When it was almost time to leave for the movies, Fei Sihao knocked on Qiu Yanzhi's door.
It was Qiu Yanzhi's cousin who opened the door.
Fei Sihao felt that this cousin of Qiu Yanzhi was a bit strange.
The man’s been glaring at him coldly since he opened the door. He almost seemed hostile.
But Fei Sihao just thought he was in a bad mood due to his injury. He decided not to bother with him.
With a warm and soft smile on his face, Fei Sihao asked, "Is Zhizhi here?"
He Zhou looked down and coldly muttered yes before pushing his wheelchair away.
Fei Sihao silently sighed to himself.
Why did someone this good-looking have such a bad temper?
At that moment, Qiu Yanzhi opened the door and walked out of one of the rooms. “Sihao, why are you here so early?”
Fei Sihao has always played the part of a lover perfectly. He smiled and handed the single rose he was holding to Qiu Yanzhi. "I didn’t have much time to prepare, but I wanted to give you the best date possible.”
Qiu Yanzhi seemed both surprised and overjoyed. A faint flush came across his cheeks as he accepted the rose. He opened his mouth as if to say something flirtatious, but he hesitated. Instead, he quietly stifled the smile on his face and coughed twice, quietly thanking Fei Sihao.
With that, Qiu Yanzhi quickly walked off to find a vase to put the rose in.
Fei Sihao was suddenly hit by a wave of complicated emotions.
How could there be such a simple person in the world…
He wears his heart on his sleeve like a child, unable to hide anything.
Qiu Yanzhi left with Fei Sihao after getting his jacket.
Fei Sihao was about to subconsciously reach for Qiu Yanzhi’s hand when a man’s voice came from behind them.
Qiu Yanzhi looked back. "What's wrong?"
With lowered eyes, He Zhou handed over a pair of gloves. He solemnly stated, “It’s cold outside. Put these on."
It took Qiu Yanzhi a second before he reacted and accepted the gloves. Then he smiled up at He Zhou with crinkled eyes. “Thanks, Cousin.”
Fei Sihao didn’t feel that holding hands was appropriate anymore since Qiu Yanzhi had gloves on, so he put his hands in his pocket. As they walked out, he casually remarked, “Your cousin treats you pretty well.”
Qiu Yanzhi: "My cousin’s always like this. Don’t be fooled by his aloof demeanor, he’s actually super nice.”
No one knew that this ‘super nice’ ‘cousin’ coldly turned around as soon as the door closed. As he passed by the vase on the table, he snatched that rose and threw it in the trash with a dark expression.
Qiu Yanzhi originally wanted to find an excuse to use Fei Sihao's phone and install the spyware during the movie.
However, the look in He Zhou’s eyes made him uncomfortable for some reason. He wanted to get home as soon as possible.
As soon as Qiu Yanzhi sat in Fei Sihao's car and put on his seatbelt, he picked up his phone and fiddled with the email he had scheduled beforehand and the blackout phone screen program that Chen Lesi had given him.
Qiu Yanzhi chatted with Fei Sihao in the car for about five minutes.
Then there was the ‘ding’ of a notification alert.
His email just arrived.
Qiu Yanzhi picked up his phone and opened the software. His expression became grave after glancing at the screen.
Fei Sihao turned to glance at Qiu Yanzhi. He asked, "What is it? Did something happen?"
Qiu Yanzhi's face didn't look too good as he continued to swipe through the email. "There’s a bit of a problem..."
As soon as the words left his mouth, the screen of his phone suddenly went dark.
Qiu Yanzhi panicked and tried to restart his phone to no avail.
He turned to Fei Sihao and asked somewhat reluctantly, "Sihao, can I use your phone to log in to my email?"
"Sure." Fei Sihao unlocked his phone and handed it to Qiu Yanzhi.
To be honest, Fei Sihao might’ve hesitated or logged out of his accounts if Qiu Yanzhi wanted to use his phone to log into WeChat or some other social media app.
But there was nothing sensitive in his mailbox for Qiu Yanzhi to stumble upon.
Qiu Yanzhi whispered his thanks. He opened the mail appr and logged into his account with a frown.
Fei Sihao continued to drive. He subconsciously glanced over at the screen, only to discover that everything there was in German, which he didn’t know.
He didn’t think much of it, just casually asking, “Something related to school come up?”
Qiu Yanzhi shook his head. "I made a mistake in a translation job I did yesterday."
Qiu Yanzhi pretended to be engrossed in reading the email while actually scrolling to a link about two-thirds of the way in and clicking on it.
Qiu Yanzhi continued to scroll down, but hidden beneath the cover of his finger was a white percentage consistently increasing.
When it reached 100%, a very small phrase appeared on the bottom-left corner of the screen: Installation successful.
Qiu Yanzhi breathed a sigh of relief.
Then he closed the email and logged out of his email account.
He looked up at Fei Sihao and hesitated. He seemed like he wanted to say something but couldn’t.
Fei Sihao also turned to look at him. Realization dawned on him. “Something suddenly came up?”
"...I made a big mistake on a document I translated yesterday. I have to go home and send the correct document ASAP."
Qiu Yanzhi hung his head. "...I'm sorry. I was clearly the one who asked you to go to the movies together.”
Fei Sihao turned the steering wheel and did a U-turn. “It's okay. I'll take you back now."
Qiu Yanzhi's voice was muted. “I was honestly really looking forward to watching that movie with you. After all, we haven’t gone on a date in so long. Yet because of me we have to…”
Qiu Yanzhi’s quiet apologies made Fei Sihao’s heart itch for some reason. He reached out and stroked Qiu Yanzhi’s hair in a comforting fashion. He replied very gently, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll have lots of time in the future to go on dates.”
Hearing that, Qiu Yanzhi looked up. His voice was soft and light. "Okay."
Looking into Qiu Yanzhi’s dark, soft eyes, Fei Sihao suddenly wanted to kiss him.
The thought was immediately followed by a wave of sheer terror.
Fei Sihao paled and slammed on the brakes.
Although the car wasn’t going too fast to begin with and both of them were wearing their seatbelts, Qiu Yanzhi still startled. He turned to look at Fei Sihao. "Wha...what’s wrong?"
Fei Sihao dumbly turned to look at Qiu Yanzhi. His face alternated between green and white, his expression very strange.
Fei Sihao only snapped back to reality when Qiu Yanzhi waved a hand in front of his eyes. He frantically mumbled that everything was fine before driving forward again.
When the car arrived at the foot of their building, Fei Sihao said he had other things to do before going home. So Qiu Yanzhi waved goodbye to him and turned to leave.
But Fei Sihao didn't drive off. He just sat motionlessly in the car.
Just then, his cell phone suddenly rang.
...It was Qiu Xicheng.
A trace of hesitation flickered in Fei Sihao's eyes, but he still picked up in the end.
Qiu Xicheng didn’t seem to be in a good mood. “My dad’s been a tad too attentive to Zhizhi these days.”
He almost seemed to spit his words out through gritted teeth, "Cunning old thing! I think he's just putting on this act on purpose for me to see! He’s being nice to Qiu Yanzhi to show me that I’m not his only potential heir!”
Qiu Xicheng paused for a moment, seemingly realizing how his words just now were somewhat lacking in decency and elegance. When he spoke again after a moment, his voice had become very calm. “Rearrange the matters we agreed on before Qiu Yanzhi’s coma.”
Qiu Xicheng waited a long time without receiving an answer from the other side. He frowned and called out, a bit displeased, "Sihao?"
"Got it." Fei Sihao said, "I'll contact you when I'm done."
After Fei Sihao hung up, he sat in his car and smoked a cigarette.
By the time that cigarette was finished, he had more or less calmed down. He took out his phone and swiped through his contact list a few times before finally selecting a hot lover.
"Mingcheng Hotel, room 903. I’ll wait for you there tonight.”
Qiu Yanzhi wanted to give He Zhou a surprise.
So he carefully opened the door and quietly walked in.
There was no one in the living room or kitchen, so Qiu Yanzhi subconsciously thought that He Zhou should be in the study.
On his way to the study, he happened to see the delicate, vibrant rose that had been mercilessly tossed in the trash.
The corners of his lips quirked up against his will.
When Qiu Yanzhi quietly pushed open the study’s door and walked in, He Zhou was seated at the desk, staring intently at the computer screen with a frown on his face. He seemed to be looking at the stock market.
Is he thinking about how to make money to support me?
The corners of his lips, which had just evened out, quirked up again.
As Qiu Yanzhi looked at He Zhou’s back, a very juvenile thought came to mind for some reason. He tiptoed over to the man before trying to cover He Zhou’s eyes with his hands.
But before his hands even made contact, someone grabbed his arm and pulled him into their lap.
He Zhou hugged him, his voice hoarse: "Qiu Yanzhi, why did you come back so soon?”
"Weren’t you unhappy about me going to the movies with someone else?" Qiu Yanzhi wrapped his arms around He Zhou's neck with a smile. “That’s why I installed it early and came back."
Qiu Yanzhi blinked. “So many movies were released while I was stuck in the game for four months. We have a projector at home, so won’t you watch them with me?”
"Okay." He Zhou said.
Qiu Yanzhi cupped He Zhou's face and kissed him happily. “Then I’ll go set up the projector.”
However, Qiu Yanzhi doubled back before he left. He took out his phone. “Can you charge my phone for me? I need it for the movie later. I just ran a blackout phone screen program and the only way to disable it is to charge the phone.
He Zhou took the phone.
He took out a charger from the drawer and plugged the phone in. Then he placed it face down on the desk.
That was when He Zhou suddenly noticed how there seemed to be a white piece of paper covering the rear camera of the phone.
He suddenly recalled the post-it note from him that Qiu Yanzhi kept in his phone case in-game.
What did you put there this time?
The corners of He Zhou's lips curled up as he looked down, took the case off, and flipped the card over.
His smile slowly faded away.
It was a photo.
It was a photo of someone that looked so similar that He Zhou almost mistook it for himself.
But it wasn't.
The photo’s background was an unfamiliar hospital room.
The person in the photo was wearing unfamiliar clothes and an unfamiliar scarf.
The person in the photo looked almost exactly like him, but it wasn’t him.
There were minute differences between their eyebrows and eyes.
The tips of the fingers He Zhou was clenching the photo with slowly turned white.
...This is Qin He.
The moment this thought came to mind, it consumed He Zhou.
He had to see if this was true or not.
He Zhou stood up and walked to the bookshelf. After examining row upon row of books, he finally came across a junior high graduation album.
He Zhou took the album out and flipped through page after page. He inevitably found the junior year graduation photo.
The young Qiu Yanzhi stood expressionlessly in the rightmost position of the very last row. There was a notable distance between him and everyone else.
There was no one named Qin He according to the names below the group photo.
He Zhou stared at Qiu Yanzhi's photo for a long time before he turned the page, only to discover a one-inch photo sandwiched there.
He Zhou's heart jolted.
...In the game, in his implanted memories, he looked exactly like the person in the photo as a teenager.
He Zhou slowly turned the photo over.
The name of that person was written on the back.
He Zhou took out the photo from the phone case and compared it to this one.
He finally had to face the cold, harsh truth.
This man, whose photo Qiu Yanzhi placed in his phone case...
It was Qin He.
In the game, Qiu Yanzhi put the note He Zhou had written in his phone case.
And now, Qiu Yanzhi was treating another man the same way.
For an instant, He Zhou almost wanted to tear the photo in his hand into tiny shreds.
But he forcibly restrained his emotions.
He put the photo back in the phone case just like before.
As if nothing had happened.
...He and Qin He looked so much alike.
It's almost as if we were carved out of the same mold.
He Zhou thought calmly.
No wonder Qiu Yanzhi used him as a substitute.