Since Zhao Chen really wanted to know, Li Ming didn’t hold anything back and got him up to date on how he and Si Tao had met and how they had gotten along even after he and Mo Fang had already broken up and stayed in contact. He also told him about the relationship between Si Tao and Tong Lan since Zhao Chen would meet her on Thursday as well.
He didn’t go into too much detail while he recounted everything, not wanting him to go in with the feeling that he knew exactly what they were like. Everyone thought differently of people after all. Also, getting to know each other was the kind of thing you did on a double date, right? He didn’t want to deprive them of all the first conversational points.
Zhao Chen indeed calmed down a bit when he heard all this, feeling that it made Si Tao sound more like a person of their age group than their boss. He wasn’t sure what he had expected but it had scared him to know that this person was in charge while they were that low on the totem pole. Either way, after their meal ended, he was a lot calmer.
Leaning back, he gave Li Ming a faint smile. “Thanks for that. It really helped. Now though, it’s gotten pretty late. Do you … want to stay over?”
Li Ming looked at the window, not having realized just how late it had really gotten. To be honest, it probably would’ve been smart to stay but he didn’t think it was a good idea. “Would you be angry with me if I said no?”
Zhao Chen tilted his head to the side and then shook it. “Disappointed? Yes. Angry? No. I know you’re more of a ‘take it slow’ type of guy. This is probably going a bit too fast for you. I mean, not that I intended to do anything with you tonight but I can see why you wouldn’t want to.”
Li Ming gave a hum and nodded before slowly getting up. Actually, he was much faster with Zhao Chen right now than he had been with Mo Fang back then but he kept that to himself. They had talked more than enough about their exes. “Well, should I still help you with the dishes?”
Zhao Chen got up as well and shook his head. Going around the table, he pulled Li Ming into his arms. “I would be incredibly embarrassed if I let you do the dishes after you’ve already cooked for us. No, I’ve got this. Anyway, you should go home. You’ll need some time to get there. So just … go and get some sleep.”
Li Ming nodded and then leaned in, giving him a short kiss. “Well, I’ll be off then.”
“I’ll bring you to the door.”
The two of them walked out and said their goodbye while giving each other a long look before Li Ming actually left.
On his way home, he couldn’t help but wonder if he had really made the right decision just now. He was … well, he was really happy with Zhao Chen. And he had seen the last time with Mo Fang that taking it slow might not make much of a difference. Maybe he should just go all in and see where it led. But then, he was also nervous about it. So, no, he should give it some more time until he was sure he was comfortable with this.
He rubbed his neck and sighed, finally thinking that anyway, there was no need to rush anything. Zhao Chen seemed like the type of guy who was willing to wait so this wasn’t a problem.
Indeed, Zhao Chen wasn’t thinking too much about this. As he had said earlier that day, he was the kind of guy who took things as they came. That Li Ming needed more time wasn’t something that he perceived as a slight against him. Instead, to him, this was just a sign that Li Ming trusted him because he had been open about it. Well, not that he was surprised about that. Clearly, Li Ming was pretty open in general.
He smiled to himself thinking of everything they had talked about today while he did the dishes. Honestly, it had been pretty weird. The date had been nice but had ended really weirdly on that note about him maybe not taking his relationships all that seriously, and then they had talked about all of their exes, which was something most people would advise against.
Zhao Chen still felt that it had made them get closer. Anyway, Li Ming had seemed really relaxed when he left. Most likely, that meant that they were on the right path, and whatever would happen on Thursday, would be another step in the right direction.
With that, he really stopped thinking about it and just went about the rest of his day, not even thinking about Thursday again as if it would be any other normal day.
The next day, he went to work as usual, this time unfortunately not able to see Li Ming since they didn’t have the same shift. He clicked his tongue when he saw the other security guard on duty, getting himself a teasing look in return.
“What? At first, weren’t you still happy working with me? Now, can’t I compare to brother Li?”
Zhao Chen went over and sighed deeply. “Ah, how could you compare to him? You don’t have his looks, you don’t have his way with words, I’m also not into you that way.”
The guard just laughed and playfully hit his shoulder. “Don’t forget who helped you get together!”
“I think that was my ability to straightforwardly communicate.”
“Yeah, and who told you that you should do that because our brother Li wouldn’t be able to figure out you were flirting with him? I believe that was me.” He pointed at his nose and then walked away laughing, still clearly amused about how things had gone that day.
Zhao Chen just shook his head and continued his own route, not wanting to give him the time of the day. Anyway, it didn’t matter. No, the only thing that mattered was that they were together. And even if they couldn’t spend every day together, there was still more than enough time. Thinking about it like this, he was actually looking forward to that double date the next day.