[51. The Star River Leading to the Sky] 

Bai Lian Hua returned back to school. Generally speaking, when a young man like him is fired from the job he had worked so hard to get he should be upset but for Bai Lian Hua he was glad —- He was glad that he left early! He angrily pushed open his dormitory door to Li Bei who was still rushing through his homework. With snot and tears, Bai Lian Hua eagerly recounted this afternoon’s events. Li Bei did not stop writing and only nodded his head in response. After a while, he raised his head with sudden realisation – “You were sexually harassed?!”

Bai Lian Hua nodded his head. Li Bei threw his pen onto the table and stood up heroically: “He actually dares to harass my roommate?! Which company? I’m going to report him!

“…….It’s actually not a big deal.” Bai Lian Hua’s inner nature revealed itself at this moment. To put it simply, he hated trouble. “And there are no laws protecting these things.”

Li Bei looked at him and unhappily responded: “Up to you.”

Bai Lian Hua sprawled across his desk and continued to grieve about his internship report. “Li Bei, can you help me write it? As a contracted writer, it shouldn’t be too hard to quickly draft up a thousand words?”

Li Bei looked at him exasperatedly: “I write love stories! Do you want me to write about a earth-shattering love story between you and an almost completely bald old man?” At the end, he also remembered to add, “I also don’t write BL.”

Bai Lian Hua resisted the urge to hire someone to write the report for him and proceeded to work on the report. Before he could complete it, an untimely call came from Song Qingge. Bai Lian Hua unplugged his phone from the charger and picked up: “Who is it?” “It’s me, Song Qingge.”

Bai Lian Hua who answered the phone lifelessly suddenly became spirited and sat up straight, “Song Qingge, do you need something?” Song Qingge gently replied “En” and straightforwardly asked, “Are you free tomorrow morning?”

“Ah! I need to write my practical report…..” Bai Lian Hua said slowly. The person on the other end of the phone simply replied: “I’ll help you write it. How many words?”

“Don’t worry about it! It’s one thousand words, thanks.”

Song Qingge helplessly supported his forehead: Bai Lian Hua! If you want to refuse, refuse properly!

As it turned out, he had underestimated the thickness of Bai Lian Hua’s skin.

“Tomorrow morning at the bun shop by the school gate. I’ll wait for you.” Song Qingge said to Bai Lian Hua. Once finished, he didn’t wait for Bai Lian Hua’s response and hung up leaving Bai Lian Hua blinking dumbly at his phone.

After a while, he stiffly turned towards Li Bei: “What colour do you think I should wear tomorrow?” Li Bei looked up and grinned cheekily: “Why? Do you have a date?” Bai Lian Hua nodded. Li Bei’s eyes immediately brightened: “Which department?” “Computer technology department.”

Li Bai smacked the table and stood up: “Good job brother! To think that the first one in our dormitory to get a girlfriend would actually be you!” Hey Hey! What do you mean by actually?…….No, what girlfriend! Girlfriend your sister!

Li Bei at this moment was already going through Bai Lian Hua’s small closet and rummaging through his clothes.……Maybe it was better to not have said anything to him. Li Bei looked like he was excitedly picking out clothes for his girlfriend…..Why is he so excited though?

With someone helping him with his practical report, Bai Lian Hua was in a good mood. Thinking that he hadn’t played the game for more than a week, he happily logged into the game. Unfortunately, what he didn’t expect was that despite only not playing for the past week, the game had updated and he had to download the patch. While downloading the patch, he logged into penguin and unexpectedly found the group chat to be very lively. There were originally only a total of five members in the group but the notice that appeared at the bottom of his screen shocked him: 1222 messages. That equated to at least two hundred messages each day…..How did they do that?

He opened the chat box and the list of members on the bottom right corner startled him. Your mom! After not logging in for a week, why are there another twenty people here! The culprit Chen Tian expressed: Calm down Lotus! You see, our Sun Moon Holy Cult may consist of top players but do you remember what happened to Smile brother’s old guild? Nowadays, we are not afraid of a rogue but we afraid of a group of rogues! We need to learn from our mistake and gather many members!

Guild Leader · White Lotus 19:21:01

…..Smile, since when did you talk so much?

Guild Member · Looking for Death 19:21:07

Ahhhhhhhhhh! The guild leader appeared!! Hurry and catch him!

Guild Member · Pig Hand 19:21:11

I’m surprised.

Vice Guild Leader · Half Crazy Smile 19:21:19

Looking for Death, you really are looking for death…..Don’t mind them Lotus, they are all my former guild members. They like to joke around a lot.

Guild Pig · White Lotus 19:21:31

It’s okay, nothing wrong with that. I am pleased to see that the guild is so lively.

Guild Pig · White Lotus, 19:21:34

F*ck F*ck F*ck! Who changed my name!! (KKnotes: Leader sounds like pig in Chinese. Both are ‘zhu’)

Guild’s Treasure · Yun Yu 19:21:47

Smiling and not saying a word.

Bai Lian Hua suddenly felt a little troubled….Seeing that Song Qingge wasn’t online in the game or on penguin, did he really go to work on his paper? For a while, Bai Lian Hua didn’t know what expression he should make when he sees him. Didn’t he already know this? Why did he feel a little bit of joy within him when he came to that conclusion? Also mixed with a hint of guilt, he inexplicably felt a subtle sourness.

He silently changed back his name and logged off the game after playing for a while. Internally he was however worried about tomorrow and eventually could not get a good night’s sleep. You mom….what is he anxious for? Bai Lian Hua stared at the bed boards above him and finally fell asleep.

Early in the morning of the next day, Bai Lian Hua was awakened by his alarm. He changed his clothes, brushed his teeth and face and even took a shower. By the time he left, it was already 7:50am. Song Qingge had not agreed on a time and so Bai Lian Hua could only base it on his usual scheduled time that he normally eats breakfast at.

Nearing the bun shop, there were not many people so it was easy to spot the people sitting by the window. He had already arrived…..Bai Lian Hua internally thought. He walked over and sat opposite Song Qingge. From a paper bag next to him, Song Qingge pulled out a bound stack of A4 paper and handed it to Bai Lian Hua. Bai Lian Hua looked at it and saw that it really was a one thousand word practical report that he had requested yesterday…..

Bai Lian Hua looked up at Song Qingge only to find that Song Qingge’s eyes were also glued onto him. Bai Lian Hua couldn’t help but feel a little awkward.

“Where should we go afterwards?” Song Qingge asked as he pushed the hot buns on the table across to Bai Lian Hua. It was a very casual question but because of the questioner’s stoic actions, Bai Lian Hua felt like he was getting interviewed. Really, why should he act cautious around a boy who is so much younger than him! Ok fine, he’s only younger by three years.

But what made Bai Lian Hua feel even more annoyed was that despite this person being obviously three years younger, he is seven centimetres taller than him and reaching one metre seventy nine. Being seven centimetres taller was acceptable, but he actually looked like he was taller by more than ten centimetres….

“Your choice. I’m fine with anything.”

“Then the aquarium. I heard that you like fishing.” Hey! Just because he liked fishing, it didn’t mean that he liked looking at fish! Ok fine, seeing how excited you are, I won’t spoil it.

Bai Lian Hua ate a mouthful of porridge and looked up inadvertently to find that the other person was still watching him. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was sitting on a mat covered in needles.

“Not eating?” He asked Song Qingge. Song Qingge’s fingers tapped at the table and said: “Already ate.” Bai Lian Hua wordlessly looked up: “Can you refrain from watching me eat? I….with you watching, I can’t eat.” As these words were spoken, Bai Lian Hua wanted to bite off his tongue! Saying it like that….it was like he was acting spoiled! Thinking this, Bai Lian Hua felt extreme turmoil inside.

Seemly to have smiled, Song Qingge turned around and faced his back to him……

After breakfast, they took a taxi to the aquarium. The aquarium in B city is one of their major attractions and was very busy. Furthermore, as it is still the holiday break there are many primary and secondary school students who came along with their family and friends. Song Qingge moved closer to him and clasped onto his hand. The moment their fingers entwined, Bai Lian Hua felt a little dizzy from the heat rising to his face. This must’ve been the case! Otherwise why did he only struggle a few times and eventually silently accept it? This is not scientific!

Song Qingge left to queue up to buy the ticket and bought two caps along with it. “Your skin is so pale, don’t let it tan.” Bai Lian Hua looked at the Donald Duck cap on his head and at the Mickey Mouse cap in his hands….Song brother, stop being so obvious! There have already been a few women who have secretly taken photos of us with their phone…….

Wordlessly putting on the hat, Bai Lian Hua could feel the heat on his face gradually cooling down. They then entered the Arctic Pavilion where the air conditioning inside made Bai Lian Hua feel like he was about to become a frozen lotus. Song Qingge softly glanced at him and said slowly: “If you’re cold, we can go to another museum.”

Bai Lian Hua shook his head and said no need: “I’m already so old and I still haven’t seen a real polar bear! I want to see one today.” “What have you been doing in B city for the past three years?” Song Qinge actually countered.

Bai Lian Hua quite seriously and meticulously explained: “Many things! Playing games, surfing the web, posting on forums….” Ok fine. To put it concisely, he enclosed himself in his dorm.

Although Song brother may look cold, he was actually a cold on the outside but warm on the inside type of person! When Bai Lian Hua was tired, he looked for a seat for him. When the seat is dirty, he bought napkins to clean it. When Bai Lian Hua was thirsty, he bought water and because he didn’t know which flavour he liked he actually bought three bottles in one go! At first, he couldn’t get used to it but over time, little by little he began to accept it. If you want to take care of me and pamper me, then do it! He had lived for twenty one years and had never encountered something so great! Song brother, you are my guardian angel!

Spending the whole morning at the aquarium, the two left to find a restaurant for lunch and then stopped by the library in the afternoon…..He actually did something so literary! Bai Lian Hua expressed his disbelief. Then again, with Song Qingge around, everything was possible.

Finally arriving at the school gate, if they were a couple then the inevitable ‘I don’t want to part’ banter would happen but as two men, they stood at the school entrance and faced each other waiting for the other party to say goodbye. After two minutes, Bai Lian Hua eventually opened his mouth: “See you tomorrow…and thank you.”

As if he just remembered something, he blurted out: “I still owe you six hundred right? I will return it tomorrow together with the money for the food and the ticket!” —–At this moment, Bai Lian Hua felt that Song Qingge’s expression was as if he was looking at an idiot.

Yet at the next moment, it was Bai Lian Hua’s turn to look at Song Qingge as if he was an idiot: “Bai Lian Hua you should accept me.”

“Song Qingge.” Bai Lian Hua stiffly asked, “This joke isn’t funny. Really.”

“I am not joking.” Song Qingge’s expression was unusually serious. Serious to the point that Bai Lian Hua’s voice trembled slightly: “Why do you like me?” They are both men! They both had rods! Not to mention, there’s the issue of society’s acceptance.

Song Qingge still looked at him, his gaze unchanging: “There is no reason.” Yes, no reason. To like is to like. Just follow your feelings and stop thinking about others. It’s too tiring. Too exhausting.

“Be with me. You only have one year left until you graduate. In one year’s time, if you don’t like it, you can just throw it away as soon as you graduate.”

His voice was low. Very low. Like a voice from the devil luring lost souls. Unfortunately for Bai Lian Hua, his will was not strong enough and he eventually nodded his head. It wasn’t until a breeze blew past and cleared up Bai Lian Hua’s mind…….The moment Bai Lian Hua came out of his stupor, he was instantly petrified!

What did he do just now? He must be not thinking clearly! Otherwise why would he do something like that! This isn’t right!

“Bai Lian Hua, we are lovers now right?” Song Qingge looked over at him.

Did he want to take it back? Should he take it back? Bai Lian Hua’s calm appearance did not reveal any of his inner turmoil. But it’s not good if he reject him now. But if he didn’t reject him that what’s going to happen? Date a man? This is no less shocking than a relationship between a 60-year-old grandfather and a 20-year old girl!

However, what made him even more shocked was what happened afterwards.

Song Qingge bent down and kissed him on his lips.

What was even more shocking was that… suddenly there is a cry of sorrow (…) from nearby—“Bai Lian Hua?!”

Turning his head, a man was leaning out the car window holding a lollipop with his mouth half opened and looking straight at him…..or rather, at them.

The moment Bai Lian Hua realised who the person was, his entire body went cold. “……Cousin?!”

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