Sunday, February 3, 2013

[Fanfic] Bu Bu Jing Xin II Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Meandering Paths
Saturday night came too quick and I couldn’t help but feel nervous about this whole thing. Though I was glad to clear everything up with Kai Ming, I was worried that it might make the evening awkward. Ge’ge offered to go with me again, but I declined. Mom was right. He really shouldn’t skip work right now. Besides, I wasn’t the little girl who used to hide behind her brother’s back anymore. It was time I faced reality on my own. Despite my prep talk, I did jump about two inches in the air when the doorbell rang. Taking a deep breath, I went to open it.
Kai Ming was standing there in a black tux.
“Wow,” he said, glancing at me, “You look great.”
I blushed. It had been so long since I dressed up that it took me a while to remember how to use modern day makeup. Opting for contacts instead of glasses, I put on a light amount of eye shadow and mascara, remembering the last time I did so was for Tenth prince’s birthday. I was never a big shopper, even before the accident, but luckily I still have some formal dresses, saved up for occasions like these. I chose a dark blue one shouldered gown, simple yet elegant. My hair was too short to do anything fancy so I just slightly curled it. Looking at myself in the mirror, I realized this was the first time since I woke up that I felt like a 25 years old again.

“Thanks,” I replied, “You look good too.”
He did. His tux fit him well, the black jacket contrasting with the white shirt underneath. I always thought Eight prince as handsome, but of a more fragile kind, like a piece of jade. Kai Ming, on the other hand, seemed to emit a masculine charm.
“Should we get going?” he asked
I nodded and turned to close the door.
“So what exactly is this charity event?” I asked, once we were in the car
“It’s a silent art auction, supporting up and coming new artists,” Kai Ming answered, “Just so you know, since my sister is hosting the event, I got to hear that most of the paintings are incredibly overpriced. But there is an open bar, so the night won’t be a total waste.”
I laughed. We descended into silence and, for the first time since I met him, it felt uncomfortable.
“So, your sister is hosting the event?” I said, “What does she do?”
He didn’t say anything for so long, I thought he didn’t hear my question. Finally, he spoke,
“She’s in the family business,”
“Family business?” I repeated, “What business is that?”
“Oh, just a mixture of things, really,” Kai Ming replied
I frowned, what was with the vague answers?
I tried again, “What makes you decide to teach instead of entering the business like her?”
“I’m not very good at the socializing aspect,” he said, “If I’m going to be talking with strangers, I rather they not talk back. Hence teaching is the perfect job for me.”
I sensed there was more to the story, but decided not to push it.
“Are a lot of people going to be there?” I asked
He seemed relieved at the change in subject, “Yes,” he answered, “But it’s not a sit down thing, so we’ll just walk around and hopefully, won’t have to make any small talk.”
I nodded as we pulled into event center. It was already full of cars and dressed up people. We got out of the cars and Kai Ming led me inside. It was very impressive. Paintings hung neatly on the walls, the lightings adjusted to make them stood out. There were people everywhere, talking to one another, gazing at the paintings, drinking from their wine glasses.
Kai Ming seemed to spot someone.
“Come,” he said, “I’ll introduce you to my sister.”
I followed him to where a small group of people was gathered.
“Meng Wei,” Kai Ming called
A woman from the group turned around.
“Ge!” she said, her face lighting up
I stopped, literally stopped, in the middle of the floor. Kai Ming turned back to look at me, but I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t see anything.  For the woman who had turned around, the woman who called him, “Ge,” was none other than Eight Di’fujin.
How could this be?
As I stared in shock, she made her way over to us.
“Zhang Xiao,” Kai Ming introduced, “this is my sister Meng Wei. Meng Wei, this is Professor Zhang’s daughter, Zhang Xiao.”
She gave me a quick nod before turning to her brother.
“I have to go greet these people,” she said, “But I’ll be back soon so don’t you dare leave early again.”
Kai Ming smiled, “Alright, I promised.”
Meng Wei walked away, giving me one last glance. I stared after her.
“Are you alright?” asked Kai Ming
“She can’t possibly be your biological sister,” I blurted out, looking at him
He froze. I flushed, realizing what I had just said.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” I spluttered, “I-I didn’t mean…”
“No, no.” Kai Ming interrupted, “It’s just…I didn’t realize it was so apparent.”
He smiled at me, “She’s not my biological sister. Her parents adopted me when I was fifteen.”
Just as I was trying to digest that fact, a young man came over.
“Mr. Li,” he said, “Ms. Li wants you to meet someone.”
Kai Ming sighed, “Looks like I can’t avoid the small talk after all,” he turned to me, “I’m sorry about this. Do you want to come with me or-“
“I’ll stay here,” I quickly said, “You go ahead. I’ll be fine.”
He nodded, “I’ll be back soon.”
In a blink of an eye, I was all alone. Thoughts flew through my head and I feel suffocated somehow. I glanced around, looking for an escape. Spying a doorway that leads out to the terrace, I hastily made my way to it.
I took a deep breath as soon as I was outside. The cool breeze felt good on my skin and I tried to gather my thoughts. Di’fujin was Kai Ming’s sister. Except she wasn’t Di’fujin anymore, she was Li Meng Wei now. And she wasn’t even his biological sister. Kai Ming was adopted. Yet, even so, it was a strange concept to wrap my head around. Though, it shouldn’t be that surprising. Di’fujin’s devotion for Eight prince could be comparable to that of Thirteenth prince for Fourth prince. But still, how could she have become his sister? How did their relationship changed so drastically? Then I remembered how her face lit up when she saw him and I realized something. She loved him. Meng Wei was in love Kai Ming. The fact was so obvious that I wondered how I didn’t see it earlier. Whether it was three hundred years ago or now, her heart was still the same. But…it was also obvious that Kai Ming did not feel the same way. The endearing way he looked at her was the same way my brother often looked at me. I was wrong, their relationship had not changed. Was Meng Wei’s love destined not to be reciprocated? Could Fate be this cruel?
I didn’t know how long I was standing there, lost in my own thoughts, but suddenly I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around and, upon seeing who it was, widened my eyes in surprised.
“Zhang Xiao?”
“What are you doing here?” we asked in unison
There was a second of silence where we stared each other, then we both laughed.
“A friend invited me here,” I said
“I’m here for business,” Zhenqing replied, “Events like these are great for meeting prospective clients.”
I nodded as he walked over.
“So, shouldn’t you be in there?” I asked, “Because I’m not really looking to build any buildings right now.”
He smiled, “I’m just taking a break. Those people in there are really boring.”
“Most businessmen are,” I observed
He looked at me, eyebrows raised.
I quickly backtracked, “Not including those who are present, of course.”
He grinned, “No, I’m pretty boring too,” he leaned against the railing, “You know, it supposed to be the more people, the more festive. But I never do like crowds like these.”
I looked out at the night sky, “Festivities doesn’t really have anything to do with the number of people,” I mused, “If it’s someone special, then one person is enough. But if you’re in a sea of strangers, then wouldn’t you feel even lonelier?”
He paused for a second, “You say a lot of strange things,” he commented
I smiled ruefully. I supposed I did.
“But,” he continued, “the strangest thing is that they make a lot of sense,” he looked at me, “You don’t seem like a young girl from this century. You say things like that, and you can recognize the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto after just listening to a few seconds of it.”
I chuckled awkwardly, avoiding his eyes, “The last part was because of my mom. She used to be a dancer so she wanted to expose me to all kinds of music. But Peking Opera is my favorite.”
“Mine too,” Zhenqing said, “I actually used to have the opening piece from Hongmen Banquet as my ringtone. But Yang Guang said it was scaring people off so he made me change it.
I laughed, “That sounds like something he would do,”
Zhenqing glanced at me, “It seems like you two have a good time the other day,”
I stopped. Could Yang Guang have mentioned what we talked about to him? No, he couldn’t have. Though I have just met him, somehow I knew that Yang Guang was completely trustworthy.
“Zhang Xiao.”
Zhenqing and I both turned around. It was Kai Ming, walking towards us.
“There you are,” he said, “I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
“Sorry,” I apologized, “I just wanted to get some air.”
He nodded, his gaze straying over to Zhenqing. He glanced at me quizzically.
“This is Zhenqing,” I quickly introduced, “He’s a client of mine. Zhenqing, this is Kai Ming.”
They shook hands, stating their own greetings. My breath caught for a second, seeing the two of them side by side. How could such a scene be so devastating?
Kai Ming turned back to me, “Sorry I left you there. Do you want to-”
“Mr. Li!”
It was the same young man from before.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “But Ms. Li isn’t feeling too well. She was wondering if you could take her home, as Mr. Han has to stay and take care of the guests.”
“Is she alright?” Kai Ming asked urgently
The young man nodded, “I think she’s just overworked.”
Kai Ming started to rush back in, but then stopped and looked at me. He opened his mouth to say something but I hurriedly cut in,
“It’s alright,” I said, “Go take care of your sister. I can take a cab home.”
He shook his head, frowning, “No. That wouldn’t be good.”
“It’s fine,” I assured him, “I just want to stay a bit longer.”
I actually wouldn’t mind leaving now, but there was no way I was getting in the car with him and Meng Wei. He looked at me, torn.
“I’ll take you home,” Zhenqing spoke up
Kai Ming and I turned to him, surprised.
He smiled, “I only planned to stay for a little while anyway. So we can leave whenever you want.”
I was caught off guard. This wasn’t exactly what I planned, but…it was the lesser of two evils.
“That’s very nice of you,” I said, “Thank you.”
I turned back to Kai Ming, “You don’t have to worry now. Hurry and go to Meng Wei.”
He was silent for a minute before nodding, “Ok. I’m so sorry. I’ll make it up to you next time.”
He was about to go back in again when he suddenly turned to Zhenqing, “Thank you for doing this,” he said
Zhenqing merely smiled back. I frowned. Why did that exchange felt weird?
“So,” Zhenqing said as Kai Ming walked away, “I assumed he’s the friend who invited you.”
“Yes,” I answered, “Well, actually, he invited my parents, but they were busy so I came instead.”
Zhenqing looked in the direction Kai Ming went, “He’s different from what I heard.”
“You’ve heard of him?” I asked
“Well, he’s Li Meng Wei’s older brother,” Zhenqing stated
I glanced at him, “And?”
Zhenqing stared at me, “You don’t know who she is?”
I looked back, confused.
“Li Meng Wei is the head of Mo Ti Corporation,” said Zhenqing
Mo Ti Corporation. Why did that name sounds so familiar? Then it hit me.
Mo Ti Corporation. The multimillion dollars corporation?” I asked, eyes widen with shock
Zhenqing nodded, “You didn’t know?”
I shook my head, trying to absorb that new piece of information, “I only knew Kai Ming as a colleague of my dad. I thought he was just a professor.”
“That’s probably what he is now,” Zhenqing said, “Didn’t you heard of the controversy a few years back?”
I did. It made headlines all over China. Mo Ti’s president had died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving the entire corporation to his son. However, soon after his father’s death, that son made some mistake, causing the company a huge amount of money. Eventually the stockholders kicked him out and made his sister CEO instead.
I couldn’t believe that son was Kai Ming. He seemed so carefree and content, not the bitter rich boy the media made him out to be. Also, his relationship with Meng Wei didn’t seem strained at all. The way he worried when he heard she didn’t feel well showed how much he cared for his sister.
As if he could tell what I was thinking, Zhenqing spoke, “That’s why I said he was different from what I heard.”
I frowned, my mind still reeling from the shock. Who was Li Kai Ming exactly?
“She’s in the family business.”
“Oh, just a mixture of things, really.”
At least I knew now why he was so hesitant in his answers.
 “Do you want to go back in?” asked Zhenqing, interrupting my thoughts, “Or would you rather go home now?”
I looked at him, “Shouldn’t you stay longer?”
He shrugged, “Not really. I think I gotten all I can out of this evening. Besides, the only reason you said you wanted to stay was because you didn’t want to get in the way of Kai Ming taking care of his sister, right?”
Was I that easy to read?
 I ignored his question, “Are you really fine with leaving this early?”
He nodded, “Yes. I don’t think I could stand those boring businessmen any longer.”
I laughed and followed him back in the hall. As we were making our way to the exit, I caught a glimpse of a man talking to a crowd of people. I immediately stopped walking.
“What’s the matter?” Zhenqing questioned
“Who is that?” I asked
Zhenqing followed my gaze, “The man in blue? That’s Han Yan Fang, Mo Ti’s second in command.”
Three hundred years ago, he was the Ninth son of Kangxi Emperor. I didn’t know why I was so surprised to see him. Perhaps it was because I didn’t think his bond with Eight prince was that strong.  Unlike with the others, there was no happiness upon seeing him. But there was no hatred either. That had died along with Maertai Ruoxi. If he was here, however, could Fourteenth prince be too? Or Tenth prince? I looked around, searching.
“Are you looking for someone?” Zhenqing asked
I stopped, realizing I was being silly, “No,” I said, “Let’s go.”
We walked outside and waited as the valet went to get Zhenqing’s car.
“Thank you for doing this,” I said
“Just take this as my thank you for your putting up with Yang Guang the other day,” Zhenqing replied
I laughed, “He wasn’t that bad.”
Zhenqing glanced at me, “Really?”
I laughed again at his skeptical tone, “He adores you, you know.”
Zhenqing frowned, turning to look at me, “Wait. You two talked about me? What did he said?”
I merely smiled and shrugged. Zhenqing groaned in response.
At that time, the valet finally came back and the two of us got in the car. As soon as Zhenqing started the engine, music floated out of the speakers.
Gui Fei Zui Jui1?” I asked, incredulous
“Hey,” Zhenqing said defiantly, though I could see a tinge of redness on his ears, “It’s a great piece.”
“Of course it is,” I replied acquiescently
He shot me a look, “And what operas do you enjoy?”
I thought for a minute, “Well, The Butterfly Lovers and Hongmen Banquet were alright. Journey to the West is, of course, a classic. I also like Mu Guiying Guashuai and Yangmen Nu Jiang2.
“So you like operas about strong willed women going into battles,” observed Zhenqing
“As opposed to operas about drunken women dancing among flowers?” I asked
He laughed, “Alright. I supposed I deserved that.”
I smiled along. Kind stranger, competent CEO, devoted cousin, opera lover. So many faces of him I saw, and I wondered how many there were that I haven’t seen yet.
“So your mom was a dancer?” asked Zhenqing
The question was so out of the blue that it took a minute to comprehend it.
I nodded, “Yes. Ballet, to be specific. She’s retired now. Taking care of my dad is pretty much a full time job. Though she does occasionally teach a class or two at the community center.”
“You said your dad was a professor?”
I realized that part of Zhenqing’s success was probably due to his ability to remember the little details.
“Yes,” I replied, “He’s a Chinese Philosophy professor at Peking University, but he’s retiring next semester.”
 “Is that where you went to school?”
I nodded again.
“Did you learn about tea there too?” he asked, grinning
I chuckled, “No. I became interested in tea after I graduated,” I answered
Though, technically, it was three hundred years before.
“I’m actually thinking of switching from coffee to tea,” Zhenqing said, “I heard it’s healthier, especially for someone who needs as much caffeine as me. Do you have any recommendations?”
I hesitated, then asked, “Have you heard of Taiping Houkui?”
“Taiping Houkui?” he repeated, “No. Is it good?”
I mentally kicked myself for feeling disappointed. What was I doing? How many times must I remind myself that he was not Fourth prince?
“Actually,” I said, “if you want to it to replace coffee, I would recommend a type of black tea, as those have the highest amount of caffeine. But its taste takes some time getting used to. You could start out with Pingsuey. It’s actually red tea, but it has almost the same amount of caffeine while the taste is a bit milder.”
“I’ve heard of black tea,” Zhenqing said, “but never of red tea.”
“What China called ‘red tea’ is actually what the rest of the world called ‘black tea,’” I explained, “Both tea leaves are black, but red tea leaves emit a red colored liquid when brewed. The two have very similar properties, so Westerners tend to group them together.”
Zhenqing nodded slowly, “I see. What about Longjing?” he asked, “What kind of tea is that?”
“Green tea,” I replied, “Very mild compared to the rest.”
“Really? It tasted bitter when we had it in that café.”
I shook my head, “That wasn’t even real Longjing. Real Longjing is actually even bitterer. But that’s only because you’re not used to it. The taste of Longjing is very complex and, if brewed correctly, is definitely one you cannot forget.”
“I have to try it then,” Zhenqing stated, “Maybe I should start with green tea and make my way to black.”
“That sounds wise,” I said, “Tea is really an acquired taste. Kind of like scotch.”
He grinned, “Well, since I certainly acquired the taste for scotch, I’m sure I will for tea too.”
 “You will,” I stated, “Tea should be better than scotch, anyhow.”
He sent a disbelieving look my way, “Are you kidding? Have you tasted scotch?”
“Yes,” I said, “The taste is fine, but nowhere as complex or compelling as tea.”
Zhenqing shook his head, “That’s because you haven’t tasted real, good scotch. Try an Earl Haakon. There’s nothing simple about its taste. A bitterness, combined with a woody aroma; that will definitely be a taste you cannot forget.”
I laughed at his expression, “I supposed I have to try it then.”
“That’ll be our new goals,” he declared, “For me to try real Longjing and you to try real scotch.”
For some reason, my mind was caught on the word ‘our.’ Before I could dissect it too much, however, we pulled into my apartment.
I turned to him, “Thank you for giving me a ride.”
He smiled, “It was my pleasure. I got another free lesson in tea.”
I smiled back, “Goodnight then.”
I got out of the car and gave him one last wave before walking away. When I was almost to the building’s door, I heard someone called my name.
“Xiao Xiao!”
I turned around. It was Ge’ge.
“What are you doing here?” I asked when he caught up to me
“I wanted to see if you were home yet,” he replied, then nodded in the direction of Zhenqing’s car, “Who’s that?”
I looked over. To my surprise, Zhenqing hadn’t driven away yet. He was sitting there, staring at me. But, just as I was about to wave again, he suddenly drove off.
“Xiao Xiao?” Ge’ge repeated
I glanced up at him, “He’s my client,” I answered, “He was at the event too.”
Ge’ge frowned, “Why was he driving you home instead of Kai Ming?”
I started walking again, “Kai Ming’s sister wasn’t feeling well so he had to leave early.”
“So he invited you and then just left you there?” Ge’ge asked, indignant, “I knew I didn’t like the guy.”
I rolled my eyes, “It’s not that big of a deal,” I said, “Are you done with work?”
“Yes,” he replied, “But I’ll have to be back to the hospital in another five hours.”
“Do you just want to crash on my couch then?” I asked
“That’ll be great,” Ge’ge said, “I think I’m too worn out to go back to my place.”
As we walked into my apartment, I couldn’t help but think about that look in Zhenqing’s eyes when he stared at me from the car. Perhaps it was because of the dark or the distance, but, for the first time, I realized I couldn’t tell what he was thinking at all.
[1] Gui Fei Zui Jui is an opera about Yang Guifei, an imperial concubine, who was waiting for the Emperor to visit her. Unfortunately, he decided to stay with another concubine instead and Yang Guifei drowned her sorrows in alcohol. Drunk, Yang Guifei started to dance and sing among the flowers, lamenting her fate.
[2] Mu Guiying Guashuai and Yangmen Nu Jiang are both operas about the women descendants of the Yang Clan taking up arms to defend their country.

A/N: I wondered how many will be put off by my making Minghui Kai Ming’s sister. I realized the idea is uncomfortable, for his wife in the past life to be sister (adopted, but still) in this one. That was one of the reasons why Zhang Xiao was so shocked.  Let me explain my decision then. I never believed Eight prince was in love with Minghui. I believed that he did love her, especially at the end, but it was never the same kind of romantic love he felt for Ruolan or Ruoxi. Even when he asked Thirteenth prince to be buried with Minghui, he stated it was to fulfill her wish. Her wish, not his. Remember, the last person he thought of before he died was Ruoxi. Eight prince owed Minghui a lot, and he was extremely grateful to her, but that does not amount to love. Because of his debt, however, he is destined to be in her life.
Minghui, on the other hand, was completely in love with Eight prince. But, her greatest wish was not for him to be in love with her, it was to be by his side forever. She would be extremely happy if he reciprocated her feelings, but it was not the most important thing to her. I admit, I never liked Minghui that much. Granted I admired her for being such a strong woman, and for knowing what she wanted. But I don’t find her pitiful. Though she did suffered a lot, but at least it was due to her own choice. She chose to marry Eight prince, knowing he doesn’t love her. Good or bad, it was still her own decision. Compared to Ruolan, who was forcefully separated from her true love, Minghui was luckier.
 In this story, Minghui, as Meng Wei, is in love with Kai Ming. He was adopted by her family at 15, so I hope that by not having them grew up together since young, it will make the concept less disturbing. As for their backstory, it will slowly unfold.
P.S. Are there are Ninth prince fans? I’m sorry for glossing over his part, but Ruoxi never had any kind of relationship with him as she did the other princes, so I think it make sense that his presence doesn’t affect her as much.


  1. You are so thoughtful! I love how you think throught all of character feeling, bond and events in the past and sequence them so nicely here.

    Actually your story make me stop watching bbjx for the third recently because I already move on to their modern life.

    Thanks for such a nice story!

  2. Im actually checking your blog everday now for new chapters :) keep up the good work. Thanks

  3. love this story, please keep going, miracle worker!!! :)

  4. There must be something in Zhenqing's mind about Zhang Xiao, right?

    Waiting for the next chapters.....

  5. Unbelievable :)) Ming Hui is Kai Ming's sister. Her brother used to be her husband :)))