Renzi’s spirits were immediately bolstered.
He was always like this, his emotions rising and falling rapidly. His mood was easily affected, but all in all, he tended to be more happy most of the time.
After he hung up, Renzi went to bed with a heart full of longing. He had a night without dreams, and he got up of bed in high spirits. Outside the window, it was drizzling, and it was as though the place was surrounded with a net of melancholy. Renzi stretched his head out of the window, the cold air blew at his face, causing him to shiver. He hurriedly pulled on his long johns to get a solid sense of warmth.
The purpose of Renzi waking up so early was to take a stroll in the garden, in hopes of “bumping into” Gu Xiaoshan. However, he would also often bump into Shu Jingyi, and he even suspected that Shu Jingyi was just like him, coming here for Gu Xiaoshan. Why else would he come so early in the morning, no matter the weather?
Just like usual, Shu Jingyi had the first few buttons of his shirt undone. Standing in the wind, his posture was so straight as though he was a flagpole on a golf course.
Renzi had a small face. With a huge scarf, half his face was buried in the fuzzy scarf. Two shiny black eyes were revealed, and he watched Shu Jingyi vigilantly. Shu Jingyi smiled at him, “Good morning, President Ren.”
Although Shu Jingyi had always respectfully addressed him as a president, but Renzi could sense that there was no respect in Shu Jingyi’s tone, and he seemed like he was mocking him instead.
Renzi was quite stiff. He nodded at Shu Jingyi and asked, “You’re taking such a long vacation? Don’t you have to take care of business back home?”
“The world is so globalised now, it doesn’t matter where I am.” Shu Jingyi replied with a smile. “You see, isn’t Gu Xiaoshan staying here everyday as well? Why didn’t you ask him if he has to take care of business back home?”
Renzi judged silently: Always pulling the conversation back to Gu Xiaoshan, this Mr Shu definitely has ulterior motives!
Gu Xiaoshan had now also appeared in the drizzle.
In the first place, few people would come to the garden so early in the morning, not to mention that it was also raining. Although Gu Xiaoshan had the habit of waking up early to exercise, but when it rained, he would prefer staying indoors. Still, he knew that Renzi and Shu Jingyi would often appear there, so he had no choice but to put on his sportswear and pretend to “bump into” those people who made him worry while exercising.
Renzi recognised Gu Xiaoshan’s figure from afar. He stood up ecstatically, like a long-tailed tit on a branch in spring.
Seeing Renzi, Gu Xiaoshan was naturally delighted. But when his eyes fell on Shu Jingyi, they turned hard. Shu Jingyi gave him a smile with no lack of politeness in it. Gu Xiaoshan too smiled at him.
Renzi grumbled silently, Brother Xiaoshan and Mr Shu are again smiling and gazing at each other meaningfully again…
Unwilling to be the gooseberry, Renzi broke the silence. “It’s raining, Brother Xiaoshan is also jogging?”
Gu Xiaoshan laughed, “Yes.”
Shu Jingyi cracked a joke, “Not afraid of slipping on the wet path?”
Gu Xiaoshan responded with a laugh. “This is my territory, I should keep an eye on it.”
“Afraid of thieves? Haha.”
Renzi still felt that the atmosphere was very strange, but still had no clue how it was strange, and could only sulk alone.
Gu Xiaoshan caught Renzi’s arm and led him beneath the porch. “Aren’t you afraid of getting wet in the rain?”
Renzi’s arm could feel the pressure from Gu Xiaoshan’s palm, and his heart pounded. He watched Gu Xiaoshan who had ran in the rain — the rain was not too heavy, and did not cause Gu Xiaoshan to be drenched, but instead it dampened Gu Xiaoshan’s hair, making it look even darker, and clung to his forehead, and his forehead looked smoother and brighter — Brother Xiaoshan was really very good looking.
When Shu Jingyi saw how Renzi foolishly stared at Gu Xiaoshan, he tossed in the towel. Having exposed his chest for so long in the cold, he still could not compare to an iota of Gu Xiaoshan’s charm! The amount of time he spent shaving his chest hair was completely wasted.
Gu Xiaoshan asked Renzi, “Have you had breakfast yes?”
Renzi slowly shook his head.
“I’ll bring you for breakfast then. If you end up going hungry, Uncle Yu would definitely blame me for not being hospitable enough.”
Renzi followed Gu Xiaoshan to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, and Shu Jingyi shameless attached himself to them to freeload breakfast.. Renzi was not very happy about it, then thought about his older brother’s words last night — “if Gu Xiaoshan really likes this sort, then it’s truly game over for you”, and “you better keep a close eye on them, and don’t end up letting someone steal him from under your nose” — Renzi finally mustered up his courage, and expressed his unhappiness. “Why do you keep following us?”
With these words, Shu Jingyi was unexpectedly stunned.
Gu Xiaoshan was also quite surprised, but he soon reacted to it. He thought, if it was not raining right now, he would probably have let off some fireworks.
Shu Jingyi had an injured look on his face. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought that we were friends.”
“Ah… Uh…” Renzi was also caught by that reply, and seemed to have sank into embarrassment.
How could Gu Xiaoshan let Shu Jingyi gain such sympathy points? He immediately smiled, “Even if we’re friends, you can’t freeload everyday. Having eaten breakfast with us everyday, you haven’t paid for any of it, and my heart really hurts. It’s just that I found it awkward to mention it to you.”
Renzi thought, Brother Xiaoshan is really very stingy.
Shu Jingyi wanted to say something, but Gu Xiaoshan knew that he would definitely be able to portray himself in a good light, so how could he give him that chance? As such, Gu Xiaoshan cut him off, “It’s fine, it’s fine. We’ll forget about past matters. Xiaorenzi and I will go and have breakfast, as for you, you can settle it yourself.”
Gu Xiaoshan then pulled Renzi away, his footsteps as fast as wind.
Renzi was dragged along for quite a distance before he recovered his wits. “Why did you call me Xiaorenzi?”
Gu Xiaoshan was taken aback. He himself also did not know why. In actual fact, if Renzi had not pointed it out, he also did not know that he had called him Xiaorenzi. Gu Xiaoshan thought about it, and felt this name was pretty amusing, so laughed, “Why? You don’t like it?”
“Of course not, it sounds like the name of a eunuch.”
Gu Xiaoshan was astonished. He really had not thought of it this way, and was entertained by Renzi’s train of thoughts. “I’ve always been calling you Renzi, isn’t it just a difference of one word?”
Renzi could not accept that, and objected, “Don’t protest! Even if it’s just one word, the difference is very big! I’ve been calling you Brother Xiaoshan all these times, so can I call you Xiaoshanzi now?”
“Sure,” Gu Xiaoshan had no misgivings. “You can call me whatever you like.”
The first question that popped up in Renzi’s head was: Then, can I call you hubby?
Thinking of this, Renzi was mind blown. He did not dare to think about it again, and naturally would not dare to say it out loud.
The two of them sat down. The manager was very conscientious, seeing that both of them had been in the rain, he brought them both warm towels. Renzi was very distracted, and nearly bit into the warm towel thinking it was a bun. Gu Xiaoshan wiped his face with the towel as he laughed. “What, are you still angry?”
Renzi shook his head, thinking, Brother Xiaoshan keeps thinking of me as a younger brother, is it because I keep addressing him as an older brother? Actually, we’re of the same generation, why must I keep calling him my older brother?
Renzi decided to sever this notion. “Right, why do you always refer to me like a kid, and I have to call you my older brother?”
Gu Xiaoshan had not expect Renzi to be troubled by this, and laughed. “You’re really getting angry over this? You’ve been addressing me like this yourself since you were a kid, I’ve never insisted on being your older brother.”
Gu Xiaoshan’s words sounded very reasonable. However, Renzi did not want to reason with him, and insisted on being unreasonable. “Oh? That was because I was a kid! Now, I feel that it’s wrong. Aren’t we from the same generation? Addressing you like this makes me feel like I’m one generation below you, I refuse to accept it.”
Gu Xiaoshan laughed, “Fine, fine. So you’re going to start calling me Xiaoshanzi?”
“There, there’s no need for that.” Renzi also did not want to address him like a eunuch. He thought about it. “There’s no need for you to change the way you call me, you can still stick to Renzi. As for me, I’m going to call you Shanzi. Like this, we’ll be equals.”
“Sure.” Gu Xiaoshan’s answer was very straightforward.
It was so straightforward that Renzi was a little surprised. He had not expected that Gu Xiaoshan would not care about the form of address!
Actually, such names really did not matter to Gu Xiaoshan, he was not very particular about it. Also, he too felt that being so much older now, for Renzi to keep calling him “Brother Xiaoshan”, it felt somewhat awkward. For people who were not close to them, when they heard Renzi call him like that for the first time, they would all have a doubtful look on their faces.
Getting rid of this “brother” label was pretty good as well — Gu Xiaoshan thought, since Yu Yuntao returned, Renzi no longer needed this non-blood related older brother anymore.
Renzi felt a small delight thinking that they were now equals.
But in truth, could there be an absolute equality in interactions between people?
To a certain degree, Gu Xiaoshan was very suitable to be his “older brother”. Not based on his age, but his character and behaviour. They had been interacting in this manner for so many years. Renzi was the little brother who was not very intelligent, and everytime something happened, he would have Brother Xiaoshan to deal with it for him. Even with nothing going on, he would maintain that “looking up” attitude to Gu Xiaoshan as well.
Actually, it was still about the same now. When Renzi called out “Shanzi”, his tongue felt tangled, and he felt especially conscious about it, always feeling that he was overstepping boundaries. There were a few times he changed it back to “Brother Xiaoshan”, as he was more used to it. Gu Xiaoshan was not bothered by it, as no matter how Renzi addressed him, he would always acknowledge it with a smile.
They chatted for a while, and Gu Xiaoshan asked him, “When do you plan on returning home?”
“Huh?” Renzi was surprised. “Am I disturbing you?”
“No.” Gu Xiaoshan responded. “I’m just afraid that you’ll be bored. In this mountain, there’s nothing fun to do. You don’t really like hunting, and it’s already so cold that you’re wearing long johns.”
Renzi denied it to his very last breath. “I’m not, what long johns? I never wear long johns!”
Gu Xiaoshan laughed. “Oh, but I find it too cold here. I’m planning on going back.”
“Huh?” Renzi was surprised again. When he registered what Gu Xiaoshan said, he immediately changed his words. “Then I’m going back too! It’s so boring and cold here!”