Translator: Rin Editor: dedaign Proofreader: Amber.es
“Hi.” Jiang Chenming entered the ward, smiling as he placed the flowers he had bought in the vase next to him. “I’m Teacher Mo’s boyfriend, Jiang Chenming.”
“I know you. Quite a number of people at the school like you a lot, including a few of the intern teachers I taught before.” Professor Cao had only just met Jiang Chenming and had immediately put him in trouble.
Jiang Chenming’s expression remained unchanged. “Is that so? It’s too bad I only have eyes for Teacher Mo.”
Mo Lingqiu glanced at him while peeling an apple and then handed the peeled apple to Professor Cao. “Teacher, eat this. Don’t listen to his nonsense.”
Professor Cao smiled and took the apple, but his mouth was speaking for Jiang Chenming, “Xiao Jiang is just being honest.”
“Yes, only honest people get candy,” Jiang Chenming agreed.
Mo Lingqiu shoved another peeled apple at him. “Eat.”
Jiang Chenming had to take it. Still, he ate with great enthusiasm.
Afterward, Jiang Chenming stayed for a while with Professor Cao to chat. Mo Lingqiu found that the two of them could actually hold a conversation; talk of Jiang Chenming’s good personality and eloquence weren’t just empty words.
The attending doctor came later to check Professor Cao’s body. Although his blood pressure was as high as usual, he was still quite energetic. The doctor specifically nagged Professor Cao again and again about what he absolutely shouldn’t eat. Professor Cao was very unhappy hearing his words, but, probably because Jiang Chenming was there, he didn’t protest.
“Got it. I’ll pay attention.” Face serious, Professor Cao gave the attending doctor the impression that he’d finally realised that his health condition couldn’t be considered good.
The attending doctor was very relieved. “Since you understand, then you’re good. I won’t bother you much. As for your hospitalisation, I’m advising you that it’s better to stay three more days for observation. If there aren’t any major problems after that, then you can be discharged.”
“Then let’s stay for another three days. Sorry for the trouble, doctor,” Mo Lingqiu immediately responded.
“Mr. Mo, do you want to come with me now to do the necessary paperwork for the extended stay?”
“En.” Mo Lingqiu stood up and followed the doctor out.
Standing in his office, while doing the paperwork, the doctor said, “Mr. Mo, you should pay more attention from now on. There are some things I couldn’t say in front of Mr. Cao before, but, since you’re here, I’ll be straightforward with you.”
“…Okay.” Mo Lingqiu didn’t have a good feeling.
“Mr. Cao’s health has always been quite good. We also carry out his annual physical here, but his high blood pressure is already an old health problem. Besides, he’s also old, so what should be taken care of should still be taken care of. You also know that the old man has his own way of thinking, so you’ll need to watch out even more.
“Yes, I understand.” In the past few years, Mo Lingqiu would go to see Professor Cao whenever he had the time. Because he’d accidentally gone into heat, he hadn’t visited him in half a year. He would certainly make more time for him after this.
“As long as you understand. Alright, take this and go to the payment office to pay the fee.”
“Thank you, doctor,” Mo Lingqiu said. Then he walked out of the office, medical record book and slip in hand.
After he finished the whole process of extending the hospitalisation, he returned to the ward and saw that Professor Cao, who had been sitting on the bed, and Jiang Chenming, who had been sitting next to him, were nowhere to be seen. However, he could hear rushing water coming from the bathroom.
Mo Lingqiu pushed open the bathroom door to see Jiang Chenming helping Professor Cao wash up. “I’ll do it.”
Jiang Chenming shook his head. “It’s fine, take a rest. Professor Cao just told me that you didn’t sleep much last night and that he was very worried about you.”
“Nonsense.” Professor Cao raised his voice. “When was I worried about him.”
Mo Lingqiu felt helpless, but he was still happy in his heart. “Then you can help him. I’ll go wash the bowl.”
“Is there anything that can be used to wash the bowl?” Jiang Chenming was a little surprised.
“Yes, this is a VIP ward.” Mo Lingqiu was considerate to other people. Not to mention that Professor Cao was his mentor; he wouldn’t be condescending.
Jiang Chenming suddenly realised. “No wonder this place is so big.”
After helping Professor Cao back to bed, Mo Lingqiu and Jiang Chenming sat together at his bedside and casually chatted with him. At nine o’clock, Professor Cao fell asleep on the bed.
Jiang Chenming and Mo Lingqiu worked together to carefully straighten Professor Cao’s body and cover him with the blanket. Then they decided to go for a walk.
There was a park near the hospital with some people still playing, even at such a late hour, but they weren’t many.
Mo Lingqiu and Jiang Chenming strolled along the park’s path. Jiang Chenming kicked some stones as he walked. The small stones tumbled on the ground, with a click-clack.
“Teacher Mo, what about your work these days?” Jiang Chenming was a little worried.
Since Professor Cao was hospitalised, if Mo Lingqiu stayed in the hospital for a long time to take care of him, he would definitely fall behind in his work. Although the work of a university teacher was more independent, there were still some things that would be affected if he took a break for so long.
“There are teachers in the same college who can help, and Yang Sheng and Liao Nan are more self-reliant, so I don’t need to look after them.” Even though Mo Lingqiu would usually go to different colleges to give Chinese Language classes, the only students he directed personally were Yang Sheng and Liao Nan, the two doctoral students.
“That’s good, then. Be sure to tell me if you need any help.”
“When are the finals?” Mo Lingqiu was rather sorry that he wasn’t able to watch the semi-finals.
“This Saturday, the day after tomorrow.” The game was during Professor Cao’s hospitalisation. Although Jiang Chenming was sad that Mo Lingqiu probably wouldn’t be able to watch the finals, he wouldn’t force him to come. He still understood the way of the world.
When he heard the time, Mo Lingqiu didn’t reply. He wanted to go, but his rationality made him choose his still hospitalised and medically unstable mentor.
“Good luck with the game.” In the end, Mo Lingqiu could only give a blessing.
“Of course, there’s a prize for first place.” Jiang Chenming winked cryptically. “I’m going for the prize.”
Mo Lingqiu’s curiosity was aroused. “What kind of prize is it?”
“You’ll know when I win.” Jiang Chenming refused to say; he had to save the surprise for the day he won.
“…Oh.” Mo Lingqiu was really curious. If he were to give in and keep asking, Jiang Chenming might tell him, but he definitely wouldn’t give in. He would endure it with him until the finals, building suspense for the surprise.
“Teacher Mo, when Professor Cao gets better, do you want to go to my house to have some fun?” Jiang Chenming had mentioned this before, but they hadn’t been able to agree on a perfect time. Professor Cao’s situation made Mo Lingqiu tense and nervous for several days. When things settled down, the visit could help him relax a bit.
“It’s okay.” Mo Lingqiu had driven past Shihao Garden before, and had seen it from afar in his periphery, but it definitely wasn’t a place that was accessible to non-residents. Even though he didn’t really want to go in, he was a bit curious.
“Then it’s a deal. When the time comes, you can invite whoever you want.” Jiang Chenming thought about it and added, “But I still hope that you’ll come alone.”
Mo Lingqiu raised his head to look at him, intending to listen to what else he would say.
“So that I can kiss you on the garden bench, kiss you on the garden grass, and mark you in the rose field,” Jiang Chenming said, forcing Mo Lingqiu into a deserted corner. He held the back of his head, kissing him.
Mo Lingqiu’s eyes were wide open. He hadn’t expected to be kissed by him just like that.
Jiang Chenming bit him, took off his glasses, and grabbed his waist, kissing him again.
From time to time, people walked by on the path. Jiang Chenming and Mo Lingqiu were behind the trees, in what was considered to be a blind spot. However, whenever the sound of footsteps reached Mo Lingqiu’s ears, he would become nervous, his hand grabbing tighter onto Jiang Chenming’s shirt.
Panting, they separated. Jiang Chenming helped Mo Lingqiu put his glasses back on and straightened the messy hair on his forehead, recalling his strong sweet milk scent.
Mo Lingqiu gently pushed him. “You can’t mark me in the rose field.”
“Hm?” Jiang Chenming was confused by his mindless words.
“Rose thorns hurt.” Mo Lingqiu looked serious, like a teacher giving a lesson to his student.
Jiang Chenming froze for a moment and then laughed so hard his body bent over. “Then, fine, I’ll change the rose field at home.”
“…Don’t.” It was too wasteful to shovel off all of the nice flowers.
“Don’t worry, it definitely won’t be wasted.” Jiang Chenming knew what Mo Lingqiu was thinking with a blink of his eye.
“…As you wish.” Mo Lingqiu knew that he couldn’t persuade him.
Jiang Chenming took Mo Lingqiu’s hand. “Teacher Mo, these days when you take care of Professor Cao, remember to get some rest yourself.”
“You don’t have to worry about the competition; I will win.”
Jiang Chenming left after sending Mo Lingqiu back to the hospital ward. Since the finals were approaching, training was increased the next day and he was only able to contact Mo Lingqiu when it was very late. On the day of the finals, because he was busy here and there, he didn’t have time to call.
Mo Lingqiu sat in the ward, a little distracted. Fortunately, Professor Cao was reading and hadn’t noticed his weird look.
He stared at his phone. It hadn’t received any notifications for a while. Seeing that the time for the competition was getting closer and closer, Mo Lingqiu repeatedly suppressed the impulse to call Jiang Chenming and ask about the situation.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door of the ward. Mo Lingqiu froze before getting up to open the door.
Outside, Fan Nian was wearing a white down jacket with a rabbit fur collar on the hood. His whole body was wrapped up.
“Time for my shift.” Fan Nian patted Mo Lingqiu’s shoulder and winked pompously.
“…Huh?” Mo Lingqiu couldn’t react at that moment.
Fan Nian patted him again and whispered, “Ah, what ah? Isn’t your Xiao Jiang playing in the finals today? Hurry up and go. I came all the way here to change shifts with you.”
Mo Lingqiu stood in place, dumbfounded. He didn’t know whether he should move or not.
Professor Cao, sitting on the hospital bed, saw the two of them standing still at the door and felt rather strange. “Fan Nian, why haven’t you come in? It’s such a hassle for you to come visit this old man.”
“Oh, Professor Cao, what are you talking about?” Fan Nian sat down on the edge of the bed with a smile. “I came to change shifts with Lingqiu. His little boyfriend is playing in the finals today. It’s quite important.”
Now that Professor Cao knew about it, a trace of embarrassment flashed across Mo Lingqiu’s face. Professor Cao suddenly realised. “Then, hurry up and go. Why are you looking at this old man instead of your boyfriend?”
“That’s right, hurry up and go. Why are you looking at this handsome man instead of your boyfriend?” Fan Nian immediately continued.
Mo Lingqiu opened his mouth. He threw a grateful glance at Fan Nian, said goodbye to Professor Cao again, and then turned, hurrying out of the ward.