The performance was a great success.
After taking a bow, they came down from the stage.
Ying Ruoyun was calm and modest on the surface, but in reality, his shirt was drenched in sweat.
This time, he had been given the task of saving the orchestra from disaster and had naturally won the acceptance and congratulations of the orchestra members.
It was drizzling outside, and Ying Ruoyun had no umbrella.
He stood under the eaves, wondering how he was going to get home.
“The performance was brilliant.” Pei Baixing, holding a black umbrella, stood in the rain and smiled at him.
Pei Baixing was a typical Western-style doctor, smart and rational, strict and proper: “May I ask a few questions?”
“Have all of your symptoms cleared up?”
“There have been no signs of relapse in the past month?”
“Why didn't you contact me?”
Pei Baixing looked at him and Ying Ruoyun didn't know how to answer.
“Ying Ruoyun.” Shu Jingzhi, holding an equally black umbrella, approached slowly in the rain: “Come here.”
This scene was so embarrassing that his scalp tingled: “Conductor Shu, if I may ask, what is the matter?”
Shu Jingzhi did not answer him, but walked straight up to him, grabbed his wrist, and dragged the man away by force without any regard for his wishes.
Ying Ruoyun followed him through the crowd at the entrance of the Art Centre, through the traffic of the evening rush hour, as if there was no end to the road ahead.
“Conductor Shu,” Ying Ruoyun said, “please let go of me.”
The grip tightened instead, and Ying Ruoyun sulked a little: “Shu Jingzhi, what the hell are you trying to do?”
When they arrived at the concert hall office, he closed the umbrella, closed the door and pressed the man against it, “Ying Ruoyun, do you like to flirt around so much?”
Ying Ruoyun was furious, he and Pei Baixing had only spoken a few words.
Shu Jingzhi was no longer the same Shu Jingzhi he remembered.
The lover he once had never questioned him, never forced him to do anything, far less like he did now.
Therefore, he did not have to treat him like he did in the old days either.
He smiled, “What does this have to do with you?”
“It's only been a few days since you returned to China, and you already can't hold back?”
“Yes,” Ying Ruoyun said, “I not only can't help it, but I can't wait.”
Shu Jingzhi dropped his head and kissed him, roughly and passionately.
Ying Ruoyun punched him in the jaw, pulled open the door and was about to leave.
Shu Jingzhi wrapped his arms around his waist and closed the door again with a bang, placing his hands on top of his head and dropping hot kisses on the nape of his neck.
Ying Ruoyun fiercely bit his earlobe, pushed his knee against the small of his back and tried to break free when he loosened his grip.
However, Shu Jingzhi dropped him onto his back and the two of them rolled around onto the carpet, hitting the keys of the piano and making a long, crunching ‘do' sound.
Shu Jingzhi hugged him tightly, almost as if he were trying to squeeze him into his own flesh and blood.
The kiss was as breathtaking as it was lingering, and Ying Ruoyun wrapped his arms around his neck and ran his fingers through his hair.
At this moment, in the holy concert hall, in the intimate embrace of the strange lover in front of him, a fierce blasphemous feeling of pleasure surged up.
It was a forbidden pleasure, a rapid descent into the abyss, an unquenchable, poisonous thirst.
It was as if they had been transported back two years to a time when they had loved each other with all their hearts.
The darkness was so rich with the sound of gasping breaths that it blurred the boundaries of sanity.
Shu Jingzhi whispered in his ear, “Aren't you impatient? We can do it right here.”
“This is a concert hall, have you no reverence, no shame?”
“For you, there is no such thing.”
“Shu Jingzhi,” Ying Ruoyun looked at him, “we are already over.”
“The end of each movement means the beginning of a new melody.” Shu Jingzhi whispered, “Let's be together again, without talking about feelings, without talking about responsibilities, without talking about the future, only talking about sex.”
“Noble Conductor Shu, do you know what you are saying?”
Ying Ruoyun suddenly hated himself immensely, he couldn't do anything to push him away in the face of such bad behaviour and words.
Shu Jingzhi had turned into something terrifying that he could not have foreseen, and he was still defenceless against him.
He regretted it now, perhaps he should never have chosen to return to China.
Footsteps sounded in the corridor as the orchestra returned to the rehearsal hall, changing out of their uniforms and arranging their instruments.
The noise brought his thoughts back to reality and Ying Ruoyun finally regained some clarity.
The ambiguous silence was broken by the sharp ringing of a phone.
With great reluctance, Shu Jingzhi let go of him and went to his desk, unplugging the phone from the landline.
Ying Ruoyun took the opportunity to feel his way to the door and was about to leave when the office door was pushed open from the outside.
Under the moonlight, Tan Xiaoshi looked shocked: “Ruoyun, it's so late, what are you still doing in the office?”
Ying Ruoyun casually made something up and said, “I'm looking for a music score.”
Then Tan Xiaoshi saw Shu Jingzhi: “Conductor Shu is also here?”
Ying Ruoyun continued stiffly, “Mhmm, he was helping me look for it.”
Tan Xiaoshi asked, “In this darkness, why didn't you turn on the lights when you were looking for the score?”
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