First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 12.2 – I Think I Understand Now What Friendship Means
Su Mu’s expression immediately changed and he asked coldly, “What are you here for?”
The woman’s already haggard face now grew even paler, nearly bloodless. Seeing this, Yao Yuan felt pity and quickly spoke to block whatever Su Mu might say next.
“Sit down and let’s talk.”
Su Mu walked back to his side, giving him a chiding look. You look so fierce but you’re soft-hearted.
She’s innocent, Yao Yuan cast a glance at Su Mu to say. He disliked Hu Lin, but taking out his anger on someone else wasn’t Yao Yuan’s style.
The woman looked over the two young men, and after a long pause she slowly walked over to the bed. She looked at Yao Yuan lying on the bed and said with remorse, “I’m sorry. Hu Lin was too reckless… I know how unreasonable it is to ask you now not to sue him, but his father was just sent to prison and I can’t lose my son too!”
The woman’s tears slid uncontrollably down her face. She had grown up in a wealthy family, and after she married her husband had protected her in every way. Although she was close to fifty, she had never encountered any obstacles in her life before last week. But now, at this age, life threw difficulty after difficulty at her. First, her husband was arrested and their former friends deliberately distanced themselves from them. Then, this morning, she received word from the school that her son had stabbed a classmate and been hospitalized himself. The school said that the young master of the Su Group was among the people her son had fought with, so she knew there would be trouble. But she really could not lose her son now. He was her only pillar of support.
“You want him to… let things go, just like that?” Su Mu’s voice was no longer chilly, but it held a different sort of pressure which made people want to bend to his will.
“N-no!” The woman choked and replied, “We can take care of the medical bills and all other expenses…”
“Are you joking? After Hu Yang was arrested, his estate was sealed. What will you use to pay compensation?” Facing the person who had hurt Yao Yuan, Su Mu really could not remain calm and showed his cruel side without reservation.
“I…” The woman was at a loss for words. That was true. What would she use to pay these expenses? Before she married, she had her parents’ love; after she married, she had her husband’s protection. She was too accustomed to depending on others and had lost the ability to survive on her own. The lifetime of care she had once considered a blessing now left her with no means to navigate life in this moment. In the end, people have to depend on themselves. But was it too late to come to that understanding now?
“Su Mu!” Yao Yuan once again stopped his friend. He could see the sorrow and even despair in the woman’s eyes. He put himself in her shoes and could understand what she was feeling. After all, he had also been driven to the end of his rope before. A woman nearly half a century old, suddenly encountering so many difficulties in succession—anybody in her position would find it hard to bear. He looked at the woman, who was still crying, and remembered his sister long ago. At that time, Yao Qian had surely been as helpless as this woman. Yao Yuan never showed mercy to people who deserved a beating, and he did not want to let the bastard Hu Lin off, but he also could not refuse this mother who loved her son.
“Please, let him off. I promise I’ll take care of all your expenses. No matter how I do it, I’ll make sure they’re paid.” The woman was on the verge of kneeling and begging for mercy.
“You can go. I won’t tell your son and you don’t have to take care of the medical bills. But please tell your son that if I see him doing wrong again, I won’t be so forgiving.”
Two voices said the same word at the same time. The woman’s voice carried doubt, as she did not believe the matter would be settled so easily. After all, her son had stabbed Yao Yuan in the stomach with a knife and seriously injured him; that was the truth. Su Mu, on the other hand, was frustrated. After seeing the woman’s sorrowful expression, he had long guessed what Yao Yuan would choose to do.
“Please, go. I’m tired and I want to sleep for a while.” Yao Yuan sent his visitors away.
The woman gave profuse thanks, then finally left. Su Mu sat down on the edge of the bed, gaze locked on Yao Yuan’s face, and it was a long time before he spoke. “You… I really wonder right now. Is F University’s Yuan-ge, whose very name makes people quake, really the same person as the person in front of me right now?”
“Do you think I feel good letting that bastard go?”
“Yes, I know. You did it for that woman. She made you remember Yao Qian’s past?” Su Mu looked with affection at the handsome face clearly showing discontent, his own eyes showing a gentleness he himself did not realize was there.
“I looked into your background before, so I know about your history.” Su Mu guiltily avoided his gaze. “But that’s all in the past now.”
Yao Yuan cast him a disdainful glare, but was helpless to do anything else. He saw the exhaustion on Su Mu’s face and remembered he had not slept all night. “Go and get some sleep. I’m really fine.”
“No, someone has to stay by your side.” Su Mu was very insistent on this.
“Hurry up and go and sleep, and leave this place to me.” The woman’s voice coming from the doorway, bright and clear, made both of them freeze. Yao Yuan’s rebuking gaze turned to Su Mu, who guiltily avoided him again and murmured, “I didn’t say anything. But yesterday, after seeing you like that, I got anxious and forgot to reassure her for you.”
“You…!” Yao Yuan really wanted to get up and give him a beating.
“What are you protesting for?” Yao Qian elegantly walked over to the bed, gently bent down, and caught hold of her brother’s ear. “Something so big happened and you were going to keep it from me?”
“No, how could I?” Yao Yuan quickly gave an apologetic smile. “Yesterday, I asked this guy to tell you, but he forgot. Right, Su Mu?”
Su Mu showed his trademark warm smile, but this time Yao Yuan could see the laughter in his eyes. “Is that so? Then why do I recall that yesterday you told me definitely not to tell Yao Qian?”
“Bastard, you’re betraying me? Once I’m better, see how I take care of you. Ah, Sis…” The last shout was because someone had fiercely caught hold of his ear again.
“We’ll see how I take care of you first.”
“Sis, I’m an injured man,” Yao Yuan objected in a quiet voice, but of course it was useless.
Su Mu smiled as he left the ward. This was very good, wasn’t it? Although it was regrettable that he couldn’t bring Yao Yuan into the Su Group, having such a friend, and being able to watch him live freely as he wished, being able to see his smile all the time—Su Mu felt that this was enough. So, was this friendship?
Su Mu walked out of the hospital and started whistling a light tune. The chauffeur who had come to get him looked suspiciously at the young master. Was this really the Su family’s mature and serious second young master?