Chapter 77: Embarrassment
T/N: I got caught up in Star Trek Next generation series and forgot to upload the release yesterday.
( ° △ ° |||). This series is insanely addictive. Energize!___________________________________________
The weekend arrived quickly.
Early Saturday morning, Xiaonian scuttled around getting ready. The click clack of her heels on the floor woke up a bleary eyed Gong Ouyang who looked at Xiaonian in confusion.
“What are you doing getting ready so early in the morning?” he mumbled into his pillow.
Xiaonian paused as she was turning the cap of the lip balm. Did he already forget?
“I have to be at the Cuisine class in half an hour.”
“Oh.” And he fell asleep again without another word.
Gong Ouyang stayed in his study into the early morning working on a new software he developed and did not get even 3 hours of sleep.
Xiaonian picked up a small booklet in which she noted some questions about the preparation of few dishes and shoved it into her bag.
She was not interested in impressing Gong Ouyang’s parents with her cooking, actually she thought that such a scenario was quite impossible, but she was someone who liked cooking. She found it cathartic.
So, she decided to make the most of the experience. After all, one way or other, the outcome won’t change.
She already prepared a couple of simple breakfast dishes for Gong Ouyang and left for her class with the guards.
When Gong Ouyang woke up, it was well past noon. And the first thing he registered was the sounds emanating from his stomach with persistence.
Since living with Xiaonian he ate regularly without any complaints about the food, and now the hunger missing his breakfast became more noticeable.
Scowling at his stomach producing those weird noises and hunger pangs, Gong Ouyang quickly went through bath and entered the kitchen in a bad mood.
He knew that Xiaonian was out for her class and wont return for another hour. That means that he had to eat the garbage that the kitchen people make for him. Just thinking about him made him frown deeper.
Two maids made quick trips and in few minutes few dishes were laid before him. One particularly pretty maid came forward and served him few dishes after looking at his reaction.
The master looked so fierce without Miss Shi, the maid could only cry in her heart.
Gong Ouyang played with his food for a bit not eating immediately. His stomach gurgled once again and he steeled himself and put the food in his mouth prepared to berate the whole staff.
He looked at the maid standing by the table.
The maid saw his look and hurriedly explained, “That, Miss Shi already prepared food for you in the morning in case you woke and were hungry.”
A small corner of Gong Ouyang’s heart squeezed with pleasure. The scowl on his face immediately vanished and without another word he polished off everything on his plates without a word.
The maids serving him breathed a sigh of relief in their hearts. Most of them used to work for Gong Ouyang at Senlin and have experience their master’s violent temper at the dining table.
But since they were moved from Senlin to TianZhi, everyone noticed how much different their master was. And almost everyone understood the reason for this change. Miss Shi Xiaonian.
In the beginning when Miss Shi was kept at Senlin, everyone thought that this pure and innocent looking miss was doomed to meet a bad ending in their master’s hand. But who knew that master would have a change of heart and keep this woman so close to him.
For her, he even changed his residence and moved to an apartment building. Not only that, at this place, his temper was much mild.
The most surprising part though, was how he had every meal on time and returned home everyday. Master’s family has been trying to make him take care of his health for a long time, but all it was needed was for Miss Shi to appear in his life and many of the things that were seen as problems by others were instantly solved in few days.
Every maid and staff here at Tianzhi had a deep respect for the well mannered and sweet spoken Xiaonian. Xiaonian herself did not know, but she was treated like a goddess by the staff in TianZhi. If it wasn’t for her, their lives would have been so much harder ah!
Gong Ouyang finished the last of the dishes and as soon as he placed down his chopsticks, a maid arrived with a bowl of home made ice-cream.
“Master, this was made by Miss Shi too.”
Gong Ouyang looked at the bowl in front of him, his mood brightening. He put a scoop inside his mouth and sighed in satisfaction. This woman, she really pleased him today.
“When will she come back?” he asked without looking at anyone nor specifying who the ‘she’ was.
But the maids immediately knew. “Miss Shi should arrive in another half an hour young master. Would you like your tea a little later?”
Gong Ouyang circled the rim of the bowl as he ate another scoop. “Mm. Bring it to my office later.”
When Xiaonian came back home, a maid enthusiastically greeted her and informed her that Gong Ouyang asked her to see him in his study when she came.
In his study?
Xiaonian removed her shoes and outer jacket and went into their bedroom to put aside her things.
Since attending the cooking class without Gong Ouyang, she found that her teachers were actually very amicable and funny people. They were so scared of Gong Ouyang that they did not talk much on her first day, but after two classes, they warmed up to her and now the cooking class felt like a place she went to relax with good humored women.
In a good mood, Xiaonian went and knocked on Gong Ouyang’s study door.
Looks like he didn’t have his headphones on.
When Xiaonian entered the room, she saw that he was once again working on his computer, but this time he looked like he was in a good mood.
Her eyebrows rose up imperceptibly at this scene.
So, there were times when he was like a normal human being? Until now she thought he only knew how to berate people around him.
“What are you standing there for? Come and sit here,” he told her offhandedly without looking up from his computer screens.
Xiaonian went and sat on an empty chair by the table and glanced around. The room looked as it did a few days back.
The room quickly fell silent for the next few minutes except for the mechanical sound of the keyboard and the occasional sounds of Gong Ouyang snorting in disdain or chuckling wickedly.
The windows were open and the summer breeze blew in making her feel comfortable.
She lowered her eyes and began observing Gong Ouyang from underneath her eyelashes. For once, there weren’t any negative thoughts running through her head. Instead, she just sat there and contemplated how he came to be the person he was.
This was something she never allowed herself to do before today.
Gong Ouyang’s lips curved into another smile and his fingers began to fly on the keyboard. Xiaonian though that the picture before her looked almost like a kid playing a video game and having fun.
Few more minutes passed and still Gong Ouyang was hooked to his computer. Bored, Xiaonian picked up a pen on the table and grabbed a plain paper and started doodling. The random doodles started taking a shape and soon the drawing took shape of a ancient warrior with a sword in his side and a horned helmet on his head.
She was immersed in her doodle and getting started on making the sword’s outline more pronounced when a big hand appeared in front of her eyes and snatched the paper away from her startling her.
Couldn’t he have just asked?
Gong Ouyang, finished with whatever he was doing, was standing beside Xiaonian, now with her doodle in his hand.
He stared at it from every angle and noticed the fine details incorporated in the art.
“This is really good,” he declared after examining the paper thoroughly. This was his first time seeing Xiaonian’s work and it was beyond what he expected.
When he first learnt that she was an artist barely able to make a living, he thought her to be a mediocre artist with negligible skills, but obviously, her skill set was quite rich. Hmm.
Xiaonian, who wasn’t used to receiving any praises from Gong Ouyang, felt surprised and a small sensation of pleasure filled her. There was no artist who wouldn’t take pleasure in a praise.
“Thank you,” she said genuinely.
“How do you draw these little scales so realistically?” Gong Ouyang asked her curiously pointing to the scaly armor of the warrior.
Xiaonian, for once, in this TianZhi, felt her self esteem rise. She picked up her pencil and started to show the technique behind the shading. And Gong Ouyang sat beside her in the empty chair and listened to her with interest.
“It’s not really hard, here, you can try,” Xiaonian encouraged Gong Ouyang to try the technique, handing him the pencil and fresh paper she nicked from his basket.
A few minutes of watching Gong Ouyang trying to draw a scale, Xiaonian felt that there was indeed justice in the world.
Gong Ouyang’s face scrunched in frustration as he tried to get the pencil to work the way he wanted but only ended up getting a ridiculous child like scribble.
Xiaonian’s lips twitched as she desperately tried to stop herself from bursting out in laughing.
“Why isn’t this working like it did for you? I think there is something wrong with this paper!” Gong ouyang mercilessly accused the innocent paper.
Xiaonian’s lips twitched once again at his outburst. Blaming a paper because he can’t get it right, how used was he to success?
Curbing her urge to smile broadly in amusement at his expense, Xiaonian tightened her lips and gently pulled the abused paper from Gong Ouyang. “Let me show how to do it.”
Gong Ouyang reluctantly gave up the paper and waited as Xiaonian took the pencil and explained the mistakes he made and how to correct them.
For the next hour, they both sat down with their heads together as Xiaonian tried to teach Gong Ouyang to draw basic shapes and lines.
“You’ve never learnt how to draw?” Xiaonian asked curiously as she watched him attempt to unsuccessfully draw a basic cat.
Gong Ouyang concentrated on getting the lines right as he nonchalantly answered, “not really. In my family, the children are taught to focus on practical things, more so if they are from the main family. There are a lot of expectations.”
Xiaonian was taken aback at the information he volunteered. It was the first time she heard him talk about something personal. But then again, she realized with a guilty pang, she never really tried to ask him.
“So, you were busy studying how to do math and stuff?”
“Mm.. something like that.”
Xiaonian watched his side profile as Gong Ouyang focused on smoothing the cat’s ears.
His hair looked casual and a few strands fell on his forehead and his gaze was intensely focused on the paper as he tried to get it right. With a sharp nose, angular jaw bone and flawless skin, he really had model like quality about him.
Xiaonian blinked once before looking away, a slight blush stealing up her face.
The summer breeze blew in bringing along with it the scent of mild flowers and sun, and a handsome man sat beside her trying to sincerely learn how to draw a cat. In this isolated room, as the memories of the past were sealed away temporarily, Xiaonian realized that she was still a young woman who was also affected by a handsome man’s good looks.