Cheng Chu had made a reservation at a newly opened popular hotpot restaurant.
When they arrived, it was already dark outside and the waiting benches at the entrance were full of people.
A server led them to a private room.
"I'm treating you tonight," Cheng Chu said as she flipped through the menu.
Seeing the joy on her face, Gu Miao couldn't help but feel happy too. "Do you have good news?" he asked.
The girl propped her head up, her bright peach blossom eyes shining even brighter under the light. "I'm going to have a personal concert," she said.
While at K University, Professor Philip had admired her talent and not only gave her many opportunities to perform, but also introduced her to many music festival connections.
She had already made a name for herself in the industry abroad, so when she returned to China, offers flooded in. As he looked at the excited girl, Gu Miao's dark eyes lit up with a smile.
"Fantastic," he said in a deep voice filled with satisfaction. He felt happier than when he was promoted.
The girl nodded. "However, I might be busy for a while and have to go back to my own home."
"It's okay," Gu Miao said, holding her delicate hand and gently caressing it. "When I was busy before, you waited for me. Now, it's my turn to wait for you."
Cheng Chu couldn't help but laugh.
As the warm mist floated between them, she looked at the man across from her who was cleaning the utensils for her, feeling a warm sensation in her heart.
The winter weather in the seaside city was unpredictable.
Knowing that Cheng Chu was coming back, Fu Rong instructed the housekeeper to prepare a table full of dishes.
"When is your solo concert?" Fu Rong asked as she picked up a piece of pork rib and looked at Cheng Chu with a loving expression. "Save me a few tickets, I want to give them to my relatives."
"Okay, okay." Cheng Chu stopped Fu Rong's hand from constantly picking up food. "I can do it myself."
"Fine, fine." Fu Rong complained unhappily. "You've been gone for so long, and now you don't even want your mom to help you with your food."
Cheng Chu sighed helplessly and said, "Then you can help me."
"Okay." Fu Rong finally smiled and kept putting food into Cheng Chu's bowl until it formed a small mountain.
The restaurant was very quiet, and Cheng Chu ate very elegantly, never making any noise.
Fu Rong asked, "Are you free tomorrow?"
Cheng Chu looked up and asked, "What's up?"
She had a dinner date with Gu Miao tomorrow. "A few days ago, Mrs. Lin invited our family to dinner. Since you're back, why don't you come with us?"
Cheng Chu frowned, feeling hesitant. "Can I not go?"
"No," Fu Rong said firmly. "In recent years, the Lin family has had close business dealings with ours. She knows you're back and specifically asked me to bring you. If your brother doesn't go, that's fine, but you must go."
She looked at Cheng Chu with a stern expression, as if to say, "You're so clueless."
Cheng Chu reluctantly agreed. "Okay, okay."
Fu Rong breathed a sigh of relief when she heard Cheng Chu's answer, but a few seconds later, she couldn't help but nag again. "Dress nicely tomorrow, okay? Don't be too casual, got it?"
"Okay, okay, I got it," Cheng Chu replied, trying to placate her.
After a somewhat oppressive meal, Cheng Chu closed the door and finally escaped from Fu Rong's chatter. The world seemed to instantly quiet down.
It was already night, and the dim lights from the garden shone in. Cheng Chu stood by the window and gazed out. In the cold winter, the red plum blossoms were blooming vigorously in the lonely wind.
Suddenly, her phone in her pocket vibrated, and it was a call from Gu Miao.
Cheng Chu quickly answered, "Hello, Miao Ge."
The voice on the other end was low and filled with anticipation. "Chu Chu, what do you want to eat tomorrow?"
Since Cheng Chu had been busy with her solo concert, they hadn't seen each other for several days. Tonight, there was no moon, only a few lonely stars scattered in the sky.
Cheng Chu could hear the excitement in his tone and reluctantly said, "Miao Ge, I'm sorry, but something has come up at home tomorrow, so I might not be able to go out to eat with you." The air froze for a moment.
After what seemed like an eternity, Gu Miao's hoarse voice slowly came through the phone line.
"I'm fine." His voice concealed a sense of loss, but he still spoke gently. "You haven't been with your family for so long, spend more time with them."
He paused and whispered, "I...it's okay."
"Miao Ge, I'm sorry." Cheng Chu's heart ached as she listened to his words. "After I finish this busy period, I'll move in with you, okay?"
The night wind was cold, and Gu Miao stood on the balcony, the lonely lights in the distance piercing through the long night and reflecting in his dark eyes.
His fingertips were icy, but a warmth overflowed because of the girl's words.
"Okay." He replied hoarsely before hanging up the phone. The weather was clear on the second day, and in the evening, the sky was ablaze with deep red clouds, as if winter was no longer cold.
Cheng Chu walked into the restaurant hand in hand with Fu Rong. The attentive waiter led them to their table.
Fu Rong touched Cheng Chu's hand and said with satisfaction, "Remember to greet uncle and auntie later, okay?"
Cheng Chu sighed silently, "I know."
She felt a bit helpless. She wasn't a child anymore, but she still had to remember these manners.
This was an old and well-established restaurant that had been open for over twenty years. Cheng Chu's grandparents used to bring her here when she was a child. Now, after so many years, it still looked the same. The antique decor added a touch of history to the restaurant, even the wooden doors of the private rooms had some marks of time.
As soon as she entered, Mrs. Lin came up to greet her, taking Cheng Chu's hand and beaming with a smile.
"Oh my, my, Chu Chu has grown even more beautiful as she's grown up. When she was little, she was already a beauty, and now that she's grown up, even an old lady like me can't help but be moved by her."
"Hello, Aunt Lin," Cheng Chu quickly put on her signature smile. "You're getting younger and younger, and you haven't changed much from before. When you go out, people think you're my sister."
"Oh my, what a sweet mouth you have," Mrs. Lin's wrinkles piled up as she took Cheng Chu's hand and led her to the side. "Come, come, Chuchu, let me introduce you. This is my nephew, also studying music. You two should have a lot in common. Both of you are young people, it's good to be friends."
Cheng Chu's smile froze when she turned around and saw the expectant face of Fu Rong. It finally dawned on her that this was a blind date.
Suppressing her anger, Cheng Chu took a deep breath and looked towards Mrs. Lin's nephew.
The soft light fell, casting a clear shadow on all the ornaments around them.
The handsome man stood tall not far away, his gentle gaze like a spring breeze, softly brushing past.
Cheng Chu's heart tightened, "Yanshi?"
The man smiled lightly, "Chuchu, long time no see."
Mrs. Lin listened to their conversation, her already small eyes turning into a line as she exclaimed, "Oh my, so you two know each other! What a coincidence!"
Fu Rong also chimed in, "Yes, yes, I heard that Yanshi plays the violin. I thought even though they go to the same school, they might not know each other. What a coincidence!"
Cheng Chu looked at Zhou Yanshi beside him. He appeared relaxed and natural as he greeted Fu Rong, neither impolite nor overly flattering.
Fu Rong was clearly very pleased with him, hinting at the idea of the two of them being together both in her words and between the lines.
This meal felt like a wild party for three, with Cheng Chu sitting awkwardly on the side, trying to smile politely.
As they left the private room, Mrs. Lin took Cheng Chu's hand and said, "Oh, I heard about a new dance concert recently. I have two tickets, why don't you two go watch it later?"
Cheng Chu was about to refuse, but Fu Rong quickly interjected, "Great, great! Young people should go out and explore more. Little Zhou should be driving today, right? Later he can take Chuchu with him."
Zhou Yanshi smiled and replied, "Okay, Auntie."
As they walked to the first floor of the restaurant, the driver had already brought the car over. Seeing them, he quickly bent down and opened the door attentively.
Fu Rong and Mrs. Lin waved at the two through the car window, smiling with great joy. "You two look so good together."
Cheng Chu forced a smile and waved back, "Okay."
The night in the city was cold, and the lights at the entrance of the restaurant were dim. Several middle-aged people who were drunk were being supported as they stumbled out.
The smile on Cheng Chu's lips faded, and she said lightly, "Then I'll go home."
"Chuchu," Zhou Yanshi's voice lowered, with a hint of caution, "You're not going to watch the dance concert?"
Cheng Chu pursed her lips, looked up at him directly, and said, "Yanshi, you know the purpose of the parents, and you know it's me who came tonight. Why did you agree?"
She didn't understand why, whether it was when she first entered university or last year at K University, she had already refused so directly.
The night view of the city was beautiful, and the wandering lights reflected in the bright eyes of the girl.
But there was no trace of excitement in those eyes, not even a forced polite smile.
Zhou Yanshi felt empty inside, his lips buzzing silently, but he couldn't find any words to explain.
He knew the parents' intentions, and he knew Cheng Chu came today.
But the slight unwillingness in his heart overcame his demeanor and rationality. He thought humbly to himself, there must still be a glimmer of hope, right?
Their family backgrounds were similar, and they shared the same interests.
When they talked about music, there was always an endless supply of topics.
But what could her boyfriend talk to her about?
The latest game? Or how much money he made this quarter?
The dim yellow light in the distance slowly filtered through the holly leaves.
Cheng Chu's phone buzzed twice.
She looked down and said to Zhou Yanshi, "It's my boyfriend calling. Why don't you go ahead and leave? I'll go back by myself later."
Zhou Yanshi's voice was low. "Then you go answer it first."
Cheng Chu walked to the corner in her high heels and answered the phone, "Hello, Miao Ge."
The window on the second floor of the restaurant opened a crack, and the cold wind crept in.
Gu Miao stood in front of the window, his voice tinged with a hint of chill.
"How was the family gathering?"
The girl's voice was as gentle as usual. "It's pretty good."
Gu Miao's hand hesitated, and the light in his eyes dimmed.
His voice floated with a hint of caution, "Besides your family, is there anyone else here today?"
Cheng Chu paused for a few seconds and said, "There's also an aunt I used to know. Why are you suddenly asking?"
The man's voice became hoarse, echoing in the cold night wind like leaves rubbing against the rough floor. "Nothing, just asking."
Cheng Chu turned around and saw Zhou Yanshi still standing there, waiting. She was anxious to clarify things with him.
She pursed her lips and whispered, "Miao Ge, my mom is calling me. Can I call you back later?"
The man lowered his gaze and silently watched the girl standing in the corner of the first floor. She looked stunning today, with her hair curled into big waves and a delicate diamond hairpin holding it in place. Despite the cold winter night, she wore only a long dress and a thin beige coat, exuding both charm and elegance.
Gu Miao's throat felt dry, and the bitterness in his heart almost overwhelmed him.
The night in the city was long and cold, and his fingertips were stiff as he struggled to speak. "Okay."
For the first time in his life, he hung up the phone without hesitation.
Jiang Xing appeared out of nowhere and patted his shoulder, speaking urgently. "I finally found you! Chief Zhang from Yuehong has been asking where you were. You said you couldn't come a few days ago, but changed your mind yesterday. But when you got here, we couldn't find you for a long time."
He looked at Gu Miao's reddened eyes and the words of reproach he had just spoken suddenly stuck in his throat.
"Old, Old Gu, you're not crying because of what I said, are you?" Jiang Xing trembled, panicked. "Are you crazy?"
Gu Miao lowered his gaze, his eyes gradually turning cold, his voice indifferent. "It's nothing, I was just standing by the window and the wind was a bit strong."
"I see," Jiang Xing took a few steps forward and closed the window, muttering under his breath. "Who opened the window on such a cold day?"
Gu Miao interrupted in a cold voice, "Let's go, didn't Chief Zhang ask for us?"
"Oh, right, let's go," Jiang Xing replied.
Gu Miao's hands were clenched so tightly that they turned white as he hurriedly left the window.
The night wind blew in, carrying a faint scent of flowers.
After hanging up the phone, Cheng Chu turned to Zhou Yanshi and said, "I'll explain everything to my mother when I get back. I'm leaving now."
She hailed a taxi, got in, and didn't look back at him. Several lonely and mournful birds flew across the sky, their cries piercing the silence.
Cheng Chu climbed into the taxi and immediately began calling Gu Miao, but after several attempts, there was still no answer on the other end.
Perhaps he was busy with work.
As she gazed at the passing lights, Cheng Chu felt a sense of melancholy.
Upon returning home, Gu Miao still hadn't returned her calls.
The villa was quiet at night, with Fu Rong and Mrs. Lin out playing cards and not yet back.
Cheng Chu fell into a deep sleep, feeling drowsy and disoriented.
She woke up to the sound of her alarm clock, which had been ringing for several minutes.
A ray of morning light shone through the curtains.
Cheng Chu's eyes were still blurry as she fumbled for her phone.
The screen displayed over a dozen missed calls from Gu Miao.
She felt a sudden panic and quickly called back.
After only a few seconds, the call was answered on the other end.
"Gu Miao, what's wrong?" Cheng Chu asked anxiously.
The girl's voice was lazy, as if she had just woken up, and it flowed through the phone line and into Gu Miao's ears.
His fingers were clenched so tightly that they turned white, and his voice was low and hoarse. "I'm sick."
"What?!" Cheng Chu was startled and asked urgently, "Where are you? Are you in the hospital? I'll come find you now."
"I, I'm at home," he coughed a few times before answering.
Cheng Chu hung up the phone and immediately headed to Gu Miao's house.
Luckily, his house was very close, and it only took ten minutes by car.
Cheng Chu got off the car and hurried up the stairs, pushing open the door.
A few rays of morning light shone in, casting a shadow on the dark grey sheets. The man was lying in bed, with dark circles under his eyes and a pale complexion.
When he heard the sound, he suddenly looked up.
His pitch-black eyes were hit by the light, but there was a momentary redness in the depths of his eyes.
The room was quiet. He lifted the blanket and ran over to embrace the girl, holding her so tightly it seemed like he wanted to merge with her.
"What's wrong?" Cheng Chu patted his back, thinking he was just feeling uncomfortable from being sick and throwing a small tantrum.
The man's embrace was scorching hot, as if he was on fire and could burn her to ashes in an instant.
"Chuchu," he suppressed his voice and called out to her in despair.
"I'm here," Cheng Chu comforted him in a gentle voice.
He sniffled and said in a somewhat pitiful tone, "You still care about me."
"Huh?" Cheng Chu was confused.
The man held her even tighter, and a hint of water shimmered in his pitch-black eyes.
His voice was urgent and pleading, "Don't leave me."
"Please," he begged.
Gu Miao: Are you going to leave me? Don't abandon me.
This story should be coming to an end in one or two more chapters~ I'll write some extra stories!
Chuchu and Miaomiao will be together happily! Don't worry, everyone.
Translations during sleepless nights. I can sleep when I'm dead! ...Please let me sleep. Happy readers keep me awake, and lots of love and a huge thank you for supporting my hobby!
Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@ypeels.