Chen Dong Lan sat on the steps, crying gloomily.
He cried for an entire hour.
When he stopped, he cupped his drowsy head and tried to stand, but his whole body was weak.
He recuperated for a while, then finally straightened up.
He headed down the mountains, feeling a swelling ache in his eyes and a dull pain in his head.
Looking back on his past, it was the first time that he had cried so…indulgently.
He hadn’t cried more than a few times. Because even if he did, no one would comfort him, but instead arouse dislike. So, secretly holding back became the only way for him to deal with his sadness.
Over time, his expression of feelings gradually stiffened.
Today, he had tasted the sweetness of crying. In his everyday life, his heart was always so heavy that it slowed his steps. Although his mind was blown by the crying, it was unexpectedly relaxing.
Walking around a corner, a familiar figure ran into his line of sight.
“Chen Dong Lan!”
From far away, Yuan Yuan called out to him loudly.
Chen Dong Lan stopped in place.
It still wasn’t that easy to relax.
Yuan Yuan ran to him in a few steps, panting and saying, “If I hadn’t found you in a few more steps, I would have called the police.”
Seeing him in front of his eyes, Chen Dong Lan felt dizzy. He pretended to adjust the hair on his forehead, half covering his eyes.
“Why didn’t you answer the phone?”
“I didn’t bring it…” He had left his phone in the hotel.
Yuan Yuan revealed an expression of “as expected” and started berating him, “After I separated from you, I went back to look for you after a few minutes, but I couldn’t find you. For an hour, I didn’t stop for even a second and nearly went to the other side of the mountain to search!”
Chen Dong Lan widened his eyes. He looked around and realised that it wasn’t the way that he and Yuan Yuan had walked up by. He had strayed from the path when he turned to search madly for Yuan Yuan, and didn’t know where he was.
The blood rushed up to his head at once, making Chen Dong Lan extremely ashamed.
Yuan Yuan was angry and fired off in quick succession, “Don’t bow your head. Others will think that I’m bullying you. Tell me clearly where you ran off to. Did you deliberately…”
Right then, he observed Chen Dong Lan’s expression and was momentarily stuck.
Chen Dong Lan’s face was very red. So red that it was a worry whether the blood vessels in his face could bear it. His eyes were red, swollen and moist, as if tears would be shed in the next moment.
“I didn’t cry!” With his still-nasal voice from after he cried, Chen Dong Lan explained, “It’s sand. There’s too much sand.”
It was the textbook level of revealing what one intended to hide.
Yuan Yuan coughed lightly. “So since there’s so much sand, let’s go back to the hotel.”
Chen Dong Lan didn’t respond.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Tejc Tejc jrxfv, “Tbe vbc’a kjca ab ub yjmx klat wf?”
“Pa’r cba atja…” Jtfc Gbcu Ojc’r ujhf ijcvfv bc Tejc Tejc’r ojmf obg j rfmbcv, atfc lwwfvljafis rtloafv, rajglcu ja atf agff yftlcv tlw ilxf tlr ilof vfqfcvfv bc la.
“Ofa’r ub.” Tejc Tejc eaafgfv j rlut lc tlr tfjga jcv aegcfv rlvfkjsr, ulnlcu kjs ab tlw. “Tbe ub jtfjv. P’ii kjamt sbe.”
Chen Dong Lan nodded and walked forward clumsily [T/N: 同手同脚 actually means moving the left hand with the left foot, and the right hand with the right foot.].
Yuan Yuan pulled him back helplessly. “Walk properly.”
He held onto Chen Dong Lan’s wrist, half over his sleeve and half directly touching the the back of Chen Dong Lan’s hand.
As if he had been scalded, Chen Dong Lan struggled subconsciously, but Yuan Yuan didn’t let him go.
“Stop letting your thoughts run wild. Regarding you liking me——the type of like between girlfriend and boyfriend, I’ll give you an answer when we return to the hotel, okay?”
When Yuan Yuan spoke about his [T/N: Referring to Chen Dong Lan.] feelings in such a straightforward manner, Chen Dong Lan was frightened at first, then ashamed and wanted to disappear immediately below the horizon.
The heat that had just dissipated from his face came back multiplied.
They walked down the mountain. This time, besides areas that were too narrow, they walked shoulder to shoulder.
Along the way, Chen Dong Lan’s heart felt like it was being placed on a hot pot and slowly fried, giving him the illusion that smoke was rising from his head. Arriving at the hotel lobby, and in the warm air-conditioning, he perspired even more profusely.
Yuan Yuan stopped and looked at the guest sofa. “Wait there for me first. I’m going to the front desk to deal with some things.”
Chen Dong Lan nodded several times in succession.
Yuan Yuan took out a packet of tissue paper from his pocket. “Take this and give me your card key.”
Failing to understand, Chen Dong Lan took the tissue paper and gave the card key to him.
“Wipe your sweat.” Yuan Yuan couldn’t help laughing and walked to the front desk.
Chen Dong Lan pinched the packet and cover his eyes with it, although it was too small to cover even half his face.
It was a long time before Chen Dong Lan recovered and opened the packet of tissue paper. The tissue paper was fragrance-free with only a faint scent of wood, mild and calm like the person who bought it.
Regardless of the outcome, Chen Dong Lan decided to treasure this packet of tissue paper.
Five minutes later, Yuan Yuan came back.
He handed over a card that was completely different from the previous one and said, “I’ve changed the type of room that we’ll be staying in tonight.”
“Okay.” Chen Dong Lan took the new card key. “What was wrong?”
“No.” Yuan Yuan denied. “Previously, it was two single rooms. I’ve just changed it to a double room.”
Chen Dong Lan: “?”
Yuan Yuan’s face remained unchanged. “The type with only one bed.”
Chen Dong Lan’s eyes showed confusion.
Yuan Yuan added, “All of such room types in this hotel are couple suites with different names. Ours is called “Island Love”. I don’t mean anything, but I just feel that if we had slept in the same room previously when we weren’t together, if we were together, but separated on different floors of the hotel, even if it was just for one night, your thoughts would run wild again.”
Chen Dong Lan still didn’t respond, looking at Yuan Yuan in a daze, as if he had forgotten his own name or where he came from.
Yuan Yuan showed an expression of helplessness. “You still don’t understand?”
Wasn’t this hint enough? So stupid, no wonder he had only stuck with one person in over ten years, not even crying out in pain when hitting a wall.
Immediately after, Chen Dong Lan’s eyes filled with tears.
“Don’t…” Yuan Yuan didn’t know what to do. Looking around, he half coaxed half scared him, “There’re many people walking around here. If they see, it’ll be disgraceful. Let’s go…”
Before he could finish, Chen Dong Lan pounced on him fiercely like a wild beast, pulling Yuan Yuan’s collar tightly.
Tears fell onto his chest.
Yuan Yuan was knocked two steps behind before he could stabilise himself.
This was the hotel lobby where there were people coming and going. The background music, footsteps and voices came together and it became very noisy.
But it couldn’t be noisier than Chen Dong Lan’s heart. His head was buzzing, like as if all his past memories emerged together, chattering in his ear.
Yuan Yuan’s chin was hurting due to the bump and he wanted to withdraw two steps back. But he was afraid that once he stepped back, Chen Dong Lan would not have a point of support, so he held it in and didn’t move.
“Don’t pity me…” Chen Dong Lan’s voice was very hoarse. “Don’t choose to be with me because of pity. I’m serious. My feelings towards you are more serious than anyone else. If you only pity me, you might as well throw me away from the start. Don’t come back to me halfway. Don’t give me hope and make me live in a suspended state…”
In the end, Chen Dong Lan choked.
He had used the most impolite tone he could to say this.
But Yuan Yuan said, “I didn’t.”
Yuan Yuan looked at him with firm eyes. “I’m not taking pity on you.” He pursed his lips and was calm like never before, lowering his head to find Chen Dong Lan’s hand. He held it tightly, then held it even tighter.
“Come with me.” He pulled Chen Dong Lan into the lift and silently pressed the button for their floor.
The lift moved upwards. The two men holding hands, one silent and one with crying red eyes, making the other tourists in the lift baffled.
Reaching the floor of their room, Yuan Yuan quickened his pace and almost ran to bring Chen Dong Lan into the room.
At the same time the door closed, Yuan Yuan forcefully pulled Chen Dong Lan into his arms.
“Don’t cry…” His voice was broken. “I beg you, don’t cry.”
He understood the reason Father Yuan stopped letting Mother Yuan into the kitchen. When he was young, Mother Yuan let out a cry of pain while cooking in the kitchen. His father threw the newspaper on the ground while running into the kitchen, and he followed, finding that his mother’s hand had a long cut caused by a knife. Mother Chen did not cry out at the time, but her eyes were full of tears. Father Yuan looked at her and his expression at that time made a deep impression on Yuan Yuan.
It was like as if he had broken something.
Something incomparably treasured and loved.
Later, he found the words that could clearly describe it——
“Chen Dong Lan,” Yuan Yuan said, “I’ve never been in a relationship. No matter what I do, I always make thorough preparations, in addition to sufficient practice. But I don’t understand relationships, have never searched for information, or had anyone to practise with me, so I can’t guarantee that being with you will make you happy.”
“But I promise you that I’m serious and I’ll treat you well.”
Chen Dong Lan didn’t speak.
Or maybe he couldn’t speak. He only reached out both hands and hugged Yuan Yuan back, burying his face in his shoulder.
Hugging with all his effort.
Maybe to others, “treat you well” was a useless, empty cheque. But to Chen Dong Lan, this was a beautiful promise, so beautiful that it made him tremble.
Feeling wetness on his shoulders, Yuan Yuan didn’t speak. They embraced each other for a long time.
After a very long time…
Very long time…
So long that Yuan Yuan’s legs were numb.
“Chen Dong Lan?” Yuan Yuan released his hand suspiciously, wanting to see Chen Dong Lan’s expression. But Chen Dong Lan immediately tightened his hands to prevent Yuan Yuan from moving.
Yuan Yuan was afraid he was still crying and leaned back with difficulty. But Chen Dong Lan’s face was buried tightly, as if it was glued to Yuan Yuan’s shoulder.
Yuan Yuan laughed helplessly. “Lift your head and let me see if you’ve spoiled your eyes with your crying.”
Only then did Chen Dong Lan hesitate, then released his hands and stepped back.
Although Chen Dong Lan’s eyes were swollen, he had no tears at all. His entire face, including his ears and his exposed neck, was all pink.
This wasn’t sadness. It was shyness.
So shy that he wanted to hide his face.
Not knowing why, when Yuan Yuan went to the front desk to change the room type, or when he pulled Chen Dong Lan’s hand or hugged Chen Dong Lan, he looked the same as before, but right now, his face was also hot.
“Ahem.” Yuan Yuan cleared his throat. “Are you hungry? Let’s eat at the restaurant.”
Chen Dong Lan shook his head, then nodded.
Yuan Yuan: “So are you hungry or not?”
“Are you hungry? Then let’s go and eat.” Chen Dong Lan put the back of his hand against his face in an attempt to cool it down.
“Why did you shake your head?”
Chen Dong Lan avoided his eyes. “I’m not very hungry…”
“Hai…” Yuan Yuan sighed heavily. “Do you know that you doing this is equivalent to playing the woman [T/N: This is not a good translation of the word but it’s the best I can come up with for this scenario. 撒娇 can be used to mean “acting like a spoiled child” (between a child and their parent), “acting coquettishly” (flirtatious behaviour from a woman) or “playing the woman” (wailing, acting timid etc.).]?”
Chen Dong Lan’s eyes widened. “Playing the woman?”
“That’s right.” Yuan Yuan nodded. “Every time you wrong yourself because of me, then you become miserable, making me feel guilty.”
Chen Dong Lan: …
Chen Dong Lan had lost the ability of language organization.