“Don’t joke around like this,” Cheng Yang said, with a tinge of traumatized shock. “Your brother’s a straight male, a steely type.”
He thought that his words were witty, but Cheng Xi didn’t even crack a smile. She looked coldly at him. “You know, brother, I wish that the truth was that you were truly attracted to him. Otherwise, you would be intentionally manipulating his attraction towards me.”
Cheng Yang muttered, “Mom would kill me.”
“If she didn’t beat you to death, then would you really like him?”
Cheng Yang glared at his sister, but then deflated in the next moment. “No.”
“Then why did you do all that?”
The reason was honestly too embarrassing to say out loud, and he braced himself as he spoke his next words. “Can you not interrogate me like a criminal? It’s really quite scary.”
“Brother!” Cheng Xi was about to slap the table herself.
Cheng Yang could only surrender. “Alright, alright, I’ll say it. It was just a joke……” He squinted and glanced at Cheng Xi. When he saw that her face was still frosty, he changed his story again. “Alright, I was trying to do some business with Donglai Corporation through him.”
“You can’t do business with Donglai Corporation in broad daylight?”
“See, this is why I didn’t want to tell you the truth.” He even sounded justified as he explained, “Do you know how hard it is to do business? Do you know how hard it is to do business with Donglai Corporation in particular? Your brother doesn’t have any connections or a big company, so even if I praise myself as a lovely flower in my bid document, no one would even glance at it.”
“So you…… made use of Lu Chenming?”
“Isn’t that just because Lu Chenzhou’s too hard to get close to?”
Cheng Yang trembled. Cheng Xi only ever yelled at him like this once in a blue moon. Throughout the span of his entire memory, she had only ever done so once before, when they were both in middle school. Their grandmother had been sick, and nobody at home had enough spare time to pay any attention to him. He became a bad student, hanging out with other hoodlums and skipping class, either by going to an Internet cafe or by going to a cinema and secretly watching age-restricted movies. Then, they would run around with some other delinquents and peek on girls in the area…… Then one day, as he was sneaking out from someone else’s house, he saw his sister standing outside with an ashen face and a big stick in her hands, as broad as his arm. As he fell to the ground in fear, she had swung it at his leg.
Cheng Yang had become extremely scared of her ever since the beating, and even though his school life didn’t improve by much, it also didn’t degrade further.
This time, however, Cheng Xi didn’t beat him up. Instead, she started crying, huge tears steadily rolling down her face. In truth, this was even more scary than a beating. Cheng Yang jumped up in shock. “Why are you crying? I’m wrong, alright? I made a mistake!” He couldn’t find any tissues, so he leaned over and used his clothes to wipe her tears away. “I really didn’t have any malicious intent behind those actions. I thought that it was all just a joke.”
Cheng Xi was really disappointed in him. “If you truly thought that it was just a joke, then why did you avoid meeting Lu Chenming? Why would you have such a guilty conscience that you wouldn’t even dare to meet him? It's because you know that it wasn’t a joke, or at least, that it wasn’t a joke at all to Lu Chenming. Right?”
Cheng Yang pursed his lips, not saying anything.
“Brother, how could you be like this? Do you know what the one thing that you absolutely can’t play around with in this world is? It’s other people’s emotions! Some things can’t be resolved just because you brush it off as a joke. The moment you sent those words over, you sentenced Lu Chenming to pain and suffering! Especially so given his personality. He’s sensitive, detail-oriented, introverted, and bad with words. He put his entire being and all his emotions into the Internet, believing that you’re female, believing that you’re a kindred soul, believing that, even through the Internet, that you really do love him. Thus, he put all his effort into loving you back. Over these past two years, he’s attended almost all of my classes, through wind and rain. Doesn’t this show how much effort he’s put into this relationship, into believing and loving the fake persona that you’ve crafted over the Internet? And then you’re just going to dismiss this as a joke? Brother…… how could you be like this?”
She stared at him, her passion fading as she slowly asked, “Have you forgotten about Grandmother? About why she went crazy? About why she died? Have you forgotten?”
When Cheng Xi finally returned home, she felt completely drained and exhausted.
Lu Chenzhou was sitting on the sofa with his laptop on his lap. When she went over, about to lean on his shoulder, she saw that he was actually watching…… A! Sexual! Movie!
To be specific, it was a third-category movie [TL: for sexual or violent content] from Korea. No matter how good the plot was or how pleasing the aesthetics were, it was still a third-category movie, alright? And what’s more, the scene she had happened to look at really hurt her eyes!
She wasn’t sure whether she should feel happy that Lu Chenzhou was still interested in sex after all that had happened at his family, place, because he didn’t seem like he cared about her ‘cheating’ on his brother at all! But she still felt an additional dose of exhaustion: after having dealt with one worry, she found that she still had another one waiting for her at home.
Cheng Xi closed his laptop and then looked at him seriously. “Lu Chenzhou, don’t you care about the truth? Aren’t you angry?”
He didn’t even change his posture as he looked at her and coolly replied, “I already know the truth. There is only one person who could get so many pictures of you, and also make you that mad: your brother. As for why I’m not angry…… Why should I be angry that someone was stupid and got swindled by someone else?”
“……But he’s your brother, and this could be a very traumatic experience for him.”
“Do you think that I’m a cold-blooded person? That I’m scary, because I don’t even care for my family?”
Cheng Xi took a deep breath, and then quickly relaxed. “Why do you have to make it sound so serious? What does any of this have to do with being cold-blooded? It’s just that you’re calmer than the average person, and able to see the problem from an overall perspective.” She tried to lean in closer, and when he didn’t reject her, she relaxed. “You’re actually quite angry as well, aren’t you? Usually, you won’t talk to me as severely as you are now.”
Lu Chenzhou remained silent. He didn’t agree with her, but if she wanted to think that, then he didn’t mind.
Cheng Xi continued to talk. “I’m sorry. It really was my brother who did something that stupid and made Lu Chenming misunderstand.” Regardless of whether Lu Chenzhou wanted to hear it, Cheng Xi still told him everything. She started with how when she had gotten busy, she had stopped logging into the game for a long time. When her brother logged on with her account for the first time in awhile, Lu Chenming naturally contacted him. Cheng Yang wasn’t all that interested in responding until he found out that Lu Chenming was a member of the Lu family. Only then did Cheng Yang suddenly become very interested. He’d been salivating over Donglai Corporation’s installation projects for a while, but Lu Chenzhou was too hard to get close to, and he had no connections to larger businesses to beg from either. Lu Chenming gave him a strand of hope, so he had pretended to be Cheng Xi, teasing Lu Chenming and leading him on over the Internet unscrupulously—as an experienced businessman, swindling a newbie like Lu Chenming wasn’t difficult at all. But since he was afraid of being exposed, he had even pretended to be two people by using the game account to introduce his real self to Lu Chenming. Then, when Donglai Corporation’s hotel in Hainan was inviting bids, he had Lu Chenming help him get some benefits.
Cheng Yang had intended to make their “breakup” take place more naturally, but he had never expected Cheng Xi to actually become familiar with Lu Chenzhou, or that the two of them would actually get into a relationship together. Cheng Yang had sped up the breakup, and accidentally made “Cheng Xi” seem like she had discarded the powerless younger brother for the more powerful older one.
After Cheng Xi explained the entire situation, her face was burning red in shame. Lu Chenzhou rubbed his lower jaw thoughtfully as he commented, “The power of love really is great.”
Cheng Xi was confused by his reaction. “……???”
She had to try very hard to restrain herself from calling him silly.
As the older brother, did he understand the negative influences that this could have on his younger brother if it wasn’t handled well at all?