Easily Set Aflame Chapter 10 Part2
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Halfway mark (excluding epilogues)!
The t.i.tle of the chapter should tell you something. I think Jia He's performance is pretty darn good, too. How would she know about the soundproofing? LOL.Chapter 10.2 — The Ex and the Ex (2)
This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.
By chance, they were coming up to a red traffic light. Yi Wenze brought the car to a steady stop and then, tilting his head to the side, looked at her in silence for a while. " 'The year that Jia He was fifteen years old, I saw her. So, you are the one who is too late.' "
This sentence should be too easy to understand. Every word was spoken clearly, but when they were all linked up together, she did not understand them.
The year she was fifteen years old, she was still in her first year in Beijing No. 4 High School, day and night taking supplementary and remedial cla.s.ses, and did not even really know anyone from other schools. And plus, she had never once left Beijing before that, so of course it was not possible that she had previously been to Hong Kong either. How, then, could she possibly have seen him?
Could it be…? Jia He looked at him.
It was a line from some sort of film? Touching and sentimental enough, suitable for a seckill.
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A phone call happened to come in at this time. Jia He could only stare at the traffic light as it changed from red to green, tugging at his sleeve to signal that he could keep driving. With one hand on the steering wheel, Yi Wenze put on his headset and began speaking. Based on the content of the conversation, it should be Wu Zhilun, who, from the sound of things, was driving now and chasing after them. In the s.p.a.ce of a few words, the name "Tian Chu" also popped up.
Those two words quietly slipped into her ear. She truly did not want to listen in, but Yi Wenze actually was not trying at all to keep anything from her.
Once he hung up, she immediately put on a look of great interest and continued with the question from earlier. "Why did you say that?"
"Suddenly thought of it." Yi Wenze appeared as if he had no intentions of explaining anything and instead very nonchalantly changed the subject. "It has already been confirmed that Tian Chu will sing the theme song for that film of mine. You may see her on this trip to Tianjin."
Jia He had not expected that he would switch the topic over to this, and she paused in surprise for a moment before answering with a smile, "She's currently really hot. The two of you can be considered a collaboration of two strong forces. From a promotional perspective, there should be some pretty good results."
Way more than just "pretty good." Two people who had just divorced were collaborating again—a tidal wave of news stories was once more going to be sweeping in.
Thinking about the fact that she would be seeing Tian Chu suddenly made her a little uncomfortable.
The incident from two, three months ago in Hengdian was still fresh in her mind. At the time, she had emphatically declared that there was absolutely nothing between her and him. But now… While she was not scared of Tian Chu, there was an inexplicable feeling in her, like she had lied. She could roughly guess what Tian Chu had been thinking at the time: She still had feelings and could not let go of them? She wanted to restore the love they once had and continue where they left off?
She stole a peek at Yi Wenze. Should she ask or not? If she asked, to what extent would it be appropriate?
Yi Wenze started again taking phone call after phone call and hence did not even give her an opportunity to ask. It was only after they had driven onto the expressway that he finally was free to talk. "We're on the expressway now. Buckle your seat belt."
"Oh, okay," Jia He answered, reaching behind her and pulling on the seat belt.
As it fastened with a click, he spoke again. "Tian Chu is someone who has too strong a sense of pride. If she says anything to you, you don't really need to pay too much attention to it."
Jia He nodded, but realizing that he was driving and should not be able to see her, she hastily also added an "mm-hmm."
"She and I signed the papers one year ago to divorce. That whole matter has nothing to do with anyone and was simply because of the friction in our relations.h.i.+p." His words were succinct. "If you see anything written in the news, just treat it like you're reading a story. There's no need to take it too seriously."
Yi Wenze was too forthright, to the point that she actually felt a little sheepish. "I understand. That's all in the past. I won't be so petty as to fuss over it." She paused, then tentatively probed, "I sense… that she seems to want to get back together."
Once she said this, she felt even her teeth ache with the bitterness of jealousy.
Between boyfriend and girlfriend, it didn't cross the line to ask this, right? She observed Yi Wenze apprehensively. Seeing that he did not appear to show any expression of being turned off, her mind was somewhat set at ease. Yi Wenze seemed to be contemplating how he should express what he wanted to say, and after a while he finally replied, "She mentioned it in Hengdian."
Their car's driving speed would not be considered fast; there continually were vehicles flying past them. For a moment, both of them were rather quiet.
When they stopped to refuel, he at last, before getting out of the car, supplemented with another sentence. "She should know that I presently have a girlfriend."
Jia He gave an "oh." Although she still had many more questions and things puzzling her, she still held them back. If she continued asking, it truly would seem as if she was grilling him. In reality, all this time he had done everything so well already. Their relations.h.i.+p was still in its infancy; she must not make herself seem too petty.
<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only
Traffic was quite good today. It took only a little more than an hour for the two of them to arrive in Tianjin.
As they entered Tianjin's urban core, she finally started feeling hungry. Looking out at the various restaurants and fast-food eateries whizzing by from time to time on either side of the road, she instinctively wanted to suggest that they find a place to have dinner. However, when the words were at her lips, she remembered that he could not just so casually show his face in public, and so she could only console herself that there would have to be sacrifices in order to be with her idol, for example, right now.
Hungry. So hungry her stomach was cramping. She secretly ma.s.saged it, silently praying that they would get to the hotel soon.
She quickly pulled her hand away. "I'm okay."
"We'll be there really soon." He stretched a hand over and gave Jia He's head a little rub, telling her with a smile, "Hold out for just a bit longer."
Yi Wenze's words were on the mark, for, sure enough, within five minutes they were in a tall building. When the two were in the underground parking garage waiting for the elevator, there were five or six other young people beside them, also waiting. The instant they saw Yi Wenze, they began whispering amongst themselves, and a few braver ones even pulled out their mobile phones, intending on snapping a few photos. He merely smiled, telling them it was okay to take photographs with him but they could not secretly snap any pictures.
Jia He hurriedly put on a guise of not knowing him and stood in a corner off to the side, watching as he took photographs with those people. After they stepped into the elevator, she still deliberately chose to stand in the furthermost spot from him. Fortunately, they were going up to a high floor, and before long the last person had exited the elevator. When the doors slid closed, she suddenly felt her hand being enveloped into another one—one that was very warm and full of strength.
She turned her head. Yi Wenze, looking down and smiling at her, asked in a slightly apologetic tone, "Is it awkward having a boyfriend like me?"
Jia He intentionally pondered for a brief moment, then suddenly broke into a grin. "Is it inconvenient having a girlfriend like me?"
His smile was resigned. "Indeed."
"Huh?" Jia He looked at him, downcast.
Leaning in close to her ear, he said, "I always need to think about what I need to do in order to give you a.s.surance."
The warmth by her ear stirred a slight restlessness in her heart. All of a sudden, there was a light ding, and then the elevator doors were already sliding open.
Hastily yanking her hand back, she motioned to him to go first.
After they stepped into the restaurant, the hostess, spotting Yi Wenze, at once very keenly led the way. "Mr. Yi, this way, please." When they arrived at the door of the private dining room and he was about to extend his arm to push it open, Jia He unexpectedly tugged on his sleeve cuff.
Bemused, he turned to her.
Her expression was solemn as she gazed at him. "Every person who is just beginning a relations.h.i.+p will worry, worry about whether what she has is real and worry that she will lose it. It'll slowly get better. You don't need be too concerned about it." She halted for a moment before stating the central thought of what she really wanted to express. "No matter what, you have my total trust."
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It was very lively inside the private dining room, and based on the sounds that could be heard, there were a lot of people.
Once the words were out, she felt that she was being overly corny and melodramatic; on top of that, Yi Wenze was not saying anything either. Right when things were feeling awkward, the door was pulled open from the inside and Wu Zhilun, his head bowed while he talked on the phone, strode out swiftly, nearly running into her.
Jia He was given a shock at this. Wu Zhilun, as well, reflexively took half a step backwards, but then the next instant a smug grin of "Aha! I caught you guys!" spread across his face. "How is it that I got here first?" Saying that, he quickly hung up the phone and lifted his head to look at his watch. "You guys were 'held up' for half an hour."
He brushed his eyes over Jia He, then swept them over to Yi Wenze, then back to Jia He, as if he was afraid they would not understand the connotation of his words.
Yi Wenze gave his shoulder a pat, his tone calm. "Trust me, half an hour is too short. It's not enough to do anything." His voice was neither loud nor soft, but it was just enough for the three of them to clearly hear.
Then, taking the hand of an utterly dumbstruck Jia He, he walked in the door.
There were many people inside that private room. She took a quick scan around and instantly spotted Tian Chu as well as the woman beside her. Over these years, though she had never seen her in person before, Jia He had watched many of her interviews and quickly recognized that woman to be Mai Jie.
Because Yi Wenze was holding her hand, Jia He was a little bashful. She gave a light nod. "Mai Jie."
Mai Jie's smile was very amicable. "You must be Jia He, right? Tune of Yong'an's press conference is in a couple of days. I watched the trailer. If I haven't misjudged, your worth and price tag are going to be going way up."
In such a setting, this was considered a very suitable conversation starter.
Jia He's heart warmed slightly, and her nervousness eased somewhat. "Thank you, Mai Jie."
Mai Jie smiled and patted her on the shoulder. Then, she finally turned slightly to look at Yi Wenze. "When I called you the day before yesterday, no matter what you would not come here today. Now you've suddenly changed your mind?"
Yi Wenze had Jia He take a seat by his side before he removed his cap and offhandedly set it on the table. "Something came up at the last minute, so I came here earlier than originally planned."
This was a routine business dinner. As Yi Wenze had shown up hand in hand with her, everyone, regardless of whether she knew the person or not, immediately became well aware of their relations.h.i.+p. Despite the purposely put on natural smiles and casual conversation, Jia He could clearly see the prying curiosity in each and every pair of eyes.
By the second half of the dinner, Tian Chu had already had quite a bit to drink, having downed gla.s.s after gla.s.s.
Jia He watched this somewhat disconcertedly. She had seen this type of situation many times before, but once she became the protagonist of such a scene—and with so many people intently watching at that—she still felt a little discomfited. Moreover, the people here were from the company that Yi Wenze was a part of and had worked with Tian Chu for many years. No matter how Jia He looked at it, she seemed more like the outsider.
However, she appeared to be the only one who held these sorts of sentiments. Yi Wenze, in contrast, was very much unruffled. Before long, dinner was finished and he asked her in a low voice, "Would you like to go back to the hotel to rest?"
At once feeling as if a burden had been lifted from her, Jia He softly asked, "You don't need to be here? How about you tell me the name of the hotel and I'll just take a taxi there myself?"
He did not seem concerned. "No, it's okay. I'm really tired, too."
Deliberating for a moment, Jia He felt as well that the longer they sat here, the more awkward things would be, and so she was honest and stated her desire. Then let's go."
After the two reached this consensus, Yi Wenze began tokenly clinking his gla.s.s with several people, saying that he had arrived from Shanghai and had not had a chance to get a good rest yet so was tired and would not stay to keep them company. No one tried to make things difficult for him; they only smiled and exchanged a couple of sentences of social niceties with him. There were also a few people who had had too much to drink and, with tactless looks at Jia He, tossed out a few jabs and heckling words at him.
Lisening to them, Jia He felt even more self-conscious, but as it was not fitting to let herself be bothered by drunkards, she only gave the excuse that she needed to use the washroom and then, getting up, fled from there. Just outside of the private room was a separate, dedicated washroom for the room, and naturally it was very quiet. Pulling out her phone, she sent a text message to Yi Wenze: When you're ready, just let me know. I'll wait for you at the door.
His reply arrived shortly: All right. Don't worry, it will be very quick.
She had only just set down her phone when a hand pushed open the washroom door. Tian Chu, slightly tipsy, stepped inside. When she saw Jia He, she was somewhat taken aback. "You're leaving now?"
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Jia He watched as she locked the door behind her. Somewhat unable to figure out what this was about, Jia He merely smiled. "We drove all the way here and are a little tired now, so we want to head back to get some rest."
Tian Chu's eyes were shrouded slightly by a mist of drunkenness and also something else. She was quiet for amoment before finally asking, "How long have you and him been together?"
Jia He originally had not wanted to say anything, but seeing her like this, her heart softened a little. "Not very long."
Smirking, Tian Chu turned to look at herself in the mirror and wiped at a smudge beneath her eye. "The prince and Cinderella? The distance between you two is pretty significant."
At last, with this random comment that had come so abruptly, Jia He sniffed out the smell of gunpowder that came with a battle declaration.
It seemed it was inevitable that they would cross paths again, and then she would once more have to deal with such a situation… A bit of frustration rose in her from feeling like her hands were tied, but still she replied, "In a certain sense, he is indeed like a prince to me. But I don't think I am a Cinderella who comes from an ordinary background and has only a kind heart to speak of." She tried as much as possible to keep her tone gentle and mild so as to not provoke this person who was more than half drunk. "If you judge based on normal standards, I have a harmonious family and also a pretty good career, and I also have the ability to pay a house mortgage and buy a car. Perhaps we will have differences in our family environments or differences in our cultures, and certainly friction and conflicts will arise, but none of those are big problems."
These words were simply too serious and proper. After saying them, even she could herself could not keep to the mood, so instead she simply heaved a sigh and said in a half-joking tone, "Life is full of uncertainties and ups and downs. Just look at those couple of years when Hong Kong had its financial crisis. A lot of artistes took a loss in the properties they bought. If one day in the future he, too, goes bankrupt from investment failure, I might even need to support the family and pay back the debts."
This has always been the case, you know. A screenwriter is a career where you will still be sought after even when you are old. That is not the case for actors; too many have ended up poor and in abject straits in their older age.
Jia He filled in these words in her mind. And then, she gave herself a score of ninety for her performance here…
Still facing the mirror, Tian Chu did not speak again. Jia He also felt that there was no point to staying here any longer, so shortly after, she opened the door and escaped from there.
Only when the door had shut did she let out a lengthy breath. As she pulled out her phone, ready to send a text to Yi Wenze, she saw Wu Zhilun leaning against the side of the sink, his smile cryptic. "There's no soundproofing here. I didn't listen in on purpose."
<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only
Beijing No. 4 High School (Beijing s.h.i.+ Disi Zhongxue) is commonly referred to as "Sizhong." It was founded in 1907 as Shuntian Secondary School, and its current name has been used since 1949. It is considered a prestigious school, with many graduates being accepted into key universities.
This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.Additional Comments:
Just a reminder that Jia He and Yi Wenze have only officially been a couple for two weeks and three days, and their relations.h.i.+p started over the phone. This is still their first day seeing one another in person since they started dating. In fact, it hasn't even been 12 hours yet since Yi Wenze got off the plane.
Even with normal, everyday couples, when the relations.h.i.+p first starts, there is always a period when you're always wanting to please the other person, much less this relations.h.i.+p's beginning is far from “everyday.” Jia He is shy and she tends to be a thinker and less of a verbal communicator, but when she needs to, she will talk, just as she did here (and just as she did with telling her mom to drop the pressure about Gu Yu, or even when she was “facing off” with Tian Chu). As the relations.h.i.+p settles in, she'll find her voice. Sure, he may never lose the idol halo to her, but they'll find the rhythm of their relations.h.i.+p. ?
1 of 1 Prologue
29 of 58 Chapter segments
0 of 4 Epilogues
Easily Set Aflame Chapter 10 Part2
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Easily Set Aflame Chapter 10 Part2 summary
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