Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 1 Book of Thunder – Chapter 46 On the Train
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 46 On the Train
Just as we were talking, the ticket counter light turned green. Wen Jiubo and I both stood and made our way over.
“My grandfather and grandmother’s relationship started to sour around this time. After my grandfather was confined to bed, his temper grew worse. No matter how well my grandmother looked after him, he was always grumbling and complaining. Afterward, the grumbling gradually became cursing but everyone in my family…” I lowered my eyes and shook my head. “Everyone in my family is a little distant, so when faced with the problem with my grandparents, they pretended they didn’t see a thing.”
“Carriage 12, seat 28, this way.”
“Carriage 12, seat 29, this way please.”
I glanced at Wen Jiubo. Even our seat numbers were next to each other, he obviously had come prepared.
Our seats were right up next to the carriage window. Wen Jiubo sat down first and poured me a cup of water from the thermos sitting on the table. He looked at me with interest.
“What sort of family do you have?”
I took the cup of water and rolled my eyes at him. “Don’t you know my second aunt? You should know already.”
“No, I’m merely an outsider with a little bit of knowledge. If I don’t ask you, then there’s no way for me to understand the details.” Wen Jiubo picked up his own cup and placed it against his lips, blowing gently and swirling the liquid around. His movements always had a gleam of mystery around it, even when drinking plain water, he made it seem like he was tasting the finest of teas.
“Alright… then I’ll you what you want to know.” I said, slowly, dragging the words out from myself. “My family is in the fashion business. In the beginning, I heard my father was responsible for it. However, not long afterward, he had an affair and ran away with his mistress, taking most of our money with him, leaving my mom and me. She was very strong-willed and able, holding together the remnants of our business and running it by herself.”
“Hm.” Wen Jiubo said in response, noncommittally.
“By the time I was in junior high, her business had grown quite big. In my family, my mom is the youngest. She has two older sisters, my first and second aunt, and one older brother, my uncle. My uncle is a laborer and a very sincere man. If something happens at home, he will willingly help, whether by pitching in or giving money. My uncle has a son. The last I heard of him, he was just returning from studying abroad in Japan. My first aunt is currently in America, her eldest daughter – my oldest cousin is studying over there and is pregnant so my aunt is helping out. My first aunt’s second daughter only graduated recently and is currently at home. I’m not sure if she has a job yet. As for my second aunt, you should be quite familiar with her right? She’s a high school teacher and was married once before. She’s divorced now and doesn’t have any children.”
Wen Jiubo merely nodded, not commenting.
I watched Wen Jiubo, a little defeated, the entire situation was giving me the feeling of punching cotton. “Speaking of which, how did you know I was going home? How did you manage to get a ticket for the seat next to me?”
“That was pretty easy.” Wen Jiubo said smiling. “Your second aunt’s letter included a note with her number. I called her up to ask about the situation and also managed to learn about what was happening with your family at the same time.”
That was… actually really simple. I laughed a little at myself for thinking that he might’ve used some sort of spell or charm.
“Then you should’ve heard most of my family situation from my second aunt, right?”
“That’s right.” Wen Jiubo’s face was full of innocence.
“Then why bother even asking me?!”
Wen Jiubo’s smile widened happily. “Because I wanted to hear it from you of course.”
“You—” Just when I was about to burst from anger, I suddenly realized something. I swallowed and looked to Wen Jiubo. Even my words started stuttering. “T-t-then… my mom. Does she know that you’re coming back with me?”
“Probably not,” Wen Jiubo said after thinking for a moment. “Shan Qiu only told me what she knew. She didn’t say she was going to tell your mother.”
“Is that so…” The heaviness in my heart lifted a little.
“What? Do you mind that much?” Wen Jiubo looked at me. I didn’t dare to meet his gaze.
“I heard that your relationship with your mother isn’t that great. Is there a reason for it?”
Wen Jiubo’s questions were quickly becoming more and more pointed. I didn’t even know how to respond so I quickly stood up.
“Sorry. I um, need to use the bathroom.”
The stiff topic change was probably utterly unbelievable, however, Wen Jiubo didn’t seem to want to press any further. After returning from the restroom, he was already, napping, eyes closed. One hand propped against his cheek.
I sat down next to him quietly, staring curiously.
I had never seen him sleep before, I had basically never seen him eat either. After knowing him for this long, I still didn’t understand a single thing about him, including whether he was actually human. However, it seemed that he knew everything about me. Whatever I did or thought, he seemingly saw through me immediately. Like now, he knew my family history intimately, but to me, he was still a complete enigma.
Although… now I know that he can fall asleep. I concluded quite suddenly. Whatever, if they’re a person, of course, they would sleep. I mocked my own conclusion almost immediately. Even demons must need to sleep as well, otherwise, why would there be a bed in Wen Jiubo’s room?
I noticed for the first time that Wen Jiubo’s lashes were very long, but not feminine at all. Quite the opposite, it actually made him seem more masculine. Wen Jiubo’s face was very lovely, with well-defined features and a good complexion. Even though using the word ‘lovely’ to describe a guy was a little strange, but Wen Jiubo was indeed a rare kind of good-looking, with a man’s masculinity, as well as a feminine sort of beauty.
“What?” Wen Jiubo suddenly opened his eyes. His eyes crinkled in amusement as he looked at me. “Is there dirt or something on my face?”
I was almost scared into having a heart attack. “What are you doing?!”
“What do you mean, what am I doing? What are you doing?” Wen Jiubo touched his own face. “I almost have holes in my face from the way you’re staring. Am I that good looking?”
“No! Who would want to look at you?!” I turned away immediately to hide my slight blush, pretending to be interested in the passing scenery instead.
Wen Jiubo chose this time to stretch out his back. “What time is it? I’m hungry. Thanks to you, I didn’t even get to eat breakfast or lunch.”
“Eh?” I was confused.
“After I received that letter, I bought my ticket immediately. You know how hard it is to get tickets on a train during this holiday period. To get the seat next to yours, I used quite a few dubious methods. I settled Bai during the afternoon, taking him to my friend’s place to help out. You know what that weasel’s like. If I had left him alone, I bet he could probably turn my place upside down.” Wen Jiubo said slowly, crossing his arms.