Chapter 2: Xu Yan

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April 11, 2023Merchie

Li Yangxiao realized that the chain of changing emotions that had flashed across his face earlier had all been noticed by the man beside him.
He felt quite embarrassed and wanted to find a crack in the ground to fling himself into.
But this man refused to move his feet; he stood beside him and relit his cigarette.
So, Li Yangxiao could only stand up himself, walk to the little Xiali, open the car door and sit inside.

Song Chang had fallen asleep in the passenger seat.
His face was flushed red from intoxication.
Li Yangxiao stared at him for a long while, before he lowered his gaze and sighed.

At this time, an employee from the insurance company had hurried over, and was taking photos of the crashed vehicle.
Li Yangxiao got out of the car and jogged over to take a look, before he walked to the side of the road and waved his hand to call a taxi.

“Song Chang,” Li Yangxiao opened the car door.
He leaned down and patted Song Chang’s face, “Song Chang, I called a taxi for you.
You should go back first.”

“Huh?” The after-effects of the red wine were very potent; Song Chang appeared to be quite drunk.
With great effort, he opened his misty, drunken eyes, “How long before everything’s taken care of?”

“The traffic police haven’t arrived yet, and there’s a traffic jam.
It’ll probably be a while, you should go home first.
You’re really drunk, it wouldn’t be good if you caught a cold.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Song Chang stiffly waved his hand, “I’ll stay and wait with you for a bit.”

“I already called a taxi for you.
The driver’s already waiting at the side of the road.
It’s nothing serious, you should hurry back home.”

After Li Yangxiao persuaded him in every way possible, he finally succeeded in convincing Song Chang to leave.

Fearing that he would catch a cold was one reason; the other reason was that right now, Li Yangxiao did not want to see him–he was feeling a bit upset.
Song Chang was his high school deskmate, his first real crush.
At that time, if Song Chang had not been by his side, supporting him and encouraging him, perhaps he would have given up pursuing his path of becoming an actor–although his journey was not going too smoothly at the moment.

This was a fruitless secret crush.
There were too many feelings that had been stuck in his chest, unable to be expressed, that had continued to fester.
In the end, they vanished into thin air, never to see the light of day.

Li Yangxiao watched as the taxi slowly drove away, and he acted out a dramatic goodbye scene in his mind.

In his brain, heavy snow suddenly began to fall.
He chased that taxi through the snowflake-filled air, sprinting and shouting, bidding a deeply emotional farewell to his youth and secret crush.

It was a pity that the weather would not cooperate with him.
The northwest wind made the air especially dry.
Forget about the heavy snow; one would not even be able to see a single raindrop.
The traffic jam on the road was also ridiculous–due to this chain of rear-end collisions, the other two lanes had become even more congested; five minutes had already passed, yet the taxi Song Chang was in had moved less than 10 meters.

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Because of this, Li Yangxiao found the scene in his own mind to be hilarious.

Li Yangxiao’s mind would act out these strange imaginary scenarios quite frequently; things got even worse in the year after he graduated–fortunately, he knew how to entertain himself.
Otherwise, it would not be good if these episodes ended up causing him depression.

Chi Mingyao had been staring at him from behind for a long while.
Just now, when Li Yangxiao stood up, he thought that, while this man’s stature seemed unremarkable, he was actually quite tall.
He fit the “pretty face, pretty body” standard that his friends were always rambling about.
He just did not know which one of his friends Li Yangxiao had slept with before.

In the next second, Chi Mingyao saw Li Yangxiao, whose expression had been somber just a moment ago, suddenly let out a laugh–the kind of laugh that was filled with amusement.

“He’s fucking mental.” These three words immediately popped up in Chi Mingyao’s mind, before he turned and looked away.

Li Yangxiao stood beside his car, bored out of his mind as he waited for the traffic police to arrive.
But as he blinked, he spotted a very familiar face.

The man had arrived along with the traffic police.
After he got out of the car, he walked toward Chi Mingyao and called out to him in greeting.
Chi Mingyao walked over, and the two stood beside the Cayenne.
The man leaned down and looked over the damaged area, before he straightened up, and the two of them began to discuss something.

–It appeared that this was the Cayenne’s real owner.

Li Yangxiao did not dare to stare directly at him as he had earlier, but he could not help but cast several glances in his direction–he looked incredibly familiar, like one of his classmates from high school.

Cheng… no, Lu… no, Yang… not that either, Xu… Xu Yan! Right!

The moment he recalled this name, memories from high school swirled throughout his mind, before they quickly bubbled out.

Li Yangxiao remembered everything.
This person had pursued him for a period of time in high school! The moment this string of memories popped up, Li Yangxiao immediately opened the door of the little Xiali and swiftly sat inside.

Back in high school, Li Yangxiao had been praised by all the girls in a rather ignorant way.
Besides Song Chang, he had never looked at anyone else.
On the main page of W City High School’s online forum, Li Yangxiao’s name took up most of the page.
All the girls who were even the slightest bit pretty were said to have been involved with him, so no one suspected that Li Yangxiao was gay; the girls all thought that he was pure and virtuous, and this handsome boy showed all the signs of being exactly that.

As for Xu Yan, if he had not pursued Li Yangxiao–and had not been so fervent in his pursuit–Li Yangxiao would not have noticed him at all.
In other words, he did not remember Xu Yan, but merely the fact that he was also gay.

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However, no matter how highly regarded he had been back then, the Li Yangxiao of the present had truly fallen from grace–he had been too embarrassed to attend the class reunion a few days earlier, with the excuse that he could not go because of work, that he deeply regretted it and so on.

Li Yangxiao was staring at the windshield, reminiscing about the past, when someone knocked on the left window: it was a traffic officer.
He did not want to get out of the car, so he rolled the window down and asked: “What is it?”

“Could you come out for a moment? I need to get a better picture of the situation.” After the traffic officer finished, he sniffed the inside of the car, “Why does it smell like alcohol in your car? Have you been drinking?”

“No… my friend was, he just left.
I was the one driving.” Li Yangxiao explained.

“Come out so I can test your blood alcohol level.” The officer said.

Li Yangxiao had no choice but to push the car door open and follow the traffic officer as he walked toward Xu Yan.

During the breathalyzer test, Li Yangxiao deliberately turned so that the side of his body was facing Xu Yan–he did not want to be recognized.
He would not have cared if it was anyone else, but this man was Xu Yan, the guy who had once chased after him.
And now he was even driving a Porsche Cayenne.

But God obviously did not want to grant his wish.
Just as he returned the breathalyzer to the traffic officer and was about to turn around and get back into the car, Xu Yan called out from nearby: “Hey? Is that Li Yangxiao?!”

In Li Yangxiao’s imagination, he was supposed to slowly twist his neck around, and say with an expressionless face: “Nope, you’ve got the wrong person.” Then, with leisurely steps, he would leave Xu Yan with nothing more than his emotionless receding back.

But those thoughts were just that: thoughts.
Li Yangxiao rolled his eyes and quickly put on a very well-practiced grin.
He turned as he said: “Huh?! Xu Yan! Long time no see!”

Then, the two warmly shook hands, with Xu Yan jiggling his arm up and down.

“I never expected to meet you here! You didn’t go to the reunion a few days ago, everyone was talking about you!”

Li Yangxiao answered with an extremely regretful smile: “Ai, right.
I couldn’t make it, I just got back yesterday.”

“Song Chang said that you’re staying in Beijing for work.
What are you doing that’s got you so busy?”

Li Yangxiao continued to smile: “Hai1! What work, it’s just a bit role.”

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“You’re too modest!” Xu Yan slapped Li Yangxiao’s shoulder, “What, is that car up front yours?”

“It’s my dad’s.” Li Yangxiao smiled as he spoke.
At this moment, he came to understand the sentence that boy had uttered earlier: “It would’ve been better if I had died in the crash.”

–He and Song Chang could have been lovebirds in death2.

Xu Yan obviously noticed the little Xiali parked in front of his Cayenne, but he was quite considerate.
The boy standing at the side had cried until his face resembled a rain-drenched pear blossom and his voice was hoarse.
Li Yangxiao cast him a sympathetic glance.
He also had no idea what to do; if it were him, he would probably have considered prostituting himself.

“What use is there in crying? Where are your parents?” Xu Yan was annoyed by his sobs and walked over to ask.

The boy could only shake his head; he was crying so hard that he was hiccupping.

“I don’t have time to take care of your problems today.
You should go home and think of something, and wait for me to contact you again.
Give me your number first.” Xu Yan noted the phone number, before he turned and grabbed Li Yangxiao’s shoulder again, smiling as he said: “I finally got a hold of you, let’s have a meal together.
Oh right, I haven’t introduced him to you yet.
This is Chi Mingyao, Young Master Chi, the vice-chairman of Mingtai Group.
Yangxiao, you’re in the entertainment industry, surely you know who Young Master Chi is?”

Li Yangxiao was not in the entertainment industry yet, so he had never heard of Chi Mingyao.
But judging by Xu Yan’s tone, this man was a prestigious figure, so he pretended to have an epiphany: “Oh… Young Master Chi, I’ve heard so much about you!”

Chi Mingyao looked at Li Yangxiao and laughed, the kind of laugh that was a bit disdainful–he could tell that Li Yangxiao was faking it.

Xu Yan quickly introduced Li Yangxiao, before he slung an arm around each of their shoulders, saying that Chi Mingyao had to join them for a meal as well.

Xu Yan’s persuasion methods were very simple and down-to-earth: “Yangxiao, aren’t you going to give me some face3? Young Master Chi, what about you? If you don’t come, you’re going to make me look bad!”

So, Chi Mingyao was very annoyed by him, and it was for the same reason that Li Yangxiao had rejected Xu Yan back then– this person’s coarseness4 was far too obvious.
But he had no choice; he had just crashed Xu Yan’s Cayenne.
Even if the boy behind him was to blame for this whole thing, no matter what the truth was, he had to give him some face.

So, the three of them got into the Cayenne.
Xu Yan had asked a traffic officer to drive the little Xiali away for repairs.
Li Yangxiao could tell that Xu Yan now seemed to be one of W City’s local tyrants.

Once they were in the car, Xu Yan began to reminisce about their youth: “Back then, Yangxiao was the only one in W City who got into the Central Academy of Drama.
There’s only one every few years, he’s that exceptional!” Then, he turned back around, and asked point-blank, “Hey, Yangxiao, I was chasing after you back then, remember?”

Li Yangxiao restrained his desire to roar at him to shut up.
With great difficulty, he maintained his composure, smiling as he nodded.

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After chattering away for a long while, Xu Yan finally paused for a moment.
Li Yangxiao and Chi Mingyao were both sitting in the backseat row.
He was feeling a bit uneasy–Chi Mingyao’s aura was too depressive and stuffy, and it was overwhelming; it infringed upon Li Yangxiao’s comfort zone a bit.

Li Yangxiao turned and looked out the window.
Suddenly, he remembered the scene of him rejecting Xu Yan back then.

At that time, Xu Yan had bought him 99 roses, and had wrapped them in a layer of light purple wrapping paper.
He had stopped Li Yangxiao on his way home, before stammering a confession.

Li Yangxiao immediately frowned as he said, “Such a big bouquet, do you want my dad to beat me to death?”

Xu Yan took out an envelope and handed it to Li Yangxiao, asking him to open it at home.
Li Yangxiao immediately pulled out a pen and wrote on the back of the envelope: “you are not my cup of tea”, before passing him the envelope and leaving.

In Li Yangxiao’s brain, he had translated the sentence very eloquently into “ni bu shi wo de na bei cha5“

For a long time afterwards, he thought that this rejection had been utterly brilliant.
He felt that it had been very tactful, very poetic, and very Li Yangxiao.

But he obviously did not expect that Xu Yan, who had never passed English, had gone onto Baidu that night and obtained the translation: “You are not my type!”, exclamation point and all.

–So arrogant. That was Xu Yan’s exact thought back then.


Wowiee, that’s brutal.

Thanks for reading~~

嗨 is just one of those exclamation sounds; it can sometimes be a sigh.
It’s often used when people are trying to be modest. 亡命鸳鸯 (wáng mìng yuān yāng): 亡命 means “exiled”, and 鸳鸯 are mandarin ducks, which symbolize couples.
Uh… in this case, I think it means “in death” rather than “exiled”. 给面子 (gěi miàn zi): “to give someone face”.
If you’ve read lots of danmei already, you’ve probably seen this term before! It’s basically to show someone respect/to be considerate. 土 (tǔ): Literally “dirt”.
When used to describe people, it means that they are coarse, uncultured, etc. Sorry if including the Chinese pinyin here is jarring, but I think it’s important to differentiate this! Li Yangxiao wrote “you are not my cup of tea” in English, so the pinyin written there is the literal translation (as in, no hidden meanings/proverbs attached).
This phrase doesn’t actually mean anything in Chinese.

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