Xia Wennan didn’t really have much else to do after dinner, but he spent the entire night wandering outside.
He simply wasn’t all too keen on the idea of going home; his heart wasn’t convinced that that house was his home—his home was still that dilapidated factory housing back in his old county. 

He strolled into an arcade and purchased 20 yuan in coins to use on the claw machine, but was reluctant to spend any more money once he ran out of coins.
So he merely stood there for a while, watching other people play, before fleeing when an AO couple approached the claw machine in each other’s embrace.
He didn’t like smelling the overflowing scent of love, even if it didn’t stink. 

Xia Wennan slowly made his way home. 

He arrived home at around half past nine, unlocked the door with his fingerprint, and gently pushed it open a crack, only to discover that it was pitch blank inside.

Upon realising that Ming Luchuan wasn’t home yet, Xia Wennan breathed a sigh of relief.
He opened the door and entered the apartment, not bothering to turn on the lights, intending to go straight to his room.

Yet after only two steps forward, a deep voice resounded in the dark living room.
“Where have you been?”

Startled, Xia Wennan stopped in his tracks and swept his gaze across the living room, but his eyes needed time to adjust to the dim light, and he couldn’t even make out faintest vaguest silhouette.
“Who’s there?” he asked bluntly.

Whoever had spoken went silent for a moment.
When they spoke up again their tone was full of suppressed ire.
“Who else do you think is here?”

Of course, Xia Wennan knew who it was—he was simply pretending not to know on purpose.
He extended a hand in front of him and fumbled around in the dark like a blind person.
“Who the hell are you? If you don’t answer I’m calling the police.” 

As his words fell, his hand bumped into something warm.
It was probably a person’s chest, a contrast of softness and solidity.
It felt unexpectedly nice to the touch. 

However, Xia Wennan quickly retracted his hand.
His eyes had grown accustomed to the darkness, and he got an eyeful of Ming Luchuan’s tall and upright figure. 

“Oh, it’s you,” Xia Wennan feigned a relieved sigh.
“Why didn’t you say so earlier,” he said perfunctorily as he tried to sidestep Ming Luchuan to get to his room. 

Yet Ming Luchuan moved sideways, barring his way.
“Where have you been?” he demanded unceremoniously

Why don’t you mind your own business, Xia Wennan thought.
Ming Luchuan was so scary though, and he didn’t want to argue, so he lightened up his tone and replied, “I went for a walk.”

“Where did you go?” Ming Luchuan asked, like he was interrogating a criminal.  

Xia Wennan looked up at him.
Although the room was dark, he could still make out the smooth contours of Ming Luchuan’s face.
“I just walked around the nearby mall,” Xia Wennan explained.
After that, he remembered something and reached out to grab Ming Luchuan’s hand, telling to him to open it in front of him—at which point he placed a small stuffed monkey on the other man’s palm.  

The stuffed monkey was the only thing Xia Wennan had managed to grab all night.
It was small, even smaller than the palm of one’s hand.
It was a crude and ugly-looking thing.
“For you.”

“What is this?” Ming Luchuan’s tone was still dour, but he raised his hand and scrutinised the object in his hand by the faint light streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows.  

The light wasn’t bright enough.
He could barely see the stuffed toy.

Xia Wennan casually bullshitted, “I spent all night trying to grab this… I wanted to give you a present.”

“This is it?”

Hearing the man’s disdain, Xia Wennan reached out to snatch the monkey back.
“Forget it then!”

Yet unexpectedly, Ming Luchuan raised his hand to avoid Xia Wennan’s.
He palmed the monkey and said, “How old do you think you are? Stop wasting your time on those childish games.” He then stepped aside, allowing Xia Wennan to pass before returning to his room. 

Xia Wennan waited until he was gone before bolting to his room and locking the door.
He couldn’t make heads or tails of what had just gone down. 

After taking a shower and changing into clean and comfy pyjamas, Xia Wennan went to sit down at his desk.
Recalling the Ming Yan perfume commercial he’d seen on the big screen at the side of the road earlier that day, he took out the work ID from the drawer.

His gaze was fixated on the work ID for a long time.
Xia Wennan turned on the laptop on the desk and typed in the words “Ming Yan” into the search engine, which returned a lot of relevant results.

Xia Wennan had never really understood things like perfume and cosmetics, but he’d vaguely heard of the Ming Yan brand before.
He’d already heard of it six years ago, even.
He wanted to check the company’s address, at first, planning to go there the next day, yet when he scrolled down in search of the address on the company’s webpage, he accidentally came across a photo of the CEO.

It wasn’t a frontal shot, but it was very sharp, and it seemed like a candid photograph from the news or a magazine.
The tall, handsome male Alpha whose head was slightly cocked to the side as he listened to the person next to him speak was unmistakably Ming Luchuan. 

Xia Wennan subconsciously leaned forward, shifting closer to the screen to get a better look at the man.
Under the photo, he spotted the man’s full name: Ming Luchuan. 

Ming Yan’s CEO was Ming Luchuan, and he was Ming Yan’s—Xia Wennan picked up his work ID to make sure—Department Manager of Product R&D.
This meant that Ming Luchuan was not only his husband, but also his boss?

Xia Wennan was taken aback. 

He sat stock still on his chair for a long time, gawking, before jumping to his feet and heading out.
Yet he froze halfway there, wondering if it was appropriate to wear pyjamas and slippers to see his boss.
He then thought, what would he wear at home if not said pyjamas and slippers? Wasn’t his boss wearing pyjamas as well? He eventually set out again. 

Xia Wennan went to Ming Luchuan’s room and directly opened the door in a flurry of emotions. 

A single reading lamp illuminated the room.
Ming Luchuan was reclining against the headboard.
Upon seeing Xia Wennan barging into his room, he set the phone in his hands down by the pillow and coldly said, “Still haven’t learnt to knock?”

Xia Wennan retreated, closed the door, then knocked twice. 

“Come in,” Ming Luchuan called out.

Xia Wennan opened the door and entered the room, saying, “You left out the please.”

Ming Luchuan looked at him emotionlessly.
“Please take a hike.”

“Do you have to be so fierce?” Xia Wennan muttered as he approached the bed.
He looked at Ming Luchuan and hesitated for a moment; unsure of how to address him.
Calling him Ming Luchuan would make it seem like they were strangers, Luchuan was too intimate, ‘Boss’ sounded kind of like he was going for flattery, and calling him ‘husband’… forget about it, why don’t you just kill him right then and there?

And so Xia Wennan: “Da-ge—”

Before he could say more than these two syllables, Ming Luchuan exclaimed icily “Get out!”

Xia Wennan promptly changed it to: “Luchuan ge!”

Ming Luchuan’s anger appeared to slightly recede.

Cold sweat dotted Xia Wennan’s forehead.
Just now, he’d genuinely sensed Ming Luchuan’s anger, because in that split second, it was as if Ming Luchuan’s pheromones had gone out of control, suffocating Xia Wennan’s chest. 

He didn’t understand why Ming Luchuan was angry, and now he had no choice but to placate man, quickly changing the subject and asking, “So you’re actually my boss?”

Ming Luchuan stared at him wordlessly.

Xia Wennan reasoned to himself that he shouldn’t offend the boss at random, at that he should also humble his attitude a little.
Therefore, he knelt next to the bed and tilted his head up to face Ming Luchuan.  “Are you the CEO of Ming Yan? My work ID says that I’m the manager of Ming Yan’s product R&D department.”

Ming Luchuan said, “So? What are you here to say?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” said Xia Wennan. 

“Didn’t Xu Feng tell you yesterday?”

Xia Wennan went blank.
“What did Xu Feng tell me?”

“Ming Yan.”

Xia Wennan’s brows furrowed as he tried to remember, and finally recalled Xu Feng mentioning that Ming Luchuan’s car was the company’s car, and the company belonged to Ming Luchuan’s family. 

Oh, right.
The company was Ming Yan.

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