Chapter 2: Crushing on the Mensao Man (2)
Wang Zhengnan, a 28 year old woman at 170 cm and 55 kg—as well as a daughter to a local government section head — was a licensed lawyer who worked at the courthouse. With this background info, she met all the criteria for a supporting character.
All of that information surfaced in Chen Mo’s mind at first glance. His mother had supplied all the background information, which came printed on a standard A4 paper, but the height and weight were all deduced by him from that glance. When Chen Mo had looked at that resume-like sheet, he had a strange feeling, as if he were transported back in time. It was as if the the beaming girl in the photograph wasn’t the love of his life that he was looking for, but rather a fierce opponent—one that kept you on your guard at all times.
The girl’s family background and qualifications were impressive. Indeed, she was certainly a person who his mother would set him up with first.
Chen Mo found it very difficult to avert his gaze, keeping his eyes from subconsciously wandering to the midpoint of Zhengnan’s eyebrows and her chest area1. Only through keeping these key areas in his line of sight, could he feel at peace.
My quirkiness definitely can’t be blamed for this, Chen Mo thought. It’s her manner that’s too overbearing.
Chen Mo liked observing his opponents. If time permitted, all snipers liked to observe their opponents because this allowed them to shoot with higher precision.
He saw Wang Zhengnan cross her legs immediately upon sitting down. She sat stick-straight with her back against the wall. Her posture oozed confidence, signaling that she desired—or expected—to be in full control of the situation. He saw her flipping through the menu, and then pausing to stare at a stain on a page before furrowing her brows and resolutely flipping to the next page. From this, Chen Mo could tell that she wasn’t easy-going, would get hung up on the details, and furthermore, never experienced hardship. He saw her delicate layer of foundation, and her smokey eyeshadow. Though her makeup was applied expertly, with Chen Mo’s sharp eyes, he really felt the urge to drag her to the restroom and give her face a good wash.
Chen Mo liked the sort of expressive people he could read at one glance.
Of course, in the split second that Chen Mo was evaluating Wang Zhengnan, he could also sense that she was doing the same. But he confirmed that she shouldn’t be able to get anything out of him.
If love was a sickness, Wang Zhengnan felt like she should have become a world-class doctor long ago. In dating, there were only so many motions: thirty-six stratagems and seventy-two forms2. Truthfully, she had a rather simple reason for being willing to meet with Chen Mo and check him out: he achieved major standing in the armed police at such a young age, his mother was section chief of the Social Security department, and his father worked at the Tax Bureau. This sort of background was indeed very good, but it wasn’t enough to catch her eye.
What really caught her eye though, was Chen Mo’s previous experience. She heard that he had previously served in the special armed forces. These days, everything was superficial. Good military officers intermingled with the bad ones, and it was hard to distinguish between the two. But for a person hailing from an ordinary background to choose to enter the special armed forces and endure harsh times, now that made her curious. As men’s warrior-like urges dampened over time, women instinctively came to crave a connection with heroes. After meeting with one however, she suddenly started losing confidence. Chen Mo’s attitude was strange, or perhaps didn’t even exist. She felt she was facing a wall that absorbed all she threw at it, not leaving a single trace.
Wang Zhengnan heard many “yes’s”, “no’s” and “don’t know’s”. It was hard to say, but in the the end, she lost her patience and leaned forward, asking: “Are you annoyed with me?”
“No.” Chen Mo noticed that her feet were firm on the ground and pointed toward the door. She wanted to leave.
“Then, do you like me?” Wang Zhengnan asked.
“Why? For what reason?” Wang Zhengnan was upset. She had never been rejected so directly before. This was a complete disgrace for her.
“No reason,” Chen Mo said, silently looking at her. Reason? There should be a reason for feeling annoyed. There should be a reason for liking someone. But I need a reason for not liking you? Now who can give me a reason for having to like someone within thirty minutes?
Wang Zhengnan slapped the table in a fit of anger and said, “You have a problem.”
Earth Café’s tables were all small, circular, free-standing tables that weren’t very stable. With her slap, the table started tipping over and the coffee cups started sliding across. Chen Mo deftly caught the table and sliding cups. Wang Zhengnan stood up and discovered that he had no intention of urging her to stay, so she turned and left.
For goodness’ sake, she thought. She determined that for the next few weeks, she wouldn’t meet any men from the military.
Miao Yuan looked at the door in astonishment. “Gone…”
“Poofed?” Momo asked, walking back to the counter with a menu in hand.
“Maybe they broke up?” Miao Yuan took the menu from Momo’s hand and then started making coffee.
“No way…” they simultaneously said, and then turned their heads in unison towards Chen Mo’s direction. Chen Mo keenly felt someone’s gaze, and turned his head. He saw Miao Yuan seemingly jump in shock and point at his cup.
This girl seems a little too dedicated to her job, Chen Mo thought helplessly. It seems like this café’s boss has impressive ways to keep her workers in line.
The chocolate had already cooled and condensed into a fragrant, viscous concoction that slid down the throat, igniting the taste buds along the way. It was too rich and stimulating, leaving people gasping for air. Chen Mo downed the entire cup in one gulp, and nodded at Miao Yuan, conveying that it was enough, she no longer needed to watch him.
Miao Yuan immediately walked over and asked, “Is there anything else you want?”
“The taste… was it okay?”
Chen Mo recalled the initial rich, fragrant smell, and sincerely nodded his head. “Very good.”
Upon hearing this, Miao Yuan smiled. The springtime of youth was wonderful. Young girls shone like the sun, and their slight smile was akin to daybreak. Miao Yuan walked away in high spirits. Chen Mo saw her beaming with a happiness that was almost palpable. For some unknown reason, he was also in better spirits. If a single phrase of encouragement was enough to put a person over the moon, then there was no reason to be stingy with it.
“He said it tasted very good!” Miao Yuan said, as she stumbled back to the counter and hid behind it.
Momo placed her hand on Miao Yuan’s forehead. Yup, she has a fever.
Miao Yuan hid in a blind spot behind the counter, and sneakily watched Chen Mo. His girlfriend had just stormed out, but he looked composed and seemed as quiet as a mountain. Miao Yuan sighed, ah… so handsome. No matter how I look at him, he looks handsome. How could that girl bear to toss him aside and leave?
Momo scooched over and whispered, “Taken a fancy?”
In her crouched position, Miao Yuan gave Momo a kick and said, “Am I not allowed to?”
“But he has a girlfriend!”
“Am I not allowed to even look?” Miao Yuan clutched her fragile heart.
The afternoon sun was very pleasant. Chen Mo sat next to the window, looking at the leaves fall one by one. He took half the day off, and there was still time. He was too lazy to go back.
Of course, he didn’t contemplate much. He was just dazing out. Compared to the past, currently he felt like he was on vacation. It felt like time flowed slowly, and he felt as though all this free time was hollow in a way.
Hollow. Chen Mo bitterly laughed. I’ve even come to learn such a word.
When his senior, Zheng Kai, had transferred back, he was happy. That was probably because he had a home and job to go back to. Having a life made people more busy.
“You’ve already left,” he quietly told himself, “so try your best to adapt!”
Chen Mo felt someone’s gaze on him from start to finish. The persistent gaze occasionally drifted, never lingering for too long. Chen Mo spotted Miao Yuan’s eyes peeping out from behind the counter. Once caught, Miao Yuan awkwardly shot him a smile and pointed to his table. Chen Mo lowered his head to find a small slice of dark chocolate cake. It was a plain-looking square slice that could be found anywhere. With his fork, Chen Mo cut a section and put it in his mouth.
Miao Yuan nervously closed, then opened her eyes.
Chen Mo tilted his head, and unexpectedly sliced open the cake. The soft, spongy cake revealed a brown, milkshake-like liquid with a strong, intoxicating smell. There wasn’t just the rich smell of cocoa. There was also another, weaker fragrance with a hint of spiciness that was slightly stimulating. It was a drunken sweetness.
It was wine!
Chen Mo was very sensitive to all stimulants, and thus never drank wine or coffee.
Chen Mo unconsciously licked his lower lip, stirred a piece of cream, and put it in his mouth. It melted at once. The overflowing taste transported him into a dream. The rich, fragrant chocolate warmed people’s hearts during early winter. Many men disdain sweets, but these sugary confections are part of our earliest and most tender, blissful memories. Our taste buds, only after being stimulated continuously, have learned to replace sweetness with bitterness and spiciness.
Miao Yuan, after seeing Chen Mo reveal a warm, relaxed smile, became content and turned away.
Proofreader: I became all warm and fuzzy reading this. I wonder if anyone else felt the same?
- He sees her as a foe and so is lining his sniper’s sights on her head and heart to shoot at. [Editor]: Get your mind out of the gutter, you lewd people, nyaa! >w<
- Thirty-Six Stratagems: was a Chinese essay used to illustrate a series of stratagems used in politics, war, and civil interaction.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems