SML V5C71 Give Me a Call

Li Ming stared at Zhao Chen in a daze. He had expected a lot of things after suddenly being told that they should break up but this … He wasn’t sure what to make of it. This offer had come a while ago but Zhao Chen hadn’t said anything. What did that mean? Wasn’t it that from the very beginning, Zhao Chen had thought that this would cause them to break up?

He shook his head, not wanting to think like that. No, he had to try and find a way to make this work. Since they both loved each other, there was no way he would give up just like that.

“We don’t have to jump to breaking up right away though, do we? I’m sure we can find a way. It doesn’t have to be long-distance if you don’t want that. Maybe … maybe I could come along?”

Zhao Chen looked at him and sighed, finally grabbing his other hand as well. “Ah Ming, I know you don’t want to break up. Neither do I. But believe me when I say that I’ve tried to think about all possible scenarios and there isn’t a single one that would allow the two of us to stay together and be happy.

“Of course, you could follow. But then what? You’d have to find a new job over there. If it was just working at the hotel, I would have asked you in a heartbeat, and I’m sure you would have agreed. But what about Zhu Yi? You love that work. It’s what you’ve been looking for all this time and it would stop if you came with me. You likely wouldn’t be able to find something comparable. Would you be alright with that?”

Li Ming opened his mouth but in the end, he couldn’t bring himself to say that he would. Honestly, Zhao Chen was right: He loved this work. By now, he would be willing to go full-time if it was possible. And it was only a matter of time until that would actually happen. Even if it was for Zhao Chen, he wasn’t sure if he would be willing to give that up.

Zhao Chen nodded when he saw his expression. “That’s what I thought. You don’t want to. You might force yourself to accept it because we’ve been together for a while and you want to give it a shot but it wouldn’t work out.

“If you were to follow, you’d regret it and I’d have a guilty conscience. That’s not a good basis for a relationship. Similarly, if I stayed just because of you, I’d always ask myself ‘what if?’ and I don’t know if our relationship could survive that in the long run.

“Yes, we’re strong. We’ve managed to build a relationship that isn’t going to break easily but I’d rather make a clean cut while it’s this beautiful thing we have shared than watch it die slowly and become something we can’t recognize.

“I don’t know if you see it the same way but these are my thoughts on it. And … I’ve thought about it for a long time. I don’t think I’m wrong.” He really didn’t. He had agonized over this for two weeks, asking his friend to give him the time to really consider it because it was a lot to ask. In the end though, this was the thought he had arrived at and he believed that it was the only possible outcome.

Li Ming hung his head. He didn’t want to accept it but he also couldn’t say that Zhao Chen’s logic was faulty anywhere. This had the potential to make them resent each other and no, he didn’t want to see that happen either.

He closed his eyes and shook his head, not sure if he wasn’t maybe missing something. “Is it really going to be over just like this?”

Zhao Chen looked at him and then reached up to cup his cheeks. “I love you but … sometimes, life just gets in the way. I’m sure we could have lasted longer otherwise. Actually, I thought we could go strong for several years. I feel like we had the potential to do so. And yet, no relationship is worth losing your own potential over. I actually learned that from you.”

Li Ming could only laugh faintly. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“I guess so.” Zhao Chen hesitated but then leaned over and kissed him. “For what it’s worth, I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding somebody else again. You … I mean, look at you! You’re driven, handsome, smart, and a great cook. What’s not to love? So … you probably won’t even be alone for long.”

Li Ming scoffed. “You’re the one who usually moves on fast. Wasn’t that what you told me in the beginning?”

“Yeah. But I’ll be busy with work.” He let go of him and forced himself to smile. “When you find somebody, give me a call and brag a bit about it. Tell me all his qualities that I didn’t have and how much better you’re doing with him and without me.”

Li Ming shook his head at him, picked up the bowl on the table, and pushed it back into Zhao Chen’s hands. “Stop talking and eat your food. You … you won’t get that anymore in the future.”

“Mn. I wonder if that’d going to be the part I’ll miss the most.”

Li Ming looked at him and couldn’t help but smile. “That might be. You can come over every now and then to have a meal though. You know, just as friends.”

“Yeah …” Zhao Chen nodded even though he honestly didn’t know if he wanted that. “Let’s do that after you give me that call. Then you can rave over your new boyfriend face to face. I’ll feel reassured then that I didn’t break your heart.” Although, honestly, it might break his if they really did that. Because yes, having to leave Li Ming for this was the hardest part about all of it, no matter where it led for either of them in the future.

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