He wanted to leave the hospital as soon as his drip was done. The doctor suggested staying for a day or two before leaving, but he was insistent. He didn’t want to waste money on things like this.
Meng Yi parted with the young and cordial doctor with reluctance. “Big Brother, show me the Naruto comic again next time, okay?”
“Yes, yes. Of course.”
The doctor responded with a cheerful expression. He didn’t expect this little kid to share the same hobbies as his boss, Di Jun. How interesting.
After two steps, Meng Yi stopped and turned back again, pointing at the stack of comics on the table. “Can you give me two of them?”
“Sure, you can have them all.”
Meng Fu watched Meng Yi grab the five comic books and hold them in his arms. Then, he turned around and thanked the doctor with a smile.
Once they returned home, Meng Fu was excited to open up the comics and read them. Meng Fu slowly walked over to the sofa and sat down, frowning slightly. He hadn’t gone to work all day and didn’t call in sick either. He had no idea what the situation was right now.
Forget about it. If he’s going to be fired, then so be it.
He thought in a resigning way. It would be nice as long as he got to see Gu Ze less.
After dinner, Meng Yi had already finished his comics and was jumping around the room, bored. After circling the old TV left behind by the landlord a few times, he finally turned to Meng Fu and asked, “Meng-Meng, why won’t the TV turn on?”
“It’s broken.” Meng Fu put down the book he was looking at on the sofa and watched Meng Yi lower his head in disappointment. He suddenly realized that he still didn’t show enough concern for Xiao Yi. This man who was just like a child clearly wanted to watch TV, but he was constantly holding back.
“Does Xiao Yi want to watch TV?”
Meng Yi shook his head. “It costs money to buy a TV. Meng-Meng doesn’t have money, so I can’t watch TV.”
Fingers trembling lightly, Meng Fu put his book aside and called Meng Yi over. He stroked his head with a flash of bitterness flitting past his eyes. “Does Big Brother not treat you well enough? Am I not taking care of you properly?”
“Meng-Meng treats me very well. I like Meng-Meng the most. Don’t be unhappy, Meng-Meng has to take his medicine properly, okay?”
“Mn. I know.”
“Meng-Meng can’t always stay up late. Meng-Meng has to sleep early, okay?”
“Mn. I know.”
It was as if Xiao Yi were the adult, and he was the mentally deficient child.
Meng Fu smiled faintly at Meng Yi. He was the last family member he could rely on. They were the only ones left in the world who could rely on each other.
After resting for two days, Meng Fu first went out to buy a second-hand TV before going to the restaurant, only to be told by the supervisor that he was dismissed for unexcused absences.
Without a word, he began packing his things. Jiang Hui patted him on the shoulder. “Why didn’t you come around during the last few days? Nobody had your contact information, so none of us knew what happened.”
“I fell ill, so I didn’t come.”
“Really? What kind of illness?”
“A fever,” he answered. He only had a few simple belongings, so he was able to pack up quickly. “I’m going now, bye.”
It was as if he’d never been there before.
Meng Fu began frantically looking for work. It not only had to be close to home, but also had to cover basic survival. Page after page, listing after listing was crossed out on the recruitment column of the newspaper.
It was dark that night. As he dragged his tired feet home, Xiao Yi was at home watching TV. He hadn’t had a proper dinner yet, so he had to rush home for him.
“Meng Fu? What a coincidence.”
“Boss. What a coincidence.” Meng Fu froze and looked at Di Jun who was smoking in the back door hallway of the nightclub. He hadn’t seen him for half a year, and he had no idea that Di Jun was out of prison.
“What’re you doing these days, kid?” Di Jun was standing with one hand in his pocket, and the other flicking the ash off his cigarette. The flakes of ash landed on the ground, like dirt that could not be cleaned off.
“Me? Just working.”
That was all there was in his ordinary life. What else could he do? What sort of footprints could he still leave in this vast world?
“Is that man still breathing down your neck, trying to get his revenge?”
“Yeah.” Meng Fu nodded. He was afraid to bring up Gu Ze’s name, afraid of thinking about it, so he smiled and changed the subject. “What have you been doing these days, boss?”
Di Jun had almost finished his cigarette, so he casually tossed it on the ground and snuffed it out with his shoe. Meng Fu looked at the wrinkled cigarette butt on the ground, thinking that it looked just like a worm, dying an ugly death.
“Damn, don’t remind me. Makes me pissed just thinking about it. I finally get a breath of freedom and all my power’s fucking gone.”
Meng Fu did not understand the gang matters that Di Jun talked to him about, so he could only listen to Di Jun’s complaints in silence.
“Still, I have to thank you. It’s thanks to those beautiful words you wrote that my honey’s real sweet to me now. If you’ve got any troubles, you can come to me. I’ll definitely lend you a hand.” Then, he lowered his voice. “Once I get my power back, I can even off that guy who’s been pestering you for revenge.”
Killing Gu Ze was something he had never thought about before. But once that idea was ignited, it burned like a blazing wildfire, setting his guilty heart ablaze.
If he kills Gu Ze, then he wouldn’t haunt him as he does now anymore.
If he kills Gu ze, then he wouldn’t have to worry about being violated again.
If he kills Gu Ze, then he could go back to living a peaceful life.
The color of blood gradually spread before his view, but he widened his eyes abruptly as if he were woken up. No, he couldn’t kill Gu Ze. He Manyu and her child have already died. He couldn’t do something even more cruel. What Gu Ze did to him was just karma.
“No, you can’t kill him! That’s against the law…” Meng Fu shook his head. “Boss, if possible, could you help me find a job? A proper job.”
“Sure, that’s nothing at all.”
The so-called proper job he was given was still a service position. But now, he was waiting at a nightclub instead. In the end, Di Jun still had some status. He had already talked with his subordinate, telling him not to let the customers harass Meng Fu.
Meng Fu was very grateful to Di Jun for giving him this job. Since Di Jun told him that they were earning legal money here, he believed him. But in fact, anywhere was the same to him. It was fine as long as he could get a job.
But there was one thing that bothered him, and that was the fact that he couldn’t bring Meng Yi with him to the nightclub. So, Meng Yi could only stay at home, but after just two days, he couldn’t take it anymore.
It did make sense. He couldn’t just lock away a child like Meng Yi at home forever.
“Meng-Meng, I don’t wanna stay at home alone.” Meng Yi pouted while resting his head on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Xiao Yi, but Big Brother doesn’t know what else to do.”
He couldn’t feel at ease letting Meng Yi go out by himself, much less bringing Meng Yi to work with him. After all, all sorts of people were hanging around that place.
“Meng-Meng…” Meng Yi was upset. His feelings were as obvious as an open book.
At two in the morning, the street lights lit up a small area. Then there was darkness before the light continued at the next intersection, just like a slim thread of hope.
After returning home, Meng Fu opened Xiao Yi’s door as usual to check on him, but the room was empty. Footsteps quickening, Meng Fu quickly opened his own door to check, and then he checked through every corner of the house.
What followed that was a great sense of panic. Xiao Yi was missing.
“Xiao Yi, Xiao Yi!” He called out Meng Yi’s name in a loud frenzy, but the usual “Meng-Meng” response was missing tonight.
The neighbor tossed something violently at the wall and cursed, “What are you yelling about at this hour?! People are trying to sleep!”
Anxiety and panic swept over him. Meng Fu cupped his mouth with his trembling hands and called out gently, “Xiao Yi, let’s not play hide and seek with Big Brother. Come out quickly. Big Brother will take you out for cupcakes.”
But in the end, he received no response.
The house was empty, just like his heart.
Meng Fu quickly put on his shoes as if he’d gone mad and ran out. When he was hurrying out, he tripped on the threshold of the door and he fell to the ground. Despite being so sensitive to pain, it didn’t concern him at all right now.
He walked past one intersection after another, calling out “Xiao Yi” over and over again, like the final struggle of a dying man.
The late autumn wind was really cold. He was tired of running and his lips were dry and cracked from the shouting. Beads of sweat ran down his face like tears, while the whistling wind cradled his frail body.
But he couldn’t stop there. He thought about a place where Xiao Yi could have possibly gone, but he still came up empty.
He sat on the park bench, slamming his fist against his head in frustration as if it would make him feel better. But in fact, it only made him feel worse.
Then, he bit down on his fingers. His legs were shaking violently out of anxiety.
Maybe…his legs stopped shaking.
Maybe Xiao Yi’s there.