After He Zhou left home...
He buried himself in his work, taking his frustrations out there. With a single sweeping glance, he found holes in his subordinates’ work and admonished them harshly for it. The atmosphere of the company gradually became tense and stifled, like there was about to be an imminent explosion.
His secretary lowered her head with tears in her eyes as she choked out, “President He, I’m sorry for my oversight. I’ll immediately prepare a new meeting report for you.”
“Leave." He Zhou said expressionlessly.
The office was empty apart from him now.
He Zhou sat in his office chair. He felt irritated over the air conditioning wasn’t turned on enough, irritated over his tie being too tight and irritated over the haphazard reports his employees kept submitting to him.
He couldn’t stay a minute longer in this place.
So, pulling off his tie, He Zhou left the company and drove to the nearest bar.
He was quite capable when it came to drinking.
After a few glasses of wine, He Zhou’s expression remained unchanged, but his mind grew calmer and clearer.
Like he would never be inebriated.
Then Meng Qikang suddenly appeared for some reason.
He sat opposite He Zhou and poured himself a glass of wine.
I can’t believe how many bars Xingwei’s opened in the past two years. I didn’t even notice he was interested in such things.”
Shen Xingwei was a friend of He Zhou's. Meng Qikang became acquainted with him when he taught He Zhou piano part-time during college.
He Zhou didn't say anything as he silently sipped at his wine.
Meng Qikang put down his glass and looked at He Zhou. "What happened He Zhou?"
He Zhou poured himself another glass of wine and spoke calmly, "Nothing, I just wanted to have a drink."
Meng Qikang stopped He Zhou from bringing his refilled glass to his lips. After half a beat of silence, he commented, “You seem very upset. This isn’t like you.”
But He Zhou didn't reply.
Meng Zikang didn't want to see He Zhou continue to drink himself into oblivion like this.
He turned and saw the vintage wooden Steinway piano not far from where they were seated.
Meng Qikang went to the piano and sat down, testing one of the keys. Then he turned to He Zhou. "He Zhou, would you like to play a song with me?"
He Zhou slammed back the wine in his glass and shook his head.
Meng Qikang's expression became a little lost, but it quickly returned to normal.
He closed his eyes and allowed his slender fingers to caress the black and white keys. A riveting melody took shape in the room.
His elegant posture and audible skill attracted the eyes of many in the bar.
He Zhou suddenly sensed a sharp gaze directed at Meng Qikang. He subconsciously looked in that direction to see Zhang Yuxuan sitting in the other corner.
As well as Qiu Yanzhi, who was next to Zhang Yuxuan and staring dead at Meng Zikang.
He Zhou lowered his eyes to conceal the thoughts running through his mind. Eventually, he put down his glass and stood up.
Since his jacket was off, his pleasing figure was on full display. His upper body was covered only by a white shirt, which further accentuated his slender legs.
There were already a lot of people silently observing him, and his sudden motion attracted even more attention. He Zhou walked over to that piano, his black leather shoes striding across the ground, but his audience felt that those shoes were instead stepping on their hearts.
He Zhou sat next to Meng Qikang, placed his hands over the keys, and seamlessly joined into his melody.
These two had remarkable looks and stature, and the aura that surrounded them was unique as well. When they sat side by side and played together, they attracted almost all the attention in the bar.
Zhang Yuxuan even heard a person beside him sigh, "They seem made for each other…”
Zhang Yuxuan's heart clenched. He tightened his grip on Qiu Yanzhi’s chilly hand and whispered, "... Yanyan, let's go."
After the piano piece came to an end, the bar instantly resounded with whistling and applause. It’s been a long time since Meng Qikang had played the piano with He Zhou, so his mood was very jovial when they stopped. He turned to say something to He Zhou, only to have the other person whisper to him, “Let’s go.”
Meng Qikang was slightly startled, but he allowed He Zhou to take his hand and help him to his feet.
He Zhou went to his seat and put on his jacket, handing Meng Qikang his things as well. His mannerisms could almost be described as gentle.
As he left, He Zhou took Meng Qikang's hand again. His hand was dry and warm, with enough strength to make it difficult to refuse.
Meng Qikang struggled a little, but he couldn’t shake off He Zhou. The two of them left like this.
Meng Qikang felt a little strange about this. Just before he stepped out the door, he took a look behind him.
In the corner, Qiu Yanzhi stared back at him with a red face, nose and eyes.
After leaving the bar...
He Zhou let go of Meng Qikang's hand.
Meng Qikang looked down at his hand. There were red and white indentations from being held with excessive force just now.
"He Zhou," Meng Qikang looked up at He Zhou, his tone was calm. "were you using me just now?"
He Zhou was taken aback. "...What?"
Meng Qikang seemed to be trying his best to remain calm, but his chest heaved with anger. “You heard me. When you came over to play the piano with me, when you whispered into my ear, when you handed me my things and held my hand as we left...was it all to put on a show for Qiu Yanzhi? What do you take me for? A tool to make Qiu Yanzhi jealous?"
He Zhou finally realized what he had done in the heat of the moment. He looked down with a pale face, only whispering after quite some time, "...I'm sorry."
Meng Qikang looked at He Zhou and suddenly asked, "He Zhou, do you still remember when and where I gave you that bell?"
It might’ve been due to the amount of alcohol he had just consumed, but He Zhou was feeling the beginnings of a headache. He pressed his temples in an effort to focus, but only blurry and vague memories came to mind.
He looked up in a daze. "Qikang-ge...I'm sorry, I might be a little drunk…”
“I can't remember."
Meng Qikang pursed his lips. He left with a clipped farewell.
He Zhou had been given that silver bell many years ago. It’s seen a lot of wear and tear and actually doesn’t even ring anymore. Because of that and the fact it was quite small, He Zhou carried it around on his person all these years.
After Meng Qikang left, He Zhou tried to take that bell out of his pocket, but he couldn't find it.
He then remembered that he hadn't seen that bell for many days.
Zhang Yuxuan watched as that pair of scummy adulterers left. He breathed out harshly with clenched fists.
His heart ached for Qiu Yanzhi, whose love for He Zhou was all-consuming. That man wasn’t worthy of his best friend.
After seeing that scene, Qiu Yanzhi must be feeling more down than ever. Zhang Yuxuan didn’t even dare to look him in the eye anymore in fear of making his friend feel worse.
In the end, he turned to Qiu Yanzhi and said, "Listen to me Yanyan, don't mope around here. Let's go."
Qiu Yanzhi didn't react at all to his words.
Qiu Yanzhi turned to look at Zhang Yuxuan somewhat blankly, "Baby Yu, I like that thing."
Zhang Yuxuan turned to discover that Qiu Yanzhi was referring to a small ornament hanging on the wall at the bar’s entrance.
But why was Qiu Yanzhi blushing so much and acting so...weird?
Zhang Yuxuan looked at their table.
Wait a minute, when did Qiu Yanzhi finish both of the cocktails they had ordered?!
Zhang Yuxuan carefully asked him, "...Did you see him earlier?"
"Who?" Qiu Yanzhi asked him belatedly.
"...Did you see He Zhou?"
Qiu Yanzhi frowned and seemed to seriously mull over the question for a while. Tilting his head, he mumbled with a conflicted expression, “I think I might’ve, but my memories are so blurry right now…”
‘Good. It was better that he didn’t remember.’ Zhang Yuxuan silently thought.
He took Qiu Yanzhi’s hand to lead him home, but Qiu Yanzhi refused to budge from the doorway. His eyes were fixated on the tiny crown on the small metal tiger ornament hanging on the wall.
Zhang Yuxuan told him that he couldn’t have that.
Qiu Yanzhi then pursed his lips and said he understood. Yet his face was filled with reluctance.
Zhang Yuxuan was already feeling bad for Qiu Yanzhi so he couldn’t bear seeing him like this. Therefore, he went to discuss buying that ornament off the owner.
Fortunately, the owner of this bar was Shen Xinwei. After having everything explained to him, he smiled mysteriously and took down the tiny crown for Qiu Yanzhi. “Take it. Consider it a gift from me.”
After getting what he wanted, Qiu Yanzhi tightly held the crown in his hands and thanked the man with a flushed face.
He looked simply overjoyed.
Zhang Yuxuan was speechless. Why was he so worried about Qiu Yanzhi again? This child was so heartless after getting drunk.
Little did he know, Qiu Yanzhi was this heartless normally too.
When Zhang Yuxuan assisted Qiu Yanzhi out, he actually saw He Zhou standing by himself not far from the entrance of the bar.
His eyebrows were furrowed tightly like he was pondering over something.
Zhang Yuxuan went into a panic, afraid that Qiu Yanzhi would see He Zhou and become depressed again. But, much to his surprise, Qiu Yanzhi shrugged off his hand and wandered over to He Zhou.
Zhang Yuxuan scrambled to follow him.
"He Zhou!" Qiu Yanzhi laughed as he stumbled over, "What are you doing here?"
Before Qiu Yanzhi’s hand could land on He Zhou's sleeve, the other person lifted his arm and stepped back, avoiding him.
He frowned, his face full of disgust.
After missing his target, Qiu Yanzhi almost lost his balance and fell. Luckily Zhang Yuxuan was there to steady him.
Zhang Yuxuan felt furious at He Zhou on his friend’s behalf.
While holding the limp Qiu Yanzhi in his arms, Zhang Yuxuan admonished He Zhou, “Qiu Yanzhi is your legal partner! How can you always treat him so harshly?!"
He Zhou sneered, "What did I ever do to him?"
"You neglected him, you ignored him, you didn't care for him, you didn't love him, and you ch-cheated on him behind his back too!”
He Zhou mockingly smirked at Zhang Yuxuan. "If he was sober, I would cheat on him to his face too.”
--He Zhou was just too much!
Zhang Yuxuan knew that He Zhou was angry because Yanyan had deceived him, but if he had been nice to Yanyan from the beginning, Yanyan wouldn’t have needed to risk his life to do such things in the first place!!
Now this guy wasn’t just being snide and sarcastic towards Yanyan, he's also willing to cheat on him to his face! Wasn’t this a deliberate attempt to humiliate Qiu Yanzhi!
Zhang Yuxuan clenched his fists. If he wasn't still holding a wobbly Qiu Yanzhi in his arms, he would’ve punched He Zhou in the face!
Qiu Yanzhi resembled a wet noodle more and more. With flaccid limbs and a lowered head, he seemed on the brink of falling asleep. Zhang Yuxuan could barely hold onto him, much less move. Despite this, He Zhou made no move to help, choosing to instead cooly regard them.
Zhang Yuxuan and Qiu Yanzhi didn’t drive to the bar this time, so they had to call a taxi to leave.
He couldn’t walk carrying the dead weight in his arms, so he shifted Qiu Yanzhi to his back and stumbled to the roadside. Breathing hard, he set his friend on the ground.
It was hard to call a taxi here. Zhang Yuxuan craned his neck for quite a while without spotting even one yellow cab.
At that moment, a black car stopped in front of them. The driver poked his head out and greeted He Zhou, who got in.
The driver’s sharp eyes spotted the drunk mess being supported by Zhang Yuxuan that was Qiu Yanzhi. He quickly scrambled to get out and help Mrs. He up, but He Zhou stopped him with a calm order. "Let's go."
The driver was stunned. He glanced at the squirming Qiu Yanzhi and the increasingly angry expression of Zhang Yuxuan, but in the end he re-fastened his seat belt and drove away.
Zhang Yuxuan waited until his legs went numb before he successfully flagged down a taxi.
After seeing what a class act He Zhou was, Zhang Yuxuan originally intended to take Qiu Yanzhi back to his house to sleep. However, Qiu Yanzhi sobered up a bit in the taxi and insisted on going home.
Zhang Yuxuan couldn’t help but ask him, “What’s so special about He Zhou? Why did you have to choose a guy like him?!”
Qiu Yanzhi seemed somewhat confused. He dumbly repeated, "He Zhou?"
Qiu Yanzhi stared off into the distance for a while before a very childish smile blossomed on his face. He leaned to Zhang Yuxuan's ear and whispered, "Baby Yu, let me tell you a secret."
Zhang Yuxuan’s eyes grew wide. For some reason, he felt like a shocking truth was about to be revealed to him, so he also lowered his voice and whispered, "What secret?"
Qiu Yanzhi's voice grew quieter and quieter until it was barely audible. "He Zhou...looks a lot like..."
No matter how close Zhang Yuxuan got, he couldn’t catch what came next. “A lot like what?”
Qiu Yanzhi: "Promise me you won’t tell anyone else.”
"I won't tell anyone else, I swear..."
Qiu Yanzhi leaned in close again until he was almost touching Zhang Yuxuan's ear. "Like Little Trash."
Zhang Yuxuan: "......"
Zhang Yuxuan sighed in dismay, "I know he's trash already."
Qiu Yanzhi shook his head and corrected him very seriously, "He's not trash, he's like Little Trash..."
Zhang Yuxuan said perfunctorily, "Fine, fine, he’s like little trash. He Zhou is the trashiest of all..."
Zhang Yuxuan dropped Qiu Yanzhi off at his doorstep, and Qiu Yanzhi drunkenly waved to Zhang Yuxuan, "Bye bye Baby Yu!"
Zhang Yuxuan was a little worried: "...Do you want me to walk you in?"
Qiu Yanzhi shook his head with a dopey smile. "I can walk by myself."
Zhang Yuxuan stood at the door until he saw Qiu Yanzhi enter the password and go in before getting back into the taxi and leaving.
Qiu Yanzhi fell to the floor as soon as he entered the door.
He Zhou didn't even bat an eyelid at the noise from his place on the couch. He continued to scroll through the documents on his tablet.
Five minutes passed, then ten.
Qiu Yanzhi remained sprawled on the floor with no desire to get up anytime soon. He was even snoring sweetly.
Perhaps because the person on the floor was too noisy, but He Zhou frowned and took his things to his study.
He left without sparing Qiu Yanzhi even a fleeting glance.
On the cold floor, Qiu Yanzhi woke up shivering in the middle of the night.
Confused, he stood up and wandered to his room.
He managed to reach his room and take off his jacket. Putting the tiny crown that he clenched tightly all this time in the closet, he laid down on his bed.
Then his face immediately scrunched up.
…Why was this bed so hard and cold?
Qiu Yanzhi fumbled around in a daze, only to find that his bed had no mattress or blanket; it was completely bare.
His drunk mind sluggishly pondered this for some time before he remembered that He Zhou had his things packed up because they were sleeping together now.
Qiu Yanzhi got off the bed and walked out of the room. With his eyes closed, he opened the door to He Zhou's bedroom, found the bed, and made himself comfortable under the blanket.
He was really cold from lying on the floor for so long, so when he vaguely felt something warm under the blanket involuntarily snuggled up to it.
He Zhou also drank a lot of wine today. He was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
As a result, he suddenly had a strange dream in the middle of the night.
He Zhou dreamed that there was a cold snowball that kept nuzzling him. It wanted him to hug it.
He said to it, "If I hug you, you'll melt."
But the snowball insisted.
When He Zhou was about to refuse again, he noticed that the snowball suddenly had Qiu Yanzhi’s face.
The He Zhou in the dream absolutely despised Qiu Yanzhi.
So he hugged the snowball fiercely.
To melt it all away.
When He Zhou woke up the next morning, he was still thinking about that dream. He frowned, unable to understand why he would dream of such a foolish and dumb thing.
Then he opened his eyes and saw Qiu Yanzhi held tightly in his arms.
Qiu Yanzhi also woke up around that time. He frowned and muttered, "...You're holding me so tightly that I can't breathe. Do you really like me that much?"
He Zhou: "......"
He Zhou: Would you believe me if I said I hugged you to kill you?
He Zhou let go of Qiu Yanzhi and coldly said, "Get out."
But because he had hugged this person for an entire night...
His words were just a fraction less forceful than before.
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