Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In the H City’s airport lounge, Wang Hao’s mother was tugging on her son, preaching on and on with her eyes reddened. As Wang Hao’s childhood friend, it was natural for Zhou Du to send him off as well. He even called Xia Yao to come over to allegedly send off his classmate, but in fact, he just wanted more time with him.
Seeing that his mother’s bawling got more and more severe, Wang Hao pouted swiftly too, “Mom, since you don’t want me to go, I won’t be going to the US then.”
“Ridiculous!” Wang Hao’s father chided him before pulling his wife to one side and telling her with displeasure, “He’s almost 18, what’s there to cry about? We are sending him off to the US, not Africa; what are you so worried for? Do you think he will be suffering here? As I see it, his life is just too easy. He should be sent away to experience some hardship.”
Wang Hao’s mother hit her husband, her face streaked with tears, “Why do you have to send him to the US or whatever that is? With so many universities in China, there’s bound to be one he can get into. We aren’t counting on him having a brighter future from studying anyway! We can support a son ourselves, can’t we?”
“You!” Wang Hao’s father almost had his eyes popping out from rage, “it’s all because of your coddling that Wang Hao turned out like this.” While pointing his finger at Zhou Du, he continued, “Look at Zhou Du, and then look at your son. The difference between them is abysmal.”
“Dad, please stop telling off mom,” Wang Hao protected his mom in haste, “all right, I’ll go to the US, don’t you worry. Can I bid farewell to Zhou Du now?” Upon having heard that, his parents shuffled aside quietly.
Wang Hao strode to Zhou Du. Xia Yao went aside, giving them some space to talk. Never would Xia Yao expect Zhou Du to hold his waist in his arms, drawing him over. A jolt ran through Xia Yao as he directed his gaze to Wang Hao’s parents, only to realize that Wang Hao’s mom was still wiping away her tears, while her husband whispered something to her.
Wang Hao shot a glare at Zhou Du. After taking a look at the airport gates, he questioned Zhou Du, “Did you not tell Zhang Yang I’ll be leaving today?”
With both of his hands tucked into his pockets, Zhou Du lifted his eyelids and gave Wang Hao a lazy glance, “Since you wanted him to send you off, why didn’t you tell him about it yourself?”
“I didn’t say I want him to send me off! I’m just wondering why he isn’t here. I suppose that’s just because you didn’t tell him.”
“I did,” Zhou Du replied, “but what can I do if he doesn’t want to come. If I were Zhang Yang, I wouldn’t send you of, either. What for? To send off an ingrate like you?”
“You!” Wang Hao was about to fly into a rage, but with his parents around, he had to control his tongue. He could only lower his volume and whisper to Zhou Du, “how am I an ingrate? I didn’t know then.”
“But now you do, so why didn’t you apologize to him?”
Wang Hao’s face flushed red at once; no way was he going to admit he was too prideful to apologize. “Forget it,” he scratched his head, annoyed, “if he isn’t going to send me off, so be it. Anyway, he can’t look for me once I’m in the US.”
Xia Yao stood next to them, a little puzzled as he listened in to their conversation.
“All right, hurry up and leave. You’re so long-winded,” Zhou Du cast an impatient glance at Wang Hao. “It’s not like you’re going to Mars. Why are you such a nag? You can still come back every year.”
“Zhou Du, you are the damn ingrate, not me,” Wang Hao hurled those bitter words to Zhou Du, pointing to Zhou Du’s nose before returning to his parents’ side.
Zhou Du turned over to Xia Yao, “All right, let’s go.”
Xia Yao flashed a mystified look at him, “Aren’t we going to send Wang Hao off to the plane?”
“It’s fine; he has his parents for that,” once Zhou Du finished his sentence, he yelled out, “Uncle, Auntie, we will be off then,” and left the airport with Xia Yao.
They noticed Zhang Yang standing outside the airport the moment they left the lounge. Zhang Yang leaned on the glass wall, his head turned to peer through the glass and take a look at the scene inside. Xia Yao was the first to realize his presence. He tugged on the Zhou Du beside him in a hurry, “Zhang Yang.”
Zhou Du shifted his eyes to the direction Xia Yao pointed; it was indeed Zhang Yang. “Why are you here? Go on in,” Zhou Du walked towards Zhang Yang and gave him a pat on his shoulder.
Zhang Yang turned his head over. After glancing at the two of them, he shook his head, “No need. Are you guys leaving? Let me send you two off.”
Zhou Du found it strange, but Zhang Yang had already started to stroll towards the parking lot. Zhang Yang was older than them by a year, which was why he could get a driving license after the exam ended. He drove his car slowly out of the car park. Zhou Du didn’t stand on ceremony either. With Xia Yao in his hands, he got in the car right away.
“Since you’re here, why didn’t you go in? He was complaining to me about you not sending him off just then.”
Zhang Yang was stunned once he heard that, seemingly finding it impossible, “Did he really say that?” The instant those words were out of his mouth, he lowered his head and turned the corners of his lips up in self-mockery, “I thought he never wants to see me again.”
Zhou Du was sitting at the back. After a glimpse at Zhang Yang’s profile, he advised, “It’s not like you don’t know Wang Hao and his temper. Are you seriously going to continue fighting with him?”
Zhang Yang shook his head, his smile bitter, “It’s not the same this time.”
“How is it not the same?” Zhou Du cast a glance at Xia Yao, deciding to speak after some pondering, “Wang Hao had told me what happened between you two. Hey, you sure are great at hiding; when did you fall for that guy? Why didn’t I notice it at all?”
Xia Yao was caught entirely by surprise. He cast a frantic glimpse at Zhang Yang, who was currently driving.
All Zhang Yang did was sigh before answering, “It’s been a while. Probably around grade eight or nine.”
Zhou Du’s eyebrows furrowed, “So you have had a crush on Wang Hao in all these years. You sure are secretive, huh.”
Zhang Yang answered with a low ‘Mn’. Seemingly unwilling to continue, he turned his head slightly to ask the two behind him, “Where are you two going? I’ll drive you there.”
Although Zhou Du and Xia Yao replied at the same time, their answers were different.
“Why do you want to go home? Since we are outside, of course we should go on a date.”
Seeing how straightforward Zhou Du was with his words, Xia Yao swept his eyes over to Zhang Yang in embarrassment, before muttering to Zhou Du, “Lower your voice.”
Zhou Du clutched Xia Yao’s hand to his palm as he inched to his ear and whispered, “We’re not going home; we’re going on a date.” As soon as he stopped talking, he gave Xia Yao a peck on the cheek. A bright shade of red covered Xia Yao’s face.
With a sigh, Zhang Yang turned his steering wheel, driving towards downtown. Once they had reached their destination, Zhang Yang drove off.
An ice cream shop was not far from them. Upon further inspection, Zhou Du realized it was actually the shop where Xia Yao and Fang ZeYu had eaten ice cream together. “Let’s go there,” Zhou Du pointed to the shop.
Xia Yao’s eyes followed to the direction Zhou Du was pointing. A slight hesitation later, he asked, “You want to eat ice cream?” Zhou Du huffed before hauling him there.
When the two of them entered the shop, Zhou Du searched for a table. He had Xia Yao sit by an empty table he found, before queuing up to buy some ice cream. As it was the height of summer, the ice cream shop was bustling with customers. Upon returning to Xia Yao with two cups of ice cream in hand, Zhou Du noticed a girl sitting opposite Xia Yao. His expression darkened as he marched over.
“Excuse me,” Zhou Du spat out curtly to her.
The girl turned over, surprised to see that the guy behind her was even more handsome. She hurried up her seat apologetically, “I’m sorry. The shop is full. I saw this hottie sitting over here alone, so I decided to share a table with him.”
“I told her it was occupied.” Afraid that Zhou Du would misunderstand, Xia Yao explained straight away.
That girl’s eyes curved into two jovial crescents, “Yes, he did say so. But this is a table for four; do you mind me sharing with you?”
“Yeah,” Zhou Du threw a rude rejection at her. Then, he set a cup of ice cream in front of Xia Yao and sat opposite of him. Shocked at Zhou Du’s bluntness, that girl’s face was as ripe as a tomato. She apologized to the two of them and left.
Xia Yao peeked at Zhou Du cautiously and started explaining to Zhou Du, “Just now, she just took a seat suddenly. I told her it was occupied, but she didn’t believe me.”
Zhou Du put a scoop of ice cream into his mouth; the sweet cream melted instantly. A tinge of ice cold sweetness swam down his throat to his stomach. He cast a look at Xia Yao, “I never said anything, though.”
Xia Yao had no idea whether Zhou Du was mad or not. He stirred the ice cream in his cup anxiously. His eyes were fixed onto Zhou Du.
Zhou Du raised his head to peek at Xia Yao. Realizing that Xia Yao had his eyes on him, he grinned, “Want some of my ice cream?” With the spoon he used just now, he scooped out a spoonful and passed it over to Xia Yao, “Try it.”
Xia Yao pursed up his lips in embarrassment, “There’s a lot of people around.”
“Who cares; they don’t know us.” Zhou Du moved the spoon nearer. Xia Yao’s face heated up as he lowered his head a bit to eat off the spoon.
Zhou Du took back the spoon and placed it back to his mouth, giving it a lick. With his eyes focused on Xia Yao, he smirked, “So sweet.” Xia Yao’s blush deepened further.
It was still early when they finished their ice cream. Who knew what had gotten into Zhou Du; he insisted on dragging Xia Yao to the movies on the spur of the moment. Not much people visited the movie theatre in the afternoon. Zhou Du purposely chose their seats to be somewhere closest to the corner at the back. Once inside, they noticed that, except for the three to four people in the middle of the front row, all seats were empty. Zhou Du found he had made a perfect choice to bring Xia Yao to the movies. The two of them got to their seats and sat down.
Not long after they took their seats, the theatre darkened. Xia Yao placed all of his energy to stare at the wide screen in front. However, due to the distance, he had to squint a little. The lights from the screen dimly illuminated Xia Yao’s face. Zhou Du turned over to him. With his head resting on his hand, he gazed straight at Xia Yao’s profile, not even minding what was on the screen. Feeling the heated gaze from Zhou Du, Xia Yao became reserved.
Zhou Du crept up closer to Xia Yao abruptly, his hand grabbing Xia Yao’s chin to turn his head to him. They gazed into each other’s eyes. Zhou Du muttered to Xia Yao, “Is the movie more interesting than me?” With that said, he moved towards Xia Yao’s lips, giving him a deep kiss. Xia Yao pressed his hands onto Zhou Du’s chest. The moment the kiss ended, Zhou Du asked, “I fed you my ice cream before, but you didn’t offer yours to me. There’s still time to make up for it.” As he licked his lips, he added, desire in his voice, “Yup, as sweet as I expected.”
In the darkness, Xia Yao asked with a flushed face, “Then, do you want to try it again?” Upon hearing that, Zhou Du pressed his forehead to Xia Yao, and kissed him deeply.