You’re pretty flexible though.
Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3
With Gu Miao’s presence, this birthday celebration began going in a more wholesome direction starting in the afternoon. In the convenience store, Jiang Cheng was sitting down with a face full of earnestness, attempting to explain their special day to Gu Miao, “Your brother and I, we are celebrating our birthdays together today.”
Gu Miao was in a pretty good mood, so she was looking at him intently, but without much understanding.
“My birthday is today, and your brother’s, uh, is still a month away. But to save time, and money,” Jiang Cheng continued to explain. “We’re celebrating it together, get it? Nod if you understand.”
Gu Miao looked at him, and did not nod. A moment later, she suddenly beckoned at him, grabbed her skateboard, and turned to run outside. Gu Fei rapped his knuckle on the counter, “Gu Miao!”
Gu Miao paused at the door, face still facing outward without turning.
“Let’s eat first,” Gu Fei went to crouch in front of Gu Miao, and looked into her eyes. “After dinner we’ll rest for half an hour, then you can go play, okay?”
Gu Miao looked back at him for a while, then nodded.
“She nodded,” Jiang Cheng watched on the side. “That means she didn’t understand what I said just now, right?”
“Mhm, she didn’t understand.” Gu Fei smiled. “Usually for these mundane things that she does all the time, she can understand. But things like what you said just now, you gotta explain for at least half an hour, and only if she has the patience to listen. Normally her attention would wander after just a few minutes.”
“That place we went to today, will it help?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“It helps somewhat. I saw a kid at the hospital once in a similar state, and he’s seeing some improvements now.” Gu Fei said.
“How long did it take him?” Jiang Cheng continued to ask.
“Seven years.” Gu Fei glanced at him. The overachiever was certainly living up to his name, he immediately spotted the key point in the problem. The key right now, was time.
Gu Miao’s situation wasn’t the worst. Even though she couldn’t control her emotions very well, and wasn’t able to properly sense and empathize with other people’s emotions, and on top of that was occasionally aggressive, but as long as there was an abundance of patience and the correct approach, she could carry out simple communication, and rarely got herself hurt.
But if they wanted further progress beyond that, it would take a very long time, much longer than Gu Fei dared to even think about.
Jiang Cheng opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out.
“Let’s order something to eat?” Gu Fei changed the subject and pulled out his phone. “We can get some grand dishes to try, do you have anything in particular you really want to eat?
“Sure,” Jiang Cheng said. “Chicken, duck, fish, or meat, is all fine to me. I just really want to eat meat right now……ah, pork belly.”
“Let me see, or we can just get them to deliver some grilling meats here, we can use the pan to……” Gu Fei dragged a chair over and sat down. He was speaking and wasn’t paying much attention, so when he dropped his butt down on the chair, the discomfort radiating from a certain spot made him want to sing the rest of the sentence out loud, the high note of which would surely be on point. “Grill. The. Meat.”
He made himself finish the rest of the sentence with poise, through clenched teeth.
“Great,” Jiang Cheng snapped his fingers happily at the suggestion and walked down the aisles. “Come on Gu Miao, let’s see if we can find some barbeque sauces? You know a lot of words now, right? Can you point it out to me?”
“Yeah, they’re right……there.” Gu Fei shifted his body and leaned his weight on an elbow propped against the counter, to take some pressure off his butt.
Did it feel good? Jiang Cheng had asked him.
Frankly it didn’t feel all that great, but it also didn’t hurt very much either, it was more that he wasn’t used to the sensation. And as to Jiang Cheng’s question, he very much wanted to ask back, to the overachiever who’d done so much research on the topic, who would feel good after doing it for the first time? Not to mention, this boyfriend of his had gone through all the trouble to shamelessly write down a whole dirty memo but didn’t end up following the steps.
But he didn’t say it out loud, because he didn’t want Jiang Cheng to feel pressured. They were all just young newbs after all, they couldn’t help but be led by instincts on these matters, it was a feat to be celebrated that he didn’t drop out halfway.
By the time the grilling ingredients arrived, Jiang Cheng had finished picking out the various sauces from the shelves with Gu Miao, and set them down in a row on the table.
“Now we will scoop the sauces out into the bowls, alright?” Jiang Cheng brought over some bowls and plates, as well as Gu Miao.
Gu Fei watched them as he played with his phone. The teachers at the rehabilitation facility had led Gu Miao in a similar activity that afternoon as Jiang Cheng watched through the window, with only half his face showing. He didn’t think Jiang Cheng would remember it so well.
Gu Miao grabbed a spoon and started to scoop sauces into the plates and bowls, and looked like she was concentrating hard.
But after scooping three different jars of sauces, she started to grow impatient. The oil from the sauce would occasionally drip onto the table, and the thicker sauces would sometimes stick to the spoon.
“Let’s switch to a different spoon, you like the……” Jiang Cheng was about to get up and grab another spoon, but Gu Miao already threw her spoon onto the floor. Jiang Cheng bent to pick up the spoon, when she flipped a plate onto the floor as well, then started spacing off at the table. Jiang Cheng looked at her and sighed. “Oy, this volatile temper huh.”
Gu Fei tugged at the corner of his mouth, but kept his smile in. He was used to this kind of behaviour from Gu Miao. She wasn’t like this all the time, but it never truly stopped either. He faced these just like he would occasional tantrums from other people’s kids, and was already used to it.
“Gu Er-Miao I’m telling you,” Jiang Cheng picked up the plate and got a napkin to clean up the sauce on the ground. “It’s only because you’re pretty. If you were someone uglier I would’ve picked you up and taken you outside by now.”
“Do you think I’m handsome?” Jiang Cheng tossed the napkin in the trash, then put himself in front of Gu Miao again. “Hmm?”
Gu Miao looked at him, and stared for upwards of ten seconds, before nodding.
Jiang Cheng lit up in excitement, he turned around with a proud expression on his face, “Hear that? Your sister said I’m handsome.”
“You are handsome.” Gu Fei said.
When Jiang Cheng turned back to look at Gu Miao, she reached out and cupped his face in her hands, then yanking on his ears to pull him closer, planted a kiss on his forehead.
“Huh?” Jiang Cheng was stunned, then after a spell, whipped his head back around to Gu Fei. “Did you see that?!”
“Yeah.” Gu Fei was also surprised. Gu Miao very rarely was able to express her likes and dislikes accurately. She quite liked Li Yan, but would always give him a cold face, and at most let Li Yan play with her favourite toys. The way she expressed her liking for Jiang Cheng was something he’d never seen before.
“Thank you Er-Miao.” Jiang Cheng turned back and gave her a smile, and was just about to return a kiss to her forehead when Gu Fei stood up.
“Cheng-ge,” Gu Fei halted him. “Don’t.”
“Hm?” Jiang Cheng paused, then immediately seemed to understand. “Oh, got it.”
“Er-Miao,” Gu Fei crouched down in front of Gu Miao, and waved his fingers before her face. “Look at me.”
Gu Miao looked at him.
“You shouldn’t kiss boys, and you shouldn’t let boys kiss you either.” Gu Fei clearly enunciated each word for her. “Gege hasn’t kissed you since you were six, right? Because you’ve grown up, and I shouldn’t kiss you anymore.”
Gu Miao looked at him intently.
“I’ve told you before, do you remember?” Gu Fei said.
Gu Miao nodded.
“Let’s try a different way, alright?” Gu Fei said.
Gu Miao turned and stared at Jiang Cheng for a long time, like she was thinking hard. At last, she extended a hand and snapped her fingers at Jiang Cheng, followed by a thumbs up.
“Ay!” Jiang Cheng quickly snapped back at her and returned the thumbs up. “You’re the handsomest.”
Gu Miao smiled, then shifted her eyes back to the sauces on the table.
“Why don’t you finish it for her, that’s about the limit of her patience and attention span.” Gu Fei said.
“Mhm.” Jiang Cheng started scooping out the sauce from the remaining two jars, as Gu Miao watched intently.
“We can eat now.” Gu Fei grabbed the portable burner and pan and set them on the table. “Should I go get the cake?”
“Nah, not yet.” Jiang Cheng insisted on not seeing the cake yet. “Wait till we’re done eating, and get it out when it’s dark outside. The cake has to come out in the right atmosphere, after all, it’s the first time in my life that I get to eat a cake handmade by my boy……desk-mate. It has to stay a surprise.”
“Boy desk-mate,” Gu Fei clucked his tongue. “So have girl deskmates made them for you before?”
“Don’t push me.” Jiang Cheng glared at him.
Gu Fei laughed as he turned on the portable burner, and brushed a layer of oil into the pan, “Let’s start grilling then, boy desk-mate.”
Before Jiang Cheng even moved, Gu Miao quickly picked up a slice of meat with her chopsticks and put it in the pan, then immediately started stirring it around.
“A little girl,” Jiang Cheng sighed, and also put a slice of meat into the pan, stirring it with her. “Hungering for meat like this, what will you do if you get fat.”
“It’s fine, she’s very active.” Gu Fei said. “If you don’t stop her, she’ll play on her skateboard for a whole day outside.”
“That board,” Jiang Cheng said. “I took a look today, it’s about time to change the wheels huh, they’ve practically been worn smooth.”
“Mhm,” Gu Fei nodded. “Gotta change it when she’s asleep though, she’ll throw a fit if she sees.”
“Will she check her wheels?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“She usually just stares at the board, it’s all good as long as the board doesn’t change.” Gu Fei reached in with his chopsticks and flipped over the slice of meat that Gu Miao had been prodding.
Eating in like this was definitely much more comfortable than eating out, they could do whatever they want and be at complete ease.
But occasionally there’d be an interruption that broke through the ease, for example when someone came in the store in the middle of their meal to buy something.
“Ah you’re having dinner huh?” Auntie Lü who lived upstairs started by greeting Gu Fei, then paused and stared when she saw Jiang Cheng. “Isn’t this……Jiang Cheng? Old Li’s……”
Jiang Cheng turned and shot her a look without a word.
Auntie Lü was about to open her mouth, when Gu Fei cut in, “Auntie, you came to get oil right?”
“Aye, to get oil.” Auntie Lü nodded, then took a couple more glances at Jiang Cheng. “Hey, you……”
“I’ll go get it for you,” Gu Fei stood up and walked to the shelves and brought over a jug of oil. “It’s this soybean oil you got last time right?”
“Oh yeah, yeah.” Auntie Lü said. “Ah you got a good memory, Da-Fei.”
“I only remember y’all who come in all the time.” Gu Fei walked behind the register, rang up the price, then stood there as though waiting for her to pay. “You must be in a rush to get back to cooking huh?”
“Isn’t that right,” Auntie Lü handed him the money. “I already got the wok on the stove when I realized I forgot to buy more oil.”
Gu Fei quickly made change for her, and placed the jug of oil into her hands, “Better hurry then, or your grandson’s gonna start crying for food.”
“He’s already started,” Auntie Lü was made all the more anxious by his words, and immediately started out the door with the jug of oil. “That kid will have my life!”
When Gu Fei returned to his seat at the table, he heard Jiang Cheng let out a soft sigh.
“They’re gonna be talking about it for a year at least, to your face and behind your back.” Gu Fei picked up a slice of meat and placed it in Jiang Cheng’s bowl. “If you’re pissed you can snap right back at them.”
“Mhm,” Jiang Cheng gave a little smile. “They’ll add some flavouring too right?”
“Of course they will,” Gu Fei said. “The way life is around here, if you don’t add some extra spices for yourself and some flavouring for others, it would be too dreary to live. Do you want me to ask around and see how the rumour mill is churning it these days?”
“Nah.” Jiang Cheng let out a tsk. “I can guess as much. I couldn’t even imagine it before, but I kinda have an idea now.”
“Just look at it as an experience,” Gu Fei said. “You’re bound to go through a lot of different experiences in your lifetime, these are all proofs of your existence.”
“There you go writing poems again,” Jiang Cheng smiled. “You also count as a proof of my existence, right?”
“I’m proof of your affection.” The corners of Gu Fei’s mouth turned up. “And proof that you’ve gotten laid.”
“What the shit!” Jiang Cheng quickly glanced at Gu Miao.
Though compared to Gu Fei’s words, clearly his “what the shit” was better at grabbing Gu Miao’s attention. She didn’t react at all to what Gu Fei said, but did look up at Jiang Cheng when he spoke.
“Cussing is wrong.” Jiang Cheng said immediately.
Gu Miao nodded, then reached out a hand to snap her fingers and gave him a thumbs up.
“You can snap with your left hand too?” Jiang Cheng looked at Gu Fei in surprise. “She used her right hand before, right?”
“Mhm, but she’s rarely like this, normally she likes to whistle.” Gu Fei said with a smile.
Gu Miao set down her chopsticks and snapped her fingers with both hands simultaneously, then reached out and gave him two thumbs up.
“Ay, I can’t do it with my left hand.” Jiang Cheng laughed. “You’re too awesome, cool-Miao.”
After dinner they lounged around for a while. Gu Fei wanted to take Gu Miao home to sleep, since he wanted to split the cake between Jiang Cheng and him only. But because he promised Gu Miao earlier that she could play on her skateboard half an hour after dinner, he had no choice but to squat at the door and watch as Jiang Cheng and Gu Miao hopped on and off the skateboard across the two streets.
There was time. He checked his phone. Play for a while, take Gu Miao home, come back to the store for cake, then…… The next day his mom would come watch the store in the morning, they could sleep in until noon like they did today, then take Gu Miao for her therapy in the afternoon.
The day after that wouldn’t be as relaxing. He would have to start working on the jobs he took, and the photoshoot he got for Jiang Cheng would start that day as well. This summer break was much shorter than usual…… so busy……
Gu Fei was a little bummed when he realized his thoughts had transitioned seamlessly from thinking about the naughty activities of the night to the money making activities of the summer. He tsked audibly and brought his thoughts back around. And took out Jiang Cheng’s page of notes from his pocket.
……Such ugly handwriting.
“Gu Fei!” Jiang Cheng yelled as he flew by on the skateboard. He likely noticed the paper in Gu Fei’s hand, when Gu Fei looked over, Jiang Cheng gave him a middle finger.
Gu Fei gave him a long drawn-out whistle.
There was actually something useful to be gleaned from the page of summary notes. If he disregarded the atrocious handwriting, the overachiever’s summarizing ability was top notch. It was very clear and concise, one look and you’d understand, one lesson and you’d get it, guaranteed to treat a hundred ailments, guaranteed to do a hundred Cheng……
Gu Fei cleared his throat, and made an effort to keep his raging thoughts under control.
But when Jiang Cheng glided past him a second time, all his previous efforts were rendered moot when the wind lifted the hem of Jiang Cheng’s shirt and revealed a strip of waist.
It was…… just as well. He stood and turned back into the store, walked into the inner room and shut the door.
Gu Fei usually used the cot in this room to take midday naps, he’d never rubbed one out here before, so today would be a fast-breaking of sorts.
He tapped open a folder on his phone, and pulled up a……video of Jiang Cheng.
It was a video he recorded in secret, the content of which could not be more normal, or mundane. It was a clip of Jiang Cheng flopped over a desk after falling asleep halfway through studying.
But Jiang Cheng looked really good while sleeping, especially whenever he fell asleep halfway through studying, it was like he was in a rush to get some rest so he could get up and continue revising, he looked very intent in his sleep, very sexy.
By the time Jiang Cheng brought Gu Miao back in, he had already finished cleaning up the scene, washed the dishes, and tidied up the table.
“Wait here for me,” Gu Fei wiped the sweat from Gu Miao’s face with a towel. “I’ll take her home and come right back.”
“Mhm,” Jiang Cheng sat down on a chair and stretched out his legs. “Mannn that wore me out, her endurance is no joke.”
“No need to envy her,” Gu Fei smiled. “She doesn’t even know what tired feels like.”
Normally when Gu Fei took Gu Miao home, he would walk while Gu Miao rode her skateboard. To save time today, he put Gu Miao on the back of his bike.
Peddling Gu Miao back home, reminding his mom to watch her bathe, then peddling back to the store, the whole process took less than 30 minutes in total.
Jiang Cheng had already fallen asleep in the chair, with his head tilted back and legs stretched out long.
“Cheng-ge?” Gu Fei tiptoed over and quietly called out to him. Jiang Cheng didn’t stir.
He stood behind Jiang Cheng and took a quick glance outside to make sure no one was passing by, then bent over and gently bit Jiang Cheng’s lips, while at the same time holding his arms down.
This reflex of Jiang Cheng’s, once refined, could be used for assasination. As Gu Fei ended the kiss and moved his lips away, Jiang Cheng’s arms might be held down, but the height of his kick was still impressive.
“The fuck!” Jiang Cheng realized it was him, then slouched back onto the chair in resignation. “Gu Fei, when are you going to stop with these silly games……”
“Dunno,” Gu Fei laughed as he let go of Jiang Cheng’s arms, then leaned down again and whispered in his ears. “You’re pretty flexible though.”
“Huh?” Jiang Cheng paused. “What the fuck, you certainly are a virtuous youth of a new era.”
“Cake?” Gu Fei asked.
“Quit changing the subject!” Jiang Cheng said.
“I won’t change the subject then,” Gu Fei walked over to the fridge and gave him a look. “We can continue discussing your flexibility?”
“Cake.” Jiang Cheng pointed at the fridge.
Gu Fei’s cake was not quite a pound in weight, it was a little smaller than the one he bought yesterday, but it was beautiful, and chocolate flavoured.
The entire exterior was made of a white chocolate shell, and adorned with frosting shaped like roses covering the whole cake, with two cherries in the center.
A simple base colour with a not-so-simple design, plus two striking dots of red.
“Damn great workmanship Gu Feifei!” Jiang Cheng marvelled sincerely. “I thought at best you’d squeeze out some swirly swirls, but you actually did roses?”
“I told you, I used to take Gu Miao there.” Gu Fei gave a little smile.
“Where’s the writing?” Jiang Cheng asked as he looked at the flowers on the cake. “Didn’t you say there’s writing, doesn’t look like there’s space for it.”
“Here.” Gu Fei turned the cake half a rotation to show him.
Jiang Cheng noticed a space on the side of the cake unadorned by roses, where there was a line of text.
It was a line Jiang Cheng had seen before, and to this day still remembered.
It was in the message Gu Fei had sent him. ↩
– I want, one look, to last a lifetime……
“Shit.” Jiang Cheng suddenly felt a warmth overcoming his eyes.
He’d read that message many times over. He saw it every time he went through their old messages, but never once did he feel like this, he suddenly couldn’t keep his emotions in check.
“What’s wrong?” Gu Fei asked.
”Nothing,” Jiang Cheng breathed in deep, then tsked after a short pause. “You wrote that yourself?”
“Yeah.” Gu Fei answered.
“It’s……pretty good.” Jiang Cheng stared at the line. “Your handwriting’s……better than mine.”
“Is that a compliment?” Gu Fei asked.
“Is that not a compliment?” Jiang Cheng lifted his eyes and shot him a look.
“Better than your handwriting,” Gu Fei also peered at him. “Is a compliment?”
“Get lost, I’m finally realizing now that you’re just itching for a beating, sooner or later I’m gonna get you to behave.” Jiang Cheng took out his phone. “Hold up the cake, I want to take a picture.”
Gu Fei laughed as he held the cake up by his face, “Like this?”
“Give me a smile.” Jiang Cheng looked at the Gu Fei on his screen.
Gu Fei bared his teeth.
“Can you give a more gentle smile?” Jiang Cheng frowned.
Gu Fei smiled again.
Jiang Cheng snapped a picture. Gu Fei was about to set the cake down, when Jiang Cheng waved at him, “Hold on, I want to take a clip too.”
Gu Fei renewed his hold on the cake.
“Start talking.” Jiang Cheng pressed record.
“About what?” Gu Fei asked. “Happy birthday Cheng-ge.”
“Say,” Jiang Cheng zoomed in. “Do you like Cheng-ge?”
“I do,” Gu Fei chuckled and said. “I really, really do.”
- Raw character count: 5704
- TL word count: 3910
- TL time: 3:25:22
- Edit time: 0:50:07
- Curse words: 2x fucks, 3x shits
I’m dying of sugar overdose, also, SAYE MANHUA MARCH 27TH~~~~~