The Healing Sunshine Chapter 24 Part1

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Same place, same people, same scene. But yet, subtly different, because their relations.h.i.+p is now different. ?

Chapter 24.1 — The Deepest Recesses of Time (1)

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

Jì Nuannuan was very picky about her evening gowns, and in the end, she did not find any that she was satisfied with. When they left, she suddenly told Xiao Jun, who had walked out behind her, she had not had dinner with Little Uncle for a long time now and suddenly wanted to go to Jì Chengyang's home. So, her dinner with Xiao Jun that they had arranged ahead of time was cancelled last minute.

The name "Jì Chengyang" was not unfamiliar to Xiao Jun. In fact, with every one of Jì Nuannuan's former boyfriends, this person's name had had a high frequency of popping up. However, to Xiao Jun, it held even more significance.

It was on that night approximately five years ago that he had watched, with his own eyes, that tall, young man pick up into his arms the badly beaten and b.l.o.o.d.y Jì Nuannuan right in front of Jì Nuannuan's father and then carry her out of Xiao Jun’s life.

And it was also from that day onwards that he had truly been able to see with clarity the distance between Jì Nuannuan and himself: a distance like that between the clouds of the sky and the mire of the earth[1].

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

On the way home, Jǐ Yi asked Nuannuan in rather roundabout ways how she had ended up connecting with Xiao Jun again. Nuannuan equivocally answered, "Just by chance ran into him. Today was the first time we arranged to have dinner together, and it was just because I was bringing you. He said he wanted to see you, his old friend, again. I said, dinner was no problem, but I needed to first try some evening gowns for my wedding. And then, I didn't expect it but he ended up showing up there first."

The words that were to follow, Nuannuan did not say aloud.

Jǐ Yi could roughly guess what they were, though. What Nuannuan wanted to test was Xiao Jun's manner towards the matter of her upcoming marriage.

Evidently, the man being tested had behaved very ordinarily, as if there had never been any relations.h.i.+p between the two of them previously and they were merely good friends of the past. Jǐ Yi thought of Jì Chengyang, and she wondered, if it had been herself and him in this situation today, what type of scene would it have been?

When they arrived at his home, the lights in the living room were off. Several cold dishes had already been set on the dining table as well as a roast duck delivered by takeout service. Jì Nuannuan would not let Jǐ Yi say anything to alert him, and tiptoeing over to the kitchen doorway, she peeked in on him.

This was a picture Jì Nuannuan had never seen before.

That doctor of philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and also Jì Nuannuan's idol since she was a child was currently standing beside the silver, stainless steel sink, holding a very ordinary, narrow knife in his right hand and peeling a potato.

A picture pieced together by a potato and a 1.87-metre tall man truly felt discordant.

"Little Uncle…" Even though she was already twenty-four years old and her height was considered exceptionally tall, when she saw Jì Chengyang, her voice, just like when she was little, became dainty and had a pouting quality to it. "You even know how to cook?"

It was not only Jì Nuannuan. In Jì Chengyang's life in the past, whenever a girl came across him, she usually had the same reaction. It was as if he was simply that type of person who caused girls to instinctively become gentle and tender.

Without even lifting an eyelid, Jì Chengyang gave an "mm," but from the corner of his eye, he searched for and found Jǐ Yi behind Jì Nuannuan.

Fumbling for topics to make conversation, Jì Nuannuan chatted a few sentences with Jì Chengyang. However, she felt a bit as if she was merely asking for rejection, and so dragging Jǐ Yi by the hand, she pulled her into the bedroom, where, with an exaggerated expression, she declared her displeasure. "My little uncle actually cooks for you…"

"Mm-hmm." In a quiet voice, Jǐ Yi contended, "My cooking is pretty unpleasant to eat. He doesn't like it, so he cooks himself."

Actually, it was not really that unpleasant. It was simply that back then, she had only been in her teens and had not really explored cooking, so of course she was not as proficient as him, someone who had been living abroad all that time and relying on his own efforts for everything.

Seeing this expression of happiness on Jǐ Yi, one where she was pretending to not even appreciate this obviously huge benefit that she had, Jì Nuannuan pinned her directly onto the bed. Using both their hands and feet, the two horsed around for a long while. Inside the quilt, both of them were drenched in sweat and panting as they grinningly faced off with each other.

Nuannuan unexpectedly moved in close, and right beside Jǐ Yi's ear, she whispered, "Little Aunt… is my little uncle able to satisfy a woman's vanity and pride in all aspects? Including in bed?" Nuannuan's tone was low and unhurried and, also, suggestive.

In bed…

Struggling, Jǐ Yi tried to sit back up, her face bright red from stifling herself at this.

Nuannuan was utterly gleeful, and she decided simply to circle her arms to the front of Jǐ Yi's chest and try out the size. "Hmm… Much bigger than what they look. My little uncle sure is blessed in the 'physical happiness' department." Letting out a cry of surprise, Jǐ Yi fl.u.s.teredly crawled off the bed and dashed out of the room.

Of course, this type of dialogue that occurs between besties was something Jì Chengyang would not learn about.

However, for the whole night ever since Jì Nuannuan asked that question, Jǐ Yi was self-conscious, like she was afraid of being found out, to the extent that when Jì Chengyang handed her his bowl and asked her to help him scoop some rice into it, she intentionally tried to maintain distance and avoided his hand. Somewhat puzzled at this, Jì Chengyang took an extra glimpse of her, his gaze easily sliding from her face to beneath her neckline…

"Little Uncle, your stir-fried zucchini is really tasty. You just put in Sichuan peppercorn, salt, and MSG?" Nuannuan very cheerfully ate from that piping hot dish of stir-fried zucchinis in front of her.

"More or less." In a very proper and serious manner, he pulled his gaze back, asking Nuannuan, "I heard your dad and mom mention that you're planning on getting married?"

"Uh, yeah, soon…" In a neutral tone that had neither delight nor happiness in her tone, Jì Nuannuan answered, "My mom said I should go back to Chengdu in May to bring him to meet [maternal] Grandpa. If Grandpa doesn't like him, then… we'll see. Oh right, my mom said you're going to Chengdu with us?"

"I probably will, if nothing unexpected comes up."

<>Your support through reading this translation at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com would be greatly appreciated. 

Such an arrangement was truly a surprise to Jǐ Yi. Although Jì Chengyang did not have an urgent illness that required him to go immediately into the operating room for emergency procedures, the results from all the various tests and checks were out already, and the doctor had said that it would be better to have the surgery as soon as possible.

She had not expected that he was still planning on taking a trip to Sichuan.

That night, after Jì Nuannuan left, she asked him about this matter, and only then did Jì Chengyang tell her that there were two reasons for wanting to go back. The first was that Grandaunt had pa.s.sed away last year, but at the time he had been out of country undergoing medical treatment and had only been able to entrust some people in the town to help handle the funeral arrangements. Now, as he was back in the country, it was still necessary for him to make a trip back to take care of some follow-up arrangements. While he was at it, he should thank those neighbours who were actually not related to him in any way. The second reason…

Touching her hair briefly, he told her, he needed to bring her back one more time.

As for the reason for this, he did not provide a clear explanation.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

The trip to Chengdu was scheduled for May.

Ten days later, Jǐ Yi went to the director of her integrated team and asked for some time off. While the director was signing her vacation request form, he also in pa.s.sing handed her something else. Jǐ Yi hurriedly brushed a glance over it. It was the application form for being a foreign correspondent.

This team director came from a background of German studies, having studied at the same school that Jǐ Yi did her undergraduate studies in, and was quite a kindly and affable person. Seeing Jǐ Yi's startled expression, he purposely explained, "The international department this time has seventeen available slots. The countries that need people are all quite good ones. Our integrated team is recommending you and Tong Xianghai. Before you are stationed to your foreign a.s.signments, the two of you need to rotate through each group and work unit and work in every one for a period of time. You'll even have to go through the photography department." Gripping that doc.u.ment in her hand, Jǐ Yi did not utter a word.

There were several colleagues nearby, so it would not be appropriate for her to immediately turn down this opportunity.

Based on the timing that was written on the form, there was still time to talk about it with this team director after she returned from Chengdu.

Prior to leaving, she took advantage of the opportunity when she went back to her own home to pack her luggage to give the next two months' rent to He Feifei. The latter stared at the money in the envelope, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. "You haven't even really stayed here all that much in this last month. I feel bad asking you for rent." He Feifei jumped on this chance to tease her. "If the relations.h.i.+p is stable, you might as well forget about everything and just have a flash marriage[2]. That way, you can save the rent, too."

Since transferring into the International News and Editing Department, Jǐ Yi was extremely busy. At first, she had been running back and forth between the newspaper agency and the hospital, and then later, it became a life of going back and forth along the same line between the same two points, the newspaper office and Jì Chengyang's home. Sometimes, even she felt that renting this room was somewhat of a waste.

This question was one she had thought about, but it had merely stayed as a thought.

Jì Chengyang seemed to have never asked about this co-renting situation, either. The current state between the two of them and how they interacted actually felt as if they had returned to her university days, in that period when SARS had just broken out. Although she was living at Jì Chengyang's place and the two of them were with each other day and night, they still did not take things to that very last step…

"I’ll wait and see next month," she answered.

<>Please support this translation by reading it at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead. Thank you.

On this day when they were going to the airport, it so happened that some government leaders were also out and about, and the roads were closed to traffic for a very long period of time. Jì Nuannuan's boyfriend stared out the car window at the traffic police who were maintaining order, quietly conversing with Nuannuan in English. As the two whispered amongst themselves, the atmosphere between them originally was quite harmonious, but unexpectedly, things somehow evolved into cold shoulders and silent treatments.

Sitting beside Nuannuan, Jǐ Yi elbowed her lightly. "What's wrong?"

Since this New York lawyer did not understand Chinese anyway, she did not intentionally keep her voice down.

"Our values and views on life[3] are incompatible," Jì Nuannuan huffily replied. Then leaning forward, she asked Jì Chengyang, who was sitting in the front pa.s.senger seat, "Little Uncle, do you have any especially good friends. Just introduce them to me. I feel like I still like your type more."

A giggle slipped from Jǐ Yi.

Jì Chengyang could not even be bothered to open his eyes. "My friends? I reckon they'll be repulsed with your twisted values and views on life, too."

"Just how are my values and views twisted? I was born into a good background and raised uprightly. I'm just like Jǐ Yi and come from a family with a revolutionary background, where the older generation even carried arms and took bullets…" Nuannuan blah-blahed on for a long time, until finally, she heaved a sigh. "This fake foreigner here was just talking to me about China. He gave me this feeling like he's been brainwashed. He always thinks that what he knows is the real truth. Xixi, did you hear him just now?"

"I didn't really listen to what you guys were saying. Your voices were so quiet…" Jǐ Yi answered honestly.

"I don't even know where he gets his news reports." Nuannuan heatedly complained, "Don't think all foreign media is high and mighty. They have untrue news reports in other countries, too. It's not as if everyone is like my little uncle." She paused, then added, "Oh right, and there's you, too. My Xixi is a reporter now, too. She's definitely a reporter who has a conscience."

Jì Nuannuan's boyfriend could not understand what they were saying and thought that the several of them were speaking about matters unrelated to him. With his head low, he fiddled around on his Blackberry phone, busily checking and sending out company-related emails and replying to work arrangements.

Jǐ Yi gave Nuannuan a gentle nudge, signaling to her that she should curb herself a bit and leave her own boyfriend some face.

As this vehicle that they were riding in had deliberately detoured onto a different route in order to pick up Jǐ Yi and Jì Chengyang, it had not taken the same road as Nuannuan's mother's vehicle. After they had all, one after the other, boarded the airplane and Jǐ Yi was standing in the plane's aisle, she finally saw Nuannuan's mother, who was in her seat reading the newspaper.

Since that time in the hospital, this was her first time seeing this elder.

"Xixi." Detecting that they had all gotten onto the plane, Jì Nuannuan's mother lifted her head and smiled. "I was just thinking earlier, it seems the first time you went to Chengdu, it was also with us?"

The same airport. Even the scene inside the plane cabin seemed familiar.

Jì Chengyang was beside Jǐ Yi and at this moment was politely exchanging niceties with a few retired elders. Noticing that Jǐ Yi's thoughts were still lost in other things, he placed his palm on her back and gave her a little rub that was undetectable to others. Jǐ Yi's awareness was yanked back. "Mm-hmm… When I was in first-year high school."

"Hurry and take a seat," Nuannuan's mother urged her.

"Mom—" Nuannuan had boarded the plane a few minutes later than them, and now she rushed over anxiously. "What are you reading?" As she said this, she took the newspaper from her mother, but all the while she did not stop talking. "What news is there? Is it interesting? Tell me about it."

It was obvivous she was afraid her mother would do or say something to make things difficult for Jǐ Yi.

Seeing through her intentions, Nuannuan's mother laughingly chastised her, "All right now. Since when have you ever concerned yourself with the news? Hurry up and take your seat."

When the plane was about to takeoff, Jì Chengyang was at last able to free himself from the elders' kindly expressions of care and concern for him and return to her side.

As Jì Chengyang sat down, he felt Jǐ Yi's hand quietly slip around his left arm. This type of complete dependence on him that she did not try at all to hide left him in a slight daze for a moment. Turning his head slightly to the side, he asked her in low tones, "What's the matter?"

Jǐ Yi shook of her head and smiled, answering him softly, "Nothing."

She was very happy. Ever since that time her family member went to the newspaper office to have that discussion with her, she had not been this happy.

"Then why are you smiling so happily? It's like you found some gold lying around."

Jì Chengyang was so intelligent; how could he not know why she was smiling or why she was nestling herself so dependently against him? But he liked to spectate like this, to observe her like a spectator as she wrinkled her nose slightly and softly replied, "Not telling you."

Every word, every expression was as he had predicted it would be—exactly as he had predicted.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

[1] 云泥之别 "yun ni zhi bie." The literal translation is "the difference between clouds and mud." This saying is describing a great difference in social standing and status.

[2] 闪婚 "shan hun." A "flash marriage" or "blitz marriage" is a relatively recent term in China describing couples who have dated each other for a very short period of time or even just met before quickly getting married. The phenomenon is becoming more and more common in China as couples feel pressured to get married for financial reasons, such as rising housing costs, or sometimes, due to age (and pressure from parents.)

[3] 三观 "san guan." Literally, this means "three views," which usually refer to one's world views, core values, and outlook on life. When talking about a person's "three views," it generally is referring to that person's morals and values.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

Additional Comments:

The beginning of this chapter likely triggered in your minds who Xiao Jun is, right? If not, you can go back to read chapter 18.2. Or go further back if need be. He’s the bad-boy boyfriend that Nuannuan dated for most of high school but who ended up getting into drugs.

Why is seeing Xiao Jun so significant to Nuannuan? It’s closure. That night that she likely won’t ever forget—the one where her father found her beside a Xiao Jun who was high on drugs; the one where Jì Chengyang shoved her father away, picked her up, and carried her out of Xiao Jun’s house; the one that directly caused her parents to make the decision that she was to leave the country immediately—abruptly brought about the end of her relations.h.i.+p with Xiao Jun. That boy was the one she had been with for two years, the one with whom she had dreamed about their life together after marriage. She did not even get to say a proper goodbye to him.

Nuannuan is uncertain about her upcoming marriage because there is a corner of her heart that hasn’t let go yet. There is an era in her life that she has never had the opportunity to look back on and properly wave farewell to. She was testing Xiao Jun, and I suspect she was also testing herself. Would something happen in her heart when she saw him again? What about him? What would his reaction be to the news that she was getting married? She needed to know. If she did feel anything, would she act on it? Perhaps not. But grown-up Nuannuan needs to close that chapter of adolescent, impetuous Nuannuan’s life and to officially make the decision herself to part ways with this man who had once embodied the free-spirited pa.s.sion of her youth.

Completed:
60 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

The Healing Sunshine Chapter 24 Part1

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The Healing Sunshine Chapter 24 Part1 summary

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