Shen Mian was kissed so affectionately that his mind became blurry.

He was just a little straight guy who had never even held a girl’s hand or gone on a date with anyone. The most ambiguous thing he had ever done in his life was pulling the braid of the girl sitting in front of him in elementary school.

Although he had already been kissed by Pei Zhiyi more than once, under the colorful hibiscus flowers, the warm and restless evening breeze of summer made his heart a bit chaotic.

He pushed Pei Zhiyi away, covered his chest, and honestly said, “Pei Zhiyi stop, you’re kissing me so much that I keep doubting my sexual orientation.”

He said it straightforwardly.

Even though his heart was pounding and he felt his good buddy was overly handsome that night, as long as the person was Pei Zhiyi, he felt straight as an arrow.

Pei Zhiyi tugged at the corner of his mouth. Shen Mian was almost transparent in front of him, and with just one glance, he could tell what Shen Mian was thinking.

“why are you fighting it?” he said coldly.

Shen Mian leaned against the wall, in a stance of standing yet not standing, and his heart had already calmed down.

“I like girls. Girls are cute. If I liked guys, I wouldn’t think twice about being in a relationship with you but that’s not the case,” Shen Mian casually said.

But as he observed Pei Zhiyi’s face under the moonlight, the more he looked, the more he felt something was amiss.

He pondered, “Tell me the truth. Have you secretly been in love with someone behind my back? How come you seem so skillful at all these things…?”

The first time he kissed Pei Zhiyi, he felt that he was too skilled and calm. Now, after a month of kissing and touching, he was even more certain that Pei Zhiyi had had countless practice before.

He grabbed Pei Zhiyi’s tie and the romantic atmosphere dissipated instantly. He looked at Pei Zhiyi with an interrogating gaze, like a police officer interrogating a suspect. “Why aren’t you denying it? Could it be true? Damn it, don’t you consider me your brother? You said you’d show me the first person you have a relationship with!”

Pei Zhiyi was almost amused by Shen Mian’s anger.

He felt that in his life, he excelled in many aspects, except for his judgment of people. How did he end up with such an annoying guy who constantly irritated him?

He took his tie from Shen Mian’s grip and looked at him mockingly. “You figure it out for yourself. Except for sleeping, when am I not with you ? When do I have time to date someone?”

Shen Mian thought about it and realized that was true.

In fact, Pei Zhiyi often spent nights with him.

However, he still maintained some doubt. “Maybe you’re having an online relationship?”

Pei Zhiyi couldn’t bear it anymore and pinched Shen Mian’s chubby face. “Am I you?”

Shen Mian’s mouth was twisted from being pinched, and he mumbled unclearly, “Ouch… What’s wrong with you? Answer my question.”

Pei Zhiyi pinched even harder.

The two of them played around under the tree for a while. Shen Mian picked up his dropped backpack and waved at Pei Zhiyi, saying, “I’m going back now, you should go back early too. I’ll be going to see my grandmother with my parents tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. There won’t be anyone at home. If you really miss me, give me a call.”

Shen Mian wasn’t being narcissistic.

He knew very well that if there was anyone in this world who could make Pei Zhiyi open up, it would be his family of four, including Pei Zhiyi’s birth mother, who was also overseas but unfortunately not around.

He felt a little reluctant when he thought about it. Pei Zhiyi would be all alone in that empty villa, with only the vibrant lights in the yard. It pained him to think about it.

He held Pei Zhiyi’s hand and said, “Why don’t you come with me to my grandmother’s house? My grandmother knows you. We used to play at her place when we were kids.”

Pei Zhiyi smiled, noticing that Shen Mian was no longer upset, and he seemed particularly obedient and sensible.

“You’ve finally got a chance to visit your grandmother for a few days. What’s the point of bringing me along?” Pei Zhiyi caressed Shen Mian’s wrist. “Go have fun, see you at school.”

Shen Mian also held onto Pei Zhiyi’s fingers, feeling like he wanted to say something more, but when he looked into Pei Zhiyi’s eyes, he knew Pei Zhiyi wouldn’t agree.

Pei Zhiyi could enter and leave his house at any time, but his grandmother was not Pei Zhiyi’s grandmother after all.

Thinking about this, he felt a little frustrated. For him, Pei Zhiyi was already a member of his family. Regardless of the circumstances, he never wanted to exclude Pei Zhiyi.

But in reality, Pei Zhiyi had his own family, and they were just friends, neighbors, two people without any blood relation.

“Forget it, I can’t persuade you anyway,” Shen Mian grumbled dispiritedly, “I’m going back. Bye.”

He walked away, and Nanhu Lane was very short. When he arrived at his own doorstep and looked back, he saw Pei Zhiyi still standing under the hibiscus tree.

He waved again, and only then did Pei Zhiyi leave.

But Shen Mian didn’t go inside right away.

He glanced at the yard next to his house, Pei Zhiyi’s house. Pei Uncle hadn’t sold the house, so now there was no one living inside, only occasional gardeners and housekeepers would come to clean. As a result, the yard always seemed desolate and empty.

But it wasn’t like that in the past.

When Pei Uncle and Aunt Yu were still together, the yard used to be lively. There was a swing under the towering camphor tree. His mother would often hold him and he would swing on the swing with Pei Zhiyi, or rather, he would play while Pei Zhiyi watched him. When they got tired of playing, they would run back to their respective mothers, asking for dinner.

But now, all of that was gone.

Only a house that would never light up again and a camphor tree that had lost its swing remained.

Shen Mian sighed and entered the house. His parents and Shen Yu were there, sitting on the couch and chatting. Shen Yu had bought a new hat and bag and was asking their parents if they looked good.

Shen Mian sat down on the couch, and his dad handed him a burger, saying, “Do you want to eat? I made it myself.”

Shen Mian took it and said, “Dad, you’re like wizard. I happen to want a midnight snack.”

His dad was very proud and said, “Your dad is not just a man busy with work, I’m also great at housework. Otherwise, how could I have married your mom?”

His mom, who had been looking at the computer, couldn’t help but smile when she heard that.

Shen Mian ate the burger while watching his dad and mom being all sweet and affectionate, feeling like his teeth were about to fall out from the sweetness.

He had grown up watching his parents being so affectionate, so when it came to love, building a family, and raising children, he instinctively had expectations because in his impression, those were all very good and happy things.

But he was still in high school, and he didn’t have a clear plan for the future, so those things were just vague shadows, shallowly etched in his heart.

Early the next morning, Shen Mian went with his parents to his grandmother’s house. They were planning to spend the entire National Day there.

His grandmother’s house was in a neighboring city, only an hour and a half’s drive from their home. When Shen Mian and Shen Yu got out of the car, they were warmly embraced and had their faces pinched by their grandmother, who was waiting at the door.

But what he didn’t expect was that there was another guest at his grandmother’s house. It was a boy a few years older than him, sitting under the grapevine in the yard, writing. He was tall, with deep and handsome features, slightly tanned skin, and a somewhat cold appearance, but surprisingly cheerful when he smiled.

“Hello, my name is Xu Yuanfan.” The boy smiled and extended his hand.

Shen Mian also reached out his hand, but he couldn’t help but notice that the other person’s hand was a whole size larger than his, making him appear frail.

“I’m Shen Mian,” he replied.

Through his grandmother’s introduction, Shen Mian learned that this boy was his grandmother’s calligraphy student, and they had a close relationship. Since it was a holiday , he had come to his grandmother’s place to study calligraphy and have some fun.

“Yuan Fan is a student at S University,” his grandmother introduced them, “he is a few years older than you and a good student. You should get along well.”

Shen Mian just smiled at Xu Yuanfan. He wasn’t particularly curious about him, but he had a natural sense of politeness. On the other hand, Shen Yu, the infatuated girl, let out a discreet “wow” beside him.

“He’s so handsome,” Shen Yu whispered in his ear.

He deliberately asked Shen Yu, “Then don’t you like Pei Zhiyi anymore?”

Shen Yu waved her hand dismissively, saying, “Children make choices, adults naturally have to.”

Shen Mian almost burst out laughing, he ruffled Shen Yu’s hair and said, “How can you be an adult? You’re only fifteen this year, okay?”

Shen Yu ignored him and quickly went shopping with their grandmother.

Grandmother loved buying clothes for little girls, and every time Shen Yu came, she would buy several outfits for her.

Shen Mian didn’t like shopping, he preferred to stay at home.

His parents also went to visit their mother’s friends and left by car.

Now, the house was left with Shen Mian and the newly acquainted Xu Yuanfan.

The two of them stared at each other for a while.

Finally, Shen Mian spoke first politely, “You write well.”

Xu Yuanfan chuckled because Shen Mian clearly had that look of trying to find something to say.

“It’s alright, I learned from your grandmother, but I haven’t learned even a tenth of what she knows.”

Shen Mian thought to himself that it was not surprising, his grandmother was a calligrapher and very impressive.

But he maintained a friendly tone, “It’s okay, I think it’s great. My handwriting looks like a dog scratching the ground, my grandmother never taught me.”

“Why?” Xu Yuanfan was a bit curious. Shouldn’t a grandson be more fortunate to have a closer connection?

Shen Mian scratched his face, feeling a little embarrassed, “Because I didn’t want to learn when I was young. My grandmother gave me a brush, but I would break it. After breaking ten or so brushes, she spanked me, so I gave up.”

He still remembered how angry his grandmother was at that time.

Xu Yuanfan laughed, a laughter that was unrestrained.

Shen Mian felt a bit embarrassed and didn’t feel like talking anymore, but Xu Yuanfan said, “I’m the same as you. My dad was really good at chess, he taught me since I was young, but I didn’t want to learn, so I threw all the pieces into the river.”

Shen Mian was quite surprised because Xu Yuanfan seemed very smart, just like Pei Zhiyi. They both had the aura of top students.

“I really didn’t expect…” he mumbled.

Xu Yuanfan smiled, “What’s the big deal? I caused my dad less trouble when I was young. It wasn’t until I went to school that he started to worry. I would fight and call parents to school every other day.”

Shen Mian was even more shocked.

But when he looked at Xu Yuanfan’s strong and muscular arms, he didn’t find it too surprising.

After all, he looked very strong.

He pinched his own arm and said enviously, “You look really strong, for me I can’t fight.

Unknowingly, the two of them started chatting.

Xu Yuanfan was an interesting person. He was indeed an academic genius; otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to attend S University. He could answer any question asked by Shen Mian and even guide him in doing homework.

However, he was obviously not the type of obedient and diligent student. He fought and skipped classes. After graduating from high school, he went to Tibet alone for a month, and when he returned, his skin was sunburned. During his university years, he traveled all over the place, rarely staying at home.

The more Shen Mian listened, the more excited he became.

Apart from academics, he was well-behaved in every other aspect. Hearing about Xu Yuanfan’s exciting experiences made him envious.

When he heard that Xu Yuanfan knew martial arts, he exclaimed in admiration.

By the time Xu Yuanfan returned home in the evening, he had become quite familiar with Shen Mian and even invited him to play again the next day.

Xu Yuanfan looked at him and smiled, “Why are you so friendly, just like a little puppy, easily getting close to people.”

Shen Mian felt unhappy he didn’t like being called a puppy by other people.

Actually, Pei Zhiyi had also said that he was like a little puppy, but he didn’t mind.

Xu Yuanfan saw his pouty face and found it even more amusing. He thought Shen Mian was really interesting.

“Alright,See you tomorrow,” Xu Yuanfan waved goodbye and walked away.

Before going to sleep that night, Shen Mian couldn’t wait and called Pei Zhiyi.

He had just finished talking with his grandmother for a long time and finally returned to his own room.

The phone rang for only a few seconds before it was picked up, as if Pei Zhiyi had been waiting all along.

Pei Zhiyi asked, “Why are you calling so late?”

Shen Mian lay on the bed and said, “I guess you’re still awake. There’s never a day when it’s not past midnight for you.”

Pei Zhiyi burst into laughter.

Shen Mian chatted with Pei Zhiyi about everything that had happened that day, from his grandmother commenting on his weight loss to the small cat at his grandmother’s house growing into a big cat, but still recognizing him.

“I used to hold that cat when I was a child, but now it’s so fat, it’s an old cat,” Shen Mian said, “I fed it small fish snacks in the afternoon, and it kept circling around my feet.”

Pei Zhiyi listened patiently, and an unconscious smile appeared on his face.

But when he heard Shen Mian talk about meeting a college student named Xu Yuanfan and praising him several times, he stopped smiling.

He wondered how Shen Mian could meet a new person and connect so easily.

However, Shen Mian didn’t know what he was thinking and continued, “If there’s a chance, I would like to introduce you two. Both of you are academic geniuses, and I’m sure you’ll get along. Plus, he knows martial arts just like you!”

Pei Zhiyi pulled at the corner of his mouth and said, “No thanks, I’m not interested.”

He didn’t feel that he was anything like this Xu Yuanfan.

Shen Mian didn’t mind and teased Pei Zhiyi, “You’re so cocky, not at all as approachable as Xu Yuanfan.”

Pei Zhiyi didn’t like hearing that and changed the topic.

“Where are you planning to go with your uncle and aunt tomorrow? Or are you going to accompany your grandmother?”

Without thinking, Shen Mian said, “I’m going mountain climbing with Xu Yuanfan tomorrow.”

Pei Zhiyi: “…”

Suddenly, he regretted not accompanying Shen Mian to his grandmother’s house.

It had only been half a day, and now Shen Mian already had a big brother. In a couple of days, would he be replaced by someone else?

But he couldn’t bring himself to tell Shen Mian not to go, so he fell silent for a moment and said, “Then come back early.”

Shen Mian chuckled on the other end of the phone, “Are you missing me?”

Pei Zhiyi sighed softly in his heart.

He had been missing Shen Mian ever since they parted.

But he could only say lightly, “Yeah. I miss you.”

“Then I’ll try to come back the day after tomorrow morning,” Shen Mian said happily, “I’ll bring you some local specialties.”

Pei Zhiyi agreed, feeling reluctant to hang up the phone.

But he glanced at the time and realized it was already bedtime for Shen Mian, so he softly said, “Go to sleep, don’t you have to get up early tomorrow?”

Shen Mian replied with an “Oh! yes goodnight” and reluctantly ended the call.