Zhao Chen smiled wryly. To be honest, Linghu Jiahao might not be too far off. He also knew that. “I will admit that there are some problems but that is in part because of his previous relationship. Li Ming … he compares. And I guess he sees some things in me that ordinarily wouldn’t be a problem but that are difficult for him to accept because of his past. And I don’t want to be stuck in this situation. I … I think I deserve to be evaluated based on my own behavior. But right now, I am in this situation where that can’t happen.”
“And you fault Li Ming for that?”
Zhao Chen smiled wryly. What was this guy? A psychologist? “No. I’m not faulting him for anything. He’s had a rough time and that is still troubling him. There is no blame to assign. Even if I wanted to blame somebody, I would blame his ex-boyfriend and not Li Ming. I actually think it’s quite normal to have trust issues after that kind of thing happened.”
Linghu Jiahao gave a hum. Everything Zhao Chen said wasn’t bad. In fact, it was pretty good. He was clearly looking out both for himself and for Li Ming. The reason he wasn’t happy with the current situation was probably that this was about the person he loved.
Zhao Chen rubbed his neck. He had thought that Linghu Jiahao was the logical person to go to but he also realized by now that he might have made a mistake. “Look, I’m not trying to get you involved in things you don’t want to be involved in. If you don’t want to talk about this with me, I get it. We can just forget about it.
“But please don’t question my reasons for doing this. I simply want to gain a better understanding because I don’t even know what kind of thing to look out for, I’ll stumble into things and cause trouble for myself that simply isn’t necessary.”
“Why not just talk it over with brother Li though? Clearly, his relationship with Mo Fang was much different from mine. So whatever I tell you wouldn’t be applicable anyway.”
Zhao Chen sighed. “I know this must sound odd to you but I simply believe that I will have an easier time navigating this if I get different perspectives. I have talked to Li Ming about this. But I want to hear what others have to say as well. I will probably ask brother Si as well. I simply thought I’d start with you because, well, your perspective is so much different from Li Ming’s. I genuinely think I can learn the most from that.”
Linghu Jiahao still wasn’t sure if he agreed with any of this but he finally sighed and pulled out his phone. “Fine. I have a really good impression of Li Ming and I know how hard it can be to get over your past with somebody so I’ll help. Don’t blame me if this doesn’t work though. I’m telling you right now that I don’t think it will no matter who you ask.”
Zhao Chen nodded. “It’s alright. I’m simply trying whatever I can to make this work.”
Linghu Jiahao nodded and then pushed his chair closer. He first opened Weibo and Mo Fang’s page on it. “When it comes to understanding Mo Fang, the first glance should always be reserved for what he does online. Honestly, he might not even share this with his boyfriends but he takes this very seriously. You wouldn’t think it if you know him but he does have some aspirations.”
Zhao Chen raised his brows. “He’s not very driven?”
Linghu Jiahao looked up as well and then pondered. “You can’t say it like this. The question is: What is it that is driving him? When in a relationship with him, it can seem like it’s his significant other and that he doesn’t care about anything outside of his relationship. He can be … very focused on you.”
Zhao Chen nodded, not too surprised to hear that. This guy had managed to wrap Li Ming around his little finger in almost no time. He was clearly somebody who invested a lot of time in chasing his boyfriends.
“The one goal he has outside of this that stays the same is that he wants to model. I assume this has been influenced by his family a lot. I sometimes think it’s a pity because he could do a lot of things but he isn’t interested in pursuing anything else.”
“Well, he does look good.” Zhao Chen honestly felt like Mo Fang should be doing well as a model. Surely, his looks were good enough.
Linghu Jiahao gave a hum, sounding a lot more positive than before. At the same time, he finally stopped scrolling and put the phone down, tapping the table next to it. “Now, the problem is that Mo Fang is also unapologetically gay. He doesn’t think twice about posting a clearly romantic selfie. And, well, we don’t live in times when that isn’t a problem. So one thing that is important to him stands against something else that has the same significance. He can’t reconcile them.”
Zhao Chen nodded while his gaze was drawn to the photo on the screen. It wasn’t a selfie like what Linghu Jiahao had just talked about but clearly something from a photoshoot. In it, he was wearing what looked like ancient garb and his gaze was amorous. Opposite him, with his back to the camera, was a man in a scholar’s robe. It was a beautiful picture but yes, it did lend itself to certain ideas.
Linghu Jiahao gave him a moment to look more closely before scrolling down. Every couple of posts, there would be photos from shoots like this or some pictures Mo Fang had taken himself.
Zhao Chen looked at all of them and felt that he suddenly understood Li Ming’s problem with him moving on so fast: After only a handful of pictures with one guy, Mo Fang would start posting pictures with another, and there didn’t seem to be much time between them. That was to say: Mo Fang had never thought long before jumping into the next relationship either. No wonder that was a red flag to Li Ming now.