First Published on Chaleuria
08.1 – Su Mu’s Girlfriend
The next time Yao Yuan saw Su Mu was half a month later. Yao Yuan accompanied his sister to the hospital to visit Su Mu. When they arrived at the door to the ward, they saw Su Mu practicing walking on his own. He took one step at a time, each one effortful. Yao Yuan couldn’t help laughing out loud.
On hearing the laughter Su Mu glanced up immediately, still smiling that perfect smile. “Yao Qian, you’re here. And Yao Yuan. You visit me so rarely and still you laugh at me?”
“Are you saying I come too often and I’m not welcome?” Yao Qian walked up to him. After learning Su Mu was hurt, she came to visit him often—in her mind she already considered the elegant, yet amicable, young man to be her second younger brother. When she saw that he had difficulty walking, she went up to help him.
“Sis, don’t interfere. He’s recovering.” Yao Yuan placed the fruit basket he carried on the side table, then leaned languidly against the table and watched Su Mu, whom he had not seen for several days, from the corner of his eye. Not bad: he hadn’t gained weight from lying in bed all day.
“Yao Qian, take a few steps back. You’ll be my end goal, okay? A beautiful girl standing in front of me will be great motivation.”
Yao Qian smiled and retreated several steps. She often indulged Su Mu. After all, a man as perfect as he was easily won the hearts of others.
Yao Yuan still leaned against the small table and watched Su Mu walk towards his sister at a very slow pace, his gait strange and awkward as he took tiny steps. He very much looked like a baby who had just learned to walk. Yao Yuan couldn’t help but smile slightly. Before the smile could dissipate, he saw Su Mu trip and fall towards Yao Qian. Shocked, Yao Yuan rushed up and caught hold of Su Mu’s waist, preventing him from falling. Instinctively Su Mu grabbed the shoulders of the person in front of him, then noticed to his surprise that Yao Yuan was frowning deeply.
“Are you so eager to fall into my arms, Young Master Su?” Yao Yuan smiled slightly, covering up his earlier expression. He hoped Su Mu hadn’t noticed anything.
“Even if I was falling into someone’s arms, it wouldn’t be yours, People’s Hero Yao.” Su Mu glanced meaningfully at Yao Qian to their side.
Yao Yuan didn’t wish to quibble and glared daggers at him before helping him to the bed to lie down. He picked up an apple on the table and started munching—the way he seemed to ignore everyone around him made Su Mu want to laugh.
Yao Qian also walked to the bedside and asked about Su Mu’s condition as she peeled an apple. Occasionally, she glared at her intentionally misbehaving little brother.
Su Mu liked being with the Yao siblings. When he saw Yao Yuan, who was afraid of neither Heaven nor Earth, turn into a little lamb at a glare from Yao Qian, he couldn’t help but remember himself from five years ago. At that time, his elder brother, whom he looked up to very much, had still been by his side. His elder brother, who gave the impression of being ordinary and lazy, who seemed to take nothing to heart, could always settle many matters within a short period of time. Su Mu had always been proud of his strong yet gentle elder brother until he appeared.
That was when Su Mu discovered how stubborn his brother could be. For the sake of that person, his brother had cut ties with the family, then chose to run away and hide himself in a tiny pub. This brother seemed both foreign and frightening to Su Mu, who realized then that when emotions were involved, no matter how strong a person was, they would be on the losing side. That was when Su Mu vowed to himself that he, Su Mu, would use feelings to his advantage but would never have feelings for anybody.
“What’s on your mind?” Yao Yuan’s words dragged Su Mu back to the present. Su Mu smiled, reached out and snatched the apple in Yao Yuan’s hand, then took a vicious bite before he replied, “I’m thinking about when I can be discharged. I’ve been bored to death these last few days.”
“You stumble three times with every step you take. Even if you leave the hospital, what can you do?” Yao Yuan continued his unceremonious teasing.
“I can do a lot. If People’s Hero Yao pushes me, I can do anything.”
Both of them remembered the basketball game from before and couldn’t help but laugh again. Yao Qian saw them smiling happily, passed the apple she had cut to Su Mu, then got up and left the ward. She was going to the washroom.
Su Mu watched from the corner of his eye as Yao Qian closed the door to the ward, then clapped Yao Yuan’s right shoulder while he was unguarded.
This time Yao Yuan couldn’t hold back a hiss of pain. He sighed inwardly. Couldn’t fool him, again.
“Let go, Su Mu.”
“Like I thought, you’re hurt. Tell me, what happened?” Su Mu let go and lay back idly against the headboard, no trace of guilt in his eyes.
“It has nothing to do with you.” Yao Yuan’s shoulder still hurt and he spoke with impatience.
“You can keep quiet if you want, but I think Yao Qian doesn’t know about your injuries yet….”
“Bastard, are you threatening me?” Yao Yuan glared and waved his fist with a rising impulse to punch away Su Mu’s detestable smile.
“Yes, I’m threatening you.” Su Mu leaned close to him, a teasing look on his face. “Does People’s Hero Yao accept my threat?”
Yao Yuan brushed his hair from his forehead in frustration and rolled his eyes at the person before him. This was the elegant, perfect prince charming of people’s hearts? What a hypocritical, dislikeable guy. But at that moment Yao Yuan had no choice but to submit to his threats.
In the last few days, Yao Yuan had indeed encountered some trouble. More accurately, it was his brother Wang Jiya’s troubles. Jiya was from a rather poor family in a rural farming village. In order to pay his school fees, his father worked odd jobs at a construction site. Half a month earlier, his father had fallen from a scaffold and broken his leg. The foreman refused to pay the medical bills, and although Jiya’s family went to the foreman many times to plead, their efforts were fruitless. Over the last few days, Jiya had been in very poor spirits and Yao Yuan had to question him many times over before learning the truth of the matter.