Translated by Zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
On February 5th of the next year, Zhang Jue finally managed to change out of his blue and white striped hospital gown and into his own clothing.
The weather was nice that day, and the temperature was just as nice at noon. Zhang Jue and his mother walked past the small garden in the hospital, taking in the fresh scent of the plants.They got home via their chauffeured car after more than two weeks of him staying at the hospital.
Zhang Jue stared at the busy streets rushing past outside the car window, and he let his hair down to cover the gauze on the back of his neck.
His mother was sitting beside him, and in the middle of browsing through her magazine, she suddenly sat up straight and reached her hand out to touch the ends of his hair.
“Xiao-Jue, how about I bring you to get your hair cut?” His mother excitedly showed Zhang Jue a page in her magazine and said, “Do it like this.”
The male model in the magazine was attractive, with shoulder-length hair that indeed, looked very good.
Before Zhang Jue could answer, his mother said, “It’ll also be able to cover it, and it looks quite fresh.”
The day Zhang Jue returned from North America, his mother had expressed her opinions on his hairstyle, so it was probably not the first time she had wanted to bring him to her stylist.
However, as Zhang Jue looked at the magazine model, he thought that with a length like that, as long as he turned his head, even if the gauze was taken off, the scar could still be easily visible. He told his mother, “Maybe another time.” He then explained, “I want to wait for the scar to fade first.”
Right then, they had passed by the central plaza park, where Zhang Jue and his mother would often go for walks when he was young. They asked the driver to stop and the two walked for a while with their arms threaded.
When they got to the abstract looking sculpture in the middle of the plaza, his mother asked about his plans for the future indirectly.
Zhang Jue could understand her concern. In her mind, after Zhang Jue’s alpha glands were removed, his life would be completely different. Odd, unfriendly gazes would be cast upon him and rumors will spread. Even if Zhang Jue did not like to socialize, he was still part of a social circle.
“I…” Zhang Jue looked at his mother and did not continue.
Under the pale winter sun, the gentle and cold breeze that was so common in the New Independent Republic brushed past them, making the silken scarf around his mother’s neck tremble like a butterfly’s wings.
At that unsuitable moment, he suddenly thought of Chen Boqiao again. He thought: wouldn’t it be really nice if I could be together with Chen Boqiao for real? But it was not a fervent wish, just a passing thought.
Twenty-eight wasn’t old, but it wasn’t young either. In families like his, it was assumed that the period of childish freedom and stupidity ended the same time they graduated from school, and coming clean to parents was always difficult. If it were the Zhang Jue from before, he would have tried to avoid the topic.
But that day a mysterious feeling overcame him and Zhang Jue decided to confess. He looked at the tall copper statue and told his mother, “There’s this alpha that I like.”
His mother stood at his side, unmoving. After a moment, she asked, “Are you two together?”
Zhang Jue turned to look at his mother and thought that her surprised expression was very charming, and chuckled, saying, “I don’t know, he said he would try it out with me.”
There was a fleeting frown on her face, and her expression became hesitant. Zhang Jue felt that she had questions about the word “try”, but for some reason, she ended up asking, “Do I know him?”
“Harrison is a beta, right?” She sounded confused. “I can’t remember if he is.”
Zhang Jue could not help but laugh, “It’s not Harrison, but I guess you kind of know him.”
She still had a lot of unanswered questions, but after making eye contact with a happy-looking Zhang Jue for a few moments, she lowered her eyes and simply said, “As long as you’re happy,”
“Just don’t tell your father first.” She added, “He would not take well to the “try” concept.”
“Okay.” The wind was getting stronger on the plaza, so Zhang Jue put his arm around his mother’s shoulder and they got back to the car.
In the evening, his father returned to the mansion.
After dinner began, Zhang Fu dismissed the chef and the staff from the dining room, as if he had something to say.
This time, it seemed like the topic was not so heavy, as he had finished his course meal and waited for his wife to finish before telling Zhang Jue,”Next week, I’ll be bringing your mother to North America for the charity dinner hosted by your Auntie Zhu.” Zhu Hongru was a wealthy businessman from the NIR who was close with Zhang Jue’s father. His wife was a philanthropist from North America, and ever since he left his job as CEO, he had been active in the North American capital with his wife.
“We won’t be staying for long, just two days. This was decided before you came back.” His father continued, “But Zhu just told me this afternoon that Chen Boqiao would be attending.”
Zhang Jue looked at his father, waiting for him to continue.
Perhaps because he mistook it as Zhang Jue being confused about why Chen Boqiao would attend, he explained, “I didn’t know either, but Chen Boqiao’s stepmother was cousins with Mrs Zhu, and they were rather close. Next week, Chen Boqiao will be in North America, so Mrs. Zhu got his stepmother to ask him and he agreed to come. I’m just a little worried, if—”
He looked at Zhang Jue and paused, as if for the first time ever he did not know how to raise the topic. After a moment, he said, “There’s no conflict between you and Chen Boqiao, is there? Does he know that you broke him out because you wanted him to open the genetic lock?”
“He does.” Zhang Jue felt awkward talking to his father about Chen Boqiao. “There’s no conflict.”
His father thoughtfully nodded, “I remember you told me that you stayed in separate rooms, I figured that your relationship must be pretty decent.”
“If it were me, I wouldn’t trust him enough to let him stay alone.” He added, “You and Chen Boqiao trust each other?”
Zhang Jue made brief eye contact with him, and vaguely replied, “Yeah.”
“How’s his attitude towards you?”
Zhang Jue averted his glance and said, “He’s polite.”
His father nodded slightly and took a sip of his tea. Then, he suddenly told Zhang Jue, “The invitation included the entire family, and the itinerary is relaxed. You’d be pretty bored stuck at home, so if you want to go out and get a change of scenery, you can come along.”
“I can speak to Mrs. Zhu for you. If you get tired during the dinner party, you can go back to your room first,” his mother also voiced.
Zhang Jue did not have to hesitate for long before saying yes.
After he returned to his room, Chen Boqiao called.
He was busy these few days, and his conversation with Zhang Jue was interrupted every once in a while.The fifth time Chen Boqiao returned from the interruption, Zhang Jue stared at the ceiling of his room and told him that he was tired and wanted to sleep.
Chen Boqiao listened to Zhang Jue quietly, and after a few seconds he said, “You should go to sleep if you’re tired.”
Zhang Jue meekly bid him good night, and Chen Boqiao said, “Send me a text when you’re awake.” Zhang Jue agreed, and the two of them hung up.
Before the call, Zhang Jue was hesitating on whether he should tell Chen Boqiao that he would be going to North America next week, but after the call, he felt that it was better not to tell him.
Even though it might be impolite and self-centred, and might not be much of a pleasant surprise to Chen Boqiao at all, he wanted to go. He felt that if he told Chen Boqiao, and he was told not to go, he really would not be able to bring himself to go.
Zhang Jue switched off the lights and closed his eyes in an attempt to stop his thoughts.
One afternoon a week later, Zhang Jue and his parents landed in the Capitol airport of North America, and their ride made a beeline for the hotel where the banquet was to be held.
Zhu Hongru and his wife were waiting for them in the lobby, and accompanied them on their way up to the hall. Zhu Hongru looked slightly older than Zhang Jue’s father, and he was an extrovert. When he set eyes on Zhang Jue, he excitedly patted his shoulders and exclaimed his pleasure at being able to finally meet Zhang Jue.
After the group went into his parent’s room, Zhong Hongru and Zhang Fu chatted on the sofa, while Mrs. Zhu spoke to Zhang Jue and his mother, going back to the typical topic of marriage.
“I have a very cute Omega nephew, he’s just really picky.” She was enthusiastic in her matchmaking, and added, “When I saw you today, I figured you were exactly his type! He’s here tonight. If Jue doesn’t mind, I could make a formal introduction for you guys. It’d be nice to get to know each other a little.”
Zhang Jue’s mother stood at the side, an awkward expression on her face.
Just as Zhang Jue opened his mouth to decline the offer, Zhu Hongru suddenly called his name, “Jue, I heard from your father last time that Chen Boqiao was a schoolmate of yours?”
Before Zhang Jue could reply, his mother said, “Yes, but they’re not too close.”
“What does it matter if they’re close or not, just being schoolmates with him is something.” Zhu Hongru laughed, and winked at Zhang Jue. “After all, not many get to say that they’re close to the colonel.”
In the afternoon, Zhang Jue’s parents were worried that he was tired, so they got him to take a nap in his room.
Zhang Jue thought that he’d be unable to fall asleep, but as soon as he lay down, tiredness rose to the surface and he was only woken by his mother’s phone call at six P.M..
“Jue, are you here yet?” his mother asked him.
Zhang Jue answered that he would be there soon, as he hurriedly changed into formalwear and went downstairs.
His mother was waiting for him by the elevator, wearing a formal gown, “Your father went ahead already.”
She threaded her arm through Zhang Jue’s, and they made their way into the venue.
The banquet was held in a glass house on the large lawn of the hotel, which was decked out in decorations. After showing their invitation letter to the guard at the entrance, Zhang Jue and his mother walked towards Zhang Fu, who was making small talk with a friend near the entrance of the glass house.
As the sun set, the small lights that decorated the venue lit up, and the band performed in the distance.
Mrs. Zhu made a short speech and announced that the auction would be starting in an hour.
Zhang Jue stood with his parents.His eyes couldn’t help but wander, but he could not find Chen Boqiao. His father’s friend just brought him up, saying that he was not here yet.
After a short while, there was a small commotion behind him. When Zhang Jue turned to look, he saw some people congregating, and Mr. and Mrs. Zhu hurriedly walking over, he knew that it was Chen Boqiao.
It was the same as always, with a million people surrounding Chen Boqiao. Zhang Jue stood with his parents, watching from a distance. He did not feel as affected as he thought he would.
Chen Boqiao arrived in North America yesterday. Before he went to bed, he had asked Zhang Jue for his health report. Now, he was just a few steps away from Zhang Jue, making him feel like the person on the phone and the person in real life were two different entities.
They stood on the soft grass patch, and the scent of wine and food permeated the air. Zhang Jue looked at the tip of his shoes. When the server walked past with a tray of alcohol, he asked for a glass of juice.
After the server came back with his juice, the crowd around Chen Boqiao had finally dissipated a little. Mrs. Zhu was speaking to him now, leading him towards the glass house.
Zhang Jue took another look, and he finally saw what Chen Boqiao looked like.
He was wearing a well-tailored suit, and his hair was longer, like when he was still a student. There was a beautiful female omega beside him.
Zhang Jue felt that she looked familiar. She was shorter than Chen Boqiao. She had a hand on his arm and her smile was radiant.The two looked close.
Chen Boqiao brought her along, walking slowly as he smiled and nodded at Mrs. Zhu.
Zhang Jue was startled, and couldn’t describe what he was feeling. He was about to look away when Chen Boqiao suddenly looked at him. Their eyes met in mid air.
Chen Boqiao stopped walking and looked at Zhang Jue fixedly.
He broke eye contact only when his plus one and Mrs. Zhu had looked his way, tugged his arm, and asked him something.
He lowered his head and said something to her, and naturally retracted his arm from her grasp. He put an arm around her shoulder and walked towards Zhang Jue without looking anywhere else.
Zhang Jue felt that his father had turned to look at him, and before he could speak, Chen Boqiao was already before him.
When Chen Boqiao stopped, he was close to Zhang Jue. Zhang Jue felt that it was an uncommon distance and subtly took a step back.
Chen Boqiao probably noticed, though he did not comment. He greeted Zhang Jue’s father first, as well as Zhang Fu’s friend. They shook hands and then he turned to Zhang Jue, his eyes downcast, and extended his hand.
“It’s been a while,” he said.
Zhang Jue did not speak, and before his hand was raised high enough to shake with Chen Boqiao, the latter came forward and gave him a short, firm handshake.
His eyes stayed focused on Zhang Jue, but they didn’t reveal any emotions. After he let go, he suddenly, and unnecessarily, introduced his plus one to the group. “This is Mrs. Zhu’s daughter, legally my relative.”
My heart was strained, it scared me to death, praying for a pleasant surprise for Zhang Jue in this meeting. Thanks for the chapter!
Well that wasn’t awkward… much.
CB ensuring ZJ doesn’t get the wrong idea about his +1.
Looking forward to more.
Thank you for the chapter.
Whybthe reunion is in such akward atmosphere😒😒😒
Arghhh as always, can’t wait for the next chapter! Glad Chen Bo Qiao immediately clear it up to Zhang Jue. He knew ZJ will be thinking about it if he’s not explain and be heartbroken. Hope they can have some private time together. So curious how CBQ will react for ZJ not telling him.
I hold my breath while trying to read as fast as possible to see what reaction would be from CB when he saw ZJ. CB actually senses of ZJ emotion. Thank you.
thank goodness, CBQ blocked the unnecessary vinegar from spilling. I’m already expecting CBQ will come with someone with him coz its also a necessity to drove people away in parties but I’m still glad, its like this. tysm for the chapter.
lol i loved how he immediately tried to clear things up hahah
CB immediately did the right thing. Good job!