The door opened suddenly and startled him out of his thoughts again. The earlier two men came back with his mother’s estranged! The man look unharmed, but he was slouching. Yeqiu winced at his pain. They must had beaten him where the bruises were not visible, covered by his clothes. He was tossed to the floor, right by Mr Yu’s feet, and next to him as well. Yeqiu opened his mouth but nothing came out. He didn’t want to call this man his father after all.
“Explain yourself” Mr Yu harshly told that man, looking down at him.
Yeqiu patiently anticipated for his so-called father’s reply.
When he told that man to leave him alone, his gang members (wow, he was part of a gang, there’s no way he can back out now) reassured him that his father was never going to come back. They made sure of that. He didn’t want to know what it meant, he just hope they let that poor sod off somewhere after a beating, instead of the worse case scenario he can think of. Always assume for the worst, then all the other better results will feel not too bad.
He was escorted home, along with a packet of take-away for the evening (what in GLORY’s name, they really do have chefs hidden at the back to cook for them for their restaurant front, it was a functioning one!). He was thankful they were men of their words regardless how careless they talk about people’s situations (like selling him. He still shivered at the implications). That was how they were. He closed the door behind him and secured it good, bolting the locks and chains on the sturdy door. No wonder mother made sure the front door was fortified. It was to deter break-ins, and also the crazy ex, he supposed.
The first night, he was so numb about the whole thing, he robotically ate the take-away and left it on the table. He dragged himself to his bed, and cried himself to sleep, cleanliness forgotten when he was such a stickler for it. He woke up very late the next day, luckily he didn’t need to physically go to work, game bosses be damned. He washed his face briefly and pulled himself into the living room, sitting on the sofa and stared at the altar.
The numerous messages from the Autumn Duo and Wenqing went ignored.
Yesterday, his entire world crumbled beneath his feet. Well, maybe half of it, since he was in the state of disbelief. It wasn’t a life or death situation, just that his whole life might be a lie.
Who was he?
He firmly believed he was his mother’s son, he had proof! His mother loved him, was always there for him, made sure he has gotten education, a roof over his head, food to eat, and a home to come back to!
How was he not his mother’s son?!
How dare this man, who was supposed to be his and his brother’s father said he wasn’t their son?! Even if he wasn’t, how dare he tell him that he wasn’t his mother’s son?! That was absurd!
He had argued that man wasn’t his father because maybe he was a son with another man (of course that man was livid that Yeqiu dared to imply such things, but Mr Yu made sure he cannot respond physically). He wouldn’t put it pass his mother to seek solace in another, better choice than this poor excuse of a man. Since both his mother and brother died, they can’t do a DNA test to determine his legitimate claim as Yuenan’s son. The man said his mother didn’t have other relatives either, so it was down to a verbal fight. He had his birth cert, his ID and the family registry! They were all legal documents! How was he not his mother’s son again?!
The not-father poured cold water on that argument stating those documents can be forged. He stated his younger brother was their only son. He theorised (he actually can think?) that his mother had snatched him from somewhere and raised him as her own, right about the time after his younger brother died. He wanted to counter that man, and tried so hard but he couldn’t remember interacting with his younger brother.
Not at all.
But he had glimpses of playing and sharing toys with someone around his size when he was little, wasn’t that his brother? Wasn’t that enough?
That man said his mother couldn’t had him after the younger brother (well duh), he would know since he was with her all the time until their son died. His family registry didn’t had Yeqiu recorded (of course Yeqiu argued because he was under his mother’s family registry, not his. He was carrying his mother’s surname Hong!)
That man told him his mother changed drastically, refusing to leave their son’s side during his last moments, was beyond hysterical at his imminent death, that she actually attacked him, the husband, as she refused to accept the impending reality. He wasn’t able to calm her down nor reason with her, so they parted ways after their son’s funeral, the light in his mother’s eyes was gone, and so was her mind. He admitted his mother was a very devoted mother, loving another boy unconditionally was plausible, his mother probably had substituted him for his younger brother.
The man also said his son (his younger brother) was 10 when he died, not 8 as he was previously made to believe. They can’t be twins, they look nothing alike. Fraternal maybe, if he was conceived with another man at the same time? What were the chances? Had his mother really lied to him?
Had he really been a replacement son? The more he thought about it, the more likely it seemed.
His mother didn’t allow him to join any out of school activities, stating they can’t afford it. His mother didn’t encourage him to join inter-school not inter-state sports tournaments that would require him to travel around, also claiming they don’t have enough. He also believed his mother didn’t want him to get injured in another possible automobile accident, hence the discouragement. His mother didn’t chastise him for staying at home, and didn’t inspire him to go out and play more, like how little boys would. When she bought him consoles and a PC to play games indoors, she didn’t say they can’t pay for it. He really thought his mother awarded him for achieving good grades.
It was like she wanted to keep him indoors. So nobody would know of his existence? But he was allowed to roam the neighbourhood freely though? What gives?
He knew they weren’t really poor, the more he recalled. His mother worked hard and smart, and earn quite a lot, as a manager in a big corporate office somewhere. That was what his mother told him. His mother also worked for the local gang, so he no longer knew what was she actually doing for a living. How did she earn her money? Now that she was gone, he will never know (and he didn’t want to keep guessing).
Not too long after he was working with the Autumn Forest, he was supplied with his inheritance letters by the lawyers his mother contracted, he was shocked beyond belief of what he gotten.
He was given the fully financed house he was living in, so he has a permanent place to stay, this was rational for his mother to do, he thought. He was also given a bank account credited with 15 million yuan. Fifteen million!?! That’s 15 with 6 zeroes behind! He hadn’t even held 5 thousand yuan his hands at a time before, let alone a million! He was allowed to withdraw a limited sum of 500,000 throughout 1 year after he was 18, up until he was 21. Only then he will be given full access to do whatever he wanted with all that money.
That loser of a father wanted a share of the house, which wasn’t escapable from his prying eyes since it was under his mother’s name, before being willed entirely to him when he turned 18. He can’t own property for being a minor after all. Upon her death the not-father was surely informed of her will. Maybe that was the way his mother told him to piss off, he can’t have any.
The bank account, however, was entirely in his name.
He really didn’t want to imagine what kind of work did his mother do to get so much. Why was he working again? Of course, that money won’t last forever, so he still had to work for it. But with that amount, with careful planning and spending, he might be able to last for a really, really long time.
There were no photos of the family from before, and of recent. His mother didn’t really like social media, and rarely took a photo together with him. She forbade him from having one either, so he didn’t have one, but he knew how to use one. Sorta. Give him some time to mess around and he will get it. They had a few pictures just for the house’ picture frames, but not really an album of them together. Albums of just him, in the other hand, were a lot. She even included the digital copies in a cd in it, and an online storage for him.
Did his mother not want him to have mementos of her? Was she leaving it for his real mother?
All these small instances were okay on their own, but once they add up it become suspicious.
He couldn’t believe he was doubting his mother.
She didn’t hide a letter in the house to explain, not even getting one from the lawyers that might reveal how she got so much money and what she wished for his future, that kind of letter parents usually leave their children with, explaining their hopes, love and wishes for their beloved offsprings before they move on. Did she really want to take this secret with her to the grave? Was there even a secret at all to begin with? He was her son right? That man’s words really screwed his mind. How was he certain that the man was telling the truth? There weren’t any proof after all. Why had he doubted his mother? It was silly! He calmed himself down once he bolstered himself it was all just a farce by that… stranger.
He got up and reached for the altar, his hand caressing his mother’s urn.
“Mother… I won’t doubt that you’re my mother ever again. You might have done questionable things to keep me away from travelling, but with my car accident, I can understand you don’t wish for me to get injured ever again in another one. I understand that fear. You already have plans for me, you worked so hard and prepared everything for me, so meticulously so that I can live by myself. You left me the house and a fortune, something I could never earn by my young self. You did everything just for my sake. How am I not your son?! What that man say wasn’t true! You’re my mother and will always be. You’ll keep watching over me like how you’ve arranged Uncle Yu to do it in your stead right? Mother… I love you. I’m sorry I had ever doubted you.”
He looked at the smaller urn next to his mother’s. He really can’t recall his brother at all, but it was the truth that he was in coma and woke up in this house, recovering from a head injury from a car accident. He also noticed his mother never had a car. She probably feared driving one after his mishap. He had his own room, his own bed and his own clothes, and some small children items scattered all over his room when he come to his senses.
He must be part of this family.
“Brother, I’m sorry I can’t remember you at all. I blame my faulty head from the injury. I remember we had the same toys before, we played with our own ones, so we won’t fight for it. We’re definitely brothers. Please look after mother, and me too when you remember me. I won’t fault you. I’d forgotten you after all”
He took a cloth from the altar cupboard and wiped their urns, and cleaned away the dust around them.
“It was stupid of me to get worked out by that horrible man we might have called father. Luckily we looked nothing like him. Kinda glad we look like mother huh? I’m also glad mother loved us both so dearly too”
After he bathed for the evening, he immersed himself into GLORY, methodically farming for the bosses and materials he needed in his list, not caring if he pulled all-nighters for it. He ignored all the message notifications on his QQ and his GLORY DMs.
They won’t die if he didn’t respond right?
He was so focused he didn’t realised someone came into the house with the spare key a few days later. He had forgotten to re-bolt the doors when the food delivery came for that night. He was stunned when he felt a nudge on the side of his shoulder.
“Yeqiu, are you okay? Playing GLORY so intensely is one thing, but don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings. You didn’t reply any of my messages, so I came here straight from the airport. I’ve been calling you for a while after I came in too”
The taller male walked away and started to collect the numerous discarded take-out boxes into the plastic bag they came with.
“Wenqing! When did you come back?!”
He jumped out of his seat and went over to give his boyfriend a great, big hug. He planted his face into his chest and breathed in deeply. He didn’t realised he was shaking.
Han Wenqing was a little shocked to see Yeqiu’s house in such disarray. There were lots of finished food cartons, wrappers from chocolates, plastic bottles from drinks and smaller plastics from biscuits, but they weren’t thrown into the trash bin or gathered in a bag. A quilt was draped on the sofa and a few pillows peeked from under it. Did Yeqiu sleep out here these few days?
As far as he knew, there weren’t any GLORY events that require a few days attention to farm the materials going on during the week of his first away-game. Yeqiu was quite a stickler for cleanliness, it really was a literal eye opener to see him in such a *dog-den of a home. Did something happen? All the while when he came over, Yeqiu had never left the house like this.
Speaking of which, the house wasn’t the only thing uncleaned.
Yeqiu looked like a mess, his clothes were crumpled like he never changed them for some time, and his hair was a bit oily. When the smaller male reached him for a hug, he didn’t push him away in disgust (he would never), he knew something had happened. He felt Yeqiu trembling through his arms. Then came a small whine and a sob. He wrapped his arms around his boyfriend and pressed inwards tightly, earning another sob. The front of his shirt was getting wet.
No doubt, something did happen, and it was a really bad one to boot. But he wasn’t going to ask now, knowing Yeqiu had been so focused on GLORY, his return and talking to him had broken that state of mind he was in, and jolted him back to reality to deal with whatever he was avoiding. He rubbed his back soothingly and cradled the back of his head, swaying slightly side to side.
“It’s okay Yeqiu, it’s okay”
He felt the thinner arms around him tightened before loosening, the body shivering has lessened. He continued soothing him, it was working to calm him down. Seems like Yeqiu was really quite an emotional one, and that wasn’t going to deter Han Wenqing from courting him.
That night, Su Muqiu tried so hard to placate Ye Xiu who was crying in his sleep yet again, murmuring his twin’s name and apologising over and over. He wasn’t able to wake him up, so he could only rubbed his boyfriend’s back while holding onto his waist, and whisper to his back that everything was going to be okay. Muqiu thought Ye Xiu had gotten slightly better over his nightmares because he shared it with him, but apparently, it still haunted him in his dreams.
He felt so useless at his boyfriend’s misery, and kept thinking how he could lighten that burden, if it was even possible. He didn’t really help, just added to his agony. He shouldn’t had told him he saw the person who he thought was the lost twin.
He wasn’t able to confirm it in person after all.