"All I wanted was a perfect love story. But I forgot villains don't get happy endings." - Mr. Liu.
Jun suddenly woke up with a gasp. He was sweating profusely and breathing restlessly. He looked around in a daze and was in a shock for several minutes.
He slowly got up and looked at himself in the mirror. He heard the usual chitter chatter of his siblings fooling around in the house.
The door opened, and he stiffened.
"Oof, Jun. You are awake, but why is the room still so dark? It feels so gloomy…"
Jun stared hard at the figure as she opened the curtains. The sudden sunlight blinded him, and he instinctively shut his eyes.
"Yup, now it's all good! All bright and sunny!"
He then felt the woman pinching his cheeks as she laughed. "Good morning, Jun."
His eyelids gradually fluttered open again, and he saw his mother, Liu Nana, standing before him.
Nana chuckled. "Yes. Why do you look so surprised? Look at your bed hair. So cute haha," She ruffled his hair, "Now, come on. Breakfast is ready. Be quick or you know how the twins are. They will gobble up everything."
She turned and left. Jun kept standing with an unreadable expression on his face.
At the breakfast table, Jun quietly took his seat. His whole family was there. His twin elder brothers and his grandfather were bickering like usual over food. The atmosphere was the same.
Jun saw the egg rolls on his plate cooked by Nana. He could feel the warm steam at his fingertips. He picked a roll and put it in his mouth. To the others, Jun didn't seem any different.
Everybody left to do their own work after the breakfast ended. Only Jun remained.
"Jun? You are still here?" Nana asked. "I thought you left."
Jun looked up and parted his lips. "I…am hungry."
She blinked. "Hungry? Oh no! Wasn't it enough? Did the twins sneakily steal your food again? Tell me, I will give them an earful!"
"No. They didn't. Mom…Mom…" he held her hand, "Cook for me again, no? Pork chops, dumplings, chicken soup, fried rice, mapo tofu…I want to eat everything."
"Silly. Do you want to burst your stomach like a balloon?"
Nana pursed her lips, concerned. "Are you okay, Jun?"
"No. I am not okay. I am really hungry."
Nana couldn't point out what was wrong with him, but she felt something was off. But she also felt that he didn't want to say it right now.
She tapped on his nose. "Alright. I will cook whatever you want. Hehe, today I will spoil you with the most yummy feast."
Nana cooked all his favorite dishes and brought them out piping hot. Jun gobbled it all up as if he hadn't eaten in ages. A piece of this, a piece of that - he stuffed it all in his mouth like a squirrel.
"Slow down. The food isn't going anywhere," she chuckled.
He paused but said nothing.
After he was done, he rested his head against her belly and wrapped his hands around her waist. "You are the best, Mom. You make the yummiest food."
Nana lovingly brushed her fingers through his hair. "Good, good. You are growing so fast. You should eat lots."
Though she wondered about his method of eating today. He always ate with proper table manners, unlike the twins who didn't bother with etiquettes that much. They stuffed whatever came their way. For the first time, Jun ate like them today so voraciously.
Jun hugged her tighter. "Mom."
"I am sorry."
"Silly. You don't have to apologize for being spoiled. You hardly make any demands in the first place. You are my son. A mother likes it the most when her children eat heartily, haha."
Jun smiled. He got up and kissed her cheek. "I want to…meet Dad. I will be on my way."
Nana stared at him. "Are you really okay, Jun? You can always tell me if something's bothering you."
He smiled again. "I really am okay, Mom."
"...Alright. If you say so. I-If you want, you can take a day off today and rest at home."
A flicker of something passed through his eyes. "No. I have a very important thing to do."
Liu underworld base.
Liu Jinhai was busy giving some instructions to his guards about a mission when the front guard came in. He bowed. "Boss. Young master Jun is here. He wants to meet you."
Jinhai raised his brow. "Hm."
He dismissed everyone and was left alone. Jun stepped inside and faced him.
Jinhai's chin rested on his finger as he studied him. "You look different today. I noticed it during breakfast too."
Jun said nothing.
"You never lowered your eyes before anyone. So, why are you looking down now?"
"Tell me, Jun."
Jun slowly lifted his gaze and met his eyes straight.
"I am reborn."
Jinhai stared at him. "Reborn?"
Jun clenched his fists at the back. "As in I died but somehow came back in time. Ten years to be exact."
Jinhai tapped his finger on the armrest. If his twin elder brothers, Jian and Nian had said something like this, Jinhai would have thrown them immediately in a pool of sharks because they liked to play pranks.
But Jun wasn't the type to joke around. He only said what was necessary and what was true.
"So…you mean to say that you got a second chance to live after you died in your previous life as Liu Jun?"
"Something like that. I don't quite understand it myself."
"And you have memories of your previous life?"
"Ten years. So you died at thirty-five."
He didn't respond.
"I am waiting."
Jun answered after a long silence, "Because I was a villain, Dad. I thought it was my love story. But I realized that I was the villain in somebody else's. And now that I am reborn…
I vow to never be a villain again."