Translator: Rin Editor: dedaign Proofreader: Amber.es
Jiang Chenming was too clingy. Mo Lingqiu finally applied the watermelon frost on himself with his lips open, red and swollen.
“Let’s go later?” Jiang Chenming’s heart itched badly as he crossed his arms and looked at Mo Lingqiu’s appearance.
Mo Lingqiu squinted at him, rubbed his still red lips, and pulled his acceptance speech from his briefcase.
Mo Lingqiu had first typed it on the computer and printed it out before editing later. Because he edited as he read, the few sheets of A4 paper looked very old.
“Don’t read it out loud, just recite it silently in your head.” Jiang Chenming was afraid that Mo Lingqiu’s ulcer wouldn’t heal if he read it aloud.
Mo Lingqiu hummed. He sat on the sofa reading word by word. He could already recite it perfectly, but he knew he would still be a little nervous on stage, especially because he would be in front of teachers and students from the whole school. It was better to be meticulous.
Near noon, Mo Lingqiu drove back to University A with Jiang Chenming. Jiang Chenming returned to the dormitory to catch up with his roommates and Mo Lingqiu went back to his office to hang up his blazer.
The commendation ceremony would be held in the school’s auditorium so that it could accommodate all the teachers and students. It would be a very big spectacle. As all the teachers to be commended were assembled in the backstage lounge in fixed seats, the afternoon tea was prepared for them.
Although it was summer, the teachers to be commended still wore formal uniforms. Mo Lingqiu wore an ironed black suit.
After hanging up his blazer, Mo Lingqiu went to have a meal in the cafeteria before going to the auditorium.
The student council in charge of the ceremony were already hard at work in the auditorium. When he saw the boxes full of black rice bread that had been opened, lying half empty on the ground, Mo Lingqiu assumed that not everyone might’ve gone to eat.
“Teacher Mo, you’re here.” Some students noticed Mo Lingqiu and rushed over to show him the way. “Come with me.”
“Has everyone else arrived?” Mo Lingqiu was worried he was the last one to show up.
“You’re the first one here.” The student smiled. “Teacher, sit and rest awhile in the lounge. After we make some adjustments later, you can go over your part and walk through the rehearsal.”
Mo Lingqiu nodded. “Okay.”
He went to sit in the empty lounge and continued reading his manuscript. One after the other, the other teachers came in, and the lounge slowly filled up.
When Jiang Chenming arrived at the auditorium, Mo Lingqiu was standing in the wings on the side of the stage. His cold face was expressionless, but Jiang Chenming could still see that he was still a little nervous.
In order to not affect Mo Lingqiu’s mental state, Jiang Chenming sat down in the furthest corner. He waited for the rehearsal to be over before going back to the lounge to find him.
“Teacher Mo, does the ulcer hurt?” Jiang Chenming noticed that when Mo Lingqiu had been on stage earlier, he’d paused at several points he wasn’t supposed to.
“…En.” Mo Lingqiu hadn’t said anything in the morning because he didn’t feel that it would affect him much. After speaking, the ulcer on the inside of his cheek happened to bump into his teeth and it hurt badly.
Jiang Chenming walked side by side with him to the currently unused room next to the lounge. He helped him apply some more watermelon frost and then peeled the kiwifruit he’d brought.
“It’ll heal quickly if you eat this.” He raised the half-peeled kiwi up to Mo Lingqiu’s mouth, waiting for him to open his mouth for a taste.
Mo Lingqiu strained to open his mouth. He took a bit off a small piece of the fruit before carefully chewing.
“Use the other side. Don’t bite on the side your ulcer is. I’ll pour you some water when you’re done.” Jiang Chenming was very concerned. After watching him finish eating two kiwis, he went to wash his hands and pour some warm water.
Mo Lingqiu drank the water in silence. Jiang Chenming sat next to him until a student council member came for Mo Lingqiu.
“Teacher Mo, it’s time for the second walk through. You don’t need to read your script this time; we’re just working on the transitions.” When the student finished speaking, he noticed Jiang Chenming. He was stunned for a moment before he quickly greeted him. “Hey! Senior Jiang.”
“Hello.” Jiang Chenming slightly inclined his head in greeting.
Mo Lingqiu stood up. Before he stepped out, Jiang Chenming stopped him and took the script from his hands.
“I’ll take this. Let’s go,” Jiang Chenming said, standing up with him and walking towards the stage wings. “I’ll wait for you out there.”
A total of six teachers were being awarded and each teacher had prepared a ten to fifteen minute testimonial. Three teachers went up to the stage from each side. Mo Lingqiu was standing in the center when he took the stage. He was the representative of the teachers who were receiving a commendation, but, because he would be the last to give a speech, he had to wait so that he could be the last one to go up.
Jiang Chenming watched him finish the transition before returning backstage with him to wait. They ended up waiting for more than an hour.
The chaos outside gradually died down and then it was the official start of the commendation ceremony. While the host started Mo Lingqiu’s introduction, he stood in the wings, waiting to take the stage.
Jiang Chenming grabbed him. “Teacher Mo, I have something to give you when this ends.”
Mo Lingqiu blinked. “What?”
“You’ll know when the time comes.” Jiang Chenming kissed his cheek. “Good luck.”
Because of this encouraging kiss, Mo Lingqiu’s ears grew hot. He had to take a couple deep breaths to calm down before he went up on the stage.
“A very good afternoon to the teachers, the students, and everyone else present. I’m Mo Lingqiu, a teacher from the Chinese Language Department. It’s been two and a half years since I came to University A…”
Mo Lingqiu’s voice was very nice. Although he was reciting a script, he wasn’t at all slow. He spoke at an appropriate pace and stressed the necessary words. Additionally, his speech was accessible; it didn’t have obscure words or phrases that were hard to comprehend, and he would not deliberately change his literary style. The people sitting in the audience could understand the speech when they listened to it. It was probably the most accepted presentation for the audience.
Jiang Chenming diligently listened even though the curtain blocked his view. When Mo Lingqiu got to the interesting parts of his speech, he would clap along with the audience.
After his speech, Mo Lingqiu stepped off the stage on the other side. Jiang Chenming was stunned for a moment, before he quickly walked through the backstage corridor.
Mo Lingqiu went to the empty restroom backstage, tore off his tie, and let out a heavy sigh. He’d been especially nervous today. He didn’t know if it was because of the pressure of the ulcer or the presence of Jiang Chenming.
Jiang Chenming’s nose was very sensitive. Following the scent of Mo Lingqiu’s pheromones, he found him in the bathroom and watched as he washed his face, hands scooping up water.
“Teacher Mo, you did a great job.”
Mo Lingqiu wiped the water off his face. “Really?”
Jiang Chenming firmly nodded. “Yes.”
“Give me the watermelon frost.” Mo Lingqiu’s mouth was still painful and he’d tried very hard to hide it while he was on stage.
“I’ll help you.” Jiang Chenming put down his phone and carefully helped him apply the medicine.
After they left the bathroom, they packed up their things. Jiang Chenming took them out of the auditorium while Mo Lingqiu waited to take a post-speech group photo.
After driving his car to a parking space near the auditorium and waiting for more than ten minutes, Jiang Chenming watched as Mo Lingqiu walked out of the building with some school administrators. He didn’t know what they were talking about, but he could see the blinding smiles on the administrators’ faces.
Jiang Chenming wasn’t in a hurry. He was patient as Mo Lingqiu walked up to the car and sat in the passenger seat.
Jiang Chenming started the engine and started driving away from the school. Mo Lingqiu glanced outside the window and could tell that they weren’t going to his house. “Where’re we going?”
“Shihao,” Jiang Chenming said with a smile. “Didn’t I mention the garden reconstruction before New Year? It was half done back then and stopped temporarily for the holidays.”
“…Yeah.” Mo Lingqiu nodded. At Jiang Chenming’s words, he remembered; they had been celebrating the Spring Festival and had gone to Jiang Chenming’s house in Shihao Garden to hang up couplets. It seemed the garden had in fact been under construction at the time.
“After the New Year, I had better ideas, so I asked my brother’s designer friend to redesign it.” Jiang Chenming smiled. “It’s been so long since we’ve been there, right? It’s completely done now, so I can finally show it to you today, Teacher Mo.”
Mo Lingqiu blinked. “It’s reconstructed?”
“You’ll know when you see it,” Jiang Chenming said. And to himself, he thought, I hope Teacher Mo likes it.
The car drove smooth and steady into Shihao Garden, bypassing the buildings in the front to arrive at the last one where Jiang Chenming’s house was located.
Mo Lingqiu couldn’t see any changes in the garden through the tall fence. When Jiang Chenming opened the door and he followed him in, he was stunned.
The original large, bright red roses had been removed and replaced with fragrant white and purple baby’s breaths. The purple ones also formed the two characters “Chen” and “Qiu” and there was a purple heart in the middle.
No matter how calm Mo Lingqiu was, he still felt like both laughing or crying. It seemed incredibly gaudy, but, at first glance, it was very refreshing and beautiful.
On the other side, the flower bed had been shoveled and two evergreen trees had been planted. Among them hung a white swing decorated with fresh flowers.
“An hourly worker will come to change the flowers every day. If you don’t want to swing, the ropes are retractable. Pull them down and then put down the legs and you can use it as a bench.” Jiang Chenming preened, pointing at the four retractable legs under the swing.
Mo Lingqiu really didn’t know what to say. He was touched, but it was also really funny. Where had Jiang Chenming found this strange swing?
Suddenly, the lights around the villa lit up. Mo Lingqiu saw a large swathe of gentle light scattered around the baby’s breath, setting off his sense of romance.
His earlier amused mood had faded to almost nothing. Now he was really moved, and the corners of his eyes were a little moist.
Jiang Chenming walked up behind Mo Lingqiu, reaching out to pull him into his embrace. “Teacher Mo.”
“Hmm?” Rarely had Mo Lingqiu answered so quickly.
“Congratulations to Teacher Mo on receiving The Outstanding Teacher of University A award.”
“…What?” Mo Lingqiu couldn’t help laughing again.
Jiang Chenming continued, “Congratulations to Teacher Mo on the Most Popular Teacher of the Year award.”
Mo Lingqiu was about to turn his head to stare at him, but Jiang Chenming kissed his cheek.
“You’ve also obtained the Alpha Jiang Chenming who is determined to permanently mark you a copious amount of times.”
Mo Lingqiu was speechless as he felt his left hand being lifted. In an instant, a silver ring was wrapped around his middle finger.
“Teacher Mo, from this day on, you are my, Jiang Chenming’s, fiancé.”