First Published on Chaleuria
07.1 – Actually, People’s Hero Yao Is Very Soft-Hearted
Many years later, Yao Yuan often wondered how he and Su Mu had grown close. That morning, when he woke up and found Su Mu’s face close to his, he instinctively sent a fist flying. But, an inch from Su Mu’s face, he forcibly stopped his fist.
“What? Can’t bear to do it?” Su Mu opened his eyes and grinned.
“Get lost.” Yao Yuan really wanted to beat Su Mu up, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it seeing his handsome smiling face.
“I knew you’d be soft-hearted.”
Yeah. Soft-hearted; that was the word. Most people who knew Yao Yuan well were aware of this, but Yao Yuan had not expected the young master he had known only a few days to be able to tell, and make use of it, at that. It was precisely the reason Su Mu kept showing up beside him: to their shared classes or the library, playing basketball, or even following him back to Yao Qian’s restaurant to get a free meal. He was convinced that Yao Yuan wouldn’t chase him away. Gradually, Yao Yuan grew used to having an additional person by his side with whom he could quarrel or fight to pass the time. So, when Su Mu didn’t show up for a week and Yao Yuan couldn’t get through to him by phone, Yao Yuan could not help feeling a little worried.
“Yuan-ge, someone from the Finance department said Su Mu called out five days ago. They don’t know why, either.”
Zhang Chen’s words echoed through Yao Yuan’s mind again. If Su Mu had called out, logically he would have let them know, unless the matter had been so urgent he had no time to tell anyone. But what could it be? Yao Yuan could not let go of his worry. Like Su Mu said, he was soft-hearted. He thought about it for a while. There was only one person he could ask.
“Jiang Luo, Su Mu…”
“He’s in the hospital.”
“In the hospital? What happened?” Yao Yuan frowned out of habit. Su Mu didn’t seem like a person who got sick easily.
“Someone beat him up.”
Yao Yuan could tell from Jiang Luo’s voice that Jiang Luo wasn’t only unworried, but was even slightly gloating at Su Mu’s misfortune. Yao Yuan gathered that the injury probably wasn’t serious, then, and was greatly reassured. “He can handle himself in a fight…”
“He’s good, but when you’re getting beaten up by a dozen thugs, it’s difficult to get away even if you want to.”
“What exactly happened?”
“What else? They were fighting over business. Many businessmen in the world are very unforgiving. And Su Mu…” Jiang Luo paused for a moment before continuing, “…always finds a way to rile people up.”
Yao Yuan was stunned. Did Jiang Luo mean that Su Mu often suffered such assaults? He remembered the day he first met Su Mu: he was surrounded and being beaten then, too. Being the young master of a prominent family wasn’t so easy after all.
“He’s at Tianxia Hospital.”
Tianxia Hospital was a medical facility under the Su Group, and mainly served the upper echelons of society. The hospital not only had skilled doctors and advanced medical facilities, but more importantly, it also had a beautiful environment. In the hospital, trees wound around courtyard roads and flowers dotted grassy fields. There were small man-made mountains, lakes, and quaint bridges over rushing water. Patients accompanied by family sat on the lawn to rest, leaned against a tree to nap, or played basketball on the court.
Yao Yuan, who had never visited such a high-class hospital before, looked at it all with some surprise. In his recollection, hospitals were filled with the smell of disinfectant and hurried people, whether they were medical staff or patients. It was rare to see such a leisurely hospital. Wealthy people really did lead different lives. As Yao Yuan’s thoughts flowed, he was neither envious nor contemptuous. Extravagant people wanted to show off how different their statuses were, even when hospitalized. At the end of the day, all they wanted was face.
Su Mu’s ward wasn’t difficult to find, and the young woman at the nurses’ station didn’t even need to check the records to tell them where it was. He was the young master of the hospital’s parent organization, of course, and a top-grade hunk at that. It would be difficult to forget even if she wanted to. As the young nurse watched Yao Yuan’s silhouette disappear from sight, her expression remained excited. Thanks to the young master, she had seen an array of handsome guys over the last few days: elegant and languid, handsome and carefree, and this one today who seemed wild. Birds of a feather did flock together. Why were none of the doctors in the hospital good-looking?
Yao Yuan pushed open the door to the ward and saw Young Master Su lying on the hospital bed, a cast on his leg. He was wrapped up like a mummy, and Yao Yuan nearly laughed out loud.
“Are you here to laugh at me?” Su Mu was discontent. They hadn’t seen each other in so long and this was his reaction?
“No, I’m here to visit,” Yao Yuan stopped laughing and replied seriously.
“Then where’s my gift?” Su Mu reached out with his intact hands and looked at him, grinning.
“Don’t remind me… I really did forget.” There was no hint of guilt in Yao Yuan’s voice.
“People’s Hero Yao, who visits patients like that?” Su Mu narrowed his beautiful eyes at him.
“Then what can I do? Shall I gift you a fist instead?” Yao Yuan picked up an apple from the table at the head of the bed and started munching on it.
“Peel one for me and I’ll let you off.”
Yao Yuan munched on the apple, looking at him, and it was some time before he spoke. “It’s your leg that’s injured, not your hand, right?”
“I’m a patient now and I have the right to ask anyone to do anything,” Su Mu said self-assuredly. “Especially you, People’s Hero Yao, who comes to visit a sick man without even bringing a gift.”
“Don’t push your luck. It’s good enough that I’m here to see you. Peel it yourself.” Yao Yuan picked up another apple and was about to toss it over when he was stopped by an angry shout.
“What are you doing?”
Yao Yuan turned and awkwardly looked at the graceful and exquisite woman before him. She had taken good care of herself and Yao Yuan couldn’t tell how old she was, just that her sharp eyes had the manner of a master. At a glance Yao Yuan could tell she was a woman used to being in charge. He knew that the woman had misunderstood him, but wasn’t sure how to explain and could only glance back at Su Mu, who was smiling radiantly.
“Mom, he’s my friend, and it was just a joke.”
Mom? Yao Yuan turned around, surprised. The woman was Su Mu’s mother? It was true; her graceful and elegant demeanor indeed bore some resemblance to Su Mu.
Madam Su stared down Yao Yuan with an appraising gaze: jeans which had been washed until the color faded, a casual shirt, somewhat messy hair, and boorish and rude actions. At a glance she could tell he was a child from a poor family, and her gaze grew dismissive. She raised her voice several decibels. “Is that your idea of a joke? What if you hurt Mu’er?”
Her dismissive and rude gaze infuriated Yao Yuan. Wealthy people were all the same: self-important and arrogant. Under ordinary circumstances, he would already have turned and left. But she was Su Mu’s mother and he couldn’t act out, so he politely gave her a slight bow. “I’m sorry, Aunt. I’m too used to joking around with him.”
Madam Su frowned, her haughty gaze sweeping over Yao Yuan as she turned and said to her son, “How many times have I told you? Don’t mix with delinquents. You never listen.”
Delinquents? Yao Yuan wanted to laugh. Did this wealthy woman think that her son should only associate with other young masters and misses of so-called prominent families and talk only about boring topics? He shot Su Mu on the bed a sympathetic look, and Su Mu gave him a helpless smile in return.
“Mom, don’t say that. Yao Yuan is my friend.”
“Son.” Madam Su caught hold of her son’s hand and said gravely, “You have to choose your friends carefully. Particularly so because you’re the future head of the Su family. These people you keep by your side… who knows what they’re here for.”
Su Mu had been about to change the subject, but it was too late. When he heard Yao Yuan scoff, he internally sighed. Mom, everything was going well. Why did you have to poke the sleeping lion?
Madam Su had also heard the scoff. She looked back in surprise at the ‘poor kid,’ and to her surprise she saw sympathy in his eyes. She inwardly cursed him for being so impudent. Throughout her life, she had been looked at many ways: respectfully, with envy or jealousy, or even hatred, but no one had ever pitied her. She stood and walked up to Yao Yuan, wanting to ask him just why he had that look in his eyes.