Edited by: Planetes
Fang Zhaomu slept till the afternoon of the next day, and when he looked at his phone after he woke up, he discovered that Andrew had actually sent him a photo while he was sleeping.
It seemed like it was true that Andrew was not good looking, as his face was once again hidden in this photo. It was taken facing a mirror, and he was shirtless.
Fang Zhaomu did not like looking at muscle shots in the mirror, but since the subject of the photograph was Andrew, Fang Zhaomu did not hate it, only feeling that Andrew was definitely an engineering graduate, modest and obedient.
Fang Zhaomu complimented Andrew, “You’re so built. I bet you’re always at the gym when you’re not at work, no wonder you have no time to meet up with me.”
Fang Zhaomu zoomed into the photo, trying to see if there were other things he could also praise him about. Seeing a shadowy area around Andrew’s gym shorts, Fang Zhaomu was taken aback, and immediately joked, “Your size is impressive as well.”
Andrew replied, “What size?”
Last night, Andrew had just said something about being “bound up”, and their conversation finally had an air of having matched on a dating app. So, Fang Zhaomu was unable to distinguish if Andrew was being shy and pretending to not understand.
Not too long later, Andrew asked Fang Zhaomu, “You prefer this type?”
Fang Zhaomu was frank, “Yup, why else would I match you?”
“However, it’s fine if we just chat.” Fang Zhaomu was afraid that Andrew would overthink it, and added, “Don’t misunderstand, I’m not forcing you to meet up with me.”
As long as he could talk to someone, Fang Zhaomu was satisfied. Whether Andrew was willing to meet up or not, he was fine either way. If not, he would not have ignored Andrew’s message yesterday about driving him to the supermarket next time.
Andrew did not continue the topic of conversation. After a while, he asked Fang Zhaomu, “Why did you install this app?”
Fang Zhaomu did not know how to answer such a question, and so said, “It’s a long story.”
Andrew did not reply for a long time. Fang Zhaomu did not know if he was waiting for his response, or if he was busy. After a moment, he asked Andrew. “Would you like to hear it?”
“Go ahead,” Andrew replied.
Fang Zhaomu thought about it, and told Andrew, “I won’t be able to explain everything through messages. If you want to hear it, it’s best if we did it through a call.”
Fang Zhaomu was going to do some research in the afternoon. After sending that response, he packed his bag and headed out of the door. He had a simple lunch at a sandwich shop by the street corner, then went off to the library.
Just as he entered, Fang Zhaomu received a message from Andrew.
“In the evening,” Andrew said. “I’m now at the office, it’s not convenient for me to do so.”
Fang Zhaomu’s footsteps stopped. He had never thought that Andrew would be willing to converse with him through a phone call.
He had always thought that Andrew was the introverted type who, on their one year anniversary of knowing each other, would grudgingly agree to meet Fang Zhaomu at some cafe in the city for a short meet up. As for a phone call, it would probably only happen on their six months anniversary, or the day when Fang Zhaomu left C City. Whatever the case it was, he never thought it would be today.
Fang Zhaomu looked at Andrew’s message a few more times, and started to get excited about it. With light footsteps, he headed up the stairs. Even the floor of the library looked adorable to him now. He replied Andrew, “Sure.”
And added, “Then you have to tell me when you reach home.”
“Mn. Send me a photo first.”
Fang Zhaomu secretly took a photo of his side profile and sent it to Andrew, then did not manage to accomplish anything else for the entire afternoon.
He was thinking, if Andrew really was willing to talk to him through the phone, what should he say to make Andrew feel that he was very entertaining, and would be willing to call him again?
Things to do with his school and his dull life were out of the question. If he mentioned about his relationship with his classmates from the lab, he would seem very immature and boring, right? As for the restaurants and entertainment venues in C City, Fang Zhaomu had not been to most of them. Completely distracted, he did not complete his research, nor did he think or a topic, and went home empty-handed.
At 8pm, Fang Zhaomu had paced about his little bedroom over and over again. He showered, crawled into his bed and put on his earphones before sending a message to Andrew, “Are you home yet?”
“Just gotten back.”
Fang Zhaomu’s fingers tapped on his screen, typing and deleting “So are we going to talk through the phone” a few times. When he just typed “so” for the nth time, his phone suddenly rang, and the screen flashed, showing that he was receiving a call from Andrew.
Fang Zhaomu bit his lip, then drank some water. Nervously, he accepted the call, and he heard a very loud static noise coming from the other side, as well as the sound of something falling to the ground. Fang Zhaomu called out a few times, and waited for a short while before a mature, somewhat low and cold male voice travelled through the phone to his ear. “Mu?”
Fang Zhaomu’s heart was beating very fast, as Andrew happened to have one of those very very nice sounding voices.
“You’re not working overtime tonight?” Fang Zhaomu felt that he was about to start stuttering, but pretended to be calm and asked Andrew.
Fang Zhaomu was better at teasing as they sent each other messages, but when it came to such a direct interaction, it was Andrew who was more composed.
Andrew paused for a couple of seconds, then told Fang Zhaomu, “I’m working from home.”
Sounds of typing on a keyboard could be heard. Fang Zhaomu’s cheeks heated up, and quietly told Andrew, “You’re talking to me while working?”
“Mn.” Andrew hesitated, and the sounds of the keyboard stopped.
Fang Zhaoumu sat up on his bed, pulling his blanket aside to cool down. “You’re so busy.”
“It’s not too bad.”
“Andrew,” Fang Zhaomu felt that for some reason, Andrew’s voice sounded a little familiar. “I feel that we’ve unconsciously met each other before.”
“Hmm?” Andrew made a questioning sound.
“It feels like I’ve heard your voice before.”
“Oh?” No fluctuation in Andrew’s voice could be heard. “Where?”
Now that they had spoken to each other, Fang Zhaomu did not calm down, but his heart pounded even harder. He could only admit to Andrew, “Andrew, I’ve very nervous talking to you.”
Andrew stopped typing. “Why?”
Fang Zhaomu also did not know the answer, and guessed, “Maybe it’s because I haven’t spoken to anyone through the phone in chinese for a long time.”
“Mn,” Andrew asked him. “Does your wrist still hurts?”
Fang Zhaomu looked at his bruised wrist, and assessed it bitterly, “Now it really looks like a mark left from playing with ropes…”
“Mu.” Andrew called him.
Everyone, when they said “Mu”, would always have a trace of unknowing gentleness in their voice. Fang Zhaomu flushed when he heard it, and told Andrew, “It feels so weird for you to call me by just one word of my name. Actually, my name is Fang Zhaomu. You can call me Xiao Zhao, or Xiao Mu.”
“Mn.” Andrew acknowledged, then did not continue.
Fang Zhaomu waited, then thickened his skin and asked Andrew, “After acknowledging it, why haven’t you call me yet?”
“…” Andrew most probably felt a little helpless, and so, called him “Fang Zhaomu” in a low voice.
Fang Zhaomu immediately told him that he was incorrect.
“What’s incorrect about that?”
“I only asked you to call me Xiao Zhao or Xiao Mu, why did you call me by something else?” Fang Zhaomu said reasonably.
Andrew murmured “Xiao Mu”, then asked Fang Zhaomu, “When are you going to the supermarket again?”