Proofreaders: ayszhang, Art_emis, M@o, happyBuddha, Mion, dairytea
City of Endless Rain ch 1
Tang Shan had a nightmare.
He gasped as he sat up in a rush, the damp smell of air and the clear sounds of rain gradually becoming even more vibrant…
So this was reality.
He looked around. It seemed as if he were in a different world; the room was entirely unfamiliar to him, and yet he was able to identify that this was his room—it was an indescribable and contradictory feeling.
At that moment, the cuckoo clock hanging opposite him began to call eight times, indicating that it was eight o’ clock. He was aware that his circadian clock caused him to awaken at eight, so he did wake up at the right time. However, he had no recollection of the existence of the cuckoo clock at all. Things felt completely normal, and yet unusual at the same time.
He looked around again, surveying the area. The room was simply furnished with only a study table and chair, as well as the bed he was on.
The curtains by the bed were tightly shut, allowing only a glimmer of light to pass through. This caused the room to seem dark and humid. There was also a cactus on the windowsill. On the table was a book that lay open with a long, gold plated bookmark in the middle, as if he had been in the midst of reading it.
He got off the bed and walked to the table, picking up the book. Even after briefly looking through it, however, he still had no recollection of the title. He wasn’t clear about the contents of the book either. Had he really read it before?
He skimmed through the book, and yet still held no memories of having read it. Eventually, he flipped to the first page and began to read the first chapter.
I felt the tilting of time under the bright sun along with the formless rain, the sleek wind, and our stillness.
It was a poetic romance novel. After reading just this line, he could already feel his head starting to hurt.
He thought to himself, “I must have been either possessed or had a screw loose to have read this book.” The main point, though, was that he was completely unfamiliar with the book. Yet, it was on the study table in his room.
These foreign feelings of unreality made him feel as if he were on the verge of going mad—he needed a breath of fresh air.
He walked to the only door in the room. The gold, round door handle felt unusually cold in his hand.
He opened the door. The hallway was dark and no light was able to enter. The only place that was bright was at the end of the hallway, and he made his way towards it, gradually hearing the sounds of people talking.
From what he could hear, it sounded like two people conversing.
Having left the hallway and gone down the wooden staircase, he found that the furnishings gave off a warm and cozy impression. Most of the furniture was made of wood, and there were also decorative ceramic gnomes half the size of a man. They were randomly arranged in small groups, where each of them smiled brightly at the other.
He scanned the area and finally managed to find the owners of the voices in the kitchen.
It was an open kitchen, so he was able to see the people inside as he got closer. There was a ginger young man sitting by the dining table, plates already empty, and there was also half a glass of juice. The young man was chatting with a person he could not see.
“Excuse me?” Tang Shan greeted loudly before he walked in, and was finally able to see the other person. With that person's back to him, he could only see a head of jet-black, soft long hair.
From the back, the person looked like a tall and long haired female beauty, but he had obviously heard two men speaking.
“You’re finally awake! I almost got Yuanyu to give me your breakfast!” The red-haired young man exclaimed loudly upon seeing him, his facial expression of disappointment obviously exaggerated.
He seemed to know him, but Tang Shan had no memories of him.
“Jake, keep it down. Tang Shan just woke up, don’t be so noisy.”
“You’re saying I’m noisy?! My voice is very nice, please,” Jake retorted in a mumble, afraid to speak out loud.
The man called Yuanyu placed plates of food on the table, giving Tang Shan a brief smile as he pulled a chair out. He gestured for Tang Shan to sit.
Tang Shan was momentarily stunned. It was the long haired man’s fault for being too good looking and seeming so feminine. If he hadn’t heard his voice, he would have assumed the man was a beautiful woman.
“Would you like juice or milk?” Yuanyu asked as he headed to the fridge.
“Um... I want coffee.”
“Coffee is bad for you, how about some milk instead?” As he said this, he took the milk and poured a glass.
Tang Shan did not feel too annoyed despite being rejected. Sitting on the chair pulled out by Yuanyu, he faced Jake and began to watch him, his mind rummaging through whatever memories he had.
Whether it was the beautiful Yuanyu or the red-haired Jake, he could recognize neither of them.
“Someone might get jealous if you stare at me with such a fiery gaze!” Jake proclaimed loudly with a suggestive tone, once he noticed him staring.
Jealous? What was there to be jealous of? Who was jealous? Why would anyone be jealous?
Tang Shan’s mind was filled with a myriad of questions, and finally decided to discuss his situation with them.
“I’m sorry, I really don’t remember this at all, but do I know you two? Do I live here? I don’t remember anything at all.” After he finished speaking, Jake and Li Yuanyu were both frozen, and he couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.
“Again?” That was Jake’s first reaction while he pointed at Tang Shan, shouting at Yuanyu.
From that reaction, it seemed it wasn’t the first time he’d lost his memories.
Li Yuanyu gave a forced smile and placed the milk near Tang Shan’s hand, seating himself beside Tang Shan. He was very close, and even reached out to stroke his hair, saying, “It’s fine if you forgot, you don’t have to feel afraid.”
That movement was too natural, too intimate. For some reason, Tang Shan didn’t find it strange, as if this was something that was a given.
He didn’t know why, but he trusted this man. It didn’t seem like the man would do anything to harm him. That man was obviously a stranger, and yet, he trusted him implicitly.
“After you finish your breakfast, I’ll bring you around. Who knows, you might remember something,” Yuanyu smiled as he spoke.
The man was generous with him and didn’t seem to mind the loss of his memories. He even wanted to bring Tang Shan around. He’d made breakfast and been so tolerant—he truly was a great person.
“Thank you. You’re a wonderful person,” Tang Shan expressed in gratitude.
Jake, who had been drinking juice, spat out a mouthful and began coughing upon hearing that.
“What’s wrong with you?” Yuanyu asked, tossing a rag to Jake to clean the table.
“That’s because…” Jake tried his best to come up with an excuse, but was interrupted.
“Watch your mouth,” Yuanyu said coldly.
Jake stopped talking, afraid to make a sound.
Tang Shan watched the two of them contend. He was obviously unable to tell that there was a special meaning behind their words, and eventually landed his gaze on Jake. Jake’s expressions were the richest and also the most complicated with a mixture of indignance and anger as he glared at Yuanyu. Despite that, he still wiped the table obediently.
“Eat up. I'll take you out later.” Yuanyu reminded him to eat more quickly, his tone gentle and yet also forceful at the same time.
Was it his imagination? It felt like Yuanyu was sidestepping some matters.
Tang Shan watched Yuanyu closely. His gaze was unrestrained, but rather than rejecting it, Yuanyu seemed to be encouraging him, as though he enjoyed being stared at, causing Tang Shan to feel shy.
He looked away and began to eat. It was a fact that Yuanyu’s captivating appearance had made him feel something. However, Yuanyu was a man, and he was a man as well. It would just be too strange.
After chanting “I’m normal” to himself a few times, he swallowed his breakfast and took a huge gulp of milk, quickly taking care of the food in front of him.
Jake made a sound, looking as if he was anticipating a good show.
Tang Shan found it strange and put down his utensils. “Can I ask you something?”
“What is your relationship with me?” Were they friends? It didn’t really seem that way though, so he was confused.
“Let me make this clear right now—I have no relationship with you. I’m just an outsider who’s here for free breakfast,” Jake immediately piped up.
“I see.” Tang Shan had originally assumed that Jake and him were roommates. He asked again, “Then Mr. Yuan should be the landlord, right? Am I a tenant here?” He’d slept in the room here, so he imagined that he was a tenant. Yuanyu had even gone out of his way to make breakfast, so him being a landlord seemed plausible.
“I guess you could see it that way, so we’ll leave it at that for now.”
Wouldn’t such an ambiguous answer make one feel even more troubled? Besides, what did he mean by “for now”?! If he was a tenant, just say it; if he wasn’t, then just make it clear! Tang Shan felt he was being dragged along by the nose.
“Also, my surname is Li, and my name is Yuanyu. You can call me Yuanyu,” Li Yuanyu corrected him, and then turned towards Jake.
“And you will call me Mr. Li,” he rectified at the same time.
“Hmph! No matter how I look at it, I’ve known you far longer than he has, so why does he get to call you Yuanyu, while I have to call you Mr. Li?” Jake felt indignant and glared towards the innocent Tang Shan.
Tang Shan could almost see his eyes blazing in irritation.
“It’s because Tang Shan is Tang Shan, and you aren’t him,” Li Yuanyu replied.
Another tongue twister-like riddle. Tang Shan didn’t really get it, but Jake seemed to understand and quieted down, not pursuing the matter further. Tang Shan was obviously part of the conversation, but was always out of the loop, leaving him frustrated.
“I’m full now. Thank you for your hospitality, it was delicious. Should I wash the dishes?” Tang Shan changed the topic, planning to wash Jake’s dishes as well.
“Let Jake do it. Come, I’ll bring you outside. This town isn’t exactly big, nor is it small, so it’ll take about a day to finish sightseeing.”
“A whole day?” Tang Shan couldn’t help but exclaim in surprise.
“Since we don’t have any means of transportation nor any gas stations, we only travel using bicycles or by foot,” Jake explained as he cleared the plates.
Li Yuanyu asked Tang Shan, “You don’t mind walking, do you?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Then let’s go.” Li Yuanyu stood up and held his hand, and they left the dining table together.
Because his movements were too natural, Tang Shan wasn’t able to react and retract his hand in time. He could only let Yuanyu do as he liked.
Li Yuanyu took two waterproof coats. The style and colours were quite classic, and it matched well with Li Yuanyu’s tall stature.
Tang Shan, who was shorter, began to worry that he’d look like a child who had stolen an adult’s clothing when he wore it. However, there was no need for such worries. Li Yuanyu gave him a coat that was a size smaller and compatible with his height, as if it had been custom made.
Unsurprisingly, he found his name stitched onto the cuffs—this trench coat was originally his.
He seemed to be able to understand the situation a little better and was no longer as fearful. He followed Li Yuanyu’s footsteps out of the house. The garden was well tended to with the grass smoothened out, and there was even a patch growing edible vegetables. The owner’s dedication could be seen from how tidy and beautiful it was.
“Did you plant the lettuce that I ate just now?” Tang Shan wondered, filled with respect for Li Yuanyu. On the topic of horticulture, he did have some experience. The place he used to live in—Wait, where did he use to live? Why couldn’t he remember it all of a sudden?
“We tended the yard together, but you were determined about there being a vegetable garden. You’re usually in charge of cultivating them, so I don’t really help,” Li Yuanyu answered, sounding a little blue.
In other words, he was filled with admiration for his own work. How funny.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember,” Tang Shan apologized, and then asked, “Have I lived here for a long time?”
“It has been some time, though I don’t remember how long exactly.” Li Yuanyu smiled apologetically, casually avoiding his question.
Tang Shan couldn't probe further and looked away, surveying the surrounding buildings. He suddenly felt as if he’d traveled through time to the 19th or 20th century. The architectural features were all over the place, where little cottages were lined next to tall buildings, and bricks next to concrete. He’d never seen anything like that before.
There were no people on the roads, and it was so quiet it seemed as if the place was deserted. Only Li Yuanyu and he walked along the grey tiled sidewalk. The rainy mist was thick, and all he could see in the distance was white.
It was a very strange feeling. Nobody would like such a creepy atmosphere, or at least not Tang Shan.
“Watch your step.”
Li Yuanyu warned him, but Tang Shan had already been tripped by a brick and almost had an embarrassing fall. Fortunately, he was pulled back upright, but that only caused him to fall backwards onto Li Yuanyu.
Li Yuanyu chuckled, and Tang Shan, who was against his chest, could feel the tremors from his laughter. He was so embarrassed that he wanted to dig a hole and hide in it.
“Thank you,” Tang Shan said as he shifted himself away from Li Yuanyu’s embrace, standing firmly.
The moment Tang Shan moved away, he heard Li Yuanyu give a sigh of regret. His hand was still on Tang Shan’s waist, and it didn’t seem like he would retract it anytime soon with how he guided him along the sidewalk.
He kept feeling like he was being treated as a lady.
“Mr. Li, I think I can walk properly by myself.” Tang Shan wasn’t accustomed to such behaviour and quickened his footsteps, wanting to rid himself of that hand on his waist.
His intentions were obvious, and once Li Yuanyu realized, he raised his arms as if to surrender, and then apologized. “Sorry, it’s an old habit. Don’t mind me, it’s a subconscious act.”
“So whether it’s a man or a woman, you’ll still act this way?” The question tore out of Tang Shan’s mouth. Even Tang Shan found that his reaction had been too quick, and he himself had no idea why he sounded so angry.
“Of course not,” Li Yuanyu refuted, “I’m only like this towards the person I like.”
Tang Shan stopped walking and gazed at Li Yuanyu. The man’s expression was complicated, looking as if he blamed Tang Shan.
“Mr. Li, when you said ‘like’, did you mean platonically?” Tang Shan wanted to find out. He was actually repelled and also afraid to know, but couldn’t help his curiosity towards this topic. He still had no idea why he was feeling all these strange emotions.
“Don’t call me Mr. Li, it makes me feel really uncomfortable,” Li Yuanyu smiled wryly, correcting the way Tang Shan addressed him instead of answering the question.
Having been corrected twice, Tang Shan wondered in annoyance if that was really important. He wanted to call him Mr. Li, so what was wrong with that? He didn’t feel they were close enough to be on first-name basis.
“Mr. Li, what is your relationship with me? Please be honest.”
“Yuanyu. Please call me Yuanyu,” Li Yuanyu insisted, but still remained tightlipped towards his question.
Tang Shan glared at him for a while, and then decided to give in. “Fine. Yuanyu, please answer my question.”
“Don’t you already know the answer?” Li Yuanyu answered vaguely, but this only confirmed Tang Shan’s suspicions.
“Impossible! I don’t believe it! I’m not gay!” Tang Shan denied vehemently, seeming on the verge of a breakdown as he backed away.
“Of course you're not. You just like me,” Li Yuanyu reached out, wanting to pull Tang Shan back before he staggered off the sidewalk. However, Tang Shan pushed him away roughly.
“Don’t touch me, you liar! Are you teasing me just because I lost my memories? This joke isn’t funny at all! How could I like a man? I obviously like women, I like making love with women…”
Tang Shan backed further and further away, till he was in the middle of the road. All of a sudden, a horse carriage appeared from the fog, and both the horse and the rider neighed and cried out aloud as they brushed past Tang Shan’s side.
Just an inch closer, and he’d have crashed into the carriage. He was shocked! Why the hell did a carriage show up here?!
Suddenly, he was pulled back onto the sidewalk, and he could only gaze numbly in shock at Li Yuanyu, who was furious.
Forget what? Tang Shan was confused.
“I want you to forget everything about having sex with women! You’d better forget it all!” Li Yuanyu’s face was contorted with jealousy, his tone commanding and unreasonable.
He was afraid of Li Yuanyu. “Let me go…” Tang Shan began to struggle, but was unable to win against the other’s strength.
How could Li Yuanyu be so strong and yet look so frail and soft-spoken? Tang Shan was pressed against the ground, his face against a puddle on a tile, the wet soil sticking to his body.
“I'll let you go if you promise to never bring this up again.”
Li Yuanyu sat on Tang Shan’s back, rendering him unable to breathe. He was unwilling to release Tang Shan even after hearing his cries of pain.
He was truly angry!
“Tang Shan, don’t push it!”
“I… promise…” Tang Shan was in so much pain that tears started to fall, and he had no choice but to beg for forgiveness.
Only when he heard that did Li Yuanyu release him, helping him up gently. He held Tang Shan, who was still in shock in his arms, patting his back to help him feel better.
Tang Shan looked impassive, but a teardrop suddenly rolled down his cheeks. He didn’t want to cry, but he couldn’t control himself. It was so, so scary…
"There, there. Don’t be afraid, it’s fine now,” Li Yuanyu comforted him, as if he were a child.
Tang Shan was too afraid to even speak and let Yuanyu pat his back, as well as hold him by the waist.
“Do you still want to walk around? We’ve only seen about a third of this place,” Li Yuanyu asked for his opinion.
Tang Shan was already terrified, and was utterly unwilling to spend more time alone with him. “I want to go back.”
Li Yuanyu didn’t say much as he supported Tang Shan carefully, helping him step by step. By the time Tang Shan had regained his energy and wanted to walk on his own, he had lost his chance to reject Yuanyu.
When the two of them reached home, Jake was on the way out. The three of them met by the door.
“Goodness, did you fall or crash into a carriage? You look terrible!” Upon seeing Tang Shan’s condition, Jake couldn’t help but voice his surprise.
“You’re already leaving?” Tang Shan’s face was deathly pale. He tried to communicate with Jake through his eyes, telling him “Please don’t go, don’t leave me alone with this guy.”
Jake looked at Tang Shan, and then at Li Yuanyu. After glancing at the two of them, he exclaimed, “Don’t involve me in your lovers' spat, I’m going off now!” As he finished this sentence, he escaped.
Only Li Yuanyu and Tang Shan were left.
Li Yuanyu brought him to the living room and allowed him to settle down. He took off his coat and kneeled in front of Tang Shan humbly, both hands on Tang Shan’s knees, a dirty method to restrict his movements.
“Tang Shan, don’t be afraid of me. I really don’t want to hurt you. I love you, you have to believe me.”
“But you hurt me just now.”
“That was an accident… You shouldn’t mention making love with anyone else, whether it’s a man or a woman. I’m really sorry about what happened just now, I know I was being too petty,” Li Yuanyu apologized sincerely.
For Tang Shan, sincerity was of no value to him.
“Where’s the bathroom? I’d like to take a shower.” He changed the topic, unwilling to discuss this further. He had no loving memories with Li Yuanyu, so it didn’t matter how deeply this man was in love with him.
He was not gay and held no feelings towards Li Yuanyu, and he wouldn’t have any feelings for him even in the future! Tang Shan reminded himself multiple times.
He felt that he was completely aware of his feelings, but had forgotten that the first time he’d seen that man, he'd felt something.
“I’ll bring you there.” Li Yuanyu released him quickly, and held his hand as they walked to the bathroom.
The bathroom was on the second floor, so after walking up the stairs and past his room, they reached it.
Li Yuanyu walked inside with him.
Tang Shan glared at him, but Li Yuanyu ignored his glower. He began to introduce the bath products, “The shampoo, bath milk, body soap and the soap. Use the soap for your face. The towels are in the cupboard."
After he’d finished speaking, he still did not leave.
Tang Shan backed himself into a corner in the bathroom, staring at Li Yuanyu warily. The door was just behind Li Yuanyu, so he had no opportunities to escape.
Damn it! How could he be so stupid as to suggest taking a shower? Only then did Tang Shan recognize the danger in his actions.
“Can’t we take a shower together? I’m completely soaked.” Li Yuanyu tried to look as pitiful as possible as he begged.
“No!” Tang Shan immediately rejected him without giving it a second thought.
Li Yuanyu looked hurt as he sighed. “I got it. I’ll leave now.”
He’d never expected that Li Yuanyu would be so cooperative. Tang Shan watched him open the door, but before he left, he looked back—he looked extremely sad and sorry.
“I’ll prepare a change of clothes for you.” After he said that, the man really left, closing the door the entire way.
Tang Shan felt as if he had done something unforgivable. However, with his memories gone, how did Li Yuanyu expect him to treat him the way lovers do? In addition, both of them were of the same sex.
Undeniably, Li Yuanyu was a beautiful and outstanding man, but… gay! Gay! Being gay was an utterly new concept to him.
Tang Shan stayed in the bathroom gloomily for a very long time, and then tried to reorganize his feelings. Only then did he take off his heavy and wet clothes. The moment he saw his naked upper body, however, he was paralyzed.
His body was full of blue and black marks. How passionate must the sex have been to leave so many hickeys behind? Some of those marks were on the verge of disappearing, and they were a faint yellow.
This was definitely not something that could have happened in the span of one or two days. These had been accumulated over an extended period of time.
Tang Shan pulled down his pants in disbelief, examining the astounding amount of hickeys on his body. They were even on places that were too embarrassing to speak of. They had to have been the result of continuous sucking and biting.
This was a well-loved body.
Tang Shan grabbed his shoulders and bent over, unable to stand straight.
His body didn’t seem like his at all…
Knocks resounded through the door. Li Yuanyu spoke to him from outside the bathroom. “Tang Shan, I’ve brought your clothes. Do you want to take it, or should I place it in a basket outside?”
“Put… Put it outside!” Tang Shan shouted, tone panicky.
How should he face Li Yuanyu with this body? It was filled with the evidence of their love!
Dairytea says: What do you guys think about it so far? I get a "Silent Hill" vibe when reading this chapter~ XD Any speculations??? *u*
And I thought it might be fun to add some interesting tidbits about the meaning of our characters' names:
Tang Shan (唐善)
Tang (唐): to exaggerate, empty, in vain
Shan (善): good (virtuous), benevolent, well-disposed, to be good at, to improve or perfect
Li Yuan Yu (李元雨)
Li (李): plum, plum tree [A commun surname; click here for a good site that delves into what "plums" symbolize in the Chinese culture]
Yuan (元): primary, first
Yu (雨): rain