Zhou Lan didn’t leave. He hugged Shen Yun in silence and fell asleep. The two of them huddled on Shen Yun’s cot and made it through the night.
Shen Yun woke up again in the middle of the night.
Zhou Lan touched his sweaty hair and asked, “Can you talk about it?”
Shen Yun shook his head, turned around and fell asleep again curled up.
On the way to work in the morning, Shen Yun suddenly said, “Don’t look for me in the near future, I’m a little busy.”
Zhou Lan didn’t say anything, but really didn’t look for him again in the near future.
Shen Yun was really busy, working overtime almost every night.
At the moment, Ding Ning was holding back a yawn, sitting next to She Yun and making notes.
Shen Yun was talking softly with the homeowner next to him.
In fact, most of the time he was listening attentively, only occasionally inserting a sentence or two.
The owner talked about the style she wanted, the budget, and what kind of accessories she liked.
When it came to home, most people were full of yearning, joy and fantasy.
The homeowner talked about the renovation as if she were talking about the whole world.
It was a twenty-five or twenty-six-year-old girl who smiled while talking, but frowned when she was picky, and looked at Shen Yun somewhat sternly.
Shen Yun always smiled, with a good temper.
After the girl was stern, she smiled uncomfortably. After smiling, she asked what the difference between American, Mediterranean, European, and pastoral styles was.
Shen Yun thought for a while and said a few general words, and finally added that in fact, there were no such things abroad, those were all selling points made by domestic design studios.
The girl opened her mouth in surprise. Shen Yun smiled, and asked, “Can you tell me about the habits and preferences of your family members?”
Ding Ning took a peek at Shen Yun while recording. So far, Shen Yun hadn’t recommended any items to the other party.
When the conversation was almost over, Shen Yun got up with a smile and said, “In a few days, I will ask my assistant to send you a graphic sketch and a quotation.”
The two talked, walking out of the neighbourhood that had not yet been occupied, and the cold wind blew over, so they both couldn’t help but shrink their necks.
Ding Ning said, “Shen Yun, let’s go eat something together.”
Shen Yun nodded, and the two found a hot pot restaurant nearby.
It was too late in the day, and there were no occupied tables, so the two chose a place to sit down.
Ding Ning ordered the liquor, and the two of them clinked glasses while cooking the ingredients in the hot pot.
Shen Yun rarely drank, firstly because he was not in the mood, and secondly because he was afraid that if he drank too much, he would say the wrong thing.
But when he was with Ding Ning, it was different; he felt very relaxed.
Ding Ning was a young man with a lively temperament, but also simple, and it was a rare occasion for Shen Yun to let go of his guard.
Ding Ning thanked Shen Yun first, saying that he had been in Moxi for so long, and just by following Shen Yun for this period, he had earned a lot more extra money.
They took on four private jobs, one of which was a villa, so the two of them were busy doing private work recently after the working hours.
Shen Yun smiled: “I’m also poor and crazy.”
Then he took the opportunity to ask Ding Ning: “Did you have a good time in Moxi?”
Ding Ning thought for a moment, “It’s okay, probably. I was going to follow Teacher Gao when I first came here, but unfortunately something happened to Teacher Gao.”
He thought back to the past with some emotion, “Teacher Gao was a very good person, it’s such a pity.”
Shen Yun then smiled, “Good people don’t live long.”
Ding Ning became anxious when he heard this, glared in anger and slammed his glass on the table, “Shen Yun, what are you saying?”
To Ding Ning, Gao Xi’s matter was very serious, and he was sincerely sad for a long time.
Shen Yun’s frivolous sentence made him feel that the other party didn’t respect life, and was even cold-blooded.
Shen Yun blinked and realised that Ding Ning was really angry, so he raised his glass: “I’m sorry, I’ll punish myself with a drink.”
Ding Ning watched Shen Yun drink a full glass of baijiu before his face improved. He paused for a while and suddenly asked, “Shen Yun?”
“Hmm?” Shen Yun looked at him.
“Did you know Teacher Gao?”
Shen Yun blinked: “Why do you ask that?”
Ding Ning smiled, “I always feel that your and Teacher Gao’s style of doing things is a bit similar.”
He recalled, “Teacher Gao rarely accepted this kind of individual home design, but there were some villas. When he talked to the owners, he rarely recommended items. He always liked to listen to the owners chat, but I don’t know too much about it. My time with him was too short, and he was busy going to another city to help people do training before the accident.”
Shen Yun let out a sigh and asked, “Then do you know why your teacher Gao liked to listen to the owners chat?”
Ding Ning shook his head.
Shen Yun smiled: “Ding Ning, let me ask you a question, what do you think design is?”
This question was too simple, but when you thought about it, it was too difficult, and Ding Ning couldn’t answer it for a while.
So Shen Yun continued to ask: “When you come as a designer, do you put making money first, or do you put showing the things you think beautiful to others first, or something else?”
Ding Ning thought for a while: “Naturally, we have to take care of everything.”
Shen Yun smiled, lowering his eyes: “Ding Ning, it’s actually not that complicated.”
“Then what do you think design is?” Ding Ning asked.
Shen Yun put his chin on his hands and said with a smile: “Design, design is actually a life experience, to put it bluntly. You think you design a house, but you’re not. What you design is actually someone else’s life.”
He looked at Ding Ning: “Therefore, a good designer must learn to forget about himself, listen, and capture the needs of customers. Only in this way can your work give customers maximum comfort and security. In the final analysis, this is the customer’s home, isn’t it?”
He was silent for a while: “That’s why your teacher Gao liked to listen to people talking. Listening and understanding are the first steps in design.”
Ding Ning was stunned when he heard this. No one had said these words to him, although it was very simple and easy to understand.
But it was not easy to do, because the desire to express themselves for most people was far greater than the desire to listen.
Design is also an art. Artists’ desire to express themselves is often stronger than ordinary people’s, but Shen Yun said that they had to learn to lose themselves.
Most of the people he came into contact with put making money first, promoting more of the various materials and accessories, and adding various items to increase their income.
What was the original intention of the design? It seemed that not many people remembered anymore.
Shen Yun’s words gave him a feeling of enlightenment and joy.
Ding Ning began to be grateful from the bottom of his heart that he could meet Shen Yun. He raised his glass in appreciation and the two had a drink.
Shen Yun tapped on the table and smiled: “Have you never talked to other teachers since you came to Moxi?”
Ding Ning shook his head, “I was supposed to follow Teacher Gao, and others were not short of manpower, and then I worked in the office as an odd-job man, and I wanted to quit, but you came.”
Shen Yun smiled, “The two of us are really destined.”
Ding Ning didn’t notice the undertone of Shen Yun’s words, but just smiled and agreed.
Unknowingly, Shen Yun had drunk too much. He looked at Ding Ning, stretched out his finger and wondered: “Three Ding Ning?”
Ding Ning didn’t expect Shen Yun’s drinking capacity to be so bad. When he saw that he had drunk too much, he took away his glass and asked him where he lived, to send him home.
Where was home?
Shen Yun thought for a while, first thinking of his and Xu Moran’s home, then shook his head.
Then he thought of his parents’ home and shook his head again.
Finally, he remembered his current home, but he couldn’t figure out the address. He frowned and cupped his face, thinking slowly.
Ding Ning, who didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry, came to his help: “Why don’t you go to my place for the night?”
The phone rang timely; Ding Ning took out the phone from Shen Yun’s pocket and saw that there was only one word “Zhou” as the caller ID.
He picked it up and just said “Hello”.
There was a cold voice over there: “Who are you? Let Shen Yun answer the phone.”
Ding Ning had no choice but to say, “Shen Yun, he is drunk. Do you know where he lives?”
There was a moment of silence over there, and the man said, “Wait where you are, I’ll pick you up.”
Ding Ning didn’t know Zhou Lan, and the first time he saw Zhou Lan, he was so frozen by the powerful aura and cold face of the opponent that he couldn’t speak.
In the third nine days of winter (the nineteenth to twenty-seventh days after the winter solstice, considered to be the coldest days in China), a tall man in his early thirties came in with an icy wind, and the chill from his body was a bit colder than the cold outside.
Shen Yun was already asleep on the table. Ding Ning wanted to help him up, but Zhou Lan stepped forward and separated them.
The man lying on the table slept with red cheeks, and his long eyelashes cast a row of shadows under his eyes.
Zhou Lan picked him up, stuffed him into the car, and sent Ding Ning home before taking Shen Yun home.
They hadn’t seen each other for several days since their last goodbye at Shen Yun’s place, and Shen Yun was always busy.
Although he didn’t say so, Zhou Lan knew that he took on some private work.
After stripping Shen Yun naked and throwing him into the bathtub, Zhou Lan frowned in disgust; talking about being busy all day long and still having time to go drinking?
Disgusted or not, he still cleaned Shen Yun carefully and threw him on the bed.
Shen Yun opened his eyes in a daze, frowning at Zhou Lan for a long time.
Zhou Lan asked, “Awake?”
Shen Yun hummed softly and called out, “Brother.”
The voice was soft and sweet, as if he was coquettish.
Zhou Lan was taken aback, leaned down and looked into Shen Yun’s eyes, but Shen Yun was still confused.
He continued with a sigh: “Brother, I’m so tired, tell me, what’s the point of being alive?”
Zhou Lan knew that he had recognised the wrong person, and he should have been angry, but he was hit hard by the desolate meaning in these words.
His heart ached.
He took him in his arms and asked him, “Shen Yun, look clearly, who am I?”
Shen Yun looked at him and blinked, as if he was very tired, arched his head into his arms, found a comfortable position, and fell asleep.
Zhou Lan listened to his steady breathing, and said gently, “It’s good to be alive, Shen Yun.”
Zhou Lan originally resented Shen Yun. Every time he thought of Shen Yun’s sentence, “Isn’t President Zhou tired? I’m tired”, he felt indescribably uncomfortable.
But after listening to his drunken words just now, that bit of resentment was replaced by something else.
That night, Zhou Lan held Shen Yun and did nothing.
Shen Yun struggled again in the middle of the night. Zhou Lan locked him tightly in his arms, and Shen Yun slowly calmed down.
When the early morning sun poured in, Shen Yun smelled the smell of food.
He looked at his surroundings in surprise, and as he regained his senses, he couldn’t help frowning.
He was obviously with Ding Ning last night, why was he at Zhou Lan’s house now?
He covered his forehead. He couldn’t remember what happened yesterday, he just felt a splitting headache.
Zhou Lan walked in and asked, “Awake?”
Shen Yun clutched his forehead and grunted in pain: “Why am I here?”
Zhou Lan’s face didn’t change: “You were drunk and came to my house.”
“Huh?” Shen Yun’s eyes widened in confusion.
Zhou Lan leaned over, looked into his eyes and smiled: “Why, did you miss me?”
Shen Yun bit his lip and didn’t say anything, but his face turned suspiciously red.
Zhou Lan leaned down and kissed the corner of his lips.
He chuckled and said, “But I’m too busy at the end of the year, and I have to prepare for the auction of the land in the western suburbs. I don’t have time to accompany you.”
Borrowing his courage from being tipsy, Shen Yun pulled him down: “Didn’t President Zhou say that I am not a good thing? If I miss President Zhou, there is President Li, President Wang…”
Before he finished speaking, Zhou Lan bit his lip fiercely. Shen Yun grunted in pain and frowned.
Zhou Lan no longer looked as gentle as he had been just now.
He was taking it seriously, and last night Shen Yun’s call for “Brother” with its coquettish intonation had turned his heart upside down.