“You’re looking for a new mattress, sir? Please come right on in, we have exactly what you need!”
“Here you can view a cross-section exhibit of the material layers we use—this is the plush quilt foam, that’s natural coconut fiber. Feel how comfortable and elastic they are, especially bolstered by the coil springs—go ahead and press on these, they’re very responsive.”
“Our store is holding a special event this week, so of course we can discuss if perhaps another bed set and pricing would suit you better…”
“Is this going to replace your current bed? Oh, did you buy a brand-new apartment? Congratulations, your fiancée must be so pleased!”
As they wander from store to store in the furniture shopping mall, salespeople hungrily circle them like hovering vultures. Beside him, Fang Rui keeps shaking with suppressed laughter as he chimes in to exclaim—oh yes indeed, this guy’s partner is a lucky one, isn’t he such a prime catch! the bed ought to be very large, the biggest you have! and very comfy, so he can get his beauty sleep! and very sturdy, to hold up well under considerable strain! miss, how about I try this one with a proper lie down…
Lin Jingyan bites down on his lip to keep a straight face, averting his eyes from the sight of Fang Rui shamelessly rolling around on a mattress, and surreptitiously rubs at his temples. Perhaps I should’ve tried my luck at mattress shopping online.
After he retired from Glory’s pro circle, Lin Jingyan stayed on in Qingdao through the summer: acting as another steady pair of hands on deck at Tyranny (with two of its senior players off at Worlds), overseeing the most promising Brawler trainees in training camp, and heading up guild escapades in-game. Then, at the start of Season 11, he finally changed his display name on QQ from Dark Thunder to a less ominous, more refreshing handle, bid farewell to Club Tyranny, and returned to his hometown.
He moved to a new apartment, not too close but not too far from Club Wind Howl, and scrounged up the furniture he’d put into storage while out of town. An old high school classmate helped arrange some freelance consulting work for him, while Lin Jingyan wrangled with his father over taking the gaokao at his age. Although his relationship with his father was strained, and had been so for a long while since his mother’s death, he did miss his relatives. And given that Nanjing was where most of his family and friends (outside of Glory) lived, he could be assured of a solid network of connections.
Plus, he was only about an hour away from Hangzhou by high-speed rail. Easy for him to visit Fang Rui; easy for Fang Rui to visit him. Whenever this came to mind, Lin Jingyan smiled at the thought.
Lin Jingyan is not smiling. Lin Jingyan has a headache.
“The upper seven-zone latex layer is all-natural, anti-bacterial, and anti-mite, and you’ll never need to worry about any bacteria or mold. It’s supported underneath by this layer of pocket springs, all individually segregated so they exist in a system of noninterference. As a result, when you move on top of the mattress, you’ll feel the consistent support without any deficiency.” The DeRucci salesperson pauses for breath, with a fixed grin on her face, then valiantly rattles off more facts that unfortunately do little to bolster her case in Lin Jingyan’s mind, for they go in one ear and out the other.
If mattresses were Silver equipment, he’d have no trouble parsing through their details and stats. Alas, a mattress does not a virtual weapon make. Lin Jingyan has spent a lot of time discussing Silver equipment with R&D, but no time at all in discussing the optimal mattress to ensure a good night’s sleep. Wind Howl’s boss had bought their beds; Lin Jingyan just slept in his. With Fang Rui, he would’ve slept well anyway, or not slept at all.
“If you don’t mind,” Fang Rui interrupts the spiel, “then we’ll give it a try!” And even as the salesperson opens her mouth and says, “Of course, if you’d like,” he takes a flying leap and flops with a bounce on the bed, as he already has on so many others.
“Come on, Lao Lin!” he says cheerfully, and pats the space next to him. “It’s very comfy. An elite luxury experience, all yours!”
“Then I’ll see how it is,” Lin Jingyan says to the salesperson, pointedly adding, “and let you know if I have any questions.” He gives her a mild smile of warning, visible enough that he sees her pick up on the intangible Please Do Not Disturb sign briefly hanging from his very existence, and then goes to join Fang Rui.
They lie there for about a minute in silence, Fang Rui shifting his legs around while Lin Jingyan stays very still. “Hmm, this bed has the brand name,” he says at last. “And a Worlds champion is very elite company. But tell me about the luxury, O Great Fang Rui, because I don’t believe I can feel it.”
“You can’t?” There is an impish tone in Fang Rui’s voice, as he scoots in closer and cups his hands around his mouth. Lin Jingyan can sense Fang Rui’s breath tickling at his ears. “Smooth quilted fabric top layer,” Fang Rui whispers hoarsely. “Very nice against the skin when you’re moving a lot in bed, you know... Good spring support, for a healthy give and take. Moisture-wicking and breathable too, to take care of your sweat.”
Again?! Is this even a shopping excursion anymore? Lin Jingyan shuts his eyes and takes a deep breath, willing his imagination to blind itself as promptly as it can. He opens his eyes again as he turns on his side to face Fang Rui (and conveniently, with his back to the salesperson, who is still Right There). “To take care of my sweat?” he murmurs—and then, like a switch has flipped, his voice goes a little sharp, a little deep. “Aren’t you forgetting someone else? Or do I need to teach you how to behave, now, on this bed in public?”
Fang Rui wheezes like he’s been dealt a secret three-hit combo. “Lao Lin, you’re playing dirty!”
“Well, you showed me how to hit below the belt. I learned from the best,” he says, his voice placid once more, and sits back up. “So, what do you think of this one?”
“...” Fang Rui furiously scrubs at his cheeks as he hops off the mattress, as if he can pretend that’s why his face is so flushed. “If you ask me, they’re all good enough,” he says. “But the bed you’ve got now still works, even if it’s old.”
Lin Jingyan still has a headache. But that’s all right—he’s going home with Fang Rui to relieve it, soon enough. He’ll just try his luck at mattress shopping online after that.