Translated by zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Zhang Jue went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. The water temperature rose rapidly, and the steam heated up the small bathroom. Zhang Jue got warmer and slowly took off the wet clothes. He felt as if he was frosting over, with cold air rolling off him. After standing under the shower for a long time, he finally got a little warmer.
After he familiarised himself with the route to the pier during the day, he went to visit Harrison again. Harrison had been on that cruise so he could provide some details. Plus, Pei Shu was here, and Zhang Jue did not want to go back too early and disturb them.
When he arrived at the club, the adult show had just finished.
The guests had already left, and only the sensual pheromone smell in the air lingered. There was only confetti on the stage and dance floor, which a few janitors were sweeping up.
Harrison stood waiting for him at the entrance of backstage, dressed in a black formal suit. He explained that there was a function he had to attend in the evening. He passed a cigarette to Zhang Jue like he had always done, but Zhang Jue refused it.
Upon learning that Zhang Jue had decided to quit smoking altogether, he taunted Zhang Jue, as expected, and lit one by himself. The smell of tobacco drifted into Zhang Jue’s nose, and Zhang Jue moved away silently.
Harrison led the way as he asked Zhang Jue, “Did he ask you to quit?”
Zhang Jue denied it, but said, “But he doesn’t like it.”
Harrison held the cigarette between his fingers, looked back at Zhang Jue, and said with pity, “So you are quitting to please him. You flatter yourself.”
Zhang Jue had always had a relatively high tolerance for his friends, and because Harrison was right, he was not angry, and just asked casually, “What’s wrong with that?”
“Nope, ain’t nothing wrong with that.” Harrison smiled and waved his hand, as he brought Zhang Jue upstairs to talk about serious business.
Zhang Jue stayed for a while and asked his questions. Since Harrison also had his own matters to attend to, Zhang Jue called Chen Boqiao to ask if Pei Shu was still there.
The phone hadn’t connected yet, and the show had started again downstairs. Harrison’s office was not very soundproof, and the floor seems to be shaking with the music. Originally, Zhang Jue wanted to hang up and call him when the music softened a little, but Chen Boqiao picked up the phone and quickly guessed that he was in Harrison’s club.
Chen Boqiao said that Pei Shu hadn’t left yet, so Zhang Jue asked him if it was okay if he went back in two hours. Chen Boqiao said yes.
“How nosy,” Harrison commented, watching him keep his phone away, “what does you tipping my actors have to do with him.”
Zhang Jue did not respond, instead he got up and left.
The truth was, Zhang Jue lied to Chen Boqiao. The flower shop was not in some alleyway, but was on a busy street on the way back from the club.
When he left the club, he had nowhere to go. He drove past the flower shop and saw someone coming out of it holding a bouquet, and felt very tempted for a while. Zhang Jue was an indecisive person when he was absent-minded, so he hesitated so much that, when he decided to buy flowers after all, the car was already far away from that street.
People would do many strange things to procrastinate. Zhang Jue parked the car and walked slowly towards the flower shop.
It took about forty minutes to walk from the safe house to the flower shop. Zhang Jue didn’t get far before it started pouring. There was no umbrella in the car, and he couldn’t find any place that sold one on his way.
He was in the rain for a long time, but only picked flowers for five minutes. He didn’t know much about flowers, so he asked the owner to recommend some. He remembered that the safe house only had a small vase for flowers, so he chose eight of the flowers that he thought looked good. The florist removed the thorns on the roses for him and wrapped them up.
For a moment, when he was walking in the rain, Zhang Jue was a little afraid to take the flowers upstairs, but the next second he comforted himself—it was just flowers.
What if he doesn’t like it?
Even if Chen Boqiao told Zhang Jue that he didn’t like roses, and asked him to get some other flowers for him, Zhang Jue would immediately go back into the rain for him. But Chen Boqiao would never do this. He was always polite and never asked Zhang Jue for anything.
Zhang Jue walked out of the shower and found that he had forgotten to bring his change of clothes, so he wiped the water off his body at random, wrapped his waist in a bath towel, and went to the bedroom to get it.
As soon as he went out, he saw Chen Boqiao reading a book on the sofa.
The bouquet was placed on the coffee table, and Chen Boqiao had untied the ribbon of the wrapping paper. It looked like he had no intention to do anything with the roses. Zhang Jue didn’t say anything. He planned to put them in the vase later after a trim.
When he passed the sofa, Chen Boqiao suddenly called out to him and asked, “Where’s the vase?”
Zhang Jue was taken aback, and he pointed to the entrance, “In the cabinet.”
Chen Boqiao closed the book and walked to the entrance.
After Zhang Jue got dressed and went out, Chen Boqiao had trimmed the flowers and placed them in the vase. A pile of leaves and branches he’d cut off was thrown in the trash can by the table. The wrapping paper was flattened and folded into a square and placed aside.
Chen Boqiao went to wash his hands. Zhang Jue walked to the door of the kitchen, wanting to compliment Chen Boqiao, but he could not think of anything to say and he only knew to stand still like an idiot. Chen Boqiao washed his hands and wiped them dry. After waiting patiently for him for a long time, Zhang Jue still didn’t say anything.
In the end, Chen Boqiao opened his mouth and told Zhang Jue, “The flowers are very beautiful.”
Zhang Jue immediately said, “Thank you.”
Chen Boqiao smiled. He approached Zhang Jue and said, “But why didn’t you use an umbrella?”
“I didn’t manage to buy one,” Zhang Jue said.
Zhang Jue watched Chen Boqiao approach him, and realized that he was blocking the way. When he tried to get out of the way, Chen Boqiao grabbed Zhang Jue’s shoulder and kissed his lips. Then he pulled Zhang Jue closer, deepening the gentle kiss. They separated after a while, and he said, “You didn’t smoke in the adult club, well done.”
Zhang Jue raised his head slightly and looked at Chen Boqiao’s face. Chen Boqiao’s expression was very gentle, but it seemed to be slightly different from the previous gentleness. Zhang Jue couldn’t tell what the difference was and he tried to hug Chen Boqiao.
Chen Boqiao let him, his hand ghosting over Zhang Jue’s back. Zhang Jue rested his face on Chen Boqiao’s shoulder. He never thought that one day he could hold Chen Boqiao for a minute like this, and he felt that every second was as precious as a dream.
“Zhang Jue.” Chen Boqiao’s voice was very low and quietly rang in his ears.
Zhang Jue asked, “Yes?”
Chen Boqiao said, “I like the flowers, but don’t get caught in the rain next time.”