Chapter 4/5

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Yang Chen felt that he had gotten even with Rose upon seeing her display of timidity. But after a round of flirting, Yang Chen’s worries about Rose’s injuries had vanished into thin air. He then shifted his train of thought to possible activities that they could do.
But after giving it some good thought, Yang Chen realized that he wasn’t able to come up with any ideas. He had always spent his days lazing away, not doing anything in particular. His past was just a string of grim and depressing events. How would he have any of the youngsters’ romantic ideas?
Rose seemed to notice Yang Chen’s struggle, she laughed, “If nothing comes to mind, then let’s just hang out. Almost anything would interest a person who stays all day at home like me.”
Yang Chen suddenly remembered that apart from attending some underworld occasions, Rose rarely left her house. She could be considered a homebody. Thus, he felt slightly better at his predicament and drove towards the city center.
They drove around the city center aimlessly, during which Rose only alighted from the car once. She went into a music video store located at the ground floor of a big building to buy a piece of the British singer Adele’s CD album.
Playing the CD in the car, the distinctive, slightly smoky yet powerful voice of this lady singer started to fill the car.

Yang Chen was surprised at Rose for buying a music CD to listen to in the car. As he drove the car out of the city, he said, “I didn’t know that my babe likes music, and European American pop music at that.”

Rose smiled faintly and glanced at Yang Chen. “I stay at home almost every day. Other than occasionally checking in on the operations of the companies that I invest in, I spend the rest of my time either working out or watching TV. For the times where those two activities do not suffice, I listen to music instead.”

Yang Chen nodded. He remembered when Rose still used to stay behind the pub, there was always a computer in her bedroom.

“Actually,” Rose suddenly spoke, “Although more than a year has passed since our first meeting, we haven’t spent much time together. You have no idea what I like and the same for me as well.”

Her remarks sounded casual, but in Yang Chen’s ears, he did not feel comfortable about it. He knew that this was also Rose’s lament about the fact that he couldn’t spend more time with her.

Even if she rarely complained about it, it didn’t mean that she was completely ignorant to it.

Previously, Tang Wan had reprimanded him for not making an effort to understand Lin Ruoxi. Now it would seem that it was not just Lin Ruoxi, but every single women by his side as well.

Speaking of which, it was rather odd. When other people fall in love, it was not guaranteed that they would remain in love in the next few years. Whereas for him, even when he had no idea about his lover’s hobbies and preferences, they were already almost as close as two people could get.

If others were to hear of this, many might be very envious of him. But Yang Chen was well aware himself, that if things continued the way they were, sooner or later there would be trouble for him. Since he was very determined to not give up on any of his women, understanding each one of their lives and who they were was very important. There was no way that he could spend every single second they were together in bed, nor could he perform an act of heroism to move the ladies every time for the rest of his life.

Yang Chen sighed mournfully in his heart—it was time to show more concern for his lovers’ lives. Thus, with the music still playing, he said, “I don’t really listen to music. Although I can sing a few songs, I don’t have any preferences in music. How about you tell me why you like this singer? Since you often listen to music, surely you have your reasons for it, right?”
Rose pouted and thought for a while. “Actually, I blindly listen to music. If I like the melody of a song then I would listen to it on replay. I don’t really pay attention to the singer or their nationalities, not to mention any musical knowledge. This singer has a song that makes my heart ache, but it attracts me, so I’ve been listening to it a lot lately.”

“Which song is that?” Yang Chen asked.

Rose did not receive much education, and she didn’t understand English. So she couldn’t really name the title of the song impromptu. She had to shuffle through all the songs to find the one she was referring to.

When she heard the starting melody of one of the songs, Rose happily said, “This is it! I’ve listened to it repeatedly in the past few days, but I still like it. But I can’t understand English, and I don’t have the habit of looking up the lyrics, so I can only listen to the melody.”

Yang Chen glanced at the title of the song on the display screen, ‘Someone Like You’.

The melodious singing started. Adele’s voice sounded like the beat of one’s soul, capturing that tiny inch of softness in people’s heart. Gradually, Yang Chen was mesmerized by the sad melody as well.
When she heard a segment of the lyrics being repeated for a few times in the song, Rose asked cluelessly, “Hubby, what’s the meaning of this English sentence? Every time I listen to this, I feel my heart aching a little.”
“Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.”
Yang Chen could of course understand the meaning of the lyrics. And because of that, the song impacted him in ways Rose could never understand. Before this, he was already feeling very heavy about his relationships.

Rose repeated after him in her heart for a few times. A forlorn look appeared in her water-filled eyes. Finally she pursed her lips and smiled. “Although I don’t understand English, this sentence still sounds so beautiful after translation. But I believe Adele was trying to tell us that even if love does not last, and even if love has hurt her, she is still unwilling to let go of it, right?”

Yang Chen turned his head and looked at Rose, who had lowered her head and wore a mask of sadness on her face. He frowned, and he reached out his hand to gently caress her hair, “Stop letting your thoughts run wild. This song was probably made for all the heartless men out there. Your man is not like that. We can definitely make our love last.”

Rose let out a soft laugh and rolled her eyes at Yang Chen. “You’re indeed not a heartless man, but you’re a playboy.”

Yang Chen shrugged awkwardly. He stepped on the accelerator, and brought the car onto a highway, driving towards the suburban commercial area of Zhonghai.

The two of them just listened to the songs while chatting. When they were spending time together in the past, it was either in bed or discussing about some underworld related matters. They rarely spoke romantically to each other. They had only done it once when Yang Chen brought Rose out on a date.
Now that they had so much time to spend chit-chatting with each other, talking and laughing, they both realized that their partners had sides to them that they had not seen before.
When they talked about how Rose helped the girls in her secondary school give the boys a beating and was criticized by the teachers which led to her quitting school, Yang Chen had mixed feelings. He never expected that this woman who looked so lovely and graceful had such a heroic side to her.
Yang Chen had nothing to share about his school days. He had never attended kindergarten, let alone secondary school. So all he could talk about was his experiences of killing people in South America, Amazon and ambushing others in Siberia. These stories were soul stirring to Rose, and her eyes fluttered brightly.
Time passed like the flowing river. Without noticing, they had already been driving for more than two hours. Yang Chen realized that when the oil level indicator had come on. He pulled up at a petrol kiosk for a refill.
By the time he had finished pumping the petrol and started driving again, both of them became silent.
Somehow, after speaking to each other about so many things that they had never said before in the past, both of them were left in deep thought. Yet things were still awkward for them. They both did not know how to continue from there.
Rose suddenly sneaked a glimpse at Yang Chen, her face blushing. She said softly, “Why do you feel like a stranger to me…”
Stranger? Yang Chen could finally make sense of the weird feeling that he was having. Indeed, he felt that the Rose sitting next to him was different from the one he thought he knew. There was too much about her that he had never known about.
“Gosh, what am I supposed to do?” Yang Chen said with a serious face, “I can’t believe I actually slept with a stranger. I’ve lost the purity in my body which was as white as snow.”
Annoyed, Rose reached out her hand and pinched Yang Chen’s arm, just like how ordinary girlfriends would pinch their own boyfriends. This was more female instinct than anything. “Darned Hubby, do you even know the meaning of shame? Here I am talking to you seriously and you treat it as a joke.”

Yang Chen laughed heartily. “To be honest, chatting like this occasionally would prove to be quite useful for us.”
“What do you mean?” Rose did not understand.
“Think about it Babe, the two of us are becoming strangers to each other. Then the next time when we’re in bed, it’ll be passionate love between two strangers. I’ll be plucking a wild flower, while you’ll be stealing other’s man, how—”
Not waiting for Yang Chen to finish his words, Rose already started hitting Yang Chen with brute force out of embarrassment. “Yang Chen go die now! You’re the one stealing other’s man, you’re the one stealing other’s man!”
As he saw how Rose had forgone her demeanor and was crazily hitting him, Yang Chen broke into a frenzied laughter at how lovely she looked. He felt a warm fuzzy feeling in his heart.
In the past, as the head of Red Thorns Society, Rose had to increase her authority and put on a heightened demeanor. This meant that she could not act immaturely in the slightest. Basically, she always had to put on a false appearance.
Whereas right now, since she had unloaded her heavy burden, and opened up her heart through their conversations, the Rose that was laughing playfully and scolding him angrily was no different from any other young lady of her age. She flirted and argued just as any other girl would.
They fooled around for a while, and Yang Chen almost drove the car straight into a crash barrier.
By the time they drove into a commercial street area, Rose was panting heavily with her cheeks flushed red from all the laughter and fooling around.
Yang Chen winked at his woman, “My dear president, after fooling around for so long, are you thirsty yet?”
Rose, too, realized that she was a little out of control. But since the person next to her was her man, not one of her subordinates, it didn’t matter. Rose enjoyed being in her own skin again. Now that she had talked so much, she was indeed thirsty, and so she nodded her head.
“What would you like to drink?” Yang Chen saw that the sky was getting darker. He planned to grab a drink then find a place for dinner with Rose.
Rose looked left and right at the two rows of shops beside the road. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. She pointed at an exquisitely decorated eatery in front of them, one that anyone could recognize at a glance. “Let’s go there!”
Yang Chen swung his head in that direction. The huge logo that made people feel dizzy, one that all humans on earth could recognize, belonged to Starbucks.
“Babe, why did you suddenly think of drinking coffee?” Yang Chen felt that a woman like Rose wouldn’t choose a fast-food style eatery.
In fact, it was also because Yang Chen had spent so much time abroad he had no idea that in China, Starbucks was regarded as middle class. Those fast-food beverages overseas could not compare to it.
Rose pouted. “I often see it advertised on TV. I had always wanted to give it a try but had no idea how to go about it so I left things as they were. I was always curious to know what it was like.”
Yang Chen was at a loss for words. And it wasn’t because he was surprised that Rose had never tried Starbucks, a beverage that could be found anywhere in the world, but because he himself had never tried it before as well!
“If that’s the case, then let’s go in and experience it together.” Yang Chen scratched his head and started parking the car by the side.
Rose understood the meaning between his words and asked, puzzled, “Hubby, you’ve never tried it before either? Weren’t you staying in countries where this was a popular beverage?”