[Wife, I have an impromptu meeting in the morning, and I can only return to Sucheng in the afternoon, around 3:30.]
[Qi, are you asleep? ]
[The meeting will start right away, and I won’t be able to get back to you on time. ]
Luo Qi’s cell phone in her bag vibrated: Pei Shixiao had sent three messages in succession. But she had fallen asleep on the seat and didn’t hear it.
She participated in a business dinner last night, and it ended early in the morning. Then she woke up before dawn to catch the first high-speed train to Sucheng1. When she got to the carriage, she fell asleep listening to light music.
It was an hour and a half later when Luo Qi woke up. Reading the first message, she still hasn’t gotten used to the term ‘wife’. Through the many years of dating Pei Shixiao, she was used to him calling her by her name, and the number of times he called her ‘wife’ was very few.
She looked up at the scrolling station reminder screen, and replied: [There are three more stops to Sucheng. I fell asleep. ]
Pei Shixiao didn’t reply to her after ten minutes; he might still be in a meeting.
Luo Qi locked the phone, turned to look out the window.
She and Pei Shixiao were both from Sucheng, and they made plans to return to Sucheng this weekend to finalize reservations for the wedding banquet. Their wedding was scheduled for mid-December.
In reality, confirming the hotel reservations was just incidental; the trip is so they could meet up. From the beginning of the year, she and Pei Shixiao were in different places. She was in Beijing, and Pei Shixiao was in Shanghai. They were both busy during the period, and they hadn’t seen each other for almost two months now.
Near noon, Luo Qi arrived at the station.
Her mother’s call came in, asking if she has arrived at the station.
“Mom, I just got off the train, I haven’t left the station yet.”
“Shixiao will pick you up at the station?”
“He has an impromptu meeting, so he will arrive in Sucheng later in the afternoon.”
“Why didn’t you say earlier? Mom could have asked your uncle to pick you up at the station!”
“No need, it’s very convenient to take a taxi.”
Unfortunately, when she came back this time, both her parents were away on a business trip and were not in Sucheng. Luo Qi called for a taxi, but didn’t go back to her home. Instead she gave the address of the matrimonial house as the destination.
She brought two large suitcases, and the driver got out of the car to help carry them to the trunk.
The matrimonial house is a large lake-view flat in one of the high-end real estate developments in Sucheng.
Whether it’s her or Pei Shixiao, there were not many opportunities to live in Sucheng, not necessarily half a year or even ten days, but Pei Shixiao said that all three cities must have their matrimonial house, and they must all be the best.
Luo Qi knew all of Pei Shixiao’s passwords and had memorized them by heart.
When she arrived at the lake-view matrimonial house, Luo Qi directly entered the password to enter. It was the first time she came here after the house was furnished. Pei Shixiao had filmed a video for her before, and all the furniture was added according to her preferences.
Luo Qi found new slippers from the shoe cabinet and put them on, and took out her mobile phone to report her safe arrival to Pei Shixiao.
Half an hour later, Pei Shixiao’s call came in.
Luo Qi was sorting out the boxes. This time, she brought some daily necessities and clothes to their new house so she could use them when she returns to Sucheng. She put down the clothes in her hands and took the mobile phone to the viewing terrace to answer the call.
“The meeting just ended. Have you eaten lunch?” Pei Shixiao’s deep voice came.
“Not yet, I’ll order food after unpacking.” Luo Qi leaned on the railing, looking at the rippling lake, and suddenly changed her mind. “Or we can go out to eat when you arrive. I’m not hungry now.”
There was a moment of silence on the phone.
Pei Shixiao couldn’t go out to eat with her. He apologized, “Qi2, I can’t go back this weekend, there’s a problem with a project. I’ll order food for you later.”
Luo Qi asked in concern, “Is the problem serious?”
“Well, it’s a bit tricky.”
If he couldn’t come, it was impossible for Luo Qi not to be disappointed, but it was important to remediate the project. Pei Shixiao was now the executive partner of Huanheng Capital, and if even he felt that the problem was serious, then there must be serious complications in the project.
Luo Qi understood him. “You are busy, I will book a hotel by myself.”
Pei Shixiao hesitated to speak. They agreed to go back to Sucheng to book a hotel for the wedding banquet, and then accompany her to try on the wedding dress, but he missed the appointment. In the past few years, he has never let her down.
After a few seconds of pause, Pei Shixiao decided, “I’m going to stay up all night these few days, why don’t you come to Shanghai? Come to the office and work overtime with me.”
Without thinking twice, Luo Qi said, “No, let’s just make a later appointment. If I find the hotel satisfactory, I will go back to Beijing. You can visit me when the project is finished.”
She would not go to his company— it would only bother him when he’s already stressed. If something went wrong with the project she herself was in charge of, she wouldn’t be in the mood for a date.
Put yourself in other people’s shoes.
Pei Shixiao chatted with her for another ten minutes, then hung up the phone to order food delivery for her.
In the past, it was the secretary’s job to order food delivery, but today he placed the order himself.
After ordering some of Luo Qi’s favorite dishes, Pei Shixiao leaned back in his chair and concentrated for a moment, then called the secretary and ordered the secretary to order a set of diamond jewelry for Luo Qi.
An hour later, Luo Qi got the food delivery that Pei Shixiao ordered for her, plus a fruit platter.
She took pictures while eating and sent them to Pei Shixiao. [The food in this restaurant tastes good.]
Pei Shixiao replied, [Not been long since it opened; next time I’ll go back to Sucheng to accompany you to eat. ]. He asked again, [When are you going to see the wedding banquet hall? ]
Luo Qi replied, [This afternoon. ]
Pei Shixiao pushed the business cards of the managers of several five-star hotels to Luo Qi. [You can book whichever style you like.]
Luo Qi added these persons in charge one by one, and made an appointment to meet in the afternoon.
The big boss behind these hotels is the same person, surnamed Zhao, who has been friends with Pei Shixiao’s father for many years. Director Zhao also said that if the style of the banquet hall is not to her liking, he can rearrange it specially for her.
If she was still the little princess from seven years ago, with her personality of pursuing perfection in everything, it was really possible to rearrange the wedding banquet hall according to her own aesthetics. Back then, she had both the money and the confidence to do it.
But now, not anymore.
At three o’clock, Luo Qi arrived at the first hotel as scheduled, and the secretary of the general manager received her.
Secretary Yang had guessed that Luo Qi must be a beautiful woman before meeting her. She has also seen many beauties. Nevertheless, the first time she saw Luo Qi, she was still amazed. She was tall and sexy, but her eyebrows were indifferent, and combined with her cool, fair skin — it inexplicably gave people a sense of distance.
Approaching her, Secretary Yang introduced herself and led Luo Qi to the elevator.
Luo Qi smiled. “I have troubled you.”
Secretary Yang smiled back. “You’re welcome.”
She couldn’t help but glance at Luo Qi again. She was good-looking, and her voice was magnetic and soft. She found herself wanting to talk to Lou Qi a little more.
If she ever acts coquettish, who could bear it?
She had heard a little about Luo Qi and Pei Shixiao, this young couple. She heard that the Pei family did not agree to the marriage at first and wanted Pei Shixiao to find a girl from the right family, but Pei Shixiao insisted on marrying only Luo Qi. Pei Shixiao’s father and mother had no choice but to compromise.
The wealth of the Pei family ranked among the top three in Sucheng, and Pei Shixiao’s personal ability was also outstanding, and he was the object of admiration by many young ladies from notable families.
Luo Qi’s family used to be in good condition. Her parents were in business and owned two companies. However, her family’s investment failed seven years ago and the company had to declare bankruptcy. Luo’s father owed tens of millions of foreign debts—it’s not clear whether the debt has not all been paid off yet.
The elevator reached the sixth floor; Luo Qi and Secretary Yang walked out one after the other.
This hotel was newly built last year, and Lou Qi has never been here before. The banquet hall was designed without pillars, featuring marine colors, a bit dreamlike. It can accommodate sixty-six tables of guests at the same time.
Seeing it now, Luo Qi decided on the spot that the wedding banquet would be held here.
After coming out of the hotel, she sent a message to tell Pei Shixiao in which hotel she booked the wedding banquet.
Pei Shixiao responded quickly. [I’ve already told my parents we booked this place— you don’t have to worry about other things. Are you going to try on the wedding dress? Or should I accompany you to try next month?]
Luo Qi did not hesitate at all. [Next month.]
Pei Shixiao promised, [No matter how busy I am then, I will accompany you to try on the wedding dress]. He apologized again for today’s missed appointment, [I’ll stay with you for a few more days after I’m done with this project].
Luo Qi replied, [You don’t have to worry about it, work is important].
She said it was nothing, but she couldn’t help but regret in her heart, regretting that she had been looking forward to it for so long but still didn’t see him face-to-face.
1 Unlike other c-novels, this uses real city names like Beijing and Shanghai. From the novel’s descriptions, Sucheng or ‘Su city’ could be Suzhou—a prosperous city in Jiangsu, a coastal province in East China. It has gorgeous ancient-style, water-based architecture characterized by houses built along the river, connected by stone or wooden bridges.
2 I’m not sure why Pei Shixiao only calls her the one-syllable ‘Qi.’ It’s quite disorienting.