Qiu Yanzhi still had a fever, so he soon drifted off to sleep. He was already lying in a hospital room when he woke up.
He laid flat on his back on the empty hospital room bed looking at the ceiling and let out a very, very long breath.
"Big Yellow, I'm already like this so be honest with me. Am I this unlucky because I didn't make spend real money on this game?”
Big Yellow looked at Qiu Yanzhi's truly miserable appearance and shook his head in pity.
"Recharging would indeed improve the game experience, but honorable free player Mr. Qiu...who can you blame but yourself for slipping?"
Qiu Yanzhi pursed his lips. "But I haven’t fallen in love yet after playing your supposed dating simulator, ah.”
His relationship with He Zhou was already bad enough before squeezing a Meng Qikang into the picture.
It's like just planting some seeds in a pot before pouring f*cking gasoline in!
"There’s only one person that can prevent you from falling down, and that’s yourself. But--”
Big Yellow didn’t continue.
"But we do have a solution to the tension between you and the capture target."
"What is it?"
"Dear player Mr. Qiu, after you entered our game, have you ever visited the VIP shop? If you did, you would’ve discovered an entirely new and exciting world! I would like to now recommend a card personally tailored to you-- the Love Rival Vanishing Card! As soon as you buy this card, your rival will immediately move away/resign/go to study abroad and disappear before your very eyes!"
Qiu Yanzhi was a little impressed despite himself. "How many gems is this card? I've already saved 220 from my daily missions, so a couple hundred more shouldn’t be impossible..."
Big Yellow: "There’s only one copy of this card in existence! The price is quite reasonable as well! It can be yours for only 16,888 gems!"
Qiu Yanzhi: "...Say what now."
Big Yellow: "For only 16,888 gems, you’ll be able to send your rival packing!"
Qiu Yanzhi: "Take your card and get out."
Poverty makes me endure humiliation.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
A doctor came in to treat Qiu Yanzhi's sprained back.
But Qiu Yanzhi had to rub his eyes when he saw this doctor.
Although this was a romance game, the design of the medical components were just too careless!
Maybe it was because Qiu Yanzhi managed to twist his back in the game purely by accident, but the NPC doctor was also at a loss for words.
This doctor looked exactly the same as the one who stitched his head up stitching surgery last time. His treatment was quite perfunctory as well.
The ‘treatment’ was just casually putting pressure on Qiu Yanzhi's waist, but the strangest thing was that his obviously incorrect techniques actually made the pain immediately fade away.
It was like a potion from one of those RPG games was used on him.
He recovered completely in an instant.
And not one person was surprised by this.
Which left Qiu Yanzhi somewhat embarrassed at how he acted like he was going to die from his injuries earlier.
He even started having some doubts as to what exactly the doctor from before did to him in the operating room when he was hit on the head by the chandelier.
Maybe he was just pushed to the operating room to restore his body’s state to an earlier save file. It would certainly explain how rapidly he healed.
After the doctor left, Qiu Yanzhi restored the default pain value to test something. Sure enough, there was no discomfort at all.
He was even able to finish a set of radio-led gymnastics by his bed.
As soon as he finished, there was a knock at the door.
Qiu Yanzhi turned to see Zhang Yuxuan coming in.
Zhang Yuxuan looked at Qiu Yanzhi with a sad expression, "Yanyan, why are you in the hospital again?"
Qiu Yanzhi was a bit surprised. "How did you know I was in the hospital? News sure travels quickly these days."
Zhang Yuxuan sat on the chair next to the bed and said, "A classmate came to the hospital and happened to see you. Let’s not talk about that... Why are you in the hospital again? Is it serious?"
"I don’t want to talk about this either." Qiu Yanzhi sighed, "I slipped in the bathroom and twisted my back, but it's not serious. I've almost completely recovered"
"Did He Zhou take you here?"
Qiu Yanzhi, "Yeah."
"How's your relationship with him now? Did you guys reconcile after your honeymoon?"
Qiu Yanzhi sneered, "No way in hell."
If He Zhou really did have even one iota of affection for him, how could he have disappeared ever since Qiu Yanzhi’s hospitalization?
It's already been three or four hours.
It looked like He Zhou tried so hard in the bathroom to save him just so he wouldn’t die in his home and bring the value of the place down.
Qiu Yanzhi has been away for half a month without anyone caring, and no one even knew about it except for He Zhou. He was so pissed off that he couldn’t help but tell Zhang Yuxuan the truth. "I didn't even go on a honeymoon with him."
Qiu Yanzhi told the whole story to Zhang Yuxuan.
Zhang Yuxuan's eyes were bulging out afterwards.
"-In other words, you were actually so angry that you ran away from home?!"
Qiu Yanzhi nodded: "Something like that."
Zhang Yuxuan rubbed his eyes sadly, "He Zhou’s already like this and you're still going to live with him? Yanyan, why do you insist on making yourself suffer so much?!”
The real reason I’m suffering so much is because I didn't spend real money on this game, ah.
Qiu Yanzhi sighed sadly in his heart.
Zhang Yuxuan grabbed Qiu Yanzhi's hand, "Yanyan! Why don't you divorce him? That kind of man isn't worth your time!!!"
Qiu Yanzhi really gave it some serious consideration in his head.
Yeah, why not divorce him?
It would allow Qiu Yanzhi to continue playing the game and maintain his relationships with his family and friends.
With a little bit of luck, he might even meet his second prince charming.
He remembered that the game seemed to have a feature like that, right?
Big Yellow flew in front of Qiu Yanzhi, who was the only one that could see him. The two sentences he spoke shattered all of Qiu Yanzhi's dreams.
"Aiya, I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you this! Our store has a Divorce Card in addition to the Love Rival Vanishing Card! For only 28,888 gems, you and He Zhou can be separated immediately!"
Laozi won’t divorce him, okay?!!
"Yanyan! Listen to me! Don't hesitate anymore! You need to leave him now, there's no future in an unhappy marriage!"
The more Zhang Yuxuan spoke, the more excited he became. He was this close to dragging Qiu Yanzhi to the Civil Affairs Bureau.
But Qiu Yanzhi could only look down and slowly mumble, “I don’t want to divorce him.”
Zhang Yuxuan: "Why?"
Because of poverty.
Qiu Yanzhi naturally couldn't say that and had to continue to maintain his foolish and lovesick idiot character setting.
"Because...I love him, ah."
Qiu Yanzhi quickly got into his role. His eyebrows lowered, his voice became quiet and hoarse and he curled in on himself. “He’s the only one for me since I fell in love with him at first sight. Even...even if he doesn’t love me back, I’ll be content to watch over him from the side.”
Qiu Yanzhi grew more and more emotional. He choked and paused to swallow dryly. “I know he likes someone else, but I still can’t let go… I felt like I was going to die on the spot when I blocked that chandelier for He Zhou last time. Zhang Yuxuan, did you know that the only thought running through my mind then was that, if I could die in He Zhou’s arms, if I could die for him, if he could miss me even a little bit…then I could die with no regrets.”
"Everyone’s going to die someday. I just hope that, when I leave this world, the one by my side, holding my hand and letting me feel warmth for one last time will be He Zhou… That’s how deep my feelings for him are.”
In the empty white corridor that faintly smelled of antiseptics, a handsome man stood quietly in front of the door to a hospital room.
He was looking down with one slender hand on the door handle, but he couldn’t bring himself to go inside.
The soothing sound of raindrops could still be heard as they hit the windows lining the corridor. Combined with Qiu Yanzhi’s slow but heartfelt confession, it made it easy for people to reminisce about the past.
Many years ago, in the moment that the car accident happened, his parents shielded each other and left him behind.
He was all alone and empty inside, like an abandoned island.
Years later, another accident occurred.
The chandelier hurtled down towards him, but this time someone leapt over and held him tightly.
The fragments of memory seem to intertwine in front of his eyes, muddling his mind and heart.
In the end, the image eventually froze onto the afternoon when Qiu Yanzhi disappeared.
Qiu Yanzhi dropped the lunchbox and looked at him with red eyes.
Qiu Yanzhi seemed to be a crybaby, but his red-rimmed eyes then refused to let a single tear fall.
He clapped and said a few sarcastic words before leaving with long strides.
His back was straight.
But He Zhou could almost catch a glimpse of his rage and despair.
...That person loved him so much.
More than anyone else.
He Zhou stood in place for a long time before he slowly raised his head. The incandescent lights overhead created dappled shadows over his face. The intersecting patterns of light and darkness obscured the complicated emotions brewing in his eyes.
Eventually, his hand slowly fell from the door handle. He turned to leave.
After Zhang Yuxuan left, Qiu Yanzhi felt a little tired.
So he turned off the lights and laid down to rest.
Before closing his eyes, Qiu Yanzhi looked around the dark and empty hospital room.
What was he thinking.
He Zhou was already benevolent enough to rescue him and send him to the hospital.
Maybe that scum was embracing Meng Qikang right now while wishing that Qiu Yanzhi would just disappear for good this time.
When Qiu Yanzhi woke up and saw He Zhou in front of the bed, he thought for a moment that his eyes were going on him and rubbed them vigorously.
He didn't expect that it really was He Zhou.
He Zhou saw Qiu Yanzhi had woken up. "Do you want to eat an apple?"
Qiu Yanzhi was stunned for a moment. He nodded eventually.
He Zhou stood up and went to wash an apple before picking up a fruit knife from the side.
Qiu Yanzhi felt quite awkward facing He Zhou right now.
So he just stared at him without saying anything.
So He Zhou peeled apples while Qiu Yanzhi stared.
Qiu Yanzhi sometimes felt that He Zhou was like a bug in the game. His every move could unconsciously attract everyone’s attention. Even when peeling apples, his sleeves, exposed wrists, the veins and blood vessels on the back of his hands and the hand holding the knife… they were all so beautiful.
It really made you wonder--
Did the game's designers have so enough confidence in He Zhou's appearance that they decided to unscrupulously give him such a terrible personality?
He Zhou quickly peeled the apple and handed it to Qiu Yanzhi.
All that was left was the sound of Qiu Yanzhi munching on the apple.
How should he say this...
Qiu Yanzhi was so embarrassed that he wanted to throw the apple away.
No, more than that, what the hell was He Zhou guarding his bed for?
Was he a gatekeeper in his spare time?!
Doesn't he get bored? Why isn't he looking for Meng Qikang? Why would you want to stay in front of your super annoying wife's bed?
Although the sight was indeed very pleasing to the eye, it also made him very uncomfortable.
"That night," He Zhou suddenly spoke, "nothing happened between Meng Qikang and I."
Qiu Yanzhi's chewing paused for a moment.
He Zhou looked down and whispered, "...We almost got into an accident that night, so we got out of the car midway and were soaked through."
Qiu Yanzhi was completely taken aback. He stared blankly up at He Zhou.
Qiu Yanzhi had left the game in a fit of anger fifteen days ago.
It wasn't just because He Zhou might’ve cheated on him, nor was it just because He Zhou shielded Meng Qikang from the lunchbox.
It was because He Zhou didn't explain.
He didn't offer a single word of explanation.
He didn't seem to care about Qiu Yanzhi at all.
But now he’s saying that nothing had happened between him and Meng Qikang.
"...Why," Qiu Yanzhi swallowed dryly, "why are you telling me this now?"
He Zhou lowered his head and wiped the fruit knife clean with a paper towel. His voice was steady and as pleasant to listen to as ever, "Because I think you have a right to know."
Qiu Yanzhi: "Then... why didn’t you do anything with him?"
"Because I’m already married to you."
He Zhou's tone was flat and uneventful, but Qiu Yanzhi felt his heart thumping wildly in response.
Qiu Yanzhi felt like he really was an idiot.
He Zhou neither promised to completely sever ties with Meng Qikang in the future, nor did he say that he liked Qiu Yanzhi. He just plainly and casually stated facts.
Yet his little heart was about to beat right out of his chest.
To be honest, even Qiu Yanzhi didn’t quite understand what his heart was so excited about.
Perhaps it was because the intended effects of the Marriage Card were finally showing up.
Or be it was because he didn't have to give up on this game after all.
...And he also didn't have to give up on He Zhou either?
After a fight, my bike became a motorcycle.
Give it a go, He Zhou belongs to me.
Meng Qikang or whatever your name was, Laozi doesn’t need to sped money to get rid of you!
Thinking of that, Qiu Yanzhi's eyes became tinged with laughter.
Qiu Yanzhi threw the leftover apple core into the trash can.
Then he stretched out his sticky hands to He Zhou, "Sticky."
He Zhou didn't even get annoyed. Surprisingly, he patiently held Qiu Yanzhi's wrists and wiped his hands with a wet paper towel.
Qiu Yanzhi continued to blatantly stare into his eyes with an earnest expression.
It made He Zhou a little uncomfortable.
"What are you staring at me for?"
Qiu Yanzhi was all smiles. "You’re so handsome.”
He Zhou's ears flushed red. He dropped Qiu Yanzhi’s wiped hands like hot potatoes, but he was quickly grabbed again.
"I can read palms." Qiu Yanzhi's eyes curved, "Let me show you."
Qiu Yanzhi grabbed He Zhou's right hand and carefully examined it for a while.
How was this palm reading? He was clearly just taking advantage of him.
When He Zhou was about to pull away, Qiu Yanzhi tightened his grip. “...This is the marriage line.”
"See that? The marriage line is above the romance line, and there’s only one. It’s straight and gradually draws closer to the romance line.”
"It means that you can only get married once in your life to your one true love.”
Qiu Yanzhi couldn't even hold back his smile.
He lowered his head and quickly planted a kiss on He Zhou's hand.
He laughed, "Me."
He Zhou didn't even mock him for his old-fashioned superstitions, he just slowly looked up.
The light that was somewhat dim was a gentle and warm amber colour. It gradually illuminated He Zhou’s outline.
He Zhou didn't say anything. He just quietly looked at Qiu Yanzhi.
His dark eyes seemed clear enough to peer into a person’s very soul.
The room was absolutely silent. It was so quiet that the sound of raindrop hitting the windows and the air conditioning in the ceiling could be heard. Quiet enough that they could hear each other’s breathing and heartbeats.
A question and an answer.
Qiu Yanzhi looked away first, suddenly feeling a little nervous.
He was still holding He Zhou's right hand. Qiu Yanzhi felt the parts of his skin touching him become humidly hot.
Even the air itself seemed to heat up.
Qiu Yanzhi uneasily let go of He Zhou's right hand.
He Zhou's eyes gradually became darker.
"Qiu Yanzhi," He Zhou suddenly spoke, "How’s your back feeling now?"
"...It's all better." Qiu Yanzhi replied.
He found the atmosphere strange, so he lowered his head and picked at his hand as he scoured his brain for something to say, "It's pretty much healed. I could probably get up and dance right this moment.”
He Zhou looked at Qiu Yanzhi with a heavy gaze.
He slowly spoke.
"Shall we give it a try then?"
Qiu Yanzhi stared up at He Zhou blankly. He dumbly asked, "Try what…?"
He Zhou placed his left hand on the back of Qiu Yanzhi's neck as he leaned over and kissed him.
Many years later, Qiu Yanzhi was still reluctant to remember the details of what happened that night.
Because it was a disaster caused by his shallowness, ignorance and stupidity.
It had left indelible marks and scars on his young and green mind.
During the disaster, he began to regret his hasty decision to restore the default pain sensitivity after the doctor had treated him.
He started to seethe again about the game company’s decision to cut off all contact at times like this to ‘protect the player’s f*cking privacy’. Big Yellow was nowhere to be seen, and he couldn’t even log out through brute force.
He began to question whether he was right to try so hard to separate He Zhou and Meng Qikang. If He Zhou had even a little experience beforehand, he wouldn't need to suffer this much.
He began to grieve for all the time and energy he had put into this game. Was this what all his blood and tears were leading up to?
In the final moment before he passed out, he started questioning his previously rock-solid sexual orientation.