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Qi Ying did not expect that she would be so uncomfortable.
She had always known that this body resisted recalling things about her parents, whether intentionally or unconsciously, as long as she thought of her parents, her heart would cramp.
Ever since she knew she was going back to Yancheng to pay homage to her parents last night, she has been feeling uncomfortable. She tried not to think about it, memorizing words and texts and memorizing the periodic table to divert attention, but her heart kept cramping, like a small needle hidden in a corner of heart was pricking her secretly.
She didn’t know what was going on, and she didn’t know what to do.
This kept going on all day, and when she saw Ji Rang, she finally couldn’t bear it anymore.
She felt a little wronged and wanted to hide in his arms and cry, but she didn’t want him to worry. He always laughed hard, and he wasn’t expecting to see her cry.
Ji Rang held her small hand in his palm and said softly, “May I walk with you?”
So, he took her and walked along the way home. When passing by the dessert shop, he bought her strawberry pudding, and passing by the cold drink shop, he bought her ice cream. He sent a message to a friend with his cell phone in one hand, and soon someone drove a bunch of candied haws over.
Hearing him say that sweets can make people feel better, she had a little smile in her eyes.
After eating the candied haws, the corners of her mouth were full of pink sugar residue. He wetted a paper towel with a mineral water bottle, squatted down and wiped her face, and asked her, “Do you want to eat anything else?”
She shook her head and said softly, “Stop making me eat. I have to save space in my stomach and go home for dinner.”
He touched her little head and said, “Okay.”
Then he hailed a taxi to take her home.
She held her schoolbag and read the flight confirmation text message on his mobile phone, and asked in a low voice: “Are you really going to accompany me?”
Ji Rang laughed: “The tickets are booked, are they fakes?” He put the phone in her hand, “Write down the address.”
Qi Ying pursed her lips, lowered her head and typed slowly, thinking of something, she then raised her head and asked him: “How can I explain it to uncle?”
Ji Rang said, “Don’t tell him, I won’t let him find out.”
She blinked with big eyes, as if it seemed a little weird.
Ji Rang laughed: “It’s fine if you know it.” His eyes were gentle, “I have been by your side.” The thorn in her heart seemed to stop paining a lot.
She blinked her eyes and nodded obediently.
Yu Cheng’s flight to Feiyan City was at nine o’clock in the morning, and it landed at almost noon there. Ji Rang’s flight was two hours earlier. When he booked the ticket, he didn’t know when she would be on the plane, so he directly booked the earliest flight.
When he got up in the morning, Ji Rang called Liu Yao to ask for leave.
He used to skip class directly, but this time he actually asked for leave in a regular manner. Liu Yao found it incredibly unbelievable. After shock, he readily agreed.
It was useless to disagree anyway.
He didn’t bring anything. He was going back tomorrow anyway. He didn’t even carry a bag. He put a mobile phone, his ID and mobile charger in his pocket and went out with a pair of headphones.
When he arrived in Yancheng, the sky was overcast, and the temperature was not as high as Haicheng.
He wore a black sweater, put a hat on his head, and stood at the arrival gate waiting for her.
After standing for more than two hours, he saw Qi Ying and Yu Cheng dragging their suitcases out.
In one glance, she saw a young man wearing a hat in the crowd. She also saw someone nearby with a mobile phone taking pictures, thinking it was a celebrity.
She pursed her lips and smiled secretly at the young man.
He also smiled at her.
Then he put his hands in his pockets and walked over to follow her as if nothing had happened.
Yu Cheng was still muttering: “Yancheng is much colder than Haicheng. Fortunately, you wore a sweater. It is probably even colder on Jinglin Mountain. Let’s go after dinner.” Jinglin Cemetery was on Jinglin Mountain.
Ji Rang tilted his head to look at the black sweater on the little girl.
A little loose, with a little bat sleeve style, and a little bunny is embroidered with white thread on her chest, her delicate body is hidden under the wide sweater. She looked very well-behaved.
He walked very close next to her.
Occasionally, their shoulders even touched.
Qi Ying was so worried that her uncle would find the teenager beside her, that she didn’t dare to look at him. But there were too many people at the airport, and her uncle didn’t notice him at all.
There was a KFC in front of them, and Yu Cheng asked her for advice: “Is it OK to eat KFC? There is probably nothing delicious before Jinglin Mountain.”
After entering, Yu Cheng asked her what she wanted to eat, and then went to queue to order. She found a place to sit down, and saw the teenager standing at the door holding a mobile phone and scanning the app to order food. He was much faster than Yu Cheng who was standing in line. After ordering, he walked over and pulled the chair behind her back to sit down.
She was a little nervous, she felt like she was a thief, and she didn’t dare to turn around and talk to him.
Two stylishly dressed girls walked to the opposite side of Ji Rang with a dinner plate, and smiled and asked him: “Hello, can we sit here?”
Qi Ying heard the boy’s cold voice: “No.”
The two girls were embarrassed. So, they left without saying anything.
Qi Ying couldn’t help turning her head slightly, and whispered, “Don’t be so fierce, be polite.”
Ji Rang thought, Lao Tzu was already very polite by not telling them to go away. He tilted his chair’s legs and his head and smiled: “How is politeness?”
The little girl’s voice was soft: “You can say, sorry, there are people already sitting here.”
“Okay.” He laughed, “I remembered.”
As he was speaking, Qi Ying quickly turned around and sat holding herself tightly when she saw Yu Cheng approaching with the dinner plate. After dinner, Yu Cheng took her to take a taxi.
There was a line in the cab area, and many people waited for her to get on the car, but the teenager was no longer visible. Qi Ying looked outside the window of the car and sat back in the car silently. Her phone quickly received his text message: “I’m here, don’t be afraid.”
Her heart felt warm.
When they arrived at Jinglin Cemetery, the sky was much darker, and the clouds were overcast, as if indicating a sign of rain. Yu Cheng bought white chrysanthemums and black umbrellas at the flower-selling place under the mountain and led Qi Ying up the mountain.
With every step up, and after taking every step closer to the cemetery, it became more and more difficult for her to breathe.
The thorn in her heart started pricking her again.
This time it wasn’t one, it was a lot, it pierced her heart densely, and the pain made her tremble.
She was so uncomfortable that she was about to cry.
But no, she can’t let Uncle discover her abnormality. He thought that she was cured and she couldn’t let him fall into the worries day and night again.
She clenched her teeth, closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to suppress the biting pain in her body.
Her parents’ cemetery was halfway up the mountain, and many fresh flowers had been placed around the tombstone.
Dad’s colleague came to worship this morning.
She put down the white chrysanthemum in her arms and knelt before the tombstone, not even daring to look at the photos on the tombstone. Her forehead was placed against the cold stone stele, her delicate body trembling slightly, and she cried softly.
She looked lonely and pitiful.
Ji Rang stood far away, wishing to rush over and pull the little girl in his arms to coax.
Yu Cheng’s eyes were also red, and he sat down and talked a lot with his sister and brother-in-law.
He said that Yingying is happily staying in the new school, making many new friends, and improving her grades all the time. She recovered from her injury, and she could not only hear, but also speak, and she would definitely get better and better in the future, so they should not worry.
After talking for a long time, there was a light rain on the mountain.
Yu Cheng pulled the little girl up from the ground, opened the black umbrella to protect her in her arms, and muttered with relief: “Go, Mom and Dad don’t want to see you getting sick from the rain, don’t cry so much.”
She was very obedient and after snorting from her nose, she really stopped crying.
The two went down the mountain holding an umbrella.
When descending the steps, the teenager in a black sweater and hat held a bunch of daisies in his arms, walked up the mountain, and passed them by.
Yu Cheng found him familiar, but then felt it was an illusion. He rarely came to Yancheng, how could he know anyone.
The eyes of Qi Ying and the boy met in the rain. He smiled softly and withdrew his gaze.
It wasn’t until the two people disappeared in the rain curtain that he walked to the place where Qi Ying was kneeling and crying earlier and put the daisies in his arms in front of the tombstone.
The man in the photo wore a police uniform and was awe-inspiring. Qi Ying’s facial features looked like her mother, very gentle.
Fang Xu was right. He had always hated the police and the high-sounding justice and morality they spoke of. What is there to be proud of for the righteousness and morality in exchange for sacrificing yourself and your family?
But when he looked at the man in the photo, who smiled slightly, but his eyes firm and deep, as if even if there was an abyss ahead, as long as the police uniform was on him, he would still move forward.
Ji Rang lowered his eyes and knelt down in front of the tombstone.
He whispered: “Uncle and aunt, I’m Yingying’s… classmate.” He pursed his lips, and his voice was deep and firm: “I will take good care of her, and I won’t let her suffer even a little bit in this life.”
After saying this, he knocked his head in kowtow three times toward the tombstone and turned and went down the mountain.
Qi Ying’s house in Yancheng was still there, and Yu Cheng planned to wait for her to decide what to do with the house after she graduated from university.
But because there was no one living in it for nearly a year, the house had accumulated a lot of dust, and they didn’t bother to clean it just for staying one day. Yu Cheng booked a hotel near her house, and just went home to have a look before leaving.
Qi Ying sent the hotel address to Ji Rang yesterday. He booked the same hotel. After coming down from the mountain, his whole body was soaked. When he returned to the room, he took a hot bath, wrapped in a bath towel and dried his clothes.
It was already dark. Yu Cheng took Qi Ying to dinner. After a day of running around today, she was cold and tired. After returning to the hotel, he let her rest early.
She nodded obediently. Although she cried for a while during worshiping, she looked normal at other times. Yu Cheng didn’t think much about it and went back to the room by himself.
The rain was getting heavier, and it crackled on the rain shelter, as if it was about to smash a hole in the roof of the hotel.
Qi Ying took a shower, changed clothes, and stood on the balcony looking out.
She could see her former home, the gravel road she walked to and from school, the snack street she loved to eat at, the traffic light intersection where she once fell while biking.
All were trapped in a curtain of pouring rain, like the past that can’t be returned to, indistinct.
She squatted down holding her heart, sobbing again and again.
She didn’t dare to cry loudly. Uncle lived next door, and she was afraid he would hear it.
She didn’t know why she was so sad.
Obviously, she had never met those parents, and she was just an “outsider”.
Her door was knocked.
She rubbed her two small hands on her face indiscriminately, and forced herself to open the door.
Outside the door was Ji Rang, wearing clothes that were not dry, and holding his mobile phone, “You didn’t answer my call.” He looked at her red eyes, frowned, and whispered, “Yingying…”
The little girl finally couldn’t help it, she threw herself into his arms and burst into tears.
Ji Rang reached out and hugged her and hooked the door closed with his feet.
She cried so hard, she was out of breath, her tears were no better than the rain outside, and her crying broke his heart into pieces. There was no other way but to hug her tightly.
He wiped her tears with his hands, kissed her eyes, and asked her in a dumb voice, “Yingying, what’s wrong?”
She covered her heart, and the cry was soft and light: “The heart hurts.”
He also hurt. It was not enough that it had cracked, it had now already broken into pieces.
He didn’t dare to use all his strength to hug her, and whispered: “I’ll take you to the doctor, OK?”
She sobbed and shook her head: “No.” The little hand gripped the corner of his clothes tightly, and tears flowed. She couldn’t stop it, sobbing and muttering to him, “Is it bad for me to do this?”
He bowed his head and kissed her teary eyelashes: “Whatever you do is good.”
“I’m not good.” With eyes closed, her slender body trembled in his arms, and a painful cry overflowed from her lips: “I am not proud of him at all.”
I am actually… not proud at all.
I just want him to live.
I just want to think of him getting off work every day, riding his electric bike to pick me up from school.
To think of him bringing me delicious specialties every time he went on business trips out of town.
When thinking about him coming to a parent-teacher meeting for me, of me proudly telling my classmates that my father is a policeman.
I lied to everyone and I lied to myself.
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