Mo Fang was giddy with excitement when he went to work the next day. This time, his shift started later so he had the faint hope that maybe he would be able to see Li Ming right when he started. Maybe they’d even arrive at the locker room together and get changed next to each other?
When he rushed into the room and looked around, he found it to be empty. He sighed and trudged over to his locker, changing slowly. He could only hope that Li Ming hadn’t had the early shift today and was already gone. That would be the worst. He should go and check before he went to the service point.
Just when he closed the locker, the door to the room opened and somebody came over. Still being in a bad mood, Mo Fang didn’t pay attention. The other person rounded the lockers and then stopped.
“Mo Fang. Hey.”
Mo Fang’s eyes widened slightly and he looked up. “Bro Li?” How come the person he had just thought about suddenly appeared? He was a bit dumbfounded, his expression not quite natural.
Thinking of everything that had happened in the last few days, Li Ming couldn’t help but feel worried. He went over and leaned against the locker next to Mo Fang. “Is something wrong? You look a little … disturbed.”
Mo Fang had just wanted to give him a bright smile and ingratiate himself but hearing this, he held back. Actually … this was quite good too. Hadn’t pretending to be pitiful worked really well the last time? And with this, he could already prepare the next step.
He shook his head but sighed while he did so. “It’s nothing. You don’t have to worry, Bro Li. Didn’t you just want to change?” He eyed his uniform and gave a small smile. “You’ve probably just finished your shift. You should hurry up and get home.” He turned as if he wanted to step past him but Li Ming reached out and lightly touched his arm, holding him back.
“It’s alright. I have some time. If … If you have some difficulties, you can tell me.” He tightened his lips when he said so. Just yesterday he hadn’t offered any more help because he had been afraid but since he had decided to treat Mo Fang like any other co-worker, he couldn’t justify being like that anymore. If any of the others were in such a mood, he would definitely ask what had happened and try to help them. Even more so if he knew that they were currently in a bad spot.
Mo Fang looked down and rubbed his arm, looking especially pitiful. “Ah, it’s nothing. You really don’t have to worry. I’m alright. Really.”
The more Mo Fang stressed it, the less Li Ming believed it but he wasn’t in a position to inquire further either. He hesitated but then finally nodded. “Very well. If you say that you’re alright, then I’ll have to believe you. But … if you do find yourself in trouble, then you can tell me. Just remember that.”
Mo Fang looked up with sparkling eyes, the gratefulness inside unable to be covered up. “Bro Li …”
Li Ming was taken aback. He had offered his help but was that really a reason to look like this? Mo Fang looked as if he was about to start crying. Could it be … was it really that bad? What could have happened?
Mo Fang pretended to force himself to smile and then motioned to the door. “I … I should get going now. My shift starts in a minute. Daddy would be angry if I was late. I’ll see you tomorrow, right?”
“Oh.” Li Ming nodded and then watched him leave, his heart in turmoil.
While Li Ming went to the service point in a good mood, Li Ming changed out of his uniform and into his everyday clothes in a daze. He left the station to go grocery shopping but his mind wasn’t really there. He couldn’t help but think of Mo Fang’s grateful gaze after he told him that he would help. Just how bad was his situation?
He went home with the bags on his arms and opened the door with a frown. The longer he pondered it, the more worried he felt. Mo Fang was currently really vulnerable because of that breakup and while he had only said that his ex-boyfriend had cheated on him, Li Ming was willing to believe that there might have been more than that. After all, that guy had attacked him on the spot when he saw him with Mo Fang and had then slandered Mo Fang.
Even though he didn’t want to judge somebody that he hardly knew, this man struck him as volatile. He might have been abusive and violent. If he was right about that … Just what might Mo Fang be going through right now?
Li Ming worried and worried until he finally couldn’t take it anymore. He took out his phone and stared at the screen with a mixture of hesitation and resentment. In the end, he still clicked on one of the numbers in his contacts.
It didn’t even take a few seconds before the other side picked up. “Li Ming! I never thought you’d call me. Did something happen?”
Li Ming tightened his lips. If he could, he also wouldn’t want to call her. He still felt that to a certain degree, it had also been her fault that things had turned out the way they did. Well, right now, he had to ask her something though so he definitely couldn’t show a poor attitude. “Zhi Bao Yu, aren’t you getting along quite well with Mo Fang?”
“Uh? Yeah, I do. Why? Do you like him? Should I —”
“No!” Li Ming couldn’t help but tense up when she tried the same as the other day again. Zhi Bao Yu was the last person he’d want to get help from in being set up with somebody. “Can you just call him and see how he’s doing? I saw him in the locker room when my shift ended and he looked like something was up. He didn’t want to talk with me though but since you’re close, you might have more luck. I feel like he might need a friend to talk to right now.”
“Uh, sure, if that’s what you want … So, if I do this, are things between us alright again?”
Li Ming’s brows twitched. She really was trying to take advantage of this? Well, why wasn’t he surprised?