For several days now, the entire city had been downcast due to the heavy rain pouring down on the capital. The dark clouds resembled the underside of a pot, and it pushed against the sky, making it appear dark and stuffy. The cars congested in traffic were like sluggish earthworms, squirming forward little by little.
After working overtime for days on end and now being cooped up in a narrow car with the heater blasting, He Gu already felt dizzy. His eyes strained as he felt the traffic jam getting to him. On one hand, he was moving forward like a tortoise; on the other, he was communicating with his subordinate about a case over the phone. Several times, he nearly hit the car in front by driving too closely. By the time he got home, it was almost ten o’clock. And in the few seconds between opening the car door and opening his umbrella, he had gotten drenched by the pouring rain. In late autumn, the raindrops hitting his skin were comparable to ice shards.
When he went up the stairs, even the sound of his footsteps were thick with fatigue.
But when the key inserted into the keyhole, spun round, and clicked open, He Gu jolted, immediately waking up his muddled brain.
The sounds of a game console seemed to come from the other side of the door.
He had come.
In that moment, the burden of work and the fatigue from working overtime fell to the ground like raindrops splattering into several pieces before disappearing into the water. His heart seemed to have caught sight of the cool breeze going round the moon and all the now-blooming flowers. This sounded quite exaggerating, but when he knew that he could see that person when he opened the door, his joy turned into a warm stream, traveling within his blood, his limbs, and his bones before going back to his heart, so warm and pleasant.
He Gu turned around and leaned against the wall. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths, trying to refresh himself. Then, he took out his cellphone from his pocket and turned on the front camera. The camera reflected a refined and upright face. He tried to smooth his rain-soaked hair, but his face, which could’ve been considered handsome, was now a mess as his hair was flattened by the rain. Paired with the heavy dark circles and somewhat tired eyes, he totally cut a sorry figure as well. He sighed. What use was there in saving the situation when he naturally looked like this? And so he pushed the door open, not bothering to make any more useless efforts.
The lights weren’t turned on in the room, the glare of the LCD being the sole source of light inside. A man hidden in the darkness was leaning back on the couch and holding a video game controller, his gaze focused on the screen. Two unbelievably long legs rested indulgently on the coffee table.
The man didn’t even look at him as his slender fingers pushed away at the buttons.
“Why didn’t you turn on the lights when you arrived?” said He Gu, reaching for the lights.
“Don’t. It ruins the atmosphere,” said the man without looking back.
He Gu looked at the screen. Turned out he was playing some zombie game. The hot-pants policewoman on the screen was searching for zombies in a dilapidated factory, and the atmosphere was strange and intense.
“Have you eaten? Are you hungry?”
The man didn’t answer, his attention all on the game.
He Gu put down his briefcase, took off his wet windbreaker and hung it up. He went to the bathroom for a quick shower, then changed into his home clothes. Afterwards, he went to the kitchen to get a glass of water before heading back to the sofa.
The glass was slammed on the coffee table, and the man finally tilted his head a bit to look at He Gu. In the dark, those deep eyes were both black and bright. A casual, meaningless glance embodying romance. He Gu felt his heart fiercely pounding.
It’s been more than a month since we last saw each other, He Gu thought as he looked at the person before his eyes, even though, from time to time, he would see him online and on TV.
The man concentrated on playing the game. He Gu said nothing as he quietly stayed by his side. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long that the sexy, hot-pants policewoman was bitten to death by a zombie. The man threw away the game controller and muttered, “Fuck.”
“Bad mood?” He Gu said softly.
“Busy as hell and annoyed to death.”
“Have you eaten yet?”
“Don’t wanna eat. Your TV screen is too small, and it’s so dull to look at. The game should also be updated.”
“Oh… I’ll make you something, okay? It’s late already, you should be hungry.”
“Not eating. Just turn the lights on,” the man ordered.
He Gu went to turn on the lights.
The man covered his eyes with his hands, adjusting to the light, before throwing his head back and lowering his hands. Revealed was a face so beautiful, it could take one’s breath away. He had three-dimensional features unique to those of white descent, but since he was three-quarters oriental, there was some softness in those knife-carved features. His eyes were like a sea of ink, the bridge of his nose resembling a perilous peak, and the corners of his mouth were naturally upturned, seemingly smiling but not. Such a face was simply god’s masterpiece.
Skin against a pure black turtleneck sweater, making it look particularly fair and smooth. Medium-length curls casually swept to the back of his head. An outfit perfectly chaste, yet because of his lazy and casual gaze, it looked somewhat bewitching, having an unspoken kind of danger and sex appeal.
“Juhan, have you lost weight?” He Gu’s eyes fell on Song Juhan, and like usual, they were reluctant to move away. His career had been on the rise, so the amount of time he got to see him became less and less. Not a minute or second of it should be wasted.
“Maybe.” Song Juhan picked up the glass of water and took a sip, then leaned back on the couch and tilted his head back. His Adam’s apple was visible past the turtleneck, sliding up and down as he swallowed.
He Gu felt his heart shudder again. He said, “If you’re tired, take a shower and go to bed.”
Song Juhan turned his head to look at him, then sniggered and said teasingly, “You don’t think I traveled from so far away just to come here to sleep, do you?
He Gu looked at him woodenly. He knew why Song Juhan had come. It was for nothing else but s*x. Over the years, the connection between the two of them had been nothing more than s*x. He simply saved a little expectation, expecting Song Juhan to be only tired, to have only come to his place to calm his nerves.
Song Juhan yawned. “How come you’re still so stuffy? Come here.” A considerate and affectionate person would’ve taken the initiative long ago.
He Gu walked over. Song Juhan tugged on his arm and pulled him toward him. It was quite heavy when He Gu’s 1.8 meter body pressed on Song Juhan. Song Juhan groaned lightly, then wantonly stretched his hands inside He Gu’s clothes. “Let me touch you. Have you gotten fat?”
“I shouldn’t have.”
Song Juhan touched from his abdomen to his lower back. The muscles under his hands were still supple and tight. Song Juhan hummed in satisfaction. “You sit in the office all day. Remember to exercise more. You’ll be ugly if you get fat, you know.” Song Juhan held his chin and kissed him. “How long have we not seen each other? I missed you.”
“39 days,” said He Gu.
Song Juhan laughed. “Remembering so clearly, really proves you are an engineer.” He rolled over and pressed He Gu on the couch. “Why is your hair so wet?”
“It was raining outside.” So you just noticed…
“Working overtime till now?”
“I told you long ago to resign. I’ll give you money. You can open a coffee shop, a restaurant, or do whatever you like. It’ll be easy and comfortable. There’s no need to go to work all the time and try to guess people’s mood. Isn’t it easy to muddle in a Chinese corporation?”
“I don’t know how to do anything else,” said He Gu.
“I knew you’d say that.” Then he lowered his head to nip lightly on He Gu’s chin and began tugging on his shirt.
He Gu was very cooperative.
Song Juhan seemed impatient today. When he was in a good mood, he’d like to do some foreplay. But when he was not in a good mood, he’d charge right away, simply letting off steam. Today was the latter.
He Gu frowned in pain, bit his lip, and didn’t make a sound.
Song Juhan, however, breathed a long sigh of satisfaction. “He Gu, you’re still the best.”
He Gu looked at him in a bit of a daze. Looking at that face as addictive as opium, his body shuddered incessantly. Redness slowly crept up He Gu’s skin. After all these years, he still hadn’t gotten used to Song Juhan’s beastly stamina. But whether he was used to it or not, he was at least used to enduring it.
Song Juhan had complained to him more than once that he couldn’t enjoy himself to the full when doing it with others, because they weren’t as cooperative as him. This was probably the reason why the two of them could maintain their relationship till now. If not, how could it be his turn to sleep with him when there were so many beautiful men and women around Song Juhan?
Not knowing how long it had been, He Gu already felt a bit breathless. Suddenly, he felt Song Juhan c*mming directly inside his body…
This was also one of Song Juhan’s hobbies.
Song Juhan lay panting on him. Now was a hard time to be in the capital because the weather was already quite cold, and the indoor heating still hadn’t booted. However, the fiery warmth between their bodies drove away the late autumn chill.
The gaze in He Gu’s eyes went from hazy to focused. After spending a full five or six minutes, he moved, feeling quite uncomfortable.
Song Juhan hugged his waist, buried his head in his neck, and said lazily, “Don’t move. Let me lie down for a while.”
“I want to go clean up,” He Gu paused and added, “Don’t c*m inside next time.”
Song Juhan pinched his chest. “What’s wrong with letting me feel good? Only with you do I dare not wear a c*ndom.” His tone was coquettish, but his words came out as if he were doing him a favor.
He Gu didn’t say anything. He had said it more than once—three times, in fact—and since it was useless, he decided not to say it again in the future.
Song Juhan teased, “Isn’t this nice? Moisturizing.”
He Gu looked away, his face turning red from shame all the way to the ears.
“You’re still so tight here. Do you take care of it regularly?”
He Gu didn’t speak.
Song Juhan looked down and laughed. “Right, you don’t know anything about these things.”
He Gu just faced the sofa, wanting to ease some of the shame.
Song Juhan looked at He Gu’s red neck and was in a good mood. He got up and pulled He Gu up as well. “Let’s go. I’ll take a bath with you.”
He Gu’s legs were a bit soft, so Song Juhan carried him to the bathroom. As soon as the shower was turned on, Song Juhan pressed his back against the wall, his tall body towering over him, then started another round of conquest without any warning…
By the time Song Juhan was done tossing with him, it was already the middle of the night. He Gu, now cleaned up, lied on the bed, too tired to even move his fingers.
Song Juhan lay next to him, breathing evenly and already asleep.
He Gu carefully looked at Song Juhan’s profile under the moonlight, and the feeling in his heart was hard to describe. As he watched, Song Juhan’s face seemed to be regressing in age, gradually turning back into the face of a young man. He Gu’s memory also unconsciously returned to his senior year in high school.
At that time, he was the bookworm top student arming1备战 – to prepare for war himself for the college entrance exam, while Song Juhan was the most handsome boy in the school2校草 – the actual term used would literally translate to “school grass” since his first year of high school. Song Juhan was tall, played basketball, proficient in several instruments, and the heir of an entertainment and media company having a market value of several hundreds of millions. Even before he could speak, he was already like a big star showing in all kinds of media and had half his foot in the entertainment circle. Most importantly, he was extremely good-looking.
He Gu was gay, and he’d known it since he was in middle school. He liked to look at good-looking boys, but of course, he only dared to watch secretly.
The two of them would have never crossed paths, but they happened to be dragged together by their teacher to participate in a campus environmental protection publicity campaign. The campaign’s style was simple and crude: a series of foreign videos would be played in the school. Song Juhan’s role was to sing the theme song live both in Chinese and English, and He Gu’s role was to translate the lyrics of that song.
So, for one afternoon, he and Song Juhan sat in the teacher’s office, translating lyrics in a notebook. He had no musical talent at all, while Song Juhan had already written many songs and released his own album. Song Juhan was very demanding of the lyrics, not just translating them, but also conveying the mood and the rhymes.
After translating through the afternoon, He Gu found that Song Juhan’s English was much better than his. When he asked about it, it turned out Song Juhan had a foreign tutor when he was a child and had even gone to the best schools abroad for several summer breaks.
He Gu was embarrassed, feeling it was unnecessary for the teacher to let him come.
He still remembered that, after translating, Song Juhan had given him a smile. “Alright, I’m leaving.”
To say that his smile had the charm of blooming flowers wouldn’t be an exaggeration. He Gu felt then that his heart had been punched hard. It wasn’t painful, but tingling, as if something remarkable had been injected inside him. He remembered nervously saying, “Sorry, I wasn’t much help…”
“Well, you were still of help.” Song Juhan ejected the flash drive and picked up his bag. The young man’s skin shone upon by the sunset reflected a soft and touching luster. His bright eyes were like a river of stars crushed into tiny pieces. “It’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t talk much when they’re with me. It’s quiet and peaceful.”
He Gu couldn’t tell if Song Juhan was praising him or was being sarcastic. All he could remember was watching Song Juhan’s back until he disappeared.
Later, the charity event was a success. The students probably didn’t care so much for the content itself as they did for their obsession with Song Juhan’s performance. After the show, Song Juhan appropriately invited the teachers, promoters, and staff who planned the event onto the stage. Of course, this included He Gu. He stood right next to Song Juhan as the latter hugged his shoulders and said some words out of courtesy.
There were only three3Raws actually say two, which I assume is a typo since the author went on to mention three. thoughts in his mind at that time: First, Song Juhan was young yet mature, already able to speak so well; second, Song Juhan had called his name; and third, Song Juhan’s hands were so hot, it burned his entire body.
His face must have been very red at that time.
They didn’t cross paths again for a long time after that, yet He Gu would still look for Song Juhan’s figure around the large campus. Once found, he’d secretly watch him.
One day, when he returned to school after the college entrance exam, the two happened to run into each other in an empty men’s washroom.
He Gu plucked up the courage to say hello to Song Juhan. Song Juhan had just stared at him for a moment and said “oh,” as if he had just remembered who he was.
He was disappointed.
Song Juhan casually asked him, “You’re a senior, right? How was the test?”
Song Juhan whistled and zipped up his pants, but when he looked up, his eyes happened to meet He Gu’s eyes stealthily looking at him.
He could still remember the awkwardness and embarrassment of that moment. Like a thief being caught red-handed.
Song Juhan’s face changed slightly. He swept a glance at his zipper he couldn’t pull up in time and that carelessly exposed reaction. He then said something He Gu could still clearly remember the tone of: “You’re gay?” The ending tone was lilting, full of surprise and frivolity.
He Gu was struck dumb, and the shame of having his deepest hidden secrets shaken out so easily was beyond description.
At that time, homosexuality was not as widely accepted as it was now, and most people were still secretive about it, as if they were thieves. However, Song Juhan had been exposed to the entertainment industry since he was a child and was much more mature than his peers in this area.
Song Juhan laughed lightly, a laugh filled with sarcasm, and then left.
He Gu could still remember that on that afternoon, he hid in the toilet for a long time and dared not go out. On that afternoon when he was supposed to be relaxing because the college entrance exam was over, he was clutching at his heart and scratching his lungs4抓心挠肝 – metaphor for feeling uncomfortable, feeling unwell.
Lizonka: Hey guys, new translator for YOI here! Years of Intoxication is one of my favorite novels in the 188 Collection, so I really hope to give its translation justice.
My updates are gonna be a bit slow, but that’s because I want to ensure that everything is right. I know that some of you won’t be able to wait for my updates and then continue reading in that other translator’s site… and well, I can’t really stop you from that. But I just want you to know that the other translator didn’t translate everything in YOI.
They missed 5 extras that the author added much later for the 188 Collection’s 10th Anniversary special. And since it’s an anniversary special for the whole collection, and not just YOI, the extras are not published along with the novel in JJWXC, but in a separate book (i.e. anthology) on Iqiyi.
I will be including the YOI-specific extras in my translation when I get to it. “188,” by the way, refers to the collection of inter-related dog-blood novels by the author Shui Qian Cheng. Some of the novels included are Yet You’re in Love with an Idiot and My Little Poplar. There are ten novels in all, and you can find the translated ones here.
Edit (Aug. 12, 2021)