As they walked out of the office, Wang Xiaoming kept sneaking glances at Baal.
Baal walked apathetically down the hall.
He had deep-set features and curling black hair. Coupled with his slender figure, he looked like a noble from the Middle Ages and stood out from his surroundings.
They walked into the elevator.
Wang Xiaoming couldn’t help but say, “I’m sorry.”
Baal’s eyes moved toward him.
Wang Xiaoming was afraid his voice was too soft and repeated again, “I’m sorry.”
If he stayed quiet, the guy would probably apologize till the morning. Baal made a dismissive gesture with his lips. “Why are you apologizing?”
“I’ve troubled you.”
Baal was pretty surprised. “I thought you didn’t know.”
Wang Xiaoming pressed the tips of his feet against each other. That was a nervous habit of his, as if doing so would attract his attention and distract him from being nervous. “I hadn’t thought so at first but when I stood up, I suddenly thought of it.”
“I thought your mind would be occupied with not disappointing him.”
At that, the elevator dinged and announced its arrival.
Wang Xiaoming was about to exit when his phone rang. The guard told him that guests were about to arrive and directed him to take the elevator to the first floor.
The door shut with another ding.
Wang Xiaoming took a breath of fresh air just then and his mind calmed a lot. “I don’t have anything that President Xiang wants. President Xiang paid attention to me because of you.”
The corner of Baal’s lips raised up and his gaze said clearly, “You’re not that stupid after all.”
“But even so, I’m willing to be used.” His feet pressed against each other harder.
Baal’s mouth immediately drooped.
Wang Xiaoming said quietly, “Because aside from that I have nothing to give back to him.”
“What do you owe him?” Baal snorted out in vexation.
“He gave me work, gave me somewhere to live. He helped me move and then helped me get back my deposit and rent from the landlady, and…”
“Stop.” Baal stuck out a finger and poked Wang Xiaoming’s nose. “You seem to not understand something.”
Wang Xiaoming went cross-eyed trying to look at that finger.
“You’re just a bridge. I’m the one being used.”
Baal laughed but it was through gritted teeth. “You mean to say that you know Xiang Wenxun wants to use me and you’ll still foolishly bring us to his doorsteps?”
Wang Xiaoming answered, “I said, I owe him.”
Baal clenched his fist and was about to speak when the elevator door opened again. He didn’t even look before pressing a level and letting the door shut on its own.
“You owe him and you use me to repay that?” Those eyes, as dark as night, lit up with flames of anger.
Wang Xiaoming’s face blushed slightly and he gathered up the courage to say, “The computer you’re using is his.”
“You also smashed his table to bits.”
“Besides,” Wang Xiaoming paused and said, “President Xiang deserves pity. If you could help his brother…”
Baal asked coldly, “Why should I help his brother?”
“Because helping others leads to happiness.”
Baal’s eyebrows twitched, “That’s a rule angels follow. If I followed it, why did I fall?”
Wang Xiaoming was stumped and then mumbled, “But he did help you.”
Baal shrugged. “I didn’t ask him to.”
Baal’s face darkened, “Are you saying I begged him?”
“You did.” Though Wang Xiaoming felt fear in his very bones at the sight of Baal’s expression in such a small sealed-off space, the persistence found in his very core made Wang Xiaoming struggle to stand up straighter and not back down in the staring contest.
“Very well.” Baal suddenly grabbed him. “You’re determined to be on his side, is that right?”
Wang Xiaoming stumbled and pressed half of himself against Baal.
His phone suddenly rang and, at the same time, the elevator door opened with a ding.
The phone abruptly cut off.
Chu Zhao noticed the scene inside the elevator. He had been a bit drowsy but was now wide awake, the alcohol evaporating in the cold sweat that suddenly broke out.
The merry guests suddenly quieted and stared wide-eyed at Wang Xiaoming, who was at a loss for what to do.
To him, he was half-leaning inside Baal’s embrace.
But to the others, he was at a 45-degree angle with the floor and struggling to stand on the tips of his toes on one foot so he didn’t fall over.
Someone clapped first and a series of applauses soon followed.
Chu Zhao breathed a secret sigh of relief and went along with a smile. “This is an entertainment program that the Silver House has been preparing for recently. Since everyone here is a long-time customer of the Silver House, President Xiang has made special arrangements for you to see it first.”
“Very good, very good,” the guests complimented.
Others asked curiously, “Is there something else?”
Chu Zhao didn’t dare nod and turned around to give Wang Xiaoming a stiff smile. “Do you have anything else that you can show us?”
Wang Xiaoming didn’t dare nod either and could only look up at Baal.
Baal said sarcastically, “Now you’ve discovered my value again?”
Wang Xiaoming’s eyes reddened.
Baal choked on all the complaints and mocking words that he had prepared.
He remembered the Black Star Pearl with the names carved on it. In terms of clarity, his name had the upper hand. But Xiang Wenxun’s name was bigger. He still hadn’t figured out whether the color was more important or whether the size of the characters was more important. If his impulsive behavior caused Wang Xiaoming’s impression of him to deteriorate, then it’d be cutting off his nose to spite his face.
He hadn’t forgotten how clear Chang Haitao’s name had been on the Black Star Pearl. But in just half a month, it had paled and disappeared.
At that thought, he couldn’t help but become unhappy with Wang Xiaoming—to change his affections so quickly was extremely fickle!
If Wang Xiaoming dared to change his affection toward him at such speed, Baal would take his head off and kick around like a ball.
Baal might have been happy in his contemplations, but both Wang Xiaoming’s and Chu Zhao’s hair practically turned white with anxiety.
Especially when the guests started getting more and more impatient.
When it came to aerobatics, it was movement they desired. If they had to deal with a still tableau, they might as well go look at statues, which had a chest if desired or abs if desired.
Wang Xiaoming sneakily pulled at Baal’s clothes.
Baal lowered his head and, without a second word, he picked Wang Xiaoming up.
The guests, who had been falling asleep, jerked their eyes wide open and stared in utter shock and amazement at Wang Xiaoming floating in midair.
An impulsive one even reached out a hand.
At that moment, the elevator door was about to close, but the hand blocked it and it opened again.
The other guests let out gasps of surprise.
It wasn’t like they hadn’t seen the levitation magic trick before, but every othertime it had been either while down amongst the audience or in front of the television. They’d never been so up close and personal.
Because Baal had just picked him up nilly-willy, it wasn’t a comfortable position. Wang Xiaoming felt like his waist was breaking in half and the air in his lungs kept escaping.
Chu Zhao took the opportunity of the guests being in shock and quickly tried to indicate what to do with his eyes. Seeing that nothing was happening, he just said, “Curtains closing. We should close the curtains.”
Only then did Wang Xiaoming realize what to do and he reached out a hand to repeatedly smash the button for closing the elevator door.
But unfortunately the guests were too curious and one of them kept pressing the buttons over and over, trying to come in and get a better look.
So the elevator made repeated ding, ding sounds as it opened and closed.
In the end, Chu Zhao rushed in and intentionally knocked aside that persistent hand. Only then did the door completely close.
When the guests’ curious and unwilling faces left his sight, Wang Xiaoming’s smile finally collapsed and he breathed out a sigh.
Baal put him down and laughed coldly as he said, “Helping others leads to happiness?”
“Not much happiness.” Wang Xiaoming straightened his clothes and said earnestly, “But it would be happier than not helping someone.”
Baal refused to communicate with him for the rest of the night.
When they returned to the dorms at night, Wang Xiaoming saw Tao Le leaning against the wall from very far away. The man kept smoking.
The ground beneath him was covered with cigarette stubs.
Every time Wang Xiaoming saw him, he felt a bit afraid.
He had actually only met Tao Le a few times, but each time had been memorable and drama-filled.
He carefully walked past the man, only to realize the other person hadn’t even planned on looking at him. Just as he sighed in relief, the door to Chu Zhao’s room opened.
Chu Zhao probably hadn’t thought it would be him and paused briefly. His gaze moved away from Tao Le and faced him to ask, “What were you doing on the eighth floor?”
Wang Xiaoming couldn’t tell him about Baal so he had to shoulder the blame. “Sorry.”
Chu Zhao inhaled and then said lightly, “Be careful the next time.” Just being able to speak logically after witnessing so many shocking experiences took a lot of courage; pretending to curse and shout like he did before would be impossible.
Wang Xiaoming was still standing in the same spot, waiting for the scolding, when Chu Zhao shut the door cautiously.
After Chu Zhao shut the door, he suddenly felt afraid and murmured in a quiet voice, “Did I… just forget to say goodnight?”
After several dramatic days at the Silver House, Wang Xiaoming finally welcomed his first weekend.
For the entire night, he had contemplated his conversation with Baal and suddenly felt guilty. He felt that owing Xiang Wenxun was his business and he really shouldn’t pull Baal into it. He shouldn’t have forced his own morals onto Baal—no matter how twisted Baal’s morals were.
After thinking it through, Wang Xiaoming became anxious.
He ran up to Baal first thing in the morning, without even having brushed his teeth or washed his face, and declared, “I’ve thought it through.”
Baal looked up from his book.
“I won’t drag you down!” Wang Xiaoming raised a fist.
Baal looked at him silently.
“I’ll repay what I owe President Xiang myself!” Wang Xiaoming said very loudly.
“By using your flesh just like the person across the hall?” One sentence from Baal was all it took to have cold water thrown on Wang Xiaoming’s determination.
Wang Xiaoming bit his lip but couldn’t say anything to refute that.
Baal had intended to land another hit but regretfully resisted when he noticed Wang Xiaoming’s expression. He had to maintain his image in the guy’s heart to sustain that affection.
The cellphone rang.
A gurgle came from Wang Xiaoming’s throat and he turned around to search for his phone.
When he picked it up, it was actually Tony calling.
“Didn’t your guy want to see Shi Feixia? I’ve arranged everything.” He jumped straight into the matter at hand.
At first, Wang Xiaoming couldn’t remember who Shi Feixia was and when he did, he was surprised. “You’re really bringing him here?”
“It’s not that I want to bring him here, it’s that he’s insisting, very loudly, on coming.” Tony sounded resigned, “But you can relax. My coworker is good with people. Since he said yes, then he knows what to do. You don’t have to worry.”
Still, Wang Xiaoming hesitated.
Tony didn’t give him any time to decide before saying, “Tomorrow morning at nine, the McDonald’s at Sunshine Plaza. Remember, if you get there late, you won’t see him.”
Wang Xiaoming was about to say something else but the other one had hung up already. He turned around to look at Baal, who coincidentally also looked over at him.
He asked hesitantly, “You, do you still want to see Shi Feixa?”