Chapter 5: Indistinct Acknowledgement
She blew out the candles, cut the cake, and we all ate a bit of it. Xiaoya was truly happy today. Watching her wear the chain reminded myself of who I’d been many years ago, when I had been so happy, and so simple. I had liked it because it was so pretty, but hadn’t thought about what the red color represented.
Sister Lan then prepared a sumptuous dinner for us but what was strange was, her brother kept staring at my every action while I was eating, as if he was observing something. I pretended to know nothing, and only paid attention to eating. I announced that I was going home after dinner, but Xiaoya insisted that her brother take me home.
“My brother will send you home!”
“Sure, no problem,” he agreed quite readily.
“That’s not necessary. I can go back myself.” I’ve always been alone, for who knew how many years now. I was used to it. I’ve always believed that you usually aren’t in any danger just because you’re alone; you’d only be in danger if you wanted to commit suicide.
“No, Jing. It’s too dangerous for a girl to walk alone at night!” Xiaoya really did care about me.
“Xiaoya’s right, it would be even more dangerous for such a pretty girl like you.” Sister Lan also gave her opinion.
“I’m not sure which is more dangerous,” I sighed softly.
“What did you say?” Xiaoya’s brother hung onto my every word and action, and had heard my even barely audible remark.
“I said all right!” How could one successfully argue against the two of them? Not to mention her brother, who was constantly monitoring me.
“Then let’s go.” Her brother said, and walked towards the garage. I had no choice but to follow him.
We got into his car. I still chose to sit in the backseat, although no one was in the passenger seat. Sometimes keeping your distance is the wise thing to do. We set off, with me not making a sound. He was also silent, but his silence didn’t last for long; he finally opened his mouth to speak.
“Why did you give Xiaoya such a precious chain? It seemed to be very important to you. Would your father even agree with such an action?”
“Didn’t I already tell you the reason? Besides, my biological parents are long gone,” I said coldly
“I’m sorry to bring up painful memories. However, I have a clear understanding that the power of the chain lies not within itself, but with its true master.”
“Its real master died thousands of years ago. ” I knew avoidance was futile when I looked into his eyes.
“Who was it?”
“Vampires,” I didn’t evade.
“You’re joking.” He didn’t really seem to believe it.
“Your call to believe it or not.” I retorted.
“Then why was it on your neck?” He asked.
“Someone gave it to me.”
“Your answer is too general. Are you trying to dodge the question?”
“No, I’m not evading. I just don’t want to recall the past again.”
“Not thinking doesn’t mean you’ll be able to forget it. Sometimes you have to think of it again to truly forget it.”
“My mother gave it to me. The night I became an orphan, I was left with nothing but that chain. I curled into a ball in a corner of the house, and watched the blood covering the floor slowly congeal and darken. I couldn’t help but watch dumbly. It looked like a type of purely colored pigment. It was silent, and everything in the house gradually began to grow cold, including my body and heart.” I quickly discovered that it wasn’t that difficult to say these words again, as if these matters suddenly had nothing to do with me.
“I had no idea you’d experienced such a terrible thing before, but keeping yourself trapped in the past serves no purpose. Now, you can, and should, completely forget those memories. His eyes were locked on the road ahead, but it gave me the feeling of being seen through. I think it must have been an illusion, because I firmly believed that there was no one in this world who could see right through me. It was quiet for a while, until he suddenly asked,
“How much power is in the chain?”
“As long as you wear it, absolutely no noble will dare touch her.” I explained.
Curiously, he asked, “Aren’t you scared without it?”
“I… I have never been afraid. Now, I have a father, a home, a school, some classmates, and some friends. Without the chain, I’m a true female student. There will no longer be any ties between me and that blood family.”
“This is your choice?”
“To give up eternal life, and choose to die of old age. Is it worth it?”
“The only thing I have given up is the past ”
“Do you care about life and death?”
“I don’t know. No one knows until the moment they face death.”
The car had arrived at my driveway as we were talking. It was a dark building, with some white roses planted in the small garden. Vines crawled on the fence as the perfume from flowers filled the air..
He stopped and gallantly opened the door for me. When we were standing in front of my house, he sighed and said “What a beautiful place!”
“You like it?” I asked. “You don’t think it looks like Dracula’s Castle?”
“I’ve never seen his castle, but it does seem similar to the descriptions in novels.”
“I’ve seen it.”
“What, are you serious?” He seemed incredibly shocked.
“Dracula used to live here,” I responded naturally.
“Here, what about other people?”
“He has disappeared for many years already.”
“Disappeared? You mean dead, but can you still die if you’re a vampire?”
“As long as it is willing, then it’s easier than death for humans. We will forever disappear without a trace left on this world if we merely watch a sunrise.”
“Why do you live here?”
“Do you intend to stand in the doorway and ask all your questions?”
“Do you want to offer me a cup of tea?”
“I will in return for taking me home,” I said as I pushed open the gate and walked towards the main entrance.
“Is the door not locked?” He followed behind me.
“We never lock the door.”
“That’s true. No one would dare come to such a terrifying place. Locking it would be a waste of effort.”
“No, it’s because we couldn’t find a lock to match the door.”
“That’s a strange reason.”
The main entrance was still not locked, and I turned on the dim chandelier in the hall after I walked through the door. Everything in the hall emitted an even more terrifying aura under this kind of light, but I had long since gotten used to this kind of atmosphere.
“Have a seat. I’ll go and make some tea.” I said as I entered the kitchen. He started inspecting the various room furnishings while waiting.
“Find anything of interest?” I put the tea on the table.
“These are all priceless antiques. This house must have been really expensive when you bought it.” He also sat down at the table.
“Expensive, if $100 is expensive.” I savored the tea aroma as I spoke.
“$100? How is that possible? Any one of these random antiques will far exceed that price.”
“I’m telling you the truth.” I replied quite seriously.
“There must have been a reason.”
“The reason is simple, because this is the Dracula’s castle and no ordinary person dared to live here.”
“Aren’t you an ordinary person?”
“Would the owner of that chain. Be. An. Average. Person?”
“I’ve always thought that someone who could bask in the sun was an ordinary person. ” He answered confidently.
“If only everyone else thought so.” My eyes were filled with a resigned look.
“Come to me if you run into any trouble. I can help you.” He seemed to see something in my eyes.
“Because I’m an ordinary person, or because I can bask in the sun?” I stared at him curiously.
“Because you are Xiaoya’s friend, because you gave her that chain, because you want to protect her, and also because you want to forget the past and be who you are now.” He gave a string of answers, but I knew he had only spoken one sentence. Because I was no longer of the blood family.
“What if I’m a vampire?” I asked coldly.
“But you’re not. “His answer was quite simple.
“How do you know?” I responded, still expressionless.
“Because I can bask in the sun?” I further asked before he had a chance to respond.
“It felt very strange the first time I saw you. You gave me a mysterious feeling. No, the proper word is divine. I never thought you were a member of the blood family, there wasn’t a trace of vampire characteristics to be found in you. Of course, the next time I saw you, I was even more certain that you weren’t a noble because of your ease underneath the sun. That image is still in my mind.”
“So it’s because I can bask in the sun.” I said coldly as I sipped some tea.
“Beep! Beep! Beep! .. ” His phone suddenly rang. He shouted urgently into the phone, “I’m in the area, be there soon,” and then turned hurriedly to me.
“I’m really sorry, something’s come up.” He stood up and got ready to leave.
“Have the vampires come out to hunt?” I said coldly. “Good bye, you can see yourself out!” I didn’t stand up, nor did I look at him. I continued to taste my tea, closely savoring the bitterness within.
“Okay. See you later.” He turned towards the door, but suddenly turned around just as he reached the door and said, “Let’s chat more next time.”
He rushed out afterwards, and I heard the sounds of the car slowly fade away. I still sat there and tasted the tea, mouthful by mouthful, expressionless, thinking back to what had happened today. I seemed to have said too much today, but it needed to be said. Whatever. It made no difference to me whether I said it or not. I was still myself, drinking tea, with bitterness and silence accompanying me. I was very comfortable and liked this feeling. Silence meant everything was safe, being able to drink tea was to enjoy life.