Lin Anran sat up against the headboard, his head on his knees, trying his best not to recall this afternoon.
But it just wasn’t this afternoon. What he did a few days ago had become a shadow, and even though he was trying his best to avoid it now, he knew that he really couldn’t avoid it.
He clearly knew that he wasn’t like other people, so why must he so stubbornly believe that he could be like them?
He knew a long time ago that it would be better to be the same as everyone else.
Indeed, it would be great if he could be like everyone else.
But he wasn’t. Sensitive people often had to contend with a greater amount of anxiety and suffering. At that time, when Peng Peng learned about Shang Hao, he had also regretfully sighed a single word, “Impossible.” At that time, Lin Anran was so intimidated, his fingers had started to tremble.
And during their session in the afternoon, even though Teacher Zhou didn’t say anything, Lin Anran could only sit in his chair, feeling his heart disintegrating like a pile of crumbling sand.
It was an embarrassing mental illness. Embarrassing that he would long so much for someone to love him to the point of becoming mentally ill over it.
It was ridiculous, and it made him feel small and ashamed.
He didn’t know how long the silence around him lasted. But suddenly, the door opened from the outside.
It was dark inside the room, and Lin Anran was still sitting in the same position, crouched in a corner, pretending to be a mushroom.
Someone entered, and Lin Anran tried to draw deeper into his shell, thinking it was best if no one could find him at all.
“What’s wrong, hmm?”
Even though Shang Hao asked this, his tone was more rhetorical in nature. He sat down on the bed.
The mattress dipped under his weight as he leaned over toward the little person sitting against the headboard, hugging his knees. Shang Hao skillfully opened his arms and hugged the little mushroom.
“Your doctor visit didn’t go well?” Frowning, Shang Hao touched his face and said, “I’ll change your doctor for you tomorrow.”
Lin Anran shook his head.
Shang Hao hugged him for a while, sharing his body temperature.
Then he used a little force to pull the mushroom growing on the head of the bed into his arms.
He’d sent a message to Lin Anran today, but didn’t receive a reply even after waiting a long time. Then he remembered that today was the day Lin Anran was supposed to go to the psychological counseling center, and so he decided to come home early.
Lin Anran’s head leaned on Shang Hao’s shoulder, his sore eyes soured with unshed tears.
Maybe it was because the arms around him were too secure and too warm and the shoulders behind him were too suitable for him to lean on, so that Lin Anran hugged him and couldn’t bear to let go.
He sat on Shang Hao’s lap, like a silent koala overwhelmed with exhaustion.
Lin Anran knew that Shang Hao had come back much earlier than before. He would always show up when Lin Anran needed him most, like an arrangement.
Shang Hao held him in his arms for a while and commented in his usual insensitive tone, “You look so good, you should smile more.”
He wasn’t used to speaking too softly, and so he leaned down when he gently spoke, as if they were whispering to each other.
Shang Hao sometimes stroked the back of his neck, and sometimes ran his cold fingers along his back. Every part of Lin Anran’s body had to be touched with pity and comfort, as if he was striving to comfort the whole body.
“You haven’t eaten dinner yet. I brought some delicious food.” He kissed Lin Anran’s hand and pressed his face against him again. “Let’s go and see?”
Not only did he come back early today, he didn’t come empty-handed. He’d brought something back for Lin Anran.
Shang Hao helped Lin Anran tie his hair. As they faced each other, his arms went around behind Lin Anran’s head, his large hands gathering the falling hair.
Typing it up was a simple operation, and he did it effortlessly, paying attention not to hurt Lin Anran.
Once the hair was tied back, Shang Hao tucked the locks of hair hanging down the sides of Lin Anran’s face behind his ears. Then he took him out to see the delicious food he’d brought back.
When Lin Anran saw the bag on the table, he thought Shang Hao brought some vegetables back. But when the bag was opened, there was a box inside.
Shang Hao opened the wooden box, and Lin Anran saw that inside it was a snowflake steak enclosed in a vacuum bag.
He hadn’t done much research on food, but the beef looked bright in color, with evenly distributed oil. The delicate packaging even included a photobook with images of its origin.
Lin Anran stared inquisitively at the numbered label inside.
“That’s the number of this cow.”
Lin Anran was in a daze, thinking that maybe he should check his mobile phone later if there were any deductions to his account, or that he should find out if he’d submitted any successful applications for a new credit card lately.
But there was a larger question at hand. This beef that Shang Hao brought back…
“Raw?” Lin Anran looked at him.
The fact of the matter was that their cooking skills were on par with each other. Lin Anran could, at least, cook noodles, while Shang Hao had probably never touched a pot before in his life.
Shang Hao was also looking at the beef.
This couldn’t be blamed entirely on him. His original idea was to bring a chef back with him, but he remembered that Lin Anran didn’t like strangers coming to the house. It would take time to prepare a dining car on the spot, and so Shang Hao ended up just bringing the thing back.
Cooking just required a fire. All it would take was just turning on the flames. How hard could it be?
Therefore, the self-confident and responsible Young Master Shang flipped through the booklet, unbuttoned and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, and said, “It’s not a big deal. I’ll have it finished in a bit.”
Unexpectedly, he actually meant to cook it himself. Lin Anran very rarely saw Shang Hao with such a mind to provide a service. Today could be considered one of them.
With just one look, it was clear that Shang Hao wasn’t too familiar with the kitchen. He absolutely refused to wear an apron as he opened the steak bag with a knife.
Lin Anran watched from the side. Although Shang Hao’s movements were not proficient, just by standing there, his aura was certainly strong enough. He turned on the flames, set the pan, and picked up the seasoning jar to determine whether the particles in it were salt or MSG.
It was just pan frying a steak. It shouldn’t be easy to go wrong.
A numbered cow was certainly different. Soon after it was put in the pan, the beef gradually changed color, the meat tightened, and mellow fat aroma filled the entire kitchen. The gravy and fat blended together, combining into a broth that looked quite rich inside the pan.
Lin Anran smelled the meat from the side, and his stomach rumbled.
The meat had no other seasoning, just salt and black pepper. When it was finally served, the plate of meat looked very tempting.
Fearing that Lin Anran wouldn’t be used to eating it, Shang Hao used scissors to cut the steak in the pan into strips, and each piece was sealed and pan-fried until it was almost ready to serve.
He was obviously quite satisfied with the final product. With a hand behind his back, he arrogantly and restefully said to Lin Anran, as if he was a guest sitting at a table, “Please enjoy.”
Lin Anran saw this person’s sudden formality and was stunned by his serious service attitude. Without knowing it, he unconsciously straightened his back.
Then he watched as this arrogant waiter took out a from behind the sofa a…music box?
Lin Anran’s mouth parted in surprised.
It looked like a violin. Shang Hao was really well prepared.
Shang Hao saw him looking intently at him and warmly explained, “The company’s annual meeting prop. It’s not too good, but we’ll have to make do for now.”
Lin Anran couldn’t help asking him, “You know how to play the violin?”
Shang Hao explained, “This is a viola, Ranran.”
Lin Anran: “Oh…”
As he said this, he took a bite of the beef. The taste of premium ingredients was really great. The meat was first-rate, and the gravy was thick.
“The viola is a bit bigger than the violin, and the pitch is five degrees lower.”
This would be the first time Lin Anran saw Shang Hao play a musical instrument, and he couldn’t sit still. As he watched him, Lin Anran couldn’t help asking another question, “Do you perform this at the annual meeting?”
Shang Hao had his chin raised with the viola placed under his jaw. Hearing this question, he snorted derisively.
As if saying they weren’t worthy.
Lin Anran: …Understood.
Shang Hao saw that Lin Anran seemed to like the look of this instrument, so he couldn’t help but say a few more words.
“I originally learned the violin at first, but the teacher at the time said that my hands were too large and my fingers were too long. So I switched to the viola.”
“A viola is also a string musical instrument. It is often not a large part of an orchestra performance, but it makes a very good solo instrument.”
Lin Anran was often quiet, so Shang Hao was used to being responsible for speaking. After he was done talking, he turned to Lin Anran and asked, “How about you, what kind of musical instruments do you know?”
Lin Anran was too focused on looking at the beautiful and elegant viola, and when he heard that he was being asked a question, he made a dazed sound, “Huh?”
“Musical instruments.” Shang Hao held the viola against his left shoulder, with his chin pressed on top of it. He glanced at Lin Anran and said, “Everyone has to learn a musical instrument when they’re young.”
Lin Anran: …
Would it be too late to go tomorrow and inquire about taking an adult class? Honest person Lin Anran seriously considered this question.
Being asked so bluntly just now, this was like meeting someone and suddenly being asked what weapons he used.
Lin Anran: …I, I, I don’t know any martial arts.
He didn’t even know that he was fooled by this show of displaying privilege in a low-key manner. But soon, he became completely caught up by the scene of Shang Hao playing the viola.
The man’s posture when he played the viola was full of grace. His upper body followed the movements of his performance, and his left hand set the viola to vibrating, which looked exceedingly charming in itself.
Shang Hao turned his head slightly, held the bow in position, pressing the strings with his left hand, and tried the sound first.
This person seemed to be able to turn any place into a musical stage wherever he was. Without light, he still seemed to shine.
As the elegant string music rang out, Lin Anran felt that his ordinary little house had been sublimated in some way.
Shang Hao tried out the tone and nodded towards Lin Anran slightly. “Then I will start.” Afterward, he added, “Hurry up, the meat will be cold.”
There should be red wine here, but Lin Anran couldn’t drink it, so forget about it. .
As Lin Anran looked at Shang Hao, his gaze gradually changed, carrying some kind of intent inside them.
An idea suddenly appeared in his mind.
Although Shang Hao didn’t know what he wanted to do, he knew Lin Anran very well and said to him, “Come here.”
Having gotten permission, Lin Anran stepped forward under Shang Hao’s gaze. Without saying anything, he went straight to business and began to roll Shang Hao’s sleeves up.
Although Shang Hao was puzzled, he still cooperated with him, allowing him to push his sleeves up to reveal more of his arms.
At last, the tattoo on his arm was revealed. This, matched with the gleaming body of the viola in his hands, along with the player’s wide shoulders and long legs, created a scene of perfection.
As Lin Anran took a step back, he looked at this picture in front of him and his eyes glowed with admiration.
Tattooed arm and viola.
Who could refuse such a wild and elegant combination? There was a little gentility in the wildness, and a little wildness in the romanticism.
His tattooed arm looked fierce, but the movements of his body as he played the viola was full of artistry and gentle grace.
He was playing Bach’s acapella suite in G major. Both body and mind were immersed in the gentle vibrato of string music, as if any troubles could flow away with the sound of music.
Lin Anran listened to the viola playing immersively, the sound effects so beautiful and intoxicating that his heart trembled with its soft vibration.
Lin Anran was completely swept away.
After Shang Hao played the song, Lin Anran’s admiring face was reflected in his eyes.
He smiled and said, “I love you too, Ranran.”
He knew that Lin Anran said I love you in his heart, and to show that he understood, he also said, “too.”
Shang Hao held the bow and the viola’s handle with one hand, bent down, and hugged Lin Anran tightly. “Be a little more happy, Ranran. I want to see you happy.”