“Mn,” Gu Xiaoshan gave a couple of dry coughs. “Are there any other reasons why you came looking for me?”
Renzi paused, feeling like he really did come without a reason.
Gu Xiaoshan then said, “Let’s go have some food first?”
Renzi thought that this was a good idea, because he was a little hungry too. Having had nothing but porridge and water for a few times, he really missed the taste of meat. Gu Xiaoshan had asked him what he wanted to eat, he did not say anything specific, just that he wanted to “eat meat”.
Gu Xiaosan laughed and named a BBQ restaurant, asking him how he felt about it.
Without thinking much, Renzi agreed. A while later, as he watched the car move down the street, he then realised, “It’s now the after work peak congestion period right? We don’t have to go so far, can’t we just go to Restaurant X like you normally do?”
Gu Xiaoshan was surprised.
He did not want to go to Restaurant X, as it was really too convenient, and so his dinners with his past lovers were often settled there. The last time, he had let He Jun take an hour’s car ride to come to Restaurant X, and they even bumped into Renzi.
So Gu Xiaoshan had avoided it on purpose.
“Let’s not.” Gu Xiaoshan explained, “I heard a pretty good restaurant opened there, so I wanted to bring you there to try.”
Renzi did not think much about it, and agreed.
Actually, when Renzi had came looking for him so quickly, Gu Xiaoshan was also not prepared. He had thought that their first date should be planned properly, but did not expect Renzi to be so perfunctory about it. He had also thought that Renzi would needed more time to digest this reality as well as feel conflicted about it, but who would have thought that Renzi was not interested in that, and straight away came to his office to ask if they were actually dating, and even started the “Husband-to-be”.
Sigh. Gu Xiaoshan really did not know what he should say.
It was currently 6.30pm on a Friday, everyone could imagine how bad the jam on the roads were.
Gu Xiaoshan pressed his horn a little impatiently.
This rather surprised Renzi. In his memories, Gu Xiaoshan rarely revealed his annoyance, and even in a heavy congestion, he would never get road rage.
Renzi so asked, “You really want to eat at that BBQ restaurant huh?”
Gu Xiaoshan was a little taken aback, “Hmm?”
“I feel that you’re a little more irritable than normal.” Renzi mentioned his own suspicious, “Are you very hungry now?”
Gu Xiaoshan was a little helpless, and smiled. “What about you? Are you hungry?”
“I’m still ok.” Renzi was actually rather hungry, but there was love to keep him full. He still placed the most importance on Gu Xiaoshan’s mood, and so picked up his phone to look at the traffic condition nearby. Finding the road with the least amount of traffic, he then suggested, “If you don’t really have to eat at that BBQ restaurant today, we can just go to Jichan Estate?”
Eight out of ten of Gu Xiaoshan’s lovers had met Renzi there for the first time. Jichan Estate was a luxurious and private place, as well as being under the Gu Empire. Gu Xiaoshan would usually invite his closer business partners or friends to meet there, and if he happened to have a long-term lover, he would also often choose to announce it there to his friends.
For example, He Jun had met Renzi there for the first time.
Gu Xiaoshan felt quite awkward about it, but discovering that Renzi did not mind it at all, and could only praise Renzi for being easy-going. However, Gu Xiaoshan himself felt a little uncomfortable, and was even more afraid that Renzi would register the situation and feel uncomfortable as well. He then said, “Why should we go to Jichan Estate? Is there even anything delicious there?”
“It’s your place, you yourself are saying that the food isn’t good?” Renzi was astonished.
Gu Xiaoshan paused. “I didn’t mean that, didn’t you want to have something sumptuous? The food at Jichan Estate is lighter, it’s not suitable.”
But Renzi replied, “Having been on a bland diet, I shouldn’t be too excessive and go straight for a sumptuous meal, or my stomach won’t be able to handle it. It’s good that it’s lighter.”
“Mn…” Gu Xiaoshan then asked, “But Jichan Estate’s too far?”
“Look at how the roads are congested right now, you’re still thinking about the distance? Perhaps it might even be faster to go to Jichan Estate.”
Gu Xiaoshan struggled with his thoughts. “Oh…”
“Stop hemming and hawing,” Renzi too started getting impatient, and pointed at the traffic lights. “Quick, drive! The lights have changed!”
Gu Xiaoshan could only go along with him, and turned his car towards Jichan Estate.
Jichan Estate was located in the suburbs, with a hill behind it and a stream in front. The wind there was cool and the waters cold, and the building structure was of a classical style. A private hotel with gardens, the landscape had green plants, a little bridge over flowing waters, pavilions and terraces. As for its amenities, it had restaurants, entertainment venues and rooms to stay, and could be considered to be quite fully equipped.
Although it sounded rather nice, and looked very pretty as well, but Renzi rarely came here as it was too peaceful.
He still preferred places with crowds and bustling fun.
Renzi now remembered that he rarely came to Jichan Estate, and the few times he came were to meet Gu Xiaoshan’s lovers. Renzi’s face also changed, and when he got out of the car, he really wanted to hammer himself to death. Why did he insist on coming to Jichan Estate to make himself unhappy?
Gu Xiaoshan also got out of the car, handing it over to the valet. Turning around to see Renzi, he found a change in Renzi’s complexion, and so asked laughingly, “You’re feeling uncomfortable? Hungry already?”
Renzi did not say much. “Where are we going to eat?”
“You suggested it, so you can make the decision. What do you want to eat?”
Renzi was determined not to go to the tea room — that was where he met Gu Xiaoshan’s past lovers.
“I still want to have meat! Let’s find a place with more meat on the menu.”
Gu Xiaoshan too did not want to go to the tea room, and so led Renzi to the european-styled restaurant in the middle of the lake. Renzi had never been there before, so he did not feel awkward about it. They had a table in a private room, and Gu Xiaoshan ordered some dishes, asking Renzi if there was anything he had to avoid with his recent illness. Renzi said that everything was as usual, and so Gu Xiaoshan just ordered accordingly. What Renzi liked to eat, and what he could not eat, Gu Xiaoshan was the most aware of that.
The expression on Renzi’s face still did not look right. Gu Xiaoshan was not blind, and he was able to tell. After he made his order and the server left, he asked Renzi, “What’s wrong?”
Renzi tried putting him off, “My stomach’s still a little uncomfortable.”
“Still uncomfortable? Then I should change the order, it’s better to have porridge instead.”
“Porridge?” Renzi objected. “Are you trying to starve me?”
Gu Xiaoshan spread his hands out helplessly. “Isn’t your stomach feeling uncomfortable?”
“My stomach’s feeling uncomfortable?” Renzi said, “It’s my heart that’s feeling uncomfortable!”
Gu Xiaoshan’s heart jolted. Mn, as expected, I shouldn’t have brought him to this damn place!
However, he revealed an innocent and troubled expression. “What’s wrong?”
Renzi actually fell for Gu Xiaoshan’s innocent expression, and wondered why would he get angry out of nowhere. Gu Xiaoshan did not do anything wrong! Having been together for just one day, he started throwing a tantrum, what was this? How was he any different from those annoying, clingy girlfriends?
Renzi paused, his anger retreating, but still feeling uncomfortable in his heart. “Is He Jun still working here?”
“What are you talking about? Didn’t you say that you don’t want to see him ever again? How could I still let him appear here?”
Renzi was alarmed. “Don’t tell me you found someone to kill him!”
Gu Xiaoshan really had to give it to Renzi. “You think you’re acting in a mafia show?”
Renzi shook his head, then asked, “What about Mu Chutong? Has he ever eaten here before?”
Mu Chutong was Gu Xiaoshan’s first boyfriend.
Gu Xiaoshan wondered, was he about to start listing them all from the start? If he did, this conversation would be endless. Gu Xiaoshan quickly summoned his innocent face again. “Who? What are you talking about?”
Renzi did not let it go. “Mu Chutong!”
“What about Mushu?”
Renzi was stunned. Was there something wrong with Brother Xiaoshan’s ears?
Gu Xiaoshan saw that Renzi did not go on, and rejoiced in his heart. About to think of something to move away from this topic, he happened to see the fashion show on the television screen in the room, and grabbed at it. “Eh? Isn’t that Tiffany Yuan?”
“Who?” Renzi turned his head and saw the face on the screen, still a little muddle-headed. “She looks a little familiar.”
Renzi really could not remember his ex-girlfriend, but could clearly recall Gu Xiaoshan’s ex-boyfriend from so many years ago. Gu Xiaoshan had to give in, and gave him some hints. “Tiffany Yuan? Your ex-girlfriend? You were dating for quite a few months, and you even told everyone that she was your muse. Did you forget, you even had an art exhibition with her portrait as the focus?”
Renzi started feeling guilty, his forehead beading with sweat.
A while later, Renzi spoke, trembling. “For that art exhibition, I had found people to draw for me! I was wrong, I must apologise to the public.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. That substitute artist had brought your Tiffany back to be his muse, and even wrote a book exposing the details of your relationship with Tiffany. He wrote an entire chapter describing your shortcomings, you guys can be considered even now.”
Renzi knew that had he been cuckolded, but he had not realised that he had been embarrassed like this. “What? What shortcomings? What book? How come I didn’t know about it?”
“Oh, I had this pressed down, and so the book wasn’t published. However, I still have a copy of the draft. If you want, I can let you see it.”
Renzi now remembered those memories in a steady stream. To have every relationship screwed up like that, it also was not easy. Renzi pounded the table, getting emotional. “Why? Why did they all have to treat me that way? Didn’t they just want money? Did I not give enough? Isn’t there someone out there who could treat me sincerely?”
“How can you expect a sincere heart in exchange for money?” Gu Xiaoshan felt that this logic was wrong. “I would never have such expectations for people around me.”
Gu Xiaoshan knew that money would never buy the sincere heart of his lover, and so he just did not give them any.
Gu Xiaoshan picked up the remote control and switched off the television. “Look at you, you don’t even remember her face, and had to have your assistant remember her birthday and the anniversaries, as well as giving her presents. With such an attitude towards a relationship, it would never end well. This has nothing to do with money.”
“So it’s my fault?” Renzi’s expression was lost.
Gu Xiaoshan did not know how to answer this question, and so asked in reply, “Will you not recognise my face too?”
“Of course not!” Renzi exclaimed loudly. “I’ll still recognise it even if it turns into ashes.”
Renzi then felt this was not very scientific, and so took back his words. “Mn, I’ll only not recognise it if it turns into ashes.”
Gu Xiaoshan burst out laughing. “Then do you remember my birthday?”
Renzi gave the correct date, and even his eight characters of his horoscope. This made Gu Xiaoshan a little surprised, and thought that Renzi had once planned on using those details to perform voodoo on him.
Gu Xiaoshan then asked, “What about our anniversary?”
Renzi pointed at the calendar. “The same day next year!”
Gu Xiaoshan laughed and nodded. “You see, this time, you remember everything, so it would definitely not end badly.”
He then stretched out his hand and stroke that cowlick on the back of Renzi’s head.
Renzi’s heart settled down. About to say something, the server then knocked on the door and entered with their food. As expected, the entire table of dishes was to Renzi’s liking, and were light-tasting as well, suitable for these two patients who had just recovered from drinking fake wine.
When the server left, Gu Xiaoshan picked some dishes for Renzi and asked, “What did you want to ask just now?”
Renzi looked up cautiously, just like a little cat who was seeing a new type of food for the first time and was unsure if he could eat it. The tentativeness in his eyes was evident. “Then… then what was the reason for all your previous relationships not ending well?”
“It’s the same as yours,” Gu Xiaoshan replied candidly. “I didn’t use any sincerity.” Of course, he didn’t use any money as well.
Renzi was taken aback. “Hmm?”
Gu Xiaoshan saw that Renzi did not move his chopsticks, and started peeling the prawns while speaking. “If that’s the case, that there’s no sincerity involved, it shouldn’t be considered a proper relationship, right?”
“Mn.” Renzi nodded, agreeing with Gu Xiaoshan’s statement.
Gu Xiaoshan dipped the peeled prawn in a dark sauce and held it to Renzi’s mouth. “So, to the both of us, this would be our first official relationship, and we can be considered each other’s first love.”
Renzi was shocked, his eyes rounding, and unconsciously swallowed the prawn down. He nearly choked to death, but only felt a sweetness in his mouth.