SML V5C7 It’s the Thought that Counts

The two of them soon reached the gym. This was the one where Li Ming had originally been working out. Zhao Chen had been in a different one but after they met, he switched over soon. By now, he was already more familiar with the place.

Li Ming and Zhao Chen both had a similar workout regime so most of the exercises were done directly next to each other. They didn’t talk at those times, only chatting a bit while taking breaks in-between, but the atmosphere was harmonious throughout.

Every now and then, one of them would glance over at the other and smile to himself. It almost felt a bit like going on a date, even though they had both been doing this long before meeting the other person.

An hour later, they finished the last exercise at the same time and turned toward each other.

Li Ming laughed and motioned over his shoulder. “Alright, I’m done. Let’s hurry?”

Zhao Chen nodded and they walked out of the room together, going back to shower and change before leaving the gym.

Li Ming stopped in front of the door and looked up at the sky, squinting. “Ah, it’s nice finishing early.”

Zhao Chen nodded and reached out to take his hand. “It’s definitely perfect for having a date afterward. Although I guess going to work out before the shift is a nice way to make sure you’re up and really awake.”

Li Ming faintly raised his brows while following him down the road. He knew that Zhao Chen had gone to a different gym before but he didn’t know much about the specifics. “Did you usually go to work out before the shift?”

If yes, then he wouldn’t mind adjusting the time when he went. All he wanted was for them to spend more time together. Even though they might be busy while working out and couldn’t talk much, just being at the same place was nice.

“Well …” Zhao Chen wasn’t quite sure what to say. “Actually, I hadn’t really found the right time yet after changing jobs. I admit that I’m not necessarily a morning person. I love to stay in bed for a while and just snooze.

“It doesn’t help with waking up so when I am working early, I have to force myself to get up on time, and then go to work out. It helps a bit. But then, when I am working a later shift, I can’t bring myself to get up early and go to the gym. So … my schedule is all over the place.

“It was easier before, you know?” He sighed and shook his head. “I was working at a different hotel before. It’s … a larger chain and they didn’t have shifts like we do. Basically, you had a dedicated night shift that would always come in the evening, a morning shift for mornings, and so on. They would switch around every now and then but that was only every couple of months, maybe once a month. You could get used to things much easier so I had a dedicated workout time.”

Li Ming nodded. “Yeah, I can see the benefit of that. But I guess it wouldn’t work here with such a small team.”

“Yeah, I understand that as well. I guess you can find a way to deal with it but I’m just not used to it yet. You … also don’t seem to have a special time when you go. Is it that you don’t care?” This was something he had wondered about before but never asked. Anyway, they hadn’t been together for long yet and he didn’t want to step on Li Ming’s toes. There might be a deeper reason behind it.

Li Ming shook his head though. “No, not really. For me, it’s not that important when I go. I usually plan it around everything else that is going on. Other than work, it still depends on what else I have to do that day, or what I want to make for any of the meals.” He shrugged his shoulders, feeling that his way of going about this probably wasn’t common. Most people always went at the same time. He also knew that. But to him, it just didn’t matter much.

Zhao Chen gave a hum. “I guess that’s one way to go about it. Well, while I did like having a regular time to go, going together is much more fun than going alone. So I’d take you coming along over regular times any day.”

Li Ming laughed and reached out to take his hand. “I don’t think you have to choose between either. We can go together and find a regular time as much as that is possible with our shifts.”

Anyway, the team really was small so it wasn’t always possible to have the same shift. Even though Manager Quan was also willing to help out couples among the staff by scheduling them on the same shifts, there were limits to what he could do.

Zhao Chen nodded. “Well, I’m looking forward to it. Anyway, I haven’t been at this place for long yet. I guess it does take some getting used to. Sooner or later, I’ll settle into some kind of routine. Anyway …” He swung his hand, pulling Li Ming’s along. “We’re already off work so let’s not talk about that. Now, we have time for us.”

“We do. And I think you promised me the perfect date spot but you still haven’t given me any hints.”

Zhao Chen cleared his throat. “Well, I guess we did get side-tracked a bit before. Actually, when you bring it up like this, I wonder if I’ve promised too much.”

Li Ming watched his expression change into slight embarrassment and finally leaned over to kiss his cheek. “You know, even if it wasn’t as good as expected, I still appreciate the thought of trying to find something. That alone counts for a lot.”

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