A man in an anthracite coat stood at the pier, one hand in his pocket while the other was holding a black umbrella, his figure shrouded in shadows. He was looking out at the sea, dark clouds roiling above his head but no raindrop could be seen yet. It gave one a feeling of oppression, of the calm before the storm that would inevitably arrive.
Judging from the direction he looked in, his gaze was trained on a ship that had left the harbor and was now out on the sea despite the towering waves. The edges of its metal frame glinted dangerously and the white crowns of the waves were the only bright spots in what otherwise seemed to be a mass of black and dark blue. Only in the far distance, there was a hint of yellowish light as if the storm had stopped raging there. Among all that darkness, it seemed especially bright despite being only a thin line.
Suo He Lin glanced to the side. ‘Brokenhearted’ was the title that was displayed on a small piece of paper next to the painting. Huh. He looked back up at the painting and really couldn’t reconcile the title with what he saw. What did this have to do with a broken heart? It looked more like a guy watching a ghost ship or something.
He sighed. Truth be told, he didn’t really care about art. He had only come here to accompany his little sister. But as for where she had run off to … He glanced over his shoulder but instead of his sister, he saw a young man.
Suo He Lin turned back around and stared at the painting with his heart thumping wildly. Ah, cute! That guy was exactly his type. He wanted to glance at him again only to notice that he had wandered over and was looking at this very same painting, standing only a few steps away.
Suo He Lin watched him out of the corner of his eye. The man looked at the painting intently as if actually studying it. Oh, god, that would be difficult as an opener for a conversation. But … he was willing to give it a try.
Suo He Lin lightly cleared his throat and looked over. “Do you like it?”
The man raised his head in surprise. “What?”
Suo He Lin gave a smile and then motioned at the painting. “The painting. Do you like it?”
The man stared at him in a daze for a moment before turning back to the painting, his eyes roving over it. “I guess … I do?”
Suo He Lin raised his brows. He guessed? What kind of answer was that? He pondered for a moment and finally couldn’t hold back the question. “Why?”
The man looked at the painting with a complicated gaze. “I guess it’s because while it represents a dark time for me, there is a sliver of hope when looking toward the future. Even if that might not directly help at the moment, it is still reassuring.” He looked back at Suo He Lin, his gaze searching as if he expected him to give him an answer.
Suo He Lin couldn’t help but stare at him. Gosh, he had a gorgeous pair of eyes! The color was pretty light, making them seem to glow softly in the dim light of the gallery, and his lashes were thick. He could have looked at those eyes for hours on end.
The man glanced at the painting again before looking back to Suo He Lin. “Do you think differently?”
Suo He Lin was pulled out of his thoughts and raised his brows. “Oh? No! No, no, not at all. I mean, it’s not like I’m the artist.”
The other man gave a soft laugh and nodded. “Right.” He turned back to the painting and gave a faint smile. “I think that among all of them, this one might actually be my favorite piece. At first, it just felt dark to me like something that should be rejected. But it’s made me think: Emotions like sadness and anger and grief … are they really something we shouldn’t allow? Even if it’s not good to show them outright and bother others, I feel like maybe we should at least admit them to ourselves. Maybe doing so would allow us to get over what caused them sooner. Wouldn’t that be better?” He slightly furrowed his brows, still looking at the painting, his gaze mostly trained on the figure of that man with the umbrella.
Suo He Lin scratched his neck. Uh … Why had he asked about his thoughts on the painting again? He had another look at it himself to see if there was some kind of detail he could try to move the conversation to but … there was nothing. Shit. Then maybe he should just try to move the conversation from the actual painting to this guy’s thoughts? Emotions were a pretty good subject. Very suitable for a discussion and he could even stealthily insert the beautiful emotion of love.
Smiling to himself, he glanced at the title of the painting again. Brokenhearted. “I guess that is true for heartbreak as well.”
The man looked over and nodded. “Probably.”
Suo He Lin wanted to continue but just then, his sister came rushing over, excitedly grabbing his arm. “Big brother, I just heard that —”
“Ah, Xiao Na, there you are.” Suo He Lin hurriedly interrupted her and turned back to the other man. He definitely couldn’t let him misunderstand! “This is my little sister. I …” He hesitated for a moment but felt that it wouldn’t sound good if he admitted that he had only accompanied her because she didn’t want to go alone. This guy was probably very much into art if he had come here. “I often visit exhibitions with her. This one has been on our list for a while now.”
“Oh, is that so?” The man turned to Suo Na and lightly inclined his head. “Nice to meet you.”
Suo Na turned to him impatiently, wanting to get over with it so she could tell her brother the awesome news she had just heard when her eyes went wide. “Mister Mu?!”
The man gave an embarrassed smile and nodded again.
Suo He Lin’s head swiveled around to his sister. “The two of you know each other?!” Great! Terrific! She could help him get a date with him! He couldn’t wait to ask her about some information about him. What was his job? Where did he live? What dd he like? Where could he coincidentally run into him in the future?!
Suo Na turned to her brother uncomprehendingly. “That’s Mister Mu. You know, Mu Jie Rong.”
Suo He Lin just looked at her and then widened his eyes slightly so she would give him another hint. Had they talked about this person before? He wouldn’t be … “Your boyfriend?”
Suo Na’s whole face flushed red. “No! What are you even talking about?!”
Suo He Lin heaved an audible sigh of relief. “Sheesh, that scared me. If you don’t know him, don’t make it sound as if you do. You’re going to give somebody a heart-attack someday.” He shook his head at her and then turned back to Mu Jie Rong. “Well, where were we? I think we just mentioned heartbreak. Are you currently dating?”
Mu Jie Rong looked at him and then glanced at Suo Na who was still standing next to her brother with an embarrassed expression, hardly daring to raise her head even though she obviously wanted to say something. In the end, he still turned back and gave a faint smile. “No, I’m not.”
“Ah, that’s good.” Suo He Lin tensed after the words were out and he hurriedly raised his hands and waved them defensively. “I mean that your prospect should be pretty good though, right? Are you currently looking to date?”
Mu Jie Rong glanced at the painting again. “Well, the last time didn’t end too well so … I haven’t really been thinking about it lately. If it’s supposed to happen, then it will happen. At least that’s what I’m thinking.”
“That’s a beautiful thought.” Suo He Lin felt even more intrigued. He liked that kind of optimistic thought process! “To be honest, I am in a similar position. Actually, I feel like we have a lot in common.”
Mu Jie Rong’s smile brightened. “Mn, it starts with our love for art and ends with our relationship status, I guess.”
“Yes. Yes, exactly!” Suo He Lin felt encouraged when Mu Jie Rong agreed directly. “How about meeting up for a coffee to … have some more talks? I mean … I could imagine here isn’t really the right place for a drawn-out conversation, right?” He once again gazed at Mu Jie Rong’s eyes, hoping to find some kind of clue in there if he was on the right way.
Mu Jie Rong lightly lowered his eyelids but there was a smile in his eyes when he looked back up. “Well, why not? How about you give me your number and I call you to set a date? Do you have a business card with you?”
“Yes!” Suo He Lin hurried to take it out and handed it over, his heart thumping heavily. This was going great! So straight-forward!
Mu Jie Rong looked at the card for a long moment before looking back up. “I guess I shouldn’t disturb you two any longer then. You probably still want to look around some more.”
Suo He Lin wanted to say more but his sister butted into the conversation, nodding as if she was trying to pound garlic.
“Yes, yes, Mister Mu! We’d love to look around some more. Thank you very much for your time! Brother, let’s go!” She didn’t give him any time to say more and dragged him away right away.
Suo He Lin looked over his shoulder at the other man, still very happy even though he also felt like scolding his sister. He would have liked another minute or two with this man!
Suo Na finally stopped behind a column, not moving another inch.
Suo He Lin pursed his lips. “What’s this? You actually dragged me away and now you don’t even want to look anymore?”
It had still been alright when he didn’t say anything but when he did, Suo Na clenched her hands into fists and stared at him angrily. “You! I’m never going to another exhibition with you! What were you even thinking?! Do you have any idea who Mister Mu is?!”
Suo He Lin raised his brows. His little sister was really getting weird … “Why are you being so aggressive? I just met a handsome man. You should be happy for me! Anyway, somebody you meet at an art exhibition is bound to be very cultured. That’s like the ultimate partner. I bet he can cook too!”
Suo Na’s eyes bulged. She didn’t even have words anymore to deal with this guy! What only meeting cultured people at an art exhibition? Her brother was the living proof that that wasn’t the case! This pig didn’t even understand what he had done!
She pointed at the other side of the wall, daring him to look over.
Suo He Lin had no idea what was up but still followed the gesture. On the other side of the room … hung a stunning black-and-white portrait of none other than the handsome man he had just seen. It only showed his face with that beautiful pair of eyes and his lips slightly opened, his slender neck, and a bare shoulder that was half-covered by an elegant hand adorned with a diamond ring.
“Gosh … He’s incredibly handsome. I should have known he is a model!” He shook his head at his unbelievable luck. This kind of premium guy actually wanted to go out with him! Was he lucky or was he over-the-top lucky, huh?
Suo Na facepalmed and grabbed her brother’s arm again, finally pulling him out of the gallery and in front of the window next to the door. She silently pointed at the poster that was advertising the exhibition.
The upper part of the posted was a print of the stunning portrait he had just seen while in the lower part, the name “Mu Jie Rong” was written in beautiful calligraphy.
Suo He Lin looked through the window, his gaze landing directly on the artist that was still holding his business card in hand, obviously having a good laugh at the situation he had just experienced.
Seeing that, Suo He Lin turned away and coughed. “Well, laughing is supposed to be good for the health. And a good mood is probably a magical cure for heartbreak. He’ll definitely call me back.” And if he didn’t, he at least knew where to search for him from now on.