What Tang Junhe did not expect was that his elder brother Yang Xuan would actually ignore him.
The next afternoon, he bought two ice creams from a store near the bar and held them in his hands, intending to apologize sincerely to Yang Xuan and tell him he hadn’t meant what he said last night—a lie he was always adept at anyway.
He wanted to tell Yang Xuan that when he said “the same as Ying Hui”, he meant that he also liked Yang Xuan the same as those younger brothers to their elder brothers and there’s nothing to be worried about.
Not only that, but he was going to backtrack and tell Yang Xuan that he only liked him as his elder brother, nothing more because that would be abnormal and immoral for him. He would admit that he lacked respect for him as the elder brother before and wouldn’t do that anymore.
Tang Junhe felt that his plan was perfectly choreographed.
When he reached the entrance of the bar, he looked as natural as ever, and was about to lift his foot and step in.
Unexpectedly, the waiter standing at the door reached out and stopped him this time: “Sorry kid, the bar doesn’t accept minors.”
Tang Junhe lost his smile and was stunned for a moment, and then took out the almighty “pass”: “I am Yang Xuan’s brother and came to see Yang Xuan.”
The man pretended to be confused: “Who is Yang Xuan?”
Tang Junhe was a little anxious: “He’s one of the guys monitoring the second floor billiard hall…”
The man could not hold back his laughter: “Pfft… Don’t be so anxious, I’m just teasing you! Yang Xuan isn’t here.”
Tang Junhe was stunned: “Then where did he go?”
“I don’t know,” the man said, leaning against the door, “he’s your brother, you should ask him.”
“When is he coming back?”
“Not coming back, he resigned,” the man looked at him, “You should know about it, right?”
Tang Junhe didn’t believe it, he wanted to go upstairs to confirm it with his own eyes before he would leave. The man then let him go up, he rushed to the second floor and found a person he did not know standing by the window sill.
He stood frozen in the direction of the window for a long time, rubbed his eyes several times to ensure that he saw it right, and only then was willing to believe that Yang Xuan is really not here.
He turned around and walked down the stairs, out of the bar and into the shade of the lush, green row of trees.
The weather was hot, the asphalt road was steamed out by the sun with a fog visible to the naked eye. A car sped past him, and the hot car exhaust made the air extra foul, more unpleasant than the smell coming from the smoky billiard hall.
The two ice creams were squeezed in his hands and quickly melted into water. Cold liquid oozed from the package, making his palm wet.
He wanted to cry again. Aggrieved, he walked down an empty street, panicked and confused the same way as he did when he was lost as a child.
Just like then, he wanted Yang Xuan to find himself, but now it was Yang Xuan who did not want to be found by him.
His mental plan wilted like a ball of wet draft paper, clogging his chest which couldn’t go up or down, making it hard for him to breathe.
Walking over to the trash can, he threw away the ice creams that had melted into water, then blinked hard to hold back his tears.
He will try again tomorrow. “Maybe Yang Xuan will come back”, he thought optimistically.
For a week, Tang Junhe went to the bar every day, and in the last few days, when the waiter saw him coming again and again, he would always blurt out “Yang Xuan is not here”.
Yang Xuan was not there, Tang Junhe was so listless that he was not even in the mood to buy ice creams anymore.
He had no way of knowing where Yang Xuan had gone—Yang Xuan once again did not go home for the evening, as he had done during the winter holidays.
If Yang Xuan wanted to disappear from his view, it was a breeze. It was then that Tang Junhe realized that the reason he could stare at Yang Xuan before was because Yang Xuan allowed him to do so. He was just being indulgent to his little brother, nothing more, nothing less.
But he screwed up, and Yang Xuan withdrew that indulgence from him.
Tang Junhe panicked. It was hard for him to eat and sleep, and for the first time in months, he could not see Yang Xuan for several days in a row.
He looked forward to the start of school every day and counted the days left in the summer. The end of summer vacation meant that Yang Xuan was coming back, which meant that he would be able to see Yang Xuan again.
Sorry for being inactive the past few weeks, I have a lot going on and can’t even have enough sleep till now 🙁
Also, advanced chapters on patreon/ko-fi will be put on hold in the meantime (no one wants this anyway lol).