Chen Dong Lan also laughed and looked down. Whenever he saw Yuan Yuan laughing, he didn’t dare look for too long.
“Do you want some water?” Chen Dong Lan asked as if he was an official eager to present a treasure to the emperor.
Yuan Yuan glanced around critically at his shabby place. “I don’t need to drink any water. Are you hungry?”
Since he had asked, Chen Dong Lan realised they had hurried back from the forest park and had yet to have any dinner.
So, he said, “Are you hungry? I’ll cook now.”
“You don’t even have any gas. How are you going to cook?”
Chen Dong Lan had forgotten about that. He had moved over for so long but never cooked once. The kitchen was empty, except for the kitchenware that had not been used.
Yuan Yuan raised his eyebrows and asked, “What have you been eating? Have you been eating out?”
Chen Dong Lan, suddenly remembering that below his bed was a box half-filled with instant noodles and some packets of biscuits in the cupboard, vaguely said, “Yeah…more or less. After work, I’ll conveniently eat out.”
“Really?” Yuan Yuan questioned closely.
“Really…” Chen Dong Lan felt that Yuan Yuan had seen through him and replied without any confidence. He hadn’t meant to eat badly, just that when he was alone, eating was just to satisfy the requirements of his body and it lacked any other interest. Even if he spared no effort to prepare a sumptuous dinner for himself, it wouldn’t taste better than biscuits or noodles.
Of course, Yuan Yuan knew that Chen Dong Lan was lying. Chen Dong Lan would buy large packs of biscuits and keep them in the cupboard. He remembered once when they had only lived together for a short while, his clothes had been kept in the wrong place and he was searching for them in Chen Dong Lan’s room cupboard. There were two cupboards. One of them contained all his clothes for all the four seasons, filling only half the space. The other cupboard was empty, but in the corner, there was a bag of biscuits—a family bundle, the biggest type that could be bought from the supermarket.
Chen Dong Lan’s glance over at the cupboard was too obvious.
“Then let’s go out to eat.” Chen Dong Lan was eager to extricate himself from the crisis of almost being exposed.
“That’s fine as well.” Yuan Yuan played it down and said, “Since you’ve been eating out previously, what can you recommend? We’ll go there now.”
Chen Dong Lan started then stammered, “Those…those shops shouldn’t be open this late.”
“Let’s go and see.”
Chen Dong Lan’s hands were intertwined behind his back. Yuan Yuan must know that he had been eating biscuits at home every day. Why was he still being like this?
To punish him?
Chen Dong Lan intended to honestly come clean. “Actually, I…”
“Forget it.” Yuan Yuan revealed a funny expression. “Let’s go back to where we lived and cook.”
Chen Dong Lan couldn’t understand why he was being so repetitive, but as long as Yuan Yuan suggested it, he would consider the possibility. “There should be no ingredients at home and it’s not easy to buy any now…”
At this point, he paused. Words always failed. He had moved out from there for so long, but still subconsciously thought of it as his home.
This was just a square. He ate and slept here, repeating every day mechanically.
He had thought that he would never have a home again.
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.
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Yuan Yuan had once again allowed him to remain by his side and Chen Dong Lan only wanted to hold up the best in front of him.
Yuan Yuan pinched his eyebrows. “Since you need my confirmation whenever you want to do something, why don’t you just listen to me directly?”
Startled, Chen Dong Lan thought that he was unwilling. “Then I’ll just listen to you. We’ll cook noodles.”
Yuan Yuan brooded.
What he meant was that Chen Dong Lan did not need to keep asking him about everything.
He didn’t need to compromise all the time. Yuan Yuan could also compromise for him.
Why was he so stupid?
In the end, Chen Dong Lan carried two pots from his place, rushed to buy a carton of eggs before the supermarket closed and with a bunch of spring onions and a cucumber that were no longer fresh, went to their previous co-rented house to cook noodles.
When he entered the house, Chen Dong Lan’s heart trembled.
He was glad that he had left fast enough and in a sufficiently confused and busy state. If he had stayed for a few more minutes, or if he was slightly more clear-headed, he would have been reluctant to leave.
The house was a little messy. Yuan Yuan was not a man who doesn’t like tidiness. On the contrary, he was very happy to tidy up after himself and his surroundings. Just that when he was busy, he was unable to care about it. Before he could clear his thoughts, he wouldn’t care how messy or dirty the house was.
When Chen Dong Lan was around, besides Yuan Yuan’s room, which he didn’t enter easily, he would clean and tidy up every day.
He opened the refrigerator hoping to see some other ingredients, but there wasn’t any. Besides water, there was only a small bottle of unopened red wine.
Yuan Yuan’s alcohol capacity wasn’t bad but not good to this extent, and he had never drank at home. At least in the three years that they had lived together, Yuan Yuan had never brought alcoholic beverages home.
Yuan Yuan had also walked over to look at the refrigerator and seeing’s Chen Dong Lan’s gaze lingering on the bottle of wine, he said, “This was given by Yu Lin. Do you want to drink it?”
Chen Dong Lan quickly shook his head. “No…just curious.”
Just worried that there would be a trace of another person here and worried that someone else’s things were here.
Fortunately, Yuan Yuan only asked one question and didn’t have any intention of having the red wine with the noodles.
The cooked noodles were very plain and simple. Chopped spring onions and cucumber strips were sprinkled on top with a fried egg on the side. But Chen Dong Lan had already tried his best.
Yuan Yuan tasted it, and the flavour was very familiar.
Everyone had their own flavour when cooking. Even when using completely different ingredients, there would be a familiar note that links all of that person’s dishes.
The food that Chen Dong Lan made had a type of flavour that only he could produce.
If he was asked what he often ate during that period before this, he couldn’t say, because when Chen Dong Lan wasn’t around, his meals were very cursory.
When the two finished eating, it was already past ten. Yuan Yuan gathered the utensils for washing, and Chen Dong Lan stood up. “Then I’ll be going back first.”
Yuan Yuan popped his head out from the kitchen. “Wait, I’ll drive you back in a bit.”
How could he let him drive? Chen Dong Lan said, “I’ll just take a taxi. You should rest early.”
Yuan Yuan’s voice was firm. “No.”
Chen Dong Lan really didn’t know what to do. Was this a formality? Should he refuse or agree? What should he say to avoid him getting angry?
Yuan Yuan dried his hands and walked out of the kitchen. Seeing Chen Dong Lan’s conflicted expression, he was angry but found it funny at the same time. “Is it so hard to decide? If you don’t want to trouble me, then just stay here tonight.”
In a flash, Chen Dong Lan’s mind was a blank. “…but I didn’t bring a change of clothes or toiletries.”
“Wear mine. I have new toiletries as well.”
Chen Dong Lan didn’t answer immediately, and his heart felt like a raging fire, scalding hot. Now, even if Yuan Yuan was just being polite, he wouldn’t refuse. He would shamelessly stay and shamelessly wear the clothes that Yuan Yuan had worn before.
Yuan Yuan said that he would let Chen Dong Lan wear his clothes, but certainly wouldn’t let him wear his underwear. In the end, he gave Chen Dong Lan a set of his old pajamas, but the underwear was new.
After the both of them had finished washing up and was ready to rest, Chen Dong Lan suddenly remember that when he left, he had removed everything from his room, and there was only a bare mattress left on the bed.
Yuan Yuan leaned against the door frame and looked at Chen Dong Lan staring at the bed. He seemed to have already foreseen this. “My bed is big enough. Let’s just squeeze together tonight.”
Chen Dong Lan was startled. “I’ll sleep on the sofa.”
“Do you think I’m just being polite?”
Chen Dong Lan’s heartbeat quickened and his brain heated up. “Okay then. Let’s just squeeze together.”
Yuan Yuan’s bed was actually big enough. This was the master bedroom with a single bathroom. Previously, it was also because of this that the two of them could wash up separately and live their individual lives together.
Yuan Yuan put the covers on a new pillow for Chen Dong Lan, placed it on the left side, then lay down on the right side. He turned off the bedside lamp, the darkness momentarily protecting the helpless Chen Dong Lan.
His stiff body relaxed slightly.
“Good night,” Yuan Yuan said, then yawned.
Chen Dong Lan responded with a hum and laid down. Being under the same quilt as Yuan Yuan, he could feel a slight depression on the other side of the bed. Chen Dong Lan’s eyes were aching and swollen.
Before sleeping, they didn’t chat and Yuan Yuan quickly fell asleep, his breathing slowed. Chen Dong Lan laid on his side with his back facing him, not daring to even glance over.
He fell asleep very quickly as well.
After sleeping, he started having a dream, but it wasn’t some nice dream.
He dreamt of the day Yuan Yuan let him move out. When Yuan Yuan said he wanted him to make another plan, his heart became cold.
He felt that Yuan Yuan must surely know.
Know that he had taken it upon himself to treat their co-rented house as somewhere he belonged, as his own home, had taken it upon himself to depend on Yuan Yuan, and put those unspeakable feelings into the old classmate who had kindly invited him to share his rent…
He helplessly watched as Yuan Yuan threw out a sentence, then left. Loneliness, heartache, despair all added up couldn’t suitably describe his mood.
A scarier image appeared. He had fallen into cold and deep water and was close to drowning. Yuan Yuan was at the side and his eyes were even colder than the water.
He said, You’re disgusting. You like me, how disgusting…
“Chen Dong Lan…Chen Dong Lan!”
A cool hand was on Chen Dong Lan’s forehead, pulling him out from the midst of his suffering.
Yuan Yuan’s eyes were full of anxiety. “Are you okay?”
Yuan Yuan was in a very deep sleep, but beside him, Chen Dong Lan’s short and intense breathing woke him.
He immediately realised that something was wrong. Turning on the light, he found that Chen Dong Lan’s face was abnormally red and his whole body was drenched in sweat.
“Your hand, why is it so cool…” Chen Dong Lan woke up and this was the first thing he was aware of.
“You’re having a fever!” Yuan Yuan was exasperated. His whole body was warm when he was sleeping, how could he be cool? How high exactly was Chen Dong Lan’s fever?
“I’ll bring you to the hospital.” He got up and glanced at the time. It was three in the middle of the night.
Chen Dong Lan wanted to stop him, but realised that he couldn’t move. He didn’t feel that there was anything wrong with himself. When he awoke from the dream, he saw Yuan Yuan and felt that his body was relaxed and light as a feather.
Yuan Yuan didn’t refrain and removed his pajamas to change right at the bedside. His movements were very quick and he was dressed in no time. He walked over to help Chen Dong Lan up, then grabbed a coat and put it on Chen Dong Lan.
“Yuan Yuan, I feel fine…”
Yuan Yuan looked unhappy. “I don’t think that you’re fine.”
With this, he pulled Yuan Yuan’s legs out from under the quilt and squatted down to help him put on his shoes.
Once he was out from under the quilt, Chen Dong Lan started feeling unwell. He was covered in sweat and his pajamas stuck to his body. Meeting the cold air, he felt both hot and cold.
He was dizzy and didn’t have much of a reaction to the fact that “Yuan Yuan was helping me wear shoes”.
Reaching the hospital, he received emergency treatment and was prescribed medicine. He only reacted when he was sitting in the lounge while on a drip. On the way, he was lying on Yuan Yuan’s back.
Yuan Yuan came back from paying the bill and sat beside him, not saying a word.
Chen Dong Lan tried to sound him out. “Yuan Yuan…”
Yuan Yuan looked at him fiercely. “Previously, when I wanted you to come to the hospital, you would rather get down from the car. Now, great, in the middle of the night with a high fever of 39.7°C. You’re satisfied now.”
Chen Dong Lan was full of remorse. All the decisions he made were based on Yuan Yuan. He believed in the principle of not troubling Yuan Yuan and never making him angry. But it must be because he was too clumsy and useless, things didn’t turn out as he wished.
“Sorry,” Chen Dong Lan said in a small voice.