Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
In fact, when the waitress mentioned Li Jingtian, her eyes darted, indicating she felt a little guilty.
Lin Chen didn’t have much idea about entertainment gossip, but he knew that Li Jingtian was a singer. A few days ago, because of some gossip, he was scolded by the fans of some big star.
He didn’t remember exactly why Li Jingtian was scolded. After all, when he was watching the news, he was sitting in Su Fengzi’s ward, enduring the other party’s long-winded ramblings that were far beyond any ordinary person. Gossip in the entertainment industry was nothing more than people being offended because someone said something, who was getting badly scolded by whose fans, or who and who did something bad and was photographed for it, causing an uproar among netizens.
In short, it was things that had nothing to do with him but would unintentionally attract him.
Lin Chen looked up and saw that the waitress was hesitant about trying to give out free tickets for a meal over 500 yen; he could only assume Li Jingtian’s popularity wasn’t very good.
“No, I still want this rice noodle platter.”
At this time, Wang Chao had finished flipping through the menu and waved his hand. He didn’t seem to have any intention of slaughtering Xing Conglian’s wallet for a meal.
As he spoke, he ordered the cheapest option on the entire menu, except for drinks, and then licked his lips, looking extremely happy.
The waitress’ face darkened. Only ordering staples at a restaurant was annoying behavior. However, seeing as the teenager had already closed the menu and had a firm attitude, she didn’t try to sell to him any longer.
Lin Chen was the next target. “Then, sir, what would you like?”
A certain someone with the most requirement for food had already made their choice, so following said person’s best choice, Lin Chen put down the teacup and simply said, “I’ll have the same.”
This time, the waitress couldn’t hold back herself. “Don’t you want to order more? Our specialty is Caiyun Zhinan. I highly recommend it…”
“No, no. I’ve already done some research. The other dishes in your store do not appear to be expensive, but the quality is quite low for the price. Simply put, it’s more about presentation than taste.” It was Wang Chao who spoke up rather than Lin Chen. “That Caiyun Zhinan is just some cut beef and sashimi that’s rolled up on some lettuce leaves to look like a peacock’s tail. What’s the use in making it look so fancy, unless you’re just trying to get reviews online…”
Lin Chen couldn’t help but want to laugh. Being too smart made it really easy to get into trouble. He stretched out his hand and tapped on the teenager’s head, motioning him to give the store some face.
Seeing this, the waitress turned directly to Lin Chen and asked him awkwardly, “Then, sir, would you like anything to drink?”
“A glass of orange juice,” Lin Chen replied.
“I’ll also have the rice noodle platter with a Coke.” Before the waitress could ask, Xing Conglian had rushed to answer in advance.
Seemingly defeated, the waitress didn’t bother to say anything else. She nodded, wrote down their order, and turned around and left.
Wang Chao was playing with the drinks menu. He opened and closed the transparent pages on both sides, seemingly having fun with it.
Perhaps it was because the three of them entered a fancy restaurant but only ordered staples that the couple sitting at the next table began to whisper to each other.
Anyway, it was mainly gossip.
“Are they saying that we’re poor?” Wang Chao closed the drinks menu as he asked Xing Conglian.
“Why are your ears so good?” Xing Conglian smiled and took a sip of tea.
“Because I grew up with all kinds of discrimination. I’m very keen on these kinds of cold remarks,” Wang Chao whispered.
“It doesn’t look like you’re mentally healthy. Who brought you up so well, Mr. Wang?” Xing Conglian continued to tease him.
“While they haven’t served the food yet, why don’t we just cancel the order and leave?” Wang Chao put down the drinks menu and suddenly tugged on Xing Conglian’s cuff.
“What’s wrong with you? Isn’t it because you want to eat rice noodles that you made a fuss to come here?” Xing Conglian stopped smiling and asked him seriously.
“Shit, what do you know? Don’t look into a teenager’s privacy, okay?” Wang Chao clutched his chest and shrank into the corner.
“Who’s the one that was watching a TV commercial and said excitedly, ‘Captain, that Caiyun rice noodle looks so good!’”
Xing Conglian vividly imitated Wang Chao’s mannerisms, causing the teenager to blush. “I-I-I’m not that greedy!”
“If you want to eat it, just eat it. We’re already here,” Xing Conglian said with a smile.
Lin Chen had been sitting quietly, listening to Xing Conglian’s comforting words. He raised his head and glanced at Wang Chao and asked, “Why do you suddenly want to leave?”
“I suddenly found them annoying.” As he spoke, Wang Chao began to fold the napkins on the table. “It’s fine to promote things, but I just want to eat rice noodles. She didn’t have to keep pushing it. Captain, I finally know why you like food stalls so much.”
After hearing this, Xing Conglian was left speechless. “Food stalls are good, but sometimes I want to eat with a bit of style, okay?”
“Why food stalls?” Lin Chen interrupted Xing Conglian.
“Food stalls don’t have so many people who care about what you eat.” Wang Chao folded his napkin into a rose and then unraveled it. “Captain, why don’t we just skip it?”
If this was an ordinary parent, they probably would have broken the baby bear’s legs, but Xing Conglian was actually happy. He rubbed Wang Chao’s head and said, “Finally, you know how to save money for dad. Dad’s very relieved.”
“Fuck off. Don’t take advantage of laozi.” The teenager knocked away Xing Conglian’s hand.
Lin Chen wanted to laugh. Wang Chao was like a poor child who was making a fuss to go to the restaurant but found that everything was too expensive when he saw the menu. Although the situation was different, the general mood was pretty similar.
Xing Conglian was also speechless. “So you’re now acting rebellious. Believe it or not, I will order every dish once.”
Xing Conglian spoke with such confidence that it made Lin Chen feel a rare moment of wanting to touch his forehead. He hurriedly interrupted Xing Conglian again and patted the teenager’s head. “Why do you care what others say?”
Wang Chao glanced back and said impatiently, “This makes me feel uncomfortable, as if someone is forcing me to make a choice.”
“Who’s forcing you? Isn’t the right to choose in your own hands?”
“I just think… Why do they care what I eat? If I’m happy just coming here to order a glass of orange juice… Why does it seem that if I order something less, I’ll get looked down on? What’s wrong with not ordering more?”
Wang Chao couldn’t continue.
“Yes, you’re right,” Lin Chen said. “If you think you want to eat rice noodles, then just eat it. This is a reasonable choice. For example, I think orange juice is good, so I ordered a glass. It’s the same principle. This is just eating, so just be casual about it.”
“I say, Mr. Wang, have you been experiencing adolescent depression recently?” Xing Conglian tapped Wang Chao on the head with his chopsticks. “This is essentially a matter of ‘it’s none of my business’ and ‘it’s none of their business’. Most trouble in the world could be solved with just these two sentences. Why are you so entangled with this kind of thing? Is it because you’ve been reading less lately?”
Lin Chen thought Wang Chao would retort again, but the teenager took the sentence seriously and built on it. “So what you mean is, what I eat is none of their business, and what they say about me behind my back is none of my business?”
After he finished speaking, Wang Chao seemed to suddenly realize something and patted the table lightly. “Captain, how do you know I haven’t been studying recently? Have I become a bit dumber?”
“Indeed. Look at how long it’s been since you borrowed a book.”
The conversation between the two switched quickly. Lin Chen would be very confused now if he hadn’t gotten used to this style a long time ago.
The topic had shifted from rice noodles to library books.
Lin Chen was quite surprised. In fact, Xing Conglian didn’t really have any books at home, and Wang Chao seemed more into games than reading. Now that he heard them discussing the topic of books, he needed a moment to collect his thoughts before realizing that they were talking about reading.
“Are you monitoring my records on my library card?” Wang Chao suddenly sat up straight.
“I need to monitor it since all I see is you playing games. Every day and night, all I hear next door is pew pew pew,” Xing Conglian chided.
“Isn’t that because you haven’t given me a book list in a long time?”
“You’re blaming me?”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
At this moment, Lin Chen noticed Xing Conglian looking at him. He held his water cup to meet Xing Conglian’s gaze.
“In the future, let your brother A’Chen give you a book list. You’re not under my control anymore.”
Hearing what Xing Conglian said, Lin Chen raised his brows, indicating he didn’t understand. “What?”
“It’s just seven books a month. That’s it,” Wang Chao said.
Seven books a month would be a little over eighty books a year. Although that number seemed like a lot, it was within a doable range. The key point was that this number was the upper limit of the number of books that could be borrowed with a single library card per month.
“Your captain made you a book list for you to borrow from the library?”
“That’s right. Captain is stingy!” Wang Chao looked at his boss as if he had so many grievances that it couldn’t be written down. “But you can’t blame him too much. It’s mainly because we don’t live in a place for very long, so buying books would be wasteful. Moving is troublesome, so I usually go to the library to borrow them, but now…”
Xing Conglian coughed softly, interrupting Wang Chao’s words. He lifted his chin to see the waitress from earlier bringing them rice noodles.
Wang Chao rubbed his hands happily, reached out for the dish, and started eating, forgetting what he was about to say.
Lin Chen looked at the captain of the police criminal division sitting opposite of him and saw that the other party had slightly bowed his head, as if his attention was completely fixated on the rice noodles. He was gobbling it up, seemingly unafraid that it was too hot.
It was just that his actions weren’t sincere enough, and that interruption was so obvious that it made things quite awkward.
It was interesting that they had no fixed residence for several years, but he still thought about that child’s education.
Lin Chen shook his head. Everyone had their own secrets. No matter how close you were and how many friends you made, you would still have some things that you didn’t want the other party to know.
Perhaps this was the dark side of human nature, or maybe it was unspeakable desires. In short, having reservations didn’t mean that Xing Conglian didn’t trust him. If there was no trust, then they wouldn’t have such a close relationship.
Still, there were things that couldn’t be said, and everyone had their reasons for it.
Lin Chen was calm about this. He suddenly remembered that night at the lake. Xing Conglian still didn’t ask him about Huang Ze and his past with the Chen family, let alone about the case back then.
Although he said he would answer his questions when they go for a drink…
Lin Chen suddenly felt that Su Fengzi was right in what he said.
After the meal, the rain became heavier.
It certainly wasn’t a good choice to go home at that time. Unprecedentedly, Comrade Xiao Wang Chao didn’t clamor to go to the Great World Amusement Park on the third floor but instead dragged them to the shopping mall.
The smooth floor tiles reflected the soft light as they walked past spotlights in the glass window.
Wang Chao seemed exhausted as he walked very slowly. He occasionally would look around, then lower his head like he was counting, trying to figure something out.
“What’s wrong with him?” Lin Chen glanced at Xing Conglian and asked.
“There are many possibilities…” Xing Conglian sighed helplessly. “The first possibility is he’s playing Assassin’s Creed in his head. The second is that he’s calculating how to capture this mall in the shortest time, and…”
Truly, that kid couldn’t rest for a moment. Lin Chen asked, “What else?”
“And observing the cameras and calculating the coverage and blind spots.”
“Bingo. Captain, you’re so smart!” Wang Chao suddenly stopped in front of a huge coconut tree in the hall and looked up at it as he spoke.
The giant tree was under an atrium. The top of the tree reached the fourth floor. A huge poster was hung on it. On the poster was a man with a bright smile and an outstretched hand, as if greeting visitors from all over the world.
“On May 8th, Li Jingtian invites you to come and watch the opening ceremony of Ansheng International Shopping Mall.” Wang Chao read the words on the poster. “It turns out this place is just in its soft opening… So this fan meeting is actually a gimmick for the opening ceremony?”
“Probably. What’s wrong?” Lin Chen asked.
“Nothing. It’s just that this poster is so big that it’s blocking the wide-angle surveillance.”
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