We’ve witnessed many cute moments in the past chapters but now that Cheng Zheng’s got his girl, will they succumb to the everyday trials of ordinary couples?
This was the first time Su Yun Jin was celebrating the Lunar New Year outside her hometown. At least, he was by her side. She placated her mother easily by lying that she had to remain on campus to continue her job hunt. Her mother didn’t probe any further. On the other hand, since Cheng Zheng was his family’s beloved child, Yun Jin was surprised that his family didn’t kick up a fuss when he announced he wasn’t spending the new year with them.
“They are okay with this? I wish!” Cheng Zheng explained “A week ago, I told my parents I wasn’t going to remain in Beijing nor was I going back. Instead, I would be heading to G-city to work. My mother was very upset to say the least and droned on about how I’ve abandoned her for my new girlfriend. When I told her I wasn’t spending the new year with them or my uncle either, my mother retorted that she wished she could stuff me back into her womb.”
“Oh no! What are you going to do about it?”” Yun Jin found it both amusing and worrying.
Cheng Zheng grinned smugly “I told her if she agreed to let me go, she would gain a daughter-in-law. If she didn’t, she would lose a son. So she had no choice but to agree albeit unwillingly.”
Yun Jin was speechless.
“As for my uncle, my aunty emigrated a few years back so uncle and Zhang Yue will surely spend their new year overseas.” Cheng Zheng added.
Even though it was just the two of them, they were determined to celebrate with no less fanfare. Apart from cuddling in the privacy of their apartment, the two also set aside time to shop for festive decorations. Only when Cheng Zheng took her traipsing across the city did Yun Jin finally realize that he was more familiar with the city than she was. She laughed at how ridiculous it must have been when Shen Ju An and she had taken him touring around the city all those months back. She also realized how desperate he must have been to fall-back on such an excuse.
The eve of the lunar new year, Cheng Zheng pasted auspicious couplets on the walls while Yun Jin personally took to the kitchen to prepare a feast. The food was surprisingly tasty and Cheng Zheng savoured it. Unlike traditionally where the atmosphere was festive and gathered family members added to the boisterous mood, they only had each other. But they certainly did not mind.
The new year was ushered in when the clock struck twelve. All over the city, fireworks went set. Cheng Zheng led Yun Jin to the balcony excitedly. Unfortunately, they were fenced in by tall buildings and they could only just make out the tiny display of fireworks in the distance. He was so annoyed that he stamped his feet indignantly like a child. Yun Jin held his hand and smiled at him; she didn’t tell him that her night didn’t need the illumination of the fireworks because with him by her side, the future didn’t seem so bleak.
If time could freeze at that moment, how wonderful it would be. Many years in the future, Yun Jin would often look back on this moment and her heart would still wish the same. But she knew that people shouldn’t be too greedy. In the coming days, no matter the hurdles, she was always grateful to have experienced this moment.
Yun Jin‘s final semester in university passed in the blink of an eye. Her batchmates who had yet to find a job still searched relentlessly while those who did adopted the lazy life of a pig by indulging in snacking and sleeping. Although school was on-going, many lectures experienced a dip in attendance. Even for the big school debate, the lecturers turned a blind eye to the absentees who had already found jobs as long as the absentee numbers weren’t too staggering.
In contrast, Cheng Zheng was busier than ever. He was always diligent and he had no intention of slowing down even when he approached graduation. He had successfully signed on with a big architectural firm in G-city that was one of the six renowned architectural corporations in the country. Without relying on his family’s influence, it was no easy feat to land such a job. However, Yun Jin was fully aware that although Cheng Zheng’s father had not asked any favours, but given his longstanding friendship with Cheng Zheng’s new boss, Cheng Zheng’s future would indubitably be smoothsailing.
In this manner, the two of them wrapped up their university years and began life as a couple in Cheng Zheng’s cosy apartment. Initially, Cheng Zheng’s parents wanted to buy them a larger apartment but Yun Jin had declined, saying the current space was enough for them both. Besides, the current apartment was located in a prime area in the sprawling city – it was located near both their workplaces so there was no need to move or upgrade to a bigger apartment. Cheng Zheng’s uncle Zhang Jin Meng understood that young people didn’t like to be restricted and so didn’t insist on them moving to his place either but allowed them to live as they pleased.
The initial phase was all very dreamy; the two would have breakfast before departing for work together. When they ended work in the evening, they would meet to buy groceries. Yun Jin was a competent chef and succeeded in priming Cheng Zheng’s palate. After dinner, they would either adjourn to the nearest cinema for a movie or would roam the streets hand-in-hand or snuggle at home in front of the television before sleeping together. In the latter instances, Cheng Zheng always felt blissful and even Yun Jin mused contentedly that her Cinderella had truly met her prince to spend their eternity together.
Since the two had a complicated relationship for many years before falling in love, the actual amount of time spent alone together was not considerable. Now that they faced each other day in and out, the honeymoon phase quickly passed and many problems surfaced – problems they never knew before or had purposely ignored previously.
Firstly, Cheng Zheng was an outdoorsman. While he could quieten down to study and work, he didn’t like spending his spare time cooped up at home. This was especially when he had to face neverending blueprints at work. He wanted to release the tension after work and often followed his colleagues to the gymnasium, soccer court or popular pubs to unwind.
Yun Jin was the exact opposite. She preferred quiet places and would rather stay at home after work even if she that constituted of doing the household chores or listening to music. Her favorite activity was to play Go on the internet. She seldom met up with her friends and only occasionally sought out Mo Yu Hua or her university hostel mates. She was not even inclined towards women’s favourite past-time of shopping.
Cheng Zheng had dragged her to various karaoke lounges and pubs and she never lasted. She would tire of the din halfway though she never had the heart to interrupt Cheng Zheng’s fun so she would merely sit in quiet agony. After suffering twice or thrice, Cheng Zheng never forced her again although he still loved to cling to her and would try to return home to her as soon he could. So whenever Yun Jin was deep in thought over her next game move as was customary and ignored him, he would become fidgety and irritated.
In this manner, the two of them stubbornly stuck to their interests and didn’t force each other to change. They were happy like that. Luckily, although Cheng Zheng loved to go out, he knew his limits. Although he never boasted about his family background, anyone could tell from his mannerisms that he did not come from a typical family. Furthermore, his appearance was striking and he had confidence. Thus, he had no lack of unwanted female attention and was popular amongst his colleagues. He was courteous to both genders and while he enjoyed himself, he never went overboard. He kept repeating that he was a devoted one-woman man although everyone had their secret doubts about the mysterious female flatmate he had. But seeing that he never wavered, they respected his principles.
Whenever he was out having fun, Yun Jin seldom called to check on him or urge him home. In contrast, he would automatically leave for home when it got too late. It wasn’t that he didn’t have regrets. Sometimes, he would see his counterparts’ wives or girlfriends calling to check on them and he was envious. He secretly hoped that she would be just like them one day and be just as clingy towards him. But no matter what time he returned, she would merely leave one light on for him and go to bed first or continue doing her other stuff. She never once restricted his activities.
Apart from their disparity in personalities, Cheng Zheng who had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and was spoilt since young, naturally had never lifted a finger to do the household chores. Everything was left to the elderly housekeeper to handle. When he studied in Beijing in the four years, his parents had bought a nearby apartment for him and they also hired a part-time help for him. Even then, his elderly housekeeper was not satisfied and would make frequent trips to Beijing to look after the boy she had watched grow up. Now that he lived with Yun Jin, he was unwilling to have an additional person in the house to witness their intimacy so all the chores became Yun Jin’s duty. He wasn’t even willing to wash his cutlery, never mind the apartment.
While Yun Jin did not grow up in such a fortunate environment, nonetheless, she was also her parent’s darling and she never had to do the chores as she did now. When they first started living together, she couldn’t tolerate Cheng Zheng’s clumsiness and ignorance when it came to household chores. Seeing that she was a little more skilled than he was, she took it upon herself to see to everything. But as time passed, she was weary. Sometimes she would return home to see Cheng Zheng playing computer games. Other times when he returned late, he would grumble about his hunger almost as soon as he entered the house. She would be so furious at his thoughtlessness that she was rendered speechless.
She had tried washing her hands off the household chores and depriving him of food and fresh laundry just to spur him into action. Amazingly, he would turn a blind eye to the state of the house and would merely find space on the couch by tossing the things on it on the floor. When the clothes accumulated such that there was no more fresh attire, he would send it to the nearest laundrymat for washing. As for his underwear, he would throw them after wearing them once. It was even simpler when it came to meals. There were many eateries in their vicinity and all it took was a phonecall for takeaway to be delivered. Yun Jin always gave in ultimately and would take up her position as his free slave once again whilst enduring his smug comments.
Sometimes Cheng Zheng would pity her and suggest hiring a part-timer. However, Yun Jin didn’t see the need to waste money. Moreover, she knew deep down that even while he didn’t like to handle his own chores, he had high expectations. Even the household necessities were all of good quality. If his clothes had a little crease, he would refuse to wear them. How could any part-timer meet his demands?
Luckily, Yun Jin worked in customer service, dealing mostly with complaints and clients’ enquiries. It was on the whole not very demanding work. Compared to the prospect of Cheng Zheng erupting at the help, she would rather juggle her work and the household chores. However, it was inevitable that friction would arise occasionally.
Yun Jin would say “Cheng Zheng, how hard is it to wash your own socks?”
Cheng Zheng would reply cheekily “If it’s not hard, then don’t be upset with me over this.”
It was perfectly normal for a young couple to fight when they cohabit due to clashing personalities and differences. However, Cheng Zheng had a fiery temper and acted more wilfully and childishly in the presence of his loved ones. On the other hand, Yun Jin was meek on the exterior but stubborn inside so even when she kept her silence, she refused to budge on matters. She may give in to him at times but when it became too frequent, she would explode as well. The two butt heads often and there were plenty of conflicts. But because of their young passion, all the fighting and skirmishes would be resolved in the throes of intimacy.
There was an old saying: opposites attract. It was perhaps an apt description of them.