Tang Yi listened carefully at first, but eventually he yawned and interrupted Gu Yanting in a somewhat baffled manner, asking him, “You guys haven’t made any progress?”
“Ah, no?” Gu Yanting thought for a moment, “Does holding hands count? We did once, but his When Tang Yi was little, he adopted a stray cat. To be precise, it was not exactly an adoption, but rather an admission.
Twenty years ago there was no advanced irrigation technology in the countryside. The village divided the fields into sections and assigned each section a deep well, which was covered by a well house outside.
At that time, Tang Yi was living in a well house that had been abandoned in the village for a long time.
However, the well house was extremely inconvenient. The deep-water wells for irrigation were usually a hundred metres deep, and in order to meet the irrigation needs of the area, the whole right side of the well house was dug into a deep rectangular pit with a pump and other machinery, and a bottomless darkness below.
Tang Yi’s movements were thus limited to a few square metres in the left half of the well house, and the left side was also sunken, with half a dozen steep steps down, and dark, damp corners. It was infested with rats and mice, ants and various insects, and Tang Yi, who was still young at the time, nestled in a corner of the well house and was repeatedly nauseous and frightened by these things. Whenever he could, he preferred to wander around the village or sleep outside.
Later he picked up a three-coloured kitten that was about to freeze to death. The kitten was not very big, and the way it was dying in the snow and ice somehow aroused Tang Yi’s compassion.
He took it to the well house, piled up a small nest for it, and saved a small portion of the food the villagers gave him to feed it. Then he endured the goosebumps all over his body and caught fleas on it.
As they say, a cheap life is easy to feed, and together with Tang Yi, the kitten survived that winter in a daze, and they became somewhat dependent on each other. When spring came, the kitten grew more and more beautiful; especially its blue eyes that looked like crystal ice, and its three-coloured fur began to be soft and smooth. When Tang Yi carried it out in the sun, people in the village would come over to watch it for a while and bring it some delicious food.
Before March was over and the cold had not yet subsided, the kitten stayed with a family and would not leave.
Presumably, it is not the monopoly of humans to judge the situation. The cat didn’t need a teacher to choose a good log after the catastrophe. That family often fed it meat, and even the smell of grease and smoke wafting out of their front door carried an irresistible scent of temptation.
Tang Yi stood at the door of that family’s house, stretching out his hand and calling, “Are you going to leave? If you don’t come with me, I’ll really leave, okay?”
“I’m really leaving? Really leaving?”
“I’m really leaving?”
After calling in vain for half an afternoon, Tang Yi turned around and walked away.
The biggest benefit this cat brought him was that he got used to staying in the well house.
Six months later, one day after school, he came back and saw a big cat sitting at the door, with beautiful ice-blue eyes and three-coloured fur. But it was so skinny and bony that it looked unbearably pitiful. It must have been abandoned.
Tang Yi indifferently opened the small door to the well house, and as the cat got up to follow in, he lifted his foot and kicked it.
When the cat whimpered and looked terrified, Tang Yi’s eyes were stinging and his heart surged with a wave of guilt and heartache; but more than that, there was an unspeakable pleasure.
No one gets better after being betrayed. The pleasure of seeing the other person’s deserved bad luck is wicked, but also addictive. How can there be such an easy forgiveness? It’s good to pay it back in kind.
Gu Yanting held up the phone and kept holding his coat for a long time before slowly squatting down.
Tang Yi hung up.
Almost immediately after he finished saying “okay?” Tang Yi cut it off without even a trace of hesitation. The jacket Gu Yanting had put on in a hurry was inside out, his pants were buttoned up crookedly. Gu Yanting stepped on the floor with his bare feet, and the cold tiles seemed like a row of ice spikes, sending shivers down his spine.
The bedroom was very neat and tidy, and there was still the “wedding photo” of the two of them on the bedside table. A light autumn rain pattered outside the unclosed curtains. If Tang Yi had been at home, sleeping under the warm blanket as usual, it would have been a very nice and relaxing night.
Before, Gu Yanting would feel that such a day was as it meant to be; such life was as it meant to be. He had just built up a belief this year that Tang Yi’s devotion to him could definitely withstand the test of class and the torture of ancient enemies. His loyalty was comparable to that of a martyr, and as long as he didn’t not mess around, Tang Yi would never part with him.
But reality always played tricks on him, surprisingly going against his preconceptions. The saddest thing, however, was that there was nothing he could do about it.
That day at the hospital, Tang Yi’s fierce slap in the face shocked him and at the same time, he began to see Tang Yi’s anger for the first time.
Initially, Tang Yi confessed his love for him, saying “let’s give it a try”, and Gu Yanting was taken aback for a moment before obediently agreeing. Afterwards, however, Tang Yi didn’t cheerfully drag him to various parties like the boyfriends he had dated before, being coquettish with him in front of everyone, nor did he ask him to accompany him to go shopping for clothes and shoes and bags.
Tang Yi just continued to be like before, calling him to eat together when he was free, occasionally going out for a walk to the beach or for a hike. This mode of getting along made Gu Yanting feel very comfortable. He was a passive person, and the only active sentence he had ever said was his confession to Lin Rui, “You’re gay too, huh? Me too, why don’t we make a couple?”
Lin Rui rejected him unsurprisingly, and apart from being slightly frustrated, Gu Yanting took it for granted.
The first time he and Tang Yi talked about Lin Rui formally was about a month after they started dating. That day Tang Yi went to see a movie with him, and when they left the cinema, Tang Yi stared in one direction for a moment, his expression a little dazed. Gu Yanting shouted several times before the latter turned his head. Afterwards, Tang Yi smiled gently, “Tell me about your exes, okay?”
Gu Yanting sat on a small bench in the square in front of the cinema and confessed seriously, and Tang Yi counted for him. There were eleven.
Then Tang Yi asked, “What about Lin Rui? He hasn’t been counted yet.”
Gu Yanting felt quite melancholy, tilted his head and smiled shyly, “I had a crush on him but I didn’t succeed in catching him, right?”
“Oh?” Tang Yi looked at him funny, “What’s going on with you guys?”
Gu Yanting thought this matter was a bit long winded, but although he had a bunch of friends and was blindly partying every now and then, he had never had such an in-depth conversation with anyone. So he thought about it and started from the first time he met Lin Rui, and told Tang Yi everything he could remember from his four years at university in detail.
hands were quite rough, like old twigs.”
“……” Tang Yi opened his mouth, as if he was going to say something and couldn’t, “Forget it, so how far did you go with the others?”
Gu Yanting had some face this time and raised his eyebrows, “Of course I kissed them all, ah!”
Tang Yi: “……”
Gu Yanting looked at him seriously, “Really.”
Tang Yi propped his forehead with his hand, his beautiful eyes full of tiny smiles, and finally he couldn’t help but laugh a little and ask, “Tongue kiss?”
Of course not a tongue kiss. Gu Yanting felt that sticking out his tongue was simply too dirty. Who knew what the other party had eaten and drunk the second before, whether he had bad breath or was constipated? In order to avoid those boys sticking out their tongues and drooling, Gu Yanting’s eyes were always open when he kissed, and he stared at the other party without missing a beat, practically becoming cross-eyed.
But at this moment, Tang Yi’s eyes were clearly a bit teasing, and Gu Yanting’s face demanded him to stiffen his neck and shout, “Of course!”
“Then,” Tang Yi smiled and put a hand over his neck precisely, then clasped his nape and pushed him closer, “You teach me.”
It was also early autumn, and outside the cinema after the midnight show was ghostly quiet. The night surrounded them and the square was half-lit and half-dark. Tang Yi pulled him over in a dignified manner, and then gently touched his lips. Without waiting for him to react, Tang Yi’s tongue softly pressed against his teeth and stirred in, gently yet dominantly.
Gu Yanting almost suffocated to death. Tang Yi seemed to give a low chuckle while their lips and teeth were mingled, softly reminding him, “Close your eyes.”
Gu Yanting’s face looked like a cooked crab when he returned to the dormitory that night. He was a little shocked as he thought, “He, he, he actually stuck his tongue out!” While covering his thumping heart, he inexplicably repeated over and over again the phrase “The east wind is blowing, the drums of war are beating, who is afraid of whom in the world today?”(1)
For quite some time afterwards, Gu Yanting was afraid of Tang Yi. Sometimes when the two of them were eating and Tang Yi sat across from him and suddenly tried to lean over, Gu Yanting’s first reaction was to close his eyes. He would think to himself, be a little shorter this time, ahhhh, Lao Tzu’s lung capacity is not as good as yours, ahhhhhh.
It didn’t rain for long, and by the time Gu Yanting resurfaced from his memories, the light rain outside had already stopped. The clock on the wall kept ticking.
He stared at the clock with some bewilderment and some remorse for a long time, and finally slowly began to accept the reality that Tang Yi was really not going to come.
This understanding stood so sharply in front of him that Gu Yanting subconsciously wanted to run away, wanted to be convinced, as he had been the other day, that Tang Yi would be fine once his anger subsided. But tonight’s incident made him understand that such self-hypnosis was useless. Tang Yi’s attitude was too cold, hard and resolute when he said he was breaking up; and Gu Yanting’s face was lost to the extreme.
He couldn’t even bear to look at himself.
But Gu Yanting also felt that this situation between them was predetermined from the start.
Tang Yi’s various ideas and habits were simply incompatible with his, and the only things that could be considered equivalent between them were their looks. From the very beginning, Gu Yanting would worry nervously that one day Tang Yi would not like him and suddenly leave without saying goodbye. Although such speculation was unfounded and ridiculous, Gu Yanting had never been able to get rid of that worry and fear.
At home, Tang Yi was the boss, and Gu Yanting practically always obeyed him. He even sometimes felt that he was playing the role of both a partner and a son in the family, and that his opinions and ideas were often as worthless as the child’s naive thoughts in front of the mature and brilliant Tang Yi. The more Tang Yi took charge of him, the more he felt worthless. He was obviously a big man, but his role at home was gradually becoming a vine climbing on Tang Yi.
But he didn’t dare to resist, he was afraid that after a fight, Tang Yi would leave in a fit of anger.
The word “break-up” was like a sharp sword hanging over the two of them. Sometimes Gu Yanting felt that he’d better accept this sword and die sooner than later. But at other times he knew that if the sword came down, he would be stabbed right through.
There was a little bit of brutality in Tang Yi’s forbearance. Once he stabbed you with his sharp sword, blood and flesh would be the beginning, and the soul would be the end.
Tang Yi slept soundly after switching off his phone at night and arrived at the office the next day at the right time.
The vast majority of people in the company were already there. When he passed by the second department, he took a brief glance and realised that half of the people from the second department had not come yet.
The list of late arrivals was basically the same as he had expected.
Tang Yi’s usual leadership style was both visionary and commanding, but in all seriousness, the commanding trait was more obvious. He rarely gave direct advice to his subordinates, but once he had set a direction, he was absolutely uncompromising and didn’t allow anyone to question or disobey him.
The most direct result of this was that the performance of the second department was much higher than that of other branches of ER, but the people under his command were most likely to have inflated ego while receiving large bonuses. The heavier the repression, the stronger the resistance. Many sales elites, once their wings got stronger, were tempted to take over a project on their own.
Tang Yi didn’t allow it. So, as soon as Lin Rui came down in style, those few people immediately led their teams to defect.
Tang Yi leaned back idly in his office chair, his long legs folded casually, his beautiful phoenix eyes slightly mocking behind the black-rimmed glasses. At this time, he looked like he carried an aura that made people’s hearts flutter, but his downcast eyes were cold, a hundred thousand miles away from the gentle and modest man he was rumoured to be.
Probably everyone had forgotten that he had a limited right to dismiss his subordinates. Tang Yi added the names of several people to the personnel dismissal document, reached out and pressed the phone a few times, calling for his assistant Xiao Yang to come over.
After receiving the document, Xiao Yang didn’t leave immediately but looked at Tang Yi again and again.
Tang Yi didn’t even raise his head and asked him indifferently, “What’s wrong?”
“That… Manager Tang, someone ordered a bouquet of eternal roses(2) for you this morning, ninety-nine of them.” Xiao Yang carefully looked at Tang Yi’s face and added, “But when it was just delivered to the company’s entrance, the chairman blocked it.”
“……” Tang Yi froze for a moment, “The chairman?”
“En, Director Shen.” Xiao Yang said, “He also told the receptionist that in the future, if someone gives you something, no matter what, it’s not allowed.”
1) A song from the period of the Cultural Revolution
2) Preserved fresh flowers