The family dinner was joyous and harmonious. Unfortunately, it was interrupted by something.
It was unknown whether it was intentional or not, but Hua Song ended up visiting. When he arrived, Lu Yang and Lu Xianfeng happened to be in the study, talking about a business project.
When Lu Yang came out of the study and reached the stairs, he saw Hua Song sitting on the sofa with Man Yunxin between him and Chen Yuchuan.
Chen Yuchuan was sitting at the end of the sofa, holding a toy and playing with Chubby. He looked bored, clearly unable to participate in the conversation between Man Yunxin and Hua Song.
Lu Yang quickly headed downstairs and directly sat next to Chen Yuchuan. He wrapped one arm around his waist and pulled him to his side, pressing their shoulders together.
Chen Yuchuan leaned close to his ear and whispered, “Yang ge, Hua Song didn’t invite me to a concert this time.”
Hua Song’s manners were consistently respectful. He was mostly chatting with Man Yunxin, and from time to time, he would turn the most common topic to Chen Yuchuan and Lu Yang. He made no other action. And before Chen Yuchuan could even open his mouth, Lu Yang would answer with a few sentences in such a way that there was no way to continue on the topic.
Chen Yuchuan didn’t care about the presence of other people. He kept nuzzling Lu Yang’s ear, saying this and that. He wasn’t ashamed, and although Man Yunxin was a little embarrassed to hear it, and had even coughed a few times, he didn’t care at all. Clearly, it put Lu Yang in a great mood.
This time, Hua Song didn’t stay long, and Lu Yang offered to see him off outside the door. When he looked up at the second floor, he saw Chen Yuchuan resting his arms on the railing by the window, looking down at them.
Hua Song followed Lu Yang’s gaze up, but before he saw Chen Yuchuan, Lu Yang took half a step and blocked his view. “I heard you wanted to invite Xiao Chuan’er to a private concert?”
Hua Song didn’t hide it. He nodded. “I did invite Brother Chuan. I think I have the freedom to pursue him now.”
“You have the freedom, but he doesn’t have the freedom,” Lu Yang interrupted. “I didn’t give him the freedom.”
“But you left,” Hua Song said directly.
“I didn’t give him the freedom when I left, not from the beginning and not at the end. Not even a little bit.” Lu Yang nodded to Hua Song, not wanting to talk nonsense. “Take care. I won’t see you off.”
When Lu Yang got back, Chen Yuchuan was already back downstairs and was chatting with Man Yunxin.
Hearing footsteps, he turned and asked, “Yang ge, when you saw Hua Song off, what did you say to him?”
“I just reminded him to drive safely,” Lu Yang said casually.
When they finally left, they took Chubby with them. They stopped by their old apartment to pick up Chubby’s things, as well as some things that Chen Yuchuan wanted, such as the photo of the two of them on the bedside table, the flowers on the balcony, and their boxing gloves.
Chubby hadn’t lived with his parents in a while, and he seemed very excited. In the back seat, he kept trying to rush toward Chen Yuchuan.
“Chubby, you’re so fat” Chen Yuchuan said, while rubbing the dog’s neck.
With a bark, Chubby stuck out his tongue and whined twice, his two long ears drooping and dangling. He placed his head on Chen Yuchuan’s arm.
“Little obedient child.” Chen Yuchuan played with Chubby for a while. “Later in the evening, your mom and I will take you out for a walk.”
Their life seemed to have returned to normal.
Between friends, relatives, and work, they were so busy that their feet barely touched the ground.
Lu Xianfeng and Man Yunxin had already gone on vacation. With two days left in the holiday, Chen Yuchuan and Lu Yang canceled all activities, opting to quietly stay at home together.
In the past two years, they had been so busy that it wasn’t easy to find time to relax together. Usually, either he was busy or Lu Yang was busy.
Now, they were both free, with nothing else planned. They simply lazed comfortably on the sofa, watching TV and eating a bowl of clear noodle soup.
They had been together for such a long time that things would inevitably change to some extent.
At the beginning, they went through a period of turbulence and chaos. And, suddenly, they ushered into a period of peace.
During that short period of time, they didn’t quarrel or make things difficult. It started when Lu Yang had had a bad cold and his throat was seriously inflamed. As a result, they tacitly didn’t speak very much for an entire week.
When Chen Yuchuan realized this, he frowned and took Lu Yang’s hand. “Lu Yang, we seem to have become old men.”
Lu Yang nodded. Then Chen Yuchuan said, “I’m 28 this year. We’ve been together for ten years now.”
Lu Yang hummed again, and Chen Yuchuan said, “After another ten years, will the passion between us disappear? Just like others had said, will holding your left hand be like holding my own right hand?”
He didn’t know if they would lose their passion for each after an additional decade, and would come to find one another dull.
Lu Yang didn’t answer his question, but that night he proved with practical actions that they were particularly passionate in their tenth year, no less than ten years ago.
After that, Chen Yuchuan no longer thought about how their relationship would change after another decade. He felt that it was unnecessary.
It hadn’t even been another decade. Only six years had passed since then.
As he watched the morning news, Chen Yuchuan turned his head and said to Lu Yang, who was in the middle of pouring dog food for Chubby, “Yang ge, our mentality, body, and psychology had changed in ten years. This is inevitable and inescapable. But I think that, no matter the length of the passing time, some things will only become heavier and heavier. Even as time vanishes little by little, these things are also accumulating in minute degrees.”
After saying this, he turned his head and went back to watching TV. Although he didn’t explain, Lu Yang understood what he meant.
He watched TV for a while before suddenly turning sideways. Putting his arm on the sofa, he said, “Yang ge, our parents always go on vacation, but we haven’t really gone out together for a long time.”
“Last time we went out together was the year before. Is there anywhere you want to go?” Lu Yang asked.
Chen Yuchuan thought about it and said, “Not yet. I’ll tell you once I think of something.”
“Mmn. Tell me once you think of something,” Lu Yang said. “By the way, there’s not much groceries left in the fridge. Let’s go to the supermarket later.”
Hearing Lu Yang talk about going to the supermarket together made Chen Yuchuan even more excited than when thinking about going on vacation.
It had been a while since they had done such a common thing as going to the supermarket together.
In the recent past, whoever got off work first would go and shop for groceries. In the half year before the divorce, it had always been Chen Yuchuan who took care of everything, unwilling to let Lu Yang do anything.
At that time, he would also get up more than an hour earlier than usual, and so by the time Lu Yang got up, he would have already made breakfast and soup.
He also went to the supermarket many times, and even got to know a group of aunties quite well. So much so that for two days, one of the elderly ladies taught him how to knit sweaters. It didn’t seem too hard, and it even looked quite good. But when he bought all the yarns and needles himself, he completely forgot how to do it.
In the end, he had no choice but to watch a lot of videos and self-study. After having failed to knit a sweater, he opted to knit a scarf for Lu Yang to wear in the winter. However, it was only half-completed when they got divorced, and so he’d stuffed the unfinished product somewhere in the closet.
He also knew that his patience for knitting wouldn’t last long.
Therefore, when they went to the supermarket later that morning, as Lu Yang was pushing the shopping cart past the daily necessities, Chen Yuchuan stopped to browse for a scarf. He ended up selecting one for Lu Yang and one for himself.
They spent most of the remaining morning shopping. It wasn’t until their cart was practically overflowing did they finally go to check out.
When it was their turn, Chen Yuchuan looked at the rows of small shelves on the counter, all full of various kinds of colorful boxes.
He reached out and grabbed a tube of lube and a box of condoms. The condoms they had at home were probably too old.
He chose the brand that they often used. Once the cashier had scanned the code at checkout, he picked up the two items and stuffed them directly into Lu Yang’s coat pocket.
As they were walking out of the supermarket side by side, carrying large shopping bags, Chen Yuchuan nudged Lu Yang and whispered, “Do you want to try again?”
As he was speaking, a man quickly brushed past him, talking on the phone. Lu Yang had to pull him closer so that the man wouldn’t bump into him.
Chen Yuchuan’s voice had been at a whisper, and only the ending reached Lu Yang’s ears.
Chen Yuchuan slipped his free hand into Lu Yang’s pocket, and when he grabbed one of the boxes and was about to take it out, Lu Yang pressed down on his hand through the fabric.
“Chen Yuchuan, we’re outside. Don’t make mischief.” Lu Yang reached his hand into his pocket and held Chen Yuchuan’s hand, not letting him move.
Chen Yuchuan actually didn’t intend to take his hand out. When they reached an open space with fewer people, he raised his head to the sky and laughed a few times, saying, “Even if I take it out now, we can’t use it, right? Don’t be so nervous.”
In truth, the one who was really nervous was Chen Yuchuan. On the night when Lu Yang came back from his business trip, he knew for certain that he could respond to Lu Yang. But, he still wasn’t confident that there wouldn’t be any issues when they’re in the thick of it.
He’d thought about it many times before, and sometimes he thought that even if he couldn’t fucking respond, he could still forget it and enjoy the ride.
All this time, he’d been trying to find a good opportunity. If he kept dragging it out, would it ever get better?