Always By Your Side - Chapter 4.1
Chapter 4: Reunited at the First Acquaintance
Gao Ling and Mr. Fu had made an appointment in the morning to meet in Gaoling Village, but because Boss Gao wanted to see a local kiln house owner, he requested Yuanyuan’s opinion and the two drove to the village earlier than the appointed time. Yuanyuan believed that she would be a hindrance if people were discussing business, so she told him she would walk around first.
After parting from Gao Ling, Yuanyuan went up from Shuikou Pavilion, all the way along the ancient road. On either side of her were ancient trees stretching high up to the sky, the branches and leaves dense and concentrated, obstructing most of the sunlight so that in this hot weather she could actually feel a faint coolness.
Not long after, Yuanyuan discovered that there was an interesting and appealing pavilion sitting up ahead, and also a large stone monument.
She quickly ran up, lifting her eyes to read the name of the pavilion—Jie Fu Ting, the Husband Pavilion. It turned out that this was where the ancient kiln workers’ wives waited for their husbands to return from excavating porcelain clay.
Yuanyuan was lost in thought when someone suddenly came out from behind the stone, startling her so much that she jumped. It wasn’t that the person who had suddenly appeared was unsightly. On the contrary, he was very good looking—his stature was tall, and he wore casual, light grey summer attire without any superfluous adornments. Standing alone, he called to mind some words: “Desolate and solemn, straightforward and upright.” His age was somewhat mysterious. He didn’t seem to be more than a few years older than her, but his steady and graceful manner seemed to have the precipitation of time, which made people unable to guess.
Yuanyuan couldn’t help but look at him stupidly for a while, and inexplicably gave birth to the feeling of déjà vu. She nearly blurted out “Have I met you before?”, but fortunately she was able to resist. It sounded like an especially clumsy pickup line.
“I’m sorry, little sister, did I scare you?” the man asked. His voice was low and mild, with a hint of hoarseness when she listened carefully. As he spoke, he gazed at Yuanyuan, and the corners of his mouth seemed to smile. This kind of gaze was like staring, but it felt wonderful and it wasn’t disrespectful.
But “little sister”? Cheng Yuanyuan bowed her head to look at herself: White shirt, cropped denim overalls, two plaits because she was wearing a summer hat, and a backpack…Eh, the whole result was indeed very immature.
At this time, Gao Ling called her phone, and Yuanyuan quickly picked up. Boss Gao said that he was already finished with the matters he had been busy with, so he was coming over to meet her. While talking with Gao Ling, Yuanyuan found that the man in front of her was still looking at her. After, he called her name: “Cheng Yuanyuan?”
“En,” Yuanyuan responded stupidly.
The man showed a faint smile and said, “Hello, I’m Fu Beichen. Gao Ling mentioned you to me.”
Yuanyuan looked at the man in front of her and sighed: As expected, he was someone she had met before. If she remembered correctly, he was the grandson of Cheng Bai’s grandfather’s aunt. According to seniority, he and Cheng Shenghua were of the same generation, yet he was only five years older than Cheng Bai. However, because the Cheng and Fu families’ relations were quite distant, the two families had stopped visiting one another. It was only when she had just arrived in the city to study junior high, not long after she had moved into Uncle Shenghua’s house, that Fu Beichen had come to the Cheng family to return a pile of their great-grandfather’s medical records from before. She did not want to intrude back then, so she just silently peeked from upstairs until he left. Because he had given her an indescribable feeling of closeness, and because she had the ability to remember people better than the average person, it had left an impression on her even though she had been young and watching from a distance.
At the end of the day, it turned out that the “Mr. Fu” from Boss Gao’s mouth was “Uncle Fu”. It really complied with the phrase “life is full of coincidences”.
Yuanyuan thought to herself, Do you want to climb up these friendly relations? But very quickly she shook her head in her heart. He didn’t know her, and the relationship between him and her was so distant that it couldn’t get further away.
Yuanyuan swiftly squeezed out a smile, respectfully extended her hand, and responded procedurally: “Teacher Fu, it’s an honour to meet you, I’m an editor from Chuancheng Magazine. My name is Cheng Yuanyuan. I’m currently doing a topic on porcelain. I hope Mr. Fu can give me lots of advice.”
Fu Beichen reached out and politely shook her hand.
His hands were dry and warm, and Yuanyuan noticed that he had very excellent hands……Fu Beichen found that the other party’s grasp didn’t intend to loosen, and he looked at her as if he had noticed something strange. Yuanyuan couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. A flush of red burst across her face, and in a fluster she quickly withdrew her hand. In a low voice, she said the words “I’m sorry”. Fu Beichen didn’t think much of it, and carried on with what she had previously been saying: “No need to be, let’s just chat casually. I’ve read your magazine and it’s very good.”
Fu Beichen’s academic achievements were so rich. He was also supported by so many people. Yet he was unexpectedly so humble. This was all very hard to come by.
As for her being so distracted from the previous moment, Yuanyuan concluded: The picture was just too beautiful…
After that, Yuanyuan corrected her bearing and asked: “Teacher Fu, is your name taken from the phrase, ‘He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star (bei chen), which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it’? The ‘bei chen’ in the middle?” As soon as she finished speaking, she was aware of her own foolishness—it was as if she had directly called his name.
Fu Beichen looked at the girl in front of him, having worn a smile all along: “Yes.”
Yuanyuan didn’t seem to be aware of the other party, she secretly released a sigh of relief and said: “Teacher Fu—”
Fu Beichen interrupted her: “Just call me Fu Beichen.”
Yuanyuan felt awkward to straightforwardly call the name of this high-level figure. But thinking of how she had met him before, there had always been the feeling that he was an “acquaintance”. In the end, Yuanyuan readily accepted his goodwill: “Okay, then I’ll start calling you…calling you Fu Beichen!”
The two were still talking when someone walked into the pavilion. His age exceeded half a century and his looks were very distinct, with eyebrows that hung upside down, triangular eyes, an upturned nose, and two whiskers accompanied by a goatee. He was also dressed in the so-called Chinese-style attire. As soon as he entered the pavilion, his eyes twitched to Fu Beichen and Cheng Yuanyuan immediately. His eyebrows moved slightly, and he opened his mouth as he smiled: “The two of you are unmarried?”
Yuanyuan stared blankly, and subconsciously leaned towards Fu Beichen’s side. Who knew, Fu Beichen looked at her yet replied to the man: “I’m unmarried.”
Yuanyuan’s heart couldn’t help thinking, how could he be so sure that she was unmarried?
The man laughed mischievously, and his whiskers trembled along: “Two people’s love road will be bumpy. It’s best not to get married within these three years. However, all things can be resolved in some way, it just costs a little effort.” This sentence that was spoken was very artistic. He hadn’t called the two of them lovers because if they were not, then he wasn’t wrong. But if they were, the two would continue thinking about it.
Yuanyuan glanced at Fu Beichen, waiting for his response. She herself didn’t know how to deal with this kind of “fortune-teller mister”. If she had been alone, she wouldn’t have cared, but Fu Beichen wasn’t revealing any clear intentions.
“Oh?” Fu Beichen raised his brows.
The man saw this as an opportunity, and without delay he continued: “I have a few Tianxi talismans here. You can buy a pair and wear them with you, and you will successfully marry the person you love as soon as possible.”
When Yuanyuan heard this, her heart thought: As expected, the swindler’s tail has been exposed. Thinking that way, she wanted to hint at Fu Beichen for them to go, yet upon hearing this, Fu Beichen asked: “How much for one?”
“I can see that fate has brought us together, so I mean, one hundred each.” The man stroked his beard and his expression looked reluctant.
“That expensive?!” Yuanyuan finally couldn’t stand it and the words left her mouth.
Fu Beichen looked composed as he took his wallet out of his pocket, drew out a couple of hundred dollar bills, and handed them to the man: “I want a pair.”
Yuanyuan looked at him in astonishment, her expression unfathomable.
The man slapped his leg: “Great!” Immediately, he fished out two yellow embroidered pouches from his bag, passed them over, and turned his hands out to accept the two hundred dollars.
“You two, I have to go to the mountain as I still have some matters to attend to. If we are fated, we will meet again. I wish you two an early marriage as a happy couple, a blissful marriage that is predestined by fate.” Since the transaction was complete, the man cheerfully left.
Seeing him disappear at lightning speed to the mountains, Yuanyuan turned around to ask the man at her side: “You…he is obviously a swindler, why did you want to spend money on his talismans?” She didn’t believe that only she could see the fake, and Fu Beichen could not.
“Genuine or fake, there’s no need to mind too much. Besides, sometimes it’s better to believe. There is nothing wrong with that,” Fu Beichen said in a mild tone.
The youthful leader really isn’t lacking in money, Yuanyuan lamented in her heart.
Fu Beichen picked a pouch embroidered with twin lotus flowers on one stalk7 and gave it to her: “Since I bought it, then I’ll give this one to you.”
“Ah?” Yuanyuan waved her hand hurriedly and awkwardly smiled. “This pouch, I don’t want it.” Looking at that man just now, he’d used his mouth to match two people in order to sell a pair. If she took that pouch, then it wouldn’t make a pair any more.
Fu Beichen smiled and didn’t insist, voluntarily putting the two pouches away. By the time Gao Ling arrived at Husband Pavilion, Yuanyuan and Fu Beichen were chatting about Gaoling Village’s historic sites. During that period, Yuanyuan had sent a message to Boss Gao saying that she was already with “Mr. Fu”.
“Beichen, I’m sorry you’ve had to wait for so long! But seeing that you and Cheng Yuanyuan are having quite a pleasant chat, it should be no problem that I’m late.”
Fu Beichen was like a warm spring breeze, only smiling at Boss Gao’s excuse.
This is probably the charm of Boss Gao, Yuanyuan thought to herself. She didn’t notice that when Fu Beichen was talking with Gao Ling, his eyes would always roam towards her side with a meaningful glance.
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