Just like what Zhuo Jinren said, the temple that Lily saw was really dilapidated. The once majestic curved roofs had collapsed, the walls were cracked and mosses were everywhere. With the columns of the temple still standing tall, they reminded visitors of its once glorious form.
"Why did they abandon this temple?" she asked, taking a seat on a stone bench next to Zhuo Jingren.
"The monks left," he answered. "I don't know the exact reason. But when I arrived here years ago, this temple was already abandoned."
"So when you left the orphanage, you came here?"
"Tokyo, then here…" he answered. "When I was in Tokyo, I helped an old woman who was lost on the streets. Through my interactions with her, I realized that she had some mental health issues. When she suddenly fainted on the streets, I immediately brought her to the hospital and stayed with her until her family came for her. Long story short, that woman became my adoptive mother and her husband became my adoptive father."
"Hmmm… you have a kind heart."
"Not always," Zhuo Jingren answered. "People have called me 'ruthless', that is a fact."
"Are you saying that you are only kind to me?"
"Of course," Zhuo Jingren said. "A husband should always keep his wife happy. A happy wife, a happy life."
"I am NOT your wife."
"Yet." Zhuo Jingren was quick to answer. "But you will be… soon."
Lily avoided the man's gaze and turned her head towards the direction of the sunset in front of them. She could never win Zhuo Jingren whenever they broach the topic about marriage. Instead of bickering about it to no end, she would rather spend the time watching the sunset.
"It's beautiful," she said, almost in a whisper, changing the topic. "Do you come here often? I mean… when you were last here?"
"Hmmm… that was years ago when my adoptive mother was still alive…" Zhuo Jingren looked towards the sky, feeling a little nostalgic as he recounted the past to Lily. "You see, my adoptive mother had Parkinson's disease, which then led to dementia. Sometimes she would disappear from home. When it happened the first time, we weren't able to locate her for a long time and when we finally found her, she was here, watching the sunset. Subsequently, whenever she disappeared, we would first look for her here."
Lily listened quietly to the man beside her and could hear the sadness in his voice. Instinctively, she raised her hand and was about to stroke Zhuo Jingren's back to comfort him but stopped mid-way when she realized that it might not be appropriate for her to do that. Lily didn't know what to say and chose to maintain her silence instead.
"Turns out, this was the place that she met my adoptive father which probably explains why she would always return here," Zhuo Jingren added. "There was once she even made me promise that I would bring my wife here… so here we are."
Lily decided not to correct Zhuo Jingren this time. She stared at the man next to her for a while before turning her head towards the direction of the sunset again.
"Hey, Lily wake up. The show will start soon." A gentle voice echoed inside Lily's mind as she furrowed her brows. "Lily, wake up."
Lily slowly opened her eyes and instantly froze when she realized that she had fallen asleep on Zhuo Jingren's shoulders. She straightened her body and side-eyed the man wordlessly. Her face frozen, and looked extremely stiff.
This reaction instantly made Zhuo Jingren chuckle. "You can pretend that you didn't fall asleep… but you need to at least wipe out your drool."
Lily widened her eyes at Zhuo Jingren's words. She immediately wipe her mouth with her hand only to discover that she was not drooling. "Liar."
"I never lie," Zhuo Jingren said before pointing at his shoulders. " I meant here, not your mouth."
Lily looked at the obvious wet spot on his shoulders and realized that he was right! 'This is… EMBARRASSING!' She felt her ears burning as a faint blush crept into her cheeks.
Without saying anything, Lily immediately took out her handkerchief to wipe the drool from his shirt. How did she fall asleep? Just how did she get herself into this embarrassing situation?
"It's alright." Zhuo Jingren held her hand. Then he took out a sandwich. "It's almost nine, you need to eat something."
"I had someone delivered these earlier," he explained before he slowly unwrapped the sandwich and gave it to her. "Let's have a proper dinner once we get back to the villa."
Lily nodded and accepted the sandwich. Then, she lowered her head and chastised herself inwardly. Zhuo Jingren must have been laughing at her when she was drooling ah. Lily felt so awkward that she couldn't find it in her to look at the man for the time-being, so she silently ate her sandwich. But she very quickly had a different view about the situation.
'What's there to be embarrassed about? This man already saw me naked. A little drool doesn't really matter. Right?'
"The show is about to start soon," Zhuo Jingren said, his gaze glued to the lake. "Tomorrow, I will bring you on a tour around the town. There are many stalls there selling really delicious food."
Shortly after Zhuo Jingren had spoken, small glow of lights started to appear above the calm surface of the lake. These small flickers of light started to illuminate the lake. Just then, a soft chilly breeze blew past them, making Lily shiver. Suddenly, Lily felt something covering her, shielding her exposed skin from the breeze, and keeping her warm. When she looked down, she realized that she was wearing Zhuo Jingren's coat. She turned her gaze at the man next to her who was admiring the fireflies, his features were soft and gentle. Tonight, she was once reminded that her initial impressions of him were so far from reality.
Sensing that Lily was looking at him, a small smile escaped his lips before he turned his head and met her eyes. "Beautiful, right?" Zhuo Jingren smiled.
Lily nodded and also gave him a smile before turning to look at the hundreds of fireflies dancing across the lake, like fireworks in slow-motion, the lights lingering above the waters of the lake for a long time.
"Thank you." his voice was low.
Lily did not respond to that. She continued looking on, unaware of the small flicker of fire that had been ignited inside her heart.