Many thanks to Hauroko girl and Nom de plum for their very positive reviews in NU. It made me so happy I am going to release double chapters today. Thank you so much!
We are nearing the end now, and we get some more insight on YZ and his relationsip with parents. It’s so heart warming to see how he pushes his agenda of getting hitched with BB. There are no evil in- laws here, just ordinary parents worrying about thier kids.
This is the last chapter of the novel. But there are a few extras.
Chapter 54 – The love song ends
The military has always been efficient. Within half an hour, Xiao Chen returned with a thick sheaf of documents and the transfer certificates.
Commander Ye reached for the stack but Xiao Chen kept it out of his reach. “ The attending doctor is not yet here. I am looking for the Dean. I have completed the procedure and he can be discharged from the hospital now.”
“What are these papers? “ the commander asked.
“This is a copy of the medical reports.”
This time Commander Ye again indicated with his fingers that he wanted to see them. Xiao Chen had no choice but to hand it over to him.
“ Book five tickets to Beijing and ensure the PLA General hospital is kept informed.”
“ Yes!”, Xiao Chen looked at me. I knew what he was asking for and I handed over my ID card.
He took it and immediately went out of the room to book the tickets. Ye Zhengchen’s father sat on the sofa and carefully went over the case reports.
I wasn’t sure if he understood it. I could only see his eyebrows scrunched together. From time to time, he looked up at me. His expressionless face gave me no clue to what he was thinking.
The ward was so quiet that I could hear the sound of my own breathing. His eyes were like lasers, burning a hole within my soul.
Since I would have to speak to him sooner or later, I summoned the courage, “ Uncle, Aunty, do you want some breakfast? I just bought some porridge.”
“ We had something on the plane”. Mrs Ye smiled kindly at me.
Ye Zhengchen pulled at my hand and whispered, “ Aren’t you hungry? Please have something.”
I shook my head silently. Under the current circumstances, I was even having trouble breathing. How would I eat?
“ I am hungry. Give me something to eat.” he said.
“ Oh , sure!”
I served the porridge and handed the bowl to him. He dipped a spoon and placed it near my lips. He was smiling, a tender expression on his face.
Somehow, my heart calmed down when I saw the love and tenderness on his face.
“ I really don’t want to eat.”
“ Just see if it is still warm enough to eat.”
A strict father and mother were in the same room where these words were uttered. his parents and I stared at each other at the same time.
The look of incredulousness on their faces was proof enough that they had never seem Ye Zhengchen like this. This special, sweet Ye Zhengchen was just for me.
I opened my mouth. The porridge was still warm and melted in my mouth.
“ It’s not too hot. Just right.”
He dipped the spoon I had just used in the porridge and ate it with relish “Mmmm, Delicious!”
I took out another snack from the bag and handed it to him, “ Taste this, it’s really good”
He took a bite and looked at me, ‘ What is this?”
“ Jujube”. I noticed that his expression turned a bit weird so I asked him, “Don’t you like it?”
He didn’t answer but continued to eat
“ He is a very picky eater. He doesn’t like Jujube.” This fact was supplied by his mother in a completely neutral tone.
“ In fact, he doesn’t eat any stuff that’s been crushed into a paste.”
I groaned, “ You mean he doesn’t like bean paste?”
“ Nope. Not at all!”
I looked at Ye Zhengchen awkwardly. When we had started dating, Mrs Feng had taught me how to make fried snacks stuffed with bean paste in the Tianjin style. I had ended up making a whole bunch , and since I could not finish it myself, I had sent some to Ye Zhengchen. He had begged me to spare him the trauma of eating it. I had tugged at his collar and sternly told him, “If you don’t eat this, I wont allow you to sleep in my bed.”
The wolf’s eyes had been shining brightly when he replied, “ So that means if I eat it now, I can sleep with you right now?”
I was speechless.
In the end, he had succumbed to my coercion. Ofcourse, he had been compensated as promised.
Seeing my face darken, Ye Zhengchen patted my hand. “The fried snacks with bean paste stuffing were delicious. After you left, I would often ask Mrs Feng to make it for me.”
I didn’t know how to react to this sentence when his parents were watching us. I understood the underlying message he was trying to communicate, that he hadn’t forgotten me even once during the last three years.
“If I get the chance, I will make some for you again.”
“The conditions for eating them have to be the same as last time!”
I blushed, but unfortunately had to hold my tongue in front of his parents.
Xiao Chen came back to report that the tickets had been booked. At four o clock in the afternoon, the discharge procedures would be completed. An ambulance was arranged to transport us from the hospital to the airport.
I wanted to pack his things but realised all of it had already been completed.
I looked at my watch. It was nearly ten. I whispered to Ye Zhengchen, “ Brother, I’ll go home now and inform my parents. I’ll also pack some clothes.”
“ I am coming with you”, Ye Zhengchen said.
“ What? “ I thought I must have misheard him.
“ I should come and make my intentions clear to my future parents in law. Otherwise, they may think I eloped with you.”
Someone coughed in the room, indicating his unhappiness with this comment. Ye Zhengchen turned a deaf ear to the signal and got out of bed.
I stopped him. “ You’re injured. The doctor won’t allow you out of the hospital.”
“ He has only warned me against any ‘intense’ physical activity..”
He deliberately emphasized the word ‘intense’, his eyes widening. If I weren’t worried about my image in front of his parents, I would have kicked him.
“ It hurts more to say bye to you and wait for you to come back”. These cheesy romantic lines were clearly said for his father’s benefit. Then he continued, “ My injury is fine.I can even go back and join the army.”
His father stared at him for a while and visibly swallowed.
“ First, get your injury healed in Beijing. Then we can find some time to come back and meet her parents in Nanzhu formally.”
“ Aren’t you very busy ? I won’t bother the commander in such minor matters.”
When the commander heard his son address him by his military rank, he was livid. He pointed his finger at Ye Zhengchen and shouted, “ Who are you talking to! Calling me Commander Ye!”
I could not figure out this love-hate relationship between father and son.
Ye Zhengchen hit back,“What do you think I should call you ? Dad? Am I your son? You have to approve who I hang out with, you have to approve which university I study in. Where I work has to be approved by you. Even who I date has to be approved by you. I am not your soldier. I am not my brother!”
This was the first time I had ever heard Ye Zhengchen mention his brother. The expression on his parent’s face changed completely. The grief I saw on their faces chilled me to the bone
Ye Zhengchen’s mother’s eyes had teared, and her hand was shaking.
His father turned to look out of the window, his eyes glaring angrily.
I silently walked up to Ye Zhengchen and pulled at his shirt. He raised his face and I frowned at him. He moved his gaze away in answer
I felt helpless. I bent forward to take my bag, and then turned to leave. Ye Zhengchen suddenly reached out and grabbed my wrist.
“ I’m sorry Dad..”
His father sighed and softened his tone as well.
“ Ok. Since we have come this far, then Miss Bo, why don’t you ask your parents to join us for lunch today?”
“ Oh, okay.” I thought about it. I worried about my father’s condition and the commander’s explosive temper. “Uncle, my father isn’t well. He shouldn’t be over-stimulated.”
“ In that case, I will book a restaurant.”
“ No, let Xiao Chen do it.”
“ This is our home town. We should be the hosts.”
I booked the most renowned restaurant in Nanzhou and ordered all their famous dishes.
I wasn’t a person who frequented luxury hotels, or one who appreciated the more expensive aspects of life. I was a very ordinary person who lived a very ordinary life. But for the sake of my family’s pride, I realised that we had to be a bit more extravagant. I only hoped that we could afford this.
When a group of people unfamiliar with each other gathered around to discuss a special relationship, it was quite awkward and embarrassing. I was experiencing this for the first time in my life.
Fortunately, Ye Zhengchen was there and he was trying to lighten the mood from time to time.
After a few drinks, we had exhausted all the questions related to age, health and city of residence.
After that, we embarked on sensitive questions about the family.
While talking about what each of us did, Ye Zhengchen’s mother was quite candid. Very casually, she replied, “ Commander Ye is the commander in the Nth military region. I was with the army earlier. I used to be a nurse, but I quit after I had children.”
As soon as they heard the word ‘ Commander’, my parents were stunned.
While our southern state was relatively small, we had our own share of senior government figures. Their children were usually uncouth, morally corrupt and arrogant.
Worried, my mother asked, “ Do you have any other children?”
I panicked when I heard the question and pinched my mother to keep quiet.
“ By the way”, Ye Zhengchen hurriedly tried to change the subject, “ Uncle and Aunty, you must travel to Beijing when you are free. I can show you around.”
But his father suddenly spoke before my parents could respond.
“ We did have an older son. When he was a child, he once secretly went into the army base to look for me. He had… an accident. This is why I have always been overly strict with Ye Zhengchen. He has also always been a very spirited fellow…”
A pall of gloom settled on the entire party.
“I’m really sorry!” My mom apologised.
“ It doesn’t matter. This is all in the past now”, Ye Zhengchen’s mother responded. Then she added, “The food is getting cold. Please help yourselves.”
I sneaked a look at Ye Zhengchen. He smiled when he caught my glance and mouthed, “Don’t worry. I’m here.”
True. As long as he was there, there was no problem in the world he couldn’t solve!
On our flight back to Beijing, I whispered, “Could you stop fighting with your father in the future?”
“ These are not fights. This is a battle!”
Then he continued, “I’ve been fighting with Commander Ye since childhood and I have always been the loser. This is the first time I won.”
“Officer Ye, you can resist if he is being autocratic. But if he is being democratic, you can’t rebel!”
But he was not convinced, “Where there is oppression, there will always be rebellion!”
“ Rebellion? You drive an expensive car, wear high end watches.. why is it that you don’t look the least bit like an oppressed person?”
“ I am not free! Do you understand the meaning of individual liberty?”
I felt it was too unwise to discuss the issue of political power and democracy with the military. I decided to discuss my personal feelings with him instead. “Your father is just concerned about you. You can only blame it on the deep love that he has for you.”
He made a soft’ hmm’ sound. “ I understood it today. He used to love my brother dearly and mollycoddle him all the time. Ever since the accident, he has changed. With me, he has always been strict and unyielding. I always thought this was because he found me inferior to my brother…”
“ He is just afraid of losing you too..”
“ I know”
The flight was smooth. I reclined the back of my chair and closed my eyes.
“ Girl, are you sleepy?”
“What do you think?” I hadn’t slept all night yesterday.
Ye Zhengchen stood up. Hurriedly I opened my eyes, “Do you need anything? Let me help!”
“ I am going to the bathroom. I don’t mind if you help me.”
I was speechless.
Maybe I was too tired. It didn’t take too long for me to fall asleep. A blanket was placed on my body and I felt warm and cosy. A pillow was placed under my head as well and it was very comfortable.
I slept very well. I dreamt that I was getting married to Ye Zhengchen. A lot of people were present. Brother Feng smiled at me as he hosted the ceremony. Ling ling was also there. Then I saw Yin Zhong Tian. He was seated far back, and was wearing a white t shirt, looking like a teenager.
I shouted at him, “ Zhong Tian, if ever there is anything that I can help you with, please let me know..”
I heard Ye Zhengchen call out to me. I picked up the train of my dress and ran back to him. Accompanied with the wedding march, I took his arm and walked on the red carpet.
Before we exchanged our rings, the host pointed at Ye Zhengchen and asked me, “ Do you love him?”
I answered without any hesitation, “ I do”
Then the host asked Ye Zhengchen, “ Do you love her?”
I was eagerly awaiting his answer.
“ Wake up!” Ye Zhengchen was impatiently shaking me. I woke up and found myself leaning on his shoulder.
Ye Zhengchen pointed to a damp spot on his shoulder, “What were you dreaming of ? You were drooling!”
I ignored him, closed my eyes and continued sleeping . “Let me sleep for one more minute.”
He was just on the verge of saying ‘ I love you!’ in my dream.
“ Don’t sleep anymore, the flight attendants are laughing at me.”
I sat up and yelled at him, “ How do you know they are laughing at you? You cant even see them.”
The plane started descending, passing through layers of white fluffy clouds
He took my hand and clasped it tightly.
“ The plane is landing. Don’t sleep or you will catch a cold”.
And so the long awaited “I love you” never happened.
**************THE END ************************************