Chapter 32.2: I love you, so will you come back? (1.2)
When he reached the front of Earth Café, Miao Yuan was currently making chocolate leaves. She had melted the chocolate and brushed a thin layer onto some clean leaves. When the chocolate solidified, she peeled away the leaf to get a perfectly lifelike chocolate leaf. The idea was a stroke of creative brilliance! Chen Mo stood at the window admiring her for a while, before pushing open the door.
The clerk at the counter greeted Chen Mo with a smile and a, “Welcome!” Chen Mo read the nametag on her chest.
“Wang Chaoyang.” Chen Mo quietly recited the name. He recalled that the leader of the intelligence detachment troop also had this name.
“Wang Zhaoyang,” she corrected.1
Chen Mo nodded to show that he acknowledged her correction and would remember.
After finishing a bunch of chocolate leaves, Miao Yuan unexpectedly lifted her head. Suddenly her gaze fixed on what she saw. Her mouth was slightly agape and, a little startled, looked at Chen Mo. He perceptively felt her sight on him and gave a slight nod in her direction. Miao Yuan wanted to give a polite smile but her nervous stiffness caused her mouth to curl in an unsightly manner. She immediately pretended to hurry back to work and turned around. It felt like her heart had flown out of her chest. Her basting brush shook in her hand and the liquid chocolate dripped onto her person. After taking a deep breath and getting her breathing under control, she turned around. But, by then, Chen Mo had already vacated the shop. Miao Yuan stared blankly with a disappointed and frustrated expression.
“Just now, what did that soldier buy?” Miao Yuan asked the front counter.
Wang Zhaoyang pointed to the milk chocolate square cake. “This.”
Miao Yuan immediately felt sharp needles stab her chest. She subconsciously raised her hand to sooth her chest and took deep breaths. Wang Zhaoyang clasped her wrist. “Hey?!” Miao Yuan looked down to see her hand smothered in chocolate sauce.
The cake that Chen Mo had bought became the next day’s breakfast for him. The taste was pretty good, but only to that extent. Of course, to be honest, it was better than the food in the troop cafeteria. Lu Zhen was a picky eater. When eating the cake, Chen Mo couldn’t help but recall Miao Yuan’s dumbstruck little face, her round eyes, and her pretty mouth slightly parted. Her expression was confused and bewildered. Chen Mo chomped down on some of the cake. Does this girl not know that she’s enticing to people?
The platoon leaders were sharing a table with Chen Mo and their hearts all collectively iced over. They all started dreading the training that was to come after National Day. 2
Chen Mo felt that he had handled this matter well. Going every few days to buy cake wasn’t that hard for him. It didn’t bother others, and it was also able to relieve that itch in his heart. All by himself, he decided upon this new behavior. A few days later, everyone from the coaches to the soldiers felt like Chen Mo had become normal again. Summer’s heat slowly made way for autumn’s bright, clear skies.
Coach Chen sighed, The storm has finally passed. Ah, this man…heartless people are always the most passionate. Slow to warm up and slow to cool down.
Yes, though Chen Mo had recovered, Miao Yuan was currently on the edge of bursting!
Doggone b*st*rd! Doggone b*st*rd!
Miao Yuan angrily beat the egg whites with great force. The metal spoon clanged against the glass bowl. Upon hearing the sounds, Yang Weidong trembled with fear and his brows furrowed. He slowly sighed and said that the bowl was going to break at this rate.
“What?” Miao Yuan glared at him.
Yang Weidong immediately shook his head. This guy who came from ‘The Land of Plenty’ restaurant had a gentle air about him. He was good-natured and spoke slowly. The boss liked him a lot. These days, there were too many reckless young guys and too few men who would earnestly lower their head and get to work.
Miao Yuan ground her teeth and continued to forcefully beat the egg whites.
Chen Mo you b*st*rd! Chen Mo you rotten guy! You go*da*n doggone b*st*rd!!
Miao Yuan sorrowfully realised that he was domesticating her yet again. Same time, same place, same behavior!
It was just like last time. That man didn’t say anything, yet appeared again!
Miao Yuan thought, I’ve begun to notice the time again. Every day after dinner, I become anxious. I start guessing whether he’ll appear again today, and which minute. I start guessing how long he’ll stay and what he’ll buy. Will he change his mind? Or will he still buy the same old?
I really am hopeless, Miao Yuan lamented.
What am I doing with myself?
Chen Mo’s dog?3
Yang Weidong looked at her, worried. The egg whites were almost foaming. Didn’t she want to make pudding?…The peaks were becoming stiffer and stiffer. Oh well, in any case it could be used to make meringue cookies.
Miao Yuan saw the time slowly tick towards the uppermost number on the clock face. Her heart raced and couldn’t conceal her anxious anticipation as well as how vexed and dismayed she felt over this. Finally, after angrily casting the bowl aside, she flew out of the kitchen to the front of the shop. She feigned organising the loaves of bread on the display shelves. When Chen Mo saw Miao Yuan’s figure before him in the store, his eyes brightened. In that moment, he suddenly became nervous. It was as if he were a shy, young teenage boy looking at his first love. He felt an unsated desire, but also a sweet anticipation tinged with bittersweetness.
When Chen Mo pushed open the door, he thought, What should I say to her? Should the opening lines be… ‘Long time no see?’
Wang Zhaoyang warmly welcomed him. “So, you’re back again! Still want the regular? Want me to wrap it up for you?”
Chen Mo replied, “Oh, okay.” while looking at Miao Yuan’s back.
Miao Yuan mustered up her courage and turned around. “Aren’t you sick of eating the same thing every day?”
“It’s fine. I’m not tired of it.”
Miao Yuan didn’t know how to carry the conversation further.
Chen Mo paid and took the cake box. He looked at Miao Yuan, a little hesitant, before asking, “Have you been well recently?”
Miao Yuan smiled and nodded, to which Chen Mo also smiled. “That’s good then.”
She looked up to meet Chen Mo’s eyes. They were black, but carried the light of a happy smile. The store had small lights installed on the ceiling and, in that moment, they all reflected on Chen Mo’s pupils; his eyes sparkled like the stars in the night sky.
I still don’t know what he’s thinking, Miao Yuan ruminated dejectedly. Why is it that people’s eyes can’t have words carved into them, like in those novels? That way, with one look, I’d know his thoughts.
Chen Mo looked at the time and mentioned, “I’ll be going first. Be careful on your way back home at night.”
Miao Yuan gave a weak, “Oh…”
On his return journey, Chen Mo drove slowly. Car tail lights whizzed past him in a streak. He passed many well-illuminated side streets and thought, So she no longer loves me. She had been as chirpy as a sparrow. But now, she didn’t spare him any additional words.
Yet still, he arrived on time every day. Now, on top of the anxiousness, Miao Yuan found herself with another problem: whether, or not, to go out and speak with him. Even then, what should she say? It seemed like they could only exchange a few sentences before awkward silence fell. Miao Yuan broiled within on her gloominess over the situation.
- Sometimes Chinese characters have two pronunciations. Chen Mo misread 朝 as Chao instead of Zhao, which is entirely understandable, considering that chao is the more common reading.
- National Day refers to the National Day of the People’s Republic of China, which is a holiday that celebrates the forming of the Central People’s Government. Just think of it like independence day.
- A reference to that dog experiment mentioned earlier in the story, Pavlov’s Dog. In summary, it refers to classical conditioning using a stimulus.