Mmmm…if a guy, such a perfect guy, made me clam chowder with a secret recipe. I’d be pretty happy too. 😉 And let’s see how much more awesome Li Chuan gets…
Li Chuan said that he first thought I was acting when I fainted. He was going to have Jiang Heng Xi carry me to his car and then slip away as originally planned. To his surprise, my pulse was amiss when he checked, so he hurriedly got me sent to the lounge and fed me some sugar water. The building was a lofty development and there were several clinics on the second floor. He got a doctor to come and take a look at me. When he asked for the reason, he was told it was probably blood phobia. The usual remedy was to just lie down. Ten minutes were enough.
He looked at his watch, “You’ve already been laying for twenty minutes, why is you face still so white?”
I sat up, and laughed, “My face is white because I put power on it. I put makeup on, understand?”
“You skin is so nice, why put on makeup at such a young age?”
“Being mature and having sex appeal is one of my goals in life.” I had just finished joking when I discovered that he was gazing straight into my eyes, not saying a word, as if he was frozen in frame.
“Xiao Qiu, you are a deity. You are a ridiculous person. You are enticing all over. It’s as if I’m overlooking an abyss.” He stood up and handed my jacked to me, “Put on this sexy jacket, let’s go home.”
We returned to Long Ze Garden in a flurry and entered his flat. He pressed me against the door, impatiently kissing me, “Stay with me tonight, okay?
“I have an exam tomorrow. Listening and speaking.”
“It’s only a day away, will studying now even be useful?”
“Sharpening a blade right before battle will still make it brighter.”
“I need to go on a business trip tomorrow afternoon. There’s a final round for design proposals in Xiamen. I need to be there to compete for it.”
“How long will you have to stay?”
“Oh!” I said, “I finally get to see you and you have to leave.”
“So we have to take advantage of the time, right?” He took off my coat for me, lowered his head and kissed my chest. His arms wrapped around my back, undoing my zipper. I shyly leaned back a little because my body has stopped at a young girl’s age. Tiny bone structure and flat chest, nothing special. I was like a lizard crawling on top of his body. I bent down to his waist and threw away his crutches, forcing him to lean against my body.
“Hey, am I really heavy?” Seeing me practically collapsing under his weight, he promptly leaned against the door with his elbows.
“Not heavy…” My spirit and soul had been turned upside down by his kisses. I murmured by his ear, “Li Chuan, I love you! Torment me as much as you like!”
We went to take showers, covered in sweat, each entering our respective bathrooms.
Li Chuan said that his bathroom was entirely installed for the handicap. Any normal person who went in would think that it was a torture chamber from the Kuomintang age. I would have be fine if he hadn’t said this, but once he did, I had to go in and see it. The bathroom wasn’t actually that dark. The inside was spacious and cozy, there was even a couch. It was just that there were handrails all around for support. The floor was also covered with slip resistant material. And there was a small wheelchair. On the side there was a cabinet filled with white bath towels.
“Can I peep at you bathing? Just five minutes?” I grinned, looking at him.
“No.” He dragged me out by the ear.
The bathroom at school was always full of steam. It was hard to come by a place that made me like to shower. I took a long shower. When I got out, I saw Li Chuan in his bathrobe, sitting on the couch and drinking beer.
He stood up and asked me, “Do you want anything to drink?”
“A cold beer.”
“No, this is something for men to drink.” We walked to the kitchen, opened the fridge, looked around for a bit, “I’ll make a warm milk tea for you. How about that?”
“Okay.” I bounced over to the kitchen and found that his kitchen was brand new. It was spotless. Clearly, he had never cooked a meal there.
“Have you used your stove before?” I patted the sleek surface of the electric stove. There was not a drop of oil on it.
“Then why did you design a kitchen? Might as well not have it.”
“That’s indeed a design mistake.” He said, “As an architect, we want to spend most of our time on designing the living room.”
“Actually, I can stew a soup here.” I said while opening the kitchen cabinets. I discovered that all the pots, pans, and cooking-ware were there, all arranged neatly. “Next time I’ll buy some groceries and make a soup for you. Cantonese style. The light kind. Fish head tofu soup is also pretty nourishing.”
“I crave it now that you are talking about it. How about we go and buy some groceries no?.” He found the door key, “There’s a store near here. It’s not too far, we can walk there.”
Li Chuan said it wasn’t far, but we walked for half an hour before getting to the store he talked about. This time, he put on the prosthetic leg despite my opposition so that he could have a hand empty. Holding my hand, we walked into the store. I pushed the shopping cart. I didn’t find bones, but ended up buying an entire bass from the fish market. I bought scallions and ginger for the soup, tofu, celery and lily, and some other vegetables for the stew. Li Chuan bought what he wanted to eat and then urged me to buy more prepared dishes so that I can concentrate on studying instead of worrying about what to eat during each meal.
I also bought some Yunnan ham, sausages and dried mushrooms.
“Buy more to store up for eating. Bread and drinks. I have coffee and tea at my place. It’s all in the fridge. Remember to choose Colombia coffee beans. It’s the best for staying awake.” I didn’t know what it was, but he picked something up and threw it into the shopping cart. I took a look. It was soy milk. I threw it back on the shelf, “The dorm doesn’t have a fridge, it’s a waste to buy too much.”
“Live in my flat while you take exams, okay?” He said, “It’s quieter here. You can concentrate on studying. I’ll be in Xiamen and won’t bother you.”
“No, no, no…” I repeated it ten times before finally adding, “It’s inconvenient.”
“Mmm, this is a little far from your school. But I can have my chauffeur drive you.”
“Don’t you always drive yourself?”
“I have a chauffeur, but I like to drive by myself, so he isn’t very busy. Now, it’ll be perfect to find him some work to do.” He took out his cell phone to make a call.
I seized his cell phone, “Ge Ge, spare me. I am only at ease in the dorm. The exams are extremely important to me. You don’t want me to feel uncomfortable while reviewing, right?”
There was one thing about Li Chuan that I enjoyed taking advantage of. That was, he never forced me to do anything.
“Okay, as you wish.” He smiled lightly and didn’t persist.
Despite this, we still bought a pile of things to eat. I carried two bags, Li Chuan carried two bags, and took a taxi back. At the door of the lobby, we ran into Ji Huan. He was with another man, also carrying a bunch of bags heading into the building.
“Hey, Li Chuan, Xiao Xie!”
“Hey!” I was a little embarrassed. Li Chuan held onto my hand and didn’t let go, like a sweet couple.
“Let me introduce you. This is Classmate Xiao Yi, graduate student of oil painting at China Central Academy of Fine Arts.” Besides having a pair of red phoenix eyes (Eyes with outer corners inclined upwards.) like Guan Yu, Xiao Guan appeared very mild and gentle. (Guan Yu: General of Shu and blood-brother of Liu Bei in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, fearsome fighter famous for virtue and loyalty)
“Hello.” He shook hands with us.
“This is Mr. Wang Li Chuan, and Miss. Xie Xiao Qiu. Mr. Wang is an architect. Miss Xie is still studying in college.”
Li Chuan switched the shopping bags from his left hand to his right and shook hands with him.
“Li Chuan, you didn’t even inform Miss Xie when you were sick, causing her to wait here for three whole hours.” Ji Huan laughed.
“Really?” Li Chuan glanced at me apologetically.
I bowed my head and looked at my toes.
“I will certainly plead my guilt properly.” Li Chuan said.
After getting in the elevator, I laughed, “That Xiao Yi held his chest up so straight, it looked like he was really gay.”
“They must have been with each other for a long time now.” Li Chuan said, “Xiao Yi is indifferent about it, but Ji Huan goes on loudly all day long about getting their marriage certificate in Canada.”
“I’ll say, Li Chuan, why aren’t you gay. You are clean and neat. You home is untainted by even a speck of dust.”
“Someone cleans my place everyday.” He saids, “If no one cleaned it, you’ll see.”
“Do you make your bed in the mornings?”
“No. Are you satisfied?”
We returned to the flat and each put on aprons. Li Chuan killed the fish while I stewed the soup. Li Chuan cut the vegetables while I stir-fried them. I always considered Li Chuan as a pampered son of a wealthy family. I didn’t expect him to do such work so fast and so well. It was has if he had been trained before. Li Chuan said that even though they didn’t lack money at home, he and his older brother both worked part-time jobs to support themselves during college. They rarely asked for help from home.
“Of course, my dad paid for the most expensive part, our tuition.”
Seeing him cutting onions, I said, “There’s already a lot of dishes, stop cutting.”
“You made me a delicious soup, I will also make a delicious soup.” He went to wash clams, “Clam Chowder. Have you had it before?”
I was baffled, “No.”
“I loved to drink this as a child. The recipe is passed onto me by my grandmother.”
“Then you teach me, ok?” I squeezed up next to him, attentively watching him wash the clams.
“No. This is a secret recipe. It especially for currying favor with one’s significant other.” He heated up the pan, added butter, and dumped in the small bowl of onions for stir-frying. Then he added chicken stock and milk, potato pieces, and clams, and slowly let it simmer.
After finishing stewing the fish, I stir-fried two small dishes and split the pot-stewed dish into four plates. I drank his Clam Chowder, he drank my bass soup. We picked up our chopsticks and ate the dishes together, drinking beer.
That night, I cuddled in Li Chuan’s embrace, sleeping very early. There were many pillows on Li Chuan’s bed. He said that he could only sleep on his left side. If he turned over onto his right side, it will be as if he fell into a hole. So, he needed the pillows to cushion his waist. He read “Remembrance of Things Past” to me in French. Before he had finished one page, I was already asleep. In the middle of the night, he got up to drink milk. I also woke up, and then we made love in the dark. It was extremely intense, we were completely absorbed, to the extent of tearing up several pillows. It was dawn before we discovered that our bodies were covered in goose feathers.
Li Chuan drove me to the school. We kissed farewell at the school gates. My whole body ached from the fierce sex, but Li Chuan said that my complexion was rosy, and full of energy and fighting spirit.
“Wish you luck!”
“Wish you success!”
My listening and speaking were my strong suit, and I thought I did pretty well on the test. But it was hard to say compared to the well-trained and private lesson taking Feng Jing Er. After mid-term exams there was a competitive mood in the air in the dorm room. Everyone was silently striving for the scholarship, no longer announcing scores to each other.
I originally cared a lot about grades, but now, grades were no longer that important. I was constantly longing for one person, Li Chuan.
After finishing exams at midday, I wanted to go get water and discovered that the thermos was already full.
“Xiu Ge Ge got it for you.” An An said with new Nike shoes on.
“Where is Xiu Ge Ge? I want to thank him.”
“He just went down, you didn’t run into him?”
I chased him down, and thanked Xiu Yue. He said you’re welcome.
“Did you read the book I bought for you?”
“Not…yet. I been preparing for exam recently and have been too nervous. I’m sure I will like the novel a lot. That’s right, why is the book name called ‘The Moon and Sixpence’?”
“Everyone wants the moon in the sky, but cannot see the sixpence coin next to one’s feet.”
I was terrified, thinking that the he was implying something. I then consoled myself. Li Chuan only had three-fourth of a normal person’s body. Li Chuan needed crutches to walk. When stripped naked, Li Chuan had a perfect upper body and a sexually appealing lower body. But when the upper body and lower body were placed together, it was a tragic sight. In short, Li Chuan was absolutely not the moon. As for Xiu Yue, he was pretty good-looking, had strength and discipline, like the patriotic youth sung about in the March of the Volunteer Army (People’s Republic of China’s national anthem). His English skills surpassed the eighth level and he was ranked on the list of recommended graduate students. His grades were top-notch and had gotten all the scholarships that Feng Jing Er and I envied. He was the school representative and pride of the president. In short, Xiu Yue was absolutely not a sixpence.
The verdict was that I wanted Li Chuan. I didn’t want Xiu Yue.
I was firm in my belief. I steeled myself and said to Xiu Yue, “Thank you for always carrying water for me. In the future, don’t carry water for me anymore.”
He looked at me flabbergasted, and stammered, “I…have to carry water for myself everyday anyway. To carry two more of yours…isn’t too inconvenient.”
“Please don’t carry water for me anymore.” When I said this, my face was ice-cold, my tone was rigid. I didn’t like him, so couldn’t give him any hope. More so, I couldn’t take unfair advantage of his passion. It’s not something that I, Xie Xiao Qiu, would do.
When I returned to the dorm room, my phone rang. It was Li Chuan.
“How did your exam go?”
“It felt really good. Where are you?”
“On the way to the airport.”
“Li Chuan are you going alone? Is someone taking care of you?” I was worried for him. On a business trip, handicap facilities were unavailable. This person also got up in the middle of the night to drink milk.
“How can it just be one person. There are eight, to make an all-out effort. Tomorrow and the day after, I will do two presentations. What about you, what will you do tomorrow?”
“I sit for intensive reading exam tomorrow and extensive reading the day after. Then, I’ll buy a ticket to go home to celebrate the New Year.”
“Doesn’t that mean, when I get back, I won’t be able to see you?” It was apparent he was becoming anxious over there.
“That’s right. I haven’t seen my dad and younger brother in half a year. I quite miss them.”
“You only miss them, then what about me” He said, “I’ll come to Kunming to find you.” Li Chuan’s knowledge of Yunnan was limited to Kunming.
“Ge Ge, my home is not in Kunming. It’s in a small town behind a huge mountain.” I said, “Drive carefully. After the new year, I will be back at school and will come find you.”
“After the new year? Isn’t that after half a month?” He said dejectedly.
“Wang Li Chuan,” I said his full name very fiercely, “now you know how long half a month feels like, right?”
I hung up and saw Xiao Rui poke out her head from the mosquito tent, “What! I thought you had been broken up this entire time. So it wasn’t breaking up, it was falling head over heels in love.”
“Shut up.” I climbed up and pinched her.
“Wow! Wang Ge Ge is so generous to buy you such a good coat.” Xiao Rui had an intuition for clothing, always going on about changing professions to become a fashion designer.
That pure black woolen jacket was one of yesterday’s props for the art exhibit. I was too embarrassed to wear the rest of the clothing back and left it in Li Chuan’s loft. Because this piece of clothing fit well, was pretty, and nice and warm, as if it was specially tailored, I happily wore it into school.
“Is it a really nice brand?” I didn’t know and rummaged in the jacket’s collar.
“This is a famous Italian brand. It must be at least several thousand yuan.” Xiao Rui said with experience.
“No way.” I shook my head. Nothing I wore has ever exceeded fifty yuan.
These kind of shops normally don’t place the price on the exterior of the clothing, rather it’s placed in a pocket.” She said.
I remember when picking out the clothes, he bought it right after I tried it. I didn’t ask for the price, Li Chuan didn’t ask for the price either.
I fished through the pockets and found a small card. I took it out for a look and was taken aback.
Eight-thousand eight-hundred yuan.
Xiao Rui nodded, “I guessed it was that much. You’ve really run into a highly eligible bachelor.” She patted my face, and then shrewdly said, “Hey, let me ask one thing of you. Next time, when you meet his friends, introduce one to me. Or maybe if his family throws a party, bring me with you.”
“How about I introduce Li Chuan to you.” I laughed darkly.
“Don’t even think about it.”