The Long Chase for the President’s Spouse – Chapter 62: The First Manga He Ever Read
Quality Check: Tezuka
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 62: The First Manga He Ever Read
Yes. My love is limited and defective, so I should leave Zhang Heng to someone else.
This time, I am certain that there is someone else who will be more suitable than I can ever be.
Because Ye RuiXi has admitted to liking you…
When Gu Zhun reached home, Gu Li was heating up leftovers from the day before. Because he went to the ball tonight, there was no need for Gu Li to prepare dinner for two. Given how lazy Gu Li was, it was only natural for her to make do with reheated leftovers.
Back in the days when Gu Zhun lived on campus, Gu Li often skipped meals or simply settled for a snack; since she was always home alone on weekdays, it was an effective way to save both money and effort.
Gu Zhun opened the door, walked into the living room, and looked on quietly as Gu Li tucked in. Usually, he would have told her, “You can’t live on leftovers all the time, sis. You should at least be eating fresh food. If you are too tired to go grocery shopping, you can let me know. I will ask our neighbour, Auntie Wang, to help you buy some light dishes.”
However, he said nothing tonight and turned away silently to retreat into his room.
His heart was racing, and the living room was so quiet that he was afraid Gu Li might hear the fierce thumping in his chest.
In his room, Gu Zhun pressed his hand against his heart and felt the frenzy of emotions resounding in his veins – the lingering excitement from Zhang Heng’s touch, the raging pain and anger from Ye RuiXi’s confession…
He did not know what was wrong with himself. It didn’t make sense for him to be so upset from hearing someone confess his feelings for Zhang Heng. It also didn’t make sense for him to run away from Zhang Heng so blatantly afterwards.
He was disappointed with himself… and he felt as if he had let Zhang Heng down by leaving without a word.
Gu Zhun took out his phone, desperate to explain everything that had happened tonight to Zhang Heng. But words eluded him.
What was he supposed to say? “I can’t return your feelings; you love too much and too deeply. I’m sorry, but I am leaving you.” – could he bring himself to say that?
Gu Zhun collapsed onto his bed and curled up into a fetal position.
Zhang Heng had always put Gu Zhun before himself and considered Gu Zhun’s needs and wants before his own. He did this seven years ago, and he would continue to do this seven years from now.
Even in the absence of any response from the coldly indifferent Gu Zhun, Zhang Heng persevered and returned to his side every single time. Gu Zhun was the perpetual centre of Zhang Heng’s orbit – one ordained by natural law, just like that of the Earth around the Sun.
The gravity of such strong feelings weighed heavily on Gu Zhun’s conscience.
There was no need for Zhang Heng to care so much for him. They were both men. Even if they got together, their future would only be filled with more difficulties – societal pressures, disapproval from Zhang Heng’s family… Life would be hard.
If a life together was going to be so hard, they should not have gotten together in the first place.
If you truly loved someone, you would do anything to protect them from pain and suffering.
—— hold on…
I don’t want Zhang Heng to suffer? Why? Why don’t I want to see him suffer?
Shocked by the sudden thought, Gu Zhun shot up in bed and grabbed a stack of paper from his bedside shelf. He began scribbling furiously and the page was soon covered in equations ——
[Not wanting someone to suffer = Loving someone = I love Zhang Heng?]
How could this be? As an elite student, Gu Zhun struggled to wrap his mind around such an unexpected realization. How could he have fallen in love so suddenly and without any warning?
Gu Zhun’s bewilderment was understandable. He had spent a lot of time with Zhang Heng, who always seemed to enjoy teasing him. This gave Gu Zhun the impression that Zhang Heng liked him, but it also made him wonder if Zhang Heng’s feelings might have amounted to nothing more than infatuation. Perhaps these feelings were like the brotherly affection he once felt for the newly transferred boy that he helped seven years ago?
Could feelings change over time? Had their feelings transformed entirely into something much deeper after seven years?
Gu Zhun’s head began to reel from his thoughts. There were two main questions that bothered him—— What did Zhang Heng like about him? Did he really like Zhang Heng back?
In reality, it was obvious that Zhang Heng was in love with Gu Zhun. However, hindered by his low EQ, Gu Zhun found it impossible to tell whether Zhang Heng’s suggestive gestures were meant seriously.
Gu Zhun did not want to think about it anymore. He decided to take a shower and go to bed. Back when he was preparing for the National Higher Education Entrance Examination , timely breaks were the key to a clear mind and solutions to tricky problems.
He put down his pen and walked over to his wardrobe to pick up a new set of clothes. His bookshelf stood next to his wardrobe; its top shelf was occupied by the manga series that Zhang Heng had passed to him previously.
The package had arrived in the middle of the day. At that time, everyone in the office was busy with work, except for the president. It had been an unusually free day for Zhang Heng as the documents and proposals that needed his attention had yet to come in.
Hence, he turned on his computer, plugged in his earphones, and logged on to Zongheng to browse through its offering of BL novels.
Whenever he got to a good part, his face would take on an expression of delight as he combed through the writing meticulously. He read manga in the same manner, paying close attention to the storyboard and dialogue, as if every detail held the key to deeper plot developments.
In this way, under the influence of the 3-Episode Rule, Zhang Heng gained a lot of knowledge and experience over time. For him, reading a single volume was akin to reading ten. If he paid serious attention throughout an entire volume, it would mean that book was of high quality, and offered valuable insights that Zhang Heng could apply to his work or personal life.
Gu Zhun looked up from his work occasionally to observe Zhang Heng. He was heartened by the sight of his boss finally getting serious about something. However, the truth was that Zhang Heng had always been very serious about work; he only ever fooled around with Gu Zhun.
The silence in the office was broken by the urgent ringing of the telephone. Gu Zhun picked it up quickly and listened attentively to the receptionist on the other end.
“Boss, there’s a delivery for you.” he said calmly as he put down the phone.
“Mn. Tell them to leave it at the reception.”
“… The sender paid extra for the courier to deliver it to you in person.”
Zhang Heng stopped scrolling and looked at Gu Zhun. “… What package could be so important? Take my pass and pick it up for me.”
Gu Zhun said nothing about Zhang Heng’s wilfulness; he was used to such behaviour from his boss. He leaned forward and briefly rested his arms on Zhang Heng’s shoulders as he unhooked the lanyard around Zhang Heng’s neck. Then, with the president’s pass in hand, he turned and left the office.
“Eh?” Zhang Heng rubbed his neck sheepishly at the memory of Gu Zhun’s electrifying touch. Hadn’t he already taken off the pass himself?
One may wonder why a president would need a pass in his own company. As a matter of fact, the company did not issue staff passes to its employees in the past. However, when Zhang Heng took over the reins as president, he implemented the new practice as part of his reform, improving the company’s overall security and efficiency.
Since every employee now carried a staff pass, it seemed only fair for the president to carry one as well if he wanted to fit in. Bearing this thought in mind, Zhang Heng gave his photo to the Human Resources department to have a pass made for himself.
The HR staff received the photo, blushing and swooning over how gorgeous he looked in the passport-sized image.
Naturally, Zhang Heng received his pass in no time at all, free of charge.
Zhang Heng had worn the pass to work ever since, using it to clock in and out every day, setting an example for everyone else in the company. As a result, the new measure was implemented smoothly. Over time, employees stopped arriving late to work and no one tried to leave early anymore. Productivity and efficiency began to improve by leaps and bounds.
Minutes later, Gu Zhun returned with the package. Zhang Heng looked at the sender details printed on the box and realized it was an international package from his silly childhood friend in Japan.
Gu Zhun also noticed the unusual address on the package. He asked, “Are these skincare products from Japan?”
“Why would you say that?” Zhang Heng was astounded. He did not expect Gu Zhun to know about the high quality of Japanese and Korean products.
However, his surprise was short-lived. In an instant, he figured everything out and predicted Gu Zhun’s response. I must be overthinking things.
“My sister has been busy looking for proxy buyers recently. She says that women her age need to put more effort into making themselves look good.”
Right. I should have known.
When Zhang Heng opened the package, he found the set of manga that his friend had promised to send him. It was the complete collection of the first BL manga that Gu Zhun ever read.
“Manga for you,” Zhang Heng stated.
“Ah?” Gu Zhun leaned in for a look. It was the series that he really enjoyed during their trip to Japan!
“Do I get to keep them?”
“No. It’s a loan,” Zhang Heng corrected. He knew how much his childhood friend loved his books, especially his private collection in the attic on the second floor. The fact that he paid extra for shipping showed how much he cared about his books. The fact that he was willing to lend them to Gu Zhun, however, showed that he considered Gu Zhun one of his own – someone with the potential to be turned to the dark side.
Gu Zhun frowned when he heard that it was a loan. If it was a loan, he would need to return them at some point. After quickly calculating his spendings for the month, he could not help but wince at the expensive shipping fees he would have to pay. There goes the rest of my money for the month…
“I’ll pay for the shipping. You don’t know how to send packages by express anyway, do you?” Zhang Heng said.
Gu Zhun shook his head. “It won’t be right.”
“Let’s split the cost then.”
Gu Zhun did the math quickly and found the shared cost much more reasonable. He finally gave in and agreed to the suggestion.
But how should he thank Zhang Heng for his help?
Footnote: National Higher Education Entrance Examination: This is an academic examination held annually in China, also known as 高考 (Gaokao). It is a prerequisite for entrance into almost all higher education institutions at the undergraduate level.