The landline rang in the living room, constant and unremitting, a phantasmal sound filling his ears.

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Tao Ran covered his head with a pillow and repeatedly changed sleeping positions, but still couldn’t block out the grating sound.
He let out a desperate shout, then got up from the bed to answer the phone call from some unknown grandson.[1]

Mint, who was sleeping on the sofa, was also awakened by the phone.
It jumped up, surprised by the sound, and ran away with a harsh meow.

When Tao Ran and Xu Ziyang first moved into the house, Xu Ziyang said with a smile that he had to pick a landline phone with a loud ringtone and put it in the living room.
When he wasn’t at home, he would call Tao Ran every morning to wake him up.

Because of this, even if Tao Ran absolutely loathed this landline that always disturbed his dreams, he still didn’t get rid of it.

The caller was his best bro, Yang Yangyang, known as Lao Yang[2]–to tell the truth, Tao Ran never understood what Lao Yang’s parents were thinking to give their son such a messed up name.
Lao Yang said there wasn’t anything important.
Only that he just returned to China, so he wanted to meet up that night.

Tao Ran gave him a vicious scolding.
He had a bad temper, and upon waking, his temper was even worse.
Lao Yang had long expected that he would get yelled out, and he wasn’t annoyed at all.
He happily waited for Tao Ran to shout himself awake, before calmly setting a time and hanging up.

Tao Ran: “…”

He stepped barefoot onto the sofa, and after staring into space for a while, he finally came to his senses.
After realizing what he had just done, he ruffled his hair irritably, feeling very frustrated.

He took out his mobile phone, hesitated for a moment, and opened WeChat anyway.

Tao: Just now, Lao Yang called me to ask me to go out and meet up with him tonight.
I was sleeping when he woke me up, and I gave him a fierce scolding.

Tao: Lao Yang didn’t get angry, but I feel quite guilty now.

Tao: I can’t control my temper, but I’m really trying to change.

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Tao: And besides, I think I’m much better than I used to be.

He bit his lip and watched as these messages were sent.
He waited for a long time, but did not receive a reply.

He thought about it and sent another message to Lao Yang.

Tao: Well, I’m sorry, I didn’t sleep well last night, so earlier my tone wasn’t good.
Don’t take it to heart.

Lao Yang responded quickly, still cheerful: Haha, we’re all bros, what’s the point of being so polite.

Tao Ran couldn’t help but chuckle.

When he went to work, he was still thinking about the messages he sent, but after lunch, the other party still hadn’t responded.

…very angry.

Tao Ran wanted to lose his temper again.

He suppressed the annoyance in his heart, got up and went to the tea room to make some tea, but unexpectedly heard several colleagues gossiping about him.

“Tao Ran? Don’t even think about chasing him.
He doesn’t like girls.
He’s gay.
He came out publicly, and everyone in the company knows.”

“…Ah? Really, really?”

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“Huh, so unrestrained? He’s not afraid?”

“What is he afraid of? In the past, a man in the sales department said a few words to him, and he scolded him so hard that even his mother couldn’t recognize him, afterward.”

“But if his personality is this bad, so what if he’s handsome and has a good family background? See, no one wants him in the end.
I heard his boyfriend went abroad to dump him.
He definitely couldn’t stand it anymore.”

“So it’s like that…”

Tao Ran didn’t react when he listened to the first part.
He dared to come out of the closet because he was mentally prepared to be criticized.
It was the part at the end that he couldn’t bear to hear.
It was like taking a knife and stabbing him in the heart.

For a moment, he really wanted to walk over, pour tea on their faces, and personally teach them how to act like humans.

But he held back.

He didn’t want them to say, “With such a bad personality, no one could stand it.
He deserved to get dumped.”

…even though that was absolutely the truth.

Well, how should one put it? Strictly speaking, Tao Ran wasn’t just bad tempered.
He was also delicate[3], unable to bear any hardship, unable to stand the slightest grievance, and just a small thing would make him explode.

Tao Ran was fortunate in the first half of his life.
He had rich parents, the kind who spoiled their children.
He was spoiled into a mess since childhood.
By the time he got to university, he had never washed his own clothes or stepped into the kitchen.

Even while cleaning the dorm room, when it was his turn for the first time, he actually got calluses

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