First Published on Chaleuria
09.2 – A Banquet Of The Wealthy
“Do you have another?” Su Mu plopped down on the floor, cocking his injured left leg. After several dances, it had started hurting again.
“This is my last one.”
Su Mu looked at him, then plucked the cigarette from Yao Yuan’s mouth and took a long drag.
“Your leg hurts?” Yao Yuan squatted in front of him, face to face, and didn’t hide his schadenfreude.
“Ah,” Su Mu admitted honestly, “You seem very happy about it.”
“Yes, I’m very happy about it.” Despite his words, Yao Yuan reached out with both hands and gently massaged the injury. Clearly, he did this often. His technique was very good and he used just the right amount of force.
Su Mu was very comfortable, his lips still clasped around the stolen cigarette as he looked down at Yao Yuan with a faint smile. People who didn’t understand Yao Yuan might think he was wild and reckless. Only those who knew him better understood that he was actually very gentle. For his brothers, he would cross mountains of knives and seas of fire, forests of guns and rains of bullets. He would also attentively serve tea and attend to them. No wonder so many people were willing to follow him with complete loyalty. When he was gentle and thoughtful, it wasn’t a show of goodwill to garner affection. Even if that had been his intention, being Yao Yuan’s good friend was a very joyous thing. Su Mu suddenly wanted to ascertain his position in Yao Yuan’s heart. Under the gentle moonlight, even Su Mu himself did not notice how attentively he was looking at Yao Yuan.
Yao Yuan accidentally glanced up and his gaze met Su Mu’s, unexpectedly locking together. The close distance made both of them a little embarrassed. Su Mu awkwardly turned his head and instinctively stuffed the cigarette back in his mouth.
Yao Yuan, on the other hand, deliberately used more force and was satisfied when he heard Su Mu’s sharp intake of breath. Only then did he stand up and dust off his hands. “Penny for your thoughts? You seemed so out of it.”
“Yao Yuan…” Su Mu looked up, eyes on the handsomely defined face in front of him. He thought about his earlier question and realized he urgently wanted to know the answer. “If, and I mean if, someone makes trouble for me…”
“Those people still aren’t done?” Before he could finish Yao Yuan had squatted down in front of him again. Beneath the moonlight, Su Mu could clearly see the anxiety and worry in his eyes. He smiled; they didn’t need to say anything more. Yao Yuan’s reaction was the clearest answer.
“Hey, what are you smiling for? Tell me what this is about.” Yao Yuan, who didn’t understand, kept following up with questions.
“No, Yao Yuan, it’s nothing. I just wanted to see you worrying about me.”
“Damn.” Yao Yuan ruthlessly punched Su Mu’s shoulder. If not for his concern that Su Mu hadn’t completely recovered, he would have picked a fight with him. “Is it fun toying with me?”
Su Mu just looked at him, still smiling, until Yao Yuan began smiling, too. Yes, Yao Yuan would be worried for him. Even though Jiang Luo kept reminding Yao Yuan that Su Mu was dangerous, and Yao Yuan also couldn’t agree with some things Su Mu had done, without knowing it, Yao Yuan had begun to treat Su Mu as a brother. Maybe it was because Su Mu was always a little rascally in his presence; maybe it was because Yao Yuan was soft-hearted and let Su Mu linger by his side until he had gotten used to him. At any rate, Yao Yuan was willing to give this friendship a try. After all, no matter how dangerous Su Mu was, to a poor commoner like him, Su Mu would have no reason to exercise it.
“Let’s go. I’ll introduce you to some pretty girls.” Su Mu threw an arm around Yao Yuan’s shoulder and winked at him.
“Don’t,” Yao Yuan quickly stopped him. “I know one rich person—you—and that’s enough. I have no interest in provoking a second one.”
They stood up as they chatted. The balcony door was pushed open again, and the people coming out didn’t notice they weren’t alone. The taller of the two pressed the other against the wall and kissed him. When Yao Yuan saw that they were two men, he froze for a moment. He wasn’t opposed to homosexuality, but the shock was still there when he witnessed it himself for the first time. Just as he was considering how to leave without alerting the lovers, his hand was grabbed tightly. He turned to see Su Mu’s sheet-shite face, the anger in his eyes about to combust. This was completely different from Su Mu’s ordinary demeanor; there was no elegance and no false front, only hatred. Even his words were cruel.
“CEO Lu, how exciting. You’re messing around with a man at someone else’s party?”
No matter how impassioned they were, at such a remark, they could not continue. The smaller man, clearly shocked, shrank into the taller man’s arms. When the taller man looked up, Yao Yuan saw that his eyes were like an eagle’s, chilly and sharp. Instinctively, Yao Yuan knew the man was used to being in control. Later he would learn that the man’s nickname in the business world was ‘Falcon.’
In the face of Su Mu’s aggressive words, the man only said coldly, “Su Mu, don’t antagonize me.”
“Lu Yunbo, you bastard. How can you do as you please here, while my brother…” Su Mu did not continue. He had promised his brother never to reveal his whereabouts.
“He… what does it have to do with me what he does!” Lu Yunbo pulled the man in his arms closer, and there was no trace of warmth in his eyes.
“You!” Su Mu wanted to explode but he didn’t know the details of what had happened then. He couldn’t point his finger in blame, but he was still aggrieved on his brother’s behalf. How could he watch this man flirt with both men and women and still remain indifferent? Ge, is this the love you wanted?
From their conversation Yao Yuan was able to gather the gist of things. He could tell that Su Mu didn’t really want to make trouble with Lu Yunbo, so he placed an arm around Su Mu’s shoulder, put some force into it, and led Su Mu back into the hall. As they were about to step through the door, he heard Lu Yunbo murmur helplessly.
“Where is he?”
A small tremor went through Yao Yuan’s chest. It was difficult for him to reconcile the sorrowful tone with the chilly man he had seen just now. He did not know what had happened between them, but hearing this whisper, Yao Yuan was sure that the man was still painfully in love.
Su Mu ignored him and pulled Yao Yuan into the hall. Music still drifted through the room and clothes were whirling. He sneered. That was how false this world was. Who could guess the truth hidden beneath this opulence?
“Yao Yuan, this place is stifling. Grab a drink with me.” He looked up at him. At least this person was real.
“Let’s go.” Yao Yuan reached out a hand to him. When his friend was in low spirits, of course he could not leave him.