Loneliness - novelonlinefull.com
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When Chen Dong Lan woke, it was still dark.
Every day, he only slept for seven hours. He would get up early even if he had slept late, and even earlier if he had slept early.
Because his middle school was far from home, he developed the habit of setting aside extra time in the mornings.
Sitting on the bed, Chen Dong Lan checked the time. It was just over four in the morning.
There was a message from Xiao De on his phone. He and Olivia had already boarded the plane a few hours ago, estimated to reach home at noon the next day, saying that he would call once they landed. He also said that when he sent Chen Dong Lan home, Yuan Yuan entertained him with tea and drove him and Olivia to the airport. He hoped that Chen Dong Lan could help to convey his thanks.
Chen Dong Lan stared at the screen in a daze.
Last night, although he was very drunk, he was still vaguely conscious. When he was carried by Yuan Yuan and felt the vibrations of his back when he spoke, he fell asleep completely.
In this world, he couldn't find a place more rea.s.suring than by Yuan Yuan's side.
He turned on the table lamp and read a book to pa.s.s the time. When the sky started to brighten, Chen Dong Lan discovered that it had snowed at night. Outside, there was a vast expanse of white.
He went to the kitchen to make breakfast, starting to think about what to make, when Yuan Yuan walked out from the room.
“Morning. Are pancakes okay for breakfast?”
“Yeah.” Yuan Yuan responded, then stood outside the kitchen looking at his back.
Chen Dong Lan sensed his gaze and turned to meet his eyes. “What?”
Yuan Yuan quickly shifted his gaze. “Nothing. I'm looking at the snow outside.”
Chen Dong Lan nodded but felt it was strange. Could he see out the window from that position? He took out the dough which he had previously prepared and stored in the refrigerator. Heating the pan, he tore off two lumps and placed it in the pan, using the spatula to flatten it. “The weather forecast says it's going to snow during the day and the wind would be strong. Remember to add an extra layer of clothing.”
Yuan Yuan replied absently, “Okay, you too.”
After a portion of pancakes was cooked, Chen Dong Lan put some blanched broccoli beside it and placed it on the table, saying, “It's ready.” He then went back to the kitchen to make his own.
He was always like this, subconsciously prioritising anything related to Yuan Yuan.
Yuan Yuan waited at the table for Chen Dong Lan.
Chen Dong Lan's pancake was prepared a lot more crudely, not very uniformly pressed. It was alright in the middle, but the sides were a little scorched and there was no broccoli. If outsiders were to see it, they wouldn't be able to tell that the two dishes were made by the same person.
“Why didn't you eat first?” Chen Dong Lan sat opposite Yuan Yuan.
Yuan Yuan answered with a question. “Why doesn't yours have broccoli?”
Chen Dong Lan was focused on cutting his pancake into small pieces. “I don't really like it. Would you like some more milk?”
Yuan Yuan shook his head and did not say anything more.
He remembered when they were shopping together in the supermarket.
Every time Yuan Yuan thought that he had bought everything he wanted, Chen Dong Lan would continue to ask him what he liked to eat, then added more things to the shopping cart. When Yuan Yuan asked him what he liked, he would shake his head and say that he was fine with anything.
If Yuan Yuan had been more attentive, he would realise that many times, he would have things in his bowl that Chen Dong Lan didn't have. So many days, how many things did Chen Dong Lan make that he didn't really like to eat?
Yuan Yuan simply couldn't continue to think about it.
He got up and poured himself a cup of hot water. His mind drifted and the water gradually overflowed without him noticing.
The hot water flowed onto his fingers, causing him sharp pain.
“Yuan Yuan!” Chen Dong Lan exclaimed, almost jumping up from his chair.
The water had boiled over several minutes ago but had been kept in a covered thermos flask. Anyone who touched it would surely get scalded.
Chen Dong Lan carefully took the cup from Yuan Yuan and clasped his hand in his own palm to examine it.
The area that got scalded was clearly red.
He quickly pushed Yuan Yuan to the kitchen sink and turned on the tap to let the water run over the burn.
“I'll go and look for medicine for the burn.” Chen Dong Lan was more upset than if he had burnt himself. The first aid kit was in the television cabinet, and he pulled the box out in a flurry. Searching through it, he couldn't find the medicine, pouring everything out and spreading the contents on the floor to look for it.
“Why isn't it here?” Chen Dong Lan pushed away the box gloomily. Only one thought came to mind. “I'll go out and buy it. I'll be back soon.”
Hearing this, Yuan Yuan recovered from his s.p.a.ced-out state. The pain on his hand wasn't intolerable. He turned off the water and called out to Chen Dong Lan, “It's okay. It's not very painful.”
“How can it be okay? We need to deal with it quickly or it'll blister.” Like a gust of wind, he took out a coat from the room, hung it on his arm and went to put on his shoes.
“Don't worry.” Yuan Yuan grabbed his arm. “Time is running out. You'll be late for work.”
Chen Dong Lan's eyes were full of anxiety. “I'll run.”
Yuan Yuan didn't release him. “There's snow on the road and it's difficult to walk. Don't run.”
Chen Dong Lan pushed his hand away and stopped halfway. He was relieved to find that it wasn't the injured one. “It doesn't matter if I'm late.”
Yuan Yuan had no other alternative. “By the time you get back, I'll be late too. Why don't we do this? I'll leave now and buy the medicine on the way to work.”
Sure enough, as soon as he brought up that “he would be late too”, Chen Dong Lan hesitated.
After a moment, he nodded.
He couldn't act on his own will to handle the situation, couldn't buy the medicine back quickly nor could he transfer Yuan Yuan's wound onto himself.
Under his concerned gaze, Yuan Yuan put on his coat, tidied up his things and left for work early.
After going downstairs and walking far away, Yuan Yuan still seemed to feel Chen Dong Lan's gaze.
In fact, people like Chen Dong Lan couldn't hide their feelings well. The more they suppressed it, the more difficult it was to hide it. The moment there was a breakthrough, everything would come to light. Yuan Yuan would often catch Chen Dong Lan's attentive eyes when he suddenly turned. If he didn't think in that direction, he would only have found it strange. Once he realised that it was affection, he couldn't avoid feeling his back turn numb, as if his entire heart had been soaked in warm water. Most people who weren't good with words were like this. Since they couldn't express their love verbally, they expressed it a hundred times more with their eyes.
Why was it that before…he never sensed it?
Yuan Yuan's breathing was chaotic. Even after a long time, he had not restored his calm.
By the weekend, his wound was recovered enough not to affect his daily life. These days, he took a very long time to fall asleep. During work, it was difficult for him to concentrate, often staring at words on the paper, while his thoughts drifting to places unknown.
He didn't know.
He didn't know how to face it.
For any matter, it needed to be faced in order to be resolved. If he didn't dare to face it, it would only result in long term suffering.
Because of his burns, Chen Dong Lan took over the dishwashing duties. For many days, his hands did not touch water outside of his necessary cleanliness. In addition, Chen Dong Lan would remember the time when he needed to change his dressing. He didn't need an alarm clock and would remember it every time.
Yuan Yuan was deeply worried.
He clearly knew his intentions, so he should give an answer.
If he didn't say anything, looking at Chen Dong Lan from an outsider's point of view, it would be too unfair.
After dinner on Friday, Yuan Yuan made up his mind and suggested, “Tomorrow, let's go and take a look at that forest park we went to the last time. After a snowfall, the mountain scenery would be even more beautiful. There was a lot of snow this year, and the weekend holiday is long. It'll be a rare opportunity.”
Chen Dong Lan was in a daze. “Who else is going?”
Yuan Yuan could see the pleasant surprise in his eyes clearly. “No one else. Just the two of us.”
Chen Dong Lan didn't reply for a long time.
“You don't want to go?”
“It's not that.” Chen Dong Lan shook his head. He was just thinking…
Thinking how nice it would be.
It was a scene he had kept in his beautiful imagination from a long time ago.
Early on Sat.u.r.day morning, they packed their luggage and drove towards the forest park. On the long journey, they didn't chat, as if the act of being together itself was a kind of communication between them.
This was actually due to Chen Dong Lan.
In order to be considerate of others, Yuan Yuan would normally make an effort to find a topic of conversation. Outsiders' comments of him would often be——it's so comfortable being with you. I never have to think of a topic, but there would naturally be something to talk about.
They didn't know that behind most of the “naturally”, it was him who wasn't acting natural.
But when he was with Chen Dong Lan, he would normally be quieter. Chen Dong Lan didn't need many words, and as long as they were sitting together, he was very satisfied. Maybe feeling his satisfaction, Yuan Yuan would put down the burden of being “considerate” and not forcefully look for a conversation topic.
Unknowingly, Yuan Yuan had long received more than he had given him. His principle of fairness could never come into use with Chen Dong Lan.
After all, there wasn't another person who would converge the good intentions back to the originator due to an even deeper sense of good intention.
This time, Yuan Yuan booked two single rooms at different levels in the hotel.
Handing the card key over to Chen Dong Lan, he said, “We'll nap first, then go climb the mountain in the afternoon.”
Chen Dong Lan took the card key, feeling a sense of disappointment and loss. He nodded and said, “How about lunch? Shall we go and eat now?”
Yuan Yuan shook his head. “No, I'm a bit tired from driving and will rest for a while. Later I'll order my lunch up to my room. If you're hungry, you can go and have lunch at the restaurant first.”
Chen Dong Lan was keenly aware of exhaustion in his words.
“Okay. Have a good rest.” He backed up a step and took the initiative to put some distance between them.