83: Awkward Restaurant Antics
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Having pried the sunglasses off of Han Youhong’s face and gotten themselves seated, Wang Taigang, Yan Mingqing, and Lin Songmei all watched as energy seemed to seep out of Youhong like a leaky faucet. 

The place they had been seated though... jaw-dropping. The only word that came to Songmei’s mind. The table itself wasn’t too much, a solid wooden table covered with an immaculate white table cloth. The chairs too, not too much, just rich, soft cushions—still, they were chairs Songmei could only dream of in the past. 

The view though... THAT VIEW. 

Sitting at the edge of the patio, a glass railing being the only thing between them and the river below, Songmei couldn’t help but take a few pictures. Right now, with no wind (and some other factors that Songmei wasn’t smart enough to know about), the river was tranquil, the entire length of it—though not perfect—looked like a piece of glass. The reflection of lights and buildings forming illusory images in the water’s reflection. 

As of now too, because it was sunset, the glowing orange-pink sun cast long rays of brilliant colors across the water. It was like a painting, one of those famous oil paintings that everyone lauds as the peak of all art that honestly doesn't look like much—but also this one did look amazing, jaw-dropping, sublime, and like the most beautiful thing in the world. 

However, now, with Youhong wandering off to go use the restroom, having also finished inhaling his watermelon-sized lychee jelly, Songmei and Mingqing spun towards Wang Taigang, setting their menus back on the table. 

“So... What did you all do this afternoon? What caused this?” Mingqing asked, raising an eyebrow in disbelief. “Did you drug him? Replace him? Update his processing card?” 

“Honestly, I didn’t do much myself,” Wang Taigang shook his head, shrugging while continuing to scan the menu, “We went to the arcade, so I think Youhong winning five of those giant lychee jellies helped.” 

“He’s... he’s eaten five of those...?” Songmei murmured under her breath, turning to give a look in the bathroom’s general direction. “How does his digestion even handle this much lychee jelly?” 

Raising his hands, Wang Taigang laughed, “Don’t ask me, I wouldn’t even dream of eating that much jelly. But yeah, he’s eaten I think all five of them by now. Anyway enough about Youhong’s probably-in-critical-condition digestive system, do you two know what you’re going to order?” 

“Probably the steak, the one recommended at the top of the menu. It honestly looks pretty good, I’ve eaten something similar and enjoyed it, so time to see if I still enjoy it,” Mingqing explained, pointing to the menu item she was considering, “Also thinking about getting the sparkling peach soda, I’m not as much of a fan of grape, so I’m leaning towards that one.” 

Seeing that MIngqing was done, Songmei shrugged, “The pasta... I think the Pesto pasta? Pasta’s... pretty good.” 

Honestly, looking at the menu, Songmei’s eyes almost fell out. Even though it had been a while since she had gotten to Westriver, the price of certain places still shocked her. If it wasn’t for the sect’s generous handout—it was more than generous by Songmei’s standard, but that didn’t matter—She wouldn’t have even dreamed of eating in a place like this. 

Making a hand motion for Wang Taigang to go, Songmei listened as Wang Taigang asked for some opinions. “I was debating between the steak that Mingqing was talking about and the uh... what is it called, the chicken parmesan? Yeah... It’s a half-pasta I think? A thing of chicken put above a pile of pasta.” 

Well... Songmei didn’t have an input at all. She herself didn’t really like eating heavy red-meats—not that she ever had a choice growing up, it was either not an option or the only option—but Wang Taigang obviously had different dietary needs. “Have you worked out today?” 

“Nah, I haven’t,” Wang Taigang stroked his chin, leaning back into his chair. “That’s true, I did eat a ton of steak a few days ago when I went out with my gym buddies... Alright, you’ve convinced me, I’m getting the chicken.” 

Reassuring Wang Taigang that she really didn’t do anything and that it was Wang Taigang’s own decision to make, Songmei did an awkward half-stand motion while waving to Youhong who was returning from the restroom. 

A touch of pink climbing on her face as she sat back down, Songmei spun in her chair, hugging the back of it while gazing at the sight of the tranquil waters below.

The river was looking really beautiful right now. 

Why did she have to do that?!?!?!?

That awkward half-stand... especially with the little cloth on her lap already, causing her to do an awkward flail to catch it while doing a wave that served LITERALLY NO PURPOSE. 

Argh... 

Delving in her own thoughts like a scuba diver swimming through poop creek, Songmei didn’t notice as Mingqing slid back in her chair, leaning in and poking her in the cheek. “It’s fineee, don’t worry about it.” 

Her voice falling to a whisper, Mingqing patted Songmei on the back a few times before doing an over the shoulder one arm hug, “Also... the waiter is coming to take our orders so... yeah, if you don’t want to be more embarrassed you should sit up.” 

Bolting up like a door stopper—specifically one of the super springy ones that her orphanage had—Songmei cleared her throat and fanned her face a touch, looking over the menu one more time to confirm what she wanted to get. 

Pesto pasta with a side of sweet potato. Pesto pasta with a side of sweet potato.

Deep breaths Songmei, it’s okay to stutter a few times talking to the waiter. Don’t just freeze up. 

With the waiter doing what seemed like a glide on the way over, he came to a stop, whipping out a notebook and a brilliant, welcoming smile. 

“What can I get for you all today? I see it’s a... youthful party, amirite? Welcome welcome, we hold nothing against our youthful guests. Any special occasion for coming? Or just a casual night out with the buddies?” 

Freezing up within seconds of the waiter opening his mouth, Songmei resorted to nodding a few times while just listening along while Wang Taigang made some small conversation. 

Mingqing sure as hell wasn’t going too—she had already frozen up the moment she saw that waiter from across the patio.

“Anyway, yeah, just a night out,” Wang Taigang nodded, having formed an instant camadrie with the waiter, after talking a little bit about working out. “I’ll have the... hmm... the chicken parmesan with a glass of apple cider? Yeah.”

“Alrighty~ Alrighty~” The waiter chuckled, noting it down with a flourish, “GREAT choice I must say, I do love me some chicken! Especially too, we’ve just gotten a fresh shipment of apples, so the cider tonight will be FRESH!” 

Damn... this man was impressive. Songmei had never seen a waiter with A: this much energy, or B: this much... smoothness and confidence with navigating a social situation...

All she had seen were people done with life, talking with a slight drawl as they seemed to care more about what was happening outside the window on the street rather than anything in the restaurant itself... 

Well... then again, she had only gone out to eat, like... 5 times before this. 

GOT TO NUMBER ONE ON TRENDING WOHOHOWOOWOWO
damn...
i peaked y'all, I peaked!
damn...

... t-thank you so much everyone <3<3 it's been a great journey so far, and I hope we can continue making great times together!!

Thanks for reading~!!
Take care reader friends~!!

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