Chapter 6: Greeting Guests
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Translation
When they finally left the shop, no one was on the streets anymore, they only saw a few cars. The workers and even the students went home. This city was quieter around the New Years.
Their car was parked across the street, in between the car and them was a moderate width road, they could only get there by foot. The roads were encased in a thin layer of ice due to the lack of management. Both of Li Sui’s hands were occupied with merchandise they just bought. He didn’t notice the ice on the road and slipped, dangerously almost hitting a limousine that drove by.
Lu Shang heard sounds and turned back, he stopped and waited for Li Sui. When Li Sui was near him, he offered his hand to Li Sui. Li Sui froze in hesitation, then clumsily moved all the bags to one hand and held on to Lu Shang’s hand. Lu Shang’s fingers were really cold, there wasn’t any warmth to them. Holding it in a snowy winter day shouldn’t be something comfortable. Yet Li Sui stared at their interlocked hands, and he felt streams of warmth flowing to his ears.
When they returned home, Aunt Lu made them warm ginger pear juice. They each drank before going to bed. The juice kept them warm, it also helped Li Sui with the alcohol he consumed.
“You don’t have work tomorrow?” Li Sui had grasped Lu Shang’s habits already. The second Lu Shang came out of the bathroom, Li Sui handed medicine and water to him.
“Hmm.” Lu Shang dried his hair with a towel and took the medicine, “You are not going to test out your new phone?”
Hearing that, Li Sui immediately pulled out the bag of merchandise, as if he was waiting for this moment all his life. Lu Shang sat on the bed, he opened the packaging and threw them away. He inserted the sim card and added his phone number to the new phone, handing it back to Li Sui, “Try calling.”
Lu Shang set his name as “Lu Shang”, nothing more and nothing less, there were no other prefixes or suffixes. Li Sui stared at the contacts’ list, now there was a new contact. The emotions it aroused were much more complicated than he thought they would be, though they might be harder for normal people to grasp. Li Sui’s past was completely blank, just like this empty contacts’ list. But now, look, there was a person in that blank page, how amazing was that?
Most people would say “let’s chat more” when exchanging contacts. To leave this line of numbers behind, meant that you are accepting the person’s contact. In Li Sui’s little world, Lu Shang was the first such person.
Li Sui dialed the number but there were no sounds in the room. “Am I doing it right? There isn’t any reaction.”
Lu Shang opened the drawer with one hand, something glowed inside the drawer, “I turned it to silent mode, try again.” Lu Shang also handed the tablet to Li Sui.
This thing, however, was too complicated for Li Sui, but he did have some contact with it before, as they used something like this to order food in the bar. Li Sui was never interested in these electronic things, as he found them overly hard to use; their screens were too bright and messy. If he had the choice to not use them, he definitely wouldn’t.
The tablet Lu Shang handed over had a clean interface. A pure black background plus large words, and there were only a few icons on it.
“These two teach you basic English, and this one teaches you four-characters idioms.” Lu Shang taught him patiently, “This one is for doing exercises, ask your tutor about it after lessons, okay?”
“Okay.” Li Sui said.
Lu Shang touched the thing a few times, then asked, “When is your birthday?”
Li Sui didn’t reply; Lu Shang glanced at him and knew immediately that he asked a useless question. He just pulled Li Sui’s finger over and placed it onto the tablet button.
After Lu Shang registered the fingerprints into the tablet, he demonstrated opening the tablet to Li Sui, “Here, it will open just like this.”
The products company A made were very humanized and easy to use. Li Sui held the tablet on his lap and, in no time, he got the hang of it. He turned around, wanting to report to Lu Shang, but found the latter’s eyes shut; he was sound asleep already.
Li Sui remembered hearing Leung ZiRui talk about Lu Shang. He said Lu Shang had a strong will. Lu Shang always looked healthy and strong when facing others, but, in fact, he would get tired really easily. Now that Li Sui thought about it, Lu Shang didn’t get any rest at all for the whole day; he even drove Li Sui around in the snow at night. He must be exhausted.
Li Sui put the tablet and phone into the drawer quietly, then he turned the lights off.
The heaters in the bedroom were creating enough heat, but Lu Shang was still quite cold. Especially the lower parts of his body, his legs were always freezing; Li Sui couldn’t feel any warmth from them. Li Sui scooted closer to Lu Shang, trying to give him some warmth. Li Sui was used to the cold since he was still very young, that however gave his body a trait—— no matter how little he was wearing, he’d still be warm.
It became too hot under the blanket. Li Sui, who was still asleep, couldn’t take it anymore, so he moved to the side and curled up there. This action stirred Lu Shang; people’s restraints were often low during sleep, that included Lu Shang. Lu Shang reached his hand out to Li Sui as he frowned, wanting to pull the “heater” back. Satisfied only when the warm Li Sui was at his chest.
As they were hugging each other tightly, the situation when Li Sui woke up the next morning became awkward. Lu Shang was a normal human being, so he would have the physiological reactions a normal male would have in the morning too. Due to his health condition, he led a sexless life, but that didn’t mean he had zero sexual drive. Li Sui didn’t react to it at first, but when he realized what was occurring, cold sweat slid down his forehead. He was petrified, Lu Shang didn’t move, so he didn’t dare move either. Amidst his confused thoughts were what the owner of the shop said last night, ‘Pay with your body?’
God! Of all the things I should be studying, why are these erotic words the only ones I remember?
A bit later, Lu Shang woke up too, and his hands moved up to Li Sui’s forehead. Li Sui had no idea what Lu Shang was thinking. Lewd thoughts began to creep up in Li Sui’s mind again; he had stayed in that bar for years, of course he had seen a fair share of obscene scenes. Plus, Lu Shang joked about being his “sugar daddy” before, he began to feel like maybe he should prepare himself for the inevitable… Li Sui mustered up all his strength to turn around, raising his head to see Lu Shang face-to-face. But as quickly as the courage came, it disintegrated. Li Sui awkwardly tried to avoid Lu Shang’s eyes; he was like a swimming fish as he tried to slide down into the blanket. The fish however was caught at the chin by Lu Shang’s fast hand.
Lu Shang stared at him with eyes that clearly spelled “what are you doing”.
Li Sui’s slightly lifted up face was red, completely red. His eyes were always big, he also just woke up, so his black, shiny pearl eyes looked especially shaky. Seeing Li Sui like this, Lu Shang understood what was happening, he laughed. He seldom laughed with sound, same goes for crying; most of his smiles were out of politeness. This time Li Sui could sense Lu Shang’s breath up close, he sensed that the laughter was filled with true warmth and happiness.
“I will feel guilty.” Lu Shang patted Li Sui’s head, giving him an easy way out.
Guilty or not, Li Sui didn’t care, but now he was sure. He believed what Aunt Lu said was true. Lu Shang wasn’t a person who would just be with anyone, he had high requirements for his partner. If not, he certainly won’t still be single with such great personal conditions.
The sound of running water came out of the bathroom, Li Sui snugged his head into the covers of the blanket like an ostrich. He cringed for his own abruptness, but at the same time, he was calm. It seemed like Lu Shang really wouldn’t send him away.
The two of them woke up later than usual. Aunt Lu prepared porridge with a porcelain pot that morning, shrimp and mussels were added too. The porridge was served with some spring rolls, Li Sui could put the whole roll in his mouth in one go, making his mouth sticky with sweet sauce. Whenever Li Sui ate, he ate it like everything was sweet. It made everyone enjoy the meal more, bringing everyone’s appetite up. As the chef, Aunt Lu was of course always happy to have this kid around. Her skills were never wasted with Li Sui here.
Lu Shang had to control the amount he consumed, so he just had half-a-bowl of porridge and gave the rest to Li Sui.
“Lu Lao Ban, won’t you be hungry if you eat so little?” Li Sui asked.
Lu Shang wasn’t about to explain how more food digestion would burden his heart to Li Sui, so he said, “When I was at your age, I ate a lot too.”
Li Sui tried imagining Lu Shang stuff his face like him; he found it quite impossible.
Aunt Lu asked their preferences for lunch, Lu Shang just ordered a few traditional dishes plus a pot of pear juice with syrup. In the past few days, Lu Shang always ate together with Li Sui, he realized that Li Sui’s taste buds were like that of a kid. Li Sui loved sweet things, he liked desserts and he especially loved pear juice (i), he could drink several cups of those in one meal.
T/N: (i) Okay, the author is just playing with Li Sui’s name here. The pear juice here is written as pear water, which is pronounced as “Li Shui”, pretty similar in pronunciation.
“Lu Lao Ban is so considerate.” Aunt Lu giggled.
Li Sui didn’t pick up on that, he just grabbed the spring roll Lu Shang handed him and naturally put it in his own mouth, “Will I become a fatty?”
Lu Shang rubbed the sauce at Li Sui’s mouth away, “You’d look more manly if you’re fatter.”
Aunt Lu left the room knowingly.
Today was a holiday, no work and no one interrupted them. They spent a satisfying day in each other’s company. Lu Shang basically spent his free time with books, also resting a little on the chair from time to time. Li Sui on the other hand, held his tablet on his lap to do exercises, he also occasionally observed Lu Shang.
It would be the Lunar New Year’s Eve two days later, Lu Shang didn’t care much for holidays, so the Lu family never had a sense of celebration. However, Uncle Yuen asked for a holiday recently, as he just got a grandson. The older a person got, the more dependent they became on family. Lu Shang let him take a few days off without asking anything, he even saw Uncle Yuen off at the station. For the past few days, Lu Shang’s company’s employee, Xiao Zhao drove him to work.
As usual Aunt Lu only prepared lunch on the Lunar New Year’s Eve. She would still prepare dinner, but leave it in the fridge for Lu Shang to re-heat. She had to be home for a family dinner that day, of course no one could miss that (ii).
T/N: (ii) The Lunar New Year’s Eve also known as the first 30th of the Lunar calendar is a day when all family members gather to have dinner. It’s very important in Chinese culture, also why there tends to be traffic jams that day, since everyone have to rush back home.
Usually Lu Shang wouldn’t feel anything special on this day, it would pass with book reading and working. Yet one more person was in the house with him now, he was seriously pondering whether to go buy some celebration food as the sky began to turn dark.
Around dinner time, this tranquility was broken. Lu Shang got a phone call from Yan Ke inviting him to dinner.
Li Sui looked at Lu Shang going into his bedroom to change, Li Sui followed, “Are you going out?”
If Yan Ke was inviting him, it must be to talk about the changing of stock ownership. Lu Shang wasn’t going to bring Li Sui, but the matters with guns came across his mind; he’d feel more at ease bringing Li Sui with him.
Yan Ke and Lu Shang were similar in age, their experiences were also similar, but their personalities were completely different. Yan Ke loved arts, he vowed to become an artist. Yan Ke was also uninterested in the trade; he didn’t value the stocks his father left behind either. As such, Lu Shang was able to grasp the chance.
The place they were meeting at was a hot spring resort, it was located up on a mountain. When Lu Shang reached the resort, he found Sun Mao there too. Due to the incident with the 20 million yuan loan, Sun Mao did almost everything Lu Shang asked. Sun Mao helped a lot in persuading Yan Ke to give up the 6% stocks as well.
“What is Li Yan doing recently?” Lu Shang asked while walking inside.
Sun Mao glanced at Li Sui who was behind Lu Shang, “He’s pretty normal recently. I think he opened an international cosmetics company; he even had a ship to transport merchandise.”
They began shipment immediately after they got the paperwork. Problems often arose during the period when they weren’t fully prepared. Lu Shang never approved the Li family’s abrupt ways; they had their eyes glued to the sky when they weren’t ready, falling would just be a matter of time. When they got into the private room, more people were there than they had expected. Yan Ke was sitting in the middle, his hair was a little long and tied to the back in a short tail.
“You brought a friend?” Yan Ke laughed.
“I brought him here to thank you.” Lu Shang smiled and pushed Li Sui to take out the bag of turtles, “Thank you for your daughter’s toys.”
Yan Ke paused to think, his gaze focused on Li Sui. Then it dawned on him, that day when Xu WeiLan said he needed to borrow the turtles, it was for Li Sui. Yan Ke always found Lu Shang to be too uptight, so he invited a bunch of his friends here to make it less boring. Yan Ke had too much romanticism in his cells. He also wanted to have his own family so badly, so he got married before the legal age. Yan Ke hated uptight people who didn’t have a love life, especially if that person was as good-looking as Lu Shang. Yan Ke had never expected Lu Shang of all people to do something so out of the box.
“You… you are really something when you put your mind to it.” That was the only thing Yan Ke managed to say.
Lu Shang laughed, he said to Li Sui, “This is Uncle Yan.”
“Uncle!? No, no, no…” Yan Ke kept waving his hands.
Li Sui smiled slightly and called him, “Brother Yan.”
“Oh dear!” Yan Ke stood up, he ruffled through his pocket, finally pulling out a stack of US dollars. He didn’t even count them and just stuffed them to Li Sui, “Here, here, red packets.”
“Wha…” Li Sui was shocked, he never heard that he would get money by just saying “Brother Yan”. Li Sui turned to Lu Shang hoping to inquire about it.
Yan Ke was a stubborn person, if he was giving someone money, then there was no way to return it. In the Yan family’s tradition, when a relative brought their first girlfriend home, they’d have to give that person money. Yan Ke was accepting Li Sui as the heir to the Yan family, which had a longstanding relationship with the Lu family. Lu Shang knew all of this, but he didn’t tell Li Sui. He just smiled lightly and nodded, “Keep it well.”