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wildfire CH 53

Author:Bu Wen San Jiu Not Asking If It's Three Or Nine Category:urban Update time:2023-01-01 02:56:11


Because of the previous trespasser, it was impossible for Tao Xiaodong to let Tang Suoyan open the door alone, lest it was some stranger that might shove their way into the house.

This time, however, it was Tong Ning outside the door, dressed to the nines, having just come from the wedding dinner.

Tao Xiaodong was in Tang Suoyan’s pyjamas.

They’d whiled away the whole afternoon making love; the chemistry and intimacy between the two people were visible with a sweeping glance across their bodies.

It could be instantly gleaned from their expressions to their conduct that they were partners.

Tong Ning had likely imbibed alcohol; his face and eyes were reddish.

His gaze flickered between Tang Suoyan and Tao Xiaodong behind him.

He leaned on the wall next to the door, head resting on the wall, watching the two of them.

This was once a place where he had stayed for many years.

It was all so familiar to him.

Looking over as he did now was a little like peering into a mirage of a past life.

The good and the bad, the hurts and the comforts.

That life was his, once upon a time.

Tao Xiaodong saw that and immediately went back in, leaving the doorway.

The dejection Tong Ning felt was visible from his eyes.

This was the first time Tao Xiaodong was reading such undisguised dejection on Tong Ning’s features.

It was uncomfortable to see.

Some part of it was his remorse speaking, naturally.

But still.

Nothing had changed and yet everything was different.

The past was exactly that—the past.

“Why didn’t you…” When Tong Ning opened his mouth, his voice was brittle.

He cleared his throat before finishing the question.

“Why didn’t you turn up today”

Tang Suoyan looked at Tao Xiaodong, sitting at the table, then turned his head back and said politely, “I was busy at the hospital, I couldn’t leave.”

Tong Ning, leaning there, laughed until his eyes drooped marginally, then said, “Even Professor Xu… was there.”

Tong Ning spoke again without waiting for Tang Suoyan’s response, “You didn’t want to see me.”

Tang Suoyan didn’t deny that, telling him simply, “You should leave.”

Tong Ning didn’t move.

He didn’t express interest in coming in nor did he seem inclined to leave.

He shut his eyes for several seconds.

His voice was coloured with the slight nasally tone that inebriation tended to bring out.

“You… just had sex, I expect.”

Even Tao Xiaodong jolted at his abrupt statement.

It was too blunt.

Tang Suoyan frowned at Tong Ning.

His voice was cold.

“Tong Ning.”

“You did.” Tong Ning was still smiling, eyes half-lidded.

“There will always be somebody willing to do what I wasn’t.”

There he leaned, looking over with the slight curl of a smile.

The tails of his eyes had tinged red, making him look piteous and heart-rending.

“Why must people engage in such acts Why would they want to…”

Tong Ning sucked in a breath, his voice turning even more nasally.

“Is it really that pleasurable Like animals… like dogs.”

He had truly had too much to drink; it was the only plausible reason why he would stand at his ex-boyfriend’s door and talk about this.

“You should be aware that it’s inappropriate to speak like this.” Tang Suoyan regarded him, expression indifferent.

“It makes me really miserable…” Tong Ning shut his eyes again and rubbed the spot above his heart.

“Really miserable.”

“I loathe it.

I fear it.

I’m afraid of you as well; when we do it, even the sight of you sickens me.”

Inside, Tao Xiaodong wrinkled his brow when hearing this.

“I’m disgusted when doing it, and when I’m not I worry about the next time.

I’m digging myself into a hole.

I can’t come to terms with it.” Tong Ning blinked.

When he shut his eyes again, tears slipped down.

“How wonderful a world without sex would be…”

Tang Suoyan’s head was lowered as he tapped on his phone.

This conversely made Tong Ning feel more comfortable watching him, the man whom he had been with soon after reaching his twenties.

They had experienced so much together.

No one was more aware than him how stellar this man was, hence Tong Ning hated himself.

“Every time you touch me… kiss me… it disgusts me.” Tong Ning rubbed his face with the back of his hands.

His voice was subdued as he mumbled, “If only there were only embraces… that would be wonderful.”



Tao Xiaodong’s voice abruptly cut in, stopping him from continuing.

Tao Xiaodong came over, expressionlessly sidestepping Tang Suoyan to walk to the front, blocking him.

Tong Ning opened his eyes and looked at him, quietly.

His eyes were bloodshot but calm.

“Reasonably speaking, I shouldn’t be speaking so harshly to you when you’re drunk.

Maybe after you sober up, you yourself would feel it inappropriate.”

Tao Xiaodong fetched him a bottle of water, twisted the cap open, and handed it over.

“But you’re going a little overboard with this.

I can no longer listen to it.” Tao Xiaodong watched him take a sip and went on, “I’ve never asked about the situation between the two of you.

I respect your past, and I respect you.

If you didn’t say this in front of me, if I don’t hear it, that’s fine.

But since you’re talking about him in that manner where I can hear, you’re disrespecting me.”

Tong Ning took slow sips of the water, staring unwaveringly at Tao Xiaodong.

“Don’t use words to hurt others; doesn’t it sting to speak this way yourself” Tao Xiaodong reached backwards to squeeze Tang Suoyan’s hand in his, then let go and continued, “You keep going on about how disgusted you are, I can’t take it.

Stop speaking like that.

I like it, I want it.

Just because you don’t doesn’t mean that it’s dirty.”

Tong Ning remained silent.

He smiled again, and, after a few seconds, slowly raised his hand, pointing at Tang Suoyan behind him.

He stated slowly, “The person you’re so protective over used to be mine.”

Tao Xiaodong returned the smile.

He looked over his shoulder; Tang Suoyan was looking back at him.

Their eyes met.

Tao Xiaodong turned back over and said, “It doesn’t matter who Tang Suoyan used to be with.

He’s mine now.”

Tong Ning took another sip of water.

A drop trickled from the corner of his lips, and he raised a hand to wipe it away.

“You came before me and I have got nothing on you; you guys are way out of my league.” Tao Xiaodong openly admitted, “I even felt guilty pursuing him.

I spent half a day cracking my head over the appropriateness of every word I say, because you’re too impressive.

With you as the yardstick, I don’t measure up.”

This time, Tong Ning’s smile was self-derisive.

He turned his head from side to side against the wall and huffed softly.

“I don’t know if you’re saying this now because you regret ending it or if you purely want to lash out at him.

Either way, it’s not right.

As I don’t let go, you’ll never be able to take away what I hold onto.

And don’t think about trying to hurt him further when he’s in my hands.”

Tao Xiaodong said his final sentence to him, “It’s hard for Yan ge to speak harshly to you, you’re both upstanding men, you have tact.

I don’t.

I’m notoriously protective of my stuff.

If you continue speaking like this in front of me, my words are going to get nasty, I fear you wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

Tong Ning listened to the end with utmost seriousness.

After that, there was a pregnant silence before he said, “I’m not trying to steal him; I can’t steal him away.”

He looked at Tao Xiaodong, holding up a wagging finger.

The action, influenced by alcohol, was sluggish.

“You’re not unable to measure up to me; you’re much more impressive than me.

I can’t even be decisive about my regret.

I don’t dare to do it to the face, I’m afraid it’ll look bad on me… and also afraid that he’ll really come back.

See how difficult I am.

You’ve probably never been that difficult, nor will you ever be.”

Tao Xiaodong said with a nod.

“It’s true, I have never.

I don’t have the luxury.

I have to earn everything myself; if I want anything, I have to fight with my life for it.

Nothing is ever served to me on a silver platter.”

Smiling, Tong Ning raised his hands and rubbed his face again, saying, “I didn’t mean to come here today.

My mind was hazy from drink.

I wasn’t thinking when I gave the address; it was when I got out that I remembered, then, thought to come and take a look while liquored up.

I only wanted… to see him.

To see you, as well.

You’re amazing, I can’t measure up to you.”

Wanting to, with a bit of Dutch courage, set down his pride and check out a pair of new sweethearts.

Tao Xiaodong said, “I’ll send you.”

Tong Ning finished the last sip of water in the bottle.

“Xiaodong, I’ve got a present for you.”

Tao Xiaodong looked at him and waited for him to speak.

Tong Ning’s line of sight traversed him to fix on Tang Suoyan behind, whose gaze never strayed from Tao Xiaodong.

Tong Ning smiled and made a sound, calling his attention.

Tang Suoyan looked over and then Tong Ning immediately came out with, “You’re not the first relationship I had.”

They were each other’s first love, a spark that lasted thirteen years—or so everyone believed.

Tong Ning tightened the cap on the now-empty bottle, clasping it in his hands.

He raised his voice to say to Tang Suoyan, “I’ve never… never… never liked you.

Maybe I did once, but I’m a difficult person; I was finding an excuse to beat myself up.

At that start, I was with you because I wanted to escape, and even the first time I had sex… wasn’t with you.

I was so scared of doing it because whenever I do, I know that you are you and he is he.”

Tang Suoyan’s phone rang; the driver-for-hire service he had engaged had arrived.

Tang Suoyan didn’t check his phone, listening to everything Tong Ning had to say.

“The first time I had sex was when I was eighteen.

It was winter and it was in a storeroom.

It was wrong.

I have been living under a shadow since, because it shouldn’t have, couldn’t have happened.” Tong Ning chuckled.

“It is not because of you.

So, tell me, those thirteen years of yours… how worthless they must have been.”

Tao Xiaodong looked back at Tang Suoyan.

Tang Suoyan’s line of sight fell squarely on Tong Ning.

His phone kept ringing, but he didn’t check it.

With that, Tong Ning stood upright.

The ends of his eyes had turned even redder from his rigorous rubbing earlier.

He straightened his coat and smoothed his sleeves.

The elevator doors opened and someone walked out.

He looked at the three of them, then asked, “Did anyone here call for a substitute driver”

Before they left, Tao Xiaodong requested the substitute driver to see Tong Ning up to the door.

Take a picture of the door after it shuts and send it over; he’ll give a hundred yuan tip if he did.

Tang Suoyan had already headed back in.

Tong Ning didn’t glance back, raising his arm and waving at Tao Xiaodong.

The oven was done.

Tang Suoyan took the chicken out and turned it over, then smeared more marinate and honey, putting it back in, readjusting the timer.

Tang Suoyan then took out the pan and prepared to sear a rack of short ribs.

His expression didn’t reveal any of his thoughts; he remained very calm.

Tao Xiaodong quietly sat at the dining table, watching Tang Suoyan cook in silence.

This one present from Tong Ning was unbeatable.

It didn’t matter that Tang Suoyan had found a new love.

No matter that he had already moved into the next stage of life.

He had wholly invested his heart in the preceding thirteen years, in the bloom of youth.

Tong Ning was the underclassman whom he had fallen in love at first sight with, and for years and years, Tang Suoyan had been beholden to that instant attraction.

Tao Xiaodong respected it for that reason, because it possessed an enchanting existence, epitomising the quintessential romance in a couple’s salad days.

Today, Tong Ning destroyed it so utterly that all those years of Tang Suoyan’s youth were written off as worthless.

He took the past feelings and present dignity of a prideful man and crushed it into dust.

While Tang Suoyan was leaning on the kitchen counter, waiting for the ribs to cook, Tao Xiaodong walked across and held him.

His arm wound across the shoulder to pat his back, the same way he had the first time he came over and Tong Ning visited.

Tang Suoyan also reached up to hold him, asking in soft tones, “What’s the matter”

“Nothing much, I just feel like hugging you,” said Tao Xiaodong.

Whilst holding him with his right hand, Tang Suoyan was still able to keep an eye on the ribs, flipping it with his left hand.

Tao Xiaodong didn’t release the embrace, not even when the short ribs had finished searing on both sides.

Tang Suoyan said, “The ribs are done.”

Tao Xiaodong shamelessly turned a deaf ear.

Tang Suoyan smiled helplessly, reaching out to turn off the stove.

And so they kept holding each other.

Tang Suoyan placed the cooking tongs down afterwards and hugged him with both hands, his face tucked into the crook of Tao Xiaodong’s shoulder, while Tao Xiaodong dipped down and pressed a kiss to the crown of his head.

They held each other until the chicken had baked, the soup had thickened, and the ribs had chilled.

When he finally let go, Tang Suoyan called “Xiaodong.”

“Un,” responded Tao Xiaodong.

Tang Suoyan said, “Sorry that you had to listen to that.”

Tao Xiaodong, getting bowls for the soup from the drawer, looked up at him.

“My heart is breaking to pieces, okay, watch your words.”

Tang Suoyan smiled faintly and rubbed his ear.

“You don’t need to feel bad.”

The short ribs had to be reheated.

They were slightly singed; Tang Suoyan clipped off the burnt bits before placing the rack in front of Tao Xiaodong.

The substitute driver sent a photo over, even calling to let them know that the gentleman made it home.

It was Tao Xiaodong who took the call on Tang Suoyan’s phone and also later transferred the driver a hundred yuan tip.

Meanwhile, Tang Suoyan had gloves on, methodically tearing down the chicken.

As he did, Tao Xiaodong stole bites from what was already torn out, smiling as he said, “It’s really delicious.”

“I can cook for you more often if you like it,” said Tang Suoyan.

Tao Xiaodong nodded and answered in affirmative, then, after a while, went “Yan ge.”

Tang Suoyan looked at him and asked him what was it.

Tao Xiaodong said, “Buy me flowers tomorrow; I really liked the bouquet last time.”


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