Just as she was about to finish speaking, she heard something from He Jichen's end - the whistle of his car mixed with sounds of other car engines.
Is He Jichen... on the road?
As suspicion flashed across Ji Yi's mind, she froze for a couple seconds then came to a realization. She quickly walked to the second-floor lobby and looked out the window.
She was right. He Jichen's car was parked by the road. He had his head lowered, standing in front of the car with his phone raised, talking to her.
The wind started to pick up since it was late in the night, wildly blowing his hair and clothes. There was a flickering light between the fingers of his other hand. It must've been a cigarette.
So after he dropped me off at China World Hotel Beijing, he never actually left. He waited downstairs all this time?
In just an instant, Ji Yi understood why He Jichen did it.
So he really was afraid to show up at the dinner party with me and drag me down, so he lied to me.
He must've overheard my conversation with Ruan Jie. He didn't show any emotions at the time, but he probably didn't want to burden me, right?
An unspeakable mix of complex emotions churned quickly in Ji Yi's head. She felt warm, touched, but above all, heartbroken...
"Xiao Yi?" said He Jichen worriedly, seeing as Ji Yi didn't make any sounds for a long time.
When she heard He Jichen's voice, Ji Yi quickly snapped out of her thoughts and stared transfixed at him as he stood by the road. She let out a soft, "Hm?"
"Why aren't you saying anything?"
"No... I just got a text message, so I took a quick look..." Ji Yi sounded a little rattled as she knew He Jichen had been waiting downstairs all along. She was afraid He Jichen would notice something was off, so she randomly thought up an excuse then changed the topic. "Oh yeah, when are you gonna arrive? I'm just about done here."
"Mhm..." Over the phone, He Jichen hesitated for a moment then softly replied, "...Probably in about twenty minutes or so."
If she hadn't seen him standing downstairs with her own two eyes, Ji Yi really wouldn't have been able to tell that He Jichen was lying.
She thought it was probably the most beautiful and heartwarming lie she'd ever heard...
He Jichen was probably afraid she couldn't makeit out in time, so after speaking, he then added, "Can you make it?"
Ji Yi quickly suppressed her surging emotions and replied, "Yeah."
"Then I'll send you a message when I get there."
"Alright." Ji Yi gulped hard. After she swallowed the lump in her throat back down, she affectionately said, "Drive slowly."
The call ended. Ji Yi wasn't in a hurry to leave, so she silently watched over He Jichen by the sidewalk.
He probably didn't want her to know he'd been smoking, so he didn't smoke through their call. After he put his phone away, he finally took a drag of his cigarette.
It was very windy, so he inhaled frequently.
As time ticked by, he didn't reveal the slightest sign of impatience.
Ji Yi stared unwaveringly at He Jichen as her fingers couldn't help but clench her phone. Tears began to surface in her pitch-black, clear eyes.