The human perception of beauty originated primarily from the human body.

The ancient Greeks discovered the beauty of freedom and health in the human body, providing humanity with a starting point for the concept of beauty.
Regardless of class, religion, or ethical considerations, the gaze upon the human body is a gaze upon beauty.

Due to various social constraints in interpersonal interactions, the last time Xiang Mo encountered Du Chi shirtless on the third floor, he did not “gaze” at him.

It’s not that he didn’t want to, but it would be impolite to do so.
Unspoken regret took root and sprouted in his heart.
Because of this, when a proper opportunity presented itself, this tender shoot emerged like a resilient bud after a long winter.

“Are you sure?” Du Chi glanced around the courtyard, apparently not expecting Xiang Mo to be so bold, and asked skeptically, “Here?”

The perimeter of the small courtyard was surrounded by historical red brick walls instead of drafty iron railings.
The courtyard door was closed, and even if someone passed by, they wouldn’t be able to see what was inside the courtyard.

The neighboring second and third floors could provide a clear view, but both sides were empty at the moment, so there was no need to worry about a bad influence.

In all fairness, Xiang Mo didn’t actually ask Du Chi to undress right here.
His words blurted out like an interviewer’s impromptu request for a cartwheel.
If the interviewee said, “It’s not convenient,” it wouldn’t affect the hiring decision.

However, this situation was a bit unusual.

Thinking back on their past interactions, Xiang Mo rarely had the upper hand.
He raised an eyebrow and looked at Du Chi, asking, “Why, are you scared?”

Having just finished showering, Du Chi had changed into a white cotton short-sleeved shirt and gray linen pants, both of which were easy to take off.

The hair on top of his head was slightly longer than at the back, seemingly blow-dried, flying refreshingly over his forehead.
But the short hair on the sides and the back of his head was blown loosely and casually, and one could still see the dampness under the sunlight.

Feeling certain that Xiang Mo wasn’t joking, Du Chi smiled softly and confidently replied, “Sure, why not?”

A familiar playfulness flickered in his deep eyes, and an inexplicable sense of unease grew in Xiang Mo’s heart.
Yet, before he could react, he saw Du Chi’s hands reaching for his waist and undoing his belt.

Xiang Mo was taken aback, wondering why this guy wasn’t following the usual pattern.
Normally, people would take off their shirt first, right?

He quickly held onto Du Chi’s forearm and stared at him, saying, “Are you a pervert?”

He admitted that he was teasing Du Chi to some extent, but he had no intention of actually making him take off his pants.

The corners of Du Chi’s mouth lifted with a thick smile, as if he had already anticipated Xiang Mo’s flustered reaction.
He retorted, “Who’s the pervert here, the artist?”

With a light and teasing tone, the words “the artist” sounded like some sort of playful nickname.

Xiang Mo almost forgot that it was him who asked someone to undress in broad daylight.
If you had to put it that way, he was the one being a pervert.

“You passed,” he let go of Du Chi’s forearm, awkwardly changing the subject, “What’s your hourly rate?”

“What does Teacher Xiang think is appropriate?” Du Chi no longer teased Xiang Mo, lowered his head, and slowly fastened his belt.

“How about 150 yuan?” Xiang Mo suggested fairly.

Du Chi’s movements paused, and he raised an eyebrow, clearly dissatisfied with the offer.

However, he didn’t try to negotiate further with Xiang Mo and simply said, “Let’s go with that for now.
We can reconsider later.”

Xiang Mo also felt that there was no point in negotiating the price now since if Du Chi only modeled once and didn’t want to do it again, any amount of negotiation would be a waste of time.

The students taking the advanced figure drawing class started coming to the studio around noon.
Unlike the Saturday batch of students who complained endlessly, almost every student who entered the small courtyard today looked at Du Chi leaning against the motorcycle with astonishment and incredulously confirmed with the others, “A new model?”

“Yes, Teacher Xiang specially found us a new model.”

Without waiting for Xiang Mo to introduce him, Meng Yun always proactively chimed in with a flirtatious tone.

Although she was supposed to be the substitute teacher helping with the class, she referred to herself and the students together as “us.” It felt like she had divided the people in the studio into two small groups: her and the students, and Xiang Mo and Du Chi.

Xiang Mo couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he felt that Meng Yun seemed particularly enthusiastic today.

“Pay attention to the forms,” Meng Yun approached Du Chi and advised the students behind the easels, “The model’s shirt is loose-fitting, be careful not to make it look bulky.”

“Teacher, you’re blocking me!” a student protested.

“Also, pay attention to the proportion of the legs!” Meng Yun quickly stepped aside, “The perspective of the Martin boots is crucial!”

Xiang Mo had no room to perform, so he stood aside, occasionally looking at the bored Du Chi and then checking on the students’ progress.

In fact, at first, Du Chi hadn’t changed his clothes.
He was about to be the model for Xiang Mo, wearing flip-flops on his feet.

Of course, Xiang Mo wasn’t satisfied.
He frowned slightly and asked, “What’s so artistic about a white T-shirt?”

Du Chi looked down at himself and then changed into a black polo shirt.

“Still not working.” Xiang Mo crossed his arms and frowned as he looked up and down at Du Chi.
“Don’t you have something more complex to wear?”

T-shirts or polo shirts, the styles are all too simple, and they don’t offer much value for teaching.
Most of the students in the advanced figure drawing class have decent skills, so they need to feel the value of the course.

However, Du Chi clearly didn’t understand Xiang Mo’s teaching standards.
He simply said, “Then you pick.”

Following Du Chi, Xiang Mo went to the third floor.
He couldn’t enter the room, so he had to wait at the door.

After a while, the door opened from the inside, and Du Chi appeared behind it, wearing a round-neck striped shirt.
Xiang Mo took a glance and raised an eyebrow, “Change.”

Du Chi tugged at the corner of his mouth, as if he wanted to protest, but ultimately obediently returned to the room and changed into a gradient-colored casual shirt.

This time, Xiang Mo hesitated for two seconds, but he still said, “Change.”

Du Chi seemed to have lost his temper, showing a speechless expression, and went back into the room again.

Xiang Mo was considering settling for the previous gradient-colored casual shirt if the next outfit wasn’t suitable.
However, when the door opened again, Du Chi was not wearing any clothes, standing shirtless with a white dress shirt in his left hand and a V-neck shirt in his right hand.
Lazily, he asked Xiang Mo, “Which one?”

It looks better without clothes.

An untimely thought flashed through Xiang Mo’s mind.

He pursed his lips and looked at the loose-fitting white dress shirt, saying lightly, “The one on the left.”

“Finally.” Du Chi heaved a sigh of relief and asked, “Any requirements for the pants?”

“Pockets can be bigger.”

Finally, Du Chi put on a pair of cuffed cropped jeans.
When he walked out of the room in his Martin boots, Xiang Mo finally looked satisfied.

Having gotten used to Du Chi’s appearance in flip-flops and sportswear, Xiang Mo had to admit that when he dressed up, he exuded a different kind of charm from his usual laid-back and sunny self.

“Thank you for your effort, Teacher Du,” Xiang Mo said.

“Teacher” was a respectful term Xiang Mo used for his collaborators.
He would call Meng Yun “Teacher,” and he would call a gallery owner “Teacher.” It signified that they had established a professional relationship.

However, Du Chi seemed indifferent to this title.
When he heard the three words “Teacher Du,” he just smiled and looked at Xiang Mo, saying, “You seem like my wife.”

Xiang Mo was taken aback, showing a bewildered expression.

“Always telling me what to wear,” Du Chi’s tone carried a hint of complaint and teasing.

Xiang Mo was accustomed to Du Chi’s demeanor.
He said matter-of-factly, “Because I am your employer.”

Although a lot of effort was spent on selecting clothes, the rest of the session went smoothly.
Du Chi was professional; once he sat down, he didn’t move around anymore.

However, as Xiang Mo passed by him incidentally, Du Chi suddenly called out in a low voice, “Teacher Xiang.”

Xiang Mo stopped and turned his head to look at Du Chi.

“I want some water.” Du Chi said pitifully.

In Xiang Mo’s eyes, there seemed to be a large, aggrieved dog.
He couldn’t help but want to laugh but restrained the faint smile on his lips.
He went to the kitchen on the second floor to pour Du Chi a glass of warm water.

As he put the glass back on the second floor, Meng Yun followed behind.

“Teacher Xiang, are you still denying it?” As if she had finally found an opportunity, Meng Yun asked excitedly, “He is your new boyfriend, right!”

Xiang Mo finally understood why Meng Yun was so enthusiastic today.
Apparently, she regarded Du Chi as his boyfriend.

“No, he’s not,” he said truthfully, “He’s just a neighbor.”

He couldn’t be bothered to explain that he believed in being single, and having a boyfriend was simply non-existent in his life.

“Tsk, I don’t believe it,” Meng Yun looked doubtful.

“Believe it or not.”

Putting down the glass, Xiang Mo returned to the courtyard downstairs.
Not long after, a familiar figure walked in through the courtyard gate.

With exaggerated round sunglasses covering half of his face, Xiang Mo recalled for a moment and realized that this was the person he had argued with that night with Du Chi.

If he remembered correctly, Du Chi called this person Ye Xing.

“I want to sign up.” Ye Xing took off his sunglasses, glanced at Du Chi, and said expressionlessly to Xiang Mo.

Xiang Mo immediately felt a headache.
Why was this soap opera still continuing?

He instinctively looked at Du Chi, only to find Du Chi getting impatiently to his feet, leaving the students at a loss.
He quickly frowned and said, “Sit down.”

The large dog obediently sat back down.

Ye Xing looked at the interaction between the two and seemed to darken his expression.

“What do you want to learn?” Xiang Mo asked patiently.

Regardless of the emotional entanglements between this person and Du Chi, it had nothing to do with him.
After all, so many students were watching; he had to maintain a professional attitude.

“I checked you out.” Ye Xing put away his displeasure, looking arrogantly at Xiang Mo.
“Your drawings are indeed not bad.
I want to learn figure drawing from you.”

Not again! Xiang Mo’s headache worsened.
Why did this soap opera have to involve him?

“Figure drawing is difficult,” he said diplomatically.
“It might take many years to—”

“I have a foundation.” Ye Xing interrupted Xiang Mo.
“I just want to learn your style.”

Xiang Mo: …

He really wanted to tell Ye Xing that in the eyes of the person he liked, he was just an insignificant erotic artist.
What was the point of learning from him?

Du Chi: This is art.

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