Qian Wei looked at the woman in front of her with shock. Hearing her reminder, she could finally see some traces of the face she had known back then.
“After hearing your encouragement, I ended up losing a lot of weight and I began to direct my energy into acting. Now, my efforts have finally paid off.” Li Mengyan gracefully ran her hand through her long hair and continued, “But I’ve always wanted to come and thank you in person.”
“After hearing my encouragement?” Qian Wei began to rack her brains, trying to recall what the other woman was talking about, but in the end she came up blank. Of course, she had recently gone over some of the details of the past with Qian Chuan because she had wanted to get to the bottom of the matter regarding Lu Xun’s love letter and, thanks to his responses, she did have a faint impression of Li Linlin and understood that she had really known this woman. Back then, she was the fat girl who somehow ended up falling in love with Qian Chuan, had pursued him desperately, and had generally acted in a strange and exaggerated way. In short, some of the things she had seen in her imaginary world regarding Li Linlin had also happened in reality.
However, Qian Wei really didn’t remember having any ties with Li Linlin in reality, let alone ever giving her any encouragement. While she did have some memories like that, weren’t they all just a figment of her imagination? How could they be real?
“Well, I guess it doesn’t count as giving me encouragement to my face.” Li Mengyan laughed. “We never talked much, so it’s normal that you don’t have much of an impression of me. I suppose Li Linlin just was never that memorable.” She smiled wryly. “Back then, due to some pressures in my life, I ended up developing a personality disorder without even noticing. Every day I would feel a desire to perform and be at the center of attention and, because of that, I ended up publicly chasing Qian Chuan for a while as a means to gain attention and causing him a lot of trouble in the process. But then one day, while I was waiting outside the library because I knew he was inside and would be coming out soon, I accidentally overheard a conversation between you two, where he was complaining to you about my harassment.”
“Was there such a thing???”
Li Mengyan nodded: “You didn’t see me because I was hiding in the woods. But anyway, I assumed that you would just call me a crazy girl who didn’t know what was good for her like everyone else, but you didn’t. Not only did you not comfort Qian Chuan, instead, you laughed and poked fun at him for a bit. Then, you casually said, ‘It seems that girl really likes acting. Who knows, maybe she would actually be a great actress? She seems to be a rare talent, and if she lost a bit of weight she would definitely be beautiful, after all, her facial features are actually very good.’, and even until today I still remember those words. ”
Having spoken to this point, Li Mengyan began to get a bit emotional, and her eyes turned watery. “Back then, I was very overweight and my behavior was always exaggerated and strange, so no one was ever nice to me. All the girls I knew would isolate me and say unkind things about me behind my back, so this was the first time I heard kind words from a stranger. I know that it’s normal for you not to remember that moment, because I was just a passer-by in your life, and my matter was just one small unimportant episode in a sea of such episodes from your perspective, but… even though you may not have known it… those casual words of yours changed my life forever. Because I felt the kindness of a stranger for the first time, I suddenly wanted to resist my morbid urges to act out the way I had been doing until then. In the end, I gritted my teeth, lost some weight, joined our school’s drama club, and then entered the entertainment circle after I graduated. I took on a stage name, and slowly worked hard to climb up step by step, starting from acting bit parts in small unknown productions to hone my acting skills, all the way until today, when all my efforts have finally paid off and I’ve become a star. Back then, I swore to myself that if I succeeded one day then I would definitely come to find you and thank you seriously.”
Qian Wei’s heart was in turmoil. She really would never have expected that her casual remarks would have such a profound impact on another person like this. Perhaps this was what they meant when they said that a person would never know when the goodwill that they spread around by living with kindness would truly give encouragement to people around them who might be in despair. It seemed that they were right to say that you should always be kind to the people in your life and form connections when you could, and if you did then life was bound to surprise you eventually.
She looked at the beautiful and confident Li Mengyan in front of her with new eyes, and only felt sincerely happy for her. It was a really good thing. The ugly duckling had, after working hard and chasing her dreams, finally transformed herself into a glowing and radiant swan.
Qian Wei responded solemnly: “It isn’t me that you should thank, but rather, it’s yourself. The credit belongs to you for being firm enough to grit your teeth and force yourself to lose weight, for redirecting your energy in a healthy direction, for working hard step-by-step, and for never giving up on your dream. Even if I told you words of encouragement every day until my face turned blue and my lips were bleeding, it wouldn’t be enough to propel you to the success you have today. It’s all your own credit that you have the life you have today. “
Thus, with the incident of Li Mengyan chasing Qian Chuan back then as a common topic, the two women chatted for a while and became acquainted with each other. Li Mengyan told Qian Wei about all sorts of gossip in the entertainment circle, and Qian Wei complained about all the terrible things in the legal circle. Both women were very straightforward people so, after talking for a while, they found that they both hit it off very well.
Unfortunately, Li Mengyan, as a popular new star, was always very busy. After a while, her agent called and urged her to return so, although they were both reluctant to part, she had to say goodbye to Qian Wei.
“By the way, could you give me Qian Chuan’s number?” Before she left, Li Mengyan remembered one last thing. “Back then, I was young and restless and ended up causing a lot of trouble for him so, if you think it’s convenient, I’d like to invite him to dinner sometime and apologize face to face.”
Qian Wei nodded along and easily gave her Qian Chuan’s number. She suddenly felt that when Qian Chuan learned that Li Linlin, who had chased him so crazily back then, was now Li Mengyan, he would definitely be dumbfounded. And somehow, just imagining what that scene would look like caused her to look forward to seeing it.
Then, as if it had all been arranged beforehand, the moment Li Linlin left, Lu Xun suddenly gave her a call.
Qian Wei immediately picked up her phone and pressed the button to answer the call but then, after pressing the button, she began to feel a little regret. After all, from the point of view of a couple, when the other party instantly answered the phone, wasn’t that like announcing that she had just been waiting around for Lu Xun to call? And, from the point of view of a boss and his subordinate, didn’t it make it seem like she was sitting around idly with nothing to do? …in short, no matter which interpretation you used, it didn’t look very good for her.
But then when Lu Xun’s low and somehow magnetic voice rang in her ear, and all of Qian Wei’s worries seemed to be swept away. In the end she just comforted herself with the thought that this was just what love was like. Less routine and usual, and more sincere and spontaneous…
She glanced around and said in a low voice, “I’m not talking to you until I find a conference room to hide in.”
“Why are you hiding?”
Qian Wei was a little embarrassed but still said: “Do we want everyone to know about our relationship? I’m still too shy to hear you acting so sweet in broad daylight.” A moment later, she managed to hide in a conference room and said. “Okay, you can talk now.”
Lu Xun gave a low chuckle: “Qian Wei, I need to talk to you about work.”
Qian Wei quickly puffed up angrily. She snorted, no wonder that even though Lu Xun had been secretly in love with her for many years she had never noticed at all. There really was a reason! There was actually a man in this world who was like this, who had no understanding of how to be sweet or gentle at all!
While Qian Wei was busy slandering him in her heart, Lu Xun opened his mouth and continued speaking: “I was just teasing you. What I really wanted to say was, since we’ve already fallen in love there’s no need to hide it from anyone.” His usual low voice seemed very sweet, and Qian Wei couldn’t help but blush, especially when his sexy voice caused her to remember what had happened last night.
She coughed to disguise her embarrassment: “Anyway, since I’m on the clock, let’s get down to business. How are things going with the client? When will you be able to come back? Still tomorrow?”
“When I was flying to City B this morning, I was already wanting to come back.” Lu Xun’s voice was steady. “Unfortunately, it seems I won’t be able to make it back by tomorrow as planned. There’s an issue, and the situation here is a bit more complicated than I expected. Normally, this sort of matter would probably take three days to resolve, but I plan to work overtime and solve it in two.” He chuckled. “Amusingly, the reason I don’t want to work at all and the reason I’ve decided to resolve everything as quickly as possible are one and the same.”
“You definitely have to come back in two days then.” Thanks to Lu Xun’s words, Qian Wei’s face was flushed and hot. She coughed in a vain effort to calm herself down before continuing, “Lu Xun, I seemed to remember that your birthday is two days for now. For your birthday, this year and every year in the future, I want to spend it with you.”
“What if I can’t get back in time?”
“If you can’t come back, then I’ll fly to City B.” Qian Wei thought for a moment and added, “If I do end up flying over, even if you don’t have time to go shopping or to take me out to dinner, you must at least make enough time for a kiss. I’ll travel a thousand miles to send you that kiss, so you must receive it. Whenever I think that you have been secretly in love with me for nine years, I always feel that I should do something to make it up for you.”
“Qian Wei, being together with you is already the best birthday present you could give me.”
“Partner Lu, it seems you really know how to talk.” Qian Wei said flirty.
Lu Xun just laughed along and said: “While holding back for these nine years, whenever it got to be too much for me I would rehearse these kinds of conversations with you in my mind, so I already have all my responses prepared.”
Unfortunately, Lu Xun was still in the middle of his work and didn’t have much time, so the two weren’t able to talk for long before he had to say goodbye and hang up.
Before hanging up, Lu Xun seemed to remember something and said offhandedly: “By the way, there should be a letter from a client’s accounting firm that was sent to the firm by express yesterday. It should be on my desk, could you please take care of it for me?”
In fact, Qian Wei had long been planning to sneak into Lu Xun’s office, so she was glad he gave her an excuse. After all, back when she still had no idea that there was a love letter in that pro bono case, she had directly handed it back to Lu Xun without ever looking at it. But now that she knew, she definitely wanted to take a look at it. Plus, she was pretty sure it should still be on Lu Xun’s desk somewhere since he was currently so busy and probably hadn’t had time to handle it yet. Thus, because Qian Wei didn’t have much to do, she already had been planning to slip into his office and take the pro bono case back to deal with herself and also finally get to see his letter.
Qian Wei felt that since she had already missed Lu Xun’s first confession letter that she definitely had to do whatever it took to see the second one.
She wondered what it would say. I will always love you forever? I’ve had a crush on you for a long time? I don’t know why, but somehow my heart just finds you pleasing to have around?
Qian Wei was full of secret delight and curiosity. She really couldn’t imagine what kind of words the 28-year-old Lu Xun might use to express his love.
With this kind of mood, she sauntered into Lu Xun’s office and quickly collected the letter he had told her about. Then, after looking around for a moment, she really found the pro bono case on his desk and picked it up away. A moment later, Qian Wei walked out of the office with the two sets of materials in her arms.
Once she got back to her desk, Qian Wei began to settle down and seriously look through the case. It was a bit difficult for her to describe her mood as she slowly opened the file and began to flip through the pages carefully, and the particular details of the case caused an uneasy mix of emotions to swirl around inside her.
The client was a woman who was seeking a divorce. Judging from the gathered statements and evidence, she could be described as a cowardly but gentle woman who had ended up in a bad situation because of her father’s gambling debt. The brief summary was that her parents leveraged the old feelings between them to force the woman to take responsibility for the debt. Specifically, her the parents had threatened her with suicide until she broke down and ended up agreeing to an arranged marriage with the creditor. To make matters worse, it seemed that because of her parents’ interference she had missed out on marrying the poor boy next door who had a longtime crush on her. Then, after getting married, she ended up being subjected to serious domestic abuse, ranging from verbal and emotional abuse all the way to physical beatings. However, because she had a child with her husband she decided to endure it all for the child’s sake, but her soft attitude only caused her husband to intensify his mistreatment. Now she was finally trying to get a divorce, but half of her life had already been wasted and the poor boy next door who had a secret crush on her had already given up and gotten married to someone else…
As Qian Wei looked through the statements and evidence in front of her, she felt a bit melancholic. Although all she had was a small window into these people’s lives in the form of these files, it was still enough to make her feel sad. In life, sometimes the mistakes people made were hard, or even impossible, to turn back. At the same time, Qian Wei suddenly felt a bit lucky because, even though she and Lu Xun had missed out on nine years together, fortunately, they had managed to find each other before things were truly too late.
As she slowly continued to flip through the documents, she eventually found herself at the last page of the file. However, this page was different from the rest. It was just a blank piece of paper with several vigorous words scrawled across it, which Qian Wei could recognize as Lu Xun’s handwriting at a glance.
“Qian Wei, I know that during a few cases in the past months, although you tried your best to help the people involved, you ended up losing due to flaws in the legal system that created loopholes for your opponents to slip through. And I know that, because of this, you haven’t been doing very well and your mood has been low. I know that these experiences might have caused you to feel that the world is a cold place that lacks gentleness. However, I really want you to know that even if the world won’t be gentle to you, I definitely will be.”
“The world isn’t a perfect place but, as lawyers, even if we only help one more client, we are slowly changing it for the better. Regarding this case, I’m sure that with your abilities you can definitely secure the best possible division of property after the divorce for the client and, at the same time, I want to tell you that I don’t want to miss you the way this client missed the love in her life. I want to say that I love you. That I’ve always loved you.”
Qian Wei tried to hold back, but before she knew it the tears were already flowing down.
It was true that back when Lu Xun had first handed her this case, because of the fact that she had lost several cases, she had been beginning to have doubts about the impartiality of the law, and had even been beginning to doubt her value as a lawyer. For a while, she had been coming to work every day in very low spirits and doing her best to cover it up as well as she could. However, it seemed that Lu Xun had always known, because he had always been silently watching over and loving her.
Suddenly, at this moment, Qian Wei wanted nothing more in the world than the opportunity to find Lu Xun and tell him that she loved him too.