Zhou Zishu could feel his head protest as he opened his eyes. The miniscule bit of light that was streaming through a small hole in the curtains was far too much and he pulled his duvet over his head to stop it reaching him. His head felt like a nail was being driven through it. He knew that he should go to his bathroom and take some medicine but at the moment the thought of leaving this bed was the last thing he wanted.
His self-loathing seemed to be the first bit of him to wake up and start the day berating him for allowing himself to get into this state again. He’d promised to cut down on his drinking. The only problem was that he made that promise to himself a couple of times every month and yet he still ended up in his bed every couple of days nursing a hangover.
Actually, was this his bed. He did a quick inspection using his feet and was fairly confident that the silk sheets and state of the art memory foam mattress was his. He then did another inspection to see if he’d bought anyone home. He couldn’t feel anyone else’s presence, so he assumed he was alone. He also scoured his memories to see if he’d had sex. He was fairly satisfied that he hadn’t. For one thing he didn’t seem to have any of the post sex aches that he normally had. It looked like he’d done a little better on avoiding the meaningless sex than he had alcohol. He wished he could feel better about that, but his self-loathing reminded him that he looked like shit right now.
There was a tiny part of him that regretted being alone. At least when he had bought someone home, he’d still feel like shit, but he’d also have some post sex endorphins running through his system. He’d also be less cold. It was harder to pick up twinks when you looked as shit as he did right now. He could pay for it, and he wasn’t really above paying for it, but he’d always felt buyer’s remorse afterwards. Then again, he felt remorse when he managed to pick up some stranger but now, he felt remorse because he was alone. It didn’t mater what he did he was going to feel remorseful and shit.
The need for medicine eventually overcame his need to lie in his bed forever and he went towards the mirror. His reflection stared back at him gaunt and sickly. He opened the cabinet as quickly as he could and grabbed the medicine and took some water. He sidled towards the kitchen and opened the fridge and settled on eating some kimchi straight from the jar. The act of eating distracted from his pain, and he checked his schedule and groaned. No court dates but he did have several meetings with several dickheads who wanted him to screw over poor people for them. When he’d decided to get into law and decided he was going to make as much money as possible. He hadn’t totally appreciated how much of a road to hell that decision was. Maybe he should have been a doctor like Wu Xi at least he helped people.
He looked at this phone and ended up at the same place he always did when he was miserable looking up Miss Sunshine videos on his phone. He smiled as he saw her dancing on his screen and the music playing. Miss Sunshine was a drag queen who’d been pretty popular a few years back, but no one had heard from in a while. It sucked that she hadn’t provided any new content in a while, but he enjoyed looking at the old content. If anything, he enjoyed it a little too much. It was strange considering all his vices the one he was most embarrassed by was a crush on a drag queen.
He put Miss Sunshine in the corner of his screen letting her sing away. Whilst he looked at his emails. His head immediately felt worse as he saw all the work emails that he’d have to deal with. He looked at Miss Sunshine longingly and sadly clicked the x button. He had to concentrate. Most of these could be dealt with when he got back to the office but a couple, he should deal with now, but one caught his attention. Four Seasons inn, an investment opportunity.
He clicked on it just to distract from his work emails. The email was from his banker, owner’s looking to sell, 60% profit margin easy. He clicked on the website link and smiled at the images. He remembered going to the Four Seasons inn as a child. His parents had taken him, and it was one of the few times when they weren’t fighting. He’d learnt to swim there, drank alcohol for the first time, had his first kiss. He smiled remembering his first kiss he’d been 90 percent sure he was gay before that first kiss but after he was a 100 percent sure. Zhen Yan. He was so pretty and perfect in his memories. He’d been sure their love was going to last forever but it didn’t. The summer afterwards he’d retuned to Four Seasons hoping to find him, but he couldn’t. He’d cried for two months and refused to ever return. But as he looked at the photos, the bitter tears, he’d remembered crying seemed sweet now. Fuck it. He emailed back to set up a meeting.
Wen Kexing was refusing to get up. He’d awoken several minutes before, but he didn’t want to get up yet. The day ahead of him was going to be boring and no fun and he didn’t want to do it just like yesterday had been. He didn’t even bother grabbing his phone to quell the boredom of just being awake with his eyes closed. He knew that if he did that time would quicken and he’d have to do things and he didn’t want to do anything.
“Morning sleepyhead.” An obnoxious voice called out. Xiang came bursting into the room and sat on the edge of the bed poking his face.
“Go away” he commanded not moving any muscle apart from his mouth.
“Fumeng said you have to get up, she wants to talk to you.” Xiang informed him continuing to poke his face. He wanted to bat her away but that would take energy he wasn’t willing to commit to yet. Xiang got bored when her brother failed to react so grabbed at his phone “Don’t you have anything better to do than to look at porn?”
His big brother instinct snapped into gear, and he grabbed the phone of her “You shouldn’t be looking at things like that, you’re too young.”
“What are you talking about I’m Eighteen for all you know I’ve already done it?” she told him trying to sound like she knew what she was talking about.
Kexing eyed her suspiciously. He knew that there was no way she’d actually done anything, the only guy she hung out with was Cao Weining and he was such a wet blanket that there was no way they’d done anything. But on a deeper level he was not comfortable with his little sister being 18. It felt like she should be 8 forever looking up at him adoringly, thinking he had all the answers to all of lives problems. But now she was old enough to know better. “Well then you can go get your own porn” he told her and then he stuck his tongue out at her and in response she stuck her tongue back.
She did leave though knowing that she’d succeeding in getting her brother up. He put on some clothes without thinking and walked into the kitchen. His foster mother was making breakfast and when she turned to look at him. She gave him a really look. He looked at himself and he was wearing some hideous grey jogging trousers and a pink t shirt that was so baggy that it could fit another him inside of it. A few months ago, he would have never dreamed of wearing anything so hideous, but he just didn’t care right now.
“Do you want anything?” he asked sitting down and grabbing some rice.
“How’s the job search going?” his foster mother asked trying to keep her face neutral.
“It’s going” he lied. He’d looked at his CV a couple of times and it just depressed him. Why would he want to look at a list of all the things he’d failed to accomplish in his life? His CV should probably read failed drag queen, needs job to get his fake mum to stop bitching at him.
“I’m not going to let you work at the café forever, you can be so much more than that” she pleaded and she grabbed his hand and gave him a reassuring look.
Kexing felt bad that he even thought of her as a fake mum. She was looking out for him and she was trying to be helpful. He relented and told her “I will find something.” He really wanted to believe that, apparently if you tell a lie often enough it comes true. Maybe if he just kept saying it.
Fumeng gave him a sad smile but continued with her pitch “I found a couple of talent agencies that are looking for new people, you should audition, you’re so talented.”
“I’m working on it” Kexing insisted, and he tried to smile but he looked like a serial killer that was about to murder everyone. Fumeng sighed and went back to her breakfast. Kexing went back to his room and looked at a box that contained some of his old Miss Sunshine costumes. Sometimes the nostalgia made him happy but now it made him sad. He really should throw it all away and just accept his mediocre life, but he didn’t have the energy to do that.
He did look through his box hoping he’d find something that would make him feel a little happy. After a bit of searching, he did catch sight of something. It was an old photo of the first talent contest he’d won. He was 12 and he’d just sung Like a Virgin by Madonna. There was a boy standing next to him who’d helped him with his make-up. It was so simpler then. A few moments after that photo, he’d taken that boy behind the stage to kiss him. It had been so sweet, and he couldn’t help smiling. He took a moment and wondered what had happened to Zhou Zishu.
Qin Huaizhang sat at his regular table, but he looked sadder today. He always looked a bit sad; he’d lost his wife a decade ago to cancer and his son a couple of years ago to a car crash. Now he was going to lose the Four Seasons inn as well. He was trying to convince himself that he wasn’t losing it. It cost too much money to maintain. He was too old to look after it anymore. This was the smart thing to do.
Wen Kexing gave him a free cup of coffee and a honey cake. “Thank you, you’re such a sweet boy.”
Xiang laughed at that. Kexing pouted at her. It was nice one person believed he was a good person.
The café wasn’t particularly busy. It was actually the worst of both worlds, if it was busier the day would at least go faster and if it was quieter, he could go to the storeroom and play on his phone till the day ended but no there were a middling number of customers. It also meant Fumeng full access to him.
“Have you seen this?” she asked showing him her phone
“That’s too far and there’s no way I could afford the rent” he told her without really looking at it.
“Are you going to look at anything?” she questioned.
“Yes I am” He insisted heading to the sink to do the washing up so he wouldn’t have to look at her.
“Like what?” she demanded.
“He looks at pictures on his phone” Xiang giggled.
Kexing glared at her “That’s none of your business.”
Fumeng laughed as well “I don’t know maybe you should do more than look when was even the last time you dated anyone?”
Kexing didn’t particularly want to talk about his sex life or complete lack of one in front of his mum and sister “That’s none of your concern.”
“Maybe you could be a sugar baby.” Xiang suggested smiling.
“How do you know about things like that?” Kexing asked.
“I googled it, I hear there are men who will pay you to sit around their house all day and all you have to do is f- “ Xiang explained.
“Language” Fumeng cautioned, and Xiang closed her mouth before she could finish her sentence.
“That’s an option.” He admitted smiling at the thought if it.
Fumeng hit him “No it’s not you think a rich guy is just going to walk through this door and ask for a cup of coffee.”
Zhou Zishu walked through the door and looked behind the counter and saw an older woman with strikingly white hair. A teenage girl with a broad smile on her face and an admittedly handsome man with short black hair who was standing closest to the till. He also looked oddly familiar but he couldn’t quite place him “Can I have a coffee, no milk or sugar?”
Kexing looked at him “Oh baby you can have whatever you want?”