Rays of sunlight shone into the art room in the afternoon, elongating the shadow of the person in the centre of the room. A few streaks of light shone on the side of his face, as if a layer of white light shrouded around him.
The black pencil left a smooth line on the white paper. As the wrist brushed up and down repeatedly, the portrait on the paper became clearer – clean and energetic-looking short hair, a distinct angular face, a serious and focused look – the man’s features became alive on the paper.
Luo Shaoheng moved backwards, nodded in satisfaction, then called the person who was working beside him, “Hey, come here.”
Shen Mucheng stopped his actions, got up, and walked to him. He was stunned when he saw the person on the drawing.
“How is it?” Luo Shaoheng lifted his head and asked.
“… Why did you draw me?” Shen Mucheng asked. The drawing was the scene where he was adjusting the easel, it was delicately drawn.
“Is it nice?” Luo Shaoheng asked again.
If he said yes, it sounded like he was complimenting himself. If he said no, it sounded weird as well. Shen Mucheng simply did not respond and bent his waist to pick up the papers that were scattered on the floor.
“As a person who learns art, I want to express everything that is beautiful with both of my hands.” Luo Shaoheng looked at Shen Mucheng who was bending his waist. The outline of his waist and back was so perfect that he could not move his sight, and his hand, which was holding the pencil, subconsciously followed it in the air, roughly outlining the sketch.
Shen Mucheng arranged the papers and placed them on the rack beside it. He then turned his head and saw Luo Shaoheng looking at him with full focus, his eyes brightened as if light could be seen in his eyes. He could not resist and asked, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
Luo Shaoheng smiled. “Take off your clothes.”
Shen Mucheng froze. He thought he had heard it wrongly, but then he heard him saying, “Sit there after you take off your clothes. I’ll draw your half-naked body today.”
“… I didn’t agree to that.” Shen Mucheng stood there and did not move.
“En?” Luo Shaoheng tilted his head as he looked at him, his lips curved. “Didn’t you say that your life is also mine? You still mind showing your half-naked body?”
“If you’re unwilling, then I won’t force you to.”
“… I’ll take it off.”
The phone that was vibrating next to him interrupted the dream, the scenes that seemed too happy for him were halted abruptly.
Luo Shaoheng stretched out his arm to take his phone, then saw the name ‘Luo Yao’ on the screen. Luo Yao is his eldest brother’s son. Although he had broken his connections with his family members because of Shen Mucheng, he was still contacting Luo Yao every now and then.
“Hello?” Luo Shaoheng picked up the call.
Luo Yao said that he has friends coming over to the resort and he needed Luo Shaoheng’s help to organize it.
Luo Shaoheng heard him and said, “Two people right? Okay, I’ll arrange it… En, come with Xiao Guai if you have time. Nothing happened, don’t worry.”
After he ended the call, Luo Shaoheng placed the phone back to the table.
The window of the room was not closed and coldness was brought in by the breeze. He pulled the woolen blanket that was placed on his legs, closed his eyes, and continued laying on the rocking chair. He started depicting the person who appeared in his dream slowly, a light smile could be seen on the edge of his lips.
In the past half of the year, he dreamt about the past from time to time, especially after coming back from the Ancient Rock Temple.
Shen Mucheng found out that he had lost his memory when he woke up in the hospital at that time. The doctor said that his head had a severe injury, it was expected that he would lose his memory. He might recall everything in a short time, but there was a possibility that he would not recall them forever.
Luo Shaoheng could not get into contact with Shen Mucheng’s family and he was still injured. He could not leave him there after using much effort to save him. After thinking for a while, he decided to bring Shen Mucheng back to the place that he was living at.
However, who would expect that the decision he made due to sympathy would develop into a love relationship.
When Luo Shaoheng thought of Shen Mucheng’s blank expression after he confessed to him at that time, he could not help but laugh out lightly.
He put away his hand that was blocking his eyes, took the notebook that was placed near him and started writing something.
The habit of writing diaries started when he was in the sanatorium. He was too depressed in that period of time, the negative emotions mingling in his heart almost squeezed his whole person into a lump. It was as if he was stuck in a secret area, unable to find the exit, and unable to ask someone else. After a lot of failed communications, his doctor gave him a notebook, letting him write out everything that his heart wanted to express. There was one whole year that he could only write three words, ‘Shen Mucheng’.
After he left the sanatorium, his habit continued, but the frequency of writing became lesser as years went by.
— Recently, I have been dreaming about him. He still looked the same as before, but I no longer have the appearance that he likes, I’m really scared that he will not be able to recognize me the next time we meet.
Luo Shaoheng stopped writing as he realized what he had written.
The next time they meet… he would probably be in his 70s or 80s. He smiled and closed the book gently, his sight coincidentally stopping on the buddha beads around his wrist. He looked at it for a long while and took off the buddha beads. His fingers paused and rubbed the part where a word was engraved. He touched the pattern of the word ‘Shen’, his heart calming down.
During the weekend, Luo Shaoheng got a call from Luo Yao’s friend, saying that they were already at the resort.
Luo Shaoheng heard from Luo Yao that it was his friend and his girlfriend who came, asking him to arrange a room for them, but he did not expect two guys to come. The room he arranged was a married couple’s luxurious double suite.
“I’m sorry, that brat Luo Yao made me misunderstand.” Luo Shaoheng looked at the two youngsters awkwardly with apologies. He noticed one of them’s ears turned red and quickly said, “I’ll instantly ask the receptionist to change into a standard room.”
“It’s actually not wrong.” Gu Bai touched his nose and stretched out his arms to pull Ji Yu’s hand firmly. “Although I don’t have a girlfriend, I have a boyfriend.”
“…” Luo Shaoheng froze, it took a big turn!
Luo Shaoheng really did not expect that these two friends of Luo Yao were a pair. What he did not expect more was both of them had already gotten agreement from their parents; this meant that their relationship was supported and blessed by their parents.
He looked at both of the youngsters who were comfortable with showing their relationship and thought of his mother who always stayed aloof, being distant and polite with other people but him.
After his mother found out about him and Shen Mucheng, she broke her favourite blue underglaze teacup. She threw it towards the side of his feet and scolded him resentfully that his actions were embarrassing the Luo Family.
He left his family that brought him up without hesitation to choose Shen Mucheng at that time, but he did not expect that he would be left in this world alone in the end. He deserved it all.
Luo Shaoheng’s resort is located at the foot of Yun Mountain. There are two famous tourist attractions in Yun Mountain: one is the natural hot spring; another is the stone temple on the top of the mountain.
On the next night, Luo Shaoheng brought Gu Bai and Ji Yu to visit the stone temple on the mountain top. Other than the stone temple, there were also stalls that were set up by villagers that live at the foot of the mountain to sell some souvenirs or local products at the small path outside, so visitors could buy them back home. Most of the souvenirs were small items, mainly made using wood. There were small wooden tags that were carved, combs that had words engraved, mini lotus that were carved using fragrant wood, retro-style oiled paper umbrellas, and many more. They were not expensive, but they were created delicately.
Luo Shaoheng brought both of them to pray at the stone temple, then they strolled the small path so they could choose some small items back as souvenirs.
“Do you guys wanna buy one? A lot of the items have the meaning of blessing. You can keep it for yourself, or give it to your friends.” Luo Shaoheng stopped at the front of a small stall and pointed towards the small ornaments at the stall.
“I’ll take a look.” Ji Yu heard him and started choosing in front of the stall. Different varieties of wooden tags were hung on the rack, and a few phrases of blessings were engraved on them. Other than that, there were small wood carvings placed nearby, they were simple and cute.
“Boss, can you help me engrave other words?” Gu Bai touched the small wooden tag that was blank and asked the seller.
“Yes, but you’ll only receive it after two days, it will take some time to engrave and paint the words. What do you wanna engrave?” The seller asked.
When Ji Yu heard it would take two days, he hesitated. Both of them were going to return tomorrow.
Luo Shaoheng knew why he was hesitating. He then said, “I’ll take it for you guys. Luo Yao always comes here, I’ll ask him to hand it in to you guys.”
Ji Yu thought it was plausible. He thanked Luo Shaoheng and chose the wooden tag that had the same pattern as Gu Bai, then told the seller the words they wanted to engrave. After he paid, he saw Luo Shaoheng went into a trance looking at a small wooden tag, then asked, “Brother Shaoheng, don’t you wanna engrave?”
“Hmm?” Luo Shaoheng came back to his senses, he placed back the tag and smiled, “I already have it. Have you guys finished choosing? I’ll bring you guys to other places to look around.”
Three of them chatted as they continued walking. Luo Shaoheng introduced the features and traditional customs of Yun Mountain to them, they would stop at the stalls they felt were interesting to choose what they wanted. Suddenly, Luo Shaoheng stopped abruptly. He was shocked, but it was unbelievable for him, his lips moving silently.
“What happened?” Ji Yu noticed that he suddenly stopped walking, so he asked.
“Mucheng… Shen Mucheng!” Luo Shaoheng was as if he was suddenly awakened, he called out sharply and ran forward.
Gu Bai and Ji Yu were perplexed, they both looked at each other and followed him confusingly.
At that moment, Luo Shaoheng felt like he was going crazy. It felt like he suddenly realised that he was still alive after living miserably for so many years, that person he was longing for suddenly appeared in front of him without warning. Although he only saw the side of his face, he would never recognize it wrongly.
The path was not wide, but there were a lot of visitors. It was not comfortable to squeeze into the crowd, but he did not mind, he only wanted to reach the front and grab that person. However, it was not even easy to squeeze through the crowd under this condition, when he finally reached the front, he could not see the person anymore. Unfamiliar faces shrouded him, but his lover was not one of them.
Gu Bai and Ji Yu came to Luo Shaoheng and realized that his expression was at a loss. He was a thirty-year-old man, but he looked like a child who had lost his way back.
“Brother Shaoheng, are you okay?” Ji Yu asked gently.
Luo Shaoheng slowly came back to his senses, converged his emotions and smiled towards him. “I’m fine. I just saw someone that I haven’t seen for a long time, but I didn’t see him after chasing until here.”
“Could it be a mistake?” Gu Bai asked.
“Maybe.” Luo Shaoheng answered.
But how would he make a mistake on that? He was someone he had loved for 12 years. The most number of portraits he had drawn was his lover, how could he have mistaken it?
At the same time, on another pathway down the mountain, a man stopped his footsteps abruptly, turned his head and looked towards the top of the mountain.
“Boss?” The person next to him asked softly.
“Did you hear it?” The man frowned. “Did someone call my name?”