IRL C63 Just a Friend?

Back at the other table, Shangguan Yu gave a happy smile. “They really are. When I told them that I was about to go on a date, they were all over me by giving me tips and helping me prepare for everything. I’m really lucky to have them.”

Ao Jing couldn’t help but smile. He was happy to hear that things were going so great between Shangguan Yu and his family. That really was nice to hear. “So I guess they already know about me? Or was it more a general kind of talk?” He knew that they had asked a few questions. After all, Shangguan Yu had already told him but he didn’t know if that had been about him directly or if they just knew that Shangguan Yu was going to have some kind of date. He couldn’t help but be a little curious. After all, if Shangguan Yu had told his family about him specifically, that would likely mean a lot if they were so close, wouldn’t it?

“No, no, it was about you specifically You bet that they wanted to know exactly who you are and what you’re doing! I think they were a bit worried because we only ever had contact online. My sister isn’t quite as bad but my mom thinks that everyone online is just out to scam you. Well, I can somewhat understand.”

Ao Jing couldn’t help but smile. “You three are really close it seems. That’s nice.”

“Yes, we are. Growing up, it was only us. I think that made us become really close. It was only about a decade ago that my sister introduced her boyfriend to us.”

Ao Jing nodded. While he had heard a bit about Shangguan Yu’s family, including some of the funny anecdotes from when he had been younger, half a year was naturally not enough to learn everything about a person. Especially not if they could only ever play a few hours a day. “If you don’t mind me asking, what about your father?”

Shangguan Yu sighed at that. “It’s not that he walked out on us or anything if you thought that. He had an accident when I was younger. He was in the hospital for quite some time but in the end, he just didn’t make it.” He sighed again when thinking back to that time. “I remember that my mother was devastated. She had a hard time pulling herself together and an aunt of ours took care of my sister and me for a bit. Not having us with her was difficult for my mom but … in the end, she also caught herself because of that. We went back and … even though things weren’t easy, life had to continue somehow.”

“I’m sorry for bringing it up.” Ao Jing slightly furrowed his brows, chastising himself for asking something like this. Anyway, even if Shangguan Yu’s father had walked out on them, that also wouldn’t have been a thing he’d like to remember. He probably shouldn’t have asked.

Shangguan Yu shook his head though. “Don’t worry about it. Anyway, isn’t that what a date is for? Getting to know each other? You can tell me something embarrassing about your family as compensation if you want to.”

Ao Jing chuckled at that thought. “Something embarrassing? I think they would be mortified if they knew I was bringing anything like that outside. My family is pretty prim and proper.”

Shangguan Yu couldn’t help but curiously lean forward. Even though they had talked about a lot, Ao Jing seldom mentioned his family. “Your relationship isn’t the best?”

“Well, I guess compared to your family, you could probably say that. It’s not that we get along bad. I guess me coming out was a bit of a hit for them but they’ve mostly accepted it. It’s just that they were always slightly distant and maybe it got a little more distant afterward. It was nothing too unexpected.”

“That’s really a pity. I wish people were more accepting.”

Ao Jing shrugged his shoulders. “It would be nice, of course, but I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon. For now, it’s just something we’ll have to live with. Maybe in a few years, things will ease up.”

Shangguan Yu nodded, but he still couldn’t help but feel a little down at the thought. “Are out to anyone else?” He himself had come out not only to his family but even to some of his friends. While not everybody had reacted great, most had at least accepted it. Without any support … it would have been hard. He really didn’t want to imagine that for Ao Jing.

Ao Jing needed a moment to think about it though. “Actually, other than them, there isn’t anyone. I felt it wasn’t the right thing to do at work since I haven’t been there that long and I’m pretty sure they also feel like I’m there to work and not speak about my private life.

“On the other hand, I wasn’t really sure if I even wanted my fellow students or friends from before that to know. With my family, I just felt that I needed to tell them before they started bothering me about finding a girlfriend and settling down. I didn’t want them to have any expectations that I couldn’t fulfill.”

Shangguan Yu couldn’t help but slightly furrow his brows. “Isn’t that difficult though? What do you do if you have to talk with someone?”

“I guess I just don’t. Or maybe I would ask you.” He smiled, not too bothered about it. Of course, it would’ve been nice if he had somebody he could talk to. Maybe somebody who was in a similar situation as him. But the thing was, he felt that the risk was too high. He didn’t want to take that chance. It was better to just let things be. And he didn’t even feel that there was a need to most of the time.

“Anyway, as long as you don’t give any details, you can bring up a lot of things without needing to come out. For example, I told my supervisors that I had somewhat of a blind date. I didn’t say that it was with another man just like I also didn’t mention that we met in a game. I didn’t think he’d really care about that.

“And with friends, I’d probably do the same and just tell them a bit more about how we got to know each other and what kind of person you are. As for your gender … I’m not sure if they actually need to care. As long as I’m happy, that should be enough, don’t you think so?”

Shangguan Yu nodded but he wasn’t completely convinced yet. “They don’t need to care but the thing is, my gender is my gender. It’s not going to change. When we’re really going to have a relationship in the future, then meeting each other’s friends and family would be a normal thing, right? What would I be then? Always just a friend?”

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