When Gu Yanting was about to get off work, he received a call from Mom Gu.
“Yanting, where’s Xiao Yi? I called him and it said his phone was turned off.”
“He is going on a business trip today, he’s probably still on the plane at this moment.” Gu Yanting smiled and raised his wrist to look at the time, “But it’s estimated that it’s almost landing. He’ll be there at six o’clock. Mom, are you looking for him for something?”
“Nothing, what can I look for him for?” Mom Gu said with a smile, “Doesn’t he like to eat acacia flower cakes? Today your dad went fishing and happened to pick a lot of them. I thought Xiao Yi could come home on the weekend. You can also take some back when you are done eating.”
Gu Yanting let out a sigh, and after a while he said, “Why don’t I come and get them? He won’t be back until the day after tomorrow, so he may not have time to come.”
“Oh so,” Mom Gu was a little lost and sighed after a while, “Okay, you come when you can come.”
Tang Yi had gone on an urgent trip this time and would actually be back tomorrow. Gu Yanting subconsciously refused on his behalf. He didn’t mean anything else; it was just that Mom Gu had invited Tang Yi home too often recently. Not to mention the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival, this year, even the Arbour Day and the Qingming Festival were not missed. In addition, picking wild vegetables also resulted in calling Tang Yi, and the seasonal acacia flower cakes was an even more righteous reason.
Gu Yanting was going to worry to death.
In the evening, Tang Yi sent him a message after arriving at the hotel. Gu Yanting simply called back. When he heard the low smiling voice on the other end, he rarely didn’t flirt but sighed for a long time.
“Tang Yi, my mom is calling you home for dinner again.”
Tang Yi smiled and hummed, a little surprised when he heard this, “Didn’t I… just go there last week?”
“Yeah, the old lady said she wanted you to come to eat acacia flowers,” Gu Yanting tsked, rather unpleasantly, “is she my mother or your mother, ah? I said I’d come for you, she was quite reluctant.”
Tang Yi only smiled and didn’t reply. When Gu Yanting sighed enough, Tang Yi said seriously, “This is quite normal, isn’t it always like this?”
“Huh?” Gu Yanting was taken aback for a moment.
“The more a mother-in-law looks at her son-in-law, the more pleasing he is to the eye.” Tang Yi smiled, “What do you think?”
“……” Gu Yanting paused, but did not refute.
Tang Yi raised his eyebrows, and just when he was about to tease him with a few more words, he heard Gu Yanting say nervously, “Husband.”
Tang Yi was dumbfounded.
“I think,” Gu Yanting paused, then took a deep breath and said, “My mom… maybe, she already knows about our relationship.”
Gu Yanting had always wanted to come out of the closet before, and most of the time he was just silently calculating. His original intention was to give Tang Yi a name and status, so he never said anything to Tang Yi and even thought about sneaking home and confessing the matter when Tang Yi was on a business trip.
But after all, this matter required courage. He hesitated many times, and on several occasions he went home but never said those words and went back to T City.
Until Tang Yi found out and stopped him.
That was a year ago, before Weiwei had been picked up by Zhou Hao. Weiwei had stayed with them for a total of three months. During those three months, the atmosphere at home was happy and harmonious, and the child was exceptionally well-behaved and sensible, naturally likeable.
At the end of the year, Zhou Hao was going abroad and couldn’t come back for the New Year, so Gu Yanting happily took the child and went home for the New Year.
The direct consequence of this incident was that Mom Gu liked the child so much that she lovingly hugged Weiwei and piled up all the delicious food in the house in front of him while, as if she had suddenly woken up, she began to question Gu Yanting about his lifelong commitment.
At that time, Tang Yi was one step behind them. When he pushed the door open, he happened to run into Mom Gu who leaned forward and asked Gu Yanting in a gossipy voice, “Didn’t you say that there was a girl you had a crush on? What? Is she still there?”
Gu Yanting: “!!!”
Tang Yi turned his face slightly when he heard the words, but he still faintly smiled calmly. Gu Yanting’s heart gave a jolt; he hurriedly straightened his body and explained to Mom Gu hastily, “Mom, there’s no such thing as a girl! You remember it wrong!”
“Do I, ah?! The one called Ling? Didn’t you mention her before?” Mom Gu said it with a certain look on her face; but when she saw Weiwei blinking curiously and looking up, her lips twitched and she swallowed the rest of her words.
She rubbed Weiwei’s hair and turned to say, “You are also a big boss, and sooner or later you have to start a family. Your father and I bought this house for you as a wedding house. When you find a wife, the two of us will live over there, not with you.”
Gu Yanting had also thought before about what he would say when he was urged to get married by his parents. He knew that this was a hurdle that could not be overcome, and he would have to face it sooner or later. But when the things really happened, the set of doctrines he had originally prepared couldn’t be used.
On the other hand, Dad Gu had already happily brought out the chessboard and called out to Tang Yi to set it up on the small table. Gu Yanting glanced worriedly at Tang Yi and finally frowned, saying dryly, “Mom, I know what I’m doing. Now I have no plans to get married. Don’t worry about me, okay?”
“Hey, you say that, if I don’t worry about you, who can I worry about? Can I pull someone from the street for me to care about?” Mom Gu glanced at him and sighed, “Your dad and I don’t ask for much. It doesn’t matter whether the girl’s family conditions are good or bad, whether she is ugly or pretty, as long as she’s a decent person and you like her. If you think this house is too dilapidated, you can sell it in two years and go live in the city. Your dad and I both have pensions and we won’t be a burden to you.”
Mom Gu was a loving mother at home, and she rarely forced Gu Yanting to do anything. This time, her words were also very mild, but they made Gu Yanting’s heart torn.
After the New Year’s Eve dinner, it was the Spring Festival Gala as usual. Dad Gu took Tang Yi to play two games of chess and went to sleep. It didn’t take long for Mom Gu to carry Weiwei, who was asleep, into the master bedroom. When Gu Yanting heard the sound of the bedroom door closing, he reached out and grasped Tang Yi’s hand. After turning it over and clasping it, he whispered, “Tang Yi, I want to come out of the closet.”
Gu Yanting had thought about many scenarios of coming out, and had even been thinking about what the worst consequences would be, but there was no definite answer. There were all kinds of people in this world, all of them had different personalities and different opinions, so naturally they reacted differently to the same thing. There were people around Gu Yanting whose families turned against them because of coming out of the closet, and there were also people who happily got along with their parents. There was a guy who even had a relaxed atmosphere at home. His parents were not shocked, didn’t say they were disappointed, nor did they have hysterical quarrels and scolding.
That was the best result Gu Yanting could think of. He hoped so, but he also knew that with Mom Gu and Dad Gu, who had traditional values, there was almost no such possibility.
Tang Yi let Gu Yanting hold his hand and didn’t move, nor did he make a sound. After waiting for a while, he sighed and touched Gu Yanting, “Don’t.”
Gu Yanting grasped his hand tightly.
“I know it’s not easy, but I don’t want to keep sneaking around and I don’t want you to suffer because of this,” Gu Yanting said in a low voice, “If my dad hadn’t asked you to come on for the New Year, would you have planned to come over? We have a long future ahead of us, so we can’t keep hiding like this and always be away from each other during the New Year and the holidays.”
Tang Yi was cautious in his heart, afraid that Dad Gu and Mom Gu would see the clues if he came often. But he was also afraid that Gu Yanting would be in a difficult situation choosing between him and his parents, so he shooed the latter home every holiday and festival. Gu Yanting had always seen it clearly and felt distressed for him, so he could only go home twice as much as possible but reduce the time he stayed each time. The only comfort now was that the house did get a lot livelier with Weiwei and Tang Yi wouldn’t be alone if Gu Yanting wasn’t at home.
“Yes, we will have a long life ahead of us,” Tang Yi smiled, “so be filial to your parents first.” He was silent for a while, and then said softly, “We are under some pressure now, but it’s not that we can’t get through the difficulties. It’s easy to come out of the closet, but if it doesn’t work out, what happens later? We can’t predict how much they will suffer and the consequences.”
Gu Yanting opened his mouth, and finally closed it tightly without speaking.
Tang Yi turned his head and smiled, reached out and patted Gu Yanting’s face lightly, admonishing: “For the New Year and the holidays, you should come to stay with your parents more, and Weiwei will accompany me at home.”
“En,” Gu Yanting said after a while of silence, “I know what you are worried about.”
“Oh?” Tang Yi smiled.
“My parents always thought that I didn’t remember the past at all. Just as I was worried that they would not want me when I was a child, they are also worried now, afraid that one day I will see my biological father or biological mother and have other thoughts.” Gu Yanting exhaled softly, “I have been hesitant to tell them about the Zhou family. In fact, you are afraid that they will be more upset about it and would prefer me to maintain the status quo, right?”
For him to come out of the closet, it was both difficult and easy. The measure was simply how ruthless he could be – ruthless not towards himself, but towards his parents. Whether it was the matter of his birth, or the hidden worries of Gu’s parents, the two elders couldn’t take too strong an attitude or approach towards him.
But that didn’t mean they weren’t upset. They had always regarded Gu Yanting as their own son and did not want to wrong him in the slightest, and had put in no less effort into him than any other parents. However, they were destined to lack the layer of blood ties between them. Other parents and children were connected by flesh and blood, but not them. What they had always been afraid of in their hearts was that if they really quarrelled with their son and he decided to break up with them, it would be over.
Tang Yi didn’t want Gu Yanting to tell Gu’s parents about Zhou Dongchuan exactly for this reason. Even if Gu Yanting could express his attitude with a bellyful of heartfelt words, it was impossible for Gu’s parents not to worry in front of the Zhou family that was so different.
But if Gu Yanting insisted on coming out of the closet and confessing, when he got emotional, it was inevitable that he would come up with the biggest argument against “getting married and having children to carry on the family tradition” – I am not your biological child.
The living room was quiet, and the TV was in the middle of a program switch. The next program was an annual family sketch. The host passionately read homesick letters from frontier soldiers. On the big screen behind the stage, there were videos recorded by the families of several soldiers.
Boiling water, dumplings in the pot, flames burning in the wood stove, wrinkles on the old man’s face and his slightly bent back…
“Let them be well, Yanting.” Tang Yi, who was watching TV, turned his face slightly and said softly, “Actually, I envy you for having such good parents. So I won’t feel wronged.”
Tang Yi said it sincerely and later handled things according to his words all the time. If there was a conflict of interests between his affairs and those of Gu’s parents, he would definitely let Gu Yanting take care of the two elders’ side first.
Gu Yanting was touched and distressed. Once his father was seriously ill; he went home to visit and was always distracted sitting by the bed alone. When Mom Gu handed him the porridge, he held the bowl and didn’t move for a long time. Mom Gu asked him what was wrong. Gu Yanting shook his head, lowered his head and said, “Tang Yi had pneumonia and fever when I left. I don’t know if he has a bowl of porridge to drink at this moment.”
After he finished speaking, he suddenly returned to his senses, looking up with some regret at his mother’s expression. Fortunately, the latter didn’t hear anything wrong, just hesitated and patted him, “Why don’t you go back and have a look?”
Mom Gu was soft-hearted, and when Gu Yanting came home later, she always asked about Tang Yi’s situation. Sometimes she’d ask about work, sometimes she’d ask about his health. When Mom Gu first met Tang Yi, she also liked him very much, but at that time, she mostly got him a copy of what Gu Yanting had and was sympathetic and polite. It wasn’t until last year that she really took the initiative to get to know him.
Gu Yanting was not the same bratty kid fresh out of school and speaking without any restrictions. He and Mom Gu talked in detail about Tang Yi’s past, Tang Yi’s present, and the many trivialities of his and Tang Yi’s lives.
Although he didn’t come out of the closet, he wanted his mom and dad to understand how much Tang Yi meant to him. Whether they understood it as a friendship, a brotherhood, or something else.
“Then let’s go this weekend.” After listening to Gu Yanting, Tang Yi was silent for a while before saying, “Let’s be together.”
“Then,” Gu Yanting paused and said, “if the speculation is true, should I come out of the closet? Confess?”
Tang Yi took his mobile phone and walked to the floor-to-ceiling window of the hotel, looking outside quietly. As soon as Gu Yanting’s words were said, the street lights not far away all lit up with a snap.
“Actually, it doesn’t matter.” Tang Yi looked into the distance, smiled and said, “Many things don’t have to be said clearly, we just understand them all.”
For example, the master bedroom door that was not closed on New Year’s Eve, or the two childhood photos of Gu Yanting that Mom Gu gave him.
Sometimes the difference is just a layer of window paper. If you can find a comfortable and decent distance from each other, there is no difference whether this layer of paper is pierced or not.