Murong Shi was responsible for choosing the dinner location tonight, and she had chosen a vegetarian restaurant. Fearing that Xu Chuanchuan might not be used to eating vegetarian food, Murong Shi patiently explained, "The chef of this restaurant is very skilled. The vegetarian chicken and duck he makes are delicious. The vegetarian abalone is unique as well. My mother especially likes the food served here."
Although the food was vegetarian, the prices were not low. When Xu Chuanchuan saw the prices on the menu, she quietly said to Murong Shi, "Don't pick such an expensive place in the future. It's not worth it."
Raising an eyebrow, Murong Shi said, "You're the one who's afraid of being seen by the people in the company. This is one of the only few places I can think of where we're unlikely to be seen."
Xu Chuanchuan didn't know how to refute Murong Shi's words.
Murong Shi closed the menu she held. Then, she looked at Xu Chuanchuan and asked, "Are you that unwilling to come out for dinner with me?"
"No, that's not the case," Xu Chuanchuan hurriedly said. "I...I'm just afraid it will create misunderstandings if other people see us."
"What kind of misunderstanding?"
"You're part of management in the company, while I'm just a low-level employee. If others see us together, they might think I'm trying to pander to you."
Murong Shi stopped talking.
Seeing as the food had yet to arrive, Xu Chuanchuan pondered for a moment before deciding to ask the question plaguing her mind. "Don't you think that our statuses are incompatible?"
"As I said before, you're part of management, while I'm just a low-level employee. With your conditions, how can you possibly take a liking to me..." Xu Chuanchuan said, her voice growing increasingly meeker as she spoke. Her head also fell lower and lower.
Murong Shi stared at the crown of Xu Chuanchuan's head for a moment. Then, in a self-ridicule tone, she said, "If it weren't for my parents, wouldn't I be as ordinary as you are now?"
Then, Xu Chuanchuan muttered, "Of course not. You scored over a hundred points more than I did in the national exam."
Murong Shi scratched her head at these words. Then, sighing, she said, "Xu Chuanchuan, don't try to complicate your feelings. Otherwise, what interest is there in life?"
Xu Chuanchuan admitted that Murong Shi had successfully comforted her. Then, she thought to herself in realization, Let's just go with the flow, then.
Xu Chuanchuan felt relatively happy over her interactions with Murong Shi for the past few days. In private, Murong Shi wasn't as domineering as she was at work. On the contrary, Murong Shi had taken great care of Xu Chuanchuan. She would even gently wipe any food stains Xu Chuanchuan had on her mouth.
Moreover, Murong Shi did not force Xu Chuanchuan into doing anything she did not want to do, such as forcing a kiss onto her. Overall, the two of them spent their time warmly and leisurely together.
After having dinner every day, Murong Shi would also personally send Xu Chuanchuan back to the dorm. When they arrived at the company building, they would always mimic their first date and have a leisurely chat in the car after turning off the lights.
This time, though, Murong Shi had seemingly forgotten to turn off the lights. With the car's interior brightly lit, Xu Chuanchuan was too embarrassed to look directly at the person next to her.
Even so, the two of them still started chatting aimlessly again. Finally, after running out of topics to talk about, Xu Chuanchuan suddenly asked, "I've been curious about this for a long time now, but why are you using your mother's surname?"
Murong Shi's expression changed slightly at this question. Then, she slowly said, "I used to have a twin brother."
"This is a secret that only people in my family know. Do you know why that's the case?"
Xu Chuanchuan shook her head.
Putting on a bitter smile, Murong Shi said, "My maternal grandparents were overjoyed when they found out my mother gave birth to twins. Although my two uncles already had children of their own back then, their firstborns were both boys. However, my maternal grandparents liked girls. So, to please the two elders, my father decided to change my surname to Murong.
"Unfortunately, nobody could've imagined that my unfortunate brother was born with cerebral palsy. He died before reaching ten years old. My mother ended up falling severely ill after his death. Later on, a monk paid a visit to my house. I don't know what the monk said, but he succeeded in helping my mother get better. From then onward, my mother became a vegetarian and a devoted believer of Buddha. Doesn't this story sound like a soap opera?"
Xu Chuanchuan never thought that her casual question would lead to the uncovering of such a shocking secret. Then, lowering her eyes, she said, "I'm sorry."
However, Murong Shi nonchalantly said, "It's fine. It's been such a long time already. I've long since forgotten what he looks like. My mother, though, has never been able to let go."
The topic had become too heavy for her to bear, so Xu Chuanchuan hurriedly pointed at a restaurant across the street and said, "The food that Japanese restaurant there serves is insanely good."
Murong Shi couldn't help but laugh when she saw Xu Chuanchuan's actions. Then, stretching out her thump to scrap Xu Chuanchuan's chin, she said, "I told you to leave some for me, yet you still drank the whole bottle of beer."
Xu Chuanchuan's face instantly heat up. Then, she said, "You still need to drive home, so I drank it on your behalf."
Murong Shi's eyes gradually darkened. Then, in an ambiguous tone, she said, "I'm going to get it back now."
Murong Shi had been staring at her lips all this time, so Xu Chuanchuan didn't even have to ask to know what was going through the other party's mind. After hurriedly pushing Murong Shi's hand away, she softly reminded, "It's all over if we get seen by other colleagues in the company.'
"We'll turn off the lights, then," Murong Shi said, immediately acting on her words.
When the car darkened, Xu Chuanchuan couldn't help but clutch the hem of her shirt nervously. When she sensed Murong Shi's presence moving closer to her, her heart started beating furiously.
Then, Murong Shi held one of Xu Chuanchuan's hands and used her other hand to caress Xu Chuanchuan's face. In response, Xu Chuanchuan cooperatively shut her eyes and quietly waited for the kiss to come.
However, at the critical moment, a cheerful ringtone sounded, and the two of them ended up separating before they even made contact with each other.
The ringtone came from the front of the car. After reaching for her phone and looking at the display, Murong Shi helplessly said, "It's my mom."
Out of everyone in Murong Shi's contacts, Murong Mingshu was the only person she couldn't ignore.
After calming her breathing, Murong Shi accepted the call and said, "Mom? Don't worry. I'll head back right away. No need to wait for me. You go to bed first. Good night."
The wonderful atmosphere was instantly destroyed.
Relying on the faint light given off by her phone, Murong Shi looked at Xu Chuanchuan's lips for a moment. Then, after some hesitation, she turned the lights back on.
How embarrassing, Xu Chuanchuan thought as she straightened out her crumpled shirt. Then, she said, "You should hurry back home. Don't let your family worry."
It wasn't even 10 PM yet when Xu Chuanchuan arrived back in her room.
When Xu Chuanchuan pulled out her phone from her pocket, she saw a message from Ange, stating: "You've ignored my invites to write together for three days now. Something must be up. [Light a cigarette]"
Xu Chuanchuan: "I've been dying from writer's block recently. I'm facing a lot of trouble writing the start of the new book."
Ange: "Is it because of writer's block, or is it because of an unspeakable secret? Don't try to fool me. [Light a cigarette]"
Sure enough, lies are useless against Ange, Xu Chuanchuan thought. Then, she decided to come clean and replied, "I'm sorry. I've been busy dating recently…"
Ange: "If my guess is correct, you should be together with your boss's daughter, right?"
Xu Chuanchuan: "...It's a waste for you not to become a fortune teller."
Ange: "Hah… Tang'er, I've misjudged you. To think that you even swore to me last week that you weren't bent. You told me you would straighten things out with her. Yet, you still ended up falling!"
Ange's words were like slaps to Xu Chuanchuan's face. Xu Chuanchuan felt so guilty that she didn't know how to respond.
Ange: "I'm not convinced. Just how am I worse than her?"
Xu Chuanchuan: "What???"
Ange: "She dares steal my woman right under my nose! I think she's tired of living! Tang'er, wait for me! I'll fly over this Saturday! I'll come and save you!!!"
With a shocked expression, Xu Chuanchuan asked: "Little Ange, are you alright?"
Ange: "Alright, alright, I'll stop messing with you. Didn't I tell you that the filming for The End Of The World's drama has already begun? The production crew invited me for a visit this weekend. I'm thinking of going over and learning a thing or two."
The End Of The World was a drama based on Ange's fantasy novels, and it had just begun filming last month. Xu Chuanchuan still remembered this matter since she had even congratulated Ange when the other party made a Weibo post about it.
Ange was a very talented person. However, after writing for over a decade, her inspiration had started to dry out. So, she had been thinking about changing industries. As many of her novels had started being turned into films, Ange had also accumulated a lot of new knowledge about the entertainment industry, so she started considering working as a screenwriter in the future. If she could tag along with a film crew, she could gain some more useful knowledge about the entertainment industry, which would be of immense help when she decided to stop working as an author.
Meanwhile, The End Of The World's filming took place in the city neighboring S City, which was the city Xu Chuanchuan lived in. Noting this, Ange decided to use this opportunity to finally meet her good friend in person.
Ange: "Do you want to join me in visiting the production crew?"
Without even thinking over the question, Xu Chuanchuan answered: "Sure!"
However, the next day, Xu Chuanchuan started having a headache when Murong Shi asked her, "Do you want to go out on the weekend?"
Xu Chuanchuan had been so happy about Ange's invitation that she had forgotten entirely about her one-week promise to Murong Shi. However, visiting a film crew was an opportunity that rarely came. If she missed it, she might not get another chance like this again. In comparison, she had plenty of time to go on dates.
When Xu Chuanchuan weighed the two options, she ended up choosing to abandon Murong Shi. Then, after hesitating for some time, she said, "I have something to do on the weekend."
"What is it?"
"I agreed with someone to make a trip to G City."
Wearing a calm expression, Murong Shi asked, "How many days will you be gone?"
In reality, Murong Shi was already unhappy about this matter. Only, she didn't show it on her face. Then, she continued asking, "Is it a woman?"
"Is the other party a woman?"
Xu Chuanchuan nodded.
Narrowing her eyes, Murong Shi asked, "Is she more beautiful than me?"
This question stumped Xu Chuanchuan. To maintain a sense of mystery, she had only agreed with Ange to identify each other by clothing and a special code. They never showed each other pictures of themselves.
After pondering for some time, Xu Chuanchuan eventually smiled and said, "She's definitely not as beautiful as you! You're the most beautiful person I've ever seen!"
"Give me a kiss, and I'll believe you."
After mentally struggling for some time, Xu Chuanchuan ended up kissing Murong Shi on the cheek.
"I'm talking about this place," Murong Shi said, pointing at her lips.
Xu Chuanchuan: "..."
As for the novel I have selected to translate, it will be Miss Biao is Always Busy (will be changing it to Miss Cousin is Always Busy). I can't give you an exact date for the novel's release date, but it should be within one or two weeks. Look forward to it. :)
Other novels I translate on Hosted Novel:
Pantsu Hero Alice (PHA)
Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God (Side Stories)