The metal spoon in Yu Yourong’s hand scratched the cup with an ear-piercing sound. He couldn’t hide his surprise as he looked at Qin Zhuopu and Lu Ying, finally taking a deep breath and demonstrating a decent smile, “So, Senior Brother is really here on a hunt?”
“I told you, he’s my lover.”
Lu Ying snorted, raised his foot to kick Qin Zhuopu but in the end held back. He was afraid of breaking him something, after all, the big boss was very delicate.
Yu Yourong looked ugly and resentful, taking his cup and squeezing it in his hands, smiling a fake smile, “Lover? I don’t think he’s too happy about it. Look at him, he keeps rolling his eyes at you. I don’t think Senior Brother is going to force him, right?”
The corners of Qin Zhuopu’s mouth twitched as he helplessly faced Lu Ying’s wildly rolling eyes. This look of disgust didn’t give him any face at all. Shedding all pretence of cordiality like this… It was really a long way to go.
“This is a private matter between me and him, so be careful what you say, Junior Brother.”
Yu Yourong snorted, crossed his legs and grinned, “At least I’m your first love.”
Lu Ying looked away blankly, turned and left.
“Wait, I haven’t finished speaking yet.” Yu Yourong called out to stop Lu Ying.
Lu Ying turned around and pointed at himself, “Are you calling me?”
“Of course you, you are a shop assistant, right?”
Lu Ying smiled lightly, “If the two gentlemen need anything, just let me know.”
Yu Yourong looked at him, “Since Senior Brother said you were his lover, I need to reintroduce myself. It’s good to become friends since we have such a connection.”
“No need. I am not his lover, nor am I his friend. If you don’t order anything, I have other work to attend to, sorry.” Lu Ying left quickly, unhappiness written all over his body.
Yu Yourong’s gaze was a little cold; Qin Zhuopu called that waiter his lover and was very insistent even after being rejected. Might it be that these two were having a falling out? A lovers’ spat, there was a sour smell of awkwardness. Had Qin Zhuopu changed so much or… did his attitude vary from person to person?
Turning the rose gold spoon in his hand, Yu Yourong could barely control the strength of his movements.
When he looked at Qin Zhuopu’s soulful expression, his heart was even more on fire.
This was the man Yu Yourong had tried so hard to pursue at the beginning. He finally caught up with Qin Zhuopu but was broken up with before he could taste victory. Less than in half a month! For such a silly reason as hugging and kissing a girl at a party. What did this dog man say back then? An eyesore!!!
An eyesore? Qin Zhuopu was obviously the one with the problem with his eyes! He promised Yu Yourong to try dating, but then he didn’t go to any parties with him, and even told him that he should be careful with his friendships. Why? What was the point of wasting your time on studying and writing papers every day at such a young age?
Yu Yourong didn’t know which one of the bastards at the party took a picture of him and the girl kissing and sent it to Qin Zhuopu. But Qin Zhuopu broke up with him without giving him a chance. What else could one do at a party if not to have a good time, drink, get out of control and kiss and hug cute girls? He didn’t even cheat!
That was the only experience Yu Yourong had ever had of being dumped. He was so high-profile when he was chasing Qin Zhuopu that he was ridiculed in his circle of friends for a long time after he was suddenly dumped. There was no greater black spot in his life than this.
What was even more hateful was that only after Qin Zhuopu’s early graduation and return to China did Yu Yourong inadvertently heard about the Qin family from his mother, who scolded him and even called him ‘naughty’. She said that the Qin family would never tolerate a lover who was too frivolous and that Qin Zhuopu was a very conservative and traditional kind of man. Yu Yourong scoffed at the time, “What traditions, he’s just a hypocrite!”
But now Yu Yourong had had enough of playing. He was over thirty, he wanted to calm down and even had thoughts of marriage. After his mother and Mrs. Qin rekindled their old friendship, that idea became stronger. Qin Zhuopu was excellent in all aspects and had actually remained single. Yu Yourong would feel he’d wronged himself if he didn’t get back what he had missed back then.
Yet when he actually met Qin Zhuopu face to face and felt more enthusiastic than ever, ready to make the other man kneel in front of him, Qin Zhupu was as indifferent as if they hadn’t known each other, as if Yu Yourong was just an ordinary schoolmate.
So what? If Yu Yourong could catch him once, he could catch him a second time!
Yu Yourong was unwilling to reconcile. This young lover of Qin Zhuopu’s had a good face and a good body, and was certainly still very young. And Yu Yourong had decided on a long-term domestic development and not only his relationship slot needed to be filled, he also needed strong backing for his career and artistic dreams. He and his mom were going to do better and better, making every bastard and scumbag at home green with envy!
The plan couldn’t keep up with the changes.
Qin Zhuopu suddenly got up and walked out with his mobile phone to make a call. Yu Yourong smiled, walked to the front desk and asked Fei Qiqi, “How come your shop doesn’t have a complaint system? How should customers complain about the staff?”
Fei Qiqi was confused and said dryly, “In our shop you can only go to the shop manager to complain in person.”
“Where is the shop manager?”
“The shop manager is our boss, he’s out.” She hurriedly added, “He might not even come over for a few days. The bakery is just a side business for the boss.” Go away now, and better not come again!
“Thank you, I see.”
Yu Yourong returned to his seat, his mood relaxing considerably.
Qin Zhuopu came back not long afterwards, once again picking up the tray and choosing food, delivering to the counter one plate by another as Fei Qiqi kept asking him, “Sir, do you want all of these? Are you sure?”
“Yes. What about your membership card?”
“You can apply for a membership card if you spend a hundred yuan or more at once. The current event is to recharge one hundred and get one free Black Eyed Peas(1), recharge three hundred and get thirty extra, recharge six hundred and get one free… In addition, members have a free eight-inch birthday cake on their birthday…”
“Get me one.”
Lu Ying went into the workroom and never came out, lowering his head and sullenly kneading the dough, smack, smack, smack. He was very energetic. He seemed to be addicted to it, and the colleagues next to him couldn’t help but stay far away from him. Ah, the grumpy Brother Xiao Lu was so scary! It was as if he was beating someone up.
Time passed unnoticed.
Fei Qiqi suddenly rushed in: “Oh my god, they’re all sold out! Oh, can we get off work early today? I want to tell the boss the good news!”
“What’s all sold out?”
“Everything in the shop is sold out in one fell swoop! It’s that friend of Mr. Yu’s…” Fei Qiqi looked at Lu Ying a little cautiously; she’d heard some gossip about Brother Lu… she was quite worried.
Lu Ying finally stopped kneading the dough and looked back at the world beyond the glass partition, just to meet a pair of familiar eyes. His heart felt complicated. He didn’t know what to do, so he continued to knead the dough, smack, smack, smack smack…
“Mr. Qin, it’s all loaded.” The driver respectfully informed Qin Zhuopu. He didn’t know what happy event his boss had encountered today but he just suddenly asked him to drive over in a car with a lot of space. It turned out that he had bought the entire bakery of food and instructed him to take it back for everyone to taste. The driver had just eaten a small bun, it smelled so good!
Qin Zhuopu nodded, “You go first.”
“Ah ah ah, so happy! The boss said we can go home early!” In the workroom, Fei Qiqi hopped around excitedly with her phone held up. Darting off to change her clothes, she thought that since she was free, she could go on a date with her boyfriend tonight.
“The boss is good.” Everyone hurriedly prepared to get off work.
“Brother Xiao Lu, why aren’t you moving?”
Lu Ying chuckled: “If you all leave, who will clean up the mess? Come on, you guys go, I’ll clean up alone. Besides, the bread I’m making has not fermented yet.”
“So, we’re leaving then?” Fei Qiqi was a little embarrassed.
“Go, go, your make-up is smudged.”
The entire shop was quickly emptied of staff. Yu Yourong looked at the empty shop feeling his heart constricting in his chest.
“Qin Zhuopu, you’re not leaving?” Yu Yourong squeezed out a smile. Senior Brother, huh? Won’t call him that anymore, the subtle approach doesn’t suit him.
Qin Zhuopu, who was standing aside admiring the green plants, said indifferently, “You should go first, Junior Brother.”
Yu Yourong rose abruptly, his chair rattling. He couldn’t contain his sarcasm: “Just a game for the rich.” Come for the fun, return in defeat.
The shop was completely quiet. Qin Zhuopu had expected Lu Ying to leave work early, but at the moment it didn’t matter. He stayed quietly where he was and felt that even the air smelled good. He quietly put up a ‘shop closed’ sign on the door.
Lu Ying, who noticed the sign on the door, sighed and continued to fight with the dough.
He was busy until five o’clock and left work on time. Usually one or two people would be left in the shop until ten o’clock in the evening, although basically they were sold out at around nine o’clock. But Brother Yang made a point of looking after him and only gave him day shifts for now. Lu Ying was going to make up for it during the winter holidays.
Kindergarten was closing at 4:50 and there was also an hour and a half of evening classes, in consideration for working parents. If you exceeded the later time period, you had to ask the teacher separately, and it would cost five yuan for an extra hour, which was quite humane.
Changing out of his work clothes, Lu Ying put on a mid-length black cotton coat and walked out of the shop.
“Lu Ying, I’ll go with you to pick up the child.” Speaking of the child, Qin Zhuopu was in a complicated mood; after all, that was Lu Ying’s own child.
Lu Ying pursed his lips and looked at Qin Zhuopu who popped up next to him, “No need.”
Qin Zhuopu sighed, “We need to sit down and have a good talk. Let’s go pick up the child first. It’s quicker and safer to go in my car. It’s cold at night, don’t catch a cold.”
Lu Ying inserted the moped key and sat down firmly on his butt: “I don’t want to talk to you.”
“I came to Qixia Town just to see you.”
Seeing each other again was not the least bit as happy as Lu Ying had expected. The wait was probably too long and the outcome deviated from expectations. The argument had easily dispelled his thirsty thoughts and forced him to recognise the truth.
Who wouldn’t want to dream a beautiful dream? It doesn’t always come true, but holding on to that vision of something good makes every night fulfilling and restful.
“Just pretend you weren’t here. I’ll pretend you weren’t here either.”
- A ball-shaped dessert from chocolate dough stuffed with chocolate chips