“Doctor Harvey, are you here today to see Fiennes?”
Gino unexpectedly ran into an acquaintance who had arrived carrying a bunch of white roses. At age 40, the corners of his eyes had already started showing small crow’s feet. Nevertheless, he looked handsome and refined, and his clean and fair hands revealed a life of privilege. His manner of speech and bearing also indicated his good upbringing.
“Yes, thank you for coming today to celebrate his birthday.” Harvey smiled politely, and went forward to put down the white roses, his expression turned rather dry.
Gino step forward to ask: “Doctor Harvey, what’s wrong?”
“Those red roses…”
“Oh, those three bunches of red roses are from my friend. He said today was Fiennes’ birthday, and that a person like Fiennes should be given red roses.” Thinking that the other thought that red roses were too shocking, Gino hurriedly started explaining. His usual impression of Tang Feng was that he was a rather conservative person. He never would have expected that the man’s way of thinking would be so unusual as to bring red roses to tomb sweeping.
Doctor Harvey let out an “Oh”, the shock in his eyes gradually dissipating, only leaving behind a slight layer of regret and melancholy.
“Your friend is quite the intuitive person. While he was alive, Fiennes’ favorite flowers were roses.” Harvey smiled bitterly, “Please give your friend my thanks, Gino.”
“Of course, that’s not a problem. He’s standing right there… huh? They were right here.” Gino pointed at where Tang Feng had just been, but the shade under the tree had long since been abandoned. Tang Feng, Charles, and the rest had already left some time ago.
“They probably returned to the car.” Gino apologetically told Harvey, not feeling like anything was wrong. “I’ll introduce you to him next time, he’s my costar. We’re currently working on a film together. He’s quite an exceptional man.”
“Sure.” Harvey smiled.
Gino and Harvey said a few more words to each other before saying their goodbyes. After Gino left, Harvey remained standing in front of Fiennes’ grave, his gaze not leaving the three bunches of red roses.
It had to be a coincidence, right?
Gino found Tang Feng and the others in a small coffee shop nearby. After visiting Fiennes’ grave today, his mood had improved a lot. In the past, he had never had the courage to visit Fiennes’ grave. When he did actually go visit, he suddenly felt lighter and more clear-sighted.
While they ordered coffee and some desserts, Tang Feng silently ordered a piece of his favorite chocolate lava cake. There were a bit too many calories in it, but since today was his birthday he decided he had an excuse to indulge himself a little.
On the outside, it looked no different from a regular slice of cake, but when your fork pierces the outer shell you’ll discover its soft, sweet and fiery heart. Eating it will make you feel elated and worry-free.
The only bad part was…
“Who was that man just now, Gino? You seemed to know him well. Oh, I know, he likes mature men, am I right?” Charles tried to start a quarrel with Gino, wearing an expression that said “I know what it is”. From Tang Feng’s perspective, Charles seemed bored senseless and was looking for something to do.
Gino coldly snorted, and took a sip of his coffee. Ignoring Charles’ provocation, he directly told Tang Feng, “That man is Harvey. He was Fiennes’ attending doctor while he was still alive. I only knew him after Fiennes’ had passed, but he’s a respectable and upstanding person, with a stable career and income, and a beautiful family. Actually, Fiennes’ funeral was all taken care of by him.”
Tang Feng continued to eat his chocolate lava cake and drink his coffee. He was thinking of where he could go later to pig out. Of course, he wouldn’t be the one to pick up the bill.
He appeared calm, but in the end he ended up eating two whole cakes.
Everyone had dinner together that evening and later visited a tea house. Afterwards, the four grown men headed together to the hotel Lu Tian Chen had booked. Lu Tian Chen had booked four rooms, without any complaints from Charles. Tang Feng wanted to be alone that night, and very bluntly kicked the others out so that he could have the room to himself.
Facing the splendid lights of the Los Angeles night, Tang Feng soaked alone in his bath tub in front of the full length glass windows. Lighting up the incense and playing some relaxing jazz music, he slowly closed his eyes and leaned back until he was entirely submerged in the bathwater.
The water gradually cooled off. He felt his hands and feet start to cool and soon after it was as if icy water had seeped into his heart, his chest becoming tight. He still remembered the feeling of his death, as if he had fallen into ice water. Falling deeper and deeper, the pressure pushed down on his heart. It was the kind of pain that almost tore him to shreds.
His breathing grew urgent as his hands and feet grew cold. Immediately, he became flustered, tense, and muddle-headed, his body covered with a layer of cold sweat.
Maybe it had only been one minute, or perhaps it was a long time, but eventually he lost consciousness from the intense pain in his heart.
No, it was more accurate to say that he had died.
“Ah!” shouted Tang Feng as he suddenly snapped out of it and sat up in the bathtub. He gulped down large breaths of air after being suffocated for so long, chest pounding violently.
There was a dull ache in his chest. He reminded himself that he would never again experience the same heart wrenching and lung splitting pain.
Leaving the bathroom, he put on a white cotton bathrobe. After Tang Feng walked back into the bedroom, he opened his phone and saw it contained a text from Lu Tian Chen. Seeing the text he smiled, that guy was staying in the room right next door and yet he still sent a text. Tang Feng had no idea what was going on in Lu Tian Chen’s mind.
After hesitating for a bit, he still chose to open the text and look over the contents.
“At 11:11 PM, stand by the French windows” Tang Feng looked at the time; it was 11:03 PM, just eight minutes away.
He first poured himself a glass of wine, then pulled a chair up in front of the French windows and sat down. There was still two minutes until the time Lu Tian Chen mentioned.
What did that guy do? It couldn’t be that he had arranged to set off fireworks for him, right?
Taking a couple gulps of wine, Tang Feng’s cell phone rang while he was still in thought. The display showed that it was Lu Tian Chen. Tang Feng smiled while picking up the call.
After Lu Tian Chen’s confession, he had started sending Tang Feng small gifts like fresh flowers and exquisite desserts. He also sent him honeyed texts every day. When they met each morning, Lu Tian Chen would show him a rare and tender smile, in addition to an especially refreshing “Good morning.” It was a very traditional and romantic gesture. Perhaps it wasn’t too exciting, but at least it wouldn’t annoy anyone.
“I’m reminding you to pay attention outside, in case you missed my text.”
“What are you planning?” Tang Feng responded.
“It’s time. 10, 9, 8, 7…” Lu Tian Chen started to count down from the other side of the call.
When he got to one, Tang Feng looked outside the window. It was as he expected, countless dazzling fireworks blossomed in the horizon. Red, white, blue… fireworks of every color dyed the dark blue skies a different hue.
Tang Feng had witnessed this scene in movies countless times already, but this was his first time on the receiving end of such a particular gift.
It was one thing to see it in a movie, it was another to personally witness it in one’s lifetime.
Tang had to confess, this time he really was happy and touched.
When a person is strong and mature, others will often forget that they too are also made of flesh and bone. People who are strong on the outside will still feel pain and hurt, but they may not be used to showing it. People are accustomed to pitying and helping those who call out in pain, forgetting about those who have gotten used to bearing its weight.
In this world, there is no one who will reject your love and concern for them. They will only care for whether your feelings were heartfelt or insincere.
The sound of the fireworks seemed right beside Tang Feng’s ears. He looked up at the splendid sky and started to smile. This birthday was not so bad.
“Do you like it?” asked Lu Tian Chen.
“Mm… Very, very old-school, but it’s not bad.” Tang Feng replied, holding back his laughter and nodding, his hand half supporting his head.
The other side was silent for a bit and just when Tang Feng thought that Lu Tian Chen was going to hang up, the man said, “Open the door.”
“It’s too late.” Tang Feng replied.
“Today is Fiennes’ birthday.” Lu Tia Chen stated.
“So what?” Tang Feng didn’t know why Lu Tian Chen would bring that up. He slightly tensed up, was he discovered? But even if he was, it didn’t matter since he didn’t mind telling others about it, as long as they could accept it.
“Why don’t you tell me about the relationship between you and Fiennes?”
Since the day he had brought up Fiennes, Tang Feng knew that this day would come, sooner or later. After all, after his rebirth, he lived his life by his own terms, without any resemblance to the former Tang Feng. However, he hadn’t anticipated that Lu Tian Chen would connect him so quickly to Fiennes. The man’s sharp senses couldn’t be underestimated.
“Come to my room.” After saying that, Tang Feng hung up the phone. He sucked in a breath of air while he looked outside at the fireworks that were still blossoming. He didn’t know if he would reveal his secret tonight.
Proofreaders: Rose, Lyrick