Proofread by: yana14
Love Late Vol. 1
I've made all my translator notes into text that'll pop up if you hover your cursor over dotted red line text. That way you don't need to scroll all the way to the bottom to read 'em. X3
No matter what it’s like, I still had to go to the office the next day.
With neither illness nor disaster, I had no excuse for not going. In regards to the repercussions of no sleep overnight, it can be solved with two big cups of coffee and a tablet. As usual, I can still work to earn money and live well.
Only my pale complexion, after many tries, couldn’t be solved. Getting through the whole night, I really can’t be like when I was young and act as if nothing had happened. But I wouldn’t let myself appear down and out.
It was nothing more than a falling out between the sheets. No big deal.
Ke Luo was nothing to me, only a bed companion. I didn’t feel wounded myself.
At this age, I should have long been immune to “infatuation.”
On a usual day of work, I actually didn’t feel sleepy. At noon, I had intended to lie down for a while on the couch, but I couldn’t sleep. The faint smell of leather made me somewhat nauseous. I turned over and gazed at the office ceiling. In a distorted position, I smoked a cigar. A vessel in the back of my head began to throb with pain again for a period of time. This was a signal of my body raising protest.
At night, I had to take some medicine as well in order to sleep. During this time, I stopped buying food to eat, not knowing if there were still leftovers in the drawers.
The phone suddenly rang. The cigar, which I was holding unsteadily, almost fell.
I looked at it as it rang for a good while, not answering. I thought about it and then turned off the sound. If I didn’t, I’d feel my heart suffocate by merely listening.
After the other side hung up, I was still holding the cell phone with my eyes fixed on the screen. Ten minutes passed, and at long last, a received message notification popped up.
Ke Luo was apologizing to me. But apart from such words, he had no other words to say to me. An entire night plus an entire morning, I had been waiting for just this one line.
I sat up, leaned on the couch, and chose a posture to continue smoking my cigar.
I didn’t know whether I should reply. I had always been a clear-cut decisive person, yet now I hesitated.
If I forgive him and go look for him, then I would truly be cheap to a great extent. But if I completely ignore him, it would seem like…was I caring too much about him?
A real bed companion should only consider this as a small thing. He would chuckle, curse a few words, and then continue to have sex, seeking pleasure. We loved each other’s bodies anyway.
Only people who have had their hearts wounded would take troubles to heart, as if the heart was pierced by a thorn, incapable of relief.
And I didn’t acknowledge it. I wasn’t hurt. I was simply irritated that’s all. I never did care for Ke Luo.
How could such a little brat, whose heart is filled with thoughts of someone else, stir my heart?
I just liked his young body. Other than that, he has nothing.
Each day forward, Ke Luo didn’t call over. And I was Hamlet for a number of days. There, for the sake of the question, “to reply or not to reply,” I turned it over again and again. I smoked a lot, but from beginning to end, I never did press that button.
Advancing and retreating was surprisingly so difficult.
Dragged through it for more than a week, suddenly there was no news from Ke Luo. Every day, I stared at the cell phone in front of me. With not much to do, I felt empty all at once.
I smoked cigarettes while I cursed the motherfucker in my heart. And I thought, actually why bother? I was old enough to be his father. Why do I have to get upset over such a young kid?
When I was his age, it was unlikely that I was that much sensible and intelligent. I had done a lot of foolish things. Putting myself in his shoes, there wasn’t really any reason for me to bear a grudge against Ke Luo.
I should have a bit of tolerance. I didn’t mind going back and finding him to teach him to be nicer next time. We’re only having fun anyway; sleeping around to kill time.
I made up my mind, so I dressed casually elegant, charming and graceful. Then I went out to find Ke Luo.
It had only been two weeks since I’d been to Ke Luo’s apartment, but I was rather timid as I stood outside the door. I didn’t know where the nervousness came from. I coughed twice to clear my throat and fixed my hair. With a natural and unaffected attitude, I lifted my hand and rang the doorbell.
Yet, the door never opened before my eyes. The person inside seemed indifferent.
As I was in disbelief, I heard footsteps behind me. I turned my head and saw a plump white woman walking over. She was fishing out her key from her pocket as she greeted me with a smile. She was the landlord who lived just across from here. I’d seen her once or twice before. She had also given Ke Luo pies and puddings she had made herself.
“Excuse me, where’s the boy who lives here? Has he gone out?”
She seemed surprised, “You don’t know? Jack has already moved out.”
I was momentarily somewhat confounded. After a short pause, I asked: “Do you know where he moved to?”
“He was an exchange student. He was supposed to stay until the end of the semester before returning to his country. This time, it seems like he went back before he notified his course withdrawal.”
“Oh…” I paused. I wanted to ask a few more questions, but I was at a loss for words. “Thank you.”
I ran my hand through my hair, went downstairs, and sat in the car. Before starting the car, I smoked two cigarettes.
Such a big thing and that kid didn’t say a word to me about it. Just sending a message to tell me is fine.
I knew he felt that it wasn’t necessary. Besides owing me an apology, nothing else is of my concern.
All the better. It’s simpler this way.
With the cigarette in my mouth, I cautiously drove on the road.
The night wind was strong, almost putting out my cigarette. I drove this kind of sports car exasperatingly slow, without the slightest bit of the casual indifference I had come with. In its place, I was like a foolish idiot.
This city’s night scene is, without a doubt, gorgeous but very boring. I couldn’t find a place to go. I circled around several times and smoked quite a few cigarettes. Then I drove on my own accord to a nightclub.
The club was lively as usual. On stage was the Go Go Boy Show. The atmosphere was extremely fervent, almost overturning the rooftop with the screaming. There were acquaintances greeting me, inviting me a drink, and shouting in my ear that today’s boys were great and to miss it would be pity.
Smiling, I took a seat. I looked up at those swaying blond boys with captivating eyes. Their hands were ready for bills, but in my eyes, what I saw wasn’t them working up their teasing actions.
Ke Luo’s nearly transparent skin, his dark eyes, fine black hair, the curve of the corner of his mouth as he smiles; when kissing, the kind of passion with focused devotion that deeply penetrated in. He can really act as a spoiled child, but can be somewhat hardened and ice-cold. He didn’t even say a goodbye to me.
I held out my hand and placed it on my fairly hot forehead.
Ke Luo’s phone number was finally deleted from my cell phone. It was already a disconnected number.
Those unreal sweet days I had once gone through had thus completely ended without a single trace, lasting for only the moment it took to blink. Yet it seemed to be a very distant thing. I was forgetful, so I didn’t have any so-called lingering feelings.
For the few months after Ke Luo had left, my luck appeared to plummet all the way to the lowest point.
Forget about not making a comeback in affairs of the heart, I also lost repeatedly at casinos. I had run off to Las Vegas to gamble a few rounds. And each time, I quickly and cleanly lost, not a single win. I was so furious at losing the roulettes. In front of the slot machines, I pulled the lever for half the day. Not even once had I actually heard the clanking of coins.
To be able to decline like how I was now hadn’t been easy. It was only for fun anyway. Wealth, this kind of stuff, if scattered, will come back. I didn’t care.
I played to my heart’s content for several days, took all the valuables on me and threw them away in Las Vegas. I lost to the extent that I’d nearly shed my mortal body and exchanged my bones. I bravely returned to LA, intending to pick myself up and properly work. But unknowingly, the complete loss from unrestrained gambling was only the beginning. Greater misfortune was waiting for me.
It was at a crucial point that I was fooled. I had gambled a large amount of hard-earned savings to support the politician who fell from power. In addition, several scandals broke out, snatching any hope of climbing back up.
The path I had painstakingly paved was gone. At this moment, I finally came to realize that no matter how much intelligence and skill I had, my true colors would be revealed as no more than a tiny lawyer, a small shrimp with an insignificant role. A minor playing card in someone’s hand that, when shown, was the first to be shown and, in death, was the first to die.
This time, I lost so much that I couldn’t compensate for the loss. These days became extremely difficult overnight. At such times, I had absolutely no need for sleep, because I simply couldn’t sleep.
I usually had quite a few opponents and even more enemies. Now I was only a drowning dog. The so-called friends by my side seemed to have, one by one, disappeared from the face of the earth.
I realized at such a time that adding hail to snow was frequent and that there was no coal being sent during the snow. I couldn’t wag my tail and beg for pity, such a good for nothing action. I could only put on a bold face and request for help from the few people who could. At such a time, don’t even talk about dignity.
Not knowing if God finally no longer wanted to sever me off, day after day as I was in torment, I received a call back at last. Once I heard the voice on the other end, I was so grateful that I was almost in tears.
“Lu Feng?” This was exactly like a strand of life-saving straw that had floated by in the vast, boundless ocean.
The man on that side laughed, “I’ve heard that you’ve seemed to have run into trouble.”
I also followed with a laugh. Although I had already suffered until I couldn’t anymore, the guy wasn’t a philanthropist. He was a businessman.
“If there’s any inconvenience, I’ll help you take care of it. But I happen to need an assistant who I can trust. Do you want to consider coming back?”
At that time when I hadn’t yet wholeheartedly struggled in LA, I had been a subordinate for Lu Feng. I practically watched his career grow from a small shrimp to a big whale.
Later, I grew out my own wings and gradually made a fresh start. I was intent on helping people in court, and then my connection with him naturally faded.
I now threw myself at his door once more. There was a taste of starting over again.
Several years of hard work had all gone up in smoke. Having to face this fact, I was somewhat in despair. But now, the me who had been stuck in the mud and was able to have someone pull me out, giving me a place to shake clean, was already pretty good.
Empty-handed, I returned to T city. It was better than gloomily pining away my days at this time with my tail between my legs in LA.
That evening, I began to set out, packing my things. In fact, what I planned to take wasn’t much. I was running away in defeat, not taking a trip. I just picked what are important to take.
As I rummaged through the drawers, I found a photo from a brown paper bag. It was taken by Ke Luo. At that time, we were lying in bed naked. After making love, we’d kiss on and off. The brat suddenly fussed that he wanted to take pictures. I couldn’t dissuade him, so there was still such a Polaroid.
In the photo, Ke Luo smiled brightly. The old man beside him had hair in disarray and a stiff face, wanting to look the camera, but not having the nerve to do it; looking very silly.
Somehow I looked at it as if in a trance. My leg fell asleep before I recalled myself. As I gave a sneering laugh, I crumpled this kind of insignificant thing and threw it to the side. After a while, I retrieved it back. I unfolded it and crammed it into the bag.
Let it be. I didn’t need to make a fuss over it. It’s all in the past anyway. I would keep it as a memento in case I forget too quickly what he looked like.
Once I returned to China, someone picked me up. Lu Feng was very courteous by sending someone to help me settle in with ease. But he seemed to really be very busy, like being tied up by something. I rested for several consecutive days until I was summoned by his household. I went to the company to meet him.
Lu Feng was a considerably tall man, forty years old. Usually a man with such a successful career, heading toward fifty, should have somewhat of a beer belly, a slight balding because of excessive pressure, and bad habits here and there.
However, upon seeing him again, he still had a very good figure. Just like ten or so years ago, he looked handsome and stern, calm and collected. His facial features, with that faint arrogant pride, didn’t change one bit.
I think it’s probably because he’s too coldblooded. He, himself, could be compared to a freezing cold storage room; so, no matter what, things could be kept fresh much longer than the average person.
Upon meeting, with an emotionless expression, he directed a line right in my face, causing my back to tremble in fear. I almost thought he was going to say “I’m tired. You all bury yourselves with me.” This was his style.
“I’d like to hand over these affairs to somebody else to take care of.” He sat upright and took a sip of his tea thoughtfully. “I do have a candidate. My friend’s son is very capable, but he’s still a child and needs someone to guide him.”
I gave an “Oh.” Lu Feng would help someone raise a kid…I can smell rat. He’s most likely his own illegitimate son. As for how he was born, that’s a mystery.
“Then, do you think I can raise him better than you?”
He placed his cup down and laughed, “Of course not, but I don’t have the time.”
I immediately knew my place and refrained from asking further. To make Lu Feng not have the time, there was only one thing in the world that he can’t cope, and that’s him tormenting the man he has liked for decades.
I had met the man--tall, yet thin, a refined scholar appearance, a body that seemed frail, no temper, always smiling. Lu Feng could put him to death with one smack. On the contrary, he couldn’t do anything to him.
That man, by the looks of it, won’t get difficult with someone. I can only think that Lu Feng definitely did something ruthless, forcing him to a corner and making it beyond redemption.
Nobody spoke again. Two men sat face to face, drinking tea; each preoccupied with their own thoughts.
“I’ve really done wrong.”
Hearing him say so, I sighed in gloom and looked up at him.
In fact, when we weren’t talking about business, we could be regarded as friends. I understood him and occasionally listened to him subtly say what’s on his mind. Even if he was such a proud man, he needed to pour his heart out as well.
“Can’t you make up for it?”
He shook his head, “Do you think there is anything that can make up for it? What’s done is done. What’s dead is dead. What amends? It’s all bullshit. I just want to wait until Xiao Chen no longer blames me.”
He chuckled, “Forget it. I know he’s always hated me. Lee, I now believe there is retribution.”
I listened to him speak with bitter pain, though that face still had no expression. I truly had to admire his skill of maintaining an emotionless face.
The low pressure in the room was unable to provide relief. I reached toward the box on the table and took out a cigar, “Want a smoke?”
Lu Feng sipped his tea again, “I’ve quit. If you want to smoke, go outside.”
“Quit?” I caught my breath. I felt as if I was seeing a lion eat turnips.
“I can’t expose Xiao Chen to second-hand smoke. I still want to live a few more years.” His face suddenly eased into a gentle expression, making my heart jump. “I want to live with Xiao Chen a little longer.”
I wanted to heartlessly mock him back a round, but when the words rose to my lips, I swung around and my words softened: “He’s simply the apple of your eye.”
He actually accused me: “Ugh, you’re so nauseatingly mushy.”
“What?” Being falsely accused, I almost jumped up, “Look in the mirror yourself and you’ll know what nauseatingly mushy is!”
After teasing each other for a while, we calmed down. Lu Feng seemed to be thinking of something and slightly smiled. He pressed his hand to his chest and said in a low voice: “He’s my heart.”
I knew that he was just talking to himself, not saying it for me to hear. I still couldn’t help but soften my heart at his expression.
I didn’t want to compliment him. He was obstinate. Apart from that nice man called Cheng Yi Chen, no matter how much other people give their hearts to him, they would only be trampled on like mud.
But I was somewhat envious. To be able to become the protagonist of each other’s life, not everyone has that opportunity.
Some people…will play second fiddle to fate for life.
I sat back down and drank my tea for a moment. I heard a light knock on the door. The afternoon meeting was about to start, and it was time for me to meet the person I would take care of as a full-time nanny in the future.
The door carefully opened. Several people came in, one by one, taking care to bow their greetings, “Mr. Lu.”
Only one voice was distinct: “Uncle Lu.”
The speaker was very young and particularly handsome. As a fresh, youthful face in the crowd, he appeared eye-catching with an exceptionally beautiful brightness.
I had only seen him wear a sports jacket, but for some reason, he was actually so dashing wearing a suit.
I had been worried that my memory would be so poor and I’d forget what he looked like, but now I realized that was not so.
“Everyone, be seated.” Lu Feng nodded. Once he sat up straight, that feeling of intimidation was even more intense. No one dared to have the slightest movement, slightly bowing their head and trembling with fear. The young boy didn’t seem to feel the pressure as he quietly sat with a natural expression. He is Lu Feng’s son after all.
“Lee, let me introduce you.”
I took a sip of the tea and swallowed. This was what one calls lurking out from the shadow and exposing oneself.
“This is Ke Luo.”
I stared at the large-eyed boy and smiled. Even though we were two people who had nothing to do with each other anymore, it had been so long since I’d seen him. No matter what the means were when we faced each other, my heart began to thump for some reason.
“Xiao Luo isn’t very smart, but he’s very sensible. Lee, you should teach him some.” Someone who becomes a father, no matter how emotionless his face is, when speaking about his own outstanding son, his voice would soften a little, “Xiao Luo, come here. This is my underclassman back in the days and also your senior. Hurry and address Uncle Lee.”
I smiled again. Yet the boy stared at me strongly with an expression exactly like his old man when he was younger. I hadn’t even noticed it before.
Ke Luo had never asked for my age, and I certainly wouldn’t let him see my driver’s license and ID. I had vaguely told him I wasn’t yet thirty and he was actually convinced.
Being exposed was so embarrassing. If I lacked just a bit of willpower, I believe I’d blush.
The endless conversation passed. Ke Luo was sitting diagonally opposite of me. I wanted to look at him, but I was worried about whether or not he was looking at me, so I kept an unnatural posture with my head tilted as I sat stiffly. I gradually felt my waist sore and my back ache.
Fortunately, Lu Feng’s men didn’t talk nonsense; each and every one, short, and to the point. Before long the regular meeting ended. Lu Feng waved his pardon and took care of us: “We’ll stop here, Xiao Luo. Accompany your Uncle Lee out. Send him home.”
I can finally openly look at Ke Luo. I saw him flip the notes before him with single-hearted devotion. He didn’t raise his head until he heard what was said. He then said, “mm-hmm.”
Ha, the face that had always liked to stare at me was in a daze. The little brat who would stare for ten or so minutes had already disappeared.
I packed my things and walked out with him at a relaxed pace. There were two more days until my car would arrive, but if Lu Feng planned for Ke Luo to replace the driver, elder Yang, to pick and drop me off, I’d rather the new car never arrive at all.
I got in the car and Ke Luo still didn’t say a word. He was quiet for a while until he turned to look at me, “I never would’ve thought you’d be Uncle Lu’s friend.”
I spread my hands out and, with a natural and unaffected gesture, took out a cigarette, “I was just kidding before about the matter with my age. You didn’t take it seriously now.”
He was very serious, “That’s okay. I’ve also deceived you.”
I heavily smoked two mouthfuls, put down the cigarette, and looked up at him.
“While in Los Angeles, I shouldn’t have treated you like that. In fact, the one I like is another person.”
I said, “Oh,” and smiled, not saying anything.
“But he already has a lover. I pester him day and night, troubling them, so he told me I should properly find someone to love. Since I didn’t want to worry him, I went to try.”
“Oh.” I put out the old cigarette. I bowed down again, lighting a new one, as I held it in my mouth.
Some people are more revolting when they’re honest than as liars.
“But I realized that I still couldn’t do it. I understood once I saw him again. I can only like him.”
I smiled with the cigarette in my mouth. I really wanted to lecture this little brat, who didn't know the immensity of heaven and earth and was actually taking a knife to me. A smack in the face or perhaps a punch would be good.
But that serious expression on his face makes people unable to do it. I didn’t want my own face to display a furious expression.
We had broken up anyway. Why should I lose my old face and my rice bowl?
“It’s too early to say that. You’re still so young.” I quickly smoked more than half the cigarette and used a senior’s tone, “The road ahead is still long. Maybe someday you’ll meet the right person.”
He immediately shook his head without the slightest hesitation, “I can’t forget him. He’s the person I love the most in my life.”
I laughed and stubbed out the cigarette. I couldn’t help but reach out to touch my neck. The blood vessels there were pounding, giving me a headache.
“With your affair, I truly am very sorry.” He lifted his eyes, “If you don’t want to see me, you can say it. I’ll go explain it clearly to Uncle Lu.”
I swallowed, “No need. Just forget about the matter. Your Uncle Lee isn’t so stingy. Everyone is just playing anyway. Why take it as real?”
If I really let Lu Feng know I had fooled around with his son in bed, I can just find a rope to tie around my neck. I still wanted to live. Furthermore, I was, in fact, still happy to see him again.
I turned my head a little bit to see his face. He was probably thinking of that man Shu Nian whom he loved so much, therefore his eyebrows creased with his lips faintly pouting. This kind of look contained a very child-like innocence that I liked so very, very much in the past.
But now I just felt slightly tired.
Once I settled down, I decided to seek a new object for pleasure.
This was nothing strange. If I didn’t even have that sort of need, then that would’ve been shocking.
This was the benefit of being single. Encountering an object with an eye-pleasing figure, and a sizzling one-night stand will come around. No need to look ahead and back. The other person’s background, interests, temperament are of no importance. It’s sufficient as long as I have an erection.
I intended to live for a time of doing as I please.
I was different from Ke Luo. Ke Luo was stubborn. His mind was full of only this guy called Shu Nian who could look round or flat for all I know. Every day he’d persistently make a phone call. Once he had the time, he’d send a text. And occasionally, he’d receive a response as if a precious jewel had fallen into his hands.
I merely smiled as I smoked and watched him hold that look of being trapped in the snare of love and unable to free himself. I felt a bit bored.
Translator comments: lol. I love Lee and Lu Feng's interaction in this. Well, anyway, thank you again for all the comments in my previous post! 8D I especially love reading people's thoughts about the story so far. We've gotten to the part where the audio drama started from. I've corrected my translation for the audio drama (part one and the extra), so do download it again for the revisions~