The pale arms that wound around Ah Hai shocked him to stand frozen.He had never been on the receiving end of a back hug and this was an unexpected surprise not a welcome one but not even something he would be averse to.He tried to get out of the arms but the little girl was clinging to him like a Koala.He tried asking her to let go but she just shook her head against his back."Brother Ah Hai.I will never let you go.As you said you have a mission to complete,I will not be an obstacle to that.I will also not make you worry about me by putting myself in danger but you must remember your promise.You will wait.You are the strongest man I know so you have to fight death for me.I fought death to be with you so you must do the same and come to me.Until the time,I will grow up and be able to stand with you.Please.."
Unreasonable. Ah Hai wondered how such a sweet little girl had turned into such an unreasonable teenager.He seemed to not consider the fact that no reasonable little girl would have dared propose to a man.Shi Ai had always been unreasonable.
Placing his hands on both of hers,he pulled out of her arms and turned around to face her at the same time.He would have been able to make her give up if she had been crying.He would have forced her somehow.But she stood there with her big eyes still glistening but not spilling a drop of tear.He could fight terrorists and spies.He could fight tantrums and tears but he lost the fight against a little girl putting on a brave front.
It was decided.Long Ah Hai was a coward jerk.He was going to let this pretty flower wait for him when there were no guarantees that he would return.But this time,he had a few conditions."Very Well.We will continue to wait before we decide on a future course of action.But this time I have a few conditions."
Seeing a ray of hope,Shi Ai immediately grabbed onto it and agreed with alacrity,"I am willing to accept all conditions!"
Ah Hai gave a small smirk before he said, "Haste makes waste Shi Ai.You should have heard the conditions before agreeing."A sense of foreboding came on Shi Ai as she waited for him to state his terms.
Staring intently at the girl whose hands he still held in his,Ah Hai said,"My first condition is that you must start dating." The words fell on Shi Ai with the sound of a hammer falling on it's anvil.
Before she could grasp the meaning of this and ask in outrage,Ah Hai continued,"Dating people is also a part of growing up.You cannot close off yourself waiting for me.You need to get to know and understand new people and in different capacities,not just as friends.So you must date with an open mind.Zhang Min is a surprisingly good judge of character for his age so you must seek his advise if you ever need it."
"My second condition is that you will not wait actively.If you find someone you can fall in love with,do it.I am going underground after tonight so to let you know of my safety,I will send you something each year to let you know that I am alive.The year that you receive nothing,know that I am dead.The mission can take several years to to complete so in case you ever fall in love with someone else,even then I will come see you as an old friend before we part ways.So tell me..do you promise to live your life to the fullest and grow up with every experience that life has to offer?"
Shi Ai wanted to protest vehemently at this condition but she saw in his eyes the resolve.This was the only way he would agree.Taking a deep breath she clenched her fingers and agreed.She knew this was a promise she would not be able to keep but she had to make it.It was better than losing him altogether.And it would let her know that he was alive.
In the charged silence,Shi Ai nodded her assent and the two people stared at each other without words.
As if just realizing that he was still holding Shi Ai's hand,Ah Hai suddenly let go and moved back towards the living area to take her back to the Zhang family home.Shi Ai was also broken out of her trance when Ah Hai let go.But as if trying to prolong their time together,her stomach growled loudly in the silent kitchen.
Embarrassed, she looked at Ah Hai and excused herself,"Sorry..I haven't eaten anything since this morning.."
Ah Hai shook his head at her and without a word,went towards the refrigerator.Thebway back would take at least an hour.There was no way he was taking her back hungry.