Mainly, it was because Gu Fei was exceedingly handsome.


Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3

         “Clap for me, Cheng-ge.” Through the viewfinder, Gu Fei said behind the ‘microphone’ stick.

         It was only then that Jiang Cheng snapped out of it. With one hand still holding his phone, he slapped his other hand against his lap haphazardly, then put his fingers to his lips and blew a sharp wolf whistle.

         Gu Fei flipped the guitar to his back, jumped off the stage, and walked over toward him. Jiang Cheng was about to stop the recording, when Gu Fei said, “Hold on.”

         “Hm?” Jiang Cheng blinked.

         Gu Fei walked all the way up to him, then brought the guitar forward again, “There’s one more segment.”

         Jiang Cheng didn’t speak. His phone camera happened to focus on Gu Fei’s hand. His fingers brushed down against the strings, followed by a round of fancy fingerwork. 

         It was very slow, such that he could hear each note clearly articulated.

         Then his fingers started to pick up speed, each note jumped out from beneath his fingertips in succinct layers, then slowly converging as one.

         As the picking got faster, the trailing sound of Gu Fei’s left hand sliding across the neck of the guitar blended together perfectly with the musical notes.

         Jiang Cheng’s not yet settled heart was once again thrown up in the air. In a daze, he saw through the viewfinder Gu Fei’s fingers producing a residual shadow from the speed. In his ears was the stirring music, and before his eyes were Gu Fei’s hands that were so stunning they hurt his eyes.

         When the guitar eventually stopped, Jiang Cheng was still holding the same pose. It wasn’t until Gu Fei reached over the phone and gently brushed against his face, that he realized with a start that he had started crying at some point.

         No. This couldn’t be counted as crying.

         This was only tear shedding.

         Because he was surprised and moved; because it was so incredible; because of this rundown but sun-lit stage; because of this memory that will be etched in his heart forever……

         Mainly, it was because Gu Fei was exceedingly handsome.

         So handsome he could cry.

         That was the description for Gu Fei.

         “Fack.” Jiang Cheng stopped the recording, and wiped away the tears on his face. “You just had to show off a trick at the end.”

         “Usually the show-off is at the beginning, then the audience will all start screaming.” Gu Fei smiled. “I forgot to. I was too nervous.”

         “Were you nervous?” Jiang Cheng lifted up the hem of his T-shirt and pressed it against his eyes a few times. He confirmed there were no more traces of tears on his face, then stood up. “Even you get nervous?”

         “Depends on the person,” Gu Fei said. “It’s my boyfriend sitting here after all.”

         Jiang Cheng sniffled, then pulled Gu Fei into a kiss.

         Between them was a guitar, above them was half of a sky, and underneath their feet were rubbles and rubbish, with half buried rows of seating behind them.

         This was no romantic atmosphere for a kiss. It was an awkward pose, and a slightly unconventional setting.

         And yet, Jiang Cheng still felt the way he did when listening to Gu Fei sing earlier. The instant he touched Gu Fei’s lips, he sank. Completely and utterly.

         A “BOOM!” sounded from off to the side, pulling Jiang Cheng down from the clouds. He first froze, then jumped, and almost bit down on Gu Fei’s lips.

         The sound came from off to the left. On their left was a collapsed wall, no one would climb in through there, noto to mention this noise couldn’t possibly be from someone climbing in……

         When Jiang Cheng turned to look, he didn’t see anything other than the two meter high cloud of dust hovering in the air.

         “Go go go go……” At the sight of that, Gu Fei immediately started pushing him toward the front door, a little anxious. “Hurry up and go outside!”

         The dust cloud was already spreading over to them. Jiang Cheng could almost smell the dirt. Upon seeing Gu Fei’s anxious demeanor, he immediately startled, “The fuck? Is it gonna collapse?!”

         “Hurry up and get out!” Gu Fei yelled.

         “Oh shit shit fuck…… Why did it just start collapsing out of nowhere!” Jiang Cheng rushed toward the door. “When the hell was this thing built……”

         He looked back when he got to the door, and realized that Gu Fei wasn’t behind him. He was suddenly covered in cold sweat, and without thinking, turned and charged back in.

         “GU FEI! GU……” He only managed to shout once, before he smashed right into Gu Fei.

         Gu Fei circled an arm around him and shoved him out.

         When they were both under the clean air and sunshine again, Jiang Cheng finally noticed the big grin on Gu Fei’s face.

         “Shit?” He looked at Gu Fei, then whipped his head back to look at the building. “Shit!”

         The building didn’t collapse. Not only did it not collapse, but after that cloud of dust had been dispersed by the wind, everything went back to normal, and half of the assembly hall stood there quietly as before.

         “A section of the collapsed wall fell off.” Gu Fei said as he laughed.

         “I thought the whole thing was coming down by the way you were fucking reacting!” Jiang Cheng glared at him, and thought it was a little embarrassing the way he’d been startled by a falling of a stupid wall.

         “There was all that dust, so I just wanted to hurry up and get out.” Gu Fei said. “And then I suddenly felt like teasing you.”

         “……You wanted to see how panicked I’d be when I didn’t see you outside?” Jiang Cheng tsked audibly.

         “No, I just wanted to spook you into running out.” Gu Fei grinned. “On the way out, I realized I forgot to grab my guitar bag, so I went back to get it. Although……”

         Gu Fei held Jiang Cheng in his arms, “Seeing you panic like that still made me……”

         “Please don’t be moved.” Jiang Cheng said. “I only went back in because the building was still intact. If it really caved in I would definitely back up 100 meters and then dial 119.” [1]

         “Mhm.” Gu Fei started laughing.

         “Go ahead and laugh.” Jiang Cheng said. “Laugh a little louder.”

         “HA HA HA!” Gu Fei tilted his head back and let out three laughs. “Is this loud enough?”

         “……Enough, wrap it up.” Jiang Cheng sighed.

         As they walked back the way they came, Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but glance back at that crumbling building one more time.

         From this angle, he could no longer see the stage, only the piles of rocks and weeds outside, along with the caved in roof and broken walls.

         If Gu Fei hadn’t brought him here, he never would have imagined that he’d leave behind such a precious memory underneath that derelict exterior.

         “I have to go back to the store later. Around this time is when my mom shuts the door and runs off.” Gu Fei glanced at his phone.

         “I’ll come with,” Jiang Cheng said. “I’ll eat in your store tonight then. Get Gu Miao to come eat with us.”

         “Mhm,” Gu Fei nodded. “What do you want to eat?”

         “Dunno,” Jiang Cheng shook his head and rubbed his belly. To be honest, this whole afternoon had been an emotional rollercoaster for him. Now that he finally calmed down, there was also nothing left in his brain. He couldn’t even bring himself to absorb any more study materials at this point, let alone think about what to eat. “I don’t even know whether I’m hungry or not.”

         “Shall we wrap dumplings to eat then?” Gu Fei asked.

         “Alright.” Jiang Cheng nodded.

         Gu Fei’s mom wasn’t in the store, but the door wasn’t shut. When Jiang Cheng followed Gu Fei inside, he saw Li Yan sitting behind the counter, playing on his phone.

         “What are you doing here?” Gu Fei asked.

         “Times really have changed.” Li Yan said. “That you’d think to ask me this question.”

         “It was just a casual question.” Gu Fei went and set the guitar down in the small room.

         “Are you holding a guitar?” Li Yan glanced over, then froze in place. “Oh shit you were holding a guitar, my eyes didn’t deceive me?”

         “It’s a cello.” Gu Fei came back out, walked up to the shelves, and brought over a bag of flour. “We’re making dumplings later, why don’t you join us.”

         “Nope,” Li Yan shot a glance at Jiang Cheng. “I’m leaving right now.”

         “Eat with us,” Jiang Cheng said. “It’s almost dinnertime.”

         “You think he’s earnestly asking me to stay and eat?” Li Yan said. “He’s just looking for someone to help out and do the work.”

         “Are you eating or not?” Gu Fei looked at him.

         “Yes! Tell me, am I mincing the filling or kneading dough?” Li Yan asked.

         “You’re rolling out the wrappers.” Gu Fei said.

         “Sure,” Li Yan nodded, and bowed his head to continue playing with his phone. “Then call me when it’s time to roll them out. I’m gonna play for a while.”

         Gu Fei got some meat out of the fridge and went to the kitchen. Jiang Cheng grabbed the bag of flour, and was about to head out to the kitchen to knead the dough, when he walked by Li Yan’s side and hesitated for a moment. He snuck a glance at Li Yan’s phone.

         Indeed, it was the idiotic Aixiaochu.

         “What level are you on?” Jiang Cheng asked.

         “I’m three levels above Da-Fei again.” Li Yan arched a brow at him. “So how about it, are you going to catch up for him tonight?”

         “I wasn’t playing for him.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “Uh huh. If it wasn’t for you, he would be at least seven levels below me right now.” Li Yan put his head down and continued playing. “Ever since he met you, his speed has shot up like a fart jet, who else can it be.”

         “It’s really not me. I’ve never been shot up by a fart jet.” Jiang Cheng said.

         Li Yan put down his phone and looked at him, “Hey, I noticed your mouth’s even worse than Da-Fei’s??”

         Jiang Cheng smiled and headed for the kitchen.

         “Hey, Jiang Cheng,” Li Yan called out to him in a hushed voice. “What were you two up to just now?”

         Jiang Cheng turned back and looked at him without a word. Li Yan’s question was unintentionally astute. What were we up to? We were being lovey dovey. We also got all up in each other’s business and made out.

         “……I meant,” Li Yan probably realized his question came at a weird angle, and readjusted himself. “He played the guitar?”

         Jiang Cheng still didn’t answer. After what happened with the “composer Gu Fei”, he was a little sensitive to everything about Gu Fei. He wasn’t sure if Gu Fei wanted Li Yan to know, even if he knew that Li Yan and the guys were on solid terms with Gu Fei.

         “It’s been at least two years since he played the guitar in public.” Li Yan glanced toward the kitchen.

         That much was true. After all, most people would simply loosen the strings if they don’t play on playing for a long time, but Gu Fei went and uninstalled them completely.

         “In public?” Jiang Cheng asked.

         “Yeah. Who knows if he played in private late at night, with only himself and the moon.” Li Yan said.

         “Oh.” Jiang Cheng smiled.

         “I asked you a question?” Li Yan looked at him.

         Jiang Cheng stared off with him for a while, then turned and quickly walked toward the kitchen.

         “Geez,” Li Yan was a little displeased. “Why are you running away so quickly!”

         “I got propelled by a fart jet.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “What were you two talking about?” Gu Fei asked him in the kitchen.

         “Farts and jets.” Jiang Cheng said as he walked in. Gu Fei handed him a tub, and he said quietly as he started pouring flour. “Has it been a really long time since you played guitar?”

         “Li Yan asked you?” Gu Fei watched the flour.

         “Mhm.” Jiang Cheng continued pouring. “I didn’t tell him, but he can probably guess, right?”

         Gu Fei reached out and pushed on the bag of flour, “That’s good.”

         Jiang Cheng set the bag to the side. Gu Fei came around and kissed him on the ear, “You don’t need to be so careful, it’s tiring.”

         “Well isn’t that because I’m afraid you’ll……” Jiang Cheng glanced at him, propped his hands down on the counter, then said to the wall in a hushed voice in imitation of Gu Fei. “And then what? Cheng-ge, and then what?

         Gu Fei burst out laughing beside him. Jiang Cheng turned around and laughed along with him for a while, then sighed, and stroked his face, “Gu Fei……”

         “Uh huh.” Gu Fei answered.

         “I really didn’t know. And I really wasn’t trying to mess with you on purpose.” Jiang Cheng held Gu Fei’s chin in his fingers. “I’m sorry.”

         “Don’t say that.” Gu Fei said. “I didn’t blame you, really. It was only my own ideas.”

         “Anyways,” Jiang Cheng thought about it for a second. “You came out and said it, so I understand now. I just wanted to say……”

         He paused, and suddenly leaned into Gu Fei’s face, the tips of their noses almost touching, “Gu Fei.”

         “Yes.” Gu Fei’s eyes crossed for a second, then quickly straightened and shot a glance behind him.

         “I’m not trying to kiss you. You’re overthinking.” Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but giggle. “I’m trying to tell you something serious.”

         “Go ahead.” Gu Fei smiled.

         “Close your eyes.” Jiang Cheng said. After Gu Fei closed his eyes, Jiang Cheng said again, “Open your eyes.”

         “If you want to keep your eyes closed, I’ll keep you company. And when you want to open your eyes, I’ll hear it.” Jiang Cheng said. He cleared his throat, then hummed a line quietly. “I want, you on my left shoulder, a smile on my right……”

         Gu Fei looked at him, and for a long time did not speak.

         “I got it right, right?” Jiang Cheng asked.

         “I really am impressed,” Gu Fei said. “Did you just memorize this version too?”

         “Nah,” Jiang Cheng said. “Only this line, I forgot everything else.” 

         “Then how come you memorized the original one? But not the one I sang only for you?” Gu Fei narrowed his eyes.

         “No shit, I’m still reeling from it even now.” Jiang Cheng said. “If you didn’t come up and show off that last trick, I might’ve been able to remember a few more lines. After that showy ending, this is all I can remember, since this is the one you used to show off. Even a boar would remember.”

         “Ah.” Gu Fei nodded as he held back laughter. “True.”

         Jiang Cheng sighed and did not speak.

         Gu Fei also didn’t say a word. They stood there quietly, face to face with each other.

         “Gu Fei……” Li Yan’s voice came from behind them. “Oops sorry please continue.”

         By the time Jiang Cheng turned around, there was no one there. Li Yan must’ve dashed back inside at the speed of light.

         “It’s fine,” Gu Fei started adding water to the tub of flour, then turned and yelled at the backdoor. “Li Yan!”

         Li Yan appeared in the doorway again, only sticking a head out as he looked this way, “Gu Miao hurt her hand. I wanted to help disinfect it for her, but the little lassie wouldn’t respond to me.”

         Gu Miao was hurt? Jiang Cheng was a little startled, though Li Yan didn’t seem very bothered.

         “Cheng-ge, why don’t you go help her.” Gu Fei’s voice also sounded calm. “Right now she probably doesn’t want to respond to me either.”

         “Why?” Jiang Cheng figured that Gu Miao probably got cuts and scrapes often enough that it was nothing new to them.

         “I told her today to text me if she’s going to go out and skate,” Gu Fei said. “She texted me, but I probably didn’t hear it, and still haven’t texted her back. She’s definitely angry with me.”

         “……I didn’t hear your phone go off either.” Jiang Cheng was a little taken aback. Gu Miao probably sent the message while they were still enveloped in the romantic atmosphere of the rickety stage performance. 

         “Why don’t you go give it a try,” Gu Fei flashed him a smile. “She might react to you.”

         Gu Miao’s wound wasn’t that serious, though there was a little blood. Li Yan wanted to rinse it with some saline water, but Gu Miao stood in front of the cash register holding her skateboard, and refused to budge.

         “Er-Miao?” Jiang Cheng crouched down and waved a hand at her.

         Gu Miao stared at him. There was no expression on her face, and no reaction.

         Jiang Cheng gave her a smile. When Gu Miao opened her eyes wide like this, he could see her eyelashes very clearly. It was the exact same as Gu Fei’s eyelashes.

         “Er-Miao,” Jiang Cheng considered how he could get Gu Miao to understand his words. After a few seconds, he leaned down and gently blew a puff of air on his own hand. “Er-Miao, my hand hurts. Do you know what to do?”

         Gu Miao’s gaze fell on his face.

         “Er-Miao?” Jiang Cheng’s heart lit up with glee. He continued to talk to her quietly, “You……”

         Before he could finish, Gu Miao reached out a hand and pushed the bottle of saline Li Yan had set on a little table to the ground.

         Jiang Cheng didn’t get a chance to say anything else, when Gu Miao flipped the little table over too.

         “Gu Fei!” Li Yan yelled toward the kitchen. “Your little sister is rebelling!”

         “Just leave her standing there.” Gu Fei said from the kitchen.

         Jiang Cheng stood up and went into the kitchen.

         “This technically was your fault. If she’s angry then,” Jiang Cheng frowned. “Should you apologize to her?”

         “Mhm,” Gu Fei nodded as he worked the dough. “I’ll do it later.”

         “Let me do this,” Jiang Cheng said. “She’s already like that, why don’t you go console her first?”

         Gu Fei stopped what he was doing, sighed, turned and hugged Jiang Cheng’s shoulders, then leaned unmoving against him.

         Jiang Cheng didn’t say anything else, just rubbed his back.

         He was suddenly a little anxious. The way Gu Fei was acting, was it because……he woke him up?

         “I’ll go later.” Gu Fei said against his shoulder. “Later when she’s calmed down a little more, it’s more effective that way.”

         “……Oh.” Jiang Cheng held him tight.

         “The little lass is too stubborn.” Gu Fei sighed. “Gets angry at the tiniest thing. Sometimes when I’m annoyed I want to smack her.”

         “Have you smacked her?” Jiang Cheng smiled.

         “Nope. Never even yelled at her.” Gu Fei let go of him, turned around, and continued kneading the dough. “Sometimes I just want to let her chill for a while. She has a temper, but so do I, you know.”

         Although, Gu Fei’s ‘temper’ was clearly nothing compared to Gu Miao’s temper. After the dough was done, he went back inside to soothe Gu Miao.

         When Jiang Cheng and Li Yan finished mincing and mixing the filling and went back in, Gu Miao was finally back to normal, and sat down by the table to watch them wrap dumplings.

         Jiang Cheng watched as Gu Fei also joined in on the wrapping. He couldn’t see any weariness, and Gu Fei’s emotional state also seemed pretty normal, but perhaps it was because of his different perspective, Jiang Cheng could detect a sense of helplessness he never noticed before from the way Gu Fei patiently communicated with Gu Miao.

         Before, he only thought that it must be really tiring for Gu Fei. But now, he could suddenly empathize with the helplessness with which Gu Fei said those words earlier by the river.

         Gu Miao wasn’t like this all the time. Certain days were worse than others. Back then when he first met her outside the train station, he didn’t even notice how much Gu Miao was different from other kids, other than the unwillingness to talk. Later on, he would play with her on the skateboard, eat together, play games together, and she would even smile at him. Whenever he thought of these instances, his heart would soar a little. When she was like that, it made him hopeful. He would think that perhaps the situation wasn’t that bad.

         And yet, when he heard her screams, saw how she refused to communicate with others, the cold indifferent expression she showed the outside world, when he remembered the bunnies she drew in page after page, remembered how he anticipated Gu Miao would answer him but instead was met with her flipping the table, his heart would plummet again. As though he was yanked back to reality from his delusions.

         What followed this rise and fall, was a profound sense of helplessness.

         Gu Fei might have gone through countless rises and falls, before eventually deciding to give up on the empty hope.

         Li Yan left after they finished eating. Jiang Cheng sat in the store and watched as Gu Miao zipped back and forth through the aisles on her skateboard.

         Gu Fei sat behind the counter and checked the accounts. He didn’t know how much his mom had taken from the store this month, and how much was left. Either way, Gu Fei wasn’t wearing the happiest expression as he counted the money.

         Money. Aside from Gu Miao, it was probably the heaviest thing weighing on him.

         Gu Fei couldn’t even let Gu Miao continue the rehabilitation treatment. It was only a small treatment center in this shitty little city that couldn’t possibly be very legitimate, yet still they were unable to keep it up in the long term.

         Jiang Cheng frowned.

         “They gave me your pay for two of the photoshoots.” Gu Fei said as he tapped away on the calculator. “Should I transfer it to you tomorrow?”

         “I thought it’s been cleared, has it not?” Jiang Cheng blinked in surprise.

         “Even if I sold you off, you’d probably still be sleeping with me happily.” Gu Fei threw him a glance. “Don’t you keep track of your money at all?”

         “Fuck off.” Jiang Cheng said. “It’s not like I spend money irresponsibly. Not a spendthrift, never lost money anywhere, therefore, I don’t need to keep a record.”

         “Ooh what sound logic you have, overachiever.” Gu Fei said.

         “That’s right slacky-slacker.” Jiang Cheng said.

         After he said this, something suddenly occurred to him. He stared at Gu Fei and hesitated for almost five minutes before he spoke up, “Gu Fei.”

         “Hm?” Gu Fei looked at him with a pencil in his mouth.

         “How about you, don’t give me the money.” Jiang Cheng said. “Just……leave it in your account. You can keep it saved for me.”

         Gu Fei didn’t reply. The pencil in his mouth flicked back and forth.

         After a while, Jiang Cheng saw the corner of his mouth curl up and form into a subtle smile.

         “Is that okay or not!” Jiang Cheng glared at him.

         “Cheng-ge,” Gu Fei took the pencil and twirled it in his hand. “I must’ve done some really great deeds in my previous life, to have met you in this one.”


Footnotes
[1]: The emergency number for fires and other disasters.

Some Stats

  • Raw character count: 5839
  • TL word count: 3929
  • TL time: 4:15:17
  • Edit time: ???
  • Curse words: 4x fucks, 7x shits

TL’s Notes:
More thorough edit later orz
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