Friday, February 1, 2013

[Fanfic] Bu Bu Jing Xin II Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Faded Flowers
The bar was indeed just a couple of blocks from Zhenqing’s company. Music and the smell of alcohol greeted me as soon as I walked in, and I was reminded of how little I enjoyed the modern social scene. Was it too late to back out? As I was contemplating the thought, my phone vibrated with a new text message. It was from Xiang Xiang, stating that she and Tong Lei were stuck in traffic and would be late. That cemented my decision. I would call his office later to apologize but I should leave now. Right as I turned around, however, Zhenqing and Yang Guang walked in.
Yang Guang spotted me first, “Zhang Xiao!” he called, waving his arms
I smiled feebly back as they made their way over.
“You haven’t got a booth yet?” Yang Guang asked
“I just got here myself,”
Yang Guang peered at me disapprovingly, “I can’t believe you left me like that. You should never leave your comrade behind. What if I had die? How-”
“There’s a booth over there,” interrupted Zhenqing
Yang Guang pouted but followed his cousin. A waitress came over as soon as we sat down.
“What can I get for you?” she asked
Yang Guang smiled flirtatiously, “What are you offering?”
I bit back a laugh as the waitress blushed.
“I’ll have a scotch on rocks,” Zhenqing said calmly
“Just a beer for me,” Yang Guang said, still smiling
The waitress turned to me.
“Long Island Iced Tea,” I replied
She nodded and, with a quick glance at Yang Guang, left with our orders.
“So,” Yang Guang said, “where are your friends?”
“They’re stuck in traffic,” I answered, “They’ll be here soon,” Hopefully.
Yang Guang grinned, “Are they girls? Are they cute? Cute as you?”
Zhenqing coughed pointedly. Yang Guang turned to him.
“Are you OK, Ge?” he asked, “You’ve been coughing a lot lately.”
Zhenqing glared at him, “I’m fine.”
I tried not to laugh as Yang Guang turned back to me.
“About these friends?”
“Uh…right,” I said, “Yes, they’re both girls. And they’re very pretty.”
“Pretty as you?”
This time I couldn’t help it and burst out laughing. Zhenqing shook his head,
“I do apologize for my cousin,” he said, looking at me, “He doesn’t know how to behave himself in a normal conversation.”
“Ge!” Yang Guang protested, “I can apologize for myself. I’m just waiting so I can apologize for everything all at once.”
I laughed again while Zhenqing made a disgusted noise. At that time, the waitress came back with our drinks. Yang Guang winked at her when she handed him his and I watched in amusement as she blushed again.
Yang Guang took a sip from his beer, “So, tell me about yourself, Zhang Xiao.”
I was caught off guard.
“Umm…well, I’m an accountant. I recently applied for work transfer to Beijing and moved here.”
“Why Beijing?” asked Yang Guang
“I was born here,” I answered, “And my family still lives here.”
“You were born here?” Zhenqing asked, surprised, “How come you never mentioned it?”
I shrugged, “You never asked,”
Yang Guang shook his head, “I must apologize for my cousin. He doesn’t know how to have a normal conversation.”
Zhenqing glared at him.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Yang Guang innocently, “Did you want to apologize for yourself?”
Zhenqing sighed exasperatedly while I laughed. Suddenly the similar sound of violins started up.
“Sorry,” said Zhenqing, reaching into his jacket, “That’s my cell.”
“The Butterfly Lover Violin Concerto?” I asked
Zhenqing stared at me, surprised “You know it?”
I nodded. He opened his mouth to say something before realizing that his phone was still ringing.
“I have to take this. Excuse me.”
I watched as he walked away. Who would have thought that we would have some things in common? Did Fourth prince and I ever share any common interests?
I turned around. Yang Guang was grinning at me,
“See something you like?” he asked
“Not anymore,” I retorted
If anything, his grin got wider, “I think you like my cousin.”
I froze. Flashbacks surrounded me; horse riding lessons on the plains, a forced kiss under the stars, a princess in red, and those similar words.
Yang Guang took my silence as admittance.
“I knew it!” he said, “That’s why you haven’t fallen for my charms.”
I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts.
“I’m sorry,” said Zhenqing, coming back, “They need me at the office. I have to go back.”
Yang Guang smiled and leaned back casually on his chair, “That’s fine. I’ll keep Zhang Xiao company.”
Zhenqing stared at him, then looked to me, “I can give you a ride home,” he offered
I smiled, “Thanks but I still have to wait for my friends.”
Yang Guang smirked triumphantly. Zhenqing stared at us for a second longer before nodding,
“Alright then,” he said, before shooting Yang Guang a look that just said, “Behave.”
“You know,” said Yang Guang as Zhenqing walked away, “I don’t think my cousin trusts me.”
I almost laugh at his wounded expression, “Well, I heard he’s a smart man.”
Yang Guang turned back to me, “Is that why you like him?”
I sighed. We were back here again.
“I don’t like your cousin,” I said firmly
“All evidences to the contrary.”
I tried again, “I don’t even know him that well,”
He grinned, “That explains why you like him.”
I laughed, shaking my head.
“I like you,” Yang Guang declared, “Should I help match-make you two?”
I shook my head again, serious this time.
“Please don’t,” I said, “I’m being honest. I don’t have those kinds of feelings for Zhenqing.”
Yang Guang frowned, “Why? What’s wrong with my cousin?”
He was not Fourth prince.
I eyed him, “Making fun of him one minute, then defending him the next. You two must be close.”
He shrugged, “We grew up together. He’s like my brother.”
“Do you work at his firm too?” I asked
Yang Guang made a face, “Me in an office? I’ll probably kill myself. No, I’ll probably annoy my cousin so much that he’ll kill me.”
He shuddered at the thought, “I’m a freelance photographer. Basically, I travel all around the world and take pictures of whatever I like.”
I stared at him, a bittersweet feeling in my heart. It took three hundred years, but it seemed like Thirteenth prince’s dream had finally been realized. Something clicked in the back of my head.
“That picture in Zhenqing’s office. You took it, didn’t you?”
Yang Guang smiled proudly, “Yep.”
I smiled back. He was indeed talented…but, why was there such a sense of melancholy in that photo?
“Don’t you get lonely?” I asked, “Traveling all the time?”
He scoffed, “Of course not. It’s the ideal life. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want. No one to be responsible for, no one to answer to.”
It was not my imagination. There was a definitely faint trace of longing in his voice.
“And yet you’re here,” I stated, “If I’m not wrong, then you always come back to Beijing, and it’s not just because of your cousin either. There something, or someone, that’s drawing you back here, isn’t there?”
“Do you always ask such personal questions?” asked Yang Guang, “And don’t think I didn’t know that you were trying to change the subject from earlier.”
“You’re the one who’s trying to change the subject now,” I shot back
We glared at each other for a minute before bursting out laughing.
“I really do like you,” Yang Guang stated, “So much that I might have to stop flirting with you. Unless, we’re with my cousin, of course.”
I rolled my eyes.
“You know,” he said slowly, “I think my cousin likes you too.”
I paused, then shook my head, “I really doubt it.”
“Believe me. I know my cousin. His interest in you definitely exceeds normal levels.”
“That’s only because of the circumstances in which we met,” I said, wondering whether I was trying to convince him or myself
“The circumstances in which you met?” Yang Guang repeated, “What circumstances was that?”
I frowned, confused, “Didn’t he tell you?”
Yang Guang opened his mouth to answer, but didn’t get the chance to.
“Zhang Xiao!”
I turned around to see Xiang Xiang and Tong Lei walking toward us.
“Sorry we’re late,” Xiang Xiang said apologetically, “Traffic was horrible and…”
Her voice trailed off when she saw Yang Guang.
“This is Yang Guang,” I said quickly, “He’s…”
I looked at him. What was he?
“I’m Zhang Xiao’s friend,” he finished, standing up and shaking both Xiang Xiang’s and Tong Lei’s hands
I supposed he was.
“These are my colleagues, Xiang Xiang and Tong Lei,” I introduced
“Tell me,” Yang Guang said as we sat back down, “is everyone at your company this pretty? Because if so, I’ll enroll in an accounting class right this minute.”
Xiang Xiang and Tong Lei blushed and giggled. I sighed. Still the same heartbreaker, wasn’t he?
Despite my misgivings, I ended up having lots of fun that night. I did miss this; being with friends, laughing at the smallest things, drunk off both the alcohol and the mood of evening. I wasn’t so drunk, however, that I didn’t notice the mask Yang Guang wore. The flirtatious playboy was an act, perhaps not all of it, but most. He might not even realized it, having accepted that role for so long. The only time that the mask slipped off was that brief moment in our conversation, revealing his true self. There was sorrow there, a sense of longing. I didn’t understand. He was supposed to be happy now, so why wasn’t he? He, who had sacrificed everything, lost everything. I wanted to ask him, to push to the truth of the situation; but, in the end, I didn’t. He wouldn’t tell me, not yet anyway.
I thought about what he said before, about Zhenqing and me. It was almost comical how similar the situation was to three hundred years earlier. That time, I was good to Fourth prince because of the future, and now, I was interested in Zhenqing because of the past. But…he couldn’t possibly be interested in me. No, that was impossible. How could you be interested in someone who you thought was suicidal? Not romantically interested anyway. And I, I was still completely and irrevocably in love with someone else.
The minute I walked into my parents’ house Friday night, I sensed something weird in the atmosphere. My dad refused to meet my eyes, even at my greeting.  Ge’ge, on the other hand, was shooting me weird looks.
‘What?’ I mouthed to him
He sighed, frustrated.
“Xiao Xiao?” my mom called, “Can you come help me please?”
I gave my brother one last glance before going into the kitchen.
“Taste the soup,” my mom ordered, “Is it too salty?”
I took a sip.
“No,” I answered, “It’s perfect, Mom.”
I glanced around, “Why is there so much food?”
Besides the soup, there were at least four other dishes; chicken, beef, pork, fish, you named it.
“Both you and brother haven’t been home in a while,” my mom replied, “so I just wanted to make a few more dishes for you two.”
I was about to accept her answer when I noticed something else.
“Then why,” I asked, narrowing my eyes, “are there five bowls and five pairs of chopsticks?”
“Oh,” my mom said casually, too casually, “a colleague of your dad is coming over.”
The minute the question left my mouth, I knew the answer, “Li Kai Ming?”
“That might be his name,” my mom replied
I groaned, “Mom! I can’t believe you.”
“What?” she said innocently
I glared at her before stalking out of the kitchen. My dad and brother, both who obviously were eavesdropping, looked away guiltily.
“Dad!” I whined, knowing I sounded like a fourteenth years old, but not caring
“It’s just dinner, Xiao Xiao,” my dad said in that same calming tone he always used whenever my mom and I disagreed on something
I looked to my brother, who just stared helplessly back at me. I groaned again. It was bad enough that he had my number. Now he was coming to my parents’ house for dinner?
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, startling all four of us.
“He’s here!” my mom basically squealed, rushing to the door
Ge’ge and I exchanged a look. This was going to be a long night.
“How do you like the food?” my mom asked for what should be the fourth time
I suppressed a groan, wishing somehow that the ground would open up and swallowed me.
Kai Ming, however, just smiled politely, “It’s excellent. You could compare to a five stars chef.”
My mom giggled, actually giggled.
“I heard you’re taking over the Chinese Philosophy class next semester,” said Ge’ge
Kai Ming nodded, “Yes. I still have to thank Professor Zhang for his recommendation.”
“I wouldn’t have made the recommendation if I thought you weren’t capable,” my dad answered
Kai Ming beamed, basking in the compliment. I knew the feeling. My dad didn't give out praises lightly.
“It’s amazing that someone so young could be so knowledgeable,” my mom remarked, “You know, our Zhang Xiao is also very interested in Chinese philosophy.”
“Not that interested,” Ge’ge pointed out, “considering she dropped the course in favor of accounting.”
My mom glared at him.
“I always surprised to learn Zhang Xiao was an accountant,” Kai Ming said, “At first I assumed  she was a History major.”
“One should never assume,” Ge’ge stated, “Didn’t those Chinese philosophers teach you that?”
This time, my dad joined in with the glaring.
“Who’s going to take over your Literature class?” I asked quickly
“Professor Cheng, who used to teach the class, is coming back,” Kai Ming replied
“He’s a strong man,” my dad commented, “Second heart attack this year, yet he refused to retire.”
“That just mean he’s bullheaded,” my mom said disapprovingly
“Or that he have a strong will,” I declared, earning a glare from Mom myself
My dad and Kai Ming, however, both grinned at me.
“Xiao Xiao,” my mom said in a tone that immediately made me suspicious, “Do you have any plans tomorrow?”
I stalled, “Uhmm…why?”
“Do you remember Auntie Qin? Her health isn’t that good lately, so I was thinking of paying her a visit.”
I tried to find a trap in that but failed. After all, she couldn’t be thinking of inviting Kai Ming with us, could she?
“No, I don’t have any plans,” I answered, “Do you want to go together?”
“Oh. No,” my mom replied, “Your father will go with me. I was just asking because Kai Ming had invited us to a charity event tomorrow night and, since your father and I are busy, and you don’t have any plans, I thought you can go instead. You know, since it is for charity and all.”
I gaped at her. Despite all of my years of experience in the Palace, I realized that the student truly could not exceed the master.
“I can go,” Ge’ge offered and I swore I never loved my brother more
“Don’t you have work?” my mom asked, frowning
“Yes,” he said, “But I could change shift with-”
“Don’t be silly,” my mom interrupted, “Work is more important. Not to mention, this is your last year in clinical. You shouldn’t be ditching.”
She turned to me, “Xiao Xiao, you’ll go right?”
I looked at my dad, who was suddenly very interested in his bowl of rice. There was no way I was getting out of this, was there?
“I’ll go,” I said resignedly
My mom smiled victoriously. I snuck a glance at Kai Ming, who looked like he was trying not to laugh. Well, at least someone found this amusing.
“Kai Ming,” my mom said, “you wouldn’t mind giving Zhang Xiao a ride tomorrow would you? I don’t feel safe with her taking a cab so late at night.”
I opened my mouth to protest but Kai Ming beat me to it,
“Of course not,” he said, “It’ll be my honor,” he looked at me, “Since it is for charity and all.”
Where was an earthquake when you needed one?
After dinner, my mom refused all of our offers to help clean up and insisted that we all go sit down. Perhaps feeling guilty, my dad decided to show Kai Ming his study, leaving me and Ge’ge alone.
“That was interesting,” Ge’ge said, flopping down on the sofa
I glanced at him, “Yes it was. Why were you so hostile, anyway?”
Ge’ge sat up, “Wait. I thought you don’t like the guy.”
“Not that way,” I answered, “But I don’t have a problem with him personally,”
“Well, I do,” Ge’ge declared, “Usually it’s Dad’s role to hate all your prospective boyfriends, but since he isn’t doing his job, I have to.”
I rolled my eyes, “You know this is all Mom’s plan, right? Kai Ming had nothing to do with it.”
Ge’ge shook his head, “Don’t be naïve Xiao Xiao. You think the guy would go along with all this if he wasn’t interested in you?”
I frowned. Could he be right?
“Think about it,” Ge’ge continued, “It’s not like Mom is being subtle about this whole thing, and yet, he’s just playing along. He could’ve refused or made some excuse, but he didn’t. And since Dad had already given him that recommendation, it sure isn’t because of that.”
Just as I was wrapping my head around the thought, my dad and Kai Ming came out of the study.
“I should get going,” Kai Ming announced
“So soon?” Ge’ge asked, slightly sarcastic
I nudged him.
“You’re leaving already?” my mom questioned as she walked out of the kitchen
Kai Ming smiled, “Yes. It’s getting late and I have an early day tomorrow. Thank you so much for dinner.”
“It’s no problem,” said my mom, “Come over anytime you want.”
“I’ll walk you out,” I offered, standing up
I walked with him out the door, ignoring the shock expression on my family’s faces.
“I can go by myself,” Kai Ming said as soon as we’re outside, “It’s late, you should go back in.”
“Kai Ming,” I started hesitatingly
He looked at me, expectant.
I took a deep breath, “I think you know what my mom was trying to do,” I said, “And I don’t know if you’re just being polite or… In any case, I think I should be clear. I…had just gotten out of a relationship and I’m not looking to be in another one any time soon. In fact, that’s the farthest thing from my mind right now.”
There was a flash of disappointment in his eyes, but he smiled anyway, “I understand. Thank you for being direct with me,” he paused for a second, “We could always be friends, right?”
Could we?
I nodded, “Yes, of course.”
 “So that means you’re still going tomorrow right?” he asked, “For charity?”
I laughed, “Of course. Since it is for charity and all.”
He gave me one last smile before leaving. As I watched him go, I knew I made the right decision. Though I did feel slightly guilty, but, in the end, ambiguity and false hope never does anyone any good. He was more understanding than I expected. I sighed as I turned to go back inside. For some reason, I didn’t think my mom would be as accepting.
“So?” my mom asked as soon as I walked in, “What did you two talk about? Did you make plans for your date tomorrow night?”
“Mom,” I said, sighing, “It’s not going to happen, alright? I don’t have those sorts of feelings for him.”
“Feelings can be developed,” she countered, “You just have to give them a chance to.”
“I don’t want them to be developed,” I asserted
“Honey,” my mom said soothingly, “You know that a new love is the best way to heal a broken heart.”
Perhaps she was right. But my heart wasn’t just broken. It was completely shattered, and all I wanted to do was to hold on to the remaining pieces.
A/N: This was more of Thirteenth prince’s chapter, where, hopefully, you can get a feel for his character. Next chapter, we’ll see our two main princes meeting each other and another prince (maybe two) will show up as well. We’ll also get to meet Kai Ming’s sister. Does anyone have any guesses who she might be? Hint: She is/will be a very important character.


  1. I love the way u describe 13th prince. What makes him interesting is his layers personality. He's such a sweetheart but at the same time he also has the 'naughty' side equally.

    I do not mind to have a best friend as 13th.

  2. can't wait for the appearance of others. I like how you continue Zhang Xiao thought from Ruoxi to her modern life. How she reacted and been grown up are so natural. Keep up the good work!

  3. I have to say that i enjoyed reading this version of BBjx2. Thank you and im looking forward to the next chapter!! :)

  4. By the way... about kai Ming's sister, is she Ming Yu? Or Yutan?
    I have no idea. Teeheee....