The next day Xu Luoyang woke up refreshed. He habitually closed his eyes and began to ask the ‘three questions of waking up’ in his mind – who am I? Where am I? What am I going to do today?
After asking, he started answering himself, I am Xu Nao Nao, who has slept well, and will today go for a walk, run for half an hour and then in the morning bring a present to thank Brother Xiang at the police station and Master Zhuang, who teaches Chang’an woodwork. I’ll be back in the afternoon to pack my bags and leave for the drama set tomorrow.
I am now in– when the ultimate question appeared, in that moment Xu Luoyang didn’t dare open his eyes– I am now lying in Qi Chang’an’s bed!
This wasn’t even the crux of the matter. The point was that at this moment, he felt very clearly that his hand was firmly grasping a person’s wrist and from the touch it was certainly not his own.
If it wasn’t his, then it was definitely Qi Chang’an’s!
Quietly opening one eye, Xu Luoyang found that Qi Chang’an was already awake, sitting up, and holding a book in his right hand. The sunlight outside the window gilded his silhouette, making it very soft.
However, the posture of Qi Chang’an’s left arm was obviously a bit unnatural, his whole body tilted towards the left.
Xu Luoyang immediately realised what was going on. It should be that he was holding onto Qi Chang’an’s wrist and after Qi Chang’an woke up, in order not to wake him up, had left his wrist in a fixed position. Unable to sleep and unable to get up, he had nothing to do, so he held the book in an awkward position.
Xu Luoyang was touched, but immediately felt a surge of guilt and was thinking of how to say something, when he met Qi Chang’an’s eyes.
“You’re awake?” Qi Chang’an had been watching Xu Luoyang so he noticed as soon as he opened his eyes, but Xu Luoyang wasn’t ready to get up yet, so he didn’t say anything.
But now that Xu Luoyang kept staring at him, Qi Chang’an couldn’t help but speak out.
“Hmm, I’m awake.” Xu Luoyang sat up and looked out the window, at the already bright daylight, “What… what time is it now?”
“Half past nine.”
In response to Qi Chang’an’s answer, Xu Luoyang fell back into the bed, not knowing what to say for a moment. He had delayed Qi Chang’an from getting up early and was also unable to accomplish his own morning run plan, Xu Luoyang felt that his heart hurt.
After a while, he buried his face in the pillow and said in a low voice, “Thank you, Chang’an Ge.”
After saying that, he realized that he hadn’t let go of his hand! So he hurriedly let go and then saw that the skin around Qi Chang’an’s wrist was already red from being pinched.
Xu Luoyang felt even more guilty!
Qi Chang’an took his hand back naturally and looking at Xu Luoyang’s chagrined face, he said with a smile, “You were sleeping restlessly and your hand kept trying to grab something, so I handed you my wrist.”
Xu Luoyang pressed the side of his face against the pillow, very frustrated, “You don’t have to comfort me. I must have fumbled around on my own, grabbed your wrist and not let go.”
So shouldn’t he be glad that he didn’t go under the other man’s covers in the middle of the night? It was a habit he had picked up only after his parents’ death, a habit of sleeping at night with something in his arms or clutching something, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to sleep properly.
Determined to show his apology in a practical way, he vowed, “Chang’an, I’ll go make breakfast for you!”
After eating Xu Luoyang’s special breakfast, the two of them went to the old street together to buy a jar of wine and visited Master Zhuang’s house first.
When they entered, Master Zhuang was carving flowers in the sun in the courtyard. When Master Zhuang saw Qi Chang’an and Xu Luoyang coming, he put down the tools he was holding, turned around and went inside.
Xu Luoyang half-squinted in the autumn sunlight, saying lazily to Qi Chang’an, “I guess Master Zhuang must have gone to bring a gift. I bet three tomatoes!” He then asked Qi Chang’an, “Did you use that same small chisel and carving knife to carve the small wooden fish and maple leaves you gave me?”
The maple leaf was now hanging on his keychain, and for the little wooden fish, he had asked Qi Chang’an to make another hole for it and had it threaded and placed around his wrist.
“Mhmm, but I did it rather roughly, I only learned the basics.”
“You’re already very good.” Master Zhuang said as he came out, his left hand cupping his pipe and his right hand holding a wooden box. He handed it to Qi Chang’an, “You’ve been with me for almost a month learning woodwork, willing to work hard and have been very calm. I don’t know anything about filmmaking, but with your heart, you’ll make it big no matter what field you’re in.”
He said, “I made all the gadgets inside this box according to the shape of your hand and habits. In the future, you will be busy with your career and will not have much time to devote to woodworking, but I still hope that you will be able to use them occasionally to practise and play with them, so that they will not be completely wasted.”
After studying under him for so long, this was the first time that Qi Chang’an heard so much from Zhuang Xie. He replied cautiously, “Don’t worry, I won’t waste it.”
Master Zhuang nodded his head and looked at Xu Luoyang who was standing next to him, “You always bring a jar of wine to bribe me every time you come over and I have taught Qi Chang’an with all my heart, so I won’t give you anything now. If you want anything, you can find Qi Chang’an and ask him to make it for you.”
Xu Luoyang’s eyes curled in a smile, “I’ll remember!”
Zhuang Xie took a puff of his tobacco leaf then looked at the man in front of him who was polite and respectful and said slowly, “I probably shouldn’t be saying this but Chang’an, you’re still young. There’s nothing you can’t walk away from.”
Qi Chang’an froze, then finally nodded gently.
As he walked to the courtyard door with the tool box in his hand, Qi Chang’an turned around and bowed solemnly to Zhuang Xie who was standing under the eaves.
Next, the two men walked all the way to the police station again. This was the first time Qi Chang’an met the old policeman who took Xu Luoyang under his wings. The policeman was very dark skinned and there was a hideous scar at the corner of the eye– at this moment he was standing next to the door post smoking but just standing there, he emitted a fierce aura.
Xu Luoyang walked up and smiled, “Brother Xiang is still very handsome today!”
“Where’s your respect? Talk properly!” Xiang Zheng stomped out his cigarette and scolded with a smile, but when he smiled, the scar looked even more hideous, “Did you bring anything? I made you touch guns and play with a saber, I don’t want a light weight gift.”
“Is there a teacher like you?” Xu Luoyang said this, but quickly took a red envelope from his bag and handed it over.
The smile on Xiang Zheng’s face disappeared immediately as he frowned. “Where are the two bottles of Maotai that were promised?”
Xu Luoyang still smiled, justifying half-heartedly, “Maotai is too heavy for me to lift, you go buy it yourself! Anyway, I don’t have much of anything, just money. If you take it, I’ll still recognize you as a brother, and send messages every New Year’s Day. If you don’t take it, I’ll run away!”
Xiang Zheng was silent for a few seconds, released a sigh, then his rough palms patted Xu Luoyang’s shoulders, “I’m very grateful.”
When they arrived at the place where they would have dinner, Qi Chang’an asked, “What did you give him?”
“A silver bank card!” Xu Luoyang counted on his fingers, “Brother Xiang’s family is going through quite the difficulty. He used to be in a team that fights drugs but later because he didn’t listen to his superiors, he killed a drug dealer, plus with the chaos of the factional struggle, he was taken down.
He had offended too many people during his drug bust, and was worried about his enemies coming to him, so he brought his family to Qinli Town, where his old boss was still around. His old boss helped him find a job at the police station which is a little relaxing so he has been able to take care of his family.”
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