In his heart, Bai Yan shot back at the woman, “You’re right that he should eat more but there’s no such thing as a perfect body, okay? He’s as thin as a rake. How is that pretty?” Yan then craned his neck around to look at Jiang Hua’s place. The man hasn’t even touched most of what was on his plate. Was he a cat? Let’s see what Jiang Hua says!
“My stomach’s feeling unwell lately. I can’t eat too much. I’ll recover soon,” Jiang Hua replied to the woman with a smile.
Yan frowned. Stomach unwell? Then why did the man get so drunk last night? Did he have a death wish? He’d be lucky if Yan didn’t have to visit him in ICU today!
The pretty lady gasped in shock and worriedly asked Jiang Hua, “An upset stomach is so annoying. I’ve got some tea that’s very good for upset bellies. I’ll get you some later.”
Yan poked hard at the rice on his plate. This woman was so ugly yet she kept trying to get close to Jiang Hua. Yan had never seen her put in so much effort into her own work! If Jiang Hua wanted tea for his upset stomach, he’d buy it himself! Her efforts weren’t needed! Jiang Hua wouldn’t accept her tea!
As Yan predicted, Jiang Hua refused her, “Thank but there’s no need. My younger brother has given me something akin to that. It’s enough for me. Any more and it’d be a waste.”
Yan tilted his chin up in pride. Hmph!
“I see,” the lady said. “Alright. Jiang-ge, remember to drink more hot water.”
Yan roared with rage, in his mind. He doesn’t need you teaching him that! Go away already!
“Okay,” Jiang Hua replied. “Thank you.”
Still, the woman stood there and continued asking the man about this and that. She didn’t show a single sign of wanting to leave.
Yan pushed his plate aside and stomped off. He didn’t want to eat anymore. Back to work!
When he left, Jiang Hua turned to look at where Yan was sitting. He let out a bitter chuckle. Did Yan hate him so much that he can’t eat if Jiang Hua was in sight? Forget it. He was leaving in 2 weeks anyway.
Minutes later, Jiang Hua returned to his desk. He didn’t notice the door to Yan’s office was opened a crack. Bai Yan, whose heart wasn’t in his work at all, peeped through it at the office outside. Upon seeing Jiang Hua sit down at his desk, he fumed. Hmph. This man came back so long after Yan left the cafeteria. What was there to talk about with that hideous woman?
Just then, Jiang Hua’s phone rang. Looking down at the name of the caller, a smile spread on Jiang Hua’s face.
“YiHan?” the man greeted, answering the call. “Is there something you want?”
Bai–Special Agent–Yan: Lil Brother? Why was he so close to Jiang Hua? The two just met yesterday. Now, YiHan’s calling Jiang Hua!
“My stomach feels much better now,” Jiang Hua said into the phone. “It doesn’t hurt anymore. Don’t worry.”
Yan couldn’t hear what YiHan said but it made Jiang Hua’s smile grow bigger as he replied, “Stomach tea? I received it this morning. Really. You gave me such a big bag. Just how long do I have to keep drinking it?”
“Haha, okay. I promise you. Even if I can’t finish it, I’ll take it with me when I go. Okay?”
“Mn. I’ve been handing over my work today. Mn. Hehe. I had been quite busy but I’ll only be handing over my work for these two weeks. It’s much more relaxing now.”
“Lunch? I’ve eaten. Mn. Everything’s fine. Relax.”
“Mn. And you? What did you have for lunch?”
“Haha. Over at Mr Mu’s place too? You eat so much yet I don’t see you getting fat at all. Don’t just have junk food. Eat more fruits. If you keep snacking on junk food, you’d get heaty. Yes, drink more fruit tea. Mn. Drink more water. Mn, mn. Don’t worry about me. Nothing’s going on here. Right, I’ll leave selling the apartment to you. Make sure to find a good owner for it. Mn. Alright, I’ll be hanging up now. Someone’s asking for me.”
Jiang Hua’s going to sell his place? True. The man’s leaving soon. The place would be left empty. Why not just sell it off? It was such a shame though. The man liked the place so much he personally kept up with the renovations and he just moved in a few days ago!
As Yan was still busy digesting the news of Jiang Hua selling his apartment off, Jiang Hua hung up and turned to the female colleague who’d stopped before his desk.
Yan watched as Jiang Hua gave the lady a polite smile and asked, “Lin Wei, is there something you need?”
“Jiang-ge, are you really going to be transferred away?” she pouted.
“I’ll be leaving in two weeks,” Hua replied with a nod.
Lin Wei’s face fell. “I heard winters in ChangCheng are much colder. Will you be okay over there? We wouldn’t want you getting sick.”
That made Yan’s heart clench as he continued eavesdropping.
“I’ll be fine,” replied Hua. “I’ll get used to it after a while. Look at all the people over there. They’re all doing fine, aren’t they?”
“They were born and bred there,” LinWei said, stomping her foot. “They’ve long grown used to the cold. How can you compare yourself to them?”
“It’s fine,” said Hua. “I’ll have to get used to it anyway. Thank you for your concern.”
Lin Wei held out a bag she’d been hiding this whole time. “Here. I knitted this scarf for my boyfriend but I knit him quite a few every year. He has enough now. This is for you. It’s cold in ChangCheng. Everyone’s hoping you can bring some warmth with you. Don’t forget about us. I just finished this scarf a few days ago. It’s much warmer than what you can get in the shops. Please ignore the imperfections.”
He stood up and accepted the bag. “Thank you.”
“I don’t know how to knit patterns,” Lin Wei sniffed. “This scarf is pure black. It suits you.”
Hua peeked into the bag and replied, “Thank you. I love it.”
“That’s good.” Her eyes were red by now. “I’ll be heading back to work.”
Hua nodded in farewell.
Yan, who was hiding behind the gap between his doors: Jiang Hua, oh Jiang Hua. So you’re the kind of flirt who seduces everyone around you!
However, what would occur in the following days would have Yan rendered speechless except for the words “hehe”.
That scarf was only the beginning. In the next two weeks, Jiang Hua would be receiving presents after presents. Every day, he’d require assistance in bringing all of his gifts home!
That wasn’t all. Under Yan’s intense observation of Jiang Hua, he’d realise there was one person who’d be sending gifts to Jiang Hua every single day. Sometimes they were flowers. Sometimes they were food. Sometimes they were practical objects. That person didn’t work in the same office building though. The gifts were all delivered via courier. While Jiang Hua never accepted any of the person’s gifts, they would insist on sending them and none of them would ever be repeated!
Hmph. Jiang Hua would be leaving soon. You wouldn’t be able to send him gifts then!
The day after the incident with the soup, Qi MingYang personally escorted Zhao Hao over to the Bai family home. The Bai family had yet to hear of what happened. Qi MingYang explained the incident to them and repeatedly emphasised that it was all just a misunderstanding. Zhao Hao had nearly injured Bai YiHan only out of arrogance. Qi MingYang apologised to YiHan and expressed that Zhao Hao would be left in the Bai family’s hands for punishment. YiHan himself didn’t think much of it. He’d wanted to just let it all be but his family and JingYuan weren’t satisfied with that wish. According to JingYuan, if Qi MingYang and his men came a day later, JingYuan would’ve gone and kicked up a fuss at the Qi family home himself. Jiang Hua’s drunken escapade had delayed JingYuan which had allowed MingYang to finish the job before they could say anything. They couldn’t keep going on at the Qi family now. They were only left with Zhao Hao. That was more than enough to make them all fume.
Qi MingYang left with a smile while Zhao Hao was left behind, looking as pale as a corpse. YiHan had no interest in punishing the man, so he washed his hands of the matter. JingYuan had the man moved to an enclosed room where he gave the captive a thorough and agonising beating. In his fear, Zhao Hao, now with missing teeth, babbled something out that had JingYuan involve the other Bai family members in a deep discussion that lasted through midnight. Then, they had Captain Chen Jing and Officer Fang Yi arrive and sneak Zhao Hao away to the police station before dawn broke. As for Zhao Hao, he was now under Captain Chen Jing’s custody with someone keeping an eye on him twenty-four seven. If the man even dared to glance at a Bai family member, he’d be taken in for another beating.
The day after Jiang Hua was taken home dead drunk, YiHan had the man’s two protectors investigated. Lu FengYu, of course, was no surprise. He was the young head of the Feng Yuan company and Jiang Hua’s suitor. The man would send all sorts of gifts to Jiang Hua. However, even now, he had yet to succeed once. Jiang Hua had told the man multiple times that it was impossible between the two and to not send any more gifts. Still, the man was stubborn. He wouldn’t back down no matter what. The moment he received the returned gift, he’d eagerly hop onto selecting the next gift.
Zhu Xun, the bartender, was new to The Dusky Alley. He was a university student living in a single-parent household. He’d been working as soon as he could to alleviate the financial pressure on his mother. However, as he had yet to graduate, he was limited on what jobs he could apply for. The Dusky Alley might be a shady place but servers were paid very well. He’d just grit his teeth and applied for work. That night was his second night on the job.
YiHan was initially curious. He’d frequented The Dusky Alley a lot in his last life, yet he’d never seen someone so kind-hearted working there before. If the young man had been unlucky that night, Zhu Xun would’ve been met with a bad end. On that thought, the man’s personality didn’t fit in with The Dusky Alley at all. What did happen to the young man in YiHan’s past life? However, the young man had saved Jiang Hua in this life. There was no way YiHan would let the man suffer.
YiHan called Yan up and, acting as Zhu Xun’s guarantor, arranged for Zhu Xun to join the Bai Group as an intern. Once the boy graduates, he’d formally be accepted into the company.
This was no joke and YiHan would never use his company as a way to pay back favours. He did so only because Zhu Xun was actually a top student. He had great reflexes and a great memory. He was also very professional at his job. If it hadn’t been for his family, he wouldn’t be working in a bar. YiHan’s arrangements guaranteed both a future for Zhu Xun and a talented employee for the Bai Group. Two birds, one stone.
As for Jiang Hua’s home, YiHan couldn’t bear to sell it off. So he decided to pay for it with his own money and shifted it under his name. Technically, he had sold the place.
Despite YiHan’s reluctance to part with Jiang Hua, time ticked on. The day they’d be separated for good closed in. When Jiang Hua was about done with the handover, the man had nothing else to do but wait for his day of departure. YiHan’s unwillingness to part with the man forever had the young man meeting up with Jiang Hua more and more often. YiHan had even stayed over at Hua’s place for a few nights. Of course, YiHan could never be rid of his forever companion, Mu JingYuan.
Strangely enough, the closer it got to Jiang Hua’s departure, the more agitated Yan was. A trivial matter could have him bursting and ranting. It was so bad that morale at the office was at a low. Jiang Hua thought it was because Yan was eager for the man to just get out of his sight right then and there, that Yan couldn’t even wait a day longer. All Hua could do was sigh and avoid the man as best as he could, hoping that he’d be out of Yan’s mind if he was out of sight.
The night before Jiang Hua’s flight, YiHan invited Hua out to dinner. It was the same restaurant with they’d eat Buddha Jumps Over the Wall at before. The dish was tasted as delicious as its name suggested. The scent filled the air, inviting all to praise it. Unfortunately, the mood at the table was so heavy that no one could focus on the food.
Hot water: Someone once asked me why Asians, particularly Asian women, liked to drink hot water and not just drink from the tap. This is partially why. The warmth is said to be good for the organs. Another reason is a bit more personal and dependant on age/individual. Some people say drinking tap water makes them “cough” (aka lots of phlegm or itchy throat). Filtered tap water doesn’t work for them either. The water must be boiled and cooled down for them to drink without “coughing”.
Heaty: Traditional Chinese Medicine concept. When one is “heaty”, the body is essentially running hot. When one is “cooling”, the body would feel colder than usual. Symptoms of imbalance are usually sore throats, upset stomachs, diarrhea, running nose and sometimes more serious conditions like worse menstrual cramps. Most high-calorie foods (fried, creamy or spicy food usually) are considered “heaty” while raw and refreshing food (like watermelons and green tea) are considered “cooling”.
Apartment: The Chinese text uses 房子, a word that can be used for both houses and apartments depending on the local slang. However, Jiang Hua’s house is a one-storey place. The likelihood of it being a house instead of an apartment or townhouse is unlikely. If the author ever specifies what kind of place it is, this will be changed.
Few days ago: I regret to inform you that the Chinese “a few days ago” can be anything from 2 days ago to 3 weeks, as evident by what I overhear from my relatives –_–.
Please ignore the imperfections: Literal translation, “please don’t dislike it”. It’s a self-deprecating/humble phrase usually said after giving a present or cooking a meal and usually by the creator/chef.
Flirt who seduces everyone around you: Literal translation, “attracting bees and butterflies” aka “attractive”.
Lu FengYu: While the man in this story is fine, please be aware of people around you who show the same persistence as this man. Particularly when it comes to wooing the people they like. There’s a fine line between rom-com and something that would have someone jailed, raped or dead. This behaviour can be considered harassment at best and stalkerish at worst. Do not be afraid to have someone talk the person down if it’s making you or someone you know uncomfortable. Most people who are this persistent just don’t understand how creepy their behaviour can be.