Mo Fang leaned to the side and smiled at Qiao Ya. “You just finished work, right? Do you want to go and eat somewhere? Ah Tao has a restaurant in the city that we could go to.”
Qiao Ya nodded hurriedly. “Sure!” Then, she couldn’t help but tilt her head to look at Si Tao. “So … who is he then?” He very clearly wasn’t her promised half-brother. If Li Ming was right, then he might be the new boyfriend but … she didn’t want that to be true. Actually, having a brother sounded awesome. It might be a bit late in life but better late than never, right?
Mo Fang smiled. “Oh, right, I forgot to introduce you. This is a good friend of mine. He’s called Si Tao. This time, it was thanks to him introducing Mister Ruan to me that I was able to find you at all.”
“Oh!” Qiao Ya nodded. So it was just a friend. Well, that wasn’t too strange.
Si Tao glanced at her in the rearview mirror and smiled cheekily. “We used to date though.”
Qiao Ya’s eyes widened. “Ah? But …” She turned to look at Li Ming next to her. He had also said that the two of them had dated. In that case …
Li Ming coughed. “That was later.”
“I see!” Qiao Ya gave a hum and looked around the car. That shouldn’t have been too awkward, right? She hesitated for a while but then figured that she couldn’t be blamed for this. Anyone who lived to her age and then suddenly found out about having a brother and meeting his fiance wouldn’t know how to react, alright? She wasn’t behaving strangely considering the situation!
She took a moment but then just leaned forward to look at Mo Fang again. “Then, how did you meet my brother?” Anyway, since she didn’t know anything at all, she might as well start with the fun questions. When they knew each other better, it would be easier to talk about other things.
Mo Fang smiled while thinking back. “Well, three years ago, I really tanked a relationship of mine.” He didn’t mention that it had been the one with Li Ming. Even though he didn’t know too much about either of their lives, it seemed like they weren’t actually that close and Qiao Ya had only dragged Li Ming along because both of them knew him. Thus, it was better not to include that kind of detail.
“The breakup was my fault and I didn’t act that well afterward, refusing to accept it. When he finally got it through my head that I was downright stalking him, I was so embarrassed I left the country and went to Europe instead.”
Qiao Ya’s eyes widened and she stared at Mo Fang slack-jawed. “That …”
Mo Fang turned to look at her and smiled. “It’s okay. You can say it if you want. I know I was a mess back then, definitely not the type you’d want to date or … want anyone you care about to date. I can see that now.”
Qiao Ya pursed her lips. Well, if he admitted to it himself … “Then what changed?”
Mo Fang shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing at first. That was until I met your brother.” He lowered his head, his fingers clasping the pendant around his neck. He hadn’t talked about this often. In fact, after Yu Ting’s death, he hadn’t mentioned it even once. What had originally been a fond memory he liked to recall had now just become a sad reminder of the fact that he was alone again.
He took a deep breath to make sure his voice wouldn’t crack before he continued speaking. “At that time, I had just broken up with yet another guy. I wasn’t good at staying alone so I was on the lookout for somebody else and that was when I saw him.
“He was … different. Your brother had that kind of temperament that just makes a person stand out in a crowd. Like everybody should just look at and listen to him. It’s … very reassuring, especially if you’re the type like me who floats around and doesn’t know where to go with your life.”
Qiao Ya’s eyes lit up. “So you got together and you turned your life around?”
Mo Fang gave a faint laugh. “Something like that.”
“So not exactly? Then what really happened?” Qiao Ya leaned forward further, looking at him with an eager expression.
“Well, I … went up to him and did my best to flirt. And your brother … very coldly rejected me.” His gaze softened when he said so and he smiled. “At that moment, I knew he was the right one for me.”
Qiao Ya stared at his dreamy expression, wondering if she had heard wrong. “He rejected you? And you … liked him more?” Why couldn’t she understand that at all?
But Mo Fang still nodded. “Yeah, I did. I know it must sound strange. But … well, just take it as me getting motivated to really turn my life around. After all, it’s no wonder if he doesn’t want to date me if my life is a mess, right? But if I get everything in order, there might be a chance for us. I guess time went on to prove that I was right. We did make it to the engagement after all.” It was just a pity that the rest wouldn’t follow.
He turned his head in the other direction, not wanting Qiao Ya to see his expression. She had just heard about Yu Ting for the first time and it would be hard enough to explain later that he had already passed away. He didn’t need to bother her with his own feelings as well.
Qiao Ya was preoccupied with her own thoughts on the matter and didn’t notice. Li Ming who was sitting behind, caught Mo Fang’s expression in the side mirror though. He lowered his gaze before Mo Fang could notice his look and even closed his eyes. It seemed … he had been right after all. In this case, he really wished he hadn’t been.