This is the first of three posts that I’ve set up to post automatically while I’m away for the next two weeks. (I should be hopping on a plane when this posts. The wonders of technology. ;)) Just a reminder that for the month of December, I’ll only post once weekly.
Sorry, Sheng Sheng. I know it’s not the most flattering pic of you, but hehe… So, how good of a nurse is Sheng Sheng? ;) And, can you hear the sparks flying?
Chapter 36 – Floured Beef Steamed in a Cup (6)
She realized she should have asked him a few more questions such as, where was it hung or about how big was it? … But when she walked into the bathroom, she discovered those questions were completely unnecessary. On the towel rack that was outside the bathroom, there was, on the left side, a set of small, medium, and large white towels while on the right side was a set of small, medium, and large light blue towels. Hanging on the very bottom rack were two of each color.
It was very obvious how they were organized.
She thought, the top row of small towels should be for hand wiping?
The ones in the middle row should be to wipe the face?
And the last row…
The whole concept of what a bath towel was for flashed into her brain, and she immediately avoided that particular size, reaching instead for the face towel. The faucet had both cold and hot water. By the time she moistened the towel and walked back into the room, she found Mo Qingcheng had drowsily drifted off to sleep already.
He was lying there on his side, his position somewhat similar to that of a child, and his head was resting on his own left arm.
Judging from the sweat on his forehead, his fever should be starting to break?
As she thought about how miserable she was whenever she had a fever, she felt sympathy for him. She set the towel down lightly on the marble windowsill, walked over beside his bed, and slowly crouched down. Reaching over, she picked up the thermometer from beside the pillow and glanced at the reading.
Thirty-eight degrees Celsius? Ugh … So that meant, it should have been higher than this when he took the reading a moment ago? How high? She glanced again at the person lying on the bed, pondering a moment before using a few fingers to gently lift up his arm that was outside on top of the blanket and slip it inside the covers.
Hopefully, the fever would be completely gone by nighttime.
Then, he could eat something and be better by tomorrow.
She looked at him.
He was sleeping so deeply right here before her… Because he had sweated, his skin seemed even more pale and smooth, and there was also a faint redness to his complexion. This rather unhealthy flush actually gave the side view of his face a softer sort of beauty…
All these years, the only man’s room she had ever entered was Cousin’s, and this was the first time she had ever been right there before a sleeping man. In particular… this man was Toupai, that person whose casual Weibo update could cause more than a hundred thousand fans to be thrilled to death –– Qiang Qing Ci.
Three day’s time … was really not enough to eliminate the effect of the fact that he was Qiang Qing Ci …
“Man is made neither of wood nor rock. All have feelings. It is better not to encounter one whose beauty can topple a city”…… This was a line she had written in her QQ status when she had first fallen in love with his voice. The memory was still fresh in her mind, but this was her own little secret.
And now… He truly was deserving of the words, “beauty that can topple a city” [unrivalled allure]…
His eyelashes fluttered.
Her heart gave a leap.
And then… everything continued being still.
Phew. This really was too much of a challenge for her heart and its ability to handle pressure…
Gu Sheng felt that staring at him sleeping like this was too creepy, so she walked out into the living room.
Carefully observing his home, she noticed now that it was very clean. A room with not single speck of dust in it, but there was stuff randomly tossed everywhere, from clothing to magazines to CDs and DVDs. Really, so untidy.
She put away the discs and magazines that were on the sofa and sat down to read the book that, out of habit, she always carried with her. But after reading a while, she dozed off. When she awakened again, it was because of hunger pains in her stomach, and only then did she remember that she had been so busy hurrying over here that, besides drinking some water, she had actually not eaten anything yet.
Past four o’clock already?
*cold sweat* She was on the way to starving herself to death.
Fortunately, the coffee table in the living room had several wooden boxes of snacks on it and they were all open. Inside them, there were all sorts of snacks.
I’ve been working so hard, waiting on him without complaint, and I’ve tolerated loneliness to stay here and keep the sick patient company. He shouldn’t let me starve to death, right? … She silently justified herself while digging through the food: “strange taste” fava beans, dried packaged scallops in “original flavor”, spicy enoki mushrooms, melon seeds, duck gizzards…
T.T…… Two men, both ridiculous chowhounds, and they had so many snacks on hand but none of them were actually filling…
She opened up a package of scallops and in a single mouthful, had finished the bag.
Moving onto the next one…
Gu Sheng head was down as she munched away, but she was simply heading on a path where, the more she ate, the hungrier she got.
Just as she opened the seventh package, she sensed that there seemed to be a figure standing not far away. Jumping in shock, she lifted her head. Toupai was there looking dazed and rather exhausted but watching her somewhat amusedly as she ate.
Hastily, Gu Sheng set down the snacks and stood up. “You’re awake? Fever subsided yet?”
Toupai frowned. “Seems like it’s gone down a bit. Fever will probably come back again tonight.”
“How about we go to the hospital?”
“No need. I’m used to it. Every year, there’ll be several times when I get a fever. It just needs an entire night to work through and then I’ll be better.” He shook his head and then stepped completely out of his room.
She followed after him. “You’re all sweaty. How about I turn on the heat in the living room for you? Otherwise, you’re going to catch another cold right away.”
Toupai shook his head. “No, it’ll be fine.”
She noticed that he was heading toward the kitchen. “Are you hungry? Or do you want a drink?”
Halting his steps, Toupai lowered his head to look down at Gu Sheng beside him. From the look in his eyes, it seemed his mind had finally cleared slightly from its groggy state.
Am I nagging him too much? Why doesn’t he keep walking? …
He smiled a little helplessly and amusedly. “I just want to go to the bathroom.”
She watched as he walked into the washroom and pulled the sliding door shut, feeling suddenly that she really was not much use here. Toupai seemed like someone who especially knew how to take care of himself… Really, she came here because she was afraid his fever would suddenly spike and she could go with him to the hospital, or if he was hungry, she could help make sure he was fed…… The former situation did not seem very likely to occur? As for the latter… it seemed she had fed herself full first.
Gu Sheng analyzed her situation. After Toupai had washed his face and walked back out, she asked him, “What are you going to do about dinner tonight? What would you like to eat? I’ll make it for you?” Even though I can’t compare to your skills as a chef, I can still manage rice porridge or something like that…
He did not answer her and instead asked her, “Were they good, those snacks?”
“Mm-hmm…” So awkward. Gu Sheng nodded. “Pretty good.”
He smiled and, in a sick and feeble voice, asked again, “Which one do you like? I’ll buy more next time.”
“The scallop is pretty good… The enoki mushrooms weren’t bad either…” Gu Sheng thought a bit and decided to be honest. “Forget it. Let me buy it for you in the future. At least, get something that makes you feel full after you’ve eaten it.”
He gave an “mm” in response.
And then… he went back onto his own bed…
Without prompting, she again poured him a glass of warm water, walked into his room, and handed it to him. “You sweated a lot. Have some water.” After she finished saying this, she felt a little bit self-conscious. It seemed as if, to her, having a fever = drink warm water + sleep.
Mo Qingcheng took the glass of water from her.
He took a drink.
…… And then another drink.
There was only the faint sound of water being swallowed.
She leaned forward, took the glass from him, and placed it on the bookshelf beside the bed. Turning her head back, she was about to stand up when she felt a slight pain in her scalp. Her hair had gotten tangled in his watch…
She was about to pull the strands out.
With a low voice, Toupai stopped her. “Don’t pull. I’ll help you untangle them.”
His voice brushed the side of her ear. After she heard him say this, she stopped the manhandling of her own hair and simply sat down like this, close beside him.
Toupai brushed away her hair that was blocking his view and used his hand to follow the snarled strands until he touched his watch. It seemed as if he was unable to unravel them, so he took off his watch and, with lowered head, carefully scrutinized where the hairs were caught.
He patiently worked on untangling them and wrapped those strands lightly around his finger.
She dared not move, accommodating him as much as possible as she sat there next to him. Her one hand was on the bed on the other side of him, propping up her body weight in an almost bizarre position where she was half hanging over him. The slightest loss of focus and she would be leaning on top of his leg…
Hurry up and get untangled, oh please, hurry up and untangle…
The room was very dim…
She shifted slightly but ended up bumping against his leg. As if scalded, she recoiled away.
Ouch… She had jerked her hair again…
“That hurt?” He lifted his head.
He sighed, “Don’t move if it hurts.”
He lowered his head.
Mo Qingcheng raised his head again.
“How about we turn on some lights first?”
Since there was no power outage, there honestly should not be any reason for doing the job in the dark, ah…
Or alternatively, just break those strands T.T.
When Mo Qingcheng heard her suggestion, his expression was one of confusion for half a second and then, sudden comprehension… Just as he was about to say something, there was a sound at the doorway of someone clearing his throat. “Pardon me, you two… Want me to close the door for you?”
 人非木石皆有情，不如不遇倾城色 Taken from the poem, 《李夫人》Lady Li, written by Tang dynasty poet, Bai Juyi. Recall that the “unrivalled allure” part of Toupai’s nickname is actually taken from the saying that he has “beauty that can bring the downfall of a city.”
 怪味蚕豆A snack originating from Chongqing. Fava beans are flavoured with several dry, powder-form seasonings that range from sweet to spicy to salty so that when eaten, there are multiple layers of flavor; hence it’s name, “strange taste.”