SML V5C50 An Unexpected Phone Call

Time proved that all the preparation and the talks had been effective. Half a year went by and while there were some difficulties along the way, there were more ups than downs. They met each other’s friends and — considering that their relationship had gotten better — Li Ming even introduced Zhao Chen to his parents.

By now, their relationship could indeed be called stable and the anxiety he had originally felt when something came up that reminded him of Mo Fang was nowhere to be found. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that he almost never thought of Mo Fang and their relationship back then.

It simply didn’t cross his mind any longer. When Zhao Chen did something or told him about something, he would be completely with him and not wrapped up in something that was long in the past. It really made for a much more relaxed attitude.

He didn’t know if it would stay this way or if it would change if there was something major happening but then, he couldn’t plan for all possibilities. Thus, he didn’t obsess over it.

That day, the two of them were both free. Li Ming had cooked a few dishes and right now, they were simply sitting at home, watching a few movies. Usually, they would be going out but the weather hadn’t been that good recently so they opted to do something inside instead.

Halfway through the movie, Li Ming’s phone rang. He glanced over and then raised his brows.

Zhao Chen also looked up and stopped the movie. “Who is it?”

“It’s Zhi Hao.” Li Ming felt surprised. Even though the two of them were still in contact and would often meet up, Duan Zhi Hao was much more likely to shoot him a text message first instead of directly calling. So he couldn’t help but feel that this was odd. “Do you mind if I …?”

Zhao Chen raised his hands. “Don’t worry about me! I’ll go and get us fresh drinks then.”

Li Ming nodded and took the call. “Hey, what’s the matter?”

Duan Zhi Hao gave a faint sigh when Li Ming actually picked up. “Hey there, I hope I’m not bothering you?”

“No, it’s okay. Ah Chen and I both have the day off.”

Duan Zhi Hao gave a hum and glanced at the young man sitting opposite him before he cleared his throat. “Well, it’s like this … You remember how I’m working with business owners most of the time?”

“Yeah?” From what Li Ming knew, Duan Zhi Hao himself was self-employed and usually worked with people who were the same or had a small business. If he remembered correctly, he should be making websites for them or something similar. He couldn’t imagine why he would call him about that though.

Duan Zhi Hao cleared his throat again, also feeling a bit awkward. It wasn’t made better by the way the guy opposite him was looking at him with shimmering eyes. Still, since he had promised to give this a try … “Well, you see, I recently got a customer who is giving self-defense courses and, uh, well, he is looking for somebody to partner up with.”

Li Ming’s brows slowly climbed up.

Zhao Chen had just come back and gave him a confused look. He could only hear Li Ming’s side of the conversation which really didn’t tell him much. Li Ming’s expression was telling though.

Li Ming faintly tilted his head, wondering if his thoughts were going in the right direction. “And … you are calling because you thought of me?”

Duan Zhi Hao cleared his throat for the third time before awkwardly humming. “Yes, that’s it. Uh … I know you are quite happy at your current job but … you really fit the description of what he’s looking for so … I thought I’d just ask whether you’d at least like to talk it over. I thought this might be something you’re interested in.”

In Duan Zhi Hao’s office, the young man opposite hastily waved his hands to get his attention. “He doesn’t have to do it full-time either! I’d be happy about some help every now and then already.”

Duan Zhi Hao nodded. “Ah, he just said it doesn’t need to be all the time. Like, just helping out every now and then. You …” He wasn’t sure how to ask so he awkwardly stopped.

Honestly, he knew that he was getting ahead of himself here but when Zhu Yi complained about the lack of a second instructor and then described his dream person for the job, Li Ming’s image had flashed through his mind and he had blurted out that he might know someone before he could even think about it.

Usually, he would have sent Zhu Yi away after they were done with today’s talk, then called Li Ming to gauge his interest, and if there was any, then he could have given Zhu Yi a call in a few days and mentioned it to him. Having that call with Zhu Yi sitting right there … it really was too awkward.

Li Ming was stunned for a while, not sure how to react. What Duan Zhi Hao had said at the beginning was true: He liked his job. He had been a security guard for years, his current place of employment was just as tolerant as he had hoped for, and then there was also the proximity to Zhao Chen.

Giving that up … he wasn’t sure if he was ready. But on the other hand, there was something deep down that made him feel excited to think about this. Back then, after that whole debacle with Su Yan, he had felt guilty for years. Sometimes, he still did, even though he had found out that Su Yan didn’t even remember.

When he talked it over with Mo Fang back then, for just a fleeting moment, he had thought that one day in the future, he might be able to make up for it. Maybe not directly to Su Yan but in general.

Teaching a self-defense course and helping others feel more secure or being able to fend off an attacker … that would be exactly the thing he was looking for. And also, after almost three years at the hotel, maybe it was time to try something new? Especially so if it didn’t have to be full-time immediately. He could try and see how it went and then make a final decision.

His throat felt constricted while his heart was still torn between really wanting this and being afraid. Finally, he took a shaky breath. “Actually … can you put me on speaker?”

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