“This is the first time I’ve had so many gays in my house.”
Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
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“Bet on how long it’ll last this time?” Lin Ze said, “I’m guessing it won’t even last seven days.”
“Definitely not seven days.” Situ Ye looked at the news on his phone, “Two days at most.”
Lin Ze said to Yu Hao, “Have you thought of January’s feature?”
Yu Hao said, “Looking for it now.”
Lin Ze said, “Compete with Jin Laoshi to get published ba.”
Yu Hao became frantic, “How could I?!”
Zhou Sheng especially gave him a call. He was currently in the office, “Wife, you’ve unearthed a hot topic.”
Yu Hao said, “It’s Jin Laoshi’s feature, the credit doesn’t go to me.” As he spoke, he heard Zhou Sheng say to his colleague on the other side, “This intern editor’s my wife……”
“What Jin Laoshi’s feature.” Zhou Sheng said to Yu Hao, “Have you thanked your boss and lady boss for their training? They edited photos for you for several days!”
Only then did Yu Ha remember, Lin Ze and Situ Ye didn’t sign their names on the feature. He rushed through the door.
Lin Ze, “???”
After a while, Yu Hao came over with a pour over coffee maker, filter paper, and coffee powder, “Boss, lady boss, I’ll make pour over coffee for you two.”
Situ Ye said, “Yo, we get coffee too? Ah Ze, do you feel guilty?”
Yu Hao, “???”
Ah Ze said helplessly, “Yu Hao, the manuscript fee has all been given to Jin Laoshi. I didn’t want to say that at first……”
“It’s okay!” Yu Hao said, “Give it all to him! This is the first manuscript of my life! And it actually, ahhhhhhh——”
Yu Hao was filled with gratitude. He made pour over coffee for both Situ Ye and Lin Ze. Situ Ye said, “It’s pretty professional, who did you learn from?”
“Our Chen Laoshi.” Yu Hao said, “He came in third in the Manhattan Pour Over Coffee Championship, North American’s winner, and had entered the final.”
“It’s okay.” Situ Ye accepted the coffee and took a sip.
Lin Ze said, “Your lady boss was the runner-up in the Asia-Pacific Coffee Championships.”
Yu Hao, “……”
“Don’t be too proud!” Lin Ze said, “I think you need some scolding to wake up a little, where’s your feature? What have you been doing lately?”
Situ Ye smiled, “Can’t you let me be a little proud?”
Yu Hao said, “I’ve picked some, take a look?”
Yu Hao sent the topics to Lin Ze’s phone. Lin Ze glanced at it, “No, what the hell are all these? You really need an urgent knock on the head.”
“Oh, these won’t do?” Yu Hao said, “Then I’ll look around again.”
“Where are you going to find traffickers?” Lin Ze said, “There have been a lot of features on them a few years ago. There’s no need to do food health now; the one on collusion between property speculation groups and the local government is okay, but with your current abilities, you wouldn’t be able to get any information. Don’t do the one on child abuse in kindergartens, it has already blown up. Your topics are practically trying to pick a fight when there’s none. I think you seem more like you’re trying to find local governments to wreck and not much like an investigative reporter.”
Yu Hao said, “Then I’ll think about it again.”
Lin Ze said, “You need to broaden your social relations before you get connections. Know what they care about the most, what problem they most need to resolve. From the masses……”
Situ Ye composed a song himself and started singing, “Go to the masses——”
“Yes——” Lin Ze said, “Why do I seem more and more like a cadre member these days……”
Yu Hao nodded.
Lin Ze said, “If it really doesn’t work out, then choose something that other investigative reporters have done before but didn’t attract any attention, or unsolved cases are fine as well. In our profession, we also need to fry cold rice once in awhile, but we’ll have to do a more thorough and comprehensive version of it.”
“I’ll think about it again.” Yu Hao answered.
“The content you want to report,” Lin Ze said in the end, “is this world’s ‘pain that hits close to home’. Starting from this afternoon, go out for interviews ba. After you run around enough, you’ll understand what it means by ‘pain that hits close to home’.”
“I haven’t finished writing my interviews……” Yu Hao said.
“Then work overtime.” Lin Ze said.
“Okay.” Yu Hao could only say this in response. Still, he stopped whatever he was doing and pondered over Lin Ze’s words. He had a lot to digest.
“Pain that hits close to home.” Yu Hao said.
“Pain that hits close to home, it doesn’t have to be sensational.” Lin Ze said, “We’re not a demolition office; we have the power to destroy, but we won’t destroy just for the sake of destruction. We’re not trying to break the government’s legs. Sometimes, you just need to tear off a small, tiny piece and expose it to the outside, like the skin on your lips -- even that can make this ‘person’ tremble with pain.”
Yu Hao said, “It depends on whether the connection is deep or not.”
“Un.” Lin Ze said, “Remember the feature on Anti-Japanese Resistance Volunteers? Left-behind children, Anti-Japanese Volunteers, autistic patients: pain that hits close to home doesn’t necessarily have to be evil. Aside from exposing evil, investigative reporters have to learn how to report on the good as well.”
Yu Hao nodded and continued writing Jin Weicheng’s manuscript. Situ Ye asked, “How are you guys celebrating New Year’s? Call Angry Bird along, let’s do some team building activities?”
Lin Ze said, “It’s so damn cold outside, it’s -10 degrees, and you still want to countdown in the cold? Why don’t they come to our house for a meal ba?”
Situ Ye, “No! I don’t want to clean up anymore! The house is such a mess! Why do I still have to work during the holidays?!”
Yu Hao thought about it for a bit and texted Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng answered:【Sure! I wanted to treat your leaders to a meal too anyway. If they’re willing to come, then I’m completely okay with it.】
So Yu Hao invited Lin Ze and Situ Ye to come to his new home for dinner on New Year’s Eve for the countdown. That was exactly what Situ Ye wanted, “Great! I’ve wanted to eat your man’s cooking for a really long time now; I’ll see if it’s really as godly as you proclaim it to be. In any case, if we go to your house for dinner we can leave right after eating, and you won’t need my help to clean up.”
In the investigation office, Zhou Sheng finished his second job. He joined hands with his colleague and took a picture of a meeting between the project manager and the manager from their competitor. He had also recorded almost all of his tracks, sorted out the documents, and was prepared to send them all to party A.
“Yo, what’s this?” His colleague asked, “My eyes aren’t playing tricks on me, right? The sunbird of Jinsha?”
Zhou Sheng smoothed his hair. He looked at the computer screen, controlled the mouse with his right hand and typed on the keyboard with his left hand as he sorted out the file names for the photos. He wore the Golden Crow Wheel on his left arm that had rolled up sleeves.
“Un.” Zhou Sheng said, “A handicraft.”
His colleague laughed, “Why do you wear this on your wrist? I thought it was a watch.”
Zhou Sheng answered, “A love token from my wife na.” As he spoke, he graciously took the Golden Crow Wheel off and handed it to his colleague.
His Colleague asked, “Pure gold?” As he spoke, he tossed it up and down, and Xiao Jian came out right at this moment. The colleagues were currently passing the Golden Crow Wheel around, and it was thrown to Xiao Jian, who asked, “What’s this?”
Zhou Sheng smiled, “It’s mine, a small accessory.”
Xiao Jian threw it back and motioned to Zhou Sheng to leave with him, “There’s something I need to dispatch you for. Isn’t your wife working in a newspaper? Help me get some information.”
“Why did you get so many Golden Crow Wheels?” Yu Hao was dumbstruck. He saw a pile of identical Golden Crow Wheels on the table that was stacked up like a pile of coins.
Zhou Sheng flicked one of them. “It’s alright, just something for fun.”
Twenty Golden Crow Wheels were stacked neatly on the table. Zhou Sheng pressed them down with ten fingers, rolling them here and there, then spinning them a few rounds. “Can you tell which one it is?”
Yu Hao chose one and picked it up to hand to Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng nodded. “That’s it.” But he didn’t accept it. “You keep it first.”
Yu Hao looked at Zhou Sheng doubtfully, “Someone wants to steal the Golden Crow Wheel? How’s that possible?”
Zhou Sheng answered, “No, it’s just for fun. Don’t worry.”
Yu Hao sat in front of the table. Zhou Sheng took out a metal box and swept the remaining Golden Crow Wheels inside, then said, “Our boss wants to get some information from you. Look at this guy.”
Zhou sheng handed Yu Hao a photograph. There was a very energetic-looking middle-aged man in it.
“Isn’t this that person?” Yu Hao said, “I remember him.”
The man in the picture was one of the three men who had come to their college to exchange pleasantries with them two years ago during Ou Qihang’s incident! But only one of them introduced himself at that time, as ‘Ren Chong’. Yu Hao didn’t know the names of the other two.
Zhou Sheng said, “Three people, and the boss of my company is the third, called Qin Guodong. This person is the second, called Zhao Liang. Ren Chong is Huang Ting’s immediate superior. Hey, don’t you think this is interesting?”
Yu Hao said, “What’s going on? Aren’t the three of them part of the investigation team?”
“They disbanded.” Zhou Sheng said, “Right after Ou Qihang’s incident ended. You can just ask your boss about him in passing. There’s no need to take this too seriously.”
Yu Hao said, “That’s strange...Weren’t they colleagues in the past? Your boss should know more about him, shouldn’t he?”
Zhou Sheng shrugged, revealing an enigmatic and mocking smile. Yu Hao scratched his head. He didn’t really understand what the connection was in all this, so he didn’t ask too much. He took a photo and decided to ask Lin Ze when the time came.
It was less than a week before New Year’s. Yu Hao went out for two special Christmas interviews, while Jin Weicheng took leave and left on the 28th. At noon on the last day, everyone had nothing to do. Lin Ze borrowed an editor who didn’t go home from the general office to take over their duties. Vacation time was given in advance that day, so they went back to take a bath, then went over to play again at night.
Ou Qihang didn’t go home. He refused his classmates’ invitations. It was really too cold outside, and he just so happened to go to Yu Hao’s house to play. Chen Yekai had nothing else to do either and immediately agreed.
After Yu Hao finished his interview at noon, he went to look for Zhou Sheng first. Zhou Sheng was sitting at the edge of his desk, chatting idly with a group of investigators about chess. The entire office took up a space of less than 50 square meters and was a complete mess. Zhou Sheng greeted Yu Hao. The office was full of young people.
“Sis-in-law is here.” Zhou Sheng said, “Greet him.”
“Hello bro-in-law!” Everyone started cheering, “Hellooo bro-in-law~”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng roared angrily, “You guys wanna die?!”
Yu Hao got acquainted with Zhou Sheng’s colleagues. The feeling this bunch of people gave him was that they seemed nondescript; they were all wearing suits, yet they had a kind of an indescribable air. A box of snacks was moved over, and everyone flocked over to distribute them. They reminded him of the group of sports class guys in college.
Zhou Sheng straightened his collar and went to the office to knock on the door. He said to the manager, “Boss, I’m leaving now.”
“Go back bei.” Xiao Jian wore glasses as he looked at a file. He looked up, and Yu Hao said, “Hello, boss.”
“You worked on the battery plant feature?” Xiao Jian said, “It was awesome! Hello Meimei.”
Yu Hao held his forehead with one hand. Zhou Sheng put on his jacket and draped an arm over Yu Hao’s shoulder, then left. They went to the seafood market to buy food for tonight, since they were going to prepare hot pot to entertain their guests.
“Aren’t they like a bunch of army ruffians?” Zhou Sheng said.
“Yes, yes!” Yu Hao said, “But how come they’re younger than us?”
Zhou Sheng said, “Quite a few who left the army aren’t even 20 yet.”
All these private detectives liked to put on airs. Occasionally, they’d run out to accept jobs as bodyguards. Yu Hao usually heard Zhou Sheng talk about many interesting things, and his work wasn’t as tough as he imagined. Zhou Sheng soon got familiar with everyone right after joining the company, and he was smart as well, so now almost all the members in the team listened to him. He was just like a military advisor and was now quite in his element there.
“Buy more crabs.” Zhou Sheng said, “I’ll deal with them.”
Yu Hao was always afraid of getting pinched by crabs. Zhou Sheng picked one up to show him, “What about this one? Don’t be afraid! Mwah! Look at how cute it is. Its meat must be real tender.”
Yu Hao, “Be careful, it’s going to pinch your nose!”
When they were cooking in the afternoon, Yu Hao boldly used two chopsticks to pull the crabs’ pincers apart, so that Zhou Sheng could tear it open. Zhou Sheng said, “When it comes to crabs, you can’t just nail their stomachs with one stab to the death just because it’s convenient……once you nail it dead, its meat will relax…Aren’t you afraid of it?”
“I’m more afraid of you getting pinched.” Yu Hao said nervously, “Hurry up!”
Zhou Sheng handled the crabs and started skewering shrimps. Yu Hao took a small knife to pick the abalone out. He thought that it would be really lively tonight; they had actually invited so many people to this family feast. The only regret was that Huang Ting could not come.
The doorbell rang, and guests came in one after another.
“Congratulations on moving to a new place.” Chen Yekai first handed Yu Hao a bottle of wine, then gave him an anthology of Shelley’s poetry. “As a makeup gift for your birthday.” Then he went in like he was familiar with the place, “Yo, your new place isn’t bad, you can even see big underpants.”
Ou Qihang followed behind Chen Yekai and shouted, “Long time no see!”
Ou Qihang had grown up quite a bit and felt like he had matured a lot too. Although it has been years since they had met, they were still very familiar with one another. He took off his sportswear and handed Yu Hao Tsinghua’s postgraduate enrollment brochure, then helped Zhou Sheng handle the ingredients for dinner. Lin Ze and Situ Ye came in too, and they had brought a bottle of red wine.
Yu Hao introduced Ou Qihang. Everyone exchanged pleasantries for a while. Lin Ze sent Yu Hao away, “You don’t need to worry about us, we’ll treat this place like our own home.”
Chen Yekai and Lin Ze had chatted before, so they soon got acquainted when they met this time. Zhou Sheng only said that Ou Qihang was Yu Hao’s godbrother. Previously, Zhou Sheng had asked Fu Liqun to send the game console they had at home over, so Ou Qihang and Situ Ye began playing Call of Duty, while Lin Ze and Zhou Sheng chatted as they played chess. Chen Yekai brought some books over for Yu Hao. Yu Hao mentioned his graduation thesis. After Chen Yekai thought about it, he said, “That’s okay, but I’ll need to greet the head of your department.”
Yu Hao said, “Then you can guide me on my thesis.”
Chen Yekai said, “I think you don’t need my guidance anymore.”
“I’ll have to bother you to go back with me for my defence.”
“No problem.” Chen Yekai said, “It’s just a small matter. Do you want to undertake your postgraduate studies under me?”
Yu Hao was surprised, “You can take graduate students now?”
Chen Yekai smiled, “If you’re not afraid that it would be tough, you can consider it.”
Yu Hao was a little tempted. The college that Chen Yekai had come on an exchange for was considered quite a good one in Beijing. Although it wasn’t a first-tier college, it had an excellent humanities and social sciences department. If he managed to enroll in the college as a postgraduate student, there would most likely be a substantive leap in his salary.
“Let me consider that properly.” Yu Hao answered, then placed the dishes on the table. Zhou Sheng went to open up bottles of wine, start dinner, and poured wine for everyone. Yu Hao suddenly felt like this scene was quite dream-like. His superior from work was actually getting acquainted with Chen Yekai and Ou Qihang!
Zhou Sheng clinked glasses and casually said, “Come, come, we’re all here because of Yu Hao. Everyone from all over the country are good friends, please feel at home.”
Yu Hao almost spurted out his wine. On second thought though, that did seem like the case, so he burst out laughing.
Situ Ye said to Ou Qihang, “Little friend, know how to play the finger guessing game?”
Ou Qihang started playing with Situ Ye. Yu Hao thought that those two got familiar with one another really fast. While Zhou Sheng peeled prawns for Yu Hao, he said, “Is Ah Ze or Kaikai the oldest here?”
Lin Ze, “Why use the word ‘old’?!”
Chen Yekai, “Exactly!”
They bumped glasses. Yu Hao said, “As long as they’re handsome, they’ll still be diamond bachelors even if they’re old.”
Zhou Sheng, “Then what are the non-handsome ones called?”
Lin Ze said, “Just old bachelors ba.”
Everyone burst out laughing wildly. Halfway through their dinner, they started talking about the ecology of media. Yu Hao was eating the beef Zhou Sheng blanched for him. All of a sudden, Chen Yekai and Lin Ze were the only ones talking at the table, everyone else had stopped.
“Yeah, so what’s the difference between domestic and external affairs?” Lin Ze said, “I don’t think all crows in the world are black, but everyone knows best in their hearts.”
Chen Yekai said, “That’s caused by the difference in Eastern and Western culture’s understanding of a ‘person’…”
Yu Hao thought, what the fuck, they’re starting to attack each other now? Ever since he started working, Yu Hao has often thought that Chen Yekai and Lin Ze were somewhat similar in certain aspects, but he didn’t know how to describe it. They were similar in age, one was an erudite scholar while the other was rich in experience, and he wondered what the outcome would be if they started arguing out of a conflict in opinions.
And now they really did start arguing! The two male gods are debating?!
“No matter what the understanding of people themselves is,” Lin Ze said, “from the perspective of the ultimate goal of our survival, it’s all the same. Let’s not talk about nihilism, isn’t it just seeking freedom? Drink.”
Chen Yekai had to drink. He put his elbow on the dining table and said, “Then do you think we’re free now?”
“At this moment,” Lin Ze said, “I’m free. Because I have no strong desires, my free will isn’t bound by desire.”
Chen Yekai, “So, wouldn’t this lead us back to our original question? We just keep suppressing ourselves because we know that life is bitterly short. Whatever we can’t get, we pretend we don’t want. But in reality, a lot of thoughts are like beasts that still know how to navigate -- after you chase them away, they still know where your house is, and they will still return one night, right? You have to tame them.”
Lin Ze stopped talking. Chen Yekai pointed at a wine glass, and it was Lin Ze’s turn to drink now.
“Only then, can one’s innermost self and personality be integrated,” Chen Yekai said, “And obtain true freedom.”
Everyone was eating hot pot as they listened to their debate, and no one interrupted at the moment.
Lin Ze said, “All activities on the surface are just illusions that make us feel free.”
Chen Yekai, “……”
Lin Ze turned the tables, and pointed at a glass.
It was Chen Yekai’s turn to drink. Chen Yekai took a sip of wine. Zhou Sheng poured wine for them both. Chen Yekai was suddenly inspired by Lin Ze’s words, “He denies the existence of free will, but do you think you have free will? You acknowledge him, so acknowledge that people’s desires will never be satisfied. Desires that have been fulfilled will be replaced by unfulfilled desires. Acknowledging that happiness is only satisfying because of a momentary relief from pain means that you no longer believe in idealism.”
After he said this, Chen Yekai raised an eyebrow at Lin Ze expectantly.
Lin Ze said, “I don’t entirely agree with his point of view, he even promotes asceticism.”
Chen Yekai, “But according to your logic, that is the case.”
Still, Lin Ze had to admit that Chen Yekai’s logical counterattack had struck a weak point, so he drank.
Only then did Yu Hao understand. Lin Ze had used Schopenhauer’s argument to refute Chen Yekai, but Chen Yekai caught a loophole in his argument.
Lin Ze, “I just think that many goals and ideals can be changed. Before starting a family, you have certain ideals, and after starting a family, you have different ideals. This depends on the circumstances in your life; it’s the same reasoning behind the pursuit of satisfying one’s desires.”
Chen Yekai said, “But some things exist purely because of one’s natural instincts, it will never change from the first time you come into contact with it until the day you die.”
Lin Ze, “For example?”
Chen Yekai didn’t say anything. Zhou Sheng laughed, and when he was about to clink glasses with them, Lin Ze said after not getting an answer, “For me, ideals are like train stations. Passing by stop after stop, I don’t need to think about my destination.”
Yu Hao thought, yes! That’s so well said!
“For me……” Chen Yekai pondered about it, and stopped debating.
“……it is the Polaris in the city.” Chen Yekai said, “Living in a bustling downtown, the light from the lamps will cover up its radiance. But it’s always in the sky, it’s just that we can’t see it.
Only when I’m alone on a journey and wandering through the wilderness at night, would it then show me the way.”
Yu Hao thought, what the fuck, seems like Chen Yekai’s a little more amazing.
“Drink.” Chen Yekai snapped out of his daze, and everyone made a toast.
The atmosphere suddenly became a little heavy and silent. Situ Ye knocked on a glass with chopsticks, “Let’s sing?”
Yu Hao said, “Okay!”
“Wait!” Ou Qihang said, “Let’s see what they’ll sing on the countdown party first!”
Ou Qihang picked up the remote control and turned on the TV. There were quite a few popular songs in it this year. As soon as the party started, everyone could watch it and while their time away singing along like lunatics. Not long after, Yu Hao gathered up the dishes, and Ou Qihang helped him wash them. Zhou Sheng cut up some fruit, which he took out for everyone to eat. He sat down to watch the party with Situ Ye, while Lin Ze and Chen Yekai took the unfinished wine to the bookshelf in front of the huge landing windows, where they sat on a soft sofa to chat.
“I thought you would bring your boyfriend over.” Yu Hao said to Ou Qihang.
Ou Qihang was wearing Zhou Sheng’s apron as he washed dishes obediently. He looked at Yu Hao and smiled.
“I don’t have one.” Ou Qihang said, “And didn’t hook up with anyone either.”
Yu Hao said, “You’re not dating anyone?”
Ou Qihang said, “One of my juniors likes me, I’m still considering. I don’t really feel anything.”
Yu Hao said, “Respond to him if you like him, but if you don’t like him, then reject him seriously.”
Ou Qihang wiped the plates and said seriously, “Like how you rejected me at the start?”
Yu Hao smiled, “Yes.”
Ou Qihang looked into the distance, “Has Uncle Kai had a really unforgettable love before?”
Yu Hao said, “You should ask him yourself, I don’t know.” He was suddenly a little curious, “Why do you call him ‘Uncle Kai’ now? Did you guys meet in Beijing?”
Ou Qihang said, “Yeah, but he would only come out once in awhile when I went to find him. He has never taken the initiative to come find me.”
Yu Hao immediately thought that there was something strange. Chen Yekai was rather difficult to invite out. He would prefer reading at home alone in his spare time and wouldn’t talk on the phone if it was something that could be said through WeChat texts, and if it was something that could be said through the phone, he wouldn’t meet up in person. Basically, after he arrived at the college here, only Yu Hao could invite him out. No one else had been able to call Chen Yekai out.
He kind of wanted to ask Ou Qihang if he was interested in Chen Yekai, but he also felt embarrassed about it.
“You want to ask if I like him.” Ou Qihang said, “But you’re afraid that I’d feel embarrassed?”
Yu Hao, “……”
Yu Hao finished washing the chopsticks and handed them to Ou Qihang. Ou Qihang wiped them dry and said, “Embarrassment is good. Embarrassment is a kind of feeling that completely divides one’s self from the rest of the world. A person’s most embarrassing moment represents the instant when he is completely separated from his surroundings. At that time, he would most strongly feel the sense of his existence. I don’t mind that emotion in the slightest.”
Yu Hao said, “You must have been learning too much about computers, you’re practically like an AI.”
Ou Qihang laughed, “A little ba.”
Yu Hao was surprised, “You like him a little?”
Ou Qihang put the pot away and said seriously, “A little like an AI.”
Ou Qihang sat on the sofa and joined Zhou Sheng and Situ Ye with Yu Hao.
Situ Ye, “……the two of them are pretty similar when they’re melancholic, and there are some judgments on that basis that can’t be forgotten……”
After Yu Hao came over, Zhou Sheng and Situ Ye stopped their discussion. Situ Ye didn’t want to gossip about Lin Ze in front of Yu Hao, since Yu Hao was his subordinate after all.
“This is the first time I’ve had so many gays in my house.” Yu Hao said.
Ou Qihang said, “This is my first time attending this kind of gay party too. I thought you guys would introduce me to someone.”
Situ Ye said, “With your looks, you still need people to introduce someone to you?”
Ou Qihang said, “It’s not interesting to date young juniors, I want to gong big brothers. If only you were single…”
Zhou Sheng said, “Lil’ puppy, you like to be a younger gong? You’re actually a little shou ba?”
Situ Ye raised an eyebrow at Ou Qihang, “Big brothers have a lot of experience. Looking for big brothers, you’ll unlock a lot more positions.”
Ou Qihang said, “Then help me find a big brother ba. I really feel like my standards have almost fallen to ‘as long as it’s a guy.’ Big brothers are fine, little brothers are okay too.”
Yu Hao, “……”
Situ Ye, “But once you really want to start a relationship, you’ll always feel like there’s something wrong.”
“Un, un.” Ou Qihang nodded, with a hint of a smile in his eyes, “Everything feels wrong, I always feel like it shouldn’t be like this. There’s no feelings at all. Sometimes I feel like a robot; even when I’m trying to date, I’m still following a step by step procedure in the prescribed order. What’s that called in psychology?”
Yu Hao said, “When one’s sense of security starts to wane, a self-defense mechanism is activated in one’s heart.”
Situ Ye recalled Yu Hao’s major and raised his eyebrows slightly in surprise. Yu Hao explained, “Trying to enter an intimate relationship also means that you’ll have to suffer the impact of love. At that moment, your sense of security will be shaken. For some people, a fake personality will separate and rise to the surface from their true selves to protect their real personality. That is to say, there is ‘the self you want others to see’ and ‘your true self’. If one’s personality isn’t integrated, it’ll be very difficult to keep going on like that.”
Ou Qihang said, “Is Uncle Kai like that too?”
Silence. Ou Qihang looked at Chen Yekai. Yu Hao said, “You just killed the chat again.”
Situ Ye said, “I realised that I often can’t respond to this kid’s words.”
Yu Hao said, “From the first day I knew him, I’ve never been able to respond to his words. He always kills all talk, it’s very normal. Only Zhou Sheng knows what he’s thinking.”
“Need to be an honest person ma.” Ou Qihang laughed.
Zhou Sheng took a card, “Let’s play board games? Overbearing CEO is dealing cards online, if you have any questions, you can go ask him yourself ah.”
So the four began playing board games. Yu Hao would occasionally glance at Lin Ze and Chen Yekai who were at the corner. Ever since the end of their dinner, Chen Yekai was the one who kept talking while Lin Ze listened to him seriously and would comment from time to time.
By 11pm, the two had drunk quite a bit. Lin Ze came over to lie in Situ Ye’s arms, while Chen Yekai rubbed his face and joined the rest in their board game.
12am, countdown. Everyone started scurrying about Yu Hao’s house like wild dogs. Fireworks were set off outside the landing windows. Yu Hao received Fu Liqun’s New Year call; he pressed it against one ear and took the call in a corner.
“Happy New Year!” Zhou Sheng came over and shouted into the receiver.
Ou Qihang shouted, “Qunqun! Happy New Year!”
Chen Yekai came over to shout, “Liqun! Happy New Year!”
Situ Ye and Lin Ze shouted into the phone as well, “Happy New Year!”
Lin Ze added, “Never mind who I am! We don’t know each other!”
Yu Hao laughed aloud. Fu Liqun was in the gym, bending over as he tidied up. He sat on a bench and looked at his reflection in the mirror, smiling, “Happy New Year, I wish for all my brothers’ happiness.”
The party ended, and the place was in a mess.
The next day, Yu Hao was embraced by Zhou Sheng. He sat up and took a look. There were wine glasses and fruit trays everywhere, and the house was in a complete mess. Despair instantly arose in his heart. He could only lie down and pretend to not see anything and continue sleeping, waiting for Zhou Sheng to get up and clean the place.
New Year's new weather, new feature —— ahhhhh! What about my feature?! Yu Hao went completely mad. It’s no use no matter how good his relationship is with his leader, a superior like Lin Ze would only be even stricter with him!
On the first day of New Year, Zhou Sheng took Yu Hao out to work.
Yu Hao, “Don’t you have the day off?”
“Overtime, overtime, earn some money to support the family ma.” Zhou Sheng took Yu Hao to a claw machine and gave him 200 yuan. He took the Hasselblad and said, “I’m going to catch someone who’s having an affair.”
Yu Hao said, “No, I want to follow you! How can a claw machine be as fun as catching those having an affair!”
Zhou Sheng said, “Then don’t be clumsy and follow my orders.”
Zhou Sheng got Yu Hao a slim-fit suit, so that he could wear it to infiltrate formal occasions while he’s out on interviews. They wore formal clothes and went on a stakeout near Taikoo Li in Sanlitun.
Zhou Sheng was very patient. He sat in a cafe and waited, while Yu Hao leaned on the table for a while, bored out of his mind, then took a biscuit stick to stab Zhou Sheng’s nose with. Zhou Sheng’s nose was really beautiful, just one look and you could tell he had a big and lively dick. Yu Hao recalled the last time they passed by a gay bar, and how there were people lunging over every minute.
Zhou Sheng said, “Assistant Yu, don’t do things that’ll get you beaten up.”
“President.” Yu Hao said, “Let’s talk about your company’s acquisition ba.”
Zhou Sheng said, “Assistant Yu, you haven’t settled your feature yet, what are you gonna do? That’s so worrisome.”
Yu Hao, “Aiya don’t talk about it anymore, will you? It’s New Year’s!!!”
Zhou Sheng smiled as he rejoiced in his misfortune. Yu Hao was about to die of worry because of his feature. He had already sent 22 topics to Lin Ze, but they were all rejected.
Yu Hao took out a copy of《Social Work Practice》from his bag and read it in the cafe. He threw a copy of《Macroeconomics》at Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng ordered a cup of coffee, and while he read the book, he paid attention to any signs of movement in the distance.
Yu Hao sometimes really admired Zhou Sheng’s ability to watch six roads and listen in all directions. He read for a while, and just as he wanted to disturb him a little, Zhou Sheng suddenly stopped moving, turned his head sideways, and took out a camera from his bag.
A tall and handsome young man took two girls into the opposite shop.
“Is it him?” Yu Hao asked, “He’s pretty handsome ma, I thought it’d be a bald man with a beer belly. And he even found two girls?”
One glance at that guy’s attire and you could tell he must be really rich, in keeping with a rich president persona. Yu Hao had no doubt that Zhou Sheng’s 30-year-old self would have that kind of air.
“One of them should be a good friend.” Zhou Sheng said, “I’ll go take a look.”
Yu Hao followed behind Zhou Sheng and stealthily found a place to watch. That man took the two girls to shop at luxury stores. Zhou Sheng held up his camera and kept walking on the escalator, maintaining his altitude, and took his first picture.
“How to adjust the lens……” Zhou Sheng said, “To make it nearer.”
“I’ll do it.”
Yu Hao kept walking up the downward-moving escalator as he adjusting the lens. One of the girls turned around and inadvertently saw them, showing her face in the shot.
Fortunately, the camera was hanging around Zhou Sheng’s neck at this time, otherwise Yu Hao would have really dropped the camera with how much his hands were trembling!
“Watch your step!” Zhou Sheng immediately embraced Yu Hao, pulling him down to crouch and hide. Zhou Sheng was about to say something when Yu Hao selected the photo to show Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng was stunned, then suddenly got up again.
Cen Shan walked out of the luxury store and looked up at Zhou Sheng and Yu Hao, her face filled with doubt.
“Sis-in-law?!” Zhou Sheng cried in surprise.
Juurensha: Nooooo Cen Shan, surely there’s a good explanation for this? Also, that party was fun, but geez Kaikai and LZ’s argument was abstract. Also, still hoping for good things for OQH
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat.