GC: Chapter 174

174. Even Your Name is a Lie

Frankly, the first time YouRan met JingYuan, he could feel the other man wasn’t an ordinary man. He didn’t think too much about it afterwards as he got to know the other man more. There was also the occasional homeliness JingYuan showed. For example, YiHan loved to eat fruits so JingYuan would peel anything that needed to be peeled and if it didn’t need peeling, JingYuan would clean and cut them up first. All of the work was done by JingYuan’s two hands. Sometimes, he’d be sent spinning around by YiHan’s orders. They acted just like all loving couples in the world did. But since JingYuan was the future husband of the youngest son of the Bai family, the man must be the head of the Mu family.

When their engagement was announced, the whole city felt like it’d gone through an earthquake. Everyone on the internet was talking about it. YouRan wasn’t interested in such matters though so he’d only taken a brief glance at it. All he knew was that it was a marriage tying the Bai and Mu families together. He thought it was just the average contract marriage done for business. He never would’ve thought the couple would appear right by his side and that they felt so passionately for each other.

YiHan and JingYuan acted so warmly and naturally around each other. Their love burned bright. The two formed their own little world, connected by an invisible thread that cannot be broken nor did they want it to be broken.

Filled with orange slices, YiHan was unable to speak. All he could do was nod.

YouRan then turned to Yan. “Your surname is Yan and you’ve known YiHan for a while now. Are you part of the five great families too?”

“Ah, yes,” Yan nervously replied. “I’m the second son of the Yan family.”

YouRan nodded. “The second son. How did you come to live in such an area then?”

A bead of cold sweat rolled down the back of Yan’s head. “I like this place,” Yan calmly said. “It’s like the eye of the storm. I won’t be disturbed at all and it’s a very favourable place for me.”

YouRan didn’t find anything suspicious with that answer. “Does it counts as going into hiding? Great minds hide in the city?”

Yan nodded in apparent awkwardness.

After a pause for thought, YouRan then said to YiHan, “No wonder a young master like you would come all the way here. Were you scoping the area out for him?”

YiHan froze. Reminded of his first meeting with YouRan, he hurriedly swallowed down and began nodding repeatedly as he said, “Yes, yes. Yan was looking for a quiet place to live by himself. Zhang-ge’s store re-opened on that day. When I left, it was still quite early so I wandered through the city, and scope out available places for Yan. Then, I saw this place. I found it nice and told him so when I went home. That’s why he paid attention to information about the properties here.” YiHan then cleared his throat with a little cough.

JingYuan gently patted YiHan on the back. “Slow down. Don’t choke.”

“It really is a small world,” YouRan said with a nod.

“It’s fate too,” YiHan said, smiling.

“Yan moved out of the family home. No matter where he went, he’d have neighbours,” JingYuan calmly said. “However, he just so happened to move here and became the neighbour of his favourite author. That is something to celebrate and be thankful for.”

JingYuan’s low voice rang with the strength to make others believe in him. Unwittingly, YouRan nodded to what the other man said.

At the same moment, Yan and YiHan both turned to look away and heaved a sigh of relief.

***

The engagement party was held at the Bai family home. The sky grew dark and bright lights shone from within the manor. In the ground floor banquet hall, shimmering fabrics wafted through the air scented with the aroma of booze and champagne as people chattered. Everyone who’s anyone in the city was here. Of course, many thick-skinned attendees came without an invitation.

On that night, the great men and women of the city were all gathered in the same room. They were each accompanied by a beautiful lady or a handsome man. Many of whom were household names, celebrities. Winter was coming and the air was freezing but the gorgeous partners still wore fashionable thin clothes. The field of bare shoulders and slender legs made one’s heart pound. Thankfully, the hall was well-heated so the beauties didn’t fall sick from the cold.

YouRan arrived with Yan. YiHan knew the man didn’t like crowded situations like the current party, so he especially arranged a quiet corner for YouRan to hide in. He also ordered Pan Wen and Wei Wu to stand guard nearby and prevent anyone from disturbing YouRan.

In the hall, the people gathered in duos and trios. As they sipped from their drinks, they talked. Sometimes, they laughed. When the star couple, YiHan and JingYuan, arrived at the top of the staircase, a roar rose as the crowd applauded. Everyone exclaimed how perfect they were together. The moment the two men reached the bottom of the stairs, they were surrounded. Not even Ma and Pa could escape from the crowd. There would also be someone toasting them and congratulating them.

FuRen led YiHan and JingYuan to the stage in the hall for a speech announcing their engagement along with a few thanks directed at the crowd.

YouRan’s spot might be tucked away but it had a great view of the stage. “They’re very well matched,” he said with a smile as he watched the star couple.

Beside him sat Pei. She took a sip of her juice and smiled. “Indeed. They’re so in love. Haha! Nan Shan, did you know? Whenever I see Mr Mu display his proficiency at face-changing, I want to laugh. He looks so different when it comes to YiHan compared to when he talks to other people. Haha, they’re really good for each other. They’re so deeply in love. If they ever break up, I think I’ll never believe in love again.”

“It’s their engagement party,” said Yan. “It’s a grand day. Don’t mention that nonsense.”

Pei stuck her tongue out at her brother. Looking at the happy crowd, the smile on her lips grew wider. “People nowadays is that realistic. Rules and ethics are nothing before money and power. It has been years since gay marriage has been legalized but it’s not part of the mainstream. Many people still can’t accept it, particularly the older generation. In this hall, at least half of the people here think of gay people as aliens. But look at them, Nan Shan. All of them are smiling as brightly as flowers in bloom. They keep praising JingYuan and YiHan as a perfect couple. It’s as if they’re speaking what they truly think. There’s no pressure at all. In the end, it’s all a matter of power. JingYuan is the head of the Mu family. YiHan is the youngest son of the Bai family. In this city, they are part of the tiny crowd standing at the top of the pyramid. With their statuses, who’d dare say anything? Even if someone finds it upsetting, they have to smile.”

“That’s natural,” said Yan. “Who would want to make an enemy of the Bai and Mu families over a little unease? Unless they’re a fool. Honestly, JingYuan and YiHan have been close since they were children. A lot of us already knew about them but the star of the show didn’t say anything. Hence, no one dared gossip about them. The instant they announced their engagement, everyone came rushing to congratulate them. It doesn’t matter if they truly mean it or not. At least, on the surface, they’re all happy. That’s reality.”

“People will die for riches and birds will die for food,” YouRan calmly stated. “In real life, profit matters most. It’s flawed but understandable.”

YouRan’s eyes slowly scanned the crowd. Suddenly, he froze. His pupils shrank.

Yan had been keeping an eye on him the entire time. When he noticed something off about YouRan’s posture, his gaze followed the other man’s. His eyes went cold and a dark gloom immediately overtook his face.

Noticing something off in the air, Pei looked over as well. It was He Yuan and Yan Miao. He Yuan had a grey custom suit on. Hanging off of his arm was his wife’s petit hand. The man had a loving smile on as he talked to the lady beside him. Yan Miao might be over thirty but she had taken such great care of her skin that she looked like a young woman around the age of twenty. She was dressed in a sapphire blue strapless gown, half-exposing her pale white shoulders and accentuating the curves of her body. Chin slightly tilted up, there was a tinge of arrogance in that stunning face.

Sapphire blue is a colour that was hard to wear. One tiny flaw and it’d easily look gaudy. Yan Miao looked gorgeous in the dress. It made her appear as pale as snow, elegant and rich.

Pei glanced at them then back at the pale face of YouRan. She secretly nudged Yan. What was her brother doing? What’s with that sour face? Did he want Nan Shan to realise they already know of this matter? Fortunately, Nan Shan’s attention was all focused on He Yuan, that slimeball, and none on them.

Snapped back from his thoughts by Pei’s nudge, Yan’s hands clenched and unclenched a few times before saying with a smile, “Nan Shan, you know them?”

Startled, YouRan looked away from the man and plastered a smile on. “How could I ever know someone so powerful? I was only looking.”

“That man is the head of the He family,” Yan said, smile still present. “He is quite powerful. He’s connected to the Yan family by marriage.”

YouRan’s eyes slid shut. “The head of the He family? What’s his name?”

“He Yuan,” said Yan.

YouRan let out a dry chuckle. “He…Yuan? His wife’s beautiful.”

Yan clenched his hands into fists as he glanced at the couple in question before steadily replying, “Mn. His wife is my aunt. That man is a slave of his wife. He obeys everything my aunt says. In the past few years, the Yan family has helped him a lot due to his marriage to my aunt. In the city, the He family is considered one of the top families, right below the Great Five.”

YouRan’s face was as white as fresh snow. He Yuan? Bitterness rose within him at the lie. Even his name was faked. He Yao likely never existed in this world. That’s good too. The man he loved was He Yao. That man had nothing to do with this sparkling, handsome head of the He family, none at all. As for He Yao, he’s dead from this moment on.

Watching the emotions flicker across YouRan’s eyes, Pei’s heart ached. She couldn’t resist throwing a hateful glare at He Yuan. However, JingYuan was right. The public cannot know of this. Still, it will be known sooner or later to the people linked to it. Rather than letting YouRan face this bloody reality unprepared, it’d be better to let the man realise it earlier on his own. He can then have more time to compose himself and think through the matter. It also meant he would never have any other delusions about He Yuan.

True, there’s a lot of pain when one cuts away the flesh festering around the wound. However, leaving the rotten flesh be would only make the injury worse.

YouRan let out a low, self-mocking chuckle as his eyes dropped down.

Yan, who’d been watching the other man, felt a spike of pain and upset for some unknown reason.

The two siblings exchanged glances before trying their best to switch the topic to something lighter. It was only mildly effective. YouRan’s entire energy seemed to have been sapped away. Every smile was noticeably forced. The siblings wrecked their brains and did everything they could but nothing could cheer YouRan up. Instead, it made YouRan down a few more drinks.

Usually, YouRan didn’t enjoy alcohol. A few glasses in and his face began to flush red. His eyes drifted as he spaced out.

Translator’s Note:

Great minds hide in the city: it’s a Chinese proverb/saying – Good minds depend on their environment to forget about their worries so they hide in the rural regions. Great minds will hide in the city for that is where the powerful are. Only the best of the best will hide in the Imperial court for they can attain peace and intelligence despite their rowdy environment.

He Yao: This was a name that popped up before. I had assumed it to be a typo since it appears in non-YouRan thoughts sometimes. If there ever is a second edit in the distant future, I’d change it. For now, we’ll leave the previous few chapters as is.


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GC: Chapter 173

173. Invitation

“I’ve never heard of a housewarming dinner being done twice,” YiHan laughed.

“Tomorrow’s not a housewarming dinner,” said Yan. “It’s just a gathering of friends. Well? We can ask Pei-Pei to join us too. If she knew we’ve met Nan Shan and had dinner with him but didn’t invite her, she’d kick up a fuss so huge that we’ll never know peace again.”

YiHan tilted his head and thought about it. “True. If Pei-Pei finds out we had a grand feast and didn’t bring her along, she’d definitely be furious.”

The two men then turned simultaneously to look at YouRan. Those four eyes glimmered as the mouths spoke in unison, “Nan Shan, are you busy tomorrow night? How about we finish the leftover food together?”

YouRan was speechless at the sight of the two men teaming up. Still, he couldn’t deny the fact that he somewhat yearned for the warmth he felt now. Without a thought, YouRan nodded.

“It’s settled then!” YiHan cheered. “Tomorrow, JingYuan and I will be arriving at the same time. Yan, you’re in charge of calling Pei-Pei. The rest of us are in charge of eating!”

The sight of an ecstatic YiHan made JingYuan subconsciously cheered along with his lover.

***

During the drive back to the Mu family home, YiHan let out a little yawn.

“Tired?” JingYuan softly asked. “Can you hold on just a little longer? Let’s sleep after we’re home. If you fall asleep now, you’ll suffer when you have to wake up to get out of the car later.”

“I’m fine. I’m not that tired,” YiHan replied, fists rubbing at his eyes. He then patted his belly and chuckled, “I’m stuffed.”

JingYuan turned and smiled at YiHan. “You had a lot of fun today.”

“Yes. Everything went so well today. I was worried one of us might slip up when we’re with Nan Shan. I didn’t think Yan acted so well with us. We sounded like friends who’d known each other for a long time. Nan Shan didn’t notice a thing. Now that we have Yan as our eyes by Nan Shan’s side, there’s no need to worry.”

“Once He Yuan knows of Yan, he absolutely will not dare to disturb Nan Shan for fear of his cheating being known,” YiHan continued after a pause for thought. “That’s good because it means Nan Shan can have some time to calm down. The only thing I’m afraid of is if He Yuan would feel cornered because there’s no hope for the relationship and decide to drag everyone down with him.”

“Drag everyone down with him?” JingYuan coldly harrumphed. “I’m afraid he doesn’t have the guts or charm for that. He might be enthralled by Nan Shan but in his heart, the man cannot be compared with He Yuan’s current wealth and power. When it comes to matters like this, he’s very unwavering. Just like in your dream, he won’t hesitate at all.”

YiHan nodded. “It’d be for the best if he could be so sensible. And if he dares bother Nan Shan, well, we’re not afraid of him either. If we weren’t worried about Nan Shan’s reputation, we wouldn’t need to try and keep this a secret!”

“Relax,” said JingYuan. “With us as Nan Shan’s protectors, a mere He Yuan is no threat. We’d best help Nan Shan get over this hump in life before the man realises anything. That’ll be a worry out of your mind then, HanHan.”

YiHan turned and smiled at JingYuan. “Mu-Mu, there’s no one else in the world who treats me as well as you do.”

“You are my husband-to-be, the only love of my life.” JingYuan’s low voice resonated around them. “If I don’t treat you well, then who will I treat well?”

YiHan felt a chill run through his body. He turned to look at JingYuan with bright, green eyes. How he wanted to pounce on the older man and kiss him right then and there. However, JingYuan was driving. Out of consideration for the couple’s lives, YiHan held back the urge. Throughout the journey, he stared at JingYuan. Finally, they’ve arrived back at the Mu family home. The moment the car was parked, before JingYuan even had time to undo his seatbelt, YiHan pounced over to the driver’s seat. The lips JingYuan had tasted countless times before passionately met his. JingYuan tilted his head up and wrapped his arms around YiHan’s back and shoulders. The older man was pressed back so hard against his seat that he couldn’t move at all. Of course, he didn’t want to move anyway.

***

The next day, YiHan started a group chat and added JingYuan, Yan and Pei into the group. JingYuan didn’t speak much but YiHan and the Yan family duo talked about the dinner for an entire day. When night fell, the group of friends who’d gotten their stories straight arrived at the same time at Yan’s home.

Yan had asked YouRan over earlier that afternoon. When YiHan and the rest arrived, the table was all set.

When Pei met YouRan, she was so excited that she bounced around laughing. She nearly pounced on the man but Yan grabbed her by the shirt collar. Pei was so angry at being humiliated before her idol that her face and neck were stained red.

The mere addition of Pei at dinner felt like they’d invited several more people to the apartment instead. That evening was filled to the brim with laughter. Affected by the joyful atmosphere, a smile hung on YouRan’s lips for the entire night.

From then on, YiHan and Pei had Yan as an excuse to drop by and talk to YouRan. Gradually, they became friends with YouRan. Every so often, they’d be allowed into YouRan’s apartment for a short visit. Pei is a lively girl. She was good at livening up the mood. As long as she’s around, there’d be no lack of jokes and laughs. The melancholic mood YouRan found himself in was soon tempered by their chatter.

The one week of leave Yan applied for was soon over. He had to go to work. Pei had to go to school so she could only visit in between classes. As for YiHan, JingYuan hated how he couldn’t just always have the younger man in his pocket. Those two men basically never left each other’s sides. Anyway, YiHan can’t lounge about in YouRan’s home all day long. Afraid that He Yuan would harass YouRan while they weren’t around, the four discussed a plan and decided to introduce YouRan to Zhang Su’s bookshop.

Again and again, YiHan, Yan and Pei lured YouRan out of his home to hang out at Zhang Su’s store during the day. YouRan couldn’t fight them at all. Furthermore, he’d gotten greedy for a life of bustling liveliness after having experienced it for a few days. He tentatively agreed to their suggestion.

When Yan went to work in the morning, he’d drive YouRan to the bookshop before heading to the office. The trio had told Zhang Su beforehand, plus they had accompanied YouRan to the shop before. Zhang Su specifically left a seat that’s just for YouRan. The books in the shop could be read as and when YouRan pleased. YouRan took to the store like a fish to water. He was often so lost in his reading that he’d forgotten about the time. Zhang Su was a man that radiated the aura of a scholar. The two men got along well. After a few days, those two were so close that it’s such a pity they met this late in life. Hence, Zhang Su also placed YouRan in the box of “family and friends”.

Yan Hui did whatever his spouse said. Zhang Su never ordered him around in business and merely focused on his own shop. Still, in everyday life, Yan Hui followed Zhang Su’s orders as if his life depended on it. Wherever his love’s fingers pointed to, Hui would hop to it. Generally, what Zhang Su thought was what Yan Hui thought. Zhang Su might be a pacifist but his slightly exaggerated retelling of YouRan’s story had a flair of his personal emotions. It made Hui feel even more furious and upset. The man didn’t question a thing and resolutely decided to follow in his lover’s footsteps and launch an attack on that scumbag!

When YiHan and Pei had some free time, they’d gather by YouRan’s side. Now, it wasn’t just Yan’s home that had a lively atmosphere but Zhang Su’s shop did too. As Pei said, they had to keep YouRan busy. Occupying his mind with other matters would prevent him from ruminating on nonsensical trains of thought.

YouRan did better than they’d imagined. Perhaps it was because they were in his life. Perhaps it was because of his current situation being better than the one in YiHan’s past life. The man might be melancholic but he was never depressed or overly downhearted. This made YiHan worry slightly less.

As per the group’s expectations, He Yuan didn’t have the courage to appear again. YouRan thought it was because the other man knew shame. Having been exposed as a married man, the guy decided to agree to the breakup. The man’s insistence on not giving up was just an impulse born from rage. YouRan was upset but he also let out a small sigh of relief. He did his best to distract himself and tried his best to let go of the other man, to let go of the sinful relationship that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

YouRan was grateful that YiHan never mentioned anything of YouRan’s ex-lover. The younger man woke him up from his denial but YiHan never questioned him on it again. When they met, YiHan didn’t act weirdly or anything. There was once when YouRan couldn’t resist but ask YiHan about it. YiHan’s reply was a smile. The younger man then said it was because he had read all of YouRan’s books. YiHan could read between the lines and tell what kind of personality YouRan had. YiHan had unconditional trust in YouRan’s character. There was no need for the younger man to ask about anything. Then, YiHan confidently stated: you’ve already left that man, haven’t you?

“Of course.” That was YouRan’s answer.

***

A month soon passed. It was time for YiHan and JingYuan’s engagement party.

YiHan personally handed the invitation card to YouRan.

“Congratulations,” YouRan sincerely said, looking down at the inconspicuous yet luxurious invitation in his hands.

“Thank you,” said YiHan, smiling.

YouRan glanced at the card’s text and the location of the party. “The Bai family? That Bai family?”

YiHan blinked. “Yeah. I’m the youngest son.”

The five great families of the city. YouRan had heard about them when he was in university but he didn’t know much about them nor was he interested in knowing more. It was even more impossible for him to know the names of the members of five families. No matter how famous YiHan and JingYuan were in their social circle, their names would never reach YouRan’s ears. At that very moment, having just found out the youngest son of the Bai family, one of the high and mighty great families of the city, was standing before him, YouRan was stunned.

YiHan waved a hand before the other man’s blank eyes. “Nan Shan? What is it?”

YouRan looked down at the invitation card again. “I’ve never heard you mention it before. I’m a little shocked.”

YiHan accepted the orange slice JingYuan handed over and smiled. “You never asked. Let me make things clear first. I never once intended to keep you in the dark!”

YouRan looked up at YiHan to find the younger man’s cheeks bulging as he stuffed his mouth full of orange. “My bad. I was acting weird,” YouRan said as he burst out in a chuckle. “What does it matter which family you’re from? You’re you either way.”

YouRan had known the group of friends for a month. YiHan and the others’ emotions, their laughs and their anger, all of that came from their hearts. None of it was acting. YiHan would fight with Pei over an orange until his ears turned red. YiHan would be so into eating during their hotpot dinners that the man was drenched in sweat. When YiHan was happy, he’d laugh in big guffaws. There was not an ounce of caution given to portraying an elegant front. He was exceptionally down-to-earth. With a roar, YiHan snapped up the orange slice in JingYuan’s hand. He nearly bit the other man while doing so. YouRan couldn’t help but let out another chuckle. With how YiHan acted, who would think the man came from an aristocratic, rich family if he didn’t mention it?


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GC: Chapter 172

172. What a “Coincidence”

JingYuan walked into the kitchen and glanced at the colander as well. “I’ll head out and buy some.”

Yan flicked the water from his hands and said, “It’s fine. I’ve mapped out the area today. I know where the supermarket is. I’ll go. If you go, you’d have to search for it.”

“Okay,” JingYuan said after thinking it over. “YiHan and I will heat up the soup. We can start eating once you return.”

“Mn,” Yan responded as he took off the apron and went for the coat by the door. He then left the house with his wallet and keys.

Just as Yan closed the door, he heard something click behind him. When he looked up, he saw the door to Nan Shan’s apartment swinging open while YouRan walked out with a bag of trash in hand. The other man paused upon seeing Yan.

“What a coincidence,” YouRan said with a smile.

Yan swiftly looked down and checked himself over. Once he was sure there was nothing off about his appearance, he relaxed and smiled back.

“Nan Shan, are you putting out your trash?” Yan asked.

YouRan nodded.

“That’s good,” Yan said, pressing the button for the lift. “We can head down together.”

“You’re heading out?” YouRan asked. “Aren’t you having dinner with your friends?”

“We are, but I don’t know how to rinse out the vegetables. I’ve torn them to pieces while washing them. I’m going to get more,” Yan said in embarrassment.

“How did you do that?” YouRan curiously asked.

“YiHan said I was washing them as if I was hammering metal,” said Yan.

“YiHan? Bai YiHan?” YouRan asked, turning to look at Yan.

“Yes. You know him?” Yan pretended to be shocked.

“It’s really him?” YouRan chuckled. “What a small world. Are you friends?”

“Yes. We’re good friends. He and his fiancée are here for a housewarming dinner. Are you friends with YiHan too?” Yan said, “surprised”.

“Hm.” YouRan paused to think. “Yes. He said he liked my books.”

The lift arrived and the two men walked in. “Yes,” said Yan. “We only got together because of your books. There’s also my sister. She’s a diehard fan as well.”

“Really? I’m glad.” Warmth was audible in YouRan’s voice.

“Since you’re a friend of his, why don’t we have dinner together?” Yan said, seizing the chance given. “I’ll get my sister to come over another day. She’d be delirious with joy when she meets you.”

“I…” YouRan was hesitant.

Yan could see the other man wavering. He hurriedly said, “That settles it then. We’ll go buy some vegetables. YiHan and…ahem…JingYuan are heating up the soup. We can eat the moment we head back. You haven’t had dinner yet, right?”

The lift doors just happened to open then. Without waiting for a reply, Yan grabbed the trash bag from YouRan and pulled the other man out of the lift.

The bag of trash was disposed of on the way to the supermarket. When they arrived, Yan went straight for the lettuce.

“What would you like? Let’s get more,” Yan said, visibly excited.

In the face of such excitement, YouRan couldn’t bring himself to rain on the other’s parade. “I’m not picky. We don’t need to get more.”

“No, no, no,” said Yan. “We need to get more. I always feel like we never have enough vegetables. It’s never enough. We’re here now, let’s get more.”

YouRan helplessly followed Yan around as the other man push the cart around with a blank face (excited and energetic). Yan kept throwing item after item into the cart.

Finally, YouRan had to speak up, “That’s enough. Even if you have nothing in your fridge, these will be enough for us.”

An idol’s words must be obeyed. Yan sadly stopped. His heart was thrilled at the thought of Nan Shan consuming the vegetables he’d bought. He could feel his pride swelling on behalf of the vegetables.

When the duo returned to Yan’s apartment, both carried a huge shopping bag each. YiHan’s jaw dropped in astonishment upon seeing YouRan.

“It truly is a small world,” YouRan greeted with a smile. “I didn’t think we’d meet again so soon, YiHan.”

The surprise YiHan felt was real. He thought there’d be no way he could see YouRan today. He couldn’t have imagined Yan would be so hardworking. The man only left for some cabbages but he came back with YouRan as well.

YiHan hurriedly dashed forward to take the bag of vegetables from YouRan. “Indeed. YouRan, you know Yan? What a coincidence.”

“YiHan, you still don’t know yet, right?” Yan asked with a smile. “He’s Nan Shan and he lives right next door. I mentioned being in a neighbour’s place when you called me today, right? This is him.”

YiHan, in “shock + surprise”, said, “What? My god! What a stroke of luck. Nan Shan, I’m so sad. You kept it a secret from me.” YiHan then smacked himself on the head and told Yan, “Go get me one of Nan Shan’s books.”

As a diehard fan of Nan Shan, there are always some of Nan Shan’s books in his home. Understanding what YiHan meant, Yan placed his bag down and strode into his study room. Soon, he came back with a mountain of books in his arms. His eyes gleamed at YouRan.

“I don’t have a pen,” YouRan sighed.

Yan calmly responded by handing over a pen he had in his pockets. YouRan had no choice but to stand at the doorway and sign every single one of those books.

YiHan and Yan had several intense battles, via eye contact, before finally deciding on splitting the stack in half.

It was the first time JingYuan had ever seen YouRan in person. After a detailed scrutiny of the other man’s appearance, he decided this man was a big threat. He must be on his guard.

When YouRan was free from his autograph duties, JingYuan decided to put on his most intense face and strode over to the other man. “Hello,” said JingYuan. “I’m Mu JingYuan. I’m YiHan’s fiancée.”

YouRan could feel an immense pressure building up beneath the greeting of the man who’d just held his hand out for a handshake. Never could he have thought YiHan’s future husband would be someone with such a strong presence. One look and he knew this man had been in power for a long time. Mu JingYuan is no average joe.

“Pleasure,” said YouRan as he awkwardly shook hands with the other man. He wasn’t used to formal interactions.

“I keep hearing about you from YiHan,” said JingYuan, smiling. “He’s a fan of your books. There’s a complete collection of your works stored in our study room. It’s a dream come true for him to meet you.”

YouRan relaxed. “I’m glad I could gain the approval and acknowledgement of a reader such as he.”

YiHan glanced at the two men and chuckled. “Alright. We’re all friends. No need to be so formal. Come, let’s rinse out the vegetables and eat. I’m starving.”

JingYuan instantly toned down the intensity of his presence and swiftly brought the two shopping bags into the kitchen.

YouRan who had just witnessed a tyrannical CEO turn into a househusband: “…” Was what happened just a hallucination or was the current man a hallucination?

“Nan Shan, sit,” said Yan, stepping out of the study room where he’d been putting away his half of the autographed books. “We can start eating soon. YiHan, do you think we have enough to eat?”

“We do,” said JingYuan from within the kitchen.

The soup in the pot was boiling by now. The apartment wasn’t big. Soon, the room was filled with steam. YiHan placed the plated mushrooms, fish balls and other ingredients on the table.

“It’s only the four of us but from how much you’d bought, I think we’d be fine even if another four or five friends joined us,” YiHan said with a laugh.

“I did say we had enough,” YouRan said. He couldn’t help but relax in the lively atmosphere. “Yan just kept putting ingredient after ingredient into the cart.”

“I thought it was fine,” Yan innocently said. “Is there a lot? We’re all adult men. Of course, we need more.”

“The classic example of someone with greedy eyes but a tiny stomach,” YiHan laughed. “You’ll be in charge of finishing up all of the remaining food then!”

Yan: …

YouRan pursed his lips to hold back a chuckle as he helped out with pouring out the sauces.

Finally, the food was ready. YiHan scooped some meat out of the pot and, after blowing on it a few times, into his mouth. “Not bad,” said YiHan, head nodding hard. “It’s delicious. Much better than the restaurants.”

Using a tiny ladle, JingYuan fished up some fish balls and placed them on a side plate to cool down. YiHan can’t eat boiling hot food so JingYuan had an empty side plate ready on the side. As the food cooked, he would scoop out ladles of YiHan’s favourite food onto the plate and arrange them according to the order they were fished out. When YiHan wanted more, he just had to grab some food from the place. The younger man never stopped once and, except for the first bite, he never had to scoop food directly from the pot. He had such fun eating that he’d occasionally look up and grin at JingYuan in giddy joy.

JingYuan would return YiHan’s grins with smiles of his own. His chopsticks sped around, constantly filling up YiHan’s place with more food. That meant the side plate before YiHan was always full.

Lonely, single dog, Yan Yan: “…” He had only known of Mr Mu’s ferocious reputation in the business world. Never would he have thought the man was the same on the dinner table. Looking at the couple, Yan suddenly had an urge to find a lover.

Subconsciously, Yan glanced at YouRan beside him. An uncontrollable tremor ran through his heart.

YouRan who had just fallen out of love: “…” Is it really okay for you two to show off your love before someone who had just fallen out of love?

YiHan who had no idea he was showing off and was only focused on the delicious food before him: Oh my, this food is at the perfect temperature! Mu-Mu really knows my heart well!

JingYuan who had successfully marked his territory: Yes. All threats must be nipped in the bud! Look at how in sync we are, how harmoniously we act around each other. This handsome and ethereal author would definitely not try anything with HanHan now. I’m so smart!

Yan looked at JingYuan’s chopsticks flying all over the pot, steady and decisive, before worriedly glancing at YouRan. Unable to resist the temptation, he used the serving chopsticks to grab some food out of the pot and into YouRan’s bowl. When he looked up again, his eyes met JingYuan’s. Without saying a single word, the two began their silent competition. Poor YouRan had never experienced a “fight” when it came to food. His eyes popped out of his head as he watched the two men exchanged blows. He nearly forgot to eat but then Yan saw his Nan Shan spacing out when YiHan was eating nonstop like a little hamster.

“Eat up,” Yan reminded in a whisper.

 YouRan: “…” He wanted to ask, there was so much food left. They can’t finish them even if they stretch the food out to two more meals. Just what were these two men fighting over?

Nevertheless, the fight caused his low mood to dissipate by half. Perhaps it was due to their emotions. Perhaps it’s because YiHan enjoyed the food way too much, increasing the appetite of anyone watching him. Either way, he was very full by the end of the meal. The amount of food he’d eaten in this meal was way beyond what he normally had, let alone when compared to someone who hasn’t been in the mood for food in the past few days.

After dinner, the four men cleaned up the dining table and kitchen. Yan’s fridge was stuffed to the brim with leftovers.

“So many leftovers,” YiHan said. His heart ached at the sight of the fridge. “How long would it take for you to finish them if you went at it alone? You’ll likely have to throw out half of the food here. What a pity.”

Yan was surprised. YouRan didn’t know who YiHan was but Yan did. He had always thought the Little Master Bai was born with a golden spoon in his mouth. Only ever knowing a life of luxury with the best life had to offer, YiHan would know nothing of how cruel life can be. Yan could never have imagined YiHan would be upset over wasting some vegetables. This had really made Yan reconsider what he knew of YiHan.

When Yan saw YouRan nod in understanding, he smiled and said, “I definitely can’t finish this by myself. Most of the food will go to waste, for sure. It’s certainly quite a pity. How about this? You guys join me for another dinner tomorrow night. We can finish off the food then.”

Translator’s Note:

The best life had to offer: The original Chinese proverbs translates to “having beautiful clothes and a spirited horse” aka stuff only the richest kids could ever have.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 171

171. Housewarming

Yan obediently raised his hand. The sight of YouRan’s slender fingers rubbing burn ointment on the back of his hand sent jolts of electricity straight into Yan’s heart. He could feel the tip of his ears growing red.

As YouRan rubbed ointment onto Yan’s hand, he couldn’t help admiring the other’s hands. They looked so nice. The palms weren’t too big and they weren’t covered in callouses. The other’s fingers were long and slender. The knuckles didn’t pop out overly so. The skin was smooth and fair. What a pity one of them was now covered by ugly patches of burn ointment. Those patches somehow made the hand look greasy.

Once YouRan was done, he rose to put the ointment away and to wash his hands. When he returned, Yan was on the phone.

“Mn,” said Yan. “I’m still moving.”

“No, I’m in a neighbour’s home. Yeah, I had too few clothing on. I didn’t think the temperature would drop today.”

“He’s a really good man. He let me in. Otherwise, I’d be standing outside in the hallway.”

“Mn. Just come during the evening. We can have dinner when you come to my place later.”

“Okay. I’ll ask him.”

Yan then looked up at YouRan with a hand over his phone. “Some of my friends are visiting me this evening. We’ll be having dinner. Could you join us?” Yan asked, hope glimmering in his eyes.

“I won’t be,” YouRan instinctively replied. “You guys have fun.”

Yan’s eyes drooped in disappointment. His hair flopped down as he glumly said into the phone, “He won’t be joining us. Yeah, he might be busy. Yes, okay. Don’t worry. Bye.”

When Yan hung up, his mood was visibly lower.

YouRan didn’t know why but he somehow felt apologetic when he saw Yan like that. Perhaps he was a little more patient because he was talking to a fan of his writing. YouRan paused for a few minutes to think of a new topic.

“Do you live alone?” YouRan asked.

“Yes,” said Yan. “I wanted to live by myself for a while. It’ll be more tranquil. I’ll have my own space.”

YouRan nodded in reply.

“Tonight,” Yan asked after some hesitation, “are you busy?”

Lying wasn’t something YouRan did. “No. I merely don’t like crowds.”

“Oh, I see,” Yan said with a nod. “I understand.”

“Erm,” said YouRan. “When did my neighbours sell their place off? I didn’t know of it at all.”

“Well, they mentioned to me they found a buyer as soon as they decided to sell,” Yan guiltily said. “Everything went smoothly.”

YouRan nodded. “Is your family okay with you moving out on your own?”

“My family’s into democratic parenting. However, my father’s a good son who just can’t relax when it comes to his father. He’d always lived with my grandfather. My brother and my… What do I call him? My brother’s spouse is a guy. I usually call him my brother as well. Anyway, my older brother is married. He has his own place and living the ideal couple’s life. I’m the middle child in my family. I’m not as smart as my brother and not as cute as my uncle’s daughter. I don’t excel in anything nor am I a naughty kid. Yes, my presence isn’t usually strong. But I also hadn’t shown any bad behaviour before. That’s why my family said nothing when I said I wanted to move out. Perhaps my personality made them worry less.”

YouRan didn’t think a simple question would make the other tell him everything about himself. He couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle. This young man he’d just met, someone who looked quite sombre and silent at the start but slowly showed himself to be a rather…adorable airhead (?), was much more honest than YouRan’s ex-lover. That realisation jolted YouRan out of his thoughts. This encounter with Yan had made YouRan temporarily forget about the issues frustrating him. As expected, humans are social creatures.

The two men spent the next few hours languidly chatting with each other. They exchanged phone numbers, WeChat contacts and so on. When it came to Nan Shan’s books, Yan knew them as well as his family’s heirlooms. His knowledge of every book and character was so thorough that he was more excited to go on endlessly discussing them more than YouRan himself. His dead eyes began to sparkle with life. YouRan had to hide his laughs quite a few times. It was confirmed. This man was absolutely a fan of his books. There was no doubt about it.

Eventually, the workers knocked on the door. “Mr Yan, we’re done. Could you come to check and sign off on the work?”

Yan reluctantly stood up and walked to the door. Even then, he persisted in asking once more, “Can you really not join us tonight? There’s only going to be two of my friends.” Yan paused and added, “They’re both men.”

YouRan felt his heart melting at the way Yan looked at him. Still, he insisted, “You guys have fun. I won’t be joining you. Oh, if you have the time, you can drop by my place later.”

With his head drooping low, Yan finally said his goodbyes and left the apartment.

In the apartment, YouRan gently slapped himself on the forehead. He rarely ever spoke as much as he just did in an entire month.

Outside the apartment door, Yan rubbed his hands across his face. The number of times he’d smiled in that apartment just now far exceeded the total number of times he’d smiled over the years. Ah, it was the living, breathing Nan Shan. His heart raced so quickly.

***

YiHan hung up and turned to JingYuan. “From what Yan said, everything went well. He was even able to get into Nan Shan’s home for a few hours. Tonight, we’ll be heading over for a housewarming dinner. Yan tried to ask Nan Shan to join us but, sadly, he was rejected.”

“That’s normal,” JingYuan said. “Based on Nan Shan’s personality, it’s normal for him to say no. It’s quite a surprise that Yan could even enter his apartment and stay for more than a few minutes.”

“Mn,” YiHan chuckled. “Nan Shan is extraordinarily patient when it comes to his fans. First, Yan pretended to be some pitiful little thing to make his heart soften. After gaining entry, he exposed himself as a fan of Nan Shan’s books. I think the man must’ve been quite good to Yan.”

“Pitiful little thing?” JingYuan asked.

“Yeah,” YiHan said, hiding a chuckle behind a hand. “He intentionally put on fewer clothes than usual as he knocked on Nan Shan’s door and told the other he had no place to stay. Nan Shan couldn’t bear to be cruel so he’d let Yan stay in his place for a while.”

“You really can’t judge a book by its cover.” JingYuan was quite shocked. “I never could’ve thought Yan would do something like this.”

“Don’t underestimate the fanatic heart of a fan. Pretending to be pitiful is nothing as long as he can get close to his idol,” said YiHan.

JingYuan’s face darkened. “I remember you once saying you’re also a fan of Nan Shan?”

YiHan chuckled. “My fanatic heart resides in your chest. It can’t be mesmerised by another man. I’m a fan of his books. What I’m mesmerised by are his books.”

Subconsciously, JingYuan’s hand pressed against his chest as if he was afraid something would fall out of it. At the sight of YiHan’s smile, he put down his hand and cleared his throat. He let out a short hum in response before looking down. He looked calm, if one ignored the pair of flushed ears.

YiHan hid a laugh behind pursed lips. Slouched against the couch, YiHan looked at the other man. This “sprite of jealousy” was so very cute when he was embarrassed. Most likely, the only person in the city who’d think Mu JingYuan as cute would be YiHan and only YiHan.

Of course, JingYuan could sense YiHan’s gaze on him. The older man tried resisting the urge but he eventually looked up at asked, “What are you looking at?”

“My man,” YiHan immediately replied with a smile. He’d discovered the joy in teasing others.

JingYuan: “…”

“I was thinking,” YiHan continued, heedless to his incoming doom, “how could a man so hot exist in this world? What’s unimaginable is the fact that he’s my man. I really am the luckiest person in the world… Hey, what are you doing? Why are you standing up? Don’t come closer. I’m warning you. Go back to your work. Hey! Mmgh… Ahn… Don’t bite, you jealous man. Stop biting, you… Fine. I have teeth too. Take this! Mmgh!”

“Still want to bite me?”

“Ahn… No… I won’t… Ahn… Stop licking…”

***

That evening, dressed in a fresh change of clothes, YiHan and JingYuan arrived at Yan’s new home. When the trio exited the lift, they spent a while murmuring to each other in the hallway.

Then, Yan loudly exclaimed, “YiHan, you’re here! Did you bring the soup base?”

“I did,” YiHan replied in an equally loud voice. “Did you get all of the food?”

“I did but I’ve ruined some of the lettuce while washing them,” Yan said.

The two men continued their conversation with ears perked for any sign of movement in Nan Shan’s home. Unfortunately, the door remained silent without a single sign it’d open at all.

The two sighed in disappointment.

“Let’s head in first,” JingYuan suggested after a glance at the door.

YiHan and Yan both sighed once more in unison. After entering Yan’s new apartment, YiHan sat down on the couch.

“It looks like there’s a ways to go before we befriend Nan Shan,” said YiHan.

JingYuan patted YiHan on the head. “You’re in too much of a hurry. This is just how he is. You need to take it slow. Yan living here means we have the advantage when it comes to the location. We have more chances in the future.”

“Mr Mu’s right. We have time,” Yan said with a blank face.

“He Yuan would definitely come looking for Nan Shan one day soon,” YiHan said to Yan. “Have you thought of how you’d react? If Nan Shan doesn’t soften up to you, you’d be at a disadvantage. He Yuan is your uncle-in-law after all. It’s likely not good for you to openly butt heads with him.”

“I’m here now,” Yan said. “Of course I’ve considered this aspect. Nan Shan was only cheated by He Yuan because he lacked affection as a kid. Otherwise, how could a slimeball like that man have the right to make Nan Shan his?”

Yan coldly chuckled and continued, “If He Yuan sees me, that man would likely hide as far away from me as possible. Do you think he’d dare to go against me publicly? As long as I don’t leave here, he wouldn’t dare come!”

“True,” YiHan said with a nod. “He must not yet know his identity’s been exposed. If he sees you, he’d do his best to hide from your gaze.”

“Of course,” Yan said. “I’m not the one who needs to sneak around.”

“You’re right,” YiHan said, smiling. “I can stop worrying now. If he doesn’t have the courage to come, Nan Shan wouldn’t have to listen to his sly words.”

“Alright,” JingYuan interrupted, glancing at YiHan. “Let’s eat. You must be hungry.”

YiHan placed a hand on his tummy and shyly said, “I am. A little.”

Yan stood up and walked to the kitchen. “Let’s eat then. I was just rinsing the vegetables.”

“We’ll heat up the soup then,” YiHan said. “What a pity Nan Shan wouldn’t join us.”

YiHan followed Yan into the kitchen. As he did so, his eyes drifted over to the colander in the sink. He froze, stunned. Moments later, he turned to Yan who was rinsing out some vegetables by the sink.

“Second Master Yan,” said YiHan, “have mercy on these poor vegetables. Look at how wilted they are. Are they still edible?”

Yan froze. He then cleared his throat and replied, “I didn’t know they were so fragile. They crumbled into pieces at a single touch.”

“Don’t wash them like you’re hammering metal,” YiHan said. “Can we even pick them up with tongs?”

Translator’s Note:

Knew them as well as his family’s heirlooms: Chinese proverb. English equivalent is “as well as the back of his hand”.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 170

170. New Neighbour

When their chests were pressed together, YiHan could easily feel the tremors of JingYuan’s chest when the man laughs. He liked the sensation. Subconsciously, he rubbed his cheek against JingYuan’s.

“Then, I’ll seduce you when we get home,” said YiHan.

JingYuan’s breathing hitched. “Mean little thing,” he said, gently biting the tip of YiHan’s nose. “You are seducing me right now.”

Through great will power, JingYuan forced himself to let go of YiHan and walk back to his desk. He was so afraid that something might happen if they cuddled any longer.

Silently, JingYuan looked down at his little JingYuan and said, My HanHan is hurting already. We absolutely cannot do it again. Stop, you.

YiHan leaned back against the couch with a slight smile. Looking back down at his phone, he frowned.

“Nan Shan still hasn’t replied to me.” YiHan sighed. “It’s so worrying.”

“Don’t appear too hasty,” JingYuan said. “Nan Shan is detail-oriented. You can’t let him find hints of intentional care. There is no use worrying now. He must not feel like talking at the moment.”

YiHan nodded and placed his phone down.

That evening, when the couple returned to the Mu family home, YiHan called Yan once more. The two men spent a long time discussing their upcoming plan of action.

***

Yan moved fast. The evening Yan obtained Nan Shan’s address, he contacted all of the apartment owners on the other man’s floor, except for Nan Shan. He then insisted on buying their homes at a high price. The contract was signed and filed overnight. His one request was for them to move immediately.

Nan Shan’s apartment building wasn’t old but it wasn’t new. There were four apartments to a floor, accessibly by two lifts situated at opposite ends of the hallway. They weren’t big either. The two corner apartments were about a hundred square feet. The two middle apartments were smaller at around eighty to ninety square feet. Nan Shan lived in the left corner apartment, right next to the lift. Overnight, Yan Yan’s resolute actions emptied the entire floor. He then moved into the apartment closest to Nan Shan.

The past two days flew by in a blur for YouRan. He knew his relationship was through. The meeting that day confirmed it further for him. The other man’s hesitant and shifty behaviour said it all. After a series of forceful and insistent questions, the man finally admitted to being married. Yet, that man dared to proclaim there was no love in his relationship with his wife. He liked men in the first place. He loved YouRan. He even asked YouRan wouldn’t it be nice for them to continue on as usual! He’s just so sly! How could it be nice?

Frankly, YouRan had known his lover was hiding something from him early on in their relationship. However, he was too afraid of losing his lover. He suppressed those thoughts in self-denial. He didn’t dare to even ask. The man never mentioned his family and he would never stay the night. YouRan thought it was because the man’s family couldn’t accept their son for being gay and he didn’t have the courage to fight back. YouRan was even ready for the day his lover would cave in and marry a woman. They would just break up amicably and live on with their separate lives. The mere thought of the arrival of such a day already made him uneasy.

Never could YouRan have imagined the man, who claimed he wasn’t married because of his sexual orientation and inability to find the right person, would already have his own family. What was YouRan then? A “mistress”? A homewrecker? No matter way, there was no way YouRan can accept that. Regardless of how much he’d miss the man, he still couldn’t accept it.

YouRan’s heart was filled with rage and agony over being lied to and betrayed by his lover. He had no friends. He didn’t even have anyone to vent his emotions to. All he could do was pace around in his home like a caged beast.

As night fell, loud noises and chattering rang out from the hallway outside YouRan’s home. He didn’t have the heart to be curious at all. The fan he met not long ago kept trying to contact him but he didn’t know what to say. This whole matter started because that fan named Bai YiHan popped his bubble. While his dream and fantasy for years have been broken, YouRan whole-heartedly thanked YiHan. The other’s reminder was what woke him up and saved him from deceived into being a homewrecker. When faced with his fan’s concern, all YouRan felt at the moment was an immense shame.

YouRan didn’t sleep the entire night. The noises outside had continued into the morning, although they were much softer now. He had no heart for breakfast nor was he in the mood to write. He sat in his living room, spacing out. Suddenly, he heard a knock on his door. YouRan clenched his hands into fists. Normally, no one would knock on his door unless they were his lover or real estate agents. Agents rarely ever knocked on his door, so it was undoubtedly that man. After all, the man said he wouldn’t give up during their fight yesterday.

YouRan remained sitting on the couch. He didn’t want to open the door but the person outside was persistent. They kept knocking and knocking. YouRan could feel his frustration growing with every knock. It’d be good for him to lay things out in black and white to that man. He stood up and opened the door. To his surprise, the person standing outside of his home was a young man he’d never met before.

The young man wore a black, high-collared wool coat, a slim pair of jeans and black, high-top sneakers. The hems of his jeans were tucked into his shoes. He was a handsome man with fair skin. The only flaw to his beauty was his rather dead eyes. There was a stern look to his face. He seemed very much like someone who rarely smiled. Standing there at the doorway, the young man was still raised in a knocking gesture. Upon noticing the door was open, nervousness flashed in his eyes.

YouRan wasn’t used to speaking with strangers. “Is there something you need?” he asked in a somewhat awkward manner.

The young man’s lips raised in a stiff smile as he held out a hand. “Hello. I’m Yan Yan. I just moved in. We’ll be neighbours from today on. I’m here to say hi.”

For a moment, YouRan just stared at the clean, slender hand. Then, he hesitatingly shook it. “Hello. I’m Xu YouRan.”

YouRan glanced behind Yan to find groups of workers bustling in and out of the apartment next to his. There was a box or furniture in every workman’s arms. The hallway was also littered with furniture and boxes.

“Do you need help with anything?” YouRan politely asked after a pause for thought.

 Yan followed YouRan’s gaze to look at the workers behind him before turning back to YouRan. For some reason, Yan felt shy in a way he’d never felt before.

“No. Thank you,” said Yan, lips pursed in a smile. “The workers will handle everything. Erm, if possible, can you let me in for a few hours? My home’s not ready yet and the hallway is a little chilly.”

YouRan was reluctant to do so. His home hadn’t seen any visitor but his lover since his mother passed away.

Noticing the hesitance in YouRan’s eyes, Yan smiled and said, “Oh, it’s fine if it’s not convenient. The workers will be done soon. My apologies for intruding.”

YouRan glanced again at the workers behind the other man. They were all busy, leaving messes everywhere. They didn’t look like they’d be done any time soon. This person was also not wearing much. He looked like he was cold. His face was pale. The hand YouRan shook was icy cold. In the end, YouRan couldn’t let the young man stand in the corridor for a few more hours.

“It’s fine,” YouRan sighed. “Come in.”

“It’s really alright,” Yan said, waving his hand before him. “If it’s not okay, then I won’t go in.”

“I live alone,” YouRan said with a smile. “There’s nothing inconvenient about it. Come in.”

“Thank you so much,” Yan replied with a grateful smile.

Excitement rose in Yan’s fanboy heart as he walked into the home of his idol. His eyes swiftly scanned the room he entered.

The décor of YouRan’s home was simple. All four walls were white. Minimalistic furniture filled the room with barely any decorative pieces. The place might appear neat and tidy, but it also felt monotonous. It was easy to tell material comfort wasn’t important at all to the home’s owner.

The only part of the room that felt different to its general vibe was a display shelf leaning against one of the walls. Yan couldn’t resist walking closer to it. Inside that beautiful shelf were trophies of various sizes for literary awards. Excited joy filled Yan’s body. These were Nan Shan’s awards. Oh, my god! How he wished he could take a picture of them!

When YouRan saw Yan charging straight for his display cabinet the moment the other man walked through the door, YouRan couldn’t help but feel some awkward embarrassment.

“Do you want some hot water to drink?” YouRan asked after a dry cough.

Yan snapped back from his daydreaming. “I’m sorry,” he said, mortified and annoyed at himself for his inappropriate behaviour. It was rude of him to just wander around and explore someone else’s home on the first visit.

When YouRan returned from the kitchen with a cup of warm water, Yan was politely sitting on the couch. The other man hurriedly stood up and accepted the mug. He then held it in his palms.

For a moment, no words were spoken and silence reigned.

“Erm.” Yan hesitated but pushed on anyway. “Excuse me, just now I…” He pointed to the display cabinet and continued, “Saw the name on some of your trophies there…you… Are you Nan Shan?”

While Yan knew the other was Nan Shan, he still felt nervous at blatantly asking the other man. His grip on the mug tightened with anxiety.

YouRan was stunned. He looked up to glance at the display cabinet. Some of the trophies had his pen name etched into them. Flustered, he drily cleared his throat.

“Ah, yes,” YouRan said. “You know of Nan Shan?”

Yan’s hands jittered with excitement. Hot water splashed out of the mug onto his hands but he didn’t care.

“Of course, I do!” he said in exhilaration.  “I’m a fan of your books. No, wait. I’m your fan. No. I’m the head of your fan group! I gathered some of your fans into a group chat called ‘Book lovers of Nan Shan’. Have you heard of it?”

YouRan could never have imagined someone who looked so calm and serene could be so exuberant. He could see the blood rushing into the other man’s hands from the splashed water. YouRan could feel his hand aching on the other man’s behalf. However, faced with someone who loved his books to such extremes, YouRan’s heart was filled with unspeakable warmth.

YouRan didn’t know how to respond to Yan’s glimmering eyes, so he turned to grab the first-aid kit. As he looked for the burn ointment, he said, “Ah, I know of that group. I’m in it too.” Aah, what did he just say? Would the other man think he was a narcissist?

To YouRan’s surprise, Yan’s excitement only grew. “So you’re in the group chat too,” he said with a smile. “Why have I never seen you speak up before?”

Having found the burn ointment, YouRan read the instructions as he replied, “I only joined the group not long ago. It was by chance. It’s quite interesting to read the conversations in the chat.”

At the thought of Nan Shan lurking the entire time, Yan felt a little shy. He bit his lip as he tried to recall if there were any unseemly words spoken lately. Try as he might, he couldn’t think of anything. His anxiety lessened a little.

Cautiously, Yan asked, “Can you give me your contact number or something? Don’t worry. I won’t disturb you and I won’t leak it out to anyone else! I’m a die-hard fan!”

“I know,” YouRan said. He couldn’t help but smile. “Give me your hand.”

Translator’s Notes:

He Yuan: He Yuan’s name has been edited out as YouRan doesn’t know the guy’s real name yet.

Burn Ointment: Please do not apply burn ointments to burned skin until the skin has cooled down. This might make the burn worse as the heat will be trapped in the flesh. Burn ointments are optional (for minor burns like above) and are to be used after all the heat is gone.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 169

169. Leave This Mission to Me

YiHan sat up straight. “What happened?”

Placing his pen down on the desk, JingYuan clasped his hands together and rested them on the wooden surface. “Just as I thought, Nan Shan suspected He Yuan. Not long after the man arrived in Nan Shan’s home, the two fought. In less than two hours, He Yuan stomped out of the door with an upset look on his face. Slamming the door shut behind him, he left. No sign of movement from Nan Shan was observed since. My men are keeping a close eye on He Yuan’s every move. Thankfully, he hasn’t made a move against Nan Shan yet. He merely changed back to his usual outfit and returned to his office.”

“He wouldn’t be letting go so easily,” said YiHan. “He’ll want to make Nan Shan stay. That’s why he didn’t let his vicious side show.”

“That must be it,” said JingYuan.

Frowning, YiHan asked, “Nan Shan is all alone in his home. We don’t know what happens inside at all. It’s so worrying. What do we do now?”

“Nan Shan doesn’t have any friends,” replied JingYuan. “It’s certainly not good to leave him to his thoughts without company. I think we should buy the apartment next to Nan Shan’s home. We can stay there for a while. It’ll be easier to care for him there. If anything happens, we can also react in time and help him up. At the very least, no one will be barging into his home. Your mission is to get close to him and counsel him, give him a friend. However, it’s still the same condition. Do not let him grow any inappropriate thoughts about you, or else…”

“Or else you’d strangle him to death yourself,” YiHan said, lips twisted to the side.

“You know me well, HanHan,” JingYuan said with a smile.

YiHan was about to speak when his phone started ringing. A glance at it showed the caller to be an unknown number.

“Hello?” YiHan said, answering the call.

“Hello, Little Master Bai,” said the caller. It was the deep voice of a man. “I’m Yan Yan.”

YiHan was stunned. He covered the bottom half of the phone with a hand and mouthed “It’s Yan Yan” to JingYuan. The older man nodded and calmly looked back at him.

“Second Master Yan,” YiHan said, dropping the hand that had been covering the microphone, “is there something you need?”

“Let’s not beat around the bush and get straight to the point,” replied Yan. “Pei-Pei has told me about Nan Shan. As a fan, I would like to thank you for your help.”

“It’s fine,” said YiHan. “I’m a fan of his books too. I believe we’re all on the same side. If you had found out about this first, you would also help him without hesitation.”

“That’s right,” Yan concurred. “However, I know nothing of Nan Shan’s situation. Once this matter blows up, as a Yan family member, I wouldn’t be in a good place to help him then. Thank you for letting me know about it before that happens.”

“It’s what I should do,” said YiHan. “JingYuan and I were afraid of putting you and your sister in a tough spot. We had some worries about informing you. We can put those fears aside now.”

“As Nan Shan’s loyal reader, I know him well through his writing,” said Yan. “I believe the current situation was not something he willingly created. You and Mr Mu have been keeping an eye on Nan Shan. Are there any new updates?”

“There are,” said YiHan. “As JingYuan predicted, Nan Shan was already suspicious of He Yuan. Their meeting today was not a happy one. He Yuan stormed out of the place. However, he has yet to threaten Nan Shan or acted in revenge. We think he still intends on trying to make Nan Shan stay. As for Nan Shan, there has been no news. It’s quite worrying.”

“He needs a friend to counsel him,” said Yan.

“Yes,” YiHan agreed. “JingYuan and I are planning on buying the apartment next to his. We’ll stay there for a while. One, we can use that as a reason to be with him as he goes through this dark period. Two, we would obtain first-hand information. Three, if anything happens, we’d be close enough to save him.”

Yan was silent for a moment. “This is truly a good plan. If you trust me, perhaps you can leave this mission to me. The two of you are big targets, particularly Mr Mu. You’d attract too much attention. Nan Shan must not want too much attention at this time. This is also a long-term mission. It’d be inconvenient for you two to move about in secrecy.”

“Of course, I trust you,” said YiHan. “Pei-Pei told me she fell in love with Nan Shan’s books because you recommended them to her.”

“Nan Shan is a great author,” said Yan. “His books are worthy of more love. I hope that our help can let him get through this obstacle in his life without a hiccup, that it’ll let him create better works.”

“What a coincidence,” YiHan chuckled. “I think so too. It’s a pleasure working with you, Second Master Yan.”

“Pleasure working with you,” said Yan. “This is my personal mobile number. We can contact each other through this and exchange information we have.”

“Okay,” said YiHan.

After hanging up, YiHan saved the number to his contact list as he addressed JingYuan, “You don’t have to worry now. Yan has offered to take on the task. He’s right. We’re too eye-catching. We’d be easily found out. It’d be bad for other people to notice Nan Shan because of us. Yan by himself would be a smaller target.”

“Yes. Yan might be rather conservative and reserved but his word is worth gold,” JingYuan said as he nodded. “He’s mature and calm. If he helps out in this, you can stop worrying and, yes, I can stop worrying too.”

Once the number was saved in his phone, YiHan slouched back into a more comfortable position. He then clicked into the chat he had with Nan Shan.

“And what were you worried about?” asked YiHan as he typed up a message. “Don’t tell me you were truly afraid he’d fall in love with me.”

“Shouldn’t I be?” JingYuan solemnly asked.

There was no reply from Nan Shan to YiHan’s message.

YiHan sighed and rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Please, JingYuan. Do you really think my charms are that amazing? You might be fine saying that but I’m not okay listening to it. You are looking at me with the rose-tinted glasses of a lover. To other people, I’m just an average person, someone that’s as normal as normal can be. How can people fall in love with me so easily?”

JingYuan closed the file in his hands as he sternly said, “HanHan, I believe there’s a need for me to discuss a serious issue with you so you can understand the grave nature of the matter. You look at yourself in the mirror every day. You’ve already grown weary of your own beauty. You think it’s nothing. You might not know this, but your looks and body are definitely the crème de la crème. Every time you walk out the door, you are the focus of everyone’s gazes. This is an undeniable fact. Furthermore, there is the current situation. Nan Shan is at a low point in his life. Anyone who appears at this time to encourage him, to comfort him, will be his saviour. If this person is perfect in every way, it’s extremely easy for him to fall in love again. I am not overthinking things. It is the reality of this situation. My concern is very reasonable. If not because of you… Because you love me and only me, I would never allow you to do such a thing.”

YiHan was speechless. “Can you be any more illogical?”

JingYuan wasn’t joking at all. He solemnly continued, “To save a man’s life is better than building a pagoda in his honour. Nan Shan has had a rough life, but he’s talented and someone important to you. It’s understandable for me to save him. However, if it carries a risk of letting someone else steal you from me, I can no longer be so generous. After all, having one’s lover be lusted over by another is not something that makes me happy. Even if I know that my lover is true to me.”

There was a faint red blush on YiHan’s cheeks. He cleared his throat and said, “Alright, enough. I can feel my skin growing thicker by the second. A-Anyway, Yan Yan has taken this mission. What’s there for you to worry about?”

JingYuan nodded and looked back down at his document. Then, as he turned a page, he said, “Yan Yan is not a bad man.”

“Not only do you think your farts don’t stink, but you also think everyone finds them pleasant,” YiHan muttered under his breath.

“What did you say?” JingYuan asked, looking up. “I didn’t catch that.”

YiHan smiled at the other man. “I said, hearing you flatter me as perfect in every way fills me with great joy.”

“I was only stating the fact,” JingYuan said with a nod. “It wasn’t flattery. If I really wanted to do that, I should’ve called you a celestial fairy.”

A snort burst out of YiHan. Could the other man be even more shameless? Was this some ultra-edition of rose-tinted glasses?

“What is it?” JingYuan asked, frowning. He shifted to stand up.

“It’s nothing,” YiHan said, hands hurriedly waving in a pacifying gesture. “Nothing. Just focus on your work. I merely choked on my own saliva.”

JingYuan sat back down. “You’re great in every way but you just don’t know how to take good care of yourself,” he sighed. “Well, no one’s completely perfect after all.”

“I have you, don’t I?” YiHan awkwardly smiled.

“Mn, you’re right,” JingYuan said, nodding in agreement. “I’ll just take care of you. You don’t need to know how to do anything.”

YiHan was touched. “I have you,” he warmly said. “I don’t ask for anything more.”

JingYuan looked up from his work once more. The two spent a few moments just silently staring into each other’s eyes. Try as he might, JingYuan couldn’t resist walking over to YiHan and kissing him. Wrapped in each other’s arms, the two made out on the couch for a long time.

“Mr Mu-Mu,” YiHan eventually panted, “don’t you have work to do?”

JingYuan’s mouth on YiHan’s neck froze. In a deep voice, he replied, “I do.”

YiHan stroked JingYuan on the back of the neck and smiled, “Do you want to do it still?”

The other man went quiet. Staring down at the flesh before his eyes, the flesh that had turned bright red due to his gnawing, JingYuan said, “I do!”

YiHan patted JingYuan on the shoulder, smiled and said, “Then get to work. If we do it again, I’ll die. My behind still hurts and you still want to do it.”

JingYuan sat up straight. “Pain?” he asked, frowning. “Is it injured? I didn’t notice it when I bathe you just now.” He stood up from the couch, one leg kneeling against the cushions, and went to pull YiHan’s pants down.

YiHan scrambled to hold onto his pants. “N-No. I’m not hurt. It’s just…” His face was bright red. “It, erm, it’s been strained. I’ll be fine if I just rest for a day. Oh, just hurry back to your work. We might not be able to go home if this goes on.”

Only then did JingYuan’s hands stopped. After pecking YiHan on the lips, JingYuan said, “My bad for wasting time. Don’t worry. I’ll be done with work soon and we can go home. You can properly rest then.”

YiHan kissed JingYuan back. “It’s fine. Don’t rush. We wouldn’t want you making a mistake.”

JingYuan lowly chuckled. “As long as you don’t seduce me, I won’t make a mistake.”


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 168

168. I Promise You

YiHan’s heart ached. When JingYuan tried to grab his hand again, he “couldn’t” dodge in time.

“You didn’t mean to lie to me?” YiHan coldly chuckled. “You purposely took a cold shower and went to the balcony, still dripping wet. All to enjoy some cold breeze and made your fever run so hot that it’d never subside. You enjoy watching me panic, don’t you?”

“No, HanHan,” JingYuan said. “I really didn’t mean to at the start. That incident in Grandpa’s home was truly an accident. Hui later called me. He found out I was sick so he suggested something to me. He said, if you still love me, your heart will soften and you’ll cave in. I truly didn’t mean to lie to you.”

At this, YiHan finally stopped smiling. “Yes,” he said with an expressionless face. “I love you. My heart didn’t just soften. It ached to the point of bleeding. Are you satisfied?”

JingYuan’s mouth gaped open. “I…”

“You’re happy about it, aren’t you?” YiHan angrily said, voice getting louder. “You played around with your own health as if it were just a joke to you. And you think you were successful at it, don’t you? Do you know you’ve been sick for a month? A whole month! You had a fever the entire time. You were coughing throughout the month! Do you know why your fever shot up after having sat on the floor for just a short while? It’s because you’ve chipped away at your immune system so much that it’s at the worst it could be! What if something truly serious came out of it? Do you know just how terrified I was? I had wished so badly that I was the one who fell sick! Do you know how many times I’ve prayed for the gods to transfer your illness to me? Now, you tell me you did it on purpose?

“Let’s take a hundred steps back. I’d be fine if you’d just pretended to be sick like Yan Hui suggested! But then you actually went and tortured your body, all so it’d be realistic! Have you ever thought of me? Of whether I’d be sad? Whether I’d be upset? Whether I’d feel…guilty?”

When YiHan recalled the emotions he’d felt during that agonising month, tears started streaming down his cheeks. He could feel his veins popping out on his forehead.

JingYuan clumsily rushed forward to wipe YiHan’s tears away. Then, disregarding YiHan’s attempts to struggle away, he pulled YiHan into his embrace and patted him over and over on the back to comfort him.

“I’m sorry, HanHan,” JingYuan guiltily murmured. “It’s my fault. Don’t cry, please? I beg you. Don’t cry.”

YiHan shoved hard at the taller man. “So you’re sad now? You’re upset just like that?” he angrily cried. “Why didn’t you think of me back when you had a high fever? Wouldn’t I be sad? Wouldn’t I be upset? You even refused to take your medication and just kept the pills in your mouth! You’re so strong. You’re so smart. Can you not taste anything? Weren’t they bitter? Doesn’t it feel exhausting to have a constant fever and cough? I’d never have imagined it was your illness that was the lie instead of your love for me. You once told me that nothing in the world is worth my pain and suffering. What about you? What is it that’s worth abusing yourself for? Let me tell you: nothing is worth it! If you only wanted to make me stay, why didn’t you listen to Yan Hui and pretended to be sick? I just can’t imagine how you could go for a cold shower and then stand out in the cold air while you were still feverish! I hate the mere thought of it! I hate it! You might as well have stabbed me with a knife!”

JingYuan was internally panicking. Through some hard work, his relationship with his HanHan was finally back to how it was. He didn’t think the good times would end so fast. He only had a few days to celebrate the repaired relationship before the ruse was discovered. His HanHan was furious. What should he do? Would the other forgive him?

JingYuan arms tightened around YiHan. Then, suppressing the urge to visibly panic, he calmly said, “It’s really quite okay. Compared to the terror I felt at the thought of you leaving me, the fever was nothing.”

YiHan was stunned. Suddenly, all his strength left his body. Without his legs to support him, YiHan’s entire being just slid down towards the floor. Thankfully, he was still wrapped up in JingYuan’s embrace. That’s what saved him from collapsing on the floor.

Head drooped, YiHan remained silent for a few long minutes before he softly spoke, “Yes. It’s all because of me. What right do I have to be angry? You would use such a method to lie to me, to punish me, because of me. It’s all my fault. I didn’t trust you. I didn’t trust myself. I was a cowardly rat who shirked back into his shell the moment something minor happened. That’s what agonises you. How are you at fault? I’m clearly the one in the wrong here. I’m sorry, JingYuan. You really shouldn’t love me. I’m not worthy of your love at all.”

YiHan’s body kept slipping down so JingYuan carried him over to the sofa and place him there. As if he was boneless, YiHan just collapsed on it. JingYuan dropped to one knee and anxiously wiped at the endless tears rolling down YiHan’s cheeks.

“HanHan, please don’t say that,” JingYuan said. His voice was trembling. His heart ached so much it could burst. “It’s my fault. Don’t be angry. I can do whatever you wish me to do, except for leaving you. Please? Don’t be like this.”

YiHan turned to look at JingYuan. His eyes were red. Tears silently streamed out of the corners of his eyes and into his hair.

“I’m not angry, JingYuan,” YiHan whispered in a low voice. “You’re always so resolute but I’m just a weakling, a coward. I’m not a good match for you.”

JingYuan’s hands never stopped wiping at YiHan’s tears but no matter how hard he tried, he could never wipe them dry. With red eyes, he leaned forward to rest his head on YiHan’s chest.

“HanHan,” he said in a deep voice, “in this entire world, you are the only one who’s a good match for me and I am the only one who’s your perfect match. Forgive me, HanHan. I only love you. I love you…”

YiHan could feel wet spots slowly growing on his chest. He raised his hands and slowly wrapped JingYuan’s head into a hug.

“I promise you, JingYuan,” YiHan whispered. His voice was firm and unwavering. “I will learn to make my heart as strong and steadfast as yours. I’ll love you, trust you and never ever give up so easily anymore. Can you also promise me that no matter what happens, you won’t ever gamble around with your body again? If you’re angry, you can shout at me and hit me but don’t punish me like this. My heart hurts so, so much.”

JingYuan lifted his head and looked into eyes as bloodshot as his. Then, he slowly lowered his head into a gentle kiss.

“I promise you,” he said in a muffled sigh. “HanHan, I’m yours.”

YiHan’s arms clung onto JingYuan’s shoulders as he kissed back with a passion that had never been shown before. His passionate response meant the sweet kiss slowly turned into something more. The air between the two men’s mingled breath grew heavier. Their bodies grew hotter and hotter. The tiny patch of skin on YiHan’s neck was a mesmerising pink. His chest rose in quick bursts. JingYuan’s breathing turned into harsh little pants. Upon noticing YiHan had no intention of refusing him, JingYuan swept the younger man up into his arms and strode into the break room. The door closed shut with a loud bang.

­— Click! —

Later, when everything was finally calm and quiet. JingYuan cleaned up YiHan and changed the younger man into fresh clothes that were stored in the room. As for YiHan, he couldn’t even gather the urge to lift a finger. He just went along with JingYuan’s movements as the older man helped him get dressed.

Once YiHan was tucked into his clothes, JingYuan laid back on the bed and pulled YiHan into a slow, lingering kiss.

“HanHan, if you’re tired, you can just sleep,” JingYuan gently said. “I’ll wake you up when it’s time to go home, okay?”’

YiHan’s eyes were closed. He didn’t have the strength to open them. All he felt like doing was to nod imperceptibly.

With linked hands and a smile on his face, JingYuan looked at the other for a while. A series of intense kisses were had before he reluctantly let go of YiHan’s hand and stood to walk away. He had only taken a few steps before he turned around to look at the “lonely” hand he’d just “abandoned”, just laying there on the bed. It looked so lonely that he had to walk back and tenderly hold it in his hands. He kissed it repeatedly and rubbed his cheek against it, again and again. He was thoroughly unwilling to let go of it.

YiHan’s eyes squinted open. Met with the conflicted look on JingYuan’s face, YiHan sighed and let out an exasperated smile.

“Mu-Mu,” said YiHan.

JingYuan’s head shot up. “I’ll be going right now. Are you thirsty? I’ll pour you some water.”

YiHan shook his head and softly replied, “I don’t want to sleep here alone. If it doesn’t affect you, can I lie on the couch outside? I’ll be closer to you then. The moment I open my eyes, I can see you.”

Fireworks were bursting within JingYuan. Still, he hesitantly asked, “You won’t be comfortable sleeping on the couch. You’ll be aching.”

“I won’t,” YiHan stubbornly replied. “The couch you got for me is especially comfortable. I love lying down on it.”

JingYuan’s eyes gleamed as he carefully scooped YiHan up. “Okay, then. It’d be easier for me to take care of you if you’re outside. Don’t worry. I have no meetings scheduled for the afternoon. No one will enter my office.”

YiHan hummed in reply as he drifted off to sleep with his head nesting on JingYuan’s shoulder.

By the time YiHan woke up, it was nearly time for them to head home. YiHan laid there on the couch, blanket over his body, as JingYuan worked at his desk. During the n+1th time JingYuan glanced up, he was met with YiHan’s open eyes. Immediately, JingYuan stood up and walked over.

“You’re up,” JingYuan said with a smile. “Do you feel tired? Are you hungry? Thirsty?”

YiHan let himself be pulled up and into JingYuan’s embrace. As he had just woken up, his entire body radiated a lazy powerless aura.

“I’m not hungry or thirsty. What time is it?” YiHan said with a little yawn. His voice was hoarse.

“It’s nearly five,” JingYuan said as he lifted one of YiHan’s hands to his mouth for a little peck. “Take your time to wake up. We’ll be heading home soon.”

YiHan could feel his body going numb from JingYuan’s kisses. “Alright, you,” he chuckled, “go back to work. We have to go home soon.”

The other man lifted the hand he was holding higher up to his eyes and smiled. “HanHan, how did you get your hands to be like this? Why are they so beautiful? I can’t even find the proper words to describe their charm.”

A chuckle burst out of YiHan’s lips. When he noticed the serious gaze in JingYuan’s eyes, he responded, “They’re for you. Of course, they’re beautiful.”

A faint blush of red-tinted JingYuan’s cheeks. He cleared his throat and looked back down at the hand in his grasp. He couldn’t help but kiss it again. Only then did he, cautiously, put it down and happily walked back to his desk.

As JingYuan was signing a document, a thought suddenly struck him. “Right,” he said as he looked up at YiHan. “There’s something I nearly forgot to tell you. There’s an update to Nan Shan’s situation.”


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 167

167. Ploy

YiHan’s eyes lit up as he smiled and said, “That’s a good idea. If your grandfather takes a liking to Nan Shan’s books, he’ll have a good first impression of the man. Then, he wouldn’t be as easily swayed by He Yuan’s lies.”

“That’s what I thought!” Pei said with a smirk. “How dare he cheat on my aunt and Nan Shan. He’ll see just what I can do to him!”

“And we’ll teach him that it’s his mistake, he pays the price for it!” YiHan added.

“Yeah!” said Pei. “Okay, I’ll head back now and get my brother in on this. The earlier it’s done, the better!”

“That’s a good idea,” said YiHan. “Oh, how did you arrive? You don’t have a driving license yet, right?”

“My eldest brother drove me here,” said Pei. “He’s gone to chat with Mr Mu. They’re actually quite close friends. What a surprise, right? I only knew yesterday. They usually don’t talk.”

YiHan was truly surprised. He didn’t know they were good friends at all.

“There’s a kind of friendship in this world that don’t seem close,” she said with a smile. “They rarely go out for meals or drinks together, and certainly don’t contact each other every single day. However, if one of them is in trouble, the other would instantly appear and help them.”

“You’re right,” YiHan said, his head tilted in contemplation. “Looks like they’re that kind of friends. Okay, then. Let’s walk back to the office together and have your brother send you home.”

Pei nodded in agreement and the two walked back to the office building. They headed straight up to JingYuan’s office using the man’s personal elevator. When they were at the doors to JingYuan’s office, YiHan’s hand raised out of habit to push the door open. Then, he remembered there was currently another man in JingYuan’s office. It’d be rude to just push the door open. He let go of the door’s handle and raised his hand to knock on the door, which had been pushed open a crack. Then, he heard a voice speak up from within the room.

“The ploy was useful, right?” said Yan Hui. “Well? Did pretending to be sick work well for you?”

Pei panicked. She was about to barge into the room when YiHan stopped her with a raised arm. The smile on his face had vanished. He silently stood there at the door with a blank, expressionless face.

Pei didn’t dare say a word. She was worried to the point of pulling at her own hair but the men in the office noticed it not.

“It’s not bad,” JingYuan’s voice calmly replied.

“No need to act all proper in front of me,” Hui chuckled. “You must be ecstatic. You were so disdainful when I mentioned it to you. I used this same tactic to get Zhang Su to date me.”

“Not doing to call him uncle this time?” JingYuan asked.

“Don’t make fun of me,” Hui said. “The character for ‘uncle’ is a homonym of ‘Su’. Uncle is just a nickname I use when I’m trying to act cute. I don’t use it all the time. It’d become ineffective then.”

“Act cute?” JingYuan solemnly asked. “How do you do that? Is it useful?”

“You can’t use it all the time or he’ll think you’re a little girl,” Hui said, “but it’s very effective if you do it occasionally. Just like the ploy you used, pretending to be sick, you can’t do that often. Either way, Zhang Su always falls for it when I act cute.”

“There were a few times when he nearly found out it’s a ruse,” JingYuan said. “I was so very nervous.”

“You were only anxious because it’s your first time and you went slightly overboard,” said Hui. “You’re way too harsh on yourself. I’ve told you, 30% ill and 70% pretence. You just went and got thoroughly sick. You even gave yourself pneumonia. Look at how thin you are. You still haven’t recovered.”

“I was afraid of exposing myself if I just pretend to be sick,” said JingYuan. “He was also extremely worried about me. We had gone to the hospital a few times. What can I do but actually fall sick?”

“I’m impressed. That is a perfect plan,” Hui said. “You’re quite a capable man. How did you do it? You took the pills. You had injections. With how strong your body is, how did you drag it out for so long? How did you make yourself remain sick? You even had another trick up your sleeves. You developed pneumonia out of nowhere. You’re quite the professional.”

“You taught me how to do it,” JingYuan said. “While he’s out, go for a cold shower and stepped out into the cold air. Thankfully, the weather’s been getting colder. I don’t need to turn on the air conditioner. I’ve saved some time and I wouldn’t be easily discovered because of the change in the room’s temperature. Then, when it came time to take my medication, I’ll stick the pills under my tongue and wait for a chance to spit them out. However, the pneumonia wasn’t a trick up in my sleeves. I was merely lost in my own thoughts. I didn’t realise I’d been sitting on the floor for a little too long.”

Hui burst out laughing. “How have I never realized you were so talented, JingYuan? I never taught you to keep the pills in your mouth. What will happen if you have no chance to spit them out?”

“Yes, there were a few times when I didn’t have a chance to spit them out until after the pills have all dissolved,” said JingYuan. “Thankfully, HanHan wasn’t willing to be intimate with me back then or he’d have realized something was wrong with the bitter scent of my mouth.”

“If he was willing to be intimate with you, you wouldn’t have used such a trick. You really were in a tough situation,” said Hui.

“It’s actually alright,” said JingYuan. “I was panicking a little. A little investigation revealed to me he was secretly looking for a place for himself. My heart went cold. If I wasn’t sick, who knows what would’ve happened to us now?”

The smile on Hui’s face slipped away as he solemnly replied, “I know you don’t like hearing this but, before this, I really didn’t think you two would go far. He’s a carefree, inconsiderate young master. I always thought that there’d be a day when he’d hurt you to the point where I wouldn’t be able to see an inch of untouched skin on you.”

“He wouldn’t,” JingYuan retorted. “He loves me too. When I was sick, he took great care of me. He’s gotten so much thinner. I…”

“If he takes care of you, your heart will ache for him,” said Hui. “If he ignores you, your heart will go cold again. Honestly, I never thought he’d change so much so suddenly. It’s like he’s a completely different person from who he was before. He’s considerate now. He would be concerned for other people. If not because of that, I would never have given you ideas on how to make him stay. After all, it’s better to rip off the band-aid than to let the agony go on. It’d be good for you to break up. Still, I must admire your ability to sense danger. You found out about it before he showed any signs at all and you immediately set up a ploy for him. Haha.”

“Could you not feel it when Zhang Su’s mood changes?” JingYuan asked.

“Of course, I could! He just needs to open his mouth and I’ll know if he wants a kiss or food!” replied Hui.

“And that’s the answer,” JingYuan said. “Hui, if HanHan hadn’t changed, what would you have done? Would you have tried to break us up?”

“Do you think I’m a fool?” Hui asked. “Break you up? You’re not a kid. It’s your choice on who you want to love. Emotions and feelings are like drinking water. You know when it’s cold and when it’s hot. I don’t think you’ll go far so I’ll just be watching. I’ll never lend a helping hand and I’ll never say anything. It’ll be as if I didn’t exist. You two are free to torture each other however you like. Remember his kidnapping? I didn’t help you at all. In hindsight though, I kind of regret it and am rather scared of what could’ve happened. Thank goodness, my grandfather helped out.”

“There’s no need for your help! I could’ve saved him myself!” JingYuan huffed and harrumphed.

“I just know mentioning this matter would’ve made you angry,” said Hui. “The difference between now and then is I didn’t like him back then. My opinion of him has changed. I promise you. If anything ever happens to your lover again, I swear I will be the first to help. How about that?”

“He is my future husband. When it comes to him, it’s naturally my job to worry. I’ll consider you when it’s something I can’t resolve,” said JingYuan.

“Hey! Am I even forcing you to take the offer?” Hui cried. “It was a sincere offer but you don’t care for it at all. Fine. Just why must you hold a grudge? I even gave you a great idea that successfully saved your relationship, didn’t I? The record’s even now, right?”

“If you want to even the records, there’s something I need you for,” said JingYuan.

“Just let me know!” Hui generously declared.

“HanHan and I don’t know what to do with you yet. Just wait and listen to our instructions,” said JingYuan.

“Why so mysterious?” Hui curiously asked.

“It concerns your aunt and her husband,” said JingYuan. “If you find yourself put in a tough spot, you can choose to help neither parties. Either way, I won’t make you hurt your own family members.”

“I know that. Of course, I do,” said Hui. “I’m just curious. What can it be to make you act so mysteriously? I might be someone who values my family and friends more than logic but I’m not that close to my aunt. Tell me. Have they done anything to you?”

“Not really,” said JingYuan. “They’re merely bullying someone who is connected to me. I can’t tell you too much just yet. Don’t say anything when you get home. You’ll know once it’s time.”

“You plan on making a move? Hm,” said Hui. “Don’t worry about me. The only tie I have with my aunt is through our blood. We’re not close and we only ever see each other a few times a year. Even when we do see each other, I only ever see the bottom of her chin. When I was a kid, she’d snatch things from me.” Hui shrugged. “Sometimes, I forget I even have an aunt.”

“Relax,” said JingYuan. “I never worried about you before.”

“There’s no need to be so frank, JingYuan. Say, just what is Pei-Pei talking to your lover about? Why aren’t they done yet? Should we give them a call?” asked Hui.

Then, an eerie voice sounded from beyond the office doors, “We’re done.”

Shocked, Hui turned around to find the office doors wide open. Bai YiHan was standing there with a dark and gloomy face. Behind him was his sister who was panickily gesturing to him in a way he did not understand.

JingYuan froze. He forced a smile on his face and asked, “HanHan, when did you get back?”

“When Mr Yan here mentioned a ‘ploy’,” YiHan said in an ominous tone. “My apologies. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but what you were discussing was just too interesting. I didn’t have the heart to interrupt you.”

JingYuan’s face went pale. Hui could feel a bead of sweat roll down his forehead.

“I, erm,” said Hui with a dry smile as he strode towards the door, “please don’t misunderstand anything, Little Master. We were only joking. Ah, Pei-Pei and I have something to attend to. We’ll just go.”

“Goodbye, Mr Yan,” YiHan said with a “polite” smile.

Hui could feel chills running down his spine. He threw a “bye” at the other two men and flew out of sight with his sister in tow.

YiHan slowly turned and closed the doors to the office. Clack. The doors were locked. He then turned back to JingYuan and “politely” smiled at JingYuan.

“JingYuan,” calmly said YiHan, “do you not plan on saying anything?”

The other man stood up and steadily walked over to YiHan. “You heard it all,” he said in a deep voice. “I…”

“You think you did quite well. You felt so satisfied with yourself, right?” YiHan was still smiling.

“That’s not what I meant, HanHan,” JingYuan hurriedly blurted. “I didn’t intend on lying to you. I was just afraid you’d leave me so I just used any idea thrown at me.”

As JingYuan said so, he reached out a hand to grab YiHan’s hand but the younger man dodged his touch. He pursed his lips. They were as pale as can be.


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GC: Chapter 166

166. I’ll Help

Yan Pei was enraged. Looking down at the photo of Nan Shan, her universe exploded. “Aaargh! This pisses me off so much! Just who is this scumbag?”

“We couldn’t find this man at first,” said YiHan. “They’re dating. Is there a need to be so mysterious? Then, JingYuan’s men stumbled upon Nan Shan’s mysterious boyfriend visiting him. They sent us a few photos of the man. Coincidentally, we all know him. That’s how we found out.”

Pei instantly honed in on YiHan. “You both know him? Do I? Is he someone in our social circle? Don’t leave me hanging. Spit it out.”

“It’s He Yuan,” YiHan said in a low voice.

“Oh…” Pei said with a nod. Then, she shouted, “Huh? What did you say?”

Pei immediately leapt out of her seat. Her eyes were as wide as plates.

YiHan hurriedly pulled her back down. “Don’t panic. Hear me out first. JingYuan and I were shocked too. Both the Yan family and Nan Shan are involved in this matter. It is a matter of utmost seriousness. We dug deeper and conducted an even more detailed investigation. I’ve even tested what Nan Shan knew when he had his guard down. After compiling all the information we could, we reached a consensus: Nan Shan and your aunt are both fooled.”

It was obvious Pei found the news a little hard to swallow. “How could it be him?” she mumbled. “He’s treated my aunt…”

“That’s right,” YiHan said. “They were both fooled by He Yuan. Marrying your aunt was a beneficial transaction for him. After marriage, he treated your aunt so well that he’s considered the ideal husband in high society. If it’s out of love, that’d be amazing. However, from our investigations, we’ve realised he was never a straight man. He’s either gay or bisexual.”

Pei leaned back against her seat, her hand against her forehead. “Give me a few seconds to sort my thoughts out and calm down.”

A few long minutes passed before she spoke up again. “You two are absolutely certain on this?”

YiHan picked up his phone and looked through the photos JingYuan’s men sent over. “Definitely,” he                                                                                                        said as he showed Pei the photo of the man’s face. “This is him, for sure. I’ve also tried hinting about it to Nan Shan. He’s extraordinarily against being the homewrecker of another’s relationship. JingYuan said Nan Shan should start to suspect He Yuan now. We’ll soon know what decision he’ll make.”

Pei stared down at the photo for a beat before spitting out through gritted teeth, “He’d changed the entire style of his clothes and covered himself up so tight that no one would know it’s him unless they were very familiar with him!”

“Indeed,” said YiHan. “Not only did he change his clothes, but the way he carried himself also changed. I didn’t recognise him at first. It’s all thanks to JingYuan’s amazing memory. He instantly knew who the man was because of his photographic memory.”

“You just said Nan Shan was suspicious of him?” asked Pei. “Will he willingly leave He Yuan?”

“It’s very likely he will,” said YiHan, “but we’re afraid He Yuan wouldn’t let Nan Shan go. He’d threaten Nan Shan and maybe even take revenge on Nan Shan. From the results of our investigations, he seems to be extremely enthralled with Nan Shan. JingYuan said He Yuan wouldn’t easily let go. Nan Shan is just an author. He’s alone and weak. There’s no way Nan Shan can stand his ground against him. Nan Shan might suffer a lot.”

“Who said Nan Shan is alone and weak?” Pei barked in fury. “He has us, doesn’t he? I never would’ve thought He Yuan could be so vile! I must tell my aunt!”

“You can’t!” YiHan grabbed Pei’s hand as she stood to leave.

“Why can’t I?” Pei shouted back. “He Yuan is just disgusting! Do I let him continue making a fool of my aunt?”

YiHan clung on tight to her. “Calm down, Pei-Pei! Have you ever thought about what your aunt will do to Nan Shan when she knows of this? Would she believe Nan Shan is just an innocent victim? He Yuan would push Nan Shan out to be his scapegoat! Can you stop her then? Even if Nan Shan doesn’t die, he’d be skinned alive! At best, his reputation would be torn to pieces!”

Pei was stunned. A moment later, she sunk back down to her seat. “You’re right. I know my aunt. She would never let Nan Shan go free. What do we do, YiHan?”

“Pei-Pei, I was actually hesitating whether or not I should tell you about this,” YiHan sighed. “You’re stuck in the middle. It’s a tough spot to be, but you could also tell that this matter cannot come to light. We must act in secret. This concerns the Yan family. JingYuan and I must be cautious. After serious reconsideration, we decided to tell you. Of those in this relationship, Nan Shan is innocent. He shouldn’t be a sacrificial offering for He Yuan’s lust. Nan Shan’s life is terrible enough, isn’t it?”

Picking up the phone to stare at the photo of Nan Shan again, Pei softly mumbled, “What can I do for him then?”

“JingYuan said we’d have to wait and see what Nan Shan thinks of this first,” YiHan replied. “JingYuan’s a smart man. I’ll go with his suggestion. I’m telling you now because I don’t want you to be kept in the dark about it. If word of this matter ever reaches the ears of your family, the story would be twisted by He Yuan.”

“Twisted? Into what? That Nan Shan seduced him?” Pei spat in fury. “With his looks? As if that’d happen!”

“How does Mr Mu plan on handling this?” Pei asked after taking a few harsh pants. “Let me know if there’s anything I can help with. I trust in his brains and tact. I’m too impulsive. I’ll just be a helper.”

“I’d like to know what the old Mr Yan thinks of He Yuan,” said YiHan.

“Frankly, He Yuan is not someone the Yan family welcomes warmly,” Pei said. “My grandfather didn’t even want to let my aunt marry him. He thought He Yuan wasn’t an ethical man. My father and uncle both objected to the relationship as well. Unfortunately, my aunt has been mesmerised by the man. She insisted that she’ll marry no one but him. They had no choice but to let the couple get married. After the wedding, we rarely interact with them. He Yuan also knows my grandfather dislikes him. He seldom comes to visit. If there’s anything they want, it’d be my aunt who brings it up. Since the man treats my aunt well, Grandfather helped whenever he could. Honestly, I don’t like him either. He’s always dressed up. His silver tongue is so slippery that it’s a wonder it hasn’t made the impossible happen. If he wasn’t the husband of my aunt, I wouldn’t even bother interacting with him.”

After a brief pause, Pei then continued, “Actually, none of the younger generation have a great relationship with my aunt. When she lived with us, we were still kids. All we knew was that no matter what it was, my aunt would never let us have anything or do anything first. We were the ones who had to be obliging and let her have whatever she wanted. She later got married. Since then, she’d rarely come visit us. Every time she did, it was always because the He family or He Yuan needed help from Grandfather and the rest of my family. She never stayed longer than necessary. The last time my grandfather was admitted to the hospital, she only came and see him once. Even then, it was for He Yuan. She begged my grandfather to help He Yuan win over a potential project when Grandfather was bedridden. After my grandfather agreed to help, she left within the next few minutes.

“I was taking care of him then so I was there. The moment my aunt left the room, my grandfather was so depressed. He told me that he’d lived a grand life but the person he owes the most to is my grandmother. He was so busy with work and building up the family as a young man that he didn’t have time to properly be by her side. My grandfather has always felt guilty about it since she passed away. My aunt looked the most like my grandmother and my aunt was a daughter born to him when he was older. Grandfather couldn’t help but favour her more, spoil her a little more. To him, boys can trip and fall but still be fine. Girls needed to be pampered and protected. Who knew that the children he left to struggle and trip as kids would be so filial while his one and only daughter, the kid he doted on, would…

“Grandfather said he was very disappointed in my aunt. She only looked like my grandmother. Their personalities were as different as night and day. Nowadays, he’d still help my aunt whenever she comes asking but, unlike before, he would never wonder all the time, ‘Why hasn’t she visited me yet?’.”

“When it comes to filial piety, unconditional love is a cause but it depends more so on the other’s personality,” YiHan sighed.

Pei nodded.

“Is there anyone else in the Yan family who knows of Nan Shan?” YiHan asked.

“My second brother,” Pei replied without hesitation.

“The Second Young Master of the Yan family?” YiHan asked.

“Yes,” Pei said. “He looks so average and gloomy that he doesn’t seem to be the kind to read detective novels, right? I’ll let you in on something. I read Nan Shan’s books because he recommended them to me.”

YiHan was truly stunned. “I thought you recommended them to him!”

“No,” Pei replied. “Before this, I never read detective novels. One day, he saw me reading a romance novel so he recommended Nan Shan’s books to me. The first Nan Shan novel I read was ‘The Blue Night’. I was stuck in the rabbit hole since then. If there’s anyone you want to call a diehard fan, it should be my brother.”

“True,” YiHan said, nodding. “There aren’t a lot of girls who like to read detective novels. I really couldn’t tell with your brother. And he’d recommend books to other people? That’s impossible, even in my imagination.”

Pei chuckled. “Yes. I was shocked too. He displayed a passion he’d never shown before. He ran right back into his room to grab the book for me. He told me I’d definitely like Nan Shan’s books. Well, he was right.”

“Say, do you think he’ll help Nan Shan if he knows of this?” YiHan asked.

“It’s very likely!” Pei said, her hand on her chin in a contemplating pose. “I’ll tell him. Even if he doesn’t help, he wouldn’t let a word of it slip!” She paused, then continued in a whisper, “Can you send me the photo of Nan Shan then? I can show it to him.”

“I…” YiHan was put in a tough spot. “I’ve already let you view it without asking Nan Shan first. It’d be bad if this photo reaches another’s hands, right…?”

“Please, YiHan,” Pei pleaded with a little tug at his hand. I’ll only show my brother once. I will never let anyone else even know of it!”

“How about this?” YiHan said. “I’ll send it to you. The moment your brother has taken a look at it, you’ll delete it on the spot. We don’t want other people finding out and causing unexpected problems for us, okay?”

“Hm,” Pei mused in thought. “Alright.”

“Don’t think of it as a pity,” YiHan said as he smiled. “As long as we can help Nan Shan get past this, we might be able to talk to Nan Shan in person. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll eat at the same table!”

Her eyes gleamed as she fervently nodded. “Okay! Sure! We can do that!”

“Frankly, we’re not all that safe with just my second brother,” Pei then continued with an evil little chuckle. “We might not be able to protect Nan Shan so well that he can escape unscathed.” She let out another smirk. “Once I have time, I’ll read “The Blue Night” to my grandfather. It’ll help alleviate his boredom.”

Translator’s Notes:

Bisexuality: Please note that this story has a bias against bisexuals, as most old-school dramas do. This is because the only bisexual representation in this story is He Yuan, the typical negative stereotype of bisexuals are dishonest. Take whatever words this story says about the matter with a pinch of salt.

Greasy air…impossible happen: The actual text reads, “He’s always dressed up to the nines (via makeup/skincare) and his tongue is so slippery, like it wishes it could produce a flower (from nothing)”.

Blue Night: The author mistakenly wrote “The Blue Mountain” here.


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GC: Chapter 165

165. We’ve Got to Get Them on Our Side

YiHan furiously grabbed an orange from the table before the couch. “That’s right. I don’t believe the Yan family can be swayed solely by Yan Miao’s words! Does she think she can bully others in such an outrageous manner just because she has power? My great Nan Shan has powerful backers too! Let’s think and make it so they have to suffer without complaints!”

JingYuan took the orange from YiHan and began peeling it. “Don’t worry. We will teach them a lesson.”

YiHan accepted the slice of orange offered and munched on it. Suddenly, he wondered, “Say, do you think we shouldn’t be so harsh against Yan Miao? After all, she has been cheated too.”

Handing over another slice, JingYuan smiled and answered, “She has been lied to but, from your description, her method of dealing with the issue is too extreme. It also feels like she’s rather tyrannical without any concern for what’s right and what’s wrong. She pushed all the blame onto Nan Shan. She made him bear the consequences of her husband’s mistake. You could see her ruin Nan Shan’s reputation, step by step, motion by motion. She was even the one to give the last push and force Nan Shan to jump to his death. Even if there was a great grudge between the two, it should all end once he’s dead. However, she insisted on ruining even a memorial service. It’s obvious just how toxic she is as a person.”

YiHan pondered on JingYuan’s words as he chomped on a new slice of orange and gulped it down. “You’re right,” he angrily said. “She’s not a good person either. I didn’t see her doing anything to He Yuan. After Nan Shan’s death, they went back to being lovey-dovey without a hitch. Nan Shan’s death couldn’t have been any more unjust than it already was!”

“Now that we are interfering in the matter,” said JingYuan. “As long as make our stances clear, they wouldn’t dare to push Nan Shan to his death, no matter how. Still, we can’t avoid his reputation being marred. A lover’s betrayal, a ruined reputation; these will all deal a serious blow to Nan Shan. What we need to do is to minimise the damage. If we can get Yan Pei and Yan Yan over to our side, they’d be a great help.”

“Yes,” said YiHan, “there’s Pei-Pei. But she didn’t do anything in the last – ahem – in the dream. Will she help us?”

“In your dream, Yan Pei and Yan Yan were merely his fans,” JingYuan chuckled. “On one hand, it’s their favourite author. On the other, it’s their aunt. They might be distant and they might not know the full truth, but they must not have thought Nan Shan would die. It’s understandable for them not to act. However, if we show them the truth of everything and explain clearly the situation along with the worst-case scenario, they might not stand to sit it out. Yan Yan has always been a neutral party. He’s also a quiet man of little words. I don’t know if he’ll act. Even if he doesn’t, he can at least be a neutral party and help no one. Yan Pei has a heroic air to her. Upon knowing of such an incident, and with us helping Nan Shan, she should be eager to help.”

“Now that you’ve analysed the situation, I feel more confident,” said YiHan with a fist pump. “I’ll pull Pei-Pei in first before I ask about Yan Yan.”

YiHan did as he said. He immediately stuffed the rest of his orange into JingYuan’s mouth and picked up his phone to call Yan Pei.

A mouth stuffed full of orange, JingYuan looked on in speechless mirth as YiHan spoke into the phone.

“YiHan?” Pei happily greeted. “Do you need something from me?”

“Pei-Pei, the last time we met,” said YiHan, “you told me you were a fan of Nan Shan’s books too. Right?”

“Yes!” said Pei. “I’m a diehard fan!”

Taking a deep inhale, YiHan asked, “I have news of Nan Shan himself. Do you want to know?”

“Really?” she excitedly cried out. “YiHan, you’re the best! Do you have a photo of him? Send it to me! Send it!”

“I do,” said YiHan, “and there are a few more issues. I can’t really explain it well over the phone. Why don’t you come and meet me? I’ll tell you then.”

“Okay,” replied Pei. “I don’t have class today anyway. I’ll be right there!”

“Ah, don’t hang up! Do you know where to meet me?” asked YiHan.

“Is there a need to ask?” Pei frankly shot back. “You and Mr Mu always act like it’s a shame you can’t glue yourselves together. You must be in Mr Mu’s office right now. I’ll call you once I arrive at the office.”

“There’s no need,” YiHan said. His face blushed red. “There’s a charming little cafe beside the office. I’ll wait for you there.”

“Alright!” Pei cheered. “It’s better that I don’t have to face that brooding man. I’ll be there soon! Nan Shan, I’m coming!”

Before YiHan hung up, he vaguely heard Pei shout “brother” but he didn’t pay attention to it. He then turned to JingYuan.

“I’ve asked Pei-Pei to meet me,” YiHan said.

“It’s certainly better to speak in person regarding this matter,” said JingYuan. “I’ll go with you.”

“It’s fine,” YiHan said with a wave of his hand. “I can just meet her by myself. Pei-Pei is a little scared of you. If you’re there, she might not speak as freely.”

“Why is she afraid of me?” JingYuan asked in exasperation.

YiHan laughed. He pinched JingYuan on the cheeks and said, “Well, you always look so stern. You always have a frown on. She’s just a little girl. Of course, she’ll be scared. I’m off.”

“She won’t be here so soon,” said JingYuan. “Why the hurry?”

“I need to think about what to say to her,” replied YiHan. “Do I tell her everything?”

“Don’t say anything about the dream,” said JingYuan. “Just tell her you accidentally found out.”

“Okay,” YiHan said, nodding. “I understand.”

***

The cafe was quiet when YiHan entered. There weren’t many customers around at this time of day. He sat down at the private room he’d booked and soon, Yan Pei arrived. It was easy to see just how eager she was.

YiHan raised his hand in a wave. Her eyes lit up as she pattered over to the table.

“Where is Nan Shan’s photo? Hand it over!” she exclaimed. She hadn’t even taken her seat yet.

YiHan let out a soft chuckle and dug out his phone. After finding the selfie he’d spent half a day begging Nan Shan for, he handed the phone over. Nan Shan was someone who never took selfies. He only agreed to do so after YiHan’s persistent “bugging”.

The first selfie anyone ever takes will never be good. In the photo, Nan Shan’s expression looked stiff and awkward. His eyes didn’t stand out. Still, Pei was overwhelmed by his good looks. She snatched the phone out of YiHan’s hands.

“So Nan Shan’s a young man,” Pei said, her eyes in the shape of hearts. “He’s so handsome. I thought he’d be a scruffy, unkempt middle-aged man.”

“He’s not a middle-aged man,” YiHan harrumphed, snatching his phone back, “but he fell for the trap of one.”

Pei hadn’t had her fill yet. She lunged forward to grab the phone as it left her grip.

“YiHan, if you’re a true friend,” she said as she struggled against YiHan’s grip on the phone, “you’ll send that photo to me!”

“No way!” YiHan coldly stated as he stood up and held the phone high above his head.

Pei was very much shorter than YiHan. She hopped and she jumped but she just couldn’t reach the phone. Her cheeks puffed up in fury.

“Bai YiHan!” she barked. “To think I thought of you as my very best buddy. How could you fool around so heartlessly? You’re cold-hearted and cruel. You’re heartless!”

Upon seeing YiHan remaining unaffected, Pei decided to try a softer approach. “YiHan-ge,” she tearily whimpered, “how could you bear to be so cruel to me?”

A chuckle burst out of YiHan as he once more handed his phone to her. “Pei-Pei, I’m not trying to be mean or petty but there needs to be some caution regarding certain issues. You can look at the photo here but I really can’t send it to you. This is to protect Nan Shan.”

Pei immediately began staring at the photo of her idol the moment she had her hands on the phone again. Swooning over the man in the picture was her first priority. Upon registering YiHan’s words, she hurriedly raised her right hand.

“I swear,” she said, “I will never ever let slip any information on Nan Shan or photos of him!”

“Of course, I believe you won’t do that but…” YiHan heaved another loud sigh.

“What is it?” Pei asked with a solemn face. “Is it that serious? Is Nan Shan in trouble? Just now, you said he’d fallen into the trap of a middle-aged man. What did you mean?”

YiHan gazed back with an equally solemn face. “Pei-Pei, I want you to promise me that, no matter what decision you make after hearing Nan Shan’s story, you will not tell anyone else what you’ve heard today. Starting from the moment you set a foot out of this room.”

“I promise,” replied Pei.

YiHan let out a sigh. “I’ve seen Nan Shan himself in person. I obtained this photo through a lot of begging and pleading. This is his first-ever selfie. Frankly, it’s not a great photo. He looks so much worse in it and it doesn’t show the full extent of the way he carries himself.”

“You know Nan Shan?” Pei gasped in shock. “You got this photo by asking. Are you two close? Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“We haven’t actually known each other for long. It’s just because he doesn’t have any friends and I sincerely think of him as one. That’s why he’s so unguarded with me. He also doesn’t know that I know he is Nan Shan.”

“How could the great Nan Shan not have any friends?” Pei was even more surprised.

“Don’t rush,” said YiHan. “Hear me out. On the day of Zhang-ge’s bookshop reopening, it was still quite early when I left. Since Mu­­-,” he cleared his throat, “JingYuan wouldn’t be back yet, I asked the driver to take me around. We drove near the gate of a gated area. It looked so peaceful that I left the car and sat on the bench for a few minutes. I was still holding onto “The Blue Night” then. Coincidentally, that was where Nan Shan lives. He spotted me, book in hand, as he was returning from a grocery run. Perhaps he had nothing urgent on that day. He sat down beside me and we talked for a while. He said he’d read Nan Shan’s books before. I suggested we exchange contact information since we were both fans of the same author. He agreed. Later that day, I added him to the QQ fan group. Then…I think JingYuan likely saw that I was having such a good time chatting with him and felt a little uneasy. He privately investigated the man and found out he was Nan Shan.”

“Really? How fantastical,” Pei said. Her mouth was gaping wide open. “This is fate. Still, if Mr Mu is jealous, just say he’s jealous. No need to cover it up for him.”

YiHan drily cleared his throat and silently apologised to JingYuan, I’m sorry, Mu-Mu. I made you take the blame for it.

“Not only did his investigation revealed Nan Shan’s identity,” YiHan said, face slightly flushed, “it also revealed something that nearly made me go crazy with anger.”

“About Nan Shan?” Pei asked, brows furrowed. “A creepy middle-aged man?”

“That’s right,” said YiHan. “According to JingYuan’s findings, Nan Shan was raised in a single-parent household. He only knew his mother, who passed away when he was fifteen. Since then, he’d been living alone. He likes quiet places and he doesn’t like leaving his home. He didn’t have any friends and had a low EQ. His personality was very reactive and less pro-active. He rarely interacted with other people. As for his looks… Well, you’ve seen it.

“His needs are quite basic. He’s not interested in anything but writing novels. Hence, he turned into the target of a married bisexual man. That man lied and said he was single. He wooed Nan Shan and keeps brainwashing Nan Shan with the wrong idea of love. That man fooled Nan Shan into being his ‘mistress’. Nan Shan grew up rather lacking in the emotional department. He was easily taken in. He thought that was how all lovers acted, that they’d go on with their usual, separate lives. Lovers would only meet once in a while and they’d rarely stay the night at the other’s place. Until now, all Nan Shan knows of the man is his name and phone number. Even the name is fake. As for the phone number, heh, it’s most likely only ever given out to Nan Shan. Either way, Nan Shan rarely ever calls the man.

“When I bumped into Nan Shan, he was a very melancholic man. JingYuan said someone who was deeply in love shouldn’t be so melancholic. Nan Shan must’ve observed something was off with his lover too. But he was just like a man floating in the middle of the ocean, unwilling to let go of the only driftwood he could find. He had been suppressing his uneasiness all this time. JingYuan’s investigations also found the other man’s identity. Not only was he married, but he also had two kids. He was money and power but his wife was even more powerful with a higher social ranking. If she ever knows of Nan Shan, he would be on the receiving end of her rabid revenge. It wouldn’t matter if he was the victim in this situation. This ending is definitely something Nan Shan cannot accept. As for that man? Ha. He will give up Nan Shan without hesitation. He would make Nan Shan pay the price for the mistake he made.”

Translator’s Notes:

The Blue Night: The author likely made a typo as the Chinese text here states “The Blue Mountain” instead of the book’s previously stated title.

This will be the only chapter for today. Double-chapter updates will resume in another week or two.


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