1. The one with the books
“This is your method of courtship?” Da Qing gapes at the huge suitcase filled to the brim with... “Dusty old books?”
“They’re venerable old tomes, and I’m not courting anyone,” Zhao Yunlan retorts and snaps the suitcase shut. “I’m simply using these to prove to Professor Shen that a partnership with the SID comes with merits.”
“You’re paying him to spend more time with you,” Da Qing translates and hops onto the suitcase Zhao Yunlan is pulling along. “If you can’t get him, spend money to please him.”
“You!” Zhao Yunlan jabs his finger at the Damn Cat. “Stop your slandering or I’ll cut off your dried fish supply.”
Da Qing raises his hand in mock defeat. “Alright, oh mighty collector of venerable old tomes.”
Zhao Yunlan considers pushing Da Qing onto the street, but then he’d lose the suitcase and his chance to get in Professor Shen’s good graces as well. And so he just rolls his eyes, decides to be the bigger person, and marches along.
When they meet Professor Shen in front of the university, Zhao Yunlan has mentally rehearsed his dialogue about ten times. He dramatically snaps the suitcase open and presents its contents to the surprised Professor.
“These books,” he says and accompanies his words with a wistful sigh, “finally find a worthy owner.”
Professor Shen kneels down and takes one of the manuscripts out of the suitcase. Zhao Yunlan follows his hand with his eyes. Shen Wei has graceful fingers – long, slender, delicate. Definitely the fingers of a refined scholar. Definitely fingers that would look great wrapped around –
“You said these books were treasures left by your grandfather?” Professor Shen asks and examines the book more closely.
“Ah, yes,” Zhao Yunlan says while hastily pulling his mind out of the gutter. “My grandfather…can finally rest in peace now.” He gazes up to the sky from where his grandfather may or may not be cursing at his disgrace of a grandson.
“Huh. That’s weird.”
“Why?” Zhao Yunlan asks, faintly wondering why a professor would consider books to be “weird”.
“I donated these books a few days ago.”
“Huh… Huh?” Zhao Yunlan stares at him, then at Da Qing, as if the Damn Cat was responsible for all this (and he probably was, in one way or another). Da Qing’s expression is neutral, save for the uncontrollable twitching of his lips.
“Well, some people have twins…why can’t it be the same for books?” Zhao Yunlan mutters and tries to look like he has any clue about how books work.
Professor Shen gives a contemplative nod and opens the book. He points at an inky character in the corner of the page.
“This mark was drawn by me.”
Somewhere in the distance, Zhao Yunlan hears his well-constructed temple of lies come crashing down.
“Books are meant to be read and studied, so there was no use in keeping them at my house to gather dust. Hence, I donated them to the local library in case any student has need for them. Hm, I wonder,” he fixes Zhao Yunlan with his black eyes and Zhao Yunlan happily looses himself in their inky darkness. At least there he doesn’t have to face the embarrassment that is sure to follow. “Which of those students might be Chief Zhao’s grandfather?” Professor Shen continues. For such a soft-spoken and gentle-mannered scholar, he sure is merciless.
Zhao Yunlan can only stare helplessly as the Professor gracefully gets to his feet, turns his lovely backside to Zhao Yunlan, and walks away.
Da Qing snorts. “You’ve been rejected,” he informs Zhao Yunlan, as if his pride hadn’t suffered a fatal blow already.
2. The one with the tea set
“Chief Zhao!” Guo Changcheng stumbles through the office and almost drops the package he clutches to his chest, “I have what you requested!”
He sounds happy, almost proud, as if he just achieved something great and now hopes for Zhao Yunlan’s praise. He’s so much like a dog that Zhao Yunlan wonders how he gets along with Da Qing at all. Zhao Yunlan sighs and plasters his best positive-reinforcement-smile onto his face.
“Amazing! You’re a gift, Xiao Guo. Where did you get it?”
“The antiques store down the road. It was the only one left, and I only had to add a little money to what you already gave me!”
Zhao Yunlan gapes at him. He has given Guo Changcheng a not-insignificant amount of money, and he still had to add something to that? Well, if it’s worth it in the end…
“Alright, great!” Zhao Yunlan jumps up and saunters over to Guo Changcheng to drape an arm across his shoulders, “I knew I could count on you. Now, come with me. We have a professor to recruit!”
“Uhm…why do you need me here again, Chief Zhao?” stammers Guo Changcheng as they make their way through the university corridors.
“Because,” Zhao Yunlan drawls and pauses, more to stall for time than for dramatic effect, “because, my dear Xiao Guo, well, it wouldn’t be appropriate if I gifted this tea set to the professor on my own, right? You’re the one who found it, after all, so you should get to see the joy on his face when he receives it.”
It’s bullshit, of course it is. But Zhao Yunlan reckons that Professor Shen would find it even more suspicious if Zhao Yunlan stood in front of his office all alone to deliver an expensive gift. He might get the bad wrong idea (bribery) or the good wrong idea (courtship), both of which Zhao Yunlan isn’t quite prepared for. No, better to have an alibi member of the SID at his side. And so he drags Guo Changcheng along. Which might have been a mistake, considering how he trembles when they arrive in front of the professor’s office.
“Don’t worry, Xiao Guo, you know how kind he is!”
“This is a bit embarrassing, Chief Zhao…he saw me falling out of the window.”
Zhao Yunlan ignores his intern’s plight and knocks against the door. It takes a while because Professor Shen, ever the gentleman, doesn’t call them inside. Instead, he opens the door himself, standing there in all his wonderful, polite, sleeve-gartered glory.
“Good day, Chief Zhao, and…oh, you’re the young man who fell out of the window. Are you alright?”
Guo Changcheng swallows and nods. The box he is clutching rattles from his trembling.
“Ah, Professor Shen, good to see you! May we come inside?”
Professor Shen nods and steps aside to let them in. “What brings you here? Is there something I can help you with?”
“Absolutely! I’ve come with an apology,” Zhao Yunlan sighs and turns, hoping the regret on his face looks honest.
“An apology? What might be the cause for that?” Zhao Yunlan could swear there is a smile tugging at the corners of Professor Shen’s mouth.
“Last time, I was being incredibly unprofessional. I didn’t mean to lie to you concerning those books, and I feel deeply ashamed.” He doesn’t, not really. Zhao Yunlan isn’t sure ‘shame’ is an emotion he can feel anymore, not after Da Qing once dared him to fit six chicken wings into his mouth at a crowded KFC.
Professor Shen inclines his head and Zhao Yunlan feels a bit like the servant of a mighty emperor who was granted mercy.
“So today, I’ve brought you something to make up for it!” Zhao Yunlan gestures for Guo Changcheng to put the box onto the desk. “Since you seem to be a connoisseur of good tea, I thought you might like this.”
Professor Shen gives him a surprised look and walks over to examine the gift. “Chief Zhao, you shouldn’t feel obligated to gift me anything. This is not necessary.”
“Of course, I understand,” says Zhao Yunlan, who prepared for this. “Only, this has been sitting around the SID for twenty years, even my father has never used it. So I thought it serves a better purpose with you.”
Professor Shen lifts the lid of the box and makes a surprised little noise that makes Zhao Yunlan way more pleased than it should.
“Twenty years?” Professor Shen asks and picks up one of the little cups.
Zhao Yunlan nods, “Twenty years, or even more, right, Xiao Guo?”
“Y-y-yes, it’s, it’s very ancient, very…uhm…very valuable, I’ve been t-told.”
Professor Shen turns around.
“It says here that it was made last year.” He points to the bottom of the cup.
Zhao Yunlan feels his mouth fall open like a fish.
“Please, Chief Zhao, do not buy me any more gifts.” Professor Shen carefully puts the lid back onto the box and hands it back to Guo Changcheng, who will get absolutely no bonus this month.
3. The one with the clothes
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Chu Shuzhi groans and drags his feet like a sulky five-year-old. “I can’t believe you’re making me do this.”
“I’m not making you do anything, Lao Chu,” Zhao Yunlan says merrily and wiggles his finger in front of Chu Shuzhi’s face, “You agreed to help me on your own accord.”
“Because it was either this, or paperwork. But I’m starting to think that paperwork would have been less troublesome.” He stares at the pile of cloth Zhao Yunlan shoves into his arms.
“Try this one,” Zhao Yunlan demands and grins. Chu Shuzhi glares.
“I better get a double bonus for this,” he says and vanishes into the changing room. He emerges a few minutes later, wearing a dress shirt and a vest that look so un-Lao-Chu-like that Zhao Yunlan can’t hold in his laughter anymore.
“I hate you,” Chu Shuzhi informs him.
“Ah, don’t be mad, Lao-Chu, it looks good! And I think it fits. So, one size smaller should be perfect.”
“I still don’t know why I have to be your dress-up-doll,” grumbles Chu Shuzhi and undresses as quickly as he can, not even bothering with closing the door of the changing room. Zhao Yunlan winks at the gaping woman who walks by.
“Because your physique is most similar to Professor Shen’s. You know with his broad shoulders and his slim waist” Zhao Yunlan gestures around to illustrate the slimness of Professor Shen’s waist. “He’s just overall a bit more…narrow. So, if it fits you, one size smaller is going to be perfect for him.”
Chu Shuzhi frowns, “If you want him to go out with you, why don’t you just ask? It’s worked well for you in the past.”
“Aiya, Lao Chu, I’m not asking him out. I’m trying to recruit him to the SID. He’d be such a valuable resource don’t you think?”
Chu Shuzhi sighs. “Whatever you say, Chief.”
They knock at Professor Shen’s office door during lunch time, Zhao Yunlan with his friendliest grin and Chu Shuzhi with his least threatening frown. When Professor Shen opens, he sighs.
“Chief Zhao. What can I do for you?” He steps aside without any further pleasantries. Huh, he’s a fast learner. Zhao Yunlan appreciates that, almost as much as the sleeve garters that hug Professor Shen’s biceps.
“Hello, Professor Shen, good to see you. Again.”
Chu Shuzhi gives a curt nod as he enters the office. Zhao Yunlan can’t help but feel like a celebrity who’s being accompanied by his stern bodyguard. Professor Shen eyes Chu Shuzhi warily.
“Why is your colleague carrying a large bag, Chief Zhao?”
“Funny you would ask,” Zhao Yunlan grins and swirls around on his heel, lollipop in one hand, lollipop wrapper in the other. “I really think we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot. Look, Professor, I know you won’t take the gifts, and I’m sorry if I made the wrong impression. I apologize again.”
“And you do that by...getting me another gift?”
Chu Shuzhi looks like he’s about to talk and Zhao Yunlan is sure that it’s going to be something compromising, so he quickly shushes him with a hand motion.
“Aiya, Professor Shen, this is not a gift! It’s something a lot more useful. You see, we at the SID have a little ritual for newcomers. Everyone gets something like this when they join. You could see it as…work attire,” he lies merrily and points his lollipop at Professor Shen, who stares at the pink candy for a second too long.
“Work…attire?” Zhao Yunlan has never heard Professor Shen sound confused, but he wouldn’t mind hearing more of it.
“Absolutely!” And with that Zhao Yunlan gestures for Chu Shuzhi to hand the bag over to the Professor. Chu Shuzhi sighs so exasperatedly that Zhao Yunlan can hear a part of soul escaping together with the air.
“I’m so sorry, Professor,” his ungrateful subordinate says and hands Professor Shen the bag, not without directing another glare at Zhao Yunlan.
Professor Shen carefully pulls the vest out of the bag and looks at it.
“Ah, Chief Zhao has good tastes,” he says and well, if that doesn’t send a surge of misplaced pride through Zhao Yunlan. “Unfortunately…” the pride rapidly freezes into something more akin to dread. “It’s two sizes too big. And I’m not jointing the SID, so work-attire is unnecessary.”
That information comes as a slap to the face to Zhao Yunlan, and also completely obliterates his brain-to-mouth filter. “TWO sizes? Goddamn, how slim is your waist?”
Professor Shen’s cheeks adopt the colour of the sunset and it’s enough to pull Zhao Yunlan’s attention fully to him again. “M-my waist?” Professor Shen says and his hand involuntarily touches said waist. Zhao Yunlan feels slightly stunned and immensely warm.
“God, you’re a wreck,” Chu Shuzhi mutters and takes the bag from Professor Shen. “I’m sorry to have disturbed you, Professor. I’ll make sure to keep a closer eye on him in the future.”
He manoeuvres Zhao Yunlan out of the office and for once, Zhao Yunlan is grateful because he’s not sure he would have found the way on his own.
4. The one with the plants
Zhao Yunlan is frustrated. This isn’t even just about getting Professor Shen to join the SID anymore. This is about his pride. His honour as a man and as a giver of gifts. How can he be so incapable of choosing something proper and suitable? He’s the head of a government department, for god’s sake, things like pleasing others should be second nature to him!
And that’s why he’s asked for help from the only person in the office he trusts with the delicate task of finding something suitable for a gentle professor: Zhu Hong.
“Ehh? You want me to tell you how to get into Professor Shen’s pants?”
“Zhu Hooong,” Zhao Yunlan whines with his most pitiful expression. “I don’t want to get into anyone’s pants, I want him to join the SID. My intentions are pure!”
“You don’t even know how pure is spelled,” she scoffs and rolls her eyes, “Whatever, if I don’t help you’ll just threaten to cut my bonus, and I really want to buy some oil for my scales.”
Zhao Yunlan finger-guns at her. “You know me so well, Hong-jie.”
Zhu Hong rolls her eyes in one perfect circle and Zhao Yunlan is impressed.
“Ugh. I wish I wouldn’t,” she crosses her legs and leans over the desk. “You want to give him a present that’s both casual and yet meaningful? And for some reason you decided to buy him clothes before you even thought of flowers?”
“Zhu Hong. You’re a genius.”
“Not hard when you’re the only person in this office with more than one brain cell.”
“Can you maybe not ask me to accompany you on your date?” Zhu Hong complains as Zhao Yunlan leads her to Professor Shen’s office.
Zhao Yunlan doesn’t correct her because he’s the bigger person and also date with Professor Shen is starting to sound better and better each with each time he visits. By now Zhao Yunlan is a well-known character in this part of the university and when the door next to Professor Shen’s opens, the friendly teacher greets him with a “Good afternoon, Chief Zhao, good to see you again.”
Zhu Hong gives Zhao Yunlan an exasperated look that doesn’t quiet pierce his thick skin. He’s carrying a bouquet of flowers the florist deemed suitable after Zhao Yunlan told her it was for “a special person”. Professor Shen definitely looks like someone who speaks the language of flowers, and Zhao Yunlan hopes he won’t accidentally insult him with the bouquet.
He snaps out of his thoughts. “Huh?”
“Don’t you want to knock?” Zho Hong asks and looks like she’d rather be literally everywhere else. Zhao Yunlan nods, takes a deep breath, and hopes his charming smile doesn’t look as desperate has he feels. He knocks.
Professor Shen doesn’t even look at him when he opens. “Chief Zhao. I would say it’s a surprise to see you, but it really is not. What did you–”
He stills when he looks up and sees a bunch of flowers instead of Zhao Yunlan’s face. For a moment, everything is quiet. Then, “Good day, Professor,” Zhu Hong says loudly and pushes past the two to enter Professor Shen’s office.
Professor Shen sighs. “You and your apology can come inside as well, Chief Zhao.”
“Aiya, Professor Shen, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re warming up to me.”
“Not that there is much of a choice,” Professor Shen mutters and Zhao Yunlan pretends he didn’t hear that.
“After my last attempts at an apology–“ (Zhu Hong coughs and it sounds suspiciously like “courtship”. Zhao Yunlan ignores her.) “–were rather improper, I decided for something simple this time. Maybe it will convince the Professor that–“
Professor Shen sneezes. Zhao Yunlan’s brain short-circuits. It’s the cutest sound he’s ever heard.
“My apologies,” Professor Shen says, and the tips of his ears are dusted in a faint red. Zhao Yunlan’s heart might combust. “Please, continue. I didn’t mean to interrupt.” As if Zhao Yunlan could remember anything he wanted to say.
“Convince the Professor thaaat…” Zhu Hong provides helpfully.
“Yes! That a consultation position at the SID can–“
Professor Shen sneezes again. His nose is slightly red and it looks deadly adorable.
“Excuse me, Chief Zhao, are those tulips?” He asks and takes a step away from Zhao Yunlan.
“Uh…maybe? I don’t know. Are they, Zhu Hong?”
Zhu Hung makes an I-don’t-know sound.
“I’m very allergic to tulips,” Professor Shen sniffs and looks like he might has to sneeze again. Zhao Yunlan almost wishes he would. “I’m very sorry, but could you take those flowers out of here?” Professor Shen asks apologetically as if he was personally responsible for his allergy.
“Of course, oh god, I’m so sorry, I really didn’t know…but yes, of course, alright.”
Professor Shen nods and Zhao Yunlan all but stumbles outside. Zhu Hong follows leisurely.
“Great work, lover boy,” she tells him. Zhao Yunlan wants to die.
5. The one with the watch
“…and that’s why this is the best model on the current market. If you really wanna make an impression, this is your thing,” Lin Jing finishes his sixteen-minutes-and-thirty-eight-seconds lecture.
Zhao Yunlan stifles a yawn. “So, you think I should buy it or what?”
Lin Jing opens and closes his mouth like an indignant fish. “Have you been listening? You definitely should! But don’t you already have a digital watch?”
“Yup,” says Zhao Yunlan and takes his chosen item to the counter.
“And…I know someone who doesn’t yet.”
Lin Jing narrows his eyes. “Chief…this…this isn’t about a certain professor, is it?”
Zhao Yunlan raises his eyebrows in an attempt at innocence. Unfortunately, his innocence has deemed him unworthy of its presence around the age of sixteen. “Professor? I have no idea who you might be referring to?”
“Are you serious? You’re so desperate that you’d rather buy Professor Shen an overly expensive watch then simply, I don’t know, ask him out?”
“Shh, Lin Jing…do you hear that?” Zhao Yunlan asks and looks over Lin Jing’s shoulder.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“I think that is your bonus for this month, rapidly running away from you!”
“You’re the worst and Professor Shen will never go out with you,” Lin Jing says, but there is no fire behind the words. Zhao Yunlan takes that as a win, even though it still stings.
A sudden hand on his shoulder makes him look up.
“Excuse me, Sir, if I may…” the cashier says and smiles, “This watch is the newest and best model on the market, and it will guarantee success for any attempts at courtship.”
“You see, Lin Jing! Listen to the exper- hey, I’m not courting anyone!” Zhao Yunlan doesn’t know why he still bothers. It not like he believes it himself.
Lin Jing complains the whole way to the Professor’s office. What’s worst about it is that Zhao Yunlan can’t even do anything against it since he has already cut Lin Jing’s bonus for this month.
“Chief, please just go alone. Don’t make me come with you. It’s going to be so awkward.”
“Oh, that’s rich coming from someone who calls himself the most sought-after bachelor of the technology-whatever!” Zhao Yunlan shoots back. “And now stop complaining, or Professor Shen is never going to join the SID when he sees what idiots are employed there!”
“And who hired those idiots?” Lin Jing mutters, but finally stays quiet. Zhao Yunlan knocks at the door and counts patiently to six. Just as he closes his mouth, the door opens.
“Ah,” says Professor Shen and steps aside.
Zhao Yunlan beams at him and enters his office, feeling right at home.
“Oh, is that a new ink stone, Professor? Very pretty.”
He hears Lin Jing groan somewhere in the background and makes a mental note to look up if it’s possible to cut someone’s bonus for a lifetime.
“What can I do for the Chief of the SID and his nice colleague today?” Professor Shen asks in a tone perfectly balanced between amusement and exasperation.
“Would you care to make a guess?” Zhao Yunlan winks.
“I think I have to throw up,” Lin Jing mutters, but not quietly enough for Professor Shen to miss it.
“Are you feeling unwell? There is an infirmary–“
“Aiyaa, ignore him!” Zhao Yunlan hurries over and throws an arm across Lin Jing’s shoulders to “accidentally” hit the back of his head. “He’s just had some bad fish today.”
Professor Shen doesn’t look convinced and Zhao Yunlan steps on Lin Jing’s foot.
“Ouch! Yes, yes, whatever, I’m fine!”
“Well, if you’re sure.”
“Professor Shen, ah, this is my final attempt at an apology. You have my word. I just feel like I have to set things right between us.”
“Chief Zhao,” Professor Shen sighs deeply and Zhao Yunlan’s incredibly dirty mind imagines an entirely different context for that sigh. “I told you already, there is no need for apologies, and even less need for gifts. Please–“
“Humour me, Professor.”
“Yes, please do, the team is dying,” Lin Jing says, apparently desperate to show how terrible Zhao Yunlan is at human resource management.
Professor Shen stands there, obviously torn between not being rude and not betraying his principles. Courtesy prevails.
“Alright, Chief Zhao, but don’t do it again.”
Zhao Yunlan mentally congratulates himself and hands Professor Shen the small packet with a little bow.
Professor Shen takes a deep breath as if he has been handed a bomb to disarm rather than a gift to unwrap. He opens it and tentatively peeks inside.
“Ah,” he says.
Zhao Yunlan waits as silence fills the room. Then:
“Excuse me, Chief Zhao, but what is this?”
“Huh?” Zhao Yunlan stares at him. “It’s a watch?”
Professor Shen takes it out of its box and examines it like one might examine alien technology.
“But it doesn’t tell the time.”
That’s more than Lin Jing can take, apparently. He rushes over and starts explaining the many intricate functions of the watch to Professor Shen, who nods diligently along.
“I see,” He says after Lin Jing has finished, in the tone of someone who does not see at all. “I think this wonderful piece of technology is entirely wasted on me. Maybe you would like it instead?”
Lin Jing looks delighted and Zhao Yunlan wonders what he has done in his past life to deserve such torment.
+1. The one where something goes right
Zhao Yunlan paces up and down the corridor, which is ridiculous considering he’s not a pining teenager. No, he’s a pining grown man and he should act as such. He stops in front of Professor Shen’s office door and stares at it. Its wooden pattern stares back disparagingly and Zhao Yunlan resumes his pacing.
This is bad. Zhao Yunlan doesn’t remember the last time he actually felt some semblance of embarrassment, so it’s an unfamiliar situation to deal with. After having tried and failed to do right by Professor Shen in five various instances, Zhao Yunlan is close to giving up all hope. Maybe it’s just not meant to be. Professor Shen is probably better off without the SID anyway, considering he’s a kind and gentle professor who shouldn’t be subjected to the harsh reality of dealing with Dixingren. Zhao Yunlan would have loved to overthink everything a bit more, but the door to the Professor’s office suddenly opens.
“Excuse me, could you stop the constant pacing? It’s a bit noisy and – Chief Zhao? What is the matter?” Professor Shen looks surprised, as if it were something unusual for Zhao Yunlan to be in front of his office.
“I…uh…” says Zhao Yunlan and gestures into various directions. “Just…”
Professor Shen looks up and down the corridor. “Are you alone?”
“Ahaha, yes…and I don’t bear any gifts. I’m a man of my word after all.”
Professor Shen doesn’t say anything, he just looks expectantly at Zhao Yunlan, apparently waiting for his pride to dissolve completely. Zhao Yunlan sighs.
“May I come in?” he asks.
The Professor smiles a smile Zhao Yunlan hasn’t seen on him before. It’s warm and natural, and he ducks his head slightly as if he wants to hide it. “Of course.”
Zhao Yunlan steps inside and it really shouldn’t feel as strange as it does. He has been here countless times after all, and it’s not like Professor Shen has ever been anything but polite. When he turns around, Zhao Yunlan realises what’s different – this is the first time they’re alone.
“Professor Shen, I really–“
“You don’t need to call me ‘Professor Shen’ all the time. We’ve become familiar enough after the third apology,” Professor Shen, Shen Wei, smiles and Zhao Yunlan is torn between wanting to run out of the room and never wanting to leave ever again.
“Shen Wei, ah. Then you have to stop with the ‘Chief Zhao’ as well,” Zhao Yunlan says lamely and scratches at his neck.
“Alright. Zhao Yunlan.” Shen Wei says his name as if he’s done so a thousand times already, as if it belongs right there on his tongue, and Zhao Yunlan is speechless for a moment.
“So, what can I do for you, if it’s not rejecting another one of your gifts?”
“Aiya, Shen Wei, I didn’t know you could be this ruthless!” Zhao Yunlan points his finger at Shen Wei accusingly.
“Maybe that is because you know very little of me in general,” Shen Wei says and smiles that perfect smile again.
“Maybe it’s high time we change that,” replies Zhao Yunlan because he’s never been one to resist temptation.
Shen Wei’s head snap up and he stares at Zhao Yunlan with an expression Zhao Yunlan dares to describe as heated. “Oh? Is that why Chief Zhao decided to finally visit on his own today?”
Zhao Yunlan decides he has nothing to lose and a lot to win here. “Perhaps I can still convince Professor Shen that there is more to me than badly picked gifts and dishonest apologies.”
Shen Wei laughs, low and breathy, and it almost makes Zhao Yunlan shiver. He is suddenly very glad that he didn’t bring anyone else today. They would never let him hear the end of it.
“Alright,” Shen Wei says and takes a step towards Zhao Yunlan. “Convince me.”
Zhao Yunlan is more than happy to do so.