“Caravaggio” was a lesser-known film that portrayed the life of the artist of the same name, Caravaggio.
After returning, Lu Ye intentionally looked up this movie.
Perhaps due to its niche subject matter, there was very little online information about this film.
Occasionally, there were one or two reviews, but they only briefly touched on the plot.
They mentioned that the film’s content was vague, despite its exceptional artistic quality, and lacked promotional appeal.
It was suitable only for professionals who appreciated such art and not for the general audience seeking popcorn entertainment.
This kind of invitation was evidently different from Qi Yanbai’s usual style.
Qi Yanbai was considerate in his dealings.
Even when sitting together for a meal, he was conscious of Lu Ye’s preferences.
He never decided anything based on his own likes, nor would he randomly choose a movie that was outside Lu Ye’s range of appreciation.
However, this slight deviation from the norm managed to timely pique Lu Ye’s interest.
He raised an eyebrow, scrolled down with the mouse, and stared at the “Online Viewing Link for this Film” on the webpage.
After staring for a while, he closed the review page, intending to save this bit of novelty for the day of their “date.”
Lu Ye had a slight touch of chauvinism; even though Qi Yanbai had invited him out this time, he found it difficult to just sit there and be “attended to.”
Originally, he had planned to do some preparations for the date before Sunday.
But as luck would have it, starting from the second day after returning from the training center, it was as if someone had pressed an accelerator pedal, and he suddenly became busy.
As the year drew to a close, it seemed that criminals were trying to achieve some sort of criminal target.
They emerged one by one like mushrooms after the rain.
The phone at the municipal bureau’s dispatch center rang endlessly from morning to night, as if demanding their lives, compelling everyone to rush forward without stopping for a moment.
Lu Ye rooted himself in his work.
When he finally snapped out of it, it was already early Saturday morning.
By the time he got home, it was 3:30 AM.
The lights in the entire building had been turned off.
The elevator swayed gently and stopped on the ninth floor.
Lu Ye stepped out, dragging his feet, and before entering his apartment, he subconsciously glanced at Qi Yanbai’s door.
At some point, someone had posted a flyer from a nearby education institution on his door.
Lu Ye was worried it might be a mark left by thieves, so he casually took it down.
The surveillance camera above Qi Yanbai’s door was working diligently.
Its tiny red light blinked in the dark, as if it had detected movement and let out a subtle alert sound.
Then, it slightly rotated, focusing on Lu Ye’s actions.
Lu Ye, caught in his exhaustion, balled up the flyer and threw it into the trash bin by his door, then pressed the code lock on his door.
Half-closed eyes, he swayed inside, stumbling like a drunkard.
Immediately after, the red light on the camera behind him blinked and silently rotated a bit, returning to its original position.
Lu Ye was completely oblivious to this subtle change.
His team had been monitoring a pyramid scheme nest, and they had been through three nights of surveillance and stakeouts before finally making the arrest that night.
He came back home in the chilly wind.
Now his head was throbbing, his brain swollen.
He entered his apartment without turning on the lights, just had enough time to take a hasty shower and freshen up a bit, then he lay on the bed with his eyes half-closed, and his head hit the pillow.
The agreed time for the date with Qi Yanbai was 10 AM.
Lu Ye wasn’t in the habit of standing people up at the last minute, so before falling asleep, he reluctantly set an alarm clock, intending to make the most of this moment to catch up on some sleep.
Lu Ye’s mind was preoccupied, so even this sleep wasn’t truly restful.
He felt that the more he slept, the heavier the blanket became.
He was swinging back and forth between shallow sleep and deep slumber, his forehead even throbbing.
He had no idea how long he’d been sleeping, but at some point, the alarm clock seemed to ring.
He barely lifted his hand to turn it off, and immediately a heavy sensation engulfed him again, almost instantly pulling him back into drowsiness.
After an unknown amount of time passed, Lu Ye finally faintly heard a soft sound from the living room.
Following that, light footsteps came from the entrance, as if someone was entering his home.
Before he could open his eyes, his heart suddenly seemed to drop, and a chilling sensation crawled up his back.
He subconsciously tried to sit up to see who it was, but the footsteps were already close to the bed.
Then, in the next second, a cold hand reached over from the side and gently landed on his forehead.
The cool touch was like a breeze in the scorching sun, momentarily sweeping away some of the heat.
Lu Ye’s nose twitched, and he caught a faint whiff of a familiar perfume from the person.
“… Yanbai?” Feeling the familiar touch of that hand, Lu Ye asked in a muffled voice, “Why are you here?”
Qi Yanbai seemed momentarily stunned, but quickly regained their composure.
He moved his palm away from Lu Ye’s forehead, but the fingertips lagged behind, as if reluctant, and gently brushed against the side of Lu Ye’s face.
“You’re asking me?” Qi Yanbai’s tone carried a perfectly fitting trace of reproach, a touch of annoyance mixed with just the right amount of warmth.
“You are the one who stood me up.”
Lu Ye furrowed his brow slightly at the words, finally recalling something.
With sheer determination, he pushed himself out of the fever-induced daze, and his eyes fluttered open.
“I slept through it?” Lu Ye’s voice was hoarse as he asked, “What time is it now?”
His throat burned as if rubbed with sandpaper.
It was painful enough that Qi Yanbai could feel his heart ache just listening.
As Lu Ye spoke, he tried to prop himself up from the bed.
His vision blurred as he reached for his phone on the nightstand.
However, as his hand was halfway there, Qi Yanbai intercepted it once again.
“It’s already half-past five in the afternoon,” Qi Yanbai said, his gaze lowered, his expression concerned as he watched Lu Ye.
“Your phone has been unreachable.
I asked your colleagues, and they also didn’t know where you were… I got worried, so I decided to come and check on you.”
As he finished speaking, there was a momentary blankness on Qi Yanbai’s face, as if even his breathing paused.
However, this moment passed in the blink of an eye.
It was almost like, in the time it took for Lu Ye to blink, he had already resumed that appearance of being anxiously concerned.
“You returned home in a hurry last night, and you didn’t close the door properly,” Qi Yanbai said with certainty and gentleness.
“You left a crack at the door.”
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