Translator: Renkun27, chiangyushien
The originally obscure memories cleared up. It was a long time ago so that Ke Bu could not remember it quickly. That was exactly the words that he said to Su Youyan during that night in their military training. That was the reason why Zhi Li smiled. He remembered the first time the two of them met. It was too late for Ke Bu to immerse himself in the memories. Zhou Xinhe looked at Ke Bu with concern: “Ke Bu, are you okay? Even if you fancy Zhi Li, you shouldn’t live in your own imaginary world. It’s not good for your health.”
“What I said is true!! If you don’t believe me, ask him.” Unfortunately, no one believed him. They were too shocked. Everybody looked at Zhi Li. Ke Bu was scared from the bottom of his heart. At this time, if Zhi Li would deny it, he thought those years were just a joke that he did not remember, that Zhi Li did not keep it in his heart, then Ke Bu would not know how he should conclude his heart.
“Quick, Zhi Li, hit him hard!”
Zhi Li noncommittally shrugged: “I’m afraid I can do nothing about it. This time, he’s telling the truth.” One’s heart was relinquished. Other’s heart was aroused. At first, they thought Ke Bu was joking. Who would have thought that they would also get a validation from Zhi Li. Not knowing why it was so, Ke Bu’s little sweet heart indescribably had some sense of satisfaction, a sense of vanity, and a sense of achievement.
The question was like a river toppling the mountains and overturning the seas  as it rushed over toward Ke Bu. Ke Bu leisurely made a simple statement. Finally, Chu Haoyu smiled and said: “What, it’s just a joke. How could you count that as dating? You scared me.”
(「排山倒海」páishān-dǎohǎi – figuratively gigantic or of spectacular significance)
“I said it wasn’t like what you thought it was. It’s just a title.” As to why it was only now that he could speak it out, Ke Bu always felt that this was the right time to say it. After all, they have already grown up. Sooner or later, there would be a day when Zhi Li would be taken away by others.
Students began entering the classroom, one after another. The school bell rang. Ying Xiujie threw away his milk: “I’m gonna go back and digest this matter for the whole month.” Everyone also dispersed afterwards.
Zhi Li rose to his feet and walked over behind Ke Bu: “Want to thank me?”
Zhi Li tapped the position of Ke Bu’s heart: “A little vanity that satisfies some of your achievements.”
Ke Bu panicked as he covered his chest. Not only did Zhi Li discover his feelings, but he even summarized it in words! He could not hide his crimson cheeks: “I, I definitely don’t understand the Devil’s language!” After saying that, he rushed back to his own seat.
After the afternoon class, Ke Bu returned to the dormitory. Chu Haoyu was not yet in, but in there, waiting for him was the unsightly face of Gong Zhu. Seeing Gong Zhu’s expression, he could almost guess what he was about to say. Ke Bu placed his books on the bed: “I’ve already said it, and Zhi Li and I aren’t really dating.”
“But, don’t you find it strange?” It seemed that Gong Zhu had not yet recovered from the shock a moment ago. Everything that happened this morning stimulated him. He thought it was only Ke Bu who had gotten this way of thinking toward Zhi Li, but he did not expect that even Zhi Li would also give tacit consent to this two-person relationship, which made him unable to accept.
“There’re so many parts that are strange. Ke Bu, do you like Zhi Li?” Gong Zhu stared at the floor as he slowly asked.
Ke Bu paused. His throat was a little labored: “How could I like, I said…”
“Liar!” Gong Zhu interrupted what Ke Bu actually said: “It might have been a joke on the spur of the moment. But after you’ve calmed down, you could obviously say you’re clear about it. Why do you have to keep this joke all these years? Why is it that you obviously don’t like it but you could endure and date Zhi Li nominally? Since you’re afraid of loneliness, why not just be friends? Isn’t that strange? This so-called fake attachment of yours, isn’t it that there’s so many strange parts that you don’t see? All lies, built with lies, piled with lies.” The more Gong Zhu spoke, the more agitated he was. His little face flushed. Language was a sharp weapon. It stabbed Ke Bu painfully. He sat on the edge of the bed without answering. Even Gong Zhu saw it coming at first — this pact that was full of holes.
“Since you don’t like Zhi Li and it’s going to be my birthday in a few days, I can let Zhi Li accompany me for a day. A day is fine. Say, maybe you’ll laugh. Every year, I’m always surrounded by fake friends during my birthday. When I was in senior high school, I was dating a senior. When those people knew about it, they spread offensive words all over the place, saying that I was so disgusting. But I think His Excellency Zhi Li knows that I like him. He didn’t look at me with strange eyes, or as usual, no alienation, but also didn’t come closer. This year, I only have one wish for my birthday — I want to stay together with him, even if he won’t like me.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter. You can stay together. You can have a happy two-person world.” Ke Bu stared at Gong Zhu, and Gong Zhu was stunned. Ke Bu continued speaking: “Do you think I would say that? I know that, from the first day, I told you, I’m not a good person. Who doesn’t feel a single bit of sadness in the past? Do you think it’s great to use your own pitifulness to coerce love? That’s impossible. It won’t work on Zhi Li.”
“Do you think you’re in the position to say this to me?”
Ke Bu frowned. Wrong, how wrong. I didn’t want to love at first. I was just trying to find someone to talk to. I just wanted to have someone to accompany me on hand. I didn’t use my own pitifulness to coerce anything. After that, I never showed this kind of feeling anymore. Also, I never asked anything from Zhi Li. Zhi Li obviously can leave me.
“Of course, I don’t really need to ask you. I just need to ask Zhi Li.” Gong Zhu walked over toward the dormitory door. He opened the door then turned around: “Are you afraid, Ke Bu? There’s possibly a reason why Zhi Li didn’t quit. You’re most afraid of that reason. He continued this agreement because he sympathized with you. There’s a ‘maybe,’ don’t you think? Maybe it’s not that he doesn’t want to leave, it’s just that he’s waiting for you to bring it up, before it hurts you.”
The door closed. Ke Bu plopped on his bed smiling. He held his tummy and started laughing. When did I start liking Zhi Li? Last year, the year before the last, or a long time ago? Ke Bu’s laughter gradually stopped. I kept on talking about the other person. Even if I’m not aware of my own situation, isn’t it that I’m also coercing Zhi Li? I really hope everything was fake. I really wish I hadn’t begged him not to go, that at least I could justifiably say now that Zhi Li was willing to do so, and not because of who was willing to. I could not refute Gong Zhu’s words. Was it, just as what Zhi Li said, what he could not understand clearly was me?
Ke Bu was in a daze. He fell asleep and dreamed of the past. It was senior high school graduation day. The white clouds laid suspended in the azure skies. Laughing and playing noisy students pushed in threes or fours  dotted the school campus — some were happy, some were annoyed. Ke Bu stood at the school gate waiting for his father to pick him up. Zhi Li was like a moving scenery — beautiful and clear. He was dressed in a wrinkled shirt.
(「三五成群」sānwǔ-chéngqún – in groups of three or four)
“What happened to your shirt?” Ke Bu walked over toward Zhi Li to ask him as he played with his phone.
“When I went downstairs, I was crowded by girls. They completely tore off my buttons.”
“Our popularity’s indeed different. My second button’s still unshakable, standing there. I really don’t understand. We’re obviously both men, but their treatment’s too different.”
Zhi Li took of his shirt and threw it on Ke Bu’s head: “There’s no way for me to give you the button. Just take my shirt directly.”
Ke Bu caught his shirt, and fiercely said: “There you go again with this nasty joke. You should change your character.”
“As exchange terms.” Zhi Li reached out with his hand to pull off Ke Bu’s second button. Looking desperately at Zhi Li, Ke Bu was annoyed as he clenched his teeth: “Zhi Li, I only wore this shirt twice!! Don’t think that I’ll forgive you right away for not compensating with a single bit of money.”
Zhi Li used his slender fingers to play with the button, and leaned on to one side: “Oh, by the way, I want to study in Sheng Jie. Do you want to come?”
“Since you asked me to go, I’ll go.”
“I told you to go, and you’ll go.” This bastard, he would always follow his own words. If he retorted a little bit, it would still be better talking back a little! I won’t concede.
He saw Zhi Li’s back going farther and farther away from himself. Ke Bu woke up from his dream. It was funny and unexpected, how he could still dream about the past at such a time. He was staring at his own palms, his twisted veins. Obviously, he originally said that he would let Zhi Li leave. He could not let go so he held his hand tightly. This damned hand, this bloody hand that was obedient to his heart.