Chapter 43 Fighting for Favors
The question made Leonid hesitate. They didn’t wear a condom last time either, so he just carried on. But seeing Ren Zhouyuan’s reaction now, he knew he was wrong to assume.
With a panicked expression, Ren Zhouyuan ran into the bathroom without even putting his clothes on. The sound of water flowing rang out after a few seconds.
Leonid frowned. Was it that disgusting to him? Whether it was last time or back then, hadn’t they also…
He froze at that thought, his brow beginning to smoothen, light emanating from his eyes.
The fact that Ren Zhouyuan was a man made Leonid overlook his difference in body type from regular people. How An An had arrived finally crystalized in his mind, and the expression on Ren Zhouyuan’s face only confirmed what he was thinking.
So he could still have another son?!
Back when he was naming An An, the name Belvska meant first child. At the time Leonid hoped to himself that after An An they could have a second child, a third child…
When Ren Zhouyuan picked the name Ivan for An An, Leonid experienced a moment of disappointment. But gradually as Ren Zhouyuan began to accept him and An An called him Daddy, Leonid grew satisfied. He began to forget about wanting a second child.
Seeing how Ren Zhouyuan reacted in bed tonight, the hope that had slumbered long in Leonid’s heart reawakened. He could picture them with a crowd of children.
An An was so adorable. He must have been even cuter when he was only as long as an arm. Who knew what he looked like when he was calling his father’s name for the first time? When he walked for the first time, swaying from side to side? Must’ve been a funny sight. Ah! Maybe it could be a girl this time, who could call Daddy in her sweet little voice.
Leonid grew more and more excited, the smile on his face hard to suppress. But he was pulled back to reality. The sound of flowing water in the bathroom reminded him that Ren Zhouyuan didn’t share the same ideas.
When the sound stopped, Leonid recovered his cold expression. When Ren Zhouyuan walked out of the bathroom, he glared at him. “I don’t want another one yet. You…control your urges!”
Leonid played innocent, straightening his back out and nodding obediently.
After snapping, Ren Zhouyuan stood there awkwardly. The two of them stared at each other in silence for a moment before he let his shoulders sag weakly. “Then, that’s it for tonight? I’ll be heading back…”
The moment Leonid heard this he reacted, kneeling on the bed and reaching out to grab Ren Zhouyuan back to the bed, touching him while he said, “I’ve been thinking that An An is getting older. He should be more independent.”
Ren Zhouyuan had just started to think about how his own words were too heavy. But the moment when he walked into the room and saw that pillow, he made up his mind to do so.
When he was showering he had a moment of hesitation. Right now he wasn’t prepared for a second child. These years he’d been learning how to become a better dad. Seeing An An grow more outgoing, he felt happy but also started to doubt whether or not he was bringing up his child the wrong way in the earlier years.
Other than the matter of having a new kid, he did want to advance their relationship further.
He was paying Leonid more and more attention each day. Just now he wasn’t just angry at the fact that Leonid wasn’t wearing a condom, but also the fact that he could no longer resist temptation. For the longest time his partner was the one who was conceding to him, while he enjoyed the attempts at pleasing him. This kind of uneven relationship needed to change, and it had to change starting from him.
In the latter half of the night they didn’t do it again, just sleeping in each other’s arms. It wasn’t until the next morning that the two leapt up from their dreams–
They forgot something big!
“Daddy! Daddy, where are you?” An An’s voice rang out from a distance outside the door, his pattering footsteps growing louder.
Ren Zhouyuan froze up, jumping out of the bed immediately. The moment he took a step forward Leonid grabbed him. His fevered glance back was met with Leonid’s exasperation as he signaled with his eyes: he was still naked.
His face bright red, Ren Zhouyuan grabbed his clothes from the end of the bed, throwing them quickly. After a moment’s thought, he took the blankets and threw them over Leonid’s naked body. The big bump on the bed was a little too obvious for his taste, but he had no time to think about all that. Smoothing down his clothes one final time, he walked toward the door.
“Big Dad…” When he opened the door, An An was just ready to knock. Seeing him emerge from the room, An An’s eyes lit up. “Daddy!”
Picking him up with some embarrassment, Ren Zhouyuan was about to close the door when An An patted him on the back. “Daddy, why are you in Big Dad’s room?”
His footsteps halting, Ren Zhouyuan laughed awkwardly. “We were just talking.” He jolted An An from side to side, pretending to be lighthearted. “Let’s go, Daddy will make breakfast with you!”
Hearing the door shut behind them and their footsteps recede, Leonid tossed the heavy blankets away from himself, sitting up from the bed in silence.
More and more, he felt that the pathway to having a second child was long.
Since he was “caught” by An An, Ren Zhouyuan didn’t come over to Leonid’s room until he made sure An An was asleep. No matter how exhausted the two were at night, they wouldn’t forget to set an alarm before they passed out so he could clamber up before the sky lit up and lie back next to An An.
Leonid was exasperated by this whole situation, while Ren Zhouyuan saw nothing wrong with it. Recently An An’s gaze carried some suspicion as he spent more and more time clinging to Ren Zhouyuan each night. Sometimes halfway through the night the kid would cry out for his “Daddy!” and then Ren Zhouyuan would have to run back, leaving him alone in his room.
In the past when he hadn’t experienced the tenderness of sharing a bed with a lover it wasn’t so bad. Now he had tasted the sweetness, it was hard to confront the empty bed without feeling the hope drain out of him. That’s why it was easy to go from impoverished to rich but not rich to impoverished.
So Leonid started to think, trying to keep Ren Zhouyuan by his side by any means necessary.
At first Ren Zhouyuan’s busyness caused dark eye circles to form under his eyes. He was exasperated and apologetic to Leonid, so he’d end up in his room at least once each night no matter how difficult it was, returning to An An’s room in the middle of the night.
It wasn’t that he didn’t notice that the two were competing for attention, he just found it funny. An An was young, and he had grown up alone. He couldn’t help but see himself in the kid, hoping that he could accompany him more when he still had the ability to. Slowly, the scales began to tilt toward An An’s side.
In recent days, he began to feel like Leonid was up to something. Each time they saw each other he tried his best to get on his good side. Although this had always been the case, Ren Zhouyuan could feel that it was different now.
He observed it on his own for a while before realizing he was hiding something. There wasn’t much he could do about it, so even though he felt a little strange he just let it be for the time being.
Ever since they established an official cooperative relationship with the government, there was a lot more work to go around. Recently he was busy between work and home life. It wasn’t until Fan Wenfeng called that Ren Zhouyuan realized it had been a long time since the two last spoke.
Last time they met in person he just revealed that he had moved. They had talked over the phone a few times only about work, and hadn’t communicated much since the draft for Vick was handed in. So this time Fan Wenfeng invited him to meet for a meal, Ren Zhouyuan only had to think for a moment before saying yes.
Leonid had grown used to their family’s lifestyle. When Ren Zhouyuan said he wasn’t coming home for dinner, he immediately felt like things were off.
Indeed, looked like there was a “good friend” involved.
Leonid didn’t even try to hide his own displeasure, making a face to show his dissatisfaction at being abandoned. Ren Zhouyuan couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
Unable to hold back, he walked over and patted him on the head, comforting him. “I’ll be back soon. Take care of An An.”
Although still unhappy with the way he was treating him (almost like a pet), Leonid relaxed since he was paying attention to his feelings. He told him to come home early and swept him into a bear hug, kissing him ferociously until he was sure his scent lingered. Only then did he let him go.
Nobody knew whether or not Fan Wenfeng would care about this kind of intimidation tactic. Only Ren Zhouyuan was affected by it. Even sitting down in front of Fan Wenfeng, the electrifying feeling on his lips still remained, making Fan Wenfeng a little uncomfortable.
The two made small talk about life, discussing work, updating him on An An just like regular friends gathering together. No matter how Ren Zhouyuan hid his feelings, Fan Wenfeng still sensed a change.
He took the opportunity of pouring tea to ask, “Has something good happened to you recently? You look like you’re in a good mood.”
A moment’s hesitation later, Ren Zhouyuan laughed. “Is that so? I think not much has changed.”
“You never told me where you moved. Are you still there? I would love to be invited over sometime.”
Rubbing his nose, Ren Zhouyuan wasn’t sure whether or not he should reveal his current lifestyle. Being gay wasn’t an easy life, let alone the way An An had been born. He viewed Fan Wenfeng as his closest friend and wanted to share that with him, but was afraid that what he shared would scare his friend away.
Sensing his struggles, Fan Wenfeng looked a little disappointed but still smiled at him. “No worries, it’s fine to see you every once in a while.”
In that moment Ren Zhouyuan’s heart was surrounded by a strong sense of guilt. Closing his eyes, he stated the truth.
“I’m living with a man. That man…is An An’s birth father.”