Translated by Lia of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
XiaYao just happened to be seated with his side to the entrance, so it didn’t take him very long to discover Mrs. Zhou, who was coming his way with ZhouDu in tow.
XiaYao paled; he rose from his seat, a little flustered.
Fang Zeyu noticed that XiaYao looked a little bit off. He followed his gaze and turned just in time to find ZhouDu being pulled along by a beautiful auntie, headed in their direction.
“Yaoyao, I see you’re out with friends,” Mrs. Zhou greeted XiaYao cordially.
XiaYao didn’t dare look at ZhouDu, he only watched Mrs. Zhou and gave her a vague “yeah” as a reply.
ZhouDu’s mother nudged her son, “Go get me a strawberry-flavoured one.” Then, she walked over and sat herself down next to XiaYao.
ZhouDu’s mother said, “It’s a real scorcher today, isn’t it? Is this your friend? Aren’t you a handsome young man.” She beamed at Fang Zeyu.
Fang Zeyu greeted Mrs. Zhou courteously.
Mrs. Zhou continued, “It sure is hot today, what were you out getting?” She turned to ask XiaYao.
XiaYao replied, “Just some reference materials.”
Once ZhouDu had bought the ice cream, he approached them alongside Fang Yaoyao. When Fang Yaoyao caught sight of ZhouDu’s mother, she exclaimed, “Wow, you must be ZhouDu’s sister! You’re so gorgeous!”
Amused by her words, Mrs. Zhou laughed, “What sister, I’m his mother.” After that, she took the ice cream ZhouDu had handed over to her, and scooped some into her mouth with a spoon.
When ZhouDu had sat down, he turned to look out the window. Fang Yaoyao, on the other hand, chitter-chattered away with Mrs. Zhou.
XiaYao’s mind was in turmoil, but it wasn’t like he could explain himself to ZhouDu at this moment in time; he could do nothing but sit on one side with an anxious face, not bothering with another bite of his ice cream.
After she finished her ice cream, Mrs. Zhou picked up a napkin and dabbed her lips with it gracefully. She turned and said to XiaYao, “Yaoyao, come back with auntie, it’s too hot out.”
XiaYao initially didn’t want to trouble Mrs. Zhou; however, he was afraid that ZhouDu would interpret his refusal as desire to stay with Fang Zeyu, so he got up and followed her.
XiaYao and ZhouDu were both in the backseat; neither of them spoke to the other. XiaYao stole glances at ZhouDu out of the corner of his eye and found him straight-faced with seemingly not an ounce of inclination to pay him any mind.
He felt uneasy, but he couldn’t talk their problems through right now with Mrs. Zhou just up front. He thought about calling ZhouDu up later once he got back.
The car rolled forward slowly, then suddenly a ringing tone arose from the driver’s seat. Mrs. Zhou reached for her bag and opened it, she dug out the noisy cell phone.
When she saw that the caller ID was her babysitter, she picked up right away.
“Hello? Uh-huh, uh-huh, what? Ok, I’m on my way. Don’t worry, okay. I’m driving, so I’ve got to hang up.”
As soon as Mrs. Zhou ended the call, she pulled the car over to the curb. She turned around to face XiaYao looking apologetic, “Yaoyao, I’m terribly sorry. Auntie won’t be able to send you back. Something came up with ZhouZhou, so I have to hurry home. How about this—I’ll have ZhouDu drop you off.”
“That’s okay…” XiaYao answered hastily, “Auntie, you head home, I’ll just take the bus on my own.”
“How is that going to work? The heat is insufferable. Let ZhouDu get you home in a taxi.” She shifted her gaze to her son and said, “Make sure you get XiaYao home, okay?”
Since XiaYao was deathly afraid of inconveniencing ZhouDu, he continued to decline. ZhouDu, meanwhile, got out of the car without saying a word.
He stood outside and focused on the roof of the vehicle, not bothering to spare a glance to XiaYao, who was still inside.
Seeing as how ZhouDu had already disembarked the car, XiaYao thought it would come off as rude if he refused any further. He could only push the door open and get out.
Before Mrs. Zhou rolled up the car window, she instructed ZhouDu repeatedly to send XiaYao safely home. Afterwards, she drove off, sending dust particles flying.
XiaYao stood awkwardly next to ZhouDu; just when he parted his lips in an attempt to explain, ZhouDu raised his hand and successfully hailed a taxi. XiaYao had once again missed the opportunity to explain himself.
The taxi brought them to the front of the alley and came to a halt. After settling the bill, ZhouDu opened the door and got out of the car. XiaYao took a deep breath and followed behind. The pair walked toward the small alley which had hardly any people in it.
XiaYao expected ZhouDu to question him why he was with Fang Zeyu back there, but after waiting for some time, ZhouDu didn’t show any signs that he wanted to strike up a conversation, XiaYao stopped and whispered, “ZhouDu.”
Up ahead, ZhouDu’s footsteps came to a stop, and he didn’t turn around, nor did he keep moving. XiaYao couldn’t see ZhouDu’s expression; feeling a little flustered, he picked up his pace and caught up to ZhouDu’s side.
He looked at ZhouDu’s face anxiously and found that ZhouDu was staring blankly off in the distance.
“ZhouDu.” XiaYao weighed his words, “Please listen to my explanation.”
ZhouDu still refused to meet XiaYao’s gaze.
XiaYao attempted to reach for the corner of ZhouDu’s shirt, but ZhouDu slapped his hand away.
“Explain?” With his tone grim, he turned to stare XiaYao down, “Have you forgotten what you promised me? You told me that if you ever see that guy again, you won’t give him a moment of your time.”
XiaYao’s mouth opened and shut before he continued with difficulty, “I, I just ran into him, so I just…”
“So you just followed him?” ZhouDu’s chest heaved, as he said bitterly, “Are you a dog? Do you follow around every person you meet?”
ZhouDu’s insults left XiaYao anguished, he subconsciously took a step back.
The corners of ZhouDu’s eyes were reddened, he tore into him further, “Or is it that you’ve always been this way, you will give yourself up over to any attractive man that comes along.”
XiaYao paled. With quivering lips, he struggled to explain, “No… it isn’t like that.”
At that moment, jealousy had gotten the better of ZhouDu. Despite knowing how those words would hurt XiaYao, he had lost control of himself. He clenched his fists and breathed heavily, and repeated to himself, ‘ZhouDu, shut up. You need to apologize to XiaYao.’
All traces of colour had already left XiaYao’s face; he didn’t know how to explain himself to ZhouDu.
The two were silent for a long time, and ZhouDu gradually came to his senses. He looked at XiaYao, who was pushed into the corner by his harsh words. His heart ached at the sight.
“I…” His mouth opened and shut and he reached out to touch XiaYao. Suddenly, buzzing sounds of vibrations came from XiaYao’s pocket.
ZhouDu’s face darkened. Only he knew XiaYao’s phone number, so who would be calling him right now? The fingers which had initially reached for XiaYao changed course and dived straight into XiaYao’s pocket; he fished the phone out. ——
The three characters on the caller ID sent ZhouDu’s entire body trembling, and seemingly out of nowhere, all of that pent-up rage completely receded just as quickly as it came. He regarded XiaYao with stone cold eyes. Word by word, he enunciated, “Care to explain this?”
The ringtone chimed on merrily in the empty alley.
XiaYao’s voice was so hoarse it was scary. He began with difficulty, “I gave him my number because…”
ZhouDu suddenly let out a chuckle—a very, very soft chuckle. XiaYao looked at him surprised, and saw that ZhouDu’s smile never even had the chance to reach his eyes before completely fading out of sight.
He lifted the phone, expressionless, and he hurled it at the wall behind himself. With a “bang”, the phone made contact with the wall and was instantly smashed to pieces. Once again, the alley fell silent.
XiaYao hadn’t expected that ZhouDu would get this bent out of shape. His heart thumped, achingly and in despair.
After he had smashed the phone, without throwing a glance in XiaYao’s direction, ZhouDu turned and walked out of the alley.
XiaYao lost track of how long he had stood there, and only when his right leg began to turn numb did he fall out of his stupor.
He cast his gaze down at the scattered remains of his phone on the ground and crouched down slowly, collecting the pieces bit by bit.
He was picking up the pieces with one hand while rubbing his eyes with the other. He thought that shedding tears over a small thing like this would probably make him look like a fool.
ZhouDu probably didn’t like him anymore.