Your Distance - 49
Throughout the day, while working, Ting Shuang was celebrating inside. He did latte art for all the coffees he could, sending out countless hearts throughout the day.
Hearts and love. At the moment, he was full of that stuff, so full that no matter how much of it he sent out, it didn’t feel like a lot.
He also couldn’t wait to get off work.
While he was working and making coffee, Bai Changyi sat two meters away reading, occasionally raising his eyes to look at him. Their gazes met, and the two of them smiled at each other. There was no need for words.
After getting off work in the afternoon, when Ting Shuang came out after changing clothes, Bai Changyi was waiting for him at the entrance of the cafe.
That figure reminded him of when he had recklessly pushed open the door of the S17 classroom. It was that same back profile, but now, Bai Changyi had taken off the coat he’d worn in spring, and the thin golden spectacles chain rested on the back collar of the dress shirt he was wearing in summer.
At that time, he was trembling after pushing open the door, but now he could pounce right up after pushing open the door.
After pushing open the door, just as Ting Shuang was about to pounce onto him and hook his arms around Bai Changyi’s neck, he caught a glimpse of someone.
It was Saturday, so naturally anyone could come to the city center.
Song Xin was no exception.
Song Xin had just bought a bunch of daily necessities from the large supermarket in the city center, and happened to pass by the entrance of Freesia. He noticed Professor Bai standing at the door and was about to greet him, “Profe——”
The last syllable caught in his throat.
Because off to the side, he saw a familiar figure pushing the door open, and that figure seemed like he was about to pounce onto the professor.
It was a terrifying sight.
An incredibly long second passed.
Countless escape plans flashed through Ting Shuang’s mind, from pretending to be the illegitimate child of Bai Changyi, to killing Song Xin.
Just as his body was about to touch Bai Changyi due to the effect of inertia, he changed his movement of hooking his arms around Bai Changyi’s neck to one of grabbing his collar.
It was just so strange to grab someone’s collar from the back…
And Bai Changyi stayed still.
Ting Shuang could only comfort himself. At least this was better than hugging Bai Changyi.
But what should he say in this kind of situation…
Could he say that Bai Changyi didn’t pay for his coffee?
No, he’d already changed out of his work attire.
But if he didn’t say that, what else could he say…
Forget it, it was too late, so what if he had already taken off his work attire, he’d let Bai Laoban be the scapegoat!
Just as Ting Shuang was about to speak, Song Xin threw whatever he was carrying onto the ground, and dashed over, pulling Ting Shuang away vigorously.
“Ting Shuang, did you drink fake wine(1)? This cafe isn’t a bar, right?” Song Xin glanced up at Freesia‘s sign, and lectured Ting Shuang softly, “Even if he’d told you to retake the course next year, you can’t fight him! Do you still want to graduate?”
In his heart, Ting Shuang said: If it weren’t for you, I would have kissed him by now.
“Did you hear what I said?” Song Xin was afraid that Ting Shuang had really offended the professor, and used his elbow to nudge Ting Shuang, reminding him in a low voice, “Apologize to the professor.”
“… I’m sorry.” Ting Shuang bowed his head and talked to Bai Changyi in German.
He had to lower his head, or others would be able to see him holding back his smile.
Bai Changyi was great at staying still, not moving even against strong winds.
He calmly straightened the collar that had been rumpled by Ting Shuang, “It’s okay.”
After speaking, Bai Changyi did not move, and nor did Ting Shuang.
Song Xin grew anxious: Why did these two people refuse to leave?
No, he had to take Ting Shuang away, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to wrap things up if it got messy.
“Goodbye, Professor.” After saying so, Song Xin picked up the things he’d left on the ground with one hand, and pulled Ting Shuang away with the other. “Let’s go, it’s time to go home.”
Ting Shuang: ?
Ting Shuang, who only started to react after being dragged by Song Xin for two meters, twisted his head back to look at Bai Changyi, who was still standing in front of the cafe. He was tugged by Song Xin again, “Ting Shuang, are you still looking for trouble? Hurry, leave before he gives you any trouble.”
When they reached a crossroad and turned a corner, Ting Shuang said, “Let me go, quickly.”
Song Xin let go, “You think I was happy to pull you along like that? You’re so heavy, and I have two bags in my other hand. I was just afraid you’d cause trouble, what happened to you just now? Did you really drink?”
“No,” Ting Shuang said, “I just… thought he was a little annoying.” I thought he was just too good-looking.
“Didn’t you still say good things about him in the group chat? I know the registration for the exam qualification starts this Friday. He really isn’t letting you take the exam?” Song Xin said, “Actually, I think he works like the Germans. Once the rules are set, they’re fixed. You can’t change them… He is a pervert, but he doesn’t have bad intentions. Look, he even picks you often to answer questions in class…”
“… I know he doesn’t have bad intentions. I just… couldn’t hold back suddenly.” Ting Shuang was anxious to leave, “I’m leaving now, I have something else to do.”
“Where are you going?” Song Xin said, “Let’s go together.”
“It’s not on your way.” Ting Shuang tried to brush him off.
“You didn’t even ask me where I was going, how do you know that?”
Ting Shuang looked at the two bags in Song Xin’s hands, “You’re just going home after buying things from the supermarket, right?”
“I haven’t bought what I wanted to buy.”
“Oh, then okay. Don’t go back there and cause more trouble.”
In his heart, Ting Shuang said: What trouble was I causing, that’s called love.
He backtracked along the same path, to find his love still waiting at the same spot.
And this love of his was extremely good looking.
“Cough—” Two steps away, Ting Shuang used a cough to remind Bai Changyi: Your captured boyfriend has been released.
“Get in the car first.” Bai Changyi said.
Ting Shuang nodded, keeping his hands and feet to himself.
Indeed, one shouldn’t be too happy that they forgot to keep up their appearances. The chances of them meeting acquaintances within the same city were quite high.
When the two of them got into the car, Ting Shuang couldn’t wait any longer before putting his arms around Bai Changyi’s neck. If it wasn’t for the inconvenience of being in a car, he would have already sat fully on Bai Changyi’s thigh.
After kissing for a while, he asked, “Hey, Bai Laoban, say, if I’d really put my arms around your neck just now, and was seen by Song Xin, what would we do then?”
Bai Changyi smiled, “Then I’d turn around and tell you ‘Sir, you’ve got the wrong person.'”
Ting Shuang laughed for a while, and then asked, “Then what if he sees us kissing?”
Bai Changyi pretended to think about it, “Then I’ll just have to give him the one and only 1.0.”
“Wow, you would actually use a full mark to bribe witnesses?” Ting Shuang knew that Bai Changyi was joking. “But to be honest, we should pay more attention. I’m afraid it might be troublesome for you.”
“We can discuss it tonight,” Bai Changyi said.
“Cohabitation.” After Bai Changyi said so, he saw Ting Shuang remain silent, and immediately guessed what the child was thinking, “We’re not discussing whether or not to cohabitate. What I intended was to discuss some things that need to be considered for cohabitation.”
Some things that need to be considered for cohabitation?
Ting Shuang thought for a while, but didn’t think of anything that needed to be considered for cohabitation. If there was something that really needed to be considered…
How about raising a dog with Bai Laoban?
Thinking about how his previous dog had been taken away by his ex-wife, Bai Laoban seemed quite pitiful since he hadn’t been given custody of it…
Bai Changyi glanced at Ting Shuang while driving. Seeing that he wasn’t speaking, Bai Changyi said, “Look, we need to consider how to deal with situations when your classmates or relatives want to visit you; or how to deal with situations when my colleagues want to come for a visit. And other trivial matters: your name needs to be added to the house plate and the mailbox; you have to go to the city hall to modify your address, and all information including your address should be changed; you have to terminate your radio and television account so that you can share one with me; and there’s insurance…”
The car fell into dead silence.
“Um…” Ting Shuang hesitated, frowning, “How about… How about we…”
Bai Changyi glanced at Ting Shuang, “How about we, what.”
“How about we start dealing with these matters seriously as soon as we get home today, so we don’t have to wait until evening!” Ting Shuang said excitedly.
Bai Changyi’s lips curled up, “Mm.”
Dealing with those things sounded very troublesome, but doing it together was surprisingly enjoyable.
After finishing their discussion in the evening, they went out to the yard to chat.
Ting Shuang went to the refrigerator and took out an iced watermelon, cut it in half, put a spoon in each one, and brought out both halves, one in each hand.
Bai Changyi was sitting on a chair in the yard.
Ting Shuang walked over and put half of the watermelon on the table in front of Bai Changyi. There was another empty chair, but Ting Shuang didn’t sit. Holding on to his watermelon, he sat on the grass, leaning back against the side of the chair on which Bai Changyi was sitting. In that way, he could rest his head on Bai Changyi’s thigh just by leaning back.
“Isn’t it nice, spending a summer night like this?” Ting Shuang dug out a spoonful of watermelon and put it in his mouth. “I used to do this when I was a kid, sit on the ground and eat watermelon, leaning on my parents’ legs. If I lifted my head, I would see so many stars in the sky.” After he finished speaking, he stayed silent for a while, and dug out another spoonful of watermelon. But for a long time, he didn’t put it in his mouth, instead raising his head to look at Bai Changyi, “Bai Laoban… Why do you never tell me about your past?”
Bai Changyi smoothed down Ting Shuang’s hair, a hint of a smile in his low voice, “What do you want to hear about.”
“I can ask about anything?” Ting Shuang said.
“You can ask about anything.” Bai Changyi said.
“Then I want to hear about–” Ting Shuang said, “Your past loves.”
Bai Changyi laughed, “Past loves. Mm.”
“What’s so funny?” Ting Shuang waved his spoon and poked Bai Changyi, “Will you talk about it? If you don’t want to, then forget about it, this young master isn’t that eager to hear about it.”
Bai Changyi raised his hands in a gesture of surrender, the look in his eyes saying he was fully intending to indulge him, “I’ll talk, of course I will. But first—”
“‘Buts’ aren’t allowed, no ‘but’s,” Ting Shuang interrupted.
Bai Changyi laughed, “First, define ‘past loves’.”
Ting Shuang still remembered when Bai Changyi previously said that he had basically been in stable relationships since he was fourteen, “Just start recounting from the age of fourteen, pick out the key points.”
Bai Changyi couldn’t help but continue laughing, “Twenty-two years ago.”
Ting Shuang thought about it, and also felt like that age was a little too far back, “Then talk about the longer relationships you’ve had… Mm… What about… Those that you’ve cohabitated with?”
Bai Changyi said, “My ex-wife.”
“No one else?”
“No one else.”
“Then…” Actually, Ting Shuang didn’t really want to hear about his past loves, “Then in what ways were she better than others?”
Bai Changyi thought for a moment and did not answer the question, but instead sat on the grass and took Ting Shuang into his arms, “Are you still scared?”
He had hit the nail on the head. “… Not really.”
“What happened this time was an error on my part,” Bai Changyi kissed Ting Shuang’s forehead, “I apologize. I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault…” Ting Shuang used his spoon to poke at the watermelon, as if poking himself so he’d wake up, forcing himself to face this problem. “I know, it’s because of my own insecurity.”
“Then have you ever thought about why you’re insecure?” Bai Changyi asked.
“Because I have no confidence… I’m incompetent… And my personality isn’t very good…” Ting Shuang scuffed down all the watermelon he had just spooned, then mustered up the courage to open up, “You know why I keep making those jokes, bringing up your age and showing off mine… Actually, that’s because I have nothing but my youth. Seriously, I can’t imagine what you like about me. You’re this good…”
In the silent summer night, not far away, ripe cherries fell on the ground one by one. The air was full of sweetness.
“Then, did you know that when I’m watching you and your classmates, I actually also recall the days back when I was twenty-four, even if there was nothing happening in my life.”
Ting Shuang was startled.
The next day.
Ting Shuang once again searched up the biography of Bai Changyi on the Internet, wanting to see the empty twenty-four years of Bai Laoban.
Yes, that’s right, the 24-year-old Bai Laoban had nothing except a PhD and a research paper so long that you’d have to spend half a day scrolling through on your mobile phone to reach the end.
(1) 喝假酒 – drinking fake wine. This is a meme(?) in China, meaning someone’s suddenly doing something extremely out of character for no reason.
Dude this is so sweet my teeth are all falling out I love this novel so much HHH. Also as promised!! This novel does not have stupidly long/excessive drama/miscommunications hehe. Part of why i love YD so much
Also, thank you so much Elaine (again! <3) and Britener for the coffees! <333 (Cough yes I have a bonus chapter counter on my kofi page the extra updates will happen sorry im slow) It means a lot!
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