That night, Xia Wennan’s curiosity prompted him to stay on the first floor till late at night.
He watched as Ming Qin pushed Ming Siyan’s wheelchair outside for a brisk walk after he finished his meal, then wheeled him into the first floor bedroom upon returning inside, never coming back out.

Even when Ming Luchuan arrived home from work in the middle of the night, Xia Wennan was still in the first floor living room, dispassionately watching TV.

“Why are you still awake?” Ming Luchuan asked him.

Xia Wennan rose from the sofa and approached Ming Luchuan’s side, but his gaze remained fixed in the direction of Ming Siyan’s bedroom.
“Ming Qin said that he wasn’t going to hire a caregiver,” he said.
“He’s going to look after Ming Siyan on his own.”

When Ming Luchuan heard this, he said, “So?”

“I wanna see how long he’ll hold out,” said Xia Wennan.

Ming Luchuan gave a small laugh, then took hold of Xia Wennan’s hand and pulled him towards the stairway.

Xia Wennan’s vacation lasted until just before the Chinese New Year, when he returned to work on the day of the company’s annual meeting.

When he showed up at the annual meeting, Xia Wennan dazedly felt as if he’d become Ming Yan’s hero.
Worshipful gazes throughout the entire company followed his every move, and a young member of the staff even came up to him brandishing their phone in order to take a photo with him.

Xia Wennan grew exceedingly dazed.

In truth, during this time, he would dream every night; long, vivid dreams that made him feel as though he was actually experiencing them first-hand.
When he awoke, the dreams and his memories had coalesced to the point where he was unable to distinguish dreams from reality.

In the end, Xia Wennan went to the hospital, and after Lin Shuqiu heard him out, he concluded that it might have been his memories gradually coming back to him.

“Weird,” remarked Xia Wennan.
“Why doesn’t everything just come back to me overnight?”

“Everyone’s circumstances are unique,” explained Lin Shuqiu.

That evening, Xia Wennan waited until Lin Shuqiu got off his shift and had dinner with him.
It was unexpectedly snowing outside when they exited the hospital.

They walked into a modest restaurant and were greeted by heat the moment the door was opened, instantly dissolving the cold in their bones.

Xia Wennan and Lin Shuqiu occupied a small square table and ordered a steaming hotpot.
The proprietor eagerly switched on the stove before their meal was served and told Xia Wennan and Lin Shuqiu that they could use it to warm their hands.

“Are all my memories there?” Xia Wennan questioned.

Lin Shuqiu was startled.
“There’s no way to know… Besides, it was six years worth of memories in the first place—even if you didn’t lose them, many of those memories have naturally vanished.
An ordinary meal, for instance, or a time when you go on a walk.”

Xia Wennan was a little stumped for words.
“So basically, the stuff I dreamed about… may just be my existing memories?” he asked after a time.

“I suppose so…” Lin Shuqiu answered grudgingly.
This question veered beyond his field of study.

“Since I had a brain injury, would I make up fake memories?” Xia Wennan enquired.

“Huh?” Lin Shuqiu withdrew his hands from.

Just then, the proprietor carried their pot over, effectively interrupting their conversation.
The two men stared at the thick, creamy hotpot base in unison, waiting for the broth to come to a boil.

At a nearby table sat two teenage beta girls.
They were speaking in subdued tones at first, but one of them abruptly raised her voice and exclaimed, with utter unwillingness, “My house collapsed! Even old houses can collapse!” She lowered her voice again after finishing her remark, whispering fiercely and dejectedly to her friend.

Xia Wennan had no interest in the entertainment industry, yet Lin Shuqiu actually took his phone to check, and after a brief pause, his head sprang up, and he turned to face Xia Wennan in shock.

“What is it?” Xia Wennan asked him absent-mindedly.

“Lu Wenxing’s omega spouse posted on Weibo accusing Lu Wenxing of adultery,” Lin Shuqiu whispered.

Xia Wennan’s ears immediately perked up.
“Let me see.”

Lin Shuqiu handed him his phone.

Xia Wennan quickly skimmed through the omega’s lengthy Weibo post.
The entire post accused Lu Wenxing of emotional abuse and, in the end, it mentioned Lu Wenxing’s extra-marital affair with a popular omega traffic star.
Although no names were disclosed, the post contained obvious descriptions, and together with a splash of external disturbances, Li Xin’s name emerged in the post’s top comment.

After returning the phone to Lin Shuqiu, Xia Wennan cautiously ventured, “Are you upset?”

Lin Shuqiu shook his head.
“I already knew about it, fortunately.
I don’t really care anymore.”

Xia Wennan couldn’t really comprehend the mindset behind stanning celebrities, so he asked, “If a house collapses, will you stop loving your idol just because you say so?”

“What’s there to love about a collapsed house? There are plenty of good houses out there.
He then flashed a small, pleased smile.

Xia Wennan didn’t ask him where he’d built his new house, but his infectious mood lifted Xia Wennan’s spirits.

Going back to the day of the company’s annual meeting; Xia Wennan had continued to have dreams, and his collection of memories grew and grew until it started to make him feel a little disoriented.

He sat in silence, feeling like he’d become incredibly stable and mature.
After all, he wasn’t in his second year of university anymore, and by the time the New Year rolled around, he would be a nearly twenty-seven-year-old adult.

Later on, numerous people, many of whom were his lab colleagues, flocked to Xia Wennan in order to toast him.
Everyone was brimming with optimism as they looked forward to the launch of the new perfume next spring.
They enthusiastically toasted Xia Wennan, who was unable to decline out of embarrassment.
As a result, he drank heavily, passed out, and had to be carried back.

He had no idea who carried him at first, but when he woke up, disoriented, he found himself in a car, with Ming Luchuan seated beside him, staring at him.

“Mm?” Xia Wennan’s mind was still hazy.

“You’re awake?” Ming Luchuan asked.

“Did you drive us back?” Xia Wennan asked him.
“How come we haven’t gone upstairs?”

“I drank,” said Ming Luchuan.
“The driver drove.”

“Oh—” Xia Wennan buried his face in his hands and kneaded, hard, then looked up and breathed out a moment later.
“I reek of alcohol.”

“You had a lot to drink.” Ming Luchuan stroked his hair.

“You’re so gentle now,” said Xia Wennan.

Ming Luchuan retracted his hand, perhaps to make himself seem cold and stern, but it didn’t work this time, and the gaze he directed at Xia Wennan held nothing but warmth.

“The first time I saw you—I remember you weren’t that gentle,” said Xia Wennan.

“At the hospital?” asked Ming Luchuan.

“Not the hospital.” Xia Wennan shook his head.
Brows furrowed, he appeared as though he was trying hard to recall the memory.
“It was in the lab.
You walked in wearing a suit.
You were really tall, and had legs for days.
The suit was light grey, and the fit was perfect.
Someone introduced us, the lab staff, and you shook my hand.
Your hand was warm, but your face was cold.”

Ming Luchuan was slightly speechless.
“You’ve remembered?”

Xia Wennan laughed.
He rubbed at his face again before flinging back his head; the alcohol had clouded his mind, and despite the nap he’d taken, his brain remained sluggish.
However, as this scene had just appeared in his dream, it was especially vivid.

Ming Luchuan continued, “That wasn’t the first time we met.
The first time was on the ground floor of the company.
You were carrying a bunch of things, and you squeezed into the lift next to me.”

Xia Wennan was bewildered.
“Why don’t I know this?”

“Your things were blocking your view, so you never saw my face.”

“Then how come you saw mine?” asked Xia Wennan.

“I’m taller than you.”

Xia Wennan didn’t think anything amiss; he was too sleepy, and leaned back on his seat to go back to sleep.
Before dozing off, he said, “You can’t count that as a meeting then—I didn’t even see your face.”

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