rain was getting heavier. Through the haze, a sad outline could be seen.
“Meng Fu? Why are you sitting here? You got released?” His aunt asked him. Behind her stood their family of three. His aunt, uncle, and his cousin sister Ye Ting. Meng Fu stood up and looked behind them.
No sight of Meng Yi.
“Auntie, where’s Xiao Yi?”
“Xiao Yi’s at home?”
Meng Yu opened the door to let Meng Fu in. Looking at his drenched appearance, she said, “Take your socks off, don’t track water all over the house.”
Taking off his shoes, he curled his toes in embarrassment, because the socks he was wearing were still the same pair from seven years ago. The white socks had already turned gray over the years and even had holes in them.
After changing into the slippers his aunt brought over, he looked around but still did not see Xiao Yi’s figure. Looking at the neat sofa in his aunt’s home, he decided not to sit down since he was all wet.
Soon, his aunt brought Meng Yi downstairs.
“Meng-Meng, you’re back! I missed you so much!” Meng Yi jumped into Meng Fu’s arms, not minding his current state. “Meng-Meng, can we go home?”
Home? After so many years, Xiao Yi still remembered their home and was even so eager to return. Meng Fu’s heart thumped, going cold through and through. It had been seven years—Xiao Yi must not have had a good time here.
After some idle greetings, he couldn’t wait to take Meng Yi away from here. From her expression, her aunt seemed to want him to stay, but the look of repulsion was clear in her eyes.
While he was putting his shoes on at the door, his aunt had already rolled a suitcase over. “These are Xiao Yi’s clothes, take them with you. If you just bring him away like that he won’t even have any clothes to change into.”
“Thank you,” he dug the words out of his throat.
“Yay, Meng-Meng, we’re going home!” Meng Yi beside him was jumping in joy. Suddenly remembering something, he immediately lowered his head again and said quietly, “Auntie said not to move around too much or I’ll break something.”
Meng Fu eyed Meng Yu. Sure enough, this “kind” aunt of his had already changed her expression and wasn’t going to say another word.
“Come on, Xiao Yi. Big Brother will take you home.”
We’re going home, Xiao Yi. You’re going home with me.
We’re going home, but where is that supposed to be?
How could he have forgotten that he had already handed over his house two years ago to Meng Yu? She said that she hired some famous doctors abroad to treat Xiao Yi. However, it required a huge fee.
It was hazy with rain and cold inside his heart.
Suddenly, he had no idea where to go. Just like a lost person, he looked at the intercrossing roads, yet he was only left with confusion.
On the contrary, Xiao Yi had been beaming since the moment he saw him.
“What’s wrong? Where are you going?”
Someone stopped in front of him. Lifting his head, both panic and surprise were in his eyes. It was Gu Ze.
“Where do you live? Why don’t I give you a ride?”
Even though he already knew he’d be homeless, why rip open a person’s wounds on purpose like this? But of course it made sense—if he didn’t try and hurt him, then this man wouldn’t be Gu Ze.
He walked around him, ready to leave, but he was caught by the arm.
Meng Yi shook his arm. “Big Brother! He said he’ll give us a ride home. Big Brother, I can’t walk anymore. Let him send us home, okay?”
“Be good, Xiao Yi. We’ll be there soon.”
As they trudged forwards, someone kept following from behind.
Tacitly, neither of them said anything.
Puzzled, Meng Yi kept looking back. That scary-looking big brother kept on following them. Nervous, he whispered in Meng Fu’s ear, “Big Brother, he keeps following us.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“What if he’s a bad guy?”
He’s not the bad guy. In that man’s eyes, I’m the bad guy, the sinner of the ages, the one who should’ve been dead.
After a short walk, they finally saw a dilapidated hotel ahead of them. But he couldn’t care less. As long as they could settle down for one night, he could find a room to rent tomorrow.
Gu Ze finally stopped at the door. He looked at the faded hotel sign covered with layers of dust, then watched as Meng Fu brought his brother upstairs. After they turned the corner, their figures disappeared.
Then, with his umbrella in hand, he returned to the car not far away.
“Mr. Gu, are Meng Fu and his brother staying in that kind of place?” the secretary asked.
“It suits him. Better than prison, isn’t it?”
After living seven years in prison, this type of hotel was nothing for Meng Fu.
At night, Meng Yu’s home.
“Mom, where’s Meng Yi?” Ye Yan asked. There was no sight of Meng Yi jumping about, latching onto him even after returning home for some time, asking to be played with.
“I sent him away,” Meng Yu answered indifferently.
Suddenly, elation and loss washed over him all at once. As if his emotions had been tossed up, all sorts of feelings surfaced at once. “What? Why all of a sudden?”
“His brother got released and took him away.”
Ye Fan responded blandly. He despised that fool when he first arrived here, and he felt some relief when he was finally sent away. But why did he feel so empty?
No one was there, screaming about wanting to watch cartoons, no one begging him to tell him a story, no one for him to beat and scold. It should have saved him a lot of trouble, shouldn’t it?
Go then, you idiot. Go far away. No one likes you here anyway.
Casually picking up the remote, he turned the TV from the cartoon channel to the sports channel.