CHAPTER 7: HOW TO COPE
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Every matter related to Song Liuli’s wake and funeral were all handled by her brothers. Bai Minglan had wanted to help. However, the younger brother Song Liuchen opposed it vehemently. He even wanted to keep Bai Minglan away, not allowing him to attend. On the other hand, Liuli’s older brother, Liufeng, was still in a state of shock. Aside from handling some of the funeral arrangements, he hadn’t talked to anyone aside from his wife. The death of Song Liuli had a big impact to the two Song brothers.

When Bai Minglan heard that Song Liuchen didn’t want him to attend, he gritted his teeth. Yet he knows that he can’t come to blows with Liuchen as the latter is still Song Liuli’s beloved younger brother. All he can do is to stay outside the venue.

On the third day of staying outside, Song Liufeng finally allowed him to come inside the funeral home where the wake is. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that it is also the last day of Liuli’s wake, the Song brothers allowed him to say his farewells.

Bai Minglan went through all the motions in a daze. He no longer cared about Song Liuchen’s touches of sarcasm nor the reporters' barrage of questions. He didn’t pick up his calls nor did he pay attention to company matters.

Everything went by in a blur for Bai Minglan, not knowing how to fill up the gaping hole that he’s feeling in his heart.

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For the month after Song Liuli’s burial, Bai Minglan didn’t concern himself with anything. All he did was hole himself up inside his penthouse. This penthouse was where he lived during the infant years of his company, during the first few years of his relationship with Song Liuli. He did not return to the house he shared with her because that house was filled with traces of her.

For the first few days after her death, Bai Minglan had originally stayed in that house just like he was used to. When he was there, he would have this illusion that Song Liuli was still alive. He would think that, anytime, she would step inside the house and say, “I’m home.”

Yet, day after day, he’d be disappointed. It further emphasized that she was no longer there.

More than that, every corner of the house is soaked with her presence. Her memories. Whenever he turned a corner, he’d be reminded of certain memories he shared with her. When the illusion of those memories fades, he’d be full of regrets that he didn’t know what he’d do with them.

Sometimes, he’d see her on the bed, sleeping peacefully. He can perfectly remember the contours of her face, her thick, long lashes, her even breathing. In a daze, he’d walk slowly to the bed, afraid of waking up the little beauty deep in slumber. He’d then reach out his hand to caress her face, only to find the illusion broken as the sleeping figure immediately disappears from his eyes.

There are also times when he wakes up in the middle of the night. In his sleepy daze, he’d reach out to the side of the bed, as he usually does, only to fully awaken when he was unable to feel the usual warmth. He no longer had her body to hold at night. The comfortable feeling of sleeping with her in his arms no longer exist in that house.

He’d call out her name only to remember that no one would answer him anymore.

As the days passed by, he felt he was slowly going crazy. His heart was filled with despair.

At the time when he felt that he can no longer stand it, he packed his bags and decided to stay in this penthouse. Yet, even when he’s here, he doesn’t have the energy nor the motivation to do anything. He’d just stare at the scenery outside the window while nursing a glass of wine. The wine, although may not have the full power to keep her away from his thoughts nor dull the gaping, aching pain in his chest, can still help lull him to sleep, though it may take a couple of bottles before it takes effect.

Since her death, he hasn’t been able to sleep peacefully. Only when he’s utterly inebriated will he be able to close his eyes.

Ding! Dong!

Suddenly, the sound of the doorbell woke him up from his stupor. This is the first time since he had come here in the penthouse to stay did someone come to find him.

He had intended to ignore whoever it is that’s visiting him at this hour. However, the person seems persistent as he or she repeatedly rang the doorbell.

Annoyed with the bell that’s invading his head, Bai Minglan lazily stood up and staggered towards the door. Without caring who it is, he opened the door only to find Shen Tianyi in front of him.

“Oh.”, Bai Minglan reacted without emotions. “It’s you.”

“What the heck are you doing to yourself?”, Shen Tianyi exclaimed upon seeing him. His knitted brows seem to indicate anger and concern at the same time.

Bai Minglan left the door open before he staggered towards the couch. He then slumped on it and then picked up the remote to turn on the TV. He continued to browse through the channels, as if he was looking for a good show to watch, despite the fact that his eyes were actually vacant. It doesn’t seem like Bai Minglan was seeing the changing scenes on the TV in front of him.

Shen Tianyi felt helpless upon seeing this side of Bai Minglan. He understands why Bai Minglan is acting like this but continuing on this path will just destroy him.

He gave out a sigh before entering the penthouse. He closed the door behind him. He’s expecting that he’d be having quite a long talk with this man, knocking his senses back to him so he can get over Song Liuli’s death at least one baby step at a time.

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