He Gu was stunned. “Oh.”
“Oh?” Song Juhan squeezed the phone in his hands. “You’ve been in contact?”
“Some time ago.”
“You’ve met up?”
“En.” He Gu looked at Song Juhan’s uncertain expression and inwardly sighed. It looked like his birthday celebration was over.
The phone continued to ring shamelessly. Song Juhan swallowed visibly. He swiped his finger, and the phone was connected.
He Gu didn’t have time to react. Song Juhan had already put the phone on speaker. Feng Zheng said with a smile, “He Gu, happy birthday!”
Song Juhan was straddling He Gu. He narrowed his eyes and glared at him.
He Gu reached his hand out to grab the phone, but Song Juhan pulled away. He said in a sarcastic voice, “Chief Feng, are you looking for He Gu?”
The phone remained silent for a while, then Feng Zheng said in a lowered voice, “Oh, Celebrity Song, are you two together right now?”
Song Juhan laughed out loud. “Of course. It’s his birthday today, who else would spend it with him, if not me?”
“Celebrity Song’s harem is just too big. I’m worried you won’t have time to come.”
“Whether I have time or not, it’s not for Chief Feng to worry about.” Song Juhan’s hand gripped the phone harder, as if he was squeezing Feng Zheng’s neck.
He Gu mouthed, “Juhan, give me my phone!” He desperately tried to grab his phone. Song Juhan simply pressed his chest down with his palm and held him down on the sofa.
Song Juhan’s hands were too strong, He Gu suddenly felt an uncomfortable pressure in his internal organs. At this point, it was difficult to breathe, let alone trying to sit up.
Feng Zheng changed his tone and said calmly, “Give the phone to He Gu. I just want to talk to him.”
Song Juhan showed a savage expression. “I’m sorry. He Gu’s mouth is a little busy. He can’t talk right now.”
He Gu widened his eyes. Around the same time, both He Gu and Feng Zheng shouted, “Song Juhan!”
Song Juhan hung up abruptly and viciously threw the phone away.
He Gu felt his heart beat faster and his face flush. When he and Song Juhan were together, he always endured and never complained. After all, he was the one that liked Song Juhan. But no matter how calm he was, as a man, he would still feel embarrassed to lose face in front of others.
Song Juhan stared at him coldly. “You guys have met up, and you didn’t tell me.”
He Gu sighed. “I meet so many people everyday. Do I have to tell you about all of them?”
“Is Feng Zheng the same as the others!” Song Juhan snorted. “You haven’t seen each other in so many years, yet he still remembers your birthday. Oh, how attentive. When did you guys meet? How many times have you met? What did you do?”
He Gu gritted his teeth. “We didn’t sleep together.”
Song Juhan froze.
He Gu had already calmed down his emotions. He stared at Song Juhan, and said clearly word for word. “We did not sleep together, and I did not mess around with anyone else. I also have a medical check-up every year, so you don’t have to worry about it, okay?”
Song Juhan’s hand hanging at his side gradually clenched into a fist. He Gu had managed to make him speechless with that one phrase. Indeed, wasn’t his requirement for He Gu just that simple? After all, he had said so himself… “It’s good that you understand.”
“Yes.” He Gu’s expression was calm and didn’t reveal a trace of emotion. “After all, that’s the only advantage I have.”
Song Juhan got up, kicked the gift bag beside the sofa, picked up his coat and was about to leave.
“Juhan.” He Gu called out to him with his head down.
Song Juhan turned his head to look at him, his gaze cold.
“You said you’d give me a birthday present, and that anything is fine. Does it still count?”
Song Juhan didn’t reply.
He Gu lifted his head. With pupils as dark as a deep pool of stagnant water, he said, “I said I want you. Stay with me today.”
Song Juhan chuckled coldly, and said sarcastically, “My appearance fee is 80,000 yuan per minute. The two hours I spent with you today, you won’t be able to afford it for the rest of your life. If you really feel empty, go find a stick.”
He Gu clenched his fist, his facial expression was extremely stiff.
Song Juhan turned and left.
When the front door slammed shut, He Gu jumped up from the sofa. He kicked over the heavy coffee table to the ground, but that still didn’t relieve his anger, so he kicked it several more times. The back of his foot must be hurting, but he didn’t seem to care or notice. He panted heavily, his chest rising and falling violently. His entire person seemed to be in a daze. In the end, he felt dizzy just standing there, so he sat down holding his head.
Has the fuse finally burnt to the end?
He Gu raised his lips in a self-deprecating smile.
If… If Song Juhan had shown his worst side at the very beginning, then would he still have plunged down on this path of no return? No, he would have stayed away. He would have treated Song Juhan as an unreachable star and only admired from afar, like looking at the starry sky from the ground and nothing more. Only when the star was so far away would he not subdued by its light.
But there were no “ifs” in life.
What was the point in knowing the wine was poisonous after drinking it? The poison would already be in your blood, even an elixir wouldn’t cure it.
He Gu lay weakly on the sofa. Looking at the familiar ceiling, memories tumbled like clouds and kept springing up.
Six years ago, when He Gu was still doing his internship while also writing his thesis, Song Juhan, as an honorary alumnus, attended their school’s 200-year anniversary dinner. He Gu knew Song Juhan had returned from abroad, but he didn’t think Song Juhan would attend this type of simple banquet. Back then, he was quite simple-minded and naive, so how could he have understood the PR tactics of building a positive public image. He innocently thought that Song Juhan simply missed his alma mater, and that he was such a good person.
As a top student with a full scholarship, he was also the student representative that gave a speech at the event. Hence, the two once again met backstage.
After so many years, he could still remember the exact moment when he saw Song Juhan again.
Their school was a well-known elite school in China, and it had a newly built auditorium that could accommodate up to three thousand people. However, the school leaders decided to hold the celebration banquet in the old auditorium in order to trace the present back to the past. That auditorium was their school’s noble antique, representing the school’s long and rich history. Although it was well maintained, as an old building, it didn’t have a proper backstage nor a separate lounge area. Therefore, a set of tables and chairs were set up in the corner of the room. Song Juhan was surrounded by four bodyguards, an agent, and an assistant. The backstage area was also guarded by the student union to prohibit any unrelated people from entering. At that time, Song Juhan was already established in the local entertainment circle. In order to stop any unwanted disturbances to the school event, fans were directly stopped at the school gates.
Once He Gu entered the backstage area, he immediately saw Song Juhan playing on his phone with his two long legs propped up. Song Juhan wore a gray custom suit with the school badge pinned to his lapel. His usually messy and curly hair was pulled back with wax and styled meticulously. The side of his face showed a perfect profile similar to that of an artistic sculpture, and the light from his phone gave his fair skin a more smooth and exquisite appearance.
There were twenty to thirty people in the entire backstage, and they all tried to steal glances of him whilst others gossiped amongst themselves. Song Juhan seemed oblivious to it all, not lifting his head even once.
He Gu felt a little nervous. He didn’t know if Song Juhan still remembered him.
The more he thought about it, the funnier he felt… What if he remembered? What if he didn’t?
At that time, the student union president came in and proceeded to confirm the event schedule with He Gu. She then walked over to Song Juhan and said nervously, “Song-tongxue1同学 – one who studies in the same school, can we go through today’s schedule?”
Song Juhan raised his head and smiled sweetly. “Sure.”
That smile caused this usually dignified and proper female student president to blush embarrassingly.
The Song Juhan back in high school appeared to be mature on the outside but having the youthful tenderness of a little boy inside. The him then, although not even twenty years old, emitted an aura of a superstar. Especially surrounded by a group of simple young students, he was extremely dazzling.
The student president spoke with a stutter, “Oh, yes, the schedule… During the student speech section… Um, that first, then, the student representative will speak first, then…”
A muffled chuckle could be heard from the other end of the room. The student president blushed even harder as she lowered her head, her voice getting smaller and smaller.
“I will give a speech first, and at the end, I will introduce the honorary alumni, which includes you.” He Gu walked over to the two. Although he also felt quite nervous inside, he was born with a calm demeanor. Seemingly composed, he stopped in front of Song Juhan and attempted to ease the student president’s embarrassment. “When you are introduced, please come on stage and give your speech. The host will then join you and ask some questions about yourself.”
Song Juhan’s gaze fell on He Gu. He apparently felt that He Gu looked somewhat familiar, so he frowned slightly and stood up.
The twenty-year old Song Juhan was already quite tall. His height and build often made others feel quite intimidated.
He Gu swallowed noticeably as he grasped his hands tightly behind his back.
It was hard to grasp how someone could look this good. Song Juhan had a kind of charm that seemed to originate from within his bones, a perfectly flawless face, and eyes as deep as the sea. When one stared right into them, his beauty would be like a shock wave striking right through people. How much courage must it have taken for one to meet his eyes and not appear flustered or ashamed?
At least He Gu couldn’t, the student president couldn’t. In fact, nobody in this room could. So when Song Juhan stood up, the room was completely silent.
Song Juhan tilted his head slightly. “You… have we met before?”
He Gu desperately tried to appear calm as he nodded. “I was a student from the affiliated high school. We were involved in the school’s environmental event performance.”
“Oh, I remember now.” Song Juhan revealed a charming smile. “Such a coincidence. I guess we’ll be working together again.”
He Gu couldn’t contain his smile. There was a voice in his heart shouting, Song Juhan remembered! Song Juhan remembered!
But Song Juhan’s next words were like a bucket of ice water over the head, “I’m sorry, my memory is really bad. What was your name?”
“He Gu, as in ‘Why, oh why’2何故的何故 – He Gu’s Chinese name uses the same characters as the common phrase ‘Why, oh why’. When introducing yourself in Chinese, it is common to explain which Chinese characters your name uses, as many Chinese words may sound the same but have completely different characters and meanings. (Hillary)
Liz,singing to the tune of “Delilah”: Why, oh whhhhy, He Guuuu. ”
Song Juhan chuckled. “Why choose such a name? Were you a curious kid that asked a million questions?” That smile was just too cute.
He Gu felt his cheeks get hotter. The feeling of being noticed by someone unreachable was both exhilarating and frightening. At that time, He Gu was only 22 years old. The fact that he could remain calm was already quite an accomplishment. After all, few people were like Song Juhan, who had been exposed to countless big events and important people from a young age. He was used to being adored and was not easily surprised. He Gu also started to stutter. “Uh, my father was a teacher. He always said that a person’s life is only meaningful by the questions we ask.”
“En, it’s a nice name. Sit down, let’s have a chat.” Song Juhan gave his assistant a look, and the assistant hurriedly moved a chair over.
He Gu didn’t think Song Juhan would be so easy to talk to. Feeling a little dizzy, he sat down.
“Let me see the event schedule.” Song Juhan moved closer, looking at the piece of paper in He Gu’s hand.
Song Juhan was very close to him, their shoulders even brushed against each other. As he leaned over, a faint hint of perfume drifted up He Gu’s nose. Along with Song Juhan’s long and curly eyelashes casually fluttering about, He Gu’s heart felt all tingly inside.
He Gu pinched himself to stop from losing his cool. He then flipped open the event schedule and turned to Song Juhan’s part. “I’ve already checked your introduction speech with your manager. There shouldn’t be a problem with it.”
“Yes, there is no problem,” said the manager as he directed a photographer, who showed up out of nowhere, to set up his equipment.
“Oh, I get it.” Song Juhan suddenly replied. He nodded his head, then lifted his eyes to look at He Gu, and smiling gently, he added, “You’re the student representative, is it because your grades are very good?”
He Gu felt his heart skip a beat, and he nervously nodded his head.
“Our school is one of the hardest schools to get into in the country. Could it be that you were the top student back then in the college entrance exam?”
“I graduated from the affiliated middle school, so I was guaranteed a space.” Back then, although he did not get first place in Beijing that year, he was ranked within the top ten in the city college entrance examination results. As he was already guaranteed a spot in his preferred college, he did not spend much time in preparing for the exam. Rather, he spent it on his internship. If he had really put the effort in to prepare for the exam, he probably would have achieved surprising results. However, the reason he was chosen as the student representative was not because he had the best grades, but because the best ones were all away on exchange programs abroad. At the time, although his GRE score was extremely high, he gave up his qualification for an exchange program as he could not break through the social barriers of speaking English with foreigners.
“Straight A student.” Song Juhan laughed as he teased him.
Suddenly, the rapid sound of a camera shutter came from behind, He Gu was surprised and didn’t know what had happened. He straightened his back and didn’t even dare to turn his head.
Song Juhan looked at the frightened He Gu and couldn’t help but smile. He gently patted his shoulder and soothingly said, “It’s just a routine photoshoot. If you don’t like it, we can cover your face.”
“Oh. No, it’s fine.” Song Juhan’s hand that was still holding his shoulder was very warm. Back in middle school, Song Juhan had once touched his shoulder in the same way. It was after he gave the thank you speech at the school event. Now after four years, he still remembered the temperature of Song Juhan’s palm.
The manager came over and adjusted the event schedule in his hands. “Excuse me, could you raise your arm a little here. Juhan, act as if you are having a serious discussion with him.”
He Gu held the papers stiffly and froze in place. Song Juhan leaned over, and said in a lowered voice, “Don’t be scared. It’s alright, it will be over soon.” That voice was really unique, youthful and unassuming. Each syllable caused He Gu’s heart to race and his blood to boil.
After barely keeping it together during the photoshoot, it finally came to an end, and He Gu let out a deep sigh.
“Oh, the host has arrived. Feng Zheng, how could you be late at a time like this.” The student president complained.
“My apologies, student president.” Feng Zheng walked over with giant strides. Although it could not be compared to the exquisite genetics of Song Juhan’s western ancestry. As a nineteen-year old Oriental boy, Feng Zheng’s build was also quite impressive. His growth spurt hit early, and coupled with his slim build and pale complexion, he gave off a delicate and refreshing aura.
He Gu said, “Feng Zheng, perfect timing. Come confirm the event schedule…”
“Oh…” Feng Zheng glanced past He Gu, his brows knitted together. “Juhan, you came.”
“Feng Zheng ah.” Song Juhan waved, and greeted him without a smile.
He Gu was surprised. So they knew each other? How come he never heard Feng Zheng mention this before. It really wasn’t that surprising though. He Gu had never mentioned to anyone that he had always been following Song Juhan.