T/N: I have to say, some parts of this story seems so predictable. Many of you made very accurate assumptions throughout, hence my lack of comment response, as I wouldn’t know what to say without revealing too much.


The next morning YanMingXiu was still asleep when ZhouXiang woke up.


He needed to meet up with someone today from the TV studio that YanMingXiu had introduced to him to for a series of preparations before shooting. The movie requires him to practice horse riding and also lose some weight to fit the image of the protagonist so he got up early to get ready to go.


After he came out from taking a shower, YanMingXiu seemed to have woken up. He rolled over and even stretched his hand to pull onto something (referring to subconsciously grabbing onto ZhouXiang).


Seeing his movements, ZhouXiang felt that it is especially funny.


In the next second, YanMingXiu opened his eyes and looked around the bed. After seeing ZhouXiang, wrapped in a bath towel standing at the door, he finally felt relieved.


ZhouXiang smiled, “Your sleeping is really lewd.”


YanMingXiu turned over, “Not comfortable…”


“Who told you to drink?” ZhouXiang poured a glass of water and pulled him up, “Have some water, even your voice is hoarse….”


YanMingXiu didn't reach out for it but instead bit the edge of the glass so ZhouXiang could only feed it to him.


After drinking the water, YanMingXiu reached out and grabbed his waist. The fragrant smell of the body wash on ZhouXiang is very good. YanMingXiu couldn’t help but moved close to smell him as he mumbled, “You need to go out?”


“Yah, I've to leave after eating. You can just heat it up to eat when you get up.”


"Where you going?"


"The studio people called me to go over to do some preparations for the movie, saying that I need to learn how to ride horses and also need me to lose some weight. I think that I'm already thin enough but they need an even leaner look." ZhouXiang smiled helplessly. He patted YanMingXiu’s head, “Let go, I have to leave.”


YanMingXiu rubbed his short, stubble chin on ZhouXiang’s warm and bare abs, and then reluctantly let go.


ZhouXiang especially wanted to laugh. He felt that he is not even like this when he was 24 years old. How can YanMingXiu act like such a kid?


“Remember to eat, if it cold then just heat it up.” He changed into his clothes and left.


—–


After meeting the people in the studio, he was taken to a racecourse where a professional trainer is to train him on horse-riding. For this role, he would also have to do some dangerous stunts while on a horse. The scene is said to be only three to four minutes of the entire movie, but it is especially important. The studio people requested that he must practice.


ZhouXiang had ridden on horses with his colleagues in KangXi grasslands before but it was merely for fun. At that time, his salary was not high and he felt that this activity was too expensive so he came down after ten minutes. Before, he didn't feel that it was that tiring sitting on the horse's back. When he was sitting, he didn't feel much. He didn't expect that after sitting for half an hour, both of his legs couldn't stand straight and he could hardly walk.


Fortunately, the trainer didn't make it hard for him. He arranged a training schedule for him, giving him enough time to adjust.


ZhouXiang spent the entire afternoon in the racecourse. It wasn't until after 5pm that a studio employee took him home.


When ZhouXiang got out of the car, he realized that a large Jeep with a military license plate was parked downstairs. It is particularly eye-catching. He felt that this jeep looked familiar.


The jeep's window is suddenly rolled down and a head wearing a military cap poked out from the driver's position. This driver glanced at him and then shrank his head back. Following, the man got out of the car and marched toward him, "Are you comrade ZhouXiang?”


“Yes.” ZhouXiang remembered this was the vehicle he saw when he went to YanMingXiu’s house last time. Although he didn’t remember the license plate number, the car definitely looked like this.


“Chief wants to see you.”


ZhouXiang's heart tightened. He looked toward the vehicle but couldn't see anything, "Which… which one?”


This officer headed to the back of the car and opened the door to quickly tell the person inside something.


After a while, the person inside the car stepped out. It is YanMingXiu's father. ZhouXiang didn’t know what the intent is on this day. He had checked his (YanMingXiu) father’s news on the Internet and found his name in a bunch of dazzling military merits. His name is YanFei.


ZhouXiang’s hand in his pocket started sweating. He really wanted to call YanMingXiu to quickly come back but the other party will definitely not give him this chance. Otherwise, he (YanFei) would not have come looking for him when YanMingXiu is not here.


This is directed at him.


Of all the people that ZhouXiang’s had come in contact with in his life thus far, the highest is President Wang. He had never dealt with anyone from the military. And looking at YanFei's serious and rigid face, thinking about his attitude towards this matter, ZhouXiang is somewhat terrified.


He calmed himself down a bit then politely bowed to YanFei, “Yan…” How should he address him? ZhouXiang thought that this is YanMingXiu’s father after all. Addressing him too formally didn't seem quite right but too endearingly is inviting trouble for himself.


YanFei waved his hand and didn’t give him time to think about it, "Bring me upstairs, I want to take a look.”


"Upstairs?"


“Yes, the place that you live with him.”


ZhouXiang is dumbfounded. He remained stiffened in place for a few seconds before gripping the keys in his pocket tightly and led the way.


After YanFei entered the condo, he stood at the entrance and glanced around the home, “You guys live here?”


ZhouXiang didn’t care whether or not he was satisfied with this place. It wasn't like he was the one living here. He nodded frankly.


“It's doable, it's good to be a bit simple.” YanFei took a step into the living room but suddenly remembered that he was still wearing his shoes so he took a step back to put on a pair of slippers before stepping into the home.


"Have a seat."


When ZhouXiang was gesturing for him to seat, YanFei had already sat down. His eyes were still looming around. It seems that he could not believe his son would live here.


ZhouXiang poured two cups of hot water and put it on the table before sitting next to YanFei.


YanFei glanced at him, "How old are you this year?”


"27."


“You're four years older than MingXiu?”


ZhouXiang thought… actually not just 4 years. Using his original age, he is 9 years older.


YanFei shook his head, “I really don’t know what young people are thinking these days. Following a fashionable trend? Looking for excitement?”


ZhouXiang faintly responded, “We are just like any ordinary people, looking for a significant other, falling in love.”


“Nonsense, how can two men be considered a couple? Can fall in love? If that is possible, the human race would have been extinct long ago.”


YanFei’s volume is not loud but it is particularly profound and powerful, seeming to carry some kind of invisible intimidation. His few words have made ZhouXiang’s scalp go numb.


He forcefully smiled, “Yan… Uncle Yan, no matter how absurd you find this to be, it is also a choice we have made through countless pressures. I don't believe that in your eyes, you would believe that we are merely following a fashionable trend or seeking excitement. You know that MingXiu is serious, I … I am too.”


YanFei snorted, “Two men together. Do you know how shameful that is? How are you guys going to have children?”


ZhouXiang very uncomfortably rubbed his hands, “If we have that thought in the future, we could adopt one…”


“Adopt one? Is our Yan family not able to have children? Why the need to adopt one? After the adopted child grows up, will it really care for you, take care of you in old age?”


ZhouXiang took a deep breath, “If you have something to say, just say it directly.”


“Hearing what you said, it's obvious that MingXiu had not told you.”


ZhouXiang’s lips trembled a bit, “Told… told me what? ”


“He promised me that he would get married and give me a grandchild.”


The light on the top of YanFei’s head is very bright, but in front of ZhouXiang's eyes, it is turning black.


So the reason YanMingXiu was able to be free is because he promised his father this? YanMingXiu, you really wouldn't be trying to hit two birds with one stone in such a convenient way right?


ZhouXiang's voice shook, "This, I really didn't know.”


"I reckon he didn't dare to tell you. Mnn, cowering… not like a man.” YanFei lucidly responded, “This is my biggest concession toward you guys. As long as he gets married, I won't care about this between the both of you. To carry on the Yan family's lineage is his responsibility as a descendant of the family. If you know your place, you should know what to do.”


ZhouXiang revealed a pale smile, “I know.”


"Good." YanFei nodded with satisfaction and then asked, "You're also an actor?"


"Yes."


"Messing around for a few years in your youth is enough. Your field of work is just a profession that lasts as long as a person's youth. When it's time to settle down in the future, you can help MingXiu take care of some matters in and out of the home. Don't be too flamboyant with your identity."


ZhouXiang has been numb to the point where he couldn't feel anything. He automatically nodded. After all, whatever YanFei said is meaningless to him because there is nothing that he could do to make him satisfied. He might as well not even do any of it.


It had always been very difficult for him to be with YanMingXiu. It was hard to overcome his own psychological obstacles. It was also hard to overcome the obstacles from the outside world. He didn't expect that this is even much more difficult than he imagined.


Having been living this carefree illusion for three days, he is reminded head on that reality had never changed and it is useless to even evade.


After all, he still had to face many of the troubling, worrisome and perhaps even retreating issues.


For example, everything that is happening right now in front of him.


If YanMingXiu had been truthful at the time in letting him know that the price of his freedom was his promise to his father that he would get married, he definitely would have turned and leave. But YanMingXiu did not tell him. He didn't even mention a word.


If his old man didn't personally come to look for him, when would he find out? On YanMingXiu's wedding day? This has got to be the biggest comedy. He would be the most ridiculous clown in this comedy.


Seeing that he is almost finished with what he needed to say, YanFei stood up, “I've said this much, since you're both in such a relationship, you guys need to discuss this carefully. If you really must be with MingXiu, our family won't treat you unfairly." After he finished, he turned and walked out the door.


ZhouXiang stood up and escorted him a little distance. Although he is overwhelmed by various emotions, he still remembered this basic common courtesy.


After YanFei left, ZhouXiang flopped on to the sofa and suddenly felt that he had exhausted all the strength in his body.


End of the chapter


Next chapter: YanMingXiu’s Promise To His Father