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For a moment, it was as if Shen Wei had invited him to be his date. The Dean mirrored the incredulous look on Yunlan’s face as they shook hands over stilted introductions—yes, Professor Shen Wei told me about this fundraiser, no, I’m not working on any case. Before he knew it, Zhao Yunlan was sipping some lukewarm bubbly in the corner, fidgeting in his freshly dry-cleaned suit, watching the faculty try to awkwardly hobnob their way into deeper pockets.

A proper date, Zhao Yunlan crowed to himself when Shen Wei finally pulled away from some academic conversation, smiling. Then Shen Wei leaned in, so breathtakingly close that the professional part of Yunlan’s brain—the one always scanning the crowd, casing the points of entry and exit—even that short-circuited in panic, wondering why any of the academics here would think it proper to let Shen Wei do this fundraising thing in his new, very nice, very well-fitting suit.   

A firm hand slid around Yunlan’s waist, like Shen Wei’s actually groping him in plain sight, and that’s just unfair.

“Somewhere in this room, there are two Dixingians,” Shen Wei said, voice low. His other hand that wasn’t possessively manhandling Yunlan’s waist had been nursing a dark ball of energy, hidden from plain view by their bodies. Shen Wei closed his eyes for a minute, then corrected, “No, there’s three of them.”

“Of course,” Yunlan tried for deadpan but Shen Wei’s eyelashes were distracting.

“I’m glad you came in armed.” Shen Wei’s hand smoothed over Yunlan’s waist again, patting the area where he hid his sidearm.

Zhao Yunlan sighed. “Here I thought you’d compliment me and say I clean up well.”

This close there was no way he’d miss Shen Wei’s ears turning a deep red. “You do. Clean up well.”