Zhuo Xiang Ming was very punctual, he said that he would arrive home at three o’clock at the latest, and at two fifty, the car stopped at the door.
Tong Yan waited for him with his ears perked, when he heard the sound of the car pulling up, he immediately ran out. When he opened the door, Zhuo Xiang Ming had just gotten out of the car. Seeing him rush out, he halted, keeping his hand on the door, “I was just about to come in and get you, let’s go.”
Tong Yan nodded excitedly, and said, “Wait! I’ll go get my bag.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Okay … ah walk, don’t run.”
Tong Yan’s joyful dash was interrupted by this shout, he stopped and obediently walked to the patio swing. He picked up his backpack, hugged the tablet in the crook of his arm, and held the bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy that Xuan Gui had just foisted upon him. Then he got into the passenger seat.
Zhuo Xiang Ming was driving back personally. He’d taken off his suit jacket and placed it on the passenger seat. When Tong Yan tried to pick up the clothes, his tablet almost fell down. Zhuo Xiang Ming helped him organize the things in his arms, then leaned over to help him fasten his seat belt.
This kind of movement brought them very close together, but Tong Yan didn’t even notice until Zhuo Xiang Ming paused, asking when Tong Yan looked at him doubtfully, “This won’t make you feel uncomfortable, right?”
Tong Yan sniffed, taking in the dense smell of pheromones. There was a strong presence, but it wasn’t aggressive, it seemed as if it would really awaken the memory of a certain snowy morning.
“It’s not uncomfortable.” He leaned back, leaning his head against the headrest, he raised his face slightly and smiled at Zhuo Xiang Ming. His face was a little red, but there wasn’t much discomfort, “Thank you, brother.”
Not knowing whether Tong Yan was referring to the soothing pheromones, or fastening his seat belt. Zhuo Xiang Ming moved back into his seat and checked the bolts, saying, “You’re welcome.”
The back seat was filled with gift boxes, Tong Yan realized that they should be Zhuo Xiang Ming’s visiting son-in-law gifts. He felt a bit ashamed, thinking that his own consideration was a bit lacking, he basically only knew how to eat, drink, and have fun.
But he didn’t know that when he smiled flatteringly at Zhuo Xiang Ming, he almost looked like a puppy wagging its tail. He’d insist that he was only expressing his apologies, but it was better to say that he was trying to act cute.
Zhuo Xiang Ming couldn’t help but glance at him a few times. He took his bag and turned to place it on the back seat, thinking that just his phone and wallet would be inside, but when he lifted it, it felt heavier than expected. He asked without thinking: “Why did you bring so many things?”
Tong Yan swallowed a spoonful of mashed potatoes before replying: “It’s not much, just the things I’ll need, toothbrushes, towels, etc. My dad and brother haven’t been home recently, I reckon that nobody remembered to make up my room.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming paused for a moment before sighing out an “Ugh”-but the car was started, and the sound was covered up by the sound of ignition, so Tong Yan wasn’t sure if he’d really heard it.
Xuan Gui came out to send them off, and Tong Yan excitedly waved it goodbye. After the two’s heartfelt goodbyes were over, Zhuo Xiang Ming backed out of the driveway.
When the drive started, Tong Yan bowed his head and dug into his mashed potatoes. He ate very carefully and cleanly, not fooling around with the bowl and spoonful of food. He ate half of it before he suddenly froze, then asked Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Brother, can I eat in your car?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Yes.”
Tong Yan sighed in relief, then smiled, his eyes curving: “Phew, that scared me, Tong Yang never lets me eat in his car. Sorry, I got distracted by Dudu.”
But although Zhuo Xiang Ming said that he could eat, he covered the bowl of mashed potatoes and held it in one hand as he watched the shops pass by.
After moving here, except for the 24-hour convenience store at the community gates that he often frequented, Tong Yan hadn’t come out to take a look around, so this felt quite fresh.
The weather was fine today, and Tong Yan was in a good mood too. He didn’t even feel awkward about traveling with Zhuo Xiang Ming. Perhaps it was because he was going home soon, or it might be because Zhuo Xiang Ming had smiled at him so many times today, but he felt very relaxed.
Tong Yan sat obediently, and Zhuo Xiang Ming paid attention to the road while following Tong Yan’s movements out of the corner of his eye. He stared out the window, then opened a Sudoku app and played for a while, then he fiddled with his bowl of mashed potatoes, randomly shaking it around.
After a while, Tong Yan finally quieted down, and just continued watching the cartoons he’d started watching with Xuan Gui on his tablet. Stopping at a red light, Zhuo Xiang Ming glanced at the screen, and Tong Yan immediately introduced: “This is Sailor Moon.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming followed his words, “What’s it about?”
Tong Yan thought about it, then said, “Cosplay game.”
Coincidentally, Tsukino Usagi began to transform at that moment.
“… Oh.” Zhuo Xiang Ming said, “Do you like things like this?”
Tong Yan took off his headphones and quickly denied: “No! Dudu begged me to watch it with it.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “But it’s not here right now, you don’t have to watch it.”
Tong Yan covertly glanced at Zhuo Xiang Ming, after studying his expression for a while, he felt that Zhuo Xiang Ming really wasn’t implying anything, and said, “Never mind, it’s already on, I’ll just watch to the end.”
At the next red light, Zhuo Xiang Ming said: “Do you like watching it too?”
“…. Sailor Moon.” Zhuo Xiang Ming pondered for a bit before speaking out the name, he glanced at Tong Yan, his expression very earnest. “You were smiling while you watched it.”
“Yes.” Tong Yan had no choice but to admit, “It’s good.”
He stared guardedly at Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Do you think I’m childish?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming asked: “Why do you say that?”
Tong Yan: “I originally wanted to watch the Avengers, that’s about, umm, many superheroes fighting against evil forces and saving the world … that’s cool … this, this isn’t so cool.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming suddenly smiled, the kind of “Really is a child ah” smile, but for the first time, Tong Yan didn’t feel such a smile was annoying, probably because, no matter what was said, Zhuo Xiang Ming’s meaning was always literal.
If another person said “Really is a child ah”, then they might be trying to express, “As immature as a child” or “Incapable in every aspect, like a child”.
But Zhuo Xiang Ming truly just meant, “Tong Yan really is a child.”
Tong Yan certainly knew that he was still a child, so he didn’t hate Zhuo Xiang Ming’s smile.
“You’re already very cool.” Zhuo Xiang Ming said.
Having obtained Zhuo Xiang Ming’s, who was powerful in all aspects, recognition, Tong Yan suddenly felt a little shy. He blinked before asking, “Really?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming was steering the car onto the fast lane, confirming, “Really.”
Tong Yan was very much convinced by every word he said, after that, Tong Yan continued watching Sailor Moon with confidence.
Past humans were so interesting, how could they draw such an amusing cartoon? Tong Yan thought, at least from a plot point of view, it was much more interesting than the current animations, that were all fully simulated.
The two houses were quite a distance apart, if Tong Yan took the subway home, it’d take about forty minutes, but driving with Zhuo Xiang Ming, crossing two districts on a Friday afternoon, the traffic was very high. As a result, they were delayed on the road, after a while, Tong Yan fell asleep, and when they arrived, it was almost five o’clock.
As soon as the car was turned off, Tong Yang walked out, waiting to receive them at the door.
While on the road, Tong Yan hadn’t thought about anything, at this moment, looking at the house’s entrance, he felt a little shy. Regardless of if it was true or fake, this was his first-time returning home after getting married, furthermore, his marriage partner was accompanying him.
Fortunately, Tong Yang didn’t tease him in front of Zhuo Xiang Ming like he did on OUKM, he only greeted Zhuo Xiang Ming, then silently put a hand on Tong Yan’s shoulder, pulling him to his side. Looking him over, he asked him if he had lunch, when Tong Yan said that he’d eaten, he nodded okay, then helped Zhuo Xiang Ming get the things from the back seat.
Tong Yan wanted to help, but the two blocked him. Not wanting to watch, he straightforwardly headed into the house.
Tong Yang was an undergraduate from Zhuo Xiang Ming’s college, but he was two grades lower than Zhuo Xiang Ming. They’ve known each other for a while, and have met each other many times for work, but neither of them expected that they would have this kind of relationship someday.
“That’s natural. Before, you could only worship him as an untouchable idol. Who would’ve thought that he’d have to contrariwise call you big brother one day? Of course, you’re pleased with yourself.”
Tong Yan was lying on the bed with his feet raised, still watching Sailor Moon. Having watched eleven episodes in one day, he decided to watch one more episode before going to bed.
Tong Yang originally came in to say good night, but the two brothers immediately started a battle of words. Tong Yan’s mouth was ruthless, he knew exactly how to poke Tong Yang where it irritated him.
But seeing Tong Yang coming over with a wicked expression, he knew that the outcome wouldn’t be fun. Tong Yan was just about to beg for mercy when Tong Yang halted: “Why do you smell like that?”
Tong Yan scrunched his nose and sniffed: “Smell like what?”
Tong Yang’s expression was strange: “Like……an alpha.” Then he reached out and grabbed a lock of damp hair on Tong Yan’s forehead, “Didn’t you take a bath? Why is it still so pungent? “
Tong Yan: “How would I know …”
His face slowly reddened, and Tong Yang immediately leaned closer, asking sleazily: “Yeah?”
“Go away!” Tong Yan pushed Tong Yang’s face away, then kicked at him, but he was easily restrained by Tong Yang. Seeing that he was about to be tickled to death, he had no choice but to surrender, “Since I’m going back to school on Monday, he gave me a temporary mark.”
Tong Yang: “A kiss??”
Tong Yan: “???”
Tong Yan’s face flushed beet red, and he started struggling in earnest. Tong Yang obviously didn’t truly want to restraint him, so he let him escape.
With Tong Yang gone, Tong Yan didn’t feel like watching more cartoons, but he also couldn’t fall sleep.
Zhuo Xiang Ming hadn’t kissed him, but the thing he did easily broke Tong Yan’s shame limit –
After dinner, he walked Zhuo Xiang Ming to the car. Thinking that he would just head back in after waiting for the car to leave, Zhuo Xiang Ming unexpectedly mentioned today’s desensitization treatment.
They wouldn’t see each other for the next two days, so the hug needed to last a little longer. There was limited space in the car, so he had no choice but to sit on Zhuo Xiang Ming’s lap, with only a short-sleeved shirt and a blouse separating them. It was the first time he was embraced so sturdily.
In the narrow compartment, the alpha pheromones, body temperatures, and heartbeats all felt abnormally distinct. When Zhuo Xiang Ming released him and let him get out of the car, Tong Yan’s legs were a little weak.
Fortunately, Zhuo Xiang Ming didn’t laugh at him.
Tong Yan thought, they were both big brothers, but Zhuo Xiang Ming was a hundred times better than Tong Yang, he would never laugh at him.
Cosplay- could also be dress-up or cross-dressing, but those make no sense in this context.
big brother – 大舅哥 – A way to call your wife’s older brother. Since ZXM is older, it’s a little weird for him to call TYang big brother. I’ll just translate it as brother-in-law if it comes up again. This was just to explain the joke.