Xiao Ming hurriedly ordered a dish before he looked up at Si Qi, his heart beating frantically. He still couldn’t believe that he was sitting at a table with Shi Ru Qiu. It just seemed much too fantastic.
Just meeting him on coincidence was one thing but to actually be able to have a chat with him and go to eat something … he really didn’t know what to make of that. It just seemed so surreal.
Si Qi could see that Xiao Ming was nervous but he didn’t say anything about it. Instead, he just patiently ordered some dishes for himself before he put the menu to the side and took a look around the bistro.
This was a habit that he had formed over the years of being a writer. Everything could be an inspiration. And being able to describe different kinds of places was one of the things that were the most important. And while there definitely wasn’t a scarcity of places you could look at online, it was still something different to actually be there and be able to take a look around.
It wasn’t just the looks of it, the feeling it gave off if you actually sat there was a different one. At the very least, it was to him. So he would usually take at least a few moments for this kind of thing.
When he had finished, Xiao Ming had also managed to calm down and Si Qi gave a smile. “I’ve probably been a bit too forthright before. I’m really sorry about that. I’m not usually like that. It is just that this morning, I was unfortunately very rudely reminded of the fact that I have a longstanding unrequited crash. So my thoughts were still all over the place.”
Xiao Ming hurriedly shook his head. “I don’t mind, really. If it made you feel better, then I’m happy that I was able to help. It’s not that easy being … like this in our country.” He lowered his gaze, wondering if it was really alright to talk about it like this.
To be honest, in regard to this topic, he had been quite lucky. His parents had probably suspected something and when he finally told them, they had taken it with grace. Qian Huang and Li Shui also hadn’t been bothered by it. That was a lot more than others had. So he definitely couldn’t complain in that regard. He didn’t know how it was for Shi Ru Qiu and he didn’t dare to ask either. Who knew if that wouldn’t just conjure up even more sad memories?
Si Qi smiled when he saw Xiao Ming glance at him as if there was something that he wanted to say but didn’t dare to. “I’ve said so much, I definitely wouldn’t mind if you asked whatever was on your mind right now. Just be honest. In any case, it is a nice opportunity to actually be able to talk to somebody else.”
Since Shi Ru Qiu already offered this directly, Xiao Ming didn’t hold back. “Is there nobody else you can talk to about this otherwise?”
Si Qi lowered his gaze, his expression pensive. “Well, I guess you could say that is the problem. Although it’s not really because of the reasons you probably imagine.
“You know, the people around me are probably alright with it. In fact, I have some acquaintances that are gay and even in relationships right now. Nobody minds. It’s just that I don’t really feel close to any of them. So this kind of thing … I have a bit of a problem opening up.”
Xiao Ming looked at him and once again have the feelings that Shi Ru Qiu seemed like a rather lonely person. To think that he would rather talk to a total stranger than an acquaintance … that was quite sad. But then again, maybe because he was a stranger it was easier to open up for him. He probably had the feeling that after ‘Golden Spoon’ ended, they would never meet again. Since that was the case, it wasn’t a problem to just say anything he thought of.
“Well, have you … tried it? I know it can be really scary to talk about these things but maybe you’d be surprised. Maybe … if you just told them, you would find out that at least some of them could be closer to you than you think.”
Si Qi looked at him, not quite sure what to make of this. In a normal situation, Xiao Ming would definitely be right. There was at least a slight chance to make some good experiences with that approach. The problem was that he wasn’t in a normal situation at all. He was a member of the Si clan and as such, he very unfortunately didn’t have the luxury to be like a normal person in this regard.
If he tried to talk about these things with the others and it didn’t work out, then their relationship would become strained. He couldn’t even begin to imagine the long-term effects that would have. Most likely, he would really use his position in the clan and have to leave.
He thought for a bit, wondering how he could explain this to Xiao Ming without actually giving anything away about the Si clan. Right now, it wasn’t time yet to be open about that. He could maybe hint at a thing or two but he couldn’t outright tell him that there was a clan.
“Imagine that you told people at the set of ‘Golden Spoon’ and that maybe three people there would take it well while the others wouldn’t. Don’t you think the next few weeks would be agonizing?
“That is kind of what I’m looking at. Just that it isn’t just for a few weeks but for at least the next few years of my life. And I’m honestly not sure if I can do that. It is difficult enough loving a man that will never love me back. I don’t think I want to add any more complications.”
Right now, Si Er was the only one aside from Si Yi who was definitely aware and he was somebody who usually didn’t care about these things. This morning, he had only brought it up because he was angry at being thrown out of the house. After all, he was usually even less outgoing than him. It was only if there was something interesting going on that he had an interest in joining the fun and would even abandon his beloved gadgets.
As for the other members of the clan, they might have a hunch but they might also not. He didn’t know and he didn’t want to try to find out. In a situation like his, it was best not to take any chances.
Xiao Ming slightly furrowed his brows. That kind of situation, it really was difficult. And he couldn’t say that the chances were that good. In any case, there were still a lot of people who weren’t that accepting. Things were slowly changing but it was much too slow for Shi Ru Qiu to really pin any hopes on this. “Then maybe you could find some people outside of your current acquaintances?” This was really the only other option he could think of.
Unfortunately, Si Qi just gave a wry smile. “I’m not that outgoing I’m afraid. And these acquaintances … I’ve known them all my life. Actually, it might be wrong to call them just acquaintances. After years of knowing them, they should probably be more. But I also wouldn’t know how to call them. They aren’t quite friends. Maybe friends of the family if you so will. Just imagine that the previous generation was good friends and the few of us just somehow grew up alongside each other. It is difficult to pull out of that. There are too many ties from the past. Now, this is just the way it has to be I guess.”
Xiao Ming nodded even though he wasn’t sure if he could imagine this. Anyway, it did sound difficult and he had to be honest that he pitied Shi Ru Qiu a little. When it came to him, he had had quite the bad luck in his life. But the one silver lining had always been that there were Qian Huang and Li Shui. Without them, he really didn’t know how he would’ve been able to make it through the dark times in his life. It just seemed completely impossible.
To not have a trusted friend at your side … it had to be really difficult. And he could imagine that making new friends also wasn’t that easy. He didn’t quite know how old Shi Ru Qiu was but he should be in his late twenties at least. The friends he hadn’t made until now … he might feel like he wouldn’t be able to ever make them.
Xiao Ming wasn’t quite sure if that was true but he could get behind the feeling of things being too late. If he thought of the future, he also didn’t think that he would be able to meet somebody that he could have an even closer relationship with than he had with Qian Huang and Li Shui. Even if he found a partner in the future, he was afraid that that person would still take second place after the two of them. To him, his friends would always be first place. Which probably also didn’t make things easier with finding somebody to be with.
Thinking of that, he looked back up at Shi Ru Qiu. “Well, then what about the man you like? It … I mean, are you sure there’s no chance to get together?” If he had that much trouble finding friends, then maybe a lover might be easier. He couldn’t say for sure but he just hoped that there was a chance for that.
Si Qi smiled brightly. “Pretty sure that there is no chance, no.”
“Is he … well, straight?” He felt that problem in his heart. He had definitely crushed on a man or two that hadn’t been interested in men. It always involved a lot of heartbreak.
Si Qi’s smile turned even wryer. “You know, if he was straight, I probably wouldn’t have a problem letting go of this. The thing is that he doesn’t mind either way. Men, women, he doesn’t care. The problem is that he doesn’t like me, specifically.”
Xiao Ming bit his lip, feeling that in his attempt to cheer him up, he had caused even worse thoughts. “I’m sorry.”
Si Qi nodded. “Me too. I am really feeling sorry for myself. I know I should give up already. It’s been years but I just can’t get over him. It probably doesn’t help that I’m seeing him almost every day. I’m starting to think that if I was able to put some distance between us, maybe I would find somebody else. In any case, if there is nothing feeding into those delusions, they are bound to disappear one day, right?”
Xiao Ming nodded tentatively even though he wasn’t sure if this would help. To be able to hold on to your feelings for several years when there was no indication at all that the other person like you back was quite the feat.
If it was him, he probably would’ve gotten discouraged already. Then again … there had never been a situation where he constantly had to be around a person he liked but who wouldn’t like him back.
Actually, come to think of it, if he had ever fallen in love with Qian Huang or Li Shui, that might be a situation that would come close to this. In that case, it really would be difficult. Pulling back wasn’t easy because he wouldn’t want to lose his friends but staying close would be impossible because how would he deal with his own feelings?
Yes, looking at it that way, he somewhat understood how Shi Ru Qiu had to be feeling right now. And he had to say that pitying himself probably was the only thing he could do right now. Well, that, or taking a break for a while.
“Maybe after the show is over, you could just take a long vacation. I know it’s not much but maybe just some time apart from that person could already help you. I think that for me, it would at least. Maybe for you, it would be the same.”