GC: Chapter 185

185. The Qi Family’s Rage

“Force?” said YiHan. “He shouldn’t have the guts to clash with us. His only advantage is his status as YouRan’s birth father. He might try persistent persuasion, or he might use the public’s opinion.”

“Could he be so shameless?” Pei’s cheeks were puffed up. “If he does that, then he really does have a thick skin!”

“He’s not just thick-skinned,” said Yan, “I can tell from the way he does things that he only ever cares about profits. It doesn’t matter what the issue is. As long as he gains something from it, he doesn’t care about face or dignity. Emotions are further not something he’d need to consider.”

YiHan was about to speak when his phone rang. He pulled the phone out of his pocket and glanced at it. A smile grew on his face.

When Pei saw the look on YiHan’s face, her lips widened in a mischievous smile. “That face means it must be Mr Mu.”

YiHan calmly answered the call. “JingYuan, are you done with work?”

“Mn,” said JingYuan. “How did the meeting today go?”

“It went as expected,” said YiHan. “At first, Chu FangMing said he didn’t know of YouRan’s existence. When Yan frankly called out his lie, the man didn’t feel guilty about it at all. He even began to talk about how fathers and sons are tied and so on.”

“Just as we anticipated,” said JingYuan. “Are you at Nan Shan’s home?”

“Yes,” said YiHan. “YouRan was clear that he wouldn’t go back to the Chu family. Yan was firm and told Chu FangMing not to harass YouRan anymore. The man didn’t dare to force us to agree with him, but I feel like he wouldn’t be stopping. We were just discussing if he’d use public perception to push YouRan into going with him.”

“You’re right,” said YiHan. “Will you be coming over later?”

“I’m heading over to fetch you. I’ll be there soon,” said JingYuan.

YiHan hung up and turned to the others in the room with him. “JingYuan said word of this wouldn’t spread. This city doesn’t belong to the Chu family.”

“With those words, I can stop worrying,” said Pei with a nod.

***

For a while, Chu FangMing did nothing. Then, just as YiHan said, he began to make a move. He didn’t dare visit YouRan again. All he did was mail parcels to YouRan. There was a delivery nearly every day. Sometimes, it’s clothes. Sometimes, it’d be luxury goods. FangMing also sent YouRan a few types of food that most people can’t afford to buy or were hard to source. Inside these packages, there’d be cards with words of concern and care.

Each time YouRan received a parcel, he’d tell the courier to return it to the sender. The persistence of the other party slowly got on YouRan’s nerves.

Yan was also fuming with rage at the situation. It took a call to FangMing before the other man showed some restraint. FangMing was YouRan’s father. They couldn’t do much to the man. They couldn’t be harsh and they couldn’t be rid of him. It was seriously so frustrating.

But FangMing couldn’t be smug about it for long. A few days later, there was a blazing inferno set aflame in his own home. As a daughter of the Qi family, even if not one from the main family, Qi Jie grew up as a cherished little miss. She only married Chu FangMing because the man courted her and proposed to her of his own will. She didn’t think the man would start distancing himself from her after he was done borrowing her help in his fight to be family head. Because she refused to bear FangMing another child after giving him two daughters, FangMing was further dissatisfied with her. However, the man only tolerated her because she was from the Qi family. Years have passed and FangMing’s hold on his position was secure. As he grew used to being the revered head of the family, his patience for Qi Jie slowly vanished. Qi Jie too had been tolerating his antics for a long time now. But they’ve been married for years. They weren’t young anymore and they had two daughters. Unless it was necessary, she didn’t want their lives to change too much.

Never could she have imagined Chu FangMing to step over the line. His attitude gradually worsened. Qi Jie was wondering if she should teach the man a lesson when he set off a bomb in their lives!

Since their wedding day, Qi Jie kept a strict eye on FangMing. She knew all about the people he was surrounded by. She squashed every possibility he could use to cheat on her. She was so cautious about everything and everyone, but she never once looked into his relationships prior to their marriage!

She never expected Chu FangMing to have a child before they were even married. Decades have passed and the man never said a word. There wasn’t even a hint of this child. If the man hadn’t decided to publicise his want to welcome the kid into the Chu family, she would still be kept in the dark!

Qi Jie was a proud woman. She was someone who never once suffered or be at a disadvantage. How could she bear to be humiliated so? She immediately started up a big fight with FangMing. Not only did the man not show an ounce of remorse, he even ordered her to be more polite when YouRan entered their home and to try and win the kid over!

Was he requesting she bow down and prostrate herself before her husband’s bastard son? Qi Jie’s lungs nearly exploded with fury. She immediately headed to the Qi family home with her daughters in tow. She ran straight for the head of the Qi family, Qi MingYang. She cried and complained, turning her exquisite makeup into a blurry mess on her face.

If Qi Jie were to really lay out her lineage, she’d be considered Qi MingYang’s cousin once removed. But in the Qi family, the main and branch families are distinctly separated. Control over the main businesses was kept strictly within the main family line. Branch family members all had much more inferior positions. When talking before Qi MingYang, Qi Jie can’t try and use her status as an elder. In fact, she must flatter and grovel with every word she said. She only dared to push this incident into Qi MingYang’s attention because she knew the dignity of the Qi family was the most important to the man. This issue was clearly a slap in the face for the Qi family. Even if she wanted to tolerate it, Qi MingYang wouldn’t be willing to play along. Qi Jie kicking up a fuss was the perfect chance Qi MingYang was seeking. She also succeeded in fuelling the younger man’s anger.

As expected, when Qi Jie left the Qi family home, Qi MingYang’s face was gloomy and insidious.

Within a week, the Chu family’s businesses were dealt a blow. Chu FangMing was gritting his teeth with rage but Qi Jie wouldn’t answer any of his calls. Xu YouRan’s attitude didn’t change for the better either. FangMing’s head was pounding from the frustrating circumstances of his company. It was obvious Qi MingYang was truly enraged. In just a few days, the Chu family’s net worth shrank by a fifth. FangMing was panicking. His hair shed in bunches. He was the textbook example of someone who wanted to steal some chickens but only succeeded in losing his fistful of rice.

YiHan brought it up in the group chat with Pei and Yan. They were all gleefully laughing at FangMing’s misfortune.

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: JingYuan told you guys, right? Don’t jump the gun. Look. We didn’t even need to do anything. He’s already turned his whole life into a mess.]

[Pei the Third: It’s such a splendid sight to see! This is karma! Trying to steal chickens but lost his bait. He lost both the Lady and his soldiers!]

[Yan Yan: Mn.]

[Pei the Third: Qi MingYang is a spiteful man. Qi Jie is part of the Qi family after all. She bears the surname Qi. It’d be strange if he could tolerate such ridiculous humiliation!]

[Pei the Third: Chu FangMing was family head for only a few years and he’d already lost his way. Does he think women of the Qi family were easy prey for marriage? If you marry her, you must worship her! He’d thoroughly made an enemy out of them now. Hahaha! This makes me feel so happy!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Does YouRan know of this? What does he think?]

[Yan Yan: He does but he’s not reacting much. He looks like he doesn’t care.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’s the best reaction. It means he has no expectations of Chu FangMing. He wouldn’t be upset because of the man’s suffering. Otherwise, YouRan would be burned out from stress at having such a stinkbug around. You can’t chase him away and you can’t even hit him.]

[Yan Yan: Mn, I think so too. He’s been working on his new book’s outline for the past few days. I don’t even dare talk too loudly for fear of disturbing him.]

[Pei the Third: That’s great! I look forward to it!]

[Yan Yan: Yes, me too.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: This is major. Let’s not bother him with rotten news about Chu FangMing.]

[Yan Yan: Mn. I told him once when he was taking a break. His reaction was mild. I haven’t talked to him about it since.]

[Pei the Third: Actually, I think it’s impossible for him not to yearn for a father. He just doesn’t have the courage to expect anything from Chu FangMing because he knows fully well what the man thinks of him.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Pei-Pei’s right.]

[Pei the Third: Poor Nan Shan. Damn that Chu FangMing. Nan Shan’s life has only just improved and he comes running in. He’s not willing to give Nan Shan any love so why must he bother Nan Shan?]

[Yan Yan: Value. In Chu FangMing’s eyes, what is a son? That’s just a tool he can use.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: In a few days, the man will be forced into a corner. He’ll be visiting you guys once more. We must be on our guard. We can’t let him ruin Nan Shan’s mood and affect his writing.]

[Yan Yan: Don’t worry. I’ll handle it.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Honestly, Chu FangMing is indisputably responsible for Aunty Xu’s early death. YouRan must hate him for it too.]

[Pei the Third: Of course. He must be feeling very conflicted when it comes to Chu FangMing. If only that man never appeared in his life!]

[Yan Yan: I’ll find a way to make him be too scared to harass YouRan anymore. We’ll just pretend the man never existed so YouRan doesn’t get upset.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’d be for the best.]

YiHan put down his phone and said to JingYuan, “Nan Shan’s working on the outline of his new book. This means his mood has recovered.”

“Mn,” said JingYuan, “I have something to tell you.”

“What is it?” asked YiHan.

“Come see for yourself,” said JingYuan as he waved YiHan over.

YiHan walked over. Curious, his eyes followed along JingYuan’s finger to the computer screen. His eyes went wide.

A press statement was shown on the screen. It was a well-written article on Nan Shan. The article spoke of how he was the bastard son of a rich and powerful family. It said the man could only become a renowned author because his family had been secretly helping him out, not because the man was a good writer. The family even bullied and harassed other writers. There was a lot of tampering and underhanded deals involved.

The more YiHan read, the stronger his jaw clenched. His fist banged against the table as he roared, “Which company wrote this? This is just nonsense!”

JingYuan gently massaged the hand YiHan hit the table with as he said, “Half-truths are more believable. A friend of mine saw this. Because I’ve informed him about this before, he stopped the draft from getting published and sent it to me.”

YiHan was worried. “Would other places also…”

“No,” said JingYuan. “Frankly, there are many articles of a similar nature. I’ve suppressed them all at first notice.”

“Thank goodness,” said YiHan, frowning. “If this draft was published, goodness knows just how big of an impact it’d have on Nan Shan. Just who is powerful enough to do this? Who could’ve drafted up such an article and have it nearly published despite your warnings?”

“The only one who can do this is someone from the Great Five Families.”

“Qi MingYang?” asked YiHan.

“That’s right. He’s narrow-hearted. He can’t hold his temper. To him, humiliating Qi Jie means slapping the Qi family in the face. He cannot tolerate the Chu family’s existence. Naturally, this means he won’t be lenient on Nan Shan too.”

Translator Notes:

Trying to steal chickens: Chinese proverb. This has been translating quite literally.

Lost both the Lady and his soldiers: This is a Chinese proverb born from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms retelling of how Liu Bei married his wife, the younger sister of Sun Quan. Zhou Yu had allegedly planned to lure Liu Bei into a trap by offering Lady Sun’s hand in marriage to Liu Bei. In the end, Liu Bei was able to escape with his bride and his troops managed to defeat Zhou Yu’s men, who had chased after their fleeing prey. The translation of this phrase comes from an unknown source as Wikipedia’s citation only lists the name of the original text with no ISBN or translator.


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GC: Chapter 184

184. (Untitled)

But what could FangMing do? He didn’t even dare to make an enemy of Yan family’s Third Miss, let alone the Bai and Mu families who back Bai YiHan. If he argued with Bai YiHan today, Mu JingYuan would be knocking on his door tomorrow!

All FangMing could do was smile. He thought that since YouRan was close to these people, acknowledging the kid as his son meant he’d gain the support of several great families. He was expecting them to gain huge support solely because of YouRan, but at least he’d be able to lean in closer. Just that tiny bit of support was enough to make FangMing’s income multiply. Look at He Yuan. That fool married the daughter of Yan family. In just a few years, his net worth rose as fast as the ocean’s tides. Regrettably, Qi Jie was only part of the Qi branch family. The Qi family might be one of the Great Five but they were one of the weakest. Qi Jie was also not from the main family. Her worth could never be compared to Yan Miao’s. She couldn’t give him much help at all but she had an explosive temper and big ego. He had had enough of her. He thought the sudden luck of the son he pretended didn’t exist was a gift from the gods. He didn’t think this brat, this traitorous son, would harbour so much animosity for him. The kid didn’t buy his plea at all. Instead, it resulted in the powerful kids he befriended turning hostile against him!

“Let’s not talk about whether they’re your children based on their gender,” Yan said. “It’s not the first day or the second that YouRan has been living ‘outside’ alone. Mr Chu, if it really hurts you to see it, you needn’t have waited until today. Furthermore,” he held YouRan’s hand as his blank voice turned soft, “YouRan and I are together now. While I haven’t had time to tell my family, this will not change. From today on, I will be with him. I’ll take care of him. In the future, we’ll be married. My family would be his family then. His loneliest days are gone. Mr Chu, if there truly is a kind, fatherly heart in you, you can stop worrying now.”

FangMing’s head went sent spinning by the news. No wonder Xu YouRan was so stubborn despite having nothing! He wasn’t even interested in the notion of being the Young Master Chu. These powerful kids were all so abnormally protective of Xu YouRan. It was all because the young man had seduced the Second Young Master of the Yan family! It was FangMing’s fault for not realising his isolated son could be so influential, thus unable to draw YouRan in earlier!

Yan didn’t bother waiting for a reply. “What happens today ends here,” continued Yan. “YouRan’s opinion is clear. He doesn’t want to return to the Chu family. Mr Chu, you should also know that you, who had not fulfilled an ounce of your duties as a father, has no right to ask him to do anything. I hope you won’t visit our home without YouRan’s approval in the future. We wouldn’t want you disturbing him as he’s writing.”

Yan stood up, pulling YouRan up with him as he did so. The two men took a few steps towards the exit before Yan turned around to face FangMing again.

“Mr Chu,” said Yan, “going our separate ways, as separate as well water is from river water. This is the greatest tolerance I’ll ever have for you, his biological father. I hope we can co-exist in peace.”

At this point in the conversation, YouRan had shown absolutely no signs of softening up while Yan Yan and the other two were as adamant as ever. FangMing knew there would be no positive outcome from this meal. When it came to these people, he didn’t dare throw his weight around because he was older. No matter how unwilling he was to let things be, he didn’t have the courage to continue his outrage. All he could do was stare as the other four occupants left the room. His face was a pale green from fury.

Of the table covered in expensive and exquisite dishes, not a single bite was taken. It was an obvious sign of how badly the meeting went. Chu FangMing sat there in the room, alone. His face was gloomy. With those powerful kids protecting Xu YouRan, it was entirely impossible for FangMing to do anything to his son. Damn it. That kid was his seed yet the kid refused to be of use to him. If YouRan returned to the Chu family, would he honestly treat him badly? Especially when he had those people backing him up. Was it not a win-win proposal? That brat dared to be so ungrateful as to turn his nose up at him! He would rather follow the Second Master Yan for nothing rather than help his own father!

Both men entered a marriage of convenience. FangMing gave up on Xu JinXuan, that beautiful and cultured woman, in order to marry a fierce and ugly daughter of the Qi branch family. While FangMing succeeded in becoming family head, that was all he achieved. But that fop, He Yuan, was lucky enough to seduce the only daughter of the Yan main family. In just a few years after marrying that woman, the He family grew big and strong. The Chu family, who was well ahead of the He family, was left in the dust! How could FangMing accept that?

If YouRan married into the Yan family as the Young Master Chu, would FangMing, the father-in-law, not benefit from it?

Also, YouRan got along well with people from the Bai and Mu families. If there was anything he needed, he only needed to speak up to them! With those ties, that ugly tiger back home wouldn’t dare act all smug before FangMing then!

FangMing recalled the girl who smiled so warmly at him all those years ago. Nostalgia tugged at his heart. Unfortunately, she’s long dead. If she could’ve waited until now, he would compensate her. Even if he couldn’t marry her, it was fine to just have her as his mistress. The witch who couldn’t bear him a son at all wouldn’t have the courage to say anything!

Frankly, he truly liked Xu JinXuan. But who asked her to be a powerless orphan girl who can’t give him any help? For the sake of the bigger picture, he had to suffer and let go of her. Later on, he was fighting against his older brother and when he was first acknowledged as the family head, his hold on the position was still shaky. He needed the Qi family’s support. At the very least, he couldn’t make an enemy of them. When it came to Qi Jie, he could only hold in his anger. He didn’t dare mention a single word about Xu JinXuan. He even had to be on his guard in case she asked for him and made Qi Jie unhappy. Thankfully, Xu JinXuan was a mature person. She kept to herself and stayed silent. She never once asked for him. She even bore him a son.

What a shame she wasn’t destined to enjoy happiness. She was dead long before he could overpower Qi Jie. She was perfect in every way except for one thing. The only unsatisfactory thing about Xu JinXuan was her lack of a good family backing her up. Now, there’s another flaw to her. She didn’t raise his son properly. How did that woman raise his son? Look at that strong rebellious streak in YouRan! The younger man didn’t speak much but when he did, his words could incite anger strong enough to kill. Even so, there just had to be strong and powerful people backing the boy up. How could FangMing not be fuming with fury?

This won’t do. Even if FangMing couldn’t get a hold of YouRan now, he was the man’s father no matter what. The connection formed by their blood cannot be broken so easily. One must have filial piety for those who raised them, but what about those who are responsible for their birth? That meant YouRan can’t cut ties with FangMing!

YouRan grew up without a father. At a young age, his mother was gone. Who would think YouRan didn’t yearn for familial affection? The young man was being stubborn because of anger. As time went on, it’d be impossible for YouRan’s heart to remain as adamant. It’s such a shame the man had those powerful kids protecting him. If FangMing didn’t want to be their enemy, he’d have to avoid using force. Why else would he need to humiliate himself and gently persuade YouRan? Fine. Since the young man was the son Xu JinXuan gave to him and he was capable enough to befriend those kids, it’s not impossible for FangMing to forgive YouRan for having a small temper tantrum, if the kid knows his limits. After all, FangMing didn’t participate in raising him for the past few years. If YouRan was angry, he can just vent those emotions out. Hopefully, YouRan wouldn’t step over the line.

***

In YouRan’s home, the four people who had just met with FangMing lounged about in the living room.

“You guys must be tired from being dragged into my family matters,” YouRan said in a grateful tone.

“Nan Shan, what are you saying?” Pei said. “There’s no need to be so formal with us.”

YiHan stroked his chin with a hand as his other arm hung off the back of the sofa. “YouRan, what do you think of our meeting with Chu FangMing today? Do you want to go back to the Chu family? If you do, we can help you and we can ensure you won’t suffer at all once you’re there.”

Yan turned to look at YouRan as his hands reached out for YouRan’s. The other man held back. YouRan’s grip was tight. His knuckles turned white as he shook his head with a self-mocking smile.

“My family name is Xu. Why would I go to the Chu family? Anyway, he wants me not because I’m his son. It’s because I have value. I know that without you guys, he would never acknowledge me as his child.”

YiHan pursed his lips and kept quiet. YouRan’s mind was clear. He wasn’t thrown into a frenzy because of a family member’s arrival. While other people could tell that was the case, YouRan was in the middle of everything. Plus, he personally yearned and longed for familial love. It’d be hard for YouRan to have such a clear picture of the situation. YiHan knew YouRan wasn’t wrong. In YiHan’s past life, Chu FangMing never appeared. Not even when YouRan died. No one knew YouRan had a father at all. No one stepped up to collect YouRan’s ashes. No one knew where Yan Miao had the ashes be sent off to. They didn’t even know if YouRan had a proper burial.

YiHan patted YouRan on the arm and softly said, “It’s good that you can see things so clearly. While it sounds ugly, it is the truth. Chu FangMing is someone who wouldn’t wake up early unless there was something to gain. You didn’t grow up by his side. Anything he’d feel for you would be extremely limited.”

“YiHan, must you be so tactful?” Pei pouted. “I think he feels absolutely nothing for Nan Shan. Just recall what he said! It makes me so angry. Nan Shan, you were right to ignore him. If you’d fallen for his trap and went back to the Chu family with him, he might sell you off the very next day!”

“Don’t spout nonsense!” Yan barked as he glanced at YouRan.

“Why are you shouting at me?” Pei sulkily murmured. “It’s not nonsense. Good advice is hard to the ears.”

YouRan patted Yan on the back of his hand and said, “There’s no need to be so careful around me. Pei-Pei’s not wrong. I’m not that fragile either. For over twenty years, he’s ignored me. I don’t hold any childish fantasies about him anymore. Come to think of it, Pei-Pei’s strong and just words to him today really helped me vent out some of my anger.”

Pei’s heart jumped with joy at her idol’s praise. On the outside, she became even more demure and muttered, “Those words weren’t strong or just. I just didn’t have a filter. I said what I thought.”

“How rare for you to be so self-aware,” said Yan.

Pei shot Yan a glare. How dare he talk bad about her before Nan Shan! That was over the line.

“That’s good,” YiHan said with a smile. “Pei was the most suitable person to say those words. She’s just a girl. No matter what she says, Chu FangMing could only listen and not argue back.”

“The mere look of his lying face hurts me,” said Pei. “He went round and round but, in the end, the only thing he could say was Nan Shan was his son. He had no other points.”

“What else can he say other than that?” Yan coldly commented.

“True,” Pei nodded, “that’s the only thing he can say. I’ve mistakenly put the blame on him. Heh.”

“He won’t give up,” said YiHan. “Such a big, juicy piece of meat is dangling before his eyes but he just can’t get a bite of it. How could he accept that?”

“He has no choice but to accept it,” said Pei. “We aren’t scared of him, even if he wants to use force!”


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GC: Chapter 183

183. Don’t Need a Father

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Ahem. Okay, let’s get back to business. Nan Shan might tell us he doesn’t want to go but, deep in his heart, he still yearns for a father. We can’t underestimate Chu FangMing’s importance nor can we think of him as important.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: Indeed. We either make Nan Shan utterly disappointed in his father or get someone else to do it.]

[Yan Yan: It’s very easy to make him disappointed in his father. After all, Chu FangMing is a heartless man. It’s not hard to make YouRan understand that. However, it’d be hard to avoid hurting YouRan then.]

[Pei the Third: My brother’s right. The best-case scenario is for the Qi family to be pushed over the edge and step in to handle Chu FangMing. The most we’ll be doing is just watch and not help.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I’m just afraid of Nan Shan’s heart softening then. If he asks, it’d be hard for us to say no.]

[Yan Yan: Don’t worry. He won’t. He might long for familial love but he’s no fool. He wouldn’t butt in on Chu FangMing’s fight with his wife.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’d be the best.]

YiHan put down his phone and turned to JingYuan. “Say, why are people nowadays so thick-skinned? It’s been over twenty years of not hearing a word from him. He avoids Nan Shan as if his son was the plague. The moment he sees Nan Shan doing well, he starts scampering over. He even acts as though he’s a kind, generous father.”

“To Chu FangMing, his children are his possessions,” said JingYuan. “He can ignore Nan Shan but if Nan Shan rejects him, that’s being disrespectful.”

“A kind father has a dutiful son! If the father’s not kind, how can the son be filial?” YiHan exclaimed in rage. “He participated in Nan Shan’s birth but he never raised the man, and he still wants to act as though he’s a respected elder?”

“The world is a big place,” said JingYuan. “There are all sorts of people and minds. We can’t understand his logic and we don’t need to. Nan Shan doesn’t need him anyway. It doesn’t matter what the man thinks.”

“Mn, you’re right,” said YiHan. “What he thinks has nothing to do with Nan Shan. This leech-like father is best not to be acknowledged. If Nan Shan really did go with him, the man might actually sell him off one day.”

JingYuan nodded. “It’s good enough that Nan Shan wasn’t enthralled by the man’s sweet words. Let Yan handle the Chu family. We just need to assist by backing him up.”

“True,” YiHan said. “Now is a chance for Yan to show off.”

***

In the Regal Hotel, the door to the Yan family’s private room opened. Chu FangMing who’d arrived a while ago stood up to greet the new arrival. His two hands reached out for a handshake as he put on a smile.

“Second Young Master Yan, long time no see,” said Chu FangMing.

Yan briefly shook the other man’s hand as he calmly said, “Sorry for making you wait, Mr Chu.”

“No, no,” FangMing hurriedly said. “I’ve just arrived myself.”

Yan walked into the room with YouRan beside him, revealing Pei and YiHan to be following behind them.

FangMing froze in surprise. Then, he smiled and said, “The Little Master Bai and Miss Yan are here too. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Pei nodded but said nothing.

“We shouldn’t be involving ourselves in a Chu family matter, but this concerns my friend,” said YiHan. “I couldn’t bear to sit around at home, so I wanted to come along. Pardon me, Mr Chu, for overstepping.”

“What are you saying, Little Master Bai? You are a busy man. You’re someone I could never have invited. It is our honour that you pay so much attention to my and my son’s matters. How could you be overstepping?”

“It’s good that you don’t fault me for it,” YiHan replied with a superficial smile. “Pei-Pei and I are only here to listen in. Mr Chu, just think of us as part of the décor.”

“You’re such a joker, Little Master Bai,” FangMing hurriedly replied. How could he afford such expensive and important décor? If Mu JingYuan heard of this, there’d be hell to pay.

“Alright,” said Yan. “Everyone, sit.”

Yan pulled out a chair for YouRan before seating himself to YouRan’s right. Pei stepped forward to sit on YouRan’s other side while YiHan sat down on the free chair next to Pei. The only seat left for FangMing was the chair to Yan’s right.

Yan didn’t bother with niceties and skipped straight to the point. “Mr Chu, I didn’t invite you here today for anything grand. I mainly wished to talk to you about YouRan. A few days ago, you visited him. It has made him very anxious.”

“I, too, only just found out about YouRan,” FangMing said with a pained face. “As a father, I’ve owed him a lot over the past years. I feel very guilty about it. That’s why I risked a visit to him, hoping we can be reunited as a family. But there seems to be a few misconceptions YouRan has about me. It has hurt me deeply, so deeply that I had no appetite for the past few days.”

Yan’s face went dark. “What you’ve said is incorrect. From what I know, you already knew of him even when he was just a foetus in Madam Xu’s belly. Furthermore, from the moment you knew of his existence until he turned seven, you had someone secretly keep an eye on his and his mother’s every action. You were so afraid that when they encounter some difficulty in life, they would trouble you and your new wife. Were you not?”

FangMing didn’t expect the young man to be so frank about the situation. The other man just ripped apart his dignity and pleasantries. His face went pale and sickly.

“Let’s not talk in circles,” Yan continued. “I’ve already looked into what happened back then. You don’t need to play any cards. I asked to meet you today not for social niceties. In order to be head of the family, Mr Chu, you gave up on Madam Xu, who had no family, and chose to enter a marriage of convenience with someone from the Qi family. It indirectly resulted in her early death. This is in the past and Madam Xu has passed away for years. As juniors, we have no way to seek justice on her behalf. However, YouRan can’t just decide his fate purely from your words. From the day he was born until now, you knew of him yet you never once done your duty as a father. Now, you think you can bring him back into your family with a few words. Don’t you find it funny?”

When FangMing realised there was no point making his case from an emotional angle, all he could say was, “We are father and son. YouRan is my son so I can’t just let him go about with someone else’s surname. It’s normal for me to want to bring him back into the family. Mr Yan, that’s not impossible to understand, right?”

YouRan, who had remained silent this whole time, then spoke up. His voice was loud and clear as he said, “I’m not using someone else’s surname. I never had a father. My mother worked hard and suffered to raise me. It is entirely natural that I use my mother’s surname.”

Yan turned to YouRan and smiled. “Of course. Even if your mother didn’t raise you by herself and you had both parents, your mother bore you for ten months. It’s absolutely natural and logical for a child to want to take on the mother’s surname.”

FangMing choked. He shot a somewhat unkind glance at YouRan before swiftly acting normal. Still, YiHan caught that brief glance. YiHan’s face immediately darkened.

“Must you say that, YouRan?” FangMing asked with a smile/ “Don’t you want to go home with Dad?”

“When I was young and immature, I once asked my mother why other kids had a dad while I didn’t,” YouRan calmly said. “My mom told me my father loved me very much. Unfortunately, he’s no longer around. So I am her baby and hers alone. Even if I didn’t have a father, she could still give me all the love I’d ever want.

“I’ve always remembered those words. From then on, I never once asked her about my dad. My mother might’ve left me early but she did give me all the love in the world. Right now, I’m living a good life by myself and I’ve long since passed the age where I yearned for fatherly love. I am very satisfied with my life as is. I do not need a ‘father’ at all.”

FangMing was furious at how unappreciative YouRan was. However, he didn’t dare show it in front of the Yan family siblings and Bai YiHan. The only sign was his inability to maintain the “kind” smile on his face.

FangMing clenched his teeth. He forced a smile as he said, “You are my son after all. Aren’t you even going to admit you have a father? I am sorry for what happened before. I’m at fault. But as I’ve told you, I will compensate you. If you go home with me, you’ll be the young master of the Chu family. I’ll make up for all the fatherly love you lacked before.”

“Mr Chu, you’re funny,” Yan blandly said. “Love from a father isn’t the same as a piece of clothing. If there’s a hole in the shirt, you can patch it up. The lack of love from a father isn’t something you can make up for. It’s just like how you can’t rewind time. Mr Chu, you yourself said you had wronged YouRan. Then, of course, it is entirely up to YouRan whether he chooses to return to the Chu family or not. It is obvious that he has no interest in being the Young Master Chu. In that case, no one can force him to go against his will. We can all just act as if this connection never existed. We’ll go back to our own, separate lives, just like before. Isn’t that fine?”

“Second Young Master Yan, you’re joking,” FangMing said with a dry chuckle. “He is my son. How can I act as if there’s nothing between us?”

Pei, who hadn’t spoken a single word since stepping foot in the room, then spoke up, “Pardon me for interrupting but there’s something I don’t quite understand. Mr Chu, other than N-…Xu-ge being your son, do you have no other talking points? My brother’s words were clear. You might be his biological father, but you had never once fulfilled your duty in raising him. Xu-ge is an adult now. He doesn’t need anyone to raise him, yet you come here at this time to acknowledge him as your son. You hold your status as his father over his head, wanting him to fulfil his duty as a son? Mr Chu, you really are a genius in business. What a brilliant plan you have.”

FangMing’s face visibly twitched. He was rendered speechless by a girl’s words but he didn’t dare do or say anything that would offend her. His face turned a pale green from frustration.

Pei didn’t plan on letting the man go yet. Her bright voice continued, “Mr Chu, even if you have an excellent plan and you’re unwilling to let go of any usable resources due to how frugal you are, the Chu family is rich and powerful. You shouldn’t need the meagre amount of filial support Xu-ge can afford, right? Furthermore, you’re not at the age where you’d need your children to support you financially, no?”

“What are you saying, Miss Yan?” FangMing responded, smile as forced as before. “I just want him to go home. Of course, it’s to experience the joys of family.”

“If you wish to experience the joys of family,” said Pei, “your two daughters would be happy to cooperate with you.”

“Daughters and sons are two different matters,” FangMing said.

“I see,” Pei said. Her face darkened. “So, Mr Chu, you look down on girls, and your wife couldn’t bear you a son to continue your lineage. That’s why you turned your attention to Xu-ge?”

“Of course not,” FangMing hurriedly replied. “They’re all my children. It doesn’t matter if they’re a daughter or a son. How could I bear to let YouRan live alone outside?”

“Pei-Pei,” YiHan whispered, “we said we’d only be here as decorations. It’s not our place to butt in on YouRan’s family matters. Your brother’s right. Mr Chu is in the wrong here. The decision lies in YouRan’s hands. Why are you worrying? Mr Chu is an elder. You can’t be rude.”

FangMing: …Bai YiHan’s words made it extremely obvious Yan Pei spoke up to support YouRan. He wasn’t in the wrong. They were just telling him he wasn’t powerful enough to force YouRan to do anything.

Translator’s Notes:

Hell to pay: The literal translation here is “he’d ‘flip’ faces”. It’s the exact opposite of “turn the other cheek”.

Seating Arrangement: As usual with Chinese restaurants, the table here is round. Depending on table size, Chu FangMing sat directly opposite of YouRan or they were seated on the same half of the table, meaning Yan is always in Chu FangMing’s sight when the man wants to talk to Yan.

Filial support: As part of filial responsibility laws (as ingrained by culture), children are required to support their parents emotionally and/or financially. It is mainly financial as most parents expect an “allowance” from their kids once the kids start working or when they (the parents) retire. In several countries (and US states), refusal of filial responsibility is a crime.


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GC: Chapter 182

182. Unwelcome Guest

“Indeed,” said YiHan, nodding. “Such behaviour is just reprehensible. He lied and exploited. He’d do anything and everything. He should be punished.”

“You’re not surprised at all,” said the old Mr Yan. “You know about this too, don’t you?”

YiHan drily laughed and nodded. “I pitied the man who was lied to by that scum. He only wanted love. He didn’t expect himself to somehow turn into the other ‘man’. Just who was the one who started it?”

“Yes,” said the old Mr Yan. He sighed. “When the forest is big, you can find all sorts of birds in there. Just the mere thought of someone like that makes me angry. Forget it. Let’s not talk about him.”

“Shall we play another round?” YiHan asked.

“Okay,” said the old Mr Yan.

YiHan rolled up his sleeves. “This round, I must win and compensate for the shame of before!”

“Kid, that might be a little hard!” the old Mr Yan guffawed. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll give you three moves!”

“There’s no need!” YiHan said with a wave of his hand. “I must win honourably!”

The old Mr Yan laughed harder. “Good! You’re ambitious! I can only take it seriously then!”

***

Chen Hong acted fast. Within two days, there was a new front door to YouRan’s apartment. The man moved back to his own home. As a newly-pronounced boyfriend, Yan moved as well. YouRan pretended he saw nothing, silently assenting to his existence.

The feeling of living with someone else in the same home wasn’t one YouRan was familiar with anymore, not since his mother’s death. He Yuan never stayed the night. Frankly, intimate moments between the two men were few and far between. For some reason, something in YouRan objected to it. He Yuan was upset, very upset, about this but he had to act as the kind, caring lover. Naturally, He Yuan couldn’t force himself on YouRan. Furthermore, He Yuan never stayed long on the days he did visit.

Hence, when YouRan woke up in the morning to an up-close view of Yan’s face, something strange rose in him. He felt the desire to kiss the other man.

Yan was woken up by the sensation of being stared at. He kept still and resisted the urge to look but he eventually caved in.

“What are you thinking about?” Yan sleepily murmured. His voice was raspy.

YouRan was deep in his thoughts. He replied by instinct, “I want to kiss you.”

Yan’s heart skipped. “Kiss me then,” he calmly said.

YouRan snapped out of his thoughts, realising what he’d just said. He had never said anything so daring before in his whole life. His cheeks were as red as a tomato. He let out an awkward little chuckle and began inching backwards.

“You, erm,” muttered YouRan, “you must’ve been mistaken.”

Yan held onto YouRan’s arm. “I wasn’t mistaken,” he softly said. “It is your right to kiss your own boyfriend. Come, kiss me however you like. I’d like it either way.”

YouRan froze as his mind whirred. In the end, he couldn’t bring himself to make a move.

Yan sighed and leaned forward to gently peck the edge of YouRan’s lips. “You owe me one. We’ll kiss once we’ve brushed our teeth.”

A chuckle burst out of YouRan. “Hurry up and get up,” he said as he nudged Yan. “Don’t you have work?”

Yan gave YouRan a tight hug before climbing out of bed to walk to the bathroom.

At work, Yan remained in a stranger, excited mood. He couldn’t resist messaging YiHan.

[Yan Yan: YiHan, are you there?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I am. What is it?]

[Yan Yan: I have a question… Forget about it.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: What’s wrong? Ask away. Does it concern Nan Shan?]

[Yan Yan: Yes. He’s been staring at me in the mornings while I’m still asleep. I don’t know what he’s thinking.]

[Pei the Third: What else could he be thinking? He’s thinking about how he loves you. You’re just flaunting right now.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Pei-Pei’s right. However, I think there’s another reason for it. He’s rather insecure. When I just got together with JingYuan, I was the same. I would keep looking to confirm if he’s still there.]

[Mu JingYuan: Now?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Of course, I wouldn’t do that now. We’re married. My sense of security is through the roof!]

[Pei the Third: Crap! Mr Mu!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: …!!]

[Pei the Third: Mr Mu, it’s not good for you to lurk all the time without saying a word!]

[Pei the Third: Mr Mu?]

[Pei the Third: Where is he?]

[Yan Yan: He’s off for some love.]

[Pei the Third: (┛⊙ω⊙)┛I choose to go die…]

[Yan Yan: You’re a girl. Be more ladylike.]

[Pei the Third: I’ll be more ladylike when I have a boyfriend.]

[Yan Yan: You wouldn’t find a man by acting like this.]

[Pei the Third: (┛⊙ω⊙)┛I choose to go die…]

***

When Yan clocked out of work, his steps were quick and light. His heart soared. However, his good mood only lasted until the moment he stepped through the apartment door.

There were two cups of water on the coffee table. YouRan was sitting alone on the sofa, spacing out with his head drooped. He didn’t even realise the door had opened.

Yan locked the door behind him and walked over to sit beside YouRan. “We had a guest? Who came?”

If it was He Yuan, YouRan wouldn’t have opened the door for the man, let alone serve him a glass of water. Anyway, He Yuan was currently hiding out in his private mansion to recover from his injuries. Someone was keeping an eye on him twenty-four seven. He couldn’t have come near this place. But He Yuan wasn’t close to anyone other than Yan, Pei and YiHan. There wouldn’t be anyone else visiting their home. From the state of YouRan, this guest’s arrival obviously didn’t make him happy.

YouRan was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of Yan’s voice. “You’re back,” he hurriedly said when he noticed Yan’s presence. “Are you hungry? I’ll go cook.”

Yan pulled the other man back down. “Who came?” he repeated once more as he glanced at the cups on the coffee table.

YouRan followed Yan’s haze to the cups of water. He bit down on his lip, hard.

Yan swiftly acted and saved YouRan’s lower lip from his teeth. “Was it an unwelcome guest?” he asked as he stroked YouRan’s abused lip. “Yan Miao?”

“No. It’s,” YouRan said with a bitter smile, “Chu FangMing.”

Yan was surprised. “Who?”

“Since you guys could find out about He Yuan, you should also know about Chu FangMing, right?” YouRan whispered. “Genetically speaking, he’s my father.”

Yan’s throat felt tight. “I thought…”

“You thought I didn’t know who my biological father was?” YouRan said. “I knew. My mother told me just before she passed away. She told me to stay away from him. If I ever see him, I must avoid him.”

Yan felt his heart ache. He wrapped his arms tight around YouRan. “Why is he here? Doesn’t he act like you don’t exist?”

YouRan sighed. “He said he was sorry. He’d only just found out about me and wanted me to return to the Chu family.”

“He can dream on!” Yan growled. But…

He looked down at YouRan, who was frowning, and asked, “What do you think? Do you want to be acknowledged as one of them?”

YouRan sighed once more. “Frankly, if you guys hadn’t appeared, I might’ve really been persuaded. But now…” YouRan paused and huffed in laughter. “I know that if you guys didn’t appear, he would never ever have talked to me.”

“No matter what you decide to do, I’ll always support you,” said Yan.

YouRan turned to look at Yan and smiled. “I think what we have now is great. I never knew what use I would have for a father. I’m an adult now. He’s even more unneeded.”

Yan pressed YouRan into his embrace as he said, “That’s right. You have me and that’s enough.”

YouRan softly hummed in response.

His eyes closed. He felt warm and safe, but…

Yan watched in confusion as YouRan reluctantly wrestled out of Yan’s embrace. The other man then wrapped his arms around Yan instead.

Yan who’d been forced into a cute and meek posture: “…” What’s the meaning of this?

YouRan: This is how a top should act. He must be careful. He can’t let Yan think his top was a soft and weak man!

***

The next day, it was as if someone threw an explosive into the chat group.

[Pei the Third: Nan Shan’s scummy father visited him?]

[Yan Yan: Mn. YouRan’s in an awfully bad mood.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Why did he visit?]

[Yan Yan: He wanted to acknowledge YouRan as his son and have YouRan return to the Chu family.]

[Pei the Third: Heh. Fat chance. Who does he think he is to visit Nan Shan?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Why did he visit so suddenly? From what I know, that man knew Nan Shan was his son before Nan Shan was even born. But that man had never thought of getting custody of Nan Shan.]

[Mu JingYuan: It’s easy to see why. He must’ve noticed how close Nan Shan is to us. He wants to use Nan Shan’s connections to benefit the Chu family.]

[Pei the Third: Right. Chu FangMing was there at your engagement party. Nan Shan’s invisible father slipped our mind for the moment but who would’ve thought he’d dare to appear before Nan Shan?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: What does Nan Shan think of this? He yearns for familial love, right? Even if he knows it’s all a ruse.]

[Yan Yan: Relax. He told me that he might’ve been swayed if we hadn’t appeared in his life. He wouldn’t be swayed now. He’s very rational. He knows what Chu FangMing’s motives are.]

[Pei the Third: *sob* Poor Nan Shan.]

[Yan Yan: Don’t worry. I’ll comfort him. But we can’t just let Chu FangMing be. That man is still Nan Shan’s father. If he kicks up a big fuss, it’ll be bad for YouRan.]

[Mu JingYuan: Don’t worry. It won’t be big.]

[Yan Yan: You can use forceful measures, but he is still YouRan’s father. It’d be bad if we’re too harsh on the man.]

[Mu JingYuan: Don’t let him continually harass Nan Shan. You can go straight to Chu FangMing with Nan Shan by your side. Sometimes, things are easier when everything’s out in the open.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Qi Jie is only a branch family member of the Qi family. She has no authority in the Qi family. As time goes by, there are lesser avenues she can help Chu FangMing with. Decades have gone by. Chu FangMing’s position as the head of the Chu family is now secure. They’ve been slowly drifting apart. That should be why Chu FangMing dared to publicly ask to acknowledge Nan Shan as his son.]

[Yan Yan: YiHan’s right. Even if Qi Jie isn’t part of the main family, her surname is still Qi. She couldn’t have helped Chu FangMing fight for the right to be family head otherwise. She’s still not someone he can embarrass. Chu FangMing has spent too many years as the head of the family. His ego’s starting to inflate. He doesn’t know his own limits anymore.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: That’s right. So we must let the Qi family know. We don’t care how they plan on punishing Chu FangMing but they must not affect Nan Shan in any way.]

[Pei the Third: Pfft!]

[Pei the Third: Mr Mu?]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: Mn.]

[Pei the Third: What’s with you? I mean your name… Okay, fine. I understand. You want to show off.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: HanHan thinks this is better.]

[Pei the Third: No need to say any more. I get it. I shouldn’t have asked. This lonely, single lady has suffered 10,000 points of damage. /(ToT)/~~]


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 181

181. Not a Bad Start

YiHan recalled Yan’s previous words to He Yuan, “his lover is willing to work on his behalf”. He turned to YouRan and asked, a sneaky little grin plastered over his face, “I haven’t asked yet. What’s going on between you two? Things developed quickly.”

“It’s nothing,” YouRan replied with an awkward smile. “Yan only said that to He Yuan to protect me.”

“No!” Yan exclaimed.

YouRan turned to Yan. His eyes gleamed.

Yan cleared his throat. A bright red flush took over his fair face. “I’m currently trying to get you to be my boyfriend,” he said. “Once you say yes, we’ll be lovers, right? I wasn’t wrong. I merely said it a little too early.”

YouRan’s bright eyes widened. His jaw dropped, leaving his mouth slightly agape.

YiHan blinked. He took JingYuan by the hand and quietly backed out of the apartment.

After gently closing the door behind them, YiHan let out a long exhale. The two men returned to YouRan’s apartment and sat down on the sofa.

“Those two are so interesting,” YiHan said with a smirk. “I told you, Yan is usually as boring as a plank of wood but when he’s with Nan Shan, he’s so very lively. He’s so emotive that it’s like he’s a completely different person. I thought it was the effect of being with his idol. Now, I know it’s the power of love.”

“By the time you realise it, they’re already close to marriage,” JingYuan said, smiling. “Their love didn’t blossom overnight. Even Pei-Pei could tell. It’s not just Yan either. Nan Shan’s different when it comes to Yan. It’s only you who hasn’t noticed.”

YiHan’s eyes flicked over to the apartment door. “Really?” he gasped. “That’s good news. Yan might be boring but he’s quite dependable.”

“Even if he’s boring, he’s only like that when he’s with other people,” JingYuan tacked on. “When it comes to Nan Shan, he’s really an interesting guy.” As JingYuan said so, he took out his phone. He called Chen Hong and asked him to hire some workers to repair YouRan’s front door. When he was done, he turned back to YiHan. “It’s our fault for allowing He Yuan to slip in here. However, after today’s shock, he shouldn’t have the guts to bother Nan Shan anymore. But we can’t really keep this a secret from Yan Miao forever. After all, she is the daughter of the old Mr Yan. She is Yan and Pei’s aunt. Since they know, they can’t just let her be lied to for her whole life. We still have a tough battle ahead of us. It’s terrifying when a woman, who had smoothly sailed through life for decades, go mad. She wouldn’t have the mind to logical weigh the pros and cons of her actions.”

“But from what I’ve seen from Yan and Pei, they’re not that close to their aunt,” said YiHan.

“Relationships and feelings are two-way streets,” JingYuan said. His fingers fiddled around with YiHan’s. “Yan Miao had never thought much of her nephews and niece anyway. When they were kids, she’d frequently bully them. After her wedding, she was further estranged from them. However, since they’re family, we’ll just let her make the decision herself.”

YiHan frowned. “I’m guessing her decision wouldn’t be what we hope it’d be.”

JingYuan smoothed out the crease on YiHan’s brows and softly said, “You don’t need to worry about this. Leave it to me.”

YiHan reached out and embraced JingYuan. He didn’t say a word. JingYuan pecked YiHan on the cheek as his hands slowly patted the other man on the back. The two men didn’t speak anymore but warmth lingered in the air.”

***

The next day, the little chat group was very active.

[Pei the Third: Aaah! Something major happened and none of you called for me! Why? Is Nan Shan okay?]

[Yan Yan: He’s fine. He’s in a good mood.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: With you around, of course he’s in a good mood.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Was your confession yesterday a success?]

[Yan Yan: Mn.]

[Pei the Third: Whoa! Be honest with me! Just how did you win over our Nan Shan?]

[Yan Yan: …]

[Pei the Third: If you’re a man, quit stammering! If you don’t tell me, I’ll just ask Nan Shan. I’ll badmouth you! I’ll talk about that guy named Li or something and how he stubbornly chased after you. He even forced a kiss on you!]

[Yan Yan: That’s a lie. I kicked him away before he could even kiss me!]

[Pei the Third: I don’t care if he did or didn’t. Either way, I’ll say he kissed you.]

[Pei the Third: I’ll even mention how you keep letting rice slip out of your mouth during meals when you were a kid!]

[Yan Yan: Σ(°△°|||)︴Are you even my sister?]

[Pei the Third: Be honest and we’ll still be siblings.]

[Yan Yan: …alright. H-He assumed we had sex before and he was the top…]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: …]

[Pei the Third: Pfft…]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: You guys… When did that happen?]

[Yan Yan: On the night of your engagement party.]

[Pei the Third: You really had sex and you were the bottom? Σ(°△°|||)︴]

[Yan Yan: No. He had a little too much to drink and puked all over me. I accidentally strained a muscle on my leg when I cleaned up after him. The next day, I couldn’t walk normally so he thought…]

[Pei the Third: So he thought he had sex with you?]

[Yan Yan: Yes. He said that from then on, he…]

[Pei the Third: He fell in love with you? Damn, that actually works?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Haha. That’s nice.]

[Yan Yan: I think I have a long path ahead of me still, but this is not a bad start.]

[Pei the Third: Brother, don’t be careless and charge! No retreats!]

[Yan Yan: Mn.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Right, Pei-Pei. How are things going with your mission?]

[Pei the Third: I was just about to tell you about it. It seems to be going well. I’ve told my grandfather about Nan Shan’s story. Of course, I changed the names. He was so mad. He said that there are so many rotten minds these days. They’re not loyal to their marriages nor are they loyal to love. There’s no end to their greed. They’re just trash.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: The old man’s right. Oh, yes. I’ll be visiting him tomorrow.]

[Pei the Third: That’s great. I’ll tell him later. He’ll be so happy. Now that he’s old, he really likes a lively atmosphere.]

***

The Yan family home.

The old Mr Yan and YiHan waged war over the Go board. Both men won some rounds and lost some. Mr Yan’s eyes shone bright. His body was tense as his eyes bore into the board. Someone ignorant might’ve thought it was a match of wits between two international champions. These were just two bad amateurs playing a game of Gomoku.

Minutes passed as the old Mr Yan thought hard. Then, his eyes lit up. With the addition of another white piece, the old Mr Yan now had two unblocked lines of three pieces. YiHan glanced around the board before throwing the black piece in his hand back to its bowl.

“I’ve lost,” YiHan said with a smile.

“You’re quite good already, Little YiHan,” laughed the old Mr Yan. “I practised hard. You’re probably so busy with JingYuan that you had no time to practise, right?”

YiHan blushed. “I, ahem, well, why don’t you try some of the tea I brought you today? I also gave one canister to my grandfather. He said it’s not bad.”

“Haha. Okay, I’ll try some.” The old Mr Yan’s smile was so wide that his eyes squinted.

YiHan had a servant bring out the tea set so he could personally prepare the tea for Mr Yan. The canister’s cap had just been popped off when the old Mr Yan smiled.

“Junshan Yinzhen leaves,” said Mr Yan. “Not bad.”

YiHan smiled as he prepared the tea. He rinsed, he poured, he served; all without a moment of hesitation or thought. His movements were as smooth as a flowing river. It was a pleasant sight to behold.

The old Mr Yan watched as the tea leaves sank and floated repeatedly. “Hm, not bad,” he commented. “You’ve done it quite properly.”

“Sometimes, I’d prepare tea for my grandfather,” YiHan said, embarrassed.

“Your grandfather’s lucky,” the old Mr Yan said as he accepted the teacup.

Mr Yan inhaled in the tea’s aroma and sighed, “Its fragrance is so distinct. It’s good.”

“As long as it’s to your liking,” said YiHan.

The old Mr Yan took a sip of the tea. “I hear you and that Mu family brat already have your marriage certificates.”

YiHan nodded.

“You two are in quite a rush,” the old Mr Yan said. There was the slightest hint of a smirk on his lips.

YiHan scratched his nose. “Yes. It’ll be him anyway. It doesn’t make a difference when we register. Please don’t laugh but, before we were registered, I was honestly anxious. I was always afraid something might happen. My nerves only calmed down after we had our certificates.”

The old Mr Yan patted YiHan on the hand. “Well, it is a consensual relationship between you two. Your family is in support of your relationship too. What could’ve happened? I understand. You’re only thinking about all that nonsense because you’re deeply in love with him. Thank goodness, that boy is true to you. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’d suffer.”

“I won’t,” YiHan solemnly said. “He really cares for me.”

“Look at you,” the old Mr Yan chuckled. “You’re so eager to defend him. I know. You’re an adult now and you’re a sensible young man. You understand it all. You’ve also heard a lot about this from your elders. Still, one is always inclined to nag a little more when one is old.”

“Go on,” YiHan said with a nod.

The old Mr Yan smiled at YiHan. “Marriage isn’t just about feelings. There’s also responsibility. You and Mu JingYuan have now formed a new household, so you must bear the responsibility of being family. You must both be tolerant, understanding and, of course, loyal. Loyalty is a necessity in marriage. But I don’t need to tell you this. Everyone could see just much you two love each other.

“Love is like a clap. It needs two hands. You love him. Don’t be preoccupied with being embarrassed. It must be spoken aloud, within reason. Only then can life grow sweeter. Also, when life grinds at you two, don’t ever bottle up how upset you feel. Such restraint, such secretive compromise, would only turn into a threat to your marriage. If you’re angry, argue. Both of you, open up and fight about it. Once the fight is done, leave it in the past. Furthermore, you must both be honest. You must know that a lie requires a hundred more lies to perfect it. There aren’t many secrets that can be kept secret for life. The truth would be exposed sooner or later. It’s absolutely not practical.”

YiHan nodded. “Yes, Grandpa Yan. I’ll remember. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”

“Of course,” said the old Mr Yan. “Our Little YiHan deserves the best. The Mu brat isn’t bad. He’s mature, reserved. He’s good to you too. You’ve grown up together, loving each other. You know each other well.”

“Yesterday,” continued the old Mr Yan, “Pei-Pei visited me. She told me a real-life story. She said there was a gay man who married the daughter of a powerful family for the sake of his company’s future. Truthfully, there are a lot of people who still don’t accept same-sex marriage. Many homosexuals marry someone of the other gender, because of family or other reasons they are helpless against. There’s nothing society can do about it. However, this man dared to have an affair. Let’s step out of the situation. Even if it’s a love affair, at least find a consenting party. That man actually lied and said he was single. He swindled the other man out of his love. This is absolutely unforgivable. No one can truly know how low a man like this can go. I was so furious just listening to the story.”

Translator’s Note:

Tea leaves sank and floated: This is something that only happens with silver needle tea, specifically Junshan Yinzhen tea. The tea leaves are hollow as they’re actually tubes for nutrition, water etc and not just plain leaves. Hence, they would float. However, as the leaves brewed, water is slowly introduced into the leaves, causing them to sink to the bottom. But then, even at the bottom, there are still air bubbles trapped inside the leaves. These bubbles would be slowly pushed out, meaning the tea leaves would drift to the top of the water once more. The higher the quality, the longer this phenomenon would last. This cycle would repeat itself for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Nothing society can do about it: Reminder that this is an old story and a line spoken by an old man. Society can do something about it, but there are limits as to how fast things can progress. Furthermore, antipathy is considered a mild form of prejudice. Be careful of how sentiments like these are conveyed, especially in public.


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GC: Chapter 180

180. How It Felt to Be Worried About

Warning: This chapter features someone being suffocated repeatedly. Some might find it distasteful.

“That’s a nice fantasy,” Yan coldly said. “You came into YouRan’s home and hurt him. Now, you want to leave without consequences and even want me to help you keep this a secret? Isn’t that just ludicrous?”

“What happened today is my fault,” said He Yuan. “I can apologise and I can let him beat me up in return. As long as this matter can be left in the dark, I’m willing to let him vent his anger out in any way he wants to.”

Before Yan could speak, there was an angry shout coming from the front door, “Dream on!”

The three men looked at the door in unison to find YiHan marching into the apartment. The young man scanned the room before heading straight for YouRan. YiHan’s eyes scanned the injured man up and down. Upon realising the other man wasn’t severely injured, he let out a sigh of relief. When he noticed the big bruise on YouRan’s jaw, YiHan dashed for He Yuan. JingYuan, who was standing behind him, immediately grabbed YiHan and pulled him back.

YiHan’s legs kicked and scrambled as he roared, “Let me go! I’ll beat him up! I’ll kill him!”

JingYuan sighed. “You want to let out your anger? I’ll help you beat him up. You can’t win against him.”

He Yuan’s eyes popped out in surprise. He didn’t expect these two to arrive so quickly. He watched as Mu JingYuan released Bai YiHan. The taller man walked closer and closer.

“M-Mr Mu, t-there’s no need for you…” He Yuan stammered. He was filled with fright. “T-T-This is a misunderstandin–”

“I have always thought that violence has always been the lowliest strategy one could have, no matter the problem,” said JingYuan. “But today, if I let you walk out the door unharmed, HanHan’s anger won’t go away.”

The moment the last word was spoken, JingYuan swung a punch at He Yuan. The older man cried out in agony. It felt like his jaw was shattered.

“HanHan, look,” JingYuan said to YiHan. “Is this the right spot?”

YiHan had a good look at JingYuan’s bruise and compared it to He Yuan’s wound. “It’s fine,” he harrumphed. “It looks about right.”

He Yuan’s eyes were teary from pain. Afraid that the other man would hit him once more, He Yuan ignored the jaw-breaking pain and gasped, “Mr Mu! The He family can’t compete with the Mu family, but we’re not nobodies! Don’t you think you’ve gone overboard? I have the backing of the Yan family! What you did is a slap to the face for the Yan family!”

JingYuan turned back around to look at He Yuan. “I had never thought of the He family as nobodies. However, your family isn’t great enough to be used as a threat against me. Also, the Yan family? Isn’t there a Yan family member standing right there? Why don’t you ask him –- was my punch a slap to the Yan family’s face?”

Yan passed YouRan into YiHan’s care before standing up and saying, “From the second I stepped through the door, there wasn’t a minute when I didn’t wish I could punch you in the face. Finally, someone is here to help me take care of YouRan. Didn’t you just say you would let us beat you up? Anything if it’d soothe YouRan’s anger? What? Are you regretting what you said?”

He Yuan couldn’t resist slowly inching backwards. “I m-meant…”

Yan let out a huff. “You meant for YouRan to beat you up himself? You were thinking that since he was just a lanky, injured man, his punches wouldn’t hurt much. Weren’t you? If there’s anything he needs to do, his lover is willing to work on his behalf. It’ll be the same if a physical task like this is left to me.”

YiHan: “…!!!” He glanced at the cold, solemn look on Yan’s face, then at YouRan who had a hand covering his face. YiHan’s eyes went wide as he kept quiet.

JingYuan turned to look at the dazed YiHan. What he saw made his lips twitch. He then took a few steps back until he was right by YiHan’s side.

Yan stretched his wrists out and warmed them up. His joints loudly popped and cracked. It made He Yuan cry, but he had no tears to spare.

“From the second I knew of this, I’d wanted to give you a beating,” said Yan. “But just as JingYuan said, violence is a lowly strategy. It’s why I held back and didn’t make a move. Who would’ve thought you’d barge straight in and offer yourself up? I have to stop holding back then.”

He Yuan kept backing away. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know you…” His voice was trembling as he pleaded. “If I’d known, I would never dare to…”

“Now you know,” said Yan. “What a pity. It’s too late. Can you bear the pain on his behalf?”

Yan didn’t waste any more time talking. He walked straight up to He Yuan. His muscles bulged as he gave the older man a thorough beating. He Yuan’s pained cries were loud at first but slowly went soft. Tears and snot streaked all over his face.

Yan cracked his neck. “Don’t you love suffocating other people? Let me give you a taste of your own medicine. There are a lot of people who’d pay to experience near-death. I’ll let you experience it once for free. No need to thank me, but I’m not interested in touching your filthy mouth.”

Yan walked to the kitchen and dug out a transparent plastic bag. He placed it over He Yuan’s head and tied it around the neck. “We’ll start a timer. Let’s see how long you can last. You must properly experience what YouRan suffered just now.”

Yan glanced at the growing grimace on He Yuan’s face before carefully turning to look at YouRan.

The other man was spacing out, pondering on something unknown. YouRan didn’t seem to notice what Yan did.

Yan let out a breath as he relaxed a little in relief.

Every time He Yuan’s hands desperately scrambled and he was visibly on the brink of fainting, Yan would untie the bag and let the man breathe. Yan repeated the act twice. By then, He Yuan had given in and was curled up in a ball. He cried hard as he pleaded again and again for Yan to stop.

“Enough,” YouRan said.

Yan froze. With gritted teeth, he said to He Yuan, “I find what you said to me quite reasonable. It’s better if we don’t risk anything when it comes to YouRan. I won’t tell my aunt about this but you’d best remember your words. If you ever see YouRan, you will avoid him at all costs. If I ever find out you still lust after him, I will make you regret it. When I go mad, not even my aunt can stop me.” Yan leaned in close and whispered into the older man’s ear, “After all, things are different when it comes to my spouse, as compared to my idol.”

He Yuan was delirious by this point. He only knew he must keep nodding his head. All he wanted to do now was to leave this accursed place. How he loathed being unable to turn back time to when he had yet to step a foot in here. How he wished he could force himself to go back to that time with a single slap.

“If you don’t want to make Yan Miao suspicious, you’d best avoid going home with that face,” said JingYuan.

He Yuan was quivering as he replied, “I understand.”

JingYuan glanced down at He Yuan again. “There’s no escape from your own actions. He Yuan, you married Yan Miao and brought glory to the He family, yet you’re still not satisfied. You cheated, lied and toyed with other people’s emotions. All for your own desires. You think you’re a winner in life but you were just digging your own grave. You brought this on yourself. You can’t blame anyone for it. Nan Shan’s a soft-hearted man. Don’t you find it humiliating that he’s pleading for mercy on your behalf?”

Snot and tears dripped to the floor as He Yuan nodded. “YouRan, it’s all my fault. I’m sorry. Forgive me,” he moaned repeatedly.

YouRan turned and looked away.

Yan’s face grew darker.

“Why should he forgive you?” YiHan coldly huffed. “Because you have a thick skin and you’re shameless?”

“I hope you can understand this,” said JingYuan, “YouRan is someone you can’t touch. If you ever dare to aim for him again, HanHan, who holds Nan Shan dear to his heart, would definitely be upset.”

“I won’t! I won’t!” exclaimed He Yuan. “I promise! From now on, I’ll dodge and hide and avoid him to the best of my abilities!” Heh. Anyone who makes Bai YiHan unhappy would have their life taken away by Mu JingYuan. He knew that. He Yuan wasn’t that rich. He couldn’t afford to fight with the man.

Yan let out a huff. “Let’s take YouRan to the hospital.”

“Yes, that’s right,” said YiHan. “Let’s hurry.”

YouRan raised his hands and waved them before him. “There’s really no need. I’m fine now. It’s only a few scrapes and I’m only feeling a little feeble. There’s no need to go to the hospital.”

“If he doesn’t want to go, we can ask Dr Chen to come and check on him,” said JingYuan.

“Okay,” YiHan said, nodding.

YouRan’s apartment door was warped by the violent kicking. There were cracks around the door frame too. Because of the fight, the place was a mess.

“Let’s go to my place,” Yan said as he lifted YouRan up in a carry.

JingYuan turned to He Yuan who was still sprawled out on the floor. “As you can see, we don’t welcome you here.”

There wasn’t a muscle in He Yuan that didn’t ache with pain. Still, his reluctance to stay was greater. After a brief struggle, he eventually got to his feet and limped out of the apartment.

YiHan frowned. “Would He Yuan bear a grudge against Nan Shan after such a beating? Would he perhaps give us trouble?”

“Don’t worry,” JingYuan replied. “If he tries anything, I break his thing. It’ll forever be useless.”

He Yuan who had just stumbled into the lift: “…!!! /(ToT)/~~” The soft, gullible and easily fooled lover has suddenly turned into a plate of steel. His toes were broken from trying to kick it, okay? A grudge? Who would dare bear a grudge against you?

***

After a thorough checkup on YouRan’s wounds, Dr Chen turned to YiHan. “There’s no need to worry, Little Master. Mr Xu isn’t gravely injured. These are just flesh wounds. I’ll give him some cream for the bruise. He’ll be fine after a few days.”

YiHan’s entire being relaxed. “Sorry for troubling you, Dr Chen,” he said with a smile.

“This is no trouble,” Dr Chen chuckled. “When Mr Mu called me, I thought you were hurt. I was so scared that I ran all the way here!”

“I’m sorry,” JingYuan said to Dr Chen. A rare smile on his face. “It’s my fault. I wasn’t clear enough.”

Shocked by the apology, Dr Chen hurriedly waved his hands and said, “It’s fine. It’s fine. Thank goodness everyone’s alright. It just so happens I have some bruise cream here. Squeeze some out and warm it in your hands before spreading it on the wound. If that’s all, I’ll be off.”

After Dr Chen left, silence reigned in the apartment.

A few long moments later, YouRan spoke up. “You all knew about the matter with He Yuan already.”

“YouRan, don’t be mad,” said Yan in a panicked tone. “I really only meant to gather information about you. I didn’t mean anything bad by it!”

“Nan Shan, you know there is absolutely no way we’d disrespect you,” YiHan added. “It’s just…something we did out of a want to protect you, you know?”

YouRan let out a bitter laugh. “I don’t mean to accuse or blame you for anything. If you hadn’t rushed in and saved me, I would’ve died today.”

YouRan then looked at Yan and asked, “Before, you guys were always hanging around in my place or you would drive me to Zhang-ge’s place. Were you afraid of leaving me alone? Today, I had just left Zhang Su’s store and you immediately head home. Was it also because you were afraid He Yuan would come? You were afraid I’d suffer because you knew he’s not a good man, right?”

“I didn’t know he’d be here today,” Yan guiltily said. “I’m just anxious about letting you be alone. I came back to check in on you.”

YouRan nodded. “I know. Also, thank you for believing me.” His hand pressed against his chest. So this was how it felt to having someone worrying about you. This place, his chest, it was boiling hot.

In a show of loyalty, YiHan said, “Trust in you as a person is the most basic of all, okay?”

JingYuan smiled as he patted YiHan on the head and winked at him.

Translator’s Note:

The last line is a big mystery on my end as the actual translation had “him” instead of “YiHan”. It would be logical for YouRan to be the “him” as that’s the character they’re comforting. However, it’s not like JingYuan to pat anyone but YiHan on the head. Feel free to guess away at who this “him” should’ve been.


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GC: Chapter 179

179. How Can You Be so Shameless?

Yan squinted his eyes. “I know about what happened between you two. You took advantage of his inexperience when it came to emotions. You fooled him for years. I was going to let bygones be bygones since YouRan didn’t want to bother with it anymore. I didn’t think you’d dare to bother him while I’m away. You even hurt him. He Yuan, this will not be the end.”

He Yuan’s heart dropped. Yan knew! And to think he’d been so careful, afraid that Yan would find out. Yes, YouRan had clung onto the man’s leg. He would’ve told Yan about this matter. One, it’d wash the blame off YouRan. Two, it’d garner YouRan some sympathy. With how things were going, it’s highly unlikely this matter would end well for He Yuan.

“Is that what he told you?” He Yuan couldn’t resist spitefully saying. “People who fall in love really have dumbed-down minds. Do you really think I fooled him? With my status, I can have any kind of lover I want. Why would I need to lie? He offered himself up because he knew who I am! Only a naïve brat like you would treasure a ragged thing like him.”

YouRan’s face had finally regained some semblance of a healthy flush but He Yuan’s words dashed it all away. YouRan was so angry that his entire body was trembling as he stuttered, “You’re lying…! How can you be so shameless…?”

Yan hurriedly patted YouRan on the chest to help him catch his breath. As he did so, he coldly chuckled and shot at He Yuan, “Lover? It’s not hard for you to find a lover but you have to pretend to be the best husband ever twenty-four hours a day. Look for a lover? Aren’t you afraid she’d cause the roof of your house to blow up? Anyone else might believe you, but me? Do you think I wouldn’t know all about you and your capabilities? Well? Panicking, are you? You want to cause a rift between us? Do you think he told me about this? I don’t mind telling you, but I looked up everything. He didn’t say a single word. Before YiHan’s engagement party, he didn’t even know your real name.”

Yan looked down to find YouRan looking rather upset. “I didn’t mean to investigate you,” he hurriedly explained. “It’s just… After I became your neighbour…. You know, I’m a fan. I just wanted to know a little more about you. Then, I found out about this. Don’t be angry. I’ll explain everything to you later, okay? I definitely didn’t have another motive.”

He Yuan had never thought there was anything bad about YouRan’s profession. He even found it great. The man would be typing away at home all day long. He rarely left the apartment. That dramatically reduced the chance of the man discovering he’d been lied to. To He Yuan’s surprise, his books had found a fan with such great status and power. The two men even became neighbours by some odd luck! Were the gods toying with him?

Yan, on the other hand, felt like he hadn’t done enough to provoke He Yuan. “Why do you think YiHan and the others are so close to him?” Yan said, adding more fuel to the fire. “It’s because YiHan is also his fan. Oh, there’s also Pei-Pei. When they found out I’d become YouRan’s neighbour, they nearly went crazy with joy. If they ever have time, they’d lounge around here. They didn’t want to leave at all. Yes, it seriously affected my bonding time with YouRan.”

He Yuan opened his mouth but was interrupted by Yan before he even said a word. “You don’t need to try and bad-mouth him to me,” Yan said. “I know everything about this matter. I know so much more about it than he does.”

He Yuan’s lips were trembling as he asked through gritted teeth, “So you plan on telling your aunt about this?”

“Should I not tell her?” Yan said with raised eyebrows. “Who would’ve thought a member of the Yan family would be fooled into marrying a gay, cheating man? I think she has the right to know about this.”

He Yuan looked at YouRan as he replied to Yan, “You should know that once Miao knows of his existence, she won’t stop until he’s dead. He can’t continue on being a writer then.”

Yan’s arms around YouRan tightened. “That’s none of your concern,” he calmly said. “If I can’t even protect my lover, I’m not fit to be part of the Yan family.”

He Yuan smirked. “Yan Miao is also part of the Yan family. She’s also your elder. Even if she’s not much older, she still belongs to an older generation. She is the youngest daughter of old Mr Yan. She’s the only daughter he has, the daughter he’d doted on for years. If she kicks up a fuss, even you would be powerless.”

Yan’s lips perked up into a smile. “If my status isn’t enough, what if the Bai and Mu families are involved? YiHan is also a diehard fan of YouRan. He knows about this too. You know how he’s treated in the Bai family. It would only be a request to protect a man. I believe Uncle Bai wouldn’t say no. Furthermore, he had just gotten engaged with Mr Mu. Everyone in the city knows what Mr Mu thinks of him. What YiHan thinks equals what Mr Mu thinks. Privately, Mr Mu even jokes about being the family of a fan.

“Of course, there’s Pei-Pei. Do you think that, with so many of us, YouRan can’t be shielded from harm?”

He Yuan gulped. Still, he persisted. “Stop trying to glorify him. He’s only an author you guys like. Would the Bai and Mu families make an enemy of the Yan family over him? This is no game.”

Yan coldly smiled. “Don’t believe me? Let’s see just how important YouRan is to YiHan.” As he said so, he dug out his phone to call YiHan. He even put the call on speakerphone.

He Yuan face went stark pale. Yan really had the guts to call Bai YiHan! The man wasn’t bluffing. He Yuan thought this matter was a well-kept secret. So many people knew!

The call was soon answered. “Yan?” came Bai YiHan’s voice from the other end of the call. “What is it?”

Yan immediately answered, “While we were away, He Yuan barged into YouRan’s home and injured him. He’s still here. YouRan is quite badly injured. He also fainted just now. Come and help me get YouRan to the hospital.”

YiHan’s voice instantly rose to a high-pitch shriek, “What did you say? Aaah! That makes me so angry! Don’t worry! I’ll be there soon!”

YiHan’s words were followed by a series of loud bangs and clattering. Something had fallen to the ground.

“What happened?” came the deep voice of Mu JingYuan.

“He Yuan barged into Nan Shan’s home and beat him up,” said YiHan’s panicked voice. “Yan says he’s badly hurt. I must get there now!”

“Don’t worry just yet,” JingYuan replied in a louder voice. “I’ll go with you. Yan is there now. They’ll be fine.”

Then, as if YiHan just realised he hadn’t hung up yet, he asked into the phone, “Yan, how’s the situation now? Are Nan Shan’s injuries severe? Has He Yuan ran off already?” His voice came in harsh pants as though he was walking briskly.

The expression on Yan’s face softened. He smiled at He Yuan, who had turned a ghastly pale shade, and calmly answered, “You don’t need to rush. He Yuan is still here. YouRan said he was merely suffocated. He’s fine now but he should go for a thorough check at the hospital. There’s a big bruise on his jaw. I don’t know if there are any other wounds on him.”

Quick footsteps can be heard from the other end of the call, as if YiHan was running. “What?” YiHan huffed out. “Nearly suffocated? That’s no big deal? My god! That’s murder! We must get him to the hospital now! Don’t worry. JingYuan and I will be there soon. Right. How is Nan Shan holding up? Did He Yuan agitate him?”

“He’s definitely angry but I’m here,” Yan steadily replied. “He’s safe now. He looks okay. You guys don’t need to race over here. Drive carefully.”

There was a loud bang from YiHan’s end as he closed the door. “Aaaargh!” YiHan hoarsely shouted. “I’m just so angry! We were so careful, but he still found a way to sneak in! I’m going to strangle him to death! Wait there. Don’t let him run away! We’ll be there right away!”

The call was ended then. Yan waved his phone. “Guaranteed to be authentic. You should’ve recognised Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan’s voices, right? They’ll be here soon. Well? Do you still think we’re playing around?”

“How can it be?” He Yuan mumbled. “This…”

Yan’s gaze went cold. “Of course, someone like you wouldn’t understand it. If one sees some random stranger in need, there would be a passionate fellow who would help them. Furthermore, YouRan isn’t just the author we like. He is also their friend and my lover. You trespassed his home, insulted him and you nearly killed him. Isn’t it normal for them to worry and for me to be angry?

“He Yuan, no matter how much of a coward I can be, I could never have let this be. As I’ve said, this is not the end.”

He Yuan stuttered, “How can you not care about your aunt…”

“Hah! Are you a fool?” said Yan. “When she knows of the ugly side of your two-timing face, it’d be a question whether she still wants you or not. What do I have to worry about?”

The other man’s hands clawed at the floor. “Even if she doesn’t want me, she would still be angry. If this matter blows up until everyone knows, it’d be bad for YouRan too, right? Can he still be a writer then?”

Yan hesitated. Still, he insisted, “He is mine. He doesn’t need to do anything. Do you think I can’t afford to feed and clothe him?”

“Even if you’re okay with it, he wouldn’t be,” He Yuan hurriedly said. He could see Yan’s resolve wavering. “When I gave him money before, he wouldn’t accept a single cent. He’s not interested in anything but writing his stories. If he can’t continue on this path, it’d be a drastic blow to him. Do you really not mind?”

Yan looked down at YouRan. He sneakily winked at the man in his arms before looking up and glumly said, “With our protection, my aunt might not be able to kick up a fuss.”

Noticing the change in expression, He Yuan hurriedly said, “But it’s still very much a possibility, isn’t it? What if? If the situation gets out of control and news spreads, YouRan’s reputation would definitely take a hit.”

Yan glance at YouRan before smirking. “You would be concerned about the state of his reputation?”

“What will happen to him has nothing to do with me,” said He Yuan. “All I care about is if Miao would find out about this. I swear, I don’t have any other lovers. From now on, I will be doubly good to Miao. We already have two kids. How could we split up so easily? Her knowledge of this would benefit no one at all! Is there a need for everyone to suffer?

“But if you don’t say anything, I, Miao and our two kids would remain as the happy family everyone envies. Your aunt would live out a happy life. If a secret is locked away and left to rot, then we can absolutely think of it as having never existed before! And I swear, from now on, I will never ever visit YouRan again. Even if we meet by coincidence, I will take the long way round to avoid him. How about it?”


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 178

178. Is That so Hard to Understand?

He Yuan stood up and slowly walked closer to YouRan. His face darkened as he said, “You’re disgusted at the sight of me? Who do you think you are? With a snap of my fingers, countless beautiful men and women would fall before me. You say you’re disgusted just by looking at me? What are you pretending to be so high and mighty for? Oh, are you upset I never gave you any money? That’s because it was a game. As a normal white-collar worker whose salary isn’t that great, how could I have that much money? It wasn’t like I didn’t give any. You just didn’t want it. Oh, was it too little? But since everything’s out in the open now, money is naturally not a problem. However, if you still won’t wise up, I don’t think you want to know just what I can do.”

YouRan clenched his teeth. “I don’t care about your money and I don’t want you. I’m fine living alone. I’ll thank you as long as you stay away from me!”

He Yuan chuckled. “Looks like you still don’t understand what I can do to you. Let me give you an example. At the very least…” He leaned in close and slowly spoke into YouRan’s ear, “I. Can. Ruin. Your. Entire. Life.”

Looking into YouRan’s wide eyes, He Yuan’s lips widened into a cold smirk. “Don’t you like writing novels? With a single word, I can make the world be filled with evidence of your bad deeds. What’s true? What’s false? As long as I say it’s a fact, it’s a fact. When everyone thinks you’re an evil man who’s rotten to the core, do you think anyone would read your books?”

YouRan couldn’t hold back anymore. “You’re shameless!” he roared as he slapped the other man. He Yuan never thought YouRan would have the guts to hit him. Caught off-guard, the slap landed squarely on his cheek. In a fit of intense rage, He Yuan hit back with a punch to YouRan’s jaw. 

YouRan was a thin man. He was no match for He Yuan. That one punch forced him back several steps. He Yuan seized his chance to kick YouRan on the stomach and push him onto the ground.

The agony emitting from his abdomen sapped away YouRan’s ability to climb back up to his feet. YouRan struggled to stand but then He Yuan grabbed YouRan by the hair and pulled his head back. Gazing down at the face that mesmerised him, He Yuan couldn’t resist the urge to stroke it. His grip on YouRan’s hair loosened slightly.

“Why must you fight with me over this?” He Yuan softly asked. “Wouldn’t it be nice for us to go back to how things were? I really do like you.”

Pain had painted YouRan’s face a stark white. A mocking smile grew on his face. “Dream. On! Even if you kill me, I will never be a lover to a vile cheater like you. The thought of having been with you made me wish I can peel off my skin.”

Anger, born from humiliation, made He Yuan tug hard at YouRan’s hair, drawing a pained moan from the other man. “You ungrateful thing,” He Yuan spat through gritted teeth. “If you won’t take what I’ve given you out of kindness, you will be punished. Since this is what you think, I don’t need to hold back from you anymore. Do you think I wouldn’t dare to kill you?”

“Come on, then,” YouRan mockingly said.

He Yuan had been suppressing his emotions for the past few days. YouRan’s words were the trigger to make his rage burst. He pushed YouRan back onto the ground before dragging him up again by the collar of his shirt.

“What a shame to just kill you,” He Yuan sneered. “Why don’t I put you to full use?” As he said so, he began tearing away at YouRan’s clothing. The other man did his best to struggle away. Fortunately, it was a cold day and YouRan had put on more layers than usual. When he arrived back home, he was in such a hurry to write that he didn’t take off his knitted layer. His sweater had no buttons. It had to be pulled off over the man’s head. Under YouRan’s intense struggle, He Yuan could do nothing about the sweater for now. Fuming, he turned his attention to YouRan’s pants.

The two men were in a soundless struggle when someone began knocking on the door. He Yuan rose. His face twisted.

YouRan took the opportunity to push the man away and darted for the door. He Yuan hurriedly grabbed YouRan by the ankle and tugged. Unbalanced, YouRan fell to the floor with a loud bang. He knew the person on the other side of the door was most likely Yan or the others. He opened his mouth to scream for help when He Yuan’s hands covered his mouth and nose. All he could do was let out helpless, muffled calls.

He Yuan was frankly panicking too. He had been lying in wait for days. Finally, YouRan was alone. He Yuan planned on breaking things off with the man and seal off the man’s mouth, threaten him to not speak of what happened between them. However, the sight of the man made He Yuan reluctant to part with the man. After all, he really liked this man. There was no one else more suited to his tastes than Xu YouRan. That was why he tried to risk continuing their relationship. He didn’t think YouRan would be so stubborn. The younger man wasn’t afraid of his threats. YouRan even did all he could to agitate him. Even more unthinkable, someone else was here after such a short amount of time. Damn it. Weren’t these people meant to be at work or in class?

When the person outside the apartment heard nothing, they called out, “YouRan? Are you home?” It was Yan Yan.

YouRan’s eyes were red. He mustered up all the strength he could to struggle out of He Yuan’s hold, to get He Yuan’s hands away from his mouth. But He Yuan’s hands seemed to be welded to his face. YouRan couldn’t get them off no matter how hard he tried. In He Yuan’s attempt to keep YouRan from making a sound, even YouRan’s nose was covered. YouRan had no way to breathe. He struggled hard. He could feel his vision slowly going dark. Would he be suffocated to death here, today?

He Yuan kept a tight hold on YouRan’s mouth and nose, hoping the person outside the apartment would leave when he heard nothing. He didn’t realise YouRan’s struggles getting weaker and weaker.

Yan was certain YouRan was home but no matter how long he knocked, there was no response. He did just hear a faint bang coming from within. Yan raised his voice and called out once more. There was still no response. His heart went cold. Something must’ve happened. If it wasn’t He Yuan, it would’ve meant YouRan fell and was knocked unconscious. 

Yan’s thoughts made him break out in a cold sweat. He didn’t bother wasting his energy knocking on the door and began to kick down the door. A few hard stomps later, the dust of the door frame and walls were all shaken off but the security door was as sturdy as ever. There was no way Yan could kick it down quick enough. It’d take too long if he asked the security guards for the backup key. Trepidation burned in his eyes. How he wished he could shatter this darned door with a single kick.

When He Yuan realised Yan Yan didn’t leave and instead began to frantically charge at the door, He Yuan felt his heart fly out of his throat. This door couldn’t hold on for long. Even if Yan Yan couldn’t kick it down now, the loud ruckus he’s causing would attract the guards of the area. As long as Yan, an apartment owner, states his suspicions of something happening to his neighbour, the guards will get a copy of the key and open the door. What should he do?

As He Yuan panicked, he suddenly realised it had been a while since he felt any struggling from YouRan. Stunned, he looked down to find YouRan’s face a pale white. The other man’s eyes were closed. There was no way to know if the man was dead or alive. Shocked, He Yuan hurriedly let go.

Finally, YouRan had the space to breathe. The additional ear-shattering banging on the door slowly woke up his drowsy mind.

“Xu YouRan!” He Yuan said, smacking the other man in the face. “Wake up! Don’t play dead!”

YouRan kept his eyes closed. He didn’t move. Just as He Yuan was beyond himself with panic at the thought of the younger man being dead, YouRan burst into motion. Perhaps it was an extraordinary rush of adrenaline and strength that came from a human’s instinctual yearning for life. In one swift move, YouRan rose up and flung the unprepared He Yuan to the side. Without regard for anything else, he crawled to his feet and ran for the door. He Yuan hastily followed suit and tackled YouRan. The two men weren’t far from the door. That tackle slammed both men against the door. He Yuan held back nothing. A pained exhale left YouRan’s lips. Still, YouRan’s hand scrambled for the door handle. YouRan pressed down on the door handle with one hard push.

On the other side of the door, Yan’s foot just so happened to have landed on the door in a kick. The door was slammed open, flinging the two men in the apartment away from the doorway.

YouRan immediately slid down to the floor, unconscious. He had used up all of his strength in the last struggle. When he saw the door open, he was so relieved that he fainted.

Yan charged into the apartment. He saw YouRan lying on the ground, clothes in disarray, while one of his slim wrists was in He Yuan’s grip. Yan felt his blood rushing to his head. His eyes went red with blood. He strode into the apartment, kicked He Yuan away and snatched YouRan from the other man’s grasp.

“YouRan!” Yan shouted again and again as he shook the man in his arms. There was no reply. Yan was so angry that he felt like he could kill someone. He didn’t know just how hurt YouRan was. The man wouldn’t wake up no matter how hard Yan shook him. Yan couldn’t help but feel anxiety rise in him.

He Yuan was shocked stiff at the sight of Yan Yan. When he was kicked to the ground, his entire body hurt. It was as if all of his organs had been twisted together. He couldn’t find the strength to stand up.

Yan insistently attempted to wake YouRan up but nothing happened. Just as he was about to call for an ambulance, he heard YouRan cough. The man slowly opened his eyes.

“YouRan!” Yan happily cried. “YouRan, how do you feel? Where are you hurt? I’ll take you to the hospital now! It’ll be fine. Don’t worry!”

YouRan slowly shook his head. His body felt so weak and powerless. Even an attempt to raise his hand was too much for him. Still, he raised his hand to hold Yan’s hand, the hand that was going to embrace him.

“I’m fine,” YouRan softly said. “He nearly suffocated me. I just haven’t recovered. I’m fine after a little rest.”

Yan hurriedly lifted YouRan up into a carry. As his hand patted YouRan’s back in a soothing gesture, Yan coldly stared at He Yuan. There were a few moments of silence.

Then, in the most spine-chilling voice he had ever used in his whole life, Yan said, “How is the head of the  He family so free as to come to my lover’s home?”

When those words were spoken, it wasn’t just He Yuan who was stunned. YouRan, who was busy trying to catch his breath, was too. YouRan’s breath caught in his throat. Stuck, YouRan’s eyes went wide.

Yan patted YouRan on the chest. “Exhale,” Yan whispered.

Without thinking, YouRan exhaled as Yan told him to. A tinge of healthy pink eventually returned to YouRan’s pale face.

He Yuan had fallen to sit on the ground when he realised he was cornered. When he heard what Yan said, his eyes popped out of his head in surprise.

“Your lover?” said He Yuan. “Are you joking?”

“Do you think I’m in the mood to joke with you?” Yan smirked.

“How can it be possible?” He Yuan’s jaw dropped in shock.

“How can it not be?” Yan asked. “Don’t you know he’s Nan Shan?”

“Nan Shan?” He Yuan was confused.

Yan tilted his chin up and coldly stated, “That’s right. I am a fan of Nan Shan’s books. Perhaps it was a gift from the gods. I moved out and, coincidentally, I became his neighbour. After interacting with him in such close quarters, my admiration for him turned into love. Is that so hard to understand?”

He Yuan’s head was sent spinning by Yan’s answer. “You…”


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 177

177. Get Out of My World

[Yan Yan: Is there a problem? This place is nice. I like the scenery and atmosphere here. I don’t plan on moving away.]

[Pei the Third: It’s your choice. If you like it there then stay there. It’s better that way. I’ll have more chances to visit Nan Shan!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan:  The important matter at hand is to deal with He Yuan and your aunt.]

[Pei the Third: True. We can’t keep this matter a secret from our aunt. We didn’t mention it before because we wanted to protect Nan Shan. Now that he’s under our protection, our aunt can’t be fooled by that trash.]

[Yan Yan: I’m afraid our aunt might not be understanding. We can let her know He Yuan is a gay man and she’s being used as a beard, but we can’t let her know about YouRan. Otherwise, with how she is, she might just kick up a fuss regardless. YouRan would be affected.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: JingYuan said the old Mr Yan’s attitude is also very important. After all, he has the greatest authority in the entire family. Only he can restrain your aunt. If the worst-case scenario happened, your aunt will know of Nan Shan’s existence. If the old Mr Yan is on our side, he would be the ultimate card up our sleeves.]

[Yan Yan: Mr Mu is right.]

[Pei the Third: Yeah, I’ve already recommended Nan Shan’s books to Grandpa. He just finished reading one of them yesterday. He said the writing’s not bad.]

[Yan Yan: You did good.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: If He Yuan can read the room and willingly withdraw, we’ll leave it be. If he doesn’t, we’ll privately reveal all we know to him to shut him up.]

[Pei the Third: Yes. We can’t let him think Nan Shan can be bullied around and dealt with without consequences. We must let him know just how important Nan Shan is. It’ll shock him and make him too afraid of getting close to Nan Shan.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I think Pei-Pei can turn this incident into a story and tell the old Mr Yan about it. Of course, omitting Nan Shan’s name. We can use it to test his reaction to such a situation and we can use it to give him a preconceived notion that Nan Shan is also a victim. After all, the first impression is very important.]

[Pei the Third: Smart. Leave it to me. Oh, right. YiHan, Grandpa was talking about you yesterday. He said it’s been over a month since you visited him. If you have time, go spend an afternoon with him. He likes you a lot.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Okay. I’ll visit him sometime in the next two days. Actually, I would’ve gone even if you didn’t ask me to. JingYuan brought back two really nice bags of tea leaves a few days ago. We planned on giving one to my grandfather and one to the old Mr Yan.]

[Yan Yan: YiHan, you and Mr Mu are now legally married? Congratulations.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Yes. We registered the day before yesterday. Your network is fast.]

[Pei the Third: Whoa! Congratulations!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Thank you for the well-wishes. Haha!]

[Pei the Third: Look at how happy you are. (snicker)]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Of course I’m happy. JingYuan will be mine from now on!]

[Pei the Third: Such a tyrant!]

[Mu JingYuan: Even if we’re not married, I am also yours.]

[Pei the Third: (spit blood) Pfft! Are you testing out ways to torture dogs here…?]

When YiHan saw JingYuan’s message, he nearly choked on his own saliva. His face flushed red and his finger trembled as he pointed at JingYuan and stammered, “Y-Y-Y-You…”

“What is it?” JingYuan calmly asked. “Am I wrong?”

YiHan stared at the other man for a while before bursting out into a chuckle. “No, you’re right. You’re so correct but the look of you acting like this…”

“Hm?” JingYuan raised an eyebrow and asked.

“I like it!” YiHan exclaimed, slamming a hand down on the coffee table. “Come! Give me a kiss.”

JingYuan stood up. His long legs strode across the room until he was before YiHan. Dropping down to one knee, he leaned in close.

“I’m here,” said JingYuan in a voice so deep that it could cause ripples in a lake.

As for the phone which had been thrown on the couch, it kept pinging with new messages.

[Pei the Third: Huh? Where are they? Why aren’t they speaking?]

[Yan Yan: They’re likely cuddling in passion.]

[Pei the Third: Oh, right. Understandable. I’ll be struck by lightning if I disturb a couple in love. I’m off. Talk to you later.]

[Yan Yan: Mn. I’m going to go home.]

[Pei the Third: What is it? Aren’t you at the office?]

[Yan Yan: Yes, but Zhang-ge just messaged me. YouRan went back home. I don’t feel okay leaving him alone.]

[Pei the Third: Why did he suddenly decide to go home by himself?]

[Yan Yan: He said he was suddenly inspired. He needed to head home and write it down.]

[Pei the Third: Aaaah! That’s good! But can you sneak out?]

[Yan Yan: It’s fine. Big Brother is here. I’m off.]

[Pei the Third: Okay. Hurry over.]

***

When YouRan arrived back at home, he hastily turned on his computer and typed down the idea that just flashed into his mind. After a long session of typing, he eventually leaned back and let out a sigh of relief. This was going to be the plot of the next book.

Ever since YouRan met his fans, he truly felt he shouldn’t continue on being someone who wasn’t worth wasting time on. He should put more of his energy into his writing and use his stories to repay those who liked him. Of course, there is the man he’d made his mark on.

While YouRan didn’t know why Yan didn’t want to acknowledge what happened that night, YouRan was never one to not take responsibility. Even if it wasn’t something he did while he was sober.

Furthermore, ever since YouRan started looking at Yan from another angle, he realised there was something about the man that was very undeniably attractive. There was a special charm to each and every one of Yan’s actions. Being around Yan felt different to being around He Yuan. It wasn’t a longing for warmth nor was it a sense of urgency to hold onto the last straw. Being with Yan sometimes made his heart pound and his gut go numb. It sometimes felt like a peaceful little stream of love slowly flowing into his heart and nourishing every inch of his bones.

In all of the years YouRan has been alive, including the four years or so he’s been “with” He Yuan, YouRan has never experienced a sensation such as this. It made him feel as drawn to Yan as a moth to a flame.

YouRan knew his heart was slowly changing. He didn’t know if it meant he was heading for another disaster but YouRan was powerless to stop it. He didn’t want to stop it either because there wouldn’t be another person who could make him smile just at the thought of the man.

YouRan knew their identities were special. This would likely lead to nothing. Hence, YouRan cherished the time he could spend being close to Yan. He knew Yan wouldn’t live nearby for long. Their time living next to each other might be a short one but these memories will be the treasures of his life.

YouRan’s eyes drifted to the window as he spaced out. Why would Yan not acknowledge what happened that night? Was it because it’s impossible between them and didn’t want to make things awkward between them? Or, did Yan think it was an accident that should’ve been forgotten?

Well, it certainly was an accident. However, YouRan seemed to be trapped in it.

The sound of someone knocking on the door snapped YouRan out of his thoughts. When he walked over to open the door, his mind was still preoccupied with thoughts of Yan. The words “Yan, why are you back?” were still in his throat when a man pushed him back into the apartment.

YouRan stumbled backwards. It took him a few steps before he regained his balance. Looking up from the floor, the sight he was met with made his head buzz loud. 

“How dare you come back,” YouRan spat through gritted teeth.

He Yuan stepped closer. His face was gloomy as he shot back, “You’re mine. Why wouldn’t I dare?”

YouRan was furious but his rage was stuck in his chest. He couldn’t push it up nor down. He truly didn’t have any experience in arguing with other people. It took him a few moments of harsh panting before he could speak.

“Aren’t you ashamed to be asking that? Let me ask you. What is your name?”

“What’s my name?” He Yuan stared at YouRan. “Shouldn’t you know?”

“Yes,” said YouRan. “Everything between us was just a lie. You have a wife and two children, yet you lie to me and say you’re single. You are the head of the He family but you told me you’re just an ordinary office worker. Your name, your everything — they’re all just lies! In this world, there has never been a man named He Yao! The truth is out in the open now. How can you still come to me?”

“What?” He Yuan growled. “You think nothing of me now that you’ve sucked up to a few rich, powerful and young men? So what if I lied to you? I’ve told you. You are in my heart. Can’t we continue what we had before, living the way we had before? When we break up, I’ll even give you a huge sum of money. It’ll be enough to ensure you can live out the rest of your life in luxury! Just who are you playing the victim for?”

“I’m not a victim,” YouRan coldly said. “I was a fool to believe you. I don’t want to think about the past. I’ve been quite clear the last time you were here. We’re through! Don’t ever come to me again. You’ll be the head of the He family and I’ll just be a normal man. There’ll be no ties between us. It’d be best if we never see each other until death!”

“No ties?” He Yuan smirked. “Dream on. I’m telling you now. You have and will never be in charge when it comes to our relationship! You think you can end it just because you want to? I’m warning you. Until the day I say so, you will always be mine. You think you can kick me away just because of those kids? No way! Do you think they can protect you forever just because they can protect you now? Do you think Yan Yan, the second young master of the Yan family, would live in this slum for the rest of his life? You’d best clear up the eyes and realise just who is the one who can decide your fate!”

He Yuan then walked over to the couch and sat down. “Now that you know everything, I don’t have to waste my energy with disguises. I don’t even need to play around with this game called love. Once they’re gone, I will be here every Tuesday and Friday. You had best be prepared to welcome me then. Of course, there might be a change in circumstances and I’d need to come some other day. Just wait for my notice.”

YouRan was trembling with fury. “How can someone as shameless as you exist in this world? Stop dreaming. The mere sight of you disgusts me. No matter what happens, I, Xu YouRan, will never be someone’s ‘mistress’! Be you a normal man or the head of the He family, it has nothing to do with me! Also, in the past few years, I have never spent a single cent of yours! I don’t owe you anything! You’d best get out of my world and never let me see you again!”


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 176

176. A Beautiful Misunderstanding

YouRan panicked. He didn’t know what to do. He instinctively retracted the limbs that had been weighing down on the other man, which then woke up Yan.

Yan’s brows furrowed together in a soft frown, then his eyes slowly opened. YouRan couldn’t help but hold his breath. He didn’t know what he should say or how he should explain this scene.

Yan opened his eyes to find YouRan staring at him with wide eyes. “You’re up, YouRan?” Yan asked in a raspy voice.

YouRan stiffly nodded.

Yan lifted an arm, covered in bite marks, to lay over his forehead. “How did I fall asleep?” he whispered.

Yan then saw the teeth marks covering his arm. He was reminded of the state of his body. Embarrassed, Yan shot up. The only piece of fabric on him, the towel, was also gone! Did he have to flash his idol? Oh, Lord! This will absolutely not do! Were the gods trying to kill him?

As discreetly as possible, Yan searched around the bed. Finally, he found the towel hiding in a corner of the bed. It was only then that he let out the breath he’d been holding in. He wrapped the towel on his waist and stood up from the bed. How could he have fallen asleep? Yan was very frustrated. Look at what he’d done. He’d slept in Nan Shan’s bed, naked. What would his idol think of him now? Would YouRan think he was a pervert?

When Yan was searching around for his towel, YouRan spotted a bruise on Yan’s back (it came from bumping into the hook). YouRan couldn’t resist covering his face with his hands. He was quite heavy-handed last night. Not only did he bit Yan, he even bruised the other man.

Upon spotting YouRan dropping his face into his hands, Yan thought it was due to his lack of clothing. He was so ashamed that he wished he could bury himself in the ground.

“Last night, you were drunk,” Yan tried explaining. “I drove you home. Then, you puked. Our clothes were both dirtied. I helped you in the shower and I…I also took a quick shower. I don’t have any clothes here. I was thinking of going back to my apartment but then…” In order to save his idol’s face, he left out the fact that, when drunk, his idol acted like a dog who loved biting other people.

“Enough. I understand,” YouRan muttered, face still in his hands.

Yan let out a sigh of relief. It’s a good thing his idol was understanding. Please don’t ever think of him as a stinking, perverted nudist.

Even if they were both men, it’s quite a weird and uncomfortable situation to be naked in the same room as another person. For some strange reason, when faced with YouRan, the awkwardness was multiplied by several times. Now that YouRan understood the situation at hand (he didn’t), Yan hastily stood up to leave. He should head home and get dressed. However, he had strained a muscle last night and he didn’t notice it when he woke up just now. The moment he took a step, tragedy struck. A sharp agonising pain shot up his leg. Caught off guard, Yan dropped to one knee with a loud bang.

YouRan: “…” I really was a beast last night!

Yan: “…” Crap. I’ve utterly humiliated myself in front of my idol!

YouRan hastily clambered to get out of bed. It didn’t matter what the entire story was. This was his fault.

Yan’s face was as red as can be. Before YouRan even had a foot on the floor, Yan was already on his feet. “It’s fine,” he repeatedly said with a wave of his hand as he limped out of the apartment.

Sitting on the side of the bed, YouRan was petrified. He didn’t think he’d be so sexual when he’s drunk. He actually had sex with the second young master of the Yan family. Would he be sentenced to death by dismemberment? He would be, right?

Even after Yan had gotten dressed, thrown out the trash and bought some breakfast on the way back, YouRan was still out of it. When YouRan heard a knock on the door, he hurriedly slipped into a robe and ran out to answer the door.

It was Yan, breakfast in hand. YouRan was stunned. The other man was still willing to see him? This wasn’t logical. He blankly watched as Yan limped over to the dining table and laid out the breakfast he’d brought.

“There’s nothing nice nearby,” said Yan with a slight smile. “Still, please have some. You had a lot to drink last night. You must not be feeling well right now. Don’t bother with making breakfast. Eat some of this and go take a nap.”

Yan spoke so naturally and casually but he was still blushing. (He’d just humiliated himself before his idol. How embarrassing.) YouRan really felt like he was a cruel, inhumane bastard. Yan was the bottom and yet he’s so calm. It’s clear the man didn’t want to talk about it but here he was, still acting like an awkward fool and not a man at all. However, just what should happen now? Pretend as if nothing happened? That’s just savage. Take responsibility? How? Yan is the second young master of the Yan family. Even if YouRan wanted to take responsibility, he wasn’t worthy of the honour. What should he do then?

Yan thought YouRan was blanking out because he was still suffering from his drinking last night. “NanShan? YouRan?” Yan gently called out. “What is it? Do you feel sick? It’s always like that the day after you get drunk. Come eat some warm food before you take a nap. I have to go to work.”

YouRan’s mouth gaped open. His eyes glanced at the other man’s bottom half before he drily asked, “Can you…go to work like that?”

The mention of his humiliating accident made Yan wish he could hide in a hole. His fair face swiftly returned to its blushing state as he awkwardly smiled. “Ah, that. It’s fine,” he awkwardly said. “Haha, I’m fine. I absolutely can. I’m off.”

Yan then waved in farewell before he walked off as if he was escaping from something.

Watching Yan limped away, YouRan felt a painful tugging at his heart. Yan had suffered something over-the-line by his hands, but the man didn’t resent him at all. He still cared about YouRan; was he sick? Did he have breakfast? Ever since YouRan’s mother passed away, no one else had ever treated him with such honest and sincere concern.

Yan said nothing that morning. He did his best to act natural despite the embarrassment and shame he must be feeling. (What a misunderstanding.) Yan must be afraid of putting YouRan in a tough spot, right? He wanted this matter to be forgotten about and left in the past, right? However, was YouRan really going to act as if nothing happened? What’s the difference between him and that trash He Yao, no, He Yuan then?

Sitting at the dining table with a steaming breakfast before his eyes, YouRan felt a relieving stream of warmth flow into his heart. His heart throbbed at the memory of how Yan limped away just now, the memory of his body covered in bite marks and hickeys (they weren’t that). Perhaps it’s because all men have some sort of territorial instinct. Now that he has realised Yan became his last night, he felt satisfaction blooming in him. It was a little cringey, a little overwhelming but there was a tinge of…happiness.

This sensation was a stranger to him. YouRan had never experienced it before but it was good. It felt really, extremely good.

***

Hand in hand, JingYuan and YiHan walked out of the marriage registration office. In one hand, JingYuan had two red document books. In the other, he had YiHan’s hand. His grip was rather tight around YiHan’s hand. It was so tight that it was a little painful for YiHan. YiHan smiled at the man and held back as tight as JingYuan’s grip was.

“Alright,” YiHan softly said. “Put the marriage certificates away.”

JingYuan held the documents higher and glanced at them before his shimmering eyes looked back at YiHan. No words were spoken.

YiHan chuckled and hugged the man. “We’re almost a free circus show for the public now. Let’s go home first.”

JingYuan’s bright eyes stared into YiHan’s and he raised the hand he held to his lips for a passionate kiss. “Okay,” he said in that signature deep voice of his. “Let’s go home.”

In the car, JingYuan encountered a dilemma. He needed to drive but he didn’t want to let go of the certificates.

“Let me hold it, okay? You can look at it when we’re home,” YiHan said, taking the marriage certificates from JingYuan. He really didn’t know if he should cry or laugh.

JingYuan glanced once more at the marriage certificates, which were laid out on YiHan’s lap, and started the car.

Back at the Mu family home, JingYuan once more had the certificates in his hand. His other hand held onto YiHan’s hand. The two men didn’t say a word. They silently walked up to their bedroom.

Door closed, JingYuan pulled YiHan down on the sofa and opened up the documents in his hands. Staring back at him were two photos of him and YiHan. JingYuan’s fingers stroked over where their names were written. There was a long moment of silence.

“HanHan,” JingYuan eventually spoke up, “we’re married now. We’re in the same family. Look. This here states both of our name, embossed by steel. We’re recognised and protected. No one has the right to separate us now.”

YiHan covered JingYuan’s hand with his and said, “I, Bai YiHan, willingly take you, Mu JingYuan, to be my husband forever. Our hearts will forever be united, in good times and in bad, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. I will never leave you. I will love and cherish you, ’til death do us part.”

JingYuan’s hand turned to clasp back. “Not even death can tear us apart. We will live in the same home and be buried in the same grave.”

YiHan nodded hard and wrapped his other arm around JingYuan’s neck.

JingYuan turned around to embrace YiHan and held him with all his might. His eyes were tinted red. In the red marriage certificates squashed between the couple’s bodies, there were two identical photos of JingYuan and YiHan. They were equally nervous but the smiles on their faces were bright and warm.

***

Mu Group Office.

Sitting on his personal couch, YiHan’s fingers tapped away as he chatted with Yan and Pei.

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Well? Nan Shan should be through with He Yuan now, right? When I visited him last time, he looked okay.]

[Pei the Third: Mn, I think so too. Nan Shan must’ve forgotten about him now. After all, he personally saw He Yuan and Auntie appear before him as a couple. It’d be hard for him to not give up. Knowing about it is different to seeing it for yourself. While this cure is rather harsh, it’s very effective.]

[Yan Yan: Of course, YouRan no longer feels anything for He Yuan. He’s recovered a lot lately. He was even thinking about the plot of a new novel yesterday. I think we’ll have a new story soon.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Really? That’s amazing! Looks like the trauma is slowly being left behind. This is just a failed love to him. After all, humans live for a long time. Who can be sure they’ll never encounter a scumbag or two?]

[Pei the Third: Nan Shan’s writing a new novel! Congratulations! Hallelujah!]

[Pei the Third: YiHan’s right. Nan Shan only met a slimeball. Now that he’s successfully thrown him aside, his future life would be much better!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: All we need to do now is to utterly be rid of He Yuan so he’ll never try and harass Nan Shan again. Yan living nearby isn’t a good plan for the long term. He’ll have to move out eventually. Once he leaves, wouldn’t Nan Shan be left without any protection?]

[Yan Yan: I’m fine staying here. I never thought of leaving.]

[Pei the Third: Brother, are you really planning on moving there permanently?]

Translator’s Notes

Utterly humiliated: the actual text reads, “My face has been thrown (lost) all the way to the Pacific Ocean!”

Marriage Certificates: China’s marriage certificates are issued in red passport-sized books. If MTL mentions “small red books”, they’re usually referring to marriage certificates.

Pei the Third: It’s actually “Pei, the third master/elder” in reference to her being the third “young master” of the Yan family. The character 爷 can be used to refer to rich and powerful young men, particularly heirs.


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