Chapter 7: “Boss Zhou, it’s been a while since I’ve pursued somebody. But when I was young……I’ve never failed at getting someone I wanted.”
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
If Xiao Ke said he wanted to try, he was not just talking.
When he was young and vigorous, he had pursued people and since Xiao Ke was originally a fun-loving person, it was hard to resist playing around. When he was serious, it was rare for someone to refuse him. After all, he had the looks as well as a great body, so he was rather dazzling when he was a student.
In more recent times, he truly had settled down and stopped being so extravagant. However, this didn’t mean that his person wouldn’t be attracted to anyone anymore. That was impossible. The more Xiao Ke went back to thinking about Zhou Zui, the more interested he felt so there was no need to hold back.
Xiao Ke directly called Zhou Zui, and the person who answered the phone was still the bald Lu Xiaobei. Xiao Ke said, “Looking for Zhou Zui, this is Xiao Ke.”
Lu Xiaobei shouted over the phone, “Big brother, Xiao Ke is looking for you!”
Zhou Zui later came to the phone, and Xiao Ke asked him, “This is not a personal number, right?”
Zhou Zui said, “Yeah, it’s a work number.”
Xiao Ke didn’t hold onto this so he got right to the point, “When are you going to buy me a drink?”
Zhou Zui said, “Any time, you decide.”
Xiao Ke then said, “Friday then.”
Zhou Zui smiled and said, “Okay.”
Xiao Ke deliberately set the date for the weekend as he didn’t have to work the next day so it didn’t matter if he slept late. That day, Xiao Ke dressed very flamboyantly to look as handsome as possible, and he scratched his head.
They still met at Su Chi which was where Xiao Ke only came to drink so he was used to it. He didn’t drive, and neither did Zhou Zui. Xiao Ke was chatting with Old Su at the bar for a while before Zhou Zui arrived.
Old Su asked him, “Are you two dating?”
Xiao Ke smiled and said, “No, I want to pursue him.”
Old Su teased him, “Changing your tastes, brother?”
Xiao Ke didn’t say anything, just laughed.
Zhou Zui came and Old Su naturally had to leave to make room for them in case they couldn’t talk with him there.
Xiao Ke asked Zhou Zui, “Do you come here often?”
Zhou Zui said, “Occasionally.”
Xiao Ke was very outspoken due to the alcohol, and Xiao Ke asked Zhou Zui after the alcohol had been consumed, “Most of the people who come here are gay, are you?”
Zhou Zui did not deny it, and the glass gently clinked against Xiao Ke’s hand.
Xiao Ke’s smile looked very nice as he looked at Zhou Zui and said, “Me too.”
Zhou Zui nodded, “I can see that.”
Zhou Zui put a cigarette between his lips as his eyes dropped which looked very compelling from Xiao Ke’s perspective. The lighter was on top of the bar so Xiao Ke got to it before Zhou Zui reached for it, and he held it in his hand before raising his arm close to Zhou Zui’s cigarette and pressing the switch.
Zhou Zui bit down on his cigarette and thanked him in a muffled voice.
Xiao Ke stared at him. “So I’m interested in you…Don’t you know that?”
Zhou Zui took a puff of his cigarette, and the flame lit up near Xiao Ke’s hand. He lifted his eyes to look at Xiao Ke who had leaned forward with his collar slightly askew. It allowed him to see the line of his neck and his beautiful collarbone. Zhou Zui looked back at his face before he exhaled and said, “I see.”
“Then it’s settled.” Xiao Ke nodded and didn’t say anything more. The last time Zhou Zui said he was used to being single, but he didn’t think that was so, which was why Xiao Ke wouldn’t give him the chance to directly reject him. He was finished with speaking, and decided to stop there so that there would be a subtle sense of ambiguity between the two of them.
At least in this bar, the two of them would appear to be a couple going out together.
Based on what was expected when pursuing others, the alcohol should be bought by Xiao Ke this time which would also give him a reason to find Xiao Ke later. However, it seemed a little vulgar since the other man was more mature than him, and he also was not a girl so sticking around would be an annoyance to him.
When the bill was settled, Xiao Ke stood squarely by while waiting for Zhou Zui to pay the bill, and then the two of them walked out before Xiao Ke said, “You’re quite a drinker, Teacher Zhou, you’ve had more than me, but you look quite calm.”
Zhou Zui said, “My entire family can drink. Don’t drink with me in the future. You can’t drink with me if you don’t want to lose.”
Xiao Ke laughed, “Then next time, I won’t drink, okay? I won’t mince my words. I am interested in you. Can I still find you even if we aren’t drinking together?”
Xiao Ke stopped grinning, and frowned while his hand quietly pressed against his stomach.
Zhou Zui saw it and asked him, “What’s wrong?”
Xiao Ke sighed and said, “My stomach hurts from drinking, I really can’t drink too much, or it brings me shame as a people’s teacher.”
“If you can’t drink, don’t drink. Come to the shop or call me in the future,” Zhou Zui said.
Xiao Ke looked at him while half-smiling. “Next time I’ll call you at work, huh?”
Zhou Zui laughed and looked at Xiao Ke for a few seconds before he said, “You’re so clever.”
He took his phone out of his pocket and unlocked it before throwing it to Xiao Ke.
Xiao Ke took it and saved his phone number without hesitation before dialing his own number to save Zhou Zui’s number onto his phone. Before he left, he told Zhou Zui, “Boss Zhou, it’s been a while since I’ve pursued somebody…I’ve never failed when it comes to getting someone I want.”
Zhou Zui raised his eyebrows.
Xiao Ke continued, “Why don’t you just try it?”
Zhou Zui laughed and shook his head as he said, “While you are young…I see you as a child now.”
Xiao Ke took out his ID card to show Zhou Zui his date of birth. “I’m thirty, for real.”
An extremely handsome guy would look good even on his ID photo. Zhou Zui looked at Xiao Ke’s much younger face on his ID card and smiled without saying anything.
After they parted, Xiao Ke sat in the back seat of the cab and shrank into a ball with his tail covered. When he told Zhou Zui that his stomach was hurting, he wasn’t faking it at all. In fact, he was sweating from the pain in the bar, but he was just pretending to be fine.
He used to have a bad stomach, so Lin An rarely allowed him to drink for two entire years. However, this was not always the case since he also drank a lot last time on his birthday, but he did not feel the stomach pain then.
This time he was in real pain, and his legs felt weak when he got home. It might have something to do with the fact that he didn’t eat dinner, and immediately drank on an empty stomach.
This time, his stomach was really upset with him so the pain lasted for several days. Xiao Ke took medicine every day to cope with it, drank porridge to nourish his stomach in the mornings and evenings, and also didn’t dare touch anything greasy or spicy.
His colleagues in the group knew that he had an upset stomach. One teacher even gave him a box of monkey brand mushroom cookies while telling him that he should take care of his stomach.
He took a picture of the box of Lion’s mane mushroom cookies1, then sent the photo to Zhou Zui’s private number. The image was followed by the message, [Next time, I really won’t drink anymore, I will become Xiao Daiyu.] 2
The two messages sank into the sea and no reply was received.
Xiao Ke guessed that Zhou Zui couldn’t respond to him at the moment. An old man was not so easy to court. However, it didn’t matter as he didn’t expect anything back.
He could now bring a glass of water to class which allowed him to drink warm water whenever he was thirsty. Fortunately, the weather was getting cooler, since he wouldn’t have been able to drink the cups of warm water to quench his thirst if the weather had been as hot as it used to be.
When the class monitor came over to give him hot water, Xiao Ke said, “Thanks.”
“No problem.” The class monitor stood by the lecture table and asked him, “Why are you acting like an old man when you are so young? You have a stomachache?”
“Only an old man can have a stomachache?” Xiao Ke lost his smile. “I’ve had stomach problems since middle school.”
“Then you still have the root of the disease so the original problem is even harder to fix.” The short class leader said, “I’ll introduce a Chinese doctor to you later, Handsome Xiao, a relative of my family, let him give you a tune-up.”
“Then again, I do not like to drink Chinese medicine, too bitter,” Xiao Ke said.
The class leader said, “You are like a child.”
Xiao Ke looked at him before he said, “Erase the blackboard for me.”
Being a teacher at Xiao Ke’s age often made students feel close to him. Also Xiao Ke didn’t want to put up a teacher’s front all the time which was why students often had no distance from him so they were without the appearance of a teacher and his students.
As for Xiao Ke’s own sexual orientation, he did not want to be too close to either boys or girls to avoid suspicion. If others knew of his sexual orientation one day, it wouldn’t look good having harmonious teacher-student relationships.
There were many good-looking boys on the university campus, but he only liked the ones who were older than himself from the beginning while he never had any interest in the ones who were younger than himself.
When considering this, Xiao Ke couldn’t help but think of Zhou Zui again. He hadn’t talked to him on the phone since the last time they drank together with the two text messages he sent before being the first contact.
Fang Qimao asked him through WeChat, [How far has the chase gotten, Professor Xiao?]
Xiao Ke, [Why are you so gossipy like a girl?]
Marvelous (Qimao) Big Animal, [Little bald head asked me to go for a touch up this week, you want to go together?]
Xiao Ke, [What day?]
Marvelous Big Animal, [Sunday.]
Xiao Ke, [I’ll go.]
Xiao Ke had to go since he was otherwise thinking about contacting Zhou Zui. He had said that he wanted to pursue him so he passively waited for it.
On Friday night, Xiao Ke went home and stayed overnight before returning on Saturday afternoon.
Dr. Xu said that Lin An had taken away the rest of the stuff before he cleaned up the house so there was nothing left.
Xiao Ke said, “Thanks, Mom.”
“No, I know you too well. I just didn’t know what was going on with you guys before, otherwise I would have packed up.” HIs mom looked at Xiao Ke and sighed, “Xiao Lin said that the reason for the separation was him.”
Xiao Ke shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. Everything is fine. What’s done is done.”
He and Lin An used to live with his parents for a while because at that time, Xiao Ke’s current house had problems with the heating pipes which took more than a week to be repaired. The house was still cold even after the repair so they had stayed with his parents during that winter.
“In the future, do not hide anything from the family. We only worry if you do not say anything. Your father and I will not blame you, you know that.” She peeled an apple for Xiao Ke and put it into his hand.
Xiao Ke didn’t say anything for a long time, and he just snorted before gnawing on the apple. It was only when he finished the entire apple that he hugged his mother and patted her on the back while saying, “I’m just afraid that you’ll get angry with me. I didn’t mean to hide it from you.”
His mom also patted Xiao Ke’s back, and said with a rare gentle tone, “I only have you as a son. I’m happy as long as you are happy.”
“Yeah.” Xiao Ke nodded and let go of her. “Then let’s talk about something happy, old lady.”
“What made you happy?”
Xiao Ke smiled and winked at her. “I have a new love interest.”
- 猴菇饼干Lion’s mane mushrooms are very nutritious and rich in vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It’s also a good source of essential minerals such as manganese, zinc, and potassium. It also has anti-Inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The comments on Amazon all said that they don’t taste very pleasant. With an, “Lol.”
- This is a pun on his name. Xiao is for his surname and Daiyu 黛玉 means black jade, the english equivalent would be black sheep.
I’m really liking these characters and enjoying the pace of this novel, as the story unfolds.
I was thinking how good those cookies sounded, until reading they taste bad ☺️
The relationship he has with his mum sounds very convivial too, which makes a nice change.
Thanks for translating, editing and the T/Ns.