Qiu Yanzhi didn’t think much of it when he left the ward, but a dilemma hit him once he was out of the hospital.
Where was he supposed to go now? He Zhou had moved all his things in the flat to his house two days ago.
He probably intended to live with Qiu Yanzhi for an indefinite amount of time back then, so he stripped the place bare. Even his bedding wasn’t left behind.
Qiu Yanzhi still had bedding in the dormitories, so he could technically sleep there.
However, Qiu Yanzhi didn't like the environment of the dormitory. He had no intention of sleeping there at all.
--Back in the hospital room, Qiu Yanzhi told He Zhou that he was going to live in the dormitory and used the opportunity to hook up with Ye Mingxu.
Naturally, that was a lie.
Qiu Yanzhi was by nature selfish and self-serving. He wasn’t willing to make compromises for anyone. Since he didn’t like living in the dormitory, he wouldn’t go there just to hook up with or annoy someone.
After thinking about it for a bit, Qiu Yanzhi hailed a taxi and went to his flat.
He decided to just mooch off Zhang Yuxuan for a night.
Qiu Yanzhi’s been busy with work for a while. But when he finally had some time to himself, all this happened.
This meant that Qiu Yanzhi hadn't seen Zhang Yuxuan for a long time.
Going to visit him and having a drink together sounded nice. He could also catch up on how Zhang Yuxuan’s relationship with his senior was progressing with the help of Liu Cheng.
However, Qiu Yanzhi heard what sounded like an argument from inside as he approached the door.
Through the security door, Qiu Yanzhi could hear Zhang Yuxuan shouting harshly, clearly infuriated, "Liu Cheng! Do you really think I'm that stupid? Do you think I’m so easy to fool?!”
In the next second, Zhang Yuxuan slammed the door open and rushed outside.
He immediately ran into Qiu Yanzhi, who was frozen in place with one hand raised to knock.
The moment Zhang Yuxuan saw Qiu Yanzhi, his eyes instantly turned red. He ran into his best friend’s arms and sobbed his heart out. “Wuwuwu Yanyan--”
Qiu Yanzhi hastily patted him on the back and soothed him, "What's wrong? Don't cry, Baby Yu. What happened?"
"Yanyan... M-my senior...Liu...Liu Cheng..." Zhang Yuxuan was crying so hard that he couldn't speak clearly.
Qiu Yanzhi looked at Liu Cheng who was silently standing nearby with his head down and a complicated expression on his face.
He could pretty much guess what had happened here.
--Seems like the cat’s out of the bag.
That’s how Qiu Yanzhi ended up dragged to the bar by Zhang Yuxuan again.
Zhang Yuxuan spilled everything to Qiu Yanzhi while sniffling and crying.
Only then did Qiu Yanzhi understand the exact events.
It turned out that the senior's husband, Ye Hongyuan, aka Liu Cheng’s former rich client, found where Liu Cheng was hiding in the end.
But Zhang Yuxuan's background was so powerful that Ye Hongyuan didn't dare to just have his people take Liu Cheng away. Instead, he sent an email to Zhang Yuxuan.
The kind with pictures of intimate activities in bed.
Only then did Zhang Yuxuan realize who Liu Cheng had been talking about.
The one he had hooked up with in three days…
The spouse who bedded him to get revenge on his husband…
That person was Zhang Yuxuan’s beloved senior.
Liu Cheng had known for a long time but chose to keep it from him.
Zhang Yuxuan was overwhelmed by this revelation. He immediately got into an argument with Liu Cheng, followed by the scene Qiu Yanzhi witnessed at the door.
Zhang Yuxuan was so hysterical that he cried himself hoarse.
When Zhang Yuxuan finally tired himself out, he calmed down a little. He sniffled and looked at Qiu Yanzhi with teary eyes. "Yanyan...why did you come back? Weren’t you going to...live with He Zhou?"
Qiu Yanzhi poured himself a glass of beer. "We broke up."
Zhang Yuxuan blinked blankly. He couldn’t wrap his head around it. "You two broke up...again?"
Then Zhang Yuxuan thought of something else. "S-so do you...already have a new target this time?”
"A new target?"
Qiu Yanzhi was taken aback. Then he laughed and cursed, "Zhang Yuxuan, what the fuck are you talking about? What kind of person do you think Laozi is?"
Zhang Yuxuan took a tissue and blew his nose. His voice was quite nasally. "What else? I think of you as a handsome but cold-blooded person. The type with a heart of stone."
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
...How the hell did he come to that conclusion?
"But Yanyan, why did you break up with him this time?"
Qiu Yanzhi omitted the part about the full dive game and just picked one of the reasons. He looked down and swirled his beer. “He Zhou found out that I fell for him because he looks like someone I know...”
Zhang Yuxuan's eyes widened in shock. "Yanyan, did you use Mr. He as a substitute?"
There was a brief moment before Qiu Yanzhi could respond. He laughed and said, “That’s a new word for my dictionary. But no, I’ve never pretended He Zhou was someone else. He just happens to resemble them, that’s all. I’m not dumb enough to mistake a NP...He Zhou as someone else.”
Zhang Yuxuan wiped the tear marks from his face. He asked hoarsely, “Who is this other person, ah? Is he someone you really, really like? Just like how I really, really like my senior?”
...Someone I really, really like?
Not really. Not to that extent.
Qiu Yanzhi had never taken the initiative to mention the name Qin He to anyone else. Nor had he ever admitted he liked Qin He.
While Little Trash was still by his side, Qiu Yanzhi genuinely thought that Little Trash was only a friend to him.
Then Little Trash confessed to him.
The first thought that flashed through Qiu Yanzhi’s mind at that time was that his mother would kill him if she found out.
So he quickly rejected Little Trash. He even said to him, "Qin He, I'm not gay. I won’t play with you anymore if you keep liking me.”
He was so ignorant back then. He only saw Little Trash as a friend, his best friend, his only friend.
After Little Trash left him, Qiu Yanzhi was actually sad for a long time, despite refusing to admit it on the surface. But time stopped for no one.
He soon entered the Qiu family and encountered many troublesome things. By then, he didn't have the time to think about Little Trash anymore.
It was only later when Qiu Yanzhi grew up and discovered he was gay that he vaguely understood that he felt something for Little Trash back then.
But Qiu Yanzhi refused to admit that feeling was love. It had to be just a puppy crush at most.
This puppy crush was like a newly lit ember. Before it could grow into something deeper like love, it was extinguished by his ignorant younger self.
However, Qiu Yanzhi thought that might’ve been for the best.
Qiu Yanzhi hated the concept of ‘being in love with someone’. Especially when it was someone from his past that he might never see again.
‘Being in love with someone’ meant that they would be happy and sad together.
It meant that his heart and soul would be at their mercy.
It meant that he would have to give his heart away to them and let them do as they wished with it.
Qiu Yanzhi felt like he might be the most selfish person in the world. He was unwilling to put others first or experience sadness, much less tie himself down to someone else. His heart was like a very small plot of land. There weren’t many happy moments stored inside to begin with, so why should he let others inside? Why should he let them bring him pain and suffering?
Little Trash once scolded him, saying that he would never find someone to love in his life.
Qiu Yanzhi felt that he was probably right.
Little Trash also said that he didn’t deserve to be loved,
Qiu Yanzhi felt that he was probably right about that too.
Yet sometimes, just sometimes, he felt lonely and sad when he recalled those words.
But only a little.
For some reason, Qiu Yanzhi thought about the similar words He Zhou had said before he stormed out.
Qiu Yanzhi's heart hurt so much that he couldn’t breathe then.
Now that he thought about it, maybe it was because the cold water from the shower had disoriented him and randomly amplified those emotions.
Zhang Yuxuan asked again, "So do you not like He Zhou at all?"
He Zhou was probably the NPC he liked the most.
But Qiu Yanzhi couldn't say if there was anything more.
He Zhou was a very special NPC.
Him looking like Little Trash could be dismissed as coincidence, but strangely enough, He Zhou seemed similar to Little Trash in many other ways as well.
Thank goodness He Zhou was a NPC. That was how Qiu Yanzhi was able to completely separate He Zhou from Little Trash.
If He Zhou had been a real person, Qiu Yanzhi would have suspected that he was actually Little Trash.
It was easy for Qiu Yanzhi to fall prey to a false sense of warmth when he was with He Zhou.
This was Qiu Yanzhi's first time playing a full dive game. He didn’t know if it was normal to have such feelings for NPCs.
But Qiu Yanzhi knew that if he was addicted to the game, He Zhou's presence definitely presented the strongest allure.
In order to maintain this sense of warmth and happiness, Qiu Yanzhi had even planned to stay in this game for the rest of his life at one point.
Qiu Yanzhi had thought that even the best toys would get boring one day, and the same logic applied for games. When he grew tired of this some day, he would be able to burst this colourful, illusionary bubble himself and go back to his dark and gray reality.
But Qiu Yanzhi didn't expect that before he could get bored, the colourful bubble burst on its own.
--In the most disastrous way possible.
This was completely out of his expectations.
It even made an overwhelming tide of melancholy and despondency wash over him. He couldn’t bear it. He was sad. He didn't want to leave He Zhou, and he didn’t want to hear He Zhou speak so coldly to him.
Most of all, he didn’t want to see He Zhou being affectionate with someone else.
When He Zhou was in a bad mood, Qiu Yanzhi also felt irritable.
He could not help but want to please He Zhou, to make him happy.
But there were also times when he wanted to provoke He Zhou on purpose.
Qiu Yanzhi was a bit torn.
If He Zhou was a real person, Qiu Yanzhi would definitely conclude that he was deeply in love with this man.
But He Zhou was a NPC.
After thinking on it for a while, Qiu Yanzhi decided to categorize his complicated emotions as: ‘frustration over accidentally losing a beloved toy’.
The thought made everything make sense again.
He was feeling this way because his toy got lost before he was done playing with it.
He was feeling this way because his colourful bubble burst before he was finished admiring it.
His trepidation, his sadness, his reluctance and his possessiveness…
Everything could be explained by this.
To be honest, Qiu Yanzhi had been in a really complicated state of mind for the past two days. He felt like his emotions had become a ball of yarn that he couldn’t untangle no matter what. And the more the pulled at it, the more panicked and flustered he became. In the end, he would be left drained and tired.
Now that he’s finally thought things through, Qiu Yanzhi breathed a long sigh of relief. He felt like everything made sense again.
...As for the pulsing pain that plagued his heart from time to time......
Like he said, he should probably go do an ECG.
Qiu Yanzhi patted Zhang Yuxuan on the shoulder. “Thanks bro. I’ve finally figured things out.”
Zhang Yuxuan: ...What did I do? Why are you thanking me??