Author: Dong Mi
Translator: chiangyushien, Renkun27
After giving up on his persistence, Haiqing felt much calmer.
He stopped going to the swimming pool every day to wait and search for that man. After his Grandpa gave him extra money for tuition fee for the studio, he started to regularly practice sketching for several days a week. While he used his brush to draw the outlines of each and every objects’ contour that were assigned by the teacher, he no longer worried about his personal gains and losses. Even the frequency of him taking his mobile phone out to see if there were any missed calls or whatnot was much lesser.
Being like this may not be a bad idea. Haiqing thought. Previously, it was too unusual; but now, it was almost normal.
He stared at the nude model who was surrounded by students. His skin was quite pleasing to the eyes and mind under the lamplight’s illumination. At the beginning of the course, there were many girls who sent out meaningful whispers about his figure. Haiqing had not attended class at this studio for a while. He had no impression of the model. He guessed that the model must be new.
The pencils rubbed over the papers with a rough texture. The sound of “shashasha” filled the room and was mixed with the sound of a classical guitar, creating a drowsy atmosphere. Haiqing drew the image of the supple skin from time to time and erased a few unnecessary marks. Time quietly went by.
The teacher of the studio shuttled between the students. From time to time, he pointed on the paper to give instructions. He did not give any instructions to a few students who were very focused and good at painting. They got appreciated by the teacher. Haiqing was one of them.
Haiqing focused on observing the model’s muscle lines. His arms and chest muscles were well-developed, but they were not too threatening. Haiqing really liked this kind of fixed body posture, so he drew it very earnestly. He wanted to engrave what he had seen in his eyes on the paper, just as he had painted many of the sketches of a certain someone in the past few days when he had been restless.
The model seemed to have sharply inhaled because the air conditioning inside the room was too cold. A slight change would affect everything else. His posture was inevitably producing subtle changes.
The teacher wryly smiled and walked over to the model to help him return to the most similar posture with the posture before.
His hand should be moved a bit forward and his foot should be kept at 90 degrees… So, all of the students temporarily stopped their movements, then slightly started to make minor modifications.
The model smiled embarrassedly, maybe because of the atmosphere so he only apologized with his mouth moving but did not make any sound.
This room seemed to have its own magic, and everyone who lived in it would inevitably slow down the pace, in order to allow this environment to maintain the most sacred and beautiful look when everyone was painting.
Haiqing also stopped to move and waited until the teacher had adjusted the model’s posture and quietly left. Haiqing’s line of sight precisely formed a straight line with the model’s line of sight, and they actually maintained gazing at each for about a second.
A familiar feeling quickly passed through the invisible bridge that was formed by their lines of sight, and Haiqing could not help but look down and he did not lift his eyes up to cut off the connection.
Haiqing heard a sound coming from behind him so he paused tidying his equipment up for a moment. Based on an intuition that Haiqing himself did not understand, he instinctively did not directly look at the owner of the voice after turning around.
“Hello, my name’s Chen Pinjun. I want to see the sketch that you’ve drawn just now, is it all right?” The model, from a moment ago, shyly asked.
Haiqing quietly spread the drawing paper and used gestures instead of speaking. After Pinjun took the sketch, he carefully gazed at it. The lines in the sketch were reflecting in his eyes. The depth of the shadows was so detailed so Haiqing could not help but want to go a little closer and look into it. Unconciously, he silently took a few steps forward.
Pinjun casually wore his shirt. His button was not fastened, and it was widely open, but his appearance did not make people think it was sloppy. The visual stimuli in which his T-shirt tightly attached to his body and the invisible muscle lines were quite saturated. Haiqing could not refrain from beginning to imagine a scene wherein his skin was covered with a T-shirt that soaked in water. He even wanted to draw it.
Pinjun was slightly taller than Haiqing, but not to the extent that he would need to raise his head. His body also appeared to be a lot thicker and broader than when he sat on the seat to be sketched. Haiqing remembered that in his previous school, the famous basketball team members had such figure. At that time, Xiao K also said that they were just a bunch of muscular fools as compared to his oppa.
Pinjun’s gasp of admiration suddenly made Haiqing snap out of it. He suddenly realized it was too obvious that he was sizing the other party up with his eyes. Fortunately, Pinjun did not appear to be displeased.
“You draw well. I’m super excited now!” Pinjun was afraid that he would ruin the work, so he handed the sketch paper back to Haiqing in haste. Haiqing noticed that the palm of his hands was sweaty. “I’ve never been drawn by others!” Perhaps Haiqing’s gaze contained too much information. Pinjun could not help but blush while he explained.
The 4 words  “have never” caught Haiqing’s attention.
( have never = 从来没有 = cóng lái méi yǒu)
“You’re not a professional nude model?”
After Pinjun heard this, he shook his head and said that his friend was sick and asked him to take the job. It was unknown if this was considered as a coincidence or good luck but Haiqing, who enrolled in the first class, met a newbie who was trying to do it for fun.
“You absolutely don’t look like you’re a newbie. You’re quite steady but not like a plaster statue.”
“I’m a person and not an inanimate object. How could I be like a plaster statue? I’m still breathing, right?”
Pinjun was amused so he laughed out loud while he invoked his right to live. When Haiqing did not respond, Pinjun seized Haiqing’s hands and put it in front of his nose. “Feel it. I’m breathing and I’m still warm!” After he said that, he grabbed Haiqing’s hand to touch his cheek.
“You don’t have to prove it to me. Of course, I know you’re alive.” Haiqing could not help but to laugh. He actually did not really touch Pinjun’s cheek. When he laughed loudly, Pinjun also looked like he was infected so he bent over and laughed heartily. When their laughter gradually eased, and the sound of the classical guitar came to an end, Pinjun just looked at him with a smile.
“I just wanted to make you laugh.” He shrugged his shoulders and said: “A moment ago, I saw when you were sketching me. You looked like you were very focused but also weighed down with sorrow.
“Really?” Haiqing did not notice this at all. He felt that he would be the same as when he was painting — with all his heart, dedicated and expressionless. As for what he looked like to others, he had never thought about it. He subconsciously raised his eyebrows and looked puzzled at Pinjun.
The answer given to him by Pinjun was a firm, strong, and calm nod.
“Doesn’t it feel good to laugh like just now?” Pinjun then pinched his own cheeks to the sides. An artificial smile appeared and Haiqing laughed again.
He had not shown such a heartfelt smile for a long time. This smile was like a heavy pound in Pinjun’s eyes — it hit the softest place in his heart. Pinjun could feel that his breath became a lot faster, and the room temperature seemed to have slightly increased.
“Are you going to leave?” Pinjun asked embarrassedly while fixing the locks of hair on his face.
When Pinjun heard this, his figure was like a golden retriever that was being told to eat a lot of food without worrying about it. He smiled cheerfully.
“Then do you want to go together?” Pinjun said when he was about to go out, then he turned around to see that Haiqing was not responding. So, he urged him “Come on! Let’s eat ice cream. It’s my treat today!” After he spoke, he took a brown envelope from his pocket and waved it a few times. It was his pay as a model.
Haiqing looked at his wrist that was being pulled by Pinjun as they went out. With Pinjun’s bright and cheerful smile, the once serene place in his chest seemed to be awakened again. The burning sensation filled his chest and made him involuntarily stretch his hand, pressing it down. He seemed to be rather anxious.