Chapter 151 – Parting Once Again
Chen Li’s gaze shone brightly as he stared at the dining table. Sitting together with Wei Chen, as soon as he had just settled into his seat, Chen Li picked up his chopsticks and went to pick up the dish he liked.
Seeing Chen Li’s eager appearance, Wei Chen advised, “Take it slow,” before lowering his head to eat his own meal.
Wei Chen already had a hearty appetite, and now, with Chen Li’s influence, his appetite had grown even bigger. By the time they finished their meal, the dishes on the table had been completely cleared.
After finishing the last bite, Chen Li slumped back in his chair and even let out a satisfied burp. When he was alone with Wei Chen, Chen Li was hardly distinguishable from a normal person. This was a significant improvement. Wei Chen didn’t rush to clean up the bowls and chopsticks; he pondered for a moment before speaking, “Li Li, I need to make a trip back to Shanghai in a few days. When the time comes, you can go to Professor Zhuge’s house. I’ll pick you up there when I return in the evening.”
Chen Li fell silent. Wei Chen didn’t rush him for an immediate response; he just gazed at Chen Li quietly.
If he could, he didn’t want to be separated from Chen Li either.
After a long while, Chen Li, lost in thought, nodded slightly at Wei Chen and softly said, “Okay.”
Upon hearing this, Wei Chen didn’t say anything; he just walked over to Chen Li’s side and gently ruffled his hair.
In his sitting position, Chen Li hugged Wei Chen’s waist, using his head to nuzzle against Wei Chen’s firm abdomen. Wei Chen wrapped his arm around Chen Li’s head.
The warm yellow light illuminated the scene, everything quiet and harmonious.
Time flowed like a gentle stream, steadily moving forward. In the blink of an eye, it was time for Municipal Party Committee Secretary Wu’s birthday banquet in Shanghai.
On this day, Beijing was experiencing a light drizzle. The sound of the raindrops, though small, marked the first spring rain. Despite its size, it hastened the arrival of spring.
As dawn broke, Wei Chen had already prepared breakfast. The enticing aroma woke Chen Li, who was still in bed. Chen Li stumbled into the bathroom to freshen up. When he emerged, he was much more awake.
“Good morning, Li Li,” Wei Chen placed a glass of milk on the table and greeted Chen Li as he came out. His tone was full of gentleness and a smile.
“Morning,” Chen Li’s eyes and brows curved slightly, a faint smile appearing on his lips.
Breakfast passed quietly; the two didn’t talk much, only the sound of chewing could be heard.
After about ten minutes, they finished breakfast, tidied up a few things, and then left hand in hand.
Wei Chen had already informed Zhuge Yu, and Chen Li would be staying with him for a day. Wei Chen needed to catch a flight to Shanghai, so time was tight.
About ten days had passed since the Spring Festival, and most people had resumed their work routines. Fortunately, they left early and avoided the rush-hour traffic.
It took Wei Chen over half an hour to drive from their home to Zhuge Yu’s place. When they arrived at Zhuge Yu’s home and rang the doorbell, the door swung open. Zhuge Yu was standing there with a cheerful smile.
“Xiao Li is here, come in, come in!” Zhuge Yu greeted, much like an elder welcoming a younger relative who had returned home after a long absence. His face lit up with happiness, and he took Chen Li’s hand, leading him into the house with great enthusiasm.
Wei Chen followed them inside. Zhuge Feng hadn’t gone to work yet, so when Wei Chen saw Zhuge Feng, he nodded in acknowledgment and placed Chen Li’s art supplies in the living room.
Zhuge Feng also nodded at Wei Chen and then continued with his breakfast.
Wei Chen didn’t stay long at Zhuge Yu’s home. His flight was scheduled to depart in an hour, so he didn’t have much time to linger. After arranging things for Chen Li, Wei Chen turned to leave.
“Achen!” Chen Li spotted him and hurried after him.
Wei Chen stopped in his tracks, and as he turned around, Chen Li threw himself into Wei Chen’s embrace. Before Wei Chen could say anything, Chen Li tiptoed and gently captured Wei Chen’s lips with his own.
The expression in Wei Chen’s eyes softened as he hugged Chen Li, deepening the kiss.
Zhuge Yu and Zhuge Feng didn’t approach to interrupt. Although they were in their fifties or sixties, they could still understand the emotions of a young couple in love who were reluctant to part, especially given Chen Li’s unique circumstances.
The intimate moment didn’t last long; the two eventually separated. As their lips parted, their foreheads touched, and their eyes were filled with each other’s presence.
“I’ll be waiting for you to come back,” Chen Li said.
“Alright,” Wei Chen replied.
Finally, Chen Li watched Wei Chen’s figure disappear down the hallway before withdrawing his gaze and closing the door.
Zhuge Yu sensed that Chen Li’s mood wasn’t high, so he didn’t discuss painting but instead asked about Chen Li’s thoughts on the traditional painting he had seen during the New Year.
Gradually, Chen Li’s attention shifted, and he emerged from the sadness of Wei Chen’s departure. He engaged in a serious discussion with Zhuge Yu about the painting, expressing his admiration for it.
“Xiao Li, would you like to meet someone today?” After Chen Li finished sharing his thoughts on the painting, Zhuge Yu asked, his tone carrying a hint of inquiry. After all, he wasn’t Wei Chen, and he couldn’t provide Chen Li with the same sense of security. Would Chen Li be willing to meet a stranger with him?
However, Chen Li’s response surprised Zhuge Yu. He agreed without any hesitation, without even taking time to think or hesitate.
But in the next moment, Zhuge Yu understood why Chen Li had agreed. Chen Li was trying to emerge from the darkness, trying to make progress.
Realizing this, Zhuge Yu couldn’t help but smile warmly. “Xiao Li, do you know who I’m taking you to meet?” he asked.
Chen Li shook his head, indicating that he didn’t know.
Without keeping him in suspense, Zhuge Yu said directly, “It’s the creator of that painting.” The painting he referred to naturally meant the traditional painting that had captivated Chen Li’s heart.
Chen Li looked at Zhuge Yu, his eyes filled with disbelief.
Zhuge Yu smiled and said, “He had actually wanted to meet you long ago, but I held off and didn’t let him. Today, I’ll take you to meet him.”
Chen Li said, “Alright, thank you, teacher.”
Chen Li knew that this must have been Zhuge Yu’s effort on his behalf.
Zhuge Yu lightly patted Chen Li’s shoulder and said, “No need to thank me, because you are outstanding enough.”
Wei Chen managed to catch the plane in the end. More than two hours later, he returned to Shanghai. This time, Wei Chen’s return was sudden. No one from the Wei family came to pick him up. Wei Chen hailed a taxi and went back to the Wei family.
Wei Chen didn’t notify anyone when he returned to Wei’s house this time. As a result, when he got home, Housekeeper Zhang’s usually serious and stern face was filled with surprise when he saw him.
“Young Master Chen, why have you come back?” Housekeeper Zhang asked. However, as soon as the words were out, Housekeeper Zhang realized the answer. Today was Secretary Wu’s birthday banquet, and Young Master Chen probably rushed back to congratulate Secretary Wu.
“Something urgent came up, so I returned,” Wei Chen answered and then asked again, “Where is Wei Yan?”
“Young Master Yan should be in the garden at this moment. I’ll send someone to call him back,” Housekeeper Zhang said and was about to signal someone.
However, Wei Chen stopped him, “No need to trouble, I’ll go find him.”
With that said, Wei Chen turned and walked toward the Wei family’s garden.
Just as Housekeeper Zhang had mentioned, Wei Yan was indeed in the garden. He had somehow acquired a myna bird and was currently raising it in a cage.
Wei Yan was a bit surprised to see Wei Chen walking towards him. When Wei Chen approached, Wei Yan said, “Achen, didn’t you go to the capital? Why have you come back so soon?” Then, noticing that Chen Li wasn’t beside Wei Chen, Wei Yan became even more surprised. Wei Chen and Chen Li had actually separated! They were practically like conjoined twins!
Wei Chen didn’t answer Wei Yan’s question but went straight to the point, “Today, you’re coming with me to attend Secretary Wu’s birthday banquet.”