Le Conte Chocolate — only for your most beloved. A rectangular metal box was placed in front of Shi Yan, and on its exquisite wrapping paper, these golden words that looked like they were popping out were printed on it obliquely. A guest who had just returned from his overseas expedition bought this in the duty-free shop at the Hong Kong Airport. Apparently, on the 14th of February that had just passed not too long ago, it was Valentine’s Day. His guest said that there were couples overseas who attach great importance to this day: men would send flowers to the women they like, while women would give chocolates to the person they adore.
If he hadn’t realised what he hasn’t given He Nuo yet, and if there wasn’t such a passionate declaration of love here, then Shi Yan would merely treat this item in front of him as a nutritional snack for He Nuo and would have brought it to the hospital the moment his guest left. But now, Shi Yan actually got nervous. He didn’t go to the hospital to send He Nuo back home, but instead went to Wang Feng’s place. The hour hand passed 8, then 9. Shi Yan gazed at the box and allowed time to pass right by. He took the box and tried to take it out of its paper cover before realising that it was enclosed in a transparent plastic film, so he couldn’t open it. He put it back and touched that line of words.
Only for your most beloved — He Nuo. Turns out that even if there hadn’t been such a fated coincidence, this box would’ve still been yours. After Shi Yan rested for two hours on his short journey back, his thoughts were clear and animated. So this was love. There were no storms or tempestuous waves, no eternal poetic masterpieces, yet in its own quiet way, it had soundlessly nourished his heart. A lot of his doubts appeared to have its skylights opened, and there was no longer a need to answer them. Why didn’t he like Yu Yao? Because subconsciously, he had viewed her as a threat; why did he feel pained when he saw He Nuo in his sickly condition? Why did he always have the desire to knead him into his body? Why do his casual smiles have the ability to suddenly brighten up his heart? La Conte Chocolate had given him a resounding answer.
He had a beloved — with this discovery, Shi Yan’s heart felt like it had grown wings and he was wandering about the ocean of happiness in a leisurely manner. His beloved was right next to him, and often slept soundly in his arms. The moment Shi Yan thought of all these, he felt incredibly satisfied, and couldn’t suppress his urge to utter a laugh that could shake the heavens and earth — just to express his joy that was permeating his every living cell.
Shi Yan considered for a long time whether he should confess to He Nuo or not. It wasn’t cowardice; his sudden flurry of thoughts from before had settled down, what made him hesitate was timing. Shi Yan had already confirmed clearly that He Nuo was his lover at this moment, so naturally he would have to weigh the pros and cons from the perspective of his lover. He Nuo was in the middle of his resumption of classes, and this was the critical juncture right before his college entrance examination. If he told him about his feelings right now, Shi Yan was afraid that his studies would be affected. My lover is an idiot, he would plunge wholeheartedly into our relationship. So the moment my college reopens, he would have to bear the pain of our separation. Shi Yan was reluctant, he was reluctant to let his lover suffer even a bit of pain, especially the He Nuo who had already “suffered” so much because of him.
So, wait? Wait until his college entrance examination was over? This would definitely be the most ideal timing. But there was still a covetous Yu Yao during this period, what if she confesses again? Shi Yan was willing to bet with his life that Yu Yao hadn’t given up on He Nuo, but rather, she was waiting for an opportunity. It’s not that Shi Yan had excessive self-confidence; he was just convinced that He Nuo loves him too, so he jumped straight over the normal line of thinking and didn’t even consider what kind of response He Nuo would give him if he confesses. He thought that the immature He Nuo wouldn’t know that this was love, so he needed to tell him what it was himself. After ruminating over this for awhile, Shi Yan’s two options ended up engaged in a heated debate with their own insistence, and their own pros and cons.
In the end, Shi Yan had to ask himself this: if he were to put aside all external factors, what would he choose? He would choose to tell him. Shi Yan didn’t want to wait for even a minute longer — he wanted to share this love he felt with his beloved. After making this decision, Shi Yan felt a bit agitated. As he looked at the small calendar on the table, Shi Yan suddenly took a red pen from a penholder, then looked at his watch. It had just passed 12 — on this special date, Shi Yan drew two stars.
He Nuo ended his afternoon classes and saw Shi Yan come over to pick him up for his injection. He welcomed him happily, “Why is it just you today?” Usually there would always be one or two of Shi Yan’s buddies who would follow along.
“They’re busy.” Shi Yan didn’t want them to come, of course.
“Then will you be leaving in awhile too?” Even if Shi Yan didn’t watch He Nuo’s transfusion because he had something else to do, he would still pick him up afterwards to send him home without exception. However, he didn’t pick him up yesterday. And now that he said his buddies were busy, He Nuo thought that he was going to look for them after he sent him to the ward for his injection, so disappointment had flooded his eyes.
“I’ll accompany you, let’s eat together later.”
His gloomy eyes instantly dazzled beautifully like a gorgeous lake. He lightly jumped onto the backseat of his bicycle, and cheered softly like a kid.
When Shi Yan saw him, it was as if he was looking at happiness, not to mention the rare “intense” emotions that his beloved was exhibiting right now. He Nuo was an introverted person by nature, so it was impossible to see him laugh and cry aloud enthusiastically. For him to jump on and take the initiative to put his hand in his pocket — as if he was putting his arms around his waist to hug him — was already an unusual act for He Nuo. Shi Yan thought of how He Nuo would get even more “intense” later on.
The nurse left after she was done with the injection. Shi Yan sat next to He Nuo and took out the chocolate from his bag, “This is for you.”
He Nuo craned his neck to see, “I don’t eat sweets.”
“Chocolate.” Shi Yan placed the box in front of He Nuo, “I’ll give you half.”
“What are you giving me half for? If you like it then keep it for yourself, I don’t eat sweets. Aren’t chocolates considered sweets?”
“I’m giving you half, while you’re giving me the other half.” Shi Yan smiled eagerly.
He Nuo was deep in the clouds of nowhere.
Shi Yan held the chocolate up, “He Nuo, this is what I want to say to you.”
He Nuo’s mind was enshrouded in a thick layer of fog because of Shi Yan’s strange string of words, so he looked down to see what the mystery was. As he browsed through the beautiful packaging, his eyes were suddenly fixated on a line of words — at both sides of the golden print were two handwritten characters — there was a “Nuo” at one side, and a “Yan” at the other. The burning characters were boiling as it billowed through He Nuo’s heart. He Nuo felt his blood rush to his brain immediately, and even his ears felt like they were burning.
Shi Yan looked at his sweetheart in front of him get tainted with the colour of the morning glow, and continued to hold the box quietly. After the crimson glow on his face faded slightly, he asked softly, “This should be what you want to say to me too, right?”
He Nuo felt as if someone had just smashed his head with a hammer. But after this bout of dizziness was over, his mind received a feedback from the bottom of his heart: joy. This wasn’t the first time someone confessed to him. When he faced this sort of situation before, he was surprised at first, then his immediate reaction was that early relationships weren’t right. But right now, all he felt was joy and happiness.
His eyelashes fluttered as he blinked, then he slowly looked up and his eyes met Shi Yan’s affectionate gaze. He Nuo tried to restrain the embarrassment in his limpid eyes as he smiled; the deserted valleys in Shi Yan’s world bloomed with beautiful orchids.
“I love you, He Nuo.” Even though he already knew that he would be telling him this today, in this moment, it was still difficult for him to constrain his excitement. His trembling voice was the truest expression of Shi Yan’s love.
He Nuo’s large eyes continued to stare — he stared at Shi Yan with a profound look in his eyes. It was as if he hadn’t seen him for a lifetime, like this was his only chance to look at Shi Yan after a century had passed.
He Nuo’s gaze visibly moved Shi Yan. He held He Nuo’s hand that didn’t have a needle on it, “Tell me, tell me what you should be saying.”
“I love you, Shi Yan.” He Nuo’s voice was very soft, but he didn’t hesitate.
“He Nuo, do you know? It’s Valentine’s on the 14th of February. All the foreigners overseas celebrate this festival. It’s the 22nd of February today, 222, love love love1. Our festival from today onwards will be on the 22nd of February, it’ll be our Valentine’s Day every year on this day. 222, this is my commitment to you for life. Someday, I will turn the 22nd of February into a festival for lovers because of our love.”
1.2 is apparently a homophone for love in Chinese……tbh I can’t hear it, but….well……↩
T/N: AGH. MY HEART. IT’S SQUEEZING AGAIN.