"...And that $378 jar of fruit candy."
Qiu Yanzhi calmly stated.
He Zhou slowly reached for that item in the shopping cart, but his hand paused just above it. He looked up at Qiu Yanzhi. "Qiu Yanzhi, I can go find a job and earn some money.”
"But you can't walk right now, nor do you have a degree or any identification.” Qiu Yanzhi paused, almost unable to bear continuing, “...You can’t even be a busboy in a restaurant.”
He Zhou: "......"
He Zhou felt his self-esteem basically shatter completely at that moment.
He pursed his lips into a thin line before silently putting that jar of candy back where he found it.
Qiu Yanzhi: "And that box of high quality milk, and all those imported snacks.”
He Zhou ended up having to put back everything he just got. He sat in his wheelchair with his head bowed and a very frustrated look on his face.
Qiu Yanzhi picked up a different type of milk that was nearby and reassured him, “Some affordable stuff can be hidden gems as well. Look at this locally produced milk, it’s only $2.25 a packet and fresher too.” (1)
He Zhou was still unhappy.
Qiu Yanzhi sighed and stroked the back of He Zhou’s head. His fingers brushed through the soft black hair there. “In a few days when you’re better, we’ll go down to the police station and find a way to get you some identification. Once that’s done…”
Qiu Yanzhi paused for a moment, his fingertips wrapped around a strand of He Zhou's black hair. He concluded softly, “Then you can get a job and earn money to support me, okay?”
He Zhou looked up at Qiu Yanzhi and slowly blinked his eyes. "Okay."
Qiu Yanzhi finished up at the supermarket and put his groceries in a storage locker. Then he took He Zhou to the mall across the street to buy some clothes.
He Zhou only had one set of clothes at the moment, a suit that came from the game. However, it was on the thin side and unsuitable for the current weather.
The clothes that He Zhou wore today actually belonged to Qiu Yanzhi. Even though they were on the big side for him, He Zhou could barely fit in them.
They had to buy two sets clothes he could alternate between at the very least.
The men’s clothing store they walked into happened to have a rack of discount clothing by the entrance. Qiu Yanzhi picked out two outfits of decent quality for He Zhou to try on.
He Zhou didn’t say much as he headed to the changing room.
Qiu Yanzhi didn’t feel right as he watched He Zhou walk away.
He Zhou was obviously a person of status in the game. His wardrobe was completely custom tailored with every piece worth tens of thousands of dollars. But in the real world, Qiu Yanzhi could only afford to buy him discount outfits worth $100-200 in total.
He Zhou soon came out of the changing room.
Fortunately, He Zhou’s physique and features were both extraordinary. Him wearing these ordinary, plain clothes elevated them by several stages. The sight made Qiu Yanzhi feel a bit better.
He walked over and helped adjust the collar of the casual sweater He Zhou was wearing. “How’s the fit? Are you uncomfortable anywhere?”
He Zhou shook his head. "It feels fine. Nothing’s uncomfortable."
With the shirts and pants picked out, all that was left was a jacket.
He Zhou maneuvered his wheelchair over to the discount clothes rack and pointed to a plain cotton jacket. "Qiu Yanzhi, how about this jacket?"
Qiu Yanzhi walked over and felt the fabric. “It’s okay, average really.”
He Zhou: "It’s really inexpensive at 70% off.”
Qiu Yanzhi: "Then why not try it on?"
An attentive clerk smiled sweetly at He Zhou. “Please wait a moment, sir, I'll find one in your size.”
Qiu Yanzhi looked up and casually glanced around the store. Suddenly, his eyes were drawn to the coat in the window display.
Qiu Yanzhi blinked and turned to the nearby clerk. “Could you bring that camel-coloured coat on display for him to try?”
The clerk: "Sir, that coat is made from 100% sheep wool. It’s also not a part of our store’s promotion.”
Qiu Yanzhi looked at He Zhou. "Let's try it on first."
Perhaps the clothes He Zhou tried on before were just too ordinary, but when the man rose from the wheelchair with Qiu Yanzhi’s assistance and put on that coat, Qiu Yanzhi’s eyes immediately lit up.
It wasn’t just him. Even the clerk found it hard to look away.
This coat was of a very simple style, but the shape fit He Zhou unexpectedly well. It perfectly accentuated how perfect his narrow waist and broad shoulders were. When He Zhou shifted to see himself in the mirror, Qiu Yanzhi felt like the man might be snatched away to shoot the cover of a magazine any minute now.
He Zhou picked up and glanced at the price tag affixed to the hangar. He frowned and started taking the coat off.
Qiu Yanzhi subconsciously stopped him. "Don't take it off already, I haven't been able to take a closer look yet."
He Zhou whispered, "It's very expensive."
"How expensive can it be?" Qiu Yanzhi looked down and picked up the tag.
Then there was silence.
That was a lot higher than he expected.
“That’s enough to buy all the items I put in the cart before, ten times over.” With that, He Zhou took off the coat. “It’s better to buy me that black 70% off cotton coat from earlier.”
Qiu Yanzhi suddenly snatched the coat out of He Zhou's hand and handed it to the clerk. He said through gritted teeth, “We’ll take it.”
The clerk took the coat with a smile. "Will you be paying by mobile tap or credit card?”
Qiu Yanzhi: "By credit card."
It took He Zhou a moment to react. He caught Qiu Yanzhi's arm. "...Qiu Yanzhi?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "That coat looks good on you."
He Zhou frowned. "...But it’s too expensive. It’s not suitable for me to wear such a thing when I don’t even have a job.”
Qiu Yanzhi seemed rather casual about it. “Nonsense. You wear clothes for me to look at, and I like seeing you in good-looking clothes.”
With that, Qiu Yanzhi pressed down on He Zhou’s shoulders until the man was back in his wheelchair. They followed the clerk to the register to pay.
Qiu Yanzhi might’ve acted like he was filthy rich when he said he’d take it, but his hands were shaking as he swiped his card.
$6000, ah! That’s more than $6000 gone, just like that!
This meant he owed Qiu Hongsheng another $6000!
But strangely enough, a sense of calm enveloped Qiu Yanzhi when he turned to glance at He Zhou’s handsome face.
It was worth it.
Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed right now.
Was this the rumoured joy of having a mistress spoken of in legends?
He Zhou seemed to like that coat a lot too. He even shook his head when Qiu Yanzhi told him to wear it on the way back, saying that it would be wrinkled if he wore it while in a wheelchair.
He Zhou didn’t even blink when negotiating contracts worth tens of millions of dollars in the game. But now, he was so careful with a coat that was only a few thousand dollars.
On the way back, the groceries and daily necessities they just bought were casually tossed into the compartment on the bottom of the wheelchair.
Qiu Yanzhi couldn't help but laugh at the sight. "You like it that much?"
"En. You spent so much money on it, after all.”
Qiu Yanzhi stopped in his tracks and leaned over to He Zhou's ear with a smile. “Since I spent so much money on you, shouldn’t you do something for me in return?”
Qiu Yanzhi was just joking around.
But as soon as those words left his mouth, warm lips touched his. He Zhou had closed his eyes and kissed him.
Every part of Qiu Yanzhi froze.
He pushed He Zhou away with flushed ears before darting his eyes around to see if anyone saw. He was very relieved that no one did.
Qiu Yanzhi bent down and hissed through gritted teeth, “We’re still outside, He Zhou!”
He Zhou frowned. He didn’t seem to understand.
Qiu Yanzhi took a deep breath and explained, "In this world, men can’t marry other men. They can’t just...kiss in broad daylight either!”
"...Got it." He Zhou murmured, a bit aggrieved. “But you’re the one who told me to kiss you just now.”
Did I say you should kiss me? Did I really??
Fine. That was what I was implying.
But I was just joking! I didn’t expect you to actually kiss me!
He Zhou looked down. His inky black bangs fell one by one onto not only his face, but Qiu Yanzhi’s heart as well. He felt an unbearable itch that made his heart soften.
So Qiu Yanzhi grit his teeth and glanced around. He pushed He Zhou to a less populated side road. With the wall providing cover on one side and a parked car on the other, he bent down, pressed He Zhou against his wheelchair, and kissed him.
Qiu Yanzhi’s heart was beating madly as he let go. His face was already scarlet as well. He took in a deep breath and tried to calm down. “See? You should kiss like I just did, in a secluded place no one can see.”
He Zhou was silent for a moment, his face slightly flushed. "Qiu Yanzhi."
Qiu Yanzhi: "?"
He Zhou: "Look behind you."
Behind me? What’s behind me?
Qiu Yanzhi subconsciously turned his head.
There, the window of the parked car slowly turned down. A three year old and a five year old were curiously watching them with big, dark, shiny eyes.
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
Qiu Yanzhi wanted to kill himself on the spot.
He immediately jerked his head down, grabbed hold of He Zhou’s wheelchair, and ran off as fast as he could.
He didn’t take a break until they were back in his neighbourhood.
He Zhou teased: "What a secluded place you found.”
Qiu Yanzhi blushed. "Shut up."
He Zhou's eyes curved into crescent moons.
He suddenly reached for Qiu Yanzhi’s hand before looking up and asking, “Qiu Yanzhi, if we can’t kiss outside, can we hold hands then?”
Actually, it would be best not to.
Two girls holding hands was one thing, but two grown men? However you looked at it, it was overly intimate and conspicuous.
But Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t help but soften shamefully as he looked into He Zhou’s dark, shiny eyes. He tightened his grip on the man’s hand. “Sure.”
Just then, two figures suddenly came out from the stairwell.
It was Fei Sihao, and he had a girl in his arms.
When Qiu Yanzhi noticed them, Fei Sihao was leaning over and speaking into the girl’s ear. His lips were practically touching her earlobe as he breathed in and out. It might look like he was whispering, but he was in fact flirting.
On the other hand, Qiu Yanzhi was currently smiling and talking with He Zhou, their fingers interlocked.
And so two pairs of people unexpectedly ran into each other.
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm (2).
The moment Fei Sihao turned his head and saw Qiu Yanzhi, he immediately straightened and let go of the girl’s waist.
Qiu Yanzhi also let go of He Zhou's hand in the blink of an eye and plastered an appropriately bland smile on his face.
"Sihao, this is my older cousin." "Zhizhi, this is my younger cousin." (3)
The two said in unison.
All-powerful President Qiu and his pampered little wife (not)
(1) Ok so in China milk and yogurt can come in these little plastic pouches instead of a cardboard carton or large bags.
(2)天下武功唯快不破 - the original idiom was 'the only martial art that can't be beaten in the world is the fastest' but that's quite a mouthful
(3) In English, 'cousin' is used regardless of gender. Fei Sihao introduces the girl as his younger female cousin while Qiu Yanzhi introduces He Zhou as his older male cousin.
I live for those incredibly awkward and embarrassing moments, I really do. XD
Also the chapter number ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)