SML V5C15 Friends Like That

Li Ming smiled when he saw that response. Even after another two years, Si Tao and Tong Lan were still going strong. In fact, they were going stronger than ever. Last year, he had actually proposed and she had accepted just as expected. They had both agreed though that they didn’t necessarily want to marry immediately. While Si Tao’s family was pretty much just happy that he had settled on a woman, Tong Lan still had some doubts.

Li Ming had to say that he could somewhat understand that. Between the two of them, even though they privately had a good relationship, there were still other things that needed to be considered.

Si Tao was filthy rich while she was a regular person from what Li Ming knew by now. She came from a middle-class background, and while she had managed to get a degree, she had been drifting around, not completely sure what to do with it.

Currently, she was working at the pet cafe that Si Tao had opened for her, which was precisely the one that Li Ming had visited with Yao Ai and Duan Zhi Hao back then. It was a semblance of her own career but, at the end of the day, it was also something that Si Tao helped her achieve.

In a relationship, that kind of dependence and imbalance in their financial status could be troublesome. So, even though they loved each other, she had wanted to wait. Si Tao wasn’t the type to rush anyone, so he just said okay and was now waiting until she would feel comfortable with this.

Li Ming had no idea how long they would take to figure it out but he felt that they were the type of couple that would be able to do anything as long as they put their minds to it. Part of why this was working so well was probably that Si Tao was self-aware. A lot of people might think that being rich was a dream but it also came with its own challenges and he was somebody who understood that.

Anyway, for their meeting on Thursday, that shouldn’t be a problem. He looked up at Zhao Chen with a smile and then couldn’t help but reconsider. Actually, while Si Tao’s financial status wasn’t a problem, his identity might be.

Li Ming rubbed the bridge of his nose and then cleared his throat. “Alright, I found somebody who has time. We actually met because we happened to date the same person. Uh … not at the same time. They were broken up when … you know.” He hurriedly added that explanation, remembering how Manager Quan had reacted back then.

Zhao Chen raised his brows but nodded. “Sounds like it wasn’t as awkward as I would imagine that to be if you’re still friends.”

Li Ming shook his head. “No, he’s pretty relaxed about it. I guess it’s in part because at the time when I started dating his ex, he was already with somebody new and very much in love with her. Actually, the two of them are engaged by now. He’d like to bring her if you don’t mind.”

Zhao Chen nodded, not seeing a problem with that. “The more, the merrier. Although I guess that type of double date might also be a bit embarrassing. Especially if the two of them have been together for so long while we’re pretty fresh relationship-wise.”

Li Ming nodded and then couldn’t help but drop the big bomb. “I hope this won’t make you feel self-conscious but I should mention that he is pretty much the big boss of the company we’re working for.”

Zhao Chen stared at him, wondering if he had misunderstood that. “Big boss in the way that … he’s working in upper management?” He didn’t even want to imagine what kind of manager was above Manager Quan but that did make him feel nervous.

Li Ming could see that he had some trouble getting used to that thought so he wasn’t sure if he should tell him but he also didn’t want him to find out later. “No, more like … he owns the hotel chain.”

Zhao Chen continued to stare at him, then just picked up his glass, taking a sip of water. Honestly, he had nothing left to say. He hadn’t had any idea that Li Ming had that type of friend. If he had known … he wouldn’t have rashly suggested meeting up like that.

Li Ming looked at him and couldn’t help but glance at his phone’s screen again. Even though he had said that he didn’t want to make him feel self-conscious, it was pretty hard not to do that if the person you were talking about was someone like Si Tao. “You probably won’t believe it if I say it like this, but he’s a really laid-back type of guy. Anyway, he didn’t chop my head off for dating his ex. Do you really think that he’d have a problem with the two of us dating?”

Zhao Chen immediately shook his head. “No, not that. I’m feeling more worried about what he would think of my behavior. Like, if I say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing, would I lose my job?” His brows faintly furrowed together while he imagined that kind of outcome. “I mean, we’ll probably talk about how the two of us met, right? And then he would know that I’m also working for him.”

Li Ming inclined his head, having to admit that this was indeed true. “I’m sure he will realize that but he’s not the type to bother about something like that unless you were doing something really egregious. Otherwise, he’d leave it to Manager Quan to manage us. But anyway, if you feel really strongly about it, I could also try to get somebody else to join in. The more people we are, the less he’d focus on you.”

Zhao Chen hurriedly waved his hands. “I don’t dare! Honestly, I’ve never really thought about what type of friends you have. If I’d known it was like this … I would’ve been more careful with accepting.”

Li Ming laughed and shook his head, sliding his phone back into his pocket. “You can believe me when I say that I don’t have any more friends like that. The rest is pretty normal. You’ll see soon enough.”

Zhao Chen could only sigh. “Well, I sure hope that you’re right. I don’t know how many more surprises like this I could take. Although … if there actually are more surprises like that, give me more of a warning at least.” In any case, if it was for Li Ming, he was willing to put his worries behind him. It might take some effort but he was sure that he could do it. At the very least, he would try.

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