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 and blisters on his hands from mopping the floor and wiping the table.
That’s how tender this young master’s[4] skin was.

Xu Ziyang and Lao Yang were his roommates.
They were amazed after watching him for two hours, stumbling around trying to clean the dorm.
After that, they couldn’t help but take care of this mentally incompetent lifeform.

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Later on, Lao Yang became bros with Xu Ziyang and him, and Xu Ziyang… became his ex-boyfriend.

At that time, Tao Ran was full of courage, the wildest dog under the sun.[5] After he fell in love with Xu Ziyang, he was confused for two days, and then he started a vigorous pursuit, the kind that became infamous throughout the entire school.

You have to acknowledge that low EQ has the benefits of low EQ.
He pursued Xu Ziyang because he wanted to, completely disregarding everything from the outside world.
As for the scorn of other people, the gossiping of teachers and students, and the future… What was that? Was it good to eat?

Xu Ziyang also went from initial resistance, to restlessness, to calm, to being moved, to nodding.
To get to this step, Tao Ran grinded for exactly four years, from the beginning of the first semester of freshman year to their senior year graduation.

Tao Ran would never forget the day of the graduation ceremony.
They were wearing graduation gowns, and Xu Ziyang was standing by the school’s lake.
He looked elegant and handsome.

When he thought about how they would soon become ships passing in the night, he became so sad that he didn’t even want to walk.
However, he still hyped himself up and stood in front of Xu Ziyang, saying fiercely, “Xu Ziyang, your father[6] has chased you for four years.
Do you dare to do it? Say it to me straight!”

Xu Ziyang raised an eyebrow, “What if I don’t agree?”

Tao Ran felt the sky was about to collapse, but he still nodded bravely, pretending to be well-mannered and saying, “Okay, then.” Then he was too scared to look at Xu Ziyang again and turned to walk away.

As soon as he turned around, tears began dripping down.
Behind him was Xu Ziyang.
He didn’t dare to make any noise, so he could only endure it until he was about to suffer internal injuries[7]. 

As a result, Xu Ziyang caught up to him and grabbed him.
His voice had a rare hint of anxiety.
“Why are you leaving? Before I even finished speaking, you already… you’re crying?”

With a frustrated look on his face, Xu Ziyang pressed his head onto his shoulder, patting his back and coaxing gently, “Don’t cry… You’re usually so fierce, how come at the critical moment, you became a little crybaby?”

Tao Ran was both angry and aggrieved, “Xu Ziyang, be reasonable, when did I ever hurt[8] you? I can’t even cry after you reject me?”

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“It’s really…” Xu Ziyang said in frustration, “I’ve lost to you.” Then he lowered his head and gently kissed Tao Ran’s tear-streaked cheek, “I agree–don’t cry, okay? Your crying pains me so much.”

His tone was so light and his expression so soft that Tao Ran looked at him stupidly, even forgetting to cry.
Then this scene was deeply carved in his heart.

Every hour, every minute, every second, it had not been forgotten.

Even up until now.

T/N: This is a short story with a Bad Ending.
Important things must be repeated three times, this is a BE, this is a BE! I’m splitting it into multiple parts because it’s pretty long and I want the instant gratification of posting haha…

[1] It’s an insult to call someone a “grandson” in Chinese unless they are actually your grandson or in that generation.

[2] Lao means “old”.
It’s a common way to casually address men you’re acquainted with.

[3] A hothouse flower, someone squeamish and unable to bear anything.

[4] 少爷 (shào ye): The young master of the house, the son of the master.
If the household has multiple sons, and some or all of them are adults, then it’s common that the most incompetent, spoiled, and youngest son gets this title, so it is shorthand for the spoiled child of a rich family.
It’s basically the male version of an ojou-sama.

[5] 日天日地日空气 (lit: “f*** (the) sky f*** (the) earth f*** (the) air): Searched around and this seems to be a meme about a teddy dog famous on the internet, called 泰日天 (Tai Ritian).
日 means “sun” but it’s also a vulgar word meaning “to have sexual intercourse”.
Apparently teddy dogs hump everything, so this phrase means being very domineering, but in a mocking way.

[6] 老子 (“lǎozi”): Slang meaning “your father”.
It’s a rude and aggressive form of self-address.

[7] Comes from the belief that you can get internal injuries from holding back strong emotions.
Or if you’re in a wuxia / xianxia story, if you don’t spit out a mouthful of blood.[8] 凶 (lit: “murder, hurt”): An extremely bad / wicked death, like premature death, murder, violence, famine, or human sacrifice.
I couldn’t think of a good way to get the tone across.

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