Yuan Ye was lying on a sofa with his eyes closed, basking in the sun. His phone rang beside him, and he reached over to answer it. Without even opening his eyes, he hummed a response into the phone.
The person on the other end said, "Come out and have a drink."
Yuan Ye still didn't open his eyes and replied, "No."
The person on the other end asked again, "How about tea then?"
Yuan Ye still had his eyes closed and said, "No."
"What's wrong with you?" The person on the phone, Old Tu, asked him. "Why are you lazing around like a house cat on such a sunny day?"
Yuan Ye turned from his side to his back and spoke slowly, dragging out his words. "I'm lazy. I just got back yesterday and I'm tired."
The other person laughed and asked him, "I almost forgot, did you finish recording? What's the situation? Did anything happen?"
Yuan Ye couldn't be bothered with him and furrowed his brow, saying, "Why are you so annoying?"
Old Tu laughed heartily and said to him, "Stop being so indecisive, come out and let's drink and eat meat."
"Send the location over." Yuan Ye hung up the phone after speaking.
He had flown back on a plane yesterday and had planned to just lie at home for a day. Yuan Ye was actually a lazy person, but not in the sense that he didn't like to move. He would go through a lot of trouble and exhaustion for things he liked, even climbing Mount Everest.
However, if it was something he didn't like, or going to a place he didn't like, he would be lazy all over. He felt exhausted after recording that episode for only four days, and his body needed to relax, and his brain needed rest.
The sofa faced his balcony, and Yuan Ye had been basking in the sun like a cat, dozing off on it for quite some time. It was comfortable, but he was starting to feel a little hungry.
Yuan Ye got up and changed into a set of clothes before grabbing his phone and heading out. He purposely didn't drive, as he knew he would be drinking with Old Tu during their meal, and this person was a big drinker.
The place they went to was a meat shop that served grilled meat. When Yuan Ye arrived, Old Tu was sitting on a small stool, using tongs to turn the charcoal. The shop didn't have private rooms, and it was located in a large factory building with several walls separating different areas. It was probably quite noisy when it got crowded at night.
"You're here?" Old Tu looked up at him, revealing a square face with a beard on his chin.
Yuan Ye sat with his back facing the rest of the restaurant, but no one was around on this lazy afternoon. The table was only a meter square and quite short, and a chubby person would feel a bit cramped sitting on the small stool. The interior of the room was decorated with the now common brick walls and mud floors, creating a smoky and fiery atmosphere for those who enjoyed meat.
Yuan Ye lit a cigarette and casually tossed the box and lighter onto the ground. "Another shop you've opened?" he asked.
Old Tu finished adjusting the charcoal and secured the iron mesh. He asked, "So, what do you think of this little shop?"
"It's just okay," replied Yuan Ye.
Old Tu chuckled and lit a cigarette himself, saying, "I opened it for my girl to play around with. Let her do as she pleases."
Yuan Ye leaned over and grabbed an ashtray from a small table behind him, placing it to the side. He said to Old Tu, "This place has a real sense of style."
Yuan Ye and Old Tu had known each other for many years. Old Tu used to be the owner of a tea house, and Yuan Ye would often go there to drink tea. After chatting a few times, they became familiar with each other.
Yuan Ye still couldn't remember Old Tu's real name, but he had always called him Old Tu. Old Tu was about ten years older than Yuan Ye, and he didn't know what he used to do. Now, he just did whatever he found interesting, whether it was running a tea house, restaurant, or bar. Some made money, some lost money, but it seemed like Old Tu didn't really care.
Before drinking with Old Tu, Yuan Ye ate some meat to fill his stomach.
They both usually drank white liquor instead of beer. Yuan Ye could handle his alcohol, but he wasn't the type to drink excessively. When he did drink too much, he would still get drunk.
He was willing to drink with Old Tu, who had a carefree attitude that Yuan Ye admired. Old Tu's personality was what brought them together as friends. He had a sense of freedom and didn't care about societal norms. "I do what I like, not what I should do," he would say.
Old Tu was using tongs to flip meat on the iron grill, cutting thick slices into smaller pieces that sizzled and dripped with oil. Yuan Ye took a piece and ate it, then commented, "This isn't healthy."
Old Tu chuckled and replied, "If you only focus on being healthy, you won't live long." The owner of this shop is not Old Tu, but a young girl in her twenties. When she came back in from outside and saw Yuan Ye, she took off her coat and bounced over to sit next to Old Tu, greeting Yuan Ye along the way.
Yuan Ye knew her well and exchanged a few words with her.
She asked if she should help with the grilling, but Lao Tu patted her on the back and said, "No need, I'll handle it. You can go play."
She laughed and said, "Okay then, I'm off. Don't say I didn't help out."
Lao Tu continued to smile and replied, "I won't say anything. Go ahead."
She stood up and said to Yuan Ye, "I'm heading over there, Brother Ye, call me if you need me for anything?"
Yuan Ye nodded and waved his hand at her.
After she left, Yuan Ye asked, "Why aren't you married yet?"
Old Tu didn't answer, he just shook his head. This man always had a smile on his face that was three parts out of place, and no one could figure out what he was really thinking. That girl had been with Old Tu for five or six years, following him since she was in her early twenties.
Old Tu didn't have a family or children, and he never got married, so it had always been like this. The young girl went from twenty to twenty-six, graduating from university several years ago, and she always seemed carefree and happy, giggling all day long as if she didn't have a care in the world.
Yuan Ye didn't usually ask about other people's business, and he wasn't interested in other people's affairs. He was just trying to sort out his own affairs. He didn't ask any more questions and chatted with Old Tu while drinking.
Old Tu filled Yuan Ye's cup with wine and asked him, "When you went back this time, did you see that person?"
With a cigarette in his mouth and one eye half-closed, Yuan Ye said to Old Tu, "I didn't ask you, so don't ask me."
"You can ask me if you want, I'm not afraid to answer," Old Tu replied with a smile.
Yuan Ye shook his head and kept his mouth shut tight. He didn't like others prying into his personal life, especially when it came to matters of the heart. To him, emotions were a particularly private matter, and he couldn't understand why anyone would want to share them with others.
Ultimately, he believed that such words were only meant for two people who were extremely close, and if two people had feelings for each other, then they must be the closest of all.
Yuan Ye drank his alcohol one glass at a time, but he couldn't handle too much. He wasn't a heavy drinker, and by the end of the night, he was feeling a bit dizzy.
The shop was getting more and more crowded, and the noise was getting louder, making Yuan Ye's head feel a bit chaotic. When he drank too much, he couldn't control his thoughts, and those forgotten and unforgotten old fragments would suddenly rush into his mind, making him feel like his brain capacity was not enough.
Just now, when he was asked, he didn't say anything, but now that no one is asking, he can't keep his mouth shut.
Yuan Ye rested his arms on his knees, with his hands hanging there casually and his head lowered. After a while, he suddenly spoke up, "There were two kids in that program."
Old Tu lifted his eyelids and looked at him, "Were you asked to take care of the kids?"
"Like hell." The yellow light bulb above cast a distant and melancholic glow in Yuan Ye's eyes. He leaned back and rubbed his head, muttering under his breath, "...They're so young."
"In their early twenties, the prime of their lives," Yuan Ye added.
Old Tu remained silent, sitting across from them, eating and drinking.
"At this age, we were so damn brave," Yuan Ye chuckled. "I was fearless, just like everyone else."
"You know how to fear now?" Old Tu raised an eyebrow and asked.
Yuan Ye nodded, then shook his head. "Fear... how can I not?"
After drinking with Old Tu, it was already dark outside when Yuan Ye took a taxi home. He didn't even take a shower and just collapsed onto his bed. Drinking was a great way to ease his discomfort, which was why he went out today. Sometimes, alcohol could be annoying, but other times it was truly a good thing.
There were some emotions that couldn't be expressed normally, and some things that he wouldn't allow himself to think about without the help of alcohol.
Yuan Ye still hadn't said everything he wanted to say while he was drinking.
But he didn't want to say anymore. Some things just couldn't be said to others. He slept deeply and soundly, lost in a world of dreams. In the middle of the night, he woke up with a full bladder and went outside to relieve himself.
After sleeping for half the night, he was sober enough to take a shower. The hot water poured down from above, washing over his eyes and ears, then flowing down his collarbone and shoulders.
In the past, he used to enjoy teasing Fang Shaoyi while he showered, because the way the water flowed over his tight muscles was so damn sexy. Fang Shaoyi had an amazing physique, and now, whenever someone mentioned male stars with great bodies on Weibo, people would post his pictures. Fans would always say they wanted to lick their screens when they saw those photos.
Once, he had bitten Fang Shaoyi's collarbone and looked up at him with a lascivious grin, saying, "They lick their screens, but I'll lick you."
Fang Shaoyi pinched his chin and told him to stop being so restless.
Yuan Ye had never felt shy before, especially when it came to two men doing what they wanted to do. They had no shame and just went for it. Yuan Ye never held back and just wanted to have fun with his partner.
Yuan Ye leaned against the wall of the shower room and looked at his reflection in the glass. He stared at his face for a while and then looked at his upper body. He wasn't as fit as Fang Shaoyi because he didn't need to maintain his physique for filming. Fang Shaoyi had to work out with a personal trainer to stay in shape for his roles. Yuan Ye sighed as he looked down at his body.
He was getting hard and didn't know what to do about it.
The alcohol had made his mind too fuzzy, and all he could think about while taking a shower were those things. This position, that position, this and that with Fang Shaoyi. Clothes on, clothes off...
Yuan Ye closed his eyes, and suddenly two people doing it for the first time flashed through his mind. Fang Shaoyi had bitten Yuan Ye's nose and then kissed him gently. Yuan Ye urged him on, asking if he could go faster because he was about to explode.
Fang Shaoyi ignored his urging and raised an eyebrow, saying, "Then explode and let me see."
Yuan Ye turned his head and cursed.
Too many fragments flashed before his eyes, a memory bank of over a decade that he could easily grab from. Images flickered rapidly, finally settling on a sunless afternoon.
Fang Shaoyi's eyes were bloodshot and terrifying as he asked, "Have you made up your mind?"
Although Yuan Ye didn't nod, he blinked and agreed.
Fang Shaoyi forcefully closed his eyes and threw the ring around his neck towards him.
Yuan Ye instinctively reached out to catch it, but only touched the end of the thin chain. The plain ring slipped through his fingers and fell to the ground with a soft, faint sound.