// It’s not just bromance, its true love 1
04 May 2019

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Summary: Evan and Ian are generally seen together in SpeXial, they stick to each other like glue and everyone assumes they know everything about each other because they are always together, but that isn’t completely true. Manager Xu calls it bromance, they call it love, but fate calls it a test of their bond. Evan leaves the band soon after his 23rd birthday, without a word to Ian or the others, vanishing without a trace. What they don’t know is that Evan has his own secrets, ones that he wants to protect even if it means abandoning his soulmate and causing himself heartache. Ian’s desire to find his lover fades, apparently numb till a friend from university asks how the band are doing, and then he realises that trying to forget is not the right thing to do, for him or the livelihood of SpeXial. When he writes the love song he has been willing himself not to write for fear of losing control over his heart, Ian makes a firm resolution to find their lost bandmate and bring life back to how it was, but things have changed, and one of those things is Evan. Ma Zhen Huan is still the Evan he knows, but life has changed plenty for the Canadian-Chinese rapper, in ways Ian can’t predict.

One thing is still the same though, their soulmate like connection. The connection they used to say would get their relationship through any bumps in the road to love…

It was the annual reunion of Tsinghua University’s music production class of 2015 when Ian Po was reminded of Ma Zhen Huan, who had failed to cross his mind for years. Ling Lei had simply asked how his boy band life was going after all the successful hits on the Taiwanese charts, and everything he had tried to bury stirred, clouding his mind and heart. “We’re really popular and money is never an issue any more with all the promotions and acting roles offered to us, but I haven’t wrote a song in years since our main rapper left suddenly. Everyone has lost any genuine inspiration and Sam is struggling to cope with breaking up with his boyfriend Simon Lian, who also left after they separated, and trying to finish education. It’s fair to say SpeXial isn’t the same as three years ago, too much has happened to us”, he replied dryly. Ling Lei frowned and patted him on the arm comfortingly, not saying anything but sensing a hard case of heartbreak blocking his inspiration from coming through, with a pretty good idea about who his heart was stuck on. A couple of years ago at freshers week, Ian got absolutely smashed on cheap beer and started drunk rambling about a man with soft caramel skin and the most beautiful American English accent, who could be none other than his Chinese Canadian bandmate Evan Ma.

The questions about Evan triggered a part of his memory that had laid dormant for more than a year, the memories of their short boyfriend relationship and years of friendship in SpeXial, the songs that Ian secretly wrote about him, without telling people who exactly his muse was to inspire the songs. If he had the chance now to open up to the fans, he wouldn’t even let the thought of hesitating cross his mind, because Evan was his missing kryptonite, and he realised that he and the other members needed the rapper back. Before he could sleep, he wrote a heartfelt love song, about regretting not holding onto the one he loved, and the pain he felt scribing the words were pure regret and a newfound sense of determination. The boys told him in the morning that he woke up calling Evan’s name longingly, not quite believing the existence of the song on the desktop that had remained blank for too long, delighted their youngest had found his inspiration again, but sad at the mention of the bandmate they all dearly missed. “Let’s try to find Evan, at least one of us will be back where we belong, emotionally if not physically, and rebirth SpeXial with a fresh new image.” Sam proposed sadly. They all knew he wished Simon would come back but it was very unlikely after terminating the contract. “I’ll try visiting his mom at the weekend, they haven’t moved according to baidu. If anyone knows what my sweet muse has been doing, it’s most likely Mrs Ma.”, Ian concluded, with some reluctance.

Ian took Sam with him for moral support when he went to the Ma estate in the outskirts of Taiwan, just seeing the house behind the gates made him think of the time they told the Ma parents he and Evan were dating. Mr Ma was a little shocked but wished his son all the happiness in the world with his boyfriend, and his wife gave Ian a very tight bear hug as a welcome to the family, surprising him at how strong the small Chinese woman was, making him truly satisfied with his life right there. However, the large house had a distinct atmosphere of depression around it now, and the navy curtains shut out any light from coming, so he couldn’t say if the person they came to see was in, not even a meagre inkling. Sam rang the doorbell, for the reason that Ian didn’t know if he wanted to or could, and like before, Mrs Ma promptly answered the door , looking no different to the last time he visited her. “Ian, my darling son in law, it’s been a long time! Who is this fine young man next to you, she narrowed her eyes, and “A replacement for my precious baby?” she asked sinisterly. Sam shivered, the lady was tiny, but terrifying, “No Ma’am, I am Sam Lin, his bandmate who recently had a relationship of my own.” he whimpered.

“Call me mom, any friend of my son Evan is a son of mine, especially his sweet boyfriend Ian. Let me see if my baby is ready to receive visitors today, just a minute darlings!” she called down the stairs affectionately. Ian relaxed a little, sinking down into a leather couch in the reception area, whilst his friend looked more scared than when they were at the door, and when he asked why, he said, “Dude, women really scare me, it’s a real phobia apparently, and mine managed to drive me to bat for the other team. My brother in America had a scary wife, and when I thought about marrying a woman like her, I developed a fear of having relationships that are more than familial and decided that since me kind of liked men and women, I could always find a man to spend the rest of my life with.” He laughed at the pure ridiculousness of the reason Sam turned to the dark side, such a traumatic story that supposedly explained his journey to blessed homosexuality. Mrs Ma came down with a toddler in her arms that stunned the two SpeXial members for the simple reason that the kid was the perfect combination of Evan and Ian. “How does that child look like him and Ian mom? Unless a woman the carbon copy of this doofus exists, something crazy is going on and I am so confused right now.”, Sam exclaimed. The boy in her arms squirmed and squeaked the cutest accented “Daddy!” at Ian. Now Ian was as equally confused as his friend.

“That’s because Ivan is you and Zhen Huan’s kid, he was always special in that way, but tried to never show it or people might see him as a freak, that’s why I was so protective of him when he wanted to be an idol. You’ll see my son now, be nice boys, even you, woman phobic Mr Lin, a lot has happened since he came home three years ago.”, she stated ambiguously. The two men took the toddler together and gulped, playing a quick game of rock paper scissors with their free hands to determine who had to open the door, which Ian lost because he was distracted by Sam humming the love song he wrote for his muse. The person opening the door was at wheelchair level, so they had to bend own to make sufficient eye contact. “Uhm hi guys, long time no see I guess? I apologize for Ivan’s hyperactivity, he’s excited to see me up today.” Evan greeted shyly, Sam not quite believing his eyes. They obediently perched on the bed he gestured to.

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