Flower Vase


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He’s only acted out one play properly in his life.

That was to pretend he didn’t love that person.


In the bright and dazzling entertainment circle, the older one is, the more fetters one is shackled with. As such, Gu Yan makes the most realistic choice — accepting the help of big financial backer Qin Zhiyuan and becoming a flower vase.

Satisfying a financial backer in bed isn’t anything too difficult, and Gu Yan even has a knack for maintaining such a relationship over the long years — smiling when he has to, and feigning ignorance when it’s necessary, no matter if it’s overlooking gossipy s*x scandals or the sweet-sounding fake-real words spoken by that man…

The flower vase’s heart is elsewhere, the financial backer’s love is absent, all debts are bought and paid for. With his mouth curved into a perfect arc of a smile, Gu Yan does his utmost to play the most flawless role in his life, all the while hiding those feelings that he shouldn’t have in his heart…

Associated Names
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Related Series
Professional Body Double (2)
Perfection (2)
Don’t Be a Kept Man (1)
Love Late (1)
The Film Emperor (1)
How Can I Get Rid of Him (1)
Recommendation Lists
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  2. Favourite BLs (4-5*)
  4. Short BLs
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9 Reviews sorted by

Aria0107 rated it
June 26, 2020
Status: --
I finished reading it all and enjoyed the story and the characters. The shou MC, Gu Yan, is a vase, a pretty face actor who can't act. The ML, Qin Zhiyuan, is his gold master.

I don't find many stories where the MC is the first to fall in love in the relationship and where his love seems to equal that of the ML, which is what I really liked. Usually in other stories, it feels like the MC never really reciprocates as much love as their other does. I loved... more>> that the MC's love is always steadfast. Even when he realized that the ML didn't love him, MC didn't chase others or get into anything ambiguous with third-wheels. MC maturely communicated that he could only play a leading role, not a passerby character, and basically waited for the ML's wounded heart to heal.


It definitely hurt to realize that the ML had a secret love (unreciprocated) in his heart while it seemed like he was getting serious with the MC, only to discover that the MC was like a rebound for his broken heart. I feel like people won't like ML for that but I find that part of him to be human, a weak heart that desires companionship in tough times.

MC has a strong heart, refusing to play anything less than a lead, and ends their foster relationship. Both take it really maturely and are grateful for each other's companionship through the years.


The development of their fostering relationship to its dissolution and the progression from friends to lovers was great. The second half starts with focusing on the ML with his introspection, development, and journey. He enjoys their continued relationship as friends but realizes that something's missing; his heart is still going through the transition of losing a love but he tries to move forward by listening to MC's advice. When he discovers the extent of MC's love for him, he tries his best to pursue MC, afraid that he wouldn't wait for him.


I loved how the ML started learning how to cook to pursue MC (MC is a really good cook and his dreams involved him cooking). Meanwhile, the MC is eating all his badly cooked food and even giving him pointers back; one director tasted a dumpling and said he finally knew what love was. Haha.

I loved that MC definitely waited for him. At one point I was thinking if he was playing some 4-d chess after his conversation with his doctor. Like damn is the MC really forward in pursuing his dream, in both his careers and his love, that I too felt relief when he's finally got it all in his grasp.


The MC is forward, humorous, mature and intelligent. He has amazing EQ to understand others. He also knows his own flaws but isn't shy to accept praise for his strengths like his face haha.

MTL is pretty easy, though the story is more than the 40 chapter status listed. <<less
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Chiaroscuro rated it
February 2, 2021
Status: Completed
This is the kind of pain that slowly bled you to death. It feels melancholic and very real. Both MC and ML are flawed people. Although people keep saying MC is scum, I only feel that he's human. Very human. Luckily author gave background for his "scummy actions."

Imma spoiler the heck of this novel so proceed with caution.


MC is the type that feels deeply, but because he feels deeply he buried it. He's proud but not arrogant. There's a certain nonchalant acceptance born of hopelesness from his actions. He's very... more>> patient, decisive and realistic.


MC first met ML because MC was drugged, I wasn't certain if he's r*ped or not but people took embarrassing photos of him.

MC's dad got into huge debts from failure in business, they leave the country and left MC. Originally MC was gonna be a chef but he need to pay debt so he signed to sketchy/pimp manager. I wasn't sure if MC sold his body or not but he ended up being humiliated.



He wasn't a scummy horny bastard, he's just a human. He's one of the most realistic ML out there. He's weak, he's a coward, but once he's sure, he finally took that one brave step and that's all that matters.


His father has mistresses and even got an actress pregnant. So he always feel love isn't reliable and it's better to pay people for companionship.

He wear a mask because he's a coward, and he know he's weak and cowardly. But He's shrewd.

He also didn't realise how deeply MC love him because to him love is cheap. And he regretted a lot. He tried making it up tho. Trying to cook, beginning to truly care about MC, Offending and Owing a lot of people because MC's photos, opening his heart to love and moving on from his white moonlight.


The lacking things is how they came to be. Like I don't know how many years they're together or how they even become SB/SD

But according to the storyline and why MC can still accept ML


MC first fall for ML in his twenties so it's around 5-9 years they're together and that's also how long MC love ML. ML also realized that MC spent his best years with him.

I feel like ML's first love was kind of a "safe love". He find love unreliable, he like men and knew his love would be unreciprocated. It's easy to fall for your childhood friend. It's "safe". Not to mention he's married. That's why it's easier to move on.

Compared to MC's love where ML appeared to be the light when he's in the dark. Ofc MC tried to move on but if you love someone and be patient for his love for years, it's not easy to move on. So when he sees ML's dedication he finally decided that they can try. And most importantly MC still decided ML is worth it.

Some people might think there's not enough groveling but it spans around 1-2 years. ML didn't pressure MC and just quietly do his own thing. MC is also decisive and I'm glad because they make each other happy

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emiliers rated it
May 18, 2021
Status: Completed
EDIT:// Oh no, I'm translating this now, haha. Usually I don't rate stories I'm translating, but since I rated this before I started translating (and can't delete ratings oops), forgive me and my really biased review just this once, all right?

Anyway, most of the review below is about the raws (and the translation mentioned is the Xiao's Yaoi Playground one, which is indeed fairly good! and I wish they had continued).

But, yeah, I decided to pick this up after a year and a half of translation inactivity, since I've been... more>> itching to reread it and decided it'd probably be easier to translate as I do. Again, I want to emphasize that this really isn't a scum abuse crematorium story; it's a story about two people learning to build a relationship together. It starts out a bit angsty and ends extremely sweetly. Don't come in expecting some super dramatic wife-chasing! It's a fairly straightforward romance, all told, actually. //ENDEDIT

Oh no, this is actually pretty good!

So, while this can be kind of nominally seen as a scum abuse story, it's probably the most realistic one I've read so far, in that the MC isn't a super doormat-esque white lotus, and the ML isn't the scum of the absolute earth before repentance. They both feel like genuine people in a real situation that is (sort of) beyond their control, which is helped a lot by the author's really smooth writing. You can tell this author actually knows how to write -- there's poignancy, but in a very down-to-earth kind of way in her word choices and sentence structures. (And the translation is quite good too!)

Anyway, since the summary on Jinjiang (and here) are so short, here are the basics: MC is an actor who is really bad at acting, but took it up initially in order to pay off his family's debt; he's successful because of his beautiful face and his sugar daddy/gold backer, and he knows it, owns up to it, and doesn't really feel bad about it. ML is MC's gold backer who took him in during his darkest times, which is why MC fell in love with him. ML is kind and polite to MC, but treats him exactly as he is -- a s*x partner he has fun with, but doesn't really think much about outside of their exchanges.

What I find really refreshing about the MC and ML dynamic is that the MC isn't a pushover or a white lotus, but neither is he resentful or vengeful. He's accepting of who/what he is and his relationship with the ML. Even when the ML picks up another sugar baby, the MC doesn't begrudge either of them and simply does what he does best -- win back the ML's attention. The MC can also be really sassy, even towards the ML, and he's very self-aware, confident, and sure of his worth. At the beginning of the story, he's in kind of an equilibrium with the ML, where he loves him, but he knows the ML doesn't love him back -- and he accepts this, and their relationship, as is.


And while the ML does ostensibly "scummy" things such as picking up other sugar babies (with the narrative implying obliquely that he's slept with them off-screen), this kind of "straying" is actually within the parameters of their relationship (which is defined by the ML giving the MC industry support in exchange for sex, essentially), so the MC is neither very surprised about it nor very hung up over it. (I think there's the implication that this has happened before, and the MC has always managed to capture back his attention.)

I think this kind of contractual relationship is a lot more palatable to me, even as the scum is still kind of scummy, than other scum gong/cheap shou relationships I've read. Especially because there was no coercion (at least on ML's part) regarding the contract in the first place -- and the MC himself isn't really super attached to his acting job. In this case, the two parties both know where they stand, and there's no subterfuge or lying going on, which is already miles better than most other scum abuse novels.

But the turning point really comes when, after an almost-incident between the MC and ML's brother, the ML suddenly starts treating MC as a genuine lover, to the point that, while still wary, the MC begins to believe that he can settle down in this new state of affairs. Of course, things come crashing down -- literally! -- in a car accident, of all places, when the MC realizes that the ML has a man (a mutual acquaintance) that he has been in love with since his school years, and the only reason that the ML begins treating MC as a lover is that this man is 1) 100% straight and 2) getting married! And in treating MC as a lover even when he wasn't being genuine, the ML completely breaks the unspoken rules of the contract -- because while the ML actually does genuinely want to forget his old love, he was still just using MC to try and forget his own pain, without actually caring about MC himself.

And! The great part is that the MC recognizes this the moment he realizes and breaks up with ML almost immediately. While he can accept a contractual relationship with the other person, he refuses to be used as a substitute or second best -- which is pretty fantastic all around.


Admittedly, there are some inelegant writing moments here, since midway through the narrative, the author suddenly switches to the ML's perspective basically mid-chapter. I originally thought we were just doing the usual Chinese writing thing of hopping from perspective to perspective, but nope. We stay in ML's mind for basically almost the entire rest of the book (except for like the final few chapters). And while I think the choice was overall good (and very reminiscent of "classic" scum abuse novels), it is a bit awkwardly executed.

I also find the ML in this story a lot more forgivable/palatable than most other scum MLs, simply because you can kind of understand where he's coming from. He doesn't hurt the MC out of genuine malice or distaste or even apathy, but out of carelessness because he doesn't value MC enough to think too deeply about the other's feelings. And the author definitely works the story to make ML realize this -- and make amends.


I personally really liked the ML's slow realization that he likes MC more than as just a bed partner, and that he genuinely misses the other because of all the time they spent together. There's no super dramatic chase scenes or abject begging to be taken back either! The ML and the MC slowly go back to being normal friends before the ML then slowly begins to try and show MC how much he's valued.

For instance, during the car accident, the MC damaged his hand in an effort to protect ML and so the MC can no longer pursue his dream of being a chef. When the ML finds out, he not only tries to support MC through the PT for his hand but also tries to learn how to cook! I was genuinely bowled over by how charming I found the descriptions of ML spending basically months trying to learn how to cook something even slightly edible and then being critiqued to heck and back when the MC actually tastes one of his dishes, haha.

In general, I found that the whole repentance bits are done really well and are actually pretty sweet, and I have to say, this is honestly the first scum ML I've ever rooted for.

...I did facepalm quite a bit in the ML's initial few chapters, though, since he spent literally three chapters missing MC and acting like he had no idea why.


I really like the author's framing here too. Instead of the ML groveling/repenting to get the MC back, here the ML is shown to be remorseful because he knew he was wrong. Also, while he does want to get back with MC, the author is very deliberate in showing that the ML does nice things for MC because the ML loves him and will continue to treat him well even if MC never agrees to get back together with him. Now that's some actual character development and love right there!

And even when in the final several chapters it pulls some sort-of drama (from outside forces)...


Like the MC says, the genre suddenly changed from a romantic drama to a gangster thriller lmao! But all-in-all, it was solved fairly realistically (even if ML does end up in the hospital with a cracked bone -- from falling off the stairs, not even from being beaten up) and the whole dramatic moment feels like just an excuse for more sweetness.

Even the previous moments before that, with "cliche" (author/MC's words) drama of the father trying to warn away his son's "boyfriend" just ended up really sweetening the MC and ML's relationship. So, yeah, 10/10 would recommend.


It also helps that the MC and ML have a lot of really great, genuine chemistry together. They have great dialogue and banter, and it's always fun to read the MC snidely commenting on something that the ML did, and the ML just owning up to it as if he had nothing to be ashamed of. These two are so charming and fun together, especially in the latter third of the novel, that it's hard not to want them back together again. And I guess that says it all -- because a novel with a scum ML that makes me actually want him to get back together with the MC? Now that is a rare treasure right there.

TLDR; Uh, probably the best novel in its genre I've read thus far. Not a traditional scum abuse narrative, and all the better for it. In fact, this novel stops being abusive around, uh, two-thirds in? So if you want knives, this won't exactly deliver, but if you want some real, genuine people trying to form a real, genuine relationship with each other, then you definitely don't want to miss this.

Also, this won't mean anything to the people reading the translation, since it's not far enough along, but for those interested in Director Lin's story, it's fifty chapters and called "Old Dreams", and the comments on Jinjiang makes it sound like a more traditional scum abuse story so... That's exciting? <<less
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Sonata123 rated it
August 6, 2021
Status: Completed
It's a nice story. It's nicely written. The MC is a nice guy, the ML is a nice guy, they resolve the problems in a nice way. No no angst, no drama, no nothing. It's terribly bland. There is no joy without heartache - and there is no heartache when the MC is fine with everything. Fine with being a kept lover, fine with letting the ML go, fine with accepting him back. It's kinda boring, you can't even sympathize because the MC is so calm about everything. And the... more>> ML repents and wins him back by... cooking shitty food? Whatever. <<less
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night18light rated it
August 13, 2020
Status: Completed
I cried buckets and this is one of the saddest story I have ever read,
MC loves the ML very much, but what he got was he lost his love even his chilhood dream just to protect ML right after he knew that ML had another person in his heart. MC tragic past and the reason why he loves ML. it's so heartbreaking...
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byunnie rated it
July 6, 2020
Status: Completed
i love substitution stories and this one just happens to be my favorite.

the MC is so strong and smart he loves the scum ML very much but I fully believe that he would be able to live without him too, its hard to find MCs who are like that most seem to be the type who would endure abuse, amnesia, miscarriage, more abuse then still run back. Not saying the MC didn't endure emotional abuse atleast here but he was someone who would've lived well even without the MC and... more>> I think he knew that just chose to stay with ML because he wanted to.

The ML though does he even work half of the time hes playing around like ?? His company is going to fail at this rate


theres this part where the ML invites MC to eat with him and his new lover but holds the MCs hand underneath the table so the MC thought the ML wanted to do a 3some and started thinking of appropriate positions that had me laughing for dayss (i mtl so I might've gotten something wrong but I think that was the gist of that part lol)

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Aebpl1 rated it
October 4, 2022
Status: c20
3.0 is as much as I can give to this novel's writing and flow... it's okay in a way that entertains you but not mesmerizing enough to remember it for a long time


... more>>

MC (Gu Yan) is the most beautiful creature I've met til now in danmeis but as much as I'm worshiping his elegance I'm feeling an indifference to his what-so-ever love, the relationship for which he endured years of an unprofessional career, humiliation and lies but could end it in one second after finding there's not much space in his beloved's heart for him, it feels like he (MC) doesn't treasure himself enough... I dropped it in half (as I'm both lazy to mtl and unwilling to have another set of MC's dumb love), so as for ML, all I can say is that he's a cannon fodder, at least in the first half, like a tool for author just to introduce and show off MC to us...



As for readers and MC, both sympathizing to ML for his unrequited love, I don't hold such feelings, an unrequited love ending in silence as well as leading to a third person's broken heart, no human does the same heartbreak he's feeling to another person just to fill his empty heart... I liked the objective tone the author has as I'm even more motivated to express my disgust with such love,


I don't hold any respect for what both ML and MC was calling love, as one was hurting himself and the other, hurting others... <<less
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erialolita rated it
September 8, 2022
Status: Completed
This novel isn't bad but isn't good either, the plot and characters are tepid. I can understand how others may love this type of story, but it was too bland for me.

I didn't like the MC but didn't hate him. MC was too much of a piece of wood that it made it hard to connect with him. Sure some of the angsty parts hurt my heart a bit, but I showed more emotion than the MC.... more>>

was surprised that he was the one who sent the dvd of his cut confession scene, not sure what about the ML was so great for the MC to stubbornly stick to him, even after everything. Made the MLs redemption seem even more meh since it was basically the MCs manipulation


ML is scummy, not because he is a sugar daddy with multiple babies, but because he played with the MCs feelings knowing MC wanted his love. He of course has his redemption arc, that was you guessed it, very lackluster.

All in all it's an easy and quick read, not a bad way to waste time, but not a good way either. MTL is 99% readable, probably 1 of the easiest stories to MTL. Translations we're good. <<less
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LeniSnow rated it
December 28, 2021
Status: --
It's amazing, haven't been able to feel this way recently with novels I read. I spend my days reading all day and night. It's raw emotions that is very human. It's beautiful.
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