Chapter 136 – Returning to Shanghai

Realizing the possibility, Sheng Jiaqi couldn’t help but marvel at how small the world could be. On a whim, he had visited an art gallery and happened to fall in love with a painting not created by a renowned artist. Despite the persuasion from his companions, he still spent a considerable sum of money to purchase the artwork, which others deemed not worth it at all.

Now, if his friends knew that the painting he bought at the gallery was by the Dream Cup Gold Award winner, they might regret it deeply. After all, the paintings of the Dream Cup Gold Award winner had great appreciation potential in the art collecting community and were highly sought after. However, the artist had only released two paintings to the public: one was donated to the National Art Museum, and the other was the painting auctioned off at the Dream Cup event.

Sheng Jiaqi truly admired this artist’s works. Initially, he regretted not buying the other painting by the same artist. However, he never imagined that the Dream Cup Gold Award winner would turn out to be Chen Li, his subordinate’s partner, and he already owned two of Chen Li’s paintings.

This was the biggest surprise Sheng Jiaqi received today. He was eager to go downstairs and open the painting that Wei Chen brought today. He couldn’t wait to hang it up and appreciate it properly.

Cookie understood Sheng Jiaqi’s excitement and said, “Dad, you go downstairs and take a look. I’ll stay with Little Biscuit.”

Despite the urgency, Sheng Jiaqi restrained himself and said, “Nothing is more important than spending time with my Little Biscuit.”

Half an hour later, Sheng Jiaqi went downstairs, opened the painting Wei Chen brought, and, just like with Chen Li’s other paintings, Sheng Jiaqi was immediately captivated. If this painting had been in a gallery or an auction, Sheng Jiaqi would have surely paid a high price to add it to his collection.

Wei Chen and Chen Li were unaware that Sheng Jiaqi had already connected Chen Li’s identity through his signature. At this moment, they were driving back home. It had snowed all day, and thick layers of snow piled up along the roadsides. The roads were already cleared of snow, and the two of them had a smooth drive back to their residential area.

When Wei Chen parked the car in the garage and unfastened Chen Li’s seatbelt, he leaned over and planted a kiss on Chen Li’s lips. “Li Li, you were amazing today,” Wei Chen praised.

Chen Li didn’t know why Wei Chen was praising him, but he was still delighted with the compliment, and his big eyes sparkled.

Wei Chen gently ruffled Chen Li’s hair and said, “Li Li, we’re back home.”

“Yeah,” Chen Li nodded and extended his hand, asking Wei Chen to hold it.

Wei Chen took Chen Li’s hand, and their fingers intertwined. The collision of their two rings made a clear sound, and then their rings pressed firmly against each other.

The sound caught Chen Li’s attention, and he lowered his head to look at their tightly clasped fingers, a faint smile appearing on his lips.

Wei Chen was enchanted by that smile for a moment. At this moment, the elevator arrived, and he pressed Chen Li against the elevator wall, giving him a passionate kiss. This continued until the elevator reached their floor, and the doors opened.

Wei Chen’s voice was hoarse as he whispered in Chen Li’s ear, “Li Li, you have to become healthier quickly.”

Chen Li looked at Wei Chen with a puzzled expression, but Wei Chen didn’t explain further. Instead, he held Chen Li’s hand again, and they walked out of the elevator together.

By now, the night had fully descended, and outside the window, the cold wind was howling, enveloping the world in bone-chilling coldness. Inside the house, however, it was as warm as spring.

After Chen Li returned, he sat on the sofa and absentmindedly pressed the remote control, changing TV channels one after another, staring at the screen with a blank expression.

When they switched to the children’s channel, a cartoon that Chen Li had seen earlier in Little Biscuit’s room was playing. Little Biscuit loved it and told the story of the cartoon character to Chen Li.

At the moment, Chen Li wasn’t changing channels anymore. Not because he enjoyed watching it, but compared to other TV programs, he found cartoons more interesting. Everything in the cartoon was straightforward, unlike TV dramas filled with intrigue and conflicts, which made Chen Li uncomfortable.

Chen Li put the remote down and fixed his gaze on the TV. He watched it with some interest.

After finishing his shower, Wei Chen came out and saw Chen Li staring blankly at the TV. Chen Li seemed completely focused, and the colors on the screen danced in his eyes.

Wei Chen followed Chen Li’s gaze and looked at the TV, realizing that Chen Li was watching a cartoon. It had a simple and sketchy art style, and the characters weren’t conventionally beautiful. When they spoke, their mouths twisted in odd directions.

“Is it good?” Wei Chen sat down beside Chen Li and asked.

Chen Li shook his head, “Not good.”

Confused, Wei Chen asked, “Then why don’t you change the channel?”

“Better than others,” Chen Li replied, still fixated on the TV, watching intently.

Wei Chen didn’t disturb Chen Li any further. He opened his laptop and began working by Chen Li’s side.

They didn’t bother each other, and the atmosphere was filled with warmth despite the lack of conversation.

Each episode of the cartoon was short, and it quickly finished playing. With nothing else to watch, Chen Li turned to look at Wei Chen. He observed Wei Chen’s features, his eyebrows, eyes, nose, and lips. Chen Li found every contour attractive and perfect.

“Why are you looking at me?” Wei Chen turned his head and met Chen Li’s gaze, asking.

“Good-looking,” Chen Li honestly answered.

Wei Chen had anticipated Chen Li’s response and smiled, “How long will you look at me?”

“For a very long time,” Chen Li said earnestly.

“Okay,” Wei Chen pursed his lips, “I’ll let you look at me for a very long time.”

“Okay, pinky promise?” Chen Li learned this from the cartoon. Once they pinky promise, they can’t break their word.

Chen Li extended his pinky, and Wei Chen linked his own pinky with Chen Li’s, “Okay, pinky promise.”

“And you can’t change,” Chen Li said, looking into Wei Chen’s eyes with utmost seriousness.

“Sure, can’t change,” Wei Chen agreed.

Chen Li’s eyes and lips curved into a smile.

Wei Chen reached out and held Chen Li’s face in his hands, saying, “Li Li, your smile is so beautiful. I love seeing you smile.”

“Then I’ll smile for you often,” Chen Li said, his lips curling up again.

“Okay,” Wei Chen lowered his head and gently kissed Chen Li’s upturned lips, over and over, tenderly.

Chen Li didn’t move and let Wei Chen kiss him.

The cold wind continued outside, but the temperature inside rose bit by bit. When it reached a certain point, Wei Chen stopped abruptly. He pressed his forehead against Chen Li’s, his breath slightly labored, and his voice husky, “Li Li, you have to become healthier quickly.”

It was the second time Wei Chen said this tonight, and though Chen Li was still clueless, he responded earnestly, “Okay.”

Wei Chen reached out and pulled Chen Li into his embrace, burying his head in Chen Li’s fair neck. He took several deep breaths before slowly suppressing the burning sensation inside him. It wasn’t the right time; Chen Li was still too fragile, unable to bear it. He needed to get healthier and stronger before anything else.

Chen Li didn’t know what Wei Chen was thinking, but he gently patted Wei Chen’s back as if to comfort him. He was used to Wei Chen’s behavior; after all, Wei Chen often displayed such reactions in front of him.

Finally, the restlessness subsided, and Wei Chen sat upright, bringing up the topic of returning to Shanghai.

“Li Li, in a few days, we’ll return to Shanghai,” Wei Chen said, holding Chen Li’s hand tightly. He could feel that as soon as he mentioned going back to Shanghai, Chen Li tensed up.

Chen Li didn’t reply; he looked a bit blank, and his eyes began to lose focus.

To Chen Li, Shanghai was like hell, a place filled with all the darkness from his memories. For him, the air and everything in Shanghai were like sharp blades. If possible, Chen Li didn’t want to go back there.

However, as he looked at Wei Chen, his unfocused eyes gradually regained their sparkle. Shanghai was Wei Chen’s home, the place where they met. In that regard, he wouldn’t resist going back with Wei Chen.

Wei Chen tightened his grip on Chen Li’s hand and said, “Li Li, we’ll spend the Lunar New Year in Shanghai, but I won’t let you stay there for long.”

Wei Chen understood Chen Li’s feelings. Shanghai, especially the Chen family in Shanghai, was where Chen Li’s inner demons began. For twenty years, Chen Li had been trapped in that darkness and couldn’t escape. If he could, Wei Chen wouldn’t want to bring Chen Li back to Shanghai. However, now Wei Chen was still too weak. Others might say he was talented and promising, but only Wei Chen knew that he was still the young master of the Wei family. He didn’t have enough power to resist the Chen family yet.

If he defied his grandfather’s wishes again, and if his grandfather wanted to summon him back to Shanghai, he wouldn’t have a choice but to go.

So, for a better future, Wei Chen had to learn to compromise for now.

Maybe Chen Li knew Wei Chen’s helplessness, or maybe he just didn’t want to make things difficult for Wei Chen. He firmly said, “Alright, let’s go back.”

“Li Li,” Wei Chen couldn’t help but tightly embrace Chen Li. He vowed that this would be his last compromise. After this, he wouldn’t let Chen Li make choices he didn’t like.

Chen Li nestled in Wei Chen’s embrace, everything was okay as long as Achen was with him.

Even if Wei Chen and Chen Li resisted going back to Shanghai, time wouldn’t stop flowing just because they didn’t want to. Days went by, and before they knew it, it was already the 29th day of the first lunar month.

This was the last day Wei Chen could delay. Looking at the flying snow outside the window, he quickly packed a few pieces of clothing and held Chen Li’s hand to the airport.

Back to Shanghai.

This time, if they were going back, they should break certain things more thoroughly. Wei Chen said this to himself in his heart.

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