On the day of his birthday, Xu Zheyi was on high alert. He took the little ball of fur out for a morning walk.
The puppy probably did not know very much about the world; everything was new and exciting. He was running all over the place, rubbing against things and sniffing different areas. Compared to its lively behaviour, Xu Zheyi felt like a pool of stagnant water.
He looked for a pet-friendly café to sit down in, opened a newspaper he had brought along, and flipped to the entertainment pages. This was a habit of his that the years had not managed to change. As expected, his name did not appear anywhere within those pages.
To say Xu Zheyi was not lonely was impossible. His birthday had been so lively in the past few years. During the daytime he held a party event for fans, and then in the evening he would have plans to get together with his friends and celebrate into the night. Reporters would often show up, and he would usually appear in the tabloids soon afterwards.
Unfortunately, once he began to pick up low-grade film roles, the company cancelled the birthday party activities that included his fans. It was not long before his friends began alienating him, drawing away one by one. After he took the GV role, only a few people kept in contact, albeit sporadically. In the end, he only received a few cursory ‘happy birthday’ messages.
He looked at the text messages, took some time to express his gratitude, then invited those few people out for dinner. He waited all afternoon for replies, only to receive refusals in the end.
He had indeed invited a snub.
It went as he anticipated, so he picked up his things and prepared to head home. It turned out that even Ruka didn’t call him. That was not a surprise. After all, he did not tell the guy the actual date.
Xu Zheyi allowed his mind to relax completely. He slowly walked down the road with the little puppy, and even stopped to buy the little one a cheesy dog treat. That caused the happy little fluff-ball to jump up excitedly on his leg.
“Little one, you’ll have to serve this old man for his birthday today.”
Xu Zheyi picked up the little furball and tucked him beneath his armpit. After walking until he was just a few steps from home, he suddenly stopped.
The man he was complaining about just a moment ago stood in front of his door with a box of beer and a cake at his feet. He frowned impatiently when he saw him and asked, “Just how long of a walk did you take?”
Xu Zheyi’s somewhat bitter thought was that if that scene had taken place in a daytime drama, that would probably be the moment the protagonist fell in love. Even so, he was truly struggling in his heart. It was as if a voice in one ear shouted, “Run for it! Ruka came,” and another voice said with relief, “Luckily he came.”
He felt that he had seen the line.
The line that was between him and Ruka. If he crossed over it, into Ruka’s territory, the line would become a river. The further things develop between them, the more that river would gradually expand and spread, giving birth to a strait. His former life would be completely submerged, and disappear for good.
I don’t want to be gay. He silently recited those words in the bottom of his heart, opened his eyes and looked across the candle-light dancing up from his cake. The only one in front of his eyes was Ruka.
Ruka’s rigid facial muscles seemed incapable of portraying a gentle and soft look, but when he looked at him, Xu Zheyi still felt tenderness. He could not bring himself to quickly blow out the candles and cover everything with darkness.
After the candles were extinguished and the lights were on again, Ruka pretended not to care and casually asked, “What did you wish for?” Contrary to his easy tone, his eyes were glued on Xu Zheyi, never leaving the other man’s back.
“Uh, world peace?”
Ruka’s expression was obviously one of defeat, then he frowned and asked, “And…?”
This time Xu Zheyi had no perfunctory answer prepared.
…This guy really likes me. As long as he looked at Ruka, his mind was full of those words.
The two men looked at each other for a few seconds, then Ruka leaned over, and spoke in a somewhat whiny voice, “I want to kiss you right now,” although his overall tone was still cheerful.
Of course, Xu Zheyi wanted to refuse, but his protestations consisted of stuttered, insensible sounds, and those were swiftly sealed away by the other man’s lips.
Later on, Xu Zheyi recalled the next series of events. He was still not very clear exactly how things happened. He could not recall whether he threw himself into the other man’s arms, or if he was half willing and half unwilling1.
He could only remember that he stood in one spot, moving neither forward nor backward, and it was like the ground below his feet split open. He plunged down, instantly, into a deep and bottomless sea. He was completely dazed, unaware of how long the billowing waves pushed and rolled him along. During that time, he could just hear a faint voice flowing into his awareness, “Hey…Xu Zheyi.”
Everything went still, and Ruka clung to him from behind. He brushed his lips against Xu Zheyi’s ear and whispered, “I like you.”
Xu Zheyi opened his eyes.
His hands were damp and sticky, and in them was the evidence of Ruka’s climax. At that moment, it was like a large dandelion blooming on his palm. He dropped his arms to his side and allowed Ruka to hold him tighter.
A nice short chapter. Although, I must say, I found it rather bittersweet and lonely. I did not expect to love this story so much when I picked it up.
- Half willing and half unwilling: idiom that means to yield after making a show of resistance (I think this is an important distinction to make). ↩