Chapter 36: I'm With You
Once Yin Chang returned to his apartment, it was already past midnight.
The living room was still lit, and the food on the dining table had been cleared, except for a plate of noodles that Fiona had specially cooked for him.
But he came back too late, and it was already cold.
Fiona came out of the bedroom when she heard him.
She asked in a hushed voice, “Xiao chang, where did you go?”
Yin Chang was cold all over and didn't feel like saying anything.
Fiona approached and smelled the alcohol on him, feeling both distressed and helpless.
“Have you eaten? Do you want me to cook something for you again?”
“I'm not hungry,” Yin Chang shook his head.
He had no appetite at all.
“…Where is he?”
“I finally managed to coax him to sleep…” Fiona didn't know how to comfort him, and said with a worried tone, “Listen to Auntie, don't fight anymore.
I've talked to him, that child is also having a hard time.
He cried after you left.”
Yin Chang: “…” That guy knows how to cry?
Seeing Yin Chang exhausted, Fiona reassured, “If you don't want to eat, rest early.
I'll make you some porridge tomorrow morning.”
“Okay,” Yin Chang nodded, gesturing for Fiona to rest as well.
He walked towards the master bedroom with unsteady steps.
After entering the bedroom, Yin Chang wanted to turn on the lights, but was afraid that it would disturb Shao Junling's sleep, so he stood in the darkness for a moment.
For a moment he really wanted to move out…
But a sense of responsibility surged up from the bottom of his heart, overwhelming the urge to escape.
Yin Chang sighed lightly, resigned to his fate.
After his eyes adjusted to the low level of light, he planned to wash his face in the dark.
But when he turned around, he saw Shao Junling sitting on the small bed in the study, hugging his knees, silently looking at him.
Yin Chang took a moment to recover his senses.
A few seconds later he hoarsely asked, “You're not asleep yet?”
Shao Junling blinked his eyes.
In the darkness, Yin Chang couldn't see his expression clearly.
But his eyes looked both innocent and aggrieved.
Yin Chang was quite drunk, feeling that he wasn't as angry as when he’d left.
Perhaps Shao Junling's pitiful eyes had touched him.
Thinking that today was Shao Junling's birthday, although it was already past midnight, he decided to say “Happy birthday” to him.
…Someone had to soften up first, right?
Yin Chang dragged his heavy feet to Shao Junling’s bedside.
He slowly squatted down, and looked at him with mixed emotions.
He was still so small, curled up, hugging his legs, like a scared little puppy afraid of being abandoned…
Shao Junling looked back at Yin Chang, and timidly called out, “Brother.”
This was the second time…
Since meeting at the welfare institute, this was the second time Shao Junling called him brother.
Then, in a barely audible voice, he said, “I'm sorry.”
Yin Chang's heart softened all at once.
He didn't ask for much, just these five words, and his heartache from the night seemed to be healed.
He even started reflecting on his own mistakes, like when Shao Junling boasted to him about that prank, he should’ve calmly advised him.
After all, the child had done it to “avenge” him.
However, the scene that Xuezi's family saw still bothered Yin Chang.
He asked Shao Junling in a low voice, “Do you envy others who have dads, moms, and uncles?”
Shao Junling was stunned and shook his head.
Because he was no longer angry, Yin Chang relaxed completely, feeling the alcohol rising in his head.
His mind was sluggish.
“Why not? You only have…
Shao Junling lowered his eyes.
After long pause, he muttered two words in a muffled voice, “Enough.”
He said he was enough.
Yin Chang smiled, reached out and rubbed Shao Junling's head.
He softly said, “Shao Junling, happy birthday…”
He also wanted to tell Shao Junling: I only have you now.
Please behave better in the future, okay?
But his vision became blurry and his body heavy.
He saw Shao Junling open his mouth to say, “I, I will…”
But before Shao Junling could finish that sentence, Yin Chang passed out by his bedside.
Shao Junling grabbed Yin Chang's hand.
With his childish voice, he murmured, “I will always accompany you.”
The next day, Yin Chang woke up on his younger brother's small bed.
Shao Junling had attempted to drag him because he couldn't lift him.
Yin Chang, finding it uncomfortable, had clumsily climbed up and slept on his own.
Still feeling the effects of the alcohol, he unconsciously snatched Shao Junling's blanket and wrapped himself into a bundle, leaving Shao Junling at a loss, standing by the foot of the bed all night.
Of course, Yin Chang didn't know any of this.
When Yin Chang woke up, he saw a row of things neatly arranged on the edge of the bed – jelly pudding, chocolate, Hello Panda biscuits, handmade paper flowers…
He looked puzzled and randomly picked up a blue paper flower.
Underneath was a crooked line of words: “Happy birthday, Shao Junling!”
was the birthday gift that Shao Junling had received yesterday?
Did that guy carry all the gifts back? But why were they all here?
Yin Chang collected the small gifts and put them on the bedside table, while recalling vaguely what had happened last night.
He only remembered that Shao Junling seemed to have said “I'm sorry” to him.
That apology had brought him great comfort.
Yin Chang still felt relieved when he thought about it now.
But why was he sleeping on his bed? Did he pass out while chatting with that guy?
Ugh, how embarrassing.
Yin Chang walked out of the bedroom.
When he saw Fiona, he asked her, “Where's Shao Junling?”
“You're up?” Fiona rose to prepare breakfast for him in the kitchen, “He's gone to school.”
“Huh?” Yin Chang looked at the time and realized it was almost nine o'clock.
“I called a taxi for him, straight to De-International School.
He said he has class today.” Fiona talked while busying about in the kitchen, “Did he apologize to you last night? After you left, I explained to him that smashing things was wrong.
I also told him that he was wrong use the honey as a prank.
And that was why you got angry when you found out…”
Fiona brought out hot porridge and freshly fried eggs, “Actually, as long as you talk to him nicely that kid is eager to listen…
If he does something wrong in the future and you find it hard to talk to him, just come to me.
I'll help you explain.”
Yin Chang nodded, relieved by Fiona's last sentence.
It turned out that Shao Junling apologized thanks to Fiona's guidance.
He wondered how that little guy suddenly became so sensible.
Fiona said, “He seemed to be in a good mood today.
Did you forgive him?”
Yin Chang nodded.
How could he not forgive him, when he saw him every day?
Fiona continued to advise him, “You seemed pretty drunk last night.
Although you’re overage… try to drink less or not at all.
Don't rely on your youth to behave recklessly.”
Yin Chang gave a perfunctory “Hmm”.
Inwardly, he was thinking that he only drank yesterday to drown his sorrows because he was in a bad mood.
Who would want to get drunk for no reason on a normal day? However, after drinking with others last night and apologizing to his brother, he felt that his complaints to Bai Xiaozhi were a bit melodramatic.
Bai Xiaozhi had even specially called a substitute driver who he followed to send him home, then had had to send the smashed Jia Siqi home in his own taxi.
All because he’d drank too much.
While eating porridge, Yin Chang found his phone and sent a message to Bai Xiaozhi saying, “Thanks for yesterday.”
Bai Xiaozhi was probably still asleep and didn't reply.
Yin Chang noticed a package on the side.
He guessed it was the birthday gift Yao Manhuai had helped him pick out for Shao Junling.
Because of the unexpected events last night, Yin Chang hadn’t had a chance to properly celebrate Shao Junling's birthday.
He opened the package and saw that it was another model toy.
The ones Shao Junling received from abroad were enough to last him a few years, so this gift wasn't very original.
Yin Chang thought for a moment and sent a message to Teacher Lin, asking if Shao Junling had arrived at school.
Teacher Lin replied that he had.
After finishing class, Shao Junling would be returning for the New Year holiday.
Yin Chang specifically asked Teacher Lin to pass on a message to Shao Junling, saying that he would pick him up tonight.
“Are students at De-International allowed to bring their phones to school?”
Teacher Lin replied, “They can, but the school rules state that phones must be handed in during class time and returned after school.
Otherwise the students may be distracted by games.”
Yin Chang responded, “Okay.”
After dinner, he went to the company for training and asked Lu Lingjuan to help him find out the brand and size of the shoes Wang Chen wore while recording the program last night.
During this time, he received a message from Bai Xiaozhi.
“Are you feeling better now?”
Yin Chang: “Feeling much better! At dance practice now.” He took a photo of the dance studio and sent it.
Bai Xiao Zhi: “……?!” Damn, he still had a pounding headache.
But Yin Chang was already practicing dance? What kind of abnormal constitution did that guy have!
In the evening, Lu Ling Juan found him.
She had found that Wang Chen's shoes were a custom-made pair from a small luxury brand in South Korea, size 42, priced around ten thousand yuan.
Yin Chang thought to himself, if the brat knew that his prank was more expensive than his birthday gift, what would his reaction be?
Probably wouldn't have much of a reaction… It wasn’t like he was the one spending the money.
Yin Chang asked Lu Ling Juan, “Can you buy these shoes in China?”
Lu Ling Juan replied, “There are no sellers in China.
Why? do you like his shoes?”
Yin Chang: “Nope.”
Lu Ling Juan: “……”
Yin Chang: “Forget it, it's nothing.”
Yin Chang took matters into his own hands and ordered a pair of leather shoes of similar price on a luxury brand's official website overseas, in Wang Chen's size.
After finishing practice, Yin Chang went to De-International to pick up Shao Jun Ling.
Once the little guy got in the car, he handed him a new phone, “Here, birthday gift for you.”
Shao Jun Ling held the phone box in amazement, inspecting every inch.
Yin Chang: “With this, you can contact me directly at school in the future.
If I have any plans, I’ll let you know in advance.
No more lying from now on, got it?”
Shao Jun Ling nodded.
Yin Chang glanced at him, knowing he liked the gift, he cleared his throat, and asked with a smile, “What should you say?”
Shao Jun Ling said, “……Thank you.”
Yin Chang asked, “Thank who?”
Shao Jun Ling blushed, “Thank…thank you, brother.”
Afterwards, neither of them mentioned what happened the previous night, and Yin Chang didn't ask Shao Junling how he ended up sleeping on his bed.
After all, he was an adult with his own dignity, and getting black out drunk…
even just thinking about it was embarrassing.
Back home, Yin Chang personally taught Shao Junling how to use the phone.
He helped him download WeChat, register an account, and add himself as a friend.
Shao Junling tapped on Yin Chang's profile picture on WeChat and curiously asked, “Can, can I see you on this?”
“See me? What do you mean?” Yin Chang was puzzled.
“I mean, like on that big thing,” Shao Junling gestured with his fingers to indicate the size of an iPad.
Yin Chang realized that Shao Junling was referring to FaceTime, and he pointed at Shao Junling and said, “We can do that too, tap here, video call…
yes, once connected, you'll be able to see me.”
Shao Junling tried making a call, and Yin Chang answered on the other end.
Their big heads appeared on each other's screens.
“Hey…” Shao Junling held the phone and actually chuckled foolishly.
Yin Chang saw Shao Junling's mouth twitching on the screen and was momentarily stunned.
But when he turned to look, Shao Junling had already returned to his usual expressionless self.
“Dinner's ready!” Fiona came out of the kitchen and saw Yin Chang and Shao Junling sitting on the sofa with their heads close together.
She feelt relieved.
Brothers were brothers after all.
They might quarrel today, but they’d make up tomorrow.
It felt like they were living a more fulfilling life than when they were abroad.
On New Year's Eve, Yin Chang received two tickets to the New Year's Eve Gala of Starry Sky TV.
He wasn't originally planning to go, but when he saw Shao Junling playing with his models all alone, he realized that ever since he had brought him home, he hadn't had many chances to take him out to have fun.
He asked if he wanted to go watch the gala.
Shao Junling tilted his head.
“Are you going?”
Yin Chang was taken aback, “Yes.” If Shao Junling wanted to go, how could he not accompany him?
Shao Junling immediately packed up his model parts one by one and got up from the floor, waiting for Yin Chang's next instruction.
Yin Chang was puzzled by Shao Junling's calm and unenthusiastic demeanor.
It took him a moment before he told him to change into formal clothes.
Since they were going to a gala, they needed to dress formally.
They’d be sitting in the VIP audience section, and there was a possibility of being photographed.
Before Shao Junling started school, Yin Chang had bought him a bunch of clothes including two sets of formal suits for summer and winter.
Specifically for him to wear on formal occasions.
But this was Shao Junling's first time wearing formal clothes.
When he was wrapped up in a little suit with a waistband, he felt stiff all over and didn't know how to move his arms and legs.
Yin Chang couldn't help but burst into laughter when he saw him waddling like a penguin.
Shao Junling froze, glaring at him with embarrassment.
He looked like he had a lot to say but was at a loss for words, leading to pent up anger.
“Alright, alright, you'll get used to it after wearing it more.” Yin Chang walked over with a smile, comforting him while bending down to straighten his collar.
He suddenly recalled his childhood.
Yin Dong had also straightened his collar for him, and he felt like his father's loving face was right in front of him.
A touch of sadness flashed across Yin Chang's face, and his movements subconsciously became more gentle…
Fiona came out and saw this scene, and she also recalled a similar scene.
The two people, one big and one small, seemed to have changed places somehow, and her eyes became wet.
Fiona forcefully blinked the tears from her eyes.
“Wow, Jun Ling looks so handsome in this outfit!”
Hearing this, Shao Jun Ling blushed again, but his eyes were fixed on Yin Chang in front of him.
The TV station was crowded with people.
Although the entrance for guests was different from the entrance for regular audience members, Yin Chang was afraid of losing Shao Jun Ling, so he repeatedly reminded him to follow closely and to keep an eye on his phone in case they got separated.
If they did, he should call.
Upon arrival, a staff member who was responsible for receiving guests, led Yin Chang and Shao Jun Ling to the resting room.
In the room where Yin Chang was, there were several seated middle-aged men and women.
One of them greeted him as soon as he saw him, “Hey, this is Yin Dong's son.”
This remark caught the attention of everyone present.
Yin Chang recognized two of them from his father's memorial service.
As the junior, it was Yin Chang’s responsibility to take the initiative to greet them.
He greeted everyone one at a time with Shao Jun Lin.
The people present either had personal connections with Yin Dong or had seen Yin Dong's movies.
At this time, they gathered around the two brothers and started chatting.
Yin Chang could clearly feel that the gazes of these people towards Shao Jun Ling were filled with curiosity and speculation, despite Yao Manhuai providing proof after the previous rumor, that he and Shao Jun Ling had no blood relation.
However, with Shao Jun Ling's appearance here, it was hard to avoid others’ speculation.
Some people who followed Yin Chang's development laughed, “Little Yin, your popularity is so high lately.”
Another person followed suit, “Yes, my daughter brought a magazine with Yin Chang on the cover last month and asked me if I knew him.
She said many girls in her class like this young celebrity, and wanted me to get an autograph for her…”
“Haha, that's perfect.
Let Yin Chang sign a some for you and make your daughter happy.”
“Young people nowadays are really amazing.
There are so many fresh faces in the entertainment industry.
Changing every two or three years.
I can hardly keep up with the trends.”
“No choice, times have indeed changed.
There's a saying on the internet now, 'looks determine everything.'”
“Haha, it's not surprising that Yin Chang is so popular with just his looks.”
“Looks alone are not enough.
You also need a powerful backer.
Yin Dong's former manager in his early years, who was it? Oh, that Yao woman.
She's so resourceful, with many connections behind her.
She’s helping Yin Chang now, right? Then he’d definitely be smooth sailing.”
Several people spoke to each other as if Yin Chang didn't exist.
Although they spoke no lies, Yin Chang couldn't help but feel uncomfortable.
In their words, rather than a person, he was just a commodity.
As long as he was valued high, consumers would gravitate towards him …
But perhaps the entertainment industry was just such a place.
After chatting, they exchanged contact information with Yin Chang enthusiastically.
Yin Chang saw that they were senior actors, well-known screenwriters, and TV drama directors…
all of them were well-known figures.
Before long, the receptionist came to lead them to their seats.
Yin Chang asked Shao Junling to sit on his right side.
A female producer from Starry Night Studio sat to his left.
The guest seats were a bit high, and after Shao Junling sat down, his legs dangled in the air.
Yin Chang quickly reminded him, “Sit properly, don't swing your feet.”
The live broadcast of the evening party started half an hour earlier than the TV broadcast.
It began with a relatively long monologue by the host, followed by several traditional songs.
Shao Junling seemed uninterested and started to look around.
Yin Chang couldn't help but hold his hand.
He whispered, “Don't move around, there are cameras.
They might capture you.”
This scene was captured by the cameras, and Yin Chang's outstanding image of gently educating his younger brother immediately caught the attention of the director.
He picked up the intercom and said, “Camera 3, focus on guests seated in positions 14-15.”
After reminding Shao Junling, Yin Chang didn't let go of his hand.
Whenever he noticed the little guy was misbehaving, he would pinch his hand.
But to his relief, Shao Junling behaved himself afterwards.
The evening party lasted for a full hour, with singing, dancing, skits, and debate, which was quite exciting.
But for a ten-year-old child, these programs probably didn't have the same appeal as cartoons.
When leaving, the guests from the guest seats left first.
As Yin Chang and his brother were about to leave the studio, the female producer sitting on Yin Chang's left suddenly called out to him, “Yin Chang, wait.”
Yin Chang: “Yes?”
The woman smiled and looked at the two brothers.
She formally introduced herself then said, “We’re currently planning a parent-child variety show.
We want to invite some second-gen stars and their parents to form teams to participate.
Since it's the first season, the members we’re inviting have very high visibility.
Currently, two pairs have confirmed their participation…
I just saw you and your younger brother, and think it’d be perfect for you two.
Would you be interested?”
Yin Chang hesitated for a moment.
His first instinct was to refuse.
After all, he had just stepped into the entertainment industry himself.
Half a year ago, Shao Junling's identity had caused a huge uproar online.
If he took this child to participate in a variety show, wouldn't the internet explode?
Besides, although Shao Junling was now dressed in a suit and looked decent, his flaws would definitely be exposed if he appeared on a variety show.
If they were broadcasted, he would definitely be criticized by the netizens.
Yin Chang hurriedly found an excuse, “Sorry, my younger brother is still in school.
It won’t be convenient.”
Unexpectedly, the female producer said, “This is not a problem at all.
Our show is scheduled to start recording during summer vacation in six months.
We’ve already confirmed two pairs of guests, including two children who are about the same age as your younger brother.”
As she spoke, she winked at Shao Junling.
Yin Chang's excuse didn't work, so he could only awkwardly say, “Then let me discuss it with my manager later.”
The female producer smiled, “Okay, I’ll send a detailed plan of this variety show to Ms.
Yao for review.”
On the night when Yin Chang got drunk, Shao Junling took out the birthday gifts he had brought back and placed them one by one beside his brother.
For my brother…
For my brother…
All for my brother…
Yin Chang: “Do you want to watch the evening show?”
Shao Junling: “Are you going?”
Yin Chang: “Yes, I am.”
Shao Junling (getting up from the ground): “Alright then, I'll accompany you.”
Yin Chang: “?????”
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