Chapter 18 — Back to A City
Edited by Tin
By mid May, the injury on Zhou Hao’s leg had pretty much recovered, and he immediately returned to A City from Taishui.
The first thing he did was to invite Yan Ming to an expensive restaurant to enjoy themselves, but the fellow refused to go no matter what. When he asked him why, Yan Ming refused to tell him.
“What are you dilly-dallying over? In any case, it’s Jiang Yuqian’s money. Let’s go.”
Yan Ming replied scrupulously, “Zhou Hao, from now on, don’t spend that person’s money anymore.”
“Why?” Zhou Hao chuckled awkwardly. “He’s rich anyway.”
In truth, it wasn’t that he didn’t understand what Yan Ming meant by that.
“This has nothing to do with whether he’s rich or not. This…” Yan Ming paused abruptly, his expression stern. “In any case, don’t spend his money again. If you don’t have money, I can lend it to you.”
Zhou Hao sniffed, “Alright, you’ll be my sucker from now on then.”
Yan Ming momentarily felt that all his words had left him. He had no choice but to rip through to the cruelest truth, shattering the fantasy irreparably—
“I’ll tell you the truth. Jiang Yuqian knew that you were in Taishui. I looked for him, asking him to come with me to Taishui to look for you, and I even bought him his ticket already. But he didn’t go.”
Zhou Hao’s eyelids lowered, and he did not speak.
“Break up with him. We don’t need his stupid money at all.”
“I won’t do it.” Zhou Hao slowly swept his gaze upwards. He reached into his pocket, looking for his cigarettes reflexively. Upon discovering that his pocket was empty, he swore, “Fuck!”
Suppressing his decade-old nicotine addiction, he stood in front of Yan Ming who was doing his best to persuade him. Licking at his dry lips, he blinked a few times quickly. His words were at the tip of his tongue, but he forced them back down.
In the end, he, who could not share what he did, and who had a road ahead of him with no end in sight, shouted at Yan Ming, “I have no other choice left!”
Afraid that the person in front of him could not hear him, he yelled again, “Yan Ming, I have no fucking choice left!”
It was so very hysterical, and it was so very hopeless. On the noisy street in a place far from home, he became a pitiful man, with nowhere else to go.
Perhaps Yan Ming understood him, and perhaps he didn’t. However, as he turned to leave, he threw out, “There are so many choices available. How can there be none…”
Yan Ming left, leaving Zhou Hao with only the view of his back.
The air momentarily came weighing down on him, so heavy that it was terrifying. May, in A City, was clearly of a temperate weather, neither hot nor cold. However, in that instant, Zhou Hao felt that it was very, very cold. His extremities were freezing, to the point where he was shivering.
Zhou Hao went alone to the expensive restaurant for a meal, and he even requested for the most expensive bottle of wine in the restaurant. Swirling the wine glass, he suddenly felt that everything was pointless.
He did not like these luxuries at all, his every behaviour seeming to belong to a clown seeking for favour. Without finishing his meal, he headed home, his footsteps exhausted.
Upon entering the apartment, he could smell the dust that had been baked thoroughly by the sun. Tiny piles could be found on the couch, on the chairs, on the television screen, and even more were floating in the air, countless.
There had been over two months where there was no one living at home. It was no wonder the place was like this.
He should have been getting busy tidying up the place a little. However, he was really too tired. Just let him be slovenly this once.
Zhou Hao placed his bags on the floor casually, and laid directly on the dusty couch. The scent of the warm sunlight in the air quickly put him to sleep.
Jiang Yuqian saw the payment notifications sent by the bank, and all the frustrations he had been feeling over this period of time finally settled down. He even thanked the heavens silently, that that person was still alive, and completely out of his expectations, he felt thoroughly at ease.
Next to him, Zheng Shichu asked, “Are you crazy? What are you smiling about?”
Jiang Yuqian stood up, grabbing his jacket. “Have fun. Something came up, I’m leaving first.”
Back in their apartment, Zhou Hao was currently curled up on the couch, sleeping. Like an obedient little bunny, he was huddled softly in a ball. The thorns all over his body had been tucked away, and his mouth was not constantly saying those mocking words.
The current version of him was so very obedient, and so very docile. Jiang Yuqian sat down, unable to stop himself from reaching out and touching the little bunny in front of him. The dreaming person mumbled softly, but his eyes were still tightly shut.
The corners of Jiang Yuqian’s lips involuntarily curved up slightly. If this person would forever be this harmless and soft, he was willing to raise him up in this apartment forever, letting him squander his money recklessly, and he would come visit him every weekend.
As long as he was obedient, not kicking up a fuss or behaving savagely, Jiang Yuqian was willing to continue “keeping” this person.
Such an indistinct thought was very faint, and very light. It would occasionally drift by his mind, and even Jiang Yuqian himself did not realise what was the meaning behind this indistinct thought—
The most direct cause and effect of “keeping” a person was either love, or sex. It had to be one or the other.
This nap lasted all the way until night. When Zhou Hao opened his eyes groggily, the living room had long turned completely dark. He sat up, gathering his wits about himself.
“You’re awake?” A voice came through the empty space, and it was right next to him. Zhou Hao received a fright.
“I came in the afternoon, and saw that you were asleep,” Jiang Yuqian explained.
Scrubbing his face fiercely, Zhou Hao finally woke up fully. “Why did you come over?”
“I saw the bank notifications.” Jiang Yuqian leant over, stroking the organ between Zhou Hao’s thighs. “It’s been very long since we did it.”
Zhou Hao was not a girl experiencing her first time, and going along with the tide, the two people ended up tangled on the couch. The weather was perfect, a pleasant warmth, and the bare bodies of the two people ended up producing quite a bit of sweat.
A bead of sweat from Jiang Yuqian dripped onto Zhou Hao. His eyes narrowed, Zhou Hao panted heavily, and he was able to see how the person on him was moving beat by beat. In the dark, it seemed as though he was even able to see the burning red flush on the apples of his cheeks.
The frequency of them having sex was not very high, perhaps about twice a week. Every time, it was always Zhou Hao who initiated it, and Jiang Yuqian was rarely the one who asked for it.
For a very long period of time, Zhou Hao had even suspected that there was an issue with this person’s lower half. Otherwise, he was practicing a Christian-like abstinence. However, today, with the provocation and teasing, Zhou Hao still did not experience that sort of burning, passionate desire.
In such matters, Jiang Yuqian had always been stern and solemn, never smiling or laughing. It was as though the two people were conducting a business that was extremely serious.
Other than panting, Zhou Hao actually was not feeling much enjoyment in it. All he could think of now was Yan Ming’s words.
He knew that you were in Taishui, but he didn’t go.
He knew that you were in Taishui, but he didn’t go.
Gradually, these repetitive words transformed — that person is completely cruel. Even if you’re about to die, he also won’t come and see you! Wake up!
Zhou Hao dug his clean and short fingernails into Jiang Yuqian’s back. He sank them in as deep as possible, causing the man on top of him to hiss in pain, frowning.
“Let go a little.”
Zhou Hao could not hear him, his fingernails still stubbornly digging into Jiang Yuqian’s flesh.
Jiang Yuqian probably noticed how distracted the person under him was. Increasing his speed, he vented out his feelings, ending this fierce battle ahead of time.
When they were done, Zhou Hao dragged his aching body around, cleaning up the battlefield, while Jiang Yuqian headed to the bathroom. There was a thick, musty scent in the living room, covering up the previous choking smell of dust.
The door to the bathroom opened. Around Jiang Yuqian’s neck was a white towel. Zhou Hao took it over, meticulously drying his hair for him, before rummaging through the drawers for a hairdryer.
A buzz was heard, the sound like cutting metal, and warm air sputtered out from it.
“Zhou Hao, let’s go our separate ways.”
As he was saying this, Jiang Yuqian was examining his conscience — do I really want to separate myself from this person? It’s really time to go our own ways.
Cheng Zixu was already showing signs of giving in, and the matter of them being together was basically assured. This love triangle, one corner was bound to have to break.
“What?” The hairdryer was too noisy, and Zhou Hao only heard this person calling his name.
Jiang Yuqian stopped him from running his fingers through his hair, and then turned the hairdryer off.
“I said, let’s go our separate ways.”
Zhou Hao could understand each word individually, but when they were put together, he now did not really understand it.
“What do you mean?”
Jiang Yuqian lifted his head, looking straight at him frankly. “Give me the video. I’ll give you this apartment, and I’ll never come here again.”
“Now that you’ve pulled your cock out, you’re becoming heartless again?” Zhou Hao gave an awful looking smile. “Weren’t you thrusting inside me very happily just now?”
Towards such coarse and vulgar words that cheapened himself, Zhou Hao had already turned completely numb. What he wanted was to disgust the person in front of him as much as possible.
“Cheng Zixu, Cheng Zixu. Haha, he really is so impressive. Jiang Yuqian, you want to be with Xuxu?”
The expression on Zhou Hao’s face seemed like a smile, but it also seemed to be twisted. “Then tomorrow, I’ll post the video onto the school intranet, and let the entire school see how slutty that person is.”
Originally, Jiang Yuqian was still feeling a bit of guilt. But right now, it had completely dissipated. He only felt that this person he was looking at was terrifying.
Jiang Yuqian pulled his clothes back on, leaving.
In the end, Zhou Hao still ended up asking—
“You knew I was in Taishui, right?”
That back froze. It neither turned back, nor did it continue moving forward.
A sudden silence. Zhou Hao picked up the pillow on the bed, throwing it savagely over. “I fucking took you, Jiang Yuqian, as my family!”
Not an ambiguous fuckbuddy, and not a sentimental, affected lover, but family. It was a position in his life that had been emptied out of nowhere when he was seven years old, and without the slightest bit of reluctance, he had left this space for Jiang Yuqian.
However, that person did not want it at all. That person did not care a single bit about the life and death of this nutcase.
Jiang Yuqian left, and the apartment was left with Zhou Hao alone, lying down as he looked up at the ceiling. He recalled the bicycle his father rode in the past, how he placed him securely on the seat fixed behind, cycling up and down the streets.
Ring ring ring— It was the sound of the bell, mingled along with the cries of the hawkers selling their goods, echoing slow and far.
“Papa…” Like a lonely, helpless child, Zhou Hao huddled on the bed, calling out for his father.