The day before the National Day holiday, Zhou Qin first went to pick up Lin Xian from school, and then took a detour to Xiao Yuqing’s house, so that Lin Xian could pack some change of clothes and books to take back, and finally, together with Xiao Yuqing, the three of them had a meal outside, before they dispersed.
After stepping on the European continent, Lin Xian’s family of three began a clear division of labor, Lin Zhan was responsible for carrying the luggage and other heavy work, Zhou Qin was responsible for posing, looking at the scenery and other matters of enjoyment, and Lin Xian was responsible for asking for directions, communication and taking pictures. Zhou Qin also said that this was an opportunity for Lin Xian to exercise her language and photography skills. Lin Xian was full of excitement and did not want to dispute with her anymore.
The first stop of the trip was France. When Zhou Qin finally picked up her motherly heart and helped Lin Xian take a few single photos under the Eiffel Tower, Lin Xian leaned next to Zhou Qin and looked at the photos in the camera and the first thing she thought of was that she wanted to show them to Aunt Xiao.
She took out her phone and handed it to Zhou Qin, begging her, “Mom, you can take two pictures of me with my phone.”
Zhou Qin casually took her phone while asking her in confusion, “What do you want to do with your phone, your phone doesn’t have high enough pixels, it won’t be as clear as a camera.”
Lin Xian smiled and posed while answering her, “I want to upload it to space, it’s easier to use my phone.”
Zhou Qin verbally ridiculed her “vanity, smelly1“, but seriously took two beautiful and lovely pictures of her with her hands. She looked at Lin Xian under the camera and couldn’t help but feel a little complacent. In the end, she is my daughter, beautiful, just like me!
After the photo was taken, Lin Xian took the phone and looked at it seriously for a couple of seconds, feeling satisfied with Zhou Qin’s photography skills. She couldn’t wait to open the web, clicked on Xiao Yuqing’s avatar that was placed on WeChat, and uploaded the photo to her.
This was the first time she had sent a message to Xiao Yuqing after she had added her. She opened the dialog box and waited for a short while, but did not receive any response from her.
Zhou Qin saw her not moving not too far away and urged her to keep up. Lin Xian had to turn off her phone screen with some disappointment and took a few steps to catch up to Lin Zhan and Zhou Qin’s pace.
She wondered, where did Aunt Xiao and Aunt Wen go, and did they have fun…. She consoled herself that it was only normal not to reply. She just barely realized that there was a time difference between her and Xiao Yuqing and that she should be sleeping right now in the eastern part of the country.
In the evening they found a bistro for dinner, Lin Xian looked at the red wine in the goblet in her parents’ hands and thought of Xiao Yuqing once again. Her mind unconsciously recalled the first day she arrived at Xiao Yuqing’s house, when they had their first meal together, and Xiao Yuqing’s soft face and elegant charm when she raised her glass and swayed it lightly.
Lin Xian couldn’t help but take out her phone once again, open the net and check her messages.
The conversation page was still empty, with only her two photos waiting there alone–Xiao Yuqing had not yet replied to her.
Lin Xian pouted. Alright, it seems that she was having so much fun with Wen Tong that she didn’t even think about checking her phone. She put away her phone, grabbed her knife and fork, and increased the force under her hand, and sliced the steak back and forth with the knife in anger.
At eleven o’clock at night, after the night tour of Paris, the three of them went back to the hotel. Zhou Qin and Lin Zhan lovingly went back to their double room while Lin Xian went to the next room alone.
After a long day of shopping, she was really tired. After taking a shower and blow-drying her hair, Lin Xian didn’t even want to open her laptop and import the photos from her camera into her laptop, she was so tired that she just wanted to lie down and have a good sleep. As soon as she lay down on the bed and touched the pillow, she fell asleep.
However, despite her fatigue, her usual problem of recognizing the bed was still happening. At four o’clock in the morning, Lin Xian woke up without warning, and then, unable to sleep after that.
She lay in bed with her eyes open, looking through the window at the dreary night sky outside, her thoughts scattered. Is the night sky here the same as at home?
She couldn’t help but think of the message that hadn’t been answered so far, and couldn’t help but feel a little itchy. She reached out and picked up the phone sitting on the bed, unlocked the screen, connected to the net, and tapped on the icon.
She was inexplicably a little nervous and a little expectant.
The dialogue box, finally, has changed!
Underneath those two pictures were several long green dialog boxes–Xiao Yuqing had given her a voice reply.
Lin Xian sat up with a bright smile on her face that even she didn’t notice. Her fingers couldn’t wait to click on the first voice, and she heard Xiao Yuqing’s familiar warm and pleasant voice ringing out in the silence, full of laughter, “Xianxian, have you grown taller….”
Lin Xian could not help but “pfft” out a laugh. Aunt Xiao’s focus was really… she did not think twice to lift the thin quilt to get out of bed, fumbled to the table not far from her bags, fished out the earphones from the side pocket of her backpack, and then returned to bed and connected the phone.
Once again, she clicked on that voice message and listened to the words of Xiao Yuqing, which came into to her eardrums and into her heart. Then, she clicked on Xiao Yuqing’s voice messages one by one, listening to her tell her that they were already in the ancient city of Lizhou, she told her that it was a little different from what she had imagined and that it was much more prosperous than she had imagined, with an endless stream of tourists and some over-commercialization, but, she still liked it a lot.
The curvature of Lin Xian’s lips grew upward.
However, the second voice message has a long time interval from the previous ones. It was more than twenty minutes ago, and the duration was much longer than the previous one, which was a full 60 seconds.
She touched the screen with her finger. At first, she heard a little noise around, rustling, and vaguely heard a few low fuzzy voices of people. Two or three seconds later, she heard the soft, soothing music in the background, and then, a cool, ethereal, and stunning female voice, running through the thin earphone cord, into Lin Xian’s ears, and all the way to her heart, scratching it, “Even if the sky is nowhere to see the cracks, the brows are still full of dense clouds…”
Lin Xian usually rarely listen to Cantonese songs, and for a moment, could not remember which song this was.
“…afraid of tragedy repeats itself, the more beautiful something is, the more I must not touch it….”
Lin Xian stared blankly and unconsciously at the screen that had gone dark, listening fascinated by… Aunt Xiao! Is this Aunt Xiao singing? It’s her! It’s her! Although the tone was colder and lower than her usual speech, but, it was her…
She felt something exploding in her heart, her mind, only repeatedly echoed: Ah, she can also speak Cantonese? She can also sing! She sings beautifully! Ah, why wasn’t I there, ah ah ah…
“….In fact, what’s the use of me cherishing you again, isn’t it possible that if I hold you tightly this time I may not fail…”
Lin Xian did not even realize that she had completely entered the starry-eyed fan girl mode. Just listening in fascination, but the song suddenly stopped, as if, the person recording had accidentally let go of the button…
It’s the 60 second maximum time limit.
She quickly clicked on the last voice of only three seconds, and sure enough, it was not a song.
Lin Xian was frantic, excited, and sleepless in the middle of the night in a foreign country, unable to hear the rest, and scratching her ears in regret and annoyance. Her slender fingers seemed to dance on the screen as she flew to reply to Xiao Yuqing’s message, praising her, “It’s super good! Aunt Xiao, you sing so well, ah ah, but I didn’t hear the rest. Why am I not there, crying….”
But after waiting for a full two minutes, the dialog box did not change. She, again, missed Xiao Yuqing.
Lin Xian once again clicked on that voice message, listened to it again, and again, and again… She leaned back, looked sideways at the night sky outside the window, and her lips gradually brimmed with smiles.
How can she be so good, so gentle, so charming ah….
Finally, she only contentedly clicked one more time on the last voice, which was only two minutes apart from the last one, and listened carefully. Xiao Yuqing used a different husky, low, and soft voice, sent it to her from across the ocean, “Good night, little friend…”
Only after she quieted her mind, she listened to Xiao Yuqing, was she a little drunk? In this way, the style… the tingling voice…
Was it Wen Tong who took the phone and recorded the song? It’s Wen Tong, by her side….
She felt like there was something wrong with her heart. All of a sudden, it was inexplicably sour and wouldn’t work. After a long time, she still pressed the voice button and gently, with a tenderness she didn’t even notice, replied to Xiao Yuqing, “Good night, sweet dreams.”
The next few days, every time Lin Xian went to a place, she would send photos to Xiao Yuqing and a voice message. Xiao Yuqing and her had time differences, and the reply was always delayed for a long time, but every time, there was a response. At first, it was just a voice reply, but later, she also began to share photos with Lin Xian, although there were never anyone, only the scenery.
But Xiao Yuqing was willing to share them with her, did this mean that Xiao Yuqing was gradually dropping her guard and slowly and truly treating her as a friend?
Lin Xian felt very satisfied and happy.
After the holiday, the evening of the day she returned to Xiao Yuqing’s house, Lin Xian ate dinner at home, then hurriedly collected her luggage and urged Zhou Qin to leave. Zhou Qin asked Lin Xian uneasily about the gifts she had brought back, “Have you brought all your books? Don’t find out that you didn’t bring your books when you’re going to class tomorrow. I think you just remembered the scarf and perfume you picked out for your Aunt Xiao.”
Lin Xian opened the door, dissatisfied with Zhou Qin’s repeated instructions, and answered her impatiently with a drawn-out voice, “I’ve got it…. mom, you’ve said it several times.”
Zhou Qin took the car keys and carried the accompanying gift for Xiao Yuqing as she walked out, and gave Lin Xian a glance, “Who am I doing this for? You have done a few things to reassure, but who almost left their passport on the bed when they checked out of the room?”
Lin Xian was reminded of the old debt, instantly goaded, lowered her eyebrows, and no longer dared to talk back. Zhou Qin nagged her a few more times, and only after seeing that she had become honest did she let her go.
Xiao Yuqing had just returned not too long ago, and was so exhausted that her luggage was sparsely placed in the living room, but the accompanying gifts for Zhou Qin were already separately distributed.
Lin Xian followed Zhou Qin into the door, and the first time she saw Xiao Yuqing, she looked straight at her and couldn’t move her eyes away. In her mind, she couldn’t imagine how this gentle and quiet woman, who seemed to be extremely compliant, would look like in that kind of bar, drunk and hazy, when she lowered her eyes and opened her lips and sang…
Xiao Yuqing thought that it was her appearance that had frightened Lin Xian, so she touched her cheek and asked Lin Xian with a smile, “Is it because I get a lot of sunburn?”
Only then did Lin Xian come back to her senses, looked at Xiao Yuqing carefully, then shook her head and said frankly, “No, you’re not tanned at all.”
Zhou Qin also smiled and said, “No, you’re not tanned.” She remembered the past, ” Xiaoyu, you can’t get a tan at all. When the graduate students went to the countryside for research, Wen Tong was as sunburned as coal, but you looked like you didn’t do anything at all. My father suspected that you were lazy and working less.”
Xiao Yuqing thought of Wen Tong’s face, which was as bright as a peach blossom when she went, but as dark as a Bao Gong2 when she returned. She couldn’t help but purse her lips and laugh out loud, “Sister, you will know when you look at her, she… has naturalized into Africa again.”
Zhou Qin suddenly laughed “hahahaha” heartily, “It’s okay, she has always boasted that she could be black quickly and white quickly.”
Xiao Yuqing gave Zhou Qin and Lin Zhan a lot of gifts, including a set of wooden bowl souvenirs, tea, coffee, various kinds of milk cakes, flowers, ham, etc. bits and pieces actually filled a few bags. Zhou Qin was a little embarrassed, scolding her, “Did you empty everything over there? Not afraid of the weight, did Wen Tong not like you?”
Xiao Yuqing’s gentle face showed a bit of grievance, jokingly complained, “She dislikes me to death, not even helping me to carry. But I think they are all very good, so I wanted to bring them back for you to see and taste.”
Zhou Qin was still touched in the end and took Xiao Yuqing’s hand and patted it gently, “You are the one who has the heart.”
Lin Xian saw the opportunity and asked Xiao Yuqing with a smile, “Aunt Xiao, what about my gift?”
Zhou Qin let go of Xiao Yuqing’s hand and gave Lin Xian a glare, “How can you ask someone for a gift, you have no shame.”
Lin Xian took Xiao Yuqing’s arm with both hands, shook it, and said petulantly, “Then Aunt Xiao is not just someone, besides, I know Aunt Xiao must remembers me.” After saying that, she blinked her big, watery eyes and begged for confirmation, “Isn’t that right, Aunt Xiao.”
Xiao Yuqing saw how cute she was, her heart softened, her eyebrows eased as she reached out and gently scratched her little nose, “Clever little devil…”
She took a few steps to a luggage bag by the coffee table, unzipped it, and took out a fine little box from it, handing it to Lin Xian smiling, “Open it and take a look.”
Lin Xian took it with both hands and gently opened the box, and what she saw was a beautifully woven black lanyard, and below it, a white jade pendant in the shape of a circle with an excellent purity.
Zhou Qin was influenced by Lin Zhan’s study of antique jade and knew at first glance that it was a Hetian white jade of excellent color, with a high price, so she immediately stopped her and said, “No, this is too valuable for Lin Xian to receive.”
Xiao Yuqing curved her eyebrows with a smile and retorted Zhou Qin, “Sister, don’t say anything. I didn’t give it to you, I only asked Lin Xian.” She took out the pendant from the box, loosened the clasp, moved closer to Lin Xian, lifted her long hair, and helped Lin Xian put the pendant on. She lowered her head, her watery eyes gazing at Lin Xian, her voice soft, like a gentle breeze caressing Lin Xian’s heart, “Do you like it?”
Lin Xian lowered her eyes and looked at her slender fingers still placed on her neck; white and slender, just like the white jade that was hanging on her chest at this moment. She raised her eyes and looked at Xiao Yuqing, after a long time, her eyebrows slightly curved, her eyes flowing, like black jewels glittering, “Like…. like very much….”
As a result, she saw in Xiao Yuqing eyes, the smile and tenderness rippling shallowly…
Zhou Qin again spoke more excuses and reproaches, but Lin Xian could not hear them. She only knows that she really likes and likes the things that Xiao Yuqing gave her, probably, no matter what it is…..
As long as Xiao Yuqing is happy, as long as she is willing to give, she dares to ask for it.
The author has something to say:
Many years later Lin Xian said loud and clear: She bravely gave the token of love in the presence of my mother. \(≧▽≦)/
Zhou Qin regrets: I don’t want to talk. Smile.
Thank you Steven for supporting this novel! Hope you enjoyed these chapters. I’ll get the other out asap.
1 “Smelly” or “臭美” means to show off their looks or talent shamelessly. Instead of “smelly” another phrase is “smelly beautiful.”
2 Bao Gong, the original name is Bao Zheng and he was a politician during the Song Dynasty