The next morning, Li Ming and Zhao Chen both had to work.
Meeting in the changing room, Zhao Chen gave him a bright smile and rushed over, stretching out his arms. “Give me a kiss?”
Li Ming chuckled and walked over, wrapping his arms around his neck and closing his eyes. Anyway, he felt no pressure kissing Zhao Chen. Especially not at work. The last two years he spent here had shown more than enough that everyone really was open.
He had no idea how Si Ta had managed to create this kind of atmosphere and whether it was just this hotel or the chain or all of his establishments but either way, he had never felt like anyone was giving him a second look. Well, at the very least not in the way he was used to.
At this time, the door to the changing room opened. Glancing over, the person that had come in was Que Jie, the receptionist that had been working the day Li Ming came over for his interview. Even now, he was still a part of the team.
Que Jie raised his brows when he saw the two of them and whistled. “Did I catch you red-handed just now? Does that mean it’s finally official?”
Zhao Chen raised his brows. “It’s been official for a while. You’re just always late to your shift so you’re missing the good parts.”
Que Jie clicked his tongue. “Don’t say that out loud! What if Manager Qian hears you?”
Zhao Chen shook his head at him. “Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that. I’ve only been here for two months and I noticed. If Manager Quan still hasn’t realized after working with you for years, he won’t find out now either.” He didn’t bother about him anymore after saying that and pulled Li Ming closer, putting his head on his shoulder. “Ah Ming, how come we’ll have to work for so long today?”
“It’s just as long as it always is. Come on.” Li Ming patted his back. “We still have to change. If you dilly-dally any longer, Que Jie won’t be the only one who’s late to his shift.”
“Yes, yes, I know.” Zhao Chen stepped back and raised his hands defensively before opening his locker. He also knew Li Ming hated being late and would rather be five minutes early so as not to put any strain on their co-workers. It seemed that if he wanted to stick to him, he could only wait until they both finished their shift.
They hurriedly changed and Zhao Chen couldn’t help but glance at Li Ming. “So, after our shift … how about going out?”
Li Ming nodded. “Why not? What do you want to do?”
Zhao Chen gave a hum. “I don’t know. Anything’s fine by me. I just want to spend time with you.”
Li Ming glanced at him, tongue-tied. Somehow, Zhao Chen always knew what to say. “You’re a bit of a smooth-talker, aren’t you?”
Zhao Chen laughed and closed the locker. “I’m not. I just … speak from the heart.” He leaned against the locker and gave Li Ming a smile. “I really mean it. I love spending time with you, no matter what it is we do. So … you can choose. Although, if that’s too much work, you can also say so. I’ll come up with something while I work.”
Li Ming nodded but didn’t feel like making things too complicated. “Well, I still wanted to go and work out after work. Maybe you want to come along? Then we could decide what else to do on the way.”
“Sure thing!” He straightened up and adjusted his cuffs before motioning to the door. “Let’s go then?”
Li Ming nodded and the two of them went to take over. Meanwhile, Que Jie was still in the room, wondering how the fuck the security guards always managed to change so fast. It had to be something about those suits …
Time usually seemed to fly while you were focused so even though the shift had seemed long before they started, neither Li Ming nor Zhao Chen really felt that it had been that long when the time to get off work finally came.
Heading to the locker room, they met halfway there. Zhao Chen rushed over, his eyes lighting up just like on that photo that was saved as Li Ming’s wallpaper. “Perfect timing!”
Li Ming raised his brows at him. “Perfect timing for what?”
Zhao Chen grabbed his arm and pulled him to the locker room as if in a hurry. “Well, I might have sent out a message asking for advice and been sitting on the address to the perfect date spot for five hours.”
Li Ming chuckled. “Must have been tough.” Zhao Chen was definitely the type who had trouble holding his excitement back. It was a wonder he hadn’t messaged him while working.
Zhao Chen gave a huff. “I can exercise some self-restraint if I want to.”
“I guess so.”
The two of them reached the locker room and hurried to change their clothes.
“Well, you don’t have to keep it a secret any longer now. Unless you want to, of course.”
Zhao Chen paused with his clothes in his hands and side-eyed Li Ming. “Would it be more romantic if I did?”
“Might be. I guess I’m not necessarily the romantic type though.”
Zhao Chen continued to look at him, for once not starting to change immediately. “What type do you think you are?”
“Hm …” Li Ming pondered the question for a while. “The homely type? I mean, dating is exciting and I love finding out more about my partner but I love that time when you’ve established understanding and don’t need to make any guesses even more than that. It’s so …” He shook his head, not sure how to say it, and just continued changing for the time being. “I guess it’s because you’re not just testing each other anymore but you’ve established trust and … you know for sure that this is what you want. I like that kind of security.”