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Published at 14th of January 2016 12:40:38 PM

Chapter 48

There is an endless crowd in the vast airport departure hall, and broadcast updates for the passengers every few minutes .   This place is like the rest of B City: prosperous, busy and surrounded by strangers .

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Li Xunran lights a cigarette in the smoking room .   He takes out his mobile phone .


It’s a photo of Jian Yao which he took a few days ago .   She was smiling brightly in the sun .   And he was standing behind her, with one hand on the railings and the other over her shoulder .  


He gives a small laugh .   He puts out his cigarette and stands up .


As he opens the door of the smoking room, he sees her .   Jian Yao .   Their eyes meet .   She smiles at him, like she normally would, warm and gentle .  


Li Xunran feels like someone has poked his heart with small knife as he sees the smile .


After a moment, he walks up to her .   He smiles: ‘Why are you here?”


This time, Jian Yao voice has a little sadness in it: “You don’t plan to say goodbye before you leave?”


Li Xunran is quiet .   Behind them, people are hurrying past to get the departure gates .


Both of them smiles at the same time .   Li Xunran reaches out to pull Jian Yao into his arms .   Jian Yao rests her hands on his back .   He has a comfortable and broad chest, with a faint smell of sweat .  


Even though Li Xunran is three years older than Jian Yao .   Jian Yao has never called him “Ge” .


(NOTE from TB: just in case you are not familiar… Ge which means brother - a term the chinese uses for people in the same generation as them but older .   It’s a term used amongst friends and acquaintances as well as family)


Li Xunan is Li Xunran .   When she needs him, he is always there .   He is always encouraging her - “You can do this .   It is not that difficult . ” “Yes, that’s more like it .   Well done . ” 


Nothing more needs to be said .   Her most important friend .   Someone she never wants to lose .


Li Xunran cradles her in his arms .   His hands feel her soft waist, her floral fragrance in his nose .   He tightens his grip, then lets her go .


“How did you come into the departure lounge? It’s restricted area . ” He asks .

She holds up her police identity card: “That’s quite handy .   Now I know how you feel to have a pass that gives you access everywhere . ”


Li Xunran laughs .   He puts his hand on her shoulders: “Go .   I need to board the plane . ”


“Mmm…” Jian Yao laughs too .   She walks with him .   They are at the start of the corridor that leads to the departure gate .  


“Your new boyfriend is not with you today?” He asks .


“No, he is at home . ” 




There are many kinds of love .   Li Xunran’s love to Jian Yao is in between friends and lovers .


From young, they hang out together .   As Jian Yao was growing up, a lot of boys were interested in her . They wanted to go after her, but they were blocked by Li Xunran .   Others used to say to him: “Hey, you are only protecting her so that you can have her all to yourself . ”  He used to say to them: “That’s my sister .   I am not going to let her get into a relationship in her teens .   It’s too young . ”


But is she only a sister to him?  At least for eighteen year old Li Xunran, that’s what he thought .   Then a year later, he finished his last year of secondary school .   He got into the Police academy .   He needed to leave town .   On his last day at home, he went to her house .  

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At the entrance of their house, he heard Jian Xuan crying: “Sis, are you really ok with Li Xunran leaving?”


At the time, Jian Yao was fifteen .   Jian Xuan was twelve .   Li Xunran overhead their conversation .  


“Of course not… . I will miss him so much . ”Jian Yao says: “Actually, I want to go to the Police Academy too . ”


Li Xunran felt like something was pricking his heart .


Jian Yao was a strong girl .   He seldom saw her in tears .   She must really like her ‘Xunran Ge’ .  


That night, Li Xunran made up his mind .   He wanted to tell her that he will wait for her .   He will wait for her to grow up .   When she is eighteen, he will be her first boyfriend .   When he steps into their house for the second time though, he overheard another conversation .   This time, it’s between his mom, and her mom .  


“You won’t let Jian Yao go to the police academy?” Li Xunran’s mom asked . “Actually it’s pretty safe to be  policemen nowadays .   Times are different . ”


Jian Yao’s mom shook her head: “I don’t .   And I will be frank to you .   I don’t want my daughter to find a boyfriend who is a policeman either .   I don’t want her to keep remembering what happened .   She is still young .   I don’t want her to carry the burden for the rest of her life . ” 


Li Xunran’s mom pads her back: “I understand .   Don’t worry .   Xunran is like a brother to her .   Both of them are good kids .   We are very lucky . ”




Li Xunran had one girl friend when he was attending university .   But she didn’t want to live in a small town .   When Li Xunran returned to his hometown to work, they broke up .  


Last winter, he met Jian Yao again .   He was very happy to see her .   Then Jian Yao became Bo Jinyan ’s assistant .   He felt a hint of jealousy .  


But he didn’t persist .   He was sure he would get over it .  


They were good friends .   They lived in different cities .   Her mom didn’t approve of a policeman boyfriend . And most importantly, she was not interested in him .


Until two months ago .   He was badly injured while investigating a case . Stabbed by one of the criminal several times .  


People say you see visions before you die .   At the verge of death, he remembered seeing a flash of white light .   Then blood speared all over a dull and confused world .


 He saw his parents .   He was in his police uniform .   They were smiling, hugging as a family .


Then he saw a room, full of blood .  


A room that is decorated in 1990s, with a twenty inch LED TV .   The sofa was the old fashioned type that had springs in them .   There were a few people lying on the ground .   A lot of people were in the room .   Many of them, crying .   As he entered the room, he stepped into a pool of blood .  


Then he heard someone say:


“All dead, except for two kids . ”


“The younger one is carried outside .   But the older one refuses to  leave .   She is clinging on to Lao Jian (Jian Senior) .


“She saw everything . ” 


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“Xunran? How did you get in here?  Bring both of the kids out . ”


Then someone put a little girl next to him .   She had blood all over her .


He looked down .   His little face was pale .   Her eyes were wide open .   She was not crying .   She was not making a sound .   She used her little arms to hug him . He hugged her back .


They hugged each other for the next few days .   They refused to let go .   They slept together at night .  


That year .   He was ten .   She was seven .


He thought, that he only had a crush on her .   That it would eventually pass .   But until he reached the point where he almost died, did he realise he had given everything within him to her .   His love for her flowed like a quiet stream, one that had never stopped flowing for as long as he knew her .  




Jian Xuan was home .   She often visited him in the hospital .   One day she picked up his mobile phone: “It’s a missed call from sis . She sent you a text .   Are you not going to reply to her?”


He smiled: “No, if she knows about this, she will drop everything she is doing and come back immediately . She just started her new job . ”


Jian Xuan looked at him .   She keeps quiet .  


But Li Xunran was well aware of the real reason .   He didn’t want her to see him in pain .   It would be too heartbreaking for her .   He is a man . A police .   If he has to sacrifice his life for justice, so be it .   But he did not want to see the woman he loves to shed a tear for him .  


He was seven years late in his confession .   When he was well, he would go and find her .




At the departure gate .   Most of the travellers have boarded the plane .


Li Xunran turns to looks at Jian Yao .   He didn’t say much, just ruffles her hair with a smile .  


Jian Yao laughs too: “I will come back to visit you during Chinese New Year . ”




Moments of quiet .


Then he calls her softly: “Jian Yao . ”


“Huh…” Jian Yao answers


“Look who is here . ” He points to her back .


Jian Yao thought “No way…” She turns around, but there are only faces of strangers .   There is no sight of the arrogant man .


She turns back to face Li Xunran .   Suddenly a shadow covers her face .   The next thing she knows, his lips are pressing on hers .


His hand wraps around her waist .   His tongue going straight into her mouth .   She tries to move her tongue away from his, but he is determined to chase after her .   His kiss is hard and deep, like he wants to swallow her mouth and tongue .  


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Jian Yao tries to push him away .   But before long, he lets go of her .   They keep a safe distance between them .   His face seems to be blushing too .   His lips still wet from the kiss .


Jian Yao looks at him .   She doesn’t know what to say .


He laughs and touches his lip with his hand .


“Just this once . ” He says slowly . “To make my trip worthwhile . ”


Jian Yao feels  heaviness in her heart .  


He has a big smile on his face . “Ok, I am going .   Remember, you said you’d visit this winter . ” He turns around walks to the gate .  


“Xunran!” Jian Yao shouts out .


He pauses his steps .


“Have a good trip . Send me a text when you get home . ”


He doesn’t look back .   He waves to her and says his farewell in a warm voice: “Goodbye, Jian Yao . ”


Goodbye, the girl that I didn’t know I’ve loved for so many years .




Jian Yao drove Bo Jinyan ’s Grand Cherokee to the airport today .   When she left the carpark, it’s past 8:00pm .  


The corners of her eyes starts to get wet .   She lets down the windows of the car .   The autumn’s breeze comes through .   After a while, the tears are dried off .




When she gets back into the apartment .   The TV is on, but there is no one in the lounge .  


She takes off  her shoes to change into house slippers .   A sweet buttery smell is coming from the kitchen .


She walks into the kitchen and finds Bo Jinyan  with a black apron over his shirt and trousers .   He is wearing a pair of mittens, standing proudly in front of the kitchen table .  


A combination of cool & chic, and warmth & family .     Two images that don’t usually fit together .   It’s a strangely comforting sight .   He takes a look at her and turns to the oven .  


Jian Yao walks to him: “What are you doing?

He is wearing mittens, so he can’t hug her .   He leans over to give her a peck on the lips .


“As you are out saying goodbye to your secret admirer, your boyfriend is at home making cookies for you . ”  


She is stunned .


After work today, she told him she is going to the airport to send Li Xunran off .   Bo Jinyan  just say to her: “Ok, let’s go . ” Then she corrected him: “I am going, by myself . ”


She thought he would be upset with her .   But he simply said: “Be careful .   Don’t come home too late . ”


Jian Yao didn’t tell him about Li Xunran’s feelings for her .   She thought Bo Jinyan  don’t really care about Li Xunran .  


So he knows about it .   Well, of course he would .  


He is a psychologist .   Just because he is slow with his own emotions doesn't mean he doesn’t have feelings .   In fact, since he met Jian Yao on day one, he quite liked her .   But he thought that  the‘like’ feeling was similar to what he had for FZY - friendship… . until he realised how much he wanted to have her all to himself .  




Once he realised it is love (between a man and a woman), he was able to see that Li Xunran had the same micro-expressions on his face as himself when he was with Jian Yao .  


When he heard that Jian Yao wanted to send Li Xunran off by herself, he was not entirely happy .   But he is a gentleman and he knew he had to respect Jian Yao and give her the space she needed .  


So . . he baked cookies for her instead .


Because, she made a passing comment before about a particular cookie recipe that she likes very much .




Their eyes meet .   His gentle gaze melts away any remaining heaviness in her heart .  


She wraps her hands around his waist: “Thank you .   My hardworking boyfriend . ” 


Since they are together, this is the first time she has initiated a hug (although it’s only been three days, Bo Jinyan  feels they have been together for a long time) .   His lips curls into a smile: “You don’t have much strength . ”


Squeeze harder, woman! 




But Bo Jinyan  does not like to be interrupted when he is in action .   This applies to baking too .   After a while, he makes Jian Yao waits for him outside .


When the cookies are ready, he tried the first one .   He is happy with it .  


A plate of his cookies, some red wine, and a red rose .   He carries the tray into the lounge but no one is there .   She is standing in the balcony .   She turns around to look at him .   She has light a candle and placed it on the balcony table .   She looks beautiful under the candlelight .  


- Oh… . she is so romantic .

Bo Jinyan  puts down the biscuits and give her a kiss .  


“Can we chat?” She asks


“Mmmm… . ” 


“I want to tell you about my childhood . ”



The Bo Jinyan  that is focusing on the kiss pauses .   Then he locks his hand tightly around her waist: “A good decision . ” he says to her .