The Long Chase for the President’s Spouse – Chapter 32: An Awkward Silence
Quality Check: Draygan
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 32: An Awkward Silence
Zhang Heng leaned against the edge of the hot springs. He casually took a small glass from the tray floating in the water and gulped down the rice wine. Rice wines were usually mellow, but that was only in the mouth. When swallowed, it was harsh on the stomach.
At first, he had happily anticipated going on this business trip to Japan with Gu Zhun. Zhang Heng did not lie to Gu Zhun when he said that it was a business trip, the purpose of this trip was just to attend a business dinner this weekend. When they were free within this period, they would visit Tokyo companies in the cultural industry, observe, and learn from them. That’s right, it was a business trip, but it was an insignificant business trip.
Yet the next moment, Gu Zhun was unhappy with his hot springs invitation. Zhang Heng thought, I promised not to make moves on you, but if this goes on, how can there be any progress?
Seven years ago, he left without saying a word. As soon as their third-year graduation ceremony ended, he had boarded the plane to America before he could even change out of his school uniform. At that time, on the plane, Zhang Heng was already mature and perceptive in the third year. He had discovered that he liked his skinny and taciturn classmate Gu Zhun from long ago.
When he just transferred in during the second year of high school, Zhang Heng met Gu Zhun at the pavilion. He had a fair complexion and was focused on doing his homework. Initially, Zhang Heng looked down on those hardworking and serious elite students. He despised them. They were opinionated and book smart. In fact, that wasn’t the case. During the two years spent with Gu Zhun, he realized that Gu Zhun was different from the rest.
Gu Zhun did not speak much to the other male classmates, not to mention the females. He did not utter a single word. At first, seated behind Gu Zhun, Zhang Heng saw Gu Zhun’s fair and delicate neck, the fine black hair at the neckline, the reddish earlobe heated up by the hot summer… From the back, Gu Zhun really looked like a girl.
Then, there was the incident where Zhang Heng groped Gu Zhun’s handle.
That experience made Zhang Heng’s heart race. It felt like his heart skipped a beat. Moreover, since then, he was unable to move his line of sight away from Gu Zhun.
Gradually, in order to find out the reason, Zhang Heng intentionally paired up with Gu Zhun for activities. Because Gu Zhun had the big and tall Zhang Heng standing next to him, slowly all of the bad rumors about Gu Zhun quietly dispersed. Although every time Gu Zhun went to the library to study by himself in the study room, Zhang Heng would always take a random book and set it upright, occasionally glancing at him. Gu Zhun often felt unsettled.
After spending so much time with Gu Zhun, Zhang Heng had a rough understanding of his own feelings. It was easy to understand that something was called love. Every weekend, when the boarding students went home, Zhang Heng would be in agony at home. He was so troubled that his food felt tasteless. That was because he was unable to see his Gu Zhun for two days.
Every time a grade or school assembly was held, because there was no habit of orderly lines, most of the time they would be surrounded by different people. Sometimes when Gu Zhun and Zhang Heng were separated by two rows, Zhang Heng would be unable to concentrate on the contents of the meeting. Often, the class teacher would have to privately ask him to hand in the assembly notes.
In a nutshell, he did not know why he liked Gu Zhun so much.
Although Gu Zhun was solely focused on his studies, he was not someone who did not understand human emotions, even if his EQ was a bit low.
During that parent-teacher meeting, he pleaded with his sister Gu Li to brave the awkward stares to attend the meeting for the both of them. He was a good friend indeed, although it was quite arduous for his sister Gu Li…
After graduating from their third year, Zhang Heng chose to go overseas because he did not have a choice. On one hand, his family wanted him to go abroad for the sake of inheriting the company in the future. On the other hand, it was also because of Gu Zhun.
Gu Zhun was always an elite student, he had an easy time even though it was an intense third year. He was often arranged by the teacher to tutor Zhang Heng. As such, Gu Zhun was dubbed as ‘Zhang’s Teacher’, a short form for Zhang Heng’s teacher.
Zhang Heng and Gu Zhun practically spent most of the time preparing for the third year exam at Gu Zhun’s house. Gu Zhun invited Zhang Heng to study at his house and Gu Li was in charge of their daily food and drinks. For a moment, Zhang Heng could feel that this was his own house and that he was a member of the Gu family.
As Zhang Heng was unrestrained for two years, his basic foundation for each subject wasn’t very good. As his family often had foreign guests, English was the only exception. He often followed his father and joined various high society dinner parties, hence his English was very fluent. Other than that, he was only interested in chemistry. He liked the wondrous reaction when one substance was combined with another.
When Zhang Heng accepted Gu Zhun’s one on one tutoring at Gu Zhun’s home, every Friday afternoon after class ended, Zhang Heng would desperately follow Gu Zhun up the public transport and make a beeline for his house. He did not bring any luggage, everything he used belonged to Gu Zhun’s family, or he would share with Gu Zhun.
Initially, he was inexperienced and came empty handed. During the first night, he had to borrow Gu Zhun’s underwear. Although after Zhang Heng bathed and wore it, he did not consider Gu Li and sauntered to Gu Zhun’s room. At the same time, he tactfully closed the door.
He tugged on Gu Zhun’s underwear that he was wearing. He was not shy and asked: “This, it’s a bit tight. Is there a bigger size?”
Gu Zhun really wanted to tell him that their measurements were the same. This was not a shopping mall, there were no other sizes available for you to choose from. However, this was not the part that should be ridiculed. The main point was that Zhang Heng’s junk was outlined by the underwear that was stretched taut, and it appeared to be incomparable.
Plastered outside the door and eavesdropping on everything, Gu Li had a sly smile. She intended to go to the nearby supermarket to buy a new one for Zhang Heng. Now it seemed like that was unnecessary.
“There aren’t any. Put on your pants and go to sleep.” Gu Zhun turned his head and spoke coldly. He climbed on the bed, pulled the quilt, and laid down. Only Zhang Heng was left to bitterly yearn for ‘a pair of pants to wear first, his school pants were being washed’.
Without a choice, Zhang Heng could only pull open Gu Zhun’s blanket and conveniently burrow under the quilt.
His smooth and bare thighs accidentally brushed against Gu Zhun’s clothes. He couldn’t say that he did not feel anything. He was very affected by it. There were a few times when Zhang Heng’s wicked little angel incited him to just embrace Gu Zhun. However, a rational Zhang Heng tenaciously resisted against that little angel’s temptation. He resolutely closed his eyes, cleansed his heart from desires, and did not think about anything else. Gu Zhun’s underwear, Gu Zhun’s smell, Gu Zhun’s blanket, all of it could go to hell!
After a night of silence, morning arrived peacefully.
Zhang Heng was very hardworking when he prepared for exams. He managed to obtain a pretty good score during the exam. However, with his grades, he was unable to attend the same prestigious school as Gu Zhun. He was unwilling to accept that but felt that he was not good enough for Gu Zhun.
He decided to build up a career for himself and pursue Gu Zhun seven years later. At that time, he would be able to provide for and give Gu Zhun much more assurance.
He wanted to give Gu Zhun a future and not just the present moment.
That was why he boarded the plane without bidding farewell to Gu Zhun.
He was afraid that he would cry uncontrollably, show Gu Zhun his discomposure, reveal that he irrevocably liked Gu Zhun, and cause him to feel pressured by it.
Seven years later, Zhang Heng return. From the start, even that opening at the job fair was arranged and planned by Zhang Heng.
Even the subsequent events, including clarifying Gu Zhun’s innocence and taking the initiative to help Gu Zhun’s sister, only had one objective: To increase Gu Zhun’s affection towards him. He wanted to chase Gu Zhun, even though it would be a long and arduous journey.
After all, Gu Zhun was an idiot with his EQ in the negatives.
Zhang Heng wore the bathrobe that the hotel provided and walked out of the hot springs to the entrance of the hotel. He stepped on the clogs and walked out of the hotel, raising his head to look at his room. The lights were still on, Gu Zhun didn’t leave.
That was good. It allowed everyone to think calmly.
Zhang Heng thought.
Gu Zhun stayed in the room and ordered takeout from the Chinese restaurant. He ordered curry beef rice for himself and a bowl of Lanzhou beef noodles for Zhang Heng. That was because Zhang Heng kept saying that he wanted to try Northwestern Chinese cuisine.
Gu Zhun recalled all the things that had happened between him and Zhang Heng seven years ago. He lamented at how time flew, but no matter how much Gu Zhun tried to remember, other than being sexually harassed a few times, he was unable to see what Zhang Heng liked about him. What was so good about him that he was worthy of being liked by Zhang Heng?????
Gu Zhun felt guilty.
Maybe he would never make any commitment towards Zhang Heng. He didn’t have the confidence to grow old together with Zhang Heng either. This hurdle was too high, even more so between two men.
However, Zhang Heng had always treated him well. So well that it gave him a sense of guilt.
Gu Zhun did not understand his own true thoughts. He did not understand whether he really liked Zhang Heng or maybe even loved him. That was because, in his heart, Gu Zhun clearly knew that he was easily moved when people treated him well.
But but but but but but but but but but but but but————————————————————
Zhang Heng treated him really well.
Yet Gu Zhun was unable to give him an answer. Tonight, he even made Zhang Heng upset.
Gu Zhun was frustrated and played with the rice in his bowl. He was preoccupied. He watched the television, looked at the Japanese subtitles, and listened to the Japanese language that he could not understand. He watched the main actor and actress acting out that Japanese running scene where they discovered their feelings for each other.
It was oh so romantic.
As he missed the beginning, Gu Zhun wanted to know how they ended up together.
Could he and Zhang Heng be like them and end up together? Gu Zhun wanted to know.
Zhang Heng walked out of the way with the wooden clogs on the stone pavement and looked at the lanterns that lit up the streets. Occasionally, he would see high school girls with their school uniforms riding bicycles and speeding past him. He looked at the uncle cooking oden at a food cart.
Zhang Heng touched the money in his pocket. It was perhaps enough to eat one bowl. At the same time, he could listen to the oden food cart uncle’s chicken soup . The Japanese oden stall uncle was like a tree hole that you could tell your secrets, he absorbed other people’s heartfelt problems and distributed the anecdotes afterward.
Gu Zhun looked at his phone. He realized that Zhang Heng had not come back even when it was so late. Feeling a little worried, he stood up and went out to look for him.