When A Snail Falls in Love - Chapter 51

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:55:06]
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Chapter 51: Chapter 53

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

During autumn, the sky in Beijing was magnificently clear and blue, and the sun was dry yet warm. It was a pleasant time of the year that everyone looked forward to.

There were already a few cars waiting on the tarmac when Ji Bai and Xu Xu landed – one from his home, another from his grandfather’s, and a third which Shu Hang and a few of his childhood friends stood by.

Upon seeing this, Xu Xu glanced at Ji Bai as he had always been very low profile, yet here was today with a huge entourage; clearly it was intentional.

Ji Bai wore a black windbreaker that she had bought for him, it had neat cutting and a clean design which matched his tall and slender physique, successfully bringing out the attractive and cool side of him. As if suddenly picking up on Xu Xu’s thoughts, he silently gripped her hand tighter and walked towards everyone with a faint smile on his lips.

Shu Hang and the others greeted Ji Bai with hugs, and when they saw Xu Xu, they purposely bowed to her respectfully. “Sister-in-law, you’re here, your wonderful presence has graced all of us”, “Don’t leave anymore since you’re here, we’ve missed you so much.”

Xu Xu was not falling for their smooth talk and just smiled shyly while Ji Bai hugged her waist and knocked on the hood of Shu Hang’s car. “We’ll be going to my grandfather’s house first, we’ll meet you after two days.”

“Alright. Sister-in-law, make a list of what you’d like to eat and do, we’ll go to hell and back for you without hesitation, we’ll even pluck the stars in the sky for you…”

Xu Xu could not help but laugh as Ji Bai did the same too. “It’s not for you to pluck stars for her, let’s go.”

Their car sped through the highway and soon arrived at his grandfather’s house.

They walked through a large courtyard located right in the middle of the city; it was shaded with Chinese parasol trees and the long walkway stretched out impressively in front of them. Ji Bai carried the presents while holding Xu Xu’s hand as they walked straight in, and since the security guards and nursemaids had been here for many years, they smiled when they saw him. “Ji Bai, you’re back? This is your girlfriend, right?”

Ji Bai smiled and nodded, let Xu Xu greet them accordingly, then asked. “Where’s grandfather?”

“Sir has gone to sunbath in the backyard after he woke up from his afternoon nap, he has been waiting for you for a long time.”

Xu Xu followed Ji Bai into the backyard, where they saw an old man sitting on a chair under the trees, with the sunlight enveloping his whole body. He was wearing an extremely plain-looking blue shirt with loose cotton pants and looked calm and kind.

Ji Bai walked over then bowed and said gently, “Grandfather, I brought Xu Xu back to meet you.”

The old man was elated upon seeing him. “It’s good that you’re back.” He then turned slowly to look at Xu Xu.

Xu Xu looked back at him as well. The old man was in his eighties, but he had a body as tall and as well-built as Ji Bai’s. She could see some similar features between him and Ji Bai on his wrinkle-covered face. A cunning thought appeared in Xu Xu’s head as she thought to herself, ‘If Ji Bai looks like that when he turns old, then he still won’t be half bad.’

Ji Bai turned to look at Xu Xu. “Call him grandfather.”

Xu Xu said, “Nice to meet you, grandfather.”

His grandfather nodded gently, then he asked Xu Xu about her age, studies and family background. When he heard that her father was a professor, he said to Ji Bai, “A family of scholars, later on ask your eldest brother to go to Lin City and pay a visit in place of me. After all, we must not forget our manners.” Ji Bai had nothing to worry after seeing his grandfather behave in such a way as he nodded continuously with smiled; Xu Xu’s mood was similarly lifted up too.

A while later, his grandfather asked with a smile on his face, “Young lady, what do you like about the third child in our family?”

Xu Xu thought briefly then replied, “Everything.”

Ji Bai laughed, whereas his grandfather was temporarily dazed, but soon cracked into laughter too.

What Xu Xu said was her true feelings, so when she saw them laughing, she decided to elaborate. “The thing that I like most about him is that he’s determined, open-minded and calm, he won’t change his dream because of some obstacles, and he stays true to his heart regardless of what’s coming at him. He’s truly a poised gentleman with exemplary character. He’s a very suitable life partner to me.”

Upon leaving his grandfather’s house, Ji Bai was in high-spirits. He hooked his arm around Xu Xu’s shoulder and, while looking at the boundless Beijing city under the evening skyline, felt at peace.

It was Xu Xu’s first time meeting his elders, and though she had a rough grasp of the situation, she still mentioned, “Your grandfather… had quite a good impression of me.”

Ji Bai looked at her and in his mind, and was reminded of he had conversed with his grandfather in private earlier.

Due to the fact that the pair of grandfather and grandson had not seen each other for days, they had quite a few things that they wanted to tell each other. His grandfather said to him with loving eyes, “Xu Xu is a nice child, I’m very happy that you brought her back, and I can rest easy too.”

Ji Bai crouched, clutched his grandfather’s hands and said softly, “Grandfather, I’d like to marry her and spend my whole life with her. In the future, we’ll have a few smart and cute great-grandchildren – I’m sure you’ll like them.”

When Ji Bai thought about this, he lowered his head to kiss her, but seated in the front seats of the car were the driver and bodyguard. Thus, Xu Xu froze for a while out of embarrassment and merely sat in his arms quietly, allowing him to trample over her lips as much as he pleased.

Ji Bai kissed her so deeply that she started blushing. When he pulled away, he smiled cheekily at her. “You’ll be able to tell whether or not he had a good impression of you by the weight of your red packet.”

Ji Bai’s father was a businessman, hence their home was not located in a military compound, but at a place called Fragrance Hill Villa in the western suburbs. When Ji Bai and Xu Xu arrived, the sky had already turned dark and the mountains in the distance looked obscure yet quiet; this was in sharp contrast to the dazzling lights of the villa which made it look like a jewel in the middle of the forest.

As they walked into the living room, Ji Bai and Xu Xu immediately saw that the couches were filled with people. They looked up at them when they heard them come and a few of them even stood up to welcome them.

Xu Xu had seen photos of the Ji Family so she recognized everyone right away.

The first to stand up was the second couple of the Ji Family. The two of them wore friendly smiles on their faces and a seven to eight-year-old boy stood beside them, he looked at Xu Xu curiously.

His eldest brother was the one who stood up slowly. He looked tougher than Ji Bai, and he had distant look in his eyes. His wife stood up beside him too as she smiled at Xu Xu politely.

The ones who sat right in the middle were naturally Ji Bai’s parents. Father Ji was a tall man who was courteous as he smiled and nodded at Xu Xu. On the other hand, Mother Ji wore a dark blue women’s suit, had diamond necklace and earrings on, and put on light yet delicate makeup on her well-groomed face. Her eyes swept past Xu Xu quietly, and she put on a very plain smile.

Ji Bai was in a good mood as well, he held Xu Xu’s hand as he introduced her to all of them one by one. After the greetings, they had dinner together.

In general, the meal went smoothly.

It had been a long time since their family had gathered together like this, so they had drinks, and after enough of them, even his eldest brother who was usually an introvert became talkative. From time to time, someone asked Xu Xu about herself, whereby she answered them accordingly. She was steady, gentle, and respectful so the atmosphere was quite nice.

The only one who hardly spoke was Mother Ji. She only spoke once in a while, laughed when humored, but she never asked Xu Xu anything.

In the blink of an eye, the clock struck ten, but the men were still not quite done with the drinks and their conversation. Both his eldest sister-in-law and second sister-in-law laughed and said that they could not go on anymore, so they went to sleep in the guestroom. Upon hearing this, Ji Bai placed his glass down and grabbed Xu Xu’s hand. “We’re still going to drink for a while, how about you go to sleep first?”

Xu Xu nodded, then Ji Bai looked at his mother. “Mother, have you arranged Xu Xu’s room?”

His mother replied faintly, “I’ve already arranged it.” She called out to a maid. “Bring her to her room, is everything in the room well-prepared?” The maid nodded quickly.

When Xu Xu stood up, her eyes met Mother Ji’s and she smiled at her gracefully but Mother Ji merely shifted her gaze away calmly.

It was already midnight when they were done drinking as both Ji Bai and his eldest brother brought their father back to his room. Unexpectedly they bumped into his mother as she walked out from the room. As their eyes met, Ji Bai smiled. “Mother, father drank too much, rest early.”

Mother Ji nodded but did not say a word.

After sending their father to bed, the two brothers left the room. Suddenly, Ji Bai’s eldest brother patted him on the shoulder with a slight smile, then he returned to his room.

Ji Bai smiled back.

In spite of the fact that his mother had not clearly expressed it, she had only shown basic etiquette to her guest. That being said, everyone could tell that she was not very welcoming towards Xu Xu. This made Ji Bai quite quite upset, especially when he recalled how Xu Xu had smiled kindly at his mother back then.

Nevertheless, he did not plan to talk to his mother about it for the time being.

He knew very well how stubborn his mother was – to the point where there was still a knot in her heart because of the police academy issue, and there was nothing he could do no matter how much he communicated with her. Now that his mother seemed to be dissatisfied about Xu Xu, it would be impossible to convince her otherwise, instead, it might just end up sparking a conflict between them. It would be better for Xu Xu if she just tolerated it for now.

Ji Bai understood that not all conflicts must be solved overnight. Besides, by bringing Xu Xu to meet his relatives, she had been accepted as one of the family and he had achieved his goal. He planned to communicate with his mother on the night before they would leave, so that even if it ended terribly, they would be leaving anyway and she would not be able to drag Xu Xu into the matter.

In this were to happen, then he would take things slow; after their marriage and with the birth of children, he knew that even his mother’s ice-cold heart would soften and she would eventually accept her.

Ji Bai retrieved the key to the guestroom from a maid.

Xu Xu’s room was pitch black and she was curled fast asleep underneath the blanket, with only her tiny head poking out. Ji Bai lowered his head to kiss her forehead, then he left the room.

The next day, his brothers left with their wives, leaving only Ji Bai, Xu Xu, and Ji Bai’s parents at home.

The breakfast prepared was bean curd, steamed bread, and soybean milk. Xu Xu had never been fond of northern breakfast as she felt that bean curd was quite oily and salty, and steamed bread was tasteless. She didn’t have much of an appetite for the food in front of her, so she only drank a bottle of soybean milk.

Ji Bai was watching all the while, and he hurriedly his food then held her hand and stood up. “I’ll bring Xu Xu out to take a look around the area.”

Ji Bai drove Xu Xu to a Cantonese restaurant for breakfast. As he watched her eating porridge quietly, Ji Bai touched her hair and said, “Sorry for putting you through such inconvenience.”

Xu Xu cast a sidelong glance at him. “It’s alright, so how are we going to solve this matter?”

Ji Bai paused for a brief moment then replied, “I’ll handle my mother. You neither have to concern yourself at all, just make sure you continue to be respectful.”

The next few days were peaceful. Xu Xu followed Ji Bai to meet his relatives and friends, and in the evenings, they would go out with Shu Hang and the others. Because of this, she did not spend much time with Mother Ji, but Mother Ji’s attitude towards her was crystal-clear: while she offered her warm hospitality, she was indifferent towards her.

Soon enough, it was the day before they were to leave. Ji Bai didn’t have plans for today, so he stayed home with his parents and Xu Xu whilst packing up their luggage.

In the afternoon, as Ji Bai was playing chess with his father, his phone rang.

“Mister Ji, the diamond ring you ordered has arrived in Beijing.”

Ji Bai instantly smiled and peeped at Xu Xu who was packing her luggage, then he walked to a quiet corner.

The other person on the other end of the line asked, “When are you free? We’ll get someone to send it to you.”

Ji Bai smiled plainly and replied, “I’ll go over to collect it now.”

Ji Bai quickly mentioned that Shu Hang was looking for him, then he left. After Xu Xu was done packing her own luggage, she assumed that Ji Bai was probably not done with his yet so she went up to his room.

When she walked in, she saw Mother Ji sitting by the bed, folding his shirts and putting them into his luggage. When Mother Ji heard her footsteps, she turned to look, then stopped what she was doing. “Come over and pack then since you’re here.”

As she stood up to leave, Xu Xu hesitated before saying, “Aunty, thank you for the warm hospitality from you and uncle, I’m extremely thankful. Since we’re leaving tomorrow, we’ll visit you again when we have the chance to. Take good care of yourselves, if you happen to go to Lin City, I’ll be a great host and show you around.”

Her words were respectful and polite but they did not sound overly affectionate and attentive. Mother Ji looked at her quietly with a scornful look in her eyes. “Thank you but I won’t go to Lin City.”

Initially, Xu Xu only wanted to be polite and courteous, but it was obvious that Mother Ji’s words had a hidden meaning to them. Seeing that she was about to leave the room, Xu Xu bit her lip, then said, “Aunty, can we talk for a while?”

Mother Ji paused and looked at her.

If it was someone else, Xu Xu would not have bothered winning their acceptance; if they got along then great, otherwise she would just leave it be.

However, the person in front of her now was Ji Bai’s mother.

Granted that Ji Bai told her not to care and to leave everything to him, but she could see Mother Ji’s attitude during the time that she was here. She would be lying if she said that she was not bothered by this, as she felt somewhat wronged. Besides, this interpersonal relationship that looked civil on the surface but was in fact uncommunicative was totally foreign to her. What could she do if her boyfriend’s mother did not have a liking for her?

Furthermore, she knew that if she could not gain her approval, Ji Bai would end up feeling regretful and upset. If there was anything that she could do to change that, she was willing to do it.

Xu Xu was unfamiliar in getting along with female elders, but her final solution to any issue, regardless of the intricacies of it, were concise and effective.

Thus, she decided to communicate with Mother Ji directly.

After she pondered for a while, she spoke gently, “Aunty, Ji Bai always talked about you and uncle. To him, you’re not just his parents, you’re also people whom he especially respects, and he has said that many times that he admires your high achievements in your own lives as well as in the business industry. I’m truly contented to have met you and the rest of his family.”

Mother Ji looked at her without saying anything.

Xu Xu continued, “I know that you’ve been remorseful about Ji Bai being a police officer. I understand where you’re coming from because for a child who grew up in such family environment to become a police officer means that he’ll suffer lots of hardships that has never been experienced before. You’re just caring for him because you love him.

“Despite that, Ji Bai has been working very hard over the past few years. Perhaps you can’t tell since you’re in Beijing and Ji Bai probably never mentioned it to you. However, whenever he works, he does it with all his might and there were times when he doesn’t get proper for a couple of days in a row. Following the number cases that he has solved, he has become absolutely exhausted too. The toughness required to be a criminal police officer and especially considering he’s the captain of a criminal police unit is far beyond what one could imagine.”

Mother Ji’s face changed.

Xu Xu spoke in a gentle tone. “Currently, he’s performed so outstandingly in the Public Security System that whenever mentions the Ji Family, people would think about Ji Bai first. I’m not saying this with any ulterior motives, but because I’ve spent time with him day and night, I can sense his inner thoughts. The reason that he’s putting his utmost effort in this is because he’s upright and responsible, and also because he actually wants to prove to you, uncle, and himself that, despite his stubborn character, his choices were right.”

Mother Ji replied, “He brought this upon himself.” Although she said this, her expression had changed slightly.

Xu Xu shifted the topic. “Regardless of it’s his career, his love relationship, his life or his dreams, he very much wishes to have your approval and support. As a matter of fact, in this case, I believe that his relationship with you will grow to be much more intimate than it was before. I believe that this is also what he longs for as a child.

“Aunty, I’ve never been in a relationship before and Ji Bai is my first boyfriend, but I’ve always cared for him as the most important person in my life. I know that it’s hard for him to be away from you but don’t worry, because even though I’m still quite young, I’ll take great care of him. Moreover, we’re colleagues in the police station, we can look after one another if anything happens. Hence, I personally hope that I can gain your approval, because you’re the most important person to Ji Bai.”

Right after she said this, she looked up at Mother Ji.

Xu Xu felt that she had said all of this sincerely, thus it should more or less be able to touch Mother Ji’s heart.

She felt that in a parent-child relationship, everything came down to “love”. Whether it was the conflict between Mother Ji and Ji Bai, or her indifference towards him, in the end, she only wanted the best for her son; the conflict just arose because her idea of “better” came from the perspective of a mother.

Therefore, everything she said referenced the relationship between Ji Bai and Mother Ji. She felt that even if she could not obtain Mother Ji’s acceptance in such a short time, she could at least express her caring attitude for her to see.

She was prepared to observe Mother Ji’s reaction to decide what to do next.

Having said that, she did not understand Mother Ji in the slightest.

As a child of high-level cadre, Mother Ji had received the most orthodox and strict education since young, like what Xu Xu’s father had mentioned, she was truly one of those who stood at the tip of a pyramid. While Ji Bai’s father worked in the business sector, it was a typical “red enterprise” 1 , so she lived twenty-four-seven under the authoritative structures that she was so familiar with. Deep down, she took immense pride in her social class, and the superiority complex that she was born with was already deeply engraved in her being.

She truly believed that the familial environment had huge effects on a person’s character, mind and generosity. She did not demand that Ji Bai’s partner had to be a perfect match, but she should at least be a proper lady to be able to be with Ji Bai.

Xu Xu, on the other hand, had a youthful look and a naive character, just looking at her appearance, she was certainly far from her ideal daughter-in-law.

Another reason why Mother Ji was so bitter was because Ji Bai had disobeyed her in the past and insisted on becoming a criminal police officer, this had caused a rift to appear between them over the years, such that it was borderline unsalvageable now. Since Xu Xu was a criminal police officer as well, she subconsciously felt that dating her was a repeat of his disobedience from the past. How could she accept this?

Mother Ji looked at her as a cold smile appeared on her lips. “Did you say all that so that I’ll approve you?”

Xu Xu was stunned, then she heard her say in a composed manner, “Xu Xu, I didn’t want to talk about this at first, but you’re a little too over your head. Since that’s the case, we’ll just be frank with each other. You might think of yourself as a fine young lady, but based on my standards, you’re not pretty, your educational background is subpar, your family background is ordinary, and you won’t be able to assist Ji Bai in terms of career. As a mother, I can’t help but think that there’s nothing about you that’s good enough for Ji Bai; I just can’t make myself fond of you. Now, although I can’t stop Ji Bai from being together with you, but I’ve already been very clear of my intentions – I won’t accept you.”