Chapter 38: My Gentleness (1 of 2)
The old man asks in surprise, “How did you guys end up here?”
Ke Fan answers with a smile, “Uncle (a polite way to address an older man), we got lost. Can we stay here for one night? And is there a telephone here? We want to contact someone from the outside.”
The old man shakes his head, “Where would we have a telephone on a mountain like this? There are so many of you. I can’t fit you all in here.”
Ke Fan puts his hands together, “Uncle, please, we are tired and thirsty, and it’s cold outside. We can sleep on the floor.”
The old man is still hesitating. Ke Fan gives You Chuan an eye contact, “Xiao You.”
You Chuan nods, reaches into his chest pocket and pulls out a wallet.
The three of them are standing under the light at the front door, so their every move can be seen clearly. You Chuan’s wallet is rather simple looking, but it’s stuffed full with a stack of hundred dollar bills as well as many bank cards.
The old man also has his eyes fixed on the wallet. Ke Fan fetches five bills and hands them to the old man, “$50 RMB per person. There are 9 of us. Here’s $500 RMB. Can you also get us some food?”
The old man finally agrees. He takes the money, stuffs it into his pocket, and stands sideways to let them in, “Our farmhouses aren’t very well equipped.”
Ke Fan says smiling, “Not at all. It’s already good that we have a place to stay.” He doesn’t forget to be friendly towards the old man, “Uncle, you look quite familiar. Have we met before? You seem like someone who’s always willing to help others out……”
The group enters the house one after the other.
Jin Xi is helping Han Chen, so they’re walking at the end of the pack. Even though they’re wet and leaning against each other, she can still feel a sense of warmth. They’ve walked this far already, and Jin Xi has never let go. He has also never let go and continues to wrap his arm around her shoulders.
It is indeed a very simple farmhouse. There is no ceiling. Just a few wooden beams can be seen running across and the roof made of tiles, filling the air with the smell of old lumber. The walls are bare and not painted. There are only one table and a few chairs at the center of the room. A few corn cobs are hanging on the wall. There’s one bedroom that also has very simple decorations. There is also a backyard which has a small house, a washroom, and a kitchen.
It’s already past midnight. Ke Fan, You Chuan, and Zhang Mu Han put down their things and have gone to find some food from the old man. The rest of them search for a spot to sit and rest.
Jin Xi helps Han Chen sit down on a chair. She can finally make out his face clearly under the light.
She notices right away that his lips are pale. It must be because the wound on his leg is still bleeding. Jin Xi feels her heart sting. She squats in front of him and says in a not so friendly tone, “You sure can endure pain.”
Han Chen rests his arms on the armrests and looks down at her. After a while, he smiles suddenly, and then lifts his head back up and looks elsewhere.
“I’ve always been able to endure pain.”
Jin Xi’s mouth twitches, yet his words sound as if he’s making fun of himself. She doesn’t think deeper into it. She pats his shoulder, “Sit here and don’t move. Wait for me to come back.”
A few minutes later, she carries a bunch of stuff back: she has asked the old man for a shirt, a pair of pants, a bucket of hot water, and some clean cloths.
“Change out of your wet clothes,” she says simply.
Han Chen doesn’t move. He glances at the things in her hands, “What about you?”
Jin Xi obviously can’t tell him that the old man had only a few sets of clothes which have already been given to the others. She takes a look at him, “I’m trying to help the injured first. Xia Zi and Zhang Mu Han are currently changing in the room, so I can’t change yet.”
Han Chen raises his head to look. As expected, the door to the only bedroom is closed, so he doesn’t insist further.
He takes off his camouflage clothes and throws them to the floor. He’s only wearing a black long sleeve shirt inside. He lifts his head and looks at Jin Xi. Just when she plans to look away, she feels funny about it, so she looks directly back at him pretending as if it’s nothing.
Han Chen isn’t showing any expression either. He retrieves his gaze, lifts up his arm and takes off the shirt. He throws it on top of the pile of camouflage clothes. Jin Xi hands him the clothes in her hands. She can’t help checking his body out. She feels her face getting hot, so she turns to the side. The thought appears in her mind: his body is……really gorgeous.
Han Chen soon takes off his pants. He looks up and sees Jin Xi turning to the side awkwardly staring at the wall in front of her, and her fair white face seems to be blushing.
Han Chen smiles.
He takes a sip from the glass of water that she poured for him and says calmly, “I need some help putting on the pants.” The moment he says this, he realizes that it’s a bit inappropriate, so he keeps quiet again.
Jin Xi: “Huh?”
“I was just teasing you,” Han Chen says casually, “I’m done.”
Jin Xi places her hands on her hips, “You!…..” But she suddenly bursts out laughing seeing him wearing the old man’s clothes. He’s a tall guy, so the old man’s clothes are too short for him, making him look rather funny. He also knows this, so he too lets out a laugh, not showing any embarrassment.
Jin Xi squats again sliding the bucket of warm water over and starts cleaning his wound. She says while she helps him, “Too bad we don’t have our cell phones, or else I would definitely take a picture of you.”
Han Chen’s voice says above her head, “You dare to?”
Jin Xi smiles and then looks up at him.
He’s sitting on the chair against the light, illuminating his long body and facial features. And those eyes are rich dark brown, carrying a hint of a smile.
Jin Xi smiles slightly and lowers her head.
It is indeed quite a barren area since they’re deep in the forest on the mountain. After searching around for a long while, Ke Fan and the others can only bring back a plate of cooked sweet potatoes. But it’s enough to satisfy the group; they split them among themselves in seconds.
It’s just that besides a blanket that the old man uses for himself, he has only one additional set, which has been taken by Ke Fan rightfully. He asks the old man to see if there are any other sets. The old man says he’ll go next door to ask.
It turns out that his sons and nephew live in the other houses. They’re all his family. But they’ve already gone to bed at this hour. Probably because not a lot of people come by usually so they haven’t noticed the noise.
The old man walks out of the house. They can hear him knocking next door in the house at night.
The house has suddenly become quiet.
Jin Xi sits on the floor beside Han Chen and raises her head to look over. She sees Ke Fan laying down the bedding and blanket to make his bed. Xiao You is sitting on the side with both hands on his knees. He’s still the same good looking and quiet guy as always. Noticing Jin Xi’s gaze, he looks over at her. Jin Xi smiles towards him. After a moment of silence, he shifts his eyes away.
Zhang Mu Han and Xia Zi are lovey-dovey at the corner of the wall and chatting quietly among themselves as usual. But seeing Jin Xi looking at them, they don’t smile back at her like before; they look indifferent and ignore her.
Li Ming Yue is sitting by herself against the wall, sneezing non-stop with her face red. She has clearly caught a cold; a severe one too. But there’s nothing that Jin Xi can do to help her out.
Fang Xu and Professor Sun each occupy a corner quietly.
Jin Xi takes a look around before retrieving her gaze. She turns to look at Han Chen subconsciously. But she’s stunned the moment she looks at him.
His face is also unusually red.
Jin Xi gets up immediately and grasps his hand.
Han Chen glances at her. Her hand is already on his forehead.
“You have a fever,” she says in a serious tone, “a high fever.”
Han Chen also feels his forehead with his hand and then unbuttons the first button of his shirt while saying, “I’ll be okay after a night’s sleep.”
Jin Xi understands why he feels that it’ll be okay. With his fitness, he probably usually doesn’t get a cold easily after being in the rain. However, he’s injured right now. He could easily get an inflammation on his wound, which is usually accompanied by a fever.
How will he be well after a night’s sleep? She can only hope that his fever will go down, and then they can go to the hospital tomorrow at 8am.
The old man returns with two thirty or so year old men. They’re each carrying two sets of bedding and blanket.
Jin Xi and Han Chen raise their heads and look. Different from the old man’s dullness, the two farm men are strong but are also not good looking. They have short eyebrows, chubby nose, and big lips. They look rather fierce. The older man says walking in, “$100 RMB per set.”
The others also notice their arrival after hearing them speak. They all look up at them in surprise.
Ke Fan was smiling and chatting with Xiao You before looking over to the door. His smile slowly fades away.
Zhang Mu Han speaks first, “We’ve already paid to stay, aren’t you asking for too much? Are you trying to profit from our misfortune?” Xia Zi also supports him, “Yeah, we have so many people here. You think that we’re easy to bully? Big Ke, we must not give in.”
Ke Fan stares at the two men and doesn’t say anything. Xia Zi says softly, “Big Ke is angry now……”
The old man walks into the house and isn’t planning to stop his sons’ plan to make some profit. The two farm men are losing their patience as they ask once more, “Do you want it or not? If none of you want it, we’ll carry them back.”
Xiao You reaches out to pat Ke Fan, and then he says holding his anger, “It’s okay. Let’s pay for them. We’ll pay for our own.”
Zhang Mu Han and Xia Zi still want to say something, but they refrain from doing so.
The blanket sets are distributed to the group quickly.
Jin Xi and Han Chen gets a set. Han Chen lies down first. Jin Xi spends another $20 to “borrow” a set of clothes to change into from one of the old man’s sons. When she walks out wearing them, she sees Han Chen leaning against the wall with his arms behind his head, looking at her and smiling slowly.
Jin Xi smiles without feeling bothered. She walks over to him, “You see? I don’t mind taking a photo to save as a memory.” She places a wet towel over his forehead, “Lie down.”
Han Chen knows that he can’t be overconfident of himself right now, so he glances at her and does what she says. Jin Xi dips another towel into a bucket of water and helps him wipe his hands and neck.
It’s already very late at night. Other people in the house have also started to lie down. Han Chen is lying on the floor in a rather humid area. His head feels heavy while his throat feels very dry. The wound on his left leg is also piercing him with pain. He doesn’t fight his desire to sleep. It’s because the night is long. His instinct tells him——the main event that T has organized has not yet started. Therefore, he needs to take advantage of this time to rest well and recover his energy so that Bai Jin Xi doesn’t have to bear everything on her shoulders when the unknown event comes.
“Wake me up in two hours,” he says in a low voice.
His mind gradually becomes a blur. In the blurriness, he can only see the outline of her sitting beside him quietly. His palms, neck, and the bottom of his feet feel a refreshing sense of dampness and softness. Her outline slowly matches up with the other blurry shadow in his head, making him feel gentleness and at ease.
In the past four years, he has never felt this relieved before sleeping beside a woman.
Her every frown and smile, and her silliness and cuteness have been imprinted in his head ever since the first time they met.
As well as the hesitation in her eyes.
She wants to come closer, but she doesn’t dare to be too close. But he has now gradually gotten used to her interwinding and lively aura.
But at this same time, his fiancee, who he dreams about and has been searching for many years, where is she? Why hasn’t she come back? Why did she leave him and vanish completely?
Has she been just like him, running in circles and traversing everywhere in his dreams just to catch a glimpse of her news?
Is she also searching for him? Is it because she is in some difficulty right now, so that she is unable to come back?
Is she……still in love with him? Or has she forgotten about him beyond imagination and has already started a new life? Has she forgotten about this man who has once sacrificed his life for her?
And this man has finally fallen for another woman.
Bai Jin Xi.
Bai Jin Xi.
Bai Jin Xi……