Proofreaders: Mion Sakamaki & ayszhang
Love Late Vol. 2
I definitely felt a sense of loss upon leaving T City, but S City suited my taste as well. By the time we left the airport, the entire city had already been illuminated by the neon lights. I loved the hustling city at night.
A new city, a new atmosphere, and a new life surely meant a change of luck.
Damn it, if I can’t find the right guy here, I don’t know where I can.
Still sucking on the mint I got from the plane, I set foot on my brother-in-law’s place. Fortunately, they weren’t living with the Xie family elders. Otherwise, with my record for kidnapping, it’d really be awkward seeing them.
They hired someone to sweep the house in advance. It appeared warm and clean. The overall taste was alright. There were just one too many cushions and pillows and seemed a bit too cluttered with things like potted plants, fish tanks—too many useless things that I could care less for.
It felt too much like home, making me feel out of place.
“Tada! What do you think?” Shu Nian opened a door like he was presenting a treasure. He gave me an expressive glance, and then looked toward the room.
“Oh?” The carpet was so soft that half of my feet were buried in it. Goosebumps crawled over my skin right away.
My brother-in-law’s apartment wasn’t bad. The location was good, the arrangement was beautiful, and it was spacious. I trust that it’s a great place to live in and I appreciate his hospitality.
But I will never lodge under another’s roof. Not to mention, I wouldn’t even have the freedom to bring someone back to spend the night. And if I was seen by Xie Yan getting it on on the living room sofa, wouldn’t he turn ill in the face?
Not only should we not live together, we should be separated as far away from each other as possible. I definitely didn’t want a man to meddle in my life like a nanny.
“I don’t plan on moving in.”
“Eh?” Shu Nian was surprised. Panicking, he said, “It’s actually really convenient here, and the neighborhood is pretty nice. If you don’t like it, wait until I tidy it up and see what we’re missing…”
I grabbed his shoulder and sincerely said, “Believe me, several grown men, who are all gay, living in one apartment can’t be good.”
“Well, it can’t turn out bad either.” The honest, naïve man said, “You’ve only just arrived. First rest here for a few days. If you think it’s no good, you can move to another place.
I guided him patiently, “The issue isn’t whether it’s good or not. It’s that it’ll be inconvenient.”
“Oh, it won’t be. Transportation and what not are all very convenient.”
I gently hinted, “I’m not used to sleeping alone.”
Shu Nian gave out an “oh.” He thought for a moment, then looked at me with affectionate eyes. “Then let’s sleep together tonight.”
Goose bumps quickly spread down my back to the soles of my feet.
Xie Yan immediately glared at me with a look of profound hatred as if someone had made off with his bride.
I was still reluctant to touch my luggage and only took out the necessities to avoid the trouble when the time came to run off. After the two men unpacked their luggage, they were already too tired to go out. And there wasn’t a need to hold a grand welcome reception for family, so we ordered take-out for dinner.
I yawned while I was listening to Shu Nian talking to Xie Yan. “Let’s go pick up Xiao Jia soon. I miss him.”
“We’ll go tomorrow. It’s getting late. Get some rest first. There’s no need to pick up Xiao Xi. You’re too tired to look after him. Let’s talk about this again once you get better.”
I cut in, “Who are you talking about?”
Shu Nian laughed. “Xiao Jia is my adopted child. This year, he’s nine years old. Xiao Xi is his son. He’s six months old.”
“He’s also adopted?”
“No, he’s Xie Yan’s real son.”
I was startled. “Who gave birth to him?”
Xie Yan seemed reluctant to discuss it. He dryly said, “A woman.”
I realized that he must continue the Xia bloodline. Even if the one Xie Yan likes is a man, in the end, there must be someone to carry on the bloodline. Shu Nian’s status in the family really wasn’t secure. I started to question whether it was the right choice to come to him for help.
Watching that slender man’s submissive face, I suddenly slammed down my chopsticks in rage. “Xie Yan, you did what?!”
Xie Yan flushed with anger and said, “What did I do! I just gave out some sperm!”
“Oh, how generous. Xiao Nian, you should give some out one of these days too.”
Xie Yan was ready to snap. He thundered, “Drive the wedge deeper and you can talk to my fist!”
On the other hand, Shu Nian tried to make peace. “It’s nothing really. It’s just a surrogate mother, that’s all.”
“That’s all?” I couldn’t stand his saintly behavior. I shrugged and said, “As you wish. You guys are a match made in heaven alright.”
Dinner was eaten unhappily. Having washed up and returned to my room to sleep, I was aggravated that I strangely couldn’t keep a cool head. It was not like I was getting paid for nosing into someone else’s family affairs. What business was it of mine!?
After lying down for a moment, I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door and saw Shu Nian standing there in his sleepwear, hugging a pillow.
“Did you have a fight?” Why do I sound like I’m anticipating something?
He was taken aback. “That’s not it. You can’t sleep by yourself, right? I’m here to accompany you.”
Stupid. I sulked.
I actually ended up sleeping on one bed with the man—the both of us lying side by side.
“About Xie Yan, he didn’t betray me. He only compromised.”
Shu Nian continued to speak gently, “People shouldn’t be too greedy. It’s not like one can definitely have everything he wants. How can everything comply according to only one person’s wish?”
“If I only go by my way and he by his, nobody will ever get their way. It’s already a great concession for them to accept my existence. I should also give way.”
I yawned. “Then you won’t mind either if he gets married to a woman one day?”
He didn’t utter a word. A moment passed before he said, “To be with Xie Yan, I’ve thought of all these things, so saying something like “I’m not able to take it” is too cowardly.”
I could only feel my rage rise. Clenching my teeth, I said, “I can’t believe you. Is there anybody who’s easier than you?”
I had thought I had been naive enough myself. Ke Luo had outdone me. Who could have thought that this man would stoop to a new level of naivety. Are the three of us in a competition for self-degradation?
Shu Nian actually wasn’t angry. He continued looking at the ceiling and good-naturedly said, “If you want something, you must pay a price.”
I gave a sardonic smile. “That depends on what it is you get.”
“That’s alright. I’m fine with just a little. It’s better than having nothing.”
He seemed lukewarm and weak when in fact he’s very clear-headed. It’s just that our rules for the game were more than a million miles away from each other. They’re basically at two extreme ends of the earth.
Such a reserved man. He practically has to put himself down into the dirt in front of the person he adores. What is he going to do in the future?
I couldn’t help but reach out and angrily squeeze his cheek. He lightly cried out in surprise and seized my hand. After that, he just clutched it as so.
Both of us lying down together peacefully hand in hand.
It was his first time calling me so. My mouth suddenly dried.
“I will make a lot of things for you to eat.”
For my new life, I intended to dub it “Nothing to do with Ke Luo.”
I had originally planned to go sightseeing in S City for a period of time and then run off. Money wasn’t an issue anyway. If Ke Luo dared to give me a blank check, I dared to fill it in. When there's a shortage of money, I could just write a large amount. I could live well for a few years without even working.
However, in the end, I stayed at their apartment for the time being. Shu Nian was really too spineless. I couldn’t bear the sight of it. A member of the Lee family can’t be this gutless—being kneaded, flattened, and twisted into a round ball, making us look bad in general. I needed to train him.
Shu Nian and I made an agreement. If I find them outside of their bedroom conducting PG-13 behavior, upsetting the feelings of a single old man like me, I’ll move out immediately.
Because Shu Nian followed my words, the hatred of Xie family’s young master, whose desire was unsatisfied, deepened.
After that day, I met little Shu Jia. He looked cute and smart, as well as very well-behaved. As soon as he met me, he shared half a piece of chocolate with me, quickly winning my affection. There was also a little baby, Xie Xi Ran, soft and fair-skinned with eyes big and black. He giggled non-stop. He was actually much more lovable than his old man and gained my approval as well.
I had met the Xie parents before. After we exchanged pleasantries, I sat down with them face to face to talk as the elder brother from Shu Nian’s side of the family.
Growing up in the Xie family as a playmate and study companion, Shu Nian was kind of like a servant—working for the Xie family in days to come and becoming young master Xie’s underground lover. It looked like he would live as a part of the Xie family and would die a ghost of the Xie family. A married couple had a divorce agreement, which he couldn’t even imagine ever having.
It’s nothing when all is calm and everything seems to be in perfect harmony. But when a problem arises, he’d turn against him, leaving not a thing behind.
I have to know myself and know my enemy, and then make sure a certain useless guy will receive the greatest benefits, so as to prevent his reliance on me to nurse him at an old age after being abandoned in the future.
On the basis of my exceptional performance during the negotiation, after the talk, they became my boss and my boss’s wife.
To have my share of the job as a transition wasn't that bad. I could get to know the Xie family a bit more and that’s where my interest lies, even though I wasn’t very happy to address Xie Yan as my superior.
My relationship with Xie Yan was neither good nor bad. Generally speaking, he could be labeled as a good man, but since he’s my brother-in-law I had to be strict. All day long, we quarreled like two cocks fighting. The slightest disagreement and a full fight would break out. Every day it was very lively at home.
Shu Nian was initially frightened out of his wits, but gradually got accustomed to it. He knew exactly how much fire we packed for each fight like the back of his hands. As long as it didn’t reach his limit, no matter how loudly we quarreled, he could still lie on the floor with Xiao Jia and focus on reading a storybook.
“Papa, what are daddy and uncle doing?”
Shu Nian reassured him, “That’s their way of talking to each other.”
“Why are they so loud?”
Shu Nian covered Xiao Jia’s ears to censor some of our vulgar words, and then explained, “They need to do so to help digestion since they eat more for dinner.”
On the weekend, I accompanied Shu Nian to the supermarket.
Living together for a period of time, I realized he was practically a full-time nanny. He lived more of an old married woman’s life than the average married woman.
Every day he’d go to work and return home on time. Sometimes he’d pick up Xiao Jia from school himself. Upon returning home, he’d do an endless amount of housework—sweeping the house or making refreshments. Late at night, he’d be dragged by Xie Yan into their room to do some obscene things. An entire day would end like that.
He seemed to be rather happy, living a fulfilling life, but…what about the fun? Where’s the fun? A week like this would turn me into a crazed beast.
I was almost dozing off just by walking in the supermarket for about five minutes. I listlessly watched Shu Nian place a bag of almonds into his basket and select crabs from the seafood department. I repeatedly yawned. It wasn’t until he took a durian fruit that I woke up with a sneeze from the smell.
“Say, is it enjoyable living each day like this?”
He seemed very surprised by me asking him so. “Why, you think there’s something wrong with it?”
“I’ve never seen you go out and party with friends. Drink? Play cards? Wait, do you have friends?”
“I do. Like my colleagues at work….but there’s no reason to party… I can drink with Xie Yan. And don’t I have you now too?”
“Oh come on, you can’t rely on Xie Yan to live your life! You should live your own life beyond him.”
Shu Nian thought for a moment. “I don’t think I need to. It’s fine with just Xie Yan and me...”
My veins popped out, and I yelled, “I’m telling you, just having Xie Yan is not enough!”
“Enough, my ass!”
“Xie Yan is very good to me.”
“Please stop saying that.” I couldn’t stand him. “I’ll pity you all the more hearing you speak like that.”
Shu Nian didn’t dare say anymore. We pushed the cart to the checkout line—a big pile of miscellaneous things. We carried all the bags to the parking lot. When we got in the car, he suddenly said, “When the elevator was down, it would be difficult for my legs, so he would carry me up the stairs on his back.”
I imagined the scene and counted the number of floors. Mm-hm, that bad-tempered man’s strength is better than I thought.
I stubbornly said, “That’s because you’re too skinny. What’s so hard about carrying a paper-thin man? Next time the elevator’s down, let me carry you. I can do it running.”
Shu Nian chuckled and grabbed my hand.
Hmph, this guy’s really mushy.
During my temporary stay, Shu Nian bought several things for me. He was frugal for himself, but when he bought things for me, he hardly thought twice about it as if he owed me in my last life. And I bluntly accepted it all without question.
In fact, a lot of the clothes looked pretty stupid to me and not worth buying. His taste in fashion…
Actually, there wasn’t any taste. I don’t think his taste buds were working properly at all. Black was in last year. The British gentleman fashion was the year before last year’s. This year, I wanted the romantic French style. And what the hell is with that tie?
Yet I would still go out wearing them. I consoled myself by saying that I’d already cultivated my body to the point that I’d be able to match with any clothing. Matching is the key. Matching is the key. No matter how bad the choice was, I could change something lame into something magical.
Since that guy looked on with eager eyes all day long, hurting his pride would seem very immoral. Besides, for the first time in many years, I received a gift from my own family. It felt a little…strange.
However when I discovered those wide, plaid pajama pants of his with a loosened elastic waist and that old, dull underwear among the clothes hung out to dry, I finally exploded.
“Hey! You’re thirty-three, not fifty-three! Why the hell are you dressing up like an old man?!”
Shu Nian panicked. “Oh…it’s pretty good though. It’s very comfortable…”
“You’re not sensitive to these things at all, are you? It screams ‘I’m straight’!”
He was the sharp, perceptive type. He should have been like those LA buddies of mine, discussing about maintaining himself and fashion, caring considerably about the shape of his own waist and hip, diligently working out, doing the moonwalk, twisting himself into a fried dough twist.
“At the very least, have some sexy underwear.”
“Eh…” He was somewhat helpless, slightly blushing. “I don’t know much about that sorta…”
“Are you really gay?”
It seemed like Xie Yan didn’t mind so long as he could easily take off those clothes, so he cut in from the side, “He isn’t necessarily gay. I’m the only man he loves.”
Shu Nian actually reacted with a happy expression to this kind of remark—a remark that deserved a smack.
I glared at him, “What do you usually do for fun?”
“Uh, read books, clean the house, cook…”
“You call cleaning fun?” I patted his shoulder with a lewd smile. “Go out with me this weekend. I’ll take you to a very interesting place, then you’ll know what real fun is.”
Xie Yan’s veins exploded. He threw down his magazine, looking like a livid cat with his back arched. “Not on my watch!”
He was almost driven mad from me urging his wife to go seek a good time all day long.
Shu Nian rushed to talk me out of it, “For-forget it, I don’t need fun…”
Xie Yan and I glared at each other. I huffed back without a sign of weakness, “Don’t think that by having him cooped up in the house, deprived of socialization, you can rest easy without a sense of danger!”
Young master Xie Yan’s face flushed with an angry humiliation. “He loves me and listens to me. What’re you gonna do, huh?”
That’s right, young master Xie Yan’s just like an angry prickly porcupine; I couldn’t do anything to him. However…
“Hehehe.” I cupped Shu Nian’s face and slowly approached him with a lewd smile.
The air in the room gradually froze, and when I kissed him on the lips with a chu, it finally cracked.
“Ahhhhh, I’mma kill you!” Xie Yan went completely ballistic.
I strode off with triumph—See if you dare cross me now.
The next day, when I got up to eat breakfast, I discovered Shu Nian again with his usual bent back. I watched his legs slightly trembling as he walked. Uh-huh, seems like last night was really intense.
As Shu Nian poured warm milk in four cups, he was disconcerted by my mischievous gaze.
“So, how many times did you do it?”
Startled, Shu Nian almost knocked over the cups.
“Was it comfortable or painful for that frail body of yours?”
Shu Nian instantly blushed up to his ears. Like a locomotive, steam seemed to almost blow out of his ears. I think the answer is the former.
“Was it all on the bed? Did you guys do it on the washer or maybe on the balcony?”
“Don’t be so stingy. Look, I’ve been single for so long, do your brother a favor and share a little with me.”
The honest man hesitated before he mumbled, “On the chair…”
“That chair in the living room with the high arms?
Shu Nian couldn’t raise his head. “Yeah…”
Ohhh, very interesting. This really is what one calls a biting dog seldom barks. From now on, when I sit on that chair, I’m afraid I’ll think about lots things.
Nobody can cut into their affectionate love. I thought of Ke Luo’s one-sided love and felt a slight joy in his misfortune.
How nice. He might as well keep waiting in vain for a lifetime. Ah, the sunlight from outside the window is so nice.
As for myself, I won’t think about it.