Li Chuan’s Past (沥川往事) : Chapter 6 4


buildingsA big secret is revealed. Unfortunately, the novel is from Xiao Qiu’s point of view and we can’t really see what Li Chuan is thinking. For that matter, Xiao Qiu’s feelings are already hard to discern. It’s clear she’s slowly falling for this handsome gentleman, but her personality is quite different from someone like Xiao Ye and her feelings are mainly kept inside.

Upon watching trailers again, I can’t help but feel the drama is going to disappoint. No one can compare to the Li Chuan already formed in my head, though I’m sure Godfrey Gao will give him a run for his money. Just being prepared is all…

[Chapter 6]

When we got to the girls dormitory, we both halted and stared. There was a huge lock on the door.

I took in a breathe of cold air, “Shoot!” According to the rules, lights off is at ten o’clock every night and the doors are locked at twelve o’clock. However, as far as I knew, after receiving a couple of bribes from the female students, the guard always turned a blind eye. He slept early and was disinclined to get up to lock the door. So usually the door isn’t locked overnight. The door was made of glass, but no one took notice of my knocking.

Then, I said to Li Chuan, “Help me keep my bag, ok? You can bring it to me whenever you go to the café.”

He took my backpack, “What are you thinking of doing?”

“Climbing in from the outside.”

“What?”

I returned the jacket to him. “This building is easy to climb. For there to be a lot of light, the window sills are long and hang down. There are even balconies.” After saying this, I stepped up onto the window sill of the first floor and grabbed a hold of the railing of the second floor balcony.

“Which floor are you on?”

“Not too high.”

“Which floor?” He stuck out his hand and held my leg.

“Forth floor. Look, the dorm room window is still open.”

“Xie Xiao Qiu, get down.”

So he knew I was called Xie Xiao Qiu. All employees at the café had name tags. Everyone wrote their English name, I was the only one who used Chinese.

I ignored him, but he gripped my leg tightly. And then, he pulled with force. I couldn’t keep steady, so had to jump down. He held onto me and then quickly let go of his hand.

“You aren’t afraid of climbing so many floors? What if something happens?” He raged.

I was only in his arms for a second, but I had already lost my wits and started fantasizing.

“Then what should I do? Sleep on the street?”

“You can stay in a hotel. Hotels are open twenty-four hours.”

“Good point.” My eyes brightened, “I know another place that’s also open twenty-four hours and there’s no need to pay. The train station. Can I bother you to drop me off at the train station?”

“The train station is so noisy, don’t you have an exam tomorrow?”

“The train station isn’t that noisy. I’m not worried about the noise.”

He looked at me astounded by my audacity.

I thought about it again and said, “Speaking of quiet, there is a park near the school that is pretty quite. There are plenty of benches to sleep on.”

“Do you think these are the fields in the countryside where you can sleep anywhere you want? Don’t you know how unsafe Beijing is?”

“I just have to put up with it for a night, there’s no need to make a fuss, alright?”

I started heading towards the school gates.

After walking halfway, he said, “If you don’t mind, you can stay at my flat. I have many extra rooms.”

“That…we don’t actually know each other that well.” I was a little embarrassed. Even though he seemed like a virtuous person and was kind to me, I still had to be vigilant.

“Do you have a cellphone?”

“No.”

“This is my phone. Give the police a call. Tell them my license place number. Tell them that if you go missing, they can find me with that plate number.”

I laughed, “Classmate Li Chuan, I’ll go with you. You have money, a car, and a house. In a place like Beijing, I think it’s more likely that you would go missing instead of me.”

“Good point. There’s a time to endure hardships and a time to just be obedient. That’s what makes a clever child.”

He opened the car door and stuck out his hand in invitation. I jumped into the car and he helped me fasten my seat belt.

I liked to have him fasten my seat belt. I liked that his body stooped down so that I could see the back of his head at such a close distance.

It was already three in the morning. The car traveled at great speed and, after twenty minutes, it entered the underground garage of a high rise. The night air was freezing and I was still wearing his jacket. He parked the car, carrying his bag and cane, got out of the car and opened the door for me.

I said, “I can open the door myself. Let me open the door for myself in the future, ok?”

He said, “No.”

“You don’t have to be that much of a gentleman to me, right?”

“If you get used to a man treating you like this, in the future, you will marry a better man.”

I got out of the car and followed him to the first floor lobby. There were two rows of elevators. I counted a total of ten of them. We walked to the elevator closest to the garage. He took out an electronic key and the elevator dinged open automatically.

There was an antique looking wooden sign next to the elevator: “Private elevator, please do not use.”

I walked in with him. There were fifty-nine floors shown on the elevator. Above them, a red “PH” suddenly lite up. The elevator started going up without making a sound.

“What is PH?” I asked.

“The highest floor, penthouse.”

“Do you like living that high?”

“The higher it is, the quieter.”

“Will I disturb your family?”

“I live alone.”

The door also had an electronic lock. His flat was speechlessly luxurious. It had light green curtains and white walls. There was a pure white couch in the living room. Every piece of furniture was cleaned as it they were on display at a museum.

“Do I need to take off my shoes?” It was a clean and spotless hardwood floor.

“There’s no need.”

There were a pair of elbow canes hanging on the left side of the entrance way. I entered the living room and stood next to the couch, finding that there was another pair of the same crutches next to the armrest of the couch.

And then I asked a stupid question, “Do you need to use two crutches at home?”

He didn’t answer. His face flashed with something I couldn’t quite grasp.

After awhile, he said, “Do you want to sleep right now, or do you want to drink something first? There is juice, beer, bottled water, milk, soy milk, and ice cream in the fridge.”

When saying all this, his expression remained cold, as if he was offended.

“No, thank you. I will go to sleep now.”

“There are four guest rooms, which one would you like?”

“Don’t provide guests with so many choices.”

“Follow me.”

He led me to one of the rooms.

I asked, “Is there a place to wash up?”

“There is a restroom inside.”

He pointed towards the direction of my bathroom and prepared to leave the room. I turned around and lightly called out, “Li Chuan.”

He looked at me.

“Thank you for taking me in.”

Good night.

Good night.

I quickly took a bath. The bathroom had everything, and it was all brand new. I put on a nightgown and got under the covers. I tried as hard as I could to go to sleep, yet could not fall asleep. Thus, I opened my backpack, took out a textbook and reviewed my vocabulary one last time.

I was really tired, but also really restless. Especially in such a unfamiliar surroundings. After looking over the vocabulary once, I went over the textbook and grammar. Another hour passed like this before I was finally somewhat tired. Then I suddenly felt thirsty, so I stealthily slipped into the kitchen to get a drink of water.

The night was dark and the lights in the living room were off. He was probably asleep?

I walked softly, barefooted, to the kitchen. I turned the corner and abruptly found the refrigerator door open. He was standing in front of the refrigerator, stooped over, getting something.

I was startled, practically shocked.

He had a t-shirt on, and, below, he had on a pair of gym shorts. He had a long and slender left leg like those of Greek sculptures, slender and sturdy. He didn’t have a right leg. The right leg disappeared from the top.

“Hi.” I greeted him softly.

He stopped up, turned around and looked at me without expression.

“I want…a drink of water.” My voice trembled a little, “Bottle…bottle…” (Technically, she said mineral since mineral spring water is the term for bottled water in China.)

“Bottled water?”

I nodded. His hand was holding milk. He placed the milk on the counter and then bent down to get me bottled water.

With just one leg, he could still stand so steadily. There was not a trace of a sway, as if he practiced martial arts before.

“Still haven’t slept?” He handed the bottled water to me.

“Couldn’t sleep.”

“I have really good sleeping pills. Do you want to try some?”

“Oh…no need. I’m afraid of oversleeping.”

He started drinking the milk.

“Do you like to drink milk?”

“Mmm. I need to get up to drink milk in the middle of the night. It’s a childhood habit, can’t get rid of it.”

“If you travel, what do you do if there is no milk where you are staying?”

“I will go buy it no matter how far I have to go.”

“Insane.” I said with a light laugh, covering up the amazement I was feeling.

“Can I bother you to go to my bedroom and bring my crutches over here?” He said.

It was only then that I saw that he didn’t have crutches next to him. The kitchen was far from his bedroom.

“How did you walk over here without crutched?” I couldn’t help but ask out of curiosity.

“I hopped over, ” he said. “But I’m embarrassed to hop in front of you.”

I brought the crutches over to him and then crossing my arms, complimented him, “Your balancing ability is quite good. Really.”

“I do yoga everyday.”

Seeing the empty trouser leg, for no reason, my heart quietly tightened in heartache for him.

“Was it an car accident?” I suddenly asked.

“It happened a long time ago.” His expression clearly meant he didn’t want to say anymore about it.

“Good night.” I said.

“What time is your exam tomorrow?”

“Nine o’clock.”

“If I’m not awake, please wake me up. I’ll drop you off.”

“Ok.”

“Good night,” he said.

I laid in bed staring blankly and left my imagination run wild. I didn’t fall asleep at all. At six-thirty, I got up, finished washing up and put on my backpack. I didn’t want to wake him him up, so quietly left alone.

I left a note for him.

“Li Chuan, I went back to school. There’s no need to drop me off. I already inconvenienced you too much last night. You should get more sleep. If I am still able to see you after my exam, I will treat you to a meal. For sure. Xiao Qiu.”

The morning air was as cold as it was at night. I took the elevator down. The guard in the lobby looked oddly at me.

“Morning!” I said.

“Morning!”

“Miss, do you need me to drive your car over here?” He asked.

“Ah…I didn’t drive.”

“Oh.”

“That’s right, what’s this building called?” I suddenly asked.

“Miss, you don’t know? This is Long Ze Garden. (Dragon Pool Garden)” He laughed strangely.

“If I want to get to S University, what bus do I take?”

“That’s a bit far. But there is a subway if you head towards the right when you go out.”

“Thank you, with a subway, I’ll know how to get there.”

He continued to look at me with skepticism. I suddenly realized what the “Miss” he was saying meant.

I didn’t know that there were such cold and quiet streets in Beijing. I shivered in the wind. I was just about to turn right when someone called out from behind, “Miss, where are you going?”

Besides Li Chuan, co-workers at the café, and my classmates, I didn’t know anyone else in Beijing. When I turned around, I couldn’t help but admit that Li Chuan was not the only beautiful male in Beijing.

It was a fashionable young man with gelled up hair and the corner of both his eyes smiled. He had a huge jade ring on his finger and a gold necklace around his neck.

“You are–” I didn’t recognize him.

He clearly had also come out of this building.

“I saw that you came out from Li Chuan’s elevator. You must be Li Chuan’s friend, right?”

Why should I answer him.

He stuck out his hand, “I am also Li Chuan’s friend. Ji Huan. ‘Huan’ of the Duke Huan of Qi.”

Li Chuan’s friend. Then that was different.

I shook hands with him. He handed me a business card. It said, “Shen Lu Designs.” Below it was his name, phone number, fax number, and office address.

I said, “What does Mr. Ji design?”

“Li Chuan is in architectural design, I am in fashion design.

“Nice to meet you. But I can’t chat, I have to sit for an exam and need to catch the subway.” I waved goodbye.

Someone had already driven his car over and given him his keys.

“Where is your exam? I’ll drop you off.”

“No, thank you. I’ll go myself.”

“Have you eaten breakfast?” Why was he so inquisitive.

“I’ve eaten.”

“The subway station is over there, past the red light.”

“I saw it already, thank you.”

“Do you like this building?” He pointed to the building. From the outside, its form seemed monstrous, layers upon layers, like a peacock with its tail spread open.

“It’s ok…I don’t really understand architecture.”

“Li Chuan designed this.”

“Oh!”

“Good luck!”

“Have a good day.” I said.


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