Fu Cuo carried two bags of garbage out of the door. Heading towards a dumpster at the end of the alley, he walked through the light streaks that shone through the gates. Out across the street was a conservatory of music that was filled to the brim with people, chattering and bustling about.
The CTR Conservatory of music is right across from the bar. The King, Sui Qingchi, came here today for a signing event. Since the morning, the area has been congested and noisy. Fans and people from the media filled the area. Vehicles passing by would end up slowing down and rolling down their windows just to see the commotion. Just like that, a simple signing event ended up as the topic of everyone’s conversation.
Fu Cuo stood at the end of the alley, glanced at the crowd before picking up the garbage bags and throwing them into the dumpster.
The bar hasn’t opened yet. He was the first one to arrive. His identity in the bar is rather odd. He could be said to be a shareholder, but he’d usually do miscellaneous work around the bar during the day. He could be considered an employee, but he had to busk at night. If you said he was the owner, the owner of the bar was actually someone else.
While cleaning the bar, the door opened and high-heeled shoes clattered on the floor. Fu Cuo propped himself on the counter and looked up towards the sound. The boss, Yao Ke, put a bottle of red wine on the bar, “God, what are you still doing here? Come on, accompany me to Sui Qingchi’s signing event!”
Fu Cuo retracted his arm and refused. Though he is a bit curious, “He’s so popular, why does he bother doing a signing event at a school?” He asked as he wiped the counter.
“You don’t know, CTR is his alma mater. Of course, his feelings are different. This time I heard that he came with his new band, West Wind.”
Fu Cuo paused, threw the cloth on the counter and said, “Mn, fine if you want to go, I’ll go with you.”
‘Men are really fickle,’ Yao Ke thought as she watched Fu Cuo making his way out.
The site of this King superstar’s signing site was packed with people like sardines in a can. But even then, Fu Cuo could still see Sui Qingchi’s tall figure in the distance. He was wearing a simple white shirt tucked into his black trousers that accentuated his long legs. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up to his elbow. His right hand held a microphone, while his left rested on his waist as he interacted with his fans. Fu Cuo got momentarily blinded by the reflection of Sui Qingchi’s watch, but just in time, he noticed how Yao Ke wanted to squeeze deeper into the crowd. He quickly grabbed her hand and stopped her from going in.
“Hey it’s no good here! I can’t see anything!” The boss lady huffed as she stood on her tiptoes.
Fu glanced at her and said, “I’ll pick you up so you can see.”
“Ah?” Yao Ke flushed slightly, but actually, this was what she wanted to do from the start. She opened her arm and said, “Then hold me up!”
Fu Cuo asked her to turn around. And when she did, Yao Ke felt that the man behind him really picked her up. She was firmly held by those arms on her waist, making her blush. “Can you see now?” Fu Cuo asked.
“See, see!” Yao Ke giggled, “Wow, I think he saw me!”
The people there stared at them but Yao Ke couldn’t care less. She really didn’t think that a single dog like her would one day receive envious stares like this too.
Even though Fu Cuo couldn’t see Sui Qingchi past the Yao Ke in his arms, he could still hear his voice. After so many years, his voice seemed to have gotten hoarser, probably because of smoking. He can’t help but regret seeing a singer with such a good voice not knowing how to cherish it by smoking so much.
What a waste, Sui Qingchi.
There was no sound equipment at the scene, which meant Sui Qingchi probably wouldn’t perform today. However, at the strong request of his fans, he still sang a few words. As soon as he made a sound, it was like magic. The whole place turned quiet as if all the living beings experienced a miracle of vicissitudes. The song was one Fu Cuo never heard of. It’s probably the song in his new album, and Fu Cuo couldn’t help but wonder who wrote it for him.
Originally, Yao Ke was just a passer-by-fan who wasn’t really interested in Sui Qingchi’s signature. However, when she saw him for the first time, she was instantly infected by the atmosphere at the scene. She just had to stay and buy a CD for him to sign. She ended up buying three CDs on the spot and said she would give one to Fu Cuo as a gift. Fu Cuo said he didn’t want it, but Yao Ke insisted, saying it was her thanks for holding her up. He didn’t insist on refusing after that.
The signing queue was very long. Fortunately, the fans lined up in an orderly manner. Fu Cuo waited for Yao Ke outside the queue. When it was Yao Ke’s turn, the girl was so excited, she couldn’t remember what nonsense she said to Sui Qingchi. Sui Qingchi smiled, raised his hand and shook hers. It seemed that he raised his head and asked her a question while signing.
Despite being mesmerized, Yan Ke still remembered to ask him to write ‘To: Ah Cuo’ on the last CD.
Sui Qingchi stopped for a moment before signing his name down first. He pretended to be casual and asked, “Which ‘cuo’”
“The ‘cuo’ from ‘cuo wu’A lot of Chinese characters share the same pronunciations. In this case, Fu Cuo’s ‘cuo’ (错) is like the ‘cuo’ from ‘cuo wu’ (错误) which means … Continue reading, thank you!”
He nodded, wrote the word skillfully, and hooked the corner of his mouth as he said: “This name is pretty uncommon”
“Hahaha, yes!” Yao Ke seemed to reply casually, but she was actually losing it inside. The Sui Qingchi actually chatted with her!
After signing, Sui Qingchi took the initiative to raise his hand again and shook it with Yao Ke. Spinning the pen in his hand, he gazed at the other party holding the three CDs in her arms. With her right palm pressed on her left hand which shook his hand, she was then led off the desk by the staff.
For the rest of the signing, Liu Mei obviously felt Sui Qingchi’s absent-mindedness. After signing for a bit, he would pick up his phone to check the time. When he put down his phone for the third time, he leaned back on his chair, turned his head and said to Liu Mei, “I have something to do so I’ll leave early. Cancel the extra signing.”
“Looking at the situation. You’d at least have to sign for another hour.”
Sui Qingchi frowned, obviously showing his dissatisfaction in his deep dark eyes. Liu Mei shrugged: “Okay, okay, we’ll stop.”
Yao Ke passed the signed CD to Fu Cuo, who was a little surprised when he saw the flying cursive of ‘Sui Qingchi’ and ‘Cuo’ on the CD cover. “Why did he draw a heart?”
“He drew it on all of them. Mine has one too. I didn’t expect that he’d be so friendly. It’s different from what the Internet says.”
It was said on the Internet that he was a chuunibyouSomeone with eighth-grader syndrome.. Fu Cuo thought that at this time, the Internet seems more reliable than first-hand information.
All the way back, Yao Ke kept blowing Sui Qingchi’s divine face. Fu Cuo couldn’t help but sigh for him. He has debuted for so many years and released so many albums. Yet still, the most memorable thing about him is still just his face.
At night, the bar began to open. The atmosphere here is relatively light. Most of the regular customers are young people who come to listen to music and relax after work on weekends. Many people first heard that there is a very good band here. Fu Cuo happens to be that band’s guitarist. At the beginning of the year, the female main vocalist had to leave to deliver her baby, and since then, they haven’t found a new vocalist to take over the role. During this time, Fu Cuo had to bite the bullet and stand in himself.
Probably because of his event today, every song on the setlist that Fu Cuo received is Sui Qingchi’s. Fu Cuo looked through the list. He then shook his head and said that he wasn’t familiar with his newer releases. And so the customer changed their request to one of Sui Qingchi’s older songs, ‘How Can I Be Considered Loving You’
This song was composed by Fu Cuo, while the lyrics were written by Sui Qingchi himself. Fu Cuo switched to his acoustic guitar, closed his eyes, and began to sing.
What can I do to be considered in love with you?
Kissing your palm
Feeling your breath
Capturing your pulse
to count the palpitations in your heart
What can I do to be considered in love with you?
I’ll protect you in your dreams,
Until the sun rises and sets
I’ll protect you even if fragments of myself start to shatter
Let us reincarnate if we’ve missed out,
Let us be reborn if we’ve forgone
Until you wake up from your dream,
Until you finally admit that;
I’m welcomed into your life.
What can I do to prove to you,
That I’m in love with you
What can I do to get the green light from you
For me to get close to you
Kissing your palm, I’d imagine entering you,
Into your being
With such infatuations of mine,
I fear that I’ll scare you
What can I do to prove that I am in love with you?
What can I do to get the green light from you?
For me to get close to you
Kissing your palm, I’d imagine entering you
Into your being
Into the depths of your heart
Only to realize that none of it is enough
You are the only miracle I believe in
Until the end of my days,
I’ll still love you unconditionally
After the song ended, there weren’t many applause from the audience. On top of that, a drunkard in the crowd sneered, “Compared to the Chuunibyou King, he’s complete trash!”
Fu Cuo nodded, “Yep, I’ll humbly accept any form of guidance.” He’d already accepted the fact that Sui Qingchi’s voice has some sort of magical nature. Just like his eyes, if you stare into them for too long, you’d feel that you’ve been possessed. That goes for his singing as well. You can’t turn away as you become immersed in his being. Enchanted, captivated, bewitched.
As the other customers listened to the songs, a subtle silhouette entered the bar. His stature was tall, complete with a set of sunglasses on the bridge of his nose, he sat in the corner beside a bodyguard, blending into the crowd. With a drink by his side, he listened to the songs being sung without saying another word.
Later, someone from the audience requested another song by Sui Qingchi, which made Fu Cuo chuckle.
Sui Qingchi’s hand that stirred his drink paused. How much has he missed the laugh of that person sitting on that stage?
It was 3:30 in the morning when Fu Cuo finished packing up the instruments. He was about to leave, but after thinking about it, he took the CD with him. According to Sui Qingchi’s popularity right now, he may have to play and sing more of his songs in the future.
Walking out of the back door of the bar and through the long alley, he felt that someone was following behind him. Only after looking back did he find that the person following him was the drunkard from earlier. The other party blurted profanities at him as he staggered towards him. “…Don’t fucking pretend, I can tell you’re a man-whore by your scent!”
Fu Cuo raised his hand and brushed the man aside, “Keep following me, and I’ll call the police.”
“You report,” the drunkard propped himself on the wall, “I’d already fuck you by the time you call them!”
Fu Cuo shook his head and didn’t care about him. After walking a few steps forward, the drunkard suddenly rushed at him. When he turned to get out of the way, the drunkard took off his backpack and threw the bag on the ground, and the contents crashed out.
Clack, the drunkard’s foot stepped on a corner of the CD. He then felt someone patting him on the shoulder behind him. As soon as he turns back, a fist sweeps him to the wall.
This person was a bodyguard.
Fu Cuo saw someone behind the bodyguard squatting down and picking up the CD from his bag, taking off his sunglasses and pinning them to their collar. He lowered his head, opened the CD, and reorganized the lyrics book. Only then did he slowly get up and said, “I’ve helped you out just now. Can we talk?”
Fu Cuo looked at Sui Qingchi under the street lamp. His brain seemed to be kicked empty. He remembered that he should go, but his backpack was still lying at Sui Qingchi’s feet.
“I’ll only take 10 minutes.” Sui Qingchi said, “I won’t bother you for even a second longer.”
The 24-hour fast-food restaurant was bright but deserted. There were only two guests. Sui Qingchi stopped at the door and didn’t want to go in. When Fu Cuo wanted to go in, he raised his hand to stop him and said, “Let’s just go to my car.”
Fu Cuo ignored him. He pushed the door and went in. He ordered a hot drink at the front desk and sat down in a corner. After a while, the door opened again. Sui Qingchi came in and stood silent in front of his seat for a few seconds before he dragged the chair and sat down. He pulled it roughly, and the chair legs rubbed loudly on the ground.
As Fu Cuo opened the lid of his hot cocoa, Sui Qingchi took it directly, said “Thank you” and drank it himself.
Fu Cuo sighed, “If you have anything to say, just say it.”
“How long have you been singing in that bar?” Sui Qingchi asked.
“Does it have anything to do with you?”
Sui Qingchi put down the hot cocoa, leaned against the back of the chair, threw the sunglasses in his hand on the table and said, “How cold. How many people beg to talk to me and how many musicians beg to see me. I don’t care about them, only you, and yet here you are, being like this.”
Fu Cuo dumfoundedly stared at Sui Qingchi’s face. The astonishment he had earlier had already long gone, “Do you know what people call you?” He sighed.
“Chuunibyou King. Saying how you talk like an 8th grader who hasn’t graduated from middle school despite being a full-grown adult.”
Sui Qingchi was silent for a moment before saying, “We didn’t graduate. You didn’t graduate from West Wind, and I never graduated from you.”
“… What are you trying to say? If that’s it, I’m leaving.”
Sui Qingchi didn’t speak. He looked at him with longing eyes across the table that was not as wide as two people’s arms. Fu Cuo felt that such a distance was a little dangerous. In particular, Sui Qingchi’s legs directly crossed the center line under the table, reached into his field and stepped on the floor below his knees. The table between them, in front of people like Sui Qingchi, could not play its barrier role.
After a while, Fu Cuo tried to get up and leave the table, but Sui Qingchi grabbed his hand.
His hand was cold, while Sui Qingchi’s had just held the overheated cocoa, warming it up. He could feel the cold burning in the palm of his hand.
“I can make up for it,” Sui Qingchi’s voice came from behind him. “With my current ability, I can make it up to you. Don’t you want West Wind? I’ll give West Wind back to you.”
Fu Cuo looked at him in disbelief.
“The current guitarist of the new West Wind is only temporary. I can remove him at any time. You get what I mean, right?”
Sui Qingchi looked up at him. The look was so serious that he was disgusted. He shook off his hand, “That’s not West Wind. It’ll never be West Wind. Stop trying to stain West Wind’s name any more.”
Sui Qingchi put down his hand: “Okay, if you’re not satisfied with the other members of the band, you can change them. I can just find a reason to let them go. You can change to someone you are satisfied with.”
“Then, can I change the main vocalist?”
Sui Qingchi looked perplexed, “you even want me off the band?”
Fu Cuo scoffed, “I was just saying. Of course, you can’t leave, that’s why I won’t join your band.”
When he opened the door, he heard Sui Qingchi slapping his hands on the small table behind him, causing the hot cocoa in the cup to spill out.
The very few customers and employees there looked over to see the commotion.
“What else do you want me to do? Do you want me to kneel down and cry and tell you I’m wrong?”
Fu Cuo stopped at the door and looked back and said, “If you really think you’re wrong, you wouldn’t be saying that.”
Sui Qingchi looked at him and shook his head. His eyes were full of confusion and anger. He clenched his hand pressed on the table into a fist, “Don’t test me.”