Back home, both Mr. and Mrs. Li were still up and watching a reality show.
Seeing the couple smiling brightly, Li Shuo felt relieved but also envious.
If he was heterosexual, he would have married a wife and had children now. But there is no way to change it. This thing is uncontrollable. But he also has friends in the circle who got married in the end. They met and loved each other since their student days. For many years, they had been together, and already had their adopted children running all around their house. He is also a stable character, so why doesn’t he have a stable life like that?
Mrs. Li waved to him: “Little Shuo, come and watch this. This show is good.”
Li Shuo smiled and made it among them, holding their shoulders one by one: “I haven’t seen you for a day, do you miss me?”
Mr. Li smiled and said: “What the heck, ah, by the way, when are you going to return to China?”
“I’ll go back when you get better.”
Mr. Li patted his chest: “I’m fine, I plan to go to work tomorrow.”
“Dad, you’d better take a break, don’t rush to go to work.”
“I feel suffocated every day. Your mother keeps taking me to practice yoga. I wouldn’t have to go if I have grandchildren in the house.”
“There are also men at the yoga class. Why is it not good?” Mrs. Li retorted, “Even the coach is a man.”
“The coach is gay.”
Madam Li punched her husband slightly, “Your son is gay, what’s wrong with being gay?”
Mr. Li has an expression of disagreement.
Li Shuo smiled and said, “Well, you don’t have to do yoga, but you shouldn’t touch high-intensity sports for the time being.”
“I know, I listen to what the doctor said.” Mr. Li suddenly remembered something, “Little Shuo, I went to the bank that day and met your boyfriend when you were in college. I forgot what he’s called, but I remember his face.”
Li Shuo said unexpectedly: “Han Feiye?”
“Yes, yes, he didn’t see me. It’s been so many years, he hasn’t changed much, anyway, I can recognize him at a glance, and he looks pretty good.”
“Well, he quit his job and started a business with others, and he started a medical AI company, and he is going public soon.”
Mrs. Li sighed: “That’s not bad, I liked that kid at the time… Oh, isn’t he also a sheep? I remember he is one year older than you.”
Mr. Li can’t stand it anymore: “Can you stop being superstitious, I’m really afraid that your son won’t be able to marry in this lifetime.”
“I’m just talking casually.”
Li Shuo remembered his English name that Zhao Jinxin had used as a joke, and couldn’t help asking: “Mom, am I missing one of the five elements from the sheep?”
“Huh? What is missing?”
“…It’s nothing. Look, I’m going to go rest now.”
Li Shuo went back to the room and took a shower. He wanted to take a book and read quietly. While looking for a book, he found several photo albums on the shelf. He paused, reached out his hand and took out the album, and opened it gently.
This is a photo of him when he participated in the National College Tennis League in college. At that time, he was so young, full of spirits, and smiled brightly. Han Feiye was next to him, half a head shorter than him, his face was clean, his eyes were bright, and the two of them hugged each other’s shoulders. They were like brothers, and look even better than being brothers.
They really had a good time, it was a very important memory in his life.
However, he rarely thinks about it anymore. The heartbeat, sweetness, passion, sadness, grievances, and misses when they broke up, no matter how strong the emotions, after 12 years of cleansing, they are almost invisible. People are just such forgetful creatures. Time can change everything.
He and Han Feiye, can they really get back the original feelings?
He does not know.
As Han Feiye said, when people reach this age, they no longer want to have fun and should just stop to watch. They just want to have a stable home, someone to take care of them when they are sick, someone to wait for them when they return home, and someone to share both joy and sadness with them…
He really hoped that there was such a person for him, but who would that person be?
Zhao Jinxin’s face appeared in his mind again.
Zhao Jinxin is a very good lover. If he is ten years younger, he will not get tired of playing with him for a few years, but this is not what he wants now. He watched his heart derail and couldn’t do anything about it.
He closed the album and leaned against the bookshelf with his eyes closed.
This life. He is just so fucking tired of it.
The next day, Li Shuo received a message from Brother Xiang, saying that he found that Shao Qun had gone to a place called Yang Cheng today. He must be looking for someone so he sent someone to follow him, but he lost him.
Li Shuo had expected Shao Qun to be defensive against them. After all, when he got the news from Li Chengxiu, Zhao Jinxin was listening to him. How could he not tell his cousin?
He asked Brother Xiang to continue to think of a solution, as soon as he found Li Chengxiu, he will immediately returned to China.
Zhao Jinxin, who has been busy for several days, also called him and asked him out to eat.
Li Shuo tidied himself up. Him and his ego, he didn’t want to lose face.
The two met at a very quiet private restaurant.
Zhao Jinxin was sitting at a corner seat. When he saw Li Shuo, he smiled and flew a kiss at him.
Li Shuo walked over.
“Uncle Li is so handsome today.” Zhao Jinxin looked at him up and down, and said ambiguously: “You dressed up for me?”
“Yes.” Li Shuo flicked his bow tie, “Didn’t you say that this is the standard for dating? Then we should not miss it for our date.”
Zhao Jinxin licked his lips: “But no matter what you wear, I just want to strip you naked.”
Li Shuo grinned, but did not respond.
“I have been so busy these days, when will you return to China? I will go back with you, and my dad urges me to take the office over there.”
“As soon as I find Li Chengxiu, I will go back.” Li Shuo looked at him, “but someone is obstructing me.”
Zhao Jinxin touched his nose: “I don’t know about this, either.”
Li Shuo shrugged and looked at the menu.
“You and Li Chengxiu already broke up, what are you still looking for him for? My brother will treat him well if he finds him.”
Li Shuo glanced at him: “I abide by the agreement. We agreed not to mention anything about Shao Qun.”
Zhao Jinxin nodded: “Okay, I won’t mention it. Today is our date.” He said numbly, “What does my little lamb want to eat?”
“I’m not familiar with the menu here, so you should order it.”
“Okay.” Zhao Jinxin ordered a few dishes and a bottle of wine, and said with some expectation, “I miss domestic dishes. Although there are many Chinese cuisine in New York, I think the taste is still not more authentic than the domestic ones.”
“Yeah, I really want to go back. There is a food court near where I live. There are many takeaways to choose from at even three or four every night.”
“Really, where do you live?”
“That’s not far from my office.”
“Yes, do you want to move in with me?” Li Shuo looked at Zhao Jinxin quietly, with a natural tone.
Zhao Jinxin was startled slightly, and said nonchalantly, “Oh, my brother… has prepared a house for me.”
“Isn’t it troublesome to meet like that? You don’t know how busy the capital is. You haven’t been there for a long time, and you will definitely not gonna get used to it.” Li Shuo smiled softly, “Let Uncle Li take care of you.”
Zhao Jinxin evasively said: “I have been studying there for three years anyway. There’s no problem.”
“Don’t you want to eat breakfast with me every day?” Li Shuo smiled lazily on his face. He supported his chin with one hand, and clenched his fist under the table with the other.
Zhao Jinxin, I will try my best for the last time, promise me, do you not dare to agree with me? He thought silently.
Zhao Jinxin smiled and said, “Of course I thought about it, but I love to stay in bed in the morning. It is also very convenient to walk to the company from where I live.”
Li Shuo felt a sour gas in his nose and his smile became stiff. He almost used all his self-control to prevent himself from saying the phrase ‘Then I will move to live with you.’ His dignity was torn apart piece by piece. Thus, he must keep a little bit of the dignity he has left for myself.
He smiled and nodded: “That is convenient for you then.”
The waiter brought the dishes, Zhao Jinxin picked up a piece of fried foie gras and put it in a Li Shuo bowl: “Try this. It’s the signature dish.”
Li Shuo lowered his head and took a bite. He found that his teeth were trembling. He forced himself to calm down and forced himself to smile lightly: “Well, it’s delicious.”
“Uncle Li is so elegant and beautiful when he eats.” Zhao Jinxin put his cheeks in his mouth, his face looks exaggeratedly intoxicated.
Li Shuo smiled and raised his glass: “This glass is for the Ennan Group, I wish us a happy cooperation.”
Zhao Jinxin toasted and met the glass: “Happy cooperation.”
When Li Shuo asked about his specific plan after returning to China, Zhao Jinxin was pleased to explain it: “Today is our appointment. We will talk about it later on official business.” He said mysteriously, “Uncle Li, before returning to China, we have one more thing that we haven’t done.”
Li Shuo raised his eyebrows: “What is it?”
“Remember when we first met?”
“Which part do you mean?”
“I remember every detail of each part.” Zhao Jinxin smiled charmingly, “For example, I said I want to have sex with you in the pool of my apartment, while enjoying the beautiful view of Riverside Park.”
Li Shuo lowered his head and smiled: “I remember.”
Zhao Jinxin’s eyes flashed with a gleam of wolf light, and said coquettishly: “When will you realize my wish?”
“This…” Li Shuo gripped the napkin tightly, slowly moved it to his lips, wiped his mouth, and then he straightened his waist, raised his head, his eyes calm and determined, “Sorry, I can’t make it happen. “
Zhao Jinxin was taken aback for a moment: “Do you particularly dislike being in the water?”
Li Shuo said calmly and clearly: “No. We won’t have sex anymore.”
Zhao Jinxin’s expression instantly solidified, and he narrowed his eyes: “What do you mean?”
Li Shuo secretly poked the flesh of his palm with his nails, and armed himself with all his sense and self-sufficiency: “Jin Xin, I don’t want to continue this relationship anymore. Let’s return to just being business partners.”
Zhao Jinxin’s lips trembled: “Why? Wasn’t it good just now between us? Why, what, why?”
“No particular reason.” Li Shuo said calmly, “I just find it boring.”
Zhao Jinxin glared at him for a long while, then sneered, “Is it because of Han Feiye?”
“He is not the reason.”
“Not even just a little bit?”
Li Shuo looked at Zhao Jinxin quietly, looking at this face that he loved and hated in every possible way, but on the inside of him, everything seemed to be frozen, and the ice ball had taken over all of his body along with the blood. It was a terrible feeling. He opened his mouth, eased the pain like a heart spasm, and said mechanically, “Fei Ye told me that he wants to give our relationship a second chance. I think it’s worth trying.”
“Try? Try what? Try how he abandoned your three-year relationship for a job?” Zhao Jinxin widened his eyes and suppressed his anger.
“What does our feelings have to do with you?” Li Shuo said lightly, “Although we plan to get along as ordinary friends first, I shouldn’t get involved with you anymore. It’s too disrespectful for him.”
Zhao Jinxin punched the table with his fist.
There were not many people in the restaurant, and the limited table of guests was shocked and turned their heads to look at them.
Li Shuo’s gulps fearfully a little, but his expression did not fluctuate. He can fully understand Zhao Jinxin’s anger. It has always been him, the Young Master Zhao who did the dumping before. It is the first time for him to be dumped. Such a fresh experience should be cherished by Zhao Jinxin. When he is young, he should try many possibilities. When he is old, he will… at least become more and more timid, less and less dare to take risks in the future.
The blue veins on Zhao Jinxin’s forehead bulged out. He squinted his eyes and whispered: “Li Shuo, are you serious? Have I treated you badly? Wasn’t it good to be together? Are you unhappy?” He didn’t think that such a happy date would end like this. It was as if Li Shuo had slapped him in public, making him embarrassed and angry.
“Yes. No. Good. Happy.” Li Shuo smiled slightly, “but I have had enough fun.”
Zhao Jinxin stared at Li Shuo fiercely for two seconds, before suddenly showing a cold smile: “When you put it that way, it hurts too much.”
“I’m sorry.” It hurts? Hearing these words, Li Shuo almost wanted to laugh, but he couldn’t laugh.
“Don’t be sorry, you didn’t do anything wrong.” Zhao Jinxin returned to his cynical appearance, and he blinked, “What a pity, you are so delicious, I really can’t bear to lose you.”
Li Shuo nodded gracefully: “Thank you for the compliment.”
Zhao Jinxin took out his wallet, threw a few dollar bills on the table, and then stood up: “I’m sad, I can’t eat anymore.”
Li Shuo looked at his wine glass in a muted manner: “Then I won’t take any more of your time. Drive carefully and good night.”
Zhao Jinxin clenched his fists, and he leaned down over towards one of Li Shuo’s ears.
Li Shuo thought he would hear him say something or get a last kiss, but the next second, he felt a sharp pain in his ear that caused him to shake and instinctively wanted to push Zhao Jinxin away with his hands.
Zhao Jinxin grabbed his hand, licked the ear bone that had just been bitten with his tongue, and said in a frighteningly gentle voice: “My dear, don’t regret it.” Zhao Jinxin then let go of his hand and turn to leave without looking back.
It wasn’t until Zhao Jinxin’s back disappeared from sight that Li Shuo slumped into the chair with all of his strength left from his body.
He has broken up many times, and every time, no matter how the other party reacts, whether they are calm, complaining, or hysterical, he tries his best to maintain his demeanor and respect. This time, it is no exception. However, this time he was extremely depressed, so depressed that he almost had difficulty breathing. His heart throbbed uncontrollably, and he doubted whether he is inhering a heart disease from his father?
It’s just the ending of a relationship, it’s just saying goodbye to a passer-by… and he believes that even in Zhao Jinxin’s eyes, they never ‘went out’ with each other and the relationship is not worth talking about.
Every strand of his entanglement is asking for trouble.
He hates this feeling. He hates being controlled by his emotions.
He is disgusted by everything that had happened tonight.
Translator’s Note: The Five Elements of the Chinese zodiac are metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. You might have the same animal in your zodiac but different year means different element. Like I was born in 1986. My zodiac is tiger and my element is fire. While my students who were born in 2010 were also tiger but their element is metal. Anyway, I actually don’t understand what Li Shuo meant by one of the sheep elements is missing…maybe he was talking about the imbalance of the elements? Hmm I do appreciate your thoughts on it. -K