Chen Yuncheng didn’t bring a change of clothes with him, so he simply showered and came out of the bathroom wearing the same clothes he had worn during the day. However, since the temperature in the room was almost 20 degrees, he didn’t wear a sweater and only wore autumn clothes1 on top.
When Chen Yuncheng came back and sat beside the bed, Ning Junyan took some medicine and rubbed the medicine on his sprained foot.
Chen Yuncheng said quickly, “I’ll do it myself.”
Ning Junyan squatted in front of him, just looked up at him silently, didn’t say anything, and naturally didn’t give him the medicine in his hand.
The bruising medicine was in the form of a paste, and Ning Jun Yan squeezed some into his palm before saying, “Pull up your trouser some more.”
Chen Yuncheng was still wearing long jeans, so he pulled the trousers up to expose his ankles completely.
Ning Junyan spread the ointment in the palms of both hands and wrapped his warm hands around Chen Yuncheng’s ankle at the same time.
At that moment, Chen Yuncheng could feel that the temperature of his palm was really high, and the sticky ointment seemed to melt away instantly, sticking to his skin and drilling down the pores.
There was no superfluous expression on Ning Junyan’s face. He pressed his hands against Chen Yuncheng’s ankle for a short time without moving, and only after a while did he gradually rub the ointment away with a very gentle force.
Chen Yuncheng felt a little pain, but it wasn’t very painful because Ning Junyan had a good grasp of his strength, and the ointment was too slippery after applying it, like putting a layer of oil on his feet, it was slightly cold at first, and then it started to heat up again.
Ning Junyan rubbed him gently for four or five minutes. When he released his hand, he held Chen Yuncheng’s ankle and placed his foot on the edge of the bed, then stood up from the edge of the bed.
Chen Yuncheng had one foot on the floor with his slippers on, and the other foot on the edge of the bed unconsciously leaned back slightly, raised his head to look at Ning Junyan.
Ning Junyan’s hands were full of ointment. He glanced at Chen Yuncheng and said, “Your face is very red.”
Only then did Chen Yuncheng suddenly feel his cheeks burning.
Ning Junyan walked towards the bathroom and said as he walked, “Open the window a little later. The room may be too stuffy.”
Chen Yuncheng said, “Okay.” Then he lay on the bed on his back and took a deep breath.
That night, they opened the window a little, and the heating in the room was not as effective. The temperature was slightly lower, but it made people feel more comfortable sleeping.
Chen Yuncheng felt that he slept too much during the day, so he began to lose sleep at night. He lay in bed for a long time without falling asleep.
On the bed next to him, Ning Junyan didn’t make a sound, and Chen Yuncheng didn’t know if he had fallen asleep. As he thought about it, they hadn’t slept in the same room for many years. They had slept in the same bed for four years. Why did it feel so strange now?
Chen Yuncheng had a lot of thoughts on his mind, which piled up and made him think for a long time in the unfamiliar hotel room before he drifted off to sleep until late at night.
The next morning, Chen Yuncheng woke up when the sky was slightly bright. He took a look at the time on his mobile phone, it was almost eight in the morning.
He put the phone back under the pillow and turned to look at the bed next door. Ning Junyan still maintained a quiet sleeping position, and his eyes were closed as if he had not woken up.
Chen Yuncheng lifted the quilt and got out of bed. The moment he stepped on the ground, he felt that his left ankle still hurt, but it didn’t seem to be as swollen as last night.
He originally wanted to go to the bathroom, but when he looked at Ning Junyan in the bed opposite, he suddenly felt that from this angle, when he slept with his eyes closed, it was very similar to when he was a child. At that time, they both slept together, and sometimes Chen Yuncheng woke up face to face with Ning Junyan, so close that he could feel Ning Junyan’s breath, but neither of them resented the other.
At that moment, Chen Yuncheng found some of the warmth of his childhood in his memories. He squatted down beside Ning Junyan’s bed, tilted his head to look at his sleeping face, couldn’t help smiling, and called him softly, “Yanyan?”
Ning Junyan didn’t respond.
Chen Yuncheng felt a little amused. He stood up and planned to leave, but at this moment, the person on the bed suddenly reached out and grabbed his wrist. He lowered his head and saw Ning Junyan lying on the bed, opening his eyes and looking at him.
“What did you call me just now?” Ning Junyan asked him.
Chen Yuncheng said, “Yanyan?” After speaking, he quickly explained, “I just suddenly remembered that I didn’t know your name at that time and had been calling you that.”
“Well,” Ning Junyan said, “Say it once more.”
Chen Yuncheng looked at him and didn’t speak.
Ning Junyan was very persistent, “Say it again.”
Chen Yuncheng was not too sure and spoke softly, “Yanyan?”
Ning Junyan said, “En, I’m here.” Then he let go of Chen Yuncheng’s hand and pulled up the quilt to cover half of his face.
They ate breakfast directly at the hotel.
Today, whether or not Zhou Yan and his parents could be found, Chen Yuncheng didn’t plan to stay, so he checked out of the room after breakfast, and the two of them drove out of the hotel.
It was almost ten o’clock in the morning when he returned to the community where Zhou Yan’s parents lived. Chen Yuncheng went upstairs and knocked on the door with a sprained foot. There was still no response from the house, so he and Ning Junyan came out again to the entrance of the neighbourhood.
There were a few chairs outside the gatekeeper’s room. Chen Yuncheng spoke to the gatekeeper and asked him if he could sit for a while.
The uncle nodded generously.
Chen Yuncheng immediately said to Ning Junyan, “Sit down for a while.”
Ning Junyan sat down on a chair while Chen Yuncheng was standing by the gatekeeper’s room window, chatting with the gatekeeper.
He said they were waiting for the lady Li they were looking for yesterday.
The gatekeeper uncle propped his head on one hand and leaned over the table by the window and said. He then said, “I was beginning to think you were some kind of debt collector.”
Chen Yuncheng smiled and said, “Do I look like a debt collector?”
The gatekeeper uncle said, “There are no rules on what the debt collector must look like. It’s hard to say whether you look like it or not. Anyway, I don’t think the young man you’re with looks like one anyway.”
Chen Yuncheng glanced at Ning Junyan and said with a slight smile, “He really doesn’t look like it. He’s a doctor.”
The gatekeeper uncle clapped his hands, “Right, I told you he was so good-looking. Why should he collect debts? He could be a celebrity. It’s good to be a doctor too, doctors make money.”
Chen Yuncheng joked with him, “So you think I’m not good-looking enough?”
The uncle said, “I didn’t say it, you are also good-looking, but you don’t have his manners.”
“What kind of manners?” Chen Yuncheng asked.
The uncle thought about it and said, “I can’t tell.”
Chen Yuncheng understood what the uncle gatekeeper meant in his heart. He himself had grown up lonely and poor and had grown up at the bottom of society, and naturally, he didn’t have some of Ning Junyan’s manners. No matter whether his face was good-looking or not, in the eyes of others, he looked like a gangster, and he would be regarded as a debt collector under such circumstances.
He was a little at loss.
At this time, the uncle patted his shoulder, pointed to a woman who was walking along the street with a travel bag and said, “That’s the lady Li you’re looking for.”
Chen Yuncheng raised his head and saw that the woman was in her forties or fifties, wearing a long down jacket with a floral pattern, and her short hair was curled in small curls. From a distance, he could indeed find some traces of Zhou Yan’s resemblance to her face.
“Wait for me,” Chen Yuncheng said to Ning Junyan. He walked towards the woman, stopped in front of her, and said as gently as possible, “Hello, Auntie, my name is Chen Yuncheng, I am Zhou Yan’s friend.”
The woman’s eyes widened at once. The woman’s surname was Li, and her name was Li Yanping. She was indeed Zhou Yan’s mother.
She was very vigilant about the appearance of Chen Yuncheng and Ning Junyan, and kept repeating, “Zhou Yan has not been back for a long time.”
Ning Junyan stood beside him and didn’t speak. Chen Yuncheng patiently said to her, “Have you been out of contact?”
Li Yanping shook her head, “He ran out when he was in his teens. What kind of contact is there? He didn’t call back.”
Chen Yuncheng said, “Has he come back to find you recently?”
“No, no,” Li Yanping, carrying her bag, wanted to bypass them and continue walking towards the neighbourhood, seemingly not wanting to continue the conversation.
Chen Yuncheng said to her, “Do you know that he has a child? The child is in the hospital now. I think he may come back to ask you for help.”
Li Yanping stopped and said subconsciously, “I don’t have any money either.”
Chen Yuncheng suddenly felt sad. He looked at Li Yanping and didn’t speak for a while.
Ning Junyan looked at Chen Yuncheng’s profile silently and then said to Li Yanping: “I don’t need money from you. I just want to know if he has come back to look for you. I know you’ve been away from home recently. Can you ask Zhou Yan’s father if he’s seen him?”
Li Yanping looked embarrassed.
Chen Yuncheng said, “We’ll leave immediately after we ask.”
Li Yanping said, “He should be at home now. You come with me.”
Did I mention before that the Yan in Yanyan and Yan in Ning Junyan were written in a different Chinese character, but both have the same pinyin. I honestly dunno if I should really differentiate them two or just let it be….
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