Establishing a new interpersonal relationship meant one would be pushed out of their inherent comfort zone to some degree. Before getting off the bus, I wondered if Lu Cheng also went to work around ten o’clock every day. He said: It’s a little more relaxed.
I told him: “I thought you guys were typical 996.”1 996 refers to the 996 working hour system. This was a work schedule practiced by some companies in the People’s Republic of China. It comes from the requirement that employee’s work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, 6 days per week; i.e. 72 hours a week. Compare this to what the U.S. considers full time, which is 40 hours a week. This working schedule was adopted by a number of Mainland Chinese internet companies as their official work schedule before being deemed illegal by China’s Supreme People’s Court on August 27, 2021.
Lu Chengze replied: “It’s all good as long as we finish our tasks.”
Forgive me for starting to talk about work again, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take it anymore if we continued to talk about subjects which would create a pink atmosphere and make me hold onto his arm like a sixteen year old girl and beg cutely: Can’t you just stay with me for two more stops?
But he seemed to be able to hear the voice in my heart. When we arrived at Xilin Lake Station, a crowd of people exited the subway car but he didn’t move a jot.
I turned around to look at him sharply, with surprise in my eyes.
He lowered his eyes and smiled slightly: “How many times do you plan to look at me like that today?”
I asked: “Aren’t you getting off?”
He raised his brow in confusion and then said, “Didn’t the line you said before mean you wanted me to stay with you until your stop?
I was shocked, dumbstruck for a moment: “Which line?”
Lu Chengze said: “The line where you asked when I had work.”
My words came out a little forcefully: “No! I was afraid I’d be interfering with your work hours.”
He blinked, seeming to feel a little aggrieved by what he heard: “So fierce, Qi Miao.”
I instantly became speechless.
…How had things ended up this way; a woman who was embarrassed to act coquettishly, and a man who had no qualms about acting coquettishly. The key thing was that I was very susceptible to this kind of behavior.
Also what eyedrops did he use? He definitely faced a monitor everyday, but his eyes were still so clear, the blacks and whites distinct.
I adjusted my tone and repeated my words in a gentler tone: “No, I was afraid I’d be interfering with your work hours.”
Lu Chengze frowned at my Sichuan Opera Face-Change2 Face-Changing is an ancient Chinese dramatic art that is part of the more general Sichuan Opera. The performers change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.: “Not at all, it just so happens that it gives me a chance to start work later.”
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Rd vbkp xsxldv, bl nbydtle qasx yd lypkzu cwzzkle fwdksa vs y nyzx yde kdewztldv pldksa.
Fokvnbkdt qynlp yv vbl qzkr sq y ekxl, vbkp cayv.
R pktble kdpkel yde nsdvkdwle pvydekdt okvb xu cynj vs bkx. Rv oyp rskdvzlpp vs pyu yduxsal yp vbl essa bye nzsple yde vbl vaykd oyp ralryakdt vs awpb sqq vs vbl dlmv pvsr.
G qlo caktbv ckzzcsyaep qzypble rypv, swvpkel vbl okdeso. Tl nyzzle xu dyxl swv sq vbl czwl ytykd.
R vwadle xu blye yaswde vs zssj yv bkx.
Nw Ubldtgl ypjle: “Rp vbkp swa plnsde vkxl xllvkdt?”
R vbswtbv ycswv kv yde nsdqkaxle: “Mbyv’p aktbv.”
Tl pyke: “Bdqyxkzkya yv qkapv, cwv olzz ynnwpvsxle pssd ldswtb. El pbswze cl nsdpkelale qyxkzkya cu dso, aktbv?”
R ydpolale bkx okvb y iwlpvksd, xyjkdt vaswczl: “Tso nssjle?”3 Mbkp kp y rzyu sd osaep cwv kv eslpd’v vaydpzyvl hlau olzz vs ldtzkpb. Rq usw zssj yv vbl ralhkswp zkdl, “Bdqyxkzkya yv qkapv, cwv olzz ynnwpvsxle pssd ldswtb. El pbswze nswdv yp qyxkzkya cu dso, aktbv?,” vbl osae qsa wdqyxkzkya kd Ubkdlpl nyd yzps xlyd ayo yde vbl osae qsa olzz ynnwpvsxle nyd yzps alqla vs bso nssjle qsse kp. Fs rwv vstlvbla, ydsvbla vaydpzyvksd sq vbkp nswze cl “Syo yv qkapv (xllvkdt) yde nssjle yv plnsde (xllvkdt). El pbswze cl nsdpkelale nssjle cu dso, aktbv?”
Gqvla blyakdt xu alrzu, bl pdkqqle yaswde zkjl y ckt esttu yde tyhl bkp hlaeknv: “Zsw nyd prakdjzl psxl nwxkd.”4 Fs yqvla pbl ypjle bkx, “Tso nssjle?,” bl’p cypknyzzu vlzzkdt bla kv’p alyeu qsa plypsdkdt, vbl nwxkd.
R nswzed’v bsze xu zywtb kd, yv zlypv lktbv sq xu vllvb olal pbsokdt.
Tl yzps zywtble. Nywtbvla oyp zkjl yd yehydnle cynvlaky, kv oswze ayrkezu vwad kdqlnvkswp.
R qlzv R bye tsvvld nywtbv wr kd Nw Ubldtgl vss iwknjzu. Mbyv oyp aktbv, kv oyp sdzu swa plnsde xllvkdt. Rv oyp yzz aktbv obld R oyp cwpu, cwv obld R bye lhld vbl vkdklpv ckv sq qall vkxl, bkp lhlau qasod yde pxkzl yde lhlau xshl oswze iwknjzu qzsyv kdvs xu xkde. Rv oyp zkjl y eawt yeeknvksd, eayttkdt xl vs qkde bkx.
Thankfully, there was the afternoon coffee date to relieve the symptoms. But after I returned from my meeting, a small accident occured at the shooting site and I had to meet a client to invite them for a meal to apologize and make amends.
Not of my own volition.
I went looking for him and sent him two strange syllables: Coo Coo.
It was purely just being cute, dulling the unhappiness which would come from my next words which would be about breaking our appointment.
Lu Chengze: ?
I continued my mimicry: Coo Coo Coo.
Lu Chengze was pretty good and picking up hints: Got it, you can’t drink coffee with me today, is that it?
I pursed my lips in regret and apologized in a language he could understand: Yes, it’s a bit urgent. How about coffee on me, next week?
His temperament remained pleasant: Great.
I thought our coffee appointment was canceled in advance, but half an hour later, after a turn of events, I received a take out cup of Starbucks Cloud Macchiato.
I guessed it was Lu Chengze who ordered it. I didn’t ask and went into Wechat: Thank you.
He didn’t say “you’re welcome” but replied with: Look at my Moments.
He had taken a photo of part of his workstation and posted in his Moments with the word: cheers.
In it was a cup of coffee which was the same as mine.
He was the first guy who I had ever seen doing “cheers” with paper cup coffee. It was enough to make me die from cuteness. A god of happiness which had fallen into my lap.
I also took a picture, and sent it privately to him: cheers.
Due to not having met in the afternoon and tomorrow being a rest day, I got on my phone as soon as I arrived home and chatted with Lu Chengze all the way until two in the morning.
I hadn’t even washed up…
It couldn’t be delayed any longer. I sat up from the bed and ordered myself to tell him goodnight. Just as I was about to press on the black screen of the phone, a new message appeared on the screen.
I couldn’t ignore it.
The guy who was greatly interfering with the rhythm of my life began another topic: Last question before going to bed. Which song do you use as your wake-up ringtone.
I breathed a sigh of relief and replied resignedly: 《5 years time》
He said: I remember this song is very lively.
He added: Let me listen to it again.
After saying this, he threw in the link to the lyrics, sharing them with me.
There’s no way I want to listen to this song on the weekend. Just as I was about to politely decline, his message appeared: Would you like to visit the zoo?
I froze and subconsciously looked at the time: Now?
Lu Chengze sent over a screenshot of the lyrics, as if telling me the reason for this sudden suggestion was from listening to this song.
In 5 years time we could be walking around a zoo
Put my hands over your eyes but you peep through」
This segment of lyric gave such a strong visual that I couldn’t help but click on the link and listen along with him.
I curled the corners of my lips at the light-hearted whistling in the beginning and continued with the conversation despite its outlandishness: Which wildlife park is open at this time?
Lu Chengze went silent and spent a long time typing his message.
Two minutes later, a bunch of emojis barged onto my screen, leaving me stunned for a few moments. Upon closer inspection, I found there was a boy and a girl in the middle, surrounded by the sun, with various animals on both sides.
Just in time, the song in my ears played up to:
“All over our bodies
and Sun Sun Sun
All down our necks
and there’ll be
Sun Sun Sun
All over our faces
and Sun Sun Sun.”
My face was certainly full of ‘Sun Sun Sun’ now because of this childish yet unique and adorable reply.
I smiled from ear to ear at him: Thank you very much.
Be as that may, I knew I was already bursting with joy.
Lu Chengze, this handsome fellow, his brain ran so quickly. He was terribly good at coaxing others.
I couldn’t keep myself from wondering how it would feel to fall in love with someone like him, how it would feel to kiss them, and if their love would shine as much in bed.5I failed at getting this across in the translation but she references a song at the end. I ended up translating it to love would shine. The song is 閃閃惹人愛. Its English name is Shining Love. It is by Elva Hsiao.
My imagination ran wild and when my heart began throbbing, Lu Chengze had already begun planning and proposing in earnest: Are you available tomorrow to go out and play? I would like to invite you to visit the zoo.
I said: I regret telling you this song.
He asked: Why?
I said: I want to sleep in.
He said: The afternoon sun is pretty good too.
I stared at our message history, praying but ending up sighing and conceding defeat. Who can come and save me. How do you reject the sunlight? How do you reject a honey-like sun?
L I E S. Absolutely lies. The afternoon sun is hot and hot and hot and absolutely not ‘pretty good’.
Hahahaha, I agree.
 996 refers to the 996 working hour system. This was a work schedule practiced by some companies in the People’s Republic of China. It comes from the requirement that employee’s work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, 6 days per week; i.e. 72 hours a week. Compare this to what the U.S. considers full time, which is 40 hours a week. This working schedule was adopted by a number of Mainland Chinese internet companies as their official work schedule before being deemed illegal by China’s Supreme People’s Court on August 27, 2021.
 Face-Changing is an ancient Chinese dramatic art that is part of the more general Sichuan Opera. The performers change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.
 This is a play on words but it doesn’t translate very well to english. If you look at the previous line, “Unfamiliar at first, but well accustomed soon enough. We should count as familiar by now, right?,” the word for unfamiliar in Chinese can also mean raw and the word for well accustomed can also refer to how cooked food is. So put together, another translation of this could be “Raw at first (meeting) and cooked at second (meeting). We should be considered cooked by now, right?”
 So after she asked him, “How cooked?,” he’s basically telling her it’s ready for seasoning, the cumin.
I failed at getting this across in the translation but she references a song at the end. I ended up translating it to love would shine. The song is 閃閃惹人愛. Its English name is Shining Love. It is by Elva Hsiao.