Lily's eyelids fluttered before she quickly lowered her head to hide her sadness from Zhuo Jingren. "It doesn't matter to me. I will still marry you. Getting married is not all about having children anyway," Zhuo Jingren gently said in all seriousness. With her head still lowered, she had missed seeing the gentleness in Zhuo Jingren's eyes which conveyed so much love for this woman.
The duo then continued eating their sandwiches in silence.
When they were done with their snack, Zhuo Jingren told her that they were heading towards a temple. Then, they continued their journey on the bicycle. Another thirty minutes passed before Zhuo Jingren pulled over at a large Japanese style gate made of wood.
"From here onwards we can only reach the temple by taking the stairs," he said.
"How many steps are there?" Lily asked as she stared at the tall gate with tiled roof.
Lily instantly narrowed her eyes at Zhuo Jingren. Even though Lily was fit and physically active, the thought of climbing up such a long flight of steps was a turnoff. Just like how she had felt lazy to ride a bicycle before, she was also feeling lazy about climbing up 300 steps to get to the temple. "You better carry me when I get too tired to continue climbing later." It was a demand. She wanted to know if this man had indeed set this day up like a typical date in Korean dramas.
"Of course!" Zhuo Jingren agreed without hesitation, just as she had expected. This man must have planned everything in a way that would give him the opportunity to get close to her. Lily sighed inwardly before giving him a wry smile. She began to wonder if this special treatment would continue if they were to get married. He wouldn't change after marriage right?
Lily quickly shook off those thoughts. What was she thinking? "Okay, shall we go?" she asked while eyeing her watch. "Hey, it's almost five… I don't think we would have enough time to get back to the resort to watch the Firefly Festival from there."
"Let's watch it from the temple then," Zhuo Jingren said. "That is actually the best spot in town to watch it. I have also arranged for us to have dinner at the temple while we admire the view from there."
"Oh," Lily said as she took her first step towards the temple with Zhuo Jingren by her side. The duo silently climbed up the steps, each lost in their own thoughts. After taking more than a hundred steps, Lily suddenly stopped climbing. Her face was a little red from all the physical exertion. "Carry me," she said, looking expectantly at Zhuo Jingren.
Zhuo Jingren gave her a coy smile before he lowered himself and gestured for her to climb on his back. "Hop on," he said.
Lily immediately hoisted herself on his back and wrapped her arms around his neck. Since this man already set this up then why not let him have a taste of what it feels like to climb more than a hundred steps while carrying someone on his back? A small smile escaped Lily's lips when Zhuo Jingren began to take a step forward. She would love to see how long this man would last. Would he be too prideful to admit that he was exhausted?
With this in mind, Lily rested her chin on Zhuo Jingren's shoulders. A mischievous glint flashed in her eyes.
Lily then started counting the steps that Zhuo Jingren took. 1... 2... 3… 10… 20… 50… 75… 100…
Lily raised an eyebrow when she noticed that Zhuo Jingren's breathing was still steady. A hundred steps should have been more than enough to make him lose his cool right? "Hey, how often do you exercise?" Lily already assumed that Zhuo Jingren must have exercised or worked out a lot. His sculpted biceps and abs could attest to that. But after climbing more than a hundred steps with a load on his back, he should at least show some signs of exhaustion right?
"Everyday," Zhuo Jingren answered. How could Zhuo Jingren have missed the mirth in Lily's eyes when she climbed onto his back? He knew that she was up to something but he was not here to disappoint Lily. He was here to impress her.
Lily did not answer Zhuo Jingren. Instead she roamed her eyes to take in the view before her. They were already halfway towards the temple and already she could catch a beautiful view of the lake. Now Lily understood why Zhuo Jingren chose to come to the temple. As the temple was located on an elevated ground, it gave a clearer view of the lake compared to the resort.
"Are you tired?" she asked.
"No, I'm not."
"Then… do you think I'm heavy?"
"Yes, you are," he answered honestly.
"Are you saying that I'm fat?"
"No, you are too skinny. You need to eat more. I will make sure to cook a bigger portion of food each time so that you can eat more and gain some weight." Lily didn't know whether to laugh or cry at Zhuo Jingren's honesty. Didn't he know that weight is a very sensitive topic for women like her? This man… was it really true that he never had a girlfriend before?
After a few more minutes, Zhuo Jingren finally reached the top of the stairs. Lily instantly got down from Zhuo Jingren's back and looked at the view in front of her.
Before them was a huge gate, with columns and lintels supporting a large curved roof. Ahead, there was a long stone footpath, it was so long that Lily could not even see the end of the pathway.
"This is an abandoned temple. Besides this huge gate, there's only a bamboo forest, some benches made of stones and a lake with some fish," Zhuo Jingren said before he held his hand out towards Lily. "Let's go inside?"
To his surprise, Lily accepted his hand. This time, Zhuo Jingren was able to control his nerves. 'This is not the time to be nervous ah.'
He gently held Lily's hand as he guided her onto the pathway surrounded by a bamboo forest.