Translated by Ying of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Ever since their separation at that time, Zhou Du came to visit Xia Yao less and less. Before, even if he couldn’t manage to drop by every day, he would still make sure that they saw each other at least two to three times a week. And that didn’t even include their weekends. Lately however, Zhou Du, perhaps because of school or other reasons, barely managed to make time for Xia Yao at all, sometimes even only seeing him once after two whole weeks.
Xia Yao found that this new arrangement actually relaxed him, he’d recently found two part-time jobs, both private tutoring. On the weekends, he taught a year ten boy, while at six to eight in the afternoons, he would teach a year nine girl –tutoring English in both cases.
He was paid hourly in both jobs and if this continued, Xia Yao would be able to pay all of the next semester’s school fees by himself. If he was lucky, he might even be able to tackle his living expenses.
After starting this new and far busier schedule, Xia Yao slowly began to push Zhou Du towards the back of his mind – that is, until he left his female student’s home that night to walk right into a call from Zhou Du.
“Did you forget that you had a boyfriend?” Zhou Du didn’t seem to be in a good mood.
Xiao Yao laughed softly, comforting the man on the other side. “Sorry about that, I’ve been pretty busy with my part-time jobs, I’ve actually got a day off this week, why don’t I go see you?”
Zhou Du replied after a short pause. “No, you don’t have many chances to rest these days, so just stay in school, there’s no need to run over here to me.”
“What’s this? Are you upset?”
“No.” Zhou Du said in an offhand manner. “I’ve got something going on over the weekend. I’ll go over to you next week.”
Xia Yao assumed that it was because he was busy with his academics so he replied. “Alright, I’m about to get on the bus, I’ll send you a message once I get to my bedroom.”
“Wait a second.” Zhou Du said, thinking that Xia Yao was hanging up. From the other line came a ‘chu’ then the voice complacently demanded, “You gotta give me a kiss before you can hang up.”
Xia Yao couldn’t help but laugh a little helplessly, then as Zhou Du had done, gave the speaker of his phone a kiss before hanging up. He didn’t even manage to make it to the bus station when a black BMW slowed to a stop by his side.
As though he had felt it, Xia Yao turned his head to throw a glance at the car next to him. At this moment, the car window slowly slid down to reveal a face that seemed to Xia Yao both foreign and familiar.
Within a private section in a Japanese styled teahouse, Xia Yao sat facing the person in front of him with an expressionless face. The scent of sandalwood seemed to make the small room descend into an even deeper tranquillity. Tea sat in front of Xia Yao, and from it rose pale, white smoke that carried the scent of the beverage and drifted across his nose.
Zhao WenHua picked up his tea, gently swirled the liquid around a little before tasting it by taking a miniscule amount.
“I think you should know who I am.” He leisurely set his tea back down on the surface of the shortened table they sat at.
Xia Yao replied without any emotion. “Who you are? What should I know about who you are.”
Zhao WenHua had kept his skin in excellent condition, if you didn’t inspect it carefully, it was difficult for one to pick up any wrinkles on his face. He didn’t seem to enjoy smiling very much, his laugh lines were extremely shallow. However, as he processed Xia Yao’s reply, the corners of his mouth seemed to lift slightly.
“Genetically speaking, I am your father.”
Xia Yao clenched his fists tightly at his sides.
“Of course, legally speaking, I am also your father.”
“Father?” Xia Yao sent him a provoking glare.
Zhao WenHua’s expression didn’t budge an inch, “Of course, you can deny this. But these are unchangeable truths, aren’t they?” He lifted up the kettle that was by his side and poured Xia Yao another cup of tea.
The fury on Xia Yao’s face flashed in and out in an instant, he tried his best to tell himself to calm down before rising to his feet. Then, without attempting to hide his condescending manner in his words at all he said, “I apologise, you can claim anyone to be your son but I have zero interest in the matter. Moreover, please never contact me again, same to that wife of yours.”
After he finished that last sentence, he picked up the schoolbag that sat beside him and prepared to leave. Just as Xia Yao was about to push open the big wooden door that beckoned him towards his freedom, Zhao WenHua opened his mouth again from behind him.
“Does your mother know that you’ve been kissing a man on the street?”
Xia Yao felt his body give an involuntary shiver, the blood drained from his face as he spun around furiously to glare at Zhao WenHua with a passion.
The slight traces of a smile that had hung on the corners of Zhao WenHua’s mouth previously were completely gone, wiped away to be replaced by eyes without even a speck of feeling. With those eyes, he spoke to Xia Yao. “It would be in your best interest to terminate all contact and relation between you and that man.”
The knuckles that Xia Yao was clenching his school bag with had turned white, after taking in a shaky breath, he opened the door and left. Xia Yao seemed to have lost much more than blood from his face in his short exchange with Zhao WenHua, he had arrived in his room only half alive; what he couldn’t understand was how Zhao WenHua knew about his and Zhou Du’s relationship.
Whenever he thought about Xia mother from his past life finding out about Xia Yao liking men and the things that she would say to him, his heart clenched with unbelievable pain. He absolutely could not let his mother know. This was his only route of thought – for he didn’t want to be forced to break away from his mother in this life too.
He turned on his phone to find that Zhou Du had sent him many messages. All he could do for a while was stare at those messages before he finally painstakingly replied with, [I’m very tired today, so I’m preparing to sleep, you should also rest earlier. Good night.]
Xia Yao’s mental state had been in shambles for the past two days, he knew that he couldn’t hide this from his mother his whole life, but now just wasn’t the right time to tell her.
He didn’t know what type of sickness his mother had died from in his previous life and he was terrified that receiving the news that he and Zhou Du were together would affect her health. If, like in his past life, she forced him and Zhou Du to break up, he had no guarantee on what choice he would make if confronted with this scenario once again.
He didn’t want to lose Zhou Du, but he was even more unwilling to lose his mother.
September passed just like that, with not many ups and downs or surprises, as soon as October started, so did national day. Zhou Du called him at the crack of dawn, informing him that he had booked him a plane ticket because he wanted to go home together with him.
What Zhou Du didn’t expect was for Xia Yao to turn him down.
“Hmm, I may be delayed another two days before I can go back.” Xia Yao could feel his conscience aching as he said the words, “So you should go home first.”
“A two day delay? Why? Is it because of your part time jobs?”
Xia Yao gave a sound of agreement, hesitating about how he should explain his excuse to Zhou Du. He didn’t expect Zhou Du to beat him to it, saying, “Fine then, but you need to be careful on your way back home, once you get back, give me a call okay?”
Xia Yao thought about the offer dubiously, he had originally thought that Zhou Du would force him into going back with him.
“Aye, I haven’t even seen you in so long.” Zhou Du let out a sigh. “I’ll be leaving tomorrow, won’t you see me off?”
“I…” Xia Yao didn’t even know how to reply.
“Okay, okay, I know you must be busy, right? How about I go find you in the afternoon, are you free then?”
“Zhou Du, I…” This time Xia Yao really wasn’t using an excuse, his schedule in the afternoon was jam-packed with lessons and he had to tutor that little girl at night.
Zhou Du was silent on the other line for a very long time, just as Xia Yao thought he was about to get angry, he calmly said to Xia Yao, “Fine then, we can meet once we get back to H city.”
After the call ended, Xia Yao felt terrible. His heart was wrenching with guilt and cowering with fright. He hadn’t expected Zhao WenHua to turn up at his school that day at noon.
Xia Yao felt nauseous just looking at the man’s silhouette. He wanted to pretend that he hadn’t seen the other male so badly, but the car’s driver dutifully stood at Xia Yao’s side, murmuring something to him quietly. The students coming and going sent Xia Yao sideways glances as they walked past. Xia Yao clenched his fists before he finally followed the driver onto the car.
“Are you planning on returning home for national day?” Zhao WenHua sat in the back of the car as he leisurely inquired.
Xia Yao merely hung his head, unwilling to speak to the other man.
“In your heart, you probably hate me very much.” Zhao WenHua tilted his head and gave Xia Yao a once over, the boy’s eyebrows were slanting downwards towards their corners, looking so much like he had at the same age. In the depths of his innermost heart, a shred of foreign emotion formed; this feeling is more commonly known as fatherly love.
Zhao WenHua let out a sigh. “I’m only doing this for your own good, you’re still young, unable to separate the blacks and whites of the world. I just don’t want to see you walking down a bent path.”
Xia Yao suddenly raised his head to give Zhao WenHua a glare of utter ridicule while his mouth slowly formed a mocking sort of smile. “If my path is bent, then it’s been bent for almost two decades now.”
Zhao WenHua’s brows couldn’t help furrowing at Xia Yao’s statement.
Before his last session for the morning had even finished, Zhou Du had already picked up his books and sneaked out of the classroom. As he passed the person sitting next to him, who also happened to be his roommate, he shoved his books into the other’s arms, whispering to him. “I’m leaving first so please take my books back.”
The teacher at the podium was fiddling with something with her head down so by the time she had looked up again, Zhou Du was gone.
Since Xia Yao was busy in the afternoon, then he’s just see him at noon instead.
Zhou Du sprinted across campus to arrive at the school entrance; he spared a glance at the public bus stop stationed next to the school before deciding to take a taxi after all.
He really wanted to see Xia Yao. The faster the better.
Taking a taxi from where he was to Xia Yao’s wasn’t cheap and although Zhou Dou didn’t use to mind how much money he threw around, after he had started working himself, he had finally realised how difficult it was to earn cash.
He boosted up his confidence and ran towards Xia Yao’s bedroom entrance, only to find there wasn’t a trace to be found of the man.
“He’s not in.” Xia Yao’s roommate had recognised Zhou Du and knew who he was immediately. Because of this, he didn’t even need Zhou Du to open his mouth before he had answered his unspoken question.
“Do you know where he went?”
The roommate shook his head. “I have no idea, he might’ve gone out for food.”
After Zhou Du heard the information the roommate had provided, he slipped his phone out of his pocket to call Xia Yao, however, a male voice drifted to his ears from behind him. “You should try to find him, he just got in a car and left.”
“Left? Left to where?”
The roommate who’d just appeared had probably just came back so he put his things on the table before answering Zhou Du, “I don’t know, I only saw that they drove away from the front of the school. I think it was a man who picked him up.” As the roommate finished saying this, he watched Zhou Du carefully to spot the other man’s reactions.
In truth, Xia Yao’s connections in the dorms weren’t bad at all, he was considered good looking and his personality was great too; common sense dictated that a guy like him should have been snatched up ages ago. However, till this day, he hadn’t even so much as developed an interest to any of the girls.
The roommate hadn’t really paid the issue any mind but after noticing Zhou Du’s more than frequent visits to Xia Yao, he couldn’t say that he hadn’t suspected the nature of their relationship.
However, at the same time, he really couldn’t care less; whether Xia Yao like girls or guys didn’t have anything to do with him.
He only offered up that bit of information since he found Zhou Du not to be an eyesore.
Zhou Du thanked the roommate hastily before leaving the building. The whole time he walked, he tried to get a call through to Xia Yao and each time, the other male would hang up.
Zhou Du knew that he shouldn’t be getting ahead of himself or overthink, but the worry that his heart felt made him want to drag Xia Yao back with him this instant and interrogate him until he got some answers.