"I love him, Pro."
Editor(s): Mariabel, PM87
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Whenever Tong Kai met with Jiang Zijian these days, they would start fighting shortly after. The company's affairs were too much, and he was already annoyed with it. His boss was like a mental patient, always frightened. Every time there was a change in the lawsuit, he would come running to him.
What's more, Nuolin's boss was a megalomaniac; he always liked to imagine that things were going in the worst direction. Tong Kai thought that his job was more like being his boss's psychologist than being the chief legal adviser. Every day, he tried to comfort his boss. "Don't worry; there's no way the defendant can be that smart. The lawsuit won't lose. Party A won't dismantle his lawyer's platform. There's no way there'll be additional evidence. Don't jump out of the building... come back! If you don't hit the children, you'll hit the flowers! That's not good!"
Tong Kai thought, Maybe I should just quit and go to Epeus. At least Wen Tianhe doesn't have paranoia.
In the beginning, the two of them only chatted about signing up for the self-taught examination. However, when Tong Kai heard the four words, "adult college entrance examination," he finally got upset and almost spilled the truth. Fortunately, he ultimately resisted the urge. Jiang Zijiang was baffled. He didn't know what he had said wrong, so he carefully attempted to coax him with a few words.
Jiang Zijian was also very depressed. After his father learned that Guan Yue had resigned to start an investment company, he hadn't been able to sit still. He began to pressure his precious son. If Jiang Zijian was willing to try hard to take over the family business, he was willing to accept his lover unconditionally and invite his bishop friend to hold a wedding ceremony for them.
Jiang Chaosheng was truly very anxious recently. He was afraid that when he died and returned to the west, his son would not survive.
Jiang Zijian was now in a dilemma. If he wanted to be with Xiao Kai, he needed to face the pressure from his family. But if he wanted to be a rich second generation manager, he had to find a wife who could manage his family affairs.
"Xiao Lu ah," Jiang Chaosheng's earnest voice seemed to still be next to his ear, "as the saying goes, poor couples stressed over many things. You've never been poor. You'll understand once you experience it."
Jiang Zijian thought, I've been continuously working hard to be a proletariat, and I'm pretty happy. What does true love have to do with money anyway?
"What's wrong?" Jiang Zijian said.
Tong Kai realized that he shouldn't vent his feelings to Jiang Zijian. He said sternly, "I didn't sleep well last night."
During the middle of winter, a thin sheet of mist covered the street. Couples pulled at each other and walked the streets; whoever saw this scene would want to fall in love.
"Can't sleep because you're thinking about me?" Jiang Zijian's hands were in his jeans pockets. He was wearing the sweater that Tong Kai had bought for him, with his shirt collar turned inside-out. He stood tall and handsome. On the other hand, Tong Kai was wearing a wool vest over a white shirt, looking like a fresh graduate student.
Since the good news of demolition and the two-colored ball came from afar, Jiang Zijian and Tong Kai had started a retaliatory consumption. Since then, Pinduoduo had been uninstalled from their mobile phones, and they could now also enjoy Taobao.
On the street, Jiang Zijian rested one hand on Tong Kai's shoulder and raised his cellphone with the other. Tong Kai stopped and lifted his head up, getting close to Jiang Zijian as they took a selfie with a click sound.
Jiang Zijian arranged a bunch of dishes that he had eaten for lunch; there were eight dishes. Stars surrounded the two people standing in the middle of the picture; he sent it to his group of friends.
Tong Kai also sent it to his friends group, but he suddenly sighed.
All at once, Tong Kai said, "Listen to your dad, go and start a small business."
Jiang Zijian said, "Do you wish for me to? To be honest, if it suddenly gets busy, I won't have time to spend with you."
"I'm thinking about resigning," Tong Kai said.
Jiang Zijian stood, watching Tong Kai. He told him that he had already found a new job making blueprints at an advertising company; however, the boss was very troublesome.
"And then?" Jiang Zijian said, "Go back to your old home?"
Tong Kai was originally only going to speak about the matter of resigning, but as his heart was moved, he suddenly added, "My parents are urging me to get married. Now that the family has money, my sister also agreed to pay for a portion of the betrothal gift."
Tong Kai wasn't lying. Some time ago, when he had called home, his sister—the head of the household— had said, "As long as you like him, there's no need to meet. All men look the same anyways. When the time comes, choose one of the old castles in Europe as a wedding gift. While you're at it, invite the bishop friend over to preside over the wedding for you."
The two became silent.
"Oh," Jiang Zijian said sadly, "then... alright. When are you going?"
Time seemed to stop on the street that was busy/packed with people coming and going, the two stood facing each other. Jiang Zijian seemed a little lonely, he then smiled sadly.
Tong Kai suddenly became very sad. He peered at Jiang Zijian's face and felt that sometimes he wasn't as happy and bright as he showed himself to be on the surface. Jiang Zijian said that he was the "Happy Prince," but the Happy Prince that Tong Kai knew was a sculpture that dedicated his eyes, crown, and even body to the whole world.
"If I was rich," Jiang Zijian paused to think and then said, "would you stay?"
"Don't make that kind of joke," Tong Kai said guiltily as he smiled, "your family is already rich now."
Jiang Zijian only turned around and downcastly walked ahead, while Tong Kai slowly walked behind him, looking around at the shops on the street.
Jiang Zijian turned his head around slightly, only to find that Tong Kai had disappeared.
Jiang Zijian, "?"
He stood on the street and made the most important decision of his life in 0.03 seconds.
Jiang Zijian turned around, found a hundred dollars, and bought a rose. He hid it behind his back as he looked everywhere for Tong Kai. Unexpectedly, just as he was turning round the corner of the street, Tong Kai appeared.
"I lied to you!" Tong Kai said, as he took out a rose like a magic trick.
Jiang Zijian also took out the rose at the same time as he said, "I've made my decision, Xiao Kai!"
A cold gust of wind blew in front of them, the awkward mood quietly spreading out.
Jiang Zijian and Tong Kai exchanged the two roses and then sat in an open-air cafe. The two subwoofer speakers in the shopping plaza next door were positioned facing the cafe; the roses were placed on the table.
Tong Kai thought for a moment and then said, "Actually, I have some good news to tell you."
"You hit the two-colored ball again? How many days has it been? What good luck! Your dad even made two bets!" Jiang Zijian exclaimed.
"No no, this has nothing to do with the two-colored ball....."
"I've also made a choice, Xiao Kai."
"You listen to what I have to say first..."
Jiang Zijian gazed at the roses on the table and said seriously, "My father had asked me to start a small business and learn how to start a family. I originally refused this matter, but now I've decided to accept his arrangement. Because I've been waiting to say this for a long time, Xiao Kai...."
"With you, I want to..."
The speakers behind Jiang Zijian suddenly made a loud noise, over eighty decibels, that even the water in the glass cup vibrated.
In Tong Kai's eyes, Jiang Zijian was like a large smiling golden retriever looking for water. His mouth was closed, and he seemed to have said a few words.
"Dear guests! Good afternoon, everyone! Our event will begin in three minutes, the official beginning!"
The noise stopped, by which time Jiang Zijian had already finished speaking.
Tong Kai, "?"
Jiang Zijian's face flushed red as he looked at Tong Kai. Tong Kai instantly realized what had just happened and said, "Actually, I also wanted to..."
The voice boomed out again, "Has everyone been looking forward to this! I can see that so many viewers in the audience can't wait!"
The water in the cup shook again. In Jiang Zijian's eyes, Tong Kai was like a comforting carp with his mouth open. There was only the movement of his mouth but no sound.
By the time the sound from the speaker stopped, Tong Kai had also finished talking. Jiang Zijian had heard nothing.
Jiang Zijian, "???"
"I like you!" Jiang Zijian shouted, but the stereo instantly covered his voice.
The male host said, "The cold wind! It won't stop our longing for life!"
The female host continued, "The continuous rain can't quench the passion in our hearts!
The two of them said, "Madam Stainless Steels Wedding Photography Hall, the special performance begins now! Let us welcome today's newcomer!"
Tong Kai stood up and crossed the iron fence as he went to unplug the data cable behind the speaker. However, Jiang Zijian reached out his arm and wrapped it around his waist, forcibly carrying Tong Kai back to the coffee shop's fence. Tong Kai and Jiang Zijian looked at each other. He suddenly took his hand and ran out of the coffee shop, all the way to the pedestrian street.
"Hey! You two haven't paid yet!" The coffee shop clerk yelled as they ran out.
The two stopped by the river. They panted the whole way, their faces flushed.
"What did you say before?" Tong Kai asked.
Jiang Zijian thought about it, he really didn't want to repeat it. "Didn't you hear me? Why are you acting dumb?"
"Where am I acting dumb?"
The two looked at each other for a few seconds and then said at the same time.
"I like you."
In an instant, Jiang Zijian turned his head and a bright smile appeared on his face. He was too embarrassed to look directly at Tong Kai. Tong Kai walked to the fence by the river.
Stopping in front of the pole, he raised his hand and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. He turned sideways to look at Jiang Zijian, and Jiang Zijian looked down at his own hand. He held Tong Kai's hand in his, their body temperatures radiating through their palms.
Jiang Zijian reached his hand out and hugged Tong Kai. Tong Kai extended his hand and grabbed the back of Jiang Zijian's neck, pulling him closer. The two of them were of similar height, both their movements resembled ‘tops' as they reached out to hug each other. Jiang Zijian wanted to forcibly hug Tong Kai, but Tong Kai was reluctant to give up. In any case, he wouldn't give up. He wanted to take the initiative. Their arms were closed as if they were sealed in a deadlock. After several moves, they finally separated from each other and had to give up.
Jiang Zijian couldn't help but bend down and laugh. Contrarily, Tong Kai didn't know either to laugh or cry as he was rendered speechless. As he straightened up, he found a chance to kiss Jiang Zijian's cheek.
The two of them didn't speak for a while.
"Do...do you want to go get dinner?" Tong Kai proposed, breaking the silence. "Watch a movie?"
Jiang Zijian nodded. He walked in front with his hands in his pockets, unable to stop smiling. He suddenly jumped up and broke off a leaf from above, putting it in his mouth.
He blew on it a few times. Tong Kai's face flushed red as he slowly walked behind Jiang Zijian.
"Xiao Kai," Jiang Zijian said as he turned around, taking Tong Kai's shoulders into his hands. "Will you stay for me?"
Tong Kai turned to look at him. This time, Jiang Zijian leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.
"I have to show you something." Tong Kai took out his phone and said, "Do you remember the rich second generation from last time?"
Jiang Zijian immediately thought of Tianhe and said with an ambiguous smile, "What about it?"
Tong Kai said, "He asked me to ask you if you would like to work at his company!"
"Me?!" Jiang Zijian said, surprised.
"The two of us. Do you want to go?"
Jiang Zijian remembered that he had asked Tianhe to arrange an easy job for Tong Kai in Epeus a while ago and smiled. "Okay!"
Then what about the family's request? Jiang Zijian thought about it, then said, "You go first and get to know the environment a bit. I'll go convince my dad that this person is good."
"He's called Wen Tianhe." Tong Kai said, "It seems that not all rich people are mean and rich. Look, isn't this solved then?"
Jiang Zijian said, "I bought two beeswax beads for us, aren't you very busy with work these days?"
Tong Kai removed Jiang Zijian's hand from his shoulders, holding them instead. Jiang Zijian retracted his hand and took out a beeswax luck bead. The red rope was woven and happened to be tied to their hands by a lucky rope.
Tong Kai, "Should I go buy some more?"
Jiang Zijian said, "From now on, every year we're together, we'll add one more."
Tong Kai, "If it lasts for decades, then..."
"We can change it to a necklace and wear it around our necks at that time? You can also change it to a larger one." Jiang Zijian smiled.
Tong Kai, "Like a monk?"
Jiang Zijian laughed.
The two of them tied the luck beads around each other's wrists and then held hands, walking to the movies while whistling.
That night, at half-past seven.
Tianhe laid on the bed and tossed around the ring that Guan Yue had given him. The ring was a glittering gold. A large video projection suddenly materialized in the room.
On the other side of the projection, Jiang Zijian was dressed in his pajamas, squatting on the bed as he stretched his head forward like a dog trying to bite the ring from Tianhe.
Tianhe, "Are you a labrador?"
Jiang Zijian said, "Why did you pull me in too?!"
"Didn't your dad ask you to find Guan Yue to learn a thing or two?"
Jiang Zijian said, "But I have so many things to do right now! I don't even want to go home!"
Tianhe didn't say anything as he looked at the ring in his hand dreamily. Jiang Zijian laid down, hugged the pillow, and raised his feet, rolling around like a juggler.
"The first job he gave me was to fight a lawsuit." Jiang Zijian said, "How can I fight this lawsuit?"
Jiang Zijian started to pour out his grievances. The content was about Jiang Man's lawsuit with a supplier in Australia. The case was not too complicated. As long as they won the case,, Holland's 20-year supplier contract with Jiang Man would be abolished. The promise Jiang Chaosheng gave was that as long as Jiang Zijian, the representative defendant, came forward and successfully terminated the contract, he would be able to accept his relationship with his little lover. Of course, the marriage would require Jiang Zijian to continue working hard.
The termination of the contract was inevitable. In recent years, the quality of Holland's supplied goods to Jiang Man had been getting significantly worse than before. Jiang Chaosheng was quite angry at the cooperating partners. He knew that someone under him must've been accepting commercial bribes.
Jiang Chaosheng had discovered that several other suppliers had terminated their contract with Holland. The worst result was that the breach of the contract needed a large sum of money. It was handed over to Jiang Zijian with the intention of letting him try to save some money. What he could save would be given to him as pocket money and used to help his poor lover.
"Entrust a law firm." Tianhe pointed out to Jiang Zijian. "I think the one called Nuolin is good."
"My lawyer will definitely think that I abandoned him. He'll probably cry and make a fuss," Jiang Zijian said helplessly. "Actually, there's nothing wrong with me. My dad wanted to pass me this case in order for me to figure out some details, take it slow step-by-step, learn some new things...there's no other way, this is for my wife..."
"Oh?" Tianhe said, "Are you sure it's a wife?"
Jiang Zijian, "I haven't tamed him yet, but he said he likes me. Either we end up in bed or we don't, we'll take it slow and see."
"He's always liked you; it's just he has no sense of dependence on you."
"Then how can he build a sense of dependence on me?"
"Become stronger." After Tianhe said this phrase, he didn't say anything else.
"Like Guan Yue?"
Tianhe didn't comment, he stared at the ring in a daze. Jiang Zijian hugged his pillow and turned over, letting Tong Kai know the news.
"Oh right!" Jiang Zijian suddenly thought of an idea. "I need a private consultant. Can you ask Pro to help me? I need a lot of information and cases, as well as a case analysis. Right now my family's lawyers all have different opinions—"
Tianhe, "Uh, Pro?"
Pro: "Alright, will you miss me?"
Tianhe looked at the ring and said, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'll happily go to work tomorrow."
"Yeah!" Jiang Zijian laid on his house's bed, his feet clapping.
Five minutes later, Tianhe turned his head and said, "Zijian, Guan Yue finally asked me to get back together."
Jiang Zijian didn't hear him. In the video, his hair was messy, he was lying on the bed, asleep.
Pro: "I'm listening."
Tianhe, "I feel like you talked less today."
Pro: "I'm thinking."
Tianhe, "What are you thinking about?"
Pro: "Thinking about whether you need my opinion or not."
Tianhe said, "Your opinion is biased. Of course you'll side with him."
Pro: "Jiang Zijian is asleep, turn off the video."
Tianhe, "Once Zijian falls asleep, even thunder won't wake him up."
When Tianhe was in kindergarten, he and Jiang Zijian slept on the same bed. This was where Jiang Zijian was very different from Guan Yue. As long as Tianhe woke up in the middle of the night, Guan Yue would get up right after, go to his side, and give him water, observing whether he had a nightmare or not.
"I love him, Pro," Tianhe said. "I love Guan Yue. That day in Lhasa, my wish was that when he reached the end of Bajiao Alley and went to the Jokhang Temple, he would reach out to me, hug me, and say, 'Baby, I'm sorry. Don't leave me, let's not break up.'"
"But ah," Tianhe smiled sadly as he said, "last night, when he asked me to get back, I don't know why...my first thought wasn't happiness, but fear."
Tianhe got up from the bed and walked out of the bedroom. He walked down the stairs and turned on the light to the bar in the dining room, pouring himself a glass of milk and heating it up; he added some rum. In the rainy winter night, outside the French windows, the dark trees were nestled together, like the shadows of lovers in the cold winter.
"I'm afraid of losing it after possessing it, afraid of the unfamiliar after being familiar, and afraid to experience the test of love that I had faced when I was still young." Tianhe went to the corridor on the second floor and sat down on the soft sofa. It was dark outside the window, there was only his reflection on the glass.
Xiao Lu came over quietly and jumped into Tianhe's arms. Tianhe petted it. The parrot woke up and patted its wings on the shelf above its head. The napping turtle slowly crawled over from the corridor and stopped by Tianhe, waiting quietly.
Pro remained silent.
Tianhe, "When we were young, my eldest brother sent me a letter and asked me to pass it onto Qiu-jie. I took a peek, and there were only two lines in it. I will remember them for the rest of my life, ‘Feelings may remain, but there's no need to fan the flames over such trivial matters. People change, why bother drawing a prison around yourself?'"
Pro: "People are different, so feelings are naturally different too."
Tianhe, "Last night, I really wanted to agree with Guan Yue. But, to go through the same path we already went through, to only break up in the end, what's the purpose in that? On that day in Lhasa, I had already decided that in my life, I won't date, I won't accept anyone's confession. But that doesn't mean that I'll try again with Guan Yue, Pro, do you understand my feelings? I think it's a bit hard to understand...."
Tianhe took a sip of the milk and looked out the window in a daze. "You're still studying, you still don't understand."
Pro: "I want to hear your memories."
Tianhe said blankly, "I don't know...but I clearly remember that on the day we met for the first time...it was here. I was five when we moved here. Before we came, Dad had bought this place for a while already."
Tianhe's deepest memory of this house was when he was four years old. His father had said to him, "Tianhe, we are going to move. Let's go to the new house today."
It was a wintery afternoon. Wen Yuankai had just divorced his wife, so he no longer wanted to live in the old house. The previous owner of this three-story villa had left behind many furnishings, giving them to the next owner. After Tianhe went into the house, he'd turned left and right curiously while his brothers discussed the decoration plan with his dad.
The garden was overgrown with weeds, the trees were bare, and the leaves had all fallen down. The snow that had fallen a few days ago hadn't melted yet, leaving small piles of snow in the mud.
Sunlight shone through from behind the curtains and onto the dusty floor. Little Tianhe wore a cashmere jacket, plaid trousers, and a scarf. When he walked into the room, he sneezed six times due to the dust.
There was the sound of a car outside. Tianhe pushed a wooden box to the window and climbed up. Outside of the grey glass, a black taxi had stopped in front of the gate. Guan Zhengping came out of the car with a child.
Little Tianhe drew the curtains closed and looked around, pushing the box to the bookshelf, trying to reach for the cipher transmitter. It was something that was left behind by the earlier owner, with a history of thirty years.
His father's voice came from downstairs, "Tianhe? Where did you go?"
Guan Zhengping's voice said, "Guan Yue, go up by yourself and go say hello to the little brother. Bring him down."
The study door was pushed open and Tianhe turned his head. That was the first time he had met Guan Yue in his life.
The eight-year-old Guan Yue wore a grey cashmere sweater, black trousers, and shiny little leather hose. The sleeves of his sweater were tucked up. He wore a silver-white electronic watch on his wrist, and his face wore a doubtful expression. He stood outside the door and watched Tianhe.
Guan Yue grew faster than his peers. He had just turned eight, yet he was as tall as Tianhe's ten-year-old brother, Wen Tianyue. Tianhe had thought that he was a junior high student.
"Hi, Wen Tianhe," Guan Yue said.
The four-year-old Tianhe merely nodded his head. After his parents had divorced, he didn't like speaking much.
"What are you doing?" Guan Yue's puzzled gaze moved along Tianhe's body to the code transmitter at the top of the bookshelf.
Tianhe got down from the box as Guan Yue kicked another small bench over. He stood up and reached, getting the transmitter. He asked, "Do you want this?"
Tianhe nodded and extended his hands to take it. Guan Yue said, "It's very heavy, you won't be able to hold it." He put it on the desk and pulled a chair over, bringing Tianhe up. Tianhe knelt on the chair curiously, looking at the transmitter.
"What is this?" Guan Yue leaned against the desk with his elbows propped up on the tabletop. He tilted his head slightly, observing Tianhe's slender face and bright eyes. Tianhe glanced at him, then quickly turned away, his eyes stopping on the transmitter.
"Password." Tianhe said to himself, "It's broken, where's the password manual?"
Tianhe pulled out the power cord from under the transmitter, but the transmitter was too old. The wires had already been gnawed off by mice, leaving several wires bare. Guan Yue turned back to the bookshelf and looked up, discovering a password manual that seemed to be glowing yellow.
Tianhe took the plug, climbed onto the table, bent over, and inserted it into the wall socket. Suddenly, a wave of electricity passed through his body. It knocked his four-year-old body onto the floor with a "boom"!
Guan Yue suddenly turned his head and rushed towards Tianhe. He laid on the ground and twitched a few times. Guan Yue anxiously said, "Wen Tianhe!"
Guan Yue picked up the little Tianhe and placed him in the middle of the study. Guan Zhengping downstairs shouted, "Guan Yue!"
Guan Yue had no time to answer. He immediately leaned over Tianhe's chest and listened to his heartbeat and then his breathing. Then, he knelt in front of him, pinched Tianhe's nose, took a deep breath, and gave him artificial respiration.
He pressed his chest, performed artificial respiration, pressed his chest, and after half a minute, Tianhe coughed a few times and opened his eyes in confusion. Guan Yue's eyes were filled with terror.
Exhausted, Guan Yue sat on the floor, reached out and held Tianhe in his arms.
Tianhe didn't understand, he got up and was about to continue fiddling with the transmitter, but Guan Yue picked him up. Regardless of his struggle, he carried him out of the study and went downstairs. Tianhe couldn't help but push Guan Yue's head and said, "Let me go up!"
"No!" Guan Yue scolded as he put Tianhe on the sofa.
Downstairs, Guan Zhengping, Wen Yuankai, and Wen Tianheng all laughed.
Guan Zhengping asked, "Guan Yue, do you like the younger brother?"
Guan Yue turned a deaf ear as he scolded, "Sit here. I'll bring the things down for you."
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Joyce.