Lan Zhan got out of the elevator and internally grumbled when he saw the same scene of everyday. Every time he returned from his part-time job for lunch, he met his neighbor Xue Yang, the other always ready to cross his path and invite him out. And if it weren't because Lan Zhan was raised in a very respectful household, he would have long since told him to take a bath and erase that shameless smile off his face.
But when he finally got rid of him and went on his way, he was stopped by Su She, literally the most boring person Lan Zhan had ever met. But remembering that his brother was courteous with him, even though he tried to steal her boyfriend, Lan Zhan pretended to be interested in his words.
However, luckily the elevator doors opened again and from it appeared Wei Ying, the owner of Lan Zhan's dreams. The same boy who by just looking at him made Lan Zhan's heart jump and for whom he kept a pile of songs in his drawer, with all the words he didn't dare to say for fear of stuttering.
He followed him with his gaze until Wei Ying entered apartment 512, too focused on his phone to notice what was happening in the hallway. And in a moment of distraction he managed to get away from Su She and calmly continued on his way, only to bump into Jin Guangshan that was leaving his apartment. The other invited Lan Zhan to enter, as he always did when he saw him, but Lan Zhan simply gave him a serious look and left, since everyone knew he was a dirty old man.
And so, when he finally reached the end of the hallway and was about to open the door, Wei Ying went out of his apartment with the energy of the sun at noon. And although he wouldn't admit it publicly, Lan Zhan took his time to open the door slowly with the hope that the other would notice his presence. And it did happen, as the other turned to look at him while waiting for the elevator and greeted him with a smile that made Lan Zhan's heart melt just like the first time he saw Wei Ying.
Because it had been a month since that event. That day Lan Zhan was going back home and decided to enter the pet store to spend some time with the rabbits, since pets were prohibited in his building. But upon entering the rabbits section, he saw a boy who looked his age lifting up the rabbits and holding them in an inappropriate manner for such delicate creatures.
And even though Lan Zhan didn't like to start a conversation unless it was totally necessary, he felt the need to protect such defenseless animals. But before he could say one word, the other turned to look at him, a rabbit still in his hands, and gave him a smile as beautiful as a sunrise, a sunset and a starry sky all together at the same time. Lan Zhan's serious expression fell apart and he felt his heart melt, but the other seemed not to notice all the impact that smile caused him and lifted the rabbit in his direction.
“Do you also want to hold it?” His voice was cheerful just like his expression, but it suddenly changed into a pout when they were interrupted by another voice.
“Wei Wu Xian! Stop torturing those rabbits and let's go.”
Lan Zhan turned his gaze to the owner of the voice only to find another boy who seemed to be around his age, but with a grumpy expression.
"Oh Jiang Cheng! I was just playing with them, not torturing them.” The handsome boy said with a whiny tone. The other just grumbled and turned to the exit.
Lan Zhan heard the boy - Wei Wu Xian - sigh before releasing the rabbit and speaking to him softly as he patted his head.
"I have to go with my brother or he will get mad, I'll see you another day."
Lan Zhan knew that those words were not meant for him, but they felt very much his own when the boy gave him another beautiful smile before leaving. And Lan Zhan felt he missed him as soon as he stopped seeing his figure through the glass door.
But after a couple of days he saw him again at the music store where he worked with his brother Xichen during the summer. Lan Zhan was working as a cashier, so he saw his brother approaching Wei Wu Xian. The other greeted Xichen with his beautiful smile and Lan Zhan felt mad at his brother. It wasn't a normal feeling in Lan Zhan, who admired his brother since childhood, but he didn't want Wei Wu Xian to smile for other people like that, it didn't matter if he was his brother.
He watched them talk, taking advantage that there were no other clients, until the handsome boy left the store. But before he could look away, his brother's figure appeared in front of him. Xichen had that smile that specifically indicated that he knew something that Lan Zhan had not dared to admit aloud yet. Lan Zhan knew that his brother was the person who knew him best, but he still wasn't going to admit anything, he didn't want the other to annoy him. But his silence only made Xichen's smile grow and the other moved closer to him.
“Wangji, he says he will come back. He is interested in the transverse flute that is near the window.”
Lan Zhan pretended to ignore the valuable information received and only nodded with his head, but inside he felt his heart pound loudly.
And since that day, they had some other unexpected encounters in the music store, in the pet store, in the bookstore, but especially in the fifth floor hallway of their building. But even after seeing him those times Lan Zhan wanted to see the other even more, because Wei Ying always gave him his beautiful smile when he greeted him, and especially when he made jokes. Lan Zhan was not the kind of person who liked to joke, but there was something endearing in Wu Xian's face every time he was about to tell him something that would make his face blush. Lan Zhan never really showed great reactions to what the other did, it was partly because of his upbringing and also because of his personality, but that never seemed to discourage the other to approach him and Lan Zhan was grateful for that. But the bad thing about the other always leading their conversations was that Lan Zhan had only random bits of information about Wei Ying and he wanted to know more.
Instead Wei Wu Xian, in some way that Lan Zhan had not dared to ask, had found out his birth name and one day he greeted him waving his hand from across the hallway.
"Hi Lan Zhan!"
Lan Zhan did not know how to react and only looked at him sideways so that the other could not see his surprised face, but apparently his message was not well understood and suddenly the handsome boy approached almost running.
“Don't look at me like that, Lan Zhan! Mmm… if you want you can call me Wei Ying.” The other said, tilting his head to the side with a tender expression on his face.
Lan Zhan felt his cheeks blush and quickly entered his apartment, but through the door he could hear Wei Ying's brother screaming.
“Wei Wu Xian! Stop bothering the neighbor!”
"But Jiang Cheng, I-."
"You what?.. it's a miracle that he doesn't hate you till now."
Lan Zhan heard them speak, but even with his hand on the door handle, he didn’t dare to open the door to clarify the situation. It was the first time he felt something so deep and different for someone and he hated not having the words to express it.
But Lan Zhan had had enough of standing by for a month. His brother had encouraged him by saying that Wei Ying was probably also interested in him since he approached him all the time. And Lan Zhan didn't want to waste any more time worrying if the neighbors bothered Wei Ying in the same way they did to him. Lan Zhan wanted to protect him from everything and confess all the feelings Wei Ying produced in him.
So after dinner, he grabbed the movie tickets he had in his drawer next to the songs and left for apartment 512. He knocked softly on the door, feeling goosebumps, but instead of seeing Wei Ying's beautiful smile or his brother's angry expression; he saw the delicate face of a girl.
He swallowed not knowing what to say. He had seen that girl before -onedaythathehadfollowedweiying- on the new cafeteria a few blocks away from their building. She was working that day and Lan Zhan watched as Wei Ying gave her his beautiful smile and with a pout he convinced her to give him his order for free. But what left Lan Zhan cold was the wink that Wei Ying gave her as thanks and the way she touched his face smiling back.
Lan Zhan had tried to erase that memory from his mind, since he had accepted that he couldn't stop Wei Ying from smiling at others. It was in his nature to provide that magnificent light as a gift to those who knew him, and well ... it was also in his nature to be flirtatious; something that Lan Zhan enjoyed when those actions were directed at him.
But finding the girl in the apartment where Lan Zhan knew that only Wei Ying and his brother lived made Lan Zhan's heart break. His face probably did not express all the pain he was feeling in his soul, but his eyes could not face her. He found himself in the middle of a crossroad, not knowing whether to ask for Wei Ying or if to leave in silence, but then he suddenly heard her ask.
"Were you looking for my brother?"
He gave her no answer. It could have been seconds or hours, Lan Zhan was not sure, but when he felt the fist that had been clenching the movie tickets relax, he nodded softly. And he turned to look at her, finally feeling the air entering his lungs and his heart beating at a normal pace.
The girl gave him a soft smile before turning to look at the living room of the apartment.
"Xian Xian, you will not believe who came to visit you," she said sweetly.
Lan Zhan became thrilled imagining that Wei Ying was waiting for his visit, but nothing prepared him to receive Wei Ying's wonderful smile followed by a hug, and if Lan Zhan had been able to move his arms wouldn’t have ever let go.
“Lan Zhan! I knew you didn't hate me. ”
And Wei Ying was very right about that, Lan Zhan didn't hate him and he couldn't either, because what he felt every time he thought about Wei Ying was something more like love. And although the other could not see him, a smile formed on Lan Zhan's face.