Rui Lan had asked his question and gotten his response so his previous anxiety flew out of the window. He heaved a sigh of relief and then ordered some food and a drink of his own, digging right in as soon as it arrived to get some energy back. In the meantime, the two of them started about the plans for the wedding.
“The family on my side isn’t that big so there’ll only be a couple of people. On Ah Ying’s side, it’s a bit more but I don’t think we should get up to more than two dozen people. As for friends, most of them are mutuals so I think overall, if we come up to fifty people, that’d already be a lot. Not to mention that not everyone might be able to come.”
Li Ming nodded. “If it’s for your wedding, I’m sure people will try their best. I wouldn’t worry about that. But even without that, there will be a lot to plan. Will you be able to do it next to work? If you need help …” Honestly, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do as a witness. Just go and be there for the ceremony? That seemed a bit … poor.
Rui Lan looked slightly embarrassed when Li Ming mentioned helping him. “Well, we might indeed need some help. But I guess Ah Ying and her friends will take care of most things. I’m not too particular about these things. As long as I’m able to marry her, I don’t care what venue we choose or how things look.”
“Mn.” Li Ming hesitated for a moment but finally couldn’t help but speak up. “Is Sister Cang alright with you not caring?”
Rui Lan smiled wryly. “You’re not wrong. Compared to her, I probably don’t look as excited. It’s just that I don’t have much of an opinion on these things while Ah Ying does. So I feel like it’s better to let her choose so it’s exactly like she wants it.”
Li Ming nodded. “I guess it’s good as long as you tell her. You don’t want her to feel like you don’t care.”
Rui Lan chuckled. “Don’t worry. We’re not like we were back then where we just keep everything silent. If it bothers her, she’ll say it outright. But I guess it couldn’t hurt to bring it up on my own accord as well.”
Li Ming gave a hum. “True. And, well, maybe there are some tasks you could take over. It’s going to be a lot of work and even if she has help from her friends, it’d be nice to take some of that burden off her. If you do need help …”
Rui Lan shook his head at him. “You already said that once. Don’t worry, I’ll definitely tell you when there’s something. I just don’t want to take too much advantage of you. You’re easy to talk into doing things, you know?”
Li Ming couldn’t deny that. “I don’t regret doing it though if it’s for good friends, especially not if it’s about their wedding.” He sighed when he thought of how much of a milestone that was. “Ah, I still can’t quite believe it. We’ve known each other for so long but you never talked about marriage before. What made you change your mind?”
Rui Lan once again shook his head. “It’s not really changing my mind. I never not wanted to get married, you know? It was just that before, it wasn’t relevant. I didn’t get to this stage with any of my previous girlfriends and even with Ah Ying, it was rough at first. It’s only now that I feel that we can make it work for the rest of our lives.”
He shrugged his shoulders, not sure if he had explained well. “When I start dating somebody, it was always with the idea of things being long-term. But just because I want it to, that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. There were a lot of women where after a couple of months, either of us would realize we weren’t right for each other. Sometimes, even after being together for a longer time, you realize you’re not compatible. It’s always a bit awkward but that’s just how it is.
“With Ah Ying, things were going a lot better than with others but you’ve also seen how bad it could get. I mean, we even broke up in-between!” His expression turned a bit complicated. “Actually, back then, the idea of getting married crossed my mind.”
Li Ming raised his brows. “When you broke up?”
Rui Lan nodded. “Yeah, I mean, not after but a while before. I could also see that she was really clinging to me but because I didn’t bring up to her how much that was grating on my nerves, I just considered by myself what to do.
“For a while, I was toying with the thought that maybe she was insecure because we hadn’t taken the next step. That was part of why we moved in together and I figured that a proposal might also help. After all, after she feels more secure, would she still need to cling to me?”
Rui Lan sighed and shook his head at himself. “I was an idiot. You don’t buy freedom with a marriage certificate. You … tie yourself together for the rest of your life if things go well. I guess I can count myself lucky that I had enough of a backbone to not go through with it. With that kind of way to deal with matters, that marriage would have imploded a year or two into it at the very latest.”
Li Ming made a sound to acknowledge what he had said. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but be surprised. Rui Lan had never mentioned that part and he wouldn’t have guessed either. “In the end, every step the two of you took led you here. I guess that means it was worth it, wasn’t it?”
Rui Lan smiled. “It was. In all these years, we did a lot of growing up, both as a couple and also as ourselves. By now, we’re ready for this. That’s why I proposed. She really is the one and we’re both mature enough to make it work no matter what troubles are in front of us.”