The cold war with YanMingXiu undoubtedly continued. He didn't return for several days.


At first, ZhouXiang didn’t feel too much amiss, especially when he's deeply immersed with work. But after a few days, he began to feel unsettled. The house felt so empty without someone's presence. YanMingXiu's shadows are everywhere. Very soon, he came to realize that he really missed YanMingXiu.


Although ZhouXiang has a good temperament, it doesn't mean that he doesn't have his principles. He has never been so tolerant of anyone, only with YanMingXiu. Even when he felt that he didn't do anything wrong, he can't bear to accept YanMingXiu simply not returning home, not answering his phone nor returning his messages.


When ZhouXiang was eating alone at night, the food tasted bland and flavorless. Putting down his chopsticks and looking at the empty space in front of him, fear suddenly rose in his heart, finally ZhouXiang can no longer deny that YanMingXiu had already entered his heart.


It really takes a lot of courage for a man at his age to admit that he likes a person, especially a boy ten years younger than himself. If they are just to continue on living as they have, ZhouXiang would have been content with things as they are. But YanMingXiu's sudden disappearance from his life without saying anything made him realize a sense of crisis that he had never experienced before.


All along they have been doing well. It never occurred to him how he would feel if YanMingXiu was to break up with him one day.


Now that he knew. It felt utterly miserable.


How many years has he not experienced this kind of anxiety over a relationship that neither seemed close or distant? ZhouXiang felt just like a young boy experiencing love for the first time… his inability to restrain himself from getting close to YanMingXiu, his impulsiveness in inviting him to live together, being captivated by him, and all the concessions he had made. Finally, he has come to realize that all these behaviors are because he has really started to like him (YanMingXiu).


No wonder he had handled this relationship with YanMingXiu so wrongly.


ZhouXiang sighed. His mood feeling a bit heavy but also a bit excited.


ZhouXiang is a daring man with the courage to take responsibly for his actions(t/n). To be able to find a person that one likes is not easy. He won't just give up. Moreover, the both of them are already living together. As long as he tries a little harder, perhaps YanMingXiu will also like him. Then wouldn't everyone be happy?


T/N: The idiom here is 敢作敢當: a true man has the courage to accept the consequences of his actions, take responsibility for it


ZhouXiang could no longer continue to eat. He started to repeatedly call and send texts to YanMingXiu, pretending as if nothing had happened from a few days ago, sending him jokes and asking random questions. Today he finally revealed his weakness. He said to MingXiu, “Don’t be angry, I especially miss you. Come home. Let's talk.”


If YanMingXiu still didn’t come back, he could only check in the study room to see if he could find out where YanMingXiu works and go there directly to find him; dragging it like this is also not good thing.


To his surprise, YanMingXiu returned at 10ish in the evening.


ZhouXiang was so elated that he embraced and kissed him intensely. “Baby, are you over with being angry? The few days that you didn't come back, something didn't feel right in this home."


YanMingXiu’s expression is slightly relieved but still unforgiving, “You said you wanted to talk to me. What do you want to talk about? If it's the same as last time, then forget it.”


ZhouXiang combed through his hair and was silent for a moment. He didn't know how to word it properly, so he simply spitted it out, “MingXiu, can I pursue you?”


"Huh?"


“I want to pursue you,” ZhouXiang said genuinely. “Not like the cohabiting relationship we have now. We've been together for more than three months. We've gotten along very well. I like you very much. I don’t know what you think but I want to be closer to you. I want to really be with you, so can I pursue you?"


YanMingXiu is stunned, with a tinge of indescribable change in his expression, “You like me?”


ZhouXiang nodded, somewhat embarrassed, “My words and actions are usually direct. There's nothing wrong with admitting that I like you. I really like you. You must also feel something for me, right? Otherwise, you won't be so angry these days. Am I right? Can you give me a chance?”


YanMingXiu’s glistening eyes looked at him without hesitation. Even though his expression remained calm, the emotions in his chest surged furiously.


ZhouXiang’s meaning is very clear. He wanted them to have a romantic relationship, not just cohabiting fuckbuddies.


YanMingXiu felt that he should be angry with ZhouXiang’s insatiable idea. If he had known that their relationship would be so tangled that it's become impossible to unravel, he would never have gotten involved with him in the beginning. However, he couldn’t get angry. In fact, seeing ZhouXiang being a bit bashful with his gentle and resolute expression, the ridiculing words he had intended to say, he couldn't even say it.


Being with this person for a while, there are indeed feelings, so he was a bit unwilling to do so.


Moreover, ZhouXiang telling him that he likes him made him feel so pleased with himself. The gloomy mood he was in slowly dissipated. Actually he was not surprised. He had seen ZhouXiang looking at him with his eyes full of adoration. He's seen this kind of expression from many people ever since he was a child. But to hear him directly say it, the feelings are still different.


YanMingXiu smiled lightly and said proudly, “Fine, you pursue me then. But if you want to, you must not see that LanXiRong again. I repeat. I don't like him."


Not knowing why, the person with the surname Lan makes him feel some kind of threat, making him feel considerably hateful toward this person.


ZhouXiang smiled, “MingXiu, I feel that you're jealous of him. Just admit it so Xiang Ge can be happy."


YanMingXiu furrowed his brows, "Are you trying to change the topic?”


“I don’t dare. Alright, I know. Unless we run into each other at work, I won't see him privately, okay?"


YanMingXiu nodded with satisfaction, “Cook for me, I'm hungry.”


ZhouXiang said softly, “It's already so late, why haven't you eaten? Sit and wait. I'll go cook right now."


ZhouXiang made an all-out effort to coax YanMingXiu for two entire days. Finally, he was able to appease him. The two returned to their previous lifestyle. However, ZhouXiang has begun to treat their relationship seriously.


ZhouXiang is a person who is a smooth and evasive sweet talker, but in terms of feelings, he's still very simple and idealistic. Although he has had quite a few sexual partners, these previous experience is merely to release the physiological needs between men and men. When he realized that he really likes a person, he can set his heart to be good to only that person. He's not promiscuous. After finding the person he truly loves, he just wanted to concentrate on fully capturing this person, to simply date and strive for their relationship to go even further.


He's very satisfied with his and YanMingXiu's current lifestyle. Many people who have started their relationship with sex were also able to last. Just thinking about this, it is beautiful. Although ZhouXiang is very apprehensive, the image of being a couple with YanMingXiu is too beautiful, too tempting. He hesitated for a moment, but decisively plunged into it.


Originally, ZhouXiang was already treating YanMingXiu very well. Now, it's even better than before. When YanMingXiu is home, he didn't even have to lift a finger. Their livelihood and everything at home is taken care of by ZhouXiang. YanMingXiu, himself is not a lazy person. When he was living abroad alone, he took care of himself quite well. But after being with ZhouXiang, he didn’t have to do anything. His dependence on ZhouXiang had penetrated every aspects of his life, but he wasn't in the least bit aware of this. He only felt that since ZhouXiang likes him, everything was taken for granted.


ZhouXiang is most content during this period of time. He had a good paying job and a person that he likes by his side. He sincerely put his heart fully into this relationship. Toward the future, he is full of beautiful dreams. There was nothing that he needed to worry about in life.


That day when he went to the company to look for CaiWei, he happened to run into LanXiRong.


ZhouXiang greeted him and didn’t plan to say more. He was looking for CaiWei for some matters. Unexpectedly, after he and CaiWei had finished chatting, he saw LanXiRong waiting for him by the wall as he was walking out.


ZhouXiang was a bit surprised.


LanXiRong saw that he had come out, he greeted him smiling, "Such a coincidence to be running into you today, let’s go eat in a bit.”


ZhouXiang thought of YanMingXiu. Although this was making things a bit difficult, he really didn't want to get too close to LanXiRong. For one, they once had a fallout. Second, LanXiRong's current position is no longer what it was before. It's not good for him to get too close. So after thinking for a while, he wanted to evade, “I have something today, let's change the date.”


LanXiRong's face revealed a disappointed expression, "Xiang Ge, have you forgotten that you said you'll invite me for dinner last week?"


ZhouXiang awkwardly replied, “I've been too busy lately. I'm guessing that you've also been very busy, seeing that you've been rushing with work notice every day. Let's wait till a time when the both of us are not so busy."


How can LanXiRong not tell that these are obviously perfunctory words? His lips trembled. He couldn’t help but say, “Xiang Ge, I've always thought that you are big-hearted. I didn’t expect you to still be unwilling to forgive me."


ZhouXiang quickly explained, "You're thinking too much. I really don't blame you a long time ago."


“Then why are you so distant with me?” LanXiRong's expression is full of sadness. “We've always had a good relationship. Can we really not go back to how it was? There are a lot of people around me now, but I only treat you as my friend because I know that only you are honestly good to me. Xiang Ge, can’t we go back to the past?”


ZhouXiang sighed, “XiRong. There's no way for us to go back to how it was. You're no long that muddling along little unknown model and I'm no longer single. Tell me, do you even have time to fool around with me every day? You don't. Neither do I. We both have our own things going on. But I swear that I really have no intention to blame you.”


LanXiRong punched the wall fiercely, “Xiang Ge, no matter how you put it, you're distancing yourself from me because of your little boyfriend, right? He's jealous, right?”


ZhouXiang felt awkward. He was wrong. LanXiRong had really not grown up. His words and actions are still so impulsive, not a bit matured. He glanced at the corridor. Fortunately, there is no one at this time.


He didn’t want to keep on talking anymore, patting LanXiRong's shoulder, he gave some good words of advice, “XiRong, all that have happened is in the past, Xiang Ge seeing that you are so popular now, I'm very happy for you, it's just that we…”


LanXiRong suddenly grabbed his arm, turned and pressed him to the wall. The face on TV that had always exhibited a lovely smile, at this time has become distorted because of his grievances. “Xiang Ge, I really regret it. I didn't come back sooner. You also use to like me too, but I was so stupid that I got scared and ran away. How is your boyfriend better than me? Tell me. Is it still possible between us? I want to start over with you, not as friends, not as brothers, I want to be with you.”


ZhouXiang’s eyes widened.


End of the chapter