The Long Chase for the President’s Spouse – Chapter 68: But… I’m Scared
Quality Check: Tezuka
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 68: But… I’m Scared
“Hurry up! We need to get there as fast as possible!” Zhang Heng ordered the store manager.
Without turning to face Zhang Heng, the store manager retorted calmly, “There’s a limit to how fast an old electric motorbike can go, dumbass…”
RIght now, the two of them were making their way to the hotel by means of an electric motorbike. Originally, they had planned to travel by the Shinkansen, and Zhang Heng even called the lady boss again, after boarding the train, to confirm Gu Zhun’s whereabouts one more time. Unfortunately, they boarded the wrong train in their haste and ended up going in the opposite direction from the hotel.
They alighted as soon as possible after discovering their mistake and began considering their next course of action – What now? Were they supposed to walk there?
After some thought, the store manager explained that their only viable option was to find the nearest Shinkansen station that had a train heading for the city in which the hotel was located. But Zhang Heng could not stand the idea of wasting so much time since every second was precious to him now – without Gu Zhun by his side, every second lost intensified the fear that he was going to lose Gu Zhun forever.
It was excruciating…
Thus, Zhang Heng issued an order and kicked the store manager to get him going, “Go get a car now – or a bike. It doesn’t matter. Just hurry up!”
The store manager broke into a cold sweat as he responded weakly, “My dear president, how am I going to do that? I’ve spent almost every cent I have on takeouts for you these past few days…”
Zhang Heng was unmoved and signalled with his eyes for the store manager to get going.
The store manager had no choice but to search for a vehicle that they could borrow. He eventually found success in a nearby village. Using an out-of-print BL manga as bait, he managed to seal the deal with a willing fujoshi after leaving his contact details.
“I’m back!” the store manager announced as he reappeared with a shabby electric motorbike in tow. He patted the pillion confidently as he reassured Zhang Heng of his motorbike skills.
Zhang Heng recoiled instinctively, but his desire to see his beloved Gu Zhun quickly got the better of him and he gave in eventually. After Zhang Heng settled into the seat behind the store manager, he started up the motorbike and sped down the road.
The motorbike was an ancient model manufactured in the last century. Its age would probably have stopped it from functioning, if not for the fact that it was an imported model of high quality. It struggled along the road, leaving a trail of black exhaust in its wake.
In the car right behind them, the driver was becoming increasingly agitated. The slow-moving motorbike obstructing his way was becoming an eyesore and he could not help but lean out of his car to shout at them, “Hey! Get out of my way!”
Although the store manager was generally good-natured and rarely lost his temper, he had no patience for ill-mannered motorists. He sped up the motorbike and created more fumes in retaliation against the driver. Unfortunately, the fumes’ attack was indiscriminate and the effect was felt equally by both friend and foe alike.
Zhang Heng coughed uncontrollably as the fumes enveloped him. Despite his discomfort, Zhang Heng did not utter a single complaint; a blackened face was a small price to pay if he could see Gu Zhun again.
“Where do we go from here?” the store manager suddenly asked.
“….” Didn’t you assure me that you knew all about Japan? What happened to your claim that you were as useful as a GPS?
Zhang Heng responded with an eyeroll. The store manager looked away defiantly, “What I meant was that I knew all about the manga culture in Japan!” The store manager was indeed very knowledgeable about the bestselling titles and the strongest mangaka in the country…
“To your left! Take the right turn…” With the help of Zhang Heng’s navigation, they finally arrived at the hotel. Zhang Heng jumped off his seat immediately and dashed into the building, making a beeline for the reception without stopping to remove his helmet. The lady boss sitting behind the counter took a while to realize that the young man standing before her with a blackened face was the Chinese tourist who had called to look for Gu Zhun.
She got up and walked around the counter to greet Zhang Heng respectfully, “Are you here to look for someone, sir?”
Her willingness to break confidentiality surprised Zhang Heng. How could she break such a fundamental rule in the hospitality business so easily?
“Why would you do this?” he asked as he slowly calmed down under the influence of her kind smile.
“Because you love each other and I cannot bring myself to separate two people in love,” she replied mildly.
Zhang Heng was at a loss for words. “Thank you,” he muttered as he stepped forward to give her a quick hug before running up the stairs to look for Gu Zhun.
As she returned the hug, she whispered Gu Zhun’s room number in his ear. Under normal circumstances, she upheld the professional ethics of a hotelier very strictly. But right now, she was convinced that Zhang Heng had a right to know where Gu Zhun was.
Punishment will fall from the Heavens on those who break up two people in love. Turning around, she saw the store manager looking in furtively from doorway. She signaled for him to come in and prepared some tea and cakes to keep him occupied.
Meanwhile, Zhang Heng reached the floor where Gu Zhun was staying and began moving around with deliberately heavy steps. Gu Zhun was reading when he heard the noise. He thought that the hotel staff had come to send him his food as usual. However, he was confused when he looked at his watch and saw the time – It’s only half past four now; why would they be sending up his delivery this early? Nevertheless, Gu Zhun did not think much of it. After all, he did order his delivery at two today after missing lunch; it seemed reasonable for the food to arrive earlier.
Thus, Gu Zhun returned to his reading and waited for the staff to get to his room, unaware that he was in for a big surprise.
When he heard the rapping at his door, Gu Zhun got up. “Coming!” he answered as he opened the sliding doors. The figure at the door was much taller than the usual staff who served him, so he lifted his head to take a better look——
“You…” Gu Zhun was astounded but his body acted instinctively and tried to close the doors immediately. Zhang Heng reacted just as quickly and grabbed the door firmly to prevent it from closing on him.
“Why are you hiding from me?”
“I’m not,” Gu Zhun retorted in self-denial.
In truth, he was indeed hiding from Zhang Heng. But above all, he was hiding from his own feelings – which he had kept under lock and key ever since the day his sister told him about their parents’ divorce and his world came crashing down on him.
“… they don’t love me anymore…” Eight-year-old Gu Zhun had locked himself in his room and refused to answer the door no matter how hard Gu Li was knocking. His overworked little mind tried to make sense of what had just happened: two people who used to be deeply in love had stopped loving each other, and stopped loving their child as well in the process.
To love someone deeply is to be hurt just as deeply when the love ends.
Even though little Gu Zhun could not stop crying at first, his tears eventually dried up over time. In the end, he could not force a single tear from his eyes no matter how hard he tried.
“Have I stopped crying because I’m no longer sad? If that’s the case, why is it so painful trying to smile?” he wondered as his fingers pulled his mouth into a pathetic, crooked grin.
You have given me nothing but memories of pain in return for my love. I should never have loved you in the first place.
Gu Zhun emerged from his room after three days. Gu Li was in tears as she embraced him. “I was so worried about you!” she exclaimed happily, swallowing her unspoken fears as she kept up her usual façade of strength——
There would be no meaning in my life if you were gone too. I don’t want to lose anyone dear to me again, my dearest baby brother…
Although he had come out of confinement, Gu Zhun locked his heart away from that day onwards: he refused to initiate contact with others and always kept his feelings concealed while he guarded his love with an eagle eye.
Love was too exhausting.
It made sense that Gu Zhun continued to resist Zhang Heng in the present.
Standing in the doorway, Zhang Heng shoved the doors and stepped into the room. He loomed over Gu Zhun and insisted emphatically, “You are hiding from me!”
“I’m not!” Gu Zhun turned away, refusing to meet Zhang Heng’s eyes. He could not bear how feverish Zhang Heng’s unwavering gaze made him feel.
Zhang Heng forced Gu Zhun into a corner and closed in on his face to look straight into his eyes.
“Are you running away because you have realized that you like me too?” Zhang Heng asked.
Though trapped, Gu Zhun’s gaze continued to flicker evasively.
Zhang Heng watched him silently for a few moments before deciding to break the rule he had set for himself. He leaned in and forcibly claimed Gu Zhun’s lips, his tongue chasing recklessly after Gu Zhun’s. No matter how much Gu Zhun struggled, Zhang Heng had him trapped firmly between his arms.
Since they left the doors wide open, it was inevitable for the store manager, who was wandering about the premises after finishing the food offered to him, to walk in on them. His eyes widened in both delight and disbelief at the sight before him.
Oblivious to the store manager’s voyeuristic gaze, Zhang Heng deepened the kiss and tightened his hold on Gu Zhun further, locking his arm around Gu Zhun’s waist and thrusting his leg between Gu Zhun’s legs. This was a kiss far more aggressive and intense than any he had given Gu Zhun before – it communicated all his fears and frustrations in the past few days, and showed all the love he had for Gu Zhun.
But Gu Zhun continued to resist. Though trapped and helpless, he continued to push against Zhang Heng’s chest as tears fell from his eyes. As Zhang Heng began to ease up a little, Gu Zhun turned away. “But I can’t…” he began to say, “I’m scared…”
Gu Zhun, what are you scared of?