Chapter 34: Zhou Zui wanted to confirm the relationship from the beginning, never wanted to hide, but also could not give up.
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
(TW: Suicide, blood)
The words were too strong, and those ten seconds of words shattered Xiao Ke’s mind. His whole body was almost wooden as he was dazed. His eyes moved from Tang Yawei back to Zhou Zui’s face as if to confirm, and he spoke softly to try, “…Teacher Zhou?”
Zhou Zui looked at him with a lot of content in his eyes as if he had a lot of things to say, but the situation at hand made him unable to say anything. However, even if he said more, he could not deny those facts.
His silence was too cruel, and Xiao Ke’s face was very ugly so Lu Xiaobei thought it was over since he had never seen that look on Xiao Ke’s face.
This time, it really was the end game.
Xiao Ke squeezed Zhou Zui’s hand before he took a deep breath and said, “Let’s go outside.”
He pulled Zhou Zui all the way into the car, with him in the passenger seat and Zhou Zui in the driver’s seat. Xiao Ke sat there for a while before he spoke in a low, muffled voice, “What’s the situation, Zhou Liwu…”
The “Zhou Liwu” in this situation was too heart-wrenching, and it was not too much to say that his heart was shattered.
He was very powerless, but also very heartbroken.
To this extent, Zhou Zui also had no further euphemisms and straightforwardly said, “Yaning dying on my bed is true. Me waking up covered in his blood is also true.”
Xiao Ke’s expression disappeared, and he just nodded, “Continue.”
Thus, Zhou Zui opened his mouth to talk about the past which was about a time that he didn’t want to talk about and didn’t want to retell. It was confusing, tangled, and in the end, it ended with a sad ending like the ending of a movie.
Zhou Zui and Tang Yaning met in Taiwan, then when they got together, they fell in love. Tang Yaning and Zhou Zui were two completely different people, and they had very little in common except for their tattooing profession. He seemed to be spontaneous and reckless, but in some ways, terribly paranoid.
After a year and a half of being together, Zhou Zui proposed to break up, and Tang Yaning naturally refused. He loved Zhou Zui very much. However, this relationship had worn Zhou Zui out, and he was trying to separate and draw the line between them while avoiding involvement in the trouble Tang Yaning was getting into. After all, he came back from Taiwan for Zhou Zui, and he was living in a strange city where he would be alone without Zhou Zui.
The breakup took a long time for this pair of lovers, and Tang Yaning’s paranoia began to gradually reveal itself. The man became strange and incomprehensible.
He even tried to commit suicide when Zhou Zui later proposed a serious breakup, and swallowed sleeping pills with alcohol that led his bad state after resuscitation.
Dying may prevent the end of a relationship, but it wouldn’t stop the indifference of the lover. That love consumed Zhou Zui’s emotions every day.
A monstrous relationship that forced one to stay could not satisfy either party.
Zhou Zui wanted to end it and only stayed temporarily to stabilize Tang Yaning’s emotions. He stayed out of responsibility, but what Tang Yaning wanted was his heart.
The relationship finally ended when Tang Yaning cut the artery in his arm on a very ordinary night. That night, Zhou Zui fell into a deep nightmare which was one where he killed many people and the world was full of blood. His father accused him of being a murderer in the dream as he had killed his mother, his grandmother and grandfather, and his innocent boyfriend.
He woke up before dawn, and his body felt sticky and cold. The blood in the dream still permeated his nostrils, and for a while, Zhou Zui did not know whether he was awake or had fallen into a new horrible dream.
Tang Yaning had already become cold by then.
He used Zhou Zui’s razor blade, and Zhou Zui couldn’t get rid of the suspicion because he couldn’t prove his innocence so he even stayed in jail for a while until the forensic autopsy report said Yaning had methamphetamine in his system. Zhou Zui also didn’t know until then that Tang Yaning was still using drugs.
What Zhou Zui said was hard for Xiao Ke to digest. He listened to every word, but couldn’t put it all together. It was a real shock to him, no less than a bolt from the blue, and was really hard to take in.
“I hate to let you hear this, but I have to say it.” Zhou Zui’s voice was low but smooth, “That’s all, the rest is irrelevant.”
Xiao Ke nodded after a long time and said, “I know.”
After this was said, Xiao Ke did not say anything else and did not look at Zhou Zui, but just sat there in silence as he silently pieced together what he had just heard.
Zhou Zui added something else, “That man just now is Tang Yawei, they are twins, and they look very much alike. He thinks everything that happened is because of me, so he has been following me all these years, no matter which city he goes to. He thinks I can’t have a new life, that I have to always remember the past and remember Yaning’s death.”
Xiao Ke still nodded mechanically and said “hmm.”
Zhou Zui said everything he could, and all his sins and misdeeds were laid out before Xiao Ke.
Xiao Ke did not say anything when he left that day, and he pushed open the door to get out of the car without looking back. Zhou Zui also followed him out of the car and wanted to send him back, but Xiao Ke waved his hand and refused.
Zhou Zui also did not go back to the shop and drove home.
Both people suddenly broke off contact after that day, and the two of them who had been very close suddenly seemed to have never known each other, and there was no ambiguity.
The bouquet of flowers that Xiao Ke sent Zhou Zui was never opened or thrown into the bucket, nor was it ever moved, and it was placed squarely in its previous position which was on the sofa on the second floor while they continued to mock Zhou Zui. The flowers were not soaked in water for more than a week. When Lu Xiaobei saw that the flowers were dying, it was sad to leave them there, and he was thinking that they would either be secretly thrown away or finally die in that spot.
When the flowers really withered away, they were gone one day instead of sitting there. Everyone figured that Zhou Zui had thrown them away.
Lu Xiaobei then sighed as he was completely clueless about this thing. When both people did not contact each other like before, he was able to go to Xiao Ke and make fun of him while trying to hook them up again. Zhou Zui was single for so many years, and Lu Xiaobei really saw hope in Xiao Ke and thought Xiao Ke could save him, but in the end, it didn’t work out.
This really cannot be blamed on his Brother Xiao, who suffered the most.
However, Lu Xiaobei thought that it was not his big brother who was to blame, and his big brother shouldn’t have to bear the burden of what was done. His brother’s biggest mistake in life was to be involved with a person whom he should not have been involved with, as it cost too much.
“Mr. Zhou, can you help me look at this drawing?” A tattoo artist asked Zhou Zui.
Zhou Zui walked over and looked at his drawing before he clicked a few positions and then asked, “The client ordered this?”
The tattoo artist said, “No, I want to sign up for a contest.”
Zhou Zui shook his head, “This is a little too much for a contest. The designs will have a lot of your energy put into them, but you will receive nothing back. You may get a small prize, but not the grand prize. And, you can only submit this design to the ‘finished works’ group. You won’t be able to complete it on site since there won’t be enough time.”
That was all Zhou Zui said, and he wouldn’t say anything else. He would never tell them what to change about competition designs as it wouldn’t be right.
Zhou Zui asked Lu Xiaobei, “Do you want to try?”
Lu Xiaobei shook his head without even thinking about it. “No.”
For so many years, Lu Xiaobei stuck with Zhou Zui and followed him closely so he would never go if Zhou Zui did not compete. After all, he was Zhou Zui’s only serious disciple, and he was labeled together with Zhou Zui. If his big brother didn’t go, then he wouldn’t go either. If he went to the competition, the circle would think that Zhou Zui’s studio had changed its style and started to be more social.
However, Zhou Zui probably would never go to that kind of monkey-watching competition in his life so Lu Xiaobei also had no such intention.
Zhou Zui has been talking very little in the past few days, but today, he took the initiative to say a few words so Lu Xiaobei seized the opportunity to go over and ask, “Brother, what does my Brother Xiao mean?”
Zhou Zui said with little expression, “Nothing means anything.”
“Is it out of the question?” Lu Xiaobei asked cautiously, “Are you out of luck?”
He spoke in a low voice as he was afraid that the other tattoo artists had heard. After all, this matter was also quite humiliating. He brought such a big bouquet of flowers earlier, but then withdrew and quit. That day, Tang Yawei shouted those sentences with the other tattooists present. They were forced to listen to the gossip, and now, Lu Xiaobei did not want them to hear more.
Zhou Zui said, “I don’t know.”
Lu Xiaobei did not make another sound as he thought that this 80% was really out of the question. His Brother Xiao’s character would not break so quickly as he cared about Zhou Zui and if he wanted it to work, then he could not contact him.
Lu Xiaobei turned around after a long sigh, feeling very worried in his heart.
Fang Xi recently had a project in the vicinity, and came over to the shop before closing time for a spin. This person deserves to be Zhou Zui’s brother for many years as when he came to take a look , he felt that something was wrong so he asked Zhou Zui, “Is there something wrong lately?”
Zhou Zui looked up and scanned him, before he went on the computer. “No.”
“Bullshit,” Fang Xi laughed. “If you have something to say, just say it. Your buddy is here.”
Zhou Zui had nothing to say as he could not help anyone. Lu Xiaobei was squatting next to the computer playing games and took off his headset before he threw out a sentence, “My big brother has too much black history, so his leader fired him.”
“Huh?” Fang Xi was surprised. “Who? Xiao Ke?”
“Ah, who else?” Lu Xiaobei said while playing a game. “My big brother has such a disastrous former…ex. My Brother Xiao does not tolerate sand in his eyes, and he did not want to see this.”
“What the fuck are you thinking?” Fang Xi slapped Zhou Zui on the shoulder. “Do you have any sense? Did you tell him everything? If you say this, anyone who will still be happy with you is fucking weird! Sleeping in your bed would be fucking unpleasant.”
Fang Xi was so angry that he kicked Zhou Zui’s chair and resented the situation, ” What are the conditions of Professor Xiao and you to be in a relationship? With his qualities, he could find a hundred others, don’t you have any idea in your heart?”
Zhou Zui didn’t have any idea in his heart?
Of course he did.
It was too much to conceal, and it was impossible to lie. A person who was honest and pure should be given the whole truth as he would not be worthy of him without honesty. Zhou Zui had never wanted to hide it from the time that he wanted to establish a relationship, and he could not afford to give it up.