Unedited. I never edit. Anything. Thank you for your patience.
Word Count: 3747
The Comet Kiss
Jiang Qian Fan turned his head, leaning against the seat.
The plane went through the clouds, and gradually stabilised, even the engine noise was reduced greatly.
“Do you need me to read anything to you?” Lin Ke Song asked.
“No need, I wish to rest.” Jiang Qian Fan closed his eyes.
His hand left the back of her hand, and she felt an inexplicable coolness.
Lin Ke Song closed her eyes too, but the things that constantly appeared in her eyes were the different foods that Bruce had made, even the tastes had incurred a huge reaction. And at her ear, was the constant echo of the words that Iris had said to her in the bathroom, like a church bell echoing in the sky, even if she wanted to, there was no place to hide.
The plane quickly landed in New York, Mayer was there to fetch them back.
In the car, Mayer constantly reported on the operation of the restaurant in New York, while Jiang Qian Fan listened for most parts, occasionally saying a few short words.
Lin Ke Song looked out the window, but none of the sights entered her eyes. It was only till they returned to the villa, and Lin Ke Song had laid on her bed, far away from Jiang Qian Fan, that she had a sense of relieve.
She decided to let go of everything, and have a good nap. But she could not fall asleep.
Because she could not help thinking, if on the first day that she stepped into the villa, Jiang Qian Fan hadn’t agreed to be her mentor, what kind of ending would it be?
In the end, she still decided to get up, and went to Jiang Qian Fan’s kitchen.
She wanted to try, whether she had the ability to recreate the dishes Bruce had made.
That day’s creamy carrot soup, was what David, the food association president favoured the most. The ingredients of this dish were simpler, the cooking process should also not be that complicated.
Lin Ke Song relied on all the teachings that she had learned this past few days, and the deconstruction of the flavour of the ingredients, to make a bowl of thick carrot soup.
When she first had a sniff of the fragrance, she already knew that she wasn’t successful this time. Bruce’s creamy soup, had the fragrance of the cream and the fresh sweetness of the carrot complement each other, but her own creamy soup was on the creamy side, the carrot already has its own sweet flavour, but the cream she used had sugar in it, when both were superimposed, the flavour of the carrot totally disappeared.
Lin Ke Song could only make the soup again, this time she chose to use plain cream. Although the creamy soup tasted a lot better that the previous one, the flavour was not up to Bruce’s soup.
On the third try, she chose to use butter and half cooked the carrots before chopping them into cubes before boiling. Even though the fragrance overflowed, and the carrot’s fragrance was thicker, the milky fragrance was covered. If more butter was used, it’d make the soup’s viscosity lose balance.
Lin Ke Song’s hands gripped the counter, the frustration in her heart could not be expressed in words.
She and Bruce were equally layman, but in a month…… only a month’s, he’d already reached another level, and she herself couldn’t even make a bowl of carrot soup properly.
In the past, Lin Ke Song thought that this was a competition that belonged to her, whether she performed well or not, was only the difference between getting a prize or not. But now, she understood that this could be a contest between those great chefs, she wasn’t representing herself, but Jiang Qian Fan.
She exhaled, took out carrots, and again remembered the flavour of the carrot soup. But her mind was not as clear, even her memory was getting as chaotic as her confidence.
What was the flavour she’d tasted before? Was she sure it was cream? Do the flavours of cream and carrots layer like that?
Constant doubt made her messier.
So what if Montgomery praised her ability to taste? This ability had no way to help her win the competition against any of the competitors that could cook a full dish.
She felt really depressed.
She didn’t care that she was like a clown when she failed, because no one would remember the clown.
But she really didn’t want others to connect her failure with Jiang Qian Fan.
Lin Ke Song retrieved carrots, when the blade touched the carrot, she realised that she actually did not know how to chop.
Her whole body went into a trance, it suddenly felt lonely in this huge kitchen.
Just as she brought the blade down, the tip touched her finger that was resting on the carrot, a clear and cool voice sounded from far yet near, like pellets of ice falling from an altitude of 10 000 metres.
“What are you doing?”
Lin Ke Song’s shoulders trembled, the carrot fell to the ground with the knife.
Jiang Qian Fan turned his face slightly, like he was listening carefully. He took out his cane, and opened it, pointing it on the ground, until it met that carrot.
He bent down to pick it.
Lin Ke Song hurriedly stopped him: “Be careful of the blade!”
But Jiang Qian Fan continued like he didn’t hear anything, his fingertip slid along the edge of the blade, a trace of blood flowed from the pad of his fingertip.
“Mr Jiang!” Lin Ke Song hurriedly squatted, lifted his finger, took out the first aid box that was prepared long beforehand, and used alcohol to disinfect his wound.
Jiang Qian Fan’s hand was quietly left in Lin Ke Song’s left hand, his expression as per usual, like the cut had made him feel no pain.
“I’d already warned you, why did you still go ahead to pick up?”
“Ke Song, when you choose a certain road, you know that you’d obviously meet some harm, but you can’t avoid, you can only face it.”
Lin Ke Song lifted her head.
Jiang Qian Fan’s expression was very calm, like the nothing will be moved even with the tribulations of life.
This was the second time he called her “Ke Song”.
It was obviously always in a cold tone, Lin Ke Song had an illusion that she was being doted on.
But Jiang Qian Fan couldn’t possibly dote on anyone.
Precisely because of this, Lin Ke Song couldn’t control the urge to ask the question that was buried in the depths of her heart.
“I know…… but Mr Jiang, have you ever thought that choosing me to represent you in this ‘master show’ was a mistake?”
To remind Jiang Qian Fan to go against the decision that he had made before, to Lin Ke Song, needed great courage too.
Jiang Qian Fan asked calmly.
And this calmness in turn made Lin Ke Song feel more restless.
“Because…… because I don’t have talent! If it were not for going into the back kitchen, to this day, I may not even recognise salmon! Because I don’t even know how to combine foods together to make something that people will find delicious! Because I in 3 months’ time I may not even be able to even accomplish what Bruce has done! Because……”
There were to many because that, at that moment, Lin Ke Song didn’t even know which to mention.
“only because you can’t make a bowl of creamy carrot soup properly?”
Jiang Qian Fan leaned his can on the table side, reached his hand out, and looked for the three portions of creamy carrot soup that Lin Ke Song had made.
He even lifted his spoon, and was about to scoop some into his mouth.
“no need to try, I wrongly used heavy cream for this portion, to thick, too sweet.”
Jiang Qian Fan took a spoonful in like he hadn’t heard her: “Indeed.”
When he scooped the other portion, Lin Ke Song said again: “I changed it to light cream, it has lost its rich texture.”
Jiang Qian Fan still had a taste. He did not give any other comments, but used his finger to bring the third bowl closer.
“This portion…… the carrots and fragrance of the milk was unable to strike a balance, the viscosity wasn’t right either.”
Lin Ke Song only wished that he would stop, and not try and try again her failures.
It was obvious that with just a stir of a spoon and a whiff of the soup you’d be able to discern its flaws, there was no need for Jiang Qian Fan to taste them.
“your choice to use light cream is the right one, using butter to fry the carrots is right too, but have you ever thought of using half light cream and half fresh milk?”
Jiang Qian Fan’s was calm, and Lin Ke Song’s anxiety was totally different.
“but during the ‘master show’, if I had to make creamy carrot soup, Mr Jiang, would the competition committee another chance, or 3 or 4 more? Will they allow you to come to my side to direct me like this?”
This was the first time that Lin Ke Song had used a counter questioning tone at Jiang Qian Fan.
“Of course not.”
“so Mr Jiang, I’ve never understood why you won’t choose a contestant easier to teach than me? One…… one at least talented like Bruce who only needs a little direction and would be able improve by leaps and bounds? Everything you have right now did not come easy, shouldn’t you be concerned about yourself?”
Lin Ke Song could not understand. Actually, from the first day she’d arrived, she couldn’t understand any of this.
But a month ago, she had the mindset that she could stay here with a peace of mind even without understanding anything, anyway all she needed to do was put in her utmost efforts.
But now, this kind of “not understanding” made her feel pressured.
“what made you think that you’re a person without talent? What made you feel you were not as good as Bruce? What made you feel that choosing you would not be protecting myself?”
Jiang Qian Fan’s voice was calm as always, like even if Lin Ke Song’s eyebrows were on fire, he would be calm as a mountain, face unchanging.
“What have I done? I don’t know the names of so many seasoning and ingredients! I can’t even make a bowl of mushroom minced pork noodles that matches your palate! And now, even in front of a beginner’s creamy carrot soup, I am helpless…… it’s been a month already, you’ve brought me to the back kitchen of the best restaurant, and I still haven’t accomplished anything……”
“SO you’re blaming me right now for not teaching you properly, am I right?”
Jiang Qian Fan turned his head to her, the cold fluorescent light fell on his face, the contrast between light and shadow was so clear, his face in the shadows was subtle yet mysterious, and his eyebrows under the light was like a metal sculpture that was carved with precision and left nothing to desire.
“it’s not like that, you have already taught me many things I’ve never known before……”
You’re very good.
So good to the point of perfection, from your sense of taste to your cooking skills and even that heart obsession and perseverance towards the pursuit of perfection, they all make me afraid.
Afraid that I would shatter this perfection.
“then you are blaming me for not following the other good teachers, to encourage you in good times and bad?”
“It’s not that, you have no problem, it’s me……”
Lin Ke Song finally understood, Jiang Qian Fan’s indifference was a kind of persistence, an assurance that will not be destroyed if the heart of the south wall hasn’t been knocked down.
There’s nothing that will change his mind, even if it were reality.
“it me who isn’t even made of potential.”
Jiang Qian Fan held onto the edge of the counter, and slowly stood up.
His gaze obviously had no waves, but there was an indescribable pride.
“So just now, you wanted to cut your finger, and I wouldn’t even be able to disagree when you pull out of the competition claiming injury, right?”
Lin Ke Song stopped breathing, using all her might to not let his have any trace of clues.
But her heart raced against her will, because she had never thought that the thought she had for that spilt second, was discovered by Jiang Qian Fan.
How was this possible?
“I did not.”
“Ke Song, I too don’t know what to do to make you have confidence, should I not be on such a high standing of a mentor, and be like a normal guy, to make you feel loved and protected? I thought you were a grown woman, very strong, and determined, but it seems I was wrong.”
It was the first time Lin Ke Song was puzzled by Jiang Qian Fan’s words.
What normal guy?
What love and protect?
What was Jiang Qian Fan trying to say?
“if you feel that those kinds of words will make you braver, I can do so.”
His voice was very calm, so calm that the heavens and the earth would not even dare to change it.
“…… can do what?”
This man has always been very clear about what his needs were, what his goal was, his emotions seldom leaked, but he wasn’t a difficult man to understand.
But at this moment, Lin Ke Song couldn’t understand anything every sentence he said.
Jiang Qian Fan reached his hand out, and draped on Lin Ke Song’s face. His palm was very warm, like it was supporting everything.
The tears that she had been holding in for so long just fell like that.
She had never felt so weak before, even when she had left the examination grounds knowing that she’d messed up the exam, she could laugh to herself saying that it was no big deal, that she could take the exam again next year.
But her weakness, was not for someone else, but for the guy standing in front of her.
His finger wiped the dampness at the side of eye, and sighed slightly.
“Sorry, Ke Song.”
Lin Ke Song felt like she was hallucinating.
How could the word ‘sorry’ actually spill out from Jiang Qian Fan’s lips?
“I do not only wish that you stay by my side, but I hope even more that you would be confident and brave. So, I should have done this earlier.”
Lin Ke Song hadn’t understood everything yet, when Jiang Qian Fan turned to buckle the back of her head, and suddenly brought her to himself.
That was the greatest force that Lin Ke Song had ever felt in her life, she crashed into his arms, and pretty much tried to lift her head up.
His face was towards hers, his exquisite eyebrows was branded above Lin Ke Song’s eye.
The moment his lips hit Lin Ke Song’s, she felt like she had been hit in the bullseye by a bullet, and staggered backwards, trying to grab hold on anything she could grab a hold onto, a crackling sound sounded at her ear, like the whole world was overturning.
The tip of his tongue opened her lips, strongly and firmly squeezed in between her teeth, totally different from his usual coldness and indifference, totally alienated.
Like striking a match in darkness, chi, burns up crazily, burning up all the oxygen without care.
That wasn’t an ordinary interaction of lips, she could clearly feel how he pried her mouth open, almost presumptuously taking away everything of hers.
This kind of strength, was a strength Lin Ke Song could not bear, until her legs went soft and was about to sit on the floor unglamorously, the other party’s arm easily fished her up, pressing against her back towards himself, the back of her head was grasped onto tightly, her skull felt pain like the other party was about to crush it with his fingers.
He easily carried her thighs, and put her on the counter top, in the moment when she was in the air, she grasped on to his shoulders.
His lapse and loss of control, was like the coming of the end of the world, washing everything away.
His kiss devoured her breath, sneaking along her teeth, then suddenly overwhelming.
All the blood in her body rushed to the tip of his tongue.
She couldn’t even breathe, and frantically struggled.
She tapped his shoulder, pushing for distance between her and the other party. Instead, this push made the other party use a greater strength.
He folded her hands, and pressed them to her back, and tightened the hold on them. Her head moved backwards, she felt that she was going to be broken by him.
Lin Ke Song had never seen this side of Jiang Qian Fan before.
Like the silence of a frozen planet, suddenly exploded in front of Lin Ke Song, that moment’s energy was totally destroying her into splashes of dust.
Just as she was about to start crying, he stopped.
When his tongue left, hooking past her upper lip, it was like all the pressure from before was for this moment of gentle warmth.
His forehead leaned on her lightly, that surging breathing slowly returning to normal.
She shut her eyes tightly, her shoulders frozen, not daring to look at him.
He released her hand, and took two steps back.
Only a few seconds later, did Lin Ke Song open her and stared wide eyed.
Jiang Qian Fan was moving along the table, looking for the cane he had put on the side. His expression didn’t even change, like whatever that person had done, was not him.
Lin Ke Song lowered her head, and stared at her wrist that she has squeezed red, she knew that she it would take her a really long time to forget Jiang Qian Fan’s strength.
He was a guy, Lin Ke Song had never had such a strong realisation as she did today.
He only used his tone that he normally used and said: “clean these up.”
Lin Ke Song tried to look for any trace of a clue from those obsidians like eyes, unfortunately, Jiang Qian Fan’s eyes were never windows to the soul. That tumultuous insanity was absent in his eyes.
They were only pretty decorations. No emotional fluctuations could be seen in the knifelike facial features.
When he spoke, the tip of his tongue peeked out and hid, that was the thing that made people grab their hair.
Only until Jiang Qian Fan straightened his legs, and omnisciently like avoided all the “obstacles” and walked out of the room, did Lin KE Song lower her head.
Eggs were broken all over the floor.
All sorts of spices were spilled.
The flour bag was split by her too.
The air was filled with all sorts of smells, blending together, making Lin Ke Song all the dizzier.
A few minutes later, her brain had successful restarted, gnashing her teeth, she asked the air: “what do you mean by ‘clean these up’?”
But there was something that Lin Ke Song was very sure about, her thoughts of using the cut finger to make Jiang Qian Fan give up the competition had angered him.
If there were a day when he becomes determined to give up something, it must be from his own intention, and not someone else’s design and coercion.
She squatted on the floor, pressing her lips, Jiang Qian Fan’s strength could still be felt.
Like a comet, breaking through the earth’s atmosphere, leaving an impression that is hard to remove, just a moment away.
Her heart was boiling, her blood was rushing.
She had never known, that a man’s kiss could have so much power.
But why did he do that?
From Lin Ke Song’s point of view, if there were a day when Jiang Qian Fan kissed someone, it will be purely because of appreciation and love, and not any other reason. But for him who was standing at the top, would there really be anyone who can make him open his world, to accept, to understand and even accommodate and appreciate?
She sat on the floor, and only got up much later. Her whole head was going crazy.
She didn’t know how she managed to clean all the shattered eggs and dispersed flour from the ground, and she didn’t know how she cleaned the counter table properly.
She returned to her room, and sat in front of her table in a daze.
It was like everything she’d understood was overturned by Jiang Qian Fan.
Until the next morning, when Nina as usual woke her up half an hour earlier.
When she was about to finish breakfast, she heard Jiang Qian Fan’s footsteps walking down the stairs.
Lin Ke Song lowered her head, not even daring to look at the other party.
He went opposite her and sat down, calmly speaking: “Ke Song, have you finished eating?”
This was the third time he had called her “Ke Song”.
Was this what he meant by “following the others”, “in good times and bad”?
She’d rather not have it……
“Yes, finished eating.” Even the hand Lin Ke Song used to put her chopsticks down was trembling slightly.
Mayer looked at Lin Ke Song’s expression, and revealed a thoughtful look. But he didn’t say anything else, only passed the tablet to her.
It wasn’t news that was on the tablet, but it was the most basic cooking recipes.
She glanced at Jiang Qian Fan’s side profile, he only lowered his head, unhurriedly drinking porridge.
“pumpkin soup, 3 servings. Ingredients, one small pumpkin, a piece of a large pumpkin, 3 small potatoes, 250 grams of parsley, 500 cc of chicken stock, 3 tablespoons of fresh milk……”
“Ke Song, do you know why you need to add potatoes to pumpkin soup?” Jiang Qian Fan picked a prawn dumpling, and put it in his mouth.
Lin Ke Song looked at the way he ate, her brain almost forgot to think.
“to increase the thickness of the soup and texture. And the smell of the potatoes won’t affect the crisp sweetness of the pumpkin.”