Qi Long walked out of the museum as Ruoxi/ZhangXiao closed her eyes and continue weeping. Suddenly she heard a voice saying, "Here, wipe your tears." She looked up to see Qi Long standing there, holding out a tissue. He came back. He smiled gently at her, gesturing her to take the tissue. When she still doesn't move, he said teasingly, "This is a special tissue you know. Only the store across from here sells this brand. It's infused with the scent of magnolias," he looked down at the tissue, "Magnolias are my favorite flowers," he looked at her, his smile deepening, "Do you like magnolias?"
Ruoxi/ZhangXiao stared at him. She suddenly realized that the man she had been longing for have been bought to her side. Though the person standing in front of her have no memory of their love, have surely underwent many changes, but deep down in his core, he was still the Yongzhen that she fell in love with. If his love for Magnolia was able to transcend through time and fate, then his love for her must have too. A man who loves as deeply as he did will not forget easily, if at all. Ruoxi realized with the start that there must have been some misunderstanding. 4th prince, her 4th prince, would never refuse to see her for the last time. Something must have happen, something that she doesn't know about. But all of that doesn't matter now. It was time for a new beginning. Zhang Xiao extended her hand and took the tissue.
She smiled at Qi Long, "I love magnolias," she answered softly.
A fission of electricity charged through the air at those words, and something momentum changed within the two people standing there. Though Qi Long didn't know it then, but that was the exact moment the girl in front of him changed from just a passing stranger to an irreplaceable part of his life.
He smiled back, trying to suppress the sudden nervousness, "There's a little café near here. Would you like to go for a cup of tea?"
Qi Long inwardly cringed. Stupid! Go for a cup of tea? It wasn't like they were in the olden days. A modern woman like her would much preferred coffee or something of the like.
"Tea?" Zhang Xiao repeated, lifting her eyes to meet his, "Taiping Hou Kui?"
He looked at her, mildly surprised, "Yes. That's my favorite kind. It's best to drink while eating-"
His surprise grew, "Yes…how did you-"
"I always knew."
It was a strange answer. Really, everything about this girl was strange. But what was stranger was his increasing attraction to her, stronger than any normal interest should be, and the fact that, somehow, he knew, just knew, that she was telling the truth.
She smiled at the shock on his face, "Shall we go then?"
Qi Long smiled back, "Yes,"
He made to leave but suddenly stopped and turned around, extending his hand, "My name is Wu Qi Long, by the way."
Zhang Xiao stared at his hand for moment, "Zhang Xiao," she replied, sliding her hands into his.
Their body seemed to know each other. Qi Long felt as if he had been shock by a live wire, rendering him speechless, sending shockwaves throughout his body, both hot and cold. He gripped her hand and pulled her closer.
"Do we know each other?" he asked, his eyes boring into hers, his voice urgent, frustrated.
Zhang Xiao looked at him, "Perhaps, we were meant to always know each other."
That shouldn't make sense, Qi Long thought, but, somehow, it perfectly did.
As Qi Long lay in bed that night, the scenes from earlier that day kept replaying in his mind. After he and Zhang Xiao got to the café, all they did was sat there and drank tea. They might have said a few words, but Qi Long couldn't recall them. All he could remember was how, after every sip of her tea, Zhang Xiao would close her eyes for a brief moment to let the flavor sink in, and how regally she held the cup, as only a master in the art of tea could. Perhaps she had taken some tea classes. He should have asked her, instead of just sitting there and staring at her like a fool. His heart skipped a beat every time her eyes met his, when her lips would turned upward in tiny smile before she turned her gaze someplace else. How long they sat there, in complete silence, he did not know. It should have been awkward, but it wasn't. It felt comfortable, right, as if they've known each other for years instead of just minutes. He was more than disappointed when she said she had to go, he felt utterly lost. Which does not makes any sense. And he had never felt so nervous in his life when he asked for her number. She looked at him for a moment and it felt as if she was looking straight into his soul. It was another minute before she took out a pen and wrote down her number on a piece of paper, but it felt like an eternity to him. The happiness he felt upon receiving that little piece of paper was almost indescribable. Which does not makes any sense!
Qi Long ran his hands through his hair, frustrated. This whole day did not make any sense. For some reason, he who planned out everything in details, decided on a whim, to go to that stupid Qing Dynasty Exhibit. Just because the flyer for it basically flew into his face. Then, at that museum, he met this girl who was staring at him and crying. Any other time, he would have turned around and ran. He hated crying women. But she…he couldn't pinpoint but he felt as if he knew her. When she wouldn't answer his question or stop crying, he should have left. Which he did, only to run across the street and buy her some tissues. Something just wouldn't let him leave.
Qi Long sighed. He was sounding crazy. He was never a believer in love at first sight or anything cliché like that. Was this what it is? Love? It was not anything he ever felt for any of his ex-girlfriends. It was as if she was a part of him that he never knew existed, but a part that he could now never do without. She was like a song from his childhood, so familiar and comforting yet he couldn't remember when or where he heard it. A song that he knew the melody to but have forgotten the words, which were now lurking around the edge of his mind like a coy dancer, refusing to reveal itself. His hands clenched the piece of paper that he still haven't let go of.
"Zhang Xiao," he said softly, her name familiar and foreign on his lips.
At the same time across the city, Zhang Xiao was laying on her bed, staring at the ceiling. The same thoughts were racing through her mind as it had when she first saw him at the exhibit today. Was this Heaven's way of giving her a second chance? Or was this merely to fulfill her last wish of seeing him one last time? She knew it was him, and knew it wasn't. He was Wu Qi Long and with him, she can be Zhang Xiao. This meeting had allowed her to let Ruoxi go, but would she be able to let Fourth prince go? She can't begin a relationship, thinking that she's back with Fourth prince. It would be doomed from the start. She knew, that in some deep level, he had recognized her, or at least, knew that he should recognized her. But could she really be with him? Zhang Xiao squeezed her eyes shut. Her memories as Ruoxi, of Fourth prince were still clear as day in her mind. A part of her wanted to grab at this chance to do over this ill-fated love. Yet another part of her wanted to let it all go, to start a new beginning. She would always love him, she knew that. But she wanted to love him in her own way, to keep those memories intact and precious, only bringing them out whenever she missed and needed him. To start over with a man that was and wasn't him, she doesn't know if she was ready for that. She loved the part that was Fourth prince but does she love the part that was Qi Long? No, not yet anyway. And even if they do get together, would it work? What hand does Fate played in their lives right now? What about the other princes? Were they someplace here too? Would history repeat itself? Would their future now be as bleak as the one in the past?
Zhang Xiao let out a hollow laugh. Whether as Ruoxi or Zhang Xiao, she was still as hesitant and scared of the unknown as ever.