After entering the restaurant, the two of them walked over to the bar, and Li Ming gave the person behind a faint smile. “Brother Yao, is your boss in?”
Yao Chen nodded and then motioned over to the door. “Just go and knock. He should have time.”
Li Ming nodded and thanked him before turning to Duan Zhi Hao. “Then I’ll go first. You get yourself a drink. I’ll pay for it later.”
“Sure, don’t sweat it. Take your time!” He really didn’t mind and just watched Li Ming leave before he turned to the barkeeper. “Your surname is Yao, is it? That’s really funny. I actually just met a girl with the same surname in a course I’m taking with brother Li.”
Yao Chen just looked at him, wondering what kind of small talk this was supposed to be. Anyway, he had never seen this person, so he also wasn’t sure what to talk about. “Well, what’s yours?”
While the two of them had an awkward time getting along, Li Ming made his way over to Si Tao’s office. He had never gone there before, not even when he came here with Mo Fang, so he felt a little unaccustomed but the door wasn’t far away so he had no trouble finding it.
Standing in front of it, he took a deep breath and then knocked, waiting for a response.
Si Tao’s voice sounded a bit bored when it came from inside as if he was busy after all.
Li Ming opened the door and poked his head in first, trying to see if there was somebody else there or if Si Tao was indeed busy. If either of those was the case, he would immediately leave. “Am I disturbing you?”
Si Tao looked up in confusion when he heard the familiar voice and then straightened up, and waved at him. “Not at all, not at all! Come on in. Sit down. Do you want something to drink?”
Li Ming shook his head, closed the door behind him, and really went over to sit down opposite Si Tao. He didn’t wait for him to ask any more questions and shook his head. “I came to apologize for the other day.”
Si Tao raised his brows, not quite sure what to make of this. “What are you apologizing for?” To be honest, that evening, he had felt really awkward afterward and like he had made a mistake. Li Ming coming here to apologize was really the last thing he had expected.
Li Ming smiled wryly and rubbed his hands against each other. “Well, you were just trying to help. I guess you didn’t really know much about our break up and I don’t think you had any kind of malicious intentions when you brought it up. The truth is, I’m still hurt so I reacted unnecessarily harshly. I shouldn’t have done that.”
Si Tao leaned back and tilted his head, unsure how to react to that. In the end, he picked up a pen and waved it in the air, vaguely pointing in Li Ming’s direction. “See, that’s exactly why I tried to talk to you.
“Mo Fang’s dating history isn’t exactly nice to look at. There are a lot of really shitty guys on that long list of names. There were only a few decent men in-between and you’re one of them. As somebody who knows that he can’t be with Mo Fang because I know from experience that we make a terrible couple but still regards him as a close friend, that is the kind of man I want him to end up with.”
Li Ming smiled even more wryly. “You know …” He wanted to explain but then finally shook his head. No, this was probably the wrong way to go about it. Si Tao was Mo Fang’s friend, he didn’t want to talk badly about him. But there was one thing that he still wanted to talk about. “Say, were you together for long?”
Si Tao pursed his lips and tilted his head from side to side, apparently not quite sure what to say. Finally, he could only sigh. “Aiya, you define long for me. Anyway, I feel like the average lifespan of Mo Fang’s relationships is two, maybe three weeks. If he’s able to get to a month with somebody, it already feels like a major achievement.
“For me, that kind of relationship could be considered short though. Usually, I can keep it going for a few months at the very least. And honestly, even though I might not look the part, I am looking for a long-term relationship. So, this is something more difficult to answer than it looks. For me, it was short, for him, it was long. It was that kind of relationship.”
Li Ming nodded slowly, feeling that he could somewhat understand that. In fact, hadn’t their own relationship also been somewhat like that? “Then, if you don’t mind me asking, when you said that you broke up with him because he was high maintenance, what did you really mean?”
Si Tao raised his brows, once again not sure how to answer. “Well, what am I supposed to say? Mo Fang can be a bit … self-centered I guess. There are things he’d want from you: company, attention, special treatment, these types of things.
“I don’t think it’s outrageous to ask for in and of itself. It’s certainly something you should be able to give your significant other in a relationship. But I’m probably just not that type of person. You know, I love my work and I’m a busy man. It’s nice to go home after a long night and cuddle up to your partner. I also love sleeping in in the morning and waking up to have a nice, long breakfast together. But I can’t do these things all the time. I need some space and Mo Fang wasn’t good at giving that. Over time, it started to feel like he was clingy and needy, and finally, I realized that I couldn’t take that so I wanted out.”
Li Ming gave a hum, his brows faintly furrowing. In that regard, the two of them were completely different. If it was changed to him, he would’ve loved if he could spend every waking moment with Mo Fang. On the other hand … “Has he … ever lied to you?”
Si Tao’s brows arced again and finally, he sighed even more deeply. “So that was it, yes? I see.” He rubbed his forehead and then shook his head. “To be honest, no, he never lied to me. He … probably didn’t feel the need to. With you, I could imagine that it was different.”
Li Ming stared at him and once again, he thought of what Duan Zhi Hao had said: That his ex had probably lied to him because he had known that if he didn’t, there would not be a chance to be together. Honestly, he wasn’t sure if that made it better or worse.