Pei Cheng An notices the change in Xia Zhen’s expression and quickly stops himself mid-sentence. He knows some people don’t enjoy such anecdotes. But since he’s already started his sentence, there must be an appropriate ending to it. So he adds, “Ms Xia is also good-looking.”
In the face of his compliment, the always narcissistic Xia Zhen couldn’t bring herself to smile. If he tells her that in any other context, she’d be very flattered.
“Ah, Mr Pei overcompliments me. Mr Pei is also very handsome,” she replies. To be this courteous makes her uncomfortable, so she drinks from her glass of water without meeting his eyes.
Pei Cheng An doesn’t immediately reply. When Xia Zhen finally looks at him, he says, “Ms Xia, you can just call me my name.” He’s not used to excessive courtesy either.
The sharp-eyed Xia Zhen notices that Pei Cheng An’s ears are a little red. The heating is obviously too strong inside this room. Then she realises he’s contradicting himself. She can’t help but smile. “You’re telling me to call you by your name but you’re calling me as Ms Xia.”
Pei Cheng An also smiles. “Then I’ll also call you your name.”
Xia Zhen nods vigorously, as if this is a very happy matter. She feels a sense of helplessness inside. What’s this feeling as if they’re experiencing their first love? It’s just a way of addressing each other.
She picks up her glass and drinks again. Pei Cheng An follows suit. Before long they fall into silence. Xia Zhen can tell Pei Cheng An is a bad conversationalist. He looks deep in thought. She guesses that he’s thinking what he should say to her.
Alas, Xia Zhen feels like they should make use of this time to learn more about each other even if they’ll end up walking separate roads after this date. What ought to be asked and learned in a blind date should be all be done accordingly.
“I heard you’re working at the institute,” Xia Zhen asks curiously.
“What are you researching?”
When it comes to his expertise, Pei Cheng An adopts a calmer sense of self-confidence. He places his hands on the table, with his ten fingers entwined.
Xia Zhen’s eyes is unwittingly drawn to his hands. She’s not a beauty addict but she’s a hand addict. His hands are beautiful and his fingers slender and long. His nails are well-proportioned and neatly manicured. It matches his good looks!
Pei Cheng An summarises his answer when he sees that her attention is not on what he’s saying. “Biological science.”
“Oh. Bu jue ming li [an Internet saying meaning that even if I don’t understand what you’re saying, you seem to be very powerful/intelligent].”
“Bu jue ming li…” Pei Cheng An frowns, mind turning. His memory is excellent. Even if he doesn’t remember such a saying, he will at least have an impression of it. But right now he has zero collection of it.
In that moment, the waitress comes in with the dishes and the two stop their conversation. The meal is eaten entirely in silence. A few times Xia Zhen wants to speak but gives up after seeing Pei Cheng An eating in earnest.
When Xia Zhen’s grandpa was still taking care of her, the words he told her most often were, “Quiet.” But in this era, how many can truly do that? Even her parents like conversing while eating and she herself would chat before bedtime. But now, there’s actually someone like that sitting opposite her.
Even though a person may put a lot of pretensions in the first meeting, including Xia Zhen herself, she can tell when someone’s being sincere. She thinks she’s still good at discerning a person’s character. From Pei Cheng An’s demeanor, it doesn’t seem like he’s pretending. He seems very natural at this.
Ai, Xia Zhen thinks her grandpa will definitely admire Pei Cheng An.
She who enjoys a festive mood while eating quickly becomes full. She puts down her chopsticks and politely indicates for Pei Cheng An to continue his meal.
She’s gradually getting used to being polite. It’s normal to treat different people with different attitudes. Previously she purposely pretended to be ladylike, now it’s hard to not be ladylike.
She doesn’t worry that she’s not a right match with him because she doesn’t care about that at all. She just needs to follow her plan. Pei Cheng An exceeds all her expectations so she’s going to use the plan she thought she will least likely use: plan A.
Plan A is when her blind date turns out to be superior in every aspect, whether it’s in personality, IQ, or financial capabilities. When meeting such a bachelor, she wants to fall in love at first sight and become obsessed with him. Plan B is when her date is just ordinary. She’ll say they’re both very compatible. As for plan C, it’s for when her date is only barely passable. Then she’ll look for his unique charm and admire that part.
No matter what happens, she’ll act as if she’s fallen deeply in love in front of her mom. When everything falls apart, she’ll pretend to be seriously hurt and thus refuse to go on any more blind dates.
She has only been independent for 2 years. She’s not ready to give up her freedom.
To her, blind date is something that is bound to happen thus she has prepared herself to face it calmly. More importantly, if she doesn’t face it properly, her mom Madam Tian will make her life a living hell. So she has to follow her mom’s suggestion and then create some “serious” consequences so her mom can no longer say anything.
Now, this is the crucial moment.
Xia Zhen wipes her mouth. She folds her hands above her legs and adopts a solemn appearance.
Pei Cheng An sits straight. He looks straight into her eyes and earnestly wait for her to talk.
She first smiles and then begins her practiced speech. “Mr Pei…”
He frowns. They have agreed to call each other by name. He resists the urge to correct her.
Xia Zhen hasn’t forgotten their agreement but to call his full name is too unfeeling. To call him Cheng An is too intimate. Calling him Mr Pei is just right. If her tone is just right, it wouldn’t sound too polite and will even carry a hint of admiration. Most importantly, that is how she wrote her draft.
“En,” Pei Cheng An replies.
She continues,“Frankly, I don’t have any expectations for this blind date. Many people who go blind dates… well, you know how they’re like. But I’ve changed my mind after seeing you. Even though it’s only one meal’s time and it’s very short, I can tell you’re a good person in every aspect. I…” In her draft, this is where she’s supposed to tell him she likes him. But she has never said such words to any man outside her family.
But that’s good enough. Pei Cheng An’s ears has become instantly red. Although he remains calm, his eyes has begin evading Xia Zhen’s gaze.
She believes he’s becoming shy.
He’s actually being shy. Xia Zhen herself isn’t even feeling shy.
But why does she think he’s being a little cute? It must be because he has a good-looking face and beautiful hands.
She decides not to go on.
Pei Cheng An smiles gently, his eyes back on Xia Zhen. “I also think you’re very good. I think we can begin dating.”
Aren’t they supposed to get to know each other first? And in that process, she’ll find out his hobby and criticise it. He wouldn’t be able to stand it and they’d go their separate ways, never to see each other again. She’d be so into the relationship that she’ll need a long time to get over her emotional trauma…
What’s this situation now? Who decides to date in their meeting? She has never heard of it.
She doesn’t even have a response for it because she hasn’t considered such a possibility. She needs to think.
Her surprise is evident. Pei Cheng An realises he made an abrupt suggestion. Just as he’s about to withdraw his suggestion, Xia Zhen opens her mouth.
“Okay!” Just one word in an imposing manner.
Aren’t “getting to know each other” and “dating” the same thing? If there’s a difference, that’s only in the title. In the end he’ll just become her ex-boyfriend. Like this, the impact from the breakup appear to be worse. She has no reason to disagree.
For Pei Cheng An, he came to this blind date with a positive attitude. He either does it well or doesn’t do it at all. That’s Pei Cheng An’s principle in life.
In the past, he had not hesitate in turning down any blind dates because all his energy was put into his work. Now that he’s about to enter his older years, he’s incorporating marriage into his life plans.
He’s not surprised that the blind date went well but he didn’t expect that his feelings to be moved, that it’d be a little sweet and itchy. Such a feeling is rather odd. It makes him feel rather dreamy. It has clearly just happened but it’s like he only has eyes for her. Her words still drift in his ears.
He doesn’t know how to respond. He only feels like laughing. Truthfully, he really did laugh.
Seeing him laugh like that, Xia Zhen will bet that if a bunch of high school girls can see him right now, there would be loud shrieking.