Since Tang Wan was leaving to Beijing, Yang Chen didn’t want to trouble her any further. He wished them a safe trip and ended the phone call.
He felt slightly better after the conversation with Tang Wan. He looked at the time to realize it was late noon. Remembering the plan he had made to visit Liu Mingyu’s new place, he dialed her number.
Liu Mingyu was in her office, going through some documents of a newly established project. She had been quite busy after returning from Europe. She had increased the degree of the expansion for her company. As Yu Lei International’s wealth had skyrocketed, every single officer from the public relations department barely had time to take a breather because they were busy running around ensuring that the company would not collapse with the sudden increase of workflow.
Answering Yang Chen’s call, Liu Mingyu removed her black-framed glasses from the bridge of her nose. Allowing herself a wide grin, she could roughly work out the reason behind this phone call. “You’re finally free?” asked Liu Mingyu.
Yang Chen was surprised at how easily she could read his mind. He laughed bitterly and said, “What time do you get off work? I’ll come pick you up.”
“I have a car,” stated Liu Mingyu. “Anyway, you’re also a part of Yu Lei, you should know the working hours.”
Yang Chen touched his nose and replied, “You don’t have to be so brutal with someone so close! I’m just being considerate, aren’t I?”
“How fake. You just wanted to know if I would skip work,” Liu Mingyu said smilingly.
Yang Chen felt wronged. He never wanted her to skip work. But after giving it another thought, he realized that Liu Mingyu was dropping him a not so subtle hint. He then decided to play along, saying, “Ah so you noticed! Well since you already know, I’ll come pick you up from work and we’ll leave together. It’d be weird to go in separate cars.”
“Now you’re talking,” uttered Liu Mingyu before hanging up on him.
She had been all over the company for the past few days. When a chance to see Yang Chen presented itself, she figured it was a good idea to take a little break.
Half an hour later, Yang Chen drove out of the parking lot at Yu Lei with Liu Mingyu in the passenger seat. They were listening to an album by Adele—the very same one Rose had bought yesterday.
This made Liu Mingyu ask in a curious voice, “Oh I couldn’t tell you liked Adele’s songs. And here I thought someone who was so heartless like yourself couldn’t appreciate good music.”
“What do you mean by heartless?” Yang Chen pursed his lips, dissatisfied. “There are literally a hundred other ways to describe me? Casanova, or another word like that sounds way better! Anyway, the CD is not mine.”
“Whose is it then?” wondered Liu Mingyu.
Yang Chen thought for a while and said, “It’s Rose’s. She was listening to it in my car yesterday.”
Liu Mingyu knew who Rose was. Because of Liu Qingshan, she knew that Yang Chen had a lover—the president of the Red Thorns Society, Situ Qiangwei.
Now that Yang Chen had mentioned Rose, Liu Mingyu merely nodded and continued, “Oh, her. I would quite like to meet her in the future if possible.”
Yang Chen laughed in his head. Both of you are actually from the underworld.
They had journeyed for some time when Yang Chen suddenly questioned Liu Mingyu, “You still haven’t told me where you live.”
She pondered for a moment. “Let’s not head back just yet. I should do a little grocery shopping for some ingredients. I’ll make you dinner tonight.”
This was fine by Yang Chen. After all, the only women by his side who could cook were only Mo Qianni and Lin Ruoxi. So when Liu Mingyu suggested that she’d make him a home cooked meal, he was more than willing to oblige.
Upon arriving at the market, Yang Chen and Liu Mingyu looked just like a pair of young couple who had just gotten off from work.
Liu Mingyu was every bit the same as any normal girl was. Before her father had come into the picture, she was living the life of an ordinary city girl.
As they walked down the street, Liu Mingyu would bargain on everything she was interested in buying. She would argue with the old seller and threaten to leave if they didn’t comply with her. Yang Chen had to play along with her by putting up an impatient look on his face.
Everything started to unfold before Yang Chen. He wondered, Is Lin Ruoxi also like this when she’s out with Wang Ma at the market? No, it can’t be. Even though she’s been more chatty these days, that didn’t mean she was the same to strangers. Bargaining? She probably wouldn’t have dreamt of it in her next life.
Liu Mingyu’s lips were stretched into crescents whenever she managed to get a lower price for her goods. She would pass the bags to Yang Chen and proceed to the next stall.
Yang Chen asked incredulously, “That happy? It’s not like we aren’t well to do. You spent so much time just to save one or two dollars. What’s so great about that?”
Liu Mingyu pouted and rolled her eyes. “What are you blabbering about? It’s not about the money. It’s the process of bargaining which I enjoy very much. If I were to stop doing that then you might as well just kill me.”
“Did your mom teach you that?” asked Yang Chen, curious.
Liu Mingyu nodded and smiled lightly. “When I was little, my mom raised me because my father was still in Beijing. We weren’t well-off. Every penny saved is a penny earned. It’s a habit, bargaining. Mom used to do it all the time. Even though I’m working in the fashion industry now, I still know the worth of the market goods. A lot of things are worth very little once you strip off its branding.”
Yang Chen observed the delighted and somewhat adorable expression on Liu Mingyu’s face and sighed. It sure seems like I don’t understand the women around me as well as I thought. Can’t believe someone elegant like Mingyu has this side to her, he thought.
It is natural for a person to share the same interests as their lovers. So Yang Chen had quickly gotten used to Liu Mingyu’s shouts while bargaining in no time; he even joined in shortly after.
While entertaining, this method of shopping for goods was a lengthy one. After approximately half an hour, Liu Mingyu had finally finished buying the ingredients she needed.
The sun had already disappeared from the sky when they arrived at Liu Mingyu’s new home. It was a seemingly high-end apartment.
The area had adapted the ‘go-green’ concept; even the air conditioner was operated by geothermal energy and underground waters. There was only one condominium unit on each floor which justified it’s price of a small fortune.
Liu Qingshan was rather generous towards his own daughter. Otherwise, Liu Mingyu would never be have been able to purchase a place like that which costed millions only using her hard-earned salary.
Holding multiple plastic bags filled with fresh vegetables and meat, Yang Chen followed Liu Mingyu up to the top-most floor. The entirety of this floor was hers to enjoy. What a waste!
“Tsk tsk, having a rich father certainly shows its benefits,” exclaimed Yang Chen while smiling.
Liu Mingyu blushed. “I didn’t want to stay here. My father forced me to.”
“What is there to be embarrassed about? He left you and your mother behind and stayed in Beijing for so many years. He’s trying to make it up to you. He’d be overjoyed if you were willing to spend some of his money,” encouraged Yang Chen.
She ignored him and proceeded to open the door. She then asked Yang Chen to put the bags in the kitchen.
The entire condominium interior had a milky white accent to its decor; the light brown sofa was made of real leather; a patterned sheepskin carpet was laid out on the floor and there were all sorts of the high-tech gadgets in the room. There was even a massage chair worth ten thousand yuan fixed in her house.
This apartment was even more elegant and expensive than where the CEO Lin Ruoxi stayed. The renovation alone could’ve easily costed millions. Liu Qingshan had indeed spent a ton on his daughter!
“You can rest while I prepare the meal. It’ll take about an hour or so,” said Liu Mingyu while taking off her work outfit. She slipped into a thin, light blue t-shirt and a pair of white skinny jeans. She let her hair down, allowing her to look more relaxed.
“An hour? That’s too long!” muttered Yang Chen despairingly. “I thought it would take half an hour at most. I’m so hungry already. Why not let me help you? I may not be good at cooking but I’m quite an expert in working with knives.”
“Can you really do it?” asked Liu Mingyu, giving him a suspicious look. “What if you cut your finger?”
“If I cut my finger, it’d be because of you, not me,” laughed Yang Chen.
“Why would it be me?” Liu Mingyu retorted.
Yang Chen put on an appreciative look and said, “Having such a gorgeous lady cook next to me might make me lose focus. So of course I’d cut my finger!”
“Stop fooling around. I think it’d be better if you just kept quiet.” Liu Mingyu actually felt warm in her heart, as opposed to what she expressed.
It was decided then. Yang Chen would do the cutting and dicing, and Liu Mingyu was in charge of cooking. The pair looked exactly like a couple while their laughter drifted across the kitchen.
Yang Chen was quite the skilled cutter. He could even close his eyes while cutting the potatoes. After finishing up with his part, he leaned against the kitchen door and stared at Liu Mingyu, who was busy cooking in her apron.
It was common knowledge that women were attracted to men who knew how to be serious. For guys, a woman immersed in cooking was just as charming.
A fuzzy warm feeling spread through Yang Chen’s heart. He recalled what he had been through with Liu Mingyu since the day they met, and realized that he was spending less and less time with her as time passed.
But in all honesty, Liu Mingyu never asked for much. The reason she was so focused in preparing this meal was because she knew how rare a night like this was—she had to cherish this opportunity.
Love—it is often not about how much one could gain, but how much they could do for one another.