Easily Set Aflame Chapter 5 Part3

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Oh geez, fate likes to play little jokes on you, encountering people you didn't really want to encounter. Don't worry, though. Someone will come to Jia He's rescue. ?

Chapter 5.3 — A Brief Return to Shanghai (3)

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting 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.

"It was raining this afternoon in Shanghai. I had just wanted to confirm whether you had anyone to pick you up."

The soup scalded her tongue. Jia He lightly sucked some air into her mouth, not saying anything.

On his end, Yi Wenze seemed in no hurry. Vaguely, in the phone, Qing could be heard saying something, and there also seemed to be Qiao Qiao's and Cheng Hao's voices… The liveliness of that side served even more to highlight the quiet and loneliness of this one. By now, it was already approaching the eatery's closing time. When she first came in, there had still been two or three other customers, but she was the only one left now.

The four shop employees were already cleaning the floors and were continually shuffling by her, clearly demonstrating the hint that it was closing time.

With a spoon, Jia He gave a few stirs to her soup, watching as that one remaining meatball merrily somersaulted around inside. "Actually, it's pretty easy to catch a cab here at Hongqiao Railway Station, and my home isn't very far away either. Teacher, rest earlier. My mobile is going to be out of battery right away, so I won't talk anymore."

"All right, then. Take care and be safe."

His voice was warm and gentle, as it always was, and seemed to have been lowered by several notches. Jia He was silent for quite a long moment before finally hanging up the phone first.

While she was rapidly destroying the rest of the food, her mobile phone all of a sudden vibrated again.

It was a text message from Qiao Qiao: You go, girl. You had a roomful of people listening to the two of you talk about how it's raining in Shanghai.

Jia He nearly bit her tongue. Good thing she had been smart and hung up the phone. Who's there?

Qiao Qiao: It's been quite theatrical. When you were getting on the train, Yi Wenze's agent came, and then later there were Liao Jing and Cheng Hao. Then just now when the doctor was doing the check-up, Tian Chu arrived. Anyhow, currently I'm the person who's watching all the excitement…

Those two rows of tiny words listed out what felt like a countless number of heavyweight names.

Jia He quickly typed out a line of words, but then she immediately erased it and started over, switching to write a completely different sentence. After repeating this process another two or three times, she was still staring dully at that blank reply box. What exactly she wanted to ask, even she herself did not know.

"Miss," a shop employee addressed her, holding a white cleaning rag and wiping down the railing next to her, "sorry, but we actually need to close up now."

She thought for a moment but in the end still did not reply to the text. Putting away her mobile phone, she left the eatery.

Torrential rain was indeed pouring down during the drive to her home, and traffic was ridiculously congested on the elevated roadway. The worst part was that a rear end collision had occurred on that road. As Jia He sat in the taxi, listening to a song request program on the radio, her head against the gla.s.s of the window, she held her mobile phone and surfed online, flipping through webpage after webpage, from international news to forum posts and webcasts, but not daring to touch any entertainment news… Tian Chu's new alb.u.m had hit the charts and hence had caused even her old song, "Sunlight," to be requested by someone. In this small, narrow s.p.a.ce, that melody was extravagantly amplified, and even the driver began humming along with it.

She rolled the window down by a crack, drawing in a deep breath.

<>It would be greatly appreciated if you would read this translation from its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Thank you.

In the month that followed, Jia He was extremely busy.

Her new script went through all sorts of trials and tribulations, and she had revised it to the point that she was even feeling psychological resistance to it. Sometimes, when she opened up Microsoft Word, she could not even remember what the names of the male and female lead were… Her new mobile phone was the exact same model as her previous one, and her Angry Birds record had risen back to the original stage that she had been at. Except for Qiao Qiao's phone calls that would come every now and then to hara.s.s her and report to her the state of Yi Wenze's recovery, everything was as it had always been.

One time, at three in the morning, Qiao Qiao had once more gotten into a huge tiff with her O great ba.s.s-playing talent and called her to vent her grievances. Out of the blue, she asked, "You're honestly not curious about what I saw that night, you know, in the ma.s.sage room?"

Jia He was taken aback for a moment, evidently having already forgotten about the matter.

"Forget it." For once, Qiao Qiao's lips were remaining tightly sealed about something. "I've decided that I'm going to keep this inside me and let it rot away in my stomach. My ba.s.s-playing talent said that women shouldn't be too nosy and gossipy, so I've decided I'll start that with this matter of yours and turn over a new leaf."

Unhesitantly hanging up the phone, Jia He buried her head down and continued cooking up the fourth melodramatic misunderstanding between the male and female lead…

One month later, as she spun her car keys and walked out of the underground parking garage of Raffles City[1], a car came to a stop right in front of her. Gu Yu's face appeared from behind its half-open window. "Jia He." He made a little gesture. "Wait for me here. I'll be right up."

With those words, he did not wait for Jia He's response and drove down into the parking garage.

Watching as the back of his car disappeared into the entrance, she was caught in a bind, for it was not appropriate to leave, but neither did she want to stay.

All of a sudden, a car came driving straight towards her and, its driver not braking early enough, nearly rammed into her. Luckily, someone behind her yanked her away. It was Gu Yu, who had just walked up from the parking garage. The novice driver inside the car hastily stuck her head out and said sorry. Jia He wagged her hand and did not say anything, discreetly pulling her arm back.

In contrast, the expression of the woman in the front pa.s.senger seat s.h.i.+fted greatly, and opening her door, she got out of the car and gave a subdued greeting of "Editor-In-Chief." A very brief look of perplexity crossed Gu Yu's face, but then an easy smile replaced it, like this was his old acquaintance. The woman hurriedly took a look at Jia He, who should have been the near-victim but was now standing off to the side like a random bystander who had nothing to do with all this. "Sorry, Editor-In-Chief. My friend just learned how to drive. Your friend… is fine, right?"

Jia He jumped in to answer first. "No worries. It's also my bad. I shouldn't have stood by the entrance to wait for someone."

Nevertheless, the woman continued gingerly giving her apologies. It was quite a while later before she, still filled with anxiety, got back into the car and left, leaving the remaining two people there to stare at each other.

Gu Yu lowered his head to look at her. "You really are fine?"

Jia He tried her best to smile. "I'm fine. Just now, that was your colleague?"

"Might be someone new. She doesn't really look familiar."

He was wearing gla.s.ses today, a pure-black metal frame, and looked cultured and sophisticated.

She could still remember, when she had just started university, Gu Yu was already in his fourth year and was the emcee of that year's Welcome Gala. At the time, he had been so at ease as he dialogued and laughed with female emcee, who had been wearing seven-inch heels, and had enchanted all those younger female schoolmates who had only recently taken their first steps through the university gates. Later, by fortune and accident, she had become his girlfriend, and her greatest pleasure each day had been to s.n.a.t.c.h his gla.s.ses off of him and see how those eyes behind the gla.s.ses could only look resignedly at her.

Gu Yu asked, "You're here to buy something?"

Nodding, Jia He replied, "Qiao Qiao said iPads have come down in price. I came to take a look."

"The little shop behind Raffles City?"

Jia He answered with an "mm-hmm," planning on making up an excuse that would allow her to leave.

"Do you remember that friend I mentioned to you last time?" Gu Yu pointed in the direction of Fuzhou Road. He and I are meeting up to grab something to eat together. But it's still early. I'll go look at iPads with you first."

Raffles City in Shanghai's Huangpu District. The location of he parking garage has been annotated.

<>This translation's site of posting is hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. It would be sincerely appreciated if you would read it there instead. Thank you.

These few sentences from him completely upset her plans.

Back when the two of them were dating, their days and nights had been so busy with work that they would not even get to see each other during the week. At the time, day and night Jia He had hoped that they could have a surprise chance meeting somewhere, but never once did this wish come true. Now, though, this was just great. This was originally just an arbitrary decision to go strolling and shopping that she made after waking up, but for some reason, it had gone from being a casual shopping trip to an awkward occasion of her old love coming along with her.

Gu Yu, the "strolling companion," fulfilled his duties conscientiously and, when it was time to pay, even very naturally fished out his wallet and pulled out his card. Hastily putting a stop to his actions, Jia He took out her own wallet and gave it a waggle. "It's not New Year's, nor is it a festival or holiday. Absolutely do not give me anything as a gift. I don't want to be constantly thinking about what gift I should give you in return."

With a shake of his head and a smile, Gu Yu put away his wallet. Telling Jia He to first inspect the product to make sure everything was okay, he stepped out the door.

The shop owner had already become well acquainted with Jia He by now, and casually he teased, "This one's a good guy. Really, he is quite good."

Jia He smiled. "Don't speak blindly. We're just ordinary friends."

After saying this, she looked down and wordlessly inspected the item. The white box, when opened, held a pretty silver tablet as well as, as usual, Apple's standard charger, simple and clean-looking. Going through layer by layer, she carefully opened up everything and picked up each accessory, giving the impression that she was very seriously inspecting it. However, though she spent a long time examining things, she actually did not even know what she was looking at.

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

When Gu Yu returned with two bottles of water, the shop owner had just finished wrapping up the tablet computer for Jia He, and putting it into a paper bag, he handed it to her with natural motions.

By the time she finished her purchase, it was already past six o'clock and the sky was fading into hazy darkness. Countless cars were stuck in traffic on the road, stretching along and forming a river of lights.

Jia He wanted to say that it was time for her to go home, but Gu Yu was already making a phone call. When he hung up, he informed her that the other person was already waiting and they might need to move a little quicker to head over there. Without even getting a chance to decline, she was taken to that restaurant. Inside the private dining room sat seven or eight people, and when the two of them stepped inside, without any exceptions, every one of those people fixed his eyes on Jia He, grinningly telling Gu Yu to make the introductions.

He directed Jia He to sit on the inside. "This is my junior schoolmate from university, Jia He." Saying this, he turned to look at a middle-aged man within the group. "She's the one I told you about last time, the screenwriter I wanted to introduce you to for you to collaborate with."

The middle-aged man gave him a meaningful look. "I remember that's not how you introduced her to me last time."

"Fine, I'll re-do the introductions." With a laugh, Gu Yu took a seat and had a sip of tea. "This is Jia He, my very first girlfriend and also the one whom, to this day, I cannot forget. My mission still is not accomplished, though, and I am still working hard on it."

The men all burst out in guffaws and commended him, "Laddie, you sure are frank enough." At this moment, a server suddenly pushed the door open and set several bamboo steamers of  xiaolongbao[2][soup dumpling] filled with crab meat and pork onto the table. Their piping hot steam served as a curtain, isolating everybody's knowing and hinting gazes from her.

Gripping a teacup, Jia He managed to force a joking tone and say, "Don't say such silly nonsense. Aren't you trying to woo Liao Jing?"

Someone could not hold back a couple of chortles. Gu Yu, as well, had an expression that was somewhere between tears and laughter as he looked at her without speaking.

Rather, it was that middle-aged man who spoke first. "That's weird. How come I didn't know you're trying to woo my sister?"

Gu Yu was unfazed. "Your one request of 'look after her for me' has brought a lot of trouble on me."

So it was actually… a misunderstanding.

The conversation and laughter carried on as before, and those a.s.sessing gazes on her gradually subsided. She secretly took out her phone, intending on setting an alarm to create an excuse for her to leave this place. Just as she was pressing the confirm b.u.t.ton, her mobile phone unexpectedly began ringing.

It was a call from a number not in her contacts list, but that string of digits was familiar to her. She stared at it for quite some time, stunned, before finally answering the call.

"Jia He, is this a convenient time for you?" Through the phone, Yi Wenze's voice had a lot of texture, and it still caused her heart to throb uncontrollably when she heard it.

<>Please support this translation by reading it from its actual site of posting hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. This would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

She had originally wanted to greet him with "Teacher Yi," but with so many people present, it was not really a good place to do so. In the end, she merely uttered a neutral "mm-hmm" and motioned to Gu Yu to make way for her so she could get out. Out of worry that Yi Wenze would be waiting too long, she did not even have time to say "pardon me" before she left behind her the unfamiliar laughter and cheerful chatter and also the veiled teasing and heckling.

It was very lively both inside and outside of the restaurant, and she had to step out of its front doors before she finally found a quiet spot without other people.

The entire time, Yi Wenze quietly waited, just as he had that time when she was at the train station, so patient it was somewhat unfathomable.

Jia He steadied her breathing. "Teacher Yi, sorry about that. I was having dinner with my friend just now, and it wasn't convenient to talk."

"It's all right. Next time, if things are inconvenient, you can call me Ze."

"… Okay."

Leaning against a wooden railing and watching the people coming and going on the escalators, she continued, "Are you better now?"

Actually, Qiao Qiao was very conscientious. In order to be able to explain the situation of his medical treatments to Jia He, she practically wished she could photocopy Yi Wenze's X-rays and give them to her. Jia He knew that his recovery was going very well, but in such a time, if she did not ask about this, she honestly did not know what she could say.

"I was just discharged from the hospital today and am currently in the car."

"So soon?" She abruptly grew anxious. "Injuries to sinew and bone require at least three months of recuperation. The doctor didn't say anything?" But while she was still speaking, she realized that she had overstepped her bounds a little with her worry. Automatically, she shut her mouth.

"My recovery has been going very well but I still can't start walking too early, so this trip to Shanghai is for me to recuperate a bit." It was as if the situation had been reversed, for his tone was like he was comforting her instead.

All of a sudden processing the meaning of his words, Jia He unconsciously reiterated, "You're in Shanghai?"

"About another half an hour and then I'll be there." There was a pause on his end. Then he suddenly asked, "You're having dinner?"

Jia He had only just said an "mm-hmm" when she heard Qing declare with a raised voice that Jia He needed to be a host and take them to have some good eats. However, only two or three sentences came from her before silence at once took over again.

Only now did Jia He catch on. "I actually haven't started to eat yet. Originally, I just wanted to buy something, but then I happened to run into someone I know and that's how I got pulled here to have dinner." Words like these sounded like she was deliberately making up justifications so that she could invite him to dinner. For a moment, Jia He's words stuck in her throat, and she falteringly explained, "The food here isn't very good, and aside from that one friend, they're all people I don't know. Luckily, thanks to your one sentence, I was finally able to escape from there…"

In the end, even she did not know what she should say next and could only stop and reorganize her words in her mind .

Now that there were no more words coming from her, he finally spoke up on his end. "Well, then, would you like me to rescue you one more time? I'll take you to eat something that you do like?"

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

[1]Raffles City is a large, high-end shopping centre. In Shanghai, it is in the bustling heart of the city.

[2]Xiaolongbao is a Shanghainese specialty, a pork dumpling steamed in a bamboo basket. It's standout feature is that contained within the dumpling is a "soup," which is actually the broth from the meat produced from steaming. The one being served in the story is crab meat xiaolongbao, which is a variation on the traditional plain pork ones, adding orange crab roe on top of the meat filling.

Additional Comments:

"I was just discharged from the hospital today and am currently in the car." Teacher Yi was just discharged and now he has headed straight for the city Jia He is in. Hmm…

Just this past summer, I actually specifically, just for this novel, went to the Raffles City in Shanghai mentioned in this post, scoped out the parking garage, standing across the street to take pictures of it (yeah, yeah, I'm a fanatic, taking pictures of a parking garage), even walking down into it, and checked out Fuzhou Road. Unfortunately, I could not find the electronics store. Perhaps it is now closed?

Here's the photo that I took of the entrance to the parking garage. ? Does that help you to visualize? When Jia He was waiting for Gu You to come out, she would probably have been standing somewhere to the right of the security guard under the umbrella, since she nearly got run over by a car trying to enter the parking garage. In the direction to the left of the photo is Fuzhou Road.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting 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.

1 of 1 Prologue
15 of 58 Chapter segments
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Easily Set Aflame Chapter 5 Part3

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Easily Set Aflame Chapter 5 Part3 summary

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