41. Can’t Drown Your Sorrows in Drink
JingYuan didn’t know how many times his heart shattered into pieces over the course of the night. YiHan’s words combined with the sight of a grovelling face on the boy he’d painstakingly protected since childhood caused his heart to crumble into pieces once more.
He carefully scooped his little one into his arms and gently kissed the other on the head. “Yes. I’m here to save you. From today onwards, I will never be angry with you. As long as I’m alive, I will never let anyone harm you ever again,” he sighed.
YiHan let out a chuckle before he shut his eyes tight and clung tight onto JingYuan’s thin waist. “I know,” he whispered. “I’m talking about my dreams. I want to sleep a bit more. Can you stay with me just a while longer…?”
JingYuan felt his gut and heart turn into ice. He hugged his boy back so hard it’s as if he was going to buy YiHan deep into his own flesh and bones. “Sleep. I won’t leave, even if you wake up. I’ll always be with you as long as you’re willing to let me,” he swore in a deep voice.
YiHan was exhausted. Surrounded by an embrace which made him feel safe, he slowly drifted off to sleep.
JingYuan unwaveringly maintained his position. It was only when the boy in his arms was soundly asleep did JingYuan cautiously carry the other up in his arms and softly placed him on the big bed.
Then, JingYuan turned around and searched the closet for a set of sleepwear. He gently changed the other into the new outfit. He spent the entire time trying hard not to look at YiHan’s snowy white body. Tried hard not to touch the other’s soft and tender skin.
JingYuan realised the self-control he was so very proud of had vanished without a trace when it came to YiHan. Even if YiHan wasn’t in the nude, just the sight of that pair of rosy lips set his body ablaze. He was so grateful the little guy didn’t ask him for help to shower. Otherwise, who knew what ruckus would occur?
Once YiHan was fully-dressed in his clean sleepwear, JingYuan was drenched in sweat. He lightly combed the flyaway hairs away from YiHan’s forehead. He stood there before the bed, staring down at the sleeping YiHan. His mind tumbling and rumbling away. He clenched his hands into tight fists, digging his nails into his palms. He forced himself to push away the impulse to kiss YiHan and vehemently turned away and marched to the door. As his hand reached out for the door knob, the paused. He had just promised the little one he’d stay with him. How can he leave while YiHan was asleep?
JingYuan heaved a sigh and turned back. He sat down at the chair by the desk and massaged his aching temples. Tonight’s barrage of incidents was hard for him to adapt to. The changes that’d happened to the boy made him furious and sad. He didn’t know why these changes appeared. He’d only been away for half a month. Why was his little prince in this state?
Beneath his dark gaze brewed a raging typhoon. If this was the fault of someone’s mischief, then that person had better pray he never figure out who they are. Once he knew who they were, he’ll pull the other down to hell or die trying!
He turned to look at the pitiful, small ball of YiHan curled up in bed and let out another heavy sigh. The frustration in his mind had no outlet, no escape. He reached out to the liquor bottles on the desk and took a deep gulp from them.
Time trickled by. The bottles on the table slowly emptied. JingYuan leaned his head against his palm, his elbow on the table. His mind was buzzing with thoughts he couldn’t understand or keep track of. Just then, he heard movement coming from the bed. He hurriedly tried to stand up and go to the other.
Dizziness overwhelmed JingYuan the moment he was fully upright. A bitter smile adorned his face. It looked like he really can’t drown his sorrows in drink. Every time he’d get hammered.
Worried about the little guy on the bed, he hastily strode over to the bed without even waiting for his vision to stop whirling. He stumbled over to find the little one restlessly mumbling about something. He leaned in close to listen. Ah. YiHan wanted to use the bathroom.
JingYuan didn’t know whether to cry or to smile. He shook the emotions out of his head, peeled the blanket away from YiHan and carefully scooped the other up into his arms and to the bathroom. Once in there, he had to hold the boy who refused to open his eyes upright with one arm while helping him pull down his pants with the other. He took a moment to steady himself and cautiously took hold of tiny YiHan. A soft semi-whistle rustled through his teeth. Gently, JingYuan coaxed YiHan into resolving certain bodily functions.
This place in the story may be the worst place to talk about this, but here’s some advice: don’t act like JingYuan in his narration/thoughts, especially all the time. Thinking of your significant as little kiddies/babies who need your protection all the time is not healthy. It gives the impression you’re looking down on them. It’s fine if both parties have talked about it and are okay with it but know that it’s a sore topic due to the constant infantilisation issues women used to face. Men back then used the “you’re just a girl who needs my protection” excuse so much to stop women from gaining any independence or equal rights (it’s “too dangerous”/ “for your own good”). Don’t be the dick who sets red flags off then get defensive over it. For those who don’t understand just how bad it can be, I recommend:
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins GilmanA classic short story that’s about a woman who’s suffering from postpartum depression who spirals into insanity due to over-coddling and infantilisation.
JingYuan’s a nice fantasy, but he’s not the best guy early in the story.