Edited by Planetes
People who accomplished great things tended to have personalities that acted quickly and resolutely. Li Shuo had only agreed to go on vacation with his family today, and the next day, his father had informed him to pack his bags and that they would be leaving in the afternoon.
Li Shuo was a little muddled. He was wracking his brains over the matters back home, the amount he spent on overseas calls nearly five figures. How could he be in the mood for a vacation? However, looking at how delighted his mother was, Li Shuo could not spoil the mood. As such, he asked the housekeeper to help him pack up while he continued making his calls.
In the midst of receiving some important news about the case, Li Shuo’s phone started beeping non-stop. Someone else was calling him. He took a look, realising that it was Zhao Jinxin and immediately rejected it. “Wang-lüshi1, please continue.”
The two spoke for only a little while more before Li Shuo received another call. Filled with impatience, Li Shuo told the lawyer, “Wang-lüshi, please give me a minute.”
He switched over to Zhao Jinxin. “Hello?”
“Hello,” Zhao Jinxin drawled, sounding indolent and casual. “Have you finished packing?”
“Yes. Now, I’m…”
“Remember to bring your swimming trunks. I like black ones the most.” Zhao Jinxin laughed lowly. “I really wish to hurry up and look at the results of your training.”
Li Shuo’s temper was already on its edge, and now, hearing Zhao Jinxin’s frivolous provocation, his anger swelled up within him. His tone hard, he said, “I’m not free now, can you don’t waste my time with this nonsense?!”
The line fell silent. Zhao Jinxin’s voice became very proper and downhearted, sounding a little wronged, “I only wanted to hear your voice… I’m sorry.”
The call ended.
Li Shuo sat there stiffly, holding onto his phone. His head hurt, and he already started feeling regretful.
He had never been the sort to take his anger out on others. However, not only was the matter this time around having something to do with his love rival scheming against him, but it also exposed a mistake that had caused him years of unease. At the same time, he was also worried about Li Chengxiu. Now, he was feeling particularly frustrated, anxious, and jittery, and Zhao Jinxin was basically shoving himself into his line of fire.
However, this should not be a reason for his temper to explode. He should apologise to Zhao Jinxin later in the afternoon…
After lunch, Uncle Guang sent them to a flight club in the suburbs of New York. There was a small airport there for landing and take-offs, as well as the maintenance and parking of smaller private planes. This was where Zhao Rongtian’s plane was normally parked.
The Zhao family had arrived earlier. Zhao Rongtian was dressed as though he was going to play golf, in a white shirt and white pants, looking very casual. Unlike how he seemed in the office, he looked a lot more amiable.
Zhao Jinxin’s bruised and swollen hand hung by his side, and his head was drooping as well. When he saw them, he greeted them a little listlessly. Shooting a glance towards Li Shuo, he averted his eyes.
Li Shuo felt even more guilty and walked over. “Jinxin, did you take your medication on time?”
Zhao Jinxin nodded, his head still drooping down.
Li Shuo pulled him to one side, quietly telling him, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have flared up at you.”
Zhao Jinxin lifted his face, looking at Li Shuo, a little aggrieved. He spoke in a small voice, “You really dislike me, right?”
“Never,” Li Shuo hurried to explain, “I can’t accept you, but I’ve never disliked you before.”
Although Zhao Jinxin was frivolous and unrestrained, he was still quite whimsical and adorable. No matter what, no one would dislike someone who liked them for no reason.
Zhao Jinxin blinked a few times. “Then, do you find me very annoying?”
Li Shuo laughed, unable to stop himself from ruffling his hair. “You’re really quite good at grinding people down. Let your Li-shushu have a breather, alright? I’m really quite busy recently.”
Looking at Li Shuo’s gentle and cheerful smile, Zhao Jinxin felt his heart pound. Unconsciously, he bit his lip, and his eyes turned starry, seemingly as though they were glowing.
However, Li Shuo did not see Zhao Jinxin’s expression of wanting to swallow him up. He had been called away by his father.
As they chatted, the plane was prepared.
It was a Cirrus jet, and in the cockpit was only a co-pilot.
Li Shuo asked, “Where’s the pilot?”
Zhao Rongtian laughed aloud, pointing at himself. “If Jinxin’s hand wasn’t injured, it would have been us flying together. We got our licenses together.”
Lu Shuo said guiltily, “It’s my fault for being careless…”
Mrs. Zhao smiled, “Ah, it’s fine, this sort of injury is sometimes unavoidable.”
“Dage, I’m really fine. Because of this injury, I even managed to eat two meals prepared by you. I didn’t expect that your cooking would be so delicious.” Zhao Jinxin smiled very obediently.
Li Shuo became quite embarrassed because of Zhao Jinxin’s words. Yesterday, he had pretty much paid no attention to Zhao Jinxin, and so tried to make up for it. “I’ve been busy the past couple of days, and I didn’t manage to take good care of you. The doctor said that you should start applying a hot compress to your hand starting today. Once we’re at Thousand Islands, I’ll help you with it.”
Zhao Jinxin threw an arm around Li Shuo’s shoulders. “Thanks, dage.”
Li Shuo was able to feel how tall and how heavy Zhao Jinxin, and he felt a little pressured. Even in the western countries, Li Shuo would not be considered short, but Zhao Jinxin’s stature was just like that of caucasians, except without the exaggerated muscles. Sometimes, Li Shuo also puzzled over how Zhao Jinxin was able to act coyly and shamelessly with no compunctions.
They got on the plane. Zhao Jinxin pulled Li Shuo along and sat down in the last row. Sitting down, he raised his arms, looking at Li Shuo with a smile.
Li Shuo immediately understood what he meant, and reached over to help buckle him in.
The belt clicked together, then out of the blue, Zhao Jinxin kissed him on the cheek.
Li Shuo jerked, looking at Zhao Jinxin in startlement before wrenching his head around to look at their parents. Fortunately, no one was looking behind them.
Li Shuo glared, mouthing at him, “What are you doing?”
Zhao Jinxin rounded his eyes in innocence. “I don’t know, I couldn’t help myself.”
His expression was as though he had accidentally taken a bite of someone else’s ice cream.
Li Shuo was both angry and amused. “This is a family vacation, you better behave properly.”
Zhao Jinxin licked his lips, nodding.
Li Shuo returned to his seat, pulling his phone out and sending a message to Xiang Ning, informing him that he would only be able to contact him a few hours later, then switched his phone off.
The situation was now at an impasse. The bureau had filed a case, but without any useful evidence, they were unable to apply for a search warrant. However, according to the lawyer, sooner or later they would have one, and he strongly recommended Li Shuo to remain overseas.
Li Shuo was worried about himself, as well as Li Chengxiu. After going through the entire matter over the past two days, he guessed that Shao Qun did not really plan on attacking him. He was fairly certain that Shao Qun did not have enough evidence, but by doing this, he could effectively prevent him from returning. As long as he did not go back, from half a world away, he was unable to protect Li Chengxiu.
Tomorrow, his assistant would put Li Chengxiu up temporarily in a hotel. The place he chose was very private, and they could make sure that Shao Qun would not be able to find him for the time being. Through his relationship with the embassy, he applied for an urgent visa, and it would arrive in three days. As long as Li Chengxiu came to him, he would be able to protect this gentle, yet strong man.
Li Shuo looked at the ground gradually pulling away from time, unease filling his heart.
Suddenly, Li Shuo felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around.
Zhao Jinxin said, “The first time we met was on a plane as well.”
The roar of the engine was able to cover their voices. As long as they spoke quietly, the others in the row ahead would not be able to hear what they said. Li Shuo felt that this fellow had something up his sleeve. After all, with regards to planes, Zhao Jinxin had left him an extremely deep impression during their first meeting.
Li Shuo answered cautiously, “Yes.”
“When I said that I fell in love with you at first sight, it’s true.” Zhao Jinxin leant over, nuzzling into Li Shuo’s shoulder. “You’re completely my type.”
Li Shuo really wanted to ask him if he was lacking a father’s love, but thinking that this would be disrespectful to Zhao Rongtian, he did not say it aloud, but gave a perfunctory smile instead.
Zhao Jinxin looked at Li Shuo, his eyes as innocent as a fawn. “I’ll help you settle your business back in the country. Just go with me on a date once, alright?”
Li Shuo shook his head. “I’ve already told you not to involve yourself in my business. I can settle it myself.”
“Really? But you look quite troubled to me. You didn’t sleep well last night, right? Your dark eye circles are all out.” Zhao Jinxin caressed Li Shuo’s face lightly. Behaving properly for once, he said, “Dage, I really want to help you. Even if the reason you want to go back is to quickly meet the one you like, I also want to help you. I don’t want to see you suffer.”
Li Shuo’s heart jolted. Zhao Jinxin’s eyes were shiny and bright. Not a trace of phoneyness could be seen in them, and he really was worried about him. The two people had interacted so many times, and this Zhao Jinxin without a frivolous smile and a cunning expression made Li Shuo feel touched for the first time. He opened his mouth, his voice earnest, “Jinxin, thank you very much, but I don’t want to owe you a debt of gratitude.”
“I only want a date with you, just once.” Zhao Jinxin grabbed his arm, shaking it lightly. “We’ll only have a drink and a meal, nothing else.”
Li Shuo saw how eager Zhao Jinxin looked, and could not bear to reject him. Perhaps, under his frivolous surface, Zhao Jinxin truly did like him. However, he still was unable to accept this person, and so he could not make use of him. Sighing, Li Shuo spoke gently, “Having a meal and a drink is no issue at all, this is not a date. We can do so between friends as well. However, I’ll still settle my business myself. Thank you for your kind intention, truly.”
Zhao Jinxin smiled. That smile was so good-looking it could make one’s heart aflutter. “Then we’ll agree on it. There’s a very good restaurant in the resort. The owner’s a German, and all his beers are imported from Germany. I must bring you there to try them.”
Li Shuo smiled and nodded. “Sure, I’ll look forward to it.”
Zhao Jinxin reached out again, his thumb gently stroking Li Shuo’s slightly bruised-looking eyes. A faint smile curled around his lips.