Fu Shizhou's wounds really were all superficial, but recovery still wasn't an easy process. In order to avoid worrying Old Man Fu, Fu Shizhou made a bunch of excuses—saying he was busy at school—and didn't come home to visit for over a week.
Naturally, that meant he also didn't get a chance to see his little boyfriend.
Qiao Luo was pretty sad about that. His boyfriend forbade him from playing around on his cell phone too much, and his boyfriend had warned him to not let his grades drop. So the two of them didn't have many opportunities to chat at all.
On a certain morning, when Fu Shizhou called to wake him up, Qiao Luo complained, "How long has it been since I last saw you? You've already forgotten about me, haven't you?"
Fu Shizhou was silent for a few seconds before he said, "Alright, you're getting better and better at the spoiled act. Hurry up and go to class, you're going to be late."
Qiao Luo pouted as he hung up. All day, he remained down in the dumps.
Until that night, after his dance class, when he saw—for the first time in a long time—Fu Shizhou waiting for him at the front doors.
The hazy yellow streetlights fell over Fu Shizhou, stretching his shadow into a long, thin swath of darkness on the ground. Fu Shizhou, wearing a knee-length coat, was both tall and cool. He was the sort of cool that made him seem unapproachable, and he'd been cool ever since he was little.
Before, in elementary school, Qiao Luo had already been a king of sleeping in. Sometimes he wouldn't even have time to eat breakfast after getting up. Fu Shizhou's middle school and Qiao Luo's elementary school weren't too far apart, so Fu Shizhou would occasionally drop by Qiao Luo's classroom to feed him some bread and milk. Qiao Luo would be thrilled to bits every time.
Once, Qiao Luo had even cleverly skipped breakfast on purpose, just to get Fu Shizhou to come find him.
However, that only earned him a lecture.
But then, after lecturing Qiao Luo, Fu Shizhou had passed over the thermos of milk that he'd kept warm against his chest. After watching over Qiao Luo to make sure he finished the milk, Fu Shizhou ran back to his own class with an ashen face.
Now, the cool Fu Shizhou was his boyfriend. This person—from the past to the present, and the present to the future—would always belong to Qiao Luo. The mere thought of it sent Qiao Luo's mood soaring.
He flew towards Fu Shizhou and pounced, wrapping his arms around Fu Shizhou's waist and joyfully exclaiming, "You came to pick me up!"
Fu Shizhou hugged Qiao Luo back. Then he grabbed Qiao Luo's backpack and took his hand. He thought back to what Qiao Luo said about him 'bullying little boys' shortly after their confessions, and he started to deliberately tease Qiao Luo as they walked: "Who's here to pick you up? I'm just here to abduct a little boy."
Qiao Luo instantly pointed at himself. "How about this one? This one is stupid enough, right? You should abduct this one."
Fu Shizhou carefully studied Qiao Luo for a moment. They hadn't seen each other in around ten days, and it seemed the little brat hadn't gained or lost any weight. He seemed to be in perfectly good health, so Fu Shizhou relaxed and continued to tease him:
"It seems this little boy already belongs to me."
Qiao Luo climbed into the passenger seat and buckled up his own seatbelt. He was so happy that he was practically bouncing in his seat. He put on the spoiled act again and asked, "Then, can we go home a little later?"
Fu Shizhou had given Qiao Luo a little bit of sweetness, but now he had to be strict again. "No, you have to get back and do your homework. Plus, you're so greedy for sleep. The sooner you can go to bed, the better."
"Oh." Qiao Luo looked over at him with disappointment stamped across his face. Quietly, he mumbled, "I wanted to go on a date with you."
He was super disappointed. His little face was scrunched up in such a tragic pout that anyone would've thought he'd just lost millions of yuan. He gazed at Fu Shizhou with a pitiful and displeased expression, using his eyes to accuse Fu Shizhou of being cold-hearted.
Naturally, Fu Shizhou couldn't stand his ground. He coughed once and said, "Wait for winter break. Okay?"
Qiao Luo still wasn't very happy. "Winter break won't work. You aren't even here for half of winter break every year, and you don't ever tell me what you're doing."
An idea suddenly popped into Qiao Luo's mind. He feigned surprise and asked, "You don't actually have a secret childhood girlfriend, do you?"
That, naturally, referred to Fu Shizhou's childhood boyfriend.
Fu Shizhou wanted to laugh. He tapped his nose and said, "Childhood boyfriend, don't be upset. This year, I'm only going to be gone for a few days around New Year's Day. I've already cleared my time off with the school. I'll spend the rest of my winter break with you."
Qiao Luo was very easily pleased. Basically any scrap of good news could make him happy, especially this sort of earth-shatteringly awesome news.
And so, he dropped the bitter look from his face and squeezed in closer to Fu Shizhou's side. "Really? You can't lie to little boys, you know."
The 'little boy' act was undefeatable. Fu Shizhou couldn't contain his laugh. He reached out and stroked Qiao Luo's soft hair as he said, "I'm not lying to you, and where would I get a 'childhood girlfriend', anyway? You're enough for me. I just visit my other grandpa1 over the break."
Fu Shizhou had been brought home by Old Man Fu when he was seven years old. The Qiao family and Old Man Fu were pretty close, but the Qiao family had never asked where exactly Fu Shizhou came from.
Old Man Fu was fairly private about the matter, and Fu Shizhou's mom and dad had never once made an appearance. It was clearly a difficult subject. Qiao Luo's parents were extremely respectful. They never wanted to pick at someone's old wounds or pry into someone's personal affairs.
And when Qiao Luo's parents first noticed Qiao Luo's budding condition of sticking to Fu Shizhou like glue, they'd solemnly warned him to not ever, ever, ever ask his Zhouzhou-gege about the matter of his mom or dad.
So when it came to Fu Shizhou's background, Qiao Luo really didn't know anything.
He thought about his parents' warning, and he thought about the fact that this was something Fu Shizhou had brought up by himself. That probably meant it wasn't something that would make Zhouzhou-gege feel bad to talk about. Cautiously, Qiao Luo echoed, "Your other grandpa?"
It had been a very long time since Fu Shizhou spoke of this to anyone. Thinking about it now, he felt like the story itself was covered in dust. But Qiao Luo was already his, so he naturally told the truth: "My blood-related grandpa, but he's sick. Dementia, and minor cerebral thrombosis. He couldn't take care of me back when I was little, so Gramps picked me up and raised me here."
And then, he had been able to meet Qiao Luo.
Qiao Luo was a simple creature, but he wasn't stupid. He had just been too well-protected by his parents and Fu Shizhou; there were many dark sides to the world that he'd never experienced. He could sense that Fu Shizhou didn't actually want to talk about this, so he politely decided against asking any other questions about the matter.
He only said, "How about… why don't you spend winter break with your grandpa, as usual? It's okay. I'll be good."
When Qiao Luo was on his best behavior, he really was extremely likable. Especially when he looked at a person with his big, crystal clear eyes, filled with nothing but genuine concern.
Those eyes were like raw jade. Flawless. Not yet sculpted. Unadorned. Just raw, pure, and beautiful.
Fu Shizhou couldn't help but be moved. He kissed Qiao Luo's forehead, and he didn't want Qiao Luo to dwell on the matter for too long, so he didn't bring up the relationship between Old Man Fu and his grandpa for the time being. He only said, "I'll stay with you. There'll be someone staying with my grandpa."
Qiao Luo really didn't dwell on the matter for too long after that. Because Fu Shizhou had kissed his forehead.
That was a sign. A signal. It meant the time for serious business was over, and lovey-dovey time had arrived.
Qiao Luo took the initiative to scoot closer and wrap his arms around Fu Shizhou's shoulders. Quietly, he whispered, "Then… can you kiss me again?"
1. This is significant because Fu Shizhou says '爷爷', which specifically means paternal grandpa, so most people would only have one. However, Fu Shizhou also calls Old Man Fu '爷爷', which would pique interest—because it's not just revealing that he has two grandpas, but specifically two paternal grandpas.
My beloved 'little boy' act is finally live! I've been waiting to write this for a long time already, hehe. Starfish and bookmarks, please! I'll be updating on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week!