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    Returning home in the evening, the rain continued.

    The pitter-patter of rain followed the winding path down the window glass, the fragmented and subdued sound blending with the rain, making it hard to distinguish.

    Later, the rain diminished, and the sounds in the room also quieted down.

    Outside, the sound of rain dwindled, only occasionally tapping against the leaves and branches. Shen Li was taken by Lu Changting to shower, then lay down, too lazy to move. He lazily lifted his eyes and noticed Lu Changting tapping away on his phone, apparently setting something up, then picking up his own phone, but Shen Li had nothing in his phone that Lu Changting couldn’t see.

    Back in high school, he didn’t have a phone, so he didn’t have any photos of Lu Changting. Later, when he was old enough to sneakily take pictures of his crush, the photos were taken after they got together. There were no ambiguous messages on their chatting apps, so he wasn’t worried about Lu Changting seeing anything.

    Lu Changting only played with his phone for a while before returning it to him. Shen Li glanced at it and saw the WeChat interface, with Lu Changting’s chat box at the top. Lu Changting’s WeChat profile picture had changed, along with his nickname.

    Previously, Lu Changting’s profile picture was a picture of stacked waves. Now, it was a silhouette photo.

    It was the one he took that day and posted on Moments, with a small devil headband on his head.

    The simple “L” had been changed to Alcohol buyer.

    Suddenly, Shen Li thought of something and clicked on his own WeChat profile picture. Sure enough, it had been changed too.

    It was also a silhouette photo.

    It was taken by Lu Changting when they were leaving the amusement park. Not only was he wearing a small devil horn headband, but he also had a balloon tied to his wrist and was holding cotton candy, looking like an oversized child…

    Shen Li glanced at Lu Changting, then stuffed the phone under the pillow and reached out to hug him, burying his flushed face in his chest.

    Just as he was about to say something, the phone rang, a cheerful tone.

    Shen Li pulled out the phone again, glanced at the caller ID, and answered.

    “Shen Xiaoli,” came Jiang Chifeng’s merciless mocking voice from the other end, “You naive little kid.”

    “Hahahaha, I’m dying of laughter.” Jiang Chifeng laughed for a while before saying, “Who took that new profile picture of yours?”

    “So many balloons,” Jiang Chifeng teased, “Anyone who doesn’t know would think you’re selling balloons.”

    He was bored at the moment, scrolling through Moments for a while. When he switched back to the chat page, he noticed Shen Li had changed his profile picture, so he called to mock Shen Li’s childish style.

    Jiang Chifeng’s laughter came through the phone, and Lu Changting frowned as he listened. Without waiting for Shen Li to speak, he took the phone and answered in a cold tone, “I took it.”

    “I’m willing to buy so many balloons.”

    Jiang Chifeng recognized Lu Changting’s voice, fell silent for a moment, and then hung up the phone.

    Lu Changting was more direct, turning off his phone and casually placing it on the bedside table.

    Meanwhile, Shen Li, who had lost control of his phone, chuckled softly, clinging to Lu Changting’s shoulder and leaning over to kiss him.

    “You naive little kid.”

    Lu Changting hugged his waist, correcting him, “That’s not naive.”

    He emphasized each word, “That’s asserting dominance.”

    Chu Jinghong and Su Linlang’s engagement banquet was set for the 31st.

    Shen Li and Lu Changting went to the banquet together. Walking side by side with Lu Changting on the red carpet that lined the estate’s pathways, Shen Li couldn’t help but feel as if he and Lu Changting were getting married themselves.

    Lu Changxu and Fu Jiashu arrived early, helping Chu Jinghong greet guests in the banquet hall.

    Shen Li greeted Lu Changxu and Fu Jiashu, exchanged a few simple pleasantries, and then learned that Chen Xingye was afraid of being hounded by a group of elders urging him to get married, so he decided to hide in the side hall to smoke. Xiao Yao brought Jing Yu along and was also in the side hall.

    Since Lu Changyin and Fu Qingshan were both on set, they didn’t come.

    Lu Changge was chatting with a middle-aged couple, and Lu Changting’s expression softened considerably when he saw them.

    “My parents are over there,” he whispered to Shen Li. “Do you want to come with me to say hello?”

    Shen Li glanced at Lu Changge and met the smiling gaze of the lady sitting next to him, his heart skipping a beat. Nervousness instantly overwhelmed his thoughts, but relying on his instinct from years of dealing with guests, he responded with a smile.

    “If you don’t want to go, you can go to the side hall to find Xiao Yao and the others.”

    “Let’s go,” Shen Li squeezed his hand nervously, his palm sweating. “Since we’re here, we should go.”

    They should go and greet them no matter what.

    Lu Changting held his hand, and Shen Li subconsciously wanted to pull away. This wasn’t like being at the office or in private; the banquet hall was filled with celebrities, and who knew how many pairs of eyes were watching them… If Lu Changting led him over like this, would his reputation be ruined?

    “Let’s go,” Lu Changting smiled at him. “Let’s go meet my parents.”

    Shen Li lowered his head, watching Lu Changting holding his hand, feeling a sudden urge to cry.

    What was he afraid of? Lu Changting was leading him like this; he wasn’t afraid of anything. Even if there were mountains of knives and seas of fire ahead, even if there were bottomless abysses, he could traverse them all and stand with the person he loved.

    He looked up at Lu Changting’s parents, straightening his back, his expression becoming firm.

    Liu Xiezhi had been watching them all along, or rather, she had been watching Shen Li.

    She saw the young man smile nervously at her, then saw Lu Changting hold his hand. He lowered his head and then raised it again, taking each step confidently and steadily.

    The young man with a straight back had a handsome face, with eyes as clean as scattered stars, always carrying a smile. He wore a well-tailored gray suit, exuding a gentle temperament. Since entering the banquet hall, he had attracted the attention of many, but he seemed unaware, as if his heart and eyes were filled with Lu Changting, leaving no room for anyone else.

    Seeing Shen Li and Lu Changting approaching, Lu Changge stood up joyfully. However, she also knew it wasn’t appropriate to stay here any longer. After quietly greeting Shen Li, she said to Lu Changting and Mr. and Mrs. Lu, “I’ll go talk to Chao Ying for a moment, I’ll be back later.”

    Mr. Lu took a slow sip of champagne and cast a deep gaze at Shen Li.

    “Dad, Mom,” Lu Changting still held Shen Li’s hand tightly, “This is Shen Li.”

    Shen Li politely greeted them, with lowered eyebrows and a smile in his words and demeanor, behaving generously, like a particularly well-behaved junior in the family, making Mr. Lu unable to harbor any difficult thoughts.

    If Lu Changting had brought back someone unruly and impolite, he could have found fault, but with Lu Changting bringing back such a well-behaved son, he couldn’t find fault even if he wanted to.

    Li Xiaozhi liked Shen Li even more. After chatting for a while, she called him “Xiao Li” and asked Lu Changting to take Shen Li to chat with friends, not to stay with them here.

    Today was the engagement banquet of the Chu and Su families. Lu Changting brought Shen Li to meet them, just to say hello, there was no need to chat too much.

    Besides, they had long since investigated Shen Li’s background…

    Mr. Lu hadn’t said much, but now he suddenly called out to Shen Li and asked, “Can you drink?”

    This question seemed a bit inexplicable. Shen Li was a bar owner, and socializing was common for him, so naturally, he could handle alcohol well.

    After a moment’s thought, Shen Li nodded, “Yes, I can.”

    “Not suitable for today.” Mr. Lu glanced at the champagne in his hand with some disdain. “Let’s have a drink another day.”

    Until they sat down in the side hall and were surrounded by Chen Xingye and others who were there to watch the excitement, Shen Li still hadn’t fully come to his senses.

    Did his performance just now pass the test?

    “How did it go?” Xiao Yao asked curiously. “Changting, did your parents approve of you two?”

    Lu Changting smiled, took a cigar from the wooden box on the coffee table, and lit it up. His whole demeanor was filled with pride and satisfaction.

    “You can tell from his expression that it’s a done deal,” Chen Xingye patted Xiao Yao’s shoulder. “That’s what being a winner in life looks like.”

    “With someone like Lu Changting,” Chen Xingye said bitterly.

    Chu Jinghong brought Su Linlang to the side hall, followed by Lu Changxu and others. Everyone was quite concerned about Shen Li meeting the parents.

    In the side hall, a group of friends gathered. Su Linlang already knew them, except for Shen Li and Jing Yu. Chu Jinghong introduced her to them, and Xiao Yao introduced each of his friends to Jing Yu. Everyone gathered together for Chu Jinghong’s engagement banquet.

    There were still many guests in the banquet hall. Chu Jinghong apologized to Lu Changting and the others, clinked glasses with them, and everyone had a drink. Then he took Su Linlang back to the banquet hall.

    Shen Li received a message from Jiang Chifeng on WeChat, asking where he was and why he hadn’t seen him after circling the banquet hall.

    Feeling calmer now, Shen Li lowered his head to type a reply, saying he was in the side hall.

    Jiang Chifeng arrived at the entrance of the side hall and saw Shen Li leaning over, chatting with Lu Changting, a smile on his face. He stood at the door for a few seconds, suddenly feeling hesitant about greeting Shen Li.

    What was he going to do?

    Shen Xiaoli was no longer the Shen Xiaoli who had just graduated from university, struggling to manage the bar and being extremely cautious when entertaining guests.

    Jiang Chifeng sighed inwardly, feeling a little melancholic.

    His son had grown up. As an old father, he should bless Shen Li and Lu Changting instead of being at odds with Lu Changting and making Shen Li uncomfortable.

    With this in mind, he walked over, first calling out to Shen Li, and then greeting Lu Changting calmly.

    Lu Changting raised an eyebrow, and seeing Jiang Chifeng sensibly take a seat on the nearby small sofa, he politely responded.

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