Visiting Someone’s Wedding House
Translate: Sae | Proofread: Nancy
Bai Luo Yin snorted, “I’ve never eaten dumplings that delicious before.”
Unperturbed at those words, Gu Hai’s abstruse eyes fixed closely at the side of this face. The tough and robust lines that smoothed out and flowed along his face was strikingly similar to a painting, and the silhouette of these familiar features was drawn to invoke an even more mature and handsome appearance. The only thing that has not changed was that stubborn and unbending mouth of his. Just like eight years ago, the corners of his lips proudly curved upward. As time went on, the intense colors of youth have faded into a soft mature red with a layer of solemness and magnanimous smeared across his lips.
An unraveling feeling gripped at Gu Hai’s chest, charming some thoughts to surface into his mind. He truly wanted to take a bite of those lips just to see how much the sweet and mellow taste from eight years ago has changed.
The smoke perversely coiled out and mingled with Gu Hai’s breath, creating a thin layer that aimed to fill the room. Suddenly, as the atmosphere around them seemed to have been set ablaze, Bai Luo Yin subconsciously shifted his head to the side, causing Gu Hai to touch the empty space between them instead.
“I’m leaving,” Bai Luo Yin said as he stood up.
Gu Hai immediately took hold of his arm as a smile flowed to the corner of his lips. “Let me invite you to dinner today.”
“There’s no need for that,” Bai Luo Yin said and then calmly pushed away Gu Hai’s warm hand. “We are not doing business here, so it’s not necessary to settle anything.”
“Don’t say it like that. Even brothers have to settle their debt with each other clearly. Besides, we aren’t even blood-related.”
Bai Luo Yin’s neck stiffened, “Today, I…”
“You don’t want to take a look at my place?” Gu Hai said, interrupting Bai Luo Yin.
Bai Luo Yin gave him a glance while his expressions changed several times. Then he jokingly but somewhat seriously faced Gu Hai and asked: “Do you want me to see your place or your wedding house?”
“What’s the difference?” Gu Hai faintly replied with a distant look in his eyes.
Those words pierced Bai Luo Yin’s chest, sinking his heart with its sharpness. “There’s no difference at all. Let’s go.”
Gu Hai’s new place was in Xīchéng Qū,31 located in central Beijing, and was a little over 100 square meters. Compared to his other place, it was considered to be relatively small, but it was more than enough for one person to live in. There was only one bedroom and the largest space was used as the gym. Gu Hai intentionally gave Bai Luo Yin a tour, and as expected, everything was comparatively cleaner than his own room. Bai Luo Yin subconsciously glanced at the bed, noting that there were two sets of blankets and pillows.
“When are you getting married?” Bai Luo Yin asked.
Hearing no response, Bai Luo Yin turned around; Gu Hai was no longer behind him.
As he walked over to his work station and looked around, he noticed that Gu Hai’s laptop was on—flashing brightly as the screensaver was a photo of two people at the beach. Bai Luo Yin froze in place, unable to tear his eyes away as some unknown force tightly gripped his heart. He swayed the mouse left and right in an attempt to escape that photo but in the end, he merely discovered that the desktop background was the same photo.
Unable to shake away this inexplicable feeling, Bai Luo Yin absentmindedly sat down in front of the laptop and replaced both the screensaver and desktop background with something else, without any reason at all,
At that time, Gu Hai was cooking in the kitchen.
Bai Luo Yin leaned against the kitchen doorway with a cigarette hanging loosely in his mouth and quietly watched as Gu Hai’s stern silhouette bustled about.
He still looks the same with that solemn and cold exterior yet gentle and diligent heart. Sometimes, he’s ferocious—pieced together with vulgarity and deceit, while other times, he straightforward, generous and open-minded. He can be detached and merciless to those he hates yet cherishes and cares for the person he loves…with all his heart. This kind of man, who is awe-inspiring and professionally successful, dotes and cherishes his lover…is the knight in shining armor that dwells in countless women’s dream.
He had once completely…and unconditionally belonged only to me.
As Gu Hai placed the food into the center of the frying pan, his skillful movements were accompanied by the crispy sound of cooking.
Bai Luo Yin threw out a sentence: “The finest Mr. Perfect. Tall, rich and handsome.”
Hearing the faint noise behind him, Gu Hai twisted his head around, and as he continued to cook, he asked: “What did you say?”
Bai Luo Yin slowly blew out a mouthful of smoke and forced a smile. “The beautiful employee that you sent to negotiate last time talked up a storm and incessantly praised you in front of me. She said, ‘our president is a charming romantic who is elegant, easy-going, talented, good-looking, honest towards others, and wholeheartedly devoted to only one person. He also has a strong sense of responsibility…and he knows how to earn a fortune as well as do housework.’ She said with those qualities, I should definitely consider collaborating with you.”
Gu Hai looked up and deliberately asked: “Then, are you tempted?”
Without answering, Bai Luo Yin simply turned around and walked away.
Soon, several small dishes were placed on the table along with two plates of dumplings that Gu Hai had made with his own hands.
When Bai Luo Yin looked at the table full of food, an indescribable feeling of sorrow sprang in his heart. Just as he was about to express his feelings, he heard Gu Hai who was obediently sitting across from him say: “Take this meal as my pity towards you, Mr. Bachelor!”
The joy that filled Bai Luo Yin’s hot-blooded heart was swiftly diluted by those words. Looking at those piping hot dumplings, he could no longer help but to pick up a piece. At first, he thought that it was the zucchini and egg filled dumpling, but after he bit into it, he discovered that it was the fennel and pork filled one instead. With just one taste, Bai Luo Yin’s heart was overtaken with disappointment even though he did not reveal it. He simply chewed and chewed and then forcefully swallowed it.
Watching him, Gu Hai picked up a dumpling from another plate and gave it to Bai Luo Yin. Bai Luo Yin casually bit it open without much expectation but the moment the soft pastry split opened, it was unexpectedly filled with zucchini and egg. A slight hint of happiness appeared in his eyes as he impatiently took another nip. There was a light sweet scent permeating from the dumpling and the inside was also filled with shrimp and an ample savory32 hint of broth that tickled all his five basic tastes. It has been eight years since he had eaten a dumpling with this filling.
After he finished eating that piece, Bai Luo Yin wanted to grab another one but just as his chopsticks reached the plate, it suddenly paused in midair.
How am I supposed to pick which one to eat?!
It is unlikely that I’ll lose face even if I pick the fennel filled one, but I just don’t like to eat it! I love to eat the zucchini and egg filled ones, but I can’t pick it! If I do, I’d definitely be exposed!!
Fuck! You had to use this meal as a scheme to trap me!
In the end, Bai Luo Yin came up with a solution. Since he had to eat the zucchini and eggs filled ones and cannot avoid the fennel ones, he will pair the two together. As a result, he grabbed one of each filling from the left and right plates. In this way, neither plate was neglected.
Let’s see what you have to say now!
In truth, before Bai Luo Yin had even eaten both of the dumplings, Gu Hai had already seen through all of his thoughts and actions—he only chose not to reveal it. As he watched Bai Luo Yin wolf down the food in front of him without saying even one word to him, he did not feel pleased at all. Instead, only a touch of sorrow beckoned. And when he saw Bai Luo Yin stiffly stuffing the dumpling he does not like into his mouth, he felt especially upset. He should have not made those dumplings to mess with Bai Luo Yin since he knew which filling, he loved most.
Bai Luo Yin was about to grab another fennel filled dumpling, but the plate had vanished.
“That’s enough. There’s no need to pretend anymore. I know that you’re a fucking lonely person who doesn’t have anyone to care for you!”
Gu Hai had already placed the plate of fennel filled dumplings in front of himself and then one by one he ate them until it was all gone in just a short moment.
This seemingly simple meal was eaten with much heartache filled emotions and sorrow. It was to the point that although Bai Luo Yin nearly ate all the food before him, he, however, could not remember what he had eaten. All he remembered was that the food was exceptionally delicious, just like how it was in the past.
After they were done, Gu Hai went to wash the dishes while Bai Luo Yin sat waiting in the living room for him. By the time Gu Hai was completely done tidying up, he walked over only to see that Bai Luo Yin was leaning into the sofa sound asleep.
Gu Hai stood beside Bai Luo Yin. His eyes hung low as he carefully looked at him—an illusion suddenly emerged from the depths of his mind. It was as if they were still in their home and each was the same person from back then. The strange outfits were nothing more than decorations, needed for their characters in a play. They were merely role-playing like in the old days.
They have always been together.
Normally, Bai Luo Yin was always on guard when he slept in his own dorm, yet now that he was here, he doesn’t know whether it was because the room was extremely warm or something else, but he slept very soundly. Even when someone touched his body, he was not aware of it at all.
Gu Hai crouched down and lightly tugged Bai Luo Yin’s hand.
From memory, it was no longer the same distinctive joints that he felt before. This fair and relaxed hand now had calluses on every finger and two fingernails had grown in a distorted position as if it has sustained some sort of injury. Gu Hai does not know that this scar was the remnant of when Bai Luo Yin pried at the steel plate all those years ago.
Naturally, compared to the wounds on Gu Hai’s forehead and back, these could be seen as highly insignificant.
Even so, it still easily triggered some kind of emotion from Gu Hai.
Suddenly, the cell phone rang with a loud noise—arousing Bai Luo Yin from his deep sleep.
Bai Luo Yin’s eyes shot open only to see Gu Hai’s face extremely close to his. His gaze froze for a moment before he quickly shifted away and sat up to pick up the call.
“Got it, I’ll be there immediately.”
Gu Hai stood a short distance away and watched as Bai Luo Yin rushed around. “Is there an urgent mission?”
Bai Luo Yin changed into his shoes and hastily said: “Yes. There’s a slightly small matter.”
While speaking, he had finished tidying his shoes and was dashing out the door, without saying a mere goodbye. The entire process was done in an extremely agile manner, and in less than thirty seconds of everything, Bai Luo Yin’s silhouette disappeared into the night.
Gu Hai clearly recalled that whenever he tried to wake Bai Luo Yin up in the past, from when he opened his eyes to when he actually sat up, he would first waste ten minutes at the very least. But now, from when he fell asleep to being fully awake, it took a mere ten seconds. What kind of training methods could completely change someone’s living habit like this?
In these eight years, who have retaliated against him, on his behalf?
By the time Bai Luo Yin arrived at the military hospital, Liu Chong was temporarily out of danger.
“What happened?” Bai Luo Yin asked.
The teammate that trained together with Liu Chong spoke with swollen red eyes. “When we were training this afternoon, something strange happened to his airplane, so he had no choice but to jump out with his parachute. But since the elevation was not high enough, he fell halfway down a pile of rocks at the side of the mountain. Luckily, the local villagers quickly discovered him and promptly reported it to the police, otherwise, he would have been dead by now.”
A grave expression befell Bai Luo Yin’s complexion. “What is his condition now?”
“He sustained multiple fractures on his body along with a broken jaw. Fortunately, his brain did not suffer any damage. But there’s an excessive loss of blood, leaving his body weak. He’s still unconscious right now. Major, do you want to go in and take a look?”
Looking at him, Bai Luo Yin faintly replied, “There’s no need to. I’ll come back to see him when he’s a bit better.”
With that said, Bai Luo Yin turned around and left the sick ward with a heavy heart. He has never told anyone before, but he was extremely fearful of blood. Let alone going into a patient’s room, just standing in the hallway, seeing the emergency light flashed on and off would immediately cause him to break out in cold sweat.
31 Xīchéng Qū – ‘West City District’: Xicheng is subdivided into 15 subdistricts of the city proper of Beijing. The former Xuanwu District was merged into Xicheng on July 2010. The Xidan commercial district, Beijing Financial Street (Jinrongjie), Beihai Park, Jingshan Park, Shichahai and Zhongnanhai are within its jurisdiction. The popular Houhai bar area is also in Xicheng Precinct. Before the communist takeover, most royalties and aristocrats resided in the precinct. The oldest Catholic church in Beijing, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is located in Xicheng.
32 Umami – or savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). It has been described as brothy or meaty. People taste umami through taste receptors specific to glutamate. Glutamate is widely present in savory foods, such as meat broths and fermented products, and commonly added to some foods in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Since umami has its own receptors rather than arising out of a combination of the traditionally recognized taste receptors, scientists now consider umami to be a distinct taste.