Lu Jinnian knocked off work early that afternoon. It was the first time in so many years, and it was also the first time that he yearned to return home, so much so that he even ran past a red light.
When he finally reached Ming Zhu Garden, he held onto the keys to open the door. As he changed into his house slippers, he shouted for Qiao Anhao, but no one replied.
Lu Jinnian shouted her name once more, a frown denting his temples. With only one slipper on, he rushed up the stairs into the changing room. Only when he saw that her clothes were still inside did he finally heave a sigh of relief, pulling out his phone to call her.
Qiao Anhao picked up instantly, but her background noise was very loud and the phone signal was bad, her voice coming out in patches. Only after a while did the background finally turn quiet. "What's wrong?"
"Where are you?"
"I'm in Cheng Jian building's supermarket."
The supermarket was near Ming Zhu Garden. Lu Jinnian walked there without taking his car. Just when he reached the entrance of the supermarket, Qiao Anhao walked out, carrying a huge bag of groceries.
Lu Jinnian hurriedly went forward.
Qiao Anhao reached for her phone. When she realized that it wasn't even 5 pm, she asked in confusion, "Why are you back so early?"
"There wasn't much work." Reaching for the bag, Lu Jinnian frowned, realizing that it was filled with vegetables and condiments.
Qiao Anhao explained, "My appet.i.te has been getting bad from eating out everyday."
"Oh," he responded as they headed back, shoulder to shoulder.
The sun was about to set, the horizon a beautiful shade of red, brightening the path as they strolled leisurely. There were many elderly couples strolling by as well. Qiao Anhao turned to glance at Lu Jinnian's ridiculously handsome features, and just then, she suddenly remembered a suitable phrase: My most beautiful wish is to walk hand in hand with you under the sunset, enjoying the cool breeze.
Qiao Anhao cooked while Lu Jinnian washed the dishes, their chemistry akin to a newly married couple.
After their meal, the skies were still bright, so they decided to take a walk outside. When they returned, Qiao Anhao held onto a box of strawberry Häagen-Dazs, while Lu Jinnian held onto a bag filled with tidbits.
When they reached home, it was just 8 pm. Qiao Anhao curled up on the sofa, watching television, a packet of chips in her arms.
Lu Jinnian came out of the study room with his laptop to sit beside her while he attended to his work.
When the advertis.e.m.e.nt played, Lu Jinnian suddenly called for Qiao Anhao. She turned with the chips in her hands. Lu Jinnian didn't look at her, his gaze focused on the laptop screen, his fingers on the keypad. "Come over."
"Why?" she asked as she leaned over.
As she came close, a faint aroma flitted over, and Lu Jinnian's back tensed instantly. Turning the laptop screen towards her, he spoke in his usual cold voice.
"The company has a new modern movie where the male lead will be confessing to the female lead. There have been a few ideas, but which one would you prefer? Since you're part of the target audience, your suggestion would be useful."