GC: Chapter 145

145. Lover’s Intuition

Qi MingYang’s smile dimmed as he reached out and shook JingYuan’s hand. “Long time no see,” he replied. “You look well, Mr Mu. Did something happy occur lately? Should I be congratulating you?”

JingYuan’s smile didn’t reach his eyes as he answered, “Nothing worth congratulating. I’m just content with my life. Unlike you, Mr Qi. You’ve recently won the proposal for a major city project. You’re in the prime of your life and so early on too.”

“It’s just a little bit of income,” Qi MingYang chuckled. “Nothing worthy of Mr Mu’s attention.”

YiHan looked on in confusion as the two men fought with barbed tongues. From what he understood of JingYuan’s character, the way he was acting was how he would act when protecting his territory. YiHan frowned as he gave Qi MingYang a suspicious look. This man might be rather petty and he wasn’t one YiHan can be close friends with, but they were only politely exchanging greetings. There was no need for JingYuan to be so wary, right?

YiHan looked at JingYuan’s steely eyes and the hand clutching tight on YiHan’s arm behind the man’s back. He let out a sigh internally. JingYuan truly did care for him. There was no doubting that. Unfortunately, this was not love.

YiHan twisted his head to look at his sister, XueQing, standing beside TianYang. They were chatting and laughing together in a conversation with someone else. The looks the two exchanged were filled to the brim with love. That wasn’t something that could be faked. YiHan let out a breath he’d been subconsciously holding in. Thank goodness. After two weeks of close analysis and observation, he’d concluded the couple’s love must be real.

YiHan was spacing out when a light pat to his shoulder shook him out of his thoughts. He turned around and found Yan Pei standing behind him. She had a striking white dress on that seemed so youthful that it danced along to her natural liveliness. Her hair was tied up in a high ponytail. She looked so energetic.

Pei smiled as her eyes glanced at JingYuan before she sprawled across YiHan’s shoulders to whisper in the man’s ear, “Is your Mr Mu jealous? Look at how stern he looks. I can feel chills running down my spine.”

YiHan awkwardly smiled and replied, “He’s not. Don’t jest. Why are you here?”

Pei pinched her lips and twisted them to a side, gesturing to the two men in the distance. “My big brother and Zhang-ge are over there,” she said. “I only spoke with Zhang-ge for a while before my big brother got tired of me and chased me off. I’m here to play with you.”

As Pei spoke, she suddenly felt a chilly breeze breathe down on her neck. A shudder ran through her body. She looked up and around before her eyes squarely met JingYuan’s dark eyes. The man was coldly staring at the arm she’d draped across YiHan’s shoulders. Years of experience in fighting with her big brother made Pei remove her arm in a flash. She then stepped away from Yihan, an arm’s length away to be exact.

“Mr Mu,” she greeted with a stiff smile.

It was only after Pei’s series of actions did JingYuan’s expression warmed up. He pulled YiHan closer to himself as he let out a short hum in response to the girl’s greeting.

“Miss Yan,” he said with a smile, “here for YiHan?”

Pei let out the breath she’d been holding in. As she complained and griped in her thoughts about this “petty little man”, she answered, “Yes. It’s been a long time since we’ve last seen each other.”

JingYuan looked down at YiHan and gently said, “If you’re bored, you can go hang out and play with Miss Yan. Remember to come looking for me later.”

YiHan hummed in an affirmative response. Pei pursed her lips. JingYuan was just like her brother. They’re both kings of face-changing. However, this man’s winter and spring moods swapped quicker than her brother’s. Look at how tender the man was speaking. It felt as tender as a young, ripe fruit.

YiHan took a step towards Pei but he couldn’t move any more than that. He looked down and saw the tight grip JingYuan still had on his arm.

“JingYuan,” YiHan reminded, patting the other man’s hand.

The older man blinked, stunned for a moment, before slowly letting go of YiHan’s arm. As he watched YiHan and Pei walk further and further away from him, his face morphed into an ugly look. That Yan Pei was walking closer and closer to his HanHan!

Pei was walking when she felt that spine-chilling sensation return. She snuck a glance behind her to find, as she expected, JingYuan glaring darkly at her. She let out a helpless sigh and silently stepped sideways, away from YiHan. Just as she thought, that feeling lessened. Hmph. Why was this Mu JingYuan so protective over his prey? He was even more prone to jealousy than her big brother!

The day soon passed in lively cheer. The servants were left to clean up after what remained of the party as the Bai family and JingYuan went back to their rooms to rest. JingYuan sat on the bed as his eyes bored into the bathroom door. His thin lips were pursed tightly together. His mind was off wandering, thinking about who-knew-what.

Soon, the bathroom door opened and out walked YiHan, all wrapped up in his sleepwear.

“Did I keep you waiting for long?” YiHan asked with a smile. “Head on in and wash up.”

JingYuan stood up and walked over to Yihan. He leaned down and lightly pecked YiHan on the forehead.

“Are you tired?” JingYuan warmly asked. “I’ll help you blow your hair dry so you can sleep first.”

YiHan took a step back. His smile was still present as he replied, “It’s fine. You must be tired too. Go shower so you can sleep too. I can dry my own hair.” As he said so, he walked around JingYuan to the hairdryer.

JingYuan’s eyes darkened. He stood there for a long silent moment before he eventually entered the bathroom.

By the time JingYuan was done with his shower, YiHan was already done drying his hair and had curled up in his blanket. The younger man seemed to have fallen asleep.

JingYuan softly caressed YiHan on the cheek. He sighed and turned off most of the lights in the room, leaving a dim little wall lamp on. He picked up a box of cigarettes and walked out onto the balcony. He made sure to close the balcony doors tight before he lit up a cigarette. He leaned against the balcony railing, letting the night wind blow his damp hair dry. His black eyes were hazy as they stared at the smoke. He stood there, dazedly staring up at the night sky. The night was calm and quiet but there was a whirlwind raging on in his heart. The uneasiness in him grew stronger and stronger. It all felt like he was trying to hold onto a handful of sand in his palm. The more he panicked, the harder he gripped. The harder his grip, the faster the sand slipped out of his hand. His heart knew this would only lead to two empty hands. His efforts would be futile but all he could do was try and make the sand stay. It made him feel so scared and powerless. However, YiHan and the rest of the Bai family all acted so naturally. There was nothing off about them. So why was his heart panicking? Was this all just some spoiled part of him bleating in delusion?

It was now Autumn. The weather has turned colder. The western districts were near a mountain. The night breeze was chilly yet he didn’t feel cold at all. He continued smoking on the balcony, dressed in only a bathrobe. The glass ashtray was already filled with a mountain of cigarette butts, but JingYuan’s mind was still a mess.

YiHan laid in bed for a long while but JingYuan still wouldn’t get in bed. He didn’t hear the door open or close just now so the man must still be in the room. Where did the man go? Without JingYuan by his side, there was no way YiHan could fall asleep. That was rather frustrating too. When JingYuan returned to his “normal” life, YiHan would have to rely on drugs for sleep in the future.

He waited and waited until, finally, he couldn’t hold the curiosity in anymore. He opened his eyes. There was no one in the room. He slid his feet into his slippers and he searched the room. He couldn’t even find a single hair of the man. Did JingYuan leave?

He was about to leave the room when, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a glowing ember flickering beyond the balcony doors. He walked closer to those doors.

“JingYuan?” YiHan called.

The glowing spot paused and was soon extinguished. JingYuan pulled open the doors and entered the room, bringing with him a chilly breeze tainted with the stench of tobacco. The man swiftly turned and closed the door behind him.

“Why are you up?” JingYuan asked. “Did I wake you up?”

“Why were you smoking outside with only a bathrobe one?” YiHan answered with a frown.

YiHan took a step forward, wanting to feel JingYuan’s hands when the taller man retreated as well.

“Don’t touch me, HanHan,” JingYuan whispered. “My skin’s cold. Hurry back to bed. You must’ve just woken up. Don’t catch a cold.”

Looking up at the man’s pale lips, YiHan felt his heart ache. He persisted in getting closer to the man. Helpless and cornered, JingYuan could only keep walking backwards until his back hit the wall. There was nowhere to run now.

“HanHan, don’t fool around,” JingYuan finally sighed. “It’s really cold.”

“You know it’s cold too?” YiHan said, seething with anger. “And you still went outside and let the wind blow all over you?”

YiHan’s hands patted JingYuan’s arms, his hands, and all the spots of skin he could reach. Everywhere he touched was icy cold. He hurried grabbed JingYuan’s chilly hands and dragged the man to the bed. He tugged and pushed the older man into bed and covered him with the blanket. After some thought, YiHan burrowed into the blanket as well. He thought it’d be faster to warm the man up with his body head, but then JingYuan stopped with a hand pressing against YiHan’s shoulder.

“Behave, HanHan,” JingYuan softly said. “Don’t play around. You’ll really catch a cold.”

“I’m not made of paper nor am I held together by glue,” YiHan said, letting out a bitter smile. “I won’t catch a cold just because of this. That’d be you. Why don’t you tell me just what has made you stay outside smoking the night away instead of sleeping? You’re not addicted or drawn to tobacco at all.”

JingYuan bit his lip and kept quiet.

“Is there something bothering you?” Yihan lowly asked. “I know I’m useless. You…”

“Don’t say that,” JingYuan hurriedly interrupted. “HanHan, to me, you’re the best.”

YiHan was silent for a moment before softly asking, “The best?” The best brother, right? However, he should be satisfied. It was YiHan who was too greedy.

JingYuan thought his reluctance had upset his lover. He paused in consideration before finally asking, “HanHan, be honest with me. Have I angered you lately?”

“No,” said YiHan. “Why would you think that?”

“Then why…” JingYuan started.

“Hm?” YiHan looked at the other man in bemusement.

JingYuan closed his eyes. The hand pressing against YiHan’s shoulder pushed the younger man on the bed as JingYuan leaned closer and closer…

Just as their lips were about to touch, YiHan turned his face away.

JingYuan let out a defeated sigh. He dropped his head into YiHan’s shoulder as he said, “You reject being intimate with me. You reject my kisses. HanHan, do you…regret being with me? Is that it?”

YiHan froze for a second before he forced a smile and answered, “No. Don’t think about all that nonsense.”

JingYuan looked up at his lover’s face as he lifted a hand to it. His eyes were filled with sorrow as he said, “HanHan, the way you’ve treated me has changed. You act normal most of the time and you’re always concerned for me. I can still feel your love for me but your attitude has changed. This is my intuition as a lover. It can’t be wrong.” JingYuan’s voice was soft as a feather yet rang with a hint of helplessness and hurt. “You wouldn’t marry me. You refuse to be near me. HanHan, I…I’m terrified. I want our relationship to be based on honesty. If you don’t love me anymore, if you don’t want to be with me anymore, just tell me. Please?” But I won’t say yes to it.

When YiHan heard JingYuan mention the word “honesty”, he couldn’t help but blurt out, “And you? Have you been honest?”

JingYuan was shocked. He raised his body higher and straighter as he asked, “HanHan, you… Is there some misunderstanding? I didn’t lie to you about anything?”

YiHan rather regretted how his mouth has spoken before his mind had caught up to it. On the inside, he sighed. Ah, so he wasn’t as content and okay with it as he thought. His heart still bore a grudge. Contrary to his previous line of thought, he couldn’t happily go along with the “cure” his family had planned out for him. He couldn’t just act out the role required of him and quietly leave.

Translator’s Notes:

Major city project: The words used here indicate a project that’s related to either something that’ll surround the city (like its walls or roads) or recycling. As there was no more information given, this part has been kept vague.

Prime of your life and so early on too: The idiom used here loosely translates to “being proud because of achieving one’s wish at the start of one’s career”. Literally, it’s “the proud spring breeze”.

Tender as a young, ripe fruit: The idiom/phrase here is “able to squeeze juice/water out” (as if it was a piece of ripe and tender fruit).


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GC: Chapter 144

144. Birthday Banquet

YiHan didn’t dodge JingYuan’s hand this time around. However, he didn’t do anything either. His wrist laid limply in JingYuan’s grip.

Deep down, JingYuan gave a self-mocking smirk. When did he turn into a girl, self-absorbed and always fussing over the most minute of things? HanHan loved him. Didn’t he confirm it long ago? There was nothing to be uneasy about. This was his HanHan. They’d be getting married soon.

At the thought of marriage, JingYuan’s eyes darkened. His HanHan didn’t want to be married to him this quickly. HanHan said it was because they were still young. There was no need for them to get married this quickly. They were together now and they had the Bai family’s recognition. Getting married would change nothing so why be so obsessed with a piece of paper?

HanHan was still a young man. It was understandable he didn’t want to be locked down by marriage this early on. However, JingYuan was still very disappointed with his proposal’s failure. He savoured the feel of the smooth skin in his grip. He should be more patient. He should give HanHan a little more time. It’s not too late to get married later when HanHan had enough fun. They’d get married sooner or later.

JingYuan looked up at the other people in the room. No one noticed YiHan’s weird behaviour. They were all happily chatting away. Perhaps he was overthinking things.

The old Mr Bai was ecstatic. He had such fun chatting with YiHan that his guffaws rang out loud and clear around the group. He looked so much younger than he was moments before. He always cautioned his son and grandson to not dote on YiHan too much. They might spoil him rotten and turn him into an arrogant brat. However, he himself was the one who doted most on YiHan. His reason was that he rarely got to spend time with YiHan. Must he use up all of his hard-earned opportunities to scold and lecture his youngest grandson? Naturally, YiHan’s education should be left to his parents and siblings. He’s just the grandfather. He was only responsible for spoiling YiHan.

Before today’s meeting with his grandfather, YiHan was on the edge of his seat with nervousness. His heart was wrecked by a stormy mixture of guilt, grief and regret. Now that he was faced with a healthy and hale grandfather, he realised the only emotions left was gratitude. He once again thanked the gods and the heaven for bringing him back, for giving him the chance to be reborn and atone for his crimes. He only hoped that Grandfather could live to a ripe old age in this lifetime, that he could be a happy old kid and not have to worry for his descendants.

When the old Mr Bai was done catching up with YiHan, he turned to Yan, smile still bright on his face. “Yan, why didn’t you bring Jiang Hua with you? Didn’t you say he’s yours now? You weren’t exaggerating, were you?”

“Grandfather,” Yan replied, exasperation clear in his voice, “there’s work to do still. He can only come tomorrow.”

The old Mr Bai glared at his eldest grandson as he said, “Oh, how very grand of you. Are you bullying him? Did you push all of your work on him? A word of advice, Yan. Lovers, no matter their gender, are meant to be doted on. You’ve got to spoil him, care for him. This is not some mission or quest you can complete with a simple ‘I love you’ and a gift. Alright? You’ve got to show it in the small things in life. Make him feel the warm glow of love to the point where he can’t live without you. Only then will he settle down with you for the rest of his life. You’re an awkward young man already. You don’t have a single romantic bone in you. If you don’t know how to spoil him, then be prepared to be a lonely old dog!”

Okay, fine. Goodness, his grandfather even knew what the “lonely old dog” meme was. Yan sighed, “No, Grandfather. Why would I bully him? How about this? I’ll call him now and ask him to come over. Hm?”

Upon hearing Yan’s reply, the old Mr Bai was so angry that his eyebrows formed a giant V. “And you still say you’re not bullying him? What do you think he is? Some subordinate you can summon and dismiss at will? You must understand his role has been switched. He’s now your lover! Boyfriend! You must listen to him, obey him! You’re so useless!”

“Teach me then.” Yan felt like he’d just been shot in the head. “What should I do?”

“Why are you so dumb?” the old Mr Bai sighed in disdain. “Don’t you even know how to show your concern for someone else? There’s no way he can come here at this time. Go call him and ask if he’d eaten dinner. What did he eat? How did he feel today? It’s getting cold lately. Had he put on extra layers? Do I need to teach you that? There’s no hope for you. Jiang Hua is such a poor, unlucky man. How did he end up with a man like you? If your grandmother were here, she’d be scolding and poking you non-stop until you’re bruised all over!”

“Grandfather,” Yan helplessly replied, “he’s an adult. He’s survived on his own for years. Does he really need someone to remind him to put on more layers on cold days?”

The old Mr Bai turned to YiHan and said, “YiHan, look at your big brother. Look at that dense loggerhead. It’s Jiang Hua’s business whether or not they put on extra layers. It’s Yan’s business whether or not you ask or get concerned over him! This is the difference between being a lonely old dog and someone with a lover! If we go by his logic, Jiang Hua can think things through by himself, he can work things out all by himself. What does he need you for then? Does he lack a precious baby to serve? Aargh, he pisses me off! YiHan, if I was as stupid as he is back when I was chasing after your grandmother, she wouldn’t even spare me a glance! Winter was so cold back then but I still ran all the way over to your grandmother’s place with hot buns and soy milk. When the buns and soy milk arrived in her hands, they were still warm! Your grandmother was so touched! Well, your grandmother was an adult too back then. Wouldn’t she have bought the buns and soy milk herself if she wanted them? Hm? She was moved because of the intentions behind my run over! After we were married, she told me the best buns she’d ever tasted in her whole life were those buns I brought to her!”

“You’re so amazing, Grandfather!” YiHan replied with a grin. “Because you were truly in love with Grandmother, your heart naturally took notice and care of every single aspect in life. She could see it. Of course she was touched. Actually, when I was a little kid, she once told me the best decision she’d ever made in her life was marrying you.”

The old Mr Bai could feel his pride inflating with every word of praise that came from his dearest grandson’s mouth but when he heard the last sentence, his grin was so wide that it stretched across his face.

“Really?” asked the old Mr Bai. “She really said that to you? Why did she never tell me that before? She must’ve been too shy. Oh, YiHan, did you know? Your grandmother might’ve looked super strong and powerful but she’s so gentle and kind and warm to me. She’s…”

Yan glanced at his little brother in gratitude as their grandfather rambled on about their grandmother. The old Mr Bai would always go on and on about his wife whenever she’s mentioned. Yan then exchanged exasperated looks with his father before quietly slipping out of the room.

The old Mr Bai’s sharp eyes caught Yan’s actions and he immediately barked out, “Where are you going?”

Yan turned around and waved his phone at his grandfather, showing it to him. “I’m going to call Hua,” Yan said with a smile. “To, erm, ask after him.”

The old Mr Bai shot Yan a look that read “you finally get it”.

“That’s right,” said the old Mr Bai. “Go on. Spend a while longer talking to him.”

The next day, the guests flocked over. The crowds were as thick as clumps of clouds. It was the old Mr Bai’s seventy-seventh birthday. Everyone who’s anyone in the city was there. Jiang Hua arrived as early as he could. When the old Mr Bai saw him, he gleefully pulled the man over to his side. They chatted for a long while before Hua was set free to roam around. When Hua finally was done talking to the old Mr Bai, he saw YiHan waving at him.

“YiHan,” Hua greeted as he walked over to the younger man. “Where’s JingYuan?”

The smile on YiHan’s face froze for a second before it regained its liveliness. “He’s over there,” said YiHan, pointing to JingYuan who was surrounded by a crowd of people. “You? How have you been?”

Hua smiled back. The smile he had on made his gentle face seemed exceedingly warm and kind.

“I’m good,” replied Hua.

“Mn. I think you must be too,” YiHan said, holding back a little snicker as he said so. “My brother’s not romantic at all but at least his heart is true. He’d been trying for a few days to buy your place over from me. However, I didn’t say yes. Whenever you have the time, let’s get the paperwork done so the place can be transferred back to you. That’ll show him!”

“If he likes it, then give it to him,” Hua laughed.

“That won’t do,” YiHan replied. “He doesn’t need another place. He just wants it because you decorated it yourself. I’m not going to give it to him. Anyway, has he been over to your place yet? Did you let him stay in my room?”

“No, no,” Hua hurried said. “I never let anyone else step a foot in your room.”

“Based on how devoted you are to him, you wouldn’t have the heart to make him sleep on the couch,” YiHan chuckled. “Then he must have…”

Hua’s fair cheeks immediately went a rosy red. “YiHan!” he said in mock rage. “You set me up!”

YiHan continued laughing as he said, “I was wondering why my brother seemed to be glowing lately. I see. It’s because he caught up to you.”

The blush on Hua’s cheeks intensified. He shot YiHan a glare and turned to leave.

YiHan quickly scrambled forward to pull the man back. “Okay. Don’t be mad, please?” he begged. “I was just fooling around. This is good actually. My brother even told our parents he will definitely marry you in the future.”

Hua looked up at Yan. The other man was standing not far away from the duo. Hua’s face softened.

“My grandfather has been telling you bad things about my brother, hasn’t he?” YiHan continued. “The older he gets, the more he acts like a child.”

Hua let out another bright smile as he warmly replied, “Your grandfather is a good man. Yan might seem strong but he’s really quite dumb and oblivious, said the old Mr Bai. He asked me not to hate on Yan for that.” Hua turned around to look back at YiHan. “You’re so very lucky and you must be very happy to have such a great family, YiHan.”

YiHan smiled back at Hua. He looked up at the clouds floating by and softly said, “Yes. I’m very lucky and very happy. I, too, do my best to let them feel the same luck and happiness I do.”

Hua patted the young man on the shoulder and said with a smile, “You’ve grown up, YiHan.”

YiHan looked back down at the other man. There was a strange glimmer in his eyes as he said, “Yes. I should’ve grown up.”

Something in that gaze felt off to Hua but before he had time to analyse it, he heard Yan calling out to him.

“Hua, this way,” called Yan.

“My brother’s calling for you,” YiHan said with a chuckle. “Go on.”

Hua shot the younger man a suspicious glance before humming in an affirmative response and walking over to Yan.

YiHan lifted a glass of wine. His eyes were fixed on it for a long time before he slowly put it back down again. He really didn’t dare get drunk.

Suddenly, a glass of fruit juice appeared before his eyes. YiHan’s questioning gaze followed the hand holding it until YiHan spotted Qi MingYang smiling down at him.

“Little Master Bai,” said Qi MingYang upon noticing YiHan’s eyes on him, “my sincerest apologies about the incident last time. It’s easy to get drunk on wine. Have some juice to soothe your throat with instead.”

“There’s no need to mention what’s in the past,” YiHan said as he accepted the glass of juice. “Anyway, that incident was not your fault, Mr Qi.”

“You’re very kind, Little Master,” said Qi MingYang.

“How could this be kindness?” YiHan chuckled. “Hm? You’re here very early today, Mr Qi.”

“It’s the old Mr Bai’s seventy-seventh birthday,” replied Qi MingYang. “It’s a major event. As a show of my respect, I have to come early.”

“Thank you so much, Mr Qi,” said YiHan.

“It’s what I should do,” Qi MingYang said with eyes squinting from his smile.

YiHan was about to continue the conversation when someone pulled him aside and behind them. It was JingYuan. His tall form stood in front of YiHan, blocking the younger man from view.

“Mr Qi,” rumbled JingYuan, “long time no see.”

Translator’s Notes:

Lonely old dog: Single dog meme/phrase. Google it up and Google might say its full meaning is “single with a dog” (akin to the old cat lady) but there’s no such explanation anywhere. Instead, the phrase’s logic was a) “dog” is an insult akin to bitch but ungendered and b) dogs are positive animals – loyal, hardworking, clingy, affectionate, Man’s best friend. Those meaning combined meant “single dog” is often seen as a self-mocking yet self-loving nickname/insult/term.

Giant V: MTL would say “raised eyebrows” or “his eyebrows stood up”. A brief browse through Google images and you’d find that they actually meant the comical V-shaped angry expression.

There was a mistranslation a few chapters back. The old Mr Bai mysteriously had his name changed to the old Mr Yan due to some technical difficulties with the translator’s brain. Apologies for the mistakes. They’ve now been corrected.


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GC: Chapter 143

143. “Happily” Live On

Warning: Mild attempted suicide and a lot of brooding which may be triggering for some.

What about XueQing then? Was she truly in love with Chen TianYang? Was she really…happy?

Aaaargh!

Why did things turn out like this? Happiness had arrived so quickly in this lifetime that everything felt like a dream to YiHan. He wasn’t mistaken or paranoid after all. Everything was fake. His happiness came from his family’s sacrifices.

YiHan dropped his head into his hands. He thought back to the glee and joy he’d felt, the stubborn clinginess he had towards JingYuan. He felt humiliated and embarrassed beyond imagination, especially when he recalled those romantic instances that felt exceptionally sweet back then, instances that would make him blush and his heart race. Memories of his wantonness in bed, how he would proactively seek JingYuan out, how he’d swoon, how he’d obey JingYuan’s every action ­– those all made his face flush with shame now. How he wished the gods could grant him a hole he could bury himself in and never come out. How he wished time could reverse and wind back to the moment he had just been reborn. He would hide away from his family the first opportunity he spotted. It might’ve been better to let them think he’d died in an accident. They’d hurt for a short while and they could start a new life while he could keep hiding in the shadows and did his best to change the things he’d regretted.

Actually, everything was fine as they were currently. Yan and Hua should be properly in love and happy. He’d bought some land in the southern districts. The Bai Group was doing well. As long as the Bai family didn’t fall from grace, there won’t be any more tragedies. XueQing… If she’s truly in love with Chen TianYang, that’d be amazing. The man was in love with her too. If…their romance was just a show, then everything would go back to normal without YiHan.

His sore eyes raised to scan the room he was in. His gaze then locked on the glass on his desk. JingYuan wasn’t in the room this time. He’d surely succeed, right?

YiHan rose to his feet and shuffled over to the glass. It was like he’d been possessed. His eyes were fixated on the glass, as mesmerised as if he was looking at JingYuan. Freezing fingers bump against the smooth glass. A self-deprecating chuckle escaped his lips. No wonder he hadn’t been able to find a single sharp object in his room for a while now. The only thing made of glass in this entire room was this glass, this cup he would drink from. It’s all because they were afraid he’d commit suicide.

They were afraid he’d kill himself. Yes. Everyone did all of this because they were afraid he’d attempt to murder himself. If he died now, wouldn’t that have meant everything they’d done would’ve been for nothing?

He softly placed the glass back down. He can’t die. He can’t even get hurt. He must live on. His family did this in hopes that he could live on, that he could be happy. Thus, he should “happily” live on. He thought back to the conversation he overheard. When they, his mother, his father and his JingYuan, heard Dr Zhou say YiHan was recovering well and would soon be fine, they sounded so happy. They’re happy about the current situation, right? He was just a pile of rotten flesh. So what if he sacrificed himself? Anyway, it would be an honour to be acting along with JingYuan. He was taking major advantage of JingYuan…

Cherish this time, Bai YiHan. Once you’re “fine”, JingYuan would return to his “normal” life. You mustn’t act all pained then. You mustn’t put on that laughable crying face and upset them. You must smile and wish them a happy future together, right? You’ve already taken up enough of his time.

As YiHan thought, living was his greatest punishment.

Just like a robot, he dazedly moved to his bed and slowly laid down on it. He closed his eyes. He looked as if he had never left the room.

Bai YiHan, what are you acting all pitiful for? So many people love you. You’re happy. I’m…happy.

***

JingYuan saw Dr Zhou out and went back up to Bai FuRen’s study to chat with YiHan’s parents for a few minutes. Then, he returned to YiHan’s room, only to find the young man still asleep. JingYuan couldn’t help but berate himself for acting too spoilt last night. He asked for too much. Look at how tired his precious one was now.

He sat down on the bed. A loving hand reached out to smooth YiHan’s fringe away from his face. They finally had YiHan’s parents’ blessings. JingYuan’s heart leapt. If YiHan was awake, JingYuan would eagerly propose to him. He hated how they were unable to get their marriage registration done that very day. He wanted so much to have that piece of certification paper that would make him YiHan’s lawful partner, the paper that would turn them into a true family.

His finger gently bopped YiHan on the nose as he whispered, “Little one, you’re so deeply asleep. Tired?” Since you’re so exhausted, I’ll spare you tonight.

YiHan’s face looked rather pale.

Was his lover cold? JingYuan glanced at the air conditioning’s display and scrounged for the remote control to increase the temperature by two. He pulled the blanket up higher and tucked YiHan in more securely. He sat on the bed for a long while. A glance at the clock told him it was time he headed into the office. Because of YiHan’s therapy session today, he’d been delayed for long enough. However, YiHan was asleep. He couldn’t bear to wake his young lover up. If he carried the man into his car, the man would surely be jostled awake. What difference was there between that and waking YiHan up now? Did JingYuan really have to go to work alone today? Oh no! Aah, it was all his fault. Why couldn’t he control himself last night? Why did he have to tire out HanHan?

Whatever. The doctor did say they could give HanHan some personal space. His lover was still young and he loved to play around. If they placed him on a strict house arrest all the time, HanHan would be annoyed, right?

Then…he would bring YiHan along to the office tomorrow. Ugh, he would have to tell Aunt Bai about it. HanHan must call him the moment the man was awake! Oh, poor pitiful him. He had to drag his lonely self to work all alone. It was a tale that saddened all who heard it.

He wanted to kiss YiHan before he left but he was afraid of waking the man up. All he could do was lean in close to YiHan’s neck and take a deep inhale. Why did his HanHan smell so nice? They used the same body wash! YiHan was also not one for perfumes or colognes! Was this the legendary scent of attractiveness (it’s not)? Aah, you seductive little brat!

Looking down at his lover encased in his blanket, JingYuan couldn’t find it in him to move his feet at all. He dawdled and shuffled around. Upon realising YiHan wasn’t going to wake up anytime soon, he finally, in an extremely reluctant fashion that required glancing back at YiHan three times per step he took, left.

The door closed with a “clack”. It was an extremely soft sound. This was JingYuan’s kind warmth.

YiHan opened his eyes. His gaze was as awake as can be. There wasn’t the slightest hint of drowsiness in them. His face was blank, neither happy nor sad. He looked very calm. He silently laid there on the bed. His eyes stared up at the lamp hanging down from the ceiling. He didn’t move a muscle. About an hour later, he got out of bed. With a blank expression, he washed up and straightened his clothes. It was only when he was presentable did he open the door and leave the room.

The instant he opened the door, a bright smile appeared on YiHan’s face. He quickly skipped downstairs where his mother was watching a show on the television.

“HanHan, you’re up,” Ma happily called out with a beckoning hand. “Come, sit by my side. You’ve had an awfully long nap. Did you not sleep well last night? Are you hungry?”

“It’s just a really nice nap,” YiHan said as he sat down by her side and embraced her arm like he always would. “I’m not hungry at all.”

Ma patted him on the hand and smiled back at him, “You’re an adult now and you still like to act cute with me. It’s nearly lunchtime. If you’re not hungry, we can wait until lunch is ready. Aunt Yang cooked some soup this morning. How about I ask her to get you a bowl to tide you over until then?”

YiHan maintained his posture leaning against his mother’s arm and replied, “It’s fine. I can wait until lunch. If I have soup now, I’d be too full for lunch later.”

“Mn, you’re right,” Ma said with a nod. “Right. JingYuan couldn’t bear to wake you up from your nap just now so he left for the office by himself. He asked that you call him the moment you wake up.”

Couldn’t bear to? True. After all, JingYuan loved him so much. YiHan was dearer to him than a brother. But that’s not all, was it? More importantly, Dr Zhou said JingYuan didn’t need to stick to his side all the time now. JingYuan could finally have some private time and personal space. Would he find it much less stressful now?

Don’t worry. I’ll “get well” soon. Just hold on a little longer.

Two weeks flew by and it was soon the old Mr Bai’s birthday celebration. The Bai family arrived a day before the party at the mansion in the western districts. The whole family chittered and chattered. It was a bustling day filled to the brim with happiness.

JingYuan watched YiHan smiling beside him as a slight frown took over his brows. He couldn’t sweep aside the eerie feeling he had. For a while now, his instincts had been telling him something was off about YiHan. However, the younger man would act as he normally would. He’d get angry. He’d be happy. He’d act coy and cute to JingYuan, and acted very affectionate with JingYuan. Nothing was different at all. At least, everything looked normal. Still, deep down, JingYuan felt like something about his HanHan had slightly changed.

For example, intercourse. Before, they’d have fun and make love. It was all perfect. YiHan would spoil him rotten in bed. As long as he asked for it, and as long as it didn’t go overboard, YiHan would go along with his wishes. Recently though, YiHan had been using all sorts of excuses to refuse him. Of course, such matters should only be done when both parties desire it. That was the essence of being in love. He didn’t want to force YiHan at all. As long as the other man didn’t want it, JingYuan would rather just bear with it than to force the other man to go along with it. It’s been two weeks and they’ve only done it once. It was also not a very happy incident as YiHan couldn’t put his whole heart into the act. The man was aroused but he looked like he objected to it somehow. The man didn’t even climax. If that was how sex would be, it didn’t matter if they didn’t do it.

It was nice to just hold each other and sleep together. YiHan was by his side. The other man had grown increasingly reluctant to follow him to the office but the other treated him as usual. YiHan didn’t show any dissatisfaction. JingYuan kept reminding himself that it was perhaps stress and boredom. Perhaps HanHan had been restrained for too long and far too strictly. It wasn’t strange for his HanHan to want some personal space, to have some independence. In the office, JingYuan had to work. He couldn’t just hang out with HanHan most of the time. His lover would find it boring. It was normal for HanHan to not like going with him to work.

Even so, the uneasiness could not be shaken off. JingYuan couldn’t resist going online and seek help anonymously. The replies the post had gotten were extremely grim. Nearly all of them said the same thing: “When a lover doesn’t crave your body anymore and doesn’t like to cling to you anymore, you’re basically over.”

JingYuan was very unhappy with his results. His HanHan was clearly so good to him. HanHan cared for him, relied on him, and there were no issues at all when they interacted with each other. But why did the uneasiness in his heart grow more and more?

At that thought, JingYuan couldn’t help but want to hold YiHan’s hand. However, due to a seemingly accidental wave of YiHan’s hand, JingYuan’s hand missed. True. YiHan’s family members were all here. Even if they knew the two of them were lovers, it wasn’t fitting for them to hold hands the entire time. JingYuan’s fingers clenched into a fist, then relaxed as he looked at YiHan. The other man’s face was as pleasant as ever. For some unknown reason, JingYuan’s heart panicked. His fingers clenched and relaxed and clenched and relaxed. He repeated the actions a few times but he still couldn’t hold back. He reached out and gently grasped YiHan’s wrist. It felt like the only way to soothe the frustration and uneasiness in his heart was through physical contact.



Translator’s Notes:

Oh no!: Yes. Despite what pinyin and MTL would tell you, 哦漏 (Ó lòu) actually means “oh no!”.

It was a tale that saddened all who heard it: Alternate translation of this idiom would be “It broke the hearts of everyone who witnessed or heard it”. The author also had a typo. They wrote 见者流泪 instead of 听者流泪.

Scent of attractiveness: By right, it should translate to “reproductive scent” or “hormonal scent” (aka body odour). However, the reference here is to the fantastical, ethereal scent novels/dramas like to talk about emitting from the most attractive character in the story.

Essence of being in love: The word used here is 升华 which means sublimation/vaporisation/purification or promotion/ascension. An alternate way of translating this sentence might be “that was the next level in love” or “sex is the act of pure love”.

Happy new year!


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GC: Chapter 142

142. Don’t Want Your Sacrifice

It was Wednesday, another day when Doctor Zhou would be visiting YiHan and checking in on him. The two men sat and chatted for hours in YiHan’s room by themselves. Talking with the therapist was extremely relaxing for YiHan. Combined with the “intense exercise” from last night, YiHan couldn’t resist falling asleep during their session.

When Dr Zhou left the room, he softly closed the door behind him and told the man waiting outside, “He’s asleep.”

JingYuan poked his head into the room to check on his lover. The younger man was curled up on the couch covered by a thin blanket. Dr Zhou must’ve covered him up when the man noticed he was asleep. Worried that YiHan would wake up with a crick in his neck, JingYuan padded into the room, scooped the sleeping man into his arms and shifted the man to the bed. JingYuan tucked YiHan in and quietly left the room.

YiHan wasn’t deep asleep then. When JingYuan moved him over to the bed, he’d started to wake up. However, he’d just woken up and wasn’t willing to open his eyes. He rested his eyes for a few moments. It was only when he heard the soft click of a door closing, a sound so soft that it wouldn’t have disturbed someone fast asleep, did YiHan open his eyes. With eyes curved into slits, YiHan softly chuckled.

JingYuan had grown into a tall and strong man. He’d also grown to be a stern-looking man over the past few years. Everyone said Mu JingYuan was a secretive and cold man, just like a rock. But when he was with YiHan, a special kind of warmth would exude from the older man. It didn’t show up in grand passionate gestures but in the tiny details in their daily lives. It was the type of adoration that made YiHan feel cosy and safe. He couldn’t imagine what his life would be like if he ever lost JingYuan.

YiHan laid on the bed for a while longer. He couldn’t fall back to sleep so he left the bed, planning on looking for JingYuan. To his surprise when he opened the door, no one was around. The hallway was as quiet as can be and his mother wasn’t watching her shows in the living room. Even Aunt Yang was nowhere to be seen. Just where had everyone gone?

YiHan searched the whole house for his family. No one was to be found. How very queer. Usually, when he took a nap, JingYuan would be in the house, if not standing guard outside of his door. Just where was he today? Hmph! How dare the man run off all alone while he was asleep. There’ll be a punishment waiting for him once YiHan finds him!

Whatever. He’d rather head back to his room and play some video games. There was no way Mu JingYuan, the man with the clingiest nature ever, would abandon him to head into the office by himself!

YiHan grit his teeth and fumed as he headed back to his room. As he passed by his father’s study, he heard sounds coming from within. So that’s where JingYuan was! He’d found the man! Hah!

YiHan walked closer to the study room’s door to find that the door wasn’t properly closed. There was a tiny gap just big enough to allow someone in the hallway to hear what was going on inside. YiHan shuffled closer in the fuzzy slippers JingYuan had bought for him. The carpet absorbed any sounds his feet made. No one in the study noticed his presence. He was going to push open the door to give the people inside a scare when he heard Dr Zhou’s voice. The man should’ve left by now.

“Little Master’s condition has improved significantly,” said Dr Zhou. “His emotions are now stable and he’s no longer showing any desire for self-harm or suicide. He’s recovered very fast, so fast that I’m in shock. In all my years in this field, I’ve attended to countless similar patients but this is the first time I’d seen such rapid improvement. His family’s support and cooperation definitely played a major role in this. From that, I can say Little Master Bai is a very lucky, very happy young man.”

YiHan was stunned. Was he ill? Why didn’t he understand what the doctor was saying? Wasn’t Dr Zhou hired because his family was worried the kidnapping would traumatise him? YiHan didn’t think it necessary then but he’d been very cooperative for his family’s sake. Dr Zhou himself even said YiHan was a healthy young man. The therapy sessions were just for show, something to soothe his family’s worries. However, why was the doctor telling his parents YiHan was sick? Was Dr Zhou trying to scam YiHan’s parents?

YiHan’s urge to burst into the reignited and he was about to barge in and expose this scammer for who he was when JingYuan’s voice spoke up, glee audible in the man’s voice.

 “You mean his suicidal tendencies are completely gone, doctor?” asked JingYuan. “He’s recovered this quickly?”

YiHan: You fool! You really believed him? I’ve never been suicidal! Hope! Let’s see how this conman will reply!

“We can’t say it’s completely vanished,” Dr Zhou said, not an ounce of anxiety in his voice, “because this depends on Little Master Bai’s mood. If he can maintain his current state of mind though, there should be no issues. He’d fully recover sooner or later.”

“That’s great!” Ma cried out in joy. “I’ve been worrying my heart out every day. I was so afraid that I’d say something wrong, something that’d make him overthink.”

“That’s because you’re too anxious,” said FuRen. “It should’ve been fine just to act as you’ve always acted. It’s easier for him to think too deeply into your actions if you appear too nervous.”

“Mr Bai is right,” said Dr Zhou. “We must act natural at all times.”

“So does his recovery mean he doesn’t need someone by his side twenty-four seven?” Ma asked. “He has no privacy or personal space now and it’s distracting JingYuan from his work.”

“Yes, there’s no need,” replied Dr Zhou. “As he is now, you can give him an appropriate amount of personal space. It won’t make his thoughts run wild.”

Ma let out a sigh of relief and said, “JingYuan, you don’t need to bring him with you to work from now on. You can also relax a little.”

“Aunt,” JingYuan said, “I don’t find bringing YiHan into the office troublesome at all. He behaved well and never distracted me from my work.”

“I know you love to dote on him,” Ma warmly said, “but you have your work to do. You need your own space. We had no choice before. He wasn’t in a good place and only you could calm him down. We had to have you be with him at all times. Now that he’ll be all better soon and the doctor said it’s fine, you don’t need to tire yourself out.”

JingYuan had yet to reply when Dr Zhou spoke, “Actually, the Little Master’s condition has been an extremely valuable experience for me. Allowing the patient to obtain love as a way to soothe their volatile emotions. This is a very effective method. I believe, with the Little Master’s experience as an example, many more lives can be saved. Little Master is recovering all thanks to having such open-minded parents and caring friends. Only then could he have improved so much.”

“Yes,” Ma said. “This is all thanks to JingYuan. He made such a great sacrifice for HanHan. Not only did he give up on his engagement with XueQing, he even agreed to date HanHan for a while to calm our son down. HanHan’s all better now. We just don’t know how to thank him or to repay him.”

“Indeed,” said Dr Zhou. “Such a great friendship is admirable. Rarely can anyone make such a sacrifice for someone else, not even blood-related brothers would do so. But don’t worry. With the Little Master’s recovery rate, I believe Mr Mu can soon return to a normal life.”

YiHan’s eyes were as wide as plates. Tears streaked down his cheeks. When he heard the words “Mr Mu can soon return to a normal life”, he couldn’t help but clasp his hands over his ears and dash away from the door, as if he was running away from the gates of hell.

Within the room behind the door YiHan had just left, JingYuan continued, “Uncle, Aunt, I must come clean with you. I’m not pretending to be dating HanHan. I didn’t sacrifice anything either. I truly love him. I crave for the chance to marry him. I hope you can forgive and understand me.”

***

YiHan’s head was buzzing. His mind was overwhelmed by the echoes of what he’d overheard.

“JingYuan made such a great sacrifice for HanHan.”

“He gave up on his engagement with XueQing.”

“He even agreed to date HanHan for a while to calm our son down.”

“Such a great friendship is admirable. Rarely can anyone make such a sacrifice for someone else, not even blood-related brothers would do so.”

“The Little Master’s condition has been an extremely valuable experience for me. Allowing the patient to obtain love as a way to soothe their volatile emotions. This is a very effective method.”

“Mr Mu can soon return to a normal life.”

“Little Master is recovering all thanks to having such open-minded parents and caring friends. Only then could he have improved so much.”

“He’s no longer showing any desire for self-harm or suicide.”

“Little Master Bai is a very lucky, very happy young man.”

Yes, I’m very lucky. They did all this for me. I have so many people in my life who cared for me, who would do anything for me. So why does it hurt so much?

YiHan couldn’t tell left from right anymore. All he knew was that he had to stumble onward and forward. Thankfully, years of habit brought him back to his room. Surrounded by the room he’d lived in for most of his life, he finally gave in to his emotions. He slid down against the door and slumped on the floor. He wanted to cry out loud but he had no reason to. Everyone was doing this for him. Even if it was just a lie, they only lied out of kindness and for the sake of his life. Everyone was lying to him because he was sick. Right. He’d attempted suicide before. That incident must’ve terrified his beloved family. That’s why all those events happened. His mother would be so cautious when speaking to him. JingYuan and XueQing gave up on their engagement for him. JingYuan’s actually straight, right? He was forced to be with a man just because of him…

Everyone had made great sacrifices for his sake, so what did he have to be miserable about?

As expected, his existence was the bane of his family. Everything looked perfect but it was all just a facade his family created, all for his puny life!

YiHan clasped his hands over his mouth as he gave a pained and silent roar, a roar that would be echoed by a trapped animal. His face was covered in tears a few moments ago. Now, his eyes were dry. Not a tear was to be seen.

So JingYuan didn’t really love him. Dating him was just a “big sacrifice” he had to make for YiHan’s health. How laughable. YiHan even joyfully exclaimed to JingYuan how lucky he was that the one he loved was someone who loved him back, that he was the happiest man in the world. He didn’t think that his happiness and luck would all come from a “sacrifice” his beloved made. His joy was built upon the suffering of the one he loved.

All that affection, those tender moments of care, was it all because JingYuan thought of YiHan “closer than his own brother”? Did all those nights of passion merely occur because of…pity? Was JingYuan’s insistence of being close to YiHan at all times, that “clingy” aspect of JingYuan, was it all not born out of love? Was it all because he was a mentally unstable individual, someone sick who required soothing at any time of the day? Was JingYuan exhausted of bringing YiHan with him everywhere he went? Was he frustrated by the lack of personal space? He must be.

However, YiHan didn’t want these “sacrifices”! YiHan didn’t have any hope of being with JingYuan anyway. He only wanted to silently compensate his family, compensate JingYuan, for the past. He wanted to relive his life in peace.

JingYuan, I don’t want your “sacrifice”. Please?


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GC: Chapter 141

141. Cook the Rice

Yan glared at Hua and sulkily said, “No.”

Hua had never seen the man in such a bad mood before. “Are you tired?” he tenderly asked. “Why not sleep for a while longer?”

“No,” Yan huffed. “I still have work to do.” Pretending to sleep won’t work anymore so why the hell would he continue doing it?

Hua’s heart hurt even more at that. He couldn’t help but walk closer to squat down before Yan and said, “You don’t look so good. Does something hurt? How about going to the hospital for a check-up?”

Yan shook his head. “Right. YiHan sold your house. Where do you sleep at night? Why not stay over at my place? My family would love to have you!”

“Speaking of the house,” Hua chuckled, “YiHan, that naughty little brat, transferred the place to his name. I was wondering why it’d be sold this fast. It’s because he himself was the buyer.”

“Oh,” said Yan with a nod. “Are you free this evening?”

Hua was stunned. “Tonight? I am. What is it?”

“I heard the new movie’s not bad,” Yan said without an ounce of hope in him. “Why don’t we watch it together?”

This time, Hua was well and truly shocked. He thought back to Yan’s weird behaviour throughout the day. He gave him a watch, took him to lunch, took a stroll with him, gave him flowers, and now he was asking him out to a movie. Were these not how dates usually went?

Hua had been telling himself the whole time not to think too much into it. He didn’t dare to think anything more about it. However, Yan was giving him more and more hope. It was to the point where Hua couldn’t ignore it any longer. He did his best to suppress his skipping heart

“Why? Are you asking me out to the movies?” he softly asked.

Just as Yan thought! This was a rejection, right? This was an outright refusal?

“There are no whys to watching a movie,” Yan huffily replied. “If you’re not interested, I’ll go by myself.”

Hua’s heart couldn’t be contained any longer. His breathing was starting to come out in shuddering huffs. “Okay. I’ll go with you.”

Yan instantly perked up. Those guides weren’t useless after all. Was it because he hadn’t completed all the steps?

He lightly cleared his throat. “Okay then,” said Yan in a much better mood all of a sudden. “We’ll head there together after work.”

Hua looked at Yan. He couldn’t control the thirst swelling in him anymore. He cautiously stretched out a hand and gently held onto Yan’s fingertips on his knees. Just the fingertips.

Yan’s body shook. A numbing sensation spread from his fingertips through his entire body. He didn’t dare move. All he could do was look up into Hua’s eyes. Hua was looking back at him. Those almond-shaped eyes seemed to shimmer. For a while, no one spoke. The air in the room began to turn sweet and tense.

A long minute later with no reciprocation, Hua slowly let go of Yan’s fingers but the man grabbed his retreating hands. Yan’s eyes stared into Hua’s glimmering eyes, mesmerised and bewitched. Then, slowly, gradually, he leaned in.

Hua’s breathing grew more uneven as he watched Yan’s lips close in. He could hardly breathe. When their lips met, he could feel a thrilling numb spread throughout his body, even his hair. This was different from the kiss he’d stolen. This was Bai Yan kissing him on his own free will while sober and awake. Yesterday, he thought he’d be willing to die for a chance of Yan kissing him and holding him while awake. He didn’t think that wild and impossible wish would be so quickly realised.

Hua’s legs were growing numb from squatting for too long and Yan’s kissed seemed to have leeched all strength from him. His legs, no longer able to support his body, crumbled. He sat down on the floor. Yan followed him down and knelt on the ground, a knee between Hua’s legs. Yan licked at Hua’s lips and slowly pushed downwards until Hua’s entire body was laid out across the smooth floor. Only then did the man force Hua’s teeth to part to begin truly conquering Hua.

Hua had never kissed anyone before and neither had Yan. The two men instinctively sucked at each other’s tongues, relishing in the pleasure they provided for each other. They kissed until their lips were sore. Yan finally let Hua’s lips go but he didn’t get up. He hovered over Hua’s body and stared down at the man.

Eventually, Hua’s harsh pants drifted off into calm breathing. He pursed his swollen lips. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse.

“Mr Bai, you…”

Yan caressed Hua’s lips and said in an equally hoarse voice, “Call me Yan. My loved ones call me that.”

Hua’s flushed face went from pink to red. “Y-Yan,” he stammered. “W-We…”

Yan pecked the other man’s lips again and said, “After the movie tonight, come home with me.”

“W-What?” Hua was dazed.

In an exasperated but doting (?) voice, Yan said, “We’ve confirmed our relationship now. Of course you have to meet my parents. My mother wishes to meet you too.”

Hua’s jaw dropped. He was petrified. Confirmed their relationship? That kiss just now? Why would Madam Bai wish to meet him? Did she want to beat him to death?

Yan thought Hua’s silence was a rejection. He leaned in close, dangerously close, and continued, “Do you not want to? Let’s put today aside. Let’s put what we’re doing now aside. You kissed me yesterday but you wouldn’t confess to me. I’ve already confessed everything to my parents and I have their approval, yet you don’t want to? Are you toying with me?”

Hua felt like he was going to explode. He was caught stealing a kiss.

“You… Yesterday, y-y-you weren’t asleep?” Hua’s tongue was tied. “You knew?”

“Someone was kissing me. How can I not wake up?” Yan said. There was a hint of pitiful misery (?) in his voice. “I thought you’d confess your love for me but you didn’t. You’ve also been very cold to me today. I thought you thought I was too slobby and scruffy yesterday. I made sure to take a shower today but you wouldn’t kiss me. I’m kissing you now yet you wouldn’t go home with me. Jiang Hua, are you playing me for a fool?”

Hua was so shocked by Yan’s mystical logic that his eyes went wide. His petrified body turned from stone to dust, scattered by the wind.

Upon seeing Hua remaining silent, Yan burst in anger. He stood up and paced around the room before walking back to Hua, still laid across the floor. He lifted the man up into his arms and dumped him onto the bed. He then pounced onto the man. Since all the guide’s methods didn’t work, then he’d use the ultimate move most people say was effective: cook the rice!

Before Hua even reacted, Yan kissed him once more. His hands began fumbling with Hua’s clothes. Hua’s mouth was blocked off. His muffled protests did nothing. Soon, his jacket was off and his shirt was fully unbuttoned. Hua hurriedly clamped down on Yan’s hand on Hua’s belt.

Hua twisted his head away from the kiss and panted, “What are you doing?”

“What am I doing?” Yan huffed out upon seeing Hua still resisting. “You! I’m doing you! Let’s see if you dare deny our relationship after we’ve done the deed!”

Hua’s mouth gaped open. The hands stopping Yan from undoing his belt dropped to the side as a tear slid down his cheek.

Yan was startled, stunned. He quickly stopped and scurried closer to wipe the tear off Hua’s face.

“W-Why are you crying? If you don’t want to, then let’s forget about it. I can’t force you anyway.” Yan was sobbing on the inside. Ultimate move? The heck is that? It’s basically useless! The man didn’t fall in love with him at all! Instead, Hua was pissed off and brought to tears! Great. Hua will definitely think he’s a pervert through and through. There’s no hope for Yan now…

Hua bit down hard at his lips. Beads of blood soon adorned those soft lips.

“What are you biting yourself for?” Yan cried, panicked. “You’re bleeding!”

The bite hurt a lot yet Hua laughed. He raised his hands to Yan’s anxious face and said what he’d been wanting to say for years but had never dared to say even in his dreams, “Yan, I…I love you. I love you.”

The hands on Yan’s face had meant Yan couldn’t move his face. A hand was stretched out to grab a tissue paper when Hua’s ears reached his ears. The piece of tissue paper he’d worked so hard to obtain drifted to the bed.

Yan’s mouth gaped wide open for a long while. In the end, all he could muster was, “What did you say?”

Hua licked the blood off his lips and smiled, a tear sliding down his face once more. “I said I love you.”

Yan’s hand was still stretched out in a strenuous pose. “I, um, I…love you too. Why…so suddenly…”

***

Several very long moments later, the two men stopped and cleaned themselves up.

Yan was sitting in his office chair and watching Hua walk towards the exit when he suddenly called out, “Hua!”

Hua turned around. A radiant smile graced his face, one that had never been seen before. “What is it?”

Yan stared at Hua in a daze for a while before pursing his lips and replying, “Nothing.”

Hua chuckled and walked back. He leaned down to peck the other man on the lips. He was about to straighten up when Yan pulled him in and turned the gentle kiss into a deep kiss. Minutes passed before Yan let Hua go.

“Do not smile at anyone like this,” Yan ordered, breaths coming out in harsh pants.

Hua looked down at the man with glimmering, lovestruck eyes and warmly replied, “Okay.”

Translator’s Notes:

Cook the rice: The idiom, “cook the grains into rice”, means something has already been done and it can’t be changed. Typically used to refer to sex due to the concept of virginity.

Ultimate move: Reminder, this is rape. Yan is a lucky, naive man. Not everyone is kind enough to forgive a  rape attempt like Hua is.

Merry Christmas, everyone! That’s the end of the Advent Calendar. There are about 80 more chapters left and YiHan and JingYuan’s main arc is about to be placed on a shelf soon to make way for our other supporting ships/couples. Technically, they’re all connected but some readers have felt YiHan and JingYuan were put into the sidelines completely.


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GC: Chapter 140

140. All Guides Lie

Later that night while Bai FuRen cuddled up with his wife in their bed, Ma whispered, “FuRen, don’t you think JingYuan has fallen in love with HanHan? Look at how he looks at HanHan and how he acts around HanHan.”

“It might not be it,” FuRen hummed. “He could’ve really fallen in love with YiHan due to the act he’d put on, but the greater possibility is this is just the brotherly love he’d felt for YiHan since he was a child.”

“How nice would it be if he actually fell in love with HanHan?” Ma said. “The thought of having to tell YiHan it was all an act on JingYuan’s part for the sake of YiHan’s health makes my heart ache and panic.”

“Yes,” FuRen sighed. “Once one turns into a parent, one has a chance of becoming selfish. I secretly hope JingYuan truly falls in love with YiHan but I keep feeling guilty and sorry to ChuanYu and Ying. I feel so conflicted.”

The room was silent for a moment as Ma sunk into thought. Then, she glumly said, “Perhaps it’s human to be more willing to believe in what one wants to believe. Whenever I look at JingYuan these days, I keep thinking he truly does love HanHan.”

FuRen hugged her closer. “Don’t think too much about it. Of course, it’d be great if they could truly be together but if it’s impossible, there’s nothing we can do about it. JingYuan had already given too much for HanHan. We really can’t ask for more.”

Ma nodded and paused a second for thought before saying, “You’re right. I was too greedy. I wish the day HanHan needed to know the truth would come later and not sooner.”

FuRen gently kissed his wife on the forehead. “If he could know the truth, that meant he’s recovered. We should be happy for him.”

“True,” Ma sighed. “I’m scared he’ll hate us for cheating and lying to him.”

“He won’t. He’ll understand we did it all just for him.”

***

The next morning, Jiang Hua was greeted with a watch on his desk, new and still in its box. He was stunned.

Yan stood before him. He unhappily said, “Watches are meant to be worn, not stared at.”

“Mr Bai,” Hua dazedly said, “why did you give me a watch all of a sudden?”

“Your watch is too ugly,” Yan sternly replied. “It’s affecting the company’s image.”

Hua: …My watch is pretty. It’s not ugly at all, please.

However, Hua couldn’t say that out loud. He could only switch out his watch without saying another word. Huh. It suited him quite well.

“Thank you, Mr Bai,” Hua said with a smile.

Yan looked down at Hua’s hand. The black watch laid against a pale wrist. It looked good, so good that it made him want to hold that slender wrist in his hand. He twisted his fingers behind his back as he softly cleared his throat.

“Mn,” said Yan, “not bad. Keep wearing it.”

He then turned to enter his office but when he reached the doors, he turned back again and said, “You’re not allowed to take it off. It’s a company rule.”

Hua: …there’s no such rule in the office, okay? Alright, fine. You’re the boss. If you say it’s a rule, it’s a rule.

That wasn’t all. When the clocked ticked near noon, Yan walked over to Hua’s desk. He knocked on it and said, “Follow me out on a trip.”

Hua swiftly cleaned up his desk and stood up. “Yes, Mr Bai.”

He thought Yan was taking him out to meet with someone important or for an important job. Worst case scenario, it’d be a last-minute lunch meeting he didn’t know about. To his surprise, Yan took him straight to a grand restaurant. When they were seated, no one else appeared. Yan didn’t even seem like he was waiting for anyone. The man handed Hua the menu straight away!

“Mr Bai, shouldn’t we wait?” Hua questioned.

“Wait for what?” Yan questioned back.

“No one else is coming?”

“We’re having lunch. Why would anyone else be coming?”

“So…you brought me here just to have lunch, Mr Bai?”

“Everyone needs to eat. What’s weird about bringing you out to lunch?”

Hua: …Fine. You’re the boss. Whatever you say goes.

After lunch, Yan didn’t lead Hua straight back to the car. Instead, they walked along the street.

“Mr Bai, is there something we need to do?” Hua sighed. “Aren’t we heading back to the office?”

“Aren’t we heading back to the office now?”

They were heading towards the direction of the office but…

“Aren’t we driving?” Hua asked.

Yan looked at the other man with a gaze that screamed “why are you so unromantic?” while his lips said, “We’ll take a walk. It helps with digestion.” The holding hands while crossing the road segment the guides talked about weren’t romantic at all! Hua wouldn’t even walk beside Yan. How would he be able to accidentally bump against the other man’s hand and naturally link them? If Yan forcefully grabbed Hua’s hand, would the man think he was a pervert? Hua would beat him up and resign in fury, right?

Hua: Okay. You’re the boss. What you say goes. Speaking of which, while Mr Bai had been acting weird for the past two days, it was rare for them to be together alone. If the man reverted back to his normal behaviour, this kind of chance would never happen again. He must cherish it.

When they were crossing the road, Yan naturally walked over to the side with cars and raised a hand slightly to block Hua from the cars.

Well? Can you feel the strong “boyfriend energy” from me? You’re touched, right?

When the pair passed by a flower shop, Yan naturally took a lily and handed it to Hua.

“Mr Bai, this is…?”

“I gave it to you so hold it,” Yan said, face as blank as usual. “Don’t you think it looks pretty?”

“The flower is pretty but…” Hua was a man. Did Yan want him to walk through the streets with a flower in his hand?

“Why aren’t you taking it?” Yan was starting to get angry from embarrassment. “Do you want me to hold your flower?”

Hua: “…” Fine. You’re the boss. If you say it’s mine, it’s mine. It’s just a flower but I can feel my heart beating slightly faster in excitement. It’s not only girls who like flowers, okay?

The flower shop girls looked at them with deep and mysterious smiles.

For some reason, Hua’s face burned. As the two men turned and walked away, he faintly heard the girls whispering to each other, “Wow, they’re so cute! Did you see the couple? They’re wearing the same watch. The colour and model are exactly the same! They’re so in love!”

Hua looked at Yan’s sleeve cuff. As the man’s arm swayed, Hua could spot a little peek of the watch hiding beneath. It really did look exactly like the watch Yan had demanded Hua put on this morning. He remembered Yan wearing a silver-grey watch yesterday. His heart raced. He tried hard to tell himself not to overthink it. Yan might’ve been too lazy to select another model when purchasing the watches, so he bought two that were exactly the same. Yan just gave one of them to Hua on a whim.

Before Hua noticed this, he was fine. Now that he’d realised they were wearing the same watch, he could feel his wrist burning up. His eyes couldn’t help but dart over to look at Yan’s hands. The flower in his hands was slowly getting covered in sweat from his palms.

Two handsome men in business suits walking down the street would always be more eye-catching than the average joe, let alone when one of them had a flower in his hands! The rate of people turning around to look at them was 1000%. Still, Hua couldn’t be bothered to think about that. His mind was filled with all sorts of nonsensical thoughts. He thought about the weird way Yan had been acting over the past two days, the watch on his wrist, the flower in his hands. What did they all mean? Hua didn’t dare hope but why did Yan insist on giving him hope? Was he mistaken?

The duo walked back to the office in silence. Yan stormed into his office. He paced round and round in his office, his face twisted into a nasty look. Those methods the guides listed were useless! Give a present, ask him out to lunch, a date, protect him while crossing the road, give him a flower; he’d done all that! However, the man didn’t even say a word to him on the way back! It’d probably be useless to go watch a movie tonight! Those methods were all not as useful as pretending to be asleep. At least he could lure Hua in for a kiss then!

That afternoon, Hua knocked on Yan’s office doors. He knocked and knocked but there was no answer. His heart skipped in fear. He hurriedly barged into the office. There was no one in the room. Hua’s desk was right outside the office doors. There was no way he would’ve missed Yan leaving his office. Hua scanned the room once before pushing through to the break room.

…!!!

Yan was laying on the bed in the same pose as he was in yesterday. However, unlike yesterday, he didn’t look bedraggled. His breathing was calm and even. The stern and astute face looked so innocent and peaceful. Perhaps the man felt it was hot. The blanket only came up to the stomach. Yan’s shirt was also unbuttoned slightly and pulled open. Hua not only could see the man’s collar bones, but he could also see a wide and sturdy chest. The edges of the man’s nipples peeked at Hua as the sleeping man’s chest rose.

Hua inhaled sharply and stumbled out of the room.

On the bed, Yan opened his eyes and sat up, frustrated. What was going on? Did pretending to be asleep only work once? Why wasn’t it working this time? He looked down at his chest and buttoned up his shirt. Then, he paused and unbuttoned it again. He pulled harder at his shirt to expose more of his chest. As expected, he heard Hua’s returning footsteps. Yan hurriedly laid back down and closed his eyes.

Hua calmed down his breathing, prepared himself for the sight he’d be greeted with before walking into Yan’s personal break room once more. Just like yesterday, the man knelt on the bed and stared down at Yan. He was close enough to smell a whiff of the fragrance of the man’s body wash. Did Yan take a shower before his nap? That would indeed be much more comfortable for him. Yan really had been exhausted lately. He’d slept in his office two days in a row. Hua gently touched Yan’s smooth cheeks. He couldn’t help but feel his heart ache at the thought. Before yesterday, this attached break room was just decoration. Yan never used it.

Should Hua wake him up? What if the man just fell asleep? Wouldn’t the man feel bad being woken up then? If Hua didn’t wake the man up, then the work… Forget it. He’ll postpone Yan’s work and let the man sleep a while longer.

Hua stood back up and looked at the air conditioning’s temperature. It wasn’t high. Why didn’t Yan have the blanket cover him up? Hua reached out and laid a hand against Yan’s face. The man felt normal. Only then did Hua let out a breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding in. He straightened up Yan’s clothes, tucked the man in with his blanket and tiptoed out the room.

Yan instantly threw the blanket away and punched hard at the bed. He sighed in frustration and helplessness. Why wouldn’t Hua kiss him? Yan looked much better today. He even took a shower! Did the man not like him anymore?

Hua hadn’t left the office then. When he heard sounds coming from the break room, he turned back to it and softly opened the door to be met with the sight of Yan having a little fit on the bed.

“Did I wake you up, Mr Bai?” Hua apologetically said upon noticing the man’s sour face.


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GC: Chapter 139

139. Just So Happened to Be a Man

“Male?” the old Mr Bai questioned. “Jiang Hua…Jiang Hua…I remember now. It’s your secretary! He seduced you?”

The word “seduced” reminded Yan of the stolen kiss just now. “No,” he guiltily said. “He still doesn’t know.”

“He doesn’t know what? Of your feelings?” the old Mr Bai angrily said. “Yan, I didn’t know you could be so perfect in every aspect of life but you’d be an idiot in this. If he doesn’t even know of your feelings, then what relationship is there? He’s your secretary. You’re close to him. It’s such an easy and convenient situation! You have to court him. If you don’t despite liking him, are you waiting to regret things once he’s someone else’s lover? You’re so not like me in this. Back then when I fell in love with your grandmother, she was a beauty while I was ugly. Even so, I wasn’t afraid or self-conscious at all. I bravely wooed her. Look what happened. In the end, she married me and gave birth to your father. What a happy ending!”

“Grandfather,” Yan stammered, “aren’t you…mad? He’s a man.”

“Do you think your grandfather’s some outdated old man?” the old Mr Bai huffed in disdain. “You think too little of me. Say, you’re so stupid. By the time you act, the food would’ve gone cold! Why don’t I find you some advice articles or guides?”

“It’s fine, Grandfather,” Yan said, struggling to keep his tears and laughter in. “I’ll handle it myself. I think I stand a good chance in that.”  Jiang Hua had stolen a kiss from him already. He must hold some romantic affections for Yan. Tee-hee.

“Really?” the old Mr Bai asked. “Alright then. Act early. Aah, you have a future partner now. I can feel a weight lifting off my shoulders. I’ll stop the chatter. I have to tell your grandmother so she’d stop worrying too.”

With that said, the old Mr Bai immediately hung up with a bang.

Yan looked down at the words “call ending” in exasperation and let out a chuckle. Should he court Hua now? He’d have to plan it through.

Yan turned on his computer and looked up a few articles and guides on chasing after a potential romantic interest. He found a mountain of them. Once those unreliable articles were eliminated, Yan took out a notebook and began to get serious, taking notes as he went.

As the man was hard at work, someone began knocking on his door. From that knocking pattern, it should be Jiang Hua. He hurriedly closed off all the tabs he had open, slammed his notebook shut and threw it into a drawer. He paused, thinking for a moment, before opening the drawer again to shove the notebook to the bottom of the drawer.

Then and only then did he call out, “Come in!”

Hua entered the room, pushing the door open with an armful of documents.

“Mr Bai,” Hua softly said, “you have a meeting this afternoon at three. This is the information for the meeting.”

Yan accepted the folders, opened one, flipped through it and said, “Mn, I got it. Anything else?”

“No,” Hua replied. “I’ll be heading out then.”

“Wait!” Yan quickly called.

Hua turned around. Yan had stopped him from leaving but he couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Get me a cup of coffee,” Yan finally said.

“Mr Bai,” Hua said with a frown, “it’s not good to have coffee on an empty stomach. How about I get you some freshly squeezed fruit juice or honey water?”

The man cared so much for him, Yan thought. Surely it meant Hua was in love with him.

“Alright,” Yan replied with a confident little smile. “I’ll leave it to you.”

Hua was somewhat bewildered. Why was Yan being so easy-going and easily persuaded today? However, it was good for him to not drink coffee. Afraid that Yan would change his mind, Hua rushed out to get some fruit juice. While Hua knew there’s an 80% chance Yan wouldn’t drink the juice, there’s at least 20% chance he will. Right?

Hua dug out the juicing machine from the tea room and rinsed it out thoroughly before juicing some apples. Then, after some brief contemplation, he added a teaspoon of honey into the glass. When he handed the glass to  Yan, he thought the man wouldn’t even take a sip out of it. To his surprise, Yan took a sip, frowned and still downed the whole glass!

Hua accepted the empty glass, filled it up again with hot water and placed it on Yan’s desk. The secretary shot his boss a weird look only to be met with a smile.

Hua: …

The man left the room, mind full of questions.

***

That evening when Yan stepped through the doors of his home, he was met with the sight of his entire family sitting in the living room. They were sat in a weirdly formal manner with stern faces. The second he walked into the room, everyone’s heads snapped to look at him. Yan sighed internally. He just knew Grandfather would tell Father. All Yan could hope for was for his parents not to be too angry.

Yan took off his jacket and handed it to Aunt Yang. He then slowly approached his family and sat down on the couch. YiHan secretly tug at Yan’s shirt and kept giving him glances.

“YiHan, you don’t need to shoot looks at him,” FuRen said in a low voice. “Your brother is smarter than you. He should know what’s going on.”

“I’m sorry, Father,” Yan said.

“What are you saying sorry for?” FuRen rebuked.

“Grandfather told you, right?” Yan sincerely asked. “I thought I was a heterosexual too. I just hadn’t met the right person. However, I recently discovered I’ve fallen in love with Jiang Hua.”

“And?” FuRen asked, his face still cold.

“I’ve thought about it a lot this afternoon,” Yan said. “I might not be homosexual. I don’t feel any interest in other men. I just like Jiang Hua and he just so happened to be a man.”

“I’m asking you, then?” FuRen pushed.

Yan closed his eyes and solemnly replied, “I know this is a great shock to you and Mother but I can’t change it.”

“Did we tell you to change?” FuRen’s flat and stern voice said. “Your mother and I are asking you this. You like Jiang Hua, what then? How far along are you in courting him?”

“Huh?” Yan was confused.

“Huh, what?” Ma Bai asked in an exasperated, heated tone. “I didn’t believe it when your grandfather told us you were stupid. Now, it looks like it’s true. I know Jiang Hua. That child is a handsome man. He’s mature, steady and he doesn’t like playing around. He’s one who’s made for spending one’s life out together. Do you not know just how precious someone like that is? You like him but you just won’t act. What’s the use in telling us you love him then? Just what are you waiting for?”

“I thought…” Yan started.

“You thought what?” Ma Bai interrupted, side-eyeing him as she did so. “That we wouldn’t agree to it? Just as your grandfather said, you’re nearly thirty and this is the first time you’ve fallen in… No, you didn’t even have any sort of romantic or sexual interest in anyone before. We thought you were asexual! Furthermore, we’ve already agreed to your little brother’s relationship with JingYuan. Adding you into the mix won’t change anything. What’s there to disagree to?”

YiHan was sneaking bites of oranges, with JingYuan’s help, during this whole time. Upon hearing what Ma Bai said, he choked and sprayed out his mouthful of orange with a loud “pfft”. He later coughed so hard, trying to catch his breath, that his face went red.

Startled, JingYuan threw away the orange he was holding and patted YiHan’s back. He also handed YiHan some tissues and water. No one else had the chance to help at all.

Finally, when YiHan caught his breath, JingYuan softly grumbled, “You’re an adult now yet you can choke on an orange slice.”

YiHan didn’t dare look up at anyone else. He stared down as his fingers curled around the fabric wrapped around some legs. It took him some time before he realised those legs were JingYuan’s. He hurriedly shrank back and turned his attentions to poking at the couch.

“You all know?” YiHan mumbled.

XueQing was the first to cave in. She ruffled YiHan’s hair with all her might and chuckled, “Ma and Pa knew a long time ago. Everyone just kept quiet. What? You think we didn’t know?”

YiHan shot her a glare in protest. He knew she knew but he didn’t know their parents and older brother knew too. Ugh, what’s with that tongue-twisting sentence?

“Alright, don’t hang your head,” Ma said. “It’s been obvious for a while. Your father and I aren’t fools. How could we not tell? We didn’t expose it because you two looked like you were having fun sneaking around. Ahem. Erm, JingYuan’s perfect in all aspects. While it’s a pity for a flower like him to be planted on a cow pat like you, this counts as ‘keeping what’s good within the family’.”

YiHan: …Dear Mother, I don’t think those are the appropriate phrases.

JingYuan combed out YiHan’s hair, made messy by XueQing, and warmly said with glimmering eyes, “HanHan is very good.”

Ma squinted at JingYuan’s expression then pinched FuRen’s waist, hard. Her husband gritted his teeth. It took him a lot of effort to suppress the gasp of pain. He looked at his wife in question only to see her eyes darting from him to JingYuan and YiHan, indicating to him to look at their youngest son and his lover. He patted his wife’s hand in response and Ma calmed down.

FuRen gently cleared his throat and spoke, “Today is a very important day for our family. We don’t need to say any more about XueQing. She’s formalised her relationship with TianYang and that boy is a good kid. They’ll likely get married after dating for a year or two. He should be joining us in such an important family meeting but he had something to do at the last minute. It’s a shame. While all of us knew about YiHan and JingYuan but today is the day we’re popping that bubble of ambiguity. Most important of all is Yan. His future happiness had always been a major question. Now, his heart has finally been conquered by Jiang Hua. All three of our Bai family children have their own partners. It’s a load off of your mother’s and my minds Now, we have one last difficult but vital question. What does Jiang Hua think? If we just leave it to Yan and his denseness, the food would’ve gone cold by the time he acts. This concerns Yan’s future life. We must take it seriously. We must use all our might and help Yan conquer Jiang Hua’s castle. We have to brainstorm and strategise for him.”

His gaze drifted over his children several times over before finally settling down on YiHan. “YiHan,” he said, “you should have experience in courting someone. Tell your brother.”

“I-I don’t know how to,” YiHan stuttered.

 “Don’t be shy,” Ma said. “This is a grave matter. No one will laugh at you. How did you woo JingYuan? Teach your brother.”

JingYuan turned to look at his lover. His shoulders were trembling. YiHan’s face was flushed red.

“Ma,” Yan said, face in his hands, “I don’t need to be taught. I ca–”

“If you really can do it yourself, Jiang Hua could be having dinner with us tonight!” Ma interrupted, dissatisfied.

Resigned, Yan took out a little notebook from his pocket and handed it over to her.

Ma stared at it suspiciously for a few seconds before accepting it and flipping it open. Her eyes swiftly scanned through the contents within before smiling and saying, “Not bad. At least you have an intention to improve. However, your methods are too old-school, too conservative. Are you certain?”

XueQing leaned over to look at Yan’s notes but was pushed away by Ma. “Shoo. What are you looking for?”

With a pout on her lips, XueQing went back to her seat.

Yan took the notebook returned to him and sighed, “Yes. If they don’t work, I’ll ask for more help. Okay?”

“Fine,” Ma relented. “You must act quick! Those who act fast get what they want; those who are slow, don’t. Got it?”

“I know,” Yan sighed once more. “I’ll do my best.” This was Ma’s experience. Yan knew she could take down his father all those years ago because she was fast, decisive and precise.

FuRen proudly held his head high and said with a wave of his hand, “Okay. Let’s have dinner! I had Aunt Yang add a few more dishes in today!”

Translator’s Notes:

Food would’ve gone cold: The phrase here is “the daylily (dish) would’ve gone cold”. The daylily dish is one typically served as one of the last dishes of a feast for the alcohol-drinking guests to nibble on.

A flower like him to be planted on a cow pat like you: Original idiom has “placed (in a vase)” instead of “planted”.

Keeping what’s good within the family: Original idiom reads “rich waters (fertilizer/fertilized water) shouldn’t flow to another’s (rice) field”.


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GC: Chapter 138

138. He’s a Tom

Bai Yan’s lips were so soft! Jiang Hua’s heart leapt out of his throat. In this peaceful room, Jiang Hua could hear his heart beating as loud as thunder. He didn’t dare do anything more. He was afraid of waking Yan up. But he was also reluctant to step back. Hence, his lips stayed glued to the other man’s.

After a long moment, he finally gave in. Hua’s tongue slipped out of his mouth to gently lick at the gap between Yan’s lips. The sensation set him ablaze. His face was burning hot. His sweaty palms were trembling as he didn’t dare breathe too loudly. He was holding his breaths in so hard that his chest felt like it would explode. He carefully leaned away from Yan’s lips and took a big step back. Then, he slumped down to sit on the floor as he took in a few big gulps of air with his mouth wide open.

He knew he was a despicable and lowly man. He sexually harassed Yan as he was sleeping. However, he couldn’t resist or deny that perfect moment when his lips met with the ones belonging to the man he loved. Hua would be willing to die for the chance of Yan holding him and granting him a kiss while the man was awake and aware

He did his best to suppress the thirst in him and slowly calmed his breathing down. He wanted to take a few moments to gather himself and make sure he looked normal but then he caught Yan’s fingers twitching out of the corner of his eyes.

Startled, Hua shot up to his feet, walked over to the bed and gently called out, “Mr Bai?”

Yan slowly opened his eyes, hummed in response and asked in a voice hoarse and languid from sleep, “It’s been two hours?”

At the sound of that sensual voice, Hua’s hard-earned calm shattered as his heart began to race once more. The man took a step back in panic and replied, “Yes, Mr Bai.”

Somehow, Yan didn’t seem to have noticed Hua’s flaming red cheeks and flustered glances. He hummed again in response, stood up from the bed and shuffled into the en suite bathroom.

Hua stared at the closed door. Every ounce of strength holding him up fled as he stumbled back to collapse against the wall. Yan didn’t act like he’d noticed anything. He shouldn’t have then! Hua, oh, Hua, when did you become so…perverted?

He scrubbed hard at his face with his hands and left the room.

In the bathroom, Yan wasn’t showering or washing up his face at all. He was sternly staring into the mirror with his hands propped up against the counter. Jiang Hua stole a kiss from him! The man kissed him!

Actually, Yan had woken up when Hua opened the door. He didn’t want to open his eyes without being prompted though, so he waited for Hua to speak up yet the man just wouldn’t. Yan was getting impatient. He was contemplating whether to “wake up” by himself when he felt Yan getting closer and closer!

Yan had some guesses as to what Hua was going to do but he didn’t dare make a move. He didn’t know if he was happy and eager for it or not. All he knew was that he wasn’t angry or disgusted. When Yan’s lips met his, Yan nearly jumped out of bed. It took him a great deal of effort to hold back the urge. In his mind, he was telling Hua that a kiss shouldn’t just be lips meeting. There should be other actions involved. Still, the man just laid there unmoving. It made Yan so frustrated that he was going to open his eyes and seize control of the kiss when Hua licked him! He just…licked him once.

It’s such a shame Hua was still too much of a coward. The man ran off just after licking Yan once!

Yan looked at himself in the mirror. Deep down, he screamed. Why was he so ugly today? His face was as pale as a ghost and his chin was unshaven! Why didn’t he take a nice shower before his nap and tidy himself up?

He solemnly lifted an arm and sniffed himself. He let out a small sigh in relief. Thank goodness. There’s no stink but…

Yan looked down and saw his eager, quivering little me. Thank goodness he acted natural just now and Hua was so flustered that he didn’t notice the protruding organ! What would happen to his dignity then? Look at how over-enthusiastic this thing was! The man just licked me once! He didn’t lick it. So why was it trembling and flaunting itself?

Wait, no. What was he thinking? Jiang Hua…licking his…little me…no. Stop. Don’t think about it anymore.

Yan could feel an itch on his nose. He looked up at the mirror and stopped. He was petrified. B-Blood…he was bleeding from the nose. Was he that starved? Just one lick and he was bleeding from the nose. When the word “lick” popped into his mind, more blood flowed out of his nose.

Yan: …

He took a slightly longer shower that afternoon. He took care of his nosebleed and used his hand to calm down his furious little brother. The lack of sleep plus losing some blood and pulling one off meant his face was paler than before his shower.

He drifted out of his private break room with a heavy head. Hua was nowhere to be seen. He let out a breath he was holding in and threw himself into his chair. His hand went up to his throbbing head. He might be gay, just like YiHan. What was life turning out to be…? Ugh. Should he pretend to sleep the next time he finds a chance?

Yan was thinking hard at how to pretend to be asleep before Hua without being suspicious when his phone suddenly rang. It made him jump. He shook his head clear and dug out his phone. The moment he read the caller id, he hurriedly answered it.

“Hello? Grandfather?” Yan said into the phone.

“Mn,” the old Mr Bai responded. “Your father said he wants to hand the company over to you. Gives him a chance to slack off and roam the world with your mother for a few years while his body’s still young. What do you think? Can you handle it?”

“It’s alright,” Yan replied. “At first, it’s a little chaotic but I’ve slowly gotten used to the company’s work procedures. Father has been slowly retiring for quite some time now. So it doesn’t really affect me much.”

“Good,” the old Mr Bai laughed. “Among you and your siblings, you’re the strongest in all aspects. Your parents and I have high hopes for you. We need you to hold up the company all by yourself. The burden might be heavy but you’d long since capable of holding your own. It must not be too hard to support the entire family now.”

“XueQing’s also helping me,” Yan said.

“Yes,” the old Mr Bai said. “XueQing is an excellent girl. She’s decisive and has great potential but she’ll be part of the Chen family’s core support after her marriage to Chen TianYang. You would have no one to help you then and YiHan’s useless!”

Yan hurriedly defended his younger brother. “YiHan’s still young.”

“He’s not anymore!” the old Mr Bai angrily said. “He’s 24! You were working independently at the company when you were 24! It’s all your family’s fault! You guys spoiled him rotten!”

“There’s you, my parents, me, JingYuan and XueQing supporting the company for him,” Yan laughed. “It’s fine if he’s useless. There’s so many of us. Can we not afford to raise a kid? There’s no need for him to be as tired as we are.”

“What you said is true,” the old Mr Bai said. “You and XueQing can dote him but you can’t spoil him too much. We wouldn’t want him getting a big head. He’ll suffer in the future.”

“He won’t,” Yan replied. “Lil Bro’s a very good kid. He’s doesn’t just fool around all the time. He even proposed a project for the Mu and Bai Groups to collaborate on. He’s a major investor in this project. Once it succeeds, he can live out his life in luxury and without worry even without us.”

“What project?” the old Mr Bai asked. “The southern districts? I know this project’s just something you’re pacifying him with, a little game. Don’t try and use it to throw me off.”

“Grandfather,” Yan said, “JingYuan said this project has good prospects. This is Lil Bro’s idea. Don’t you rain on his parade.”

“JingYuan said?” the old Mr Bai sighed in resignation. “If your brother says rocks are edible, he’d take a bite out of one! He’s usually a mature and steady man but if this is your brother’s idea, you can just ignore what he says. You are right, however. This is the first time your brother has engaged in something proper. We must support him. Does the project have enough funds?”

Yan hid a laugh away from the phone before he solemnly replied, “It’s enough. Don’t worry. Lil Bro researched into it himself. He’s very sure of this project.”

“He even researched into it?” the old Mr Bai laughed again. “Okay. Not bad! At least there’s something good and proper in his mind. The little brat would be running over to my place all the time. It’s been a few months since he’s visited. I thought he’d gone mad fooling around that he doesn’t want to visit an old coot anymore. So he was busy with an actual project. I misunderstood him!”

A bead of sweat rolled down Yan’s forehead. “No way,” he guiltily replied. “He was talking about you yesterday. He even went out on a few shopping trips just to select a gift for you himself. He thinks about you all the time. Father was even a little jealous.”

The old Mr Bai had been chuckling the whole time but when he heard Bai FuRen was jealous, he unhappily said, “He, jealous? What right did he have to be jealous? He can flaunt and flex before YiHan day after day, all day long. I can only see him once in a while!”

“That’s why we said for you to live with us,” Yan commented, “but you just wouldn’t.”

“Your grandmother likes her peace,” the old Mr Bai replied. “You brats shouting and fooling around would disturb her sleep. If no one is with her, she’d be sleeping alone. That’s just miserable. I’m fine being here alone with her.”

“Grandfather,” Yan sighed, “Grandmother has passed away for years. You…”

“Yan, you’re not married so you don’t know yet,” the older man said. “You all think she’s gone but I can feel her by my side the whole time. I know she’s reluctant to part with me. Once you have a lover, you’ll understand. Look. Your father doesn’t even try and talk me around. He understands.”

Something grew and stuck to the back of Yan’s throat. For some reason, his mind began to think of Jiang Hua’s warm smile. He quickly cleared his throat and patted those weird thoughts out of his mind.

“Yan?” asked the astute old Mr Bai. “Why aren’t you talking? Who were you thinking about just then?”

“Jiang Hua,” Yan blurted. His mind was fuzzy from the lack of oxygen.

“Who?” the old Mr Bai shouted, up and alert all of a sudden. “Something is really going on with you. Why does this name sound so familiar though?”

Yan’s fingers slipped and pressed the “End Call” button. He was beating himself up internally. Yan, oh, Yan, did a dog chew on your brain?

Since he hung up on his grandfather, his petty grandfather would sure get angry. He was about to call back when his phone rang once more.

“Grandfather, I didn’t mean to hang up on you. I accidentally pressed the wrong button,” Yan hurriedly explained after answering the call.

Surprisingly, the old Mr Bai didn’t chew Yan up about it. Instead, he asked, “Let’s put that aside for now. Who were you talking about just now?”

“Who?” Yan said in feigned confusion.

The old Mr Bai wasn’t that easily fooled though. “Stop trying to play the fool!” he shouted. His voice even went up a pitch. “Tell me!”

Yan’s free hand clenched and unclenched. He gathered his courage and said, “I’ll tell you but you can’t get angry.”

“You’re so old already and I’ve heard not a single whisper about you. I nearly thought you’re asexual or some cold-hearted person. Why would I be angry at you for having something going on? Even if you like a tomcat, I wouldn’t be angry! Hurry up!”

“It’s not a cat,” Yan said with trepidation, “but he’s a tom. Ah, no. He’s a man.”


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GC: Chapter 137

137. There’s Only One Chance

YiHan’s recently closed jaw dropped once more. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he shouted.

“Jiang Hua was in the car,” JingYuan innocently replied. “There was no way for me to tell you. I was afraid of giving him hope. If Yan didn’t appear, he’d be even more disappointed.”

YiHan nodded to that. “True. You did the right thing.” He grabbed the luggage bag Jiang Hua had abandoned and turned back to JingYuan to ask, “Then we’ll…?”

“Head back,” JingYuan said with a shrug. “We came for a tour of the airport.”

A burst of laughter escaped YiHan’s lips. He felt much better now. JingYuan tugged at his sleeve and gestured for YiHan to look at the man beside them. It was only then that YiHan remembered Lu FengYu’s presence. He turned around. Well, the man looked like a plant withering from the frost.

YiHan couldn’t help but sympathise with the man but he didn’t know what he should say.

“It’s time for you to board your flight,” JingYuan said.

“Jiang-ge’s gone,” replied the dejected man. “Why would I want to go to ChangCheng? I despise the cold.”

YiHan: So you requested to be transferred all because you wanted to court a man?

JingYuan: How unfortunate. He worked so hard but someone stole his prize right before his eyes!

In conclusion, poor man!

***

Yan dragged Jiang Hua by the hand during their journey out of the airport. The moment Yan stepped through the airport doors, he could feel the depressing fury that had been weighing down on his heart over the past few days dissipate. The sun was bright and the air was refreshing to his senses. He looked back and there was Jiang Hua, still in a daze. No matter which angle he viewed the man from, Jiang Hua looked so pleasing to his eyes. Why did Yan think the sight of the man was aggravating? Jiang Hua was so likeable!

Yan shoved Jiang Hua into his car. He was about to close the door after the man when Jiang Hua spoke up, “Mr Bai, I’ll drive.”

Yan’s eyes were bloodshot. It was clear to all he hadn’t slept at all. Jiang Hua was worried for the man. Yan actually dared to drive in the state he was in.

As for Yan, those words reminded him that he was now someone with Jiang Hua by his side. He didn’t need to do something like driving himself around! Bwahahahaha! With Jiang Hua by his side, the world’s his oyster!

“Alright,” Yan said with a calm nod.

Jiang Hua immediately got out of the passenger seat and circled over to the driver’s seat. Yan had already settled himself into the front passenger seat by the time Jiang Hua opened the door to the driver’s seat.

Jiang Hua started the car and smoothly slid the car out of its spot. He glanced at the stern man sitting beside him and tentatively asked, “Mr Bai, have you not been sleeping well? You don’t look so good.”

“Mn. I’m a little tired,” Yan replied, closing his eyes as he said so.

Jiang Hua bit down on his lip and asked, “Why did…plans change so suddenly?”

Yan’s eyes shot open. He couldn’t be bothered maintaining his calm facade anymore as he angrily said, “How dare you ask that. The people you trained up are all as dumb as pigs. They can’t even arrange a file properly. They’d mess up their categories and genres. Who knows how much workload they’ve increased in total? And was that boy blind? I’ve given him a lot of glances yet he just stood there, confused as to what I even wanted him to do! Also, at the dinner party a few nights ago, he actually ran off! He left me all alone in there! (The younger man was puking his guts out. The poor man spent the night sleeping in the toilet!) I thought he was a smart man but after his promotion, I realised he’s as dumb as rocks! If he’s dumb, he should work harder. However, he’s not good at work at all. He is great at slacking off and sneaking out of work though! Your temper must’ve been way too nice! How were you not angered to death when training someone like that?”

“It’s not that bad,” Hua replied, “right? He’s quite a smart young man. He just got promoted. He must’ve found it hard to get used to your work pace so soon. You should give him some time and compromise a little.”

Yan hmphed. “Why should I compromise for him? I’m the one who pays him! Why me?”

Hua: … You’re right. That made so much sense that I can say nothing in response.

Thus, Yan only wanted Jiang Hua to work by his side now because he couldn’t get used to the newbie? True. There’s no need for Yan to bend over backwards for anyone.

Yan glanced at Hua. There was a pause as he mused about something before Yan said, “Going to ChangCheng would be much better for your future career and you wouldn’t be working under someone else anymore. If you truly wish to go, you can apply for the role.” I wouldn’t approve it anyway.

“I didn’t say I wish to go,” Hua replied, bemused. “Wasn’t it part of the company’s plans?”

Yan’s anger was stoked by Hua’s words. “You still say you didn’t want to go? You were dancing with joy and accepted the orders as soon as you received them. You didn’t hesitate at all. You were even happily handing over all of your work. You wouldn’t be seen in the office as soon as you were done. You were so eager to hop on that flight and fly away. You still want to tell me you didn’t want to go?”

“…I wasn’t dancing with joy, Mr Bai.”

“So you’re willingly staying behind?” Yan asked, turning to look at Hua.

Hua’s grip tightened around the steering wheel as he smiled and replied, “Yes.” This city has you in it. Why would I not be willing to stay here?

Yan let out a sigh of relief. The corners of his mouth perked up in a smile as he said, “You’ll have to work hard then. Your future won’t be any worse by my side. At least in the office, you’re now someone ‘superior to all but one’. Even the Executive Manager of the ChangCheng branch office would need to lower his head before you.”

“Wouldn’t I be like the ass in the lion’s skin?” Hua asked.

Yan’s chest burned hot at Hua’s smile. Subconsciously, his voice softened as he replied, “You can do that as much as you want. I give you my power.”

The other man could feel warmth spreading through his heart. He couldn’t help but turn to look at Yan only to be met with a passionate pair of eyes. Stunned, he quickly snapped his head back to look at the road. His heart raced faster and faster. Today’s Bai Yan felt exceptionally different but he didn’t dare think too much about it. He didn’t dare give himself hope.

Arriving at the office, Yan led Jiang Hua up into his office. His chest puffed up, he strode over to his chair and sat in it.

“Your senior’s back,” Yan said to Jiang Hua’s now ex-substitute, “You’ll be his assistant from now on. Learn from him. Once you’re done learning, I’ll send you to a good post.”

The young man, Lil Zhang, wiped away the few drops of sweat from his forehead and let out a long exhale. His face had the expression of someone who’d just seen the light after going through a lot of difficulties.

“Thank you, Mr Bai,” said Lil Zhang, giving his superior a sincere smile he had never shown before. “I’ll work hard and study from Jiang-ge.”

Yan was satisfied with the man’s attitude. “Mn, not bad,” he said, not a single hitch in his voice. “If you can learn even 20% of what Jiang-ge can do, you can be a manager already. The chance you have now is one everyone in this building would kill for and still not get.”

Jiang Hua was standing beside the two men as they spoke. His fair face was tinted pink. He really wanted to cover his face with his hands right now. Did Mr Bai understand just how embarrassing it was to be flattered like that? “Kill for and still not get”? It’s just the role of an assistant secretary!

On the other hand, Lil Zhang very much agreed with what Yan said. “You’re right, Mr Bai,” he said, fervently nodding. “I’ll cherish this opportunity.” Just the ability to soothe this superior’s hackles, this boss who looked so mature and calm yet was extremely nit-picking, made Jiang Hua god-like! Lil Zhang recalled the two weeks of hell he’d went through and he couldn’t help but weep for what he’d been through.

He looked up at Jiang Hua, worship evident in his eyes. How did this man work? No matter how Lil Zhang organised his files and information, Mr Bai could always find something wrong with it. He was strictly following Jiang-ge’s method but Mr Bai would never be happy with it. And then Mr Bai would sit there and glare at him. Someone, please tell Lil Zhang, just what was the boss trying to say? Who could tell what the boss meant by those glares? How did Jiang-ge know? Was the man a mind reader?

Yan spotted those glimmering glances Lil Zhang shot at Hua and was instantly upset again. “When can you learn to be a bit more professional?” he barked. “Is there something on Jiang Hua’s face? Get to work!”

Lil Zhang hurriedly replied with a “yes” and scurried out. When he turned around to close the door behind him, he saw Mr Bai glance at the file cabinet. Jiang Hua walking over to extract a folder out from the cabinet and placed it on Mr Bai’s desk. Mr Bai then nonchalantly flip the folder open with a satisfied smile.

Jiang Hua! My god, Jiang-ge! How did you do it? I could never learn that ability…

Within the office, Jiang Hua looked down at Yan’s obviously exhausted face. He hesitated a little before saying, “Mr Bai, you don’t look so good. Would you like to head inside for a nap?” Yan never liked other people talking to him about his private affairs. Hua knew that but he still asked. The man couldn’t help but feel nervous the moment the words left his mouth.

To Hua’s surprise, Yan not only didn’t get angry, the man even looked happy about it.

“Oh?” Yan remarked. “Is it that bad? Hm, I am a little tired. I’ll go take a nap. Wake me up in two hours.”

Hua looked in shock as the man stood up, stretched out his waist and walked over to the attached break room. He looked like he was in a very good mood.

Did something happen that Hua was ignorant to? What’s with Mr Bai’s sudden change?

Hua shook his head and left the office, softly closing the door behind him as he went. Then, as he turned away from the door, he was met with numerous pairs of eyes gleaming at him with a green light in them.

Everyone working outside of Yan’s personal office had been feeling sad over today being the day Jiang Hua would be leaving. The ever-punctual Mr Bai didn’t appear, even later into the morning. The staff had begun to gather in duos and trios to gossip. “Jiang Hua’s flight should’ve left by now” was one of the statements being thrown around. The second the elevator doors opened, everyone shot back to their seats like rabbits running away. To their shock, a seemingly-exhausted but very energetic Mr Bai brought Jiang Hua back to the office!

What was going on? The urge to gossip burned through them but no one could enter Mr Bai’s office other than Lil Zhang. They could only wait in agitation. Finally, Lil Zhang exited the office. Everyone pounced to interrogate him about what was going on. When they knew Jiang Hua would be going nowhere, a few girls started cheering. Then, they waited for Jiang Hua to leave Mr Bai’s office. The second the man was out, they pounced on him and crowded around him. Lil Zhang, who was the previous focus of the other workers, was subsequently pushed out of the crowd.

Lil Zhang held a hand up to his face and sighed. This world only cared for looks. Those who have beauty held the greatest advantage in life! It’s quite depressing.

Two hours later, Jiang Hua stepped into Yan’s private break room. The man was still fast asleep, only covered by a corner of his blanket. Beneath the slightly agape collar, his sharp collarbones rose and fell with the man’s even breaths.

Hua took a few steps forward and hesitated. He was somewhat reluctant to wake the man up. It was his first time seeing Yan asleep. The man was usually very strict and solemn at work. He would never fall asleep during work hours. This might be Hua’s only chance to watch the man without worry. He really couldn’t bear to break this moment of tranquillity.

A finger reached out to brush against Yan’s cheek. Then, it shrank back as if burned. Looking down at Yan’s unaware sleeping face, Hua suddenly thought that perhaps this would be only chance he’d ever have to be so close to Yan.

It was as if he was possessed. Hua placed a knee on the bed and leaned down. Closer and closer he got to Yan as he supported his weight with arms placed at the sides of the bed. Hua was not close enough that Yan’s breathing rang in his ears. Hua’s heart skipped. His palms began to sweat. Looking down at those lips, Hua gathered his courage and slowly leaned down to meet them with his.

Translator’s Notes:

In conclusion: The term used here (横批) generally refers to the horizontal scroll usually seen above doors, accompanied by spring couplets. These scrolls usually summarise/give an ending flair to the message written on those couplets.

Superior to all but one: The actual idiom is “inferior to one, superior to thousands” (一人之下万人之上).

Ass in the lion’s skin: The Aesop fable equivalent of the idiom “fox pretending to be a tiger” (狐假虎威).


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GC: Chapter 136

136. You Came to Send Me Off?

“Okay,” Lu FengYu hurriedly responded. “I’ll help you pull your bag, Jiang-ge.”

“I’m fine,” Jiang Hua said with a polite smile. “Thanks.”

At first, FengYu was rather disheartened by the refusal. Soon, he perked back up and dashed off with his bag to follow close behind Hua.

Jiang Hua initially wanted to sit at the end of the bench but a little nudge from YiHan pushed him into the middle seats. YiHan sat down to his left. JingYuan settled into YiHan’s other side. FengYu gave YiHan a grateful glance before scurried over to sit beside Jiang Hua. He was so excited to be sitting so close to Jiang Hua. Perhaps Jiang Hua was carrying a personal heater or oven with him. The cheek closest to him was flushed red.

“Jiang-ge,” YiHan asked, “is your accommodation all settled over there?”

Jiang Hua let out an exasperated chuckle. “YiHan, you’ve asked me that several times now. The company has arranged a flat for me. I’ll be staying there for a while. Once all the paperwork is done and a normal has been established, I’ll look for a proper place.”

“I’ve transferred the money all into your card,” YiHan said. “You can buy a house over there. Their property prices are cheaper. You can buy something a little bigger.”

“So quickly?” Jiang Hua was surprised.

YiHan’s fingers scratched against his cheek in guilt. “I just so happen to have a friend looking to buy a place,” he softly replied. “He said he won’t be redecorating it.”

“Oh,” Hua said, eyes dropping down to the ground. “That’s good. I’ll leave you a room in my new place too. You can come over anytime.”

“Okay,” YiHan said, smile back on his face. “I’ll visit you when I have the time.”

“I can help you with looking for a house,” FengYu chimed in. “I have a friend who deals in property in ChangCheng. I can ask him to find something nice.”

“No need to trouble yourself,” Hua refused. “I can just find one myself and it’s still rather early to start looking. Buying a place would have to wait a while longer.”

YiHan could almost see a pair of invisible, furry ears on top of FengYu’s head droop. He couldn’t help but laugh a little at that.

Hiding not far away was Bai Yan, watching them chat and laugh while a weird rage burned deep in him. After he returned to his room last night, he was feeling restless. He couldn’t stay in his room but he didn’t know what he wanted to do, so he just went to his car. He was going to start the car but he didn’t know where to go, but he also didn’t want to get out of the car. So he sat there in his car, fuming as images of Jiang Hua flashed through his mind. He recalled how Jiang Hua looked as the man focused on his work, when he smiled at Yan, when he’d help Yan deal with all the drunkards toasting Yan, when he was tired and frustrated and during the night he was dead drunk.

Yan’s mind was in a daze as images whirled through it. Yan had never realised he had so many memories of Jiang Hua. Lost in his thoughts, he sat there through the night until dawn broke. Stuck in a rare languid daze, he stayed in the car as the sun shone brightly. He wanted to head back into his room but he was afraid of bumping into his little brother. He was afraid of being questioned by YiHan why he wasn’t in his room. The younger man would be leaving the house to drive Jiang Hua to the airport anyway. Yan could leave his car when his brother’s gone from the house.

Ah, yes. YiHan’s going to drive Jiang Hua to the airport. The thought of Jiang Hua leaving left a heavy weight on Yan’s chest. He was having very strong second thoughts about the man leaving. He couldn’t help but blame himself a little. Everything was fine but he just had to kick up a huge fuss and transfer Jiang Hua away. Now, look. He’d gotten on the train and there’s no backing out yet he couldn’t bear to let Jiang Hua leave. It’d be humiliating to change his mind at the last minute. This was the most shameful thing he’d ever done in his whole life!

Jiang Hua must hate him a lot now, right? Otherwise, he wouldn’t say he’d never return to this city again. (Come on. The man’s words weren’t that drastic.) True. Anyone who was doing a good job at work would be angry at being transferred to a frigid city just because the boss was throwing a temper tantrum over nothing. Only Jiang Hua was good-natured enough to not instantly flip out at Yan.

However, Jiang Hua would never come back. Would he have to find some reason to use as an excuse to visit the man in ChangCheng? He wasn’t YiHan. One line about being Jiang Hua’s “younger brother” was enough for the man to give YiHan a room in his home!

His mind rambled on in a downward spiral until Yan didn’t even know what his mind was thinking. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep. His head might be going fuzzy from staying awake the whole night.

Yan had thought to get out of the car and head back to his room after YiHan and JingYuan left, but when he watched the two men drive off and he was reminded why they were leaving the house so early in the morning, he couldn’t help but start the car and sneakily followed behind them. He was now realising, after he’d ordered for Jiang Hua’s transfer, he’d been spending more and more time sneaking around.

Yan followed the lovers to the residential area of Jiang Hua’s home. He then hid his car near the entrance of the area gates. He’d definitely be able to see JingYuan’s car the moment they leave the area. He thought they’d be right out with Jiang Hua but then they stayed in there for a very long time. Hmph! They must’ve been having breakfast at Jiang Hua’s apartment!

Yan laid a hand on his growling stomach. Why did he follow them? He even made himself act and look like a thief. He didn’t even have breakfast!

He grumbled and griped but he didn’t dare leave the car to find some food. He was scared Jiang Hua and the other two would leave the moment he left.

Finally, the long-awaited car and its passengers swerve out of the gates. Yan started his car and began following them once more, this time to the airport. When he spotted Lu FengYu, his lungs nearly burst with fury. That shameless man was going to be on the same flight as Jiang Hua!

Fine. They’re happily chatting away while he’s hiding behind a huge pot of plant like a criminal or stalker!

The airport security was keeping a close eye on him!

He had never felt so embarrassed before!

Hmph! Damn Jiang Hua!

Aaargh! What did he just see? That shameless Lu FengYu was secretly tugging on Jiang Hua’s shirt! He was even shimmying on the spot in pride (he wasn’t)! Were there thorns on that chair? Why are you fidgeting? It’s just a seat beside Jiang Hua. What’s there to be proud of?

Aaaah! He was so annoyed! The thought of Lu FengYu having more chances to twist and shimmy (he wasn’t!) before Jiang Hua when they’re at ChangCheng made Yan feel anger blazing through him, the anger of a magnitude he’d never felt before.

Further. More! Once this bastard seduces Jiang Hua, he’d move into Jiang Hua’s home (brainwashed by YiHan)! Damn it! What chance did he stand then? He was the one who was closer!

What? Closer? Mr Yan sank deep into thought.

The men chat and joked around. Soon, it was time for the two men to board. Again, Lu FengYu wanted to help Jiang Hua with his luggage. However, by coincidence, Jiang Hua was about to grab his bag too. Naturally, the two hands touched.

FengYu’s face instantly went red, so red that he looked like he was a cooked prawn.

Jiang Hua nonchalantly pulled his bag closer, thanked FengYu and walked ahead to the boarding counter. FengYu patted his cheeks and pattered along, heart still thumping with excitement.

Yan was still stuck in his thoughts when his sharp eyes caught the touch. He gritted his teeth. You scheming little crap! How dare he seized the chance to grope Jiang Hua! He was even acting all shy like a little wife! Did he think Jiang Hua lacked a sweet, baby bird for a loved? Erm, he actually does lack a significant other!

Yan watched Jiang Hua’s figure walk further and further from him. The man was nearly at the security checkpoint. The thought of never seeing him again after today made his heart feel more and more hollow with every step the other took away from Yan. It felt like he was going to lose something important. That feeling was so upsetting. It made his heart curdle in discomfort as his feet unwittingly took a step forward. However, the foot bumped into the flower pot!

Jiang Hua slowly walked towards the security checkpoint. Finally, he let out a heavy sigh as a farewell to a hopeless romance and for the helplessness he felt in life.

YiHan followed close behind the man. His heart ached at the sigh.

Jiang Hua turned around and said, “YiHan, you can stop here. Go back. Come visit me when you’re free.”

YiHan did his best to push out a smile and replied, “Alright. Hurry up. Remember to call me once you get off the place. Call me once you’re settled in too.”

“Okay,” Jiang Hua softly said.

YiHan had so much more to say to Jiang Hua but he’d repeated himself too many times on what to do and what not to do. He also didn’t know how he should comfort the other man. Lu FengYu was also standing near them. In the end, all YiHan could do was wave and watch as Jiang Hua left him.

The older man gave YiHan a light pat on the shoulder and revealed a warm smile that was so very familiar to YiHan. Then, he turned away.

Just then, a deep voice rang through the hall, “Halt!”

This new voice was one Jiang Hua knew all too well. Every day, he listened to it. It echoed into his dreams at night. Jiang Hua snapped his head around in disbelief. The sight he was met with was one he’d never ever forget.

Bai Yan was striding towards him from not far behind YiHan. His collared shirt was crumpled and wrinkled in all sorts of places. There were patches of growing beard hair on his jaw. His face was in a scowl.

Jiang Hua’s heart skipped. His ever-gentle voice sounded hoarse as he spoke up, “Mr Bai, you came…to see me off?”

Yan had wanted to shout back “fuck the send-off” but he held it in out of consideration of his image. “Didn’t you receive the notice?” he growled. “There’s been a change of plans. Someone else will be going to ChangCheng. You’ll return to your original post.” He paused, then continued, “You have work today. You’re late!”

“When was the notice sent?” Hua was truly stunned. “I didn’t receive any.”

“Look at your phone,” Yan said with a straight face.

The other man took his phone out and thoroughly checked through all of his inboxes. Naturally, there wasn’t a notice to be found.

“There aren’t any,” Hua asserted once more.

 “Then someone made a mistake,” Yan sternly replied. “Look at the subordinates you train. They even missed a notice that should’ve been sent out earlier! I really should deduct your bonus. What are you still standing there for? Get back now! Do you want to skip half a day’s worth of work?”

Jiang Hua: …

Airport Security Guard A: Oh, it’s not a thief. He’s here to chase down his wife.

Airport Security Guard B: I’ve long since seen through him. Didn’t you notice how I’ve stopped paying attention to him a long time ago?

YiHan, JingYuan and FengYu who watched the duo walk away, leaving chaos in their wake: …

What was going on? Why did it look as clichéd as an objection at a wedding? Big Brother, your dearest, most beloved little brother was standing right in front of you. Did you not see YiHan? Lu FengYu’s a slim man, so fine. You didn’t see him. But did your eyes also skip past Mu JingYuan, that tall giant? Why didn’t you give us a single glance? You just dragged Jiang Hua away while you started and finished a conversation all by yourself. Did you realise how many holes there were in your lie?

YiHan clicked his gaping jaw shut and nudged JingYuan with an elbow. “What’s going on?”

JingYuan, on the other hand, was as calm as always. “He’d thought things through. Hm. He’s much better at holding back his temper than I thought. He could hold it in until now.”

“What?” YiHan asked, confused.

“He’s been following us the whole time,” JingYuan replied.

Translator’s Notes:

Gotten on the train and there’s no backing out: The actual idiom was “it’s hard getting off the tiger (one’s riding)”.

Most shameful: The actual word used was “ugly/short” which implied shame because it’d be losing face/not done as well.

One who was closer: The actual idiom is “the closer to the water, the closer to the moon”.


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