Zhu Yi came running back after just a minute had passed. He immediately went to help Rong Xiang carry the last dishes over to the table and then picked the chair next to Li Ming to sit down.
The three of them started to eat and for a moment, silence spread in the room.
After a few bites, Zhu Yi sighed. He had been working all day with hardly a break. Without Li Ming there to help out, he felt as if he was working double the hours.
Taking care of everything on his own without being able to have somebody step in for even just a moment really wasn’t easy. If not for the fact that Li Ming hadn’t seemed open to it, he really would have liked to ask him if he couldn’t just get some qualifications as a fitness coach and do the other courses with him as well.
Zhu Yi hurriedly let go of that thought as soon as it came up. If Rong Xiang’s course started working out as well as he currently expected, he could probably cut down on some courses. That way, he wouldn’t be as exhausted at the end of the day anymore. It was just a question of time until then.
Either way, he didn’t want to think about work any longer and even though Rong Xiang and Li Ming should be happy about having made so much progress, a break from work wasn’t really there to discuss work even more, right?
He glanced at Li Ming, trying to think of a topic, and could finally only twitch his lips. His private life … seemed to be a bit miserable right now? He hesitated for a moment but finally still spoke up. “You be serious, how are things looking in your private life right now? Are you okay since Zhao Chen left? Your ex coming back and prancing around in front of you again probably didn’t help with getting over that.”
Li Ming gave a hum and thought about the question for a moment. “I guess I can’t pretend that I’m completely okay with the breakup yet. It’s been a few weeks but I still think about him quite a bit.”
He sighed deeply and raised his brows, staring at the food in front of him in a daze. “We would’ve made a really good couple. But then … he had a good opportunity ahead of him and I’m not one to say no to my partner wanting to do what’s right for them. That just wouldn’t have been okay.
“As for myself …” He motioned over to the laptop and folder that Rong Xiang had placed on the kitchen counter behind him to make room for the dishes and smiled faintly. “I guess if we had still been together, I wouldn’t have been able to even think about switching jobs like this. So, at the end of the day, even though I hate having lost the relationship, I guess it still had some advantages too.”
Rong Xiang looked at him, faintly raising her brows. “But then, with the two of you being together, you probably could have made it work, right? I mean, I don’t know that much about your relationship and I’ve probably heard most of that only second-hand from Ah Yi but from what I remember, you weren’t even living together yet, right?
“If you had moved in together, maybe that would have helped. You could have spent more time with each other without either of you needing to sacrifice at your job. Plus, if you had pooled your resources, giving up your job at the hotel to try out something else would’ve been alright as well, right? I mean, at least as long as it doesn’t go on for too long.”
Li Ming looked at her, too stunned to even respond. To be honest, he had never even thought of that possibility. Yes, if you were in a relationship, then supporting each other like that would be possible. But then again … “I get what you mean but I don’t think we were together long enough for that at that point. I mean, it had only been a few months, not even a whole year.
“I think this kind of thing shouldn’t be done in a relationship that has only been that short. If we had been together for several years, sure. I probably would have thought of that first or maybe he would have. But we simply weren’t there yet. Not even close.”
He shook his head and sighed. “Honestly, while I really liked Zhao Chen, I don’t think that I would’ve even felt comfortable living together until at least a year later. The kind of thing …” He shook his head again, not even sure to explain.
Not supporting what could be said to be a short-term partner financially was something most people got. But moving in together was something a lot of people saw differently. It was just like how a lot of guys lost interest when they realized he wasn’t willing to get intimate yet after going on a few casual dates.
People just … seemed to have a different outlook on what the timeline of a relationship should be. So, he wasn’t sure if Zhu Yi and Rong Xiang would agree with his point of view in regard to moving in together either.
Zhu Yi looked from his girlfriend to Li Ming and back again, and finally sighed. “I guess I get it. I remember when I moved in with my first girlfriend. We had only been together for two months. I thought she was the love of my life and we’d get married in two years or something so it really didn’t feel strange to move in together that early. Well, I moved back out after just three months. To be honest, I’m still surprised I managed to take it for that long. It was horrible!”
Next to him, Rong Xiang laughed. “Well, that’s what you get for being overambitious!” Turning to Li Ming, she raised her brows. “Honestly, if that wasn’t your timeline, it’s alright. I just thought that if you wanted to give it a try, you could’ve made it work. It seemed like you were otherwise going really stable.”
Li Ming gave a hum, but he still wasn’t quite convinced. “I guess if it had been a few years ago, I probably would’ve said the same.” It wasn’t that easy to admit it but yes, if this had happened during his relationship with Mo Fang, for example, he wouldn’t have hesitated.
Well, not that at that time, it would’ve been Mo Fang supporting him. Instead, it likely would’ve been the other way around. Maybe that was why he would’ve felt more comfortable with it. Or maybe it was just that his trust issues were still too strong even three years later. That definitely was food for thought.