Chapter 258 – Blood Relations

As Chen Yunlan uttered the final syllable, the living room fell into a profound silence, only the rhythmic sound of breathing prevailed.

Chen Yunlan didn’t even cry. He merely fixed his gaze on the simple painting on the wall. His eyes were filled with tenderness and affection.

After unraveling the tragic incident himself, Chen Yunlan didn’t sink into sorrow. Even while narrating the story, his tone remained remarkably neutral, devoid of any emotions.

Nevertheless, everyone present understood that Chen Yunlan was in a state of restraint, suppressing tumultuous emotions within himself. He made a deliberate effort to maintain composure, striving to present himself as an onlooker rather than someone who had directly experienced the events.

As Chen Yunlan recounted this past, everyone present held their breath, attentively listening to his narrative. Through his simple storytelling, a tragedy orchestrated by the Chen family unfolded before their eyes.

Undoubtedly, it was a sorrowful and infuriating tale.

The story concluded, yet the listeners remained immersed in its essence, grieving and seething with anger for the tale itself.

“Alright, that’s all you wanted to know.”

After a prolonged silence, Chen Yunlan shifted his gaze away from the simple painting on the wall and looked at Sheng Jiaqi.

Sheng Jiaqi wiped his face, saying, “I’m sorry.” If he had known the truth was this cruel, he wouldn’t have let Chen Yunlan reveal it in person, as this act of disclosure was, for the current Chen Yunlan, also a form of cruelty.

This cruelty was akin to forcibly tearing open a wound that had not yet healed, making the blood and flesh flow once more.

“There’s nothing to apologize for; it’s all in the past,” Chen Yunlan said with a smile. However, the forced nature of that smile made everyone present feel a pang of sympathy for him.

“I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable. I’ll go rest upstairs first.” Chen Yunlan didn’t give others a chance to speak, rising and heading back upstairs. His posture was erect, yet anyone could see this was an act of feigned strength.

As Chen Yunlan’s figure disappeared around the corner, Chen Li didn’t know what to think. After pondering for a while, they looked towards Wei Chen.

Wei Chen met Chen Li’s gaze and immediately understood Chen Li’s intent, nodding in response.

After a moment of hesitation, Chen Li hurriedly followed Chen Yunlan’s departing figure.

He didn’t know why he was worried about Chen Yunlan. It was just his recent demeanor that left Chen Li feeling an inexplicable heaviness, as if a huge boulder was pressing down on his heart.

Until Chen Li’s figure disappeared around the corner of the staircase, Wei Chen withdrew his gaze, landing it on Sheng’s father and son seated on the sofa. “Uncle Sheng, is the child of the old friend you mentioned last time Li Li?” Even though this was already a confirmed answer, Wei Chen couldn’t help but ask.

Sheng Jia nodded, “Indeed, it is him. However, he’s not the child of an old friend but my brother-in-law’s child.”

Sheng Jiaqi has been accustomed to a low profile within the circle of the capital city. Even now, many people are unaware of Sheng Jiaqi’s in-laws. Wei Chen was also clueless but didn’t inquire. Instead, he found a spot to sit, propping his chin and contemplating certain matters.

After hearing the story, Sheng Jiaqi felt puzzled. “If the Chen family didn’t want to keep Chen Li, why did Chen Yunsheng decide to keep him?” Sheng Jiaqi didn’t believe it was out of Chen Yunsheng’s compassion. He suspected there were undisclosed reasons behind it.

“Chen Yunsheng needed Li Li’s heart for a transplant for his daughter,” Wei Chen succinctly explained.

Sheng Jiaqi was taken aback, “What! Are they planning to kill and harvest someone’s heart?”

Cookie also found it hard to believe. He was aware that there were probably hidden reasons behind the Chen family’s actions but didn’t know it was for this purpose.

How could the Chen family be so callous about human lives?

Wei Chen didn’t respond to Sheng Jiaqi’s outrage; he continued pondering the earlier questions.

From Chen Yunlan’s narrative, Wei Chen inferred a lot. But the only thing that left him puzzled was that Chen Li was born from Chen Yunlan. Can men really give birth to children?

Weighing this question, Wei Chen looked at Sheng Jiaqi and Cookie, noticing that they didn’t seem surprised by this question. Had they known about some genetic trait in some men’s bodies allowing them to bear children, or did they miss the implication in Chen Yunlan’s words?

Sensing Wei Chen’s curiosity, Sheng Jiaqi spoke, “I know what you’re wondering. It may sound unbelievable, but indeed, there are men in this world who can give birth to children, and Chen Yunlan is one of them.”

Even though Wei Chen was mentally prepared, he was still somewhat shocked upon hearing this answer. After all, this answer contradicted his understanding from over twenty years.

Despite his shock, Wei Chen didn’t display it on his face.

“Wei Chen, now that you know, be a little more observant in the future. Chen Li might also possess these genetic traits,” Sheng Jiaqi reminded.

Wei Chen had already thought about this. Since Chen Li was Chen Yunlan’s child, it was highly likely that he might have these so-called traits for male childbirth.

Just the thought of having children with Chen Li in the future brought about a strange feeling in Wei Chen. It wasn’t something he opposed; in fact, he was even looking forward to it.

“Achen, please tell Mr. Chen Yunlan that we’re leaving. I’ve been too abrupt.” Having learned the truth of the past, Sheng Jiaqi naturally felt no need to stay any longer. He and Cookie—stood up and bid their farewells.

Wei Chen escorted them to the door and upon returning, saw Chen Li standing at the top of the stairs, gazing at Wei Chen with bright eyes.

Wei Chen sensed Chen Li’s excitement. He walked over, ruffled Chen Li’s soft hair, and said, “Li Li, you’re happy.”

Chen Li rubbed his face against Wei Chen’s large palm and nodded vigorously.

“Achen, I have a dad now,” Chen Li said.

Before this moment, Chen Li was aware that he had a father, but Chen Yunsheng was nothing but a devil to him. He didn’t deserve to be called a dad, and Chen Li hadn’t felt any paternal affection from Chen Yunsheng—only fear, an endless and boundless fear.

But just a moment ago, when he went upstairs with Chen Yunlan, Chen Li noticed the careful and delighted look in Chen Yunlan’s eyes when he saw him. Even Chen Li could sense the fear in Chen Yunlan’s heart—the fear of Chen Li distancing himself, the fear of Chen Li not accepting him.

However, Chen Li didn’t understand why Chen Yunlan was scared. When he first learned that Chen Yunlan was his biological father, Chen Li didn’t harbor any resentment, only confusion. Now that the truth was out, there was even less resentment. Though he couldn’t completely understand what Chen Yunlan had gone through all these years, Chen Li pondered: what if he faced a similar situation with Wei Chen in the future?

The mere appearance of this question caused an ache in Chen Li’s heart, an unbearable discomfort.

‘So, Chen Yunlan must have been in a lot of pain all these years?’ Chen Li thought to himself.

In that moment, almost instinctively, Chen Li stepped forward and hugged Chen Yunlan, resting his head on Chen Yunlan’s shoulder, gently patting Chen Yunlan’s back, comforting him in his own way.

Chen Li’s subconscious action froze Chen Yunlan, as if something had struck his heart. Instantly, an overwhelming joy seized his entire being.

Chen Yunlan forgot how to move, stiffening as Chen Li hugged him. After a while, he managed a response.

“Xiao Li…” Chen Yunlan spoke hesitantly and anxiously, “Xiao Li, can I call you Xiao Li?”

“Sure.” Chen Li continued comforting him, softly responding.

Chen Yunlan was taken aback, feeling a bit at a loss for words. In a rush, he blurted, “Xiao Li, can you call me Dad?”

This statement froze Chen Yunlan once again. He knew he had rushed it. Could Xiao Li accept this? After all, their time together hadn’t even totaled a day.

Chen Li also froze, his hand mid-pat on Chen Yunlan’s back.

Chen Yunlan’s eyes dimmed suddenly. Indeed, he was too eager. Xiao Li accepting his presence was already a good sign. How could he expect immediate recognition as father and son?

“Xiao Li, if you don’t want to…” Chen Yunlan’s somewhat disheartened voice was interrupted by Chen Li’s crisp and resolute response, “Dad.”

Chen Yunlan thought he was hearing things. He softly pushed Chen Li away and stared intently at his face, an expression of disbelief and overwhelming joy shining in his eyes.

He would rather he had auditory hallucinations than admit that Chen Li didn’t call him dad.

“Dad.” Chen Li repeated, ensuring Chen Yunlan that the first “Dad” wasn’t a figment of his imagination.

For Chen Li, saying “Dad” wasn’t a matter of consideration. It was a fact he accepted without hesitation. But seeing the ecstatic look in Chen Yunlan’s eyes made him feel unexpectedly content and joyful.

Tears immediately welled up in Chen Yunlan’s eyes. The extreme suppression of pain hadn’t made him cry, but those two words Chen Li just spoke struck a chord in Chen Yunlan’s heart, unleashing a torrent of emotions he couldn’t control.

Realizing his sudden emotional outburst, Chen Yunlan pulled away from Chen Li, mustering a smile. “Xiao Li, come here often. Dad will cook delicious food for you.”

Chen Li’s eyes lit up without hesitation. Dad’s cooking was undeniably delicious. Eating it only once wouldn’t be satisfying!

Chen Yunlan didn’t know that his culinary skills had been the first to unlock Chen Li’s heart. Yet even if he had known, he wouldn’t have minded. He’d probably just continue cooking for Chen Li without any reservations. Sometimes, blood relations work in mysterious ways, instantly unlocking a heavily guarded heart and bringing two people closer.

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