Li Ming looked around the room, wondering when Rui Lan would come. Even though he hadn’t said why he wanted to meet, something had been strange about his message. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it but he had had that feeling. Now, his friend was even late. It gave him a bad feeling.
He waited for a moment longer and then got up from the table he had chosen, wandering over to the bar. The place that Rui Lan had asked to meet him at was Si Tao’s restaurant where they had gone several times before. As for the one behind the bar, it was the same brother Yao who had worked here when Mo Fang dragged him over the first time. By now though, they were closer. That was probably what happened when you worked for the same big boss.
Seeing Li Ming, Yao Chen gave him a smile. “Is your date late?”
Li Ming laughed. “No, it’s just a friend. Rui Lan. We’ve been here together before.”
Yao Chen thought for a moment and then nodded. “I think I remember him. Usually, he didn’t seem to be the late kind.”
Li Ming nodded. “Yeah, he isn’t. He’s been … strange. But maybe I’m thinking too much.”
Yao Chen glanced over to the door that could be seen from the bar and gave a hum. “If there was something wrong before, then I wouldn’t worry about him being late. You know how it is: If something big is going on and you’re not the calm type, your mind will be all over the place. He probably forgot something and turned around halfway.”
Li Ming laughed in response. “Well, I’d hope he was the calm type. You know, we worked together before. He’s a security guard as well.”
Yao Chen clicked his tongue and motioned to his glass. “Who knows what it is then? Have you tried texting again?”
Li Ming shook his head, both at the question of getting another drink and messaging Rui Lan again. Rui Lan wasn’t that late so he shouldn’t worry. Actually, what was keeping his mind occupied was rather the question of what the problem might be.
The last time Rui Lan had seemed troubled, he and Cang Gui Ying had been just shy of breaking up. But recently, things seemed to be going really well between them so that shouldn’t be it. In that case, what could it be? Trouble at the job? But even now, two years later, Rui Lan was still working at the railroad station.
Back then, he and Cang Gui Ying had decided that they needed enough time apart to make the relationship work. Things were hectic at the job so the time they could spend together wasn’t quality time. So in the end, she quit and was now working at the service counter of some local company.
Since they weren’t at the same place anymore and there was no Boss Mo to make sure their shifts aligned nicely, that brought its own troubles with it. But Cang Gui Ying had stable working hours now and no more shifts. So while on some days, they wouldn’t see each other much if Rui Lan’s shifts were timed badly, on other days, they could spend most of their free time together. For a couple such as them, that was perfect.
Could it be that Rui Lan had suddenly been fired and was now worried about that? But Boss Mo wasn’t the time to throw anyone out. And he didn’t think that Boss Mo had been replaced. He had had that position for a long time. There didn’t seem to be a reason to transfer him somewhere else or even fire him. Not to mention that somebody would have mentioned it to him as soon as it happened. After all, he was still in contact with everyone.
Well, no matter how Li Ming thought, he couldn’t come up with anything. In the end, it seemed that he could only wait for Rui Lan to finally turn up and explain what was going on.
Yao Chen was working at this moment so it wasn’t convenient for him to talk with Li Ming the whole time. They did chat a bit at the side though and he also kept an eye on the door for him.
Finally, when another ten minutes had passed, he nodded over there. “Seems like your friend is finally here. And sheesh, he does look like he was running around outside with his head lost.” Saying that, he laughed before hurriedly coughing and pretending not to have said anything.
Li Ming turned around and raised his brows. Rui Lan did indeed look a bit messy. Right now, it was the beginning of autumn and the temperatures had sunk. He was wearing a warm jacket that had been buttoned wrong, his scarf was hanging lopsided and his hair was blown about by the wind, sticking in all directions. Also, the look in his eyes was a bit wrong. He seemed really nervous.
Li Ming raised his brows and turned to Yao Chen. “Well, I’ll head over then and see what is going on. Thanks for chatting with me.”
“No problem. Come back and tell me the juicy bits of the gossip when you’re done!” He laughed again and went to make the next customer’s drink.
Actually, he might not look like it, but Yao Chen actually loved hearing gossip. It might come with the job. If you had to do so much with people every day, some of which would get incredibly drunk and spill secrets, you might just develop an addiction.
Li ming naturally wasn’t the type to talk about other people’s affairs but he still gave Yao Chen a smile before he went to greet Rui Lan and sat down with him. “So, that message, being late and even looking so messy. Did something big happen? If you need help, just say so! I’ll do whatever I can.”
Rui Lan who had just wanted to take off his scarf stared at him dumbfounded. Actually, he had thought he was acting pretty normal. How come he had been seen-through just like that? Well, that actually made things easier.