Chapter 49: I Miss You
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
When she was sure Ye Zitan wasn’t looking, Gu Nianzhi turned and gave Chen Lie a big thumbs-up while mouthing, “good luck”.
Chen Lie blinked at her. His round face shower his embarrassement as he ducked out of the apartment with Ye Zitan.
The front door shut with a resounding click, and suddenly the whole apartment was silent.
Gu Nianzhi stood in the empty living room for a moment, then ran about the apartment, turning on all the lights.
Once the lights were on, however, she felt even more alone. The lights had only served to show her exactly how lonely the spacious apartment was.
At that very moment, at the C City airport, Wen Shouyi was just about to board a plane headed for the Imperial capital. Before doing so, she sent an email to the client seeking help with regards to the Feng family: “Sorry, but you’ve been declined. My boss will not take your case.”
A voice came over the airport’s PA system, urging passengers to board their planes. Wen Shouyi turned off her phone and headed for the special passageway meant for First Class passengers.
On the plane, Wen Shouyi entered the First Class cabin and saw that He Zhichu was already seated in his spacious, first-class chair. His face was turned to the side; he was watching the twilight sky darken on the other side of the window.
“Professor He.” Wen Shouyi reached over and arranged a blanket around him as she lowered herself into the seat next to him.
He Zhichu did not speak. He adjusted himself in his chair, then closed his eyes for a nap.
Chen Lie and Ye Zitan returned to the base, bumping into Huo Shaoheng, who was returning from the training ground.
He stopped by the side of the road when he saw Chen Lie and Ye Zitan.
“Sir, did you just finish a 10-kilometer cross country run, again?” Ye Zitan waved at him with a smile on her face.
Huo Shaoheng was wearing a black T-shirt and military green camouflage pants. His pants were tucked into his military boots, and there was a cigarette in his hand. Standing under the street light, his tall, muscular body was both majestic and imposing, sweat glistening on his bare arms and down the side of his face from the intense exercise. He called beckoned for them to come to him.
Chen Lie and Ye Zitan immediately stood at attention before him.
“Weren’t you with Nianzhi? How is she? Has she returned to her college yet?” Huo Shaoheng inclined his chin, motioning for them to be at ease as he fired off a round of questions.
Chen Lie shook his head. “Nianzhi is in good health. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, for now. She hasn’t gone back to her school yet. She said that she’ll return tomorrow morning.” He shuffled his feet and then looked at Huo Shaoheng pointedly.”She did the same last week as well.”
Huo Shaoheng took a drag on his cigarette, and waved them off.
After Chen Lie and Ye Zitan left, Huo Shaoheng walked over to a tree and stood under it, the light from his burning cigarette flickering between his fingers.
He finished smoking his cigarette while enjoying the silent evening, then walked to his residence on the Special Ops military base.
After taking a shower, Gu Nianzhi sat on the sill of the bay window in her apartment, alone. She hugged her little doll as she quietly watched the lights from the houses outside, beyond the window.
She turned on her phone as soon as it finished charging, and was immediately flooded with a list of missed calls and text messages. Most of them were from Mei Xiawen.
Gu Nianzhi felt a little strange looking at all the missed calls and messages. She had never before had someone pine after her like this. It was completely new to her.
She read the messages, one by one, in the order they had been sent.
“Nianzhi, where did you go?”
“Nianzhi, give me a call if it’s convenient for you.”
“Nianzhi, if you can’t call me, you can just text me back.”
“Or you could send an email. Please don’t leave me hanging.”
“Nianzhi, we’ve only been apart for 36 hours and 12 minutes, but I look in the mirror and I can see my hair going white. For the first time in my life, I understand what they mean when they say, ‘every minute without you feels like an eternity.'”
“I just had dinner with my family. It was a big, noisy dinner with lots of people, but to me it was like getting lost in a busy city. I feel so detached and removed from the hubbub and merriment around me. All I want is to be with you, forever and ever.”
“I miss you, I miss you, I miss you.”
The last message was made up entirely of her name, repeated over and over again.
“Gu Nianzhi, Gu Nianzhi, Gu Nianzhi…”
It seemed to go on forever.
With her chin resting on top of the doll in her arms, Gu Nianzhi silently thought to herself that Mei Xiawen was not the typical prodigal son waiting to inherit a family fortune; he was a thoughtful and sophisticated man. He wrote eloquently—even his text messages were a joy to read.
Her finger hovered uncertainly over her phone before finally dialing his number.
“Nianzhi? You’re back?!” The phone had rung only once before Mei Xiawen’s voice sounded from the other end of the line. It was obvious that he had been waiting for her to call.
Gu Nianzhi was a little touched by this. She gave a faint “Yes”, then said in a gentle voice, “we had a visitor, and I followed them up to the mountains afterwards, where they lived, because they insisted on hosting me. The signal was really bad up there.” She felt sorry for lying to him.
Mei Xiawen let out a long sigh of relief. He was in his car, driving.
“I’m on my way back to school. Do you want me to pick you up?”
He did not bother to hide the joy in his voice. He had been in a gloomy mood the whole weekend, but now the clouds had dispersed, the sun was shining again, and the warmth of Spring was upon his heart—all because of a single phone call from Gu Nianzhi.
Mei Xiawen’s offer was too tempting to pass up. Gu Nianzhi found herself unable to refuse.
She really did not want to stay here tonight, all alone.
In the past, Huo Shaoheng had occasionally left her alone over the weekend when he had to deal with some urgent business. She had not felt lonely those times, however.
She had believed, deep down, that it didn’t matter if he was away, because he was always going to come back here, to this apartment, in the end.
This week, however, she had felt that Huo Shaoheng was drifting further and further away from her.
Gu Nianzhi’s hesitation lasted for only a few seconds. She then asked, “Would it be convenient for you to pick me up?”
She did not think she would be able to sleep here, all on her own. She would actually get a better night’s sleep back in her dorm room, even with all the noise from her roommates.
Mei Xiawen was happy to hear this; he quickly turned the steering wheel and drove towards Fengya Precinct, where Gu Nianzhi lived. He said, “I’ll be there in about 20 minutes. Around ten o’clock, I think.”
Gu Nianzhi stepped away from the window sill. “I’ll wait for you at the gate.”
She went to the bathroom and had a quick, no-nonsense, 10-minute bath. Then she packed her things, and walked out the door with a backpack and a small suitcase.
Huo Shaoheng was in his study; he had just finished his work. He looked at his watch, and found that it was almost ten o’clock.
He got out his phone, but did not call Gu Nianzhi because he thought she might be asleep. Instead, he called the Special Ops personnel who was secretly watching over Gu Nianzhi.
Ever since Gu Nianzhi had gotten into trouble two weeks ago, Huo Shaoheng had secretly increased her security detail.
Gu Nianzhi’s secret bodyguard had been selected from the Special Operations Forces; this was only natural, owing to the fact that their leader, Huo Shaoheng, was her guardian.
Her bodyguard took the call from Huo Shaoheng; he said, quietly, “Miss Gu just exited the precinct. She’s standing at the gate. She appears to be waiting for someone.”
“Who’s she waiting for, at this hour?” Huo Shaoheng turned on his computer; his cursor hovered over a certain executable file for a moment, before finally moving away. He did not run the special program.
The bodyguard on the other end was about to reply that he didn’t know, but then he turned and saw a Buick pull up in front of Gu Nianzhi. Someone got out from the car: it was Gu Nianzhi’s class representative, Mei Xiawen.
The bodyguard quickly reported what he had seen to Huo Shaoheng. “It appears that Miss Gu has been waiting for her Class Rep, Mei Xiawen.”
Huo Shaoheng hung up at this. He threw his work phone onto the desk, and walked out to the balcony. There, he lit a cigarette and kept it between his fingers. while he put on his custom-made, multi-function Bluetooth headset. With it, he finally called Gu Nianzhi with an outside line.
Gu Nianzhi was inside Mei Xiawen’s car, chatting amiably with him, when she suddenly heard her phone ring and vibrate furiously.
She looked down, and saw that it was an incoming call from Huo Shaoheng.
She did not think Huo Shao would personally call her this late in the night. She assumed it was Zhao Liangze.
Gu Nianzhi accepted the call with a lazy swipe of her finger, and said, “Hello?”
It was late, past her usual bed-time. Her voice was therefore a little lower than usual, a little more alluring and seductive. It was not deliberate, however; her voice was just naturally like that.