Chapter 32.3: I love you, so will you come back? (1.3)
After a few weeks, Chen Mo accompanied a high commanding officer on a business trip to supervise some work. During this period, Miao Yuan felt more and more fatigued and restless. Yang Weidong was worried that she’d mistake salt for sugar while making the dough and was determined to keep a watchful eye on her.
When Miao Yuan was making the chocolate, she added sufficient amounts of butter and rock candy, infusing it with a sheen. She used a spoon to drip chocolate onto a marble slab in a pattern. Yang Weidong craned his neck to peek and could just make out the character Chen (陈). He furrowed his brows to think of who, in their circle of acquaintances, had this surname. He suddenly realized that their boss seemed to have that last name.
Miao Yuan softly sighed. She crushed the hardened chocolate into pieces and slowly ate it.
Yang Weidong tried to console her. “Don’t be too worried. Our boss is a pretty good person. He won’t mistreat you.”
“It’s not that. It’s that I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“Ah, so it’s like this.” He didn’t know whether to cry, or laugh.
“I need to find myself a boyfriend as soon as possible.”
Yang Weidong nodded his head in agreement but thought, Could it be that she’s hinting at something to me? Should I also give her some sort of answer? He snuck a peek at her knit brows and the tiny seed in his heart began to wriggle.
During his week-long business trip, Chen Mo visited four places and was constantly on the go, rushing to meetings, checking scores, reviewing subjects, observing competitions, writing evaluations overnight, and planning a production report. Sometimes, he’d encounter people who were too crabby and proud. In those cases, he had to make an appearance to shake them up a bit. The high commanding officer was very pleased with Chen Mo’s performance, saying he was patient, level-headed and an excellent character. An excellent character indeed!
After the final day, everyone hastily returned. When they entered the city, it was already dark. Cheng Hui dragged Chen Mo back to his house to eat. “My wife doesn’t have any other strengths,” he said, “except for the dumpling filling she makes. Her handmade dumplings will have you stuffing your mouth nonstop like a hamster.” So Chen Mo went and, indeed, it was good. It was a pork and preserved vegetable dumpling in its truest form. This made Chen Mo vaguely recall the lady of the Zheng family’s elegant bearing. After stuffing his stomach, he turned and waved at the door. Cheng Hui smiled and ran over, saying: “I’ll send you off.”
Cheng Hui lived in the troop dorms. The hallways were swept clean. Chen Mo knew that Cheng Hui had something to say, so he walked slowly. As it turns out, they hadn’t even reached the second floor when Cheng Hui couldn’t help but plead, “Bro, don’t hate me for being a blabbermouth, but it’s really about time you settled down.”
Chen Mo nodded. “Yeah.”
He thought of the warm, yellow light.
Cheng Hui was satisfied with the response. “If you know, then that’s good!”
I know? Perhaps.
Because of Cheng Hui’s pleadings, Chen Mo drove his car in circles around the city until he finally ended up at the bottom of the building where Miao Yuan resided. The lights were still off and her work hours had clearly not ended. Chen Mo parked the car at the side, half-closed his eyes, and leaned back. It was as if he was waiting, and at the same time wasn’t…
Miao Yuan clutched her bag as she walked in the night. A military jeep always drew people’s attentions. Subconsciously flitting a glance, she froze in place. In half-disbelief, she walked over and peered inside the window. The dim street lights only illuminated half of Chen Mo’s face. His lips were thin and drawn tight, and he had a strong jawline. Miao Yuan seemed to have stared for half a day.
She closed her eyes and then opened them again. After a closer look, it really was Chen Mo. He possessed a dark five o’clock shadow and it seemed a bit scraggly. He seemed worn out.
Miao Yuan remembered that his work was always hectic. Sometimes he would have to go on business trips for a few days or even a week. He would never properly take care of himself. Or, perhaps it wasn’t that he wouldn’t, but that he didn’t care enough to do so. He wasn’t fussed about what he ate, or even where he slept. He didn’t know that he should be cared for. He didn’t understand that there was someone who felt for him and his condition.
Miao Yuan felt her eyes cloud up with water. She thought that he ought to properly find a girl to love him. He should have someone there to draw the water for him when he was tired. She thought to herself, If only you could have cared for me a little more. Just a little more. Maybe then I would have persisted…Maybe then…I wouldn’t have left you to the night in such a miserable, worn out state.
Chen Mo suddenly opened his eyes without warning. The night air was crisp and a sea of stars filled those rich black eyes. Miao Yuan was startled and, in alarm, took a step back. Chen Mo opened the car door.
“You…you’re waiting here for someone?” Miao Yuan nervously asked. Her heart thumped wildly, and it seemed like it could leap out of her throat.
“Not really.” Chen Mo leaned against the jeep.
“Th-then…what are you doing here?” Miao Yuan asked with eyes that seemed to sparkle with a hint of sadness.
Chen Mo felt like it wasn’t easy to explain, yet still didn’t shy away from the truth he had reached. He gave a low cough and changed the topic. “You’re off work?”
“Yeah!” Miao Yuan vigorously nodded. The sudden sadness had caused her tears to flow as though they were a streak of starry light splicing the cool night air.
Out of habit, Chen Mo went closer to wipe her tears. His fingertips became damp and cool. Her skin was still as soft as he remembered. The delicate equilibrium he had tried so hard to maintain shattered. Miao Yuan raised her eyes to look at him and, suddenly, their distance closed to dangerous point. Their breathing stirred in disorder and the air around them became warm. In that moment, Chen Mo became perplexed as he suddenly realised something. Though… though it can be said that what I’m doing is bold, but…you don’t hate it, right?
Miao Yuan bit her lips and retreated a step. She smiled. “I’m still so…temperamental. Sorry that you had to see me like this.”
Chen Mo fixed his gaze on her. He had questions in his eyes, but Miao Yuan fled.
Chen Mo thought back to that moment for nearly the whole night. He carefully sifted through everything logically. By daybreak, he finally came to a conclusion.
If… If it seems you don’t dislike it…If you really don’t hate me…then, why not…? Why can’t we become closer?
Chen Mo ruminated and mulled over it until he finally determined his answer…We can!
Every member of the Qilin special armed forces remembered this phrase: ‘Finish the task. If you can’t, then try your best to.’
Miao Yuan, I want to fulfill all your requests. If I can’t, then at the very least I will try my best to. So give me one more chance.