At the end of his shift, Li Ming had already calmed down. While he didn’t have a solution for this problem, going about his day as usual had at least made him feel that he would be able to deal with it. He’d just take everything one step at a time like he always did when one of the passengers had a problem. That way, he would sooner or later be able to work something out. Maybe it wouldn’t be a perfect solution but it would be one solution. And that was all he needed.
Thus, when Mo Fang stepped into the locker room two minutes after him, Li Ming greeted him with a smile. “Did you finish your shift as well?”
Mo Fang gave a slight nod before he remembered that he had already shattered his image in front of Li Ming this morning and then went over to his locker, opening it to take out his clothes. “Bro Li … Actually, I’m a bit embarrassed about how I acted before. I’m really making nothing but trouble for you.” He slowly unbuttoned his shirt, not even looking in Li Ming’s direction when he said so.
When Li Ming glanced over, his gaze lingered on those hands for a moment longer before he turned away and cleared his throat. “You said that so often already. I’m really worried that it might be because I’m doing something wrong. Did I give you the impression that you were being a burden to me?”
Mo Fang used the opportunity and turned around to him with his shirt open, giving him the most clueless look he could muster while holding back a smile. “Bro Li, what are you even saying? That’s absolutely not it! You …” He reached out and touched his arm, shifting a little closer while he did so. “You’ve been nothing but great to me. Honestly, whether it’s my friends or my family, I guess you’re the person that treated me the best in all this time since Lan Heng and I broke up.
“So it’s not that you did anything wrong. On the contrary. I probably feel a bit guilty because you are so good to me and I think I’m taking advantage of it. I probably shouldn’t rely on you like this.”
Li Ming looked at that hand, once again feeling unaccustomed to the soft touch. The warmth lingering on his skin really made him feel strange. “That …” He forcefully looked away, trying not to think too much. “It’s unfortunate how things turned out for you. I’m sure that your friends would really like to help you. It’s just that they probably have other circumstances to consider. Since my apartment is big enough for two people, I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. You’re not imposing or anything.”
Mo Fang nodded and took his hand back before it got too obvious what he was trying to do, finally taking off his shirt and hanging it into the locker. “From what I’ve seen this morning, your apartment really is quite big for just a single person. Were you originally living there together with somebody?”
Li Ming who had just wanted to continue changing couldn’t help but become lost in thought at that. Yes, originally … There had been something like that. For a moment, he didn’t know how to explain without going into too much detail so he just gave a hum.
Needless to say, Mo Fang wouldn’t let him get away that easily. After all, this was a prime opportunity to pry for some more information about Li Ming’s life! “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I don’t mean to pry. I mean it’s … your private life. We probably don’t know each other well enough to talk about stuff like that.” He glanced at Li Ming, wanting to see if this kind of reverse psychology worked on him. So far, he had always been able to get men to talk with this.
As it turned out, Li Ming was not an exception. Thinking of how Mo Fang had told him something extremely private just yesterday evening, he felt a bit bad that he wasn’t willing to reciprocate. While Mo Fang had been drunk, his story had been a lot more risky than the story about him and the apartment was. Really, what was the harm in telling him?
Thinking of that, Li Ming continued to change while starting to explain. “Actually, there isn’t that much to that story. It’s been a few years since I moved in there. Back then, I wasn’t even working at the railroad station yet. I was in a serious relationship at that point in time though. We had been going out for over a year and I felt that it was time to take the next step. So I asked him if he wanted to move in with me.”
“And he didn’t want to?” Mo Fang was a bit perplexed. Li Ming was obviously living there alone. That relationship should also be a thing that had happened quite a while ago considering that it had obviously been before Li Ming developed a crush on that stupid Su Yan if it had been even before he came to the railroad station.
Li Ming shook his head. “That’s not it. He did want to move in with me but not into my apartment at that time. I could understand. It was a bit tiny and well, it was just my apartment. Even if he moved in with me, it wouldn’t have been ours. In the end, we decided to get one that would be for the two of us.”
“But it doesn’t seem to have worked out.”
Li Ming sighed when he thought back to that. “Yes, that was the problem. I found the apartment and everything seemed perfect for the time being. But after living together for a while, the two of us just had to realize that we were not compatible. Our lifestyles were too different. We just weren’t suited to living together. And to me, sharing all of your life with your partner is something incremental. I didn’t want to be with somebody who I wouldn’t be able to live with in the end. So after some time, I finally decided to break up. It hurt. Quite a bit even but in the end, it was for the best. If we had continued to go out with each other, we would have only hurt each other. That wasn’t what I wanted. That wasn’t what he wanted either.”
Mo Fang nodded slowly. “That’s a bit sad. You actually got so far and you seemed really serious about him and then it just ended like that.”
Li Ming nodded but then shook his head after a moment. “Well, it’s been a long time. And this is probably the last thing you want to hear right now. Anyway, have you finished up?” He motioned towards the clothes that Mo Fang had been putting on very, very slowly while listening to the story and closed his own locker at the same time. Anyway, since they were living together from now on they might as well go home together.