Li Shuo gave the excuse of feeling uncomfortable and didn’t go downstairs all day. It’s not because he had lost his appetite but because he just needs a closed space to adjust himself. There is no reason for this frustrated look to be seen by anyone. No one should know. He is just silently digesting the glass shards that he had eaten. That’s all.
It happened that a friend asked to see him in the afternoon. Although he was extremely tired, he decided to go out for a drink and change his mood.
Li Shuo organized himself. When he was about to go out, however, the housekeeper came up and told him that Zhao Jinxin had came to see him.
He really did not expect that Zhao Jinxin would dare to run to his house. He swallowed his anger and said: “Let him wait ten minutes.”
He was originally wearing only casual clothes. When the housekeeper left, he immediately changed into a formal suit with a brightly colored polka-dot bow tie. It gave off a bit playful in the formal vibe. One look wearing this seems to indicate of him going to a high-end place. Then he straightened his hair again and sprayed a little perfume.
Looking at himself in the mirror, he looks good except for the dark circles that can’t be hidden as it is impeccable. He suddenly wanted Wen Xiaohui to be around. If the little goblin was there, he would be able to modify his face so that he could take a cover photo of the magazine directly. At the same time, he could also make him laugh.
He took a deep breath, patted his face, and relaxed his facial muscles. Then he showed a confident smile and straightened his chest. He walked downstairs.
Zhao Jinxin was sitting on the sofa in the living room. It is also a coincidence today that his parents are not at home. It saves him the trouble to explain.
Zhao Jinxin stood up as soon as he saw Li Shuo. There was a trace of consternation in his eyes. He didn’t expect to see such a springy Li Shuo. His eyes moved with Li Shuo’s every movement.
Li Shuo looked directly at Zhao Jinxin. He strongly suppressed the anger and shame in his heart. He smiled slightly: “I have said that my body is okay. I just drank too much. Also trouble you to run a trip.”
That strange and polite tone. It was as if the two were not familiar with each other. It was just like the sweet lingering demonic tone of his from some time ago.
Zhao Jinxin: “Are you going out?”
“Oh. I made an appointment with a friend. I’m sorry.” Li Shuo looked at his watch. “Jin Xin, if you come to see me next time, tell me in advance. Otherwise, if something similar happens, I won’t be able to entertain you.”
Zhao Jinxin smiled stiffly for a bit: “Let’s find a place to talk. Will it not delay you too much time?”
Li Shuo said apologetically: “Jin Xin, I’m really sorry. I’m going to be late. My friend’s nose is very picky. I was looking for a bottle of perfume he likes. It had taken me a long time.” He then turned the other direction. “Uncle Guang, can you drive the car over?”
“Wait at the door. Are you going now? If not, I will turn off the engine first. I want to minimize the carbon.”
“I’m going now. Environmental protection small model.” Li Shuo winked at him. Then he said to Zhao Jinxin. “Sorry, we’ll talk on the phone.” He turned and left.
Zhao Jinxin grabbed his arm.
Li Shuo secretly tried to break free, but Zhao Jinxin’s grip was surprisingly powerful. He was not moving at all. Li Shuo gritted his teeth, desperately telling himself to be calm. Calm down. He has lost a disgraceful face on the field built by Shao Qun and he had lost his face that was less than this time in his previous life. But this is his family’s house. It’s supposed to be his own main battlefield. He won’t lose in the slightest advantage! He turned his head slowly and said with a smile: “Jin Xin?”
Zhao Jinxin narrowed his eyes slightly: “I’ll take you. We talk in the car. It won’t delay your date. Right?”
Li Shuo stared at him.
Zhao Jinxin then smiled sweetly at Uncle Guang: “Uncle Guang, I’ll take Brother Li. My car is a hybrid. It’s lower in carbon.”
“Do you know the direction?”
Zhao Jinxin smiled quietly: “I can go anywhere.”
From the angle of Uncle Guang, he can’t see the expressions of the two men struggling so he only said: “That’s fine. You send him. Oh. Lambert doesn’t like the sounds of honking. You should try to use beam lights instead of horn.”
Zhao Jinxin shows a thumbs up to Uncle Guang: “Leave it to me.”
Li Shuo took his arm back from Zhao Jinxin’s slightly relax grip. He stroked down his own sleeves. He was not humble and said: “Yes, then I’ll trouble Young Master Zhao.”
As soon as he got on the seat, Zhao Jinxin pressed his arms across Li Shuo’s chest and fixed him in the co-pilot’s seat. He said with a smile: “Wearing like this, who are you planning to meet?”
Li Shuo was a little out of breath under the pressure of that arm. This method of suppression was not painful but it was very uncomfortable and he couldn’t move. If it was a few more inches above the chest, the pressure could be on his aorta. He often suspected that the way Zhao Jinxin was restraining him is of some the techniques improvised in fighting. They are particularly accurate. He gritted his teeth and said: “Let me go.”
Zhao Jinxin stared at his slightly pale lips for two seconds and then he kissed him up without hesitation.
Li Shuo frowned.
Zhao Jinxin sucked and rubbed the soft lips. Seeing Li Shuo didn’t respond, he tried to flirt with his tongue, trying to probe the mouth open. Li Shuo finally couldn’t hold back and bit on his mouth hard.
Zhao Jinxin shrank and withdrew from the pain.
Li Shuo looked at him indifferently: “Sorry. Does it hurt?”
Zhao Jinxin licked the corner of the bleeding mouth. His eyes were unpredictable: “Uncle Li is so cruel.”
“Say what you want to say.” Li Shuo looked at his watch again. “I’m really in a hurry.”
“I want to apologize to you.” Zhao Jinxin said seriously. “I’m sorry I approached you with purpose. I concealed my relationship with my brother.”
Li Shuo nodded: “I accept. Can we go now?”
“But I really like you.” Zhao Jinxin took his arm. His eyes were a little pitiful. “Uncle Li, don’t be mad at me. Aren’t we very happy together?”
“I was very happy.” Li Shuo smiled. “But everything related to Shao Qun made me hate deeply. Especially you cooperating with him to use such tricks to play me. So, thank you for your company during this time. Go back to your life with your cousin and we will stop here. “
Zhao Jinxin’s face slightly changed: “Can we forget my brother’s things? Leaving him aside, you and Li Chengxiu will not even last long. He doesn’t like you. Don’t you see it yourself?”
“This is between me and him. What does it have to do with you?” Li Shuo stared straight at Zhao Jinxin. “When you looked at me because of Shao Qun damaging my reputation and all those lawsuits, what were you doing? While being so proud, saying that you would help me. You dare to say that you haven’t lied to me?”
“I didn’t lie to you. As long as you give up Li Chengxiu and be with me, I will let allow you to go back to China and I will help you.”
Li Shuo was shocked by Zhao Jinxin’s shamelessness. He could not help but yelled: “So thank you for fucking me up?!”
Zhao Jinxin grabbed Li Shuo’s hand, holding it hard, and putting it to his mouth and kiss: “My brother and Li Chengxiu’s feelings… Why do you have to blend in? You were the third party. Isn’t it good now? Didn’t I treat you well? Are we not good together?”
“You were also the third party!” Li Shuo pulled his hand back. He took a deep breath and tried to conceal his mood by fiddling with his the bow tie. Finally, he pulled the bow tie down angrily and said coldly: “Zhao Jinxin, you listen. I can put up with you a lot. For example, you have a temper, you have problems, you are selfish, or you are unreasonable. You can be or do anything as long as you are sincere to me. But you were playing me from the beginning.” He gritted his teeth. “Never. No one dared to play me this way. You are the first. And you will be the last one. “
Zhao Jinxin’s lips shook. He was speechless for a while.
“Drive. Or I will get off.” Li Shuo looked at the front and no longer looking at Zhao Jinxin.
Zhao Jinxin froze for a few seconds before he started the car.
They were both speechless all the way. Li Shuo thinks this is the longest 20 minutes in his life. The whole car is full of Zhao Jinxin’s smell. Even the slight breathing of his can be heard in Li Shuo’s ears. They are as powerful as the drum.
Li Shuo hopes that they could have had a clean start. Then, he can like this young man without reservation. He can be good for him. He can be excited for the passion between them. But after this hard blow of the truth and Zhao Jinxin’s slap on his face, it just hurts so badly.
How simple and fast it was for these two people to turn from being intimate to complete strangers. Every relationship Li Shuo had in the past, even after breaking up or contradiction, he has never torn his face. After all, it was the person he likes, and who had given him joy and companionship. But this treatment can never be given to Zhao Jinxin. Only Zhao Jinxin who had put his dignity under his feet and let him hate with much passion.
He couldn’t let it go.
That’s it. Before they get to an uglier situation, he should make a firm decision and that is for them to bid goodbye.
When they arrived at the appointed venue, Li Shuo opened the door hurriedly.
Zhao Jinxin held his shoulder and leaned over. He said, “Baby, have fun.”
Li Shuo shook off his hand and got out of the car.
Li Shuo went to see his college classmate today. His name is Cheng Sheng. The two have known each other for many years. Not only are they in the same circle of being gay. They are also peers. So, the friendship is good. But because he has been in China for a long time, he had not seen in two years.
As soon as Li Shuo entered the restaurant, he saw the familiar figure sitting by the window. He filtered his mood and adjusted his expression. He walked over: “Cheng Sheng.”
Cheng Sheng raised his head: “Ha, Li Shuo.” He stood up and the two hugged heavily.
Li Shuo patted his hard biceps: “You practice well.”
Cheng Sheng proudly said: “It’s better to take it off. I’ll show it to you someday.”
Cheng Sheng belongs to the facial features that are not exquisite but particularly manly tasteful. He has single eyelids, high nose bridge, darker skin, and laughs badly with a bit of wildness. His favorite is the typical white boy. And Li Shuo likes Oriental type. So the two never want to rush in taste and the revolutionary friendship is strong.
Cheng Sheng pushed a glass of lemonade to Li Shuo: “Why don’t you contact me when you come back?”
“I thought I was going to stay for only a week or two. I wanted to spend more time with my parents so I didn’t harass you. As a result, something went wrong in the country and I was scorched.”
Cheng Sheng looked at him: “How is that happening now? Is there anything I can do to help? You don’t look good. You stayed up late last night?”
Li Shuo squeezed his cheek. He smiled and said: “I drank yesterday. It’s okay. Now it’s basically solved. I will go back early next month.”
“That’s good. The boss will send me back to China next month. Then we can meet in Beijing.”
As the two were chatting, Li Shuo saw that Cheng Sheng’s eyes were suddenly attracted to something behind him. He turned his head to look. His face changed slightly.
Zhao Jinxin is coming towards them.
Li Shuo was thinking about how to deal with it but Zhao Jinxin was already familiar with Li Shuo’s shoulder and sat next to him. He said heartlessly with a blush, “The parking space here is really hard to find.”
Cheng Sheng looked at Li Shuo in surprise: “This is …”
Li Shuo could only laugh: “Forgot to say. I brought a friend; Zhao Jinxin. Jin Xin, this is my university classmate, Cheng Sheng. Senior accountant of Ernst & Young.”
Zhao Jinxin smiled and extended his hand: “Nice to meet you.”
Cheng Sheng also politely held back. The two also exchanged business cards.
Zhao Jinxin probed Li Shuo’s lemonade with his hand and started to complain: “Why did you still drink ice. Wasn’t it uncomfortable yesterday?” He beckoned the waiter to exchange tea.
Cheng Sheng and Li Shuo glanced at each other. Li Shuo’s eyes were too embarrassed to cover up and Cheng Sheng seemed to laugh.
Zhao Jinxin handed one menu to Cheng Sheng. The other was spread out in front of Li Shuo. He said softly, “What do you want to eat? If your stomach is uncomfortable, let’s eat lighter.”
Li Shuo coughed: “I’m ready. You can order.” He now has the heart to throw Zhao Jinxin out of the window. What does this kid want to do? How can the skin be so thick!
The two chose the dishes while Zhao Jinxin got up and went to the bathroom.
It wasn’t until Zhao Jinxin could not be seen that Cheng Sheng started to lean forward. He lowered his voice and said, “How can you get together with Zhao Jinxin?”
Li Shuo stunned: “Do you know him?”
“He doesn’t know me but who doesn’t know him in the Chinese gay circle…”
Li Shuo took a sip of tea. He pressed that uncomfortable emotion back into his stomach. Then he smiled calmly and said, “Oh. Why is he so famous? Because he has money?”
“Good looks and rich. But the most important thing is… This kid since in his early twenties likes men who are older than himself. This interest is unique enough.” Cheng Sheng leaned back in his chair. His finger was on the table. It seemed that he looked at Li Shuo with a smile. “Someone like you who are in his early thirties. Handsome and smart. A gentleman. One hundred percent fits his taste.”
Li Shuo smiled: “I’ve found out about this.”
“Are you still laughing? He threw them away after he had enough play. It was too much to go ahead with. Don’t be unclear with him.”
Li Shuo thought for a while but then he smiled and said: “You. Don’t look down on me. We were just being together for the moment. There is nothing that can’t be unclear.”
Cheng Sheng breathed a sigh of relief: “That’s good. Your mindset is right. It’s not a loss at all. This is the first time I’ve seen this kid up close. It’s so fucking hard to look.”
Li Shuo looked at Zhao Jinxin who came back not far away. The hands under the table slowly clenched into fists.
How much did he know about Zhao Jinxin? This man,… in addition to being Shao Qun’s cousin, how could he make him strange?
Translator’s Note: Maybe a lot of Westerners might not be aware of this so I’ll explain. I don’t know whether it is an expression or something but Chinese people tend to use ‘show face/give face/save face’ as a way of expressing ‘giving people a chance to avoid feeling bad or shameful’ especially if that person had done something wrong and also of expressing someone’s own pride or ego. For example, let’s say as a son, I got some girl pregnant out of wedlock, my dad will scold me by saying something like… “You worthless piece of shit, where can I put my face now, you tell me?!”. OR…. I am a cheating boyfriend and I’m trying to make up with my gf/bf but she/he doesn’t wanna give me face at all in front of her friends by completely ignoring me. Hmmm. Something like that. Anyway, in my translation, I will try to avoid using this expression as much as possible and try to change it into a more comprehensible wording for Westerners but sometimes it might be unavoidable. Yep.
FYI, you’ll love Wen Xiaohui. Wait for his character to come out. He is the MC of another novel by Shui Qian Cheng; ‘Additional Inheritance’. Ooooh that novel’s ML is hot. Lol.
Anyway, when Li Shuo talk about losing his face in this chapter is the fact that his ego was hurt because he is being disgraced by Jinxin and Shao Qun.