Translated by zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editors: kai and Kiramekineko
When Chen Boqiao stepped onto the balcony, the sky was drizzling just a little, but after talking to Zhang Jue for a while, the rain got heavier and heavier. The rainwater wet the matchbox and cigarette case placed on the balcony handrails and soaked Zhang Jue.
The wind blew across the balcony, and stray strands of hair stuck to Zhang Jue’s pale cheeks. The coat Chen Boqiao brought for him was thin, and it was half-drenched in the rain as well.
Zhang Jue looked cold, and his ruddy lips became paler. However, the bad weather and physical discomfort he was experiencing were not enough to prompt him to suggest going inside before Chen Boqiao said anything. He probably wanted to continue speaking to Chen Boqiao, but he was a poor communicator who had not found a topic yet despite wracking his brain to make small talk.
Chen Boqiao didn’t mind standing outside to wait for Zhang Jue to come up with a topic. In fact, he even wanted to hear the results of Zhang Jue’s hard work, but the lack of sleep last night coupled with being drenched in the rain today might give Zhang Jue a fever again. He opened the door and said to Zhang Jue, ” Let’s get inside then talk about it.” Zhang Jue nodded, followed behind him, and walked into the room.
After entering the room, Chen Boqiao turned off the air conditioning, went to the bathroom and took a towel, then told Zhang Jue to wipe his wet face.
Suddenly, the digital clock on the coffee table happened to make a sound, and it showed six o’clock sharp.
Zhang Jue took the towel, but did not use it. He looked up at Chen Boqiao and asked, “Are you hungry? Did you eat anything else other than the porridge today?”
“Yes,” said Chen Boqiao.
Zhang Jue immediately put down the towel and stood up. “I’ll go out and buy it. I didn’t expect us to stay here for a long time so I didn’t prepare anything to eat.” He walked to the cabinet at the entrance, took the car key, and asked, “What do you want?”
Chen Boqiao told him that anything was okay, which made Zhang Jue look a bit distressed, but he didn’t ask again and went out.
The bedroom door was ajar, and the sensual smell of pheromones diffused in the room. Chen Boqiao then decided to make use of the time spent waiting for Zhang Jue to come back by tidying the room and opening the window to let fresh air in. As he pulled the curtains open, he happened to see Zhang Jue standing at the door with two grocery bags in his hands.
“Oh, you changed the sheets already,” Zhang Jue said blankly. “I can do it myself actually.” Then he said, “Let’s eat.”
He first placed the two heated pre-packed meals on the table, and then went to the kitchen with the other bag. Zhang Jue had bought a lot of frozen food, and he opened the door of the refrigerator to put it inside. Chen Boqiao entered the kitchen behind him, and helped by passing the packets to him one by one.
The bag was gradually emptied, and there was only a small rectangular paper box left at the bottom. Chen Boqiao took it out and realized that it was a box of three condoms. Zhang Jue closed the refrigerator door and turned to see Chen Boqiao holding the box. He leaned over to inspect it as well.
Chen Boqiao looked at Zhang Jue. Seeing Zhang Jue’s face being overcome with a look of horror after seeing the product, he found it tremendously amusing. So he added fuel to the fire by asking Zhang Jue, “Did you buy it?” He then mirthfully inquired again, “Did you get the right size?”
Zhang Jue stammered, “I didn’t buy this.”
“In the supermarket just now, the volunteers stuffed it in the bag.” He reached for it.
Chen Boqiao passed him the box, and he looked up again and explained, “I was holding the bag and didn’t see clearly.”
“I see.” Chen Boqiao smiled.
However, Zhang Jue couldn’t seem to figure out what to do with the box, so he opened a drawer and stuffed it in.
After dinner, Zhang Jue said that he would sleep on the sofa. Chen Boqiao didn’t let him, so he went to get another blanket for Zhang Jue, and the two lay on two sides of the bed.
Zhang Jue was afraid that Chen Boqiao would be bored, so he used a projector to play a movie, but he fell asleep after watching it for twenty minutes.
Chen Boqiao pulled the pillow out from under his back and shifted him into a lying position. He did not wake from the commotion. His shoulders and an arm were exposed to the cool air, and his pale and slender arm was slightly curled and lay on the quilt. Chen Boqiao glanced at it, but didn’t touch him again.
The next morning, Zhang Jue and Chen Boqiao woke up at about the same time. After washing up, Zhang Jue disguised Chen Boqiao and drove the two of them to the Erawan Buddha.
Chen Boqiao asked Zhang Jue if he had been there before, and Zhang Jue replied that he had been there once many years ago, but back then he just bowed and forgot to make a wish.
Chen Boqiao laughed, “I’ve never heard of anyone who would forget to make a wish when praying in a temple.”
Zhang Jue focused on driving the car without getting angry at Chen Boqiao’s laughter. “At that time, I had finished my prayers but I hadn’t thought of my wishes, and there were a lot of people, so I just left.”
Chen Boqiao laughed for a while. Zhang Jue felt a little embarrassed. He asked Chen Boqiao, “The Asian League and the TIS are so close, haven’t you been here before?”
“I have been to the TIS,” Chen Boqiao told him, “but not Bangkok.”
After parking the car near the Erawan Buddha tourist attraction, the two of them walked there.
The golden Buddha statue was surrounded by incense and offerings, the bustling crowd of worshippers huddled together, and the dancers in the pavilion kept dancing the ceremonial dance.
Although he forgot to make a wish last time, Zhang Jue was still a reliable tour guide. He brought Chen Boqiao to the incense cabinet and bought fragrant candles, walked beside Chen Boqiao, and whispered to him the rules for worshipping. He bought a set of incense for himself, and he prayed more seriously than Chen Boqiao, who wondered if he made a wish this time.
Chen Boqiao had no wish to make, so basically he accompanied Zhang Jue for a round of worshipping.
There was a place selling amulets near the Erawan Buddha. Zhang Jue said he wanted to see, so Chen Boqiao went with him.
There were many types of amulets in the stall. Chen Boqiao hadn’t seen these before, so he took a few more glances, and then when he went to find Zhang Jue, he saw Zhang Jue already standing more than ten meters away with his back facing him, talking to someone.
Chen Boqiao took a few steps to get closer, and heard a slightly child-like voice trying to speak English, “All passed from the Monk King Temple, the best amulets.”
“Really?” Zhang Jue lowered his head and spoke to the other party, his voice lowered, and it sounded gentle, “What do you have?”
Chen Boqiao approached quietly without letting Zhang Jue, who was concentrating on talking to the amulet peddler, notice him. The vendor raised his head and Chen Boqiao saw his appearance.
It was a petite Omega, wearing TIS clothes, with tanned skin and delicate features, and the combination of his facial features felt quite familiar. The vendor opened the fanny pack on his waist, showed Zhang Jue what was in it, and introduced, “These for promotion, these for money, these for love, these for health. Nowadays, there are very few good amulets. Mine are special.”
There was no need to look closely for Chen Boqiao to know that his bags were full of poorly made trinkets that deceive tourists, and Zhang Jue must also know this. And yet Zhang Jue stood there patiently, simply because the vendor had a face a little bit similar to Ai Jiaxi.
The Omega vendor probably thought that Zhang Jue was a gullible customer, and got closer to Zhang Jue. With his eyes wide open, lies rolled off his tongue telling stories of how he was buddies with the masters of the Monk King Temple, so the best amulets always came to him.
Chen Boqiao looked at them. Suddenly, the vendor looked at him, and Zhang Jue also turned his head.
“Sir, your cell phone seems to be ringing.”
Chen Boqiao heard the call alert tone from the mobile phone he put in his pocket. He took it out and saw that it was Pei Shu calling. Chen Boqiao didn’t pick it up right away. He looked at Zhang Jue and asked, “What are you doing?”
“…” Zhang Jue looked sheepish, “Looking at the amulets.”
Chen Boqiao and Zhang Jue looked at each other. He smiled gently and told Zhang Jue, “Don’t buy it.”
Zhang Jue was taken aback for a moment, and then glanced at the vendor. As Chen Boqiao watched him, he hurriedly declined the vendor’s offer, and walked quickly back to his side.
Chen Boqiao answered the phone, and Pei Shu asked, “Is Zhang Jue by your side?”
“Yeah.” Chen Boqiao didn’t look at Zhang Jue. He raised his arm to gently push Zhang Jue’s shoulder, telling Zhang Jue to walk along the street selling souvenirs with him.
The peddler who looked like Ai Jiaxi was still following them. He and Zhang Jue both knew that, but they didn’t point it out.
“Bad time to talk?” Pei Shu asked again, with some caution in his words.
“Wait.” Chen Boqiao stopped and turned to ask Zhang Jue, “Have you bought anything yet?”
Zhang Jue shook his head, “I haven’t decided yet.”
“You buy your things first, I’ll answer the phone.”
Zhang Jue said “okay” and turned around to choose. Chen Boqiao walked a little further, and asked Pei Shu, “What’s the matter?”
“It’s not that important,” Pei Shu suddenly became a little hesitant. “You asked me about that hospital before?” He paused for a few seconds before continuing, “Although I’m only an investor and I should respect the customer’s privacy, I asked my assistant to check it secretly just in case. Did you know that Zhang Jue was treated in this hospital before?”
Chen Boqiao gave Pei Shu an affirmative answer and Pei Shu said again, “He came to do four courses of treatment, and most people only need to do one or two, Zhang Jue is definitely not normal. And…”
“Zhang Jue is just relatively slow,” Chen Boqiao interrupted Pei Shu. He felt that he was not defending Zhang Jue, but just stating a fact. “His reaction is a bit slower than other people, and his personality is stubborn, but it’s not abnormal.”
Pei Shu paused for a while before saying, “You don’t understand the situation. The pain from the therapy is very intense. There are a lot of people who press the emergency stop button halfway through. Even if the treatment effect has not been achieved, no one will do it four times. It has nothing to do with the slow response. It is abnormal. I don’t need to lie to you.”
Chen Boqiao could feel that there was something else Pei Shu was not telling him.
“Boqiao,” said Pei Shu, trying to talk some sense into him, “you don’t want to have anything to do with Zhang Jue in your life, right? Any one of the candidates introduced to you by your stepmother is a million times better than this guy. I speak from experience, I just know that if you don’t push him far away when he’s annoying you now, he’ll only get worse in the future and it’ll be too late by then.”
Chen Boqiao lowered his head, stared at the gap between the bricks on the sidewalk, contemplated for a while, and told Pei Shu, “He is not annoying.” Without waiting for Pei Shu’s answer, Chen Boqiao added, “It’s you guys who gave the patient four courses of treatment, but still did not achieve the desired effect. Shouldn’t you be asking the owner to reflect on the hospital’s medical standards.”
“…Reflect on yourself,” Pei Shu said, exasperated, “Do you know what he was here for?”
Chen Boqiao didn’t speak, Pei Shu snorted lightly.
Then Chen Boqiao heard Pei Shu’s flipping through the paper medical records. There was not much emotion reflected in Pei Shu’s words. He told Chen Boqiao, “Zhang Jue came to the hospital twenty-eight times and had four courses of treatment. He wanted to seal off more than two hundred memory segments, from the age of ten to twenty-seven, each segment containing the name of Chen Boqiao.”
After Chen Boqiao hung up the phone, he didn’t see Zhang Jue around, so he walked to the amulet shop where Zhang Jue had last been, and he came across Zhang Jue hurriedly walking out of the alley beside it.
Seeing Chen Boqiao, Zhang Jue’s eyes seemed to light up, and he walked to Chen Boqiao and asked, “It’s over?”
Zhang Jue wore a black long-sleeved shirt. After coming out of the tourist attraction, he rolled up his sleeves, revealing his thin wrists. He carried a paper bag containing amulets in his hand.
He got closer to Chen Boqiao, but he also always kept a certain distance. The pheromone scent on his body was very weak, and the bitter apricot smell had hints of sweetness, which made Chen Boqiao think of unholy things while near the sacred statue. About how Zhang Jue sucked him off, how hard he tried, and how he pretended to enjoy it.
He then remembered Zhang Jue answering Ai Jiaxi’s question at the corner of the street facing the hospital gate, saying with no expression on his face, “It’s useless.”
Chen Boqiao wanted to know where Zhang Jue got more than two hundred pieces of memory related to him from, and why his love for him was so torturous and yet so dispensable.
In order to completely remove Chen Boqiao from his memory, he came for the treatment. Although it was not successful, he did four full courses and 28 intensely painful therapies. His spirit was certainly extremely commendable.
And also, why can’t Zhang Jue persistently pester him and stick to him like Pei Shu said he would, and only dared to say “I wouldn’t dare”?
“Want to get lunch?” Zhang Jue asked. Chen Boqiao nodded, and they walked to the car.
Zhang Jue was driving them to lunch. Chen Boqiao chose a restaurant randomly. Zhang Jue sat there and adjusted the navigation system. He leaned slightly forward and Chen Boqiao saw a small object in his shirt pocket.
Chen Boqiao opened his mouth and stated, “You still bought the amulet.”
Zhang Jue raised his head and glanced at Chen Boqiao, his expression a little embarrassed, “Yes…”
He didn’t explain much, and Chen Boqiao didn’t ask any further, just pointed to Zhang Jue’s pocket. “Let me see?”
Zhang Jue took it out to show him. Chen Boqiao weighed it in his hand a little, and it was indeed poorly made.
“What is this for?” Chen Boqiao asked.
Zhang Jue refused to look at Chen Boqiao’s eyes and said, “Health.”
“Zhang Jue, this is the god of love,” Chen Boqiao immediately called him out and couldn’t help but laugh at him.
Zhang Jue was always like this. No matter how many treatment plans he used, he would still buy a lucky amulet for love when he would come across it.
“For better luck with love,” Chen Boqiao said again, “Who did you get this for?”
Zhang Jue kept quiet and Chen Boqiao grabbed Zhang Jue’s hand that was still adjusting the navigation. He put the amulet back into Zhang Jue’s shirt pocket. Zhang Jue raised his eyes and looked at him.
“I picked it randomly,” Zhang Jue said, his lying was so bad that Chen Boqiao couldn’t bear to watch it.
“Zhang Jue,” Chen Boqiao called him.
Zhang Jue gave a “Yes” and asked, “What’s the matter?”
Chen Boqiao said to him, “Let’s try.”