“What are you thinking about?”
Jiang Yisheng’s voice suddenly rang from behind, which gave me a big shock. In frustration, I hit his shoulder, “You scared me!”
Jiang Yisheng said, “That’s just your guilty-conscience, how could you blame me for scaring you!”
I asked fiercely, “Why are you here?”
“I was curious about your first customer so I came to take a look? Have they come? How are they?”
I said listlessly, “Zhou Buwen.”
“Big Head?” Jiang Yisheng winked and smiled, “He even booked for a month… do you think that… Big Head is trying to woo you?”
I frowned, “What nonsense are you spouting?”
“Stop feigning ignorance. I read the love letter Big Head wrote to you back then, but since you never mentioned it, I pretended I didn’t know about it.”
“Crazy! How old were we back then?! You also pee in your bed when you were a child. Do you still pee in your bed now?”
“The more you deny, the more guilty you’re feeling.” Jiang Yisheng snickered and headed upstairs.
I grabbed him, “Hang on. I have something to ask you.”
I contemplated a little and whispered, “You’ve dated a few women, so you’re quite experienced in relationships. What do you think is the difference between friendships of the opposite sex and being boyfriend-and-girlfriend?”
Jiang Yisheng began to feel interested. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and looked at me attentively, “Miss, what exactly do you want to ask. Can you be clearer?”
“I just want to ask you, what is the feeling of liking someone?”
Jiang Yisheng said, “You’d feel that the person’s very interesting, you’d enjoy being with the person and you won’t feel bored at all after spending the whole day with the person.”
“I think you’re pretty interesting, and I quite enjoy being with you. After being with you for more than ten years, I still don’t find it boring.” I looked at Jiang Yisheng and said with a straight face.
Jiang Yisheng stared at me speechlessly and continued, “You’d be very bothered by the person. When the person is sad, you’d feel sad as well; when the person is happy, you’d feel happy for them; when the person is in trouble, you’d seek all means to help them; when someone bullies them, you’d feel very angry and help to find revenge.”
“I’m very bothered by you. When you’re sad, I bet I won’t be happy; when you’re happy, I’d be happy for you; when you’re in trouble, I’d seek all means to help you; when someone bullies you, I’d help you to fight back, and this has been proven by experience!” I glared at Jiang Yisheng and said, “Are you hinting that I like you?”
Jiang Yisheng didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh, “You like me and I like you. But the ‘like’ we have is different from the ‘like’ you are asking about.
“How is it different?”
Jiang Yisheng furrowed his brows and pulled me towards him, where we were almost next to each other, “When he holds your hand, your heart would beat faster; when he gives you a hug, you would feel breathless; when he touches you, your whole body would tremble, wanting to retreat while yearning for it; when he kisses you, you would feel that that was the sweetest taste on earth.” While whispering next to my ear, Jiang Yisheng held my waist in one hand and the other hand gently held my arm.
He stared at me while I stared at him. From his eyes, I could see my calm and clear eyes.
Jiang Yisheng smiled, “Your eyes have clearly written the answer.”
I began to understand Jiang Yisheng’s words, but I was completely stunned by my understanding as I stood like an astonished chicken* on the spot.
[t/n: I did a literal translation of the Chinese idiom 呆若木鸡, which essentially translates to — an utterly shocked expression.]
Jiang Yisheng noticed that something was wrong with me and was just about to probe further when Zhou Buwen’s startled voice came from the stairs, “Xiao Luo?”
Jiang Yisheng murmured, “Crap!” and he quickly let go of me, “Xiao Luo, hurry and explain.”
“Explain? Explain what?” I looked at the surroundings in a daze and noticed that Zhou Buwen was standing at the stairs and Wu Julan was standing in the living room. They both looked silently at Jiang Yisheng and I – one with a complicated expression and his gaze was heavy while the other didn’t have any emotions and his gaze was still.
At the moment, I was in a fluster so I lowered my head and said nothing. Instead of clearing Jiang Yisheng’s name, I even made the situation more awkward.
Jiang Yisheng had no other choice but to clear the situation himself and he said awkwardly, “Cousin Wu, w-when…did you come in?”
Wu Julan said clearly and plainly, “If you wanted to ask whether I had seen something that I shouldn’t, the answer is ‘I had’. Sorry!”
Jiang Yisheng quickly said, “D-don’t be sorry. I can explain. We were just fooling around. Xiao Luo…” He forcefully nudged me to prove his words.
Instead, I turned around and walked out, “I’m going out to buy stuff.” Without turning back, I rushed out of the courtyard, leaving the three men in the house.
I sat on the reef and looked out at the sea in the far distance.
Under the twilight, the waves surged one after another without a pause but it could not be compared to the emotions surging in my heart right now.
How could I like Wu Julan? No, no, impossible!
From the beginning, Wu Julan had never hidden anything. I was very clear of his true face – poor, eccentric, mysterious, who even did not have an identification card.
I was never curious to ask and simply accepted all the facts, thinking that he was just a passerby in my life who would leave soon after so there was no need to ask. Now, I realised I was actually too cowardly to ask.
Actually, the many details have already told me the answer.
However, the joy from our daily interactions, the peace from being next to him, the fluster when facing him, the frustrations when being ignored by him, I have ignored them all intentionally and unintentionally, because I absolutely didn’t dare to face the answer to it all.
Until the last moment, I struggled to use “a good friend” to lie to myself.
I smiled wryly. I will be twenty-six soon and I was no longer a teenage girl. How could I like such a person? He is like a dandelion flying in the sky; no matter how beautiful it looks, it cannot hide the harsh truth: no roots, no home, nothing.
Young girls may fall in love with such handsome men: mysterious, romantic, and exciting. They have enough courage, enough youth, and enough enthusiasm to pursue passionately and vigorously, caring only about loving at the moment and a love lasting forever.
But I wasn’t like that. My parents divorced which made me experience three types of man-and-woman relationships and marriages from a very young age – my mother and father, my mother and step-father, and my father and step-mother. Moving from one family to another family has made me indifferent to ‘wandering’ and ‘mysterious’ which many young girls would fantasise. One could even say that I despised them. More than anyone on earth, I yearned for stability, firmness and reliability.
Probably because I was exposed to the unbearable relationship between men and women too early, I have never been a romantic person. I had never believed in a lasting marriage and had even prepared to be single in this life. Even if I really were to get married, my ideal marriage partner should have: a clean family background, no bad hobbies, possess a certain financial foundation, doesn’t need an outstanding career but shouldn’t have any financial constraints; he doesn’t need to be good-looking, just decent-looking will do.
To be blunt, I am one of the world’s countless sensible girls who wouldn’t daydream over unrealistically, hoping to meet a prince charming to save myself; neither would I be crazy over love and sacrifice everything for it, at the expense of my living quality just to save a man.
How could a woman like me possibly fall in love with a man like Wu Julan?
Zhou Buwen’s call interrupted my train of thoughts. I calmed myself down, hid all my thoughts, and turned around to smile and look at him.
“I came to try my luck. I didn’t think that you would be here.” Zhou Buwen jumped into the reef, just like when we were young, and pressing on my shoulders, he sat next to me.
I subconsciously shifted aside a little, “Luckily the view here isn’t great so there are little tourists. So it’s still as quiet as it was in the past.”
Zhou Buwen looked at the gap in between us and asked sadly, “You like the doctor?”
“If you’re referring to liking him as a friend, of course I do. But if you’re talking about liking him as a man, I don’t. We were just playing with each other earlier.”
Zhou Buwen’s expression was relaxed as he smiled and gazed at me.
I looked at him and suddenly thought: he should be the partner that I dream for! He is knowledgeable, successful, and gentlemanly…
Zhou Buwen suddenly said, “Xiao Luo, can you give me a hug? As a welcome back gift.”
I was stunned for a moment, then I stretched open my arms and lightly hugged Zhou Buwen. I was very happy, it was very warm, but my heart didn’t beat faster nor did I feel shy and nervous.
Zhou Buwen said, “Xiao Luo, I’m back.”
It was a simple sentence but only the both of us understood the hardships within. I said, “Welcome back!”
Zhou Buwen murmured, “The same sea breeze, the same reef, the same person. The light that was missing from my heart is finally filled again.”
I let go of Zhou Buwen, patted his shoulders exuberantly, smiled and said, “Don’t worry. Jiang Yisheng and I were always here.”
Zhou Buwen probed, “What are you thinking about while sitting alone over here?”
I said, “I was just randomly thinking about things. Let’s go. It’s getting dark so we should go back for dinner.”
I stood up, swept my gaze and noticed a somewhat familiar figure standing on the cliff afar. After a closer look, there were only lush tung and saffron trees. I stared at the cliff and Zhou Buwen followed my line of sight and asked strangely, “What’s wrong?”
I smiled, “Nothing. Let’s go!”
T/N: okay honestly, finally another chapter is completed. thank you for the wait ;-;