There was some traffic jam on the road. When He Gu arrived at the ocean park, he was a few minutes late. Feng Zheng had been standing at the entrance, waiting for him. As soon as He Gu got out of the car, the two of them saw each other.
Feng Zheng glanced at the car that sent He Gu. It was obviously not a taxi. He frowned. “Song Juhan let his driver send you?”
“Ah, yes. He’s really nice. He doesn’t put on airs at all.”
Feng Zheng said coldly, “Can you not be silly? Song Juhan’s personality is really terrible. The good side you’re seeing of him is all pretend.”
At that time, He Gu was only half a foot out of school. His character was full of a young man’s innocence and the goodness of humanity. Naturally, he hadn’t believed in Feng Zheng, only thinking that he had said such a thing because of his conflict with Song Juhan. But of course, he didn’t refute him. He Gu had always been too lazy to argue about little, insignificant things, so he changed the subject, “Have you been waiting for long? Let’s go in.”
Feng Zheng’s face was black. He turned around and walked away.
He Gu sighed and followed him.
The scale of this ocean park was second to none in China. It collected all kinds of rare fish from the five continents, and it was very high-class. In the beginning, they played a hunger marketing strategy, releasing only a limited number of tickets every day. With their reservation already half a month later, it was no longer crowded. Everybody could get a professional explanation.
The Feng family really had a lot of reputation. They had invited the park’s deputy curator to accompany them alone, taking them to look from hall to hall.
Those colorful sea creatures were really fascinating. The whole ocean park was like a fairytale dream world.
As the three of them looked around and discussed stuff, Feng Zheng gradually forgot to be angry. The two people looked very enthusiastic, and only when the park was about to close did they reluctantly leave.
“Those jellyfish are so beautiful. The light in the aquarium makes their structure very clear.” He Gu flipped through the photos in his phone and thought to himself that he would have to come back later when he had the chance.
“Yeah, but I like the shellfish more. It’s particularly amusing when they swim one clap at a time.”
“Haha, they all look like they’re racing. By the way, where are we going to eat tonight?”
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“In the underwater restaurant opened right in the Marine Hall. I’ve reserved seats at…” Feng Zheng smiled enigmatically. “Never mind, you’ll know in a moment.”
He Gu became intrigued.
The underwater restaurant was built inside the ocean park. The two walls on either side of it were super long fish tanks. While eating, one could appreciate all kinds of fish and the occasional whale swimming by. It was a great thing to experience.
Feng Zheng gave his name, and the waiter led them to the quiet private room area through the lobby, before finally leading them into a box.
That box was spherical in design, and its entire structure was glass. Surrounded by azure seawater and marine life from all angles, it was like being in the deep sea.
He Gu’s eyes brightened. “Wow, it’s so beautiful.”
Feng Zheng smiled. “Not bad, right? There’s only two of these deep sea cabins in the entire restaurant, and they’re also the first of its kind in China. This door is made of LCD panels. After closing it, it would broadcast a video, making it blend into the background. Unless one looks carefully, nobody would notice it.”
The waiter left the menu, then went out and closed the door. And as Feng Zheng had said, the image playing on the door’s back panel was able to seamlessly integrate with the scene on the glass walls. It was quite realistic. He Gu smiled and said, “In such a romantic place, it’s a bit of a waste for two men to eat in it.”
Feng Zheng flipped through the menu, smiled at him, and said seemingly casually, “How can two men not be romantic.”
He Gu smiled and didn’t comment.
He was becoming more and more helpless to Feng Zheng. When they first met, Feng Zheng didn’t care much for him, and he naturally maintained the proper politeness between him as a fellow alumna and a colleague. But after they gradually became familiar with each other, Feng Zheng unintentionally discovered his sexuality, and he frankly said that his sexuality would not affect their friendship and work. Although He Gu had a slightly hazy favorable impression on Feng Zheng at that time, it was only just that. It was like how a normal man would naturally have a favorable impression for someone outstanding in the opposite sex, and there was nothing out of the ordinary about it.
It was unknown when it started, but the two of them became more and more ambiguous. Feng Zheng would occasionally do things that were a bit incomprehensible. It was hard for He Gu, a natural gay, not to think too much about it, and when he’d sound him out, Feng Zheng would shrink back again. After a few times, he felt that Feng Zheng might be doing all these out of novelty. For teenagers, harmless ambiguity was just a kind of spice in life, especially when it was with the same sex. Nobody had to take responsibility. It was fresh and interesting, and it may even show off one’s own personality.
After understanding this, He Gu tried restraining his assumptions about Feng Zheng. He was a person who said less, thought more, and had always been cautious. The two maintained a good relationship as friends, but they were also comfortable with each other.
As they ate, they enjoyed this dream-like scenery, and they were quite satisfied.
When they were about to finish eating, the song playing inside the box changed. Hearing the familiar melody, He Gu soon determined that it was Song Juhan’s song.
Feng Zheng didn’t recognize it at first, but when Song Juhan’s distinctive voice came out, he was stunned.
He Gu pretended not to have heard it and continued chatting about company affairs.
Feng Zheng put down his fork. “How was your meeting with Song Juhan today?”
He Gu avoided saying anything serious and said, “It was okay. He was quite busy. We chatted for a few words, and then you called.”
“He didn’t say any nonsense?” Feng Zheng gazed into He Gu’s eyes, his expression a bit deep.
He Gu thought for a moment. “What do you mean?”
“Something about me.”
“Oh… He said you guys were close when you were kids, but then grew up estranged because you were always compared with each other.”
Feng Zheng seemed relieved. “En, it couldn’t be helped. We’re about the same age, so being compared is inevitable.”
He Gu had never been fond of probing others. Since Feng Zheng wouldn’t say, then he wouldn’t ask anymore.
The two stopped talking about Song Juhan, but until the end of that song, the atmosphere in the box was a little weird.
Half a month later, just when He Gu had gradually forgotten the little personal interaction with Song Juhan, he unexpectedly received a call from the big star.
Looking at the caller ID on the screen, He Gu was very surprised. He thought that Song Juhan was just being polite when he said he’d have to invite him to dinner or something. In fact, after that day, he never thought he would see Song Juhan again.
He Gu grabbed the phone, left the office, then went to the corridor and pressed the call button with some apprehension. “Hello?”
“He Gu?” Song Juhan’s voice came from the other end. After the radio wave transmission, the charm of his voice had weakened by half, yet it could still penetrate straight through the heart.
“I’m Song Juhan.”
“En…” He Gu was a little tongue-tied.
Song Juhan laughed. “You haven’t forgotten, have you?”
“No, how could I.”
“That’s good. I’m free today, so I called to ask you out for that meal.”
He Gu froze. “Ah, oh, well, where do you want to eat?”
Song Juhan wanted to eat with him? Song Juhan wanted to eat with him!1It actually said something more like “Song Juhan was looking for him for a meal,” but it sounds a bit awkward to me, so I changed it.
“Anywhere is fine. You decide, but find a place that’s a little more secluded.”
“Okay, no problem. I’ll send you the address later then.”
“I’ll be waiting for you downstairs of your company at six.”
After hanging up the phone, He Gu’s heart was still beating as fast as a drum.
He was actually going to have dinner with Song Juhan… How could this be? How could Song Juhan want to have dinner with him?!
He Gu leaned against the wall and hit the back of his head on it, and his feverish brain gradually calmed down.
Song Juhan, who couldn’t even remember his name after meeting him, couldn’t suddenly be interested in him. The only intersection between them was Feng Zheng.
What did Song Juhan want? He Gu really couldn’t figure out his intentions. What could Song Juhan get from him?
The more he couldn’t guess, the more curious he was, so he went to have a look. Anyway, it was an unexpected pleasure to have dinner with Song Juhan.
He Gu went downstairs early and waited in front of the company. At around six o’clock, the familiar car that he had once ridden in slowly drove over and stopped in front of him.
He opened the door and got into the car. Song Juhan was sitting in the backseat, and he smiled at him. “Hey, did you wait long?”
He Gu said with a smile, “Not at all. I also just came down.”
“Have you decided where to eat?”
“En, I know a private restaurant. They serve vegan food, and the environment is very nice and quiet. We can sit in a private room.”
He Gu showed the address on his phone to the driver, who then said that he knew the place.
When He Gu leaned back in his seat, he could feel Song Juhan’s gaze on him, making him feel even more nervous. “Uh, I see you on shows all the time lately. You must be very busy, right?”
“Yeah. I didn’t expect you to pay attention to what I do. You don’t look like a star-chaser.”
He Gu was a little embarrassed. “I’m not much of a star-chaser, but I like your songs a lot.”
Song Juhan pursed his lips up in a smile. “I’m preparing for a concert right now. When it’s time, I’ll send you VIP tickets.”
“I really am too busy lately. Today is a rare free time, and I wanted to rest. Then I remembered that you still owed me a meal.”
He Gu’s heart was beating a little fast, and he dared not meet Song Juhan’s eyes.
“Why are you lowering your head and not looking at me?” Song Juhan’s deep eyes had always been roaming over He Gu, and wherever they looked could simply set a person on fire.
He Gu plucked up the courage to look up. “No…”
Song Juhan pfft-ed. “Your face is so red.”
He Gu unconsciously touched his face, then suddenly realizing how stupid this move was, he was immediately at a loss, his ears burning up.
Song Juhan couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “He Gu, you’re really… Hahaha…”
He Gu pinched himself in chagrin and even justified himself in vain, “The car is a little hot.”
Song Juhan suddenly leaned over, his face getting close to He Gu. He blinked his eyes that were as bright as stars and said softly, “Don’t be shy. I’ve already said that I don’t eat people.”
It took He Gu a lifetime’s worth of determination to restrain the thought of wanting to shrink to the car door.
Song Juhan hooked his lips and smiled. “Why are you so cute?”
To be described as “cute” by a man younger than him, He Gu felt quite ashamed of himself. But there was also a hint of shameful gratification in his heart.
Song Juhan’s every smile and every word made his heart beat faster to the point that it made him feel abnormal in his presence.
When they arrived, He Gu couldn’t wait anymore and jumped out of the car. He quickly took a few deep breaths and felt the heat on his face recede slightly.
Song Juhan wore sunglasses and a hat, covering half of his face. With the hot weather, it must have been quite difficult.
The two were led straight to the reserved booth by the waiter. He Gu passed the menu to Song Juhan. “I don’t know what you like to eat. But don’t most celebrities have to watch what they eat to keep in shape, so I chose a vegan restaurant.”
“You chose well. I have been on a diet recently.” Song Juhan smiled at him, then lowered his head to order.
At that time, Song Juhan was just a new celebrity, and the waiter did not recognize him. They simply stared at him, thinking he had a beautiful face.
After Song Juhan ordered, he leaned back on his chair. “Are you quite busy with work lately? You seem to have dark circles under your eyes.”
“Work is alright. I’m actually busy with my thesis.” As graduation was getting closer, he was busy with many things. Although the main issue of future employment was already solved, he had always been strict with his own achievements. Seeing as he wanted to study an employer-funded masters in the future, he could not be sloppy with his final thesis.
“Oh, aren’t you a straight A student? That shouldn’t be too hard.”
“It isn’t too hard. There’s just a lot of data to go through, and it’s quite time consuming.”
“You are so serious with everything. No wonder you could work for Feng Enterprise.” Song Juhan fiddled with his fingers. “By the way, when did Feng Zheng start his internship at his father’s company?”
“After he started college. He started just a few months before me.”
“Is he any good? I mean, he was always quite smart.”
He Gu nodded his head. “Yes. Although he’s sometimes a little impatient, he can get through things easily. He’s very intelligent.”
Song Juhan smiled, “Your impression of him is simply ‘impatient’?”
He Gu asked cautiously, “What else is there?”
“His temper.” Song Juhan revealed a sarcastic smile. “He has quite a short temper.”
“He’s just irritable at times, not really bad-tempered.” He Gu had never gossipped behind other people’s backs before, and he believed that men shouldn’t engage in such useless chatter. He didn’t know why Song Juhan kept trying to trick him into saying something about Feng Zheng.
“It seems that he is really quite nice to you, at least he seems much gentler than when I knew him.”
He Gu considered his words carefully. “We are very good friends.”
Song Juhan raised his eyebrows, then smiled and nodded.
After the waiter served the dishes one by one, Song Juhan didn’t eat much of them. Although He Gu himself did not have a big appetite, he could not imagine how someone of Song Juhan’s build could eat so little. Indeed, being a celebrity was not easy at all.
The two chatted amicably. Although they didn’t have much in common in regards to their personal life and social circle, Song Juhan’s social skills had been cultivated from a young age, so he could easily find a common topic to chat about. On the other hand, He Gu, being normally a man of few words, was currently racking his brain for things to talk about so as to not appear cold and distant. Hence, the meal passed by pleasantly without a moment of awkwardness.
After dinner, Song Juhan suggested going to a club. He Gu said, “Aren’t you afraid of being recognized?”
“It’s fine. It’s a private clubhouse run by my friends. Members only, so there won’t be any unnecessary people around.”
He Gu readily agreed. He was no longer as nervous as before when facing Song Juhan. After all, no matter how godly one appears at first, with more time spent with them, you will eventually realize that they’re just another human being in the end. Not to mention, with Song Juhan’s easy-going attitude, it was quite easy for people to let go of their initial caution.
He Gu had never been to a private clubhouse before, and he couldn’t imagine what one would be like. He assumed that each would be different and have their own speciality. For example, the one in front of him now was clearly designed to entertain young people. The entire clubhouse was like a giant villa with numerous entertainment facilities, such as billiards, cards and chess games room, video games rooms, mini golf course, squash courts, and private theatres. Outside in the courtyard, there were also basketball and tennis courts, as well as a swimming pool.
Today, there weren’t many people at the clubhouse. When Song Juhan walked in, there was only one table of people having drinks and chatting away.
“Wow, Superstar Song. It’s been a while since we saw you.” A few people walked over to greet him.
Song Juhan smiled and made small talk.
Someone curiously asked, “This is…?”
He Gu smiled and nodded at him. Song Juhan replied, “My friend, you guys haven’t met him before.”
“I can’t even remember the last time you came here. It must have been before you left the country.”
“Must be. I haven’t been back for long.” Song Juhan patted him on the shoulder and said, “I’ll see you guys around. I’m going to take my friend to play billiards.”
“Sure. Have fun, guys.”
Song Juhan led He Gu into another room.
He Gu looked around. “This is quite an interesting place. Did you use to come here often?”
“Back in high school, I used to come here a lot. This was one of the frequent places for our generation’s social group to gather.”
He Gu thought to himself, within the circle of the rich and powerful in the capital, almost everyone of the same generation knew each other. After all, it was a small community of the elite, and so it was normal for Song Juhan and Feng zheng to know each other.
Song Juhan picked a cue, leaned against the billiards table with his legs crossed, and started to leisurely chalk his cue. At that time, American movies were rather popular, and Song Juhan’s posture was somewhat similar to the casual and chic style of the male lead in those Hollywood films. That simple action could make one’s heart throb uncontrollably.
He Gu was in a daze, and after he snapped out of it, he quickly found something to talk about to distract himself from thinking too much. “You seem to really like billiards.”
“Back in America, I used to play all the time. I haven’t played in a while though, what about you?”
“I don’t really know how.”
“That’s fine. It’s quite easy actually, and I can teach you. Let me demonstrate first.”
Song Juhan walked over to He Gu, leaned over the table, and fanned his left hand out into the shape of an umbrella. The fingers on the table were slender and strong, the fingernails round and full. Song Juhan was like a work of art sculpted meticulously from head to toe, without a single flaw on his entire body.
He placed the cue over his left hand and aimed with his right. The cue shot out swiftly and scattered the neatly placed balls all at once, pocketing one instantly. He looked around the table for the best angles and proceeded to pocket another six balls consecutively. It wasn’t until the seventh ball that he missed by a mere inch or two and hit the edge of the table, the ball then bounced back slowly.
“Haha.” Song Juhan tilted his head and smiled sweetly at He Gu, blinking his eyes he said, “Indeed, my skills have faded.”
He Gu was already staring at Song Juhan, when he happened to see that sweet smile, his heart felt as if it had been punched hard. Not a painful punch, but definitely a very memorable feeling.
“Come, I’ll teach you.”
He Gu’s feet moved as if they had a mind of their own, and made their way towards Song Juhan.
Song Juhan walked behind him and stretched his arms around his body. He then pressed his chest up against He Gu’s back and forced him to bend down over the table, essentially pinning him to the table with a back hug. “Just like this. The body posture should be bent nice and low.”
He Gu felt like his back was lit on fire, his entire person was stunned and his body frozen in place…