In the brief moments outside the treatment room, Qi Yanbai’s heart had already experienced a turmoil.
He began to reexamine the relationship between himself and Lu Ye and “plan” a new way of getting along.
Prior to this, Qi Yanbai had never been moved, nor had he pursued anyone.
It was the first time in his life that he felt such a strong desire for anyone, making it difficult to extract any effective experience from his life.
But that was alright; luckily, Teacher Qi was skilled at “improvising.”
Realizing that his desire for Lu Ye had intensified, giving rise to a new kind of longing.
—He not only wanted to get Lu Ye, but he even wanted to possess him entirely.
However, Qi Yanbai was also well aware that Lu Ye was a strong-willed individual who would never surrender his freedom completely, even to a pursuer.
If he displayed excessive aggression, it would only alert Lu Ye to the danger and prompt him to avoid Qi Yanbai completely.
Therefore, he had to find a more subtle way to approach him, then subtly infiltrate his mind until Lu Ye lets him inside his heart.
In the room next door, Lu Ye had no idea that someone had secretly set their sights on him.
The chilly breeze blowing in through the window seams made him shiver, and he couldn’t help but turn around to glance at the distorted window frame behind him.
With a smile, he said, “Doctor, winter is coming.
You really should fix these windows.”
“Hey, you’re right.
The patients have complained several times,” the doctor replied with a smile.
He then carefully tied the wound and instructed, “Alright, take care of it when you go back.
Change the dressing regularly, avoid water for a few days, avoid smoking and alcohol these days, and stay away from spicy and greasy foods.”
“Got it.” Lu Ye gently moved his bandaged wrist, then stood up, thanked the doctor, and turned to open the door to the treatment room.
Qi Yanbai stood by the door with Lu Ye’s coat in his arms, waiting for him.
As Lu Ye emerged, he quickly stood up and approached, draping the coat over Lu Ye’s shoulders.
His movements were cautious, deliberately avoiding Lu Ye’s recently injected arm.
He adjusted the position of the coat, then circled to the front and closed Lu Ye’s collar.
Qi Yanbai had graceful hands, long and fair.
He leaned in slightly, getting closer, and then extended his hand to loop it around Lu Ye’s neck, swiftly straightening his collar.
As he got closer, the collar of the coat brushed against the side of Lu Ye’s face.
Lu Ye instinctively turned his head to avoid it, but he still caught a whiff of the clean scent of laundry detergent on Qi Yanbai.
Lu Ye’s heart skipped a beat.
He felt as though something had changed about Qi Yanbai.
Qi Yanbai hadn’t said a word, yet his attitude seemed distinctly different from half an hour ago.
Lu Ye wasn’t sure if he was overthinking things, but he had the sense that Qi Yanbai had become more familiar.
“Does it still hurt?” Qi Yanbai finally spoke, “After the tetanus shot, do you have to wait a while before getting the rabies vaccine?”
“Yes,” Lu Ye replied.
“I need to be observed for half an hour after the tetanus shot.
I can wait on my own.
You can go back.”
Now it was getting late, and while Lu Ye was used to working overtime and night shifts, he wasn’t sure if Qi Yanbai was used to staying up late.
So, after considering it for a moment, he added, “I’ll take a taxi back after I get the shot.
“I want to stay here to take care of you.
Your hand is injured, so it’s inconvenient to do things on your own,” Qi Yanbai said.
“Besides, since we’ve already waited this long, a little while longer won’t make a difference.”
Lu Ye was about to say something more when Qi Yanbai’s sigh interrupted him.
Lu Ye still had another shot to get, so he loosely draped the coat over himself, letting his injured hand hang by his side.
The white bandage at the edge of his shirt’s sleeve peeked out intermittently.
Qi Yanbai sighed, fixing his gaze on that exposed edge for a couple of seconds before gently reaching out and pulling Lu Ye’s hand, cradling his wrist.
It was as if he wanted to touch it but hesitated, so he lightly traced the edge of the bandage with his fingertips.
“I’m sorry, Lu Ye,” Qi Yanbai’s tone was a bit hushed as he spoke.
“It’s my fault that you got hurt.
It’s only natural for me to take care of you.
You don’t need to send me away.”
Lu Ye keenly perceived the slight change in how Qi Yanbai addressed him.
He squinted his eyes, feeling like this subtle alteration had become even more apparent.
However, having just gone through this “fight side by side” experience with Qi Yanbai, he considered their relationship to have grown closer, so he decided not to delve into this change.
“It’s fine, I’m okay,” Lu Ye said.
Having been a police officer for many years, he had encountered countless situations, including getting bitten.
During his time as a beat cop, he had been involved in multiple altercations.
“But next time, still report to the police first,” Lu Ye said.
“Today, I happened to be nearby.
If I weren’t, I would’ve had a hard time getting there quickly.
It’s safer to call the police in the future.”
Qi Yanbai obediently listened to his advice, nodding his head, then looked up at him and smiled.
The smile appeared innocent, yet somewhat forced.
Lu Ye watched Qi Yanbai, who still had slightly reddened eye rims, and suddenly his initial decision wavered.
His concern and tenderness were so apparent, nearly overflowing from his gaze.
Lu Ye was softened by this sight, and in the end, he couldn’t help but sigh, his compromise carrying a sense of helplessness and amusement, “Alright, if you don’t want to go home, you don’t have to.
Staying up all night at the hospital instead of sleeping—truly living the good life.”
“It’s fine,” Qi Yanbai said, seeing him relent.
He smiled, his tone lightened a bit.
“I don’t have classes tomorrow morning, so I can sleep in a bit.”
He sat with Lu Ye in the observation area for a while, marking the time and waiting for the half-hour observation period to pass.
Then he escorted Lu Ye back to the treatment room, who fetched a prescription, and went upstairs to get the other shot.
With years of experience in the police force, Lu Ye was quite familiar with the routine of the “rabies vaccine, tetanus shot, and PEP medication” combo.
However, never before had he experienced such a worry-free process like today.
Qi Yanbai went up and down the floors for him, and when he returned, he brought not only the medication but also a bottle of warm water.
“Not bad.” Lu Ye chuckled, weighing the bottle in his hand, and sighed, “I’ve never experienced this kind of pampering before.”
“Then today is a good opportunity to try it.” Qi Yanbai smiled, reaching over and, following Lu Ye’s motion, loosened the bottle cap for him.
Lu Ye: “…”
Lu Ye had known that Qi Yanbai was easy going, but he hadn’t realized how persistent he could be.
When he said he would take care of Lu Ye, he genuinely meant it.
Lu Ye couldn’t help but smile and chuckle as he looked at the water bottle that had been opened for him, feeling quite helpless, and then he took the medicine.
After a half-night of ordeal, it was now approaching late night.
After the observation period for the rabies vaccine had ended, only the two of them remained in the observation room.
The Twin Towers apartment was never calm at night.
Lu Ye initially wanted to call a taxi for Qi Yanbai to take him home, but Qi Yanbai was quite stubborn.
He insisted on making sure the “injured person” got into a car before leaving himself.
So, Lu Ye thought for a moment and suggested a compromise.
“Let’s do this,” Lu Ye smiled and said, “Let’s go outside and catch a cab.
Whoever hails one first gets to claim it.”
Lu Ye stood up as he spoke and headed toward the direction of the elevator.
Qi Yanbai quickly caught up and stopped him with a gesture.
“Wait a moment, I’ll press the button for you,” Qi Yanbai said.
Lu Ye found his overly cautious manner amusing and couldn’t help teasing, “It’s a good thing it’s my hand that got hurt.
If it were yours, I wonder how you would draw.”
Qi Yanbai took a step ahead, pressed the down button for the elevator, and after a brief silence, turned to Lu Ye with a smile.
“Let me tell you a secret,” Qi Yanbai said, “Actually, I don’t like drawing that much.”
Lu Ye was slightly taken aback.
Perhaps due to his preconceived impression of Qi Yanbai, Lu Ye had always thought of him as a natural-born artist who should be wielding a paintbrush.
Now, hearing that Qi Yanbai himself didn’t like drawing, Lu Ye was surprised.
“If you don’t like drawing, then why pursue this field?” Lu Ye asked.
As they spoke, the elevator had arrived and the glass doors slid open.
Behind the doors, a massive mirrored wall covered the elevator’s interior.
“This involves another secret,” Qi Yanbai said.
He held the elevator door, and the two of them entered one after the other.
The confined space seemed to be naturally designed to hold secrets, and Qi Yanbai looked up at his reflection in the mirror, seeing a trace of coldness in his mirrored eyes.
“Actually, I’m an illegitimate child,” Qi Yanbai said softly, his head slightly lowered.
“My father is a well-known painter, but he didn’t like me.
So, I had to keep drawing constantly during my childhood just to catch his attention in hopes he would love me as his son.”
“I started to draw just to capture his attention.” Qi Yanbai continued, “But as I continued drawing, it became a habit, and I might say I grew to like it.”
Lu Ye hadn’t expected a casual conversation to unveil Qi Yanbai’s private history.
He turned his head and looked at the soft spiraling hair on top of Qi Yanbai’s head.
After a moment of silence, he reached out and gently tapped Qi Yanbai’s shoulder.
“It doesn’t matter that you’re an illegitimate child.” Lu Ye comforted, “Adults’ affairs are their own, and it has nothing to do with the child.
You’re really good at drawing, and even if it wasn’t for your father, you must be naturally talented.”
“Yeah.” Qi Yanbai turned his head to smile at him and said, “But it’s all in the past now.
We haven’t had any contact for these years, and I’ve long stopped caring.”
As they spoke, the elevator door stopped on the first floor, the glass doors slid open, and the mirrored surface behind the doors receded into the slots, conveniently veiling Qi Yanbai’s calm and unruffled gaze.
He hadn’t told Lu Ye the whole truth—or rather, he had only told half of it.
Lu Ye thought that Qi Yanbai’s low spirits were due to being an “illegitimate child,” but in reality, there were nearly a dozen half-brothers and half-sisters, each with varying nationalities and bloodlines, and each mother was considered Qi Zhe’s “true love.” It was practically impossible to tell who was the “legitimate heir.”
Qi Zhe, like many artists, was wealthy and romantic, fickle and unfaithful.
He cherished these women extravagantly, but he had a mere passing interest in his children.
Only when they produced some remarkably exceptional artwork did he display a modicum of fatherly affection.
Resources were limited, but conditions were favorable.
So, since childhood, Qi Yanbai and his so-called “siblings” had known how to compete for Qi Zhe’s attention and gain more benefits and resources from him.
Unfortunately, talent couldn’t replace innate characteristics, and after more than a decade of fighting with them, Qi Yanbai ultimately had to withdraw from this singular mode of competition.
Fortunately, Qi Yanbai thought he could no longer create anything, but he hadn’t anticipated that he could find new sense of passion from Lu Ye.
The deep autumn night was chilling, and once they stepped out of the hospital lobby, the piercing cold felt like it could seep into their limbs through their pores.
Lu Ye took a step forward out of habit, then turned sideways to shield Qi Yanbai from the rushing draft that passed through the hallway.
Before this, Lu Ye had never considered that Qi Yanbai would have such a complicated family background.
Qi Yanbai had a gentle personality, considerate of others, appearing as if he came from a warm and caring family.
Lu Ye had never imagined that he actually had such a hard upbringing.
However, it seemed like there were traces of it.
Qi Yanbai had a gentle and soft personality, rarely having conflicts with others.
Lu Ye had wondered why he was so unassuming; now, he realized it might be due to the shadows left by his childhood of neglect.
People who seemed fragile often invoked pity in others.
Lu Ye glanced at Qi Yanbai beside him and couldn’t help but take a step forward, shielding him from more of the rushing wind.
“Not caring is a good thing.” Lu Ye said, “No matter what, your life is yours to decide.
Don’t let other people’s preferences dictate your path.”
The night was pitch-black, and Lu Ye’s voice was soft.
Qi Yanbai’s thoughts stirred, and from his tone, he inexplicably heard a type of tenderness he had never encountered before.“
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