73. Snatched Back to Lair
What happened next was not the common scene found in novels, movies or TV shows, that dramatic clichéd scene were the two protagonists would comfort each other to the bed. Because QiYao thought that act would be taking advantage of XiaoYu, it’d be like robbing someone while their house was on fire, especially since his XiaoYu was still a rather naive kid. He was easily embarrassed by anything regarding emotions or relationships. He needed to be slowly guided to such acts.
“Sorry. I dirtied your shirt.” After a long time, XiaoYu could finally wrestle his emotions back into control. However, he still didn’t dare to look up. His eyes must look like the eyes of a certain long-eared animal right now.
“It’s fine.” QiYao lightly patted the head buried in his embrace. If XiaoYu knew the shirt he’d cried all over on cost a few thousand Earth Dollars, who knew how this stubborn little guy would beat himself over for that.
“I’ll help you wash it.”
“Hehe. XiaoYu, do you plan on making me head out shirtless in a jacket like some middle-aged man?”
“You can help me wash it next time.”
“Oh,” XiaoYu dazedly replied. He couldn’t think of any other solutions off the top of his head. He also didn’t realise the question hidden within QiYao’s statement.
“XiaoYu, can I come over tomorrow?”
“Yeah, you can.”
“But I have to head into office during the day. I’ll only be able to come over in the evening. Do you know how to cook red-braised pork?”
“Okay…yes?” XiaoYu found it a little hard to keep up with QiYao’s train of thought. Why were they talking about food all of a sudden? “I know how to cook that,” he said.
“I would to eat red-braised pork cooked by you tomorrow.”
“Okay. Anything else you’d like to eat?”
“Not for now. If anything pops into my mind, I’ll tell you.”
“XiaoYu, what if you spoil my stomach? What if I can never eat food cooked by anyone else again? What then?”
“Uh…I’m not that amazing. They’re just ordinary home-cooked dishes.”
“The taste of home is more than enough. My parents are always working overseas. It’s been so long since anyone cooked for me.”
“…” Perhaps QiYao was a lonely man too, a voice in XiaoYu whispered.
“Hey, XiaoYu,” QiYao called. A thought suddenly popped up in his mind.
“Let’s live together.”
“Huh?” XiaoYu didn’t know what to say to that.
“That way we can take care of each other. Or do you mean to say you’d prefer me running back and forth?”
“But…” XiaoYu replied, shaking his head. “I don’t know where we should stay?”
“If it’s possible, I hope you can move over to my place. That’s because I have a lot of documents and references in my study room. I’m just worried you can’t bear to leave here.”
During the afternoon, XiaoYu had shown QiYao around his home. It was a normal apartment with two bedrooms and one living room. In the beginning, QiYao found it slightly curious. The larger room should belong to XiaoYu’s parents, so why did XiaoYu say he lived alone? Everything only clicked after XiaoYu told him about everything that night. That room should be filled with this family’s memories. Even if QiYao moved in, he shouldn’t take that room for himself.
“But I can’t go out.”
“XiaoYu, tell me. Do you want to go out?”
“Then, how about using my visit as an opportunity to try walking outside? I’ll be with you.”
“…okay,” XiaoYu eventually said after a long pause. QiYao said he would never leave him alone. He trusted the other man, but he shouldn’t be selfish and just rely on QiYao, trouble QiYao, while doing nothing himself. If possible, XiaoYu wanted to walk out and bathe in real sunlight. He wanted to walk hand-in-hand with QiYao through all the cities of the world, just like in AO.
“That’s settled it then. Let’s use these few days to pack up and clean this place up.”
“XiaoYu,” QiYao said, pulling back slightly from XiaoYu. His hands rose and rested on XiaoYu’s cheeks, enveloping those jaws with warmth. His heart ached at the sight of XiaoYu’s red eyes. He leaned down and gently kissed the other man. “Trust in me. I’ll help you overcome this trauma.”
“I trust you.”
“Well, I’ll be heading back home. Rest well. We’ll start packing up tomorrow.”
When QiYao picked up his jacket and starting to put it on, XiaoYu suddenly felt like he didn’t want the other man to go. He’ll admit it. He had completely fallen for QiYao. He loved QiYao. He wanted to cook QiYao’s favourite dishes for him. He wanted to do his best to overcome the mental issues within him for QiYao. He wanted to always be with QiYao. This was probably what they called love.
“What is it, XiaoYu? Can’t bear to see me go?” QiYao teased upon seeing XiaoYu staring blankly at him.
“Mn,” XiaoYu unwittingly replied with a nod. Then, he immediately realised he had accidentally shown what he was thinking. He panicked. His eyes shifted around, not knowing what they should be looking at instead.
How could his XiaoYu be so cute? QiYao shouted internally. This was against the rules!
“Open your mouth,” QiYao said.
“Hm? Mmgh…” Before XiaoYu could react, he was kissed once more. Right before his instinct made his lips purse together, something soft broke through his defences and started pillaging.
Tongues twisted and danced together. XiaoYu had never experienced a kiss such as this before. Wave after wave of spine-chilling tremors tingled through him. He anxiously clutched tight at the front of QiYao’s jacket, terrified that his weak legs would crumble and slide.
“Huff. Huff. Huff…” Finally, QiYao let XiaoYu go. The latter began to gasp and pant, fervently replenishing his oxygen supply.
“Silly boy. Next time, remember to breathe with your nose,” QiYao said, patting XiaoYu on the back to help the other calm down. QiYao’s desire to get this natural ditz back to his own lair as quickly as possible grew stronger.
“I’m fine now, Yao. Head back and rest up early. You still have work tomorrow.”
“Will you be lonely? Are you sure you don’t need me to stay?”
“It’s fine. I’m not a kid anymore.”
“You say you’re not a kid, yet you clearly couldn’t bear to part with me,” QiYao said, his finger lightly tapping the tip of XiaoYu’s nose.
“Hehe…” XiaoYu chuckled, shyly ducking his head.
“But, that’s fine. We’ll soon be able to live together.”
XiaoYu walked with QiYao down to the apartment block gates. Thankfully, no car passed by this time. Otherwise, the “tragedy” from that afternoon would be repeated.
“Drive safely, Yao.”
“Okay,” said QiYao, giving XiaoYu a goodbye kiss on the forehead. Then, a mischievous thought struck him. He leaned down to XiaoYu’s ear and continue, “XiaoYu, remember to leave your mouth open for our future kisses, just like back then.”
When QiYao reached home, it was nearly XiaoYu’s bedtime. So, he just called the other to tell XiaoYu he was safely home. Then, he called his talented assistant.
“Well, Chief?” Qiong Lin near-shouted into the phone. His eyes had nearly transformed into a pair of blinking stars at the sight of QiYao. He’d been praying and wishing the whole day for this call.
“…I didn’t ask about the gathering.” QiYao had forgotten about this whole matter. He only just remembered he was supposed to ask XiaoYu about it.
“Ugh! Then do you know why Xiao-Yu can’t come?”
“Hm…” QiYao could recall the pain and bitterness he could feel from XiaoYu as he described everything in a seemingly nonchalant tone.
“It really is because of some bad news.” QiYao’s serious face clued the smart Qiong in on how tragic the story hiding behind this whole matter would be.
“Yes. Either way, I’ll be heading back to XiaoYu’s home tomorrow. I’ve already convinced him to move in with me in a few days.”
“…! Chief, that’s godlike speed!” The first time Chief visited, he immediately snatched the other up and even have the other tied up with a bow, waiting to be taken back home. This was definitely not something just anybody can do.
“Qiong, I might not be able to drive on that day. You’ll need to come fetch us.”
“Okay, no problem.” He could even meet up with XiaoYu in real life.
“No matter what you see then, I hope you won’t ask XiaoYu about it too much,” QiYao solemnly said to his best friend across the internet.
“I got it.” Qiong could sense that, perhaps, he wasn’t far from the truth.
Red-braised pork: Also called Shanghai-style braised pork. A name that’s more accurate: caramelised braised pork. Lightly boiled, seared then braised in diluted caramel. Usual seasoning used are garlic, star anise and maybe Sichuan peppers.