Perhaps noticing Xiang Mo’s displeasure, Du Chi quickly explained that he didn’t mean any offense.
He argued that when sensuality intertwines with art, it no longer carries a vulgar connotation but becomes a refined taste.

“Art requires this kind of taste,” Du Chi earnestly asserted.

Though it might be a bit far-fetched, Xiang Mo found solace in such an unconventional interpretation.
As an artist, he possessed a certain pride, and hearing an outsider use the term “refined” to describe his work brought him even greater joy than expert recognition, even if the compliment may have been somewhat exaggerated.

Despite not changing his opinion about disliking the neighbor, Xiang Mo couldn’t find it in himself to despise the person who praised him.

On the afternoon that Du Chi was reminded to keep his volume down, a logistics company delivered a carpet to the art studio.

The carpet was extremely heavy, and two deliverymen carried it up the wooden stairs, producing worrisome creaking sounds.
The old wooden staircase seemed to bear a weight it was not meant to carry, protesting loudly, diverting the attention of most students in the studio.

One student asked Xiang Mo, “Teacher, did someone move in with you?”

Since the appearance of the heavy-duty motorcycle in the courtyard, students have asked similar questions every day.

The flashy motorcycle seemed incongruent with Xiang Mo’s demeanor, prompting some students who were close to him to privately ask if he had a new boyfriend.

Xiang Mo had never explicitly come out to his students, so he was unsure how they could have guessed his sexual orientation.
He forgot to deny their inquiries and curiously asked why they thought he might have a boyfriend.

The student sent a cute emoji and replied, “A beautiful teacher like you deserves to be loved.”

Then, realizing what was said, they immediately retracted the message.

It wasn’t the first time Xiang Mo had been called “beautiful” by his students.
Once, when he was idly scrolling through social media, he stumbled upon a full-face portrait drawn by a student.
The person in the drawing had slightly long, tousled hair, a perfectly proportioned face, and dense lower eyelashes, creating a languid and alluring gaze.
A pair of cat-like lips, painted with layered colors, rendered them irresistible.

The caption read: “The beautiful teacher in the art studio has a captivating face.”

Xiang Mo wanted to compliment the student’s art, but he felt awkward doing so.

“Upstairs has been rented out,” Xiang Mo casually replied, trying to keep the student’s focus on their artwork.

However, when the two deliverymen came down from upstairs, Xiang Mo’s mind wandered.

This logistics company was not an ordinary courier; they specialized in delivering goods for businesses.
Normally, when Xiang Mo purchased something like a carpet online, it would take at least one or two days for the regular courier to deliver it.
However, Du Chi seemed to have found a local physical store, chosen a large carpet that could cover the entire room, and had it delivered right away.

Recalling it now, ever since he reminded Du Chi in the morning, his presence seemed to have diminished significantly.

There were no more loud slamming noises from the fridge in the kitchen, nor did footsteps above show any disregard for the noise.

Although Du Chi maintained an appearance of indifference and continued teasing Xiang Mo with a loud voice, he had actually taken heed of Xiang Mo’s reminder.

The morning’s annoyance seemed to have dissipated suddenly, and Xiang Mo felt considerably more at ease.

Perhaps this is how neighbors interact – they don’t intentionally cause annoyance; they just lack awareness.
With a little reminder, both sides can coexist peacefully.

It was another pleasant and sunny Monday morning, as Xiang Mo carried a laundry basket and arrived on the third-floor balcony.
He happened to find Du Chi there, leisurely sunbathing something on the casual table.

Recently, whenever Xiang Mo came to the third floor to do laundry, he felt like he had come to the wrong place.

The once dilapidated balcony was now adorned with flowers and plants, with a cozy table and chairs.
Amidst the chaotic mix of clutter and hanging laundry on the other balconies, Xiang Mo’s balcony looked like a small garden, devoid of any signs of mundane life.

“Morning, Teacher Xiang,” Du Chi fiddled with the item in his hand and greeted Xiang Mo, “Coming up to do laundry?”

“Yep,” Xiang Mo replied.

Neighborhood greetings were often empty talk.
Holding a basket of dirty laundry, it was obvious he was coming up to do laundry.

—Or is it to wash clothes? Could it be that you’re here to admire Du Chi’s figure?

His gaze unavoidably fell on Du Chi’s upper body.
Xiang Mo forced himself not to look and stuffed the dirty clothes into the washer-dryer.

He knew that Du Chi had a habit of taking a shower after morning jogging.
However, he didn’t expect that Du Chi would be shirtless afterward.

Perhaps because it was his territory, he was more casual.
Du Chi wore only a loose cotton trousers with a half-damp, half-dry towel draped around his neck.

Although Xiang Mo didn’t want to admit it, Du Chi’s well-built physique exposed under the clear blue sky was indeed pleasing to the eye, like a painting.

Sanmao curiously approached Xiang Mo and watched him set the washing and drying program.

Once the washer-dryer started working, Xiang Mo planned to return downstairs and do his own thing.
But Sanmao squatted beside him, blocking his direct path to the hallway.
He had to take a slight detour and ended up closer to the table where Du Chi was sunbathing something.

On the table were a few ancient books, accidentally dampened and wrinkled, looking a bit pitiful.

Du Chi’s casual voice came from across the table, “Your Sanmei did something naughty.”

“Huh?” Xiang Mo paused at the unexpected remark and looked at Du Chi with surprise.

With no stepping stone to stand on, Xiang Mo’s head was only at Du Chi’s nose.
He had to tilt his chin slightly to meet the somewhat dazzling sunlight.

The leisure table was about a meter wide, with both of them standing on either side, just at a comfortable social distance.

But when one person wasn’t wearing clothes, the situation was a bit different.

Xiang Mo stole a glance at Du Chi and felt uncomfortable, so he averted his gaze.

Du Chi looked down at himself and explained, “I just came up, and Sanmao knocked over my cup.
I didn’t have time to put on clothes.”

Xiang Mo thought to himself that Sanmei had been getting more and more mischievous lately and seemed to have developed a new map of the third floor.
He looked at Du Chi and said, “I apologize,” then lowered his head to the ancient books on the table and asked, “What are these…”

“An annotated copy of the Diamond Sutra from the Jiajing era,” Du Chi said.

Xiang Mo understood each word Du Chi said, but when combined, they left him a bit puzzled.

Just like the motorcycle that didn’t fit Xiang Mo’s temperament, the Diamond Sutra didn’t seem to match Du Chi either.

His eyes betrayed his confusion, and Du Chi took the initiative to explain, “It’s related to my job.”

“Job?” Xiang Mo raised an eyebrow.

To be honest, Xiang Mo had noticed that Du Chi wasn’t an ordinary office worker.
He was always idle at home, like an unemployed wanderer.
Normally, he wouldn’t care about Du Chi’s private matters, but looking at the ancient books, he couldn’t help but feel curious.

Du Chi opened up one of the books, and Xiang Mo couldn’t decipher the text.
Just like Du Chi himself, this person remained inscrutable.

“I’m a font designer,” Du Chi explained.

Perhaps due to the sun’s heat on the back of his neck, Du Chi took off the towel around his neck and wiped his still-damp hair.
He continued, “Sometimes, I need to refer to the fonts in ancient books.”

Xiang Mo had never heard of this profession, so he made an intuitive guess, “Do you design artistic fonts?”

“No, I design entire typefaces.”

In response to Du Chi’s inquiry about whether Xiang Mo also ran an art studio as a part-time gig, Xiang Mo was too lazy to say much and just replied with a simple “No.”

Now, the situation was the same.
The font library was clearly something new and exciting, but Du Chi didn’t take the initiative to explain, which indicated that he was also not interested in telling Xiang Mo more.

That was fine with Xiang Mo, he thought.
He and Du Chi didn’t need to be very close, to begin with.

“However, if you need artistic fonts, I can help you design them,” Du Chi added, unlike Xiang Mo’s indifference.

“Thank you, but no need,” Xiang Mo politely declined, “I also know a bit about design.”
If he truly needed artistic fonts, he could easily handle it himself.

“Oh, right,” Du Chi seemed to recall something suddenly, and a smile appeared at the corner of his eyes, “You are an artist.”

Once again, the word “artist” resurfaced.

Fortunately, this time Du Chi didn’t add the term “erotic,” but Xiang Mo still sensed the teasing undertone.

Although he wasn’t angry, he decided to pretend not to hear that remark and naturally changed the topic, asking, “Are you studying design?”

“Yes,” Du Chi replied, “I also studied fine arts in high school, but my skills are far below yours.”

Xiang Mo started learning to draw when he was seven years old.
With talent and hard work, many teachers with more qualifications than him didn’t necessarily reach his level.

However, now he realized that Du Chi wasn’t a complete outsider.

“By the way, how did you end up going to my art exhibition?” Xiang Mo curiously asked.

“Oh, I treated it as a porn show,” Du Chi joked.

Xiang Mo: “…”

In Xiang Mo’s understanding, porn usually involved interactions between two or more people.
He took a deep breath and patiently explained, “I only draw male figures.
How could it be porn?”

“Right,” Du Chi wiped the back of his head with the towel, “I like men.”

Xiang Mo was momentarily stunned, thinking, “Why do you have to come out to your neighbor so suddenly?”

Who would come out of the closet without any warning like this?

Before, when Du Chi was “exercising” upstairs, Xiang Mo didn’t pay attention to the gender of his visitors.
Combined with his lack of interest in other people’s private lives, he never considered the possibility that Du Chi might be like him.

Now the atmosphere turned awkward.

Xiang Mo had already adapted to Du Chi flaunting his abs, but now he felt inexplicably uncomfortable.

Du Chi, on the other hand, seemed calm and composed, casually draping the towel over his shoulder and saying, “You’re the same, right, Teacher Xiang?”

Xiang Mo didn’t know how to respond, but just as he was about to find a way, Du Chi’s phone, which was in his pocket, suddenly rang.
It gave Xiang Mo a chance to catch a break.

After a short while, Du Chi hung up the phone and said to Xiang Mo, “Luo Yang invited us to try his dishes.”

“Luo Yang?” Xiang Mo was puzzled for a moment but immediately realized that Du Chi was referring to the owner of the restaurant across the street, Luo Yang.

Luo Yang had opened the restaurant opposite Xiang Mo’s place before he moved in.
They had known each other for three years, and Xiang Mo always politely addressed him as “Boss Luo.”

Boss Luo often invited neighbors to try his dishes.
In normal circumstances, he should have directly called Xiang Mo.
However, this time, he informed Du Chi first and asked him to bring along Xiang Mo.

When did these two become so familiar with each other?

Xiang Mo stood inexplicably outside Du Chi’s room, waiting for him to change his clothes, and thought that his new neighbor seemed to be a social butterfly.

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