Author’s note: There will be some incidents in the following chapter that would not match the timing of the rest of the story. Please ignore the errors!
Baobei got into the car and put on her seatbelt, and stayed meekly in her seat like a primary school student. However, the moment Lecturer Jiang got into the car, she turned and viciously pinched his arm.
“Ouch!” Lecturer Jiang was clad in a thin shirt. Since Baobei had used all her energy to pinch him, he was bound to get a bruise. “Baobei~, are you trying to murder your husband?” He groaned, then looked at his little girlfriend, amused.
Baobei watched as the man she just punished was still looking gleeful. She sincerely felt that he was a masochist. And then she decided to ignore him.
“Are you jealous now?”
“Tsk! How is this even worthy of my jealousy?” Baobei was speaking the truth. She might be unhappy, but she had cleared up any misunderstanding even before she had the chance to feel jealous. “If this was enacted in a drama, it would only take a maximum of two episodes. I’m just annoyed by you and your little antics!”
“Baobei~, I thought that it was fun to add some drama into our relationship”. It was truly an innocent attempt. Having said his piece, he started his car. After a busy night, all he wanted was to spend some alone time with her.
“Why don’t you Baidu the meaning of the word “fun?” She said unhappily. “Can’t you just let me have a few days of peace? I’m still a student, I don’t want to be the topic of gossip every few days.”
“Then you’ve got to spend more time with me.” He took the chance to list his conditions. “Whenever I call you, you’ll either tell me that you are rushing assignments or going to the library. Do you seriously think I’m a fool? Given your laziness, why would you go to the library all the time? You’re just not ready to be a girlfriend, and all I’m doing is trying to speed up your familiarisation process.”
He spoke the truth. Which couple wouldn’t want to spend time together? They would not be like Baobei, who was still feeling awkward about it.
Baobei wrinkled her nose silently.
Every girl would definitely have a fantasy about their ideal partner. Baobei was no different. She had always imagined her other half to look relatively normal; based on her observations, handsome men were prone to be self-centred and flirtatious. She also hoped that he would not have an illustrious career; he could just be middle-class, so that he would spend his life working hard for financial stability. However, she forgot that if one spent his entire life trying to build his wealth, there wouldn’t be much time left for them to enjoy a lavish lifestyle even if they managed to do so much later in life. Moreover, he had to ensure that she led a comfortable life, since she’s been used to living a good life.
To her, the logic was simple: while a marriage was based on love, a woman’s quality of life post-marriage should not be lower than that pre-marriage. If she had to give up steaks for KFC, and squeeze on buses instead of having the freedom to take cabs, then the marriage would only be a scam. A woman had to sacrifice many things for marriage; she would have to sacrifice her career for her family, her individualism for her child; if she couldn’t even keep her pre-marriage standards of living, she might as well stay single.
A backpack, a camera, a lover who knew photography, a job that was carefree and enjoyable, and a brave heart that could walk away from everything else - this was Baobei’s ideal lifestyle.
Yet, Lecturer Jiang was not only dashing, he was also a successful businessman. Obviously, this meant that he was not a suitable partner in Baobei’s heart. Then again, how many people would eventually get together with someone who would fulfil their dream conditions?
Baobei might not have been in a relationship, but she had crushes before. It was a short-lived crush that spanned a year. She was a freshman in high school, and he was in the third year. During morning assembly, she had turned around unconsciously and spotted a male student standing far away at the back of his row. He had thick eyebrows and big eyes, but he wasn’t very tall. He was in a conversation with another student around him, and smiling slightly. When he looked up and glanced around casually, Baobei’s heart shook, as if she was caught doing something bad.
She later overheard that this student was popular in school. He came from a good family, and did relatively well in school. But he was notorious for having many girlfriends.
Most of the one year was spent stealing glances at him during morning assembly. Sometimes, she would notice that he was also looking at her. There were also times where she sought him out unconsciously. If she managed to see him, she would be over the moon. Later, when he decided to study overseas, Baobei felt lost. But she was also glad that her crush ended when it was most beautiful. There would always be this one person who lived in everyone’s heart. They might be destined to be apart; or perhaps, they never had a meal or watched a movie together; or they might not have even spoken a word to each other before; but it was this person who carried the most important and beautiful part of youth. When one recalled their past, they would have no regrets, just warm and fuzzy memories.
The couple were silent in the car, as Baobei thought about her high school crush. She remembered that he was called Wei Jie, and he loved to wear brightly coloured sneakers.
She turned and eyed Lecturer Jiang. For a moment, she thought that he was truly hard to come by. There were few who would continue their love for someone from a young age.
“Where are we going?” For once, she wanted to liven up the mood.
“My house. Didn’t you say that you wanted to eat meat porridge? I’ll cook for you”.
“What?! Your house is so far away from the school! The dorms will be locked by the time you’re done cooking and for us to return after supper.” Jiang Moxiu was living in the same neighbourhood as her brother-in-law. Baobei loved to visit, but it was just out of the way.
“I bought a house just beside the school. I’ll be staying here often in future.” Lecturer Jiang answered. He already had a very nice voice, but coupled with his English-accented Chinese, his voice was mesmerizing.
“Oh, it seems like you’ve already made backup plans?” She pursed her lips, and eyed her boyfriend suspiciously. This is the problem with a man who has too much money. The more apartments he had, the richer he was. However, this also meant that his movements were hard to track. Since he had so many houses, who knew where he would be staying at, and what he would be up to in those houses?
Lecturer Jiang grinned, but did not reply.
Baobei was not fond of traditional dating methods. She couldn’t be bothered with activities like shopping and watching movies. To her, the best date was one where they could just stay together in silence, speak whenever they wished to, and do their own things if they weren’t in the mood for conversation. It wasn’t that she was lazy; her means of coexisting was more like that of an old couple. Truth be told, Lecturer Jiang also preferred this. He was not capable of romantic gestures. In the past when he saw how dramatic other relationships were, he had secretly sworn that he would bear with it for Baobei, if that was truly what she fancied.
However, this kid was so mature, so he didn’t want to make things difficult for her.
Within ten minutes, the car turned into a new estate. This estate was targeted for newly-wedded couples, hence consisted of mostly studio apartments, each with only a bedroom and a living room. Lecturer Jiang was truly cunning!
His apartment was on the eighth floor. It was a small but well-furnished place. Lecturer Jiang went into the bedroom, while Baobei toured the apartment. When she opened the fridge, apart from frozen meats and instant foods, all that was left was drinking water and beer. When she opened the cupboards, only convenient snacks like instant noodles and biscuits could be found.
In truth, Lecturer Jiang lived the life of a very normal bachelor.
“What a shabby lifestyle…” Baobei was suddenly motivated to pick up some culinary skills, so that she could take care of this man!
Shabby? Lecturer Jiang had overheard Baobei’s mumbling, and raised his brows.
“Why did you change out? You’ll still have to send me back later!” When she turned around, she saw Lecturer Jiang in casual attire. In his light grey tracksuit, this man looked equally as good looking as he was in shirts! Baobei suddenly had the urge to ask him to change into a black shirt for her; she had a weakness for celebrities in black shirts. However, she quickly swallowed her words. She had to hold herself back, or she would certainly be teased. He might even think that she’s a pervert, though, as a matter of fact, she was.
Lecturer Jiang smiled and stepped forward, enveloping Baobei between himself and the fridge. He held her chin and stared back at the pair of round eyes looking at him. She looked provoked, but her small hands were already tightly clenched into fists.
He kissed her lightly on the forehead. “I’ll need some time, you can use my computer in the meantime.”
Baobei actually felt disappointed that he only kissed her forehead. She stuck her tongue out, and then moved outside of the kitchen. “Are you sure that there’s nothing that I shouldn’t be seeing in your hard drive?”
Lecturer Jiang froze, then turned his head and winked at her. “It looks like I’ll have to inspect your hard drive when I’m free”.
She was one-upped. “You’re evil!”
Baobei never liked porridge that had too many ingredients. The porridge simply had to be well-cooked, with some minced pork, millet wine, salt and chicken extract. Most importantly, the porridge had to be thick and sticky. She looked over and observed him in the kitchen. He was not wearing an apron; the pot was open, as he took a ladle and stirred the porridge cooking on the stove. He was very focused, as he stirred the porridge continuously.
There was a saying that the five moments where a man was the sexiest were when he was (i) scrubbing the dishes, (ii) scrubbing the dishes, (iii) scrubbing the dishes, (iv) scrubbing the dishes, and (v) telling his wife to leave the cleaning of the dishes to him. Baobei clenched her fist, as she thought, it turns out that men can be as attractive when they are cooking!
Lecturer Jiang spent more than thirty minutes into the kitchen, then returned with two piping hot bowls of porridge. Baobei was sitting on the sofa, intently playing a game on Lecturer Jiang’s computer.
“Stop playing and eat while it’s still warm.” He reached to close the laptop.
“Wait!” Baobei stopped his hand.
Lecturer Jiang peeked at the monitor. This young lady had some good sleuthing skills! She was running through his lesson plans, and areas where he highlighted!
Baobei was thrilled by her spoils. “I didn’t know that you had to prepare for lessons too.”
“That’s a given”. Lecturer Jiang moved and sat beside Baobei. He leaned back and stretched his arms on the back of the sofa.
“You’re already swamped with work, why do you still bother teaching?” In the one week that they had gotten attached, he had called her thrice from overseas, but had always returned the same day. She usually saw him at school, so she didn’t think that he was busy. She didn’t think that outside of the times she saw him, he was almost overwhelmed by work.
Baobei leaned back, and fell into his arms.
He stared at her, his eyes full of love. “What do you think?”
This man was seducing her!
“Don’t move.” He continued to cuddle her, as he reached out his long arms for the porridge, then indicated that it was ready for her consumption
Baobei took the spoon, and started eating happily. This young lady was pleased to have her boyfriend serving her. He ensured that she was comfortable, as he held on to the bowl and looked at her indulgently.
“Where did you learn this recipe from?” Baobei said with her mouth full. This clearly suited Baobei’s palate.
“Don’t you remember? My grandmother’s from Guangdong. She cooks fantastic soups and porridge.” Lecturer Jiang used his other hand to toy with Baobei’s ponytail.
“But Grandmother Jiang’s knowledge is not yours”.
“She knew that you were a foodie, so she taught me some skills before I returned.” Jiang Moxiu was also a man who craved convenience. If instant noodles could be eaten raw, he would never boil water for it. As for his daily meals, his lunches would be prepared by his secretary, and he would have a quick dinner near his office. If he craved supper, he would cook some instant noodles or microwave instant foods. He could also eat out, but for a man who didn’t have much expectations over food, he was too lazy to put any effort into supper. He could only cook some dishes, and all of them were the ones that Baobei liked when she ate at their house in the past. Most importantly, when he suggested learning from his grandmother, she had teased him about it for some days.
Baobei’s heart instantly melted when she heard Lecturer Jiang’s words.
“Brother Moxiu, you’re the one who treats me the best! You’re the most adorable person that I’ve seen!” This young lady started to use the tricks that she normally use to flatter her father.
Adorable? Lecturer Jiang was startled, but he decided to accept her compliment. “That’s what I like about an inexperienced lover.”
Another outburst, as she stared at him, her cheeks puffed up in anger.
“Be good, finish up when it’s hot”. He let out a low laugh, then kissed her on her lips. Her lips were soft to the touch, and carried with them the fragrance from the porridge.
This young lady truly deserved to be teased. Her anger ceased with the kiss, and she even obediently continued eating her porridge.
When she was done, he asked if she wanted another serving. It was only when she rejected that he picked up his own bowl, and finished his cool porridge quickly.
And then …
He sent her to wash the dishes!
Just when she had lusted after him! Just thought that he was sexy! Just praised him!
Baobei felt like slapping herself.
Look! This man could not be praised.
Lecturer Jiang bellowed in laughter, as he saw the angry girl get up to wash the dishes, and carried her back. He was only teasing her, and had never intended for her to do the dishes.
At this moment, he only wanted to cuddle with her on the couch.
They then watched some television shows, and teased each other a few times. Amidst the noisy variety show, all they felt was peace and happiness.
Lecturer Jiang was satisfied. This was exactly what he had envisaged for the rest of his life.