Translate: Sae | Proofread: Anasofia
After the non-verbal agreement ended, neither of the two spoke again.
Gu Fei did not acknowledge or denied Jiang Cheng’s question, and even after Jiang Cheng came to the “conclusion”, he still did not acknowledge or deny it.
His attitude was a little vague, but Jiang Cheng felt that it was enough. His question was originally just a daring probe that simply appeared to be an attack to protect his own secret.
There were so many people in this world who wanted to keep themselves hidden and so many things that they needed to keep hidden.
Gu Fei opened the window just a crack, lit a cigarette, and prepared to continue with retouching the images.
After two drags, Jiang Cheng reached out his hand: “Give me one.”
“You usually smoke, don’t you?” Gu Fei placed the pack of cigarettes in his hands. “How come you’re always asking me for one? What happens when I’m not here?”
“I ran out,” Jiang Cheng said and lit one. “If you’re not here, I just won’t smoke.”1
Gu Fei cracked the window open just a bit more.
“It’s cold.” Jiang Cheng withdrew back onto the sofa.
“Then go smoke in the kitchen with the vent on.” Gu Fei clicked the mouse and enlarged Jiang Cheng’s face on the screen.
In fact, for photos of clothes, he was generally disinclined to deal with the model’s face or only casually touched it up a bit at the very end – though, for most photos, he would directly crop out the face if he thought that it wasn’t shot nicely.
This face of Jiang Cheng, however, was honestly very good – so good that he could set aside the details of the clothing and get to work on that face first.
With the small lounging sofa near the desk, Jiang Cheng was basically face-to-face with him from where he was and couldn’t possibly see the screen, contrariwise, he needed not to fret over the embarrassment that would betide for if Jiang Cheng caught sight of him high-spiritedly touching up the model’s face first for photos he took of clothes.
“Gu Fei.” Jiang Cheng reached over to lightly flick the ash into the ashtray on the desk.
“En.” Gu Fei pushed the ashtray toward his hand. “Using my full name again?”
“You know, that was a plea earlier.2 I had to try and pretend to be friendly with you.” Jiang Cheng held the cigarette in his mouth and smiled. “I have a question to ask you.”
“Ask away.” Gu Fei stared at the screen, and to be truthful, there wasn’t much that needed to be done to this face of Jiang Cheng’s – physiognomically beautiful with also remarkably good skin.
Jiang Cheng glanced over at the bookcase, “The musical score that I saw last time, you wrote it right?”
“En?” Gu Fei froze and then also looked over at the bookcase.
“With such a large stack of books on music composition and all sorts of theories, if you still insist on saying that you didn’t write it,” Jiang Cheng said. “That’s just being too dishonest.”
Gu Fei laughed and after a while leaned back into the chair, “Yeah, I wrote it.”
“How unexpected.” Jiang Cheng spun the cup in his hand, “It sounded pretty good. An illiterate that can also write and compose music…”
“I’m not illiterate,” Gu Fei corrected him.
“A majorly unenthusiastic xuezha who can also write scores…” Jiang Cheng glanced at him. “You have any finished works?”
“No,” Gu Fei answered him very bluntly.
In reality, there were many finished works that were all saved in his computer even though he technically never listened to them, hence, saying that there were none wasn’t exactly wrong – the only one he occasionally listened to was the song sung by Ding Zhuxin.
When it came to these things, it wouldn’t have mattered if it was some other person, they could have listened all they wanted. He wasn’t very willing to reveal them in the presence of Jiang Cheng, however.
With Jiang Cheng being able to hum out the tune from just a quick glance of the score, he didn’t want to make a fool of himself due to any ignorant blunders.
“Man up a bit.” Jiang Cheng was probably pretty bored as he said full of zest with the cigarette still in his mouth, “I will keep it a secret.”
“Keep a fucking secret,” Gu Fei laughed. He hesitated for a moment, then opened the music player, searched around, and clicked play on that song.
When the guitar sounded, Jiang Cheng leaned back into the sofa. He didn’t know how to play the guitar but had always liked the sound of it. The thing was that everything he liked, whether it be the guitar, the tin whistle, or the recorder, his mother had always felt that they were not good enough to be presented.
Then came the harmony of a piano.
Devoid of feelings.
Having heard it too much, and also playing it too much, he simply did not want to touch a piano for even a second after passing eighth grade junior high.
His inept behaviour must have made his mother… made Shen Yiqing very much disappointed. After that, whenever relatives and friends came over and proposed to hear him play the piano, Shen Yiqing would always refuse with eyes full of disappointment.
Just be disappointed then, it wasn’t like he wanted to play anyways.
The prelude was pretty good, and it was possible to clearly descry the conveyed emotion – complete obscurity.
He couldn’t help but glance over at Gu Fei.
The perception that Gu Fei gave others was not of someone that had this sort of mentality.
A low female vocal humming sounded, and Jiang Cheng recognized the voice immediately.
“Ding Zhuxin?” He looked at Gu Fei, slightly taken aback.
“En,” Gu Fei responded as he continued to edit the photo with his eyes still glued on the screen.
Jiang Cheng stretched his head forward to take a peek – after holding back, that was – and saw a half of his own face and bare chest, along with a pulled open collar.
“What the fuck.” He quickly sat back down on the sofa… quite an oddity undoubtedly existed in seeing someone else editing photos of him. Naturally, he had been looking at himself in the mirror for more than a decade, however, this was downright awkward as heck as if he was peeping at a stranger.
“This shot is especially good,” Gu Fei said, looking at him.
“Oh.” Jiang Cheng nodded, then amidst Ding Zhuxin’s husky and indolent voice, he lowered his head to sip the lemon water.
“I step into a void, as if I’m about to fly…
Above me is confusion, and below me, I hear you say ‘this world is empty’…
You say one, two, three, shatter the past, let it wither away…
The wind blows, destroying the path back, do you see me singing…
You say, one, two, three, turn around, listen to the panic being wiped out…”
The melody was quite obscure, and so were the lyrics. But when Jiang Cheng heard, “do you see me singing”, he looked up and swept a glance toward Gu Fei.
The word “see” suddenly made him comprehend the concept of “soundless” that Ding Zhuxin had sought after earlier.
A silent kind of repression.
“Who wrote the lyrics?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“Guess.” Gu Fei folded one leg on the chair and rested his chin on the knee while the mouse being clicked sounded.
“It must be you,” Jiang Cheng said. “The lyrics and tune are all you, right?”
Gu Fei grabbed the coat that had been thrown to the side, took out a handful of candies from the pocket, and placed them on the desk in front of him.
“You play in a band with Ding Zhuxin, don’t you?” Jiang Cheng put a piece of milk candy in his mouth, feeling somewhat startled.
He hadn’t completely grasped the lyrics, but he could still recognize the delicacy and sensitivity within… the tenor was such that it was difficult to connect it with Gu Fei.
He looked fixedly at Gu Fei, beneath the equanimous exterior of this person, what exactly was it like in his heart of hearts?
“No. She used to bring me along, that’s all,” Gu Fei said.
“That’s interesting,” Jiang Cheng said. “But you don’t seem the type to play around with these things. I wouldn’t be surprised if you played the guitar. Generally speaking, most bad boys tend to put in a bit of effort in knowing how to pull a few chords for the sake of showing off…”
“I don’t know how to play the guitar,” Gu Fei said.
“Ohhh~ a bad boy that doesn’t know how to play the guitar,” Jiang Cheng said. “That’s considered a handicap on the road to picking up girls then.”
Gu Fei looked at him but didn’t say anything.
“… oh.” Jiang Cheng raised the cup toward him.
“Are you in a bad mood or something?” Gu Fei asked.
“En?” Jiang Cheng took a sip of the lemon water.
“You got a lot to say,” Gu Fei said.
Jiang Cheng went silent for a moment then placed the cup on the desk, “Do you recognize the woman that was fighting with Li Baoguo earlier?”
“I do,” Gu Fei answered plainly.
“Is she Li Baoguo’s ex-wife?” Jiang Cheng asked. “The one that he beat off.”
“Yeah, she did run off after he beat her, she’s not his ex-wife though.” Gu Fei lit another cigarette. “She’s his current wife. They’re not divorced.”
“… ah,” Jiang Cheng was startled but only for a second before he leaned back on the sofa and closed his eyes. “Fuck. What the fucking hell is all this shit, a bunch of crap.”
“She hasn’t been back in quite a long time. We normally don’t even see her more than once every few years or so,” Gu Fei said.
This was probably Gu Fei’s way of consoling him: this woman didn’t normally show up, not even once every few years.
But Jiang Cheng felt that no statement could spare his feelings because regardless of whether she only appeared once in a few years, or even if she did not reappear at all for a lifetime, she was still his biological mother.
As inconceivable as Li Baoguo, yet so real – nonetheless.
He especially wanted to call Shen Yiqing and ask her how desperate was she to actually adopt a child from such a family back then.
“Cheng-ge,” Gu Fei called out to him. “Come here, I have something to say.”
“What?” Jiang Cheng got up and walked over to his side.
“If you’re able to go in for the shoot tomorrow,” Gu Fei pointed at the screen, “Pay attention to your arm, and bring it in a little…”
“The fuck.” Jiang Cheng now saw clearly what he looked like in that outfit that allowed the wind through from all directions. He honestly couldn’t stand it and pointed at the photo, “You dare to edit photos for a living at this speed?”
Gu Fei laughed, “No. I edit pretty quickly. It’s a progressive process…”
“This is progressive? You’ve been on this exact photo for such a long time, where has the progress gone to anyways?” Jiang Cheng clearly could not understand this logic, “Is this photo a landslide-dammed lake?”3
“I edited a bunch already. I’m just using this one to explain to you,” Gu Fei said.
“Why do you have to use this one? Do I not have arms in the other photos?” Jiang Cheng sighed.
Gu Fei laughed for a long while and then also sighed: “This one is exceptionally good. I reckon Ding-laoban4 will use it as the featured image, and she might even gift you the outfit.”
“Fuck off,” Jiang Cheng said.
“Do you remember what I said just now?” Gu Fei asked.
“I remember.” Jiang Cheng pulled up a chair behind him and sat down. “Bring my arms in a bit.”
“Then I’ll continue,” Gu Fei said.
Jiang Cheng watched the cursor move back and forth as Gu Fei clicked on all sorts of editing options besides the photo, suddenly changing the image from light to dark and then maximizing to minimizing. After the change, he honestly couldn’t see any difference from the original if there was nothing to compare; he only knew that Gu Fei was certainly in the midst of this “progressive process.”
As he watched the photos of his various poses and expressions being ‘tormented’ in Gu Fei’s very hands, he couldn’t exactly look directly at it, constantly worried whether such clearly captured photos would reveal his eye gunk, nose hairs, and so on…
He stood up and returned to sit on the sofa before taking out a notebook from his school bag.
“Not watching anymore?” Gu Fei asked with his hand still moving.
“I don’t want to anymore,” Jiang Cheng said. “Is there another desk here?”
“For doing homework?” Gu Fei turned around to look at him.
“En,” Jiang Cheng nodded. “There’s an exam in a few days. I have to take a look at the notes.”
Gu Fei was still looking at him, but his hand had now stopped moving altogether. He asked after a long while: “You have to study?”
“Bullshit.” Jiang Cheng stared at him in disbelief, “There’s an exam, why wouldn’t I study?”
“Oh.” Gu Fei dropped the mouse and stood up. He moved the monitor and the keyboard to the side then unplugged the speakers and placed them on top of the computer tower which cleared half of the desk for him.
“Don’t you normally have a desk or something to do your homework on?” Jiang Cheng asked, putting his textbooks and notes on the table.
“If I have time, I copy them at the shop. If not, I won’t write it,” Gu Fei answered matter-of-factly.
“… oh.” Jiang Cheng remembered that Gu Fei was after all a xuezha, zha, zha, zha.
This thing called homework was for Jiang Cheng not a particularly annoying task since he could always write it out in any case. However, he was also always extremely serious every time.
When he was in primary school, he didn’t like to do homework, but the discipline at home was very strict, and the consequences of not doing homework were dreadfully severe. He gradually developed the habit of writing quickly and conscientiously for the sake of playing hard after he finished.
On the contrary, his younger brother had never allowed others to worry about things of these sorts.
Naturally, hereditary was different – genetics was genetics.
If he had never been adopted and had grown up next to Li Baoguo, then he would have been just as Li Baoguo and Li Hui were.
He sighed lightly, collected his thoughts, and continued with his homework.
In the gaps between his scribbles, he could see Gu Fei’s hand that was holding the mouse – it was truly, very good looking.
Gu Fei didn’t know how to play the guitar, but he should be able to play the piano, though at what level was unknown.
Jiang Cheng liked to watch the way fingers leaped between the piano keys – this was also his only joy in practicing the piano before.
The sole motivation to keep him playing a good tune was in the hope of seeing his fingers leap even more beautifully.
When his homework was almost completed, he reckoned that the photos were done, seeing that Gu Fei’s hand had also left the mouse.
“Done yet?” Gu Fei asked.
“Just a bit more.” Jiang Cheng kept on writing while he asked, “Do you want to copy it?”
“Are you going to help copy it for me?” Gu Fei asked again.
“Can’t you have some face once in a while?” Jiang Cheng glanced at him.
“I won’t copy it then.” Gu Fei stretched his body, “I’m sleepy. You can keep writing. I’m going to shower first.”
“Oh,” Jiang Cheng responded.
Even though writing out his homework was a matter that highly dampened his spirit, he still had some rather shameless imaginations after Gu Fei walked out of the room.
It wasn’t merely directed at Gu Fei, but rather at the phrase that Gu Fei had said, “take a shower”… after all, he was also a person who had seen many inappropriate ‘videos’, hence, in the atmosphere after exchanging secrets with Gu Fei, the lethality of those three words were still quite strong.
And even more unbearable was that after he had managed to calm down himself – though with great difficulty – by focusing on his homework, Gu Fei had finished showering and walked back into the room with pajamas on – he was immediately hard once more.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fucking balls.
“Do you want to shower?” Gu Fei pulled open a drawer and took out a thin cardboard box. “I have an old pajama, and underwear that has never been worn before…”
“Okay.” Jiang Cheng quickly got up, snatched the box and turned to leave.
“There are three pairs in there,” Gu Fei said from behind him.
Jiang Cheng opened the box at the speed of light, took one out, and threw the box back at him before he walked out.
If this wasn’t Gu Fei’s home, and his mom and little sister weren’t in their rooms, he would honestly have taken care of business in the bathroom. Ever since he got here, he had not done much of this activity especially with Li Baoguo who would always push open his door to come in at any moment, and the roaches and spiders that passed through the bathroom from time to time…
Lost in his myriad of thoughts, he somehow finished showering only to then realize that Gu Fei didn’t give him a towel. After hesitating for a while, he picked up the clothes that were already wet from the shower water and carelessly wiped himself here and there.
Sadly, right after he put on the underwear he then noticed once more that he had forgotten the pajamas in his haste.
“Fuck me.” He picked up the clothes that he had just changed out – which were originally wet – but after he used them to wipe himself, they were even more soaked.
After going through a long mental battle, he finally came to a decision. He gritted his teeth and opened the bathroom door, wasn’t he just returning to the room in his only underwear after a shower? What was there to feel guilty about?
Even if he was, and Gu Fei was also, so what? It wasn’t like they had to fool around just because they both were.
But before he walked out with confidence, he saw a set of neatly folded pajamas on the chair at the bathroom door.
Gu Fei, the kind of person that took care of others until it became a habit was sometimes, simply an angel… he grabbed the clothes, swiftly put them on, and immediately let out a sigh of relief.
When he pushed open the door to Gu Fei’s room, the computer on the desk was already turned off, and Gu Fei himself was sitting cross-legged on the bed playing on his phone.
“I…” Jiang Cheng walked somewhat awkwardly toward the sofa.
“You can just sleep on the inside of the bed,” Gu Fei said without looking up. “Don’t sleep on the sofa.”
“Why?” Jiang Cheng thought that was quite strange.
“Gu Miao sleepwalks, she will sometimes come in to sleep on the sofa,” Gu Fei said. “She will get scared if you take her place.”
“She even sleepwalks?” Jiang Cheng was taken aback.
“Not often. But since you’re here today, she’s very excited so I’m a bit worried.” Gu Fei put down his phone and looked at him.
“Alright.” Jiang Cheng wanted to say that he could sleep in the living room at first but then he thought that that was too deliberate thus he simply nodded his head instead. “You sleep on the inside.”
“En?” Gu Fei didn’t comprehend that.
“This bed of yours,” Jiang Cheng said, pointing at the bed. This bed in Gu Fei’s room was framed and completely enclosed from the head to the end like an old traditional Chinese bed, and even if the design was very modern and beautiful, it still had a very strong sense of privacy. “I’ll sleep on the outside.”
“Okay.” Gu Fei shifted to the inside and moved the pillow and comforter from the inside to the outside for him.
“Why on earth did you buy such a bed?” Jiang Cheng sat on the edge, “For a sense of security?”
“To block Gu Miao.” Gu Fei pointed at the foot of the bed, “She sometimes comes in without knocking, and she can see the bed the moment she comes in. If I’m doing a bit of something on the bed, I won’t have enough time to tidy up. But if I lock the door, she’ll get mad when she can’t get in.”
“… ah.” Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but glance back at him.
Gu Fei returned his gaze with a serious expression.
“Fuck.” Jiang Cheng laughed. Even though the topic had ahint of that nature, he still felt that it was indeed laughable.
“That’s how tiring it is to have a little sister.” Gu Fei laughed along with him, “I must have done something that wronged her in my past life.”
“I doubt it.” Jiang Cheng leaned against the headboard and pulled the comforter over himself. “Honestly, it’s because you’re a good brother.”
“Is that so.” Gu Fei lowered his head and continued to play on his phone.
“En, even though you’re always playing that retarded game…” Jiang Cheng glanced down at his phone screen only to see that he wasn’t actually playing that retarded Craz3 Match game, guessing he probably ran out of lives. “I used to have a brother.”
“Younger brother?” Gu Fei turned his head, somewhat surprised.
“En, their biological son, two years younger than me.” Jiang Cheng placed the pillow behind his back, “I get annoyed whenever I see him and he’s also annoyed when he sees me. I haven’t spoken a word to him, long before I came here…”
“Different personalities, I presume,” Gu Fei said.
“En, the whole family has a different personality from me,” Jiang Cheng said.
The two went quiet and neither no longer spoke.
But the silence in the room this time around did not make Jiang Cheng feel awkward – however. He stared blankly into space for a moment then turned on his phone and started to chat with Pan Zhi.
– Grandpa, do you still remember Huang Hui from Class 117?
– You finally can’t hold it in anymore and want to take action?
– Not at all. I wanted to say that she fucking got with that dogshit Liang Zhiyong | the nasty fucker. Right now, I want to cry but failed to shed a single tear.
– They just started, right? You still have a chance, hurry up and step in between them.
– That’s what I’m thinking also though I’m still considering which one of them can I succeed in seducing more easily.
Jiang Cheng laughed at his phone for the longest time until Gu Fei turned to look at him.
“My buddy,” Jiang Cheng said while still laughing. “He prematurely lost a love.”
“The one who went with you to the gymnasium during winter break?” Gu Fei asked.
“En,” Jiang Cheng nodded, thought about it some more, and then laughed again. “Exactly, the grandson.”
Silence visited once more after that laughter; the two continued to play on their phones, and although Jiang Cheng felt at first that this posture of leaning on the headboard would make him extremely awkward and unable to move an inch, it was unexpectedly the most comfortable “before falling asleep” that he had experienced in a long time.
A few moments of playing on his phone later, he heard soft laughter coming from Gu Fei’s side.
Jiang Cheng turned to look at him, and Gu Fei naturally passed his phone over to him. “Have you looked at our forum in the last two days?”
“Never thought about it.” Jiang Cheng took the phone, “Are they talking about the competition?”
“En,” Gu Fei laughed and nodded.
Jiang Cheng looked at the screen. Si Zhong’s forum was quite lively, and each post had a ton of views and replies. He glanced at the titles.
> Da Fei, my idol. He’s so freaking hottttt uwu ahhhhhhhhh
> Who is! This! Cute Guy! Details pleasssse!
> Who said Class 8 is full of weak chickens, come out now, I promise to beat them up!!!
> Handsome boys taking off their pants, multiple images – data users, take caution.
> Just asking, but is anyone here to discuss the strategies…
He laughed; reading the style of the title, he felt that the students at Si Zhong had become more adorable than usual. “Do you reply to the posts?”
“Of course I do,” Gu Fei said.
“What’s your ID?” Jiang Cheng asked as he scrolled down.
“花式帅_ostentatiously_handsome.”5 Gu Fei said.
Jiang Cheng choked then tilted his head to the side to cough for a while before he turned his head back. “The fuck?”
“Keep it a secret,” Gu Fei said. “No one knows that this is me.”
“It must be kept a secret. You could even push the blame to Gu Miao for ‘Gentle Little Bunny’.” Jiang Cheng tsk-ed twice, “If this ID was discovered, your image as a cold and aloof person will collapse instantly.”
Gu Fei laughed and didn’t say anything.
> It’s not that I’m looking with my fujoshi’s eyes but you know who and you know who are really a bit…… enter if you know what I mean.
Jiang Cheng’s finger twitched when he scrolled down to this title. There was a thumbnail uploaded below this post and with just one glance, he could tell that this was of him and Gu Fei.
… this forum was just too scary.
The author has some words to say: Continuing tomorrow. Thank you classmate -symphenomnia- for suggesting all sorts of post titles in chapter 28, hahahahahaha it was quite appropriate to use, simply.
You actually dared to help Da Fei write lyrics, you’ll be roasted for sure o(≧口≦)o！ *the black hairy spirit shouted loudly*
Starting today, shut up for three days. There have already been complaints reported about you overusing the hard drive! *The author who is unable to choose between the old and new coffee machines kneels on the floor and takes a sip of fruit tea.*
** The author previously wrote that Jiang Cheng had twin brothers but in the newest edition, it just said a brother, so I had to change it**
I would go into some of those post BAHAHAHAHAAH
1 “… I just won’t smoke.” There’s a character at the end of this sentence, “bei” (呗) – this modal particle indicates a lack of enthusiasm or that things should only or can only be done a certain way – you can imagine Jiang Cheng saying it in such a matter-of-fact matter and it quite hilarious to me lol he be like, “What a stupid question idiot if you’re not here, how else would I smoke…”
2 “… that was a plea earlier.” (之前求人嘛) – the ma – 嘛 at the end of that sentence is a particle that indicate that sth is obvious or a pause for emphasis. Jiang Cheng being smart with Gu Fei bahahahaha
3 landslide-dammed lake: or barrier lake is a natural damming of a river by some kind of landslides, such as debris flows and rock avalanches, or by volcanic eruptions. If the damming landslides are caused by an earthquake, it may also be called a quake lake. Some landslide dams are as high as the largest existing artificial dam.
4 Laoban (老板) – Boss: Boss Ding
5 Ostentatiously_handsome (花式帅 huaishi_shuai) – his username just means that he handsome, like ridiculously