Chapter 41 - Extra: Proposal
One day in May, 5 minutes to 9 P.M.
When Sun Zinan came out of the shower, he noticed his phone vibrating. He glanced and saw that the caller was Tang Kai, so casually picked it up. “Hello?”
A hesitant female voice came across. “…Hello?”
Sun Zinan: ?
The voice stumbled, sounding very unnatural as if it was struggling to fight back a laugh. “Excuse me, are you Professor Tang’s…um, sweetheart baby fruit?”
Sun Zinan, “…”
Tang Kai, this shameless sand sculpture. Forget about him secretly giving him this shameful nickname, he even put it in other people’s hands. If Sun Zinan hadn’t know what kind of person he was, he would have labeled him some kind of internet troll.
“I’m Tang Kai’s boyfriend.” Sun Zinan forced himself to push away this page from the past and feigned calmness as he said, “Why is his phone with you?”
“Oh, oh…” The woman said hurriedly, “It’s like this. Our colleagues had dinner outside tonight at a hotel and the male employees all had a little too much to drink. We don’t know where he lives, could you come pick him up?”
Sun Zinan gave a small sigh. “Okay, I got it. Give me the address and I’ll be right there. We’ve troubled you.”
The female teacher hung up the phone and locked it before giving it back to Tang Kai, who was so drunk he couldn’t even open his eyes. With a helpless face, she continued to call the family members of the next male professor.
Tang Kai clutched his phone and stumbled against the back of his chair to sleep for a while. Maybe because he was uncomfortable, it wasn’t very practical to sleep. He shook his head irritatedly and squinted his drunk eyes. He tapped away at his phone and somehow magically managed to hit Sun Zinan’s name in the call records.
Sun Zinan’s voice came from the handset. Tang Kai dizzily held up the phone in front of him like it was a video call. “Nan Nan…en? Where are you?”
“I’m driving,” said Sun Zinan. “Did you drink too much? Wait a moment, I’ll come pick you up.”
Professor Tang had a strong sense of safety procedures. “If you’re driving don’t drink, if you’re drinking don’t drive…darling, stay there obediently, don’t drive. Your husband will come pick you up.”
Sun Zinan, “…”
He had to admit that although Professor Tang was quite dumb at the moment, when he was drunk, he lowered his voice until it was even more magnetic and deep. It had quite the killer strength; even the hairs on the back of Sun Zinan’s neck were standing up.
Fortunately, the hotel was not too far from their home and it was only a short drive away. Sun Zinan went directly into the private room. This group of people really seemed like they had drunk too much; some were lying down while others were sprawled all over. The only person sitting upright in this entire scene was his family’s Professor Tang.
Sun Zinan walked over, bent down, and put a finger up in front of him and shook it. He smiled. “Can you still recognize who I am?”
Tang Kai lifted his eyelids and looked at him, seemingly recognizing who he was. Without saying anything, he opened his arms and hugged him into his embrace, murmuring, “Don’t be afraid, don’t bother with them. I’ll take you home.”
Sun Zinan almost fell over on him. He steadied himself against the back of the chair with a great amount of effort. “I shouldn’t tease you…let’s go, can you stand up?”
Tang Kai was very obedient. His drunken reactions weren’t slow and he stood up dazedly. He was pulled out of the room like a small child. He could walk normally, his legs functioning properly, but he couldn’t walk in a straight line. Sun Zinan guided him by his waist to correct the direction he was walking in, and the two of them walked out of the elevator and went to the parking lot outside the hotel.
Sun Zinan pulled out a coat from the back seat and threw it into his arms, pushing Tang Kai into the shotgun seat. “Put some clothes on, don’t catch a cold.”
There was the hint of perfume on the coat. The two of them had lived together for a long time; the clothes in their closet had been tinted with the same scent and it was difficult to distinguish between their clothing. Tang Kai held the coat and intently stared at Sun Zinan, as he concentrated on driving, as if he were using his eyes to trace the sight of a rare treasure. This directness made Sun Zinan uncomfortable, and he couldn’t help but ask, “Why are you looking at me?”
Tang Kai said honestly, “You’re attractive.”
Sun Zinan, “You’re not allowed to look, shut your eyes.”
Tang Kai, “What, does it cost money to look at you?”
“It doesn’t cost money for you.” Sun Zinan turned the steering wheel and couldn’t resist smiling as he said, “But you’re distracting me from driving, so you’re not allowed to look.”
Tang Kai ‘hmphed’ gently and turned his head to mutter to himself. “Why am I not allowed to look at my wife?”
Sun Zinan didn’t hear him clearly. “What?”
Tang Kai shut his eyes childishly and ignored him.
The car drove into the small garden. Sun Zinan woke up the drunkard and took him back into the apartment. The two of them had moved places at the beginning of the year. Wisteria Road Number 22 was a single-family garden villa. It wasn’t as close as the original little neighborhood, but it was only half an hour’s drive from both Tianhai University and Sun Zinan’s new company.
Sun Zinan had wanted this house for a while. The renovations were complete, and they had just moved in this May. There was a large bathroom in the new house. Tang Kai was stripped clean and left soaking in the bathtub. Sun Zinan was afraid he would accidentally fall in and drown, so accompanied him with a towel to wipe his back.
The heat was dense; the bathroom warm. Tang Kai’s muscular, strong upper body was exposed. His long and slender legs soaked in the water like a big merman. Beauty was beauty, but it just wasn’t very obedient. It kept splashing the water like a naughty child. Sun Zinan was splashed all over and about to have a mental breakdown. “Stay still.”
Tang Kai turned over towards Sun Zinan and clutched his head, looking at him with pitiful eyes. “Si…it hurts, how can I stay still?”
“…” Sun Zinan had no way to deal with this drunk childish brat and had to surrender. “I shouldn’t have teased you, I was wrong, okay? Come here, husband will give you a massage.”
Tang Kai blinked. “Want hug.”
“Okay—” Sun Zinan laughed to himself, pushing his sleeves up and opening his arms. “Come, husband will hug you.”
Before his voice landed, Tang Kai tugged him and he fell into the water with a splash.
Sun Zinan wiped the water off his face and gritted his teeth. “Tang. Kai.”
Tang Kai held him steadily and pressed fluttering kisses from his cheeks to the corner of his eyes. “En, husband hug.”
“How much did you drink…” Sun Zinan had no other options left. He wiped the water drops from his brow. “What good thing did you chance upon?”
“I want to become a full-timer.” Tang Kai said suddenly, “Okay?”
“En?” Sun Zinan thought about it for a second and realized he was talking about becoming a tenured professor from an associate professor. Since the beginning of the year, Tang Kai had been busy with papers and writing application materials. It seemed to have been for this matter. “Okay, why not?”
Sun Zinan thought to himself, it doesn’t matter if I say so, go ask your school. But for now he could only pet this drunk’s hair and say casually, “Really. Your boss has approved it. You’ll get a raise tomorrow, okay? Okay, don’t sit here for too long, you’ll faint.”
He got up from the bathtub, dried the water on his body, and found a large towel to wrap around Tang Kai. While he dried his hair, he found that Tang Kai was staring at him unblinkingly with burning eyes. The eyes suddenly became very gentle, and he abruptly grabbed both sides of the bath towel to wrap Sun Zinan into his arms.
“Oh my god.” Sun Zinan was almost angered into laughing. “How are you so clingy after just a bit of alcohol? You won’t let go after hugging…be good.”
Tang Kai buried his head into the crook of his neck like a big, spoiled cat. He said elegantly, “Boss, I will perform well, trust me.”
Sun Zinan, “…”
He must have gone crazy too; he actually thought this dummy was rather cute. So he raised his hand and stroked Tang Kai’s back as he said jokingly, “Yes, Professor, get dressed quickly—do you still want to be the Archimedes of biology?”
The next day, Tang Kai woke up with a splitting headache. He sat up from his blankets and covered his head as he tried to recall the various floating gibberish in his fragmented memory. Just as he was going insane with his mind full of paste, Sun Zinan pushed the door open and gave him a glass of warm water. “You’re awake?”
“En.” Tang Kai took the cup and drank half the water. “Last night…”
“Yes, it’s exactly what you think.” Sun Zinan said with a serious expression, “Isn’t this scene very familiar? Wait for me to light a cigarette while you stay in bed.”
Tang Kai suddenly seemed like he had been struck by lightning and issued an incredulous sound. “Ah?”
Sun Zinan, “Hahahahaha.”
Tang Kai feebly fell back into bed. “I knew it…you've been plotting against me for a long time. Boss, give me a score. How did I do yesterday?”
Sun Zinan had laughed enough. “Actually your alcohol tolerance is okay. You didn’t go crazy, but you pulled me around all night talking about full-time.”
Tang Kai was puzzled. “What?”
“Full-time, you said it yourself. You were as excited as a middle-schooler.” Sun Zinan suddenly bowed his head and leaned over, repressing his voice and saying, “But when you become a tenured professor, if you act like your colleagues did last night, I will end you.”
Tang Kai tried to argue. “I don’t…”
Sun Zinan feigned a sinister expression and asked aggressively, “Remember?”
Tang Kai was shocked by this big brother’s vitality and immediately bowed his head and said obediently, “I remember.”
Summer came quietly, imperceptibly.
One evening, Sun Zinan received a phone call from Tang Kai on his way home from work. He asked him to help him find a book in the study, which was one of the most important materials for his tenure. Sun Zinan, afraid of delaying his business, went straight to the study and pushed the door open, but was overwhelmed by a large pile of rose petals blowing towards him.
Tang Kai was dressed in a formal suit and wearing golden-rimmed glasses. He looked like he was attending an international academic conference. He got up from the chair behind his desk and walked through the rose-covered red carpet. He took Sun Zinan’s hand and led him to a tall bookshelf.
Sun Zinan was faintly aware of what Tang Kai was going to do, but he was caught off guard by the theatrics, and turned his head a little dazedly to look at him.
“There’s a very important book here.” Tang Kai stood behind him, one hand around Sun Zinan’s waist, one hand passing by the books. He tapped a book with a light gray cover. “Would you like to see it?”
Sun Zinan stretched his hand over and pulled the book out. It was called RNAi Basic Theory and Application.
The book was not flat; it seemed to have something in between its pages. Tang Kai took Sun Zinan’s hand and turned to the first page. He said slowly behind him, “This book is a compilation of some of my previous papers by a publishing house. This is my first published book. They sent me a sample today. They wanted me to write a postscript but I asked the editor if I could write a thank you note at the beginning. They agreed.”
Sun Zinan heard the words and looked down at the page of white paper, which had a note written neatly with a fountain pen—
Dedicated to my partner Mr. Sun Zinan. You are my world outside of this world.
Tang Kai said, “I didn’t drink, so now I have the courage to ask you while I’m sober. Are you okay with your name being written in this thank you note?”
This proposal really fit Professor Tang’s personality. Sun Zinan stroked the line of writing through the back of the paper, thinking of the spring breeze not long ago and that intoxicated night. He suddenly realized that Tang Kai’s “full-time” wasn’t just some drunken mumblings, but this meaning.
He continued to flip through the pages of the book, and two platinum rings fell into his palm. One of the rings was smooth, and the other ring was embedded with a small diamond, engraved with their initials.
T.K & S.Z.N
The last piece of the domino finally fell, and it happened so naturally. He seemed to have been waiting for many years. His heart had met many sour emotions, but at this moment, the marriage proposal became a cocoon protecting him from the wind, dust, ice and snow, revealing a new heaven.
“Haven’t I already told you—” Sun Zinan grabbed one of Tang Kai’s hands and slowly pushed the ring onto his ring finger. “The boss has already approved of your full-time position.”
“Of course, yes.” He put his arms around Tang Kai’s neck and gave him a light kiss. “I do.”
You are my emotion outside of reason, my exception outside of convention.
You are an unpredictable fate. You are a brand-new world outside of this world.
I will thank your sincere intentions for the rest of our lives.
t/n: and so ends fight the landlord, fall in love. thank you so so so much for reading and thank you everyone for commenting and following me through this journey. this is the first novel i started translating and i’m really glad others love it as much as i do! in a world full of heartbreak, pain, and loneliness, i hope everyone can find a solace within themselves and the support to find happiness, just like sun zinan did 🙂
if you enjoyed this, please check out some other novels i’m working on! have a great new year