Chapter 62: Idol Or Pride?
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Xiang Wan: “…”
If he wants to leave, leave. Why did the topic become that she minds the fact that he’s leaving?
Well, the ambiguous feelings she had toward Bai Muchuan might actually only belong to her alone or did he feel the same as well? Xiang Wan was not sure of it.
Bai Muchuan mentioned before that female authors had a problem of being emotionally sensitive. Moreover, he had never talked about taking their relationship further, so what else could she say?
Xiang Wan took a gasp gently and smiled.
“What’s important are your own thoughts about it.”
She had suffered the consequences previously and remembered the pain. She did not say anything rashly, lest history repeats itself.
Therefore, she gave an equivocal answer.
Bai Muchuan narrowed his eyes to a squint. “I want to hear your views.”
So he’s a master of Taichi? Xiang Wan was befuddled with his attitude.
“What right do I have to say about this? Detective Bai, don’t joke with me, I’m emotionally sensitive!”
Her rebuttal was fast, but Bai Muchuan was even faster.
“You!” He sounded a little angry all of a sudden and gnashed his teeth. “Must you force me to say something?”
His dispirited face had a tinge of helplessness.
Xiang Wan replied with a calm composure, “If you don’t tell me anything, how will I know what you’re thinking and make appropriate suggestions?”
Bai Muchuan’s eyes were on her face as she said that.
As the two of them looked at each other, the atmosphere was locked in a certain strange standoff.
A couple together with their young child sitting on a trolley had been standing aside for a while.
“Excuse me, do hurry up and say what you wanted to say,” they could not stand watching them anymore. “If you don’t want to say anything, could you please let us through the lane and not block the way?”
Uh , Xiang Wan hurriedly stepped aside and smiled apologetically to the couple before giving Bai Muchuan a glare.
“Hmph!” The couple pushed their trolley to go past them.
With that, Bai Muchuan and Xiang Wan looked at each other, with the couple and child in between them.
The young child peered curiously at the big brother on his left as well as the big sister on his right.
“Papa, are big brother and big sister going to fight?”
“… Don’t sprout nonsense.”
“Just like what you and mom always do, right?”
The couple immediately sped up in pushing the child away.
The back view of the family of three had an inexplicable sense of harmony.
That sense of harmony belonged to a family, full of love—it was something that could enable one to have peace of mind and stability.
Bai Muchuan’s eyes seemed to get colder. He suddenly propped his forehead and quickly regained his usual composure. His expression and tone was no longer as ambiguous as earlier.
“Alright, as you say so. Just getting these will do. The supermarket’s very nearby anyway.”
Xiang Wan’s heart sank.
Her heart seemed to be twitching, and she felt sad.
She thought, Is this the feeling of being heartbroken?
She responded with a “hm” and pursed her lips. She felt somewhat relieved that she was not impetuous this time, and did not confess to him. Otherwise, she would be in for a greater embarrassment than the last.
The hazy sky cleared up, and the sun rays broke through the clouds.
The dew on the leaves had evaporated—it was a clear, sunny day.
On the way back, the two of them did not speak to each other. They walked into the house without a word. Xiang Wan washed her hands and prepared to cook. Her movements were deft and quick. Bai Muchuan watched for a while and wanted to help out but gave up after Xiang Wan sent a glare his way.
The corners of his mouth curved upward as he moved aside to continue watching.
“Do you make your own meals since you live by yourself?”
Bai Muchuan was obviously trying to find a topic to talk. Xiang Wan replied, “Hm, occasionally.”
“How often is occasionally?”
“About once in a week.”
“…” Bai Muchuan said sincerely, “Too much takeaway food is bad for your health. Late nights and all-nighters are common for authors. You have to take care of yourself, otherwise, you won’t know when you’ll die suddenly!”
“What’s it to you?” Xiang Wan was feeling irritable at this moment. When the water was boiling in the pot, she poured the cut tomatoes into it and said casually, “You better worry about yourself.”
“Xiang Wan, it is necessary to have effective tools to produce good work,” said Bai Muchuan suddenly. “The laptop computer is the author’s weapon… There’s no need to return it to me.”
“I didn’t do anything to deserve this,” Xiang Wan gave him a smile. “Sow nothing, reap nothing…
“Don’t tell me things like we’re friends. I can’t guarantee that I won’t flare up and hit you.” Xiang Wan retorted with a serious smile, “I think I can guess what you’re feeling. You might have a little crush on me, but the feelings ain’t that strong, and there’s a huge gap between us. Due to some practical reasons, you feel that it’s impossible to be with me, so it’s better not to even start a relationship. Yet, you’re unable to control the animal in yourself. You wanted to make full use of my remaining value to make you some food, am I right?”
What a long speech.
She didn’t even pause for a gasp and finished saying her piece in a joking tone.
Bai Muchuan listened and was a stunned for quite a long while before he let out a low chuckle.
“If you’re writing about pure romance, it’s definitely going to do better than writing a murder mystery with romance.”
Xiang Wan snorted and wore a smirky smile. “I wrote a mystery novel so that my fellow romance authors could have a chance to earn enough to get by.”
Bai Muchuan was looking at her bright and cheerful smile when he suddenly saw something.
The boiling water in the pot suddenly formed up and overflowed onto the stove, making a mess.
Xiang Wan was talking to him earlier and did not watch the cooking pot.
Ah! Xiang Wan was shocked and scrambled to remedy the situation. However, Bai Muchuan pulled her behind him, turned down the fire, stopped the dripping mess, and fished out the noodles.
His movements were fast, better than the kitchen idiot that Xiang Wan had thought he was.
“Are you scalded?” he asked.
Xiang Wan looked at him and shook her head.
Nevertheless, Bai Muchuan was still worried. After he finished cleaning up, he turned to her and took a good look at her fingers.
The cut on her finger had recovered, but as the cut was rather deep, there was a faint red mark on it. At one look, it seemed like new tender skin, making her look even more delicate and pitiful with her tiny hands.
Bai Muchuan’s dark eyes narrowed.
“I’m really doubtful that you can take good care of yourself living alone?”
“It’s none of your business?” Xiang Wan said, unrelenting, “I’m better than you. I can at least make myself a bowl of tomato soup noodles with egg.”
“Tch, don’t be like this. I’m serious about it,” said Bai Muchuan.
“Didn’t you feel that what you’ve said is strange?” Xiang Wan glared at him. “Besides, you know that I’m a novelist, all of my passion is devoted toward my work. I don’t have much thoughts toward my life and my relationships. Hence, I value writing a good novel more than finding myself a good boyfriend.”
She was reclaiming her dignity.
Bai Muchuan acquiesced to her seriousness.
“You like to write novels?”
“No, I like money.”
Xiang Wan admitted directly to that fact. “Writing novels is my hobby, but if there’s no money to support it, how am I going to keep writing novels? You have to keep yourself fed and at least have some financial stability before you can talk about dreams.”
Bai Muchuan looked at her from top to toe.
“Well, you’re right about this.”
The topic terminator.
He already said so, then what else could she say?
At this moment, Xiang Wan realized that a relationship that had not even started was about to end.
However, she did not feel the nervousness and uneasiness that had plagued her sometime back.
She accepted the fact calmly.
After all, life was different from romance fiction. Toward the daily mundane life, everyone more or less had encountered situations that they were powerless against. If nothing could be changed, one could only accept and move on. A human only has a few decades to live; the vicissitudes of life would flash by in a blink of an eye. The one who would stay by her side during her last moments in life would be most important to her.
An occasional crush might not be love, but just a small episode in life.
If they were to part ways sooner or later, then they should not even cross paths.
She felt that the remaining part of her youth was not that long and should not be wasted recklessly.
Bai Muchuan sat quietly and ate his noodles in an elegant and refined manner without the slurping sounds most people make when eating noodles. Someone like that definitely came from a well-educated family.
Xiang Wan looked at him quietly for a moment. “You know how to wash bowls?”
Bai Muchuan looked at her, puzzled.
Xiang Wan smiled at him. “If you know how to wash bowls, then I shall get going now. I promised my readers to update today, and I haven’t even written a single word.”
Bai Muchuan paused from eating when he heard that, and it seemed there were noodles inside his mouth. After a short while, he drank a mouthful of soup and wiped his mouth.
“Take that laptop with you.”
“I really don’t need it.”
“Take it as payment for making noodles.”
“But the value is not equal.”
“Okay! Treat it as a token of appreciation from a fan.”
Fan? Xiang Wan stared at him.
Bai Muchuan did not have much expression that Xiang Wan thought he did not look sincere. However, he was not being formal or bureaucratic with her as well.
“If you don’t take it with you, I’ll have it couriered to you then.”
“Then I’ll throw it away.”
“Up to you.” Bai Muchuan lowered his head to eat his noodles. “Someone who likes money would most probably not bear to throw away a brand new laptop.”
Xiang Wan felt a little tired emotionally.
It was the feeling of helplessness that one was not able to retain something yet unwilling to give it up.
Since her love was unrequited, what was the use of having a laptop as compensation?
“Whatever you want, I’m leaving now!”
She didn’t want to wrangle with him anymore.
She turned and wanted to leave empty-handed.
Bai Muchuan stood up suddenly and managed to block her from leaving.
He was much taller than her and used his four limbs to block the door frame to prevent Xiang Wan from getting through.
“What are you trying to do? You’re keeping me here for New Year?”
That was a funny remark!
But nobody laughed.
Bai Muchuan exerted the hand that held on to the door frame that the veins on the back of the hand were a little visible.
“Take that laptop away and I’ll get you a set of Second Young Master Mu’s books with signature!”
What?!! Xiang Wan’s eyes were wide-opened from shock.
Second Young Master Mu?
Second Young Master Mu’s books were published the moment one volume got completed. Every single one of them was popular and was reprinted numerous times. Xiang Wan bought a collection before, but to her, it was different when the book was not personally signed by him.
Second Young Master Mu had an eccentric habit. He never signed on any of his book.
This meant that there were no books with his signature in the market.
He did not make friends with anyone in the industry, so nobody had the opportunity to request that from him.
Xiang Wan sniffed. “Can you promise that he will personally autograph the books?”
Bai Muchuan pointed to his police uniform hanging in the living room hanger.
“I promise you with my dignity as the police!”
It was a face-off between the love for her idol and her pride. Xiang Wan hesitated for a while and decided that as a woman of character, of course… she would choose her idol!
After that, Bai Muchuan let her pass through the door.
The sunlight shone through the full length window in the living room.
She walked out of the dining room, toward the sunlight, leaving him all alone in the dining room.
Bai Muchuan looked at her back view. “Bring the osmanthus sachets as well. It’s beneficial to writers. It’s calming, relaxing, and lets you sleep well.”
“Ain’t those the properties of lavender?” Xiang Wan turned to him.
“No, the osmanthus does the same thing too,” said Bai Muchuan. “Everyone’s using lavender, but you’re the only one using osmanthus. Isn’t that nice?”
Xiang Wan stopped to look at him, and he was also looking at her.
This was the first time the two of them were looking at each other so carefully.
She was standing under the sunlight, and his face… gradually became fuzzy.