Early the next morning, Zhuo Yue left the house.
Lin Hui took him to see the apartment, and after just looking at the first one, he said it was acceptable.
“Yue ge, there are a few other places that are also good. Should we take a look again?” Lin Hui asked in a low voice. He was two years younger than Zhuo Yue, so he called him ‘ge’ to show his closeness.
This hotel-style high-rise apartment had a very good environment, with a suitable size, and it was ready to move in with just a suitcase. The community comes with a well-equipped gym and a swimming pool. There were no other shortcomings except that the location was slightly off. Zhuo Yue stood by the window, looking at the rows of tall buildings in the distance and smiling lightly. “Compared with my previous residence, this place is already very good. I don’t have any other requirements besides tranquillity.”
“Alright then, ge, take a look at the contract, and I’ll go talk to the agent.” Lin Hui handed him the lease contract. After a while, he came back and saw that Zhuo Yue was still sitting on the chair reading the contract; he waited quietly for a while and realised that something was wrong. Zhuo Yue’s gaze was fixed on the paper without moving at all. If his gaze had been so hot, it would have burned through the paper. He was not looking at the contract, he was clearly distracted.
Lin Hui coughed lightly and asked, “Yue ge, have you finished reading? Do you have any questions?”
Zhuo Yue came back to his senses, scribbled through it, signed it, handed it to him, and asked, “Are you free this afternoon?”
“Yes, what’s the matter?”
“I have some things stored in Hanguan, and I want to move them here directly.”
Lin Hui was stunned, “What’s the hurry? Does Chairman Fang know about this?” When he saw the embarrassment on Zhu Yue’s face, he knew that he had made a mistake and immediately said, “I don’t mean something else… Then, Yue ge, I’ll find a few people to move the stuff over this afternoon.”
“No need to call anyone. I don’t have big things, and it only takes two travel bags to pack.” Zhuo Yue said, “Please help me get it together.”
“It’s all within the scope of my duties, ge. No need to be so polite.” Lin Hui scratched his head.
Choosing to move in the afternoon when Fang Mingyan was not around felt a bit sneaky. After Zhuo Yue had moved all his belongings to the new place and sat on the sofa, he contemplated and felt that his actions were quite inappropriate. After all, Fang Mingyan had kindly taken him in, and leaving without even saying goodbye was impolite. Moreover, it was he who had inexplicably ended up on the fourth floor doing what he did last night. Apart from helping him achieve a certain ‘pleasure’, Fang Mingyan hadn’t done anything out of line. It was his own fault, and he couldn’t blame others. Regardless of emotion or reason, he should have at least given a heads-up.
Zhuo Yue thought for a while and decided to send a text message. This short sentence was typed, deleted, and revised several times.
“I’ve found an apartment, and I’m moving in today. Thank you, Chairman Fang, for taking care of me, and I’ll buy you dinner some other time.”
It was formal, polite and cautious, like an official diplomatic statement.
After sending it out, he became even more nervous. Every time the screen of his mobile phone lit up, his breathing would become involuntarily short. As a result, Zhuo Yue spent the whole afternoon restless because the other party didn’t reply.
By dinner time, the doorbell rang. He thought it was Lin Hui coming to deliver the meal, but when he opened the door he found Fang Mingyan standing outside the door, and he was stunned.
“Why? Am I not welcome?” The man in a dark gray woolen coat looked at him with a smirk.
“No…” Zhuo Yue came back to his senses. His face turned red, and he stepped aside, “Please come in.”
Fang Mingyan looked round and commented, “Not bad.”
Ever since what happened last night, Zhuo Yue would feel a little embarrassed every time he looked at him. This time, he lowered his head and poured water for him, saying, “I haven’t bought tea, just water.”
The man took the cup, “After you move here, your whereabouts must be known to Lin Hui. This is a rule stipulated in the contract, and it is also to protect your safety, do you understand?”
“Alright. Change your clothes, and let’s go eat.”
Zhuo Yue was startled. He raised his gaze and saw a faint smile in Fang Mingyan’s bright eyes, “Didn’t you say you wanted to treat me to dinner? I happen to be free tonight.”
When it was time to order, Zhuo Yue regretted even more why he had so stupidly added the phrase, “I’ll buy you dinner some other time.”
It was a renowned high-end restaurant famous for its French cuisine. The expensive prices listed on the menu, adorned with golden edges, almost made Zhuo Yue unable to sit still. He had been to this place once before, and an investor in the same field footed the bill. At that time, he had money and didn’t care about the prices. Now, it seemed incredibly extravagant. In his current destitute state, even the rent was paid in advance by the company, and the few thousand yuan he had on him would probably just about cover today’s meal.
The man had no intention of saving him any money. He ordered everything from foie gras to truffles, duck breast to lamb saddle steak, and even ordered a bottle of red wine. Finally, he asked Zhuo Yue his opinion in a very gentlemanly manner, “What else would you like to eat?”
“No, I’m fine.” Zhuo Yue had no choice but to ask Lin Hui for help via text message, hoping to borrow some money to pay for the meal in advance, but there was no reply for a long time.
The dishes came one after another, and Fang Mingyan ate slowly, with a fleeting joking flashing in his eyes, “Why, you don’t have an appetite to eat with me?”
“…It’s not like that.” Zhuo Yue lowered his head and fiddled with the food on the plate. He had always been thin-skinned. Since he agreed to the treat, he couldn’t say anything if he couldn’t pay the bill, so he had to perfunctorily clink his glasses with the man. Drinking more than a thousand yuan of red wine felt like drinking Chinese medicine in his mouth; it tasted bitter and astringent.
After finally making it to the end of the meal, Zhuo Yue could no longer calm down, so he quietly went to the front desk to check out, using the excuse of going to the bathroom. As expected, the amount was well beyond his ability to pay. In desperation, Zhuo Yue had no choice but to discuss it with the other party, “I forgot to bring my wallet, and I don’t have enough. Can I leave my phone here temporarily? I’ll come back to retrieve it once I get the money.”
The girl at the cashier smiled apologetically, “Sir, I’m sorry, we don’t have the right to collect collateral. Could you please consider asking your friend to send the wallet over or ask your companion to pay for it first?”
Zhuo Yue had no choice but to return to his original position and sit down. The man across from him casually swirled his wine glass, and his deep eyes emitted an inscrutable glint. As their gazes met, Zhuo Yue’s eyes flickered for a moment, ultimately lowering them in the end.
During their time together, Zhuo Yue had gained a certain level of understanding about Fang Mingyan. This man possessed a kind of profound control, a control that stemmed from innate charisma and cultivated observational skills. This blend allowed him to quickly discern lies, needs, and various attitudes from people’s microexpressions. Zhuo Yue absolutely did not believe that someone as adept at reading people as him hadn’t noticed his predicament and discomfort. To him, there was only one possibility: Fang Mingyan was intentionally ignoring it.
Allowing Zhuo Yue to move out without any hindrance, Fang Mingyan stood by casually, setting aside text messages. The sudden extravagant dinner… Fang Mingyan effortlessly held Zhuo Yue in the palm of his hand, watching him anxiously and helplessly without a hint of emotion. Like a puppet master toying with hearts, he took pleasure in the situation while revealing nothing.
Zhuo Yue felt like a monkey being played with. However, when it came to moving out, he couldn’t justify his actions of sneaking away without consulting the master. So he even lost the reason to be angry and had no choice but to endure.
“Can you… pay for it first?” Zhuo Yue, who was forced into a desperate situation, finally had to speak with a blushing face.
The curvature of Fang Mingyan’s lips became a little wider.
Of course, he did it on purpose.
The day Fang Mingyan accidentally bumped into Zhuo Yue at the entrance of the cage was an interesting surprise. He never expected that this shy and easily blushable guy would be stirred by desire. He found himself intrigued by Zhuo Yue’s frightened yet oddly sensual expression, so he decided to lend a ‘helping hand’. He thought it would lead to an awkward situation at most, but he didn’t anticipate that Zhuo Yue would quietly escape without a word.
This act of assertiveness provoked Fang Mingyan’s desire for control as a Dom. So he took action to teach Zhuo Yue, who was trying to escape control, a small lesson. This mentality of ‘You don’t like to say it, but I’m going to make you say it’ was really a little bit funny.
He always liked this kind of game.
“Hm?” The man made an upward nasal sound as if he was confused.
Zhuo Yue hated Fang Mingyan’s deliberate probing, and his face blushed even more. He pitted himself a bit and said, “I don’t have enough money to settle the bill at the moment, so… can you cover it first? I’ll pay you back later.”
“That’s quite a predicament,” the man said, tilting his head and looking at him with a smirk. “You said you were treating, so I didn’t bring my wallet.”
Zhuo Yue pursed his lips, sat silently for a moment, and said softly, “It’s my fault that I moved out without saying anything to you. I’m sorry.”
Fang Mingyan looked at the person sitting in front of him with his head slightly lowered and silently raised the corners of his lips. Then he called the waiter and said, “Put the cost of today’s meal on my bill.”
“Understood, Chairman Fang.” The waitress smiled and bowed. Fang Mingyan was one of the shareholders of this restaurant; how could she not know it?
When they walked out of the hotel, there was fine snow falling in the night sky. The snowflakes swirled and fell, falling on Zhuo Yue’s black hair, and slowly melted. “There must be a lot of traffic at this time. It’s not that far anyway. I can just walk back,” he said.
Fang Mingyan closed the car door that was opened for him and said, “Okay, let’s go.” After that, he walked forward. Zhuo Yue was stunned for a moment, then followed up and said, “Actually, you don’t have to go out of your way to escort me back.”
The man looked at him and said, “Cherish this moment, there will not be many opportunities like this in the future.
Hearing this, Zhuo Yue took a breath, and his cheeks instantly became hot.
Fang Mingyan explained nonchalantly, “What I mean is, in the future, when you become famous, leisurely strolls on the street like today might not be so easy.”
Zhuo Yue knew that he was teasing him again, so he raised his eyebrows coldly and said, “Are you so sure that I can become popular?”
The man curled his lips, “It’s impossible for the person I sing praises not to be popular.”
His tone was determined, with unquestionable strength and confidence.
Zhuo Yue looked into those dark eyes; he felt moved, and his feet paused.
Fang Mingyan stopped, took off his scarf, and tied it carefully around his neck, “Your filming is about to start, so pay special attention to your body during this period of time, and don’t catch a cold.”
The thick cashmere plaid scarf still carries the body temperature of that person, making it soft and warm. Zhuo Yue didn’t refuse and just said ‘En’ in a low voice.
The snow started falling heavily, each flake resembling elves in the night, silently drifting down to the earth, coating the world in a layer of frosty white.
The two walked side by side, waiting for the light to turn green, then crossed the zebra crossing and walked down to the apartment building.
“It’s here.” Zhuo Yue attempted to remove his scarf, but his hand was gently held by the other. What followed was the warmth of the palm, which made him feel astonished. It was probably because winter was too cold that made people particularly mindful of such warmth. The heat seemed to be transmitted from the back of the hand directly to the heart, accelerating the heartbeat.
“Xie Anqing is a relatively upright person, he won’t allow his actors to engage in such devious behaviour. But think twice about everything. I’ve taught you that.” The man said.
Zhuo Yue nodded, “I understand.”
“Pay attention to safety when filming. If there’s anything you can’t solve, you can call me directly. This is considered a privilege I’m giving you.” He smiled, “As for this scarf, return it to me when you become popular. Act well, and don’t let me down.”
His lips moved, but nothing came out. There seemed to be countless emotions entangled in his heart that couldn’t be untangled. In the end, Zhuo Yue just responded in a low voice and then watched Fang Mingyan get into the car that was waiting for him, disappearing from sight.
The snow fell silently, burying someone’s thoughts beneath its layers.
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