Chapter 5 — Rescuing a Beauty in Distress
Edited by Tin
There was one week left until finals. The one who had to revise, revised, while the one who had to work on his research, researched. The lives of the two people went in different paths, and there was basically no chance for them to meet. On Saturday, Zhou Hao returned home from the lab and realised that no one had been home at all.
It was now 8:30 PM. Without thinking, he returned to school and headed straight for the eastern-most library.
By the time he arrived, it was past nine. Fortunately, the library closed at ten.
He tapped his card and headed for the study room on the third floor. There were a lot of people there, and all the seats were filled. The air was stuffy and humid.
Looking down each row, Zhou Hao finally saw Jiang Yuqian and Cheng Zixu in a corner next to the window.
Zhou Hao walked over.
“Yo, studying together?”
The sudden disruption caused many students around them to look up, before looking back down again at their books. Cheng Zixu greeted him quietly, “Senior.”
“Cheng Zixu, you’re studying medicine. Your majors have nothing to do with each other, what are you doing with Jiang Yuqian?!”
His voice was not loud, but still created a disturbance. The surrounding students were all rather annoyed, and glared at Zhou Hao.
From the start until the end, Jiang Yuqian did not look up. His pen paused on his paper, leaving a spreading ink stain. The ink seemed as though it was about to seep through the paper, leaking all the way down.
Zhou Hao’s gaze was pulled over by this sight. He held Jiang Yuqian’s hand lightly, slowly lifting it up. With an ambivalent smile, he looked fairly pale, and a little terrifying.
“The paper’s about to be torn by you.” His expression darkened suddenly. “Do you want to watch the video?”
Jiang Yuqian wrenched his hand away, finally looking up at Zhou Hao. Just like him, his eyes were frighteningly dark.
“Why haven’t you learnt your lesson yet?” Zhou Hao’s tone was full of resignation.
Across them, Cheng Zixu too noticed the tense atmosphere between the two of them, as though they were at daggers drawn. He did not dare to exhale too loudly, and kept silent.
Jiang Yuqian glanced at Cheng Zixu, his eyes full of deep forbearance. “I’ll go first.” Then he packed up his books and notes.
At 9.30pm, under the yellow glow of the street lights, the campus was still full of people. This was usually the case one week before the examinations.
Dressed in a white shirt and black pants, the light reflected behind Jiang Yuqian, as well as the black bag he was carrying. Jiang Yuqian walked straight ahead, through the incoming students, as well as the flourishing pagoda trees lining the path.
Zhou Hao followed closely behind him. They did not exchange a word until they got onto a taxi outside the school gates.
Once in the car, Zhou Hao was immediately shoved against the door by Jiang Yuqian.
“Are you satisfied?!”
Zhou Hao’s mouth was pinched into an awkward shape by Jiang Yuqian. He swatted his hand away, speaking through gritted teeth, “I’m satisfied! I’m happy to see you getting embarrassed!”
“Why don’t I give up a day for that sissy? He’ll take Saturday, and I’ll take Sunday?”
Jiang Yuqian laughed suddenly, with extreme ridicule. “You think you have the right?”
Zhou Hao’s expression changed. He raised his leg, giving Jiang Yuqian a savage kick then grabbed his hands tightly, trapping them on between his thighs.
Soon, they arrived at No. 1 Binjiang. Both of them exited the car.
In the apartment, on the huge bed in the bedroom, the air conditioning was set at 28˚C. Loud panting could be heard, along with indulgent moans.
Tangling together tightly, persistent intertwining, what love, what hate, what craziness, they all disappeared. In that moment, they belonged to each other, pressed firmly against each other’s most intimate places.
After the matter, Jiang Yuqian went to the bathroom like usual. Zhou Hao leaned against the bedrest smoking, and the room again smelled thickly of sex. In the hazy smoke, he had a trace of guilt. It was the guilt of lust, as well as a humanistic guilt.
He wanted to escape the assault of this guilt, but it was as though his eyes were veiled. He could not see the end of this guilt, and where it was.
When will this ever end? Zhou Hao wondered.
It would probably be the day when they were black and blue, when they struggled between life and death. Then that would be the end of Zhou Hao.
After showering, Jiang Yuqian came out with a bare chest. Zhou Hao was already over that inexplicable sudden sorrow, and stared at Jiang Yuqian with an ambiguous smile.
Zhou Hao, “Was it good?”
Jiang Yuqian pulled out one corner of the blanket, and leaned against the bedrest as well. Towards Zhou Hao’s words, he did not respond.
Under his wet fringe was a gaze like the abyss. It was like the ocean at night, rising and falling, concealing everything terrifying and unknown.
After a long silence, Zhou Hao spoke with a voice that had turned hoarse from the smoke. “Hubby, hold me.”
He would rarely call Jiang Yuqian “hubby”, unless he could not help himself. Probably, he too felt a little tired already.
How could he not be tired? Pushing and pulling, calculating and scheming, his brain was only so small, how could he think about so many things everyday? Of course he would be tired.
However, he missed that clean scent wafting off Jiang Yuqian’s body. It was mixed with the unique sweet scent that only he had. Every time he had intertwined physically with this person, Zhou Hao felt that from inside to out, from up to down, he too was cleansed.
This sort of longing was very difficult. For it, he turned into a nutcase, into a pervert, and soon, it was likely that he would become incurably ill.
Not getting a reaction from Jiang Yuqian, Zhou Hao sucked deeply on his cigarette before leaning over to pry open the other’s mouth with his lips, and exhaling all the smoke within into that person.
Cough cough — Jiang Yuqian did not know how to smoke, and his face was now red from choking.
The pleasure of this revenge welled up within Zhou Hao. He felt extremely comfortable, and even his breathing was much easier now.
He opened his eyes, staring at the dazzling light on the ceiling. It was very bright, and the halo spun slowly in his eyes, as though it was dancing.
His pupils too gradually widened, but the light suddenly changed. A pink woman appeared, along with a damp apartment and stained memories that he could not get rid of…
Zhou Hao blinked his eyes desperately. They were dry, and a little itchy. He rubbed them with a hand, and they were actually a little wet.
The discomfort in Jiang Yuqian’s throat gradually dissipated. With anger, he glared at Zhou Hao, only to see him staring blankly at the ceiling, and his neck was in a very strange position.
He followed Zhou Hao’s line of sight. Other than the white ceiling and the bright chandelier, there was nothing else…
“Jiang Yuqian.” Zhou Hao’s voice was husky. He shifted over to him, then embraced him. “Hold me.”
Jiang Yuqian froze. He looked down at the person in front of him who seemed to not be his usual self. Perhaps his sorrow too influenced him, and he did not push Zhou Hao away like usual.
He continued leaning against the bedrest, and time ticked slowly by. Having not moved his legs for a long time, they felt a little numb. Jiang Yuqian gently adjusted his position. That person was already asleep, deeply asleep, only that his arms were still wrapped tightly around him.
Jiang Yuqian leaned closer to look at the sleeping person. There were tear tracks on his face, and the thin trails slid down, ending at his temples.
“You’re such a terrible person, yet you can cry too?” Jiang Yuqian wiped the tears away with his index finger, then placed it between his lips for a taste.
They were salty, but worthless.
The next day, their behaviour was just like usual, and no one mentioned the slip-up last night.
There were still some frozen dumplings in the freezer, and Zhou Hao cooked them all. In no time, the fat little dumplings all rose to the surface of the pot. Zhou Hao placed the lid over, allowing them to cook for a little while more before taking a plate to serve them.
In the dining room, the two people sat across the dining table. While eating, Zhou Hao scrolled through his phone. “Want to watch a movie? Star Wars is playing.”
Jiang Yuqian chewed slowly on the dumplings, remaining quiet.
“Don’t tell me you need to revise, so you’re not free,” Zhou Hao mocked. “I can see that you’re deliberately accompanying Mister Cheng.”
“I’m not going.”
Zhou Hao pretended that it did not matter to him, “It’s your loss.”
The two of them had nothing to do at home, and so lazed on the couch and watched TV the entire day. At night, Jiang Yuqian received a call. He said it was from his family, and so left with his schoolbag. Zhou Hao sent him to the gate of the complex, watching him go onto a taxi.
As though he was possessed, Zhou Hao walked to the school library. At the corner seats next to the window, he again saw those two people.
Until then, he could never understand such a hypocritical person like Cheng Zixu. He would never say he did not like Jiang Yuqian, only leading him on like this. However, today, Zhou Hao could not bring himself to interrupt their studying.
He too was someone with pride. He pretended to be cool, and left the library with his chin up.
That strong image — an aura as though the entire world was stupid and he was the only one aware. However, upon leaving the library, he crumbled.
His steps were weak, and his unsettled body had no strength within. Why was he pretending?
It was not like anyone was watching him. Anyway, in Jiang Yuqian’s eyes, he would never be able to see this manufactured clown.
As he walked, he reached a dark, remote path. The path was made of concrete, and lined with flourishing pagoda trees as well. Now that summer was coming, there were less and less people walking this path, especially females.
Zhou Hao was a man, and men naturally did not fear taking this path. However, it was only past seven now, and everyone was revising. There were few people walking around the school, and so there were even less on this remote path.
“What’s your name?”
“You look so tender and appealing.”
“Come play with us for a bit.”
The vulgar and boorish words came drifting from behind the pagoda trees. Zhou Hao listened carefully. It seemed like a few hooligans were surrounding someone. He did not like to interfere in things that had nothing to do with him, and only wanted to quietly walk through this path.
“Help me!” It was from a boy, sounding very low. It was evident that the boy had seen Zhou Hao.
He then heard a slap clearly. “Less fucking nonsense!”
Zhou Hao paused. That cry for help seemed to have caused a surge of unlimited energy within him. It was bitter, painful, and a little sweet.
He walked over.
As expected, three men were surrounding a boy. Looking at how sloppily they were dressed, it was clear that they were some young punks. The boy that was surrounded was very pretty, looking a little androgynous.
“Kid, what are you doing at night? It’s going to be the finals next week, aren’t you going to revise?” Zhou Hao grabbed the boy’s arm, pulling him away.
The three people did not expect that the two of them knew each other. Confused, they watched the boy hide behind Zhou Hao.
“Yo, you even know each other,” One of the hooligans spoke.
Zhou Hao turned his head, pushing the boy away. “Quick, run! Go bring someone here!”
Like a mad man, he then ran forward and threw himself into fighting the three people.
Hopelessly outnumbered, Zhou Hao was quickly left at a disadvantage. Fortunately, in less than five minutes, that boy had gathered four or five classmates to come.
Upon seeing the arrival of so many people, the three young punks threw Zhou Hao to the ground and ran away.