Nie Chang stopped in front of the dog parlor that he remembered Su Yan had told him about back when he still worked at the railroad station. The parlor was rather well-known in the area around his repair shop so some customers had been talking about it previously while they were waiting.
“Alright, we’re there. Do you think we should put Xiao Bai on the leash before we go in?”
Su Yan threw his boyfriend a glare. “Why would you want to put him on a leash? He’s so well-behaved!” He hugged the dog and rubbed the shaggy fur again as if to console him.
Nie Chang sighed. “Well, he certainly is in the car but I’m a little afraid he might run away as soon as we go outside. You wouldn’t want him to get lost and not find back to us, would you?”
Su Yan scoffed. “As of our Xiao Bai was such an idiot! He’s a dog. If he loses us, he can just use his nose and he’ll get right back to us.”
Nie Chang looked from his boyfriend to the dog and tightened his lips. He was pretty sure that the dog would be able to follow them a while by using its nose but that didn’t mean that it would be a good idea to let just let him wander off. After all, just getting lost wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. Su Yan wouldn’t listen to him if he told him that though, would he?
Nie Chang sighed and nodded. “Well, you’re probably right. It’s just a pity.”
Su Yan furrowed his brows. “What do you mean ‘it’s a pity’? Do you think it’s a pity that our dog would be able to find back to us? You couldn’t be trying to say that you don’t want him to come home with us, could you?!”
Nie Chang shook his head and looked at the dog with a complicated expression. “No, that’s not it. It’s very good that he’s able to find us everywhere. It’s just … I thought that putting him on the leash might actually be helpful. You know he wouldn’t be able to just run after you and scratch you all the time. Wouldn’t that be great?” He waited for a moment, watching how Su Yan’s face lit up before he sighed again. “But, well, I guess it’s true. We probably shouldn’t put him on the leash. Let’s just get out of the car. It’s just a few steps into the dog parlor anyway. It’s not like anything would happen in that time.” He reached for the door handle but his darling already called out.
“Ah! Wait! I … I guess you might be right. Maybe it’s really safer to put him on the leash. I mean Xiao Bai is still very young. We shouldn’t put too much pressure on him. If he gets lost, then that might frighten him a lot. So maybe it’s still better to put him on the leash after all.”
Nie Chang smiled and reached out, ruffling his darling’s hair. “Ah, you’re such a good person, darling! You’re actually thinking that much on Xiao Bai’s behalf.”
Su Yan puffed up his chest and raised his chin in righteous indignation. “Of course! What are you thinking? I’m the one who thought of getting Xiao Bai in the first place. It’s only natural that I’d take care of him.”
Nie Chang nodded and very considerately kept the thought to himself that he would very likely be the one who would be walking the dog every day from now on and giving him food. The ‘taking care’ his darling was doing would probably only amount to petting him and playing with him when he felt like it. Well, that could probably be called each partner having his own task in the household, couldn’t it? That was also very nice.
“Well, then you wait here with him. I’ll go and get the leash.” He opened the door of the car and then went to get the leash from the trunk before he got back onto the driver’s seat. He leaned back to put it on Xiao Bai. The dog didn’t complain at all and just looked at him happily. Nie Chang gave his darling a smile. “Alright, I think it’s finished.”
Su Yan nodded and then patiently waited for his boyfriend to open the door for them before he got out with the leash in hand like a very proud new dog owner. He didn’t even seem to notice that his dog was still very shabby-looking with its dirty gray fur. No, to Su Yan, their Xiao Bai was probably already that pristine white dog with the bright red leash and the handsome owner that would make all eyes swivel toward them.
Nie Chang glanced around and couldn’t help but chuckle. “I guess you were right. With such a handsome person and dog, everyone can’t help but look at us.”
The people were indeed looking but they were giving them rather strange glances. Nie Chang didn’t mind though. In Su Yan’s brain, these were probably the jealous or adoring gazes of the masses that just couldn’t measure up to them.
Nie Chang laughed again, not feeling even a hint of a bad conscience. As long as his little darling didn’t know, he would be happy parading his dog around like that. Why should he rain on his parade just because he felt that the people were thinking something completely different? Actually, his little darling might not even believe him if he said so.
Nie Chang looped an arm around Su Yan’s shoulder and then pulled him in the direction of the dog parlor. As soon as they stepped through the door, Su Yan stopped dead in his tracks though. His eyes went wide and he looked at the man standing behind the counter who was scribbling something on a notepad.
The man glanced up, raising his brows at them.
Su Yan very carefully reached to the side and tugged at Nie Chang’s sleeve.
Nie Chang looked over and raised his brows as well. “What’s the matter?”
Su Yan tried to keep his lips shut and whispered from the corner of his mouth. “He has a beard! Do you think he’s a criminal? Like the ones they’ve shown on TV?”
Nie Chang glanced over his shoulder at the car and wondered if it was too late to drag Su Yan out and drive away.