The appointment was scheduled for right after the Mid-Autumn Festival.
On the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Ye An accompanied Xie Shuo to Grandfather Xie’s place for a family dinner. Xie Yuran was also present.
Ye An had rarely seen Xie Yuran in the past few months. She heard that he was transferred to a foreign branch for some time after the last development project.
Ye An looked at him for the first time in a while and noted that he looked more dispirited and haggard than before. He only managed to barely smile when talking to Grandfather Xie.
Xie Yuran happened to sit diagonally across from Xie Shuo during the meal, and Ye An noticed him occasionally glancing at Xie Shuo.
After eating, Ye An sat with Grandfather Xie for a while, but before he could ask when they were going to have children, Ye An dragged Xie Shuo outside to take a walk.
In the ancient-style courtyard, the paths intertwined, carefully designed to avoid the flowers and vegetables growing in the area. As they walked, they suddenly met Xie Yuran by the rose bushes.
He seemed to have drank quite a bit of alcohol. He wore a white shirt and black trousers, and his handsome face was tinged with pink. His eyes were somewhat glazed over with drunkenness.
“Ge,” he greeted Xie Shuo first before turning to Ye An and saying, “Da Sao.”
Ye An smiled politely. Because they were close, she could smell the scent of alcohol on his body.
Xie Yuran put one of his hands in his pocket and asked, “I heard Grandpa say that you’re going to see Professor Cen tomorrow.”
Xie Shuo replied with an “En. “I’m probably going to stay there for a while. Whenever I’m not here, you can ask Zhong Fu about things.”
Xie Yuran smiled with vague reluctance. “All right, Ge, take care of your body. If anything happens, just have Da Sao call home at any time.”
After these words of courtesy, Xie Yuran couldn’t think of anything else to say, so he returned from the path he came from. Before entering the house, he glanced back at them.
Ye An made eye contact with him. She supported Xie Shuo, whispering, “Your brother seems a little strange today.”
Since Xie Shuo couldn’t see, he wasn’t aware of Xie Yuran’s appearance. He looked up and asked, “How so?”
Ye An looked back and answered, “I’m not sure; something just feels off.”
Xie Shuo frowned, seeming to think of something.
The two didn’t stay for too long that evening and returned home early.
The moon was full on that autumn night, but since the weather was cloudy and drizzling, the moon was obscured. Ye An almost caught a cold from the weather.
After showering, Ye An laid down nervously. While listening to the rain outside, she questioned, “Do you think that you’ll ever be able to see again?”
Xie Shuo turned to face her to avoid hitting her. After a moment, he said, “Rest early.”
Ye An: “…”
Two days later, Ye An accompanied Xie Shuo to the research institute again. Xie Baiyan had work and didn’t go with them this time, but the father-son pair talked for a long time in the study the night before leaving.
At around nine in the morning, the sun shone brightly, and the car exited the city limits and drove to the institute.
The last time they came, the flora was lush in the early summer. In the blink of an eye, the seasons changed to one with withering leaves. The autumn dew on the greenery had not yet evaporated into the cool air.
When Cen Qingyan saw them again, he first asked about Xie Shuo’s condition over the past few months before starting a comprehensive check-up.
Ye An waited outside the patient room. It may have been from her previous experiences there, but she was much calmer this time, and her limbs were no longer as weak.
However, she was still a little worried. She stood in a deserted corridor for a while before sitting down in a rest area.
Xie Shuo lay quietly in the patient room with a beam of light shining into his eyes.
After a long time, Cen Qingyan turned the examination light off and helped Xie Shuo up. He raised his hand and waved it in front of Xie Shuo’s eyes and asked, “Have you been any phantom images recently?”
Xie Shuo replied, “Two or three times.”
There was a hint of joy on Cen Qingyan’s face. “The second phase of treatment seems to be working. Stay for half a month, so I can monitor your condition. We can start the third treatment phase tomorrow; you can try a drug that was recently developed.”
Xie Shuo suddenly asked, “Will I be cured after this?”
Cen Qingyan hesitated for a moment before saying, “I’m not one hundred percent certain for the time being, but today’s situation is much better than before. Right now, the possibility of you recovering is approximately forty to fifty percent.”
Xie Shuo looked down and was silent for a moment. “Please don’t tell anyone about this, including my wife.”
Cen Qingyan realized that Xie Shuo was afraid of giving them hope and only to end up disappointing them. He empathized with Xie Shuo and agreed, “All right.”
Occasional footsteps sounded clear from the hallway. Ye An waited for a long time before Xie Shuo finally came out.
Her eyes lit up, and she quickly got up to meet him. She held his arm and asked Cen Qingyan, “Professor Cen, how is it?”
Cen Qingyan smiled and said, “The situation is much better was before, and we can start the third phase of treatment.”
Ye An was overjoyed and grabbed Xie Shuo’s hands excitedly. She was at a loss for words due to her excitement.
Xie Shuo felt the strength of her grip, and his eyes twitched.
Not long later, Ye An walked Xie Shuo to a special ward to rest.
When everything was settled, it was already three o’clock in the afternoon. The sun shone through the windows and cast shadows that moved silently.
Xie Shuo sat like a statue against the headboard of the bed, exhibiting a delicate beauty.
Ye An remembered Cen Qingyan’s advice to keep Xie Shuo’s spirits up. After thinking for a while, she picked up her phone and searched for any interesting tidbits of information to entertain him.
As soon as she opened her Weibo feed, a novel popped up.
Ye An was intrigued. After reading a few lines, she burst out laughing.
Xie Shuo heard the sudden burst of laughter and was confused by her enthusiasm.
“Do you want me to read a novel to you?” Ye An moved closer to him and spoke with a smile.
Xie Shuo’s cold behavior had improved a lot recently, and he asked, “What kind of novel?”
Ye An cleared her throat and expressively read the story.
“President, it’s been three years since you made Madam go to Africa.
“Has she admitted her wrongs?
“Not yet, but she’s wealthier than you now.”
As soon as she finished reading the sentence, she couldn’t hold back her laughter. She fell into his lap, and her non-stop laughter echoed throughout the room.
Xie Shuo: “…”
Ye An stopped laughing and looked up. Her finger reached out and poked his shoulder. “Mr. Xie, would you ever send me off to Africa? I also want to be richer than you.”
Xie Shuo: “…”
Ye An contained her laughter and continued to look at her phone. “There’s more about removing her organs and draining her blood… are all of you CEO’s so cruel?” Suddenly, a thought flashed through her mind. She asked worriedly, “You wouldn’t dig my eyes out and use them for yourself, would you?”
Xie Shuo looked at her indifferently, his expression seemingly saying– are you dumb?
Ye An waited for a short while, but before he could reply, she couldn’t stop her smile. She leaned closer to him and looked at him closely, seeming somewhat discouraged. “Can you not smile? I’ve not seen you smile once, even after being married for so long, and you always have a long face.”
If she were to ever see him smile one day, then it really would be a miracle.
Xie Shuo smelled the light fragrance on her body, the one he was most familiar with in the past six months.
Suddenly, a flash of light and blurry shadows appeared in front of him, and this time was more apparent than the last few times.
However, the light and shadows slowly disappeared, and the darkness submerged every image.
Because of their close proximity, Ye An felt as if he were looking directly at her. Her ears were warm, and she recalled the kiss that almost happened the other day. Her gaze unconsciously fell on his lips, and her heart skipped a beat.
The atmosphere changed, so she hurriedly backed away and turned her head. She suddenly heard him ask, “Do you want to go on a walk?”
Ye An: “?”
Ye An’s eyes widened and almost thought that she heard wrong.
The last time that they came for treatment, she had spent so much effort on coaxing him to go on walks outside. She didn’t expect him to suddenly mention walks on his own initiative.
Has he really changed?
“All right!” Ye An was in favor of his idea and hurriedly helped him out of bed.
As the lights and shadows flickered on the curtains behind her, she glanced at his sharp profile and suddenly realized that his temper seemed to have vastly improved. He didn’t seem as moody recently.
The afternoon sun shone diagonally outside the building. The parasol trees stood tall in the sky, and the leaves fell gently on the ground.
Ye An guided Xie Shuo across the lawn, and they walked unhurriedly under the shade, admiring the faint scent of the flowers.
After a while, the two were tired from walking and rested on a bench by the road. Ye An looked around before suddenly saying, “Wait here, I’m going to go find a book.”
Their surroundings were perfect for reading, as it was far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Ye An hurried back to the building and asked Cen Qingyan to borrow a book. He chose a random one, and it happened to be a collection of Tagore’s poems.
The autumn sun was high in the clouds, and the rays shone through the branches and leaves, the mottled shadows falling on the two figures sitting side by side.
Ye An put the book in her lap and turned the pages one by one before beginning to read:
I heard the echo, from the valleys and the heart
Open to the lonely soul of sickle harvesting
Repeat outrightly, but also repeat the well-being of
Eventually swaying in the desert oasis
I believe I am
Born as the bright summer flowers
Do not wither undefeated fiery demon rule
Heart rate and breathing to bear the load of the cumbersome
I hear love, I believe in love
Love is a pool of struggling blue-green algae
As desolate micro-burst of wind
Bleeding through my veins
Years stationed in the belief
I believe that all can hear
Her voice rang gently in his ear, like the warm wind in spring melting away the iciness from the harsh winters.
Xie Shuo listened quietly, the side of his face shrouded in the speckled light, and his usually furrowed eyebrows gradually easing.
At some moment, he suddenly felt that if the rest of his life was destined to be spent in boundless darkness, it would be nice to have such a person to be there with him.
After a while, the voice in his ears quieted down little by little before finally disappearing into the gentle breeze.
Her shoulders lowered, her head tilted, and her warmth penetrated through his clothes. Xie Shuo turned his head slightly, and his jaw brushed into her soft hair, her familiar scent entering his nose.
His surroundings suddenly went silent. In the endless darkness, he heard the sound of rustling leaves falling to the ground, the breeze passing through the branches, and her shallow breaths against his shoulders. It felt as if he had woken up from a long coma in darkness.
Her fair hands slipped from the pages and onto his.
He felt the coldness of her fingertips and was stunned for a moment. He wrapped his hands around hers.
The dead leaves floated around them like butterflies, and the pages of the poems in her lap turned in the wind before stopping on a certain page.
Because of Xie Shuo’s cooperation, the course of treatment went much more smoothly than the last time. Ye An even felt like she was on vacation with him. After the daily check-ups, they wandered around the institute, living a leisurely life.
The only downside was that half a month later, no miracle happened, and Xie Shuo did not suddenly regain his eyesight as she had secretly hoped.
Even after asking Cen Qingyan multiple times, his answer was, “his condition is much better than before, but it’s uncertain whether his eyesight can be restored.” Ye An began to seriously suspect that he was just comforting himself.
The day they left the institute was clear and bright.
Outside the car window, the scenery gradually became prosperous street views. Ye An looked at the silent Xie Shuo beside her. Worried that he was feeling dejected, she reached her hand out to cover his hand.
Xie Shuo was no longer as resistant to her actions as before and even held her hand, kneading it gently in his palm.
Ye An: “…?”
Ye An originally just wanted to comfort him and didn’t expect this kind of reaction, so she was somewhat confused.
Ever since that night, he seemed to enjoy playing with her hands. He would occasionally hold and knead her hand, and she didn’t know why.
Ye An looked at her fingers, which were warm from his pinching, and wanted to retract her hand. However, after thinking about the distress he had been under, she thought he was in a bad mood and endured it.