172. What a “Coincidence”
JingYuan walked into the kitchen and glanced at the colander as well. “I’ll head out and buy some.”
Yan flicked the water from his hands and said, “It’s fine. I’ve mapped out the area today. I know where the supermarket is. I’ll go. If you go, you’d have to search for it.”
“Okay,” JingYuan said after thinking it over. “YiHan and I will heat up the soup. We can start eating once you return.”
“Mn,” Yan responded as he took off the apron and went for the coat by the door. He then left the house with his wallet and keys.
Just as Yan closed the door, he heard something click behind him. When he looked up, he saw the door to Nan Shan’s apartment swinging open while YouRan walked out with a bag of trash in hand. The other man paused upon seeing Yan.
“What a coincidence,” YouRan said with a smile.
Yan swiftly looked down and checked himself over. Once he was sure there was nothing off about his appearance, he relaxed and smiled back.
“Nan Shan, are you putting out your trash?” Yan asked.
“That’s good,” Yan said, pressing the button for the lift. “We can head down together.”
“You’re heading out?” YouRan asked. “Aren’t you having dinner with your friends?”
“We are, but I don’t know how to rinse out the vegetables. I’ve torn them to pieces while washing them. I’m going to get more,” Yan said in embarrassment.
“How did you do that?” YouRan curiously asked.
“YiHan said I was washing them as if I was hammering metal,” said Yan.
“YiHan? Bai YiHan?” YouRan asked, turning to look at Yan.
“Yes. You know him?” Yan pretended to be shocked.
“It’s really him?” YouRan chuckled. “What a small world. Are you friends?”
“Yes. We’re good friends. He and his fiancée are here for a housewarming dinner. Are you friends with YiHan too?” Yan said, “surprised”.
“Hm.” YouRan paused to think. “Yes. He said he liked my books.”
The lift arrived and the two men walked in. “Yes,” said Yan. “We only got together because of your books. There’s also my sister. She’s a diehard fan as well.”
“Really? I’m glad.” Warmth was audible in YouRan’s voice.
“Since you’re a friend of his, why don’t we have dinner together?” Yan said, seizing the chance given. “I’ll get my sister to come over another day. She’d be delirious with joy when she meets you.”
“I…” YouRan was hesitant.
Yan could see the other man wavering. He hurriedly said, “That settles it then. We’ll go buy some vegetables. YiHan and…ahem…JingYuan are heating up the soup. We can eat the moment we head back. You haven’t had dinner yet, right?”
The lift doors just happened to open then. Without waiting for a reply, Yan grabbed the trash bag from YouRan and pulled the other man out of the lift.
The bag of trash was disposed of on the way to the supermarket. When they arrived, Yan went straight for the lettuce.
“What would you like? Let’s get more,” Yan said, visibly excited.
In the face of such excitement, YouRan couldn’t bring himself to rain on the other’s parade. “I’m not picky. We don’t need to get more.”
“No, no, no,” said Yan. “We need to get more. I always feel like we never have enough vegetables. It’s never enough. We’re here now, let’s get more.”
YouRan helplessly followed Yan around as the other man push the cart around with a blank face (excited and energetic). Yan kept throwing item after item into the cart.
Finally, YouRan had to speak up, “That’s enough. Even if you have nothing in your fridge, these will be enough for us.”
An idol’s words must be obeyed. Yan sadly stopped. His heart was thrilled at the thought of Nan Shan consuming the vegetables he’d bought. He could feel his pride swelling on behalf of the vegetables.
When the duo returned to Yan’s apartment, both carried a huge shopping bag each. YiHan’s jaw dropped in astonishment upon seeing YouRan.
“It truly is a small world,” YouRan greeted with a smile. “I didn’t think we’d meet again so soon, YiHan.”
The surprise YiHan felt was real. He thought there’d be no way he could see YouRan today. He couldn’t have imagined Yan would be so hardworking. The man only left for some cabbages but he came back with YouRan as well.
YiHan hurriedly dashed forward to take the bag of vegetables from YouRan. “Indeed. YouRan, you know Yan? What a coincidence.”
“YiHan, you still don’t know yet, right?” Yan asked with a smile. “He’s Nan Shan and he lives right next door. I mentioned being in a neighbour’s place when you called me today, right? This is him.”
YiHan, in “shock + surprise”, said, “What? My god! What a stroke of luck. Nan Shan, I’m so sad. You kept it a secret from me.” YiHan then smacked himself on the head and told Yan, “Go get me one of Nan Shan’s books.”
As a diehard fan of Nan Shan, there are always some of Nan Shan’s books in his home. Understanding what YiHan meant, Yan placed his bag down and strode into his study room. Soon, he came back with a mountain of books in his arms. His eyes gleamed at YouRan.
“I don’t have a pen,” YouRan sighed.
Yan calmly responded by handing over a pen he had in his pockets. YouRan had no choice but to stand at the doorway and sign every single one of those books.
YiHan and Yan had several intense battles, via eye contact, before finally deciding on splitting the stack in half.
It was the first time JingYuan had ever seen YouRan in person. After a detailed scrutiny of the other man’s appearance, he decided this man was a big threat. He must be on his guard.
When YouRan was free from his autograph duties, JingYuan decided to put on his most intense face and strode over to the other man. “Hello,” said JingYuan. “I’m Mu JingYuan. I’m YiHan’s fiancée.”
YouRan could feel an immense pressure building up beneath the greeting of the man who’d just held his hand out for a handshake. Never could he have thought YiHan’s future husband would be someone with such a strong presence. One look and he knew this man had been in power for a long time. Mu JingYuan is no average joe.
“Pleasure,” said YouRan as he awkwardly shook hands with the other man. He wasn’t used to formal interactions.
“I keep hearing about you from YiHan,” said JingYuan, smiling. “He’s a fan of your books. There’s a complete collection of your works stored in our study room. It’s a dream come true for him to meet you.”
YouRan relaxed. “I’m glad I could gain the approval and acknowledgement of a reader such as he.”
YiHan glanced at the two men and chuckled. “Alright. We’re all friends. No need to be so formal. Come, let’s rinse out the vegetables and eat. I’m starving.”
JingYuan instantly toned down the intensity of his presence and swiftly brought the two shopping bags into the kitchen.
YouRan who had just witnessed a tyrannical CEO turn into a househusband: “…” Was what happened just a hallucination or was the current man a hallucination?
“Nan Shan, sit,” said Yan, stepping out of the study room where he’d been putting away his half of the autographed books. “We can start eating soon. YiHan, do you think we have enough to eat?”
“We do,” said JingYuan from within the kitchen.
The soup in the pot was boiling by now. The apartment wasn’t big. Soon, the room was filled with steam. YiHan placed the plated mushrooms, fish balls and other ingredients on the table.
“It’s only the four of us but from how much you’d bought, I think we’d be fine even if another four or five friends joined us,” YiHan said with a laugh.
“I did say we had enough,” YouRan said. He couldn’t help but relax in the lively atmosphere. “Yan just kept putting ingredient after ingredient into the cart.”
“I thought it was fine,” Yan innocently said. “Is there a lot? We’re all adult men. Of course, we need more.”
“The classic example of someone with greedy eyes but a tiny stomach,” YiHan laughed. “You’ll be in charge of finishing up all of the remaining food then!”
YouRan pursed his lips to hold back a chuckle as he helped out with pouring out the sauces.
Finally, the food was ready. YiHan scooped some meat out of the pot and, after blowing on it a few times, into his mouth. “Not bad,” said YiHan, head nodding hard. “It’s delicious. Much better than the restaurants.”
Using a tiny ladle, JingYuan fished up some fish balls and placed them on a side plate to cool down. YiHan can’t eat boiling hot food so JingYuan had an empty side plate ready on the side. As the food cooked, he would scoop out ladles of YiHan’s favourite food onto the plate and arrange them according to the order they were fished out. When YiHan wanted more, he just had to grab some food from the place. The younger man never stopped once and, except for the first bite, he never had to scoop food directly from the pot. He had such fun eating that he’d occasionally look up and grin at JingYuan in giddy joy.
JingYuan would return YiHan’s grins with smiles of his own. His chopsticks sped around, constantly filling up YiHan’s place with more food. That meant the side plate before YiHan was always full.
Lonely, single dog, Yan Yan: “…” He had only known of Mr Mu’s ferocious reputation in the business world. Never would he have thought the man was the same on the dinner table. Looking at the couple, Yan suddenly had an urge to find a lover.
Subconsciously, Yan glanced at YouRan beside him. An uncontrollable tremor ran through his heart.
YouRan who had just fallen out of love: “…” Is it really okay for you two to show off your love before someone who had just fallen out of love?
YiHan who had no idea he was showing off and was only focused on the delicious food before him: Oh my, this food is at the perfect temperature! Mu-Mu really knows my heart well!
JingYuan who had successfully marked his territory: Yes. All threats must be nipped in the bud! Look at how in sync we are, how harmoniously we act around each other. This handsome and ethereal author would definitely not try anything with HanHan now. I’m so smart!
Yan looked at JingYuan’s chopsticks flying all over the pot, steady and decisive, before worriedly glancing at YouRan. Unable to resist the temptation, he used the serving chopsticks to grab some food out of the pot and into YouRan’s bowl. When he looked up again, his eyes met JingYuan’s. Without saying a single word, the two began their silent competition. Poor YouRan had never experienced a “fight” when it came to food. His eyes popped out of his head as he watched the two men exchanged blows. He nearly forgot to eat but then Yan saw his Nan Shan spacing out when YiHan was eating nonstop like a little hamster.
“Eat up,” Yan reminded in a whisper.
YouRan: “…” He wanted to ask, there was so much food left. They can’t finish them even if they stretch the food out to two more meals. Just what were these two men fighting over?
Nevertheless, the fight caused his low mood to dissipate by half. Perhaps it was due to their emotions. Perhaps it’s because YiHan enjoyed the food way too much, increasing the appetite of anyone watching him. Either way, he was very full by the end of the meal. The amount of food he’d eaten in this meal was way beyond what he normally had, let alone when compared to someone who hasn’t been in the mood for food in the past few days.
After dinner, the four men cleaned up the dining table and kitchen. Yan’s fridge was stuffed to the brim with leftovers.
“So many leftovers,” YiHan said. His heart ached at the sight of the fridge. “How long would it take for you to finish them if you went at it alone? You’ll likely have to throw out half of the food here. What a pity.”
Yan was surprised. YouRan didn’t know who YiHan was but Yan did. He had always thought the Little Master Bai was born with a golden spoon in his mouth. Only ever knowing a life of luxury with the best life had to offer, YiHan would know nothing of how cruel life can be. Yan could never have imagined YiHan would be upset over wasting some vegetables. This had really made Yan reconsider what he knew of YiHan.
When Yan saw YouRan nod in understanding, he smiled and said, “I definitely can’t finish this by myself. Most of the food will go to waste, for sure. It’s certainly quite a pity. How about this? You guys join me for another dinner tomorrow night. We can finish off the food then.”
The best life had to offer: The original Chinese proverbs translates to “having beautiful clothes and a spirited horse” aka stuff only the richest kids could ever have.