Feng Zheng shook his script and said to Song Juhan, “Did you read the script of the interactive segment that I sent to you?”
“Read it,” Song Juhan said lazily as he looked at Feng Zheng with a smile that was not quite a smile.
The president was surprised and said, “You guys know each other.”
Feng Zheng said without any fluctuations, “We’ve known each other since we were kids.”
“Feng Zheng, you’re too much. How dare you not tell me!” The female host who was partnered with Feng Zheng was so angry that she stomped her feet. No one here didn’t know that she was a fan of Song Juhan. Rumor had it that she even gave money to her teacher in order to be the host of this celebration. Feng Zheng’s name had been rightfully on the list. As the school heartthrob and having a father who donated money to the school, it was only natural that he’d be the man of the hour.
Feng Zheng laughed, but he didn’t say anything.
Song Juhan walked over. “It’s been a long time. How have you been?”
“Yeah, you haven’t been back to the country that much these past two years. I’ve been doing fine.”
Somehow, He Gu felt that Feng Zheng was avoiding Song Juhan. Underneath the superficial courtesy, there was some subtle animosity between the two.
“I’m back now, and I’m not going to leave.” Song Juhan stretched his body. “How long before it starts?”
“In a bit.” Feng Zheng turned to He Gu. “Are you nervous? How come you’re sweating?”
He Gu subconsciously wiped his forehead, and Feng Zheng couldn’t help but laugh. “On the tip of your nose.”
He Gu shyly wiped off the sweat on his nose. He was indeed nervous, but not because of the speech, but because of the few minutes he had just spent with Song Juhan. “Is it fine now?”
“Your hair is a little wet. Xuejie1学姐 – an older female schoolmate, do you have a tissue?”
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The president handed over some tissues. Feng Zheng took them and pressed them directly on He Gu’s hairline.
After wiping the sweat, Feng Zheng said, “Let’s go outside and go over our interaction. It’s a little hot in here.”
“Our interaction is only a few words. There’s no need.”
“Let’s go out to get some air.”
He Gu nodded at Song Juhan. From beginning to end, Song Juhan had worn an impenetrable smile.
The two of them walked to the back door of the auditorium. He Gu let out a breath and said embarrassedly, “Ah, talking to Song Juhan makes me so nervous.”
Feng Zheng frowned. “What’s there to be nervous about?”
“It’s my first time meeting a star.” Then He Gu thought about it. “Well, not really the first time. In high school, the two of us were in a school activity together, but back then, he was still a child, and his aura was not so imposing. Now, his whole person was not quite the same.”
“It’s all in the training. You can be a star even if you train for two years.”
He Gu laughed. “How can I do that? To be able to speak in front of so many people at school is already my limit. You are more likely able to do it.”
Feng Zheng curled his lips. “I’m not interested.”
“By the way, it turns out that you and Song Juhan know each other. I’ve never heard you mention that.”
“What’s there to mention?” Feng Zhen raked his fingers through his hair, and his tone sounded a little impatient.
He Gu perceived something sensitively. “You don’t like him much?”
Feng Zheng was silent for a moment. “We knew each other since we were very young. Back then, our relationship was very good, but when we grew up, we had less contact and became estranged.”
He Gu felt that the two of them were not simply “estranged.” Maybe there were other conflicts, but Feng Zheng didn’t seem to want to mention it, and He Gu wasn’t a talker either.
Feng Zheng then thought of something. “By the way, how long before your internship ends?”
“There’s more than a month left.”
“My dad really appreciates you. When you get your diploma, you can sign the contract.” Feng Zheng teased. “Afterwards, you’ll be a member of our old Feng family.”
He Gu at once felt his face turn hot, and for a moment, he didn’t know how to answer.
Having also realized that his words were ambiguous, Feng Zheng coughed lightly and tried to cover up by straightening his tie. “Right, didn’t you say last time that a new ocean park has opened? I’m free this week, let’s go together?”
“Okay,” He Gu said with a smile. “Grabbing tickets right now is difficult. You’ll have to make a reservation. I’ll tell you when I can book one.”
“En, then I’ll check out the good places to eat nearby.”
The two of them chatted for a while, and when they saw that it was almost time, they went back.
The celebration that day went smoothly. After He Gu delivered a speech on behalf of the students, he invited Song Juhan to the podium. The students off the stage were boiling with excitement. Their screams could pierce through the roof, turning the solemn celebration into a celebrity meet and greet. For a moment, the scene got a little out of hand.
Song Juhan took over the microphone and calmed the students down in a few words. Having such a weighty yet seemingly light-hearted approach at this age was not to be underestimated.
When He Gu’s task was over, he switched with Feng Zheng on the stage.
The two talked and laughed on stage. They didn’t talk about having known each other before, and one also couldn’t see any trace of hostility between them. They just interacted with each other in a routine manner.
He Gu looked at them from the stage and thought to himself, Perhaps only a proud son of heaven like Feng Zheng will not be overshadowed when standing next to Song Juhan. Compared to Song Juhan though, Feng Zheng appeared a little young and inexperienced.
After the celebration, there was an in-house banquet. Although the dishes were all Chinese, a Western-style buffet was adopted to give participants enough time to mingle.
He and Feng Zheng were chatting on one side when the hostess called Feng Zheng away, saying that the teacher had something to tell him.
When Feng Zheng left, He Gu’s eyes began to roam all over the place to search for Song Juhan. He should’ve been easy to find, but He Gu couldn’t see him anywhere.
Maybe he went to the toilet. He Gu’s heart stirred as he remembered what happened in the summer of his senior year in high school when he met Song Juhan in the toilet. It was really embarrassing at that time, but fortunately, Song Juhan didn’t seem to have remembered.
Thinking up to here, He Gu put down his plate and headed for the toilet. He hadn’t asked Song Juhan for an autograph yet.
Two bodyguards were standing at the entrance of the toilet. Song Juhan really was here.
He Gu waited outside.
After waiting for a while, Song Juhan came out, and the moment he raised his eyes, he saw He Gu. He swept his gaze over him and showed an unfathomable smile.
He Gu nodded at him and said with a smile, “Can I have your autograph?”
Song Juhan took the tissue handed over by the bodyguard and wiped his hands. Then that long, beautiful hand reached towards He Gu.
He Gu hurriedly took out a notebook and pen and handed it over.
Song Juhan quickly wrote down the characters “He Gu” on the paper.
He Gu was a little elated.
Song Juhan followed on to write the cliché “Feel happy every day,” and then signed his name with a handwriting that was like dragons flying and phoenixes dancing2龙飞凤舞 – metaphor for a flamboyant or bold cursive calligraphy.
He Gu said happily, “Thank you.”
“It’s nothing.” Song Juhan paused and said with a smile, “You and Feng Zheng seem to be very familiar?”
“En, I intern at his family’s company.”
Song Juhan gave a long “oh,” then said something that seemed to have a more deeper meaning. “He doesn’t seem like someone who’s good at making friends.”
“Uh… he’s okay.” He Gu recalled the time when he first met Feng Zheng, and he did indeed feel back then that this dashaoye was somewhat cold and arrogant. But then the two met frequently in the school and at the company, and gradually, they became familiar with each other.
“Oh, by the way, I have a fan meeting this weekend. It’s not too big, but there will be some games and raffles, so it should be quite fun. Do you want to come and hang out?”
He Gu beamed, “Yes, yes.” He didn’t expect Song Juhan to invite him.
“I’ll give you my phone number. You can come with Feng Zheng. Call me when you arrive, and I’ll let someone bring you guys in.”
“Okay, okay!” He Gu was somewhat flattered, and he didn’t know how to respond better.
After many years, He Gu would still think back to that weekend. It was by far the worst weekend ever. Starting from the morning, everything was cursed. First, the faucet was broken, then he couldn’t find his keys. As he left, he tripped on his way out the door, then proceeded to lose his wallet. Every little problem seemed to be preventing him from going to see Song Juhan. Nonetheless, he stubbornly arrived exactly on time.
From the beginning, everything was fated.
The day before the event, He Gu had called Feng Zheng to invite him, but Feng Zheng refused to go and declined in an unpleasant tone. He Gu was a little hesitant to go, but since Song Juhan had especially invited him, it would be impolite for him to not attend. Most importantly, he really did want to go, so he decided to go by himself.
When he arrived at the hotel, He Gu called Song Juhan. After Song Juhan replied quickly with two “En, en,” he told him to wait and hung up.
After a few minutes, Song Juhan’s assistant came out and directly led He Gu to the waiting room. At that time, Song Juhan was getting his hair styled.
He Gu smiled and awkwardly said, “Hi.”
Song Juhan looked at him through the mirror. “Is it just you? Where’s Feng Zheng?”
“Oh, he said he wasn’t feeling well, so he didn’t come.”
Song Juhan nodded his head. “Find somewhere to sit down. We’ll find a good spot for you later.”
“Thank you.” He Gu picked a chair in the corner of the room and sat down. From this position, he could secretly steal glances at Song Juhan without being noticed.
Today, Song Juhan wore a casual suit with sneakers. Although he gave off a youthful appearance, he was still as handsome as ever, making it hard for others to look away from him.
He Gu had listened to all of Song Juhan’s songs before. He wondered whether Song Juhan would sing something today, perhaps his newest single. As he thought about Song Juhan’s lazy yet sultry voice, his heart throbbed uncontrollably.
Song Juhan finished getting his hair styled, and the assistant and hair stylist both left the room, leaving only the two of them inside.
He Gu suddenly felt a little embarrassed. Being alone in a room with Song Juhan was a little too much for him to handle.
Song Juhan looked at his newly-styled hair in the mirror and ran his fingers through it. Then he said casually, “I heard Feng Enterprise often makes you work overtime. Don’t you have to work overtime too?”
“Yes, we do always work overtime. But I’m free this weekend.”
Song Juhan smiled. “What a coincidence. It must be so that you can have time to come see me.”
He Gu felt his face heat up, and he stammered, “Yes…”
Song Juhan got up and started walking towards him. “Why are you so nervous? Back then, you were a lot calmer.”
“You still remember?”
“I forgot before, but looking at you now, I remembered again.” Song Juhan sat down next to him, his knee pressed up against his thigh. “Back then, I already felt very comfortable with you. If it were anyone else, they would always either pretend to be nice or ask for autographs, photographs or my number. It’s just so annoying.”
He Gu smiled embarrassingly. “I was also pretending to be calm. Actually, it’s quite hard for people to not be nervous just by being in the same room as you.”
“Oh, why?” Song Juhan squinted and chuckled lightly. “Do I eat people?”
“You…” He Gu turned his head, and his eyes directly met Song Juhan’s enchanting eyes. His heart trembled, and he abruptly lowered his head. “aren’t…”
Song Juhan was still waiting for him to finish his sentence when He Gu’s phone suddenly rang. As if the incoming phone call was a lifesaver, He Gu hurriedly stood up and answered it. He took this moment as an opportunity to calm down and catch his breath. “Hello, Feng Zheng?”
“He Gu. Where are you?”
“Me? I went to the fan meeting event.”
Feng Zheng was silent for a while. “I got the tickets for the aquarium. It’s at 3pm this afternoon. If you take a taxi now, you’ll be here just in time.”
“Oh… But the fan meeting also starts at 3pm.”
“What’s so special about seeing Song Juhan? I especially made an appointment for a tour with the Deputy Curator. He has a postdoctoral fellowship in marine biology, and he doesn’t usually give tours. I only got this appointment through my connections. Didn’t you always like fish and marine life?”
He Gu said awkwardly, “But… I’m already here. And I’ve seen him too. If I just leave like this…”
“Since you’ve already seen him, what’s the point of staying? That event is a fan meeting, it’s not specifically to see you!” Feng Zheng’s voice was obviously a little frustrated.
It wasn’t clear when Song Juhan walked over, but he was now standing right behind He Gu. He said slowly, “What’s wrong. Are you leaving?”
Feng Zheng seemed to have heard Song Juhan’s question. After a moment of silence, he said, “Either way, just be here by 3pm. You can’t just leave me to go around the aquarium by myself.” After speaking his mind, Feng Zheng hung up.
He Gu didn’t even have time to reply, and the phone call had already ended. He frowned deeply and wondered. Feng Zheng did usually have a domineering temperament and was quite the willful young master, but he was not an unreasonable person. What was wrong with him today? Is it perhaps… related to Song Juhan?
Song Juhan crossed his arms around his chest and said, “Feng Zheng asked you to leave?”
He Gu was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say.
Song Juhan frowned. “Isn’t he feeling sick?”
He Gu answered awkwardly, “He isn’t… He just wants me to go spend time with him.”
“It’s fine. Don’t bother with making up excuses for him. I know he doesn’t want you to meet me. He’s always been like this.”
He Gu was confused, “Why? Is there some kind of misunderstanding between you two?”
Song Juhan shrugged. “When we were young, we were quite close, but gradually we grew up. Because of our similar age, we were always compared by the adults. So eventually, we started to compete in everything, but we both didn’t want to lose.” Song Juhan bent down slightly and whispered in his ear, “He is probably… just afraid that I will steal you away from him.”
He Gu widened his eyes and stared at Song Juhan, his whole body going stiff.
Song Juhan laughed out loud, “I’m just kidding. You look so scared right now.”
He Gu was completely confused. Of course, he knew that Song Juhan couldn’t “steal” him from Feng Zheng. After all, he and Feng Zheng only had some hazy ambiguity.
Although he had a clear understanding of Feng Zheng’s above-average mentality and had a good impression on him, he didn’t dare venture into it.
Song Juhan patted his back. “It’s fine. Go spend time with him. I’m older than him anyway and shouldn’t be as narrow-minded as him.3Liz: nOt aS naRRoW-miNded aS hiM, you say. Haha, don’t make me laugh.”
He Gu apologized. “I’m sorry. I wasted your invitation.”
“Don’t worry. If you really feel embarrassed, just treat me to dinner next time.”
He Gu’s eyes sparkled with a flash of joy. “Yes, that sounds great.”
Song Juhan smiled and said, “Go on then. I will tell the driver to take you there.”
“There’s no need. I can take a taxi.”
“Don’t worry about it. The driver is just sitting around anyway. Go on.”
“You really don’t have to…”
Song Juhan tilted his head slightly and gave him a look that seemed to say that he shouldn’t refuse the offer.
He Gu nodded. “Thank you…”
Song Juhan revealed a dazzling smile, and at that moment, it was as if He Gu had returned to the memory from four years ago. With the dusk light beaming through the classroom window, he could see the bright smile from the young man that casually swung his school bag over his shoulder. It was a smile so dazzling that it made him realize for the first time in his life what it was like for his heart to tremble.