Xiao En works herself to exhaustion trying to balance two jobs and is often so tired that she barely even notices Ao Ran, who finds himself thinking more and more about Xiao En, though he isn’t quite sure why. Qing Feng and Xiao En continue to get closer, and Qing Feng gets more bold as he inserts himself between Xiao En and Ao Ran.
Qing Feng asks Xiao En why she needs money. She responds that she wants a brand-name bag, but he doesn’t believe her. She changes the subject to ask why he’s here making fun of her, and he says that he’s not making fun of her — he thinks she’s cute. Everything about her is cute, even if she didn’t wear the ears, the dress, and the tail.
Qing Feng puts his hand over Xiao En’s and says that she’s very moving when she laughs, when she’s loud, when she’s upset. But she’s cried in front of him three times and he doesn’t want to see her cry again. She can be as loud and angry as she wants, but she can’t cry.
Xiao En nods then puts her head down on the table. She’s grateful that whenever she’s feeling the worst, he’s always been there by her side. He pinches her cheek so she’ll stop being sad, and then she turns into an angry cat.
When Xiao En gets home, Chu Chu makes her some chicken soup and tells her that her brother has also picked up a job to help carry the burden. But Xiao En again reassures her that they should leave all the money stuff to her. <Insert product placement.>
Chu Chu asks Xiao En what she told Ao Ran as an excuse for her absence. Ao Ran asked about her. Xiao En suddenly perks up — what did he ask? But when Chu Chu tells her that he was just worried she’d spread her respiratory illness around to the rest of the staff, she deflates. It’s clear to her what kind of person Ao Ran is, and he will never change. Chu Chu tries to tell her that Ao Ran didn’t mean it that way, but Xiao En abandons her soup halfway to go take a shower. Chu Chu looks sad once she’s gone.
Xiao En’s days turn into a blur of work and more work. She frequently returns home exhausted at night and falls asleep while eating dinner.
One day, Qing Feng goes looking for Xiao En in her office. He’s told she went to go copy some documents, so he goes to the copy room, where the copy machine is running, and Xiao En has drifted off on the floor in a corner. Qing Feng protects her from being discovered by Su Shan by telling Su Shan that the copy machine is broken.
Ao Ran walks by the marketing office, trying to look casual, but is miffed when Xiao En rushes out, head buried in a document, and doesn’t even acknowledge him. He follows after her. Qing Feng watches the whole thing with a small smirk.
Later, Ao Ran hangs out casually in the kitchen outside the marketing office. Xiao En spots him and grabs her mug, intending to go talk to him, but Qing Feng appears in the doorway of her office, blocking her way, with a document he needs her to review now. She tries to make an excuse to go to the kitchen and tries to peek around him, but he blocks her every move. She’s finally forced to return to her desk while Qing Feng smiles at his success. Ao Ran continues to hang out in the kitchen.
Back in their office, Ao Ran overhears Qing Feng calling Su Shan and asking her to come pick up a document she needs. Ao Ran immediately jumps in with an offer to deliver it to her — he happens to need to go that way anyway. Qing Feng asks why he suddenly needs to go to the marketing office. Ao Ran doesn’t respond. Qing Feng gives him an out, suggesting that maybe he’s going to see Chu Chu? Ao Ran just smiles and doesn’t say anything. Qing Feng frowns after he leaves.
Su Shan, Qiu Tian, and the few other members of the marketing team who are present look terrified that Ao Ran is personally in their office. He asks why no one is in the office today. Su Shan says that Chu Chu went to go meet with vendor. As if on cue, Chu Chu returns and greets Ao Ran, who goes over to her. Su Shan and Qiu Tian grimace as he hands her a tissue, muttering to each other that they should’ve known this is the real reason why he came down.
Ao Ran continues to look around the office, specifically at Xiao En’s empty desk. Chu Chu notices and asks what he’s looking at — or is he looking for someone? Ao Ran clears his throat and asks where Xiao En, trying to frame it as suspicion that she’s not in the office when she’s supposed to be at work. Su Shan explains that she’s at a meeting. Ao Ran just nods and tells everyone that they’ve worked hard. But Chu Chu seems to sense the real reason why Ao Ran was asking after Xiao En, and looks sad. Su Shan and Qiu Tian interpret his question as Ao Ran singling out Xiao En as a troublemaker.
Xiao En takes her time walking back to the office, feeling the exhaustion and pressure of having to work so hard at both her jobs. At this rate, she’s lucky if she doesn’t die from overwork. But then she smiles — if she dies, does that mean she’ll go back to the real world and see Chun Tian again?
She gets a phone call from Su Shan, who tells her that Ao Ran was just looking for her and thought she was playing hooky from work. She warns Xiao En to hurry back immediately. Xiao En is irritated that she’s working so hard for Ao Ran’s precious Chu Chu, yet he still has it out for her, but she also realizes that she has no choice but to obediently hurry back to the office.
She’s walking up to the office when Tian Jian’s doppelganger rolls up and steps out of his car to survey the office building. She finds him familiar, but can’t quite place his face. He approaches her, asking if she works at the company and if she knows whether Ao Ran is in. He introduces himself as Ao Ran’s brother.
Xiao En suddenly remembers why she recognizes him: she saw him, up on the roof, with Tian Xing and Ming Li. We finally see what actually happened. Tian Xing had thrown Ming Li toward her people. In the commotion, he got pushed toward the edge of the roof. He teetered on the edge, struggling for balance. Tian Jian had an opportunity to grab him, but Ming Li yelled at him not to, reminding him of what they had done to Tian Xing’s mother. Without any support, Tian Xing fell off the edge.
Xiao En stares up at Tian Jian’s doppelganger with wide eyes. She suddenly lets go of her documents as she takes a step back and starts hyperventilating. Tian Jian’s doppelganger frowns, asking if she’s okay. She faints.
Tian Jian’s doppelganger pokes her, but she doesn’t respond. Qing Feng suddenly appears and gathers Xiao En up into his arms. He hurriedly tells Tian Jian’s doppelganger that he’s taking her to the hospital and asks him to tell Ao Ran, then rushes off. Tian Jian’s doppelganger seems mildly offended that Qing Feng didn’t even bother to greet him, but he shrugs and heads into the office.
Ao Ran pulls up Xiao En’s profile on his laptop and stares at it thoughtfully. He’s interrupted by his brother strolling in. His brother is back from a failed attempt to open up a bar overseas. He tells Ao Ran about how he’s so handsome he made a woman swoon and faint outside. Ao Ran doesn’t seem to take him seriously, but his brother repeats that it actually happened. That’s why he came straight to Ao Ran’s office, where he knew there wouldn’t be any women, because he was worried about causing even more women to faint. (LOL.)
Ao Ran still doesn’t take him seriously, which his brother doesn’t appreciate. He tells Ao Ran that it actually happened to a woman named Xiao En. Qing Feng just rushed off to take her to the hospital.
Xiao En’s name gets Ao Ran’s attention. He rushes off. His brother watches him go, confused, then wanders over to look at his laptop. He sees Xiao En’s profile pulled up on the screen and looks thoughtful.
Ao Ran rushes to the hospital where he pulls Qing Feng out of line to ask about Xiao En and ask why Qing Feng didn’t tell him. Qing Feng says he told Mo Ran to tell him. (I need to pause and laugh over how hilarious it is that his name is Mo Ran, which literally means “speechless,” but is also a homonym for “apathetic” and “suddenly”. These names are so on the nose.)
Ao Ran is ready to rush to Xiao En’s room, but Qing Feng holds him back. Chu Chu is also there. Qing Feng turns back toward the line and realizes he’s lost his place. He turns back toward Ao Ran, ready to express his annoyance, but Ao Ran has disappeared.
Xiao En wakes up to find Chu Chu weeping at her bedside. Chu Chu is sad that Xiao En has worked herself to the point of exhaustion and feels powerless that she can’t do more to help. Xiao En looks uncomfortable with how much Chu Chu is crying. She also knows that it’s a harbinger of Ao Ran appearing.
Sure enough, Ao Ran rushes in. Chu Chu stands up to meet him and cries into his shoulder. He lets her, but looks at Xiao En as he asks if she’s okay. Xiao En and Chu Chu both think he’s talking to Chu Chu, who responds. Ao Ran looks slightly confused that Chu Chu is responding. He continues to look at Xiao En as he asks what happened, but again it’s Chu Chu who responds. She explains what really happened the day she stood him up at the amusement park and tells him that Xiao En has been taking on extra work to help out.
Ao Ran looks frustrated and says Xiao En’s name. She looks up, but he seems to change his mind about what to say at the last minute, and instead asks her why she’s meddling in other people’s business. Xiao En gets offended. How is she meddling? Ao Ran tries to backtrack and instead says that they should’ve asked him for help.
Chu Chu continues to weep as she says she couldn’t ask him for help. She didn’t want to burden him. Ao Ran’s eyes flicker back and forth between her and Xiao En, who has turned away. His gaze settles on Xiao En as he says that this burden is too much for a girl to carry. She hides under the covers. He asks why she’s angry. Chu Chu turns toward her and also asks what’s wrong.
Qing Feng strides in and says that Xiao En is probably just tired. They should let her rest.
Ao Ran starts to say, “I want to let Xiao En–“, but gets interrupted by Chu Chu jumping in and saying that Xiao En does look tired; they should leave and let her rest. Ao Ran says, “But,” but Qing Feng interrupts, saying that whatever he wants to say, he can say later. Chu Chu hops on as well, agreeing, but Ao Ran gets frustrated and snaps, “Enough!” at them both.
They fall silent and let him speak. Ao Ran says that he wants Xiao En transferred to a private room with a private nurse. Anything she needs, they can buy and put on his card. He looks at Xiao En and says that they can tell him if they have any problems; they don’t need to do everything alone.
Qing Feng and Chu Chu say they understand, but Xiao En doesn’t respond. Ao Ran sighs in frustration and leaves. Chu Chu follows him.
Once they’re gone, Qing Feng sits down next to Xiao En’s bed and tries to cheer her up by saying that whatever she wants to eat, he’ll make appear. When she doesn’t respond, he tugs on her blanket, but his smile turns to a frown when her blanket slips to reveal that she’s crying.
Qing Feng reminds Xiao En that she promised not to cry in front of him again, but she says that she tried to hide — it’s his own fault for making her show her face when she wasn’t ready. She explains that she cried because she felt once again the pain of knowing that no matter how hard she tries, she’ll never feel the warm glow of being a main character.
Qing Feng asks if she’s ever considered that maybe she’s trying in the wrong direction. If two people are meant to be together, then a third person doesn’t have to try to get involved. Xiao En asks if that means he’s decided he doesn’t want to get involved anymore. He wonders how they ended up talking about him instead of her.
If he doesn’t want to get involved with Ao Ran and Chu Chu anymore, then what is he going to do? Qing Feng responds that there’s still an alien. She stares back at him, then asks if he’s trying to use her to boost his own ego. He’s confused.
She puts a hand on his shoulder and says she understands how he feels. She used to be the same way, but he needs to realize that just because he can’t have his first choice doesn’t mean he needs to demean himself to be someone else’s second choice. He shouldn’t make himself suffer trying to save a friend’s broken heart.
Qing Feng sighs. He’s worried that she’ll get hurt if she keeps going like this. Then he asks her why she fainted in the first place.
She’s reminded of Tian Jian’s doppelganger and tells him that she saw someone frightening: the man who was talking to her before she fainted. Does Qing Feng know who he was?
Qing Feng tells her that the man is Si Tu Mo Ran, Ao Ran’s half-brother. Xiao En asks if he’s a villain. Qing Feng doesn’t think so. He can be a bit laid-back and bold and fails a lot, but he doesn’t seem like a bad person. Xiao En continues to look worried as she asks whether he bears any ill will toward Ao Ran. Qing Feng doesn’t think so.
Xiao En tells Qing Feng that he needs to warn Ao Ran to be careful of Mo Ran. She can’t tell him why, but tries to explain it as a product of her alien abilities and sense for danger.
Mo Ran catches Su Shan and Qiu Tian as they head out for the day. He overhears them talking about Xiao En and asks them about her and what her relationship with Ao Ran is. They tell him that Ao Ran is the predator and Xiao En is the prey — in a bad way. But it didn’t look like that to Mo Ran. He asks why Ao Ran has it out for Xiao En. They say it’s because of Chu Chu. Mo Ran doesn’t know who Chu Chu is. Su Shan and Qiu Tian quickly shut up and back away.
Mo Ran smiles to himself as they leave, finding this whole situation very interesting.
Ming Li visits her father in the hospital. Her mother sits by his bedside and asks Ming Li if they should just let him go. She can’t bear to see him suffering like this. But Ming Li says that he deserves it. He gave his company to Tian Xing and all his property to Tian Jian. But what about her? What does she get? His will made no mention of her name. Is she not also a part of the He family?
Her mother thinks she’s making a big deal about nothing. If Ming Li wants an inheritance, she should find someone to marry. Once her husband dies, she’ll get her share. Ming Li is shocked. How could her mother say something like this, as a woman? What’s her problem?
Her mother responds that she’s the one with a problem. She has no elegance at all. All she does is work and argue politics all day. Her mother is always embarrassed to bring her up when she meets up with friends. She always has dark circles under her eyes; if she’s tired, she should rest. She can leave company matters to Tian Jian.
Ming Li starts laughing, even as she cries. Her mother is the one who cries so easily, yet she’s also the one with the cruelest heart. Ming Li wipes away her tears, saying this is the last time that any of them will hurt her.
She and Qiao Zhi return to the office, where the sight of the posters plastered all over the lobby, wishing Tian Xing well, suddenly irritate her. She starts ripping them off the walls. Qiao Zhi warns her that someone will see, but Ming Li says she doesn’t care anymore. It’s clear that Tian Xing is still in all the employees’ hearts. She doesn’t care what other people think of her anymore.
When Ming Li returns home, Tian Jian is on his phone on the couch. She tries to ignore him, but he stands up and confronts her, asking if she found their father’s will. He wants to see it; he is their father’s son, after all.
Ming Li asks if he’s trying to flaunt his status as a son. Both he and Tian Xing never had to doubt that their name would appear in their father’s will. But what about her? Never in her life has she seen anything as disgusting as that will.
She pulls the will out of her purse. “You want to see it?” she asks. Then she lights it on fire with a nearby candle. Tian Jian tries to stop her, but she just holds it up as the envelope slowly turns to ashes in her hand. Tian Jian calls her crazy.
At the next board meeting, the directors ask her to step down. Everything she does has negatively affected the company’s stock price. Even Uncle Hu says she should resign. Ming Li stands and tells them all to shut up. They aren’t treating her fairly. Too many things have happened and they haven’t given her any time to react.
The door to the meeting room opens and Tian Jian walks in, followed by their mother pushing their father in a wheelchair, and Tian Xing, alive and well. “No need!” Her father says. By the time Ming Li acts, Tian Liang will have already been ruined. He declares that the position should be directly handed to Tian Xing. Her mother says that she should leave it to Tian Jian. Tian Jian says that he doesn’t have a sister like her. Tian Xing tells her to recognize that she’s lost. They continue to put her down with their words, saying that she’ll never amount to anything and that she should satisfy herself with flower arranging.
Ming Li yells at them all to shut up as she starts throwing things on the ground. Then she wakes up, still yelling “shut up,” and realizes it was all just a dream.
Ming Li visits Tian Xing’s hospital room, where Qiao Zhi has been sitting vigil at his bedside. She tells him to make sure no one else, not even Tian Jian, is allowed to see Tian Xing, and to have security cameras installed outside the door. She wants to be able to monitor his condition at all times.
She sits down and tells herself that it’ll be okay — she will win. No one can stop her. She must win, she repeats to herself, before falling asleep.
Ao Ran tosses and turns at night, unable to fall asleep. He starts talking to himself, wondering why he can’t sleep. What does he have to be worried about? He wonders out loud why Xiao En was angry for no reason, then catches himself saying Xiao En’s name. Why is he thinking about her? So it’s her fault he can’t sleep? But why? Chu Chu was the one who got hurt in her home, so he should be worrying about Chu Chu. That’s his mission.
He pulls up his text conversation with Chu Chu on his phone, but can’t figure out what to say to her. Instead, he ends up in his text with Xiao En, and writes to her, “Are you… feeling better?”
He gets a text a few moments later from Chu Chu, thanking him for thinking about her and saying that she’s doing fine. Ao Ran is confused. Did he text Chu Chu instead? He puts his phone aside and tries to fall asleep again. Ominous music plays as a white light sweeps around his phone. (Hmmm… is this fate preventing his relationship with Chu Chu from being disrupted?)
Ao Ran gets a phone call, then stares intently at Qing Feng after he hangs up. Qing Feng notices his gaze and strolls over, asking why he’s staring so intently: has he fallen in love with him?
Ao Ran asks if Qing Feng helped Chu Chu return Xiao En’s money, like he asked. Qing Feng says he did, but Ao Ran says the bank reported that the check hasn’t been cashed yet. Qing Feng suggests that maybe Xiao En has been too busy with work this morning. Ao Ran wonders to himself if there’s really that much work to do at his company. He mutters to himself that Xiao En loves money the most.
When Qing Feng asks what he said, he switches gears and asks if Qing Feng bought Xiao En a gift as thanks for helping Chu Chu. Qing Feng did, but he doesn’t know what it is because he asked one of the store’s employees to pick something out. Ao Ran seems unreasonably upset that Qing Feng didn’t even both trying to pick out a gift that Xiao En likes. What if she doesn’t like it? Qing Feng says that if he’s so worried, he should just do it himself.
Ao Ran mutters that he would do it himself if he could. He turns to his laptop and smiles to himself when he sees a reminder for a meeting with the marketing department.
Qing Feng arrives at the meeting room and is surprised to find Ao Ran, who asks why he’s so late. They’re both several minutes early.
Su Shan arrives and starts the meeting. She’s barely said a few words of her presentation before Ao Ran asks where the rest of the marketing department is. She’s confused — it’s always just been her at this meeting. She continues on, but is interrupted again as Ao Ran suggests that the rest of the marketing department be invited. Maybe they’ll have new thoughts when they see him. Qing Feng rolls his eyes. Su Shan forces a smile, then goes to fetch the rest of the team.
Xiao En reluctantly filters into the meeting room with the rest of her team. She exchanges a look with Qing Feng as she walks in. He shrugs. Ao Ran glances toward her. She accidentally makes eye contact, then quickly scurries to her seat next to Qing Feng.
Ao Ran smiles as he watches Xiao En drink the iced tea he provided for everyone, then frowns when she winces and quickly puts the drink down. Qing Feng asks what’s wrong; she frowns as she whispers that it’s too sweet. Ao Ran leans forward, as if about to ask her what’s wrong as well, but Su Shan starts the meeting.
Xiao En sneaks a glance at Ao Ran as the meeting starts. Chu Chu also looks toward Ao Ran and smiles. He makes eye contact and smiles back at her. Xiao En frowns and proceeds to zone out of the meeting. Ao Ran asks Su Shan a question, then gets distracted when he looks at Xiao En and notices how she seems to be out of it. Su Shan pauses as she waits for Ao Ran to respond to her answer. Everyone else turns to look at him, then follows his gaze to Xiao En. Qing Feng tries to get her attention, and she immediately sits up straight when she notices Ao Ran staring at her.
He asks her what her opinion is on what Su Shan just presented. She says that she agrees with everything Su Shan said. But that’s enough for Ao Ran. He wants to hear more of her thoughts. Su Shan and Qiu Tian exchange sympathetic looks for Xiao En, interpreting Ao Ran’s attention as picking on her.
Xiao En wrote the report for the presentation, and says that all of her thoughts are in there. Ao Ran asks if she didn’t think about it some more after finishing her report, then realizing how his words might be interpreted, benevolently says that he’s not saying there’s something wrong with her, he just wants to help her reach her full potential. He smiles and tells her she has time to think it over. No pressure. Everyone else exchanges awkward looks and seem to think otherwise.
Xiao En starts to respond, but Qing Feng jumps in to save her, pointing out that today’s meeting is a review report, not an innovation meeting. They should give everyone more time to think about it.
Chu Chu jumps in with her own input on how important it is to think about how the company invests their money. Ao Ran nods as she speaks, but his gaze drifts back to Xiao En, who has turned away, hiding her face.
Qing Feng leans over and asks what’s wrong. She forces a smile and doesn’t say anything. Ao Ran calls on her again and again asks her what she thinks. Silently, she begs him to stop targeting her, but what she says out loud is that she agrees with Chu Chu. Ao Ran looks at her expectantly, wanting more, but she turns away and lets her smile fade to a frown.
Xiao En tries to leave as quickly as possible after the meeting is over, but Ao Ran stops her in front of her everyone and tells her to report to his office.
Ao Ran paces his office, trying to act like he’s not waiting around eagerly for Xiao En to show up, but every few steps, he pauses to look around for her. When he spots her, he immediately sits down at his desk and puts on an imperious expression.
He asks her if she received the money and gift and asks why she hasn’t deposited it yet. She says that she was busy. He asks if she likes the gift, mentions that she can exchange it if she wants, then asks if she knows where to exchange it. He starts to tell her, but at the same time she says that she can just asked Qing Feng. She calls him by his name before correcting herself to refer to him by his title at the company.
She turns to leave, but Ao Ran stops her, saying that in return for her helping Chu Chu, he’s willing to give her more than just money and gifts. Whatever she wants, she can tell him. He smiles smugly. Xiao En interprets his words as flaunting his relationship with Chu Chu and reminding her to not bother them anymore. She fumes and glares before leaving.
Ao Ran is confused by her reaction. Is he not handsome? Is he not rich? Or maybe he’s just bad at expressing himself? He continues to feel bothered by her expression.
Xiao En runs into Qing Feng, who asks what they talked about. Ao Ran tries to eavesdrop from his desk.
Xiao En says that Ao Ran basically told her to exchange her gift for a check and keep her distance, otherwise he would file for a restraining order. Of course, that’s not what he actually said and she acknowledges that. Qing Feng comes to Ao Ran’s defense, saying that he just wanted to show his gratitude.
Xiao En knows, and that’s why she’s unhappy. She knows why he’s grateful.
Qing Feng looks at her with mock seriousness and says that she’s changed. Is she still the same Xiao En who loves money? “I am!” she responds, and they both burst out laughing.
Qing Feng tells Xiao En that he ordered a new drink for her since she found the one from the meeting too sweet. He claims he did it because it was buy one get one free, and she finds the excuse strangely familiar…
Ao Ran frowns as he struggles to hear what they’re saying. He takes a binder clip from his desk and purposely throws it across his office, then uses it as an excuse to get closer to Qing Feng and Xiao En so he can hear. He hides behind a cabinet, but they don’t even notice him. He frowns as he watches them joke around with each other.
After work, Xiao En’s elevator with Su Shan and Qiu Tian happens to get to the lobby at the same time as Qing Feng and Ao Ran’s elevator. Su Shan and Qiu Tian swoon as they follow Ao Ran and Qing Feng out, saying they’ll have sweet dreams tonight, and hoping that Chu Chu won’t appear. But then they hear Chu Chu’s voice calling out to Ao Ran. She’s on the mezzanine upstairs and asks Ao Ran to wait for her.
Su Shan and Qiu Tian grumble about how Chu Chu has managed to one-up herself. Ao Ran turns to look at them, but really, at Xiao En. Xiao En makes an excuse and heads out. She walks past Ao Ran and Qing Feng without looking at them. They both turn to look at her, but Qing Feng is the one who makes the first move and hurries off after Xiao En.
Ao Ran is left standing alone in the lobby, but not for long. Chu Chu makes it downstairs and asks if he’s free. He continues glancing toward where Xiao En and Qing Feng have gone, but says that he should be free. Chu Chu beams. Mo Ran watches it all from the mezzanine and smiles.
Qing Feng rushes to catch up with Xiao En, who is walking fast because she doesn’t want to see Ao Ran and Chu Chu glowing with each other. He feels the same way, and suggests they form a “broken heart club.” She giggles, because it’s the name of a famous song that clearly doesn’t exist in this world.
Qing Feng suggests they go do something to get their minds off their broken hearts. Xiao En is reluctant, because his previous suggestion — fishing — was a terrible idea. They end up at a pilates class, where Xiao En loudly struggles to touch her toes while Qing Feng holds every position with effortless perfection.
Xiao En notices some of the other women in the class looking their way. Are they looking at Qing Feng? When she calls them out on it, they all fall out of their positions. Qing Feng smirks, saying that now she knows he’s not too shabby either. She says that it doesn’t matter, he still belongs to someone else. He frowns slightly; that’s not what he wanted to hear. But she says that she might as well help him pick out a good “someone else.” She starts checking out the women in the class and trying to pick out ones who would be a good match for him.
He’s amused, surprised that she’s sincere in wanting to pick out a match for him. She responds that of course she would be, because she knows he’s the kind of person who would be very sincere when dating someone. He makes her feel like this world is a warm one. Before, she only had Chun Tian as a friend, but after getting to know him, she no longer feels like just a corporate slave. For a good friend like him, she’s determined to find a good match.
The next part of the class is partner yoga. Xiao En and Qing Feng get into a basic front plank. She marvels at his strength before she ends up falling onto his chest, their faces very close together.
She climbs off him, seeming unbothered, while he watches her with a furrowed brow, silently calling her foolish. She’s oblivious to his expression and his feelings.
Chu Chu and Ao Ran end up at a leather shop, where they each make a small leather envelope. Chu Chu suggests that they engrave their own names on them, and then exchange them as gifts that they keep on their person at all times. Ao Ran reluctantly agrees.
On the car ride home, Chu Chu points out that a restaurant is still open. She starts to ask if Ao Ran wants to stop and grab something to eat, but he doesn’t respond and doesn’t stop and her smile fades.
After pilates/yoga, Qing Feng and Xiao En go out to eat. He smiles as he watches her cheerfully eating her dessert, and moves to brush her hair out of her face, taking it behind her ear. She freezes and turns to look at him as his hand lingers, cupping her face.
He starts to lean in slightly, but then a hand cuts between them — Ao Ran.
Ao Ran asks Qing Feng why he’s letting Xiao En stay out so late when she was only recently released from the hospital. He insists on sending Xiao En home and grabs her wrist. The motion and the placement are exactly the same as that moment when Tian Xing grabbed Xiao En’s wrist back at the hospital. Ao Ran freezes, brow furrowed.
I had my qualms and reservations about the real world He family drama, but I’m finding Ming Li strangely sympathetic as these episodes go on. (Probably also due in some part to Kelly Liao’s precious real-life personality which comes through in some of the behind-the-scenes videos.)
It’s hard not to feel for her as it becomes more and more clear that she is the way she is because she’s been overlooked her whole life by her family. They don’t expect her to do anything other than become a wife, nor do they respect her for trying to become anything more than that. I can’t fault her too much for wanting to be seen as more than just wife material and wanting to receive the same acknowledgement as her brothers, even if she seems annoyingly petulant at times.
There were plenty of precious Qing Feng moments this episode as he seems to have fully departed from his intended character arc and instead is full on pursuing Xiao En, though she doesn’t realize it. But this episode is also very much about Ao Ran.
Last episode, I talked about how Ao Ran is such a blank slate. It still doesn’t really make sense why Xiao En feels so deeply for him, since he doesn’t really have a personality, other than perhaps it being a point of pride or a projection of her admiration and infatuation with Tian Xing. But this episode, I couldn’t help but start to root for him a little as Xiao En starts disrupting his thoughts.
I find Ao Ran having an existential crisis hilarious. His character itself is so shallow that he seems to struggle with having complex thoughts and emotions, and watching him try to work through it is just too funny.
It does seem like there is some higher power or divine intervention going on with Ao Ran, given the shenanigans with his phone, suggesting that it might not be so easy for him to escape his predestined romance with Chu Chu.
But I wonder how much Xiao En has disrupted the actual storyline. She seems to think that it’s impossible to get between Chu Chu and Ao Ran, but we’ve seen that’s clearly not true. She seems to have gotten herself onto Mo Ran’s radar as a person of interest, whereas in the “real” story, it’s very likely that Chu Chu would be the target instead. Could it be that by insisting on taking on Chu Chu’s financial burden, she’s already inserted herself in as the main lead in parts of the story? Such as having to work at the cat maid cafe, and even fainting outside in front of Mo Ran from overwork.
1 thought on “Recap: Lost Romance (Ep. 9)”
Frankly, I’m not the least bit interested in the “real life” drama that’s going on at the point. The He family power struggle seems to be irrelevant to the rest of the story, and nothing more than an excuse to get Tianxing into the storybook world. While I appreciate the attempt to give more depth to Mingli’s character, I find it hard to even care for her as I don’t have enough goodwill towards her to empathise with the difficulties she faces. Really hoping that the upcoming episodes will show us a little more relevance; for example, attempts to pull the plug on Tianxing in the hospital could affect Aoran’s health in the storybook world? The relationship between the two worlds seem unidirectional right now (Xiao En’s injuries manifesting in the real world and the changes made to the story showing up in the writer’s script) so I’m looking forward to seeing more impact coming from the other side.
While the hints of world mechanics at play are interesting (Qingfeng’s flames and Aoran’s phone), they also worry me. I really hope the show figures out how to balance the depth to which it’s gonna explore the storybook world mechanics/logic so that it’s satisfying for the audience. It’s frustrating when the show raises questions it doesn’t answer and the audience is expected to fill in the gaps left behind by lazy storytelling.
I enjoyed the greater insight into Aoran’s mind this episode. Like you said, watching him attempt to work through his confusing thoughts and feelings with logic is such fun! I hope that his thoughts will start to delve a bit more into WHY he finds Xiao En interesting. As he mentioned, he doesn’t really know Xiao En all that well right now, so I’m curious to find out why he feels drawn to her.
On the other hand, I’m really enjoying how well Qingfeng and Xiao En’s relationship is being built up. They have rapport built on meaningful conversations where they confide in and comfort each other, and I like how Qingfeng is slowly taking steps towards Xiao En while being realistic in recognising that she doesn’t see him romantically yet. Watching him deliberately run interference between Aoran and Xiao En is also kind of fun!