When An Ran left her room the morning after, Lin Xiao Fen was already preparing breakfast. Seeing her come out, she looks at her daughter, and says, “Come, eat breakfast.” Her tone was no different than before, not even the slightest, as if nothing had happened yesterday.
An Ran purses her lips and walks over to the dining table, pulling out a chair that faces Lin Xiao Fen and sits down opposite to her. Lin Xiao Fen grabs a ladle and gives her the well-cooked congee.
An Ran eats the congee with her head down, hiding her expression.
Although the Gu Family is not a family with a literary reputation (T/N: I’m really weak with idioms, but I guess it’s something like a noble family?), but there is still father Gu to set the ‘rigid rules’—no speeches while eating, no speaking when lying down!
As she finishes the last drop of congee, An Ran puts her bowl down, raises her head to look at Lin Xiao Fen, and says, “Mom, call auntie Zhang. I’ll give it a shot with Lin An Jie.”
Lin Xiao Fen was surprised. She and Gu Heng Wen look at each other wordlessly, and both simultaneously turn to look at An Ran. Recovering from her surprise, Lin Xiao Fen replies, “Ran Ran, mother didn’t mean to pressure you, if you really don’t like that boy, we can always find another person. Mom was just too anxious last night.”
“No, I’ve thought about it, what you said was right. People need to move on, we can’t live in the past. I’m also not that young anymore, marriage has to happen sooner or later, and Lin An Jie seems to be a pretty good partner, so I thought I should at least try.” An Ran said calmly.
Lin Xiao Fens remains silent, her face clearly expresses concern. Even though she wishes An Ran to fall in love, get married—but she doesn’t want her daughter to rush.
After a moment of silence, the atmosphere became somewhat awkward. This time, Gu Heng Wen opens his mouth to speak, “Whomever you choose to date, mother and father will not oppose, as long as you think it’s right.”
An Ran nods her head, “I know. I have a meeting this morning, I’m going to leave first.” She immediately heads towards her room, grabs her bag and leaves for work after she finished speaking.
Inside the house, Lin Xiao Fen looks at the door that has been opened and closed once again. She puts down her bowl and chopsticks, and lets out a weak sigh. A hand reaches hers on the table, and squeezes it. She lifts her head, and sees her husband’s gentle expression. The corner of his eyes smiling, he says, “Don’t worry. Ran Ran knows what she’s doing.”
An Ran has been very busy recently. Bi Hu park’s case has been returned once again. She needs to make modifications, even though it’s impossible of the director to ask. For several days, she had to run back and forth between the office and the site every day, even staying in the office until 10 pm. Fortunately, this afternoon director Jin announced that the draft is finally approved, which means that she can finally get off work on time today.
With Lin An Jie, since that last meeting, there was no time to even say goodbye, but they were able to keep in touch through text. Lin An Jie can be considered to be a person who knows how to take care of people. The simple exchanges and timely relation allowed An Ran to feel that she can get along with Lin An Jie quite nicely.
She invited Lin An Jie to have a meal today; she is seriously determined in her resolution to trying to accept this new relationship, a relationship with the expectation of marriage.
Gu An Ran is an earnest person; once she’s decided on something she will earnestly throw 100% of her energy into making it work. For instance, today she did not bring her car with her, but took a taxi instead. Once the date is over, she intends to have Lin An Jie send her home.
The place they will dine at today is a medium sized Western restaurant. Because there was a traffic jam on the way, by the time An Ran had arrived, Lin An Jie was already seated. He sat straight with a frown on his face as he looks at the menu.
“I’m so sorry, I’m late.” An Ran apologizes right away, without giving an excuse. Late is late, no matter if it was a mistake; she is not one to make excuses.
Putting down the menu, Lin An Jie puts on a gentleman’s smile, faces An Ran, and says, “It’s alright, I just got here too.”
“Did you order yet?” An Ran puts her bag down, asking without a second thought.
“You can do it.” Lin An Jie passes the menu to An Ran.
An Ran didn’t think too much of it and grabs the menu. She immediately calls for the waiter. She often comes to this Western restaurant with her co-workers. The T-bone steak isn’t too bad, the salad is also pretty good. More importantly, the pricing is reasonable, so it isn’t too much to spend.
“Is there anything you can’t eat?” Putting the menu in front, An Ran thoughtfully asks him for any dietary restrictions. Lin An Jie shakes his head, says whatever’s fine, what she orders is fine.
An Ran doesn’t ask any further, asks the waiter for a bit of foie gras paste, T-bone steak, mushroom soup and lettuce salad, for dessert a cheesecake, and because he will be driving, she asks for no red wine, just coffee.
The date this time around seems to be more pleasant. Each talked about their respective field of work, what their hobbies are and so on and so forth. There isn’t a lot to talk about, but it’s better than awkward silence.
When the bill came, Lin An Jie suddenly got an upset stomach, and excused himself to the washroom. An Ran knew that he would avoid the bill—actually she wasn’t expecting for him to pay for tonight’s date. Even if he offered to pay, she was going to pay him back. But the obvious attempt in avoiding the bill caused her to feel dislike and hate.
An Ran foots the bill, and waits for him for about 10 minutes, yet Lin An Jie was still not to be seen, until she gives him a call to see where he is. Lin An Jie did not pick up, but not a minute later he comes out from the washroom. Returning to his seat, he faces An Ran and says, “Sorry about that, that was a long wait.”
An Ran shakes her head, and asks, “Is your digestive system not well? Do you need to go to the hospital?”
Lin An Jie quickly explains, “No need, it’s just that when I was in the washroom, by chance a phone call came in. It was my team leader, so we chatted for a bit.”
An Ran nodded, grabbed her bag, and said, “Let’s go.”
“Alright, then I’ll go pay.” Lin An Jie nods, walking over to the front desk.
“It’s okay, I’ve already paid.” An Ran calls out to him.
“Eh?” Lin An Jie feigns surprise, and asks, “How can I allow a lady to pay the bill. How much was it, I’ll pay you back,” he says as he grabs his wallet to hand the money to her.
“How about next time. You can pay for next time, we can pay back and forth.” An Ran smiles.
Lin An Jie doesn’t insist, and nods his head as an agreement.
As the two leave the restaurant, Lin An Jie suggests that they take a walk. What really he didn’t want to say was that this parking lot has a parking fee, and that his car was parked on the street up ahead. The walk from here to his car is about 10 minutes.
An Ran gently nods her head, they ate a lot this evening– she could use an after-meal exercise.
As the two silently walk side by side, the atmosphere somehow became quite awkward. Normally An Ran is quite passive when it comes to her feelings. To find something to talk about when it is just the two of them is not her strong suit. Just as An Ran picks up the courage to talk about something, the two had entered a darkly lit street. Suddenly a hand went on to grab her’s. The grip was quite strong.
“Uh..” An Ran looks up in surprise, not able to come up with a response. With a quick look, Lin An Jie stared at her with a fixed determination; he looked a bit odd.
“Lin… Lin An Jie?” An Ran called out to him, pulling on her hand in attempt to escape from his grip.
Lin An Jie looks at her silently, swallows, and takes the opportunity to violently cover An Ran’s mouth.
An Ran felt fear, she uses her strength to get him off, but it only results in helplessly resisting against his strength. Finally shooting her a glance, Lin An Jie goes for a kiss that lands upon An Ran’s cheek. The touch of his lips disgusted An Ran.
“Let… Let me go!” An Ran anxiously thought to cry, her hands won’t stop slapping Lin An Jie, and with her wearing heels, she is the same height as Lin An Jie. But since she’s a woman, helpless against a man’s strength, she can’t struggle free from him.
“Let her go.” A clear, cold male voice suddenly came from behind. In this darkly lit street, it was especially lofty.