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Chapter 54

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Chapter 54: Gaining points   Zhengqing was surprised to hear the news. There was a sense of trepidation, was it a little - was it a lot, he could not tell. Just that it was there. ‘When is the Spring Festival this year?’ ‘February 18th.’ She replied. ‘A little over a month from now.’ He said, ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘enough time to prepare.’ Zhengqing was suddenly overcome; on the evening of February the eighteenth, he was going to have dinner with his future in laws. ‘What should I buy?’ ‘My dad likes to drink tea. I’ll help you find out what good ones are out there. We’ll get a nice tea set as well, wrap it nicely…’ ‘Fine, sounds good.’ Zhengqing said in agreement. He only knew how to capture the customer’s experience, he did know much about how to woo father-in-laws. He felt listening to Ying Ting was the right thing to do. (Zuben: Hmmm…) ‘We’ll get you something nice to wear as well. You have to look good.’ ‘Alright,’ ‘And a haircut. I will remind you closer to the time.’ What was wrong with his hair cut; it was a normal workplace standard thrity-seven. Not trendy or trendless, not long or short, just a normal office workers haircut. He really shouldn’t think too deeply about it, and just listen to Xiaoting, ‘Good,’ he said. ‘What to do, serious, I am a bit nervous.’ She said with a slight tremor in her voice. ‘Shouldn’t I be the nervous one here? You can’t join in…’ Zhengqing said seriously. ‘You don’t sound nervous at all.’ ‘Then you don’t need to be nervous,’ he said. ‘Right.' She said then she asked, 'Do you play chess?’  ‘No.’ ‘Checkers?’ ‘No.’ ‘What did you do as a child?’ Yin Ting asked, she did not expect much from him since he wasn’t a playful adult. He probably just went to school and studied a lot in his free time. ‘When I was young…?’ He made an effort to recall. It was a long time ago, when his father was alive. He used to help with the farm work. Then they lost their farm, so his father went to work in the city. He decided to work hard in his studies so that he could make his parents’ lives comfortable when he grew up. What did he do as a child…? ‘Ah! Kill rabbits, feed chickens, made pickle…’ ‘Not work - play.’ She cut him off. Listening to all that made her head hurt. ‘Play!  Yeah, kicking sandbags, riding my bicycle around the town, stealing fish from the fish pond, skipping rocks…’ he paused then asked, ‘Are these alright?’ ‘My dad likes fishing. Do you know how to use a fishing rod?’ she asked. ‘No…’ Yin Ting sighed, ‘Never mind, we’ll think of something. This time we have would be used as remedial time. We can arrange some activities so you can spend time with my dad and score some points.’ ‘Alright,’ he replied quietly. He wasn’t really confident about how well things would go. He really didn’t know the first thing about entertaining an elder, he hadn’t done something like that in years. In addition, he could not play the games Yin Ting had mentioned earlier. Could he really be brought up to scratch in one month? ‘You need to be more confident.’ She said, ‘Although, it will possibly be hard work and you may not enjoy it, but we need to be prepared. As long as the first impression is good, the rest will fall into place. Maybe we should get you to spend time together over the holidays. Actually, that may work. His impression of you may be high, since Qin Shu likes you and wanted you to be his son-in-law. My dad has a high regard

for Qin Shu. They must have the same thought process.’ ‘Maybe,’ he replied. I hope so, he thought to himself. He really wanted to marry Yin Ting, he hoped her father could see that. But in the following days, Zhangqing and Yin Ting were very busy. Zhengqing was very busy at work with the end of year details. But due to ‘house rules’, he could not work overtime every day. But as time went on, Zhengqing slipped, Yin Ting was very strict about her punishment; he didn’t turn up on time for dinner, she didn’t come the next day. At first Zhengqing felt guilty, but with so much work to do, he was grateful for the chances to work overtime. He also felt Yin Ting was also using this time to do her own things. Yu Fei’s wedding was on the fourteenth of February, and it was approaching quickly. Since Yin Ting and Yu Fei were best girl friends, Yin Ting was deeply involved in wedding preparations. So the two lovers who had planned to meet every day, could not. It was either one to two times a week or on good weeks up to three times, but they asked for leave frequently. They got the chance to go to the craft store to by the tools they needed to make the binding for their first love diary. Zhengqing personally created the binding, and the two, high on the sweetness of the day, promised to make the diary thick. They promised to write about things that touched them in their relationship. If the diary was light, they hadn’t seen each other in a long time. If there was nothing, they hadn’t done anything at all. It was consensus between both of them to nuture their love. However, they hadn’t considered one thing. The diary did not increase or decrease by much, because they hadn’t met much of late due to busy schedules. And even if they met for dinner, even touching things, if there are repeated everyday, became mundane. Yin Ting was so busy with preparations for Yu Fei’s wedding that she did not fill the diary. When she finally got a chance to read through it, it was emptier than she imagined. They had met many times, but there weren’t many entries. She sighed, though it had seemed simple when she had the idea, in reality, it was not. Yin Ting arrived home late on evening. She realised she hadn’t looked at her phone all day, so she fished it out of her bag. There was a message from Zhengqing Zhengqing: I’ve got home. I will watch videos on fishing. (Zuben: hahah, dork)  She replied: Study well. If the weather is good, we can go out of town to fish this weekend. Zhengqing called her back, ‘Are you home yet?’ ‘Yeah, I’m home.’ ‘That’s good.’ They two of them did not know what to say to each other. He had to be at work in the morning. She was picking up the bride’s dress. This situation was not her ideal state of love. Two busy people unable to keep their promise to each other. ‘It’s late, go to bed early.’ He said. After hanging up, she looked at the diary again. Nothing to report, she sighed and turned away. ❀ That weekend, they both had sometime to spend with each other so they went fishing. In the cold of winter, there were only a few people fishing. But they soon realised they found fishing boring. While fishing, Zhengqing answered work emails. Yin Ting was just unhappy but could not figure out why. Zhengqing had been very cooperative with her, so she could not be stingy, but even with that she felt depressed. The situation continued until Yu Fei’s wedding on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Yu Fei and Yingjie’s wedding was simple and warm. Yin Ting felt the happiness of the marriage from start to finish, although, Yu Fei spent most of her wedding eating. Yingjie, regardless of the scene, let his new wife eat as she wanted. So the bridemaids ran around to help. Zhengqing was a guest at the wedding, but because he was only friends with the couple and not other people, he was sat at a table with Yin Shi. Yin Shi was again on duty looking after his future brother-in-law. Guohao was sitting with Qin Wen Yi. But along the way, more Qin relatives arrived so Yin Guohao decided to go an sit with his son who was sitting with Zhengqing. Yin Shi was very nervous about this development. Damn, how could this happen? He wondered. Sister isn’t here. If anything happened would she blame him? Zhengqing was also nervous, he quickly reviewed the details Yin Ting had told him in his mind; what kind of tea he liked, his fishing skills, what television series he was watching. Still he struggled to bring up a topic of conversation. As a result, the two did not speak directly to each other, but chatted to the people around their table. ‘Steady, don’t be nervous,’ Yin Shi whispered to Zhengqing as he text Yin Ting. Yin Shi: Dad has come to meet your man at the table. Help! Yin Ting: Hang tight, now is the time to show your strength. Don’t be nervous! Yin Shi’s expression darkened with trepidation at the reply. He had no strength! He really needed help. He looked at Zhengqing who looked back at him. He looked at his father, he was teasing a friend at the table. ‘Eat,’ he said to Zhengqing, ‘Just eat, even if you can’t.’ Zhengqing nodded; this was really reassuring, ah! At the present moment, it was the only thing he could do. His future father in law sat near him, he could not start talking to others, he could be judged as arrogant. But he could not be quiet, he could also be judged as a different kind of arrogant. So eating was the only thing he could do. He did not notice, Guohao had been studying him from the corner of his eye. Some time after, Yin Ting came to their table. Both Yin Shi and Zhenqing breathed sighs of relief. Yin Ting did not look at both of them as she passed, she went directly to her father’s side and held his face her hands, ‘Dad, how come you’re here? I can’t take care of you today, you know.’ She said with a laugh. (Zuben: There was supposed to be a language pun here.) Guohao laughed and said, ‘Don’t worry about me, you’re busy today.’ Yin Ting smiled and looked at Zhengqing. He smiled at her. ‘Xiaoting ah, your boyfriend is handsome, when are we going to attend your own happy occasion.’ Someone at their table teased. Yin Ting glanced at her father, but his expression was still happy, so she calmed down and said, ‘About this problem, I am very shy.’ Everyone laughed including her father, Yin Shi and Zhengqing. ‘I’d better get back to Yu Fei,’ she said hugging her father. Guohao waved her away, ‘Go, go.’ He said. As Yin Ting left she passed by Zhengqing, who held her hand for a quick squeeze and let her go. Yin Ting’s face went sweetly red and she ran off. Guohao noticed the exchange, but continued eating. Not long after, Wen Yi and his friends were toasting the guests so they came to get Guohao to come along. Yin Shi and Zhengqing relaxed, but he wasn’t gone for long. When he came back, he made Yin Shi move so he could sit beside Zhengqing. Yin Shi gave up his seat in a flash. Zhengqing sat politely. As he ate, Guohao began to talk to Zhengqing about business. Zhengqing was relieved, this was a topic he was well versed in. Zhengqing and Guohao talked about many things; from the changes in customer spending, to brands to new markets. Yin Shi watched the exchange, and sent a text to his sister to report Yin Shi: Dad and your man have been chatting for a while. Yin Ting: Really? Yin Shi: I’m not lying. If you don’t believe me ask Zhengqing later. After the wedding, Yin Ting asked about it and Zhengqing nodded. He was very happy about it, ‘We talked about a lot of things, our views on business are very similar. So we were able to have a good conversation.’ This was an unexpectedly good thing. He could feel Yin Guohao was beginning to regard him well, and it was by accident. A man must work hard; strive to excel, in order to gain regard. (Zuben: You forgot ‘know how to get along with others outside of the work enviornment’) So talented ah, to get future father in law's regard. Yin Ting was very happy, ‘This is great.’ She said, ‘You don’t have to be nervous when you come to my house for Spring Festival dinner.’ Zhengqing nodded. He also felt that way. Yin Ting snuggled deeper in his arms and breathed a long sigh. She was particularly tired today but she was happy. Her best friend was married to the love of her life and she looked very happy. They were going to have babies which will bring them more happiness. And to top it off, her dad got along well with the man she loved. She couldn't possibly be happier! ‘Please be more serious, I haven’t been good to you recently. Because we were a little busy, we didn’t meet up as much.  After the end of the year, we must find time to rekindle our love.’ ‘Why do we have to find time to fall in love?’ Zhengqing did not feel that way at all. Yin Ting laughed, he could be really slow and dense. It was a good thing she liked him so much, and now her dad liked him too. ‘Anyway, after the Spring Festival, I will be at yours to accompany you for dinner everyday. You won’t be busy, so no overtime.’ ‘Very good.’ Four days later, on the eve of the Chinese New Year, Zhengqing arrived at his Yin Ting’s home for dinner with a gift for her father. He was full of confidence, thinking that things had been fine at Yu Fei and Yingjie’s wedding, so there should be no problem with Yin Guohao.

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