After giving away the lotus, Gavin and I ambled around hand in hand.
Although I still felt a little down about it, under Gavin's encouragement, it only occupied the smallest place in my heart.
After taking a few twists and turns, we came upon a story-telling venue.
The place was simply furnished, with just a few long benches, all filled with people. Although it was a modest space, the storyteller's lively voice had it packed in no time.
Storyteller: "Singing My Cares" by the poet Ruan Ji not only advanced the development of pentasyllabic poetry, but also became the representative work of the period.
Storyteller: "Being sleepless at midnight, I rise to play the flute..."
The storyteller stroked his long beard, swaying his head drunkenly, as his voice transported me out of my funk from losing the lotus.
MC: Ruan Ji had such genius. Too bad he was born in that era...
Gavin: You like this stuff?
MC: I admire it, sure!
MC: But compared to his "tortured artist" life, I prefer a rebel who never let's the world bring him down!
MC: For instance--
I snuck a glance at Gavin beside me, but then held back the word that was on the tip of my tongue.
Gavin bent down, leaning close to my ear.
Gavin: MC, your face is red.
Before I could react, he had already taken hold of my hand.
When I did finally snap to, I was sitting on a branch at the top of the tallest tree.
The moon hung in the sky clear and bright, bathing everything in a delicate radiance.
MC: So beautiful...It's been a long time since we've sat like this, quietly looking out over Loveland City from on high.
Gavin handed me a little jade-carved wine bottle, brilliantly polished and ineffably exquisite.
Gavin: It's osmanthus wine, made just like in ancient times.
MC: How come there's only one little sip?
Instead of answering me, Gavin just lifted another bottle in his other hand, then clinked bottles with me.
Gavin: Because you're only allowed to drink a little bit.
Gavin: Because when you get tipsy--
Gavin looked at me with a smile in his eyes. Under the moonlight, his amber eyes shone even more handsomely.
They seemed even more brilliant than the stars.
He let out a laugh, then he pulled my bottle hand up, hooked his arm around mine, and downed his bottle.
Gavin: If you drink like this, one drink is all you need.