Chapter 44: Xiao Ke hooked the corners of his mouth, wet fingers traced a line in the small of Zhou Zui’s back, his voice was low and husky, “…. Tiger line.”
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
This question was too tricky so Xiao Ke and Lu Xiaobei looked at each other before finally laughing impotently while speechless.
“Don’t tell me you’re not?!” Lu Xiaobei’s eyes widened as they stared at Xiao Ke.
The two stared at each other, and for the next few moments, no one said anything as everything was unspoken. Finally, Lu Xiaobei exhaled a “fuck”.
Xiao Ke blinked before he smiled and rubbed his head while saying, “Don’t worry, leave it to me.”
“…. I’m sorry, Brother Xiao,” Lu Xiaobei deeply frowned with a dog-like face, and then said, “I don’t know who I’m sorry for, in the end, my brother is also a victim, but you’re the most innocent of them all, that’s all, I’m sorry.”
Xiao Ke still had his hand on his head and did not take it down. Lu Xiaobei finished before he directly pressed and shook his hand. Lu Xiaobei’s tongue was about to wiggle out so Xiao Ke laughed and said, “Bullshit, sorry. Who are you talking to? Who am I? You’re sorry? If you say sorry again, I’ll cut your tongue out.”
Lu Xiaobei said, “You are my Brother Xiao. You are the messenger from heaven who’s here to save the earth, to save the world. I sincerely thank my Brother Xiao. If my elder brother met his predecessor in a previous life and committed a sin, then meeting you is because he saved the galaxy after making a sin. Thank you, thank you!”
“This mouth. Shut up and rest, otherwise, I’ll thank you for changing seats.” Xiao Ke bounced at him again before he smiled and closed his eyes to rest while no longer chatting.
Xiao Ke’s body was very tired, so he should have slept for a while, but his spirit was in a kind of exhausted exhilaration. It was very contradictory as he felt depressed, but could not fall into a slumber. Lu Xiaobei had just poked at his pain spot which was a thing that he had been assured to remember, and not to show too much emotion about, but he always thought of it and felt a little blocked. On the surface, there were no problems between him and Zhou Zui, but even though Xiao Ke didn’t say it, that didn’t mean that it didn’t bother him.
In fact, Zhou Zui did not sleep with him at night. He’d known this for a long time, from when he woke up in the middle of the night to find Zhou Zui not there, so he deliberately paid attention from then on and found that Zhou Zui slept on the sofa every day. Before going to bed, they would go together and wake up together, as if they always slept in the same bed.
However, this was not the case. After Xiao Ke was asleep, Zhou Zui would go out silently to sleep on the couch for a few hours before he came back before dawn.1
It was a sad thing between lovers when they couldn’t sleep in the same bed. However, one tries to pretend that everything is fine while the other pretends to not know. Were they tired or not? In fact, both of them were tired. However, the feelings behind it needed to be resolved and settled in order to be together.
Xiao Ke truly cared about Zhou Zui so what couldn’t be tolerated before was now tolerated, and he had to be patient for him to slowly change since it was decided for him to take Mr. Zhou home to love and care for. In the past, Xiao Ke would never have accepted it if the other party had such a bone-chilling ex. He wanted most of the emotion without a single bit missing. However, not only had he accepted it by now, but even the shadow left by the predecessor was still around which made them suffer together.
Xiao Ke closed his eyes and laughed silently. It appeared that Professor Xiao was indeed a messenger from heaven. Love makes people give up their bottom line and let them become weak and meticulous but also tolerate more. It was all about love.
Xiao Ke and Lu Xiaobei left together as they wanted to go directly to the store to see Mr. Zhou without any colleagues. Xiao Ke had a suitcase while Lu Xiaobei only carried a bag, and the two of them looked less than energetic with exhaustion written on their faces.
Lu Xiaobei said, “I have to go back to rest for three days. I can’t look at another tattoo now. I still feel like vomiting whenever I see a tattoo.”
“Rest.” Xiao Ke said, “Rest for ten days to half a month.”
“Yeah, if there is something that I really can’t push back, then I’ll do it, but I will push everything else back. Master Bei now has a phobia of tattoos.” Lu Xiaobei was wearing a duck-tongue cap while walking with his usual slightly lowered head.
While he walked, Xiao Ke also had to keep an eye on him to prevent others from bumping into him. They walked for a while and he said to him, “How old are you, Master Bei? Why aren’t you looking at the road?”
Lu Xiaobei was about to speak when his phone rang in his pocket. He said while touching his pocket, “My neck is too tired. I feel like I can’t carry my head anymore. My brain feels so heavy like it’s about to fall off.” He answered the phone, “Brother.” Xiao Ke looked over, and Lu Xiaobei also looked over at him while talking on the phone. “Yes, I’m with my Brother Xiao. We just got out and we’re walking. Huh? Fuck! Okay!”
After hanging up the phone, he looked at Xiao Ke and said, “Holy shit, relationships do change people. My big brother said that he is waiting for us in the parking lot.”
Xiao Ke raised his eyebrows. “He’s here?”
“Ah, this is certainly not to pick me up. He must have come to pick up his lover.” Lu Xiaobei said.
Xiao Ke smiled and thought, Mr. Zhou really misses me.
Zhou Zui actually came a long time ago. It took just over two hours to fly back from Shanghai. Xiao Ke had just got on the plane and left. He really wanted to go in to stand and wait, but felt really embarrassed. He didn’t want to be that old man holding flowers while waiting for someone. He was hesitant to get off several times and finally returned to the car with throat-clearing tablets while silently waiting.
Xiao Ke saw Zhou Zui’s car as soon as he entered the parking lot and walked over there.
Zhou Zui opened the trunk and got out of the car. When Xiao Ke saw him, he gave him a big smile, and Zhou Zui felt like his old heart instantly melted and fell to pieces when he saw his smiling eyes. Zhou Zui reached out to help him put the suitcase in, and Xiao Ke winked next to him before he said with a smile, “I missed you, Zhou baby.”
When Lu Xiaobei hadn’t come over yet, Zhou Zui also smiled slightly at Xiao Ke and asked him, “Where’s your phone? Why didn’t you answer the phone?”
Xiao Ke felt for his pocket and said, “I didn’t carry it. It’s in Xiaobei’s bag.”
Lu Xiaobei came over and took off the bag which he threw into the truck before he consciously got into the back seat.
When he got into the car, Xiao Ke asked Zhou Zui, “What happened to your voice?”
Zhou Zui said, “A little cold, it’s nothing.”
“Lack of care,” Lu Xiaobei answered in the back. “You left, and I also left so no one was there to warn him.”
Zhou Zui looked at him through the rearview mirror and asked, “Thinner?”
With the mention of this, Lu Xiaobei shrunk into a ball of suffering. “I have suffered, Old Zui. From now on, I will never go again, it is best that you never go out again, or I will still have to go.”
Xiao Ke laughed, and said to Zhou Zui, “He now has a fear of tattoos.”
On the road, Lu Xiaobei roughly told Zhou Zui about the situation, miscellaneous and nothing major, and then said, “By the way, a bunch of people saw me and came over to give me a red packet, all said it was from your old friend. Fuck, which old friend I do not know. I did not want them, so I put them on the receipt of Tao Xiao Dong. He wrapped 50,000.”
Lu Xiaobei was slumped into the back seat as he grumbled and rambled on, “Shit, I even clashed with Tao Xiao Dong’s haircut. Didn’t he have long hair before? Fuck, this time, he even went shaved, and I do not know if it is because of middle-aged baldness, otherwise what is the good in a shaved head? While I was standing next to him talking, someone jokingly asked me if I was his son so I told them that he was my grandfather.”
Lu Xiaobei spouted the entire way back, and the two of them silently listened without making a sound. After all, Master Bei had gone out this time on behalf of the studio’s name which was considered to be business, and the child was tortured like that without being allowed to properly complain.
Zhou Zui had already emptied his schedule for the entire day so he directly sent Lu Xiaobei back before going to his home. They went back and did not do anything unholy as they only hugged and kissed with both their mouths closed. He made a bath for Professor Xiao and let him go in for a massage, and Xiao Ke felt so comfortable that he directly laid down inside and slept for a while.
The massage bath worked, and Zhou Zui cooked afterwards before he squatted next to Xiao Ke while wanting to wake him up but reluctant to do so. However, he had been soaking for a long time so his hands were wrinkled. As he hesitated, he kept staring at Xiao Ke’s face. Professor Xiao’s life was still stable and exquisite in the end so he could not help but toss and turn, and he was a little thin after a week of travel.
After looking around, he couldn’t resist and lowered himself to give Xiao Ke a kiss on the mouth. This matter was done in a pure manner since the old thing was afraid to wake Professor Xiao up if he had really kissed him. It would have been too embarrassing so the kiss was really light where the lips slightly touched and immediately left. The result was that Xiao Ke stopped him with an arm circling his neck and directly bit his lips.
Zhou Zui’s eyes were closed since he was really embarrassed and did not know what expression he should have.
A wet and lingering kiss ended with Xiao Ke whispering and laughing between his lips, asking him vaguely, “Miss me?”
Zhou Zui had no choice but to laugh helplessly, his voice low, “You’ve caught me in the act, so let’s do whatever we want.”
“Okay…All right.” Xiao Ke had regained some strength after the bath, and the nerves in his body were slowly waking up. It was such perfect timing and would be a waste to not have a bite of meat. Teacher Xiao’s entire body was warm and soft from the bath so he could let himself go when it came to certain activities. Doing it between two men was simply to feel that pleasure and to do what was comfortable. Since he had already accepted his change in position, there was nothing else to be dramatic about. All they had to do was fuck.
Xiao Ke asked Zhou Zui with red eyes, “Do you know what I like the most about your body?”
Zhou Zui shook his head since he really did not know.
Xiao Ke hooked the corners of his mouth, and his wet fingers traced a line on Zhou Zui’s stomach while his voice was low and husky, “…Tiger line.”
The first time Xiao Ke saw Zhou Zui’s deadly line was when the relationship between him and Zhou Zui was just beginning to get a little ambiguous. Xiao Ke was sitting in front of the computer in the store while Zhou Zui was putting books on the shelf next to him, and when he raised his arm that pulled up his clothes, Xiao Ke looked sideways to see the taut muscle line on Zhou Zui’s waist and abdomen as well as the hidden line above the belt.
From the man’s belly button down to his pubic hair, along the line was a sparse amount of hair drawn along that deadly sexy line.
Xiao Ke loved this line on Zhou Zui’s body so much that he especially liked to see Zhou Zui at home without a shirt while wearing only pants. The line started from below the navel and ended at the waist’s edge of the pants which gave one an infinite reverie which was an ultimate invitation from the absolute androgyny.
Zhou Zui closed his eyes. Professor Xiao could charm him to death with a casual movement.
Doing this kind of thing was very exhausting so Xiao Ke ate a mouthful of food before he went straight to sleep. Before going to bed, he and Zhou Zui were still close to each other as their arms and legs were tangled together.
The night was usually long and cold, and even the air seemed cold and stagnant, while the only source of warmth in the space was Xiao Ke. Zhou Zui closed his eyes, and the scene in front of him was chaotic and complex as it distorted and changed. The presence of people around him was so strong that it compressed his chest which made him unable to breathe properly.
This type of night was all too familiar to Zhou Zui. His soul was momentarily soothed from looking at Xiao Ke’s gentle and handsome face in his sleep which felt gentle and peaceful.
Xiao Ke’s presence was so strong that one could look at him without any distractions. However, as soon as his eyes closed, all the softness and gentleness would immediately disappear which made the presence around him become stiff and cold while the scene in his head was distorted and pale, and there would even be what seemed to be the smell of iron between his nostrils.
Zhou Zui couldn’t let go of Xiao Ke as he was too warm, and he didn’t want to let go of him.
However, to put Xiao Ke’s presence on another person was unfair as his own pain was not mentioned first, and to mix two completely different scents was in itself very disrespectful to Xiao Ke. They could not be compared, and it was wrong to Professor Xiao’s pure and complete heart. He was not willing to do this to him, not willing.
To embrace the night, there were only two ways for Zhou Zui to sleep, which was to either keep his eyes open until dawn, or to let go of the warm person in his arms and walk out on his own.
He went to and fro before he ended up at a dead end. He was miserable and tangled, but he still had to hold on to this man and not let go. He really liked him, wanted to live with him, and wanted to have a future with him.
- Addis note: I didn’t say anything the last time this was mentioned, but Zhou Zui is suffering from PTSD. Survivors often experience depression or anxiety after the death of someone close. https://www.centerforanxietydisorders.com/ptsd-sudden-death-loved-one/ Unlike what the author portrays, this is not something that can easily be fixed without a medical professional’s help.
My cousin had a similar situation happen to her where her fiance committed suicide with pills then went to sleep next to her. When she woke up in the morning, she was beside him and he was gone. PTSD from such situations are real and should not be taken lightly or even made fun of. It hurts, is horrifying and can drastically change one’s life.
My ex had PTSD after being in the Iraq war. He could not sleep in the same room as others, because if he did get accidently woken up by touch, his first reaction would be to wake up fighting. It’s not a joke when you hear that, in order to wake such a person up, you have to legit poke them with the end of a broom in order to not be punched. Obviously it does create discord in a relationship to not be able to even sleep next to your loved one, however, it is up to the person with PTSD if they want to overcome their trauma. You should never force someone to do something against their will.