Ch58 – Love Song on Ice (15)
Another two and a half years pa.s.sed since Dong Ge and He Changsheng started living together.
The year before, Dong Ge hadn’t been able to celebrate the New Year at home, as he was partic.i.p.ating in a compet.i.tion at that time, so this year’s New Year’s celebration was especially lively.
The house had been renovated, with a floor-length window added to the dining room. Heavy snow piled on the steps outside, but it was as warm as spring in the area enclosed by the four walls.
There were dumplings stuffed with pork and Chinese onion filling rolling up and down in the boiling aluminum pot; the steamed pork was suffused with a caramel shine, the meigancai was dark, fresh and delicious, and the aroma of the meat juices drew out the full mellow and rich flavour of the meigancai, perfectly complementing one another; the freshly harvested oysters were fleshy and plump, the fishy taste of the minerals perfectly covered by ginger ale.
This marvelous, abundant table full of delicacies was entirely prepared by Dong Feihong.
There weren’t many people partic.i.p.ating in this family dinner, with only four people present: Mister Dong, Madam Dong, Dong Ge, and Dong Feihong.
Madam Dong, face flushed entirely red, helped pick out food for Dong Ge as Dong Ge had a drink with Mister Dong.
Dong Ge was very good at holding his alcohol, so when Mister Dong’s face was red and ears were flushed, there was only a bit of an alluring flush on Dong Ge’s cheeks and his eyes were still bright, clear and quiet.
Since this was a family dinner, it was naturally inevitable that they would talk about personal matters during the dinner.
Madam Dong asked with a giggle, “Xiao Ge, has anyone caught your eye recently?”
Dong Ge said, “I’m training everyday, where would I have the time to think about this kind of thing?”
Madam Dong winked. “Don’t play dumb with your mother, if you like someone, just tell Mom.”
Dong Ge, “How would I.”
Madam Dong simply made her words more direct. “Do you like men or women?”
This world was different from the previous one. Society’s acceptance of h.o.m.os.e.xuals was considerably so-so. Madam Dong being able to ask such a question truly gave Dong Ge a bit of a shock.
And soon after, Madam Dong gave her reason. “What’s with that look? For better or for worse, our family runs a skating rink. Most of the time, it’s boys bringing other boys to skate with them. Over these past few years, how many times has Mom accompanied you overseas? What western scenery have I not seen?”
Dong Ge was surprised. “……Why did you suddenly think of this?”
It was true that Dong Ge had always been gay, but how did Madam Dong pick up on this?
Madam Dong had a face that read “Brat, your mother’s guessed correctly, hasn’t she”. “Is that person surnamed He?”
Chi Xiaochi, “……” Hah?
Madam Dong said, “The last time I went to visit you, I b.u.mped into a female teammate of yours, so we chatted a little. She said that there was a person who would always come to the side of the rink to watch you practice, and every time he came, your jumps would become particularly energised. Whichever jump was the most fancy, you’d jump it. She said it really enthusiastically, so I went to go listen around. Originally I thought it was a girl, but I never expected……”
Chi Xiaochi, “……Liu-laoshi, Liu-laoshi. Is this true?”
During training, Chi Xiaochi had always handed complete control of his body back to Dong Ge, leaving him free to do as he wished. He hadn’t expected that the boy would actually use this opportunity to show his feelings.
061, “……It’s true.”
Chi Xiaochi held up his wine cup. “……I taught him for so long, only to bring up a little peac.o.c.k who knows how to show off his tail in the end.”
Ever since he received that last subtle signal, 061 had begun to pay special attention to what was going on in Dong Ge’s body.
Sure enough, there was yet another reaction this time.
If 061 hadn’t felt wrongly, the signal he received this time read “blushing”.
Seeing Dong Ge remain silent, Madam Dong couldn’t resist continuing her preaching, “If you like men, that’s fine, it’s not like it’s anything bad. If you were to be like your uncle, playing at some kind of celibacy, that would be troublesome. When you get old and your body is injured, who will take care of you?”
Dong Feihong, who had been named for no reason, immediately turned cautious, lowering his head and obediently eating his food, yet at the same time winking at Dong Ge over his bowl of rice.
After the meal, Madam Dong washed the dishes, Mister Dong wiped the table, and Dong Ge was chased off to go watch TV.
After changing the channel to China Central Television, he pulled on his coat and walked out the door.
He found Dong Feihong smoking by the side of the skating rink.
Over the rink was a bright red banner: To congratulate Dong Ge on entering the national team, the rink will be free for seven days.
The notice had been issued before the New Year.
Dong Ge, another female singles skater Liang Xiao, as well as He Changsheng and Fang Xiaoyan, these two pair skaters, had been recognised by the National Skating a.s.sociation and would become members of the national team starting at the end of that year.
The training venue was still up to the provincial team. If there was an important compet.i.tion, they would gather together for intensive training.
After the New Year, they would be flying to Finland to prepare for the World Figure Skating Championship practice session in three months.
Upon seeing him, Dong Feihong casually waved away the smoke, planning on extinguishing his cigarette.
Chi Xiaochi said, “No need.”
He stepped forward and placed his open palm in front of Dong Feihong.
Dong Feihong, knowing what he meant, dug out his cigarette box from his chest pocket. “Can you smoke?”
Chi Xiaochi pulled one out from the middle and placed it in his mouth. “A little.”
Dong Feihong smiled and said, “Let us men smoke in secret. Don’t let your mother find out, or else she’ll start saying I’ve corrupted you again.”
As he spoke, he placed his burning cigarette back in his mouth and lowered his head, pulling out his lighter from his pocket.
But unexpectedly, Chi Xiaochi tiptoed slightly, causing the cigarette in his mouth to naturally b.u.mp into the cigarette in Dong Feihong’s mouth.
The dark red, burning cigarette b.u.t.t lit the paper covering the other cigarette, which in turn lit the tobacco inside.
Dong Feihong’s heart suddenly jumped.
After lighting his cigarette, Chi Xiaochi automatically pulled back, as if the one who had performed that ambiguous action just now wasn’t him.
Leaning against the cold railings, he looked up at the dark night sky and the sporadic blooms of fireworks that would burst occasionally therein.
Even so many years after the decree banning the private lighting of fireworks had been issued, there were still people willing to go against the law. It was as if they felt they wouldn’t be celebrating the Chinese New Year the right way, if they didn’t make some noise during the new year.
Chi Xiaochi asked, “Uncle, I heard you’re going overseas.”
Dong Feihong nodded.
Chi Xiaochi’s mission in this world was nearing its end, so he too needed to make preparations for his “disappearance” in advance.
Chi Xiaochi said, “It’s really good abroad. In the future, when I go overseas for compet.i.tions, I can still come visit you.”
Dong Feihong just smiled slightly, not answering.
“Dong Feihong” existed for the sake of protecting Chi Xiaochi. Without Chi Xiaochi, if he wanted to cross the huge gap between timelines to maintain “Dong Feihong”‘s existence, it would be too difficult, and too unrealistic.
After that, Chi Xiaochi stopped talking.
Nephew and uncle smoked a cigarette side by side, then lit another.
The temperature difference between indoors and outdoors was extremely huge, but to Chi Xiaochi, who trained in the cold all year round, this bit of cold was nothing.
Just like that, the two stood there quietly for a while, before suddenly, Chi Xiaochi spoke.
Facing the vast, empty rink, he asked, “Uncle, have you seen 《The Matrix》?”
This world had this film, but because 061 hadn’t seen it, Dong Feihong hadn’t seen it either.
He shook his head honestly and asked, “What is it about?”
Chi Xiaochi took a puff of his cigarette. “Nothing much. It’s a good movie.”
The tone he used to say this was very loose and languid, incredibly close to the true Chi Xiaochi.
In Dong Feihong’s eyes, all data could be a.n.a.lysed. So, at this moment, the Chi Xiaochi in his eyes had his complete, original appearance.
——Snow-white smoke flowed past his slightly reddened lips, floating up along his perfectly formed nose and slowly dispersing, disappearing into the freezing air.
His eyes were filled with a provocative heedlessness, mixed with a bit of melancholy, enchanting to the point of distraction.
Dong Feihong couldn’t help but speak, “You……”
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However, before he could finish speaking, Madam Dong’s voice drifted over from afar, “Dong Ge. ……Xiao Ge! Where are you?!”
He Changsheng had originally planned on celebrating the New Year with Lou Sifan, but something unexpected happened and an angry argument occurred; He Changsheng left the Lou home, planning on going to the train station to buy a ticket back to the provincial team, but his wallet and cellphone were unexpectedly stolen. Without any other options, he could only go on foot to look for Dong Ge, who was also in the area, for help.
Dong Ge checked if there were any train tickets left. “From the first day of the Lunar New Year to the fourth, all the tickets have been sold out.”
He Changsheng lowered his head. “I’ll take the bus back.”
Dong Ge said, “Alright, I’ll go with you to the pa.s.senger terminal tomorrow to take a look.”
He Changsheng said, “Thank you.”
He Changsheng didn’t say why he and Lou Sifan had fought, and Dong Ge didn’t ask.
He Changsheng was grateful for this seemingly inconsiderate consideration.
Since last year’s good news had been sent to the provincial team, Lou Sifan hadn’t been in very good condition. In the next national compet.i.tion, he didn’t even manage to enter the preliminaries.
This matter infuriated Lou Sifan’s coach, who made him prepare at least 5 individual self-reflections and a.n.a.lyses.
And while chatting that afternoon, Mister Lou had also brought up that matter, telling him to guard himself against pride and impatience and to learn more from his teammate, Dong Ge.
At that time, Lou Sifan’s expression had been very ugly.
He Changsheng knew that this topic wasn’t pleasant for him, and hence wanted to turn the conversation to another topic. “Dong Ge also lives around here, right? Tomorrow I’m going to find him and wish him a Happy New Year, Lou-ge, want to come with me?”
The Lou Sifan who had always been cultured and refined unexpectedly blew up. “Can you not bring up that person!?”
He Changsheng was stunned. “……”
Lou Sifan began to shout, as if venting, “Wherever I go it’s him, wherever I go it’s him! For these past few years, you haven’t had a home to return to. Who was it that took you in for the New Year? If you want to go find him, fine then, go, quickly go! Don’t stay here——”
Once the words left his mouth, Lou Sifan also realised his mistake. His face flushed a purplish-red, but even if he wanted to take back his words, it was too late.
He Changsheng had already gotten over the death of his parents, but it was hard for him to accept his friend saying this kind of thing.
So, in order to prevent things from becoming even more unbearable, he chose to leave.
After their simple conversation, He Changsheng said, “You should go keep your parents company.”
Dong Ge said, “I’ll stay with you.”
He Changsheng said, “Accompanying me will be very boring. I’m going to be designing my skating routine.”
Dong Ge said, “That’s interesting.”
Only then did He Changsheng realise the person before him was also someone for whom figure skating was life. To them, figure skating would never be boring, and every day would have something new.
His heart softened even further. “Alright.”
He Changsheng’s “routine” was the program routine they intended to perform at the World Championships.
This time, He Changsheng’s coach was rather ambitious, wanting He Changsheng and Fang Xiaoyan to break through the regret of getting fourth place from last time and win a medal.
Therefore, while Dong Ge had already submitted his routine last year, He Changsheng was still consulting with his ch.o.r.eographer, burning the midnight oil every day. Even this New Year’s Day was no exception.
Dong Ge went out, made a pot of black tea and came back in. “Qianbei, do you have any problems?”
He Changsheng’s expression was a little vexed. “I need to hand in routine number twelve tomorrow, but I’m not sure how to design this movement better.”
Dong Ge looked over at his drafted routine.
In Dong Ge’s memories, He Changsheng had performed rather excellently in this World Championship, but because of yet another change of partners and their not being accustomed enough to each other yet, their expressiveness was lacking and they lost their chance at a medal.
“p.u.b.erty” was a major hurdle practically every athlete had to pa.s.s, especially ice skaters and swimmers, for theirs was a type of sport which had requirements for body types that were so harsh it was almost perverse.
Dong Ge and the other athletes’ body weights were measured in liang, and their measurements were taken every day. If there was any increase or decrease beyond the calculated range, they would suffer a penalty and their training would double.
Girls, due to having to face the development of b.r.e.a.s.t.s, b.u.t.tocks and other such organs, faced more uncertainties than boys, so during p.u.b.erty, male skaters often had to change their female partners.
But this time, He Changsheng’s partner was Fang Xiaoyan, who had worked with him for almost ten years. In terms of technique and cooperation, there shouldn’t be any problem.
Seeing He Changsheng wrack his brains yet remain unable to come up with a solution, Dong Ge simply proposed, “My family has an ice rink, why don’t we try it out on the ice?”
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