LWS Chapter 17 Sharing a Meal

Nie Chang brought Su Yan to the food stall he had wanted to recommend. In fact, one couldn’t really call it a stall. It was a small shop where you could order take-out but also sit and eat, though there were only about a dozen tables inside and outside of the shop. The menu was just as simple as the shop itself: Ten dishes, nothing more, and all of it were traditional dishes like dumplings or glass noodle soup.
It was tasty, though, and Su Yan didn’t need long to find out why Nie Chang had wanted to bring him. His face instantly lit up when the shop’s boss put a bowl of hot dumplings in front of him. Ah! Just smelling it was nice!
He looked at Nie Chang was sparkling eyes that seemed to beg him to take him to this place every single day from now on.
Nie Chang laughed and smiled at the boss while pulling his own bowl closer. “Don’t just sit and smell. Dig right in before it gets cold. That would be a shame. You know, it tastes even better than it smells!”
Su Yan nodded, picked up his chopsticks and did just what Nie Chang had told him. The dumplings were still hot, though. “Ah, hot!” He bit into it just once but couldn’t swallow. He put his chopsticks down and waved but of course, the heat wouldn’t just disappear. Damn this Nie Chang! How could he tell him to dig right in when it was so fucking hot?! He even had tears in his eyes.
Nie Chang looked at him exasperated. What was he doing? In the end, he could only sigh and pour him a cup of cold water. “Here, drink this.”
Su Yan took the cup from him and gulped it down. “You … God, were you trying to kill me with your advice?”
Nie Chang didn’t say anything. In front of Su Yan, it was always better to either stay quiet or just admit your fault or he would be miffed. A miffed Su Yan was cute, too, but coaxing him required a lot of patience and today wasn’t a day where he could do that. He had just managed to get him to work at his place, after all. He didn’t want to ruin it.
“Alright, alright. It was my fault. I shouldn’t have told you to hurry up. I’m sorry, alright? Come, have another cup.” He thoughtfully poured him another cup of water and even picked it up and held it in front of him.
Su Yan who was just getting in the mood to scold his friend instantly quieted down. He took the cup and slowly drank. Alright, it was his own fault. He should have had enough common sense to understand that something coming out of a steaming bowl couldn’t be anything else but hot.
He put the cup down and looked at the dumplings. “So … About work. You really just want me to sit at the counter?”
“Mn.” Nie Chang picked up one of his dumplings and gently blew on it. The steam dispersed in Su Yan’s direction. Nie Chang looked over. His friend was still staring at the bowl as if afraid he would get burnt again if he tried it once more. “Come, here.” Nie Chang extended his chopsticks and held the dumpling in front of Su Yan’s face, effectively stunning him.
“This … You … What are you doing?!” Su Yan blushed. He had been observing people for half a day yesterday and he had actually seen a couple with take-out doing exactly this kind of feeding each other with a gentle expression in their eyes.
“Caring for you.” Nie Chang actually managed to say that without a change in expression as if it was nothing strange.
“I … I can eat alone!” He picked up another dumpling but his wrist was caught by Nie Chang before he had time to take a bite. “What?!”
“That’s still hot.”
Uh. Right. There was still steam wafting up into the air. Su Yan gritted his teeth. He wouldn’t take a bite from Nie Chang’s dumpling! He definitely wouldn’t! Never!
Together with the steam the smell of the dumpling rose into the air, too. Mn … it smelled really nice. He was actually tempted for a moment.
Su Yan pursed his lips. “You eat it yourself. I’ll just wait a bit.”
Nie Chang smiled. “What’s so bad about eating the dumpling I’m giving you? Didn’t we do that in the past, too?”
“That’s —” Something different. He had actually wanted to say that but he stopped right before the words were out. How was that different? They might have been younger but what did that count for? They were still friends. And it wasn’t like he was some girl that needed to pay attention to such things. They were just two friends sharing a meal.
Su Yan leaned forward and bit into the dumpling. Mn … He closed his eyes and savored the taste. Nie Chang was right. It was even tastier than it smelled! He gulped and when he opened his eyes the rest of the dumpling was still in front of him. Without thinking about it, he took the rest.
Nie Chang gave a satisfied smile before lowering his chopsticks. Ah, as he had expected: working at the same place really was the best.
“Let’s do this more often.”
“Mn!” Su Yan blew on his own dumplings and wolfed down the rest of his food. Yes, he definitely wanted to come here again! He didn’t notice, though, that Nie Chang had been talking about something different.
When Nie Chang walked up to the boss and paid for their meal, the woman waved him closer. “Eh, Ah Chang, that boy over there. Is he your boyfriend?”
Nie Chang looked back at where Su Yan was putting on his jacket and smirked. “Not yet, auntie, not yet.” Then he ran back to his friend’s side, casually putting an arm around his shoulders. “Let’s go take a look at your new workplace. It’s going to be fun!”
“Mn!” An oblivious Su Yan actually smiled in response, not suspecting that he was digging his own grave there.

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