Once you get into an addiction, the impulses come more and more often, just like with drugs. At first, when you’re just having a taste, it may even feel a little bad. But once you start to savor the taste, even if you want to control it, it’s not so easy once the addiction takes hold of you.
Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.
Sometimes Gu Ze would also eat dinner at his home and chat about meaningless things with him while sitting on the sofa, as well as hurling those habitual words of abuse.
Winter arrived. If the heating wasn’t turned on, then the house would get unbearably cold. Meng Fu would very tactfully turn on the heating whenever Gu Ze visited, conditioning Meng Yi to become delighted at Gu Ze’s arrival. He didn’t like sitting at home, wrapped in thick cotton padded jackets.
“Big Brother, you’re here!” Meng Yi blinked his excited eyes as he watched Meng Fu turn on the heating. Then, he went back to watching the TV in satisfaction.
At first, when the room hadn’t warmed up yet, Gu Ze was still wearing his heavy tweed coat. Glancing over at the two brothers, he could see that Meng Yi was wearing an expensive brand-name cotton jacket while Meng Fu was only wearing cheap and old-fashioned goods from a street stall.
“Seems like you’re willing to spend money on your brother’s clothes, at least.”
“Ye Yan bought that for Xiao Yi. Is it expensive?” He had little concept of designer brands.
“Quite. You wouldn’t be able to afford it.”
He peeked over at the beautiful jacket that Xiao Yi was wearing, thinking that he should return it to Ye Yan. He helped him take care of Xiao Yi for such a long time. He shouldn’t owe him so much.
Soon, after warming up a little, Gu Ze took off his coat, but Meng Fu still remained unmoving. “Aren’t you hot?”
“Oh.” He seemed to have just come out of his thoughts and took off his jacket. In fact, he was very resistant towards taking his clothes off in front of Gu Ze. It constantly brought him back to the familiar scenes over these past few months where he laid bare on his bed.
Today’s Meng Yi seemed to be in a particularly good mood. At eleven o’clock, he was still immersed in the television program. Gu Ze seemed to be getting impatient. “Tell your brother to go to bed,” he said commandingly to Meng Fu.
There was no need to say more. The intent behind the man’s words was clear.
“Yes.” Meng Fu nodded hesitantly and began coaxing Meng Yi off to bed. “Xiao Yi, behave. It’s getting late, time for bed.”
“But this cartoon is really good! Meng-Meng, can I just watch a little longer?”
Glancing at Gu Ze’s expression that was edging on anger, he could only adopt an imposing stance and order, “No. It’s time for you to sleep.”
“Okay…I’ll go shower and sleep. Meng-Meng doesn’t like me anymore…” Upset, Meng Yi got up.
An apologetic feeling began to grow inside of him. He softened his voice. “Big Brother likes Xiao Yi very much, so listen to me, okay?”
After Meng Yi went into his room to sleep, Meng Fu took a shower himself. Gu Ze was inside his room, flipping through his books and reading the notes he had taken. Suddenly, he found something unusual.
Brows drawing into a slight frown, he read the small line of words written on the last page of his history book. “Xie Zhenzhen, I like you a lot.” They were notes from seven years ago. The handwriting had faded slightly, but the sincere feelings behind them could not be feigned.
There was no reason for him to be angry, but he slammed the book onto the table before turning each book to the last page one by one to see what else Meng Fu left on them.
Gu Ze did not find any other words, but he discovered a pink envelope instead.
It was a love letter.
It was a strange feeling. He really wanted to open it up to look, but somehow, he was hesitant.
His fingers had already crumpled one corner of the envelope.
He finally read the letter.
At the end of the letter, Xie Zhenzhen wrote, “Meng Fu, I’m waiting for you to accept me.”
Meng Fu finished his shower. Water was still dripping down from his hair, the coldness dissipating the warmth from his hot shower as it dripped down onto his neck. He casually dried his hair with his towel, but his hair had grown longer and wouldn’t dry as quickly.
Before opening the door, he put the towel down on the rack next to the sofa and tried his best to calm his heart down.
When he opened the door, he saw Gu Ze looking at a piece of paper, and a pink envelope was on the desk. “Give that back!” Almost instantly, he rushed over to grab the love letter from Gu Ze’s hand.
“Why are you so nervous?” Suppressing the anger in his heart, Gu Ze scoffed lightly at him. “Meng Fu, I didn’t think you liked Xie Zhenzhen that much. It has to feel terrible that the two of you can’t be together, right? She said she would wait for you in that letter. Meng Fu, she’s already engaged to another man and has dated several others. She said she’ll wait? What a joke.”
“She was never obligated to wait for me in the first place.” He clutched the love letter tightly as if he were clutching onto his youthful and delicate first love, brief and precious moments that lasted for such a short time that it could be counted on his fingers.
“Give it to me,” Gu Ze said in a deep voice.
Obviously, he was referring to the love letter.
Meng Fu hid the letter behind him and shuffled backwards.
When he reached the door, a feeling of despair suddenly grew inside of him.
There was nowhere for him to run.
His fingernails have almost dug through the paper. The line, “Meng Fu, I’m waiting for you to accept me.” had already become wrinkled beyond imagination, just like the first love which had been nipped in the bud back then.
“Give it to me,” Gu Ze said again, as a solemn command.
He finally dropped his head and slowly handed the letter to Gu Ze. Defeated, he listened to the sound of paper being ripped apart.
Fine shreds of paper casually fell from Gu Ze’s hand onto the floorboards. The letters could no longer be pieced together into complete words.
The girl who said she was waiting for him back then was no longer there, even in his memories.
He knelt on the bed, waiting for Gu Ze to penetrate him without resistance. But after a while, that man didn’t seem to move at all. Suspicion filling his heart, he couldn’t help but turn around and look, only to see Gu Ze’s eyes locked firmly on his body.
He seemed to be scrutinizing something.
As their eyes met, he could see the hate in Gu Ze’s eyes. Guilty, he quickly turned his head around and buried his face into the pillow.
An uneasy feeling permeated the air. He hated this. He would rather Gu Ze vent his emotions on him as quickly as possible, then all he had to do was endure the pain.
Gu Ze was staring at his back. As if his addiction were flaring up, he held himself back for a long while but finally gave in and stroked the man’s shoulder blades, fingertips moving inch by inch over the skin, as if he were admiring a high-quality gemstone.
The person underneath his fingertips began to tremble, seemingly in fear. His body curled up, but it only caused his bones to jut out even more distinctively.
“Mr. Gu,” Meng Fu called out to him softly.
Gu Ze did not speak. He let his fingertips roam over his skin, and as if unsatisfied with just that, he slid down from his back down to the curve of his waist.
“Mr. Gu.” Meng Fu felt panic, and a trace of trepidation could even be heard in his voice.
The ambiguous sensation of his touch was so strange that he resisted out of instinct.
The man suddenly called out his name. He had no idea why, but he didn’t hear any hatred in his voice. He remained silent, not understanding Gu Ze’s intentions.
All of a sudden, his fingers moved to his rear and penetrated him abruptly, causing him to grip onto the sheets subconsciously.
Then, the sensation was followed by the familiar pain.
“Meng Fu, it hurts, doesn’t it?”
Gu Ze asked the same old questions. Recently, this man would ask him questions like this as if he were trying to verify something. If he answered that it hurt, then the pain he received from behind would lessen slightly.
“It hurts. It hurts a lot.”
“Even more than when I ripped apart that love letter?”
The man penetrated him even more violently. Meng Fu glanced at the shreds of paper on the floor from the corner of his eye. Between the physical pain and the pain he felt in his heart, which did hurt more?
“Meng Fu, which one hurts more?”
“This hurts more.”
He answered. In fact, the line between the two types of superimposed pain had long become blurred, but only to ease the feelings of the man behind him and allow himself a lighter sentence. This was the only answer he could give.
“Remember, you deserve this pain.”
That was what Gu Ze said to him, but his actions eased up. He slowly leaned down, and when his lips were mere inches away from the skin on Meng Fu’s back, he still straightened himself up again after hesitating for a while.
Gu Ze, what are you thinking? That’s Meng Fu, your enemy!