Chapter 20: Xiao Ke’s eyes dropped and continued to close the distance until it stopped at a position where even a little bit of talk could touch Zhou Zui’s lips.
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
As soon as Zhou Zui entered that private booth, he didn’t have a chance to rest. The last time that they had seen each other was on the climbing trip. Zhou Zui went in when they were all sitting in the box and had already eaten.
He came in late so he was poured a glass of wine before he could say anything. He drank a glass of wine when he heard Old Cao ask, “You came by yourself? Where’s Xiao Ke?”
Zhou Zui took off his jacket and handed it to the waiter before he sat down on a chair and said, “Didn’t come.”
“What the fuck did you say?” Old Cao complained and said, “I wouldn’t have come if you’d told me that Xiao Ke wasn’t coming! Who the hell would want to celebrate your birthday after 800 years of knowing each other?”
“Didn’t come?” Fang Xi sat next to Old Cao, and also asked Zhou Zui, ” That’s not good. Then you have to get him.”
“Go ahead. I’ll find someone to go over and pick him up.” The person who said this was Cheng Ning, whose hotel they were eating at, and he followed suit and said, “If Professor Xiao doesn’t come, who will hold the drinks for you? Who are we laughing at?”
“You hurry up and find him!” Old Cao knocked on the cup. “What the hell is wrong with you two? The two of you are getting along or not? If not, I’m going to take him.”
Old Cao often made such remarks so no one took him seriously. Fang Xi said, “Call him. If you don’t, I will!”
Zhou Zui, who hadn’t contacted Xiao Ke in a while, shook his head and said, “Forget it.”
“Why not?” Fang Xi asked.
“It’s an impossible matter,” Zhou Zui’s expression was mild as he poured a cup of tea and took a sip. “I don’t even understand my own life, so I don’t want to harm others.”
Fang Xi and Lin Xuan looked at each other. Fang Xi said, “What bullshit are you spouting? What do you mean you don’t know what you’re doing with your life? Who knows what they’re doing more than you? You don’t want to admit it yourself.”
Zhou Zui laughed and munched without saying anything.
Old Cao picked up from the side, “Hey, old Zhou, are you serious? If you say so, I can take it seriously, ah?”
“You give it a rest, Yuan’er,” Old Zhu mocked him. ” Professor Xiao is interested in Old Zhou, this blockhead. Can he also be interested in you, the flirty type?”
“Don’t say that,” Old Cao laughed and said while drinking his soup. “Or I’ll still think he and Old Zhou don’t get along, and he had the right attributes for me.”
“What attributes?” Jiang Tao asked the question out loud. “Five elements, ah? Or horoscope, ah? You can also read this?”
He was a bit too wooden and everyone at the table laughed, including Zhou Zui, who also laughed twice.
Old Zhu sat next to him and said, “What Yuan’er means is that he’s a little girl, and both of us are men, so there’s no harmony when it comes to that.”
He said it so Jiang Tao could understand it, but a straight man thinking about this matter still felt quite awkward so he could not understand and quickly said, “…You guys are too nasty!”
The group of people talked for half a day, and finally the words were withdrawn. Fang Xi bumped Zhou Zui’s arm. “Stop running, brother. Professor Xiao is absolutely more than this. You shouldn’t worry.”
Fang Xi gave a thumbs up when he said this, and continued, “I’ve never been wrong about people, he’s a good person.”
Zhou Zui still ate without saying a word. He knew better than anyone that he was a good man.
Then Zhou Zui shook his head and was about to speak when his cell phone rang in his pocket. It was Lu Xiaobei, and Zhou Zui picked it up.
“Hey big brother!” Lu Xiaobei squatted on a chair and shouted to him, ” Brother Xiao just came. You were not in so he left! He’s always on the lookout for you, so it’s not the best if you’re never here!”
Zhou Zui raised his eyebrows and asked him, “When?”
“Just now!” Lu Xiaobei was still shouting. “Just went out not even a minute ago!”
“Okay, I know.” Zhou Zui hung up the phone after he finished.
After he hung up the phone, Fang Xi wanted to talk, but Zhou Zui suddenly interrupted him and said, “I’ll make a call.” After saying that, he stood up and walked out before he closed the door.
Xiao Ke answered the phone quickly, and when the call was answered, it was his warm and nice voice with a smile in it, “Mr. Zhou, Merry Christmas…Happy birthday.”
At that moment Zhou Zui could not deny that his heart was soft and warm.
Xiao Ke came in half an hour later and was brought in by the waiter. The people in the room were unprepared for his arrival and froze for a moment before greeting him with a lot of enthusiasm. However, the most enthusiastic one was Cao Yuan.
Xiao Ke was originally prepared for Zhou Zui’s birthday and was already dressed up. His hair was styled handsomely and he wore a black wool coat with an ash-gray turtleneck sweater inside. Xiao Ke was a little taller than 180 cm and had wide shoulders and long legs. The long coat made him look exceptionally handsome, but also more mature. The boots he wore were also very cool and Cao Yuan practically fell in love with them at first sight.
Cao Yuan was sitting at the spot where the server would bring new dishes. There was still an empty chair next to him and he grabbed Xiao Ke’s arm while dragging him over, “Come, Xiao Ke, sit with me.”
“Okay.” Xiao Ke smiled and sat down, and he looked over to Zhou Zui. Zhou Zui was also looking at him so the two of them looked at each other, Zhou Zui nodded at him. Xiao Ke deepened the smile on his face with his eyes curved up in a beautiful arc. This man was indeed handsome, in every way. Even the tip of his chin was handsome.
Almost at the same time when Xiao Ke was pulled over by Cao Yuan to sit down, Fang Xi immediately popped up from his chair.
“Hey, hey, hey, you can’t sit there blindly,” Fang Xi went around and stood next to Xiao Ke, “This place is mine.”
“Are you so despicable, Old Man Fang?” Old Cao looked dissatisfied as he looked up at him, “Go away. You will not stay here.”
“I’ll sit here.” Fang Xi reached out and pulled Xiao Ke up. “Professor Xiao, you find your own place.”
“Okay, actually I don’t think this is the right place for me either.” Xiao Ke still smiled and walked over to sit next to Zhou Zui.
Cheng Ning asked the waiter to add a few more dishes, and when no one else was paying attention to him, Xiao Ke tilted his head to whisper to Zhou Zui, “Happy birthday, the coolest Teacher Zhou.”
Zhou Zui smiled back with softness between his eyebrows. He took his own glass from the table and knocked it against Xiao Ke’s with a clink before picking up the glass and taking a sip. That night, Xiao Ke drank a lot, and the atmosphere at the table had been heated. After Xiao Ke drank a lot of wine, he was not a man of few words. Once drunk, there were only a few fixed topics for men to talk about, and the table did not care about national events plus they weren’t women so there were only dirty stories and bragging.
Xiao Ke was not afraid to say dirty jokes so he could catch anything they said. As for bragging, he really couldn’t brag so he could only listen without participating. Zhou Zui would occasionally use the chopsticks to give Xiao Ke dishes which he wordlessly put on the plate so Xiao Ke would eat them whenever he saw them.
There was still not much communication between the two as Zhou Zui was not talkative, while Xiao Ke was much more active than him. At the table, it looked like he was the one that was part of the group and Zhou Zui was the one he brought over as an outsider. However, there had always been an invisible pull between the two so with both of their auras combined, there was always a connection even if they did not speak.
After dinner, they naturally went to sing, and from the back door of the hotel, they went directly to the karaoke area.
There was a booth reserved in advance and everything was set up.
Xiao Ke went in and ate a slice of watermelon first before drinking wine to tighten up his throat, which burned.
“Don’t drink the wine.” Zhou Zui sat next to him and told him.
“Okay. I won’t drink,” Xiao Ke turned his head to look at him and smiled, “I came to sing.”
In fact, Xiao Ke could not drink with this group of people as all of them were wine monsters, and they drank a lot. However, singing was different as this was his home turf, and he did want to sing a few songs to Zhou Zui.
“Xiao Ke, sing two songs?” Fang Xi asked him as he stood next to the jukebox.
Xiao Ke shook his head, “You guys can sing, I’ll take a break.”
The best singer among them was Old Cao, who was really good. The others were okay, and Zhou Zui and Jiang Tao did not sing at all. Old Zhu, Fang Xi and Lin Xuan were just ordinary and not that difficult to listen to.
Xiao Ke kept eating fruit next to Zhou Zui, and the fruit plate was almost gone because of him.
Zhou Zui asked him, “How is your stomach?”
“It’s fine,” Xiao Ke ate the last piece of melon. “No pain.”
“OK.” Zhou Zui nodded his head.
Xiao Ke grabbed a piece of tissue and wiped his mouth before wiping his hands. He stood up and looked down at Zhou Zui before hooking the corners of his mouth to suddenly smile as he said to him, “Listen to Master Xiao sing a song for you.”
Xiao Ke also drank a lot of wine as alcohol allowed him to be more open. He first turned off the reverb almost completely before taking the microphone and saying, “These two songs are for Mr. Zhou.”
Xiao Ke sang English songs instead of Chinese ones as he didn’t want to sing something that everyone else could understand. Basically, he just opened his mouth to sing two lines and it was enough to make the people in the room amazed. When Xiao Ke sang in the general crowd, he was able to slay everyone. Fang Qimiao said that if he didn’t want to be a teacher someday, then he could go to a bar and sing as well.
He sang this song in a room where others certainly would not understand, and he didn’t know if Zhou Zui could understand. When the first song reached the last few lines, Xiao Ke’s eyes did not look at the screen as he was staring at Zhou Zui.
“If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room; 1; Would you trust it?; I mean I write poems and these songs dedicated to you.”
Although they basically didn’t understand the song, it didn’t stop them from hearing Xiao Ke sing beautifully. The group applauded in an exaggerated manner, and Fang Xi said, “It’s really good, but I don’t understand it. Xiao Ke should sing another song in Chinese.”
“I don’t want you to understand.” Xiao Ke smiled and walked next to Zhou Zui before turning off the microphone and staring straight into Zhou Zui’s eyes until he could see himself in Zhou Zui’s eyes and smiled as he said, “It means that ‘I write poems and these songs…dedicated to you.'”
Zhou Zui’s eyes were an inky abyss into which Xiao Ke himself was easily sucked into. He could see his own sincere desires in these eyes, but could not read Zhou Zui’s.
The second song was still in English, and this one was a much lighter and more melodic duet which was sung by Xiao Ke alone. He had just finished talking to Zhou Zui and did not leave, always sitting not far from Zhou Zui.
“Just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight; just a touch in the fire burning so bright; and I don’t want to mess this thing up. I don’t want to push too far. Just a shot in the dark that you just might be the one I’ve been waiting for my whole life. So baby, I’m alright, with just a kiss goodnight.” 2
Compared to the previous song, there were at least a few key words of this song that anyone could understand as “kiss goodnight” was repeated many times that led to a group of drunken alcoholics collectively uproaring.
After Xiao Ke sang, Old Cao grabbed a microphone and said, “Old Zhou, you understand what Xiao Ke means, don’t you? The man wants to kiss you! Hurry up and give in, ah! If you do not kiss him, then I will! I want to!”
Xiao Ke sang this song intentionally. This song was actually very provocative with his intentions on the surface so it was a very straightforward way to tease Zhou Zui. “Kiss goodnight” was sung so many times to take advantage of the alcohol with the atmosphere of the night to take advantage of Zhou Zui. When the gang squeezed him towards Zhou Zui, Xiao Ke pushed his way through and did not resist at all.
Fang Xi sat on the other side of Zhou Zui blocking his way while not letting him go at all.
Xiao Ke’s side was also squeezed almost to the point of sitting on Zhou Zui.
“Stop fooling around.” Zhou Zui tried to push Fang Xi away, but Fang Xi turned his head away and the road was blocked.
“Kiss ah! What the fuck are you waiting for?!” Old Cao pushed Xiao Ke, “Hurry up!”
They were so close now that Xiao Ke could see the rise and fall of Zhou Zui’s chest as he breathed and he could also see the pulsation in his neck.
He carefully stared into Zhou Zui’s eyes to discern what he wanted to say, and Zhou Zui didn’t look at him with his downcast eyes.
Xiao Ke’s alcohol consumption made him feel fearless, and he suddenly picked up a pillow to block his face and Zhou Zui’s face. The two mens’ breaths were scorched together in a very narrow space.
“Mr. Zhou.” Xiao Ke called out in a low voice and Zhou Zui raised his eyes to look at him, but Xiao Ke did not bother to ponder Zhou Zui’s reaction nor did he observe his eyes for any longer as he brought himself and Zhou Zui as close as possible. They were so close that the tip of his nose had touched Zhou Zui’s own. At this moment, his eyes must be glowing red due to the excitement and also through alcohol.
Zhou Zui had also been drinking, so his eyes were also a little red.
Xiao Ke’s eyes dropped, and he continued to draw closer until they stopped at a position where even a little bit of talking could touch Zhou Zui’s lips.
He had been drinking and singing again so his voice was already mute. However, with a small raspy voice that had always been more affectionate, Xiao Ke said –
“Happy birthday…This is the third time I’ve said it today. Mr. Zhou, you met me when you were thirty-five years old…I hope…I can be there for the rest of your life.”