Lin Li is a doer. If she says she’ll introduce, she’ll immediately set up a time to have the two meet up. The appointed time has been set to Friday at noon, which is tomorrow.
An Ran had tried to put it off, but she wasn’t able to withstand Lin Li’s long-windedness and ‘blackmail’, which requires co-operation. She has been quite busy these days, and busy is good. She thought that after Bi Hu park’s case, she would be able to have a short period of rest, but she didn’t expect that the company would make an exception and accept an intern at this time. They said that she graduated from a famous school, that she won some kind of award, so the director ‘put in good word’, and now An Ran has to bear everything.
This intern is called Ling Lin. She’s quite pretty, but her manner of speaking is so coy that it makes people shiver. Once she entered, all the men in the company became excited, secretly saying ‘The great Sister Lin is here’, with unceasing politeness. But the women in the company were depressed, quietly gossiping, purposely isolating her.
The noon that day passed by quickly as An Ran was busy. She headed to the company cafeteria, and only a few people had stayed behind. Naturally, the food leftover had gone cold. She can choose whatever she wants, so she grabs a tray and went to find a place to sit. She still needs to go to the site in the afternoon to take a look at the construction progress. She actually doesn’t need that much time to eat, but she was in a rush this morning and had not eaten breakfast, so she is honestly starving to death right now.
An Ran ate quickly, but the food was somewhat dry, so she nearly choked on it. Luckily she had some soup, so she hurriedly gulped it down—with some difficulty. The cafeteria food is normally like this, varying from super chewy to super hard, salty to bland. The soup is the only thing that was consistent, which apparently only needs a little bit of seaweed and boiling hot water; no need for salt or MSG, making it bland and tasteless.
An Ran shakes her head, and continues to finish off her cold food.
Out of the blue, someone puts down their lunchbox in the seat opposite to her; she recognizes that lunchbox, it’s from that popular northern brand ‘You Ran Restaurant’. An expensive brand. An Ran lifts her head to see that Ling Lin has sat opposite of her, watching her with a smile. She sweetly calls out, “Sister Gu.”
An Ran nods her head, and asks, “You’re eating lunch just now? Isn’t it time to get off work?”
“There was too much people earlier, and I don’t like being in noisy environments, so I waited until now to come,” Ling Lin says with a smile. She opens the lunchbox in her hand, inside it had delicate dishes and those kind of Thai rice that emits an alluring fragrant smell of vegetable and rice. It was an obvious sharp contrast against the plate in front of An Ran.
An Ran nods. Looking at Ling Lin’s meal and then back at her meal, she had lost her appetite. But she’s only an intern, how can she eat such a costly lunch, so she asks, “This type of take-out must be quite far, buying it and then coming back to eat. It would be better off buying and eating there then coming back, would save some time.”
“My dad was afraid that I wouldn’t be used to the company’s food, so he asked our family driver to bring it for me,” Ling Lin laughs. In between speeches as the smell of the sweet and sour pork grew stronger, she hands An Ran a piece, “You should try this, sister Gu, this kind of taste isn’t too bad.”
An Ran quickly waves her hand, refusing and says, “No it’s okay, I’m quite full.”
Hearing this, Ling Lin embarrassingly puts it back down in her container. She looks like she was trying to find a topic to talk about, and asks, “Sister Gu, if you want to try changing meals I can ask my driver to bring you a set. I’m being honest here, I really can’t get used to the food here.”
An Ran dryly smiles, on the contrary she thought, unfortunately she can’t enjoy it, one meal would take off half a day’s wage; working desperately for a month, more than a half of the wages would be thrown away to eating out. What would she be working for then, might as well go home and let Lin Xiao Fen look after her.
An Ran looks at her watch. As she thought of what to say to excuse herself, the cellphone on her table goes off. It was Lin Li again, she supposes it was yet another warning not to forget about the blind date tomorrow.
She nods at Ling Lin, and gets up as she picks up her phone, pressing the answer button, and talks as she walks, “Hello my big sister, what do you want this time.”
“An Zi, I just…” On the other line, Lin Li, who is usually carefree, is now panicked, mumbling about some kind of unusual mishap.
“Hm?” An Ran inquired, she feels that Lin Li is a little strange today, and asks, “You just what?”
“I just…” Lin Li mumbles again, and hesitates. She makes up her mind, and rapidly spits out, “I just saw Mo Fei!”
She spoke so quickly An Ran almost missed what was said, but in the end, it wasn’t quick enough. An Ran heard it. She understood it. She saw Mo Fei!
An Ran went silent, she was speechless. She was unaware of how hard she was gripping her cellphone. She didn’t feel like herself.
“An Zi?” On the other line, Lin Li doesn’t hear a response. Without thinking, she called from shock, but now she is starting to regret it. Maybe she shouldn’t have called her.
“Yeah. I’m here,” An Ran answers in an unexpectedly calm tone. Only on the other line does Lin Li not know, how much power she is gripping with her cellphone
“An Zi… Are you alright?” Lin Li was still worried, really regretting it now. In her mind, she scolds herself endlessly. She clearly knows how much that man had hurt her; she blames her loose mouth, she can’t seem to hide anything.
“(Chuckle), why wouldn’t I be alright,” An Ran smiles dryly; even she can hear how fake that smile is, but she still feigns strength, “So how was it? Did you and him get to talk? It’s been so long, has he changed?”
“No way in hell would I talk with such a narcissistic greedy, selfish person. That’s just an insult to myself,” she said angrily.
An Ran laughs bitterly, not saying a word. Actually, Lin Li telling her was a good thing. The Earth is round; he left to the US after graduating, so the two haven’t come across each other for six years. But now to be in one city, in the case that he’s back, bumping into Lin Li, she supposes he would bump into her too. Better than being caught off guard.. At least she knows now. At least she can be considered as prepared.
“An Zi, let’s go to a bar tonight, I’ll keep you company. No returning without getting drunk!” Lin Li boldly said, but she’s actually still worried about her friend, afraid that her imagination would run wild.
An Ran smiled, and not bitterly. This time, she was grateful. To have such a caring friend, it truly is a great feeling.
Holding her phone, feeling slightly more relaxed now, she says, “I’m really okay. Saying not to return without getting drunk, you’re not even thinking about your own situation. You need to take care of yourself, don’t mind me. Don’t waste your grievances on lil’ ol’ me, or else I’ll hurry you. Anyways, tomorrow I might want to go see your wealthy son-in-law, I’m really thinking of succeeding this time.”
“(Sigh), if you’re really okay then that’s great, but don’t keep it in if not.” Lin Li mutters.
An Ran walks into the end of the hallway. Out the window, she sees the alternating blue-white of the sky. She sighs, and says, “Lin Li, I couldn’t let go or free myself of my past foolishness. But I’ve been foolish for 6 years, this should be enough. I won’t let myself be foolish anymore, if not for myself, then for my parents to learn to be a little bit smarter.”
On the other line, Lin Li stays silent for a moment. After a good while, she resentfully says, “You, girlie, should have learned to be smart long ago!”