Si Tao nodded and didn’t pursue the topic any further. To be honest, he never knew if it was better not to bring up Mo Fang’s grief and pretend that everything was alright or if he would be happy if he could talk about it. Mo Fang hadn’t said anything to indicate either way so he didn’t dare to act rashly. For the time being, it seemed best to simply listen and then follow his lead if he brought it up. Whatever needed to be said on his side had probably been mentioned tonight.
Mo Fang didn’t speak further either. He turned back around, waiting for the water to boil before he made his tea and returned to the table.
Si Tao pulled back his bowl and continued to eat quietly. After a while, he couldn’t take the silence any longer so he started to simply tell Mo Fang about whatever he had heard from their mutual friends, updating him on much of what he had missed in the past three years. He did stay clear of talking about relationships though, feeling that it was better to tread lightly just in case.
Mo Fang smiled faintly, not even noticing that Si Tao was leaving out half of what he knew. He only felt … that it was nice having an evening like this. He hadn’t had that in much too long. In fact, even though he had gone out most of the days since returning to China, it might have never felt like this.
He wasn’t sure what the difference was. Maybe the fact that Si Tao was aware of what had happened helped or maybe it was indeed just that he felt understood more when it came to this person. Either way, for once, there wasn’t the bone-chilling loneliness he had been grappling with since Yu Ting died. If it had been possible, he would have wished for this evening to never end just to keep in this comfortable state for a while longer.
Mo Fang lowered his head when this thought struck him. He knew it couldn’t be. Sooner or later, Si Tao would have to leave. Even if he didn’t, it wasn’t like he wouldn’t think about it again. But at least, this renewed this hope that in time, he would be able to live normally again.
By the time Si Tao finished retelling most of what had happened in the past three years that Mo Fang hadn’t known about yet, it was already three o’clock in the morning. Looking at his phone screen, he could only click his tongue. “Seems like I kept you up pretty late.”
Mo Fang shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. Anyway, I don’t work right now. I rather feel apologetic for keeping you here for so long. Did you tell Tong Lan that we are going to meet up?”
Si Tao nodded. “I did! Of course, I did!” He didn’t go anywhere without telling her. After all, there had been more than enough situations where something work-related or an outing with friends took longer than he originally estimated. He didn’t want Tong Lan to worry so he’d mention it ahead of time. If she really got worried, she knew that she could always call him.
Mo Fang looked out the window. Even in the middle of the night, it could hardly be said that Shanghai was dark. “Do you want to drive back home or stay here until the morning?”
Si Tao also looked outside and sighed. “If you don’t mind, I guess staying would be better.” He had been up since the morning and he had to admit that after talking for so long, he really was tired now. That was no state to drive.
“Alright. I have a guestroom upstairs. I’ll go and make the bed for you. You should try and reach Tong Lan in the meantime.”
“Mn, I’ll do that!” Si Tao immediately pulled up her contact on his phone. He felt a bit guilty about not having done this a few hours ago and about maybe waking her up now but he also felt that it was better to let her know.
Mo Fang left the room to give him some privacy and silently walked upstairs. He hadn’t really paid much attention to the guest room since moving in and only taken a quick look at it the day he moved in. Now, his gaze couldn’t help but brush over the furniture and decorations and he smiled faintly.
He knew what Yu Ting must have thought when he planned out this room: One day, when they lived here and he had found his family, he could invite them to stay over. Whether there was a mother or father somewhere, a sibling, or even a niece or nephew, he would gladly welcome them to make up for some of the lost time. That had been his dream since he was young.
Mo Fang pulled out the pendant hanging around his neck, rubbing the surface with his thumb. “I guess this is going very differently from what you imagined.” He shook his head and sighed before letting go of the pendant and taking out a pillow and blanket from the closet to make the bed.
By the time he finished, Si Tao was already walking up the stairs. He had taken a cursory glance around the lower floor and now couldn’t help but raise his brows when he reached the door to the guestroom. “The apartment looks really nice.”
Mo Fang straightened up and his smile widened a little while he walked over. “One of his friends is an interior designer. I wasn’t with him yet but he told me they sat together for weeks to plan everything, him explaining the atmosphere he was going for and her suggesting some possibilities, then revising the plan over and over again.”
He stopped next to Si Tao and looked at the room again. “It’s weird. He didn’t put half as much effort into his place abroad but I can see the similarities. It’s … so him. Sometimes, it’s hard to look at.”
Mo Fang sighed and then patted Si Tao’s shoulder. “Well, I’ve made the bed for you. The bathroom is stocked with everything you might need even though I didn’t really expect any visitors this soon. Just help yourself to whatever you need. If there’s anything else … well, the master bedroom is just down the stairs.”
Si Tao nodded and watched Mo Fang leave before rubbing his head. Well, time to go to sleep.