(Anyone follow the Bundesliga? Almonda?)
After this chapter, can anyone say anymore that Zhousheng Chen is not attracted to Shi Yi? Did our reserved scientist surprise you? 😀 This is an interesting chapter with tidbits of information being dropped. I’ll take any speculations and predictions or “I knew it!” from you guys, just to hear what you’re all thinking. 🙂
Chapter 9.2 – How Can Love be Unraveled? (2)
He slept for approximately two hours and then woke up naturally at seven thirty.
Shi Yi was stil fast asleep, and from Zhousheng Chen’s angle, he could see the curving outline of the side profile of her face. He followed it to her neck and could even see her fine, smooth skin within the neckline of her pajamas. He gazed at her like this for some time, an indescribable feeling in his heart. Shi Yi shifted gently, and her hand that had been clutching his shirt collar, for just a moment, loosened a little before quickly tightening its grip again.
He pushed himself up slightly and softly called her, “Shi Yi?”
It was uncertain whether she was answering from within her dream or that she was simply dazed and half-awake still, but she gave a “hmm.”
He deliberated for a little while, but in the end, he chose to lower his head and begin to kiss the exposed skin at her neckline. The stubble that had appeared overnight lightly rubbed against her neck. Shi Yi unconsciously retreated from it, so he let his kisses trail down her collarbone. He undid two of her pajama buttons, allowing some of the lovely and exquisite sight within to show.
“Zhousheng Chen?” She awoke, her voice groggy.
Their bodies were pressed together, fitting tightly against one another.
She could feel the change in his body, and there was also the suggestive atmosophere from being in a half-awake and dreamlike state. Her throat was somewhat dry, and as her face and ears burned red, she could not help wiggling her body away to avoid the contact between her thigh and his lower body. “Do you want to take a shower first?”
“No, it’s alright,” he replied in a low voice. “I just want to hold you in my arms.”
His actions were not quite consistent with his words, however.
Shi Yi did not say anything more. She could feel his lips were truly simply kissing her, brushing against her neck, collarbone, and chest, neither advancing with his actions nor retreating. Under that thin quilt, the two of them were intimate with one another, and it could even be said, it was almost a form of torture.
“Have you ever read ‘Rhapsody of the Imperial Park’?” he asked.
Shi Yi answered with a faint “mm-hmm.”
She had never once mentioned “Rhapsody of the Imperial Park” to him and did not expect that he would be the one to first bring it up.
“The first time I saw you, I thought of the line in ‘Rhapsody of the Imperial Park’ that describes a woman.” Zhousheng Chen discovered that letting go of her would be even harder than he had expected, so he forced himself to speak softly to interrupt his body’s desire for her. “’Truly extraordinary, matchless in this world. Beguiling and bewitching, elegant and refined.’ The description in these words is very appropriate to you.”
This was the first time he had ever spoken about their initial meeting.
And it was also the first time he had said something to her that was like the sweet, romantic words between lovers.
With her eyes closed, a smile spread across her face.
She stretched out her hand, trying to touch his face. Zhousheng Chen obliged, halting his words and allowing her fingers to caress his browbone, eyes, and the length of his nose. Shi Yi’s motions were very gentle, and there was even a sense that they contained feelings he did not quite understand.
“Even the best outward appearances will one day be faced with aging and deterioration of that former beauty. In my heart, you are the best.” In a gentle voice, she said, “Beautiful bones. Rare in this world. Those with bone do not have skin. Those with skin do not have bone. Most people’s eyes are shallow, seeing only the skin-deep appearance and not the bones. I can feel your beautiful bones.”
Those subtle rises and drops of the bridge of his nose and his browbone had not changed in the slightest.
The schedule for this conference held by the Committee of Space Research was very full, and although there was an entire week, the two of them did not have much time spent together. Shi Yi was one who could entertain herself, and after she had analyzed and was clear on his very detailed schedule, she voluntarily left him alone and simply strolled casually around Bremen.
It happened to be Bundesliga season, and she was even rather interested in going to watch a live game of football.
She had never had a boyfriend before, but Hong Xiaoyu was a hardcore German football fan and had instilled in her all sorts of football knowledge so that, as she sat there in the stadium stands, she was even able to recognize some of the more well-known defenders, strikers, and midfielders.
When she told Hong Xiaoyu that she was at the football stadium, Hong Xiaoyu immediately phoned her, insisting that she wanted to experience the atmosphere as well.
Fortunately, the seat beside Shi Yi was empty so she at least did not disturb anyone.
“Shi Yi, Shi Yi, next time bring me along, kay?” Inside the phone, Hong Xiaoyu cried with a sobbing tone, “You’ve found yourself a rich boy and now you’ve dumped me. I’ll pay for my own plane ticket. You only need to provide room and board, ah~”
“Okay, okay, next time I’ll pay for your food and accommodations,” Shi Yi agreed amusedly. She thought for a moment and added, “But next time, I may not necessarily be going to Germany.”
Hong Xiaoyu gibbered away and continued her complaints.
As Shi Yi listened to her, she felt for her bottle of spring water beside her and was surprised when someone picked it up first and handed it to her.
She lifted her head. She had not expected that she would encounter Zhou Wenchuan.
“What a coincidence,” she marveled.
“Not really a coincidence.” Zhou Wenchuan sat down beside her. “I’ve been in Bremen for a week already. I’ve been wanting to meet up with you.”
Shi Yi was a little perplexed but did not pursue the matter. She took her bottle of water back from him. “You’re in Bremen, too? Your older brother never mentioned it to me.”
“He never told you?”
Zhou Wenchuan smiled. “Maybe he was worried you might misunderstand.”
“Misunderstand things between him and my wife.” Zhou Wenchuan did not seem to care to hide anything. “You may not know that my wife, Tong Jiaren had once been engaged to him. It was when they were both still very young. It was also for this reason that my wife basically followed in his footsteps when she was studying, always attending the schools he was at or had studied at. In other words, you can say they grew up together.”
In those prior few times she had met Tong Jiaren, she had already sensed the particular care she seemed to pay Zhousheng Chen, but she had not expected that it would reach back so far and deep. Most of his time in the first half of his life was spent with Tong Jiaren?
Zhou Wenchuan carried on, “Later, for some particular reasons, their engagement was cancelled, and then after that, for some other reasons, I married her.” Zhou Wenchuan seemed, too, to feel that he was speaking very vaguely and shook his head with a self-mocking smile. “There are many complicated stories behind this. If you have the chance, I think you can ask my older brother.”
She nodded. She could guess that those things that Zhou Wenchuan had chosen to keep secret and not talk about, without a doubt, involved many gray area matters.
She was unsure whether she was ready to hear Zhousheng Chen tell her about the Zhou family’s background, so she did not pursue this further.
“So, you came here because your wife is here?” She thought back to that phrase, “worried you might misunderstand,” that he had used at the very beginning.
“She is just like my older brother and has chosen to devote herself to science.” Zhou Wenchuan gave a slight shrug. “I don’t really understand what it is they do. It was a coincidence that they were both invited to come this time around.”
Zhou Wenchuan said a few more things, most of it just casual conversation.
Shi Yi chatted along with him as she pretended to watch the game, all the while still pondering what the purpose of this deliberate encounter with her was. Perhaps by woman’s intuition, she could sense that the feelings Zhou Wenchuan held for Zhousheng Chen were not as deep as his sister’s. Whether it was because of Tong Jiaren or some other reason, she knew that she could not completely trust this person.
After the game, the two of them left the stadium.
A vehicle had arrived to pick up Zhou Wenchuan. She could tell that the attendants that waited upon him as well as his driver were, like Zhousheng Chen’s attendants, those who were dedicated to serving for all their family’s generations. They were all refined, polite, and proper, and every time they opened their mouths to address them, they used “Miss Shi Yi” or “Second Young Master.”
In a low voice, Zhou Wenchuan asked whether Tong Jiaren had already returned to the hotel. After a middle-aged man dressed in a black suit nodded in answer, he then turned to Shi Yi and inquired, “Did my older brother arrange for a car to pick you up? Do you need me to drive you back to your hotel?”
Shaking her head, she declined politely and made up a reason, “No thanks. I’ve arranged to meet up with a friend.”
Zhou Wenchuan raised his eyebrow slightly. He seemed to know that this was merely an excuse, but he did not expose her.
From one of the attendants beside him, he took an ordinary-looking envelope and handed it to Shi Yi. “This item here, I believe, should belong to you. Marriages in the Zhou family have always been arranged by the elders of one’s parents’ generation. Love is greater than any other benefit that could be gained. From the standpoint of my family, I greatly value my marriage and hope that Miss Shi Yi, you will choose, like me, to remain silent. At the same time, however, this matter must be resolved.”
Taking it from him, she watched as he got into his vehicle and left, and then she felt through that sealed envelope.
She could feel that, inside the entire envelope, there was only a very small object, and from its shape, it should be a ring.
She did not open it up immediately.
After returning to the hotel, she first washed her heads and poured herself a glass of warm water before she opened that envelope and pulled out from inside it the ring that was identical to Zhousheng Chen’s wedding band. It was a very simple ring, without any unnecessary adornments or even designs. She examined it carefully and very quickly, on the inside of the band, saw the engraved words, “The ninth day of the fourth month of the year of Xin-mao.”
Even though she did not often translate dates back into the Lunar calendar, she still would not forget that this particular date was May 11th of this year.
This was the ring he had lost. There was no mistaking it.
Shi Yi slid the ring onto her own finger. Her fingers were slender, and therefore, his ring on her finger was, of course, very large. As she gently twirled the ring around her finger for a little while, the trace of jealousy she had felt earlier disappeared. While she still somewhat cared that he and Tong Jiaren had grown up together since childhood, she was certain that he did not know about this.
No one would be so foolish that he would gift someone else with his wedding ring that had his wedding anniversary engraved on it.
Furthermore, that person was Zhousheng Chen, and with his intelligence…
While she was lightly exhaling a breath, the door was pushed open from the outside, and Zhousheng Chen stepped into the room before closing the door behind him.
Shi Yi raised her head to glance at him, and as she did so, for some reason, she suddenly thought of the intimacy they had shared this morning. She quickly pulled her gaze away. “I ran into your younger brother today.”
Zhousheng Chen placed his jacket on the couch. “He came looking for you?”
“Mm-hmm. And watched half a game of football with me.”
He was about to sit down when he saw the ring on her finger and was taken aback briefly. In an instant, though, he was able to deduce the specifics of the entire situation. “He gave that to you?”
“And did he also tell you the nature of the relationship between Tong Jiaren and I?”
“How clear was he about it?” In an upfront manner, he sat down and asked, “Do you need me to add or clarify anything?”
Seeing him so composed and calm, she was actually somewhat puzzled. “You aren’t worried that I’ll get mad?”
Zhousheng Chen smiled, “Your intelligence is quite acceptable, and you should have the capability to reason.”
With a “pfft,” she burst out in laughter. “Thank you for the compliment.”
“She and I have known each other since we were children, and we have studied at the same schools all throughout the years. Even now, we will occasionally have work exchanges and collaborations.” Zhousheng Chen seemed to be a little thirsty. He glanced at her glass that Shi Yi had set on the table, and with a very natural action, he reached over, picked it up, and took a drink from it. “Later, her sister married my [paternal] uncle, and she and I cancelled our engagement. Later still, for reasons that I am not sure of myself, she and Wenchuan were married.”
A concise clarification that very directly explained the questions.
She thought to herself, they had grown up together and had been engaged all that time, but then, because of such a bizarre situation, they had broken off their betrothal. He must still have a place in Tong Jiaren’s heart. Plus, Zhou Wenchuan had also said that she and Zhousheng Chen had similar aspirations and interests and were the same type of people.
Spinning the ring around her finger, her thoughts seemed to drift haphazardly as she pondered.
When her gaze finally wandered back, she discovered that he was staring at her with a thoughtful expression.
 German professional football (soccer) league
辛卯年，四月初九. “四月初九” means the “ninth day of the fourth month”, and in this case, it is referring to the Lunar calendar, not the Gregorian. 辛卯年 or “the year of Xin-mao” is referencing a very traditional way of naming years using a 60 year cycle called the sexagenary cycle or the stem-branch cycle. i.e. There are 60 names, Xin-mao being one of them, for 60 different years, and after the cycle is complete, the naming of years starts from the very beginning of the cycle again. I will not dive into details except to say this 60 year cycle has been adopted since at least the time of a text called 春秋 Spring and Autumn Annals, which was composed in approximately 5th century BCE and used this system to record dates. Since then, over these thousands of years, this counting and naming of years has remained unbroken, even to this day. Anyways, the date engraved into the ring translates to May 11, 2011 in the Gregorian Calendar, Shi Yi and Zhousheng Chen’s anniversary.
 叔父 “shu fu”. While in English, “uncle” is correct, the description of “shu fu” clearly is referring to Zhousheng Heng (i.e. Xiao Ren’s father).
1 of 1 Prologue
29 of 56 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogues
Which of you ladies was disappointed that Zhousheng Chen did not express more of his gratitude at Shi Yi’s declaration of unconditional trust? Does this satisfy your imagination yet? 😀
We all know that Shi Yi pursued this relationship because of the intensity of her feelings from her past life. I do like, here, that it shows Shi Yi is not foolish and does not allow emotion to cloud her judgement. While she once again demonstrates her trust in Zhousheng Chen, she also displays, as he put it, “her capability to reason.” Definitely not a dummy or damsel-in-distress type of female lead. 🙂