With his left elbow on the window and his right hand casually gripping the steering wheel of the blue Mercedes, Xuan Chaya steadily navigated the jam-packed city road.
Xiao Maiguo who was sitting on the passenger side of the car stared at his ringing phone and hissed irritably.
\"What's the matter with you?\" Xuan Chaya gave Xiao Maiguo a glance, his dark-blue eyes clouded with concern.
\"Ben.\" Xiao Maiguo spat. \"Ben's the matter with me. He won't stop calling me.\"
\"Who's Ben?\" Xuan Chaya's expression bordered on both confusion and amusement. He had always found Xiao Maiguo's temper amusing.
Xiao Maiguo sighed. \"The guy from the airport.\"
\"You two are on first name basis now?\"
\"First name, my foot. He calls me Mike. My name is Xiao Maiguo. How does Maiguo sound like Mike?\"
Xuan Chaya chuckled. \"Why did you give him your number?\"
\"You.\" Xiao Maiguo threw Xuan Chaya a murderous glare. \"You said I should give him a lift. Then you asked me to give him my number. You said, 'Just do it to make it up to him.'\"
Xuan Chaya shrugged. \"You did kick him in the crotch because you thought he was me. And he was stranded. It was only fair you gave him a lift.\"
\"What does that have to do with me giving him my number?\"
\"Oh! I only suggested that because I thought his persistence was cute.\"
\"Cute? Do you know how many times he called me that night alone? He called me to tell me he had been checked into his room. Then he called me to tell me he had had dinner. Also called to say he was about to go to bed.\"
\"He's into you. What's your problem with him?\"
\"My problem with him is that I'm in a serious relationship. And my boyfriend would misunderstand me if he sees any of his texts or if he notices how many times BEN calls me.\"
\"Oh! I forgot that there are people who go out with one person.\"
\"You fucking dumbass.\" Xiao Maiguo cursed.
\"Don't blame me for all this, you don't have to listen to me all the time.\"
\"Yun Peng is going to arrive any minute now. How do I explain some guy calling me twice every hour?\"
\"Your boyfriend is coming to the dinner?\"
\"No. You'll drop me before we get to the mansion. Then we'll leave together.\"
Xuan Chaya frowned at Xiao Maiguo. \"You told everyone you're on your way.\"
\"That was before I knew he was in Tianjin. Which was honestly when we just got in the car.\"
\"Jeez! My mum would be so upset if she doesn't get to see you. I think, sometimes, she forgets you're not her son.\"
\"Well, you kiss her for me, will you?\"
\"Sure. But you told your parents you're not coming, right?\"
\"No. You have to make up an excuse for me.\"
\"What asshole? You're about to ruin my relationship. Don't you forget that.\"
\"Hey, if your boyfriend doesn't trust you, don't blame it on me.\"
Xuan Chaya's words hit a nerve, but Xiao Maiguo retained his calm. \"He trusts me.\"
\"Then, just tell him the whole truth.\"
\"Starting from where I kicked a stranger in the nuts?\"
\"Well, you thought he was me.\"
\"That doesn't make it any better. I'm not supposed to be kicking you in the crotch.\"
\"And you just realized that now?\"
\"Fuck, I'm screwed.\" Xiao Maiguo slapped his forehead as he spoke.
\"Hey, chill.\" Xuan Chaya chuckled amusedly. \"Just tell him this-Ben-guy was stranded and you offered him a lift.\"
\"He'll think I'm lying. Yun Peng knows I'm not a nice person. Plus, that doesn't explain how Ben got my number.\"
\"Then... Just switch off your phone whenever you're with him.\"
Xiao Maiguo's face brightened up at the thought. \"That's actually a good idea.\"
\"Great. Can we now talk about my problem that you've been trying to avoid?\"
Xiao Maiguo sent a text from his phone. \"I haven't been avoiding it. Your parents want you to marry my cousin. How's that a problem?\"
\"Maiguo...\" Xuan Chaya let out an exasperated sigh. \"I can't wake up to one face everyday for the rest of my life. The thought of it is driving me crazy. Most especially if that face belongs to a head that has no brain.\"
Xiao Maiguo threw Xuan Chaya a glance.
\"No offence.\" Xuan Chaya added.
Xiao Maiguo shrugged. \"I'm not offended. Xiao Yuexi is quite dull.\"
\"Well then, you understand.\"
Xiao Maiguo furrowed his brows. \"I don't get it. Aunt Charlotte is such a forward thinking person. And she's so modern. How can she support something as obselete as an arranged marriage?\"
\"She doesn't support it. She and my dad had a serious fight about it. But he insisted that she always gets her way with me. So, he has to have his way this time. He really wants me to get married to a Chinese girl opposed to an American one. This new-found patriotism of his is quite frustrating. I could excuse him when he insisted on opening a branch of his company here in China. But the whole marriage thing? Come on...\"
\"So, Aunt Charlotte gave in to him?\"
Xiao Maiguo nodded his head suddenly. \"I have an idea.\"
\"Let me hear it.\"
\"You know the reason your mum loves me, right?\"
\"Because I'm gay.\"
\"She's very Pro-LGBT. And your dad pretends he is as well.\"
\"I don't see what you're getting at.\"
Xiao Maiguo hit the dashboard. \"Just tell your parents you're gay.\"
\"Are you crazy?\" Xuan Chaya's eyes widened in surprise.
\"No, I'm not crazy. It's a great idea.\"
\"How is that a great idea?\"
\"Your mum would want to fight for your rights. By tooth and nail. And your father would have to give in.\"
\"My dad won't support it.\"
\"It's a genius idea. Your dad pretends to be Pro-LGBT, so he'll have no other choice but to support it.\"
Xuan Chaya shook his head argumentatively. \"I'm still not going to lie about something that heavy just to get my way.\"
Xiao Maiguo rolled his eyes. \"Dude, it's your life. I gave you a genius idea but you're choosing to be political about it. Do whatever you want. But first, park by that tea shop. That's Yun Peng.\" He pointed at a teashop along the road.
Xuan Chaya complied and parked.
As Xiao Maiguo got down from the car, Yun Peng walked towards them.
Xiao Maiguo threw his arms around Yun Peng and pulled him into a tight hug. \"Hey baby. I missed you so much.\"
\"Calling such a scary person your baby. You have guts.\" Xuan Chaya complained as he came down from the Mercedes.
When Xiao Maiguo pulled away from Yun Peng, he dragged him towards Xuan Chaya. \"Baby, I want you to Xuan Chaya. My highschool roommate and bestfriend that I told you about before.\" Gesturing to Yun Peng, Xiao Maiguo said, \"Chaya, this is my boyfriend, Yun Peng.\"
\"Nice to meet you.\" Xuan Chaya stretched out his hand for a handshake.
\"Same here.\" Yun Peng returned the handshake.
\"We'll leave now, okay?\" Xiao Maiguo said to Xuan Chaya.
\"Wait.\" Xuan Chaya uttered one last word of protest. \"Your family already knows you have a boyfriend. Why can't you two just come for dinner?\"
Xiao Maiguo smiled. \"Actually, Yun Peng isn't comfortable in those kind of social situations. So, I don't want to inconvenience him.\"
Yun Peng smiled in the same manner Xiao Maiguo had smiled. \"Actually,\" He said to Xuan Chaya. \"Xiao Maiguo doesn't care that I'm not comfortable in these kind of social situations. He just doesn't want to tell you outright that he wants to go somewhere private so I can screw his brains out.\"
\"Ah!' Xuan Chaya dropped his head in embarrassment. He hadn't expected Yun Peng to be so outspoken.
Xiao Maiguo chuckled. \"See? This really wasn't about me. I didn't want to embarrass you.\"
\"It's okay. You guys should go do your thing.\" Xuan Chaya said.
\"You're so understanding. Don't forget to makeup an excuse for me. Bye.\" Xiao Maiguo pulled Yun Peng towards his car.
\"Bye bye.\" Xuan Chaya waved at them. Unable to resist the urge, when he got to the car, he texted Xiao Maiguo, \"Dude, happy sexing.\"
Xiao Maiguo replied with a kiss emoji and turned off his phone.
Immediately Xuan Chaya entered Xiao Maiguo's family home, he was ambushed by a blond-haired, blue-eyed, white woman. \"What took you so long? The dinner is about to start.\" The woman looked around to see if she had missed something. In fluent Chinese, she asked, \"Where's Xiao Maiguo?\"
Xuan Chaya scratched his left ear. \"He... He couldn't come.\"
\"Oh!\" The woman pouted. Obviously upset. \"I thought you were coming together. Plus, his whole family is here, aren't they?\"
Xuan Chaya scratched his ear again. \"He got diarrhea. He had to stay back at my condo.\"
\"Oh! Hope he's taken some drugs. I'll just call to check up on him.\"
Xuan Chaya sighed. \"Mum, it's fine. He's going to be okay.\"
Just then, an elderly man appeared beside the white woman. Gently, he placed a arm around her shoulder and scolded Xuan Chaya. \"You finally came.\"
\"I... I'm sorry I took so long, dad.\" Xuan Chaya apologized.
The man shook his head in dismay. \"Your first-time meeting your future bride's extended family and you choose to be tardy. What kind of impression were you planning on making?\"
\"Nobody cares if he's tardy, honey.\" Charlotte shot at her husband.
Xuan Chaya's father ignored his wife. He said to Xuan Chaya. \"Make sure you take a seat beside Xiao Yuexi on the dinner table. Just to make a statement about the seriousness of our proposal to the family.\"
Charlotte rolled her eyes and swatted her husband's arms from her shoulder.
Xuan Chaya sighed. \"Dad, I can't marry Xiao Yuexi.\"
\"We already talked about this. Don't throw a tantrum here.\" The elderly man scolded.
\"I'm not throwing a tantrum. I don't like her.\"
\"That reason isn't good enough.\"
\"Then... I guess, I'll just have to tell you the truth then.\"
\"I...\" Xuan Chaya hesitated. With a sigh, he continued. \"Don't like women. Sexually, I prefer the company of other men.\"