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Fangirling Chinese Novels

My Darling (我的曼达林) — Chapter 3.1

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We learn about something crucial that happened in the past.

Chapter 3.1 — You and Me, Together (1)

The hallway was already empty of students.

As Jian Bianlin stepped swiftly out from the teaching building, from behind, someone suddenly called out rather hesitantly to him. “Jian Bianlin?” It was a man’s voice.

Jian Bianlin took two slower steps, then came to a stop. Behind him, the man holding books and lesson plans had a rather subtle, but remarkable expression on his face, and sighing slightly over the absurdity of the situation, the man said, “It really is you.”

Right this moment, both these people, be it Jian Bianlin or this excellent third-year high school math teacher, were caught in a bit of a daze. It was as if that incident that winter had occurred only yesterday, but actually, in just a twinkling, nine years had already slipped by.

© 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.

After Chu Jian strolled a couple loops around, her mother called her, telling her to hurry home to help Uncle Jian grab a couple of large couriered packages and, while she was at it, feed the dog. She said there was no one answering Jian Bianlin’s phone.

Chu Jian waved down a taxi and rushed home. Huffing and puffing, she jogged up to the fourth floor, but when she saw the treadmill and four boxes of fruit, she gawked in shock. From the top of her own home’s refrigerator, she grabbed the key to the Jians’ home, opened the door, and directed the delivery persons to move the items out to the balcony.

When the people left, Chu Jian wiped away the footprints on the floor as well as the dust tracked in by the cardboard boxes and then hung up the cleaning cloth to dry. As she walked by the bedroom, she once again saw that photograph of the two of them.

Since they were little, the number of photographs that had been taken of her and Jian Bianlin together was simply too many to keep track of, but this particular one was the very last one from their student days. There had been nearly half a year, from when that year’s New Year’s Gala ended to the day this photo was taken, where the two had not spoken a single word to one another.

That year, a seldom-seen snowfall had fallen during the New Year’s Gala. In a secretive manner, one of the boys in her grade had asked her to go downstairs to the bicycle storage area. The entire school building was alive with noise and excitement. That boy from the class next door, who would always coincidentally bump into her in the school cafeteria or basketball courts, stood at the end of a row of bicycles.

At the time, while the boy spoke in low tones, Chu Jian had been so nervous she had continuously wiped away at the thick layer of snow that had accumulated on the back rack of the bicycle next to her. Suddenly, that person had taken her hand in his.

“Then… let’s give it a try.” That had been her answer.

But before three days had even passed, in front of all the students of all the grades, Jian Bianlin gave a fierce thrashing to that boy after school was dismissed. Evening self-study had just ended, and tides of students were moving about, some people walking, some people pushing their bicycles. Everyone surrounded the edge of the bicycle storage area, watching this clash that had suddenly erupted. Off to the side, Chu Jian was stupefied with shock and fear. When her eyes took in the blood on the ground, she was terrified that something horrible would end up happening. Rushing into a classroom, she grabbed a water bucket, filled it halfway with cold water, flusteredly raced back, and tossed the water onto Jian Bianlin, who was rising unsteadily to his feet and about to pounce onto his opponent again.

That look he had given her when he turned around had been terrifying—she remembered it very clearly.

This had been a vicious fight on the school grounds, where one of the parties involved had suffered quite serious injuries, and fractures and broken bones were inevitable. Hence, dealing with and settling this incident was quite troublesome. On the one hand, Jian Bianlin was the class prefect of a key class and was also the student with the best grades, so the teachers wanted to minimize the impact and consequences of the incident. On the other hand, the other boy’s parents were not willing at all to let this go, not accepting compensation and only demanding that the school take severe disciplinary action.

During those several days, Chu Jian had felt as if she were living in darkness—the guilt that she felt toward her boyfriend, the rumors and stories that buzzed around between the students of their grade, the incessant sighs of her parents, the terrible anxiety that plagued Uncle Jian… In the end, Chu Jian had secretly gone alone to the hospital where the boy had been admitted. Sobbingly, she had apologized for the bodily harm she had brought upon him. And, she had pleaded to the boy to help her, to intercede with his family to back down and allow Jian Bianlin to escape this trouble

She was not certain whether it was because her pleading had worked or the teachers had worked hard to protect Jian Bianlin, but ultimately, the matter was played down. In regards to that violent incident on New Year’s Day, the two families, in the end, never did learn the reason for its occurrence. The three individuals involved did not tell the true story to the school or their parents.

Nevertheless, all kinds of rumours still ended up following Chu Jian about in her daily life, and she was excluded to the point that she had no friends.

Those were the darkest six months of her student period. Hence, she had purposely underperformed in the National College Entrance Examinations[1] and ended up going to far-off Hainan for university, far away from Jian Bianlin, who was studying in Beijing.

After they entered university, Jian Bianlin would frequently take a long train ride to visit her in Hainan, but she would always avoid him. Even though she would feel bad that he had travelled such a long distance, from the north all the way to the south, she was still afraid of him—afraid that he would once again do something scary.

Hainan (circled in blue) is a province of China and also an island. The distance between Beijing (circled in green) and Hainan is more than 2700 km. (image credit)

This continued until second year of university, when she returned home for the Spring Festival[2]. Her mom informed her that Big Brother Jian had been in a long-distance relationship with a girl but had broken up, and unable to handle this blow, he had fallen into a lifestyle of dallying his days away outside the home. It was as if he had become a completely different person. Her dad and mom both told Chu Jian to go across the corridor to his apartment to talk to him and advise him against his ways. For two whole days, she wavered and found various excuses to avoid the task.

However, when she ran into a haggard-looking Uncle Jian downstairs, her heart softened and she caved. In the year and a half of university, she had grown up a lot.

That Spring Festival, she had knocked and opened his bedroom door. Seeing that person sitting on the windowsill, asleep, she had wanted to step back out, but he had suddenly startled awake.

It had merely been the small action of opening his eyes, but it had frightened her to the extent that she had taken two steps backwards.

……

© 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.

From that day onward, over all the years, Jian Bianlin never again expressed his feelings for her.

His grades gradually recovered back to his normal standards, and he received all first-class scholarships. He formed a band, was later signed by a record label, and then, when the market for recorded music was in a slump, was recommended by his agent to become an actor. Combined with the fact that he did indeed possess what it took to be an idol artiste, his career in this business was going increasingly well.

In addition, Chu Jian herself was in the midst of forming her own business, so the two did not have much time to even see one another.

Even a dozen or so days ago, she had been very optimistic, thinking that maybe his feelings for her had long since drifted away and one day, he would suddenly be married…

But after going around and around in circles, they had completely returned back to the starting point.

© 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.

Behind her, someone opened the security door. This was soon followed by the sound of approaching footsteps.

Exhaling lightly, Chu Jian silently reminded herself to not provoke him. This was a big hurdle in his life. Uncle Jian was just recovering, and now he needed to go for surgery. She could not excite him.

Jian Bianlin leaned himself on the doorframe, his gaze passing over her to land on the man in that photograph of two people.

“I came to help Uncle Jian collect some delivery items.” Chu Jian’s tone was light, as if nothing had happened earlier. “Did you buy that treadmill? The soundproofing in old buildings like this one isn’t very good. The treadmill can’t be used; otherwise the whole building will be able to hear you running.”

Jian Bianlin remained wordless, as if he had not heard her.

In fact, he knew the reason why she was here. Just now, he had specifically made a phone call to her mother.

“Once I put the fruit away in the fridge, I’ll head back to the hospital.” She pondered for a moment. “They might not all fit. I’ll move some over later to put in my fridge and also pack some up to take to the hospital.”

Jian Bianlin’s eyes were still indifferent, and he did not provide any sort of response.

“But I don’t really know how to feed dogs. What does he like to eat?”

Chu Jian had wanted to walk around him, but right as she brushed past, he unexpectedly blocked her way. Still feeling lingering nervousness from earlier, she instantly moved to dodge him. With a loud bam, the back of her head slammed fiercely into the doorframe on the other side.

The entire world fell into silence.

© 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 large white dog, hearing the noise, came dashing over with his tongue hanging out, bounding circles around both of them and licking them.

……

“Does it hurt?” He bent his head down and touched the back of her head, breaking the stalemate between them that had existed since he stepped in the door.

More than just hurt! That had been too brutal a smack that even her tears had sprung out from her eyes. The sullenness she had been feeling rose up again. “Earlier, you asked me…”

“That was spoken in anger,” he interrupted, rubbing his palms back and forth together. After sensing some heat from them, he was about to use his palms to cover the place on her head that she had bumped, but she sidestepped him.

If she had not managed to knock her brain silly just a moment ago, she probably would have evaded him.

“Jian Bianlin.” Her manner was solemn.

She must not have known that every time she wanted to seriously discuss something with him, she would always first say his name. Jian Bianlin lowered his eyes, taking in her face as well as that little canine tooth that she had licked until crooked when her permanent teeth were coming in. As a child, she had always said the tooth was ugly, and whenever she had nothing to do, she had kept trying to push it back into place with her hand, pressing on it like mad, even when she went to sleep, but to no avail. Actually, what Jian Bianlin loved most was that canine tooth.

“You asked me earlier—”

“Pretend I never asked.” With a frown, Jian Bianlin once again cut her off.

Bending down, he scooped up with one arm that big, white shepherd dog that had been panting nonstop and then left the room.

He did not want to talk, nor did he want to listen.

Earlier, he had indeed wanted to force her hand, had wanted to use his father’s and his own difficulties to make her give in and agree to try being his girlfriend. But, the results were contrary to his wishes.

However, he was also fortunate that her compassion once more saved the relationship between the two of them. Ultimately, she still did not have the heart to state to him during such a time that she was only acting as an ordinary friend.

“I had thought that that year in second-year uni, things were fine after we had our talk.” Chu Jian chased out after him. “If you want to talk about it again, though, let’s wait until after your surgery, how about that? I don’t want to negatively affect you in this time.”

For several seconds, he was quiet. Then, turning the cold metal doorknob, he walked out with the dog in his arms. Only after the door had slammed shut did he toss back a sentence through the metal of the door. “I’m going downstairs to buy something for the dog.”

A feeling of frustration seemed caught in Chu Jian’s chest with no outlet, and gloomily, she pulled out all the fruit in the boxes and began to place them one by one into the refrigerator.

Fruitless in her wait for Jian Bianlin to return, she locked the door and headed down the stairs. In the pavilion downstairs of their building, she saw him sitting alone, holding several skewers of lamb kebabs that had long grown cold and quietly feeding the dog.

She was uncertain whether it was because his attire, from his hat to his sneakers, was completely black that he seemed especially slight and frail in the blowing wind.

But, observing him carefully, she found that he was indeed thinner than when they were in Macau.

© 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]高考 “gao kao.” The National College Entrance Examinations, or Gaokao, are annually held, unified national examinations on various subjects, usually for students in their final year of high school and are a prerequisite for any post-secondary education at the undergraduate level.

[2]春节 “chun jie.” In China, the Lunar New Year period is also called the Spring Festival and lasts from the first to the fifteenth day of the new lunar year.

© 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:

In my first read of this novel, I realized that this event was significant, but I didn’t truly appreciate it. After re-reading and now, translating, I realize why it played a big role in shaping things to where they are now between Jian Bianlin and Chu Jian, and in particular, why Chu Jian hasn’t gotten over certain things of the past.

That aftereffects of that fight may not have been obvious to everyone around them, but it left a very lasting mark. This happened during their teenage years, when they were still young, rash, and hormonal. If you’ve ever dealt with a teenager (oh, yes, have I ever!) or remember your own teenage years, you’ll know that things that occur during this time in life seem to be magnified, and any hurts suffered at this age cut a lot deeper. She may be able to rationalize that they were young and silly and that in the grand scheme of things, that fight is no big deal, but ultimately, the impact of that event stuck with her. The shock of watching her good friend turn into someone who was completely unfamiliar—and terrifying—to her, the shame of going to apologize and beg for help, the loneliness of being excluded—these did impact Chu Jian intensely at the time and left a wound on her heart that has not completely healed to this day.

 

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

 

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36 thoughts on “My Darling (我的曼达林) — Chapter 3.1

  1. Is that why there is a gap between them. He really violent…because the so called boy robbed his beloved future girlfriend?

    • I wouldn’t call him “really violent,” although he’s not weak and demure. I don’t know if you remember your adolescent years, but you always hear that at that age, the reactions are more extreme than other ages. Some people’s automatic responses are more through physical action while others are more through things like crying or hiding themselves away—but really, these are all expressions of emotion. Was his reaction “violent”? Yes, but I don’t think it’s something that was out of the range of ordinary for that age group.

      This event did play a great part in creating the rift between them. Chu Jian was emotionally affected by this event, and one’s wounds suffered in the teenage years tend to cut deeper than other wounds. Aside from the things mentioned in my additional comments, there was probably the shock at seeing the normally taciturn Jian Bianlin suddenly seem like, to her, he had snapped, and it scared her. At that moment, I surmise she felt like she didn’t really know this person who she thought she knew really well, and that frightened her.

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  2. Uh… I think JBL has some anger issues.

    I’m also surprised that he would be interested in being an idol and actor, it doesn’t seem to fit his personality where you’re controlled and shaped for popularity. We also haven’t seen yet any passion from him for art/music which could justify the sacrifice. Anyways just something I was wondering.

    Please I hope they talk it out soon and this novel is about learning how to communicate with your partner. I feel like it’s been so long that they’ve been on good terms that JBL has CJ on a pedestal so I can’t really buy his romance right now when all its done is hurt people.

    • I remember when I first read the story, the lack of communication grated on me, but my frustration lay more with Chu Jian. Therefore, I completely get why you’re praying they talk soon. 🙂

      As for the rest, hope the big blocks of text don’t turn you off. I’m actually getting a fresh appreciation of the characters and the reason things deteriorated to the way they are now, so forgive me if I spout a little more than normal. 😀

      His reaction was definitely wrong and violent, but I wouldn’t go so far as to classify it as “anger issues.” Like I replied above, in your adolescent years, reactions tend to be a lot more extreme. Young, hormonal teenage Jian Bianlin’s reaction was “too big for the problem” (as I would tell my preschooler), but that tends to be a common thing for teenagers. Everyone’s expression of their emotions is different, and for Jian Bianlin, the expression of that one was physical action. It’s wrong, but like I know that meltdowns are normal for my three year old son and he has to learn that there are better ways to express his feelings, Jian Bianlin’s reaction was wrong but well within the range of “normal” for a teenager. How many times have we seen teenage boys settle things with fists? Plus, we only know that there was a fight. We don’t know what happened prior to it (e.g. did JBL hide in waiting and pounce? did the boys quarrel first? did the other boy say something that sounded cocky and JBL, already sore that he had “stolen” Chu Jian, threw the first punch?) and only know that JBL was the “winner” of the fight in that he came out with less injuries. (That’s more a reflection of fighting skills than anger. LOL)

      You’re right. It did say that his fans knew that if he did’t have any required events to do that had to do with his job, he disappeared out of everyone’s scrutiny, so he is a very private person. I mentioned to one reader that that, to me, shows that he must like the music/acting part of his job enough that, though being under the spotlight to be watched by many is contrary to his personality, he is willing to do it because the other parts of his job bring some sort of gratification.

      I don’t think “all it’s done has hurt people” at all. That one event hurt Chu Jian and the other boy, yes. And Jian Bianlin did fall into a period of dismay that Chu Jian would not accept him. But he has never forced her to accept him. He has not just given up, but as Chu Jian said before, he has never crossed the lines of propriety. That one incident was bad, don’t get me wrong, but it was a one time deal, and since then, nothing has ever happened. It is Chu Jian who is feeling uncomfortable because she is aware of these feelings, but she cannot return them. She does not know what to do, and it is precisely because he IS choosing to stay at an appropriate distance that it is bothering her and making her feel guilty. If he crossed the lines, she could tell him off and would be very justified in staying away from him. So now, while I wouldn’t say that JBL is great at communicating and is at fault as well, Chu Jian’s own mindset is also contributing to her own frustration.

      If you made it this far in the reading, thank you for humouring me. 🙂

      See you next post!

  3. Thank you for the chapter. Such a bitter sweet story !

  4. Thank you so much Hoju!!! 😘😘😘 can’t wait for next update.

  5. Thank you for your translation. I can’t imagine how Chu Jian had passed her high school period without friends for 6 months.

    • Thank you for reading. 🙂

      And based on what has been said about her, that she is very sensitive to people’s feelings and puts herself in their shoes, I would hazard a guess that People and relationships are very important to her. Being excluded must have really hurt, and moreover, it happened in her sensitive adolescent years.

  6. Hmm… I wonder if there’s more to this fight than we know about at this point. I feel like he wouldn’t beat someone up that badly just for dating her; the guy must have said or done something to set him off. I am interested to hear more about it from his side.

  7. So angsty 😭😭poor JB but also poor CJ. Dwelling in unspoken feelings is not good for the heart!

    Hopefully the tension will end soon and the sweet parts will come!

    Thank you for translating!

  8. Hmm… i hope some producers our there will pick this novel and make it into drama, haha…

    6 months without friends??? what kind of school life she had then???? i cant imagine myself in her position. poor her. no wonder, she’s rather ‘scared’ of getting involved with JBL after the fight. I mean, we understand her choice yet still bitter for our JBL.

    agree with some comments above, it’s communication bae. it somewhat happens in real life tho, hehe…

    yaaaayyy, something to look forward every week. wait, you’ll update two times a week, right?? daebak. can’t wait. thank you as always dear hoju ^^

    ps : gonna continue reading squid soon ^^

    • MBFB is very picky about adapting her novels. As someone in the industry, she has to love the team that is going to adapt it and she usually requires that she is the sole screenwriter. That way she can ensure that it, though it may not be exactly the same as the novel because some things don’t translate well to screen, it honors her original intention.

      It would be an awful six months of school life. It’s not just no friends, it’s deliberate exclusion, even by people who once claimed to be her friends.

      Well, one has been too nervous about saying and doing anything wrong to communicate and the other has been trying to avoid the person. It’s no wonder their communication has grown rusty.

      Yup, twice a week, same times as I always have.

      You’re welcome!
      (Now hurry up and go read Squid. LOL)

  9. Oh wow. I certainly did not expect that from JB. Would he really fight someone that badly just because that guy is a boyfriend of CJ…?
    Her boyfriend ended up in the hospital, JB somehow became a stranger and she had no friends afterwards… things are pretty rough for her ;(

    Thank you for the translation Hoju 🙂

    • It is so easy to make the assumption that he pounced on the guy because Chu Jian agreed to date him. While I’m sure that was the reason Jian Bianlin certainly disliked the guy, we don’t know what was the catalyst that initiated the fight.

      That was really rough for her, and the thing is, she did nothing wrong. But suddenly she shouldered the consequences. 😦

      You’re welcome. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      • Knowing that JB will certainly put CJ first, I believe he wouldn’t harm that guy cause indirectly it’ll definitely harm her. Something else might have happened that we and prolly CJ didn’t know about.
        I hope there are more into this and the story behind the stolen kiss on the ferry (?) if I’m not mistaken? Hehe.

  10. Poor JB and CJ. When can we see a good reconciliation?? Thank you for translating. I always look forward for your post twice a week. It became a habit.😁🙂🤗

    • Something will initiate a change soon in their relationship. True, complete reconciliation will be a little while yet, but very soon, things are going to begin gradually getting better. 🙂

      Aaaw… glad to have you along the ride.

  11. Thank you, can’t wait for the next chapter 😊

  12. 😱jealousy leads JB to hit someone. CJ must have been feeling a heavy load of guilt. Can’t wait for the next chapter 😉

    • That was a little shocking, wasn’t it? (Or maybe i was the only one who didn’t expect that from the stoic Jian Bianlin.)

      A whole mixed bag of not so pleasant emotions—guilt, hurt, maybe humiliation, frustration over bearing the brunt of the consequences (when really, what did she do wrong?), and probably more.

      See you next chapter. 🙂

  13. Now i know why CJ seems so awkwardly evasive to JB. Scars from our adolescent years are the hardest ones to forget since it directly shapes us in our later years add the fact that they didn’t manage to talk it over. Gosh recalling my teenage years gives me the shivers. Immaturity is such a scary thing. Recalling those moments makes me feel like slapping myself in shame or makes you think that “why didn’t i do better?”

    Well i can finally understand where CJ is coming now and I look forward to the day where her feeling for JB became love not just pity or responsibility.

    Thank you for your efforts Hoju! 😄😄

    • Yes, the teenage years are such a weird time in a person’s life, and I just pray that when the day comes, I’ll be able to guide my children through those years safely and wisely. I was actually a pretty “easy” teen (if there is such a thing) compared to my peers, but even when I think back to my adolescent years, I cringe at some of the things I did, said, and thought.

      Yay, I’m glad this gave you some insight into Chu Jian’s thinking. And I’m looking forward to that day with you.

      Thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂

  14. Another great novel 🙂 love it 🙂 Thank you very much hoju 🙂 I really appreciate your hard work 🙂

  15. thank you hoju!

  16. i completely understand her,i wouldn’t want to be with him either.

    • Because of this fight? Yup, I would be shocked that my quiet, perfect student best buddy was suddenly fighting and beating up the guy. And scared. As for why she doesn’t want to be with him, I don’t think that’s the crux of the reason. The reason, I believe, is she just couldn’t get viewing him as that friend who lived across the hall. The fight only served to create more tension because she’s suddenly seeing another side to this person she thought she knew so well.

      Thanks for reading!

  17. Thank you for the chapter~

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