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378 Matchmaking 2

 "You have guests?" Huo Shaoheng stood up. "I'd better get going then."

"Go back for what?" General Ji wouldn't accept his refusal. "Since you're here why don't you stay for dinner! When was the last time you left here without eating?"

Huo Shaoheng smiled as he bent down to take his briefcase from the sofa. "You didn't have guests the other times, so it didn't hurt if I stuck around for a meal. Since you do have a guest now, it wouldn't do for me to stay."

"Why would it not do? She's not really a guest since you've met her before." General Ji glared at him. "You don't remember Xu Piaohong, the daughter of Deputy Chief of Staff Xu from the Third Regiment of Military Tactical Operations Department?"

Huo Shaoheng pretended to think hard and shook his head. "I really don't recall. I've met her?"

"Don't play dumb with me!" General Ji was slightly disappointed with Huo Shaoheng's reaction. "She forced you to stop your car not too long ago; did you really forget?"

"Oh, that rookie policewoman who doesn't know the traffic laws." Huo Shaoheng put a fist by his lips and coughed lightly. "I remember the person but not her name."

General Ji was shocked. "How did you forget her name? Is she that unremarkable?"

"Why would I need to remember her name?" Huo Shaoheng replied calmly. "I have several dozen-if not a hundred-things to take care of everyday and there's really not much free time. How about, General Ji, you tell me what great things Policewoman Xu has accomplished that I should remember her name by?"

General Ji stared, flabbergasted, at Huo Shaoheng. He was unable to formulate a sentence. He walked towards the dining room and muttered, "It's just remembering a name. Why would she need to have done something incredible?"

Huo Shaoheng calmly followed General Ji to the dining room. The truth was, General Ji hadn't needed to give a reason to make him stay for dinner. Huo Shaoheng was a flexible person so he understood that he'd merely had to make his position clear. General Ji also knew this. When the two men entered the dining room, Xu Piaohong was already seated besides Mrs Ji at the table. "Shaoheng is here? Come, have a seat!" Mrs.Ji waved cheerfully to Huo Shaoheng and had him sit next to Xu Piaohong.

Xu Piaohong was somewhat stiff but was able to greet him politely. "Hello Major General Huo. I didn't think I'd be seeing you again."

"We're all friends here. Why are you being so polite?" General Ji chuckled heartily and sat next to his wife. "Piaohong, it's late already. Have Huo Shao take you home after dinner."

Xu Piaohong flushed immediately and snuck a glance at Huo Shaoheng. She happened to see a beautiful hint of a smile on his lips as he ate with a calm expression.

Noticing that Xu Piaohong was studying him out of the corner of his eye, Huo Shaoheng shot her a sidelong glance and nodded politely. "Miss Xu, did you drive here?"

Xu Piaohong was so entranced by his looks that she nodded blankly. "Yes, I drove here."

General Ji wanted to bury his face in his hands: the girl was too honest! She was no match for natural Huo Shaoheng charms.

Huo Shaoheng smiled faintly and replied smoothly, "Since Miss Xu drove here, I'll have an orderly follow your car and make sure you return home safely. Is that alright?"

Xu Piaohong finally realized what she had said but by now it was too late to regret it. She shouldn't have said she drove and left her own car at General Ji's house. Her dad could have sent someone to pick up the car the next day.

General Ji could only make an excuse for himself and smiled, "Oh, so Piaohong drove here? That's fine then, you don't need Shaoheng to take you home. I thought you had driven your dad's car."

"My dad uses a special military vehicle so my mom and I never take it," Xu Piaohong said politely as she explained that she would not abuse her dad's military privileges.

"Haha, how rare!" General Ji laughed happily and served Xu Piaohong some food. " Deputy Chief of Staff Xu's character and family should be an example within the military!"

Huo Shaoheng nodded with a smile and seemed to agree. However, he kept quiet and picked up his bowl to eat.

Xu Piaohong studied Huo Shaoheng's mannerisms and noticed that he ate with good posture and at a steady pace. His manners were impeccable. Her dad was a loud and messy eater at home who always told her that everyone in the military ate like that, so it was the "masculine way to do it!"

Huo Shaoheng was truly different from her dad's soldiers. It turned out, she realized, that not only messy eaters could be called "masculine." Xu Piaohong served Huo Shaoheng a bowl of soup and placed it by his right hand with a smile. "Major General Huo, this is dangshen [1], gogi berry, and lamb soup. It's very nutritious. My mom says it's important to have more supplements in the winter."

Huo Shaoheng paused when he saw General Ji and his wife smile at him, so he could only accept the soup. "Thank you Miss Xu." The bowl was small and Huo Shaoheng had finished it in a few gulps without even noticing. He set it aside.

Unexpectedly, Xu Piaohong saw that he finished it quickly and refilled it because she assumed he liked it. Huo Shaoheng hastily refused. "You're too kind, Miss Xu. I've had enough."

"It's the last bowl. Major General Huo should have it." Xu Piaohong nudged the bowl over to Huo Shaoheng. "General Ji only has good things in his home. I even told Mrs.Ji a while ago that I'd come over to learn how to cook from her." Xu Piaohong blushed as she asked, "What kind of food does Major Genral Huo like?"

Huo Shaoheng said, vaguely, "I'm not picky."

Xu Piaohong was stunned when she understood what Huo Shaoheng meant. She stopped anything further and lost her appetite. She ate a few more seemingly tasteless bites and stopped eating when she saw Huo Shaoheng finish eating and start drinking his tea.

Huo Shaoheng blew at his cup of tea and asked her quietly, "Miss Xu is finished?"

"I'm full now." Xu Piaohong dramatically patted herself. "Auntie Ji makes such delicious food!"

Huo Shaoheng smiled and kept quiet when he saw the bit of food left in Xu Piaohong's bowl. He got up to say goodbye after finishing his tea.

General Ji could no longer urge him to drive Xu Piaohong, so he gave her a look. Xu Piaohong mustered her courage to follow him out and said, "Major General Huo, are you going to the parking lot?"

Huo Shaoheng shook his head, "I'm parked at the front."

"Oh..." Xu Piaohong was a little disappointed, "My car is in the parking lot."

"This is the residence of the highest authority in the military so it's very safe." Huo Shaoheng explained politely. "But, if Miss Xu is uncomfortable going alone, I can have orderlies escort you."

"That's ok...that's not what I meant either. I know it's very safe here." Xu Piaohong hastily put up her hands. "Major General better leave first; I've just remembered that I left something behind in General Ji's home."

"Very well then. I'll be going." Huo Shaoheng nodded at her before getting in his own car. Fan Jian started the car and they quickly left the residential area. Huo Shaoheng sat in the car as he rubbed his temples and closed his eyes in meditation. After a while, he felt he may have had too much lamb soup since he felt a little hot. Looking at the road outside the window, he saw that they were about to pass B University. He said to Fan Jian, "Go to B University. I'll go check on Nianzhi."