XL actually invited me this morning to dico's chicken dinner. i was surprised, because i was sure she forgot, or just wasn't interested, so i was prepared for a long day of coaxing. but out of the blue, it was her asking me out for a change. she said she wanted to treat me, because i told her this was the last time i would ever have dico's fried chicken ever again, even though she knew i was lying. i said i had to treat, because i'd been saving up money especially for this monthly 2-for-1 special, and i even had a special chicken-shaped envelope i keep all my money in. "let me see," she asked me, calling my bluff. the extent i go to in order to cover up a lie! so i went online, found a decent chicken shape, copied it onto two pieces of paper, cut out the shape, and made an envelope with some staples.

i didn't speak to her again all day, with the exception of the lunchtime break, when i told her i had something to show her, which was the chicken-shaped envelope i told her about. but she knew i was lying, and looked in my trash can to reveal some scrap paper, which meant i'd made the envelope earlier today. "you must be sherlock holmes," i told her via text message when she returned to her desk. sherlock holmes, after all, is her favorite character. "another case solved," i said, "i make a terrible liar, but that's a good thing."

another extremely busy day, but a heavy work load makes the day go by so much faster. the month is june is just blowing by. i was preoccupied with verifying construction manager manhours. the owner is willing to compensate our company for overtime work, but when they did a spot check and compared the card reader data with our signed timesheets, they noticed discrepancies. some can be explained, but some are just flat out managers and supervisors not coming into work when they should, or coming in to work late and leaving early. if we can't explain these discrepancies, then owner will just use the card reader data as a basis for compensation, which means less profit for our company. ah, good times in the claims department! what we're doing is sort of like an internal audit, and all the people we've talked to are now in a state of fear that we'll pull up their entire attendance record and go over it in details, because probably most of them have skipped work before in the past.

even after work XL continued her charade of my interacting with me. i of course had already left the office, waiting onboard the medium bus. she moseyed along, with LXL and her boss in tow. XL moved to the back of the bus, where thankfully she wasn't very talkative today. LXL sat next to me. earlier i'd asked LXL if she was free tomorrow, so i could invite her to lunch. on the bus she asked if i'd be willing to go today. she noticed my hesitation, "you must have plans already," she said, and i just nodded. apparently XL didn't tell LXL that she was going out to dinner with me. so much for BFF.

off the bus, the charade continued for a little longer, as we both walked towards the mall, but enough of a distance that if somebody were to see us, they wouldn't think anything was going on. XL brought me to dico's through a shortcut back entrance. the place was crowded (as always on 2-for-1 night) and we got in line to wait. they temporarily ran out of wings so we ordered what we wanted and waited 15 minutes for them to finish cooking the wings. XL found a table and wanted to eat in the restaurant while our food was still hot. i wanted to eat back at my place, where it was quieter and we wouldn't be rushed to leave. when the wings finally arrived, she seemed a little angry that i was already packing up everything and getting ready to leave.

back at my apartment though, all was well again. while XL unpacked the food, i was busy quick cleaning my apartment, which meant mostly pushing down all my hang-drying clothes so the kitchen didn't look so cluttered. once we were both eating, we were in our happy place. i haven't really spoken to her since the last time i invited her out to hot pot, and we had a nice long chat which lasted until 9:30. i fed her some gossip, she knew some too but didn't seem to know as much as me and didn't have specifics. she talked about clothes, she described some new outfits she bought, including a zebra-striped mini dress which she said she'd never wear to the office. i kept looking at her face and realized how much i missed looking at it, since we hardly ever interact in the office anymore. she didn't realize i was leaving at the end of july, figured i'd be staying until the end of august, like her. i said to her that even if they asked me to extend my stay, i'd would probably decline the offer, because i wanted to travel and finally to go home. she seemed sad about my news but kept her poker face. she said she was going on another vacation in july, and would probably go back home to shizhu. "would you like to come to shizhu?" she asked, but added not to her hometown because once word got around that she was bringing home a guy friend, the local rumor mill would be buzzing.

we talked about two former ex's, familiar and comfortable with each other, playfully bantering. the weird part is we never went out, went directly from pre-dating to post-breakup friendshipness. i don't understand it, but maybe it's just something that she be appreciated for what it is, and not try to quantify it.

after walking XL out to the street where she could get back to her apartment, i returned home to do a wash, but not before spending half an hour trying to fix the washing machine. the inlet valve was clogged with debris (the local water is hard, which routine bits of broken bricks and small gravel mixed in) so i cleaned it out. however i removed the hose attachment that goes to the faucet, and that thing is extremely difficult to reattach, involving turning 4 screws all in the right way to securely refasten the hose. once that was finally done (made a mess of the kitchen floor, had to mop it up), the washing machine was back to optimal performance, fill up in a matter of minutes (instead of half an hour like last night). once that was done, i ironed some clothes. i wasn't paying attention the time until i saw it was already 11:30.