Originally, he thought Chen Dong Lan would take the initiative to contact him so Yuan Yuan paid close attention to his phone.
He received quite a few calls and text messages, even wrongly answering a prank call, but Chen Dong Lan didn’t contact him.
After work, he thought Chen Dong Lan could be at home, wanting to meet him and talk.
Until he saw the extinguished lights at home.
The house no longer had any trace of another person living there. Chen Dong Lan himself had very few personal belongings, moreover, he would never place them randomly. Normally, the most he bought were books. Later on, when he started cooking every day, he would buy pots and kitchen appliances with various functions. The sizes were not large and suitable for one to two people.
Now, all these had been taken away.
Anyway, it was no use leaving them here since Yuan Yuan didn’t cook. Even if he really needed to, he could only make noodles, which would taste awful.
He laughed, then returned to his room to work.
Two days later, Chen Dong Lan sent a text message, “I’ve already settled down at the new home. Very busy recently and will visit when there’s time.”
Chen Dong Lan was kind of an odd person. He had a computer and a smart phone, but normally, he never used their most important function.
At home, he never played on his phone or computer. If he wasn’t reading a book, he was sitting on the sofa watching television. Even if there was a commercial, he would watch it seriously. Moreover, he had a fixed position. The sofa in the rented house had a few years on it. The place where he kept sitting in, even had a depression that wouldn’t go back to its original shape.
He didn’t have WeChat and had never used his phone to buy anything. The model of his smart phones kept up with the times, but he only ever used it to call or send text messages.
The only exception was that he had added the school debate team group, and was quite active in it during college.
After receiving the text message, Yuan Yuan called him.
“Hello?” It was very quiet on Chen Dong Lan’s side.
“Where did you move to? I’ll go over and take a look after work today.”
After a burst of noise, Chen Dong Lan hastily said, “No need, no need, I’m all good here.”
“What was that noise earlier?”
“…I wasn’t holding onto the phone properly.” Chen Dong Lan’s voice was light.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Yuan Yuan didn’t know he was laughing, but feigned a strict tone, “Why is there no need, can’t I go and see you?”
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“…” Chen Dong Lan was at his wit’s end.
“How about this, I’ll rush to tidy up the house then contact you. You can come over then, okay?” Chen Dong Lan used a “let’s discuss this nicely” tone.
“Okay, then it’s set.” Right then, someone in his office was looking for him, so he hung up the phone.
Chen Dong Lan was also someone who would do something once he said he would, moreover, he was fast. Not even two days later, he sent a text message informing Yuan Yuan that the house had already been properly tidied up.
But as luck would have it, his office was tangled up in a big case. Every day, there would be quite a few people who stayed in the office to work overnight. Yuan Yuan couldn’t escape and could only postpone meeting Chen Dong Lan.
There were probably many situations in the world like this. Waiting for a rare opportunity, but once it has been missed, it would be put on hold forever.
From that point, Yuan Yuan didn’t contact Chen Dong Lan again for over a month. During this period, he was busy with work, busy with the renovations at his new house, and didn’t even think of Chen Dong Lan.
If not for what happened next, they would probably have become strangers.
The person who started it was a female senior from the debate team with an extroverted and warmhearted character. When she was in school, every male and female junior had received her care and concern. After graduating, she went abroad to work, even got married and gave birth. Returning in a rare visit this year, she asked everyone from the debate team who was still staying in T city to gather.
Yu Lin was the first to respond and volunteered to be the organizer, even strongly insisting on fetching Senior and her daughter. Only after finding out that her Caucasian husband would be accompanying them did he give up listlessly.
It was too simple just to eat and drink, so Yu Lin planned a self-drive tour for everyone. Near T city, there was a forest park famous for its scenic spots. By car, it would take approximately three hours—just right for the senior who lived abroad to see the motherland’s great rivers and mountains.
“…and that foreigner could also see our landscape.” Yu Lin said angrily.
During college, he had felt longing and admiration towards this senior. Although it was mild, thinking back on it was still upsetting.
“Her husband came over for work and wouldn’t be going with us.” Although Senior handed the task of organizing activities to Yu Lin, turning around, he privately asked Yuan Yuan for help.
“How many people are there now?”
Yuan Yuan asked subconsciously, “Did you invite Chen Dong Lan?”
After asking, Yuan Yuan stared blankly. Why did it come out so naturally? Clearly there had been no contact for a long time, and he had even forgotten about this person.
Yu Lin said expressionlessly, “No.”
“Then, invite him.”
Yu Lin had created a problem, “This…Chen Dong Lan, he, he doesn’t seem to attend gatherings…”
What Yu Lin said was a fact. Chen Dong Lan’s personality was too introverted. He didn’t join in on the fun during gatherings and just sat quietly in the corner like a backdrop board. The debate team often had gatherings, but after a while, Chen Dong Lan was almost never invited.
“These are two separate matters.” Yuan Yuan frowned irritably.
“Then, you invite him. ” Yu Lin feigned firmness. “Besides, you’ve lived with him for a long time.”
“These are also two separate matters.” Yuan Yuan raised a finger and pointed it at Yu Lin with a stern expression. “Are you inviting or not?”
Yu Lin bent his head and obediently said, “I’ll invite…I’ll invite, okay?”
In the end, there was a total of seven people going on the self-drive tour.
The time was fixed on Friday and everyone would set off after work. It wouldn’t be too late upon reaching the destination, and after resting for a night, they could wake up early the next morning to climb the mountain.
They would stay over on Saturday then come back at noon on Sunday with enough time for a dinner together in the city at night.
Yu Lin emphatically requested to fetch Senior and her daughter. In order to do this, he took half a day off to buy a present for the four year old little girl. Yuan Yuan finished work a little later. Originally, it was agreed that he would first go and pick up another two classmates at five, then pick up Chen Dong Lan, letting him wait at home. In the end, after checking his text messages, he discovered an unread message: “I live too out of the way, don’t want to trouble you to make a detour. I’ll come over to your office in advance.”
Yuan Yuan immediately used the internal line to ask the reception, “Have any friends of mine come to look for me?”
The receptionist was at a loss. “There haven’t been any…”
Yuan Yuan hurriedly packed his things and while exiting the office building, he saw Chen Dong Lan standing stupidly beside the flowers and shrubs at the public square in front of the building, carrying a duffel bag.
Chen Dong Lan was staring in the direction of the main entrance and saw Yuan Yuan immediately.
Yuan Yuan walked over in a few steps, “Why didn’t you come in to wait for me?”
If he had told the reception that he was his friend, he could have rested in the guest room with a cup of hot tea. Did he have to go as far as to stand outside in the cold wind?
“I just arrived. Anyway, it’s almost five and it’s better not to disturb.” During their time apart, Chen Dong Lan had cut his hair. Yuan Yuan didn’t know if it was because of this, but he looked thinner.
Yuan Yuan grabbed his duffel bag and lifting it, realising that it wasn’t heavy. His expression relaxed but his tone still wasn’t good, “You're always so polite.”
He just realised that after so long, he, a big twenty-something guy, was unexpectedly still angry at what happened previously.
The two of them walked to the car park and Chen Dong Lan took back his bag.
Yuan Yuan didn’t grab it from him again, only adjusting the air-conditioning in the car a few degrees higher.
The other two classmates, one male and one female, last name Ou Yang and Zhou, lived very close by.
Getting into the car, Ou Yang gave Yuan Yuan a pat on the shoulder, “Yuan Lao Da, how long has it been since we last met?”
Ou Yang had previously participated in a national debate competition with Yuan Yuan, and had a very good relationship with him. Yuan Yuan was also very happy and the two of them chatted enthusiastically, completely excluding Chen Dong Lan who was in the front passenger seat.
Fortunately, this situation didn’t last for long. When picking Xiao Zhou up, Xiao Zhou was very surprised by Chen Dong Lan’s presence, “I didn’t think you’d come. Wow, this is too unexpected.”
Feeling Ou Yang’s strange gaze, Xiao Zhou laughed and said, “When I first joined the school team, I was involved in a very long competition with Chen Dong Lan.”
Looking towards Yuan Yuan, “At that time, Yuan Lao Da came to coach us daily because Chen Dong Lan was his old classmate, and I benefited as well.”
Chen Dong Lan gave an unprecedented laugh, “At that time, I was always the one holding everyone back…”
Xiao Zhou waved her hand, “No, no, actually everyone admired you. Although you didn’t like to talk, your logic was very clear and you were very good in the fourth debater position. Every time we were in over our heads, you would pull us back.”
Everyone was a lover of debate, so speaking of this topic, Ou Yang was also very interested. “Now that you’ve mentioned it, I seem to have some impression. At that time, it was said that there was someone on the team with a strange debating style. Each time he stood up, he’d speak very slowly causing the atmosphere to change suddenly. Was that you?”
Xiao Zhou burst out laughing. “That’s him. Every time he finished a competition, he’d get scolded.”
Yuan Yuan also recalled the situation during that time. The only reason Chen Dong Lan could enter the school team with such incompetence was his sound logic. The terrible thing was that Chen Dong Lan’s debating style had a huge problem. It was slow and gentle, like coaxing a child to sleep. Debate was a game that needed to convince a third party. Even if it was said correctly, it wouldn’t impress the judges and audience without some embellishment in speaking manner.
He had often scolded Chen Dong Lan because of this. After a competition, Chen Dong Lan would get scolded by the judging panel, scolded by teammates, scolded by the team leader, then finally scolded by him.
He was driving, but was distracted enough to look at Chen Dong Lan and found that his eyes had a vague hint of a smile, exposing his mood in a rare moment.
It was rare, that he was so happy.