Chapter 382: First Step: Getting Engaged (2)
Old Master Shen craned his neck and cast his gaze around to make sure that the siblings had gone upstairs. After making sure that he couldn’t hear any other voices, he spoke up in a leisurely manner, “Did you come over because you have something you wish to ask of us, boy?”
Zhao Chengning flashed a calm smile. “Looks like I can’t keep anything from you.”
Old Master Shen snorted, but smile lines were etched all over his face. Zhao Chengning turned his attention to Mama and Papa Shen, and found that there was no surprise on their faces either. He couldn’t help but sigh in admiration. The elderly definitely come out ahead when it comes to experience.
“Ole Zhao couldn’t hold himself back and called to let me know everything as soon as you boarded the plane. But, in the end, this is an issue pertaining to you youngsters, so I want to hear what you plan to do from your own mouth.”
Zhao Chengning didn’t bother coming up with any schemes and spoke straight from the heart. He steeled himself and said, “Grandpa Shen, Uncle, Auntie, I plan to tie the knot with Little Jing, so I’ve specially made a trip over to talk it over with the three of you and to find out what you think about it.”
Although Papa Shen was satisfied with his ‘son-in-law’, he hadn’t expected his baby girl to fly the coop so quickly. “Chengning, we’ve already discussed this issue amongst ourselves. I’m not trying to pour cold water over the two of you, but honestly speaking, you and Little Jing haven’t known each other for very long. Don’t you think bringing up the topic of marriage so early on in your relationship is being a little too hasty?”
Zhao Chengning eyed Papa Shen with a gaze filled with unwavering resolve. “Uncle Shen, I’ll be honest, I’ve thought about this for a long time as well. You might not believe me, but I’ve always harboured thoughts of marrying her right from the very beginning. This is my way of showing my love for her, and also taking responsibility.”
Mama Shen suddenly cut in. There wasn’t the slightest bit of emotion on her face. One look from her could easily terrify a person.
“Anyone can spout pretty words. You’re at an age where your social status and position are rising day by day. Are you really willing to shackle yourself by getting married?”
Zhao Chengning wasn’t cowed by Mama Shen and looked her straight in the eye. “Auntie, I don’t view marriage as restricting myself, so I don’t think ‘shackle’ is the right word.”
“Enough with the semantics. Although Little Jing is an outstanding individual, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there who are better than her. How can you be so sure that she’s the one? If we accede to your request and hand over our daughter to you, I’m sure you’ll be deeply devoted to one another since you’re in your honeymoon phase. But, what about when the passion fades?” Mama Shen was clearly someone difficult to deal with. After spending so many years battling within political circles, the type of aura she gave off wasn’t one that the average person could deal with.
But, the youth sitting opposite her didn’t so much as wince at her onslaught. “I’m not the kind of hot-headed kid that rushes into things without thinking them through. I know what I want. And, I can say now with certainty, that what I want is Little Jing and no one else. You might think me arrogant for saying this, but over my many years of staying in B City, I’ve come across all sorts of women. It’s certainly true that there are women who are on the same level as Little Jing, but none of them could make me feel the same yearning and feeling of belonging that I have with her.”
Zhao Chengning had always known that amongst the Shen family’s elders, Mama Shen would be the hardest to deal with. Mama Shen was a battle tested veteran of the political arena and held a high position. The number of enemies she’s had to face might even be more than the number of times he’d eaten. In front of her, all pretenses would fall away, and the only way to deal with her would be facing her head on with the truth.
“I know that you think I’m still young and that I still have many more days ahead of myself in life. But, I feel that my life’s only so long. Twenty something years have already gone by in my life. Take away the time needed for eating, sleeping, and working, and there’s not much time left. All I want is to spend what little time I have left with the person I love and to do all the things I’ve longed to do.”
Mama Shen silently eyed him without any change in her expression. A long time passed before she finally shifted her gaze, and she simply said, “You’re pretty eloquent.”
Zhao Chengning smiled.
After checking to make sure that Mama Shen didn’t have anything else to add, Old Master Shen silently heaved a sigh of relief and said, “I too feel that the two of you haven’t known each other for that long. And, while I understand wanting to get married when passions are running high, don’t you think that it’s really a little too soon? Most people of your generation don’t get married even after remaining in a relationship for seven to eight years.”
Zhao Chengning was also silently heaving a sigh of relief. He smiled and said, “There’s only two reasons why a couple wouldn’t have gotten married after being in a relationship for so long: One, they haven’t saved enough to support their marriage, so they’re dragging it out till they’re able to. Two, they don’t love each other enough. I believe that any man who comes across a woman he likes would scramble to get married as soon as possible instead of dilly-dallying. The amount of time a couple has spent in a relationship isn’t indicative of the amount of love they have for one another. Back then, didn’t Uncle Shen and Auntie Shen didn’t get married within a few months of knowing one another? Look at the two of you now, you’re still happily together.”
Upon hearing her own marriage being brought up, the tsundere, Mama Shen, wasn’t pleased. Papa Shen wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulled her close, and tilted his chin upwards. “You can’t say that. Do you think everyone’s like us?” Unfortunately for him, all he got in return was looks of disdain from Mama Shen and Old Master Shen.
Papa and Mama Shen were bound together by a political marriage. Roughly two months passed from the time they knew each other to the point where they were married. In effect, it was a lightning marriage. In spite of them, their feelings for one another grew with each day, to the point where Old Master Shen often found it hard to look at the two of them when they were together even when they were this old. Using the two of them as an example was ingenius on Zhao Chengning’s part.
The Shen elders were quite pleased with the outcome of their talk with him, and at the same time, he also displayed his feelings for Shen Jingbin and his resolve. As the saying goes: The younger generation will find their own happiness. The three elders weren’t willing to meddle too much in the younger generation’s affairs when it came to matters of the heart, so they gave their blessings.
Mama Shen casually turned her attention to the youth opposite her who’d kept a stiff upper lip the whole time and was neither servile nor overbearing, and narrowed her eyes in contemplation. “Little Jing still hasn’t graduated. It’s too early to talk about marriage. If you agree to it, you can get engaged first. The engagement date can be discussed with your parents at a later date. If you still have your heart set on Little Jing, we can talk about marriage once she’s graduated… Till then, you should be able to wait, right?”
In that instant, the invisible weight that was resting on Zhao Chengning’s chest disappeared, and a warm smile blossomed on his face. “Of course I can. That’s the least I can do for her.”
Truth be told, even though he was planning to bring up the topic of marriage with the members of the Shen household, he wasn’t expecting anything to come of it. Being able to settle on an engagement was enough to make him overjoyed. What more could he ask for?