TW: Drug abuse, mentions of suicide
The air conditioner was turned on to 32 degrees, warmer than Ye Ji’an’s house. After walking through the entrance, he found that there were four rooms in the whole suite. Every single lamp in the apartment was turned on, flooding the whole place with light.
“My habit,” Liang Xiao said, latching the door bolt. He hastily explained, “I like to turn on all the lights.”
“…Even when sleeping,” Liang Xiao added.
Ye Ji’an nodded. With his hands at his waist, he walked to the bed. Two layers of quilts were messily piled on it and there was a small indentation in the centre. It looked like a book, but he couldn’t see the cover clearly without his contact lenses.
“But you weren’t sleeping just now,” Ye Ji’an said, rubbing at his eyes. He could just barely see Liang Xiao’s face.
Liang Xiao suddenly changed his attitude and said without attempting to hide anything, “Indeed, I haven’t slept. I’m dependent on medication.”
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, Liang Xiao continued, “The pills have been flagged at the customs. I don’t have any time these days to retrieve them.”
Ye Ji’an was stunned. It was true that they would return to the hotel only after ten o’clock daily. They also had to quickly prepare for the next day’s work. Ye Ji’an knew very well how busy they were.
Besides, in their area, it was almost impossible to see anyone out at night. He had no idea where the nearest hospital was either.
“Are you using sleeping pills?” Ye Ji’an asked.
“Yes, the strong kind,” Liang Xiao flopped down onto his back. “I’ve been eating them all this while.”
“How long is ‘all this while’?”
Ye Ji’an realized that he was nosing around too much. However, the words were already out of his mouth.
Surprisingly, Liang Xiao did not care about the infringement of his privacy. He even laughed. He looked away from the ceiling light and towards Ye Ji’an.
There was a shadow underneath his eyes. Ye Ji’an could not discern whether it was due to Liang Xiao’s lack of sleep, or whether it was simply the shadows cast from his eyelashes.
“I started taking them at twenty-one? Or was it twenty-two?”
“That time… Did something happen?”
“Eh? What else could it be,” Liang Xiao said. He stretched his arms and grabbed at the light.
“I was about to go to graduate school, but my family urged me to return to China. Oh, and my first love failed and I broke up with my first boyfriend.”
“Originally, I only felt that taking sleeping pills before sleeping would make me very happy. By the time I realized something was wrong, I was already dependent upon them.”
Ye Ji’an digested this information for a while. Though he seemed to… inexplicably care about certain details…
No, it was more appropriate to say that he was curious about those details. However, Ye Ji’an felt that it was wrong of him to think about nonsense at that current moment.
Those problems were common amongst international students. Disregarding his personal affairs, on the topic of sleeping pills, Ye Ji’an had never touched them before, not even when he was under heavy stress.
He was too afraid to take them—afraid that he’d kill himself along the way and afraid that he would become dependent on them.
In any case, he did not wish to see Liang Xiao look so uncaring about the fact that he had basically given up on himself.
“So you’re unable to quit?” Ye Ji’an followed Liang Xiao in sitting on the bed, his arms propped behind him. He turned his head to look directly at Liang Xiao.
“Why should I quit?” Liang Xiao turned his body and raised his chin. A trim waist peeked out below the hem of his T-shirt.
In a carefree manner, Liang Xiao said, “And it’s true that I’m unable to quit. Senior has seen it as well. These days, I’m unable to sleep no matter what I do. I shut my eyes and kept them closed for a long time. However, every time I think I’ve fallen asleep, I’ll snap awake instantly. Might as well do something else.”
“This is who I am. Perhaps I have a lot of other bad habits that Senior has never thought of,” Liang Xiao said. It was almost as if demeaning himself made him feel better.
“But I’ve heard that eating too many sleeping pills will make one more stupid. Your reactions will slow down as well,” Ye Ji’an said with a solemn expression, frightened.
“I haven’t turned stupid,” Liang Xiao corrected, his expression also serious.
“That’s not necessarily true. You have a good head on your shoulders and can fool me with your smiles now, but what about the future?” Ye Ji’an crossed his legs, a weary, saddened expression on his face.
“If you count, there are still many many years before you reach sixty. At that time, your brain would have been destroyed by sleeping pills. You would likely contract Alzheimer’s as well.”
“Before you even reach the legal retirement age, you’ll be going up to people on the streets every day, asking, ‘Mr Police, where is my home…’”
The nonsense Ye Ji’an said was very effective. Liang Xiao immediately sat up upright. He looked especially fierce when staring at people due to the dark circles under his eyes.
“There is no basis for this. And senior will definitely seem older1To clarify, LX is referring to conditions related to old age (e.g. White hair, loss of teeth, conditions more common in the elderly such as joint pain or diseases like Alzheimer’s etc.) and saying that YJA will “look” older than he will than I am by then!”
“Oh, then you want someone pushing seventy to take care of you,” Ye Ji’an cheerfully squinted his eyes.
“That works too. We’ll help each other along and see who loses all his teeth first.”
Liang Xiao was teased until he couldn’t stop glaring at Ye Ji’an.
“Senior, I need to take the morning off tomorrow. Please approve it,” he said in a cold tone.
“To get medicine?”
“So that this won’t impact the second half of our work,” Liang Xiao replied.
What a legitimate reason.
“Well, let’s make an agreement,” Ye Ji’an yawned for a while. He already had a strategy in mind for this unlucky guy who was awkward and irritable because of insomnia.
“Let’s do it my way. If you manage to fall asleep, you’ll have to promise me to never abuse sleeping pills again. If you don’t fall asleep, I will give you three days off starting tomorrow. You can run around the entirety of Moscow in search of all their hospitals. I’ll do your tasks for you.”
Liang Xiao was not affected by his yawn2Referring to the fact that people tend to yawn whenever they see someone else yawning and his eyes remained bright.
Though he did not particularly want to look at Ye Ji’an, his gaze would immediately shift away whenever he saw the tattoos.
“What’s the method?” Liang Xiao asked, staring at the tea-coloured curtains.
“What are your sleeping habits like at home?” Ye Ji’an retorted.
“For example, do you like to listen to some white noise? Or perhaps you have a plush toy that you sleep with?”
“…Marx would usually be on the bedside table, watching me sleep. Not a plush, just a living thing.”
The large philosophical eyes of the big teal lizard immediately came to mind. Ye Ji’an massaged the bridge of his nose and said, “You can make do with me today, I’ll watch you sleep in Marx’s stead.”
Liang Xiao directly jumped out of the bed and rushed to Ye Ji’an, his slippers dragging on the floor. He took a look at the sitting Ye Ji’an, then with an air of seriousness, tried to politely send his guest away.
“Does Senior think that he’s the same as a blue iguana?”
“I’m also a living creature, and I can be quieter than Marx.”
“There’s still work to do tomorrow.”
“You don’t sleep either, but I’ve never seen you delay your work before.”
“…You can’t,” Liang Xiao resolutely said. “I’ll feel more awake when you’re staring at me. Please let me take leave. Just half a day will do.”
“Let’s both take a step back. I’ll lie beside you and not look at you,” Ye Ji’an insisted, digging in his heels, refusing to be shooed away.
“You will definitely fall asleep. One hundred percent.”
Liang Xiao looked as if he found the scene unbelievable.
“Do you still remember the last time we were in the car? You fell asleep within two minutes of leaving. The journey was more than an hour, and you only woke up after reaching the office.”
“You didn’t take medicine at that time, right?” Ye Ji’an said in a gentler tone.
Analyzing meticulously, he continued, “I think I may have the ability to make you feel at ease. We’ve got to try it.”
Liang Xiao had an incredibly strange expression on his face. As for what kind of strangeness it was, all Ye Ji’an could say was that it was something Liang Xiao would not want him to see.
“Have you finished considering it?” he asked.
“Alright,” Liang Xiao said and shook the quilt. “Senior, just go ahead and sleep, don’t worry about me.”
Ye Ji’an simply laughed. The book trapped in the quilt was shaken off.
It was a detective novel; the author was a small name that Ye Ji’an had never heard of. Ye Ji’an thought that it was unlikely for the book to have a translated version in China.
Ye Ji’an picked up the thick book, placed it on the bedside table and nimbly slipped into the covers.
“It seems that you’ve read a lot of detective novels.”
Liang Xiao originally wanted to separate the two quilts that were layered on top of each other, but now he no longer had a choice. He could only obediently climb into the other side.
“I like to start reading from the last chapter.”
“Then won’t you know how the book ends the moment you start reading it?”
“Yeah. I like to put myself into the criminal’s shoes and think about how the ending can be avoided,” Liang Xiao said, placing his arm above his eyes.
He continued slowly, “Look at the small details, then the big picture to figure out which steps I took led me to failure. It’s more interesting this way.”
“I’ll try it next time,” Ye Ji’an said thoughtfully, glancing at Liang Xiao from the corner of his eye. “Go to sleep.”
“Senior doesn’t mind all the lights?”
“It’s alright as long as you can fall asleep.”
“I definitely won’t be able to do that.”
Liang Xiao obediently kept quiet for a while. Ye Ji’an glanced at him every so often, biting his lips and sweating constantly.
Outwardly, he appeared full of confidence, but in actuality, he was not sure if he truly had the power to coax Liang Xiao to sleep.
He wasn’t so narcissistic as to think that a mature twenty-seven-year-old guy would have a great dependence on him. Besides, what if that day on the car was only due to the influence of alcohol?
Though, using alcohol as a means to fall asleep was worse than eating sleeping pills.
Drinking excessively was the same as drug abuse. They were both effective, but only in the short run. For people like them, who stayed up late every day for work, it was even more crucial to cherish their health.
Ye Ji’an only hoped that he could be a little more effective than Marx.
However, Liang Xiao did not seem very sleepy. He abruptly moved the arm across his eyes away and turned to look at Ye Ji’an.
“Senior, have you slept yet?” he gently asked.
“I refuse to chat with you,” Ye Ji’an set down a rule.
“Mm. Can you turn away so your back is facing me?” Liang Xiao asked carefully.
Ye Ji’an could no longer escape from his eyes and turned around to look at Liang Xiao. Liang Xiao’s eyes were red again.
Turning into a little rabbit again?3Same as before, rabbit is just used to describe a cute, pitiful look Little rabbits aren’t as annoying as you are. They eat well and sleep early every day, Ye Ji’an thought secretly.
“Alright. But you have to listen to me and keep your eyes shut.”
“Mm,” Liang Xiao hummed in reply and turned around.
Through the quilts, Ye Ji’an could feel the strong tug at the other end as well as the warmth of their shared body temperature. This feeling was both solid and long-lost to him.
Will my presence make him more nervous? Ye Ji’an couldn’t help but ask himself.
Sure enough, who would want to spend their downtime sharing the blankets with their superior? They’d probably want to escape as soon as possible, right?
Take Ye Ji’an for example. He would definitely be unwilling to share a bed with the president of the company.
Then, he heard another question.
“Can I hug Senior?”
Ye Ji’an was startled. “Would that make you feel sleepy?”
Liang Xiao seemingly let out a light laugh.
“It would make me feel warm.”
“Then go ahead,” Ye Ji’an realized that he was too embarrassed to turn around.
The rustling of sheets was heard and the mattress vibrated slightly.
The hug was ridiculously light—there were only a pair of arms quietly wrapped around his waist. Liang Xiao did not come into contact with any other spots.
However, Ye Ji’an was so tense that he felt as if he needed to pay attention to breathing in and out.
Even his waist started to go numb. Ye Ji’an was afraid that if he moved, he would crush the forearm that was cushioned under him.
The two of them were both people who knew what boundaries could and could not be crossed. They remained silent for a good while.
Liang Xiao’s breathing could be lightly felt on the back of Ye Ji’an’s neck. The heat seemed to be there, yet not there, just like their indeterminate sleep.
“I really like Senior’s tattoos. Every single one of them,” Liang Xiao suddenly spoke up.
His voice had a bit of a nasal tone to it and sounded a little confused. Ye Ji’an softened his voice and replied, “Still looking and not sleeping properly?”
“I definitely won’t be able to fall asleep… But these here are all bands that I like.” Liang Xiao told Ye Ji’an about his new discovery. He moved his forehead to the back of Ye Ji’an’s neck, the small strands of hair causing a slightly prickly feeling.
Ye Ji’an trembled a little and immediately suppressed it.
“I like all your CDs a lot too. But you have to go to sleep.”
Liang Xiao nodded forcefully, making Ye Ji’an’s already-sensitive neck feel stranger. “Then good night, Senior.”
“Good night, Ge, say good night to me too.”
Ye Ji’an had already started to worry about his sleep. He not only lost his confidence in coaxing Liang Xiao to sleep but also felt that both he and the person behind him were destined to a sleepless night.
However, not long after, Ye Ji’an heard the sound of even breathing coming from behind him.
Before he could ascertain whether this guy who would “definitely not fall asleep” was truly dozing, he heard Liang Xiao sleep talking.
Liang Xiao first mumbled a little then grew increasingly impatient-sounding. There was Russian and also Chinese.
Liang Xiao only spoke this one sentence.
Ye Ji’an’s heart, however, seemed to have dropped straight down.
As long as he’s not asking me to scram, Ye Ji’an thought to himself. Fatigue seemed to abruptly overwhelm him and he, too, fell into slumber.
This time, the quality of sleep for both of them were exceedingly great. It was as if they were both starving men who suddenly had a meal whereby they could eat to their hearts’ full.
However, this also led to them missing their morning alarms. Each of them had three alarms set, yet they slept right through all of them.
In the end, it was Ye Ji’an who first awoke to the thundering sound of someone pounding on the door.
“Liang Xiao! Do you know where Director Ye went? Did something happen to the both of you?”
It was as if thunder had struck right beside him. Ye Ji’an immediately jumped off the bed.
On the other hand, Liang Xiao was still sluggish from sleep and rubbing his eyes. Perhaps due to the fact that his plush toy4 Refers to Ye Ji’an. Raws used “plush toy sleeping companion”. I debated between plush toy and “sleeping companion” and thought that the second doesn’t sound innocent enough so we’ll be sticking to this XD had disappeared, Liang Xiao appeared very discontent.
“I know!” Liang Xiao shouted with a dark face.
“What do you know?!” Xiao Li was on pins and needles.
Liang Xiao was not done with his morning grumpiness yet and it was getting worse. In a flurry, he sat upright and furiously replied, “I know where he is, you guys wait for a while!”
“…Then hurry up, the both of you!”
Liang Xiao refused to answer this time.
The time was past eight-thirty and the sky had long turned bright. Ye Ji’an looked down only to see his black tank top, athletic shorts and the vivid tattoos covering his whole arm.
All Ye Ji’an could do now was hope that nobody saw him in the corridor when he left the room.
Cocking his head, he listened for sounds outside the door. There were none. Finally, he glanced at that buddy of his who was still lazing on the bed.
“Hurry up. We still have to meet up in ten minutes and have to leave by nine.”
“Sleeping is so comfortable,” Liang Xiao said, happily looking at Ye Ji’an, seemingly laughing at the mess they were in.
“…I know that,” Ye Ji’an was angered. “I’m leaving!”
Before Ye Ji’an could take two steps, he was blocked at the entrance of the suite. Liang Xiao got up from bed at an impressive speed and passed him one of his shirts.
“The corridor is pretty cold.”
Ye Ji’an gave him a suspicious look, then looked at the Valentino shirt in his hands. Silently, he put it on but left the buttons unbuttoned.
“Thank you, I’ll return it later.”
“Quickly brush your teeth and wash your face!”
Leaving behind these words, Ye Ji’an walked to the doorway and opened the door.
The scene that greeted his eyes nearly made him scream in fright.
Xiao Li from the general department was still waiting outside the door. Seeing him appear, she almost burst into tears. On her face, surprise and alarm changed into a strange excitement.
She carefully asked, “Brother Ye, the two of you finally…”
Ye Ji’an was speechless. The two of us finally what? Before he could ask about it, a person appeared beside him.
“Good morning. Senior headed over just now to borrow a razor. I wasn’t awake yet.”
Skillfully, Liang Xiao squinted and smiled a fox-like smile.
TN: Xiao Li is me, I am Xiao Li
There’s also been an error in translation, Max (pet lizard) -> Marx. Like the Marx in Karl Marx. No wonder there were so many mentions of ‘philosophical eyes’. Sorry I didn’t catch this sooner. Previous chapters have been updated.
- 1To clarify, LX is referring to conditions related to old age (e.g. White hair, loss of teeth, conditions more common in the elderly such as joint pain or diseases like Alzheimer’s etc.) and saying that YJA will “look” older than he will
- 2Referring to the fact that people tend to yawn whenever they see someone else yawning
- 3Same as before, rabbit is just used to describe a cute, pitiful look
- 4Refers to Ye Ji’an. Raws used “plush toy sleeping companion”. I debated between plush toy and “sleeping companion” and thought that the second doesn’t sound innocent enough so we’ll be sticking to this XD