It was lunch break after eating. Shen Yuhuai had to go to the laboratory to work in the afternoon, and Chen Qizhao couldn’t follow him to the laboratory. Once the lunch break was over, their short time together would also end.
He didn’t feel any difference in going to work before, but once the idle person became himself, Chen Qizhao always felt there wasn’t enough time.
Before parting, Shen Yuhuai stopped him and handed him something.
Chen Qizhao looked at the key in his hand and asked knowingly, “What is this?”
“The key to my apartment,” Shen Yuhuai said.
The two of them didn’t continue speaking, but Chen Qizhao squeezed the key. The driver of the ride-share car had already arrived in the distance and honked a horn at him.
“Then I’ll go first,” Chen Qizhao said.
Shen Yuhuai responded, “Send me a message when you arrive.”
Chen Qizhao thought that he might not go to the apartment with the key. But after getting into the car, he discussed it with the driver to change the address. He changed from the original S College Library to an urban apartment half an hour away from the Ninth Research Institute.
After arriving at the place, Chen Qizhao used the key to open the door. For the first time, he entered the house without the presence of the owner.
Shen Yuhuai’s apartment wasn’t large. It was just enough for a man living alone. Chen Qizhao walked around the house and looked at his boyfriend’s house in an upright manner. Finally, he stopped at the balcony full of greenery.
The failure of the experiment in the morning led to an increase in the workload in the afternoon. The investigation into the cause of the failure became the top priority. During the experiment, people from the research also came to discuss the time with their director. They said that new instruments were entering the laboratory, so could they free up some time for the instruments to be moved over? This matter was left to Old Wang. When Shen Yuhuai’s work came to an end, he saw Old Wang talking to a man in a suit outside.
His eyes stayed on the other person for a while. This was until the other person looked in his direction. Then Shen Yuhuai withdrew his gaze and walked directly to the computer.
After confirming the time, Old Wang came to the laboratory with the form. He saw Shen Yuhuai standing near the door and pulled the other person to talk.
Shen Yuhuai glanced at the form in his hand. “The time for the instruments to enter has been determined?”
“Yes. There are a lot of instruments to enter the laboratory building, and we have to copy all the data. We made an appointment with them on the weekend. It won’t affect us at that time.” Old Wang handed the form to Shen Yuhuai and said, “They have to adjust the instruments when it comes in. Otherwise, it will be troublesome if the experimental parameters aren’t correct. This should be handed over to professionals.”
The time was registered on the form. Shen Yuhuai noticed the signature and time of payment before returning the form to Old Wang. “Is that Sunday a holiday?”
“Of course, it is a holiday. Since when did we work overtime on Sundays? This week, it will be two days off.”
After coming out of the laboratory, Shen Yuhuai went to the administrator’s office. By the time he arrived at the lounge, it was already 4 o’clock in the afternoon. He checked the messages on his phone and found that Chen Qizhao had sent him a video an hour earlier.
[Zhao: How to water these? Is it the same as my potted plant?]
The location was in his apartment. The boy wasn’t visible in the video, but his footsteps could be heard. Shen Yuhuai’s eyes softened, and he seriously replied to the other person’s message. Chen Qizhao didn’t reply after the message was sent. Shen Yuhuai originally wanted to wait a bit longer, but Liu Sui had already come to the lounge to urge him to go over.
Until Shen Yuhuai left work, he still hadn’t received a reply from Chen Qizhao.
“Yuhuai, aren’t you going to eat grilled fish after work?” A colleague shouted.
Shen Yuhuai refused the kindness. “You guys go.”
Liu Sui finished recording the data and poked his head out the door of the laboratory. He saw Shen Yuhuai walking straight toward the elevator entrance. “Men who are in love are different.”
There was some distance from the institute to the city. Shen Yuhuai drove directly after work, but when he reached the door of the community, he turned around and went to the supermarket to buy food. He returned home, opened the door, and saw the young man lying on the sofa. The other person lay on the sofa with his legs bent. He was covered with a coat and seemed to be sleeping soundly. The sound of the door opening didn’t disturb him.
Shen Yuhuai relaxed his steps. He went to the bedroom and took a blanket to cover him. Then he put the things away in the kitchen.
Chen Qizhao woke up in a daze, and he heard the sound of running water in the kitchen. When he woke up, the lights in the house had been turned on, and it was evening outside the window. He sat cross-legged on the sofa, looking sleepily toward the kitchen where the man in the apron was cooking and a fragrance was being exuded.
It was easy for him to become sleepy after taking medicine. After arriving at Shen Yuhuai’s house, he waited on the sofa for someone to reply to the messages. Perhaps it was because he woke up early in the morning, but he waited until he fell asleep. Then he slept up to this point.
Chen Qizhao lowered his eyes and saw the blanket that covered his body.
The place that came into contact with his skin was warm and soft. The blanket carried the smell of Shen Yuhuai’s body.
“You’re awake?” Shen Yuhuai asked.
“Yes.” Chen Qizhao looked up at him and lifted the blanket. “When did you come back?”
“It hasn’t been long. Wait a while. Dinner is almost ready.”
He finished speaking and added, “I told Aunt Zhang that you won’t go back to eat tonight.”
Chen Qizhao originally wanted to send a message to Zhang Yazhi. Once he heard this, he paused and changed the message in the input box before sending it. He finished sending the message and saw the voice message Shen Yuhuai sent him this afternoon. It detailed how to water the green plants on the balcony.
The person was in the house. Chen Qizhao leaned against the glass door of the kitchen and listened to it.
The sound outside was particularly loud. Shen Yuhuai told him, “I’m right here. You can ask me directly.”
“Oh.” Chen Qizhao still listened to the voice message. “Did you pour water?”
“Not yet,” Shen Yuhuai answered. He saw Chen Qizhao follow the guidance of his voice message. He first went to change the water for the watering can, his slippers moving back and forth on the floor. The different sounds made the apartment feel different.
Shen Yuhuai finished cooking. As he was returning to the dining room, he caught a glimpse of the balcony out of the corner of his eye.
Chen Qizhao watered different green plants while listening to the content of the voice message. He had to click and listen to each voice message twice. Shen Yuhuai walked silently behind him and watched the young man clumsily water the green plants. Once he finished watering everything according to the guidance, Shen Yuhuai said, “Wash your hands. It is time to eat.”
Chen Qizhao didn’t move. His hands were a bit dirty. He put them behind him at this time, his eyes straightforward and frank. Chen Qizhao’s appearance had always been well-behaved. His eyebrows and eyes were quite sharp after losing weight, but when looking closely, the immaturity on his face could still be seen. It was especially the case when he was silent and looking at people with straightforward eyes.
Shen Yuhuai paused. Then he walked to the other party’s side and bent down slightly toward his loved one.
Chen Qizhao looked up to respond to him, and the two of them kissed briefly on the balcony.
After eating, the apartment was quiet. Shen Yuhuai answered a call from the laboratory. It seemed a colleague had found the reason for the failure of the experiment in the morning. As he was taking the call, Chen Qizhao said he wanted to take a shower and went to the bathroom in Shen Yuhuai’s room.
“It might be a problem with the material. Are the parameters registered in the materials table last time still there? Try again with the machine tomorrow.” Shen Yuhuai was talking on the phone with his colleague when he heard the sound of water coming from the open door.
The door wasn’t closed. From his perspective, the frosted glass door of the master bedroom didn’t seem to be closed tightly.
The person on the phone didn’t hear Shen Yuhuai’s reply after speaking. He asked again, “Yuhuai?”
The apartment seemed a bit stuffy. Shen Yuhuai casually turned on the air conditioner. “Yes, the rest will be discussed in the laboratory tomorrow. Liu Sui should have a copy of the materials. I’ll ask him to bring them to you later.”
He finished the call, but the sound of water in the bathroom didn’t stop.
Shen Yuhuai walked over and saw the frosted door that was closed. He was about to go inside when he suddenly heard the sound of water inside stopping.
“Brother Huai, I forgot to say something. I didn’t bring clothes in.” Chen Qizhao’s voice was a bit muffled through the door.
Shen Yuhuai looked away when I heard this. “I’ll go and get it for you.”
The clothes in the closet were neatly arranged. Shen Yuhuai’s paused over the row of pajamas before finally taking out a set of pajamas that he normally used.
The sound of water behind the frosted door stopped, and a figure walked behind the door. Shen Yuhuai knocked on the door, and the door opened directly.
The other person’s hand was wet, and water droplets were dripping on the floor. Looking at his arms, the shallow knife marks on his white arms could be seen.
Shen Yuhuai’s gaze was slightly deep as he handed over the clothes. “There are only pajamas.”
Chen Qizhao didn’t answer. His hand moved slightly, but he didn’t hold the clothes. Separated by a door, they both couldn’t see the other person’s state. Shen Yuhuai’s eyes stopped on that hand. He saw the other person pass by the clothes, wipe his wet hand against the back of Shen Yuhuai’s hand, and finally held his wrist.
This hand wasn’t cold but warm. It was especially hot when touched.
Shen Yuhuai didn’t move, and Chen Qizhao behind the door didn’t move.
The crack in the door opened a bit. Shen Yuhuai saw that Chen Qizhao’s hair was wet and still dripping with water.
It brought the familiar smell of mint shower gel to Shen Yuhuai. It was faint with a hint of fragrance.
Chen Qizhao seemed to see the location of the clothes. He released Shen Yuhuai’s wrist and got the clothes.
Just as the door was about to close, Shen Yuhuai’s hand happened to be stuck in the crack of the door, and his voice was hoarse. “Can I come in?”
This sentence spoken with Shen Yuhuai’s voice was filled with indescribable restraint, but it was like a signal to remind both sides.
The frosted door didn’t need force. He just gently pushed it open, and the view inside could be seen unobstructed.
He didn’t hear a response after a moment of silence.
Shen Yuhuai pushed open the door slightly. “Then I’ll come in.”
The door of the shower room wasn’t closed tightly, and the shower was still dripping water little by little.
The bathroom was steaming, and the mirror was covered with a layer of steam. The faces of both sides had a soft color in the haze.
After a moment of silence, Shen Yuhuai walked over and hugged the other person’s waist. He leaned against the cold wall of the shower room and kissed the other person without restraint. He started kissing from the corner of Chen Qizhao’s eyes and kissed off the water drops on his face all the way down. Finally, he pried open Chen Qizhao’s lips and teeth and rushed in.
The feeling of stuffiness was getting heavier and heavier while the exhaust in the bathroom was still operating. In the process of kissing, it wasn’t known who touched the handle of the shower switch. As if on purpose, the warm water fell down head-on. No one could leave this shower stall.
Chen Qizhao pulled Shen Yuhuai’s t-shirt. The printed t-shirt that had been worn for a day fell from the man’s body and fell wetly in the corner of the bathroom.
In the silent competition, Chen Qizhao glanced at him in a short breath. Out of the corner of his eye, he glanced at the dirty clothes basket not far away. “There is something in the coat.”
Shen Yuhuai reached into the dirty clothes basket to get the black and white coat. He took out a certain box of things from the pocket and asked in a hoarse voice, “Where did you buy it?”
“There is a convenience store in front of your institute. “Chen Qizhao looked at him with a bit of water in his eyes. “When I got off there…”
Before Chen Qizhao could finish his words, the man bit his lips. The soaked slacks rubbed against his skin, and the box fell to the ground in the confusion. The second half of the sentence turned into short gasps that gradually disappeared into the sound of dripping water.