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On his side, Yi Wenze was in the middle of lighting up a cigarette. When he heard her words, his hand obviously paused a moment and he gave a slight smile.
“Huh? Didn’t you say your idol is top quality? Why are there scandals like this about him, too?” Hearing that it was a secret video, her mom instantly became invigorated and pulled over a chair to take a seat.
“It’s not that type of video…”
“Don’t secret recordings just record that type of thing?” Her mom had an “I get it” look on her face.
“Of course not! He has great moral character!” Jia He’s head started to spin and nonsense began gushing from her mouth. “This type of video is called ‘insight into real life.’ Don’t you know that this is the in thing right now? Fans like to watch their idol’s real, daily life. You know that talent show on Mango TV? This year aren’t they going to have it where the contestants are followed around and filmed for seventy-two hours? It’s that type.” As she spoke, she was desperately kicking her foot around beneath the table.
Where was the plug? Where was the plug?!
All of a sudden, Yi Wenze lifted his head and directed a sentence to a nearby spot, somewhere, it seemed, by the doorway.
Her mother immediately asked, “Is it starting? Who’s your idol talking to?”
She felt like something was being smothered in her chest. “How would I know?”
For the life of her, she could not find the power outlet. Surely it couldn’t have changed positions…
“How come when I look at it, it doesn’t seem like a secret recording, eh, Daughter?” Before Jia He’s mom was finished speaking, another person had already appeared in the picture. Holding a cup in his hand, he strolled up behind Yi Wenze and took a deliberate glance at the webcam. “Eh? What’s that lad looking at?” her mom wondered.
As Jia He stared at that exquisite face, she wanted to cry, but no tears would come. The next time she ran into Wu Zhilun, she was definitely going to bust his head off…
Luckily, the next second, the video screen went black.
Afterward, most of the words her mom spoke did not even register in her ears. She only gave cursory responses and then forcefully pushed her mom out the door. Prior to leaving, her mom even specifically gave some instructions. “In the future, if you have this type of secretly-recorded video, use QQ to send it to me. Aren’t you a screenwriter? If you have any of Kris Phillips, that will be best. I like him.”
“Okay, okay.” Locking her door, Jia He blew out a long exhale and fell back against the wall.
After a long while, she finally dialed his number, apologizing in a small voice, “I’m sorry. I didn’t expect my mom to suddenly come in.”
Giving a very placid “mm,” Yi Wenze asked, “Do you still want to have a video call?”
“No, it’s okay…”
“Is your door locked?”
She answered only with “mm-hmm.”
His voice suddenly lowered. “I miss you a lot.”
Jia He did not speak. She ran this sentence through her mind, then ran it through again. This… was his first time saying that. His voice was still mild and gentle as before and held a low, magnetic quality. In the past, every time she watched him give a love profession in his movies, her blood would roil and surge and she would be even more emotionally charged than the female lead of the movie. But now, this was his first time saying such words to her.
Over the phone, with 1400 kilometres between them, he had said to her, “I miss you a lot.”
Merely five words. As if under some nameless compulsion, she once more opened up MSN.
The webcam seemed to have moved to a different location. From this angle, she had a view of more than half of his study. Yi Wenze filled a glass of water, walked over, and sat down, only looking at her quietly and in no hurry to speak. Jia He sat in awkwardness while her gaze incessantly flitted about randomly. Eventually, truly feeling self-conscious, she took a quick look at him, but the instant she saw those features that seemed so unreal, she felt even more awkward.
“Is it hot in Beijing?” He all of a sudden spoke.
“Not too hot.” Jia He was honestly too embarrassed to look straight at him and could only bow her head and fix her eyes on the keyboard.
“What plans do you have for tomorrow?”
“Nothing at the moment. I’m taking this weekend off.”
She continued counting the keys on her keyboard.
“My flight is in the morning. I should be in Beijing by noon.”
Jia He replied with an “oh” and carried on counting keys. Counting and counting. And then her head whipped up. She looked straight at him. “You’re coming to Beijing?”
He did not give a direct answer. “Have you decided what you’re going to take me to eat?”
It was evident that in the dialogue that followed, her responses were all given from a state of shock. Only when they finally ended their video chat did her mind catch up, and she realized she knew only that he was arriving in Terminal 3 at noon but had not even asked for his flight number. Ah, forget it. Just sleep first. She set an alarm for eight o’clock on her mobile phone, supposing that she would need one hour to get dressed, one hour to… At any rate, she needed to get up early.
And so, carrying with her that desire to rise early, she hugged her comforter and tossed and turned in bed until three in the morning. Still wired and energized, she stared wide-eyed at the ceiling, so vexed she wanted to slam her head into the wall.
Couldn’t sleep. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t sleep…
The direct result of this was, the next day, she slept and slept in the taxi.
It was not even eleven o’clock when the taxi arrived at the airport. She went to the first level, bought a large cup of coffee, and sat in a corner to kill time. Should she wait at the arrivals gate or in the parking garage? Or maybe watch him from afar and follow him? For a very long time, she deliberated over this, but still she came to no conclusion. She glanced at the time. Six minutes had passed.
Her hands encircling the paper cup, she began mulling over the next issue.
In the first sentence she spoke to him, how should she address him?
Teacher Yi? Obviously that wasn’t appropriate. A-Ze? That felt really weird, too. By chance, behind her was a young girl holding a phone and speaking with soft, tender tones into it. Jia He could tell straightaway that the girl was chatting with her boyfriend, for she had the same habit as Qiao Qiao, saying “Hubby this” in one sentence and “Hubby that” in another—so very sweet. Jia He wasn’t even sure when it happened but at some point in time, the people around her had all begun addressing their boyfriends this way… But simply imagining this form of address applied to Yi Wenze was already something she was unable to accept. She could not contain her rising agitation.
She glanced at the time again. Only three minutes had gone by.
All of a sudden, her phone rang. A name written very distinctly in black and white was flashing on the screen.
Startled, she immediately answered the call.
The background was a little noisy on the other end of the line. “You’re up now?”
“I’m up. Your flight’s delayed?”
He should have been on the plane at this hour, so her first reaction was that his flight was delayed. A flight delay wasn’t a bad thing; that gave her more time to mentally prepare herself.
“No delay.” Things suddenly became clamorous on his end. There seemed to be the voices of reporters and also fans who had come to meet his flight. His voice, though, was warm and gentle as always and settled her heart as it fell on her ears. “I’ll wait for you in the underground parking garage. Call me when you get here.”
Immediately after saying this, he hung up the phone.
Jia He ran these words through her mind, reflecting on them. Could it be that he had arrived already? Wasn’t it supposed to be twelve o’clock?
She called him back at once. “I’m here already.”
Yi Wenze was a little surprised. “So early?”
Sheepish, Jia He told him, “I woke up early. There was nothing for me to do at home, so I came out. Why are you here so soon?” What was up with Civil Aviation Administration? Normally when she took a plane, there was a hundred percent guarantee her flight would be delayed. Did they see there was a celebrity on the plane, so they sped up? Even so, it still shouldn’t be one whole hour early…
On his side, Yi Wenze seemed to be walking towards the exit, and some time passed before he replied, “The flight’s scheduled time of arrival at the airport was 11:10. I added some time to account for delay. I was worried you would have to wait for too long.”
His voice as he spoke was not loud, but it was very clear.
An arrival time of 11:10. That meant he had left fifty minutes for potential delay.
She did not know how she should respond and could only clutch her phone with one hand while the other one unconsciously clamped her paper cup … until there was a pop! Only then did she notice that the cup was already misshapen from her squeezing. At last, she said softly, “When you’re in the car, just let me know which parking zone you’re in. I’ll go find you.”
“Okay. There’s no hurry. It may take some time.”
“No worries. I’ll wait for you.”
It was twenty minutes later before his text message finally arrived and she grasped the true meaning of “It may take some time.” Terminal 3’s parking garage was always able to make her lose her bearings. This time, though, her head was exceptionally clear as she found her way to the correct location. A-Qing had come out of the vehicle and was craning her neck, peering this way and that. Catching sight of Jia He, she immediately waved. When Jia He drew near, she told her, “Teacher Yi is over there. I’m going to leave first.”
With that, she truly did stride away. Dazed, Jia He made her way along a row of cars until she spotted Yi Wenze sitting in a car on the furthermost end. He was in the driver’s seat and appeared to have noticed her as well.
Now, with only ten paces between them, she actually paused in hesitation. This was utterly different from talking on the phone. The real, live person was waiting for her in a car just ten steps away, but she had not even come up with what her first sentence to him would be.
In the end, though, he was the one who snatched the first sentence. As she sat into the car and was about to very considerately ask him something along the lines of whether he was tired, he was already very naturally asking her, “Would you like to go eat first or go to the office first?”
His manner was still so natural, his tone the same as it was every day when they were on the phone.
Only now did she have a sense that this was real. “How about we go eat? Were there a lot of people from the media meeting your flight just now?”
He started the car. “Quite a few, but they’ve all been led away by Wu Zhilun.”
Exhaling in relief, she thought for a moment. “How about we go to your office to eat? It’ll be a little more relaxed.”
“Sure.” He suddenly threw a glance at her.
A little puzzled, Jia He was going to ask him what was the matter, but he was already leaning towards her and, reaching out his arm, helping her to buckle her seat belt.
On her way here, she had actually still been worried about his leg. Although all along on the phone he had told her that his recovery was going very well, she had still not felt assured. Now, though, seeing the way he was driving, her heart was finally set at ease. The weather these days was warm, and as the breeze blew in through the half-open window, she felt only comfort. It was only a short while before she unwittingly started to doze off. Over and over, her head would bob, but still she forced herself to hang in there, not daring to let herself fall asleep.
Amused as he watched her, Yi Wenze asked, “What time did you sleep?”
Jia He answered honestly that, actually, she had not really slept much the entire night.
“You haven’t adjusted to being home?”
“Maybe.” Jia He was glum. “I don’t know why, but I was tossing and turning and couldn’t fall asleep. I actually saw the sky start to light up before I finally managed to get a bit of shut-eye. Does my complexion look really dull?”
Tilting his head for a glimpse at her, Yi Wenze answered, “A little pale. When we’re in my office, you can sleep for a bit.”
Jia He gave an “mm-hmm.” Those words began echoing continuously in her mind: Sleep for a bit, sleep for a bit…
And then, she blushed.
After another little while, she was completely unable to hold up anymore and hazily drifted off to sleep. When she woke again, the car was already stopped in front of a three-storey building. Yi Wenze was leaning back in his seat, resting with his eyes closed. Not daring to make any noise that might disturb him, she merely blinked her eyes, trying to restore the moisture in her contact lenses. Suddenly, though, the view before her right eye became a blur. Her lens had fallen out…
What lousy luck.
Gloomily, she gave a rub to her eye before discovering that Yi Wenze had already woken. “Your contact lens fell out?”
“It normally doesn’t come out so easily. It might be because I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“It’s all right. I have some here.”
Jia He stared, flabbergasted, at him.
He smiled. “I brought some along for you and kept them on hand. That way, it’s a lot easier if you suddenly need one.”
Jia He made a sound of “oh.” Those words began echoing continuously in her mind: Suddenly need one, suddenly need one…
And then, she once again blushed.
 费翔 Fei Xiang, whose English name is Kris Phillips, is a Taiwanese-American singer (his father is American, his mother Chinese) who was hugely popular in China in the 1980s.
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