At 5.00am in the morning, Shi Yan returned home. He took a shower and put on his pajamas before he took his vest out of his bag to wash it — he didn’t wear it when he came back because it was covered in his and He Nuo’s semen. As he washed away that stickiness, he recalled the embarrassment on He Nuo’s face that he couldn’t suppress when he was being wiped down. He had to turn on the small table lamp before he could appreciate the beauty of He Nuo’s blissful appearance while he was squeezing his eyes shut. The first time he obtained release, he had shot in between his legs; the second time he shot it out, it had spurted all over his chest. So when Shi Yan parted his legs to clean up, the accumulated jade liquid in his furtive folds showed itself and caused a light pink colour to diffuse throughout He Nuo’s body.
After he finished cleaning up, the small room was still filled with the scent of their sexual fluids. Shi Yan asked He Nuo to lie down and wrapped him up tightly in his blanket, then he went to open the window a little to let out the odour of their male musk. He wore his shirt on properly before lying back down on the bed and he still pulled He Nuo into his arms before they slept. Shi Yan could only lie on his side and not turn over, so he didn’t have a very restful sleep. He waited for He Nuo to fall asleep before he quietly got up. After he kissed He Nuo’s cheek, Shi Yan jumped out through the window, then he closed the windows silently.
Shi Yan washed off the marks and scent on his vest and soaked it in a tub of water before he slept. At 8.30am, Shi Yan woke up. Qin Mingxu called him to ask if they were going to return to their college after lunch, or have lunch on their way back to college. Two days ago, when Qin Mingxu’s father’s company drove them out to have fun, they had already reached an agreement to not let all the families dispatch a car for each of them. Instead, they would just ride back with one another, and Qin Mingxu was the one who would ride on Shi Yan family’s car. In actuality, it was because their parents insisted on following them since their cars were not at maximum capacity; these guys who were already in college didn’t like their parents’ “thoughtful” behaviour.
Their plan was to leave after lunch. They still had some time to spend with their family in the afternoon, so they wouldn’t need to accompany their parents in the morning. Moreover, their parents always had a lot of guests who would pay them visits once in awhile. Thus, this gang gathered in the park to play poker again (their families would always have people visiting them to give them gifts during the festival, they wouldn’t be disturbed if they were at the park), Wang Feng took out his camera that still had films leftover — they had brought it along with them on their hiking trip two days ago. There were still ten or more film rolls in it, and they had already used up two of them. These film rolls and the cost of developing their photos could all be claimed at public expense, so Wang Feng wanted everyone to finish using up the remaining films so that he can pass all the film rolls together to his father before developing the photos at the same time.
But who would want to take photos at a park that was right at their doorstep? They were all snatching cards from one another to play poker instead. Wang Feng had no choice but to randomly take photos of them while they were playing. Shi Yan suddenly stood up, “Don’t take any more photos, leave some for me. Play for me first.”
The moment Shi Yan left, Qin Mingxu asked everyone, “Where’s he going? Don’t tell me he’s going to look for He Nuo again ba?”
Wang Feng answered, “You still need to ask that?”
Everyone agreed with Wang Feng’s statement. This kind of situation wasn’t novel to them, it had often happened before. Whenever Shi Yan was with them, he would always leave for a short while before coming back again, and he has always only had one reason for it: He Nuo.
Shi Yan had never tried to hide the reason for his departures. He very clearly stated: I need to pick up He Nuo after school, I need to deliver something to He Nuo……., and they had once joked that he was more caring towards him than his girlfriend. Shi Yan’s answer was: of course I need to treat him better than my girlfriend, how can my girlfriend be more important than He Nuo? Since Shi Yan thought so highly of He Nuo, they were naturally polite towards him as well. Although He Nuo was different from them, they could still be acquaintances who would nod at one another as a greeting. Nobody could shake up Shi Yan’s concern for He Nuo, and their relationship had no conflict with their interests either, so no one asked or said anything about it. To them, Shi Yan simply had a poor and humble acquaintance.
And the most important thing was that they could see clearly that it was Shi Yan who wanted to be friends with him, and it wasn’t He Nuo who had climbed onto him because of the value he saw in Shi Yan. Besides, to tell the truth, He Nuo didn’t seem like the kind of person to have impure motives. From the time they first knew him with the “picking up cigarettes” incident in first year to the time they forcefully bullied him in their second year, He Nuo had never been the type to fawn over those in power and be meek and subservient to them. After Shi Yan put He Nuo under his wing, He Nuo’s attitude towards them didn’t change much, and he didn’t submit to Shi Yan either (the fights, getting him water during the soccer match); also, He Nuo had never flaunted a sense of superiority in school when he had obtained a large backer like Shi Yan, and he had even began taking detours because he didn’t want to bump into them. They guessed that it was probably because of all these that Shi Yan regards him as such an important person.
“He went to look for He Nuo again, what is he doing now anyway?” After Qin Mingxu saw Yu Yao, he knew that He Nuo didn’t get into college, “And I thought his studies were pretty good too, didn’t everyone say that he was the genius of the arts class?”
Qiu Linsong spoke up for He Nuo, “Didn’t someone say that he was really sick during the examination and couldn’t even write his answers down? He had always been the genius of the arts class, he’s not like us who just copied our way through everything.”
“I heard those from the arts class say that his results were usually quite good. If it wasn’t because of that unfortunate coincidence, he would’ve been able to get into a key college. Shi Yan is usually so careful about not letting him fall sick, yet he still fell sick at that kind of critical juncture.” Wang Feng lamented Shi Yan’s futile efforts.
“Just when does he not fall sick? He looks so dry and malnourished. Do you guys remember how Shi Yan called him a dinosaur in our first year? Shi Yan said that he was just a bag of bones then.” Qin Mingxu really couldn’t understand why the person Shi Yan had despised would suddenly turn into his treasure within a twinkling of an eye.
While these guys were in the middle of their heated discussion, Shi Yan had brought He Nuo over. Or rather, he had taken He Nuo into custody. When He Nuo woke up, his face burned up as he recalled what had happened the night before, then he hurriedly washed his shirt and pants. Actually, there wasn’t anything on his pants, but his shirt had a few stains. When he thought of how Shi Yan needed to go back to his college today, his mood turned gloomy; but when he began to pack the books that he would be using for school tomorrow, he perked up again. So He Nuo was sorting out last year’s exercise books and teaching materials.
Shi Yan’s arrival was a pleasant surprise for He Nuo. He had thought that Shi Yan came over for an afternoon nap, yet he was immediately dragged out. When he was hauled out by Shi Yan, he was really happy at first, but when he heard that they were going to the park where his buddies had gathered, He Nuo didn’t want to follow him anymore. In the past, he had dealt with Shi Yan’s buddies before — though it was rare — and He Nuo never avoided them, yet he insisted on not meeting them today. How could Shi Yan leave him be? So he forcibly dragged He Nuo over.
When they arrived, everyone greeted one another and asked how he was doing. Shi Yan realised that He Nuo wasn’t as comfortable as he was last time in front of his buddies. When Qin Mingxu saw He Nuo’s hands, he immediately asked what kind of work he was doing now for his hands to be in that state. He Nuo looked a bit ashamed, and that was when Shi Yan realised why He Nuo wasn’t willing to meet them.
“He’s not working, he went back to school.” Shi Yan answered unhappily. He asked Wang Feng for his camera before he pulled He Nuo away.
He looked at the silent He Nuo before stopping in front of him, “We all wormed our way into college, you’re the only one who’s really capable.”
“Do you want me to feel ashamed? All of you are college students, yet I still need to resume classes.”
“The matter of resuming classes isn’t your fault, it’s mine.”
“How could it be your fault? I was the one who didn’t do well in the exam. If I had studied harder, how could I have done so badly?” He Nuo wasn’t paying him any lip service. After he got his college entrance examination results, he had secretly regretted taking his studies so lightly countless times. Throughout all those years of schooling, He Nuo had never put in his utmost effort into his studies; he had never wanted to be an outstanding student from the bottom of his heart. So after he failed, he felt like he had let his parents down who had supported him through high school, and he was in abject misery from destroying his dreams with his own hands.
“He Nuo, if you feel inferior because you’re repeating a year, then I’ll feel guilty. Do you want me to always feel like I’ve let you down for the rest of my life?” Shi Yan faced He Nuo, “Do you want that? For me to always feel guilty?”
“No, I don’t. Shi Yan, you’ve already helped me a lot, I can’t even thank you enough. You, you have never let me down.”
Under Shi Yan’s scorching gaze, He Nuo added, “Really.”
A smile appeared on his handsome face, “Then promise me, don’t feel inferior, and don’t blame yourself. Hold your head up high when you walk into your classroom tomorrow.”
“Un.” He Nuo nodded.
“Let’s take some pictures.” Shi Yan pulled He Nuo. He could still feel the mottled scars on He Nuo’s hands, and Shi Yan’s heart felt like it got stabbed by a needle, “Did you see the hand cream I gave you? Put it in your bag ba, apply it a few more times tomorrow. Don’t let it get wet too often for the next few days.”
Aside from his graduation photo and the mugshot he had to take for his entrance examination’s admission card, He Nuo didn’t seem to have taken any other photos before. He was so nervous in front of the camera that he couldn’t even smile. After Shi Yan teased him a few times, he didn’t try to force him anymore, and instead asked him to just walk around randomly and Shi Yan would take photos of him whenever he felt like it. When they only had two pictures left, Shi Yan asked some tourists in the park to help them take a picture of them on a rockery. After they took the picture, Shi Yan jumped down to thank them before he realised that the camera didn’t roll back automatically, so he should still be able to take one or two more photos.
Shi Yan asked the tourists to help them take some more photos until they hear the sound of the rollback. When he turned around, he saw He Nuo climbing down the rockery. Shi Yan walked over while he waved. He Nuo was squatting down; he thought that Shi Yan wanted to tell him something when Shi Yan suddenly wrapped his arm around his waist and picked him up. Out of shock, He Nuo hugged him around his neck, then Shi Yan placed his arm below his legs to carry him bridal style as he shouted, “Take a picture, hurry!”
T/N: UUUGGGHHHHH THE LAST PART WAS SO SWEET I’M MELTINGGGJGJDJSB