Chapter 43: Are you and my big brother sleeping in the same bed?
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The guy offered to model for him, but Lu Xiaobei didn’t even think about it and refused.
The boy repeated, “I really can do it. You can’t find a model, but I’m readily available?”
Lu Xiaobei did not even raise his head, and they could only see his eyes drooping as he was wearing a mask, “The pain will hurt you.”
“I’m not afraid of pain, it’s okay.” The little boy curled his eyes and smiled.
Lu Xiaobei looked up at him and said indifferently, “Not afraid of pain, then why do you shake?”
The boy looked down at his own legs and did not speak.
The boy’s name was Lin Cheng who was just a freshman that was studying architectural design. He had an appointment with Lu Xiaobei to do the rainbow flag that was tattooed on the inner thigh today, in order to cover a scar left by childhood.
Lu Xiaobei drew a fan with the colors of the rainbow flag, and it was surrounded by scattered broken stars that made it look very trendy and absolutely beautiful. There was a circle of the fan that was not even finished with the outer line, but the boy’s head was sweating from the pain. As Lu Xiaobei dropped the needle from time to time, he reflexively jerked his leg, and his sensitive skin would immediately redden up as soon as the line was hooked on the edge. With such a white complexion, the redness looked a bit appalling.
Lin Cheng wore a pair of loose shorts with one side rolled to the base of his leg. He watched Lu Xiaobei lower his head at the base of his leg with one hand holding a machine to draw the line,and the other holding a cotton pad to wipe off the excess pigment. With Lin Cheng’s legs spread apart with one curled up and one straightened, Lu Xiaobei was nestled between his legs to do the tattoo.
This action was very common for tattoo artists, and the more private parts had the more embarrassing positions. However, it was still a slightly uncomfortable position for the client, and they would feel a little ambiguous.
Once the fan’s lining was finished, Lin Cheng took a piece of tissue to wipe the sweat from his head and whispered, “Brother, I want to take a break.”
Lu Xiaobei happened to be changing the needle for shading and slightly tilted his chin before he said, “Go ahead.”
Lin Cheng simply wanted to take a break and did not want to go. It really hurt too much, and the pain was several degrees higher than the one on his wrist. He didn’t change his posture and just closed his legs before he watched Lu Xiaobei fiddle with the machine. After a while, he smiled and said, “I’m okay.”
Lu Xiaobei gave a “hmm” sound and put his feet on the ground to make the chair move forward before he put on new gloves after pulling up his mask and said, “If it hurts too much, you can say so.”
“Okay.” Lin Cheng nodded his head while looking very docile.
Whether it hurt more to shade or line, everyone answered differently. In fact, both hurt but only one was sharper and one was not as irritating. However, the constant pressure on one’s nerves would make some people feel particularly disturbed.
Lin Cheng decided to take the initiative to talk to Lu Xiaobei to distract himself from the pain. He spoke in a low voice with his voice sounding unsteady due to the pain, “This is a nice design, what’s the style?”
“No style,” Lu Xiaobei answered him, “It’s just a little fresh, you can think of it as a new school design, but not exactly.”
Lin Cheng nodded and said with a smile, “It looks good.”
Lu Xiaobei still didn’t like to talk while he was working, and his answers were very short when Lin Cheng talked later on, but he simply didn’t reply sometimes when he focused on shading.
Later on, when the main body of the fan was finished and the last pieces were still missing, Lu Xiaobei was changing needles and adjusting the color when Lin Cheng suddenly raised his hand to gently touch Lu Xiaobei’s black earrings.
Lu Xiaobei’s movements froze, and he raised his eyebrows to look at him.
Lin Cheng’s Adam’s apple slid a little, and he also realized that his action was a little abrupt so he retracted his hand and pulled the corner of his lips up in a far-fetched smile, “Brother, you, this…It’s nice.”
Lu Xiaobei did not move and kept staring at him. With his mask on his face, he could not see his expression and did not know what he was thinking.
This look made him nervous, and Lin Cheng’s eyes dodged as he did not dare to look at him. He tightly pursed his lips while looking very uncomfortable. The smile on his face fell. He was just about to say “sorry” when he heard Lu Xiaobei open his mouth.
He still looked up sideways and stared at Lin Cheng before he came a little closer and said to him at a volume that only the two of them could hear, “Don’t blindly ruffle my feathers.”
This time Lin Cheng’s face completely flushed and became a scarlet color.
When Xiao Ke came over after work, Lin Cheng had just finished the tattoo, and Lu Xiaobei took a towel to wipe the antibacterial soap off his legs. He asked him, “Are you satisfied? See if there is anything to fix.”
“Yes, it’s fine.” Lin Cheng smiled and shook his head, “Thank you, brother.”
Lu Xiaobei nodded and took off his gloves and mask before he put away the machine and stood up. He moved away from the workbench and went to his tattoo place to find a film for it before he told him, “Don’t take a shower today, go back and apply the medicine you took last time, and make an appointment to come back later to touch up the color.”
The boy nodded and Lu Xiaobei sent him off. When he passed Xiao Ke, he bumped shoulders with him and said “hello.”
Xiao Ke patted him on the arm and walked over to Zhou Zui before he smiled and said, “Good evening, Teacher Zhou.”
Zhou Zui looked up and smiled at him, “I’m almost done, you can sit down for a while.”
“Okie, there’s no hurry.” Xiao Ke said, “I’ll think about what to eat tonight.”
Zhou Zui said, “Okay.”
Xiao Ke originally did not want to come over today since Zhou Zui was busy and so was he. If he came over, it would more or less disrupt Zhou Zui’s rhythm of life. However, he had to go on a business trip tomorrow and would be gone for three or four days, perhaps even longer, so he still came over.
In the evening, Xiao Ke said that he was going on a business trip for a few days and Zhou Zui asked, “Where to?”
“To Shanghai,” Xiao Ke said while leaning back on the sofa with his eyes closed, “For an exchange meeting.”
Zhou Zui made a “hmm” sound and asked him, “Have you finished packing?”
“Yes, I have it in the car.” Xiao Ke sighed, “If you don’t see me for the next few days, remember to call me, Mr. Zhou.”
Zhou Zui rubbed the corner of his forehead and said, “I won’t forget.”
This certainly was not something that he could forget. The two of them would call every night before bed if they were not together and talk about random things. Sometimes, Zhou Zui would even exercise without hanging up, and Xiao Ke loved to listen.
This time, the exchange meeting was not on a small scale. Several universities had jointly opened, and for their school, they sent a total of seven people along with Xiao Ke, and the dean was also going. It was originally a trio scheduled for three or four days, but they were unexpectedly invited to Xiamen halfway through so they would return to Shanghai a week later.
Xiao Ke was lying on the bed at the hotel during the night and told Zhou Zui that he was tired.
Zhou Zui said on the phone, “Get some rest, you’ll be back soon.”
Xiao Ke called while his colleague was taking a shower since he and his colleague were sharing a room. That’s why his voice was a little lower, and he hummed twice while playing the pity game with his boyfriend.
Zhou Zui very much ate this routine, and suddenly his heart felt very soft. He smiled and said, “I’ll wait for you.”
“Okay,” Xiao Ke sighed again as he stuck to the phone, “I’m going to see my PhD director tomorrow, and I’ll probably be scolded again.”
Zhou Zui did not say anything, and Xiao Ke did not really need him to say anything so Zhou Zui just listened. Xiao Ke thought of what to say until the colleague came out of the shower, and Xiao Ke said, “Then I’ll take a shower, you go to bed early.”
“Okay, I’ll wait for you.” Zhou Zui finished and did not hang up before whispering after several seconds, “You hang up.”
Xiao Ke knew that this person actually could not hang up, and though his mouth did not say so, his heart was missing him.
Thus, Xiao Ke came out of the shower and sent a kissing emoji to Zhou Zui in order to coax his Teacher Zhou.
Lu Xiaobei was also in Shanghai, and when he heard that Xiao Ke was coming back, he also left the show. He didn’t care about the two days left in the exhibition, so he brought his model back and had to take the same flight with Xiao Ke. Anyway, he had been there for the first three days, and there were not as many people as before so he had seen everything that he needed to see.
Lu Xiaobei did not bring his own work as he was simply a replacement for Zhou Zui, and he sat in a chair under the banner of Zhou Zui’s studio while playing with his phone. Some people came over to talk and he would not respond. It was only when he was asked if he was Zhou Zui that he replied, “I’m not, I’m his disciple.”
Tao Xiao Dong was indeed capable of compromise and put Zhou Zui’s stuff all over while he invited some of Zhou Zui’s old customers to be models which he smashed a lot of money for. At the exhibition every year, the group of people who were really great were actually familiar with everything and were waiting to see if there was a new figure this year. However, Zhou Zui was different. This was his first exhibition with the most central position of the venue next to the organizer.
However, Zhou Zui, as a matter of fact, did not deliberately prepare for this at all as the designs were common tattoos. It was a very casual exhibition where he did not show up at all.
However, this was enough.
Zhou Zui had a full-back tattoo that was a tiger. The background of the surrounding color was not mentionable as the tiger was what made almost the entire field of tattoo artists come to see it. That was the most detailed work done by Zhou Zui last year, and the lines were rough and spontaneous as if they were wild and reckless before they became delicate like fur on the body which could be seen clearly. The tiger was lying on its side while its head and teeth were fierce, and a pair of tiger eyes were buckled on the human skin as if they were really alive.
He had completely mastered the traditional style. From artistic conception to technique, this artist was top of the summit. Even the simple colors along the edges were filled with a domineering aura.
For this full-back tattoo, Zhou Zui had put in more than two hundred hours. Since the client’s brother had money, the price of one million was negotiated directly without being charged by the hour. Otherwise, it was very rare to do such a detailed job. After all, every hour was money running, and the client didn’t need it to be that fine, but Zhou Zui wouldn’t have designed anything else.
The difference between the specially prepared flash designs for the exhibition and the collected designs for the customers was on full display here, and excluding the style and theme, the meticulousness was far inferior.
In addition to this design, there was also a half-scapular lion with a mechanical arm and mechanical legs, a small-legged elephant god, a totem of a foreign beast, and a full-backed landscape design which were all so unique in style that they could be seen at a glance. There were also some slightly more common styles, such as European and American black and gray ones as well as the traditional Japanese ones that were placed inside.
During this year’s exhibition, Zhou Zui’s figure came out of nowhere, which was the biggest surprise to the organizer of the industry. Most of the other booths were team exhibitors, and there were some shocking designs which were the result of the whole team since each person had their own preference and could only do their best in their own area of expertise.
Zhou Zui was the only one who supported a single booth by himself, and he came with all styles that were all excellent and the best.
There were still some people in the country who knew about Zhou Zui, after all, Lu Xiaobei usually managed the micro-blog for tens of thousands of fans which many tattoo artists from the industry followed. However, international friends really did not know anything at all as they had never heard of this person. Domestic tattoos started very late, and had been imitating the style of other countries so there wasn’t any independent style. In this area of tattooing, foreign tattooists actually more or less looked down on the domestic tattoo circle as they thought that the level was still inadequate.
The organizer was placed next to Zhou Zui’s booth and he was completely calm since he was very well organized, and he came out with a very long face. The international masters who came to the show did not hide their appreciation.
Lu Xiaobei initially meant to bring a box of business cards but ran out a while ago so he did not bother to print them again. It was so high-profile that he didn’t bother to communicate more and contact more. My big brother does not want to be famous so all communication olive branches are useless. We do not want to develop, do not want to earn a lot of money, and do not want to make a name for ourselves. We came here to give Tao Xiao Dong face since he was really on fire, and we needed to save a show.
Previously, Lu Xiaobei sometimes worried for Zhou Zui at home when he saw him so unmotivated, which made him angry and unwilling. However, he thought that it was the way it was because he really came out and looked at the exhibitions of those big groups where the leader posed as a big brother who would also meet everywhere in the relationship which led to a hundred or eighty disciples where a year of light tuition was received for a thousand or eight million, but they did not necessarily learn anything. Zhou Zui was not suitable for living that way and really did not need to.
Thus, Lu Xiaobei lifted his butt and left to go home with his Brother Xiao.
Xiao Ke touched Lu Xiaobei’s bald head very smoothly and asked him, “How do you feel?”
Lu Xiaobei shook his head and “snorted” before he said, “There’s too many people and too much garbage. It’s so damn aggravating, I won’t come back.”
Xiao Ke laughed and said, “Good work.”
The two picked a seat next to each other when they checked in, and after boarding, Lu Xiaobei looked very uncomfortable with pale lips. When he sat next to Xiao Ke, he told him, “You should never come to this kind of show, Brother Xiao. Really, the first day I had to tattoo, I threw up three times, no exaggeration. This is much more frightening than a masquerade party or cosplaying while this one can be too gentle.”
Tattoo exhibitions were naturally full of tattoos.
There were all kinds of tattoos of all shapes and sizes that blinded the eyes. Seeing all of this for days on end could cause physical discomfort. Lu Xiaobei and the model took turns vomiting several rounds with yellow faces.
There was a tattoo fanatic who was tattooed from the top of the head to the heel, and even his entire head was tattooed into a zombie-like design with the mouth open all the way to the bases of the ear. When this person came, Lu Xiaobei did not hold back directly and started dry heaving. For the first time in his life, he felt a fear of tattoos, and then with one more look, he felt like fainting.
Xiao Ke listened to him and laughed as he comforted him a few sentences before he later said, “There is no way. Since you are in this business, you have to accept these clients, but the good thing is that your master is indifferent to fame and fortune, so you can experience it less.”
“Mn, I guess this is the last time.” Lu Xiaobei leaned back into his chair while looking weak and said to Xiao Ke, “I’m not worried about this, to be honest, Brother Xiao, my big brother will never be involved in any of this.”
Xiao Ke was just about to say “I know” when Lu Xiaobei went on, “He is not in the circle, but Tang Yaning was. The old people in the circle all know him, and they all knew each other. I heard a lot of people mention that name this time, and incidentally talk about the outside rumors that were not true. The worship and jealousy of Zhou Zui’s ability makes them hold on to a piece of history, as if they can use their mouths to degrade others’ ability.”
Xiao Ke paused after suddenly hearing this name and was not sure what he wanted to say.
Lu Xiaobei’s disdain was clear on his face as he sneered and closed his eyes before he said, “I came back knowing that my big brother will always be a great master, to get rid of mortals as a god is quite good. I don’t know what sins were committed in his last life to be tainted by such a person, he was a piece of trash.”
Xiao Ke also closed his eyes and leaned back into the chair for a while before he pulled the corners of his mouth and told Lu Xiaobei, “Even without him, I know Zhou Zui’s character wouldn’t be different. Forget it, the deceased should be respected, let’s not say too much.”
Lu Xiaobei said, “I’m never afraid to respect anyone, every time I mention it, I want to say that he is really garbage. People have to be responsible for their own life, you turn yourself into waste, why should others be burdened by that life? From the time he died till now, my big brother has been living under his cloud, I’m sick of thinking about it.”
He opened his eyes to look at Xiao Ke and paused before he asked him with a frown, “Brother Xiao, in fact, I have never dared to ask you nor have I found the opportunity. Now that I mention it, I would like to ask…Are you and my big brother sleeping in the same bed?”
They have, they have!!! 😁🙆♀️💏🎆
Thanks for translating and editing.
Without the back story, that question would be shocking. But knowing what happened to ZZ, Lu Xaiobei is just trying to gauge whether ZZ is healing – or not.