Soon after, Chen Bai withdrew his gaze and he headed upstairs first after departing with: "Mr. He, Miss Ji, I'll leave the two of you alone."
He Jichen didn't immediately give the key card to Ji Yi. Instead, he pinched it with his fingers and played with it a little. Then they headed to the cafe on the first floor by the hotel lobby that was still open and He Jichen casually said, "Come with me - let's grab a coffee."
Maybe it was because they almost kissed in the car, but Ji Yi felt a little uncomfortable. When she heard what He Jichen said, she turned her head and looked at him with shifting eyes. "Alright."
When He Jichen placed his order, he asked Ji Yi, "What would you like to drink?"
Ji Yi shook her head to say "no thanks."
But He Jichen still ordered Ji Yi a cup of hot milk.
Ji Yi thought He Jichen was going to have it to-go and drink it back in his room. She never imagined that after he paid the bill, he would point over to the window seat and tell her: "Go take a seat over there."
After he quickly downed his cup of coffee, Ji Yi thought they could go upstairs now, but she never imagined He Jichen would actually call the waiter over for a refill.
Drinking too much coffee in the evening made it hard to fall asleep. The third time He Jichen called the waiter for a refill, Ji Yi couldn't help but remind him: "Drinking too much coffee in the evening makes it hard for you to fall asleep, you know."
With the cup to his lips, He Jichen glanced at Ji Yi. Then He Jichen noticed his phone vibrating in his pocket and secretly counted how many times it happened. It vibrated five times, which was the secret signal Chen Bai agreed upon, so he figured he should put his cup back down. He pulled out a napkin and wiped his lips before saying: "Let's go back upstairs."
Ji Yi's room was on the same floor as He Jichen.
As he came out of the elevator, He Jichen broke the silence. "Come to my room for a sec. I have something to give to you."
Today was Ji Yi's birthday, so she instinctively thought He Jichen bought her a birthday gift. She tugged the corner of her lips, tilted her head and asked, "Birthday present?"
He Jichen didn't say it was, but he didn't say it wasn't. All he did was walk up to the door of his room and swipe his door open with the key card.
He pushed the door open and waited for Ji Yi to step in before entering himself.
He shut the door but didn't go in. Instead, he stopped in front of the toilet by the entrance. "You go in and take a seat first. I'm going to the washroom."
Ji Yi let out a gentle "Mhm." After He Jichen locked the door, he walked out of the room.
Just as Ji Yi turned into the living room, her footsteps came to a stop.
In front of the tall window, she was faced with a metal tree sculpture covered with lights. It radiated a warm and soft glow.
Although the living room lights weren't on, under the warm lighting, Ji Yi could tell the various-sized branches were densely packed with lipsticks.
As the string of LED lights blinked, the lipsticks abruptly appeared and disappeared in Ji Yi's eyes.
Ji Yi stared motionlessly at the "Lipstick tree" for some time before she walked over to it.
As she got closer, Ji Yi realized this was different from the last time He Jichen gave her a floor of lipsticks during the "Three Thousand Lunatics" end-of-production party.
On all the lipstick lids was a single, gold word: Ji.
The lipstick lids also had scribbled text which Ji Yi couldn't read. She walked around the metal tree for a long time before she finally found words she could read on one of the lipsticks. It was the Japanese translation of "Happy birthday."