It was Meng Yanchen’s birthday, and there was a family dinner in the evening.

Close relatives, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces all gathered together, even the ninety-five year old Grandpa Meng also came.

Grandpa Meng was born into a scholarly family in the Republic of China. He abandoned literature and followed the revolution, he was an old founding figure. They had three sons and one daughter, Meng Huaijin was the old man’s youngest son, and Meng Yanchen was the youngest grandson.

As for the great-grandchildren, the oldest great-grandson had already graduated and started working. He and Meng Huaijin were in a large PLA1 military region. You didn’t call him uncle or grandpa when you met him, but you had to respect military etiquette, salute, and call him Chief. 

Usually all the family members were busy, only birthdays had full attendance. Fu Wenying’s uncles, aunts, and cousins also came. Although it was a small family banquet, it was very lively.

They didn’t invite friends, the Meng family had always avoided such opportunities for people to give gifts.

Only Xiao Yixiao came over for a meal, and gave Meng Yanchen a few sets of Star Wars models, and brought Xu Qin a lollipop. Who knew which restaurant’s front desk it came from.

Meng Yanchen’s eldest nephew complained about him: “Why do you come here every year?”

Xiao Yixiao retorted: “Go and stand guard at the entrance.”

Fortunately, there were so many people, Xu Qin and Meng Yanchen didn’t need to acknowledge each other.

After a lively meal, the male guests gathered together to talk about work, and the female guests gathered together to chat about family affairs. Being born into the Meng family, their daily affairs couldn’t avoid including work favors.

Xu Qin sat with her relatives for a while, and when everyone started to disperse or have private conversations or went out for a walk, she went upstairs and went back to her room. Finally getting some peace and quiet, she took out the unfinished wood from the drawer, and sat in front of the table to start carving.

The wood fragments were scraped off little by little, and she carved the little man’s body, leaving the most difficult head area. She put down the carving knife to rest for a while, and wanted to go downstairs to take a look.

When passing by the study, she heard the voices of several elders, it appeared that they were talking about business.

Xu Qin heard from Meng Yanchen that third uncle had plans to enter the secretariat, and his qualifications, whether it was ability, aptitude or connections, were more than enough. Recently Meng Huaijin would also be transferred and promoted. Meng Yanchen’s juniors had all developed well, and the Meng family was in the limelight.

Xu Qin didn’t care about these things, but she still heard a word or two.

“…Let the fourth eldest child contact Secretary Jiang Kecun more often. He does not like to do this by nature, but you have to help him pay attention to the friends and contacts that should be maintained.”

Fu Wenying: “Don’t worry, the relationship between the two families has always been good. Qin Qin had a blind date with his son Jiang Yu, but there wasn’t any progress. Children these days, can’t understand what they’re thinking.”

The second aunt said: “The children in our family obey the rules, so don’t worry about it. That son of the Zhan family, who spends his time indulging in debauchery, got up to no good with a student and got her pregnant. Now that child’s been looked after and sent abroad. That son couldn’t find the female student, so he’s been making trouble at home everyday.

“That family’s teachings are not right.” Uncle said.

Xu Qin walked through the hallway and went downstairs.

The servants were diligent. Not long ago, there was a mess of cups and plates, but they were cleaned up in no time. The bright lights illuminated the tranquility and elegance of the first floor.

She walked through the living room and dining room alone, and stopped after making her way around. Looking at the huge house, she suddenly forgot why she came downstairs.

After standing on the spot for more than ten seconds, she walked back.

Passing the small reception hall, she saw an old and a middle-aged father and son sitting in front of a wooden tea table— Meng Huaijin was peeling oranges for the old man to eat.

The light was warm, he peeled off the orange peel, tore off the white veins, broke open the orange, broke off a small piece and handed it to the old man. The old man took it with trembling hands, put it in his mouth and chewed slowly.

Meng Huaijin waited quietly, and when the old man finished eating slowly, he handed him the next segment.

The man was old in his years and looked skinny. There was no verbal communication between father and son, only the yellow-orange segments connected them.

Xu Qin pushed the door open and went in, calling out: “Dad, grandpa.”

The old man couldn’t tell who was coming, while although Meng Huaijin was middle-aged, he was tall and upright, full of energy, without any signs of dispiritedness; moreover his face was handsome and extraordinary, without losing any of the maturity accumulated over the years. Coupled with the fact that he had been upright and magnanimous all his life, his appearance was even more good.

Meng Huaijin asked about Xu Qin’s work, and said: “Your mother thinks your job is tiring, but I think that it’s good as long as you like it.”

“Thank you Dad.”

Meng Huaijin smiled, tore the tendons on the orange, and asked: “Apart from work, is there anything else you’re unhappy about?”

Xu Qin fell silent. Although she didn’t like to talk, if her heart was relaxed or depressed, her father could still see it clearly.

“Is it because your mother made you go on a blind date recently?”

Xu Qin didn’t try to hide it: “Can’t I just find someone I like?”

Meng Huaijin turned to look at her: “Is there someone you like now?”

Xu Qin didn’t answer directly: “I don’t want to live a pre-arranged life, and I don’t want a life whose ending can be seen at a glance.”

“Even if this kind of life is rich and happy, carefree and without worries?”

Xu Qin didn’t answer, but instead asked: “Dad, do you love Mom?”

“Of course.”

“But I heard from my brother that you were not actually in love at the beginning.”

Meng Huaijin handed the orange to her grandfather and talked about the past. It was a little funny: “Not only were we not in love, but I liked another woman at the time.”

“Then why—”

“She was not suitable.”

“Do you regret it?”

Meng Huaijin’s smile became gentle: “I don’t regret it. To pursue love, you have to pay a price. The price is irreversible, but the result is uncertain, so I retreated. Fortunately, time is a good medicine. Later I forgot about her and fell in love with your mother.”

Xu Qin thought for a moment, then shook her head: “That’s because you are living a relaxed and happy life together.”

“Yes.” Meng Huaijin looked at Xu Qin again, “Because life is easy and carefree, a new love is born from happiness. On the contrary, if two lovers have unsuitable family circumstances, they may live a hard life, bicker and calculate each other, then love can turn to hatred under suffering.”

“Love is temporary, but family and kinship are eternal.” Meng Huaijin sighed and smiled when he said this, “Of course, this thinking belongs to the older generation, this is how we got here. You young people, who advocate freedom, I don’t have any understanding of.”

As Meng Huaijin spoke, he continued to feed grandpa oranges.

Xu Qin went back upstairs alone.

There were obviously many people in this big house, but it was so silent.

She pushed open the door of her room, a lamp was on on the table.

Walking through the darkness, a small wooden figure in a fireman’s suit lay in a pile of sawdust, his face blurred— his head was not yet complete.

Xu Qin stood in front of the table and stared at the little wooden man’s face for a long time. Suddenly, she picked him up and threw him into the bottom drawer, and quickly closed the drawer with a bang.


Xu Qin asked Song Yan to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant on the fifth floor of Soho Plaza in Si Xi Di.

Standing in the sightseeing elevator in the shopping mall, Xu Qin kept going upwards, and saw the colorful signboards of various clothing and makeup stores in the shopping mall, full of design feel.

It was still too early for Christmas, but strings of big red and golden balls had been hung on the ceiling of the shopping mall, which was very eye-catching.

Well-dressed handsome men and women came and went, there were friends who went shopping together, and there were couples in pairs.

It was at that time that Xu Qin saw Song Yan on the escalator. He stood upright with his hands in his pockets and slowly moved up the escalator. He looked forward, bit his jaw slightly, and seemed to be worried, but she didn’t know what he was thinking.

Up and down the escalator, there were many pedestrians, and there were also many men who had carefully dressed up. But even so, Song Yan was exceptionally outstanding.

With a ding, the elevator reached the fifth floor.

Xu Qin stepped out of the elevator, and the escalator that Song Yan was riding on slowly approached. Song Yan suddenly saw Xu Qin approaching from the corner of his eye, his eyes swept over, their sharpness and brightness instantly recovered, and his expression became still.

When Song Yan walked down the escalator, Xu Qin happened to catch up to him and pointed not far away: “Over there.”

The two walked towards the restaurant without speaking. The waiter ushered the two into their seats, thinking to himself: What a couple.

The restaurant was decorated in a Chinese style, the seats were by the inner windows, and you could see the bustling scene in the mall when you turned your head. White escalators folded and traveled back and forth in the hollowed-out floor, creating a wonderful space. Everyone walked through it, and everyone’s face was full of ease.

Xu Qin thought that among these people, there should be no one like her who came to put an end to a road of hard work that hadn’t started yet.

After Xu Qin sat down, her gaze was uncertain. Without looking at Song Yan, she first asked the waiter for two glasses of water. Song Yan was the opposite. From the moment he sat down, his gaze was fixed on her all the time. Although he showed no expression, he did not move for a moment .

After the waiter left, Xu Qin looked at Song Yan and chatted: “Are you going back to the team tonight?”

Song Yan: “Yes.”

Xu Qin glanced at her phone, it was 11:30 in the morning, and he returned to the team at 6:00 pm.

She said, “You can rest for half a day.”

Song Yan didn’t answer, the corners of his lips gradually curled up into a smile, and he looked at her strangely, as if he was watching a funny clown show.

Xu Qin was well aware and felt a little ashamed, but didn’t reveal it on the surface and remained calm.

“This restaurant’s popular—”

Song Yan wasn’t in the mood to beat around the bush: “Xu Qin, just speak up if you have something to say.”

The waiter came over to serve two glasses of lemon water, and Xu Qin took advantage of the break to reach for a glass of water.

Song Yan’s eyes were slightly cold, and he tapped his fingers on the table: “Speak first then drink.”

Xu Qin withdrew her hand, looked down at him for half a second, calmly gazed at him, and said: “I invited you to a meal just to thank you for saving me, that’s all.”

Song Yan waited for a few seconds. Seeing that she had finished speaking and had nothing more to say, he turned his eyes away and looked at the shopping mall outside the window, then suddenly let out a laugh from his nose.

When he looked at her again, his smile was gone: “Xu Qin, just say this, you wanted to get back together with me a few days ago, but now you regret it and feel that it’s not worth it and you don’t want to play anymore. Is it so difficult to say this sentence?”

“I thought that after all these years, your personality would at least be a little sharper.” He snorted, not without ridicule, “Or, part of you has made a decision, yet the other part still wants to leave some leeway?”

He exposed her without mercy; instead, she felt relaxed in an instant.

She was really not surprised at all that her dark side would be clearly revealed by him. She was such a selfish and greedy person, to remain undecided with such insatiable desire.

From the beginning to the end, she was extremely ugly and vile in front of him. At this point, she was still hesitating and hoping to have a path to retreat, how shameful.

Xu Qin finally nodded quickly, as if forcing herself to make up her mind: “En. This meal is to thank you, and then we also—”

“Everything is settled,” she said.


Song Yan suddenly had nothing to say.

He just looked at her, just looked at her like that. It was quiet and silent. Clearly there was no extra emotion, but it was so quiet that it would make people despair. Xu Qin was suddenly unable to breathe.

Song Yan just looked at Xu Qin’s face, that was all.

He saw the lights in the mall shining through the glass on her fair cheeks. She had been a doctor for a long time, and she didn’t have a habit of putting on makeup. He saw that her forehead was high and clean, her eyebrows were very thin, her eyes were very dark, her nose was small, her lips were very red, and there was a small dimple under her lips. The whole face was not gorgeous, it was delicate, looking at it made him not want to look away.

It was okay not to meet, really,

It was okay not to meet.

The woman in front of him was the woman he had his eyes on, hypocritical, greedy, weak, and ruthless.

Xu Qin, if I met you just now, if I met you at this age, even if you had hundreds of millions of assets, I would not fall in love with you.

Back then, that look out of the classroom window served him right.

Back then, he would never have imagined that just that one glance would destroy his heart and his life.

But he didn’t say it. Not a single extra word.

He just smiled and said, “Okay.”

He accepted her choice with one word and ended their relationship. No sarcasm, no ridicule. Very silent, very fast.

Xu Qin’s heart throbbed suddenly.

She looked straight at him, their eyes met, but she didn’t have much to say.

When the waiter came, Xu Qin hurriedly turned her eyes away, grabbed the menu from the waiter’s hand, flipped through it randomly, but saw the man opposite her get up from the corner of her eye.

That’s right, with his personality, how could he continue to sit, how could he still eat with her as if nothing had happened?

Xu Qin looked up at him, and Song Yan said: “I’m going.”

She was a little dazed, but she calmed herself down in a second, smiled very lightly, and didn’t hold back: “Okay.”

Song Yan nodded slightly at her as farewell.

Xu Qin sat stiffly on the spot, staring at him without blinking for a moment, a sudden fear rose in her heart, what if this was really the end.

The mall was bustling with people coming and going;

The waiter stood aside and waited politely;

The moment Song Yan turned to leave was suddenly stretched endlessly, leaving only the image and no sound.


Suddenly, a piercing scream came from the shopping mall outside:

“It’s on fire! Help!”

1PLA – People’s Liberation Army. The principal military force of the People’s Republic of China.