In a small intensive care unit at The First People's Hospital of Jinhai City.
Xiao Yun, who was only twenty-three years old, was lying on a hospital bed with a ventilator fitted over his nose.
Despite his young age, he looked like he was going to die at any moment.
"Brother Xiao Yun, please don't die. Little Xi doesn't want you to die. Little Xi still wants to take care of you.
"What will I do without you? Don't you know that the person I've always liked is you? I've never liked anyone else since we were young."
The girl by Xiao Yun's sickbed was Lin Xi. She was crying and pleading until the tears in her eyes had left damp stains on his clothes.
Lin Xi was Xiao Yun's childhood friend and they had grown up together.
Xiao Yun had always treated Lin Xi as a younger sister, and the latter had never revealed her true feelings towards him either. She had simply stayed by Xiao Yun's side for twenty-three years.
When they were in high school, Xiao Yun's grades had fallen drastically. eventually, he was forced to drop out of school. But Lin Xi kept encouraging Xiao Yun to keep going. She never stopped helping him.
This allowed him to finally enter his ideal university.
But just as he was about to begin his university life, Xiao Yun's family conditions, especially their finances, took a turn for the worse. Even a part-time job would not have been sufficient to support himself, let alone his family.
In addition, his girlfriend started cheating on him with his most trusted friend.
The series of unfortunate events caused Xiao Yun to fall ill. And yet, it was Lin Xi who remained by his side, feeding and cleaning him, ensuring he had everything he needed to recover.
She was diligent and never complained.
Eventually, he recovered and managed to get a job. When Xiao Yun's company arranged for its employees to go through a physical examination, it was then that Xiao Yun was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
The doctor told him that he only had a month to live. Upon hearing this news, his girlfriend broke up with him for good while her family acted more unreasonably, accusing Xiao Yun of being a short-lived ghost and that he would bring bad luck to whoever got close to him.
In the end, it was still Lin Xi who willingly put everything in her life aside, even quitting her job with a monthly salary of 30,000 yuan, just to focus on taking care of Xiao Yun.
Lin Xi's constant presence by his side made Xiao Yun repent.
Xiao Yun was now in critical condition. He looked at his weeping childhood sweetheart and felt that it was almost unbearable to see her cry.
He wanted to speak. He wanted to raise his hand to caress the person he had once treated as his sister.
He did not expect it. He would never have expected that his childhood sweetheart, the person who had always been by his side, would be the woman he treasured most, the one he deemed most worthy of his protection.
Unfortunately, he had only come to this realization at the end of his life.
It was all too late.
The peaks of the pulsing green line on the heart monitor gradually decreased until it finally became a straight line.
With many regrets, he made a wish to the heavens as he was on the verge of death: 'If I had a second chance in life, I will make sure to hold on to her from our first meeting and promise her a lifetime of happiness.'
In a kindergarten within Jinhai City.
"Son, over here!" Xiao Yun's father, Xiao He, called his three-and-a-half-year-old child over.
Hearing this, the young Xiao Yun slowly walked toward Xiao He.
Lin Feiyang was also there to pick up his daughter, Lin Xi.
The three-year-old was wearing a light pink dress that matched her delicate features and big eyes.
Her chubby smiling face looked extremely cute.
The three-and-a-half-year-old Xiao Yun was wearing a grayish-blue outfit and had a face that was equally full of vigor.
Xiao He introduced Xiao Yun to the other pair. "Son, since the two of you are in the same nursery, you must protect your younger friend well as the older person, do you understand?"
The innocent Xiao Yun nodded to show that he would remember.
Lin Feiyang put his arm around Xiao He's shoulder and chuckled, "Old Xiao, today, you must let the three of us have a taste of your cooking. Let's also celebrate the fact that these two children are going to school together."
Xiao He laughed boorishly and punched Lin Feiyang's chest hard. "Of course. I'll cook two of my best dishes for you today. But you must bring mover that bottle of your precious old wine. None of us will go to sleep unless we're drunk tonight!"
Very well! We'll drink until we're drunk!"
Lin Xi and Xiao Yun's parents were workers in the same factory and had been good friends for many years.
The two families also lived across the street from each other in the new village of workers assigned by the factory.
Over time, the two families grew inseparable.
Xiao Yun's father, Xiao He, was a first-class chef in the factory who prepared the meals for all workers there. As such, he often had to work overtime and was hardly around.
When Xiao Yun was born, his mother immediately fell ill and was struggling to recover for a long period of time. Eventually, she passed away due to illness.
Since his father always had to work overtime, Lin Feiyang would often bring Xiao Yun home until Xiao He had left work.
If Xiao He was running late, Xiao Yun would have his meals at Lin Feiyang's home.
The two old men brought the two young children back to Xiao He's home.
As a chef, Xiao He naturally begin preparing the dinner while Lin Xi's mother, Li Ping, was his sous chef.
Lin Feiyang had gone home to get the bottle of precious wine over.
In the meantime, the children were playing with each other, and if left to their own devices, they would play for an entire day and never tire.
At this moment, Lin Xi had pressed Xiao Yun under her body as they were playing a physical game. She cutely clenched her pink fists and asked Xiao Yun, "Are you convinced?"
However, Xiao Yun did not reply. Instead, he lay on the ground in a daze. Then his eyes closed as if he had fainted.
This scared the three-year-old Lin Xi so much that she did not know what to do for a moment.
Just as she was about to go find her father, Xiao Yun suddenly opened his eyes.
When he saw the little girl in front of him, a trace of surprise flashed in his eyes.
His pair of childish eyes suddenly became more mature as his gaze toward Lin Xi became filled with tenderness.
A series of memories resurfaced in his mind.
When she was young, Lin Xi had always liked to wear flowery dresses the most, no matter what color they were.
When she was young, Lin Xi was an adorable girl who liked to follow him the most. No matter where he went, Lin Xi would follow.
When she was young, Lin Xi was very mischievous, which meant her father would often be reprimanding her. And every time she felt wronged, she would immediately run to Xiao Yun to be comforted.
The memories of her in their childhood played in his mind like a movie.
The tenderness in his eyes became even more intense, so much so that one could easily tell from a single look at him.
He had promised to protect this girl for the rest of his life.
Remembering what he had previously vowed, Xiao Yun stood up from the ground, grabbed Lin Xi's small hands, and quickly kissed Lin Xi's face.
Lin Xi touched her face as she looked at Xiao Yun in a daze.