I Advise You To Like Me As Soon As Possible - Chapter 24.2
Chapter 24 (part 2)
Ning Wan headed back to the office. She called up Lu Feng and made an appointment with him to come in person, then went to the bathroom. Just as she emerged from the bathroom, she ran into Auntie Xiao.
"Xiao Ning, I must thank you!"
Beaming with joy, Auntie Xiao took out a container of Crème de La Mer1 from her bag and stuffed it into Ning Wan's hands. "Here's a little something for you, a thank-you gift." She looked about. "Is Xiao Fu back?"
Ning Wan nodded blankly. "Yes, he's here, but why are you thanking me for? And with such an expensive thing?"
Auntie Xiao pouted girlishly and gave Ning Wan an embarrassed little smack. "It's for introducing me to such a lovely man like Xiao Fu, of course!"
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Apparently not sensing Ning Wan's emotional confusion, Auntie Xiao added shyly, "It's not like no one around me is interested, but I've never felt my heart move for any of them. But when I look at Xiao Fu, I think I'm starting to know love is." With great enthusiasm, she announced, "I'm going to court him!"
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Shocked, Ning Wan blurted out, "What? Weren't you disdainful of him?"
"I was prejudiced," Auntie Xiao admitted remorsefully. "Thank you, Xiao Ning. But for your persistence, I might have missed a good man. Xiao Fu has shown me the charm of men in their 30's!"
Smiling shyly, she said, "He's just so amazing, why, the sheer breadth of knowledge that man has! I've never seen such a good man in my life, there's just no words! When he accompanied me around for a while, you may not know, but all my old sisters were so envious they almost died. One of them even secretly asked Xiao Fu for his number behind my back! Good grief! Well, I'm done with her, I must say! We've been sisters for more than ten years, who knew a woman's friendship could be so fragile when a man comes into the picture?!"
Ning Wan was flabbergasted. Who could have foreseen that Fu Zheng, this butterfly-attracting man-flower, would take a simple walk around town and have it result in an elderly love triangle, even making old girlfriends fight one another over him...
Auntie Xiao complained about her sister for a little while, then returned to her original topic. "Xiao Ning, in short, I am officially pursuing Xiao Fu. You're his colleague, so can you help me find out what he likes to eat? I'm going to send him food every day! Oh, and if you ask him what color he likes, I'll buy some wool and knit a sweater..."
"..." A little suffocated, Ning Wan asked gently, "Sister Xiao, won't you... won't you first inquire if Fu Zheng is interested in older women? Some men prefer to date younger girls, and if that's the case, won't it be a waste of your time and energy chasing him?"
Alas, Xiao Mei was unmoved. "Shen Congwen2 once said, 'At least once in your life, you should forget yourself for someone; asking not for results, nor to stand side by side, nor for possession; not even begging them to love you, but to simply meet them in your most beautiful years.' Xiao Ning, you're still far too young to understand how love can make you desperate. Xiao Fu is my intended, I feel it so strongly, it can't be wrong..."
No longer able to resist, Ning Wan interrupted, "Xu Zhimo3."
Impassively, Ning Wan said, "Xu Zhimo said that, Sister Xiao. He probably said it every time he met the next one, and every one was the right one. Should I tell you about his love life?"
Slapped in the face, Xiao Mei had no answer and instead coughed. "Well, it doesn't matter who said it. What matters is that I've asked around. Xiao Fu is single. He's unmarried and I'm a widow, so why shouldn't we be a match made in heaven?"
"He'll be mine!"
Having dropped her bombshell, Xiao Mei winked at Ning Wan. "Please let Xiao Fu know that I'll deliver food to him later at noon. Every day at noon, it's an appointment!" Finished, she wrapped Ning Wan's hand back around the little pot of La Mer. "You should accept this little gift for now. When Xiao Fu and I get together, I'll give you a big red envelope as thanks for being our matchmaker!"
La Mer in hand, Ning Wan trudged back to her office. At her desk, Fu Zheng had his head down as he looked through a sheaf of legal documents, for now still blissfully ignorant.
Completely confused, she asked, "Fu Zheng, what on earth did you do to Auntie Xiao? I asked you to go chat with her a little, not to make her fall in love with you!"
After having listened to the account of the ins and outs of Ning Wan's prior encounter with Auntie Xiao, Fu Zheng first seemed somewhat surprised. Then he started looking a little shifty and awkward.
In hindsight, Ning Wan now felt that when Xiao Mei had come over to tell them about Wang Liying, her attitude towards Fu Zheng had been somewhat suspect. She hadn't paid much attention to it then, but when she thought about it now, had it been a clue? And at the moment, Fu Zheng's look was making her feel like there really was something going on...
Auntie Xiao had been so aloof before, how had she suddenly fallen head over heels after just a little time together? When she assessed Fu Zheng's expression again, he must have done something to make cold, proud Auntie Xiao lose her mind.
Fu Zheng bit his lower lip and said nothing. Even after Ning Wan questioned him for a long time, he refused to say a word.
"Now that Auntie Xiao is chasing you, have you thought hard on how you're going to end it? Listen, if you want to resolve this, you're going to have to tell me exactly what you did..." Ning Wan said earnestly," It's useless for you to refuse to talk. Auntie Xiao will be here to chase you at noon. Hurry and think back on whether you really did lead her on, so that the situation can be clearly clarified."
Fu Zheng remained stubbornly silent for a moment, before finally opening his mouth uncomfortably. "I didn't do anything much. I just showed them my charm."
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He cleared his throat and looked off into the distance. "They said that a 30-year-old man is old, incompetent and unattractive, so I was just proving them wrong, that's all. It was just for some people with no taste to understand. I didn't deliberately flirt with anyone, just..."
"Just? Just what?" Ning Wan scoffed. "You didn't expect your charm might be a little too strong, and you might maybe beguile a few into unrequited love?"
Fu Zheng bit his lip. "You're making fun of me, but it's true. I didn't expect this to happen. After all, I only showed off about 10% of my strength..."
Ning Wan bared her teeth in a smile. "You showed off 10% of your charm, and you're actually quite proud of having bewitched Auntie Xiao, aren't you? Maybe you should go for 100% and dazzle every little old lady in the community?"
Fu Zheng licked his lips and corrected her in an objective manner. "Well, if I had gone all out, I'm afraid that community disputes might rise."
"Did you want the truth?"
"Say it," Ning Wan nodded.
"Divorces might increase," Fu Zheng told her in a detached tone.
"People might get divorced over me."
"..." Fu Zheng, Fu Zheng, you're so good, why not just rise up to heaven on a cloud? You're doing yourself wrong staying here in the community...
Fu Zheng wasn't yet finished. He glanced over at Ning Wan meaningfully. "30-year-old man aren't as difficult to sell as you think. You don't have to try so hard to peddle them. Some products, although they aren't advertised so well, are unstoppable once you hear about them using word of mouth."
It is said that women are competitive and vain. Ning Wan disagreed with this statement. Apparently when it came to being competitive and vain, men were even worse than women! Ning Wan really wanted to shake Fu Zheng and ask, was this the time to be competitive? If you wanted to be that way at work, then fine, but competing over the charm of 30-year-old men, too?! And now look what happened! You went and showed off, as proud as a peacock, and got Auntie Xiao's maidenly heart thumping for you! I'd like to see how you get yourself out of this mess!
Fu Zheng didn't understand that he hadn't done something very sensible. In fact, Ning Wan didn't think that he had realized his mistake at all. "Forget it! You made this mess, you can clean it up."
Obviously not realizing the seriousness of the matter, Fu Zheng just nodded and shrugged it off.
"No problem. If Auntie Xiao says anything to me, I'll make it clear to her. This is pretty simple to solve with a conversation."
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