The Long Chase for the President’s Spouse – Chapter 67: GPS and I
Quality Check: Tezuka
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 67: GPS and I
It had been three days since Zhang Heng arrived in Japan. He issued his orders on the first day and had been bumming around at the store manager’s place since then.
When the store manager left for work, Zhang Heng was still asleep; when the store manager returned, Zhang Heng was browsing through his manga.
“…” Although his eyes remained glued to the pages as he flipped through the volumes, he was filled with anxiety – Have I given them too much time? Are they procrastinating and delaying the process?
If that’s the case, they’re all getting a pay cut when I get back!
The store manager came home with takeouts. Usually, he would be reluctant to leave his store in Akihabara as he would much rather stay cooped up in his store to binge-read the newest manga than go home for lunch or a quick nap. Since he was hopeless at cooking, going home for meals would be a pain anyway. Besides, the big sisters working at the cosplay stores on neighbouring floors often bought him a bento or two to encourage him in his business venture – there is so much promise in a young man who specialises in the sale of BL manga!
“You’re reading manga again? Any news from your company yet?” the store manager asked as he laid out the takeout boxes on the table in front of Zhang Heng. Then he settled down on the tatami mat and began digging in.
“Not yet.” Zhang Heng did not feel like speaking but he would not say no to food. He folded his legs and began tucking in as well.
On Gu Zhun’s end, the same idleness prevailed. He had been staying at the same hotel they booked on their last trip, and he hardly left to explore the surroundings since he had no interest in going out. During their last trip, they had already tasted all the food, seen all the sights, and taken all the photos they could at the tourist attractions they visited. There was simply nothing left for him to do.
There was no point in going through the motions again. Repetition would bring only pain.
The service staff knocked and opened the door. “Your delivery is here, sir.”
“Thank you,” Gu Zhun nodded and closed the door after picking up his food.
For the past few days, he had been surviving solely on deliveries ordered from the restaurants nearby; he barely stepped out of his room in fear of the pain it would bring him to relive the memories he had in Japan with Zhang Heng.
In reality, the hotel’s services did not include food deliveries. However, the lady boss had a soft spot for Zhang Heng and Gu Zhun. Unlike most Japanese women, she was neither conservative nor emotionally reserved; she fully supported love equality and doted on Gu Zhun as if he were her own grandchild.
Seeing that Gu Zhun had shut himself in for days, she became increasingly worried that he might be hurting himself. However, Gu Zhun was not one to act rashly. Zhang Heng, on the other hand, was far more prone to violent reactions as a result of Gu Zhun’s rejection.
Nevertheless, as a way to check in on Gu Zhun regularly, the lady boss instructed her staff to pick up Gu Zhun’s orders and deliver them to his room. He accepted the gesture without giving it a second thought, assuming that the thoughtful service was simply one of the hotel’s selling points. If he had known the truth, he would definitely have beaten himself up for taking her kindness for granted.
Although he stayed in during the day, he occasionally ventured out at night for walks in the neighbourhood. Like the protagonist in Yu Dafu’s ‘One Intoxicating Spring Night’, Gu Zhun welcomed the calming effect of the night wind on his feverish nerves.
However, he always returned to an empty room; unlike the protagonist in the story, Gu Zhun had no one waiting for his return.
One day, a question popped into the store manager’s mind. “Since there hasn’t been any further news regarding Gu Zhun’s parents, why don’t you try looking for more information on Gu Zhun’s whereabouts?”
“I don’t know the way around Japan.”
The store manager resisted the urge to send Zhang Heng flying with a slap. To think that you used to be such a smooth-talking Casanova! How can you accept defeat so easily just because he decided to leave you?!
“Look here, this isn’t how you’ve always been! What happened to your usual overbearing persona?”
Zhang Heng was in despair; he had lost the confidence and courage with which he had vowed to find and cherish Gu Zhun. One was always helpless in the face of love, regardless of how self-confident one may usually be.
I love him but I don’t want to hurt him.
He simply couldn’t agree with the store manager’s belief that sex could resolve all conflicts between couples.
Zhang Heng lowered his head and thought hard – what should he do now that he found Gu Zhun’s parents? This was the first time he had ever encountered a situation that was beyond his control. Matters involving Gu Zhun rendered him completely helpless and lost; he just wasn’t his usual capable self anymore.
“Pull yourself together!” The store manager grabbed Zhang Heng by the shoulders and shook him hard, attempting to bring him to his senses. “Don’t be such a wimp! Where did your confidence go? Didn’t you say that you fell for him seven years ago? It’s not easy to keep loving someone for seven years! He was your first love too, wasn’t he?”
“Even though I’m not very smart, I can still see what’s the sensible thing for you to do. After finding Gu Zhun’s parents, take Gu Zhun home to see them! Tell him that his parents still love him and his sister despite the divorce! Let him know that there were circumstances that made it impossible for his parents to visit them!”
The store manager was moved to tears as he spoke. Zhang Heng, on the other hand, shoved him aside disdainfully. “Calm down. I haven’t given up. I just don’t know how to look for him when I don’t know my way around and have no influence here in Japan.”
“Tsk!” The store manager straightened immediately and assumed an imperious air, “Why have you been moping around these few days, then? You got me all worked up and worried about you!”
Zhang Heng scrunched up his face in distaste and moved away with his takeout box. “Shoo! I don’t need your concern!”
“Give me back all that wasted sympathy—”
Eventually, the store manager decided to help Zhang Heng with his quest for Gu Zhun. He closed his store and offered to bring Zhang Heng around Japan, serving as his personal GPS.
“Where do you think Gu Zhun is?”
“You’re not helping! Tokyo is so huge! You need to be more specific than that!”
Zhang Heng and the store manager bantered back and forth in Mandarin as they waited on the railway platform. They were beginning to attract the attention of passersby when the train pulled in.
As the doors opened, Zhang Heng gave the store manager a kick. “Hurry up and move along!”
“Yes! Whoo——” The store manager leaped onto the train, accompanied by his own sound effects.
“…” This GPS is going bonkers.
Since they did not know Gu Zhun’s exact location, Zhang Heng allowed the store manager to take him all over Tokyo. But Tokyo was just too big; lost in the buzz of the city’s massive crowds and endless traffic, all attempts to find him seemed futile. How could lost souls ever find each other in such a huge and overcrowded city?
Yet, it only took a second look in a crowd to connect two strangers. Seven years ago, Zhang Heng took one look at Gu Zhun in a crowd and had remained transfixed ever since. But even as he stood by Gu Zhun’s side, Gu Zhun only had eyes for his papers and textbooks and was entirely oblivious to the unwavering gaze of the person beside him.
No matter how aware Gu Zhun had become of Zhang Heng’s gaze over the years, he never spared so much as a backward glance at Zhang Heng.
“Why can’t we find him?” Zhang Heng began to blame his GPS for their unproductive search. It was already three in the afternoon and there was still no trace of Gu Zhun.
The GPS didn’t want to hear any of it.. He had only agreed to help because of Zhang Heng’s promise to finance his future business purchases, as well as his offer to hire him as special consultant for a BL manga app that was being developed by Zhang Corporation.
“You know, if he is intentionally hiding from you, you will never be able to find him…” the store manager said bluntly.
Indeed, it was impossible…
Are you hiding from me, Gu Zhun?
Back in his hotel room, Gu Zhun sneezed.
As they continued walking down the road, the store manager had another epiphany. “As the saying goes, ‘the most dangerous place is also the safest’. Would it be possible for Gu Zhun to be hiding at a place you least expect? Maybe somewhere you have visited together?”
“… don’t tell me…” Zhang Heng was hit by a sudden realisation. Whipping out his phone, he began scrolling frantically through his contacts. He remembered saving the hotel’s number when he was planning their previous trip to Japan.
He dialled the number immediately. He waited impatiently for the call to go through; it would be best if the lady boss could answer the phone herself!
Zhang Heng had a hunch that Gu Zhun was definitely hiding in that hotel.
The call finally went through minutes later.
“Konnichiwa,” a warm voice answered slowly. Zhang Heng recognised the lady boss’ voice and responded in fluent Japanese, “I am Zhang Heng, a Chinese tourist who stayed at your hotel previously. May I know if anyone has checked in recently under the name ‘Gu Zhun’?”
“Yes,” the lady boss replied without hesitation. Zhang Heng promptly fell silent.
“Hello?” the lady boss asked tentatively. After a few moments of radio silence on Zhang Heng’s end, she finally hung up.
As she put the phone down, she raised a smile slowly.