Lin Anran was reading the gossip article that Pengpeng had sent him.
The title was “What a shame! Short Lived! Taking stock of those who married into rich and powerful families and disappeared without a trace.” With a lot of words, the title described a secret mysterious plot. However, Lin Anran was fairly new to the experience of reading a gossip report about himself.
Within the entire article, he occupied the smallest space, probably because there wasn’t much information about him. Therefore, his section seemed quite ordinary when compared to the tumultuous dramas of the others.
As Lin Anran was reading the article, he felt something against his shoulder. When he turned his head to look, he found Shang Hao’s face near his shoulder. He had no idea when Shang Hao had appeared.
Seeing that he had been discovered, Shang Hao unceremoniously put his head on Lin Anran’s shoulder and pressed the side of his face against it.
Realizing that he’s seen him read that strange article, Lin Anran felt a little embarrassed and wanted to put his phone away.
“Why would you think of catching those paparazzi?” Shang Hao asked him.
The man talked to him intimately, which evoked a somewhat different feeling than from before. Lin Anran’s voice was even lower than his, “…I was afraid that you would be discovered by them.”
The feeling of being so close to him was a bit strange. Heart pounding, Lin Anran courageously stretched out his hand and took the initiative to touch Shang Hao’s face.
“It doesn’t matter if we were discovered. Our relationship has always been public.” Shang Hao lowered his head and pressed his open lips against Lin Anran’s palm.
He was quiet for a few seconds, and then he asked Lin Anran, “If I really wanted to hide you, wouldn’t you be angry?”
Lin Anran thought for a moment and said, “I don’t seem to feel angry.”
He continued in an embarrassed tone, “Because I believe you more than anyone else…So if there’s something I don’t understand, I will look to you first.”
So if Shang Hao told him that he doesn’t want to make their relationship public, he would believe that this was what Shang Hao wanted. But before Shang Hao told him in person, Lin Anran would always choose to protect him.
This was his mental thought process when fighting the paparazzi.
Face buried in his dark hair, Shang Hao smiled softly, and hw said in a low, extremely fond voice, “Why do you speak like that?…”
The rest of the voice was inaudible.
But when Lin Anran heard this, he remembered something. He took out his phone again and was a little excited to show Shang Hao something.
Shang Hao lifted his head from his shoulder and watched as Lin Anran brought up the chat interface between him and Father Shang.
After Shang Hao wrote to him that time, he seemed to have become more determined and more courageous. He had become addicted to chatting with Lin Anran. Most of the time, the topic of conversation revolved around one theme, which was his evil, rebellious son.
After some careful consideration, Lin Anran replied as followed: “Uncle, you can beat him.”
Father Shang liked to chat with Lin Anran. Seeing him answer this way, he submitted a happy expression, boasting, “Child, you are very sharp-mouthed.”
Sharp-mouthed was the highest evaluation Lin Anran had ever received in his life. Someone actually praised his sharp teeth.
As if he had received a certificate, he was so excited that he wanted to display it in front of Shang Hao to show him that he was praised as being harsh and merciless.
A hole was opened in his eggshell, and the edges of that hole were cracking with many small gaps. Now, when he encountered something new, Lin Anran no longer felt that the safest thing was to hide in his shell. He was even able to take the initiative to share some things with others.
After taking the first few steps, the rest would happen naturally.
After Lin Anran showed it to him, he put the message away happily. When he looked back at Shang Hao, he saw that Shang Hao was still looking at his face with a smile in his eyes. It was unknown what he was thinking.
“What’s the matter?” Lin Anran was embarrassed by his gaze.
“Nothing,” Shang Hao said. “I was just remembering the first time I chased you.”
Lin Anran blinked. He didn’t directly disagree but had reservations about what his boyfriend had said.
He still felt that they met that day because of a few jugs of mineral water.
In fact, only Shang Hao, who was watching him at this time, knew that, in order to wait for Lin Anran to come outside, he had stayed downstairs for many days.
One day, long ago, Lin Anran was still a little introvert who hadn’t gone out for half a year. On this day, when he saw the water stop notice that was distributed by the community, he found that even when he turned the faucet on at maximum, he still couldn’t squeeze out any water.
The old pipeline broke suddenly, and the notice said that emergency repairs must be made. Therefore, it was advised for residents to store water for the time being.
Lin Anran looked at the dry faucet blankly. The only place in the whole house where there was water storage was the toilet tank, and it completely ran out just now. .
Lin Anran was an isolated island in this city. An hour later, after sitting at home without water to drink, he remembered the convenience store down in the community, where there would be jugs of mineral water for sale.
He hurriedly changed his clothes and went downstairs. At that time, Lin Anran couldn’t do without his mask and hat even if he only went downstairs. There were two convenience stores located in the community. The jugs of mineral water from the nearest one were sold out. Lin Anran had no choice but to turn toward the one further away.
In fact, he wasn’t really willing to go to the convenience store further away.
The clerk there was very fierce, and an honest person like Lin Anran couldn’t stand up to her.
That day, the weather was quite warm. Lin Anran was thirsty and so he bought a cup of Azhai milk tea. Fortunately, there were still three 5 liter water jugs left in this store, and no one had grabbed them yet. Even though Lin Anran only had two hands, he still took them all in one go.
He was still holding the cup of milk tea in one hand, and he dared not place it on the counter. So he continued to hold the milk tea while he lifted up the jugs of water with his other hand and moved them to the counter one by one.
This required a total of three round trips. During this time, the automatic door dinged a few times as other guests stepped in. Lin Anran dared not look up as he lifted the last jug of water onto the counter.
The mineral water was heavy when he lifted them up but was light when he put them down.
The aunt behind the counter had been staring at him with narrowed eyes, but now, she sat motionless, as if she hadn’t seen him. Lin Anran waited awkwardly for a few minutes, until the aunt finished eating the last bit of melon seeds in her hand and slowly moved her behind to stand.
She didn’t scan the product’s barcode for Lin Anran and directly quoted a price, while taking out a new QR code from under the counter for him to scan.
It was three times the listed price. At this time, there was already someone waiting in line behind him, so Lin Anran simply took out his mobile phone to scan the code. The aunt realized that he was paying for it without argument and suddenly changed her mind, saying that she was wrong. He must give her one hundred twenty.
Three jugs of water for one hundred twenty. Lin Anran couldn’t help it. His eyes under the brim of his hat shot her a surprised look. But when they ran into the aunt’s fearless and fierce eyes, his weak eyes instantly lowered back down.
“Are you buying or not? Don’t stick there all day, delaying other people’s time. Other people need to pay for their things too!” She shouted at Lin Anran in a loud voice.
Lin Anran swallowed his anger. He didn’t look at her again, but he took the phone and scanned the code.
A beep sounded as the scan went through. At the same time, he heard a short, harsh sneer from the other side of the counter.
Like a rough fingernail, it scratched a line directly in his heart. Lin Anran’s face turned red, and for a moment, he had the urge to abandon the water and turn and leave. If he wouldn’t buy it, then he wouldn’t buy it.
Thinking like this, his payment paused. The aunt impatiently began to urge him again, scolding him as if he was mentally ill and telling him not to stand in other people’s way.
As his head was lost in a blank haze, the person in line behind him finally became impatient. He walked to the counter next to Lin Anran. The aunt also ignored him and turned to help that customer.
Lin Anran, still holding the cup of milk tea in his hand, was left there alone, his face turning from red to white.
The man reached past Lin Anran and scanned the code in front of him. Strangely enough, this person didn’t have anything to buy. What he scanned was the original QR code on the jugs of water.
“I’ll pay for him.”
“What are you doing…” The aunt frowned. Just as she was about to shout, she was silenced by the loud “bang” of the jug of mineral water landing on the countertop.
This person’s well-knotted joints passed in front of Lin Anran’s eyes, and the beep of the purchase shook Lin Anran and the aunt in place.
What he paid for was the original price of the three jugs of water.
“I only pay according to the price tag I see.”
With the sound of the smashed countertop just now, a nervous-looking man in a suit came in immediately and stood beside the man.
“This is a convenience store. You are here to perform the function of providing customers with checkout services,” the man said, his tone impatient. His momentum made it difficult for people to breathe, and his eyes showed a strong disdain. “If you can’t even do this, then just roll.”
There were too many people on the other side of the counter, and although the aunt seemed as if she wanted to talk back, in the end, she didn’t say anything. No matter how high her arrogance was, she couldn’t come out on top this time.
Lin Anran, who was suddenly drawn in the center of this dramatic scene, was silent as he carefully watched the scene unfolding in front of him, all the while trying to reduce his sense of existence as much as possible.
Without looking back, the man said to the person who followed him, “Refer to illegal operations.”
The other man was well-trained. He took out his cell phone very efficiently and began making calls. The aunt knew that she was outmatched this time. She reached out to stop him without success. “Wait! What are you doing?”
“You still owe him an apology.”
The man suddenly reminded her coldly.
The aunt recognized the current state of the situation and anxiously looked at the young man on the phone. After a few seconds of hesitation, she bitterly said to Lin Anran, “Young man, I had the wrong attitude just now…”
In the end, the man took Lin Anran out of the convenience store.
It wasn’t wrong to say that Lin Anran was still dumbfounded by what had just happened. The man in suit gently supported him from behind and walked out together with him.
The scent of high-class cologne lingered on the man. Lin Anran slowly reacted and looked back, wondering if they needed to wait for the man’s companion. But before he could ask, he saw that the person was holding his water.
At that moment, this person’s companion wanted to help him carry the water, but he avoided it unhappily, as if he was trying to rob him.
“Excuse me,” Lin Anran immediately moved forward to take the mineral water from him. “I’ll pay you back…”
The socially inept Lin Anran finally saw the person in front of him clearly for the first time.
He had a little bit of face blindness, and he wasn’t very sensitive to other people’s looks. But some people were born with the kind of face that made a deep impression.
The man was tall and was exceptionally good-looking. As Lin Anran was looking at him, he was also looking at Lin Anran.
Then he smiled at Lin Anran…Frankly speaking, the image in front of him was on the level of watching a god descending to earth.
Lin Anran was stunned.
When the man spoke, his tone was unexpectedly not fierce at all; he was even very…gentle. He didn’t seem like that indifferent, harsh person from just moments ago.
“I’ll carry it for you,” he said, his tone almost begging. After a pause, he softly added a word to coax him, “Okay?”
His features were so outstanding, so good-looking that he didn’t seem to be mortal. Therefore, when he took the initiative to lower himself, he had a kind of gentleness that could move even the most stalwart person.
Lin Anran suddenly wanted to pinch himself.
Shang Hao held the water in his hands, trying to judge whether he was moving too fast. Because Lin Anran looked frightened.
Shang Hao really didn’t know what to do. He felt that it was impossible whether he spoke loudly or softly. If he was too polite, then he would seem standoffish. If he was too enthusiastic, then he would seem fake.
No matter how he behaved, it wasn’t good enough. He finally concluded that he must not have performed well just now.
Perhaps, everyone only had one chance in their entire lifetime to walk into that movie. Even worse, some had no chances at all and could only spend the rest of their life living as a mere mortal.
He accidentally ran into a dream when he was young, and after that, it took him nearly ten years to understand that it was unattainable.
How to approach a dream? If he walked too close, he feared it might break, and if he walked too far, he was afraid that it would run away.
Lin Anran didn’t seem to know how to refuse, and so he insidiously took the opportunity to stay by his side, using the excuse of carrying his water to go upstairs with him.
The person in his dream hadn’t changed much. He was still as pure and clean as before, as unprepared, as soft-tempered as the cutest little sheep in the world.
And no matter what he asked, Lin Anran didn’t refuse him. He even agreed to let Shang Hao sit on his sofa.
“You are so good-looking,” Lin Anran had said at the time. Then he asked, like a kid in kindergarten, “Can we be friends?”
Needless to say, his social skills were indeed at the level of a child.
Shang Hao restrained himself. But when he inhaled, there was a sourness in his nose.
After that day, Shang Hao sent a message to Father Shang and asked him to keep to himself.
Father Shang typed very slowly. It took a long time for him to send a response.
Father Shang: “Sacrificing a teammate for boundless power.”
Father Shang: “Didn’t you see that Xiao Lin likes talking to me?”
“…” Shang Hao frowned.
“So the reason why you recently said that you wanted to gather a specialized team to research input methods, was it precisely for this?” He thought that having an input method for the elderly would be convenient, but now it seemed that the research was clearly for this weird thing.
Father Shang: “What internet slang are you using now? Too hard to remember, so this is more convenient.”
Father Shang: “Also, you show me some filial piety.”
The veins in Shang Hao’s forehead jumped. “You don’t need to use that input method to chat with me.”
Father Shang: “No, I’m a slow typer. It is very convenient to have a direct input method. Father likes it very much.”
Father Shang: “The dragon does not cry, the tiger does not roar. You, this unfilial son, needs to show more filial piety.”
In the end, Shang Hao couldn’t stand it anymore and unilaterally ended the unpleasant conversation. He put his phone aside, no longer wanting to bother with him.
After blow-drying his hair, Lin Anran passed by Shang Hao’s phone and saw it ringing. He grabbed the phone and found Shang Hao in the kitchen. He told him that he had a message on his phone.
“What message?” Shang Hao asked.
He was looking through the beers that he had placed in the refrigerator, so he naturally asked Lin Anran to help him read the message on his phone.
Even after Shang Hao had already opened the beer and taken a few sips, Lin Anran still hadn’t read the message yet. He walked directly through the kitchen door and held his phone out to Shang Hao.
It wasn’t sent by Father Shang but was a message written in Italian, from his mother.
After reading the message, Shang Hao looked at Lin Anran. With a smile in his eyes, he told him, “My mother asked if you’ve received the things she sent us?”
Lin Anran blinked curiously.
His freshly washed hair draped over his shoulders, and his whole body exuded a gentle and beautiful atmosphere, making Shang Hao want to hug him.
Shang Hao said, “She’s a designer. You can guess what she sent you.”
Lin Anran couldn’t guess. Was it a high-end one-piece pajamas designed by an Italian designer?