HOW TO DEAL WITH A TSUNDERE GONG
Chapter 8 – Hongmen Banquet
Xu Bai Chuan originally wanted to keep up the lie for the entire month before laying all his cards on the table. But as the time drew nearer, he began suffering from stage fright.
He didn’t want to say words like “I’m tired”, “I’m done causing a commotion”, “I’ve given up” to Tang Jin at all. Everything was his retribution. Tang Jin had never demanded anything from him so this nauseating appearance of nothing being sadder than a withered heart couldn’t possibly be shown in front of him. Moreover, he had a reputation for having an indestructible fortress that relied entirely on superficial laughs and jeers. Saying these kinds of words were equivalent to exposing the soft flesh of a clamshell on the beach and allowing people to freely trample on it. This kind of foolishness, he had already done it once. If those words were useless the first time, there was no need to repeat them a second time.
Throughout these years, his spirit had been completely crushed. For a moment, he didn’t know the manner he should respond in. He was already resolved to exit the stage of this nameless film and could no longer shamelessly fawn over Tang Jin as he had in the past. Yet the other person’s mood may be greatly affected if he were to say demoralizing words. This was not what he had intended.
An indescribable silence spread throughout both ends of the receiver.
The packaging carrying the hot peppers was half opened and one was hanging out. After rocking around for a while, it fell onto the kitchen counter with a patter.
A train suddenly ran through Xu Bai Chuan’s mind. Rumble rumble — The ending of a fairytale should be the Prince and Princess living happily ever after after the Evil Dragon had been killed off. This villain had perfectly completed his task of serving as a foil to the leading role’s noble and unsullied character. Now he was terrified, admitting defeat and raising the white flag.
He no longer wanted to accept Tang Jin’s calls. No longer wanted to hear Tang Jin’s voice. It didn’t matter whether they wanted to get married in the United States or Sweden. It also didn’t matter whether they wanted to do IVF or adopt a child. In the past, he had taken an indirect approach by currying favor with his friends and using their social media accounts to track information about Tang Jin in an attempt to understand everything about him. Even this, he no longer wanted to know anymore.
Rumble rumble —
Propping his elbow on the handrail of the balcony, Xu Bai Chuan looked on at the wide sunshine that spilled onto the tree leaves, asphalt road, stream of cars and passers-by as they came and left. Light and shadows were seamlessly embedded, with dark and bright having distinct boundaries. He thought: ‘After 10 years of senior high school, I was finally graduating.’ Yet he did not know whether he was leaving the light to enter the dark or leaving the night to enter dawn.
But it no longer mattered.
There was only emptiness. He’d rather there be sighs than words right now.
Tang Jin barely noticed Xu Bai Chuan’s change in tone. He said, “Since you’ve had your fun, do you know how to return home now?” It was like his throat was strained as he started with a cough. Right after saying “you”, he cleared his throat and continued speaking with much difficulty. “You…ah. Do you know where I am?”
Xu Bai Chuan checked that the date was Friday. Tang Jin’s company had a rather flat organization structure. Being the President was not necessarily a relaxing role. Every week on this day, there would be regular meetings to hold and reports to review from various departments. It was the busiest time of the week.
At this time, where could Tang Jin be if not at his office?
Xu Bai Chuan apathetically said, “The company? You wouldn’t have come to H city to see me.” After saying those words, he sneered at himself.
It immediately seemed like the line was cut on Tang Jin’s end as a strange silence pervaded.
Xu Bai Chuan pressed down any feeling with all his might, yet he was unable to control that momentary elation in his heart from springing up. Involuntarily standing up, he turned to the side and looked towards the front door. Filled with uncertainty, he asked, “You wouldn’t have… really come to find me right?”
It is unknown which word pricked this Young Master’s heart as ridiculing words soon flowed from the receiver in a biting and arrogant tone. “There should be a limit to your delusions. Who do you think you are? Do you think I’ll leave a company meeting to come find you?”
A heavy hammer dispersed the recovering spark of the dead ashes. Xu Bai Chuan mocked himself as he leaned against the railing and apathetically replied, “Yeah yeah yeah. It was I who overestimated my value. You go quickly cool off. It just so happens that I have something to say—”
Tang Jin was suddenly in a hurry to interrupt him. “I happen to have a business trip to H city tomorrow. When I arrive, I’ll give you a call. That’s all.”
Xu Bai Chuan: “Wait—” There was no longer sound coming from the phone.
He brought the phone before his eyes and just saw the interface switch from the phone call to the home screen—Tang Jin had hung up.
It was like this every time.
Every time, it was Tang Jin who directly hung up while he had to swallow back thousands of words into his stomach.
Every time, it was Tang Jin walking ahead while he was falling behind by half a step.
These years of an unsuccessful pursuit was probably the consequence from forcibly seizing something that wasn’t his.
Based on rationality, Xu Bai Chuan knew that all his pain and suffering were reaping what he sowed so he was willing to be punished. Yet based on sentimentality, it was difficult to avoid indulging in fantasies. He lightly threw up his phone into the air and caught it again while staring at the door which was firmly shut. There was a split second when he wanted to open the door and confirm whether Tang Jin was there. After a while, the slightest feeling of shame managed to block this disgraceful thought.
Who did he think he was? Even if Tang Jin wasn’t at the company, he would find Song Yi Yu to accompany him. There was also Cheng Xu. When would he find him to act out these unrealistic fantasies?
Xu Bai Chuan steadily caught his phone, returned to the kitchen by passing through the living room, hummed an original song and started making a dish. As for Tang Jin, he didn’t dare to think of him again.
This messy account indeed needed to be settled face-to-face to clear things up.
Tang Jin called him on the morning of the next day to agree on the meeting place. Just as he had in the past, Xu Bai Chuan asked whether he needed to pick Tang Jin up from the airport and was firmly rejected. Meanwhile, he put on a hat of normality and attentiveness, speaking in a coaxing manner to eliminate any of Tang Jin’s unreasonable anger.
After eating breakfast, he took a shower once again and idled around at home until midday. Then he went downstairs and hailed a taxi to go to the famous local riverside restaurant Tang Jin booked. When he opened the door to the private room, three phrases came to Xu Bai Chuan’s mind:
Hongmen Banquet. 1
[T/N: 1 Banquet set up intending to murder a guest]
Scene of carnage.
In the private room fit for four, Tang Jin was positioned on the inner seat and was just looking out the window. A rather lean man wearing a white t-shirt and grey cropped pants was near Tang Jin. Two arms were hanging from his outer shoulders and his chin was resting on an arm while looking outward with a slight tilt to his head. His hair was soft and fluffy, with his shirt lifted upward, exposing a small white waist as he leaned forward…
It was the formidable presence of the person who had appeared in various images and videos throughout the last seven years. The white moonlight within Tang Jin’s heart.
Tang Jin, Song Yi Yu, Cheng Xu. This troop arrangement was too luxurious. It was to the extent that Xu Bai Chuan wanted to close the door and re-open it again to confirm it. However, it was too late for that.
The sound of the door opening alarmed the three people within the room and they simultaneously turned around to gather six lines of sight on him. Xu Bai Chuan felt unparalleled regret: ‘Why didn’t I come wearing a bulletproof vest?’
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