Translate: Sae | Proofread: Anasofia
Jiang Cheng felt that he had quite the skill to be able to pick such an inexplicable outfit without much thought.
The outfit itself was pretty good-looking if you ignored the jacket: slim-fitted pants and a loose black T-shirt, and although it was also that of knitted material, at the very least it was the kind that wouldn’t lure the masses to gape at when worn outside.
But as soon as he put this jacket on, he froze and looked back at Gu Fei. “Hey, are you sure I didn’t get the wrong clothes?”
“Yeah.” Gu Fei was still looking at him from behind the camera. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, but don’t you think that this looks like a knitted version of the one from the Matrix? No, no, isn’t it more like a missionary style if I wrap a woven rope around my waist?” Jiang Cheng pulled up the clothes and said in a small voice, “Is there a mirror? I feel like a Master of the Law……”1
Gu Fei didn’t respond and only laughed and pointed at the back wall.
This jacket was quite long, enough to reach all the way down to his calf, and the material was relatively thin and soft, giving off a loose-fitting appearance when worn. It was the legendary lax and casual style. However, if it was worn outside by a shorter and skinnier person, they would certainly be caught and taken back to Qingshan.
“This requires the right face, body, height, and presence,” Ding Zhuxin said, leaning against the door. “You have a better vibe when you wear this than Da Fei. If he wore it, he would only look like a delinquent.”
“Oh, even if he doesn’t wear this, he’s essentially a delinquent.” Jiang Cheng stood in front of the mirror and looked at himself. It was actually… okay. Even though he would never buy these kinds of clothes, he wasn’t picking for himself at the moment. “Whoever the designer for this is, I have to give them a smile.”
“It’s me,” Ding Zhuxin said.
“… huh?” Jiang Cheng froze and looked over to see Ding Zhuxin’s expression of “I know what you’re thinking”, the familiar feeling of embarrassment suddenly sprung up unbidden, rising steeply from the ground. And, when he followed her into the small room, his limbs were moving a bit ipsilaterally.2
When Ding Zhuxin applied makeup on his face, Gu Fei was switching on all the light sources on the photography set.
“Don’t worry, just casually move around.” Ding Zhuxin said as she swept the brush on his face a few times, “All done.”
Jiang Cheng stood on the spot where the photo was to be taken as she instructed. The set itself was actually pretty cool but he didn’t know what to do after he got on it.
“Let’s take a few steps back and forth.” Gu Fei aimed the camera toward him, “Just move from left to right and then right to left.”
“En,” Jiang Cheng nodded and turned to the side. As soon as he moved, and the camera in Gu Fei’s hands clicked, he could not help but turn his head. “You took a shot already? I feel like I walked weirdly3 just now.”
“Just walk, and don’t worry about whether or not I’ve taken a shot.” Gu Fei clicking the shutter again.
Jiang Cheng took a deep breath then walked from left to right.
With the area where the photography set was placed being only a few square meters, getting to the end didn’t take that many steps. He turned around and walked back from right to left.
“Lower your head as you walk,” Gu Fei said while clicking. “Go a bit faster, with larger strides.”
Jiang Cheng lowered his head slightly and walked across once more.
Gu Fei stared at him through the lens and took a series of shots.
Jiang Cheng’s figure was fixed in the frame, with his head lowered, his legs making large strides, and the corner of the lower hem of his jacket slightly fluttering… dynamic and breathtaking.
“Put the hood on,” Ding Zhuxin said. “The hood also needs to give prominence to the design.”
“Oh.” Jiang Cheng pulled over on the hood of the jacket and walked forward while adjusting it. “Now I feel like the grim reaper…”
“Jiang Cheng,” Gu Fei called out to him.
“En?” Jiang Cheng turned his head around.
Gu Fei quickly clicked the shutter.
It was the same striding forward post: his raised hands and the edge of the hood concealed half of his face, and only his eyes that were hidden in the shadow and the bridge of his straight nose were visible.
“That was a great shot,” Gu Fei said.
“Face forward,” Ding Zhuxin said while sipping her tea.
“There’s no need to smile or make any expression.” Gu Fei glanced at Jiang Cheng, “There’s also no need for any movements either.”
It would be difficult for the average person to hold this kind of stance that held no facial expression or movements, and arms hung to the side without looking stupid. Gu Fei didn’t know why he had asked Jiang Cheng, a person who was not a professional and had nothing to do with modelling, to use this posture.
“Wouldn’t that look stupid?” Jiang Cheng sighed and stood as he had instructed.
“No,” Gu Fei answered simply and clicked the shutter.
Jiang Cheng must have grown up showing off his good looks shamelessly4, seeing as he was actually able to handle such an idiotic stance like this.
There was no tension as if he was standing at attention, nor was there a deliberate uneasiness to relax oneself.
His center of gravity was slightly shifted to the right leg, and his shoulder was naturally relaxed – this was very important. Those that didn’t know how to stand properly would either overly stretch back their shoulders or hunch forward unnecessarily…
This kid must have practiced standing in front of the mirror before; the tall and straight, and casualness of his posture……. made his long arms and legs appeared relaxed and content.
“Lift your chin a bit,” Ding Zhuxin said, “Be a bit arrogant.”
“When you first walked into Class 8,” Gu Fei said. “Like that.”
“I was annoyed then.” Jiang Cheng recalled the time he had stood there like a complete idiot to accept the whole class inspection, and immediately felt some of that annoyance return.
Gu Fei clicked the shutter, and after a few more clicks, he finally put down the camera. “You should consider this profession if you ever run out of options.”5
“What’s that supposed to mean, why does he have to be out of options to consider doing this?” Ding Zhuxin laughed and said.
“He’s a xueba,” Gu Fei said. “Unlike you and your group of ex-dropouts.”
“Move aside.” Ding Zhuxin clapped her hands and hammered on the arm. “Jiang Cheng, go change into another one, the one piece.”
“Which one?” Jiang Cheng took off the jacket and asked as he walked out.
“That one piece, the long pullover.” Ding Zhuxin said.
Jiang Cheng went out, but Gu Fei stayed behind and looked through the photos that he had just taken one by one.
If he had to name something about Jiang Cheng that especially attracted him… excluding stuff like being a xueba, playing the tin-whistle, skilled with a slingshot, and such, it would precisely be this demeanour of his. You could call him a bad boy, you could say that he was hot-tempered, even contemptuous – it all worked; there was a type of arrogance embedded in his bones that made people concede to him, an attitude that said ‘laozi6 is just that awesome’.
Compared to everything else, this intuitive and straightforward attraction was the most powerful thing | it did not require you to uncover or perceive it – you needed only to look at it.
Looking was enough.
Visual animals are superficial like that.
Gu Fei sighed softly – all he could do was look.
He could no longer remember how long it had been since he last was in the mindset to spare a single glance at those around him that came and went, those that remained and those that stayed.
Dating young must be put to an end.
He wasn’t in the mood, but he also didn’t dare to – everything that he protected just couldn’t bear any instability.
“Excuse me,” Jiang Cheng came in lifting a linen-coloured outfit. “Is it this one?”
“Yes,” Ding Zhuxin nodded.
“I wanted to ask, how do you wear this?” Jiang Cheng spread open the garment, held it by the shoulder, and shook it. “And what do I wear on the inside?”
“Underwear,” Ding Zhuxin said.
Jiang Cheng shook the garment in his hand again with question marks of all sizes written in the expression across his face.
Gu Fei turned his head and used the camera to obstruct his own face as he tried his best to hold back his laughter, thinking he could almost hear the desperate cry in Jiang Cheng’s heart.
This garment was a very thinly knitted pullover that was rather long in length and looked like it could reach down to Jiang Cheng’s knees; the neckline was unnecessarily large as well. Gu Fei had seen this design before but had always thought that Ding Zhuxin had designed it for herself. He didn’t anticipate that it was actually menswear.
“Go change,” Ding Zhuxin said. “It should look good on you.”
“It’s hollow at the center?” Jiang Cheng stated, unwilling to give up.
“That’s right,” Ding Zhuxin said. “You got abs? If you don’t, I can help draw it for you.”
Jiang Cheng’s expression remained incomprehensible.
“Does he?” Ding Zhuxin turned to ask Gu Fei.
“Ah?” Gu Fei turned his head around, without having a chance to restrain the smile on his face. “I think so.”
“Go change then. I thought you were afraid of being embarrassed because you didn’t have abs.”
“En.” Jiang Cheng nodded his head like he had decided something, but after he walked out, he poked his head back in. “Xin-jie, I’m just asking but do people actually buy these clothes?”
“Of course,” Ding Zhuxin sipped her tea, “All my designs sell pretty well.”
“How wondrous. What kind of people buy them?” Jiang Cheng said in a small voice.
“Crazy people, probably,” Ding Zhuxin said.
Once he stripped until he was only left in his underpants and put on the garment that was practically the same as a torn fishnet, Jiang Cheng felt that it was no different from being naked. He quickly walked over to the mirror for a glance.
Oh, my God —
Jiang Cheng firmly believed that if this garment could be sold, it could only be attributed to his own figure being just too fucking good…
He clenched his teeth and walked back in.
Gu Fei had his head down and was fiddling with the camera, but as soon as he looked up and saw him, he immediately whistled.
“Shut up you,” Jiang Cheng pointed at him.
“Good thing the underpants is black.” Ding Zhuxin closely scrutinized his whole figure and said with great satisfaction, “I was even thinking of finding you a black one if it wasn’t… let’s start.”
“En.” Jiang Cheng walked over to the set only to see that part of it had been replaced, appearing even more fresh and cool than before.
“Take your shoes off. Barefoot only,” Ding Zhuxin said.
Jiang Cheng didn’t have the strength to resist while wearing such clothes; he simply took off his shoes and socks without a word and stood barefoot in the centre.
“This outfit doesn’t require much movement,” Ding Zhuxin said. “The name of this piece is ‘Soundless’. Try to find a feeling for it.”
That was the only thing Jiang Cheng could think of at this moment based on the word.
And as for the feeling.
He felt a little cold… the outfit was completely covered in holes after all. Not to mention that Ding Zhuxin could make out that the underpants were black, she probably saw exactly what fucking brand it was.
But he had to unearth the feeling, nonetheless.
Ding Zhuxin paid him to take these photos – she was his employer. He had to find this so-called feeling, and besides, Gu Fei had also been holding the camera waiting for him.
Okay, not silence. Soundless.
The absence of sound.
He somehow remembered a Russian song that he used to be very fond of.
Тихо, тихо, тихо, тихотактаетвночи……7
Quietly, quietly, quietly, quietly clinging for a long time…
The whole song made one feel calm.
After a quarrel with his family, he often put on headphones to listen to it.
With his eyes closed, he would listen to the lyrics that he didn’t understand and hear the voice in his heart.
That was a hell of a long way to go… he had to search all the way in Siberia for such a feeling…
In the frame, Jiang Cheng closed his eyes and placed his right hand gently on the left side of his chest.
Gu Fei clicked the shutter.
At this moment, Jiang Cheng gave off the feeling of being very far away, enclosed by a deep sense of distance.
Confusion and stubbornness written in the silent placidity.
After he clicked the shutter, he kept the camera lifted for a long time without moving as he looked through the lens, transfixed by Jiang Cheng’s face.
… until Ding Zhuxin lightly cleared her throat.
Jiang Cheng opened his eyes as if he had been awakened, and as his hand came down, his finger got caught on the collar. He gently pulled it away which caused it to bounce back.
The shutter of the camera in Gu Fei’s hand sounded with a series of clicks.
The faint perplexity in Jiang Cheng’s eyes, his slightly opened lips, the collar caught by his finger, and the fingertips that drew across his body…
“I think it’s great,” Ding Zhuxin said. “Very seductive, but also very sensitive.”
Gu Fei didn’t say anything as he looked down at the camera in his hands for a long time, finally, he took a breath and slowly exhaled as if sighing.
“I’m gonna…” Gu Fei put down the camera, “To the bathroom.”
After he sat on the lid of the toilet, Gu Fei lit a cigarette hanging in his mouth.
And watched as the smoke drifted toward the window.
Life… had always been full of all sorts of unpredictable things.
For example, Gu Miao had been unpredictably found by Jiang Cheng, who had unpredictably kissed Mother Earth in front of his shop, and then unpredictably became his deskmate…
The aforementioned were not too unpredictable.
What surprised Gu Fei was that he, who had always known himself to have a fairly good grasp of all things, had actually reacted when taking those pictures.
This kind of thing was truly unpredictable.
Even a person like him who had always been indifferent had to hide in the toilet to calm down.
When he thought about this point, he couldn’t help but think that if Jiang Cheng was him…… he would probably off himself in the toilet.8
When Gu Fei came out of the toilet with a cigarette hanging in his mouth, Jiang Cheng was standing in front of the clothing racks, fighting to the death with another piece of garment.
The unflagging battlefield had reached a stalemate; he tore apart at the garment, but the garment had locked fiercely around his throat.
When he heard the door behind him sounded, he lifted his arm and peeked through the gap in the garment. Seeing that it was Gu Fei, he didn’t even care to be embarrassed and kept his voice down. “Fuck, come and help me.”
“… what’s going on here?” Gu Fei quickly stubbed the smoke and walked over. He reached out his hands several times but didn’t know where to pull to release him.
“Yeah, huh.” Jiang Cheng still had his arm held up, showing half a face full of anger and frustration from between his arm and collar. “This is not fucking meant for humans to wear! This neckline, only infants can get into this!”
“Wait.” Gu Fei circled around him, “Let me see.”
“If you had come out any later, I would’ve torn this outfit apart. I’ll admit it even if I have to pay for the damages,” Jiang Cheng said.
“I think…” Gu Fei lifted the left side of the garment for a look, “Did you go in through the sleeves?”
“… when you put it like that.” Jiang Cheng was stiff in place, “I suddenly feel like that does make a lot of sense.”
Gu Fei didn’t say anything and neither did he.
After two seconds, he knew that his and Gu Fei’s cycle of foolish laughter was about to break loose again.
By the time Ding Zhuxin came out, the two were already engaged in a perfervid laugh. Gu Fei attempted to help him out of the garment several times, but the laughter had weakened his hands which made his efforts unsuccessful.
And Jiang Cheng, himself, laughed so hard that he felt that even if the cuff of the sleeve strangled him, he wouldn’t be able to stop.
“I’m sorry.” Ding Zhuxin took out her cellphone and snapped a picture of the two. “I need to post this on my Moment.”
“What?” Gu Fei asked as he leaned against the rack and continued to laugh.
“My part-time photographer and my part-time model,” Ding Zhuxin said. “Have gone crazy.”
“Almost done. He went in through the sleeves.” Gu Fei finally calmed down and lightly pulled and tugged at the garment while Jiang Cheng moved back, trying to make his arms and head become one – at long last, the garment came off.
“Ay!” He crouched on the floor, “I’m freaking beat.”
“Hurry up, Jie will treat you both to take-outs for dinner.” Ding Zhuxin turned around and went back in.
At the start, Jiang Cheng didn’t think 30 sets of clothes were much, after all, he would sometimes put together and try out two or three outfits just before heading out.
Today, he finally knew how annoying it was to get dressed and undressed.
Constantly dressing, constantly undressing, and then having to stand in front of the lights to search for all sorts of feelings while the soreness in his legs from the ballgame had yet to completely wane, he wanted to rip off the clothes every time he changed.
The crucial point was that Ding Zhuxin’s clothes were all complete sets, not 30 separate pieces of clothing whereas just changing the trousers alone two or three times was enough – for each change, he had to strip from head to toe.
When darkness reigned, Ding Zhuxin had said for them to eat first, but Jiang Cheng refused. He felt that if he stopped to rest and finished a meal, he wouldn’t want to continue anymore even if he was beaten to death; even additional money wouldn’t increase his enthusiasm.
Hence, neither of them ate and pressed on until past nine o’clock before finally completing today’s tiring mission.
“Hungry?” Ding Zhuxin asked as she transferred the day’s pay to Jiang Cheng. “Go downstairs and eat something. What do you want?”
“I… don’t want to eat.” Jiang Cheng felt a lot more comfortable after he changed into his own clothes. His whole body became relaxed and then exhaustion struck him. “I’m going back to sleep, I’m dead tired.”
“You’re not hungry?” Ding Zhuxin said, “Just have a bite or two. What happens if you get hungry later in the night?”
“Thank you, Xin-jie.” Jiang Cheng yawned, “Honestly, I’m so sleepy that I don’t even feel hungry anymore. I reckon that even if I’m hungry later, I won’t even know it.”
Ding Zhuxin laughed, “Alright then. Will you still have the energy to come over tomorrow?”
“It’ll be fine after I sleep,” Jiang Cheng said.
“Then, you should take a taxi back,” Ding Zhuxin said. “I’ll reimburse you for the travel expenses.”
“No worries,” Jiang Cheng quickly said. “It’s really not necessary, I’ll take care of it myself.”
Ding Zhuxin still had something to say but Gu Fei cut in. “Give me the money. I’m taking the taxi back with him.”
“You’re not eating either?” Ding Zhuxin looked at him, a bit surprised.
“En.” Gu Fei took out a stick of cigarette and lit it. “My mom made food today and left some for me. I have to eat it all when I get back, otherwise, she will cry again.”
“Alright then.” Ding Zhuxin nodded.
Jiang Cheng went to flag down a taxi by the roadside while Gu Fei and Ding Zhuxin stood there in silence.
“Da Fei,” Ding Zhuxin opened her mouth when she saw a taxi approaching.
“En,” Gu Fei answered.
“This is my first time seeing you laugh so heartily like that,” Ding Zhuxin stated as she looked at Jiang Cheng’s back. “I watched you grow up and today was the first time I’ve seen it.”
“What do you mean, watched me grow up?” Gu Fei laughed, avoiding Ding Zhuxin’s words. “You’re only a few years older than me, and you sound like my mom. I also watched you grow up.”
“Get in the car,” Ding Zhuxin said. “I have some things to take care of tomorrow, so I won’t be here. I will have the outfits that need to be photographed prepared by then. My assistant will come over to do the makeup, and you can help me with the rest.”
“Okay.” Gu Fei threw away the cigarette butt and got in the taxi.
Jiang Cheng fell asleep as soon as his body touched the seat; he could even sense himself sleeping like a pig. Gu Fei pushed him several times before he finally realized that it was not the shaking of the taxi and opened his eyes.
“We’re here?” Jiang Cheng rubbed his face and opened the door, preparing to get out. “I had almost started to dream.”
“Uh…” Gu Fei pulled at his arm.
Jiang Cheng was about to ask him what happened when he heard the commotion from up ahead. There was the sound of a man shouting, a woman screaming, and another woman wailing.
And as his eyes followed the source of the sound, his whole body sank into an endless state of anxiety – in that instant, an afternoon and half a night of exhaustion were literally going to blow the lid off his head.
Li Baoguo, Li Hui, and Li Qian – his own father, brother, and sister – he recognized at a glance. There was also a woman with a limp who he had never seen before nor did he know who she was.
This woman was dragging her limping leg and scuffling with Li Baoguo, crying and cursing, though she appeared to be speaking in dialect with a heavy accent that he could not make out.
Li Baoguo was completely unlike his cowardly self from the other day when he lay on the ground and held his head as those people kicked and beat him. Now he was very aggressively fighting with this woman, but no matter how hard Li Hui and Li Qian pulled at him, they could not hold him back.
“Believe it or not, I’ll beat you to death!” Li Baoguo’s words were clear and full of vigor: “You must have not been fixed9 enough by Laozi yet! Just see if I’ll let you come out of this alive today!”
Jiang Cheng suddenly felt out of breath. He threw himself back into the taxi, which pushed Gu Fei —who was about to get off with him— back in and closed the door.
“What’s wrong? You’re not getting off?” the driver asked.
“Let’s take you back first,” Jiang Cheng softly said to Gu Fei – his throat feeling a bit tight.
“Alright.” Gu Fei didn’t ask further. “Shifu10, please turn to Beixiao street.”
“Okay.” The driver turned around the car and drove over to the next street.
After passing Gu Fei’s shop, the taxi moved ahead for a while longer. Once they reached the front of several residential buildings, Gu Fei told the driver to stop.
“Are you going anywhere else?” the driver asked.
“Just here.” Gu Fei handed the driver the money and then pushed Jiang Cheng. “Get out.”
Jiang Cheng did as he was told and got out of the taxi, his whole head feeling a bit numb as he looked at the building before him. “Your place?”
“En,” Gu Fei said and walked toward the entrance. “Come watch me work on the photos.”
“What photos?” Jiang Cheng hesitated for a moment but still followed him.
“Your photos ah, don’t you want to see them? So hawt,”11 Gu Fei said.
“Okay,” Jiang Cheng smiled.
Our Jiang Cheng is a cultured boy! GOTTA LOVE THEM ❤ AND GU FEI IS DEFINITELY CHECKING JIANG CHENG OUT!! COME ON XD
Anchor (якоря) by Lyube (Любэ́) |Translated by alazanivalley – THANK YOU ❤
The weather at Kamchatka is not great, the mist again.
And it’s going to rain tomorrow according to weather forecasts.
The ocean sleeps quietly being covered by the waves.
Hear me sailor, don’t raise him (yeah, in Russian ocean is “he”) from his sleep! Don’t raise him!
Quietly, quietly, quietly, quietly it’s melting in the night.
The puff of smoke in the night, as old captain smokes a pipe.
Quietly, quietly, quietly, quietly he lived for so long
Just near you, ocean.
To live like that – you have to dream!
To love – you have to raise (maybe in here the meaning is more like “to give away”) anchors, anchors of our destiny.
To live like that; to believe and to wait –
And to forgive, so that we can understand – (raise) the anchors, anchors of our love.
Before the dawn, your captain came to bid farewell to the sea.
Night lights are dying out in the sky near the pier.
Quietly the boat sails away from the shore toward deep fog.
Hear me sailor, don’t call for him, don’t call for him.
Anchors, anchors of our destiny.
Anchors, anchors of our love.
Anchors, anchors of our life.
1 Master of the Law (priest) 法师 fa3shi1 – in religion refers to a monk/priest in its simplest form but to be more specific, it means Master of the Law which is the title of respect for a Buddhist or Taoist priest; or one who has mastered the sutras (Buddhism)
2 Ipsilateral – synonym homolateral: On the same side (with reference to a given point) – when you swing the same hand as the leg you walk out with – right leg and right arm, and then you take a step, left leg and left arm (we normally walk the opposite way) – An
3 Weirdly – 顺拐 the word Jiang Cheng used is also “Ipsilateral” – “I feel like I walked rather ipsilaterally just now”
4 must have grown up showing off his good looks shamelessly (从小到大都臭美得不行的人) – more accurately: must have been ridiculously vain growing up
5 run out of options (天混不下去了): literal – can’t hold on anymore
6 laozi (老子) – I (used arrogantly or jocularly)
7 Тихо, тихо, тихо, тихотактаетвночи…… Quietly, quietly, quietly, quietly clinging for a long time… from the song Якоря – “Anchor” by the Russian rock band – Lyube –
8 Off himself – mean to get rid/kill yourself; at first I read it as he was going to finish himself off as in to release or give himself a hand-job…. Our dirty minds!!
9 fix (someone) – To exact revenge upon or punish someone.
10 Shifu (师傅) – master / qualified worker / respectful form of address for older men
11 辣么suai (original) – so hawt: Gu Fei was just trying to be cute (An)