A night of unhindered rain left the lush garden looking exceptionally solemn. Dewdrops trickled down the ground, covering the turf with beads of morning dew.
Meanwhile in the estate, looking through the master bedroom which was slightly ajar, there stood Guo Xuehua in a beige shirt, with her hair unkempt. She was just leaving the room on the way to the metal gate out front to have a look.
It was a long night with barely any sleep. Guo Xuehua looked like a wreck, but it did not matter to her at the moment, for her son Yang Chen was still nowhere to be found. Without any news from anyone in regards to her son, Guo Xuehua could not stave away her anxiety.
Wang Ma came out from the estate, slightly fatigued. “Xuehua, I made some porridge, please have some. Standing out here in the cold will not change a thing. No good will come from waiting here,” she advised.
“Yulan, where do you think Yang Chen could have gone? All those people are out there looking everywhere for him. Why haven’t they found him yet?” Guo Xuehua was miserable and anxious, and didn’t have the slightest appetite for a morning broth.
He was her flesh and blood that she had been separated for more than 20 years! Had she not been be strong willed, she might not have had the strength to leave her bed this morning.
Wang Ma felt bitter. “I don’t have kids, but I know how you must be feeling right now. But just because the young master hasn’t returned doesn’t mean that he’s in any harm. If the young master came back right now only to see you in pain, he wouldn’t feel good about it either.”
“I know there’s no reason for me to be waiting like this, but I just feel like this is the best I can do for now,” Guo Xuehua said with a depressing look on her face.
Wang Ma gave a miserable smile. “Why must these things only happen to us? But I’m still glad that at least our dear Zhenxiu got to sleep over at school the last few days. If she was around when this happened, I bet she’ll be nothing but anxious. There would be even less peace around here than there already is.”
Guo Xuehua zoned out for a split second and subsequently frowned. “Oh right, I was lost for a second there. Yesterday night, Zhenxiu didn’t come home too. Did she sleepover at school?”
Wang Ma nodded and said heart-achingly, “After you left, she called saying that there was an intensive revision session or something, and all the third years were advised to attend. I don’t know what the school is thinking, having all these intensive sessions all the time. Kids these days see to have it rougher than us adults do.”
Guo Xuehua forced a smile and said, “Preparing for a college entrance exam is no easy feat. But they’ll probably miss these days in school after they graduate and enter society. Sometimes when I look at Zhenxiu, I’d think, that if Yang Chen had not been given to the orphanage and went to school like the other kids, I would be just like every other mom, nagging their kids about school, or to finish their homework, simple things like that.
“Come to think of it, even if it had been a stressful period for most parents, it was still meaningful regardless. To watch their kids grow older every passing day, as they learn new things...
“But both Yang Chen and Yang Lie had left when they were children. One disappeared way too young, and the other left to train in the mountains. Neither of them got to be raised by me. To be frank with you, I think of myself as an irresponsible mother, but I cannot change the past, only the furture. Yang Lie was always by my side when he was young , but Yang Chen… I never got to care for him the slightest bit.”
“No wonder you treat Zhenxiu like your own daughter. You are trying to make up for what you lost through her, aren’t you?” joked Wang Ma.
Guo Xuehua smiled, but her mood didn’t improve.
The two of them spent a little more time staring at the gate. Seeing that no one was coming back anytime soon, they gradually turned around and went back into the house. Right when they went about close the door, somebody knocked on the gate.
Guo Xuehua and Wang Ma both heard the noise and instantly sprinted to the gate. As expected, someone was standing right there, knocking on the gate like a madman.
Guo Xuehua glanced through the gate, tears of joy flowing through her eyes as she saw her son standing right in front of her.
Wang Ma too was excited. She enthusiastically dragged Guo Xuehua aside and opened the metal gate.
As Guo Xuehua walked closer to him, she teared up even more. Yang Chen was in such a pitiful state.
Wearing short sleeves and fully covered in moss and mud, some patches of his clothes were still drenched. His hair and face were smudged with mud and his limbs and torso got splashed with muddy water.
With his current appearance resembling that of a homeless drifter and him looking rather average to begin with, Yang Chen could’ve passed of for insane. But that did not affect his mood one bit for he still looked as silly as ever giggling at the people inside the gate.
“Mother, Wang Ma, it’s my bad. My phone died and I was dealing with some stuff so I lost track of time. Please disregard everything you see here,” Yang Chen consoled with a raise of his brow.
Looking straight at her son foolishly laughing at this situation, Guo Xuehua tweaked her lips and abruptly hugged him tight, weeping. As she uncontrollably punched her son a couple of time, she wiped her eyes dry. “You little rascal, how could you forget to come back home? You clearly don’t care about how we feel! You got us all crazy worried!”
Yang Chen tolerated Guo Xuehua’s flurry of punches because in every punch all he felt was the feeling of being missed and valued by his family. There was a wide, contented smile on his face.
After Guo Xuehua finished weeping and grumbling, she slowly calmed down with each punch, and she instantly dragged her son back into the house. After all, all that mattered to her was that her son was back home safe and sound.
As they entered the house, Guo Xuehua glanced at Yang Chen’s pitiful appearance and frowned. “Which forest or mountain did you get lost in? I thought you drove to the airport? Where did you go?”
Yang Chen decided to be frank with her and said, “I was going to the airport, but something happened along the way and I made a detour to the abandoned field by the airport and had been there for the past night.”
“An abandoned field?” Guo Xuehua and Wang Ma had the same troubled expression that instant. “Why would anyone go to a place like that?”
Yang Chen gave it some thought and said, “I actually have no idea what I’ve done the past night. Someone talked to me, and said some things which had me pondering the whole night through Later on, the car broke down, so I had to trot back home. I considered it a morning stroll.”
The both of them had absolutely no idea what Yang Chen was talking about. But his honest expression convinced them of his explanation.
“Young Master, why did you run all the way back? You could’ve hailed a cab even if you didn’t bring any money,” said Wang Ma.
“Wang Ma, I did try, but no one accepted my request! They thought I was some random hobo,” Yang Chen explained with frustration in his tone.
Yang Chen’s current look did explain why no drivers would pick him up. Even if they were not afraid of dirtying their car, they’re not exactly ready to pick someone who looks like they escaped prison!
Guo Xuehua, dumbfounded, was more than glad to just see him come back, regardless of what happened the night before. “Let’s not talk about it anymore. Go upstairs and take a shower. Change into some clean clothes and come down for breakfast. You must be starving.”
Yang Chen’s eyes hovered to the table filled with porridge and side dishes. He gulped and coyly said, “I think I want to eat first.”
“God no, look at yourself! You might dirty the carpet with mud!” Guo Xuehua stood her ground and wasn't going to let her guilt take over and allow petty things like that. It wasn’t like he would faint from hunger anytime soon.
Yang Chen scratched his head and ran upstairs.
Guo Xuehua was reminded of something all of a sudden as she hurriedly proclaimed, “Oh, Yang Chen, Lu Min has been murdered, you know that right?”
Yang Chen shrugged as he went upstairs without even looking back. “I know, but who cares.”
Doubt flashed through her mind. Lu Min was the one Yang Chen went out of his way to kill like a madman. He should’ve reacted in some way after hearing that someone got him before he did. Why does he seem like he doesn’t care in the slightest?
Watching her son Yang Chen walk upstairs, Guo Xuehua felt silent. She felt something was off. “Yulan, why do I feel that there’s something different about Yang Chen?”
Wang Ma replied, “What’s different? The young master has always been this way, slightly reckless, but reliable when it really counts. Like I mentioned before, when Young Master and Miss got married, many of the problems that we had faced in the past were settled by him.”
Guo Xuehua shook her head with a slight smile, “That’s not what I meant… I’m not too sure if it’s just me, but I really do feel that the boy is slightly different now, and not in a bad way.”
Wang Ma grinned with her hand over her mouth. “Well, only you noticed, so could it be the connection between mother and son?”
Guo Xuehua knew that Wang Ma was joking and rolled her eyes. She was about to say something but a sudden realisation struck her that instant. “Ah, look at my horrible memory! I forgot to tell Yang Chen that An Xin is sleeping in his room!”
Wang Ma froze for a moment. She had gone to bed earlier yesterday night. Concerned, she asked, “ Guo Xuehua, you allowed Miss An Xin to stay the night in Yang Chen’s room?”
Guo Xuehua felt a little bad. After all, her daughter-in-law Lin Ruoxi was to a certain extent like a daughter to Wang Ma. She nodded and said, “Yes I did, it was very late yesterday and I couldn’t send her home that late at night, so I let her stay. But it wasn’t appropriate for her to stay at Ruoxi’s or Zhenxiu’s room, so Yang Chen’s room was the best alternative.”
Wang Ma laughed uncomfortably, not sure what to say best.
“I guess it’s fine since Ruoxi’s still in Europe. It’s just one night, and when An Xin sees Yang Chen, she’ll go back,” Guo Xuehua added with guilt. After all, she felt like it wasn’t fair to Wang Ma who was like a parent to Ruoxi.
Wang Ma sighed, “This is not about one night or a few nights. Even if the both of us stay quiet about it, Miss An & the young master’s relationship is pretty obvious. Xuehua, first it was the neighbour Rose, now it’s Miss An. I know Miss better than anyone else in the world, I raised her after all. There are some things that words alone will not be able to solve. If this goes on, I’m not sure how things will turn out for you.”
Guo Xuehua’s mind was distraught. She was glad that her oldest son came back, but his lifestyle was truly problematic.
Right at that moment, the house phone rang. Wang Ma picked it up and said. “Hello, who’s there?”
After a moment, the look on her face changed. With an astonished tone, she said, “Miss, you’re back already?”