Chapter 36: I can give up on my principles, but I can’t give up on my Teacher Zhou.
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Old Cao said “Xiao Ke” one too many times which drove Zhou Zui crazy.
Lin Xuan and Cheng Ning came when Old Cao was sitting next to Lu Xiaobei while watching him play a game. Zhou Zui was nowhere to be found. Lin Xuan went over to kick Cao Yuan and asked him, “Where is he?”
Cao Yuan pointed upstairs. “He went upstairs to pout. You’re bothering me.”
“Can’t you go a single day without baring your thorns?” Cheng Ning scolded him, and then asked, “What did you do to annoy him like that?”
“What else could he do? Teasing him.” Lin Xuan laughed. “Maybe he was teasing him about wanting Xiao Ke again.”
Cao Yuan hurriedly stood up straight and said, “In all honesty, I did not. I have not actually acted, I just talked about it. He pulled a face and told me not to think about Xiao Ke. My God, that face was two meters long, and really scared this guy to death.”
From the back, Lu Xiaobei leisurely remarked, “It was deserved.”
Lin Xuan went over and flicked his bald head. Lu Xiaobei continued, “The man is suffering every day, and you had to poke my big brother on his wounds. I wouldn’t be surprised if the only thing he didn’t do was hit you for the sake of being a bad friend for years.”
Even though several people downstairs were called over by Zhou Zui, Zhou Zui was too lazy to care. However, his clients were coming and he couldn’t possibly not go out, so Zhou Zui lit a cigarette in his mouth and went downstairs.
These people who came today did not intend to leave. When Zhou Zui was downstairs with the customer to see the positioning of the drawing, they were on the side while gossiping. From time to time, he could hear a few sentiments related to Zhou Zui. The word “Xiao Ke” was particularly sensitive to Zhou Zui, and he could hear it every time they mentioned it.
Zhou Zui was truly upset. He hadn’t experienced such vivid emotions in a long time, and was usually very calm as he didn’t care about anything. These days, his mood has been very bad, and the customer was also very difficult to handle today. Before finalizing the plan, he also wanted it modified many times in accordance with his wishes. The result was that he didn’t like the modifications and liked the original the best so he now was not satisfied.
This kind of customer was the most annoying, because it didn’t matter what the final solution was as they would feel that it either wasn’t good enough, perfect enough, or as cool as others.
Zhou Zui was patient at first, but then he stopped talking while just listening to his ideas and opinions. When he finished, Zhou Zui stood up and said, “I rarely change my designs. When you wanted to change them, I told you to trust me and that I have been doing tattoos for 20 years, and that my drawings are more effective than what you said, but you didn’t believe me. Now you are not satisfied with the design. So you can choose one of the two options. Either you can change to a more advanced tattoo artist that can do it for you, or I can do what I think is best and you don’t get involved blindly.”
The small talk group looked over, and Lin Xuan whispered, “Look, he’s angry.”
Old Cao said, “His heart is filled with anger and does not know where to throw it.”
The client obviously could not be replaced as they had been waiting for Zhou Zui for more than three months. He really liked his talent level and did not want to leave, in addition, a senior artist more qualified than Zhou Zui would be almost impossible to find. Anyone else would be twice the price. Zhou Zui’s price was the lowest, and people who knew about tattoos would be able to see the difference.
The client finally said, “Okay, I’ll listen to you. I’m just torn, but I’ll go according to your wishes.”
Zhou Zui nodded, “Okay, then let’s schedule another time. I will redraw it. If it works, then I will not change a single stroke.”
The client really liked his strength and smiled while saying, “Okay.”
After the people left, Zhou Zui stood at the door to smoke a cigarette, but did not directly come in. Several people in the room who had been mentioning Xiao Ke also let him quietly sit there. He simply could not work today and that also included drawing. Tattooing was impossible.
Fang Xi was close by so it was natural for him to come over if there was something to see. The group of people stayed in Zhou Zui’s shop and even had a meal with him at noon.
After eating, they all laid down on the sofa. Surrounded by a group of people, Zhou Zui organized his drawings on the table. With more than 30 drawings lined up behind him that included two full backs, one half body, and a bunch of flower arms and legs; this was about four months of work. Originally, he had been doing something every day, but he suddenly felt that it was very boring at this moment so the design was thrown onto the table without being looked at.
He glanced at the date on the phone. There was no contact for almost a month.
Fang Xi asked him, “Aren’t you going to contact Professor Xiao and wait for him to come to you?”
Zhou Zui shook his head without saying anything, and Old Cao said, “Why are you so mean? I think Xiao Ke can’t really care about whether someone is dead or not, he might be waiting for a word from you. You see I mentioned giving Xiao Ke to me and you still refused. You also fucking glared at me. I think it’s a waste of time to give this person to you.”
Zhou Zui frowned before he looked down and said, “Shut up.”
“Why should I shut up? Has the matter been resolved?” Old Cao continued, “You’re too confined brother. What the fuck are you waiting here for? You need to go find him and keep bugging him. If he still likes you, you can easily get him back. What the hell can you accomplish by simply telling me to shut up? Even if I don’t make a move, someone else is going to.”
Zhou Zui lit another cigarette and held it in his mouth, but he did not smoke it as he let it burn slowly. He just wanted to feel the pain of the smoke burning his eyes.
He didn’t want to find Xiao Ke? That was impossible. At first, it was indeed Xiao Ke’s initiative as this person with a very strong offensive said that he would chase him while Zhou Zui retreated a few times, but no one can carry the charm of Xiao Ke. and it would be impossible to shoulder. Later, Zhou Zui was really moved and wanted to continue on as he liked Professor Xiao a lot.
Last time, Xiao Ke had said to Lu Xiaobei that people die and are permanently burned into the heart so Zhou Zui was less afraid to talk about the past, but he still knew that this hurdle would not be easy to get through.
The day after finishing that thing, Zhou Zui had actually wanted to find Xiao Ke and didn’t really want to cut off contact. However, he still did not call as all his thoughts were negative, and he thought that Xiao Ke needed time. Zhou Zui also needed time, and he had to explain everything to Xiao Ke.
“Gee, do you really think you’re a warrior? Just speak to him.” Old Cao felt that Zhou Zui’s state of silence had driven him crazy, and he picked up a piece of tissue paper to throw at him.
Zhou Zui took the tissue and put it aside while saying, “Let’s just wait.”
Lin Xuan and Cheng Ning simply laughed.
Fang Xi said, “I’m impressed.”
“You’re a fucking dick if you do nothing but wait,” Old Cao’s personality was straightforward and he couldn’t look at people like Zhou Zui so he scolded him twice before he said, “Then you wait. You deserve to be single for life. You’ll end up alone, warrior. Just wait until you are eighty and you can’t get a good man. You can’t just wait for a good man to emerge-“
His words just fell off as someone behind him suddenly picked up on the words, and the scene then turned silent –
“Why can’t he? Isn’t there a good man here? Who is strong enough to bully my Teacher Zhou?”
Everyone looked back while Zhou Zui, who had his head down, immediately looked up at the sound of the voice. Xiao Ke, who was holding a huge bouquet of flowers just like last time, locked eyes with him and winked at him with a smile. It was the same look, and the smile was still as good as ever.
Zhou Zui took the cigarette out of his mouth and pressed it into the ashtray while looking at Xiao Ke, and he didn’t know what to say.
Zhou Zui’s newly shaved head had hair that was shorter than the original hairstyle that Xiao Ke had always loved to touch with his hand. Zhou Zui looked at him and was afraid to make a sound. Professor Xiao was obviously distressed, and he held the flower with one hand while the other hand took something out of his pocket with difficulty and threw it towards Zhou Zui.
Zhou Zui raised his hand to catch it and looked at it before he hurriedly turned his back to put it on the table.
Xiao Ke’s face had a smile on his face when he asked him, “Do you like it, Teacher Zhou?”
Zhou Zui pursed his lips and nodded his head.
The thing was something that others could not recognize, but Old Cao could as he was too familiar with it. He stood up to turn around and shouted, “Holy shit!”
Xiao Ke looked at him and then said to them, “You sit in a circle and let my teacher Zhou stand by himself, you collectively attack the honest people, bullying my teacher Zhou since he will not talk back.”
Lu Xiaobei ran down from upstairs and shouted, “Brother Xiao!”
Old Cao said, “What do you mean by throwing a bottle of lubricating oil over there, Professor Xiao? Are you that wicked?”
Xiao Ke raised his chin and said with a smile on his face, “I’m sending a gift, okay? I just want to give this to Teacher Zhou, I’m happy about it.”
Xiao Ke finished walking over and sent the flowers into Zhou Zui’s arms while he looked him in the eyes and said, “I drank too much last night and got up late today; otherwise I would have come long ago to keep them from bullying you.”
Zhou Zui did not say anything and held the flowers in his hands while looking deeply at Xiao Ke in silence.
“Last time I came, someone stirred the pot and I didn’t finish my confession. I want to ask Teacher Zhou, do you want to be my boyfriend?”
Xiao Ke cocked his head and smiled at him which was very handsome and charming. This person was always so bright. Zhou Zui’s eyes only had Xiao Ke and the bouquet of red flowers he had just sent into them.
Zhou Zui opened his mouth and said with a muffled voice, “I especially want to.”
Xiao Ke went over and bit Zhou Zui’s face, but not hard. After biting, he deliberately touched the spot with his lips. The details could not be seen by others as Xiao Ke’s head blocked their view, but the action was exciting enough regardless of whether they could see it or not.
Old Cao asked him, “You do not admit it? I saw you admit it and thought I had a chance, Professor Xiao, will you consider me? My background is fucking simple, my ex-boyfriends are countless but all alive.”
This statement is too blasé, Fang Xi thought, Just wait for Zhou Zui to recover and tear you up.
Xiao Ke did not turn around and asked Zhou Zui in a low voice, “Do you have clients today?”
Zhou Zui shook his head, “No.”
Xiao Ke smiled and took one of Zhou Zui’s hands to lead him outside. While walking out, he told Cao Yuan, “What I meant by conceding was that I’m conceding to myself. I actually feel really wronged. The thing that bothers me the most is when someone’s heart is permanently branded with someone else. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to relationships. Either I have to get that person’s entire heart, or not at all. If this were the me from before, I would’ve backed out a long time ago, however, this time, I’m conceding. I can give up on my principles, but I can’t give up on my Teacher Zhou.”
Xiao Ke pushed the door and left, just as Xiao Lin was coming back from outside.
Xiao Lin stared in disbelief, and Xiao Ke smiled at her before he said, “Watch the household with Xiaobei.”
Xiao Ke got into the driver’s seat of Zhou Zui’s car while leaving Zhou Zui in the passenger seat with the flashy bouquet of flowers placed behind him.
From the beginning to the end, Zhou Zui did not speak. The emotions in his heart were strong, and the more he thought about it, the more he could not say anything.
Xiao Ke looked at him sideways and asked, “You didn’t think I was coming, did you? Were you afraid?”
Zhou Zui replied honestly with a nod of his head and said, “Yes.”
Xiao Ke smiled and shook his hand while running his thumb over the back of his hand to comfort him. He then spoke softly, “Don’t be afraid. I told you, I hope to be with you for the rest of your life.”