About twenty minutes later, the couple were seated in a noodles restaurant on the outer rim of the west-district market.
Due to poor ventilation and the use of lard, the walls and old tables and chairs in the restaurant were coated in a layer of dirty oil. There wasn’t a common theme or color to the newspapers and posters on the wall. In short, the whole restaurant looked like a chaotic mess.
The air in the restaurant was filled with the smell of gas from the road and the smell of oil from the kitchen. It made the air look slightly foggy.
As it was already pass lunchtime, there weren’t many people in the restaurant. Yang Chen and Lin Ruoxi sat opposite each other at a square table placed at the entrance of this restaurant.
A huge empty bowl of noodles sat in front of Yang Chen. At the same time, he was already busy slurping his second bowl of noodles—green mustard shredded pork noodles—and he did not seem intent on stopping.
Lin Ruoxi stared straight at the man who was gorging on his food before her eyes. She bit on her lips with her brows locked together, her eyes filled with annoyance.
She, too, was holding a pair of chopsticks. But her hands hadn’t moved an inch, and she didn’t even take a single bite out of the green mustard noodles before her.
Yang Chen had eaten half of his noodles. He drank a mouthful of the oily noodle soup before he asked curiously, “Dear, why aren’t you eating? This noodle restaurant’s chef has quite the skill. I used to come here often when I was still selling mutton skewers. It’s a pity they don’t have any fresh pork liver left. Pork liver noodles taste even better than this.”
Lin Ruoxi suppressed her annoyance forcefully and asked, clenching her teeth, “The place you mentioned that you wanted to bring me was a noodle parlor?!”
Yang Chen grinned cheekily, “Didn’t you tell Wang Ma that you wanted to eat green mustard noodles? I still remember it, that’s why I thought of this noodles restaurant. They serve big portions of noodles here. On top of that, their prices are reasonable at five yuan per bowl. If we were in those restaurants out there, this could easily cost us more than ten or twenty yuan.”
Noticing that Lin Ruoxi’s expression were shifting back and forth, Yang Chen stroked the back of his head with his oily hands and asked, “Why are you looking at me like that? Could it be that you’ve suddenly realized how thoughtful I am? It’s no big deal. I haven’t had breakfast nor lunch yet, my stomach was empty and so I thought of having lunch.”
Lin Ruoxi thought to herself repeatedly, I can’t take things serious with this man, or else I would die from self-irritation. I must stay calm.
I thought this fellow would bring me to some romantic place and say some words to console me, or even give me some surprise.
But! I can’t believe he brought me to this small stall for noodles!
Lin Ruoxi looked around at the dirty walls in the restaurant, and at the serviettes and disposable chopsticks that have been thrown all over the place on the floor. She was this close to hurling her handbag at this man’s face!
Yang Chen gave it some thought and a flash of realization struck his eyes. He smiled and said, “It slipped my mind. Our Boss Lin has had a luxurious life since young. Hmm… you’re different from a wild child like me who would gladly eat raw meat to survive. Forget it, since you find it dirty here, give me your noodles. I still have the stomach for one more bowl.”
As he spoke, he reached his hand out towards the big bowl before Lin Ruoxi and was about to pull it towards himself.
Lin Ruoxi quickly stopped Yang Chen with both her hands and said angrily, “Are you mocking me for being spoiled and unable to endure hardship now?”
“No. Everyone has his or her own way of living. It’s nothing,” Yang Chen said with a relaxed smile.
“Do you think that I can’t tell? You’re a man but you’re always beating around the bush and being so petty.” Lin Ruoxi glared at him. She held tightly onto her bowl and sent the noodles into her mouth using her chopstick. She spoke again after taking a bite, “What you can eat, I can eat too. Don’t look down on me!”
Yang Chen lost control and broke into laughter. He said, “Look at you being all angry now. Your face is so puffed up it’s turning into a steamed bun. I was just joking. I know you can endure hardship. After all, this ‘hardship’ that you’re suffering in your taste buds now is nothing compared to the hardship that you have been through in your heart.”
Lin Ruoxi soon stopped moving her chopsticks. She pursed her lips and asked softly, “Can you promise me something?”
“Mmm.” Yang Chen raised his brows.
“Promise me, that in the future no matter the reason, you will never bring up those unhappy memories again.” Lin Ruoxi looked at Yang Chen and said, “I think that it’s very upsetting.”
Yang Chen shook his head and smiled. “You mean things like eating dead human meat? I have already let go of that. It’s just like a different me who’s living in another world. You can think of it as my previous life. It’s nothing to me.”
Lin Ruoxi shook her head too and said gently, “No, I’m the one who will be upset. I don’t want you to use your smile right now to mention those memories of the past.”
Yang Chen was silent. He met Lin Ruoxi’s gaze, and a faint feeling possessed his heart.
Finally, Yang Chen let out a casual smile and said, “Okay, I promise. Look at you, you’re frowning so much. I won’t mention it in the future.”
“Mm…” Lin Ruoxi finally continued eating her noodles.
Yang Chen asked, “Dear, it’s our wedding anniversary today. We received our marriage certificate last year at this exact date. Are you very disappointed that I didn’t prepare any special present for you?”
Lin Ruoxi said without even looking at him, “Didn’t you have a present? That agreement that you tore apart.”’
Yang Chen grinned, “You’re still mad at me…”
Lin Ruoxi sighed. “I’m not like you. These things don’t matter to me. I’ll be glad as long as you don’t follow me to the airport next time.”
Yang Chen looked awkward. He forced a smile and immediately snuck his head down to eat his noodles.
In the midst of eating, Lin Ruoxi suddenly asked again, “About Qianni… what are your plans for her?”
Yang Chen was startled. He asked awkwardly, “Why did you bring this up so suddenly?”
“Qianni often loses focus during her work. Although I have no reason to support anything between the two of you, I don’t want my right-hand woman to let her personal affairs affect her work performance,” Lin Ruoxi said, “I have no interest in your dealings with her. And I won’t make any compromises. But I hope that you can resolve the matter as soon as possible.”
Yang Chen said with a slightly bitter expression, “I don’t know how to be at two places at once, so I can’t take care of everything at the same time. But I will definitely resolve the matter. But Babe Ruoxi, can’t you just… I don’t know… ease up your policies a little?”
Lin Ruoxi glanced at him coldly. “We have already agreed on a year’s time. There are only a few months left. I won’t reject anything outright. Of course, I know that I have many flaws, that’s why I’ve been putting in effort.”
“Then what will happen when the one year’s period is up?” Yang Chen probed.
Lin Ruoxi’s expressions changed back and forth for quite a while. She answered, “Don’t ask me. We’ll talk about it when it’s time.”
Yang Chen was jumping with happiness in his heart. Perhaps Lin Ruoxi had been influenced after hearing about the Cai sisters’ matters. Her attitude now was much softer than before.
We’ll talk about it when it’s time? That means nothing is set in stone. A human heart is made of flesh. No matter how much she hates it, Ruoxi will find it difficult to ignore what the other women have done for me, Yang Chen thought.
After they had finished their much-delayed lunch, Yang Chen drove Lin Ruoxi back to the company.
When they reached the car park of the company, Lin Ruoxi alighted with a worried look. She was a little afraid of entering the lift and going upstairs.
Yang Chen suddenly grabbed onto Lin Ruoxi’s hand and said smilingly, “You look so worried. Aren’t you just worried that everyone has found out about our relationship? If you don’t dare to go in alone, I’ll drag you up.”
Lin Ruoxi quickly swung his hand off and said, “Forget it. It was… it was embarrassing enough to be taken away by you like that. You better return to work. I don’t think anyone would openly laugh at me.”
Yang Chen looked completely in agreement with what she had said, “That’s true. With this stressful vibe that Boss Lin gives off, normal people wouldn’t even dare to take a second look at you.”
“If you are done mocking me, you may leave.” Lin Ruoxi rolled her eyes at the man. She turned and entered the lift.
Before the doors of the lift closed, Yang Chen put his hands into his pockets and said with a mysterious smile, “I’ll have a special present for you to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Make sure you’re mentally prepared later.”
Lin Ruoxi was startled. She realized immediately that something special might happen, but before she could ask, the lift had already started ascending.
Yang Chen turned around and pulled his phone out. He went through his contacts and found Hui Lin’s mobile number, which he dialed.
Because Yang Chen had specially ordered for Hui Lin to always carry her own phone, she picked up the call immediately this time. She asked happily, “Brother Yang, why have you called so suddenly? Have you reached home?”
“Yup, I’ve reached some time ago.” Yang Chen asked smilingly, “Are you busy with your work?”
“There is quite a lot of work. But these uncles and aunts that you have introduced are all very professional. They’re really amazing. They’re making rapid progress in all of their work. Even Deputy Director Zhuang Feng was shocked. By the way, Brother Yang, is something up?”
Yang Chen clicked his tongue and said, “Hui Lin, it’s a rather special day today for your sister and me. I know that you’re busy preparing for your concert, but I would like you to take a few hours off and help me do something.”
“It’s about Brother Yang and Elder Sister?” Hui Lin was slightly baffled, but she immediately said, “I’m definitely glad to do it. But my schedule is jam-packed. I wonder if my manager Uncle Downey would agree to it.”
Yang Chen smiled and said, “Rest assured. None of them would dare to reject what I say.”
At the same time, Lin Ruoxi who was going up in the lift hung a weird expression on her face.
As the lift stopped at a few floors on the way up, every employee and executive that saw her was stunned for a while before they greeted her.
Lin Ruoxi could sense that the entire company was talking about the relationship between Yang Chen and her. This made her unable to calm herself down despite her usual composed manner. But she was surprised to feel a sense of relief too.
Perhaps, I should have let all these matters known to the public since long ago, Lin Ruoxi muttered in her heart.