Rong Heng smiled and nodded, but he stood in the same place. His eyelids drooped, hiding the deep thoughts in his eyes.
As the end of the year approached, Song Haiping also became busy. He had some connections in the city and needed to go around to pay each person a visit.
As per usual, Song Haiping had invited a few of his pals over to eat and prepared to make his next stop. He had just left the private dining room when he spotted a familiar face in the lobby.
Song Haiping had been a penniless kid when he was young. The reason he got rich so quickly, apart from his ex-wife’s sharp foresight, was that his own abilities weren’t too bad. He was extremely sociable–in the words of his ex-wife, he spoke the language of humans when seeing a human, and he spoke the language of devils when seeing a devil1. He was nearly fifty, but he was so confident in his memory that even though they had only met once, he could recognize that person as the driver of the Lu family’s crown prince.
“Hello, do you remember me?” Song Haiping took the initiative to approach first. He had a keen sense of smell. He could detect the smell of smoke on the other party and decisively offered him a cigarette. “My family’s child was naughty and ran onto the road and nearly caused you trouble. I’ve been wondering since then whether your car has had any issues.”
Song Haiping had gotten Xie Heng’s business card before he was able to return to his senses. It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought about contacting this crown prince, but rather that upon further consideration, many people wanted to climb up due to the Lu family’s status. This crown prince had only just been discharged after having a brush with death. Song Haiping wasn’t certain about the other party’s temperament and mind and could only bide his time.
He had never in a million years expected to run into Xie Heng’s driver in this city!
The driver, Sun Qiming, finally remembered after listening to Song Haiping’s words. It had been several months since the incident, after all. He accepted the cigarette and smiled. “You’re too courteous. There is no issue with the car.”
“I had just arrived in B City and didn’t recognize many people. I only found out after speaking with a friend that day that it was Mr. Xie.” Song Haiping looked around. “Is Mr. Xie here, too?”
Sun Qiming had followed Xie Heng around for several years.
In the past, he had dared to gain a profit through such opportunities. The boss had had a good temper and had been good-natured, so Sun Qinming had occasionally disclosed the boss’s whereabouts to others for money, such as that one family’s young miss2. But it was different now. He could feel that, ever since that time, his boss had not just had a huge change in temperament, but had also become inscrutable. The welfare benefits as a driver for the boss were not that great, but he also didn’t want to lose this job. So now, even if it were Madam Xie who asked, he would not easily reveal the boss’s whereabouts, let alone a stranger.
“No.” Sun Qiming’s tone became more perfunctory. “I still have something to do.”
In his words was the intent to leave.
Song Haiping didn’t expect that Xie Heng’s drivers to be so tight-lipped.
He wanted to ask, but all drivers were like this. He was considered to be someone with face in this city; he wouldn’t stoop so low as to smilingly flatter a driver.
But if Xie Heng’s driver was here in this city, then Xie Heng was also likely to be here.
He had to find someone to investigate. He wanted to focus on expanding his business into B City. The waters in B City ran deep; if he could latch onto a big boat like Xie Heng, even if it was just a small connection, he would have smooth sailing.
The first snow came earlier this year. In previous years, it had come on New Years; this year, it was on Christmas Eve.
But because of this snow, the Christmas spirit was even stronger.
Song Yuan was very aware of her capabilities. She had only gotten her driver’s license when she was in college, and the actual amount of time she had been on the road wasn’t that long. Don’t even mention driving on snowy days–she didn’t even dare to drive on rainy days. Today, snow was beginning to fall early in the morning. Although the ground wasn’t covered with snow, Song Yuan still changed her mind and decided not to drive for a while. Although there was no direct line to her uncle’s company by subway, there was one by bus, so it was still very easy to travel to work.
Rong Ting scurried out onto the balcony in fluffy pajamas. Looking at the snow outside, he couldn’t help but exclaim, “Auspicious snow heralds a prosperous year3!”
Both the house and the company had heating, and Song Yuan didn’t dare to go down the route of sacrificing warmth for fashion4. She simply wore a down jacket and put on a hat and gloves before getting ready to head out.
“Gugu, I’m heading to work.” Song Yuan stopped at the entrance. “It’s snowing today, so the auntie will probably be late. If you feel hungry, drink a cup of milk to pad your stomach.”
During this period of time, Song Haiping and Chen Linjing were both busy with social events and basically had no time to look after Rong Ting. Fortunately, the auntie they hired was kind and honest, and her cooking was good, which left Song Yuan at ease.
Of course, Rong Ting was also very stress-free. He already had the potential to be a homebody5. It didn’t matter if he couldn’t go out for one day–just give him a brush, paper, and ink, or give him a few books. If he had a bit more snacks and Yakult, he would be happy and content.
“En.” Rong Ting trotted over. “Mother Empress, be careful out there today.”
Song Yuan looked at Rong Ting and thought, it would be nice if Gugu were a girl. If he were a girl, she could hug him and kiss him and lift him up. Unfortunately, Gugu always insisted that “a grown son must avoid the mother.” He was only willing to accept holding hands, or a hug if he was extremely happy. As for a kiss…there had never been, nor would there likely ever be, such an occurrence.
Song Yuan exited the neighborhood community with an umbrella in hand.
It was quite cold today, but fortunately she wore many layers. It was probably due to the snow, but she noticed that the normally-sparse bus stop was almost completely packed with people today.
Her scheduled bus had arrived. She jogged over and just barely managed to make it. She swiped her bus card and headed for the middle.
“Please sit here.” Among the group of youths who pretended to sleep, one man dressed in an overcoat stood up and offered his seat to an old man.
The man’s white hair was quite conspicuous. At a glance, Song Yuan could recognize that this was the good-looking man she had run into at the bakery, as well as the man who had offered his help that day.
Evidently she wasn’t a common face, either. The handsome man also recognized her with a glance. After a stunned expression flashed across his face, he shot her a smile.
The two came and stood together as the bus traveled smoothly. The road was icy, and the driver didn’t dare to drive too fast, nor did the passengers dare to rush the driver or complain.
“Why didn’t you drive today?” Rong Heng asked in a warm voice.
Song Yuan grabbed a grab handle. She usually didn’t like to chat with strangers, but there were exceptions. For example, the handsome ge beside her shouldn’t count as a stranger. After all, she had helped her once. Moreover, he was so handsome, exactly matching her aesthetics.
“The snow makes it slippery, and my driving skills aren’t very good. I don’t dare to drive outside on such a day.”
When Song Yuan smiled, her eyes curved, and a pair of dimples appeared.
“And you?” Song Yuan paused, then asked him back.
Rong Heng was the type of upright handsome ge with well-proportioned features6. When he smiled, his entire being seemed gentle, which didn’t clash with the powerful and reserved aura around him.
“Me?” Rong Heng couldn’t help laughing and looked at Song Yuan. “Same as you. The snow makes it slippery, so to be safe, I took the bus.”
“There’s no telling how long it’ll snow. Looking at the weather forecast, it seems like it won’t clear up until after Christmas.”
The two made small talk with each other. Rong Heng was not very talkative, and neither was Song Yuan, but strangely enough, the two actually had a good conversation.
Arriving at her stop at about 8:30, Song Yuan prepared to get off the bus and said goodbye to Rong Heng. It was only after she got off that she realized that he had followed her off the bus.
His straight posture, his hands casually placed in his pockets, and his calm and composed attitude served as a sharp contrast to the crowd of office workers bustling around the bus stop.
“You also work around here?” Song Yuan was a little surprised.
What a coincidence! He probably also lived in her community, or at the very least not very far away. If he also worked nearby, then their travel routes would be over 95% similar.
Rong Heng was stunned, then shook his head. “No, I have some business here for the next few days.”
Song Yuan thought that was the case. If their travel routes overlapped so closely, she couldn’t have only met him twice.
“Oh, then goodbye. I have to go to work.” Song Yuan waved to Rong Heng with a smile.
She had always been beautiful, the school flower7 since she was a child. When she smiled, she was even more beautiful.
Rong Heng smiled and nodded, but he stood in the same place. His eyelids drooped, hiding the deep thoughts in his eyes.
Too many people and things had separated them. It was only now that he had regained what he had lost that he had returned to his senses. If, at the very beginning, she hadn’t smiled at him or had guarded against him, there were many things that wouldn’t have happened.
Workdays went by quickly. Most of the time, Song Yuan got off work on time; now that there was a child at home, even if she had to work overtime, she would take her work home to finish it.
The company’s rules were very humane. It got dark earlier in the winter, so lunch breaks were reduced by half an hour, and the end of the day was moved up to 5:30.
After work, Song Yuan went back by bus and prepared to go to the bakery. On a normal week, she would go to the bakery three or four times.
As soon as she entered the bakery, she spotted Rong Heng.
Rong Heng was in the middle of picking out toast. Hearing the sound of the door, he turned his head and saw Song Yuan. He was startled, then smiled again.
Song Yuan also didn’t expect to meet again at the bakery. But then again, it was peak rush hour; it wasn’t surprising for office workers to come to the bakery to pick up some bread for tomorrow’s breakfast.
She took the initiative to greet him. Although she still didn’t know this handsome ge’s name, since they had bumped into each other several times, they definitely weren’t strangers. Although they weren’t close enough to be friends or acquaintances, they were still close enough to greet each other.
Song Yuan and Rong Heng both paid their bills.
As she walked out of the bakery, Song Yuan noticed that it was starting to rain. She was a bit annoyed; she had brought an umbrella with her to work this morning. When she had lunch with her colleagues at noon, she had accidentally left her umbrella in the restaurant. She’d called the restaurant, but the front desk hadn’t seen it; it had probably been picked up.
The bakery wasn’t far from her neighborhood, but if she went back like this, her clothes would definitely be wet by the time she got home.
When Rong Heng came out, he opened his umbrella and saw Song Yuan standing to the side. After some thought, he said to her: “Did you not bring your umbrella? I can lend you mine.”
Song Yuan’s face wasn’t that thick-skinned. He only had one umbrella–if he lent it to her, then what about him?
She hurriedly shook her head, refusing his kind offer. “My house is actually nearby. It’s really close.”
Rong Heng made a sound of agreement. He held the umbrella in one hand and a bag of bread in the other and seemed to be pondering for a moment. He said again: “Since your home is nearby, I’ll walk you home. It’s easy to get sick if you go back while it’s raining, and it would be an inconvenience for you.”
By the time Song Yuan could react, she was already standing under the umbrella.
She couldn’t help but lament in her heart that she was too simpleminded.
Fortunately, most handsome men had integrity and that men who fit her aesthetics were hard to come by. Otherwise, with her weak-willed nature, she would instantly be deceived without even knowing it8.
The two didn’t talk much as they walked. Song Yuan carried her bag of bread. She didn’t know if it was her imagination, but she felt like there was an unusual smell coming from the other’s body. She had smelled it earlier that day, but there had been too many people on the bus, so she hadn’t thought much of it.
What sort of smell was it?
She couldn’t describe it. She didn’t think it was the smell of cologne or laundry detergent.
Song Yuan was so immersed in her own world that she didn’t notice Rong Heng had tilted the umbrella towards her. His shoulder was soaked.
As they arrived at the gates of the community, Song Yuan felt that this was the limit. She couldn’t let someone send her off at her building, as that would be giving away her home address, which was rather dangerous. She still had some clarity of mind.
Song Yuan knew that this person was her type.
At least from what she’d seen so far–whether it was his face, his figure, or his temperament! No matter what angle, he was the type of person that she would like.
Song Yuan was not shy or introverted. If it were the past, she definitely would have asked him for his contact information. But now, as the cold wind blew, she thought of her child at home, and suddenly that thought was gone.
Rong Heng could see Song Yuan’s hesitating9 appearance from the corner of his eye, but he didn’t speak, only giving her a slight smile. Once he had seen her enter the community, he turned away and left.
 见人见人话, 见鬼说鬼话: fig. to be flexible and know what to say in different situations and to different people. In a more negative sense, it means to be crafty, two-faced, or hypocritical
 千金小姐: a term that used to refer to the unmarried daughters of rich or noble families, but now is a term that can be used for any unmarried girl
 瑞雪兆丰年: a saying meaning that seasonal snow signals that the coming year will be a year of great harvests
 美丽冻人: lit. beautiful frozen people; (slang) fig. to dress up without regard for the weather in order to look good
 宅男: a guy who stays at home all the time, usually spending a lot of time playing online games; derived from the Japanese word “otaku”
 五官端正: I think this is referring to symmetric, well-proportioned facial features?
 校花: title referring to the prettiest girl in the school
 被人卖了还要帮人数钱: lit. to help count the money after being sold off. Refers to people who remain unaware that they’re being used by others and even believe that they are being helped
 欲言又止: to want to say something but then hesitate
Cheese: the slang for “type” (as in “you’re my type”) is 菜 which is also the word used for “dish” or “vegetable” so at first i was like?? what does this mean????
ALSO i am giving a heads up in advance! as some of you may be aware, i work full-time M-F while MTL-ing both MGCH (as part of a group) and MSTP (on my own). ive recently decided to take a side job tutoring, so i have even less time to translate than i did before, since i need to prep for those lessons–notes and homework and review and etc. etc. the reason im mentioning this is that, while i do have a few chapters in stock on the chance i cant translate a full chapter of mstp in one week, i may? start to change my schedule to posting twice a month, depending on how short on time i am.
hopefully that wont be the case (knocking on wood here), but i hope that everyone will be understanding if i get to that point. thanks so much for your continued support! ill do my best to continue with this series, even if it takes me a long time 🙂