“Paid to buy you?” His eyes stared straight at Ou Shaowen, his voice uncontrollably shaking a little, “Buy you for what?”
Ou Shaowen lowered his head, “Paid to buy something I had.” He didn’t say it explicitly, but he wasn’t willing to use a complete lie either, “They won’t talk to me or care about my feelings, I’m just a tool, locked up inside forever, never even touching a green leaf outside. You are the best to me among all people, and I like you very much.”
Ou Shaowen’s liking was always so logical. Ou Renjin had heard him say it many times, but this time he heard it was the most chilling. At no time had he understood more clearly than at this moment what Ou Shaowen’s liking meant. Ou Shaowen did indeed like him the most in the world, but his liking didn’t mean hormones and fluttering heart, it simply meant that he was dependent on someone who, as he thought, had stretched out his hand to him in the dark.
A subtle heartache spread from the bottom of his heart, overpowering his disappointment and reluctance.
Seeing that he was still silent, Ou Shaowen searched very hard for what else he could tell him, “Also, the food cooked by Aunt Zhou is really delicious, and many of the things you took me to eat are really delicious. I haven’t eaten a proper meal before, and I have never received a gift. I have never taken a cable car, shot an arrow, or danced on the stage. So every day with you I’m happy…”
Ou Renjin pressed the back of his hand against his lips, his brow furrowed tightly, “It’s not the matter of how good I’ve been to you or how good these things are, it’s how little you’ve had before. You don’t have to give credit to others.”
Aunt Zhou had just walked out with two bowls of noodles, and Ou Renjin glanced at her. “Let’s go eat first.”
Dazed, Ou Shaowen was pulled by his hand in the direction of the dining table, feeling as if he had passed this hurdle for now.
After finishing a steaming bowl of tomato and egg noodles, Ou Renjin went upstairs with him and led him into the bedroom, “Go take a shower.”
“You won’t leave?” Ou Shaowen looked at him with burning eyes.
“Where should I go?”
“So you will sleep with me tonight?”
Ou Renjin didn’t say anything and looked at him, raising one eyebrow.
Ou Shaowen smiled with a big silly smile, “Then… the two months you said before?”
“When you do something wrong again, we’ll settle the score together. I won’t be so nice then.”
“So good!” Ou Shaowen rushed over and gave him a hug before giving him a resounding kiss on the cheek, “I’m going to take a shower.”
Ou Renjin didn’t ask him anything more detailed, and after the two of them had showered and were lying comfortably on the bed, his voice softened as he asked, “Was there anything fun during the game?”
“There was one teammate who had a particularly funny accent and could make everyone laugh even when he said something very ordinary.
“There was another teammate who was really cute, he was so white and tender, and he was so timid that he didn’t dare to turn off the lights at night. Everyone doted on him and used sleep masks and went to the toilet with him at night. One time a piece of paper came floating from somewhere and stuck to the window, scaring him so much that he cried half the night…”
He kept whispering, having accumulated many, many stories that he wanted to share with Ou Renjin. Slowly his voice was getting quieter and quieter, as he fell asleep without noticing.
Ou Renjin looked at his quiet profile; as if he was thinking of something, his eyes sharpened a little.
During the three days off that Ou Shaowen had, Ou Renjin took him to see a movie, went to a tournament of his favourite game, got him to try two things he hadn’t eaten before, took him on a yacht ride and played a real-life escape room. Until the day he was about to move to the group dormitory, the schedule was full.
Ou Shaowen was playing wild these days, and when he went to sleep every day, he was thinking about what surprises Ou Renjin would give him the next day. He had left all the previous worries behind. The world was really interesting. There were so many fun things. Was it because he was with Ou Renjin that he felt happier?
“Why do I have to stay in a dormitory after the competition, can’t I stay at home?” Wrapping his arms around Ou Renjin’s waist, he acted naturally coquettishly.
“It’s normal, you’ve only signed an exclusive agreement for a year and a half, and the other side will definitely squeeze every bit of benefit out of you. Living in a dorm is convenient for everyone to train together and for filming some group footage.” Ou Renjin praised him, “You’ve done a great job these past few months. I’m surprised and happy that you’re doing so well. Keep it up, be natural with everyone and remember not to mention my name.”
“You say that again,” Ou Shaowen stood up straight and looked at him, “why can’t your name be mentioned?”
Ou Renjin took hold of his wrist and straightened his cuffs, “My identity is sensitive.”
“What’s sensitive?” He was asking questions as if trying to get to the bottom of the pot.
Ou Renjin smiled, “No one else has a handsome and wealthy boyfriend like me, so if you keep mentioning me the team will be jealous of you?”
“But everyone seems to like girls except me.”
Ou Renjin’s hand paused and finally rubbed his head, “Maybe you actually like girls too.”
“Alright, get in the car and work hard.”
Ou Shaowen didn’t move and looked straight at him, “I don’t want to go.”
Ou Renjin thought he looked a bit cute, like a child who didn’t want to go to kindergarten, “Don’t you like to sing and dance and spend time with everyone?”
“I prefer to spend time with you.”
His heart felt warm and sour, “Didn’t you say before that you were going to earn me money? Work hard, maybe you’ll make a few hundred million in a year and a half, and I’ll get a lot of money just from getting my cut.”
“Then one last hug.”
Ou Renjin complied and let him hug. Ou Shaowen spoke in a whisper against his ear, “Actually, I would have gone to work obediently, but I wanted to hear you coax me.”
He raised his face and smiled brightly like the sun, “I’ll make sure to call you properly this time, every day.”
Ou Renjin stood still, watching the car drive away. His eyes gradually darkened; then he took out his phone and called He Yixin, saying straight away, “Are you still in the country?”
“Bullshit, are we so unfamiliar in your opinion that I would leave without telling you?” On He Yixin’s side, there was a “bang, bang, bang” of gunfire.
“Shooting a little. What’s up? I’ll come and see you.”
“No. You have some contacts in this country too. Help me check Ou Shaowen. I will give you some relevant information later. When we first met, he was wearing clothes with a special material and style. It is not a common brand and it is not like a boutique item, but now there are only photos. You can start from the source of the clothes.”
He Yixin chuckled twice, “You need me to help you with your domestic investigation? Where is Guan Qijun, he has more contacts than me, right?”
“Huh? He resigned? You’re kidding.”
Ou Renjin didn’t respond to his doubts and just said flatly, “Will you look into it?”
“I will, I will, for you. What’s happened? Is there something wrong with the kid? Aren’t there still photos floating around the internet of the two of you playing an escape room? It looks like a good relationship.” When he saw the photos, he was thinking: this time Ou Renjin looked like he was into it. And perhaps the fact that he had stayed calm and had not had an attack after learning the truth was because of this little friend.
“His origin is unknown, he has no papers, I even gave him his name. I wasn’t that interested before and now I want to know what kind of past he had.”
He Yixin got serious, probably knowing what he meant, “Okay, I’ll check it for you. Send me the information first, I’ll call you if I need something.”
Ou Renjin hung up the phone, his eyes cold. He didn’t believe that he had reached such a position and still didn’t have a way to deal with some dark forces.
Ou Shaowen was really good this time. He called him at a fixed time every day, and Ou Renjin would basically answer him. Even at a meeting, he would say a few words and then hang up, and after seeing it a few times, people didn’t say anything openly, but secretly they all gossiped.
“Did Ou Renjin break up with Ou Shaowen today? No, he didn’t.”
“It’s been seven months, two more months to go to break the record, go go go.”
“Just kidding, Ou Shaowen is so well qualified, can it be the same as the previous few losers? And it just so happens that he’s signed by his own company, if it were up to me I’d hold on to him and make a fortune from him.”
“So you’re poor, ah. Do you think people care about the little money an artist makes?”
“Someone from Qimeng said it in person, President Ou is really very dedicated this time. Once at a meeting full of many people, Brother Shaowen happened to call. President Ou said sorry and picked it up. His tone was very gentle, like coaxing a child.”
“This couple is really good. I don’t know which passerby took the divine picture of them in the escape room smiling at each other but I wish him a fortune immediately.”
“They both have quite a lot of divine pictures, face value is the first productive force.”
“I still prefer the cable car kiss set, it’s so exciting, I still remember how I screamed like a mad dog that day.”
Originally, before a months-long talent competition, the two of them had been mentioned together much less frequently. The competition had just ended, and the heat was at its peak. The group of participants was allowed to go home to rest. Except for a few Weibo posts now and then, there was basically no news. Ou Renjin was generous, taking Ou Shaowen out together everywhere, practically without any special protection, making it possible for many chance encounter photos to appear. The heat was real, the cp fans were happy, the “only” fans (the fans of one of them, without a pairing) were upset and scolded one for rubbing the heat off the other. It was hot and lively.
He Yixin investigated Ou Shaowen for a few days, but nothing was found. Even the surveillance on the intersection under the mountain on the day he appeared didn’t capture a sight of him. But the clothes were a clue. The zip on both shoulders went directly to the bottom, as if to directly remove the front of the clothes. The style was indeed special enough. He Yixin found a hacker friend who wrote a small program to compare various clothing pictures online, but nothing seemed to match up exactly.
“It’s the only road up the mountain. I’ve seen the surveillance for the previous three days. There was no one dressed like him. He seemed to pop out of the rocks.”
“He didn’t necessarily get up the mountain using the road. It’s not uncommon for people to avoid the road when they’re on the run.”
“But according to you, would he, someone who had never even seen a green leaf, know how to avoid surveillance?”