First Published on Chaleuria
13.2 – The Moment His Heart Was Moved
“Oh?” Su Mu’s voice was light and Yao Yuan couldn’t hear any particular feelings in it. Su Mu seemed unsurprised. “Anyone would miss their hometown, and besides, G City’s splendor is famous in the country. I believe that wherever you both are, you’ll succeed.”
Yao Yuan was a little surprised at his answer. He looked up at Su Mu’s face: Su Mu wore a mild smile and an elegant expression, dark and shining eyes filled with trust. He could not find any trace of pretence, and a deep disappointment went through his heart. He mindlessly pulled out a cigarette and put it in his mouth, but the next second it was snatched away by Su Mu.
“Since you’re injured, you should have some self-awareness.” Su Mu tossed the cigarette into the trash.
Yao Yuan shook his head in frustration, picked up his chopsticks and began to eat. But he was distracted throughout the meal his eyes kept involuntarily turning to Su Mu, trying to find a crack in his perfect appearance. But he did not find what he wanted, and for some unknown reason he began to grow frustrated. He didn’t understand what he was angry about, or what he was hoping would happen
“I’m done. I’ll take a shower.”
Finally, he put down his bowl and hid in the bathroom. He turned on the shower and took off his jacket, then remembered that his wound could not touch water. As he hesitated, he heard a knock at the door.
“Yao Yuan, showering isn’t convenient, right? Let me help you.”
Without waiting for an answer, Su Mu pushed open the door and walked into the bathroom, then locked it behind him. Yao Yuan was unhappy at him making such decisions on his own. “Did I say you could come in?”
“Why, are you shy?” Su Mu regarded Yao Yuan with a teasing glance; his clothes were still all intact. “What are you worried about? Didn’t you also look at me before?”
“Get lost,” Yao Yuan said fiercely. He knew he was taking out his anger on him, but Su Mu’s suggestive gaze bothered him. He turned off the water and walked past Su Mu to the door. He needed to sort out these strange feelings, but his thoughts only grew more confused when facing Su Mu.
Yao Yuan reached out to open the lock on the door, but at the same time he heard the loud sound of water behind him. Instinctively he glanced back, and the next moment someone caught hold of his shoulders and pressed him against the door. He stared in a daze at Su Mu’s no longer elegant expression, and for a moment he forgot to react.
“What exactly are you angry about?” Su Mu had long noticed his unusual behavior, but because Yao Qian was there, he could not press the matter. Now he believed the sound of the running water was enough to drown out the argument they were very likely going to have.
Yao Yuan finally came to his senses and tried to push him away, but he couldn’t exert any strength at all due to his injury and had to give up on the pointless struggle. “Su Mu, let go of me!”
“Answer my question first.” Su Mu could more or less guess the answer but he stubbornly wanted to hear it from Yao Yuan himself.
“Su Mu, you’ve got it wrong. I’m not angry!” Yao Yuan took a deep breath and tamped down on the mess of his feelings, then looked up and calmly looked into Su Mu’s eyes as he answered.
“Yao Yuan, you’re really bad at lying. You can’t deceive me.” Su Mu returned the stare, showing no weakness. Their gazes mingled, and neither of them was willing to lose, insistent on making the other submit instead.
“Yes, you’re a practiced liar.”
“Don’t change the subject, Yao Yuan!”
Having been seen through, Yao Yuan pursed his lips and no longer spoke. Su Mu was still firmly gripping his shoulders, not letting up in the least. Yao Yuan frowned; he didn’t like the feeling of being at another’s mercy. He did not like it at all. So he quickly picked up one foot and sent his knee toward Su Mu’s abdomen. Su Mu’s astute senses sensed the movement and he lifted a leg to block Yao Yuan’s attack, then concentrated in preparation for the next round, when Yao Yuan suddenly clutched his stomach and squatted. Su Mu’s heart clenched and he immediately bent down by Yao Yuan’s side, caught hold of his face and asked anxiously, “Does it hurt a lot?”
This was the moment Yao Yuan had been waiting for. His fists flew toward Su Mu’s chest, and Su Mu was momentarily caught unprepared. He fell to the ground. Yao Yuan took the chance, pounced, and mercilessly held him to the floor. This time he had really tugged on the wound and he was panting slightly.
Su Mu looked up at Yao Yuan holding him down. The series of motions had mussed his stubborn head of hair, softening his sharp edges, and one button of his shirt had been pulled off, leaving the shirt lying helplessly open, revealing the bronze skin beneath. The hot, humid air circulating through the bathroom had tinged his face red, and his breathing was faintly labored from the earlier fight. Seeing Yao Yuan like this, Su Mu’s initial anger was gradually replaced by a different emotion. He reached out to wrap an arm around Yao Yuan and felt Yao Yuan go rigid.
“Su Mu…” Yao Yuan called his name in surprise.
“Don’t leave, Yao Yuan.” The feelings he had deliberately suppressed all night now erupted. He knew he could not keep him, but he still asked him to stay
“Su Mu.” Yao Yuan’s body went stiff again, and suddenly all his despondence and desolation vanished without a trace. He realized clearly that all he had been waiting for was for Su Mu to ask him to stay. That’s right—Su Mu’s good friend was about to leave and he had said nothing at all; it had hurt Yao Yuan’s pride too much. Yao Yuan reached out with both hands and hugged him back. “I thought you were completely unmoved. Bastard.”
Su Mu smiled lightly. Indeed, his pride had been hurt.
“How could I be unmoved? I just decided I wanted to be your friend, and you tell me now that you’re leaving. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have wanted you as a friend.”
“It’s not as if I’m leaving right away. Besides, G City is very near here. Young Master Su wouldn’t be stingy aboutta little bit of airfare, right?” Yao Yuan slapped Su Mu’s shoulder hard, and the latter finally could not take it any longer, pushed him aside, and stood up.
“You’re going to investigate your father’s suicide?”
“As I thought, I couldn’t keep it from you. But, Su Mu, I’m warning you…”
“I promise. If you don’t ask me to, I won’t do anything behind your back.” Su Mu hurriedly held up a hand and made a vow.
“My good brother, you do understand me.” Yao Yuan threw an arm around his shoulder and laughed heartily.
That night, Su Mu still squashed in with Yao Yuan on the narrow twin bed, but he couldn’t immediately fall asleep as he had before. The moment he closed his eyes, his mind was filled with the scene from the bathroom: Yao Yuan’s hair falling around his face in wisps, Yao Yuan’s exposed collarbones and faintly flushed face, Yao Yuan’s low and labored breathing, and how his heart had clearly quickened. Finally, he resigned himself to it and sat up, observing Yao Yuan next to him beneath the moonlight. Even deep asleep, Yao Yuan’s face was resolute, and only his lips could perhaps be called soft. How could such a person make Su Mu—who had encountered countless people—feel such panic? But he could not deny what he felt in the moment. He had feelings for him! If Yao Yuan had not called out his name then, he certainly would have kissed him.
Su Mu did not panic after coming to this realization. After his brother left home, he had read many books on homosexuality and he understood that under certain conditions, people might suddenly realize they had feelings for someone of the same gender. This did not mean you were homosexual; it was very possible that it was only a figment of the imagination caused by spending too much time together. That was probably what had happened between him and Yao Yuan.
He found a cigarette in the bedside cabinet, lit it, and turned to look out the window, although his thoughts still remained on the person next to him. He had told himself countless times: there will be no uncertainties in Su Mu’s life. But after meeting Yao Yuan he had given up on this resolution time and time again. This time, he could not give in again. His gaze gradually grew cold. He should not have had any feelings, and now it was time to return to his original path.
“Yao Yuan, it really is time for you to go.”
As dawn was about to break, Su Mu spoke quietly to Yao Yuan at his side.