On a late autumn weekend, formal ties were no longer needed.
He finally ushered in a rest day where he could fully relax and Chi Xueyan slept until he woke up naturally.
After washing up, he took a light sweater from the closet and put it on. Then he walked out of the room.
The house was equipped with a thermostatic system, so it didn’t get cold. It always maintained a just right comfort.
Near noon, the aroma of food wafted from the direction of the kitchen. He Qiao was busy inside.
He used to spend every weekend like this. Sometimes he would go out to eat and sometimes he would cook at home.
Chi Xueyan and his roommate had a clear division of labor. One cooked and the other washed dishes.
After lunch, they went their separate ways until dinner. Dinner and after-dinner were similar. Occasionally, they would go out for a walk together.
This afternoon was different.
They made an appointment a few days ago. The two of them would go to the cinema together to enjoy a bad movie.
He Qiao bought a movie ticket for 3 o’clock in the afternoon and there were few audience members in the theater. This was more suitable for sitting on the golden seat and unscrupulously complaining about the terrible movie together.
By the time they finished watching the movie, it would be just in time to find a restaurant to eat dinner. He Qiao had already made a reservation.
Chi Xueyan didn’t have any opinions on his arrangement and accepted it happily.
It was very worry-free.
Today’s lunch still suited his taste.
Two pairs of chopsticks were placed on ceramic chopstick holders. The long ears and round body were illuminated by the gentle light of autumn, flexible and cute.
This was the small item He Qiao had picked when visiting the home decoration stores before.
Today with the crazy balloon man selected by Chi Xueyan, they became the two pillars that allowed him to persist in finishing the kitchen chores.
In order to avoid the relationship between husbands being compromised, they couldn’t hire someone to do these chores at home. This was quite painful for him, who hated housework.
But if he left all the chores to the slow machines, it felt like something was missing in life.
Chi Xueyan didn’t like these things very much.
He preferred vivid memories related to people.
Once he finished eating, he was just about to take the dishes and chopsticks to the kitchen when He Qiao got up before him. “I’ll wash it.”
Out of fairness, Chi Xueyan hesitated a bit.
Then he heard He Qiao say, “I can wash the dishes faster. This will allow us to go out early, so we can take a walk to the cinema.”
“Besides, it is very windy outside today,” he said while laughing. “I can look at the scenery.”
The balloon man by the window sill would be moving like crazy.
“I’ll take it to the kitchen for you,” Chi Xueyan immediately said decisively. “I’ll treat you to fries later.”
He heard the always gentle response, “Okay.”
Chi Xueyan liked to eat the type of hollow fries sold in movie theaters.
He also liked this roommate more and more.
He put the dishes and chopsticks into the kitchen with relief and watched He Qiao walk toward the sink.
There was the endless sound of flowing water and the back that was looking out the window while quietly washing dishes.
A porcelain white rabbit crawled on the delicately textured countertop, dyed with a soft glow.
The wind was really strong today.
On the sidewalk full of fallen leaves, the khaki trench coats of the two men were blown loudly.
Coats for men were always these colors but once they wore the same color, it was like a couple’s outfit.
However, they looked very different.
He Qiao had the coat buttoned properly while Chi Xueyan was the opposite. He wasn’t too afraid of the cold and didn’t like the feeling of being restrained. He liked to wear it with it open.
The wind happily blew the thin sweater on the inside, blowing the loose fit into a slim fit and quietly circling around the neck, framing the looming collarbone.
They walked around the corner and there was an increasingly bustling street. The autumn breeze sent a familiar burst of music.
Chi Xueyan’s footsteps stopped in front of the crowded jewelry store.
Next to the assortment of goods, a moving melody and unique voice flowed from the speakers.
It was the song ‘Closer’ sung by Duan Ruo.
No, it should be a passage from it.
As Chi Xueyan had expected, this was a win-win cooperation.
The dusty Duan Ruo returned to the field of view of the fans and public under the name of Duan Luo thanks to the help of the well-produced and large-scale advertisement.
The popularity of this song in turn expanded the influence of the advertisement. It became the most successful case among the advertisements produced by Wanjia Media.
Duan Luo would soon hold a small fan meeting in order to meet the old fans who had been waiting for him for a long time.
Chi Xueyan had asked He Qiao when sorting out his notes and these were all plots that weren’t in the original novel.
There was no paragraph of the song, no ‘Closer’ and no luck that had been wasted for too long.
The road where he would meet Lu Siyi in the future seemed to be further and further away.
Chi Xueyan stopped to listen and He Qiao waited patiently on the side.
“Tickets for that fan meeting seem difficult to acquire. He basically only gives them to old fans.” Chi Xueyan looked at the person beside him. “Can your company get tickets?”
“He sent some tickets over.” He Qiao understood what he meant. “Do you want to go?”
“I want a ticket if possible,” Chi Xueyan said with a smile. “I want to do a test.”
It was about this world that was increasingly different from the novel.
He didn’t say what the test was but He Qiao tacitly guessed it. “Okay.”
Many of the customers entering and leaving the jewelry store were young girls, so the two slender figures at the door were particularly eye-catching.
They compared which pair of earrings looked better in front of the mirror, imagined the scarves they would knit for their sweethearts in the coming winter and whispered about the couple who looked like a good match outside.
The unrestrained young man with red hair seemed to be in a good mood as he asked the person beside him, “You will give me a ticket. Then what should I give you?”
He looked at the small objects full of flowers and whistles in the jewelry store. His eyes were bright when he laughed and contained a hint of casual ridicule. “Do you want to pick a gift?”
The other black-haired man who looked much calmer first followed his gaze. Finally, his eyes fell on the other person’s ear.
He asked, “Do you have any other stud earrings?”
Listening to the content of the conversation, it seemed as if they weren’t a couple.
The customers around them were choosing gifts for themselves or others, chattering about the coming winter, the festivals, exams, confessions…
In the cold air of late autumn, the smell of love hovered everywhere.
He Qiao’s question surprised Chi Xueyan, who was joking.
He shook his head. “No.”
The small, pure black stud earrings reflected the faint sunlight with the movement.
He seemed to be a man who had countless stud earrings, but in fact, he only had this pair of black snowflake earrings which had never changed.
Snowflakes should be white.
He Qiao seemed to hesitate for a moment before asking softly, “Is there any special meaning?”
Some of the girls shopping alone tried on things in front of a mirror while others asked their friends or lover to choose a style, talking about a meaning that only they knew.
Chi Xueyan replied neatly, “There is no meaning, but one day I saw it when I passed by the store. I suddenly felt that I liked it, so I pierced my ears.”
It was his style of doing whatever came to mind.
The singing from the speaker had stopped and started to play from the beginning again. It apparently started a loop.
They stopped pausing there and continued to walk in the direction of the cinema.
Chi Xueyan said casually, “Why are you asking about this? Is there a detail in the book about the studs I wear?”
He was joking again but to his surprise, He Qiao actually responded. “Yes, you didn’t have your ears pierced in the novel.”
There really weren’t such small details.
Chi Xueyan’s footsteps paused slightly.
The next moment, a smile appeared on his face.
Perhaps this also proved that the world started to change much earlier.
He no longer had to worry about walking toward a predetermined destiny.
“It seems that the author likes me since they described the villain so carefully.”
He looked sideways at He Qiao, who was walking with him. His tone was light. “I want to buy two buckets of fries to celebrate.”
The hollow fries in his arms exuded a simple and warm aroma.
There were really no people in the theater where the terrible movie was being played, apart from a couple nestled in the last row and whispering with their heads down. The two of them were the only ones present.
In the prime position in the center, Chi Xueyan sat on the left holding the fries bucket while He Qiao sat on the right and placed the fries bucket in the armrest cup holder.
He Qiao offered him the fries.
There was no wind in the theater and the temperature was a bit warmer than outside.
Chi Xueyan took off his coat and casually placed it on the seat next to him.
The movie started and it was like he was at home, wearing a thin sweater and nestling in the seat.
The golden crispy fries were delicious.
The movie on the big screen was really terrible.
It might be because it was too terrible, the logic was weird and the plot bizarre that Chi Xueyan watched it quite attentively. He wanted to see how fantastical the next plot could be and he forgot to appreciate the reaction of his companion for a while.
This was until a plot of separation played out. It was so shocking that he even dropped the fries in his hand.
It fell gently on the ground.
Chi Xueyan instinctively lowered his head to look. Then his eyes shifted and he met He Qiao’s gaze.
He Qiao was also looking over.
It should be that he was attracted by the movement Chi Xueyan made.
The dim light of the theater hid the rich emotions in his eyes.
Chi Xueyan picked up another fry and started to chat with him. “This movie is really terrible. If you don’t want to watch it, we can leave early.”
“No need,” He Qiao said. “I really want to watch it.”
His tone was particularly serious.
Chi Xueyan looked at him again. “It is quite interesting to watch bad movies, right?”
“Yes, it is special.”
It seemed that for future bad movie appreciation events, he could continue to call He Qiao.
He Qiao’s reaction was relatively flat and not as dramatic as his other relatives and friends, but when he was bored watching, he would look in the direction where the fries fell.
Then He Qiao would talk to Chi Xueyan about some inconsequential things.
This was what Chi Xueyan liked.
Once both their fries buckets were half empty, He Qiao asked, “Why buy fries instead of popcorn?”
“It is because I don’t think this movie goes well with popcorn,” Chi Xueyan said. “For example, romance movies seem more suitable for sweets.”
The moment he finished talking, he almost simultaneously remembered the fragments of life that they had chatted about in front of the driver in the back seat of the car that day.
Han Zhenzhen and Chi Zhongyuan watched a romantic comedy seven times because they felt that eating popcorn was the most delicious when eating that movie.
They ate the caramel flavor when they watched it the seventh time.
The two of them looked at each other and saw the smile in each other’s eyes as they recalled the same trivial matter.
Chi Xueyan let out a sigh. “Suddenly, I want to eat caramel-flavored popcorn.”
However, the theater only sold plain popcorn and it wasn’t a romantic comedy on the big screen.
He Qiao asked again, “Is it really suitable to eat popcorn when watching a romance movie?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it before. Maybe I didn’t pay too much attention.” Chi Xueyan invited him very casually, “Once you have time to watch it, do you want to try it together?”
He Qiao nodded gently. “I will buy popcorn with different flavors.”
Hearing him say this, Chi Xueyan couldn’t help laughing.
The normally serious He Qiao seemed to really crave sweets right now.
He had fries in his hand but he kept popcorn in his heart.
Therefore, Chi Xueyan turned sideways. He looked for something in his trench coat pocket and turned to look at He Qiao.
“Reach out,” he said. “I don’t have popcorn but I will give you candy.”
He was a dentist who carried candy with him.
He Qiao spread out his hands according to the words. The scars that crisscrossed there were almost invisible.
In the dimly flickering screen light, the dentist without a white coat smiled and put a candy in his palm.
Fingertips skimmed over the surface of his skin without stopping. His sweater was full of creases and the wind came from an unknown place in the changing light and shadow.
The candy that landed in the palm of his hand was warm.
The taste was sweet.
The movie ended and the lights turned back on.
Two hours was short.
He Qiao watched Chi Xueyan pick up his trench coat and put it on neatly. He got up and walked out with a relaxed smile on his face.
As night approached, the number of people who came to the theater on weekends gradually increased.
In the crowd, Chi Xueyan heard someone calling his name.
He turned his head and saw a familiar face waving to him not far away.
It was an acquaintance who had been to the wedding.
Chi Xueyan responded to the other person’s greeting while looking at He Qiao beside him.
The bucket of fries that had been eaten was discarded. They stood side by side with empty hands and were a slight distance from each other.
Therefore, he took a step closer to He Qiao and took the initiative to hold his hand. He explained the reason as well. “My friend.”
Chi Xueyan had held hands with him many times in front of outsiders and he had long been accustomed to it. Many times, it was also in a very intimate manner with interlocked fingers.
Today was different.
He Qiao’s palm was very hot and slightly tense.
Their fingers didn’t interlock naturally but were awkwardly held together. Even the footsteps seemed to stop for a moment.
It was like a young student holding hands for the first time.
“Haven’t you come to your senses yet?” Chi Xueyan raised an eyebrow. “Is it your first time watching such a movie?’
He thought that He Qiao was still immersed in the very bad movie, so he reacted slowly.
He Qiao looked at him and his fingers seemed to increase the force slightly. It hovered on the verge of another touch of heat.
He admitted it in a low voice.
“Yes, it is the first time I’ve seen a movie like this.”