A short, sweet, but relatively uneventful update, except those important three words were spoken. I think Fang Yunyun is the only character in this story for whom I have absolutely nothing nice to say.
Chapter 15.1 – A Warm Temperature (1)
Tong Yan’s heart felt like it was itching because of his actions. She closed her eyes, then opened them again. He was still in the same position, not having even changed it in the slightest.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
He answered, “I’m thinking about you.”
“What about me?”
“Can’t really say.” He really began to seriously contemplate. “Do you want to do your internship in a law firm or in the courts?”
“I don’t know.” She had always thought that she was mature enough already, but in reality, when faced with internship, career choice, or other questions of this type, she was still very much at a loss. Possibly in five years, when she looked back on herself now, she would feel then that none of these were actually issues.
But right now, they truly were issues.
“How about I’ll just contentedly be Mrs. Gu?” She blew out a breath. “Mr. Gu’s ‘ru hua mei juan’ [beautiful wife who is lovely like a flower].”
He copied the shape of her lips that she had used to form “ru hua mei juan,” but his pronunciation was not very accurate.
Tong Yan chortled delightedly as she listened to him. “I’ve finally discovered our cultural differences. Teacher Gu, it seems you are only able to teach law, and preferably international law or something along those lines.”
He suddenly gave an utterly harmless and innocent smile before his hands slipped beneath the covers, and sliding them in under the hem of her pajamas, he allowed his warm palm to stroke the skin at her waist. His action caused Tong Yan’s throat to grow dry, and she motioned with her lips for him to turn off the lights. However, it was as if he had not seen anything as he continued caressing her for a little while. Then all of a sudden, he began to lightly squeeze her in the spot where she was most ticklish.
She bit down on her lip, not daring to laugh out loud.
Unable to escape him, she could only strugglingly writhe beneath his arms, but unfortunately, he was too strong and no matter what she did, it was no use. Finally, when her face was flushed and her entire body was covered in sweat from laughing so hard, he released her. Rolling to the other end of the bed, she protested, “Gu Pingsheng …”
“Mm,” he answered, still lying on his side with one arm propping up his head, his hairs in front falling forward gently so that they partly concealed his eyes.
“Pretty Lady’s Bane?” She suddenly felt that this name suited him perfectly.
He smiled, not batting an eye, and did not answer.
“Have I ever told you”—she shifted herself herself back cautiously out of worry that he would tickle her again, wrapped her arms and legs around him, and enunciated each word clearly—“I love you?”
After saying this, she pressed her cheek against his chest. And then, she felt his arms encircle her waist.
“I don’t think you have.” His voice came from above her head.
His answer was actually given quite seriously.
Tong Yan had thought her one sentence had been quite touching, but his answer left her at a loss over whether to cry or laugh. Right as she was about to lift her head to protest, he began gently placing kisses from her forehead down her face.
So he had been touched. In satisfaction, Tong Yan turned her face upwards and responded to his kisses until, in the end, both of them somewhat felt that control was slipping from their grasp. He suddenly halted himself and wrapped her snugly in the blanket. “Nothing is one hundred percent guaranteed to be failproof. Be good and go back to sleep. We have plenty of time in the future.”
She understood his meaning. With an “mm,” she truly did obediently put on her pajamas and quietly slip back into her room.
It was fortunate that she only had final examinations for two courses. When Shen Yao gave her the exact dates when examinations would be taking place, she also deliberately described in vague words the rumours about Tong Yan that were floating around in the faculty.
“ ‘The one who is pure and without fault shall, naturally, only be blameless’ [if you are innocent, what others say should not matter because you truly are innocent],” Shen Yao muttered sullenly. “Anyway, once we’ve graduated, we’re all going to go our separate ways and won’t see one another. You don’t need to care about what they say.”
Holding the telephone receiver, Tong Yan laughed and gave an “mm-hmm.”
After hanging up, she calculated out the dates. It was about time for her to return to school.
Perhaps due to the uniqueness of their own family situation, Grandmother had never really asked too much about Gu Pingsheng’s family and would only frequently lament, “You two children, things have not been easy for the both of you.”
“Actually, it has been pretty easy.” Lying on her stomach on the sofa, she quietly murmured this, feeling very happy and blessed.
So easily, they had seen each other again. So easily, they had come together as a couple. So easily, he had returned healthy.
She let these mindless, random thoughts occupy her for a while before heading downstairs to select some fruit for him from the fruit store out front of the community compound. The owner of the store had long since come to know her and greeted her warmly, informing her which fruits had come in this morning and were especially good. While providing occasional responses to him, she walked beside the row after row of fruit stands. Then, she saw several familiar figures at the door to the store.
In the same instant she saw them, they also noticed her.
Holding a sun umbrella over her head, Fang Yunyun looked towards her and gave a smile. And Lu Bei, from the moment he saw her, did not move his gaze away from her.
“Mrs. Gu, this one is absolutely the freshest of today …”
The storekeeper was still babbling on and enthusiastically making recommendations, utterly oblivious to her reaction. Somewhat awkwardly, she shook her head and sidestepped him with an excuse. “I forgot to bring money. I’ll come down again later to buy some.”
Cheerfully, the storekeeper chose a cantaloupe for her. “It’s alright. You come down here everyday anyway. It’ll be no problem if you just pay me tomorrow.”
While she still was uncertain how to take her leave from this place, the owner handed to her a bag of fruit filled with yellows, reds, and warm greens in a perfect combination that he had selected.
As she took the bag from him, she heard Fang Yunyun say that this place seemed quite nice and how about they take a look around? Lu Bei’s parents appeared as if they did not really want to go in, but unable to endure Fang Yunyun’s persuasion, they all stepped in through the gates of the community compound even before Tong Yan.
She could approximately figure out that Fang Yunyun was beginning to form some rash and unreasonable ideas in her mind, and Tong Yan was genuinely worried that, in a moment of impetuousness, she might just buy a property here. She did not like Fang Yunyun, but Lu Bei had done nothing wrong. She hoped that Lu Bei could live a life that was good. Extremely good.
Deliberately, she allowed herself to fall behind by several steps to avoid them. Right as she arrived home, she received a text message from Gu Pingsheng: Mr. Gu is going to take you to buy clothes. TK
She immediately sent a reply back: Why are we buying more clothes for me?
Soon, her phone vibrated, indicating a reply: To satisfy Mr. Gu’s ego. TK
It so happened that Grandmother was not home that evening. Since her bout with that disease, the elderly woman more and more enjoyed participating in various social activities. At first, Tong Yan had had some misgivings about this, but after the respected doctor of their household had stated the fact that the benefits outweighed the harm, she dared not prevent her from going anymore. And so, the two of them gradually came to have plenty of time alone together.
When she arrived at their arranged meeting place, Gu Pingsheng was already there.
As he had been guest lecturing that afternoon at a university where one of his friends taught, his appearance, naturally, was very proper and respectable. A black suit jacket was folded over his arm and one hand held his tie. Even in such hot weather, he did not show the slightest bit of agitation or impatience from the heat.
Yet, it was also this outstanding man who … last night, on the bed, had horsed around and tickled her.
Tong Yan squinted her eyes and stared at him from afar, very much relishing in what she saw.
Her mobile phone all of a sudden vibrated. She glanced down at it: Stared enough yet? If you have, then come on over. TK
She lifted her head and broke into a smile. Putting her phone away, she ran over to him.
Women’s apparel occupied two levels of the shopping centre, one level for young, fresh styles and one for mature, professional fashions. To match Gu Pingsheng’s appearance, she purposely first went with him to browse through the floor with the more business-style apparel. After less than five minutes, though, they both felt those did not at all suit her and proceeded downstairs to begin wandering through each of the various shops there. Eventually, they had both walked until they simply could not move anymore, and taking a seat in the McDonald’s inside the mall, they bought iced colas to drink.
They talked and laughed, and then, she secretly stole a look at the glass where her reflection could be seen together with his.
These last several months, she had not cut her hair, and at most, when her bangs grew too long, she had simply faced the mirror and taken care of them herself. Now, her hair was past her waist, and to stay cool, she had tied it up in a ponytail, which made her appear quite a bit younger.
However, he did not look old either, or at least, there did not appear to a ten or more year age difference between them.
“I ran into my ex-boyfriend this afternoon. He and his wife were looking at properties.” Looking at him, she asked, “If they ended up living in the same community compound as us, would that make you uncomfortable? Would you be jealous?”
“I’m guessing I would.”
“Guessing?” She tried to judge from his facial expression, but she was unable to deduce whether that was the truth or not.
“How about this?” He made a show of looking at his watch. “It’s still early right now. We’ll go look at some properties, too, and change homes tomorrow.”
Seeing the soft smile in his eyes, Tong Yan realized he was joking and could not refrain from giving him a kick under the table. Then, smiling at one another, they continued their completely pointless conversation and squandered away the beautiful afternoon.
如花美眷 “ru hua mei juan.” An idiom that means, “beautiful wife who is lovely as a flower.” The last character, 眷 “juan” is referring to 眷属, which literally means “family dependent upon another.” It can be specifically used to describe a couple that has chosen to come together in marriage, and in the case of this idiom, it is referring to the wife. This is not an everyday way to refer to one’s spouse, and therefore, Gu Pingsheng, as someone who grew up overseas, was not familiar with the idiom.
清者自清 “qing zhe zi qing.” A more literal translation is, “the one who is pure, naturally, is simply pure.” I have translated the 清 “qing,” which literally means “pure” or “clean,” as “without fault” and “blameless.” Just as clear water shall always be pure, even if someone points at it and says it is dirty, a pure, clean, blameless person shall, without question, only be pure and blameless, regardless of what others may think or say. In other words, your innocence is not dependent on what others may or may not think, so you should not place any regard on their words.
Love Tong Yan’s perspectives on life shown here. If you allow yourself to focus on the pain, you’re only going to magnify it and allow yourself to fall into bitterness. Instead, she chooses to count her blessings. “So easily, they had seen each other again. So easily, they had come together, as a couple. So easily, he had returned healthy.”
1 of 1 Prologue
44 of 66 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogue segments