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silly games of hide and seek

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Luo Wenzhou was making his usual night round when he came upon a surprising view. Through the glass windows overlooking the little garden delimiting the company’s parking lot, he was able to witness a young man crouching down on the pavement in one knee and making weird movements with his hands, probably meant to be luring but so lacking in delicacy that they came across as awkward and slightly aggressive in nature, more than anything else. Bathed in the nearby lamplight, angled in such a way that it was reminiscent of a stagelight, bringing a diva of the theatre into full focus, the object of the youngster’s attention quickly proved to be the annoying stray cat that Tao Ran had taken a liking to, providing him with a makeshift shelter and feeding him everyday, effectively turning him into something like the company’s mascot. Were it any other cat, the man’s actions might have scared it off, but this Mr. Cat was very full of himself and thus seemed to be delighting in such a clumsy attempt of catching his attention. Despite the distance he was watching from, Luo Wenzhou could have sworn the damned cat’s eyes were filled with mockery. He hadn’t moved a single inch towards the man, simply staring at him curiously.

The unknown man apparently decided to change his strategy and switched to bribery, pulling a packed sandwich from his leather bag and proceeding to tempt the cat with it instead. His motions allowed Luo Wenzhou his first glimpse at the man’s face - he was a very attractive glasses-wearing fellow, seemingly in his twenties.  

Figuring there was no harm in anticipating his customary smoke break, Luo Wenzhou left the building and approached the man. 

“That cat is as wild as they come. You’re wasting your time trying to pat him,” he informed, in way of greeting.

“I love a good challenge.” The man replied. Even his voice is beautiful, Luo Wenzhou furiously noted. 

Unrelatedly, he issued a warning, “I’m afraid you can’t take long. Strangers aren’t allowed in the premises.”

“I work here, Mr. Security Guard.”

“I pride myself on knowing every employee’s face and name by heart and I’ve never seen you before. Are you a new hire? We haven’t received any such information.”

“You could say so. Today was my first day on the job. Look, here’s my company card.” The man briefly flashed him the proof. 

Luo Wenzhou was assigned to the night shift for the whole month, meaning Tao Ran had been the one working during the day, so it made sense that they wouldn’t have run in with each other before. But Luo Wenzhou still felt the nagging feeling that the man wasn’t telling the whole truth.

“Why doesn’t your card discriminate your position?”

“I’m studying Organizational Psychology.” That didn’t quite answer the question, did it.

“Hmm, interesting choice of field, I’ll give you that. I guess you’re an intern of some sort, then?” Luo Wenzhou pressed once more.

“I still have much to learn, that’s for sure.”



After that first meeting, Luo Wenzhou and Mr. Intern kept crossing paths occasionally. The brat, as Luo Wenzhou had taken to calling him (not fondly!) in his head - and even to his face, every now and then, when he was being too cheeky, - must be a workaholic, always among the last employees to leave the company. In fact, he seemed the poster creature of unhealthy habits. Luo Wenzhou was sure he didn’t keep regular meals, since his figure was a bit too slender; nor must he sleep a decent amount - even at night and beneath a concealer layer, Luo Wenzhou could still pinpoint the traces of dark circles in his eyes. Luo Wenzhou almost worried about him sometimes.

Mr. Intern always made sure to chat with him for a few minutes before he left for the day. As it turned out, he was a good conversation partner and the topics they discussed had broadened in range, beyond the initial small talk and exchange of views on recent news and social events to debates over the company’s current leadership tactics and fun facts Mr. Intern came across in his studies and Luo Wenzhou in his work. Rather than organizational psychology, the other seemed to hold a deeper interest in criminal psychology. Luo Wenzhou thought it suited him more as a field of study, but the only time he attempted to pry into the reasons behind his choice, he was quickly shut down and he had let the matter drop. 

Before he knew it, Luo Wenzhou had begun looking forward to their little meetings, which had also become more and more frequent, to the point that Mr. Intern’s leaving hours happened to follow a pattern around Luo Wenzhou’s smoke breaks. As their familiarity with each other grew, so did the other man’s habitual forwardness gradually acquire flirtatious tones, which took Luo Wenzhou an embarrassingly long time to gain awareness of. In his defense, after his enduring yet ultimately fruitless pursuit of Tao Ran, he had sworn off romance for a while. Nor would he have been looking for it at work, never mind with someone ten years younger than him, and still a university student at that. No matter how his stunning looks were just his type, or how his intelligence and insight were impressive for his age, or how his personality was equal parts aggravating as it was charming, the perfect balance to keep their interactions fresh and interesting.

Luo Wenzhou was ashamed to admit he was relieved when the end of the month came, marking his return to the dayshift and excusing him of having to decide how he should deal with the flirting, whether to succumb to his desires and play along right back or behave properly and refuse Mr. Intern’s advances. The morning rush ensured that even if they saw each other, they wouldn’t have the time or opportunity to talk just the two of them like before. Maybe the distance would cool down whatever fledgling attraction had started to form between them. It was for the best, really.

He was trying (and failing resoundly) to convince himself of that while going through the same arguments over and over in his head, when Lang Qiao’s excited voice pulled him out of his thoughts. 

“Good morning, President Fei!” she singsonged. “Looking handsome as always~”

That’s right , Luo Wenzhou suddenly recalled. I haven’t met the new President yet.

As he refocused his concentration (simultaneously admonishing himself for getting distracted at work, and for such a silly reason too), he almost couldn’t prevent swallowing the wrong way and getting himself into a coughing fit as the new President came into his full view.

Cursing at himself for his idiocy - how come that, for the whole month of their acquaintance, he had never thought of asking the “intern” what his name was? ( You wouldn’t have believed him, even if he had told you , another voice rose in his mind, sounding suspiciously like Tao Ran’s), - Luo Wenzhou did his best to not let his surprise show on his face and body and addressed “President Fei” with a confident smile, the corner of his lips almost turned into a smirk.

“Good morning, President Fei. My apologies for not giving you a proper greeting earlier.”

The bastard had the gall to actually breathe out a quick laugh, before replying, “No apologies needed, Mr. Luo. The pleasure was all mine.”