Xu Moran came out of the airport, and the wind of the early autumn morning blew coldly on his body.
He couldn’t help wrapping his coat tightly, pulled his suitcase and walked out, when a man rushed up and called him, “Xu Moran.”
It was a tall and thin young man, dressed in trendy clothes, wearing an earring on his ear, with clear and elegant eyebrows, and a mouthful of white teeth when he smiled.
It was a very contagious smile.
Xu Moran smiled and walked over, reached out and rubbed his hair, “Didn’t I say you don’t need to pick me up?”
Luo Qi laughed: “Anyway, it’s just a morning exercise. There’s nothing else to do, so I might as well come and pick you up.”
Luo Qi’s acquaintance with Xu Moran was a bit dramatic.
Xu Moran had come to this city, joined Guan He (Guan He is the guy we met in Chapter 1; Gao Xi helped him with work before going home and seeing Xu Moran in bed with another), and his life was slowly getting on track.
He had two mobile phones. One was from a few years ago. In it, there were Gao Xi’s photos, chat records and everything else related to Gao Xi and Shen Yun…
It was good to take it out from time to time to look at it. Even the screen of the mobile phone was Gao Xi and Shen Yun’s smiling faces. Of course, Xu Moran seldom took it out.
The other one was the one he was using now.
He bought an apartment near a park, and would go for a morning run in the park every morning.
One spring morning, he lost his mobile phone, the old one, during his morning exercises.
Early that morning he took the mobile phone and put it in his pocket, and didn’t realise that he had taken the wrong one at that time.
When Xu Moran found out that the mobile phone was lost, he was in a daze, his brain was blank for a moment, and he almost burst into tears.
It was the only thing left between them.
He even felt that fate was maliciously playing with him, making him lose the most beautiful things in his life step by step.
He forced himself to calm down, and tried to dial the mobile phone first.
But he got the prompt that the phone was switched off, and he remembered that the phone had run out of battery.
Then he searched the route he had been running along, inch by inch, but in the end he found nothing.
Finally, he printed out a search notice, promising to pay a large sum of money, and posted it in all the conspicuous places in the park.
He spent that day in agony, holding his mobile phone in torment and not daring to let go, for fear of missing any news.
He kept reassuring himself that the mobile phone was old and worthless, and that the reward he had promised would buy three or four new ones of that brand.
As long as the other party could see the notice, there was no reason not to return it.
He thought, maybe there was still hope, and he held onto that last glimmer of hope, silently waiting.
He actually backed up the photos a long time ago, but the chat history was still there, and there were a lot of Gao Xi’s voice messages.
He couldn’t lose it.
This torture came to a end in the evening when someone called.
The one who picked up the phone was Luo Qi.
Xu Moran took the phone, expressed his gratitude, and wanted to add the other party’s WeChat to transfer the reward to him.
But Luo Qi waved his hand and smiled, “No need, if you really want to thank me, why don’t you treat me to dinner tonight.”
A discerning person would know at a glance that the clothes and accessories Luo Qi was wearing cost a lot, so Xu Moran didn’t insist.
Xu Moran entered his mobile phone password in front of Luo Qi to show that he was not an impostor.
That night, they had a very good conversation.
Luo Qi also lived nearby and likewise went to the park every morning to run.
Later they had a few drinks, and Luo Qi asked curiously, “That mobile phone is very important to you?”
Xu Moran smiled, “There is everything left to me by the person I love.”
“Oh?” Luo Qi’s expression got a bit more serious, and he didn’t know how to answer for a moment.
Xu Moran smiled, “It’s not what you think, he’s fine, he just doesn’t belong to me anymore, he… married someone else.”
“So?” Luo Qi took a sip of wine and asked, “Why are you stopping here? You could have moved on too?”
“Because I promised to wait for him.” Xu Moran smiled.
For some reason, talking to Luo Qi was comfortable, making him open up naturally.
“Wait for him to get divorced?” Luo Qi asked in confusion; he even felt a little funny.
Xu Moran looked mature and stable, but turned out to be so childish?
But Xu Moran’s answer was beyond his expectation, “Waiting for his next life.”
He even emphasised, “He won’t divorce, he’ll live this life happily.”
Luo Qi was a little tongue-tied. He pursed his lips, propped up his cheeks and smiled, “Oh? You made me believe in this love thing.”
“What? You don’t believe in love? How old are you?” Xu Moran laughed.
Luo Qi shook his glass of red wine and smiled, “My parents and the elders around me divorced a lot, then I went abroad for a few years and had enough fun.” He shrugged. “You know, in this world, very few people can really be responsible for others, so why bother? Isn’t being alone great? I’m celibate.”
Xu Moran nodded, and Luo Qi smiled: “Since you’re waiting for that person’s next life, you’re not planning to get married in this life, right?”
Xu Moran nodded. Luo Qi raised his glass and raised his eyebrows, smiling, “Then you’re celibate in disguise, so cheers.”
Luo Qi had his own advertising company.
Due to professional reasons, he was very receptive to fresh information and new things, and could quickly apply them to work and life.
When Xu Moran was with him, he felt like he was a few years younger.
They went to run in the morning, drank wine and chatted together. Luo Qi didn’t know how to cook, so he often went to Xu Moran’s home to eat, and they also went out on trips together…
In the past two years, Xu Moran had slowly fallen in love with Gao Xi’s lifestyle, and Luo Qi had also become a very important friend in his life.
It made him less lonely and sad.
Gao Xi’s mindset had always been peaceful, without too much utilitarianism, doing his best in everything and seldom forcing the results.
He liked to go out and look around between jobs, and from time to time, he put down his work and travelled.
Xu Moran was different. He was born in an ordinary family, both parents were unemployed, and his life had not been easy.
The whole family pinned their hopes on him, so he was very strict with himself.
He pampered Gao Xi, and he supported him wherever he wanted to go, but he couldn’t let himself put down his work to go out and relax…
He always thought, do more, do more…
And in these two years, after experiencing life-changing events, he felt tired.
At the same time, because of his yearning for Gao Xi, he gradually adjusted his way of life.
He also learned to put down his work and go out to relax.
Gradually, he discovered that Gao Xi was right. Relaxation was also a kind of charging that could bring unlimited inspiration.
Even Guan He joked with him, saying that he was more spiritual now.
And today, he had returned from Northern Europe.
He had been there for more than a month, drifting naturally around a foreign country, taking a rare moment to relax, to learn to enjoy life.
Luo Qi sent him home and drove to the office.
Xu Moran took a quick shower. For some reason he was a little flustered and couldn’t sleep soundly even when he was lying in bed.
He stopped trying to sleep, got up and dressed. It was already past lunch time. He casually ate something and rushed to the company.
Shen Yun came to X City to participate in the bidding of a large-scale project.
He met Guan He at the venue.
Guan He originally had no good feelings for Shen Yun, because this person was intent on bringing down his best friend’s company.
But when he accidentally looked at Shen Yun, Shen Yun gave him a generous smile with his eyes curved, making him feel that this person was familiar and friendly.
During the break, Shen Yun took the initiative to come over to say hello, and the two of them chatted surprisingly well.
Although Shen Yun looked very young, he had his own style of speaking and doing things.
Neither humble nor overbearing, and his magnanimous attitude made him very likeable.
Shen Yun was going to stay here for a week, and they quickly became familiar with each other.
They often went out for a drink together in the evening, chatting and discussing some professional cases.
Guan He couldn’t help but sigh. Fortunately, Xu Moran was not there, otherwise he really didn’t have face to see his old friend after his defection.
Today was Shen Yun’s last day here, and he came along with Guan He to the company to have a look around.
Guan He incidentally asked him to give a bit of guidance to the young people in the company on free-hand drawing.
When he said this, he was a bit sad. If Gao Xi hadn’t had an accident, Gao Xi would have been the one to do this task.
Xu Moran arrived at the company just in time for them to come out of the conference room.
He and Shen Yun walked towards each other, and when the two saw each other, they both couldn’t help but be stunned on the spot, staring at each other.
Guan He stood in place awkwardly, still trying to explain in a few words. Xu Moran pushed him back and pulled Shen Yun out the door.
The wind picked up outside the window and the sky was cloudy, seemingly about to rain.
The two of them sat in the restaurant, relatively speechless for a while.
The two spoke at the same time, and couldn’t help but look at each other and laugh, breaking the awkwardness.
Shen Yun said, “Are you okay?”
Xu Moran nodded, “Pretty good, how about you?”
Shen Yun looked at the table of dishes, all of which he loved to eat, and smiled, “I’m fine, very happy.”
Xu Moran smiled, but the expression on his face was complicated, and it was hard to say whether it was loss or relief.
Shen Yun lowered his head, wanting to find a cigarette, but then thought about something and stopped his movement.
He looked at Xu Moran, bit his lip and smiled, “I hope you can be happy too, you know?”
After saying that, he smiled again and shook his head, finally knocking out a cigarette and lighting it, squinting his eyes and exhaling a smoke ring.
“Actually, it’s a bit pretentious to say this, but I mean it.”
Xu Moran nodded: “I know.”
He looked at Shen Yun’s face, still the same as before. His bangs hanging down would make him look very young, a little boyish but soft.
“How many days will you stay? I’ll show you around.”
Shen Yun smiled, “Guan He will take me to the airport tomorrow morning.”
The two of them ate in silence, seemingly having a thousand words but unable to speak them. Occasionally their eyes met, and they smiled at each other.
After eating, it was already dark, and Shen Yun was going back.
Xu Moran stood up, “I’ll see you off.”
They stood next to the revolving door at the entrance of the restaurant, and Shen Yun pointed out through the glass, “It’s only two steps, I’ll just walk there.”
The Hilton’s huge light sign was flashing not far away.
Xu Moran pursed his lips and didn’t say anything. Shen Yun smiled and said, “Goodbye, Xu Moran, you will be happy too.”
Xu Moran’s eyes reddened, “I said I would wait for you. This is the life I chose. As long as you don’t interfere, I’m happy.”
Shen Yun blinked and frowned in silence for a long time before saying solemnly, “I have no right to interfere with you.”
He thought for a moment before adding, “I won’t take this as a burden either. If you figure it out one day, you don’t have to tell me, go the way you want to go.”
He pushed the door open and walked out. The wind of the autumn night swept towards him, blowing the corners of his coat like butterfly wings.
Xu Moran stood there without moving until he could no longer see Shen Yun.
His eyes were a little red, and he gently pressed his head against the transparent glass.
Someone tapped him on the shoulder, and Xu Moran looked back to see Luo Qi’s face.
“Hey,” Luo Qi said, “Is he the one you are waiting for?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to listen to you guys.”
Luo Qi smiled, “I just wanted to say hello, and you guys had a bit of a weird atmosphere when I came over, so I just stopped there.”
“That’s okay.” Xu Moran said.
“He’s very good. His personality is a bit cold but he makes people want to get close. Such a strange temperament.”
Luo Qi smiled, “It’s just that what he said also makes sense. Everyone changes, maybe one day you will change too, right?”
Xu Moran looked at him, “Luo Qi, you’re not a hesitant person, just say what you have to say directly.”
Luo Qi smiles, “Actually, what I want to say is, if you figure it out, you can try it with me. I suddenly feel that if it is you, it might not be bad to get hitched.”
Xu Moran frowned and said softly, “You know I’m not feeling well, don’t play this kind of joke with me at this time.”
Luo Qi raised an eyebrow, “Who said I’m joking? I’m serious.”
Xu Moran looked at him and pursed his lips, not saying anything.
“You’re willing to wait for him, I’m willing to wait for you, how about it?”
Luo Qi smiled and said, “Just like what you said to him, you shouldn’t interfere with my choice either.”
Xu Moran was silent for a long time, but still said with difficulty, “Luo Qi, don’t waste your time on me.”
“Why do you call it waste?”
Luo Qi smiled and shrugged, “I’m celibate anyway, so even if I wait for you in vain, there’s nothing to lose, right?”
Xu Moran flicked his forehead, “You’re really…”
“Really too cute, right?” Luo Qi blinked.
Xu Moran shook his head and smiled after all.
Shen Yun came out of the airport and was picked up and spun around. He shrieked in fright and then laughed.
When the two of them sat in the car, he was still laughing, “Next time can we do something age-appropriate? You’re kind of a celebrity anyway.”
Zhou Lan smiled, “Being on the hot search is just free publicity.”
Shen Yun wrinkled his nose, then smiled with his eyes curved. There was nothing he could do about Zhou Lan’s shamelessness.
Zhou Lan held him in his arms and kissed him, “I missed you.”
Shen Yun kissed him back, “I missed you too.”
After they had been cuddling for a while, Shen Yun said with deliberation, “Zhou Lan, I’ve seen Xu Moran.”
Zhou Lan’s body stiffened, then slowly relaxed as he muttered to himself, “Take a deep breath, take a deep breath…”
Shen Yun couldn’t help laughing.
Zhou Lan pinched his waist, “Don’t laugh.”
Shen Yun obediently stopped laughing and went on to kiss him, “Don’t take it to heart, we met accidentally.”
He bit Zhou Lan’s lips, “All of this is nothing in the first place, but I don’t want to hide it from you. Now you are the most important, got it?”
He didn’t want one day Zhou Lan to know from someone else that he had met Xu Moran. That way even if it was nothing, Zhou Lan’s imagination would run wild.
So he chose to say it himself, even though he felt that it really was nothing. But when it came to Zhou Lan, he would rather be more careful.
Zhou Lan kissed him, “I know.”
They drove home. Shen Yun turned on hot water and comfortably soaked in the bathtub.
His cheeks were flushed with water vapour, his eyelashes were wet, his eyes were misty as if dripping water, and his skin was red with hot water.
He closed his eyes and heard the sound of the bathroom door opening. When he opened his eyes, he saw Zhou Lan unbuttoning his shirt.
Shen Yun looked at him suspiciously: “Do you want to wash too?”
Zhou Lan stripped naked in a few movements, stepped into the bathtub, took him into his arms, and bit his ear, “You’ve met Xu Moran.”
“Ah?” Shen Yun was dumbfounded, “I told you, yes.”
Zhou Lan’s big hands kneaded his body, his lips ignited a fire in him, and the sound of two people breathing sharply echoed in the bathroom.
“Don’t meet him again in the future.”
“Zhou Lan.” Shen Yun laughed somewhat helplessly, but Zhou Lan held him close to his chest, entering him from the bottom up.
Shen Yun whimpered, unable to speak, his sweet and unctuous cries brushing over Zhou Lan’s ears.
Zhou Lan nibbled at his slender neck and delicate collarbone, “I’m just jealous of him, jealous of him having you for so many years.”
He buried his head in his chest and bit gently, “Do you know?”
Shen Yun rubbed his hair, “Well, then let me do the maths, if you live to be ninety, then how many years will we be together… ah…”
Shen Yun couldn’t count anymore, bit his lip and looked at Zhou Lan with tears in his eyes.
Zhou Lan couldn’t help but let out a chuckle, all his gloom dispersing.
Now Shen Yun was in his arms, wholeheartedly surrendering himself into his hands, rising and falling with his every move…
He experienced joy with him, and he felt fulfilled.
Shen Yun was so tired that he didn’t even eat dinner, and after being fed half a bowl of porridge by Zhou Lan, he fell asleep.
When he woke up in the morning, the sunlight was already shining through the window, warming him up.
He lazily leaned against the head of the bed, hugging the thin quilt, and returned a few work messages.
The aroma of food drifted in, and Shen Yun smiled.
Zhou Lan came in and took his clothes. Shen Yun said, “I’ll do it myself.”
But he was half-hugged and half-carried by the other man, and his clothes were put on him.
Zhou Lan picked him up and smiled, “Let’s go, go eat.”
Shen Yun leaned on his chest, laughing and teasing him, “Zhou Lan, you are always like this, be careful that one day I will be so spoiled by you that I won’t walk, won’t dress myself, won’t eat myself… will rely on you in everything, annoying you to death.”
Zhou Lan let out a chuckle, “I can’t wait, I really want to raise you like a lover and a child, you don’t know how much I love you!”
Shen Yun raised his eyebrows, unable to resist the urge to laugh, and also a little moved.
But being moved didn’t last long, because Zhou Lan went on to say, “Good boy, call Daddy.”
Shen Yun buried his face in his chest and smothered a laugh.
Zhou Lan’s arms around him tightened.
Before the other party became angry, Shen Yun wrapped his arms around his neck and called out in a light voice in his ear, “Daddy.”
For a moment the two looked at each other, both red in face.
Shen Yun was shy, and Zhou Lan was excited.
He pressed Shen Yun onto the sofa and laughed hoarsely, “Good boy, baby, I don’t want to eat, I want to eat you first.”
Shen Yun was so shy that he couldn’t raise his head and pushed him with both hands, “Hey, Zhou Lan, is this the only thing you know?”
Zhou Lan laughed: “I only indulge in these things with you.”
Shen Yun begged for mercy: “Husband, baby, Zhou Lan, I have a morning meeting today… ah… clothes wrinkled, wrinkled… hmm…”
The breakfast on the table was waiting silently, the wisps of steam dissipated, and the only sound left in the room was the laughter of the two people.
The years were quiet, and nothing was better than this.
Translator’s note: Yay, this Xu Moran extra was such a nice surprise! Perhaps he’ll be happy again some day.
Big thanks to my lovely Cocole for being here for me, reading and commenting while the translation was in progress!