Chapter 27: He used to call ‘Mr. Lin’ with an upturned voice, but now he laughed and called ‘Teacher Zhou’.
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Lu Xiaobei recently found that his elder brother had made some slight changes. He did not know exactly when it started since Lu Xiaobei usually did not pay much attention to him, but he found some clues after observing, and he found that these changes were really quite disturbing.
For example, one day when the shop received a courier, Lu Xiaobei saw it was from Zhou Zui and thought it was tattoo equipment so he opened it. It ended up being a set of men’s face wash. Face wash with moisturizing water, etc. Lu Xiaobei thought someone sent the wrong thing and snickered when he took it to Zhou Zui. However, he did not expect that Zhou Zui would calmly take it and put it aside.
Lu Xiaobei knew Zhou Zui for so many years and had never seen this person use moisturizing water.
A few days later, he found Zhou Zui had put on a particularly childish phone case. He never put on a phone case before as he didn’t like the trouble, and he didn’t like it.
Lu Xiaobei said to him with a black face, “Brother, are you wired incorrectly?”
Zhou Zui put the phone back into his pocket and said indifferently, “You’re so nosy.”
“If you want a phone case, I have one. There are many custom models in our store. I’ll get one for you?” Lu Xiaobei raised his eyes and asked.
“No,” Zhou Zui shook his head. “I don’t care about that.”
“Yo, you want this one?” Lu Xiaobei did not hold back his laughter while shrugging his shoulders. “Pigs are flying, huh?”
Lu Xiaobei laughed more behind his back for half a day. At the end of this year, his elder brother was so tired that he was mentally unstable.
Lu Xiaobei had been following Zhou Zui for almost ten years, and the two were very close. Lu Xiaobei used to be able to take Zhou Zui’s cup to drink water, and the old man never cared about this and got used to it. However, recently, Zhou Zui did not let him use it and replaced it with a new one. This time, after the change, he emphasized once, “Don’t use it blindly, don’t take it by mistake.”
At that time, Lu Xiaobei could not close his mouth, so he nodded in silence before he gave an “Ok.”
If he couldn’t guess that it was because of Xiao Ke, then he would have been blinded by his dim-witted brain. Lu Xiaobei thought the two of them had broken up again, but it appeared that not only had they not broken up, but they were also quite successful.
Lu Xiaobei called Xiao Ke, and as soon as he got through, he shouted, “Happy New Year to Brother Xiao! Brother Xiao, I wish you can be my new sister-in-law during this new year!”
Xiao Ke was helping Dr. Xu clean up some fish and was amused to hear him shouting like he was mentally ill. “What’s wrong with you again?”
“It’s not me, it’s my big brother.” Lu Xiaobei sat in the toilet while smoking and said, “My big brother is not my big brother anymore, is it the power of love or the magic of nature?!”
Xiao Ke had one hand free for the phone and asked him with a smile, “What’s wrong with him?”
“He’s using make-up water!” Lu Xiaobei still thought this matter was very incredible and very strange, “My God! It’s Zhou Zui, ah! Zhou Zui using make-up water?”
Xiao Ke looked at his mother, who was watching him from the other side of the kitchen, and wiped his hands before walking out as he laughed uncontrollably and said afterwards, “Toner, right? Makeup water sounds too scary. It’s just water, not to the extent of make-up.”
Lu Xiaobei said, “I don’t get it, I don’t understand. What’s there to love?”
Dr. Xu looked at him and asked, “Did someone poke you in the face?”
Xiao Ke then laughed even harder with his eyes curved into hooks. In fact, Zhou Zui was really wronged in this matter. The items were bought by Xiao Ke without prior notice so Zhou Zui was unaware of it when he received it, but he should have thought of it right away.
The night he received the face wash set, Zhou Zui took a picture of it in the middle of the night and sent it over and asked: [Professor Xiao, how does it work?]
Xiao Ke sent several lines of “Hahaha” which were very fiendish, and Zhou Zui was helpless at the other end of the phone. He just indulged in watching Xiao Ke’s laughter on the screen. Xiao Ke laughed enough before answering the question properly, [Use the face wash, then the toner. It’s the tall bottle, and finally the chubby jar.]
Zhou Zui didn’t respond until almost ten minutes later, [Spare me.]
Xiao Ke unceremoniously sent five lines of “ha.”
It’s hard for Zhou Zui to stay with Professor Xiao at his age. This person looked cold and icy, but in some aspects he really had no temper. When Xiao Ke asked him to do anything, he did not say “no.” Xiao Ke contacted him more every day and felt that he had found a treasure.
He really liked him.
The phone case of course was also ordered by Xiao Ke, and he intentionally chose a bad one. The day Zhou Zui received it, he directly put it on his phone. When he called at night, he said, “I just looked for my phone for half a day, and I thought it was not my phone so I ignored it.”
Xiao Ke laughed very freely and said, “Then Professor Xiao will give a darker color?”
“No need.” Zhou Zui’s tone had a faint helplessness, “This is fine.”
Anytime Xiao Ke thought of this matter, he felt like laughing. He thought he was very childish, but since someone was playing with him, it didn’t matter if he was childish. It was a little fun between two people. After laughing enough, Xiao Ke felt that he needed to make time soon to visit the shop. Xiao Lin and the other tattoo artists had headed home for the new year so the only people left in the shop were the lonely brothers. They had no one to take care of them, and also weren’t even taking a single day off as they were completely scheduled.
Most of all, he hadn’t seen Zhou Zui for a few days and actually really missed him.
However, there was a saying, “Don’t celebrate too soon, things could still go wrong!”
Xiao Ke has been laughing so much in the past two days, and when someone knocked on the door in the afternoon, he opened the door but couldn’t laugh anymore.
At that moment, Xiao Ke thought that he was careless. He was so concerned about flirting with Teacher Zhou that he had forgotten that youngsters needed to visit their elders before the New Year. He should’ve left to avoid this situation.
The man at the door was also stunned, and then said after a moment, ” Here you are…It’s been a long time.”
“Ah,” Xiao Ke nodded and put away his surprised expression before he said, “Happy New Year.”
“Yo, Xiao Lin’s here?” Old Xiao came over from the living room and gave Xiao Ke a tug before he said with a smile, “Come, come in, and sit down.”
Xiao Ke then stepped aside from the doorway and walked in. After entering and looking at Dr. Xu, Xiao Ke sighed at her while Dr. Xu patted his arm.
There was a lot of stuff piled up outside the doorway, and Lin An went back and forth for more than 30 minutes. Xiao Ke hesitated, but didn’t come out to help. Old Xiao and Dr. Xu said that he had brought too much stuff, and that he wouldn’t be allowed to enter the door after that. The soft smile on Lin An’s face remained the same as before which made him look very friendly and comforting.
Lin An’s eyes fell onto Xiao Ke and his eyes contained a lot of meaning. Xiao Ke looked at him and smiled at him when their eyes met.
Lin An’s eyes were already red when he moved his eyes away.
Xiao Ke sighed in his heart.
Originally, he decided to go to see Zhou Zui in the afternoon, but it turned out that he could not go. He and Lin An were considered to have broken up peacefully without making a scene, so Xiao Ke could not possibly turn a cold face to him, and there was no need to do so.
It was better to not meet. Now that he was stuck at home, he couldn’t leave as it would make Lin An look bad, and everyone else would feel awkward.
“Xiao Ke, you have not changed much,” The topic suddenly fell on Xiao Ke which made him freeze. Lin An took the cup of tea and gently touched the bottom of the cup. “…Same as always.”
“Mn,” Xiao Ke nodded, then smiled and said, “Mr. Lin is still as handsome as ever, but he seems to have lost some weight.”
Lin An sat on the single sofa while Old Xiao and Dr. Xu sat on the long sofa, and Xiao Ke sat on the armrest next to Old Xiao without sitting anywhere else. Lin An pursed his lips and gave a slight smile as he dropped his eyes and said, “Really? I didn’t pay much attention.”
Xiao Ke used to call him Mr. Lin, and the end of his voice went upward which sounded flirtatious and intimate.
Lin An took a sip of hot tea which slightly burned his mouth. He pursed his lips again and asked, “How’s it going?”
Xiao Ke said, “Just the same, I guess.”
These kinds of pleasantries were really unbearable, and Xiao Ke sighed again in his heart.
They were once the closest of strangers. However, to say they were familiar, they hadn’t seen each other for over a year, and their communication was almost nil.
What a contradictory state.
Old Xiao and Dr. Xu were caught in the middle and had nothing to say. Xiao Ke saw that it was too difficult for them and simply took the initiative to bring it up. “Mr. Lin, go out for a walk?”
Lin An nodded almost immediately, “Okay.”
Xiao Ke took his coat and went out the door. Lin An turned around and said a few words to the two old people before following Xiao Ke out. Xiao Ke said, “Pull up your clothes, it’s quite cold.”
“Yes.” Lin An answered and zipped up.
The two of them circled around the garden downstairs and had nothing to say, so they were a step apart and walked quietly. It was impossible to keep walking like this, but Xiao Ke opened his mouth first and asked him in a very relaxed tone, “When’s the wedding date?”
Lin An’s step briefly paused, and then quickly returned to normal. He shook his head with a smile and said in a low voice, “There is no wedding date, it’s not set.”
“Still not set?” Xiao Ke raised his eyebrows and said with a smile, “You’re not young anymore, Mr. Lin.”
Lin An did not say anything, and just nodded.
In the winter months, walking a circle like this was really rare. Xiao Ke, at one point in his heart, was actually thinking that his body was freezing through, and how he had to sell a tragedy with Teacher Zhou at night and brush him up on his presence.
The thought of Teacher Zhou made Xiao Ke’s expression ease up a lot.
“Xiao Ke,” Lin An looked at him and slowly opened his mouth, “I gave you a watch, why didn’t you accept it?”
Xiao Ke shook his head and said, “It’s not appropriate. Mr. Lin. Don’t buy me anything. If you want to see my parents, just buy some fruit or something, don’t break the bank.”
His name for Lin An still remained the same, the same two words. Since Lin An was a few years older than him, it felt inappropriate to call him by name so Xiao Ke kept calling him “Mr. Lin,” which Lin An also liked to hear. However, it still sounded very different from the original meaning.
Lin An smiled to himself and said, “Now when you call me that, it doesn’t sound as relaxed as before.”
They had been together as lovers for five years, and Xiao Ke took the trouble to pursue him. They spent their youths together. This time, looking at Lin An’s somewhat pale face, it was impossible for Xiao Ke’s heart to have no ripples at all.
There were regrets, frustration, and unhappiness.
However, there was no remorse and no turning back.
He used to call ‘Mr. Lin’ with an upturned voice, but now he laughed and called ‘Teacher Zhou’.
He hadn’t thought of how to answer Lin An’s last sentence without embarrassment, but his mind instantly jumped to Teacher Zhou while saying to him sincerely and seriously, “Just keep going, like you said before.”