Sponsored Chapter by: Irina Alexa


    “Aren’t you cold with only that, Xiao Xuan?” Two people opened the car door left and right, the driver Chen Xing looked at Yang Xuan from the rearview mirror, and advised, “Today the temperature is below zero, try not to catch a cold.”

    Today, Yang Xuan is wearing a black jacket with the zipper pulled to the top, against the sharp lines of his chin.  The young man grew up fast, in these two years not only his height rose rapidly, his face profile also became sharper and deeper. Standing in such a frigid wind, he looked more and more like a human-shaped sharp weapon. He reached down and pulled his zipper down a short distance and responded, “I’m fine, not too cold.”

    Compared to Yang Xuan, Tang Junhe was wrapped into a ball by Tang Xiaonian. With the car heater on, he took off the scarf wrapped around his neck and put it aside. Then he put both hands in his pocket and turned his head to look at the snow outside the car window.

    Halfway through the ride, Tang Junhe pulled his hand out of his down jacket pocket and reached into Yang Xuan’s jacket pocket to hold his hand. Yang Xuan was leaning against the back of the seat with his eyes closed, noticing this action, he opened his eyes and looked at Tang Junhe.

    “My hands are warm,” Tang Junhe explained out loud, “Ge, let me warm your hands!”

    Yang Xuan did not say anything, and closed his eyes. On the contrary, Chen Xing in the driver’s seat glanced in the rearview mirror and saw Tang Junhe turning his head to look at Yang Xuan.

    Chen Xing remembered the casual small talk he had with Yang Chengchuan in the car that day. “Junhe and Xuan are quite close now, right?” He asked this that day.

    “Alas, only one end of the barber’s pole is hot… If this goes on, even Junhe might get tired of Yang Xuan someday. Yang Xuan—this child… is hardheaded, I can’t even tell what he likes. I’m powerless with him so I can only let him be.” This is what Yang Chengchuan said at the time.

    Even with his eyes closed, Yang Xuan can still feel the restless hand in his jacket pocket. At first, Tang Junhe tentatively inserted his hand, then carefully pressed it against Yang Xuan hand, and seeing his gege remained still, Tang Junhe held it with confidence.

    Yang Xuan’s dry, calloused left hand was held by his brother’s warm and soft right hand. As Tang Junhe said, his hand was really warmed in the down jacket, and when he got a hold of the other’s hand, he no longer had to make any moves, so he held it honestly, until the school gate.

    When he got down from the car, he ran into Feng Bo, who had also been dropped off by the driver.

    “Brother Xuan!” He shouted as he struggled to step over the snow, ignoring Tang Junhe, and walked next to Yang Xuan to ask, “Brother Xuan, do you have something to do on New Year’s Eve?”

    Yang Xuan pulled the zipper of his jacket up to the top: “Not sure, what’s wrong?”

    Feng Bo shrank in the cold wind and said, “I was hoping you can come out with us on that day.”

    “Out where?” Yang Xuan walked forward with his hands inside his pockets, and brought out a thin layer of cold air when he spoke.

    “It’s New Year’s Eve, you know!” Feng Bo excitedly urged, “You must come with us then, since we have no idea if we can all come together again next year.” After saying that, he lowered his voice, “And, there is one more important thing.”

    Yang Xuan glanced at him, “What is it?”

    “We’ll talk about it later, tell me first whether you’re coming or not?” Feng Bo was unrelenting, “If you don’t come, no one else will.”

    “Fine.” Yang Xuan said.

    In the midst of the bombardment of major and minor exams, the year has come to an end and the New Year is beginning to show its head.

    Although the three-day New Year’s Day holiday is full of assignments in various subjects, for a group of senior high school students who are almost “caged” every day, the word “holiday” alone is enough to make them excited to turn over the roof.

    The classroom was full of noise, and Wangxin Chun, the biology representative, pushed in from the outside, went to the podium, and knocked hard on the table with a board eraser: “Quiet, everyone! QUIET!!!”

    The noise decreased, and Wangxin Chun said, “The biology teacher said that the third set of papers just issued for the science synthesis did not come out well, so there is no need to do it…”

    The class erupted in a cheer.

    Wangxin Chun raised the pile of sixteen-opening test papers in his hand and continued, “…and was replaced with these questions.”

    The sigh of reliefs was immediately followed by a chorus of expletives: “Fuck you! Can’t you talk in one breath!”

    “Also, if everyone has time on the night of the 31st, you can come to the private room 331 in Evernight City and enjoy the night with us! Top-secret info… Ying Hui is also coming with us!!! So boys…”  Before he could finish his words, Wangxin Chun was smashed by the textbooks that Ying Hui threw over. Before she could come over to his side, he continued without forgetting to struggle, “Yang Xuan will also go ah…”

    December 31 was the second day of vacation, and after lunch, while Tang Xiaonian went back to the room to take a nap, Tang Junhe ran to the study to find Yang Xuan. He sat on the snow-white carpet, looked up at Yang Xuan sitting in front of the computer and asked, “Ge, are you going out tonight?”

    Yang Xuan looked at the computer screen and said, “En.”

    “When will you be back?” Tang Junhe then asked.

    “I don’t know… is something the matter?”

    “Nothing,” Tang Junhe looked down and grabbed the carpet, and after a while said, “It’s just… I want to spend the New Year with you.” He looked up at Yang Xuan, “Gege, we hadn’t spent the New Year together yet.”

    Yang Xuan then said carelessly, “If that’s the case, you can come with me.” He expected that Tang Junhe would hesitate and say something like Tang Xiaonian would disagree, but he did not expect that after a few moments, Tang Junhe nodded and said, “Okay.”

    Yang Xuan looked at him somewhat teasingly, “Your dearest mother would agree?”

    Tang Junhe obviously lacked confidence: “She might agree……”

***

    Knowing that Tang Junhe was going to KTV with his classmates at night, Tang Xiaonian asked first: “Who are they? Is Yang Xuan going too? And the kid with the last name Feng, Feng Bo is it? Is he also going?”

    “The whole class will be there.” Tang Junhe lied without batting an eye.

    “I think you should not go. Such places as KTV, do you know how chaotic it is there?” Tang Xiaonian’s impression of KTV is still stuck in the last century of clubs and such, “If something happens to you, what would you do?”

    “There’s nothing messy about KTV,” said Tang Junhe, “and nothing bad would happen to me either.”

    “If they wanted to do something to you, you could still know in advance, huh?” Tang Xiaonian glared at him, “I won’t allow it, go back to your room and study.”

    “I just want to go.” Tang Junhe said.

    “You want to go?” Tang Xiaonian stretched out her index finger to point at his forehead, “Why don’t you take a good look at yourself in the mirror first? See this scar on your head, you’ll be disfigured when you get back from there, and there won’t be any place for you to cry then!”

    Tang Junhe paid no mind and stubbornly said, “This and that time is different. It won’t happen again.”

    “Whether you go or not,” Tang Xiaonian felt that her words weren’t going through him, so she just turned her head away and said in anger, “I said what I said and that’s final!”

    At nearly 8:00 p.m., Yang Xuan was about to go out when he suddenly received a call from Feng Bo, he pressed his phone to his ear, “What’s the matter?”

    “Brother Xuan, is that one going with you?” Feng Bo asked on the other end of the phone.

    Yang Xuan knew he was talking about Tang Junhe, and he pressed his hand to the doorknob and said, “I don’t know.”

    “Don’t be like that, Brother Xuan! Don’t forget, he must come tonight!” Feng Bo mysteriously added, “If he doesn’t come, wouldn’t this be a waste of money tonight!” 

    Yang Xuan remembered something, his hand moved away from the door handle, turned around and walked to the balcony. He then bent over to get a lighter and cigarette case and tucked it both into his pocket: “Say first what exactly you intend to do.”

    “You’ll know when you come, I spent a lot of money to get this good stuff,” Feng Bo’s mouth is quite tightly guarded, but still didn’t forget to urge him. “Brother Xuan, you MUST bring him over, okay!”

    Yang Xuan frowned slightly: “It’s not like you don’t know his mother.”

    “I know. That’s why you absolutely have to bring him here,” Feng Bo’s tone sounded quite sure, “This mother and son pair will face their fucking karma sooner or later so let’s get it over with this time.”  

    After hanging up the phone, Yang Xuan walked to the entrance to change his shoes, and Yang Chengchuan turned around and asked, “Where are you going again at night?”

    “KTV,” Yang Xuan said, glancing toward Tang Junhe’s room.

    “Who else is going?” Yang Chengchuan asked again.

    “No idea, everyone in class was invited.” Yang Xuan changed his shoes and stretched out his hand to push the door.

    Yang Chengchuan did not care that Yang Xuan went out so late, and just said, “Don’t come back too late.”

    Yang Xuan closed the door with his backhand, walked toward the elevator, pressed the down button, and clenched his hand in his pocket with the lighter. As far as he was concerned, Feng Bo’s words certainly did not constitute any orders, and even if he did not bring in Tang Junhe tonight, Feng Bo would not dare to have any objections. Just what exactly did Feng Bo want to do? Yang Xuan thought as he stared at the numbers on the elevator.

    The elevator came down from the twentieth floor, stopped twice in the middle, and the speed of descent was somewhat slow. At such times in the past, Yang Xuan usually turned around and took the stairwell, but tonight he was a little distracted and waited for the elevator to come down.

    The numbers on the display jumped to the 10th floor and didn’t move again, the sound of the door opening suddenly came from the hallway, followed by a familiar female voice, “Put on the scarf, are you not afraid of freezing to death!” Unpleasant and sharp, who else but Tang Xiaonian.

    The elevator descended to the 7th floor, and the door slowly opened. There were three people standing inside, Yang Xuan did not move toward the inside, but only said, “I’m waiting for someone, you guys go down first, sorry.”

    As expected, a few moments later, footsteps sounded in the hallway, and Tang Junhe then ran over, “Ge—”

    “There’s still a while.” Yang Xuan said, referring to the elevator.

    In the end, Tang Xiaonian couldn’t rest assured, wearing slippers, she followed up and pulled Tang Junhe and asked, “Did you bring your cell phone?”

    “Brought it.” Tang Junhe said.

    “You have to be back by ten o’clock, understand?”

    “Got it.”

    “Call me if you need anything.”

    “Mm-hmm.”

    Tang Xiaonian finished, paused, and then tilted her head toward Yang Xuan, and forced to pull out a smile: “Xiao Xuan, your brother is still young, out and about, please take care of him. Do you have enough money with you?”

    Tang Xiaonian in the end was never an actor, this before and after attitude transformation is really unnatural and in the eyes of Yang Xuan, that is a real “two-faced, three knives“. He didn’t even look at Tang Xiaonian, as if he hadn’t heard, looking at the elevator numbers that kept jumping on the small screen.

    “Mom,” Tang Junhe pulled Tang Xiaonian’s arm, “You should go back quickly.”

    Tang Xiaonian gave Tang Junhe a dissatisfied glance, her eyebrows raising at Yang Xuan’s back. Finally, the elevator on the other side also reached the seventh floor, and this time there was no one inside. Tang Junhe walked in and asked Yang Xuan, “Ge, were you waiting for me just now?

    “Waiting for the elevator.” Yang Xuan said.

    “When I came, the other elevator reached the 5th floor, which means it just came down,” Tang Junhe analyzed with reason, “Ge, you were definitely waiting for me just now.”

    Yang Xuan smiled at the words, “Sure, if you think so.”

    The night wind was bitterly cold, and the snow on the road was ground solid by the oncoming traffic, giving a cold white light under the dim streetlights. Tang Junhe’s hand reached back into Yang Xuan’s coat pocket and once again held the other’s hand. To be quite honest, the temperature of Yang Xuan’s pocket is not even comparable to his down jacket, and Yang Xuan’s hands are not much warmer either but because his hand was just like him, neither cold nor hot, Tang Junhe enjoyed sticking his hand in the other’s pocket and holding him.

    Yang Xuan stood at the side of the road, reached out and stopped a cab, leaned over and got into the car, then told the driver the destination: “Evernight City.”

    Although the city is not very big, New Year’s Eve is a special night after all, and couples who were out on the streets on Christmas Eve a few days ago are once again walking in pairs on the street tonight, cowering into Siamese twins by virtue of the cold wind.

    In the street stores, Christmas decorations are still brand new, “Jingle Bells” has been replaced with a clear “Good New Year Song”, and red ribbons are wrapped all the way around, which always make for a festive occasion.

    Yang Xuan walked in front and Tang Junhe was half a step behind. When he pushed open the door, Ying Hui was standing in the middle of the room holding the microphone and singing Christine Fan’s ” One Is Like Summer, One Is Like Autumn” with Yin Cong.

    Hearing Feng Bo shout out “Brother Xuan,” Ying Hui looked back toward the door and sang the line “Encounter a person and the whole life changes” and stumbled. The others, who were sitting on the sofa in a tilted position, started to get up in arms. 1/3 of the class had arrived, and all of them were active people who liked to have a good time.

    The room was quite large, and there were many empty seats on the sofa. Yang Xuan ignored the coaxing of others, walked to the room with his head down and sat on the sofa opposite, and Tang Junhe followed him and sat next to him.

    Just a few minutes after sitting down, Feng Bo jumped down from the high stool, came toward Yang Xuan, leaned over his ear and said, “Brother Xuan, come out I’ll show you something.”

    Yang Xuan raised his eyes to look at him, and then stood up. Seeing Yang Xuan stand up, Tang Junhe raised his jaw to look at him, the implicit meaning in his gaze is obvious: he did not want to let him go, and wanted to go with him.

    “Your brother will be back in a moment.” Feng Bo said to him playfully, then walked ahead to lead the way for Yang Xuan.

    Out the door, he turned straight to the left, brought Yang Xuan to the corner of the stairs, and then mysteriously pulled out a small square box from his pocket and handed it to Yang Xuan.

    At first glance, the box packaging is flashy, with luminous colored stripes printed on a pure black bottom, and the brilliant colors flowing slightly in the light. Yang Xuan turned the box over and saw that there was an abstract long-haired foreign woman printed on that side, as if she was smoking with her eyebrows lowered.

    “What is this?” Yang Xuan surveyed the box in his hand.

    “Take it apart and see.” Feng Bo leapt forward to encourage him.

    Yang Xuan opened the lid of the box, and saw a cigarette lying inside. He took it out and measured it.

    “Didn’t he want to smoke?” Feng Bo leaned on the windowsill and smiled crookedly.

    Yang Xuan finished looking at the cigarette, and then went to see the words on the box. There were several rows of English characters printed under a line of not very conspicuous traditional Chinese characters. By the dim light, Yang Xuan finally saw the words.

   “Hallucinogenic, addictive, also used as an aphrodisiac.”

    Sure enough, what Feng Bo gave him was just as he had guessed before he arrived.


Translator’s Note:

Hi guys, I’m finally back! I’m gonna make this story very short. Last month, I was in an accident that resulted in me having a minor fracture on the wrist, and it was only this week that I was allowed to take off the splint. 

I received several kofis while recovering and I’m very sorry for the delay! For the sponsored chapters, I’ll try to post it as quickly as I possibly can. please forgive meee T^T

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Mei

A Japanese language student that decided to translate Chinese Novels during the pandemic. If you want to support us, you can buy us a ko-fi. To maintain the site and support the translators as well.

Thank you for reading!

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