Li Ming also couldn’t help but feel a little awkward when they stepped inside. The last time, he had come here with Mo Fang who was not only a good friend of Bian Huan’s as far as he was aware but who had also made an appointment ahead of time. Neither of that could be said about him.
In fact, he wasn’t even completely sure if Bian Huan was working today. But seeing as the door had opened without issue, at least that seemed to be the case. Otherwise, it really would’ve been too awkward.
Not that he thought that Duan Zhi Hao would’ve given him grief over that. In any case, he was the one who had offered to come along and he seemed quite understanding. So if he had explained afterward just what his relationship with Bian Huan was or rather the lack thereof, he definitely would’ve understood.
But anyway, if he was able to see the photographer today and clear everything up that had happened before, he would also be relieved. He really didn’t want to wait any longer than he needed.
The studio was lit brightly and from somewhere around the corner, the telltale sound of the shutter rung out repeatedly, giving him a very clear indication of just where Bian Huan might be.
Li Ming motioned for Duan Zhi Hao to either stay at the entrance or to follow him. He didn’t mind either way. Anyway, the course was officially over now so in case that Duan Zhi Hao had a problem with him being gay, they wouldn’t have to see each other again. They could just cancel for tomorrow and then each go their separate ways.
If he accepted it, well, that was one more step in the right direction. Because he really hated this lying by omission thing. He knew that when it came to sexual orientation, it was often necessary but he really wished that they could live in a world where that wasn’t the case. Anyway, that was something that he would think about when the matter came up. For now, he first needed to meet Bian Huan and see if he was willing to talk.
Rounding one of the sets that Bian Huan had put up, his heart couldn’t help but race. He couldn’t help but think of the possibility that maybe he might see Mo Fang on the other side.
Since that day in the gym, they hadn’t run into each other again. The thought of maybe seeing him somewhere else … well, he didn’t even know how to describe it. He didn’t necessarily want to see him. After all, it had been difficult enough to get Mo Fang to stop bothering him with trying to get back together. Now, he was finally free of that problem.
At the same time, his feelings hadn’t completely died. Seeing Mo Fang, that was also something that made his heart race, no matter how much he hated to admit that. Yes, no matter what, he couldn’t just turn off his feelings. He needed time to heal from everything and get over it. And right now, he still wasn’t there. He knew that. Helping the process along was precisely why he had come here today.
When he rounded the corner, he realized that he had worried without reason. There was indeed a model there but it wasn’t Mo Fang. In fact, today’s model wasn’t even human. Instead, there was a fluffy cat lying on a small sofa, paws up in the air and staring at the camera with what seemed like a mixture of disinterest and annoyance.
Li Ming was startled. He also didn’t know why but he had somehow expected that Bian Huan would always do the kind of photoshoot he had done for him and Mo Fang. But seeing the cat reminded him of the fact that while Bian Huan was clearly not bothered by anyone’s sexual orientation, he himself was a straight man and while some of the photos he took were pretty gay, there had never been any indication that this was all he did.
No, he might photograph couples that were gay or straight, groups of people, one person alone, or, well, even animals. He already should’ve known that when he saw how big the studio was and how many different kinds of sets he had put up.
Also, hadn’t he seen the different types of outfits before in the other room when he went with Mo Fang to pick some out? Clearly, a lot of those had been for women. So what was so surprising about him photographing a cat?
Bian Huan took another row of pictures before he lowered his camera and looked up. Seeing Li Ming, his expression lit up. “Brother Li! Did you change your mind?!”
Li Ming smiled wryly. “Well, at the very least, I’m here to talk. I see you are busy though. Would you have a moment later or maybe we could schedule something?”
Bian Huan put the cover on the lens, and put the camera down, giving him a bright smile before rushing over. Grabbing him by the arm, he lead him to a coffee table at the side that Li Ming hadn’t noticed the last time, and motioned for him t sit. “Sit down, I’ll get you a cup of tea and take care of today’s model, and then I’ll be with you in a minute.”
With that, he rushed off, grabbing the cat from the couch it had been lying on, and looking around wildly before he spotted Duan Zhi Hao. “You! Do you like cats?”
Duan Zhi Hao raised his brows, really not sure if he liked where this was going. “Well …”
“Great! Play with this one for a while.” Bian Huan pushed it into his arms, and then rushed off to get a pot of water and make some tea before he hurried back to the table where Li Ming was sitting. Putting down a set of cups and the teapot, he sat down with a smile. “Now, where were we? Ah, I think you just said you wanted to sign my contract, didn’t you?”
Li Ming sighed, feeling that Bian Huan was really being a bit casual for somebody who had started the break-up process of a couple that had seemed pretty happy before. It was as if this whole matter had absolutely nothing to do with him.
Then again, why should he feel guilty for exposing the truth? He had merely asked a question and told him something he had not been aware of. The problem had never been Bian Huan but always Mo Fang. So why should Bian Huan be the one to feel bad about their break-up?