Chapter 44: Our Past
I went upstairs to check on Chu Yuan Jiang, who was already asleep.
I sighed, as I quietly watched his sleeping face. Only when he’s asleep is he less aggressive.
It suddenly reminded me of the first time we meet. We were on opposite sides of the street. When our eyes met, fireworks went off. In a split second, the flame from the spark cut me like a knife, my blood began to boil.
That was a scene of complete chaos. Seeing that his men took down several of ours and had the upper hand, I fled without hesitation. He was so fierce, arrogant, and proud at that time.
I was fleeing for my life, a mad dash while being chased by their whole group. In the end, I managed to loose them in the maze of the alleyways.
After a month, things quieted down a bit. One day, when I was helping someone take care of their fruit stand, a boy strolled over, and picked up an apple while staring at me gloomily.
I hesitated, before putting away my paring knife back into my bag behind the table.
I turned around and asked calmly, “How can I help you?”
He pointed his chin at me. “You are the one that ran away that day, right?”
I noticed he didn’t come bearing ill-will so I opened up to him, “I was alone, you had a crowd.”
“You think it was unfair?”
I nodded, “Yes.”
He asked calmly, “Duel?”
“Sure,” I answered as calmly.
Once we arrived at the prearranged location, we immediately got ready and started to grapple. It turned out I was indeed not his match. Soon blood stained my lips, and my stomach was bruised from his blows. Seeing that I was losing, I ran away again.
He pursued doggedly me and wouldn’t let me escape.
I led him into a previously built shed, and when he entered chasing after me, I rammed the back wall, making the entire shed collapse with a loud boom and bury him beneath.
The falling debris opened a big wound on his forehead, which immediately started to bleed.
He didn’t even realize what had happened.
I ran over hurriedly with my mangled, swollen face. “I didn’t do it on purpose. I didn’t know the shed was going to collapse.” All the while rolling up my sleeve. “I will help get you out right away.”
When I dug him out from the rubble, he was covered in dust and wounds. He could barely walk, so I carried him on my back to a clinic despite his grimaces of pain. He was so ashamed that his entire face turned red.
Once his wounds had been tended to, I settled the bill. “You’re a nice guy,” he said, his head all covered in bandage.
Much later, Chu Yuan Jiang questioned me whether I had rigged the shed beforehand, and I said, “The honest truth is that I wasn’t thinking of anything other than becoming your friend.”
I didn’t know why, but I really was interested in him at that time. I had heard that he was a good fighter a long time ago and everyone else was scared of him. But I wasn’t. I only felt the excitement at meeting my match.
After we became familiar with each other, and I found out what a loyal friend he was, there was no way I could let go of him.
I visited him everyday in the hospital bringing him fruit. With each one he ate, our bond deepened.
Once, I asked him why he wanted to be my friend. After all, from an outsider’s point of view, I was not in his league at that time. He thought about it for a while and told me, “At first, it was because you knew a lot of complex things. Things we didn’t understand. I thought you were quite intelligent. After a while, though, I found that we had a lot in common, and we really were on the same wavelength.”
I gently brushed my hand against his sleeping face. Then, I sighed deeply again with my eyes closed.
So many years had passed without us realizing.
He woke up later in the evening and looked much better, so I made him a feast.
At the dinner table he asked, “By the way, what did Master He visit us for?”
“To confirm our relationship.” I answered with a mouth full of rice.
Chu Yuan Jiang blanked out. “What?”
I served him some side dishes. “I told him that we were in ‘that’ kind of relationship.”
Chu’s eyes grew wide, before finally doubtfully asking, “He asked you in person?”
I nodded. “Yup, I figured he disdains cheaters, so I told him that we were together.”
Chu Yuan Jiang frown, “What’s going on?”
I didn’t answer him directly, instead saying, “There might be a grain of truth behind that rumor about him and Peter.”
Chu Yuan Jiang hummed in contemplation, his chopsticks poised midair. He looked up at me, “Does this have anything to do with that Lin guy?”
I found it too hard to lie to him. “It’s possible,” I said.
Chu Yuan Jiang fell silent for some time before speaking again gloomily, “Can’t you explain everything succinctly? You are just confusing me.”
I sighed, “If Lin Ye and I were a couple, then my actions would make me a cheater, so He Ling won’t step in regardless of how Lin Ye deals with me; but if the two of us are a couple, he would willingly become our shield.”
Chu Yuan Jiang was speechless. Then he asked, “What does He Ling gain for being your ‘justice’?”
“Nothing I can think of. But then, he’s the one that made the offer, I didn’t beg him.” I pointed at my head and asked Chu, “Do you think he is…”
Chu Yuan Jiang smiled. “Dumb? If he’s really dumb, how would his business be so successful? How can you be so sure that he cares about your ‘loyalty and fidelity’?”
“It’s just a feeling,” I said as I poured him another bowl of soup. “Some people can’t get over a past grievance, and they sort of develop a mania about it. Besides, he’s not doing anything particularly crazy, this is just a piece of cake for him. Didn’t you say he envied us before?”
“Being envious is one thing, doing something about it is another.”
“Well, it happened. There’s no use making wild assumptions. By the way, be careful not to bust the lie when you talk to others.”
Chu Yuan Jiang took the bowl. “Like that can happen. Based on how we act around each other, nobody would believe us even if we said we’re not a couple.”