In the deep, dark night, a sea of lights dotted the city, rendering the sky bright-red, almost like daylight.
Walking under the marble columns of S City's Concert Hall, Qi Mu put his hands in his coat pockets and smiled. "If I stayed inside a little longer today, were you going to wait for the entire time?" After a momentary pause, he added, "S City's night wind is still cold."
Pulling along a black suitcase, it seemed like Min Chen had just arrived from Berlin. He looked at the young man casually, his lips curving into a small smile. "Wait a while longer? En, when the time came, I'd make you warm me up."
Qi Mu asked, "Warm? How would I warm you?"
"Put my hand in yours and use your body temperature to warm me up."
Even saying such brazen words, the man still carried an air of calm. It was like he was simply discussing "what we ate tonight." Qi Mu's ears were already red, feeling shy for the cheeky guy.
Opposite them, the lights of a car came down the road. Qi Mu narrowed his eyes. "Actually, it doesn't matter if you're afraid of the cold."
Min Chen looked at him in surprise. "What?"
"You use just a bit of ice to make braised hooves, although…" As he spoke, Qi Mu pulled up Min Chen's left hand and carefully looked over it. Then, clicking his tongue twice, he added, "Although there's not much meat on this hoof, it still has powerful muscles. It should still feel tender when chewed."
Min Chen: "……"
Qi Mu put down his "hoof" and smiled teasingly. The youth's face was amusing, his expression so different from the past, it made Min Chen's eyes darken. After a while, he gave a cold snort and said, "You were chatting with him."
The two were walking toward the subway entrance, so Qi Mu didn't hear it clearly. "What did you say?"
Min Chen's lips pursed. "You were chatting with him."
"… Who did I chat with?"
"The man just now."
Qi Mu realized he was referring to Sheng Yan Hui. Helplessly, he said, "Please, remember you've heard his performance before? When I was in B City last year, Tan Lao and Du-ge organized a private indoor concert. He also played the violin."
Unexpectedly, Min Chen just snorted, "No impression."
Qi Mu: "… His name is Sheng Yan Hui."
"Don't remember." His tone was decisive.
You can remember a score as thick as a book, but can't remember Sheng Yan Hui's name!!!
Sighing softly, Qi Mu explained, dumbfounded, "I just met Sheng Yan Hui. We haven't seen each other in over a year, so I chatted with him a bit." He suddenly realized, "Wait a minute. I was talking to Christole and Daniel earlier, why didn't I see you?"
Anger written across his profound face, Min Chen said, "He's interested in you."
Qi Mu: “……”
From which eye did you see that, ah!
Min Chen seemed to read his mind, "I saw it with both eyes!"
Qi Mu: “……”
Having no patience for the guy suddenly overtaken with jealousy, Qi Mu directly shifted the topic, "Ah, did you book your hotel tonight? You suddenly came over, so surely Daniel booked something for you. I want to go back to Vienna the day after tomorrow, and I'm going to see Wu Lao tomorrow."
After a moment, Min Chen whispered, "Daniel didn't book a room." He added shortly after, "His work efficiency is terrible. He said S City hit peak tourist season, and it's difficult to find one."
Qi Mu: "……" After hesitating for a long time, he said, "You always have Daniel take the blame, is that really okay?"
Min Chen: "He doesn't mind."
"………………" But I really care!
Though he said so, Qi Mu didn't actually intend to let the guy stay in a hotel for two nights.
The two lovers hadn't seen each other for a long time (a week), and one just traveled half the globe. Traveling from Berlin to S City was exhausting. The other had listened to music all day and was also mentally exhausted. They were both tired. So they simply refreshed themselves, said "Good night," and flicked off the lights.
Of course, that was the best-case scenario. But, three seconds in, Qi Mu slapped away an outstretched "hoof." Deadpan, he said, "That's enough, I have to visit Wu Lao tomorrow morning, go to bed early."
Min Chen: “……”
After a long time, his voice lost authenticity as he said, "Is Wu Lao more important, or am I?"
Qi Mu didn't even think about it. "Wu Lao is more important."
Min Chen, struck in the heart: "……"
Qi Mu slowly adapted to the dim light and looked at the depressed face on the other pillow and chuckled. Holding out a finger, Qi Mu tapped the other man's eyebrows. His finger slid along the bridge of his nose and dropped to rest on Min Chen's lips.
Finally, he whispered, "You're more important."
That frozen face softened, and Min Chen hummed back, curling his arms around Qi Mu's waist.
As he'd said before: he was going to use Qi Mu's body temperature to warm up.
Min Chen had always been an uncompromising person, and look… was it not successful now?
While visiting Wu Lao the next day, Qi Mu brought several gift bags. Min Chen conscientiously carried the two heavy ones, and that made Qi Mu swallow back the words he'd initially wanted to blurt: "Will you stay at the hotel?"
Wu Sheng Tao was a lifetime honorary professor at the S City Conservatory of Music and had a pivotal position in the Huaxia classical music industry. He'd written several songs and etudes that had become the test repertoire for young violinists in Huaxia. They were famous even amongst composers abroad.
Qi Mu spoke with Wu Lao during the Huaqing Cup and decided to visit. But, when Wu Lao saw a familiar figure trailing after Qi Mu, he was slightly startled. Then, he watched the two of them step inside, his gaze serious.
Wu Lao's home was a common two-story building in the S City, but the interior colors were warm, and Qi Mu could feel the familial atmosphere as soon as he entered.
Xiao Chen, Wu Lao's personal assistant, was also there. He poured them a pot of tea then left the room. Closing the door in his wake, he took with him… the uninvited guest.
Min Chen sat on the sofa, watching the young man opposite him. The other man said, "Mr. Min, hello. I wasn't expecting to see you here." His posture was decent, and his language was gentle, without a hint of mischief.
Having rarely encountered a young man with such composure, Min Chen's eyes flashed. He nodded. "Hello."
"Care for a cup of tea?"
Min Chen took the teapot from him.
Outside the study, the two chatted politely. Min Chen skillfully carried the conversation. And, inside the study, Qi Mu spoke with Wu Lao. The young man's smile was like a spring breeze, and the old man's face slowly softened.
When Qi Mu left the study, and the two planned to leave, Xiao Chen sent them out with enthusiasm.
As they walked to the entrance, Min Chen's steps stalled. Turning to the capable young man, he asked, "Just now, you know my concerts very well, excuse me… are you a fan?"
Xiao Chen froze, then smiled and shook his head. "I really like Mr. Min's music, but… I prefer Xiao Qi's violin."
To Qi Mu's surprised eyes, Xiao Chen pulled out several albums Qi Mu had collaborated on from his room. He even had the German opera 《Don Giovanni》, which surprised Qi Mu.
This was no longer the level of an ordinary fan! This was a super fan!
Min Chen, who had been robbed of a fan for the first time, held no traces of anger. After leaving Wu Lao's house, he even praised, "His ability isn't much worse than Daniel's. If he trains well, he could become an independent orchestra agent in the future."
Qi Mu smiled and shook his head. "I believe Mr. Chen won't leave S City. Wu Lao's son died in a car accident 20 years ago. He adopted Mr. Chen and treats him like a son. I think… Mr. Chen won't leave Wu Lao."
At that, Min Chen said nothing more.
When they reached the nearest subway entrance, Qi Mu stopped waiting for Min Chen to ask and posed, "You're not curious what Wu Lao and I were saying in the study?"
TL Check: Teo