Deluge

CH 11

In preparation of welcoming Pei Yu, Xu Juan postponed all his appointments for the next day.
Though he clearly knew Pei Yu would only arrive in the afternoon, he couldn’t help waking up very early.
He spent the whole morning in high spirits, shutting himself in the study doing calligraphy and painting, turning himself into an ink-smeared mess.

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After that, he put together a quick lunch for himself.
At around one, Pei Yu texted him on Wechat to let him know he was almost there. 

Xu Juan’s delight immediately skyrocketed to its pinnacle.
He found it quite unfathomable; Although he was always very earnest while pursuing someone, it wasn’t often that the process made him feel the way Pei Yu did.

He concluded it as: Pei Yu was worth it.

 

 

Oh, wait.
Pei Yu’s face was worth it.
So it didn’t matter if he were more invested, wasn’t he planning to date him after all? He should let himself be moved and care about Pei Yu more.
In this way, when he received a response, he would feel greater joy.

Xu Juan happily pushed open the door of the study.
He didn’t change out of his clothes, so not only was there ink on his shirt, there was also ink on his hands, and some was even smudged on his face.
He walked out into the courtyard like this without washing up and opened the front door. 

He lived in a residential estate of villas.
The courtyard was too big and had a garden.
His neighbours were very far away.

 

Pei Yu came by taxi.
When he got out of the car, Xu Juan was waiting for him by the gate, his face full of anticipation.
Pei Yu got a little embarrassed by the way he was looked at, so he feigned interest in their surroundings, saying: “You live alone in such a huge place?”

“Yeah, the house was a gift from my mom.
If I left it empty, it’d stay empty.”

Xu Juan led Pei Yu inside, talking as they walked: “I don’t usually receive guests, so I don’t have tea.
There’s coffee and juice, which would Pei laoshi prefer?”

 

Pei Yu said he would be fine with either.

Xu Juan invited him to sit before going off on his own to prepare two glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice.
He added ice, then brought it over to Pei Yu.

Honestly, it was very easy to deal with people like Pei Yu.
Although he looked difficult to get along with, he didn’t have a scheming heart.
He wasn’t adept at concealing his likes and dislikes.
When he was fond of something, he behaved like a child; Despite knowing that the other party was baiting him, he would still take it.
Was it because he was exceptionally foolish? No, it was because he was sincerely fond of it, and couldn’t resist.

 

Xu Juan dubbed this naivete, the heart of an innocent child. 

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Anyway, a person like him, whose heart was blackened and insides rotten, no longer had such a thing.
But this didn’t stop him from understanding and admiring Pei Yu.

“How long will you be here today, Pei laoshi? Do you have time to stay for dinner?” Xu Juan said, “We can have a drink or two.
I have good liquor here, do you like drinking?”

“I can’t, I don’t handle liquor well.”

Pei Yu maintained his decorum, his gaze flitting over to the other’s face before trailing off.
Xu Juan paused for a moment then reacted by casually rubbing his hand over his face, laughing: “I’ve been messing around with ink all day.
I painted something, it’s for you.” 

Once said, he brought Pei Yu to the study.

His study was very spacious, the walls mounted with his collection of calligraphy works and paintings.
Pei Yu’s attention was stolen the moment he went through the door.
Xu Juan feigned dismay and said: “Don’t be like that, can’t you look at me? This is the painting I’m gifting you.”

He led Pei Yu to the desk.

It was an ink painting, of a branch of cold plum blossoms.
The painting was very simply done, if his calligraphy could be called professional, then his skills in traditional Chinese painting was that of an amateur’s, barely worth a mention. 

But he painted it very sincerely.
Pei Yu had seen the pile of scrapped brown paper he had tossed to the side.
It seemed it hadn’t been easy for this finished product to be born.

Xu Juan even inscribed some words on the painting: “This body, in a forest of ice and snow, mixed with different peaches and plums in fragrant dust.
All at once in the night, the sweet scent bursts, diffuses into the universe, into a thousand miles of spring”.

This was one of the famous Ode to the Plum Blossom works.
Poets in olden times liked using things to express their sentiments.
Xu Juan borrowed someone else’s poem for use, but he was discreetly implying an entirely different thing to Pei Yu: In my heart, you are a pure and unattainable white plum blossom, different from all those other promiscuous whores.

He didn’t really care if Pei Yu understood his intentions or not since his main objective was to entertain himself.

Whatever it was, whether he understood or not, gifting plum blossoms could never go wrong.
Pei Yu was very supportive, and from his expression, seemed to like it very much.

“Thank you.” Pei Yu appraised the painting attentively, several times over, then suddenly said, “Director Xu has given me gifts two out of the three times we’ve met.
I’m not sure what to give in return, it’s really——” 

Xu Juan couldn’t stand this sort of traditional and rigid manner of speech and hurriedly interrupted: “It’s no problem, as long as you like it.
No need to be so polite.”

Pei Yu gave a small smile.
He rarely smiled, so each time he did, Xu Juan would thoroughly grasp onto it, then stash it deep into his memory to be replayed over and over.
While Xu Juan was capturing his smile, Pei Yu pointed at the other works on the wall: “May I have a look around?”

“Absolutely.” Xu Juan walked out around the back of the desk and to the front of a cupboard, opening the door, “There’s some here too, the ones that couldn’t fit on the wall.
Just make yourself at home.”

To Pei Yu, Xu Juan’s home was literally paradise, almost like a small-scale exhibition. 

Some of these calligraphy works and paintings were acquired by Xu Juan through spending money, and some were gifts from others.
But most of them were given to him by the seniors in Duan Xiyuan’s circle back when he was still his student, since they found him clever and likeable.

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Due to their good relationship, whenever those seniors casually wrote a work of calligraphy, they would give it to him without a care.
However, to someone who wasn’t able to get into the circle, they couldn’t acquire any of these works even with a thousand pieces of gold.

To boil it down, he was just benefitting from association with his teacher.

While Pei Yu looked around, Xu Juan was pondering this matter.
He thought, maybe he should visit his teacher in the next couple of days and bring the old man some gifts.
However, Duan Xiyuan no longer acknowledged the unworthy student that was him, so if they met, he might scold him. 

Xu Juan sighed, admitting to himself that he truly wasn’t anything worthy, so perhaps he shouldn’t go after all? What if he angered the old man into triggering his heart disease?

In the middle of his daydream, Pei Yu called out to him: “Director Xu, was this work of calligraphy done by you? I thought this seal looked like yours.”

 

Pei Yu stood by the wall, turning around to look at him.
Xu Juan got up and walked over: “It’s mine.”

He laughed quietly, somewhat embarrassed: “This is the work I’m most satisfied with, I wrote it on the day of my nineteenth birthday.
How did that saying go again? —— The pinnacle of one’s ability, one’s best work.
Now I can no longer write anything close to this standard.”

Pei Yu nodded: “Indeed, it’s better than the one you wrote at my house that night.
You’ve fallen behind in your skills.”

Xu Juan: “……” 

It’s fine if I say a few modest lines myself, but can’t you be less blunt?

Xu Juan felt a headache coming on.
Pei Yu’s EQ was clearly on the low side, he said whatever came to mind, directly saying: “It’s such a pity, why would you get rusty? What experiences have you gone through these past few years?”

“Nothing much, just got lazy, that’s all.” Xu Juan blurted absentmindedly, then realized that wasn’t right.
Last night, he had even portrayed himself as a desolate character who couldn’t find his soulmate.
This comment was too out of character.
He reacted quickly, adjusting his tone to patch up his mistake, “I got a little discouraged, so I didn’t want to do it anymore.”

“Why?” Pei Yu looked at him, puzzled. 

Xu Juan said: “Because… After I saw my upper limit, I knew I didn’t have innate talent.
I learnt everything when I was young –– calligraphy, fine arts, music; I depicted myself as an all-rounder, but really I couldn’t learn anything to high proficiency.
In the end, I was just an amateur being a pretentious culture snob, unable to join the art scene.”

This answer was his usual style of speech: Half-truths.

In the past, he was indeed distressed, but after he stopped learning, he naturally stopped caring about these things.
He wasn’t someone who adored the arts to begin with, “art” was merely a tool to him, just like how he was using it this very moment to cheat Pei Yu of good favour.

So, by labelling himself as a pretentious culture snob, he could be considered self-aware. 

Instead, Pei Yu said: “I think you have innate talent.
You were already so well-learned as a child; You have a strong foundation and impressive calligraphic style, why be so self-deprecating? I don’t understand much about art, but I know, it isn’t that unreachable.
It exists in our everyday life, so maybe if you switch up your mentality, you’ll be able to grasp it.”

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Xu Juan: “……”

As expected of a Mandarin teacher.

But Xu Juan didn’t want to discuss this topic any further.
One’s mentality may sound like a simple matter, but in reality, it was the most difficult to change.
Anyway, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with his mentality right now; His promiscuity and unrestraint was something that a traditional fool like Pei laoshi would never understand. 

He didn’t debate this with Pei Yu, else if Pei Yu started preaching, then he would find him much like a wooden beauty and not think him adorable anymore.

“If only,” Xu Juan indulged him, “It’s better to just go with the flow.”

 

He walked away from Pei Yu, but just as their shoulders brushed, Pei Yu grabbed his arm: “I’m being serious, Xu Juan.”

“……” 

Xu Juan was stunned.
Pei Yu said: “You’re very gifted, why won’t you cherish that? Don’t you find it a pity? How old are you this year, in your early twenties, right? Mr Duan Xiyuan is a master calligrapher, but when he was your age, he was still a nobody.
How do you know you won’t accomplish greater things than him? You––”

Pei Yu noticed the other staring at him and loosened his hold, his expression becoming awkward.
Still, he insisted on finishing: “I admire you very much.
I hope you’ll continue to work hard.”

“……”

Xu Juan’s heart felt choked up, and he finally understood; So this was how it felt like to pursue a teacher. 

Pei laoshi was indeed worthy of being his white plum in the ice and snow, he was different from all those other common flowers and weeds.

But how unfortunate, he himself was one of those commoners and didn’t like to be educated by others.

Xu Juan was a little upset, but even so, it wasn’t to the point of wanting to express that to Pei Yu.

But Pei Yu had said he admired him so sincerely and gave him life advice.
And he did so, with a face that moved Xu Juan’s heart, while leaning in at such close proximity.
All of his displeasure morphed into a terrible impulse that made him disregard tactics and self-control; He couldn’t resist, he wanted to turn things around and teach Pei Yu a lesson instead. 

Xu Juan turned slightly to face Pei Yu, then took one step forward.

Pei Yu was standing by the wall to begin with, so when he suddenly moved close, Pei Yu was startled, unconsciously retreating backwards: “What are you doing?”

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“Nothing.” Xu Juan forced the other against the wall, pressing one hand against Pei Yu’s shoulder.
He leaned in and said, “Pei laoshi, you’re even more naive than I thought.
What about me do you admire? Do you know what kind of person I am?”

“……” 

He was too close; Pei Yu’s back was ramrod straight, his expression a little frozen.
Xu Juan was insatiable, his lips nearly brushing Pei Yu’s face.
He saw the flames burning in Pei Yu’s eyes, the red at the tips of his ears, and knew he was about to lose his temper.
He said: “Don’t move.”

“……”

“I’ll tell you now myself, what kind of person I am.”

Once said, he didn’t give Pei Yu any time to react.
He zeroed in on Pei Yu’s lips and directly kissed them. 

Kissing itself was a simple process, but pleasure was anything but.

Xu Juan kissed him fiercely, keeping Pei Yu securely against the wall.
In Pei Yu’s utter and complete daze, he stole his breath.

 

“A rookie.” Xu Juan quickly came to this conclusion, his kisses becoming more unbridled.

He deliberately reached up to cover Pei Yu’s eyes, wanting the darkness to help the other feel him more sensitively. 

When he slid his tongue in, he could distinctly feel Pei Yu stiffen, but the shock and thrill of the moment nailed Pei Yu exactly where he stood.
Xu Juan took the opportunity to deepen their kiss, every lick and lap dripping with eroticism, executing his actions bluntly and explicitly.

Pei Yu wanted to push him away, but Xu Juan wouldn’t let him.
He pressed his body close, flattening himself to the other, then wrapped his arms around Pei Yu’s neck.

“… Don’t bite me.” A fleeting gasp bubbled up from Xu Juan’s throat, carrying deliberate intent.
He saw that Pei Yu’s cheeks were flushed; He didn’t even know how to catch his breath and was barely holding it in.

Xu Juan was unwilling to let him off, leaning even closer for a deeper, more intense kiss.
Not just for a rookie like Pei Yu, even he himself was hazy.
The more they kissed, the more breathless he felt.
He was dizzy, but he couldn’t control himself, couldn’t stop. 

When the kiss finally ended, the both of them were heaving as they met each other’s eyes.
Xu Juan heard the sound of Pei Yu’s chaotic heartbeat, but his expression remained indifferent as he stared blankly at him.
He looked as if he had something to say, but when his lips parted, he didn’t say anything at all.

At such a critical juncture, Xu Juan needed to take the initiative in acquiring the upper hand––

“Pei Yu, you’ve kissed me.” He said, inverting black and white to tell the distorted truth, “You accepted the token of my love and even kissed me.
Now you have to take responsibility for me.”

T/N: They kissed!! But *coughs* remember, consent is key, friends. 

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