“You sleep on the inside of the bed.” Gu Fei said without raising his head.
Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3
After reaching the verbal agreement, neither of them spoke again for a while.
As to Jiang Cheng’s question, Gu Fei neither confirmed nor denied. Even after Jiang Cheng came to the ‘conclusion’, he still did not confirm or deny it.
His attitude was a little vague, but it was enough for Jiang Cheng. His question was originally just a daring probe, meant as an assault launched to protect his own secret.
There were so many people in this world who wanted to keep themselves hidden, and so many things they needed to hide.
Gu Fei cracked open the window and lit up a cigarette, getting ready to continue editing.
After two puffs, Jiang Cheng reached over with his hand, “Give me one.”
“You do smoke regularly right?” Gu Fei put the pack of cigarettes in his hand. “How come you keep asking me for them, what do you do when I’m not here?”
“I’m ran out.” Jiang Cheng lit one. “If you’re not here I just won’t smoke.”
Gu Fei opened up the window a bit more.
“It’s cold.” Jiang Cheng shrunk back into the couch.
“Go smoke in the kitchen with the vent on then.” Gu Fei clicked the mouse and zoomed in on Jiang Cheng’s face on the screen.
For photos of clothes, he usually didn’t bother to edit the models’ faces, at best giving it some quick touch-ups at the end. Most photos he would crop the face out entirely if he thought it wasn’t shot well.
Jiang Cheng’s face however, was genuinely very good. Enough for him to set the clothing details aside and started working on the face first.
The recliner was right by the desk. From his seat there Jiang Cheng was basically face to face with Gu Fei and couldn’t see the screen. So he didn’t need to worry about the embarrassment that would ensue if Jiang Cheng saw him editing clothing photos but going for the model’s face first.
“Gu Fei.” Jiang Cheng reached over to tap some ash into the ashtray on the desk.
“Mm,” Gu Fei nudged the ashtray toward his hands. “Using my full name again?”
“That was an appeal earlier, I had to feign intimacy.” Jiang Cheng held the cigarette in his mouth and smiled. “I have a question for you.”
“Shoot.” Gu Fei stared at the screen. Frankly. there wasn’t much to be done to this face of Jiang Cheng’s. He had a good face shape, and good skin too.
Jiang Cheng glanced over at the bookcase, “The sheet music I saw last time, that was you, right?”
“Hmm?” Gu Fei paused, and looked toward the bookcase as well.
“A bunch of books on music composition, and all sorts of music theory books. You’d be far too insincere,” Jiang Cheng said. “If you insist you didn’t write it.”
Gu Fei started to laugh and after a while leaned back on his chair, “Yes, I wrote it.”
“It’s rather unexpected.” Jiang Cheng spun the mug in his hands. “Sounded pretty good though. An illiterate who can write and compose music…”
“I’m not illiterate.” Gu Fei corrected him.
“Major slacker student can write music too.” Jiang Cheng looked at him. “Got any finished works?”
“No.” Gu Fei answered plainly.
There were actually quite a few works, all saved in his computer, though he never listened to them. It wasn’t wrong to say he didn’t have any. The only one he heard occasionally was the one song sung by Ding Zhuxin.
When it came to these things, he wouldn’t have cared if it was anyone else. If they wanted to listen then so be it. But he wasn’t very willing to show off in front of Jiang Cheng.
If only because Jiang Cheng was able to hum the tune after just one look at the sheet music. He didn’t want to show fear.
“Be a man about it,” Jiang Cheng was probably bored. He said with excitement, the cigarette still in his mouth. “I’ll keep it a secret.”
“Some bullshit secret.” Gu Fei laughed. He hesitated for a bit but still opened the music player, searched for the song and clicked play.
When the guitar chords sounded, Jiang Cheng leaned back into the couch. He didn’t know how to play guitar, but had always liked the sound of it. Though everything he liked, whether it was guitar, the tin whistle, or the recorder, his mom always showed disdain for them, they weren’t grand enough for her.
The piano harmony followed.
He felt nothing.
He had heard and played too much piano. He hadn’t wanted to touch a piano for even a second since he passed level 8 back in middle school.
This lack of motivation and ambition must’ve made his mom… made Shen Yiqing very disappointed. After that, whenever relatives and friends came over and wanted to hear him play the piano, Shen Yiqing would turn them down with eyes brimming with disappointment.
Let her be disappointed then. He didn’t want to play anyway.
The prelude was very good, the mood it was trying to convey was clear. It was full to the brim with wandering uncertainty.
He couldn’t help but glance at Gu Fei. The impression Gu Fei gave people… he didn’t seem like the type to have that state of mind.
A low female vocal started to hum. Jiang Cheng recognized the voice right away.
“Ding Zhuxin?” He looked at Gu Fei with surprise.
“Mhm.” Gu Fei answered, continuing to edit, eyes fixed on the screen.
Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but poke his head over to take a look, and saw his own bare chest and half a face, along with a pulled open collar.
“Fuck.” He sat back down immediately. It was too unsettling, this feeling of watching someone else edit photos of himself. He had been looking at himself in the mirror for more than ten years, but this felt as if he was creeping on a stranger.
“This one is especially good.” Gu Fei looked at him.
“Oh.” Jiang Cheng nodded. He lowered his head and took a sip of lemon water amidst the sound of Ding Zhuxin’s lazy and husky vocals.
“I take a step into the air, I’m about to fly
Upwards is wandering uncertainty, I head down and heard you say this is an empty world
You say one two three, shattering what’s gone by, withering
The way back, blown apart by wind, do you see me sing out… … you say one two three
Turn around, listen to the wiped out panic……”
The melody was wandering and so were the lyrics. But when Jiang Cheng heard “do you see me sing out” he raised his head and stole a glance at Gu Fei.
In this moment, it was the word “see” that let him get a grasp on the sense of ‘muteness’ that Ding Zhuxin was asking for.
A silent kind of repression.
“Who wrote the lyrics?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“Guess.” Gu Fei folded one leg up on the chair and rested his chin on the knee. The mouse click-clacked in his hand. “You get candy if you guess right.”
“It’s you, isn’t it?” Jiang Cheng said. “The music and lyrics are all you?”
Gu Fei grabbed the coat thrown to the side, pulled out a handful of candy from the pocket, and placed it on the desk in front of him.
“Do you play in a band with Ding Zhuxin?” Jiang Cheng put a piece of milk candy in his mouth. He was a little shocked.
He hadn’t fully contemplated the lyrics, but even so could perceive the delicate sensibility within. It was hard to connect this kind of insight with Gu Fei.
He stared at Gu Fei.
Underneath the calm exterior of this person, what is the heart like?
“No, she used to bring me along is all.” Gu Fei said.
“Interesting,” Jiang Cheng said. “Though you really don’t seem like the type to play around with this stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if you played guitar. Generally speaking most bad boys know a few chords, even if for the sake of showing off……”
“I don’t know how to play guitar.” Gu Fei said.
“Whoa, a bad boy who doesn’t know how to play guitar.” Jiang Cheng said. “That’s a handicap on the path to chicks.”
Gu Fei looked at him without a word.
“… Oh.” Jiang Cheng raised the mug at him.
“Are you in a bad mood?” Gu Fei asked.
“Hmm?” Jiang Cheng took a sip of water.
“You’re being very chatty.” Gu Fei said.
Jiang Cheng was quiet for a moment, then set the mug on the desk, “The woman who was fighting with Li Baoguo just now, do you recognize her?”
“Yeah.” Gu Fei answered.
“Is she Li Baoguo’s ex-wife?” Jiang Cheng asked. “The one he beat off?”
“She did run off after he beat her, but she’s not his ex.” Gu Fei lit another cigarette. “She’s his current wife. They’re not divorced.”
“… Ah,” Jiang Cheng was stunned for a moment, he leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes. “Fuck. What a fucking mess.”
“She hasn’t been back in a long time, we don’t see her more than once every couple of years.” Gu Fei said.
This was probably Gu Fei’s way of comforting him: This woman doesn’t usually show up, not even once every couple of years.
But Jiang Cheng felt that no reassurance can help his mood at this moment. No matter how many years passed between her appearances, even if it was a lifetime, she was still his biological mother.
As inexplicable as Li Baoguo, but indisputable.
He wanted very much to give Shen Yiqing a call. To ask her what the hell she was thinking at the time, to adopt a child from a family like this.
“Cheng-ge,” Gu Fei called out to him. “Come here, I want to show you something.”
“What is it?” Jiang Cheng stood up and walked over to his side.
“When you’re shooting tomorrow,” Gu Fei pointed at the screen. “Pay attention to your arm, bring it in a little…”
“The fuck.” Jiang Cheng just now saw clearly what he looked like in that well-ventilated outfit and could hardly stand it. He pointed at the photo, “You dare to make a living editing photos at this speed?”
Gu Fei smiled, “No, I’m very fast. It’s all mindless flow state work…”
“You call this flow state? You’ve been flowing all this time and still on this one, where is the water flowing to?” Jiang Cheng could not comprehend. “Is this photo a dam reservoir?”
“I did a bunch already. I’m just using this one as an example for you.” Gu Fei said.
“Why do you have to use this one? Do I not have arms in the other photos?” Jiang Cheng sighed.
Gu Fei laughed for a long time and eventually let out a sigh as well, “This one really is great. I figure boss Ding will use this one as the feature, maybe even gift you the outfit.”
“Oh fuck off.” Jiang Cheng said.
“Can you remember what I said just now?” Gu Fei asked.
“Got it,” Jiang Cheng pulled up a chair behind him and sat down. “Arms in.”
“Then I’ll continue.” Gu Fei said.
Jiang Cheng watched the cursor flit back and forth clicking on the various menu settings beside the photo, the picture changing between light and dark, enlarged one second and shrunken in the next. Though after all the changes he couldn’t even tell what was different without a side by side comparison, only that Gu Fei really was doing ‘mindless flow state work’.
Jiang Cheng couldn’t bear watching photos of his own poses and expressions being manipulated in Gu Fei’s hands. There was a constant worry that somehow his eye booger or nose hair would be captured in all of their high definition glory…
He got up and went back to the recliner, pulling a notebook from his backpack.
“Not gonna watch anymore?” Gu Fei asked, hands still working nonstop.
“Nah.” Jiang Cheng said. “Do you have another desk?”
“For homework?” Gu Fei turned to look at him.
“Mm.” Jiang Cheng nodded. “We have a test in a few days, there’s still some reading to do.”
Gu Fei was still looking at him, but now his hands stopped too. He paused for a long time, then asked, “You have to study?”
“Bullshit.” Jiang Cheng stared back at him in utter confusion. “There’s a test, of course I have to study.”
“Oh.” Gu Fei dropped the mouse and stood up. He pushed the monitor and keyboard to one side, unplugged the speakers and stacked it on the computer under the desk, this cleared out the space of half a desk.
“Don’t you normally have a desk or something to write homework on?” Jiang Cheng put his textbook and notes on the desk.
“I copy it in the store if I have time, if I don’t then I won’t write it.” Gu Fei answered.
“… Oh.” Jiang Cheng recalled that Gu Fei is a slacker slacker slacker student.
Homework was not a particularly unpleasant thing to Jiang Cheng. He could always complete it regardless, though he always took it seriously every time.
He didn’t like to do homework much in elementary school, but his family was very strict and the consequences of not doing homework was dire. So he eventually developed the habit of writing it quickly and diligently, working hard first so he can play hard later.
His entirely opposite younger brother on the other hand, never needed anyone to fuss over him.
Of course, inherited nature was different. Genetics were genetics.
If he hadn’t been adopted, if he grew up by Li Baoguo’s side, then today he would be Li Baoguo and Li Hui.
Jiang Cheng sighed quietly, collected his thoughts, and continued to write.
In the gaps between his scribbles he could see Gu Fei’s hand at the mouse. It looked good.
Gu Fei didn’t know how to play the guitar, but probably knew piano. Though Jiang Cheng had no idea how good he was.
Jiang Cheng liked to watch the way fingers danced across keys on a piano. This was his only joy while practicing piano in the past. The only thing that motivated him to play a song well was so his fingers could look better while dancing over the keys.
When his homework was almost done, Gu Fei’s hand left the mouse. Jiang Cheng figured the photos were done.
“Done yet?” Gu Fei asked.
“Just a little more,” Jiang Cheng said as he continued writing. “Do you want to copy?”
“Are you copying for me?” Gu Fei asked again.
“Can you value your own face once in a while?” Jiang Cheng gave him a look.
“In that case I won’t.” Gu Fei stretched. “I’m sleepy, you keep writing, I’ll go take a shower first.”
“Oh.” Jiang Cheng answered.
Even though homework was very much a downer in terms of mood, his mind still wandered in rather shameless directions after Gu Fei walked out of the room.
It wasn’t directed at Gu Fei specifically, but simply because he said “take a shower”… After all, Jiang Cheng had watched his share of nsfw videos. In the atmosphere that followed their exchange of secrets, a lot of damage could be done by those three words.
Even more unbearable was, after he finally calmed himself down with the homework, Gu Fei finished showering and walked into the room in pyjamas, and suddenly he was wide awake again.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fucking balls.
“Do you need to go?” Gu Fei pulled open a drawer and took out a cardboard box. “I have old pyjamas and new underwear…”
“Ok.” Jiang Cheng rose swiftly, grabbed the box and turned to leave.
“There’s three in there.” Gu Fei said behind him.
Jiang Cheng opened the box with light speed, took a pair of underwear out and threw the box back at him, then walked out of the room.
If this wasn’t Gu Fei’s home, if his mom and little sister weren’t in their respective rooms, he would seriously consider taking care of business right there in the bathroom. He hadn’t engaged in this activity much since he got here, considering the presence of Li Baoguo who could push open his door at any given moment, and the cockroaches that would often frequent the washroom…
In this tangle of thoughts he finished showering, then realized that Gu Fei didn’t give him a towel. He hesitated, then used his clothes that were already half wet from the shower water and hastily wiped himself dry.
It was only after he put on his underwear, that he realized in his hurry earlier, he had forgotten to take the pyjamas.
“Fuck me.” Jiang Cheng picked up the clothes he changed out of, already wet, now even more so after he dried himself with them.
After some mental gymnastics he made a decision, clenched his teeth and opened the bathroom door. He was just going back to the room in his underwear after a shower, what was the big deal? What was there to feel weird about?
Even if he was, and Gu Fei was, so what? It wasn’t as if they had to do it just because they both were.
But before he had the chance to walk out with chest puffed, he noticed the neatly folded pyjamas on the chair outside the bathroom door. The way Gu Fei’s so habitually used to taking care of others, he’s virtually an angel…
He grabbed the clothes and quickly put them on, and finally let out a breath of relief.
When he pushed open the door to Gu Fei’s room, the computer was already turned off and Gu Fei was sitting cross-legged on the bed playing with his phone.
“I…” Jiang Cheng awkwardly walked toward the recliner.
“You sleep on the inside of the bed.” Gu Fei said without raising his head. “Don’t sleep on the couch.”
“Why not?” Jiang Cheng was a little confused.
“Gu Miao comes to sleep on this couch sometimes when she sleepwalks.” Gu Fei said. “If you take her spot it might scare her.”
“She sleepwalks?” Jiang Cheng was surprised.
“Not often. But you’re here today and she’s excited, so I’m a little worried.” Gu Fei put down the phone and looked at him.
“Alright.” Jiang Cheng wanted to say I’ll go sleep in the living room, but thought that might seem too deliberate, so he nodded. “You sleep on the inside.”
‘Hmm?” Gu Fei was momentarily confused.
“Your bed,” Jiang Cheng pointed at the bed. This bed of Gu Fei’s was framed and enclosed all around, like traditional Chinese beds of the past. The design was very modern and attractive, but it still had a very strong sense of privacy. “I’ll sleep on the outside.”
“Sure.” Gu Fei moved to the side by the wall, and switched the pillows and comforters around.
“How come you bought a bed like this?” Jiang Cheng sat on the edge. “For a sense of safety?”
“To block Gu Miao.” Gu Fei gestured to the foot of the bed. “She sometimes enters without knocking, if I was doing something in bed I don’t even have time to tidy up. But if I lock the door, she’ll get mad when she can’t get in.”
“……Ah.” Jiang Cheng couldn’t help turning to look at him.
Gu Fei was looking at him too with a solemn expression on his face.
“Fuck.” Jiang Cheng started to laugh. Even though the topic was a little awkward, he still found it hilarious for some reason.
“That’s how tiring it is to have a little sister.” Gu Fei laughed too. “I must’ve done something to owe her in my past life.”
“Nah.” Jiang Cheng leaned against the headboard and pulled the comforter over himself. “It’s only because you’re a good older brother.”
“Is that so.” Gu Fei put his head down and continued to play with his phone.
“Mhm, even though you’re always playing that idiotic game…” Jiang Cheng looked down on Gu Fei’s phone screen, noticed that he was actually not playing the idiotic Ai Xiao Chu today, and figured he was probably out of hearts. “I used to have a younger brother too.”
“A brother?” Gu Fei turned, shocked.
“Mhm. Their biological son, two years younger than me.” Jiang Cheng used the pillow as a back cushion. “I get annoyed whenever I see him, he feels the same towards me. We haven’t spoken to each other in a long time even before I came here…”
“Different personalities I guess?” Gu Fei said.
“Yeah, I have a different personality than the rest of the family.” Jiang Cheng said.
They were quiet after that, neither of them said anything else.
But this time the silence in the room didn’t make Jiang Cheng feel awkward. He spaced out for a bit then turned on his phone for mindless chatter with Pan Zhi.
– gramps, do you remember Huang Hui from Class-117?
– you finally can’t hold it in anymore?
– not at all. I just want to say she fcking got with that dogshit Liang Zhiyong, right now i want to cry but no tears would come
– they just started right? you still have a chance, hurry up and stick your foot in
– I think so too, still considering which one of them I can seduce more easily
Jiang Cheng chuckled at his phone for the longest time, Gu Fei turned and gave him a look.
“My bro,” Jiang Cheng said while laughing. “He got pre-dumped.”
“The one who went to the gymnasium with you during winter break?” Gu Fei asked.
“Yeah,” Jiang Cheng nodded, then chuckled again. “That kid.”
It was quiet again after the laughter stopped and the two of them continued to play with their phones. Jiang Cheng had thought at the start that the two of them sitting on the bed together would be awkward as hell, but it was actually the most comfortable “before bed routine” he had in a long while.
A few minutes later he heard soft laughter from Gu Fei.
Jiang Cheng turned to look, and Gu Fei handed his phone over, “Have you looked at our forum lately?”
“Didn’t get a chance to.” Jiang Cheng took the phone. “Are they talking about the game?
“Mhm.” Gu Fei nodded while continuing to laugh.
Jiang Cheng took a look at the screen, the forum at Fourth High was bustling. Each post had lots of views and replies. He scanned the headlines.
> DA-FEI MY IDOL HE’S SUFFOCATING HOT UWUUUAHHHHHHHHH
> Who is! This! Cute guy! DETAILS PLEASE!
> Who said Class-8 are weak chickens come out I promise to beat them up!!!
> HANDSOME BOYS TAKING PANTS OFF, multi-image, data users beware
> Just asking but is anyone here to discuss strategies…
Jiang Cheng laughed. Reading the headlines, he felt the people of Fourth High appeared much more lovable than usual. “Do you reply to the posts?”
“Of course.” Gu Fei said.
“What’s your username?” Jiang Cheng asked as he scrolled down.
“freestyle_handsome.” Gu Fei said.
Jiang Cheng choked, then turned and coughed for a long time before turning back. “The fuck?”
“It’s a secret.” Gu Fei said. “Nobody knows it’s me.”
“Secret indeed. You can blame Good Little Bunny on Gu Miao,” Jiang Cheng tsked at him. “But if anyone found out about this username, your cold aloof persona’s gonna be bust.”
Gu Fei laughed soundlessly.
> It’s not my inner fujoshi talking, but uknowwho and uknowwho really are kinda…… enter if you get me
Jiang Cheng’s finger twitched when he reached this post. He could tell from a glance that the thumbnails under the headline were of Gu Fei and him.
…… This forum is a little too scary.
- Raw character count: 5960
- TL word count: 3984
- TL time: 6:02:01
- Edit: 2:24:48
- Curse words: 17 fucks, 2 shits