Happy 6th-year Anniversary ExR!
Chapter 2: Zhou Zui——Zui as in sin.
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xiao Ke was so drunk and insensible that he casually pulled a person over to drink with him at the table. The hand felt warm and dry. Xiao Ke thought to himself that he wasn’t usually such a frivolous person.
The man looked at him with downcast eyes, and Xiao Ke said, “Sit down, I’m alone.”
The other person nodded at him and said, “Thanks.”
Xiao Ke watched as the man walked over and sat down across from him, just in time for a musical drumbeat where the light shifted which allowed him to clearly see what the man looked like.
He wasn’t able to clearly describe how handsome he was, but he had a very mature and attractive appearance. His scalp was full of stubble, he had thick dark eyebrows, he wore a plain black short-sleeved T-shirt, and the way he glanced at others; all these fit Xiao Ke’s aesthetic tastes.
After the man finished ordering his drink and the waiter left, Xiao Ke lifted the beer in his hand and knocked it on the table before saying to the man across the table from him, “Xiao Ke.”
The man on the other side did not have a drink in his hand, so he scanned the table before he took a glass of ice water that he did not drink, and he knocked the glass onto the table with a soft thud. Xiao Ke heard him say, “Zhou Zui.”
The singer on the stage sounded too heartbroken as they roared. When he could not properly hit the pitch, his voice came to the forefront, so in fact, Xiao Ke only heard a “Zhou” before his voice was suppressed. However, it did not matter as he only gave his name to cover up the embarrassment of sitting together for only a drink. What their names were didn’t really matter.
Later, the man’s beer came out, and the two of them drank while listening to the ear-splitting noise coming from the stage. Xiao Ke’s eyes would occasionally fall on the man to look for two seconds before turning away. After noticing more of him, he found out how laidback he was through his eyes and his movements, and this bit of casual charm made one feel quite comfortable looking at him. Their eyes would occasionally meet, but the man did not seem to mind as they often glanced at each other before turning away. It wasn’t deliberate nor was it awkward.
Xiao Ke thought to himself that if he were a decade or so younger then he would have been nervous and apprehensive about exchanging contact information right now.
When the torturous song ended, Xiao Ke breathed out a drawn out sigh of relief. The new song had not yet begun, and the singer on the stage did not start talking yet. Xiao Ke didn’t feel very clear-headed after drinking so much, so he stared directly at the person across from him during this moment of silence, and their eyes met again. The man looked at him and suddenly said, “I’m only here to drink, I’m not interested in anything else. If I’m holding you up, just say so, and I’ll change seats.”
Xiao Ke blinked and took a moment to process what he had said. He straightened himself with some embarrassment and vigorously shook his head. “I’m not looking for a date either! You’re overthinking it.”
“That’s great.” The man sitting across the table laughed with a faint smile, before he raised his beer to Xiao Ke. “Then make yourself feel at home.”
If it were Xiao Ke’s usual self, he would have felt embarrassed and stopped looking, but his drunk self made everything happen at his leisure. He felt that this person was both eye-catching and good looking, so he just kept staring regardless, and the other person didn’t seem to mind either way. He hadn’t drunk with anyone in a long time, not even Lin An, let alone with a stranger like this. This experience was virtually unheard of, and it was at this moment that he found it quite refreshing and interesting.
He didn’t even notice when the singer had left the stage, but the music changed to ambiguous and soothing love songs while the lights turned to a dim, warm-toned yellow.
The midnight scene was reserved for men and women that were lonely and foolish.
Zhou Zui looked across from him at the young handsome man who was obviously drunk. He really had drunk a lot so Zhou Zui reminded him, “Drink in moderation.”
Xiao Ke leaned onto his arm and squinted while rubbing his finger on the bridge of his nose before he said, “I rarely drink.” His speech was a bit slurred, but he kept talking, “I probably haven’t had a drink in two years, and today, it was the first time…look quite good…” He continued without waiting for a response, “I like men like…you. Your shaved head. It’s cool.”
Zhou Zui said, “Then you can shave too.”
“I can not. It is not allowed… at work,” Xiao Ke himself did not know that he spoke in a soft voice. When he drank too much, his voice was a bit hoarse which sounded quite amusing, “I am a teacher. “
Zhou Zui raised an eyebrow and looked at him.
“I don’t look like it, huh?” Xiao Ke laughed and pointed at himself. “Seriously, I’m a good… people’s teacher…”
After saying that, he also burped. Even though it was something to laugh at, it couldn’t be described as comical.
Zhou Zui laughed, but didn’t respond.
With Xiao Ke’s looks, needless to say, people usually called him “Handsome Xiao” which was not without reason since he really was handsome. At the moment, he was drunk with his arm laying on the table, and he was quite the fat piece of meat in the eyes of those people who were hunting around in the bar. However, no one would come over while someone was sitting across the table since they knew there was already a partner. However, both of them had actually only spoken a few words in total, so when watching them, others could see that both of them were either not too familiar, or they did not really know each other.
After a while, a man came over, and leaned down to look at Xiao Ke’s face before he blew out a breath and asked, “Do you want to drink?”
Xiao Ke opened his eyes to look at him and waved his hand. “No way.”
“There’s no need to be so dry. To stay up this late and not have a drink, isn’t it a loss?” The person didn’t want to give up just yet. He lowered his voice a bit, and hooked a finger around Xiao Ke’s zipper with a flirty expression in his eyes. “I can top or bottom. You pick.” 1
These words were spoken close to Xiao Ke’s ear so Zhou Zui could not hear them, and he could only see Xiao Ke’s frown. Thus, when Xiao Ke straightened himself while trying to dodge that man’s mouth, Zhou Zui coughed and spoke up, “Stop fucking flirting, dude. There’s a living human being sitting right here.”
“Oh, you know each other?” The man glanced at Zhou Zui before he straightened himself and laughed. “But I didn’t see you talking. How about…we all do it together?”
Zhou Zui didn’t look at him again, and only responded, “You can’t force him. Give up.”
A rule in this bar was that everything needed to be done willingly. If one wasn’t willing, then nobody could force them to do anything. That man shrugged before regretfully sauntering off. Zhou Zui told the drunk man, “Go home, Mr. People’s Teacher.”
Xiao Ke pulled out his phone to check the time before nodding. “Yeah, I have to go.”
They went to pay the bill together while Old Su was standing by the bar. When Xiao Ke had arrived, he had been alone, but he suddenly now had a partner as he was leaving. Old Su’s gaze shifted between the two of them, but his business has taught him when to talk and what to say, so he could only smile while he asked, “Leaving now?”
“Mn, the bill please,” Xiao Ke replied.
The two had been seated at the same table, so it was only natural that both their bills had been combined. Zhou Zui took out his card and handed it over. “Swipe this card.”
Xiao Ke hurriedly pulled out his wallet, took out a card, then threw it over. “This one.”
“Hey, no fighting.” Old Su laughed at them. “It’s the same no matter which one I swipe. It’s not that big of a deal.”
He had known Xiao Ke for a long time so with one look, he naturally grabbed Xiao Ke’s card before handing it to the server. “Swipe this one, it’s the usual.”
Xiao Ke stood by the bar while waiting for his card to be swiped and to sign the receipt. He spoke with Old Su for a bit, and when he turned around to leave after paying, he discovered that Zhou Zui had already left. Xiao Ke said goodbye to Old Su and headed off.
Old Su said owlishly, “Enjoy your spring night.”
Xiao Ke knew that he was overthinking it, but he didn’t try to explain himself. It had been more than a year since the breakup so there was no need to explain since that would make it seem like he was saving his body. How boring. Xiao Ke waved his hand and swiveled around to leave.
While he walked, he wondered if he should have asked for his phone number.
As a result, when he exited, he saw that man leaning against the wall near the door as he smoked with his head lowered. Xiao Ke looked at him and the man waved. “Over here.”
Xiao Ke walked over and asked, “Waiting for me?”
“Mn,” Zhou Zui answered.
Xiao Ke suddenly laughed, and his eyes curved downward along with his beautiful smile. He said, “I don’t date, I’m a serious person.”
Zhou Zui also smiled, stuffed a business card into his pocket before saying, “Thanks for the drink tonight. If you have time to find me, I’ll give you a gift in return.”
“You’re welcome but there’s no need.” Xiao Ke waved his hand. “I wanted to thank you for drinking with me. Today’s my birthday, and at least I had a companion.”
Zhou Zui paused for a moment before he said, “Happy birthday.”
It was the fate of a casual encounter. It was a comical scene to have a stranger stand in front of him while wishing him happy birthday, and Xiao Ke wanted to laugh from the bottom of his heart. Therefore, he really laughed, took out the business card and shook it while asking Zhou Zui, “What gift are you going to give me?”
Zhou Zui took a puff of his cigarette and said, “I don’t know anything else, but if you want to get a tattoo, find me.”
Tattoos were a matter that was far too removed from him, but he inexplicably felt very close to Zhou Zui since the profession of tattoo artist was still cool to him.
Xiao Ke nodded, “Okay.”
The shallow relationship was coming to an end, and it was time for Xiao Ke to go home. The business card was clutched in his hand, but he didn’t look down at it. When Zhou Zui was about to leave, Xiao Ke called out a “hey” to stop him.
Zhou Zui turned around with a half-raised eyebrow.
Xiao Ke asked him, “Your last name is Zhou. Zhou what? I didn’t quite catch it then.”
Zhou Zui looked at him, then softly responded, “Zhou Zui— Zui as in sin.”