Chapter 9: Discussion about the past
“We’re here.” A voice interrupted my reminiscing, and pulled me away from that faraway world. The car had stopped, and Xiaoyu was devoting his full stare towards me.
“Oh.” I responded as I opened the door and got out of the car.
“Vampire Restaurant.” I raised my head to look at the restaurant in front of me. The decorations outside the door were quite unique. The signage was a frayed, wooden board hung by two metal chains red with rut. The words “Vampire Restaurant” were written in blood red on it, appearing particularly creepy.
“Is it scaring you?” Xiaoyu asked when he saw me staring at the sign dumbly.
“No.” I said and walked into that restaurant with the weird name. Xiaoyu followed behind me.
“Miss, I’ve made a reservation. My name is Junyu.” Xiaoyu walked to the hostess stand and spoke to the pretty lady.
“Please follow me.” The lady said as she led us to the table that Xiaoyu had reserved. It was a table in a dark corner of the restaurant, extremely private. Add a few effects from lighting, and the result was that no one else could see clearly into this corner, but we could clearly see the movement of all the guests in the restaurant.
“Miss, sir, what would you like to order?” Another lady asked after pouring tea.
“Lunch.” I answered.
“Two lunches.” Xiaoyu added.
“What would you like to drink?” The lady further asked.
“Just tea will be fine.” I raised the glass of tea from the table in reference.
“Who would have thought they would still be serving at this hour!” I reflected as I took a sip of tea.
“Can you tell me more about the ‘thousand year old monster’?” Xiaoyu suddenly asked.
“She says her name is Lisa and that she’s Thai. She’s never joined any party, has never hurt anyone, and only takes blood from animals.” I delivered all I knew in one breath to spare him asking an endless stream of questions. Take it as my portion of the lunch money.
“How did you make her acquaintance?” It looked like Xiaoyu wasn’t about to let me eat lunch in peace.
“She appears every now and then to irritate me, does this count as an acquaintance?” I asked in return.
“It looks like she rather likes you.” Xiaoyu smiled after taking a sip of his red tea.
“I don’t like girls.” I also took a sip of tea.
“Your cold humor is quite appealing sometimes.” Xiaoyu played with the golden teacup in his hand. In the darkness, his deep eyes appeared to have an even greater depth to them, and was even more mesmerizing.
“Is this a compliment suitable for a 17 year old girl?” I asked in my accustomed cold voice.
“I’ve long said that you don’t seem like a 17 year old girl.” Xiaoyu argued.
“Being unlike something, and not being something, is more than a single word’s difference.” I continued to stare closely at his eyes, those eyes with such a depth to them. I had to admit that I liked eyes with that color. They were so enticing.
“Then can you tell me if being unlike a 17 year old, or not being a 17 year old, is more appropriate?” He cut straight to the chase. It was at the moment that our lunch arrived. I pretended not to have heard and quietly ate the lunch in front of me. I observed our surroundings as I ate. This was beyond an ordinary restaurant. A few tables, a few chairs, and a few unassuming customers. It wasn’t related to vampires in the slightest way. I wondered why the restaurant had been given such a name.
“Is something wrong?” Xiaoyu had possibly noticed the confusion in my heart.
“If anything’s wrong, then it’s the restaurant’s name.” I said with a very natural tone, without the customary cold feeling.
“That’s the tone most suitable for you, a girl from the season of flowers.” I had absolutely not anticipated that Xiaoyu would suddenly say something like this. I didn’t know how to respond in the heat of the moment, but we couldn’t stay silent forever.
“It looks like you’re a regular here, you should know what to order!” I diverted the conversation topic again after thinking for a while.
“If you want to know, then you’ll have to have a few drinks. Let me preface this with, you can’t have alcohol, but you can have tomato juice.” He smiled a slightly evil smirk at me.
“Why do I have to drink tomato juice? Because it’s red?” I asked discontentedly.
“You don’t like it?” He seemed to be probing for something.
“If we’re talking about juice, then I prefer orange juice.” I said coldly, but ripples slowly moved through the surface of the lake in my heart, one that had been as calm as a mirror previously.
“Then what about color?” He put down the cutlery in his hands and gazed at me severely.
“Silver.” I put a small piece of beef into my mouth and chewed slowly.
“Then I’ll treat you to orange juice later.” He suddenly became very happy with a smile that would put others at ease. Maybe it was because he had received an answer he wanted. We dined amidst that comfortable smile as if everything was peaceful, a type of calm that no one wanted to disturb for any reason whatsoever.
We were eating lunch not at lunch time. Good thing we were hidden in the dark, although perhaps “hidden” wasn’t the best word for it, but we looked a bit odd in the eyes of others. All the other guests in the restaurant were either drinking tea or coffee, or snacking on exquisite desserts. This was the thing to do at this hour, and not to relish lunch like we were doing.
We finally finished eating. For the record, he finished first, and I swallowed the last few bites under his unblinking adoration.
“Alright, I’m full and I think you’ve seen enough. Let’s go!” I dabbed at my lips with the napkin and indicated my desire to leave.
“To be honest, I haven’t seen enough. But let’s go, where to?” His original big brother image completely vanished after these words.
“I want to know why this restaurant is called by this name.” I merely sighed lightly in my heart, and replying serenely while maintaining an emotionless facade.
“Then why leave?” He appeared completely perplexed.
“Will we learn why if we just stay in this restaurant?” I stared into his eyes as I asked. I liked to look into the other’s eyes when I talked to them. Past experience has taught me to search for answers in people’s eyes, and not in their words.
“When this restaurant enters the dark world, that’s when it becomes a real restaurant for vampires.” It looked like Xiaoyu no longer wanted to continue hiding the truth.
“Will there really be vampires?” I was more interested in this.
“Perhaps! But we’re not really sure who is and who isn’t.” Xiaoyu responded as he glanced at his watch.
“Isn’t it a bit dark outside already? When will it start operating?” I was very aware that Xiaoyu had just wanted to check to see if it was the Vampire Restaurant’s operation hours yet when he’d looked at his watch.
“Not yet, it’s only 5:50 pm. It’s probably dark due to bad weather. It usually doesn’t start until 6:30 pm.” Xiaoyu said with a face full of resignation. “Perhaps we wouldn’t have to wait if you’d slept until 3 pm.”
“Then you guys are to blame for not causing enough fuss last night.” I said coldly, in the tone that I used most often.
“I think it’s because your friend Lisa was too strong.” Xiaoyu refused to back down.
“First, Lisa isn’t my friend. Second, that vampire called Bern was too weak.” I argued back.
“Oh right, you haven’t told me yet how you two met.” Xiaoyu suddenly thought of this question.
“Who!” I pretended not to know who he meant by “you two” as I took a sip of tea.
“Why, you and Lisa of course.” Xiaoyu stared closely at me without letting up for a second.
“I don’t remember either.” I didn’t wish to answer this question.
“You’re evading again.” It looked like Xiaoyu really didn’t intend to let me off the hook that easily today.
“No, just that it’s in the past and I’ve forgotten already.” I ignored him and continued to drink tea.
“Have you really forgotten, and really are unable to recall it?” Xiaoyu asked ceaselessly.
“I’ve really forgotten. Since I’ve forgotten, there’s no need to dwell on it.” I said calmly, not a trace of emotion in my tone.
“Then I have another question to ask you, is that alright?” Xiaoyu knew that there was no point in asking further and so changed the topic.
“If I haven’t forgotten.” I said coldly.
“What were you so lost in thought about in the car? I looked at you a few times and you didn’t even realize.” Xiaoyu interrogated me with his deep, deep eyes.
“….” I didn’t respond, perhaps for a second, I didn’t know how to begin.
“You’ve forgotten?” Xiaoyu asked upon seeing that I remained silent.
“No just that I don’t know where to begin.” I could not escape when faced with those deep, soulful depths.
“It’s just an interlude in my past, do you really want to hear?” I asked.
“I do, will you tell me?” Xiaoyu’s face was full of astonishment, such was the satisfaction humans received from having their curiosity satisfied.
“It’s actually quite simple. I had a friend once, he was killed by vampires the night he told me he liked me.” I knew the past was already past, and only through talking about it would I truly be able to let go. However, I didn’t wish to talk about that matter in great detail. After all, it was an unsavory and woeful memory.
“You still like him?” Instead of comforting me, Xiaoyu asked me the question I least wished to answer, because its answer touched the most fragile part of my heart. It would shatter at the slightest touch, and be in pain when shattered, a type of pain that was indescribable with words.
“I don’t know, but I didn’t admit it then, and now I can’t forget it!” I took another sip of tea and avoided Xiaoyu’s eyes.
“Because of love?” Xiaoyu seemed to have sworn an oath to never rest until he had fully gotten to the bottom of everything.
“Perhaps because of guilt. He was severely affected by me leaving him, and met a vampire in the end.” Although I knew this wasn’t my fault, I had been the only one who could save him, and so I should have saved him. He was someone I had to save, but I hadn’t. I left. I left him behind. I left behind a person who loved me deeply. I let him to face the vampire alone, face death, face the fear of never seeing me again. I was indeed filled with remorse, but wasn’t sure that a hint of love hadn’t been mixed in. In this dog eat dog society, why would you feel remorse or find it hard to forget someone if not for love!
“Why did you reject him? Did you not love him?” Why wouldn’t Xiaoyu leave that little bit of my secrets alone?
Beep beep beep! Xiaoyu’s phone suddenly rang urgently before I had a chance to respond.