Chapter 412 - Horror Story
Jie hated Ru's habit of digressing from the real point. The worst part? She'd make you think. As in she'd make you look deep into your heart but would never do it herself!
"It's not like I can chase happiness," he let out a gloomy sigh and looked straight into her eyes. "You're the one who said that happiness is not something we can capture. Even if we try, it'll slip away from our hands."
Ru supported her face on the heel of her hand and looked amusingly at this cousin-brother of hers. "It's your own words that nobody is actually happy. Because there is no real definition of happiness."
"If you know me so well, why did you ask me that question then?" she shot back at him while wiggling her brows at him knowingly. Jie squinted his eyes at her while she languidly continued, "Happiness is indeed a myth but for those who don't know where to look for it."
"There is no definition of happiness but there is a recipe for happiness." Jie sat down at the edge of the bed as he listened to her curiously. "Happiness is a perfect blend of sweetness, sourness, and bitterness of life. A right amount of these three ingredients of life is enough to create unforgettable happiness." She rested her head on the chair and her eyes lingered towards the ceiling as she went on, "What we need in life is not happiness, it's peace. Inner peace. If your heart is at peace, every moment is a happy one. Actually every single moment is a happy one, if not for you then for another person. It's just the way we look at it!"
"So, my dear brother, don't ask people recklessly if they are happy in life or not. Everyone is just going with the flow. Because there is no other way around it. We all are so busy keeping up the facade that none of us have the time to ask even ourselves whether we are happy or not."
"I should get a medal," said Jie thoughtfully making her frown slightly. "For dealing with a mentally cracked person like you."
"What medal do you want? I'll make it myself," she offered ever so politely making him cringe at her tone of voice. "By the way, where is your wife? She didn't come after you?" Jie's face fell instantly and Ru bit her tongue. Why did she have to spoil his mood again with that reminder? "Cough!" she faked a cough before saying in false cheerfulness, "The sky is really beautiful tonight."
Jie pursed his lips before laughing at her, "Your sense of humor is still non-existent!" She simply shrugged her shoulders not wanting to argue on this topic. Since Bao and Juan were back in their pajamas, Jie tucked them in bed while he laid down between them. "Tonight, we'll read a superhero story."
"No, I want Ru'er to tell a story tonight," Juan said in gentle remonstrance.
"Yes, Ruru should do it," even Boa agreed with his sister leaving Ru gaping at them.
"But I don't know stories except for real-life events. How about I share something from my time in Europe?"
"They are asking for a story. Not a horror-story!" retorted Jie making Ru's face twitch and her hand itching to land on his handsome face.
"My life is a horror story?"
"It's not any better," Jie said in simple directness.
"Then what am I in your eyes?"
"Of course, the ghost of that horror story."
Ru raised her clenched fist but since he wasn't standing before her, she could only put her hand down. Bloody son of a bachelor! He again called her a ghost! If he kept going on like this, one day soon, she was gonna make him a ghost!
Seeing how Ru and Jie were having a staring competition, Juan interrupted their battle of stares by saying, "Ru'er, Juan has a school competition next week. Will Ru'er come for Juan?"
"Why do I have to come?" she questioned.
"If Ru'er comes, Juan will definitely win," Juan answered firmly.
"How so?" asked Ru in amus.e.m.e.nt.
"Because Ru'er is Juan's lucky charm," Juan's cheeky reply got her laughing out loud.
"You little Queen are gonna be a real charmer one day," said Ru meaning her words more serious than they sounded.
"Isn't that why you call her Queen An?" Jie chimed in ruffling his little girl's hair who was trying to test her godmother's resistance to her charms.
"An means tranquility. I call her An because I want her to develop the tranquility of the flowing water." Jie frowned at her reply. "Water is often peaceful minding its own business but once it faces any resistance, it can crush over mountains to find its path. I want my little Queen to be like that."
While Jie was thoughtfully thinking about Ru's words, he heard his daughter's voice, "That sounds so interesting and cool. Juan is gonna be exactly like that!"
"So, no more useless and petty arguments with unimportant people?" Ru stared at Juan who nodded her head in conviction.
"Never! Juan is gonna be better than that!"
"Did you just...?" Jie stared in awe at his best friend who put a finger over her lips and winked back at him. He was amazed at how she so simply managed to divert Juan's whole mindset by just a few words. He shouldn't have been shocked knowing her abilities to do the unthinkable but he couldn't help it. He only used to think that she played with people's minds very well who knew she could play even with a kid.
He shook his head at her.
"Ruru," Bao called out softly.
"Ruru is not good with stories, we know that. Then how about you play Guzheng (Chinese Zither) for us?"
His suggestion got Ru's brows to quirk up. "That's a very good idea." Ru wanted to curse at Jie for agreeing with his kids but she couldn't even curse before the kids. "Don't be so stingy. It's just a short performance. If it can help my twins to have a good night's sleep then why are you being so mean?"
Ru scrunched up her face. He was definitely trying to make her look bad here by saying those words. She scratched her head before she got up from her chair and vanished from the screen for a short while. When she came back, she set up that heavy instrument and took a deep breath.
"I haven't played in a long while, so don't expect anything fancy," she spoke with a bit of irritation and closed her eyes to calm down.
As her fingers lingered above the strings, even Jie straightened up a bit in anticipation. He hadn't heard her playing the instrument in years now. It was true that unlike modern society they lived in, Ru liked her ancient and antique things. It wasn't just because of the way she was raised, it was also her heart's desire. Instead of modern music, she was oddly fascinated by the beauty lied in traditional things.
As her fingers plucked the strings, it produced a clear and melodious, calm, elegant, and sober music that instantly made the listener lost himself to another world.
Painting a picture with music, those were the words that came to Jie's mind as he listened carefully. The guzheng could depict the feelings incisively and vividly that's why she was so fond of it. The enchanting fascination derived from its natural beauty was hard to resist, perhaps that's why the twins fell asleep immediately.
"That didn't sound like someone who was out of practice," said Jie as soon as she finished.
Ru looked carefully at the way he was stroking his kids's head and only said, "Impatience and anger, both can ruin a family. Before taking any further step, try to keep in mind that now you're not alone. You have two kids with you."
"Are you asking me to apologize to Mey? Even though she's wrong?"
Ru shook her head. "No, that's not what I mean. Whether she's right or wrong, she's their mother. I guess she needs time to understand where she's lacking but you can't say you're not at fault." He furrowed his brows. "If you had demanded and took a stand for yourself back then, she wouldn't have taken you for granted. Sometimes, you have to ask for what is rightfully yours. And a life partner's time should belong to the other half."