188. You’re Amazing
“Yeah,” YiHan said, nodding. “If we must name the one thing he craves the most, it definitely wouldn’t be bejewelled cufflinks or tailored suits. It would be your writing. If you write him a book, he’d be so happy he could die.”
“Okay,” YouRan said with a nod. “I’ll discuss it with him before I go further with this idea.”
“That’s it,” Zhang Su said with a smile and nod. “When two people are dating, they must get used to discussing everything with each other. I fully understand your concerns. It’s like my marriage to Hui. To an outsider, I’m a sparrow who’d risen to be a phoenix. This shop has just become a hobby. In reality, it’s the opposite. I am serious when it comes to running this bookshop, even more so than before I met him. Our minds aren’t that different at all but there must be a limit to everything. How you are now is good enough. There’s no need to put too much pressure on yourself. Yan wouldn’t be happy about it either.”
YouRan solemnly nodded. He took a sip of his cup of green tea. “I only knew what love is like after getting together with Yan. Every day, we’d meet. We’d have our meals together. We’d sleep together. When I wake up in the morning, he’d be there by my side.” He chuckled. “I’m always thinking about him and he’s always thinking about me. I can’t help but want to give him the best but I can never find a way to. If I do nothing, I’m afraid of making him suffer. If I do something, I’m afraid of mucking it up. He’s so nice to me, so considerate of my feelings. I want to make him feel happy when he’s with me too. I think love, even marriage, is something that requires a lot of in-depth studying. I might be studying for a long time.”
“It’s not a long time,” YiHan commented. “This is a question we might all be pondering for the rest of our lives. What should we do so our partners can feel happy at every moment of the day? YouRan, it is a blessing and an honour that Yan fell in love with you but it’s even more of a blessing for him. You don’t need to be so nervous. You’re doing just fine as you are now.”
Zhang Su nodded.
YouRan nodded in response and smiled as he said, “Frankly, it feels like I’ve been reborn. Everything feels so new; new emotions, a new me. When I recall my life before, it feels like a dream to me. The life I have now is so bright and colourful. I’m so engrossed that I can’t pull myself away from it. The sun feels warmer than usual. Even the breeze feels warm. I sometimes can’t believe it. This is mine. All of this started from the morning I opened my apartment door to find Yan standing before me.”
YiHan smiled. “If Yan heard that, he’d be so happy he could fly.”
“Yes,” laughed Zhang Su. “You two really are born to be together. A few days ago, Yan called me. I found it strange. He rarely calls me. Something must’ve happened, I thought. But it turns out he called me to ask how he should speak so you wouldn’t be repulsed by the way he talks. He said because your personality is somewhat similar to mine, he wanted to ask me what words and phrases I disliked the most. He wanted to avoid using them. When he spoke to me, he sounded so serious that it sounded like he was asking about something very important. I was stunned.”
YouRan was surprised. It took him a while before he could speak. “Something like that happened?”
“Would I lie to you?” asked Zhang Su.
YiHan was laughing so hard that his shoulders were shaking.
YouRan’s face flushed red. Still, he asked, “How… What did you tell him?”
Zhang Su shrugged. “I also told him not to be so nervous. He said he’s always nervous when he’s talking to you. He’s afraid of saying the wrong thing. He doesn’t dare to touch you as he wishes. He’s afraid you’d be disgusted.” As Zhang Su spoke, his smile grew and he started softly chuckling.
YouRan’s face was bright red as he stammered, “Just what was he babbling about…”
“See,” YiHan said, smiling. “You’re both new to love and the other person is so important that you’re both always so cautious. You now know what he thinks. Don’t you feel a weight lifting off your shoulders? I’ve once heard someone said that when you know the other person is more nervous than you are, you stop being nervous.
YouRan was speechless. There was a long pause before a loud laugh burst through his lips.
That evening, when YiHan was enjoying JingYuan’s after-shower hair drying service, YiHan looked at the man in the mirror who was earnestly blowing his hair dry. A low chuckle rose in YiHan’s chest.
When JingYuan saw YiHan laughing, he couldn’t help but smile as well. “What are you laughing about? Did you have fun today?”
“I went to Zhang-ge’s bookshop today,” replied YiHan after pausing to gather his thoughts. “I talked to YouRan and Zhang-ge. YouRan’s all nervous because he’s meeting the Yan family this weekend. Zhang-ge and I took turns to counsel him. Finally, he relaxed a little. He’s so emotive today. Perhaps it’s because he’s happy with his current life. He said a lot of things today. He opened up his heart to us. It’s meant to be an emotional moment, but I was so evil. I laughed.”
“Oh?” hummed JingYuan. “What did he say to make you laugh so hard?”
YiHan’s shoulders trembled as he chuckled. “He didn’t say anything. It’s Zhang-ge. Yan called Zhang-ge and asked him how should Yan speak so as to avoid making YouRan upset with him. Haha. The thought of that man asking that so seriously. It’s so funny. It’s not just me. Zhang-ge laughed too.”
JingYuan ran his hand through YiHan’s hair. He placed the hairdryer down on the table and hugged YiHan from behind. “It looks like Yan has really fallen this time. A person is only so cautious when they are deeply in love.”
“Yes,” YiHan said, nodding. “Right. This afternoon, Fang Yi called me. He said he regrets making peace with Qin Feng now. Qin Feng has turned into a big, clingy follower. The man’s following him everywhere. Fang Yi has developed a headache from the man’s chatter and Qin Feng insists on feeding Fang Yi dark, inedible goops. It’s literal hell right now. Haha, I nearly died laughing.”
JingYuan chuckled as well. He kissed YiHan on the cheek and said, “I never thought the legendary cruel Qin Feng would be so talented at being clingy.”
YiHan stood up and pressed JingYuan down on the chair he’d vacated. Lifting the hairdryer, YiHan began drying JingYuan’s hair. His smile shone brightly.
JingYuan’s face softened. His body and heart relaxed as he savoured the feeling of YiHan’s fingers running through his hair.
Once their hair was dry, the two men curled up under the covers. Out of habit, JingYuan began patting YiHan on the back to lull him to sleep.
YiHan closed his eyes. Then, something popped into his head and his eyes opened once more.
“Right,” said YiHan, “I met Qi MingYang today.”
JingYuan’s hand stopped. In the dark, his eyes gleamed as he murmured, “He went looking for you? What did he say?”
“He said he was passing by. He decided to say hi when he saw me,” said YiHan.
“Just to say hi?” asked JingYuan.
“Of course not,” said YiHan. “Just as you predicted, he talked to me about Nan Shan. He said something about how Nan Shan’s existence is a slap to the Qi family’s face.”
“How did you reply to him?” asked JingYuan.
“How else?” said YiHan. “I told him I’m definitely involving myself in Nan Shan’s business. If he must act against Nan Shan, what happens will be up to who’s smarter and stronger.”
JingYuan began patting YiHan on the back once more. “Then?”
YiHan snuggled in closer to JingYuan’s neck. His eyes lowered into slits as he said, “We talked. He then said that he can pretend Nan Shan doesn’t exist if Nan Shan refuses to acknowledge Chu FangMing. He even said it was because of me. I’m not that powerful. He just doesn’t want to be our enemy because of Qi Jie. And he wants to frame it as a favour for me. Hmph.”
“You were right and your responses were great,” JingYuan softly said. “HanHan, you’re amazing.”
YiHan smiled. “Alright, you. Are you trying to pacify a kid? Are you going to give me a little flower or sticker? It’s late. Let’s sleep. We have to head into the office tomorrow.”
Hand rhythmically patting YiHan on the back, JingYuan kissed YiHan on the forehead. “Okay. Sleep then.”
The family meeting that weekend went smoothly. In order to make YouRan feel more relaxed, Pei, Hui and Zhang Su all went back to the family home. With so many familiar faces around him, YouRan felt much safer. Pei was talented at brightening up any room she entered. With her enticing laughs from everyone, the evening went by without a hitch.
Yan was usually a reserved man of little words. His appearance was as average as can be but everyone knew just how terrifying he could be when he turned stubborn. His attitude was obvious. He has settled upon this man. This relationship’s goal was marriage. After the experience with Hui, the old Mr Yan and Yan Yan’s parents were much more tolerant when it came to having a son-in-law instead of a daughter-in-law. Furthermore, they didn’t think much of the situation now that high society had Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan as pioneers.
Not only that, but the Yan family could also see that Yan Hui and Zhang Su were happy together. Ever since his wedding, Hui’s smile shone brighter than before. “Happiness” was clearly written on Hui’s face. What parent doesn’t want their children to be happy? Zhang Su was a reliable man. He had a positive impact on Hui. The younger man had always been serious when it came to managing his bookshop. He had a clean and crisp aura around him, reminiscent of the smell of books. Every frown and smile made anyone looking at him feel relaxed. Yan Hui usually appeared like a classy elite executive but when he stood next to Zhang Su, the younger man looked like a thug. As time went by, the Yan family began to think Yan Hui was better off with Zhang Su than if he was with a girl. The feeling was so strong that they were sometimes thankful that they didn’t force the couple apart. Who knew what would’ve happened to their family then? Yan Hui was right back then. The couple could look for a surrogate. Many heterosexual couples who’re unable to reproduce had done the same. With that problem solved, what difference did it make if the lover was male or female? While something still felt off, the passing of time led the Yan family to witness Yan Hui and Zhang Su’s lives grow better. The more the family saw of the couple’s happiness, the more logical Yan Hui’s words felt.
Hence, when Yan Yan announced to his family that he had fallen in love and that it was a man, his family’s reactions weren’t as explosive as when Yan Hui came out to them. In fact, the Yan family even thought it expected of Yan. The man had never cared for women. After having gone through Hui’s coming out, their parents had begun guessing about Yan. And so, when Yan told them, they had a sense of relief, a sense of “ah, just as I thought.”
What surprised them wasn’t the fact that both of their sons chose men for their brides but that both sons-in-law had careers related to books. One of them owned a bookshop while the other man was a writer. Was it fate?
The family meeting happened on Saturday evening. On Sunday, without a word to each other, the group gathered in Zhang Su’s bookshop. Okay, that place had already turned into their meetup spot.