After wrapping up his work for today, Jiang Lan brought his brothers along to a restaurant with Ying Qiao.
Ying Qiao’s choice today surprised him. Instead of an ordinary restaurant, Ying Qiao picked a restaurant famed for its furnishing, vibe and its resident singer of some renown. For this, a table during peak hour was hard to come by.
After getting out of their car, Jiang Lan was a little surprised by Ying Qiao’s choice.” How come we drive this far for a meal?”
As a kind of unspoken agreement, they only choose restaurants in their neighborhood, rarely venturing out of their Hang Yang district. So he felt there was something odd about driving all the way to the city center.
“ To celebrate, I got a pay rise.”
Ying Qiao quickly thought up an excuse, which sounded so convincing that the cloud of doubts in Jiang Lan’s mind was dispelled. With a “Wow”, he congratulated him.
Raising his eyebrow, Ying Qiao said.” Why don’t you ask how much the pay rise is?”
Jiang Lan complied.” How much?”
“My basic salary was increased to 5K, together with my year-end bonus.” Recalled the employee salary check he personally signed, Ying Qiao had no difficulty making up a number.
“That’s great news.” Jiang Lan went along with him eagerly, putting on a very convincing performance.” Today my office chief told me that we will receive a sum for our part in solving the case.”
“Great, it seems we should order some liquor to celebrate.”
While talking, they walked to the reception counter. Ying Qiao told her the phone number he used to make the reservation and the reception girl assigned them a table. After giving them a long look, she added.” Today is the third anniversary of my boss’s marriage. If any couple chooses to take part in a small activity, we will take fifty percent off the cost of your meal tonight.”
Pausing a second, Jiang Lan was about to explain they are just friends when Ying Qiao asked.” Great, what activity?”
Hearing this, a warm smile appeared on the reception girl’s face, a kind of I-guess-right smile. She pointed to the wall covered with photos.” Simple, take a selfie of your two and hang the photo on that commemorative wall and we will apply the discount when you pay the check.”
The artistic photo wall was covered by photos of many couples, a few gay or lesbian couple mingled among them. All these photos were shot with a Polaroid, which lends a retro mood to all these photos.
Ying Qiao was very cooperative today.” So take a photo for us.”
Then he leaned closer to Jiang Lan, whispering.” It’s a good deal, a photo for fifty percent off.”
Jiang Lan’s little embarrassment was evaporated by this.
It was indeed a very good deal.
Taking out a Polaroid, the reception girl took a photo of them standing in front of the wall covered with cherry blossoms print wallpaper.
On first look, they didn’t seem very close. Standing side by side, Jiang Lan leaned slightly close to Ying Qiao with a barely perceptible smile on their lips.
“ You two are really meant for each other.” The reception girl handed the photo to them.
Two photos, one was going to be hung on the wall while the other one was given to the guests.
“ Thank you.” Ying Qiao took the photo without even a slight trace of awkwardness. He showed it to Jiang Lan and then put it in his wallet.
But Jiang Lan felt a little embarrassed. Pretending to be a couple to get a big discount for a meal was a bit out of his comfort zone. He smiled to mask his sense of guilt and discomfort.
While their photo was being hung on the wall, a waitress led them to their table.
Jiang Lan took a breath of relief after taking his seat and whispered.” It’s the first time I do this.”
Ying Qiao smiled.” You will get used to it. My colleagues do this all the time. Most restaurants know our secrets and they don’t mind. It’s just a marketing gimmick to attract customers.”
“Is that so?” Jiang Lan has a look of confusion on his face.
“En.” Ying Qiao confirmed.
The vibes and food in this restaurant was truly outstanding and Jiang Lan was having a good time . They drank a few bottles of fruit flavored beers and the feeling of slight tipsy was very relaxing.
Even Suan Ni took a few sips out of their beers. After that, slightly intoxicated, he cuddled Jiao Tu on the sofa with his tail wiggling from time to time.
On the stage at the center of the restaurant, a singer was performing. The sound of guitar resonated with the throaty voice of the singer, like lovers murmuring to each other.
Holding his chin, deep in his thought, Jiang Lan finally said.” Human is really a magical race, think so?”
Perhaps because he had spent ages leading a kind of isolated and lonely life, after he ventured out of his Dragon Palace, Jiang Lan became really fond of this bustling human city. Bai Ze(Chapter Two) had said his opportunity lay with humans, but Jiang Lan had never been sure if he could ever find it. But there was no denying he enjoyed this lively human city.
Ying Qiao gazed at him while holding a can of peach flavored beer with his long fingers. Before, he never deigned to taste such cheap drinks.
Toying with his beer can, he smiled and agreed with Jiang Lan.” Yes, you are right.”
Geng Chen had said something similar regarding Human being magical.
Holding humans in contempt, he had never understood it.
But now, under the influence of Jiang Lan, his opinions regarding humans began to change.
They left the restaurant at half past nine. When passing by the photo wall, Ying Qiao noticed their photo had already been hung in the center.
While paying his check, he asked if the photos on the wall would be rotated out if there wasn’t enough space. The reception girl answered that as long as this restaurant remains in business, these photos would remain there. They have enough wall space to accommodate all the photos in the years to come. If they decide to come back here a year later, and remain as a couple, they could get another big discount with the photo as proof.
Ying Qiao paid the check with great satisfaction and left with Jiang Lan.
After he drove Jiang Lan home, Ying Qiao returned to his new residence.
—–the one he bought as part of his cover for his lies.
He has moved all his daily necessities and clothings over to this new home during the past two days. A new bookshelf was ordered to house his books.
After he made up his mind to court Jiang Lan, Ying Qiao resolutely decided to move home.
If he decided to maintain his lies, it has to be a whole- hearted effort.
Before he came around to face his own feelings, he had treated Jiang Lan like a pleasant cub he liked to hang out with. But since he was determined now to make Jiang Lan his future lover and partner, he had to be extra cautious.
Before the little monster’s opinions towards Ying Dragon took a turn for the better, he couldn’t risk exposing his real identity. Even when the day came to make a confession, he had to do it slowly and prepare Jiang Lan for the final confession.
Ying Qiao had already decided that they had to be lovers first before confession. When they are in a relationship, all the anger resulting from the confession would be manageable.
He walked around his new home, pondering if he needed to order anything to add to this home. When he thought of something, he wrote it down and sent it to Cheng Hua, asking him to order it.
While doing this, the doorbell ranged.
Ying Qiao opened the door and Cheng Hua stepped in with a large carton box.
Cheng Hua complained.” I am about to ask you the same question. A box was delivered to your villa and the janitor couldn’t reach you so he phoned me instead.”
Ying Qiao remembered now.” This should be the books I ordered.”
“Books?” Cheng Hua didn’t understand his sudden obsession with all the books related to cub-raising. Besides, Ying Qiao had already ordered a bunch of books, lying unopened on the bookshelf.
“Humans have a saying: One should study till one’s old age.” While saying this, Ying Qiao opened this carton box and inspected every book within.” Reading could enhance our wisdom, which you are sorely lacking.”
I am not raising cubs, why should I read these books?
A mere few books could do nothing but increase your sense of superiority.
While he scanned the books contemptuously, the titles of those books grabbed his attention.
<<Basic Rules of Love>>?
<<A hundred things couples in love must do>>??
<<How to nourish your partner’s love to you>>???
Cheng Hua leapt to his feet and grabbed a book from the pile to read the title, to make sure he read it right.
A sudden feeling of confusion came over him. He couldn’t figure out what had happened to Ying Qiao.
“ Why do you order these books?”
“To read.”Ying Qiao burrowed his eyebrows.
What a stupid questions. Did the extra working hour stripped away his senses?
Cheng Hua took a deep breath.” I am asking why you order these love guidance books. You don’t have a lover and you are not in a relationship.”
Even if you are in a relationship, it won’t last even with the help these books offer.
Ying Qiao paused.” Who said I didn’t have one now?”
“Should I help you to refresh your memory?”
Cheng Hua said with a sincere look on his face.” In the thousands of years since your birth, you have always remained single.”
He heard that some monsters, tempted by his good looks, had mustered the courage to court him. In the end, they all got a sound beating and thrown out.
That’s why Ying Qiao got a reputation for rejecting suitors violently. In the end, no one even dared to flirt with him.
“That’s because I haven’t fallen in love with anyone before now.” Ying Qiao said with contempt in his eyes.” But now it is different.”
Cheng Hua couldn’t bring himself to believe it. Famed for his ill temper and pickiness, he was destined to be lonely.
Cheng Hua poured himself a cup of water and asked.”Who?”
Ying Qiao had no intention of concealing his love affair to him and said Jiang Lan’s name casually.
The name came as a total surprise that Cheng Hua choked on water. It took a while before he recovered from his violent coughing. “Jiang Lan?”
Ying Qiao said contemptuously.” Do you have a problem with that?”
Cheng Hua put on a fake smile.” No, of course not.”
Just a few days ago You wanted to raise him as a cub, now you want to get him to bed.
You are indeed a dirty beast.