Chapter 18 To Stir Up
“Jian Chi, your body was not uncomfortable, right?”
“I found out from the beginning that you didn’t seem to want to see me,” Ji Huaisi was laughing, inexplicably causing Jian Chi to sense out a trace of loneliness, “Did I do something wrong?”
Jian Chi couldn’t answer. Every sentence seemed to be pressing on him. Step by step, the tension turned into a rope around his throat that made him unable to breathe. After a while, he squeezed out four words: “It’s not like that.”
“I originally thought you would bring Zhang Yang here.” Ji Huaisi’s voice was neither light nor heavy, but like a hammer slamming on Jian Chi’s chest, “You seem to have always cared about Bai Xiyu’s emotions and you want to send him to me, is that my illusion?”
No, not an illusion.
Ji Huaisi was too sharp, or all of them were more sensitive than Jian Chi thought. He only occasionally put his peripheral vision on Bai Xiyu’s expression. When the restaurant was seating them, he left the closer position to him open and guideed the topic of conversation in their direction. All these subtle actions were captured by Ji Huaisi as unusual. He couldn’t deny it at all.
“Jian Chi,” Perhaps the silence was also some kind of signal. Ji Huaisi gently pressed Jian Chi’s shoulder, “I don’t mean to be angry, I just want to know why.”
Jian Chi didn’t know how to answer. Tell him that they were originally supposed to meet like this, that Bai Xiyu was supposed to fall in love with you because of this? Looking at Ji Huaisi’s sullen eyes, Jian Chi’s heart seemed to have knocked over some seasoning and was mixed with a complex taste, “Sorry, I can’t explain it now.”
Rather than using more excuses to deceive Ji Huaisi, Jian Chi chose to escape.
He had already seen Ji Huaisi’s disappointed look. Hearing this, Ji Huaisi let go of his shoulders, there was no disappointment or dissatisfaction in his eyes. He sighed lightly, and the corner of his mouth was smiling, a touch of helplessness, “I understand, I will ask again when you are willing to explain. You didn’t eat anything just now, you must be hungry, I know there is a good restaurant nearby, are you going to reject me this time?”
Jian Chi confirmed it twice, then finally determined that the topic did suddenly jump from ‘why lie’ at the beginning to eating and said doubtfully, “Didn’t you already eat?”
“I was worried about you just now, so I didn’t have time to eat a few bites.”
“That Bai Xiyu…”
Ji Huaisi, who went to open the car door, stopped and didn’t answer, but Jian Chi read the interruption in his eyes and heard him say slowly: “From now on, don’t mention other people’s names. You almost lied to me, so this small request shouldn’t be too much, right?”
Jian Chi had a familiar feeling again, like falling into a beautiful pit that didn’t look like a trap at all. He hesitantly replied “en”. Ji Huaisi stretched out his usual gentle smile, protected the top of his head, and closed the car door.
Bai Xiyu was not in the car, and Jian Chi subconsciously wanted to ask him where he was, but he silently closed his mouth when he thought of the request he had just agreed to. The car stopped in front of an inconspicuous street and Jian Chi followed Ji Huaisi around a few turns before seeing a hidden store, which at first glance didn’t look like a restaurant at all. It was full of unnamed plants and potted plants that formed a full circle, some were hung on the door, some were simply placed on the ground. Jian Chi carefully looked at his feet to make sure he didn’t step on anything.
The inside of the restaurant looked completely different from the outside, as if they had entered another world by mistake. The whole space was decorated with delicate flowers. Jian Chi could smell a comfortable light fragrance. Countless kinds of floral fragrances were mixed together, and it did not feel abrupt and unpleasant at all.
“This is a place I discovered a few years ago, isn’t it very hidden?”
Jian Chi retracted his gaze and nodded, “It’s beautiful.” It was like a garden museum.
Ji Huaisi looked into Jian Chi’s eyes, “Their menu is named after flowers. I like gardenias, and I often order this one, how about you?”
The topic was pulled over to him involuntarily, and a tinge of purple appeared in Jian Chi’s mind, “Wisteria flower.”
“When we first met, did you say my brooch was beautiful because you thought of wisteria flowers?”
Jian Chi was not surprised by Ji Huaisi’s attentiveness, and took a sip of the flower tea that was just delivered, “Well, I used to see it often in school.”
Ji Huaisi pressed his chin lightly, with an indescribable meaning, “Did you miss your original school after transfering to Saintston?”
“Occasionally,” Jian Chi stopped the conversation in time, without revealing more things, “Why do you like gardenias?”
“I was still thinking, if I spoke too much about myself, it would make you feel bored.” Ji Huaisi rolled his eyes with laughter, “it’s nothing special, my mother likes gardenia very much, and every time she performs, she will always put one behind her ear. This gradually became her symbol and it had also affected me. I always feel that if I don’t smell that fragrance, something was missing.”
This statement made Jian Chi feel an inexplicable sense of familiarity. He pursed his lips uncertainly, “Your mother…Is that Du Wan?”
“Everytime I introduce her to someone, I never have to say her name.”
Jian Chi was really stunned for a few seconds. Du Wan, this name was enough to shock people without adding any prefixes. She was one of the most representative female singers in China. When it came to singers of that era, there may be four or five names in everyone’s heart and it included Du Wan without exception.
She was a representative of an era. She used music to build a cultural bridge between China and the outside world. The gardenia flower that was behind her ears during each performance was her unique symbol. Later, other singers followed suit, but they were ridiculed by many people. Such a superstar announced her retirement without any warning nineteen years ago. Fans all over the world were saddened by her decision. To this day, Du Wan’s posts can be seen on various social media and Jian Chengchao who used an 8 year old MP3 still had several Du Wan songs.
It took a lot of effort for Jian Chi to pull away from his thoughts. From this observation, Ji Huaisi’s eyebrows and eyes were indeed similar to Du Wan’s. She was born in Jiang Nan, and her appearance was as gentle and watery as her singing voice. Ji Huaisi had her eyes. Even when he was not smiling, he still had rippling tenderness, which made people fall into it.
“She retired at that time because she was pregnant with me,” Ji Huaisi said slowly, “After having me, she chose to focus on her family, but I know that even after so many years, she still misses the stage in her heart. That’s why gardenias are placed in every corner of the house.” Jian Chi couldn’t help but ask: “Did you choose to play the violin because of her?”
Ji Huaisi shook his head, his eyes drooping as if caught in a memory, “It may be hereditary or maybe, my mother and I both have a natural passion for music. Although the direction is different, but she has always supported me in pursuing my hobbies. Starting from when
I can remember, everything in my life revolved around the violin.”
When he talked about the violin, it was not like talking about a piece of music, but more like a relative who had been with him for many years. It was difficult to conceal the intimacy in his tone. Jian Chi remembered the final ending of Ji Huaisi in the story. Because of a car accident, his wrist was permanently damaged and he could no longer play out a complete song. Thinking that the dazzling figure on the stage will eventually come to nothing, Jian Chi couldn’t tell what complexity was in his heart.
He didn’t know when the dish was served. Ji Huaisi didn’t ask him the reason for his dazed moment. The hand that had been under the table stretched out. The lavender shadow attracted Jian Chi’s attention, and Ji Huaisi placed it in front of him gently.
“Do you like it?” Ji Huaisi smiled, “I saw this color just now and I thought you would like it.”
The strings in Jian Chi’s heart seemed to be fiddled with something.
It was a flower folded from a purple napkin.