Chapter 31 — Thank you.
Jian Yan eyed He Xiu unhappily, asking him with an unsightly complexion, “What science is this theory of yours based off of?”
He Xiu promptly answered, “There’s no scientific basis. I’m speaking nonsense. How about we change spots?”
Jian Yan said, “No need. Even if we change spots, the vapor will still float to my side.” Fortunately, she had brought extra clothes; otherwise, she would have smelled like hotpot when she went to work later. That would be terrible.
Thinking of this, she raised her eyes to look at He Xiu, “Right, I might quit two days from now.”
He Xiu was slightly stunned. He stared at her and asked, “I was wrong; a moment ago, I was only speaking nonsense. You don’t need to quit, okay?”
Jian Yan laughed and said, “Chief Lin only gave me a month vacation, and previously, Zhou Wen Wen and I had agreed that I would leave after Christmas.”
He Xiu slightly pursed his lips. He wasn’t afraid that there would be one less employee at Fantasy Wardrobe because Jian Yan left. Instead, he was afraid that if she left, he would have less opportunities to interact with her.
He pondered for a moment before saying to her, “Hui Hui is leaving for C City after Lunar New Year. How about you stay until then and leave with her.”
“Mn… it’s not like I can’t do that.” It was just that if it was like this, her new project might be started even later than intended.
He Xiu continued to argue. “A holiday bonus is also given during Lunar New Year. You’ll also receive one.”
Jian Yan raised a brow slightly. “The benefits are that good?” She was still a probationary employee.
“Mn.” He Xiu nodded. She would because he said she would.
“Well, okay then. It’s only a few more days anyway.”
He Xiu’s heart relaxed a little upon seeing her agree. He smiled at her and asked, “What else do you want to eat? I’ll buy it for you.”
“Oh, nothing for the time being. Ask again after we finish eating this.”
“Mn.” He Xiu raised his chopsticks and picked up a few pieces. He didn’t care what it was and just placed it into his bowl. Currently, he was thinking that time was running out. He had to develop a closer relationship with Jian Yan before she quit. “Oh, that’s right, are you free the day after tomorrow?”
“The day after tomorrow?” Jian Yan thought for a moment. “January 1st?”
“I think I have the early shift.”
“Then do you have time after you finish work? I want to take you somewhere.”
Jian Yan was slightly curious. “Where?”
He Xiu smiled at her. “Confidential for the time being.”
Jian Yan narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you trying to plan something bad?”
He Xiu laughed in spite of himself and replied, “Absolutely not. Trust me.”
Jian Yan thought this over and agreed. “Sure.”
The corners of He Xiu’s lips rose slightly, clearly a bit happy. “Then after you finish work, wait for me outside the department store. I’ll give you a ride there.”
“Okay.” She agreed before seemingly recalling something. She asked He Xiu, “Oh, that’s right. Tomorrow night is New Year’s Eve. Are many brands going to sell lucky bags?”
He Xiu said, “Lucky bags will be sold after the department store opens up in the morning on January 1st, but many clients will be lining up outside all night.”
“Mn, I know this. So will we be working overtime that night?”
“You don’t need to, but I might stay at the company all night.”
Jian Yan looked at him with sympathy. “So tragic?”
He Xiu chuckled. “It’s like this every year. I’ve already become used to it.”
Jian Yan wanted to say, You, as the general manager, have no need to attend to everything personally. But despite being on the verge of saying what was on her mind, she once again swallowed it back down. He Xiu was sensitive about his position in the He Family. She was afraid that she might carelessly say something that would make him feel sad.
“This saute beef with cayenne pepper is very delicious. You should try it too.” Jian Yan picked up some of the beef with her chopsticks and placed it in He Xiu’s bowl.
He Xiu raised his eyes to look at her and smiled, saying, “Thanks.”
“…No need.” Jian Yan buried her head, secretly annoyed at herself in her heart. Unexpectedly, she had been a little careless and had become lost in his enchanting eyes.
The end-of-year lucky bag war was a major event for many people. Normally, brands were akin to flowers atop the highest mountain ranges, causing people to shrink back. On this day, however, brand names released lucky bags with prices sensitive to people’s needs.
Jian Yan was on evening shift today. When she got off work and left the department store, there was already a long line in Starlight Plaza. Similar to the several days preceding Christmas, security guards and local law enforcement were also here tonight, keeping watch late into the night. Not to mention, all of Starlight General Merchandise’s security guards were also staying throughout the night.
A few of the security guards by the doors recognized Jian Yan and called out a greeting when they saw her. Jian Yan maintained a suitable distance from them, but she still smiled and said, “Tonight must be exhausting.”
A security guard said, “Ai, every year is like this. I actually got used to it, but my wife’s complaints are huge.”
Jian Yan laughed, staring at the long line of people in the plaza. Some of them were even playing mahjong. She was slightly stunned. “Some people are actually playing mahjong too?”
The security guard shot a glance in the direction she was looking at and calmly said, “Oh, it’s them again. When they came last year, I heard about a God of Gambling who played mahjong all night and never lost.”
“Yes, but they don’t gamble; they play for fun. Say, time passes very quick. It’s actually been another year.”
“Yes.” Jian Yan was also somewhat touched. This time last year, she had been sitting in front of her computer trying to finish a draft. After chatting with them, Jian Yan headed to a nearby restaurant to buy a few midnight snacks and returned to Starlight General Merchandise. The doors of the department store were already closed. Jian Yan apologetically said to the security guard, “Can you open the doors for me? I’m delivering snacks to a colleague who is working overtime.”
The security guard knew there that were also other colleagues working overtime like them, so he didn’t block her path, opening the door and directly allowing her through the staff entrance. Jian Yan thanked him and entered the department store.
Without a noisy crowd and the bright lighting, the department store after closing was completely different from its daytime counterpart. It was extremely quiet. Very far into the distance, a bright light shone from a small lamp light, shrouded in a veil of mystery.
Jian Yan unknowingly sped up as she headed upstairs. The elevator had already been turned off, so she could only take the stairs. The hallways were even darker than it was outside, so she power walked.
At this time, Jian Yan discovered that despite so many years having passed and her transcending into an adult, she was still scared of going up the stairs alone.
Stopping in front of an office door, Jian Yan raised her hand and knocked. She heard a man respond from inside, “Please come in.”
Jian Yan turned the door handle and opened the door to stick her head inside. He Xiu was sitting behind his office desk. Raising his eyes, he was slightly stunned when he caught sight of her. “Why are you here?”
Jian Yan raised the bag in her hand and said to him, “I thought about you here by yourself, working overtime. You must be hungry, right? Yesterday, you treated me to hotpot, so I’m treating you to midnight snacks.”
Unconsciously, the corners of He Xiu’s lips rose as he looked at Jian Yan standing in the doorway. He said to her, “Come inside and sit.”
Jian Yan beamed as she entered, placing the bag of snacks on his desk. “Am I disturbing your work?”
“Perhaps a little.” He Xiu deliberately paused for a moment after he said this. “But I like it when you disturb me.”
Jian Yan was at a loss for words for a short while. She didn’t know what to say, her cheeks slightly burning hot. Luckily, she caught sight of a few things hanging on the walls just then. “Haha, isn’t this the washboard I gifted you?”
She walked up to hold it in her hand, curiously playing with it. “The quality is very good. Have you knelt on it?”
“…” He Xiu was silent for a moment before he suddenly smiled and asked her, “Did you know that there are some words carved onto the back of this washboard?”
“Mn? Really?” Jian Yan flipped it over to look. Sure enough, there were four large words carved into it——
「Wife, I was wrong.」
Jian Yan: “…”
He Xiu’s smile became even more profound. “What were your intentions by sending this to me?”
Jian Yan coughed with embarrassment. “Ah, I remember now. This washboard can have lettering carved into it. If no note is given to the manufacturer, the default 「Wife, I was wrong」lettering is carved into it.”
“Oh, so it’s like this.” He Xiu deliberately said this with a bit of regret. Hearing it, Jian Yan became even more embarrassed.
She replaced the washboard and walked up to stand in front of his office desk. She said, “How about we eat some snacks first.”
“Okay.” He Xiu didn’t tease her anymore. The two of them opened the snacks one after another, staying in the office to eat. Jian Yan had bought a lot of duck necks, and after watching her eat it with such relish, He Xiu couldn’t help but laugh. “Do you want to watch television? A few television stations have New Year concerts playing tonight.”
Jian Yan shook her head and said, “No need. I don’t have any particular star singers I like. I might as well listen to your concert.”
He Xiu blinked and asked her, “Then do you want me to sing for you right now?”
Jian Yan raised her head to stare at him and then pushed the box of midnight snacks over in his direction. “You should just eat properly.”
He Xiu looked down, chuckled, and then silently ate.
Midway, Lin Zhen gave Jian Yan a call, asking if she wanted to go out and celebrate with her. Jian Yan glanced at He Xiu sitting across from her and said to Lin Zhen, “Can’t. I’m working overtime tonight.”
“Working overtime, working overtime, working overtime again. Which year aren’t you working overtime on New Year’s Eve?”
“Eh…” Jian Yan was left speechless.
“Forget it. Since you adore working so much, I won’t bother you anymore. I hope you can earn more money next year!”
After she hung up the call, He Xiu asked her, “Was that Lin Zhen?”
“Mn. She wanted to go out and celebrate with me.”
“You’re not going?”
“No. She has a lot of other people she can go with anyway.” After she said these words, she instantly added on, “Ah, I’m certainly not saying that you don’t have anyone to stay with…”
He Xiu smiled and said, “Mn, I indeed have no one to stay with. I’m very pitiful.”
Jian Yan: “…”
Speaking a little persuasion was useless.
As it approached midnight, the crowd in the plaza started to get rowdier. He Xiu stood by the window to look down at them before turning to ask Jian Yan, “Do you want to go down and step into the new year with them?
Jian Yan shook her head still. “It’s very cold outside, but it’s quite warm here.”
Although the heating had been shut off for the night in the department store, it was still warmer than outside. He Xiu poured her a cup of hot water and said, “Then we’ll stay here and watch as they count backwards.”
“Mn.” Jian Yan held the cup of water and blew it.
Even if they stayed in the office that was far away from the crowd, the sound of the plaza collectively counting backwards could still be heard clearly. Starlight Plaza had a huge clock tower. When the clock hands overlapped the numeral 「12」, the entire world seemed to explode with joyous shouts.
The old year had passed already, and the new year arrived as scheduled.
“Happy New Year,” Jian Yan said to He Xiu, smiling.
Something pierced the softest part of He Xiu’s heart. His gaze unconsciously warmed. “Happy New Year.”
The people in the plaza continued to shout with joy. He Xiu glanced at them through the glass window and then turned back to say to Jian Yan, “Since I assumed control of Starlight General Merchandise, I spent every New Year’s Eve alone in this office. I would stand here every year and look down at the people counting backwards and cheering, but I never felt even a fraction of their joy. But this year, I am very happy.”
He tilted his head to look at Jian Yan. For a split second, Jian Yan seemed to be able to see the entire galaxy within his eyes. “Thank you.”
Stay by my side.