S&OP : Chapter 15 – Romantic Malatang

Author: Su Youbing

Translator: SyKim5, Renkun27

Proofreader: lonelycauliflower

The car finally stopped at the entrance of the hospital.

When Yan Su’ang saw Xiao Bai hurriedly preparing to get out of the car, he immediately pulled him by the hand. “Let A’Fa check the way first.”

Having heard what he said, Lin Fa immediately jumped out of the car.

The driver originally wanted to take a nap. When he accidentally took a glance at the rearview mirror, he saw the Great God glaring at him with his bright and piercing eyes. The sleep bugs that filled his mind immediately disappeared without a trace. At once, he sat up straight.

However, the Great God still did not let him off with his penetrating gaze.

The driver could not help but turn around. With a trembling voice, he asked, “Mr. Yan..?” If you have something on your mind, just say it. By all means, don’t just quietly glare like this. This easily reminded him of the movie “Car Ghost” where Yan Su’ang starred in.

Yan Su’ang took out 50 RMB from his pocket and handed it to him. “Go buy some breakfast.”

The driver quickly got out of the car. When he closed the car door, he clearly saw the Great God giving him a thumbs-up look.

“Xiao Bai.” Yan Su’ang gently flicked his finger on his knee. “Do you have…”

The phone rang at the same time.

Yan Su’ang held his breath, then he picked up the phone.

Xiao Bai vaguely heard some chaotic sound fragments.

Yan Su’ang closed the phone. “We’re going to turn around to go over to the emergency department.” However, he did not rush to get out of the car; rather, he climbed over to the driver’s seat and drove to the parking lot at the entrance of the emergency department.

Xiao Bai followed closely behind him. Seeing him walk through the hallways with familiarity, Xiao Bai could not help but ask, “Are you familiar with this place?”

“Yeah, I always go through these hallways when I go to see the doctor.”

“Then, why did you come over from the outpatient clinic yesterday?” Even caused so much commotion.

Xiao Bai was the type of person who could not hide his questions away. If he had a question, he would directly ask it.

Yan Su’ang slightly stopped walking, then he answered evasively, “Why didn’t you guys go to the emergency department yesterday?”

Xiao Bai was dumbfounded. “We didn’t get any injuries.”

Such way to answer naturally made the original question be held up.

When they went to the corridor, there were no reporters outside the door of Jia Zhiqing’s ward.

Yan Su’ang spoke, “All of them rushed downstairs.”

“Why are they coming to look for Zhiqing? Isn’t Brother Aaron’s manager Gao Qin?”

“Weren’t you with Aaron Feng last night? After all, Jia Zhiqing’s your manager.”

“But Brother Aaron only sent me home.”

The word “only” inexplicably pleased Yan Su’ang. There was a trace of a smile on his face. “It can’t be helped. The entertainment circle’s such a place where they start trouble out of nothing.”

Xiao Bai turned to look at his side profile.

His skin was awfully fair, firm, and delicate, but from those facial features, Xiao Bai could nevertheless perceive the hidden vicissitudes.

In the ward, Jia Zhiqing had a straight, calm, and collected face, as if he was sulking. Even when he saw Xiao Bai and Yan Su’ang, he did not scrape off the frosty expression of his face.

“I know why the press knows that I’m staying here.”

Xiao Bai was surprised. “Why?”

Jia Zhiqing looked down to the bed. “Do you still remember that beautiful reporter I told you about?”

“I remember.”

“She leaked the information.” He punched the bed in anger. “Because when Great God came yesterday, I suspect that she heard what I said about her bringing her ‘troops to go into battle,’ so she simply brought the reporters to go into battle for real.”

Xiao Bai said, “Ah, then she knows clearly whom she should show gratitude to and whom she should feel resentment for.”

Jia Zhiqing became even more furious. “Don’t treat me like a target interviewee of ‘To the Cheap Enemy!'”

Xiao Bai stuck out his tongue.

Yan Su’ang could not help but ruffle his soft hair. “Now that I’ve let you see him, you feel relieved, right?”

Jia Zhiqing looked at Xiao Bai, then he looked at the hand on top of Xiao Bai’s head. After that, he looked at Yan Su’ang and asked, “Great God, why are you with Xiao Bai?”

To Jia Zhiqing’s surprise, a slight concussion had caused the Great God to come and visit him over and over again. Would this test his very little, fragile heart?

“He was surrounded by reporters at the door of his house. I conveniently sent him over.”

What an understatement. However… “How come Great God happened to be at our doorstep?”

The phrase ‘our doorstep’ suddenly made Yan Su’ang’s good mood fall short. His eyebrows slightly raised. “Should I hand over my schedule to you next time first?

Jia Zhiqing shrank his head.

Ah Xiao Bai, you certainly are endowed with a lot of blessings.

After Xiao Bai saw Jia Zhiqing, he was finally satisfied. “Let’s eat breakfast.”

Yan Su’ang almost doubted whether his ears had heard his own thoughts, but seeing that the serious look on Xiao Bai’s face did not seem fake, he immediately nodded excitedly.

Sure enough, it paid off. Early in the morning, all of his grievances from the repeated rejections had been completely rinsed away by this joyous moment.

When they arrived in front of the car, Yan Su’ang was about to open the door, but he saw the driver happily walking over as he held a big bag of breakfast with a smile demanding for a reward.

Xiao Bai suddenly said, “Ah, Big Brother already bought it.”

….Yan Su’ang turned his back toward Xiao Bai and faced the driver with a gaze that could practically kill.

The driver’s hands trembled. The bag fell straight to the ground and the soup spilled.

Yan Su’ang felt pleased. “Hmn. You’re so careless.” Anyway, it was right on time to be careless. He turned to look at Xiao Bai. “It can’t be helped. We can only go out to eat.”

The place was chosen by Xiao Bai.

He still chose the Malatang [1] near Elder Brother Xiong’s Xinglong’s Butcher Shop.

([1] Literally “spicy numbing hot soup.” A common type of Chinese street food that is especially popular in Beijing. It’s made up of a hot soup of meat and vegetables.)

Although the place was cramped, the Malatang had a very unique name—Romantic Malatang.

Yan Su’ang pretended to be calm and asked, “Don’t tell me you want to eat a lovers’ set meal with me?”

“Lovers’ set meal?” Xiao Bai woodenly asked, “What’s that?”

“…Where’s the menu here?” He pointed with his finger.

“Oh, there’s no menu.” Xiao Bai pointed at the glass display case by the doorway. “You can go there and choose.”

Yan Su’ang swept his eyes over to the small plastic basket on top of the display case. “…”

Xiao Bai picked a lot of vegetarian food and placed them into his own small basket, then he placed quite a lot of meatballs and shrimp dumplings into the small basket of Yan Su’ang, who was standing still on one side.

“Don’t you think we’re very much like buying food at the market?” Even if Yan Su’ang was shooting a scene, he had never taken the role of an uncle who was buying food and such.

“Does it? No way.” While Xiao Bai was handing over the small basket to the shopkeeper, he fished out money from his pocket and said, “You can’t bargain here.”

Having heard what he said, the shopkeeper smiled and said, “Oh, Xiao Bai’s been on TV, yet he’s still bargaining. Actually, the price is already reduced.”

Xiao Bai responded earnestly, “People on TV also love money.”

This shopkeeper was dumbfounded.

Yan Su’ang’s face, which was formerly unwilling, slowly relaxed. Well, as long as I’m with Xiao Bai, I suppose I’ll make do with being an uncle who’s buying food.

There were few people who were eating malatang in the morning, so their orders were quickly served.

Yan Su’ang ate one shrimp dumpling, then he placed one into Xiao Bai’s bowl. After that, he picked up a spinach from Xiao Bai’s bowl and placed it in his mouth.

Xiao Bai looked up and said, “Do you like to eat spinach? I’ll buy it again.”

“…No need, this is good enough.” Yan Su’ang smiled.

Xiao Bai pulled out the spinach in his bowl and placed them on top to make it easier for Yan Su’ang to pick them up.

When Yan Su’ang observed this, he was inwardly happy, then he whispered, “What should I do? Since it’s like this, I owe you two meals now.”

“Hmn?”

“Last time, I said that I wanted to invite you again to eat, so I owe you one meal. Now that you invited me to eat breakfast, don’t I owe you another meal?”

Xiao Bai frowned, then he responded, “But you inviting me to eat and I invite you to eat as well, won’t it not make it even in quantity?”

Yan Su’ang apparently did not expect that Xiao Bai, who appeared to be dull, would be so clear on the accounts. “What do you mean even in quantity?”

“You invited me to eat a meal worth more than 300 RMB, but I only invited you to eat a meal worth somewhere around 20 RMB.” Xiao Bai wiped his mouth with his fingers. “So, I still owe you the price…”

Pa!

Yan Su’ang’s chopsticks clattered onto the table.

Xiao Bai rendered Yan Su’ang speechless, then he continued to explain, “But I don’t have money right now. I’ll have to wait for Director Chen to give me money.”

Yan Su’ang coldly looked at him. “Do you take me as a friend?”

Xiao Bai nodded.

Yan Su’ang knew how he treated Xiao Bai nicely; otherwise, it was impossible for a professional actor like him to find time to go on a roundabout route to Xiao Bai’s doorstep. Moreover, no matter if it was day or night, he would make a detour everytime Xiao Bai needed help the most.

“Then you‘re gonna haggle over every ounce with me?”

“But Elder Brother Xiong said that brothers should settle the accounts as well.”

“You and I are not brothers.” You Su’ang muttered this sentence, then he suddenly picked up the chopsticks and continued to eat.

Xiao Bai looked at the spinach in the bowl and cautiously asked, “You… do you still want more spinach?”

Yan Su’ang gave him a firm look. “I don’t. I’m not Popeye the Sailor who must go to save Olive everyday and eat every spinach.”

When Xiao Bai returned to the company, it was almost noon.

Gao Qin and Ma Rui were not at the company.

Ma Rui’s secretary asked Xiao Bai to stop for a chat. This opportunity for a man to be alone with a woman was rare, so she absolutely could not miss it again.

“Xiao Bai, what on earth‘s up with you and Aaron Feng?” They were obviously in the same company, but she could not squeeze out information from him from the beginning until the end. This made her unable to face the people in her group recently.

“Why? What’s going on?” Puzzled, Xiao Bai blinked. Why was it that since early this morning, everyone was asking him questions he could not make sense of?

“It’s just…” She suddenly lowered her voice and said, “Aaron Feng gave up drinking for three years already. Why did he suddenly run off to drink again?”

Brother Aaron gave up drinking for three years?

Xiao Bai slowly opened his mouth.

The secretary waited with anticipation for him to reveal some explosive news.

Who would have thought that he would just sigh and say, “I don’t know.”

You don’t know?!

The secretary gloomily twisted a ballpoint pen in her hand. “Then, did he say anything suspicious to you yesterday?”

“Suspicious?” Xiao Bai thought about it, then he nodded and answered, “There was something.”

The secretary’s eyes lit up. “What?”

“I said goodbye to Brother Aaron yesterday, but he didn’t respond to me.”

…You regard this as something suspicious?!

The secretary’s face became distorted. She asked, “Could it be that you walked too fast and did not hear him say anything?”

Xiao Bai suddenly said, “Seem like it.”

Pa ta!

She completely snapped the ballpoint pen into two.

Xiao Bai looked at the ballpoint pen, then looked at her again.

The secretary pushed aside a few strands of hair on her temples and calmly said, “The quality of these ballpoint pens that they recently put up for wholesale isn’t very good.”

In the afternoon, Gao Qin returned with a face was full of exhaustion.

Xiao Bai asked him about Aaron Feng’s situation.

Gao Qin said, “He’ll be detained for 15 days. In the next few days, you have to be careful with the reporters. If you can’t, I’ll arrange for you to stay in a hotel for a while.”

When Xiao Bai thought that a person like Aaron Feng who stressed so much how his residence looked like had to live in a detention center for fifteen days, he could not help but feel sorry for him. “Can I go to see Brother Aaron?”

“Fifteen days goes by fast. You don’t have to join in the fun. Apart from not having a beautiful nurse, he’s living alone in one room, with the same treatment as Jia Zhiqing.” He paused then continued, “Those two are really fellow sufferers. Even if they’re far from each other, they could still bring disaster to one another.”

Xiao Bai could not think of any inevitable connection between the detention center and the hospital.

Gao Qin suddenly asked, “Why were you with Yan Su’ang this morning?”

“Oh, he…” Did he just pass by or did he intentionally come over? It was only now that Xiao Bai realized that he seemed to have forgotten to ask Yan Su’ang this question. “That’s how it came about…”

Gao Qin keenly swept his eyes through every expression on every inch of his face, then he calmly said, “You’re an actor of Yimate, so it’s best for you to keep a distance from him.”

Why does everyone say that?

Xiao Bai subconsciously wanted to refute, but had second thoughts about yesterday. He recalled that after he refuted Aaron Feng yesterday, something bad happened, so he just restrained himself and went back home.


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