The place that Zhao Chen finally led him to was a small restaurant. At first glance, it seemed to be family-owned and a bit dated. The tables and decor had faintly visible traces of their age and really couldn’t be called modern.
He really liked it though. It was cozy, a place where you could feel at home or maybe it was this feeling of entering a different world. Li Ming looked around more, trying to put his finger on what exactly this place made him feel but he couldn’t think of anything.
In the end, he shook his head at himself. Anyway, was it really that important? No, he didn’t think so. The important part was that he had come here with his boyfriend and that they were trying to have a nice time. He shouldn’t ruin that by fussing over details.
Retracting his gaze, he turned to Zhao Chen instead, smiling faintly. “So this is the perfect spot for a date. I have to say, the atmosphere is nice.”
Zhao Chen nodded. “It is. When I asked my friend, this was the first place he thought of. He actually came here with his girlfriend before. According to him, she said it was as if it came straight out of a movie.”
Li Ming’s brows rose. “Right!” He gave a huff, unable to believe it. “You know, when we came in and I looked around, I figured that there was something special about this place but I couldn’t put it into words. That’s exactly it though. It feels like those slightly older restaurants you’d see in a movie.”
“Mn, a slightly older movie, probably. I’d say this is like … mid-twentieth century.”
“Yes, or maybe the thirties. Do you think it was made to look this way or is it authentic?”
Zhao Chen raised his brows as well but there was a teasing light to his eyes. “You know, I believe the majority of old detective movies are set in that period. Do you also want to search for clues and figure out the truth?”
Li Ming pressed his lips together, trying not to laugh out loud. Usually, he wouldn’t care but they were talking about the restaurant itself. If this really was an authentic, family-owned business that had survived more than six or seven decades, then doubting its history would probably not be received well.
“Not funny?” Zhao Chen wriggled his brows, hoping that Li Ming would give in after all. He loved his laugh. Well, he also laughed those chuckles when Li Ming thought something was amusing but not downright funny. There was just something about him when he let go of the usual seriousness and showed those happy feelings. He wanted to see so much more of that.
Li Ming shook his head at him and hastily looked away before Zhao Chen’s expression could make him break out into laughter after all. He cleared his throat and tried to change the topic but with that kind of thought still swirling through his mind, he had trouble coming up with anything.
In the end, he could only go for the next best thing. “So, do you … like detective movies?”
Zhao Chen sighed. Clearly, this opportunity was lost. Well, there were many more days to come and surely, there would be situations that would be much better suited to make those kinds of jokes and laugh about them together. For now, this was just a nice opportunity to get to know each other better. After all, he hadn’t forgotten how Li Ming had said before that he was especially looking forward to the time when you knew your partner really well and he agreed with him. He also wanted to get to that point with him.
With that in mind, he took a moment to consider the question. “You know, I don’t … mind detective movies. It’s something nice to watch every now and then. But I guess it wouldn’t be my first choice of entertainment.”
“Oh? Then what are you into instead?” To be honest, even though they had been going out for a couple of weeks now, there were still many things about Zhao Chen he didn’t know. His taste was one of them. Well, he did know what he liked to eat. That was one of the first things he had figured out but when it came to movies or other things he did in his free time, he was actually pretty clueless.
Zhao Chen hesitated for a moment, not sure if he wanted to say it.
Li Ming looked at his tangled expression and slowly raised his brows. “It can’t be that bad. I mean, no matter what it is, I won’t judge!”
Zhao Chen pressed his lips together, not sure if he should believe that. “Alright, I’ll tell you but you’re not allowed to laugh!”
Li Ming’s brows would have wandered higher if they could go any further. He was totally confused. Just how bad could it be? Watching movies was something people did for their enjoyment. Whatever type you liked didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, did it? And what type of movie could make somebody feel this embarrassed?
He stared at Zhao Chen, trying to come up with anything that might make someone feel like they would be laughed at. Most of the regular genres didn’t seem that strange. Westerns might be a bit out there but Zhao Chen didn’t quite strike him as the cowboy guy. Romantic movies? As a man, that might get you some strange looks but then, they were gay. A lot of people would likely expect gay men to enjoy some more heartfelt movies more. And he felt like he had been very open with Zhao Chen so he shouldn’t worry about that.
Maybe it was a very specific niche instead? Or maybe he really liked Z-movies? But no matter what he tried to think of, he still didn’t think there was anything to be embarrassed about.
In the end, he could only shake his head. “Don’t worry. I honestly can’t think of anything that would make me laugh. Even if I did, it’d be in good fun. I can assure you of that.”
Zhao Chen inclined his head. “Well, I guess you’re the type who doesn’t judge.” He scratched his temple and finally sighed. “Alright, actually, I’m not into movies at all. I’m … more of a reader, really.”