Fangirling Chinese Novels

My Darling (我的曼达林) — Chapter 1.2


Oh man, what a terribly awkward situation. I feel bad for Jian Bianlin.

Chapter 1.2 — That Little First Love Unbeknownst to Anyone (2)

“… Huh?”

Playing dumb, Chu Jian reached in and dug around randomly in the mini fridge, but she had completely forgotten what she was even searching for.

She decisively pressed the “end” button and hung up the call, not giving Tong Fei the slightest chance to utter another sound.

At the same time, Jian Bianlin turned sideways behind her, and extending his arm over, he pulled out a bottle of grapefruit juice from the little compartment on the second shelf of the refrigerator and stuffed it into her arms. This was her favourite drink.

As Chu Jian murmured a thanks, her gaze crossed with his.

She swore, he must have heard… Actually, they definitely had not done “it.” But, she still ended up recalling some memories that should not be recalled. That year, the two of them were taking a ferry across the river. There were many people. Motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles were all piled on as well. She and he had been jostled into a corner, separated from her parents as well as his dad by layer upon layer of people. While she was anxiously worrying over whether her brand new, cotton outfit was going to rub against the tires to the right of her and be dirtied, he had caught her completely off guard by suddenly obstructing her line of sight. The feeling at that moment had been… her lips were wet and… had been bitten…

Chu Jian resolutely put the grapefruit juice back, pulled out a bottle of her most hated kind of juice—carrot—and walked away.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

The whole night, she never left her room again.

At the crack of dawn the next morning, her dad and mom said they were returning to Hangzhou to sweep her [paternal] grandfather’s gravesite. She rolled over, wanting to continue sleeping, and so was utterly unprepared when her mom dragged her out of bed to tell her that there was chicken soup in the kitchen. In passing, her mom also informed her that Jian Bianlin was leaving on an afternoon flight today, and sadly for him, there was no one to cook for him at lunchtime. She instructed Chu Jian to heat up the chicken soup and invite him over, and then the two of them could drink it together.

“No, I don’t want to. Why don’t you bring it over to him now? Give it all to him. I’m not going to have any…” She expressed her objection.

Thus, her dad and mom began taking turns reprimanding her for not being mature and good-mannered. They lectured her to the point that she was begging for mercy before they finally left. But in the end, she slept in past ten o’clock. When she crawled out of bed and shuffled out of her bedroom, hugging a pile of dirty clothes, there was a very obvious tall figure already in the kitchen, washing his face with cold water… Piping hot chicken soup had been placed on the eating bar.

The television was turned on, its volume low. Playing on it was a rerun of The Voice of China[1], and it so happened that it was showing the opening sequence where Na Ying was singing Jay Chou’s Qing Hua Ci [Blue and White Porcelain].

Na Ying’s rendition of Qing Hua Ci [Blue and White Porcelain] for the opening of The Voice of China, Season 4 begins at 3:45

[4:36] “The sky’s azure colour waits for the misty rain,
And I am waiting for you
The chimney smoke spirals up gently,
Separated by the river for millions of miles…”

“My mom gave you the key?” Amid this elegant, mellow singing, she was on the verge of breakdown.

Cupping some cool water in his hands, he splashed it onto his face. His action was a little too forceful, though, and water splattered onto his body as well as his long, black workout pants.

“Drink it while it’s hot. I changed my flight and need to leave now.” Jian Bianlin straightened back up. The water on his face followed the contour of his chin and dripped down. Offhandedly, he wiped it away with his hand. It seemed he did not really want to look directly at her.

From the sofa, he picked up his track jacket, and before he left, he even set the key to her home on top of the shoe cabinet.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

Chu Jian stared at that door that had been thudded shut, feeling very baffled.

She shoved her dirty clothing into the washing machine that was on the balcony. It was only then that she spotted, in the corner of the balcony, the semitransparent garbage bag that was stuffed with, um, stuffed with an entire set of her favourite doll, the Blythe doll. There was one from every year, various limited editions, as well as a gift box.

Chu Jian had never opened that box and did not know what it contained. Gazing blankly at the contents of that garbage bag, that feeling of guilt that she had kept in her heart all these years deepened again.

Jian Bianlin had had it delivered to her home for her birthday, before her Macau trip.

When she signed for it, her mom had asked who sent it. Other than herself and Jian Bianlin, none of her family were clear on what had happened years ago. Therefore, she had not told the truth, saying instead that someone whom she really had no feelings for had sent it. Then she had arbitrarily found a garbage bag and put it away inside. If she had thrown it out, things would have been just fine, but she had been too busy packing to leave and had forgotten.

She remembered that when she was heading out, her mom had harped on about it, saying, “Regardless of who sent it, it’s still a very kind gesture. It would be a shame to throw it out, really such a shame.”

The result was, her clueless mom truly did not throw it out. And the result of that was, the initiator of all this also saw it.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

Sigh, sigh, sigh. Oh sigh.

Chu Jian continued to wallow in guilt for a while. She drank a couple sips of soup, then hurriedly tidied up everything. Before heading out, she crouched beside the door, staring at that bag of items. After hesitating for a few seconds, she picked it up and strode out the door.

What was completely unexpected was that, there in the stairwell, he had not left yet… Oh man, things were even worse now.

She had walked out carrying the bag of stuff with her own hands and could not even hide it if she tried. Even if it was just an ordinary person who happened to like her, one who did not have years of friendship and interaction as the basis of their relationship, she still felt that throwing away, right in front of him, the birthday present that he had given was very insulting and offending—let alone the two of them had known each other for more than twenty years.

Jian Bianlin’s slender, tall, 1.83-metre build was sitting and leaning back in a spot that was less than five steps away from her. He turned his head and, pressing his elbow into the wall, pushed himself up to stand straight. From the moment she stepped out of her home, he had gazed wordlessly at her, a slight crease in his brows.

Chu Jian felt a bit of panic. Pointing at the door of the apartment that he rented, she justified, “I wasn’t throwing it out. I was… going to give it back to you.”

This building was comprised of one staircase, two units per floor. At the time, Chu Jian’s mother had rented the other unit for Jian Bianlin specifically because she wanted quiet surroundings. He normally was not around anyway, nor was he a loud, rowdy person. Plus, this was a high-end community compound, so it was very safe.

But now the drawback had emerged. At a time such as this, aside from him and her, no outsiders would possibly appear here. Even if a random passerby could simply just pop out right now, it would break this stalemate of a situation. The longer Jian Bianlin held his silence, the more Chu Jian broke out in cold sweat.

And the community compound just had to be so quiet. The windows in the stairwell were open, but apart from the rustling outlines of trees that were swaying back and forth, there was no sound at all.

She did not know from where she borrowed the courage, but at last, she murmured out those words that had been suppressed in her heart for many years: “Can you just… not like me?”

That figure obstructing the stairwell remained motionless for a long time before walking over.

Chu Jian felt that perhaps… perhaps her words had been spoken at a bit of an inopportune time. Saying them while bringing the gift that that person had given you out to throw away was really, um, really insincere and unkind. So, she hastily explained. “Just look, how long ago was that? Back then, it was wrong of me to not make it clear to you right from the start, but later I did make it clear. We’re all grown up now. I thought, even if I didn’t outright state it, if I hinted here and there, you would get the picture…”

His body blocked all the natural light casting in through the window. Lowering his head, he cut her off. “No, I can’t.”

Chu Jian: “……”

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

[1] 《中国好声音》The Voice of China was a reality television singing competition in China that aired from 2012-2015 (and then it was rebranded in 2016 to be called 《中国新歌声》 Sing! China), of which Na Ying was one of the judges. This scene here is referring to the opening sequence of season 4, which aired in 2015 (and the writing of this novel began in fall 2015).

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

Additional Comments:

I think Na Ying does a beautiful rendition with her own flair of the very well-known《青花瓷》Qing Hua Ci,  originally sung by Jay Chou. I usually translate lyrics of songs featured in my translation projects, but a search will bring up many different translations for this one. Here is one.

(Actually, while this is true, the main reason is, my little man is not so little and has dropped his nap. That means I’ve lost an hour+ of “my time” during a day, and I’m still trying to figure out how to fit in this hobby of mine in less time. Now, if you guys could all contribute to the positive thoughts and prayers that he will go to sleep earlier and not wake me up in the middle of the night, you would have a much more well-rested translator = happy translator. LOL)

Oh, and I don’t get the Blythe doll love. 😂


1 of 1 Prologue
2 of 36 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue


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62 thoughts on “My Darling (我的曼达林) — Chapter 1.2

  1. Thank you for your translation. Wishing you have a good sleep. 🙂

  2. thank you for the update <33

  3. Thank you for the translation! A good way to start my Saturday morning ^^

  4. Will wait for the next chapter.
    Thank you

  5. Thank you 🙂 May you have a good sleep ahead:)

  6. Oh, I’m going to like him, aren’t I? Thanks for the translation! I hope your little one adjusts his sleep schedule for you 😉

  7. Thank you so much!! 😘😘😘

  8. Thank u for the chapter, hoju!!!
    I can really feel JBL’s feelings when he said “No, I can’t”
    Poor hoju~ Hope u get a good night rest!

    • You’re welcome. 🙂
      Jian Bianlin doesn’t say much—just his personality—so I’m glad the author gives us little tidbits that show us his perspective.

      I got one good night’s rest. That’s a start. We’ll work on the other nights. 😉

  9. Poor…poor him.
    He is really love her even with all hurt that he get..

    • I know. The first part of the novel really makes me root hard for him. I think loving her has become so much a part of him that he can’t stop it, even if it hurts.

  10. I can not tell you enough how wonderful it is that you find & include the music that gets mentioned. It adds so much, and I’ve listened to some music I would never have been exposed to otherwise. Thank you SO much.

    It takes a few months for post-nap sleep schedules to readjust, but it does happen. Good luck, and thank you for sharing the fruits of your hobby with us!

    • Also – I had a lovely time listening to various Voice of China seasons last night. Thank you!

    • I’m so glad to hear that. 🙂 With novel translations, some of the implicit pieces that come with the stories is the culture of China, be it modern or ancient culture that Chinese readers might take for granted. Hopefully the little inclusions will give you guys some insight into those things. 🙂 I’ve learned a lot about culture of modern China by reading c-novels.

      There is some amazing talent on Voice of China, isn’t there?

      This little guy has been dropping this nap at a deathly slow rate. Now that it’s completely gone, hopefully his body will adjust soon. 🙂

      • I have really been impressed. I suppose that’s what happens when you have not only the largest population on the planet to pull from, but you add in all the surrounding countries too. I remember reading about a Chinese music sharing site, was it YY or something like that.

  11. Why is it that I always end up falling for poor puppy heroes whose hearts are always being stomped upon?! *sighs*

  12. wow, girl is cold. just gonna throw it all like that. i need some more backstory on this couple stat please!

    • You will have lots of little tidbits about their younger days, dropped here and there and everywhere throughout the novel. 😉

  13. she is really too much….even though she doesn’t like him, still he was a childhood friend.. there was absolutely no need to threw away the gifts given by him…
    thank you very much for the update

    • Remember how I said that Chu Jian really frustrated me in the beginning? This is one example of such times. She’s kind of torn. She really wants to draw the line and make things absolutely clear that there is nothing between them, but she feels bad so always can’t make herself quite do it. But I’m feeling the same as you. I would have just stuffed the stuff into some back corner and ignored it since he is such a good friend that she will see because of their families’ connection.

      You’re welcome!

  14. Wow JBL seems devoted!
    Hope you have s good rest!

  15. Oh dear my heart really goes out to Jiang Bianlin 😔😔 the guy really loves her even though she continually brush him off and what a terribly awkward situatiion to be in. Thanks for your efforts Hoju!

    • Mm-hmm. If I really had to “take sides” in the first part of the story, I would side with Jian Bianlin. Not that I think Chu Jian is a terrible person or anything, and I think both of them could handle things better, but my heart just feels for the poor guy.

      Thank you for reading. 🙂

  16. Go JBL!!!

    Let’s hope your lilyyle one also want a little of his alone time…but when they are quiet, they will be up to no good so hoping he can fall asleep quickly

    • Keep cheering for him. You have my assurances that you won’t be disappointed. 😉

      We work on having quiet time in place of his nap time, where he learns to play quietly by himself for some time. I sit next to him, but it’s not interactive. It’s a good skill to have, but right now, he is still learning and I usually only get about 15 minutes max of that.

  17. 20 years is a very…long time. Though he may not falls for her from the very start but wow, “No, I can’t” that is one powerful line. I’m sure there is a backstory somehow on why she doesn’t feel the same way…? or not hehe.
    Thanks for the translation Hoju. Looking forward to see you again on Tuesday ^.^

    • 20 years is a long time. And she is deeply rooted in his life, as is his love for her. I think, to him, removing that love would be like removing a part of himself, so the “No, I can’t” to me really is that he cannot.

      There are plenty of little tidbits from their that you will get to read about through the story.

      See you soon! Thanks for reading.

  18. Thank you for the update 😘

  19. Ahh, so tragic. I feel bad for JBL but on the other hand having someone like you for so long but not being able to return the same feelings must also make one feel uncomfortable/awkward/even a little guilty around the other party so I guess I can see where CJ is coming from too. Hopefully JBL’s devotion pays off soon!
    Hope you can get some good rest, thanks for the update!

    • For sure. The awkwardness of having to see that person all the time and having to pretend that nothing is the matter. And some of her guilt arises from caring about that person but not being able to return those feelings. I definitely want to root for Jian Bianlin, but I don’t think Chu Jian is wrong for not returning those feelings.

      But yes, there will be a a turnaround moment. 🙂

      Thank you!

  20. OK she’s definitely aware of his feelings – at least she’s straight up and direct about his chances 😛 I can’t help but contrast their situation with all the dramas that have the usual trope of the female childhood friend who’s a stage 5 clinger and can’t take a hint and let it go when the heroine shows up and then later descends into madness and crazy attempts to convince the hero that they’re ‘the one’. So… Jian Bianlin isn’t going to go that route, surely? (hehehe) Thanks for the chapter! ❤

  21. Thanks! 🙂 Poor JBL….everyone is rooting for you!

  22. Thank you for translating this chapter. I’m becoming more and more charmed by this slice of life story. Although, it’s really making me want a manicure!

    As for the nap, my teacher mother always made us have a “quiet time” even when we were too big for naps. I can remember playing with stuffed animals on my bed while my four years younger brother did the same in his youth bed across the room. Woe to anyone who dared to get up before we were allowed too! I think this was to give whomever was caring for us a break and I did it with my own children. Quiet time sounds much less babyish! Good luck!

    • Ooooh… I’d love a pedicure because pedicures signal that the weather is warming and I can wear sandals. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting one soon…
      Glad you’re liking the story so far. 🙂

      I love quiet time and have used it since my daughter dropped her nap. She just went with the flow and didn’t have any problems adjusting to it. My son, on the other hand, is still learning that quiet time means learning to play by himself, and he keeps trying to “access” me. I get maybe 15 minute windows of time before he’s bored and I have to redirect him, resettle him, etc. So by the time I sit back down, get myself into everything, and try to pick up my own stuff where I left off, he’s almost calling for me again. LOL. Hopefully he will adjust to it eventually. I’m glad I’m not the only quiet time enforcer out there!

  23. Hi Hojo, thanks for taking time to translate so we chinese illiterate can enjoy along with you. I agree with ‘humbledaisy1’ on the nap time. I have tried it and enjoyed a much needed rest time during the day from my two very boisterous boys. They also learn to be still and quiet, that is practising their skill in self control. 🙂 In the beginning it will be hard but it gets easier once they learn this routine.

    • You are welcome. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy the translations.

      Definitely, I love quiet time, and I’m just waiting for my little guy to develop that skill of playing peacefully on his own. I’m definitely a model introvert and need my own “me” time away from people to recharge, so quiet time is very much necessary for my sanity. 🙂

  24. Love reading your translations of c-novels. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  25. Thank you for the chapter~

  26. With any luck, by now you are getting more “me time” while your boy is working out what his own “me time” is.

    I guess he got hung up on the same gift idea from way way back, when it probably worked a couple times to make her happy, and he has stuck with that winning plan ever since. It’s the kind of thing you do with a flower, or a certain food, but not a doll unless the recipient has a massive place to warehouse all the dolls. Poor schmuck. Then again, he also seemed to enjoy her discomfort a bit, so maybe it’s all part of his grand plan.

    • PS I was wrong – this isn’t my first time with you. I think that was Best to have Met You. Well then, nice to meet you again. I read a lot, but I am terrible with names these last few years. A thousand pardons.

      • Welcome back. 🙂

        Best to Have Met You was translated by my friend, Peanuts here on this blog. She and I share the blog, although we’ve had others here with us before.

        Hope you enjoy My Darling. Once the tension parts are over, it will be very sweet.

        • Thank you. I usually mean “you” in the plural when I do not know for certain. Most consistently active translation sites are more than one person.

  27. “No, I can’t.” I feel like this line will sum up the novel lol. Thanks again, hoju ❤

  28. This makes me sad. A story where a girl is not inlove with the boy. Very different…
    I wish there is something from the boy’s perspective… awww…

    • But it happens so often. Now, how are things going to turn around? 😉 Trust me, it will get sweeter.
      There will be little tidbits into Jian Bianlin’s perspective.

  29. Thank you for translating!!!!

    Only part 2 of the the first chapter and I’m already feeling frustrate with the female lead lol. I get she doesn’t have feeling for him in that way but she doesn’t need to be THAT hardhearted.

  30. My heart hurts for him 😭

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