The first time Jian Suiying met Li Yu was in the living room of his family’s home.
As he walked through the front door with a cigarette in his mouth, he saw Jian Suilin sitting on the sofa with another boy, talking and laughing cheerfully. That boy’s back that faced him showed the sweaty Feyenoord1 soccer jacket sticking to his back, revealing the faint outline of his broad and healthy back. Their jackets and the end of their pants were covered in mud, yet they still sat impolitely on the beige leather sofa. On the coffee table in front of them were two empty Coca-Cola cans that had been turned upside-down and two slices of cake. There was even a dirty, muddy soccer ball at the side of his feet.
When they heard the sound of the door opening, the two chatty boys paused and while one looked up, the other twisted his head around and swung his eyes over.
At that moment, Jian Suiying and that boy’s gaze locked. Suddenly, Jian Suiying could not move. He simply froze. To say it a bit more elegantly, it was ‘love at first sight’. But to be frank, the first time he saw him, ‘he was hard’.
The thing was, every time he recalled that moment, all of it just seemed like a bunch of fucking sins he had to repay.
In short, at that time, he felt his heart speed up, a shortness of breath, and the veins on his forehead throbbing vigorously. That boy, how would one describe him? His appearance: handsome, attractive, and seemingly intelligent. To say it in Jian Suiying’s own wording, ‘looks like my personal taste’.
Jian Dashao2 liked the kind of strong, healthy, handsome, red lips and white teeth pretty boy. In addition, the one in front of him now was way better looking than any of the ones he had seen before.
He had always thought that that idiot younger brother of his, Jian Suilin, was considered to be one of the most delicate and pretty boys, however, the person before him now had a completely different kind of calmness and handsome traits. His eyes traveled from the boy’s dark red lips, to his fair and beautiful neck, all the way down toward the short pants that revealed his slender yet sturdy calves.
He had met countless people in his life, yet never before did he have the urgency to get close to someone… unfortunately, the person was Jian Suilin’s friend.
He suppressed his desires and pretended to have not given them a glance.
Jian Suilin quickly called out: “Ge3, you’re back.”
Jian Suiying simply said, ‘yeah’ as he usually did; not paying much attention to him.
“Ge, this is my classmate, Li Yu. He’s the senior official’s grandson.”
“Oh? How come I’ve never met him before?”
“Wasn’t Uncle Li transferred to a different province a long while ago? He just transferred back here this year. We’ve known each other since we were little, but we haven’t met up for a long time.”
Jian Suiying remembered that his father had indeed mentioned something about it. Mr. Li’s son was promoted and transferred back to Beijing —that was how he had heard it but since he hadn’t taken it seriously, he didn’t take note. Although both the Jian and Li family participated in the same Chinese New Year events and other festive gatherings, they were not especially close.
Had he known that Mr. Li had such a delicate, refined,4 and precious grandson, he would have certainly rushed to their door and wormed his way into being their friend.
He nodded, trying to remain in control so that he appeared tranquil before he walked toward them.
When Jian Suilin stood up, Li Yu immediately did so as well.
With just one glance, it was easy to notice that Li Yu had grown up well. Now that he stood, he was already almost as tall as Jian Suiying —slender in stature, strong and robust in health. His handsome face was inkling between that of a man and an inexperienced boy. There was no need to mention the energetic air he exuded… the more Jian Suiying looked, the more eager he became.
Jian Suiying’s fingers itched even more. He had always liked to play with such a kind of person, that was, a person with the kind of figure that could be called ‘beautiful and sexy.’
Jian Suiying extended his hand and smiled, “Mr. Li’s grandson? Then you can call me Ge.”
Li Yu’s expression was that of calmness, almost indifference really, but it was not at all lacking in manners when he lightly grasped Jian Suiying’s hand.
With just that handshake, Jian Suiying’s fondness of him increased. It was rare to see such earnest mannerism from an eighteen, maybe nineteen-years-old boy.
He intentionally patted Li Yu’s back, “Did you two just finish playing soccer? If so, don’t turn the air conditioner on so high. Since your clothes haven’t dried yet, you might catch a cold.”
Jian Suiying could feel his own heartbeat jump some more with the strong and supple hand still within his own grasp.
Jian Suilin seldom saw his older brother with such an amicable manner toward him, so it couldn’t but be filled with joy —it was to the point he could not hide his feelings. He quickly complied with his brother and picked up the remote control. “I turned the temperature up a bit earlier.”
Jian Suiying glanced at the cake on the table, “You both ate already?”
Jian Suilin replied, “Not yet.”
“Why aren’t you eating properly after a tiring match? Why are you eating all those sweets? Where’s Wu Ma?”5
“Wu Ma had some things to do at home, so she left earlier this morning.”
“Then there’s no one at home?”
“Dad’s not coming back tonight, and mom… my mom also went out.” Jian Suilin immediately became nervous when he realized what he had said wrong.
On any other given time, Jian Suiying would usually seize the opportunity to taunt him, but since he was in an exceptionally good mood today, he was not bothered. “How about calling for take-outs? I’m also hungry.”
Jian Suilin readily agreed: “Ge, what do you want to eat?”
“I want to eat…” Jian Suiying’s eyes turned until it met his brother’s hopeful ones before it landed on Li Yu, whose thoughts he did not know. “All right, let’s not get take-outs, it’s not sanitary. Since it’s rare for your classmate to come by, you should make something instead. That eggplant dish you made last time was pretty good.”
Jian Suilin was dumbfounded. “Oh, okay… Ge, you want to eat eggplant? I’ll go look in the kitchen,” he said and then turned toward the kitchen.
When he walked away, Jian Suiying was left with Li Yu who felt more or less awkward.
Jian Suiying enthusiastically patted his shoulder and said with a smile: “What are you standing for, sit down.”
Li Yu politely smiled back and sat down, and Jian Suiying immediately followed suit, sitting beside him. He looked at the smooth and clear outline of his face, and the more he looked, the more uncommon it was. He really wished he could press him against the sofa, rip the soccer jacket off his body and behave in a very unscrupulous manner – right then.
Now that he thought about it, he never played with a boy wearing that kind of attire before. If he were to have him in his hands later on, how much would his preference change?
Jian Suiying tried as much as possible to maintain a normal facial expression. He used an elder brother’s tone of voice to speak, “You guys are taking the college entrance examination6 soon. Now that you’ve switched school, are you able to adjust?”
“It’s okay, there are exams everywhere.” Li Yu just casually answered without much thought while his eyes moved toward the kitchen.
Jian Suiying lit a cigarette but as he was about to place it in his mouth, he glanced at Li Yu: “Do you want one?”
Li Yu slightly frowned. “Thanks, but I don’t smoke.”
Jian Suiying looked at his not-so-ordinary porcelain face and the calmness that came with unfamiliarity. His fondness for him seemed to increase – even more.
He was not blind. He could clearly see that Li Yu was blatantly ignoring him.
That was also not surprising. He was Jian Suilin’s friend after all. It was probable that he had said some things behind his back that caused his friend to be at odds with him.
However, the more it was like that, the more challenging it was, right?
Jian Dashao really enjoyed the psychological conquest for that type of person – the kind that loved to ignore him. It had just the right amount of flavor to him.
But the thing was, he did not see the awkwardness in Li Yu’s eyes as he continued to talk nonsense to him. “You’re called Li Yu, huh. Which Yu?”
“‘Yu’ from ‘jade artifact’.”7
“Oh, isn’t that a young lady’s name?”
Li Yu’s eyelids hung down slightly as he went silent.
“That’s a very good name. If it was some other guy’s name, it would not work. But for you, it adds character. It’s natural.” There was already a trace of ambiguity in the last words Jian Suiying said.
Who knew if Li Yu heard the vagueness in it since his lids were still lowered.
Jian Suiying forced a smile. “Hey, have we met when I was younger? How old were you when you left Beijing?”
A flash of light crossed Li Yu’s downcast eyes before he spoke in an almost inaudible tone, “I don’t think so.”
“Probably not then since I don’t have any recollection of it. How old was Jian Suilin when he came to my house? I’ve also forgotten… at that time, you must have also been a kid. If you were handsome then as you are now, I definitely wouldn’t have forgotten. Hahaha.”
Li Yu’s face was already displaying a slight sign of impatience, however, out of consideration, he did not get up and leave.
Jian Suiying continued, “How’s your grades? Which schools are you taking exams for?”
“It’s okay, and only local universities.”
Jian Suiying’s skin was very thick; the more the person ignored him, the more exhilarated he was. He continued to chat without any worries. “I see, there’s a lot of good universities around here. What good is there in going to an unfamiliar place, right? You must be really tired now. Xiao Lin Zi8 often stays up really late into the night and doesn’t sleep. Actually, that’s not really good, especially since the closer examination day, the more rest that’s needed. If something were to happen to your health, it would interfere with things, right?”
“It’s very good that you guys exercise during your spare time since your health is the most important after all.”
As he said that, he once again seized an opportunity to pat Li Yu’s back, feeling the firm muscles.
Li Yu awkwardly nodded his head, “I’m going to help in the kitchen.”
“Hey, there’s no need for that. He can do something this small. You’re the guest, it’s okay for you to sit down… that’s right, I wanted to ask you, does Xiao Lin Zi have a girlfriend?”
Li Yu shook his head, “He doesn’t.”
“He doesn’t? He should be really welcomed by the girls at school? I was a student once. At this age, talking about love is not a big deal. It’s just that it’s better not to waste time at this crucial moment. If he does have one, you have to tell me. I’m only saying this for his own good.”
“Jian-ge, he really doesn’t have one.”
“Oh, then do you have one?”
In truth, that was what Jian Suiying truly wanted to ask since whether Jian Suilin had a girlfriend or not was only a trifling matter to him.
Li Yu really didn’t want to sit there anymore, but he couldn’t just get up. Without any better option, he grudgingly said: “I don’t have one either.”
Jian Suiying immediately became cheerful. He was more or less done, and no longer needed to drag that nonsense of a talk on anymore.
The impatience in Li Yu’s eyes was already impossible to hide.
Actually, Jian Suiying —being the outspoken, straightforward, popular, and generous man that he was— had tons of friends who he would have never gone as far as to provoke trouble from. But in regard to Li Yu, he could just casually say a word or two and make that inexperience and naïve boy start to worship him.
Unfortunately, as Jian Suilin’s friend, there was no need to care for him. That was what Li Yu thought.
Jian Suiying himself knew when to stop. Just leaving an impression on him was more than enough. If he were to bother him even more, that would certainly produce the opposite of the desired result.
“Then you sit here, I’ll go take a look in the kitchen,” Jian Suiying said and walked toward the kitchen.
Li Yu was finally able to let out a sigh of relief.
When Jian Suiying entered the kitchen, he saw his little brother with an apron tied around his waist, focusing on stir-fry.
Jian Suiying leaned against the door frame, “How is it coming along?”
“Ge, it’s almost done. You should go back and sit down. The smoke is huge here.”
“It’s fine,” Jian Suiying replied as he walked toward Jian Suilin and looked at the emerald green peppers in the frying pan. “Smells pretty good.”
Since Jian Suilin was young, his older brother had never looked kindly at him. Throughout the year, there were only a few days that he was pleasant to him like this, hence, that made it hard for him to adapt to.
Jian Suiying pretended to absent-mindedly ask, “Why did Mr. Li’s grandson transfer to a school back here at such a time? Can he keep up with the studies?”
“He can. He’s a really smart person.”
“He flew here in such a grand manner, the young girls in your school must be going crazy.”
Jian Suilin laughed, “That’s right. The day he arrived, the hallway was packed with girls who ran over to our classroom to look at him. Let’s just say, this is not an exaggeration at all.”
Jian Suiying didn’t know how to describe it, but he was a bit pleased with himself. Most likely because he felt that his own eyes did not betray him.
Please note that this chapter is slightly different from the one on Wattpad as it has been edit by me again; oh man, I was so bad back then and I saw so many grammar errors. T_T
1 Feyenoord Rotterdam – Dutch professional football (soccer) club based in Rotterdam, playing in the Eredivisie. The history of Feyenoord, a Dutch football club formed in 1908, is among the longest and most successful in Dutch football. The club won its first national championship in 1924 and over nearly a century has won thirty major trophies.
2 Dashao – son of a rich family
3 Ge – literal meaning, older brother, but is also a suffix used for an older male, regardless of status. I prefer using this over saying ‘brother’ since later on, it sounds odd to the mouth for me to say like Brother Jian, Brother ‘whatever,’ so I’ll stick with Ge. ☺
4 如花似玉 rú huā sì yù – literal idiom: delicate as a flower, refined as a precious jade
5 Wu Ma –housekeeper/nanny *ma indicates mom
6 NCEE – National College Entrance Examination (college entrance exam in PRC) 普通高等學校招生全國統一考試 [Pǔtōng Gāoděng Xuéxiào Zhāoshēng Quánguó Tǒngyī Kǎoshì]
7 Yu means jade, so Li Yu’s Yu comes from the word, jade artifact.
8 Xiao Lin Zi – Jian Sui Lin = Xiao (little) + Lin + Zi (add to emphasis boy)
*These images are a few years after the event of the story*