The glass vase on the bedside table smelled of roses for the first time.
In the already sinking night, the roses in full bloom suddenly trembled. The crimson petals kissed the transparent bottle and fell helplessly to the side of the bed, making the quiet and dim room look warm.
Chi Xueyan leaned against the bedroom door and looked in. He couldn’t help thinking that the most suitable flower to put in this vase might be this bouquet of red roses.
If it were replaced by other flowers or colors, it would seem that something was missing.
The day he went to the mall alone was his first time buying a vase. He quickly picked this one because he knew someone who was completely transparent to him.
The day he went to the florist alone was also his first time buying roses. He quickly chose this bouquet because the clerk said that half-bloomed roses were more suitable for flower arrangements at home and could be kept longer.
Two days passed, the flowers were in full bloom and the whole bedroom was filled with a faint fragrance.
It was a fresher and stronger aroma than the dried floral sachet.
There was a burst of footsteps from the dressing room and a familiar voice was heard. “Is this okay?”
Chi Xueyan looked over. He Qiao was standing at the door of the dressing room, wearing a simple and refreshing light-colored coat. It wasn’t like his usual dark style but he was still good-looking.
He couldn’t fault anything and nodded. “Let’s go.”
He Qiao was wearing his coat again, which Chi Xueyan had lent of his own initiative, just like on Christmas Eve.
They were going to Wang Shaojing’s bar tonight so it was better to dress casually.
In fact, He Qiao could buy a few similar pieces of clothing for himself.
But he never bought it and Chi Xueyan didn’t ask.
They both had their distinct style of dressing and they also had their other half who had different styles.
Perhaps one day in the future when there was a temporary need, he would take He Qiao’s coat to wear. This was more convenient.
This was a big advantage of same-sex couples. Clothes could be mixed and worn.
Chi Xueyan thought of this sentence and the word ‘couple’ in it was no longer a joke.
The driver was already waiting downstairs. He greeted the two of them with a smile and stood aside as he watched the boss carefully open the car door for his lover, carefully blocking the roof.
It has been like this since the first time he went to pick up his lover with his boss and it had never changed.
Once both of them got into the car, the driver got into the driver’s seat and the black luxury car smoothly drove forward.
Along the way, Chi Xueyan’s phone in his pocket vibrated from time to time. It was a notification tone.
He was looking at the night scene out the window, too lazy to take out his phone. He Qiao didn’t ask the reason.
It was because after a long time, he knew that the only one who could harass Chi Xueyan like this without being blocked was Su Yu.
They would meet soon but Lawyer Su, who talked a lot, still sent a lot of messages.
Su Yu had urged Chi Xueyan several times, telling the two of them to come to the bar to watch the show because he would come with his girlfriend. As his friend for many years, Chi Xueyan hadn’t met his girlfriend in person yet.
It was an unabashed show of love.
Chi Xueyan kept procrastinating and didn’t agree. He decided to leave the answer to time, because it meant that he and He Qiao would have to show their intimacy in public.
Now time had given him the answer.
The scenery in the car window kept flying past and the city lights at night created a bustling scene.
There were colleges not far from the bar and groups of college students often came and went on these streets, frequenting nearby stores.
The winter vacation was about to begin and there were more and more young people on the street. They were meeting for the last time before returning home for the holiday.
At night, the streets were crowded with people and cars. The cars were moving slowly and with difficulty. Therefore, Chi Xueyan and He Qiao got out of the car next to the main road and walked toward the small street where the bar was located.
The two of them chatted casually. As they walked into the vast crowd together, they seemed to pass by a figure they had seen before.
Chi Xueyan vaguely felt it was a bit familiar.
But he didn’t look back.
Not once did he look back.
The distant stories were like old dreams. At this moment, the fog dissipated among the surging people.
They pushed open the door and the bar rarely turned on the lights very brightly. There wasn’t the vagueness of the past and the sound of lively conversation was everywhere.
The band that would perform tonight had arrived and was adjusting their equipment on the stage.
The busy Wang Shaojing was near the door. He said hello to Chi Xueyan but was quickly dragged away again.
The bar space was small but full of customers.
Chi Xueyan and He Qiao heard an excited voice at the same time.
“Old Chi—here, here!”
Su Yu stood next to the golden seat specially reserved for them by Wang Shaojing and waved to the two of them.
After being called by him, Chi Xueyan’s fists clenched as he walked in that direction. “I’m going to beat him up someday.”
The surroundings were very noisy. Only He Qiao, next to him, could hear these words.
He hadn’t really seen Chi Xueyan beating someone up before. He had only seen him calm and relaxed after beating someone up.
It seemed that he couldn’t imagine what type of expression Chi Xueyan would have at that time.
But at this moment, He Qiao saw him smiling.
In the overcrowded bar, in front of close friends, He Qiao reached out and gently grabbed his shoulders, walking with him to the reserved seat.
It was necessary but not too distant intimacy.
Chi Xueyan didn’t seem to notice it and kept looking ahead. He was perhaps thinking of an opportunity to violently deal with Su Yu in a reasonable and legal way.
Under the light, a smile flickered in his eyes and his eyelashes moved slightly.
Since the wedding, this was the first time that Chi Xueyan had gathered with friends with He Qiao as his lover.
He finally met Su Yu’s girlfriend, who was also a lawyer.
To his surprise, the other person was a cold temperament type and looked difficult to approach.
Chi Xueyan thought of the long list of cute things that Su Yu often posted in the middle of the night and was unable to connect cuteness with the other person.
Maybe it was because he was naturally bent.
The brain circuits of a straight man were too different.
There was a brief exchange of pleasantries. Then Chi Xueyan took advantage of the gap when Su Yu pulled his girlfriend to the bar to get alcohol to casually ask He Qiao, “Do you think she is cute?”
He Qiao was stunned and confirmed it. “Who?”
“Su Yu’s girlfriend.”
As a result, some time passed but Chi Xueyan didn’t get an answer.
He glanced at the person beside him with some surprise.
He Qiao was also looking at him.
Hesitation was clearly written in his always calm eyes.
It seemed impolite to give a negative answer to this question but there was also something wrong with giving a positive answer.
Thus, he could only give a third answer which was silence.
Chi Xueyan couldn’t help laughing.
He suddenly knew why Su Yu thought that his obviously cold other half was cute.
It was because he now experienced a similar feeling.
Soon, the band on the stage officially started performing. It pushed the night into a greater restlessness.
The style of this band was very relaxed and calm. Some people danced along in the audience, some sat quietly and listened and some people chatted in the lively atmosphere.
The girl next to Su Yu didn’t get up but her expression was focused. She obviously liked the band on stage and came here to watch the performance.
Su Yu didn’t care. He just wanted to find an opportunity to get together with his friends.
The surrounding area was noisy and there were multiple conversations, but the two didn’t interfere with each other.
Chi Xueyan was accustomed to multitasking and talked to Su Yu while listening to the music.
It was from the cocktail at hand to Boss Wang’s recent weight gain and the approaching Spring Festival.
Su Yu remembered something and asked him in a gossipy manner, “How are you going to spend your New Year’s Eve?”
He Qiao, who had been listening most of the time, looked over.
He had thought about this question a long time ago.
It was just that when he mentioned it before, Chi Xueyan didn’t seem to have any plans and his attitude was extremely flat.
This year’s New Year’s Eve was special. It was February 14th, Chi Xueyan’s birthday.
So on this day, he had three options to celebrate at the same time: New Year’s Eve, his birthday and Valentine’s Day.
…It sounded busy and tiring.
Therefore, Chi Xueyan replied without any hesitation, “In a normal manner.”
Su Yu thought for a moment. “What type of normal is it? Normal in the eyes of ordinary people or normal in your eyes?”
Chi Xueyan was silent for a moment before starting to list the process with a blank expression, “Sleep until I naturally wake up, play with my phone, eat the New Year’s Eve meal, share the cake, watch TV, set off fireworks and go to bed after midnight.”
On his birthday this year, he wanted to experience a normal feeling.
Except for sharing the cake, everything else was an ordinary New Year’s Eve arrangement. It was just that the family he would spend this night with was very different.
His parents were going on a two-person trip and he would celebrate the new year with He Qiao and the He family.
Thus, it was a very special ordinary.
Su Yu had an expression like he knew it. “It is really normal in your eyes! If it was an ordinary person, they would definitely choose to focus on celebrating Valentine’s Day!”
He knew that Chi Xueyan had never once celebrated Valentine’s Day because he never had a lover.
He fell in love and got married this year, but he didn’t plan to go out with his other half on that day to enjoy the world of two.
Still, it wasn’t too surprising.
It was very reasonable when put on Chi Xueyan.
Chi Xueyan wasn’t interested in Su Yu’s suggestion. “Is Valentine’s Day fun?”
He went to list the most common processes. “Giving flowers, shopping, eating, watching movies, exchanging gifts… it doesn’t sound as good as New Year’s Eve. At the very least, I don’t have to go on the streets that are crowded with people.”
He Qiao listened silently.
This was a method of celebrating Valentine’s Day that Chi Xueyan wasn’t interested in.
Su Yu shook his head repeatedly. “Don’t belittle yourself. You don’t celebrate like that. I think you are more likely to drag Old He to a haunted house or do something I can’t think about at all.”
After saying this, he didn’t forget to show his affection. “In fact, that type of ordinary dating is also quite fun. For example, talking about cases while walking on the road and then correcting the other person’s inaccurate laws?”
Chi Xueyan suddenly ignored him.
The lawyer girlfriend, who had been seriously watching the stage, heard a specific keyword and glanced back. “What laws?”
“Nothing.” Su Yu immediately changed his expression and asked in an earnest tone, “Do you want to eat fries?”
“No, pass me the cup.”
“Here. Then what would you like to eat?”
“…I want to listen to the music.”
“They are almost done singing. Are you hungry?”
In the midst of the endless chatter, Chi Xueyan reflexively moved slightly to the side.
No matter how many times he had personally seen the love brain Lawyer Su, he always felt a bit complicated when thinking of that professional profile picture full of an elite temperament.
He moved his position and got closer to He Qiao.
He Qiao saw that he couldn’t stand it and a smile slightly appeared on his face. He asked Chi Xueyan in a low voice, “Do you want to eat fries?”
Chi Xueyan looked sideways and was about to speak, but He Qiao cleverly continued with the second half of the sentence. “Or popcorn?”
Therefore, Chi Xueyan paused before replying, “Popcorn.”
He didn’t want to eat it at first.
But He Qiao asked like this and it vaguely reminded him of the taste of popcorn.
There was also the romantic comedy that he watched a long time ago.
Chi Xueyan suddenly wanted to eat the most fragrant popcorn.
The moment the performance on the stage ended, he went straight to Wang Shaojing and proposed to use the big screen to show the movie.
The main purpose behind Wang Shaojing inviting the band today was to find a reason to get together with old friends.
Watching a movie together before parting sounded more complete.
“Okay, what do you want to see?”
Chi Xueyan reported the title of the movie and explained at the same time, “My parents said that the popcorn they eat is most delicious when eating this movie. They have watched it seven times and every time they want to eat popcorn, they take it out to watch it.”
He finished speaking and added rigorously, “There might be more times. Maybe they have watched it again recently. However, I’m not home so I couldn’t count it.”
Wang Shaojing heard this and immediately decided. “That’s it!”
It was a suggestion that a popcorn lover couldn’t refuse.
The brilliant night ushered in the second half.
The guests who came to see the band left one after another. The bar was no longer so crowded and noisy. The rest were mainly regular customers who came here to play a year ago. No matter whether it was watching a movie or something else, it didn’t matter as long as it was lively.
There were carbonated drinks instead of alcohol and popcorn instead of snacks.
The bar owner generously announced that tonight’s popcorn was free.
Amidst the whistles and cheers, the big screen that used to play horror movies ushered in a lighter and warmer tone.
In the atmosphere of the romantic comedy, the couples present unknowingly got closer to each other.
Chi Xueyan and the person beside him were the same.
They had watched many good and bad horror movies together. This was the first time they had watched a romance movie together.
It wasn’t a movie theater with armrest seats. They shared a bucket of popcorn in unobstructed seats and were shoulder to shoulder.
Chi Xueyan heard a voice very close to his ear. “Is this the movie that your parents watched seven times?”
He Qiao still remembered this little thing that he had mentioned.
The warm breath fell on his cheeks, bringing a slightly itchy feeling. Chi Xueyan blinked and answered softly, “Yes.”
“You said that you have seen it with them before. Will you be bored if you watch it today?”
“No. My guess is that it will feel very different.”
It was due to the different relationship with his companion and also because of the movie itself.
After the opening credits that introduced the cast and crew ended, the plot of the movie officially started and the guests quieted down.
Chi Xueyan, who was watching the movie for a second time, took it more seriously than the first time.
The movie told a fantastic love story. The heroine died unexpectedly and returned in the form of a soul body to the protagonist, who had fallen into depression from missing her. She tried to cheer him up but he couldn’t see her. He was considered haunted by other residents of the building and this led to a series of ridiculous stories.
The male protagonist sat on the ground and watched the TV series they had watched together, crying loudly, “Zhenzhen, I miss you so much.”
Zhenzhen, who was sitting on the sofa, yelled at him, “Then get up and sit on the sofa! I didn’t even grab the sofa from you. Why sit on the ground? You are blocking my line of sight, okay?!”
He couldn’t hear it and just cried. “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time but you haven’t come back.”
She couldn’t throw tissues at him, so she could only smile and scold him, “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time too! If you really don’t want to sit on the sofa then can you lower your head? Stupid—”
The two of them often talked to each other. Their voices obviously came out in the same space, but only they could hear it. Their moods were always different.
He sat on the cold floor in front of the TV. When he tearfully said that he missed her, he was so noisy that she couldn’t watch the TV and she scolded him.
She rarely showed her sad side. When she tried to hug him with her transparent body, he was learning how to cook and he saw the iron pot suddenly burst into flames. He held the spatula and ran around in a hurry. Then he shouted for help and rushed out the door, hurriedly going to a neighbor and leaving her frozen in place, taking deep breaths of rage.
There were many hilarious scenes in the movie. Most of the guests of the bar were laughing. Occasionally, sensitive viewers would look down and wipe their tears.
In the crowd, Chi Xueyan looked at the screen. He sometimes laughed but more often than not, his eyes just flickered quietly.
Previously when he watched it, he hadn’t felt moved. He only saw comedy but didn’t read the love.
He Qiao was holding the popcorn bucket while Chi Xueyan sat beside him, often reaching for the popcorn in his eyes.
Once their eyes met, he could clearly see the smile in He Qiao’s eyes, as well as his reflection there.
Today’s popcorn was the caramel flavor that he missed before.
Chi Xueyan thought he finally understood why his parents thought it was best to eat popcorn when watching this movie.
It was because watching the lovers who were separated at the two ends of life and death on the screen, unable to touch each other and then hearing the real voice ringing in his ears—the sound of the person beside him eating popcorn made it really seem extraordinary.
It also made people miss hugging.
He suddenly wanted to hug He Qiao.
This vaguely sad love story finally ended with a brisk and dreamy happy ending. The transparent wandering soul returned to the world she was deeply attached to and there was equally brisk applause in the bar.
The movie was over and the night of reunion was almost coming to an end.
The night was deeper and the wind was colder.
At the entrance of the bar, Chi Xueyan said goodbye to his friends and instinctively tugged at his collar.
In the next second, the person beside him gently hugged him rather than holding hands in a restrained manner.
In the midst of the laughter of his friends, Chi Xueyan looked calm, as if he had long been accustomed to such an intimate gesture.
He walked into the depths of the night with He Qiao.
The wind was blocked by the person wearing the coat. Their breaths got closer in the bitter cold wind, embracing each other.
The romantic comedy that made people cry was the best for eating popcorn and winter was the best season for cuddling.
Under the dim street lights, the flow of people was gone and there was no one watching to deal with.
When He Qiao habitually wanted to let go of his arms, the temperature in his arms didn’t try to leave but instead stopped him.
In the already sinking night, the roses that were in full bloom were stirred by the evening breeze and the crimson petals fell silently on his shoulders.
The answer came quietly while waiting.
The slightly cool ends of his hair touched his neck and the fiery breath was felt from the closest distance.
He couldn’t see Chi Xueyan’s expression at this moment. He could only hear the voice blurred by the night, anchored on his shoulder for a long time.
“I bought a new vase and put it on the bedside table in my room.”
A hug without the slightest desire and the confession of falling in love again after missing out.
“Now I found the only flower I want.”
The author has something to say:
A taste that tastes like a confession (づ￣3￣)づ