The two of them fell silent for a moment until Mo Fang finally sighed. “I’ve said what I wanted to. Seeing how long you took to decide that you even want to see me in the first place I assume you’d rather not I stick around. So … I guess I should leave then.”
Li Ming looked at him, his gaze complicated. “Just like that?”
Mo Fang smiled. “I would have a cup of coffee or a meal with you if you’d like that better but I didn’t have the impression that was what you’d like to happen.”
Li Ming chewed on those words for a bit, not sure how to feel. Indeed. He had dreaded the idea that Mo Fang might want to latch onto him again. But now, he also wasn’t sure what to do with the fact that he seemed so … callous.
He kept quiet for another moment and then furrowed his brows. “Can I ask you something?”
Mo Fang raised his brows. He hadn’t expected that. He wasn’t against it though. “Sure, go ahead!” He motioned for Li Ming to speak, leaning forward slightly to listen. The kind of question Li Ming would want to ask, he felt that it was something that should require his whole attention.
Li Ming didn’t speak up immediately. In fact, as soon as he had said that, he had regretted it. But now, it was already out so he had to ask something and there was only this one thing he currently wanted to know.
He lowered his head, taking a deep breath before he looked back up. “Our relationship back then … did it actually mean anything to you?”
Mo Fang’s lips parted and then he sighed. “I guess you doubted that the whole time, didn’t you? I’m sorry. I … guess I deserve that question. But to answer it: Yes, yes it did. In fact, it meant a lot to me. Among the relationships I had …” His gaze turned thoughtful while he went through some of the experiences he had made in the past but then he simply shook his head.
“Well, I don’t need to tell you. You also know how I was. The men I was attracting weren’t always good and the good ones … I wasn’t the right one for them. Between the two of us, it was like that. I wanted it to work out, I really did. But I went about it in the completely wrong way. I did because I cared but that hurt you more than if I had been honest from the beginning.”
Li Ming nodded in a daze. “I see. That … thanks for saying that.”
Mo Fang nodded faintly, that smile still on his lips. “Then … do you want to know anything else?”
Li Ming shook his head. Even if there was, he didn’t think he would be able to get any questions out right now. He was just so … surprised. Yes, that was it although it didn’t capture his current mood in the least. Simply calling it ‘surprised’ seemed like the understatement of the year.
He felt like he didn’t recognize this person in front of him and as if his own perception of what had happened had to be off because there was no way this person could have done what Mo Fang, well, had done. It just didn’t seem to make any sense.
Mo Fang nodded slowly. “Well, I’ll leave then. If … if you do want to talk again in the future, you know how to reach me. I won’t expect it but … you know, just in case.” He got up and gave Li Ming a slightly longer look before turning around.
Li Ming watched in a daze as Mo Fang talked to the waiter for a moment and then left the restaurant without having eaten or drunk anything as if the only thing he had wanted to do was indeed talk to him. He really … had changed.
Li Ming turned to look out the window, his thoughts all over the place. These three years, he himself had gone through a few things. He felt like he had changed quite a bit. He had developed a new philosophy about his work, had found a new job, reconnected with his family, gained new skills, and wasn’t worrying as much over things he couldn’t control anymore although the last one was something he still had to actively work on. But compared to the short glimpse he had gotten of Mo Fang both today and the time he first appeared in front of him again, that was nothing. Mo Fang … seemed like a whole new person.
He couldn’t even begin to imagine what must have happened for him to change so much. Well, maybe it wasn’t a wonder though considering he had even left the continent. Being out of China, away from his family that he would usually fall back on whenever one of his relationships went south, and making new experiences in a completely different culture might have done wonders for him.
Li Ming picked up the glass of water and took a sip, slowly feeling like he was returning to himself. This talk hadn’t gone too bad and it seemed that he really wouldn’t need to worry about Mo Fang making trouble again. Those times seemed to be over. As for talking again in the future … he didn’t think he wanted that.
Sure, Mo Fang had changed. He wasn’t the person anymore that had broken his heart three years ago. And yes, after all this time, the pain had lessened a lot. In fact, before Mo Fang came back, he hadn’t really thought of it save for the odd time when he met a mutual acquaintance, heard something new about Mo Fang’s life, or was thinking about past relationships. But then, he didn’t feel the need to pick up anywhere with Mo Fang.
Back then, he had loved him and before that, he could have imagined being friends. But now? They were simply strangers who had used to date and had a bad breakup. Why force themselves to try and become more than that? It simply seemed … unnecessary.