The moment they returned to He Nuo’s room, He Nuo grabbed both of Shi Yan’s hands. The lights weren’t turned on, so Shi Yan could only see He Nuo bright eyes under the illumination of the light shining in through the windows; He Nuo was grasping his hands really hard, yet he didn’t even notice it. In the end, the both of them said at the same time:
“Don’t thank me too, I’ve already been thanked to death by their besiege.”
He Nuo wasn’t as adept as Shi Yan at talking, and didn’t know how to please other people with fancy words. All he had was his utmost sincerity in giving thanks. Although their conversation after that mostly revolved around fourth bro, such as which college he graduated from and his major and all these questions had nothing to do with He Nuo resuming classes, but He Nuo already knew what kind of price Shi Yan was paying to help him fight for this opportunity. The He Nuo who had some work experience already knew what benefits a good company would bring: huge bonuses, tons of welfare, an excellent work environment and the image of being a good marriage partner.
In the past, He Nuo barely knew how to laugh, or how to cry. Because no matter how happy or how delighted he was, there was no one around him who would share this joy with him. Thus, he didn’t even put in his 100% for his studies because he didn’t have an intense drive to excel; similarly, when he was upset or rueful no one would care either, so he became introverted and kept to himself quietly. When he was a kid, he probably couldn’t control himself, so he would still yearn for warmth and hope for the same chance of being patted on the head or shoulders by his parents too, just like how they would pat his older and younger brothers; he had even hoped for a chance to play with the neighbouring children then. But as he grew up, he realised that all these hopes were too much to hope for and would only bring him disappointment, so he never had such unrealistic ideas ever again.
Actually, because they had no television or computers in their era, the children of that period all played outside. Kids who were pampered at home would have parents who would enthusiastically welcome their friends, and might even bring some sweets out to entertain them as well. Otherwise, they would probably chase their friends away with a cold glint in their eyes. So who would be willing to play at a house that doesn’t welcome them? Kids who weren’t well-liked at home would thus be discriminated against and isolated by the neighbouring children. On the other hand, people like He Nuo’s fourth bro and fifth bro would have a lot of friends their age.
Perhaps, for as long as He Nuo could remember, he had already known how other people detested him and shunned him. It’s just that he had always ignored that idea, and that feeling. He had always been well-behaved and obedient as he hoped that it would change other people’s attitude towards him. When He Nuo admitted to himself that the dislike others had towards him wouldn’t change, he began to hide and tried his best to not be noticed by others, and always tried to reduce his sense of presence. He also formed a habit of taking responsibility for everything, to shoulder all his burdens by himself, which was why he could endure the torture of his illness by himself. As long as he could get through it somehow, he was cautious about not causing trouble for others, otherwise their hatred for him might grow.
However, after accepting other people’s indifference and contempt, he would feel upset too and occasionally feel a sense of inferiority. But he had always encouraged himself in secret. When he was a kid, He Nuo was enlightened by the books he read to imagine himself going to college, then working diligently to send his family more money. In his heart, as long as he could get into college, then he would have a new beginning and a new life. Not everyone would hate him there, and he could finally possess unlimited hopes and dreams. Throughout all these years, all the grievances and the hardships he had to endure…He Nuo thought that as long as he could get into college, then he would no longer think of these experiences as grievances and hardships. So when he met Shi Yan outside the school walls fortnightly in his second year, and as he faced Shi Yan’s scornful expression that made him look like he was looking at garbage, He Nuo treated it with complete indifference and apathy.
The He Nuo who was used to living alone in a frigid environment would feel indebted if he ever encountered just a small accidental act of goodwill, let alone the Shi Yan who had practically given him the entire sun. At this moment, He Nuo was unsure whether Shi Yan could help his fourth bro and whether he would be able to return to school because of that, but what he was very sure of was his gratitude towards Shi Yan. His heart was completely filled with his thanks for Shi Yan’s kindness1. Just like what his fourth bro had said, even if this matter couldn’t be accomplished, Shi Yan’s kindness would always be engraved in his heart.
He was extremely unwilling to let Shi Yan pay such a heavy price for him. But now, it didn’t just concern the problem of him going back to school. After he heard about how his fourth bro was being bullied, how could he reject Shi Yan and ask him to stand on the sidelines when he had the ability to resolve fourth bro’s problem? For his fourth bro’s sake, He Nuo couldn’t say anything.
Shi Yan said his goodbyes, he needed to go back to do what he had to do. He Nuo’s parents and his fourth bro sent him to the door, then Shi Yan didn’t forget to remind He Nuo, “Sort your books out at home tomorrow, don’t go to work.” These words were for the other three, of course.
When he returned home, Shi Yan very formally discussed this matter with his father. He exaggerated the friendship he shared with his friend’s older brother. He also said that because of their good relationship, he didn’t want his friend’s older brother — who could also be considered his friend — to get bullied, so he was taking the initiative to talk about it now. The next day, Shi Yan woke up especially early to emphasise to his father that he would be waiting for his call at home, and told him not to delay the matter for too long.
By the time it hit 10am, Shi Yan still hadn’t received a call. He was so anxious that he eventually called his father’s office. After his father’s secretary picked up his call, the secretary told him that his father was currently talking on the phone. Shi Yan didn’t allow the secretary to hang up on him and told the secretary to hold the line and wait. Through the phone, Shi Yan could hear his father talking about the matter regarding He Nuo’s fourth bro, so his mood improved.
When his father picked up his call, he said in a relaxed voice, “You couldn’t even wait one afternoon? Do you really think your old dad here only works for you?” And this was when Shi Yan knew that his request had been fulfilled, so he happily flattered his father for awhile. Then his father told him that even if his side was willing to accept him, if He Nuo’s fourth bro’s company wasn’t willing to let him go, the transfer wouldn’t be successful. Just now he was on the phone with the head of He Nuo’s fourth bro’s company to greet him and talk about how he wanted fourth bro to join his company.
Shi Yan’s father was someone who would go all the way if he wanted to do good. Otherwise, with such a good enterprise like his and Hei Aiwen’s lack of a background, his original company might very well make things difficult for him out of jealousy and disagree to his transfer. By then, his son would still come to look for him anyway. Why did Shi Yan’s father agree to Shi Yan’s request so readily? Shi Yan was his only son, and his only older sister had married off to a far away province. Shi Yan definitely could not stay too far away from his parents next time, so he would still have to return to this place in the future.
In addition to what he would leave to Shi Yan, Shi Yan’s future network needed to be established by himself. So when Shi Yan guaranteed and emphasised how close he was to this iron pellet friend of his, Shi Yan’s father was willing to grant his future connection some conveniences. After all, four years later he would be entering this environment as well. So Shi Yan’s father would not only transfer Hei Aiwen into his factory, but he would also put him in a position with plenty of opportunities for development to hone him
1. In the raws, the term used by He Nuo was to thank a emperor/high official for his favour/kindness↩