I ADORE HIM
(The Words on the Note (1)
Wu Hao opened his mouth, but no words came out.
Lu Bancheng leaned back in his chair and sat there for a while. Eventually, he got up and stumbled to the restroom.
The room became deadly quiet. Wu Hao finally broke the silence, asking in a low voice, “Bro Sheng, do you think I’m a jerk and not manly?”
Before Gu Yusheng could answer, Wu Hao continued talking. “You must look down on me. I’m not stupid. I can tell. Since you’ve learned about me and Jiang Qianqian, you haven’t wanted to hang out with me anymore. You don’t want to sit on the chair I pull out for you. You don’t want to drink the wine I pour for you either.”
Wu Hao sighed in confusion and sadness. After a while, he said, “Bro Sheng, I’m glad that you came tonight. I appreciate it that you still care about me.”
Gu Yusheng had been quiet since he had walked into the room. He put down the wine bottle and looked seriously at Wu Hao. “I didn’t come here for you.”
What Lu Bancheng had said to Wu Hao was hurtful, but what Gu Yusheng just said hurt even more. Wu Hao was upset. He took a few sips of wine before asking, “Bro Sheng, then what are you here for?”
Gu Yusheng went straight to the point. “Was I friends with Qin Zhi’ai in high school? Were we close?”
“Why did you suddenly come to see me to ask me about Xiao’ai? Bro Sheng, are you interested in Xiao’ai?”
His wedding was called off. His fiance has left him. How can he possibly have any interest in gossiping?
Gu Yusheng looked up and glanced at Wu Hao but didn’t answer him.
They had been friends for years. Wu Hao knew what Gu Yusheng was thinking just by looking at his face. He lost his curiosity and tilted his head in contemplation before speaking. “You weren’t a friend of Xiao’ai in high school. I never saw you hanging out with her. Back then, you only wanted to join the military. You weren’t interested in girls.”
“How close could you possibly be with Xiao’ai? If there had been any connection between the two of you back then, it might have been when you fought for her once in high school. Hmm… but it was not exactly for her. It was for Nuannuan or maybe Jiang Qianqian.”
Wu Hao was extremely uncomfortable thinking about the past, so he didn’t go into details. “If greetings and small chats are considered ‘close,’ then I guess you were ‘close’ to her.”
Wu Hao saw Gu Yusheng staring at him without talking. He thought Gu Yusheng was not believing him, so he raised his hand up to gesture as he exclaimed, “Bro Sheng, what I just told you is the absolute truth. My fiance and Xiao’ai are best friends. If you had something with Xiao’ai, my fiance would have known about it, and so would I.”
Gu Yusheng looked away from Wu Hao. He leaned back in his chair for a while before getting up. As he walked away, he suddenly remembered something. He looked down at Wu Hao, still with a bottle in hand, and said, “Xu Wennuan is not your fiance anymore.”
What Gu Yusheng said was right. Wu Hao suddenly choked on his wine and had to bend over and cough strenuously.
Gu Yusheng took a step forward, and then remembered the bottle of wine he’d ordered. Knowing the price was beyond Wu Hao’s means, he took out his cell phone and transferred the money to Wu Hao, whose face turned pale upon seeing the transaction on the screen. Finally ready to go, Gu Yusheng strode away.
If Wu Hao says Qin Zhi’ai and I were not close in high school, it must be true that we weren’t friends.
But why did I give her a nickname? Why did I write her anonymous letters?
Was I attracted to her but not interested in a relationship back then? Had I wanted to not lose touch with her?
Gu Yusheng was bothered by what had become an unexpectedly complex question. He stood on the curb for some time thinking about it without resolution. He reached for his cigarettes but, fumbling through his pockets, realized he hadn’t brought his wallet or cigarettes with him.
He exhaled a long breath out of frustration and saw a bank when he looked up. He walked to it to withdraw some cash and then walked to a nearby supermarket. He grabbed two packs of his favorite brand of cigarettes and tossed them on the cashier’s desk.
Before the cashier could tell him what he owed, Gu Yusheng put $300 on the desk. “Receiving 300, and $28 is your change,” the cashier said. As she reached her hand out to take the money Gu Yusheng had left on the desk, he suddenly saw a line of writing on the note in the middle; the handwriting looked familiar. He frowned and suddenly grabbed the money before the cashier could take it.
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