In the days He Gu stayed at home to rest and fully recover, his colleagues called to say they would like to come over to visit him. Even Gu Qingpei somehow got wind of his condition and decided to tag along.
He Gu never enjoyed having people over, nor did he enjoy the busy and loud environment it created. But since a car accident was considered quite a serious matter, and the fact that he was a team leader after all, he couldn’t exactly decline his colleagues’ well-wishes.
Before they arrived, He Gu had a sudden thought to clear his entire home of any traces of Song Juhan. He spent the entire morning looking in minute detail for anything and everything related to Song Juhan—his albums, his film and TV show posters, his endorsement posters and numerous other objects. All of these things were collected by He Gu over the years. Clothes, beauty products, snacks, wine, and basically everything that Song Juhan left at his home were there. Without realizing, his home had been entirely filled with the shadow of Song Juhan.
He Gu froze, looking at the two electric toothbrushes sitting on the counter top, a clear sign that this home had two people living here. It was almost as if they were living together. He Gu laughed mockingly at his own thoughts before grabbing the toothbrush and putting it away.
At that moment, Gu Qingpei called. “He Gu, do you remember that young actor we met last time when we had dinner together?”
“I do, why?” After that day, Zhuang Jieyu kept sending him messages on WeChat, so He Gu swiftly deleted him. In response, Zhuang Jieyu sent another friend request to scold him.
“Oh, so I was having lunch with him this afternoon and told him what happened to you. He said he wants to come see you too.”
“He did?” He Gu frowned deeply. He was getting more and more confused as to what Zhuang Jieyu wanted. The two had met under such uncomfortable circumstances, and their relationship was, without a doubt, an awkward one. On top of that, being witnessed in such an embarrassing scene by this immature young boy, He Gu really didn’t want to have anything more to do with Zhuang Jieyu.
“Yes. I also think it’s a little rude to ask you, but I think he means well. If you really feel uncomfortable about it, I can just decline his offer,” said Gu Qingpei.
“Then…” He Gu was just about to decline, when a sudden thought crossed his mind. If Zhuang Jieyu really had a hidden motive, even if he could hide from him now, he couldn’t hide forever. It would actually be worse for him to give Zhuang Jieyu the chance to talk nonsense in front of Gu Qingpei. Also, seeing as there would be so many people around today, He Gu thought Zhuang Jieyu wouldn’t be able to do anything outrageous, so it would be better to observe him in this situation, and sort him out once and for all. There was no way he couldn’t handle a nineteen-year-old child. Thinking of this, He Gu changed his mind and said, “Sure, let him come if he wants to.”
By four in the afternoon, around six to seven colleagues arrived one after another. Chen Shan came with health supplements in one hand and a folder in the other. She looked helplessly at He Gu and said, “Chief He, can you…”
“Of course. Just leave it over there, I’ll have a look later tonight.”
A few colleagues who were good at cooking went into the kitchen and started to prepare dinner. The rest of them sat in the living room chatting away, and somehow, the conversation ended up about the market value of this apartment.
“When did Chief He buy this apartment? How much was it when you bought it?”
“I bought it five years ago for around twenty thousand yuan.” Back then, he had just graduated and started working at Nanchuang. Although he already had the apartment left to him by his parents, it was too far from the company. A one-way trip took over an hour. Within a year, Song Juhan had brought him both a new car and a new apartment. To this day, He Gu had not paid back a single penny on either. But he had long decided that when the day came for them to go their separate ways, he would not take anything with him. He was never a materialistic person, and was relatively low maintenance. Besides, he already had his own apartment, and he could easily afford to buy his own car. When the day came for Song Juhan to leave him, He Gu was determined to destroy every last trace of that person from his life. Only then would he be able to stop his bleeding heart and continue living on.
“Wow, it’s gone up to xx thousand yuan now. D*mn, if I could’ve bought a house earlier on, that would be so nice.”
Another colleague mockingly interjected, “Even when it was twenty thousand yuan, you wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Chief He is a rich second generation1富二代 – a term used to describe the children of the nouveau riche in China, particularly those of entrepreneurs who became wealthy from the economic reforms of the 1980s., how can you even compare to him?”
He Gu chuckled. “I’m not a rich second generation.”
“Chief He doesn’t need to be so modest. Five years ago, you had just entered the company. There’s no way you would’ve had the same salary as you do today.”
He Gu was too lazy to explain himself. Technically speaking, he was a rich second generation of sorts, seeing as his mother and step-father were indeed quite rich. But then again, their money had nothing to do with him.
As they chatted away, the doorbell rang. He Gu got up to open the door, and saw that Zhuang Jieyu had indeed decided to come with Gu Qingpei.
“Chief Gu. Hey, Chief Gu is here.” All the colleagues got up to welcome him. “Chief Gu must be killing it2风生水起 – an idiom describing a prosperous or thriving situation. Literally translates as ‘when the wind comes alive, the water rises too.’ Gu Qingpei then plays around with the words in this metaphor to negatively describe his predicament at his new company. at the new company.”
Gu Qingpei gave a self-depreciating smile and sighed. “The wind was more like a hurricane, and the water more like a tsunami. I have such a bad headache right now. I think I actually miss the laid back attitude at Nanchuang.”
“Hahaha, who dares to cause trouble for Chief Gu.”
He Gu invited the two new guests into the living room to continue chatting. Walking past, Zhuang Jieyu gave a quick knowing look at He Gu, causing the latter to frown deeply. He Gu really wanted to throw him out by his collar and be rid of him.
“He Gu, are you feeling better yet?” Gu Qingpei bought some tonic for him.
“I feel much better now. At first, I was still quite nauseous. But these few days, I’ve just been having a headache and general fatigue. Otherwise I’m fine.”
“Waa!” A female colleague exclaimed, “Zhuang Jieyu, are you really Zhuang Jieyu?”
Zhuang Jieyu revealed a cute little smile. “Hi everyone.”
He Gu frowned. This little boy could really change his face quickly. No wonder he was an actor.
“Oh my, Chief Gu even knows actors.”
“He’s a distant cousin, Mr. He has met him before too.” Gu Qingpei openly lied with a straight face3脸不红心不跳 – literally ‘a face that doesn’t blush, a heart that doesn’t beat’, it is used to describe someone that is unaffected by a situation. .
Zhuang Jieyu smiled from ear to ear and said, “He Gu-ge, are you feeling better?”
“Much better.” He Gu squinted at him.
Once Gu Qingpei arrived, He Gu’s living room immediately turned into a social gathering center, finally giving him a moment to relax and lie back to watch TV.
Zhuang Jieyu leaned over and said in a low voice, “Hey, how dare you block me. Do you even have any manners at all?”
He Gu kept his head down looking at his phone as he replied nonchalantly, “Why do we need to stay in contact?”
“Well, since we’ve slept with the same person, we have some sort of relation, don’t we?”
He Gu tightened his hand around his phone, lifted his head, and stared deeply at Zhuang Jieyu, his eyes as cold as ice.
Zhuang Jieyu shrank back and couldn’t help but swallow.
He Gu abruptly stood up. “Come with me, let’s talk.”
Gu Qingpei was slightly surprised, but did not show it outwardly.
The two entered the study. He Gu shut the door behind them, then turned and stared straight at Zhuang Jieyu.
Zhuang Jieyu looked at him warily. “What do you want?”
“I want to ask you that. What do you want? I’m not close with you, so what are you doing coming to my home?”
Zhuang Jieyu pursed his lips. “I’m just a little curious what your relationship with Han-ge is.”
He Gu mocked. “What relationship do you think it is?”
“Don’t you feel that you and Han-ge really don’t match? I’m just wondering how you two are together.”
“What does that have to do with you. Song Juhan hates those that talk too much. If you want to be with him, how can you not know that fact?”
Zhuang Jieyu was a little embarrassed. “I don’t need you to educate me!”
“I’m not interested in educating you either. After we exit this door, we are just two strangers that met for the second time. Don’t talk sh*t to Gu Qingpei, do you understand me?” With every word, He Gu approached Zhuang Jieyu with a stern expression.
Zhuang Jieyu glared at him for a moment, then suddenly changed his expression. He stuck out his tongue and seductively liked his tender red lips. “Last time, did you enjoy it when I kissed you?”
He Gu paused. Zhuang Jieyu’s sudden change of topic had really caught him off guard.
Zhuang Jieyu chuckled. “He Gu. That day you said you could be a 1. Have you actually done it before?”
He Gu frowned. He was confused as to what Zhuang Jieyu wanted from him.
Zhuang Jieyu boldly held onto He Gu’s lapels. “Actually… I’m interested in you. I have never met a type like you before. How can there be someone as interesting as you.”
He Gu grabbed Zhuang Jieyu’s wrists. “What is wrong with you?”
“Han-ge warned me to stay away from you. But the more he tells me not to, the more curious I am.” A youthful and pretty smile spread across Zhuang Jieyu’s face. “Answer me. Have you been a 1 before?”
He Gu didn’t know what Zhuang Jieyu was scheming, but he was sure the ‘interest’ he mentioned was not directed at himself. Looking at the younger man with a blank expression, he said, “No.”
Zhuang Jieyu chuckled. “Don’t you want to give it a try?”
“Even if I did, it wouldn’t be with you.”
Zhuang Jieyu was taken aback, his eyes widened. “You are so fcking…”
Without backing down, He Gu threatened, “Zhuang Jieyu, listen well. I don’t know what you want, but I don’t want to have anything to do with you. If you continue to do these strange things, I will not let you off easily.”
Zhuang Jieyu was so angry, his nose began to tremble violently from his bottled up anger. Even as a child, he had always been popular and used to being pursued and constantly chased after. In this life, he had never experienced such rejection or defeat. Angrily, he pushed He Gu hard, and shouted, “You really are shameless. Go f*ck yourself!”
Zhuang Jieyu yanked the door open with frustration and stormed out of the room. He Gu thought, This time around, the kid probably won’t come back to bother him again.
When he walked back into the living room, Gu Qingpei glanced at him with a weird look in his eyes, so he explained, “Zhuang Jieyu wanted to see my building models.”
Gu Qingpei smiled and said nothing.
As his colleagues sat around having dinner, He Gu received three phone calls from Song Juhan asking if they had left yet. Each phone call sounded more and more annoyed than the last. He Gu also wanted to send these people away quickly.
It wasn’t until just after eight in the evening did they all leave. He Gu immediately called Song Juhan, telling him they had just left.
Song Juhan said unhappily, “They just left. If they like your home that much, why don’t they just set up shop at your door?”
“They just mean well, and I can’t exactly send them away. Where are you? I’ll come find you.”
“Forget it.” Song Juhan hmph-ed, then said, “Go take a shower first.”
“I’ll be right there.”
He Gu was skeptical, but still went to take a shower first. Just as he finished getting dressed, Song Juhan opened the door and walked in. He Gu was surprised. “Were you close by?”
“I was waiting around in a shop near your place,” said Song Juhan with a chilling expression. “Why did you let all those people come over? It’s so annoying.”
“They’re my colleagues. I couldn’t refuse their offer,” said He Gu in a gentle tone. “But if I had known you were downstairs waiting for me. I would’ve pretended to be sick and sent them on their way.”
“Hmph. What’s the point in telling me now.” Song Juhan flung off his down jacket that still had a lingering air of chilliness, then reached forward to hug He Gu. Burrowing his head in the latter’s neck, he sniffed at the warm scent of the shower gel radiating off He Gu’s body. Only then did he start to calm down a little.
He Gu stroked his back. “You must be tired.”
“The rehearsal for the concert started today. It was very tiring.” Song Juhan’s sleepy voice started to drift off.
“Go take a hot shower first, relax and rest well.”
“You know my method for relaxing is not just to sleep.” Song Juhan’s hand started to sneak its way into He Gu’s clothes, lightly caressing his warm back, then punitively pinched his waist.
It had been over a month since the two had last done it, so they were both quite eager and overly passionate. They kissed from the living room to the bedroom, and soon fell into a frantic and lustful state.
As He Gu was consumed with passion, some chaotic thoughts flashed across his mind. He thought to himself, How great is it that he is able to spend another winter with Song Juhan.