CU C9 The Next Natural Step

Mo Yang turned the key and went inside, pulling the door close behind him with a sigh. He kicked off his shoes, stepped into the pair of slippers already standing next to the cupboard and took off his coat at the same time, throwing it in the direction of the coat-stand. “I’m back!” He called towards the living room and went to the kitchen to get a bottle of water. He drank a few gulps and furrowed his brow. Normally, Bian Lin would call out to welcome him home or even come running over. He got off work an hour before him so he was used to seeing him at home when he returned. Now, the apartment was silent though.

Mo Yang put down the bottle and went to the living room, not caring about making anything to eat. “Bian Lin?” The lights were turned off as if nobody was there.

He furrowed his brows even further and groped around for the switch, turning the lights back on. A pair of feet could be seen hanging from the couch. Mo Yang went over and sat down next to him, looking at his face that was pale safe for the reddened eyes. “What happened?”

Bian Lin glanced at his boyfriend and sat up, shifting over and into his arms. He buried his face in Mo Yang’s chest and took a shaky breath. “Remember that promotional event we had in the shop two months ago?”

Mo Yang nodded but couldn’t help being confused. That promotional event was long over and if he remembered correctly, it had gone well. There shouldn’t be any issue with it now.

Bian Lin’s lips curved into a humorless smile when he saw his boyfriend’s confused look. “Today, the boss told me I could get off work earlier since we did overtime back then. So I …” He let go of Mo Yang and switched to sitting cross-legged, his hands nervously rubbing his knees. “I thought since I’ve time, I should go home for a while. So I went to visit my father.”

Mo Yang sighed. He could imagine what had happened. Bian Lin’s father wasn’t too traditional compared to many of his generation. He didn’t treat Bian Lin’s sister any differently from him and didn’t mind that she worked full-time. He didn’t even urge either of them to get married soon and have a child.

But there were still some matters where older people were likely to be more headstrong. Telling him that he was gay without any preparation … Naturally, that wouldn’t have turned out well.

Bian Lin nodded at his boyfriend’s expression. “Yeah, it didn’t go so well. I tried to explain to him but in the end, he just yelled at me that I didn’t need to come back. I left after that.” His voice sounded hoarse and he had to take a deep breath to calm down again. He had already cried since the moment he came back home to the apartment. Continuing to cry in front of his boyfriend would really be too embarrassing.

Mo Yang reached out and pulled him back into his arms. “We should have gone together. Maybe then uncle wouldn’t have been as harsh.”

Bian Lin shook his head. “I told him it’s you. He only said that if he had known you were into men, he wouldn’t have let you come over so much when we were little.”

Mo Yang smirked. So now it was his fault? He had turned uncle Bian’s son gay?

Bian Lin reached over and touched his shoulder. “I know it’s not like that. I also tried to tell him but he wouldn’t listen at all. I’ll go over another day and try again. He’s still my father. He should be able to accept it sooner or later, shouldn’t he?”

Mo Yang nodded even though he wasn’t too optimistic. One of his current coworkers was bi and his family had thrown him out and cut contact with him after he came out. Being family related by blood was no guarantee for them to show any understanding for his orientation. If uncle Bian was too stubborn about things like men should be with women and not with other men, then there was nothing they could do. In that case, it was they who would have to choose. Either their family or the person they had grown to love.

“Bian Lin.”

Bian Lin looked up at his boyfriend with a puzzled gaze. “You don’t think I should go over?” He hesitated but then nodded. “Well, maybe not this weekend. But in the week after? He might have calmed down by then. After thinking about it, maybe he’ll take it better.”

Mo Yang took his hand and squeezed it. “That’s not what I’m talking about. You should definitely go again and try to make him see your position. He is your father, after all. You shouldn’t have to lose him over this. And who knows? Maybe he might come around after having some time to get used to the thought. Today, he might just have felt that you jumped this on him. It might be different the next time around.

“Anyway, I just want to say that if you go again, then I’ll come with you. You’re not alone. We’re a couple so we should do these things together. And whatever happens in the end, I’ll be there for you.” Mo Yang reached over and cupped his cheeks, giving him a smile. “If he doesn’t want to be your family, then I will be. You won’t end up along just because of this.”

Bian Lin nodded and reached up as well, covering Mo Yang’s hands with his. “Thank you. I …” He took a shaky breath and forced himself to smile. “I think I needed this.”

“And I bet you could also take some nice food, hm?” Mo Yang sat up straight and kissed his boyfriend’s temple. “Knowing you, you’ve probably been holed up in here all the time until I came home. You must be starving. How about we go out to eat today? Anyway, even if it didn’t work out too well, it’s great you dared to tell him. From now on, you can only go forward, right? You deserve treating yourself to something nice for that. Like your favorite dish or a really special menu like that day we went out for the first time. What do you think?”

Bian Lin gave a soft laugh but shook his head. “Take a look at my face. If we go like this, people would think you bullied me. Anyway, I think it’s only worth a celebration after we get my father to calm down and accept me like I am. Let’s just eat at home today.”

Mo Yang nodded. “Alright, then we’ll do it that way. I can still make your favorite food though.” He grinned and got up, stretching. Actually, going out sounded like a bother as well. Staying home would be much more comfortable. “I’ll go and make us something to eat then.”

Bian Lin nodded and fell back onto the couch. “Thank you. I’ll just wait here then?” Normally, they would cook together. It was also something he liked to do but today, he just didn’t have the energy. He felt mentally drained. Just thinking of the expression his father had made …

Mo Yang looked at him and then leaned down to give him another kiss while brushing through his hair. “Don’t think too much. You told him so suddenly, naturally, there will be some resistance at first. Who knows? He might already regret it. Maybe he’ll call you in the middle of the night and apologize?”

Bian Lin gave a nod and watched Mo Yang leave for the kitchen. He curled up on the couch and tried to do as his boyfriend had said and just not think about it for now so that time could tell. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. He couldn’t control his thoughts just because he wanted to.

This matter, he also knew how important it was. If his father didn’t accept it, then he would have to make a decision. His family or his lover. A fake life where he could never be himself or staying true to who he really was but without the person that had raised him and meant so much to him. Maybe he would even lose his older sister over this.

It wasn’t easy to decide. He didn’t want to lose Mo Yang but he also didn’t want to lose his family. He … he just wanted both. And he didn’t feel that it was selfish to want that. Wasn’t it just being with the ones he loved the most?

Bian Lin rolled onto his back again and looked up at the ceiling. He had never thought too much about his relationship with Mo Yang. Falling in love with him hadn’t seemed strange to him. They had gone to school together, studied at university together, even worked together in the company. This kind of thing … it had just happened naturally. And something natural, of course, wouldn’t be questioned.

After being so close for so long, it just seemed like the next natural step. The friendship that had already begun in those childhood days had just become closer and closer until they really couldn’t call each other friends anymore.

At first, he hadn’t even known what to call this. They were close, unbelievably familiar with each other, to the point where one didn’t need to say anything for the other to understand. Just like how Mo Yang had immediately known what the issue was when he said that he went to see his father.

It was probably their luck that gay relationships were slowly being present more often in the media. Even if showing it directly almost never made it through censorship, it was still obvious in many movies or series. With time, they had naturally figured out that they were just like these people on the screen, something more like friends and more like a normal heterosexual couple. And soon enough, they were sure that however they wanted to call it, it wouldn’t change anything between them. Being together, that was still the most important.

Bian Lin sat up and sighed heavily, listened to the sound coming from the kitchen and smiled to himself. To be honest, it wasn’t much of a question what he should do if his father really couldn’t accept it. Sure, on one hand, there was his family but if his father refused to talk to him because of something he had no control over, then should he really call him his family? As much as it hurt to admit it but if his father couldn’t accept everything of him, then he had never loved him enough. It wasn’t like he had committed some kind of crime, after all! He had just fallen in love with his best friend.

Anyway, if his father couldn’t accept it, then what was the point? This would always stand between them. His father would always be looking for things he did wrong, blaming it on Mo Yang and this past relationship, on him not being ‘normal’, whatever that was. Slowly but surely, they would drift apart anyway and the resentment between them would accumulate further and further until they hated each other’s guts. Was that the relationship he wanted to have with his father?

And even if he decided against his father, his sister might still stand by his side and not cut him off. They also had a good relationship and her husband seemed pretty open-minded. Even if they couldn’t understand, they might at least accept it.

On the other hand, what about Mo Yang? If he decided against him, then there was no chance to ever openly live his life as he wanted to. He would also lose not only his lover but his best friend, the one person that was the most important to him after his family. Cutting this person out would turn his whole life upside down. It would end up empty and dull. The kind of life where he got up in the morning, went out to work and went to sleep in the evening, wondering over and over again just what he was doing all this for. He would be drifting aimlessly.

That kind of life … He didn’t want it.

Bian Lin got up and walked into the kitchen, stopping in the doorway for a moment. Mo Yang glanced over his shoulder and gave him a smile before he continued to stir the rice in the frying pan.

Bian Lin walked over and hugged him from behind, pressing his cheek up against Mo Yang’s shoulder. “You know … If my father really can’t accept it, then I’d choose you. It’s not that I don’t want to be filial but I can live without him, especially if he wants to be like this. I can’t live without you though. You’re the most important person in my life.”

Mo Yang put the frying pan to the side and turned off the stove, reaching down and covering Bian Lin’s hands with his. He couldn’t help but feel a little relieved. He hadn’t been too sure how things would turn out. After all, Bian Lin only had his father and sister, so he would never want to break ties with him. In that kind of situation, he had feared he would be the one being left behind. Even though nothing definite had been decided yet, it felt great to know that at least at this moment, this was how his boyfriend felt.

Mo Yang raised Bian Lin’s hand to his mouth and kissed his knuckles. “Don’t worry about it. Even if he doesn’t accept it immediately, we’ll just continue to work on it. Didn’t my family also accept it in the end after I told them? I’m sure uncle Bian will see your side someday. It might be a lot of work until then but as long as we’re together we can achieve anything, can’t we?”

Bian Lin smiled, his mind indeed calming down. Right, nobody said that he had to give up just because his father threw him out today or because he might not agree with him the next time. No, there might still be another opportunity in the future. He just had to continue to believe that things would turn out well and work hard for it. With Mo Yang at his side, what wasn’t there that he could work toward?

He tiptoed and kissed his boyfriend’s cheek. “Thank you. Thank you for being there for me. Even when things aren’t going well.”

Mo Yang just patted his hand and turned on the stove again without saying anything. Being there for his boyfriend for something like this was a given to him. Naturally, if Bian Lin chose to stay with him, then he would choose to accompany him in the good and the bad times, no questions asked.

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