The last update ended with Jia He and Yi Wenze in the middle of a conversation. We get to hear the rest of it… and some more. What is Jia He’s reaction? What will Teacher Yi say?
Chapter 8.1 — An Unexpected Beginning (1)
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Jia He wanted to deny this, but when the words came to her lips, she felt that doing so would not be right. In the end, she answered honestly, “Mm-hmm,” and then offhandedly picked up that magazine that Yi Wenze had read this afternoon.
He did not continue asking and merely turned on the reading light for her. “You bought an economy class ticket?” Then he handed her a bottle of water, twisting open the cap for her.
Taking the bottle from him, Jia He had a drink. “Yes, economy. It’s not even a two-hour flight. You take a doze and then you’re there.” It was not as if this was an international flight, where you were tortured for a very lengthy time, nor did she need to avoid the public eye like a celebrity, so naturally there was no need to waste money.
Yi Wenze nodded. “As long as you’re used to it.”
She took a sip of water and casually thumbed through the magazine, but eventually, unaccustomed to reading large blocks of English at a time, she could only set it back in its original place. “Do you have any Chinese magazines? You know, the kind where you don’t really have to read any text.” Actually, she did not really like looking at magazines, but sitting like this, side by side with him without anything to distract herself, would just make her feel constantly disconcerted.
Before Yi Wenze could answer, the driver was already pointing at the front passenger seat. “A-Qing left these here earlier. She likes reading that kind of stuff.”
Leaning forward, Jia He saw that, sure enough, there was a stack of tabloid magazines as well as quite a few fashion magazines. She noticed that several had Yi Wenze on the cover, but feeling too awkward to take those, she could only continue bending forward and picking through the pile. All of a sudden, the brakes were hit. Jia He did not even have a chance to react before Yi Wenze had taken ahold of her waist and pulled her back.
“Thanks.” Not daring to look at him, she could only bring her head down and allow her eyes to take in the magazine she had arbitrarily grabbed. By fluke, the cover of this one was a photograph of Yi Wenze and Tian Chu together, and a tearing effect had even intentionally been placed between the two of them. Such… a coincidence. Jia He inconspicuously flipped past the cover. Once more topping the new-songs chart was Tian Chu’s newly released song. She was about to turn the page again, but Yi Wenze’s eyes had already slid over it. Instantly, she pointed to that song at the top of the list and, merely to make conversation, said, “Wu Zhilun told me that day that the two of you wrote this song two years ago?”
Regret hit her the instant the question came out. Seriously, she just had to pick his sore spot and then give it a nudge, too.
Yi Wenze glanced at the spot at which she was pointing. “The song itself was composed a long time ago. The lyrics, he wrote two years ago.”
His voice was unperturbed; his expression was unperturbed. In any case, everything seemed fine.
Jia He gave an “oh” and was about to change the topic, but he added another sentence. “I wrote this for a fan of mine, some time around 1999.”
Jia He immediately sighed with feeling. “Such a lucky fan.”
He smiled, not saying anything.
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When the car arrived at the airport, it was not even eight o’clock. The road that was usually very congested was exceptionally smooth and unimpeded today.
Jia He took a look at the vehicle drop-off and pick-up area. It was brightly lit and travellers, as normal, were swarming about like the tides. Very cautiously, she turned her head and looked at Yi Wenze. “They must still be waiting for you to go back. I’ll just go in myself now.”
He did not refute this and instead only summarized his schedule for her. “I’ll be in Shanghai for this next while. If there are no surprises, I’ll be going to Beijing next month.”
Going to Beijing next month?
She was a little surprised. “Is it for your new film?”
If she remembered correctly, the whole time back when they were in Hengdian, he had been providing feedback for a new screenplay.
The driver got out of the car and opened the trunk to retrieve her luggage. Only the two of them remained in the vehicle.
Yi Wenze’s lips curved upwards. “Didn’t you say you would treat me to dinner if you got the chance?”
Remembering that note, Jia He at once smiled and nodded. “I have a lot of freedom with my time in Beijing. As long as you’re free, just give me a call. I’ll take you to have some good eats.” After saying this, she added, “Some very different stuff.”
“All right,” he agreed simply.
Jia He wanted to say goodbye but also felt she should say something more as a farewell.
The atmosphere became subtly different with the sudden quietness.
She cleared her throat. As she reflexively tilted her face up to look at him, he had already lowered his head with a smile, and he brushed his lips quickly against hers. “Take care, and always be safe.”
It was a very light kiss, just a brief touch and then he had moved away again. So gentle. And also very polite.
Jia He stared dazedly at him for three seconds. Then after mechanically uttering bye, she swiftly scrambled out of the car like she was making a getaway.
Taking her luggage, she bade a goodbye in a low voice and then left. Everything was smoothly continuing as it should, but even as she was checking in, Jia He’s heart felt like the overturning waters of a stormy river or a billowing sea, and clutching her identity card, she was lost in thought. “Miss, do you have any luggage to check in?” The airline staff had to inquire with her about this before Jia He hastily set her suitcase onto the conveyor belt.
As it was not a weekend, there was quite a number of empty seats on the airplane. In this particular row, there were only four or five people, all quietly waiting for takeoff. Behind her, though, a man and two women were laughing and chatting and were rather noisy.
Seeing that it was almost time for departure, she took out her mobile phone and was going to power it off. However, the flight attendant all of a sudden announced over the speakers that the plane was still waiting in line for takeoff. The underlying meaning of that was that, yet again, the flight was delayed and furthermore, it was not known when it would be able to take off. The man and two women behind her muttered some complaints and then switched into a conversation about Mango TV’s talent show program for this year. After listening on and off to them for a very long time, she eventually still chose to dial Yi Wenze’s number.
“You still haven’t taken off?” Yi Wenze picked up very quickly. His surroundings were a little noisy. He was likely already back at the restaurant.
“I want to explain some things to you,” Jia He told him quietly.
“Sure.” His voice was just as warm as it normally was.
Jia He was very worried that after she spoke, they would both feel awkward when they saw each other again. But if she did not say it… her heart would feel like something was stifling it.
“I feel like you might have some misunderstandings about a few things.” She finally mustered her courage. “My stay at your house a couple of days ago was honestly completely unexpected. I didn’t have any special motive behind it. It may be that Qiao Qiao likes to joke around, so now things between us have been made so awkward.” On the other end, he had not said anything the entire time, appearing to be listening, yet also seeming like he was not seriously listening. All she could feel was her heartbeat getting slower and slower. She paused for a long moment before resuming, “What happened last night actually really isn’t that serious, but if we continue on like this, I’m scared… I really will fall for you.”
After spilling out all the words in one breath, she immediately loosened with relief. But then she tensely pressed her phone to her ear, as if she was prepared at any time to hear him say, “You’re overthinking things. That was just a goodbye kiss between friends,” or similar words.
Utterly unexpectedly, though, he merely asked in a warm tone, “Anything else?”
He stated, “Just a moment,” and then spoke no more. His surroundings went from being raucous to quiet. Behind her was still the discussion of the contestant selections and each candidate’s strengths and shortcomings. Staring out the window at the brightly illuminated terminal building, Jia He waited for him.
She, in fact, truly was not smart at all. Relationships of this sort could be found all around her, merely ones of a man and a woman playing ambiguous games with one another, and if handled properly, the woman became a “close friend.” But she knew herself too well. If she allowed things to continue developing in this way, in the end, she would completely fall in head over heels and then she was bound to get hurt to her very core.
Quite some time passed before his voice was heard on the other end. “Jia He, do you feel really insecure about being in a relationship with me?”
“No, that’s not it…” For a moment, she was stuck for words.
“Because things just started between us, I don’t want to put too much pressure on you.” He also had brought his voice down slightly, but it was very clear. “I know that for most couples, making their relationship known to everyone is what is normal. However, too much attention is very likely to hurt you.”
Bit by bit, his words trickled into her ears, and she listened to them as if in a dream. She pressed her head into the seat in front of her, her cheeks so hot they were almost aflame.
“Jia He.” He seemed to detect that something was not quite right with her, so he addressed her.
“Actually…” Jia He’s voice was a little scratchy. She did not know at all what she wanted to say with this “actually.”
Without warning, the airplane started to move. After a ding echoed out, the flight attendant began carrying out the routine procedure of informing everyone that the plane was soon to take off and requesting passengers to fasten their seat belts and turn off all of their electronic devices. Yi Wenze seemed to hear the voice as well. “You’re taking off now?”
Jia He’s answer was a light “mm-hmm.”
“Shut off your phone first. When you get to Beijing, let me know.”
She answered with another “mm-hmm,” still maintaining the same posture, waiting for him to hang up first.
Time seemed as if it had come to a standstill. No one ended the call first, nor did either of them speak again.
After some time, Yi Wenze at last chuckled and asked, “Why aren’t you hanging up?”
Struggling for words for a long time, too embarrassed to say she was waiting for him to first hang up, she finally had no choice but to be the one to end the call.
Even when the flight attendant was serving drinks, she was still in a stupor, and asking for a glass of orange juice, she downed half of it in one go. Cold, sweet, sour. Very tasty. By her ear was the flight attendant’s voice, which was very patiently inquiring with each person. Behind her, those three young people were still merrily chitchatting away, but she no longer thought they were strident, for their conversation basically did not register in her ears anyway…
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Xiao Yu was the one who came to meet her flight when she landed in Beijing.
Amongst their university friends, only she and Xiao Yu were Beijingers, so naturally they were very close. Were it not so, there would not have been that telephone call that had coerced and cajoled her into helping to find an actress to be a celebrity endorser. Xiao Yu had parked the car at the exit, and despite being clothed in an ankle-length, purple dress, she still leaned against the side of her SUV—very eye-catching. Only after Jia He had stepped outside did she walk over, take her luggage from her, and look her over with a grin. “Why is your face all rosy? Seems like the weather in Shanghai is pretty good.”
The colour staining Jia He’s cheeks deepened a little more. Her heart felt as if it was bursting and she had a persistent urge to share the news with someone. However, she also felt that this matter was something even she had still not accepted yet. Therefore, she could only give Xiao Yu a look, then pull out her mobile phone and wordlessly send off a text message: I’ve arrived in Beijing.
Very soon, he was calling her.
Terribly embarrassed, Jia He stared at her mobile phone, not daring to answer it. As Xiao Yu tossed the luggage into the trunk, she gave Jia He a puzzled look. “Why aren’t you answering?”
Only then did Jia He pick up the call, softly saying, “Hello?”
“About what time will you get home?”
“I’m staying at a friend’s home today.” After saying this, she quickly supplemented, “A female friend.” But once she finished adding that piece of information, she felt like such an idiot. On the other end of the call, he seemed to be chuckling. Even more abashed, she hastily said a few words and then bade him good night.
Once she had truly hung up, though, she began to regret it. She had waited the entire flight, wanting only to say a couple more words to him…
By the time they drove into the urban core, it was already approaching midnight.
The two could therefore only find a restaurant somewhere on the East Second Ring Road to have a late-night meal. When they sat down, Jia He discovered that the world truly was awash with coincidences. At the table beside them were the one man and two women from the flight. She actually had not really gotten a look at their faces but the man’s voice was very distinctive, and now as she glimpsed the two young girls, she observed that they were attractive as well and appeared as if they might be students or graduates of a performing arts college.
Xiao Yu’s glance glided over the sunglasses on that young man’s face, and in a lowered voice, she asked, “A little celebrity?”
Jia He shrugged. “Don’t know. He might have acted in a couple of dramas.” Because of the man’s noisy blabbering tendencies, she rather unkindly added, “Who knows? He may have played the part of something like a chief eunuch, the kind who has less than twenty lines.”
Both comprehending, they said no more and simply exchanged a grin.
“I met Wu Zhilun last time.” The young man’s voice was still very loud. “In reality, in private settings those big stars are no different from ordinary people. I even had a smoke with him. Do you guys know about that whole thing that was on his Weibo recently? There’s actually an inside story to that.”
Jia He had just taken a drink of water, and now she almost sprayed it back out.
Hunan Television is nicknamed “Mango TV” because of its logo. Its online video-streaming platform is called Mango TV.
He said it! She heard it!
Jia He could perhaps be mistaken as being timid. Indeed, her personality is the non-confrontational type and that is what she defaults to if something is not important enough for her to speak out about. However, in reality her moral bottom lines are clearly defined to her and she will hold her ground on those. We saw that in how she clearly ended the relationship with Gu Yu and is making it clear she is not interested. We see it here in that she cannot accept what she believes will be an ambiguous relationship and would rather speak up and bear the awkwardness than risk heartbreak in the future.
Yi Wenze knows Jia He a lot better than she thinks. He has taken the time to learn her personality (and more, as you may have caught on, like her food preferences, etc.), be it by observation, conversation, or the spy in Jia He’s ranks. Not naming any names of course, ahem, QQ… His approach to this relationship from the very start has been a no-pressure one, gently nudging, giving hints, but not scaring her into her shell. He understands her fear of limelight. Though difficult, it is not unheard of for a very well-known celebrity to successfully keep his significant other well protected and out of the prying eyes of the public. Andy Lau comes to mind, who has protected his girlfriend, now wife, for a couple of decades because she, too, was uncomfortable with attention, and only recently has spoken more about her. Now the question is, is Idol Yi capable of doing so? What do you think? 😉
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