He Gu splashed his face with water a few times. The heat on his skin finally cooled down, and his mind also cleared up a little.
Fixing his tie, he looked up at the mirror and stared at himself with an expressionless face. Then he slowly revealed a light yet mocking smile.
What are you so afraid of, He Gu? For the worst that could happen, you have long been prepared for that.
He Gu turned and walked out of the restroom.
Outside, everyone was still drinking and chatting away. Feng Zheng had also returned to his own seat across the table and currently had his head down looking at his phone. Seeing that He Gu had finally come out of the restroom, he lifted his head and looked right at him. His pitch-black eyes were dark yet bright, as if hiding a depth of enigmatic emotions behind them.
Song Juhan also looked up, glaring at He Gu with a vicious look similar to that of a hunter watching its prey in a cage.
He Gu swept a quick glance at him before sitting down at his seat.
Song Juhan leaned over slightly, and with a light smirk on his face, he whispered threateningly in He Gu’s ear, “You f*cking dared lie to me.”
He Gu didn’t make a single sound. Instead, he filled his own glass up to the rim, stood up, and said with a neutral expression1不卑不亢 – idiom meaning neither humble nor pushy, servile nor overbearing., “Chief Song, seniors2长辈 – zhǎngbèi, literally ‘older generation’, it is a polite way to refer to your elders or seniors., I’m not feeling quite well today, and if I stay here, I’ll only be bringing down the mood for everyone. I would like to leave first and head home to rest. So, to apologize to everyone here, I will finish this glass. I’m sorry.” He Gu didn’t wait for a response, and in one swift movement, downed the entire glass of red wine.
Feng Zheng said in a warm and gentle tone, “If you’re not feeling well, then don’t drink too much.”
One of the other executives added, “Yes. If you’re not feeling well, you should head home to rest.”
Song He looked carefully as He Gu finished his drink, then flatly said, “Then you should head back. Health comes first.”
He Gu nodded, and without looking at either Feng Zheng or Song Juhan, he turned and left.
Suddenly, the sound of glass shattering came from behind He Gu, followed by several exclamations.
He Gu paused, then turned around to see that Song Juhan had crushed his wine glass, the broken shards grasped tightly in his clenched fist as red wine spilled everywhere.
Song He frowned. “How did that happen?”
Song Juhan laughed lightly. “The glass was too thin.” Then he grabbed a napkin and started to wipe himself down.
“Did you hurt your hand? You have a concert coming up next month.”
“No.” Song Juhan shook out his hand a few times. It was unclear whether the red liquid dripping from his fingertips was wine or blood.
He Gu’s heart tightened. He pursed his lips but decided to leave nonetheless.
After getting home, He Gu took a shower and started to look over his work. Trying to work when his mind was feeling ill at ease proved to be highly inefficient. In the end, he turned off his computer irritably.
Glancing at his watch, it was nearly 9pm. In accordance to Song Juhan’s character, he would be arriving any minute now.
He Gu sat down in front of the floor-to-ceiling window and looked at the stars and lights outside. A sudden feeling of unspeakable loneliness spread through his body.
He wasn’t sure if there was another person in this world that was as contradicting as him. He seemed to have everything yet nothing at all. Throughout everything, he had never felt any pity towards himself. Whether it was gains or losses, joys or sorrows, he knew he had chosen this path for himself.
He didn’t know why today was any different, but he had the sudden urge to speak to his mother. He wanted to know if she had really gone and lived the life she had desired. On one hand, he wanted to know if she was living well. And on the other hand, he wanted to know whether one could really get what they yearn for if they worked hard enough.
In all these years, he had refrained himself from bothering her. Subconsciously, he might actually be avoiding her or perhaps avoiding himself. To He Gu, the term “motherly love” was more of an abstract idea, something that he couldn’t grasp the true meaning of.
At that moment, the sound of footsteps could be heard from the hallway. The house was very quiet, so the hurried footsteps could be heard loud and clear, followed by the sound of a key being inserted into the keyhole and turning the lock.
He Gu stood up and felt the blood surge to his head, his body temperature pouring out of him like running water. His eyes stared blankly at the door.
The door was pushed open roughly as Song Juhan walked in with a suffocating aura of anger and a strong scent of alcohol. The need to vent his anger was as chilly as the biting winds of winter. His right hand clenched in a fist was wrapped with a few rounds of unsightly white gauze.
He Gu swallowed visibly, his eyes flickered and his lips trembled.
Song Juhan clenched his fist. Looking at He Gu who was helpless and terrified but was still pretending to be calm, a slight softness came over him. The muscles on his face were a little twisted, and forcibly holding back the surging anger, he slowly took off his coat, wanting to take this time to calm down a bit. However, the alcohol was burning his blood and his mind, and something inside him was clamoring to be vented.
He Gu didn’t speak. He just stood there and watched.
In the end, Song Juhan finally threw the thick cashmere overcoat to the floor. The horn buckles hit the wooden floor and made a heavy sound. He clenched his teeth and said in a cold voice, “If you promise not to contact Feng Zheng from now on, I will let you off for today’s incident
He Gu took a deep breath. “Juhan, it’s my fault that I lied to you, but you were restricting my regular social interactions, and it was not appropriate.”
“Not appropriate?” Song Juhan’s expression was somewhat fierce as he gritted out those words. “Of all people, why Feng Zheng? You said you and Gu Qingpei were just colleagues, and I gave you the benefit of the doubt. But what was Feng Zheng’s relationship with you before? What’s his attitude towards you now? Are you f*cking blind? Can’t you see!” Towards the end, Song Juhan was already yelling.
He Gu felt his heart tremble, and he said quietly, “What attitude he has towards me has nothing to do with me. Juhan, I have said it so many times that I have nothing to do with him. Why are you being so aggressive?”
“Because it just can’t be him!” Song Juhan rushed up with large strides, grabbed He Gu by the collar, and ruthlessly slammed him against the floor-to-ceiling window.”
He Gu’s back ached. Song Juhan’s finger bones squeezed his chest hard, and He Gu’s face instantly changed color. “Juhan, calm down…” A heavy smell of alcohol assailed his nostrils.
With his beautiful but vicious eyes, Song Juhan looked straight into He Gu’s. “Last time, you were hit by a car, so I didn’t bother to argue with you anymore. I’ll repeat what I said at that time. Between I and Feng Zheng, you can only choose one!”
He Gu had a splitting headache, and something in his mind was screaming and banging wildly, making him feel as if his whole body was about to explode.
Why is Song Juhan being such an asshole? Why is he…
Six years ago, he failed Feng Zheng. Six years later, Feng Zheng just wanted to have a friend whom he could drink and chat with. Was he going to reject him again? Was he going to block all of his paths for Song Juhan?
Seeing He Gu keeping silent, Song Juhan was so angry that his brain swelled and his eyes turned red. “Why are you so unwilling to part with him?! Why!”
He Gu said in a trembling voice, “You are being unreasonable. Let me explain.”
“F*ck your mother!” Song Juhan fiercely turned He Gu’s body around and pressed his face and chest against the floor-to-ceiling window.
Before He Gu could have time to react, he felt a chill on the lower part of his body. The drunk and angry Song Juhan frightened him. “Juhan, you are drunk. Let go of me first!”
“What can Feng Zheng give you? What can he give you that I can’t?” Song Juhan moved roughly and relentlessly, viciously carrying out his “punishment.”
He Gu was in so much pain that he was sweating, but at such a humiliating and confusing moment, his brain sadly remembered that on the night he was reunited with Feng Zheng, Feng Zheng had said the exact same thing as Song Juhan.
What can he give you that I can’t?
These two were really alike in some ways…
He Gu was soon unable to think. Powerless against Song Juhan’s madness, broken words fell from his lips. “Song… Juhan, you f*cking *sshole.”
“Yes, I’m an asshole, but it’s not the first time I’m being such an asshole. You’ve stayed beside this asshole for so many years, so what are you? You are worse than a f*cking *sshole.”
He Gu felt a sharp pain in his chest, and something burning in his eyes dripped down his cheek.
Right, he wasn’t any better than an asshole. He was just sh*t, f*cking bullsh*t.
Song Juhan pinched He Gu’s chin with one hand and made him look at their reflections on the window. He Gu watched helplessly at what they were doing—no, it should be what Song Juhan was doing to him.
He Gu smelled the blood on Song Juhan’s hand, and his eyes turned red. He had an illusion that Song Juhan’s hands were stained with his blood, the blood from when his heart was dug out.
Song Juhan’s cruel voice echoed in his ears. “You dared lie to me for Feng Zheng’s sake. How much more have you lied to me in a place I don’t know?! You enjoyed a kiss with that b*tch Zhuang Jieyu, and you even went to a gay bar with someone! Haven’t you always revolved around me? After all these years, are you starting to get tired of my stuff? Are you also starting to want a taste of something new?”
He Gu bit his lip and didn’t say a word. His body hurt, but his heart hurt more.
For many years, his heart seemed to be beating only for Song Juhan. It was happy for Song Juhan, sad for Song Juhan, dug out and riddled with holes by Song Juhan, and with every breath, bled out for Song Juhan.
Why couldn’t his heart just die? Die. Die. Let it all end.
Let it all end.
“Can others satisfy you when you’re so slutty? You’re usually such a prude, do you have the face to let others see you like this?” Song Juhan kept spitting out malicious words. His eyes were getting redder and redder, and his sweat-stained curls were sticking to his cheek, adding a few points of ferocity to him.
He Gu felt his consciousness sink uncontrollably. As he gradually lost consciousness, he could no longer make out what Song Juhan was saying.
He Gu woke up feeling like his body was falling apart. There was no place that didn’t hurt, and it was even hard to move his fingers.
“He Gu-ge, you’re awake.”
A refreshing voice came over his ears. He Gu opened his eyes and saw Xiao Song’s face.
Xiao Song sighed. “Ge ah, your job is really shortening your life. You just had a concussion last month. How could you have a fever again? It reached 40 degrees this morning, really scaring us to death.”
He Gu opened his mouth, but his throat was sore and burning.
Xiao Song fed him some water with a soup spoon. “Is your throat sore? It’s okay, you don’t have to talk. Rest well. Han-ge has invited a family doctor to come over. I’ll also be here with you, and oh, I have called your assistant to ask for leave.”
Thinking of what happened last night, He Gu felt that the cold water flowing down his throat hurt as much as a knife streaking over it.
He couldn’t describe what he was feeling right now. He couldn’t even muster any strength to hate or be angry. He just felt deeply powerless, as if he had given everything he had and left his hometown for years to search for a treasure, only to find that the treasure didn’t exist.
There was no sorrow greater than a withered heart.
Over the years, he thought that, even if Song Juhan didn’t like him, he at least had some companionship. But Song Juhan was actually able to humiliate him this much.
What on earth has he lived for in the past six years? It was all a joke.
It was all a joke.