Editor(s): Mariabel, PM87
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Four days later at Tianhe’s home.
“Baobao, I love you,” the parrot said. “It’s like loving the fog that wanders over the mountain ridges and the songs of the world.”
“Shut up,” Tianhe was in a state of complete bodily and mental exhaustion. “Xiao Jin, I was wrong.”
“May you forever be childishly romantic.”
Tianhe fumed, “Romantic, my ass! Can that be eaten? I’ll probably become Percy Shelley’s hater. Also, your grammar’s off!”
The parrot flew around and said again, “Baobao, I love you.”
Tianhe, “Aunt Fang, tie Xiao Jin’s beak.”
“It’s like loving……”
Tianhe only then recalled that Aunt Fang had gone out earlier, and thus took a ribbon himself and then walked towards Xiao Jin’s direction, who immediately cried out in fear, spread its wings, and barked out sharply:
“I love you! I love you! Baobao! I love you!”
Tianhe said to the parrot, “Damn noisy! Oh right… It turns out there’s no food left? No wonder it’s been prattling all morning.”
Tianhe gave Xiao Jin something to eat. What is love? For the parrot, it couldn’t care less as long as there was food. Bread was of greater importance than love. The world was thus peaceful.
The doorbell rang. Two big buses pulled up in front of the fountain outside Tianhe’s house, eliciting a burst of gasps from their colleagues!
Guan Yue looked at his watch as he got off the bus and went to ring the doorbell.
Tianhe opened the door and locked eyes with Guan Yue, who gestured to Tianhe to look at his wristwatch, indicating that it was already time to set out.
Jiang Zijian, who was in the bus, holding a microphone, said, “Now this scenic spot is of the Wens’, that is, the home of our second boss. Everyone, if you look to the left of the window, you can see a fountain, which was replicated after Michelangelo’s style, the Renaissance sculpture. Currently, winter has already frozen it over. In the spring when the flowers bloom, we can see a tiny stream flowing from its……”
“Wooooow—” Colleagues from both Epeus and Yue He collectively produced exclamations of awe.
Tianhe was too embarrassed. “Why did you direct the bus to my doorstep?”
Guan Yue took Tianhe’s suitcase and replied, “So that you can take fewer steps.”
In the bus, Tong Kai grabbed Jiang Zijian’s microphone and presented, “This house already has a long history and was once the residence of a Spanish diplomat in this city. As everyone can see, the Spanish architectural style is specifically embodied in……”
“Vice President! Receptionist! You two, stop gossiping about my house!” Tianhe said angrily to Tong Kai and Jiang Zijian while still standing by the bus.
A busload of people watched as Guan Yue brought out Tianhe’s suitcase himself, gesturing for the latter to get on the bus. Tong Kai, Jiang Zijian, Guan Yue, and Tianhe sat in the front four seats as the bus door closed and headed for the airport.
Jiang Zijian waved the microphone, looked at Tianhe, and motioned for him to say some words of greeting. Then he looked at Guan Yue who was beside Tianhe, clearly teasing him to talk.
Tianhe looked back. Almost all the new employees of the two companies had come. On the left side sat the programmers of Epeus, and Wu Shun who had also recruited a product assistant; on the right side were the investment managers with their families and their elated children in tow. Mei Xi’s daughter sweetly said to Tianhe, “Hello, Uncle Wen!”
Tianhe encountered an onslaught as soon as he turned around and almost couldn’t catch his breath.
Guan Yue corrected, “Do call him gege. Gege does bear quite a grudge.”
“Morning, everyone,” Tianhe greeted as he took the microphone. It was only yesterday when the programmers had had a meeting together, thus there really was nothing much to say. Nevertheless, they all had come to this team-building trip together. Tianhe mustn’t bring along the emotions about Pro leaving home. He forced himself to cheer up and smiled. “Mr. Guan?”
Tianhe held the microphone directly in front of Guan Yue, who apparently knew that Tianhe was trying to poke fun of him.
Guan Yue said, “Not morning. It’s already afternoon.”
The crowd roared with laughter.
“It seems that our Mr. Guan is quite a time-conscious man.”
Guan Yue, “Hmn.”
The crowd burst into laughter again. Tianhe said, “Mr. Guan, who cherishes words like gold, has nothing to say to everyone today?”
Guan Yue, “Have a tacit mutual understanding.”
Amidst the laughter in the bus, Tianhe continued to tease him, “Mr. Guan has been assiduously practicing his clowning skills recently, and it seems to be worthwhile.”
Guan Yue, “Hmn.”
Tianhe, “Thank you, Mr. Guan, for taking us to Queenstown.”
Guan Yue, “Don’t mention it.”
The bus stopped suddenly and Tong Kai said, “Okay! Here we are! Everyone get off the bus! We’ll spend the next ten days here!”
The bus had stopped in front of a “Queen’s Hot Spring Resort” and the laughter inside the bus came to a screeching halt.
Jiang Zijian, “………………”
Tong Kai, “Just kidding! Everyone, take it easy! Don’t blame me. It was the boss who came up with the idea! Let’s go!”
“Are you two mad?” Tianhe couldn’t believe that this was something the company’s vice-president and boss could do. “Are you bored? Making a special detour to come here?!”
Guan Yue glanced at Tianhe, who, with a hand on his forehead, had just realized that he was the one who actually got tricked by Guan Yue. The bus successfully arrived at the airport, where the receptionist then came over to push their luggage through security. Tianhe looked at the crowd full of their company’s people and greeted them one by one. After going through the security check, it was already five o’clock in the evening, and Epeus’ programmers, almost all of them Quants, were chatting with the investment managers by now.
“Uncle!” Four children came over and encircled Tianhe, launching another round of onslaught in succession.
Jiang Zijian, “You all were already told that Uncle bears grudges! Come, I’ll play with you all!”
Jiang Zijian took out his video game console, separated four small controllers, and put the game console on the coffee table. Each child was given a controller and dispatched to play.
Tianhe was really grateful. Together with Jiang Zijian, Tong Kai, Wu Shun, Guan Yue, Liao Shan, and a few other people, they sat on a circular sofa, staring at each other and not knowing what to do. Apart from Liao Shan who was reading a book, the others were drinking their coffees in a daze.
Tianhe suddenly discovered something—
Liao Shan and Wu Shun…… Wu Shun’s smile seemed a bit off today.
“Dingdong!” The IM group chat in Wu Shun, Guan Yue, Tianhe, and Jiang Zijian’s phones pinged.
Jiang Zijian, 【“Confess.”】
Wu Shun, 【“It’s really nothing. Former classmate.”】
Tianhe lowered his head and replied, 【“The product director and the person-in-charge of the second group of the project actually…… What should you do next time? You want to change the requirements?”】
Wu Shun, 【“Not my ex, really not. We haven’t developed any relationship… Well…… Anyway, we definitely won’t jeopardize our work.”】
Guan Yue looked down at his phone, not expressing any comment.
Then, there was silence.
Moments later, there came another “dingdong.” Guan Yue, Tianhe, Tong Kai, and Jiang Zijian’s IM group chat notification pinged. Four men looking at their phones at the same time caused Wu Shun to be at a loss.
Tong Kai, 【“Is there any gossip between the product director and Liao Shan?”】
Tianhe, 【“What’s the point of asking questions?”】
Tong Kai, 【“Can’t I be curious? Liao Shan likes the product director?”】
Jiang Zijian looked down at his phone, circled Tianhe, and sent a snigger emoticon.
Guan Yue looked down at his phone and still didn’t express any comment.
And there was silence again.
A few seconds later, a “dingdong” notification sounded from Guan Yue, Tianhe, Jiang Zijian, and Wu Shun’s phones at the same time.
Wu Shun, 【“You two still haven’t talked things out? Quick, go and apologize.”】
Jiang Zijian, 【“Why should I apologize to him? Those are all things that happened before we met, is there a need to apologize?”】
Guan Yue looked down at his phone, and everyone remained silent.
A few seconds later, another “dingdong” sounded.
Tianhe, Jiang Zijian, Tong Kai, and Wu Shun’s phones pinged at the same time.
Tianhe, 【“@Wu Shun, I thought you were talking about me. So embarrassing.”】
Wu Shun, 【“Oh? Did you guys also quarrel?”】
Jiang Zijian, 【“He doesn’t know about you two. I haven’t told him.”】
Wu Shun, 【“I was just asking, Zijian.”】
Tong Kai, 【“Little tailor, what the hell are you up to? Wait, product director, what are you all talking about?”】
Tianhe, 【“Don’t even ask.”】
Guan Yue looked at the four people sitting on either side of him and remained silent.
A few more seconds later, a “dingdong” sounded. Guan Yue, Tianhe, Jiang Zijian, and Wu Shun’s group chat notification pinged again.
Jiang Zijian, 【“Almost caught us talking about him.”】
Liao Shan, who finally had enough, looked up from her book, and said, “Can I ask a question?”
Guan Yue, “?”
Liao Shan, “How many group chats do you have? Aren’t you tired?”
A “dingdong” sound prompted the boarding to start. Guan Yue then got up, dragged Tianhe’s suitcase, and walked ahead, while Tianhe followed behind. Everyone else also followed, walking towards the plane one after another.
“This is the first time I’ve ever flown in business class.” Jiang Zijian smiled.
Tong Kai sighed. “This is the first time I’ve ever flown on a plane that isn’t of our family’s.”
Jiang Zijian, “Actually, this is also my……”
“Receptionist, vice-president!” Liao Shan called. “Stop bitching around! Help me put up the suitcase! Out of reach!”
Wu Shun followed behind Liao Shan, picked up her suitcase, and put it in.
Liao Shan said, “Did I call you?”
Wu Shun said seriously, “I just want them to flirt for a while longer, that’s all.”
The all-smiles flight attendants came over one after another and handed out hot towels.
This was the first time Tianhe participated in such a lively team-building activity. The two companies put together had more than eighty employees, including the members of their families. Guan Yue had chartered a large double-decker plane. All of them together were just enough to fill the business class wing, and the extra luggage was handed over to be put through as checked baggage.
The first class wing had tiny rooms. After taking off, their two wide seats could be joined together as a double bed as long as they were laid flat. Tianhe buckled up his safety belt and looked at the small partition between his and Guan Yue’s beds.
“When was the last time you took a large passenger plane?” Guan Yue asked casually.
Tianhe thought about it as he put his sneakers aside and replied, “Went to attend school in London.”
Guan Yue, “The day I waited for twenty-three hours. You see, you made me wait, and I never said anything.”
Tianhe was dumbfounded. “That wasn’t the same, okay? That was because you miscalculated the landing time.”
Guan Yue said nothing, drank some water, and turned on the in-flight entertainment equipment, while Tianhe opened a book, turned on the lights, and looked down to read.
The plane hummed as it took off. Guan Yue’s phone slid down. Tianhe immediately reached out and grabbed it and then handed it back to Guan Yue, who instead held his hand.
The two looked at each other. Tianhe withdrew his hand and continued to look down to read, while Guan Yue gazed intently at Tianhe’s eyebrows and eyelashes under the reading light.
“Did you really wait for twenty-three hours that day?” Tianhe said as he looked up, meeting Guan Yue’s gaze.
At this time, the flight attendants came over to lay the napkins and serve their aperitifs. Guan Yue thought about it but said nothing.
Tianhe, “I thought you were lying to me.”
Guan Yue, “Now that you know the actual fact, will it add sympathy points?”
Tianhe, “What the hell were you thinking? How could someone……”
Guan Yue, “You made a mistake about the time yourself. You just deliberately wanted to torment me.”
Tianhe, “No way. I even took a picture of the itinerary receipt for you to see.”
The year he left for London, Tianhe was already fourteen years old; at the age where at that point he was quite an eight-grade-disease. Thinking about it now, he wished he could go back and strangle himself.
Two days before his departure, Tianhe had a row with Guan Yue through a video call. The reason was that Guan Yue was urging him to pack his things, but Tianhe was still playing his Pac-Man.
At that time, Guan Yue was attending a party, topless and wearing a pair of black swim shorts, and was making the video call to Tianhe from the poolside, to supervise his pre-departure preparations. The sixth time Guan Yue urged him, Tianhe finally argued back.
“None of your business!” Tianhe said angrily. “Stop harping on! Just how anxious are you? Why do you have to arrange things for me all the time?!”
Guan Yue got provoked by the phrase “none of your business” and sternly said to him, “Who else would look after you if not me? Where’s Tianyue? He’s off drinking again? Spending a lot of money?”
Tianhe caught sight of the swimming pool behind Guan Yue, full of pretty ladies in swimsuits, along with a band performing. Then, someone came over and pulled Guan Yue to play.
Tianhe said, “How many girlfriends have you had?”
Guan Yue, “Not as much as your erge.”
Someone else behind Guan Yue greeted Tianhe, shouting in English, “Hi! Oh my God! Who’s this?!”
Tianhe flared up. Guan Yue was simply like a Dad, looking after everything.
“My younger brother,” Guan Yue explained and stepped aside, avoiding the squirt gun, and said sternly to Tianhe, “Just don’t leave if you won’t pack your things now!”
Tianhe, “Whatever! I’m not going! Go have your party and get off with your girl!”
Guan Yue, “.........”
Tianhe then hung up the call. Guan Yue angrily dashed out from the party and drove home, topless and in swim shorts with slippers on. When he got home, he kept making video calls to Tianhe, but the latter accessed the satellite network and randomly registered a number, forwarding Guan Yue’s incoming calls to a random number.
Guan Yue was put through and there appeared a group of wailing people, curiously leaning over to the camera.
Guan Yue, “.........”
Guan Yue hung up and called again when the sound of gunshots came through from the other end of the phone, suddenly startling him. His eyes widened as he realized that the call had been forwarded to Afghanistan. He tried to call once again, and it was forwarded to India, to someone who was taking a selfie in front of the Taj Mahal.
Guan Yue had to give up and search out Tianhe’s itinerary. Guan Yue originally asked for his family’s private plane to pick up Tianhe, but the latter was dead set against it.
Tianhe’s former words to Guan Yue were, “We have our own.”
As a result, early the next morning, Tianyue used the plane to fly to San Francisco and didn’t tell Guan Yue about it; instead, he bought a ticket himself and took a pic of the itinerary receipt for Guan Yue.
Guan Yue drove over himself to pick up Tianhe. As a consequence of his inattentiveness, he misread the time and hence waited at the airport for four hours, then waited at the exit for another hour, up until all the passengers from the plane had deplaned and dispersed, all except Tianhe.
Guan Yue thought of Tianhe’s angry words and suddenly fell into extreme anxiety. His state of mind was rather unstable, such that anyone who came and patted his shoulder could make him blow up.
Guan Yue dialed Tianhe’s number. Tianhe, however, had actually forgotten to free Guan Yue from the prank he pulled that day, and so the call was forwarded to the Vatican.
Guan Yue, “.........”
Guan Yue conceded defeat and turned to call Aunt Fang. The house was chaotic as everyone was busily preparing hither and thither. Aunt Fang said, “Aiya, I thought it was tomorrow. This poor memory…… Blame me, blame me.”
Guan Yue said to Tianhe, “I’m at the airport! Where are you?”
Tianhe, “I haven’t left the house yet! Aunt Fang! Quick! Where did my clothes go?”
Guan Yue only then realized that he had misread the time. “How many times have I told you to prepare in advance, but you won’t listen every damn time, treating my words like a passing wind.”
Tianhe leaned closer and looked over at Guan Yue’s side of the screen, where an English lady happened to be standing behind him as though waiting for someone. She inadvertently saw Guan Yue’s phone screen, saw Tianhe, and smiled at him.
Tianhe, “Go home with your girlfriend and sleep.” Then he hung up the video call.
Guan Yue, “???”
Guan Yue was furious, yet was somewhat thankful that Tianhe hadn’t taken yesterday’s angry words seriously and still wanted to come, which was enough to dispel Guan Yue’s uneasiness. He looked at his watch and calculated the time; since Tianhe was still at home, it would take about eighteen hours to arrive in London. A round trip by car to Guan Yue’s newly purchased house in Cambridgeshire would take nearly six hours, so he decided to wait at the airport and just rest in the Lufthansa VIP lounge.
“I’m leaving.” Tianhe had yet to know what this departure meant. Aunt Fang and the servants all went to the airport to see Tianhe off, feeling wistful at his departure.
Tianhe still remembered that day after boarding the plane, the chief steward had fed him almost from takeoff to landing, and kept asking if he would still like to eat, with a loving look in her eyes. Tianhe’s stomach was stuffed full of cake, and finally, he’d hurriedly waved his hand, unable to bear eating any more no matter how tasty the food was.
The meal provided in the Lufthansa VIP lounge was terribly unpalatable, so Guan Yue could only eat the sandwiches while he watched the economic news. Lying down, he couldn’t sleep no matter what, and only when it was three o’clock in the wee hours of the morning did he finally fall asleep, covered with a blanket, his phone sliding into the crevice between the sofa cushions. Three hours later, the alarm clock rang loudly from the crevice, but Guan Yue didn’t hear it at all.
Tianhe called Guan Yue a few times but to no avail.
In a foreign country, he was alone and unaccompanied, dragging two huge suitcases, and looking around at a loss.
Tianhe waited for an hour and a half.
It cannot be. He’s angry? Tianhe didn’t quite believe that Guan Yue would be angry with him because of this, but thinking of Guan Yue’s girlfriend… Perhaps he was entangled?
Tianhe sent a message to Guan Yue and put away his phone as he was about to go to the coffee shop to buy breakfast when he suddenly found that his credit card was gone!
The last ten minutes before boarding the plane, Tianhe specially went to the duty-free shop and bought a bag for Guan Yue’s girlfriend as a first meeting gift. Although this bag was bought with a reluctant heart, basic etiquette must still be in line.
After that, he didn’t recall having seen his credit card all the way over, since he had bought the bag! It must have been left behind at the duty-free shop in China.
It was early in the morning and people were hurrying to and fro.
Tianhe thought about it, went to a corner, and took out the newly bought gift bag. He opened it, sat cross-legged, took out his violin from its case, and tried to tune it, then played Antonio Vivaldi’s “L’estro Armonico.”
With the prelude, the entire airport instantly roused as the passengers coming and going turned their heads, expecting to see a flash mob break out. Tianhe had really picked the best spot to play as the Heathrow airport’s sound amplification effect was quite satisfactory, and a moment of lively music made the passers-by shout “Yo!”
A passing musician immediately drew out his harmonica and started to play it in cadence along with the music. In a split second, people began to gather around and laugh in profusion. The security guards came over and were about to drive people away, saying, “Sir! Excuse me! Busking is not allowed in the airport!”
Tianhe slowed the tempo down before eventually stopping, then stood up, and bowed.
People dropped money into the bag; when Tianhe once again started playing Johann Strauss Sr.’s “Radetzky March,” the people around immediately roared with laughter, followed Tianhe’s footsteps, clapping and tapping their feet, while others whistled along. Seeing that Tianhe was well dressed, the two security guards didn’t take him away by force, but only made a gesture towards him, indicating that busking should be performed outside.
A group of people followed Tianhe, constantly changing positions in tandem with the rhythm of Radetzky March.
At this time, Guan Yue finally woke up and saw the time. He immediately rushed out and ran towards the arrivals area, which was already empty, and only then remembered to make a phone call, frustrated beyond belief. As soon as he turned around, he came face to face with Tianhe.
Guan Yue, “......”
Tianhe smiled, still concentrating on playing his violin, and eventually ended the song to thunderous applause and whistles from all around. Tianhe thanked the audience, carried his violin, and sized up Guan Yue.
Guan Yue, “Overslept. Where’s your luggage?”
Tianhe spread his arms with a clueless look on his face.
Ten minutes later, Guan Yue stood in front of the airport’s coffee shop, carrying Tianhe’s violin case and luggage.
Tianhe reached his hand inside the bag, took out the banknotes and coins, and started counting them.
“Gege, how much is this?” Tianhe showed him the banknotes. “Is this two yuan?”
Guan Yue didn’t know either. He hardly recognized the banknotes since he came to London. With one hand on his forehead, he said to Tianhe, “What do you want to buy? Just ask.”
The shop assistant smiled at Tianhe and said, “That is twenty pounds.”
Tianhe happily said to Guan Yue, “People have given me twenty yuan!”
“.........” Guan Yue took out his credit card, but Tianhe immediately said, “Come on! Let me treat you to breakfast.”
Hence, Tianhe used the busking money from earlier to treat Guan Yue to a full English breakfast. After eating, Guan Yue then took Tianhe out and told him to get in the car, placed the luggage in the car, got in the driver’s seat, and fastened his seatbelt.
“Your girlfriend didn’t come?” Tianhe asked.
“No girlfriend,” Guan Yue said as he drove. “It’s an over two hours drive to Cambridgeshire, if you’re bored…”
Tianhe observed Guan Yue, always feeling that he didn’t seem too happy. Before arriving in London, Tianhe had already envisioned a lot of possible scenarios when they met. For instance, Guan Yue might give him a hug, or both of them might be too awkward to say anything, or Guan Yue would introduce his girlfriend to him.
He didn’t expect that none of these pre-determined meeting scenarios had occurred, but he saw a frustrated Guan Yue instead.
“...If you’re bored… I don’t know either…” Guan Yue said, “I forgot to prepare chess for you to play. I’m just a boring…”
Tianhe, “Are you mad at me?”
“What?” Guan Yue was somewhat surprised. “No. I just woke up and was in a bit of a hurry. I thought you had already taken a taxi and left.”
“Hmn.” Tianne looked out of the window. Guan Yue said, “First time in London?”
“My maternal uncle brought me here once when I was a kid,” Tianhe replied. “But I can’t recall it anymore.”
The car stopped at the tollbooth, and Tianhe added, “I apologize for the delay. You’ve waited for a long time ba.”
Guan Yue, “No. There was no delay.”
Then, Guan Yue fell silent.
As the car drove on the highway, Tianhe desolately leaned against the car window, suddenly feeling homesick, and also feeling that Guan Yue seemed a lot different in person than how he was during their video calls.
The two of them didn’t speak along the way.
Guan Yue, “Tired from the plane ride?”
Tianhe, “It’s okay. Where to now?”
Guan Yue, “To my house.”
Tianhe, somewhat troubled, said, “Won’t…I disturb you? I’m okay staying in a hotel too.”
Guan Yue thought he had heard wrong and said incredulously, “What do you mean?”
Tianhe didn’t know how to communicate with Guan Yue, and so he hurriedly said, “I’m sorry, I am not fully awake either.”
Guan Yue fell silent again.
From the moment Tianhe saw Guan Yue again, he felt a bit strange in his presence. This strangeness made Tianhe think that perhaps it was an embarrassing affair to come to London to attend school and trouble Guan Yue. After all, Guan Yue also had his own life. It must not always revolve around him.
“What I meant earlier wasn’t that you’re boring,” Tianhe said.
Guan Yue only looked at the road and drove intently.
Guan Yue, “Do we have to talk in this way?”
Guan Yue turned a corner off the highway and looked for an exit. Only a short distance later, Tianhe saw the car driving towards the parking lot outside a fast-food restaurant, and said, “Are you hungry? Do you want to eat something? I’ll go buy it ba.”
Guan Yue pulled up and said, “Get off.”
Tianhe unbuckled his seatbelt, and Guan Yue went outside to the passenger seat and opened the door for him.
As soon as Tianhe got out of the car, Guan Yue wrapped his arms around him and tightly held him.
Tianhe was caught off-guard before he could even react. Guan Yue put his head on his shoulder and silently touched Tianhe’s head.
Tianhe then returned Guan Yue’s hug, burying his head in the crook of his shoulder, and took a deep breath.
Guan Yue, “I waited for you at the airport for more than twenty hours. I looked for you for a long time after I woke up, and thought I had lost you.”
Tianhe laughed. Guan Yue rubbed Tianhe’s hair and said in a low voice, “You’ve grown a lot taller. You wouldn’t be able to hear it now.”
Tianhe leaned over to the left side of Guan Yue’s chest and said, “Heartbeat.”
When Tianhe looked up, Guan Yue kissed him on his forehead. Noticing that people around were looking at them, Tianhe shyly pushed Guan Yue away.
Guan Yue took Tianhe’s hand and pulled him to sit on a bench in the parking lot where a down-and-out was rummaging through the garbage cans.
Tianhe said, “What do we do now?”
Guan Yue, “Won’t do anything. Just sit down, I want to talk to you.”
Tianhe looked at Guan Yue, who also looked at him, and both of them laughed.
Since the age of ten, Tianyue rarely kissed his younger brother and hardly ever held his hand. Tianhe, after all, had already grown up. Tianyue only showed unrestrained financial love, but seldom picked him up or teased him as he did when he was a child. At best, he would go to Tianhe’s bedroom to caress his head whenever he came home from work.
Guan Yue’s hand holding and head touching made Tianhe feel especially familiar and comfortable.
“Did you miss me?” Guan Yue seriously said.
“Hmn!” Tianhe held back a smile and nodded.
“I almost thought you weren’t really coming,” Guan Yue said. “I was so anxious. You’re always trying to find ways to piss me off! What kind of hideous and messy places did you forward my calls to?”
Tianhe remembered and burst out laughing. Guan Yue angrily said, “Naughty!”
“Let me play a song for you to hear and make amends,” Tianhe said.
Thus Tianhe jumped on the bench and sat cross-legged. Guan Yue went to buy two cups of drinks and listened to Tianhe play the violin while he drank. After playing, Guan Yue first put down his cup and applauded.
“You’re right,” Guan Yue said, as they got back into his car and proceeded to drive to Cambridgeshire. “I’m boring. I want to learn from you and be more interesting.”
“I don’t think you’re boring at all,” Tianhe said.
Guan Yue put on his sunglasses, looked at Tianhe from behind it, and pinched his face in passing, saying, “You’re a pretty child, but a naughty one.”
“I’m no longer a child, I’m fourteen,” Tianhe said.
Guan Yue hit the steering wheel. “In the eyes of gege, you have always been a child. Where do you want to go?”
Tianhe, “Aren’t we returning to your house?”
Guan Yue, “We can go anywhere you want. We don’t have to go home yet. I’ll show you around downtown? Tomorrow’s plan was initially all set, that I would first take you around for a month.”
Tianhe reached out, took off Guan Yue’s sunglasses, and put them on himself. “Then it’s better we go tomorrow.”
Guan Yue took his sunglasses back. “Today. Otherwise, this will never end. No need to sleep tonight until your jet lag disappears.”
Guan Yue made a phone call and stopped the car outside a handicraft shop full of various decorations. He beckoned Tianhe to go in first and shop around while he waited for the driver outside. A few moments later, the driver came with a Mercedes classic car and took Guan Yue’s car away. After changing cars, Guan Yue then sat in the driver’s seat and honked the horn twice.
Tianhe came out and said to Guan Yue, “I saw a shield inlaid with precious stones. Can you buy it for me?”
“This store is yours from today!” Guan Yue moved sideways and said to Tianhe who was still outside. “I’ll have them deliver the things to the house tomorrow for you to choose. Let’s go! Don’t waste time!”
Tianhe immediately got in the car. “Great! Where to now?”
As the classic car drove through the streets of London, Guan Yue said, “First, I’ll take you to see Big Ben.”
“Are we allowed to park the car like this? It will be towed away…”
“Not if you tow it away.”
Guan Yue, “The pedestal bears a Latin phrase ‘Lord save our Queen Victoria I.’ They would add coins above the pendulum to adjust the time, as though to say ‘Time is money.’”
“The most suitable place is not under the clock.” Guan Yue waited for Tianhe to finish looking and said, “I’ll take you to a place.”
From across the River Thames, Tianhe took two shots with his phone, when Guan Yue handed him a Leica camera. Tianhe said, “You actually brought a camera with you.”
Guan Yue, “I was going to shoot you coming out of the airport to see if you’ll cry or not.”
Tianhe, “I haven’t cried in four years.”
Guan Yue, “I thought too much.”
Tianhe smiled and silently looked at Guan Yue. He picked up the camera and took a picture of the view of the other side of the river, while Guan Yue took out his phone and photographed the side of Tianhe’s out-and-out perfect face, standing in the summer river breeze.
“Afternoon tea is a daily routine among English people, and this plate of snacks should be eaten starting from the top and working your way down.” Guan Yue and Tianhe were sitting in the tea house, and he taught Tianhe the etiquette for afternoon tea. Eton had a lot of rules; Guan Yue couldn’t stand the hassle of keeping up with the English people's various traditions, but he knew Tianhe would like it.
“I know how I should eat,” Tianhe said, quite amused.
Guan Yue observed Tianhe and said, “It seems that you know more than me. When I first came to school, I was often laughed at.”
Tianhe looked at Guan Yue with a smile in his eyes, leisurely drinking tea and reading magazines, while Guan Yue also smiled in nostalgia.
Guan Yue leaned back on the sofa and slept for a while; Tianhe secretly took a picture of Guan Yue’s sleeping appearance.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Joyce.