39 Chapter 39 - Winter Warmth 5
"Let's park the car here." Lin Qian led Xia Liang off the car before locking it. "Who knows how crowded downtown is tonight."
Xia Liang followed her closely and pulled on her long necklace uneasily.
An hour ago, Lin Qian, who was already dressed up, ran into Xia Liang's bedroom. She took out a stack of fall and winter clothes from the closet and threw them onto the bed. Then she ordered Xia Liang in an authoritative voice, "Get changed!"
Under Lin Qian's supervision, a stunned Xia Liang finally changed into the clothing she was now wearing. She wore a cream-colored long turtleneck cashmere sweater, a cage-shaped retro style necklace that hung down to her chest, a pair of dark jeans that she usually wore, and a pair of khaki-colored boots. On top of them, she had put on a long red woolen coat with flannel lining and a plush fur collar around the neckline. Lin Qian had also done her hair, which was usually in a ponytail or casually let it down. Now her hair was spread down onto her shoulder; Lin Qian had used a curling iron to make it wavy at the end of her hair. Finally on top of her head was a white dehair angora hat with a furry pom pom on top which was slightly swaying in the night breeze. It was quite cute.
Xia Liang followed Lin Qian and muttered. "We are just watching the fireworks. Why should I dress up like this?"
Lin Qian glanced sideways. "Christmas is such a grand day. Shouldn't you be dressed up? You always dress so plainly, do you plan to be a Buddhist nun? Besides, you're hardly dressed up? You haven't even put on any makeup."
Originally Lin Qian planned to do Xia Liang's makeup as well, but Xia Liang refused, willing to die rather than surrender. Lin Qian didn't want her plan exposed, so she gave up. But then she thought that maybe Song Qiyan liked a girl without any makeup...
Lin Qian dragged Xia Liang towards the downtown square. The two young skinny girls squeezed and pushed their way out of the crowd. It happened that they stood at the front of a handmade scented soap store. Lin Qian looked at the sign. "There is a big sale today. The set of the scented massage oil I was interested last time should be on sale also. I am going in to buy it. You just wait for me here!"
After she finished, she immediately pushed her way into the store.
Xia Liang opened her mouth, then closed it. She waited in front of the store obediently. The evening breeze was a little strong and cold. Xia Liang shrank her neck; she was glad that she had put on a turtleneck sweater, not the one with a super low neckline which Lin Qian had picked out originally. She looked around and discovered that the place was so crowded and there was no place to shield herself from the wind. She started to regret coming out with Lin Qian tonight.
In the first two years after coming to America after high school, she was somewhat excited for Christmas Eve and Christmas. But she had lost that original enthusiasm after two years. She would rather stay at home in such cold weather, nestled in sofa watching anime with a cup of hot cocoa.
Lin Qian had been in the store for some time. It was so crowded inside the store and she couldn't see her at all. Xia Liang frowned and thought. What would happen if she sent her a message and then went back home by herself? She thought about it then killed the idea before it started to grow. Definitely, definitely, Cici definitely would kill her...
Somebody patted her shoulder while she was struggling and feeling sorry for herself.
She looked up and what came to view was that elegant face.
He wore a British style woolen sweater on top of a white shirt, a pair of black casual pants and black shoes, and a light tan colored coat. He was tall, straight, neat, and looked just like a scholar.
Song Qiyan tried to catch his rapid breath. He looked at her with a shallow and mild smile. "What a coincidence. Xia Xia. How about we walk around together?"
Xia Liang helplessly pointed at the overcrowded handmade scented soap store behind her. "I am here with my roommate. She is shopping inside and I am waiting for her here."
Xia Liang's cell flashed right at this time. The screen displayed a text message from Lin Qian who was busy shopping at that moment------You may walk around if you feel bored. I am in a very long line. It will take at least an hour. Don't wait for me. You two just go watch the fireworks yourselves.
Xia Liang felt awkward. She looked at Song Qiyan pathetically and didn't even notice a problem with Lin Qian's text message at all.
Song Qiyan curved his mouth up and looked at her. "Let's go. The fireworks will start in 15 minutes."
Xia Liang nodded and walked to the left side of Song Qiyan.
They walked a couple of steps when Song Qiyan paused suddenly. He moved to the other side of Xia Liang. Xia Liang touched her nose. He walked on the outside of the sidewalk so he could shield her. Shixiong was really considerate.
They followed the crowd and didn't stop until they reached the bridge near the square. Many others had decided to stop here too. They were waiting for the opening of the grand fireworks a few minutes later.
"Shixiong...what brings you here tonight?" Xia Liang was not stupid. She thought it was a coincidence in the beginning, but Lin Qian's attitude was rather too tricksy.
Song Qiyan was too honest to cover for Lin Qian. He took out his cell from his pocket, pulled out the text message, and showed it to Xia Liang:
[Summer is at the door of the handmade scented soap store next to Macy's.]
The time he received the message was twenty minutes ago.
Xia Liang twitched the corner of her mouth innocently. "Sorry, shixiong…...my roommate, she uh..."
Song Qiyan gave her a quizzical look. "Why say sorry?"
Xia Liang, "..." She finally experienced what Lin Qian felt when she choked up on Xia Liang's own words.
Song Qiyan raised his hand to pat her head under the furry hat. "Xia Xia, I have come here willingly." He stretched out another hand which was carrying a bag.
Xia Liang found out only now, that Song Qiyan had been carrying a bag in his hand all this time.
Song Qiyan nodded, "Christmas gift."
Xia Liang took over the bag. Then she thought in embarrassment; oh, no, she had never thought about getting him a Christmas gift.....She had never celebrated Christmas before, needless to say, she never thought about giving gifts for Christmas.
She opened the bag. It was a bright red cashmere scarf inside. Xia Liang used her hand to touch it. It felt really good.
"Thank you shixiong." She smiled to Song Qiyan sweetly. She was pondering secretly about when she should give him a Christmas gift in return.
"What are you thinking about?" Song Qiyan asked. Song Qiyan was a little perturbed by her expression. "Don't you like it?"
Xia Liang hurriedly clarified, "No, no, I like it. It is a very beautiful scarf. I really like it, but I..." She used her finger to scratch her cheek bashfully. "I don't have the habit of giving Christmas presents. So I didn't prepare a Christmas present for shixiong..." She then quickly raised her head. Her brown pupils reflected the warm glow of the street light, which enhanced her attempt to find an easy way out. "Let's go pick up one later to make up for it. alright?"
Song Qiyan smiled. "No hurry." He then pointed at the bag in Xia Liang's hand. "Actually there is another gift inside. It's from one of my friends."
"Friend?" Now Xia Liang was confused. Was it from Wei Jian xue zhang? But were they familiar enough to the point that they would exchange Christmas gifts with each other? Since Song Qiyan already said so, Xia Liang dug around inside the bag carefully. Finally she touched a hard square thing underneath the scarf. She took it out curiously. It was a CD.
She looked at the name on the cover under the light of street lamp. She was instantly stunned into silence.
The name of the album was <Dreams of the Past>. It was a famous ancient style album. You could say that it was this album, <Dreams of the Past>, which made Qian Sui, the singer, popular in the entire ancient style circle.
And Xia Liang happened to be Qian Sui's...fangirl.
If Bei Yan was Xia Liang's god in the voice over circle, then her god in the ancient style circle was absolutely, without a doubt, Qian Sui. As a fan of ancient style songs, she didn't like the pop music. Her music player on her cell phone always played Qian Sui's songs on repeat. She never grew tired of it.
Xia Liang hadn't discovered the ancient style circle yet when this album was published. She didn't even know about Qian Sui then. Later, when she became Qian Sui's die-hard fan, yet only a couple of hundred copies of this album was published and they had all fallen into his fans' private collections. It was impossible to buy one.
But it was not only this album which had shocked her, there was also big flamboyant characters written with marker on the album cover.
[ To Bei Yan's Xiao Zi Xia, Wish you two love for a hundred years. ------- Qian Sui ]
It was a personal autograph, with a very unexpected message.
Xia Liang was absolutely overwhelmed by everything that it implied.
He saw Xia Liang hadn't recovered for quite a while. Song Qiyan eyes became downcast and started to regret a little bit. If he knew that Qian Sui was so influential on her, then he shouldn't have given her the album today. She had become totally distracted.
After quite some time, when everyone around them began to countdown till the fireworks, Xia Liang finally managed to sort through her messy thoughts and raised her head. Her right hand nervously curled up. "Shixiong...This…..I….." She had already become incoherent.
Song Qiyan watched her nervous and flustered expressions and suddenly became extremely soft-hearted. "I saw on your Weibo that you liked Qian Sui. So I called him and told him..." Song Qiyan paused. His tone was tender and careful, "That I like a girl who likes his songs. I asked him to please mail me an autographed album...." Just as he finished, the countdown ended. The fireworks illuminated the night sky. Song Qiyan looked down at her. His deep dark eyes reflected the bright sky. His expression was concentrated, expecting.
Xia Liang was so surprised that her mouth opened. It was as if the fireworks splashing in the night sky had exploded inside her brain and jumbled her thoughts.
Song Qiyan lowered his head and moved closer to her. His magnetic voice sounded in between the fireworks. "Qian Sui laughed at me, like I even need his help to chase after the girl I like. He would break his friendship with me if I'm not successful. So..." He stopped again. His tone suddenly became a bit teasing. "Xia Xia, what do you think?"
Song Qiyan straightened up his body and looked up at the fireworks after he finished. He gave Xia Liang enough time to think. But he couldn't see the glamourous fireworks anymore, he could only use the corner of his eyes to peek at the person who was only up to his shoulder. His heart was perturbed and nervous just the same as all boys when they first confess to the girl they like and worry whether they might be rejected.
The first round of fireworks finished after a couple minutes. There was a several minutes break before the start of the second round.
Song Qiyan could almost hear the sound of his heartbeat clearly as time passed by. It had been a long time since it had throbbed in expectation.
The palpitations and uncertainty in his mind gradually grew. A little hand dragged the cuff of his sleeve. He looked down at her. He heard her blame him matter of factly, pouting. "It's too sudden. I forgot to watch the fireworks completely!"
After hearing her voice, filled with cute annoyance and shyness, Song Qiyan could finally feel relieved. He stretched out his hand for the first time to touch her face. "Uhm, my fault."
After hearing his soft voice, Xia Liang was even more bashful. Fortunately, the dark night hid her somewhat crimson colored face. She continued to drag Song Qiyan's cuff. Her eyes drifted. "Then, like this, so does it count as the beginning?"
Song Qiyan still gently and devotedly looked at her. His eyes filled with tenderness. "En." He lowered his head and moved close to her slowly.
Xia Liang's heart skipped a beat. She closed her eyes shyly.
Then Xia Liang fell into a warm and generous embrace. It was similar to the one more than a month ago, but the feeling was totally different.
Xia Liang opened her eyes in Song Qiyan's arms. She timidly moved to touch his waist. She silently despised herself in her mind. Xia Liang, what were you expecting just now!
The embrace did not last long. Song Qiyan straightened up and stood with Xia Liang side by side in the crowd. They were waiting for the second wave of fireworks. But this time, Song Qiyan moved his right hand sideways and when he touched the back of the girl's hand, he held her hand tightly and stuffed them into his pocket.
Umm, he had every reason to hold his girlfriend's hand, tiny, soft, and cool to the touch..
But Xia Liang's ears could only hear one sentence of the lyrics of the hit song <Tilt the World> in Qian Sui's album <Dreams of the Past> as bright lights splashed on the night sky from the second round of fireworks.
[The young man in white clothes, he promised her, this display of grand fireworks.]