“11:30AM, the meeting ends.”
“11:35AM, in the office. Looking at your financial report.”
“12:30PM, eat. Attached photos 1, 2, 3, it’s not as delicious as your cooking.”
“1:30PM, meeting with clients. Negotiation topics include…..”
“4:00PM, go back to the office. Process documents.”
“6:00PM, get off work. Driving to pick you up.”
“6:30PM, traffic jam. Want to call you.”
“7:30PM, I’m at the gate of your school, do you want to drink milk tea?”
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Starting from that day, Tao Mu would receive at least 15 FlyNews messages from Li Xiaoheng every day. At an average of one message every one to two hours reporting his daily itinerary. If Tao Mu did not reply on time, Li Xiaoheng would know that Tao Mu was busy, so he would wait patiently. If Tao Mu responded on time, Li Xiaoheng would call immediately to say a few words while racing against time——
Generally speaking, the time for phone calls was at noon or during traffic jams when getting off work every evening. The content of the calls were very varied, from work to life to Tao Mu’s acting classes.
Knowing that Tao Mu was filming a drama performance for finals, Li Xiaoheng also subtly proposed that he wanted to watch Tao Mu’s performance. As a qualified capitalist, Mr. Bigwig Li especially knew to bring in allies when making a request. He successfully lobbied for Mr. Song, Liu Yao, Meng Qi, and dean Tao, who also wanted to watch Tao Mu’s finals drama performance, to watch Tao Mu’s performance in the form of a family member group.
Tao Mu would never refuse Mr. Song and his Dads, and dean Tao, who had recently been depressed and finally managed to cheer up and say she wanted to watch him act. So Li Xiaoheng incidentally got a ticket as well.
Tao Mu cooked seriously in front of the stove. Li Xiaoheng took off his coat and suit jacket, wearing only a shirt, and sat at the dinner table looking at his laptop. Although the short trade in the international crude oil futures market had been almost finished being dealt with, Tao Mu and Li Xiaoheng still didn’t want to let go of the international market. From international crude oil to the trading of various commodities, from the financial market of country M to the international banking and insurance industry, as well as the global manufacturing industry that was unsustainable by the financial crisis.
It was just that what was different from the previous situation was that Mr. Li nowadays would spare some of his energy from the computer screen every once in a while, and use the brief moments of resting his eyes to pour a glass of water and dry a towel for Tao Mu. Occasionally, he would also go to Mr. Song and ask what kind of soup is good to drink for those who often stay up too late and if he would teach him the steps to cooking it.
At this time Tao Mu would subconsciously raise his head, his eyes falling on Li Xiaoheng, who was humbly asking for advice from Mr. Song. After a few glances, he would go back to paying attention to the stove in front of him.
Li Xiaoheng generally did not chat with him while Tao Mu was cooking so as not to distract Tao Mu. But after he cooked a pot of health soup under the guidance of Mr. Song, he would serve Tao Mu the first bowl, and let Tao Mu comment on his craftsmanship.
The next few bowls naturally belonged to Mr. Song and Tao Mu’s Dads. Sometimes when dean Tao came over, he would also share a bowl with dean Tao. The rest would then be packed and taken home for his parents to drink.
After cooking soup so frequently, Li Xiaoheng would buy a new batch of ingredients for Song Ji under the excuse of him having consumed too many ingredients. Of course, Tao Mu used the weekend time to accompany him to the farmer’s market early in the morning to buy these ingredients.
Then Li Xiaoheng would treat Tao Mu to a meal and watch a movie on the grounds that Tao Mu had tired himself out while buying food with him so early in the morning.
Although he wanted to pursue Tao Mu, Li Xiaoheng’s presence was not very strong most of the time. He would not pull any sensationalist acts under the excuse of pursuit like those eighteen or nineteen-year-old boys.
Except for the daily reporting of his itinerary, and taking Tao Mu to Song Ji from school on time, the way the two got along was almost the same as before the confession. At best, Li Xiaoheng really started to learn how to cook.
However, even if there was no change in the communication mode of the two, and they rarely even mention the words related to dating in the conversation. Some people still keenly perceive that the atmosphere between the two had become different.
Except Tao Mu, Mr. Song, who had never taught others how to cook, silently taught Li Xiaoheng to cook soup. He actually didn’t agree with Tao Mu being with a man. Song Daozhen’s character had always been rigid and traditional. He believed that men were born to marry wives and have children and carry on the bloodline.
Not mentioning the harmony between yin and yang being the right way. Just saying two men being together was originally an unreliable thing. Even young men and women, there was still a chance of breaking up. Even if they married, if they didn’t have children, it was very easy to break up. Therefore, a family was complete and stable only after having a child. Children were the bond that maintained both parents. But if Tao Mu was with Li Xiaoheng, he might never have a child of his own in this life.
Besides, Li Xiaoheng was born in such a family. Could his family agree with Li Xiaoheng marrying a man? Their Tao Mu was originally an orphan, and hadn’t enjoyed what it was like to be part of a normal family for so many years. The gap between the two families was so big, the two households not matching in status at all. If Tao Mu was bullied by the Li family, he could certainly drag his old bones over to ask for an explanation. But the key was that when two people got married and lived their own lives, was it just to fight and argue?
So, Mr. Song didn’t say anything in front of Li Xiaoheng, but he held Tao Mu’s hand behind his back and tried to persuade him. He wanted to take this chance while the feelings between the two had not yet deepened. It’s not that grandpa doesn’t let you find a man, but even if you are looking for a man, we have to find the right one, and find someone you can manage. That way in the future, we will not be afraid of being at a disadvantage when you two get married and have a quarrel.
Liu Yao and Meng Qi also thought the same too. After knowing that Li Xiaoheng started chasing Tao Mu, Liu Yao even sent Da Hui to inquire about Li Xiaoheng’s personality. When he was studying in M country, was his private life a mess, whether his family had already decided on a fiancee for him, or even if he was not engaged, whether they already had a daughter-in-law choice in mind. And also the Li family’s style of acting, were they the kind of people who would throw a check and insult others if they didn’t agree with their son’s choice of life partner?
“Our Mu Mu is such a good boy. Establishing FlyNews.com when only 18 years old. Having shorted oil and made hundreds of millions of dollars. And on top of all that he also looked handsome and has a good personality. How could he not be able to find a suitable life partner? If he really wanted to date surnamed Li, we also don’t have to look down on ourselves.”
The couple didn’t think about it as long-term as Mr. Song. Getting married and having children or something. Their Tao Mu was only nineteen years old. Even if he played around for the next ten years he still wouldn’t have reached 30, so why be worried? The ones who should be anxious were Li Xiaoheng and the Li family. If they could afford to wait then wait, if not then just find someone else.
“In these three to five years, you should just ignore him.” Meng Qi told Tao Mu, “Anyway, didn’t you plan on not dating? Men should put their careers first, once your career is on track what kind of men and women can’t you find? Besides, if you plan to be an actor, will there be a lack in pretty girls and handsome boys in the entertainment industry? Moreover, they can play and have fun, unlike that Mr. Li, who can’t even say ten words a day. Only knowing to work, and then thinking of chasing you in his spare time when there is no work.” Did he take their Tao Mu as a pastime?
Meng Qi was worried that Tao Mu was too young and inexperienced and had not met many men, let alone men willing to treat him well. And as a result just casually getting touched by Li Xiaoheng’s pursuit. So Meng Qi deliberately distorted Li Xiaoheng’s actions to let Tao Mu remain vigilant at all times.
“No matter whether men or women, they are bad in nature. Those who they easily get they won’t cherish. Have you heard of sunk costs? How much he spends on you, how much he invests in you, proves how valuable you are in his eyes. So don’t believe in the bullshit they use to fool innocent boys and girls outside. If a man refuses to spend money on you when he is poor, and refuses to spend time and money on you when he is rich, then it proves that even if he has feelings for you, these feelings are also limited.”
As the once popular male escort at Night, Meng Qi believed that he had a special understanding of the relationship between men and women, men and men. In a few words, if Tao Mu was really an innocent boy unfamiliar with the world, he would definitely be fooled.
However, Tao Mu had lived two lifetimes, and he had his own unique insights on feelings: “Li Xiaoheng shouldn’t be that kind of person. I believe he is sincere at this moment.”
However, Tao Mu had experienced the whole process of “sincere feelings becoming hateful enmity” in his previous life. And more than once. So even if Li Xiaoheng was really interested in him at this moment, Tao Mu didn’t dare to believe it.
Back then, when Zhuo Yan chased him, they went from sincere lovers who share the same bed to turning into enemies. Just happened to come across the seven year itch. How long could Li Xiaoheng’s sincerity last?
When the warranty period had passed, everyone could withdraw, but Tao Mu was afraid that he would not be able to withdraw.
He had no strength anymore to once again commit suicide by jumping off the building.
Even if there was no romantic love in this life, he could also just be content with familial love from old man Song, Yao Dad, Xiao Qi Dad, and dean Tao, and could still live quite well.
“I don’t think what Xiao Qi Dad said is necessarily correct. Even if the rich are willing to spend time and money when chasing you, once they have you and want to break up, considering the sunk costs, they may not be able to part ways peacefully.” And sometimes it was not just a matter of sunk costs.
“So you can rest assured. I will not agree to Mr. Li’s pursuit. It is just that I haven’t figured out how to refuse. Just take it gradually.”
Even if it was a refusal, there was a possibility that the disagreement might turn into enmity. But it couldn’t be delayed for too long. Otherwise, others could still accuse him of playing with emotions and deliberately looking for a spare tire. Tao Mu had experienced too much of this kind of thing in his last life, and it left a psychological shadow on him as well as solutions to solve it.
Habit was the second nature.
Li Xiaoheng obviously did not know that his actions could be deliberately misinterpreted by Tao Mu and his Xiao Qi Dad. And he definitely did not know that what Meng Qi said only strengthened Tao Mu’s determination to not talk about feelings.
The road to chasing his wife was long, and the most visible results of all Li Xiaoheng’s efforts was his growing cooking skills. So much so that everyone in the Li family all plumped visibly after drinking soup for half a month.
On the other side, Tao Mu, who had been busy with his finals rehearsal, finally ushered in the drama performance final.
The drama performance final of class 1 of the 2008 Drama Department was “Modern Version of Flowers as a Matchmaker”. That’s right, as soon as one heard this name, one would know that this script was carefully adapted and presented as a gift by classmate Du Kang.
In fact, when they first saw this topic, all the students in class 1 of the 2008 Drama Department, except Tao Mu, rejected it. Although everyone was not as burdened by idol baggage as Tao Mu, for young 18 or 19 year old teens like them, who didn’t want to perform something more lofty. It was fine if the school wouldn’t give classic scripts for lower grade students to perform. They could write a script themselves but who knew that the script they adapted turned out to be a two-people rotation (TN: two-people rotation is a genre of local folk dance and song from Northeast China, usually involving two performers. The dance uses folded fans or square-shaped red handkerchiefs, which are twirled as the songs are performed)
Who wanted to perform a two-people rotation on the stage at the end of their first semester! If it spread out, would they even be able to find a girl(boy)friend?
In this regard, the future director Du insisted that this was not an adaptation of a two-people rotation: “Can you people have a little culture? A little quality? A little bit of the most basic understanding of Chinese local opera? It is called Pingju ( TN: local opera of north and northeast China)! Do you understand Pingju? It is equivalent to the two-people rotation. Just like between me and Tao Mu, there is a Wen Bao!”
“Huh??” Classmate Wen Bao, who had been sitting next to them eating melons, rage-quit: “What do you mean?”
“I’m talking about height! Height!” Classmate Du Kang compared himself with Tao Mu, and said euphemistically: “It’s a rhetoric about a special image that can be seen at a glance.”
My ass! Wen Bao instantly rage-quit and pounced over to give the other a beating.
Tao Mu carefully read the script adapted by Du Kang. How to put it, although the name and theme was a bit vulgar and funny, the content was actually very innovative and of good quality. In fact it was better than most of the scripts their classmates came up with.
Tao Mu felt that, regardless of whether the script was adapted from Pingju. From the perspective of the plot and the characters alone, the characters were rich in personality with ups and downs. As expected of a great future director.
Tao Mu himself really liked it anyway and had a desire to act it out. So with Tao Mu’s help and persuasion, the class 1 students also reluctantly agreed to Du Kang’s script.
It was just that everyone was secretly rumoring that Tao Mu must have developed masochistic qualities due to Du Kang’s quiz question. He actually wanted to act out such a weird script.
In this regard, screenwriter/director/guest actor Du Kang expressed his gratitude. In order to reward Tao Mu for his level of artistic appreciation, Du Kang decided to give Tao Mu the important role of Wang Zunqing, the protagonist.
“Don’t you mean Wang Junqing?” Don’t think Tao Mu hadn’t read the original work. He went to see the movie after seeing Du Kang’s adapted screenplay alright.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
“That’s right, it’s Zunqing. The expression of art is different, so the feelings when the lines are recited will naturally be different. That’s how we say it!”
Tao Mu: “…..” Fine! You are the director, you have the final say!
So when Li Xiaoheng accompanied old man Song and the others to sit at the Beijing Film Art Center, he couldn’t imagine what kind of show he would see. And what kind of Tao Mu.
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