First Published on Chaleuria
14.2 – Parting And Deception
This time he no longer heeded Su Mu’s words and resolutely ended the call. He despised the words that he had let slip just now. He was very aware that ‘busy with work’ was only an excuse. Many times he had considered going up to Su Mu, catching him by the collar, and demanding, What exactly have I done to offend you? If you’re a man, then explain yourself properly, damn it. It’s unbecoming to be so unwilling to spit it out. But each time, when he had come face to face with Su Mu, he had been unable to settle the matter. Forget it. Friends were the one thing Yao Yuan had never lacked.
Yao Yuan leaned against the wall and silently smoked another cigarette, but he could not calm the inexplicable frustration and gloom running through his body. The unexpected disappointment and indescribable pricking in the depths of his heart left Yao Yuan surprised. He didn’t understand what was happening to him tonight.
Yao Yuan tossed his head and walked out, hoping to clear his head. But when he looked up he immediately caught sight of a young couple kissing on the street corner. The man was clearly Su Mu. Yao Yuan froze on the spot, his face turning sheet-white in an instant. His hands curled into faintly trembling fists, his nails nearly cutting into his palm. Out of nowhere, his heart began to hurt, and the pain made Yao Yuan come to his senses. Immense anger and an inexplicable chill enveloped his whole body. Su Mu, you—were goddamn lying to me. This is how much you are trying to avoid me? That day at the hospital, did you say all those things to me only because I took a knife for you?
Yao Yuan had the impulse to run up and punch him, but all he did was light another cigarette. Even he felt that this was not at all his way of doing things. In the time it took him to smoke the cigarette, he convinced himself that this was just the sort of person Su Mu was. Clearly, Yao Yuan was not the ‘uncertainty’ Su Mu had labeled him as.
Yao Yuan had experienced being lied to by a trusted friend before, but he had never been filled with such anger. In addition to the anger, there was disappointment and sadness. Yao Yuan didn’t bother to look for the source of these feelings. Instead, he turned around and walked back.
When Yao Yuan returned to the private room, Zhang Chen immediately went up to meet him. “If you took any longer I was going to go to the bathroom and fish you out.” Everyone erupted in laughter. Yao Yuan pounced and gave him a swift punch, then got up, took the three cups of wine that Xiao Qiang handed over as punishment, and drank them all. Everyone cheered and lined up to offer him wine. Yao Yuan, who never rejected an offer, drank every cup. Seeing this, everyone grew even more excited and did everything they could to have him drink more wine. Only Wang Jiya could tell that Yao Yuan wanted to get drunk tonight. He suggested wrapping up quickly, but everyone was still in high spirits, and of course his wishes were ignored. By the time most people had noticed Yao Yuan was not in a good mood, he was already drunk.
“What’s up with Yuan-ge? He got drunk so easily today?” Zhang Chen looked with surprise at Yao Yuan who ‘could down a thousand cups and not get drunk.’
“Idiot.” Jiya rapped on his head. “He’s about to leave. Of course he’s in a bad mood and is drinking all he can. Of course he’d get drunk quickly. We’d better go.”
This time, no one voiced any opposition. They went out to settle the bill, and Zhang Chen and Jiya walked at the back supporting Yao Yuan. Yao Yuan was a well-behaved drunk. Despite being drunk, he didn’t make a scene, and only forced his eyes open and looked around. As they walked out of the private room, they ran into Su Mu who had rushed here. He still bore the same handsome face, but without the elegance of before.
“Leave him to me. You all can go.” Su Mu took Yao Yuan and looked at him with a complex expression, but Yao Yuan only narrowed his eyes and studied him. Who knew what he was thinking.
“You…” Zhang Chen was very uncertain about Su Mu’s sudden arrival.
“He’s very drunk. There are rooms upstairs, so let him stay here tonight.”
“I’ll stay with Yuan-ge,” Zhang Chen bravely volunteered.
“You?” Jiya sneered. “You’ll only be a hindrance. I think we let Young Master Su stay, and you come with me.”
Zhang Chen continued to protest but Jiya dragged him from the room. Jiya turned and looked at the two people behind him, his gaze filled with worry. Yuan-ge had been acting strangely tonight, especially after coming back. Su Mu’s entrance at the last moment seemed to be an explanation for everything. He remembered what Zhang Chen had said that day at the door to Yao Yuan’s hospital ward. Maybe it wasn’t impossible. In that case was it right to hand Yuan-ge in this drunken state to Su Mu? Jiya did not know. All he knew was that Yuan-ge’s unusual behavior today was because of Su Mu.