Xiao Li had only slept for a moment before he was woken up by the alarm.
The alarm clock was placed on the bedside table next to Qi Xiuyuan who generally could not tolerate the harsh ear-piercing sound for more than five seconds. He would turn it off, move in extra close and bury his chin that had just grown stubbles into Xiao Li’s neck for a good while—only after that will he get up and go wash his face.
However, today’s alarm rung for much quite longer than usual.
Xiao Li’s eyes were still closed as he reached out to push Qi Xiuyuan, but his fingers touched the cool bedsheets instead.
He opened his eyes and turned over to sit up, now completely awake.
This was the first time after they had got together that Qi Xiuyuan stayed out all night. The cause was that they had an argument and Qi Xiuyuan decided to “calm down”.
Xiao Li massaged the spaced between his eyebrows and then reached out to turn off the alarm before he lightly gripped his hair and remained daze for a while.
He thought of Qi Xiuyuan tightened lips and knitted brows as he stared at him. Qi Xiuyuan was very intelligent and quick to respond, but there was unexpectedly a day where he actually couldn’t say anything because of him.
Maybe he was really angry.
Xiao Li sighed with a headache and got off the bed. Usually, he would tidy up the bed when Qi Xiuyuan was washing up and then when he washed up, Qi Xiuyuan would prepare a simple breakfast. They would eat and chat casually just like all those old couples.
Today, Xiao Li was not in the mood to clean up at all, but as he looked down to see that just one side of the bed was covered by the quilt and the other was flat, he felt especially unpleasant.
He quickly folded the quilt and looked up to see the book that Qi Xiuyuan had only read halfway next to the alarm clock. Qi Xiuyuan was the kind of person who would give his favorite book a leather cover for protection. He loves books very much, but when he read the book halfway and goes to do other things, he would always leave the book open and flip it over on the table or some sort of flat surface nearby—even after he finished the book, he still wouldn’t close it.
Xiao Li walked over and picked up the book, wrote down the page number then he closed it and pushed it beneath the Qi Xiuyuan’s pillow.
“Calm down” certainly included no phone calls, but Xiao Li still hasn’t turned off his cell phone for the entire night. He had even kept it in the pocket of his casual home clothes while he washed up.
He absent-mindedly straightened out himself and casually cooked some noodles to eat. Over the years, he was aware that he had made enormous progress in cooking, but compared to Qi Xiuyuan, it was still inadequate; even making noodles seemed to lack something.
After he had hastily finished this tasteless breakfast, Xiao Li locked the doors and went downstairs. When he walked toward the direction outside of the neighborhood, he ran into Old Lady Li who lived in the opposite building at the door just as he returned from buying breakfast.
The elderly lady with a head of white hair glanced at him cautiously first then she glanced at the spot behind him only to expose a slightly surprise expression upon not seeing Qi Xiuyuan.
Xiao Li brushed past her with neither greeting the other. He and Qi Xiuyuan had lived here for two years, and have always been very low-key, but with two single men living together, the loving expressions in their eyes could not be controlled sometimes. Some of the neighbors’ eyes have gradually become less friendly.
Xiao Li did not mind this, contrariwise, what made him silently force a slight smile was that whenever Old Lady Li saw him, she would subconsciously look for Qi Xiuyuan.
They had always walked out the door together, practically every day for the last two years. On a working day, they would walk together to the neighborhood gated entrance. After he accompanied Qi Xiuyuan until the public bus to the school arrived, he would start his nearly one-hour morning run to work that was in the opposite direction; on their rest days, they would leave half an hour later than usual then go for a walk in the park across the street.
Although Qi Xiuyuan was not here, Xiao Li still habitually went to the bus stop. He stood for a while and decided not to run today and since he didn’t sleep well for the entire night yesterday, his eyes were feeling uncomfortable; he really didn’t have the energy to move.
He crossed the road, preparing to go to the opposite stop to wait for the right bus, but when he got to the middle of the road, his cell phone sounded.
Xiao Li was distracted and was nearly hit by a cyclist who was rushing to work.
He ran to the platform and hurriedly took out his mobile phone; the call was from Xiao Yang.
“Ge, are you eating with Qi dage?”
“Really!1 Susu and I had purposely let it be for half a day, yet you two ate that fast…” Xiao Yang half-joked, half-complaint, “Ge, did you talk with Qi dage about the matter I discussed with you last time?”
“How come you haven’t talked with him after such a long time, huh? How about I directly ask him myself?”
Xiao Li didn’t know how to answer. Just then the bus that he had been waiting arrived, giving him an excuse to let Xiao Yang wait. When he sat on the bus, he said, “It’s better if I talk it over with him.”
Xiao Yang asked a bit baffled: “Ge, what happened? You sound so unhappy. Did you have an argument with Qi dage?” Without waiting for Xiao Li to answer, he laughed first. “What did I just say, how could the two of you argue, huh? Ah, it’s impossible for there to be a fallout.”
Xiao Li frowned: “Doesn’t long distance international calls cost money? If there’s nothing else, I’m hanging up.”
Of course, the two had an argument.
When they first arrived in the city, they had argued.
At that time, they had been away from their hometown for three years already. They had just started to use their real identity and Qi Xiuyuan began to use his own bank account.
He first bought a leather jacket for Xiao Li. The texture was soft, and the workmanship was exquisite. According to Qi Xiuyuan, it contrasted beautifully against Xiao Li’ skin—especially his waistline. The price was, of course, extremely high. It was three to four times more expensive than all the clothes they had combined at that time.
After Xiao Li knew what the price was, he almost returned that leather jacket, but Qi Xiuyuan was extremely excited as he pounced on him on the bed and took off his trousers and insisted that he wear that jacket. First, he gave him oral sex then he rubbed their members together and had even let him release three times.
Consequently, Xiao Li knew then that Qi Xiuyuan really liked the way he wore that jacket, so he no longer mentioned about returning it; not to mention, the leather was already contaminated with certain bodily fluids… even if it was cleaned until not a trace remained, he had no face to return it.
After the results, ever since then, Qi Xiuyuan began to incessantly find reasons to acquire all sorts of expensive clothing, electronic equipment, and other miscellaneous things, each of which had prices that were astronomical high. The most expensive was the suit that was prepared to participate in Xiao Yang and Susu’s wedding ceremony, and then there was the watch that he gave him to celebrate the fourth-year anniversary of when they met. One time, Xiao Li had only casually complained about the sunlight harshly glaring in his eyes, and Qi Xiuyuan immediately bought him a pair of unnecessarily pricey sunglasses.
Xiao Li was utterly annoyed and had talked to Qi Xiuyuan about this several times. Qi Xiuyuan had only half-heartedly recognized his mistake while gifting him a rare bottle of cologne as his birthday present.
Although Xiao Li felt that it was quite hard to endure, he still waited for a few days as not to ruin Qi Xiuyuan’s feelings too much. Then he asked him: “Can I return the cologne?”
Qi Xiuyuan was at a loss, “Why? That cologne really suits you.”
“I’m a man…”
“I’m not a foreigner.”
When Qi Xiuyuan saw that he was not happy, he immediately eased his tone. “It’s not something valuable, just take it as a little toy and leave it there. Why return it?”
Xiao Li let his sentence “not something valuable” stop him from speaking for a long time. Finally, he sighed: “You were the one that found me the work.”
“How could it be considered that? Work that involves repairing cars isn’t that lucrative. Even if you go and look around yourself, you will also find them.”
Xiao Li shook his head, “I don’t want to repair cars. I want to open my own repair shop in the future. If you didn’t ask your classmate, where would I have found such a qualified worker to take me in and guide me on how to do business?” He went on to say, “When we return, later on, the money used to open the shop will definitely come from you as well.”
“That’s only natural. Didn’t we talk this talk about this properly already?”
Xiao Li took a deep breath: “You take care of my work, you take care of me opening a shop, and now you also buy me this and that. Qi Xiuyuan,” he asked bluntly. “Are you supporting2 me?”
Qi Xiuyuan laughed and said: “What does that have to do with this? If it’s supporting, there should at least be a house and a car, right? Then when we return…” He looked at Xiao Li’s serious expression, and his voice weakened before he smiled helplessly. “Xiao Li, those are just presents. You can also give me some.”
Xiao Li frowned: “I can’t afford such expensive things.”
Hearing that made Qi Xiuyuan stared at Xiao Li for a long time—the look in his eyes was full of extreme complications. Xiao Li had always felt that he was criticized by his eyes. He sighed and moved in close and then reached out to hold the back of Qi Xiuyuan’s neck before their foreheads touched. “Don’t buy such expensive things for me.”
Qi Xiuyuan did not move and merely asked: “What if I buy it for myself?”
Xiao Li smiled slightly: “Of course, you can.” He wanted to kiss Qi Xiuyuan, but Qi Xiuyuan leaned his face to the side and avoided him. After that, he then tried to stand up.
“Qi Xiuyuan?” Qi Xiuyuan had never avoided any intimate contact with him before—this time, it was really unprecedented. Xiao Li was nervous and confused; he held Qi Xiuyuan’s arm, not letting him move.
They looked at each other for a while until Qi Xiuyuan finally seemed to be discouraged. He comprisingly reached out, wrapped his hand around his waist, and gently kissed his lips. Then he said, “Those gifts are meant to make you happy but since you’re not happy, I will pay closer attention.”
Although this argument ended like that, Xiao Li had always felt that its aftermath lasted for a long time. During that time, Qi Xiuyuan often gazed at him not only as if he wanted to say something and then hesitated, but also seemingly listless… until his birthday; after he and Xiao Li had spent the entire day messing around in bed, he returned to his previous state.
As the number of people on the bus gradually increased, Xiao Li returned to his sense. He got out of the bus ahead of time, looked at his watch, and slowly walked toward the repair shop.
The morning light was pure and soft, and the air was fresh, but Xiao Li’s brows were wrinkled the entire time.
The repair shop was opened by Qi Xiuyuan’s classmate, and the person who normally handled business affairs was that classmate’s father named Lao Wang. He was also a famous martial artist here. When Xiao Li arrived, Lao Wang was following the usual training session, watching as several young disciples practiced the Shaolin long-fist move in the small park next to the repair shop.
The few teenagers practicing was around twelve, thirteen years of age. Lao Wang was observing them with his hands clasped behind his back; behind him stood several younger boys and girls with widened eyes, watching devotedly as their shixiong and shijie3 made their moves.
Since Xiao Li did not want to disturb Lao Wang’s teaching, he waved at him from a distant. Just as Lao Wang nodded at him, his five-year-old grandson Wang Xiaolong scuttled out from behind him. Then like a small rocket, he flew all the way over to pounce on Xiao Li’s legs.
“Shidi, shidi,”4 he looked up and shouted loudly. “Shoulder ride!”
Xiao Li smiled, leaned over and picked up Wang Xiaolong before putting him on his shoulder.
Wang Xiaolong laughed happily and pointed to a tree not far away: “Charge!”
With him on his shoulder, Xiao Li lightly ran toward that tree up ahead but suddenly his shoulders slanted. Wang Xiaolong screamed and fell. Xiao Li picked him up again and lifted him for a while until he placed him down.
Wang Xiaolong’s face was red as he clapped his hands excitedly: “Do it again!”
Xiao Li shook his head, “Only once a day.”
Those words made Wang Xiaolong a bit disappointed. He thought about it and said: “Then, play with me for a while.”
Xiao Li looked at his watch in a pretentious manner, but when he saw Wang Xiaolong became anxious, he said: “Okay.” Then he sat down on the chair next to the tree.
Wang Xiaolong climbed onto the chair and sat next to him. He took two pieces of candy from his pocket and handed one over to Xiao Li before he slowly peeled off the wrapper of his own candy.
Xiao Li turned his body slightly sideways and looked down at him. Perhaps because of the scar on his face, Lao Wang’s other disciples hid from him—except for Wang Xiaolong. Since Lao Wang had jokingly said that Xiao Li had been accepted as a disciple, Wang Xiaolong finally achieved his dream of being someone else’s shixiong. He always called Xiao Li, “shidi, shidi,” and especially love to bother him to play with him. He was very clever and has a good temper. Xiao Li really likes him a lot.
With the candy in his mouth, Wang Xiaolong took the candy wrapper and rolled it up into a ball then he looked up at Xiao Li and spoke with distress in his voice. “Shidi, I can’t participate in the competition this year.”
“I lost again.” He frowned and looked in the distant at a child who was practicing the long-fist technique alone with Lao Wang. “How come I can never beat Hang-Hang gege?”5
“Because he is older than you by three years,” Xiao Li replied practically.
Wang Xiaolong merely looked at him suspiciously, “My dad is also older than you but he can’t beat you.”
Xiao Li smiled again, “We’re adults.”
Wang Xiaolong contemplated, “When I grow up, can I beat Hang-Hang gege?”
“Then you have to work hard.”
Wang Xiaolong still wanted to talk to him some more, but Lao Wang looked over and hooked his fingers at him.
“Hurry up and come here.”
With that, Wang Xiaolong jumped off the chair and had only run two steps when he turned around with a worried expression. “Next time, you have to give me another shoulder ride.”
Xiao Li smiled and waved back at him. He only stood up and to walk toward the repair shop after he saw him begin to practice his long-fist technique.
The roller shutters outside the shop had been raised, allowing the glass door to reflect the morning light. As Xiao Li reached out toward the door handle, he saw Qi Xiuyuan standing behind the glass door looking at him.
He was taken aback and pulled the door open: “How come you’re here? When did you arrive?”
Qi Xiuyuan appeared to be exhausted and there was also the faint odor of alcohol lingering on his body. He glanced at Xiao Li and then in the distant at Wang Xiaolong.
“I came to talk with you.”
“Do you really like that kid?”
They sat in the chair where Xiao Li and Wang Xiaolong had sat in just now and watched the children practice in the distance before Qi Xiuyuan suddenly asked that sentence out of the blues.
Xiao Li nodded: “That one is a clever and quick-witted kid.”
Qi Xiuyuan did not speak for a while but when he did, his voice lacked emotion and sounded sunken. He asked, “Do you want a child?”
Xiao Li was instantly baffled. When he reacted, he watched as Qi Xiuyuan turned his face to the side to stare at him with a solemn expression that sought to observe him.
“Why do you say that?”
Qi Xiuyuan’s lips moved as if he wanted to sneer but failed. He turned his head back: “You said it like that to me yesterday.”
“I was talking about you,” Xiao Li said, frowning. He didn’t like it when Qi Xiuyuan talked to him without looking at him, but it was too inappropriate to grab him by the collar and turn him over in front of a group of teenagers’ lines of sight. He simply got up and stood in front of Qi Xiuyuan. “I said that you should have a child.”
This time, Qi Xiuyuan successfully sneered and also stood up to face Xiao Li: “You didn’t word it like that before, you said I must find a woman.”
The frown on Xiao Li’s face remained: “That’s not my original wording, don’t you… I mean you should have a child, even if you have to find a willing woman… now, paying…”
“What’s the difference?” Qi Xiuyuan interrupted him, then reached out and pressed the space between his eyebrows, feeling annoyed. “Xiao Li, I didn’t want to argue with you, but I am different from you. I can’t get hard with a woman. I have never thought about having any child in my life, don’t you know that?” He sighed and looked at Xiao Li, “What I find difficult to bear is that you think it is okay to find a woman. If one day you want a child, would you also go and find a woman?”
Xiao Li looked at him incredulously: “I mean you, Qi Xiuyuan. I don’t want a child.”
Qi Xiuyuan shook his head: “I’m not being foolish. I just saw you playing with that kid. Your appearance…” He sighed, “Xiao Li. If you’re together with me, there will be no child. I don’t want one nor do I wish for you to go and find a woman. If you can’t accept that then it will become a problem between us sooner or later.”
Xiao Li felt that Qi Xiuyuan was simply baffled: “I will not go and find a woman.”
Those words only made Qi Xiuyuan answered with a question. “Then why do you think it is okay for me to look?”
“Because I think that you should have a child. I just think that if you don’t have a child…” Xiao Li looked at him, “How can you not have your own child? In life, people…” He looked at Qi Xiuyuan’s expression, unable to continue.
“What?” Qi Xiuyuan asked with a low tone, “‘In life, people…’ then? Must have your own child?’ So I must have my own child, but you don’t want a child? But then you still like kids so much… do you think that you are making sacrifices for me? If you think so, one day you will come to hate me. One day you will feel that the days you spent with me was a waste of time, you will want to…”
Xiao Li was angry: “What do you think about in your mind all day long?” He no longer cared who was behind him looking as he reached out and grabbed Qi Xiuyuan’s hand. “I am willing to be with you. If you do not change, I will never change.”
“Why do you have to take me as an object of reference? What do you, yourself, think?” Qi Xiuyuan asked closely to get to the heart of the matter. “If one day I waver, will you turn around and leave without retrieving or fighting for me at all? Are you eager for me to waver?”
The strength in Xiao Li’s hand that grasped Qi Xiuyuan increased uncontrollably. Qi Xiuyuan gritted his teeth roughly and stared at him.
Suddenly, Xiao Li let go and stepped back: “What the hell are you doing in this drunken fit?”
Qi Xiuyuan looked at him with many intense emotions in his eyes that were changing. Xiao Li felt that that kind of expression in his eyes was very familiar, but he couldn’t remember when he saw it. Just as he was thinking, Qi Xiuyuan sighed again. Qi Xiuyuan sighed: “I’m not drunk to that point. I… I have wanted to tell you for a long time now. All along…”
Xiao Li looked at him cautiously: “What?”
Qi Xiuyuan maintained eye contact with him, “Do you remember the few times that I gifted you those expensive presents and you said that I was supporting you?”
“What does that have to do with the matter now?”
Qi Xiuyuan smiled faintly, but the smile was obviously riddled with broken-heartedness. “At that time, I wanted to tell you that since we have been together for so long, my money is yours. I used your money to buy things for you, should I have not? That’s considered what, supporting? But you actually said that if I buy it for myself, it was okay no matter how expensive it was, but it wasn’t okay to buy it for you.” He sighed again, “Xiao Li, when will you understand? I am not an outsider, not your creditor, I don’t want to be your creditor. Everything I do, I did them willingly. You don’t have to feel like you owe me.”
Xiao Li opened his mouth, but he unexpectedly could not give forth an answer.
Qi Xiuyuan reached out to wipe his own face before he forced a bitter smile. “If you don’t feel like you owe me, why would you be willing to not want a child, but hope that I have one? Xiao Li, if you are like this… I used to think that you will change, but you are always like this. Perhaps, the amount of feelings that you and I have for each other are not the same… but, I don’t mind that. However, if you still have this kind of mentality, there will be problems between us sooner or later. I hope the reason that you did not want me to wasteful because you were worried about our joint assets and not because you are afraid of owing me more. I hope that you are by my side because you love me and not because I have not changed which made you feel that you should also not change from a moral point of view… don’t do this to me.”
They looked at each other for a long time. That was until they heard the children bid farewell to Lao Wang after they finished practicing their long-fist in the small public square. Qi Xiuyuan moved and looked directly at Xiao Li’s eyes and said, “Xiao Li, you think clearly. What exactly do you want? I… I understand that you may be eager for a family now, eager for a complete family with your own children, but with me, that will be impossible to achieve. You don’t have to worry about me. Do you still not know me? I can always make you feel relieved, no matter what you choose, I… there’s no problem.” He finished those words with difficulty then lowered his eyes, “When you have thought it through clear, give me a call. I have a place to stay at for the time being.”
When he finished, he turned and walked away without looking at Xiao Li again.
Xiao Li used the entire morning to finish most of his work and what he wasn’t able to complete, he entrusted to a reliable person. Then he requested some time off with Lao Wang and took the bus back home.
He took one of Qi Xiuyuan’s small travel bag, stuffed two sets of clothes to change into later and some simple toiletries. He thought about it then the book that Qi Xiuyuan had only read halfway from under his pillow and put it, afterward, he grabbed his ID, some money, and left.
At first, he wanted to call Qi Xiuyuan but decided to send him a text message when he got on the train: “Go stay at home. I’ll be out for a few days.”
He sat for half a day plus one night on the train, during which he read part of Qi Xiuyuan’s book; it just happened to be the page that Qi Xiuyuan had read up to. It was a science fiction novel that plainly talked about the story of weird galaxies, aliens, time-space transitions, mysterious energy, and so on—bold an imaginative narratives; acting as if it was taking things very seriously when in fact many were just self-evident theories but the huge number of odd foreign names made Xiao Li incessantly go back to the previous pages until he understood who they were. However, Xiao Li insisted on reading it and slowly felt that it was very interesting.
The next morning, he got off the train and boarded a ship, and as the surface of the water was disturbed by a steady drizzle, Xiao Li borrowed a raincoat with a big hood and stood on the deck. The wind blew over and the dark clouds overhead rose like towering mountains, but they were still no match for the vast water.
That night, the ship docked at the shore and he found a small hotel nearby. He checked his phone and saw that not only did Qi Xiuyuan send a reply, but he also did not call either.
Since he returned to his hometown, he felt that it was difficult to sleep. Early the next morning, he woke up extra early, freshened up, changed his clothes, went out and bought a large bouquet of flowers and a pack of cigarettes. Then he took a taxi all the way to the neighboring county of Mingshan.
The mountains in the area are beautiful, some have been developed into scenic spots while others were made into privately run cemeteries.
As noon approached, Xiao Li got out of the taxi outside the cemetery. First, he inquired about a location at the entrance, and then slowly walked inside along the bluestone road of the cemetery.
When the gang was at its peak, the important figures who died for the gang were buried here. After Xiao Li’s mother died, the compensations that Li Shiqing made on behalf of the gang included buying a piece of land here for her grave.
Xiao Li walked slowly, took two turns, and occasionally saw one or two familiar names before he finally stopped in front of his mother’s tombstone.
The tombstone was surrounded by a bed of green grass which was trimmed neatly by the staff. Xiao Li placed the flowers diagonally in front of the tombstone and whispered, “Mom, I came to see you again.” Then he kneeled down and pressed his head to the ground three times.
He lifted his head and looked at the portrait of the dead embedded on the tombstone—his mother’s portrait—and slowly said: “Xiao Yang and Susu are doing very well abroad but they also want to come back for a visit. It will be your birthday in two months. Originally, they wanted to come and see you together with me, but they couldn’t after all. Don’t worry, it’s something good: Susu is pregnant.” He smiled slightly, “Xiao Yang said that he hopes that it is a boy this time. That way it would be considered a pair of ‘son and daughter’. He also said…”
He paused: “He also said that he wants me and… wants me to take a trip there. Since they don’t have many friends and also has such a small child, they’re afraid of making mistakes so they can’t make it for the time being.”
Since he started to speak, his expressions were somewhat of disappointment and frustration, until now, he frowned slightly, unable to continue on. After a while, he finally spoke: “I have never dared to tell you, I… I met someone.”
Another while longer: “He is a… a good person.”
Once more, he went silent for a while as if he wanted to state it again as he looked at his mother’s portrait with earnest. That was the most beautiful and pleasing picture of his mother when she was alive. Xiao Li stared his mother’s gentle smiling expression in the photo; her brows were still wrinkled, but there was a tiny smile at the corner of her mouth.
“I met someone, mom,” he actually repeated it again. “His name is Qi Xiuyuan.”
The clouds gradually dissipated, and the sun hung in the clear sky, looking unearthly bright, but the light that illuminated did not carry a trace of heat.
Xiao Li finally stood up and gently touched his mother’s tombstone to say goodbye to her.
Instead of leaving the cemetery, he spent nearly twenty minutes to find the location he had previously queried.
This grave was three to four times larger than his mother’s and the stone tablet was also much more imposing. There was no photo on the tablet and no inscription—only five simple characters were engraved on it: “Li Shiqing’s Tomb”.
Back then, many people in the gang were afraid of him, but since he was already dead, everyone naturally put on an extravagance show of happiness.
Xiao Li took out the box of cigarette and placed it in front of the tombstone. Then he took a packed out of the box, lit two stick of cigarettes before he placed one in front of the tombstone and held one in between his fingers.
“When I asked at the entrance, they said that no one has come to see you in five years.”
Li Shiqing had no children when he was alive, and his only nephew fell into that kind of field. Although he had control over the lives and deaths of many people in the gang and had many lovers, after his death, that glorious light was also extinguished—those once called friends scattered far and wide like the wind. In the past five years, who would truly mourn him as he lied here alone?
Xiao Li held the cigarette in his mouth and before long, several lines of white smoke spiraled out, blurring his sight. He seemed to hear Li Shiqing sneer from within the tombstone, asking him: are you not the same? After you die, who will keep watch beside your grave? Who will sweep your grave? Who will mourn you? Who will think of you?
No one, Xiao Li answered to himself. It doesn’t matter to me, but he…
He thought about Qi Xiuyuan, how can such a good person have an ending like you?
He quietly waited for the two cigarettes to burn out before he left.
The day he returned was Thursday. He was travel-worn but since he had slept on the train, his spirit was quite good.
He returned directly to the residence from the train station only to discover that everything inside was still the same— obviously, Qi Xiuyuan had not returned this week.
First, Xiao Li opened the window to ventilate the home then he went to the bath and then changed his clothes. Afterward, he went downstairs to take a taxi to Qi Xiuyuan’s school.
When he arrived, Qi Xiuyuan was in class. Xiao Li stood waiting outside the window for a while.
Qi Xiuyuan took a wooden triangle and drew on the blackboard as he lectured. He didn’t have many expressions as he lectured and only occasionally smiled slightly when, perhaps, a student said a smart answer. Xiao Li was looking on with interest when the school bell rang for class dismissal.
Qi Xiuyuan hung the triangle on the nail beside the blackboard, and while he was out of the classroom, he lowered his head and brushed off the chalk dust that was on his sleeve. Then, the moment he looked up, he saw Xiao Li standing at the corridor window waiting for him.
He stared blankly for a while. When he saw Xiao Li, he was stunned but when he saw the leather jacket that Xiao Li had on, he was even more stunned.
He walked slowly to Xiao Li and stood in front of him with a bit of caution in his expression.
As expected, Qi Xiuyuan can truly make a person feel at ease. After not seeing him for a week, aside from him looking a bit depressed, there weren’t any big changes, and the strength of this depression—if it was someone who did not know him well—perhaps, they might have not been able to see it.
As Xiao Li watched him come over, he asked: “Do you still have class?”
“Why you didn’t return home for the past few days?”
After Qi Xiuyuan confirmed that there were no students nearby, he looked at Xiao Li’s eyes and replied: “Maybe I listened to you and went out to look for a woman.”
Those words beckoned Xiao Li into silence for a few seconds: “The uncle that guard the entrance said that you have been sleeping in the duty room.”
Qi Xiuyuan did not speak.
“Didn’t I send you a message? Why didn’t you return to sleep there?”
Qi Xiuyuan looked at him for a while and sighed with a slightly compromising tone: “…ran so far… and you weren’t home, there’s no meaning to it.”
Xiao Li sighed and asked: “Was the duty room meaningful? What so meaningful in there, take me there for a look.”
With that sentence alone, Qi Xiuyuan was stunned once again as he looked at him without confidence and also cautiously. “Xiao Li?”
Xiao Li felt that that appearance of his looked so stupid that he couldn’t help but smile faintly. “We have to find a place to talk, right?”
Qi Xiuyuan’s gaze lingered on his face before he turned and took him down the stairs.
The duty room was on the first floor next to the student dormitory building. During class time, there were basically no student in the dormitory and the duty room was also lock.
Qi Xiuyuan took out the key and opened the door and let Xiao Li into it. Then he closed the door and kicked an unsightly stool that was shedding paint to the side before he pushed open the door to the room inside. “I’ve slept in here.”
The room was only seven or eight square meters and had no windows. It was a completely small room with no chair, the bunk bed was placed against the wall, a few books and a bag were on the upper bed and an unfolded quilt was on the bottom bed.
Seeing that, Xiao Li glanced at Qi Xiuyuan. Qi Xiuyuan was a man who loves to be neat. He had never seen him made such a mess anywhere before.
Qi Xiuyuan noticed his gaze and pursed his lips: “Since you weren’t here, I didn’t have the energy to do anything. You can sit there, I will pour you a cup…”
Just as he spoke up to that word, Xiao Li reached out and pushed him on his back until he was pushed into the room before he, himself, followed in and locked the door.
When Qi Xiuyuan turned to look at Xiao Li was Xiao Li leaned against the door and looked back at him.
Neither of the two said anything.
Soon, Qi Xiuyuan’s breathing gradually became urgent as he stared tenaciously at Xiao Li. “Do you mean what I think you mean?”
Xiao Li couldn’t help laughing, “How would I know what you mean?”
Qi Xiuyuan only took two steps before both his hands held the side of Xiao Li’s face. “This.”
When he tilted his head to the side and kissed him, his lips on Xiao Li’s lips rubbed mutually on each other for a while until he pressed his tongue in—sweeping the inside of Xiao Li’s mouth.
Xiao Li let out a stuffy moan and reached out to hug Qi Xiuyuan’s back. Having received that touch of encouragement, Qi Xiuyuan pressed his body tightly against Xiao Li, nearly nailing him to the door.
Xiao Li let Qi Xiuyuan take control of this kiss and his cooperation made him more intense. Qi Xiuyuan was simply invading him. He made a few excited nasal sounds in the eager entanglement of their lips and tongues while both his hands stroked down from Xiao Li’s shoulders all the way beneath the leather jacket before tightly holding onto Xiao Li’s thigh.
He ended the kiss, grabbed Xiao Li’s thigh and pressed him closer on himself, slowly rubbing and panting into Xiao’s ear: “I’ve missed you so much.”
Xiao Li’s breathing held the same chaoticness, “You asked for it. You had nothing better to do than to think foolishly.”
Qi Xiuyuan’s lips kissed his earlobe, cheeks, and finally stopped at his lips: “I don’t want you to think that you owe me.”
Xiao Li smiled helplessly and with his hand still wrapped around his back, he took two steps forward.
Both of Qi Xiuyuan’s hands were still on his thighs as the two stumbled around until Qi Xiuyuan fell on the bed.
Xiao Li pressed down on him while his hands propped up on the bed, supporting his body as he looked down at Qi Xiuyuan from above.
Qi Xiuyuan kept his eyes on him the entire time. There was an eagerness and anxiety as if he was expecting and concerned about his next sentence.
Xiao Li down and shifted his weight to his knees before extending a hand to gently caress Qi Xiuyuan’s cheek.
Although Qi Xiuyuan’s overall appearance was seemingly very gentle, the sharp edges of his eyebrows were powerful, and his cheekbones are quite distinctive—a very decisive look indeed. The expression in his eyes are also always very resolute; he will never retreat once he made up his mind.
Such a good man with the brain, the willpower, the gentleness, and the trustworthiness, shouldn’t his life be complete and intact without regrets?
Xiao Li leaned down and lightly sighed at the side of Qi Xiuyuan’s lips. “Sometimes, I do feel that I owe you… but…”
How can I not feel that I owe you?
I did all that I could, but it is still so little; you put in so much effort but received practically nothing.
“Qi Xiuyuan, I just…”
I just want you to get more. I just…
“I just feel sorry for you.”6
In the small closed room, there was a breath of lust at that moment—apart from the heavy and rapid breathing and the occasionally irrepressible moans, the pitchy sound of the bunk bed creaked continuously.
A few books that were stacked on the upper bed had already been collapsed as the bed rocked and shook intensely. The quilt fell to the floor and the grayish-white bedsheet was dangling to the side of the bed while the half that was still on the bed was wrinkled, damped with their sweat.
Xiao Li’s leather jacket was once again contaminated with bodily fluids in the first round of their affectionate ‘act’. Now, it had also been thrown on the floor with a pile of messy clothes. He was naked, his head and shoulders were hanging off the bed as he accepted Qi Xiuyuan’s thrusts. He was almost hanging upside-down. If he wasn’t clutching tightly on Qi Xiuyuan’s arms and if Qi Xiu Yuan’s hands weren’t hooping tightly around his waist, he would have hit the floor by the repeatedly strong impacts.
The feeling of hanging upside down caused his whole body to tense. In this position, Xiao Li had no place to concentrate his strength, though his back could touch the bed, yet with Qi Xiu Yuan’s undulated movement and constant sliding; the feeling of being shifted up actually made Xiao Li not have a sense of security. Not to mention the most sensitive place, at that moment, the scalding hot member moved in and out, and the semen that was injected before made shameful sticky sounds in between the friction, making it difficult for him not to tremble.
Xiao Li didn’t want himself to be under this kind of complete control. He gasped and bent his knees, trying to use both his legs to find a point of concentration. However, his thighs had been separated greatly by Qi Xiuyuan. Xiao Li’s movements were futile and put a strain on his muscles; it looked like he was kicking weakly. He wanted to tell Qi Xiuyuan to stop or change his position, but only a husky moan squeezed out of his mouth.
All of this had no effect on solving Xiao Li’s dilemma, but it had, even more, affected Qi Xiuyuan’s desire.
“Do you want to drive me crazy? Hmmm?” He held back a groan and asked hoarsely while his desire made his voice changed a bit.
He reached for Xiao Li’s shoulder, and with a strong pull, he had Xiao Li in his embrace.
Xiao Li had a hard time finding his balance and struggled for a moment, but when he finally maintained his balance, he was sitting completely on Qi Xiuyuan’s legs—sitting on his hot and hard member. Xiao Li reached out to hug his shoulders, but just as he trembled and gasped for breath, Qi Xiuyuan gripped his waist with one hand and grasped his buttocks with the other hand… suddenly making him arched his back.
Xiao Li clenched his teeth and let out a stuffy groan from his chest. His body trembled fiercely, his thigh muscles were simply convulsing while his own member that was pressed against Qi Xiuyuan’s stomach seemed to squirm. Qi Xiuyuan breathed and kissed his lips passionately all of a sudden before his tongue willfully stretched in to lick and suck while his lower body moved in an intense rhythm, almost frantically attacking him.
With their bodies stuck extremely close to each other, Xiao Li’s member was caught between him and Qi Xiuyuan and as they moved up and down, it was incessantly being squeezed and rubbed against their fervent skin. The heavy pleasures that had been overlaid nearly caused Xiao Li to have a dizzy spell. He shook and unconsciously let out a demanding moan in Qi Xiuyuan’s mouth.
Qi Xiuyuan was stimulated as if he was about to lose his intellect. His movements were almost rough. The strength of his arms seemed to want to knead Xiao Li into his own body while the strength in his waist and legs seemed to want to completely tear Xiao Li apart.
Xiao Li was messed with until he was totally controlled by him. His pupils slackened, his vision was completely blurred as he passively trembled with waves of lust—moaning, twisting, and ultimately pushed to a climax until a long deep and guttural moan crept out from within his throat. His body seemed to twitch as he shot in between their bodies.
Qi Xiuyuan’s breathing was even heavier as he nearly bit Xiao Li’s lips while his lower body thrust rapidly in the burning hot passage. Then his body stretched tautly, provoking the blue veins on his neck and arms to gradually appear. He pressed Xiao Li firmly on himself and held him down as he shot (strongly and vigorously) several waves in a row.
After that, Xiao Li lied on the damped sheets and gasped for air, looking up at the bottom of the upper bed above him; through the gap between the upper planks, he could still see the white ceiling.
With a sweaty body, Qi Xiuyuan lied on his body while his hand slowly wandered around his equally sweaty skin—sucking and biting his collarbone from time to time.
Xiao Li felt that his strength was nearly depleted; he thought he had already experienced Qi Xiuyuan at his boldest in bed. As a result, his sentence of “I just feel sorry for you” was like throwing a match into the gasoline that triggered Qi Xiuyuan to burn up at once. Before he had a chance to react, Qi Xiuyuan who was blazing with desire, turned him over as if to burn… burn him down—fervently, hysterically, and no matter what, this burst of flame led to Xiao Li’s body, flowed inside, and even spilled into his heart, completely burning him.
From head to toe, Xiao Li was overtaken by weakness as he lifted his limp arm and held Qi Xiuyuan’s neck, letting his fingers lightly combed through his black hair. He whispered, “How long have you endured?”
Qi Xiuyuan groaned vaguely and shifted his body down to suck on one of his nipples and obscurely said: “Not endure, but afraid.”
After the climax, his body was extremely sensitive. Xiao Li restrained a shudder and gently pushed Qi Xiuyuan: “What are you afraid of?”
Qi Xiuyuan moved up a bit and hugged Xiao Li who had turned to lie on his side allowing them to be face to face; their limps were intertwined together.
Looking at him, Qi Xiuyuan sighed lightly and said, “I was afraid that you have taken me as an outsider for a long time now and will inevitably leave me.”
Xiao Li stared at him as they maintained eye contact for a while. He didn’t know that his attitude would make Qi Xiuyuan not have any self-confident—that made him felt a bit guilty but secretly a bit relief.
Qi Xiuyuan’s hand drew lines on his back here and there, touching along his spine all the way down then to the side of his waist until moving back up. All the while, he whispered: “I’m getting more and more greedy. I used to be with you with having you at my side, and then I hope that you will love me even more, love me more and more…”
Although Xiao Li did not speak, his hand was also gently wandering around his back.
Qi Xiuyuan was quiet for a while but then he suddenly laughed out loud: “Xiao Li, you can’t answer back with ‘I really love you, more and more’? Really, when will you tell those pleasant words?”
With that, Xiao Li comfortably kissed him on his lips. Qi Xiuyuan returned the kiss and teasingly nagged him for a moment. He whispered: “I’ll tell you the truth, I only like this personality of yours.” He kissed him again, “But it has been such a long time and you have yet to respond to me with sweet words, and, and, you also rarely give me presents. I’m feeling very wronged here…”
Xiao Li smiled near his lips, “I brought a present back for you.”
Hearing that, Qi Xiuyuan also smiled: “Then I have nothing to complain about… what present? Where is it?”
“In the pocket of the leather jacket.”
Qi Xiuyuan crossed over Xiao Li and stretched his hand out far enough toward that leather jacket before grabbing one of the sleeves and pulling it over.
“Don’t drag it on the floor like that. Such an expensive jacket…” Xiao Li thought of getting up, but Qi Xiuyuan lowered his head and kissed him intimately.
After a long while, Qi Xiuyuan finally ended the kiss even though he clearly wished to continue since he was still licking and sucking on Xiao Li’s lips. He panted, “You came to me wearing this jacket, said that you care for me dearly, and gave me a present…”
A small smile appeared on Xiao Li’s lips as he whispered: “I was going to use the cologne you gave me…”
Qi Xiuyuan let out an insufferable moan. “Xiao Li, you are really… I can’t hold it anymore. Let’s do it once more and then I’ll look at the present, okay?”
Xiao Li twisted his head to the side to look at the clock on the wall. “Your students are about to be dismissed.”
“They have a self-study class this evening.” Qi Xiuyuan slowly rubbed against his body, “We still have two hours.”
Xiao Li sighed in a low voice: “We made such a mess in here, aren’t you going to clean up? I don’t want you to still sleep here today.”
Qi Xiuyuan looked at him for a while before he hung his head dejectedly and lied down on his body. Then he consoled himself by saying: “Forget it, at least I have a present.”
With a look of anticipation, he put his hand into the two pockets of the leather jacket and found a thin little long box.
He stared at the beautifully ironed gold lettering on the box and read it word by word. “Craft bookmark?”
Xiao Li laughed: “You have a bad habit when you read, just look at that book “Antimatter Spaceship”, it was never closed. I actually quite like it myself.”
Qi Xiuyuan looked up at him attentively and smiled softly. “You read the book?” He complained half-complained, half-teased: “The present you give me is too cheap. The ones I gave you…”
Those words made Xiao Li hooked his arm around his neck before he tilted Qi Xiuyuan’s head up and lightly bit his lips to stop him from saying anything else. Then he said seriously: “If I was like you, we won’t have anything left in the future.”
This sentence seemed to ignite Qi Xiuyuan again as he stared at him. His eyes seemed to be filled with overflowing balls of bright and brilliant flames. Then the flames turned into lingering water waves. Qi Xiuyuan looked down, carefully touched his lips without any desire, and answered:
“En, how we pass our days, I will listen to you.”
“What is this?” Qi Xiuyuan took out a box from Xiao Li’s bag and rushed to the balcony to ask. “What do you buy educational toys for?”
“A present for Wang Xiaolong.” Xiao Li turned over the trouser he had worn earlier and took out a few changes before he put it into the washing machine.
Qi Xiuyuan came over and leaned against the balcony door, looking at him with a complicated expression.
After the washing machine started to turn, Xiao Li looked up at him: “What happened?”
Qi Xiuyuan looked at him and spoke softly: “I know that you like children… I’m sorry.”
Xiao Li shook his head: “You’re wrong, I don’t want children that much. I… I couldn’t even be a good brother and I don’t think I can be a good father. I just… I think Wang Xiaolong…”
He just thought that Wang Xiaolong’s cleverness made him particularly fond of him. When the child showed off his cleverness, he couldn’t help but think of Qi Xiuyuan as a child. He didn’t know how to explain it properly. In the end, he could only say: “If it was your child, it would definitely be more clever than Wang Xiaolong.”
If it is your child… with your forehead and eyes, with your intelligence and gentleness, continuing your blood and spirituality, how much will I love that child…
With that, Qi Xiuyuan studied him for a while and smiled, then he reached out and pulled Xiao Li in front him, kissing the side of his neck.
“Don’t be so greedy, Xiao Li.” He smiled and said, “It’s enough to have only one clever person in the house.”
Xiao Li reached out to hug him in his arm and tilted his head slightly to kiss his temple.
Isn’t that so? It is enough to have you.
The song at the beginning of the chapter that the author picked:
THANK YOU EVERYONE! ❤
1 真是的 zhēnshide – Really! (interj. of annoyance or frustration)
2 包养 bāoyǎng – to provide for / to keep (a mistress); it has a negative hint to it
3 shīxiōng/shījiě 师兄师姐 – senior male/female fellow student or apprentice/son/daughter (older than oneself) of one’s teacher
4 shīdì 师弟 – young disciple (of the same master) / younger or junior male schoolmate – so Wang Xiaolong is kind of calling Xiao Li “younger brother”
5 gege – older brother/used for someone older
6 心疼 xīnténg – to love/care dearly / to feel sorry for sb: the sentence can translate to “I just care for you dearly”