In the afternoon, the plane flew through the blue sky from far to near. Its appearance gradually became clear, leaving a light white cloud of trails behind it.
In front of a glass window on the ground, a dark-skinned young man looked up at the plane. He instinctively used his reflection in the glass to fix his thick clothes and make himself look more energetic.
Immediately, he turned and walked to the exit inside the airport where he had been waiting in advance.
The familiar tour guide on the side was holding a small flag to welcome the guests, casually greeting him. “There are guests entering the island again, Xiao Lei.”
“Yes, Uncle.” Qin Lei smiled widely. “I don’t know if they came to the island for business or tourism.”
“I think it is for business. It is still cold. There will be more guests in the summer.”
The latitude here was very high and the temperature was quite cold. Even though it was almost May and many places in the south had moved from spring to summer, the air that hung over this land was still filled with a bleak chill.
The two of them chatted idly until some time after the plane landed and the first passenger appeared at the exit.
They immediately stopped talking and concentrated on looking for their respective guests in the crowd.
This was a very small airport and it was about the size of a bus terminal in a normal city. There were very few flights in one day and this was the last flight of the day.
Qin Lei actually didn’t know what the guests he was going to pick up today looked like. He only knew that they were two male guests from the far south.
He has agreed in advance to wait for them at the exit of the airport. In any case, there were few people in the entire airport and especially few tourists. They should be easy to recognize.
But in fact, he became inexplicably certain the moment two figures appeared in his field of view.
The man in the black woolen coat was pushing a suitcase. His figure was tall and upright. Even if Qin Lei couldn’t recognize the brand of the clothes or suitcase, he felt like they were dyed with an expensive smell.
There was another man with a dazzling hair color rarely seen in everyday life. He wore a dark brown jacket and casually carried a backpack in his hand as he talked to the person beside him.
As Qin Lei was in a daze, the young man in the jacket turned his head and looked over. He calmly bypassed the eyes of all the people watching them and asked with a smile, “Mr Qin?”
“Yes, it’s me!” Qin Lei hurriedly said. “Hello hello, just call me Xiao Qin.”
Facing these two guests with an extraordinary temperament, he inevitably felt a bit tense and nervous. For a while, he didn’t know whether to take the initiative to pick up the suitcase that looked very expensive because he was afraid he would break it. The hand that stretched out instinctively froze in mid-air.
The guest with the bright hair smiled and joked, “There is no need to help. The suitcase is very light.”
The other guest’s tone was gentle and steady, with a business-like distance. “Is the car outside?”
“Yes yes.” Qin Lei immediately led them out. “I’ll go and drive the car over.”
Once the group got into the car and officially set off for their destination, Qin Lei was extra careful as he held the steering wheel.
This was the best off-road vehicle he had ever driven.
When he went to pick up the car as instructed, he asked the owner of the car dealership and found that the price was an astronomical amount that he didn’t dare imagine. The performance was also so powerful and outstanding that anyone who drove it would love it.
At this moment, driving on a rough and steep road was almost like walking on flat ground.
The destination of the two guests was the secluded island where Qin grew up. It was five or six hours away from the airport and they would have to take a boat as well.
Along the way, not only was the terrain steep but the road conditions were also relatively poor. The local economy wasn’t good and it was impossible to squeeze out the money to build the road properly.
As the roads became older, there were fewer people. This became a vicious circle.
But objectively speaking, the scenery here was very good. The mountains and rivers were beautiful, the ocean was vast and the folk customs were extremely simple.
Qin Lei had always felt that his hometown was very beautiful but the location was too remote and the transportation inconvenient. Therefore, its reputation wasn’t great. Only some senior travel friends would come to visit here.
In the past when Qin Lei picked up other guests to play on the island, he would either take an old minibus or drive his own broken van. This made him dizzy along the way. Once he got out of the car, he had to rest for half a day to slow down.
Today was the most comfortable car he had ever driven.
The guest in the back seat even fell asleep.
Qin Lei was concentrating on driving when he heard a low voice. “Drive more steadily.”
He glanced at the rearview mirror reflexively and immediately stopped the answer he was about to blurt out. Instead, he nodded seriously.
In the cold afternoon, the temperature inside the car was comfortable. His crimson hair smudged against the black woolen material and Mr Chi was leaning on his lover’s shoulder to sleep.
In the exceptionally quiet and peaceful atmosphere, the silent Qin Lei drove the car more slowly.
This trip was actually a bit strange. The two guests weren’t interested in the regular itinerary he provided. They only said they were going to an island and they were going to the farthest and smallest island among them.
The scenery there was quite beautiful but if they came specifically to take photos, it had to depend on the time and weather. They wouldn’t go there directly after leaving the airport.
Therefore, Qin Lei couldn’t guess the purpose of their trip.
However, Mr Chi offered a generous amount of money and he had a generous and kind personality. He was always worried that he was taking too much money, so he wanted to work hard to complete everything that the guest wanted.
In addition, he was still very curious. What were these two guests doing here?”
They seemed out of place in this forgotten, desolate land. It was as if they were people from another world.
Through the rearview mirror in the car, Qin Lei could see Mr He in the back seat maintaining his unchanged posture, allowing his lover to sleep peacefully on his shoulder.
He stared down at his lover’s sleeping face for a moment. He looked at the other person’s slender and thick eyelashes like crow feathers, gently trembling with his breathing while he slept.
Immediately afterward, he looked sideways at the strange scenery passing by outside the car window and his eyes flickered quietly.
They contained complex emotions that Qin Lei couldn’t read.
It almost gave him the illusion that the steering wheel in his hand was guiding more than the smooth ride in front of him.
It was a long and turbulent journey.
Dusk fell into the night. The circling gulls returned to the port and the pre-booked boats carried their guests and sailed to the islands scattered in the sea.
As they drove past the second last island, they saw a bridge.
It was a long bridge connecting two islands.
The long journey had silently reached an end.
Qin Lei heard Mr He’s voice, “Dock at the shore.”
The noisy sea breeze obscured all the emotions in the words.
Qin Lei drove the boat neatly to the shore. He was one of the few tour guides in this area who could drive, steer a ship and was familiar with everything here. He wanted more people to appreciate the beauty of his hometown.
They docked at the edge of the smallest island. The barren land was littered with several old houses, only one of which was still lit.
It was already night and the faint aroma of food wafted in the wind.
The old man over 70 years old heard the movement outside and came out. He pushed open the door and smiled when he saw Qin Lei. “Bringing someone to play again?”
Qin Yue greeted him warmly. “Yes. Uncle, have you eaten?”
“I’ve eaten. Why did you come here tonight?” The old man asked with concern. “The scenery is better during the day.”
They could see the endless blue sea during the day and there were the colorful sunrises and sunsets in the morning and evening. It was a beautiful scenery like an oil painting and very suitable for tourists who liked photography.
But it was night. The sea was dark and only sporadic lights shone on the island.
Through the open door of the house, an old woman could be seen. She was half-leaning on the bed and there was a rice bowl that she had just eaten on the tablet at hand. Her voice was trembling. “Is it Xiao Lei?”
Qin Lei took the initiative to take a few steps forward to respond to the old woman’s greeting. He gently helped move the wheelchair placed in the house to a place where it wouldn’t affect walking.
At the same time, he didn’t forget to introduce the two guests standing on the side. “Grandma and Grandpa are the only residents of this island. Grandma has bad legs and feet and it isn’t convenient for her to move. Did you notice the bridge just now? That is Uncle…”
He looked at the guests politely as he spoke but the moment he met their eyes, he suddenly felt as if they already knew what he was saying.
Qin Lei didn’t know why he had such a bizarre idea.
Perhaps it was because their eyes were too quiet.
It was so quiet that even the churning waves around them lost their sound.
Qin Lei bid farewell to the old man he knew well and led the two guests to the bridge, the only place that could be called a scenic spot at night.
They couldn’t see it clearly when looking at it from the sea just now, but they could see the appearance of this bridge when they got closer.
Before getting on the bridge, Qin Lei specially explained it. “This bridge was originally built by Uncle alone. His materials and abilities were limited and the appearance wasn’t very solid, making it look scary. Then this year, someone helped strengthen it and it is very stable now. So don’t worry about walking.”
Mr He, who had been silent for a long time, finally spoke. “Was it reinforced this year?”
He observed the bridge cautiously, comparing it to the image in the news footage in his memory. He did find a difference.
“Yes, it is some foreigners who came to run a business. Uncle talked to me about it for a long time. After that, every time I brought guests over to play, he would take the initiative to come out and say hello.”
As he said that, Qin Lei remembered the doubts he had along the way. He scratched his head with a smile and said frankly, “To be honest, I thought you were here to do business at first. Then after seeing you, I didn’t feel like it.”
The two guests weren’t like those dusty salesmen. They were more like big bosses who came to inspect the investment.
Mr He continued to ask, “People often come here to do business?”
“There were very few in the early years but it has increased in the last six months.” Qin Yu thought about it seriously. “They heard that we have special seafood here, so they came to take a look.”
He saw that the two guests seemed very interested in this matter, so he introduced it to them very patiently.
“We have a lot of delicious seafood here and they are all unique to this side. You can’t eat them in other places. However, they aren’t famous and the transportation costs are high. So in the past, few people came to do this business.”
“I was also curious about why these people came here suddenly. I inquired about it. They said it was because there is now a very popular shopping app that specializes in special products. This is very popular with the customers in big cities and contains a lot of novelties that weren’t famous before. I remember the app was called… what was it called? It seemed to be some type of tree.”
Qin Lei was still trying to remember when Mr Chi said softly, “Three Trees.”
“Yes, that was it! Has Mr Chi used it?”
“I used it.” Mr Chi glanced at his lover beside him and asked, “Has the salesman of Three Trees been here?”
Qin Yue shook his head. “No, maybe this place is too remote to be noticed by them. Moreover, those salesmen say that they don’t need to talk about resources themselves now. Many poor local governments like ours will take the initiative to come to the door.”
For poor and backward places, they just needed to have one thing that could become goods or services with economic value and a stable market and it could change everything in the local area.
Mr He seemed very proficient in business and succinctly finished his words for him.
“There are many follow-up companies that follow this model. These teams need to find a lot of distinctive product resources so they found this place.”
Countless salesmen flocked to previously unknown counties and villages. Many poor places were rediscovered.
Some of them came to this island and saw this overly simple bridge. Perhaps they were moved by the love between the old couple or perhaps it was out of consideration for the transportation that might need to be used in the future. Thus, they took the initiative to help out.
This allowed the bridge to have a new look.
The butterfly flapped its wings on the night of the typhoon months ago. The storm continued to this day, spreading thousands of kilometers away to remote and isolated islands.
It was the bridge in the novel but it wasn’t quite right.
This was the final answer that life gave.
The salty sea breeze blew through the overlapping planks and the bridge shook slightly when they walked.
Qin Lei saw the pair of lovers behind him interlock their fingers and walk across the bridge side by side.
It was a bleak, simple and not very aesthetically pleasing bridge.
But Mr Chi said, “It is beautiful.”
Mr He didn’t speak and just held his hand tightly.
The only old house on the island where people lived was still light and the figure of the old man was reflected on the window.
Qin Lei knew that the old man was sitting on the edge of the bed, carrying a washbasin and using a towel to help his wife wipe her face.
It was surrounded by the sound of crashing waves that lapped the shore endlessly.
It was a shore he was more familiar with.
He was suddenly gripped by an indescribable feeling.
Qin Yue, who was born and grew up on the island, didn’t leave his hometown to find other prospects like most young people when he became an adult, working in more developed provinces to earn money.
He worked as a tour guide after graduating from high school and never left his hometown.
It was because every bright morning in his life was spent in the most beautiful scenery.
He thought that somebody would find his hometown.
There would always be more people docking on this coast.
Qin Lei was waiting for that day to come.
On this day, he waited for two guests who didn’t look like tourists. They were guests with extraordinary temperaments and generous spending.
He had a guess that might be silly.
In the howling sea breeze, the young guide suddenly spoke. It was as if he was introducing the local scenery to first-time visitors, but it was with a type of apprehension and incoherence that was rare for tour guides.
“The scenery here is really beautiful but not many people know about it.”
“I know many places similar to ours. Some have become filming locations for movies, some have been written into songs and some have a special scenery that attracts tourists.”
“They were all seen and everything got better and better.”
Qin Lei actually didn’t understand what he wanted to say. He just spoke in the most sincere tone. “There is such a beautiful sea here, there are all types of delicious fish and there is the bridge built by Uncle. It should be seen…”
The two guests listened quietly to him.
In the end, Mr He gazed at the distant land ahead and said softly, “There will be such a day.”
They remained where they were like they wanted to talk.
Thus, Qin Lei took the initiative to go a distance away to wait.
He sat on a stone, held his breath and waited patiently.
He waited for a silly fantasy to come true.
The sea breeze brought a butterfly in the dark night, like light and shadows, hovering in the corners of his simple, thick clothes.
In the sound of the surging tide, He Qiao didn’t say a word. His quiet eyes wandered between the land and sea.
The ambiguous confusion disappeared and the shackles fell quietly.
After breaking the illusion, it condensed into something more solid and powerful.
Chi Xueyan stared at the deep sea surface beside the bridge, as if he saw the gently flapping butterfly wings, shuttling between the waves and about to set off another storm.
This made him take the initiative to ask, “What are you thinking about?”
“I’m thinking about a bridge crossing the sea,” He Qiao said. “The bridge plan in the second piece of news wasn’t the best choice.
He would find the best plan.
Then he would create a unique coordinate.
Chi Xueyan understood what he meant and instantly remembered a conversation that was always engraved in his memory.
He smiled and asked, “So you are going to become a sanctimonious capitalist?”
The other protagonist of the conversation also remembered the answer verbatim.
“Yes.” He Qiao raised an eyebrow and wrapped his arms around Chi Xueyan’s waist. “Dentist who is very good at coaxing people.”
Time seemed to go back to the convenience store on the night of the typhoon.
Together, they witnessed a reversal of fate.
A certain fate paddled the boat, turned around and went to the opposite shore. The ripples from that floated to this day, attaching to the bridge at their feet.
A faint laugh escaped amidst the sound of the waves.
The wind and rain were raging in their field of view. They stood side by side on the bridge where the end of the sea couldn’t be seen, as if there were no two people in the world who fit better than them.
The only difference was that after this adventure, there were no two bottles of ice cold drinks as spoils of war.
Chi Xueyan wanted the spoils.
As he was surrounded by the black woolen coat, he suddenly leaned toward his lover’s ear and said softly, “I want to wear your coat.”
He Qiao nodded and asked, “Why?”
He had worn Chi Xueyan’s coat several times but the other person had never worn his coat.
Chi Xueyan smiled when he heard this and there was a special emotion in his voice, “It is because I’m not thinking about what is the most suitable thing to do.”
He Qiao clearly remembered that this was the third time he said something similar.
The first time was after they made the decision to get married. They sat in the newly bought sports car and Chi Xueyan said it was time to experience the weight of the rules. Thus, he simply signed a prenuptial agreement of non-interference.
The second time was opposite the convenience store. Under an umbrella that shielded them from the wind and rain, Chi Xueyan asked him to guess but didn’t announce the correct answer.
This was the third time.
Chi Xueyan didn’t ask him to guess and still didn’t announce the correct answer.
There was only the sentence hiding the secret that brushed over He Qiao’s ear along with a warm breath.
Chi Xueyan didn’t tell him what was the best thing to do at this moment.
He murmured, “When I wear it, I’ll be sure to wrinkle it.”
The originally cold sea breeze seemed to surge with humid heat.
In the blurred night, he raised his face slightly. He looked at He Qiao through the dark collar and his eyes were extremely bright and deep.
It seemed to hide a strange vortex full of desire.