Chapter 17: Extreme sorrow turns to joy — There’s eggs and rice; you can borrow my kitchen.
Painting Mrs. Wang’s nails took nearly an hour. Many customers had entered the salon during this time but ended up leaving because of the wait. Once she finished, Xia Wei was very satisfied with herself, but Mrs. Wang, on the other hand, seemed very dissatisfied. “This is what you did? Not even a bit as good as Xiao Qiu.”
Faced with this obviously picky customer, Xia Wei could only keep smiling. “Mrs. Wang, I did it completely according to your photo.”
Mrs. Wang retorted, “Did I tell you to do it completely identical to the photo I gave you? You don’t have an ounce of creativity.”
Xia Wei: “…”
If I didn’t do it according to the photo, you would’ve complained it was differently compared to the photo!
“Mrs. Wang, if there was anything you wanted altered, you could have told me when I was doing it, and I would have done it to your specifications.”
“How would I have known that you would do it so ugly? Look at you, without even a bit of manners.”
“…” Open your eyes and look, it’s clearly identical to the photo you provided—even prettier than it! Xia Wei mentally snarled. She kept a smile on her face though. “I am very sorry for being unable to make you satisfied.”
“Just an apology? You call yourself a high-level nail artist when you can’t even do such a simple design properly.” Mrs. Wang looked at her nails again before continuing, “Forget about it, forget about it. Anyway, since Xiao Qiu quit, I probably won’t come to your place anymore either. My membership card still has money on it, so return my money to me.”
Xia Wei sucked in a deep breath before beaming at her and saying, “I apologize, Mrs. Wang. Money on the membership card cannot be returned. If you do not want it, you can transfer the balance to others.”
Hearing that her money wouldn’t be returned, Mrs. Wang suddenly exploded. “What are you trying to do, scamming customers? Believe me or not, I’m going to sue you!”
Xia Wei walked towards the computer to bring up her account and then reported, “Mrs. Wang, you altogether had twelve hundred yuan on your account and have used up around eight hundred yuan. You have around three hundred yuan left, which you can give to your friends and relatives.”
“Why should I give it to friends and relatives? I want a refund. If I you won’t let me withdraw the balance today, I’ll find ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited) and CCA (China’s Consumers Association) together and sue you!”
Xia Wei nearly couldn’t stop the words ‘if you want to sue, then sue’ from falling from her lips. “Okay then. Your previous purchases, however, were charged according to platinum card membership standards. If you withdraw, you will not be able to reach the requirements for platinum membership. The previous charges must be recalculated.” Once she said this, she glanced at Mrs. Wang’s nails. “In regards to your nails being done today, the original cost would have been ¥360; it would only be ¥100 for platinum members. You need to make up the difference.”
“Isn’t it clear you’re scammers?! There’s no such rules!”
“When setting up the account, we informed customers of the terms. If you must be an annoying troublemaker, you can seek out CCA.”
“Hey, you’re even accusing me of being an annoying troublemaker. Fine, you just wait. I’m appealing to CCA!”
After Mrs. Wang furiously stormed off, Xia Wei weakly sat down on the sofa. “This type of person is clearly one who finds complaints in everything,” the little apprentice grumbled. She asked Xia Wei, “Is she really going to CCA?”
Xia Wei stated, “Let her go. I already explained everything. If she wants to withdraw money, her charges must be recalculated.”
While the two of them chatted, a new customer entered, and the store became busy once again.
Because Xia Wei wanted to eat lamb kebabs that evening, in addition to her truly being exhausted these past two days, she closed the salon two hours early. A bit after 7 o’clock, she was at the entrance of the rice noodle shop and asked the boss, “Boss, are there lamb kebabs?”
The boss remembered her and, upon seeing her come again, became especially embarrassed. “The little girl who helps in the shop returned home in the afternoon. Right now, there is only me. I have more work than I can deal with, so I didn’t roast any. Come again tomorrow; I’ll definitely save some for you!”
Xia Wei: “……”
She took two steps outside and disappointedly slumped down on the curb. Normally, she didn’t buy lamb kebabs. Every time she walked past the shop, she would see it being sold. Now that she wanted to eat some, she couldn’t buy any even though this was her third time coming here.
She felt that this was the way the world worked for the most part. The more one wanted to go do something, the more one was unable to.
Jiang Zhi Zhou had come down to stock his refrigerator when he passed by the newly opened mutton rice noodle shop and saw Miss Xia from upstairs sitting by herself on the curb. She appeared to be in a very downcast mood, looking like she was about to cry at any second.
He carried his bags past her, and she seemed to have not seen him at all.
Jiang Zhi Zhou walked a few paces before doubling back. He stood in front of her and asked, “What’s up with you?”
The voice that popped out of nowhere scared Xia Wei. She flinched and lifted her head, only to discover Mr. Jiang from downstairs. “Oh, it’s nothing. I just wanted to eat lamb kebabs, but the boss didn’t make any.”
The corners of Jiang Zhi Zhou’s lips slightly twitched. To be so depressed like this simply because of lamb kebabs? He stared at her for a moment before walking away with his bags. A few seconds later, he turned back and asked the rice noodle shop’s boss, “Boss, can you sell me some of your mutton?”
The boss was stunned for a moment. “You want to buy raw mutton?”
“Mn, not a lot. Some of the back leg meat is enough.”
The boss considered this for a spiel before saying, “Okay, I’ll give you a bit.” The boss weighed a small half catty of mutton and gave it to Jiang Zhi Zhou.
Jiang Zhi Zhou carried the mutton out of the shop and paused by Xia Wei’s side. “Let’s go.”
Xia Wei raised her head to stare at him, at a loss. “Go where?”
“To eat lamb kebabs.”
Xia Wei glanced at the mutton in his hands, seemingly coming to a revelation. “You’re cooking?”
“Is that a problem? I am the ‘Golden Hands’ head chef of Tian Xia Restaurant.” He used the words Xia Wei previously described him with.
Xia Wei: “…”
She stood up and followed Jiang Zhi Zhou back to the neighborhood. Jiang Zhi Zhou tilted his head to glance at her hand, which was no longer wrapped in gauze. “Your hand is better?”
“Mn, more or less. Wrapping it in gauze is also inconvenient.” Xia Wei recalled, as she said this, the stray cats that she had not been concerned about for a very long time. “Right, those stray cats that were sent to be spayed, how are they?”
“Some have already been discharged. Those recovering poorly continue to stay at the hospital, but they should be quickly released.”
“Oh, that’s good. How’s Tangeriney? Still quite depressed?”
“Better than before, but still not very active. Possibly because it has been eating less, it seemed to have lost a bit of weight instead.”
“Haha.” Xia Wei laughed and glanced again at the mutton in his hands. “Are you really roasting lamb kebabs for me?”
The heavens were not casting down red rain, so how could he be so kind?!
Jiang Zhi Zhou replied, “I saw you sitting alone pathetically on the curb, and, seeing how you had given your gloves to me last time as well, I’m treating you to two skewers.”
“…Me being scratched is only worth two skewers? Do you know how expensive a shot is?”
Jiang Zhi Zhou: “…”
Still in the mood to haggle over price with him, it seemed that she was not as broken-hearted as he presumed.
Following Jiang Zhi Zhou and exiting the elevator on the 18th floor, Xia Wei once again stepped through the door of 1808. She headed straight toward the orange cat. “Tangeriney, long time no see. Do you miss me?”
Miao~ The orange cat half-heartedly greeted her. Xia Wei didn’t reprimand it, aware of the despair it was experiencing. She rubbed the orange cat’s fur, sighing before saying, “It seemed like you really have lost weight. Let me look at your whiskers, have they not grown a bit longer?”
She played with the cat in the living room while Jiang Zhi Zhou washed his hands and began making lamb kebabs. Because he didn’t have a rack specifically for barbecue, he was forced to use the oven. He cut up the mutton into cubes of three centimeters on all sides and used diced onion and ginger condiments to marinate it. He exited the kitchen and said to Xia Wei, “The mutton needs to marinate for an hour. Have you eaten?”
Hearing it will take an hour to marinate, Xia Wei’s face fell. “So long?”
“Mn, if you haven’t eaten, then eat something first.”
Xia Wei’s eyes brightened. Having won an inch and wanting a foot, she said, “I want to eat egg fried rice.”
Jiang Zhi Zhou said, “There’s eggs and rice; you can borrow my kitchen.”
Xia Wei: “……”
She turned her body and sent a grief-filled look to the orange cat. “Tangeriney, you’re really pitiful, for having actually been taken in by such a cold-hearted, taciturn man. It would be better for you to follow me upstairs.” She hugged the orange cat as she rose up, as if to take it away.
Jiang Zhi Zhou called out to her back, “You don’t want to eat lamb kebabs?”
Xia Wei stopped her steps and turned her head to look at him. “By the time the lamb kebabs are done, I might have already starved to death.”
Jiang Zhi Zhou’s brows lightly wrinkled as he mentally pondered this. Forget it, he was already roasting lamb kebabs. Stir-frying a bowl of egg fried rice as well would be nothing.
He turned, walked toward the kitchen, and began breaking eggs. Xia Wei’s heart lit up with happiness. It seemed that Mr. Jiang was very guilty about that time she got scratched by a cat!
She hugged the orange cat in her arms and walked to the edge of the kitchen, leaning against the doorway as she watched him. Before her eyes, a man, attired in an apron, stood on a tiled floor as he beat eggs and sliced green onion, making fried rice with actions akin to moving clouds and flowing water—just as she had previously seen in the old video of him.
Only, that youngster who still possessed the innocence of childhood had already grown up to become a fully-matured man.
She watched him, and then, out of the blue, she asked, “Do you know, the last time I went to Tian Xia Restaurant for a meal, the egg fried rice I ordered was made by you.”
Jiang Zhi Zhou startled for a moment. He had indeed, not long ago, made a plate of egg fried rice. “How was the taste?”
The taste…so delicious that she wanted to marry the one who stir-fried such a dish back then. Of course, this wish was no longer valid.
“Okay; your Tian Xia Restaurant’s prices are too expensive, especially for such a small plate of egg fried rice. I could have eaten outside at a small stir-fry restaurant for a month with that money.”
“Oh, then you can eat outside at a small stir-fry restaurant.”
“…” Xia Wei silently grimaced as he cooked. She then carried the orange cat back to the living room. Soon, a rich aroma floated out from the kitchen, even attracting the orange cat’s interest. Meowing, it jumped out of Xia Wei’s embrace.
Xia Wei swallowed and stared in the direction of the kitchen. “Is it done?”
“Mn.” Jiang Zhi Zhou ladled egg fried rice into a bowl and carried it over. “The rice and eggs I have at home are different from those at Tian Xia Restaurant, but the taste should still be okay. Taste some.”
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