"You even cursed me out and said that I didn't deserve to be loved!"
As soon as Qiu Yanzhi woke up the next morning, he rolled around in He Zhou's arms and came to collect old debts.
He Zhou kissed him on his forehead and said apologetically: "I'm sorry."
"Twice!" Qiu Yanzhi added grudgingly, counting off his fingers.
He Zhou held the person in his arms and quietly apologized while kissing his forehead and mouth.
Qiu Yanzhi lazily nestled into He ZHou's arms like an easily appeased cat.
"Back then, I saw you and a girl walking very intimately together." He Zhou rested his chin on Qiu Yanzhi's soft, black hair and tightened his grip. He toyed with Qiu Yanzhi's finger as he quietly said, "You spoke to her with a very gentle expression, one that you had never used even with me."
Qiu Yanzhi was taken aback. "What little girl?"
"The one from the day we argued. She had long hair and wore a pink dress with little leather shoes. She was also practically hanging off your arm. When you put the tiny crown on her head, you even helped her tidy her hair."
Mr. He not only had very good eyesight, he could also observe the smallest of details. Another thing he was skilled at was holding grudges.
Qiu Yanzhi had to think real hard before he suddenly realized who He Zhou was talking about. "Are you talking about Little Jun? She's blind. I was afraid something might happen to her when I saw her sitting by herself on the side of the road so I took her home."
He Zhou: "..."
He Zhou refused to let this go: "Then what about the tiny crown? I saw with my own eyes that you put the tiny crown I gave you on her head."
Qiu Yanzhi shot him a complicated look. "Dude, do you think your tiny crown is the only one in existence? Is no one else allowed to have one just because you spent 10 bucks on it at the school entrance?"
He Zhou: "..."
He Zhou asked, his tone tinged with guilt, "Then...what about the envelope I saw my grandpa giving you? Did you two come to some sort of secret deal?"
...Like to kick me out?
Qiu Yanzhi was taken aback for a moment. He asked with an incredulous expression, "The person who gave me that envelope was your grandpa?"
He Zhou blinked: "You didn't know?"
Qiu Yanzhi frowned. "...Why would your grandpa give me documents about my biological father?"
He Zhou was dumbfounded.
An idea immediately came to mind.
After He Pingfeng learned of the accidental death of his only daughter, he wanted to take his only grandson home. Alas, the first meeting with his grandson was not very pleasant.
But how could He Pingfeng not come prepared? Before he went to see Qin He, he had already done a thorough investigation. Of course, this mean he knew that Qin He was now living in Xia Yuan's house. His grandson's attitude was firm, so He Pingfeng had no choice but to set his sights on Xia Yuan. He made a very good guess that the reason Qin He didn't want to come with him was most likely because he was with Xia Yuan. If Xia Yuan left with his biological father, then Qin He would definitely obediently come home with him.
However, he didn't expect Xia Yuan to get into an argument with Qin He before even meeting his biological father.
In a way, He Pingfeng achieved his goal by accident.
After coming to that conclusion, He Zhou and Qiu Yanzhi both grit their teeth.
But they also knew that their parting back then couldn't be entirely blamed on He Pingfeng.
In the end, they split because of themselves.
They were too impulsive back then, too immature. And also...too unaware of how important the other person was to them.
Qiu Yanzhi thought that if he had known earlier that he liked Qin He, if he had know how important Qin He was to him, if he had known how sad he would've been after losing Qin He...
...Then he wouldn't have lied no matter what.
He was just too young and thin-skinned at the time.
Even though he lived in such a dirty and chaotic place, even though he did so many shameless, unseemingly things...he still refused to compromise when it came to self-esteem.
He was good at lying, at deceiving. At making up unprovoked lies on the spot to conceal his true feelings.
Some lies he blurted out without even thinking about.
Some truths he hid in the depths of his heart, so deep that he couldn't say them no matter what.
When the old man handed him that envelope, he quickly stuffed it in his bag after a moment's hesitation.
...Afraid that others would learn of his unsightly family matters.
So when Qin He said he saw Qiu Yanzhi and the old man talking, his subconscious desire to hide the truth made him lie without even thinking about it.
Qiu Yanzhi turned and buried his face against He Zhou's chest. "...Sorry, I shouldn't have lied to you."
He Zhou's wide palm pressed against the back of Qiu Yanzhi's head, stroking his hair to his ear. His deep voice said slowly, "It's me that shouldn't have misunderstood you."
Qiu Yanzhi slowly raised his head to look at He Zhou.
He Zhou paused for a beat before brushing a finger against the corners of Qiu Yanzhi's eyes. "What are you crying for?"
Qiu Yanzhi sniffled as his tears fell. "I feel so bad... Because of this we missed so many years together."
He Zhou brushed Qiu Yanzhi's tears away and asked, "What do you think would've happened to us if we didn't go our separate ways then?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "...We...would've gotten together sooner?"
He Zhou shook his head. "You would've continued to lie, deceive, cheat and abandon me."
Qiu Yanzhi's eyes widened as he retorted, "Of course not!"
He Zhou reached up and took out the jade pendant hanging around his neck. "Qiu Yanzhi, do you still remember this?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "Of course I do. I gave it to you."
"I asked you for this pendant once ten years ago."
Qiu Yanzhi blinked before he remembered.
Qin He had already been living with him for some time then.
One day, while Qin He was tutoring him, he suddenly asked about the pendant hung around his neck.
Xia Yuan touched the smooth lines of the jade and said to Qin He, "It's not a famly heirloom. My grandma apparently picked it up on the road the day I was born. She thought it was an auspicious sign so she gave it to me. She said I had to keep it with me until I meet a very important girl to give it to.
Qin He blinked. "Xia Yuan, I have a jade bracelet at home that Mom said was a very precious family heirloom. Why don't I give it to you in exchange for your pendant
"No way." Xia Yuan said, "I'm not a girl. Why would I want your jade bracelet?"
Qin He didn't give up.
"You don't have to wear it. Just keep it somewhere..."
Xia Yuan sat up straight and frowned at Qin He. "Little Trash, do you get what I'm saying or not? Your jade bracelet and my pendant are supposed to be given to people we like. We can't just swap them willy-nilly."
Qin He suddenly grunted and stopped talking.
Qiu Yanzhi had personally put the thing Qin He wanted with all his heart back then around He Zhou's neck.
Qin He may have gotten a bit of sincerity from Qiu Yanzhi, but the person Qiu Yanzhi truly fell in love with was He Zhou.
"So I don't regret it."
He Zhou lowered his head and kissed Qiu Yanzhi very lightly.
Instead of regretting the separation, he rejoiced at their reunion.
Inexplicably, it became difficult to hold back despite it being such a light and gentle kiss.
Luckily, there was no need to hold back.
By the time Qiu Yanzhi reemerged from the bathroom, it was already noon.
Qiu Yanzhi sighed at how lascivious a certain someone named He was while rubbing his hungry stomach and going down stairs to see the lunch prepared by the very same person.
Although it wasn't up to the standards of the candlelit dinner last night, it looked quite hearty.
In other words, it was clear at a glance that He Zhou didn't make it.
Qiu Yanzhi breathed a sigh of relief.
"I did the important task of plating." He Zhou solemnly took off his apron.
"Not bad, keep it up." Qiu Yanzhi patted his shoulder encouragingly.
Qiu Yanzhi found it strange. Little Trash kept away from the kitchen for his own good once he found out he couldn't cook, but as an adult who should know better, he couldn't help but run to the kitchen whenever possible.
Qiu Yanzhi sighed and attributed this behaviour for the time being to Mr. He's strangely high self-esteem.
...En. It should be from the same place as someone surnamed He's intimidating yet persuasive round of questioning on the bed a few hours earlier.
"You're not going to work today?" Qiu Yanzhi asked while eating.
"It's not too busy so it's okay if I don't go." He Zhou said, "Although there is a video conference later."
With that, He Zhou looked up at Qiu Yanzhi.
"Could you not leave the country tomorrow.?"
Only then did Qiu Yan remember that he still had work tomorrow.
He had to leave the country for a week to be a personal translator for He Xiaoqing and her friends.
The main reason he took this job was because the pay was good. At the time he thought he had to support two people by himself, so he was under a lot of financial pressure. But since He Zhou didn't need his support anymore, there was no need for him to work himself to the bone.
But he had already promised the client. Suddenly canceling...didn't seem like a good idea.
Yet looking into He Zhou's eyes, there was no way he could say no.
It would be an entire week, ah.
If he really took this job, he wouldn't be able to see hide nor tail of He Zhou for an entire week starting tomorrow.
Qiu Yanzhi hesitated for a moment, but dialed He Xiaoqing's number in the end.
He told He Xiaoqing that something happened to him and he couldn't go to Germany with them anymore. He also introduced one of his juniors from school with ample translation to her.
He Xiaoqing took the news very well. She even asked him if he wasn't feeling well with genuine concern.
After getting a negative answer, He Xiaoqing hesitated before quietly asking, "Um...my brother...he didn't come to bother you again, did he?"
Qiu Yanzhi glanced at He Zhou, who was clearing the table, and hurriedly said, "No, no."
"That's good." He Xiaoqing breathed a sigh of relief. "If my brother goes to find you again, he must be drunk again. Just call me instead of the police, haha."
"I will, haha." Qiu Yanzhi laughed like he was dead inside.
That was how two people awkwardly yet politely ended the phone call.
"Is He Xiaoqing misunderstanding something? Why does her tone suggest you're a pervert?" Qiu Yanzhi asked.
He Zhou touched his nose. "There is a little misunderstanding, yes. I'll explain it to her when she gets back from her vacation."
Qiu Yanzhi yawned and waited for He Zhou's two hour long video conference to end.
But he suddenly perked up when He Zhou turned off his computer and loosened his tie.
Qiu Yanzhi looked at He Zhou's distinct joints and admired the sharp contrast between his pale digits and the dark gray tie. A strange thought suddenly came to mind. He eagerly asked, "He Zhou, when did you learn how to break out of being tied up?"
He Zhou raised an eyebrow. "Want to learn?"
Qiu Yanzhi nodded. "A bit, yeah."
He Zhou pulled his tie off his neck. "Then I'll teach you."
He Xiaoqing and her little friends went to watch a movie. The movie's second male lead constantly pined after the female lead, degenerating from her gentle guardian into a sick man who was taken out by the male lead.
He Xiaoqing cried her heart out.
She couldn't help but think of her poor brother.
After saying goodbye to her little friends, He Xiaoqing wiped away her tears and went to her brother's house.
She entered the code sadly, she opened the door sadly, she walked upstairs sadly, and she sadly forgot to knock on the door.
Then she saw the white moonlight her brother pined after here, in her brother's bedroom.
Wearing her brother's clothes.
Sitting on her brother's bed.
With her brother's tie tied tightly around his wrists.
His neck was filled with ambiguous traces.
Hearing something, the man on the bed turned while pleading pitifully, "He Zhou, I really can't. Please untie me..."
The man froze the instant he saw He Xiaoqing. His voice also stopped abruptly.
He Xiaoqing was trembling with tears in her eyes.
She finally knew why Qiu Yanzhi suddenly canceled after agreeing to take the job.
She finally knew why Qiu Yanzhi's voice had sounded so strange and stilted during the call earlier.
It was because...
It was because!
He Xiaoqing reached up and wiped away her tears before walking resolutely towards Qiu Yanzhi. Her voice cracked as she called out, "Mr-- Mr. Qiu! My brother may be a beast but I'm not! I...I'll get you out of here!"
Qiu Yanzhi: "..."
The latent potential of Qiu Yanzhi's brain immediately activated as He Xiaoqing advanced on him. He also recalled all the techniques He Zhou taught him just now. He wrapped his fingers around the tie and spun it twice around, sending the tie drifting to the floor.
Qiu Yanzhi rubbed his wrist before standing up straight and extending a hand in He Xiaoqing's direction.
"Hi, let me reintroduce myself. I'm Qiu Yanzhi, your brother's boyfriend."
He Xiaoqing stood dumbly where she was. Then, her shocked eyes slowly, incredulously, widened.