Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
A sudden twinge of pain hit Zhou Du’s stomach, causing him to break out in a cold sweat. He turned around immediately and supported himself with his hands on the bathroom basin. He did not want Xia Yao to detect how sick he looked. However, he forgot there was a mirror right above the sink, which completely reflected his expression into Xia Yao’s eyes.
Panic surged in Xia Yao’s heart in an instant. He grabbed Zhou Du’s wrist at once, his face filled with worry as he asked, “What’s wrong? Are you feeling alright?”
Frowning from the pain, Zhou Du gripped the edges of the bathroom basin tightly. After taking a deep breath, he opened his mouth slowly to reply, “I’m fine; just leave.”
Xia Yao’s face paled at that moment. He took a step back in hesitation. “I… I’ll call your girlfriend over,” he uttered out and turned away, planning to leave.
Before Xia Yao could even take a step out, Zhou Du gripped his wrist and yanked him back to his side. “Girlfriend?” Zhou Du stared at Xia Yao’s profile, questioning, “Xia Yao, if I had a girlfriend, will you be happy?”
All traces of color vanished from Xia Yao’s face. His lips trembled, “I… I will give you my blessings.”
“Ha,” Zhou Du seemingly found it funny. His grip on Xia Yao’s wrist tightened as he asked, a slight harshness in his eyes, “Giving me blessings? Who are you to do that? What identity are you going to use to give me blessings? As my ex?”
Xia Yao struggled for a bit, but wasn’t able to escape the shackle that was Zhou Du’s hand. “Let go of me,” he lowered his head, reluctant to meet Zhou Du’s face.
Zhou Du quirked up the corners of his lips all of a sudden, “Of course; I will let go of you. I’ve let you go long ago, haven’t I?” The moment he loosened his grip, Xia Yao took two steps back by force of habit. “Just leave; don’t show up in front of me ever again,” Zhou Du turned his head over yet again and told Xia Yao emotionlessly.
Xia Yao felt a pang in his throat when he choked up. Pain filled his heart, as though someone was stabbing it with an awl. He turned away and took a step forward. Just when he was about to open the bathroom door, Zhou Du collapsed onto the floor behind him with a thud. “Zhou Du!”
Situated in the ward, Zhou Du felt as though people were talking near his ears. Upon waking up, he instinctively covered his eyes with his hands. However, his wrist was restrained by someone.
“Where’s the IV bottle? Don’t move around!” That familiar rowdy voice of Wang Hao rang into Zhou Du’s ears.
Only then did Zhou Du open his eyes. Initially, he was quite perplexed, but when his sight got back to its usual clearness, he asked, “Why am I in the hospital?”
“You still have the cheek to say that?” Wang Hao couldn’t stop himself from pointing at Zhou Du while chiding, “Hey, I guess you don’t want to recover, huh? Getting yourself that drunk; you sure are manly, Zhou Du.”
Zhou Du only came back to himself then, asking in a hurry, “Where’s Xia Yao?”
“Xia Yao? You almost scared him to death.”
Zhou Du pursed up his lip as he stared at Wang Hao in silence.
Crossed, Wang Hao sat on Zhou Du’s bed and spoke, “I noticed that the two of you have been in the bathroom for quite some time. It wasn’t really good for me to keep others out, so I decided to go in. I saw Xia Yao bawling like crazy while lying by your side once I got in. I was so shocked; I thought you were dead.”
Just then, Zhang Yang entered the ward after footing the bill. He patted Wang Hao’s head lightly, “Stop talking nonsense.”
After a long silence, Zhou Du couldn’t help himself from asking, “Where is he then?”
“He went back home.”
“Aren’t you the one forbidding Xia Yao from appearing in front of you? I was planning on having him come with us to the hospital, but he just kept refusing. He said you don’t want to see him and was afraid that you would get angry once you saw him when you’d wake up. So he went home.”
Zhou Du turned his head to a side.
Wang Hao continued, “Hey, what in the world are you thinking? If you are not interested in Xia Yao, I won’t waste my time getting myself involved. I thought you wanted to reconcile with him, which is why I arranged this get-together.”
Still, Zhou Du kept his mouth shut. Zhang Yang let out a sigh and pulled Wang Hao up, “Stop talking; just give him some time to himself. We will send him back once he finishes his IV bottle.”
Only when the two left did a trace of gloom reveal in Zhou Du’s face.
Once Xia Yao returned home, he realized his mother was currently sitting in the living room. No lights were on in the room; only some flickers of lights from the silent television illuminated the surroundings. Xia Yao raised his hand to turn on the lights. Mother Xia stood up right away, “Welcome back. Have you eaten yet?”
Xia Yao nodded and asked, “Why aren’t you sleeping? Has Yang Yang gone to bed?”
“He slept after having his milk,” Mother Xia turned off the television with the remote, “Are you hungry? I can cook you a bowl of wonton.”
“You don’t need to. Mom, go on and sleep too.”
Mother Xia walked over to Xia Yao’s side and pulled out a chair, “Sit down; Mommy wants to talk with you.”
Xia Yao sighed in his heart. He knew what his mother was planning to talk about, “Mom, I’d rather not. You’re probably tired as well.”
Mother Xia eyes reddened at once, “Yao Yao, are you still blaming Mommy?”
Xia Yao felt a burst of heartache. It wasn’t like he hadn’t once resented his mother. However, he had no choice; she was his mother after all. He took a stride forward and squatted down in front of his mother, before holding her hands, “Mom, don’t say that. I… I don’t want to wreck other girls’ lives. This thing of mine can’t be cured; I’m born with it. I can’t do anything about it either, Mom.” His voice faltered more and more as he spoke, “Just treat it as though you gave birth to a freak. It’s all my fault; sorry for letting you down.”
A drop of tear plopped down from Mother Xia’s eyes onto Xia Yao’s hand, “After so many years; after so many years. Yao Yao, tell Mommy, he’s still in your mind, right?”
Tears welled in Xia Yao’s eyes. He pursed his lips wordlessly. Mother Xia let out a deep sigh and pulled her hands away, before walking back to her room slowly. Xia Yao continued kneeling with his head lowered, letting tears fall freely onto the floor.
As Mother Xia didn’t have anything much to do usually, ever since she moved to B City, she had been dragged along by the grannies around the area to join them in plaza dancing. She seemed to have found a sliver of meaning in life when Xia Yao brought the then three-month-old Xia YangYang home two years ago. Xia YangYang was a little boy of mixed blood. At first, Mother Xia was elated at the baby’s arrival, being under the assumption that Xia Yao finally came round to the idea. Even if he got her a foreigner daughter-in-law, she was still jubilant. However, only when Xia Yao took out the photo of Xia YangYang’s mother did she figured out there was something wrong. YangYang’s biological mother was also from China. No matter how ignorant Mother Xia was, she still could comprehend that it was impossible for two Chinese to give birth to a mixed-blood baby. Xia Yao didn’t explain to her the specific details either. Following the realization that YangYang wasn’t her biological grandson, she couldn’t quite accept it initially. However, she was getting on in years, reaching the age when she should be enjoying her life of coddling her grandchildren. Thus, slowly but surely, she began to regard YangYang as her biological grandson.
The aunties in the plaza dancing group normally picked Xia Yao as the object of their gossip when they were free. All of them believed that he got dumped by his foreigner girlfriend when overseas, so he brought home such a burdensome child that was born out of wedlock.
Due to Xia Yao’s good looks and occupation as a university teacher, Mother Xia had been exhausting every means to arrange a blind date for him, even though it was hardly a year ago since Xia Yao returned home. Nonetheless, she was met with a resolute refusal from Xia Yao every single time; he won’t even drop by to take a glance at the blind date partner.
At the start, Mother Xia would throw a tantrum at him, but Xia Yao was especially stubborn with it. He told Mother Xia that he was born gay. It was an unchangeable fact, so he couldn’t go on and wreck the lives of other families’ daughters. Mother Xia simply wasn’t able to do anything about her son’s stubbornness on the subject. Fortunately, she had YangYang to keep her company. Thus, the attention she focused on Xia Yao decreased gradually. The reason she brought this up was due to her knowing that Xia Yao was going to his senior high school class reunion. She knew Xia Yao hadn’t been in contact with his ex-classmates. Hence, his sudden attendance at the class reunion definitely had something to do with Zhou Du. Mother Xia lied on her bed, letting out a deep sigh.
It just so happened that Xia Yao was on holidays these few days, so he used less than a week to finish translating all of the documents from Zhou Du’s company. He sent an email to Zhou Tong, informing her the job was completed. In just a moment, Zhou Tong replied to his email, requesting him to come over to the company to hand the documents over. After a slight hesitation, Xia Yao agreed to it. It was his job after all. Once he reached the doorsteps of Zhou Du’s company, he gave Zhou Tong a call from downstairs. She told him to wait there as she would be coming down for him right away.
The moment Xia Yao’s eyes met Zhou Tong, he looked as though he was scorched by her presence. She was the woman who accompanied Zhou Du to the get-together, Zhou Du’s girlfriend. Xia Yao clutched the briefcase in hands. Zhou Tong revealed a professional smile, “Teacher Xia, good work.” Xia Yao replied with a ‘Mm’. He was about to fish out the documents from the briefcase and hand them to Zhou Tong, but was stopped by Zhou Tong with a wave of her hand, “Teacher Xia, you shouldn’t hand this to me. Instead, you should hand this to our leader.” Xia Yao had no idea who was the leader is was referring to, so he followed her upstairs.
Zhou Tong had Xia Yao wait next to her office table before reporting to Zhou Du with a call from her office phone. Once his approval was obtained, she brought Xia Yao near Zhou Du’s office door and told Xia Yao, “My boss is waiting for you inside. You just have to hand this to him personally. When he approved it, I’ll bring you to the finance department.” Xia Yao figured out the boss inside the office was Zhou Du the moment he heard Zhou Tong calling him ‘Chairman Zhou’ on the phone. After taking a deep breath, he pushed the door open and headed in.
Currently, Zhou Du appeared proper and stern as he sat upright. Although he acted as if he was serious at work on his computer, all of his focus was fixed on his office door. When the door handle was gently opened, he couldn’t help himself from holding his breath.
Once Xia Yao opened the door, he noticed Zhou Du was staring emotionlessly at his computer screen. He stood by the door, at a loss. Only then did Zhou Du raised his eyes to glance at him. He pointed with his chin, instructing him formally, “Take a seat.” Thus, Xia Yao walked over to the sofa at the side and sat down. Zhou Du feigned composure as he stood up and strolled over to Xia Yao’s side.
Xia Yao didn’t dare to lift his head. He took out the documents from his briefcase hurriedly and set them on the table, “I have completed the translation.” Yet, Zhou Du didn’t utter out any reply. Instead, he looked downwards at Xia Yao, his gaze stuck firmly on him. Xia Yao’s heart raced abruptly. He wanted to ask Zhou Du how was he that day, but reason warned him that he wasn’t entitled to do so. After all, Zhou Du’s legitimate girlfriend was sitting right outside the office.