Chapter 53: “I am.”
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In the backyard of this house, there was a small wooden door. The door opened to a flight of steps hewn out of black rock, leading from the top of the hill to the beach at the bottom of the hill.
“Want to see the beach?” Han Tian asked.
“Uh-huh! I haven’t touched the water yet!” Qiao Xi was a little excited, and asked, “Can we pick up starfish?”
“Well… There are not necessarily starfish, but there are a lot of small shells,” Han Tian said.
“Small shells?” Qiao Xi’s eyes lit up. “Then let’s go down.”
Han Tian smiled and said, “Wait.”
After saying that, he squatted down and opened all the loose shoelaces on Qiao Xi’s feet, and tied them again.
Looking at the man half-kneeling and half-crouching in front of him, Qiao Xi’s face was indisputably red again. He whispered, “I can tie the laces myself.”
Han Tian stood up and said, “This section of the trail is very steep, sort of carved directly out of the cliff; if the shoelaces fall apart halfway, it will be very dangerous.”
Qiao Xi looked at the turquoise blue water at the foot of the mountain, and the white foam rolled up by the waves, and finally looked into Han Tian’s eyes and murmured, “If it really falls apart, I won’t fall down… I…”
If I change my wings, will you be afraid?
However Han Tian just raised his hand and scratched the tip of his nose, his eyes were clear. “If you fall, I will grow wings and hold you, and fly upwards.”
Qiao Xi froze for a moment, then his nose suddenly got a little sore. He gently grabbed Han Tian’s arm and muttered, “Fool.”
Fool, where do you have wings?
The stairs were indeed very steep, with several sections almost vertical, requiring hands and feet to descend. Because of this, the stairs were much closer than the mountain road, and the two walked less than a quarter of an hour to the beach.
The sand of this beach was not fine, mixed with a lot of coarse hard coral and reef fragments, and the sea was not gentle, lapping violently against the reef on the shore.
But that was enough to get Qiao Xi excited.
He took off his shoes and threw them aside, and not afraid of pain, just stepped on the coarse gravel with bare feet, laughing, and ran towards the receding seawater.
“Slow down…!” Han Tian shouted from behind.
Yet it was already too late.
The sea came up again, a small wave, slapping on Qiao Xi’s white and slender calves.
“Wow!” Stung by the slightly cool seawater, Qiao Xi winced and jumped back, the backs of his bare feet sinking into the sand.
“The water is very cold,” Han Tian said with a bit of heartache.
Qiao Xi turned his head, smiled at him indifferently, squatted down again, picked a small fan-shaped shell from the gravel, put it in his hand and showed it to Han Tian with a surprised face. “Look!”
Perhaps infected by Qiao Xi’s happiness, Han Tian also put his shoes aside, stepped into the water, bent down and picked up a sharp shell, put it in Qiao Xi’s hand, and said, “Look at this.”
A few tiny crab legs popped out of the tiny spiral shell, wiggled and shrank back again.
“Is this a hermit crab? Hermit crab!” Qiao Xi shouted out.
“Yes, there are some small crabs on the beach, they run fast, you have to watch them, they will hide in the holes if you don’t pay attention,” Han Tian said.
“Really really! They’re running!” Qiao Xi shouted happily as he bent over and stared at the tiny creatures running around.
So, until dusk, Qiao Xi was on this beach, rummaging through shells, trying to catch tiny crabs, and nearly stepping on a stranded sea cucumber.
Until the sea breeze became cooler and cooler, and the water turned gray-blue.
“Let’s go back, it’s going to be high tide and this area will be flooded with seawater soon,” Han Tian said.
Qiao Xi sat on a fallen dead tree trunk, stretched out his feet and let Han Tian help him put on his shoes. He looked at the sea with reluctance and tugged Han Tian’s arm. “Later, can we go to a beach further south? I’ve read online that the sea is transparent, the sand is fine and white, and there are gray, non-biting sharks on the beach…”
Hmm, after he finished his project, he would have lots and lots of time to spend with Han Tian. When the time came, the two of them must go to see these small non-biting sharks.
Han Tian smiled and responded, “Okay.”
But his eyes, however, drifted far away.
They went back to Haicheng the next day.
After returning to Haicheng, Han Tian suddenly became very, very busy.
So much so that sometimes, only the breakfast and the sticky notes left on the table could show that this person had gone home yesterday.
This level of busyness completely disrupted Qiao Xi’s “plan”.
According to the information he investigated before, to ask that question, it was necessary to make adequate preparation in advance. After all, humans were different from demons, there were always some strange rituals and needed some special atmosphere.
For example: roses; for example: red wine; for example: candlelight.
In his plan, he needed a room with a large bouquet of roses. Then, in the swaying candlelight, he’d hold Han Tian’s hand and ask him, “Would you like to be my boyfriend?”
Han Tian… You won’t refuse, right? Then, we can have some chocolate and some wine.
Then, if Han Tian wants to, they can do something like this and that.
If Han Tian was shy and didn’t want to do it so quickly, then… Later?
No, if his Capture Value was still not working in the background, it meant that something like that had to happen! After all, it’s almost time for the required date!
However, Qiao Xi never found a suitable opportunity to implement his “plan”.
Every day in the afternoon, Han Tian would send him a message telling him not to wait for him and to go to bed early.
Then, no matter how strongly Qiao Xi wanted to stay awake and wait for Han Tian’s return, he would always fall asleep at a fixed time, and he slept so deeply that he didn’t even dream.
On rare mornings, Han Tian would stay home and have breakfast with him.
However, looking at Han Tian’s almost dark circles under his eyes and his tired expression, Qiao Xi could not ask any questions, but only felt a burst of heartache.
From that time on, he learned to cook breakfast, except for dessert.
Omelets, toast, and Han Tian’s favorite coffee or black tea, all things he thought he could never learn, he did with little effort.
The most amazing thing was that when he made an omelet one morning, he remembered that he had only made one omelet, but when he served it, it turned out to be two.
Moreover, the two omelets were exactly the same shape, and even the color of the little bit of burnt yolk on top was exactly the same.
“Hmm? Did I get so distracted when I was spreading the egg rolls that I misremembered the quantity?” Qiao Xi shook her head and brought the egg rolls to the table.
However, Han Tian ate less and less.
So much so that Han Tian simply said, “I have to leave earlier in the morning. So you don’t have to help me prepare breakfast. You must eat well yourself.”
This situation lasted until the last day of November.
When Qiao Xi woke up that morning, he found a dark blue scarf on the couch and a small note: It’s going to snow today, so remember to wear a scarf.
In the evening, it was really snowing.
It was very beautiful.
Qiao Xi, who was so excited to see snow for the first time, built a small snowman with Sang Sang in front of the cafe.
After building the snowman, he habitually took a picture of it and sent it to Han Tian.
This time, Han Tian quickly replied, “The snowman is so cute.
and “Why aren’t you wearing a scarf?”
He was about to reply, “I’ll put it on right away.” Suddenly he felt something was wrong and looked up and around.
Sure enough, across the road, a figure with a large black umbrella stood quietly in the dim light.
“Han Tian!” He did not even think about it, and lunged at the man.
Han Tian held the umbrella with one hand and wrapped his arm around Qiao Xi with the other.
Qiao Xi put his face to it and realized that Han Tian’s face was so cold.
He stroked Han Tian’s face and whispered, “Why is it so cold?”
Han Tian smiled and said, “I’ll pick you up and take you home.”
Qiao Xi hurriedly went back and took off his apron, put on his coat and tied his scarf, greeted Sang Sang, who had been snickering, and rushed out to stand under Han Tian’s umbrella.
“Today, not so busy?” Qiao Xi asked.
Han Tian put his arm around his shoulder, sniffed at his soft hair, and said, “Mn. was doing something very important some time ago, and today, it should finally come to an end.”
Huh Huh Huh?
So, I can have time to implement my own plan?
It’s not too late, how about today?
Qiao Xi peeked at Han Tian while taking steps on the snow.
Well… Although his face looks fine, he has been busy for so long, and has not had a good rest…
Why don’t we talk about it tomorrow?
Qiao Xi made up his mind and exhaled a circle of white mist in the air.
Then he rubbed Han Tian excitedly and said, “Look, there’s white mist!”
Han Tian’s arm around his shoulders gave a little push, as if to say, “I see it.”
But on the way, Han Tian didn’t speak again until they reached the door of the apartment.
As usual, Qiao Xi walked ahead and opened the door with his fingerprints.
Huh? A darkness?
He remembered that the lights in the entrance and living room were sensor devices, and as soon as the entrance door was opened, the living room would be bright.
Could the sensor be broken?
He was about to turn around and tell Han Tian when he noticed that something in the living room flickered and flickered again.
Soon, the dots of bright light joined into a line.
Qiao Xi rubbed his eyes and found that it was actually faint candlelight, circling a heart shape on the living room floor.
This, this is?
He felt like his heart was about to pop out.
A thought that he could not believe, but would like to believe, appeared in his mind.
His body trembled slightly, not daring to turn back or turn around, until Han Tian hugged him from behind.
“Qiao Xi… I like you. Will you be my boyfriend?” Han Tian asked in his ear, his voice was so soft, yet so strong, it reached his heart.
“You, you like me? You…from when…why…” Qiao Xi stammered back.
“Fool.” Han Tian pressed closer again, resting his face on his shoulder.
“You, you are willing, willing to fall in love with me, with me? I… I… It’s not what you think… I started out… I’m not a good person at all… No, I’m not even a person…” Qiao Xi felt his heart rise sourly while his brain exploded. It seemed he should stop talking nonsense, but he couldn’t stop.
This time, Han Tian didn’t call him a fool again, but turned him around and faced him face to face.
Then, Han Tian found his lips and covered them.
Qiao Xi closed his eyes.
Soft, warm, as sweet as in the dream, yet more passionate than in the dream…more passionate.
He tilted his head slightly, obediently meeting the other man’s temptation. Perhaps his attitude was too submissive, the temptation soon turned into a powerful seizure, and irresistible provocation.
Until his breathing was completely confused, until he could not hold himself up, until his hands started scratching helplessly.
Han Tian then stepped back a little, giving him a chance to breathe.
“I… I have something important… To ask you…” Qiao Xi’s eyes were slightly red at the corners and he was breathing heavily, stammering as he tried to finish his sentence.
“How important is it?” Without waiting for Qiao Xi to finish his question, Han Tian asked a low, rhetorical question before cupping his face again.
Qiao Xi struggled and took several steps backward until the back of his head hit the wall-or rather, the palm of Han Tian’s hand. The moment he was pushed against the wall, Han Tian extended his right hand and padded behind his head.
“I, I want to ask, if I say yes, will you be willing, with me, with me… ?” The shame was so overwhelming that Qiao Xi was unable to say the question in its entirety.
In the candlelight, Han Tian laughed lightly.
Then, he picked up Qiao Xi in a horizontal embrace.
“I am,” he said.