Shen Nan picked up a black and dirty can by the river. For some reason, he took it home with him.
His boyfriend, Chu Yue, was grossed out when he saw him. “Can you not bring back trash with you?”
Shen Nan wasn’t too happy when he heard it, “You say that as if I’d always bring home junk… I don’t. I just pick up rocks.”
Shen Nan was good-looking. He had a tall stature and pearly white skin. He also had a good family and educational background. There was nothing imperfect about him, but he did have a strange quirk; he liked to pick up and collect rocks.
There were rows of wooden frames in their house. All of which were filled with all kinds of rocks he picked up from the rivers and mountains. Some were really pretty, but some were especially ugly.
Chu Yue actually supported him. It was normal for people to have some kind of hobby, no matter how bizarre it may be. But this time he picked up an old can, it broke his bottom line a bit, more so because Chu Yue could smell the putrid stench of it from afar.
Shen Nan listened to his complaints, smelled it, and said, “No? I don’t smell anything.”
He washed the black can, smiled and said, “Look, it’s quite well-made. There are even gold patterns inside. I think it might be an antique.”
“You’re kidding, an antique? If anything, it’s just garbage.” Chu Yue got closer to Shen Nan as he added, “It really stinks, you know? Kind of like a dead rat or rotten meat.”
“There must be something wrong with your nose. It doesn’t smell like anything.”
Shen Nan was adamant about this, and as Chu Yue didn’t want to argue with him, he let it go.
A few days later, Shen Nan bought some fine black soil and flower seeds from a flower shop, and used the black can as a flower pot.
Chu Yue really couldn’t understand this quirk of his. It was clear that both of them were well-off, but Shen Nan was always like this. He was very much like his grandmother.
Shen Nan also resembled a child in some ways. When he saw the seeds he planted sprouting in the black can, he would dance happily and brag to Chu Yue, “Look! They’re sprouting!”
Chu Yue was usually a well-dressed, elite man. When he was at school, he studied science and engineering. It was difficult for him to understand Shen Nan’s esctasy. Puzzled by his antics, he said, “It’s just sprouting. What are you so happy about? It would obviously sprout if you plant it.”
He glanced at the flowerpots on the balcony. There were a lot, such as the hydrangeas and the flowers that were named after Sweden royalty that he couldn’t remember the names of. He sneezed a few times and said, “Okay, I’ll have to go to a video conference. Go play by yourself.”
Shen Nan pursed his lips. He pushed him away as he said, “So boring.”
Chu Yue hugged him and gave him a kiss, “Mn, don’t get mad. Wait for me to finish this meeting. We’ll go out for a good meal right after, okay?”
“Okay. You can go,” said Shen Nan.
Chu Yue went to the meeting. As he waited, Shen Nan squatted beside the black can and looked at it intently. Suddenly he wondered, “Didn’t I buy hydrangea seeds? Why doesn’t this look like a hydrangea?”
This distressing doubt gradually grew after a few days. The green sprout grew unexpectedly fast. He watched helplessly as the sprout grew a complete stem, a leaf and then a bud.
Shen Nan didn’t recognize this kind of stem, leaf and bud. He pulled Chu Yue to see it, but Chu Yue wasn’t too interested. He perfunctorily said, “Maybe you bought the wrong seeds.”
“No way! It’s weirder because I don’t know what type of flower this is…” He then added, “I’ve grown and read about all kinds of flowers, but I’ve never seen a bud like this one.”
Chu Yue said, “Then ask someone.”
Shen Nan glared at him as he scowled, “You’re so useless!”
With that, he sulkily turned around and walked into the house. Chu Yue went to coax him, and they soon talked and laughed again as if nothing had happened. Shen Nan wasn’t one to hold a grudge.
The next day, the stem of the flower grew a little thicker. Shen Nan watered the can and saw the flower swaying a few times, almost like it was avoiding the water. Was it a hallucination?
Shen Nan tried to water it some more. The bud didn’t move so he thought he just saw it wrong.
After watering the bud, he turned his back to water the flowers in the other pots. At this time, he was wearing a simple t-shirt, but it was a little short, revealing his thin pale waist.
Where he could not see, the flower bud cracked open a slit, and a black and white eyeball rolled inside. The eye wandered for a while before it eventually fell on Shen Nan.
That night, Shen Nan screamed. Shocked awake, Chu Yue asked, “What’s wrong?”
Shen Nan patted Chu Yue and mumbled, “Something touched me…”
“No, I really felt something touching me.”
Chu Yue gently said, “Riight, maybe you’re living too comfortably, you’re starting to see things… Go back to sleep.”
Seeing that Chu Yue didn’t believe him, Shen Nan irritatedly patted his cheek. “Something just touched me! if you don’t believe me, go away! Sleep outside!”
Chu Yue turned on the light, “Come and look. It’s only the two of us here. How could anyone touch you?”
Shen Nan straightened up and looked around. They really were the only ones there.
But the feeling on his calf felt so real, how could it be his hallucination?
Shen Nan dejectedly laid back down, “Don’t turn off the lights. Just… don’t.”
Chu Yue chuckled, “You’re scared?”
“I said that something touched me! I can’t rest assured if the lights aren’t on.”
Chu Yue knew his temper and dared not laugh at him anymore.
Later, when he slept, there was no such thing as being touched by anything. Chu Yue joked that he was scared of a hallucination and was soon beaten by him.
Shen Nan and Chu Yue were classmates in high school, but they fell in love when they were in college. They’ve been together for several years now. They never held back while talking. Even if they lose their temper or quarrel, they’d reconcile and get along quickly.
After a few more days, the flower bud still hadn’t bloomed. It was so tightly wrapped, it made Shen Nan feel confused and strange. When he told Chu Yue, Chu Yue wanted to break the flower bud open. Shen Nan immediately stopped him, “How could you break it? Flowers should bloom naturally.”
Based on his experience, he thought that the bud was only a few days away from blooming, and so he set up a surveillance camera for it, trying to capture the moment when the flower bloomed.
Chu Yue didn’t want to interfere with his hobbies, but he couldn’t help but say something once he saw the mess on the floor. “Can’t you clean up a bit? The soil is everywhere. It’s so dirty,” He uttered as he went to grab a broom.
Only then did Shen Nan realize that some of the fine black soil had fallen on the balcony floor, extending all the way to the living room and bedroom. He thought about it and said, “Maybe I accidentally stepped on it.”
Shen Nan was a young master. Although the two lived together, Chu Yue did all of the housework. Shen Nan had always been indifferent. As he’d never done it before, he could only watch as Chu Yue diligently swept the floors clean. He even went for another lap with a mop until the whole place was practically glowing.
That same night, Shen Nan mentioned that something was touching him again. Chu Yue reminded him, “This time the lights are on. There’s nothing here.”
Shen Nan annoyedly pushed him away. He wasn’t in the mood.
Chu Yue had to coax him in his arms. After talking, the two became interested again. They were very gentle with each other.
The next day, Shen Nan caught a cold. He paced to the balcony to see his flowers. Seeing the few pots of flowers blooming, he was in a good mood. But the bud in the black can was different. It still hadn’t bloomed.
Shen Nan took a picture, showed it to a friend he knew, and asked him what kind of flower it was. His friend couldn’t recognize it, and said he would ask someone else for him.
Shen Nan then put the matter behind him. At night, Shen Nan’s cold worsened and turned into a high fever. Chu Yue came back from work with some antipyretic medicine for him. He tenderly served him the medicine and waited for him to drink it. Later, he brought him a warm compress to stick on his forehead.
Shen Nan suddenly remembered that he hadn’t watered the flowers today, so he asked Chu Yue to water them for him. Chu Yue murmured, “It’s just flowers. They won’t die if you forget to water them for a day.”
Shen Nan heard and vehemently scolded him, “What are you muttering about? Hurry up!”
Chu Yue took the watering can to the balcony to water the flowerpots one by one.
As Shen Nan was on the verge of falling asleep, he heard a loud crash. It seemed to be the noise of a flowerpot falling. He noticed it instantly, but had little to no strength left. He called Chu Yue several times, but Chu Yue didn’t respond.
Shen Nan waited until he couldn’t wait any longer. He fumbled around and got up. He almost fell several times because of his dizziness, but fortunately he had desperately held onto the door frame, saving himself from actually falling.
He traced the walls all the way to the edge of the balcony and saw Chu Yue squatting on the ground to wipe the floor. He asked, “What are you doing?”
Chu Yue turned to look at him, lowered his head and said, “I accidentally knocked down your flowerpot.”
Chu Yue’s voice was a little strange just now. It had a rough, unfamiliar accent to it, but Shen Nan’s attention was all on the flowerpot he knocked down. He didn’t care, “How could you drop the black can with my favorite pink hydrangea?! You’re so clumsy!”
He wanted to squat down and pick up the black can, but Chu Yue took his wrist. He said, “I’ll do it. You should go back and rest.”
This time, the accent in Chu Yue’s voice disappeared.
Shen Nan took back his hand, stood up and said, “I’ll watch you do it. Don’t break my flowerpots.”
Chu Yue didn’t speak. He picked up the black can and put it back neatly. Shen Nan noticed something wrong and yelled, “Chu Yue!! You! You actually smashed my flower!!!”
The tight orange flower bud on the black can was smashed loose. After a few minutes, the stems and leaves were also a little limp. Chu Yue said to Shen Nan, “It’s all right, it’ll bloom sooner or later.”
Shen Nan felt even more dizzy, “Forget it. I don’t have the energy to fight with you right now. You should clean it up quickly.”
With that, he wobbled his way back to his room.
As soon as he left, the bud began to quiver, convulsing more and more intensely by the second. The center of the bud slowly flowing with bright red blood.
Chu Yue gave it a cold glance and faintly smiled. He stretched out his hand and peeled the bud inch by inch, forcing it to bloom.
The flower bud was ugly. It looked like a wispy face, covered with a layer of white paste. It seemed to have intricate facial features, but it was a bit fuzzy and blurred. Blood was continually flowing down from its eye sockets to the black soil.
Chu Yue’s fingers pressed on the tiny human-like face. Little by little he added more pressure, until finally the face disappeared and became a red mud-like flower bud.
Once he was done, he looked back at the camera. He took out the memory card, went to Shen Nan’s bed, picked up his phone and deleted the video inside.
Shen Nan saw him holding his phone and asked, “What are you doing?”
Chu Yue replied, “Nothing. Go sleep.”
Shen Nan vaguely remembered something and mentioned, “You seem to have an accent just now? How come it sounds like Southern Hakka?”
“My primary school was in the south. You forgot?”
“Why is it that I don’t remember you having an accent while we were in high school?”
Chu Yue cupped his face with a smile, “Go to sleep, get better soon.”
Shen Nan went to sleep peacefully and recovered from his cold the next day. He saw the flower in the black can and said, “It’s kind of ugly, isn’t it? The red buds and pink petals are too vulgar to match.”
Chu Yue glanced at it and said, “I think it looks nice.”
“Ah, you and your dog-like tastes,” Shen Nan roasted.
Chu Yue softly smiled, “You’re right.”
The sun was just right. The flowers on the balcony swayed gently in the wind. The newly bloomed flower that Shen Nan thought was ugly also swayed with the rest. A crystal droplet slowly slid down along the petals, leaving a very faint trace.
The author has something to say : Don’t carelessly pick up things and bring them home.
The translator has something to say : That’s it~ Do consider supporting the original author (多金少女猫) on jjwxc here. And here’s a guide to jjwxc if you’re confused. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this … interesting ride : )