Chapter 85 – Cold War

Zhuge Yu did this because in the upcoming week, there were some matters at school that required his attention. He needed to return to the campus and be busy with those tasks. However, he was well aware that if he didn’t come to guide Chen Li during this week, the little progress they had made in getting closer would disappear, and all his efforts would be in vain.

As for letting Wei Chen substitute at Q University, considering Wei Chen’s worry about Chen Li, he would definitely bring Chen Li to Q University. It just so happened that he had an art studio at Q University, so he could take advantage of his free time to contact Chen Li again.

It could be said that Zhuge Yu had put a lot of thought and effort into Chen Li.

Zhuge Yu explained the reasons to Wei Chen, who didn’t show much reaction this time. He neither agreed nor refused, just went back to observing the stock market fluctuations. However, Zhuge Yu knew that Wei Chen had taken his words to heart, so he didn’t try to persuade Wei Chen further.

The season was gradually transitioning into autumn, but the late summer heat remained intense. The temperature didn’t decrease even a bit with the departure of summer. In the evening, it seemed like a thunderstorm was about to come, with a dreadful and gloomy atmosphere. The entire world felt like it was trapped inside a jar, hot and stifling. There was a constant layer of sweat on the skin, making everyone uncomfortable.

As the work hours at Changfeng Group ended, a loud thunderclap echoed in the distance. Within moments, the sky opened up like a leaking hole, and heavy rain poured down. The entire world was enveloped in layers of rain curtains, losing its clarity.

Wei Chen drove his car out of the underground garage of Changfeng Tower and entered the pouring rain. The closed windows isolated the sound of the rain outside, but the lightning in the sky intermittently illuminated this world, creating a slightly eerie atmosphere.

Encountering heavy rain during rush hour meant encountering long lines of traffic, moving forward slowly, inch by inch.

Chen Li sat quietly in the passenger seat, gazing ahead with a blank expression. It was unclear what he was thinking. Wei Chen took one hand off the steering wheel, held Chen Li’s hand, and gave it a comforting squeeze. Although he knew that Chen Li wasn’t afraid of thunderstorm weather, being by Chen Li’s side in this kind of weather would make him feel less lonely.

The car moved forward slowly, like a snail, in the long line of traffic. The usual half-hour journey became three times longer in this torrential rain. It was as if the heavens were playing a joke. When Wei Chen and Chen Li finally arrived home, the rain stopped abruptly. It ceased without a single drop falling anymore.

“What do you want to eat tonight?” Wei Chen put down his briefcase and asked Chen Li gently.

Chen Li shook his head and picked up a book from the coffee table, the one he hadn’t finished reading yesterday. He continued reading attentively, indicating that it didn’t matter what they ate.

Wei Chen walked into the kitchen and took off the blue apron hanging on the wall. In one moment, he had the appearance of an elite, but the moment he put on the apron, he looked like a homely man, a stark contrast.

Wei Chen opened the refrigerator and looked at the ingredients inside, contemplating what dish to make for dinner. After he figured out the recipe in his mind, he began taking out the ingredients from the refrigerator one by one.

At that moment, Chen Li stood at the kitchen door, staring at Wei Chen without blinking. Wei Chen noticed and asked, “Are you hungry?”

Chen Li nodded, and his stomach timely emitted a rumbling sound. He was indeed hungry.

A hint of amusement crept into Wei Chen’s tone as he said, “It’s greasy in here. Wait outside, and we’ll be able to eat in about half an hour.” After speaking, he turned around, holding the ingredients and started washing them in the sink.

Chen Li didn’t leave. He leaned against the door and watched Wei Chen cook.

Washing vegetables, chopping them, adding oil, stir-frying… Wei Chen’s movements were clean and efficient. He looked like an experienced cook, and in no time, the kitchen was filled with the aroma of food. But who could have imagined that this skilled person in the kitchen, who performed each step with such proficiency, could only make a simple dish of scallion oil noodles a few months ago? Even Wei Chen himself didn’t expect that he would have a day of cooking for someone and making soup. But because that person was Chen Li, Wei Chen found joy in the process of cooking and serving.

When Wei Chen and Chen Li first arrived in the capital city, Wei Chen always took Chen Li out to restaurants. However, even in upscale restaurants, the food was greasy and salty. It was alright to eat it occasionally, but not every day. So Wei Chen had the idea to cook his own meals.

Starting from washing vegetables, Wei Chen watched instructional videos step by step. He didn’t miss any details, learning how to properly wash each vegetable and how to cook each ingredient to preserve its original taste.

Smart people learn things quickly, especially when they put in dedicated effort. In less than half a month, Wei Chen was able to easily prepare a table of dishes. Although he hadn’t reached the level of having perfect presentation, he had reached the level of typical home-cooked meals.

During Wei Chen’s learning process of cooking, Chen Li undoubtedly gave him face. Whether it was in the beginning when Wei Chen added too little or too much seasoning, or now that Wei Chen had become proficient, Chen Li would finish everything Wei Chen cooked without leaving a trace. Then he would look at Wei Chen with bright, sparkling eyes, as if praising him.

With Chen Li’s encouragement, Wei Chen naturally became more motivated. So every day, he found different ways to cook delicious food and feed Chen Li. And under Wei Chen’s constant feeding, Chen Li’s weight naturally increased. Although he still looked thin and weak, he had come a long way from the skeletal figure Wei Chen had first seen. When Wei Chen hugged Chen Li to sleep at night, he couldn’t help but marvel at the increase in flesh on Chen Li’s body.

Back to cooking, half an hour later, Wei Chen finished preparing three dishes and a soup. It wasn’t a lavish spread, but it was more than enough for the two of them.

Chen Li’s stomach was growling from the start, and upon seeing the food on the table, he quickly went to wash his hands and obediently sat on the chair, his gaze fixed on the dishes the entire time.

Wei Chen brought out the utensils and arranged them in front of Chen Li. Unable to resist, he reached out and ruffled Chen Li’s hair, saying, “Li Li, dig in.”

Chen Li didn’t hesitate to start eating but waited for Wei Chen to sit down before he began.

In Wei Chen’s presence, Chen Li was in his most relaxed state. Whatever he was thinking, it immediately showed on his face. At this moment, Chen Li’s eyes were narrowed with satisfaction, indicating how content he was.

With Chen Li’s satisfied meal, Wei Chen couldn’t help but indulge himself. After about twenty minutes, the plates from the three dishes and soup were empty, completely devoured by the two of them.

Chen Li placed his hand on his slightly protruding belly and leaned back against the chair, his eyes half-closed, lost in thought.

Wei Chen didn’t rush to clean up the tableware. Instead, he sat beside Chen Li and reached out to touch his belly. The slightly bulging stomach felt tight, a clear sign of overeating. Wei Chen got up from his seat and retrieved the family medicine box from the nearby cabinet, taking out a few pieces of digestive tablets and feeding them to Chen Li.

Since Wei Chen started cooking at home, digestive tablets had become a staple in their household. Chen Li always managed to overeat.

The rain outside had stopped, and the post-rain air carried a coolness and the scent of damp earth. Wei Chen planned to take Chen Li for a walk in the park below to aid digestion.

Naturally, Chen Li didn’t refuse Wei Chen’s request and was pulled downstairs by him.

The rain had washed away the sultriness brought by the late summer heat, and the evening breeze still carried a slight chill.

Now was the time for an after-dinner stroll in the park. Laughter from families occasionally echoed along the cobblestone path. A few children playfully chased each other ahead, their faces adorned with innocent smiles. After a busy day, under the dim night sky, it felt like a peaceful moment.

Wei Chen strolled hand in hand with Chen Li on the cobblestone path. Due to their habit of morning jogs, the elderly couples in the park had become familiar with them. When they saw the two of them, they greeted them warmly, unaffected by their status as a same-sex couple.

Wei Chen reciprocated the greetings to these elderly couples, even though his expression remained neutral. However, the sincerity in his eyes was evident to the uncles and aunties.

“Li Li, do you want to go to school?” Wei Chen asked, adding, “Without considering me.”

Chen Li paused his steps and didn’t respond.

How could he not consider Wei Chen? In his heart, Wei Chen was the most important person. Without considering Wei Chen, there was nothing else he needed to consider.

Seeing Chen Li’s lack of response, Wei Chen changed the question, “Li Li, what do you think about Zhuge Yu?”

This time, Chen Li completely stopped. He stubbornly stood still, lowered his head, and deliberately avoided looking at Wei Chen, as if he was acting stubbornly against him.

Wei Chen immediately understood Chen Li’s thoughts. Chen Li probably believed that Wei Chen was discussing the matter of Chen Li going to school, and because Chen Li knew that once he started school, he would have to separate from Wei Chen, he displayed such resistance.

“Li Li, I respect your opinion, and I won’t force you to do anything. But if you have something you like, you mustn’t suppress it. I don’t want this to happen after I’m with you,” Wei Chen held both of Chen Li’s hands and spoke earnestly.

Chen Li continued to stubbornly tilt his head, showing no reaction, behaving like a rebellious child defying his parents.

Seeing Chen Li’s resistance, Wei Chen didn’t pursue the topic further. He reached over and put his arm around Chen Li’s shoulder, silently walking with him on the cobblestone path in the park until night completely fell, and the stars adorned the night sky. Finally, holding Chen Li’s hand, they quietly walked back home.

Throughout, Chen Li never made eye contact with Wei Chen again.

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