Translated by zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editors: kai and Kiramekineko
Zhang Jue and Chen Boqiao did not have good seats. They were in a corner where no scenery could be seen.
The interior design and tableware of the entire restaurant were old. The white porcelain plate in front of Zhang Jue was chipped. There were many scratches on the porcelain surface. The steak knife was too blunt and gave him a hard time when he was cutting the meat.
Chen Boqiao didn’t say anything, quietly took Zhang Jue’s plate, cut it up for him, and put it back in front of him.
Zhang Jue couldn’t remember anything they spoke about that day, or if the food tasted good or not. He felt like the meal had ended right after they sat down. It was like taking a test he wasn’t confident about in school. It did not feel good while doing the questions, and as he left the testing venue, he forgot the questions.
Zhang Jue’s cash was almost used up, and he needed to go to another safe house to get more. He’d had some alcohol, so Chen Boqiao drove them.
Asia League drove on the left side, but Chen Boqiao’s driving was good either way and he cruised them through the streets of mid-december Bangkok.
When passing by a large supermarket on a street corner not far away, Zhang Jue suddenly had a very practical thought, but before he had time to voice it out, the car drove past the parking lot entrance.
There seemed to be an accident near the safe house, and the whole road was jammed.
After waiting for a while, the line remained unmoving, and Zhang Jue asked Chen Boqiao to pull over and told him that he’d walk over by himself. After taking the cash, Zhang Jue passed a small pharmacy. He paused, thought for a few more seconds, pushed the door open, and walked in. The air-conditioning and the fragrance of Thai medicine rushed over his face.
A clerk was sitting at the glass counter looking at his mobile phone. When Zhang Jue walked to the counter and tapped on the glass counter, he took off an earpiece and raised his head. Seeing Zhang Jue, the clerk was stunned for a second, then took off the other earpiece, smiled softly, and asked Zhang Jue something in Thai.
Zhang Jue did not understand but guessed that he was asking what he wanted, so he asked in English, “Are there any contraceptives?”
The clerk was startled, Zhang Jue repeated it again, and the clerk reacted and asked which Zhang Jue would have, the long-term one or the short-term one and whether he wanted the expensive one or the cheaper one.
“Short-term,” Zhang Jue replied succinctly, “Expensive.”
“Imported medicine from North America,” the clerk passed a box of the most expensive one to Zhang Jue, “but the short-term ones have more side effects than the long-term ones.”
The design of the paper box was very exaggerated. It had “freedom” and “passion” in huge blue English print, and the small print introduced “can minimize the chances of pregnancy and knotting”.
“What side effects?” Zhang Jue had never thought about coming to a pharmacy to buy contraceptives for the first twenty-eight years, and he hadn’t done any research at all. He didn’t even know if he could get pregnant. During the check-up a few years ago, the doctor told him that his birth cavity was affected by the alpha pheromone gland and did not develop very well.
But Chen Boqiao might be worried.
“Nausea,” the clerk pointed to his stomach and slapped a hand on his head, “dizzy.”
Zhang Jue nodded indifferently, bought the pills and did not ask for a bag, and opened the box on the counter. He grasped the aluminum foil containing the medicine tightly, lowered his head to think about it, and asked the clerk for a cup of warm water. He swallowed a pill before putting it back into his pocket. He thought Chen Boqiao didn’t need to see him take the medicine.
When Zhang Jue left the pharmacy, the road in front of the bank had freed up. He walked to the car and opened the door. Chen Boqiao did not turn on the air conditioner. He opened the sunroof of the vehicle, adjusted the back of his seat, and enjoyed the sun with his arms behind his head.
“Isn’t it hot?” Zhang Jue closed the car door.
Chen Boqiao straightened the back of the seat, started the engine, and did not answer. “What do you want to do this afternoon?”
They were just days away from boarding the ship. If all went as planned, they will be able to board the cruise ship set for North America in three days, and then travel on the Pacific Ocean for more than half a month before arriving at their next stop. Zhang Jue knew that he should take the opportunity to do things that he hadn’t dared to think of before, but he couldn’t think of anything. Finally, he looked at Chen Boqiao for a while and asked, “What do you think?”
Chen Boqiao sighed lightly, smiled and glanced at Zhang Jue. “Let’s drive around first.” He took off the sunglasses he was wearing and drove forward.
Chen Boqiao did not drive fast, and they ambled along the river.
After driving for a while, Zhang Jue saw a familiar sculpture of a large dog, and pointed it out to Chen Boqiao. “The cat was sent to this hospital.”
Chen Boqiao slowed down. “Since we’re free anyway,” he asked Zhang Jue, “do you want to go and visit?” Zhang Jue said yes, so he turned around the corner, stopped at the door of the pet hospital, and contemplated, “I wonder if that receptionist is here.”
Zhang Jue remembered that Chen Boqiao had praised the receptionist for his cuteness, and his mood shifted. He knew that he was jealous, but he didn’t know how to not be, so he didn’t comment, and walked in silently with Chen Boqiao.
When passing by the wall of dolls, he told Chen Boqiao, “I bought the doll for you here.”
Harrison often chided Zhang Jue for being bad at picking gifts, always buying some expensive but useless things as gifts.
The doll that resembled the cat Chen Boqiao picked up was very cheap, but Chen Boqiao still seemed to like it. That day, when he took it out of the bag, he petted it several times, and looked into Zhang Jue’s eyes when said he liked it.
Since he liked it, Zhang Jue hoped that Chen Boqiao could keep it for a long time.
“I noticed it at first glance,” Zhang Jue said again, telling him about his fateful encounter with the doll. “I thought it looked very similar.”
Chen Boqiao looked at the wall and nodded.
Receptionist Wen was ushering other guests that day. His colleague, a beautiful female Beta named May, helped Zhang Jue and Chen Boqiao on his behalf. May took them to see the kitten. The kitten was still in the collar and it nestled in his cubicle obediently. A paw stretched out from under it and fiddled with a toy ball.
Zhang Jue and Chen Boqiao stood in front of it. It looked up, mewed softly, and continued to push the ball around boredly.
Zhang Jue moved closer to Chen Boqiao and asked him, “Do you have a name for it now?”
Chen Boqiao crossed his arm, scrutinised the kitten for a few seconds, and said, “No.”
“Wen likes it very much,” May chuckled, “He named it An Qi secretly, since it’s well behaved like a little angel.”
Chen Boqiao glanced at Zhang Jue and asked for his opinion, “How is that?”
Zhang Jue did not know what Chen Boqiao was trying to say, whether he thought that An Qi was a good name or not, but he thought the name An Qi was very suitable, so he admitted, “it’s good.”
“We’ll just name it that then.” Chen Boqiao shrugged.
Receptionist Wen was standing in the corridor waiting for them when they got out from the nursery room.
He was wearing a loose pet hospital uniform, with his hair dyed brown and demurely framing his face. When he saw Zhang Jue, he waved happily. His voice was sweet, and he said softly, “I thought you had left Bangkok.”
Zhang Jue introduced him to Chen Boqiao. After the receptionist greeted him, he said to Zhang Jue shyly, “I heard from May that you still used the name I gave it.”
Seeing Zhang Jue nod, he laughed happily. “Thank you.” He informed Zhang Jue that the doctor happened to be free, and he could meet them to tell them about An Qi’s physical condition. He led the way and took them to the doctor’s office.
Zhang Jue did not want Chen Boqiao to know that he was planning to fetch the cat home to keep himself, so he placed a hand on Wen’s shoulder, trying to get him to walk slower, so that he could say a few private words. Unexpectedly, Chen Boqiao seemed to notice his gesture immediately and glanced back at him. Zhang Jue removed his hand.
The doctors at the pet hospital were extremely enthusiastic and took out the operation records to share with Zhang Jue. Chen Boqiao sat and listened for a while, glanced at the clock on the wall of the office, and announced that he was going to the bathroom.
Wen brought Chen Boqiao out to show him the way, so Zhang Jue had a few more words with the doctor. After signing a form, his hands were somehow stained by ink, so he asked for the direction to the bathroom and walked out.
He got a little lost on his way to the bathroom, and when he tried to find the route again, he happened to run into Chen Boqiao and Wen walking back. The two had their backs to Zhang Jue, so they didn’t see him.
Wen was chatting with Chen Boqiao. “That doll was very similar to An Qi, I wonder who it was given to…”
Chen Boqiao said, “It was given to me.”
“Ah,” Wen was a little surprised, and then he asked Chen Boqiao, “So you like dolls?”
Chen Boqiao paused before answering.
They had already gone far, almost reaching the end of the corridor, so Zhang Jue couldn’t hear the specific sentence Chen Boqiao said. He only heard the last few syllables and judging by Chen Boqiao’s tone, it was obviously not an affirmative answer.
Zhang Jue looked at Chen Boqiao’s retreating silhouette, rooted to his spot. He didn’t feel too sad, reflecting for a few seconds on how to avoid being wrong in his interpretation of Chen Boqiao’s preferences in the future, then went to the bathroom to wash his hands. He did not look at himself in the mirror. He dried his hands with a tissue, and walked slowly back to the office.
Zhang Jue opened the door and saw Chen Boqiao glancing at the wall clock again, so he cooperated and said that they should head back.
Wen sent them out, through the corridor of the pet hospital, past the front hall and small pool, and past the doll wall.
Chen Boqiao turned around with Zhang Jue in his arms, politely bid farewell to Wen, and led Zhang Jue forward, in front of the wall of dolls without so much as sparing it a glance.
When they got in the car, Chen Boqiao suddenly asked Zhang Jue, “What did you want to tell him just now?”
Zhang Jue was surprised that Chen Boqiao remembered. He made up a small lie, “I wanted to ask if the money was still enough.”
Chen Boqiao didn’t comment so Zhang Jue couldn’t tell whether he believed it or not.
Zhang Jue looked at Chen Boqiao several times, and said hesitantly, “Now that you’ve seen him, do you think he is cute?”
Chen Boqiao glanced at him and asked, “Do you?”
Zhang Jue suddenly got bold and pointed out, “I asked first.”
Chen Boqiao laughed suddenly, raised his hand and ruffled Zhang Jue’s hair and said, “He’s normal.” Then he retracted his hand and looked forward.
As they got closer to the safe house, Chen Boqiao showed his left hand to Zhang Jue and asked, “Do you want it?”
Zhang Jue turned his face to look at Chen Boqiao. Chen Boqiao drove the car seriously as if he was passing an apple to Zhang Jue. Zhang Jue accepted it graciously and interlaced their fingers.
He was both happy and upset today. He was content now, but still in disbelief that this stroke of luck suddenly came to him. He bowed his head slightly, held Chen Boqiao’s hand, and pecked the back of his hand.
Chen Boqiao didn’t respond, letting Zhang Jue touch him with his lips. He did not speak, didn’t move his hand, or withdraw it. Zhang Jue thought that the smell of pine in the car thickened.
They went upstairs and entered the room. As soon as the door closed behind them, Chen Boqiao pressed Zhang Jue’s shoulder against the door and kissed him.
In the narrow passage leading to the living room, Zhang Jue’s clothes were left on the ground in a mess.
The screened windows were closed and the curtains were half-open. It was still bright.
Chen Boqiao sat on the sofa with his shirt off while Zhang Jue was kneeling naked at his side with his legs spread apart. With trembling hands, he undid Chen Boqiao’s belt and pulled the cold iron zipper down. He held Chen Boqiao’s slicked member and slowly inserted it into his body.
Chen Boqiao was hard, and Zhang Jue couldn’t take in all of him at once, so he shifted his body up and down slowly until he sat down to the very end and arched his waist to kiss Chen Boqiao’s Adam’s apple. He suddenly remembered that he forgot to tell Chen Boqiao that he had taken contraceptives.
He got up again, steadied his breathing, and informed Chen Boqiao, “We didn’t get a condom.”
“It’s okay.” Chen Boqiao said, pushing him down again, and pushing the second half of his sentence “But I’m taking contraceptives” back into his mouth.
Zhang Jue moved for a while, panting against Chen Boqiao. Chen Boqiao asked, “Are you tired?”
They were in a hurry. Chen Boqiao didn’t remove his disguise, so his beard was rubbing against Zhang Jue’s chest and collarbone. His right hand was on Zhang Jue’s ribcage, and his left hand was wrapped around Zhang Jue’s ass.
Zhang Jue looked down at Chen Boqiao and shook his head slightly. Chen Boqiao pinched Zhang Jue’s chin and caressed Zhang Jue’s cheek.
“Zhang Jue, you’re blushing,” he said.
Chen Boqiao thumbed Zhang Jue’s lower lip and pulled Zhang Jue closer, nibbling on Zhang Jue’s chin and lips. Soon after, Chen Boqiao changed their position, pressing Zhang Jue into the sofa, holding Zhang Jue’s knees in place as he went in and out, knocking at the entrance to Zhang Jue’s womb directly. He was no longer so calm, but he also didn’t seem to be trying that hard to knot.
Zhang Jue’s thighs were twitching and hurting, and he didn’t want to have sex in a too-bright place. After a while, he took Chen Boqiao’s arm and whispered, “Chen Boqiao.”
Chen Boqiao’s hand around Zhang Jue’s waist seemed to tighten, and he answered with a single syllable as he stopped moving.
Zhang Jue said, “I want to go back to the room.”
Chen Boqiao looked at Zhang Jue for a few seconds, picked him up, and walked toward the bedroom. His hold on Zhang Jue was steady and effortless, and he was onto Zhang Jue as soon as he placed him on the bed.