At twelve o’clock noon, the wedding began.

The flower carpet extended on the lush lawn, leading to the magnificent floral arch and sparkling fountain in the distance. Long dining tables filled with various cold dishes and snacks surrounded the area. Looking out through the corridor window, the guests had already started arriving. Yang Mei, half amused and half exasperated, supported Han Xiaomei, who hobbled on high heels. Lu Ju, struggling to fit into his black suit, stood confidently with his hands behind his back, his three chins puffed up with pride.

Behind the carved glass door, Jiang Ting carefully examined himself in the full-length mirror.

The sunlight outside the window illuminated half of his face, giving it a clear and transparent look, while the other half appeared strained and stern. Jiang Ting took a deep breath, trying to make himself appear warm and friendly. Unfortunately, the cheek muscles that he rarely exercised couldn’t fulfill such a challenging task. Two seconds later, he quickly reverted to his usual expression.

In his heart, Jiang Ting thought, “Well, let it be. If I go on stage with a big smile later, I might scare people to death.” He adjusted his sleeves and was about to turn and enter the bridal lounge arranged by the hotel when he heard an eager voice from the other side of the corridor, “Hey! Darling!”

Jiang Ting turned around.

Yan Yin, dressed in a black formal suit, stood tall, handsome, and energetic. Every pore on his body emitted a hormone-laden aura, as seen through Jiang Ting’s rose-tinted glasses. He hurriedly reached out and grabbed Jiang Ting’s hand, earnestly advising, “Hey! There’s something I want to tell you…”

A smile involuntarily appeared in Jiang Ting’s eyes as he listened to Yan Yin.

“When Director Lu calls the groom to the stage, don’t go out. Wait for me first!”

Jiang Ting: “……”

“Wait for me!”

“You go first…”

Only then did Yan Yin feel at ease, turned around, but couldn’t resist turning back to tighten Jiang Ting’s bowtie, quickly giving him a kiss, before walking away with a smile.

Their entrance was different. Yan Yin’s planned process was as follows: when Director Lu called the groom to the stage, Yan Yin would descend the stairs, facing the guests, and enter with a reserved smile and a wave of his hand, similar to saying, “Hello, comrades, you’ve worked hard.” Only after he took his position, Director Lu would announce “the other half of the groom” — Jiang Ting. Jiang Ting would slowly walk up from the opposite direction of Yan Yin, stepping on the flower carpet, emphasizing to everyone who the real husband was.

Of course, Jiang Ting wasn’t fooled by this little trick, but he didn’t care about the final stubbornness of a straight man. In his eyes, it was as childish and adorable (and neurotic) as Yan Yin insisting on “the husband must be the one to drive when the couple goes out” and proudly boasting, “Jiang Ting loves me so much that he insists on making me two plain boiled eggs every morning.” As long as it wasn’t a matter of principle, he would go along with it.

“Ahem!” Seeing that everyone had arrived more or less, Director Lu stood in the center of the lawn, raising his hand to signal for silence.

The two silly detectives from the Criminal Investigation Brigade, who had been playfully shoving each other, gradually quieted down. The fountain murmured in the wind. Lu Ju’s face was filled with an almost overflowing benevolence as he smiled and said:

“Today is a very important and joyous occasion for our Jianning City Bureau!”

Just as he paused, everyone reflexively burst into enthusiastic applause.

“Comrades, take a break from your busy daily work and gather here in this picturesque foreign land with your families to attend the wedding of our Jianning City Bureau’s Chief of the Support Division, Yan Yin, and Consultant Jiang!”

“Mm-hmm?!” Meanwhile, in the waiting room, Yan Yin stood up abruptly. “X, I knew this guy surnamed Lu planned to use my wedding as a team-building event, so he wouldn’t have to allocate funds from the bureau’s public account. Damn it, he even let it slip… Huh?!”

Yan Yin’s leg was suddenly pulled by an invisible force, freezing him in place. Lowering his head, he noticed a tiny pinhead-sized cap on the corner of the chair, hooked onto a few strands of his suit pants.

Yan Yin: “……”

As a leader who had spent a long time attending various events, Lu Ju’s expression remained unchanged, as if nothing had happened. He continued, seemingly unaware of Yan Yin’s predicament, “For the newlyweds today, you are all already familiar with them, so there’s no need for me to introduce them further. Yan Yin, as an indispensable member of the Jianning City Public Security System, has been frequenting our jurisdictional police stations, detention centers, and security brigades since he was twelve years old. As a well-known inheritor of a business, he has always enjoyed immersing himself in society, integrating with the masses, and getting along with grassroots police officers. He has tried all kinds of pickled vegetables, instant noodles, and ham sausages stored in the various departments of the police stations, as well as the dishes prepared by several cafeteria aunties from different sub-bureaus. This colorful youth laid a solid foundation for his future entry into our public security organization!”

Applause resounded all around as Yan’s parents modestly stood up, nodding their heads in acknowledgment to everyone.

Director Lu cleared his throat, “On the path of his growth, Yan Yin never gave up on himself. After years of unremitting efforts, he has finally transitioned from a juvenile offender reserve to an adult offender reserve, from a person with limited criminal responsibility to a person with full criminal responsibility. Graduating with the 336th place in the police academy, he quickly went from being an intern officer who frequently demanded to patrol with a gun and almost scared the station chief into insanity to becoming a renowned plainclothes officer in the city. Subsequently, he was selected into the bureau’s support division and worked diligently and made progress under the kind leadership and care of Director Wei and Deputy Director Yu. Finally, this year, he successfully rose to the position of chief of the criminal investigation brigade!”

Director Wei and Deputy Director Yu stood up, smiling and waving their hands to indicate that they had only done a small amount of work.

“All of his experiences perfectly embody the process by which our country’s public security organs pacify, reform, and incorporate potential hostile elements for their own use. Therefore, seeing him getting married today, the organization is deeply moved and sentimental.” Director Lu finally concluded his important speech, waving his hand, “Let us welcome the groom with warm applause!”

Whistles sounded, and the cheers grew louder. Everyone’s gaze focused on the painted glass door not far behind Director Lu.

Five seconds passed, then ten seconds.

Thirty seconds passed.

Director Lu: “Let us welcome the groom with warm applause… Hey? Groom?”

Groom: “…………….”

Sweat poured down the groom’s forehead as he tried to free the few strands entangled in the threads. However, the quality of the custom-made fabric was exceptional, and as the threads wound tighter, faint folds formed along the seam.

“Someone… someone, a waiter!” Yan Yin’s veins bulged as he finally retrieved a long-forgotten English word from the depths of his memory. “Waiter!! What’s that English word… Wi-wi-waiter!! HELP, HELP!”

“Where are the staff?” The applause on the lawn gradually faded, and whispers began to fill the air. Ma Xiang covered half of his mouth and nudged Gao Panqing, “Damn, do you think Yan Team ran away from the wedding?”

Gao Panqing could hardly imagine Jiang, the consultant, at this moment. She was almost scared out of her wits. “Don’t say that! How could it be so serious? What if he just had a sudden brain cramp?”

“Do I still have a chance to be the leading lady today?” Yang Mei asked Han Xiaomei in a low voice.

Han Xiaomei: “……”

The murmurs grew more pronounced, and even Yan’s father became restless. “What the hell is going on?”

Yan’s mother tried her best to maintain a smile without looking askance. She squeezed out a few words from the corner of her mouth, “How would I know? Quickly send someone to the backstage… Huh? Daughter-in-law?”

At the end of the crowd, at the edge of the flower carpet, Jiang Ting, dressed in a white formal suit, pushed open the door and hesitated as he raised his hand. After a moment of hesitation, he began to offer slight nods of acknowledgment to the surrounding guests as he stepped forward.

His footsteps were still steady, and his posture was very upright. However, the slightly unnatural angle of his mouth and the tense line of his jaw revealed a hint of discomfort, as if he wasn’t entirely comfortable being the center of attention in this festive occasion.

The air froze for half a second, and it seemed that everyone understood something.

Then, boom!

Another round of exuberant and intense applause erupted from the audience, and everyone clapped their hands vigorously in realization. Han Xiaomei’s expression seemed as if her worldview had been refreshed, Yang Mei’s face turned red with excitement, and Ma Xiang stared dumbfounded at Jiang Ting as he walked onto the stage, finally muttering the thoughts of everyone present, “Looks can be deceiving…”

“Cough, cough!” Jiang Ting stood in front of Director Lu, unsure of what to say, and smiled faintly.

Director Lu stared at him as if he didn’t recognize him.

“… You…” Jiang Ting pointed hesitantly, “Shouldn’t you go and call Yan Yin?”

Clang! Yan Yin pushed open the door and walked out, holding his pants seam in frustration. “Misunderstanding!”

The hotel’s blonde manager followed behind with a pair of scissors, struggling to contain her laughter. But that was no longer important. Yan Yin, under the gaze of everyone’s mixed emotions of shock, admiration, disbelief, and frustration, rushed to the stage in three strides, unable to laugh or cry, and pushed Jiang Ting back, saying, “Why did you come out? No, you go back and walk again!”

Jiang Ting calmly explained, as usual, “He called for the groom, and you didn’t come out…”

“My pants got stuck! You go back and walk again!”

“No, I’m already out…”

“Do you want me to carry you?!”

“You can’t be so violent…”

Yan Yin lifted Jiang Ting in his arms, carrying him horizontally over his shoulder like a legendary dragon who had abducted a princess. Proudly and confidently, he strode through the venue amidst cheers and laughter, climbing the steps and disappearing into the door of the bridal lounge. Once inside, he placed Jiang Ting on the ground without a word, and then dashed back outside. Just before leaving, he didn’t forget to give a firm pinch on Jiang Ting’s rear end. By the time he regained his senses, he was already running back to the wedding venue like a wild horse that had broken free from its reins.

Director Lu made a decisive decision, “Now let’s invite the bride to come forward!”

Applause gathered into a joyful ocean. Jiang Ting, in tears and laughter, covered his face with one hand and stepped out once again, walking on the disheveled flower carpet that had been trampled by Yan Yin. From afar, he could already see Yan Yin, leaning towards the crowd, explaining with an anxious and flushed face, “It’s really my pants getting stuck… I’m the one on top! Really!”

Deputy Director Wei, with an angry and pale face, struggled to break free from Yan Yin’s invincible iron palm. “We’ve never been inferior to Gongzhou in Jingning Public Security! Let me go, and let me end this embarrassing farce…”

Ma Xiang exclaimed, “I can’t hold on anymore! Gao, lend me a hand!”

Director Lu picked up the wedding vows with a smile, “Yan Yin?”

Yan Yin quickly freed himself from Deputy Director Wei’s grip and adjusted his pants while standing upright.

“Jiang Ting?”

Jiang Ting coughed, his hands clasped in front of him, slightly bowing his head.

Director Lu adjusted his reading glasses. The thick wedding vows in his hand were the culmination of three months of hard work by Yan’s father, a former high school Chinese teacher. They could be considered a comprehensive understanding of both Eastern and Western cultures, covering the Bible, Christianity, the flight of the peacock to the southeast, and Shu Ting and Hu Lan Cheng, showcasing the cultural heritage of the former wealthiest family in Province S. This is how it was written:

“May you be as solid as a rock, and may I be as flexible as a reed; the reed is resilient like silk, and the rock cannot be moved. You will share the cold wave, thunder, and lightning, and enjoy the mist, drizzle, and rainbow, as if forever separated but dependent on each other for life. Love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…”

Countless black lines appeared on Director Lu’s head. Finally, stumbling and stammering, he finished reading a page and turned to the next one, where it read:

“Love is peaceful years and a stable present life. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…”

Director Lu: “………………….”

Director Lu fell silent, and a few seconds later, in the focus of everyone’s gaze, he placed the wedding vows on the table and said coldly with his hands behind his back, “According to the marriage laws of our country!”

Yan’s father, still immersed in his own eloquence, exclaimed, “Huh?”

“Prohibit arranged and commercial marriages and other interferences with marriage freedom, prohibit domestic violence, prohibit abuse and abandonment between family members! Husbands and wives should be faithful to each other, respect each other, and maintain an equal, harmonious, and civilized marital and family relationship! Can you do that?”

Yan Yin: “Yes!”

Jiang Ting thought they were just reciting from the Bible a moment ago, and now they suddenly switched to the current marriage laws of our country. “Yes.”

Director Lu waved his hand grandly, “I now pronounce you officially married!”

Yan’s father: “I haven’t finished reading from the Bible yet?!”

No one paid attention to Yan’s father’s Bible. Yan Yin took a deep breath and pulled out the velvet ring box that had been played with countless times from his pocket. When he opened it, inside was a platinum band ring— if you looked closely, you would see their initials engraved in cursive on the inner side.

Sunlight shimmered on the ring, creating a halo. Yan Yin’s hand trembled slightly.

At this very moment, he had the blue sky above his head and the lush green ground beneath his feet. Loving parents, joyful relatives, and companions who had gone through life and death… Familiar faces surrounded them, and a perfectly intact Jiang Ting stood before him, smiling. All the darkness and wounds melted away, dissolving into the wind high above.

Every detail perfectly matched the scene from his dreams, except for the absence of a certain familiar figure among the crowd.

The brother he once thought would be by his side had already left on this long journey, going far away.

However, that’s how destiny works. It brings abundant gifts but also takes away some completeness. No matter how hard one tries, regrets always remain, unswayed by human will. The only option is to learn to accept and find peace.

Yan Yin sighed and suddenly felt his hand being held. Then he saw Jiang Ting, with a serious expression, slip an identical platinum band onto the ring finger of his left hand and then pat the back of his hand with a smile.

“… How did you manage to do it first again?” Yan Yin managed to utter a sentence.

Jiang Ting burst into laughter as Yan Yin grabbed his wrist and forcefully slid the ring onto his finger, threatening, “Wearing my ring means you belong to me! From now on, you’ll have to change your surname to Yan! Do you understand?”

Maintaining the posture of one hand firmly held by him, Jiang Ting chuckled and asked, “What were you thinking just now, Mrs. Jiang?”

The imposing and mighty Mrs. Jiang ran her fingers through her hair and grumbled, “I was thinking about how much these locusts are going to devour from me today. If I had known, I wouldn’t have waived their wedding gifts. I should have made them contribute half a year’s salary each…”

Jiang Ting glanced at him with a smile.

“…and the person who should have given the wedding gift didn’t show up,” Yan Yin finally told the truth. “It’s a pity. According to the Civil Compensation Regulations, he should at least compensate me for all my property.”

Photographers weaved through the crowd, flashes flickering. The wind brushed over the lively crowd, creating a soft rustling sound on the grass.

Jiang Ting patted Yan Yin’s shoulder and then gestured to his own cheek. The bloodstain left by Qin Chuan’s arrest, which had been made with a triangular spike, had already healed. Even if one looked closely, no trace could be seen. But Jiang Ting had always insisted to Yan Yin that he had a scar there, which could be seen with a magnifying glass, and that it had already ruined his appearance.

“I will catch that bastard,” he declared.

Yan Yin also smiled and took Jiang Ting’s hands.

Not far away, Gou Li was desperately eating, Ma Xiang was smoothing Deputy Director Wei’s fur, Han Xiaomei, in great agony, had taken off her high heels and was standing on the ground, and Yang Mei was chattering away. Yan’s mother waved a scarf in the wind, gesturing for Yan’s father to crouch down on the grass and film a short video for her WeChat Moments from a bottom-up angle. It was said that it made the legs look longer.

Yan Yin held Jiang Ting’s hand tightly, wanting to say something but hesitating. After a while, his handsome face turned slightly red. “Jiang Ting.”

“Hmm?”

“Today, I finally realize that I’m a truly fortunate person… It’s strange, I’ve been alive for over thirty years, but only today did I feel such a strong sensation.” Yan Yin paused, then chuckled softly and asked in a low voice, “How about you?”

Jiang Ting smiled and remained silent.

“Hey, I’m asking you.”

“…I’m fortunate too,” unable to resist Yan Yin’s persistent questioning, Jiang Ting finally said, then immediately added, “But it’s not particularly so, just… luckier than the average person.”

Yan Yin quickly asked, “Did you also start thinking this way only today?”

The two of them locked eyes, Jiang Ting’s clear gaze scanning every inch of Yan Yin’s face. After a long while, a faint gleam appeared in Jiang Ting’s eyes, and he said, “No. I’ve been thinking this way since the day we met again.”

Amidst the crowd, Jiang Ting leaned over and planted a kiss on Yan Yin’s lips.

Click—

The camera shutter flashed, capturing this moment forever.

In the frame, Yan Yin had a smile on his lips, with one arm embracing Jiang Ting’s back. Jiang Ting’s black hair floated in the wind, seemingly carrying a hint of a smile as well, revealing only a fair portion of his chin.

The wedding rings on their ring fingers were clearly visible, sparkling in the sunlight.