Chapter 19 — A Scale Inside The Heart
Edited by Tin
As the old saying goes, good fortune awaits the survivor of a great disaster. Muddle-headed, Zhou Hao lay at home for a few days, continuously thinking, exactly where was he supposed to look for this fortune that supposedly belonged to him? Before he could come up with an answer, he already had to return to the hospital for work.
The doctors and nurses in his department had heard about his narrow escape from death in Taishui. They gathered around Zhou Hao, wanting him to share the dramatic story.
Over and over again, Zhou Hao repeated one sentence. “I was trapped for three days, and later, I was rescued.”
No one was able to get anything else out from him, and so they all dispersed.
A nurse then informed Zhou Hao that over the past couple of months, there had been a boy hanging around their department asking after him.
“I got it.” Zhou Hao guessed that it was Sun Yiwen, and he asked, “You didn’t tell him that I had gone to Taishui, right?”
“No, I only told him that you were on a work trip.”
“No problem.” The nurse glanced at the nursing watch hanging from her uniform. “That boy’ll be coming again in just a little while.”
Zhou Hao was now attending to patients with his teacher. He would stand by the side, writing in the case notes, or he would perform simple examinations on patients. There was still some time before he started work at half past eight. He took out the pancake and soy milk he bought in the morning and started eating. Just as he was halfway through the pancake, he heard someone calling him.
“Zhou Hao, someone’s looking for you!”
Walking out from the office, he saw Sun Yiwen standing in the corridor. The last time he saw him, he was still wearing a cotton-padded jacket, but now, he was dressed in a thin jacket.
“Why are you here?”
Seeing the pancake in Zhou Hao’s hand, Sun Yiwen was a little blank. “You like pancakes? I know how to make them. Next time, I’ll bring them to you in the morning.”
Zhou Hao brought him to a place without anyone else.
“Is there a reason you’re looking for me?”
“I heard that you went on a work trip, and I asked when you’ll be back. They didn’t tell me, so I came by every day to take a look.”
Zhou Hao remained silent, a little surprised.
If he said that he wasn’t feeling any emotions about what he had just heard, that was definitely a lie. With such a pretty, delicate looking boy bringing food and looking for you every day, people were led by their feelings, and Zhou Hao was bound to be a little moved.
Right now, Zhou Hao’s attention had completely been captured by Sun Yiwen. He felt as though this attractive figure, in his eyes, was glowing brightly and incessantly. Unable to stop himself, he reached out and caressed Sun Yiwen’s cheek, noting how smooth and tender it was.
The sensation under his fingers sent a tremble through him. What exactly was he doing?
Sun Yiwen smiled very bashfully. He hung his head, extremely shy.
“How about coming over to my place tonight? I have flour in my kitchen, enough for you to make a number of large pancakes.”
The entire day, Zhou Hao was a little distracted. Now, he would wonder how much flour he had left at home, whether it was enough; then, he would wonder what sort of pancake was the kid making. Would he need chives or something? He didn’t have any at home. On the way home at night, he was still thinking if he should drop by the supermarket to buy something.
Thinking about this and that, his little head was completely filled with various trifling matters. He didn’t have any extra space to consider anything else.
No wonder people always said things would always feel better when one was busy, as there wasn’t time to think and ponder over their wounds.
However, as he walked along the road, looking up at the sky, whenever the sky was extremely blue, rotten, rancid and damp, sticky memories would still crash upon him like a scourge…
The woman who gave birth to him no longer loved him, despite the bond of blood that tied them together; the man that he had been entangled with over the years also did not want him anymore, even if just a second a go, they were still passionately making love.
As it turned out, he, Zhou Hao, had nothing left.
Then for what should he buy that fucking flour, and make those fucking pancakes?
Reaching home, the moment he stepped out of the lift, he discovered Sun Yiwen huddling by his door.
“You’re back.” His eyes were wide open, and on his face was a smile.
Expressionlessly, Zhou Hao walked over, inserting his key into the lock. He turned it, twisted it, and Sun Yiwen followed him inside.
“Where’s your flour?” Sun Yiwen asked.
Without saying anything, Zhou Hao walked towards the balcony. Looking at the dim, yellow sky tinged by the sunset, he lit a cigarette.
Sun Yiwen turned and glanced at him before entering the kitchen. It was as though he was very familiar with the space as he looked for the ingredients and tools he needed. He sprinkled some water, mixed in some flour, beat four eggs, and added a little milk. Once the mix was kneaded well, it could be fried.
Very quickly, a plate of crispy, flaky, golden milk and egg pancakes were done. Sun Yiwen laid the table, placing the pancakes on it, but Zhou Hao was still smoking on the balcony. He didn’t disturb him, not even making a sound. All he did was sit on a stool, waiting obediently.
Once Zhou Hao had smoked enough cigarettes, he strode over.
“Are the pancakes done?”
“Mn.” Sun Yiwen pushed the plate over to him. “Try them.”
Zhou Hao managed to gain slight control over his emotions. Picking up a pancake, he took a bite. The sweet flavour washed over his taste buds, and it also had the taste of milk.
This would later on be the strongest memory Zhou Hao had of Sun Yiwen. It was a sweet flavour of milk, and it was also clean and unadulterated.
The two people were eating the pancakes when the sound of a key being inserted into the lock could be heard. It was Jiang Yuqian.
He clearly did not expect that a strange man would appear inside the apartment, what’s more, he was sitting on his seat and eating. Looking carefully, Jiang Yuqian found this person a little familiar, but momentarily, he could not remember where he saw him before.
Sun Yiwen recognised the person coming in. It was that man at the door of the bar, and he was probably the “boyfriend” Zhou Hao referred to.
To prevent any misunderstandings, he tried to explain. However, his expression and actions were extremely cautious. “Uhh… I’m his friend. I came by tonight… to hang out.”
Things would have been fine if he didn’t explain, but now, by saying so, there was a feeling that things were even more murky and unexplainable.
Unconcerned, Zhou Hao faced what was in front of him directly. With half-lidded eyes, he looked at Jiang Yuqian, as though he was waiting for this person’s reaction.
Regretfully, Jiang Yuqian was only startled for a moment. He then walked into the bedroom, not saying a word.
Sun Yiwen instinctively felt that he had done something terrible. He still wanted to help explain on behalf of Zhou Hao, but Zhou Hao’s mind had already flew over to the bedroom, and he completely could not hear what Sun Yiwen was saying to him.
“I’m going back, you should have a good talk with him.”
Only when the door clicked shut did Zhou Hao react. Going along with what he wanted, he entered the bedroom.
Jiang Yuqian had his legs crossed, resting against a pillow on the headboard as he fiddled on his phone.
“Is there a reason why you came by today?”
His tone was a lot more restrained as compared to the past, Jiang Yuqian thought. It must have been due to him bringing up the breakup the last time, causing his words to be stuck in his throat.
Jiang Yuqian put his phone down, a sharp glint in his eyes. “Who was that?”
“That has nothing to do with you, right?”
Zhou Hao had already walked over to the bed. Jiang Yuqian saw a dark shadow suddenly being cast over him. He reached out, yanking him down, and then as though he was a plunderer, started ripping at his clothes.
It was a very familiar series of actions. Even if his eyes were shut, he was still able to locate the areas with pinpoint accuracy using his hands.
At the most crucial moment, just before the final goal, Zhou Hao panted, asking, “Why exactly did you come?”
“To come inside you.”
The entire process, the strength and speed were even more intense than usual. Other than a slight amount of pleasure, what Zhou Hao mostly felt was aches and pain. Frowning, he gritted his teeth, looking like he was suffering a punishment. He urged Jiang Yuqian on, asking him to hurry.
However, in this flurry of thrusts and passion, Jiang Yuqian was experiencing something different from what he had in the past three years. He had even completely forgot about why he had come over today.
As they writhed against each other, gasping, Jiang Yuqian asked Zhou Hao, what relationship did he have with the boy just now? Where were they in their relationship? Did that boy like him?
Zhou Hao did not even have the energy to speak, moaning and whimpering, his words coming out indecipherable. However, Jiang Yuqian insisted on getting to the bottom of it. With his body, he tormented Zhou Hao.
“The last time, at the bar, by the door, you’ve met him before.”
Now that he mentioned it, Jiang Yuqian did manage to remember. This person seemed to have even kissed that boy, and recalling this, his thrusts did not lessen, instead becoming even more forceful, as though he was taking revenge.
The night went past like that, and the relationship between the two became even more complicated. This time, Jiang Yuqian was in no hurry to shower. His arm was wrapped around Zhou Hao, and Zhou Hao’s head rested on his shoulder, smoking.
Neither mentioned what happened the previous time.
The two of them seemed to have returned to how they were like in the past. Their relationship only consisted of sex, and no feelings.
The scent in the air came from their most intimate places. Exhaling a plume of smoke, Zhou Hao inhaled again. He kept feeling that he could taste the scent of sex in the air.
What about Jiang Yuqian? He was silent, setting up a balancing scale in his heart.
On one side was his childhood sweetheart, Cheng Zixu, and on the other was his fuckbuddy, Zhou Hao. Exactly which side should tilt where, he was again hesitating over it.
Finally, a great deal of details of his high school life flashed through his mind, weighing down the left side of the scale. It was clear that the side of the childhood sweetheart was heavier.
He was no longer conflicted over it. The purpose for him coming over today, he had already carefully thought it through over the past few days.
“Zhou Hao,” Jiang Yuqian spoke seriously.
Zhou Hao slowly expelled the smoke in his mouth. “Hmm?”
“We…” He only said one word before he paused. “It’s nothing…”
Zhou Hao did not have the habit of insisting on getting to the bottom of things. Especially when it was about the two of them, it was even more important for him to leave things a little ambiguous. He even did not dare ask, “Did what you say the last time still count?” “If it counts, then why did you fuck me again today?”
He dared not ask, he could not ask. He was afraid that by asking, this person would again repeat what he said, and he would be miserable again.
Jiang Yuqian was unable to say what he wanted to, or rather, he was too embarrassed to say it. Actually, he had dropped by tonight to tell Zhou Hao, “I take back the words I said the last time. We can continue our sexual relationship. But between the both of us, there will only be sex left.”
But how could he say such things aloud? He was unable to do so, and he could not do so. It was too hurtful.
With his intrinsic kindness, he was unable to say something so shameless to a man who had treated him like his family.
Since he could not say it aloud, in the end, between a pure, innocent love and a great compatibility in sex, he could only choose love.
Because, ultimately it was love that was mankind’s final purpose.