Chapter 34.2: I love you, so will you come back? (3.2)
“For now, let’s leave that question aside. The current problem is that you need to carry yourself upright and be free from any superfluous thoughts! Before, you and Chen Mo broke up. At the time, I was too lazy to criticize you, but now Chen Mo has pulled this out of thin air. So, I’m afraid that I must bring up the past. Do you know where you originally went wrong in your relationship with him? You made the mistake of always treating him too well!”
“Eh!?! Even that’s a mistake!?!” Miao Yuan complained, looking despondent.
“That’s right, it’s a horrendous blunder!” Momo casually swiped some bread from the nearby shelf and asked Miao Yuan, “How much is this?”
Miao Yuan glanced over. “Five eighty.”
“Ehhh? How come you don’t sell it for two bucks?”
“That’s such a bad deal! Do you know how much flour goes for? And that’s just for flour! Then there’s the rent for the shop and…” Miao Yuan started getting worked up.
“Okay, okay. So you are already aware that selling things too cheap is a bad deal, right? Life, in truth, is just like doing business. Though it isn’t exactly like buying produce at the grocery store, where thirty cents guarantees you at least one stalk of spring onion, you still can’t deviate too much from the value.”
“Momo! I’m uneducated and haven’t gone to college. I can’t understand such profound terms.” Miao Yuan received psychological shock as she thought of how her actions in the past really screamed: ‘horrendous blunder,’ and pouted at Momo in silent complaint.
“…That was learned in high school, okay?” Momo responded, with less enthusiasm than before.
“How cruel! You’re bullying someone like me who didn’t even go to high school!!”
“You bird brain,” Momo angrily pinched her shoulder. “I just won’t believe that you guys never learned about Karl Marx!”
Miao Yuan lowered her head and meekly twiddled her fingers.
Momo paused and thought, where am I taking her with this?
She then proceeded with her lecture, “Miao Yuan, do you know why you guys couldn’t sustain the relationship? It’s because you sold your bread for too cheap. You indulged him too much…Clearly, you were wronged yet you didn’t voice your grievances. By the end, you took a heavy blow—figuratively and physically—where you had to break up. Your relationship became bankrupt and was liquidated, resulting in you leaving. And him? He didn’t have any investments in you in the first place. So, when you left, he didn’t feel hurt, or pained. Do you get me?”
Miao Yuan grudgingly said, “But how was I supposed to know that he wouldn’t think of me as being a luxury?”
“How are the prices determined in our shops? We make the things, calculate and tally up the costs, find people to try the products, then ask them if the price is acceptable. Could we go higher? Should we go lower? My mum and dad always felt like Milu couldn’t match up to me. A mere cook couldn’t progress far career-wise, they said. But I just so happened to like that about him. Though he isn’t as skilled as others are, he was willing to listen to me when I wanted to speak my mind. Everyone looks deep inside themselves, at their feelings, and asks if it’s worth it. If you feel like it isn’t worth it, hike up your price.”
Momo pressed down on Miao Yuan’s shoulders. “So, take it easy this time. Don’t act overly familiar with him. Don’t be like before where you rushed up at every opportunity. You have to let him bleed from some wounds a little. Don’t become flustered just from the beckoning of his hand. If you continue worrying me, I’ll thrash you. And this isn’t treating him well, when you think about it. If you can successfully sell yourself as a high-end product, then I’ll accept that you guys are a match made in heaven. But the problem is that you can’t keep up such an act. In the end, if you run off again…do you know what people call that? It’s called hurting not only others but also yourself.”
Miao Yuan propped up her chin and pensively thought. After a while, she said with great difficulty, “Then what should my price be?”
Momo was at loss for words as she stared up. A question for the ages, and you ask me?
Before Momo left, she told Miao Yuan to stay calm and aloof. “Do you know how to write ‘aloof’?” I’d really love to write it down and stick it on your forehead, or maybe etch it into your soul. Miao Yuan said, “That’s enough, that’s enough. Do you really take me for a fool?” Momo cursed in her head, you actually think you aren’t one? Bird brain!
In truth, Miao Yuan was mulling over the fact that, even if Momo didn’t tell her to take it easy, she’d have no choice but to take it easy. Chen Mo suddenly jumped out and blurted that line to her out of nowhere. If she rejected, well he didn’t even do anything. There was no way to reject him. But if she accepted, then there was that phrase: “When you wanted me to bu**er off, I did. Now that you want me to come back, well sorry. I’ve bu**ered away too far.”
Originally, I was the one who wanted to leave. I promised myself that I’d roll far, far away…and it would have to look like it would remain that way. Even if I’m an idiot, I can’t be rolling back to people at the wave of a hand. Miao Yuan took a deep breath. She had to learn from luxury items and carry herself well. As part of her profession, she had to read the customers. She couldn’t take something that would sell for 20 dollars and price it at 30, where it wouldn’t be bought anymore.
Therefore, a customer’s heart is mysterious, just like a man’s. Mhm…and also a woman’s.
That night, Miao Yuan paid an excessive amount of attention to her phone. It was as if there was an invisible string that drew her in. Only until much later in the evening did she recall that Chen Mo didn’t have her new number. Miao Yuan stopped and smiled to herself before she placed her phone back in the drawer. Work was busy and customers came and went, so she placed the matter in the back of her mind. When it came to closing time, Miao Yuan said her goodbyes to everyone and stuffed her phone inside her pocket out of habit as she began her walk home. As soon as she turned the corner, she saw Chen Mo leaning against a streetlight. The hazy orangish light dyed his uniform a dark red colour. His black as night pupils were painted with the reflection of luminous neon lights.
Miao Yuan was shocked for a moment before regaining her composure and going up to him. “What a surprise, seeing you here. Are you waiting for someone?”
“Waiting for you,” Chen Mo straightened up and walked over.
“Oh, really!?!” Miao Yuan inwardly sighed. I really can’t see him as the old Chen Mo anymore. He’s even learned to use a honeyed tongue for sweet talking. Miao Yuan continued walking and took two steps past him before realising something was off. She suddenly turned around and asked the person following her, “You really were waiting for me?”
“I’m sending you home, of course.” Chen Mo looked at her as he replied in a matter-of-fact, no nonsense manner.
Miao Yuan’s legs softened. Oh, my goodness! What sort of treatment is this!?!
To be better equipped in the battle, it is said that if you know your enemies and yourself, then you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.1 In the afternoon, Chen Mo had returned to the station and held a small meeting before the ‘war’. He had meticulously analysed the positions of both sides. He had taken a deep look at the red (Miao Yuan) side’s strategy and war preparation.
At that time, Lieutenant Lu Zhen happened to be on vacation and Yuan Jie happened to just be dumped. Using the most advanced telecommunication methods, they joined hands to deliver a stern lecture and education. Lu Zhen pretty much already escalated this issue to one of a soldier’s and man’s glory. It roughly transpired like this: “Just as I was saying, how could it be that you suddenly got dumped when all was going well? She’s such a nice and easily pleased girl, yet you still couldn’t get her! Chen Mo, just give up. From now on, don’t wear your uniform out to show off. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army really can’t afford to lose you. And Yuan Jie’s meaning was—Captain, please excuse my words—if you had just 1% of my ability, she wouldn’t have broken up with you.”
Chen Mo listened with a straight face as the two mocked him and made nothing of him. Furthermore, they both started sharing their romantic, skirt-chasing experiences. They formed a united front against Chen Mo and, at this, he sighed deeply.
Lu Zhen then said, “Grandpa Mo, relax. No matter how tired you are, or how bitter life is, just remember the revolutionaries. Your problem isn’t even that big. Just think about me. The peak I had to conquer, well that’s what I’d call Mt. Everest! But didn’t I conquer it all the same? Just remember my words: ‘All reactionaries are paper tigers.’ They can’t withstand even a poke. If you can’t poke a hole through it, then calm down for me. Slowly but persistently go at it. There will always come the day when you poke a hole through it.”
Yuan Jie nodded incessantly. “Right, right, right. Just as Lieutenant Lu says.”
Lu Zhen cleared his throat, in modesty, for a second before continuing. “Okay, when you poke through, don’t believe that it’s a done matter. It’s not like this. Coaxing your wife is a long process that takes ages. For men, we’re satisfied once we settle down. But for our wives, they have to be coaxed and pampered. You have to play to her tastes, and be considerate and caring. You have to leave her with nothing to complain about. Pretty much in this world, you’re the one who treats her best… “
Chen Mo then responded, “Mhm, your wife.”
“What? You have any objections to my wife?”
“I wouldn’t dare.”2
Yuan Jie was silently shocked. Damn, what sort of gorgeous beauty made Lieutenant Liu go this far to have her? Captain Chen doesn’t even dare rebuke him.
Lu Zhen humphed. “Even if I let you, you wouldn’t dare say anything. Xiao Yuan Jie, give me a phone number. Look after your captain. He can’t even get a girl. Ai…Lu Zhen sighed a long sigh and donned a miserable looking state.
Chen Mo couldn’t help but counter, “I can’t get a girl? Then what about you, huh?”
Lu Zhen lazily replied, “It’s just that I’m not permitted to hit on those girls. After all, I already have a person at home.”
Chen Mo mentally spewed blood at Lu Zhen’s words.
After Lu Zhen and Yuan Jie had left Chen Mo psychologically battered and bruised, they spelled out a code of conduct for him. At first, the list seemed unreal. It seemed like the Confucian moral injunctions for women, or the three principles and five virtues.3 When Chen Mo saw the list, the corner of his mouth twitched. “Lu Zhen, back then—”
Lu Zhen cut off his words in a regretful tone, “There’s nothing special about that!!”
Chen Mo mentally spewed blood again. From the list, he picked one that looked trustworthy and memorized it. If Lu Zhen’s wife could be considered Mt. Everest, then Miao Yuan—at most—was the highest point of Mt. Hua, a mountain right outside Xi’an. Even if you cut Everest in half, there’d still be more than enough to spare. Upon thinking of this, Chen Mo felt guilt.