Fragile, dream-like voices floated in his ears.
The surrounding couples rubbed their ears, wiping away their tears and makeup with tissues. Occasionally, a mobile phone screen lit up with a dim light and it was all obscured from the sound of the piano spreading from the speakers.
The light and shadow on the screen changed. The world was black and white and only the fingertips were brilliant.
After a short moment of astonishment and without waiting for the people around him to regret it, Pei Qingyuan tightly held the slightly cool body temperature.
Ji Tong didn’t move. He even forgot to eat the popcorn as his body stiffened and he stared directly at the screen in front of him, his cheeks faintly flushed red.
Fortunately, no one else would notice in a dimly lit movie theater.
This wasn’t the first time he had held hands with the host.
This feeling was completely different from before.
The advancing cinematic footage flickered in his field of vision. He struggled to watch the ups and downs of the storyline, even though his mind was full of the static intersection of their palms.
People in the ambiguous period often took this small but crucial step in the movie theater with the right atmosphere.
The touched skin became hot until the story ended and white subtitles started to scroll on the pure black background. Then the fingertips were exposed to the sudden light.
Ji Tong still didn’t dare to look down.
He looked up at the dazzling lights and slowly followed the audience out, not forgetting to hold the unfinished popcorn bucket.
The figure merged into the crowd of people, like a fish swimming in the vast ocean.
As they passed by the theater’s store, Pei Qingyuan asked him, “Do you want to buy a new one?”
Ji Tong shook his head. “I don’t want to eat it.”
The popcorn lost its original aroma in front of the sweet taste that wrapped around his heart.
He was just reluctant to throw away this popcorn bucket.
In addition, holding something in his hand would make him look less silly.
“Okay,” Pei Qingyuan replied softly. “Tell me if you’re tired.”
“No.” Ji Tong looked down at the ground. “It is very light.”
It was a dull conversation and a slowly descending landscape elevator.
Everything was no different from normal, except for the hands that never separated under the sleeves.
The host was always smart.
He didn’t discuss this initiative in the darkness and didn’t give Ji Tong a chance to dodge again.
The moonlight was soft, just like the night when he was dragged by the host to run under the moonlight.
Ji Tong stared at the two figures on the ground that were elongated by the street lights, very close to each other.
That day, the host told him to stop calling him Brother.
Then he didn’t say anything else and let his voice disappear in the silent air.
It was only later that he gradually read the unfinished ripples.
Love didn’t need to be confessed out loud.
It would sneak out in everyday words, gentle expressions and quiet breathing.
Thus, Ji Tong thought, ‘It turns out I also know how to love someone.’
People coming out of the theater and the mall walked on the streets at night. Occasionally, they cast glances at the pair of boys holding hands but more of them were immersed in their own stories. They talked to their companions or were silent.
It was time to go home after watching the movie.
However, it was such a quiet night that he always hoped would be extended indefinitely. People wandered idly on the illuminated streets, talking about the street store signs, the food they missing tonight and the strangers passing by. They just remembered the scenery in front of them at the moment without thinking about the ever-changing tomorrow.
Ji Tong wasn’t familiar with this type of moment but the search results told him that this was called ‘wandering aimlessly.’ (TL: Phrase commonly used to be a shortage of housing and young men and women in love would go out on the road outside their houses and walk back and forth while pouring their hearts out.)
It was an exclusive entertainment between couples or good friends.
The night was hazy and yellow. He looked at the elongated shadows on the ground, the grand city in front of him and the towering Ferris wheel in the distance that shone in the night.
In normal times, Ji Tong would have endless words and fill the host’s ears with chatter.
But today, he felt it was good to be quiet.
He liked wandering aimlessly.
Pei Qingyuan, who didn’t talk much, became the first to speak. “Do you want to ride the Ferris wheel?”
The Ferris wheel that stood in the center of the city was one of the iconic landmarks of the city.
Every time Ji Tong’s gaze stayed on something for more than three seconds, it would be keenly captured by him.
Ji Tong’s footsteps paused and he looked away as if nothing had happened. “Do you want to ride the Ferris wheel?”
Pei Qingyuan was very cooperative. “Yes, I want to sit.”
“Okay,” Ji Tong said generously. “I’ll sit with you.”
He nodded slightly and the golden popcorn box in his arms shook accordingly, making a light collision sound.
Considering the fact that the distance was too close at this moment and he was afraid of being discovered by Ji Tong, Pei Qingyuan didn’t want to smile. However, he saw the popcorn bouncing around in the paper bucket and a faint smile still appeared in his eyes.
Smiles, like love, couldn’t be hidden.
Ji Tong ignored him and looked away with a blank face. His eyes stopped on the autumn leaves that fell one after another from the treetops.
The clear sound rang all the way.
His palm was always encircled by a warm heartbeat.
Today was the first day of the long holiday and there were many citizens and tourists who came out to play. There was a long queue at the Ferris wheel, whose opening hours had been temporarily extended. Everyone was waiting to have a glimpse of the splendid night view of the city from the Ferris wheel.
The autumn night was warm and cool. The waiting people were in groups while children ran around and laughed loudly. The toy vendors walked back and forth in the open space of the square.
Surrounded by lively chatter, Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan stayed quietly in the line.
In front of them was a pair of elderly people. The silver-haired grandmother seemed to smell the alluring aroma and turned her head to look at them from time to time.
Seeing that the grandmother kept looking back, the grandfather next to her touched her and whispered, “We are lining up. Why are you always looking at other people? Don’t bother them.”
The grandmother replied with a smile, “Oh, it is the popcorn.”
“What flowers?” The old man was hard of hearing. He squinted his eyes and looked around seriously. “Where are the flowers?”
“Popcorn!” The grandmother leaned toward his ear and raised her voice. “I ate it more than ten years ago. It is sweet.”
“Sweet?” The old man heard it clearly and shook his head repeatedly. “I can’t eat it. It is better to eat something light.”
“It isn’t for you to eat.” The grandmother complained. “You manage everything and even manage the sweetness of popcorn. Is it called popcorn if it isn’t sweet?”
Ji Tong listened to the conversation between the two of them and couldn’t help laughing, “It is a pity that this one is cold and it isn’t delicious.”
If he knew he would meet such cute old people, he would’ve bought a new bucket of popcorn just now.
Seeing that JI Tong was so lively, his grandmother immediately chatted with him. “You bought this at a movie theater?”
Ji Tong nodded. “Yes.”
The old lady sighed. “Then you just came out after watching a movie. Is it a date?”
Seeing that she kept talking to strangers, the serious-looking grandfather quickly bumped his arm against hers. “Why are you always bothering others…?”
The grandmother glared back. “…Why do you keep bothering me?”
At this time, even the quietly watching Pei Qingyuan smiled. “Yes, it is a date.”
It took less than 10 minutes to ride the Ferris wheel and there were quite a few cockpits on this giant Ferris wheel. The line quickly moved.
There were four people in one cabin. Ji Tong sat in the same one with the old couple and they sat as pairs on both sides.
The cabin door closed and the Ferris wheel slowly turned. Ji Tong asked curiously, “Grandparents, are you also coming out on a date?”
The cheerful and talkative grandmother finally felt a bit embarrassed and whispered, “Yes.”
The grandfather didn’t hear clearly and looked at the night scene outside the window seriously. “The construction has been going well for two years and the city is becoming more and more beautiful.”
The grandmother smiled. “He said he wants to take advantage of the holidays to inspect it but he is embarrassed when he is old.”
The old man turned around and saw that everyone was smiling. He didn’t know what was happening and said proudly, “Huh? Isn’t the view good?”
“Yes.” The unfamiliar young man replied to him with a smile. “Do you want to take a photo?”
With this more shy old man beside him, Ji Tong suddenly appeared more confident and graceful.
In the bright and quiet atmosphere of happiness, many photos were born.
In the photo, there was the elderly couple clinging to each other, the light illuminating their faces. Ji Tong took very serious shots and made the silver hair dyed with brilliance.
In another photo, he was sitting beside the host. This was taken by the grandmother and it was also taken very well.
behind him was the boundless scenery while the popcorn bucket was held in Pei Qingyuan’s arms. It looked very incompatible with him. The camera took the photo just as Ji Tong thought about this and his smile was particularly bright. As usual, he stretched out his hand in a scissors gesture.
He turned each photo into data and stored it in the heart of the system.
Once the Ferris wheel reached the highest point, he heard a voice ringing in his heart.
The host’s tone sounded solemn, as if he wanted to say something particularly important.
His heart jumped and he whispered, “What is it?”
On a night when everything was going well, there was only one key sentence missing.
However, Pei Qingyuan’s next sentence surprised him.
“You are no different from others.”
He spoke slowly but with determination.
Ji Tong instantly forgot his previous imagination and turned his head to look at the person beside him in a daze.
He stared into the host’s somber eyes, which had always been calm in the past. At this moment, in the sky, there seemed to be something more than love surging there.
Pei Qingyuan still remembered the cross-species love tragedy novels that his system secretly put into the data pile a few days ago.
He didn’t care about the ending of those stories but he sensed Ji Tong’s hidden worries.
The heartless robot housekeeper became a pile of scrap iron and the young girl who loved him fell into permanent loneliness.
At the end of every story, one party disappeared, leaving the other one hopelessly waiting.
Was this what Ji Tong was worried about?
“Anyone can have love,” he said. “Don’t worry about the future.”
Regardless of age and regardless of gender.
The grandfather stared at the scenery outside the window for a while and took the initiative to move closer to his wife, seemingly asking casually, “Where is popcorn sold?”
No matter whether it was humans or artificial intelligence.
On the glass windows of the cabin, the vivid faces of the people around them were reflected, overlapping with distant lights. It was no different from ordinary people and the warm breath touched each other’s necks.
Ji Tong paused for a long time before asking nonchalantly, “Really?”
Even a person who could leave at any time?
Before taking the initiative to hold the host’s hand, he actually buried a fear that couldn’t be mentioned to people. But in this atmosphere and environment, he felt that he should be brave once.
But the fear was still there.
Two different lives with similar predicaments.
In the 17 years when he lived in another world, he didn’t fare to feel that he could have such love. He didn’t dare to bring the pain of sudden parting to those he gave his heart to and he didn’t dare to desire the word that sounded beautiful.
What awaited him was only the oblivion after disappearance.
Ji Tong turned back abruptly and his fingertips touched the slightly cool glass.
A huge colorful city floated outside the window.
Staying in the small glass house, he heard Pei Qingyuan’s short and powerful answer.
“I’ll prove it to you.”