Chapter 21 — An Old Story.
When the robbery occurred fifteen years ago, Yu Yan had just turned fifteen.
That day, one of her classmates visited her home and brought over a matcha cake for her, reportedly Berrika’s newest creation.
At that time, Berrika was the newest cake shop to open in A City and was quite popular amongst the high school girls.
Yu Yan had been in the kitchen, slicing up the cake. She then specifically called for her mother to come over and have a taste. Yu Yi just happened to be heading upstairs at that time. When Yu Yan saw him, she smiled and said, “My classmate brought over a cake. Do you want to try some?”
Yu Yi glanced at the cake on the table and saw that the outer appearance was not bad. His lips twitched minutely, but he did not reply. Mother Yu, as expected, prodded, “Yu Yi, how can you possibly like eating this?”
Yu Yan looked at Yu Yi and disagreed, saying “His expression obviously says that he wants to eat some.”
Mother Yu poked Yu Yan’s forehead. “Don’t joke, Yan’er. Your younger brother doesn’t like these things.” To Mother Yu, Yu Yi would only like the most delicate and elegant Western-style culinary dishes.
Yu Yan puffed out her cheeks but continued to look at Yu Yi. “Do you really not want to eat some?”
“Mn,” Yu Yi faintly agreed, his gaze sweeping over the matcha cake for one final glance before he turned around and went upstairs.
At this point in the story, Yu Xin’s lips rose into a vacant smile. “He actually wanted to eat it very much. After all, he brimmed with love for desserts. I know this better than anyone else.” He turned to face Tang Mi, a light laugh spilling from his mouth. “He even entered the Culinary World; shouldn’t that demonstrate how deep his love is?”
Tang Mi: “…”
She licked her somewhat chapped lips and asked, “After that?”
Yu Xin narrowed his eyes slightly. “Ever since Yu Yan was a child, she extremely adored Yu Yi, this younger brother of hers. With their parents always being very busy, Yu Yi was basically under her care. She firmly believed that Yu Yi wanted to eat the cake, so she deliberately went to Berrika to buy another one.” Yu Xin took a breath here. “Next to Berrika was a jewelry store. That day, an armed robbery incident broke out.”
Tang Mi’s eyes widened slightly. Although she had already found out about this event online, hearing about it now still caused her heart to be overwhelmed with shock.
“If, at that time, Yu Yi was capable of perceiving his own feelings, or perhaps be a bit more open, then the following event would simply never have happened. When the police notified the relevant family members to claim their deceased relative, Yu Yi insisted on going as well. He seemed to suffer an extreme psychological shock upon seeing Yu Yan’s dead body. After returning home, he was waylaid by an unceasing fever. Only after he recovered did I appear.”
Yu Xin’s lips quirked. In his eyes, a hint of a smile drifted restlessly. “According to his primary doctor, I replaced his older sister. I could perceive his heart more acutely than anyone else and would then help him do whatever he truly wanted. In the end, however, this was not because he missed his older sister; rather, this was because he felt guilty for her death.”
He slowly leaned closer to Tang Mi, deliberately lowering his voice—yet it did not have the usual trace of charm “Using his body like this, all consequences will fall under his responsibility. This way, he does not need to worry about involving others. For example…the one to die back then would not have been Yu Yan; it would’ve been him.”
Tang Mi’s heart suddenly shook. Yu Yi…wanted to die?
Yu Xin seemed to detect her train of thought and said with a smile, “I’ll tell you a secret. During those several days where he lay afflicted with a fever, he secretly attempted suicide, but a servant discovered him. Ah, isn’t it very tiring to always keep an emotionless, empty shell alive? Because, doing so resulted in his older sister’s death.”
Tang Mi’s palms became covered with a fine layer of sweat. She stared at Yu Xin and clenched her fists, saying, “It’s not like that. I do not believe there is someone in this world who is completely emotionless. He just has a barrier preventing him from perceiving his feelings, that’s all. If he truly did not feel a speck of emotion, then how come you appeared?”
There was definitely something he wanted in this world, even if he himself did not realize this. And this—this was the reason for Yu Xin’s existence.
Yu Xin’s eyelashes fluttered twice as he pulled away from Tang Mi slightly. “Your impression of him is awfully good.”
“I simply…” Tang Mi pursed her lips and picked up the bottle of brandy to pour herself a glass as well. “You spoke so much about yourself to me. In return, I too will tell you about myself.”
Yu Xin watched her take a large gulp of brandy and seized the glass from her hands, assuming a respectfully listening appearance.
Tang Mi took a deep breath before smiling at Yu Xin. “I spent my childhood in the countryside, with my paternal grandfather and grandmother. My dad is a photographer and travels all year round. My mom is a jewelry design specialist, and when she married my dad, her business was just starting out. The two of them were always extremely busy and had no time to take care of me.
“I remember, in elementary school, there was a time when they both came home. At that time, I was very happy, because, at last, my parents were living together. Afterward, however, I realized…” Tang Mi tilted her head, pausing for a moment. “A marriage between two artists—is a disaster.
“Because dad was not at home for years on end, the two of them met only a handful of times a year. If they wanted to talk to each other, they did so through the phone. Every time they talked over the phone, however, there would be endless fights. Mn…jewelry design sounds very romantic. My mom really was a very romantic person, so she absolutely could not tolerate this kind of separated lifestyle all year round. That was when I began hating my dad. Why was he never at home? Mom was very pitiful all alone, but after I saw dad’s photos in magazines, I suddenly felt like I could understand why he persisted with such a lifestyle. Those photos—made me see a completely different world.”
Tang Mi’s eyes reddened slightly at this point. She took a breath before continuing, “But I also knew their marriage was already reaching its end. The same day I finished taking my college entrance exam, they announced their divorce to me. At that time, I had expected it a little, or it would be better to say, I actually sighed in relief on their behalf. After the divorce, the house was set aside for me. My mom remarried half a year later, whereas my dad continued to explore the world like before, all year round. He simply sent me money to cover my living expenses periodically and occasionally a few postcards. The day I graduated university, I moved back to the house from the dormitory. The house was absolutely empty, without even a trace of warmth left.
“That evening, I had a dream in which, I returned to my childhood home in the countryside. In the garden, the vines hanging on the trellis were heavy with grapes. My grandpa was cutting off grape bunches while telling me the story of the fox and the grapes. This dream felt extraordinarily real; I could even smell the faint fragrance of grapes in the summer afternoon breeze.”
Tang Mi looked up, as if trying to prevent the tears pooling in her eyes from falling. “The next morning when I woke up, I cried for a very long time. Because at that time, grandpa had already passed away eight years ago, and during that time, I finally realized that some things will never return.”
Even if she stubbornly stayed in that house, she could not bring anything back to what it once was.
She turned her head to look at Yu Xin, slightly misty eyes still shining brightly. “I sold the house and went alone to France to study pastries. That probably was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I knew, however, that I would not continue growing if I had not.”
Because life never stayed stagnant.
Yu Xin stayed seated, staring at her with glossy obsidian-like eyes. He then shifted, as if he wanted to pull Tang Mi into his embrace, but Tang Mi continued to speak. “If I can mature and move on like this, then Yu Yi can definitely do the same.”
Yu Xin’s eyelashes fluttered. His eyes darkened as he pressed Tang Mi into the sofa. “If he matures, I will disappear. Do you want me to disappear?”
Tang Mi froze, too sluggish to reply. Yu Xin’s heart slowly sank, a trace of despair manifesting in his gaze as he looked at her. Still, he kept praying. “I was undoubtedly the one to like you first…”
His words had yet to fade away when his warm lips enveloped Tang Mi’s. Tang Mi stiffened completely before becoming aware that he was stealthily prying open her lips.
His movements were so gentle and cautious. Bit by bit, her lips parted—like an abandoned pet praying one last time for the master of the house to take in the pet. Each tiny movement shouted, Don’t leave me.
Tang Mi’s heart suddenly softened. She simply could not push him away. The faint scent of mint tickled her nose and gradually relaxed her nerves. Slowly, her eyes closed.
Yu Xin’s eyelashes fluttered. His eyes opened, and he looked down at the extremely close Tang Mi, a near imperceptible trace of panic in his eyes. Tang Mi’s eyelashes still held traces of tears, like dew on the lotus leaves in the early morning—enchanting.
He looked at her for a moment before slowly closing his eyes.
Although Tang Mi had always been very obedient when kissed, this time, she could no longer breathe. At last, she struggled free, pushing him away.
He paused his actions and released her lips slightly. Tang Mi wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to free herself, but he slowly collapsed into her shoulder.
Tang Mi: “…”
She maintained this position for three seconds, stunned, before shaking him slowly. “Mr. Yu?”
She unwillingly shook his shoulder. “Mr. Yu?”
Like before, no reply.
Tang Mi’s jaw dropped.
Did he fall asleep after kissing her?!
…Was kissing her really so boring?!
Panting with rage, she wanted to shove him off of her, but after her hand fell upon his body once more, her actions subconsciously became gentle.
Gazing at the man sleeping soundly on the sofa, Tang Mi helplessly smiled. She went to her bedroom to plug in her phone charger. After starting it up, she called Luo Hao.
Luo Hao seemed to be extremely surprised to receive a call from her, but Tang Mi remained absolutely calm and bluntly said, “Mr. Luo, my apologies. CEO Yu fell asleep at my place. Can you come and pick him up?”
Luo Hao: “…”
Why did he feel that this information was somewhat huge?! CEO Yu, This was already amazing, unbelievably amazing!
Tang Mi continued, “Mn, he drank some alcohol, so he can’t drive.”
Luo Hao made a supreme effort to calm his surging emotions. With a steady, collected voice, he said, “I understand. I’ll head over immediately.”
“Sorry to trouble you.” Tang Mi hung up, unaware of a pair of closed eyes slightly opening in the living room. He gazed in her direction for a moment or two before quickly closing his eyes once more.
Today I read Keigo Higashino’s 《The Grocery Store Which Relieves Anxiety》. Although it is not a murder mystery novel, the storyline is still extremely elaborate! Furthermore, unlike many of Keigo Higashino’s works that heavily depicts the darkness of humanity, this work is packed with positivity. I felt very moved when reading it; I recommend!
If you like Keigo Higashino’s work, little angels can go buy and read it!