Chapter 34 – Talking heart to heart
Even with his eyes closed, Ren Zhouyuan seemed to be able to feel the touch of Leonid. When he was lying on bed, the surrounding darkness made the environment much quieter, making his heartbeat even louder. He felt very anxious, as if there were ants crawling all over his heart, and a kind of numbness spread all over his body.
When he thought about what Leonid had said, not only did Ren Zhouyuan find that his heart was beating much faster, but he started to blush as well.
Ren Zhouyuan was almost 30, and he had experiences in admiring a person. However, it’s been too long and his previous “relationships” all ended with him admiring someone secretly. It felt all too fresh for him now that someone told him so bluntly that they’re one family. Although it’s still not a very serious one, it was enough to move Ren Zhouyuan.
After having lost sleep for one night, Ren Zhouyuan could only fall asleep for a short while when the sun rose. Just when he’d had slept less than 2 hours, An An rubbed his eyes and got up, waking Ren Zhouyuan too. Even though he wanted to fall back to sleep, he couldn’t.
After brushing his teeth and washing his face, Ren Zhouyuan walked to the living room. Leonid had already made breakfast and was already eating it with An An. After saying “good morning” to Ren Zhouyuan, he continued spreading some jam on An An’s bread, as if nothing had happened the previous night.
In fact, Leonid didn’t think that anything special had happened the previous day. For him, what he had seen was not much different than what he’d usually say. Since long time ago, he had already shown Ren Zhouyuan what he thought, and he had just repeated those words.
However, Ren Zhouyuan didn’t think the same. He lowered his head somewhat with embarrassment, and after replying “good morning” back to Leonid, he sat next to An An and he started to prepare breakfast for himself and An An.
Leonid looked at him and he couldn’t help but smile. Pretending as if nothing was going on, he continued eating his breakfast, and he only helped Ren Zhouyuan when he almost spilled the milk over.
After finishing breakfast, An An went back to his toy room. Leonid looked at Ren Zhouyuan who was hiding in the kitchen washing dishes, and he said to him while leaning on the door, “I want to talk to you about Vichy’s manuscript.”
Ren Zhouyuan slipped the plate on his hand and made a loud noise. Leonid shook his head helplessly and helped him to turn off the faucet. Then, he took his plate, put it aside and said, “don’t be nervous, I won’t eat you.”
Ren Zhouyuan sighed silently in his heart, feeling that his behavior had been too inexplicable that day. He acted exactly like a little guy who had fallen in love for the first time, and he felt that he’d completely lost face.
He took a deep breath, and when he faced Leonid’s face again, he looked more normal, “wait for me, let me finish this and I’ll catch up with you.”
The two were sitting face to face. There was hot coffee on the table, yet no one intended to start drinking it first.
Ren Zhouyuan coughed once and broke the silence, “about the manuscript of Vichy…what were you going to say?”
“You…” Leonid sounded hesitant, “I need to know the extent of your acceptance for this matter.”
“What do you mean?” Ren Zhouyuan didn’t get it.
Leonid started to explain in a serious manner, “no matter what, my family means everything to me. I don’t know for which reason you accepted this manuscript, but as far as I know, you’d always rejected doing it before. If you changed your mind because of me, then I’d want you to refuse it instead.”
Ren Zhouyuan was stunned, then shook his head with a smile, “you’re overthinking this,” then thinking for a while, he continued, “I’d put it this way – before, I had to accept manuscripts that I didn’t want to do, and it’s because I had to earn a living. However, I don’t need to do this now. I can accept manuscripts that I’m willing to work on. Since I’ve accepted Vichy’s task, it means that I’m seeing no problem with it. Also, it’s impossible to work on only the tasks that we like, and I can still differentiate between personal and professional matters.”
Leonid looked at him with a weird look. He thought – well, you’re exactly someone who can’t differentiate between personal and professional matters. However, he recalled how bright Ren Zhouyuan’s eyes were when he was talking about his manuscripts. On one hand, he wanted Ren Zhouyuan to be entirely under his protection, so that he didn’t need to do anything except taking care of An An at home; on the other hand, he wanted to keep the way Ren Zhouyuan looked, and he wanted to continue seeing him as bright as now.
After struggling for a while, Leonid sighed and nodded, “I got it. I’ll consider about it.”
Ren Zhouyuan rarely saw him like that, he found it new and funny at the same time.
Initially, this was something related to work, even though he’s someone working with words, he’s not as “pure” as Leonid had thought. When he chose the topics for manuscripts used for professional use, he would still try to comply to the client’s request. Also, he had experiences with writing scripts for the others, this kind of persistence was really not worth mentioning.
However, Ren Zhouyuan would be lying if he said that he hadn’t been under the influence of Leonid for this project.
If he hadn’t known beforehand that it was Vichy who asked, Ren Zhouyuan might as well hand this task to Fan Wenfeng. In nicer words, he’s an easy-going person; when putting it in harsher words, he’s weak and without determination. Since a long time ago, he had been following another person’s instructions to live.
All in all, having no one to rely on is too painful.
When living with Leonid, Ren Zhouyuan also admitted that he had taken too much but given too little. If he couldn’t do an easy thing like this, he didn’t know what else he could do.
He didn’t have any experiences with living with a family, but he still believed that in any relationship, it wouldn’t work by merely giving or taking. In a family, this wouldn’t work, let alone in relationships.
Ren Zhouyuan thought about it for a long time, then said to Leonid, “in fact, I’d wanted to accept this manuscript for a very long time. It’s only that when I first joined Vichy, I had to take care of An An and I didn’t have much time. Now, my schedule has become more flexible and it’s no longer a problem for me.”
Leonid raised his eyebrows at him. Obviously, he didn’t buy this, but he knew perfectly that Ren Zhouyuan was trying to comfort him. He said somewhat jokingly, “oh? Then did you think about how to write it at that time?”
Ren Zhouyuan didn’t know how to answer. He paused and tried to recall the content that he’d written, then thought about Vichy’s present situation, he rubbed his nose and continued, “when a foreign culture enters the Chinese market, its original style should be retained while combining with the domestic culture.”
When Ren Zhouyuan said this, he looked too normal. Leonid couldn’t tell at once if he truly meant it or not, he thought that these intellectual people all knew perfectly how to fool the others, and he had no intention to keep discussing about this topic with him.
Leonid drank a sip of coffee. There was something else that he cared about, and the environment was fine so he seized the opportunity to ask, “then do you want to go back to the archaeological team?”
Ren Zhouyuan’s hand stopped, he lowered his head, took a sip of coffee and shook his head, “back then, I wanted to gain some experience and to earn more money. The life inside the team wasn’t as comfortable as the current one. Although I learnt a lot, it wasn’t an ideal job for me.”
Leonid nodded when he heard what was said. In the past, he didn’t know much about Ren Zhouyuan. He could only guess what he wanted, and what he could provide based on his observations, but after this conversation, he felt that he’d become closer to this person.
It’s hard to describe him as not opinionated, since he had his own opinions on many things, and he knew what he wanted, what he shouldn’t be doing; however, he couldn’t be described as strong-willed either, since he sometimes seemed as if he didn’t care about anything, and he could be very casual.
Ren Zhouyuan once said that he wasn’t that weak, but in Leonid’s eyes, he was even weaker than Russian women, especially after hearing about his past experiences, Leonid felt even more empathetic and helpless. If Ren Zhouyuan said something wasn’t bothering him, Leonid wasn’t sure if he’s telling the truth.
Ren Zhouyuan’s used to keeping everything for himself. If he didn’t say anything, Leonid had no ways to know what he’s thinking. Therefore, he started to look for ways to make him talk more, and he hoped to slowly walk into his heart.
The two were learning how to get along. Although they had to be careful, they seemed to be peaceful after all.
All in all, having a family is better than being alone.