Chapter 3

Trigger Warnings: Suicidal thoughts

 

Ever since then, Ye Ji’an often had lunch with Liang Xiao. Occasionally, they would include a few other young colleagues, but usually, it was just the two of them.

It was Liang Xiao who started this first. A few days after he brought up the “secret”, he stood in front of Ye Ji’an’s table after the morning meeting.

“I saw a soup dumpling restaurant with good reviews, would Senior like to try it with me?”

Ye Ji’an was a little surprised. Based on his observations, this person had never been short of meal companions, unlike himself, who would silently munch on rice balls and bread all alone. 

But Liang Xiao was looking at him with a bright, firm gaze. It seemed as if he would not blink until Ye Ji’an agreed to him.

Feeling strangely guilty, Ye Ji’an ended up agreeing.

The soup dumplings that day were deserving of the good reviews. The duck blood vermicelli soup1Sounds a little dubious but it’s pretty popular in China. Rest assured, for this dish the duck blood is properly prepared, fully cooked and doesn’t taste like actual blood. was also quite authentic. 

Around them sat office workers who came out for a slightly fancier meal. Ye Ji’an ate until he started sweating.2Sweating bc he’s eating hot soup dumplings + hot vermicelli noodle soup.

Why had he not noticed such a shop before?

It was the end of October. Due to the freezing temperatures, he often longed for the taste of his hometown. 

“When I was a child, I often went to the vegetable market in Cangxiang to help my mother buy vegetables,” Ye Ji’an said.

“There was a shop like this at the entrance. I would always feel cold in winter, so on the days where I had spare change left over, I would always go in to have a meal,” Ye Ji’an continued with a smile. 

“This is pretty similar to my memories.”

Liang Xiao’s eyes lit up, “As long as Senior likes it.”

I haven’t been home since my university days. It’s been more than ten years, Ye Ji’an thought to himself. 

He was about to share this information, then stopped himself. Sharing this with the young, local man in front of him made him seem too much like a weathered old uncle.

Instead, he decided to continue eating his vermicelli, his head lowered. This way, he would not randomly blurt things out.

Liang Xiao, on the other hand, was rather indifferent. He could continue the conversation easily. 

He seemed comfortable even with the silence between them, eating every bite elegantly without showing whether he liked the food or not on his face.

After the meal, Liang Xiao regained some energy. Taking off his coat, he placed it around Ye Ji’an’s shoulders.

Ye Ji’an was stunned for a while, then abruptly realized that his white dress shirt had become more transparent due to him sweating.

Though he wore a tank top inside, suspicious blue patches had appeared on the areas near shoulders and arms, similar to what he had seen previously in the mirror.

He had already sent his coat to the dry cleaner below his office when he left for lunch, originally planning to freeze a little on the way back and pick up the coat after getting off work.

“It’s alright,” Ye Ji’an said, raising his head slightly and glancing to the side. His waist felt strangely stiff.

“I wouldn’t know what to do if you caught a cold,” he continued.

“I won’t. I’m in good shape, and I have thermal wear underneath,” Liang Xiao said with seriousness, casually draping his trench coat on his superior’s shoulder. Then, he quickly unbuttoned two buttons on his shirt, eager to prove something.

“I have a cashmere sweater too,” He raised his chin, signalling Ye Ji’an to take a good look.

Alright, he indeed had one. Its neckline was a slightly curved “V” and it was a soft, creamy white colour. It had great elasticity as well—Liang Xiao had demonstrated that clearly by pinching the fabric. The thermal wear underneath was a soothing grey colour.

This kid seemed to take care of himself well. Even with so many layers, he did not look puffy or bloated.

Ye Ji’an’s face actually started to heat up. It wasn’t due to the myriad of stares coming from the other diners, but rather due to the fact that with the trench coat draped over his shoulders, he felt that he had become a delicate girl.

While the one feeling concerned over him was a warm-hearted and strange guy who would show off his thermal wear to a colleague who he was not very familiar with.

Ye Ji’an tugged the coat up and placed his arms in the sleeves, preventing the coat from sliding down.

“Thank you.”

As expected, Liang Xiao smiled in a carefree manner at his words.

“This coat matches Senior very well.”

Please don’t say you’ll give it to me, thought Ye Ji’an. You can’t do that even if your family owns a mine. This is Hermes.

Fortunately, what Ye Ji’an was afraid of did not happen.

Since then, they had lunch together more and more often. The two people who didn’t seem to fit well had become meal companions.

When they were not so busy, Liang Xiao would always send out invitations in a natural manner, as if he had a map of all the good food nearby in his head, updated in real time.

It was just that Liang Xiao would never invite Ye Ji’an to a meal online; he would always ask Ye Ji’an about it face-to-face.

Later, when Ye Ji’an recalled a good restaurant, he would also invite this gluttonous junior along.

To Ye Ji’an, this was both advantageous and disadvantageous. 

The advantages were too many to count. Putting it simply, Ye Ji’an’s boring lunch routine in the past years had abruptly changed and his quality of life and happiness index had improved.

Occasionally, his gaze would brush over that desk located diagonally in front of the glass wall of his office. 

Looking at the back of that focused person, Ye Ji’an would even have a few fleeting thoughts. He would look forward to hearing a knock at his door at noon, followed by Liang Xiao entering, with an expression that screamed “I have many ideas!”3Sorry it’s kinda clunky. Kinda hard to translate cause of the grammar and sentence structure _(:3」∠) The ideas refer to ideas for food places

On the other hand, the disadvantage was that his meal companion did not seem to have any concept of money. His only consideration was food. The average price of consumption was not taken into consideration at all.

Usually, they ate at simple restaurants, which he had no issue with. However, there were a couple of times where Liang Xiao had made reservations at restaurants Ye Ji’an had never thought he would set foot in. The reservations had even been considerately made many days in advance. 

On those occasions, Ye Ji’an would have no choice but to enter those restaurants, maintaining a calm expression on his face, looking as if nothing could affect him. The taste of the food was really very good. His heart was also really very pained. 

Liang Xiao was as carefree as ever. Before splitting the bill, he would not even look at it.

“Senior is too strict with himself,” he said. “You can’t push yourself too hard. Otherwise, wouldn’t all your efforts be purely for the sake of a bank card?” 

His words seemed to make a lot of sense.

Ye Ji’an looked at the smooth and white skin on Liang Xiao’s cheeks and thought to himself: He’s probably considered an enabler friend4狐朋狗友 vs waterlemon; 狐朋狗友 wins. I have no idea how to translate this in readable English, “enabler” is the closest term, though “enabler friend” just sounds awful in a sentence. 狐朋狗友 translates to “dog and fox friends” and refers to friends who only know how to eat, drink and play, without doing any serious work (and often influence everyone around them to do the same), always tempting me to be arrogant and extravagant. Still young and lively—as expected, we’re still pretty different. 

Ye Ji’an thought again. Alright, on second thought, I’ll just consider it as spending money to buy happiness.

However, these lofty ideals always ended when he squeezed into the crowded subways during peak hour and had to quietly stand in line to buy roasted sweet potatoes. 

One day, if he really could not pay the mortgage, he would just goudai5This part’s pretty funny. In Chinese it’s 狗带, which in pinyin (romanization of Chinese characters based on their pronunciation) is gou-dai, which sounds like “go die”. Anyway, he had already bought insurance and his body would be appropriately buried, Ye Ji’an regularly thought to himself. 

Holding a paper bag and exhaling warm air, he prepared to head home, organise the closet and search for his thermal wear.

Time passed just like this. It was already the end of December.

Before the New Year’s6Not 1 Jan. Here they are referring to Chinese New Year, which varies in date but always falls in Jan or Feb break, the company organised a free physical examination that would take up most of the day.

Ye Ji’an was working in the office, and so was Liang Xiao. Ye Ji’an was once again looking at his back through the glass, thinking to himself: As expected, this foolish guy is adamant on getting a checkup together with me, adamant on doing this foolish, tiring thing that has no benefits for him.

Then, what exactly is his secret? He was in such a hurry to let me know, but I haven’t noticed anything suspicious in these two months. He walks at a fast pace and eats heartily, and his workouts aren’t any shorter than mine. So what could be the issue?

Could it be a small problem that could not be easily mentioned? Like… having six toes?

Only young children, who had not experienced the cruelty of society yet, would treat that as an important secret. Ye Ji’an felt that Liang Xiao might be capable of such a thing.

At 8:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day, a public holiday, the two made an appointment to meet at the medical examination building. Liang Xiao arrived first, standing in the centre of the lobby, not knowing what to do.

He was wearing a hoodie, jeans and basketball shoes, with a soft, puffy down jacket. This was the first time Ye Ji’an had seen him in a casual style. Looking down, he felt that he was dressed like an old man doing his morning exercise.

On second thought, the hospital was situated right across his neighbourhood. He got up at 7:30 and walked just a little to get there. On the other hand, he didn’t know where Liang Xiao lived, how he got there, and how long he took.

“Good morning, Senior.” 

Liang Xiao smiled the moment he saw him.

“Good morning,” Ye Ji’an replied, feeling relieved. 

He walked over and led the person to the self-service registration machine. Before coming over, he had specifically checked with his company’s General Department. This guy had already settled his medical insurance after returning to the country, so things were much more convenient. 

“You haven’t visited a hospital by yourself yet, right? Follow me, I’ll show you how to use all these.”

“Okay,” Liang Xiao stood beside him obediently, watching unblinkingly. What a diligent student.

“Later, they’ll draw blood first. It’s still early, so there won’t be a need to queue for too long. I brought some bread, we can eat it and stave off our hunger after the blood is drawn.”

With both queue chits in hand, Ye Ji’an walked towards the escalator with familiarity. 

“Drawing blood takes place on the second floor. After that is done, the remaining tests are rather varied. You can follow me if you want, or we could also split up.”

Liang Xiao didn’t say anything, following silently. Ye Ji’an glanced at him from the corner of his eyes. Was I too naggy? Maybe I’ve annoyed him, he thought to himself.

Unexpectedly, Liang Xiao suddenly spoke up when they reached the centre of the second floor.

“Are you still afraid of me now?”

At the sudden change in topic, Ye Ji’an was unable to react quickly.

Not waiting for him to answer, Liang Xiao asked again: “That issue about my secret, Senior still remembers it, right?”

Ye Ji’an’s eyes widened. 

“Yeah.”

“But you did not ask me about it all this time. For that, I’m very grateful,” Liang Xiao smiled and went ahead, alighting from the escalator.

“Senior, you are really a very good person. No matter who you are facing, you always consider their feelings first before your own curiosity.”

The blood collection room was right beside the escalator. They did not even have to walk through a corridor. 

Hurriedly following behind, Ye Ji’an spoke, “Can I ask now?”

Liang Xiao abruptly turned around.

“Ah, yes, of course.” 

He looked a little like he just woke up from a dream, but also a little like he was still dreaming. Turning his head back, Liang Xiao quickly walked forward.

“I’m afraid of injections and I don’t like drawing blood either.” 

The checklist in Liang Xiao’s hand had already been crumpled in his nervous grip. Finally pausing in his steps, he stared blankly at the door plate of the blood collection room in front of him, his face expressionless.

Then, he calmly spoke up.

“Senior, I really hate needles.”


 

TN: Umm 3 chapters a week is kinda tough _(:3」∠) As much as I’d like it to be, it probably won’t be a common occurrence, sorry people! And happy CNY to everyone who celebrates it! 😀

  • 1
    Sounds a little dubious but it’s pretty popular in China. Rest assured, for this dish the duck blood is properly prepared, fully cooked and doesn’t taste like actual blood.
  • 2
    Sweating bc he’s eating hot soup dumplings + hot vermicelli noodle soup.
  • 3
    Sorry it’s kinda clunky. Kinda hard to translate cause of the grammar and sentence structure _(:3」∠) The ideas refer to ideas for food places
  • 4
    狐朋狗友 vs waterlemon; 狐朋狗友 wins. I have no idea how to translate this in readable English, “enabler” is the closest term, though “enabler friend” just sounds awful in a sentence. 狐朋狗友 translates to “dog and fox friends” and refers to friends who only know how to eat, drink and play, without doing any serious work (and often influence everyone around them to do the same)
  • 5
    This part’s pretty funny. In Chinese it’s 狗带, which in pinyin (romanization of Chinese characters based on their pronunciation) is gou-dai, which sounds like “go die”
  • 6
    Not 1 Jan. Here they are referring to Chinese New Year, which varies in date but always falls in Jan or Feb

waterlemon

I like danmei and I especially like shizuns

If you find any errors (E.g. spelling, inconsistent terms, broken links, etc.) , please let us know through our discord channel

Support Dummy

Your donations will help fund a part of the site's costs and management. You can find individual translators' ko-fi under each chapter^^

Join our discord channel

1 thought on “Chapter 3”

  1. Happy Chinese New Year!

    I see the slow boil method of romance is working on Ye Ji’an! 😍

    Thanks for your hard work translating!

    Reply

Leave a Comment