Thank you to poodadoe for the Ko-fi!
On the night of a certain stream, a very long time ago. Jian Rong bluntly rejected a female accompanying gamer’s request to tag team the bot lane together, his voice cold and detached enough to make someone’s hair stand on end. Bored and lacking anything better to do, the water friends started speculating about his future romantic partner, while also roasting this dumbass for how he would act when he eventually dated someone.
Some of them said that he should find a girl with an irritable temper so that they could flame each other every day while streaming; others said that he would definitely find a mild and weak little white rabbit. There were also a few antis who tried to stir up trouble by claiming that he was destined to become an abuser.
At the time, Jian Rong hadn’t responded to a single one of those comments. He felt like dating was something that was very far off for him. He couldn’t think of anyone he would want to stay in one room with, nor had he ever met someone who he especially wanted to get to know and talk to.
But right now, he was squeezed behind an umbrella with a guy who was even taller and broader than he was.
Upon hearing a passerby complain about the drizzle, Jian Rong’s pulse quickened a beat, and he gripped Lu Boyuan’s shirt even tighter, his fingernails suffused with white from nervousness.
Worried that Jian Rong’s clothes would rub against the glass wall of the convenience store behind them, which was covered with droplets of rain, Lu Boyuan placed his other hand on Jian Rong’s waist.
Jian Rong’s lips were very soft, and they tasted like peppermint-flavored gum as they moved against Lu Boyuan’s with an eager, impatient inexperience.
Lu Boyuan’s heart itched from Jian Rong’s kisses, and he also wanted to laugh. As a result, he drew back just a bit.
The moment their lips separated, Lu Boyuan cast his eyes downward and happened to spot Jian Rong’s half-opened eyes. A second later, Jian Rong clutched at Lu Boyuan’s clothing and shifted forward, leaning in again.
Ding-ge’s call came in. He said that he was driving to get them himself, and that he would be there in three minutes, so they should stand in an area where he could temporarily park.
Lu Boyuan lifted his hand and tugged his mask back into place before he told Ding-ge that there was already an area he could stop at right in front of them.
Jian Rong stayed frozen in his original position. He appeared to be listening to Lu Boyuan’s phone call, but in reality, his brain was currently replaying the last few minutes, his ears completely red.
Just now, did he pull Lu Boyuan back in so that he could kiss him again?
The instant they put away the umbrella, a shiny black Bentley Mulsanne came to a stop at the edge of the street, drawing numerous glances from everyone in the nearby vicinity.
The car window rolled down. Ding-ge, who was wearing sunglasses, jerked his chin up at them.
Before anyone could ask, Ding-ge began chattering away unprompted the moment the door opened. “Fu-ge bought a new car and left this car at the base for us to use. Isn’t it awesome?”
Jian Rong said without any emotion whatsoever, “Awesome.”
Ding-ge: “…little spoiled brats don’t know what’s what.”
By this time, it was already past off-work rush hour. They drove unimpeded for half the trip before they finally encountered a red light and stopped.
Ding-ge turned his head, wanting to say something, but instead his eyes were drawn to the hems of Jian Rong’s pant legs. “Why are the bottoms of your pant legs so wet? Got caught in the rain?”
He looked Jian Rong up and down a few times, puzzled. “You didn’t get wet anywhere else…”
Jian Rong: “…”
Of course he didn’t get caught in the rain. It was soaked because of the rainwater that had dripped off of the surface of the umbrella earlier when they were using it as a cover-up.
He had been solely focused on doing something else, so he hadn’t pulled his legs back from where they had been tautly stretched out. Only after they were done kissing did he realize that his pant legs were drenched.
Jian Rong said woodenly, “It got wet from me playing in the puddles.”
“…” Ding-ge twisted his head to look at Lu Boyuan and was startled again. “Damn, just what kind of fun did you two have? For your clothes to be so wrinkled??”
In the wake of Ding-ge’s words, Jian Rong glanced over.
The bottom right corner of Lu Boyuan’s shirt was thoroughly wrinkled. Jian Rong was grasping that patch of fabric the entire time earlier, and currently, it looked like it had been placed in a washing basin and trampled over by countless people.
Lu Boyuan savored the cool traces of peppermint remaining in his mouth and said, “A cat scratched it.”
Jian Rong: “…”
The light changed to green. Ding-ge quickly faced forward and stepped on the gas. “What kind of cat is so incredible that it can make your shirt look like that… also, why are you two still wearing your masks in the car? Do you know how much each bottle of Fu-ge’s car fragrance costs? It’s even more expensive than my wife’s perfume, take off your masks and smell it!”
Lu Boyuan said, deadpan, “Then shouldn’t you be reflecting on yourself?”
Ding-ge choked and swore good-naturedly before he concentrated on driving.
Back at the base, Ding-ge waved a hand at Jian Rong. “You should go change your clothes. Isn’t it uncomfortable for your pants to be that wet?”
Jian Rong went upstairs reluctantly, glancing behind him every few steps.
Lu Boyuan took off his mask. “Have something to say?”
They had known each other for quite a few years now, so Ding-ge didn’t bother beating around the bush with him. He moved closer and asked quietly, “Did you start dating recently?”
Lu Boyuan went motionless for a second before he looked calmly at Ding-ge.
“I knew it.” Ding-ge’s expression was complicated. “With who? Someone in the circle?”
Lu Boyuan’s eyebrows unfurrowed slightly, and he asked in lieu of an answer, “How did you find out.”
“It was way too obvious.” Ding-ge said, “Who would switch their profile picture to a female cat for no reason?”
“Also, usually you aren’t even willing to go to a restaurant after a match, yet today, you immediately changed clothes backstage and left.” Ding-ge paused. “Shit, your lip… is split.”
Lu Boyuan pressed the back of his hand against his mouth. The skin on his bottom lip was broken. “Accidentally bit down on it.”
“Enough, who could accidentally bite down on that spot.” Ding-ge thought of something, causing his brows to knit together. “Though I’ve told you before that you should keep a low profile when dating so that you don’t drive away all your girlfriend fans, that doesn’t mean you have to go so far as to…”
Ding-ge shot a glance in the direction of the stairs and finished, “As to take Soft along to act as a shield.”
Lu Boyuan went silent for a brief moment before he repeated, “A shield?”
“Was that not the case? Then why else would you bring him along on your date?”
After Ding-ge said that, he himself was dumbfounded for two seconds.
Out of nowhere, he recalled Jian Rong’s orange cat profile picture, before he remembered the strange conversation they had inside the car.
When Lu Boyuan saw his expression, he didn’t say anything to interrupt Ding-ge’s train of thought.
Quite a while later, Ding-ge slowly asked again, “…you’re really in a relationship?”
Lu Boyuan said, “Mn.”
“With…” A guy or a girl.
The latter half of Ding-ge’s sentence was cut off by the sound of footsteps as Xiao Bai and Pine came downstairs. He had no choice but to swallow down everything he was going to say, and he ultimately could only ask in a rushed, suppressed whisper, “You’re serious?”
Lu Boyuan asked lazily, “What do you think?”
At that, Ding-ge realized in retrospect that his own question was a bit foolish.
If Lu Boyuan wanted to become a pro gamer, he would insist on doing so even if his family opposed him; he wouldn’t turn back even if he had to go hungry or live in a worn-down dorm.
If he wanted to bring his team to victory, he would stay up all night practicing as hard as he could. When his hands grew so sore that he couldn’t lift them up, he would go get acupuncture, bloodletting therapy, or cortisone shots, never once complaining about the exhaustion or pain.
Over the course of the several years of his professional career, the number of female fans who liked him could line up from Shanghai to Beijing. There were people with all sorts of appearances, from all sorts of industries, but Lu Boyuan hadn’t given any of them a chance.
Lu Boyuan treated both people and decisions alike with gravitas. If he was dating someone, it meant that he truly liked them.
Ding-ge: “Then you two…”
“We just started, it’s not stabilized yet.” Lu Boyuan picked up his hat and headed upstairs, tossing behind him, “Don’t worry, it won’t affect training.”
It wouldn’t affect whose training???
Ding-ge stood rooted to the spot and decided not to continue that line of thought, in case he wouldn’t ever be able to fall asleep again after today.
Jian Rong took a shower after returning to his room. While he was brushing his teeth, he scrolled through Tieba, wanting to find a troll to chat a bit with so that he could calm down.
Before he could find someone, their team’s WeChat group chat chimed first.
[P-Baby’s Little Support: [p-baby’s little support is calling you to order takeout together~] Barbeque, come order quickly if you want to eat it!]
[Ding-ge: Are you a pig? Didn’t I just take you all out to eat Japanese cuisine costing 5,000+ yuan this afternoon??]
[P-Baby’s Little Support: Our match ended so early today, it’s already been six hours since I last ate, isn’t it normal for me to be hungry?!]
[Yuan Qian: I ordered, get it super spicy for me.]
[P-Baby’s Little Support: Okey-dokey! Don’t worry, this store’s chili peppers are extremely vigorous, @R-ong @R do you guys want anything?]
[R: Can’t eat it, you guys order.]
Jian Rong paused in the middle of brushing his teeth and subconsciously asked—
[R-ong: Why can’t you eat it?]
Ten or so seconds later.
[R: My lip is split.]
Jian Rong nearly put on a ‘swallowing mouth-rinsing water’ show for himself in the mirror.