Chapter 19: Same Clothes, New Person
Zhou Qianlin glared at Lan Jue. “You tell me, what are we going to do about that?”
Lan Jue took a deep breath. “What’s done is done. It was my fault. All of this was because I mistook you for someone else. I don’t know how I can make up for this either. You tell me what I can do, and I’ll do it.” The mistake had been made. He was a man, and had to face up to his wrongdoings, doing everything in his power to make it right.
Zhou Qianlin stared at him, her eyes a tangle of emotions. Lan Jue had changed, no longer dressed in the clothes he’d worn when we abducted her.
He wore a white shirt, and paneled deep blue pants. His neat clothes and his tousled hair gave a strange merger of order and chaos.
That dangerous glint in his eye from before was gone, and he’d assumed a more apologetic stance, like a child who’d done wrong.
Nibbling her lower lip, Zhou Qianlin got up from the bed.
“Find me some clean clothes.”
“Right away.” Lan Jue spun on his heel and left without hesitation. He’d only gone a few steps before pausing, then went directly to the closet furthest inside the apartment.
He paused before the closet as though uncertain, opening it after a moment’s consideration. He quickly grabbed a few articles of clothing from within and returned to Qianlin.
Qianlin regarded him coldly. “You seem awfully practiced at bringing women home.”
Arriving before her, he gently placed the clothing at her side. A spark of sadness shone in his eyes. “Your sister’s.”
Zhou Qianlin stared at him, catching that passing look. Though Lan Jue hid it well, his innermost anguish was too profound to hide completely.
Lifting the clothes by her side, she caught a whiff of a clear and refreshing scent. Each piece had been painstakingly folded. Lan Jue looked on, watching the clothes as though they were precious pieces of jewelry.
Even on Skyfire Avenue, even close friends, none knew that in the Jewelry Master’s heart the closet of clothes was more precious than his entire stock.
Lan Jue was shaken from his reverie. He lifted his head, looking directly in to Zhou Qianlin’s hard stare.
“I’m sorry.” He pressed his hand to his chest, an unconscious habit of his gentile mannerisms. He turned away and stepped aside.
A quiet rustling could be heard from behind him, but there was no excitement in Lan Jue’s heart. In truth it was drowned in disappointment and sadness.
She is not Jinyu, even if she looks just like her. She’s not my Hera. Where it not for the grief in his heart, and the fact she was her sister, Lan Jue never would have opened that closet. Of course, it was merely to make amends that he opened it.
Footsteps approached, and Lan Jue subconsciously turned his head.
She wore a long dress, white as snow, and a little thin. Tight-fitting but modest, with no extra fabric. Though the spotless dress was unadorned, the gem-encrusted gown she’d worn to the wedding made it look downright plain.
However, that raven black hair melded beautifully with the white dress. Those deep blue eyes were like the most fetching gems on the planet. Her beauty was almost otherworldly, perfect in every detail. Such beauty that it took your breath away.
“Jinyu…” his voice trembled.
She rose to her feet and moved towards him. In an instant she found herself wrapped in a firm, warm, shivering embrace.
The hug was like a thaw, and though she should have been angry she instead found herself almost automatically returning the embrace.
“Jinyu, my Hera, I miss you so much,” Lan jue, his eyes closed as though trying to keep a hold on the past. He seemed unaware his body had grown so feverish.
Zhou Qianlin tried to admonish him several times, her mouth opening though no words came out. But in the end, she couldn’t bring herself to ruin what she saw in front of her.
What she saw was his intimacy, the fact that he still remembered her favorite color, an unblemished white. Contrary to the common woman she had no taste for fancy jewelry, in fact quite the opposite from Lan Jue. Moreover he kept saying she was the most precious gem he had. If a bottle of Romanee-Conti was considered some great treasure, then she could only be described as the most dazzling jewel in the crown of the gods.
Zhou Qianlin’s face softened, the chill leaving her features. In the face of today’s events any girl would have her rage clearly written on her features.
But that burning hug, as though magic, melted her cold exterior. Her rigid body eased, and thus so did her heart.
It is common for one man loves one woman, but it was unexpected to see this level of devotion.
The coldness receded from her expression.
One of his hands rested on her waist, the other gently stroking her messy hair. His tender ministrations helped settle it back in place.
This was care, a care derived from the depths of the heart. An adulation more precious than life.
“Hera, Hera…” he whispered. She never gave a response. That familiar body, with that familiar scent, but without her tender voice.
Lan Jue composed himself, suddenly standing straight and looking at the woman in his arms.
Zhou Qianlin looked like a frightened bunny, quickly extricating herself from his arms. She hugged her arms to her chest, features growing red from embarrassment.
Lan Jue looked as though he were in a trance. His clothes were the same, he appeared no different, but the man was changed. The woman before him looked for all the world exactly like Hera. But she didn’t have her eyes, eyes which could melt the coldest heart.
A silence fell over the room. Lan Jue uttered not a sound, Zhou Qianlin never opened her mouth. Their hearts each were flooded with conflicting emotion, but the emotions in each were as different as night and day.