CH 7.1

Name:My Darling Author:Mo Bao Fei Bao
In the distance, that Yangko folk song had already switched over to Little Apple. The executive director, who was sitting nearby Jian Bianlin, was crunching on an apple while merrily singing to the lead director, “You are my old, oh, old apple.[1]”



Everyone had to admit that their particular group was extremely lucky.

In this time when Jian Bianlin was at the height of popularity, there was finally a television drama that would bring him back down to earth, to land him in front of the eyes of the masses. Furthermore, Xie Bin had drawn on all his contacts and connections to build this lineup of people, from the make-up and wardrobe team to the directors to the script. Even the members of the post-production team had been reserved ahead of time, poached from other leading projects. It was an all-round highest-caliber production.

Next year’s title of “King of All TV Dramas”, guaranteed, would not escape them.

Filming had not even begun, but two television stations had already bought the rights to air the drama in the prime time slot as the major drama to kick off the New Year…

The executive director was still sighing over his good fortune with getting this top-notch team when he saw Jian Bianlin, who had already completed his scenes for the night, rise from his sling chair and head over into his private van. Before long, Jian Bianlin had removed his make-up and costume and left the van.

Pulling his gray, knitted hat lower until it nearly covered his brows and eyes and his parka’s collar all the way up to block the bottom half of his face, he tucked his head down and slipped into a smaller vehicle.

The executive director beckoningly waved his hand and then asked Xiao Yu, the assistant who had jogged over in response, “Where is Jian Bianlin going?”

From the looks of it, he was not returning to the hotel.

Xiao Yu chuckled impishly, “Director, why are you being so nosy?”

The director homed in on the back of Xiao Yu’s head and sent a palm smacking into it. “Just listen to how you’re talking to me. No respect for those senior to you.”

……

Chu Jian had been worrying over whether his night shoots were filming into hours that were too late in the night. The result? Her worries became reality. Some time past three in the morning, Jian Bianlin called her. Afraid that her dad or mom might hear something, she buried herself under her duck-down quilt to have a WeChat video call with him.

In only half a minute, condensation had formed on the screen of her mobile phone. She wiped it off. The image from the phone’s camera was slightly distorted. The interior of his car was dim, and the whites and blacks of his eyes were not clearly distinguishable, causing his eyes to appear even more brooding. As he gazed out at her, she ended up growing embarrassed first. “I still have to head in to the salon tomorrow. Going to sleep now.”

When the connection had terminated and Chu Jian had thrown off her duck-down quilt, she was still muddledly thinking, why had she never noticed before that he was so handsome? …

The next day was the nail salon’s first workday after the Lunar New Year.

Chu Jian’s nail salon was normally open for business from the afternoon all the way until the middle of the night, and her two nail technicians were in charge of watching the shop. In the mornings, the shop was closed, unless it just so happened that a Japanese or Korean instructor had come to teach a course for a week. In such instances, morning appointments would be accepted, and Chu Jian would watch the shop herself.

A Korean instructor had just flown in early this morning, and the available appointment slot was already booked by Tong Fei’s friend, Xie Linlin. Xie Linlin did not come alone and brought along two people whom Chu Jian did not know.

Xie Linlin introduced one as a talent agent and the other as an actress. Seeing that she was not well-acquainted with these people, Chu Jian helped to convey a few sentences between the instructor and them, and then she escaped to the sofa in the corner, where she sleepily flipped through a magazine and took notes.

Of the three clients, only Xie Linlin was getting permanent eyeliner done for the first time.

“Just how painful is it?” Xie Linlin apprehensively asked her.

“It’s not that painful, I think.” Chu Jian had never gotten it done either. She told her, “A lot of clients have gotten it. From what I’ve seen, it shouldn’t hurt too much.”

“It doesn’t hurt. There’s just a little tickling feeling. It’s over really quick,” the actress laughed.

Coincidentally, at that moment, the Korean instructor was testing the instrument, and it gave off the goosebump-inducing sound of a small electric drill.

Xie Linlin shuddered. “It honestly doesn’t hurt?”

The talent agent also chuckled. “Honest, honest. Just trust us. I even have an appointment this afternoon at Ninth People’s Hospital to do a double eyelid surgery. You can’t even take this little bit of pain?”

So while the Korean instructor was doing her preparation work, that talent agent who was going to get double eyelids done flipped through the photographs on her phone. There was actually a considerable number saved, and sliding her finger over them, she began chatting with Chu Jian about each one. At the end, she unexpectedly threw out the sentence, “At my last appointment, the double eyelid photo that I gave to my doctor to look at was Jian Bianlin’s, but the doctor kept insisting that he couldn’t do it and even if he did, it wouldn’t look natural.” Likely because Jian Bianlin was so extremely popular right now, the talent agent naturally thought that his name needed only to be mentioned and then everyone would know whom she was referring to…

Feeling awkward, Xie Linlin signaled with her eyes at Chu Jian. She swore, she had not let even half a sentence slip!

With her right hand, Chu Jian pulled self-consciously at her hair while offering an “mm-hmm” in reply.

She herself was in the aesthetics and nails business. In a more normal way of describing it, his double eyelids, which technically were known as “chong nian[2],” was Heaven’s blessing on him. From inner to outer corner of the eye, the crease gradually moved further away from the eyelid line, and the double eyelid went from narrow to wide.

A wide-tail shape—a lateral flare in the double eyelid.

Normally, this type of double eyelid was very sexy and seductive-looking. Luckily, he had a high crease, which lessened that sensuous effect by quite a bit…

Chu Jian gave a cough, then continued leafing through her book.

Why did she need to recall in such detail what his eyes looked like? …

Over on the other side, Xie Linlin had selected the shape that she wanted for her permanent eyeliner, and the machine was turned on.

The difference between different people’s sensations and perceptions of pain level could be worlds apart. After half a minute, against the backdrop of the machine’s sounds, Xie Linlin’s tears began flowing madly. “Oh God, oh God! I can’t, I can’t! I need a break. My eyes are super sensitive.”

Laughing in amusment, the Korean instructor shut off the equipment to allow her to have a rest.

Tears were rolling uncontrollably down Xie Linlin’s cheeks, and furthermore, she dared not wipe them away, instead using a napkin to gingerly dab and absorb away the moisture beneath her eyes. “Oh God. The instant she touched me with her finger, I wanted to cringe away from her. Let’s not even talk about using the machine. It’s just too scary…”

Right as Xie Linlin was ardently immersed in her wailing accusations, her voice abruptly cut off.

Because someone had come in.

Chu Jian heard the bells on the door jingle. Puzzled over why there would be customers coming in at this time, she lifted her head for a look—

That man who was supposed to be filming in Hengdian walked down the two stair steps. Possibly because he had not expected that there would be people here whom he knew, there was an expression of slight surprise on his face. He had been chewing gum, but now the seldom-seen smile he had been wearing faded away, and his eyes turned impassive as he gave a token nod in Xie Linlin’s direction.

Hugging the magazine, Chu Jian blurted, “Aren’t you… in Hengdian?”

“Mm.” That was his answer…

Oh God, just a few minutes ago, she had been pretending that she did not know him. Chu Jian did not dare to even look at the faces of the other people. Tossing the magazine aside, she spoke in Korean to the instructor, giving some hurried instructions and explanations. After signaling fiercely to him with her eyes, she ran into the storeroom at the back of the salon. His expression deadpan, Jian Bianlin offhandedly pulled out a tissue, spit out his chewing gum, and tossed everything into the wastebasket. Then, he followed after her, without so much as a sideways glance during the entire way …

And so things were, until those two people, one behind the other, went into the room, shut the door, and locked it.

Those other two who had come with Xie Linlin were frenziedly sending messages to Xie Linlin with their eyes: Holy crud?! Jian Bianlin?

Xie Linlin folded her hands respectfully in front of her and bowed deeply: Keep this a secret, please…

On the other side of the door…

Leaning her back against the shelf of goods, Chu Jian tried as hard as she could to keep her voice low. “Aren’t you supposed to be filming? Isn’t it supposed to take four months? Didn’t you say that, in between, you’d only be able to come back here a few times?”

There were no windows in this storeroom, and because it was locked all the time, the air was rather stale. It was a little stuffy.

Jian Bianlin had been sitting in the vehicle for several hours[3] in order to rush back here. Although he had slept in the car, it was bound to not be as restful as sleeping soundly on a bed, so now there was a dull throb in his temples. However, he was still in a rather pleasant mood from the gratification that came after easing his lovesickness. “Tonight is going to be all night shoots. If I leave at noon and rush back, I’ll still make it.”

Astonishment came over Chu Jian. “… Aren’t you tired?”

Jian Bianlin gave a little laugh.

Taking into consideration that there were people outside and surmising that Chu Jian might be a little shy and easily embarrassed, he did not really do anything. He placed both palms on the shelving unit, leaning his weight onto them. Adjusting himself as best as he could to her height, he gently brushed his forehead against her forehead. “I missed you last night, and I figured I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep anyway so I came back.”

Peaceful. And gentle.

Chu Jian felt warmed all over. It was a heat that rose out from her heart, and even when it reached her palms, it was still cozily warm. It had only been less than twenty hours since they had seen each other, but they were making it seem like it had been half a lifetime.

“This won’t do,” Chu Jian told him softly. “It’s so tiring. If you want to see me… you can just tell me. I’ll go find you. I have people who can watch the shop anyway, and I don’t have to head into the office often, either.”

His eyes were a little damp as, quietly, he gazed at her.

“So… I’ll take a couple of days to make the arrangements and then I’ll go to Hengdian to find you?”

Jian Bianlin still did not utter a word.

“Or else… today is okay, too… Your health just recovered not long ago. I’d been thinking, too, that when things slowed down here, I would go take care of you.” Chu Jian gauged the timing one more time. “After the people outside are finished, I’ll talk to the instructor. If there are no big issues, I’ll be able to go.”

In a low voice, he interrupted, “Will you find me really annoying because I always want to see you?”

Annoying? Absolutely not.

When they were kissing earlier on, she had even felt that the strange odour on him from sitting in a stuffy car for an entire night was really…so ridiculously nice-smelling…

“Well, at least let me go home to pack some clothes.” She purposely evaded his question. A little slow in catching on, she suddenly noticed that Jian Bianlin was wearing a red pair of pants. She cast a glance at him.

Jian Bianlin had a completely unruffled look of “You like it, so I’m wearing it.” Reaching behind him, he twisted the doorknob, opened the door, and backed out of the room, doing it this way solely so that, the whole time, his eyes would not have to leave her.

Chu Jian felt that her heart was going to melt from his gaze…

From the moment Jian Bianlin stepped out of the room again, it was as if Xie Linlin had been injected with something that strengthened her heart. Swiftly, she finished getting both her eyeliner and eyebrows done. During the entire process, she had not gibbered at all, cried any tears, or made any more drama. Instead, the whole time, she was in a state where it seemed as if her soul had floated away to somewhere on the outer reaches of heaven. Um, hello? What exactly was Jian Bianlin doing? Shouldn’t he be filming right now? What in the world was this, with him sitting there, holding a glass of water and supervising her while she had her eyebrows done? …

It was evident that the other two clients were wisely choosing to be considerate, stating adamantly that they had absolutely no special requests, that Chu Jian did not need to stay here with them and should hurry and get out of here… Hurry and get out of here…

Chu Jian also felt that leaving Jian Bianlin here in the salon to scrutinize the whole procedure as the actress and talent agent got eyebrows tattooed on was simply torture for those two—too awkward. After saying few words to the instructor and also calling one of the salon’s nail technicians to come earlier and watch the shop, she left directly with Jian Bianlin.

Their vehicle drove back to their community compound. Swiftly, Chu Jian went upstairs, packed her luggage, and, while she was at it, fibbed to her parents that she needed to take a business trip. Then, she towed her suitcase downstairs, stepped out of the elevator, and hopped back into the car.

Everything was done smoothly, without so much as stopping in between.

In the end, Jian Bianlin was unable to hold himself back. Before the back door was even shut, he pulled Chu Jian toward him and into his embrace.

Chu Jian’s eyes fixed on something outside the car window. Uncle Jian, who had just returned home after buying some groceries, was leaning over the window, staring at the two of them with an expression like he had seen a ghost in broad daylight. She immediately writhed about and then reached back to wrap Jian Bianlin in a tight hug as well. “Don’t be sad, don’t be sad. You just got dumped, that’s all. I’ll go to Hengdian right now to keep you company…”

[1] 《小苹果》Little Apple, sung by the Chopstick Brothers, was released in 2014 and went viral very shortly after, with many covers, parodies, and is even widely used in plaza dancing. In the chorus, there is one line, “你是我的小呀小苹果儿,” which translates as “You are my little, oh, little apple.” (It first appears in the YT video above at 0:52.) The executive director was singing along to the song that was playing off in the distance but changed the word “little” in that line to “old” and sang it to the lead director.

[2]重睑 “chong nian.” This is the proper term in Chinese for double eyelid.

[3] Hengdian is approximately 300 km southwest of Shanghai and an approximately four-hour drive.

Haha! Busted! Nice excuse, Chu Jian.

Because comments showed up so much regarding last post’s “marriage proposal,” I thought I would include a little side note with my thoughts on Jian Bianlin’s statement, “I want to get married.”

Personally, I feel that it was not a proposal, not a question posed to Chu Jian for an answer or even to feel out her thoughts. It was merely a statement to be taken exactly at face value: “I want to get married.” To be honest, my now husband, then boyfriend said the same to me very shortly after we started our relationship because, well, it was an expression of his certainty in the relationship and a desire of his heart. It was a shock the first time I heard it, but I didn’t doubt his sincerity, nor did I doubt that he knew that the timing was too early for us to even broach marriage. So, I can see why Jian Bianlin said it, and genuinely believe it was not a proposal, just an expression of his desire. The first time Jian Bianlin talked about marriage, it was terrible timing because Chu Jian’s mindset was different. She was just trying out this relationship and was not even certain she had feelings for him. It was scary to her. This time, I don’t think it would have that affect on her. Chu Jian herself said that unless he does something to betray her or hurt her, she will never break up with him. That means, to me, that in her heart and mind, she has already decided that Jian Bianlin is the one she desires to spend the rest of her life with. The next step—marriage—will happen, just that they have to get past a few things—such as letting their families know that they are together. LOL.  I guess if I draw parallels to me, I think this time, she would not mind what he said, might even be touched by it, but either treat it like it was just a statement of what he wanted or gently tell him, “Not now.”

The song,《小苹果》 Little Apple is quite a household song in China. Even the People’s Liberation Army and Navy have done the plaza dance to it, and there have been many a flash mob with this song. Just do a YouTube search of the song, and you’ll see plenty of examples. The official MV is just too weird to link in the main body of the text, but it certainly is eye-catching enough. LOL. Lyrics below.

《小苹果》 Little Apple

我种下一颗种子 终于长出了果实

I planted a seed, and finally it has borne fruit

今天是个伟大日子

Today is a great day

摘下星星送给你 拽下月亮送给你

I pick the stars from the sky to give to you; I pick the moon from the sky to give to you

让太阳每天为你升起

I tell the sun to rise each day for you

变成蜡烛燃烧自己

I would turn into a candle and let myself burn

只为照亮你

If only to shine upon you

把我一切都献给你

I would offer everything I have to you

只要你欢喜

So long as you are happy

你让我每个明天都变得有意义

You have given me meaning in each day

生命虽短爱你永远 不离不弃

Though life is short, my love for you is eternal, and I will never leave you nor forsake you

你是我的小呀小苹果儿

You are my little, oh, little apple

怎么爱你都不嫌多

And I could never love you too much

红红的小脸儿温暖我的心窝

Your little red face warms my heart

点亮我生命的火 火火火火

And kindles the fire in my life, the fire, fire, fire, fire

你是我的小呀小苹果儿

You are my little, oh, little apple

就像天边最美的云朵

Like the most beautiful cloud on the horizon

从不觉得你讨厌

Never have I found you exasperating

你的一切都喜欢

I like everything about you

有你的每天都新鲜

Each day that has you is fresh and new

有你阳光更灿烂

With you, the sunlight is even more brilliant

有你黑夜不黑暗

With you, the dark night is no longer dark

你是白云我是蓝天

You are the white clouds, I am the blue sky

春天和你漫步在盛开的 花丛间

In the spring, I will stroll with you amongst the blooming flowers

夏天夜晚陪你一起看 星星眨眼

In the summer, you and I will look up together at the twinkling stars

秋天黄昏与你徜徉在 金色麦田

During autumn sunsets, we will wander together through the golden cornfields

冬天雪花飞舞有你 更加温暖

And winter’s dancing snowfalls will be warmer because there is you

你是我的小呀小苹果儿

You are my little, oh, little apple

怎么爱你都不嫌多

And I could never love you too much

红红的小脸儿温暖我的心窝

Your little red face warms my heart

点亮我生命的火 火火火火

And kindles the fire in my life, the fire, fire, fire, fire

你是我的小呀小苹果儿

You are my little, oh, little apple

就像天边最美的云朵

Like the most beautiful cloud on the horizon

春天又来到了花开满山坡

Spring has come again, and flowers are blooming all over the hillside

种下希望就会收获

When hope is sown, there will be a harvest