Chapter 2: Opportunity
Get, get married?
Ding Meng was immediately stupefied. The fake boyfriend plan was something she had only recently thought up after getting fed up with frustration. Unexpectedly, there was an even braver person out there – to directly think of a fake marriage!
She looked at Qiao Yichen asking, “Are you talking the kinds of marriages where you find a counterfeiter to make a fake marriage certificate?”
Qiao Yichen paused for a bit before saying, “No of course not, my mom would definitely see through a fake one.”
Ding Meng frowned. “Then you’re suggesting we actually get married? What about after we marry? After the crisis passes, wouldn’t we have to divorce? Then wouldn’t I become a divorcee?”
Qiao Yichen thought for a bit. Although he didn’t mind, it would be rather unfavorable for girls. His spur of the moment suggestion really was spoken too carelessly. “I spoke without thinking. Don’t take it seriously.”
“Mm.” Ding Meng nodded her head. Forget it. She decided to go with her original plan and find her chuan chuan friend Xiao Zhuo zi to pretend to be her boyfriend. Even though Xiao Zhuo zi wasn’t as good looking as Qiao Yichen, at least his price was fair. With just one meal of chuan chuan, he would gladly take on the male leading role.
T/N: Chuan chuan is a type of hot pot where a lot of stuff is boiled on sticks.
Ding Meng thought up to that point and decided she couldn’t stay still anymore. “Well in any case, I still have some matters to attend to. I’ll be leaving first. Let’s talk again in the future.”
Qiao Yichen looked at her and laughed. “Do you have a way to contact me?”
Ding Meng blinked. “Does the number on the classmate registry still work?”
Qiao Yichen lowered his head and chuckled. He took out his phone and exchanged phone numbers with her. Afterwards, he asked, “Where are you going? I can give you a ride.”
Ding Meng waved her hands as he spoke. “No need. My house is far from here. I’ll just ride the bus back.” Today she had traveled across half the city to arrive at this “eastern” coffee shop.
Qiao Yichen didn’t persist. After sending Ding Meng out, he drove off in the direction of his work.
Halfway there, his mom called him and forced him to return home. He sighed. He knew his blind date must have gone and reported him to her majesty the queen.
Just as expected, when he got home, Mama Qiao was standing at the doorway waiting to punish him.
“Qiao Goudan, what good deeds have you been up to again today!”
Qiao Yichen locked his car and twirled the keys in his hand, skillfully slipping them into his pant pocket. “According to the good role model Lei Feng, doing good deeds is to be expected. You don’t need to make such a fuss about nothing.”
T/N: Lei Feng was a soldier and posterboy of altruism and communist virtues. Read wiki here.
Mama Qiao almost exploded in anger because of him. “Miss Pang was crying on the phone, telling me…”
“Fairy tales are all a lie?”
T/N: Haha such a sarcastic male lead. He’s quoting the chorus of this really popular song by Guang Liang called Tong Hua (Fairy tale). Check it out here. The MV is pretty sad stuff.
“….telling me that you said her singing sounded like duck quacks!”
Qiao Yichen stared at her in astonishment. “She said it to you like that?”
Mama Qiao put on a fake smile. “Did she falsely accuse you?”
Qiao Yichen responded, “I clearly said that even duck quacks sound better than her singing.”
Mama Qiao, “……”
She stepped up, grabbed Qiao Yichen’s necktie, and pulled him into the house. “Qiao Yichen, I’m telling you, if you can’t get married by the end of this month, next month you will quit your job and return to the company to help your brother!”
Mama Qiao finished speaking and fiercely glared at him, letting out a cold harrumph before turning around and heading upstairs. Qiao Yichen sat on the couch, loosened the tie that had just been pulled into a mess, and let out a sigh.
He knew his mom didn’t actually want him to get married. She just wanted to use this sort of method to force him to help with the company.
Right now, the company actually did need more manpower. However, he…
Qiao Yichen’s eyes slowly misted. Before he produced another album that satisfied him, he really didn’t want to quit.
Ding Meng got off the bus. Originally, she wanted to immediately arrange a meeting with Xiao Zhuo zi, but who would have thought that after walking just two steps, she would receive a call from her good friend Jiang Nanqing. “Meng Meng, I just got my paycheck. Tonight I’ll treat you to eat chuan chuan.”
Ding Meng felt like not going would be a waste of an opportunity. She happily accepted Jiang Nanqing’s invitation. “Okay, I’ll head over now to 10 Li of Floating Fragrance and wait for you.”
T/N: A li is a traditional measurement of distance
Jiang Nanqing, “…..”
When it came to eating chuan chuan, her Meng Meng was quicker than anyone.
When Jiang Nanqing arrived, Ding Meng had already staked out the best table in the restaurant. Sitting by herself next to the window, she was guarding a pot filled with chuan chuan.
Jiang Nanqing smiled and walked over. “I heard you had another blind date today. How did it go?”
Ding Meng rolled her eyes and vented, “You’re talking about that little fortunetelling prince? He could easily be a swindler if he changed into Taoist robes.”
Jiang Nanqing laughed and asked with interest, “He was a fortuneteller?”
Ding Meng frowned and thought a bit. “He probably never ever passed the second year of middle school.”
As she spoke, food boiling in the pot floated to the surface. Ding Meng swiped a stick of beef and used her chopsticks to slide along the bamboo to all the meat into her bowl. Jiang Nanqing rolled her eyes and also grabbed a large stick of beef, placing it in her own bowl.
Ding Meng mixed the beef in her bowl, added some chilies, and asked, “Nanqing ah, is 25 already considered very old?”
Jiang Nanqing ate a bite of the numbingly spicy beef before responding, “That’s not old, but don’t fool yourself into thinking 25 is still young. The years will fly right by. You’ll be thirty before you know it.” Jiang Nanqing picked up the bottle of vinegar from the side and poured some into her bowl. “Also, 25 a threshold of sorts for women. Once you pass that age, every aspect of your body starts to decline.”
Ding Meng frowned, thinking the chuan chuan in her mouth was no longer as delicious.
“So your parents getting worried and arranging blind dates for you is a given. Who told you to miss the time for young love. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up being an old bride.”
Ding Meng, “…..”
“But if you really don’t want to get married, don’t compromise. Don’t get married for the sake of getting married.” Jiang Nanqing spoke up to here and stared into her eyes, “For example, there’s my old college roommate, Xiao Qiu. Do you still remember her? She was forced by her family to get married. In the end she divorced only half a year later. The last time I bumped into her, she had already switched husbands.”
Ding Meng, “…..”
“So if you don’t want to marry, stick with your decision. Don’t believe that getting married is an obligation to fulfil for your parents. In the end, you’re the one that has to live your life.
Ding Meng couldn’t help but gasp in admiration. “Wow, Little Nanqing. You sound just like an expert on TV. I started believing you majored in marriage studies in college.”
Jiang Nanqing spoke with disdain, “I hadn’t even graduated college when I started getting pressured to go on blind dates. After dealing with my family for so long, how could I not have any words of wisdom?”
Ding Meng blinked a bit and edged closer towards Jiang Nanqing, “Guess who I bumped into on my blind date today?”
“Che.” Ding Meng threw over a look to say “so dull”, but her excitement leaked out from her voice. “I met my middle school classmate Qiao Yichen. Do you still remember him? He used to frequently come by our neighborhood to play.”
Jiang Nanqing thought for a second and actually managed to remember something. “Yeah, you’re talking about that little handsome guy? How is he now? He didn’t turn ugly did he?”
Ding Meng’s mouth twitched. Superficial people were so shallow. “He’s even better looking than before now, and he’s matured a lot.”
Jiang Nanqing looked at her, eyes holding an interested smile. “What, is there a chance something could develop between you two?”
Ding Meng thought a bit and spoke truthfully. “Today he asked me to marry him.”
“Pu-, hai hai!” Jiang Nanqing expended quite a bit of energy to prevent herself from spewing out the beef in her mouth, but then she ended up getting it caught in her throat. She had to cough a couple times and drink some cool tea before calming down. “You said what? Marry?”
Ding Meng nodded her head speaking, “That’s right, but don’t get so worked up. He meant a marriage for appearances sake. He’s also getting forced by his parents to tie the knot.”
Jiang Nanqing thought for a bit. “You mean a marriage just for show?” Her eyebrows wrinkled. Putting down the chopsticks in her hand and facial expression turning solemn, she started at Ding Meng. “No way can you believe this so-called fake marriage. Before marriage, men will say all sorts of nice things, but after marriage, their true selves will come out! It’s not like there aren’t cases where women have been forced on during marriage. Plus, when divorcing there’s also the matter of dividing up assets. You better not be foolish.”
“I know, I know.” Ding Meng placated her by adding some vegetables into her bowl. “He was saying it offhandedly. Don’t take it seriously.”
Jiang Nanqing ate the vegetables in her bowl and lifted her head again to shoot Ding Meng a glance. “You better not be foolish!”
“…..Ok got it.” Tomorrow she would find Xiao Zhuo zi to be her fake boyfriend.
Getting Xiao Zhuo zi to agree to go along with her ruse was a complete success. Ding Meng was just plotting an opportunity to introduce him to her grandma when her mom gave her a phone call. “Meng Meng, your grandmother’s heart disease worsened. She’s at Zhong Xin Hospital. Hurry up and come over here!”
“What?!” Ding Meng panicked. It couldn’t be because screwing up her blind date yesterday angered her grandma right? Stopping her train of thought, she hailed a taxi and rushed off in the hospital’s direction.
When she got to the inpatient ward, her parents were both inside the hallway. Ding Meng walked up flustered and asked, “How is grandma?”
Ding Mama replied, “She’s fine. The doctor said her illness has been stabilized for now, but doesn’t know if it will worsen. She has to stay and be observed in the hospital for a couple days.
“Ah….” Hearing that her grandma was fine, Ding Meng grew a bit more relaxed. She glanced in the direction of the the hospital room and asked, “Can I go in to take a look?”
Ding Mama nodded her head and replied, “The doctor advised us to try our best not to disturb her and let her get as much rest as possible.”
“Okay, I got it. I’ll just go in to take a look and come out.”
She quietly opened the door and carefully walked inside. She thought her movements were pretty light, but her grandma’s eyes still opened right after she entered.
Her hands were hooked up to an IV bag. Her nose was covered by an inhaler. Ding Meng sniffled a bit, standing by the bedside she asked, “Grandma, how are you feeling?”
Her grandma didn’t speak. Ding Meng worriedly spoke, “Are you blaming me for messing up my blind date again?”
This time her grandma finally let out a sigh and softly replied, “You think the reason I’m making you go on blind dates is just to mess with that Granny Liu? You know your grandma’s health isn’t great. I might die any day now. I just want to see my granddaughter find happiness…”
These words made Ding Meng’s nose sour. She crouched down and grabbed her grandma’s wrinkled hands. “Grandma, actually I never told you this, but I already have a boyfriend!”
Grandma’s eyes flickered. She slightly turned her head to look at Ding Meng. “You’re not talking about that boy you always eat chuan chuan with, Xiao Zhuo zi, right?”
Ding Meng, “….”
How did grandma know about Xiao Zhuo zi….
“Of course it’s not him! My boyfriend is really good looking. Just yesterday asked me to marry him!”
Grandma heard these words and almost sat up in her bed. “Are you speaking the truth? When did you start seeing this boyfriend? Your mouth was so tightly sealed!”
“It’s the truth. It’s the truth. I’ll bring him over to see you tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay, pinky swear.”
After leaving the hospital, Ding Meng finally realized her spur of the moment words seemed to have created a huge lie. If she returned right now to tell her grandma it was all a trick to cheer her up, would her grandma be angered to death….
Pei pei pei! Ding Meng shook her head. She rummaged her phone out of her bag and found the phone number Qiao Yichen gave her yesterday.
T/N: Pei pei pei in this case is like spitting on unlucky words.
To call or not to call, that is the question.
She kept staring at that string of numbers for five minutes. Finally, she bolstered her courage and sent out a call.
After Qiao Yichen’s voice came through, Ding Meng took a deep breath and nearly shouted out, “Qiao Yichen, let’s get married!”