"Do you know, Yu Hao, with my former temperament, I was never someone who would consider other people’s feelings.”
Editor(s): FistFullOfDollars, Amelea
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“What are you doing?!” A familiar voice rang out. Coffee had been splashed all over Yu Hao’s head and he looked absolutely miserable. When he looked over, he realised that it was Chen Yekai.
He didn’t know when Chen Yekai had arrived at the cafe. He suddenly shouted, “Are you looking for a fight?!”
With this one roar from Chen Yekai, the middle-aged man was instantly frightened. Whenever his teacher, Chen Yekai, turned fierce, he would be extremely imposing. He had shouted at Yu Hao before, but he appeared even more frightening today. Yu Hao was afraid of Zhou Sheng, but he was even more afraid of Chen Yekai, because Zhou Sheng would throw a fist to your face the moment he got angry, with no time for you to react before the punch connected. But when Chen Yekai gets mad, he would destroy the other party’s psychological defences.
“Pay up.” Chen Yekai pointed at the floor covered in coffee, “You trash.”
That customer struggled for breath as he stared at Chen Yekai. Chen Yekai was wearing a casual suit jacket and looked just like an unreasonable rich second generation. The customer instantly turned meek and only looked at Chen Yekai.
“You dare avoid payment?! You think Laozi wouldn’t beat you to death right here?!” Chen Yekai’s voice sounded out like thunder as he exerted 80% of his lecture theatre shouting abilities. Yu Hao felt as if the french windows in the flower cafe were about to get destroyed by a hurricane.
That customer didn’t say another word as he opened up his WeChat app on his phone to pay. The clerk in charge of collecting payment scanned his code and said, “Four cups of Vanilla coffee.”
The customer didn’t even want the coffees anymore, and he left quickly.
Their surroundings fell silent. Yu Hao went to look for a paper towel to wipe his face. The clerk said, “Next, please.”
Chen Yekai left the coffee counter as if nothing had happened. Yu Hao whispered to the clerk, “I’ll clean up the mess.”
“It’s been hard on you.” The clerk was a big man who had just entered the workforce. He patted Yu Hao’s hair that was soaked in coffee.
As Yu Hao wiped the coffee counter, he looked towards where Chen Yekai was sitting. When did he come? He had been receiving orders the whole day today, so he hadn’t noticed him. Yu Hao had suffered from many such setbacks before that made him feel like he was braving through stormy seas. When he delivered takeout in the past, some people would even slam the door in his face, but it would always be okay once he had settled down. Not all customers are like that, and there were more good people in this world than bad.
Chen Yekai was currently drinking coffee and chatting with another woman that Yu Hao recognised. She was Professor Lin Xun’s wife, “Liang Laoshi” Liang Jinmin, who was introduced during the college performance. Liang Jinmin wore a pair of sunglasses today, and was speaking to Chen Yekai in the corner in a low voice. Chen Yekai was listening to her silently with a stern expression on his face.
To meet Chen Yekai at the cafe after 8pm and wear sunglasses -- was she previously a movie star? Was she afraid of being recognised? Yu Hao glanced at them a few more times. Liang Jinmin only stayed in the cafe for a short while longer before she got up and left.
When it was close to 9pm, Yu Hao was wiping the floor as he knelt down on one knee. Chen Yekai walked over and said to him over the coffee counter, “Don’t work anymore, let’s go.”
Yu Hao looked up and smiled, “I have to work.”
“I’ll find a job for you.” Chen Yekai said, “You can’t go on like this either, where will you find the time to study?”
There were hardly any customers left in the cafe. Yu Hao stood up. He felt a bit dizzy after kneeling for so long, so he supported himself with the coffee counter for awhile. Chen Yekai said, “Have you eaten? Go and change, I’ll bring you out for a meal.”
Yu Hao stubbornly said, “I need to finish my work for today.”
He didn’t reject Chen Yekai because he was afraid that he would get angry, but he didn’t promise him either. He felt like Chen Yekai seemed to be in a very bad mood. Although he had a serene expression on his face, the air around him seemed to have frozen over. After being rejected, Chen Yekai went over to one side and sat down again.
Yu Hao made a cup of coffee and got the clerk to pass it to him. At 9.40pm, the two of them began to check the inventory to prepare for closing. The clerk asked him, “Will you come back tomorrow?”
“Of course.” Yu Hao answered.
“Your family?” The clerk motioned towards Chen Yekai as he asked.
Yu Hao waved his hand and didn’t want to talk any further. He untied his apron, changed his clothes, and by the time the lights were turned off, Chen Yekai was still sitting by himself in a corner. Rather than looking at his phone, he was instead quietly lost in thought.
“Hi!” Yu Hao smiled, “Let’s go.”
Yu Hao packed two boxes of salads and passed one to Chen Yekai, “I made this myself, have a taste.”
Chen Yekai didn’t say a single word as he brought Yu Hao downstairs. Yu Hao said, “The exit is over here.”
Chen Yekai fished out his car keys and pressed it. The lights in a BMW lit up.
Yu Hao, “……”
Chen Yekai remained silent the whole time. Yu Hao continued, “When I worked in the past, I’ve had to deal with a lot more troubles than today. It’s nothing much.”
There was a light red perfume bottle in front of the driver’s seat. A beeping sound rang out incessantly in the car. Yu Hao thought that he had broken something, so he was a bit flustered.
“Fasten your seatbelt.”
Yu Hao fastened the seatbelt and the beeping noise stopped.
Chen Yekai’s expression looked frighteningly cold. He maneuvered the steering wheel and drove towards a 24 hour hot pot shop. Yu Hao buckled his seatbelt and said, “I’m not eating. I’ve already eaten dinner, Laoshi.”
Chen Yekai made another turn at the intersection as he prepared to drive back to the school.
Yu Hao observed his expression and asked, “Are you in a bad mood today?”
“Un.” Chen Yekai watched the road ahead.
Yu Hao thought, we could listen to some music? He stretched his hand out to press a button on the car’s external stereo as he wanted to play some music, but Chen Yekai reached out and turned it off.
Yu Hao, “……”
Yu Hao could only look out of the window. As they passed a traffic light, Yu Hao said, “I’m only working until the end of this month. After New Year’s, I will study seriously.”
“I’ve been very irritable for the past few days, it’s not because of you. However, Professor Lin has helped me obtain approval for my topic.” Chen Yekai finally spoke, “I’ll need to write up at least three papers this year, so I need an assistant. Come help me after the Spring Festival ba, don’t work at the cafe anymore.”
Yu Hao smiled, “I’m just an undergraduate, what can I help you with?”
“Questionnaires, surveys, sampling, literature reviews.” Chen Yekai said, “There’s a lot of things you can do. Yu Hao, you’re doing well in your major’s courses. You’ll have to learn how to be more confident in yourself eventually, Why don’t you believe in yourself?”
Yu Hao, “It’s not that I don’t believe in myself, but……”
Chen Yekai turned the steering wheel and said, “You don’t want to accept my help, right? You consider it as owing me a favour, and if this were the case, I won’t be able to ask you for help again. Do you know, Yu Hao, with my former temperament, I was never someone who would consider other people’s feelings.”
“I know.” Yu Hao smiled as he said.
Chen Yekai had a very unyielding tone today, and his usual courteous attitude was absent, “The affable me you see is just a facade. I’m only that fake towards people I’m not very familiar with. But I’ll always speak frankly to my friends.”
Yu Hao said, “I understand.”
Chen Yekai said, “So, come help me ba.”
Yu Hao answered, “I can help you, but I won’t take your money.”
Chen Yekai was startled, then began to laugh and shook his head helplessly. Yu Hao’s meaning was clear -- this isn’t charity, so don’t pay me.
Chen Yekai said, “Alright then, but you don’t need to give me a reply so soon. You should reconsider it.”
Yu Hao responded with an “un”. They arrived at the college and the car stopped outside the dormitory buildings. Yu Hao got out of the car with both salads in his hands. Chen Yekai said, “That’s my dinner, aren’t you giving it to me?”
Yu Hao thought that Chen Yekai didn’t want to eat it, so he was immediately dumbfounded, “You haven’t eaten dinner?”
“Treat it as if I’m on a diet.” Chen Yekai pointed at the passenger seat to motion to him to leave one behind. Only then did Yu Hao know that Chen Yekai might have wanted to chat with him when he had brought him to Haidilao. Now, he could only helplessly return to his dormitory to eat his cold salad.
At 10pm, Zhou Sheng called the dormitory and asked what he ate and how his day went. He was worried that he might have starved to death in the dormitory since no one was around to take care of him. Yu Hao told him that nothing much had happened while he ate his salad.
“Nothing happened?” Zhou Sheng said, “Why does your voice sound off?”
“Are you inspecting the dorm?” Yu Hao laughed.
Zhou Sheng said, “Yeah, this is an inspection.”
Yu Hao said, “Let’s play a game ba.”
So Zhou Sheng hung up the phone. No one else was playing tonight, so only Zhou Sheng was around to help Yu Hao improve his rank. They played for the whole night, during which both of them didn’t talk to each other at all. Zhou Sheng selected an assassin, Yu Hao rode a fish and followed behind Zhou Sheng. They played for more than two hours before Zhou Sheng went offline. Yu Hao was incredibly sleepy, so he sent a WeChat message to Zhou Sheng telling him that he wasn’t going to play anymore.
Zhou Sheng didn’t reply to him. Yu Hao scrolled through his phone for awhile, and for some reason, he thought of Liang Jinmin wearing sunglasses. Then he remembered that his form teacher in elementary school would wear sunglasses in broad daylight to teach them once in awhile. Both of them had similar temperaments, yet for now, he couldn’t explain why he thought so.
The empty dormitory was quiet. Most of the students had returned home, so only a few, sporadic dorms had their lights turned on. Yu Hao finally began to feel lonely.
He continued working at the flower cafe. Yu Hao ruminated over it; if Chen Yekai hasn’t changed his mind after the New Year, he really would like to become his assistant. Chen Yekai is a good teacher, and he would be able to impart a lot of knowledge to him which might help him broaden his horizons. But……does he treat him as his ex? This was actually the point that Yu Hao was most concerned about.
He was also afraid that the customer from yesterday would come again today for revenge, so he was on edge for the entire afternoon. Nothing happened, but he could still come over at night……
“Two hot Lattes.” Zhou Sheng’s whole body had leaned in so much he almost crossed over the cashier’s counter.
With a loud exclamation, Yu Hao burst into laughter and said, “Why are you……didn’t you go home?”
Zhou Sheng said, “Two hot Lattes!”
Yu Hao quickly took Zhou Sheng’s order. He took out his phone to scan the code from his own WeChat, but Zhou Sheng took his phone away roughly and said, “Scan mine.”
Yu Hao had to scan Zhou Sheng’s in the end. Zhou Sheng’s phone screen was cracked. When he saw that someone else had come, Zhou Sheng said, “One cup is for you, I’ll drink by myself.” As he spoke, he took the hot cup of coffee away and walked towards the french windows to look at his phone.
When he turned around, Yu Hao saw a few scratches on Zhou Sheng’s neck, “What happened?”
Zhou Sheng waved his hand and went over to sit down. He used his phone with a cracked screen to play Glory. Yu Hao saw luggage next to Zhou Sheng’s seat and thought, what’s going on?
Throughout the day, other than going to the toilet and having lunch and dinner, it was as if Zhou Sheng had been welded to his seat. It was only when Yu Hao got off of work that Zhou Sheng said, “Let’s go ba, back to our dorm.”
Yu Hao took the last bus and asked, still astonished, “Why did you come back?”
Zhou Sheng said with a vexed face, “Didn’t want to stay at home, got into a fight the moment I went back.”
Yu Hao had a vague idea of what had happened, and continued, “What happened to your neck? Let me take a look.”
“My mom scratched it.” Zhou Sheng let Yu Hao look at it for awhile before pulling his collar back up, “Don’t look at it anymore.”
“There’s iodine in the dormitory.”
“I know, I brought it back the last time for your feet.”
Yu Hao, “That……”
Zhou Sheng returned to the dormitory and took off his shirt. He was now bare-chested, which exposed his lean shoulder and back muscles. He had a sexy silhouette, broad shoulders and a narrow waist, and his scorching body temperature could almost be felt through the air. Yu Hao blushed as he applied iodine to the back of his neck, and thought it was fortunate that Zhou Sheng couldn’t see his expression right now.
“Why did you end up fighting with your mother?”
Zhou Sheng said, “I had to cook for her when I got back, and she even scolded me too, so what else could we do but fight?”
When Zhou Sheng went home, his mother wanted to look at his report card, so Zhou Sheng told her that he passed everything. But she insisted on seeing it, so Zhou Sheng had to go online to find it for her. However, the campus network has always been lousy, and there were always a lot of people checking their results at the end of the year, so it was on the verge of being crippled. Zhou Sheng’s mother waited for a long time and ended up suspecting that he was lying to her by finding a 404 website as a stopgap, so the mother-son pair began to quarrel. At 4am, Zhou Sheng finally managed to open the webpage and went over to wake her up, so that she could see it with her own eyes……
Yu Hao thought, can’t you communicate with your mother properly?
Then Zhou Sheng’s mother began crying, during which she had even talked about Zhou Sheng’s father. After they parted on bad terms, Zhou Sheng loafed around at home for the whole day. His mother was a very controlling person, and when she saw him on his phone all the time after she got home from work, they got into another dispute. Mama Zhou then grabbed his phone and threw it onto the ground……
Afterwards, they began fighting. Zhou Sheng pushed his mother away, and she had scratched his neck.
At that time, Zhou Sheng was moving up the ranks with Yu Hao in the game, and he had gone offline after they played for awhile. Yu Hao immediately said, “It’s all my fault.”
“It has nothing to do with you!” Zhou Sheng said irritatedly, “Can you not be such a wimp all the time? When I saw someone splash coffee all over you, Lao! Zi’s! Lung! Almost exploded with rage because of you! It took me a really long time to get over it!”
“Ah?” Yu Hao said, “How did you know about that?”
Zhou Sheng passed him his phone with a cracked screen, “It’s all over Weibo.”
Yu Hao took a look at his phone. Fortunately, there weren’t a lot of reposts. He thought that it must have been recorded by a customer at the scene, and the locals had fanned the flames. When he heard about their argument, Yu Hao had felt really guilty, but he couldn’t help himself from feeling a little happy that Zhou Sheng had returned to the dormitory.
“Your anger will dissipate after a few days, then go back again ba.”
“I’m not going back.” Zhou Sheng said, “You go and be her son. A deranged person and a coward, she’ll definitely like you a lot.”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng flipped onto the bed. Yu Hao quickly cushioned him with a towel. Zhou Sheng laid down properly, then Yu Hao got onto his bed too. Yu Hao was lying on his stomach, while Zhou Sheng laid on his back, so they were facing each other.
“This is your first time celebrating the New Year alone ba.” Zhou Sheng said.
“Un, yep.” Yu Hao glanced at Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng has a very prominent nose bridge, and he could see the outline of his facial features through the bed railings. But that feeling seemed a bit unfamiliar.
Yu Hao thought that he had become numb to being alone a long time ago, but it was not until the New Year when he realised that he had no home, and no more relatives. Thus, he still more or less felt a little lonely.
“Go back ba.” Yu Hao said, “How could your mother celebrate the New Year alone?”
“She got herself a boyfriend.” Zhou Sheng casually replied and entered Glory, “When you see Kaikai and Liqun later, don’t tell them that I came back.”
Yu Hao said, “Then go to your father’s house?”
Zhou Sheng, “My Dad’s already remarried. Come in, I’ll bring you to go push the pagoda down.”
After they finished two rounds, Zhou Sheng suddenly thought of something and asked, “What did you want to talk to me about the other day?”
Yu Hao pondered over it for awhile before he answered, “Nothing much. Sleep ba, I need to work tomorrow.”
They turned off the lights. Within the tranquil darkness, Zhou Sheng suddenly said, “Good night.”
“Good night.” Yu Hao smiled. This was the first night he was spending with Zhou Sheng after he moved to this dormitory. He didn’t want to think about many things, and didn’t dare to think about them either. But on this night, his life seemed to be filled with blinking starlights of different sizes.
“The fluorescent stars you pasted on the ceiling are so beautiful.” Zhou Sheng looked up and scrutinised the decor that Yu Hao had put up for their dormitory a few days ago, then continued, “Living just like a little girl, you’re so romantic.”
Yu Hao didn’t hear him, he had already drifted off the sleep.
From that day onwards, Yu Hao continued to work every day. Meanwhile, Zhou Sheng would sleep in their dormitory until 2pm, then he would either go to the flower cafe to look for Yu Hao, or find a random place near Wanda to surf the internet. He was always on time to pick up Yu Hao after work. As they approached the New Year, the number of customers began to dwindle. On the last day, Yu Hao received his wages, and unexpectedly, his boss had even added a red packet, so it all added up to 3,000 yuan. Yu Hao’s eyes immediately began to brim with tears of excitement.
“Your boyfriend’s about to arrive.” The clerk said, “You can go off first ba.”
Yu Hao was currently bursting with joy as he counted his money, but when he heard those words he rushed to correct him. The little clerk bro said, “You’re still denying it?”
“Why on earth would you say that?” Yu Hao was still immersed in his money, his mind was full of thoughts about money, “And if you were gonna say that, then it should be the guy from that day……the one who seems more like an overbearing CEO, right?”
“When you saw him the other day, your eyes lit up immediately.” The clerk bro lowered his head as he washed the coffee cups, then hung them up and smiled, “It was the exact same expression on my girlfriend’s face when I pick her up from work.”
Yu Hao thought, what kind of gaze would that be? But coincidentally, Zhou Sheng had come over to pick him up who nodded at the little clerk bro. The little bro said, “When you’re free, bring me up the ranks too.”
Zhou Sheng made an “OK” gesture, then took Yu Hao away.
Yu Hao, “What did you buy?”
“Spring Festival couplets, “He” and “Fu”.” Zhou Sheng said indifferently, “To paste in our dormitory.”
Yu Hao was choosing some vegetables in the supermarket while Zhou Sheng pushed the shopping cart. Yu Hao placed the meat and the vegetables in the cart, and the two of them looked like a young couple going grocery shopping to celebrate the New Year. It had been 0 degrees for the past few days, so if the meat and vegetables were sealed properly and placed somewhere without sunlight, they could be kept for quite a few days.
Zhou Sheng, “Buy some more, let’s eat hot pot tonight.”
Yu Hao, “We just need to buy enough for my portion, you go home for the New Year.”
Zhou Sheng, “No.”
Yu Hao, “Your mother must not have intended to quarrel with you.”
Zhou Sheng warned, “If we talk about this again, then we don’t need to celebrate the New Year anymore. Are you going to stop me from staying in the dormitory? Fine, I’ll go sleep underneath some bridge then.”
Yu Hao knows that Zhou Sheng is a paper tiger who does want to go home for the New Year, yet he didn’t have a way to do so while still keeping face. Although he really wanted to celebrate the New Year with Zhou Sheng, he hoped even more strongly for Zhou Sheng to be able to celebrate this New Year happily.
Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng bickered like a young couple again on the subway. With a feeling akin to the moment before an impending rainfall, Yu Hao felt a sense of nervousness like he had raised his fist and was eager to try and find a crack in Zhou Sheng’s defence.
“I don’t even have the chance to spend the New Year with my mother.” Yu Hao made this move.
“Okay, then you go and be her son.” Zhou Sheng’s defence was watertight.
After they returned to the dormitory, Zhou Sheng kept silent as he pasted the couplets outside their dormitory. Yu Hao went to paste “Fu”, and when he walked over, he saw that Zhou Sheng was secretly sorting out some red packets. Just then, Zhou Sheng’s phone rang. Zhou Sheng only cast a brief glance at it before hanging it up. It rang again, and he hung up again, then turned his phone off.
Yu Hao thought, what’s the use of turning off your phone? She’s going to end up calling the dormitory anyway.
Today, they were going to start eating hot pot. Zhou Sheng went downstairs, and the call did come as expected. Yu Hao thought that it was deeply amusing and went to pick up the call. It was Zhou Sheng’s mother, as expected.
“Where’s Zhou Sheng?”
Yu Hao said, “He went down to buy cigarettes, I’ll ask him to call you back later?”
Yu Hao moved a chair outside and sat at the door. When the person on the other line heard that, she said, “Yu Hao? Are you Yu Hao? Oh my, hello hello!”
She sounded very enthusiastic, and didn’t seem like a woman who would scratch her own son’s neck at all. She was very polite too and kept saying that she had caused trouble for Yu Hao, but Yu Hao modestly declined and explained that Zhou Sheng was the one who always took care of him. Zhou Sheng’s mother didn’t know what had happened to Yu Hao. She asked about his household register, then asked if he has a girlfriend, what his family does and what his grades were like.
Yu Hao answered all of her questions one by one, and thought, you probably want me to help coax your son to go home…… and unsurprisingly, after they chatted for awhile, Mama Zhou began to choke back her sobs as she apologised to Yu Hao. She said that she had been very short-tempered and upset recently, so she scolded Zhou Sheng a few times and they ended up quarrelling.
“Aunt knows that she was wrong…..he doesn’t reply to my messages or pick up any of my calls now……”
“How upsetting must it be for the two of you to spend the New Year by yourselves outside? Zhou Sheng has never spent the New Year outside before.” Mama Zhou said, “I’ve already prepared all the groceries at home, and now I’m just waiting for him to come back. Yu Hao, can you help me talk to Zhou Sheng, and tell him that I’ve also bought new clothes for him? Wouldn’t it be good if both of you came back? Bring him back for the New Year, will you?”
Ame: /blinded by Kaikai’s gong aura. Please continue…
Dollars: this time YH gets the two gangster butlers heheh
Zryuu is in the middle of straddling two boats.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat.