So Close

After deciding on this watch, Zhou Sujin suddenly remembered the regional director’s unfinished sentence. He turned to him and asked, “This watch has an owner?”

He was originally just intending to wear it temporarily; if it already had an owner, he wasn’t interested in taking something from someone else.

“Not at the moment.” The regional director couldn’t lie to Zhou Sujin but chose his words carefully. “It was a custom order from one of our clients. They had waited for more than seven months, but unfortunately, there was an issue on her end right before the delivery, so she could only give it up. Unexpectedly, this watch has found its way to you.”

As for the specific issue the client faced, the regional director deliberately avoided going into details. Zhou Sujin naturally assumed it was a temporary financial difficulty, given the long wait and custom watchband, one wouldn’t easily give it up. 

Zhou Sujin nodded in acknowledgment, picking up the watch and trying it on his wrist.

Perhaps it was truly destined—the length of the watchband fit perfectly, requiring no further adjustment.

Inside the watch box was a small, rectangular golden card. Zhou Sujin fastened the watch buckle and casually picked up the card. In the center, there was a neatly written line in blue-black ink:

May all the days in the future be smooth, forever loving me.

—by The Future* 🙂

A blessing from the future. Zhou Sujin mistakenly thought it was a complimentary card from the brand. After reading it, he placed it back into the watch box.

Seeing Zhou Sujin reluctantly satisfied with the watch, Lu An finally breathed a sigh of relief.

At the same time, the store manager also felt relieved. She had been worried that it would be challenging to find customers interested in such a colored watch band. Glancing at Zhou Sujin’s wrist again, it seemed that someone with an attractive hand and a powerful aura could handle any type of watch.

Exiting the flagship store, Lu An suggested grabbing late-night to ease the tension built up during the past few hours since Zhou Sujin’s watch had been damaged. 

“I know a good late-night place. Wanna go?” he asked for Zhou Sujin’s opinion.

Zhou Sujin pulled the seatbelt across without responding.

No clear rejection meant an agreement. Lu An glanced at the rearview mirror and said while reversing, “I’ve ordered a car, arriving the day after tomorrow. I won’t need to drive your car anymore. You can have someone pick it up at my place the day after tomorrow.” 

Zhou Sujin responded with an “En.” This Cullinan was his, and since Lu An didn’t buy a car in Jiang City, he would borrow a car from whoever he encountered in the city. 

After seeing off Zhou Sujin, the store manager and regional director returned inside the store. The store manager couldn’t contain her excitement and hurriedly headed to the VIP lounge on the first floor.

“It sold! It sold! I’m going to buy some lottery tickets right away. What incredible luck! Thank you, Zhou Sujin, for coming to Jiang City for business.”

Wei Lai: “Zhou Sujin?”

“Yes, that’s right, Zhou Sujin. The big shot our regional director specially flew to Jiang City to greet. He’s the one who bought your watch.” The store manager took a few sips of water and continued gossiping enthusiastically, “The Second Young Master of the Zhou family from Beijing, unmarried, no girlfriend, but whether he’s single or not is hard to say.”

In their social circle, not having a publicly acknowledged girlfriend didn’t mean they were single.

Her knowledge of gossip was limited to this; all of it came from the regional director. 

Wei Lai wasn’t interested in gossiping about strangers. With the watch issue resolved perfectly in such a short time, she thanked the store manager repeatedly, “When do you finish work? I’d like to treat you and your supervisor to late-night.”

The store manager waved her hand, setting aside her cup of water before saying, “Another day, perhaps.” She smiled and added, “If you don’t treat me, I’ll have to pester you. Unfortunately, we have an internal meeting tonight, and it’s likely to go on until midnight.”

The meeting was her impromptu excuse. Wei Lai had just gone through a breakup, and who was in the mood to eat and drink after that?

While Wei Lai wasn’t paying attention, she exchanged a meaningful glance with Zhao Yihan.

Zhao Yihan instantly understood and grabbed her purse before standing up. “Let’s hang when you’re less busy.”

Wei Lai suddenly remembered that the birthday card she had written was still in the watch box. “There’s a card in the box; I forgot to take it out. Is that okay?”

The store manager only discovered the existence of the card when Zhou Sujin picked it up. As for what was written on it, she didn’t see it clearly. She reassured Wei Lai, “Zhou Sujin looked at it and put it back. He probably thought it came with the watch.”

She asked Wei Lai, “You didn’t sign it, did you?”

Wei Lai: “I did sign it, but with homophones.”

Some memories always catch you off guard. Zhang Yanxin saved her as “Future,” and even the recipient’s name she filled in on shopping sites was “Future.” So, when she wrote the birthday card for Zhang Yanxin, she also signed it as “Future.”

At that time, she thought she and Zhang Yanxin had a future together.

After finishing the coffee in their cups, Wei Lai and Zhao Yihan bid farewell.

From the flagship store to the car, Wei Lai was contemplating what gifts to give the store manager and regional director to express her gratitude. 

Her phone in her purse kept vibrating, but she didn’t hear it.

Walking beside her, Zhao Yihan glanced at her side profile, noticing her absent-mindedness. She sighed helplessly. “Your phone.”

For a moment, Wei Lai was confused but soon realized that Zhao Yihan was reminding her to check her phone. 

She hadn’t looked at her messages all night. An hour ago, her mom asked her what time she would be home, but she didn’t reply. Worried, her mom called again.

“Mom, I’m still outside. Having late-night with Zhao Yihan.”

Cheng Minzhi seemed uncertain. “With who? Zhao Yihan?”

“En. The dress arrived, and she brought it over to me.”

“That’s great. Take your time.”

Just as Wei Lai was about to end the call, she heard the sound of a car starting from her mom’s end, and she instinctively checked the time. “Mom, it’s so late. Did you just finish work?”

Cheng Minzhi chuckled and explained why she was working until so late, “I suddenly felt like giving all the supermarket stores a unified makeover in the afternoon, tweaking our operations a little. I did some planning in the evening and finally calmed down.” She sighed, “If only I were ten years younger, I’d have the energy to mess around more.”

“Lai Lai, you chat with Yihan. Mom’s heading home now.”

“Okay. Mom, drive safely and get some rest when you get home.”

Her mom ran a chain of local supermarkets; including the newly opened one this month, totaling 15 stores. The largest store was 2,000 square meters, and the smallest one was still over 200 hundred square meters. Despite having a management team, there were still many things her mom had to take care of.

Now in its 25th year, the supermarket shared the same age and name as her and was called Wei Lai Supermarket.

After hanging up the call, Wei Lai took out her car keys from her purse and handed them to the driver.

The driver hadn’t gone wandering nearby but leaned against the car door, reading a book. When he saw Wei Lai coming out, he placed the book into his sling bag and took the car keys from her.

He wasn’t much of a talker and drove quietly after confirming the destination.

Once inside the car, Zhao Yihan slapped her forehead. “Look at my memory.”

Wei Lai: “What’s wrong?”

“I forgot my button-up at the restaurant.”

It was the expensive white button-up that Wei Lai had hung in the closet.

When they left after eating dinner, she didn’t notice the button-up, so it completely slipped her mind. Wei Lai’s mind was in a mess at that time so she couldn’t remember even more.

Zhao Yihan called the restaurant to ask them to hold the button-up for her to pick up.

The driver made a left turn at the next intersection, heading toward Riverside Restaurant.

The two sisters remained silent, exchanging glances.

Wei Lai propped her forehead with her hand, gazing at the street outside the window passing by. Her phone in her purse vibrated again, three times in a row, indicating incoming messages.

She opened WeChat, and the few group chats she had pinned but hadn’t set to “Do Not Disturb” were all work-related. She always checked messages in these groups promptly.

Her colleague, Tang Zhi, sent three messages in a row:

!! Breaking news! Our boss is getting engaged to Zhang Yanxin!

Didn’t she say she wasn’t interested in marriage?

Tsk. As expected, marriages among the wealthy are all about matching backgrounds.

Wei Lai’s gaze fixed on the first message. This was a private work group chat that they had created, and their boss wasn’t part of it.

The boss was a few years older than Wei Lai and the daughter of the company’s chairman.

Another colleague in the group @ Tang Zhi: “This is a work group chat, quickly unsend irrelevant messages!

Tang Zhi didn’t unsend her messages because it was specifically sent for Wei Lai to see, letting her know that her boyfriend had decided to get engaged, and even the engagement date had been set. She didn’t want Wei Lai to be the last to know.

Her boyfriend’s fiancee was her boss, whom she worked with every day. She lost her love and job; it couldn’t get any worse. 

Wei Lai turned around to ask Zhao Yihan, “Did you know it was my boss?”

It was a random question, but Zhao Yihan understood. She nodded, “I heard it from someone, but I’m not sure.” She tried to reassure Wei Lai, “You should confirm it, maybe it’s not true.”

It seemed unlikely to be wrong. If Tang Zhai wasn’t sure about the news, she wouldn’t have openly sent it in the private work group chat. Still, Wei Lai wanted to confirm it personally, as it would determine whether she would resign immediately.

She messaged Zhang Yanxin’s secretary: “Secretary Liu, is his fiancee my boss?

Secretary Liu replied instantly: “En, it’s a political marriage. They were acquainted before but didn’t have much interaction.

CEO Zhang said he’s sorry to you and owes you.

The moment Zhang Yanxin mentioned breaking up, it didn’t hurt as much as it did now. Wei Lai didn’t reply to Secretary Liu. Instead, she wrote a message and sent it to the group chat: “No need to unsend. Thank you for the reminder. We’ve already broken up. Thanks to everyone for the care and support over the past two years. If fate allows, let’s work together again in the future.

Tang Zhi now dared to privately message her: “I’ve been feeling terrible all night and couldn’t hold it in anymore. You’re the last one in our team to know. We didn’t mean to keep you in the dark to laugh at you. They’ve been agonizing over how to tell you.” Unable to bear seeing Wei Lai kept in the dark, she resorted to sending a message in the private group chat.

She asked a pointless question, How are you feeling?

Wei Lai: “Not good, not bad. I’m fine.

Tang Zhi was indignant: “Are there no men left in the world? To go after her subordinate’s boyfriend? You poured your heart out to her at work!” She knew Wei Lai was celebrating Zhang Yanxin’s birthday tonight. “What about the watch you saved up for so long to buy?

Wei Lai: “I sold the watch; didn’t lose out.

Tang Zhi: “But, you bought an equivalent amount of items for it. Those items are definitely not gonna be wanted by others. That’s still a loss!

Wei Lai smiled: “One learns from one’s mistakes. It’s a good lesson. You should go to bed early; you have work tomorrow.

After bidding Tang Zhi goodnight, she straightforwardly messaged her boss: “I resign. I’ll handle the formalities tomorrow.

At this point, there was no need to beat around the bush anymore. Boss: “Okay. Hand over all your ongoing projects in a manner convenient for you. You don’t need to come to the office. I’ll arrange for someone to meet you.

Wei Lai: “I haven’t stolen anything or done anything wrong. There’s nothing inconvenient for me. Don’t worry, I won’t feel ashamed to face anyone. I’ll go to the company tomorrow for the handover.” She then deleted her boss’s contact information.

Looking out the window, she couldn’t tell where the car was headed.

Zhao Yihan wasn’t good at comforting people, and every minute spent in the car felt like torture.

The car stopped in front of Riverside Restaurant, but Wei Lai was still gazing out the window.

“I’ll go get my button-up,” Zhao Yihan said, opening the car door.

Wei Lai snapped out of her daze, quickly regaining her composure as if nothing had happened. “I’ll come with you.”

“No need. You stay in the car,” Zhao Yihan closed the door.

Wei Lai’s mind was a complete mess. As she glanced out the window, she caught sight of an SUV parked about two or three meters away. It was dark emerald, a color she saw for the first time in real life.

Through the layer of glass, she couldn’t see it very clearly.

She lowered the car window and admired the Cullinan, using it as a distraction from her sadness.

Inside the car, a few meters away, there was only Zhou Sujin. He turned around inadvertently, and their eyes met through the car window.

He could see her.

But she couldn’t see him.

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