Qi Cong was shocked by Gu Xun’s overly aggressive posture and expression and looked at Gu Xun, who did not answer.
Shen Jia, who was also almost scared to death, stood in front of Qi Cong shielding him, and frowned at Gu Xun. “What are you doing? It’s dangerous to block the elevator like that. You . . .” He looked back at Qi Cong, hesitated for two seconds, looked back at Gu Xun again, and said stiffly, “I don’t care what entanglements you have with Brother Cong, but you can’t bully him like that.”
Gu Xun still looked menacing, glaring at Qi Cong and not sparing Shen Jia a single glance. His words sounded like they were uttered through gritted teeth, “How could I possibly bully him?”
He reached out to pull Qi Cong but was blocked by Shen Jia. Then he simply took two steps forward to enter the elevator, crossed over to Qi Cong, who was behind Shen Jia, and said, “Let’s talk!”
The elevator closed, shutting out the handsome mixed-race guy, who had no time to respond.
When Qi Cong woke up from his confused state, he looked at Gu Xun, who was staring at him like a beast staring at his prey. His heart tightened, then a strong sense of unfamiliarity arose. This was not the Gu Xun he knew. The Gu Xun he knew was gentle and harmless and would never show such an appearance or look at him like that.
As if someone had poured a basin of cold water on his head, all the soft, entangled emotions in Qi Cong’s heart immediately shrank back into its protective shell. He glanced sideways, raised his hand and patted Shen Jia’s shoulder soothingly.
“Jia Jia, don’t be nervous. I’m fine.”
Gu Xun looked at the hand that Qi Cong had rested on Shen Jia’s shoulder and stared closely at Qi Cong again.
“What did you call him?”
The question was asked fiercely and sullenly, as if it was the start of a fight. Qi Cong ignored Gu Xun; he held back Shen Jia, who looked like he wanted to speak; and glanced at Zhao Zhenxun, who was frowning, looking back and forth between him and Gu Xun in the corner.
He asked, “Agent Zhao, can I temporarily leave the team to talk to Mr. Gu?”
Gu Xun’s expression got worse. “You actually called me Gu—”
The elevator stopped, the door opened, and they arrived on the eighth floor.
“I’ll give you fifteen minutes,” Zhao Zhenxun said and interrupted Gu Xun’s words while, at the same time, pressing on Gu Xun’s shoulder to separate him from Qi Cong. His attitude was polite, but his words held a slight warning, “Mr. Gu, Qi Cong is my employee. In fifteen minutes, I will see him come back safely, and if I don’t see anyone in fifteen minutes, I will call the police.”
Then he looked back at Qi Cong and said, “Make it quick. We’ll wait for you in the parking lot.”
Zhao Zhenxun dragged the reluctant Shen Jia away, and the elevator door slowly closed, leaving only Gu Xun and Qi Cong in the narrow space.
Qi Cong, in an attempt to calm himself down, asked, “Where are we going to talk?”
Gu Xun didn’t speak.
Qi Cong could feel Gu Xun’s gaze stuck on him, loaded with a sense of oppression that he didn’t like, a sense of oppression that would never exist in the Gu Xun in his memories. The more unfamiliar the situation, the more he was reminded of the cruel reality. He was really duped.
Qi Cong suppressed his emotions and wanted to look up at Gu Xun and ask again.
Gu Xun stood beside Qi Cong and pressed the button for the seventh floor. “We are going to my room.” The tone no longer sounded as menacing as before, but it still seemed to be suppressing something within.
Qi Cong gave up looking up and fixed his eyes on the elevator buttons and said, “Ok.”
The elevator started going down.
It was unclear if it was on purpose or to be able to press the elevator floor button, but Gu Xun stood very close to Qi Cong. His hand was less than 10cm away from Qi Cong’s hand, his body leaning sideways slightly, almost squeezing Qi Cong in the corner of the elevator.
The elevator light slanted down from the center of the elevator ceiling, and the shadow cast by Gu Xun’s body just happened to wrap around the thin Qi Cong.
There was a very light perfume scent that spread across the elevator. It smelled like fir or the scent of thin ice on the branches and leaves of trees after a heavy snow. It was light, cool, with a hint of grass and wood, faint but, once noticed, impossible to ignore.
Gu Xun clearly didn’t make any movement, but Qi Cong felt that he was trapped by something invisible.
Another strange situation. The Gu Xun, who he knew, would never choose such a “rude” position.
For family reasons, Qi Cong didn’t like this sense of oppression and restraint. He closed his eyes firmly and his shoulders were strained instinctively. Like an animal whose territory was invaded by people, every nerve in his body was tense, ready to capture every detail of the invader.
“Afraid of me?”
The voice conveyed by the aggressor suddenly rang in the amplified net of nerves. Qi Cong froze, then shook his head and replied, “No.”
“Then why won’t you look at me?”
The elevator stopped and the door opened. Fresh air poured in and diluted the smell of perfume in the air. Qi Cong broke away from the state of being trapped, relaxed his breathing, and finally looked sideways at Gu Xun, not blinking at Gu Xun’s half-closed eyes.
“I’m not afraid of you. We only have fifteen minutes.”
The two men looked at each other. Gu Xun was the first to move away his gaze and signaled to Qi Cong to go out first, his tone inexplicably softening a bit. “My room is 714.”
Only then did Qi Cong move his gaze away and step out of the elevator. Gu Xun followed, but instead of walking side by side with Qi Cong, he walked half a step behind Qi Cong. The position was convenient for reaching out and pulling people back when they try to escape.
The feeling of being targeted by a beast was back. Qi Cong restrained himself and did not look back. He was a little distracted.
In the past, the atmosphere between him and Gu Xun was always relaxed and pleasant, harmonious and warm. Although Gu Xun’s family situation was difficult, he had good upbringing, was gentle and shy in his speech, and behaved with courtesy and restraint. It was completely different from the man behind him, who was also named Gu Xun.
Was this the real Gu Xun? He stopped before door 714.
The man who was half a step behind suddenly came forward and swiped his room card over the door lock in a posture of almost embracing him.
Di. The door opened.
Gu Xun stepped back and said, “Please come in.”
“. . .” Qi Cong walked in, then stopped after he made his way through the door and into the hallway. He turned to look at Gu Xun.
Gu Xun closed the door and leaned against it watching Qi Cong.
The two men looked at each other again, then spoke at the same time.
“Why did you lie to me?”
“Have you cried?”
Qi Cong was stunned, then shook his head and said stiffly, “No.”
There was not enough light by the door, and Qi Cong could not see Gu Xun’s expression clearly.
Gu Xun did not speak for a long time but then suddenly stood up straight. Qi Cong instinctively straightened his back and looked up at Gu Xun. It was a somewhat defensive posture.
Gu Xun stopped, leaned against the door again, and motioned for Qi Cong to the only sofa in the room.
“Have a seat.”
Qi Cong realized that he was a bit nervous, frowned, but said nothing. He turned to the sofa and sat down, looking at Gu Xun, who was still standing by the door. Only then did Gu Xun move, walking to the foot of the couch that was near the bed and sat down, keeping a full two-meter distance from Qi Cong.
With the soft seat, the sunlight coming in from the window and the distance that did not give him any sense of pressure, Qi Cong relaxed a bit. This was a distance suitable for a normal conversation.
He looked at Gu Xun, who had not moved or spoken since he sat down. He just looked at him with the kind of eyes that showed his lack of comprehension. He tried to ask calmly, “Gu Xun, why did you lie to me?”
Gu Xun didn’t answer. Instead, he got up and took a bottle of juice from the mini fridge and put it on the cupboard near Qi Cong. Then he went back to the foot of the bed and sat down before looking at Qi Cong.
“Apart from the time we’ve already wasted and the time it will take for me to send you back, we have less than ten minutes for a real conversation. In order to maximize the efficiency of this communication, I suggest that we assume a question-and-answer approach. You ask, I answer, I ask, you answer. Is that alright? We must all tell the truth and no concealment or deceit is allowed.”
Qi Cong looked at Gu Xun’s totally different but rational and calm appearance, held his hands on his knees together, as if it would help him maintain his reason, and nodded.
“You are younger than me. Ask first.” (You are younger than me. I have to take care of you.)
A slightly coy remark burst out from the depths of his memories. The protective net of sanity Qi Cong had built was easily shattered and the question abruptly came out, “Are you really the Gu Xun I know?”
Perhaps it was because Gu Xun happened to be sitting in the sunlight, the moment he finished asking, Qi Cong seemed to see something slightly shining in Gu Xun’s eyes. But when he looked again carefully, he found that Gu Xun was still rational and calm.
Gu Xun got up and took a bottle of juice for himself as well, sat back, and said, “I am. It’s my turn to ask you.”
The answer that had been expected, the reality of absurdity and drama. Qi Cong calmed down and nodded. “Ask.”
Gu Xun’s voice was a little soft. “You cried, didn’t you? Right after I said hello to you.”
Qi Cong didn’t expect that Gu Xun would ask this question again. He didn’t want to show any weakness in front of such a strange Gu Xun. He shook his head again.
“. . .” Qi Cong shut up and looked down at his hands and then suddenly looked up at Gu Xun. “Yes, I did cry. Gu Xun, are you going to waste all your time on such meaningless questions?”
Gu Xun was not angry at Qi Cong’s question. Instead, he looked at Qi Cong but his tone Was somewhat milder. “It is meaningful. This question is very important to me. Qi Cong, I’m sorry for making you so sad.”
Qi Cong fiercely pursed his lips and turned away to stop looking at Gu Xun. His Adam’s apple slid up and down.
“It’s my turn to ask.” Qi Cong turned around and interrupted Gu Xun’s words, his tone aggravated. “Why did you lie to me?”
Facing Qi Cong’s gaze, Gu Xun was quiet for two seconds before he said, “Because . . . you would hate the real me.”
Qi Cong froze and frowned at Gu Xun.
“It’s my turn. When did you start remembering the past?”
Qi Cong wanted to ask Gu Xun what the answer to the last question meant. He opened his mouth and looked at Gu Xun, who looked so elegant and dazzling even when he was just randomly sitting down. Suddenly, he didn’t know how to go on.
How to ask? Everything in the past was an illusion. He didn’t know the real Gu Xun at all.
A feeling of blankness and emptiness suddenly rose up in his heart. Qi Cong’s voice was low when he replied, “A week ago. My next question is why did you help me with today’s matter with ‘Water without a Trace’ ?”
“Because I wanted to. Qi Cong,” Gu Xun said solemnly, “the next question I ask, I hope you will answer honestly.”
Why did you want to? Qi Cong swallowed his doubt and nodded in a solemn manner.
Gu Xun pinched the juice bottle tightly, his eyes darkened, and his voice lowered a little. “The one surnamed Jiang . . . That is . . .” He paused before continuing his question, “You’re already together, right? He . . . Is he treating you well?” he asked. His voice was almost squeezed out from behind his teeth.
Qi Cong was shocked and shook his head hurriedly. “No, I’m not with Jiang Zhaoyan.”
Gu Xun raised his eyes, observing him sharply. “Really?”
“I’m not with Jiang Zhaoyan. I’m not with him . . .” Qi Cong looked at such a Gu Xun. He did not know the point of this conversation when both of them had reservations about each other. He stopped and said, “My last question. Gu Xun, after I lost my memory three years ago, did I . . . do anything that hurt you?”
After hearing this question, Gu Xun was obviously stunned and asked, “What did you say?”
Qi Cong repeated the question again.
Gu Xun’s expression gradually changed. Why should a person ask another person to prove what he had done before? Can’t he remember Murphy . . . Gu Xun sat up abruptly and asked, “Have you forgotten?”
Qi Cong was puzzled by Gu Xun’s sudden oppressive attitude, and his body instinctively leaned back against the sofa. “What?”
“Why are you asking this question? Are you—” Gu Xun suddenly stopped talking and looked at Qi Cong for a long time. His expression changed again, like he found something precious but had to harden himself not to show it. He shook his head. “No, I refuse to answer your last question.”
Qi Cong did not understand. “What do you mean?”
“You asked me three questions. I asked you three questions. We’re even. This conversation is over.”
Gu Xun suddenly threw away the juice and leaned over Qi Cong’s body. With his arms propped up on the armrest of the sofa, he completely covered Qi Cong with his body. He then looked at Qi Cong for two seconds and smiled.
“No wonder he would cry . . . It turns out he is still so young.”
Edited by: Faro