Translated by zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Coming out of the club, Zhang Jue seemed absent-minded.
Chen Boqiao probably saw it too, so he suggested that he would drive. Zhang Jue agreed, handed the key to Chen Boqiao, and got on the passenger seat by himself.
Leaving the entertainment Street, Chen Boqiao did not go in the direction of the safe house. He turned on the navigation and drove to the center of the city.
“It’s still early,” Chen Boqiao said, “Let’s take a look around Bangkok.” He put on the old sunglasses again and opened the radio to play some songs. The two of them were like ordinary tourists with a rented car, traveling around Bangkok aimlessly.
At a crossroad, Zhang Jue remembered what happened the last time he was here, and told Chen Boqiao, “Don’t follow the navigation. There is a section of road ahead that’s too narrow for this car to pass, turn right.”
Chen Boqiao turned right and asked Zhang Jue, “You come to Bangkok a lot?”
Zhang Jue said, “I’ve been here a lot in the past few years.”
The year before and last year, he came by many times. Harrison introduced him to a clinic. He came to see the said doctor, but after a lot of suffering, the illness was still not cured.
“Here to see that guy?” Chen Boqiao asked, “Or to see the adult show?”
Zhang Jue glanced at Chen Boqiao and said, “I don’t watch adult shows.”
“Really,” Chen Boqiao smiled, and said, “You tipped so casually, I thought you’ve seen quite a bit.”
Zhang Jue always felt that Chen Boqiao seemed to be making a jab somewhere, but because Zhang Jue was not good at communicating, he couldn’t figure out what it was after thinking about it, so he naively insisted, “I haven’t seen it. It’s just that I’ve gone to visit Harrison a few times during a performance. I’m afraid Harrison will drive me out if I don’t tip, so I have to give a little each time.”
“Then you came to Bangkok, just to see that guy?” Chen Boqiao asked.
Zhang Jue realized that Chen Boqiao was not going to let the topic on Harrison drop today, so he replied, “Not just to see him.” Before Chen Boqiao asked, he added, “Last month I scouted and drove around Bangkok for three days, met with Zonra. I took the road just now when scouting, and it was only halfway through that I realized I couldn’t drive through. At that time, I had to backpedal. I also ran over a bicycle on the side of the road and paid for the damage.”
Chen Boqiao was silent. After a while, he said, “What are we doing for the next eight days?”
“Do you want to watch an adult show in full?” Chen Boqiao asked again.
Zhang Jue was speechless and looked at Chen Boqiao, who was driving his car, and reluctantly compromised, “If you really want to see it, I can buy you a ticket.”
Chen Boqiao glanced at Zhang Jue’s expression, then suddenly laughed, as if he was pleased by Zhang Jue.
Zhang Jue silently looked at Chen Boqiao’s happy expression, he couldn’t get angry even if he tried. When Chen Boqiao stopped laughing, Zhang Jue racked his brains to name a few places he had visited before and asked Chen Boqiao if he was interested.
“We’ll think about it on the way back,” Chen Boqiao said, “Let’s eat first.”
The navigation system re-planned the route. Chen Boqiao drove into the business district of the city center, pulled up nearby restaurants from the map, and asked Zhang Jue, “What do you want to eat?”
Zhang Jue was the kind of person who ate everything with the same expressionless face. He figured he must be a bad consultant on this, so he said, “You should choose.”
Chen Boqiao picked one randomly, Zhang Jue agreed, and they headed to that restaurant.
When he saw the restaurant’s sign in the distance, Chen Boqiao suddenly said, “Whenever I went out to eat with people, it seemed that I always paid the bill.”
Zhang Jue turned his head to look at Chen Boqiao, without speaking.
“If I still have a chance to return to the Asian League, I can get us a seat in the restaurant on the top floor of Zhaohua Energy building,” Chen Boqiao said, “Or do you want to go back to Europe to see our alma mater? I can go with you. “
The sun was setting, and the shadows of the buildings on the street were in front of them and sometimes covering them.
Chen Boqiao casually said what Zhang Jue had fantasized about, so casually that he felt that Chen Boqiao was just being polite to him.
“Or do you not want to go with me?” Chen Boqiao couldn’t hear Zhang Jue’s answer, so he continued, relaxed. He stopped the car on the street where the restaurant was located, parked the car in the lot, turned off the ignition, pulled out the car key, but did not get out of the car.
He turned to Zhang Jue, took off his sunglasses, and stared at Zhang Jue intently. The setting sun covered his dark brown pupils with a golden orange glow.
As if he was really preparing to go on a date with Zhang Jue, Chen Boqiao confirmed again, “Zhang Jue, Asian League or Europe?”
“If you don’t tell me where you want to go, then I will have to pick again,” he said with a smile, “What I pick may not be what you want.”
Zhang Jue’s brain was barely functioning. He couldn’t remove his eyes from Chen Boqiao’s face. He had no clever thoughts and no good answers. He only knew to look at Chen Boqiao dumbly.
“Okay,” Chen Boqiao said, “Both then, we’ll go to both.”
He got out of the car, walked around the front of the car, and opened the door for Zhang Jue.
Zhang Jue felt like a slow student who had been given a chance to be tutored by a top student for a day. He was apprehensive and happy, and he felt that it was the luckiest he’s ever been.
Zhang Jue followed Chen Boqiao into the restaurant, and there happened to be a double seat still vacant, and the waiter ushered them in.
Chen Boqiao looked at the menu for a while and chose a set meal. After Zhang Jue ordered the same thing, he couldn’t refuse the enthusiastic recommendation of the waiter and ordered a bottle of the restaurant’s signature white wine. The two of them ate and talked to each other.
Most of the time, the “top student” Chen Boqiao was responsible for asking questions, while the “poor student” Zhang Jue gave unsatisfactory answers.
Chen Boqiao had a great time during that dinner.
After enlisting in the army, Chen Boqiao’s living conditions had completely changed. Apart from the obligatory Omega-meeting set up by his stepmother during vacation, he had hardly been on anything close to a date.
One reason was that Chen Boqiao had no wish to find and try good food, and the other was because he had been fighting in the wilderness so long that he no longer liked places that were too comfortable and let down his guard.
Compared with the perfunctory social obligations in high-end restaurants with his blind dates, eating with Zhang Jue, who has become more sluggish after drinking, was a lot more fun.
Chen Boqiao didn’t drink, but he smelled the aroma of the wine and knew that the wine would be deceivingly sweet.
Zhang Jue probably didn’t look at the alcohol content stated on the bottle, and drank glass after glass, and ate only a little. Chen Boqiao saw Zhang Jue’s eyes gradually becoming dazed, but Chen Boqiao wasn’t a compassionate person, so he didn’t stop him.
After drinking a whole bottle of wine, Zhang Jue started needing to think for a long time before he could say anything. Several times, his lips opened and closed as if he wanted to talk, but there was no sound coming out.
Chen Boqiao wanted to know exactly how drunk Zhang Jue was. After thinking about it, he lied to Zhang Jue and said, “Zhang Jue, we’re done eating, we’re going to say goodbyes now, let’s shake hands.”
Zhang Jue said “Ah”, repeating Chen Boqiao’s words “say goodbyes now?”, then did as he said and stretched out his hand, grabbing Chen Boqiao across the table, and slowly shook it up and down. Zhang Jue’s hands were very soft, his palms hot, and his eyes were almost out of focus.
“Going home,” Zhang Jue looked forward with confused eyes, and said, “Oh, okay. Okay.”
Then he stood up, actually remembered to pay the bill when the waiter brought it over, and walked out slowly.
Zhang Jue did not wobble, but he was very slow. Chen Boqiao followed behind and observed for a while, and found that Zhang Jue had no plans to find their car, so he quickly stepped forward and took Zhang Jue’s arm to push Zhang Jue into the car seat.
Chen Boqiao turned on the navigation in the car and drove to the safe house. Zhang Jue did not sleep. He looked out of the car with his eyes wide open, giving driving instructions from time to time. He even got upset when Chen Boqiao didn’t follow his instructions.
Halfway through the drive, Zhang Jue forgot what he was angry about. He opened his hand, muttering something quietly, groping up and down in the car to find something. Chen Boqiao listened carefully for a while before he heard that Zhang Jue was saying “Medicine.”
He said,”Where is the medicine?” After a few seconds, he repeated “Where is it?”
At the beginning, Chen Boqiao didn’t know what medicine Zhang Jue was looking for. He felt that it wasn’t efficient for Zhang Jue to overthink about his medicine and fumble around in the car, so he randomly took the bag behind the gear lever and handed it to Zhang Jue to reassure him. He told Zhang Jue, “The medicine is in here. Hold it first and take it when we get home.”
Zhang Jue held the sundries bag like it was a treasure. “Found it.” Zhang Jue said happily, opened the bag, fished around for a while, and took out a metal mechanical pencil.
“Found it.” Zhang Jue said happily again. He took the pencil and slowly rubbed the inside of his elbow with the tip of the pencil.
Chen Boqiao saw Zhang Jue’s movements in his peripherals and felt his heart drop. He slammed on the brake and wanted to snatch the pencil from Zhang Jue, but it was too late.
Zhang Jue plunged the steel tip of the mechanical pencil into the flesh on the inside of his arm, and let the tip stay in his arm for a few seconds.
“It hurts,” Zhang Jue said, distressed.
He didn’t notice that Chen Boqiao took his pencil, nor did he bother responding to Chen Boqiao shaking his shoulder and calling his name. He just frowned, looked forward, and kept using his fingers to touch his wound. The beads of blood were smudged by him, and most of his arm was covered with red imprints of his finger.
After a while, Zhang Jue stopped muttering about the pain and lay in the chair whimpering.
Probably because of the alcohol in his system, his cheeks were flushed. Zhang Jue raised his hand again, as if he wanted to cover his cheeks with blood-stained hands to cool down.
Chen Boqiao quickly clasped his wrist in his hands, preventing the disaster from spreading.
Zhang Jue’s wound was still bleeding out. Chen Boqiao saw a convenience store not far in front. He was afraid that Zhang Jue would make himself worse if he were left alone, so he used the rope in the storage box to tie up Zhang Jue’s hands, and then went to the convenience store to buy things needed to treat the wound.
When Chen Boqiao returned to the car, Zhang Jue was almost asleep.
Zhang Jue lay down with his waist bent, his eyes lidded, his brows frowning deeply, his tied hands struggling slightly. He was tall and thin, and his appearance had nothing cute about it. However, Chen Boqiao felt that Zhang Jue did not look weird and stupid with such movements and expressions, nor was it not not cute.
Chen Boqiao relaxed the rope a little and took apart the iodine cotton swab to disinfect Zhang Jue.
When the cotton swab touched Zhang Jue’s skin, Zhang Jue trembled, but did not resist, and gently allowed Chen Boqiao to clean his wound.
Chen Boqiao helped him put on band-aids, wiped off the blood stains on Zhang Jue’s hands and arms with wet wipes, and untied Zhang Jue.
Zhang Jue’s eyes opened bigger, staring at Chen Boqiao. Chen Boqiao did not start driving and looked at him patiently. After a long while, Zhang Jue said, “Chen Boqiao.”
Then Zhang Jue didn’t do anything or say anything. He just stared at Chen Boqiao at a distance of half a meter. After watching for a while, Zhang Jue slowly closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Chen Boqiao suddenly found that he had made a lot of unnecessary mistakes these days.
He should have kept a distance from Zhang Jue like he had from everyone else who had expressed their affection to him.
But it was too late, he had already missed the best time to guide Zhang Jue away.