For the first time ever, Jiang Cheng knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed with jealousy.


Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3

         Gu Fei gave Jiang Cheng a smile. When they were with other people, Gu Fei’s smile was usually not as obvious, but Jiang Cheng felt that he could get lost in even a small quirk of the mouth all the same.

         Only……Jiang Cheng felt like this smile was not like his usual one. If it was anyone else, they definitely wouldn’t have noticed. After all, Gu Fei was still upholding his persona as Mini Tyrant of the Steel Works, not many people had even seen Gu Fei smile.

         “What’s wrong?” Jiang Cheng walked over and asked.

         “Hm?” Gu Fei had his head down as he started to assemble his lenses. “What?”

         “Never mind.” Jiang Cheng caught sight of a figure in his peripheral vision, and at first thought it was the makeup artist doubling as a photography assistant from last time, but when he zoned in on the person, he realized it was a man. Even though it was only the back, he still recognized him as the Lin-ge he saw at the lipstick photoshoot. He quickly withdrew his gaze. “I’m ready to start.”

         It wasn’t strange running into Lin-ge here. It was normal that he would bring his models here for the shoot, and it was also very normal that he would come say hi when he saw Gu Fei here.

         What wasn’t normal was Gu Fei’s mood. Every time they ran into this guy, he could feel the shift in Gu Fei’s mood. It wasn’t very obvious, and he couldn’t tell if it was anger, displeasure, irritation, or something else…… Nevertheless Gu Fei seemed rather averse to the guy’s presence, like right now for example, even his smile looked reluctant.

         Of course Jiang Cheng could see that Gu Fei didn’t wish to bring up this person again, and he wasn’t so annoying that he had to keep asking about it, not to mention that they were working at this moment.

         But still, he felt a little down. Even at this stage of their relationship, even though Gu Fei had said he would tell him anything about his past, there were still people and things he would rather not mention.

         The day’s shoot was fairly simple. For someone like Jiang Cheng who played a lot of basketball, he might not know how to play tennis, but striking a few poses was easy enough. 

         “There’s just two of them we have to retake,” Gu Fei flipped through the photos with his head bowed. “The spiking one, your face was covered by the shadow of your arm.”

         “Mhm.” Jiang Cheng answered and picked up the racket again.

         “I thought this one’s pretty good?” Nini said. “A little bit of shadow shouldn’t be an issue?”

         “You’re underestimating his handsomeness,” Gu Fei held up the camera and pointed it at Jiang Cheng again. “You’ll see in a bit. Also, you can have shadows, but not like this.”

         “Ah, I’m here to learn.” Nini said with a smile.

         After they retook the shots, the work had wrapped up for the day. Nini leaned close to look at the photos, then looked at Jiang Cheng, “Hey Jiang Cheng I’m serious, have you thought about being an editorial model? You’re so good in front of a camera, your facial features too are so……”

         “No way,” Gu Fei cut her off. “Do you know what kind of grades he gets?”

         “Is it really good?” Nini asked in surprise.

“More than just good.” Gu Fei said.

         With Nini’s shocked gaze on him, Jiang Cheng was a little unsure of what to say in response, so he just smiled.

         An overachiever like him would always go all in with his best efforts in order to show off and look down on everyone else, but whenever anyone praised him, he wouldn’t think too much of it either.

         It’s all deserved!

         However, when the praise was coming out of Gu Fei’s mouth, that was different. Jiang Cheng glanced over at Gu Fei as he gathered up the equipment. Only Gu Fei’s praise would make him feel a joy growing out of the bottom of his heart and blooming at the very top of his head.

         Fly High paid for the shoot on the day of, they’d only need to go to the office, sign for it, then they could leave.

         “Xiao-Gu,” Luo Yiyang was sitting in his office, watching the accounting staff process their payment, looking bored out of his mind. “Do you play tennis?”

         “Nope.” Gu Fei said.

         “What about Xiao-Jiang?” Luo Yiyang turned to Jiang Cheng.

         “Nope.” Jiang Cheng answered.

         “What a shame to not play tennis at the prime of your life, you two look so suitable for tennis, I thought that when I first saw you.” Luo Yiyang dug two business cards out of his pocket and handed it to them. “If you want to play just come here, you’ll get discounts with my name.”

         Jiang Cheng took the card and glanced at it, “Bian Nan?”

         “Sorry, that’s the wrong one.” Luo Yiyang quickly pulled another one out, confirmed it was his own, and handed it over. “Luo Yiyang.”

         “Qiu Yi?” Gu Fei looked at him.

         “Ay!” Luo Yiyang continued to rummage in his pocket and finally found his own card. “Been a busy couple of days, and everything was pushed onto me, I have at least five people’s cards here…… Come play sometime!”

         By the time they got back to the Steel Works, ate, and walked back to Jiang Cheng’s building, there was no time to rest. It was time for little Gu Miao to go to the rehabilitation centre.

         “Ha, tennis,” Gu Fei glanced at his phone. “Where would I find the time.”

         “Shall we go?” Jiang Cheng also checked the time, there was just enough to pick up Gu Miao and head over.

         “You don’t have to come with,” Gu Fei took a glance around, then reached out and gently squeezed Jiang Cheng’s waist. “Why don’t you take a nap, you still have to go pick up Pan Zhi tomorrow.”

         “I……” Jiang Cheng was pretty sleepy. He was tired from fooling around and staying up late the night before. The shoot today took several hours, if he went to stand outside the centre for another couple hours this afternoon……and stayed up again tonight, then after the hours of photoshoot tomorrow, he might just keel over right in front of his grandson. But at the moment, if he didn’t go……he was still reluctant. “I don’t know, I want to go.”

         “You still have a clothing shoot tomorrow morning,” Gu Fei smiled. “It’ll take hours, what if you can’t get through it? Don’t you want to stagger work and rest so you can get back at me once Pan Zhi leaves?”

         “Shit,” That made Jiang Cheng laugh. “Weirdo.”

         “If you really have nothing to do this afternoon, why not go buy a pillow.” Gu Fei said.

         “Ayy! Okay okay okay, I’ll buy a pillow.” Jiang Cheng laughed. “Do you have OCD or something? It’s just one pillow, how many times have you brought it up already?”

         “A double pillow,” Gu Fei gestured with his hands. “Those really long ones.”

         “……I got it!” Jiang Cheng answered in exasperation.

         Jiang Cheng went back to his room and had a brief nap before waking up naturally, it was only about an hour in total. It was difficult to go into a deep sleep once he missed the window for a noon nap, but even dozing off for a while made him feel much better. 

         He got up and washed his face, then sat down in front of his desk.

         The summer break might have been cut in half, but there was still summer homework. Usually, he’d finish writing the homework every day, then get some revising in, but these last couple of days he’d been indulging in more carnal desires and didn’t get anything done.

         Time to rein back. He opened a book and spun a pencil in his hand. Now that he’d done what he wanted to do, it was time to put his mind at peace and focus on studying.

         Speaking of peace of mind——not two pages into the homework, he frowned at the image of Lin-ge’s back that flashed through his mind. Tsk. What exactly was going on between that guy and Gu Fei?

         Gu Fei clearly didn’t want to talk to the guy, but he always persisted in chatting with Gu Fei every time.

         If he doesn’t owe Gu Fei money or had done something else to owe Gu Fei in the past, then he must be pursuing Gu Fei.

         Tsk tsk tsk, my god.

         A rival!

         Jiang Cheng quickly wrote down three “tsk”s in a row on a piece of scrap paper, then took a breath in, calmed his emotions, and started in on his homework again.

         He quickly finished the rest of the homework without another stray thought in his mind, then headed to the market to buy a long pillow as per Gu Fei’s request.

         After a long search, he finally managed to find a long pillow at the shop where he bought a pillow last time, and it was scary expensive too.

         “It’s latex!” The shopkeeper woman patted the pillow. “I’m telling you lad, this isn’t one of those average pillows. It’s not going to get out of shape, it’s breathable and durable!”

         “It’s too expensive, do you have any that will get out of shape, not breathable, and not durable?” Jiang Cheng asked.

         “No!” The shopkeeper looked him over. “A strapping young lad like you, don’t be so cheap! Last time when I told you to get two, you cheaped out and won’t do it, see now you’re back here again. Now you think this long one is expensive, I’m telling you, even if you bought one that will get misshapen, not breathable, and not durable, you’ll still be back after two months to switch to this one! It’s becoming a pattern now!”

         “……Ma’am, you have such a good memory.” Jiang Cheng never would have thought that after all this time, the shopkeeper still remembered him. All of a sudden, he realized what a great idea it was to come by himself today.

         “Just get this one. I’m telling you, these kind of latex ones, even if you search the whole city, I’m the only one who sells these long ones. Everyone else only has those smaller single ones! And those aren’t even regular shapes like this one……” The shopkeeper said adamantly. “If you don’t believe me you can look for yourself, you might be able to find one online, but definitely not at this price!”

         Jiang Cheng sighed. He wasn’t very good at haggling, and after this round of attack, he didn’t know what else to say. The problem was, while expensive, this really was the only long pillow he could find, there were no cheaper alternatives.

         To keep his boyfriend who had been running around all day from disappointment, he shelled out the money and bought the pillow.

         “Do you want to check out these blankets? There are larger ones too, the doubles size is two meters……” The shopkeeper jumped at the chance to upsale.

         Jiang Cheng didn’t dare to continue the conversation, he clutched the pillow and ran out of the store like someone was after his life.

         However, the pillow didn’t get to fulfil its destiny during its first night home. Gu Fei had come over after eating dinner with Gu Miao, and only laid down on it for an hour while Jiang Cheng revised, before Gu Miao’s message came.

         – Return

         “Ah……” Jiang Cheng slumped over his desk. “I really don’t want to fight Gu Miao for her brother, but you see, hm……her brother is also my boyfriend……”

         Gu Fei sent a reply to Gu Miao, then glanced at him, “I told her half an hour, is there something you want to do, Cheng-ge?”

         Jiang Cheng tossed his book down, and turned to jump onto the bed.

         Just as he kneeled on the edge of the bed, before his hand even touched Gu Fei, he yelped out a cry and collapsed with his teeth bared. His face landed right on Gu Fei’s belly.

         “I……” Gu Fei had to hold his breath lest it got knocked out of him. “Is your head made of iron, why is it so heavy?”

         “Us overachievers have denser brain matter,” Jiang Cheng lay on the bed, and said in a muffled voice against Gu Fei’s belly. “It’s got more mass, and tends to be heavier than the brains of slacky slackers.”

         Gu Fei laughed and stroked his head, “What’s wrong?”

         “Legs sore.” Jiang Cheng turned his head and knitted his brows. “I stopped feeling it after walking around today, but after sitting still just now, it’s feeling sore again.”

         “Then it would seem that they’re unable to do anything at the moment.” Gu Fei said. “Should I do a little something then.”

         “What the shit?” Jiang Cheng’s eyes widened instantly.

         “Try to be a little more wholesome please, I was going to massage your legs.” Gu Fei glanced at him. “Do you want it or not?”

         “Come on.” Jiang Cheng flipped over and flattened himself out, and put his legs on top of Gu Fei’s.

         Gu Fei’s leg massaging skill had no actual technique to speak of, but his pressure was just right, and was spot on with the points that needed it the most, so it felt pretty good.

         Jiang Cheng closed his eyes and let out a long breath.

         Ah yes.

         “Say something.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “Say what?” Gu Fei asked.

         “Anything,” The corners of Jiang Cheng’s mouth quirked up. “I like listening to the sound of your voice.”

         “Alright, then I’ll talk at random. Let me think uh……” Gu Fei kneaded Jiang Cheng’s legs, then after thinking for a moment, cleared his throat. “There once was an old man Ding, who owed me two little bits, I said pay it back in three days, he said make it four……”

         With his eyes closed, Jiang Cheng started laughing.

         “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the turtle’s donned his straw hat,” Gu Fei rubbed Jiang Cheng’s legs. “Although with these things, it’s best to go to Li Yan. Ever since he was young his grandma would hold him and recite these all day long, he could come up with a whole bunch on the spot.” [1]

         Jiang Cheng quirked his mouth and stayed quiet. He didn’t want to say anything, only wanted to keep listening like this. No matter what Gu Fei said, he enjoyed it.

         Gu Fei continued to recite several more nursery rhymes, which actually included quite a few that were meant as insults, so they were mixed in with his explanations as he laughed. Slowly, his voice became out of focus in Jiang Cheng’s ears. Gu Fei’s voice drifted to him from a great distance away, and gently swept past his ears.

         When Jiang Cheng opened his eyes again, he was a little disoriented. He stared up at the ceiling for a long time before he realized he was still lying on his bed, with the pillow under his head.

         “Gu Fei?” He lifted up his head and looked around, there was no one else in the room.

         He got up and looked in the living room and bathroom, but didn’t find Gu Fei. He ran back to the bedroom to call Gu Fei on his cell phone, when he saw the note under his phone.

         You were so dead asleep that I couldn’t wake you up at all, I’m going back for now to keep Gu Miao company, message me when you’re up, muackmuack.

         It was signed “Gu Fei whose handwriting is 80+ times better than yours”.

         Jiang Cheng held the note in his hand and couldn’t stop laughing. Gu Fei’s handwriting really was pretty good, he thought, and not at all compatible with his slacker identity. 

         He’d been asleep for a good while, it was almost 11 o’clock at this point. He sent a message to Gu Fei.

         – I’m up

         Two minutes later, Gu Fei responded.

         – Good, go back to sleep

         – Whatcha up to?

         – Slep

         – Did I wake you?

         – Nah, I kept a nerve on for you

         Jiang Cheng smiled and sat down in front of his desk, he was planning to study for another two hours.

         – Then you can relax that nerve now, goodnight

         – Night

         Because they didn’t sleep together, the next day neither the photographer nor the model was late. They met up and had breakfast together, then arrived in the studio right on time.

         There were quite a few people present, it was the first time Jiang Cheng had to pair up with a female model for a shoot.

         The other model was also young, and very pretty, with a rather outgoing personality. Jiang Cheng felt it from the get go when she came over to say hello.

         “You can call me Xiao-Zhen, the name’s a little country bumpkin but I like it.” Xiao-Zhen extended a hand. “May we work well together.”

         “Jiang Cheng,” Jiang Cheng paused for a beat before taking her hand. “Here’s to that.”

         “You’re the handsomest male model I’ve met this whole half year,” Xiao-Zhen said. “Are you in want of a girlfriend? If so we can exchange contact details?”

         “……I’m not.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “It’s alright,” Xiao-Zhen smiled. “This probably isn’t the only time we’ll work together, you can still reach out to me if you ever do in the future.”

         Jiang Cheng didn’t answer.

         After Xiao-Zhen left to do makeup, he let out a breath of relief, and glanced at Gu Fei who had long escaped to a distance to fiddle with his camera. Gu Fei looked up and quirked a smile at him.

         He was just about to walk over, when Nini clapped her hands at him, “Jiang Cheng, come do your makeup, hurry up!”

         “Mhm.” He had no choice but to go sit down.

         Xiao-Zhen got there early, so not long after he sat down, Xiao-Zhen finished her makeup and started shooting her singles.

         It was the first time Jiang Cheng got to witness what Gu Fei was like when he shot other people. He was……pretty cold. Even though Gu Fei wasn’t full on scowling, there was no expression on his face. From time to time he would open his mouth to give a short direction, but it would be in an impassive voice.

         Jiang Cheng figured that if Gu Fei had been like that the whole time while taking photos of him, he’d probably be under a lot of pressure, as though he was too ugly and the poor photographer had to clench his teeth to endure through the shoot just to make money.

         Although Xiao-Zhen clearly felt no such pressure. She smiled and turned as she should, and even joked occasionally with Nini.

         Nini was doubling over in laughter, while Gu Fei was still wearing an expression of “just think of me as a deaf man”.

         In fact, seeing Gu Fei like this, it was a weird kind of allure. When Jiang Cheng was waiting at the side after he finished his makeup and changed into the clothes, he stared at Gu Fei the whole time. The way he looked so serious and cold, the way he wouldn’t even give you a direct look; it made Jiang Cheng want to charge over, hurl him to the ground, and take him right then and there.

         Jiang Cheng pinched his thigh.

         Tsk.

         Tsk tsk.

         “Lin-ge.” Someone beside him said toward the door.

         Fuck!

         Jiang Cheng felt a rush of annoyance at the sound of this name. He turned around just in time to see Lin-ge walk in with a girl in tow.

         Lin-ge nodded and introduced the girl to the person who greeted him, she was a model for a photoshoot later.

         Jiang Cheng drew back his gaze and continued watching Gu Fei. He was a little worried. Gu Fei hadn’t noticed, he very much did not wish to see Gu Fei’s mood suddenly change again.

         Hurry up and leave!

         Are you done with the intro?

         Then go on!

         You don’t need to stay for the whole time if you’re just bringing your model here!

         Go then!

         This kind of prayer was as damn useless as slackers going to pray at the feet of the ‘exam passing gods’ right before a test. Jiang Cheng didn’t even have time to repeat the words in his head, before Lin-ge grabbed a chair and actually sat down right beside him.

         The fuck??

         Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but turn and glance at him.

         “Your name is Jiang Cheng, right?” Lin-ge smiled.

         “Yes.” Jiang Cheng was surprised that he knew his name.

         “My name is Tan Lin, I’m Gu Fei’s……friend.” He extended a hand. “They all call me Lin-ge.”

         Tan Lin? Lin-ge’s last name isn’t Lin?

         Then why don’t people call you Tan-ge!

         Probably because Tan-ge didn’t sound very good.

         For example, if Gu Fei called him Jiang-ge, he’d want to fight him.

         Jiang Cheng shot a look at his hand and simply nodded but didn’t reach out with his own, “Lin-ge.”

         Tan Lin withdrew his hand and leaned back in the chair, looking in Gu Fei’s direction, “Are you only working with Gu Fei? I don’t think I’ve seen you before.”

         “Mhm.” Jiang Cheng answered.

         “You’re his classmate?” Tan Lin asked again.

         “Mhm.” Jiang Cheng continued.

         “He actually has such a close classmate,” Tan Lin said. “I’m surprised.”

         Jiang Cheng stayed quiet.

         “I know pretty much all his friends,” Tan Lin was rather chatty. “I’ve really never seen him bring a classmate out to play before.”

         Jiang Cheng wanted to correct him and say that he’s not here to play, but then after some thought, realized that he had focused on the wrong point. The point of that sentence should’ve been, Gu Fei said he didn’t have much contact with this person at all, and only ran into him during photoshoots, but this guy said he knew pretty much all of Gu Fei’s friends!

         Jiang Cheng felt a stuffiness all the way up to his throat.

         What is going on?

         He went over Gu Fei’s past words again in his head. Perhaps because they knew each other back when he played in the band, after which Tan Lin got to know Gu Fei’s friends?

         Then why would Gu Fei say something like “not quite friends”? [2]

         For the first time ever, Jiang Cheng knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed with jealousy.

         It was not. At all. A wonderful feeling. He could not. Even one bit. Feel the “I like him and that’s why I’m jealous” flavour.

         Instead it was an extreme displeasure from having a question he couldn’t find the answer to.

         Gu Fei didn’t want to say. And he didn’t want to keep prodding him like an old lady. 

         But it was clear that what little Gu Fei had said didn’t match up with this guy’s words. Though if he really did take this guy’s words and used it to question Gu Fei, then he would be the biggest dumbass.

         Gu Fei wouldn’t say, so he couldn’t ask.

         And so he’d circled back to the original point, which was that Gu Fei didn’t want to say.

         “You two really are classmates?” Tan Lin suddenly asked.

         “Mhm.” A little annoyed, Jiang Cheng took a bottle of water from the case beside him, tilted his head back, and poured in two big gulps.

         “Just classmates?” Tan Lin asked again.

         Jiang Cheng paused, and without a word, turned to look at Tan Lin.

         “What I mean is, you’re not neighbours or something?” Tan Lin said with a smile. His eyes drifted over to Gu Fei, then nodded in his direction with another smile.

         Jiang Cheng turned as well, and saw Gu Fei’s face with an expression so dark that it was ready to descend a whole season’s worth of rain in one storm.


Footnotes

[1] “These” are nursery rhymes, I have translated literally and half made up my own for the rhyme.
[2] Refer back to ch. 73

Some Stats

  • Raw character count: 5616
  • TL word count: 4006
  • TL time: 3:41:21
  • Edit time: 1:32:25
  • Curse words: 2x fucks, 2x shits, 1x ass

TL’s Notes:
Oho, some vinegar is brewing! (I also edited the previous chapter, just some slight changes <3)

Also, the manhua is OUTTTT! GO CHECK IT!