When Zifeng finds him, he’s still sitting in the middle of the floor, facing away from the door. Zifeng watches him for a moment, leaning against the door frame. “Yanuo.”
“Yes?” He says without looking up.
“You’ve been at this for an hour.”
“You don’t have any of the pieces put together.”
“Not true,” Yanuo says. Attention still fixed before him, he holds up two different examples of bars attached to elbow joints, each one mostly correct.
Zifeng sighs through his nose, but smiles as he steps out of the doorframe and fully into the room. “I told you, we can hire someone to do this,” he says, settling himself on the floor behind Yanuo, arms falling around his shoulders. “Or, we can buy one that’s already in one piece. We could get it custom made if we wanted to.”
“What’s the point of a custom made crib? The baby won’t know the difference,” Yanuo says, trying a little desperately to make two more pieces of white-painted wood fit together.
Zifeng stares at him. “Isn't the whole reason you're doing this because--”
Yaneo picks it up, and they speak in unison, “I don’t want everything handed to the baby.”
“It’s a crib. We’re handing it to the baby no matter what. It won’t know the difference.”
Yanuo huffs, finally abandoning all hope and dropping the planks of wood he’d been fiddling with. He leans back to rest his head on Zifeng’s shoulder. “I will. I don’t want to get used to just buying our way out of our difficulties. It's not a good example.”
“And that has to start before the baby even gets here?” Zifeng asks, running his hands lightly over Yanuo’s arms.
Yanuo nods seriously. “Absolutely. We live on enough indulgences as it is. We need to start good habits early.”
“We’re not that indulgent,” Zifeng says, something close to petulance finding its way into his voice.
“We go out to a lot of expensive dinners,” Yanuo counters, unconvinced.
“We frequently have a lot to celebrate.”
“You bought me a custom fit suit.”
“Every man should have one!”
“I mentioned a motorcycle was cool once and you went out and bought one.”
After a moment of consideration, Zifeng relents. “Alright, fine. Maybe we live on the indulgent side, but I’m glad we do. Our baby will never have to worry about money. They can follow their passions instead.”
“I agree,” Yanuo says, “But I joined this lifestyle at 26. You did at 10, and you still work hard for what we have. Our baby won’t know that experience. I just want to make sure they stay humble.”
Seriously, Zifeng asks, “And this is the first step to making that happen?”
“Yes.” Yanuo nods, determined. With a smile, he adds, “They will grow up in a crib built by family. In the end, it will always be the object of our effort keeping them safe.”
Unable to resist, Zifeng leans over to kiss him on the cheek. “I am so happy to be starting a family with you,” Zifeng says. He slips out of his hugging position and takes a kneel beside Yanuo, attempting to hide how immediately overwhelming it is to be faced with 93 crib parts as he does so. Settling his resolve, he turns to look Yanuo in the eye. “You haven’t eaten yet, right? Go find some lunch. I’ll work on this.”
“It’s okay, I’ll get it eventually,” Yanuo says politely, looking out over all of the pieces once more.
But, of course, “I insist. If you want this, I’ll make sure it gets done.”
“Thank you,” Yanuo beams, stretching out of his sitting position. He runs a hand through Zifeng’s hair in appreciation and chirps, “I’ll leave first, then.”
Now, really, this shouldn’t be that hard. These things are made for people to be able to assemble on their own. There are a lot of pieces, sure, but it’s certainly doable. At least, Zifeng thinks it should be.
That same thought repeats in his head 45 minutes later, but with a lot more frustration behind it. It is, of course, as he’s sighing in agony that Yanuo reappears in the doorway. “Du Zifeng,” he says, leaning in to see how little work has actually been accomplished.
Zifeng grunts, “Du Yanuo,” staring down at the wooden bars taunting him from his lap.
“How’s it coming?”
“I have run 3 of the most powerful families in Taiwan for ten years, and I’m being bested by a home-assembly crib from a chain furniture store.”
Yanuo giggles, retaking his seat on the floor and curling into Zifeng’s side. “It’s harder than it looks,” he says, examining Zifeng’s handiwork: three stripped bolts, a number of rails organized into loose groups, and two bars attached at a 70-degree angle.
“It shouldn’t be,” Zifeng grumbles, arm coming around Yanuo’s shoulder. Together, in a moment of silence, they own acknowledge their own defeat. And then, “You know, we haven’t had Qingyang and Nana over in a while.”
“I guess we haven’t. We should soon, one more time before the baby comes.”
“We should. And I’m sure they’ll want to see the baby’s room.”
Yanup grins, picking up on it. “Of course.”
“And if they happen to see that we haven’t gotten the crib put together, and volunteer to help us, it would be impolite to refuse that help, wouldn’t it?”
“I think it would. They are family, after all.”
“Qingyang has always been good with that sort of thing, anyway,” Zifeng continues, voice still innocent.
“Nana got pretty good at putting sets together at the theatre.”
“And that wouldn’t be buying our way out, necessarily. Just, accepting help from family.”
Yanuo nods solemnly. “That’s as important an example to set as any.”
“Of course, that’s just one possibility.”
“Right. We’re just inviting them over for dinner. We don’t know what they’re going to do.”
“Qingyang’s pretty excited to become an uncle, but that doesn’t mean he’ll care about the baby’s room,” Zifeng says, already pulling out his phone and opening his messages.
“Nana’s been mentioning it since the adoption papers went through, but she could always forget.”
“We’re pretty entertaining.”
“There,” Zifeng says, tapping one last time. “They’re invited for dinner and, possibly, if they happen to mention it, to see the baby’s room and, oh, what’s this?” He continues, standing up and guiding Yanuo up and out with him. “It looks like we forgot to pack up the crib stuff. Crap. Aren’t we forgetful?”
“We are, but we’re all panicking about the arrival of our first child, so who can blame us?”
“With one look at that disaster,” he says, switching off the light and closing the door, “absolutely no one.”