Translated by zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
It’d been years since Zhang Jue last met Chen Boqiao, but he felt that Chen Boqiao had changed, becoming way more troublesome than what he remembered.
Zhang Jue took fifteen minutes to get out of the car and buy sandwiches, bringing them back in a takeaway bag. As soon as he opened the door, he found that Chen Boqiao was wearing a pair of sunglasses he found from god knew where, and in his hand was a kitten around two or three months old. On Zhang Jue’s sudden appearance, the kitten in Chen Boqiao’s hand let out a pitiful whimper.
“I picked it up at the intersection,” Chen Boqiao took initiative and quickly confessed, “Its foot is injured. I found the shades in the glove compartment, I was kind of worried about being recognized.”
Zhang Jue felt a little helpless, but he didn’t want to scold Chen Boqiao, so he just passed the sandwich bag to Chen Boqiao first, got into the driver’s seat, and closed the door.
Chen Boqiao looked down and petted the kitten’s head, took off his sunglasses, and casually asked, “You upset?” He scratched the kitten’s chin, raised the kitten a little higher, and made Zhang Jue look at it again. He offered, “I’ll make it apologize to you.”
The kitten curled itself within Chen Boqiao’s hands becoming very small, and looked terrified of the stranger.
“I’m sorry,” Chen Boqiao gently held the kitten’s paw and whispered.
Zhang Jue lowered his eyes and stared at the kitten. In his peripherals, he saw Chen Boqiao’s elegantly straight nose and perfect brow ridge. His heartbeat instantly started jumping irregularly. The words “It’s okay” felt dry in his throat and stuck for a long time before he could say them.
On the way to the safe house, Chen Boqiao put the kitten on his lap and teased it occasionally.
Zhang Jue had never been too interested in fluffy animals, but because Chen Boqiao picked up the cat, he decided to show his concern, “Where is it hurt? I don’t see anything wrong.”
“It’s limping.” Chen Boqiao speculated, “Might have been run over by a passing car.”
Zhang Jue didn’t know what to say. After thinking for a while, he asked, “Do you want to get it treated?”
He actually wasn’t sure if there was a veterinarian in this town. If there was a pet hospital or shelter that would keep the cat for them if they paid, that’d be nice. If not, from what he could see from Chen Boqiao’s attitude, he wanted to bring it with them as they ran from the government.
“We should probably find someplace to treat it,” Chen Boqiao suggested while playing with the cat.
“Then I’ll go out to find something at night,” Zhang Jue responded.
The town’s not big, but there were many small alleys and narrow roads. Zhang Jue drove the car carefully, following the map of the town ingrained in his memory, took a lot of turns, and reached the safe house with no problems. “We’re here.”
“Zhang Jue,” Chen Boqiao observed in the dark, “You really know your way around here.”
Zhang Jue didn’t know how to answer, so he replied with “Sure”.
Of course he knew it well.
The escape route they’d take had been taken to heart and memorized countless times, and may never be forgotten.
Every important item’s location, every backup plan and escape route, even all the constructional blueprints of the shantytown where the safe house is located, Zhang Jue could recall instantly when he closes his eyes.
He let Chen Boqiao and the cat stay in the car, got out to open the garage door manually and drove the car into the garage, and then went out to close the door.
The sound of the shutter door opening and closing was a bit loud, and the kitten in Chen Boqiao’s hand seemed to be frightened again and curled up pretending to be dead. Zhang Jue took the key and opened the door, bringing Chen Boqiao into the house. He flicked on the lights, “The house isn’t big, but we won’t be here for too long.”
“It’s way better than where I’ve lived during these past few months,” Chen Boqiao looked around the room and thanked Zhang Jue again. Zhang Jue shook his head, and looked at Chen Boqiao for a second, then looked away.
Chen Boqiao was considered to be tall even amongst the Alphas. He himself was very gentle but the inherent oppressiveness and aggressiveness of his pheromones were difficult to ignore. Zhang Jue lowered his head, pointing to the sandwich bag held by Chen Boqiao and said, “Let’s eat first.”
They sat on the narrow sofa and ate their mostly cold dinner.
The meat of the sandwich was not chewy. It was very soft, the seasoning too heavy, and it smelled of its spice marinade. The lettuce and peppers inside were wilted and way beyond fresh while the edges of the leaves were a little black. Chen Boqiao ate very quickly without choking himself, leaving a small piece of bread and feeding it to the whimpering kitten.
Zhang Jue observed for a while and failed to conclude whether Chen Boqiao was satisfied with the sandwich, but Zhang Jue himself felt that this was his best meal in a few years.
Chen Boqiao finished eating. He picked up the remote control on the coffee table and turned on the TV. An explicit rated song-and-dance film was playing on the screen. Several scantily dressed Omega girls suggestively danced to the music. Chen Boqiao did not change the channel.
Zhang Jue watched it with Chen Boqiao for a few minutes and felt extremely awkward, so he went to the bedroom drawer to take two guns and a communicator for Chen Boqiao while saying, “I’ll go out to find a vet. I’ll be back soon. If you need anything, contact me.”
Chen Boqiao familiarised his hand with the weight of the gun, and politely said to Zhang Jue, “Thank you.”
Zhang Jue said dryly, “No problem.”
When he opened the door to go outside, Chen Boqiao called out, “Zhang Jue.”
Zhang Jue looked back, and Chen Boqiao’s face was half-hidden in the shadow. Chen Boqiao said, “Still, sorry for troubling you.”
Chen Boqiao smiled when he spoke. Zhang Jue always knew he was handsome.
“I can’t even save myself, and I’m running around picking up cats.” Chen Boqiao said, self-deprecating.
“No!” Zhang Jue immediately denied.
He tried hard to think of some good vocabulary to reply, but he didn’t say it because he felt that Chen Boqiao had heard enough of those praises, and nothing he said would be as fancy, or creative, as what Chen Boqiao had heard before. So he just said, “I know you’ve always been a good person.”
Seeing that Chen Boqiao’s expression had not changed, Zhang Jue paused, and added, “You are a hero.”
Chen Boqiao smiled, then turned his eyes back to the screen.
Zhang Jue stood there for a few seconds, and hurriedly picked up the car keys and went out, embarrassed.
“Don’t worry, I’m safe for the time being, in the Thai Independence State, with Zhang Jue.”
“I know. He’s not here to intentionally disrupt our plans. He and his people waited in the Asian League for two months. And not one of you found out?”
“He will be back anytime so don’t say anything you don’t absolutely need to. I don’t have time to play around with you.”
“By the way, I didn’t remove the tracker, and also threw away the signal blocker.”
“Don’t worry, I just want to know if he can be trusted.”
“Tomorrow we will drive to Bangkok and board the ship to North America. The name on my new passport is Shen Yuhua, and the passport number is AU9931738. I don’t know when and where we’ll board the ship.”
“Your operation will continue.”
“Okay, that’s all, I will contact you again. Don’t call this number.”