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Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Chapter 23

Chapter 23

Ji Bie didn’t return until half past six, waking up Zhou Linjiang from his sleep to open the door.

Zhou Linjiang, still half asleep, asked Ji Bie what he had been up to. Ji Bie dodged the question and simply asked for a place to sleep again. Ji Bie could tell he had just taken a shower and looked very tired, even walking slower than usual. If Ji Bie weren’t the person he knew, Zhou Linjiang might have thought Ji Bie went out for a hookup.

Zhou Linjiang let Ji Bie sleep in his bed and went out to tidy up.

The Spring Festival Gala started at seven in the morning, and everyone except Ji Bie was up, gathered around the projector, eating and watching the live stream on the internet.

Before ten o’clock, Zhou Linjiang received an unexpected call.

The caller was Duan Zhu. Duan Zhu skillfully asked Zhou Linjiang if he could add one more person for lunch. Zhou Linjiang didn’t dare to refuse and immediately sent the home address to Duan Zhu, even going downstairs to pick him up.

Zhou Linjiang’s relationship with Duan Zhu was decent, and Zhou Linjiang’s father had recently changed jobs to become a high-ranking executive at Duan Zhu’s family’s company. So, both morally and logically, Zhou Linjiang should warmly welcome Duan Zhu’s visit.

Duan Zhu arrived at Zhou Linjiang’s place in less than ten minutes, parked his car on the street, and came out with an umbrella, as it was still snowing.

As soon as Duan Zhu entered, the group became lively. Duan Zhu was too busy to participate in activities often, but everyone had a good impression of him. As soon as he sat down, a junior couldn’t help but ask him about his recent speech on a certain forum.

More than ten people chatted while watching the live broadcast. In the last half hour, Ji Bie, rubbing his eyes, came out. When he saw Duan Zhu, he asked, “Why are you here?”

Zhou Linjiang was stunned for a moment, and seeing Ji Bie approaching, he casually sat down next to Duan Zhu.

The sofa wasn’t long enough, leaving only a small space next to Duan Zhu. Ji Bie and Duan Zhu sat close, almost touching legs. There was also Zhou Linjiang beside Duan Zhu, but he didn’t move towards Zhou Linjiang and instead stuck close to Ji Bie.

While everyone was engrossed in watching the sketches, Ji Bie, without any hesitation towards Duan Zhu, said, “Could you pass me the milk?”

Zhou Linjiang felt that Ji Bie was going too far. Because Duan Zhu was the kind of person who would politely step back if someone got too close to him, Zhou Linjiang understood Ji Bie’s personality and knew he meant no harm, but Duan Zhu didn’t know that!

Sure enough, Duan Zhu refused and said, “No.”

Zhou Linjiang felt extremely embarrassed. He wanted to immediately take Ji Bie away and explain Duan Zhu’s character to him. But first, he needed to salvage Ji Bie’s dignity. He reached out to pass the milk to Ji Bie, but saw Duan Zhu reaching out to give Ji Bie a sponge cake, saying, “Don’t drink milk on an empty stomach in the morning.”

Ji Bie said “Oh” and took it, obediently taking a few bites before Duan Zhu handed him the box of milk.

With the cake in his hand, Ji Bie leaned over and took a sip of milk from Duan Zhu’s hand, then asked Zhou Linjiang, “Jiang Ge, do you have coffee?”

“No,” Duan Zhu preemptively said, “If you’re tired, just go to sleep.”

Ji Bie looked at the projector screen and gave up on the coffee, saying, “Forget it, forget it. I’ll just watch the sketches.”

Zhou Linjiang always felt that this scene was a bit strange. Fortunately, several girls brought out an electric hotpot with prepared ingredients from the kitchen and asked the boys to wash the vegetables.

It was previously agreed that Ji Bie would wash the vegetables, so Zhou Linjiang instructed him, “*Train an army for a thousand days to use it for one hour. Go and do some work.”

*extensive preparations eventually pays off

Ji Bie glanced at him and started moving slowly.

As Ji Bie went to wash the vegetables, the other friends sat around the table, and Zhou Linjiang deliberately sat next to Duan Zhu. But just as they were about to finish the last song of the gala, Duan Zhu stood up and walked into the kitchen.

Although Zhou Linjiang found it strange, he didn’t want to ask too much. After a while, Duan Zhu came out carrying the dishes for Ji Bie.

Feeling embarrassed, a couple of freshmen stood up and said, “Is there anything left inside? I’ll go get some too.”

“Not much left,” Ji Bie said, then turned back. “You guys just sit down.”

During the hotpot meal, Ji Bie didn’t insist on sitting next to Duan Zhu. He just found an empty seat and sat down. However, when he sat between two girls, Zhou Linjiang noticed that Duan Zhu’s hand paused while picking up food.

After dinner, nobody went home because it was a girl named Luo Wen’s birthday, and they were planning to celebrate it later in the evening.

Ji Bie, feeling sleepy again after eating, couldn’t help but yawn. Luo Wen, sitting next to him, asked, “Didn’t you just wake up? Why are you sleepy again?”

“Did something happen between you and Jiang Ge in the same room last night, so you didn’t sleep well?” another girl teased him.

Zhou Linjiang was about to mention that Ji Bie had just arrived in the morning and missed the chance to share a bed with him, but he noticed Ji Bie’s face suddenly change as if startled, and he glanced in Zhou Linjiang’s direction.

“What’s wrong?” Luo Wen interrupted, “Did we hit the nail on the head?”

Ji Bie pretended to be pitiful, saying to her, “Spare me.”

The girl next to Luo Wen didn’t let Ji Bie off the hook and teased him again, “Since Jiang Ge is so aggressive, why don’t you come sleep in our master bedroom instead?”

Feeling helpless, Ji Bie stood up and said, “I’m going to bed.”

“No, ” Zhou Linjiang intervened, “Didn’t we agree to draw lots for three people to clean up? You have to participate too.”

“But didn’t I wash the dishes?” Ji Bie argued, “Can’t I be exempted from being a candidate?”

“This is a separate event,” Zhou Linjiang firmly replied.

“Then, is Senior Duan going to participate in the draw?” Ji Bie turned his eyes and asked him.

Zhou Linjiang was momentarily speechless, before he could answer, a senior student stood up suddenly to avoid the fate of cleaning up the table, and said to Zhou Linjiang, “Xiao Jiang, I’m going to bed too.”

With that, he walked towards the bedroom corridor, prompting everyone else to stand up as well. The situation was getting out of hand, and the scene of last night’s scramble for beds was about to repeat itself.

Ji Bie grabbed Duan Zhu’s hand and ran, pulling Duan Zhu along. Ji Bie pushed Duan Zhu into the guest room where he had slept in the morning, and locked the door as soon as they entered.

Watching everyone dispersing, Zhou Linjiang’s main concern was still Ji Bie. Zhou Linjiang couldn’t understand why Ji Bie had targeted Duan Zhu today.

In any case, he knew he would be the one cleaning up in the end, so Zhou Linjiang didn’t struggle anymore. He called for a cleaner and sent a message to Ji Bie, asking him, “Did you grab the wrong person?”

After a while, Ji Bie replied, “No.”

After pondering for a while, Zhou Linjiang sent another message to Ji Bie, “Don’t be too impulsive.”

Standing by the bed, Ji Bie read Zhou Linjiang’s message and asked Duan Zhu, “Why are you so fierce? You’ve scared Jiang Ge.”

Duan Zhu lifted Ji Bie by the waist, pressed him onto the bed, and said expressionlessly, “You two shared a room last night?”

Ji Bie helplessly replied, “I only fell asleep after he got up in the morning. Don’t talk nonsense.”

Duan Zhu grabbed Ji Bie’s wrists, pressed them over his head, and leaned down to kiss him fiercely.

Ji Bie couldn’t help but laugh at Duan Zhu’s appearance. He exerted some force to free his hands from Duan Zhu’s grip, hugged Duan Zhu’s neck, and asked softly, “And you don’t know who I was with last night?”

Duan Zhu softened a bit, so Ji Bie pushed him aside and said, “I’m really tired, let me sleep for a while.”

In someone else’s home, the two of them didn’t want to mess around and simply went to sleep under the covers.

When Ji Bie woke up, everything outside was decorated. He walked out and the whole room was filled with balloons. He walked over to the table and saw a bunch of fruit wine placed on it. He picked one up and looked at it, grabbing a bottle of lychee flavor.

Ji Bie liked anything with lychee flavor. He stood by the table, picking up and putting down the bottle of lychee fruit wine repeatedly.

Usually, Duan Zhu didn’t let him drink alcohol when they were out because Ji Bie couldn’t handle it well. Once he felt unwell for days after just a glass of red wine. But fruit wine had a lower alcohol content, so after the meal, Ji Bie casually said, “Pass me the bottle of lychee flavor.”

Sitting beside Ji Bie in the evening, Duan Zhu heard him and picked up a bottle, checked the alcohol content, and poured Ji Bie a half cup. Zhou Linjiang said from the side, “Strange, why are you drinking today?”

“Is fruit wine considered alcohol?” Ji Bie said, “Isn’t it just a beverage?”

An hour later, Ji Bie laughed uncontrollably at the replay of the Spring Festival Gala skit, swaying and leaning against Duan Zhu, holding onto Duan Zhu’s hand.

Zhou Linjiang watched Ji Bie force Duan Zhu to interlock fingers with him, feeling a cold sweat breaking out. He hesitated, thinking of pulling Ji Bie away, but then Luo Wen brought a cake over, lit the candles, and turned off the lights.

When the lights came on, Ji Bie was already asleep, holding onto Duan Zhu. Everyone else went to another table to cut the cake, leaving only Duan Zhu, Ji Bie, and Zhou Linjiang.

Duan Zhu, as he had done countless times during their school days, let Ji Bie sleep with his head on his lap, protecting Ji Bie’s shoulder.

“He only came back in the morning,” Zhou Linjiang defended Ji Bie with a stiff smile, “Maybe he didn’t get enough sleep in the afternoon.”

Duan Zhu nodded, and Zhou Linjiang continued, “Ji Bie is a good person, but sometimes he lacks restraint and has poor alcohol tolerance. Don’t mind him.”

Duan Zhu didn’t say anything, just put his arm around Ji Bie’s shoulder and said to Zhou Linjiang, “I didn’t know he could get drunk from fruit wine.”

He’s overestimating him.

Zhou Linjiang chuckled and said, “I’ve never seen Ji Bie drink before. Every time I offer him alcohol, he says he’s afraid of upsetting his family head. I don’t know why he dared today.”

Duan Zhu glanced at Ji Bie and said, “Maybe because his family head is here today.”

Zhou Linjiang was stunned for a moment, his mind still catching up, when Ji Bie opened his eyes.

Ji Bie got up, patting Duan Zhu’s leg, glanced at Zhou Linjiang, and asked Duan Zhu, “What are you guys talking about?”

“Talking about your alcohol tolerance,” Duan Zhu replied.

Ji Bie nodded and turned to Duan Zhu, saying, “I want to go home,” then leaned against Duan Zhu’s shoulder and closed his eyes.

Duan Zhu turned to Zhou Linjiang and said, “I’ll take him home first.”

Seeing Zhou Linjiang’s confused expression, Duan Zhu explained again, “I was originally here to pick him up, just hanging out for a bit.”

Duan Zhu half-supported Ji Bie down the stairs, put him in the back seat of the car, and asked, “How did you get drunk from fruit wine?”

Ji Bie opened his eyes slightly, hooked his neck, and said to him, “Young master, come in first and close the door.”

When Duan Zhu closed the door, Ji Bie lifted his head and bit Duan Zhu’s lips, licking them with his tongue. Ji Bie’s mouth was filled with the taste of lychee, with a faint hint of alcohol, heating up the interior of the car.

After past midnight, when Zhou Linjiang had seen everyone off and was about to go upstairs, he saw Duan Zhu’s car driving out of the garage next to his apartment building.

He walked towards the elevator in a daze. At the moment he reached his floor, enlightenment struck him, and he finally understood the meaning behind Ji Bie’s mention of “family head”.

The person who called Ji Bie late at night.

Perhaps the person Ji Bie wanted to spend the night with.

The person who brought cake and milk to Ji Bie.

The person who made Ji Bie worry about upsetting him, the person Ji Bie treated with utmost care.

The person who didn’t let Ji Bie drink, yet offered him alcohol.

Ji Bie’s beloved.

TN:

And we’re done. Thank you for sticking around for this story and I hope you enjoyed it.

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