The Long Chase for the President’s Spouse – Chapter 84: Are You Nervous?
Quality Checker: Tezuka
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 84: Are You Nervous?
Standing by Zhang Heng’s side, Gu Zhun felt a tinge of anxiety coming from the other man. He nudged Zhang Heng gently to bring him back to his senses. “Is something wrong?” he asked worriedly. Zhang Heng shook his head in response before starting up the car methodically. In no time, they were back on the highway heading towards home.
Indeed… Grandfather would be our greatest obstacle – Zhang Heng thought. His parents seldom interfered with his matters, but his grandfather was different. He was an old man who weathered through various vicissitudes of life to obtain the status and clout he now enjoyed. To uphold the family prestige, he was convinced that it was necessary to groom his grandson into an outstanding individual who was at least as distinguished as himself. In accordance with his expectations, Zhang Heng was indeed outstanding in both external aspects (such as his appearance and manners) and internal qualities (such as his character and gift for business management). It was rare to find such excellence amongst third-generation descendants of wealthy and influential families  . Apart from his poor performance in junior high, Zhang Heng was unequalled amongst his peers.
What an embarrassment it would be to his grandfather for Zhang Heng to bring a boyfriend home and declare him to be his sole partner for life…
Even if they found an heir through adoption, it would be hard to convince his grandfather of their adopted child’s “worthiness”. Given his grandfather’s blindly arrogant belief that his outstanding progeny (such as Zhang Heng) proved the superiority of his blood, it was inevitable for him to be equally convinced that anyone not of his blood would be doomed to fail in life.
Zhang Heng snorted abruptly as his hands tightened on the steering wheel. He could already foresee how his grandfather would react after finding out about his relationship with Gu Zhun.
Unsettled by the sound, Gu Zhun turned his head uneasily to look at Zhang Heng, but Zhang Heng’s face gave nothing away. He wore a smile on his lips and an air of nonchalance as he continued driving. Rock music blared from the speaker in the car. Gu Zhun refrained from checking on Zhang Heng again, but his heart felt heavy with unease and anxiety.
Despite the confidence with which Zhang Heng had just promised Gu Zhun’s mother that “he would take responsibility and protect Gu Zhun from the world around them”, it was only natural for anyone under such pressure to feel at least a little nervous at the start. It was especially worrisome that they would be facing his formidable grandfather, whose mind was still as sharp as ever despite his age. In Gu Zhun’s eyes, Zhang Heng was too much of a fool to be his grandfather’s intellectual equal.
In spite of his worries, Gu Zhun soon fell asleep; the resolution of his childhood trauma had left him emotionally drained and thoroughly exhausted. Zhang Heng left Gu Zhun to his much-needed rest and focused his attention on the road ahead. After a long drive of more than ten hours, they were finally back to the city in which they lived.
Not intending to return to the Zhang residence for the night, Zhang Heng pulled up below Gu Zhun’s apartment. He had yet to come up with a reasonable explanation for the past few weeks and was not ready to face his grandfather just yet. Not wanting to rouse Gu Zhun from his sleep, Zhang Heng carried him gently in his arms back to the apartment he shared with his sister.
The door was answered by a sleepy-eyed Gu Li. She stood in the doorway rubbing her eyes, her hair in a mess and her mind clouded with sleep.
“Sis, it’s very dangerous to open the door so carelessly…”
Gu Li waved aside his comment nonchalantly as she returned to her bed, muttering in reply, “No criminal ever comes knocking with another sleeping criminal in his arms… So sleepy… You look after my baby brother. Make yourself at home…” Before Zhang Heng could thank her, she disappeared back into her room.
Zhang Heng left Gu Zhun on the couch before going about preparing a hot bath for him. Once the hot water was ready, he returned to wake Gu Zhun up. “We’re home, Gu Zhun,” he said as he shook him gently. Gu Zhun struggled to open his eyes. Nestled in Zhang Heng’s arms, he looked around blearily and slowly recognized his own room.
“This… we’re home already?”
“Yup. The water’s ready. Go take a bath while the water is still hot.”
Gu Zhun got to his feet shakily and picked up a clean set of clothes from his suitcase. He made his way to the bathroom, muttering, “Let’s just take a bath together… waste of time if you have to wait… feel bad about making you stay up…”
Zhang Heng was stunned. His mind froze in bewilderment: What’s wrong with Gu Zhun? What happened to his usual shy, reserved self? Since when has he become so forward?!
Oblivious to Zhang Heng’s confusion, Gu Zhun stepped into the bathroom with as bland and calm an expression as usual. He tossed a pile of dirty laundry into the washing machine before calling out to Zhang Heng again.
“Hurry. Water will get cold soon…” Laced with the languor of sleep, his voice dropped an octave and delivered a powerful blow to Zhang Heng’s heart and mind, sending waves of desire rippling through his being. His lips began to curve upward slyly.
“There’s nothing to worry about when you’ve got a human-shaped heat pack right here.” It won’t be cold anymore if you hold on to me, silly…
Exhausted from the past few weeks, Gu Zhun and Zhang Heng slept in the next morning, and were still deep in sleep when Gu Li got up and settled down to breakfast by the dining table. With her bread and jam in one hand, she chatted away on WeChat and scrolled through her feed at the same time. The notifications on her phone resounded through the quiet apartment. A habitual light sleeper, Zhang Heng was immediately awakened by the sounds, inevitably rousing Gu Zhun from his sleep in the process.
“Oh, you’re up. Go freshen yourselves up and get ready for breakfast,” she said without looking up from her phone, tapping furiously away on her messaging app with a mysterious smile about her lips.
Gu Zhun watched her worriedly. “Is she okay…?” It was uncharacteristic for Gu Li to be in such a good mood this early in the morning. He wouldn’t be surprised if she was having a field day taking out her usual morning temper on some poor unfortunate soul.
Zhang Heng, on the other hand, paid more attention to the expression on her face. “Looks like your sister’s happiness isn’t too far away…”
As Zhang Heng brushed his teeth, he thought quietly to himself: Gu Li’s happiness really wasn’t any of his business unless she needed his help. He had his hands full worrying about his own budding happiness. Would it be able to withstand the impending storm that was his grandfather? Would his grandfather’s fury destroy his happiness before it came to fruition?
“What’s on your mind? You’ve been preoccupied for a while…” Brushing his teeth by Zhang Heng’s side, Gu Zhun could not help but notice his unease. Zhang Heng seldom stared blankly into space like this. Apart from following his every movement in the office, Zhang Heng’s eyes were always glued to his behind… (As Wen YiHong aptly put it, such fixation amounted to nothing less than sexual harassment, and Zhang Heng unabashedly agreed.)
“It’s nothing…” Zhang Heng began to say, but added after a brief pause, “Are you free tonight? I’d like to nip some issues in the bud and get them over and done with as soon as possible.”
“What issues are you talking about?”
Zhang Heng’s face darkened visibly as he replied solemnly, “Issues pertaining to my grandfather. I’d like him to meet you.”
Gu Zhun’s imagination began to run wild at the implications of Zhang Heng’s comments. Judging from the solemn expression on his face, it was highly likely that Zhang Heng was planning to tell his grandfather about their relationship at this meeting. All would be well should he give them his blessings. But should he disapprove… Zhang Heng would have no choice but to “nip the issue in the bud”…
“Don’t do anything rash, Zhang Heng!” he blurted out.
Zhang Heng punched him lightly in response. “What are you thinking about, silly?”
“Well…” Gu Zhun began to explain his thoughts and Zhang Heng burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“You… you’re too precious… how can you be this adorable? Don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything to my grandfather! I’ll convince my family to accept you, no matter what. It’s okay even if they don’t; I’m the master of my own life. The only person I’m accountable to is myself – I’ll follow my heart.”
At around five in the evening, a small car made its way to a mansion in the suburbs. This was the Zhang residence, which housed the key shareholders of Zhang Corporation – Zhang Heng’s grandfather and parents – as well as Zhang Heng himself and their housekeeper, Madam Li. Zhang Heng and Gu Zhun got out of the car and unloaded the bags of souvenirs they had bought on their road trip from the boot. —
“Are you nervous?”
Gu Zhun frowned in mild disdain as he replied, “You asked the same question back when we were on the way to see my mother. Can’t you at least phrase it differently?” Indeed, repetitive expressions were a perennial source of irritation for all Arts students, including Gu Zhun.
“Cut a Science student some slack please… alright I’ll admit it, I’m the one who’s nervous.”
Gu Zhun reached out to place his hand on Zhang Heng’s back and patted him lightly in an attempt to calm him down. “Don’t be scared; I’m here for you. Even if your family tries to pressure me like one of those terrifying families straight out of a melodramatic soap opera, I will never give in. If you have to go down on your knees, I’ll kneel right beside you.”
“I won’t allow it. I couldn’t bear the idea of you doing that… it’ll be too exhausting for you.” Zhang Heng grabbed Gu Zhun’s hand and held it tightly, as if he was afraid they would be parted the moment they stepped into the doorway. After all, no one knew the patriarch’s temper better than Zhang Heng himself; his anger would be a force to be reckoned with…
Hand in hand, the two of them made their way to the mansion’s entrance. Just as Zhang Heng raised a trembling hand to knock on the door, Gu Zhun seized his hand and asked, “Are you nervous?”
“… of course.”
“Don’t be. Remember the overbearing president that you are.”
“Well, just as the Racing God of Mount Akina has his moments of failure, so do overbearing presidents have their moments of weakness.”
“You won’t fail as long as I’m by your side.”
Thank you, Gu Zhun, for the courage you have given me.
 Third-generation descendant of a wealthy family (富三代): There is a Chinese idiom which states that “wealth cannot last beyond the third generation” (富不过三代). It is commonly believed that third-generation descendants of wealthy families will take wealth for granted and grow up to be wastrels, as they are born into money and sheltered from the hardships experienced by the earlier generations.
 Racing God of Mount Akina: Allusion to the legendary racer in Initial D. In Chinese internet pop culture, ‘seasoned pro drivers’ is a slang reference to people who are very skilled in particular areas of expertise. It is a euphemistic expression for people who are well-versed and well-stocked in diverse types of sexually explicit materials. The term is commonly used in jest when asking for help with ‘navigating’ a new kink or fandom, or when asking for materials for ‘educational’ purposes. Veterans in interest groups may also refer to themselves as ‘seasoned pro drivers’ self-deprecatingly to make fun of themselves. The ‘Racing God of Mount Akina’, therefore, is title for the most seasoned and knowledgeable of all ‘seasoned pro drivers’ in a particular fandom or interest group.