New facts are revealed in this Chapter, and you can feel that this is a culmination of everything in sorts. I mean, you can feel that this is the Beginning of the end of the Angst. Or at least, the separation. Ming Xing realizes that the heart can bear more than what you think it can. And when such a huge realization happens, well, you guys can see for yourself…
SONG OF THE DAY: Can’t Forget You by Arjun feat. Jonita Gandhi [Download]
Chapter V (Part 2): Souvenirs of Love.
Ming Xing and Liu Jin were never particularly close. All she knew about him was that he’s Xue Zhao’s closest friend. She never really paid much attention to him, but mainly because he’d insulted her long back in the Chess Hall.
Liu Jin was more like the faithful sidekick of the demanding boss Xue Zhao. Liu Jin was undoubtedly talented, but Xue Zhao’s brilliance outshone his. He never felt bitter or complained about it. That’s because he’s the only person who can say that he’s very close to Xue Zhao and feels that he’s his one and true friend.
And also, it’s because he’s one of the few people who know what drastic changes Xue Zhao’s undergone since Ming Xing left him and went away to South Korea.
“Senior Brother Liu,” muttered Ming Xing, stiffly.
He laughed. “Still bearing old grudges against me, Ming Xing? You’re one hell of a stubborn woman! Same as your friend!”
“Aren’t you supposed to be on your honeymoon with Xiao Xi?” asked Ming Xing, censoriously.
“Oh, yeah! Poor Xue Zhao’s determined to pack me off on a vacation, so much so that he even went on that godforsaken business trip to Japan! But I have some unfinished business left with you which I wanted to sort out now,” replied he, nonchalantly.
Ming Xing froze. He’s gone. She swallowed, before frowning and asking, “Unfinished business?”
He nodded, smiling mockingly. Catching hold of her hand, he said, “Come along, now!”
He made her sit in his Ferrari, and zoomed off. “Where are we going now?” she asked, a bit apprehensively.
His eyes glittered. “It’s a secret!”
“How did you get to know that I’m at the University?”
“Xue Zhao’s now on the University’s Board. But since he’s out of town, almost all of the urgent calls get forwarded to me. And you’ve been a very high priority to him all these years. So once you appeared in the Campus, one of our people in the Varsity called me up to inform me!” he replied.
She felt the breath knock out of her when she heard his explanation. She understood the hidden implication behind his words. Xue Zhao’s been searching for her since ten years, waiting for her to return to him. And he hoped to find her at the University if she would have gone there on one of those ten years.
“Honestly, none of us ever understood why Xue Zhao was so crazy about you! I mean, it’s not as if you were the Campus Beauty or something! No offence, but we’d never even knew you’d existed in the University until we saw him running after you after that Chess Match. But after that day, he was very different,” continued Liu Jin.
“He almost never attended his classes and disappeared for long time every day without informing anyone as to where he’s going. Then I’d convinced Xiao Xi to ask you whether he’s around you. It was only then that we all understood what was going on, and that you were blissfully unaware of the storm brewing around you. We all used to laugh wondering how he’s going to woo someone with such a low EQ as you.”
Ming Xing looked out of the window to hide her sad smile. All this seems a lifetime ago.
“And then when we saw him work so hard, we were all shocked. Xue Zhao was like the King in the campus and to see him lower himself was an eye-opener for all of us who roamed around as if we owned the place. Even after you’d accepted his feelings, there were times when he used to get frustrated with your obliviousness and those days were the worst in the dormitory because he used to vent his frustrations on us by not helping us out during our Semester Exams,” laughed Liu Jin, shaking his head.
When he saw the red light in front of him, he stopped. Turning to face her, he said, “But there were also times when he was unknowingly made happy by you. And it was in those days that we all saw a new side of Xue Zhao that none of us had ever seen before — tenderness. Even now, none of us are able to understand how you were able to break a heart that was so sincere towards you.”
His gaze on her felt as though it was piercing her with needles. She looked away, not meeting his eye. And when the light turned green, he started driving again. None of them said a word the rest of the journey.
He stopped the car in front of a high-rise building, in the most expensive residential area of the city. The valet came running out, and Liu Jin handed him the keys.
She stepped out of the car, and Liu Jin leaded her to the elevator. He pressed the button for the topmost floor of the building. She hesitated to follow him further, but he was insistent.
Finally, she put her foot down and said, “Liu Jin, tell me where are you taking me?”
“Don’t you want to know what kind of a life Xue Zhao’s been living all these years?” calmly asked Liu Jin.
Ming Xing struggled to swallow down her tears, as she slowly nodded. She silently followed him, as he led her to a penthouse apartment, the lone one in the entire floor, starkly indicating the solitude of the person who lives there.
Liu Jin quickly entered the security code in the lock-pad and entered inside. She followed suit.
Xue Zhao’s house’s like a museum, with everything being neat and ordered. There wasn’t much in the house to begin with, except some really expensive electronic gadgets and simple furniture. The kitchen too looked more or less sterile.
And the entire house seemed as though it has barely been lived in.
Her legs automatically led her from one room to another, as though they knew this house intimately. She opened the door of a room that was very dark. She groped her hand on the wall to find the switch.
When the lights turned on, she remained rooted to her spot.
All the bookshelves of the library were there in this room. All of them. But there were only two books in all. Nervously, she approached them.
Her eyes welled up with fresh tears when she found the old copies of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ and Laozi’s ‘The Way’, the two books that were witness to her accepting his love.
She hugged the books and closed her eyes, trying to stop her tears from overflowing. Everything about their shared past hurt her, and yet, it is that past which means a lot to her than anything else.
But more than that, she recognized the layout of the house. She recognized parts of the house that she felt familiar with.
“This was where he’d planned to live with you after you graduated,” quietly informed Liu Jin. “He was going to propose to you the very night you left.”
She opened her eyes and looked at him with disbelief written all over her face. Then the dam broke. She sank down on her knees and broke down. He’d loved her so much… and she…
This house is the concrete proof for that. This was her dream house, the place where she’d always wanted to live in.
Li Ming Xing had never regretted the decision she’d taken ten years ago, but now she did. She wished that she could turn back the time and go back to ten years ago, just once… she wished she could go back to being carefree and happy again and make a different choice, just once.
She remembered her father’s words. You can choose differently. You can choose to work together to build something that’s ever-lasting and forever.
But she’d chosen to end something that was actually very precious to her. Something that meant her own life. Her choice had led to the breaking of two hearts that beat as one.
“Xue Zhao will be back tomorrow night,” said Liu Jin. “I’ll leave now. When you leave, all you have to do is close the door and it will automatically get locked.”
Ming Xing nodded, wiping away her tears. When he started to leave, she called out to him. “Senior Brother Liu!”
He turned back, surprised. “Xiao Xi…” choked Ming Xing. “Take care of her… never let her feel sad.”
Liu Jin’s eyes softened for the first time since she’d ever known him, and that says a lot. “I fully intend to!” he said, gently.
She let out a tiny smile and he nodded back at her.
Once he left, she slowly got up and searched for their names that’d been engraved on the wooden bookshelves. Finally, she found them on one of the many bookshelves in this huge room. ‘Li Ming Xing and Han Xue Zhao’ was etched into the wood of the bookshelf.
A new wave of tears pooled into her eyes, when she saw that there’s another engraving that wasn’t there ten years ago:
‘In Han Xue Zhao’s constellation, there’s only Li Ming Xing.’
Smiling through her tears, she brushed her fingers on the inscription.
Go, Ming Xing, go get your man!!!!
Yay! Someone has finally realized! Hallelujah!
Okay! I’ll get back to the point. I think that saving the bookshelves is the most symbolic thing that Xue Zhao could do to represent their love. I mean, could a guy get any sweeter than this?! And also, kudos to Cathdeary for guessing it right!
The house, the books… they’re all evidence for the fact that not even once in the last ten years has he wavered from her. And the part where he’s been waiting for her to return to him… God, that’s really so awesome!
And I can even feel her regret. The regret that they could have built so many happy memories in the last ten years if only she hadn’t left. As to why she left all those years ago, you guys will have to wait! I’m being the villain here! Muahahaha!
And, again, please translate the title ‘The Lone Star In My Constellation’ poetically into Chinese so that we can decide the Chinese Title of the Book to firstname.lastname@example.org . This is your chance to help us out guys! A very big thank you for all the response that we’ve been getting!