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Season 10

Episode 7

(His Warmth (7 )

As Lu Bancheng had not return to China for more than a year, he had an endless schedule of social events that he had to attend upon his return. After a full day’s worth of events, he had no idea how many he had attended that day. When he finally managed to leave the Majestic Clubhouse and was about to catch a taxi home, someone called out to him from the Peking Clubhouse to fill up a team for a game of mahjong.

Lu Bancheng had always been a brilliant conversationalist, especially at a mahjong table, so despite already being exhausted from his day’s activities, he agreed and soon found himself at the table creating a harmonious mood among the players.

“Unlucky in love, but lucky at cards,” began proving true early in the game, for Lady Luck was smiling at Lu Bancheng. Early in the game, he drew whatever tile he wished for and managed a straight-out win.

Master Zhang, who was seated across from Lu Bancheng, joked, “Master Lu, please have mercy on us. At the rate you’re winning, the rest of us will probably go bankrupt tonight.”

Lu Bancheng merely smiled slightly without speaking and continued his winning streak. The first round ended and, just when he was about to throw the dice in the next round, the alarm clock on his cell phone began buzzing. Out of reflex, he casually placed the dice aside and apologized before he dug out his phone from his pocket. Opening the game, he waited for 30 seconds. When the time turned to 3:00 a.m., he sent out the joke that he had prepared in advance.

“Master Lu, why did you set an alarm for the middle of the night?” Master Yi, who was seated on his left, couldn’t suppress his curiosity.

Lu Bancheng looked down with a calm face and did not respond. After putting his phone away, he took the dice and rolled them. Everyone silently noted that Lu Bancheng had no intention to reply, so they didn’t press further and treated the alarm as one he had set when he was overseas. They then continued with their game.

The atmosphere at the mahjong table quickly returned to normal, and everyone continued to play and chat about anything under the sun. After covering day-to-day topics, the discussion wove its way to the sentimental topic of relationship matters.

The first to breach the subject was the man sitting across from Lu Bancheng. “A while ago, I ran into my first love. It had been 20 years since I’d seen her, but I still recognized her at one glance in a crowd.”

“Why? Do you still have feelings for her?” the man sitting on Lu Bancheng’s right asked.

“I can’t say that I still have feelings for her. I’d merely been overwhelmed with emotion thinking back to the times I’d pursued her when we were in school.”

He let out a long sigh before continuing. “These days, my business is growing and my future there looks promising, but I’m farther away from romance than I’ve ever been.” He had once aspired to be a poet but eventually became a businessman; however, he still spoke poetically. Toward the end of his musing, he even exclaimed, “Sometimes I wonder what love is all about!”

The other two men now began discussing romance after what he had said. In the heat of the discussion, someone brought up the subject of his romance history, while another talked about his regrets. Lu Bancheng did not interject and merely continued drawing and discarding his tiles and pausing from time to time.

He certainly did not know what love is, but he did know that when one truly loved another, she would be the first to surface in his mind when he was talking about romance with others. When he thought about her, however, in regard to their past, Lu Bancheng suddenly lost his interest. He remained unfocused up until the end of the round and then gave an excuse to leave.

After exiting the Peking Clubhouse, he was not in a hurry to get into a taxi, so he stood by the road and lit up a cigarette. Having been affected by the discussion of romance earlier, he fished out his phone while he smoked.


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