Edited by: Planetes
At 10.45pm, Fang Zhaomu’s phone rang. The person delivering the food had arrived.
Fang Zhaomu ran downstairs to pick it up. The delivery person seemed to be a part-timer. He was dressed in a suit, looking like a manager of the restaurant, and in his hands was a very big paper bag.
He politely handed the bag to Fang Zhaomu, and hoped that he would enjoy the food.
Fang Zhaomu felt the bag was very heavy. Back home, he saw that there were more than ten boxes within the bag. Fang Zhaomu’s table was small, and could not fit all the boxes.
Just a few boxes was enough to take up more than half the space on the table. Puzzled, he sent Andrew a text. “What did you order? Why are there so many boxes?”
“Lovers’ set,” Andrew replied. “It arrived so late?”
When Fang Zhaomu opened the boxes, he saw that the food within were all arranged very nicely. For some reason, they reminded him of something.
Fang Zhaomu finally registered what it was when he opened the box of dessert. Andrew had ordered him the lovers’ set from the restaurant he was at in the evening.
Fang Zhaomu was stunned for a moment. First, he was very touched, but then he suddenly felt that it was strange. Contemplating it, he pulled his hand back from the box, then looked at his brightly lit phone. Picking it up, his fingers paused on the screen for two minutes, before sending Andrew a message. “How did you know which restaurant I was at?”
Andrew’s response came very fast. “The photo you sent me had the restaurant’s name on the plate.”
Fang Zhaomu immediately switched to his photo album and zoomed in to the photo he sent Andrew. There really was a silver inscription of the restaurant’s name on the bottom right corner of the plate. Fang Zhaomu was no longer that worried, but he still felt a little strange about it.
Somewhat conflicted, he looked at the food on his table. Before he could calm down, he received a call from Andrew.
Fang Zhaomu picked it up. “Andrew.”
Andrew asked Fang Zhaomu, “What happened?”
Andrew’s tone could not be any more natural. Seeing that Fang Zhaomu did not respond, Andrew asked again, “The food isn’t good?”
Fang Zhaomu’s face heated up, feeling ashamed of his unreasonableness.
Andrew had contacted the restaurant who did not do delivery, and made them deliver the food to Fang Zhaomu’s place so late at night just to let him eat something, yet Fang Zhaomu was still feeling suspicious about it.
“I might still be in shock over the car just now,” Fang Zhaomu tried his best to find an excuse for his behaviour. “I think I haven’t recovered from it.”
“Don’t be scared.” Andrew paused. Fang Zhaomu felt that he still wanted to continue, but after waiting for a while, Andrew did not say it out.
Fang Zhaomu set his phone on loudspeaker, then opened up a few more boxes. He suppressed his other emotions, and told Andrew, “If only you were here. It’s too wasteful for me to eat a set for two people myself.”
Fang Zhaomu picked up a forkful of salad. “How did you convince them to deliver the food?”
“Didn’t you want to eat it?” Andrew dodged Fang Zhaomu’s question, and asked him another in return.
Fang Zhaomu’s place was small, and the table was a low folding table he had purchased online. He took out all boxes of the set meal that Andrew had ordered for him, and they were spread from the table to the floor.
As there had been some communication issues with the school, they had only arranged a dormitory for him for two months. Fang Zhaomu had spent a long time looking for a place to stay, and moved here only last month. His lodging was in between two somewhat larger places, and it was not clear what his place was intended for. His landlord was Asian. He was renting out this place for the first time, and Fang Zhaomu had just happened across it.
From the start till now, Fang Zhaomu’s exchange had not been very successful, and he had been having problems with everything. For him to know Andrew, it felt like something that should not be happening to him.
“Thank you,” Fang Zhaomu told Andrew. “When you’re back, I’ll treat you to a meal too.”
“We’ll talk about it again.”
“Why do we have to talk about it again?” Fang Zhaomu squinted, and pushed his luck. “Does it mean that you don’t want to eat with me?”
Andrew hesitated for two seconds. “… No.”
Fang Zhaomu burst out laughing. “I’m just joking. Whatever you feel like eating, I can always accompany you.”
Fang Zhaomu could hear Andrew tapping on his keyboard, and remembered that Andrew seemed to be working overtime. He then shyly said, “I’ll eat first, you should go back to your work.”
“Mn,” Andrew stopped typing. “Eat a bit more, you’re too thin.”
“I’m not too thin.” Fang Zhaomu objected.
“You are.” Andrew was like a strict trainer at a gym criticising Fang Zhaomu’s figure.
“You’ve never even seen me before…” Fang Zhaomu’s voice was small. He looked at his table filled with boxes, and his heart was moved. “Andrew, when you’re done with your work, do you… want to have a video chat with me?”
Andrew kept silent, and Fang Zhaomu added. “You don’t have to turn on your camera.”
After a moment of silence, Andrew replied. “Ok.”
Half an hour later, Fang Zhaomu received a message from Andrew. “I’ve reached the hotel.”
Done with dinner, Fang Zhaomu was lying on his bed reading. He had almost fallen asleep, only to be jerked awake by his text notification.
Putting his book aside, he asked Andrew, “Can we chat now?”
Andrew did not call him, only sending him a reply. “We can.”
Fang Zhaomu could only send the request for a video chat himself, and Andrew accepted it immediately.
When the call connected, Fang Zhaomu placed his phone on the stand of the cupboard by his bedside, and greeted Andrew as he sat on his bed.
Andrew’s display was black, and so Fang Zhaomu widened his own display instead. He was dressed in a grey silk sleeping robe, and looking at his display, he realised the robe was gaping too widely. Tightening the robe with his hand, he greeted Andrew, “You see, I’m not too thin, right?”
It seemed like Andrew did not agree, and so did not directly answer Fang Zhaomu’s question. “Was the dessert delicious?”
“It was,” Fang Zhaomu smiled at his phone. “It was very yummy, thank you.”
Fang Zhaomu blinked, “You’ve returned so late, aren’t you tired?”
“I’m not.” Andrew’s breathing was very quiet, his voice very calm, and Fang Zhaomu was unable to detect what he was feeling.
“You always have so little things to say,” Fang Zhaomu grabbed a corner of his blanket and covered his legs with it. He looked at his display on his phone, “You make me seem like I’m very talkative — Andrew, do you think I’m annoying?”
“No.” Maybe he realised that he really spoke very little, and so Andrew added, “You’re not annoying.”
Fang Zhaomu laughed. “You don’t have to force yourself to talk more. Anyway, I do talk a lot.”
He suddenly remembered that he had his ear studs on, and so he leaned towards his phone. Tucking his longish hair behind his ear, he showed Andrew his earlobe, “Quick, look.”
After showing it to Andrew, Fang Zhaomu then asked, “Does it look good? Quick, tell me.”
“…” Andrew replied, “It does.”
“Mn,” Fang Zhaomu nodded his head in satisfaction. “It’s because you chose it.”
On this night, Fang Zhaomu spoke for a long time with Andrew. Most of the time, Andrew was listening quietly, and would say a few words here and there. He made many promises to Fang Zhaomu, that when he came back to C City, he would do them all with him, and would agree to his every request.
Fang Zhaomu was also unwilling to think about what sort of things would they really end up doing.
At this moment, Fang Zhaomu was just talking with a person he liked a lot. Whether or not all these promises were just perfunctory did not matter; it was even better than dreaming.