“What do you want to eat?” Lin Qinhe glanced at Tao Xi’s fingers holding the braided string and asked softly.
Tao Xi still looked at Lin Qinhe and said, “I’m fine with anything.”
Lin Qinhe looked at Chen Ting on the side, and Chen Ting asked clearly, “I’ll go down to buy food, do you and Madam need it?”
Lin Qinhe said: “No, just buy him one.”
Chen Ting nodded and left.
When Lin Qinhe saw Tao Xi still looking at himself, he bent down slightly, looked at Tao Xi’s eyes with a level gaze and asked in a low voice, “What’s wrong? Hungry and silly?”
Tao Xi lowered his eyelashes and shook his head.
Lin Qinhe stood upright as his mobile phone rang, it was Luo Zhengyin’s call.
He asked Tao Xi before picking up the phone, “Do you want to come over with me?”
Tao Xi bit his inner lip and nodded silently.
He followed behind Lin Qinhe, who answered the phone and said, “I’ll be there right over.”
The two of them walked in the direction of the ward and halfway they ran into Luo Zhengyin who was coming to look for Lin Qinhe.
Luo Zhengyin looked anxious, she didn’t have time to see the person who suddenly appeared behind Lin Qinhe, and said to Lin Qinhe:
“The doctor is about to intubate Lele. Lele has been crying without cooperating. Grandpa and grandma couldn’t persuade him no matter what. Go and persuade him.”
In the afternoon, Luo Zhengyin and Lin Qinhe went to visit Yang Duole’s grandparents. Yang Duole couldn’t resist playing volleyball with some neighbor children, and suddenly had another pneumothorax attack in the evening. Lin Qinhe, who was about to go out, had to send Yang Duole to the hospital with them.
Lin Qinhe frowned upon hearing this.
Only then did Luo Zhengyin notice the boy following behind Lin Qinhe. The boy raised his head and looked at her. She was slightly stunned when she saw those eyes, and her fast pace also stopped.
Lin Qinhe introduced Tao Xi to her: “His name is Tao Xi, he is my tablemate.”
Tao Xi looked at the tall and short-haired woman in front of him, guessing that she should be Lin Qinhe’s mother, so he obediently said, “Hello, Auntie.”
Luo Zhengyin returned to her senses and showed a haggard smile: “Hello, I heard Qinhe and Lele talked about you, thank you for coming to see Lele.”
She thought Tao Xi was here to visit Yang Duole, but she also felt a little strange. In her impression, Yang Duole didn’t like this classmate Tao Xi.
Tao Xi didn’t know what to say, but then Lin Qinhe said to Luo Zhengyin: “Go to the ward first, ba.”
Before the three of them got to the ward, they heard the sound of Yang Duole’s crying and a pair of old people’s bitter and comforting voices from the ward.
Tao Xi’s footsteps were getting heavier and heavier, he knew that the old couple should be his grandparents.
Luo Zhengyin was anxious and went into the ward first. Tao Xi gently tugged on Lin Qinhe’s sleeve before he reached the door of the ward.
Lin Qinhe looked at him and seemed to understand what he meant. He led Tao Xi to the bench in the corridor and said softly.
“You sit here and wait for me, okay?”
Tao Xi sat down on the bench and pretended to be calm and said okay.
He was the one who wanted to come, he had no right to be sad.
But he didn’t know that sadness and liking were the same, they couldn’t be hidden.
Lin Qinhe looked down at Tao Xi, and from this angle he could see his drooping and trembling eyelashes.
He took out a candy from his pocket. It was given by the neighbor’s kid when he was at Fang’s in the afternoon. Squatting down, he held Tao Xi’s hand and put the candy with the smiley face in his palm, saying:
“I heard that all children will become happy after eating this candy.”
This was what the little girl who gave the candy told him.
Tao Xi looked at the candy in the palm of his hand, then looked at Lin Qinhe. He raised the corner of his mouth and smiled, saying:
“But I’m not a kid anymore.”
Lin Qinhe looked at Tao Xi’s eyes, he was silent for a moment and said in a voice Tao Xi could not hear:
Then he stood up and walked into the ward after Luo Zhengyin came out and urged him.
Tao Xi looked at the candy and squeezed it into his palm.
He thought, what could he be sad about?
He had a healthy body that Yang Duole did not have, he would earn a lot of money in the future, he would buy a very big house, he would go to many places in the world, and he would have a very good life.
His good life was only missing one Lin Qinhe.
But he still couldn’t help but quietly walk to the door of the ward and look inside in the dim light on the other side of the door to see what the person who should have belonged to him looked like.
Luo Zhengyin apologized to the doctors and nurses, then walked to Yang Duole’s grandmother, Ye Yurong, who was wiping her tears, and handed her a tissue.
Grandpa Fang Zuqing, who was sitting on a chair, was silent and had red eyes. This old professor who had been strong for most of his life only loved this grandson, that no matter how capricious he was, he had never said any heavy words to him.
Tao Xi quietly looked at the two old persons with tears and red eyes.
He thought, it turned out that this was his maternal grandparents.
It turned out that when relatives feel sorry for a child, they would feel so painful that they cry for him.
Then he saw Lin Qinhe walk to Yang Duole’s bed and asked him:
“Why don’t you cooperate with the doctor?” The voice was serious, but tender.
Yang Duole’s face was pale, and his face was full of tears. He had undergone this operation before and knew how painful it was, but he had never dared to disobey Lin Qinhe. He desperately said:
“Qinhe ge, I feel so painful, I feel like I can’t live anymore, it’s so painful to live like this.”
Luo Zhengyin looked at him slightly when she heard the words. With red eyes, Ye Yurong crouched down and wept, and Fang Zuqing held his wife in his arms.
Lin Qinhe’s voice deepened: “Lele, don’t say such things, don’t make your loved ones feel sorry for you.”
Yang Duole flattened his mouth angrily and did not speak, only tears dripping from the corners of his eyes.
Lin Qinhe gently held Yang Duole’s right hand. There was an obvious red round birthmark on the wrist of that hand, and a red peace knot with gold beads.
When Yang Duole didn’t want to take medicine when he was a child, Lin Qinhe would hold his hand to persuade him like this.
And that string of red peace knots was the last gift Fang Sui left for Yang Duole.
Lin Qinhe softened his voice and slowly said to Yang Duole:
“Remember the letter for the eighteen-year-old you that your mother gave you? I think she hoped that when you open the letter, you have grown into a strong and optimistic adult.”
Luo Zhengyin couldn’t hold back any more, and she shed tears.
Yang Duole was silent. He could be willful in front of all his relatives, but he couldn’t be willful to his mother because she had sacrificed her life for him.
He finally agreed to cooperate with the doctor.
After that, the doctor and nurse intubated Yang Duole with the medical devices and Yang Duole cried out in pain. Lin Qinhe held his hand all the time, and Luo Zhengyin wiped her tears from the side.
Tao Xi left the ward’s door, returned to the bench and sat down.
He tore the candy paper from his hand that had been held warm, stuffed it into his mouth, and chewed it hard.
It had a very sweet peach flavor, but he could not taste anything.
He thought, Lin Qinhe could also be wrong.
He didn’t feel happy at all after eating this candy.
Not at all.
He quickly ate the candy. Chen Ting walked up to him with a box of lunch and said, “I bought this at a nearby restaurant. I don’t know if you like it or not.”
Thanking him, Tao Xi took the lunch.
He opened the lunch box, buried his head and ate, eating faster and faster, gorging on the food like someone who had been starving for days.
Only in this way could he control himself from breaking into that ward and loudly said to them:
I am Fang Sui’s son.
You should all love me.
I am also very uncomfortable, my heart hurts, and I’m living in pain.
Why don’t you care about me?
How come no one has ever shed tears because of heartache for me?
After eating, he felt a little nausea. He took out a bottle of water from his pocket, tilted his head and took a few mouthfuls of water before the burst of vomiting was suppressed.
Tao Xi put down the water bottle and saw a pair of long legs appear in front of him, and then the legs were bent. Lin Qinhe squatted in front of him, looking up at him.
He rarely had the opportunity to look down at Lin Qinhe like this. The lights in the corridor fell on Lin Qinhe’s face, and the shadows under the brow bones seemed more profound, and the deep eyes looking at him were obviously worried.
Lin Qinhe stretched out his hand to twist a grain of rice away from his mouth and asked him in a low voice, “Tao Xi, what’s wrong with you?”
Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe in a daze, like a drowning man looking at the only driftwood, and a person in the dark looking at the only light.
He suddenly asked: “Lin Qinhe, if one day I get sick and it hurts very much, will you come to see me?”
Lin Qinhe frowned slightly and asked, “Why do you ask such a question?”
Tao Xi asked paranoidly: “So will you come to see me?”
Lin Qinhe was silent for a while before saying: “You won’t get sick.”
The tone was determined and almost naive, as if he could be sure that he would be disease-free and disaster-free throughout his life, and he would have lots of blessings and happiness.
Tao Xi’s heart was sour, he smiled and said, “Lin Qinhe, I want to go back.”
Lin Qinhe stood up: “I will send you back.”
“Don’t you need to stay here to accompany him?” Tao Xi sat still and asked a question that was cruel to himself.
Lin Qinhe said flatly: “He has many relatives with him.”
He bent over to hold Tao Xi’s hand, pulled him up from the bench, and whispered:
“But you seem to only have me now.”
Tao Xi was suffocated, he almost shed tears. At that moment, he wanted to ask Lin Qinhe very much.
Do you like me a little bit too?
But in the end he didn’t have the courage.
He was afraid that it was just his own illusion.
Once asked, there would be no room for maneuver.
Lin Qinhe carried Tao Xi’s school bag and took Tao Xi into Lin’s car. Chen Ting drove the car to Wenhua No. 1 High School.
In the car, Tao Xi looked at the neon lights flying quickly outside the window, and then at the silent Lin Qinhe beside him.
Lin Qinhe noticed his gaze and turned to look at him under the dim light. The colorful neon lights reflected in his eyes, showing soft colors in the light and shadow.
Tao Xi opened his mouth, wanting to say something, but in the end he just said: “It is too late to draw the comic for you today.”
Lin Qinhe replied to him, “It’s okay.” After a pause, he said, “Give it to me tomorrow.”
Tao Xi nodded and said nothing.
He looked at the neon outside the window again, he thought.
This road should be longer and longer.
Long enough that Lin Qinhe would always have only him by his side.
But after the evening rush hour, the city was no longer congested. The car quickly drove to the gate of Wenhua No. 1 High School and Tao Xi reluctantly followed Lin Qinhe getting out of the car.
Lin Qinhe still carried Tao Xi’s school bag and sent him all the way to the dormitory building.
The campus was silent on a Sunday night, with only the soft noise of the October evening breeze.
Tao Xi stood at the door of the first floor of the dormitory, the only remaining light was very dim, and he always seemed to have more courage in the dimness. He said to Lin Qinhe.
“Lin Qinhe, I am sad today, can I ask for midterm rewards in advance?”
Although he hadn’t made it into the top fifty yet, nor could he absolutely guarantee that he would be in the top fifty.
But Lin Qinhe seemed to be particularly indulging him tonight, he replied softly: “Yes, what do you want?”
Tao Xi didn’t answer. He threw himself on Lin Qinhe in the dark, slightly on tiptoe, wrapped his hands around Lin Qinhe’s neck and put his chin on Lin Qinhe’s broad shoulders, gently rubbing it like a puppy.
Lin Qinhe froze, he subconsciously wanted to push the person away, but in the end he withdrew his hand.
Tao Xi’s eyelashes quivered, and he whispered:
“Lin Qinhe, I will also strive to become a strong and optimistic adult.”
Just like what you said to Yang Duole.
He quickly let go of Lin Qinhe, otherwise he was afraid that his heartbeat would be heard.
“Okay, I am not sad now, thank you.”
Tao Xi took his school bag from Lin Qinhe and ran quickly up to the dormitory building.
Lin Qinhe stood motionless until the sensor lights in the corridor went out one by one.
He walked towards the school gate.
Later, Lin Qinhe would always remember that night, if the time was reversed, letting him go back to that time.
He would definitely hug the person in his arms back hard.
You don’t need to be an adult.
You only need to be my most favorite child in the world.
T/N: definitely not the midterm rewards everyone was expecting :))) and definitely not the last chapter I cried while translating :)))