Word count: 2307
From a Grain of Sand to the World (II)
The media stepped forward enthusiastically for interviews, and Lin Ke Song naturally became their focus. The current food industry was wondering whether this young girl who had just entered their world would become the Chef Master Jiang Qian Fan’s successor.
Today’s competition had also allowed many New Yorkers to experience Jiang Qian Fan’s superb cooking skills. At the same time, countless people’s interests were aroused by the prospect of the Chinese food street. Everyone could not wait to taste the snacks there.
Lin Ke Song was overwhelmed by the applause and praise; she did not feel ecstatic, but rather, more fearful.
She retreated subconsciously until she fell into Jiang Qian Fan’s arms.
He caught her and answered the various questions posed by the media calmly and systematically.
This kind of indifference also influenced Lin Ke Song. As Winston had said, everything that happened today was merely a grain of sand. Before her, there was still an entire world of delicious flavours waiting to be explored.
Iris walked in front of them and shook hands with Jiang Qian Fan. “I once admired you very much. I admired your rigorousness, your precision, your acuteness and your stubbornness. I treated this sort of admiration as adoration, but today, I suddenly discovered that I still adore you.”
These words caused the entire site to abruptly quieten down.
Even Winston was surprised at Iris’ straightforwardness at this moment.
“Such deep adoration is because for a culinary master, you are too idealistic. I always wished to be you. However, I now understand that I will always be me, not a shadow chasing after another person. Jiang Qian Fan, you only need to stand at the end of a road like a street lamp. I know that I can be your comrade and your friend, but I can’t be your lover. Because I’m not the one who makes your heart soften, or the one who incites inspiration from your rigorous thinking. So, as your friend, I support your every choice.”
“Thank you.” Jiang Qian Fan gently embraced Iris.
Tears slipped from the corners of her eyes.
She whispered in his ear, “Actually, this competition wasn’t just for giving Ke Song the chance to grow, but also for letting me down, right? You wanted me to know that you didn’t just lightly fall in love with someone, but that you will only love this one person.”
Jiang Qian Fan patted her back and quietly said, “To be able to perceive the message I gave to you, you’re worthy of being my most trusted friend.”
“Then I’m still a chef of your restaurant?” Iris stepped out of Jiang Qian Fan’s embrace and stood in front of him, not particularly close yet not particularly far either.
“As long as you want to, you will always be my chef.”
“Alright, Mr Jiang. I’ll see you at the restaurant tomorrow.”
Iris smiled. This was the first time that Lin Ke Song saw her smile without arrogance, as dazzling as the midday sun.
“Lin Ke Song, I did not perform to my full capability today. We will fight again, another day.”
Iris pinched Lin Ke Song’s face. Before she came to again, Iris turned around to take her mother’s arm. They squeezed through the crowd and left Yuejiang Tower.
Lin Ke Song touched the place that Iris had pinched, then pulled Jiang Qian fan’s sleeve in astonishment. “Qian Fan! Qian Fan! She just pinched my face!”
“That means she really likes you.”
Jiang Qian Fan’s lips were also curved faintly into a smile.
The PK battle at Yuejiang Tower became a popular story told throughout the industry. The theme park was overflowing with people for a long period, with various Chinese-style snacks becoming the daily topic of discussion among New Yorkers. Even many tourists who came to New York for sightseeing would come here.
During the week that the competition ended, Jessica Quentin basically guarded her computer and watched every magazine and news concerning the food industry.
“This is absolutely impossible! Not a single media company made a fuss or an issue out of our loss to Jiang Qian Fan! They even praised the restaurants under our Quentin Group? What does Jiang Qian Fan want to do? I really can’t understand him!”
“Mom! Mom!” Iris held Jessica’s cheeks and faced the other woman towards herself. “Jiang Qian Fan is a gentleman. What he wanted to do was prove himself, not attack others. In fact, we can have a win-win situation; we don’t need to fight against each other.”
Jessica looked at her daughter suspiciously. In these news reports, the only story was nothing other than Iris’ confession to Jiang Qian Fan. It was also this confession that added a layer of regret and romance to the results of this competition.
“I am currently very content, mom. Doing what I like to do, living the life I want to live, and persevering with the views that I believe in. So, don’t care about how the media evaluates us. Whether we are better than others isn’t important. The important thing is whether we continue innovating, and whether we become more outstanding compared to yesterday’s selves.”
Jessica clasped her daughter’s wrist and sighed in relief. “I don’t know if we are more excellent than the version of ourselves from yesterday, but I do know that…you will always be more outstanding and remarkable than me. That’s enough for me.”
Due to the success of the China food street, many catering giants have turned their attention to Chinese food. They extended their olive branches to Jiang Qian Fan, hoping to cooperate with him.
However, Jiang Qian Fan was a very cautious person. He did not expand blindly, but focused more on strengthening the management of the restaurant and the cultivation of the chefs.
A few months later, Lin Ke Song ushered in New York University’s first end of term.
She sat in the library every day and night, flipping through books and taking notes for her thesis. Song Yi Ran sat next to her, concentrating on using the library’s wifi.
Now, he was appeared more mature than ever compared to before. She didn’t know when his lazy, don’t-care-about-anything attitude started to disappear.
His fingers nimbly tapped the keyboard, and his actions when moving the mouse seemed quite neat and tidy.
At this moment, Lin Ke Song deeply felt the passage of time. Her unreliable childhood friend had finally grown up now.
Song Yi Ran stopped and glanced at her, “Are you staring at me?”
“If I’m not looking at you, then am I looking at the streetlights outside the window?”
“Ah, did you realise that I’m very attractive?” Song Yi Ran leaned towards Lin Ke Song and stopped at a distance of about three centimetres from her.
His eyes were still the clearly defined pair of the past, but that mischievous gaze now seemed to reveal a kind of deep and distant feeling.
“You have always been very attractive.”
“It’s not too late for you to throw away Jiang Qian Fan and choose me instead~!”
Lin Ke Song pushed his head away and said helplessly, “Did you forget to take your medicine again this morning?”
Song Yi Ran tilted his head and laughed. He bumped Lin Ke Song’s shoulder and said, “See, this is the difference between Jiang Qian Fan and I. You would never ask him if ‘he forgot to take medicine again this morning’.”
Lin Ke Song’s phone vibrated. It was a text message from Jiang Qian Fan: I’m waiting for you outside the library.
“I’m leaving! Going home! Qian Fan’s here to pick me up!” Lin Ke Song began to pack up her things.
“Okay, okay. Let’s go, let’s go.” Song Yi Ran reluctantly got up. “Don’t you think Jiang Qian Fan has been keeping a tight watch over you recently?”
“Has he? Isn’t it because he’s been busy recently so every moment we have together is precious?”
Lin Ke Song walked out of the library and saw Jiang Qian Fan standing under the glow of the streetlight with his cane.
Everything appeared bright and clean, yet fragile.
She took his arm, and they walked slowly through the campus grounds.
“Just then, Yi Ran said that you’ve been keeping a tight watch over me~!” Lin Ke Song took it as a joke and relayed it to the other.
His features were like a serene coastline in the dark, the silhouette mysterious but elegant.
“You’re with him during classes, and you’re also with him at the library. Are you still planning on going to his restaurant’s back kitchen?”
“Ah, yes…Not only me, but also Goto! You definitely wouldn’t have thought this possible, but even Viktor is going to join us! In fact, he’s not as annoying as I imagined! And he has a lot of ideas! In the restaurant’s back kitchen, we can create anything we want!”
When she mentioned Song Yi Ran’s restaurant, Lin Ke Song was radiant with delight.
Lin Ke Song followed Jiang Qian Fan to the terrace outside his room. The air was filled with the sweetness of cocoa and butter.
Bowing her head, Lin Ke Song found that a piece of tiramisu was placed on a white porcelain plate.
She looked towards Jiang Qian Fan’s direction in surprise. Right now, he seemed to be sorting out some documents.
Lin Ke Song was very familiar with Jiang Qian Fan’s living habits. It was absolutely impossible for this guy to eat dessert after eight o’clock in the evening.
“Qian Fan! Is this the tiramisu that Mayer prepared for me? Ah, it looks so delicious!”
Lin Ke Song pinched the little spoon between her lips, suddenly feeling ravenous.
“I made it for you.”
Jiang Qian Fan leaned against the wall of the terrace and held the documents in his hand.
“You made it for me?” Lin Ke Song’s eyes widened, “You made dessert for me even though it’s so late?”
Was this him raising her into a pig, then slaughtering her and eating her up?
“If you don’t want to eat it, I can get Mayer to take it away.”
“No need, no need! I’ll eat it!” Lin Ke Song devoured it happily.
Jiang Qian did not leave, still standing in the same place.
Lin Ke Song grinned, “Are you going to stand there until I finish eating? Don’t tell me you placed something like a proposal ring in the tiramisu?”
“You like that?” Jiang Qian Fan tilted his head, and his beautiful eyebrows wrinkled.
“Ah, no! I’m just joking! That kind of……exaggerated romantic antics in movies don’t suit you!” Lin Ke Song said while laughing.
“If I really placed a ring in the tiramisu, you would definitely eat it. In the end, we would have to go to the hospital. That’s not romantic at all, but instead a disaster.” Jiang Qian Fan sat down next to Lin Ke Song.
At that moment, Lin Ke Song suddenly felt a bit like a wet blanket.
“However, Ke Song, do you know the meaning of tiramisu?” Jiang Qian Fan asked.
“I know, it’s ‘take me away’, right?.”
His facial features held a unique aesthetic, it was as if every line and contour were placed in the most moving and visually appealing areas.
The closer they were, the more clear and distinct he was.
“So, you should understand that is a confession, right?”
“En……” Lin Ke Song nodded, suddenly feeling like there was something wrong.
Jiang Qian Fan had already confessed to her long ago! Why was he confessing again now?
“Then, sign here.”
He pushed a document in front of Lin Ke Song.
When Lin Ke Song saw the name of the document, she nearly sprayed out the tiramisu she had just eaten.
“Did you make a mistake? You can’t just randomly sign this!”
The important thing was, to have used a piece of tiramisu to make her sign this document, only Jiang Qian Fan could do this!
“I have brought it for you to sign after careful consideration. I know that my proposal is not romantic, there are no flowers, no shiny diamond ring and no sweet words. But if you like, I will give you a whole garden of climbing rose. I won’t be foolish enough to think that you can be locked up forever with a diamond ring. I will hold your hand, and be your eternal ring. I will take you to taste every kind of delicacy, and will work together with you to create our own secret recipe. I don’t know if this is enough?”
Lin Ke Song stared at his serious and determined expression, and held his gaze.
Among all of the people she knew, only Jiang Qian Fan would use such an expressionless face to such words in deadly earnest.
“So……you really have been keeping a tight watch over me recently?”
“……I suppose so.”
“You feel a little bit anxious?”
“After all, you’re not as passionate as I am.” He was still very serious and earnest as he said this.
“Are you being jealous of Song Yi Ran?”
“You should know the adjective, ‘ambition of wild wolves¹’.”
 holding rapacious designs
Lin Ke Song nearly laughed herself to tears.
She stretched out her arm and squeezed Jiang Qian Fan’s cheek. “How come I never realised you were so cute before?’
“Since you feel that I’m cute, then sign it.” Jiang Qian Fan was still being deadly earnest.
Lin Ke Song slumped over the table and clutched her stomach as she laughed until it cramped.
Qian Fan, in fact, you are my grain of sand.
Through you, I saw a different world.
Of course, I won’t tell you these kinds of words.
Just keep being so cute from here on.
Aaand we’re finally at the end~! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
The Heartbeat at the Tip of the Tongue is officially completed. Thank you to everyone who has supported this novel and given your likes and comments ( ´ ▽ ` ).｡ｏ♡
Hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this~ The food descriptions and of course, JQF and LKS’s relationship have been ❤ I will definitely miss this novel ;;
For those who’ve asked, I’ve searched around for extras, but it seems that there are none. If you do find any though, feel free to email or comment a link ^ – ^
Finally, I’d like to thank Qintar for having chosen this novel and translated this. (≧◡≦) ♡ The Heartbeat at the Tip of the Tongue is one of the first novels I read when I began delving into the Chinese-English novel translation community, and it’s been an absolutely amazing read ❤