When Ji Yi heard this, her gaze upon the instant noodles shifted to He Jichen's face. She knew he was waiting for her to reply to his question, but instead, she asked a question in return: "You're eating instant noodles for new year's?"
At Ji Yi's mention of instant noodles, He Jichen thought back to his improvised new year's dinner. He turned his head, put the lid on his cup noodles and carried it back into his office.
Ji Yi followed behind him silently.
Just as she took one step into He Jichen's office, she almost immediately stepped back out again.
The shroud of cigarette smoke was so heavy inside that the sofa and coffee table were filled with packs of empty cigarettes.
Documents were tossed messily over the desk, and the ashtray by the computer was filled with cigarette butts of various sizes.
He Jichen put the instant noodles down onto the table, walked over to the windows and opened them.
The cold wind that entered the room was a little strong as it quickly blew away a large portion of the smoke along with the documents on the desk onto the floor.
When Ji Yi bent down to pick them up, she caught a glimpse of many circled scribbles in black ink.
The scribbles on the sheets of paper looked familiar - they looked exactly like how her textbook looked many years ago when she woke up to find her books filled with circled key points.
Ji Yi's gaze couldn't help but linger on the papers. Before she could figure it out, He Jichen returned from opening the window and was no longer leaning against the desk. "You haven't replied to my question yet," he said flatly.
He Jichen's voice abruptly interrupted Ji Yi's thoughts, causing her to glance up at him. She walked over to him and put his documents on the desk. Just as she was about to tell him that Fatty told her the truth of how he hadn't returned to Sucheng so she came over to look for him, the words couldn't seem to escape from her mouth. She glanced over at He Jichen's keyboard and saw a single photograph laying on top.
She recognized all the people inside.
It was a family photo of the He family.
The words she wanted to say suddenly stopped in her throat and a sense of indescribable sadness instantly filled Ji Yi's heart.
Is he spending new year's eve in the office doing overtime because he wants to let work take his mind off his family issues?
But even so, he smoked so many cigarettes because he couldn't mask the sadness deep down?
With that thought, Ji Yi's gaze swept over the cigarette butts and empty packs of cigarettes in different areas of the room. The more she looked, the more upset she got.
He's already pretty upset; if I mention that he didn't go back to Sucheng now, I'm afraid it would be like picking at his scabs...
With that thought, Ji Yi took a hard gulp and pushed her words back down. Then she twitched her lips and spoke a white lie: "I just dropped off my mum at her friend's to play mahjong. On my way back, I happened to pass by the office and noticed the light was on, so I came to check it out."
If things were like before, Ji Yi would definitely ask He Jichen why he was doing overtime in the office on new year's eve.
But knowing the truth, she chose to avoid the topic. Without waiting for He Jichen to reply, she moved her head from left to right and scanned the room all over again. Then she stared at the instant noodles He Jichen casually put on the desk and changed the subject: "Your noodles look like they're about ready."
He Jichen let out an "Mhm" and removed the lid.
The smell instantly permeated every corner of the office.
There were restaurants open for business on new year's eve, but they only served guests with reservations made half a month in advance. It'd be odd for two people to spontaneously go out to eat now. Other people spent new year's eve back home having a family reunion dinner, but He Jichen was eating alone Ji Yi paused for a few seconds and said, "Is there more?"