The matters between Chen Qianqing and Lu Zhengfei were not known by many people on campus.
Lu Zhengfei did a very good job of keeping the secret, so almost everyone who knew Chen Qianqing thought he had dropped out of school due to illness. However, almost did not mean everyone.
And Liu Jingyang was one of those exceptions.
During his freshman year, Liu Jingyang had a pretty good relationship with Chen Qianqing. His family was not as wealthy as Chen Qianqing, so he had to spend much of his extracurricular time working. Kids in their twenties were all eager to outdo their fellow peers, when looking at Chen Qianqing who was very popular in their department, it was not unusual for Liu Jingyang to feel a little envious.
However, Liu Jingyang was good at controlling his own negative emotions. He told himself that everyone lived their own different lives, so he should not covet things he should not hope to obtain. Such weak words of self-comfort could not do much, but at the very least, it managed to stop Liu Jingyang from harming anyone.
But it just so happened that Liu Jingyang’s performance at work was great, so he got the chance to become a waiter at a large private banquet. As a normal civilian, Liu Jingyang had no opportunity to rub shoulders with people from the upper rings of the world, so he was ecstatic to receive such an opportunity, and accepted it without any hesitation.
After signing an agreement of confidentiality, and training for some period of time, Liu Jingyang finally got into that place as he had hoped——Of course, as a waiter.
Liu Jingyang was not the most handsome man in the world, but he stood 187 centimetres tall and had a good body. Just thinking about how he would be able to mingle amongst the people of the high society, he would inevitably get some fancy thoughts.
Liu Jingyang had gone holding a lot of great expectations, but unfortunately, the disparity between dreams and reality were just as great, he was destined to fail.
This experience of failure in climbing the social ladder may only stay in Liu Jingyang’s memories for a short while, but Chen Qianqing’s appearance had made that experience unforgettable for Liu Jingyang.
Yes, unlike Liu Jingyang, Chen Qianqing had also appeared at that banquet, and he had come as Lu Zhengfei’s lover.
God knows how surprised Liu Jingyang was when he saw the suited, straight-faced Chen Qianqing walking into the venue with Lu Zhengfei’s arm looped around his. He had nearly dropped the tray of glasses he was holding as well.
Fortunately, the people around him carefully called out to him, returning his mind to earth so that he did not make a fool of himself on such an important occasion.
“Saw someone you knew? What’s with that look?” Another waiter stood next to Liu JIngyang. He saw how absent-minded Liu Jingyang looked so he followed his gaze, and said: “That guy? Don’t even think about it. He’s the new guy in charge of the Lu family. He’s rich, handsome, tsk tsk, and he’s even gay.” That guy thought that Liu Jingyang had his eyes on Lu Zhengfei, but in truth, Liu Jingyang was watching Chen Qianqing.
Chen Qianqing’s face had been cold and indifferent ever since he entered the room. Even while Lu Zhengfei was talking to him, his face would still not change. Strangely enough, Lu Zhengfei was not angry about it either. Instead, he even looked quite enthusiastic to stick to him despite being snubbed.
At that moment, it would be a lie for Liu Jingyang to say he did not hate Chen Qianqing. Chen Qianqing was more handsome than him, his family was richer than him, his grades were better than him, and even under such an occasion, Chen Qianqing was a guest, and he was a waiter.
If you went by the logic of normal people, it would be quite embarrassing for anyone to encounter such a situation, and some might even want to hide from their classmates. But seeing Chen Qianqing’s blank face, Liu Jingyang tried to find a chance to go over to him.
“Chen Qianqing?” With the tray in hand, he commented with surprise: “Fancy seeing you here.”
Currently, Chen Qianqing was sitting by himself. Hearing Liu Jingyang’s voice, he was surprised. He turned around and revealed a tense and awkward expression. He said: “I, I came with my brother.”
“Your brother?” Liu Jingyang looked at Chen Qianqing who had been spoken to with another man’s arm around his waist, and asked: “Your biological brother?” He had asked him that on purpose. Being able to see Chen Qianqing’s embarrassed face gave him joy.
And sure enough, Chen Qianqing’s face wrinkled with embarrassment. After a long pause, he responded to him: “Don’t tell anyone.”
“Oh, so you’re being sponsored?” Liu Jingyang spoke rudely: “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”
Chen Qianqing was still a young boy in his twenties, so hearing the word sponsor, his face turned red. It was not known if he was feeling angry or embarrassed, but his family had been teaching him to grow up to be a gentleman ever since he was young. So, at this moment, he could not find any words to refute Liu Jingyang.
“But don’t tell anyone I know you.” Liu Jingyang continued: “Having a classmate like you is embarrassing.”
Prostitution was more widely accepted in this world than poverty, so if Liu Jingyang’s target of mockery had changed, then perhaps he would only shrug it off with ‘None of my business, as long as you’re willing’, but he could not do that for Chen Qianqing. He had not liked Chen Qianqing very much, and being seen by a classmate in this position pushed him even further towards the edge.
Seeing that Chen Qianqing was no longer speaking with him, Liu Jingyang turned to leave. His heart was blooming with joy, having the chance to see Chen Qianqing in such a position gave him a strange feeling of satisfaction within his distorted sense of vanity.
After that day, Chen Qianqing stopped coming to school. They said he was absent due to illness, but Liu Jingyang thought that he just felt too shameful to come. But in truth, it was because Chen Qianqing angered Lu Zhengfei, and got locked up, and after attempting to escape, his leg had been broken.
This was probably what the butterfly effect was like. Something irrelevant someone had said just to vent their feelings on someone had turned around, leading a great change in the trajectory of someone else’s life.
Liu Jingyang had no idea about the effects of what he had done, all he knew was that Chen Qianqing had returned to school with a broken leg, and he still had to receive his mockery.
Chen Qianqing invited Liu Jingyang to a Chinese restaurant near the school. The two entered a private room, and casually ordered a few dishes.
“Chen Qianqing, don’t tell me you really got sick?” Liu Jingyang seemed to be very casual as he spoke with a menu in his hands: “Do you really think I don’t know what’s happening with you?”
“What’s happening with me?” If the real Chen Qianqing had heard this, then he may have felt the need to just run away at this moment, but the one currently sitting here was a bootleg Chen Qianqing; or accurately speaking, it was Lu Zhengfei who had already been through half of his lifetime.
“Wow, getting sick for a few months and you’ve already forgotten all your scandals?” In truth, Liu Jingyang had not wanted to make things sound so terrible, but not being able to see Chen Qianqing’s displeasure made him displeased as well. He said: “I saw how you were all hand in hand with that guy at that banquet.”
Chen Qianqing did not know which banquet Liu Jingyang was speaking about. He had brought the original Chen Qianqing to way too many banquets in their lifetime, and metaphorically, the only thing he never did was hang a sign of ownership around Chen Qianqing’s neck. Even if they were seen, it did not matter to him.
“So?” Chen Qianqing looked over the menu, but the more he looked at it, the less hungry he felt. He continued: “What are you trying to say?”
Liu Jingyang was at a loss of words. He would never have expected that just a few months would be enough to make this matter completely irrelevant to Chen Qianqing: “Aren’t you afraid I’d tell everyone?”
“Article 246 of the Criminal Law stipulates that using violence or other methods indiscriminately to insult others or falsifying facts to slander a person has serious consequences, they shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention, surveillance, or deprival of political rights.” Chen Qianqing responded to him coldly: “How many years do you think you would get out of this?”
Liu Jingyang was furious: “Me? Slandering you? What, are you trying to say that it’s not a fact that you’re being sponsored by someone?”
Chen Qianqing put down the menu, and laughed: “Liu Jingyang, is this how you always spoke to me in the past?”
“What are you trying to say?” The more he heard from him, the more Liu Jingyang felt scornful of him. He said: “I told you that last time, and you got scared, even skipping school for a few months. And what, now you’ve grown some balls? Did you get an even better sponsor? Try me then, I’m not scared of you.”
The only reason why Liu Jingyang dared to say this was because he believed that Chen Qianqing would not try to retaliate against him. As someone who had been interacting with him for more than a year, he knew that Chen Qianqing had a very strong sense of justice. If he saw a thief out his car window, he would try to stop him, so being spoken about in such a way, he felt that he would only feel abashed.
But unfortunately, the real Chen Qianqing was already deceased.
Hearing Liu Jingyang’s words, Chen Qianqing’s face did not change. He only responded to him coldly: “So you laughed that I was being sponsored before I took a leave of absence?”
“What, don’t you think that’s worth a laugh?” Liu Jingyang said: “Of course I’m going to laugh, don’t you have any shame?”
Chen Qianqing kept silent. He had always known that there were many obstacles between him and the original Chen Qianqing. That Chen Qianqing did not love him, he was not gay, he had parents, but he never thought that the one to cause the ripples that started his downfall was this man before him who did not care at all about how hurtful his words could be.
Chen Qianqing remembered how the original Chen Qianqing had suddenly started throwing a big temper tantrum at him one day, tossing around everything in the room, creating a big mess. Chen Qianqing could even remember his expression on that day.
That honest, kind, stubborn Chen Qianqing, packing his bags, he yelled at him: “Lu Zhengfei, why did you force me to be together with you, I’m leaving! I don’t want to be sponsored by you!”
That word, being sponsored, had set off the minefield in Lu ZHengfei’s mind. And the series of events that happened after that led to the eventual imprisonment of Chen Qianqing by Lu Zhengfei.
“Liu Jingyang.” Chen Qianqing looked at that boy in front of him who was ready to yell insults at him at any moment, and said: “You may have had the opportunity to get a good job, marry a beautiful wife, and have a lovely child.”
Liu Jingyang was stunned, he did not understand what Chen Qianqing was trying to get at.
“But right now, that opportunity is gone.” Chen Qianqing went on: “You will pay the price for everything you’ve done in the past, and also what you are doing now.”
“What are you saying, are you threatening me?” Liu Jingyang was anxious: “What, are you going to complain to your sugar daddy, Chen Qianqing?”
Chen Qianqing smiled: “You’re right, if you’re going to say all this about me, then I would really have to be sorry about how upset you were with all this if I didn’t make use of my sponsorship.”
“Chen Qianqing, you, you, aren’t you afraid I’ll tell all your classmates about the shameful stuff you’ve done?” There was no way Liu Jingyang could keep his cool. He knew that he could not afford to provoke these people at all; at most, he wanted to act big in front of Chen Qianqing, but if Chen Qianqing was really going to make his move, he would still be done for.
“You can tell them if you want.” Chen Qianqing heaved himself up with his crutches: “But we’ll all have to take responsibility for the things we’ve done.”——Just like him; for all the pain he had inflicted upon Chen Qianqing, he would in turn be experiencing all of that now, in full detail.