Another Chance – A YiZhan one-shot
The night breeze caressed Xiao Zhan's face softly as he walked towards his destination; the apartment building at the end of the road. Zhan wore a black shirt and a black pair of trousers. He had a red coat over his clothes which blended beautifully with the bunch of red roses he was holding.
Xiao Zhan had been here a few times in the past so he was familiar with the streets. He said hello to a few street vendors as he walked past. Yibo had dragged him here to eat street food a few times. At first, Zhan was against the idea of eating food made on the street buy Yibo had a way of making him do things. In the end, Zhan couldn't resist Yibo and he had to admit, they were really delicious. Yibo was really had a good sense of judgement.
Yibo and Zhan had been friends since they met at a concert a year ago. Just like tonight, it was Yibo's birthday and Zhan felt it was rather pitiful hanging out alone on his birthday so he accompanied him all night. They spoke and he found out Yibo worked in an entertainment company. As for Zhan, he owned his own art studio.
They exchanged contact details and met a few times after that. It didn't take long before Yibo to begin asking him out. What Zhan found the most intriguing about Yibo was how he went after everything he believed in. He on the other hand was often shy but Yibo made him see life in a new light. He was grateful to Yibo for that.
He had rejected Yibo a few times but the young man never gave up. The excuse he gave to Yibo was their age difference. Zhan was indeed 6 years older than Yibo but deep down, he didn't really care about that. His parents, after all, were 10 years apart. Zhan was worried his parents would be disappointed if he were to date a guy. Same sex relationship was still something the elders frowned at even though they were beginning to accept it.
Zhan had long fallen for Yibo and he knew it. They spent a lot of time together and Zhan knew he could not continue to hide his feelings for much longer. He hardly went a day without speaking to Yibo and when they did, they spoke at length like a pair of lovers. All of Yibo's friends knew Zhan. They knew they were both in love but they hadn't put a label to what they were. It looked like everyone knew Zhan loved Yibo too except for Zhan himself.
Zhan often got jealous when he saw Yibo in positions he felt were too intimate, like the time he helped a colleague open the door of her car, Zhan had given him a long lecture, telling him why he shouldn't have done that. Yibo's reply had been, "Okay, from now on, I'd only do it for you" and Zhan had happily agreed. He blushed when he realized what had happened and Yibo simply called him cute. Zhan decided to follow his own happiness. It was Yibo's birthday and he felt it was a good day to say yes to him.
Zhan was intentional about that day. He had planned every moment. He had set his alarm to wake him up by 11:50pm on the 4th of August so he could be the first to wish Yibo a happy birthday once it turned 12:00am. He was unable to do much work in the studio that day. He had a few employees so he was able to take the rest of the day off. Yibo had to work so he waited until evening to see him. After leaving his studio, he went to pick up a gift and went back home to freshen up. He had planned to spend the rest of the day with Yibo. As for what happened next, it was totally up to fate.
Zhan stopped in front of the apartment building. He took out his phone, intending to call Yibo when he sighted him from across the street, alighting from a taxi. Yibo had on a white turtle neck shirt which clung tightly to his body outlining a perfect set of abs. He wore a blue pair of trousers and had a blue jacket of a slightly lighter shade hung across his arms. He pushed back his dark brown hair to expose that handsome face that Zhan could never get off his mind. His beautiful brown eyes lazily swept across the street, as if he could tell there were a pair of eyes watching him. Yibo's lips, upon seeing Zhan curved into a smile, the most beautiful smile Zhan had ever seen. His eyes brightened up, making him look even more handsome. Zhan felt like he had hit the jackpot. They both stood on opposite sides of the road, admiring the beauty of the other, none moving from the spot.
After what seemed like a few minutes, Yibo was the first to move. He pointed to the flowers Zhan was holding and pointed to himself, giving Zhan a look which seemed to say 'for me?', Zhan nodded his head in response.
Yibo mouthed the words 'you look handsome' to Zhan who couldn't help but blush. Zhan replied him, mouthing the words 'you too'. They both smiled and Zhan could feel himself overwhelmed by his feelings for the man across the street. He knew that by now, Yibo could tell that he was head over heels in love with him.
Zhan didn't know why but for some reason, he stood still. After some time had passed, Yibo yelled to him, "I'm coming over" and Zhan nodded his head in response.
Yibo started to cross the street. Zhan wanted nothing more than to grab him and shower him with deep kisses. Yibo had tried to kiss him several times but he always turned away shyly letting the kisses land on his cheeks. This time around, he had made up his mind to kiss him in the mouth right here and now.
Yibo was a few steps away from him, almost in his arms. Zhan could see the rim of Yibo's eye were red and his eyes were a little heavy with tears but Zhan knew he was not the least bit unhappy. His heart was pounding, almost making him short of breath. He had the sudden urge to wrap his hands across that tiny waist and pull him into a hug but the next thing he heard made him freeze on the spot and the smile on his face slowly turned into a look of agony. There was a loud screech followed by the sound of a car hitting something. Next, he saw Yibo, the love of his life, being flung into the air and landed on the floor with a loud thud. The sound sent chills down his spine. Could a person survive what he just saw?
Zhan felt his knees go weak. His heart stopped beating for a moment. It took him a few seconds to make complete sense of what just happened. One minute Yibo was almost in his arms and the next, he was back in the middle of the road, lying with his back towards him.
Zhan literally flew to his side and turned him over. Yibo was bleeding from his nose and ears. Zhan felt his world go dark. He didn't know what to do and the next thing he heard himself screaming. He reached for his phone to call an ambulance but. He couldn't find it anywhere. He looked back and found it lying on the floor, next to the bunch of roses he had gotten for Yibo. He started to shout for help.
He kept shouting for someone to call an ambulance. He could not let this happen, Yibo could not die. Not yet! He still had plans. He planned to take him on a trip every year, Yibo had always wanted them to have the same set of clothes and he planned to do just that. Yibo had asked Zhan to move in with him, Zhan had planned to ask Yibo to move in with him instead as his apartment was a lot bigger, they still had a lot to accomplish together. He could not bear to have Yibo leave him. He held Yibo tightly as he continued to scream.
After a few minutes, Yibo reached for his hands and intertwined them in his own. "Sweetheart, don't scream anymore. You're going to lose your voice". Yibo was calm, he appeared to be a lot calmer than Zhan himself.
"Yibo, my love, please stay with me, the ambulance will be here soon, I'd get you to the hospital. You'd be fine", Zhan was in tears, his clothes getting soaked with blood from God knows where. He tightened his hold on Yibo as he spoke.
"Sweetheart..., tell me quick... What were you going to give me for my birthday, I really liked those roses though but it felt like you had something to tell me", Yibo's voice was sounding weaker as he spoke.
"Please stop talking, just get better. I'd tell you everything", as they spoke, an ambulance arrived and, in a few minutes, Yibo was carried in on a stretcher. His hands still intertwined with Zhan's. Zhan had to go in with him.
Yibo squeezed Zhan's hand who was crying without restraint. "Zhan, please tell me now, I really want to hear it. It would put my heart at rest, please".
"Yibo, I came here tonight to say yes. To tell you I love you and I want to be with you. I don't care about anything else, just you", Zhan said between sobs. "I also came to ask you to move in with me, my apartment is bigger than yours, we would be more comfortable there"
"I knew it", Yibo managed to smile. "The moment I saw you looking all handsome, I knew I was going to get the best birthday gift I had ever gotten. Thank you, Zhan". He Squeezed Zhan's hand with all the strength he could muster but to Zhan, it felt very light. "Once I'm better, we move in together, please stop crying, seeing you like this is making me sad".
How could Zhan stop crying? Even like this, Yibo had not forgotten to compliment him as he always did. Seeing Yibo like this, Zhan prayed in his heart. Praying to who? To whoever answers prayers. He wanted a second chance with Yibo. He would do anything to keep Yibo with him.
"Baby don't cry anymore, okay. Come closer, I want to touch you", Yibo spoke and Zhan sat next to him without hesitation. Yibo lifted his free hand and placed it on Zhan's cheeks, wiping the tears on his face but staining Zhan's face with blood in the process. Zhan closed his eyes in response. Yibo's usual warm hands felt cold this time around.
Yibo looked at Zhan and smiled. In his heart, he felt fulfilled. This man was his, he felt like the luckiest person on earth. He couldn't wait to start a life with him but right now, he felt a bit tired. He decided to close his eyes to rest a little. Zhan felt Yibo's hand fall of his cheek and the other hand holding him suddenly went limp.
Zhan opened his eyes in terror. "Yibo, Yibo!", the medics in the ambulance pushed Zhan aside to attend to Yibo. Zhan almost lost his mind. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and Yibo was.... like this? He blamed himself for everything. If he had crossed the road instead, if he had moved in with Yibo earlier, if... Zhan felt a sharp pain in his heart. His actions had all lead to this event. He wished he could take Yibo's place.
The ambulance drove into the hospital almost immediately and pushed Yibo inside, leaving Zhan standing in front of the emergency room.
Zhan's mind was blank. He prayed for Yibo to wake up. He promised to take better care of him. He regretted not saying yes long ago. Right now, he cared for nothing. He didn't care what the world would say, he didn't care if his parents weren't in support of their love. He just wanted Yibo alive. "Please, please save him", Zhan pleaded to no one in particular.
A few minutes later, a doctor wearing a set of blue scrubs walked out and spoke to Zhan. Before he said anything, Zhan had a feeling this was not going to be good. Yibo was badly injured and they needed more time to...fix him. Coming out now only meant one thing. "I'm sorry sir, we tried our best but...". Zhan did not hear the rest of what he said as he suddenly felt his body getting lighter. Soon, saw himself staring at the ceiling. The white light getting dimmer and dimmer, someone shaking him and shouting, until it finally turned completely dark and silent.
"Yibo... Yibo... Please don't leave me", these words were repeated in his ears so many times that he lost count.
'Ding ding ding ding ding'.
Zhan woke up with a start. He ran his hands all over his body and he felt fine. Alarm...yes, that was the sound of his alarm. Where was he? He searched around and found his phone on a stool next to the bed...his bed! He was in his room. He picked up the phone to check the time, it was 11:50pm on the 4th of August. Just before Yibo's birthday.
His head felt heavy. Was it all a dream? He looked at the dress he had initially prepared to put on later that day, it was neatly ironed. No blood stains. Did that mean Yibo was still...alive? Zhan jumped out of bed. He paced up and down in his room trying to get rid of the eerie feeling he felt. He knew he couldn't go back to bed that night, there was no way he could sleep until Yibo was safe in his arms...Yibo! He wondered if Yibo was fine. By the time he finally summoned up the courage to call, it was already a few minutes past 12am.
He picked up the phone to call Yibo. Deep down, he feared Yibo might not pick up. What would he do then? He hesitated for a few seconds and decided to call anyway.
The phone had barely rung once when it was answered. He heard Yibo's voice from across the phone repeating the exact same words he said in.... the dream? That felt too real to be a dream. The only difference was that this time, Yibo seemed to be panting as he spoke. He must have startled him awake.
"Zhan...why're you quiet".
"Oh, sorry Yibo, I blanked out for a moment. Happy birthday dear".
"Thanks Zhan. I'm happy you called, you were the first to wish me a happy birthday. I have a good feeling about today".
Again, the exact same conversation. Were they in some sort of time loop? Where the day kept on repeating itself? Or was it a dream, warning him about the danger yet to occur? Zhan couldn't let that happen.
"Yibo, can you skip work for today? I...I need you to spend the whole day by my side". Zhan was trembling as he spoke. He remembered how he felt not too long ago. He hoped it was just a bad dream but the feelings were just too real. He had to do something, he was definitely not letting Yibo cross any roads on that day.
"Zhan...I really want to but unlike you, I have a boss to answer to. Unless there is really an emergency, I cannot just skip work. Please don't be offended", Yibo hated refusing Zhan's requests.
Zhan could not keep calm. He just watched Yibo die in his arms. How could he let the whole day repeat itself? It started off as a perfect day but...
"Yibo, I'm coming over right now", before Yibo could react, Zhan had ended the call. He rushed to freshen up and headed out to Yibo's apartment. He drove down there and with no traffic, he arrived at Yibo's door in less than 20 minutes. Yibo stayed up waiting for him.
As soon as Zhan arrived, he pulled Yibo into a hug so tight, Yibo could barely breathe. He was happy Yibo was okay, he took in a deep breath, taking in Yibo's scent. The scent he thought was gone forever. As for leaving his side, he doubted if he was going to let that happen anytime soon.
"Zhan...", Yibo tried to talk but Zhan kissed him. Yibo stood rooted to the spot. Zhan had always avoided kissing his lips. He was confused but he liked it. He held Zhan by the waist and responded, kissing him back.
"Yes, Yibo. Yes, I'd be your boyfriend. I'd be yours. I also want us to move in together. I can move here if you want but..."
"But your place is bigger and we would be more comfortable there...", Yibo took the words right out of Zhan's mouth but Zhan was too immersed in the moment to read any meanings to it.
"Yes, exactly. Yibo...I love you and...happy birthday".
"Zhan...I...", Zhan did not let him finish his statement.
"Yibo...don't be upset. I'm sorry I took so long to respond. I was just worried but I don't care anymore. You come first from now on".
Yibo had a lot of questions. He had just woken up from the weirdest dream. At first, he didn't know if it was real or not. Right now, the day was going differently from what had happened previously. If it was just a dream, why did he feel so much pain when he woke up? His body hurt, just like it did when he got hit by a car.
Zhan stayed with him for the rest of the day, dropping him at work. Yibo wanted to put on a white turtle neck shirt and a pair of blue trousers but Zhan stopped him, asking him to wear something else. Yibo got more and more suspicious but he decided to let things be, living each day with the love of his life.
After work, Zhan was outside waiting for him, dressed in white and black, holding white roses. Zhan took him to his own apartment and he was surprised to see that Zhan had moved most of his things already.
"Sweetheart, I need to go to my apartment to pick up my laptop. I think you left it behind. No need to drive me, I'd take a taxi".
Taxi? No way was Zhan letting that happen. He promised to go pick it up the next day, he wanted them to remain indoors for the rest of the day, settling Yibo in.
His birthday was spent settling into a new apartment, one he shared with his boyfriend, his Zhan, the man he had loved for so long. He wanted nothing more. It was a perfect day.
3 years later, Yibo was still puzzled whenever he remembered how he and Zhan started dating. Zhan had come to him very early in the morning telling him how much he loved him and apologizing for taking so long. Things had moved smoothly for them from then on.
Zhan was painting a picture. He had been working on that piece for the past year. He never allowed anyone see it, not even Yibo. On that particular Yibo walked into Zhan's office in his studio and came face to face with the painting. It was one of Yibo wearing a white turtle neck shirt and a pair of blue trousers, standing across the road, smiling. He recognized the place behind him as his old apartment building.
Yibo felt his head spin, he suddenly remembered everything that happened in that dream. He had forgotten about it but this picture brought back those memories. The joy of seeing Zhan dressed up for him, the pain of being hit by a car, it was even more painful seeing Zhan cry. Then he felt better knowing Zhan was ready to give them a chance then... he fell asleep. He tried to wake up but he couldn't. He heard Zhan screaming his name, he knew when the doctors tried to resuscitate him to no avail. He suddenly woke up and found himself in bed. He had dismissed it all as a dream but this...this picture...how could Zhan picture his dream so vividly?
He staggered back a few steps, nearly falling down but he was caught just in time by Zhan.
"Zhan...how did you...where did you see this scene? Did you make it up in your head?", Yibo was trembling as he spoke. Zhan smiled and took the picture away.
"Yibo, I never knew you also had memories of this. I thought it was a dream but now I realize, this is life giving us another chance...I made this as a memorial of what I nearly lost. If it bothers you so much, I would get rid of it".
Zhan seemed to remain unshaken but deep down he was just as surprised as Yibo to find out Yibo also had memories of that event. He had long come to terms with it but from Yibo's reaction, he could tell his was still affected. He never wanted to see him that way. He made up his mind to destroy the picture whether or not Yibo asked him to.
"No sweetheart, it's okay. I'd never ask you to destroy your work...I was just surprised to see it". Yibo tried to calm himself down. He buried his face in Zhan's neck for a long time, enveloping himself with that familiar scent. He felt the urge to cry but he didn't. Instead, he bit Zhan lightly on his neck then gently licked the sore spot to sooth the pain.
He wrapped his hands around Zhan's waist pulling him closer. Zhan could feel Yibo getting hard.
"Ah Yibo, this... we are in the office. What if someone walks in on us?".
Yibo walked towards the door as he spoke. "They won't come in without knocking first, I made sure of that. Besides, I already installed a lock on the door".
Zhan heard a 'click' sound and before he could figure out what just happened, he was already pinned to the desk.