As expected, Yan Mingxiu and Zhou Xiang had a falling out, and Yan Mingxiu didn’t come home for consecutive days,.
Zhou Xiang didn't feel anything at first, especially when he was busy with work. However, after a few days passed, he started to feel uncomfortable, and kept feeling that the house was empty and missing a person. There were traces of Yan Mingxiu everywhere in the house. It was only when Zhou Xiang woke up to reality, that he discovered he really missed Yan Mingxiu.
Zhou Xiang had a good temper but that didn't mean that he didn't have his own principles. With the exception of Yan Mingxiu, he had never been so patient and accommodating with anyone before, and although he felt that he hadn't done anything wrong, Yan Mingxiu’s indifference was too much for him to bear. Yan Mingxiu said that he wouldn't come back and really didn’t come back; he didn’t answer his calls, and didn’t reply to his messages.
The food was dull and tasteless when Zhou Xiang was eating dinner alone. He put down his chopsticks and looked at the empty seat opposite him. His heart started to fill with fear. He finally had no choice but to admit that Yan Mingxiu had entered his heart a long time ago.
A man his age needed an enormous amount of courage to admit that they liked someone, especially if that person they've fallen for is a boy who’s ten years younger. If the two of them had continued living together like this, Zhou Xiang would have been happy with the way things were. However, Yan Mingxiu suddenly disappeared from his life without a word, making Zhou Xiang experience an unprecedented sense of crisis.
They had been getting along very well the entire time. He had never thought about how he would feel if Yan Mingxiu decided to break things off with him one day.
He knew now. It felt extremely bad.
How many years had it been since he had experienced relationship like this, where he would keep himself at arm’s length and worry unduly about personal gains and losses? Zhou Xiang felt as if he was like a teenager who experiencing love for the first time, unable to restrain himself from approaching Yan Mingxiu, impulsively inviting him to live with him, being infatuated by him, compromising for him, and realising in the really end that every abnormal thing he did was all because he had started liking Yan Mingxiu for real.
It was no wonder he handled his relationship with Yan Mingxiu so unwisely.
Zhou Xiang sighed. His heart was a bit heavy, but he was also somewhat excited.
He was a person who took responsibility for his own actions. It wasn't easy to find a person he liked so he shouldn’t give up so easily. Besides, they were already living together; so long as he worked hard, perhaps Yan Mingxiu will return his feelings too, and everyone will be happy.
Zhou Xiang didn’t feel like eating anymore, and started to ring and send texts to Yan Mingxiu again. For the past few days, Zhou Xiang had pretended nothing had happened and his texts generally contained stuff like jokes or words asking about Yan Mingxiu’s health. Today, Zhou Xiang finally folded, and said to Yan Mingxiu, "Mingxiu, don't be angry anymore. I really miss you, come home, let's have a proper talk."
If Yan Mingxiu still won't come back, he will have no choice but to go into the study see if he can find out where Yan Mingxiu worked, and find him directly. They couldn't keep dragging out things like this.
To his surprise, past ten in the evening, Yan Mingxiu came back.
Zhou Xiang was thrilled. He went forward, hugged him and kissed him fiercely, "Precious, has your temper cooled? The house didn't feel right without you here these past few days."
Yan Mingxiu's expression eased slightly, but he was still unforgiving. "You said you want to have a proper talk with me. What do you want to talk about? If you’re going to repeat what you said last time, save your breath."
Zhou Xiang pulled at his own hair, and fell into a short silence. He didn't know the right words to use, so he went straight to the point, "Mingxiu, can I pursue you?"
"I want to pursue you." Zhou Xiang sincerely replied. "I don’t want to merely cohabitate with you like we’re doing right now. We've been together for over three months. We've gotten along really well the whole time, and I really like you. I don't know what you're thinking inside but I want to get closer to you. I want to seriously be together with you, so, can I pursue you?"
Yan Mingxiu was taken aback. There was a faint indescribable change in his facial expression. "You like me?"
Zhou Xiang nodded, a bit embarrassed. "I’m a rather direct person. There's nothing wrong with admitting it that I like you. I really like you, and it's not like you feel nothing for me, right? Otherwise, you wouldn't have been so angry these past few days, am I right? Can you give me a chance?"
Yan Mingxiu's bright eyes stared at him unblinkingly. Although his face looked very calm, his mind was billowing with intense waves of emotions.
Zhou Xiang had made his intentions very clear. He wanted to start a serious relationship with him and no longer wanted to be cohabitating sex-friends.
Yan Mingxiu felt that he should be enraged at Zhou Xiang's ‘be given an inch, and take a mile’ way of thinking. If he had known that this relationship would ultimately end up too tangled to unravel, he definitely wouldn't have stepped a foot in. However, he didn't have it in him to get mad, and seeing Zhou Xiang's slightly bashful, but warm and unyielding eyes, he couldn't even say out those words of ridicule which normally came out of his mouth so easily.
It seems that, when you’re with someone for a long time, you will indeed develop some feelings for them, and to some extent, can’t bring yourself to hurt them.
Furthermore, when he heard that Zhou Xiang liked him, his heart filled with complacency, immediately clearing away his moodiness which had built up over the week. He wasn’t surprised in the least. He had already noticed a long time ago that Zhou Xiang's eyes brimmed with adoration whenever he looked at him. Since childhood, he had seen that sort of expression in too many people's eyes. However, it still felt really different to hear Zhou Xiang say it personally.
Yan Mingxiu let out a light laugh, and said stubbornly and arrogantly, "Okay, you can pursue me, but if you want to chase me, you're not allowed to see that Lan Xirong ever again. I'll say it again, he irritates me."
Yan Mingxiu didn't know why, but he felt a strong aversion towards that Lan Xirong. He made Yan Mingxiu feel threatened, and very uncomfortable.
Zhou Xiang laughed, "Mingxiu, I get the feeling that you're eating his vinegar right now. Admit it, okay? Let Xiang'ge feel happy."
Yan Mingxiu frowned, "Are you trying to change the topic?"
"I wouldn't dare. I get it. Unless we come across each other at the company, I won’t meet him in my private time, okay?"
Only then did Yan Mingxiu nod with satisfaction. "Cook me food, I'm hungry."
Zhou Xiang said gently, "It's already so late, why haven't you eaten yet? Sit here and wait a bit, I'll whip some stuff for you right away."
After two days doing his utmost to coax Yan Mingxiu, Zhou Xiang finally smoothed down Yan Mingxiu's fur, and they reinstated their previous lifestyle. One difference however, was that Zhou Xiang started dealing with his own feelings with a conscientious attitude.
The way Zhou Xiang spoke and handled matters was smooth and evasive, and he was in fact smooth and evasive. However, in the regards to relationships, he was still really idealistic and pure. Although his number of sex partners wouldn't be considered small, his past experiences were nothing more than two men relieving their physiological demands with each other. When he discovered that he liked someone for real, he could set his heart to specially treat that person well. He wasn’t a philanderer. After finding his heart's treasure, he wanted to wholeheartedly devote himself into obtaining that person, have a steady relationship with him, and strive to make their relationship last as long as possible.
Zhou Xiang was really satisfied with their current situation. There were a lot of people whose relationships started in bed and ended up together for real later. It was beautiful even just thinking about it. Zhou Xiang was a bit nervous and fearful, but the image of him and Yan Mingxiu becoming a couple was too beautiful, and too tempting. He hesitated for only a moment before plunging in headfirst.
Even from the beginning, Zhou Xiang treated Yan Mingxiu very well, but he had now gone a step further. At home, Yan Mingxiu didn't have to stretch a hand to do anything. Zhou Xiang took care of everything in their daily life, and Yan Mingxiu’s reliance on Zhou Xiang permeated every aspect of his life. However, he didn't realise that at all, and only felt that everything was a matter of course because Zhou Xiang liked him.
These days were the most content period of Zhou Xiang's life. He had a job with a good salary, he had the person he liked to keep him company, he was diligently involved in a relationship, and was filled with beautiful dreams of the future. There was practically nothing in his life that he needed to worry about.
Today, when he went find Cai Wei at the company, he happened to come across Lan Xirong.
Zhou Xiang greeted him and didn't plan to speak to him any further. He still needed to find Cai Wei for a matter. To his surprise, after he finished talking with Cai Wei, and walked out of the office, Lan Xirong was leaning against a wall waiting for him. Lan Xirong went up to him, and said, smiling. "It’s not every day that we can bump into each other, let’s go out for lunch later."
Zhou Xiang thought about Yan Mingxiu. Although Yan Mingxiu’s demand was a bit unreasonable, Zhou Xiang didn't want to get too close to Lan Xirong either. First, because they had once parted in bad terms. Second, because Lan Xirong's status wasn't the same as before. Getting too close to Lan Xirong wouldn’t benefit him in any way. Thus, he made up an excuse, "I'm busy today, let's go another day."
Disappointment appeared on Lan Xirong's face. "Xiang'ge, have you forgotten? You said that you'll invite me to eat last week."
Zhou Xiang replied awkwardly, "I've been too busy lately, and I'm guessing that you're really busy as well. I see you doing promotions on TV programs every day. Let's wait until we’ve both no longer busy and then bring it up again."
How could Lan Xirong not be able to tell that Zhou Xiang was clearly saying that for show and was actually blowing him off? His lips trembled, and he couldn't help but say, "Xiang'ge, I always thought that you were a big-hearted person. I never thought that you would still not be willing to forgive me even now."
Zhou Xiang hastily refuted, "Where did you get that idea? I already forgave you a long time ago."
"Then why are you acting so distant?" Lan Xirong's eyes were filled with resentment. "You're the only person I consider my friend, because I know that you're the one who’s genuinely kind to me. Xiang'ge, can’t we go back to how we were before?"
Zhou Xiang sighed. "Xirong, we can't go back. You're no longer that no-name little model like before, and I'm no longer single. Tell me, when would you have time to hang out with me every day? You don't have time, and I don't have time either. We both have our own respective lives, but I swear that I am definitely not holding a grudge against you."
Lan Xirong violently hit the wall with his fist. "Xiang'ge, after all is said and done, the real reason you're keeping me at a distance is because of that little boyfriend of yours, right?"
Zhou Xiang felt even more awkward. He was wrong. Lan Xirong hadn't grown up much at all. He was still so impulsive, still so immature. Zhou Xiang looked down the hallway. Fortunately there was no one here at this time. He didn’t want to continue this conversation. He had no other choice but to pat Lan Xirong's shoulder and persuade him, "Xirong, the past is in the past, Xiang'ge is really happy seeing how successful you are now, but we..."
Lan Xirong suddenly grabbed Zhou Xiang arm, turned and pressed Zhuo Xiang against the wall. That face that always had an amiable and cute smile on TV was now a bit twisted from resentment and indignation. "Xiang'ge, I truly regret not coming back sooner. You liked me in the past, right? I was stupid, I actually got scared and ran away. In what way is that boyfriend better than me? Tell me, is it still possible between us? I want to start over with you, not as a friend and not as a brother, I want to be together with you."
Zhou Xiang's eyes widened.