Chapter 84 – The First Hug (32.1)
In a low-key luxury restaurant, soothing music floated through the room.
Duan Shu Tong held a spoon in his hand, unconsciously stirring around and around in a bowl. With his head lowered, he said, “That… I don’t know her very well.”
Damn it. What the heck was he saying? What did he mean by not know her very well? That’s way too ambiguous!
Duan Shu Tong berated himself in his head. Then he firmed up his resolve and said self-deprecatingly: “I have done some immature things in the past…”
“I know.” Xi Duan’s expression was indifferent, showing no joy or anger.
He was really uncomfortable in the elevator, and now he has generally recovered. He didn’t want to talk about the past, nor did he dare to talk about the future.
Duan Shu Tong felt inexplicably guilty. “Actually, in the past, I was just kidding around. I have never been with them before. I did those things on purpose to show off in front of others.”
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Hidden joy suddenly emerged, and Xi Duan raised his eyes to look at Duan Shu Tong, “Why explain it to me?”
Duan Shu Tong opened his mouth. That’s right, why was he explaining this to Xi Duan? They were both men. Was it so important whether or not he has had girlfriends before?
Stuttering, Duan Shu Tong said, “You, you’re always serious about work. I’m afraid that the gap between us is too big, and that we can’t be… friends.”
“That won’t be a problem.”
Beneath the amber lighting in the restaurant, the man’s deep eyes showed some tenderness for no apparent reason.
Duan Shu Tong’s heart skipped half a beat. He stood up abruptly, a little flustered, and said, “I’m done eating, I’ll go out for a walk.”
Without waiting for a response, he left the restaurant.
In September, the hot spell during autumn was gradually subsiding. In the evening, it was chillier. When they left the hotel for the restaurant, Duan Shu Tong did not wear any outerwear, but coming back out after dinner, he felt a little cold.
Duan Shu Tong rubbed his arms a few times. Should he go back for a jacket or continue walking? Eventually, he chose the latter option.
There were many high-rise buildings in Hai City, and he could only glimpse the dark clouds that are approaching from the horizon through the gap between buildings.
Duan Shu Tong did not pay attention to the dark clouds. He walked aimlessly along the streets. Pedestrians were hurrying about and the traffic was surging. The urgency of this metropolis seemed to make it hard to breath.
He subconsciously fished out his phone. Mrs. Dong* had sent him a message in the family group chat: Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching. Is Tong Tong** coming home this year?
[*T/N: Mrs. Dong is DST’s mother. In Mainland China, women generally do not change their names after marriage. A child inherits their father’s surname as a norm, though the marriage law explicitly states that a child may use either parent’s surname.]
[**T/N: Tong Tong, cutesy nickname for DST.]
Father Duan directly said: Come back for the Mid-Autumn Festival. I have something to discuss.
Duan Si Fu, like usual, was so busy that she couldn’t tell dawn from dusk. There was no sign of her in the group chat.
Duan Shu Tong opened the calendar app and found that the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day were close together on the calendar. It was just a few days, so it was better to go back to Yan City and have a reunion dinner.
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He stopped in front of the door of a random shop and lowered his head to reply to the messages in the group chat. Just after he finished sending the message, he heard a slightly hoarse voice coming from beside him, like a rosemary in the night.
“A cigarette?” A slender and fair hand reached out.
Duan Shu Tong raised his head in confusion. The sky was dark and neon lights were flashing. The face of the man in front of him was engulfed in colorful lights, and his long and narrow eyebrows seemed even more bewitching.
He was a handsome man, without the slightest bit of femininity, and he looked a little indolent.
“Thank you, I don’t smoke.” Duan Shu Tong refused.
“Ha,” the man laughed vaguely, “I don’t smoke either.”
Duan Shu Tong: “…” Was this person trying to strike up a conversation with him or hit on him?
Suddenly, a cool wind blew, and the humidity in the air was getting heavier. Duan Shu Tong looked up at the sky. Could it be about to rain?
“Weather forecast, it will rain heavily in a while.” The man was playing with a lighter with his fingertips. The flame sparked and then retracted, sparked and then retracted.
Duan Shu Tong was already in a state of confusion, and hearing this voice he became even more impatient. He intended to return.
“Wait a minute,” the man stopped him, “do you know what this place is?” He pointed to the plaque.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
Duan Shu Tong followed the direction of his finger and silently read the plaque. “A bar?”
“It looks like you have a lot on your mind. Let’s have a drink together?” The beautiful man invited him.
Duan Shu Tong was shocked. He finally felt that something was wrong. A straight man would not be so ambiguously approach another man on the street.
“Sorry.” He shook his head in rejection and turned to leave.
“I know you are the same as me.” The man smiled, “Really don’t want to give it a try?”