SML Extra: A Sweet Treat (3)

Li Ming wasn’t sure if he should think that this was sweet or just incredibly sad. He had already thought that this might be the main reason but hearing it directly from Mo Fang felt different.

“Well, it’s good that this is a matter of the past. I mean, it is in the past, right? You don’t worry about this any longer, do you?” Since he was friends with some of Mo Fang’s friends as well and had even seen him at work, he was very much aware that Mo Fang hadn’t dated in the last two years. He couldn’t say if this was because of insecurity or because he wasn’t over Yu Ting though.

Mo Fang chuckled and gave a nod. “Yes, don’t worry. During our relationship and then also during my time in Europe, I did and learned a lot of things. Part of that was discovering my own self-worth outside of being pretty and outside of my relationships. Quite a bit of that is thanks to you and, well, a lot was also thanks to Yu Ting.”

Li Ming nodded. He would have liked to ask about that but felt that this was likely still a sore topic so he switched back to the original subject they had talked about. “Well, I did say back then that you could likely learn anything if you put your mind to it. I can’t say about other things but your cooking is very good in my opinion.”

Mo Fang smiled. “Yes, I think I’m not bad.” He laughed again and looked at the dishes on the table. “Right, I was telling you about this before but we somehow got sidetracked. I wanted to say that after going to Europe, I actually continued cooking. Not because I wanted to impress men any longer but because was something that made me feel familiar. I cooked a lot of dishes from home. That’s actually what I’m best at.”

Li Ming smiled. “Was it difficult getting used to being in another country?”

Mo Fang hummed. “I guess so. Although it was nice as well. I liked that I didn’t know people and could start with a blank slate. I also genuinely enjoyed seeing new things and I loved seriously starting to model.

“You know I only did a few shoots here and there while I was still in Shanghai. But as soon as I left, I started to put all my effort into this. It helped. Sure, I was still selling my looks but I felt like I was achieving something.

“Plus, talking to some of the other models, I realized that even though they were in the same profession, some of them were … well, they were brilliant. The kind of person you couldn’t help but admire. And if those people could model, then why couldn’t I as a model be like them?” He shrugged his shoulders, feeling that it had to sound dumb.

Most people thought that somebody who worked with their face or body was vain and the interesting parts about them were only skin-deep. As a model himself, he should have known better. But he had been nudged into this direction always hearing precisely those kinds of words. So finally, he started to think like that himself. It needed coming into contact with different people to realize how stupid this was.

Li Ming nodded, not actually feeling that it sounded dumb at all. Anyway, if you started doing this kind of thing at a young age, you were also doing so while being rather impressionable. The ideas you formed at that time might be difficult to overthrow if you didn’t get to know something else. Anyway, no matter how it had happened, it was good that Mo Fang was in a better place. “I think it’s great you managed to change your perspective. You seem … a lot happier with your life.”

Mo Fang nodded. “I am. I guess I didn’t even realize how unhappy I was at the time. Now, looking back, it’s so obvious.” He shook his head at himself, sighing faintly. “I guess it’s part of growing up. It might have come a little late for me but at least it happened.”

Li Ming gave a hum and nodded. Actually, he felt a bit sad thinking about how he had missed out on the time before. If not for Mo Fang’s lies, if they could have stayed together for those five years, they could have been so much closer. Even if they got back together now, they couldn’t make up for that lost time.

He sighed and tried not to think too much. Anyway, the quality of the time spent together was more important than the quantity. If today’s date went well, they just had to make sure to keep this in mind going forward.

Mo Fang faintly raised his brows. “So, I picked up cooking. What about you? These five years, I’m sure there was a lot of change in your life as well. I mean, I do know about your job.” He motioned with his hand, not sure if it was necessary to mention that.

Li Ming hummed and pondered the question. “I guess there weren’t many private changes. Actually, I focused on my career after we broke up. You remember that I left the train station, right?”

“Well …” Mo Fang’s expression turned into one of embarrassment. How could he forget that? After all, he was the one who had caused Li Ming to be so fed up that he finally handed in his resignation.

Li Ming coughed. “That … I didn’t mean to blame you. Honestly, it was a good thing in the end. I took a few weeks for myself to take some courses and learn some additional skills. It was a good opportunity to make my resume look more interesting and I also met some new people. It was a fun experience and I definitely don’t regret it even though I have to say that I didn’t use the skills much.”

“Why that?”

“Well, when I finally found a new job, it was at one of Si Tao’s hotels. I stayed there for … well, pretty much the three years you were away. In the last year, I started helping out with Zhu Yi’s courses. That is … Rong Xiang’s boyfriend.”

Mo Fang nodded. He knew Rong Xiang from the cooperation at his current job and he had also seen Zhu Yi before even though he wasn’t familiar with him.

“Actually, that opportunity was also thanks to the courses I did in the beginning. The person who told me Zhu Yi was looking for somebody was someone I met there.”

“Ah, I guess it really went well then.” Mo Fang couldn’t help but feel like he had missed out on a lot in Li Ming’s life. But then, this wasn’t strange: Three years was a long time. Especially when you had a goal, a lot could happen. “It’s interesting that we both seem to have focused on our careers after our breakup. I hadn’t expected that.”

Li Ming gave a hum. “I admit I was pretty heartbroken after we didn’t work out. I just … I couldn’t imagine getting back into dating anytime soon and since I needed a new job anyway, it just seemed like the right choice.” He shrugged, feeling that it actually wasn’t that deep. “Anyway, I’m happy it worked out the way it did. And, well, seems like we might have another chance.”

Mo Fang pursed his lips. “You know, I don’t want to harp on this but are you really sure about dating me again?”

Li Ming lowered his head and finally sighed. “I’d be lying if I called it being sure.” He looked up again and smiled wryly. “I … I am sure about wanting to try. I am not so sure about actually starting a relationship again. But whether that’s a good idea or not is what we’re trying to figure out today, isn’t it?”

Mo Fang nodded. “I guess so. I want you to know that I wouldn’t be angry or … hold a grudge or something if you said this wasn’t working for you. I mean, even before we start. I never would have asked you out again because I thought there would be no chance in hell you’d ever consider me again so … I would really understand.”

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