First Marriage Then Love - Chapter 98
098. Not enough effort
’’Knock knock knock....’’
Not too long after noon, someone knocked on An Ran's door. She doesn't raise her head, and just says, ’’Come in.’’
Chen Cheng opens the door and enters, and stands in front of her, staring. She hands over the pile of documents and places it on An Ran's desk, and begins to say, ’’If this is to test me, then this is too easy in my opinion. I've already corrected everything that was wrong, and I fixed the blueprint. I think my design will provide better lighting in the master bedroom.’’
An Ran raises her head, looks at her, and takes the file on the desk. She looks through it. She really did mark all the mistakes that she had purposefully made, and she even made another scale for the bedroom and the dining hall. Looks like Huang De Xing wasn't exaggerating this time, at least this time Chen Cheng isn't a doll like Ling Lin, impressive-looking but useless. Looks like her so-called awards really isn't just bragging rights. However she was a bit too conceited. It's good to have confidence, but too much confidence, isn't a good thing.
She puts down the blueprint back onto the desk. Looking at her, An Ran faintly starts to say, ’’Your design really does improve the lighting to the master bedroom.’’
Hearing that, Chen Cheng confidently smiles, as if she had expected An Ran to say that.
’’But.’’ Before her smile was fully revealed, An Ran pointed at the blueprint on the desk, and proceeds, ’’This composition, though the lighting is better, the lighting in the living room will be reduced by 60%, and the living room is the highlight of the house. If the highlight is dim, the entire place will appear dull. My design before, although the room would be a bit dim, but compared to your modification, it is just by 30%. Considering everything, which do you think is better.’’
Chen Cheng blanked out. She looks at the blueprint once again, looks at it earnestly. She couldn't deny it, what An Ran said was right. Although as it is the bedroom lighting wouldn't be at its best, but considering the entirety of the house it is the best result.
’’Still have any questions?’’ An Ran asks.
Chen Cheng gazes up, looks at her. She purses her lips, and shakes her head.
An Ran nods, ’’If there aren't any questions, then take the corrected blueprint, and go to the site to take a look at the progress.’’
’’Okay.’’ Chen Cheng nods. She turns around and retreats.
Now that she moved, the travel time to home really was cut down by a lot. Su Yi Cheng did not need to come pick her up now. By foot, it would only take 5 minutes. There's also a supermarket nearby, so she dropped by the market before heading home, and bought everything she needed for tonight's dinner, so it is very convenient.
She carries the bag of groceries home, and puts her stuff in the kitchen. When she was in the room, about to change her clothes, she opened the wardrobe, only to discover that it was empty. She then remembered that they had put everything in the living room last night, and weren't in a rush to put things away. After that they.......
Recalling last night, An Ran's face turns red.
’’Damn you Su Yi Cheng.’’ She mutters, but her face betrayed her as a smile appeared on her face.
She carries the luggages from the living room, and begins to organize their clothes to put in the wardrobe. The wardrobe here was twice as large as the old one, and because the two don't have much clothing to begin with it made the wardrobe look more spacious.
When An Ran was almost done, she felt the small, brightly-coloured silk cloth at the bottom of the bag. It was the se*y lingerie. An Ran's face turns red, staring at the thin piece of clothing in her hands, she felt her forehead form a sweat. Su Yi Cheng had actually brought this piece of interesting clothing! Looking at it, she started to remember their first time.
An Ran was turning red like a tomato, and she felt her entire body heat up.
’’What are you looking at?’’ From behind, Su Yi Cheng was standing at the door, faintly smiling as he looked at her.
’’Huu! You, when did you get back!’’ An Ran was startled, and subconsciously stuffs the interesting piece of clothing underneath the blankets, using the thin blanket to cover it up.
’’Just got home.’’ Su Yi Cheng faintly says. He looks behind her, and asks, ’’What are you hiding there?’’
’’N-nothing.’’ An Ran quickly says, lacking in confidence. She quickly gets up and walks over to him, saying, ’’Um, when I knocked off work I went to the market and bought food, but I didn't make them yet. Tonight, you'll probably have to make dinner tonight.’’ As she was speaking, she pushes him out of the room.
Su Yi Cheng smiles. He didn't miss the gorgeous rose-red piece of clothing underneath the thin quilt. It doesn't hide anything at all. But he doesn't intend to expose her. He lets her push him out of the room until they reached the kitchen. He looks at her, points at his suit, and says, ’’An Ran, you have to let me change first.’’
An Ran stares at his suit. Only after a while does she raise her head and look at him, and puts on a spoiled act, ’’I'm hungry.’’
Su Yi Cheng was really defeated by her. He lovingly strokes her hair, takes off his outer coat and hands it to her, then goes and takes the apron hanging by the kitchen and covers himself. He examines the things that An Ran had bought from the market, and brainstorms what he could make. When he made up his mind on what to make for dinner tonight, he then washes the pot, and begins to do the preparations, each movement experienced and calculated.
An Ran lets out a sigh and withdraws from the kitchen. When she got to the living room she shoots a glance at the large suitcase containing their documents, the one that Su Yi Cheng had packed last night containing the materials and resources that they needed for work. She turns to look at the bustling Su Yi Cheng in the kitchen, and started to think that she should take advantage of the time while Su Yi Cheng was making dinner and neatly put away the materials into the studio, that way it would be easier to find in the future.
Seeing An Ran in the living room tinkering with the trunk of books and resources, Su Yi Cheng sticks his head out of the kitchen and says, ’’An Ran, just leave it there, after I'm done I'll move those into the studio.’’
’’It's okay, I can do it.’’ An Ran declines. She shouldn't let him do everything, she'd feel useless that way, like she can't do anything.
Speaking of the box, it actually had quite a weight. An Ran used a lot of energy, to bring the box from the living room to the studio. Somewhat out of breath, it took a while for her to catch her own breath.
She starts to organize the books in the trunk by taking them all out and placing them on the desk first, then organizes each one of them by category and places them each in the bookcase.
Then for her old blueprints, she rolls the up neatly, not tearing or breaking them, puts them inside the cylinder box. At the bottom-most shelf were documents, some were her's and some were his. Once she separated each of their materials, she places them on their respective desks. Most of her documents contained domestic and international projects that had won prizes, of which were very deserving for her to study and research.
While the majority of Su Yi Cheng's documents were government-related stuff, notifications, suggestions, so on and so forth, all were densely packed with words, looking at it made one want to not think and rather look away. An Ran was done with organizing all his stuff, and didn't expect that even after piling up all those complicated things it was still quite high. The last thing in the box was a dark yellow folder. It wasn't closed properly, so when An Ran picked it up she wasn't careful, and the documents in the folder started to fall out, scattering onto the floor.
Actually, to say that it scattered onto the floor was an exaggeration. There were actually only 3 or 4 pieces of A4 papers in the folder. She crouches down to gather the papers on the ground. As she picks them up and flips them over she then sees the content of the papers. It was a personnel file, and it was on someone she knew - Tong Wen Hai!
Written on the record was Tong Wen Hai's life after getting his position, and a sparse record of his life before he had come to the city to work. It turns out he wasn't from Jiang City, but came to the city after he got married. His hometown was a small town in the southern part of Zhejiang province, and that town was also Ling Xiao Fen's hometown.
It even had a record of Tong Wen Hai's college years, and An Ran felt that it was too much of a coincident that his and her mother's college track were identical, that even the place they resided during the Cultural revolution was a mountainous area. It even had a photograph of young Tong Wen Hai, during his youth he looked like an elegant attractive man, with that white dress shirt he looked like an intellectual, very refined.
’’An Ran, come eat.’’
Su Yi Cheng was already done with the dinner, and called An Ran to come out and eat.
’’Oh, c-coming.’’ An Ran answers, then puts the file back into the folder, and gets up and leaves.
Su Yi Cheng had already set up the table, and hands An Ran a pair of chopsticks.
An Ran quietly expresses her thanks, and takes a seat.
Su Yi Cheng's cooking skills were pretty good, the dishes that he had cooked were comparable to a restaurant's meal. It smelled, looked and tasted great, but tonight An Ran hadn't much of an appetite. She stirs her bowl, but it doesn't seem to decrease.
Su Yi Cheng looks at her, adds her favourite fried eggplant with soy sauce to her bowl. An Ran was in a daze. She raises her head and gives him a smile, but doesn't move her chopsticks to place it in her mouth.
Putting down his chopsticks, Su Yi Cheng softly calls out, ’’An Ran.’’
For a moment there was no response. A few seconds later, does she start to feel her head lift up. She looks at him blankly, ’’W-what?’’
’’Didn't you say you were hungry? Why aren't you eating?’’ Looking at the food in the bowl, Su Yi Cheng asks.
An Ran forces a smile, ’’Yes, I'm really hungry.’’ Saying that, she takes a few mouthful of the food, as if proving that she really was hungry.
Su yi Cheng looks at her for a while, but doesn't expose her highly skilled lie. It took a while for him to go back to finishing his meal.
After dinner, An Ran volunteers to wash the dishes. Su Yi Cheng doesn't decline, and just faintly nods his head. He retreats from the kitchen.
He goes into the studio, looks at the neatly arranged piles of books and documents. He doesn't see anything wrong. Slightly frowning, he doesn't know when An Ran's mood had changed. The yellow folder catches his eyes, and he suddenly recalled what it had contained. He immediately understood then, and opens the folder. He takes out the information on Tong Wen Hai. At first he had asked Secretary Zheng to gather some information on Tong Wen Hai. After taking a look at it he had brought it home, how lucky was it that he had accidentally brought it with him while moving. It seems that An Ran had seen the contents of the document.
In fact An Ran had asked him to look into Tong Wen Hai that day, and in the record there wasn't much information, only a record of a regular person's life. After that he had specially asked someone to inquire into the years before Tong Wen Hai had taken office, and thus found out about Tong Wen Hai and his mother-in-law's past.
There were some things, some truths, that were better left unsaid. What is the point in looking into something that happened in the past, some results will not turn out as what you had thought, so he chose not to let An Ran know. They only need to live in the present, there was no need to care about the past.
When he came out of the studio An Ran was already finished washing the dishes and put them away in the cupboards. Her expression was still heavy, as if she were thinking about something.
Su Yi Cheng steps towards her, faintly smiles and hugs her from behind. He whispers into her ears, ’’What are you thinking about?’’
An Ran shakes her head, ’’Nothing.’’
’’You saw the record on Tong Wen Hai.’’ Hugging her, he leads her towards the living room and sits her down.
An Ran stays silent. A while later, she steadily nods, answering, ’’En.’’
’’Tong Wen Hai and mother are from the same place, and even grew up together, right?’’ Su Yi Cheng purposefully asks.
’’How did you know?’’ An Ran was surprised, that he even knew her mother's background.
’’You asking me to investigate Tong Wen Hai wasn't for your mother, so before I looked into Tong Wen Hai, I looked into your mother's.’’ Su Yi Cheng says honestly.
An Ran nods, and quietly asks, ’’Then you tell me, did mom and Tong Wen Hai.....’’
’’Date?’’ Su Yi Cheng finishes her sentence.
An Ran nods. Every time her mother saw Tong Wen Hai she would get agitated. She thought, that the past relationship between her mother and Tong Wen Hai was not that simple.
’’So what if they did. That's quite normal, isn't it?’’ Su Yi Cheng asks her with a rhetorical question.
An Ran dazes off. Right, even if they did date, but ultimately broke up, that isn't something abnormal. They were from the same place, even possibly went to the same school. During the Cultural Revolution they lived at the same place, to be together all this time, it isn't unusual for two people to have feelings for each other. All of that is normal, isn't it? But, but why does she feel something odd about it. Even if they broke up and said goodbye, her mother should not be this afraid of him. She had always felt that her mother was hiding something from her, and it was this, that she herself had something to do with it.
Seeing that she had dazed off, Su Yi Cheng gently calls out, ’’An Ran.’’
An Ran then reacts, faintly shakes her head, and gives him a smile, ’’It's nothing.’’
Su Yi Cheng looks at her for a while. He lets out a soft sigh, and faintly says, ’’An Ran, our parents' matters is something for the elders, no matter if there is sentiments or anything else, it's never good for us to interfere. What's right or wrong isn't something that we can judge on, so, let's not get ourselves entangled and distressed over matters that we don't have to get involved in, okay?’’
An Ran looks at him for a while. What Su Yi Cheng had said was right, it really is, no matter what the relationship between Tong Wen hai and her mother was back then, why it had become this way now, all of that isn't important, and it isn't something that she should get involved in. Furthermore her dad and her mother are happy together, everyone is well, that is enough.
’’En.’’ Looking at him, she nods heavily. ’’I got it.’’
In response to that, Su Yi Cheng was then relieved. He lovingly rubs her hair, pinches her delicate nose.
An Ran withdraws from his embrace, getting out from her daze, ’’I'm gonna go wash up.’’
Su Yi Cheng nods, ’’Go.’’ Watching her disappear behind the door, Su Yi Cheng then gets up and goes to the liquor cabinet and takes out a bottle of wine, takes out a glass and pours a glass for himself.
He carries the cup of wine and walks out to the balcony. The apartment was right in heart of the city's flourishing streets, from here looking out, you could say that you can have a panoramic view of the city. Su Yi Cheng takes a sip, looking at the city lights, this kind of night, really was quite beautiful. At this time, his cell phone starts to ring. It was Mayor Ling. He doesn't need to answer it, and he knows what Mayor Ling was calling about.
The whole day today Mayor Ling had been calling him, telling him that he should go visit Ling Ran at the hospital, saying that Ling Ran was threatening to go into a hunger strike until she sees him, but he had refused it. He doesn't take any responsibility to her unruly and non-self-respecting behaviour and refuses to take responsibility for it. His phone rings for a long time, until finally Su Yi Cheng gave in and answered the call. He wasn't used to avoiding confrontation. He had always believed, regarding these matters, especially regarding emotions, you cannot be sloppy and ambiguous, you should be clear, and should not skirt around the issue.
’’Hello, Mayor Ling.’’ Answering, Su Yi cheng uses his normal intonation to answer.
’’Ah Cheng ah, can you come visit the hospital, Ling Ran really wants to see you.’’ Mayor Ling's voice seemed to have aged, his tone seemed to be begging and requesting.
’’Mayor Ling, pardon me, but I am not going. If one doesn't cherish their own life, then even if I come this time, what about the next time? And the next time after that? I don't want to be endlessly tangled in such a problem, after all I am a married man, I have to be responsible for my wife. Regarding other women, I will consciously keep a certain distance.’’ Su yi Cheng calmly says, without any warmth to his voice.
’’Ah Cheng, just consider it as Uncle Ling asking you, Ling Ran hasn't eaten anything for the entire day.’’ Even though he had severed ties with his daughter, but all in all she was his own blood daughter. This time when Su Yi Cheng called him to tell him that Ling Ran had committed suicide, he nearly lost his own old life. Now looking at his daughter lying down on the hospital bed not even taking any dripping water, his entire complexion has gone wan and without colour, how can he not be distressed.
’’Uncle Ling, I'm really sorry, I've long since have no relationship with Ling Ran. I will not come see her. If she continues to be this way, then I can only feel pity for her.’’ Su Yi Cheng firmly declines, ’’Sorry uncle Ling, An Ran is calling me. Also I ask for uncle Ling to stop calling me about Ling Ran's matter, I do not want to have any misunderstandings over this.’’ Saying that, he does wait for his reply, and just ends the call.
He downs the rest of his drink. He stood there on the balcony, letting the wind pass by him for a while more. Su Yi Cheng turns around and goes back into the room, puts his cup in the sink. When he returned to his bedroom, An Ran had come out from the bathroom wiping her hair with a towel. Because she had just taken a bath her entire body still carried a faint pink flush, extremely attractive.
As An Ran was wiping her hair she browses through a magazine. Watching her, Su Yi Cheng's mouth rises a faint smile. Just looking at her sitting there, Su Yi Cheng felt this inexplicable satisfying feeling in his heart. He reaches out and takes the towel from her, taking over her work, ’’I'll do it.’’
Grabbing his hand, An Ran turns her head. She sniffs him, and with disappointment she puts both hands on her hips, staring at him. Her face solemn, she says, ’’Special Assistant Su, you drank again. Don't tell me you don't know that your stomach is unwell!’’
Su Yi Cheng smells himself. He did smell a little bit of alcohol, but it was very faint, not too much. He chuckles, and says, ’’Just drank a little bit.’’
An Ran looks at him with wide eyes for a while, then takes back the towel from his hands. She gets up and takes a pair of night clothes for him to change into, hands it to him, her entire face earnest, ’’Go wash yourself clean from the smell of alcohol. If I still smell the alcohol, you can't go to bed tonight!’’
Su Yi Cheng chuckles, but still obeys and takes the change of clothes from her. He turns and goes into the bathroom.
An Ran leisurely wipes her hair while she reads the corny jokes from a gossip magazine. Thus by the time Su Yi Cheng came out, he sees An Ran's half-dried hair, sitting in front of the dressing table, laughing from time to time while looking at the magazine.
Su Yi Cheng hugs her from behind, whispering into her ears, ’’What are you looking at?’’
An Ran chuckles and points at the corny joke in the magazine, ’’Look, this joke is so corny ha.’’
From behind Su Yi Cheng doesn't care whether or not the joke was corny, funny or not. Right now he was busy about another thing, he was being loving now, blowing into her ears, his hands unrestrained and wandering about her body, igniting each part.
An Ran fiercely grabs his hand, gulps, and blankly says, ’’What are you doing?’’
Su Yi Cheng chuckles, lifting his hands a bit, throwing off her grasp. He kisses her neck and slowly heads down, making intimate contact with his mouth along her skin, as he says, ’’Mom said that she wanted a grandchild.’’
’’Th-this is something to let nature take its course.’’ An Ran was embarrassed in his embrace. This man's physical condition is rather good, last night she was tossed around, today she will also be tossed again. His physical strength being good is one thing, the problem is that her physical strength doesn't match up at all!
’’What my mom said was reasonable, the main thing is that I haven't been trying hard enough!’’ Su Yi Cheng lightly kisses her ears and soft flesh, as he lazily replies.
An Ran wanted to roll her eyes, he isn't trying hard enough! There is no other couple like them that have such great appetite, doing it nonstop for a whole week!
As she thought that, she wanted to turn her head to protest, only she wasn't able to protest, she was completely taken over by him and flipped over on her stomach, and thus she wasn't able to say anything anymore.
When she woke up again the man beside her was already gone, the sun peeks through the cracks of the blinds. An Ran felt extremely tired, but she looked at the clock by the bedside, it reminded her that if she doesn't get up now, even if she lived close to work, she would still be late.
She lifts her quilt and thought of getting up, but her entire body was sore and lost strength.
An Ran whimpered and could sit herself up, and sits down on the bed again paralyzed. An Ran was annoyed and mutters to herself, ’’Damn you Su Yi Cheng!’’
She finally used all her strength and crawled off the bed, went to the washroom and cleaned herself, both legs endlessly shivering. Standing in front of the mirror, An Ran suddenly opened her eyes wide. There were love bites all over her chest, announcing to everyone that they had done some intense activities last night! The most hateful thing wasn't even that, Su Yi Cheng actually, actually left a hickey on her neck, that red mark let everyone know how ambiguous they were, and also there was more than one!
Staring at the woman covered in hickeys, An Ran simply cried tearlessly. How can she leave the house like this, and it was even summer now, everyone wore thin layers, she possibly could not go out with a scarf around her neck in this great heat, going out looking like a zongzi*?
She gulps with difficulty. If she just leaves like this it will pique other's interest, unless they didn't know that men are more stimulated in the morning?
At this moment, An Ran takes a quick bath, and comes out wrapped in a towel, revealing her snowy white chest, and those slender legs bewitched people.
An Ran seemed to be unaware. She was annoyed at his wide-eyed stare. She points at her neck, ’’Tell me, look what you did, how am I supposed to go out like this!’’
Su Yi Cheng, with difficulty, restrains himself and forced his eyes to focus on her neck. He can see the 'strawberry marks' he left behind on her neck last night. He rubs his nose, coughs, and says, ’’Keke. Well, everyone's an adult, and all know that you're married, so they should, should understand.’’
’’You, you're ridiculous!’’ An Ran really wanted to cry, don't tell me that I really have to go to work with a scarf, isn't that just revealing what I want to hide.
She was worked up, while Su Yi Cheng was getting worked up at the sight of her in a towel. If it were not for the fact that they were running out of time, he wouldn't be so kind as to remind her, ’’An Ran, don't you wanna change?’’
An Ran blanks out. She looks down at the towel barely hanging on her body. A while later, ’’Ah, you pervert!’’
*zongzi = sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves
---END OF CHAPTER---