“Geez, you can insult me, but you insult my boyfriend too?”


Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3

         If he left the money saved in Gu Fei’s account, then in the future if Gu Fei needed money, he could say “why don’t you use those first”. It would probably go over easier than saying “here take my money”, and easier for Gu Fei to accept.

         Jiang Cheng had enough left in his own account for this last year of high school tuition, study materials, and living expenses, as well as what he would need for the first year of university. He could give the remaining to Gu Fei.

         But as soon as he had opened his mouth, Gu Fei had seen right through him. Gu Fei didn’t expose his intentions however, nor did he continue the conversation, so Jiang Cheng also didn’t bring it up again.

         Gu Fei still had to do some photo editing that evening, and couldn’t join him in his apartment to ‘accompany him in studying’. Jiang Cheng stood at the intersection watching Gu Fei with Gu Miao rolling along on her skateboard beside him, and his mind wandered. 

         Everybody had their own story, whether it was happy, sad, or resigned. Without knowing someone profoundly, you would never know what every passing person carried in their deepest of hearts, or whether behind every lit window was a sigh.

         Gu Fei turned back several times and waved at him, indicating that he could end his watch, but still he stood there unmoving.

         Until Gu Fei called him on the phone, “Did you hurt your back or something?”

         “Nah,” Jiang Cheng laughed. “Can’t I watch for a while.”

         “I can hardly walk straight from your staring,” Gu Fei said. “Hurry home, don’t you still have to study?”

         “When you say that,” Jiang Cheng sighed. “It suddenly makes me feel anxious.”

         “Then I won’t say anymore.” Gu Fei said. “You can keep watching for a bit, I’ll be turning in five meters.”

         After hanging up, Jiang Cheng laughed and continued to watch Gu Fei’s receding figure that was blurring out of view. Gu Fei waved at him again as he turned onto the side street, as if he was blowing a kiss.

         Jiang Cheng checked that there was no one around, then also waved his arm to blow a kiss.

         Having gone back to his apartment, Jiang Cheng felt like he was a robot that moved according to programming. He showered, tidied himself up, sat down at the desk and finished his homework, then started to study as per the plan in his head.

         Unlike some people, he didn’t write out his study plan on paper. The books to read, question banks to get through, all of that were stored in his brain. It also included what he wanted to get done every day, what he did yesterday, where the problems were, what he wanted to do today, what could be left until tomorrow……

         Upon opening one of his textbooks, the colourful rows that filled the pages made it look like a book of codes, he alone knew what each colour stood for. And then there were his notebooks.

         Jiang Cheng opened one of them. He was always very brief with his notes, usually writing only a prompt for each point, since he would remember the content once he saw the prompt. And when combined with his handwriting…… he figured nobody would want his notes after he graduated, not even for free. It was truly a text from the gods. [1]

         Ahhh, this handwriting……

         Jiang Cheng started memorizing passages as he wrote, and jotted down a few key words and phrases, as a way to practice his handwriting.

         Speaking of which, he really did improve on it. He could at least control himself from writing cursively, which only added to the atrociousness.

         With one stroke at a time, as hideous as it was, it was at least possible to make out the words.

         On the desk was a notebook that classmate Gu Fei had left here. Jiang Cheng picked it up and flipped through it. Gu Fei’s so-called notes was basically a blank new notebook. He put the same notebook on his desk in every class, putting up a front, as a way to show the teacher some respect.

         If Jiang Cheng remembered correctly, Gu Fei had been using this since last semester, and until now……he’d used about eight pages in total, and each page was only half filled.

         Jiang Cheng had never flipped through Gu Fei’s notebook before, and it was only today that he saw what Gu Fei had been writing in there. He laughed out loud at the first sentence.

         Lao-Lu’s voice tolls like a magnificent bell, it’s an even better energizer than the school bell.

         Sleepy.

         Very very very very very very very very sleepy.

         Can’t get past this level.

         Li Yan is 12 levels past me. Scum.

         Forgot to bring a portable charger.

         Gonna eat meat pies.

         I don’t want noodles no noodles noooo noodles no.

         Population regeneration, the renewal of generations of population, births, deaths.

         Jiang Cheng’s brows arched briefly. He was a little surprised at the fact that there was actually classwork related content. He figured it was probably written down when Gu Fei was flopped over the desk, bored, with nothing better to do.

         Although, it was just that one row, which was followed by a tangled ball of scribbly lines, that was definitely the subconscious product of a wandering mind.

         After he finished admiring Gu Fei’s ‘notes’, Jiang Cheng stretched and continued memorizing passages.

         He should encourage Gu Fei to make more of these notes, he thought. His mood felt lifted after reading it, and so was his energy. If he glanced at it a few times while resting, he could probably sit there and study until 3 a.m.

         Gu Fei’s head fell forward, smashing his face solidly onto the keyboard.

         “Fuck!” He cursed, a wave of sore twinge washed over his nose, it took him a long time to recover from it.

         Usually he wouldn’t be so sleepy when editing photos late into the night. He didn’t expect to fall asleep with the mouse in his hand today, not to mention it was with such sincerity that his face smashed into the keyboard.

         Although, this kind of sleepiness wasn’t the same as what he usually felt in class when drifting off without a phone in his hand. It was also different from having worked all day and then having to drag himself out to play with Gu Miao on the skateboard or fight with his mom.

         It was more like a kind of relaxation one felt after having vented.

         When his nose felt a little better, he smoothed his hand over the keyboard too. With such an upright and handsome nose, who’s to say it won’t break the keyboard?

         Today really was……a kind of release. It was the first time in all these years that he had told someone what he really thought, and the first time he cried in such an uninhibited and unreserved manner in front of someone, even though Jiang Cheng had to ‘force’ it out of him. Still, he suddenly felt lighter.

         It was just like when he was jumping the ‘hurdles’. He didn’t know whether he could jump over, whether he would land on the other side, or on the ground; whether he would be alright when he landed, or if he would break a leg.

         Stepping out was the hardest part, but you’d feel a sudden release after the jump, and all speculations as to what happens after that would disappear.

         Speaking up was the hardest part, but once the first sentence had been spoken, there would not be as much pressure.

         All thoughts about the unsolvable future, about how these troubles once said out loud will only add to the other person’s worry, were all cleared as well.

         Tomorrow…… Gu Fei picked up his phone, opened the Fourth High forum, then after some hesitation closed it again. He didn’t need to wait until tomorrow, the forum must’ve been exploding since this afternoon.

         The people of Fourth High were very idle day in and day out. Endless discussions and discourses emerged every single day. There would even be posts about the love lives of teachers, including bets on whether they would split up, and after how long.

         A headline like “Gu Fei knows how to compose music” would probably be enough to last them a whole week.

         When he left the auditorium today, he had thought about Jiang Cheng’s reaction; he didn’t want Jiang Cheng to be disappointed. He could’ve ignored the exclamations in the forum, but when all the surprised and contemplative faces started turning to him, it was impossible for him to sit still. 

         Can you believe that Gu Fei is this great! Can you believe that Gu Fei is this awesome!

         The constant feeling of being reminded was unbearable. Besides, he had been so used to evading other’s looks all these years, that when the words “composer Gu Fei” came out, he felt a sudden panic not unlike being torn open.

         He didn’t have time to think about how Jiang Cheng would feel seeing him leave. He practically bolted out of the auditorium that very instant, as if running for his life.

         He knew how long Jiang Cheng had prepared for the performance, and how much he dedicated to it. He didn’t dare to imagine how disappointed Jiang Cheng would feel when he saw the empty seat.

         When Jiang Cheng yelled at him by the river, he wasn’t even a little bit angry or annoyed. All he had was resignation. And heartache.

         He ached for Jiang Cheng, because Jiang Cheng was holding onto him as though he was holding onto the last little piece of support, but still couldn’t obtain the sense of security, of landing on solid ground, that he was truly after.

         Gu Fei let out a soft sigh and glanced at the time on his phone. It was past midnight. The overachiever must still be immersed in the grand endeavour of preparing for the exams.

         He decided to wait until 1 a.m to text the overachiever.

         There was a sound of the door opening outside. It was his mom coming home. Gu Fei was a little surprised. Usually by this time, if his mom wasn’t back yet, she would be spending the night at some boyfriend’s house.

         He frowned, put down his phone, and walked out of his room.

         His mom was changing shoes at the door. When she heard him walk out, she said without lifting her head, “You’re still up huh?”

         “Mhm,” Gu Fei looked at her. “I didn’t think you’d be coming back tonight?”

         “Where can I go if I’m not coming back here!” His mom said haughtily, then grabbed her bag and started walking toward her bedroom.

         Gu Fei swept his glance over her face, then grabbed her arm, “What happened to your face?”

         “Nothing,” His mom turned away. “Go back to whatever you were doing.”

         Gu Fei didn’t reply as he lifted up a portion of her hair, then said, “Did your boyfriend beat you?”

         “Aiyah!” His mom roughly shook off his grasp, turned, and pushed open her bedroom door. “Why do you reach so far!”

         By the time Gu Fei got there, she had already shut the door. He tried the knob twice, but didn’t manage to open it.

         “Have you not,” Gu Fei said in a low voice. “Had enough of getting beaten up by men!”

         There was no response from inside the room, all was quiet.

         “Have you been beaten dumb!” Gu Fei could not for the life of him describe how he felt at this moment. “Open up!”

         The door opened. His mom stood in the door, with a finger pointed at him, “Say that one more time!”

         She had brushed her hair behind her ears, and the bruises on her face were even more obvious.

         “I asked you, have you not had enough of being beaten up by men!” Gu Fei said.

         She didn’t say anything, as a slap landed square on his cheek, “What did you say!”

         Gu Fei could’ve dodged this slap from his mom, but he didn’t. The slap landed on his cheek loud and clear.

         “What did you say!” A sprinkling of tears started appearing in her eyes.

         “I asked you, have you not had enough of being beaten up by men.” Gu Fei repeated himself. His cheek felt hot, but these minute sensations were nothing next to the fear brought on by the unforgettable memories, which those bruises invariably evoked. 

         “How was I to know that he would hit me!” She suddenly bursted out crying. “He was so good to me before! How was I supposed to know that he would get violent!”

         “Do you not have eyes? Don’t you know how to read people? Do you not have judgment skills? Do you need him to beat you before knowing that he’s not a good person?” Gu Fei let out a string of questions, his voice trembling. “How old are you now? You’re not a teenager anymore, do you expect to keep living like a teenage girl forever? Even teenage girls have better discretion than you!”

         “What’s wrong with acting like a teenage girl!” She suddenly shoved him hard. “What’s wrong with me acting like a teenage girl! I’ve been with your father ever since I was a teenager! I’ve never had a chance to act young! He’s dead! Don’t I get to act young! This is what I want to do! I want to act like a teenage girl forever! He’s dead and gone, but who’s going to pay me back for my lost youth! Who’s going to pay?!”

         Gu Fei watched her without a word.

         “I once asked you this right?” She stared back at him. “You told me to pay for myself, right? So this is me paying myself back! Isn’t it? I’m trying to pay myself back!”

         Gu Fei stared at her for a long time, then turned and walked away to his own room.

         “Da-fei……” His mother called after him. “Da-fei.”

         He turned around.

         “Have you had enough of me?” She asked.

         “Yes.” Gu Fei answered.

         “You would’ve gone and left me behind, if it wasn’t for Er-Miao,” She wiped her eyes. “You would’ve left me behind a long time ago. If I don’t have a boyfriend, I’ll be all alone sooner or later, and I’ll be a lonely old hag when I die.”

         Gu Fei was quiet.

         How important is a sense of security to a person? That need for security hidden deep within one’s heart or never even perceived, how much impact does that have on a person?

         He sighed, then opened his arms.

         His mom threw herself into his arms and sobbed quietly.

         Gu Fei patted her back, “Hey, don’t cry, go clean up later, and don’t go out with that person again.”

         She did not answer.

         “If you don’t break it off with him,” Gu Fei said. “Then don’t complain that every single one of your boyfriends was beaten off by me.”

         She pushed him away, glared at him for a few seconds, then turned to go into the bathroom.

         Gu Fei hadn’t washed up yet. He went back into his room and sat down at his desk. He almost didn’t want to get back up again. He could barely move the one and a half steps it would take to go from here to the bed once he finished editing the photos, let alone standing up to go wash.

         He sat in front of the computer, and stared at a photo for at least five minutes, before remembering what he was meant to be doing. As he grabbed the mouse, he was suddenly filled with admiration for Jiang Cheng.

         No matter what environment he was in, Jiang Cheng could get into a study mode in a very short time. Even after a day like today, he was certain that at this moment, Jiang Cheng’s mind was filled with nothing else but the books and study materials before him.

         How extremely cool, a person like this.

         He chuckled to himself, and clicked with his mouse. The desktop wallpaper appeared. Jiang Cheng’s smug as all hell face showed up before his eyes. Gu Fei tilted his head, leaning his forehead on one finger, and stared at the face.

         He switched his wallpaper about once a week. At this rate, his privately saved Jiang Cheng photo collection could last him through to the university entrance exams next year.

         He stared at the photo for a little while longer, then grabbed his mouse and started to work. These photos all have to be submitted the next day. Ever since he started going to Jiang Cheng’s place all the time to keep him company while he studied, all of his photo editing tasks had been pushed too close to deadlines.

         These photos had to be finished tonight. If it was like before, he might skip half or even a whole day’s class the next day, and stay home to work on it slowly. But he had to go to school tomorrow.

         Even if he were to skip class, it couldn’t be tomorrow. If he didn’t go tomorrow, Jiang Cheng would definitely think it was because of “composer Gu Fei”. 

         He picked up his phone at 1 a.m. to send Jiang Cheng a message. Just as he picked it up, his phone buzzed, and a text came in. It was from Jiang Cheng.

         – checking to see if you left a nerve on for me

         Gu Fei grinned as he replied.

         – I’m still up, all my nerves have been left to you

         – still up at this hour?

         – working on photos, i’ll sleep in a bit, are you done studying?

         – mhm, you got time to video chat?

         Gu Fei sent a video request over, and Jiang Cheng quickly accepted on the other end.

         When Jiang Cheng’s face popped up on the screen, Gu Fei’s emotions, which had been left in shambles by his mom just now, were suddenly calm again.

         Jiang Cheng really was an omnipotent cure. He could help with sleep, libido, could tranquilize, could energize……

         All your emotional needs can be straightened out with only one Jiang Cheng.

         “Are you planning to sleep now?” Gu Fei leaned back in his chair and smiled.

         “Mhm, gonna fall asleep to some English recording.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “Will you be able to fall asleep like that?” Gu Fei asked.

         “Sure, it has about the same effect as hypnosis, I’ll fall asleep halfway through.” Jiang Cheng yawned. “How much longer until you’re done with the photos?”

         “Half an hour.” Gu Fei stared at Jiang Cheng’s neck.

         Jiang Cheng was leaning back against the chair with his head tilted back. The line of his neck was very……energizing.

         “Then you go on, and tomorrow……” Jiang Cheng hesitated. “Are you going to school?”

         “Yep,” Gu Fei nodded. “But you’re gonna have to call me when you get up, I probably won’t be able to wake up on my own.”

         “Alright,” Jiang Cheng immediately grinned. “I’ll wait for you at the breakfast stalls.”

         “Will it be your treat?” Gu Fei asked.

         “My treat.” Jiang Cheng nodded.

         “Alrighty then,” Gu Fei glanced at the time. “You should sleep now.”

         “Wait wait wait,” Jiang Cheng sat up straight. “Um……I want to see you.”

         “……We’ve been talking but you couldn’t see me this whole time?” Gu Fei was a little baffled as he glanced down at his phone. His face was very clear on the tiny window. 

         “See your collarbone.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “Oh,” Gu Fei suddenly started laughing. Once he started, he couldn’t stop, then in one motion he pulled off his shirt. “Are the collarbones enough? I have other parts, if you want you can buy one and get more.”

         Jiang Cheng giggled and didn’t answer.

         Gu Fei aimed the camera at himself, and swept it from his face to his neck, to his collarbones, then continued southward. When it got to his belly he asked, “Do you need more?”

         “……No,” Jiang Cheng said. “It’ll affect my sleep if you keep going, and I still have to recite English in my dreams……”

         Before Jiang Cheng finished the sentence, Gu Fei swiftly tugged open his pants and aimed the camera at it, “Little feifei come say hi to Cheng-ge.”

         “Fuck your great uncle, Gu Fei!” Jiang Cheng yelled from the other end. “You piece of shameless dog-fucker!”

         Gu Fei moved the phone camera back up and couldn’t stop laughing, “Geez, you can insult me, but you insult my boyfriend too? Won’t your conscience be hurt?”

         “……Hurt your ass!” Jiang Cheng threw himself back on the pillow and pointed at his own camera. “You’re affecting my studying, you know that?”

         “Really?” Gu Fei said. “Then should I interview you tomorrow morning, see if you dreamed of English or me.”

         Even though work became more efficient as soon as his mood was lifted, but since he spent so many days accompanying his boyfriend, he left a little too much work to the last minute. By the time Gu Fei finished, it was already past 3 a.m.

         Gu Fei usually took about half an hour to fall asleep, but on this day, as soon as his head hit the pillow, he closed his eyes and lost consciousness, as though someone had knocked him out.

         He was not one to dream of English, but this whole night, he didn’t even get to dream of Jiang Cheng before he was woken up by his ringtone.

         “Shit.” Gu Fei turned over. If he didn’t have any dreams, he always felt like the whole night’s sleep was for nothing, like he only just closed his eyes and had to open them immediately after.

         The phone call was from Jiang Cheng. Gu Fei picked up, and before he could make a sound, Jiang Cheng’s voice carried over the line, “Gu Fei, are you up?”

         “Yep,” Gu Fei sat up. He was still a little groggy, and not entirely awake yet, but he could still tell that Jiang Cheng’s voice was lacking the usual cheerfulness it had when waking him in the morning. “What’s wrong?”

         “Li Hui is outside, and he brought a few other guys too.” Jiang Cheng said. “I don’t know how he found this place, but he probably doesn’t know which floor I’m on, which is why he hasn’t come up yet. But he’s right downstairs.”

         “I’ll be over right away.” Gu Fei jumped off the bed. “How did you realize that he’s outside?”

         “He just called me,” Jiang Cheng sounded agitated. “I already said I don’t want anything of Li Baoguo’s. None of that has anything to do with me anymore. Why is he still bothering me endlessly?”

         “Did he say why he’s looking for you?” Gu Fei ran into the bathroom. He had no time to brush his teeth, so he only gurgled some mouthwash from the big case his mom had bought, under the influence of one of her boyfriends she had met on her path to find her teenage self.

         “Asked me for Li Baoguo’s savings account.” Jiang Cheng said. “Don’t come over, I’m going downstairs now. I fucking hate dumbasses like this who just don’t know when to stop.”

         “Wait for me.” Gu Fei didn’t even bother to wash his face as he dashed out of the door topless.

         Whether Li Baoguo actually had a savings account was another story, but even if he did, there was no way it would be left to Jiang Cheng.

         Li Baoguo could not get along with Li Hui for the entirety of their whole lives, for no other reason than that he was trying to care for Li Hui in a uniquely Steel Works way, and that Li Hui responded to it in a similarly unique Steel Works way.

         Li Hui himself must’ve understood this point well. He went to Jiang Cheng not because he couldn’t find the savings account. More likely it was to ask for money.

         Jiang Cheng grew up in the big city. His old family got by comfortably. He had a bank card given to him by his adoptive parents. If Li Baoguo had known this, then Li Hui also knew this.

         Someone like Li Hui was like gum melted under the sun, and there was no logic or sentiment to speak of with him.

         Jiang Cheng could not take care of him. If anyone could, it was the mini tyrant of the Steel Works……

         Gu Fei didn’t take the bicycle. He brought out his motorcycle, and floored it all the way to Jiang Cheng’s apartment.


Footnotes
[1]: It’s common for upperclassmen with good grades to sell their well-made study notes to the lower years after they graduate, but in Jiang Cheng’s case….
Also, [天书] or “text from the gods” is just a saying to describe something as unreadable, because in the legend this references, a “text from the gods” is actually blank = [无字天书]

Some Stats

  • Raw character count: 5811
  • TL word count: 4125
  • TL time: ???
  • Edit time: 1:05:53
  • Curse words: 4x fucks, 1x shit, 2x asses

TL’s Notes:
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