It is a pleasant autumn night. The evening is cool, but comfortable. Beneath the stars and moon, the three of them walks toward a bar situated next to the lake in the city.
Jian Yao is standing in front of the white railings by the lake. On her left is Li Xunran, on her right, Bo Jinyan. Both of them are tall and handsome. And both of them seem to want to walk beside her all the time so she is ‘clipped’ in the middle between the two of them.
Actually, it is not a bad thing - her best friend, and the man she adores, both by her side on a beautiful night.
Of course, if Li Xunran would drop that cunning smile of his, and Bo Jinyan does not have that solemn look on his face, that would have been perfect.
A few people are holding water lanterns and walking towards the water edge. Bo Jinyan seems to be interested in what they are doing. He follows them for a closer look.
As Bo Jinyan walks away, Jian Yao uses this opportunity to talk to Li Xunran: “I told you I don’t need your help.”
Li Xunran playfully hits her head and says: “Don’t be afraid. I know what I am doing. Your happiness is of utmost importance to me.”
Bo Jinyan walks back. He asks them: ”What are you chatting about?’
Jian Yao is about to speak, but Li Xunran starts before her: “We are chatting about Yao Yao’s love life.”
“Oh… love life?” Bo Jinyan looks at her, with an unusual smile on his face.
Li Xunran answers: “A few of my colleagues are interested in her after working together on the ‘killer machine’ case. They have asked me to find out if they have a chance.” He turns to Jian Yao: “So, what do you think?”
Jian Yao don’t know what to say. She doesn’t want to make Li Xunran to look bad in front of Bo Jinyan, so she just replies: “Let’s talk about this later.”
Bo Jinyan raises his brows and looks sharply at her.
“For a good lady, it’s the quality of the suitors that is important, not quantity.”
- Oh… another opinion on love from him.
Li Xunran is not letting go of this great opportunity: “Professor Bo, you are her senior. If you know of any fine young man, you should introduce them to Jian Yao. Her mom is quite concerned as well. She is always talking to me about it.”
Jian Yao is getting more and more embarrassed. What if he says - I don't care about pathetic matters like these?”
But his response is different from what Jian Yao has expected. He smiles and says: “Fine young man? Of course I can introduce someone. He is outstanding. As long as she wants a boyfriend.” He looks at her warmly as he ‘hints’ to Jian Yao.
But of course, Jian Yao misunderstands him again. She heart sinks when she heard this.
He wants to introduce someone else to her…
She gives a faint smile: “Let not talk about this anymore. I am not looking for a boyfriend at the moment.”
This statement caused Bo Jinyan’s smile to freeze. But again, Jian Yao is too heavy hearted to notice.
Li Xunran looks at the both of them. The smile on his face has never left him.
They walk for a little longer and come to the entrance of a bar. The bar is situated in the middle of an island in the lake. The setting looks very nice. Jian Yao asks: “Should we go inside?”
“Ok.” replies Li Xunran.
Jian Yao takes a look at Bo Jinyan. She doesn’t even want to smile to him.
Bo Jinyan looks like he has something on his mind too. He simply answers: “If Yao Yao wants to go, let’s go there.”
Jian Yao: “….ok.” Bo Jinyan quickly walks ahead of them. She can’t help but smile.
- What is the matter with him today? Yao Yao? He doesn’t want to miss out because he hears Li Xunran call her that? He is such a big kid! But he is so cute that you can’t stay mad at him for long.
The three of them take a seat.
It is an open air bar and is built on the flatten ground of the small island. The sofas lounge area is right by the waterside. Quiet and nice. They find a nice spot that can look out the lotus leaves clustering on the surface of the water. A relaxing atmosphere.
Jian Yao and Bo Jinyan are sitting side by side. Li Xunran takes a seat that faces them. A waiter comes and takes their order: “What would you like to drink today?”
Bo Jinyan: “A Margarita for me.”
Li Xunran nods. Then tells the waiter: “Give me a dozen beers.”
The waiter asks the lady: “What about you, miss?” He hands over the drinks menu to her.
As she is about to take it….
Bo Jinyan: “She will have the same as me.”
Li Xunran: “She will have the same as me.”
Both of them speak out together.
Both of them speak out together.
All four of them are stunned.
Li Xunran laughs and tells Bo Jinyan: “Here’s something you might not be aware of. Jian Yao can drink like a fish. A tiny glass of cocktail is nothing to her.”
Jian Yao: “Hey…!”
It’s true that she has a high tolerance for alcohol. She inherited it from her father. She hardly drinks, but it’s a special day today. It’s not often she sees Li Xunran. So she feels she should keep him company. So she says to the waiter: “I’ll have beer too.”
Bo Jinyan looks at her, but he doesn’t say anything.
Five minutes later.
The night is beautiful. There’s soft mellow music in the background. The breeze is softly blowing to their faces the faint refreshing-smell from the lotus plants.
Bo Jinyan is wearing his suit, looking tall and smart in the red velvet sofas. He is holding a glass of blue Margarita in his hand.
This is not what Bo Jinyan has in his mind. He thought the two of them (Jian Yao and him, of course) will be sitting quietly, side by side, clinking their tall glasses together. She will lean on him and whisper softly into his ears, while he savours her floral feminine scent… And of course, when he was designing this scene in his mind, he had forgotten that Li Xunran is with them.
But it seems he is the one that is sitting by himself, while Jian Yao and Xunran are chatting and drinking beer together.
Though he is not too happy, he quietly observes them. Jian Yao looks and behaves differently today.
In the soft lighting, Jian Yao lifts her hand to tuck her hair behind her ears. He watches her… the lovely fingers holding the beer bottle, the mouth that slowly drinks the beer. There is this tough side about her when she tries to act like one of the boys.
Bo Jinyan smiles.
There are many sides to a person. The Jian Yao beside him reminds him of the Jian Yao who bravely hit the glass of the fish tank with a stick to stop the murderer; and the Jian Yao that doesn’t hesitate to risk her life to help the mom who almost fell down the stairs.
She is not just a little sheep, but within her, she possesses the strength of a small cow.
She is so cute.
While Bo Jinyan is ‘entertaining’ himself with thoughts, Jian Yao and Li Xunran is talking about their childhood stories.
One of the patrons walks up to the little stage in the front. They hear him say: “This song is for my girlfriend…’
Everyone claps. Jian Yao puts down her bottle of beer. She looks at Li Xunran. “Are you going to go up to the stage?”
Li Xunran says: “If you ask nicely, I’ll sing for you.”
Jian Yao: “It’s a sincere request.”
Li Xunran stands, takes a bow at her: “Yes Madam!” and walks up to the stage after the song is finished.
Jian Yao leans back on the sofa. She seems to hear Bo Jinyan muffles a snort of dissent.
“Is he a good singer?” He asks.
Jian Yao answers: “Yes, he is.”
The lights dim on stage. Li Xunran is sitting on a bar stool, and tell the DJ what song he wants to sing.
Jian Yao asks Bo Jinyan: “Do you….sing?”
She has never heard him sing a whole song. He whistles sometimes when he is in a good mood.
Bo Jinyan says slowly: “Why do I have to sing?”
Jian Yao laughs. Perhaps…. he is tone deaf.
She takes out her mobile and sends Fu Zuyi a text message: “What’s Bo Jinyan’s singing like?”
The reply is quick: “I have never heard anyone that sings more horribly than him. Believe me. Do not try. It will be a disaster.”
Jian Yao laughs out aloud.
Bo Jinyan leans over to her: “What are you laughing about?”
“Oh, nothing.” She says. Then she feels his hand over her shoulders. She can hear his breathing in her ears. Then she hears him say: “Let me see.”
Jian Yao quickly puts her phone in her bag.
Music starts. Both of them look up. The handsome Li Xunran has a smile on his face. He picks up the microphone from the stand and speaks into it: “This song is dedicated to my best friend, and her good friend.” He continues “To their happiness, and I hope everyone here enjoys this song.”
A handsome man always attracts attention. The whole bar cheers and claps.
Jian Yao feels very touched. He is like a big brother to her.
“Another spring since we said goodbye, my memory melts like snow…” LI Xunran starts singing. He does have a great voice. Everyone is impressed.
There seems to be hints of sadness in his voice. But it suits the mood of the song.
She turns around to look at Bo Jinyan. He is also listening intently. And his arm is still around her.
Jian Yao blushes.
- Perhaps it’s comfortable to rest his arms there. Perhaps he is just resting his arm there like she is a piece of furniture?
Bo Jinyan picks up his glass of cocktail, and sips a mouthful.
Jian Yao has never tried a Margarita before. She asks him: “Is it nice?”
“Why don’t you try?” He holds the glass to her lips.
“…Ok.” She takes a sip.
Bo Jinyan looks at her. He smiles.
“How is it?” He asks slowly.
Jian Yao answers: “It’s quite nice.” Then she sees him taking a sip too. From her angle, his lips are touching the spot where she drank from.
“Yes… it’s nice.” He says faintly.
Her heart beats faster.
Does he realises….
- Surely he didn’t know that would qualify as an ‘indirect kiss’. He is used to eating food from her plate. It’s already a habit of his.
She tries not to overthink the issue and concentrates on enjoying Li Xunran’s song.
Bo Jinyan puts down the glass and his lips curls into a smile.
As Jian Yao correctly thought, he has no idea what an ‘indirect kiss’ is. What he just did was purely out of instinct. She drank from his cup. It seems her fragrance is left on the part of the glass her lips touched, which matched the smell he remembered from his dream where he was kissing her.
I am warming up…. Jian Yao.
Li Xunran has finished singing. There are sounds of encore all over the bar. Li Xunran puts down the microphone and walks back to the seat.
As he approaches, he sees the two of them leaning together. His arm causally drapes over her shoulders. Jian Yao’s cheeks are blushing and Bo Jinyan is looking at her, with a gentle smile on his face.
It seems ….
He has been ‘made redundant’.
He takes a seat. The three of them are quietly listening to patrons singing.
Bo Jinyan notices a sightseeing boat in the lake. He asks the others: “Would you like a boat ride?”
The others didn’t object, so Bo Jinyan stands up and tells them: “I’ll organise. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.” He doesn’t wait for their reply and walks off quickly.
Jian Yao looks at him disappearing around the corner. She is a little surprise.
- Why is he so keen?
Perhaps he loves boats. There can’t be any other explanation.
Li Xunran also stands up and tell Jian Yao: “It’s time for me to go.”
Jian Yao is surprised again: “Now?”
Li Xunran says: “Well, in a beautiful and romantic night like this, three is a crowd. Bye, Jian Yao. I’ll bet anything… he is definitely interested in you. I can guarantee that.”
“What are you talking about…? I wanted to spend some time with you today. Don’t go.” She stands up too.
“Don’t follow me.” says Li Xunran. “Or else he won’t be able to find you. I have a whole day of seminars ahead of me tomorrow. I’ll be in touch.” He waves his hand and leaves.
There are lots of boats by the shore. Bo Jinyan stands at the pier and chooses the one he likes. He walks toward the boat.
The owner of the boat is happy to see some business coming to him. He walks up to Bo Jinyan and says: ‘Sir, would you like to take a cruise? I’ll start when we have six passengers. Fifty dollars per person.”
Bo Jinyan curls his lips: “I want the boat all to myself. But….”
The owner is very happy: “Yes…”
“I need to make some adjustments.”
“Oh…” says the owner.
Five minutes later.
Bo Jinyan and the owner stand in an almost empty cabin. The owner says to him: “Is this ok?” There are only three chairs left in the cabin.
Bo Jinyan takes a look. He asks the owner to put two chairs side by the side and moves the third chair to a corner far away.
“How about this?” asks the owner.
Bo Jinyan smiles and gives him a nod.
He then calls Jian Yao.
“You can come to the pier now.” He says.
Jian Yao answers: “I am at the pier. Li Xunran just left…. Do we still want to go ahead with the cruise? Or should we go home?”
Bo Jinyan is quiet for a moment, then he says: “That’s perfect.”
Jian Yao: “Huh…?”
“Just stay where you are. I’ll come and get you.” He turns to the owner of the boat and tells him:”You can remove that chair by the corner too. It’s not necessary anymore.”
Jian Yao senses that Bo Jinyan is acting very strangely today. She can’t put her finger on it, but it’s seems there’s a purpose for following them all night. What is it? Is he observing her and Li Xunran for some sort of behavioural research?
She continues to walk on the wooden decks of the pier. There’s a few tourists around. She sees a few boats moored nearby. A few of the boat men are resting, some of them shouting out to her to see if she wants to go on a cruise.
She smiles and politely declines. She keeps walking forward and looks out for Bo Jinyan.
Then she sees a wooden lacquered boat quietly parked by the dock.
The moon reflects on the water. Bo Jinyan is standing on the front deck of the boat.
It’s like a courtship scene from a romance novel.
Bo Jinyan stands with his hands in the pockets of his trousers.
Tall, and handsome, starring at her with eyes that are gleaming.
This is like a dream.
Suddenly, Jian Yao has this feeling. He is waiting for her. He is standing there for her. Perhaps he has feeling for her too.
But this is too good to be true. Can this be possible?
Then Bo Jinyan reaches out his hand to her. He looks into her eyes and says with his low and magnetic voice:
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.’
(Side Story - The master of love)
One day, Fu Ziyu had a fight with his girlfriend. She refuses to talk to him. Then he has an idea. He went into the kitchen and steamed a fish. Then he carefully deboned it for her.
He was not as skilful as BJY. It took him a long time just to get a small bowl of fish. He looked at it. That should be enough.
He took the precious little bowl and put it before his girlfriend: “Have some. You didn’t eat much for lunch today. I especially prepared it for you.”
His girlfriend was still mad at him, but she was also quite touched: “What are you doing?”
Fu Ziyu followed BJY’s example and said: “Can’t you tell? I am coaxing/pampering you.”
Her girlfriend laughs. She takes the bowl and says impressively: “That’s so sweet. You know how to pamper a girl. What a master!”
Fu Ziyu answers modestly: “Oh, I just learnt the trick from my friend.”
His girlfriend is surprised: “Who is this friend of yours? He is a genius.”
Fu Ziyu thinks of his good friend, who is recently attached, and he answers: “ He is a strange man. His love EQ is zero. He never gets the hints the girls are trying to give him. But I reckon he is a natural lover. Even before they started dating, his girlfriend will start blushing at his unintentional comments or actions…. ha ha…” He starts laughing.
“What’s so funny?” asks his girlfriend.
“Oh, I’m just ‘happy’ for Jian Yao.”
At the same time, BJY and Jyao are huddling together as they walking down a tree lined path together. Suddenly, he sneezes.
Jyao looks at him: “Are you cold?
It’s a cool autumn day. She is wearing his jacket. He only has a shirt on. He must be cold!
BJY sweeps her a look: “It’s more important that you are not feeling cold.”
- Oh… so sweet…. so sweet.
But she needs to point out an important fact: “But… I have my own jacket in the bag. I can take it out. Then you won’t be cold either.”
“No!” Insists BJY.
“I like to see you wrapped in my jacket.”
When they get inside the apartment, BJY sits on the sofa. Jyao goes to the bathroom to wash her hands. When she returns, she sees him looking thoughtfully at her.
“What is it?”
“I want my jacket back.”
“Ok.” She takes off his jacket and passes it to him.
BJY smiles “Well, you must be cold now that you don’t have a jacket anymore. I have a great idea to keep you warm…”
He changes to a lower, deeper and inviting tone: “Come, sit on my lap.”
She is still blushing.