[Extra 003] Coming Out (First Half)
Bian JinYuan’s internship went smoothly. In fact, it was overly smooth. He possessed a good memory and was good with numbers. The first time he accompanied Yuan Shuo to a meeting, he pointed out a loophole in the contract in private. Yuan Shuo was happily surprised, and insisted on relinquishing his seat to Bian JinYuan, to which Bian JinYuan could only remind him in exasperation, “I haven’t even graduated yet.”
Yuan Shuo laughed, “It’s no problem. Age does not determine competence. The student surpasses the master.”
Bian JinYuan ignored him and went to busy himself with other things.
The elderly grandpa Yuan delighted in seeing that he had finally shown interest in his family business, and wanted to introduce his old friend’s granddaughter to him.
“Jīng Jīng is close to your age. She’s pretty and gentle. Do you fancy her?” He handed the photo to Bian JinYuan.
Bian JinYuan took it and placed it face down on the table without even taking a glance, “No.”
Grandpa Yuan was slightly worried, “It can’t be that you’re taking after your father. You don’t wish to marry too?”
Bian JinYuan shook his head and stated, “No, I wish to marry.”
At this, grandpa Yuan felt relieved, “Good that you wish to marry, good that you wish to marry.”
“However you don’t have to introduce anyone to me.”
“Then you’ve got to work on it,” grandpa Yuan advised.
Bian JinYuan nodded, “I know.”
Thereafter, grandpa Yuan no longer introduced others to him.
The three individuals from the Yuan family were always careful when interacting with Bian JinYuan, because Bian JinYuan had always been overly cool and indifferent to them, without a hint of happiness at this sudden family reunion, and in fact hadn’t seemed to care much about it. They were afraid that if they spoke too harshly, Bian JinYuan would leave without any hesitation.
Even though the two Yuan elders were careful around Bian JinYuan, they were quite excited when they interacted with their son Yuan Shuo, “Jin Jin is no longer young. Make sure to pay attention to the girls who are suitable. Don’t let him wind up like you, still alone at your age.”
Yuan Shuo felt that romance depended on fate. Moreover, with his son’s personality, was it up to himself to determine who was suitable? However, he wanted to get closer to Bian JinYuan, and so he paid attention to those words, and asked Bian JinYuan in private, “What type of girls do you like?”
“You don’t have to worry about this,” Bian JinYuan said indifferently.
“I could help you to look out for them. Speaking of, your mum and I met in university. Are you interested in any girl in university? You can bring her home for us to meet her.”
Bian JinYuan refused to broach this topic with him, so Yuan Shuo could only drop it. However, he quickly thought about Lu YunFei. As his best friend, Lu YunFei would definitely know what type of girls his son liked! Yuan Shuo decisively set a time to meet up with Lu YunFei.
Lu YunFei looked at him as a string of ellipses ran across his heart. What was Bian JinYuan’s type? Bian JinYuan liked his type. But could he say that? Of course not. He could only reply, “I don’t know either.”
Yuan Shuo didn’t believe that he wouldn’t know, but he didn’t take it to heart, thinking that the kids were young and didn’t want their parents to interfere, and so he didn’t press the issue. Until one night when Bian JinYuan was in year four and he sent him home. As the car entered the neighbourhood, they chanced upon Lu YunFei who was going home after buying something. Bian JinYuan said goodbye to him and alighted the car to walk over to Lu YunFei.
Yuan Shuo steered the wheel as he prepared to turn home, but thinking that there was about to be a family gathering in two days, the grandfather had instructed him to ask Bian JinYuan if he was going. And so he stopped his car and chased after them.
Bian JinYuan and Lu YunFei weren’t walking fast, and Yuan Shuo soon caught sight of them. He was about to call out to Bian JinYuan, but froze just as he opened his mouth.
He saw Bian JinYuan touch Lu YunFei’s head casually, and then moved his hand down to hold onto his shoulder. That movement looked too smooth, to the point where Yuan Shuo thought that he was witnessing a couple.
He didn’t call out, and looked on silently as the figures got further away. He noticed how the bag that Lu YunFei had been carrying was now in Bian JinYuan’s hands, and also noticed how one of Bian JinYuan’s hands continued to be placed on Lu YunFei’s shoulder. It seemed that his hand was already on Lu YunFei’s shoulder even before he had touched his head.
Yuan Shuo ruminated upon this moment. He thought about how ever since he met Bian JinYuan, Lu YunFei had always been by his side; no matter when, Bian JinYuan was always looking out for Lu YunFei; he also thought about how no matter how Bian JinYuan was indifferent to others; he would only be gentle and caring whenever it came to Lu YunFei.
The gentle Bian JinYuan that he encountered was only when he was with Bian Jie and Lu YunFei. That night, Yuan Shuo had a logical, yet daring guess.
It’s often that once there is a suspicion, many things start to fall into doubt. Such as how the both of them had moved out to live together, and such as how they locked their bedrooms. Yuan Shuo started to scrutinize Bian JinYuan, and soon he realised that he must have been blind before. The gaze with which Bian JinYuan used on Lu YunFei, that sort of warmth and consideration, if that was not love, then what was it? It was only because the both of them were boys that he had never considered this possibility.
He wanted to seek the truth from Bian JinYuan, but didn’t know how to broach it. As he dithered, it was only when Bian JinYuan graduated when he finally asked, “Do you plan to come back home, or do you wish to stay here?”
“I’ll go back,” Bian JinYuan said decisively.
“Good that you’ll go back. It just so happens that we have a few projects at home which can be handed over to you.”
“Okay,” Bian JinYuan didn’t oppose to it.
“I have an appointment with a friend next week, come with me, I’ll introduce you to someone. You’re not young anymore.”
“No need,” Bian JinYuan rejected.
Yuan Shuo asked, “Why not? You haven’t even met the other party.”
“There’s no need, I don’t like them.”
“You don’t like them, or you already have someone?” Yuan Shuo asked calmly.
Bian JinYuan froze, and smiled softly as he said, “What are you trying to say?”
Yuan Shuo saw his calm demeanor and felt a brief defeat.
“You and Lu YunFei…” the meaning rang clear even before he completed his sentence.
Bian JinYuan leaned back against the passenger car seat and nodded lightly, as he said candidly, “It’s exactly what you think. I like him. I’ve always liked him.”
“Then what about him?”
“He likes me too of course.”
Yuan Shuo fell silent for a moment, as if not knowing how to respond.
And so Bian JinYuan continued, “I won’t break up with him. If you don’t accept it, then I can only be sorry to inform you that your lack of acceptance is not within my calculations.”
He looked at Yuan Shuo and stated: “I already liked him before I met you. This was a part of my growing up, which you were not a part of, and so you don’t have the right to interfere.”
“I don’t wish to interfere,” Yuan Shuo explained, “I just thought, the both of you are good kids, you’re both boys. You both could choose to like girls, there’s no need to walk this path.”
“You’re thinking too simply,” Bian JinYuan said softly, “Ever since you knew me, have you ever seen me like anyone else apart from Lu YunFei?”
He looked at Yuan Shuo, and said in the most ordinary tone some extraordinary words, “Lu YunFei is the only person outside of my blood relatives whom I liked. He’s the only one, a unique existence. You should be glad; if Lu YunFei did not exist in this world, then I would probably spend the rest of my life alone like you.”
Bian JinYuan unbuckled his seatbelt and prepared to alight the car. Before he did so, he said: “I don’t wish for anyone else to know about this, especially Lu YunFei’s family and my small aunt. We will tell them about us ourselves, and don’t need others to interfere. However, you can tell your parents. You can take this opportunity of how we’ve not yet established a strong relationship, so it will not prevent you from selecting a new successor.”
He looked at Yuan Shuo, a picture of calm determination, “Yuan Shuo, for the rest of my life, I will only care about my small aunt, Shuang Shuang, and Lu YunFei. Regarding Lu YunFei on this matter, I will only listen to him. If he doesn’t wish to, no one else can break us up. I won’t go to the office for the next few days. I’ll wait for you to look for me after you’ve accepted this.”
Having said this, he opened the door to alight.
Yuan Shuo looked at his retreating back and thought about the first time they met. Then, Bian JinYuan was only in his second year of high school. Seeing him in the alley near his home, he had calmly embarked on their first father-son conversation.
The Bian JinYuan then had been hard to handle, because from the very beginning, the other party had wholly exuded an air of ‘I don’t need you’. Now, years later, he seemed to have gone back to that very first day. He still found him hard to handle, because his entire being exuded an air of ‘I don’t care about you’.
Since their first meeting, Bian JinYuan had never asked him for anything. Even when he received gifts from himself, he had never accepted anything too expensive. He allowed them to get closer to him, acquiescing to their requests to come home for a meal, and also acquiesced to their hopes of interning at their company. He was softhearted towards them to a certain limit, but when it came to someone whom he actually cared about, that softheartedness was nothing.
But still, on what grounds was he to ask anything of Bian JinYuan? There was never a hope for a father in Bian JinYuan’s mind. From the moment that they met, he was already an outstanding young man, possessing good conduct and grades, and had not even been bitter about his impoverished background. He had been brought up well, and his upbringing had had nothing to do with him.
Bian JinYuan had never needed him. Yet, because of him, he received the fulfillment of being a parent, as well as experiencing the ups and downs of being a parent.
Yuan Shuo sighed, and sent Bian JinYuan a WeChat message: As your elder, I don’t wish for you to walk such a difficult road; but as a parent, I am very happy that you found someone that you like. I loved your mum very much, but we lost our opportunity. And so, I hope that you don’t miss your opportunity to spend forever with someone whom you cherish.
After he sent the message, he put his phone away and decided to tell his parents about this matter. When it came to someone else, it would have been better to tell his parents as late as possible. But Bian JinYuan was different. He was a delightful surprise to the Yuan family. However, as time went on, this delight would gradually lose its appeal. The varied emotions that came with a reunion – delight, pity, guilt, and regret, would slowly dissipate with time
And so, today was a very suitable day.
I’m so sorry for such a late update. I’d gotten caught up in more real life shenanigans – for one, Covid has been taking its damn sweet time running through my family, so that’s been my top priority for the past few weeks worrying about them. The upside is that the new variants have been less troubling (I guess?), so it’s mostly been a nuisance to our daily living. The other half of my time has been stuffing my face with popcorn from uncovering exciting office drama but at the same time hoping fervently that I don’t get embroiled in all of that. Nonetheless, I’m also halfway through the final chapter, and hope to have it out within a week if all goes well!