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After Mr. Chen and Mrs. Cheng finished watching a movie that weekend, they came out of the theater and met a man. Though Cheng Yiran felt momentarily embarrassed, Chen Youlin was suddenly fired with with fighting spirit. He curved his eyes into a smile and politely offered a hand.
“Mr. Yi, long time no see.”
Yi Nan was Cheng Yiran’s boyfriend of three years from college. Back then, Miss Cheng held deep feelings towards this man, deep enough that Mr. Chen still felt uneasy and threatened even now.
Yi Nan politely shook hands with Chen Youlin before exchanging some common courtesies with Cheng Yiran. Afterwards, he bade his leave. Mrs. Cheng turned slightly back and she traced the minute form of Yi Nan’s figure, before turning around to face Mr. Chen’s probing eyes.
“Whoever told me to kneel on a washboard last time should kneel as well when we get back!”
Mrs. Cheng stuck up two fingers. “You made two mistakes with your words. First, you were the one who bought the washboard last time to kneel on it yourself; second, can you really bear to have me kneel?”
Mr. Chen gave her a few huffy glares, only to see her expression turn smug. He resisted his temper with great difficulty as they went off to dinner.
After they sat down in the restaurant, Mrs. Cheng ordered beefsteak, inciting Mr. Chen to comment. “In the past, you never liked eating beefsteak from this restaurant. What’s the occasion today?”
Mrs. Cheng gave him a strange look. “I just had an urge to try some, is there a problem?”
“None.” Mr. Cheng stuck his head behind the menu for a while, reading its contents before suddenly speaking up. “I heard that Yi Nan really likes eating beefsteak.”
“Ah, is that so…wait a minute,” Mrs. Cheng pried away Mr. Chen’s menu with a stern look. “I say, Chen Youlin, you’ve been acting difficulty ever since then. That happened a long time ago, so why do you still care about him?”
You don’t care because you’ve never tried to steal a girl from him! These words circled the tip of Chen Youlin’s tongue before he swallowed them back down. “I don’t care, I was just bringing something up. Cheng Yiran, what’s with the big reaction?” He adopted a stern countenance as he hailed a nearby attendant. “I want a serving of vinegar pickled cabbage.”
The attendant pursed his lips. “Sir, I’m sorry, but this is a western restaurant.”
Cheng Yiran picked up the conversation. “Give him some vinegar spaghetti or vinegar beefsteak, see how sore he is.”
After eating their meal, Chen Youlin was on the topic of Yi Nan all the way home. He made such a racket that Cheng Yiran grew vexed and gave him the cold shoulder. “Are you secretly in love with him?! I still have his number, so why don’t you call him and confess!”
“You have his number!” Mr. Chen’s voice completely changed pitch.
Mrs. Cheng grew impatient. “That’s not the point here!”
“Of course that’s the point! My wife actually still has her ex-boyfriend’s phone number!”
“He’s just never bothered to change it, I was too lazy to delete him.”
Chen Youlin clutched his head as if the sky was about to collapse. “It’s over, over! The first crisis of our marriage has the wife challenging the husband to a never-before-seen battle! I have to be calm be steady be brave against my foe, my wife belongs to me, my wife belongs to me, my wife belongs to me…”
The veins on Cheng Yiran’s forehead twitched as she rolled her eyes at him and turned to leave. Mr. Chen was quick to give chase. “Are you running away from your crimes?”
“Chen Youlin, have you had enough yet? If you keep talking about this topic, I’ll get angry. Once I’m mad, I won’t let you take a step into the bedroom.”
Mr. Chen moved his lips before finally swallowing his words. He took two silent steps forward before a weak voice reached Mrs. Cheng’s ears. “You have his number, but you’ve never contacted him, right?”
Mrs. Cheng’s footsteps paused.
“You haven’t contacted him, right?”
“You’re not allowed in the bedroom tonight!”
Mr. Chen stood stiffly outside the door. He wasn’t willing to apologize, so all he did was shout. “How long are you going to stay angry?” His tone wasn’t threatening at all, but filled with grievances and feigned courage.
Mrs. Cheng was currently in the middle of her bad temper. She didn’t even want to talk to him, but threw a pillow at his body. “Go scram!”
“If I scram, will you stop being angry?!” Mr. Chen huffed.
“Scram!” Mrs. Cheng was too lazy to say any more. She pulled up the cover and prepared to go to sleep, but they were suddenly dragged away. Veins popped out all over her forehead as her eyes seethed with anger. She was about to drop all formalities and have an all-out lecture when she saw Mr. Chen spread the covers on the ground and lay on top of them. Then he rolled around before sitting up angrily. “I scrammed!”
Mrs. Cheng really was absolutely stunned by his move. Just when she was lost and disordered, Mr. Chen shouted again. “How many times do I have to scram before you stop being mad?!”
There was only one more pillow left on Mrs. Cheng’s bed, which she threw into Mr. Chen’s lap. “You better scram straight into the living room for me. Go fight with Meatball over the floor!”
“Then agree to stop being angry when you get up tomorrow morning!”
Mrs. Cheng stared at him wordlessly. Mr. Chen set one pillow back on the bed before dragging the covers and hugging his own pillow as he walked to the living room. He was both resentful and aggrieved, but he’d only taken a few steps before turning back. “There’s still covers in the wardrobe, you better get them out and cover yourself! Hmph! I’m not going to say anything like the night’s still chilly, or that I’ll get distressed if my wife gets sick…”
He mumbled to himself as he left, nagging like a broken record. His voice mingled with a few barks from Meatball, who seemed to be giving him the cold shoulder even as he laughed at this man…
Mrs. Cheng sighed deeply as she covered her face. How angry could she truly get against a fellow like him?!
After tossing and turning on the bed for over half an hour, Mrs. Cheng still couldn’t fall asleep. Finally, she put on some robes and quietly padded out. When she saw the man huddled up as a ball inside his covers on the ground, her heart softened. She knelt down and sighed. “Really, you’re a guy with no sense of self-preservation.” Afterwards, she jabbed his cheek. “Are you a dog? You always know how to act cute.”
On one side, Meatball opened his eyes and gave a soft awroo towards Mrs. Cheng, who quickly told him to hush with an index finger on her lip. Meatball calmed down, but she didn’t get to move her hand before it was tightly grabbed by Mr. Chen. His eyes were brilliant as they stared at her. “Wife, you’re feeling distressed for me, right? Let me go to sleep on the bed.”
Cheng Yiran rolled her eyes. “Didn’t we say I’ll stop being angry when I wake up tomorrow?”
Chen Youlin tugged on the corner of her clothes. “I was wrong. I’ll believe you next time.”
“I won’t yell and shout at you next time, either.”
“Then can I go back into the room?” Mr. Chen sighed before Mrs. Cheng could reply. “Since you won’t agree after I’ve said all that, I guess I’ll stay in the living room.”
Mrs. Cheng arched an eyebrow as she looked at him. “What do you want to do?”
Mr. Chen lips curved into a smile. With a jerk, he pulled Mrs. Cheng beneath his body. “Things with my wife.”
“Ah! Wait a…Chen Youlin, wait! Go back to the room, the bedroom ah, you jerk! Meatball…Meatball’s watching…”
“Hmph! Don’t think I’m clueless. He’s done it multiple times with others outside. If I don’t care about him, he shouldn’t care about me.”
In the end, the impatient Mr. Chen still didn’t let Mrs. Cheng go back to the bedroom. The two of them did the deed directly on the sofa. At the critical point, Mr. Chen called her name over and over again, as if the two of them were joining into a single person.
“Yiran, Yiran, I love you.”
To meet you, like you, and make love with you, to marry you and walk together through so much time, I still love you as much as when I first fell in love with you. When our hair turns white and we grow old, I’ll still love you all the same.
Lost in the fervent passions of her husband, she clutched his neck and gasped for breath by his ear. Her broken, hoarse voice was filled with feeling. “I love you too.”
To be ready and willing to face the unknown, stepping into marriage to replace the life she’d grown used to, to accept another person into one’s life and then live with them as companions until this life ended. She used her greatest courage and her greatest faith in exchange for the person she loved the most.
Mr. Chen’s jealousy wasn’t without basis.
Mr. Chen could spend three days and three nights detailing the entire process of chasing after Mrs. Cheng. The things he’d done were enough to fill a mug full of bitter tears. The simple reason lay in the fact that Mr. Chen was one year younger than Miss Cheng. They attended the same university and studied the same major in the same department, but Mr. Chen was just one grade lower than Miss Chen.
Actually, Mr. Chen had held secret feelings for Miss Cheng long before enrolling in university. But at that time. Miss Cheng was already someone else’s girlfriend, so Mr. Chen had been beating himself up since freshman year for disgraceful thoughts like making her his wife. But the more he beat himself up, the stronger his feelings grew.
Finally, he turned to the dark side…
You had to chase after your own happiness. The mighty principle of snatching a woman for himself granted him an opportunity just when the senior Cheng Yiran was about to graduate…
In those day, Yiran had frequent falling-outs with her boyfriend Yi Nan. He wasn’t to be blamed. It was natural that two anxious people on the eve of setting out on separate ways would generate some degree of friction together. After waging war for three years against all resistance, Mr. Chen had graduated to being “good friends” with Miss Cheng.
One Monday, Mr. Chen used their relationship as an excuse to ask Miss Cheng out for a meal. Afterwards, they two of them took a stroll on the dimly lit streets outside the campus grounds. Unfortunately, they happened to spot Yi Nan walking along with a career woman by his side. Miss Cheng’s expression changed. She was prepared to confront him right then, but Mr. Chen managed to hold her back and pretended to be mysterious. “Doing that isn’t so good. Men still need to preserve some face.”
Miss Cheng thought that the words made sense and decided to call him instead. “Where are you?”
Yi Nan gave a start. “Mm, outside.”
“Yi Nan, let’s break up.” Miss Cheng hung up the phone and suddenly started crying.
Mr. Chen took the chance to pull the heartbroken Miss Cheng into a park, where he bought her a beer and offered his shoulder to wipe her tears.
Cheng Yiran cried as she drank, before finally coming to her senses to poke Chen Youlin’s head. “Why did you call me out for a meal today? Why did you ask me for a stroll today? Wouldn’t it be better if I hadn’t seen a thing? Wouldn’t it be best?!”
Chen Youlin obediently accepted a few jabs before speaking. “Mm, I have to admit that I’m very happy seeing such a situation.”
“Are you a deviant? You like seeing girls cry?”
“I like seeing you disappointed in love,” Chen Youlin scratched his head. “This way, I’ll have a chance.”
Cheng Yiran was stunned. She only recovered after a long while, spitting saliva as she asked, “You…you couldn’t be that…that whachamacallit, right?”
Chen Youlin took a deep breath and shouted, “Cheng Yiran, you’re the one I like!”
Cheng Yiran momentarily lost her senses and forgot all about the snot dribbling down her nose. Chen Youlin couldn’t stand to watch, so he used his sleeve to wipe her face before hanging his head. “I’ve held it back for many years…before finally working up the nerve today. If you want to hit me, be gentle.”
Of course Cheng Yiran didn’t want to hit him. She only yelled at him all in a muddle. “You men are all jerks. Whether it’s one or two of you, every one’s a jerk!”
But soon enough, Cheng Yiran caught wind that Yi Nan gave Chen Youlin a good beating.
We won’t tire you out with tales of old scores between men and their woman, but from this it can be seen that Mr. Chen’s feelings for Miss Cheng brought about a high degree of misery and hardships from the very start. As soon as he sensed something even slightly off about Mrs. Cheng, he’d act like a spoiled child, rolling around and being cute in move after move until Mrs. Cheng obediently surrendered.
But the ultimate results of this man who had fallen in love at first sight by accident was–Mr. Chen happily ate his fill, Mrs. Cheng slept very comfortably, and Mr. Chen got seriously sick.
That’s right, after acting cute and engaging in excessive physical activity all night, he…got sick.
In the words of Mrs. Cheng, it would be something like this: ‘You useless guy!’
When Mrs. Cheng took Mr. Chen’s temperature, he was 38.6 degrees. Mr. Chen was in an uproar. “Wife, wife, send me to the hospital. I’m going to die, I’m going to bur my wits silly. In the future you’ll have no one to cook for you wash your clothes compete or for the washboard.”
Cheng Yiran pinched Mr. Chen’s arm. “Are you made out of mud? Do you think you’ll be burned to nothing?”
Mr. Chen’s eyes were filled with tears as he looked at Mrs. Cheng. “I’m made of chocolate, so I have a low melting point…”
Mrs. Cheng sighed. “You’re just a Lin Daiyu, ah, a Lin Daiyu. We’re not as wealthy enough to spend as freely as the Jia estate. What hospital? Can people still go to hospitals nowadays? I’ll go down and buy you two antipyretic pills. Make the best of it and eat them. If your fever doesn’t come down, I’ll take you to for an infusion.”
Mr. Chen dragged at the hem of her clothes. “Come back soon.”
Mrs. Cheng stubbornly refused to pity Mr. Chen, but started to run as soon as she was out the door. When Mr. Chen saw her leave, he didn’t mope, but quietly lay on the bed to recuperate.
After a while, Mr. Chen’s hands began to itch for something to do. He called Mrs. Cheng and said, “Wife, I want to eat tomato stew with spare ribs.”
After the other end answered, Mr. Chen hung up, but he was quick to call her a few minutes later. “Wife, I want to eat sweet and sour spare ribs.”
The other side answered in the affirmative again. Satisfied, Mr. Chen hung up. A few more minutes passed before he called for a third time, but got a stern lecture before he had any chance to speak. When her tirade was done, Mrs. Cheng still asked in a huff, “What else do you want to eat?”
“I…saw your purse on the living room table. Did you bring any money with you?”
Silence reigned on the other end of the line before Mr. Chen was thoroughly cursed at again.
Mr. Chen had a healthy body, so his fever abated soon after eating the medicine. Towards evening, Mrs. Cheng brushed his forehead and found out it had returned to normal temperature. She gave a relieved exhale from her heart and stroked his hair. “Next time I get sick, I’m going to give my all and bother you so you can repay me.”
Mr. Chen nuzzled beneath her touch and grinned. “Okay. It’s best if you torment me as much as you can. I like being tormented by you. I want you to keeping tormenting me for the rest of my life.”
Though they’d been married for awhile, Mrs. Cheng still felt her face turn red at these words. She gave a light cough before changing the topic. “Chen Youlin, will you turn bald in the future?” Mrs. Cheng poked the top of Mr. Chen’s head. “Your hair is longer on the left side, enough for the grease to shift to the right.”
“Will you mind if I’m bald?”
Mrs. Cheng considered the question. “I probably won’t. I’ll give you my hair to use as a wig. As long as I’m not bald, you won’t be bald, either.”
“Wife! I’m really touched! Kiss me, kiss me once!”
“Move aside, you still have the virus inside your body. Don’t touch me!”
 Yi Nan (易南) – Yi is a surname that means “easy, amiable, change,” Nan means “south.”
 I scrammed (我滚了) – wo gun le, in Chinese, the word for “scram” is the same as the word for “to roll.”
 38.6 degrees – about 101 degrees Fahrenheit
 Lin Daiyu (林黛玉) – one of the titular female characters in the Chinese classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber, prone to being sickly and apt to cry. More info in Wikipedia article here.
 Jia estate (贾府) – the rich family who took Lin Daiyu in, and the focal point for Dream of the Red Chamber.
 infusion (输液) – shuye, a type of hospital treatment where the patient is linked up to an IV drip to get their medicine. Rather common treatment in China.
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