When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 49

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:55:05]
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Chapter 49: Chapter 51

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

In the afternoon, Ji Bai bade them farewell. When Xu Xu escorted him downstairs, both recalled everything that happened last night; they wanted to laugh but were reluctant say goodbye too.

“Then… we’ll keep in touch.” Xu Xu waved at him.

Ji Bei grabbed her hand right away and pulled her into his arms.

There were many people who were walking up and down the stairs, but Ji Bai was not bothered by them, he lowered his head and gazed into her eyes. “Your family is really nice.”

“That’s for sure.”

Ji Bai’s eyes shined with happiness. “I’ve talked to your father just now. Return to Beijing with me in November and meet my family.”

Xu Xu looked at him quietly.

She knew that he was doing this out of courtesy since he had met her family today.

“It was by accident that you met my father and brother today, you don’t have to trouble yourself, we don’t have to go so fast.”

Ji Bai flashed her a smile. “It’ll happen sooner or later.”

Blood raced to Xu Xu’s face again. “It’s still a couple of months until November, we’ll talk about it then.”

Ji Bai was not actually hurt by her rejection at all. After all, the two of them had just started dating not long ago, and they had never thought about meeting each other’s parents before this anyway.

Nonetheless, he was brought up a certain way, and since he had been introduced to her elders, he should by right allow her to seek his elders’ approvals too. This was a sigh of respect towards her.

He did not want her to feel that she was being treated condescendingly, even the tiniest bit.

When Xu Xu returned upstairs, Xu Juan was cutting watermelon in the kitchen, leaving just the father and daughter pair in the living room.

Xu Xu sat down beside her father. “How was it?”

Father Xu looked at her and smiled lovingly. “A very nice fellow, he’s tactful and experienced, benevolent and steady. You have much better taste than Xu Juan.”

Before Xu Xu could reply, Xu Juan called out loud from the kitchen, “Father, you’re being too biased, I’m your son. Besides, it’s your first time meeting him, do you really have to give him such high praise?”

The three of them laughed. When they were done, Father Xu continued, “Your brother is right, I do have high praise for him, but it’s just my first impression. What I’m more concerned about is that his family background is quite unique.

“In China, the authority-centered class comes first, next is the economical class. Even though many people refuse to admit this, but it is certainly true that a small portion of people stand heads and shoulders above others in terms of authority.

“If a person had stood on the tip of a pyramid since young, that person will be able to achieve many things in a way much easier way than the others. Whether it’s his mentality or the way he sees things, it’ll be different from common people like us.

“Xu Xu, since you studied about psychology, you know very well how the environment that somebody is raised in affects that person’s character and values in life. I won’t interfere in your affairs but I hope that you’ll deliberate well from today onwards about whether he’s able to stay devoted to you and cherish you equally and with respect.”

Xu Xu thought for a while then nodded. “At the moment, I can’t say for sure that we’ll be together forever. That being said, his family’s influence on him won’t be a problem at all. He decided this at a very early age – after all, he was just eighteen when he first attended the police academy against his parents’ wishes.

“Father, how many men have you met who have gone against their family and given up a familiar environment at such a young age, opting instead for a journey in life that nobody of his blood has chosen before? On top of that, it wasn’t done in a rebellious, dispirited, or negative way, it was positive, independent, and persistent.”

A softness could be seen in her eyes as she spoke. “Father, he’s really nice. Looking at things statistically, I’ll probably only meet someone like him once in my life. I must hold on to him.”

She thought to herself, ‘Father, brother, he’s a shining gem compared to me, even if I’m ignorant about love, I’m not willing to let him slip away.’

In the afternoon, her father and brother left and Xu Xu called Ji Bai after she tidied up her house.

Ji Bai was playing tennis with a few friends in a community. The setting sun shined on the red rubber flooring of the court at the time, making them look bright and gorgeous. When Ji Bai heard his phone ring, he called for another friend to take his place, then walked to the side of the court.

“They left?” Ji Bai asked with a laugh.

“Mhmm.” Xu Xu could not help but laugh too. After they experienced the intimacy of last night, there seemed to be a different tone to their conversations, like a kind of embrace that only the two of them could understand.

“Have you eaten yet?” Ji Bai asked.

“I just did, what about you?”

“I’ve eaten too.”

The two of them fell silent for a while again, then Ji Bai said in a gentler voice, “… Is it still painful?”

Xu Xu was stunned and her face flushed. “Uh, it’s alright.”

Ji Bai chuckled and said nothing else.

This made Xu Xu feel even more embarrassed, so she quickly changed the topic. “What are you up to?”

Ji Bai looked at the court behind him. “Xu Xu, do you want to come play tennis with me?”

Ji Bai had stayed in this community for a number of years, so he was quite close to some of his neighbors. Every weekend, someone would organize some activities and often asked him to join. Today, there were no special activities, but a few young people played tennis in the community’s stadium.

When Xu Xu arrived, Ji Bai was already waiting at the community’s entrance. He held her hand as he introduced her to everyone else. “My girlfriend, Xu Xu.”

Everyone laughed and somebody voiced out, “The ultimate bachelor finally has a girlfriend, the last and most eligible bachelor in our community has been captured.”

Somebody else also told Xu Xu, “Ji Bai is an especially nice person, Miss Xu. You’re very blessed.”

Xu Xu nodded at everyone, acknowledging them. Ji Bai simply hugged her and laughed, “I’m the one who’s blessed.”

Everyone else laughed at how he acted so differently now that he has girlfriend, especially with how he was so affectionate. Xu Xu’s cheeks flushed, Ji Bai just smiled silently.

Then somebody suggested, “Come, come, come, a new husband and wife team, let’s play a round.” Ji Bai handed a racquet to Xu Xu. “Want to give it a try?”

Xu Xu looked at him. “Are you sure? I’m not very good at this sport.”

Ji Bai smiled. “I’m here, just follow me and try to work with me.”

Ji Bai was not trying to boast, but to date, he had been unbeatable in the community. Owing to the fact that it was a high-society community, there were many married couples with small age gaps, and everyone tend to like playing mixed doubles, often husband and wife teams. Although he was always randomly paired with someone else, he could defeat anyone. He often watched the married couples on the opposite side. After losing, the females would lash out, whereas the males often coaxed and apologized, but in the end they always walked hand-in-hand to the side and wiped the sweat off each other, offering each other water. He, on the other hand, would just high-five whichever elder he was paired with.

For this kind of intense athletic sport activity, things would get quite boring if the same pattern kept repeating itself; the losers would no longer feel dispirited, and the winners would no longer feel excited.

But with Xu Xu here now, it was different. She was not good at this sport? No matter, he was strong enough to lead her, and the feeling of this victory would be all the more satisfying once they achieved it.

However, Ji Bai did not think that Xu Xu’s definition of “not good at it” would be this bad.

Though her reflexes were quite quick and her positioning wasn’t bad, she was too petite and her limbs were too short, so there was really little strength in her arms. Moreover, she rarely managed hit back the onslaught of balls but when she did, she mostly hit them straight back at the net.

Of course, the opponent noticed their weakness very quickly, and they soon tried their best to send every ball straight toward Xu Xu. Even when Ji Bai tried his absolute hardest to aid her, he could not turn the situation around.

When he lost, the others were very excited, they continuously exclaimed that he should keep bringing Miss Xu along in the future so as to develop “better chemistry”; somebody also mentioned that today was a day to be remembered, as “Ji Bai the ever-victorious” had been defeated, and that it should be recorded as a huge event within their community…

Although Ji Bai was a little upset, he was not too bothered by it. While the group rested beside the court, he looked at Xu Xu’s face which was flushed red and covered in sweat, then he asked, “Are you tired? Drink more water.”

Xu Xu had fallen silent after they lost the match, but right then she lifted her head up and smiled at the others. “Since we’re all tired from playing, is anyone up for another game while we cool down? I suggest we play poker.”

Just as someone was about to nod, Ji Bai burst out laughing as he tugged her away. “It’s getting late now, why poker? We can do that another day.” Then, he whispered into her ear softly, “It’s alright, we’ll win next time.”

He thought to himself, ‘This little fellow is quite competitive and ambitious.’ Nevertheless, it was going to be a long night, and he only wanted to be with her, so how could he let the others steal their time?

It was late at night, and their room glowed in warm light. Ji Bai showered while Xu Xu laid on the bed, her chin in her hands as she looked out at the serene night sky outside the window.

After some time, she heard footsteps behind her, then the bed sunk a little, and a warmth enveloped her from behind.

“Take a look at this, do you like it?” Ji Bai’s low voice whispered in her ear.

When Xu Xu lowered her head to see what he was talking about, she saw him holding a shiny emerald bangle.

She looked up at him again. “A love token?”

Ji Bai smiled. “Mhmm.” He then held her wrist up and put the bangle on for her. Fortunately, the bangle was delicate as well, so it did not fall out. He looked at her and smiled; skin as white as snow and dazzling emerald green made for a beautiful contrast.

“My grandfather gave it to me. Next time, wear this when you meet him.”

Xu Xu was stunned, based on what he had said, the bangle had most likely been made for his future granddaughter-in-law.

“This is too precious, isn’t it inappropriate to give it to me now?”

Ji Bai understood her concerns. Since the two of them had only just gotten into a relationship a few months ago, it would indeed be too early if he gave her this as a gift to the Ji family’s future daughter-in-law.

Even so, from one perspective, he had met her father today, so he felt that it was necessary for him to respond in kind. But from another perspective…

No matter what the future holds, and regardless of whether or not they could be each other’s lifetime companion, he hoped that this bangle that he had been holding on to for nearly thirty years would end up belonging to this woman in front of him.

Furthermore, the probability of the two of them growing old together was exceedingly high, such that he could hardly think of any reason that things would not work out between them.

Therefore, he answered plainly, “What era is it now, you don’t need to overthink things. Besides, you’ve already said that this is a love token, so just keep it well.”

Because he said, Xu Xu accepted the gift. But when she looked at the bangle, round and smooth as jade, she thought, ‘What should I give in return as a love token? What will be most appropriate to express my feelings towards him? What a difficult problem.’

On Monday night, they had a celebration dinner arranged by the station, it was held to recognize the contributions of Ji Bai and Xu Xu in the Myanmar operation.

When the lanterns were lit, the large ballroom became lively as hundreds of people were separated into tens of tables. Everyone laughed and talked joyfully. Both Xu Xu and Ji Bai sat on the main table with leaders from the Provincial Department and the City Bureau. Most of the time, Ji Bai was the one who answered the leaders’ questions and drank with colleagues from the other tables.

Director Liu was present as well, and as she looked at his beaming face, she poked fun at him. “Ji Bai, you should punish yourself with three glasses of alcohol. Back then when I wanted to transfer Xu Xu, who was the one who frantically stopped it? Who would have known that you were actually fond of this little girl?”

The other leaders laughed too but Ji Bai accepted this good naturedly. He laughed and replied, “I’ll have to thank you for matchmaking us, Director Liu.” Director Liu did not know whether to laugh or to cry as she kept shaking her head and replied, “Stop it, if you have your eyes on someone, nobody can take her away from you. Xu Xu is such a nice lady, you should be proud of yourself.”

Ji Bai was very composed, but Xu Xu had never been teased by these strict and experienced leaders before, so she only ate quietly whilst feeling slightly embarrassed. A little later, she left for the washroom.

As soon as she reached the corridor outside, she saw a familiar figure standing beside the window. It was Yao Meng.

Xu Xu was quiet for a while but then approached her, stopping a few steps away.

When Yao Meng turned to look at her, she smiled faintly but did not say anything. People passed by from time to time behind them, especially colleagues from other departments; they all smiled and greeted Xu Xu upon seeing her, but in the case of Yao Meng, they either just nodded a little, or ignored her.

A while later, Xu Xu asked, “I heard that you’re leaving tomorrow, how’s your new job?”

Yao Meng looked at the clouds outside the window and traces of a smile could be seen at the corner of her lips. Instead of answering to her question, she asked, “Xu Xu, a lot of people are talking behind my back that I’ve found a rich man so why do you still ask about me?”

Xu Xu paused and replied, “Based on your character, you’re not the kind who looks for a rich man. I think they’ve misunderstood.”

Yao Meng was stunned and turned to her. After a quiet moment she said, “They’re right though, I am indeed dating an extremely rich boyfriend.”

“Then you are probably truly in love with him.” Xu Xu said softly.

Yao Meng was silent as she looked at Xu Xu with mixed feeling. “Xu Xu, thank you.”

The two of them fell silent again for some time before Xu Xu spoke up, “You know, you don’t have to be like this.”

Yao Meng was startled, then she heard Xu Xu continue, “Slacking off work, I mean. Everyone will just misunderstand you.”

Yao Meng looked at her quietly.

She was right, it was unnecessary. It was just that she had been so determined to dedicate her life to this career but now that she had decided to give up, she did not want to face her colleagues with whom she had been fighting alongside. What kind of mentality was that? She could not understand it herself. Was she feeling inferior after getting rejected by Ji Bai? Was it guilt from Brother Lu’s case? Or was it because she was ashamed that she could no longer hold onto to her dreams when being offered a much better chance to prosper and the temptation of fame and wealth?

Regardless of what it was, Xu Xu seemed to understand her.

The night was dark and tranquil, Yao Meng looked at the vast sky in front of her and the dazzling lights underneath it and said softly, “Xu Xu, I’m sorry.”

Xu Xu nodded. “I accept your apology.”

Yao Meng could not help but laugh as she walked over to her and hugged her gently.

Later on, Yao Meng left the dinner early and, under the judgmental eyes of the restaurant’s servers, got into her boyfriend’s luxurious car.

Her boyfriend, Lin Qingyan, was in his thirties. He wore an exquisite black suit, had a tall, skinny physique, and an attractive appearance; he was an executive of a certain enterprise in the city. When she got in, he held her hand lightly. “Did everything go well?”

Yao Meng was a little sad at first but her mood changed for the better because of Xu Xu. “Very well.”

Lin Qingyan smiled slightly, he pondered for a while then said, “Even though you’ve quit your job, you should still keep in touch with your ex-colleagues. You’re still quite young, it’s your first job after you graduated, the friends you’ve made here will usually last forever. They should be valued.”

Despite the fact that the two of them had been dating for less than two months, since he was over ten years older than her, he was mature and calm when dealing with matters – he was both a boyfriend and a life tutor to her. This was also the reason why Yao Meng was deeply touched as she leaned against him. “Mmm, I’ll listen to you. Thank you, Qingyan.”

Lin Qingyan looked at the face of the woman in his arms which looked as full and as beautiful as a peach blossom and with softness in his heart, he hugged her gently then lowered his head to kiss her.

That weekend, Ji Bai’s neighbors arranged a road trip to the suburbs. Ji Bai naturally brought Xu Xu along.

On Friday, it was already late at night when they arrived at the suburbs. The moonlight shone in the ravine, the lake was deep and occasionally, fishes in the murky waters stirred small ripples on the surface of the water. The whole place was serene and pleasant.

Some went fishing, some went rowing and the rest sang around the barbeque fire. Ji Bai enjoyed fishing, so he sat by the lake with Xu Xu, both with a rod in hand. In just a short while, they captured a few big fishes, which surprised the rest.

Right then, somebody yelled out, “Ji Bai, come have some skewers with your wife.”

Ji Bai held Xu Xu’s hand and walked over. “My wife likes them spicy, put more of that.”

When Xu Xu heard him address her that way, her face heated up.

That night, everyone slept in tents on the hillside. In the morning the next day, they decided to hike up the mountain to catch the sunrise, and, at three in the morning, somebody woke up the group and they trekked up the pitch-black path together. Even though the sky was still dark and the wind was blowing strongly, most of them were couples who held hands together and spoke to each other softly as they made the climb, so it was not boring after all.

As they neared the peak, somebody suggested, “Let’s race and see who reaches the peak first. The losers will treat the winner to breakfast.”

Everyone agreed to it, but Ji Bai smiled cheekily and added, “What’s the point of just running? Let’s carry our wives and run, whoever reaches first will win.”

Everyone agreed to this too since it made things more interesting.

Ji Bai crouched in front of Xu Xu. “Get on.” Xu Xu climbed up and heard him whisper, “I’ll keep my promise. I’ll win for you today.”

Xu Xu was confused, then she recalled that they had previously lost when playing tennis, whereby he said that they would have a chance to win again. He had actually remembered it until today. At this moment, somebody gave the signal and all men went already dashing up the mountainside with their wives on their backs.

Soon enough, somebody noticed something and cried out. “Ji Bai is too cruel, his wife is the lightest.”

Xu Xu leaned onto Ji Bai’s shoulders and could not help but laugh.

As expected, they were the first to arrive at the peak, leaving the rest far behind. Yet the sun was not out yet and there were only a few rays of misty light on the peak. Mountains surrounded them on all sides, making the whole atmosphere very serene.

After a while, more people reached the peak and they all waited patiently. Ji Bai was bored from waiting, so he hooked his hand around Xu Xu’s waist, but just as he was about to kiss her, he saw her taking something from her pocket whilst slightly blushing. Then, she tapped his palm. “Open your hand.”

Ji Bai listened to her and opened his hand.

Even though it was quite dim, he could vaguely see that it was… a dull-colored stone?

As Ji Bai held the stone, he heard Xu Xu explain word by word. “This is a fossil, which was left behind by my father after taking his qualification exam in the past. It’s not a very valuable object, but the precious thing about it is that there’s a tiny flower and a leaf inside of it. Later on, when you look at it carefully against the light…”

Upon seeing Ji Bai keeping silent, she hesitated and looked at him. “This is a love token. Do you like it?”

Ji Bai smiled and pulled her into his arms

He thought to himself, ‘You’re pledging your love to me with an item that shows something constant in the ever-changing world. Of course I like it, I like it a lot.’

At this moment, the clouds at the peak started dispersing as rays of sun were seen piercing out slowly from the horizon. The rays of the sun looked like bits of gold that were spreading out over the earth slowly, causing many people to cheer aloud. Xu Xu watched the majestic, gorgeous view forming in front of her eyes with an extremely good mood, whereas for Ji Bai, the most beautiful view was already in his arms. He hugged her from behind, then, under the glorious lights shining on them, he planted a huge kiss on her tiny pale forehead.