The man from the dog parlor stared at them, his mouth gaping open. He had probably never heard anybody calling him a criminal just because he had a beard.
Nie Chang facepalmed and shook his head at his little darling. “Ah Yan, don’t just believe everything they say on TV.”
Su Yan furrowed his brows and looked at his boyfriend with doubt. “But that was state TV, ah! Could that be wrong?”
Nie Chang sighed and shook his head, pulling his darling into the dog parlor while giving the man behind the counter an apologetic look. It was already too late anyway. Whether they left or stayed, they had already embarrassed themselves. “We just adopted that lovely dog from a shelter and thought he might need a professional to take care of his fur. Would you mind …?” He couldn’t help but feel awkward. Every normal person would probably get furious at being called a criminal just for their fashion choices, wouldn’t they? In the best case, this guy would just find some excuse and then ask them to leave but in the worst case …
The man looked from Nie Chang to the dog and then to Su Yan. He raised his brows and shrugged his shoulders. “Sure. Why not?”
Su Yan blinked his eyes and very carefully observed the man coming around the counter.
The man crouched down and held his hand out to the dog, giving him a smile. The dog didn’t even hesitate. He readily waved his tail and leaped toward the man, letting him rub his back. The man smiled and slid his fingers through the fur, taking a closer look.
“His fur is actually really nice. I guess we should give him a shower and then trim it a bit. What do you think?” He looked up at Nie Chang who, in turn, looked at his darling.
“I think that sounds good. What do you think?”
Su Yan took a careful look at the bearded man and nodded. “Sounds … good to me?” He handed the leash to his boyfriend and then hid half behind him. He didn’t know how to converse with criminals, ah!
Nie Chang’s lips twitched. He had hoped that Su Yan would stop with this since they had already come in and even talked to the guy but it seemed his little darling was incorrigible.
The man took another glance at Su Yan but didn’t say anything. He just reached out his hand indicating for Nie Chang to hand him the leash.
Nie Chang did so with an embarrassed smile and then gripped his darling’s hand, giving him a look in the hope that he would calm down. Su Yan didn’t do him the favor though. Instead, he continued to eye the man warily as if he was afraid that he would steal the dog or something.
The man from the dog parlor still didn’t say anything and just brought the dog over to a big tub. He very carefully patted his fur and talked to him before he picked him up and put him inside.
Su Yan tugged at Nie Chang’s sleeve, indicating that he did he want to go over.
Nie Chang sighed and rubbed his neck. “Would you mind if we watched? This is our first pet so we’re a little curious.”
The man shook his head. “No problem. It’s better if you’re there anyway. Especially if you only got him today. You should stay around him as much as you can.”
Nie Chang nodded and then pulled his darling over, giving him yet another look to make sure he wouldn’t say anything he shouldn’t.
Su Yan wasn’t interested in that though. He curiously watched how the man from the parlor showered their Xiao Bai, flushing a load of dirt and dust down the drain. The originally dark gray fur turned into light gray fur and finally revealed the white that he had wanted.
Su Yan’s eyes lit up and he excitedly tugged at Nie Chang’s sleeve once again. “Ah Chang! Look at that! He’s really white! That woman from the shelter didn’t lie to us.”
Nie Chang smiled wryly. “Why would she want to lie to us?”
“Huh? What do you mean? Isn’t it obvious? She’d have trouble finding a family for a shabby gray dog. And we asked for a white one. I’d also have said it’s white if I was her.”
Nie Chang gave his darling an inscrutable gaze. Somehow, he felt that he shouldn’t have gone out with him today. Su Yan really wasn’t on his best behavior today. Instead, it seemed that he wanted to make the worst impression he could.
Finally, all the dirt had been washed out of Xiao Bai’s fur. The man gave him a happy smile and patted his head. “You did that really well!” Then he turned to Su Yan and Nie Chang and motioned at the blow dryer next to him. “I’ll have to blow dry him next. It’s a little loud and some dogs are afraid of that. We’ll put earmuffs on him to make it more bearable but not all of them like that either. So let’s just see if it’s alright.”
Nie Chang nodded and this time, Su Yan followed suit. Making sure that their Xiao Bai wouldn’t be afraid was the right thing to do. It seemed even though this guy had a long beard, he wasn’t that bad.
The man nodded and took out earmuffs, holding them in front of Xiao Bai so he could get used to them first. When he was sure that the dog wouldn’t mind as much, he put them on his head.
Xiao Bai turned his head to look at them but he couldn’t see anything. In the end, he turned back to the man who patted him before he turned on the blow dryer, softly combing through the fur.
Su Yan stared at their dog with sparkling eyes. Now that the fur was washed, Xiao Bai looked like a white furball. He really wanted to hug him and pat him and roll around on the floor with him! Ah, his dog was such a lovable creature!
The man looked up at them, the corners of his lips twitching when he saw Su Yan’s lovestruck expression. He motioned at the animal and then at the table a few steps away. “Do you want to try to lift him out of the tub and onto the table?”
Su Yan’s head swiveled around to his boyfriend. Although he really wanted to play with Xiao Bai, he still felt that Nie Chang would have an easier time lifting him out of the tub. After all, that six-pack had to be useful for something, didn’t it?
Nie Chang smiled wryly and nodded. “Sure, let me give it a try.” He let go of Su Yan’s hand and stepped closer, first petting the dog for a while like he had seen the man from the dog parlor do it before he finally raised him out of the tub.
Xiao Bai didn’t seem to mind. Instead, he threw his paws over Nie Chang’s shoulders and happily looked past his head to Su Yan who was following them to the table.
Su Yan couldn’t help but rush up to his boyfriend and tiptoe, patting Xiao Bai’s head. The dog gave a happy woof and waved his tail, trying to climb over Nie Chang’s shoulder and leap into Su Yan’s arms.
Nie Chang almost lost his balance but managed to sway over to the table and finally put the dog down. He did have to hold him in place to make sure that Xiao Bai wouldn’t jump down again though.
Ah, taking care of a dog with his darling around really wasn’t easy.