He Gu slept all day in a daze. In the evening, his fever went down, and he suddenly felt very hungry. He called for Xiao Song twice, but there was no response. He had to prop himself out of bed, but unexpectedly, his legs were weak, and he nearly fell down.
It was not until he was almost to the door that Xiao Song ran in while wiping his drool. “Ge, I fell asleep just now. What do you want? Are you hungry?”
He Gu sighed and said softly, “I’m hungry, and I want to go to the bathroom.”
“I’ll help you.” Xiao Song helped He Gu to the toilet and said, “I’ll go to the kitchen to heat up the food for you.”
After going to the toilet, He Gu looked at the pale and haggard man in the mirror, and a sudden surge of anger rose in his heart. He had always been a person with good self-control. For time, profit, emotions, and gains and losses, he could put himself in a comfortable position. Only when it came to Song Juhan did he spend ten times his self-control, but even then, could still barely become less cheap.
Song Juhan was simply his debt of sin, which he couldn’t pay off even if he emptied himself.
He Gu washed his face and slowly returned to bed, waiting for Xiao Song to bring him food. But just as he climbed onto the bed, he heard the sound of the door opening outside, and Xiao Song calling out, “Han-ge.”
He Gu’s nerves immediately tensed up like a tightened string. He didn’t want to admit it, but last night’s Song Juhan scared him.
It wasn’t that they’ve never quarrelled in the years they’ve known each other, but never once had Song Juhan raised his hand at him. He would just smash things when he was angry. He had seen Song Juhan fighting with others, so he knew he had held himself back. But that drunk man from last night with the wildness that was completely opposite to what he had seen before made him realize for the first time how scary Song Juhan could be.
He lay down, covered himself with a quilt, and was about to pretend to be asleep when Song Juhan came in with a bowl of hot porridge in his hand. He put it on the bedside.
Song Juhan sat on the chair. Looking at He Gu’s tightly closed eyes and his dark, weary under-eye circles, he lightly bit his lip. Stroking He Gu’s hair, he said, “Open your eyes. I know you’re not sleeping.”
He Gu slowly opened his eyes and looked at Song Juhan, his bright, black eyes were without a trace of emotion.
“I had Xiao Song go home. He heated the porridge. Get up and eat some.”
He Gu didn’t speak. He wanted to see if Song Juhan could really be so calm and composed.
Under such a straightforward gaze, Song Juhan felt numb in the scalp. He irritably pulled at his hair and said, “I drank too much last night… but, but you lied to me first.”
A wave of anger surged in He Gu’s heart. He sat up, ate some of the porridge, and said, “I lied to you, so what are you gonna do? Are you gonna kill me?”
Song Juhan stared straight at him with eyes wide. “Did you… did you do it for Feng Zheng?”
“It has nothing to do with Feng Zheng.” Actually, even if Song Juhan hadn’t mentioned it, he had planned to completely alienate Feng Zheng. He wasn’t blind. Feng Zheng’s obvious instigation last night had gone beyond the boundaries of friendship. However, his decision was his decision. If he compromised with Song Juhan on this, he’d be giving away the last bit of his bottomline.
Over the past six years, he had retreated again and again. In the end, he had forced himself into a narrow corner, so narrow that the whole world was left with only that one person. As long as he still had a bit of intention to save himself, he must not let Song Juhan occupy his whole world. Otherwise, his world might just collapse on the day they separate.
But even if he insisted on this point, he couldn’t go back anyway.
Song Juhan clenched his fist. “He Gu, sometimes I really want to pry your head open and see what’s stuffed inside!”
He Gu looked ahead with empty eyes and ate the porridge mechanically. Song Juhan was by his side, but he didn’t feel anything. As soon as the anger reached his throat, it would recede. He couldn’t even raise any energy to be angry. Apart from tiredness, there was still only tiredness.
Seeing He Gu not speaking, Song Juhan’s chest rose and fell violently a few times. Finally, he pressed down his displeasure and slowly reached out his hand to smooth He Gu’s hair. “Don’t see Feng Zheng again, okay?” His tone was full of negotiation.
“Okay,” said He Gu flatly.
Song Juhan probably hadn’t expected He Gu to agree so simply. He was stunned for a moment, but then immediately became a little happy. “You, you should have listened to me earlier. Why did you have to provoke me? You know I have a bad temper…” Song Juhan’s voice became smaller and smaller as he spoke.
He Gu put down the bowl and said wearily, “I’m tired.” And with that, he lay down.
“Hang on.” Song Juhan suddenly pulled out a file bag. “This is for you. I originally wanted to give this to you on your birthday, but something went wrong with the formalities, so it was delayed.”
“Just put it there.” He Gu didn’t even look at it.
Song Juhan frowned. “You’re not even gonna ask what it is?”
He Gu dug into the quilt and closed his eyes.
Song Juhan took a deep breath. “I bought you a fund that’s enough for you to earn for a lifetime.”
He Gu didn’t respond.
Song Juhan was so angry that he threw the file bag on the bedside table. “He Gu, you’re really f*cking more difficult to please than my dad.”
Hearing his words, He Gu opened his eyes and said, “If you want to apologize, just say ‘sorry.’”
Song Juhan was stunned. He pursed his lips and said in a small voice, “… I’m sorry.”
“I want to sleep.”
Song Juhan panicked a bit. He Gu had never been so indifferent to him before. He nudged him and said, “If you’re angry, just hit me. I promise not to fight back.”
He Gu looked at him quietly. “Is there any point?”
“Do you think just anybody can hit me? I’ll let you punch in the face, okay? But only one punch on the face.”
“I mean, you doing this, is there any point?” Is this because of guilt? Song Juhan also feeling guilty, how very rare.
“What do you mean it’s pointless!” Song Juhan gritted his teeth and said, “I’ve apologized, and I won’t argue with you about Feng Zheng. What else do you want?”
He Gu took a deep breath and said in a hoarse voice, “I want to sleep.”
Song Juhan simply took off his coat fiercely. “Okay, if you want to sleep, I’ll accompany you.”
He Gu was too late to stop him. Song Juhan had already kicked off his shoes, climbed onto the bed, lifted the quilt, and got into it.
He Gu wanted to hide so much as if he was electrocuted, but Song Juhan hugged him from behind. “… Song Juhan!”
Song Juhan pressed his forehead against He Gu’s back and whispered, “Your body is so hot.”
He Gu shuddered as if he was licked by a beast’s mouth. His expression was extremely ugly, but he couldn’t break free from Song Juhan’s arms.
“Don’t move.” Song Juhan closed his eyes and deeply sniffed the heat coming from He Gu’s skin. “He Gu, I wasn’t normal last night. Just think of it as me being wildly drunk, okay? I didn’t want to hurt you. Don’t be afraid of me, okay?”
He Gu’s body stiffened, the blood rushing to his brain making him dizzy.
“I can give you anything you want as long as you ask. I will be good to you.” Song Juhan kissed He Gu’s neck. “Can you just… forget about last night?”
Saying these soft words simply exhausted all of Song Juhan’s strength1吃奶的力气 – literally, “strength to suck milk.” It refers to a person’s entire strength., and he felt his face burning as well.
He Gu was a bit at a loss. This was the first time that Song Juhan bowed his head to him. Such a Song Juhan was really strange, as strange as that madman from last night.
If it had been in the past, he would have been touched, but now he was left with nothing but deep helplessness. He could only close his eyes and wish he could close his ears, hoping to erase from his five senses the oppression of Song Juhan’s presence.
Never before had he had a moment like this, wishing for Song Juhan to disappear from his side.
Sometimes, he felt as if he was looking forward to a breakup. Since he couldn’t muster up the courage to go against his six years of persistence, he wanted Song Juhan to give him a clean break.
But Song Juhan just tightened his arms.
He Gu’s body had a good foundation, so his fever soon went down. His spirit, however, was dispirited and listless.
The boss thought He Gu was tired, so he conscientiously assigned two men to him, which was exactly what He Gu needed.
On the third day after that drinking incident, he got a call from Feng Zheng.
Feng Zheng heard the coldness in He Gu’s voice, and he said apologetically, “He Gu, I’m sorry. I was a little impulsive that day.”
He Gu said indifferently, “You weren’t just impulsive; you crossed the line.”
“I watched Song Juhan getting angry at you like that, just what does he take you for? Does he ever respect you?” Feng Zheng became more agitated as he spoke.
“Feng Zheng.” He Gu’s heart swelled with sorrow. “I don’t want to be the weight in your rivalry with Song Juhan. Apparently, a lot of time has passed. So many things have changed, and we can no longer go back.”
“He Gu, I’m really sorry, but I was doing it for your own good. You’ll ruin yourself if you go on like this.”
“Feng Zheng, you used to be my best friend. Let me keep some good memories.” With a sour2“Sour,” in Chinese, is an adjective often used to indicate feelings of aggrievedness, or a general feeling of having your heart hurt. It’s not like in English, where “sour” is used to indicate bitterness or jealousy. nose, He Gu rushed to hang up the phone before his voice changed, and then neatly put Feng Zheng’s number into the blacklist.
In this way, that Feng Zheng with a bright smile and a little, young master temper would cease to exist. He would rather that person live in the memories of his youth.
Actually, Feng Zheng didn’t do anything wrong. He just went too far and too deep for them to go back.
From that day on, Song Juhan would show up at his house every now and then. He said he was madly busy preparing for the concert, but at 2 in the morning, he would suddenly go to bed and hug him to sleep.
He Gu was also just as busy that his feet were practically glued at the construction site. At home, he would just take a shower and then go to sleep. There was simply no time to think about Song Juhan, or rather, he’d been avoiding thinking about him. And so, the two of them didn’t talk much to each other even though Song Juhan showed up six times at his place in the first two weeks.
One day, He Gu came home early and cooked himself a bowl of noodles. As he was eating, Song Juhan also came back.
It was the first time in a while that they met each other before dark, and they were both a little at a loss as to what to do.
Song Juhan sat at the dining table and said petulantly, “I haven’t eaten either.”
He Gu put down his chopsticks and went to the kitchen to cook noodles.
Song Juhan stared at He Gu’s back. He pursed his lips, stood up, and hugged He Gu from behind while rubbing against the crook of He Gu’s shoulder. “I like your cooking.”
“My concert is on New Year’s Day, and I have prepared the best seat for you.”
He Gu paused. “I have a ribbon cutting for a new real estate property on New Year’s day.”
Song Juhan frowned. “It’s just a ribbon cutting. Your boss can do it. It doesn’t matter whether you go or not.”
“It’s my project.”
“That ribbon cutting is also in the morning, and my concert is in the evening.”
“The real estate property is in Tang city. I can’t make it back.” He Gu thought sadly. Before, he would never miss Song Juhan’s concert, but now…
Song Juhan got mad, and he let go of his hand. “He Gu, you’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?”
He Gu stopped, turned his head, and said, “I really can’t make it back.”
“He Gu!” Song Juhan shouted angrily. “Have you not made enough trouble! I’ve apologized to you, and I’m willing to make it up to you. Besides, it was you who lied to me first. If it weren’t for the fact that you’ve been with me for so many years… If it were anyone else, I would have f*cking already… What else do you want?”
What do I want? He Gu was also confused about this question. What do I want?
Maybe he wanted to go back to the past, but to how long ago? To the old days when he and Song Juhan were in “mutual benefit” and lived together in harmony? Or to that time when he was passionate and affectionate? Or was it even before he was with Song Juhan and had only let that perfectly brilliant young man live fondly in his memories? If he went back in time, would he still want to know Song Juhan? This was truly the most difficult problem of the century.
“Say it, what do you want?! If you dare to say it, then I’ll dare to promise you!” Song Juhan pointed at He Gu. He was so angry, his eyes were turning red.
For a moment, He Gu wanted to say, “Do you dare to have a serious relationship with me?” But he couldn’t say it. Six years ago, when he thought that they were in a serious relationship, Song Juhan had mocked him in reply, shattering his wishful love in the most comical and cruel way possible. Now that he was more mature and informed than he was before, how could he humiliate himself again?
He knew that Song Juhan was just feeling a little guilty. Coupled with the fact that many people around him had come and gone, and that there wasn’t anyone like He Gu who wasn’t troublesome, he would naturally have some attachment to him. After all, people were loyal to their habits. If He Gu took it seriously, he would be just going backwards3越活越回去了 – Can’t quite translate this in English, but this idiom is about how people should be more mature the older they get, and not the other way around..
He Gu paused, then said without expression, “That ribbon cutting is very important.”
Song Juhan kicked the trash can flying, turned around, and strode out the door.
Song Juhan didn’t show up for several days. On one hand, He Gu felt less pressure, but on the other hand, he tossed and turned every night and had trouble sleeping. He forced himself to adapt to a life without Song Juhan, only to find himself thinking about him countless times a day.
It wasn’t all his fault. The publicity for Song Juhan’s concert was everywhere. It was as if the world was shouting into his ear: Song Juhan, Song Juhan, Song Juhan!
And He Gu actually couldn’t stand being alone. For the first time in his life, he felt lonely. He wanted some company, so he called Gu Qingpei.
Gu Qingpei readily agreed to his invitation.
The two of them met in a small, quiet bar. The moment they saw each other, they were surprised to see that the other was also in a not very good state. Both of them couldn’t help but smile bitterly.
“He Gu, what happened to you? Been too busy?”
He Gu nodded. “I have two projects due this month. What about you, Chief Gu? You look tired too.” In his impression, Gu Qingpei had always been in high spirits. It was rare of him to show this kind of tired look.
“Ai, it’s all work stuff, and I can’t talk about it.” Gu Qingpei shook his wine glass and chuckled. “I also brought it upon myself. I didn’t want to do nice, idle work, and insisted on learning through experience. Sometimes, I think I’m sick.”
“I believe that Chief Gu’s decisions are all well thought out.”
Gu Qingpei smiled. “True, but the pressure has been a bit too much lately… It’s quite timely that you asked me out today. I’m going on a business trip to Hangzhou tomorrow.”
“Oh, it’s not an early flight, is it?”
“No, feel free to drink.”
“By the way, a friend once invited me to drink on this street, and the son of your chairman came along with him.”
Gu Qingpei’s hand paused and his eyes narrowed. “Who?”
“I think he was called Yuan Yang.”
Gu Qingpei looked a little uncomfortable. “When was this?”
“The middle of last month, on a Saturday.”
“Oh.” Gu Qingpei snorted lightly. “That pampered gongzi wasn’t easy to get along with, right?”
“Yeah, he didn’t pay much attention to others. Had Chief Gu made contact with him?”
Gu Qingpei sighed. He seemed to hesitate about something, but in the end, all he said was “Not much.” Just as he was saying this, his phone suddenly rang. He shook his phone and said, “Zhuang Jieyu.” With that, he answered the phone.
After a few en’s and ah’s, Gu Qingpei said, “I’m in a bar down the street. Which store are you in? I’m at Qing Zhuan. He Gu is also here. En, okay, come over.” After hanging up the phone, he smiled and said, “What a coincidence. He’s here too, and he’s about to ask me out.”
Thinking of Zhuang Jieyu, He Gu felt uncomfortable, but he didn’t show it.
After a while, Zhuang Jieyu arrived, alone. He came up and rubbed Gu Qingpei’s neck affectionately and said, “Ge, what have you been busy with lately? You won’t even pick up my calls.”
“I work from nine to five, not like you actors who are so free.”
“What free? Being free means you’re not earning money.” Zhuang Jieyu sat next to Gu Qingpei and rested his legs on the low table with abandon. He looked at He Gu and said, “Hi, long time no see.”
He Gu nodded his head in greeting.
“You’ve been gaining quite a bit of momentum lately. Are you taking on a new drama?”
“I don’t know yet if I can take it. The other actor has a golden master, while I don’t have anybody supporting me.” Zhuang Jieyu pretended to sniffle. “Ge, why don’t you support me?”
Gu Qingpei laughed and said, “I can’t afford to pay for it.”
Zhuang Jieyu said with a smile. “Since you’re handsome, I’ll give you a 50% discount.”
He Gu wasn’t used to such a suave Gu Qingpei and could only cover it up by drinking wine.
Just then, Gu Qingpei’s phone rang again. He looked down and sighed, “Boss.” Then he took the phone and went out.
As soon as Gu Qingpei left, Zhuang Jieyu’s pair of round, little doe eyes stared at He Gu.
He Gu frowned and ignored him.
Zhuang Jieyu stood up and sat next to him. “Hey, my movie is showing. Did you contribute to the box office?”
“We are at least acquaintances, but you’re not even willing to pay a few dozen dollars, how stingy.”
“I don’t watch movies.”
“Eh, there are still people who don’t watch movies.”
He Gu didn’t answer.
“Ai, it’s all because of you that Song Juhan doesn’t care about me anymore. It’s hard for me to seize this new drama. I could have definitely won the role by relying on him.”
He Gu said indifferently, “It has nothing to do with me.”
“I’ll just rely on you.” Zhuang Jieyu hit him on the shoulder. “Or, you could make it up to me?”
He Gu tilted his head and looked at him. “Have you forgotten what I told you last time?”
“I remember, but after thinking about it, you’re actually just shy. On the surface, you are serious, but in fact, you actually get shy so easily. I think it’s kind of cute.” Zhuang Jieyu laughed. “Hey, I’m really very curious about you. They say that the more mensao4闷骚 – ‘mensao’ is a Chinese buzzword. It refers to people who look quiet, cold or even dull outside, but inside they are volatile, charismatic, hot and sexy. a person is, the more vigorous they are. Would you like to try it with me? If you don’t want to do 1, I can do 1.”
He Gu was so angry that he wanted to slap him. He had never seen anyone as thick-skinned as Zhuang Jieyu. When he’d take a step back, the other party would take three steps forward. There was nothing he could do about it, but he couldn’t simply have s*x just because he was teased by a child. He said stiffly, “Don’t push your luck.”
“Life is hard. If you want something, just go for it. If you can get it, that’s your right. If you can’t, that’s your destiny. How can this be called as pushing your luck?” Zhuang Jieyu approached him and said enigmatically, “I just want to know what a mature, abstinent, and mensao guy like you is like in bed.”
He Gu stared at him. Zhuang Jieyu showed a cute, pretty smile and winked at him.