It was closing in on the year-end.
Tao Xiaodong had planned to issue the two assistants red packets; it was hard work working with him daily, having to maintain the same posture and basically looking down across the span of the day.
Given their glum moods today, Tao Xiaodong presented each of them a hefty red packet.
Both kids waved their hands in refusal until Tao Xiaodong forcibly stuffed it into their pockets. Xiao Tian took his out and placed it on the clip by the side.
He was embarrassed from having just cried in the morning, afraid that their Dong ge was trying to mollify them because of that.
He was a rather obstinate child.
Frustrated from having his spot stolen, Xiao Tian refused to go up, brooding downstairs the whole day.
As there were others around, Tao Xiaodong didn’t say overly much, getting them both to stay on the lower levels first, but instructed Xiao Tian to hold on after work today.
When the shop had mostly cleared out, Tao Xiaodong called him up and stuffed the red packet into his pocket again.
The child was still trying to duck away, but when Tao Xiaodong clicked his tongue with a frown, he was frightened stiff.
Tao Xiaodong didn’t go on about other stuff, didn’t advise him to take it or talk about the hard work he had put in during this period.
He simply threw him a look, mouthing silently, “Yours contains more money.
If you don’t take it, I’m passing it along to Xiao Qi.”
With that, the kid stopped struggling and stood there with his head hung.
Tao Xiaodong smiled and patted his arm, saying, “Keep up the good work.”
When Tang Suoyan called over, Xiao Tian was in the midst of bowing to Tao Xiaodong in thanks, pouting.
Seeing him pick up the phone, he took his red packet and quietly went off.
Tang Suoyan said that he had to do overtime tonight but he shouldn’t be too late.
In that case, Tao Xiaodong said, he’d just wait at home; drop a call when he was almost done.
He hadn’t returned home since celebrating his birthday.
Tao Huainan didn’t question it either, afraid that he’d return at the prompting.
During the days that his brother was home, Tao Huainan didn’t hear him make any calls to Dr.
Tang; it really worried the boy.
Instead, now that his brother wasn’t coming home, Tao Huainan was able to set his heart at ease.
When Tao Xiaodong opened the door, the two kids were having dinner and were taken aback by his return.
Tao Huainan asked, “Who is it”
Tao Xiaodong, “Who else can it be”
“Why are you back” Tao Huainan asked him, “Have you had dinner”
Chi Cheng got up to get him a bowl of rice.
He had planned to make some fried rice the next day, therefore had already prepared extra and didn’t have to especially cook another portion.
Tao Xiaodong went to wash his hands, then sat beside Tao Huainan.
“You seem reluctant to see me around.”
Tao Huainan didn’t try to deny that at all.
Tao Xiaodong asked him with a smile, “Don’t you miss me”
“How can I not” Tao Huainan rubbed the back of his hand.
“I miss my brother.”
Tao Huainan was used to acting coquettishly to get his way, though he had improved much compared to how he was as a child.
Tao Xiaodong petted his head, saying, “Next time you see Dr.
Tang, call him Ge.”
Tao Huainan blinked and then a beam slowly spread across his face.
“It’s official now”
Tao Xiaodong went “un” with a grin.
Tao Huainan cheered and lavished his brother with praise.
“You’re super duper awesome.”
It was impossible to respond to this praise with any amount of grace.
Tao Xiaodong picked up his chopsticks and dug in, dropping the topic.
Tang Suoyan originally said that he wouldn’t be too late, but there was a last-minute accident requiring his presence at the emergency department to do a complicated vitreoretinal surgery.
It was past nine when he actually clocked off work.
Tao Xiaodong fetched him from the hospital by car.
By the time they reached home, it was close to ten.
They each showered and readied for bed, then went to sleep.
As before, Tang Suoyan came in right after his shower.
Even though Tao Xiaodong had proposed having him return to his own room in the morning, his lips were tightly zipped right now, not uttering a mention of the whole affair.
Tang Suoyan spent a while reading, and his hand reached across again.
Tao Xiaodong caught it and stopped him, caging the hand in his own.
Then, he brought it to his lips and kissed the back of his hand, and as he placed it down, his thumb went on to graze the back of his hand.
He moved with fluidity and familiarity, as natural as could be.
In fact, it had only been two days since they’d become an official couple, swiftly clicking into place ever since.
It appeared as though they had already been together for a long time, missing that awkward adjustment period.
It had already been quite some time; they’d even been cohabiting for a month now, and the distance between them had closed ages ago.
They had spent long enough laying the groundwork, thus once cementing the relationship they were able to get right into it.
Tang Suoyan shifted his line of sight from the book and glanced at him.
Tao Xiaodong shot him a smile.
A night such as this was really comfortable.
There was no need to engage in anything more intimate, nor did they have to exchange words of love.
Just reclining in a bed, each doing their own thing, the occasional glances to the side when flipping a page; even that felt comfortable.
Tang Suoyan set the book down and said, “I don’t feel like reading anymore.”
Smiling, Tao Xiaodong continued to use his phone, releasing his hand first.
“I still have two more messages to send.
Just a bit, then I’ll be right with you.”
Maybe it was a skill he’d developed as a brother, knowing how to coax others.
His tone of voice was slightly indulgent, it was soft and droopy.
Speedily conveying business matters to Da Huang, he placed his phone on the nightstand, then rolled over to Tang Suoyan’s side, threw an arm over him, and went, “This is cosy.”
All of a sudden, Tang Suoyan questioned, “Why didn’t you reply to my message in the day”
“What message” Tao Xiaodong thought that he had missed one.
Tang Suoyan said, “At noon.”
Catching his drift, Tao Xiaodong burst out laughing and hurriedly said, “Yours, I’m all yours.”
Tang Suoyan took the remote and turned off the lights, also lying down.
In the darkness, even the swishing of moving fabric was peaceful.
Such is life.
One searches for peace in the passing days.
Even when work got so gruelling that it ate into mealtimes and bathroom breaks, so frenetic that it made the heart restless—that belonged to the workplace.
Home is calming.
Home is light banter and laughter and having someone to patiently coax you awake in the mornings.
A peaceful life allowed one to let loose and feel young.
Translated on ninetysevenkoi.wordpress
– ❀ –
Please do not repost or retranslate.
The show that Da Huang participated in had broadcasted two episodes.
The viewership rating wasn’t high, but many from the community did catch it.
Since there were those who did, there was inevitably discussion, and there were many naysayers.
The discourse was intense. Da Huang had an affable personality; he was all smiles and he was personable.
Hardly anyone attacked him in the comments.
However, whenever he got screen time, there would always be someone mentioning Tao Xiaodong in the live chat.
The same went for the rest of the programme.
To tell the truth, that was simply the nature of most netizens.
There was once when critique to one of the contestants was met with disdain.
The contestant said, “You’re not qualified to criticise me.
Can you pull off this style Can you understand what you’re seeing”
Such a talkworthy moment would naturally make the cut.
The emcee was also the director of the show; he deliberately baited, querying, “Then who do you believe is qualified to critique you”
The first name out the youngster’s mouth was Tao Xiaodong.
When Tao Xiaodong was mentioned, the lens panned to Da Huang, who smiled and leaned back into his seat.
The director said, “He and Huang laoshi are the same.”
The contestant scoffed and cast Huang Yida a look, not passing comment.
Everyone knew that Da Huang was merely there to make up numbers.
However, the status was there, he couldn’t dispute that.
He pointed at a three-dimensional mechanical spider tattoo behind his ear, seeking out the lens for a close-up shot, then threw down the gauntlet, “Come back and critique me when you reach this level of skill.”
That tattoo was a piece Tao Xiaodong had inked a few years back.
This youngster had yet to enter the industry at that point; he was still studying in art school.
The director continued to bait, “Why not ask Huang laoshi if Tao laoshi can come down”
Sitting over there, Da Huang said with a grin, “Xiaodong can’t make it.
If he did, wouldn’t that be his screen debut He’s too good-looking.
I’m afraid that with him at our helm, our shop will end up debuting as a boy band.”
Everyone chuckled at his joke and, just as so, the topic was closed.
It was a piece of cake for Da Huang to partake in a show like this.
When the filming for each episode was completed, the company account books received a fat cheque, and Da Huang even remarked, “What easy money.”
This show made Dyer and the younger artists go green with envy.
Has Dong ge run through the finances again on his recent trips out, they questioned, that Yida shu has to resort to selling tricks for money
Huan Ge was overwhelmed with work during this period.
Many viewers searched up the parlour’s social media, which featured numerous photos of tattoos that Tao Xiaodong had done as well as himself hard at work.
The female viewers commented beneath: No wonder Huang laoshi doesn’t dare to let him go up.
He’d be an instant star.
Tao Xiaodong, the person in question, knew nothing of this.
He didn’t even know that he had been mentioned on the show; he was too busy being ridiculously sappy.
It affected his concentration at work and outside of work, all he could think about was the handsome doctor he had back home.
Said handsome doctor still had one last weekend before having to prepare for the uphill battle that was the Spring Festival.
Despite that, he only had half the weekend free.
He had to pull an extra full-day shift on Saturday and drop in the hospital on Sunday morning.
It was only after he returned from that did his one-day respite really begin.
Tao Xiaodong didn’t leave the apartment at all.
He didn’t go anywhere after waking up in the morning, and when Tang Suoyan returned, he was midway searching through the freezer to see what he could make for their lunch.
The hand splint had already been removed.
His hand was still slightly swollen, but at least it was easier to move around without it.
The orthopaedist also advised him to practise doing regular activities.
Hearing the door, Tao Xiaodong raised his voice, “Welcome back, Yan ge.”
Tang Suoyan went to wash his hands and Tao Xiaodong stood at the bathroom doorway watching him.
Tang Suoyan wiped his hands, then wound his slightly damp hands around the other man, going under the fabric to touch the skin directly, squeezing his waist.
Still, Tao Xiaodong didn’t speak or express an opinion, simply smiling and letting himself be pushed towards the bedroom.
They had not gotten any action since that day; one worried that the doctor was too exhausted from work, while the other wanting him to rest for a few more days.
Now, their hearts were in accord and words were unnecessary.
They got down to it.
Didn’t Tao Xiaodong previously say men did this to derive their pleasures Let desire come how it may.
And so, they went wild.
He wasn’t squeamish in the least, letting the other take the lead in bed.
It wasn’t enough to wring him until every drop of strength was sapped out of him—at the end, he couldn’t even muster the energy to lift a finger.
Every muscle and bone in his body ached and, were he on his feet, he would be trembling uncontrollably.
That, then, was bliss.
As they wound down, neither man moved.
Tang Suoyan buried his face into Tao Xiaodong’s chest, breathing ragged as they recovered.
Tang Suoyan kissed his sternum, and Tao Xiaodong reached up to scritch his hair in return, stroking the scalp lightly with the little strength left in his fingers.
Tao Xiaodong had tipped spectacularly over the edge.
He thought back to just now, and, had he not cared for spoiling the mood, he actually would have liked to ask—Can Dr.
Tong handle you being like this
It was just a secretive thought.
Hell would freeze over before he mentioned another name at such a pleasant moment.
Who cared if another could handle it In any case, he could, and he’d love every minute of it.
“What are you thinking about” Tang Suoyan asked.
Tao Xiaodong said, “Your libido.”
The soft affection they shared in the afterglow lulled Tao Xiaodong slightly.
Actually, Tang Suoyan was supposed to attend a wedding banquet today; the daughter of his former principal was getting married.
The girl was two years his junior and currently working at Er Hospital.
They were mutually acquainted as well.
It was guaranteed to be a lively day.
Any exceptional alumni who used to know the principal had to attend.
The dinner was filled with contemporaries from the same industry.
Tang Suoyan had offered advance congratulations on WeChat, also getting Chen Lin to pass along a red packet in his place.
After slathering marinate and honey, Tang Suoyan popped the whole chicken into the oven.
The phone rang; it was Chen Lin, informing him that everyone was asking after him and that he told them that he was stuck in the operating room.
Tang Suoyan asked, “It just ended”
“I couldn’t extricate myself, we all stayed on for dinner.” Chen Lin got into the car.
“Just letting you know.
Okay, that’s all, I’m going to drive now.”
Tao Xiaodong, dressed in pyjamas after coming out of the shower, came over to the dining table to have some fruits.
“Oh, by the way,” Chen Lin continued.
Tang Suoyan had just removed the oven mitts and was going over to take a square cushion from the couch, staying on the line.
“Tong Ning attended as well.
Quite a number from their hospital went; they’re colleagues, after all.”
Tang Suoyan passed the cushion to Tao Xiaodong, who took it with a beatific smile.
In the past, he’d never imagined that he would one day have need of such a thing.
It was inconceivable that he, a real smasher, was actually perching his arse on a cushion now.
“He drank a fair amount.
I asked him if he needed a lift back but he said that he will call for a taxi,” said Chen Lin.
Tang Suoyan went “mn” and didn’t ask more.
“What soup would you like to have” Tang Suoyan asked Tao Xiaodong.
“I’m not picky.” Tao Xiaodong sat cross-legged and quickly demolished the plate of fruits.
Tao Xiaodong replied with an okay.
“I can help you, actually,” Tao Xiaodong said, smiling, “but I’m not that great at cooking.”
“It’s okay, I got it.” Tang Suoyan went to get something from the fridge, casually cupping the side of Tao Xiaodong’s jaw as he went by.
“Xiao Nan never liked the food I made.
Later on, Ku ge picked up cooking.
He was even rather good at it,” said Tao Xiaodong.
Tang Suoyan chatted with him while cooking.
He liked hearing Tao Xiaodong talk about tattoos.
It was a field he was unfamiliar with, and Tao Xiaodong made it sound interesting.
When the fruits were gone, Tao Xiaodong got up to wash the plate.
His left hand was still on the mend, so Tang Suoyan said, “Leave it to me.”
The doorbell made Tao Xiaodong’s hand slip.
Tang Suoyan caught the plate in his hand, and Tao Xiaodong muttered, “That shocked me.”
Tang Suoyan wiped his hands.
“If it breaks, you’re paying for it.”
He turned around to open the door.
Tao Xiaodong followed along as well, quipping, “No way, I’m pinching every penny to my grave.”