Chapter 90: Habit
"Yes, I've definitely never seen a pretty girl who would only cover her face when she's naked," Qin Chu smirked and answered slowly.
"Hey…" Huo Mian walked right into his trap. She was so embarrassed that she wished the ground would just swallow her up.
"I'm leaving the car if you don't quit it," Huo Mian said as she tried to open the door.
"Settle down." Qin Chu gripped her arm.
Huo Mian felt the warmth of his palm underneath her clothes. She couldn't stop her heart from beginning to race.
Qin Chu loosened his grip and returned his hand onto the steering wheel. None of them spoke another word throughout the drive.
- Thirty-minutes later -
The car parked by a street filled with food behind Second High School.
Memories rushed towards Huo Mian as the sight of her old high school filled her eyes.
"I heard this land had been bought."
"Oh yeah? When?" Qin Chu asked, unconcerned.
"Probably sometime this year? There were lots of demolishment signs here last year, and I heard the school will be moved to the suburbs."
"I heard differently. I heard that no one will be touching this land anymore."
"Really?" Huo Mian asked in disbelief and looked at Qin Chu.
"Yeah, apparently there's no business value, so no one wanted it," said Qin Chu as he turned and walked into a noodle house.
- Ah-Xin's Ramen -
The noodle house was called Ah-Xin's Ramen. The owner of the place was from Taiwan, and he was roughly forty years old. His name was, of course, Ah-Xin.
His wife was a local of the city, so he followed her and moved here twenty years ago. They had a son and a daughter and were very content with their lives.
Qin Chu and Huo Mian used to come here a lot back when they were in high school.
Huo Mian came here because this place was tasty and cheap.
A large bowl of ramen only cost two yuan. It was delicious, even though it only had green onions in it.
Initially, Qin Chu was very reluctant to try street food, but he couldn't resist Huo Mian's invitations and began eating it as well.
Habits can sometimes be very frightening. It can be difficult to change something once you are used to it.
Huo Mian stared at the noodle house. Everything looked the same as it did seven years ago. For a moment, she felt like she had been transported back in time.
Huo Mian never came back here after she and Qin Chu broke up. She was afraid that the place would tug at her heartstrings and bring up old memories.
She would have never thought that Qin Chu would take her here today.
"Sir, two bowls of ramen," said Qin Chu.
"No problem!" The noodle shop's owner replied enthusiastically as he began boiling some noodles.
"Why are you still standing there? Come here," said Qin Chu as he noticed that Huo Mian was spacing out by the front door.
As if pulled back into reality from a long dream, Huo Mian slowly sat down.
"Sir, how much is a bowl of ramen now?" asked Huo Mian curiously.
It should be at least ten yuan now, given how inflation had been going.
But, the owner only chuckled and said, "The same as it used to be."
"Two yuan?" Huo Mian asked, astonished.
"Aren't you losing money with today's high costs?" Huo Mian doubted.
"I wouldn't say I am losing money per se, but I am definitely earning very little now." The boss wiped a bead of sweat off his forehead and chuckled.
"So why don't you raise the price? It's not like anyone will object."
"Because I wouldn't want to destroy people's memories. A lot of the high school kids would come back every year to reminiscence. Sometimes, I feel like I'm not just selling ramen noodles, I'm selling the memories of those that were once here."
"Sir, you shouldn't be selling ramen, you should go and be a writer. You are a carbon copy of Yu Qiuyu," Huo Mian chuckled.
"Nah, I don't have much education, so I don't understand no literature. But my wife did say that happiness cannot be bought with money. I find meaning when you kids eat here and tell me that it makes you guys happy. So, I try not to think about money. As long as I have enough, it's fine. Sometimes having too much money can be burdensome."
"Not many think like that; it's rare for people to hold your perspective," Qin Chu glanced at Ah-Xin and said.
The owner only chuckled and said nothing more.
After a couple of moments, two bowls of steaming hot ramen noodles were served.
With much anticipation, Huo Mian took a bite. It was just like seven years ago.
"It's so delicious," Huo Mian said.
"Eat more if you like it." Qin Chu's heart skipped a beat as he watched Huo Mian's face fill with content.
"Sir, bill please!" Huo Mian took the initiative and waved her hand after they finished.
"Don't worry about it, Qin Chu prepaid quite a lot of money." The boss chuckled.
"You prepaid? When?" Huo Mian asked, slightly surprised.
"Seven years ago."
"How much did you pay…?" Huo Mian glanced at Qin Chu in disbelief, as if she were looking at an alien.