We can just go get married. What are you kneeling for? …
She was stuck for words for a long while. “I already said yes before, remember?”
With those words, she left him there and went back into her room.
Jian Bianlin wanted to chase after her but also dared not. It was only after Chu Jian’s mom threw him a look that he pushed open the door and stepped into the room as well.
Chu Jian’s dad gleefully began to follow, too, but Chu Jian’s mom dragged him back. “Those two kids likely had a quarrel; otherwise Little Jian, that boy, would not need to knock on the door at six in the morning to propose, and purposely in front of the parents, too. And it was the down-on-one-knee type…”
Chu Jian’s dad clued in. “That boy, Little Jian, is pretty amazing—just amazing. He’s got a mind of his own!”
“Let’s go, let’s go. You and I, we’re going to go do our morning exercise. After the exercise, we’ll go have morning tea and breakfast. Then after breakfast, we’ll walk around the mall…” Chu Jian’s mom wrapped a scarf around herself, pulled on her parka, and, nudging Chu Jian’s dad along, left the apartment.
The living room was restored to quiet. Inside the bedroom, though, the heavens and earth had long been turned bottomside up.
On the other side of the bedroom door, Chu Jian was shoving unrelentingly at Jian Bianlin, her voice restrained as she accused, “How can you be so annoying? You’re even forcing marriage!” Bending at the waist, Jian Bianlin circled his arms around her legs, lifted her straight up, and set her onto the bed.
“My dad and mom are just outside.” Chu Jian pushed him away in a fluster, but her wrists ended up caught in his grasp and held above her head against the pillow. As things would have it, at this same moment, the front door of her home was slammed shut.
It was obvious that it was to inform them that nobody else was at home.
He brushed his lips against her. “From now on… don’t shut off your phone.”
His scorching breath whispered across her lips. Chu Jian explained in a low voice, “It was because Tong Fei kept calling me but I didn’t want to answer, so I shut it off. I didn’t know that you would call me.”
How could he not call her after something like that happened?
The whole night in the stairwell, he had done nothing except brood over what he should do if she really was mad. He had never known how to soothe and coax her to smiles. When they were kids and he did not think that deeply about the things between them, it was actually simple. He would just go along with what she wanted and things would be fine. Later, after he liked her, then fell in love with her, he was completely hopeless when it came to her.
Jian Bianlin’s throat tightened. Noiselessly, he began to nibble, inch by inch, searching everywhere for places on her chest and behind her neck, until in the end, he even murmured provocatively by her ear, “I made it all red.”
In the beginning, he actually had not intended on doing anything but afterward, this was no longer the case.
This was the first time he had ever come in contact with Chu Jian’s bed. The location was simply too special. As they rolled beneath the covers and sank into the pillow, her scent pervaded all around. It was unavoidable, therefore, that his actions were a little fiercer than normal.
Off and on, from when the sky glowed only hazily with dawn until it was nearly noon, they were intimate with one another.
He knew there were still matters to attend to and hence he exercised restraint. Propping his arms, which were slick with perspiration, beside her head, he slid his fingers into her dampened, black hair. Chu Jian had been worn out to the point that even the seams of her bones were aching, and unable to endure this any longer, she urged him, “Hurry, hurry…”
Just these two, brief words nearly caused him to lose his control, and he was planning to just forget about everything, to abandon all his plans for today and squander the day away on the bed with her.
Chu Jian: “You’re so annoying. No… I meant, hurry and finish up…”
“I’m honestly so sleepy I could die. I want to sleep. Jian Bianlin, I really want to sleep.”
Unable to utter another half a word, she closed her eyes. But right as she was about to catch the corner of the Duke of Zhou’s [god of dreams] robe, she suddenly started back to awareness. Forcing herself to stay awake, she gazed fixedly at him with narrowed eyes. “I couldn’t really see those photos clearly. Did you kiss her?”
“… I’ve never even let her touch my hands.”
Rather pleased from hearing this, Chu Jian drifted off into slumber.
After letting her doze for a dozen or so minutes, Jian Bianlin half coaxed, half lifted her up from the bed. “You can sleep again tonight. There are still things that need to be done.”
“……” That was true. He still needed to rehearse for the birthday event.
Work was more important, after all, so Chu Jian did not really try to be unreasonable. Crawling out of bed of her own accord, she took a shower and then, after changing into some clean clothes, followed him downstairs. She was going to tell him to, on his way, drop her off at the nearby metro station, and she could even head over to her office first. However, after they were sitting in the car, she found that the direction they were headed was not quite right.
The Huhang [Shanghai-Hangzhou] Expressway?
She sniffed out something fishy. “You’re not going to your company office?”
“We’re going home first.”
“Back to Hangzhou?”
His silence was a tacit affirmative.
“Is there something urgent?”
“We’re going register our marriage.”
Earlier, when she was having her little nap, he had already obtained the consent of both sets of parents. The message Jian Bianlin had conveyed was this: The two had already consummated their relationship. If by chance there was already a baby but yet the date they registered their marriage was much later, it would not foster a positive influence for the nurturing and teaching of the child, should the child find out the truth later.
In any case, it was a hogwash reason.
He simply wanted to hurry, take her as his wife, and bring her home with him. Once there was a small red bookletwith their photo affixed to it and a seal imprinted on it and everything was input into the system, their relationship would officially, legitimately be husband and wife.
Just thinking about that felt exceptionally good.
The entire journey was smooth and free from congestion. When they drove into the community compound, it was past two o’clock.
In order to save time, Jian Bianlin had Chu Jian stay in the car while he took the keys to their two families’ homes to get their hukou [document identifying one’s household and permanent residence] booklets. Chu Jian’s heart felt as if it was still floating somewhere in the air and had not landed on solid ground yet. Right as she pushed open the door to get some air, she saw a woman who lived on the first floor of the building walking over with a little boy. “Chu Jian?”
Chu Jian paused blankly.
“Auntie Chen.” Jian Bianlin stepped in and replied first.
Ah, right, the auntie’s surname was Chen. “Auntie Chen.” Chu Jian followed suit and greeted her.
Ever since he was a young, Jian Bianlin had a photographic memory when it came to people, unlike Chu Jian, who was practically face blind. As a child, she could run into the same neighbour several times and still be unable to sort out whether she should address that person as shu shu [a younger uncle] or bo bo [an older uncle], and she was even more unclear on what each auntie’s surname was. Regarding this problem, she had actually had quite the little method for dealing with it. When they went to each home to pay Lunar New Year’s greetings, she would trail right behind Jian Bianlin, and if Jian Bianlin gave greetings to “Auntie Chen, Uncle Du,” she would also address the people as “Auntie Chen, Uncle Du.” She never went wrong this way. Who would have thought? Even though he had left Hangzhou for so long already, he still distinctly remembered all these old neighbours.
“You two came back together?” The elderly auntie smilingly looked them both over. “I just saw your dad not long ago. He mentioned that he was going to Shanghai and would be staying there for a while? Why are the two of you back? You have something to do?”
Jian Bianlin was straightforward in his answer. “We came back to register our marriage.”
Auntie Chen choked on this for quite some time before bursting out rather excitedly, “You two are married?!”
All the joking that was normally tossed around was still only joking. Since Jian Bianlin became a celebrity, they all felt that he would marry a… Anyway, it would be some sort of weird person whom he would marry and, no matter what, that person would not be Chu Jian, the childhood friend whom he had grown up with.
A single sentence managed to successfully draw all the people who were moving about in the community compound over to them.
Everyone gave various displays of surprise and excitement: “I knew way back that the two of you would get married.” “Oh my, now your two families are going to be even closer.” “When are you planning on having the reception? You can’t not come back to Hangzhou to have it.” “Little Jian is a famous star. Will you hold a—what is that called? Oh, right!—a press conference?” …
Jian Bianlin showed utterly no emotion on his face. He merely stated that he was worried that they would be too late so he dared not delay any further, and then he told Chu Jian to get into the vehicle. While he was still outside the car, he was grabbed at again by some people and pressed with a few more questions. Hurriedly, he hopped inside as well.
Turning on the map navigation feature, he drove away.
After entering the gates of the Marriage Registration Centre of the Civil Affairs Bureau, he shut off the engine.
Unfastening his seatbelt, he leaned over, reached his arm around in front of her waist, and pressed her seatbelt release button. In that instant when he lifted his hand back up, he touched it against her forehead, saying in a low voice, “We’re off to get married.”
Chu Jian: “You’re not scared of getting photographed?”
Jian Bianlin: “If we’re photographed, so be it.”
Chu Jian: “It’ll get plastered all over the internet. You’re going to be on the hot, trending topics again. Does Xie Bin know? Have you discussed it with him?”
Jian Bianlin: “He knows.”
It seemed he truly had done all the preparation work already.
There was nothing left for Chu Jian to ask. She pressed her lips together tightly until they looked drained of blood before relaxing them again. Exhaling lightly, she confessed, “I’m nervous.”
He gazed at her with a faint smile and, after a long while, finally replied huskily, “I’m nervous, too.”
From the moment he followed her into her bedroom this morning, he had begun to lose his composure. Now, it was even more so. However, he was the type of person who never revealed anything on his face, regardless of how viciously the storms and waves were crashing inside him. While stating that he was nervous, he had also, in an orderly fashion, opened the glove box on the front passenger side, pulled out a pair of black glasses with flat lenses, slipped them on, and then slapped his cap onto his head.
He was trying as much as possible to not attract attention.
Prior to getting out of the car, he fastened her zipper for her, pulling the slider from the bottom up. As his finger brushed against her chin, he was unable to restrain himself and kissed her.
When the two stepped out of the vehicle and into the main entrance hall, Chu Jian wrapped her entire face in her scarf, showing only her pair of large, black eyes, which were surveying everywhere anxiously.
Jian Bianlin’s height and figure were simply too easy to recognize, and it was impossible to not draw eyes. Very quickly, someone discovered him, which caused Chu Jian to spin around and try to run. He pulled her back.
Chu Jian explained, “Someone’s taking pictures of you.”
To Jian Bianlin, this was very normal—not getting photographed was what was abnormal.
Chu Jian was uneasy. “Do you need to hide your face?”
Jian Bianlin: “It’s not like I’m breaking the law and committing bigamy… Why do I need to hide my face?”
Chu Jian: “……”
He went and stood on the outside of the transaction window. “May I trouble you? We want to do a marriage registration.”
Separated from him by a marble counter that was half a person tall, the staff members on the inside of that window exchanged astounded looks… Without so much as raising her head, an older woman in her forties handed a chart that described the registration process out the window. “Go out the door, make a right, and then pay the fee to get your photo taken. When the photo’s done, bring it back here to fill in the form and do the registration. Second floor has premarital medical exams and premarital sex education. Both are on a voluntary basis.”
“Thank you.” He turned around and left, heading over to line up to pay the fee and take photographs.
Slow on the uptake, that older woman finally allowed her eyes to chase after him for a closer glance. And then, she was somewhat unable to snap out of her astonishment. “Does that person act in movies?”
The people in the seats nearby all nodded furiously. “Yes! He does, he does!”
Fortunately, there were not many people doing marriage registrations, only two or three couples.
Jian Bianlin was long desensitized to being spectated and did not think anything of it. However, to Chu Jian, each second was basically torture. When they finally obtained the marriage photograph of the two of them together, he did not even have a chance to take a close look at it before she was rushing him back to the registration window.
The person who had originally been there was now gone and in her place was a young girl.
The girl was excitedly gripping her pen and pressing her feet firmly into the floor, but her upper body and facial expression were trying hard to maintain the pretense of “I don’t know who you are. I’m just doing my work, and business is business, business is business…” Earlier on, when she discovered that Jian Bianlin had come to register his marriage, in that space of time when the two had left to get their photograph taken, she had instantly gone and begged that other older woman to change spots with her.
Oh my God. To personally type up and print off her idol’s marriage certificate—that feeling was like she was the one getting the certificate with her idol…
From a document rack, the girl carefully pulled out two forms. “Baby Jian, you… Ah, wait, no.” The girl pressed a hand against her forehead and heaved out a long breath. “Sorry, slip of the tongue. The two of you will fill out this form. Once I input all the info into the system, we can issue the marriage certificate.”
This girl who was doing their marriage registration picked up a cup and took a drink of water, feigning composure.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, she tried to get a good look at what Chu Jian looked like—couldn’t really see. All she could see were Chu Jian’s eyes.
The girl wanted to beat her own chest and stamp her feet. Let me see your face, aaaah! If I don’t see your face, how will I know whether Baby Jian’s future kids will be good-looking or not? Ah, right! How could I forget about the marriage photograph? Yes, that’s it! Marriage photograph.”
Ah! Aaaah! So, so pretty!
Chu Jian took her own form, wanting to fill it in.
Taking it directly out of her hand, Jian Bianlin effortlessly filled in both of their forms with all the required information, which he knew by heart. Then wordlessly, he handed her form back to her to sign.
They each signed their own names, dated the forms, and handed them back.
“It’s filled in wrong.” The girl gazed nervously at Jian Bianlin.
Jian Bianlin swept a quick glance over the forms. Wrong? He then began looking through line by line. There shouldn’t be anything wrong.
“Right here. Beneath the signature here, you’re supposed to fill in today’s date,” the young girl quietly pointed out. “You filled in your date of birth instead…”
Idol, you’re just getting married. Don’t be nervous, don’t be nervous…
周公 “Zhou Gong.” The Duke of Zhou was a statesman of the Zhou dynasty, a man of significant political achievements and influence on the Chinese culture. He is credited with writing the I Ching and the Book of Poetry. There is also a well-known dream interpretation dictionary 《周公解梦》Zhou Gong’ s Book of Auspicious and Inauspicious Dreams, to which he is attributed. He is known sometimes as “the god of dreams” and, according to the folk stories, the Duke of Zhou will visit your dreams to tell you of anything significant that will be happening to you. Hence, there is a saying that you will “dream of the Duke of Zhou.”
 In China, a marriage certificate is a small, red, passport-style booklet that contains a photograph of the married couple.
户口 “hu kou.” The hukou, or household registration system is a system in China to identify its citizens. A passport-style document contains identifying information and also states the location where the household and its members permanently reside. It is a required piece of identification that needs to be shown by any Chinese citizen wishing to register his or her marriage in China.
 叔叔 “shu shu” and 伯伯 “bo bo” in English would both mean “uncle.” In general, if a man appears to be younger than your father, you would address him as shu shu while if he appears older than your father, you would address him as bo bo. (However, if unsure, it is better to err on the younger side and address the man as shu shu.)