Proofreaders: happyBuddha, m@o, Marcia
Till Death Do Us Part chapter 12! NSFW
It was Saturday, a day on which Shen Liangsheng would make time to see Ch’in Ching if there was no urgent business. Thus, despite having seen him last night, he still left the office early to pick up Ch’in Ching from school. Even Chou could see that the young master was very close with the schoolmaster and seemed to take a fancy to him, more so than any of the previous women.
Chou was not exactly a genius, but he did have an eye for people. If not, he wouldn’t have gone to Shen Liangsheng’s side all those years back. If Ch’in Ching had been a woman, considering that Chou was a bootlicker, he would have said good words to his boss in hopes that his thoughts would reach the ears of that special lady. If they ended up together, then she would be Mrs. Shen Jr. – one should not underestimate the power of pillow talk.
Unfortunately, Ch’in Ching was a man. It was not that Chou looked down upon relationships between men – he was a veteran in the game of power and thought himself to be an open-minded person. No one had the right to look down upon anybody else – but he had never heard of two men with a happy ending. No matter how much he fancied him now, they were bound to break. If Ch’in Ching was not going to be “Mrs. Shen Jr.,” then Chou wasn’t going to waste efforts to suck up.
Ch’in Ching spent the day in secret joy, and when he got off work, he saw Shen Liangsheng’s car parked outside the school. He hopped in and looked at the driver with a smile on his face.
Shen Liangsheng fired up the engine and turned onto the road leading back to his manor. As he drove, he could feel the schoolmaster’s smiling gaze on him. “What’s the good news?”
The traffic light ahead just changed and Shen Liangsheng stepped on the brakes, taking the opportunity to stare back at his passenger. Their eyes met for a few seconds, and the bashful Ch’in Ching looked down first. The smile did not leave his face, and Shen Liangsheng felt his heart flutter at the sight.
He thought Ch’in Ching really liked to smile. The man wasn’t exceptionally good-looking, but his smile was just nice on the eyes. He was very cute with his eyes cast down in silence, too.
With his clothes and the glasses that he had picked, the man was his.
Regardless of Shen Liangsheng’s acknowledgement of whether he was in love or not, the truth was that he behaved like any other idiot in love. Unusually of him, a silly thought occurred. He didn’t want to go home like this. He wanted to change the atmosphere – to a public one, to one with others present – like a child who wanted to flaunt their new toy for others to see.
“Ch’in Ching, let’s eat out tonight.”
“Oh, sure. What do you want?”
“Can you stomach it?”
“I don’t mind…” Ch’in Ching was a bit distracted by the faint ghost of a smile about the driver’s lips. This was only the fourth time he had seen the man smile in the three months he had known him. He kept note of each one because of the rarity.
“I don’t mind if I can stomach it or not,” Ch’in Ching elaborated after he came back to himself. “Even if my stomach doesn’t get full, I can get full just by looking.”
“It’ll be a feast for my eyes.”
Shen Liangsheng didn’t continue the banter. He thought as he turned at the intersection that life had become some sort of crosstalk ever since he met this man. The meaningful yet trivial back-and-forth could be a bit garrulous but was entertaining nonetheless.
Kiessling’s was the oldest of Western style restaurants in Tientsin. Located near the Hsiaopailou, it was a ten minute drive from Yich’ing-li. The founder was German, but since the Bolshevik Revolution the number of Russians in the area had increased to the extent that the menu at Kiessling’s steadily changed to suit the Russian palette more.
Nevertheless, the restaurant was in China after all, so the dishes were modified accordingly. However, Tientsin locals grew up drinking water from the Hai Ho that was a bit bitter and salty even when boiled. Over time, their tolerance built up, and Ch’in Ching found that even the modified dishes were too light for his liking.
Ch’in Ching did not mention this minor detail. Sitting across from the person he liked with candlelight dancing between them, he could have been served a plate of plain boiled bok choy and still stuffed it into his stomach with delight. However, Shen Liangsheng somehow knew and called over a Russian waiter for some table salt.
Shen Liangsheng spoke English with the waiter. Ch’in Ching understood but chose not to say anything about it. He only glanced up at the man and smiled.
In that moment, he found the confidence to believe that the man loved him, too.
“Even though you never say it, Vincent, I know you love me.”
As a matter of fact, Ch’in Ching was not the first person to think this. Shen Liangsheng had been in a three year relationship with the lady who played billiards well when he was studying in England. With his cold nature, he wouldn’t have stayed for so long if it was only for monetary benefits and he actually had not been fond of her.
She was lying on his chest listening to his heartbeat after they had sex in the flat that they rented for their secret affair. She asked, “I love you, Vincent. Do you love me?”
“What do you think?”
“Even though you never say it…” She knew that he was the kind to answer questions that he didn’t want to address with a rhetorical question, but she continued confidently, “I know you love me.”
Later, Shen Liangsheng graduated and decided to return to China. The night before he left she asked him again, “I will get a divorce for you, Vincent. Will you stay for me?”
“What do you think?” It was the same question, but this time she hadn’t the confidence to say, “You will.”
Afterwards, she sent a dozen letters to him without receiving a single reply. In the last letter she wrote, “Even now, I still think that you loved me. But I think you love yourself even more. Farewell, Shen.”
After he read it, Shen Liangsheng shredded it with scissors, as he had the dozen that came before it, and threw it in the bin beside the desk.
It really did not matter if he cut it up or not. Their relationship had been over, and there was nothing of which to be wary. It was just that Shen Liangsheng was always thorough and decisive.
He followed his own principles meticulously, weighing everything on that scale of his – great benefits awaited him upon his return to China while a relationship was all that would result from him staying – after the weighing, he would cast away the lighter side without ever sparing it a second thought.
“Did you have enough to eat?”
“Huh?” Having finished his meal, Shen Liangsheng was drinking coffee with a smoke lit in hand. Ch’in Ching was still lost in that unspeakable joy when the other man’s question brought him back. “Yeah, I think.”
The “I think” at the end made Shen Liangsheng chuckle. “You think?”
“Yes, I did.” Ch’in Ching corrected himself accordingly before turning to look out the windows.
Truthfully, he really wasn’t sure if he were full or not. His heart, on the other hand, felt stuffed to its brim. It felt a bit like the times when he got sick as a child. His mom would make noodles and serve them, hot and fresh, in one of those huge bowls with two sweet poached eggs on top. Once it went down to his stomach, it made all his illnesses go away better than medicine.
Ch’in Ching had knelt before his parents’ graves and touched his head to the ground, telling them to leave without worries and not to miss him. He promised them that he was going to be fine by himself.
However, he couldn’t help but have the illusion from time to time when he came home from work that his dad and mom were still here, and that it wasn’t just an empty house awaiting him.
He moved into his parents’ room. He would have a silent conversation with them when he couldn’t find sleep. He would tell them what he ate that day, what lesson he taught, which student forgot their homework again, until he grew so tired that he fell asleep.
However, the times when he was alone had been decreasing since he grew close with Shen Liangsheng. It was as though a hole in his heart had been refilled with soil and a sapling. The sapling sprung up a few inches every time they met, and eventually, flowers more fragrant than the osmanthus bloomed, growing into fruits sweeter than honey.
It surprised Ch’in Ching that loving someone made him such a prolific poet.
Shen Liangsheng didn’t know what was going through Ch’in Ching’s mind, but somehow the gentle expression on the man’s face as he gazed out the windows curiously reminded him of his mother, of whom he rarely thought.
There had been good times – Shen Liangsheng had spent the first six years of life with his mother, and when he was finally allowed into the Shen household, Shen K’echen would take him back to see her twice a month.
That was when Shen K’echen still wanted to take care of her and when she still loved the man without complaint. She waited in that house, willingly and alone, for the two meetings every month.
Shen Liangsheng’s mother was half-Portuguese but could only speak English and Chinese. Perhaps because she held a longing for the home to which she never returned, she took a special liking to Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
That was when Shen Liangsheng would play new piano pieces he had learned for her during their visits, when she would sit by the piano and read poetry to them, and when the three seemed like a family.
Shen Liangsheng was a smart boy growing up with a great memory. He could still recite all the English poems he had learned in childhood, yet he failed to remember that his mother had once been beautiful, too. The image that had the deepest impression was that of an opium addict. She had waited and waited, and perhaps one day, the waiting proved too much for her psyche.
However, he remembered now how beautiful his mother had been. He remembered how, with that gentle expression under the bright afternoon sun, she had read out the sonnets and translated each line into Chinese. She was teaching him poetry on the surface, but it was in reality a secret plea to his father.
“Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore –
Thy touch upon the palm.”
Silent introspection fell upon the two men sitting across flickering candlelight. Shen Liangsheng was the first to recompose himself after the cigarette and beckoned the waiter over to pay the bill.
“Your bill has been paid for, sir.”
Surprised, Shen Liangsheng looked in the direction in which the waiter was pointing. After momentary hesitation, he walked over and greeted politely, “Uncle.”
“Hsiao-Shen, it’s been quite some time, hasn’t it?”
The man who paid for Shen Liangsheng was Wang, another major player in Tientsin. He was different from Shen K’echen who had started fresh in Tientsin with the assets that he had amassed from his political career. The Wangs appeared low-key, but no matter how the board shifted in these decades, they were truly the versatile piece that found alliance with whomever they deemed beneficial. Because of these mysterious connections of the Wangs, Shen Liangsheng was willing to call Old Man Wang “uncle” despite the few interactions the Shens had with them.
“No big deal. Just supper.” Seeing Shen Liangsheng about to say thanks, Wang waved his hand dismissively. “Hsiao-Shen, this is my little girl. She just came back from America.” Then, he turned to the seat across from him and scolded superficially. “You just had to drag me here to this hell of a place when you had all the good Chinese food to eat. Hsiao-Shen, tell me I’m not alone in this!”
“Can you not always embarrass me, Dad?” Miss Wang here probably had a close and casual relationship with her dad. She did not look flustered at all as she stuck out a hand and introduced herself again. “I’m Wang Chih-chih.” Then, she rolled her eyes at her dad and added, “Call me Jenny. My dad wasn’t thinking straight when he named me. Chih-chih? More like cha-cha.”
“Shen Liangsheng.” He shook her hand and added as well, “Vincent.”
That was how they met. Old Man Wang was sixty-four, but Miss Jenny had only turned twenty. The man had always spoiled his baby daughter who came to the world in his middle age, but he couldn’t bear to upset his little princess and sent her out abroad for foreign education as she wished. However, his longing proved too much and he made her take a year off and come back to Tientsin.
Annoyed at her controlling dad, Jenny had been trying to cause him grief since she came back. She knew he hated Western cuisine but still dragged him to Kiessling’s for dinner. By chance, she spotted Shen Liangsheng and her heart skipped a beat. She kicked her dad under the table.
“Dad, over there by the windows.” She sighed, “How can someone be so good-looking? Why didn’t you make me look like that, Dad?”
Old Man Wang glanced over to find someone he knew. Although he disliked how open and straightforward his daughter was, he thought it would be good to introduce the two young’uns to each other. He knew of the capabilities of the younger son of Shen, and the lad was indeed handsome. If his daughter really did take a fancy to him, she wouldn’t need to go back to that silly school – a perfect deal.
The sly old fox paid for Shen Liangsheng and waited for the lad to walk into his trap. The three of them chatted for a bit before he announced, “I’m feeling good tonight. Let’s go to St. Anna – it’s on me!”
“Apologies, Uncle, but I’m here with a friend today. How about another day? I’d love to take you and Miss Wang out.”
“Ask your friend to come along.” Wang had seen Ch’in Ching but he didn’t find it strange two men were eating at a Western-style restaurant. He thought it must have been proper business. “Four makes the party!”
“We’re not playing mah-jong, Dad.” Jenny interrupted quickly. “Plus, what kind of father brings his daughter to a dance hall? You’re probably the only one!”
“You get a boy’s haircut behind my back, and now you call yourself a daughter?” Wang stood his ground, but Jenny turned her attention to Shen Liangsheng, helping him out of the situation.
“You carry on with your own plans, Vince. Don’t mind my dad. We can meet another day.”
Wang Chih-chih was always a frank tomboy, and the two years in the United States only reinforced this. Even though Shen Liangsheng called her Miss Wang, she closed their distance by calling him Vince. Shen Liangsheng knew what she was trying to do, but he only replied, “Of course.”
As Ch’in Ching observed the conversation from his seat by the windows, he could more or less guess the content. Truthfully, he wasn’t upset by it. Rather, he was suddenly aware that time was fleeting. If he had known it would turn out like this, he would have definitely asked him for his name at their first encounter. He would have introduced himself, too, and asked to meet again. Perhaps then they would have had another spring and another summer together.
Shen Liangsheng did not make any explanations after he finished business and came back to their table. Only when they had left the restaurant and were waiting for the valet to bring the car around did he speak again.
“Are you cold?”
“It’s all right.” Ch’in Ching shook his head and joked, “I mean, the ladies are wearing dresses.”
Shen Liangsheng followed the other man’s gaze. St. Anna was not far off. Three Russian hostesses, or maybe prostitutes, were standing beneath the neon sign chatting while they grabbed a smoke. Their coats reached past their knees barely far enough to hide the sheer stockings on their legs as they kicked at the remaining snow on the ground with their heels.
Some of the Russians in China were well off, but there were also many in poverty who would do anything for a meal. Amongst these people, there just might have been some descendants of czars or czarinas. They had lost all their wealth and power in one revolution but nonetheless were lucky to have survived. There were many hostesses working at St. Anna using their former titles as advertisement. The patrons loved it too. They would call them “my Duchess” with the proper manners before breaking into nasty guffaws.
After they arrived back at the manor, Shen Liangsheng asked the kitchen to make shrimp wonton for Ch’in Ching since the man did not seem to have filled his stomach earlier.
Later that night, Shen Liangsheng was also very lax with Ch’in Ching in bed. The reason was clear to both of them, but neither laid it out in the open. Perhaps the mood was supposed to be both passionate and sorrowful, but Ch’in Ching honestly was not the kind to reminisce about autumn whenever he saw a fallen leaf. All that was going through his mind when the compliant man let him touch him all over, his chest gently rising and falling as he panted and his eyes irresistible like the misty hills in spring or a still, silvery lake at night, was how to be on top for once.
“Ch’in Ching.” As the schoolmaster’s hands began to tread into dangerous territory, Shen Liangsheng warned in a low voice with a frown, “That’s enough.”
“Master Shen.” Ch’in Ching refused to get off and leaned into the man’s ear, negotiating, “How about I top once? I promise it won’t hurt.”
Shen Liangsheng reached for his head, stroking his hair gently as he replied even more softly, “Not even in your dreams.”
Before Ch’in Ching could get out a single syllable in retort, Shen Liangsheng pushed him down and sealed his mouth with his own. All his efforts turned into inaudible moans.
Shen Liangsheng kissed him with care, reaching every single spot in his mouth before sliding to his ear and playing with the canal.
Ch’in Ching’s ears were his weak spot. His bones went limp, but his member stuck up high in excitement that was also evident from the already slick head.
Shen Liangsheng knew the sensitivity of the man’s ears. As he licked, he reached for the container of Vaseline beside the pillow. With the jelly on his fingers, he entered Ch’in Ching from behind.
Having lost his ground in the battle, Ch’in Ching simply gave up and opted to enjoy it.
“Mhm, Shen Liangsheng…” The tingling in his ear spread to the rest of his body causing him to beg in a whisper, “Don’t just lick there.”
“Here?” Shen Liangsheng clearly knew what the man wanted but pretended not to know as he kissed his collarbone.
“A li’l lower….”
The sight of the man sticking out his chest in an effort to deliver his nipples to his mouth excited Shen Liangsheng so much that he forgot about his plans to tease the man. He opened wide and took the entire areola in, pressing on the perky nubs with his tongue while sucking and playing.
Ch’in Ching had long learned the magic that was Shen Liangsheng’s tongue. A man’s nipples were not supposed to feel stimulation like this, but somehow Ch’in Ching grew addicted to the feeling. His nipples became more and more sensitive, too, and when the mood was right just having them licked would send shudders down his spine.
There was one other place that had become more sensitive. Ch’in Ching had never known that he could feel such sensations from his ass. He couldn’t put a finger on it, but there was one spot that with the lightest contact made him shake with so much pleasure he couldn’t stop his cries if he tried.
It appeared that Shen Liangsheng had planned beforehand to extend the foreplay. He already had three fingers widening the entrance as they slid in and out, but he did not move on to the next step. He kept biting on the man’s nipples till both sides were swollen. Every lick made the man beneath him shudder till finally he began to plead.
“Can’t take it anymore?”
“No.” They had already done it at least eighty, if not a hundred, times, and Ch’in Ching was no longer as bashful as he had once been. He spoke frankly, “I kind of want to come, so hurry up and get inside me.”
Ch’in Ching said this because he knew that the other man especially liked to constrain him, not letting him come until he did so himself. Better to let the man inside sooner and make him feel good so he could feel good sooner, too.
Shen Liangsheng did take his fingers out but refused to replace them with his manhood. He leaned into Ch’in Ching’s ear. “How much do you want to come?”
“And you want me inside?”
“Want to try coming without touching your dick?”
“We can always try.”
Ch’in Ching wouldn’t submit verbally, but after Shen Liangsheng entered him and worked for a few minutes, he was so woozy he was muttering nonsense.
It was not discomfort, but he had always felt at least a dull, stretching pain. Perhaps because the foreplay this time was longer than usual, he did not feel such pain. Instead, each thrust only brought pleasure that kept escalating and filling his member with more desire, beckoning him to touch himself.
Sadly, Shen Liangsheng was determined not to let him do so, restraining his hands while he observed his reactions in time with his thrusts. The man’s length was sticking straight up in exhibition of the pleasure and, after ten minutes or so, began to show signs of orgasm as it jumped every time he pushed into him.
“S-stop…ah…I’m gonna….” Ch’in Ching was so delirious that he protested and fought against his restraints to relieve his swollen erection, but he was too depleted to do anything.
The ecstatic bliss that the man was experiencing broke all of Shen Liangsheng’s self-control. He began thrusting into the man as if his life depended on it and witnessed him come with violent spasms from his penetration alone for the first time. He felt satisfaction beyond description and quickly found release deep inside of the man.
They had the lights off tonight, and Shen Liangsheng could not see Ch’in Ching’s face clearly. He was also distracted by his own orgasm so that he did not notice anything wrong until he had panted for almost a minute. He reached for the man and found tears as suspected.
A strange conflicting feeling arose. He found it so satisfying that he wished he could make the man cry every time, but at the same time he felt bad and wanted to just hold him in his arms and comfort him.
Shen Liangsheng couldn’t help it, and a few seconds later, he wrapped his arms around the shorter man and pulled him in, face to face. He inquired in a soft whisper, “What’s wrong, baby?”
The truth was that Ch’in Ching was fine. It was just that the stimulation and lack of control from being fucked till orgasm was too much. The tears were tears of pleasure, too, and not from being upset.
Shen Liangsheng’s question just now was fine, but the quiet, sweet “baby” made him speechless for some time. When he finally got a hold of himself, he replied stiffly, “Watch it.”
“Answer me once?” Shen Liangsheng was the master of keeping a straight face while saying ridiculous things. He planted a kiss on the mole near Ch’in Ching’s eye and called him softly again, “Baby?”
Ch’in Ching stayed silent.
“I’ve used it only with you. Are you really going to ignore me?”
Shen Liangsheng called and Ch’in Ching answered – and that was how the silly nickname came to be.
It was in that second that Shen Liangsheng decided that even if Old Man Wang had intentions and tried anything funny, he would not agree to it.
He wanted to wait a little while longer. Although he was bound to get married to someone who could bring him more benefits, it was too early for that. They had only been together for three months and he didn’t want to lose him that soon.
In that moment, Shen Liangsheng finally admitted that he fell for this person.
He took out his scale and weighed the two sides – at this point in time, his baby was the heavier one.
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Sweet poached eggs
For more information:
Recipe for sweet poached eggs (in Chinese)
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ayszhang: The constant smut every chapter is very tiring for me, the translator T_T Expect more Brother updates until I get back in the mood for translating smut...
Till Death Do Us Part - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.