Bai Yu crawled up from the floor onto the couch, feeling as though all the bones in his body were falling apart. His head felt as though it had been repeatedly punched by eighty different people for the whole night, his temples were throbbing, and his veins seemed on the verge of bursting open.
Not far away, Zhu Yilong slept with only half his body on the bed, his posture unseemly. Of course, that was still better than falling off the couch to sleep on the floor like Bai Yu.
“How come Long-ge didn’t wake me up so I could move to the bed to sleep? Talk about wasting the money spent on the hotel room!” he wanted to grumble. Before he had time to voice his complaint however, his phone vibrated loudly on the floor. Massaging his temples, Bai Yu knelt down only to be greeted by a whole screen full of notifications and missed calls. The latest notification was a WeChat message from his manager, its tone downright hysterical.
“Bai Yu!!!! If you still won’t pick up your phone, then just wait for your death!!!!!”
Bai Yu’s rapport with others had always been pretty good, whether it came to interpersonal relationships or his dedicated attitude towards work. He could be considered fairly popular within his company, and he rarely made his manager angry. Now, looking at the over fifty missed calls and the more than a hundred WeChat notifications, he broke out into a cold sweat. His instincts told him that a major disaster had occurred.
He knew he hadn’t done anything improper lately, and he wasn’t someone who had harmful hobbies. This trip with Zhu Yilong shouldn’t be the issue either, since he had given his company a heads up about it early on.
It had been two years now since Guardian finished airing. In that time, although he and Zhu Yilong didn’t work together again, they privately maintained their friendship. They had never deliberately sold their bromance to promote the show in the first place, it had always been something genuine. So even though they didn’t openly associate with each other, privately they always did as they pleased. If Bai Yu was free, he’d invite Zhu Yilong to play video games. If they happened to be in the same place, they’d meet up for dinner to chat and ramble in high spirits.
The only thing they hadn’t managed was fulfilling their Happy Camp promise to “escape the noise and go on vacation together.” It wasn’t that Bai Yu never brought it up to Zhu Yilong, but their schedules had always been too full, shooting one project after another, until almost two years had passed before they finally had a free month. The risk-taking spirit of two Aries reached unanimous heights, deciding to take a road trip to the United States West Coast.
They set off from San Francisco, driving along the coastline, finally arriving at the famous casino town of Las Vegas last night. Not only were they in the renowned entertainment capital, but Bai Yu was also someone who knew how to have fun, not to mention this was a rare opportunity for them both to let loose. Grabbing Zhu Yilong, Bai Yu made sure they visited every landmark they should, not missing any of the important experiences. Finally, the two people whose drinking capacity weren’t all that great ended up in their current hungover state.
Don’t tell him that after he got drunk, he streaked in the streets and ended up in the news? Bai Yu thought things over a hundred times, but remained perplexed.
Sighing, Bai Yu resigned himself to his fate and opened WeChat. Amidst a sea of news, he quickly found the relevant keyword - marriage.
Bai Yu sprung up from the couch, scattered memories that had been buried by his hangover swiftly coming back to him.
He remembered holding the whiskey bottle as he leaned against Zhu Yilong.
“Gege, does Las Vegas have any specialty products, things like souvenirs? Unrelated to gambling.”
“I’m not sure, let me check.” Zhu Yilong glanced at him, his speech slow. He was clearly not all there anymore, needing several tries before successfully taking out his phone. Then he sloppily typed in the words, taking quite awhile to obtain the answer. “Marriage.”
“Long-ge, what did you say?”
“Marriage. Las Vegas is the marriage capital,” repeated Zhu Yilong.
Bai Yu stared at him, laughing foolishly. After a long time, he slapped the desk, draining the remaining whiskey. “Marriage! Good! It wasn’t easy getting here, we need to make sure we leave with a proper souvenir. Let’s get married!”
Zhu Yilong seemed as though he wasn’t sure how to react, staring blankly at Bai Yu.
Bai Yu threw his arm around Zhu Yilong’s shoulders. “Long-ge, let’s get married.”
Looking at that inconspicuous English certificate sitting amidst the mess on table, Bai Yu almost wished he could throttle himself. That saying about drinking having a tendency to botch things up was right. He had always kept himself in check, whether it was for his own health or something else, he never drank too much. He never thought that the first time he drank until he blacked out, he’d make such a huge mistake.
The large letters spelling out “Marriage” on the certificate seemed like a dagger aimed at his heart. Staring at the ceiling and sighing, Bai Yu lamented that this world didn’t have any time machines. Even if he couldn’t go back and smash up all the alcohol he drank, he’d like to hold down that hand of his that sent out the Weibo post.
Getting married wasn’t scary. Accidentally marrying your good friend after getting drunk wasn’t scary either. What was scary was marrying your good friend, then sending a Weibo post announcing your marriage. Bai Yu wished he could give himself eighty slaps to the face.
At that time, they had just muddled through the wedding ceremony at the chapel. Zhu Yilong hadn’t even made it out of the chapel before he staggered onto the white chair.
Next to him, Bai Yu was barely holding himself together, laughing himself breathless. Grabbing their marriage certificate, he stuffed it in Zhu Yilong’s hands.
With his cheeks hot from drinking and his large eyes hazy, Zhu Yilong then rested his hands on the back of his chair, letting the marriage certificate cover half of his face.
“Such an important moment, let me take a picture to mark the occasion…” Bai Yu murmured as he took out his phone and found a good angle. “Long-ge is indeed handsome.”
Looking exhausted, Zhu Yilong closed his eyes. It wasn’t clear whether he caught what was said. Bai Yu looked over the picture, becoming more and more pleased. Adding a few filters to it in the app, it looked even more like a work of art.
“Long-ge and I, good friends for life…” Bai Yu attached the picture, then slowly typed in the caption letter by letter. Finally, his hand slipped, and for better or worse, the post was sent out.
He sat there in a daze for awhile, feeling as though something wasn’t quite right. He pushed the already-sleeping Zhu Yilong’s shoulders.
“What are you doing?” asked Zhu Yilong without opening his eyes.
“Are you a good friend or not? Quick, reblog my Weibo post!”
Zhu Yilong looked completely disconnected, blinking those large innocent eyes of his for a long time before asking, “Where’s my phone?”
Bai Yu immediately burst out laughing. “Long-ge, it looks like you’re pretty drunk, you can’t even remember where you put your phone!”
Zhu Yilong looked him and started laughing as well. He only laughed, though, and didn’t talk.
Leaning over, Bai Yu randomly groped Zhu Yilong all over in search of his phone. After having his hand slapped away several times, he finally pulled the phone out of Zhu Yilong’s pockets.
“Quick, say ‘for life’ with me.”
“What ‘for life’?” Zhu Yilong had no idea what he was talking about.
Bai Yu made a disapproving sound. Rubbing his eyes, he helped find the Weibo icon, and jabbed open the app. The post he had just sent was currently the #1 trending post on the home page.
“This one! It’s this post!” Bai Yu shouted excitedly. “Reblog it.”
“What are you talking about?” Zhu Yilong took his phone, and poked around several times before finding the correct button.
“You want to spend your life with me.”
Zhu Yilong obediently typed in the words. “You want to spend your life with me."
Coming back from those fuzzy, disconnected memories, Bai Yu raised his head to the ceiling and let out a long wail. With trembling hands, he opened his Weibo.
No matter how hard he prayed for all this to be a dream, he still saw that top trending post on his home page.
Not only was this not a dream, it was worse than what he remembered. Let’s not mention how he never finished typing the words he meant to write. He had no idea if it was his hand slipping, or if it was his muddled brain responsible, but that Weibo post also added location information, which just happened to be that famous little white wedding chapel. Looking at that picture of Zhu Yilong holding that wedding certificate with his gaze lowered and his face red, then seeing the dreamy filter he added, and finally reading the words “My Long-ge, for life” - Bai Yu wanted to die on the spot.
Zhu Yilong’s trending post somehow had no mistakes in it. Very clearly and unequivocally, it had the words “You want to spend your life with me.” Not even the subjects were switched.
Bai Yu buried his head in his hands, calming himself for a long while before finally accepting his fate. Standing up, he walked towards Zhu Yilong, who was almost falling off the bed.
“Long-ge, Long-ge, gege.”
Bai Yu called out several times before Zhu Yilong finally opened a pair of hazy eyes. “I have a splitting headache” was written all over his face.
Bai Yu knelt in front of him with a grave expression. “Long-ge, you’re not going to believe this, but you’re a family man now.”
“What?” Zhu Yilong’s eyes widened, obviously not sure where Bai Yu was going with this.
“And that family is me.”
“Did you drink yourself stupid?”
“No.” Bai Yu patted Zhu Yilong’s shoulders to console him. “We got married.”
Bai Yu and Zhu Yilong sat side-by-side on the couch, looking at the videos on the iPad in front of them. The situation on the other side of the video was pure chaos. It took a long time for things to calm down. Finally, Bai Yu’s manager sat down rigidly in front of them. On another screen was Zhu Yilong’s manager Li Chan, whose complexion was pale. For a moment, no one spoke, the atmosphere filled with unrivaled awkwardness.
“You two have caused a huge disaster.” This opening statement was blunt, but for the two people obediently sitting like little kids who knew they were in trouble, there was nothing they could say to refute it.
Not only was this a huge disaster, it was even more of a calamity than Sun Wukong wreaking havoc in the Heavens. They were both actors whose careers were on the rise. They were both straight. They hadn’t even touched the matter of marriage before, yet now they’ve somehow become each other’s husbands. Just hearing about this was absurd. Even though support for gay marriage was higher than it had been before, there are still plenty of critics. Even forgetting the opinion of outsiders, how were they going to explain this to their family and friends?
“The minute you went public, Weibo pretty much exploded. I think you can guess what happened. Plenty of people are insulting you, but you also have a lot of people supporting and congratulating you. What do you two plan to do?”
Bai Yu lowered his head, twisting his hands before finally answering. “Then… Then I’ll go… divorce Long-ge right now?”
No matter how he said it, the word “divorce” was so awkward he almost tied his tongue in knots. He glanced at Zhu Yilong, whose face twitched at the mention of divorce, before returning to his normal, even-tempered expression.
“You can’t divorce! Last night you said you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him, and today you want to divorce? Do you plan to quit acting? Would you like the scumbag playboy reputation to stay with you?”
“So what you’re saying is…” Bai Yu’s heart pounded at this assessment of his situation. “I should tell the truth?”
“Do you think anyone would believe you?” asked his manager. “Even if they did, do you want to throw away your image? Breaking the bank gambling in Las Vegas, getting drunk, and then casually getting married?”
“I didn’t gamble with any large stakes.” Bai Yu rubbed his forehead. “And… and Long-ge can’t count as casual! But if we can’t treat this as real or fake, then what should we do?”
Zhu Yilong, who had been sitting silently, suddenly spoke. “Come out of the closet.”
The two managers sighed in relief. “It’s still Teacher Zhu who is astute. You two will come out of the closet, move in with each other, and spend your days properly together.”
Hearing the words “coming out of the closet” and “moving in,” was like getting hit with a hammer, making them see stars. It took them a long time to continue.
“Come out of the closet? Long-ge and I are both straight!”
“I know.” His manager answered coldly. “Our companies have discussed this, and it’s the best damage control plan we have. Guardian has finished airing for a long time now, neither of you have collaborated on anything together, so the likelihood of being accused of using this as a publicity stunt is low. Right now, acceptance for gay marriage is relatively high, so public opinion should be easy to control.”
“But it’s not possible for Long-ge and I to be married.”
“You can pretend this is another project, and that you’re acting. Would that work?”
Bai Yu wanted to say something more, but ultimately decided to keep quiet. It wasn’t that it couldn’t work. But there was no one he felt more at ease with than Long-ge, nor had he felt such a genuine connection with anyone else. All their interactions were so natural and comfortable. Now that they suddenly had to act out the role of lovers, no matter how he thought about it, there was no way around the awkwardness.
Zhu Yilong didn’t speak either. When Bai Yu let out a sigh and leaned back on the couch, he patted Bai Yu on the arm comfortingly. “What are the specifics?”
“There’s no need to be nervous.” His manager’s expression eased somewhat. “You don’t have to make any public displays of affection. As much as possible, try to keep your interactions natural. No one will pry into your private lives, and if there are, the company will take care of it. All you two need to do is spend some more time interacting with each other, and live together when you’re off work. Otherwise, you don’t need to do anything too different from what you’re doing now.”
“And there’s another thing that you have to remember. You can’t be seen behaving intimately with any woman. Or man, for that matter. If someone takes a picture of either of you cheating, then you’re finished.”
“…” Bai Yu’s lips quirked. “Why does this sentence sound so weird?”
“After two years, when all this has blown over, you two can get an amicable divorce, leaving without any hard feelings.”
“No. This sentence sounds even weirder.” It was summer, yet Bai Yu felt goosebumps on his skin.
“Of course, if you don’t want to divorce, that’s fine too.”
“Divorce, divorce, divorce! How can I interfere with Long-ge finding a partner?” Bai Yu patted Zhu Yilong’s shoulders. “We definitely need to divorce.”
Maybe because it was the first time anyone spoke of divorce with such righteousness, but Zhu Yilong laughed out loud.
“Long-ge.” Bai Yu turned to look at him. “We’ll still be good friends after divorcing, won’t we?”
Zhu Yilong paused for a second, before giving a helpless laugh. “Who asks questions like this?”
“Then let me change the question. Will we still be good friends after getting married?”
“…” Zhu Yilong’s face was full of exasperation. “We will. We already got married.”
Bai Yu finally relaxed, his whole body sagging down onto the couch. Letting out a long sigh, his eyes curved as he finally laughed. “Indeed, Long-ge is right. We’re already married, may as well make the best of it. We can always divorce later.”