Proofreaders: ayszhang, happyBuddha, m@a
City of Endless Rain ch 4
Tang Shan and Li Yuanyu sat side by side at the table, Jake opposite them. There was a whole variety of dishes on the table, amongst which were the main dishes- the roasted chicken and Borscht.
"Borscht?" Jake was quite surprised and glanced at Tang Shan.
"Tang Shan wanted it." Li Yuanyu explained simply.
"Oh..." Jake looked doubtful.
Tang Shan didn't look at either of them during the course of the conversation, and once Li Yuanyu asked them them to dig in, he quickly tried a spoonful of the Borscht.
This is just the normal Borscht? Tang Shan was stunned at the taste, not expecting the shock and disappointment it brought him.
He didn't find this bowl of soup to be special in any way. It was just your usual Borscht.
Tang Shan's face went through a myriad of changes, his expression complicated. Eventually, he settled on a look of obvious disappointment.
"Does the soup... not suit your tastes?" Li Yuanyu had been watching his expressions, and he'd definitely seen the different emotions cross his face.
"No," Tang Shan lowered his arm and placed the soupspoon by the plate. He was in inner turmoil, confused as to why he had liked such an ordinary soup so much.
"What's wrong?" Li Yuanyu began to get nervous.
"It's nothing," Tang Shan couldn't even pretend to smile. "Sorry, I'm not very hungry, you two should go ahead. I- I'll head back to my room and get some rest."
He stood up, ready to leave while he spoke. Feeling quite terrible and confused, he lacked the energy to interact with anyone then.
"Tang Shan?!" Li Yuanyu grabbed ahold of him.
Tang Shan retracted his hand in reflex, his movement so wide that he overturned some of the plates on the table. The Borscht spilled and porcelain plates fell to the ground, smashing into a million pieces upon impact.
"Holy crap! What are you doing!" Jake cried out in alarm as he pulled his chair a back, avoiding the small shards that flew his way.
Compared with his hastiness, the two other people in the dining room were still and seemingly motionless.
What kind of drama was this! Jake complained, "Come on! Don't get awkward around each other at this time!"
Tang Shan was so tired that he was expressionless, letting Li Yuanyu stare at him as he liked.
Li Yuanyu tilted his head a little but did not shift his gaze, and commanded Jake who was next to him, "Get a broom, pick up the pieces and clean it up."
"Hey, I'm your guest!" he protested.
Jake rubbed his nose sulkily but still left obediently.
Li Yuanyu stood up, quietly approaching Tang Shan and grabbed his hand.
Tang Shan obviously wanted to retreat, but he was unexpectedly swung over Li Yuanyu's shoulder! Everything spun before his eyes as his body was in mid-air, causing him to feel dizzy for an instant.
"Let- let me down!" Tang Shan had both his hands cupping his mouth, looking as if he was about to vomit. He'd closed his eyes to avoid the inverted scenery in front of him, for fear he'd get more nauseous.
He was eventually left on the sofa in the living room. Tang Shan kept his eyes closed throughout, hands still covering his mouth while looking quite sick.
"Are you going to be sick?" Li Yuanyu brought the trashcan in the corner to him and wiped the cold sweat off his face.
Tang Shan was feeling so uncomfortable that he didn't even feel like rejecting Li Yuanyu. He glanced at him weakly while he hugged the trashcan wordlessly. Everything came to a standstill for a moment, and then he began to spew out the soup.
Li Yuanyu patted his back, looking guilty. "I'm sorry, I was overeager and forgot you'd be nauseous from that. I'm sorry," he apologised twice. It was clear he blamed himself.
Tang Shan suddenly understood the significance of the Borscht. It was a signal for the two of them to reconcile, and could also be used as an apology.
"Oi! Li Yuanyu! Why's there blood on the floor?" Once he was done with sweeping the kitchen, Jake followed the trail of bloodstains out, only to gesture wildly at Li Yuanyu's feet as he made alarmed sounds. "You stepped on the fragments, don't you feel anything? Gosh, you're bleeding so much! Ugh... I can't take it anymore, I have a phobia of blood!"
Tang Shan looked up and was stunned upon seeing Li Yuanyu's bleeding foot. The wooden floor was filled with bloodied footprint stains. He finally understood why he'd been hoisted up- it was so he could avoid the fragments.
This man was so, so stupid.
"Tang Shan! Why are you crying?!" Li Yuanyu exclaimed in worry, hastily wiping away Tang Shan's continuous tears.
Tang Shan had no idea why he was crying, but tears kept welling up. He couldn't control himself, and all he did was stare at Li Yuanyu's continuously bleeding foot.
Li Yuanyu hugged him tightly, constantly murmuring words of comfort, "It's fine, I'm fine. Don't worry. I'm fine, I'll take care of it later. Don't worry about me."
Tang Shan did not seem to feel better even with that and tears began to fall even more fervently, amidst his frustration and discomfort. However, he had no clue where all these intense emotions were coming from.
Not knowing how to deal with him, he turned and spoke to Jake, who had squatted down due to his haemophobia. "Jake, get the first aid kit for me," he pointed in a direction.
"Alright," Jake stood up with some difficulty and brought it over. As he got closer, he accidentally saw the blood that had gathered. In that instant, he got dizzy, got soft at the knees, and actually fainted.
Tang Shan looked past Li Yuanyu to Jake, and as he fell, the first aid kit dropped as well. The objects within were scattered all over.
Li Yuanyu was about to get up and retrieve them, but Tang Shan stopped him.
"Don't move, let me do it." He sat Li Yuanyu down on the sofa.
Tang Shan wiped his tear-streaked face and made his way over. Out of the items that were strewn, he picked out the tweezers, gauze, hydrogen peroxide solution, Betadine and cotton swabs. Once he was done, he brought them back and sat beside Li Yuanyu.
"Give me your foot."
"I'll do it myself," Li Yuanyu suddenly got reserved.
"Stop messing around, give me your foot," Tang Shan furrowed his eyebrows and urged him on.
Li Yuanyu gave him a look, deliberated for a moment, and lifted his foot.
Tang Shan held onto his ankle and examined the injury on his soles. There were a few fragments that were embedded deeply into the flesh, and a few that had scraped his skin, resulting in a gory mixture of blood and flesh. It was no wonder it was bleeding so badly.
"Doesn't it hurt?" How could he endure it for so long? Tang Shan's brows stayed furrowed, an inexplicable anger rising within him. He picked up the tweezers and carefully picked out the shards one by one.
Li Yuanyu endured it without a sound, though the occasional twitches of his foot lay proof to the pain he felt.
"You idiot!" Tang Shan scolded, though he got gentler so as not to hurt him further. He carefully disinfected the wounds, applied some cream on it, and then wrapped it up.
Li Yuanyu had his hands on the sofa for support, and as he watched Tang Shan's movements, suddenly burst out, "It's at times like this that I think you're still in love with me even though you don't remember it anymore."
Tang Shan did not feel like speaking, and only looked up at him after wrapping and securing the gauze. Li Yuanyu looked quite pale and no better than he was, but he still gave him a slight smile, with a regretful but tender expression.
"Take care of yourself, I'm heading back to my room." Tang Shan patted Li Yuanyu on the foot and shifted it aside. He walked past Jake, who was on the floor, and left the living room.
Jake had just come to as well, and seeing Tang Shan pass by, absently asked, "Where are you going?'
Tang Shan did not bother with him and just left.
"Where's he going?" Jake turned and asked Li Yuanyu, confused. His foot had already been treated and wrapped up, and he stayed on the sofa, gaze chasing after Tang Shan.
That was a lovelorn gaze. Jake shook his head, finding that there was no cure for this man.
"I'm hungry." As he lay on the floor and stared at the ceiling, Jake rubbed his starving belly. Damn it! He hadn't even had the chance to drink any soup!
"Help yourself." Li Yuanyu stood up and stepped over him in pursuit of Tang Shan.
"You're really going crazy. Li Yuanyu, do you know how crazy you are!" Jake yelled at his back, and then began to laugh.
Li Yuanyu ignored Jake's mocking laughter, his focus entirely on Tang Shan. He approached the door to his room and knocked. Not hearing any reaction, he knocked once again. Seeing that there was still no answer, he grabbed the handle.
"Stop it," Tang Shan dissuaded him from behind the door.
"Tang Shan," Li Yuanyu exclaimed in a hurt tone, and almost begged as he said the next line, "I won't do anything, just let me see you. I'll leave once you're asleep."
"No," Tang Shan rejected him, "I want to be alone."
It was quiet on the other side of the door after a while. Tang Shan pressed his ear to the door and listened, and it was silent. Was he gone? So easily? He didn't believe it and slowly opened the door without much thought. Along with the door, he was pushed backwards.
"You tricked me!" Tang Shan glared at Li Yuanyu, blaming himself for his stupidity. How could he have been taken in by this?
"I'm sorry. Ugh!" Li Yuanyu apologised, but he suddenly grunted, doubling over in pain.
"Your foot!" Tang Shan exclaimed anxiously, remembering his injury.
"It's nothing," Li Yuanyu tolerated it, but the cold sweat couldn't fool anyone.
It better be! Tang Shan retreated, "Come in." It was an order.
Li Yuanyu gave a big smile, but when coupled with his pained expression, it seemed even more pitiful.
"Sit down, let me look at your foot."
"I'm really alright," Li Yuanyu tried to feign nonchalance.
Tang Shan rolled his eyes and grabbed his arm, pulling him onto the bed. He pulled a chair to the side and sat down.
"Shut up." Tang Shan grabbed his foot and began to examine it. Just as he expected, it was bleeding again.
Li Yuanyu wanted to retract his foot, and Tang Shan simply let go and got up to leave.
Hastily, Li Yuanyu asked, "Where are you going?"
"I'm going to get the first aid kit, your foot needs to be wrapped again."
"I'll go with you," he said and tried to get off the bed.
"Stop!" Tang Shan ordered and took in a deep breath. In the end, he decided to compromise, "I'll get Jake to bring it up, just wait here."
Though Li Yuanyu waited obediently, his gaze never left Tang Shan.
Tang Shan left the room and yelled for the person downstairs, "Jake, could you bring the first aid kit upstairs?"
"What?! But I just got started on this drumstick! Can't you give me enough time to finish just one drumstick?!" Jake shouted back, indignant.
Even though he was full of complaints, he still retrieved the first aid kit, though he dragged his feet along. It was obvious that he was furious.
"Thank you, you can get back to your drumstick now." Tang Shan thanked him after taking the first aid kit.
"Hmph!" Jake left in a huff.
He returned to Li Yuanyu, who told him, "He should treat you with more respect."
"Oh? On what grounds?" Tang Shan retorted. If he answered saying he belonged to Li Yuanyu or something like that, he'd definitely throw the kit at his face.
Li Yuanyu knew his temperament and kept quiet.
Tang Shan didn't feel like quarrelling with him as he was incredibly tired, especially after vomiting and crying earlier. He dragged the chair over, sat, and then patted Li Yuanyu's foot, implying for him to come closer. He took off the bandage that he had painstakingly wrapped. Seeing the gauze stained red, Tang Shan gave a huge sigh, displaying his displeasure.
Both of them stayed silent while Tang Shan applied the medicine and re-wrapped the wound. Until he was done, nobody made a sound.
As Tang Shan looked up, he saw Li Yuanyu's gaze, and it was the same look.
He was aware that he shouldn't treat Li Yuanyu well, shouldn't help him reapply medicine worriedly, shouldn't let him get the wrong idea. However, he couldn't just leave Li Yuanyu as he was. With the way they were interacting at times like these, he knew Li Yuanyu would definitely not give up so easily. He might not make a sound even if he lost function in his foot.
Come to think of it, Tang Shan found that he was unable to steel his heart and ignore him.
Just as Li Yuanyu had said, in that instant, it seemed like he loved him. He couldn't deny the intense emotions he had as he faced Li Yuanyu, helpless and at a loss of what to do.
"Can I watch you sleep? I won't do anything, I definitely won't bother you," Li Yuanyu's hands were raised to display his sincerity.
"You just don't know when to give up, do you?" Tang Shan shook his head helplessly. He had lost to Li Yuanyu's stubbornness.
"I actually want to keep a distance from you." In the end, he made a compromise. Climbing into bed, facing away from the window, he waved to the person next to him, "Suit yourself, I'm tired, I'm going to bed first."
"Good night," Li Yuanyu said.
Tang Shan gave a nonchalant reply, closed his eyes, and was so tired that he immediately entered dreamland.
He should have some awareness, especially since Li Yuanyu had admitted himself to be his lover, and his body still had countless markings from intense sessions. Curiously enough, he was not at all worried that Li Yuanyu would do anything untoward.
In this ambiguous situation they were in, he'd chosen to trust him.
Or maybe he shouldn't trust him so much!
When Tang Shan was on the verge of waking up, he felt someone lightly kiss his forehead; it was light and gentle.
He opened his eyes and saw Li Yuanyu's poised appearance, and because he was acting so naturally, he didn't notice anything wrong. His gaze secretly stopped on Li Yuanyu and he realised they were both lying on the same bed. Li Yuanyu had read about two thirds of the book he had in his hand.
I felt the tilting of time under the bright sun along with the formless rain, the sleek wind, and our stillness. Tang Shan remembered seeing that sentence he had glanced at.
"Is this book interesting?"
"What's it about?"
"I'm not good at summarizing," Li Yuanyu answered modestly.
"It's fine, just tell me," Tang Shan encouraged him as he blinked himself awake, just so he could listen in a clear state of mind.
"It's about a pair of lovers that had been forced to separate due to the war. The male protagonist was brought somewhere far away as he had become a prisoner of war. After the war, the male protagonist was released and he returned to his hometown, wanting to meet his beloved. However, he was late in finding her- she had already passed away.
"He later found out that she had been waiting for news of him everyday and was immeasurably moved. Until he died of old age, he never remarried and stayed by her grave till his death." Li Yuanyu lamented, his expression thoughtful.
"Hmm." Even after hearing all that, Tang Shan did not have much of a reaction.
"It's not my first time reading it, so I know the ending. Every time I read the last chapter, it's always very touching. I really like this book," Li Yuanyu added after seeing Tang Shan's lack of interest.
"It's just a story and it's not even real. I'm rather surprised by you."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I didn't think you'd－ you know, act like a teenage girl." Tang Shan wanted to laugh but knew it wasn't the time to, so his expression ended up a little stiff.
"I just believe in true love." Li Yuanyu retorted, but it was futile. Tang Shan couldn't help but burst out in laughter.
He looked so serious while he said that, but that look only reaffirmed his thoughts that Li Yuanyu was stupid for believing in true love. He continued to laugh while clutching his stomach from the intensity, but then felt that it wasn't nice to laugh at someone, so he settled on apologising while he laughed. There was no sincerity in his words at all.
"You're laughing at me!" Li Yuanyu placed his book aside and leaned over to attack him by way of tickles. "Laugh! I'll make you laugh all you want!"
"Whoa! Help! No! Hahaha! It tickles, stop it! Hahaha..." Tang Shan was laughing so hard that he was breathless as his four limbs kept jerking around. Only when Li Yuanyu stopped did he realise they were very close to each other, to the point that they could feel each other's breaths.
"You should get off my bed," Tang Shan watched Li Yuanyu, his heart rate fast, though he had no idea if it was because they'd played around so much, or if there was another reason.
Li Yuanyu stayed silent for a moment while looking at him, and left the bed as ordered.
"Get up and wash up. We can go out for a stroll once we're done with breakfast." Li Yuanyu looked at Tang Shan once more, and then limped out of the room.
Giving a sigh of relief, Tang Shan sat up. The atmosphere that day seemed to be much better than previously, though maybe it had to do with Li Yuanyu's injury. Li Yuanyu didn't seem to pose a threat to him.
How could he even think of taking a stroll when his foot was in such a state? What a joke. Tang Shan left his room to wash up, and since there was a change of clothes in the bathroom, he took it and found that they fit him perfectly.
He went downstairs and could smell bacon and black tea in the air, the scent stimulating his senses and causing him to feel hungry. Come to think of it, he didn't get the chance to eat anything last night, and the little soup he had managed to drink had been spat out.
"The weather today is perfect for a stroll." Seeing him appear, Li Yuanyu smilingly poured him a cup of black tea and added three spoons of sugar.
"Your foot is hurt, how are we going to take a stroll?" Tang Shan didn't feel like finding out how Li Yuanyu knew how he liked to take his black tea, and instead looked at his foot, worried about the injury.
"My foot's a lot better, and we're only going to walk around the neighbourhood. It's fine." Li Yuanyu just brushed it off.
Tang Shan made a sound at that, "It better be."
"It's true! You can see for yourself if we walk around for a while."
"How about I just wander around on my own while you rest and wait for me at home?" And he wouldn't come back.
Tang Shan's hidden meaning was less than subtle, and Li Yuanyu obviously rejected his suggestion and even glared at him for that.
Taking a sandwich, Tang Shan began to dig into it, using the action as a shield from Li Yuanyu's furious eyes.
"By the way, there's something I want to ask you about," Tang Shan spoke as he ate, "Did you sneak a kiss while I was asleep?"
A hint of red rushed up Li Yuanyu's face and he was stunned into silence.
Upon seeing that, Tang Shan immediately understood and nodded. "Don't come into my room anymore."
"Tang Shan- "
Li Yuanyu's words were interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. He wanted to make things clear with Tang Shan and was unwilling to answer it, but the doorbell was ringing incessantly. It was obvious that the person outside was extremely hurried, and he had no choice but to put their conversation on hold and open the door.
"Why did you take so long!" It was Jake's voice.
"Watch your tone."
Tang Shan put down his sandwich and went to find out the situation.
"Those three people who came yesterday went missing. At around 2.30am, surveillance cameras on the streets were able to snap some footage of them, but nobody knows where they went after that," Jake reported the situation. Seeing Tang Shan appear from the corner of his eye, he suddenly looked a little awkward.
He didn't expect Tang Shan to be there and had no idea how much of the conversation he'd heard.
Seeing the change in expression, Li Yuanyu turned to see Tang Shan and continued, "It's fine, just continue."
"Anyway, I called for a car for you to meet up with the police." Jake had already had everything arranged and glanced at Tang Shan. "How about him? Are you bringing him too?"
"No, it's too dangerous," Li Yuanyu shook his head and turned to Tang Shan, "Could you stay at home? Sorry, I know that it's unfair for you since I even promised you yesterday that I'd bring you everywhere I went."
"It's alright," Tang Shan answered, understanding something seemed to have gone terribly wrong.
"I'll let Jake stay here to accompany you."
"Hey!" Jake protested. How could he do that without his consent? What happened to his human rights?
Li Yuanyu turned and gave him a look.
"I'll stay behind," Jake immediately raised his arms, "Go, everyone's waiting for you."
Li Yuanyu nodded, apologised to Tang Shan behind him and left somewhat reluctantly.
Once he was gone, Jake and Tang Shan were left staring at each other. Tang Shan didn't feel like bothering with him and went back to the kitchen to finish his sandwich. Jake, on the other hand, scratched his nose for a moment before following him in.
"Is there anything to eat?" Jake entered the kitchen and looked for food.
"I don't know, just help yourself. This isn't my house," Tang Shan replied coldly.
"You're pretty much the second owner of this house though." Jake took out the jam, peanut butter and toast, and sat at the dining table. He took a knife and began to slather a very thick layer of jam and peanut butter onto a slice of toast.
"I'm not," Tang Shan denied. Having his sandwich, he finished the black tea. After finishing his breakfast, he had nothing to do and stayed in the kitchen. His two hands were left on the table while he watched Jake have his toast.
Tang Shan stayed silent, and having someone stare at him for so long, Jake eventually felt uncomfortable.
"Wha- What do you want?" Jake got alert.
"Hmm, I was just thinking, Li Yuanyu originally told me that he wanted to go on a walk with me today, but he left." Tang Shan was plotting something.
"So?" Jake had a bad feeling about this.
"Since he let you stay with me, you should accompany me out on a stroll." Tang Shan had used an affirmative sentence and left no room for questions.
"We leave at ten." Tang Shan checked the clock and saw it was nine-thirty. They had half an hour left to prepare.
"You're really planning to go out!" Jake cried out, "I went out with you the last time, didn't I?"
"But we didn't get to see everything! Li Yuanyu made us come back right?"
"If he finds out, he'd slaughter me! I'm begging you, can you just stay at home like a good boy? I'll do anything with you as long as you don't go out," Jake begged, hoping he'd give up.
Tang Shan suddenly gave an evil laugh and Jake felt a shiver run down his spine. Tang Shan smiling seemed to be quite similar to Li Yuanyu when he was angry.
"What!" Jake was terrified and quickly got some water to hide his nerves.
"Even though I don't like men, everyone's telling me that I'm in a relationship with Li Yuanyu. I really want to test if I can be with another man. You're pretty cute and in the acceptable range, so would you like to to have sex with me?"
Jake instantly spat out all the water in his mouth.
"Are you for real?!"
Tang Shan shrugged, "Do I look like I'm joking?"
"What time did you say you wanted to leave? Ten? We don't have to wait that long. I'm almost done with my meal, we can leave immediately after." Jake quickly agreed.
Having sex with Tang Shan? What a joke, if it was said that bringing him out would result in his death, having sex with him would result in him literally being torn from limb to limb. He was going to die anyway, and he obviously wanted to die in a less painful manner.
Tang Shan grinned, looking peacefully in another direction while he ignored Jake, who had begun to stuff toast into his mouth. What a detestful world.