Word count: 3533
Lin Ke Song connected the phone and answered in her heartiest voice, “Thank you for coming and watching the competition!”
“You say ‘thank you’, but that may not be necessary. Mayer told me that before I came, you were very calm. However, after I arrived, you were very nervous.” His voice was cold, yet it didn’t sound heartless. Instead, it seemed to be a force that stabled others.
Lin Ke Song wanted to fall sleep listening to his voice and never wake up.
“If I make you feel pressured, then I’ll…”
“I want you to come! If you look at me, I will…I will be more calm!”
This was the first time Lin Ke Song had ever interrupted Jiang Qian Fan.
She knew that if he looked at her, then she would not feel helpless or confused. No matter what happened, as long as Jiang Qian Fan was at a place where she could see him, then she would know what she should do in the end.
“I’ll be waiting for you on the Yue Jiang floor.”
Then, the phone disconnected.
His voice was very light, but his words ‘waiting for you’ was like a curse which lingered in her ear, climbing into her thoughts.
Lin Ke Song ran out into the corridor.
“Hey, Ke Song! Where are you going?” Her Uncle shouted out at her receding back.
“I’m going to go and eat with my friend!”
“Oh, this kid!”
As Lin Ke Song arrived at the front door of Leidewensen hotel, she saw the black car waiting for her.
Once again returning to Jiang Qian Fan’s villa, Lin Ke Song didn’t know how to describe her feelings.
Mayer stood at the door and smiled at her, “Welcome back little bun.”
As if it was her home.
He brought her to the terrace of the balcony, where the cutlery had already been placed on a table. A newly picked climbing rose was placed in a simple yet elegant glass vase, swaying gently.
Jiang Qian Fan leaned on the balcony, a wine cup of red wine in his hands.
When Lin Ke Song walked out into the sun, Jiang Qian Fan fluidly placed the wine cup behind him. He took a step forward and reached out in the air, trying to find Lin Ke Song’s location. His face looked towards her and he walked closer, step by step, until he nearly touched her brow. Holding her breath, she even forgot to turn her head to the side.
Jiang Qian Fan’s hand gently covered her face. His palm was very warm and she subconsciously leaned into it.
“What do you want to eat today?”
“Can I choose anything?”
“Then I want to eat your potato pancake tower.”
“Why the potato pancake tower?”
“Because in today’s competition, Viktor’s potato pancake tower won the praise of the judges yet I couldn’t taste his work. But if it is you, I know that you will make one even more delicious than Viktor’s. I can learn from you where exactly I am lacking.”
Jiang Qian Fan walked past her side.
That ‘alright’, was just like as if he was pampering her.
No matter what she wanted, he would do it for her.
Lin Ke Song sat at the table, the sun causing the shadows of her fingers to appear on the table. She is just like a child, playing with her own shadow, yet her heart could not help but anticipate it.
What would Jiang Qian Fan’s potato pancake tower taste like?
Lin Ke Song desperately imagined, but could not imagine it.
She could only be sure, that is his pancake tower must be unforgettably delicious.
Unknowingly, within the air came a breeze of fragrance belonging to the potatoes, causing people to unconsciously swallow saliva.
As she turned around, Lin Ke Song saw Mayer standing there, carrying her plate courteously in front of her before placing it down without a sound.
It did not reflect the complex decoration of Viktor’s work, as it lied lazily in the middle of the plate, covered by small pieces of tomatoes. It looked quite ordinary, yet exuded a seductive scent.
Jiang Qian Fan sat down across from her, his hands folded underneath his chin, “Taste it.”
His voice is very light, stroking her nerves. Even without eating the pancake tower, she had a wonderful feeling.
The shell of the potato pancake tower is more golden than what she saw in the competition, and when the knife touched it, a crisp feeling like ice could be felt. As Lin Ke Song tried it, she understood that Jiang Qian Fan had added egg into the batter, only after frying could the batter be so crisp. The potatoes were baked, and the inner layers were soft while the outer layers crisp, causing a rich but not messy taste to form.
Lin Ke Song guessed that Jiang Qian Fan not only baked the potato pieces, but also wrapped the potatoes in tin foil and added spices. She tasted the scent of garlic, fresh cream, sage and nutmeg. The salt and pepper were also just right. With this baking method, the taste will lock firmly so that the potatoes fully absorb the fragrance of the spices.
As for the shrimps in the cracks of the potatoes, Lin Ke Song tried to deconstruct the way Jiang Qian Fan dealt with it. He had marinated them with white wine, basil, turmeric and rosemary, then used the smoked salmon to bake the shrimp until half cooked. Next he mixed it with the potatoes into the flour paste, and finally blew them into the potato pancake tower.
All this about the strength of the fire and the timing were very clever. If the shrimp was roasted and overcooked, then the fried potatoes will grow old and cause a loss of taste. If the baking time was not enough, then the pan with the fried shrimp would have been cooked, but the potato tower was likely to be raw.
The most inconceivable of the overall taste was the potato and shrimp flavor, as well as crisp shell. Al of this did not use many spices, but because of Jiang Qian Fan’s mastery for every degree of detail, it turned this little tips into something very stunning.
“Do you like it?” He asked.
“Of course I like it!” Lin Ke Song loudly answered.
The Jiang Qian Fan in front of her smiled, sunlight playing across the lines on his face and his eyes slowly lifted the moment, as if setting off a silent tide.
“I also made you vanilla ice cream. When you finish the pancake tower, I’ll give it to you.”
“En!” Lin Ke Song suddenly felt that even the world’s most enviable things were only so-so.
“Is one potato pancake tower enough for you to eat? Every time you have finished your dinner, you have to eat snacks in your room or find something in the kitchen.”
“How did you know?”
She knew that going to the kitchen to find something to eat was seen by Jiang Qian Fan, but how did he know she ate snacks in her room?
“When Nina cleans your room, she says there are biscuit crumbs on your blanket,” Jiang Qian fan answered lightly.
Lin Ke Song was shocked, how come Nina even told these things to Jiang Qian Fan!
“After…I will not sit on the bed to eat.” Lin Ke Song mumbled.
“Do not easily promise such things.”
Once again, she was stabbed.
It seemed that in this life, some of her bad habits could not be changed. Only Jiang Qian Fan understood her even more than what she would have thought.
Lin Ke Song raised her eyes and quickly glanced over Jiang Qian Fan. He is a very self-disciplined person and almost had no bad habits. So why was his tolerance for her bad habits more than she thought?
Like now, there is not coldness between his brows and even his lips seemed to be curved up in a smile. It was as if no matter what kind of problems Lin Ke Song had, he still viewed them as very ‘cute’.
She was finished. This could no longer be continued.
Lin Ke Song wanted to shoot the back of her head to stop the infinite expansion of the hole in her brain.
Sitting on the opposite of her, Jiang Qian Fan got up. Lin Ke Song’s line of sight followed him, and Jiang Qian Fan slightly tilted down, close to her, “wait for me.”
Two minutes later, he carried the icecream and came to stand in front of her.
The dessert is not overly decorated, with a little white ball lying obediently on the egg pudding. At first glance, it is like a dessert from a regular fast food store.
Although simple to the point there was not much that could be described, save for the little bit of jam and seasonings used, Lin Ke Song could clearly taste the pure vanilla fragrance of the ice cream.
“You aren’t going to eat anything?” Lin Ke Song faced across her, and only now realised that Jiang Qian Fan’s eyes were slightly closed, as if he was using his heart to listen to Lin Ke Song’s voice as she ate.
“Can I order?” Jiang Qian Fan asked indifferently.
“Of course you can! However, I’m worried that you will only take a bite and then refuse to have anymore.”
“Tomatoes and scrambled eggs.” Jiang Qian Fan said.
Lin Ke Song was slightly stunned, “Tomatoes and scrambles eggs?”
“It was because of this dish that you first participated in the competition, and it is also the first dish yo made for me. Since everything started from the tomatoes and scrambled eggs, then I want to know what they taste like now.”
“Okay! It will definitely taste better than the first time.”
Lin Ke Song cheerfully left the table and walked towards the very familiar kitchen.
For tomatoes and scrambled eggs, there is no complicated process, nor is it rich in ingredients. It’s deliciousness depended entirely on Lin Ke Song’s control over the heat.
The first time she came her to make this dish, she stumbled. And now, she feels that she has some rhythm from her brain to her fingers that let her feel more at ease.
When the tomatoes and scrambled eggs were done, she bowed her head to sniff at it, before revealing a touch of a smile.
While carrying the plate back to the terrace, Jiang Qian Fan was still sitting there, his cane in hand.
“You waited for a long time!” Lin Ke Song put the plate in front of him, along with a bowl of hot rice.
“Your voice sounds very happy.”
Lin Ke Song smiled.
Because to make something for you to eat, has always been a happy thing.
“I should make out a strict front and eat it seriously.”
You are already very serious, you don’t need to be more serious.
“Then you will show an expression of anxiety and then I can say, Ke Song, you are not being confident again.’
At that moment, it was as if tens of millions of climbing roses in her heart and blood frantically bloomed, to this piece of heaven and earth completely broken open.
He said before, that is she was not confident, then he would kiss her.
“It will be delicious, I have tasted.” Lin Ke Song was very confident.
Jiang Qian Fan poured the tomato soup on the rice, and added a spoonful into his mouth.
“Delicious?” Lin Ke Song asked.
“En, it’s delicious.”
“Then you can you remember, you said that if I make something that you feel is delicious, then you would promise me a condition.” Lin Ke Song said happily.
“Speak.” Jiang Qian Fan gently leaned the spoon against the edge of the bow and unhurriedly wiped his mouth, his every gesture conserved.
“Mr Jiang’s promises are very valuable, so of course I can’t wish randomly. My wish must be used for something important!”
“Then, before that, can you do one thing for me?” Jiang Qian Fan said.
“What is it?” Lin Ke Song was curious, was there anything she could do for him?
“I would really like to ride a bicycle.”
Lin Ke Song’s eyes widened, this made her suddenly recall the memory of her riding a bicycle and taking him along the streets to enjoy the snacks.
“I can take you around this area for a ride, but you probably don’t have a bicycle…”
“I do. Let’s go.”
Jiang Qian Fan got up and reached out in the direction of Lin Ke Song, who thought that he was going to take her shoulders. She had just touched his hand when he in turn, clasped her fingers. His fingers were very long, and afterwards he held her hand in a relaxed grip.
They arrived at the front of the villa, where Nina had already pushed a bike.
“Oh? Is this not….”
“This is the bicycle.” Jiang Qian Fan answered lightly, “Come on.”
Lin Ke Song has a reminder of the feeling, and she is suddenly curious about how Jiang Qian Fan felt about their meeting in his heart.
He made a vanilla ice cream filled with sugar-coated haws and he kept the bicycle that they had both used together.
It was as if all the memories which Lin Ke Song had almost forgotten, he remembered very clearly. He sat on the back of the bicycle, and feeling that weight, she was filled with an inexplicable sense of accomplishment.
“Mr Jiang, am I the first person to use your bicycle?”
“You are the only one.” Jiang Qian Fan’s voice came from behind, clear and sure.
For Jiang Qian Fan, the existence of “only” was more absolute than “first”.
Lin Ke Song’s lips pulled a smile and the wheels spun as they left the villa.
Through the climbing rose iron gate, Lin Ke Song’s nose detected the fragrant but not rich smell.
“Mr. Jiang, the climbing roses of your villa is the most beautiful among all the villas in this community.”
“What kind of beautiful?” Jiang Qian Fan asked.
How can this be described? Beauty was a feeling…
“When you were a child, have you seem the fairy tale ‘The Beauty and the Beast? The climbing roses in your yard are just like as if they have been painted from the fairy tale, the roses from the beast’s castle!”
“When I was young, I went to her friend’s house with my mother, and someone took me as a girl and showed me.”
“What? You were treated as a girl?” Lin Ke Song couldn’t help but turn back, but couldn’t see Jiang Qian Fan’s face.
Jiang Qian Fan no longer spoke, but the smile on Lin Ke Song’s lips became bigger and bigger.
Without focusing on the cold indifference Jiang Qian Fan’s face, his facial features were elegant. He must have been very beautiful when he was a child, being mistaken for a girl was not surprising. Ah, she really want to see his childhood photos!
“You are laughing.”
“Ah, yes…because you and I were the opposite as children since I was always thought of as a boy. At New Year, the neighbour’s children would buy a lot of firecrackers, and since there was a ditch outside the district, I would throw the firecrackers into the ditch and tell the child next to me to quickly look. Then when the firecrackers exploded, their faces would be splashed with water. Hahaha!”
Jiang Qian Fan did not say anything, but Lin Ke Song knew he was listening.
The landscape of this community was beautiful. Lin Ke Song has been in Jiang Qian Fan’s neighbourhood, and did not even know there was a community park.
The water was quiet as a breeze blew, and a few birds glided down, falling onto the edge of the grass near the water.
Jiang Qian Fan did not know when his hands came to be wrapped around Lin Ke Song’s waist, not loose or tight, and did not feel bound, but only a feeling of closeness.
As if no matter where she went, she was inseparable from the embrace of Jiang Qian Fan.
All of her feelings become acute, and even when he breathed, the breath passing through her back ridge became clear. Then she felt something leaning lightly on her back. Warm and soft, even the farthest distance in this world was shortened in an instant.
Lin Ke Song’s blood in that moment enthusiastically stopped, and she lost balance, the bicycle falling down.
Jiang Qian Fan’s legs were long so it was easy to tiptoe on the ground, but for Lin Ke Song, the bicycle fell into the side of a bush.
“Oh – my mother!”
Her chin was knocked, but fortunately did not bite the tongue.
And Jiang Qian Fan is not far away from the place, slightly turning his head from side to side, trying to determine the direction of Lin Ke Song.
“How are you doing?”
“If you do not…”
If you do not suddenly kiss my back, then nothing would have happened!
“If I do not, what?” Jiang Qian Fan slowly came down to Lin Ke Song’s die, and squatted down.
Lin Ke Song was not so foolish that she would say it out loud. She knew that Jiang Qian fan was waiting for her to ask ‘did you kiss me’ and then he would answer seriously with a ‘yes, ah.’
It was too shameless.
Lin Ke Song did not speak, only picked up the bicycle back to the road and patted the seat, “Let’s go.”
She rode the bicycle back to the villa, and would then be sent to the restaurant.
Alone, Jiang Qian Fan walked in the courtyard. He reached out and touched the flowers on the fence.
Mayer stood beside him and smiled, “Sir, this year’s climbing roses are especially beautiful.”
“Mayer, have you read the fairy tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’?”
“My daughter once liked it.”
“Sadly…I can no longer remember the picture books I once read.”
Jiang Qian Fan glanced up slightly, his fingers touching a budding rose. Mayer couldn’t read the emotions in his eyes.
Then his cell phone rang.
“Hello, this is Jiang Qian Fan.”
“Mr Jiang, I was told that today you went to the competition?” Iris’ voice sounded out.
“No other mentor visited, were you so worried about Lin Ke song that you had to go? Currently, you do not even know if Lin Ke Song will enter the top three, if other people find out that you are her mentor, the consequences will be disastrous!”
“Is your mother upset?”
“What do you mean?” Iris’ voice said.
“Viktor is your mother’s student. He started learning from your mother at the age of six, and his level is completely at the level of a professional. Although he has no chef license, nor work in the kitchen of restaurants, how can it be possible for him to make food that the judges find difficult to eat?”
“Are you saying that Viktor is not qualified, or are you finally worried that Lin Ke song may lose?”
“Whether Ke Song wins or loses in the end is not important, the reason I went to the competition is to let some ill-intentioned people know that they should not use such tricks again.”
“Jiang Qian Fan! Are you saying that in order to win the competition, my mother used Viktor to cause harm to Lin Ke Song?” Iris asked with a trace of coldness.
“Since Viktor is your mother’s student, please keep him well. If you really have confidence in your ability, then you should not need to use other means at all.”
“Jiang Qian Fan…you…”
“Do you need me to say it more clearly? Then tell Viktor that I know exactly what he did in the storeroom during the competition.”
After two seconds of pause, Iris said, “I will personally find Viktor to discuss with him. But I’m still going to say this again, she is only your student of three months, the effort you spend on her is way more than what is needed.”
The call disconnected.
Mayer sighed, “Iris is angry again, right?”
“Are you worried?”
“I am worried that the Quentin Group will one day be against us.”
“Every industry is a battlefield, there are no friends forever, and the opponent will not disappear.”
That night, when the water flowed over her head and warmly stroked her back, Lin Ke Song seems to still feel the kiss Jiang Qian Fan gave on her skin.
Like a branded mark.
Lin Ke Song knew that it was not only a kiss, but Jiang Qian Fan silently telling her that he would always be behind her.
When she finished showering, she did not expect to receive a message from Song Yi Ran: Tomorrow night at five o’clock, Audrey Hotel invited you to come and eat dinner.
Lin Ke Song suddenly realises that tomorrow is Song Yi Ran’s birthday! She had long thrown those thoughts to the back of her mind.