Huo Ran heard his phone ringing, but it sounded muffled and distant.
He finally reacted when his phone stopped ringing.
He had somehow fallen asleep.
He jerked awake, and after blinking away the sleepiness from his eyes, realized that he was still lying on Kou Chen’s bed.
Shuaishuai had slid away from below him, leaving only a tail beside his face.
As his owner, Kou Chen wasn’t in the same situation.
Forget using him as a pillow, half his body was laying on top of him as he snored.
“What time is it” Huo Ran nudged Kou Chen.
“Ah.” Kou Chen mumbled.
“What time is it…” Huo Ran’s phone rang again.
He struggled to get his phone out, and right as he caught the corner of it, Kou Chen turned to lay on his back.
He said sleepily: “Fuck, where are you touching”
Huo Ran just realized the what the location of his phone had to do with Kou Chen: “Fuck off, why don’t you ask how we fell asleep!”
Kou Chen laughed and lifted a hand to pet Shuaishuai.
The call was from Jiang Lei, saying that he ran into Xu Chuan and the others and will be here in half an hour.
“Auntie Wang—” Kou Chen sat up slowly and yelled.
Huo Ran startled, and Shuaishuai’s ears also twitched.
“Coming,” Auntie Wang walked up the stairs, “You two were asleep when I came up earlier and I couldn’t wake you, so I started the soup first, I bought a lot of seafood too…”
“I want braised seafood,” Kou Chen said, “The others won’t mind.”
“Okay.” Auntie Wang nodded and left.
“Do you mind” Kou Chen turned to Huo Ran, “What do you want to eat”
“…No,” Huo Ran said.
“I wanna shower.”
“You can use my shower,” Kou Chen said.
“I’ll go upstairs.
Wear anything of mine, and there’s new underwear in the drawer.”
Huo Ran nodded.
Kou Chen’s bathroom was simple like his bedroom.
It was black and white in colour and smelling faintly of jasmine, probably from the shower gel.
Huo Ran turned on the light and looked around before walking in.
He pushed the shower door and opened the blinds, letting the sunlight in.
His bathroom at home wasn’t as convenient.
The window opened to a gas well, and there wouldn’t be any sunlight anyways.
It was scarier to be facing a bunch of closed windows, so he always showered with the door open.
After a basketball session and a nap, he felt a bit stuffy.
Huo Ran stripped and turned the water on, stepping beneath it.
Was his phone ringing
Don’t think so.
“Huo Ran!” Kou Chen’s voice sounded outside the door, “Your dad’s calling!”
So he wasn’t hearing things.
Huo Ran turned the water off, and before he could say anything, much less grab a towel, Kou Chen had already poked his head through the door: “Hurry.”
Between grabbing a towel to cover himself with and picking up the phone, Huo Ran chose to pick up the phone.
Right as he took his phone, the ringing stopped.
The bathroom suddenly went silent.
The two of them stared at each other for a moment before Kou Chen spoke: “The towels are under the sink, I just got new ones.”
“Oh.” Huo Ran nodded.
“With how fussy you are, don’t you need to cover up a bit” Kou Chen looked him up and down exaggeratedly with a smile.
“Fuck off.” Huo Ran sighed.
He got a towel out from under the sink and shook it out in front of him.
Even though everyone’s a man here with the same parts, there was still some awkwardness, as it wasn’t a public shower after all.
He looked down at the towel and asked in surprise, “This is your towel Not some kid’s”
“It is mine,” Kou Chen said, “What I can’t use giraffe towels”
“…You can.” Holding the giraffe and flower patterned towel in front of himself, Huo Ran called his dad back.
His dad picked up quickly: “Are you at your friend’s place”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“Ztw, kf qijsfv yjrxfayjii lc atf wbgclcu.” Leb Ejc rjlv.
“Qtja lr la Pr ugjcvwj bxjs”
“Vtf gfjiis vlv ojii atlr alwf, ygbxf tfg tlq jcv mjc’a wbnf.” Llr vjv rjlv.
“Vtf tjr ab rajs lc atf tbrqlaji obg j ktlif.
Tbeg wbw jcv P jgf ralii klat tfg, rtf kfca ab ufa j cegrf.
Gb sbe tjnf alwf ijafg abvjs”
“I’ll be right there.” Huo Ran said.
“Oh, no, no,” His dad said.
“Forget your grandma always lying to get us to come see her, she’s gonna think she’s dying for real if everyone comes.
Go over to your aunt’s if you have time, and bring her clothes over to the hospital.
She was planning on staying there for a few days next week, and took all her stuff over.”
“Okay.” Huo Ran agreed.
“Get the stuff and leave,” His dad reminded him, “Don’t start any fights.”
“I know.” Huo Ran clicked his tongue.
After he hung up, Kou Chen leaned on the doorframe and put his hand out: “What is it Your grandma’s actually sick”
“Mhm,” Huo Ran was thinking about when he should go over to his aunt’s and seeing Kou Chen’s outstretched hand, he gave him his towel.
“I have to go to my aunt’s later.”
“Why are you giving me this” Kou Chen said.
“Are you gonna shower with your phone”
“Oh.” Huo Ran started, quickly grabbing the towel back and handing Kou Chen his phone.
“I’ll tell you later.
Hurry up, close the door.”
Kou Chen closed the door.
His dad didn’t remind him to not start any fights for no reason.
His aunt was his dad’s half-sister.
Her biological mother had passed away, and she never liked the other side of the family, no matter how good his grandma was to her.
Huo Ran could never keep his anger under control during holidays when they all got together.
He would always start a fight with his aunt or cousin, and it just became a habit.
Every time they saw each other, it was like a switch had been flipped and the first words that came out of their mouths were insults that would develop into a full blown fight.
He couldn’t even remember how many arguments he had gotten into with his cousin.
“Then why would your grandma still go over to their place” Kou Chen didn’t really understand.
“She raised my cousin, and my cousin’s son until he was five.” Huo Ran said.
“She misses them.”
“Didn’t your cousin lose his job He has nothing to do all day, and he can’t even bring her clothes over to the hospital Why do you have to go” Wei Chaoren said.
“That’s why I always argue with him, that ingrate.” Huo Ran said.
“Already in his thirties and absolutely useless.”
“Anyone want drinks” Auntie Wang brought over the last dish.
“I’ll go get them.”
“I’ll go,” Kou Chen stood up, “You can start eating.”
“It’s fine,” Auntie Wang smiled.
“I already ate with your mom, we went to the tea house nearby and ate a bunch of desserts, I’m still full right now.”
“…Leave it to you two to have a good time.” Kou Chen clicked his tongue.
“Heard they got a new menu item, and they even called to invite your mom and I over.” Auntie Wang went into the kitchen with a smile.
“It was quite delicious.”
“It must be great then, for you to say that.” Kou Chen said.
“I’ll go later too.”
Auntie Wang’s cooking was delicious.
The seafood was amazing, and they all laid down on the couch rubbing their bellies in bliss afterwards.
“If we had a chef like this at school,” Jiang Lei said.
“I would live in the cafeteria, forget about going to class.”
“No way,” Xu Zhifan hugged Shuaishuai, “You don’t have that much money, you’d eat through all your lunch credits in three days.”
Kou Chen laughed from where he was lying down and listening to them.
Xu Zhifan was his usual self, and he couldn’t tell what had happened to him.
Hu Yi, on the other hand, was pretty depressed.
He heard that his mom and dad got into another fight over the whole divorce business.
Kou Chen didn’t really understand why they still wouldn’t let go of each other when things had gotten to such a point.
But feelings are complicated things, like Hu Yi’s parents, and Tao Rui’s ex-boyfriend.
All sorts of unwillingness.
He was feeling pretty sure of himself now, but who knows what would happen if he fell in himself one day.
He has to put up a bit of a fight, can’t embarrass himself…
The holiday lives of modern day teenagers were actually quite boring.
Phones and computers are the standard, they’ll eat when hungry and play games after.
If you want to be a bit more old-fashioned, you can play mahjong like Kou Chen.
Mainly because they couldn’t go out, since the air quality was too bad.
Even Shuaishuai came back inside after taking a short walk out in the yard.
The holiday life of a middle aged dog is just that.
Xu Zhifan won eight games of mahjong in a row, and immediately made a name for himself.
“Holy **,” Kou Chen exclaimed as he transferred the money to him.
“How the ** are you so good I thought I was the only one to lose to Chuan-ge, I never thought I’d see the day Chuan-ge would lose eight times in a row.”
“I accept defeat.” Xu Chuan clasped his fist in the other hand.
“I’ll treat everyone to lunch next week,” Xu Zhifan glanced at his phone, “But I have to go now.”
“Running away” Kou Chen narrowed his eyes, “Where did you get the courage”
“My master’s daughter is coming over,” Xu Zhifan said.
“My master sometimes gets confused and won’t open the door, I have to go back and do it.”
“Your master” Kou Chen asked in confusion.
“His mahjong master.” Huo Ran laid down on top of Shuaishuai on the couch.
“Didn’t you ask how he got so good Mahjong, cards, anything you can imagine, he could win eight times in a row.
His master brought him up for seventeen years, and passed on all the knowledge.”
Kou Chen stared blankly for a while before smacking the desk: “Your grandpa or your grandma”
“My grandma.” Xu Zhifan patted him on the shoulder with a smile.
“I’m going now, you guys have fun.
My aunt’s gonna worry if she can’t get in.”
“I’ll see you out.” Kou Chen stood up.
“What’s making you so polite” Xu Zhifan pushed him back into the chair.
Huo Ran took Xu Zhifan’s place at the table.
“Chuan-ge, do you have a god at mahjong grandma too” Huo Ran asked.
“Nope,” Xu Chuan laughed.
“It’s mostly because you guys suck so much.”
“I thought Kou Chen would be really good with how eager he was to play.” Jiang Lei sighed.
“Unexpected, right” Kou Chen said.
“He’s good at alleviating poverty.” Huo Ran said.
They all laughed uproariously.
As the afternoon was almost gone, they all swept through the kitchen again before everyone went back home.
Huo Ran picked up his phone and got a cab to his aunt’s.
The neighbourhood didn’t allow outside cars in, so he and Kou Chen waited together at the gates.
“You can go back, what are you breathing all this air in for” Huo Ran wore a mask that Kou Chen gave him.
“I have a mask too.” Kou Chen said.
“I’ll be fine.” Huo Ran looked at him.
Because of the mask covering half of his face, Kou Chen’s eyes looked more pronounced.
Or more specifically, his eyelashes looked more pronounced.
Huo Ran had to fight the urge to reach out and tug at them.
“Are you going to the hospital tonight” Kou Chen asked.
“Probably not, they have a nurse.
My mom and dad are staying at my grandma’s for now, it’s closer to the hospital.” Huo Ran said.
“Oh,” Kou Chen nodded.
A strong gust of wind blew, and he frowned as he rubbed his eyes.
“Then you’ll be alone at home tonight”
“Mhm.” Huo Ran stared at his eyelashes.
His eyes were a bit wet from the rubbing, and the wet eyelashes clumped together, before they separated one by one as the wind blew.
“Your eyelashes are kinda insane,” Huo Ran said.
“If I were a girl…”
“You would fall in love.” Kou Chen said.
“Where’s your shame” Huo Ran said.
“Back at home.” Kou Chen laughed.
“Would you be scared of ghosts alone at home Last time I saw you had a light on when you were asleep”
Huo Ran glared at him: “Was that on purpose”
“Fuck, how was it on purpose I was just asking.” Kou Chen said.
Huo Ran didn’t reply.
If he hadn’t brought it up, it would probably take him until it got dark to finally think about it.
But now that Kou Chen asked, he couldn’t help but feel a little scared.
He suddenly felt a bit uneasy.
The cab arrived, and Kou Chen got in with him.
It took him a couple seconds to realize: “Why are you coming”
“I’m going with you, what if you can’t carry it all by yourself” Kou Chen said.
“What if you start a fight with your cousin Then you’d have backup.”
“Are you looking forward to a fight” Huo Ran looked at him.
“Yup.” Kou Chen laughed.
“I’m not Xu Zhifan, I’m not gonna hold you back.”
He had to say that Kou Chen’s mouth might’ve been possessed by a witch.
Huo Ran stepped into his aunt’s house, and felt that another fight was about to happen.
His cousin was hitting his son.
Although his son was only in elementary school and already becoming a little brat, he still reflexively went to defend him when the seven year old kid was smacked towards Huo Ran as he cried and screamed.
“Get over here!” His cousin ignored Huo Ran completely and pointed at the little brat.
The little brat hit behind Huo Ran, so his cousin ended up pointing at Huo Ran’s crotch, making him feel a little awkward.
“Where’s my aunt” Huo Ran asked.
“Are you coming or not!” His cousin ignored him.
“You think what ever thing that comes in is gonna be your saviour”
“Where’s your mom” Huo Ran’s voice went cold.
“Get her to bring my grandma’s stuff out.
I’m in a rush.
I don’t have time to play hide and seek.”
“You think I won’t beat you up!” His cousin yelled.
He didn’t know if that was aimed at the little brat or Huo Ran.
Even Kou Chen startled from beside him, but Huo Ran was still quite calm.
He didn’t even blink.
The brat suddenly bumped into Huo Ran from behind, and Kou Chen couldn’t react in time, nor did he know why the crying kid suddenly did that.
Huo Ran was caught off guard, and he stumbled forward.
“Get out of the **ing way!” His cousin stormed forwards, about to shove Huo Ran aside.
But Huo Ran was prepared this time, and he shoved him without a moment’s hesitation.
His cousin staggered to the side and fell into the TV.
As he was about to curse, Kou Chen caught the brat that had already run away to the door.
He picked him up as he struggled.
“I’ll kill you! You think I won’t beat you up!” The brat screamed.
“I’ll count to three.” Kou Chen’s face darkened.
Before he could even say what would happen after he counted to three, the room immediately went quiet.
Huo Ran didn’t even need to look at him to feel the ancestral mafia member aura.
The tension became thick for a few seconds, before the slightly ajar door was pushed open, and a woman walked through.
First she froze, and then her eyes went to the brat that Kou Chen picked up.
She immediately started screeching and pounced at Kou Chen: “Put him down! What are you doing!”
Kou Chen threw the brat onto the couch, and he immediately started bawling.
“Where’s my grandma’s stuff” Huo Ran asked.
“In the room! Go get your stuff, what do you want with my grandson” She snapped.
Huo Ran didn’t say anything.
He walked into the room and saw the two bags on the bed.
It was only because he didn’t want to just walk in, or else nothing would’ve happened in the first place.
Forget manners and civility now.
“Come on.” He picked the bags up and said to Kou Chen.
Kou Chen walked over and was about to take one of the bags from Kou Chen, when Huo Ran’s aunt spoke as she picked up the brat: “First you kill one, and now you brought someone to hurt my grandson”
“What did you say” Huo Ran stopped in his tracks.
The way he grit out those words startled Kou Chen.
He’d seen Huo Ran get mad many times before, but never like this.
His anger spilled out from between his teeth, and Kou Chen could almost feel the sharpness like a knife.
Before his aunt could say anything else, Huo Ran was already charging towards her.
“Huo Ran!” Kou Chen saw that his eyes were slightly red, and he didn’t have time to think about anything else.
He held him back with an arm and dragged him towards the door.
“Why would you say that” His cousin snarled quietly, “Are you looking for a fight!”
Kou Chen didn’t know what she meant by her words, from Huo Ran’s reaction, and from the way even his damn cousin thought it was too much, he knew he had to get Huo Ran away as soon as possible.
“Say that again!” Huo Ran was still pointing at his aunt as he was getting dragged away, “You say that again!”
Kou Chen didn’t care about what they replied or if they even said anything else.
He picked up Huo Ran and the two bags and started running.
Huo Ran was the same height as him, and he wasn’t light.
Adding on to the fact that he was struggling the whole way and that he also had two bags with him, Kou Chen didn’t even know how he managed to get him out of the building.
“I’ll kill you! I’ll **ing kill you!” Huo Ran cursed angrily.
He finally went silent as Kou Chen dragged him into a nearby alleyway.
“Huo…” Kou Chen pushed him into a bench.
He was about to say something when he saw that Huo Ran’s face was covered in tears.
He immediately froze, “What’s wrong Don’t scare me, Ranran.”
Huo Ran didn’t say anything, he only lowered his head and wiped his face clumsily on a sleeve.
Kou Chen wanted to smack himself.
Why did he have to come with him, was he that bored
Why did he have to go and pick up someone else’s kid
Look, Huo Ran’s crying now.
He didn’t even know how to begin to comfort him.