Chapter 23 Apartment
As the distance between them grew shorter, the smile at the corner of Shen Yao’s mouth gradually froze. He raised his hand to block Yan Zhixing’s shoulder and called his name for the first time, “Yan Zhixing, have you figured out what you’re doing?”
Yan Zhixing’s movements paused slightly, and he slowly distanced himself from Shen Yao. He withdrew his hand from the desk and spoke in his usual tone, “Don’t lock the door. I’ll have the servant bring you the ointment.”
Shen Yao subconsciously rubbed his neck, no longer feeling restrained by the alpha. He spoke softly, “Okay.”
As he walked away, he added out of habit, “Goodnight, sleep early.”
Once again, Shen Yao couldn’t help but reveal his true nature. He maintained a cold and indifferent demeanor for their peaceful transaction, but at times he would lean in sensibly and say something affectionate, just enough to tickle Yan Zhixing.
The study became quiet, and Yan Zhixing returned to his seat. He was highly focused, but none of the words in front of him registered.
The fragrance of apricot blossoms lingered in the room. It was supposed to be a soothing scent for him, but now it made him inexplicably restless. Yan Zhixing stood up and opened the window. The cool night breeze brushed against his forehead as he closed his eyes to calm himself.
He had no sexual desire whatsoever, to put it bluntly, Yan Zhixing was frigid. The only time he experienced a surge of desire was when he was immersed with Shen Yao. Other than that, there was nothing.
Even if another omega stood naked in front of him, Yan Zhixing wouldn’t show the slightest reaction. But just now, by simply smelling Shen Yao’s pheromones, looking at his face, and staring at the finger marks on his neck, he had a reaction.
Yan Zhixing’s face remained expressionless, but in reality, he was already responding. He only had this response to Shen Yao, and this subtle feeling seemed capable of engulfing him.
He closed the window without any expression on his face. The light in his eyes, concealed by his eyelashes, appeared obscure and unclear.
Shortly after Shen Yao returned to his room, he heard a knock on the door. Even a small tube of ointment had to be delivered on a tray. He internally complained, but on his face, he smiled and thanked the servant as he accepted it.
Sitting in front of the vanity mirror, he leisurely applied the ointment to his neck. Of course, he wasn’t allergic to the ointment; he just found it more convenient to keep the finger marks visible to remember what Guan Shu had done to him.
Of course, there was also a bit of a rebellious intention to go against Yan Zhixing’s wishes.
After applying the ointment, Shen Yao laid back on the bed to sleep, as usual leaving a small bedside lamp on. Shen Yao didn’t bring any sleeping pills with him, so his sleep was restless as he had anticipated.
His brows furrowed, his fingers tightened unconsciously around the blanket, and his breathing gradually became heavier.
In his dream, Shen Yao fell into complete darkness, unable to see anything. He floated in an empty space, devoid of any strength.
There were hands squeezing his neck, and the familiar sensation of suffocation engulfed him. The force used felt as if someone truly wanted him dead.
Shen Yao tried to lift his hand but heard a crisp sound, as if the collision of chains.
A rush of fresh air flooded into his throat. He fell into the embrace of warmth and broadness, while the arm around his waist seemed to want to engulf his entire being.
Passionate kisses surged, devouring the air in his mouth.
Shen Yao heard his own helpless sobbing and the heavy gasps in his ears. He heard Guan Shu’s gloomy voice:
“Shen Yao, are you still going to make me angry?”
Shen Yao jolted awake, covering his pounding heart. His breathing was very rapid, gradually calming down.
He checked his phone and saw that it was three in the morning.
Ever since he encountered Guan Shu again, Shen Yao often had these kinds of dreams. Upon waking up, he could be a calm observer, judging the dream from the sidelines. But within the dream, Shen Yao couldn’t control himself.
Shen Yao quietly waited for the cold sweat on his back to dissipate. Falling back asleep was a bit difficult for him, so he took out his phone and called Xu Yibai.
The piano music played a few notes on the other end of the phone and quickly fell silent, leaving only Xu Yibai’s voice, gentle like a spring breeze. “Yao Yao, had a nightmare?”
Xu Yibai had a soothing aura about him. Whenever Shen Yao was by his side, he could sleep well. And simply calling him on the phone also gave Shen Yao the opportunity to coax Xu Yibai.
It was a win-win situation.
Shen Yao didn’t turn on the camera and softly replied with an “Mmm.” Then he asked, “Brother, can you accompany me and lull me to sleep?”
“Of course I can,” Xu Yibai responded in a warm tone. “Shall I tell you a bedtime story?”
Such stories only made Shen Yao think of rabbits and turtles, and he wasn’t interested. “How about playing a lullaby for me?”
Without any hesitation, Xu Yibai put aside everything in his hands and began playing a lullaby for Shen Yao. After a few piano notes, he smiled and asked, “Do you want me to hum along?”
After chatting with Xu Yibai for a while, Shen Yao started feeling drowsy. He rested his cheek on his arm and said, “Okay.”
Xu Yibai rarely sang, only doing so when Shen Yao expressed a desire to hear him sing. His singing was never off-key, and because of his excellent vocal range, it sounded beautiful.
He hummed softly for a while, and Xu Yibai heard Shen Yao’s steady breathing. Afraid of waking Shen Yao up again, he slowly let go of his hand. Xu Yibai put his phone on silent mode and continued practicing the piano, listening to Shen Yao’s breathing.
When Shen Yao woke up, he realized that the call hadn’t ended. There was some movement on the other side, and he heard a voice coming from his phone.
“Why haven’t you hung up?” Shen Yao said, somewhat surprised. “Have you been listening all night?”
Xu Yibai smiled. “I don’t have anything else to do besides practicing the piano. And I don’t mind staying on the call.”
Rubbing his eyes, Shen Yao sluggishly got out of bed and said, “I need to get up now and go to the dance troupe. Should I hang up?”
“Mmm,” Xu Yibai’s mood seemed quite good. “Sure, go ahead.”
“Okay.” Shen Yao, realizing it was already evening on Xu Yibai’s end, casually adding, “Goodnight.”
Shen Yao went from the estate to the dance troupe, but by the time he arrived, the morning practice had already finished. As he passed by one of the dance studios, he saw someone rehearsing a dance routine he had skipped. Before he could refuse, a teacher who happened to be in a hurry dragged him in and made him join.
Although he felt detached, Shen Yao approached the task with seriousness. There was an omega struggling to keep up with the movements, so Shen Yao walked over, placing his hand on the omega’s shoulder and waist, helping him adjust his posture slowly.
There was a faint scent coming from the omega, and as they sniffed it, the omega’s face inexplicably turned red. They discreetly glanced at the mirror and accidentally made eye contact with Shen Yao, causing them to jump and quickly avert their gaze.
Shen Yao didn’t say anything. He simply let go of his hand and returned to his seat at the back of the dance studio.
He could feel that the omega kept stealing glances at him, and Shen Yao furrowed his brow, thinking for a while, but still found that face unfamiliar.
Shen Yao lowered his head and continued watching the dance video on his phone. The recording had become somewhat blurry due to its age, but the woman in the video danced with elegance and fluidity.
The music played about two-thirds of the way through, but she stopped abruptly, clearly indicating that the choreography wasn’t complete.
Shen Yao dragged the progress bar back to the beginning to watch again.
“Yao Yao, I was just looking for you,” Zhuo Ran walked in, surprised, and asked, “Where is Teacher Xu? Why are you here?”
Shen Yao looked up and said, “Teacher Xu had an urgent matter to attend to, but they said they’ll be back soon.”
Zhuo Ran lowered her gaze and caught a glimpse of the screen on his phone. It was a familiar segment; she had found and showed it to Shen Yao. She sat down next to Shen Yao and softly asked, “This dance in Ying Ying’s video, she originally wanted it to be a part of the dance troupe’s tenth-anniversary commemoration.”
Ying Ying was Shen Yao’s mother, named Lan Ying. The dance segment was beautiful, but unfortunately, it was never completed.
Zhuo Ran looked at Shen Yao’s expression and suddenly realized, “You want to finish this dance for your mother?”
Shen Yao responded with a nod. “Mmm, but there are some differences between male and female dance steps, so I might need to make some adjustments.”
Zhuo Ran wanted to say something, but Shen Yao’s calm tone didn’t seem to require anyone’s comfort. It was only then that she remembered the main purpose and exclaimed, “Ah,” before saying, “I’ve been preparing to move recently, and I came across some photos and videos of Ying Ying during her university days, as well as some other things. Would you like to take a look or keep them?”
Shen Yao’s expression paused for a moment, and he nodded gently, saying, “Sure, Auntie. Thank you.”
Zhuo Ran had a performance tonight as a teacher and couldn’t leave early. She explained to Shen Yao that she would bring the items to him tomorrow. Shen Yao patiently waited all along, even accompanying her to the dinner after the performance, despite it being an event he usually didn’t attend. The members of the dance troupe looked at him with surprise when they saw him.
Shen Yao’s colleagues in the dance troupe were categorized as individuals with no need for close contact, so he never participated in their gatherings. Now, as he sat quietly next to Zhuo Ran, others would speak to him, and he would politely respond with a few words. When they were halfway through the meal, his phone rang, it was a call from Shen Fulin. Shen Yao stood up and went outside to answer.
Walking to the end of the corridor, Shen Yao obediently asked, “What’s the matter, Uncle?”
“Shen Yao,” Shen Fulin seemed to have encountered something urgent and didn’t even bother with formalities. He straightforwardly ordered, “Find a way to have a meal with Yan Zhixing and me.”
Shen Yao leaned against the wall expressionlessly. Yan Zhixing had already informed him last night about the situation Shen Fulin encountered, where a shipment of ten container ships on the coast had been confiscated. It would result in a significant loss if they were not released.
He lowered his head and hesitated slightly before saying, “Uncle, is something wrong…? Then I’ll try to make arrangements to meet with Yan Zhixing?”
Shen Yao genuinely responded to Shen Fulin, but once the call ended, he lifted his head and saw a familiar face in the corridor.
The person Shen Yao dreamt about yesterday was Guan Shu. Although they were at a distance, Shen Yao could feel that familiar gaze sliding over him almost imperceptibly.
Another voice diverted Shen Yao’s attention, and he saw a senior from the dance troupe coming out of a nearby restroom. When the senior saw him, his eyes lit up with surprise.
It was this senior who had been talking to him at the dinner table, so Shen Yao naturally understood his intention.
The senior approached, asking familiarly, “Why haven’t you gone back yet? Shall we leave together?”
“I feel dizzy. I’ll stand here for a while before going back.”
While Shen Yao conversed with the senior, his gaze remained on Guan Shu. This time, Guan Shu managed to keep his composure, his expression unchanged. He even crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, as if watching a play.
“Shen Yao…” The senior hesitated for a long time, realizing that it would be difficult to have another chance to be alone with Shen Yao. He gritted his teeth and said, “I’ve always liked you. Can I have your contact information? I won’t disturb you normally.”
“You want mine?” Shen Yao shook his head and refused, smiling as he said, “I already have a boyfriend.”
The senior froze, letting out a delayed “ah.” No one had ever known that Shen Yao had a boyfriend.
Shen Yao didn’t intentionally lower his voice, making it loud enough for Guan Shu to hear. He watched as Guan Shu couldn’t continue with his act. Guan Shu let his arms drop and seemed about to leave.
“Guan Shu.” However, Shen Yao called him back, his tone affectionate, reminiscent of their high school days, unlike his usual cold demeanor in the dance troupe. “Why did you come to pick me up so early?”
The senior instinctively turned around and saw the expressionless alpha standing beside the corridor, dressed in black T-shirt and work pants, giving off an intimidating aura.
Realizing that he had just asked Shen Yao for his contact information in front of his boyfriend, the senior awkwardly rubbed his nose. He apologized to Guan Shu, but received no response in return.
The alpha leaning against the wall had a cold and stern expression, but he simply glanced at the senior before him. He and Shen Yao didn’t seem like the same type of person, but the thought of them being a couple made him feel that they were strangely compatible.
The senior slinked away dejectedly, but Guan Shu remained in place. His expression was indifferent, and his monolid eyes drooped lazily.
He watched as Shen Yao approached, raising his gaze and speaking calmly, “What a coincidence, meeting here like this.” As if afraid that Shen Yao would misunderstand, Guan Shu explained, “I wasn’t intentionally eavesdropping at the corner. It’s just a coincidence.”
Guan Shu didn’t even ask Shen Yao what he meant by saying “boyfriend.” He turned to leave.
He didn’t expect that Shen Yao would embrace him from behind. The Omega’s arms were slender, soft, and lacked strength.
Shen Yao leaned against him, the embrace feeling like a weary bird finding its way home, so clingy that one didn’t know how to shake it off. “Guan Shu, what if I said Yan Zhixing is not my boyfriend?”
Guan Shu paused his steps, not wanting to speculate on what Shen Yao meant. He responded indifferently, “So what? What does it have to do with me? I’m not your boyfriend either, so don’t use me as a shield.”
“Of course, you’re not my boyfriend.” In the midst of that proactive and intimate embrace, Shen Yao asked gently, full of tenderness, “I just wanted to ask if you would like to be my lover?”
Guan Shu never expected this answer. He turned his head slightly, calmly asking, “Shen Yao, have you gone crazy?”
“No, I’m serious.” Shen Yao innocently replied. His gaze lowered, brushing past Guan Shu’s hand resting by his leg as if he cared for it. He said, “Stop pretending. I’m worried you’ll crush your palm.”
The most concealed disguise was shattered, and Guan Shu abruptly grabbed Shen Yao’s hand. He was always easily provoked by Shen Yao, easily influenced by his emotions.
Gripping Shen Yao’s shoulder, he pushed him against the wall. The thickest ice shattered in an instant, and Guan Shu’s features seemed to contort together. He threw a punch next to Shen Yao and sinisterly said, “Shen Yao!”
Every time Guan Shu called Shen Yao’s name, it felt like he wanted to chew him up and devour him whole.
“Why so fierce?” Shen Yao raised his hand to touch Guan Shu’s head. “Are you willing or not?”
Guan Shu lowered his gaze, staring at him. Countless emotions surged in his eyes, more chaotic and complex than anything else, with the heaviest of them likely being hatred.
He raised his hand, feeling the impulse to strangle Shen Yao. If he were to strangle Shen Yao like this, there would be no barrier between them. Shen Yao would completely and utterly die in his hands.
Sensing his intentions, Shen Yao calmly hooked his hand around Guan Shu’s neck and tilted his head to kiss his lips.
He tasted a trace of unpleasant tobacco, wrinkling his brow and wanting to pull back, but Guan Shu suddenly gripped the back of his head. It felt like the sensation from a dream, this kiss completely robbing him of all his breath.
When it ended, Shen Yao was left breathless, with moist eyelashes.
Guan Shu stared at him and thought that Shen Yao’s heart would never warm up. Since it wouldn’t warm up, why should he continue to torment himself?
Besides, he no longer liked Shen Yao. He had no feelings left for him, and he didn’t want to continue developing any emotional connection with him.
Since he had no relationship with Yan Zhixing, why not become lovers? He had slept with Shen Yao so many times; of course, he knew how good Shen Yao was in bed. Since Shen Yao had come to him willingly, why shouldn’t he accept it?
“Sure.” Guan Shu sneered. “Since you’re so good to f*ck, why wouldn’t I take you when you’re offering yourself?”
Shen Yao released his hand that was hooked around Guan Shu’s neck and said openly, “Alright then. I’ll contact you later. I’ll go back first…”
He hadn’t finished speaking, but Guan Shu grabbed him and headed towards the elevator. Shen Yao stumbled along behind him, hastily saying, “I need to go back and get something.”
As soon as the elevator doors opened, Guan Shu shoved Shen Yao inside. Guan Shu stared at him motionlessly and asked, “Are you going back to get something or to find another man?”
Shen Yao shrugged helplessly, rubbing his wrist without explaining. Guan Shu loved to make assumptions, so let him guess on his own.
He seemed so calm on the surface, but in reality, he was already consumed by jealousy.
Guan Shu was like an unstable time bomb. Instead of waiting for him to explode suddenly, it was better to take control of him. And seeing him angry every day, Shen Yao sometimes wanted to see how devoted Guan Shu used to be to him.
Moreover, due to certain circumstances, he felt grateful to Guan Shu, but also hated him. He had originally intended to let Guan Shu go, but Guan Shu kept approaching him, and his vengeful thoughts couldn’t be suppressed and began to sprout.
He detested being bound by nightmares, and sometimes facing them directly was the best way to dispel the shadows.
Shen Yao was dragged into the car by Guan Shu, then pulled out of the car and finally dragged into this familiar apartment.
Every past weekend, he would spend it here with Guan Shu. Besides that, there were a few other memories lingering.
Shen Yao’s steps stiffened at the doorway. Guan Shu pushed his shoulder, forcing him to walk into the dark room where the lights hadn’t been turned on yet.
The darkness seemed capable of swallowing a person whole, leaving nothing but bones. Shen Yao instinctively wanted to escape but ended up colliding with the steel-like hardness of Guan Shu’s chest from behind.
Guan Shu stood behind him, blocking off all possible retreats. His hands were like iron clamps, firmly gripping Shen Yao’s waist, his gaze dark:
“Shen Yao, what are you trying to escape from? Isn’t this place familiar to you?”
“Back then, I kept you locked up here for a month. Is there any spot in this room you haven’t crawled over?”