Easily Set Aflame Chapter 9

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Published at 30th of March 2019 09:53:26 AM Chapter 9

They were already getting out of the car when Wu Zhilun’s vehicle finally drove in . His vehicle appeared to have quite a few others in it, and as those people followed Wu Zhilun out, they all greeted Yi Wenze with a smile . Jia He stood wordlessly to the side, attempting as best as she could to turn herself invisible . Thank goodness that in front of outsiders, Wu Zhilun retained a very reticent and refined demeanour, absolutely no different from that melancholy idol image he portrayed to the public . Only while he was giving a nod in greeting did he flash a cryptic smile at Jia He, and then another cryptic smile…

Since one of her eyes was blurry, Jia He could only unsteadily, carefully follow Yi Wenze in through the doors and up the stairs . The flooring and stairs were both made of grated steel plates . At first she had admired the contemporary feel, but as she walked higher and higher up, she discovered that, because the design was too clean and simple, she actually felt as if she was walking on a tightrope .

Unfortunately, she had a fear of heights…

By the time they reached the second level, her legs were already starting to grow weak . Yi Wenze, though, was still continuing upwards . With a silent howl of anguish, Jia He summoned her courage and continued the climb, unconsciously gripping tight to the terribly thin handrail, her palm drenched in cold sweat . She had had this fear of heights since she was a child . Back when the carnival was in Shanghai, she had gone there originally filled with excitement but had ultimately only been able to be a random Jane Doe spectator, standing at the bottom and looking up at those tall thrill rides and equipment while Qiao Qiao ridiculed her countless times . Then, the most pathetic thing was that the following year in Beijing, when Xiao Yu called her to go hang out and pa.s.s the time, it was again at the carnival…

The view before her eyes was unclear . With each step, her heartbeat sped up rapidly . A boy happened to run down from the third floor at that moment, and this staircase that was already narrow to begin with felt even more cramped . Gingerly, she s.h.i.+fted over half a step and leaned against the railing, trying hard to divert her attention .

“Hi, Boss . ” The boy nodded in greeting .

Giving an “mm,” Yi Wenze asked, “Preparing for the screen tests?”

“Yup . They’re starting at two this afternoon . ” When the boy finished saying this, he took a look at Jia He . Instantly, he became extremely keen and enthusiastic . “Hi, Boss’s wife . ” Receiving a shock at this, Jia He reflexively turned her eyes to Yi Wenze . He, however, merely smiled and did not say anything .

Seeing the boy’s effusive friendliness … she had no choice but to respond with an “mm . ” And then, she felt even dizzier .

As the boy ran downstairs with a grin, Yi Wenze at last noticed her complexion . “You’re not feeling well?”

“No…” She just needed to get upstairs . Once she was on the third floor, she would definitely be fine .

Yi Wenze turned around and carefully observed her .

Clutching the handrail, Jia He continuously prayed, Don’t look anymore . Let’s just hurry up and go…

“I forgot . You’re scared of heights . ” Rather apologetic, Yi Wenze reached his arm over and circled it around her, holding her against him as they walked up the stairs . “The first floor is all workrooms . Tomorrow, I’ll have someone move my office down to the second floor . ”

Jia He was somewhat astounded . How did he know everything? Probably it was Qiao Qiao again who had told him .

Because she was in his embrace and also purposely avoiding looking at her feet, her fear gradually subsided by quite a bit . Ultimately, though, that psychological barrier was difficult to overcome, and unable to even care that they were out in full view of everyone and that she should be embarra.s.sed, she of her own accord tucked herself even tighter against him .

As they stepped up to the third floor, Qing was just coming out of a room, and her jaw actually fell open before she immediately s.h.i.+fted her eyes away . The smile on her lips was very apparent . “Teacher Yi, I saw the name list for the screen tests . Three days probably won’t be enough . ”

Yi Wenze was somewhat surprised . After giving her a few general instructions, he asked her to help find menus of some nearby restaurants . Qing very astutely left straightaway . Jia He was evidently still caught in the aftershock from her fear of heights, for she simply remained as she was and listened to them, and it was not until they were inside the room that she realized she was still buried in his arms…

She swiftly tried to think up an excuse . At last, she had a flash of brilliance . “Weren’t you going to get some contact lenses for me?” Then, she successfully escaped .

Lunch did not have many dishes, just enough for two people to finish without any leftovers . Immediately after she set down her chopsticks, Yi Wenze was already casually tidying them away . He wrapped everything up in newspaper, then put it all into a plastic bag and placed the bag outside the door . As she watched him do all this with easy, fluid motions, a sense of pride continually gushed up in her . See how top quality, how down-to-earth and easy to get along with her idol was! So worthy of being her idol!

Then he picked up a little green bottle and poured out a piece of gum . “Would you like some water?”

“Coffee . ” Once the word came out, though, she felt she had committed a heinous crime—she had actually ordered her idol around like he was some page boy . Hence, before he could even move, she was already rus.h.i.+ng into the coffee station .

On the shelf were seven or eight different kinds of coffee .

There were simple, easy-brew ones and ones that required you to set the brew ratio yourself, and there were also coffee powder and coffee beans . She stared at all of these for a while, but in the end she still grabbed a package of the simplest type, Nescafé . Turning her head, she asked him, “What are you going to drink?”

“Iced water will be fine . ” Stepping into the room, he glanced at the bag in her hand . “Why aren’t you brewing some?”

“This is easy and convenient . ” She ripped the package open . “I drink coffee just to boost my energy . After drinking it for a while, it eventually just became a habit . I’m actually not picky about it at all . As long as I get that taste, it’s good enough . ”

He took the package from her hand . “Instant coffee is very convenient . ”

After saying that, though, he tossed the package into the garbage . Bringing down the coffee pot from high up on the shelf, he rinsed it clean with cool water and then with very practiced motions began to brew some coffee for her . “I used to like coffee, too, but later, because of filming, I developed stomach issues and had to force myself to give it up . ”

The water slowly began to boil, producing gurgling sounds . His right hand casually resting on the gla.s.s table, he simply waited patiently . Jia He’s gaze moved from the collar of his s.h.i.+rt to his hand and finally glided to the tips of his fingers . As the aroma gradually began to permeate outwards, his fingertips made a slight, sudden movement, yanking her back to awareness . When she lifted her head, his face was already right by hers . And then, he finally brought it down and covered her lips in a gentle kiss .

The scent of coffee and also the taste of mint on the tip of his tongue instantly flooded all her senses .

Unlike the abruptness of the first time, with their current relations.h.i.+p, everything now could not be any more natural . However, she still felt lightheaded, as if the heavens and earth were spinning around her, and had a hard time catching her breath . After a long time, a thought finally managed to charge into her previously blank mind .

Oh no . She hadn’t had any gum .

Yi Wenze was holding her snugly against him, but when he tilted his head to deepen this kiss, she unexpectedly gave him a little shove .

With his lips against hers, he softly asked, “What’s the matter?”

“Um, well…” It was not as if she could blame him for not giving her a piece of gum . She hesitated . “The time has pa.s.sed . Forty seconds . ”

Good thing she knew how to brew coffee . After letting the coffee stand and infuse for forty seconds, you need to move to the next step .

He was silent for a moment before giving her another light kiss . Then releasing her, he began to pour the coffee, a faint but obvious smile on his lips . Pretending she did not see it, Jia He shuffled away a bit .

Sure enough, the power of knowledge was amazing!

When they stepped out of the coffee station, they found a few sheets of paper had already been slipped under his door . Yi Wenze picked them up and skimmed through them . They were the work schedule for the next two days . As Jia He’s eyes scanned over them, she remembered the screen tests mentioned earlier . “You’re starting to look for actors for your new film?”

He nodded . “There will be screen tests over these next couple of days . ”

“What sort of theme is it?”

“Republican period[1] . ” Yi Wenze set the papers on his desk . “Other than the leading actress’s part, the female roles are not very big . I didn’t expect there would be so many people trying out for the screen tests . ”

That’s because there’s you and Wu Zhilun, Jia He muttered silently .

He all of a sudden asked her, “Screen tests are on the first floor . It’s open viewing . Would you like to watch?”

Remembering how high up they currently were, Jia He replied glumly, “Forget it . At this type of height, I don’t dare even to look down . ”

If her blood pressure soared at that time and caused a little scene of an object plummeting from on high, things would get even livelier…

“It’s okay . I’ll be with you . ”

The film production company had only just been established but had already immediately started on a large collaboration project with one of Mainland China’s leading corporations, Yi Hua . Consequently, Yi Wenze very quickly slipped into working mode . Jia He sat in the wicker chair by the window, holding a newspaper and casually flipping through it . Sunlight streamed through the gla.s.s, which infinitely magnified its warmth . And then, drowsiness began to creep onto her… until there was a light rustle . Starting awake, she discovered that the newspaper had slid down off of her knees .

Yi Wenze looked at her with a smile . “Go inside and sleep for a bit . ”

She hurriedly answered, “It’s okay . ”

What a crime she had committed . He was so busy and bogged down in work, but here she was dozing off .

At this time, voices suddenly started up downstairs . The screen tests seemed to have begun . Finally, she had an excuse to escape from this awkward situation, so quickly cutting in and changing the subject, she said, “Screen tests have started?”

“Let’s go out and have a look . ” Lightly moving and stretching his fingers, he rose . “It’s a good time to take a break . ”

The two of them walked out the door . On the first floor, the seats were already filled with people . Sure enough, it was open viewing .

Jia He took only a little downward glance but her legs immediately went limp . When she was about to back away, however, she felt warmth surrounding all of her . Yi Wenze’s two hands were resting on the railing, enfolding her against his chest . “Is it a little better this way?”

“Much better,” she softly replied . Though she knew this was the best way to overcome her fear of heights, there were so many people downstairs… Plus there were people watching the screen tests from the second and third floors, too . This wasn’t very appropriate, was it?

While she was wavering over whether they should go back, it was already the next candidate’s turn . From her vantage point, Jia He could not see that young girl’s face, but judging from the figure, she was certain the girl was a beauty .

To her surprise, when the girl spoke, her voice sounded very familiar . “h.e.l.lo, teachers . I am candidate number thirteen, Jiang Xing . ”

Why was the voice so familiar? Jia He carefully searched through her mind . She should not know this person; she had never heard the name before .

Jia He did not ponder on this anymore, reckoning it was just coincidentally similar to the voice of someone she knew . Sweeping a look over the people sitting downstairs, she saw that Wu Zhilun was in a seat on the rightmost side, wearing a very solemn, melancholy expression . She could not help giggling and remarking quietly, “The image that Wu Zhilun portrays is definitely wrong . He obviously has a very sunny, cheerful face, yet he’s always acting in roles that are very psychologically complex and dark . ”

Yi Wenze also spoke in lowered tones . “It has to do with his own experiences . He used to live in a public housing estate[2], and his family’s financial situation then wasn’t very good . Later on, he did lots of auditions for modeling but with no success and could not get into an artiste training program either . He could only hang out on film sets and wait for roles as an extra or a minor character . ”

Jia He only knew that Wu Zhilun had been famous for seven or eight years now, but as he was not her type, she of course had not really paid much attention to his career . Now that she truly thought about it, he and Yi Wenze were the same age but he had not risen to popularity until many years after Yi Wenze . It had probably been very difficult for him .

“In Hong Kong, it’s not easy to get a start in the entertainment business, is it?’ It seemed that those who managed to bear through and make a name for themselves had spent many years in minor roles .

Yi Wenze gave a very mild “mm . ”

All of a sudden, she recalled what Qiao Qiao had said, that Tian Chu had struggled for many years as well .

But asking now on topics about his ex was definitely inappropriate . Jia He very wisely restrained herself and turned her gaze back downstairs . That young girl had already, as requested, acted out a scene of reuniting with long-lost family and was currently being asked to act alongside someone else and play the role of a virtuous, filial child .

She watched carefully for a short while . That girl honestly was quite good . Her voice, though, still really did sound familiar .

Near the end of that girl’s audition, Wu Zhilun appeared quite satisfied with her performance as well . “Answer me very quickly: what is the thing that has left the deepest impression on you lately?”

Daring not to delay, the young girl blurted, “When I saw your rumoured girlfriend . ”

When these words were tossed out, everyone was taken aback . The look on Wu Zhilun’s face went from puzzlement to comprehension, and then finally, with a wry expression, he flicked a barely perceptible glance at the third floor . Stupefaction had long since possessed Jia He, and it was only with this look from him that she abruptly realized why this girl’s voice was so familiar . Wasn’t she that person in the restaurant that night who had said she was going to be going for a screen test?

While a tempest sea was still raging inside her, she felt a warmth on her ear .

“You’ve seen her before?”

[1] 民国 . The Republican era (1912-1949), also known as the Minguo era, in Mainland China is the era immediately after the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, in which the Republic of China was established .

[2] Hong Kong has a significant public housing program . The government has built many public housing estates of apartment buildings to provide affordable housing to those with low incomes, and due to government subsidization, these are rented out at significantly lower rates than private housing .

She forced a dry laugh . “Yes . What a coincidence . ”

Then, in a few words, she explained that day’s incident to him . When she was finished, downstairs, Wu Zhilun still had not spoken, as if he was considering something . After what felt like an endless wait, he gave a specious reply . “If we do have the opportunity to work together, you will see her again . ”

With that, he exchanged a few words in a low tone with the person beside him and then, moving on to the next candidate, continued with the screen tests .

“Will Wu Zhilun take her?”

That young girl was quite good . This film of theirs was considered a relatively large production and, coupled with the fame of the two bosses, promoting it would not be a difficult task . If someone wanted to catch some eyes, this was a good opportunity .

He shook his head . “Based on his personality, he likely won’t . ”

Jia He was surprised . “Just because she mentioned the thing about the rumoured girlfriend?”

Yi Wenze smiled . “Yes, but not for the reason that you’re thinking . With so many people auditioning today, saying those words allows people to very easily remember her . That is a very clever topic to choose . I have quite a few friends who are more easygoing and like this type of actor or actress who can jump out and draw attention onto himself or herself . But unfortunately, Lun is not that type of person . ”

“Oh, right . ” Jia He agreed, “He went through a lot of hards.h.i.+ps to reach this point . He should prefer people who are grounded and take the steady route . ”

Yi Wenze did not express anything in reply .

Suddenly recalling the remarks a bunch of Joe Blows had made in jest at a dinner the other day, Jia He turned on him a grinning look with much implied meaning . “You say, Wu Zhilun is both a celebrity and the boss of a production company . Does he have beautiful women knocking on his door in the middle of every night?” As soon as the words came out, she regretted them . Why was it that in her ears they sounded like she was just using Wu Zhilun to allude to him? …

Yi Wenze was smiling, a very veiled type of smile, but because they were so close, it was infinitely enlarged before her .

“I can’t really say for sure with him,” he answered in a very solemn manner, his voice purposely lowered, “but I have a good habit: I lock my door before I go to bed . ”

She forced a laugh . “… Indeed, a good habit . ”

Downstairs, things were still continuing . The two of them watched for a while and then went back into his office . Jia He could see that he was very busy, and she could not simply sit here idly the whole time either, so tentatively she asked him, “Do you have any extra computers here?”

She had nothing to do anyway; she might as well write up the character descriptions that had been discussed in the previous two days’ meetings .

When Yi Wenze looked at her, she immediately pulled out her flash drive . “My work habit . I carry the things around with me, and when I find the time, I‘ll write . ”

He made a phone call, and soon Qing delivered a laptop computer over .

Right as she plugged in her flash drive, Wu Zhilun strode into the room, and there were even several people following him . From the looks of things, they were likely going to be talking business . Jia He was vacillating over whether or not she should step outside, lest she end up not partic.i.p.ating and just becoming a live piece of backdrop, when Yi Wenze suddenly pointed at another room . “It’s a little noisy here . You can go inside to write . ”

Jia He said an “mm-hmm” and picked up the laptop . As she walked past Wu Zhilun, the latter gave an obvious lift of his brow, and there was much to be construed in his smile . She returned a bewildered gaze at him, but as there were many people and many pairs of observing eyes, she felt too awkward to ask him what in the world was up with him . But the next moment, when she pushed open the door to that room, embarra.s.sment struck her .

This room… was a bedroom .

The people behind her had slipped into working mode already, and it was not fitting for her to say anything either; hence, she could only brazen it out and step inside . Her eyes went from that large bed, to the sofa, then back to the bed, then… With deliberate decorum, she took a seat on the sofa, bowed her head, and looked at the computer . However, once she powered it on and went to switch the keyboard input method, she uncovered an even more awkward problem: this computer only had one Chinese-character input method—Jyutping input for Cantonese[1] .

In other words, there was nothing for her to do .

In the end, she could only walk over to the window and stare out vacantly .

Through the one door, she could indistinctly hear those voices outside . The discussion seemed to be in full swing . While amusedly trying to recognize which was Yi Wenze’s voice, she also carefully recollected their itinerary and what they had done today, until she ultimately realized that she had not done a single thing of value .

Yi Wenze appeared not to have any plans . But this was their first official date . Should it be a little more special? Go watch a movie? But that was equivalent to throwing themselves into the gunfire of the media . Go out to eat? It seemed, their lunch today had actually been pretty good .

Ah, forget it . If they were going to watch a movie, they might as well just watch DVDs; if they were going to go out to eat, they might as well just order takeout .

She was in the middle of talking herself around when, behind her, there was the sound of the opening door .

She turned her head . Yi Wenze, holding a cup of coffee, was closing the door behind him .

“What are you looking at?”

Quickly spinning around, she leaned her back against the windowsill . “Not looking at anything . Why’d you come in?”

He smiled . “We’re done talking . ”

Saying this, he placed the coffee onto the coffee table and walked over to Jia He .

As she watched him drawing closer and closer, Jia He all of a sudden became a little fl.u.s.tered . This was an honest-to-goodness bedroom . To her left was that huge bed and to her right was a loveseat sofa . This honestly was not her overthinking things… This s.p.a.ce just put too much pressure on a person .

Eventually, he stopped in a spot three steps away from her and pulled out a few DVDs from a metal rack .

“I need to go to Yi Hua . Would you like Qing to go out and stroll around with you?”

Jia He secretly gave a sigh of relief . “No, it’s okay . I’ll wait for you here . ”

With a mild “mm,” he took out a disc from its case . “If you’re hungry, there are sandwiches in the fridge . ”

She answered, “Mm-hmm . ”

“If you don’t like the ones I picked, go ahead and choose some yourself to pa.s.s the time . ” As he spoke, he played the DVD for her . Seeing that she was only nodding her head, he finally instructed, “If you’re tired, have a sleep on the bed for a bit . ”

Jia He nodded self-consciously .

He was already gone before Jia He remembered that she had not asked him a very important question: when would he be coming back? But if she were to run out after him now to ask, without a doubt, Wu Zhilun would laugh at her . Waffling indecisively for a long while, she eventually decided that she would just let it be and wait blindly for him . After all, it wouldn’t be tomorrow that he came back, right? While she was comforting herself, it was as if an invisible hand was drawing her back over to the window, and secretly she peered out at that car down below .

This particular angle happened to have a view of the main entrance . Only a moment later, Yi Wenze walked out . Waiting until he reached the car before pulling out a cigarette, he quietly smoked there, seemingly waiting for someone . And so, beside the window, Jia He watched him, watched as those young girls waiting and standing watch outside pointed with glee and carried out whispered discussions amongst themselves . He, though, appeared not to notice any of this and merely stood alone, in silence .

No matter how she looked at it, Jia He felt that the suns.h.i.+ne today was so beautiful and radiant…

Wu Zhilun did not come out until two or three minutes later . The two exchanged a few words, but just as they were about to get into the vehicle, Yi Wenze suddenly lifted his head and cast a very natural glance at the third floor . Oh no . She had been caught in her peeking . Jia He immediately gave a sheepish wave . And then she hightailed from there .

It was a long while before she poked her head back over and snuck another glimpse . Confirming that the car had driven away, she at last loosened with relief .

Opening the bedroom door, with the DVD playing in the background, she ran out to tidy things up, was.h.i.+ng all the drinking gla.s.ses that everyone had used . The chilly stream of water rinsed over those translucent gla.s.ses . From inside the bedroom came strains of a very melodious movie soundtrack . Everything felt so ridiculously harmonious .

After things were thoroughly cleaned and tidied away, she looked around, very satisfied, and then returned to the bedroom and watched the movie, a throw pillow in her arms .

The scenes flashed past on the screen, frame by frame . Despite fixing her eyes on it for a full ten minutes, she did not actually know what she was watching . With a restless heart, she merely stared at the various furnis.h.i.+ngs inside this room… This was her first time staying in Yi Wenze’s bedroom . A light, distinctive scent of a man pervaded every part of this room . Burying her face into the throw pillow, she took a deep inhale . Then, squinting her eyes, she very contentedly released a long breath .

Mm-hmm . There were no traces at all of any woman’s scent .

Both inside and outside the room were very quiet, with only the sounds of the several male leads in the movie fighting over this and contesting for that . Jia He watched with absorbed attention until the end but then discovered that her head was beginning to buzz and relentlessly cry to her, “I’m so sleepy I could die, so sleepy I could die!” After her whole body had slid down onto the sofa cus.h.i.+ons for the third time, she, though conflicted, finally went over and shut the door . Gingerly carrying over the pillow and comforter from the bed, she flopped onto the sofa and dropped into sleep .

In that long, deep slumber, the faint scent of cigarettes filled her dreams .

She did not know how much time had pa.s.sed by the time she blearily roused, her throat feeling rather dry .

Lifting a hand, she wanted to pull open the comforter to go pour herself some water to drink, but when she s.h.i.+fted slightly, she perceived that she was clasped in an embrace . Her entire body instantly stiffened and she dared not make any other movement . Even, steady breaths grazed warmly against her face . The reason she had woken in the first place was that she had felt hot, and now, in such a situation, her body seemed to burn up even more . In no time, she was covered in a layer of perspiration .

She allowed a lengthy while to pa.s.s before finally furtively cracking open her eyes and gazing upon his face, which was so very near .

He seemed to be deep in sleep, lying still fully clothed outside of the covers . With the pure-white comforter between them, he encircled her in his arms . At such a distance, she could clearly see his chin, the tip of his nose, and, if she lifted her gaze a little higher, his closed eyes . In such a quiet, still place, he was simply sleeping by her side… Luckily only she had woken . His eyelashes had not so much as quivered this entire time; he appeared truly exhausted .

Their surroundings were actually very dark, though she was not certain whether it was because it was late in the day or he had drawn the curtains shut .

Since Jia He did not dare to move, she naturally was unable to get an answer to this question .

She only riveted her eyes unblinkingly on Yi Wenze while a flame continuously leaped in her heart .

Just look, they had been together for two weeks and three days already, but she still had not initiated a kiss . As she stared at the gorgeous shape of his lips, she tried to cheer herself on . Back in high school, because she had idolized him too much, she had used him as a blueprint for selecting a boyfriend and hence had decisively chosen to miss any opportunities for having a pure, innocent underage romance[2] . During university, she had finally lowered her standards, but because her room was filled with posters of him, she had even gotten into a huge quarrel with Gu Yu . Now… she should at least collect back on all of that, principle and interest included!

Over and over, she brainwashed herself, You’re his real-deal girlfriend! What’s there to be scared about?!

Finally, she started to move . As she was curled up against his chest, she could only slowly slide herself upwards a little bit . Seeing that Yi Wenze showed no reaction, she, with great satisfaction, slithered up a little more . The contours of that face were just too gorgeous, indistinct in this dim room, such that they seemed as if from a picture in an old black and white film . It was this feeling . Back when he first shot to fame, on the television, he had looked clean and untarnished like this, his smile so very polite-looking . He clearly had been purposely curbing himself and maintaining a reserved and taciturn manner, but he had still caused her to instantly fall—hard—for him .

Jia He stared at him for a while, rapt . At last, steeling her heart, she ever so swiftly touched her lips to the corner of his mouth .

And then, holding her breath, she contentedly slid herself back to her original position .

The hand at her waist seemed to tighten its hold slightly . She, though, was still immersed in her exhilaration and did not really pay attention as she s.h.i.+fted herself a couple of times .

“Don’t move . ” A light voice was heard from above her head, very supple and still heavy with sleep .

A boom! went off in her mind . Jia He was stunned silly .

After a long time, she finally put on a pretense of just awakening, groggily looking at him . “You’re awake?”

“I’ve been awake for a while . ” He gazed at her in amus.e.m.e.nt . “Would you still like to continue?”

Jia He’s mind lost all awareness of everything…

[1]Computers have various input methods to type Chinese characters (e . g . by stroke order, by standardized pinyin, etc . ) . The most common method, especially in Mainland China, is to input based on standardized Mandarin-based pinyin . However, as Yi Wenze speaks Cantonese and is from Hong Kong, he uses a Cantonese-based keyboard instead, the LSHK Jyutping keyboard . LSHK Jyutping is a method of romanisation of Cantonese and is recommended by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong . Alas, Jia He does not speak Cantonese and hence does not know how to use it to type Chinese characters .

[2]早恋“zao lian . ” In China, dating under the age of 18, especially when still in school, is generally highly frowned upon and usually prohibited within the school .

His arm tightened a little, bringing the two of them even closer .

This was going too fast! Jia He shut her eyes for a moment, then opened them again . “Um, well…”

They were too close . His breaths, one after the other, caressed her cheek . So hot . From her face, to her palms, to her body… Jia He felt that even his hand on her waist was searing .

What should she say? What should she say? Who could tell her what she should say?

“Do you want to keep sleeping?” He brought his face very near, practically touching the tip of her nose when he spoke .

This was a very delicate sentence…But good thing “sleep” was finally the main topic . Forcing her voice as much as possible to appear composed, Jia He tried hard to change the subject . “Are you still sleepy?”

“I’m awake already . ” His words were concise .

“Then… no more sleeping?” She tentatively asked for his approval .

He seemed to have no objections to this . “What would you like to do tonight?”

The question had been tossed back to her .

Her entire brain was swarming with words that were not at all pure or innocent . Why was it that no matter which direction their topic wound, it was still so suggestive and open to a certain interpretation? If it wasn’t “sleeping,” it was…

Luckily, her mobile phone suddenly began merrily chirping away . The custom ringtone she used for her mom had saved her life . She moved her arm, hoping to take advantage of this opportunity to get up . However, Yi Wenze had already casually picked up her phone from the coffee table and handed it to her, thus successfully shattering her plan to flee from there . Jia He could only give an awkward smile, and then telling him, “My mom,” she immediately answered the call and said h.e.l.lo .

“Where are you? What time are you coming back?”

Jia He arbitrarily replied, “I’m not coming back tonight . ” But after the words came out, she realized there was something wrong with them and straightaway added, “Wait, no . I mean, I’ll be coming back a little later tonight . ”

“Why didn’t you say something? I’ve cooked all the food already . ” Her mom complained, “What’s up with this time’s director? Sure, for weekdays we can let it be, but even on weekends he wants you to go for meetings . ”

Jia He made a sound of “mm,” feeling guilty . “It’s my fault . I got here two days late . ”

“Go tell that whatever director of yours that you have something going on at home today . ” Her mom’s voice suddenly dropped . “Gu Yu’s here . ”

Jia He’s heart gave a thud . “What’s he doing there?”

Her mom seemed to be extremely excited . “He said he came to see me and your dad . Just see how good that boy is . Back then you dumped him, but he never held any grudges . From the looks of things, he’s still got you in his heart . Your old mom deliberately kept him for dinner . I’m buying time for you . You need to hurry back—”

Jia He was speechless . The retribution for lying was now catching up to her .

Back when she broke up with him, she had been afraid her mom would be heartbroken for her, so she had merely said that the problem lay with her, that she had suddenly found that the feelings had faded, or something like that . Her mom had hounded and berated her for several months . At the time, she had actually felt that she had been quite wise; in any case, it was better than her mom learning that her precious baby girl had been dumped, and then having heartache for months . But now she realized that, truly, a person must not lie .

The crucial problem was, at such close proximity, it was unquestionable that Yi Wenze had heard everything clearly .

He was extremely close to her, so close she did not even dare say anything else .

Not until she heard her mom on the other end of the line call out, “Jia He,” did she finally woefully answer, “We’ll talk—” But she only managed to say these two words . The remaining “when I get home” did not even have a chance to come out before her lips were covered in a kiss that caught her completely off guard . Hooking his arm around her waist, Yi Wenze rolled over and pinned her beneath him . Sometimes lightly, sometimes harder, he brought his lips to hers, brus.h.i.+ng over them inch by inch . His motions were not rushed, but they were very focused and intent on what they were doing…

Inside the phone, her mom called “h.e.l.lo?” a couple of times and then muttered about why there was suddenly no reception .

Over on this side, there was already no sound whatsoever from Jia He . The room was too dark; she practically could not see anything . She could only sense that they were both sunken deeply into the sofa . From her heart to her body, she was wholly in his control, and naturally there was no opening for her to even say anything . She did not know when the call was hung up, cluing in only when the glow of her mobile phone’s screen extinguished, completely swallowing the last bit of light .

Her breathing was ragged, and her mind was completely occupied with contemplating how she should explain this to him . Was he angry? It was only when the heat of his palm glided over the skin at her waist that her head cleared slightly . Squirming, she pushed him up from her and panted a couple of times . “So, um, about this thing with Gu Yu, I’m requesting a chance to explain . ”

He lowered his head to gaze at her . That angle, that look in his eyes… Oh, G.o.d, it’d be better if she just pa.s.sed out in a coma .

This isn’t a film set . This isn’t an idol drama . Idol, why are you showing such professional dedication? …

“Back then, I didn’t tell my mom the truth . ” Jia He gasped in another light breath, but her brain still felt a little oxygen deprived . “I was worried my mom would be sad . Some guy so readily picked on the daughter she had babied and treated like a treasure for so long … So I told her that I was the one who didn’t want him . My mom has since felt that I did wrong to him . ”

This was so humiliating . She had been dumped but had still had to go stick a feather in her cap .

Yi Wenze chuckled . “But wasn’t that the truth?”

Jia He’s words were choked off in her throat with his question . After carefully recollecting for a moment, she protested under her breath, “Actually, I really was the one who said first that we should break up . ”

But the nature of it was totally different .

“And so,” Yi Wenze said, his smile deepening, “what does this have to do with what we’re doing right now?”

Silence . She fell into embarra.s.sed silence .

Okay, fine, even if I was being sneaky and found an excuse to interrupt you, Idol, there’s still no need for you to so straight-out expose me, you know? …

The sofa once again sank in slightly . Out of reflex, Jia He shut her eyes, but then she discovered that he had already sat up . Her heart dropping, she immediately, hugging the comforter against herself, clambered up from the sofa . “What are you getting up for?”

He shouldn’t be mad, right? This whole matter has crossed the line a bit . Gu Yu, that guy, does he not have anything better to do? Why in the world did he have to go to my house? Now he’s made my idol misunderstand me…

“Didn’t you say no more sleeping?” He glanced at his watch .

Jia He was glum for a moment . It seemed she had indeed said that .

Turning, Yi Wenze took a glance at her . “Or could it be you want to continue?”

……

“Of course not . ” The denial jumped from her mouth . But once the words were out, she regretted them . Fearful that he would a.s.sume she did not want to because she had heard mention of Gu Yu, she hurriedly explained, “Actually, it’s not that I don’t want to…”

Yi Wenze’s eyes were on her, and he motioned to her to continue what she was saying .

Jia He wanted to cry . No matter what she said, it would still sound wrong . How was she supposed to continue?

In the end, he let her off the hook first, asking with a smile, “Are you hungry?”

As if she had been given the greatest of pardons, Jia He quickly bobbed her head . “Starving . I’m about to starve to death . ”

Standing, he handed her coat to her . “Mai Jie is in Tianjin . We’ll drive over there tonight . ”

“That rushed?” Jia He looked at him, startled . He had just arrived in Beijing and now he was heading to Tianjin?

Yi Wenze straightened himself up, walked over to the wardrobe, and began selecting clothing . Pulling out a casual top, he answered, “I suddenly really want to have Tianjin’s snack foods . ”

“Beijing actually sells Tianjin snacks, too…”

Halfway through what she was saying, Jia He was suddenly hit with a not-so-good thought . Could it be that her idol was purposely taking her away from here? She snuck a look at Yi Wenze . But when she saw him removing his suit jacket, his motions natural and at ease, she almost blacked out for a moment and she leapt up from the sofa . “I’m going to go have some water . ” With that, she did not wait for his response and, slipping on her flats, bolted out of the room .

When she reached the coffee station, her heart was still thumping hard .

The light of the water dispenser was flas.h.i.+ng in the darkness . She groped around for a long time until she found the light switch and turned on the wall lights .

Outside in the corridor, someone seemed to be talking . It was a very loud voice, commenting on the actors and actresses who had come for the screen tests today and also talking about the upcoming new film project . As Jia He grabbed a gla.s.s and dispensed some water, she realized the very serious error she had made: He had only been changing his jacket… Why did she run? Why in the world did she run, aaah?!

She was completely in a state of chaos . Here she was, twenty-six, twenty-seven years old but still acting like an innocent little girl newly dating someone .

Did she humiliate herself? Or did she humiliate herself? Yes, she humiliated herself…

Before long, Yi Wenze was changed and groomed . When the two arrived downstairs, Wu Zhilun was leaning against the windowsill, talking on the phone . Seeing them heading outside, he called to Yi Wenze . “Where are you going, eh? If you’re going to eat, bring me along . ”

Yi Wenze lifted his eyes to look at him . “We’re going to Tianjin . ”

Wu Zhilun nearly dropped his mobile phone . “Wasn’t it tomorrow that you were heading there? It’s the year 2011 already; you guys are still playing elopement?”

Making a “shut-your-mouth” gesture at him, Yi Wenze opened the car door and sat into the vehicle first .

Jia He also got into the car . Just as she was about to pull the door shut, Wu Zhilun cried to them again, “Wait ten minutes for me!”

While Jia He hesitated, Yi Wenze was already motioning to her to shut the door, and then, without a second thought, he started the car and drove off .

This was the season of blooming willow trees and drifting white catkins[1] . Jia He had only just opened her window before her head was covered with white fluff that had blown in . Closing the window again in chagrin, she dawdlingly pulled out her mobile phone, thinking to give her mom a call . However, realizing that she did not actually know what specifically their itinerary and plans were, she could only turn her eyes first to Yi Wenze . “When… approximately will we be coming back?”

“When do you want to?”

“You have no plans?” Jia He gaped at him .

“Just a little event . It’ll take about half a day . For now there are no plans for the rest of the time . ”

“Don’t you have work to do in Beijing?” Jia He kept on guiding his thinking .

Today is Sat.u.r.day, tomorrow is Sunday . On Monday, I have to keep going with my meetings…

“I more or less took care of most of it today . I can take a couple of days off . ”

Jia He was speechless . This really did seem like they were eloping, bringing nothing along, having no plans .

Oh, wait, that wasn’t right either . He just said that he could rest for a couple of days . This plainly was premediated and planned .

After quite some time, she was still not yet willing to give up and carried on asking, “Well, you at least have to have some sort of actual business purpose for going to Tianjin to see Mai Jie, right?”

At least give her some timing or a schedule . Her mom’s wait for this hard-to-come-by chance for her to come to Beijing on business had finally come to fruition, but now she was playing a game of “disappear off the face of this earth” without providing any explanation whatsoever . When she was back, she was indubitably going to be flayed alive and have her tendons yanked out . What’s more… her mom had her heart set on Gu Yu, so with Jia He not in Beijing, the old lady just might possibly do something .

“It’s the promotional event for my movie . ”

An “Ah?” slipped from Jia He . “Then what am I going there for?”

Yi Wenze’s one hand was on the steering wheel while his other hand reached over and helped her pick off a piece of willow fluff from her bangs . “Eventually I’m going to be very busy, so if we can be together, I will as much as possible try to bring you along . ”

Because he was wearing a brimmed cap, faint shadows were cast on the upper half of his face, emphasizing the brooding intensity of those eyes of his .

Jia He had originally wanted to say that she had not brought a change of clothing, but then she saw the smile he gave her, saw him waiting for her reaction, saw him discover with satisfaction that she had no objections and then turn back to continue driving . The entire process flowed smoothly, so smoothly that she had not even been able to squeeze out a word from herself .

Stress . The stress was just too much . “Even heroes cannot resist the charms of a beauty[2],” never mind she was just a little screenwriter .

Things were already like this; how was she going to get through all the future days? Oh man, how was she going to get through them? …

In the end, when their car had driven beyond the Third Ring Road, she resigned herself to this fate and took out her mobile phone, deciding that she would tell her mom she had a last-minute business trip, then also find an excuse to ask for this time off from Director Liu . While she wrestled over what reason she could use for this time-off request, she at last noticed that this route was very familiar . No matter how she examined it, it still looked like they were heading in the direction of her home . After carefully scrutinizing for a long time, she finally asked in a small voice, “Aren’t we going to Tianjin?”

Yi Wenze made a very placid “mm” in answer before saying, “We’ll go to your home first to grab a few changes of clothes . ”

Go… to… my… . home?!

Jia He immediately received a jolt . “No, there’s no need . I have my credit card with me . If worst comes to worst, I’ll just buy some stuff when we get to Tianjin . I’m not that picky . I’m really, really easygoing . ”

He smiled . “It’s no problem . It happens to be on the way . ”

Clutching her mobile phone, Jia He began seeing stars .

One was to the southeast, the other in the northwest . Was it really on the way? Really, was it on the way? …

[1] Poplar and willow trees were planted in Beijing beginning in the 1960s and continuing onwards for a few decades to increase the greenery in the city . Over the years, millions were planted . However, in the spring, mature willows will bloom and release what appear to be white fluff, their catkins . As more of the female willows reach maturity, the ma.s.s of catkins floating in the air has become a phenomenon in Beijing’s springs, when the white fluff seems to invade the city .

[2] This idiom is generally referring to a man, that no matter how great he is, how remarkable his abilities and achievements, he is still unable to escape being entrapped by love or unable to resist the charms of a beautiful woman . However, here the “beauty” is referring to Yi Wenze’s incredible good looks and Jia He, not even a hero, just a little screenwriter, most certainly cannot resist him .

They were already getting out of the car when Wu Zhilun’s vehicle finally drove in . His vehicle appeared to have quite a few others in it, and as those people followed Wu Zhilun out, they all greeted Yi Wenze with a smile . Jia He stood wordlessly to the side, attempting as best as she could to turn herself invisible . Thank goodness that in front of outsiders, Wu Zhilun retained a very reticent and refined demeanour, absolutely no different from that melancholy idol image he portrayed to the public . Only while he was giving a nod in greeting did he flash a cryptic smile at Jia He, and then another cryptic smile….

Since one of her eyes was blurry, Jia He could only unsteadily, carefully follow Yi Wenze in through the doors and up the stairs . The flooring and stairs were both made of grated steel plates . At first she had admired the contemporary feel, but as she walked higher and higher up, she discovered that, because the design was too clean and simple, she actually felt as if she was walking on a tightrope

Unfortunately, she had a fear of heights….

By the time they reached the second level, her legs were already starting to grow weak . Yi Wenze, though, was still continuing upwards . With a silent howl of anguish, Jia He summoned her courage and continued the climb, unconsciously gripping tight to the terribly thin handrail, her palm drenched in cold sweat . She had had this fear of heights since she was a child . Back when the carnival was in Shanghai, she had gone there originally filled with excitement but had ultimately only been able to be a random Jane Doe spectator, standing at the bottom and looking up at those tall thrill rides and equipment while Qiao Qiao ridiculed her countless times . Then, the most pathetic thing was that the following year in Beijing, when Xiao Yu called her to go hang out and pa.s.s the time, it was again at the carnival….

The view before her eyes was unclear . With each step, her heartbeat sped up rapidly . A boy happened to run down from the third floor at that moment, and this staircase that was already narrow to begin with felt even more cramped . Gingerly, she s.h.i.+fted over half a step and leaned against the railing, trying hard to divert her attention

“Hi, Boss . ” The boy nodded in greeting

Giving an “mm,” Yi Wenze asked, “Preparing for the screen tests?”.

“Yup . They’re starting at two this afternoon . ” When the boy finished saying this, he took a look at Jia He . Instantly, he became extremely keen and enthusiastic . “Hi, Boss’s wife . ” Receiving a shock at this, Jia He reflexively turned her eyes to Yi Wenze . He, however, merely smiled and did not say anything

Seeing the boy’s effusive friendliness … she had no choice but to respond with an “mm . ” And then, she felt even dizzier

As the boy ran downstairs with a grin, Yi Wenze at last noticed her complexion . “You’re not feeling well?”.

“No…” She just needed to get upstairs . Once she was on the third floor, she would definitely be fine

Yi Wenze turned around and carefully observed her

Clutching the handrail, Jia He continuously prayed, Don’t look anymore . Let’s just hurry up and go….

“I forgot . You’re scared of heights . ” Rather apologetic, Yi Wenze reached his arm over and circled it around her, holding her against him as they walked up the stairs . “The first floor is all workrooms . Tomorrow, I’ll have someone move my office down to the second floor . ”.

Jia He was somewhat astounded . How did he know everything? Probably it was Qiao Qiao again who had told him

Because she was in his embrace and also purposely avoiding looking at her feet, her fear gradually subsided by quite a bit . Ultimately, though, that psychological barrier was difficult to overcome, and unable to even care that they were out in full view of everyone and that she should be embarra.s.sed, she of her own accord tucked herself even tighter against him

As they stepped up to the third floor, Qing was just coming out of a room, and her jaw actually fell open before she immediately s.h.i.+fted her eyes away . The smile on her lips was very apparent . “Teacher Yi, I saw the name list for the screen tests . Three days probably won’t be enough . ”.

Yi Wenze was somewhat surprised . After giving her a few general instructions, he asked her to help find menus of some nearby restaurants . Qing very astutely left straightaway . Jia He was evidently still caught in the aftershock from her fear of heights, for she simply remained as she was and listened to them, and it was not until they were inside the room that she realized she was still buried in his arms….

She swiftly tried to think up an excuse . At last, she had a flash of brilliance . “Weren’t you going to get some contact lenses for me?” Then, she successfully escaped

Lunch did not have many dishes, just enough for two people to finish without any leftovers . Immediately after she set down her chopsticks, Yi Wenze was already casually tidying them away . He wrapped everything up in newspaper, then put it all into a plastic bag and placed the bag outside the door . As she watched him do all this with easy, fluid motions, a sense of pride continually gushed up in her . See how top quality, how down-to-earth and easy to get along with her idol was! So worthy of being her idol!.

Then he picked up a little green bottle and poured out a piece of gum . “Would you like some water?”.

“Coffee . ” Once the word came out, though, she felt she had committed a heinous crime—she had actually ordered her idol around like he was some page boy . Hence, before he could even move, she was already rus.h.i.+ng into the coffee station

On the shelf were seven or eight different kinds of coffee

There were simple, easy-brew ones and ones that required you to set the brew ratio yourself, and there were also coffee powder and coffee beans . She stared at all of these for a while, but in the end she still grabbed a package of the simplest type, Nescafé . Turning her head, she asked him, “What are you going to drink?”.

“Iced water will be fine . ” Stepping into the room, he glanced at the bag in her hand . “Why aren’t you brewing some?”.

“This is easy and convenient . ” She ripped the package open . “I drink coffee just to boost my energy . After drinking it for a while, it eventually just became a habit . I’m actually not picky about it at all . As long as I get that taste, it’s good enough . ”.

He took the package from her hand . “Instant coffee is very convenient . ”.

After saying that, though, he tossed the package into the garbage . Bringing down the coffee pot from high up on the shelf, he rinsed it clean with cool water and then with very practiced motions began to brew some coffee for her . “I used to like coffee, too, but later, because of filming, I developed stomach issues and had to force myself to give it up . ”.

The water slowly began to boil, producing gurgling sounds . His right hand casually resting on the gla.s.s table, he simply waited patiently . Jia He’s gaze moved from the collar of his s.h.i.+rt to his hand and finally glided to the tips of his fingers . As the aroma gradually began to permeate outwards, his fingertips made a slight, sudden movement, yanking her back to awareness . When she lifted her head, his face was already right by hers . And then, he finally brought it down and covered her lips in a gentle kiss

The scent of coffee and also the taste of mint on the tip of his tongue instantly flooded all her senses

Unlike the abruptness of the first time, with their current relations.h.i.+p, everything now could not be any more natural . However, she still felt lightheaded, as if the heavens and earth were spinning around her, and had a hard time catching her breath . After a long time, a thought finally managed to charge into her previously blank mind

Oh no . She hadn’t had any gum

Yi Wenze was holding her snugly against him, but when he tilted his head to deepen this kiss, she unexpectedly gave him a little shove

With his lips against hers, he softly asked, “What’s the matter?”.

“Um, well…” It was not as if she could blame him for not giving her a piece of gum . She hesitated . “The time has pa.s.sed . Forty seconds . ”.

Good thing she knew how to brew coffee . After letting the coffee stand and infuse for forty seconds, you need to move to the next step

He was silent for a moment before giving her another light kiss . Then releasing her, he began to pour the coffee, a faint but obvious smile on his lips . Pretending she did not see it, Jia He shuffled away a bit

Sure enough, the power of knowledge was amazing!.

When they stepped out of the coffee station, they found a few sheets of paper had already been slipped under his door . Yi Wenze picked them up and skimmed through them . They were the work schedule for the next two days . As Jia He’s eyes scanned over them, she remembered the screen tests mentioned earlier . “You’re starting to look for actors for your new film?”.

He nodded . “There will be screen tests over these next couple of days . ”.

“What sort of theme is it?”.

“Republican period[1] . ” Yi Wenze set the papers on his desk . “Other than the leading actress’s part, the female roles are not very big . I didn’t expect there would be so many people trying out for the screen tests . ”.

That’s because there’s you and Wu Zhilun, Jia He muttered silently

He all of a sudden asked her, “Screen tests are on the first floor . It’s open viewing . Would you like to watch?”.

Remembering how high up they currently were, Jia He replied glumly, “Forget it . At this type of height, I don’t dare even to look down . ”.

If her blood pressure soared at that time and caused a little scene of an object plummeting from on high, things would get even livelier….

“It’s okay . I’ll be with you . ”.

The film production company had only just been established but had already immediately started on a large collaboration project with one of Mainland China’s leading corporations, Yi Hua . Consequently, Yi Wenze very quickly slipped into working mode . Jia He sat in the wicker chair by the window, holding a newspaper and casually flipping through it . Sunlight streamed through the gla.s.s, which infinitely magnified its warmth . And then, drowsiness began to creep onto her… until there was a light rustle . Starting awake, she discovered that the newspaper had slid down off of her knees

Yi Wenze looked at her with a smile . “Go inside and sleep for a bit . ”.

She hurriedly answered, “It’s okay . ”.

What a crime she had committed . He was so busy and bogged down in work, but here she was dozing off

At this time, voices suddenly started up downstairs . The screen tests seemed to have begun . Finally, she had an excuse to escape from this awkward situation, so quickly cutting in and changing the subject, she said, “Screen tests have started?”.

“Let’s go out and have a look . ” Lightly moving and stretching his fingers, he rose . “It’s a good time to take a break . ”.

The two of them walked out the door . On the first floor, the seats were already filled with people . Sure enough, it was open viewing

Jia He took only a little downward glance but her legs immediately went limp . When she was about to back away, however, she felt warmth surrounding all of her . Yi Wenze’s two hands were resting on the railing, enfolding her against his chest . “Is it a little better this way?”.

“Much better,” she softly replied . Though she knew this was the best way to overcome her fear of heights, there were so many people downstairs… Plus there were people watching the screen tests from the second and third floors, too . This wasn’t very appropriate, was it?.

While she was wavering over whether they should go back, it was already the next candidate’s turn . From her vantage point, Jia He could not see that young girl’s face, but judging from the figure, she was certain the girl was a beauty

To her surprise, when the girl spoke, her voice sounded very familiar . “h.e.l.lo, teachers . I am candidate number thirteen, Jiang Xing . ”.

Why was the voice so familiar? Jia He carefully searched through her mind . She should not know this person; she had never heard the name before

Jia He did not ponder on this anymore, reckoning it was just coincidentally similar to the voice of someone she knew . Sweeping a look over the people sitting downstairs, she saw that Wu Zhilun was in a seat on the rightmost side, wearing a very solemn, melancholy expression . She could not help giggling and remarking quietly, “The image that Wu Zhilun portrays is definitely wrong . He obviously has a very sunny, cheerful face, yet he’s always acting in roles that are very psychologically complex and dark . ”.

Yi Wenze also spoke in lowered tones . “It has to do with his own experiences . He used to live in a public housing estate[2], and his family’s financial situation then wasn’t very good . Later on, he did lots of auditions for modeling but with no success and could not get into an artiste training program either . He could only hang out on film sets and wait for roles as an extra or a minor character . ”.

Jia He only knew that Wu Zhilun had been famous for seven or eight years now, but as he was not her type, she of course had not really paid much attention to his career . Now that she truly thought about it, he and Yi Wenze were the same age but he had not risen to popularity until many years after Yi Wenze . It had probably been very difficult for him

“In Hong Kong, it’s not easy to get a start in the entertainment business, is it?’ It seemed that those who managed to bear through and make a name for themselves had spent many years in minor roles

Yi Wenze gave a very mild “mm . ”.

All of a sudden, she recalled what Qiao Qiao had said, that Tian Chu had struggled for many years as well

But asking now on topics about his ex was definitely inappropriate . Jia He very wisely restrained herself and turned her gaze back downstairs . That young girl had already, as requested, acted out a scene of reuniting with long-lost family and was currently being asked to act alongside someone else and play the role of a virtuous, filial child

She watched carefully for a short while . That girl honestly was quite good . Her voice, though, still really did sound familiar

Near the end of that girl’s audition, Wu Zhilun appeared quite satisfied with her performance as well . “Answer me very quickly: what is the thing that has left the deepest impression on you lately?”.

Daring not to delay, the young girl blurted, “When I saw your rumoured girlfriend . ”.

When these words were tossed out, everyone was taken aback . The look on Wu Zhilun’s face went from puzzlement to comprehension, and then finally, with a wry expression, he flicked a barely perceptible glance at the third floor . Stupefaction had long since possessed Jia He, and it was only with this look from him that she abruptly realized why this girl’s voice was so familiar . Wasn’t she that person in the restaurant that night who had said she was going to be going for a screen test?.

While a tempest sea was still raging inside her, she felt a warmth on her ear

“You’ve seen her before?”.

[1] 民国 . The Republican era (1912-1949), also known as the Minguo era, in Mainland China is the era immediately after the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, in which the Republic of China was established

[2] Hong Kong has a significant public housing program . The government has built many public housing estates of apartment buildings to provide affordable housing to those with low incomes, and due to government subsidization, these are rented out at significantly lower rates than private housing

She forced a dry laugh . “Yes . What a coincidence . ”.

Then, in a few words, she explained that day’s incident to him . When she was finished, downstairs, Wu Zhilun still had not spoken, as if he was considering something . After what felt like an endless wait, he gave a specious reply . “If we do have the opportunity to work together, you will see her again . ”.

With that, he exchanged a few words in a low tone with the person beside him and then, moving on to the next candidate, continued with the screen tests

“Will Wu Zhilun take her?”.

That young girl was quite good . This film of theirs was considered a relatively large production and, coupled with the fame of the two bosses, promoting it would not be a difficult task . If someone wanted to catch some eyes, this was a good opportunity

He shook his head . “Based on his personality, he likely won’t . ”.

Jia He was surprised . “Just because she mentioned the thing about the rumoured girlfriend?”.

Yi Wenze smiled . “Yes, but not for the reason that you’re thinking . With so many people auditioning today, saying those words allows people to very easily remember her . That is a very clever topic to choose . I have quite a few friends who are more easygoing and like this type of actor or actress who can jump out and draw attention onto himself or herself . But unfortunately, Lun is not that type of person . ”.

“Oh, right . ” Jia He agreed, “He went through a lot of hards.h.i.+ps to reach this point . He should prefer people who are grounded and take the steady route . ”.

Yi Wenze did not express anything in reply

Suddenly recalling the remarks a bunch of Joe Blows had made in jest at a dinner the other day, Jia He turned on him a grinning look with much implied meaning . “You say, Wu Zhilun is both a celebrity and the boss of a production company . Does he have beautiful women knocking on his door in the middle of every night?” As soon as the words came out, she regretted them . Why was it that in her ears they sounded like she was just using Wu Zhilun to allude to him? ….

Yi Wenze was smiling, a very veiled type of smile, but because they were so close, it was infinitely enlarged before her

“I can’t really say for sure with him,” he answered in a very solemn manner, his voice purposely lowered, “but I have a good habit: I lock my door before I go to bed . ”.

She forced a laugh . “… Indeed, a good habit . ”.

Downstairs, things were still continuing . The two of them watched for a while and then went back into his office . Jia He could see that he was very busy, and she could not simply sit here idly the whole time either, so tentatively she asked him, “Do you have any extra computers here?”.

She had nothing to do anyway; she might as well write up the character descriptions that had been discussed in the previous two days’ meetings

When Yi Wenze looked at her, she immediately pulled out her flash drive . “My work habit . I carry the things around with me, and when I find the time, I‘ll write . ”.

He made a phone call, and soon Qing delivered a laptop computer over

Right as she plugged in her flash drive, Wu Zhilun strode into the room, and there were even several people following him . From the looks of things, they were likely going to be talking business . Jia He was vacillating over whether or not she should step outside, lest she end up not partic.i.p.ating and just becoming a live piece of backdrop, when Yi Wenze suddenly pointed at another room . “It’s a little noisy here . You can go inside to write . ”.

Jia He said an “mm-hmm” and picked up the laptop . As she walked past Wu Zhilun, the latter gave an obvious lift of his brow, and there was much to be construed in his smile . She returned a bewildered gaze at him, but as there were many people and many pairs of observing eyes, she felt too awkward to ask him what in the world was up with him . But the next moment, when she pushed open the door to that room, embarra.s.sment struck her

This room… was a bedroom

The people behind her had slipped into working mode already, and it was not fitting for her to say anything either; hence, she could only brazen it out and step inside . Her eyes went from that large bed, to the sofa, then back to the bed, then… With deliberate decorum, she took a seat on the sofa, bowed her head, and looked at the computer . However, once she powered it on and went to switch the keyboard input method, she uncovered an even more awkward problem: this computer only had one Chinese-character input method—Jyutping input for Cantonese[1]

In other words, there was nothing for her to do

In the end, she could only walk over to the window and stare out vacantly

Through the one door, she could indistinctly hear those voices outside . The discussion seemed to be in full swing . While amusedly trying to recognize which was Yi Wenze’s voice, she also carefully recollected their itinerary and what they had done today, until she ultimately realized that she had not done a single thing of value

Yi Wenze appeared not to have any plans . But this was their first official date . Should it be a little more special? Go watch a movie? But that was equivalent to throwing themselves into the gunfire of the media . Go out to eat? It seemed, their lunch today had actually been pretty good

Ah, forget it . If they were going to watch a movie, they might as well just watch DVDs; if they were going to go out to eat, they might as well just order takeout

She was in the middle of talking herself around when, behind her, there was the sound of the opening door

She turned her head . Yi Wenze, holding a cup of coffee, was closing the door behind him

“What are you looking at?”.

Quickly spinning around, she leaned her back against the windowsill . “Not looking at anything . Why’d you come in?”.

He smiled . “We’re done talking . ”.

Saying this, he placed the coffee onto the coffee table and walked over to Jia He

As she watched him drawing closer and closer, Jia He all of a sudden became a little fl.u.s.tered . This was an honest-to-goodness bedroom . To her left was that huge bed and to her right was a loveseat sofa . This honestly was not her overthinking things… This s.p.a.ce just put too much pressure on a person

Eventually, he stopped in a spot three steps away from her and pulled out a few DVDs from a metal rack

“I need to go to Yi Hua . Would you like Qing to go out and stroll around with you?”.

Jia He secretly gave a sigh of relief . “No, it’s okay . I’ll wait for you here . ”.

With a mild “mm,” he took out a disc from its case . “If you’re hungry, there are sandwiches in the fridge . ”.

She answered, “Mm-hmm . ”.

“If you don’t like the ones I picked, go ahead and choose some yourself to pa.s.s the time . ” As he spoke, he played the DVD for her . Seeing that she was only nodding her head, he finally instructed, “If you’re tired, have a sleep on the bed for a bit . ”.

Jia He nodded self-consciously

He was already gone before Jia He remembered that she had not asked him a very important question: when would he be coming back? But if she were to run out after him now to ask, without a doubt, Wu Zhilun would laugh at her . Waffling indecisively for a long while, she eventually decided that she would just let it be and wait blindly for him . After all, it wouldn’t be tomorrow that he came back, right? While she was comforting herself, it was as if an invisible hand was drawing her back over to the window, and secretly she peered out at that car down below

This particular angle happened to have a view of the main entrance . Only a moment later, Yi Wenze walked out . Waiting until he reached the car before pulling out a cigarette, he quietly smoked there, seemingly waiting for someone . And so, beside the window, Jia He watched him, watched as those young girls waiting and standing watch outside pointed with glee and carried out whispered discussions amongst themselves . He, though, appeared not to notice any of this and merely stood alone, in silence

No matter how she looked at it, Jia He felt that the suns.h.i.+ne today was so beautiful and radiant….

Wu Zhilun did not come out until two or three minutes later . The two exchanged a few words, but just as they were about to get into the vehicle, Yi Wenze suddenly lifted his head and cast a very natural glance at the third floor . Oh no . She had been caught in her peeking . Jia He immediately gave a sheepish wave . And then she hightailed from there

It was a long while before she poked her head back over and snuck another glimpse . Confirming that the car had driven away, she at last loosened with relief

Opening the bedroom door, with the DVD playing in the background, she ran out to tidy things up, was.h.i.+ng all the drinking gla.s.ses that everyone had used . The chilly stream of water rinsed over those translucent gla.s.ses . From inside the bedroom came strains of a very melodious movie soundtrack . Everything felt so ridiculously harmonious

After things were thoroughly cleaned and tidied away, she looked around, very satisfied, and then returned to the bedroom and watched the movie, a throw pillow in her arms

The scenes flashed past on the screen, frame by frame . Despite fixing her eyes on it for a full ten minutes, she did not actually know what she was watching . With a restless heart, she merely stared at the various furnis.h.i.+ngs inside this room… This was her first time staying in Yi Wenze’s bedroom . A light, distinctive scent of a man pervaded every part of this room . Burying her face into the throw pillow, she took a deep inhale . Then, squinting her eyes, she very contentedly released a long breath

Mm-hmm . There were no traces at all of any woman’s scent

Both inside and outside the room were very quiet, with only the sounds of the several male leads in the movie fighting over this and contesting for that . Jia He watched with absorbed attention until the end but then discovered that her head was beginning to buzz and relentlessly cry to her, “I’m so sleepy I could die, so sleepy I could die!” After her whole body had slid down onto the sofa cus.h.i.+ons for the third time, she, though conflicted, finally went over and shut the door . Gingerly carrying over the pillow and comforter from the bed, she flopped onto the sofa and dropped into sleep

In that long, deep slumber, the faint scent of cigarettes filled her dreams

She did not know how much time had pa.s.sed by the time she blearily roused, her throat feeling rather dry

Lifting a hand, she wanted to pull open the comforter to go pour herself some water to drink, but when she s.h.i.+fted slightly, she perceived that she was clasped in an embrace . Her entire body instantly stiffened and she dared not make any other movement . Even, steady breaths grazed warmly against her face . The reason she had woken in the first place was that she had felt hot, and now, in such a situation, her body seemed to burn up even more . In no time, she was covered in a layer of perspiration

She allowed a lengthy while to pa.s.s before finally furtively cracking open her eyes and gazing upon his face, which was so very near

He seemed to be deep in sleep, lying still fully clothed outside of the covers . With the pure-white comforter between them, he encircled her in his arms . At such a distance, she could clearly see his chin, the tip of his nose, and, if she lifted her gaze a little higher, his closed eyes . In such a quiet, still place, he was simply sleeping by her side… Luckily only she had woken . His eyelashes had not so much as quivered this entire time; he appeared truly exhausted

Their surroundings were actually very dark, though she was not certain whether it was because it was late in the day or he had drawn the curtains shut

Since Jia He did not dare to move, she naturally was unable to get an answer to this question

She only riveted her eyes unblinkingly on Yi Wenze while a flame continuously leaped in her heart

Just look, they had been together for two weeks and three days already, but she still had not initiated a kiss . As she stared at the gorgeous shape of his lips, she tried to cheer herself on . Back in high school, because she had idolized him too much, she had used him as a blueprint for selecting a boyfriend and hence had decisively chosen to miss any opportunities for having a pure, innocent underage romance[2] . During university, she had finally lowered her standards, but because her room was filled with posters of him, she had even gotten into a huge quarrel with Gu Yu . Now… she should at least collect back on all of that, principle and interest included!.

Over and over, she brainwashed herself, You’re his real-deal girlfriend! What’s there to be scared about?!.

Finally, she started to move . As she was curled up against his chest, she could only slowly slide herself upwards a little bit . Seeing that Yi Wenze showed no reaction, she, with great satisfaction, slithered up a little more . The contours of that face were just too gorgeous, indistinct in this dim room, such that they seemed as if from a picture in an old black and white film . It was this feeling . Back when he first shot to fame, on the television, he had looked clean and untarnished like this, his smile so very polite-looking . He clearly had been purposely curbing himself and maintaining a reserved and taciturn manner, but he had still caused her to instantly fall—hard—for him

Jia He stared at him for a while, rapt . At last, steeling her heart, she ever so swiftly touched her lips to the corner of his mouth

And then, holding her breath, she contentedly slid herself back to her original position

The hand at her waist seemed to tighten its hold slightly . She, though, was still immersed in her exhilaration and did not really pay attention as she s.h.i.+fted herself a couple of times

“Don’t move . ” A light voice was heard from above her head, very supple and still heavy with sleep

A boom! went off in her mind . Jia He was stunned silly

After a long time, she finally put on a pretense of just awakening, groggily looking at him . “You’re awake?”.

“I’ve been awake for a while . ” He gazed at her in amus.e.m.e.nt . “Would you still like to continue?”.

Jia He’s mind lost all awareness of everything….

[1]Computers have various input methods to type Chinese characters (e . g . by stroke order, by standardized pinyin, etc . ) . The most common method, especially in Mainland China, is to input based on standardized Mandarin-based pinyin . However, as Yi Wenze speaks Cantonese and is from Hong Kong, he uses a Cantonese-based keyboard instead, the LSHK Jyutping keyboard . LSHK Jyutping is a method of romanisation of Cantonese and is recommended by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong . Alas, Jia He does not speak Cantonese and hence does not know how to use it to type Chinese characters

[2]早恋“zao lian . ” In China, dating under the age of 18, especially when still in school, is generally highly frowned upon and usually prohibited within the school

His arm tightened a little, bringing the two of them even closer

This was going too fast! Jia He shut her eyes for a moment, then opened them again . “Um, well…”.

They were too close . His breaths, one after the other, caressed her cheek . So hot . From her face, to her palms, to her body… Jia He felt that even his hand on her waist was searing

What should she say? What should she say? Who could tell her what she should say?.

“Do you want to keep sleeping?” He brought his face very near, practically touching the tip of her nose when he spoke

This was a very delicate sentence…But good thing “sleep” was finally the main topic . Forcing her voice as much as possible to appear composed, Jia He tried hard to change the subject . “Are you still sleepy?”.

“I’m awake already . ” His words were concise

“Then… no more sleeping?” She tentatively asked for his approval

He seemed to have no objections to this . “What would you like to do tonight?”.

The question had been tossed back to her

Her entire brain was swarming with words that were not at all pure or innocent . Why was it that no matter which direction their topic wound, it was still so suggestive and open to a certain interpretation? If it wasn’t “sleeping,” it was….

Luckily, her mobile phone suddenly began merrily chirping away . The custom ringtone she used for her mom had saved her life . She moved her arm, hoping to take advantage of this opportunity to get up . However, Yi Wenze had already casually picked up her phone from the coffee table and handed it to her, thus successfully shattering her plan to flee from there . Jia He could only give an awkward smile, and then telling him, “My mom,” she immediately answered the call and said h.e.l.lo

“Where are you? What time are you coming back?”.

Jia He arbitrarily replied, “I’m not coming back tonight . ” But after the words came out, she realized there was something wrong with them and straightaway added, “Wait, no . I mean, I’ll be coming back a little later tonight . ”.

“Why didn’t you say something? I’ve cooked all the food already . ” Her mom complained, “What’s up with this time’s director? Sure, for weekdays we can let it be, but even on weekends he wants you to go for meetings . ”.

Jia He made a sound of “mm,” feeling guilty . “It’s my fault . I got here two days late . ”.

“Go tell that whatever director of yours that you have something going on at home today . ” Her mom’s voice suddenly dropped . “Gu Yu’s here . ”.

Jia He’s heart gave a thud . “What’s he doing there?”.

Her mom seemed to be extremely excited . “He said he came to see me and your dad . Just see how good that boy is . Back then you dumped him, but he never held any grudges . From the looks of things, he’s still got you in his heart . Your old mom deliberately kept him for dinner . I’m buying time for you . You need to hurry back—”.

Jia He was speechless . The retribution for lying was now catching up to her

Back when she broke up with him, she had been afraid her mom would be heartbroken for her, so she had merely said that the problem lay with her, that she had suddenly found that the feelings had faded, or something like that . Her mom had hounded and berated her for several months . At the time, she had actually felt that she had been quite wise; in any case, it was better than her mom learning that her precious baby girl had been dumped, and then having heartache for months . But now she realized that, truly, a person must not lie

The crucial problem was, at such close proximity, it was unquestionable that Yi Wenze had heard everything clearly

He was extremely close to her, so close she did not even dare say anything else

Not until she heard her mom on the other end of the line call out, “Jia He,” did she finally woefully answer, “We’ll talk—” But she only managed to say these two words . The remaining “when I get home” did not even have a chance to come out before her lips were covered in a kiss that caught her completely off guard . Hooking his arm around her waist, Yi Wenze rolled over and pinned her beneath him . Sometimes lightly, sometimes harder, he brought his lips to hers, brus.h.i.+ng over them inch by inch . His motions were not rushed, but they were very focused and intent on what they were doing….

Inside the phone, her mom called “h.e.l.lo?” a couple of times and then muttered about why there was suddenly no reception

Over on this side, there was already no sound whatsoever from Jia He . The room was too dark; she practically could not see anything . She could only sense that they were both sunken deeply into the sofa . From her heart to her body, she was wholly in his control, and naturally there was no opening for her to even say anything . She did not know when the call was hung up, cluing in only when the glow of her mobile phone’s screen extinguished, completely swallowing the last bit of light

Her breathing was ragged, and her mind was completely occupied with contemplating how she should explain this to him . Was he angry? It was only when the heat of his palm glided over the skin at her waist that her head cleared slightly . Squirming, she pushed him up from her and panted a couple of times . “So, um, about this thing with Gu Yu, I’m requesting a chance to explain . ”.

He lowered his head to gaze at her . That angle, that look in his eyes… Oh, G.o.d, it’d be better if she just pa.s.sed out in a coma

This isn’t a film set . This isn’t an idol drama . Idol, why are you showing such professional dedication? ….

“Back then, I didn’t tell my mom the truth . ” Jia He gasped in another light breath, but her brain still felt a little oxygen deprived . “I was worried my mom would be sad . Some guy so readily picked on the daughter she had babied and treated like a treasure for so long … So I told her that I was the one who didn’t want him . My mom has since felt that I did wrong to him . ”.

This was so humiliating . She had been dumped but had still had to go stick a feather in her cap

Yi Wenze chuckled . “But wasn’t that the truth?”.

Jia He’s words were choked off in her throat with his question . After carefully recollecting for a moment, she protested under her breath, “Actually, I really was the one who said first that we should break up . ”.

But the nature of it was totally different

“And so,” Yi Wenze said, his smile deepening, “what does this have to do with what we’re doing right now?”.

Silence . She fell into embarra.s.sed silence

Okay, fine, even if I was being sneaky and found an excuse to interrupt you, Idol, there’s still no need for you to so straight-out expose me, you know? ….

The sofa once again sank in slightly . Out of reflex, Jia He shut her eyes, but then she discovered that he had already sat up . Her heart dropping, she immediately, hugging the comforter against herself, clambered up from the sofa . “What are you getting up for?”.

He shouldn’t be mad, right? This whole matter has crossed the line a bit . Gu Yu, that guy, does he not have anything better to do? Why in the world did he have to go to my house? Now he’s made my idol misunderstand me….

“Didn’t you say no more sleeping?” He glanced at his watch

Jia He was glum for a moment . It seemed she had indeed said that

Turning, Yi Wenze took a glance at her . “Or could it be you want to continue?”.

…….

“Of course not . ” The denial jumped from her mouth . But once the words were out, she regretted them . Fearful that he would a.s.sume she did not want to because she had heard mention of Gu Yu, she hurriedly explained, “Actually, it’s not that I don’t want to…”.

Yi Wenze’s eyes were on her, and he motioned to her to continue what she was saying

Jia He wanted to cry . No matter what she said, it would still sound wrong . How was she supposed to continue?.

In the end, he let her off the hook first, asking with a smile, “Are you hungry?”.

As if she had been given the greatest of pardons, Jia He quickly bobbed her head . “Starving . I’m about to starve to death . ”.

Standing, he handed her coat to her . “Mai Jie is in Tianjin . We’ll drive over there tonight . ”.

“That rushed?” Jia He looked at him, startled . He had just arrived in Beijing and now he was heading to Tianjin?.

Yi Wenze straightened himself up, walked over to the wardrobe, and began selecting clothing . Pulling out a casual top, he answered, “I suddenly really want to have Tianjin’s snack foods . ”.

“Beijing actually sells Tianjin snacks, too…”.

Halfway through what she was saying, Jia He was suddenly hit with a not-so-good thought . Could it be that her idol was purposely taking her away from here? She snuck a look at Yi Wenze . But when she saw him removing his suit jacket, his motions natural and at ease, she almost blacked out for a moment and she leapt up from the sofa . “I’m going to go have some water . ” With that, she did not wait for his response and, slipping on her flats, bolted out of the room

When she reached the coffee station, her heart was still thumping hard

The light of the water dispenser was flas.h.i.+ng in the darkness . She groped around for a long time until she found the light switch and turned on the wall lights

Outside in the corridor, someone seemed to be talking . It was a very loud voice, commenting on the actors and actresses who had come for the screen tests today and also talking about the upcoming new film project . As Jia He grabbed a gla.s.s and dispensed some water, she realized the very serious error she had made: He had only been changing his jacket… Why did she run? Why in the world did she run, aaah?!.

She was completely in a state of chaos . Here she was, twenty-six, twenty-seven years old but still acting like an innocent little girl newly dating someone

Did she humiliate herself? Or did she humiliate herself? Yes, she humiliated herself….

Before long, Yi Wenze was changed and groomed . When the two arrived downstairs, Wu Zhilun was leaning against the windowsill, talking on the phone . Seeing them heading outside, he called to Yi Wenze . “Where are you going, eh? If you’re going to eat, bring me along . ”.

Yi Wenze lifted his eyes to look at him . “We’re going to Tianjin . ”.

Wu Zhilun nearly dropped his mobile phone . “Wasn’t it tomorrow that you were heading there? It’s the year 2011 already; you guys are still playing elopement?”.

Making a “shut-your-mouth” gesture at him, Yi Wenze opened the car door and sat into the vehicle first

Jia He also got into the car . Just as she was about to pull the door shut, Wu Zhilun cried to them again, “Wait ten minutes for me!”.

While Jia He hesitated, Yi Wenze was already motioning to her to shut the door, and then, without a second thought, he started the car and drove off

This was the season of blooming willow trees and drifting white catkins[1] . Jia He had only just opened her window before her head was covered with white fluff that had blown in . Closing the window again in chagrin, she dawdlingly pulled out her mobile phone, thinking to give her mom a call . However, realizing that she did not actually know what specifically their itinerary and plans were, she could only turn her eyes first to Yi Wenze . “When… approximately will we be coming back?”.

“When do you want to?”.

“You have no plans?” Jia He gaped at him

“Just a little event . It’ll take about half a day . For now there are no plans for the rest of the time . ”.

“Don’t you have work to do in Beijing?” Jia He kept on guiding his thinking

Today is Sat.u.r.day, tomorrow is Sunday . On Monday, I have to keep going with my meetings….

“I more or less took care of most of it today . I can take a couple of days off . ”.

Jia He was speechless . This really did seem like they were eloping, bringing nothing along, having no plans

Oh, wait, that wasn’t right either . He just said that he could rest for a couple of days . This plainly was premediated and planned

After quite some time, she was still not yet willing to give up and carried on asking, “Well, you at least have to have some sort of actual business purpose for going to Tianjin to see Mai Jie, right?”.

At least give her some timing or a schedule . Her mom’s wait for this hard-to-come-by chance for her to come to Beijing on business had finally come to fruition, but now she was playing a game of “disappear off the face of this earth” without providing any explanation whatsoever . When she was back, she was indubitably going to be flayed alive and have her tendons yanked out . What’s more… her mom had her heart set on Gu Yu, so with Jia He not in Beijing, the old lady just might possibly do something

“It’s the promotional event for my movie . ”.

An “Ah?” slipped from Jia He . “Then what am I going there for?”.

Yi Wenze’s one hand was on the steering wheel while his other hand reached over and helped her pick off a piece of willow fluff from her bangs . “Eventually I’m going to be very busy, so if we can be together, I will as much as possible try to bring you along . ”.

Because he was wearing a brimmed cap, faint shadows were cast on the upper half of his face, emphasizing the brooding intensity of those eyes of his

Jia He had originally wanted to say that she had not brought a change of clothing, but then she saw the smile he gave her, saw him waiting for her reaction, saw him discover with satisfaction that she had no objections and then turn back to continue driving . The entire process flowed smoothly, so smoothly that she had not even been able to squeeze out a word from herself

Stress . The stress was just too much . “Even heroes cannot resist the charms of a beauty[2],” never mind she was just a little screenwriter

Things were already like this; how was she going to get through all the future days? Oh man, how was she going to get through them? ….

In the end, when their car had driven beyond the Third Ring Road, she resigned herself to this fate and took out her mobile phone, deciding that she would tell her mom she had a last-minute business trip, then also find an excuse to ask for this time off from Director Liu . While she wrestled over what reason she could use for this time-off request, she at last noticed that this route was very familiar . No matter how she examined it, it still looked like they were heading in the direction of her home . After carefully scrutinizing for a long time, she finally asked in a small voice, “Aren’t we going to Tianjin?”.

Yi Wenze made a very placid “mm” in answer before saying, “We’ll go to your home first to grab a few changes of clothes . ”.

Go… to… my… . home?!.

Jia He immediately received a jolt . “No, there’s no need . I have my credit card with me . If worst comes to worst, I’ll just buy some stuff when we get to Tianjin . I’m not that picky . I’m really, really easygoing . ”.

He smiled . “It’s no problem . It happens to be on the way . ”.

Clutching her mobile phone, Jia He began seeing stars

One was to the southeast, the other in the northwest . Was it really on the way? Really, was it on the way? ….

[1] Poplar and willow trees were planted in Beijing beginning in the 1960s and continuing onwards for a few decades to increase the greenery in the city . Over the years, millions were planted . However, in the spring, mature willows will bloom and release what appear to be white fluff, their catkins . As more of the female willows reach maturity, the ma.s.s of catkins floating in the air has become a phenomenon in Beijing’s springs, when the white fluff seems to invade the city

[2] This idiom is generally referring to a man, that no matter how great he is, how remarkable his abilities and achievements, he is still unable to escape being entrapped by love or unable to resist the charms of a beautiful woman . However, here the “beauty” is referring to Yi Wenze’s incredible good looks and Jia He, not even a hero, just a little screenwriter, most certainly cannot resist him

Easily Set Aflame Chapter 9

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Easily Set Aflame Chapter 9 summary

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