Chapter 94 – Old friend came to visit
Renly cleared his throat, feeling a bit parched. He had consumed a bit too much alcohol the previous night, but fortunately, Sangria has a low alcohol content, so he didn’t experience any signs of a hangover.
Picking up the tea cup from the table, he removed the tea bag and placed it on the tray. Tilting his head back, he downed the strong tea in one go. Despite twenty years having passed, he still wasn’t accustomed to Western tea bags. He missed the sight of tea leaves unfurling in boiling water, but in these kinds of special circumstances, it was better than nothing.
Setting the teacup down, Renly promptly left the hotel room. Today he has an important task ahead of him – an eight-hour, hands-on, confinement experience. It was not only a test of physical endurance but even more so a mental ordeal. He needs to pay all his attention to that task. Since he had made up his mind, Renly wouldn’t hesitate.
The hotel lobby on the first floor was not noisy. A group of guests was checking in at the front desk, and a backpacker was reviewing something on a computer in the waiting area. Another person was sitting on the sofa, facing away from the entrance, engrossed in reading a newspaper. The bright sunlight streamed in unobstructed, making the entire lobby look even more spacious and bright, refreshingly filled with vitality. Starting a brand new day in this way was truly ideal.
The Catalonia Park Guell Hotel is located in the somewhat remote Gràcia district, only six hundred meters from the famous Park Guell. However, to reach the city centre from the hotel the use of transportation is required, so with that, you would approximately need fifteen minutes. The “Buried” crew had a limited budget, so booking this three-star hotel had already exceeded Renly’s expectations. He was mentally prepared to stay in some kind of youth hostel, especially considering that the quietness here, compared to the bustling old town, was beneficial for Renly’s preparation for his role.
Renly nodded to the lobby manager and quickly walked towards the exit. “Mr. Hall, Mr. Hall,” the lobby manager called out stopping Renly in his tracks. “You have a visitor.”
Renly frowned slightly. A visitor? Who could be visiting him? He is just a nobody at the moment, and his arrival in Barcelona had not attracted any attention. How could he have a visitor? Could it be a crew member? Rodrigo didn’t mention anyone coming over this morning.
Lifting his head, Renly subconsciously scanned the lobby, and his gaze suddenly stopped, locking onto the figure reading a newspaper.
The sturdy shoulders appeared slightly slender, and the navy blue suit meticulously outlined the sharp lines. Faintly visible were the robust and resolute curves of the jawline, and the slightly taut bronze skin revealed the upright and restrained posture. Neat and somewhat subdued black short hair exuded a cold and sharp aura as if even the sunlight falling gently couldn’t approach within three feet.
This figure was as familiar to him as it could be. How could he not recognize it?
Renly lowered his head, letting his lowered eyelids conceal his inner emotions. Only a momentary hint of a smile emerged in the interplay of light and shadow, like the first rays of spring sunlight. The curve of his lips gently lifted, then restrained, resembling a subtle ripple. “You’d better be reading the newspaper, if you don’t intend to follow up, I’ll have to call for a taxi right now. ”
Under the bright sunshine, that rich and mellow voice drew the strings of the cello. After speaking, Renly showed no hesitation and directly turned around, taking confident strides.
The lobby manager stood in place, bewildered, “What’s going on?”
The figure sitting on the sofa, reading a newspaper, stood up. When he leisurely folded the newspaper, he turned around and called out to Renly, whose figure was gradually receding, “Even if you don’t plan on giving a warm hug to an old friend, at least give me some time to tidy up.”
“You know I don’t like being theatrical,” Renly’s voice came from afar, his footsteps not pausing. Then he turned around, and a smile bloomed on his lips in an instant, “Especially not when someone is outshining me in that.”
As he was standing on the roadside, he looked left and right,
Renly raised his hand. A taxi at the far end of the road was heading in the opposite direction and came to a stop, waiting for the other cars to pass before making a U-turn.
“I thought you would stay at the youth hostel, didn’t expect you to choose a hotel. This kind of up-and-down accommodation doesn’t seem like your style at all.” The man caught up, jogging, but his left hand remained in his pocket, showing no sign of disarray. There was a familiar and friendly ease in his demeanour.
Renly raised his eyebrows lightly and mockingly retorted without showing any weakness, “I thought you refused to appear in such a mediocre hotel. If Charlotte finds out, she would at least mock you for a year.”
The man’s eyes flickered slightly, a hint of a smile crossed his face, and he countered, “She certainly wouldn’t miss you either, especially after learning about your current job.”
“I don’t mind performing Hamlet in front of her once. You shouldn’t forget that every time she watches ‘Hamlet,’ her whole body spasms, and she ends up fleeing in panic. She especially can’t stand the line ‘to be or not to be.’ I’ll definitely give her a Shakespearean performance.” After Renly’s candid words were spoken, both of them couldn’t help but burst out laughing, evidently recalling a shared memory.
The taxi driver hesitated and parked the car on the side of the road. Looking at the two men in front of him, who are almost the same height, with their long legs and gentlemanly demeanour that seemed somewhat similar yet each had its own style. One was dressed in a suit, handsome and sharp, exuding a cold and forceful aura with a powerful oppressive presence; the other was dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, looking casual and elegant, carrying a hint of laziness in the sunlight. The image of them standing side by side was both alluring and intimidating.
They didn’t look like the type to casually hail a taxi.
Matthew Dunlop stepped forward and opened the car door while making an inviting gesture. Renly didn’t refuse. While he was bending down to get into the car, he provided the driver with the address he had written down long ago, looking completely accustomed to this routine.
Matthew stood by the car door and paused for a moment. Everything seemed so familiar as if nothing had ever changed and never will. He chuckled lightly, shook his head, and then got into the car. The taxi barely paused before it took off.
“Do you really not wonder why I’ve showed up?” Matthew looked at the calm Renly, who was seemingly not surprised at all by his sudden appearance.
The two hadn’t been in contact for over a year—no contact also meant no exchange of any messages. He knew Renly was in New York, but he didn’t know in which area Renly lives. After Renly went to New York, it was as if he had disappeared without a trace.
Matthew searched Renly’s face earnestly but he didn’t find any surprise. “Aren’t you curious about how I knew you were here?”
Renly turned his head, carefully examining his old friend.
His handsome eyebrows were like the steep coastline of the Arctic Ocean, and his straight nose seemed like it was sculpted, dividing the profound facial features into two halves. The faint lip colour hinted at the indifference of early winter sunlight. The close-fitting hair, the buttoned shirt, the delicate cuffs, the straight trouser lines—all exuded a distant yet dignified sense of restraint, making people involuntarily stop five steps away.
Everything looked just like it did in his memory. A year had hardly left much of a mark on him—especially when compared to the fifteen years before.
The Dunlop family and the Hall family are quite similar. Both are fallen aristocrats, yet they still maintain the pride and reserve of the aristocracy. His father is a lawyer, and his mother is a judge. He is the third oldest sibling in the family, as he has two older sisters. Charlotte Dunlop is one of his sisters.
Renly had some trouble remembering the beginning of their story. He only remembers that they met in elementary school. For Renly, who has been reborn, elementary school students were just a bunch of little kids, and he naturally had no plans to make friends. However, for some reason, these two became friends, and it can be also said that Matthew is his first friend since his rebirth – a true friend. After that, they have remained classmates, from Eton College to Cambridge University, and until now.
“Edith.” Renly’s deep brown eyes flashed with a hint of cunning, as he spoke.
Edith is the only explanation. Her job has intricate connections with Hollywood. The recent news of “Cleopatra” entering the Billboard Hot 100, although not a piece of very big news, but if one paid attention one could still notice it. Edith just needed to inquire at the union; the information about “Buried” is public knowledge, so it was not difficult to guess the answer. Matthew is a lawyer, with almost crazy paranoia about the details, so as long as he gives him a little hint, it is not difficult for him to connect the dots. Matthew showed a disappointed expression. Obviously, Renly guessed the answer right on his first try, which was really disappointing. In order to find out about Renly’s current location, he really spent some effort, and in the end, he called Rodrigo, circling around, originally intending to surprise Renly, but unexpectedly, it was revealed right away.
It was like that when he was a kid, and it’s still like that now, time didn’t seem to have changed too many things.