Drunk In Love (Years of Intoxication) - Chap 54
“He Gu!” Song Juhan threw Feng Zheng to the floor, then lunged forward and grabbed He Gu’s arm. “Why are you still seeing him?!” he asked in a raised voice.
He Gu turned his head, enunciating each word as he gritted out, “Because I want to.”
Song Juhan stiffened, before revealing a mocking smile, “I get it, you’re doing this on purpose, right? With that driver, and now with Feng Zheng, you’re doing this on purpose to piss me off. To get revenge on me!”
Feng Zheng stood up from the floor and said viciously, “Stop assuming everything’s about you.” Before lunging forward again.
In the blink of an eye, Song Juhan pushed He Gu into the corridor, then quickly walked in himself and kicked the security door shut behind him. The old-fashioned iron gate made a squeaky and ear-piercing noise as it slammed shut, echoing in the empty corridor.
Feng Zheng was left locked outside.
Song Juhan gave the security gate another kick before sticking his middle finger at Feng Zheng. “You foolish little white face. Laozi doesn’t have time to deal with you today, otherwise I would have beaten you to a pulp.”
“Song Juhan, open the fucking door! We haven’t finished yet and you’re already trying to run? You coward!” Feng Zheng kicked at the door ruthlessly.
Song Juhan turned around and found He Gu glaring at him with an ice cold stare as he gritted out, “Get lost, or I’m calling the police.”
“Go ahead,” taunted Song Juhan maliciously.
He Gu wanted to push Song Juhan’s hand away, but his grip was as strong as an iron claw. No matter what he did, he couldn’t pull his hand back. Squinting his eyes at the other man, He Gu said, “Song Juhan, consider this as me begging you, can’t you just stop harassing me?”
Song Juhan glared at He Gu, as his chest heaved heavily and his fingers tightened their grip.
He Gu frowned in pain, but didn’t make a sound.
In a small voice, Song Juhan asked, “Do you hate me?”
Just as He Gu was about to say something, Feng Zheng kicked the door again. Then proceeded to press all the buttons on the intercoms for every apartment in the building. “Song Juhan, you better fucking open the door! Open it now!” screamed Feng Zheng.
“Go die.” Song Juhan grabbed He Gu and pulled him upstairs.
“Song Juhan!” Feng Zheng bounced in anger.
He Gu was forced by Song Juhan to take out his keys and open the door, before he was firmly pushed into his own apartment.
Rubbing his reddened wrists, He Gu looked at the other man indifferently.
Song Juhan raked his fingers through his hair as he paced the room irritably. Eventually he turned, pointed at He Gu and said, “You must’ve been bewitched by them. You weren’t like this before. It’s all their fault, they’re all trying to separate us!”
“It has nothing to do with them!” snapped He Gu frustratedly. “Why don’t you understand? I’m not mad at you, nor am I trying to retaliate against you, I just want to go down a different path now and have nothing to do with you anymore!”
Every word out of He Gu’s mouth was like a thick nail hammering heavily into Song Juhan’s heart, crushing him to pieces. He still couldn’t believe that He Gu really wanted to break up. He thought He Gu was simply angry and disappointed with him, and the whole reason he was causing a scene was just to teach him a lesson, to save face. As long as he held out, endured, and coaxed him, He Gu would eventually return to his side.
How could he believe that the same man who had treated him like god for the past seven years would now throw him away without mercy? How could he sever all relations with him like this? He Gu couldn’t possibly bear to do that…
He couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t. He simply couldn’t!
He Gu loved him, he’d said so himself. He loved him to the point that he stuck around no matter how badly he was being treated. To the point that he was willing to risk committing a crime for him. That kind of love can’t possibly disappear just like that? It can’t possibly be thrown away just like that?!
Song Juhan shook his head in disbelief and said stubbornly, “Impossible. He Gu, didn’t you say you would always love me? I know you’re angry with me right now, I know I treated you horribly, and that I’ve always let you down. I’m sorry I always… always hurt you. But I’m changing now, you’ve been with me for all these years, when have you ever seen me lower my head to anyone before? I’ve never even done that for my mom or dad. Can’t you see how much I care about you? Do you mean to tell me that everything I’ve done during this period is completely meaningless to you?”
He Gu shook his head. “All you’ve done is force me. You beat up my friend, then kidnapped me to an island for two weeks, and even took away all my identification documents. Everything you’ve done so far is just for yourself – to make yourself happy. Do you want me to praise you for that?”
“That’s because I had no other choice. Who told you to leave without a word. Who told you to… to mess around with that driver.” Song Juhan clenched his fist. “You even chatted and laughed around with Feng Zheng. Do you know how long it’s been since you last smiled at me? How dare you smile at him! How dare you?!”
“Song Juhan, will you ever learn to respect others?”
“I… I will respect you, as long as you promise not to run off randomly again. Do you have any idea how horrible I felt when I couldn’t find you?” Song Juhan stared straight at He Gu, his tone on the verge of pleading as he continued, “He Gu, give me a chance, won’t you? Everything you don’t like about me, I will change it. I’m working hard to change for the better, so don’t give up on me. I… I like you. I feel like I’ve gone mad lately. Apart from liking you, I can’t think of any other reason why I’ve become like this.”
He Gu closed his eyes and said wearily, “Everything I needed to say to you, I’ve already said it. If you really respect me, please leave now.”
“He Gu.” The expression on Song Juhan’s face looked as if he was about to cry, “How can you be so fucking cruel?! What more do you want from me?!”
There wasn’t a trace of emotion in He Gu’s voice as he simply stated, “I want you to leave.” At that moment, Song Juhan’s sad expression and aggrieved voice felt like a hand tightening around his throat, making it difficult for He Gu to breathe.
He Gu knew he was getting soft again.
Since Song Juhan was like the flesh on his heart, it was obvious it would hurt if he tried to cut him out. But even that pain wasn’t enough to make He Gu change his mind. After all, he was willing to endure all that shame and suffering just to stay by Song Juhan’s side for seven long years. He Gu was someone who neither shrinks away in the face of pain, or to over indulge in the throws of joy.
Yet ultimately, the agony Song Juhan gave him was simply too severe. In the end, he couldn’t hold on any longer and had to let go.
Song Juhan’s breathing shook as he stared straight at He Gu. The look of grief and anger in his eyes held a hint of a deep brewing madness. He suddenly recalled the image of He Gu sitting in the car with Feng Zheng, and happily chatting away. In that moment, he wanted nothing more than to tear Feng Zheng to shreds.
He had never experienced such a strong sense of powerlessness. He felt even if he had carved his own heart out and offered it to He Gu on a silver platter, the man would still dismiss him without a care in the world.
Could it be that He Gu really didn’t want to return to his side anymore? Could He Gu really not want him anymore? He couldn’t accept it. He couldn’t accept it at all.
He Gu was frightened by the fierce look in Song Juhan’s eyes as he took a step back precautiously. He wasn’t sure what Song Juhan would do in another fit of rage.
“Tomorrow, I’ll get Xiao Song to return your identification documents to you,” said Song Juhan solemnly. “I won’t break into your house anymore, and I won’t… interfere with who you make friends with. But remember this, I won’t forgive anyone who shows any ulterior intentions towards you.”
He Gu turned his head away.
Song Juhan rubbed his face, and said in a voice filled with defeat and fatigue, “You should go take a rest.” Then quickly turned and left; just as the door was about to shut behind him, he paused for a second and whispered, “He Gu, did you really like me at all?”
A shiver ran down He Gu’s spine as his whole body trembled lightly.
Even after Song Juhan left, He Gu stood on the same spot for a good few minutes. Eventually, he reached out to the nearby wall for support as he broke into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. He laughed for ages, to the point that his whole body shook as the humourless sounds burst from somewhere deep within him.
“Did you really like me at all?”
He hit him straight where it hurts most.
He Gu wasn’t sure how Song Juhan and Feng Zheng sorted out their issues that night; all he knew was that he had a very peaceful night without anyone bothering him again.
It wasn’t until the next day that Feng Zheng called him. But there were too many questions that he couldn’t seem to voice out loud, so in the end, he only asked if He Gu was okay.
He Gu played down the situation and gave him a brief answer.
To be honest, He Gu didn’t have that much patience for Feng Zheng, at best it could be considered nostalgia, but after the mess from last night, he felt it would be too troublesome for them to stay in contact any longer than necessary.
He Gu knew why he had initially agreed to meet up with Feng Zheng—he was feeling too lonely.
Gu Qingpei was too busy sorting out his own problems, Zhuang Jieyu was abroad filming his new movie, and his family were far away in another city. Without the essential socialising from work, he realised he was completely and utterly alone. He didn’t even have a single person to talk to, so he spent every day in dull, suffocating silence.
Back when he was still working, he never realised that he was actually afraid of being alone. It turned out loneliness was such a scary and terrible nightmare.
At one point, he even considered getting a pet. But since his life was so unstable at the moment, he didn’t want to carry responsibility for another life as well.
He’d lost all hope, he’d lost his job, and he’d lost his social life. He Gu felt like he’d been abandoned by the whole world.
After such a long time of silently contemplating his choices, he really should come to a decision and do something about his life. Otherwise he would eventually become a useless person. He thought about it over and over again, and was still reluctant to uproot his life and go to a strange and unfamiliar country. Next time he had a meal with Gu Qingpei, he would have to thank him in person but kindly decline his generous invitation.
He decided he would go to Shanghai after a few days to look for his mother. It was high time for him to make a decision regarding his future.
For several days, Song Juhan didn’t come looking for He Gu in person. But since He Gu blacklisted his number, Song Juhan started to use Xiao Song’s number to text him instead. He Gu felt sorry to blacklist Xiao Song as well, so he simply blocked his number.
Feng Zheng only came looking for He Gu once, but He Gu said he wanted to stay at home and rest, so he refused his invitation once again.
When a person stays in an empty house for too long, they would naturally have a strong urge to hear some noise, even if it was just the sound of someone breathing. That’s why He Gu gave Gu Qingpei a call to chat aimlessly, then called Chen Shan to ask about what was going on lately. Finally, he even called Zhuang Jieyu from overseas to ask how the filming was going.
Zhuang Jieyu was so touched by his call that he said he would come looking for him the moment he was back.
Just like that a few days passed by, but He Gu felt it wasn’t right to keep disturbing others, so he decided to go to Shanghai. Before he even got the chance to pick up his phone to call his mother, his mother called him first and said she was bringing Susu over to Beijing that night. From her voice over the phone, He Gu could tell his mother sounded very anxious.
He Gu was obviously very worried as he asked, “Mom, did something happen?”
Sun Qing let out a long sigh, then said, “Susu found out about my illness. I don’t know when she started to suspect something, but she secretly looked at my health records.”
“So… is Susu okay?”
“She cried for the whole day. I was afraid Lao Li would find out something’s wrong. Luckily she just finished her exams, so I thought I would bring her over to see you instead.”
He Gu froze. “Wait. You didn’t tell Lao Li about your illness?”
“… I didn’t.”
He Gu frowned. “Something as important as this, why didn’t you tell him?”
“It’s very complicated. I’ll explain everything when I see you.”
After they hung up, He Gu felt a headache start to pulse at his temples. His mother was a very clever woman, apart from not handling her marriages well, she was very capable in all other aspects. The only reason why she would decide to hide her illness from her closest family would most likely be related to inheritance issues.
To be honest, He Gu really wanted to persuade his mother not to take money so seriously. The best thing for Susu’s future definitely wasn’t money, but to have her mother by her side. If only Sun Qing would let go of it, she could also relax and focus on her treatment. But He Gu knew it was useless to even try to persuade her since his stubbornness was inherited from his mother in the first place.
He Gu got up, tidied out the master bedroom, and moved his things into the guest room. He then went to the supermarket to stock up on daily necessities and groceries before he headed to the airport to pick them up.
The moment Susu saw him, she ran straight into his arms and wept quietly. Her eyes were clearly red and swollen as if she’d been crying for a while already.
He Gu rubbed her head and said in a quiet voice, “You’re a big girl now so you must be strong. Stop crying.”
Susu shook her head as she continued to hug his waist tightly.
Looking at He Gu, Sun Qing frowned and let out a helpless sigh.
“Come on, let’s go home.” He Gu paused and added, “I’ve moved back to the old house.”
Sun Qing’s expression changed slightly, but in the end she said calmly as ever, “I haven’t been back in over a decade.”
With all three of them in the car, He Gu drove them all home.
Susu had been spoiled since young. The moment she entered the house, she frowned and whispered, “It’s so small.”
“It is a bit small, but it’s also very clean, safe and has everything a home needs. The most important thing is that this is where your mother raised your gege, so don’t judge it based on its size.” He Gu held her hand, and added, “Now let me show you the room you’ll be sharing with your mom, okay?”
“Okay.” Children really were easy to please.
He Gu took Susu into the bedroom he had quickly prepared for them. That afternoon, He Gu bought a lot of items he thought little girls would like, and indeed Susu was very happy. She ran into the bedroom, grabbed a teddy bear and started to play around with it.
Lightly closing the door, He Gu returned to the living room and saw Sun Qing looking around with red rimmed eyes. “You’ve completely renovated it.”
“En. A lot of the things from back then had gotten old and tatty, so I had to change them.”
Sun Qing nodded as she said quietly, “This was the apartment your father’s work assigned to us after we got married. At that time, he had a high ranking teaching position, so the apartment he was assigned was as big as the ones the old professors got. I remember many people were quite envious of us.”
The look in He Gu’s eyes darkened.
“My son, I’ve already lived to this age and have probably experienced everything in life. Sometimes I think life can really be quite mysterious.” Sun Qing picked up the old family portrait on the TV cabinet and gently ran her trembling fingers over the figures in the photo. “When I was young, I listened to my parents’ arrangement and married your father. But after getting married, I thought he was weak and inflexible; so I constantly lived with resentment. After the cultural reform opened up my eyes, I was suddenly exposed to a brilliant new world out there, and I couldn’t sit still any longer. When your father passed away, I was consumed with so much sadness, but at the same time I felt so relieved. So I focused my energy on pursuing the life I wanted, and the relationship I wanted. Initially, I thought I had everything I ever wanted, but in the end, I realised that everything we had together couldn’t even compare to one word – ‘profit’. The person I once admired and loved for better or for worse, had turned into someone repulsive. Now, I can’t help missing your father’s kindness and gentleness…”
He Gu listened quietly, overwhelmed with emotion.
Sun Qing sniffed, “That’s how humans are, we always chase after what we think we want. When we don’t get it, we feel heartbroken. But when we do get it, we’re still not satisfied. In the end, we don’t actually know what we really want. If we can really understand what we want in life, then we can say we truly haven’t lived in vain. But not only have I spent my life living in vain, I’ve also failed my basic responsibility as a mother. I have such a great son like you, and yet I abandoned you. This illness of mine must be karma punishing me.”
“Mom, we’ve already been through this. Stop talking like that,” said He Gu seriously.
Sun Qing wiped the tear away from the corner of her eyes. “Don’t worry, I’m in a better place now. After the last few decades, I’ve grown a lot and the biggest change for me is that I’m no longer as selfish as I was before. I no longer think about myself first, but rather I’m thinking about you and Susu, and what I can leave you both when I pass. The reason why I didn’t tell the Li family was because I knew the moment they found out about my illness, they would try to steal my shares from the company whilst I was hospitalised. My relationship with them is worse than you can imagine; if it wasn’t for Susu, I would have fallen out with them ages ago. But now that Susu already knows, I plan to come to Beijing for chemotherapy on the pretext of accompanying her on her summer exchange program. I’ve already contacted the specialist here, and they’ve said two months is more than enough time.”
He Gu held onto her thin and weak shoulder as he said, “Mom, I’ll always be here for you.”
That evening, Susu insisted she wanted to sleep in He Gu’s room with him. Although he felt a little awkward at first, he still relented in the end.
The two siblings talked a lot that night, and He Gu was surprised to find out that Susu was way more mature and understanding than he’d initially thought. She knew many of the things Sun Qing thought she didn’t know about, such as the hostile state of her parent’s relationship. Children were really sensitive beings; even if they couldn’t see or understand things clearly, they could still sense them.
He Gu explained Sun Qing’s illness to her, and told her that as long as the situation was under control, their mother could live for several more decades at least. Eventually Susu’s mood improved.
The next day, He Gu brought Sun Qing to the hospital. Susu insisted she wanted to go as well, but was ultimately left at home.
Sun Qing managed to find the best specialist for breast cancer in China, as the three of them sat down to discuss her current condition and the best treatment plan going forward. He Gu’s calm exterior and quiet personality, coupled with his low and steady voice gave off a very reassuring temperament. He gave off a kind of purely masculine dependency and stableness that many only felt from their own fathers. It was a quiet sense of security that made Sun Qing feel very comfortable being around him.
After they left the hospital, He Gu went to pick up Susu so the three of them could go for a meal together. The atmosphere was very pleasant and for a while, they all forgot about Sun Qing’s condition as they talked and laughed away over dinner.
That night as they sat idly in the living room with Sun Qing wiping down the coffee table in her pyjamas and Susu sprawled out on the sofa reading her manhua, He Gu suddenly felt a warm feeling stir in his heart.
It really was a wonderful feeling to have someone by his side.
He Gu spent some time reading manhuas with Susu when his phone started to ring.
He reached over, grabbed his phone and saw that it was an anonymous number. Thinking it was Song Juhan again, he quickly declined the call.
After a moment, his phone rang again. He Gu hung up once again. Just as he was about to block the number, a message popped up: Gu-ge, it’s me, Heyi.
He Gu’s hand trembled as he hurriedly called back.
The call connected almost instantly as Zhou Heyi’s gentle voice came through the phone, “Gu-ge, why did you decline my calls?”
He Gu froze, “You’re, you’re in China?”
“Yes.” Zhou Heyi chuckled awkwardly, then said, “I came to see you.”