Ten minutes before leaving the house, Lin Anran filled his thermo with water.
Seven points cool, three points hot. He tightened the lid and put the thermo into the large side pouch of his backpack, where he could take it out with a single pull.
The various materials in this backpack was particularly eye-catching. The largest was a thick, three-layer insulated lunch box in the center. Looking at it, it was hard to tell that this person’s destination was actually only a place no more than 20 minutes away from home.
Lin Anran looked at his watch for the second time, and then he lowered his head to check the contents of the backpack.
The fully charged phone was still plugged into the charging cable. It was necessary to ensure that the battery was 100% charged when he stepped out, even though there was already a portable battery charger in his backpack.
Lin Anran looked at his watch again and decided to leave five minutes ahead of time. He took a deep breath, then changed his shoes and opened the door.
He was a little nervous, much like a small animal leaving his nest for the first time.
Stepping out of his front door was like stepping into a strange environment. But he had already put on his bucket hat and face mask in.
He checked the keys in his bag again and again before locking the door. The planned route, which he had repeatedly confirmed yesterday, was saved in his phone memo.
To be on the safe side, the memo was already opened and could be viewed easily if he pressed on the screen. This ensured that there would be no errors.
Lin Anran rarely went out. The highest record ever set was when he stayed home for six months straight.
Along the way, he was the only one dressed in long sleeves shirt and pants. He was covered from head to toes, making him look like an eccentric person.
Lin Anran had already boarded the subway. As the number of people in the nearby stations gradually increased, his gaze remained fixed on the toes of his shoes.
Although Lin Anran tried his best to avoid contact with passersby, there was still an episode in the middle.
A warm-hearted elder sister behind him wanted to remind Lin Anran that there was an empty seat next to her. She called out but he didn’t respond, so she leaned forward and stretched out her hand to Lin Anran, whose back was to her.
“Little girl, come and sit here—”
Lin Anran had very long, straight black hair that was tied behind his head. This, combined with the bucket hat that was tightly fastened to his head, making his chin looked more delicate and exquisite, caused the eldest sister to mistakenly identify him as a girl.
The figure in front of her seemed to react a little slow, and then he turned around.
The eldest sister sighed with emotion, thinking in her heart that this little girl looked really fair and that those eyes were incredibly beautiful.
Those eyes were just a bit cold and very quiet. The other party just waved his hand to indicate that he didn’t need it, and didn’t sit down.
Lin Anran turned around again, and pulled his mask up nervously with his other hand.
Just now, when the stranger touched his sleeve, Lin Anran’s heart started pounding really hard.
But everything else was fine. The subway’s route was fixed and wouldn’t take him to other places. Lin Anran was standing behind the crowd when the phone in his pocket suddenly vibrated.
The person who lit up the screen was named “Aunt.”
He stared at the name for a while before finally answering. A familiar female voice came from the phone, “Xiao Ran?”
Lin Anran greeted on his end of the phone, “Aunt.”
“Don’t forget that you have a doctor’s appointment today. Have you left already?”
Lin Anran raised his head to look at the exit of the subway where people were coming and going.
“I haven’t,” he said.
“Mmn. Remember to take your phone and call me if there’s anything. Do you need me to pick you up later?”
“That’s good. You’re alone so you need to be more careful. I’ll call you tonight.”
After hanging up the phone, Lin Anran found a place with no people and stood by the wall. He sent the information he’d edited out in the memo this morning to the psychiatrist he was supposed to see this afternoon.
“Teacher`1 Zhou, this is Lin Anran. I am not feeling well today. The appointment this afternoon may need to be postponed. Sorry.”
He received a reply a minute later.
“Okay. Pay attention to your body. If you have any questions, you can find me at any time.”
Lin Anran put the phone down, and the stone that was lodged in his heart fell to the ground.
If he sent this message to Dr. Zhou too early, it would be more troublesome.
Teacher Zhou would probably discuss this with his aunt. Lin Anran wanted to buy himself more time, because today was very important to him.
He had a very good reason to go out.
Lin Anran was the kind of person who didn’t like trouble. All interpersonal relationships were a form of troubling one another. He didn’t want to trouble others, nor did he want to trouble himself.
Lin Anran adjusted his breathing, fixed his hat, and set off again.
He ran into a little trouble after leaving the subway station. The map said it would take five minutes to walk to his destination. Before setting off, he simulated many times using the satellite map on his phone, but the street scenes displayed on his mobile phone seemed different from the real sights in front of his eyes.
Panting slightly, he wiped his sweat and looked around.
The press conference was set to start at three o’clock, so he had set off from home at one o’clock. But now, he was running behind schedule.
He silently comforted himself and focused again on studying the map, unconsciously frowning.
He should have made a wrong turn just now. Wasn’t this an intersection? At this moment, a girl passed by him in a hurry. She glanced at Lin Anran’s face and stopped to ask if he was lost.
“Bosalia Convention and Exhibition Center? You’re going in the wrong direction.” The girl pointed out the way for him. “Look, first cross that sidewalk ahead, then take the opposite road, and go straight until you reach the turn at the overpass. You’ll see it then.”
“Thank you,” Lin Anran said.
“It’s nothing,” the girl said. She couldn’t help but stare at him a few more times, trying to discern whether he was a boy or a girl.
This person spoke very little and didn’t like to look at people. She could see that he had a cold personality. But how could a man’s eyes look so good? Yet, if one were to say that he was a girl, then that wouldn’t seem accurate either.
Lin Anran left after asking for directions.
The red light in front of him blinked a few times, and he quickened his pace. The air was mixed with the smell of the asphalt road and the sidewalk. The sound of cars whizzed past his ears, blowing a dusty wind.
Everything outside made him anxious.
Lin Anran tasted rust in his mouth, and when he took off his mask, he saw that it was smeared with scarlet blood.
He’d bitten his lips due to being outside. Lin Anran hadn’t noticed it right away because he had a habit of unconsciously biting his lips since as long as he could remember.
The moment the thin layer of skin was torn off, the blood inside came out. The wound looked a little scary. Lin Anran had to stand by a trash can and use several tissues to stop the bleeding.
By the time he went around and finally saw the huge building of the Bosalia Convention and Exhibition Center, it was already more than two o’clock.
He became anxious again.
The reason he came so early in the first place was because he had a little hope in his heart that, if he waited in the lobby in advance, he might see Shang Hao the moment he entered. But now, it seemed that he was still late.
Today, the hall had put out a large, eye-catching banner to congratulate Tianneng’s press conference on their renewable energy technology. Each entrance was equipped with security guards in black uniforms.
Lin Anran tried to enter, but the security guard refused to allow him inside.
Ordinary visitors could enter the exhibition lobby, but only invited leaders, media reporters, customers, and the company’s internal personnel could enter the hall.
When confronted with the security guard’s questions, Lin Anran didn’t know what to say. He was none of those things.
He waited for a long time there, until it was almost three o’clock, but he still didn’t even see a shadow of Shang Hao. Maybe Shang Hao had already entered through a special passage in the back.
As soon as Lin Anran became anxious, the wound on his lips began to ache again.
Dressed from head to toes in a long-sleeved shirt and pants, with a hat on, wearing a face mask, carrying a backpack, and wandering for a long time, he inevitably looked really suspicious.
The lobby was both tall and spacious, but he could still hear the echo of vague applause from the second floor. The press conference had already begun, and an unknown, unclear voice was amplified through the microphone.
Lin Anran tilted his head and looked in the direction of the second floor.
Because of this conference, Tianneng Group’s stock had risen considerably since last month. Also, because this was the press conference of a conglomerate, Shang Hao would speak in front of the media today.
Shang Hao had received a great deal of attention since he returned from studying abroad in the UK.
First, he took over his father’s position and became one of the youngest executive director in charge of a listed company in the mainland. He then set up his own private equity investment firm and invested boldly in various developments. In the eyes of outsiders, this young master with strong investment capital was no different from the God of Wealth.
The kind that could bring fortune as long as one said his name several times.
The God of Wealth, whom many people wanted to climb, suddenly came to Jiangcheng, and no one knew how long he would stay this time.
Once the press conference began, there were very few people in the lobby, leaving just one unrelated person carrying his backpack and walking around aimlessly over and over again.
Although he couldn’t see anything, he still looked up from time to time.
Everyone who passed by him would cast strange glances at him. Lin Anran took an information pamphlet from the first floor booth, flipped through it, and finally tucked it into his bag.
By the time the press conference ended, it was already after five o’clock and the sky had gotten dark outside. How long the press conference lasted was how long Lin Anran stood there.
At one point, he even stood beside the bonsai plant in the corner of the hall and tried to eat a piece of bread without disturbing others.
For that afternoon, he temporarily borrowed that corner.
This person, whose face couldn’t be seen clearly, was as quiet as an obscure mushroom as he occupied that corner. He was persistent and weird.
The conference had proceeded as usual. It was unclear what Lin Anran was thinking, but he looked in the direction of the second floor, folded the paper in his hand, and stuffed it into his backpack.
He stood alone in the lobby for an entire afternoon, and he didn’t even see the slightest shadow of Shang Hao. Instead, he gained the attention of the security guards from time to time.
Those gazes made him lower his head. A new wound appeared on his lip. Sometimes, he would pretend to look out the window, even as the palm of his hand gripping his cell phone grew wet with sweat.
His feet ached.
The lights came on in the hall. Perhaps because the press conference on the floor above had ended, more people gradually filled the lobby. They left in twos and threes and walked out the door of the exhibition center.
Has it ended? Lin Anran looked out from under the brim of his hat and watched the people walking toward the exit in unison.
There was no hope of seeing Shang Hao from here. That person may not exit through this passage.
His itinerary was not always public, so Lin Anran couldn’t always find it online.
In one day, the bite wound on Lin Anran’s lip was now throbbing painfully.
It wasn’t until everyone was almost gone that he was finally willing to leave. Lin Anran walked out slowly and casted one final glance at the second floor.
Thinking that he’d stood like a wooden man for an entire afternoon, he couldn’t help but feel that it was funny. Lin Anran smiled softly to himself and looked back at the building again.
The evening breeze blew across his face, bringing with it a little coolness.
By the time Lin Anran returned home using the planned route, the time displayed was 7:02.
Not sparing a moment, Lin Anran promptly chose to take a shower first.
After coming out of the bathroom, he sat on the sofa. He seemed to be in a daze, thinking about something, and so he sat until he became a little drowsy.
That night, his aunt made another phone call. On the phone, she asked carefully where Lin Anran was now and if he wanted to talk to her.
Dr. Zhou had called and told her about him not going to the clinic. Lin Anran shook his head silently from his end of the phone, keeping his eyes on the glass fence on the second floor.
Even though he wouldn’t be able to see anything.
Later, there was a faint sound of a key being inserted into the keyhole behind him. Lin Anran’s eyes shifted, but he didn’t turn around to look.
As if he knew someone would come, he wasn’t surprised at all. He didn’t even look back until the sound of that person’s footsteps reached him from the door.
There was a rustling movement next to his head as a suit jacket was casually draped on the sofa. He let the tall figure approach him.
The man knelt down in front of Lin Anran, squeezing his waist between his two legs. At the same time, he hugged Lin Anran’s waist with his arms, looping Lin Anran’s entire person into his embrace.
Lin Anran was dragged forward a certain distance on the sofa, and he felt the man bury his head against his stomach.
“Shang Hao,” Lin Anran looked down at that head and called out his name.
Hearing himself being called, Shang Hao, whose face was buried on his body, turned his head slightly against Lin Anran, revealing half of his face.
This young master from a family of commerce had 1/8th Portuguese ancestry. His high brow bone and deep eye sockets gave an abstruse feeling. His jawline was clear and sharp, and his excellent nose bridge was high and straight.
His skeletal features were profound, carrying the three-dimensional depths of the West. At the same time, he also had the distinct appearance of a Chinese man. He was a man who could cross from the financial sector into the irrelevant, entertainment gossip sector with just his face alone.
Lin Anran reached out and returned his hug. The weight of two people made him fall back into the sofa a little more.
Lin Anran recently discovered that this man especially liked to hug himself like this.
He was half-buried in Lin Anran’s body, breathing slowly and deeply, tightly hugging him and soaking in his body temperature, with an inexplicable smile on his face.
Lin Anran was high, he was low, such that it was unclear who was hugging whom.
The man’s arms were wrapped around Lin Anran’s waist, with both hands squeezed into the gap between Lin Anran’s back and the sofa. They moved up Lin Anran’s back and twined around his body.
Their postures looked a little strange. Shang Hao was very tall, and the man he was holding was completely leaning against him, as if holding an oversized clingy baby.
Lin Anran softly said, “I went to see you today.”
Shang Hao rubbed his face against his stomach and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Lin Anran stopped talking and let out a small, embarrassed smile.
On his face that rarely had any expressions, there was suddenly a colorful smile. Shang Hao looked at him for a moment, then buried his face deeply against him, and his arms around his waist tightened noticeably.
The living room was quiet for a moment. The man whose face was buried on his body said again, “Next time, tell me directly. I’ll have someone pick you up.”
Lin Anran obediently agreed. As if whatever Shang Hao said, he would agree.
But he himself didn’t seem to care much about it. He looked down at Shang Hao. It seemed as if the person who broke his appointment with Dr. Zhou this afternoon and the person who stood in that hall for an entire afternoon was not him.
Xixi: Updates might be slow (maybe) until I finish my other translation. This story is slice-of-life fluff with a rather simplistic writing style. A little funny, a little sad, but very sweet. No dog blood drama, no face-slapping, more focused on relationship and character development than plot. Perfect for an easy, relaxing read. Just translating for fun. Please don’t steal or copy my translations. Thank you.