Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

My Darling (我的曼达林) — Chapter 1.3

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Sometimes being too familiar with one another can actually be a hindrance to looking beyond what you know…

Chapter 1.3 — That Little First Love Unbeknownst to Anyone (3)

His tone was very nasal and congested when he spoke. It seemed his cold had worsened. Chu Jian’s conscience had already been laden with guilt as she mumbled that sentence, and now, after he so resolutely interrupted her, she completely wilted.

It was not that her heart had never softened before. Twenty years. It began from when they were kids and, with her schoolbag on her back, she had trailed after his every step, to when they were a little older and she had sat at the back of his bicycle to go to primary school. At that time, she had not understood why he had removed the rear rack on his mountain bike so that every day, she had no choice but to scrunch herself up and sit closer forward.

Winter and summer breaks, New Oriental[1] classes, remedial classes, the Senior High School Entrance Exam[2]—they had been together for all these things.

In the regional standardized physical education test, she had run a time of two minutes and thirty-odd seconds and was the best in the group. However, when she fell to her knees at the finish line from overexertion, her hands and feet numb, it was also he who had picked her up and carried her away in front of the entire region’s exam candidates. At the time, she had actually thought that she was going to die and had burst into tears from fear… She remembered all these things.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL hui3r.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r.wordpress.com. If you are not reading this from hui3r.wordpress.com, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

To say the truth, in this entire world, apart from his dad and her own parents, she was the person who most did not want to see him hurt or upset. She could support him—wholly and unconditionally support him—during his times of greatest difficulty, but there were some things…

Chu Jian avoided his gaze. Her head bowed, she glanced at the bag in her right hand and explained very sincerely, “When I signed for the delivery of this, my mom was also there. She even guessed that someone who likes me had sent it, and I didn’t explain. If I don’t throw it away, I’m scared she’ll pull it out for you to see. Once you tell her you were the one who sent it, she’ll definitely get the wrong idea.”

“Get the wrong idea about what?” He looked at her with an insipid expression.

“The wrong idea about… you and me.”

Out of the blue, there was the deafening sound of an electric drill.

What great timing.

He frowned. Amidst this loud noise that roused short-temperedness and feelings of unsettledness in a person, he questioned, “If you’re worried about your mom getting the wrong idea, why don’t you take it to your nail salon?”

That was true. Her dad and mom had never been to the nail salon before. It definitely would not be seen if it was left there.

She nodded. “Oh, okay.”

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL hui3r.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r.wordpress.com. If you are not reading this from hui3r.wordpress.com, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

In the end, when Chu Jian sat outside the Starbucks that was downstairs of her nail aesthetics training business, holding that bag of dolls and drinking her iced tea lemonade under a green sun umbrella, she still had not really figured out what the conclusion was from the morning’s conversation. Why had they switched from talking about such a very serious topic to discussing the childish question of where she could keep the dolls so that her parents would not discover them?

Why did it feel as if every time she was around him, she would very easily slip back into her ways of thinking from when she was in junior and senior high school?

Chu Jian pulled her mind back with some difficulty. Looking at Tong Fei, she asked, “It doesn’t taste good? I bought it just for you.”

“Doesn’t taste good. It isn’t sweet, and it has no coffee flavour.” Tong Fei’s face had an expression that declared she had been duped.

“The young girls in our company have all been drinking this the last couple of days,” Chu Jian replied puzzledly.

From griping about the coffee, the two’s conversation topic meandered around and around until it arrived at the subject of that rich investor and hugely popular idol artiste whom they were going to be working with—Jian Bianlin. All these years, Tong Fei simply could not understand how Chu Jian could have such a person around her, and moreover, the two of them knew each other so well, but they had not managed to become a couple.

“What exactly are you thinking? Just what was it back then that you didn’t like about him?”

With a miserable face, Chu Jian looked across at that woman whose curiosity was going extremely strong.

This normally was somewhat of a taboo topic for her and very seldom did she talk about it. However, her mood had gone through some pretty big ups and downs today, so she provided a few sentences of explanation. “How can I say this? Let me give you an example. If you have a boyfriend, it’s quite normal to do some, um, intimate things together, right?”

“What a waste of words…”

“But I’ve tried to imagine it. If he and I were together and… Even just thinking about it gives me the willies all over.”

Yes, that was the feeling. Even an action that was just slightly more intimate would not feel sweet to her; it would only make her feel especially awkward and uncomfortable. She could not even think about it, much less do something like that in reality… So, she felt that the relationship between them was more suited for familial love, not romantic love.

But she did mull this over carefully. All these years, Jian Bianlin had never done anything that went beyond the lines of propriety. She had been too rash this morning. In the world of adults, there were some things that were just better if you pretended that you did not know. Stating them outright actually created awkwardness and would not produce any results. Love and relationships were such unpredictable things…

Who knows? Maybe one day, without any warning, Jian Bianlin would have some sort of romantic gossip about him circulating about. With a female celebrity? An assistant? An agent? Or maybe it would be a romance that arose out of a transnational collaboration? It could be any arbitrary one, and then, after a whirlwind courtship, he would get married.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL hui3r.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r.wordpress.com. If you are not reading this from hui3r.wordpress.com, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

A few days later, the Beijing branch of Chu Jian’s company was having its opening. The major shareholder of this subsidiary branch was Tong Fei, and it was considered her secondary asset and safeguard against going hungry in the future. Chu Jian was there simply to provide some guidance on routine tasks, such as how to supply and sort goods, how to arrange for Japanese nail aesthetics instructors and Korean permanent eyelining and cosmetic eyebrow tattooing instructors to come teach classes, etc., etc. While she was at it, she could prepare for the shop’s grand opening tomorrow and help take inventory.

None of these tasks were very important. The most important piece was to provide moral support to Tong Fei, who was starting up this business.

Because the business owner was a girl, a soft shaggy rug covered the floor of the inventory room, and shoes needed to be removed before going inside to take inventory. With her feet bare, Chu Jian stood behind the shelves of stock and inspected the artificial nail tips and forms that were in the several dozen little cube units of the shelves.

On the wall, there hung a small television, which was currently turned on and playing a random program.

The young girl who was doing the inventory count with Chu Jian seemed to have a specific program that she wanted to watch, and holding the remote control, she flipped through channels for a long time.

“Jian Bianlin!” The girl at last found what she wanted to watch and let out an excited cry that gave Chu Jian a fright…

There, holding a small die-shaped nail charm in her hand, she looked up to see Jian Bianlin on the screen.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL hui3r.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r.wordpress.com. If you are not reading this from hui3r.wordpress.com, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

He was at the airport?

Jian Bianlin was not wearing anything to hide his countenance and merely walked with a completely deadpan face into the passageway. Another popular idol artiste was walking side by side with him, and compared to Jian Bianlin, this person’s dress—a hat worn with its brim facing backwards and black sunglasses—was much more like that of a celebrity. As he walked, he would smile and greet nearby fans.

Only in such instances was Chu Jian truly able to feel that Jian Bianlin was an artiste.

This scene only very briefly flitted across the screen, and then the picture quickly jumped to a television talk show. Oh, so this was the real point of the program.

He was sitting on a couch, leaning forward slightly as he listened attentively to the host of the program ask him what the meaning was behind his name.

“Is it a stage name? That’s why it is so awkward to say and sounds so strange?”

After he finished listening to her questions, he replied forthrightly, “When I was born, my father’s desire was very simple and honest. His hope was that, in the future, his son would guard this nation and would do so without recognition or being made known to anyone. And so, what he wanted was for me to be like the most ordinary of trees in the forest that stand guard at our borders. That is the meaning behind ‘Bianlin[3]’ [the border’s forest].”

The host of the show laughed. “Your father’s wish and your current profession are vastly different. Was he disappointed at all?”

“In the beginning, he was a little.” He nodded. “Now he’s much better about it.”

The host seemed to feel that interviewing him was really quite pleasant since he spoke plainly about everything. As a result, she immediately tossed out a key question. “A lot of your fans want to know what your attitude is toward love and relationships. Just look, you’re so popular, but you still have zero scandals and romantic rumors attached to your name; you rarely accept projects that are romance films; and you don’t do TV dramas, so the number of scenes that you act opposite actresses is pathetically small. It’s impossible for people to not be curious.” The host grinned. “Do you have any special requirements that you look for when choosing your significant other?”

“The person I like…” These opening words of a sentence were blurted out completely unthinkingly.

And then, he stopped.

Chu Jian was also listening with rapt attention and ended up misplacing the miniature die she was holding into the shelf cube unit that was meant for feather charms.

Die and feather nail charms (image credit: left and right)

 

This feeling of anxiety was too familiar.

Back then, when the teacher had called them into a small office to ask whether they were early-age dating[4], he had also paused like this for a very long time… Finally, he had shaken his head and said no. It had been in the frigid winter, but because of him, she had nervously broken out all over in a sweat, worried to death that her parents would be requested to go in for a parent-teacher talk.

Now, the expression of that person on the small television screen had become serious, and his eyes were fixed on a faraway spot on the floor. “I wish that she…”

Another pause.

Even the host was eagerly hanging onto his words because of the suspense.

In the end, with eyes down, he unexpectedly gave a hard-to-come-by smile in front of the camera and shook his head gently, not answering the question anymore.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL hui3r.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r.wordpress.com. If you are not reading this from hui3r.wordpress.com, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

[1]新东方 New Oriental, which actually has the full name of 北京新东方教育科技 New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., is the largest provider of private educational services in China. Services provided range from supplementary after-school classes on school subjects, test preparation classes, kids programs and summer camps, online courses, consultation for international study, etc. See http://www.neworiental.org/english/index.html

[2] The Senior High School Entrance Examination is a compulsory examination in China, administered annually, taken, in general, by students in their final year of middle school as a pre-requisite for entrance into senior high school level education.

[3] Jian Bianlin’s father wanted him to be like the most ordinary of 边防林木 “bian fang lin mu” which literally means “the forest trees that guard the border,” and Jian Bianlin’s given name, 边林 “Bianlin,” is derived from the first and third characters of that.

[4]早恋 “zao lian.” What I have called “early-age dating” is, in China, dating under the age of 18 and especially when still in non-post secondary education. It is generally highly frowned upon.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL hui3r.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r.wordpress.com. If you are not reading this from hui3r.wordpress.com, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

Additional Comments:

I guess if I were to describe it, sometimes a person’s presence in your life has almost become a habit. To Jian Bianlin, his feelings for Chu Jian were early, and loving her has become engrained into him. To Chu Jian, she never thought beyond friendship, so she’s used to only viewing him as a friend and cannot fathom any other relationship with him. Of course, there are more pieces to their twenty-plus years of history together, and you will get lots more of those pieces throughout the story.

The nail charms had me hung up for a while. In the Chinese text, it only mentioned that Chu Jian was holding a “miniature die” and did not mention anything about it being a nail charm. I kid you not, I dug around about this for hours, trying to figure out why in the world a nail salon would be stocking miniature dice. (I guess this gives you an indication of how often I get my nails done. LOL.) The term “nail charm” in the English translation was added at my discretion as a means of clarification, and I included some pics, just in case your knowledge of nail aesthetics is at a similar level to mine. (I can’t be the only one who had no idea, right?! LOL)

 

Completed:
1 of 1 Prologue
3 of 36 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

 

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47 thoughts on “My Darling (我的曼达林) — Chapter 1.3

  1. Thanks for the chapter. Yeah I had no idea about nail charms, so thanks for the pictures.

    I totally feel Chu Jian’s pain. he’s like a brother and it just feels squicky. He should ask her to try a kiss to see if she really feels uncomfortable. I guess he’s scared she will still feel the same. What’s Jian Bianlin hoping to accomplish? Does he thinks she’ll change her mind or is he just comfortable being by her side? I’d love to get some more insight into him.

    • Yes! For a moment, I was wondering if I was the only nail idiot out there. 🙂

      I really don’t think that Jian Bianlin would dare request her to do that. You can sense that he steps so tentatively around her. He is pretty reticent to begin with, but with her, I sense that he doesn’t say much because he’s scared something he says/does will scare her and push her further away.

      Those are my personal thoughts up to this point in the story, not a spoiler.

      As for Jian Bianlin, I will let you get the pieces as it comes. There is a part of him where he genuinely only wants to just be in her presence (chapter 1.1, the scene at the restaurant), like a moth drawn to light. You will get little bits of insight into him or information from which you can infer. 🙂

  2. thank you for your translation and enlightment translator-sama

    *formal bowing*

    • You’re welcome.
      Oh my, “sama” automatically makes me think of Toupai. Be still, my girly heart. I’m going to go flip through a few of my favourite Really, Really Miss You scenes.

      *returns bow*

  3. Thank you for the translation. One sided love is so painful. Poor JB! I look forward to the happy ending where he finally has his feelings returned ..

    • You’re welcome.
      Ugh, I remember when I followed this story live (I never do that!), I felt like his unrequited love was lasting forever. Now that it’s all done and I’ve read the whole thing, it actually isn’t too bad, but I felt bad for him during that time.

  4. Thank you, loving this so much

  5. Ahhhhhh, deep regrets for Jian Bianlin right now. Orz.

    My heart was wringing out tears for him from the TV interview.

    Thanks for the chapter! ^-^

    • That was exactly how I felt the first time I read this story and didn’t know when Chu Jian would return those feelings.

      You’re welcome!

  6. Thanks Thanks for the chapter, I really like everything that you had translate of MO Bao Fei Bao, I am from and live in Central América and CN are new for me. Thank you again Hoju

    • Hi and welcome! *wave* I don’t think I’ve seen many readers from Central America. I love how I get to “meet” all of you, who come from all over the world. I’m glad you found us here and have enjoyed what you’ve read. 🙂 Glad to bring a little something new to you. 🙂

  7. Hope your wish come true…😂😂😂
    Don’t give up!!!

    • But, but, but… you didn’t even get to hear what his wish is. Maybe it’s “I wish that she will do a song and dance for me every night.” (Hmm… maybe that won’t be so bad. He’s a singer so maybe he could hold her hand and personally teach her…) LOL. Anyway, you can probably tell that he really cares intensely for her and any wish he has won’t be bad for her. So yeah, hope his wish comes true soon!
      😂

  8. Feels like Chu Jian is over imagining things or she might not be imagining the two of them at all together seriously but again it’s too early to tell at this stage. If I were the host interviewing Jiang Bianlin, i would have fallen off the chair because of too much anticipation to JB’s answer. How cruel 😂😂😂 Thanks again for your efforts Hoju! 😘😘

    • Well, she’s definitely not over-imagining his feelings for her. Now, what makes me more curious is, why was she listening with “rapt attention”? Out of nervousness he’d say something about her? Is there a hint of hopefulness? 😉

      No kidding. I bet the host was holding her breath just waiting for him to say it, and then he just shakes his head. LOL.

      You’re welcome!

  9. Yeah, the nail charms would have thrown me, too. Thanks for doing all the research so we’re not confused!

    I can’t wait to dig into their relationship more.

    • You’re welcome. The funny thing is, I asked a Chinese MBFB fan, thinking it might be something that I might not know because I don’t live there, but she didn’t know. She then messaged a couple of nail salons in China for me and asked… and they didn’t know! LOL. It comforted me a little that I might not be the only one who neglects my nails. Hahaha. But, if you are persistent enough, our friend, Google, will eventually lead you to the answer.

      Let’s dig together. 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for all your hard work. I am so excited for and looking forward to more of this project.

    Since it is the most recent in my memory, this novel feels totally different from SSWH. I wonder which novel comes first….

    Also, love the new? MBFB and Gu Man drop-down selection!

    • You’re very welcome. 🙂

      Mo Bao Fei Bao’s novels can actually vary quite a bit stylistically. Have you read Beautiful Bones yet? If you think this one is different, you should try that one.

      Squid came first, in late 2014/early 2015. My Darling began in fall 2015.

      Yes! New separate indexes for MBFB and Gu Man. Thank you to the amazing Peanuts for doing that! ❤ ❤

  11. For girls who dont used nail arts will probably in troubled relating about it. Thanks for the reference😊
    I hope JB will find the spot to trigger the love button of CJ. I really feel JB 😭Dont worry in the near future your love will be reciprocated.

    • *raises hand* That was me. Not necessarily “troubled” but certainly had no idea what it was. 😂

      He will, he will! I promise! No spoilers, but he will, he will!

  12. thanks for the chapter !!! 🙂

  13. Aww thanks for the reference Hoju! The picture is cute ^^

    I kind of understand where Chu Jian came from. He’s too familiar with her, felt so familiar that she totally doesn’t see him that way. I would say she didn’t feel it YET haha.
    Thank you for the update. See you again in the next update!

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 Which picture? The faux-Starbucks one? Or the nail charms? LOL.

      Mm-hmm. It’s kind of like when you’re too used to looking at something, to the point that you have expectations about what you’re going to see and how you interact with it. My kids have a set of magnetic tiles that they play with, and over and over, they built stables and castles out of it. I tried to tell them to build other stuff, but nope, they wouldn’t have any of my suggestions. Then, another kid came over and started building spaceships and animals out of the tiles. Whoa, it’s like a whole new world has been opened up and those tiles suddenly are a different toy to them. Chu Jian has to stop thinking of Jian Bianlin as just a good ol’ reliable “stable.” Maybe she should try making him into a spaceship or a race car that makes her go va-va-va-voom!
      Hahahaha!

      You’re welcome! See you later today. 🙂

  14. Thanks for the chapter, hoju!!
    JBL is so honest with his feelings in the interview ~

    • You’re welcome. 🙂
      Jian Bianlin’s response came automatically and without thinking. You can tell he’s the reserved type that doesn’t really get close to anyone, so in those little moments when he shows us the soft side of him that comes out only because of Chu Juan, you just melt for him and really hope the love is returned.

  15. I feel as if she has completely no interest in him whatsoever. And not even as a friend. Maybe as a long distance cousin that you hear about and want the best for but if she never saw him again, she wouldn’t even notice. So to have all the years worth of memories together just seem? Useless– why do we even care if they spent all that time together?? To understand how long HE has carried this torch for her?? When she feels nothing. Hmm.

    I’m intrigued as to how the author will melt her heart. How to turn the disinterest into something– anything.

    I’ve enjoyed the authors other novels that have been translated so please don’t think I’m bashing her writing.

    Thank you so much for the translations. I love love Chinese novels so much. Ok I just love romance stories a whole lot, in all languages really. 🤗

    • That would be a fair assessment by an outsider who has only just met Chu Jian, knows that they grew up together, but then has only seen her interact with him a few times—which is currently where we, as readers, are. 🙂 We have a little extra layer of knowing that she once rejected him and he once caught her off guard by stealing a kiss. That’s it. So, really, everything we know is quite superficial. (We are only < 10% into the novel here at this point… Hehe, and you're at the mercy of my release rates.)
      Nothing is without reason. To have all these years of memories means that there are things in the past that have led to the way things are today. She's not uninterested in him. She said herself that she would wholly and unconditionally support him. She IS trying to keep her distance from him, though. The natural question is, "What caused things to deteriorate to this?"

      I'm glad this little blog has been able to contribute to your passion. 🙂 See you around in the next update.

  16. JBL already scheming at such a young age…modified the bike for a closer contact haha

    definitely not the only one, the pictures really explained a lot. my knowledge of nail aesthetics is probably even lower than your level

    • That guy just doesn’t talk. If you are the type where your love language is “words of affirmation,” you won’t be able to easily “see” his feelings or appreciate him because his love is not spoken; it is seen in his actions. But when you consciously take a step back and look through the years (which the author will give to us in little pieces throughout the story), you will see how his love has always been there, sometimes poorly expressed but it has been there.

      Yay. Glad the pics helped. I don’t think your knowledge could be much lower than mine. Honest. Hehehe

  17. Thank you for your translation. I also don’t know about the nail charm.

  18. Thanks for your translation.. will wait for the next one…

  19. No worries dear. I have the same cluelessness when it comes to nail arts and charms and such. After a long Time I started reading again. I entered as an intern and they got me working round the clock. Tough luck.

    • Haha. Well, considering the winters here are so long and I’m always cold so I’m wearing socks for more than half the year, my toesies are pretty neglected until sandal season. As for fingernails, having young kids means that there is no point to getting a manicure. But people would actually want dice dangling off their nails? I think I’d go crazy from the feeling.

  20. Hi Hoju, late new reader to this addictive c-novel. Thank you so much for picking up another MBFB novel.
    That interview though, the moment he answered readily with ‘the person i like….’ is so poignant. I traced the longing and sadness… Duh, I’m a sucker for the first love that lingers story… T.T

  21. Love your comments and pictures letting us picture what is being written. 😊

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