Running out of Song Juhan’s house, He Gu found it a little hard to hold on.
Fortunately, it was evening, and there was no one else around. Otherwise, he would’ve looked really unsightly with how he was carrying his pants.
He miserably1狼狈 – to cut a sorry figure ran back to the car, eagerly started it, and drove back home.
Halfway down the road, he suddenly remembered that the car was given to him by Song Juhan. His stomach churned suddenly, and he jerked the steering wheel, braking the car sharply to the side of the road.
He wearily leaned back on the seat and slowly closed his eyes.
In the past six years, it could be said that Song Juhan had treated him well. The house, the car, the expensive gifts every now and then, and the red envelopes2红包 – money wrapped in red envelopes and given as gifts on Chinese New Year and other occasions—he had never lacked in giving them. When he was in a good mood, he’d also hug him tenderly and sweetly. In general, so long as He Gu put up with his shifty temper, they were quite amicable. Song Juhan hadn’t treated him badly.
As for Song Juhan sleeping with other people and having s*x scandals, it wasn’t something he could control. As he said to Feng Zheng, it wasn’t Song Juhan’s fault for not liking him. There was neither commitment nor agreement between the two of them. And He Gu was sober enough to know that the pain he felt from being with Song Juhan was all his fault3庸人自扰 – to get upset over nothing; to make problems for oneself and something he had brought to himself4心甘情愿 – to be happy to do something.
He thought that after so many years, he’d already been able to put up with Song Juhan’s bad track record, but today, he had underestimated the extent of how much an asshole Song Juhan was.
He groped for a half pack of cigarettes in the drawer, and after groping a little more, he found a lighter as well.
Song Juhan didn’t like smoking, so if He Gu wanted to smoke, he had to hide.
He opened the window and let the cold, humid air pour in, and the smoke rose a little, blurring his vision. As the taste of nicotine drove around in his lungs, he felt the confusion in his brain being cleared away by the stimulation of the tobacco.
It was ridiculous. His feelings for Song Juhan were a joke. This joke was like a guillotine hanging over his head. For years, he’d been waiting for the guillotine to fall, for Song Juhan to part ways with him. He had been preparing for that day, and now, he felt it was not far away.
The phone suddenly rang. He Gu’s heart trembled so much that when he took it over and saw an unfamiliar number, he breathed a sigh of relief. He answered the phone, “Hello?”
“He Gu, it’s me.” Feng Zheng’s voice came from the other end of the phone.
“Well, speak.” He Gu’s voice was cold. He was normally like this, and after the verbal conflict that day, it was even less likely that he would give Feng Zheng any good face.
“I want to apologize for that day.”
“Your umbrella is with me. I’ll give it back to you when you have time.”
“Don’t bother. It’s just an umbrella.”
Feng Zheng smiled bitterly. “I just want an excuse to see you again. Give me some face.”
He Gu sighed. “Feng Zheng, what do you want to do?”
One couldn’t help but wonder about Feng Zheng’s enthusiasm. It had been six years. There was absolutely no need for Feng Zheng to be attentive to him. He wouldn’t believe that Feng Zheng was still in love with him.
The other end of the phone was silent for a moment. “I just miss you a bit, thinking about the good times we used to have.”
He Gu’s heart suddenly twinged, and he couldn’t help but also reminisce about his time with Feng Zheng in college. They really did have a good time. Although most of the time they were ambiguous and finally ended up parting on bad terms, he was also very sad with it.
The only two people in his life who had ever moved his heart were Feng Zheng and Song Juhan. He Gu was a person who felt things deeply; otherwise, he wouldn’t have liked someone for so long. In his heart, Feng Zheng had always been placed in a sun-splashed corner, his time with him the lush green years they could never return to. And because it was really quite beautiful, he couldn’t be too cold to the man.
Feng Zheng added, “I promise not to mention you and Song Juhan again. Can we be friends?”
“You…” He Gu said helplessly, “If you do what you say, we’ll still be friends.”
Feng Zheng laughed. “I’ll do as I say. When you’re free, I’ll treat you to a meal.”
“Let’s wait until I’m done with the case in my hand. So much has been going on lately.”
“What are you doing now? It doesn’t sound like you’re at home?”
He Gu was stumped for words. “Er, I just finished working overtime, and I’m now heading home.”
“I’m at a friend’s bar, not far from your company. Can you come over for a drink?”
“I can’t, I’m really too tired today. I also don’t know your friend.”
“You’re still so afraid of strangers.” Feng Zhen laughed in a low voice. “You’re afraid even with me here?” His voice had a distinct hint of pampering and indulgence.
“It’s not about being afraid. I’m just really kind of tired.”
“Well, go home and get some rest then. I’ll meet you another time.”
Hanging up the phone, He Gu calmed down for a bit before stubbing out his cigarette and driving home.
He rarely ate at home, and when he got busy with work, he’d have no time to do anything but bathe and sleep. This place was sometimes more like a hotel to him.
This apartment was also a gift from Song Juhan. It really seemed like Song Juhan was raising him, even though he didn’t need anybody to raise him. However, if he were to buy such a house in the Third Ring, then he’d probably have to pay off the mortgage for ten or twenty years.
As for Song Juhan giving him an RV, he felt neither insulted nor grateful. These things meant little to him. He had very low material requirements, and he didn’t mind renting an apartment or squeezing in the subway. Song Juhan giving him things were out of his own free will, just like how He Gu rushing to like someone who could never like him back was also out of his own free will. It got nothing to do with others.
However, every time he and Song Juhan had a fight, he’d feel that the car and the house, especially this perpetually empty and uninviting house, were both an eyesore. They only reminded him all over again how lonely he was, even foreshadowing how if Song juhan were to get tired of him one day, he might have to be alone forever.
After that day, the two of them didn’t contact each other for half a month.
Half a month wasn’t really that long. When Song Juhan was busy or when he’d seclude himself to write songs, it was normal not to see him for a month or two. But last time, they had parted on bad terms, and it was the most intense conflict they’d had over the past six years, making every day of He Gu’s life a torment.
When his anger subsided, He Gu tried calling Song Juhan several times, but he couldn’t find the courage. He wasn’t ashamed; he was just afraid of knowing if they had reached the end of the road. He had sounded out Song Juhan’s patience and bottomline for him many times, and with every tear in his heart, he’d feel a kind of masochistic redemption. The more disappointed he was now, the better he’d feel when the day of their parting came. And after he had squandered all his feelings for Song Juhan, he should be able to walk away with ease.
But now was not yet the time. It was as if he was chasing after a bomb fuse. Whether the bomb exploded first, or whether he got tired and stopped first, it was not yet known. But wherever he stopped, the bomb was bound to explode, and he was bound to get hurt. He knew that if he stopped sooner, the damage would be less, but he couldn’t contain his legs.
One day, He Gu couldn’t take it anymore and quietly called Xiao Song. He deliberately chose to call at eleven in the evening, thinking that Xiao Song should’ve already gone home. He didn’t expect that when the call connected, there’d be noise from a KTV on the other end. Xiao Song’s voice was not small at all, and in the KTV, he even had to shout. “Hello, He Gu-ge?”
He Gu closed his eyes. “It’s me.”
“Hang on, let me go out to talk.” Xiao Song’s voice slurred, obviously a little drunk.
After a while, it was quiet on the other end. He Gu said, “Xiao Song, you’re not home yet?”
“No, I’m hanging out with Han-ge.”
He Gu regretted making this call. Just now, Song Juhan should’ve heard it… He wasn’t familiar with Xiao Song at all. Song Juchan didn’t have to guess what the call was for.
“Ah, oh, then you guys have fun. I’ll hang up first.”
“What’s the matter? You must have a reason for calling.” Xiao Song burped. “It’s okay, I’m not drunk. You can tell me.”
He Gu was silent for a moment. “How is Juhan recently?”
Xiao Song paused, and his voice became a little more serious. “He’s fine, just busy. Have you guys not met lately?”
“No…” He Gu didn’t know his own purpose for calling, so he just braced himself to say, “How was his mood these days?”
“He’s been pretty good these days. But in the first half of the month, my god, it was terrible. I had my resignation letter in my pocket, but fortunately I survived.”
“Oh…” He Gu didn’t know what to say again.
Xiao Song also felt a little embarrassed. “He Gu-ge, did you two have a fight?”
“I’ll wait when Han-ge is in a good mood, and I’ll mention you to him.”
He Gu smiled bitterly. “Thank you.”
What did this make him look like? A concubine waiting for the Emperor to give him a glance? If he hadn’t relied on Xiao Song, the personal eunuch, the Emperor would have long forgotten about him. How amusing.
But he really wanted to see Song Juhan. He was no longer satisfied with just looking at photos and videos.
Sometimes, he was very glad that Song Juhan had never given him any hope in the past six years. Otherwise, he would be tortured to death by his own possessiveness and imagination.
After hanging up the phone, He Gu sat stiffly in the dark for a while, then looked up the new album that Song Juhan released last year. That 65-inch TV he bought had arrived, and such a size really made it look so grand.
He Gu leaned into the soft couch and watched that handsome, devilish man on TV who was like a king of the dark night. Listening to that sexy, husky voice murmuring into his ears like a spell, his heart couldn’t help but tremble.
There were so many people in the world who liked Song Juhan. He should be content that he could be so close to him.
He had admonished himself to be contented, contented, contented.
The ringing of a phone woke He Gu up. He snapped his eyes open and realized he had fallen asleep on the couch at some point. Song Juhan’s album had already played out.
He grabbed the phone. It was already two in the morning, and Xiao Song was calling. He Gu’s heart thumped. Could something have happened to Song Juhan?
He quickly answered the phone. “Hello, Xiao…”
“He Gu-ge, Han-ge is having some trouble here. Can you come over?”
He Gu’s heart tightened, and he jumped up from the couch, “What happened?”
“I don’t know how the fans knew he was here, but now they’re blocking the front and back doors of the KTV. Han-ge is drunk, and he’s getting angry.”
He Gu was relieved. He thought Song Juchan had run into danger. He said, “I’ll go now… wait, doesn’t your company have someone who specializes in these?” He was afraid he wouldn’t be of much help when he went over.
Xiao Song said embarrassedly, “This… If the boss knows, he’ll blame me for not protecting Han-ge’s whereabouts, so…”
He Gu understood. “Give me the address, I’ll be there in a minute.” He quickly put on his clothes, grabbed his keys, and rushed out of the house.
There weren’t many cars at night, so He Gu ran two red lights in a row and arrived at the KTV at the fastest speed.
As expected, the entrance of the KTV was full of crazy fans and passersby joining in the fun.
He Gu squeezed through the crowd to get to the door, practically standing out among the group of girls and looking quite out of place.
The KTV bouncer who stopped him at the door looked at him and said, “Are you…”
“Yes, I am He Gu.”
The bouncer let him in.
The waiter took He Gu to the private room, but before he even got there, he could already hear Song Juhan flying into a rage inside.
“Get lost! I want to go home. Who the fuck dare block laozi5老子 – an arrogant way of referring to oneself—”
“Han-ge, there are many fans of yours outside. You can’t go out with this image…”
“Fans my ass. What are fans? They’re just a bunch of idiots. Do they know me? Do I know them? Get out of the way!”
There was a rattling sound inside.
When He Gu pushed open the door, he saw Song Juhan being stopped by Xiao Song, who was sweating profusely. There were two male waiters nearby, looking panicked and helpless.
Seeing He Gu, Song Juhan froze, then frowned. “Why did you come?”
He turned to Xiao Song. “Did you tell him to come? You’ve got a lot of nerve. Who the fuck allowed you to act on your own!”
“Han-ge, Han-ge, listen to me. You can scold me all you want tomorrow when you sober up, but for now, listen to me, okay? If you are photographed like this, Chief Song will kill me.” Xiao Song was on the verge of tears, and he kept looking at He Gu with a cry for help.
Only then did He Gu realize that Xiao Song was looking for him to appease Song Juhan. With so many bodyguards and waiters inside and outside, it would be easy to get Song Juhan out. But right now, Song Juhan is drunk and angry. He was likely to lose his temper when his fans pushed him around. If he said or did something outrageous, he would be in trouble.
He Gu walked over. “Juhan, calm down a bit. There really are many of your fans outside, maybe even reporters. Now…”
Song Juhan grabbed him by the collar. “Who the hell told you to come? Get out!”
He Gu didn’t argue with him but gently grasped his hand. “Juhan, you don’t usually drink much. Don’t let the alcohol control you, okay?”
He Gu’s face was very upright. It was equally proportioned6三庭五眼 – Literally, “three courts and five eyes.” Something like this:
and without the slightest error. His features were decent, but neither exceptional nor flawless. Aside from being handsome, he also gave people a sense of reliability and trustworthiness. When he’d comfort people with his earnest eyes and gentle, kind voice, he could give them such extraordinary peace of mind.
Xiao Song winked to the waiters, and they all exited, leaving only two people in the private room.
Song Juhan waved his hand and said in a rough voice, “I want to go home. It’s stuffy here. Get those idiots out of my way.”
He Gu pressed on his shoulders and let him sit on the couch. His strong hands massaged the back of his neck. “I’ll take you home in a minute, but for now, just calm down, okay?”
Song Juhan closed his eyes. He Gu massaging him was very comfortable. His long eyelashes quivered, and his breathing became much steadier.
Looking at Song Juhan’s faintly trembling eyelashes, He Gu thought of his willful and irritable appearance, and the corners of his lips couldn’t help but curl up in a bitter smile. Song Juhan liked it when he gave him a massage. In order to give Song Juhan one more reason to stay with him, he had deliberately learned how to massage. Actually, he had made a lot of efforts just to get closer to Song Juhan, but Song Juhan would probably never know.
After massaging for a while, Song Juhan really calmed down. He Gu quickly poured him a glass of water.
Song Juhan took a sip and opened his eyes to look at He Gu. “Since when have you been so close to Xiao Song?”
“We’re not really close.”
Song Juhan smiled mockingly. “Didn’t you ask Xiao Song to call you over today? You think I don’t know that you called him last night? I was right next to him.”
He Gu didn’t know how to explain it, so he simply acquiesced.
Song Juhan sneered, and his tone was somewhat smug. “It’s only been half a month. I thought you’d last longer.”
He Gu’s heart was a bit clogged up inside, and his head became too heavy to lift.
Song Juhan drank another mouthful of water, then suddenly put the cup on the table. He rudely grabbed He Gu’s hair, forced him to raise his head, then blocked his nice and warm lips.
He Gu’s eyes flashed with surprise.
Song Juhan wantonly swept all of He Gu’s mouth, then let him go.
He Gu licked his lips and unblinkingly looked at Song Juhan with a pair of bright, black eyes.
He Gu’s slightly confused look when he licked his lips made Song Juhan’s heart tremble. “Did you miss me?”
He Gu pinched Song Juhan’s chin, and the overbearing look in his eyes looked like he was staring at his own belonging.
He Gu nodded.
“How much did you miss me?”
“I miss you everyday.”
Song Juhan stretched out his finger and pointed at He Gu’s heart. “Do you miss me here…” He moved his other hand to pinch He Gu’s waist. “Or do you miss me here more?”
He Gu cupped his face and kissed him tenderly. “I miss both.”
Song Juhan smiled and felt much better all of a sudden. He knew He Gu couldn’t leave him.
He Gu revealed a light smile. “Let’s go home.”
Song Juhan didn’t move. He gently stroked He Gu’s face with his slender fingers, his eyes unfathomable. “What did Zhuang Jieyu tell you about me playing with others?” 7Liz: WHY THE FUCK DID YOU HAVE TO RUIN THE MOOD JUHAN??!!! WHAT THE HELL GOES ON IN YOUR MIND???
He Gu’s smile froze.
Song Juhan curled his lips into a smile. “It’s true. Sometimes it’s too much of a bummer to do it with someone who cries out halfway that they’re tired, so I look for two.”
He leaned closer to He Gu, his rosy lips delicately tracing He Gu’s. “But I never take you to play. Do you know why?”
With a blank expression, He Gu said in a low voice, “I don’t play.”
“Even if you wanted to, there’s no way you can play. I won’t allow it.” Song Juhan squeezed He Gu’s face. “You are very clean. You’ve been with me since you graduated from college, and your life circle is also very simple. I don’t like condoms, so I like how clean you are. Understand? I won’t allow anyone to touch you, because that’s your only advantage.”
He Gu stared at the face he loved the most, only to see it fuzzy, so fuzzy that he could barely see it. His heart choked with so much pain that it was hard to organize his words. In the end, he just nodded calmly, his face like a brass and iron8铜墙铁壁 – a bastion of brass and iron. Figuratively, it’s “an impenetrable defense.” mask, blocking the sword from the outside and barring the emotions inside.
Song Juhan frowned at He Gu’s lighthearted look and kissed him hard as if he were sulking. “Let’s go home.”
He Gu stood up and followed behind Song Juhan. Looking at that back, it seemed as if even his back was radiating light.
He spent ten years chasing after that back. He tried his best to get closer and closer, but that was all. The gap between them would never disappear. Even if he grabbed a corner of Song Juchan’s coat, what would it change?
He Gu took a deep breath and couldn’t help but laugh.
It was actually just as he had guessed. Song Juhan hadn’t broken up with him for so many years because the s*x was comfortable and safe—safe in every sense of the word. He Gu didn’t sleep around, didn’t nag, and didn’t cause trouble for Song Juhan. Song Juhan’s words today were nothing more but a confirmation of his conjectures. It didn’t matter.
As a matter of fact, he felt that he and Song Juhan were having a mutual exchange. Song Juhan got safe s*x from him, and he got companionship from Song Juhan. Both of them got what they wanted, and both of them were happy.
As for the pain and despair he’d been through, it had nothing to do with others. Just like how his love for Song Juhan was also his own business.
[liz_box title=”Translator’s Corner” box_color=”#fed7de” title_color=”#5e4c4f” class=”tlbox” id=”tlnotes”]Lizonka: I sometimes wonder how the heck Song Juhan never realized He Gu loved him…
Lizonka: And how did Song Juhan also not realize early on that he had fallen in love with He Gu??? He was practically acting coquettish with He Gu this chapter, like… just HOW???
Lizonka: Ugh, I love you Juhan, but I really wanna strangle you sometimes.[/liz_box]