The fireworks show lasted for a good 10 minutes.
This allowed a lot of people to enjoy the show to their hearts content.
Of course, the happiest person of all was Zi Yan.
Moments after the fireworks show ended, Zi Yan threw her arms around Zhang Hans neck.
Her cheeks were practically glowing with joy and happiness as she beamed up at him.
Still smiling, she asked, “Are there any more surprises”
“Er… Well, theres just one small gift left!”
“Your birthday cake.”
“Where is it”
“Its inside,” Zhang Han said, pointing at the building.
Im so happy.” Zi Yan pressed her lips together in a smile.
Then she raised herself on tip toes and planted a kiss on Zhang Hans lips.
What started as a light brush of lips soon escalated into something else; the moment their lips came in contact with each other, Zhang Han took advantage of their closeness and pulled Zi Yan into his arms.
After that, the kiss became a long and deep one.
Zi Yan blushed furiously.
When the kiss ended, Zi Yan glanced up shyly at Zhang Han.
Something stirred inside Zi Yans eyes; waves of emotions crashed and roiled as she conveyed the depths of her feelings through her eyes.
Then, the spell was broken by the voice of a little girl.
“Hey, come on, walk faster.
Faster! Come on! PaPa, PaPa, I want a kiss too.
Come here, PaPa!”
Zhou Fei and the others approached the couple from their left side.
Nestled in Zhou Feis arms, Mengmeng had long since begun kicking up a fuss, urging Zhou Fei impatiently to bring her closer to her parents.
But as they were approaching, Zhou Fei saw that the couple was still engaged in a lip-lock, so she tried to drag things out for another minute to buy more time.
In the end, when she saw that the little girl in her arms was almost in tears, she picked up the pace and walked over towards the couple.
“Pfft!” A laugh burst through Zi Yans lips the moment she heard Mengmengs voice.
Staring up at Zhang Han with blinking eyes, she said, “Arent you going to go pamper the little baby!”
Zi Yan glanced at Zhao Feng and the rest, who all had knowing smiles on their lips.
Zi Yan felt her cheeks warming as a blush slowly crept onto her face.
“This is so embarrassing!” Zi Yan thought.
Zhang Han nodded.
Then, he took several strides towards Zhou Fei.
When he saw the way Mengmeng was twisting her body around in Zhou Feis embrace and desperately stretching out her tiny arms, Zhang Han could not help but laugh.
In one swift motion, he took the little princess into his arms.
“PaPa, you ignored me for so long.
I want a kiss!” Mengmeng said with a pout.
Zhang Han laughed.
“Okay, okay, okay, heres a kiss,” he said before planting a kiss on Mengmengs pink cheek.
“Eh” Mengmeng froze for several moments.
Then, in an upset tone, she said, “No, no.
I want it right here.” Mengmeng pointed at her small lips.
“On the lips.”
“Alright, alright,” Zhang Han said and brought his lips closer.
“Smooch!” Mengmengs pouty lips touched Zhang Hans briefly.
Only then did she feel contented.
“Ooh! Ooh, ooh, ooh!”
Apparently, Dahei was starting to get excited as well.
It ran over and brought its thick lips closer to Zhang Hans face.
Then, Daheis huge lips morphed into a pout as it squinted at Zhang Han.
After that, Dahei released two yelps, as if saying, “Master! Kiss Dahei too!”
The first reactions of Zi Yan, Zhou Fei, Zhang Li and the others when they saw Daheis behavior was surprise.
Moments later, they all began laughing their heads off.
The corners of Zhang Hans lips twitched slightly.
His eyes widened into a glare as he smacked Dahei with his right hand.
“You better go sit on the side and stay there!” Zhang Han said in a tone of annoyance.
Kissing both Zi Yan and Mengmeng was enough.
Now Dahei wanted to join in the fun No chance in hell!
Dahei pouted and scratched its head.
There was a look of hurt on its face.
When Dahei saw Zhao Feng laughing beside it, it glared at Zhao Feng.
It stretched out its right hand and gave Zhao Feng a shove.
Zhao Feng did the familiar stumble.
“Ow, what is it now”
Zhang Han laughed and shook his head.
Then, he carried Mengmeng towards Zi Yan and reached for Zi Yans hand.
“Lets head inside,” Zhang Han said.
“Im guessing everyones hungry We can start dinner now.”
Zhou Fei, who was already famished, could not help but ask, “What kind of feast have you prepared for us tonight, brother-in-law”
Zhang Han smiled briefly.
“Take a guess,” he said without really answering the question.
After that, he led the way and walked towards the lobby.
Zi Yan, who had been listening to the exchange, had a feeling that she knew what they would be having for dinner tonight.
Her eyes shone in excitement.
When Zi Yan entered the lobby and took in the lobbys setup and layout, she beamed happily.
She had been right all along; they were having hot pot tonight!
Zi Yan had once told Zhang Han that she enjoyed hot pot very much.
The fact that he had prepared hot pot for tonight showed that he cared about her a lot.
“Im so happy!” She thought as a surge of warmth filled her heart.
The group walked further into the lobby.
Some changes had been made to the lobbys lighting; the usual lamps— which produced warm orange light— had all been replaced with bright spotlights.
Dozens of people emerged from the two corridors beside the lobby with Ah Hu and the others in the lead.
All of them were singing as they ran over.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!”
“We wish you a happy birthday, Mrs.
Boss!” The dozens of people all yelled in simultaneously.
“Congratulations, Boss, for getting the girl! Congratulations, Boss and Mrs.
Boss, for tying the knot!”
“Thank you, thank you,” Zi Yan said with a smile.
“Youve all worked hard today.
Thank you, guys.”
Zhang Han had rarely spoken words of gratitude to anyone.
Even so, Zhang Han felt compelled to give these people a heartfelt thank you.
Ah Hu and the others felt immensely honored, and not to mention surprised, at Zhang Hans expression of gratitude; one after another, they all began waving their hands at Zhang Han as if they all felt unworthy of Zhang Hans gratitude.
“Hahaha!” Zhang Han laughed and said, “Relax, everyone.
Be at ease.
And sit anywhere you like.”
Zhao Feng waved at the crowd and said, “Take your seats, everyone.
Eat and drink to your hearts content.
The boss is happy today, so you guys can have as much fun as you wish.
You dont have to hold anything back.”
After that, everyone found a table and took their seats.
10 tables had been set up in the lobby.
The tables were arranged in two rows with five tables in each row.
A large hot pot was placed in the center of each table.
Around the hot pot, a myriad of raw ingredients filled up the space of the table.
Zhang Han, Zhou Fei, Zhao Feng and the others had yet to sit down.
Zhang Han gave Zhao Feng a look and said, “Bring out the cake.”
“Roger that,” Zhao Feng said with a nod before he strode away.
“Eh” Mengmeng froze the moment she heard Zhao Fengs mention of a cake.
After that, her huge eyes gleamed in delight.
She stared up at Zhang Han.
“Cake Is it a birthday cake” She asked in a tone of glee and surprise.
“Yeah, thats right.”
Raising her small arms above her head, Mengmeng let out a chorus of cheers and squeaks.
“Wow, how nice! I want to have cake! I want to have a birthday cake!”
“Ahem!” Zi Yan cleared her throat and said, “You can only have one piece, okay”
That remark brought an abrupt stop to Mengmengs cheering.
“Eh” Mengmeng said, pouting her lips and blinking her huge eyes.
“Oh, just one piece But thats too little.” Mengmeng thought for a moment.
“Then, I want a piece this,” Mengmeng drew a circle the size of a football with her finger, “big.”
“Oh, no, that wont do.
If you have too much cake…” Zi Yan was just about to deny Mengmeng her cake when she saw Zhang Han shaking his head and smiling back at her.
# “Its alright.
Mengmeng can have more,” Zhang Han said.
“I made the cake myself and the ingredients I used are all from the mountain.
I put less sugar in it and its also quite nutritious.
Dont worry, okay”
“Really” Mengmeng asked.
Mengmeng was instantly enraptured.
“Yes! Yes! Mengmeng wants birthday cake.
Mengmeng loves birthday cakes!”
After that, Zi Yan no longer tried to deny Mengmeng the cake.
Instead, she shot a look of disapproval at Zhang Han.
“You only know how to spoil Mengmeng rotten,” she said in an accusatory tone.
Not exactly,” Zhang Han said, bringing his face closer to Zi Yan.
His voice dropped to a whisper.
“I used a lot of fruits and vegetables to make the cake.
Its very nutritious.
And I didnt use a lot of cream.
Based on Mengmengs usual appetite, even if she eats the cake until shes full, it would be able to cover her nutritional needs.
It basically counts as a full meal.”
“Humph!” Zi Yan released a little snort and glanced sideways towards the corridor.
“I havent even seen the cake yet,” she mumbled.
Not only Zi Yan, but Zhou Fei, Zhang Li, Luo Qing and Li Annas eyes were all glancing in the same direction.
Considering all the grand gestures they had witnessed thus far as well as Zhang Hans natural disposition, they were half expecting the cake to be capable of spewing sparks and fireworks!
Under everyones gaze, Zhao Feng slowly pushed out a trolley which held the cake.
The cake was obscured by a large cake box, so nobody could see what the cake actually looked like just yet.
Soon, Zhao Feng stopped the trolley in front of Zi Yan.
Zhang Li and the others quickly crowded around Zi Yan; they were all eagerly awaiting the moment the box was opened.
Mengmeng raised a palm in the air.
In her sweet, childish voice, she voiced out what everyone was thinking right then.
“Cake time! Cake time! Open it! Hurry up and open it!”
“Ooh, ooh, ooh! Ow! Ooh, ooh!”
Behind them, the two Heihei powers were pretty fired up as well.
Zhao Feng smiled at Zhang Han and said, “Boss, will you do the honors”
Zhang Han nodded.
Carrying Mengmeng with his left arm, Zhang Han placed his right palm on the top portion of the cake box.
Zhang Han raised his hand, and the cake box rose with spiritual force.
By right, this whole scene should have seemed a little weird.
But the weirdness that Zhou Fei and the others felt only lasted for a split second; because their attention was now drawn to the cake which was slowly being revealed underneath the rising cake box.
Zi Yans eyes widened as the box rose higher and higher.
Finally, when the cake box was fully opened, she released a scream of surprise.
“F*ck, you are so smooth, brother-in-law.”
“Bro, since when did you have a talent like this! So pretty! You did a fantastic job!”
“This is like a work of art.
My God, there are even footprints!”
“Wow, this sculpture looks too real.”
The womens eyes nearly popped out of their sockets the moment they saw the cake.
They had seen this kind of cake before, but none of what they had seen in the past could hold a candle to the one sitting in front of them right now.
“Eh” Mengmeng, however, was momentarily stunned.
Pouting her lips in confusion, she said, “Isnt this my Xanadu PaPa, Mama and Mengmeng are all in it.
Big Heihei, Little Heihei, Dajin, Little Ha and the others, theyre all there!”
From behind, Dahei poked out its head.
When Dahei saw the cake, the gears inside its head began turning.
“Ooh! Ooh, ooh, ooh!” The gorilla yelled.
“Eh Isnt that me on the cake!”
Many people in the crowd were amazed since it was their first time seeing a touched look on a gorillas face.
“Mengmeng, do you know what these words mean” Zhang Han asked, pointing at the words in front of the cake.
Um.” Mengmeng perused the words.
Then, she pouted and said, “I dont recognize these words.”
Zhang Han whispered to her, “Its okay, Ill teach you.
Come, say it with me.
‘Happy birthday, darling Yan.”
“Happy birthday, darling Yan!” Mengmeng repeated the words.
Then, she grinned.
“Happy birthday, darling Yan! Happy birthday, Mama!” Mengmeng broke into a giggling fit, “Time to eat cake!”
“Eating is all you know,” Zi Yan said, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth.
Then, she glanced at Zhang Han, her eyes filling with happiness.
One after another, his surprises kept coming.
She wondered just how long it had taken him to prepare for today!
Judging from the cakes refined and sophisticated design, she had no doubt that it had taken him a long time.
All of a sudden, something occurred to Zi Yan.
She remembered that one morning where Zhang Han was nowhere to be found when she woke up.
She remembered seeing the neatly made bed in Zhang Hans bedroom.
She also remembered the words he had told her that morning.
Now she knew the truth; he had been out all night to prepare the cake.
Feelings of warmth coiled inside Zi Yans heart as she indulged her recollections further.
Zi Yan gazed at Zhang Han happily.
“He loves me very much.
And I love him very much too.”
Mengmeng was starting to feel impatient again.
“I want cake! PaPa, I want cake!”
“Alright, alright, hold on for a bit longer, okay You have to wait until your mother blows out the candles and makes her wish.”
Zhang Han reached out and scratched Mengmengs tiny face.
Then he placed 27 candles onto the cake and lit them up.
At the same time, Instructor Liu was busy gesturing with his hand to give his signal.
Moments later, the spotlights in the lobby were shut off.
Now, the only source of light in the lobby came from the area where the cake was set up.
The candles glowed weakly in the dark, their flickering light illuminating the space surrounding the cake.
Zhang Han gave Zi Yan a small smile.
“Make a wish,” he said.
“Mm,” Zi Yan said, nodding obediently.
She pressed her lips together and raised her hands to chest level before clasping them together.
Her eyes fluttered close and she began making her wish.
“Thank you, God, for bringing him into my life.
Im very happy, and I hope our family will be a happy one, also.
Me, Zhang Han and also Mengmeng…”
In that moment, under the warm glow of candlelight and with her eyes closed, all eyes were cast upon Zi Yans delicate countenance like moths drawn to a flame.
She was absolutely gorgeous; the truth of that was beyond a shadow of a doubt.
For a moment there, Zhang Han found himself utterly bewitched as he gazed tenderly at her.
Roughly 30 seconds later, Zi Yan slowly opened her eyes.
She gazed at Zhang Han with a smile of contentment.
“Ive made my wish!”
Following her words, she lowered her head and drew in a deep breath.
The lobby once again plunged into darkness when the candles were blown out.
A moment later, the spotlights in the lobby were switched back on.
Zhang Han smiled.
“Alright, time to cut the cake!”
Mengmeng released yet another cheer.
Zhang Li shared a look with Zhou Fei.
“I want this piece!” Zhang Li said.
“Ill take this!”
“And this one!”
“Eh” Mengmeng stared at the two women in confusion.
“No, no, no!” Mengmeng said anxiously.
“You cant eat Mengmeng.
You cant have Big Heihei either.
Not the dogs.
Zhang Li could barely contain her laughter.
“Then what are we even allowed to eat”
“Eh Um, um, eat, eat that little pig.
Eat those,” Mengmeng said with a straight face.
In the end, the cake was cut up into a lot of pieces.
After that, all the wooden carvings were removed from the cake and stowed away, much to Mengmengs relief.
Mengmeng ended up with the largest piece of cake plus another extra piece which was smaller.
Now, Mengmeng sat at the table, happily digging into her cakes.
“Um, lets see here.
One little piggy per mouthful,” Mengmeng mumbled to herself.
“Hmm! One little duckling per mouthful and one goose per mouthful.
Eh Isnt this biscuit Yucks.
Dont want to eat that.
I want cream…”
Safe to say that Mengmeng was having a lot of fun with the cake.
Meanwhile, the others had all started the hot pot.
The atmosphere was very lively.
“Happy birthday, Elder Sister Yan!”
“Happy birthday, sister-in-law!”
Boss, happy birthday!”
A chorus of wishes sounded at Zi Yans table as Zhou Fei, Zhang Li and all the others seated at the same table raised their glasses simultaneously.
Zhang Han raised his own glass and uttered only two simple words, “Happy birthday.”
All his feelings had already been conveyed during his heartfelt love confession just now.
If nothing else, the look in his eyes right now said it all.
Zi Yan raised her own glass and smiled at everyone.
Another chorus of wishes came from the other tables behind theirs.
“Happy birthday, Mrs.
The wishes came from Ah Hu, Xu Yong, Instructor Liu and the others, all of whom had their glass raised in the air.
Something else was worth mentioning as well; the red wine in everyones glasses right then were the same ones that Liu Qingfeng had brought over earlier.
They had only opened six bottles.
Even so, the total amount that those six bottles were worth was… yeah.
Other alcohols being served were beer and white wine.
Ah Hu and his gang still preferred their usual style: slugging down beer with their sleeves rolled up.
Others, those with more refined dispositions, preferred white wine instead.
Something even more interesting was happening at one table in particular; namely, the table which had been taken up completely by Dahei and Little Hei.
Right now, the two animals were shouting at the top of their lungs.
“Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh!” Dahei lifted its wine glass, a pout forming on its lips as if it were trying to say something.
If it were, figuring out the message it was trying to convey would be a no-brainier; obviously, this knucklehead was trying to give a birthday wish.
Little Hei was anatomically incapable of raising a glass for a toast.
There was a huge bowl in front of Little Hei, which Dahei had poured some wine into just now.
When Dahei was pouring the wine just now, Dahei had thumped its chest like a boss and screamed at Little Hei a few times, “Brother, lets drink to our hearts content tonight!”
Having noticed that everyone was expressing their well-wishes to Zi Yan, Little Hei glanced in Zi Yans direction and raised its head.
“Ooh, uh, ooh!”
Zhang Han stood up with his glass in hand.
He glanced around at everyone and smiled.
“Thank you all such much for today.
Now, Id like to propose a toast.”
Zhang Han raised his glass.
“Heres to Zi Yan,” Zhang Hans clear voice rang out.
A chorus of hollers sounded from everywhere.
“Happy birthday, Mrs.
Boss/Elder Sister Yan/sister-in-law/MaMa/Ooh/Ouh!”
After that, everyone emptied the contents of their glasses down their throats.
Zi Yans beautiful and radiant eyes were fixed on Zhang Han, her heart swelling with happiness.
To her, Zhang Han was the closest thing to a perfect man.
He was multi-talented, had a good personality, filial, and calm in the face of trouble or distress.
Even when dealing with a crisis, he would never waver or panic; he made her feel safe.
There were times where he seemed like a very laid-back person.
Other times, he was open and frank.
Also, he could be gentle as well.
By the time she realized it, Zi Yan was already drunk in every facet of his existence.
If she really had to pick a flaw, then she supposed there was one she could think of: the tendency to pamper Mengmeng.
It made Zi Yan a little happy that he was openly affectionate with her daughter, but at the same time, it also made her feel a little bit worried; she feared that Mengmeng might grow up to become a spoiled child.
For years, Zi Yan had drilled certain details and habits into Mengmeng.
But now, many of them had been torn apart by Zhang Hans endless coddling!
After the toast, fire and liveliness filled the atmosphere in the lobby.
After finishing a glass, everyone started cheering.
Even Leng Yue, who was usually cold and aloof, was smiling and cheering with everyone else.
Leng Yue admired her boss very, very much.
His actions today had proved to her that he was a man who had grit and bones of steel, but who also had a soft, sentimental side!
Who said that men who were strong and successful must be alpha, macho males
Who said that men like this had to buy the hearts of beautiful women with money
In Leng Yues eyes, the most successful and brilliant man was someone like her boss!
Her boss character and appeal incited feelings of great admiration in her and deserved her cheer.
Prompted by what everyone was doing, Dahei raised its glass too.
Dahei drained its glass in a single gulp.
Little Hei poked out its tongue and licked its own plate clean.
With the conclusion of the toast, the party spirit inside everyone shot through the roof.
Zhang Li watched her own brother with eyes full of admiration.
“Bro! I really never expected you to be so cool! Youre so damn cool! Love you to death, bro!”
Mengmeng abandoned her cake the moment she heard Zhang Lis statement.
“Eh” The kid raised her head.
“Who is that Who mentioned loving PaPa to death again” She thought.
For several seconds, Mengmeng just stared at Zhang Li.
Then, she released a soft hum and mumbled something inaudible.
Mengmeng lowered her head and went back to her cake.
Zhang Li raised her glass once more and smiled at Zi Yan.
“Sister-in-law,” Zhang Li said, “now youre officially my sister-in-law.
I wish that the love between you and my brother will last forever.
May you stay with each other till youre both old and gray.”
“Thank you,” Zi Yan said.
Then, she raised her wine glass shyly at Zhang Li for a toast.
The two women each took a small sip from their glasses.
Zhou Fei took a huge mouthful of wine.
“Elder Sister Yan, Im truly happy for you!” She said, her eyes turning red-rimmed.
“Im so happy that you and brother-in-law finally belong to each other.”
Now it was Li Annas turn.
“Bother Zhang Han, Sister Zi Yan, congratulations.
May your future life be blessed with happiness and joy!”
Among all the wishes the couple had received, it was Zhang Li and Zhou Feis wish who had moved them the most, so much so that they were almost in tears.
They had to go through a lot of hardship and suffering to have this happy day.
Happiness did not come easy!
After two glasses of wine, the hot pot feast began.
The tantalizing aroma of fresh meat and vegetables was paradise to the taste buds.
Half an hour passed by very quickly.
Half-full, everyone settled into comfortable conversations.
Zi Yans phone rang.
She pulled out her phone and glanced at the screen.
Almost immediately, her lips pressed into a tight line.
She looked at Zhang Han and said, “Its my dad.
Wheres the bathroom Im going to wash my hands and then take the call.”
“Its in the middle of the corridor on the right,” Zhao Feng answered.
Zi Yan stood up and glanced in the direction of the corridor.
Her eyes sought out Zhang Han again.
Zhang Han smiled and stood up as well.
“Ill go with you,” he said, stepping beside Zi Yan.
The pair walked towards the corridor.
Along the way, Zi Yan answered her phone.
“Xiao Yan, do you know what day today is”
“What day” Zi Yan answered cheekily.
“Its your birthday, of course.
Xiao Yan, happy birthday.”
Im celebrating it with a lot of people this year.”
“Is that so Its too bad that your mom and I cant be there to spend your birthday with you.
You have to take care of yourself over there, you hear me Just come home if you cant manage.
Youre not exactly young, anyway.
Its time you find yourself a boyfriend.
The clan kept mentioning about setting up an arranged marriage for you.”
“I dont want any arranged marriages or whatever.
I want to find my own happiness!”
“Argh, Xiao Yan, you know how the people in the clan are…” Before Zi Yans father could finish, he was interrupted by the accusatory voice of a woman.
“Hey! Why are you talking about that on her birthday Give me the phone.
I want to speak to my daughter.”
Following that, Zi Yan heard the voice of her mother through the speaker.
“Xiao Yan, happy birthday, okay Lets not talk about those depressing things.
Today is supposed to be your happy day.”
“So, how have you been over there”
Zi Yan began to chat with her mother.
Her parents had very little power within the clan, so they did not have much say in anything.
Zi Yan knew very well that her father had told her those things just now because the elders in the clan had brought up the subject of her marriage.
No doubt their plan was to marry her off to some young master from another powerful family so that the marriage would benefit the clan.
Still, Zi Yan would never agree to it.
The reason she left in the first place was precisely to avoid having her life unreasonably micromanaged by her clan.
Her actions had angered a lot of elders back then.
Even so, Zi Yan did not care.
This was one of the woes of being born in a powerful clan.
Some people might be accustomed to it and accept it as being an inevitable part of their lives while others might rebel against it; in the end, it all depended on the worldview of those involved.
Zi Yan and her mother chatted for a while longer.
Zi Yan shared a closer bond with her mother.
As the conversation went on, Zi Yan turned her head and sneaked a glance at Zhang Han.
She bit down on her bottom lip; her pulse started to race.
“Mom, well, um… Theres something I have to tell you.”
“What is it Oh, come on.
Just spit it out, will you Why are you even stammering when its just me youre talking to”
Zi Yan was so nervous that she felt as if her heart was about to leap up to her throat.
“I, I… I already…”
“Already… have one.”
“Have one” Zi Yans mother repeated.
All of a sudden, Zi Yan heard a yell from her father.
“What do you mean Have what You mean you have a boyfriend”
“Xiao Yan, Xiao Yan, hurry up and tell us.
What is it that you have” Zi Yans mother asked frantically.
Zi Yan felt herself becoming light-headed; her anxiety had made her palms sweaty and clammy.