A Strange Phone Call
Translate: Sae | Edit: Jowly | Proofread: Anasofi
On Christmas day, Gu Hai and Bai Luo Yin decided to go to Bai Han Qi’s house to have lunch with the rest of the family. After filling their stomachs with the delicious food that Aunt Zou made, the two played affectionately with Ah-Lang before spending the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Evening came quickly and before they knew it, they were already running late for their Christmas dinner with Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu, which they had agreed to hold in their apartment. The two quickly rushed back home.
In all honesty, the original plan for this celebration called for the four of them to eat out, but since Gu Hai wouldn’t stop bragging about how extraordinary his culinary skills were, they all decided to just spend it at their home. On the way there, Gu Hai felt a little anxious.
“What should we eat tonight?” he asked Bai Luo Yin.
Bai Luo Yin thought about it for a while and said, “Hotpot with sliced lamb meat.”
“You want to eat that?”
“It’s the only food that won’t betray you and your claims of having great cooking skills.”
Upon hearing those words, embarrassment rushed into Gu Hai’s heart, which became very evident on his face. He turned toward Bai Luo Yin and let his pitch-black pupils stare dangerously at him. “Are you saying that the food I make is not good?”
“You honestly haven’t figured out if it’s good or not?”
Those words made Gu Hai choke. His hand quickly shot out and grasped Bai Luo Yin’s neck, rather lovingly. “Even the eggs I boil are not good?” he asked angrily.
“Why don’t you just ask me if the water you boil is good for drinking or not, huh?”
Gu Hai bitterly took his hands away from Bai Luo Yin’s neck. With a darkened face, he sped up his pace and maintained a good meter away from him.
Oh? He’s already lost his temper?
Trying to catch Gu Hai’s attention, Bai Luo Yin released a light cough. Unfortunately, Gu Hai was in no mood to pay any notice to him. He maintained an awfully serious attention with clenched jaws and unwavering eyes that looked straight ahead. His eyes’ dark orbs displayed brightly against the city lights, yet its owner’s current emotion was well-hidden from plain sight.
The two continued to walk like that for some time until Bai Luo Yin couldn’t hold on any longer. “Still angry? You’re so sensitive.”
In truth, Gu Hai’s anger had long subsided, but when he heard Bai Luo Yin say that he was sensitive, Young Master Gu snapped. He felt very insulted and decided to further quicken his steps. In no time at all, he had managed to disappear from Bai Luo Yin’s line of sight.
Left with no other choice, Bai Luo Yin quickened his pace and chased after him. With much struggle, he was able to catch up.
“Okay, okay. The food you make isn’t that hard to eat. But you can still improve.”
Gu Hai kept on walking. He didn’t do anything or bother to glance at the person beside him.
“Don’t be like this. I’m only saying this to help you improve!”
A dark expression was still painted Gu Hai’s face as he continued walking ahead. At this point, Bai Luo Yin had already had enough. He couldn’t bear the fact that this hardheaded person was ignoring his efforts for reconciliation. He kicked Gu Hai’s buttock.
“You are looking for trouble, huh?”
That made Gu Hai stop in his track, but he was quite unshaken and wore the same dark expression. Bai Luo Yin was running out of ideas. Without anything better to say, he said, “If you’re still so fucking stubborn, believe it or not, I’m going to tell Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu about your original creation, that penis flavored meat snack!”
The corners of Gu Hai’s mouth twitched, he couldn’t play that game any longer. Finally succumbing to his own emotions, he pulled Bai Luo Yin into a rough but tight embrace. He then pointed at his nose, making sure not to poke too hard. “You fucking bastard, you’re so bad.”
As expected, the only way to uncover the vulnerability of people like Gu Hai was with the use of vulgar words.
After reconciling, the two went to the supermarket. They bought several kilograms of freshly sliced mutton meat, along with the ingredients needed for a hot pot, including vegetables of their personal liking. They then hurried to get home.
By the time Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu arrived at their apartment, the water in the hot pot that Gu Hai so meticulously prepared had already boiled. The enticing aroma of the dish spread all throughout their little home, captivating their guests’ nostrils from the time they entered the front door.
Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu were young masters in their respective houses and had never even so much as touched a single kitchen utensil in their lives. That was why they couldn’t help but to pat Gu Hai’s shoulders —who was also a young master— and shower him with praises after just smelling the flavorful scent that his dish produced.
Li Shuo spoke first. “Gu Hai, you’re too awesome and very capable. My respect for you has gone up to a whole new level.”
Zhou Shi Hu, who was on Gu Hai’s other side, “It’s true! Two years ago no one would have thought that Gu Hai would be able to learn to cook. Yet here we are.”
“Yes, yes, yes! It’s so fucking unexpected alright. You know, I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch just for this,” added Li Shuo.
“I even brought a camera with me.”
Bai Luo Yin looked at Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu’s faces with amazement as they continued to admire and flatter Gu Hai. He couldn’t help but blush with shame. He finally knew why Gu Hai was so confident and proud.
The four of them drank and ate at the same time. They really enjoyed the two bottles of pre-prepared mai tai, which Li Shuo sneaked out of his house. Once the liquor entered their stomachs, their faces began to turn red and they all became more talkative.
“It can’t be! You… you’re… that Jiang… Jiang something… her son?” Li Shuo’s hand fiercely slammed onto the table as he said this, causing some of the soup from the hot pot and the mai tai to spill.
Zhou Shi Hu, who was also in a state of disbelief, added, “After making such a ruckus, you two are actually brothers?”
Bai Luo Yin kept silent through all these. Gu Hai asked him, “Do you want some more spice?”
“I can do it myself.”
Bai Luo Yin’s hands started to move, but Gu Hai had already snatched his bowl. He proceeded to add meat and some soup. He then took a sip from the bowl to see if it was too salty or not. Deeming the bowl good enough for his Yin Zi, he nodded before handing the bowl back to Bai Luo Yin.
“This will do.”
Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu stared in awe at the scene that had just unfolded before their eyes. Their friend had actually learned to care and was taking really good care of someone. With this discovery, the two couldn’t help but crack a joke.
“Wow! This big brother is quite responsible.”
Bai Luo Yin quickly looked at the two guys and nonchalantly added, “I’m older.”
“What?!!.” Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu said in unison. Dumbfounded, the two couldn’t say anything for some time. They then started laughing. Of course, Gu Hai knew what they were laughing about. Suddenly, a pair of chopsticks went flying, whacking the two guys’ heads.
The next thing they saw was a pair of sharp eyes. “What are you two laughing about?” Gu Hai shouted.
Li Shuo was absolutely pleased with Gu Hai’s misfortune, “Da Hai ah, Da Hai, who would have thought that this day would come for you too, you bastard! How does it feel to have someone step on your head? It doesn’t feel good, right?”
“Go away!” Gu Hai said as he kicked Li Shuo’s leg.
Li Shuo continued laughing. “Hey! How come you only know how to be cruel to me, huh? If you’re so capable, why don’t you curse at your brother?”
“Why should I curse at him?” Gu Hai retorted.
Li Shuo kept on provoking him, “Curse him!”
From the side, Zhou Shi Hu also stated to roar, “Yeah! Curse him if you dare! Go ahead.”
Gu Hai turned to look at Bai Luo Yin, who was deeply unaffected by their game. He was thoroughly enjoying his food as if no one else was there.
Meanwhile, Gu Hai was fighting a great battle. Should I curse him or not?
Actually, cursing someone while drinking wasn’t anything serious to rack one’s mind over. Didn’t they normally curse here and there when they joked around anyways? Still, Gu Hai couldn’t help but wonder why he was so unable to say anything to the person sitting next to him.
Watching Bai Luo Yin sitting there, eating the food he prepared so sincerely in such a well-behaved manner… why would anyone want to curse him?
There’s no other choice but to be the grandson!
A milestone! That was the first time that Gu Hai lowered his pride to anyone in front of his friends. Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu couldn’t believe it. They laughed so hard their saliva flowed out.
Zhou Shi Hu drank until his lips were tired. At some point during the night, he pulled Bai Luo Yin’s arm and said, “I really admire you for being able to subdue Gu Hai. You don’t know how many bad things he’s said about you in the past.”
Instead of getting offended by the last part of his statement, Bai Luo Yin felt nothing but pride with Zhou Shi Hu’s words. He, however, started to inquire, “What were the bad things that he said about me?”
Gu Hai started glaring at Zhou Shi Li. “Don’t you dare fucking say it.”
The words that came out of Bai Luo Yin’s lips were sharp and clear.
Zhou Shi Li finished eating his food first before speaking to Bai Luo Yin again. He pulled him to sit on one side of the sofa and started to tell how Gu Hai had slandered and tarnished his character in front of him and his friends. But of course, he exaggerated some parts of the story to make it more interesting.
Bai Luo Yin didn’t take any of the things he said to heart. In his head, everything that Zhou Shi Li said was just a joke. He listened to him though. He listened until he couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. Suddenly, everything was black.
At three in the morning, Bai Luo Yin was awakened by the sound of his cellphone’s ringtone. He had fallen asleep on the couch. He looked around the room and found Gu Hai in a hideous state: he had passed out on the carpet. He couldn’t tell when Li Shuo and Zhou Shi Hu left. All he knew was that both the kitchen and living room were a complete mess.
His cellphone continued to ring.
Who the fuck would call at this hour?
While still a bit dizzy, Bai Luo Yin followed the direction from where the sound was coming from. He leaned against the wall for support as he made his way to their room. Finally, he found it.
A strange number.
Bai Luo Yin pressed the green icon and listened for a second before lazily saying, ‘hello’.
The person on the other end didn’t answer. Bai Luo Yin couldn’t hear a single sound.
“Hello?” His brows furrowed.
“Bai Luo Yin.”
Those three words. That voice. It smashed on him like a heavy boulder. It smashed and smashed onto his head until he was sober.
A slight sob that was quickly suppressed came from the other side, followed by silence.
Bai Luo Yin felt very anxious.
“How do you know my phone number?”
The person ignored the question; instead of answering, she proceeded to speak what was on her mind.
“During the same time last year, you and I were together. This year, I’m spending it all by myself. It’s very lively on the streets here. Everyone has someone beside them, but I’m all alone, walking the streets of this strange city… thinking of you. The things I’m saying… they’re not wrong, right? Do you miss me? Perhaps, you already have someone beside you right now…”
Bai Luo Yin was caught off guard. After the person was done talking, he quickly composed himself, “Shi Hui, don’t be like this. We’re over.”
“I know, I’ve already accepted that reality. It’s just that today is special. It’s just so lively and festive here. I can’t control my emotions. I never thought of getting back together with you again. I… I only want to tell you that I especially miss you; I really really miss you. I think I’m unable to walk out of those memories we shared…”
Bai Luo Yin started walking toward the balcony. He leaned against the cold wall and forced himself to calm down.
“The longer you’re like this, the longer you won’t be able to come out of it. Don’t ask about me. Delete my number. Delete every message that has to do with me… delete me.”
“I can’t do that.” Shi Hui’s gentle voice was mixed with sobs. “Do you know that the only reason why I was able to make it this far is that I’ve always imagined that… inevitably… we would be good again.”
Bai Luo Yin’s fingertips started to rise, touching nothing. The night’s cold wind blew against his breath, making it unsteady.
After saying that, Bai Luo Yin took a deep breath and hung up the phone.
1 to rejoice in other people’s misfortune [幸灾乐祸 xìngzāilèhuò] – take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune
2 There no other choice but to be the grandson then! – Beijing saying, grandson had to listen to and always respect their grandparents/older folks.