Old Master Yi gave Yi Yang face while they were at the dinner table, he did not mention anything about the previous matter, and overall the mood at the table was warm and harmonious. He didn’t even forget to tell Xu Xinyi to eat her vegetables.
Xu Xinyi’s face looked strange as she desperately tried to hold back her laughter all throughout dinner. She repeatedly tried to use her actions to apologize to Yi Yang but was always mercilessly refused.
“Honey, try this braised pork. It’s so good, it just melts in your mouth.”
Yi Yang’s face was expressionless as he replied, “It’s too oily.”
“Then, husband, why don’t you eat more of these green vegetables.”
“It’s too bitter.”
“… shall I scoop you a bowl of soup?”
“It’s too greasy.”
“…” Xu Xinyi really wanted to just dump a bowl of rice in her hand on top of his head.
–“If you want to be so picky, you can just starve to death.”
“Come on, husband, these are the fruits of Auntie Chen’s* labor. How can you not eat?”
As Xu Xinyi spoke, Aunt Chen happened to come out of the kitchen to serve the last dish. When she heard, she smiled and asked, “What’s the matter, madam? Are the dishes not to your taste?”
Xu Xinyi said, “Yi Yang said that the braised pork was too oily, the vegetables were too bitter, and the soup was too greasy.”
Aunt Chen had worked for the Yi family for so many years that she had practically become an old woman while cooking for them, and no one had ever had any complaints. So hearing that, she was immediately horrified and asked, “Young master, do you not like these three dishes? Then, in the future I…”
“No, Aunt Chen, don’t worry about it. I just don’t have a very good appetite today. Your food is very delicious.” Yi Yang glared at Xu Xinyi after he said that.
“Well, I’ll remember to cook some appetizers tomorrow.”
“Aunt Chen, you don’t have to bother. These are all good.” Yi Yang used his chopsticks to point at the braised meat.
Xu Xinyi saw that and quickly put a piece of braised meat into his bowl.
–“If you eat the braised pork I give you, I can consider that to be you accepting my apology.”
Yi Yang put down his chopsticks.
“Grandfather, mom, I’m full so I’ll go up first. You all take your time.” With that, he got up and left the table.
“…” Looking at the piece of braised meat that Yi Yang had not touched, Xu Xinyi gloomily poked at the rice in her bowl.
–“So stingy. Isn’t it fine for you to carry a little blame? Do you have to be so narrow-minded?”
The two elders exchanged glances. They both saw a smile in each other’s eyes so they did not say anything.
It was common for a husband and wife to quarrel occasionally after all.
It was not a big deal to have these small fights that started on one end of the bed and ended on the other**.
After dinner, Xu Xinyi slipped into the kitchen.
“Aunt Chen, what are you doing?”
Aunt Chen looked up at her and said with a smile, “I’m preparing some fruit right now. Did you need something to eat first?”
Xu Xinyi glanced, “I don’t need it, but… I don’t think Yi Yang ate enough tonight. Could you prepare a plate and I’ll bring it up to him.”
“Alright.” Aunt Chen quickly understood and immediately put together a plate of fruit for Xu Xinyi.
There were cherries, strawberries, and dragon fruit*** all on top of a red plate, it seemed Aunt Chen wanted to subtly help Xu Xinyi represent her heart.
Xu Xinyi went upstairs with the plate and knocked on the door of Yi Yang’s study.
“Husband, what are you up to? I brought you some fruit to thank you for all your hard work.”
Yi Yang’s eyes were fixed on his computer screen and he didn’t even look at her.
“Well, I’ll just put it down here.”
Xu Xinyi set it down near his hand and then stood there for a moment.
“Was there anything else?”
“No, it’s just…”
“If there’s nothing then go out, don’t delay my work.”
–“If you hadn’t done me a favor, would I be here putting up with your temper?”
She smiled and said, “Husband, didn’t you do me a big favor yesterday?”
“Don’t be so stingy. Just now I was scared that grandpa would blame me for spoiling his grandson. But you are grandpa’s own grandson. How could he be willing to really do anything to you?”
Yi Yang raised an eyebrow and looked up at her expressionlessly.
Xu Xinyi smiled and delivered a piece of dragon fruit to his mouth.
“Is this an apology?”
Yi Yang ate it.
Xu Xinyi gave him a cherry.
“You want to thank me?”
Yi Yang looked at the cherry and said, “You want to thank me with just this?”
“This is the biggest and sweetest cherry that I carefully selected for you! I even washed it for you myself.”
“Even if what I did was easy for me, don’t you think just a cherry is a bit perfunctory?”
Xu Xinyi blinked confusedly, “Then how do you want me to thank you, husband?”
“What do you think?”
Honestly, this was a nuisance that she didn’t really want to think about.
Few things annoyed Xu Xinyi more than trying to guess the best way to thank someone else.
–“It’s not like I can read your mind. How would I know what you would like?”
“Should I buy a present to thank you? How about a suit?”
“Aren’t there already many suits in my wardrobe?”
“Then a belt?”
“I have no shortage of three hundred yuan belts.”
“…” Xu Xinyi glanced at him. “Then what do you want?”
Yi Yang leaned back and lightly closed his eyes. “I don’t want anything.”
–“I’ve already given you enough face, haven’t I?”
–“Really trying to test my patience again and again!”
Yi Yang cleared his throat. “Recently, the food from my company canteen has not been very good.”
–Does the canteen’s poor quality food have anything to do with you? Are you the one who eats in the canteen?”
“Make me lunch tonight, and I’ll take the company to eat tomorrow.”
Xu Xinyi dumbfoundedly opened her mouth to say something.
“Aunt Chen is here, you can take this opportunity to learn from her.”
Xu Xinyi closed her mouth.
That was right.
The last time when she failed to cook, it was all because Aunt Chen was not there. But this time, with Aunt Chen watching, was it even possible to fail?
–“Forget it. Zhou Kai is a very difficult person. If it weren’t for Yi Yang, I would still be dealing with him now.”
–“I can spare one meal.”
“OK, I’ll go cook it for you now, and you can take it to the company tomorrow.”
Yi Yang nodded then reached out to grab a cherry from the fruit plate in Xu Xinyi’s hands. But his hand only grabbed empty air.
Meanwhile, Xu Xinyi had already turned around and left the study with the fruit plate.
Yi Yang: “…”
Aunt Chen was cleaning up for the day in the kitchen when Xu Xinyi snuck in with the fruit plate, which she offered to Aunt Chen.
“Auntie Chen, can I ask you to do me a favor?”
“Madam, what do you need?”
“I want to make lunch for Yi Yang tomorrow. Could you give me some advice?”
Aunt Chen seemed to have a sudden realization. She gave Xu Xinyi a meaningful smile. “Of course. What do you have in mind, madam?”
Xu Xinyi thought that the difficulty coefficient of the home-cooked dishes that Aunt Chen usually cooked was too high for her, so she wanted to pick something easier.
“Stir-fried shrimp.” Shouldn’t it be easy to stir-fry shrimps?
“Braised Beef Brisket with Tomatos.” Wasn’t this just putting some tomatoes and beef in a pot to stew?
“And a soup.” Just throw some ingredients into a pot for a few hours. Simple!
Aunt Chen smiled and said, “Alright.”
The recently cleaned stove was lit up again and quickly the smell of cooking wafted out of the kitchen.
Old Master Yi noticed and wandered slowly over to the kitchen, he peered in at the busy Xu Xinyi, and asked curiously, “Xinyi, what are you doing?”
Xu Xinyi held up the spatula in her hand and said with a smile, “Grandpa, I’m making lunch for Yi Yang to take into the company tomorrow. Would you like to try some?”
Old Master Yi remembered that the last time he tried Xu Xinyi’s cooking he had needed his blood pressure medication so he waved his hand hurriedly and said, “No, I’m already full. You just make more for Yi Yang.”
Aunt Chen exclaimed, “Madam, pay attention, it’s burning!”
Xu Xinyi hurriedly spun around and continued stir-frying the shrimp.
“Madam, when all the water is gone from the beef you can turn off the heat, then just sprinkle the chopped onions and some salt over it. The soup should be done too, I’ve already added the seasonings for you.”
“Thank you, Aunt Chen. Thank you so much for tonight.”
“Well, madam, I’ll go first.”
“Go get some rest.”
After Aunt Chen left, Xu Xinyi stared down at the beef in the saucepan. This time she wanted to impress Yi Yang with her cooking.
The water around the beef in the saucepan gradually drained away and the soup turned the bright red color of tomatoes, purring and bubbling.
Xu Xinyi couldn’t wait to put a piece in her mouth to try. She chewed it twice.
…why was it so different from what Aunt Chen usually made, so hard to chew?
Was there not enough water?
Or maybe not enough time to stew?
After thinking about it, Xu Xinyi added some more water and continued to let it stew.
But after adding more water twice in a row, the brisket still didn’t become soft and tender.
Xu Xinyi didn’t know what went wrong.
But it tasted good enough.
Forget it. That was enough.
After letting the water evaporate a final time Xu Xinyi turned off the heat. But then when she tried to put it into a lunch box, she found that there was a layer of burnt beef on the bottom of the pot.
Xu Xinyi looked at Braised Beef Brisket with Tomato that she made, which was half black and half red, and felt a headache coming on.
Why was cooking so hard?
Yi Yang may want to make trouble for her again after he saw this.
No! She made the meal as he asked. But it was not like she had ever guaranteed that she could cook well.
And maybe it was one of those cases where it didn’t look good, but it tasted good.
She couldn’t know for sure though because even if she liked to eat, she didn’t really want to try this.
Xu Xinyi covered the lunch box and put it in the refrigerator.
Then when she returned to the room, Yi Yang asked her, “You finished?”
“It’s done. I put it in the fridge. You can take it directly to the company tomorrow.”
Seeing Xu Xinyi’s confident smile, Yi Yang couldn’t help but wonder.
Did her cooking progress?
Thinking that might be so, Yi Yang was really looking forward to the meal that Xu Xinyi cooked for him.
Early the next morning, while the whole family was eating breakfast at the table, Xu Xinyi took out the lunch box she prepared for Yi Yang from the refrigerator.
“Xinyi, what’s that?” Mrs. Yi asked a question.
“This is the lunch box I prepared for Yi Yang last night. There is soup, stir-fried shrimp, and Braised Beef Brisket with Tomato.”
Yi Yang glanced down at it casually and thought that the soup and shrimp looked quite normal.
Mrs. Yi smiled and said, “It seems that Xinyi’s cooking has made a lot of progress.”
“Mom, I’m off today, why don’t I cook lunch for you this afternoon.”
Mrs. Yi was stunned. “No, I have to go to the hospital for a check-up with your grandfather, I’ll be busy all day.”
“A check-up? I’ll come too.”
“It’s fine, I’ll just go with dad. You should take a good rest at home.”
With that, she left the table and went upstairs to tell the Old Master.
Xu Xinyi smiled and handed the lunch box to Yi Yang. “Good-bye, husband.”
–“It’s a good thing he didn’t look at the Braised Beef Brisket with Tomato.”
Yi Yang frowned then took the lunch box and opened it in front of Xu Xinyi.
Yi Yang looked at the frozen half-black and half-red lump at the bottom of the lunch box, unclear what it was, and then looked up at Xu Xinyi: “Xu Xinyi, are you trying to change husbands?”
–“Me making you lunch is your blessings accumulated from your past eight lifetimes. Isn’t it already enough to have something to eat? But you’re so demanding and picky.”
“Husband, what are you talking about? I worked so hard to make this for you last night. Although it looks a little ugly, it certainly doesn’t taste bad. Once you go to the company and heat it up, it will probably be delicious!”
Yi Yang was speechless.
Xu Xinyi quickly closed the lunch box and forced it into Yi Yang’s hands. Then she gave him a big smile. “Alright, have a good day at work husband, take care.”
Yi Yang walked out the door with the lunch box in a daze.
He had been looking forward to thanking her all night. But could he thank her for this lunch box with contents that he couldn’t even recognize?
The more he thought about it, the angrier he became.
He turned around to face Xu Xinyi and put a hand on her shoulder.
Xu Xinyi’s smile was professional and didn’t crack even a little bit.
Yi Yang pinched her chin and bowed his head to meet her lips.
Two pairs of eyes met and the tips of their noses almost met while their lips entangled.
The whole process was smooth and natural.
When she felt a warm and soft touch on her lips Xu Xinyi unconsciously held her breath, and a touch of crimson rose from her neck to the tips of her ears.
Until Yi Yang released her lips, Xu Xinyi did not respond at all and her smile stayed fixed on her face.
Yi Yang was very satisfied when he saw Xu Xinyi’s dazed state. He felt refreshed and said. “Well, thank you for lunch. I’m going to work.”
With that, he left carrying the lunch box.
Xu Xinyi stood in the same place for a while until she turned blankly and saw Old Master Yi and Mrs. Yi standing at the bottom of the stairs in silence.
“…Xinyi, don’t misunderstand, we didn’t see anything.”
“This… have you arranged the car?”
“Dad, they’ve been arranged.”
“Let’s go quickly then, we can’t let the doctor wait.”
With that, Old Master Yi, with the help of Mrs. Yi, walked away at three times his usual speed.
Xu Xinyi gritted her teeth.
Zhao Bin found that the boss was in a particularly good mood today. Although he didn’t laugh or smile, it was obvious that he was in a cheerful mood. Not only did he not swear or curse, he even missed a few minor mistakes during a meeting.
And when Zhao Bin asked Yi Yang which restaurant to order lunch from today, Yi Yang said, “I’ll be busy with work this afternoon. I won’t eat out. There’s a lunchbox in the fridge. Take it out and heat it up for me.”
Although he knew they weren’t actually busy this afternoon, Zhao Bin immediately put away his phone and said, “I’ll heat it up for you right away!”
He found the lunch box in Yi Yang’s office refrigerator and quickly took it to heat up in the break room.
“Zhao Bin, are you warming up the lunch box from your girlfriend again?”
Zhao Bin had cut in front of some staff waiting for the microwave in the break room which drew some comments. He quickly replied, “Don’t talk nonsense, this is President Yi’s lunch box.”
With a cry of surprise, all the people in the break room leaned over.
“Was it the legendary Mrs. Yi who made it?”
“Of course it was. When has President Yi’s lunch not been made by a star-rated restaurant before? Who else could make President Yi eat their lunch box besides Mrs. Yi?”
“Zhao Bin, open it and see what Mrs. Yi made for President Yi.”
Zhao Bin opened the lunch box to see.
Shrimp, soup, and… huh?
There was silence all around.
The microwave finished cooking.
The employee ahead of Zhao Bin busily took out his hot meal and said, “I’ll leave first.”
Zhao Bin hurriedly put Yi Yang’s lunch box in, waited for three minutes, took it out, and brought it to Yi Yang’s office while facing the knowing smiles from his colleagues all around.
“President Yi, your food is ready.”
“Just put it on the table.”
Zhao Bin put the food on the table and withdrew from the office silently, firmly adhering to the ‘three rules’. Those being, ‘don’t ask questions, don’t see anything, don’t say anything’.
That mass of black stuff, he hoped President Yi would be alright after eating it.
When the office door closed, Yi Yang stood up and went to the table to eat.
The soup was fine.
The shrimp was good too.
Yi Yang silently looked at the Braised Beef Brisket with Tomatos for a long time and then decided to give Xu Xinyi a chance before sending it straight to the trash can.
He frowned and put a small piece into his mouth. His face was scrunched up as if he were sacrificing his life in the name of righteousness.
He had been fully prepared to spit it out but was then surprised to find out that it actually tasted okay.
It seemed Xu Xinyi had really made some progress with her cooking.
Half an hour later, Zhao Bin came back in and saw the empty lunch box on the table. He looked anxiously over at the boss who had eaten it all.
It seemed that President Yi was really in love with Mrs. Yi.
*ugh they call her ‘陈姨’ which MTL all translate to ‘aunt chen’ and every time I see it I really wanna change it to something else but I checked my ‘proper nouns.txt’ where I store all the characters names and found that apparently that’s how I’ve left it in the past sooo… yeah. Even though she’s just a servant of the Yi family and not actually anyone’s aunt, I’m just gonna leave it as it.
**the idiom here is ‘床头吵架床尾和’ and I don’t know if there is a more proper or more commonly recognized translation – I just worked with what the MTL gave me. As far as I can tell it basically just means that a couple will sometimes fight and then make up ‘in bed’.
***dragon fruits are apparently a real thing? I dunno if you google ‘火龙果’ it brings up some images of red fruits but I’ve sure never seen them in real life haha
Tl note: My culinary knowledge begins and ends with ramen noodles so let me apologize in advance for any glaring inaccuracies in that ‘cooking segment’