Drunk In Love (Years of Intoxication) - Chap 42
When they returned to Beijing, He Gu spent over ten thousand yuan to secure a hotel room for a month. He also bought himself some clothes and a few books, and settled in for the time being.
All his belongings from his previous apartment had been temporarily stored in a warehouse by his mother. Once his house was renovated, it would all be moved in directly. In fact, half of the things in that old house had belonged to Song Juhan, especially the clothes, wine, and skincare products. He Gu wasn’t even sure if his newly renovated flat would have enough space for all that stuff. When he had a moment to spare, he should probably sort through everything and get Xiao Song to come pick up Song Juhan’s things.
After experiencing the fallout from this incident, Song Juhan’s career declined drastically. In the past, Song Juhan’s face could be seen on every other channel, but now it was as if he had vanished off the face of the planet. Even his long-time endorsement billboards had been reduced lately. It must’ve been an internal intervention, or perhaps it was Song He’s doing. But in short, the national idol Song Juhan – who used to have a schedule packed from day to night – was now sitting idly with nothing to do.
Song Juhan kept sneaking over to He Gu’s hotel every few days, and every time he would forcefully insist on staying for two to three days. On other occasions, he would drag He Gu to the villa at Fragrant Hills and refuse to leave the house for a while.
Since he didn’t have any work at the moment, Song Juhan had plenty of time to do the things he normally wouldn’t be able to do.
Finally, he was able to do all the activities he wanted to do with He Gu – things like having a meal together, going to the hot springs, or watching a movie. During that period, they got along like an ordinary couple.
He Gu experienced first-hand how attentive Song Juhan could be when he wanted to treat someone well. For the first time, He Gu felt what it was like to be ‘spoiled’ by Song Juhan. Although it was embarrassing to consider those words for a man who was nearly thirty years old, He Gu couldn’t seem to find another word that was more appropriate in this situation.
As if to make up for the time missed between them in the past few years, Song Juhan was extra attentive to He Gu in the coming days. He sang for him, made him dinner, taught him how to work out and how to swim.
Although He Gu didn’t exactly feel flattered, he was a little flustered. This version of Song Juhan was quite strange, and he couldn’t seem to get used to it.
That day, the two were working out in the gym at home.
Wearing a tank top and shorts, Song Juhan focused on tensile training. His even breaths caused his chest to rise and fall as beads of sweat rolled down his smooth skin and into the neckline of his tank top. Song Juhan’s arms were well-defined, his thighs strong and his calves slender. Whenever he wore a suit, he appeared outwardly thin, but under the layers of fabric his body was very strong. As someone who practiced martial arts regularly, he had beautiful muscle definition, as well as raw explosive power, without coming across as beefy or exaggerated. At that moment, his curly hair was pulled back in a bun, with a few loose strands clinging to his cheek from his sweat. Song Juhan looked divine, with a touch of wild charm.
He Gu sat on the side, working on the barbell machine. His arms felt numb and he couldn’t seem to continue for much longer. For the last few months he had neglected to exercise regularly, so his physical strength had obviously declined.
Wiping his sweat with a towel, Song Juhan walked over. “What’s wrong? Are you tired already?” He glanced at the weights on the machine and teased, “But it’s so light?”
He Gu shook out his arms, “I haven’t worked out in a while, so I’m a little weak.”
Song Juhan pulled him up easily and said, “If you’re tired, just stop. You’ve gotten so bony recently that it hurts my hand to hold you. You should eat more and fatten up a little first.”
“I thought you didn’t want me to get fat.” He Gu remembered Song Juhan’s advice from a while back, telling him not to put on weight.
“There’s a difference between getting fat and gaining weight healthily.” Song Juhan pinched his waist and added, “Look at you right now. You can’t lose weight anymore.”
Since he was young, He Gu’s build tended to be quite slender. After he started working, he paid extra attention to control his weight, maintaining it within a range of a few grams. But during this period there were too many things for him to stress about, and he had lost quite a few grams. It was indeed time for him to fatten up a little.
He Gu wiped his sweat with a towel. “What time is Xiao Song bringing the food over? We don’t have enough ingredients to make dinner tonight.”
“I don’t know, but I’m sure it’ll arrive before dinner.”
“En. I’ll go take a shower first.”
Song Juhan reached out and grabbed He Gu by the neck, then lowered his head to give him a quick kiss. “Let’s shower together.”
He Gu dodged the other man and said, “I’m quite tired…”
“You don’t have to move.” With a wicked smirk on his face, Song Juhan leaned in and whispered in He Gu’s ear, “You just need to spread your legs.”
He Gu never understood where Song Juhan got his abundance of energy from. They had just finished working out, yet he still had energy to do that.
The two did it from the bathroom to the bedroom. For over two hours, Song Juhan refused to let He Gu go, until the man was completely tired out and limp.
The shower they had taken earlier was pointless since they were both covered in sweat again. In the end, they went for another shower.
After their shower, Song Juhan acted like a spoiled child and insisted that He Gu blow dry his hair for him.
Song Juhan sat in front of the mirror as He Gu stood behind him using a towel to absorb the water from his hair. He Gu’s fingers massaged his scalp as he shook them around to blow dry his wavy, black curls.
Song Juhan’s hair was inherited from his supermodel mixed-race mother. It was naturally curly, soft, and fluffy, and felt amazing to the touch.
Looking at his own reflection in the mirror, Song Juhan chuckled. “Back when I was seven or eight, I still had straight hair. But one day, after a shower, it just became curly.”
“Yeah, interesting right? My dad has straight hair, but in the end he still lost to my mom’s genes.” Song Juhan puffed up his cheeks and blew the stray strands on his forehead.
“You really take after Vanessa,” said He Gu.
“Of course,” Song Juhan answered proudly.
He Gu knew the relationship between mother and son had always been very good. With such an amazing and godlike mother, anyone would be extraordinarily proud. The only thing He Gu couldn’t figure out was how a smart and open-minded woman like Vanessa could possibly marry someone like Song He. Perhaps Song He’s charm in his youth could conceal his real character.
Song Juhan suddenly turned around and hugged He Gu around the waist. Looking up at him, he said, “My mom wants to see you. She said she wants to apologise to you in person.”
“It’s fine. She’s an elder, after all. It’s not appropriate.”
“You better not call her an ‘elder’ in front of her, she’ll be angry.”
He Gu laughed, “I know.”
Song Juhan also laughed, “My mom has spent so much time and effort to maintain her figure and youth. I really admire her willpower sometimes.”
Casually, He Gu answered, “She has maintained her figure quite well.” For a woman nearing fifty, she looked more like she was in her thirties – that must’ve taken a lot of sweat, blood and money to achieve.
Song Juhan shook out his half-dried hair, then rubbed his head against He Gu’s top as he chuckled openly.
He Gu smiled.
How great would it be if Song Juhan could always be like this…
At that moment, the sound of a door closing came from the living room. “Is Xiao Song here already? I’ll go have a look,” said He Gu.
As he turned the corner into the living room, He Gu saw Xiao Song holding bags and bags of groceries and using his foot to close the door behind him.
He Gu rushed over to help Xiao Song with the bags.
Looking at He Gu embarrassedly, Xiao Song said, “He Gu-ge, thank you. Thank you.”
Nodding absent-mindedly, He Gu grabbed a few things and headed to the kitchen.
“Aiya, Ge, that’s not for eating. It’s for fishing.”
“Fishing?” He Gu looked confusedly at the cardboard box in his hands.
“Yes, it’s fishing equipment. Didn’t you say you liked fishing before?” Song Juhan walked over while wiping his hair. “Tomorrow I’ll take you to a farm to go fishing.”
Surprised, He Gu was moved that Song Juhan actually remembered. His heart beat erratically as he said, “Okay.”
After taking the food to the kitchen, He Gu organised everything neatly and decided what to make for dinner.
Suddenly, the sound of glass smashing came from the living room, followed by Song Juhan’s angry roar, “What did you say?”
Xiao Song cautiously whispered something inaudibly.
He Gu didn’t move. He no longer wanted to care about their affairs anymore.
Song Juhan was obviously angry as Xiao Song attempted to soothe and beg the other man. Even from the other room, Xiao Song’s pleas sounded quite pitiful.
He Gu perked his ears and listened. After a while, he heard Xiao Song’s voice tremble with a hint of tears. Hesitating for a moment longer, He Gu cut up some fruits and walked out to the living room.
There was an expensive teacup smashed to pieces next to Song Juhan as Xiao Song stood to the side crying.
He Gu placed the plate of fruits down carefully and said, “Xiao Song, come have some fruits.” The television was switched on, so he stole a quick glance at the screen. It was showing a segment from an interactive talk show that was promoting an upcoming movie. The lead was the famous actor Yan Mingxiu*. Apart from looking divinely handsome, he was popular for not showing any emotion, ever. He Gu remembered Song Juhan played a guest role in that film, and all the music and theme songs in the movie were also created by his team. Normally, he should have been invited to that promotional event.
*晏明修 – Yan Mingxiu is the ML in Zhiye Tishen aka Professional Body Double, another novel in Shui Qian Cheng’s 188 series.
Xiao Song waved his hand subtly and glanced at Song Juhan with a helpless look in his eyes.
He Gu found a broom and swept up the broken shards as he said, “Why are you getting mad? Is the heating too hot in here?”
Barely holding back his temper, Song Juhan gritted out fiercely, “Back then, they came to me begging over and over again to be on that show, but now they dare to cut my part when something happens?! It’s not like I was the one that fucking smoked up!”
“They’ve already paid the full fee, I think they just want to avoid any suspicion…”
“Avoid what fucking suspicion?!” Song Juhan was so angry he stomped on the sofa.
He Gu observed Song Juhan’s violent expression as he let out an inward sigh.
Slowly, Song Juhan would start to feel the rejection, cold-shoulders, and alienation from the public. With his beauty and family background, Song Juhan had grown up in the public eye – he even appeared on the cover of Vogue at the age of four. Since birth, he had always won the admiration and dedication of countless fans around the world, so this was the first time he had ever encountered such a heavy setback in his life. Normally, Song Juhan’s fans were like the stars surrounding the moon*, but now they had all scattered to the ends of the earth^, hoping to draw a clean line with him. The fans that used to scream hysterically and adore him now cursed him+ openly on the internet. His schedule that used to be packed full with work and the money that used to endlessly flow in was now all gone.
*众星捧月 – lit. all the stars surround themselves around the moon (idiom, from Analects); fig. to view someone as the core figure, to revolve around someone, or group around a revered leader.
^鸟兽散 – lit. to scatter like birds and beasts (idiom); fig. to flee in all directions.
+狗血淋头 – lit. to pour dog blood on someone (idiom); fig. to curse or berate someone.
With such a substantial drop in his career, no matter how Song Juhan tried to cover it up, there was no way he could hide the anger, frustration, and displeasure in his heart. Just by looking at him, He Gu could imagine what Song Juhan was feeling right now.
Yet this was probably just the beginning. If Song Juhan couldn’t make a comeback after this scandal passed, he would be knocked down by this tidal wave and would never be able to stand up again. Fans are the most precious to a public figure, but they are also the most worthless. They change so quickly – loving the new and disliking the old. Song Juhan grew up in the entertainment circle, so he was well aware of this point.
Xiao Song reluctantly said in a quiet voice, “Han-ge, Chief Song wants you to lay low for the time being. After two months, he’ll slowly help rebuild your image. Don’t worry, you’ll get back to where you were really soon.”
“Rebuild what image? There’s a bunch of people scolding me right now. Even if I return later, they’ll still scold me. Who the fuck even are they?” Song Juhan slumped on the sofa as he frustratedly massaged between his brows.
“We can ask the PR team to clean it up. Public opinion can be redirected easily. Han-ge, don’t worry about it. Right now they dare to cut your footage, but very soon they’ll be begging to add it back.”
Song Juhan pursued his lips, his mood still stormy as ever.
He Gu said in a low voice, “You guys did something wrong, so it’s only natural for you to take responsibility and accept the punishment. Don’t be mad. Xiao Song is right, you have many loyal fans. You’ll be able to return to where you were really soon.”
“Who cares.” Song Juhan said coldly, “Laozi has so much money I can’t even spend it all in this lifetime. I just like singing, that’s all.”
“Alright then. Stop watching TV now and come make dinner with me.”
Song Juhan stayed quiet for exactly two seconds before he actually stood up and followed He Gu into the kitchen. Xiao Song was left staring at them dumbfoundedly.
He Gu washed the vegetables, prepared the meat and started the rice cooker, while Song Juhan stuck behind him like a cat circling his master’s feet. After a while, Song Juhan couldn’t help himself anymore and hugged He Gu tightly, kissing him and rubbing against him. For He Gu, this meal was more tiring to make than running a marathon.
The next day, the driver picked them up and sent them to a farm on the outskirts of the city.
The scenery was enchanting, with beautiful mountains and clear waters. The atmosphere was so clean it didn’t seem like they were in Beijing at all. In order to avoid unnecessary harassment, Song Juhan rented out the entire farm, leaving only a handful of staff on site.
That day, He Gu experienced what he would consider as the most pleasant, relaxing and happiest vacation of his life.
They fished, walked, hiked, barbequed, and played golf. Although the weather was a little cold in early spring, they had a lot of fun together.
Song Juhan behaved like the ultimate affectionate and gentle lover, making He Gu feel as if they were truly and deeply in love. He Gu’s heart that had frozen over throughout the years finally started to feel a trace of warmth, to the point that He Gu desperately started to imagine… what if maybe, just maybe, they could continue on like this forever.
What if there was a one-in-a-million chance…
In the end, they stayed at the farm for a whole week before Song Juhan was forced to leave by a phone call from Song He.
He Gu also went back to the city. The first thing he did when he got back was to go check on the renovation progress of the apartment. It must be because he had paid well and had a good working relationship with the decoration company, but the renovations had progressed quite quickly. At the current rate of work, it would be completed in a week’s time.
There was a sense of peace as He Gu looked around the apartment that was starting to take shape. Most Chinese people believed in living and working in harmony – a concept that is deeply engraved in their bones. Only their own home could give such a sense of stability and belonging. He Gu never understood this fact before, but for the first time he started to feel it, little by little.
A thought suddenly occurred to him. In the future, if he started to make more money, he would move to a bigger house. Although He Gu didn’t care much himself, the main consideration was that if his mother and Susu came to visit, they would need somewhere comfortable to stay.
Once he finished checking the renovations, He Gu made his way home. As he was driving down a familiar road, he suddenly remembered something – he and Gu Qingpei once had dinner at a restaurant here. The sudden memory triggered He Gu to give Gu Qingpei a call.
The phone rang for a long while before someone finally picked up. Gu Qingpei’s voice sounded as if he had just woken up from a deep sleep. He Gu was a bit surprised. Gu Qingpei was a very self-disciplined individual – why would he sleep until well past noon? Was he not feeling well? Without hesitation, He Gu voiced his concern.
Gu Qingpei yawned, then answered, “No, I’ve just been tired lately. I think I’ve got insomnia, so I took a sleeping pill and had a nap until just now.”
He Gu frowned. “Chief Gu, what happened? You don’t sound very good.”
Gu Qingpei was silent for a moment. “…I quit my job.”
With a light sigh, Gu Qingpei asked, “Where are you?”
“I’m… My apartment is being renovated, so I’m staying at a hotel right now.” He Gu didn’t know how to respond at that moment. Why had Gu Qingpei quit his job so soon?
“Come over to mine. Let’s have a drink together.”
“Sure,” He Gu answered without hesitation.
Gu Qingpei gave him his address as He Gu turned the car around and headed towards Gu Qingpei’s home.
It was He Gu’s first time going to Gu Qingpei’s home. The apartment complex was located in a prime residential area with large and opulent houses. It seemed Gu Qingpei had accumulated quite a fortune over the years and was very well off.
He Gu took the elevator up and rang the doorbell.
The doorbell rang for a long time before someone finally answered the door.
Gu Qingpei opened the door. He wasn’t wearing his glasses and his hair was a mess, sticking to his face in random places. He looked several years younger than his usual appearance. He Gu was shocked to see Gu Qingpei in such a decadent state.
“Come on then, come in.” Gu Qingpei yawned again and gestured for He Gu to come inside. “My apologies for letting you see me in this state.”
“Chief Gu, are you not feeling well?”
Gu Qingpei chuckled bitterly as he said, “No. I’m fine, thank you.” He reached over and grabbed a few cans of beer, then handed one to He Gu.
He Gu accepted the proffered beer. “Have you eaten yet?” he asked.
“I’ll make something for us so we can eat and drink.”
Gu Qingpei slumped over on the sofa and offered a moody, one-worded answer, “Sure.”
Unable to help himself, He Gu glanced at Gu Qingpei a few more times. The Gu Qingpei before him was really shocking. He must’ve encountered something very troublesome indeed.
He Gu went into the kitchen and started to look around. The fridge was almost empty, and he barely managed to find a few ingredients. In the end, he decided to make noodles.
Taking the two bowls of piping hot noodles, He Gu walked to the dining table and saw that Gu Qingpei had washed his face, fixed his hair, and put on his glasses. Once again Gu Qingpei looked like his usual calm and collected self, but the heavy dark circles under his eyes still made him look rather worn out.
Gu Qingpei chuckled to himself, “You better not tell anyone else about the horrible state I’m in today.”
“Of course not.” He Gu placed the bowl of noodles in front of Gu Qingpei. “I’m guessing you haven’t eaten anything in a while.”
Gu Qingpei nodded. Then he picked up his chopsticks and started to eat, one giant mouthful after another.
He Gu held his chopsticks in one hand and popped open his beer bottle with the other. After taking a quick sip, he said, “Chief Gu, your condition right now is quite worrying.”
Gu Qingpei grabbed his own beer and clinked their bottles together. “Don’t worry. It’s just life. There are bound to be ups and downs. I’ll adapt to it eventually.”
“What exactly happened? Didn’t your boss really admire you, and weren’t you doing quite well at work?” asked He Gu anxiously.
Gu Qing stiffened. He put down his beer and suddenly started to laugh. “I slept with my boss’ son, and he even found out about it,” he admitted, then continued to laugh hysterically.
He Gu’s mouth fell open, his eyes wide like saucers as he spluttered, “Yuan, Yuan Yang?” He thought back to the tall, arrogant, and domineering eldest son of the Yuan family.
Gu Qingpei and Yuan Yang?!
Still laughing, Gu Qingpei nodded. “Completely inconceivable, right? To be honest, he’s nothing like the type I usually go for. The type I like is… well, just like Zhuang Jieyu, with a slim figure and a little white face. How did I… and him… It must be an ill-fated relationship.”
He Gu didn’t know what to say. Considering the state of his own life, he was in no position to judge. In fact, he wanted to give Gu Qingpei a thumbs up. He Gu had crossed paths with young master Yuan a few times and each time he felt he would be beaten up if he looked at the man for even a second longer than necessary. What should he say in this situation? What would he even praise Gu Qingpei for? For being bold and gutsy?
In all honesty, Gu Qingpei didn’t really care what He Gu had to say as he drank one mouthful after another. It was obvious that he was extremely upset inside.
Deep in thought, He Gu considered both their situations. They had both resigned, but who was in the more embarrassing position, Gu Qingpei or himself? In the end, He Gu concluded it must still be himself, since his situation was plastered across every news article and online platform out there. He Gu was silent for a moment before he asked, “So what are your plans now?”
Gu Qingpei shook his head blankly. “I don’t know yet. But He Gu, I feel really bad about your situation. It’s just… I never expected that I would not be able to work myself.”
“Don’t worry. Who would’ve imagined something like that would happen? To be honest, I haven’t made up my mind yet, and I want to take some time off and just relax a little.”
“Tomorrow I’m planning to go home and visit my family.” Gu Qingpei revealed a small smile, “I want to spend some time with my parents… It’s been ages since I’ve taken a long break anyways.”
“Chief Gu, don’t think too much. You’re such a talented individual. I’m sure no matter where you go, everyone will still want to work with you.”
“I hope so.” Gu Qingpei shook the empty beer can clutched in his hand. “But, if I can’t find a suitable job, I’ll probably have to start my own business. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to force me into action. He Gu, once I settle down, and if you’re still looking for somewhere to go, I would still love to work with you.”
He Gu nodded his head, “Sure. That’s settled, then.”