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“You haven’t even finished eating yet, do you not like the food or something?” Mr. Liu asked her tenderly.
“No, it was the restaurant manager. He told us to leave, so we couldn’t stay here.” Liu Jie shook her head gloomily.
Mr. Liu’s face tightened.
“WHERE IS THE RESTAURANT MANAGER?!” His roar nearly shook the entire floor, and the waiter scampered to the kitchen.
“Who’s yelling so loudly, have some proper manners, would you?” The manager walked out lazily. He still had some sauce stained on the corner of his mouth.
“Come, come.” Mr. Liu gestured with a finger. The lax manager’s face suddenly constricted, and he quickened his pace. A respectful smile rested on his face.
“Mr. Liu, you were asking for me?” The manager was incredibly courteous.
CRACK. The heavy slap made everyone’s jaw drop to the ground.
The manager’s cheek now had a glaring hand mark on it. He looked furious and bewildered, “Mr. Liu, why did you hit me!”
“Yes, are you a blind dog? You’re nothing in my eyes, trying to kick my daughter out the door?” Mr. Liu growled angrily at him.
“Mr. Liu, she’s your daughter? I had no idea. Doesn’t the saying go; ignorance can be forgiven? There’s no need to raise your temper this much at me, don’t you think?” The manager grumbled.
Mr. Liu didn’t argue with him further, and called the restaurant’s owner, a gentle-looking elderly man.
Once he got the gist of what happened, he swore up and down at the restaurant manager, who now looked like an eggplant dropped in the snow.
“Go to the accounting office and find out how much the restaurant owes you in salary. You don’t need to come here anymore.” The owner was quick in deciding the punishment.
“Ah.” The manager’s face became tomato red, and chuckled bitterly. “Boss, don’t be like this. I’ve been with you all these years; how can you just fire me on such short notice?”
“Who’s the owner here, me or you? If you don’t hurry up, you can forget about your remaining salary.” After hearing this, the manager lowered his head and gave up. He wasn’t dumb, either, and realized who really was to blame for all this: the douche with blonde hair, standing in the distance.
I remembered seeing the douche stuff a couple hundred yuan in the manager’s hands earlier at the reception desk. I figured he deserved it, mistakenly sacrificing his entire job for such a petty sum.
“F**king piece of chickensh*t, it’s all because of you that I lost my f**king job!” He charged at the douche, who wasn’t nearly as fast enough to run away. The lobby echoed with his screams, and the whole ordeal was nearly comical to watch.
The restaurant owner apologized to us profusely, and refunded us twice of our bill. He also announced to the other customers that it was the manager’s own decision- not the restaurant’s- to discriminate clients.
Afterwards, we were brought to one of the private dining rooms in the second floor. With the owner leading us, even the waiters’ gaze towards us changed.
Then, he ordered a full table of dazzling dishes. My mouth watered at the heavenly sight, and the owner proceeded to explain each dish’s origin and the correct way of eating it.
“Here, young man, have some of these geoduck clams*. Its high nutritional benefits are perfect for us men- just boil it for a while in the hotpot and dip it in some sauce!” The owner pointed at a large plate.
*Look it up. They may seem weird or disgusting, but they’re apparently delicious, and really expensive. I haven’t had any before, but I would definitely try it anytime.
Given its appearance, it does look like something all men have. Along with his description, I could just about guess where its “nutritional benefits” lied.
“Sure, sure. My Tangge… and the others should really try it out, then.” I yawned to bite my tongue mid-sentence, almost giving away the secret Saozi told me when she was drunk.
“Miss, you should also try some coral trout. It has incredible cosmetic benefits, and its meat is tender and delicious.”
He brought out two bottles of some kind of Maotai wine for Tangshu and Tangge. The two of them were overjoyed like gibbons, thanking him again and again.
The owner pinched a piece of trout for Saozi. I understood that there was always a reason behind a businessman’s success; he hid nothing behind his words and looked after everybody’s own preferences, giving us a sense of familiarity.
“Sir, you’re being far too generous with us. All of the food on this table should be worth at least eight or nine thousand* yuan.” Tangsao was taken aback.
*Ehhh since we’re talking about gourmet food…. My estimate would be about one or two thousand USD.
“Eight or nine thousand?!” My jaw nearly unhinged from my face. Even my expenses for a full year wouldn’t be that much.
What kind of f**king food was this? I thought that it would be at most nine hundred.
“It’s fine, it doesn’t matter as long as everyone’s happy, and that’s something money can’t buy.” The restaurant owner shook his head. We weren’t stupid, either; he was giving Mr. Liu face.
“Jie, were you satisfied with how things turned out?” Mr. Liu didn’t touch his chopsticks, probably becuase he had already eaten.
“Hmph, you arrived way too late. If it wasn’t for Feng, I would’ve long been taken advantage of.” Liu Jie didn’t eat much, either. She didn’t really seem in the mood.
I felt a bit confused. Why was Liu Jie so cold towards her father? I think about my parents and miss them all the time. Ah, some people just take things for granted.
“Feng? This boy?” Mr. Liu’s gaze shifted towards me. Though his stare was intimidating, it wasn’t enough to scare me at all.
Liu Jie nodded, and a bashful light shone in her beautiful pupils.
“Thank you, young man.” Mr. Liu stretched out his hand. He didn’t seem like a lousy guy at all.
I shook his hand, and started to eat. He glanced at me thoughtfully for a second, but didn’t say anything.
The extravagant meal tasted heavenly, and I didn’t stop my chopsticks. The restaurant owner patted my shoulder, gave me his business card, and told me that I could come eat for free whenever I wanted.
Even though everything was delicious, it was way too expensive. I couldn’t just take advantage of that, or else I’ll be in his debt. After we finished, Mr. Liu wanted to give Liu Jie a ride back to school, but she insisted on going with me.
Mr. Liu mouthed “help me” at my direction. I urged, “It’s too cramped in our car, anyway. You should go with your dad.”
“Then, alright.” The whole thing was spinning out of control. We were supposed to be acting like lovers, but she’s making it a bit too real. Liu Jie listened to me, but not her father; what the hell was that about?
Soon, the two of them drove out of the parking garage. “Oh damn, that’s a Porsche Panamera.” Tangge exclaimed.
“Huh?” Tangshu furrowed his brows.
“Dad, I’m talking about the car. It’s worth at least a million yuan!” Tangge explained.
Then, he grinned at me.
“So rich! Feng, you’re really something, aren’t you? She’s pretty and has a wealthy background. You better cherish this opportunity, and not let her go. If you marry her, you’ll be the pride of our village.”
Tangshu agreed with him. Back then, there were plenty of times when Tangge ragged on me and pushed all the blame on my shoulders. I remembered very clearly, when we were young, Tangge tricked me into picking a whole field’s worth of watermelons for a few pieces of candy, and then ran off to Tangshu to take all the credit. It was always Tangge who stole all the merit, and me who carried the blame.
What kind of relatives were these to encourage on romance and not my studies? I was glad that Tangsao stayed silent, until she spoke.
“Feng, you’ve been hiding it really well. Saozi didn’t even know that you had a girlfriend.” I could sense the underlying meaning in her words, the extra melancholy weighing down her voice.
And I couldn’t even explain myself to her. Tangge couldn’t know about what’s between me and Saozi.
I could only awkwardly smile. F**k, it was supposed to be a simple lunch and nothing more, why did Liu Jie have to blunder into this whole mess?