Chapter 29: Being loved is a huge blessing (4)
Tao Di supported Miao Yuan as he pressed the doorbell. He Yuedi came to the door and sighed in exasperation, “You youngster, where’d you take my daughter?”
Tao Di cried out, “Auntie, you’re mistaking good for evil. Clearly it’s Miao Miao who kidnapped me to go…”
Miao Yuan kicked him again, pushed the door open, and teetered up the stairs. Tao Di bitterly laughed and left whistling. When he exited the neighborhood gates, he discovered a man standing in the corner. Normally, Tao Di wouldn’t have noticed him, but he somehow felt that the man had cast a glance at him. A cold, icy glance that sent shivers down his spine. When Tao Di turned to look again, he doubted what just happened. That man nervously looked down at his watch, as if waiting for someone. It had nothing to do with him. Tao Di straightened up his clothes and thought that he had drunk too much today. Once the warmth of the alcohol subsided, he immediately felt colder.
Once Chen Mo cooled down from his anger, he was still the Chen Mo whom Xia Minglang described as “I’d rather mess with anyone other than Chen Mo.” He finally found this place by methodically searching. After spending some time observing the surrounding area, he had followed He Yuedi to work. At the hospital, he had chatted with the nurses to gather information on Dr. He. Chen Mo had asked the elderly exercising on the ground floor of the building for directions, and inquired if Dr. He lived in this building. Then casually, he pressed the doorbell and regretfully said that Dr. He wasn’t home.
The elderly lady replied, “No way. Miao Miao came back, and she’s been home all day.”
Having established his opening, Chen Mo deftly engaged the lady in conversation.
It’s true. Chen Mo did not have Lu Zhen’s agreeability that wormed its way into everyone’s heart. Nor did he have Xia Minglang’s devilish silver tongue. But disguise and reconnaissance were fundamental subjects in his line of work, and Chen Mo’s military skills were all top-notch.
He didn’t want to suddenly go on the offense because he was still perplexed.
What exactly was going on? What happened? Why did Miao Yuan suddenly leave him? He needed to discover the sincere answers to these questions. Chen Mo was quiet and patient, treating this matter like any other mission. It was a painstaking investigation, requiring layers and layers of analysis. However, after holing up at home for two whole days, Miao Yuan started belting out songs every night. Chen Mo suddenly felt like his peace was being shattered.
The second day, Miao Yuan went to eat Sichuan fish with three people. One of her companions was the man from yesterday. The fatty was also still there. This time, instead of the third guy, there was a woman.
Miao Yuan was in high spirits. Chen Mo watched as she took that man’s cup and poured herself a drink. When jokes were told, she always laughed in the direction of that man. After singing, they didn’t hail a taxi this time. Miao Yuan seemed to be really drunk. They walked along the riverbank, and the entire time Miao Yuan was talking to the man in excitement. She gestured and waved like a small chipmunk—an excited small chipmunk.
In the dead of the night, Chen Mo couldn’t follow too closely. He could only see her large, glistening eyes that were like the moon reflected on water.
On the third day, Chen Mo went to investigate that man. Tao Di had a decent job working at the Tax Bureau. Chen Mo got wind that he didn’t have a girlfriend and was fickle in love. That night Miao Yuan got wasted, and Chen Mo saw him pull her hand and carry her into the car.
Chen Mo pressed his eyes shut, and then opened them. Enough, it shall be tonight then. He had originally wanted to ask a simple “Why?” He only wanted a reason or explanation. He only wanted to unravel this.
Chen Mo! He said to himself. Could it be that you have some other hopes?
Tao Di half supported and half carried Miao Yuan to the ground floor of her building. Drunkards always love insisting that they aren’t drunk. Miao Yuan repeatedly pushed Tao Di away, insisting that she remembered the passcode for the front door. She could handle it on her own. After seeing Miao Yuan manage to open the door on her own from afar, Tao Di bitterly laughed and shook his head.
Chen Mo stood at the entrance of the building, waiting for her. The first floor’s motion-detector lights were broken and only the second floor’s lights dimly spilled down, allowing for his face to stay hidden in the shadows. He saw Miao Yuan’s small frame teeter-totter over. His heart softened, and Chen Mo reached over to support her.
Chen Mo thought. Could you be any more hopeless?
Miao Yuan turned to look at him in shock and saw his backside. Her confused gaze couldn’t focus. She carefully asked, “Chen Mo?”
Her voice was gentle, as if afraid to startle this dream.
Just as Chen Mo was about to speak, Miao Yuan suddenly pounced on him and hugged him from behind. She choked on her words. “Please, don’t speak. Please, please, please don’t say anything. Just let me hug you for a few minutes.”
Chen Mo was slightly taken aback.
“Chen Mo, Chen Mo…” Miao Yuan buried her head in his back. Perhaps it was the smell. Perhaps it was the feeling. If she just didn’t look at the face, perhaps she could trick herself into believing that it was him.
“Miao Miao?” Chen Mo felt strange.
Was this a hallucination?
Miao Yuan’s head was a muddle. A brain drowned in alcohol couldn’t squeeze out any sensical thoughts. But whether or not it was real, she didn’t want to wake up from this dream.
Miao Yuan hugged him as she cried nonstop. She cried out all her sorrow and heartbreak and bitterness from being neglected. She spoke of the car accident. She spoke of how cold it was lying on the street. But Chen Mo, where are you?
“Chen Mo, where are you?”
“I only want to hear you say something to me.”
“Chen Mo, Chen Mo, where are you?”
Chen Mo felt his blood accumulate in the pit of his stomach. It was unable to flow past there. It was stuck there as a panging ache. He turned around to wrap her in a hug and carefully stroked her head.
“Don’t cry. Isn’t it enough that I’m here?”
Her crying slowly subsided. Chen Mo felt her slowly put more weight on him. When he lifted her chin, her eyes were half-open and half-closed in weary confusion. Her face glistened from the tears, and she had cried herself into a mess. He inwardly sighed and wiped her face with his hand, his thumb brushing her lips. They were warm and moist. He couldn’t help but cup her face and lean into a deep kiss.
Love is the most unprincipled thing in the world. At the same time, it’s intoxicating. Some people’s scent is enough to make others gag. But other people’s scent is akin to the fragrance of a fine wine. Chen Mo chased her tongue with his, hooking his arm around her waist and pulling her tight against his body, almost breaking her.
When Miao Yuan was released, she unconsciously gulped for air. She gripped his shirt, unwilling to let go. Chen Mo pressed her into his embrace, his heart ebbing like the ocean tides. Too many things passed through his mind. He couldn’t see them clearly, and he couldn’t grasp hold of them.
What is this? What should I do now? Will someone tell me?
Chen Mo scooped her up. No matter what, he had to send her home first.
When Miao Jiang opened the door, he was frightened. His daughter was being carried by a stranger in a very possessive way. He instantly wanted to snatch Miao Yuan from this man’s embrace.
“Is this Miao Yuan’s home?” Chen Mo asked.
“Yes.” Miao Jiang looked at him on guard.
“She’s drunk. I’m bringing her home.” Chen Mo discovered that he was very nervous. He had never spoken this cautiously before.
“Oh, um thanks. Give her to me. Take care…” Miao Jiang reached out his hands.
While carrying Miao Yuan, Chen Mo took a step closer and asked, “Can I come in? I’m her boyfriend.”
He Yuedi had heard noise at the front door and came running over. She was shocked. “Didn’t Miao Miao say that she broke up?”
Chen Mo’s eyes flickered. “Before, that was the case. Can I come in?”
Miao Jiang and He Yuedi exchanged a doubting look. This guy’s aura was too domineering. It made people want to run away. But in the end, it was still his stark uniform that put their hearts at ease, so they let him in.
Miao Yuan’s room was clean and neat, almost minimalist. In front of the window, there was a desk, and next to that a bookshelf. The bed in the middle of the room was the sort that was slightly smaller than a Queen size. Chen Mo carefully lay her on the bed and helped remove her shoes. He pulled the blankets up to her chin. The whole while, Miao Yuan clutched his hem and refused to let go. Chen Mo pried open her fingers and placed his hand in her grip instead.
He Yuedi stood at the bedside in a state of confusion. “You guys are…?”
“My name is Chen Mo. I don’t know if Miao Miao has ever mentioned me?” Chen Mo suddenly felt conflicted. There was an uncertainty in him. In this relationship, he had made a million mistakes.
“I know. But didn’t you already break up with Miao Miao?” He Yuedi scratched her head. One cried and wailed with a broken heart. The other chased her all the way over here in the middle of the night, and his movements were tender and attentive. She, she… she really didn’t understand what these two younguns were playing at.
“The reason I have come is because of the matter of breaking up. I want to wait for her to sober up before having a talk with her.” Chen Mo looked down at Miao Yuan. Her breathing was deep and she was already fast asleep. A strand of hair was caught in her mouth and Chen Mo reached over to pull it out.
Having been pulled from her bed abruptly in the middle of the night, He Yuedi had a head full of fog and was afraid of saying the wrong thing. She could only suppress the questions she had and sit down and wait. It just so happened that Chen Mo couldn’t read the situation. He had a belly full of worries and didn’t care about what his mother-in-law felt. He stared intently at Miao Yuan. As she sat, He Yuedi soon became sleepy, starting to nod off to sleep, with her head occasionally jerking. Chen Mo said, “Ma’am, if you’re sleepy, go sleep. I’ll stay and accompany her.”
He Yuede waved her hand and said, “No need, no need.”
But I can’t leave precisely because you are here! This girl will sleep till tomorrow afternoon. Who has the time to sit next to her!
He Yuedi thought that if it went down like this, until what time would she have to be stuck here? She went to the kitchen to get some cold water.
Chen Mo gave her a puzzled look when she returned with the glass. He Yuedi sternly said, “Drunk people tend to be dehydrated. I’m giving her some water.”
Chen Mo stood to let He Yuedi take his spot.
Cold water will wake even the most muddle-headed person up a little. He Yuedi shook Miao Yuan’s shoulders. “Wake up. Chen Mo’s here. He came to find you.”
Miao Yuan spun her eyes in confusion. Her gaze swept past He Yuedi’s shoulders and stared behind her. She suddenly sat up.
“Chen Mo?” Miao Yuan shouted.
He nodded and thought, How could you be drunk to this point? Today, if I wasn’t there and it was someone else, what would’ve happened? It would have been too dangerous. In the future, I can’t let her get drunk like this.
“Why are you at my home?” Miao Yuan asked disbelievingly.
“If I wanted to find you, I could.”
He Yuedi saw these two people had finally started talking. Realizing that she had nothing important to say, she went off to bed. Old and sleepy, old and sleepy. Young people these days, gosh. I really can’t understand!
“Was that really just you?” Miao Yuan lowered her head with her hands gripping the blankets in unease.
“If it wasn’t me, then who?” If she hadn’t brought it up, all would have been good. But now that she had, he wanted to flare out in anger. “Girls shouldn’t get that drunk! Going home by yourself is very dangerous.”
“I didn’t go home by myself. My brother, Tao Di, sent me back. But, how could I have…”
“Your brother?” Chen Mo raised an eyebrow.
Miao Yuan rested her hand on her head and recalled what had happened. “My cousin.”
“Yeah! My aunt’s son from my mom’s side.”1
Chen Mo felt like the part of his heart that was so constricted immediately cleared.
“Chen Mo…” Miao Yuan finally abandoned all reason and turned to him. “Why did you come find me?”
Chen Mo sat next to her on the bed. He said solemnly, “What you just said to me, I’ve thought it through. It was me that was wrong. I’ll change. So we don’t need to break up. Won’t you come back with me?”
Miao Yuan tender lips slowly blossomed into a smile, but it was one that was tired and weary. “Chen Mo, I’m happy that you came to find me. It made me feel like this half year wasn’t all for nothing. But I’m tired. Chen Mo, I can’t be with you.”
“Why?” Chen Mo was shocked. Why? You clearly like me!
“Because you don’t love me. I can’t be with someone who won’t love me. Especially when I like you this much.”
“You…” Chen Mo felt like he was about to explode. “How do I not love you? Whether I love you or not isn’t for you alone to say!”
Miao Yuan was scared into a ball. Chen Mo hurriedly averted his gaze. Miao Yuan bit her lips stubbornly and slowly finished what she was saying. “But, if it isn’t for me alone to say whether or not you love me, then who is it to say?”
Chen Mo had no words.
“I feel like breaking up is for the better. These days, I’ve hit my limit. I really can’t be any better to you. Yet, you still don’t consider me. Chen Mo, you have a brain, but you don’t have a heart. You say I’m your girlfriend in your mind so that’s why you treat me nicely. But I’m not your girlfriend in your heart. Whether or not I exist in your heart, you’d still act the same.”
“On what basis can you say this about me?” Chen Mo said through gritted teeth.
“You always say you’re busy as hell. I don’t even know what you’re busy with. Before, I’d always ask you everyday, ‘What are you up to? What are you up to?’ Ah, but as long as I don’t ask, you’d never take the initiative to tell me. I’d take you to meet my friends over dinner. I’d introduce you as my hubby, but you’d never reciprocate. Your reaction is always so cold. I said that I’d take you back home to my parents once you had a break and you said okay. But why is it that when your home is in Xi’an, you never took me home? And you and your troop. You have never introduced me to your brothers before.”
“Chen Mo…” Miao Yuan held tears in her eyes. Tears that were about to drip down in a shimmering pool. “I now know what the problem is. It still comes back to our relationship. If I hadn’t been so clingy and hadn’t chased you so hard, wanting to be your girlfriend, if instead I had just wanted to be your friend, I wouldn’t have such a strong possessive desire. At the start, I felt very confident about our relationship. At that time, I believed that you were mine. You even agreed and said that I was the closest and most trusted person in your life. Though you didn’t say much, I would still contact you every day, even if it was just to greet you. But as time went on, I felt tired. Your response was also so tepid. My thoughts would start to wander and I became less and less confident. I knew that there was no other woman in your life, but that was of no use. Really, Chen Mo, it’s different. You don’t love me. And if I’m not someone you can come to love, why would you want to possess me?”
Chen Mo said sincerely, and with difficulty, “I actually like you a lot.”
“I know. I believe that you don’t dislike me. When I chat with you, you don’t tire of me. But like and love are different. I was never important to you. Do you understand? From the start, you felt like you had hit that age when you should find a girlfriend. You had never dated before. So upon meeting someone passionate like me, you thought you could accept it and thought that you liked me. But the problem is, that isn’t enough. You only need a woman. I feel like everything I’ve done could be done by anyone else. So that’s why I kept trying to verify who I was to you! But now, I’ve confirmed it.”
“Miao Miao, do you not like me anymore?” Chen Mo couldn’t describe his feeling. His blood pumped through his heart harder than normal.
“Liking you is of no use. Right now it’s you who doesn’t love me.” Miao Yuan finally lost her patience. “Could it be that you feel like I treated you nicely before, and now that you’re dumped you feel guilty? Definitely don’t think this way. I was happy doing those things for you. It was of my own volition. You probably feel pretty horrible right now. You’re feeling like you can’t bear to let me go. It’s normal. I’ve stayed by your side for a pretty long time. Even if there’s no love, there are still feelings. You’ve raised Duke to be this big. If he were to suddenly get lost and unable to find his way home, you’d also feel pretty terrible. But it’s not the same. The key point is who you think of when you’re nervous, who you want to share your joy with when you’re happy, and who you first think of in times of danger. That person is the one you love.”
Chen Mo fell into silence. His lips pursed into a line. There were too many questions. He thought he was rational, when in reality, he hadn’t even thought things through.
For example, what is love?
Who is the one a person loves?