An Inconspicuous Shooting Star - Chapter 9
Chapter 9 – A casual remark
「It will make me secretly attentive to the things the person I like had commented on, all whilst overlooking the fact that it might’ve been a casual remark.」
So it was a blind date, Huo Sheng smiled.
“Hm? I didn’t misunderstand.” Huo Sheng smiled as he eased him. “But it’s nothing to be embarrassed about since it’s normal, right?”
Cheng Yan looked at his eyes, feeling out of it for a moment. He then shook his head slightly and pulled a self-mocking smile.
He knew that this was normal, but he couldn’t help feeling troubled. It’s just like how he knows people around him think that he’s a very boring person, someone who doesn’t socialise well, and someone without hobbies. If they were dating, it was only a matter of time before a break up happened.
But what can he do? He thought.
These sorts of thoughts that would occasionally jump out made him breath a deep sigh. He tugged at his lips but still smiled slightly, saying. “It’s okay, I just… didn’t want to cause troubles for that person.”
“Yeah,” Huo Sheng smiled and nodded in understanding, “that’s quite understandable.”
Then, what about you? Cheng Yan asked in his heart. The words were stuck as he looked at him. He could only pretend that he wasn’t thinking about anything as he teared open a bag of biscuits handed to them, eating it bit by bit.
But his gestures were obvious in Huo Sheng’s eyes, but Huo Sheng was a worldly person so when he saw Cheng Yan looking at the side, he didn’t speak anymore.
The three hours of journey was boring.
Huo Sheng was feeling sleepy because he had woken up early and the person next to him was awake but not speaking. Thus he lowered the seat and shut his eyes.
Cheng Yan noticed him lying down and he couldn’t control looking at him boldly. However, many people were still awake and talking so he didn’t dare to keep staring. Instead, he took out his phone and started casually looking for things.
All the unread messages were gone, and after his reply, the other party hadn’t sent anything.
Once they were out of the city, time seemed to have sped up. It didn’t feel long before the bus was pulling up in front of a hotel halfway up the mountain.
Half of the people were rowdy once the car stopped. Huo Sheng was lightly asleep but many people were already out of the bus when he woke up.
He was in a daze, seeming to be still half-asleep, until he tilted his head and found Cheng Yan sitting sideways hugging his bag. He quickly stood up and said, “Sorry, you can go first.” Then he lifted his hands and took his luggage from above.
Rather than a hotel, it’s more of a three-story guesthouse. Once the crowd was inside, the administration team went to the reception to register for their room cards.
Miao Yu hadn’t slept well as she walked up to Cheng Yan while stretching herself, mumbling, “We wouldn’t be climbing today, right?”
Liang Chen, who was with Huo Sheng, walked up from behind Miao Yu and happened to listen to her. She answered, “It’s tomorrow morning, no climbing today.”
Miao Yu thought Liang Chen was alone and wanted to turn her head and greet her, but she turned to see Huo Sheng beside her. She quickly put her hands down, laughed gleefully with embarrassment and took the advantage of the crowd to step back to where Cheng Yan was. She whispered, “Why didn’t you warn me that they came.”
Cheng Yan looked at her honestly and fumbled, “Huh? Sorry.”
“Oh, it’s not that I want you to apologise.” Miao Yu explained with impatience, “I just don’t want to look bad in front of the chief.”
Cheng Yan glanced at Huo Sheng’s expression and added, “No, I don’t think you will.”
“I know,” Miao Yu trailed off, “but… it’s… oh, I can’t explain it to you.”
Cheng Yan opened his mouth, not knowing how to reply.
Instead, Liang Chen, who was listening to others speaking, turned back and said, “It looks like we’re having BBQ tonight.”
Soon afterwards, before the three could speak, a child’s voice came out from Huo Sheng’s phone, “Dad! Barbie-choo!”
The sound made Cheng Yan and the others to look over, and then they saw Huo Sheng smiled and with a little embarrassment, he raised his hand to indicate that he was going outside.
After he was gone, they were left with Liang Chen, Miao Yu who was puzzled, and Cheng Yan who was staring at Huo Sheng’s back.
Liang Chen smiled as she explained, “It’s probably his daughter.”
Miao Yu was very curious, “How old is the chief’s daughter?”
“Around four years old, I think,” Liang Chen said, “but she’s very cute.”
Cheng Yan listened, thought for a bit, and stopped looking.
The administrative team were quick. It was not long before they started distributing the pile of room cards, ones for a double or a triple room.
When it was their turn, Cheng Yan was a little eager if it would get a double room or not. He didn’t expect the person to immediately apologise, “Sorry, the last double room was taken. We also have a male from our department, so I’ll put him in with your room if that’s okay?”
Seeing his apologetic expression, he could only nod without causing troubles for them.
They quickly said, “Thanks, can you explain it to Chief Huo too. I’ll go tell Xiao1 Chen to go to your room in a moment.”
Once all the rooms were allocated, the crowd in the hall quickly scattered. Huo Sheng hasn’t yet returned so Cheng Yan stood honestly in the hall with the room card and his bag.
Without the crowd, Cheng Yan seems to feel naturally blended in with the silence. He, who was not curious about the world going on around him, didn’t even look at magazines to pass time.
He looked at his reflection in the hall’s mirror, seemingly annoyed that he looks old-fashioned in his grey t-shirt, trousers, and trainers.
Then he saw a person from behind in the mirror. He quickly turned around as if nothing had happened.
He heard him say, “Why are you waiting here for?”
He looked up, explaining, “The people from the administrative department said that there weren’t any more double rooms so I got one for three person instead. I… I was worried you don’t know where the room is, so I waited here.”
Cheng Yan’s voice sounded elegant but he spoke slowly.
Huo Sheng patiently waited for him to finish before saying, “The people from the administrative department phoned me about it.” Then he called, “Come one, let’s go.”
Thus, Cheng Yan saw his smile as they walked, making him lower his head with curved lips.
They put their stuff in the room and headed straight downstairs to group with others in the canteen.
The afternoon would be about indoor activities, and they would be going mountain-climbing tomorrow morning.
Cheng Yan gets very frustrated when it comes to this kind of indoor activity. Although there was no formality in this as it was for entertainment, he’s not good talking with people he doesn’t know well of.
He entered the activities room after he finished eating. To Cheng Yan’s relief, he was told by the host that the activity will be done independently since it was a newly established department.
For the afternoon, they were going to have three hours of indoor activities with a total of three games arranged for them, which were relatively simple.
Fatty and two other people couldn’t come because of family matters, so the group was just the four of them.
Huo Sheng and Liang Chen were very efficient while Cheng Yan was attentive, and Miao Yu quick with her reactions. After three games, their group was placed in the middle of the ranking, and they were put in charge of the preparation for the BBQ this evening.
They were told to prepare for it, but they didn’t have to go shopping. After all, they were halfway up the mountain, and it would take nearly an hour to drive to the town. The administrative team asked the hotel to help buy many ingredients, allowing plenty for Cheng Yan and the others to do.
Miao Yu and Liang Chen were pampered like in a typical family and had never held a kitchen knife more than twice. After some deliberation, Cheng Yan, who was more experienced, took the initiative to take the knife and cut the ingredients into small pieces.
They were going to climb the mountain tomorrow but the administrative team nevertheless prepared alcohol.
When Miao Yu came with two trays of food, she saw Cheng Yan standing by the table, holding a beer with nothing else. She asked, “Cheng Yan, are you not going to eat?”
Cheng Yan quietly drank from his cup. “It’s a bit crowded so I’ll go later.”
“But you should eat something or you’ll go hungry. There’s not much today and there wouldn’t be takeouts.” Miao Yu said as she stared at him.
Unexpectedly, Liang Chen came in at the right time with two trays of food and gave one to Cheng Yan. She said, “No need to thank me.”
Only then did Cheng Yan spot her. He didn’t say anything except for taking the tray with a bit of embarrassment. He looked at Huo Sheng, who came here with Liang Chen, and started eating with silence.
When it came to talking, he wouldn’t say anything. Yet, his mind was busy while his heart was feeling an uncontrollable happiness.
All because he heard Huo Sheng cheerfully say, “The meat this time is pretty good. I really like it.”
He felt that, maybe, his understanding of him had grown a little.
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