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?”


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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.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 175

175. What Happened?

When YiHan and JingYuan finally extracted themselves from the crowd, they found YouRan slumped sideways on the couch, fast asleep with a flushed face. Yan and Pei sat beside him. They did not look happy.

YiHan glanced at Yan and whispered, “He saw him?”

Yan nodded, face stiff with anger. YiHan sighed.

“Only by letting him understand the truth can he better protect himself,” JingYuan softly said. “The pain is unavoidable.”

Yan turned to look at YouRan. “I hope this is the last time he’ll be hurt.” I’ll protect him from now on.

Pei glanced at Yan, then at YouRan. Her mouth opened as if to speak but, in the end, she said nothing.

As He Yuan was mingling and talking with someone, his eyes absent-mindedly glanced to the side. That glance just so happened to be directed at YouRan’s direction. He was so surprised at seeing the man that he nearly dropped his wineglass. Yan Miao shot a dissatisfied look at him. Hurriedly, he began to softly placate her. Thank goodness she was easy to calm down. It only took a few sentences before she was soothed.

He Yuan turned and look at the corner again. His heart shook, doubt in his mind. When did YouRan befriend YiHan and the rest? He’s just a minor author with nothing. Not only was he invited, but he’s also able to make Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan both stay by his side!

There were also the two brats from the Yan family. The thought of it just made his jaw clench. Yan moved out but he just had to move right next to YouRan! That brat made him unable to show his face near there again for fear news of his relationship with YouRan would be leaked to Miao. If she ever knew of YouRan’s existence, forget about what would happen to YouRan. By her personality, the entire He family would be thrown into chaos for sure!

Once Yan Miao and the Yan family started to despise him, the He family would never ever relish the glory they now enjoy. This was something he absolutely cannot allow to happen.

He Yuan hurriedly turned away, afraid of being recognised. No matter the reason, the man now looked like he was good friends with Bai YiHan and the rest. If the man saw him and kicked up a fuss from rage, this entire situation would be doomed beyond repair. Furthermore, causing a scene in Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan’s engagement party would mean offending the Bai and He families too. The He family might be powerful now but he could not afford to make an enemy of any of the Great Five.

Damn it. YouRan was someone who would never leave his house or interact with strangers. When did he get so cosy with these powerful men? It must be due to Yan Yan moving to the apartment next to his! With those people around YouRan, he didn’t even dare stand close to YouRan, let alone try and discreetly get rid of this hidden threat!

Wineglass in hand, He Yuan stood stiffly next to his wife. Through the entire conversation, he felt piercing jabs pricking at his back. He was extremely uneasy. After a while, he pulled his wife over to the other side of the room. The hall was huge and YouRan was never one to roam around. Hopefully, the man won’t discover he’s there.

Of course, YouRan wouldn’t roam around. He can’t even take a single step out of his seat. Before the party even ended, Yan had already driven him home. The man collapsed due to the few drinks he had.

As the party wasn’t over yet, YiHan and JingYuan couldn’t leave. All they could do was walk them to their car.

“Will you be okay alone?” YiHan worriedly asked. “Look at how drunk YouRan is.”

Yan clipped the seat belt over YouRan. “Don’t worry. You’d best hurry back.”

“I’ll go with you,” Pei said.

“It’s fine,” said Yan. “Go back. It’s cold outside.”

Yan then started the car. YiHan and Pei had to straighten up and step away from the car then. They watched as the car zoomed off in a cloud of dust.

“Ah,” Pei sighed in a tragic, pitying manner. “Nan Shan’s in danger.”

“Huh? What?” asked YiHan.

Pei gave a mysterious smile but remained silent. Instead, she turned and jogged back into the hall.

“What was she saying?” YiHan said, confused. “How could Nan Shan be in danger when Yan is around?”

JingYuan gave YiHan a light squeeze on the back of his neck and led his lover back into the hall. “Nan Shan is in danger because Yan is around,” JingYuan calmly stated.

“Then, we…!”

“Don’t worry,” interrupted JingYuan. “This danger isn’t the danger you’re thinking of. We can’t step in on this.”

YiHan: “…” What the hell?

***

With the car parked and turned off, Yan turned and gently patted the other man on the shoulder. “YouRan?”

There was no reaction from YouRan. His brows furrowed. He looked very uncomfortable.

Yan sighed and stepped out of the car. He walked over to the passenger side and opened the door. He then carefully helped YouRan out of his seat. However, YouRan was dead drunk. His legs wouldn’t prop his body up at all. The man kept sliding down to the floor. Yan had to kneel down to get the other man on his back. He locked the car and walked up the stairwell.

Finally, after a lot of effort, they were in YouRan’s apartment. They had just gotten through the front door when YouRan started dry heaving. YouRan had been out in the cold while waiting for the car and then he was placed in a warm car as it was driving. A wave of nausea caused by the alcohol had struck YouRan. Yan hurriedly carried the man over to the bathroom. He had just put the man down and, before Yan could adjust the man so he faced the toilet, YouRan began puking. The man hadn’t had much food that evening. Thus, YouRan mostly threw up bile. The two men were facing each other. No one was spared from the mess.

Yan: …

Eventually, the drunk man was done throwing up. Yan stripped the man out of his dirtied clothes and placed the man in the bathtub. As YouRan laid there, Yan started cleaning up the floor covered in vomit and packed their dirty clothes into a big bag. The bag was then tied up and placed outside the apartment. Yan planned on throwing them out later. Once the floor was clean. Yan began to fill the bathtub as he began to clean up YouRan who reeked of alcohol. Poor Yan. He was the second young master of the Yan family, he had never taken care of anyone else before. YouRan was also quite uncooperative. The task of showering YouRan kept Yan so busy, in a panicked way, that he was sweating by the end of it.

The violent bout of puking had woken up YouRan but the man still wasn’t sober. Those glistening, half-lidded eyes blankly stared at the busy Yan.

Yan’s heart skipped. Still, he calmly said, “Even if you act pitiful now, it can’t conceal the fact that you threw up all over me.”

No reaction from YouRan.

Yan chuckled. “Why am I saying this to someone drunk?”

Once YouRan was clean, Yan had a quick shower himself before he helped YouRan out of the bathtub. As YouRan exited the water with a loud splash, his fair body was exposed. Surrounded by wafts of steam, YouRan looked so very alluring. Yan gulped hard. Fighting against the lust rising in him, Yan pulled YouRan up into his arms and out of the bathtub. To his surprise, YouRan’s face suddenly twisted into a fierce look as the man stepped out of the bathtub. Then, the man bit Yan on the shoulder.

Yan wasn’t expecting it at all. In his pain, he took a step back but slipped. Fortunately, there was a wall right behind him. He didn’t fall on the floor but he was unlucky enough that his shoulder blade landed on a protruding hook. A pained groan escaped his lips. But something even more tragic happened. When he slipped, a muscle in his thigh began cramping. It hurt so badly that he couldn’t feel his leg at all. It took him a good while before he recovered. Even so, YouRan wasn’t willing to just quietly lie in his arms.

“You lied to me!” YouRan slurred as he bared his white teeth. “I’ll bite you to death!” Immediately, YouRan bit at the chest before his eyes.

Yan: “…” Dearest one, are you a dog? /(ToT)/~~

The drunk man had completely turned into a dog. He bit at wherever he could reach. Yan couldn’t throw his idol on the floor. He tried to cover the man’s mouth with a hand but then his palm was bit as well. It drove him to near tears.

At long last, through pain and agony, Yan settled YouRan into his bed. As Yan looked down at the calm man, for now, he wiped away the sweat from his brows and let out a long sigh of relief. Covered in bite marks with a leg still in agony over a cramp, the tiny piece of desire that was in him had been swept away by the struggle.

Yan’s clothes had been covered in YouRan’s vomit. Currently, all he had on was one of YouRan’s towels. There was no other resident on this floor anyway. He decided to just walk back to his apartment and get dressed before returning to YouRan’s side. He could throw out the bag of clothes along the way.

Just as he limped over to the front door, he heard YouRan shouting from the bedroom. He swiftly turned back to the bedroom. YouRan was in the bed. His eyes were closed but his hands wildly grabbed at everything around him.

The other man must be feeling extremely insecure at the moment. Yan couldn’t bear to see him like this. He decided to take the risk of being bitten again and held the man’s hands.

“It’s fine. Sleep,” Yan softly said. He chuckled. “Who knew you’d be like this when drunk, Nan Shan.”

Having found someone, YouRan squirmed into Yan’s embrace. All four of his limbs huddled closed to the other man. He was the exact opposite of the fearsome man from before.

“Don’t go,” the man pleaded. “Don’t leave me. Stay with me, just once.”

Yan’s heart wasn’t all that firm and unwavering in the first place. YouRan’s pleas softened it once more. Yan just couldn’t bring himself to say no. He let himself be pulled on the bed by YouRan and let the man wrap himself around him. He just had to let the man hug him for a while. Once the man was asleep, he could get dressed and throw out the trash.

Now that YouRan had someone in his embrace, he went quiet. Thinking the man was asleep, Yan made to rise but was dragged back to bed by YouRan’s embrace. The other man’s limbs wrapped tighter around Yan.

Helpless, Yan could only lie back down. He turned to look at YouRan’s frowning face. The man just had his heart broken. Yan could let the man hug him for a while longer.

Yan had been through a lot that evening. He was thoroughly exhausted, mentally and physically. Now that it was quiet, his eyelids couldn’t help but droop. Yan tried to resist the urge. He still had to get dressed and take out the trash. However, he was unable to fight the overwhelming urge to sleep. Gradually, he nodded off to sleep.

***

The next day, beams of morning sunlight shone into the apartment through the gaps of the window curtains. YouRan, who had slept fitfully through the night, slowly woke up. He left his eyes closed. His head was pounding. A soft moan rang from his throat. Wanting to turn to his other side, he shifted his legs but then…

“!!!”

YouRan was instantly wide awake. He opened his eyes. What he saw nearly made him faint.

He had a naked (the towel was flung away when they were asleep) Yan in his arms. YouRan’s limbs clung to the other man as if YouRan was an octopus himself. These facts didn’t matter much. What was more important was Yan’s nude body was covered in fresh bite marks!

With Yan in his arms, Yan’s visibly fatigued face (from overexertion). His face was pale and bloodless (not true). The smooth skin was marred by rows of teeth marks. He looked exceedingly pitiful.

What did this all mean? Dear Lord! What did YouRan do last night after he’d gotten drunk? Why can’t he remember anything? (He blacked out.)


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 174

174. Even Your Name is a Lie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yan nodded in apparent awkwardness.

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

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

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

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

“It’s fate too,” YiHan said, smiling.

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“He Yuan,” said Yan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translator’s Note:

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

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


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 173

173. Invitation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

YiHan personally handed the invitation card to YouRan.

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

“Thank you,” said YiHan, smiling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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GC: Chapter 172

172. What a “Coincidence”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YouRan nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I…” YouRan was hesitant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I don’t have a pen,” YouRan sighed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yan: …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Eat up,” Yan reminded in a whisper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translator’s Note:

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


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GC: Chapter 171

171. Housewarming

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

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

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

“Mn,” said Yan. “I’m still moving.”

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

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

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

“Okay. I’ll ask him.”

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

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

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

When Yan hung up, his mood was visibly lower.

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

“Do you live alone?” YouRan asked.

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

YouRan nodded in reply.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

“Pitiful little thing?” JingYuan asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JingYuan: “…”

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

“Still want to bite me?”

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

The two sighed in disappointment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translator’s Note:

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


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