On flat or rough roads, the off-white, simple-looking RV drove quickly forward.
The airflow brought by the driving vehicle merged with the window, passing over the swaying branches. The small window of the car body was slightly opened and there was the sound of plastic rubbing and colliding inside.
The brightly colored mini balloon figure stood inside the window and was blown from side to side. It flowed out the window to embrace the wind for a while before being beaten back into the car by the wind.
Along with it swaying in the wind, loud music was coming from the car.
The car speakers played refreshing heavy metal rock music that spread from the cockpit to the entire car.
At this moment, Chi Xueyan was holding the steering wheel. He Qiao was sitting in the passenger seat next to him and looking at the map.
He took turns driving with He Qiao and switched approximately every two or three hours so as to not get tired.
Chi Xueyan didn’t turn on the navigation. He looked at the flashing road signs on the side of the road and asked the person beside him, “Which way to turn at the next intersection?”
“Turn right and get ready to get on the highway,” He Qiao replied to him. “IN half an hour, stop at the service station. It is time to refuel.”
Chi Xueyan nodded gently. The RV with an excellent performance passed the next intersection. It drifted around the corner very beautifully and drove to the right.
No matter whether it was the music playing from the speakers or the driving style, it was easy to distinguish who was driving at the moment.
For this spring self-driving tour, the two of them didn’t make a detailed route or schedule planning in advance.
He Qiao originally wanted to do it but Chi Xueyan felt that he didn’t need it.
In any case, there was only one destination they had to go to. It was guaranteed that the last stop was there. The rest was left to fate.
The scenery changed along the way and Chi Xueyan would turn onto a road that he thought was better. He Qiao was responsible for making sure that the general direction was right. He reminded Chi Xueyan when approaching the city entrance or gas station and decided whether to go there or not.
So from the beginning, Chi Xueyan liked the trip.
This seemed closer to the original meaning of travel.
For those who traveled by car, the most common choice was to drive all the way to the northwest where the territory was vast and the natural landscape was more beautiful and magnificent.
However, they were roughly heading east. It was because their only sure destination was a temple in a southeastern city.
There was a place that Han Zhenzhen had long wanted Chi Xueyan to go to.
One weekend in the sixth grade of elementary school, he went on a trip to other places with his parents. There was a famous temple that was said to be very effective. Han Zhenzhen was keen on praying to Buddha and worshiping the gods. She thought about how he would soon take an important exam and took him to the temple to pray.
To this day, Chi Xueyan didn’t understand what praying had to do with the middle school entrance examination. If it was changed to the high school entrance examination or college entrance examination then it sounded more normal.
That day, his mother asked for a fortune for him but the fortune didn’t have anything to do with the test scores of an elementary school student.
The fortune said that he had a bad fate and there was a calamity at the end. It was very fierce.
Han Zhenzhen was shocked because of this. The middle school entrance examination suddenly became unimportant and she no longer bothered Bodhisattva about his studies. She had more concerns.
Later, she continued to go to various fortune tellers. Finally, she came up with a more detailed fortune. He insisted on going his own way emotionally and this eventually led to disaster.
So from Chi Xueyan’s middle school days, she paid special attention to his son’s emotional state until he graduated from college and started working.
Seeing that he was approaching the time for ordinary people to fall in love and get married, maybe one day he would suddenly bring back someone whose details were unknown. The worried Han Zhenzhen thought about it and discussed arranging blind dates for him.
She didn’t want her already willful son to go his own way but she also didn’t want to force him to be with someone he didn’t like. Thus, she came up with this moderate and naive idea.
Once Chi Xueyan’s blind date failed for the tenth time, Han Zhenzhen quietly went to the temple again.
It was the temple where the first foreshadowing of her son’s fate was made.
She knelt on the futon and prayed earnestly to Bodhisattva. She hoped that among the blind dates she felt were good, there would be someone her son liked.
The purpose of most people’s blind dates was aimed at finding a marriage partner with matching conditions, but she wanted her son to meet a true and pure love.
Even if this possibility seemed too slim.
On the eleventh blind date, Chi Xueyan actually met it.
So after the two of them finished their wedding, Han Zhenzhen always wanted Chi Xueyan to go to the temple to pay his respects but he didn’t find a suitable opportunity.
Now they were planning a honeymoon trip and it was better to take time on the road to go there with He Qiao.
He Qiao didn’t refuse this proposal and neither did Chi Xueyan.
He still remembered when he went there in elementary school. It was also spring and the temple was full of hydrangeas inside and outside. The green branches and leaves were interspersed with dense flowers which had a dreamy beauty when combined with the simple and solemn architecture.
So he reluctantly tolerated his mother’s superstitious behavior of having him go to pray for his middle school examination. After all, the scenery was beautiful and he could wait outside.
More than a decade ago, as a young boy, he stood by the courtyard wall and looked up at the flowers in the spring for a long time.
More than a decade later, he grew up and let go of the steering wheel, watching as the person beside him unfastened his seat belt.
Fate turned a corner in that fragrant smell.
Chi Xueyan thought that He Qiao should also like those hydrangeas.
The car door closed and He Qiao walked aside to get the gas gun. Chi Xueyan lifted the fuel tank cap and waited for him to come.
After refueling, the two of them had a simple lunch at the service station.
The lunch tasted average. Chi Xueyan hastily ate it while thinking that they could go camping in the forest in the evening and have a barbecue. Therefore, he couldn’t wait to get in the car and drive to the next stop. Then he found that He Qiao was looking in a certain direction with a focused expression.
He followed He Qiao’s gaze and looked over. It was a couple who were arguing.
It seemed there was a conflict on the road and the noise was quite fierce. A few of the guests eating or resting here were secretly watching.
Chi Xueyan listened to a few words before quickly retracting his gaze.
He had no interest in this type of quarrel where the words repeated again and again like hitting a ghost wall. It was better to watch a TV show with a wonderful script written in advance.
On the contrary, it was more interesting for him to watch He Qiao, who was seriously looking at the excitement in front of them.
It might seem surprising at first.
Then Chi Xueyan thought of Sheng Xiaoyue, a deep fan of soap operas, and the parents who hadn’t stopped gossiping throughout the Spring Festival. He suddenly felt it was very reasonable.
If his mother also liked to watch soap operas at 8 o’clock in the evening then he would probably be forced to get used to watching this type of excitement and even experience some type of fun from it.
Soon, He Qiao noticed his gaze. He emerged from his thoughts and took the initiative to ask, “Do you want to leave?”
The couple not far away was still arguing and the fighting had intensified. It escalated to the point of looking for the police.
Chi Xueyan saw that He Qiao didn’t care about this at all. He didn’t glance in the direction where the movements were becoming bigger and just stared at Chi Xueyan without distraction.
There was a smile that couldn’t be restrained in his eyes.
“Let’s leave later,” Chi Xueyan said. “I want to see the liveliness.”
Then they sat in the service station and watched the couple quarreling for half an hour with many interested people.
During this period, they yelled eight times, slammed the car door five times, cried on the ground three times and called the police twice.
Chi Xueyan became sleepy from watching and couldn’t remember exactly what they were arguing about. He relied on counting the big actions to drive away his sleepiness.
It wasn’t until the police actually arrived and the couple’s voices instantly became quiet that it signaled the end of the excitement.
The crowd that stopped for this gradually dispersed and Chi Xueyan also returned to the car with He Qiao.
After spending half an hour that was both short and long, his only thought was that there should never be such a fierce argument between him and He Qiao.
A long time ago, Chi Xueyan talked nonsense in front of his parents and said they never quarreled.
Now it seemed that this lie might come true.
It was because He Qiao, who fell in love with him, never refused him again. He Qiao wouldn’t refuse any of his requests and would obey all his likes and dislikes.
No matter whether it was a dispensable hobby or something more difficult to endure.
It was a love dominated by reason and restraint.
Chi Xueyan actually didn’t know if this was a good thing.
He hadn’t experienced love in a narrow sense before and had no corresponding experience.
But in a larger range of love, he often had conflicts with his parents and unpleasant problems with his good friends.
Chi Xueyan didn’t like to waste time arguing with people. It was better to do things than to talk. Still, he didn’t reject these negative-sounded moments in each relationship.
Instead, he felt that it would make the relationship more complete.
He learned to make some simple desserts so he could coax his angry parents.
When telling fairy tales while making desserts, he would observe the expressions of his parents in the reflection of the glass window and watch them go from being angry to being not angry. This was also a special beauty.
There was no need to mention the disputes and reconciliations with friends. They were part of getting to know each other and bringing each other closer.
Chi Xueyan had seen everyone close to him look angry or sad, but he hadn’t seen it with He Qiao.
He Qiao was always gentle in front of him.
It was like a shell finally embracing the tenderness of the pearl.
But that cold and hard shell should have another side.
Everyone should have another side.
On the next trip after leaving the service station, it was changed to He Qiao driving.
In the passenger seat, Chi Xueyan was getting sleepy. Therefore, he returned to the more comfortable cabin of the car. He leaned against the bed and watched the scenery flying by.
In the crowded and warm home, he imagined the other side of the shell and fell asleep before he knew it.
Once he woke up again, the car was parked next to a special camping base.
Chi Xueyan was covered with a soft blanket. He rubbed his sleepy eyes and opened the curtains slightly. He saw other travel vehicles parked beside him, people moving back and forth and the endless, dark green forest.
The light outside was a warm gold brewing from dusk. He quietly poured in along the narrow gap he had lifted and quietly landed on another figure.
He Qiao closed the refrigerator door very gently. He put the barbecue ingredients he purchased in advance in the morning on the kitchen countertop, unpacked the bags and waited for them to thaw.
Chi Xueyan, who woke up, held the blanket and watched the warm golden light linger on the familiar face, outlining vivid and unforgettable lines.
This was a fully functional yet miniature home.
They were so close that it was like they could touch each other’s hearts as soon as they reached out.
He Qiao, who was preparing for the barbecue, looked up and met his gaze. “Are you hungry?”
He saw Chi Xueyan first shake his head before nodding.
Then Chi Xueyan lifted the blanket and took the initiative to help him get things. At the same time, he answered the question. “Let’s get out of the car together.”
The dusk in the forest was becoming stronger and the smell of food wafted in the air.
He Qiao took care of the barbecue work while Chi Xueyan took photos with the camera.
He took photos of the snotty and laughing children of the unfamiliar family next door, the moment when the setting sun kissed the tops of the trees and the green pepper skewers that He Qiao accidentally burned and silently threw into the trash can.
At the same time, He Qiao felt that Chi Xueyan seemed to be looking for something.
He wandered around and encountered all types of wild insects from time to time. So when he returned, he asked thoughtfully, “Are you afraid of bugs?”
“……” He Qiao replied truthfully, “I’m not afraid.”
“Then hold out his hand.”
After noticing that this person seemed to be holding something in the palm of his hand, He Qiao extended his hand according to the words.
From the center of his lover’s palm, something green and shiny with small thorns on the surface fell down immediately.
It could easily be mistaken for a caterpillar but it wasn’t really a bug.
The first time He Qiao touched it, he discovered that it was a plant that looked like a bug. It was a cocklebur.
Instead, he reflexively withdrew his hand.
Chi Xueyan watched this cocklebur fall straight into the grass and couldn’t help laughing, “Are you afraid?”
It was rare to capture a real trace of uneasiness in his lover, who was always gentle and calm.
Then in the next second, he heard the other person’s almost instinctive answer.
“I’m not afraid of bugs but I’m afraid of plants with thorns,” He Qiao said. “It is because I was pricked by a cactus when I was a child.”
The moment these words emerged, both of them were stunned at the same time.
Chi Xueyan came to his senses first. He shifted his gaze away from He Qiao toward the cocklebur that was the same color as the green grass. He said in his usual tone, “I remember. I won’t take you to play in the desert in the future.”
After a while, He Qiao responded, “You can go. It doesn’t matter as long as I don’t get close to a cactus.”
There was no extra emotion in his voice.
He seemed to simply be discussing where to travel to in the future.
The aroma of barbecue in the air was getting stronger and stronger.
As night fell, the camp was lit with a variety of lights. The atmosphere was warm and pleasant.
During the dinner chat, the two of them tacitly didn’t talk about the problem. Which He Qiao was the child pierced by the cactus?
Did He Qiao really just have the same name and surname as the person in the novel while being born on the same day?
Chi Xueyan thought about it. As an outsider, he already had a guess about this problem but now it was finally noticed by the person concerned.
In the misty forest, the refreshing rain gradually fell.
The light night that was about to be shrouded in sleep was stained with a damp atmosphere.
The white fingertips gently lifted the edge of the curtain a little bit again.
In the faint sound of rain, Chi Xueyan saw the raindrops continuously beating on the tents pitched in the camp outside. The outside of the window was dripping with rain while the inside was covered with a thin layer of white mist.
On nights like this, being in a comfortable RV was a particularly happy thing.
At least, it was more like a home that could shelter them from the wind and rain.
The home had a warm bed and quilt as well as the arms of his lover.
But today’s embrace wasn’t requested by Chi Xueyan on his own initiative.
The arms around his body were stronger than ever. There was a type of stubborn and cautious cherishment.
Soon, Chi Xueyan was tired of watching the rain scene and let go of the curtain. He turned over and looked at the person around him.
He saw the handsome profile of this person’s face as always. There was also more silence than usual.
He didn’t know what He Qiao was thinking about now.
Maybe he was thinking about who he really was or maybe he was thinking about who the love he had at the moment belonged to. Perhaps he was thinking about more complicated and difficult things.
Chi Xueyan couldn’t guess and he didn’t plan to ask. He just suddenly wanted to chat with He Qiao.
He talked about cacti.
“Can I keep a cactus on the balcony at home?”
“Do you feel scared when you hear the word cactus?”
“What if I say cactus to you every day before I say good night to you?”
Hearing this bizarre thought, He Qiao finally retracted from his thoughts and looked sideways at home.
He saw that Chi Xueyan’s eyes were extremely bright in the light and something very soft was shining inside.
“Roses also have thorns. Why aren’t you afraid of roses and instead like this flower the most?”
“It isn’t the same.”
“What is different?”
He Qiao thought for a while before giving an answer. “It is because roses are beautiful.”
The person with a hair color similar to roses said, “I think it is the same. In any case, it will prick your hand when you touch it.”
Chi Xueyan suddenly moved closer to him. Crimson hair brushed against his jaw and roses were in full bloom on his chest. Their hearts seemed to be close together.
The sound of rain outside the car was pouring down. He Qiao lowered his head slightly. As he went to kiss the forehead of the person in his arms, he heard a somewhat hazy voice.
“But it doesn’t matter if you feel it is different.”
“No matter whether it is the same or not, what I like is this you.”
The person being kissed whispered, “You who are afraid of cacti but like roses.”
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A kiss with the taste of a cactus · 3 ·