"Y-you and...the rich client's wife...were caught, caught, caught..."
Zhang Yuxuan's tongue was all tied up. He couldn’t get the words out.
"Caught in bed." Liu Cheng kindly finished his sentence.
"...Why?" Zhang Yuxuan felt that his three views had been shaken.
Liu Cheng touched his nose and said with some embarrassment, "Actually...I'm not sure why things progressed to that point… The atmosphere was so good that day...that I just couldn't help myself?"
Liu Cheng looked around for a way to ease the awkwardness in the air. He noticed the song title, ‘The One He Loves Is Not Me' on the screen. "You guys are singing this song... Did something bad happen?"
"Yeah." Zhang Yuxuan was quickly distracted from the previous topic. He swung an arm around Qiu Yanzhi's shoulder and said, "My friend and I both had our hearts broken."
"Wait," Zhang Yuxuan corrected, "to be more precise, we’ve been rejected by the people we like."
Zhang Yuxuan only became more worked up as he thought about it. He poured a glass of wine for Qiu Yanzhi and himself, saying sadly, "Yanyan, let's have another drink."
Qiu Yanzhi was a terrible drinker. He already had a few today, so he wasn’t planning on drinking more. But when he saw Zhang Yuxuan's expression, he sighed and decided to keep his friend company.
Qiu Yanzhi toasted Zhang Yuxuan before draining the glass.
"Is this person difficult to pursue?" Liu Cheng asked with some curiosity.
Zhang Yuxuan looked down, dejected. "I've liked my senior for years, but he doesn't like me at all. Rather than saying he’s difficult to pursue, it’s more like I can’t even pursue him in the first place.”
“But how could that be?" Liu Cheng assessed Zhang Yuxuan, "You have the looks, body, and a pretty good family background too, judging from earlier. You’re also very devoted to him. With such qualifications, I think you can do it if you work hard.”
"But he's already married. I won't go bother him from now on."
Liu Cheng suddenly said, "Does he like his partner a lot? Does his partner treat him particularly well? Are you sure the senior you like is happy?"
Zhang Yuxuan froze for a moment, his mind recalling the day he took his senior to the hospital. He shook his head. "I don't know. Senior did fight with his husband some time ago...but maybe that was just a one-off thing?”
After drinking that last glass, Qiu Yanzhi’s mind grew muddled. He interjected in a slurred voice, “Baby Yu, this is your chance! The man your senior married is a real piece of work! That man...that man is secretly keeping a mistress!"
Zhang Yuxuan's eyes widened in shock.
Liu Cheng perked up when he heard this. He grabbed Zhang Yuxuan's hand, "Mr. Yu! I know all too well the kind of man who keeps a mistress around after getting married! When it comes to cheating, people either never do it or they do it multiple times. By getting married to that kind of person, your senior will never be happy in this lifetime!”
Zhang Yuxuan got anxious. "Then...what should I do then…?"
Liu Cheng: "You have to go save your senior and pull him out of this! Make him divorce, get him to like you, and take him for yourself!”
Zhang Yuxuan: "I, I can't do it. I can't..."
Liu Cheng looked at him with sincere eyes. "I'll help you."
Zhang Yuxuan blinked dumbly. "...You’ll help me?"
Liu Cheng nodded: "Yes. I'm really desperate right now. As long as you let me stay by your side so those people can’t take me away, I'll definitely help you pursue your senior!"
"You'll help me pursue my senior?"
"Ahem…I don't mean to brag, but I have a 95% success rate of getting the men I want."
Liu Cheng suddenly thought of something. "Right. You know who’s in a similar situation to your senior? My rich client's wife. Do you know how long it took me from our first meeting to sleep with him?"
"...H-how long, ah?"
Zhang Yuxuan was dumbfounded.
"So do you want my help or not?" Liu Cheng's expression was full of sincerity.
Zhang Yuxuan nodded dumbfoundedly, "To..."
Zhang Yuxuan suddenly thought of something. "My friend...my friend also needs your help. His junior’s also ignoring him..."
"Yanyan! This person seems to be very knowledgeable..." Zhang Yuxuan turned to talk to Qiu Yanzhi, but there was no one else beside him.
...When did Yanyan leave?
Qiu Yanzhi came out at first to look for the washroom. However, in his inebriated state, the hallways seemed to twist and turn like a maze. He ended up in the main area of the bar with no washroom in sight. The many lights and sounds in this bustling place gave him a headache.
He held his head and looked around to see if there was anyone he knew around, but he was surrounded by strangers.
After taking two more steps forward, he finally saw a familiar face in a corner.
He blinked and walked straight towards that spot.
"He Zhou." Qiu Yanzhi knocked on the table, his eyes unfocused due to drinking too much. “What a coincidence."
Qiu Yanzhi turned to look across the table at He Zhou. When he finally made out the man's face under the slightly dim lighting, he frowned and said in a not so nice tone, "Why are you here with Meng Qikang?"
Meng Qikang felt that something wasn’t right with He Zhou.
No, to be precise, He Zhou had been acting very strange for the past two months.
Meng Qikang was studying abroad while He Zhou was managing his company.
He knew that He Zhou was very busy, but no matter how busy he was, He Zhou would always find time to send him emails.
Sometimes, there was one email in two days. Sometimes, there was one in three.
There was nothing really important written in them. There was occasionally just a picture with a single sentence.
He Zhou would tell him about the weather, about songs he liked, or even a book he read today.
Meng Qikang only replied some of the time.
Still, they had always kept in touch in their own sporadic but comforting way.
But He Zhou stopped sending these emails two months ago.
Meng Qikang tentatively sent him an email asking him if he was busy lately.
He Zhou never replied.
Meng Qikang came back from aboard yesterday.
He gave He Zhou a call before he arrived. The man seemed surprised to hear from him, and his tone was much more distant that before.
Meng Qikang had originally intended to ask He Zhou to pick him up from the airport, but He Zhou's slightly cold tone made him think twice.
Just before he ended the call, Meng Qikang suggested that they meet up some time soon. He Zhou agreed.
The venue they chose was Shen Xingwei's bar.
Shen Xingwei was a mutual friend of theirs, and the atmosphere of his bar was warm. It was easy to meet here and get acquainted again -- just like before.
Meng Qikang knew very well that He Zhou had feelings for him. He’s known that He Zhou liked him for years.
But Meng Qikang had always felt that it was best to stay friends. He liked the emails that He Zhou sent from time to time. He liked He Zhou's restrained affection. He liked He Zhou's occasional phone calls and his raspy good nights.
Meng Qikang didn’t want to lose that by taking the next step.
Meng Qikang didn’t like the intimacy of love and the anxiety-ridden state of marriage. He felt that all passion would eventually cool, and even people who loved their partner would eventually grow tired of them.
--Besides, he didn't love He Zhou in that way.
Meng Qikang didn't know where he and He Zhou would end up in the future.
Perhaps he would meet a man he loved enough to risk falling in love with him and marrying him. Perhaps He Zhou would still love him but choose to marry someone he didn’t love. Perhaps his future would belong to He Zhou.
But Meng Qikang never expected that He Zhou would one day become cold towards him.
This left him at somewhat of a loss.
He found that he could tolerate He Zhou belonging to someone else, but he could not tolerate He Zhou no longer loving him.
But Meng Qikang quickly calmed down again.
Maybe He Zhou stopped showing affection because he was tired of being the only one making an effort in their relationship.
In other words, was He Zhou just acting hard to get?
It was only after Meng Qikang met with He Zhou in person that he felt his previous speculations were wrong.
He Zhou was obviously thinking about something else the entire time. Even when Meng Qikang took out concert tickets for a pianist they both liked, He Zhou just glanced at the date and calmly said, "Sorry, I have an important meeting that day I can’t miss.”
Meng Qikang was a little embarrassed as he took the tickets back.
It was at this point that a somewhat drunken youth appeared from nowhere and said, "He Zhou, why are you here too?"
Then that youth looked at him and frowned. His tone was almost hostile, "Why are you here with Meng Qikang?"
He Zhou froze for a moment. "Repeat that again."
"I said, ‘Why are you here with Meng Qikang’, ah?"
He Zhou suddenly smiled. "Qiu Yanzhi."
Qiu Yanzhi: "En?"
He Zhou reached out and pulled the youth to sit beside him. He laughed and pinched Qiu Yanzhi's nose. "Are you aware that you’ve completely exposed yourself?”
"...Exposed what?" Qiu Yanzhi blinked in confusion.
He Zhou smiled, "Nothing much. Why are you here and so drunk too? Who did you come with?”
"With Zhang Yuxuan..." Qiu Yanzhi frowned and said with some disdain, "Zhang Yuxuan is so bad at singing."
He Zhou: "En...so you ran out because Zhang Yuxuan was singing badly?"
Qiu Yanzhi shook his head, "No, Zhang Yuxuan’s talking to someone right now. He’s not singing anymore… I came out because...because I want to go to the washroom..."
Qiu Yanzhi's expression suddenly became anxious. He looked around. "Where is the washroom... I can't find it..."
He Zhou ruffled his hair and said with a smile, "I'll take you there."
After He Zhou pulled Qiu Yanzhi to his feet, a man coldly called out to him.
He Zhou turned. Only then did he remember that Meng Qikang was still sitting across from him.
Meng Qikang's expression was very twisted as he stood up. "...I have some things to do. I'll leave first."
He Zhou realized he had just basically ignored the man across from him. He pursed his lips into a thin line. "Qikang-ge, sorry for about that..."
Meng Qikang didn’t spare him another glance. He immediately turned and left.
"He Zhou...washroom, washroom, washroom..." Qiu Yanzhi chanted the word like it was a lifeline. He Zhou immediately forgot all about Meng Qikang and took Qiu Yanzhi's hand, going to find him a washroom.
When Qiu Yanzhi came out of the washroom, he was even drunker and could barely stand up straight. He Zhou helped him wash his hands before picking him up and walking out the bar.
When Shen Xingwei saw He Zhou and Qiu Yanzhi, who was in his arms, he froze: "Didn't you come with Meng Qikang, who..."
Before He Zhou could say anything, Qiu Yanzhi greeted Shen Xingwei drunkenly: "Hi Shen Xingwei. Long time no see."
Shen Xingwei froze and waved at him. "Long time no see...but who are you, ah?"
He Zhou smiled and said to Shen Xingwei, "This is Qiu Yanzhi. He's quite drunk, so we’ll be leaving first."
With that said, He Zhou turned to leave. Shen Xingwei scrambled to follow him, unable to resist the urge to gossip. “You haven’t told me what’s going on yet. What’s with this Qiu Yanzhi? How does he know my name when I’ve never met him? Also, where's Meng Qikang? It’s not easy for you two to meet in person…”
"Don't bring up Meng Qikang." Qiu Yanzhi mumbled.
"Okay, I won’t bring him up." He Zhou kissed him on the forehead and coaxed without any shame.
Shen Xingwei looked on, dumbfounded.
What about Meng Qikang? What about Meng Qikang?? What about Meng Qikang, who you’ve loved for so many years??? He Zhou, come to your senses! Where the hell did this wild man you're holding in your arms come from?!
Qiu Yanzhi wrapped his arms around He Zhou's neck and behaved himself. Just as they were about to leave the bar, Qiu Yanzhi suddenly started yelling, "He Zhou, He Zhou. I want that..."
He Zhou looked up and saw a decoration hanging on the wall. It was a small crown on top of a little tiger’s head.
He Zhou had his hands full with Qiu Yanzhi, so he turned to Shen Xingwei and said, "Help me get that small crown."
Shen Xingwei pursed his lips. He took the small crown and gave it to Qiu Yanzhi.
For some reason, Shen Xingwei experienced a strong sense of deja vu the moment he removed the small crown off the little tiger's head. Had he done this before?
He shook his head and dismissed this strange thought.
Zhang Yuxuan thought that Qiu Yanzhi had gone back first, but he didn’t hear any response after knocking for a while on his condo’s door. Zhang Yuxuan and Liu Cheng went to Qiu Yanzhi's dormitory, but there was only one person there, Ye Mingxu.
Zhang Yuxuan asked anxiously, "Did Qiu Yanzhi come back yet?"
Ye Mingxu froze for a moment. "Didn't senior move out? He hasn't been back for days."
Zhang Yuxuan: "We went to the bar, but Qiu Yanzhi disappeared in the blink of an eye. I think his phone might be set on silent too since he’s not answering. We can’t find Qiu Yanzhi or get in contact with him… Did something happen to him?"
Ye Mingxu paled. He said with forced composure, "Senior will be fine, don't worry… He might’ve been at a bar, but he’s a man so he’ll be fine…”
Liu Cheng kindly informed him, "Qiu Yanzhi disappeared in a gay bar."
Ye Mingxu's face was instantly bloodless.
The three of them immediately ran to that gay bar again to look for Qiu Yanzhi.
As soon as they reached the entrance of the bar, Liu Cheng shouted excitedly, "He picked up! Qiu Yanzhi finally picked up the phone!"
Ye Mingxu snatched the phone from him in a moment of anxiety. "Senior! Where are you?”
The other end was quiet for a moment. Then the deep voice of a man came out, "He's already asleep."
Ye Mingxu's entire body froze in place.
Immediately afterwards, Qiu Yanzhi's slurred voice could be heard over the phone, "He Zhou, who is it…?"
"It’s nothing. Go back to sleep."
Then the other person hung up.
Zhang Yuxuan was beside himself. "Ye Mingxu, what happened? What did he say over the phone?"
Ye Mingxu expressionlessly handed the phone back to Liu Cheng. He said to Zhang Yuxuan, "He's safe. Very safe."
Zhang Yuxuan: "Then where is he? Why isn't he back?"
Ye Mingxu: "He in He Zhou's bed."
After saying that, Ye Mingxu turned to leave. He paused after two steps.
"In the future, don't come find me for things related to Qiu Yanzhi again."
Only after Ye Mingxu had gone far away did Zhang Yuxuan blink and say blankly, "Who’s He Zhou?"
Liu Cheng shrugged, "How am I supposed know."
Zhang Yuxuan took out his phone. "No, I have to call Yanyan myself. His junior seems to have misunderstood something..."
Liu Cheng took Zhang Yuxuan's phone and sighed, "Come on, don't blindly get involved."
"But if this continues, Yanyan will never be able to successfully pursue his junior!"
"Zhang Yuxuan, what was Qiu Yanzhi doing when you were singing that song about unrequited love?"
"...H-he was eating?"
"No, I saw him smiling from under the table."
"So? What does that mean?"
"It means that not everyone is like you. People deal with situations in different ways… For example, some sob their hearts out after getting rejected by the person they like. They feel like the world is ending. On the other hand, people like him have already moved on to their next target.”
Zhang Yuxuan's eyes widened in shock.
He Zhou tried to change Qiu Yanzhi into pajamas so he could sleep more comfortably.
As he was undressing the other person, He Zhou noticed the small crown Qiu Yanzhi was holding in his hand.
He Zhou smiled and reached out to take the crown away from him, but Qiu Yanzhi woke up as soon as his hand touched the crown.
"What are you doing…?" Qiu Yanzhi mumbled.
"It's time to sleep. Give me the crown so I can put it away for you."
"...Where are you going to put it?"
"I'll put it on the nightstand, okay?"
Qiu Yanzhi shook his head and got off the bed in a daze. He stumbled over to the cloakroom and hid the small crown inside a closet.
"What are you doing?" He Zhou asked.
Qiu Yanzhi looked up at He Zhou with a silly smile. "The small crown I like...should go into the closet..."
But Qiu Yanzhi didn’t give him an answer. He rubbed his eyes and went back to bed.
There, he blinked dully at the matching pair of cups on the nightstand.
He Zhou had bought them some time ago. Not only that, he had also bought the same two sets of childish pajamas and soft green curtains as before.
He Zhou watched Qiu Yanzhi staring at the couple’s cups, so he asked him, "Do you like them?"
Qiu Yanzhi nodded and said quietly, "Yes."
He walked over and picked up the pair of cups before wobbling back to the cloakroom. He put them in the closet too.
At this moment, He Zhou seemed to understand something.
He went out and brought in two candy jars, presenting them to Qiu Yanzhi. "Which one do you like?"
Without hesitation, Qiu Yanzhi chose the jar of fruit candies on the left.
Then he took it, turned around, and put it in the closet.
He Zhou’s eyes curved as he smiled. Then he retrieved the two sets of childish couple’s pajamas from the closet again. "Do you like this too? Are you going to hide it as well?"
Qiu Yanzhi blinked at He Zhou.
Then he took He Zhou's hand, pulled him over to the closet and hid him inside.
He Zhou froze.
Only after a long moment did he look up at Qiu Yanzhi, his gaze becoming dark and deep.
"Qiu Yanzhi." He Zhou called out to him hoarsely.
Qiu Yanzhi looked up at him, his gaze slightly confused. "What?"
He Zhou pulled him into his arms and kissed him.
The sudden kiss made Qiu Yanzhi's eyes instantly widen, but he didn't resist. His eyes blinked once before closing again, and he even obediently hooked his arms around He Zhou's neck.
He Zhou's arm around his waist tightened, almost melding their bodies into one through strength alone. The kiss became more passionate as the tip of the man’s tongue pushed past Qiu Yanzhi's teeth somewhat roughly. Another person's breath gradually dominated his mouth.
The forceful kiss almost robbed Qiu Yanzhi of all his air, making him feel lightheaded from the lack of oxygen.
But the man wasn’t done with him yet. He Zhou picked him up, moving the battlefield to the bedroom.