Edited by Planetes
Waiting another day and night, after not receiving any news about Li Chengxiu, Li Shuo started to suspect that Li Chengxiu had not left on his own accord, but had been kidnapped by Shao Qun. After all, it was not as if Shao Qun had never done something like this before.
He locked himself in his room, pondering over it for a long time before letting his assistant search for Shao Qun’s number. Only when he had prepared himself, did he then dial that number.
The moment his call was answered, the two people were both silent. It was probable that through the caller ID, that person on the other end of the line knew who was calling. Li Shuo tried his best to suppress his dislike. “This is Li Shuo.”
The sound of breathing could be heard over the phone. A moment later, a young yet rude voice was almost yelling, “Where is Li Chengxiu?!”
Li Shuo’s heart instantly turned cold. Shao Qun did not seem to be faking, and he immediately could no longer hold himself back, speaking icily, “You actually dare ask me this question? I want to ask you that myself!”
The explosive retort that Li Shuo had expected did not appear, and that voice suddenly seemed to turn feeble and weak. “He’s disappeared…”
“Shao Qun, you beast! Now, you’re fucking happy, right?!” Li Shuo was very well mannered, and he could not say anything vicious or abusive. However, he had never felt so much disgust towards anyone before, and he was so disgusted that as long as he thought about this name, he would tremble from anger. It was as though everything that had to do with this person represented something despicable and undesirable.
Shao Qun clearly did not have the energy for a pointless argument with Li Shuo. He only hoarsely said, “Where could he go…”
“How would I know? He said that he’s gone to seek a relative for shelter, but I’ve never heard him mention any relatives before.”
Shao Qun choked, “He doesn’t have any relatives…”
Li Shuo said fiercely, “Shao Qun, Chengxiu doesn’t have much money on him, and he’s in a bad state now, without friends or family! If something happens to him, I will never, never let you off!”
Shao Qun did not respond.
Li Shuo felt that it was unbearable to speak even a sentence more to Shao Qun. “Go straighten out all that stupid nonsense of yours. Don’t think that you’ll be able to trap me, Li Shuo, here! Sooner or later, I’ll be back, let me go back to look for him!”
The call disconnected.
Li Shuo threw his phone hard onto the ground.
Tugging at his hair forcefully with his hands, he used the pain of his scalp to settle his raging emotions.
How strange, since he was a child, until he grew up, there were always a lot of people around him. However, in the end, he only discovered that not a single of them truly belonged to him. This was nothing, as all he sought for was to live with a clear conscience, but he would never let off those vile people who struck the first blow.
The vacation was over. Li Shuo packed his luggage, preparing to return to New York.
Taking his things, he walked out of his room and saw the steward arguing with Zhao Jinxin over who should carry the luggage.
“Young Master, just let me do it, your hand has yet to recover.”
“My left hand is fine.” Zhao Jinxin smiled, refusing to let go.
“I’ll get it.” Li Shuo took Zhao Jinxin’s luggage. To let the old steward carry the luggage down the stairs, he was worried that an accident might happen.
Zhao Jinxin blew a kiss at Li Shuo. “You’re so concerned for me.” That glance was very amorous.
Li Shuo froze. He looked at the steward, and as expected, the old man’s expression was a little awkward.
Zhao Jinxin bent down slightly, pressing a kiss on the steward’s cheek. “Si-shu, it’s been tiring for you the past few days. Don’t tell my parents anything, alright?”
“Ai.” The steward nodded his head a few times. “Be careful on the road.”
Downstairs, Li Shuo quietly asked, “What were you doing just now?”
“When I left your room this morning, I happened to bump in Si-shu.” Zhao Jinxin shrugged. “Don’t worry, he won’t gossip.”
Li Shuo heaved a breath of relief. Just like what Zhao Jinxin said, their current relationship was nothing but a game that both parties were willing to play — and they even did not actually do anything. He completely believed that Zhao Jinxin liked him, but there were many types of liking a person, and he did not want to take the risk of having their elders discover anything.
His expression was noticed by Zhao Jinxin.
On the flight, the elders were still discussing their vacation. They clearly still missed it.
Like before, Li Shuo and Zhao Jinxin were seated in the last row, and Zhao Jinxin would periodically tug at Li Shuo’s little finger secretly. After a few times, Li Shuo could not stand how he was pestering him. Grabbing Zhao Jinxin’s hand, he trapped it under his own thigh, and as expected, Zhao Jinxin became more docile in satisfaction.
Emotions somewhat welled up within Li Shuo. He thought about how a few days ago, they were seated in the same place, in the same seats, and he was very guarded against Zhao Jinxin. Now, the two of them were in an ambiguous relationship. One reason was that Zhao Jinxin did have some tricks up his sleeves, but the main reason was because of the change in the situation with Li Chengxiu. Li Shuo felt a destiny that made him not know whether he should laugh or cry, and that premonition, as though he was bound to fail had always surrounded him while he wanted to win Li Chengxiu over to his side. Li Chengxiu fulfilled too well his desire in having a second half, and thus he had made many unwise decisions. Right now, the situation could not be blamed entirely on Shao Qun, as he too was an accomplice.
And it was because of this, he felt that towards Li Chengxiu, other than his love and affection, he held responsibility towards him too.
Once they returned to New York, they had to start handling their proper work again.
Li Shuo helped Zhao Jinxin and that chief finance officer that was about to be assigned to China to establish a financial system for their branch company that would be more suitable for local regulations, as well as being more efficient. This naturally did not need Li Shuo to handle it personally, but because of the relationship between Zhao Rongtian and his father, he was duty-bound to do so.
There were already a few employees working in the branch company in the capital, but they were still hiring and preparing. When the two people met on the plane for the first time, Zhao Jinxin was returning to the country for an inspection.
Although Li Shuo was constantly updating himself on the situation back home, he still tried as much as possible to focus on the work at hand. Otherwise, he would not be able to stop himself from letting his mind drift off. If it was others, it would be fine, but the one missing was a soft, honest and slightly introverted man. Right now, he dared not ask for anything, and only hoped that Li Chengxiu was safe.
Today, the three people were in Zhao Jinxin’s office. To decide on which accounting software to use, they had been stuck in discussion for the entire afternoon. The CFO, Director Han, wished that the branch company would be using the same software as the main company, as they would be able to share the same network. However, Li Shuo recommended that being in China, they should use the most prevalent software in the country. Whether it was for the accountants hired in China, or whether it was for the auditors, it would be more convenient and efficient. The entire time, Zhao Jinxin did not express his opinion.
By the end of the discussion, each side had its own pros and cons. Seeing that the sun was setting, the three people were all a little fatigued.
Zhao Jinxin said, “I’ll think over this carefully. Let’s end it here for now.”
“Sure. President Zhao, President Li, let me treat you to dinner?”
Zhao Jinxin glanced at Li Shuo, then smiled. “We’ll be chatting for a while more. Let me treat you the next time.”
Director Han nodded. “Sure, then I’ll head back first.”
Director Han left after packing up his belongings.
Li Shuo leant back in his seat. Raising his arms, he stretched his body firmly. As his head tilted back, his Adam’s apple was very prominent, and the lines of his body perfectly highlighted a male’s strength and beauty.
Zhao Jinxin stood up, shutting the blinds.
Li Shuo paused in his actions. He slowly put his arms down, looking at Zhao Jinxin placidly.
Zhao Jinxin’s lips curled in a smile. He walked over, sitting across Li Shuo’s lap, face to face. “Are you tired?”
“Huh, you’re quite heavy.” Li Shuo had never had someone heavier than him in his lap before. “I’m fine, are you tired?”
“I’m not, just that I’m bored. It’s evident that what you said is logical, but that Director Han is worried that once the software is changed, the company would have a higher expectation of his KPI. It’ll be the first year he’s sent overseas, and he’s also entrusted with something so important. He must be feeling a lot of pressure, and it’s understandable.”
Li Shuo raised a brow. “Not bad, you managed to understand this.”
Zhao Jinxin clasped his arms around Li Shuo’s neck, bumping his forehead into Li Shuo’s forehead. “Li-shushu, don’t look down on me. Do I look like a fool?”
“You’re only too young, and it’s expected that there will be a lack of experience.”
“Which area of experience are you referring to?” Zhao Jinxin pressed his lips to Li Shuo’s nose, biting it lightly. He then moved downwards, conquering Li Shuo’s soft lips, sucking on them for a bit.
The heat between their mouths kindled their desires.
Li Shuo’s hand stroked Zhao Jinxin’s back. “Shall we have dinner?”
“I’ll rather eat you.” The tip of Zhao Jinxin’s tongue prodded at the seam between Li Shuo’s lips, then reached into his slightly open mouth, curling around that warm and wet tongue.
Li Shuo unconsciously wrapped his arms around Zhao Jinxin’s waist, responding to the passionate kiss. The two’s skills at kissing were both laudable, and as the kiss progressed, it was suspected that they were both trying to show off. As though competing, they tried their best to stoke the other’s desire even higher, transforming a simple kiss into something filthy, and the wet sounds between their lips made one flush to hear them.
Panting, the two people parted. Their lips were both wet, and their eyes dark.
Li Shuo felt that his pants were a little tight. He said softly, “Be good, stand up. I’ll take you to eat something delicious.”
“Actually, I really want to do it in the office too.” Zhao Jinxin spoke right into Li Shuo’s ear. “It’s not only the office, there are also many other exhilarating places. Do you want to know where?”
Li Shuo’s throat bobbed. He calmed himself down, then gripped Zhao Jinxin’s waist, dragging the man up and helping him stand up. “It’s enough. Even if you’re not hungry, I am. What would you like to eat?”
Zhao Jinxin pursed his lips. “Fine, I’ll listen to you.”
“Mn… What about hotpot? There’s a Jiu Gong Ge hotpot that my family goes to often, it’s really quite authentic.”
Li Shuo picked up his belongings, opening the door for Zhao Jinxin and waited for him to leave.
Zhao Jinxin walked to the door. Using the shield of the door, he quickly gave Li Shuo a kiss, then smiled as he left his office.
Many people were outside the office. Li Shuo’s heart pounded in nervousness, but he also felt an excitement.
The two people drove to Brooklyn’s Chinatown. Just like usual, it was bustling.
Li Shuo found a spot to park, while Zhao Jinxin looked all around him. “I rarely come here. It’s really lively, and there’s all sorts of things for sale.”
“Yes. You were born in the states, while I came here when I was ten. Our cultural foundation and feelings are different. In the past, when I ate outside, I would usually choose to come here.”
Zhao Jinxin smiled. “I spent three years of my high school in the capital, so I’m not that different from you.”
“Is that so? Why did you go back then to study?”
“My dad found my chinese handwriting too ugly, and he was afraid I would forget my roots.”
Li Shuo laughed. “Uncle sure has foresight.”
“In the future, back in China, you must often take me out to eat and play.”
“Of course.” Li Shuo opened the door, stepping out of the car. “I’ve promised your parents that I would take good care of you.”
Zhao Jinxin circled over to his side, placing a palm on the door as he trapped Li Shuo between himself and the car. Smiling, he said, “Other than my parents, is there any other reason?”
Li Shuo blinked. “My parents?”
Zhao Jinxin pinched Li Shuo’s chin, using his unique domineering yet spoilt tone to demand, “Say something nice to coax me, or I’ll kiss you right here.”
Li Shuo glanced at their surroundings. Two men standing so ambiguously in the streets was already attracting enough attention. He really did not want to be observed like an attraction, and so he could only speak dotingly, “I’m worried about you, and I’ll take care of you.”
Zhao Jinxin revealed an incandescent smile, swiftly kissing Li Shuo.
“You…” Li shuo frowned, feigning anger. “Why didn’t you keep your word? Are youngsters these days so unruly?”
Zhao Jinxin grinned. “Just now, with such a perfect atmosphere, it would be unruly if I didn’t kiss you.” That smile had a tinge of a child’s innocence.
Li Shuo’s heart trembled. He had never seen someone like Zhao Jinxin, flirting at all times of the day in an expected manner. Every moment of their interaction, he would be guessing, what trick would this person pull this time? Would he make him nervous, would he make him delighted, or would he affect his state of mind?
Someone like Zhao Jinxin was too suited for a relationship. He had all the best qualities a lover could have, and could even create the romance, sweetness, surprise and excitement a relationship needed. With his age, he should not have such a lethal skill, and that only meant that he was a born master of flirting, his every breath laden with pheromones.
“This restaurant right, Li-shushu?” Zhao Jinxin tugged at his sleeve in a very natural manner, just like a child. It made one unconsciously put down their guard.
“Mn. Do you want to leave your coat in the car? Otherwise, it’ll absorb all the smell from the hotpot.”
“I don’t want to.” Zhao Jinxin had a look of anticipation. “Today is your first time treating me to a meal, your first time on a date with me in New York, the first time we came to Chinatown together, and the first time we’re having hotpot. It’s such an important day, and I’m going to seal up this coat that has all the scents of today, keeping it forever as remembrance.”
Sweetness swarmed up within Li Shuo’s heart, and the corners of his lips could not help quirking up. “It’s up to you.”
The two people walked side by side into the hotpot restaurant.
The boss recognised Li Shuo. Upon seeing him enter, he arranged for a table next to a window. Business was too good at this restaurant, and it was filled with people. Just smelling the spicy scent in the air whetted one’s appetite.
The menu was a piece of printer paper, and one would just tick off their choices, much like the hotpot restaurants in China. Their table was not big, and they bowed their head, studying the menu. Seated closely together, Zhao Jinxin knocked against Li Shuo’s head lightly, then giggled.
Li Shuo said, resigned, “Aren’t you childish.”
“Don’t you think that I’m extremely adorable?” Zhao Jinxin fluttered his eyelashes, putting on a comical expression.
Li Shuo burst out laughing, tapping his head with the pencil.
Zhao Jinxin… was very adorable. He was both sexy and adorable, and he basically was an incubus.
At this time, someone walked past them, and then came an exclamation. “Eh? Jinxin?”
The two people looked up at the same time. Across the aisle stood two men, both Chinese, around Zhao Jinxin’s age.
“What a coincidence.” Zhao Jinxin stood up, smiling as he shook their hands.
Li Shuo too stood up in courtesy, nodding at them.
“Wow.” One of the guys swept his eyes up and down Li Shuo, his gaze unrestrained.
Li Shuo still continued smiling, well mannered. Even though the gazes of the two people were very rude, and made him uncomfortable, he would not let go of his self-possession for such a small matter.
“Don’t make random speculations,” Zhao Jinxin said, a mix of joking and seriousness. “He’s the son of my dad’s friend.”
“Don’t pretend anymore, just now, we’ve already seen your heads bumping against each other.” That person laughed. “Haven’t you always preferred older men?”
Zhao Jinxin narrowed his eyes slightly. “Oh, how did you know that?” There was still a smile on his face, but his tone had chilled noticeably, his eyes turning a little dangerous as well.
Alarm jolted through Li Shuo’s heart. He had never seen this side of Zhao Jinxin before, and the sudden change of temperature in his expression was truly quite terrifying.
That person’s lips trembled, his complexion changing, and he could not say a word.
The other person quickly came to smooth things over. “Hey, Jinxin, didn’t you say that you’d only be back at the end of the month? Every time we looked for you, you always said that you have something important, and can’t return. What a friend.”
“There’s something at home, so I came back,” Zhao Jinxin said, his smile not reaching his eyes. “The aisle is so narrow, don’t obstruct others. We’ll talk again another day.”
When the two people left, Zhao Jinxin explained, “They’re ex-classmates. I don’t know them very well, don’t mind them.”
Li Shuo waved him off, gesturing that it was fine. He asked, “You had planned on returning at the end of the month?”
Zhao Jinxin smiled. “Yes, so wasn’t our first meeting fate?”
“It is fate.” Li Shuo looked down, selecting the dishes.
Zhao Jinxin looked at Li Shuo. He rubbed his fingers lightly, a light flashing in his pupils.
Li Shuo handed the menu to the server, then said, feigning unconcern, “So, you’ve always liked older men?”
Zhao Jinxin laughed. “I do like mature men. Everyone has their preferences, right?”
“Mn.” Li Shuo smiled warmly. “Seems like you do have a way with ‘mature’ men. After all, you’ve got experience.” Previously, he had thought that Zhao Jinxin was flattering him, but he had never thought that Zhao Jinxin truly liked older men. This could thus explain why Zhao Jinxin dared to flirt with him. Those lacking in experience and determination would usually go along with him, but Zhao Jinxin was able to take hold of a large portion of the initiative.
So, in the past, he did train up his skills with a number of opponents.
Li Shuo could not put to words what he was currently feeling. He only felt that, if, if the spoilt and coy actions of Zhao Jinxin were targeted specifically towards him, then he was rather resigned. After all, he did like such behaviour, as how many adults could withstand a child behaving so coquettishly? This could not be considered something bad, and Li Shuo did quite enjoy it.
He himself was unclear of how to explain this discomfort he was feeling in his heart.