Chapter 4 “Can You Date Me?”
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Xu Yibai didn’t say anything harsh to Shen Yao, even in the current situation, he held back, afraid of hurting Shen Yao. He believed that quarreling was something that would affect the relationship, and one should not vent their temper on someone they liked. Communication and understanding were the best solutions, and even when he was angry, he just pulled Shen Yao to sit on the couch.
“Shen Yao,” he said, in a more serious tone than usual, not using his usual intimate nickname.
Shen Yao guessed what he wanted to say and quickly reached out to touch his arm, murmuring, “I know I was wrong. I’ve been training these past few days, and my mood hasn’t been great.”
Xu Yibai’s arm hung down by his side, and he could feel Shen Yao gingerly hooking his fingers.
He still didn’t respond but tried to speak calmly and rationally, “I’m your boyfriend, and you can talk to me when you’re not feeling good. I’m always willing to provide emotional support for you.”
“If you want to be quiet and stay by yourself, that’s fine too, but you can’t ignore all my messages and not answer my calls.”
“I don’t know what you’re doing, but not only do I get anxious and overthink things, I also worry about your well-being.”
“Do you think this is okay?”
Shen Yao’s forehead was a little messy, and he looked up with droopy eyes, letting Xu Yibai tidy him up. He then replied apologetically from his nose, “Mmm.”
“It’s not okay,” Shen Yao said softly, “My leg hurts.”
After a moment of stalemate, Xu Yibai’s tightly pursed lips finally relaxed a little. He sighed and half-squatted down, skillfully pinching Shen Yao’s calf, “Where does it hurt? Did you cramp again?”
“No,” Shen Yao bent down, rolled up his pants and pitifully said, “I was planning on coming to see you tonight, but there was a banquet. I ran too fast to come see you, and accidentally fell and bruised my knee.”
His eyelashes trembled, and he whispered, “It hurts so much, Xu Yibai.”
Shen Yao’s skin was fair, and his long legs were smooth and flawless, with no blemishes, making the redness on his knee stand out even more.
He took the opportunity to embrace Xu Yibai, “I don’t like chatting online or talking on the phone through a screen. I just want to see you.” Xu Yibai didn’t expect him to fall so hard. At the moment, all he could see was Shen Yao’s injury, forgetting even his own anger.
He instinctively stood up and went to get an ice pack. But Shen Yao grabbed his clothes and asked, ‘Are you still angry?’
“Are you not angry anymore?”
He raised his legs and what Xu Yibai saw when he looked down was the wound on his knee. He used his own wound as someone else’s soft spot.
Seeing that he didn’t say anything, Shen Yao tugged a few more times.
After a while, Xu Yibai compromised and said, “I’m not angry anymore. Can you let go first? I’ll go get you an ice pack.”
Xu Yibai went into the bedroom and brought back a loose short-sleeved shirt and a pair of shorts. He handed the clothes to Shen Yao and said, “The suit doesn’t look comfortable. You should change into this first. I’ll go get some ice for you.”
When Xu Yibai returned, Shen Yao had already changed his clothes. The clothes belonged to him and they were one size too big for Shen Yao.
Shen Yao held the collar and buried his face in it, sniffing the lingering scent of the blue wind chimes on the clothes like a puppy. He didn’t feel embarrassed at all, but instead stared straight at Xu Yibai with his exposed eyes.
Xu Yibai, who shouldn’t have been nervous, was a little bit imperceptibly red around the ears.
Xu Yibai reached out and pulled the clothes from Shen Yao’s nose, then lifted the slipping shoulder strap up and said, “Don’t suffocate yourself.”
“Isn’t this your clothes that you gave me? Why are you pretending to be serious now?” Shen Yao wanted to laugh but held it back.
To tease Xu Yibai, he ignored the pain on his knee and played with the waistband of his pants with his fingers, muttering, “The waistband is so big.”
Even though there was an elastic band, he just didn’t tighten it. Xu Yibai leaned down and tied a very standard knot with his pianist’s hands, which were particularly beautiful and flexible.
He applied the ice bag very gently and touched it with his fingers. “Is your knee still hurting? Do you want me to call a doctor?”
“No need,” Shen Yao yawned. “It’s definitely not a bone injury. If you call a doctor, they’ll just tell us to ice it ourselves. They’ll think we’re overreacting.”
Except for concerts, Xu Yibai rarely wore formal attire. The clothes he wore most at home were clean-toned clothes.
He sat on the sofa, and his cotton and linen white clothes reflected a warm color. Xu Yibai had Shen Yao rest his leg on him, and he focused on rotating the ice bag.
Xu Yibai’s work didn’t require him to deal with so many complicated people. Even though he was still a bit angry, his expression remained clean and unaffected by worldly things.
Shen Yao’s Adam’s apple rolled, and suddenly he wanted to kiss him. He held Xu Yibai’s chin, and he only needed to lower his head to kiss him.
As his lips approached, before they could touch, his stomach growled. He had been hungry all night.
Maybe hunger really made people stupid. Shen Yao blinked slowly and didn’t react.
He looked cute like this, and Xu Yibai’s mood finally improved. He couldn’t help but laugh lightly. He understood Shen Yao’s intention and took the initiative to lift his chin and give him a kiss on the corner of his mouth.
Xu Yibai held Shen Yao’s hand and had him spread his palm before placing the ice bag on it. He straightened up, and this height was perfect for him to rub Shen Yao’s head as he sat on the sofa.
“You went to a banquet tonight. Haven’t you eaten anything?” Xu Yibai asked.
“No,” Shen Yao covered his stomach. “I was thinking of coming to see you after it was over, so I didn’t eat anything because I wanted to eat something you made.”
Xu Yibai’s gaze softened even more as he spoke warmly, “But I haven’t been back to stay for too long, so there isn’t much in the fridge. I can only make you a bowl of noodles.”
He knew Shen Yao was very picky about food, so he assured him, “I’ll go to the supermarket tomorrow morning and buy the ingredients you like. Then I’ll make you something for lunch.”
The kitchen was not far from the living room. Halfway through walking there, Xu Yibai turned back, feeling uneasy. He saw Shen Yao curled up on the sofa, obediently following his instructions and using an ice pack to massage his knees.
Unconsciously, Xu Yibai smiled. He thought that Shen Yao must be really busy lately, which was why he had forgotten about him.
He believed that Shen Yao liked him.
In college, many people liked Shen Yao, but there was only one alpha by his side – Xu Yibai.
He was clingy and loved to act cute, but only Xu Yibai knew that side of him.
Shen Yao was exhausted. After finishing dinner and taking a shower, he laid on the bed and his eyelids immediately became heavy. Xu Yibai’s bed was very soft, like sinking into a pile of cotton.
When he felt drowsy, his fingers unconsciously twisted the pillow, but he couldn’t fall asleep. It wasn’t until he felt the bed sink slightly and Xu Yibai, who had finished showering, got into bed and hugged him that he finally fell asleep.
“Xu Yibai…” Shen Yao mumbled, half-asleep. “Pheromones.”
The fragrance of blue wind chimes wafted in the air, and the alpha gently patted Shen Yao’s back, humming a quiet lullaby.
After a while, Shen Yao’s breathing became deep and shallow, and he fell asleep innocently like an angel in a church mural.
He slept soundly and peacefully, but Xu Yibai didn’t sleep much. He had something on his mind and checked his phone for the time every once in a while.
After three hours, Xu Yibai got up quietly and continued to use an ice pack to massage Shen Yao’s knees, who was still sound asleep. As the night passed, Shen Yao wasn’t disturbed by him at all. Xu Yibai couldn’t help but think that he wouldn’t have let Shen Yao kneel for so long and hurt his knees like that.
Xu Yibai was a senior one grade above Shen Yao. They belonged to different departments – one was from the music department, and the other was from the dance department. Their paths rarely cross, but they always seemed to have chance encounters.
Their first meeting was during the preparation for the school anniversary.
Xu Yibai received the notification in advance and arrived one step earlier than the agreed time, as was his habit. When he arrived, the dance studio was still empty.
The window was open, and the breeze gently swayed the curtains. The dance studio was constructed differently from the piano room – there was a large mirror directly opposite and a row of bars on the wall. The floor was made of a special anti-slip material.
Xu Yibai didn’t pay much attention and sat down on the newly moved piano stool next to him. He placed the sheet music on the stand, and his fingers had just touched the black and white keys when the door to the dance studio opened again.
The Omega walked in, wearing a light green dance practice suit, with the pants much darker than the top.
It was a difficult color to pull off, but against his fair skin, it looked striking. Xu Yibai knew the name of the Omega he was going to work with – Shen Yao.
When Shen Yao saw him, his expression was slightly surprised. He looked up at the clock before seeming to let out a sigh of relief, “I thought I was late, but I didn’t expect you, senior, to arrive so early.”
Shen Yao was strikingly beautiful even when he was quiet, and when he smiled, there was a hint of childishness. Xu Yibai instinctively replied, “I’m used to coming early.”
Shen Yao placed his bag against the wall and asked naturally, “Have you ever worked with anyone before, senior?”
Xu Yibai replied truthfully, “No, this is my first time.”
This type of collaboration was quite common, and many people had approached him before, but Xu Yibai had always refused. He had high standards for the stage and was principled about this matter. To him, the sound of the piano was his exclusive cloud.
Xu Yibai preferred solo performances more and he liked the pure sound of the piano. Even in ensemble performances, he demanded that other instruments perfectly match his playing, making the music float like a cloud.
He also had high standards for dancers, so Xu Yibai never agreed to accompany them. However, this time was an exception. When the principal asked him for help, Xu Yibai initially wanted to refuse as usual.
But the principal asked him to consider it and sent a video.
In a spacious and bright dance studio, the music was slightly distorted in the video. At noon, the barefoot Omega stood in the center, and he seemed to notice the camera and tilted his head with a smile.
The dancing Omega’s body was soft, following the rhythm of the music to raise and lower his hands, and then slowly lifting his feet. This dance didn’t require too many techniques, but every movement was clean and neat.
Dancing requires talent, and some people were just naturally gifted, like this Omega.
Xu Yibai was an amateur, but by the time he realized it, the video had already ended.
He exited it and said to the principal, “Let’s give it a try.”
“Your first time?” Shen Yao smiled, revealing a small pointed tooth. He lifted his leg and pressed it against the bar to warm up, doing it naturally and skillfully. “Then I’m quite special.”
Shen Yao, who practiced dancing all year round, was very flexible. He bent over, his white fingers reaching for his pointed toes, and his spine creating a smooth arc.
Xu Yibai glanced a few times unintentionally, then lowered his head, accidentally hitting a piano key with his finger. The sound echoed in the room. He patiently played the piano while waiting for Shen Yao to finish warming up, before starting to rehearse.
It turned out that trying it out this time was not wrong. He and Shen Yao were a perfect match. Music and dance were unique ways of storytelling, and performers infused their emotions into them, creating dreams for the audience.
He and Shen Yao had a soul resonance, which was a clever feeling, like Shen Yao was a beautiful butterfly and he knew how Shen Yao’s wings trembled, and Shen Yao knew where his fingers should be.
It wasn’t until it was dark that they finished, and Shen Yao wiped the sweat from his face and packed up his bag. His hair was damp, but his eyes were bright and polite as he said goodbye: “Goodbye, senior.”
Obviously, he was also very satisfied with this collaboration.
They started preparing for the school anniversary a long time ago, so they didn’t have to rush. They took two or three days out of the week to rehearse.
It lasted for more than a month, and he and Shen Yao gradually became acquainted with each other. They would laugh and joke together during rehearsals, and they would eat together afterwards.
Today was the day that Xu Yibai and Shen Yao agreed to meet. He finished his class in the music room and put his things into his backpack.
His friend next to him asked, “Are you going to see Shen Yao again?”
Xu Yibai paused for a moment and asked back, “Do you also know him?”
“I know him, but he doesn’t know me.” His friend pouted, sounding envious. “Only people like you, who don’t pay attention to anything outside of your own world, doesn’t know him. Shen Yao got the highest scores in both his major and cultural exams when he entered the school. He also looks so handsome that Alphas who are pursuing him could line up from the east gate to the west gate.”
Xu Yibai asked again, “Do you like him too?”
“Okay, I admit it! I used to like him!” said the friend. “But he’s very aloof and doesn’t pay much attention to people.”
As Xu Yibai walked towards the dance studio with his backpack on his back, he was still thinking about what his friend had just said.
He didn’t think Shen Yao was aloof, as Shen Yao always smiled around him.
Xu Yibai’s footsteps came to a slow stop in front of the hallway, as he saw Shen Yao. Only then did he notice the Alpha who had his back turned towards him.
He thought that Shen Yao seemed to be quite popular.
The Alpha’s fingers were hooked around a bag of milk tea, wanting to hand it over to Shen Yao. Shen Yao’s expression was one he had never seen before, cold and indifferent. He furrowed his brow and refused, “I don’t like to drink milk tea.”
The Alpha, who was soft-spoken, now wanted to come on strong, and forcefully tried to hand the drink to Shen Yao.
Before he could even do so, Xu Yibai had already walked over, but had not spoken. With a calm face, he directly twisted the Alpha’s wrist and locked it with his other hand.
“Ah!” The Alpha screamed uncontrollably in pain.
He looked polite and gentle, but his grip was strong, and he was quite skilled in his movements. He pinched the person’s dead spots, making it impossible to get out.
“What? Are you going to interfere in this, Xu Yibai?!” The Alpha recognized Xu Yibai, who was famous in the piano world. His face turned pale as he glared fiercely at Xu Yibai, “I’m delivering milk tea to Shen Yao, not you. What’s it to you?”
Xu Yibai stood in front of Shen Yao, creating a distance between him and the Alpha, frowning and saying, “He said he doesn’t want it, can’t you understand that?”
He let go of the Alpha’s hand, it was the first time Shen Yao heard Xu Yibai yell.
The Alpha was thrown against the wall by him and held his arm for a long time before recovering. In the end, maybe because he was embarrassed, or maybe because he was really scared, the Alpha left with a gloomy face.
When he passed by the trash can, he even threw away the milk tea.
Xu Yibai didn’t understand the Alpha’s behavior of forcing Shen Yao to accept gifts, nor could he understand his current angry look.
In Xu Yibai’s opinion, liking someone should be pursued politely without disturbing the other person.
“Thank you, senior.” Shen Yao’s voice brought him back to reality, and he teased, “So you can be tough too.”
Xu Yibai’s tough attitude just now softened in an instant. His earlobes turned slightly red, and he turned his head helplessly, “That’s not being tough, it’s just useless to reason with such a person.”
Afterwards, Shen Yao thanked him and treated him to a meal.
On the second night, the rain during the rainy season poured down heavily.
Xu Yibai didn’t live on campus, he lived outside. When he received Shen Yao’s call, he was watering the flowers. They exchanged contact information and communicated through messages, but it was the first time they talked on the phone.
He didn’t hesitate much and answered the phone, asking warmly, “What’s up?”
It sounded like Shen Yao was outside, and the background noise was mixed with the sound of rain. He didn’t speak, so Xu Yibai waited quietly for him to speak.
After a while, he heard Shen Yao’s deliberately casual tone.
“Senior, it’s raining heavily outside.”
Xu Yibai put down the watering can and looked towards the French window. The rain was so heavy that he couldn’t see anything outside.
He picked up the umbrella by the door and asked, “Shen Yao, where are you? Can you tell me?”
Shen Yao on the other end of the phone became quiet again. His breathing was clear and audible as he said, “I’m at the west gate of the school. Can you come and pick me up? I don’t have any other friends.”
Indeed, he had never seen Shen Yao with any close friends.
It only took Xu Yibai ten minutes to rush over. He immediately saw Shen Yao huddled under a covering at the entrance.
He didn’t look a bit pitiful, but he was completely drenched, and the water droplets slid down his forehead and nose, disappearing into his collarbone.
Xu Yibai quickly covered Shen Yao’s head with a large towel he was wearing and frantically wiped his face with it.
He didn’t ask why Shen Yao got caught in the rain, why he called him, or why he wasn’t speaking.
Xu Yibai brought Shen Yao back home, as if he was carefully bringing back a pretty stray cat with a beautiful coat.
A pot of ginger tea was boiling on the stove, and the spicy aroma was gradually spreading. Xu Yibai was still staring at the boiling water absentmindedly.
He had good social skills, but there was always a limit when it came to interacting with others. For example, Xu Yibai would never bring someone back to his home, as it was a private space he didn’t want others to pry into.
But with just one phone call from Shen Yao, he brought him home.
Not only that, he also gave Shen Yao some of his smaller clothes and allowed him to use the bathroom that only he had access to take a shower.
The boiling ginger tea overflowed from the pot, and Xu Yibai suddenly snapped out of his thoughts, quickly turning off the induction cooker.
He was about to grab a cloth to wipe the stove, when suddenly a source of heat pressed against his back. Xu Yibai stiffened, not daring to move.
The omega, who had just finished showering, smelled fragrant with a white towel on his head. He stood barefoot on the ground and hugged Xu Yibai’s waist from behind, holding him tightly and pressing his face against his back.
He was shorter than Xu Yibai, so when he hugged him, his lips touched his neck, and his hot breath scattered all over the place.
“Senior,” Shen Yao tangled Xu Yibai’s clothes around his waist, his voice more muffled than the rain outside the window. “I like you. Can you be in a relationship with me?”
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