“Ling, Charlie is a friend,” Peng clarified.
As they sat at the table waiting for their breakfast, Ling couldn’t help but pressed further, his tone tinged with frustration. “So, Peng, it’s been what, months since we last talked? Did you forget about me or what?” Ling asked, trying to sound nonchalant, but his eyes betrayed a hint of hurt.
Peng sighed, taking a moment before responding, “Ling, we both knew our relationship wasn’t built on anything serious. It was mostly for fun.”
Ling’s expression tightened, and his voice turned slightly colder. “Fun, huh? Is that all it was to you?” he questioned, his words carrying a layer of bitterness.
“Ling, you knew from the beginning. We enjoyed each other’s company but never discussed anything more serious.”
Ling looked away, trying to hide his emotions, but it was clear that Peng’s words had struck a chord with him. “I guess you’re right,” he mumbled, trying to sound casual, but his voice hinted at sadness.
“Ling, you’re a good person, and I’ll always cherish our time together. But we both knew it wasn’t meant to be anything more than what it was.”
Ling tried to mask his disappointment and wanted to have the last word. “Yeah, you’re right. It’s just… seeing you with someone else here; it’s a bit strange. But I shouldn’t be surprised. People warned me about you and your lack of emotional commitment.”
Peng understood Ling’s resentment about his lack of feelings towards Ling but wanted to be honest. “Charlie is just a friend, Ling. We’ve only recently met.”
Ling gave a half-hearted smile, trying to hide his emotions. “Right, just a friend. I get it,” he replied, trying to sound composed.
Peng wanted to ease the tension and save face, “Ling, I value our friendship and hope we can still be friends. But we both need to move forward, and perhaps you will find something more meaningful the next time with someone else,” he said gently.
Ling laughed cynically while meeting Peng’s gaze, his eyes reflecting a mix of emotions. “Yeah, I will find something meaningful, just not with you. Anyway, I am losing my appetite seeing you here. I am going to go. It’s nice meeting you, Charlie.” With that, Ling exited, leaving Peng and Charlie to process the unexpected encounter.
Peng took a deep breath, his expression softening as he turned to Charlie. “I’m sorry you had to witness that,” he said, his voice tinged with embarrassment.
Charlie offered a reassuring smile. “It’s okay. We all have our pasts,” he said genuinely.
Peng felt a sense of relief in Charlie’s understanding. “Thank you, Charlie. I appreciate that,” Peng replied.
The food finally arrived, but silence also settled between Charlie and Peng as they started eating their meals.