The Ninth Cup of Coffee Part 1

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On the weekend, the skies were clear, and the warm wind blew through the wisteria by the window.

Jiang Ying was holding her laptop as she pushed open Cloudside’s glass door..
As soon as she entered, she saw Yun Xian standing in front of a white wall with his arms crossed.
He didn’t move, as if he was reflecting on his past.

She walked to the reception desk and asked Zhao Xinrou, “What’s wrong with him?”

Zhao Xinrou explained, “Yesterday some children in the store were naughty and stepped on the wall a few times.
The boss is staring at the footprints.”

Jiang Ying was puzzled, “What’s so great about the footprints?”

Zhao Xinrou shrugged.
“Who knows.”

People always seemed to make things difficult for  themselves.
The more unpleasant things were, the more they couldn’t control their eyes and wanted to look there.

Yun Xian passed by the wall four or five times today, knowing that the footprints on the white wall would make him feel uncomfortable like crumpled white paper being flattened.
His eyes were still drawn to it involuntarily.

Every time he looked at it, he frowned and sighed.

Jiang Ying couldn’t watch anymore, and suggested to him, “Do you want to cover it with paint?”

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Yun Xian shook his head.
“It will still get dirty.”

Jiang Ying looked at the white wall.
From a distance, the small footprints were actually inconspicuous.
She realized something and asked with a smile, “Yun Xian, are you a Virgo?”

Yun Xian: “…”

He was silent instead of answering.
Jiang Ying had “I knew it” written all over her face.

She glanced at the wall.
It was located at the entrance of the stairs, with a row of decorative picture frames hanging on it.
Children often run up and down the stairs, so it was particularly easy for the wall to get dirty.

Jiang Ying suggested, “Why don’t you try a mural? It’s quite suitable.”

Yun Xian moved his gaze from the wall to her and nodded.
“I can, good idea.”

“Draw a scene at night.” Jiang Ying sat on a high stool.
She stretched out her hand and measured.
“Here is the night sky, the moon is on the right, and here is the outline of the café with a big tree next to it.
What do you think?”

Yun Xian touched his chin and imagined the scene Jiang Ying had described.
“Okay, I’ll go find someone now.”

Jian Yin saw he was about to take out his phone and stopped him.
She patted her chest and said proudly, “Don’t bother.
You have me, I’m a professional.”

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She got up from the stool and walked to the wall.
“I painted school murals when I was in college.
It’s not difficult.
It can be done in a few hours.”

Yun Xian was direct and asked her,  “Then when can you paint for me?”

“Let’s do it today.
It just so happened that I don’t need to work this weekend.” Jiang Ying tilted her head to look at Yun Xian.
She said with a smile, “I’m afraid that if we don’t hurry, our Virgo Boss Yun will go crazy.”

After Cloudside Café closed that night, Yun Xian and Jiang Ying stayed and started  to work.

Jiang Ying first worked out a draft.
Yun Xian was responsible for filling in the large parts while Jiang Ying was responsible for sketching out the details.

Even though they were wearing a gray apron, paint still got on their clothes and bodies after a while.

Jiang Ying held the palette to paint, but didn’t forget to tease Yun Xian.
“You are dirty, can you stand it?”

Yun Xian glanced at her helplessly, and solemnly defended himself.
“I have no obsession with cleanliness or OCD.
I just don’t like seeing stains on white things.”

Jiang Ying quickly appeased him, “Okay, okay, I know, I understand, I understand.”

The two of them focused on painting.
When they were almost halfway through, Yun Xian got up, and shook his somewhat sore arms.
He asked Jiang Ying, “Are you thirsty?”

Jiang Ying didn’t feel thirty at the moment, but she realized her throat was dry when he asked.
“A glass of water please.”

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Yun Xian returned to the reception table.
He poured a glass of water and put a straw in it.
E walked to Jiang Ying and handed it to her.

Jiang Ying held it with both hands.
She lowered her head and bit the straw.
She drank half a glass of water in one slurp.

Yun Xian watched how she drank and smiled.
“If you are tired, we can paint up to this part today.”


Jiang Ying waved her hand.
“It’ll be over soon.
I’m not tired.
It’s not good to put a semi-finished product out.”

They continued to work.
Jiang Ying was sweating and felt a little stuffy.
Her long hair was wet and sticky on her neck.
It was very uncomfortable.

After drawing the outline of the café, she got down from the retractable ladder.
She put down the palette and brush.
She took off the hair tie on her wrist and tied a ponytail for herself.

Jiang Ying was wearing a white blouse with a square collar today.
Her long hair was held up, exposing the smooth outline of her neck and shoulders.

Yun Xian’s gaze fell on the tattoo on her left shoulder—it looked like a planet and a red rose.

Jiang Ying drank the water.
Then, she stood far away and looked at her work.
She asked Yun Xian, “This is the general look, it’s just missing the details.
What do you think?”

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The monotonous white wall became colorful.
A bright moon hung from the black night sky.
The stars were scattered all around it.
The  café was lit with warm yellow lights, and a man stood under the tree.

Yun Xian pointed to the man.
“Let’s draw another person next to him, he looks so lonely.”

Jiang Ying nodded.

It was late at night when Jiang Ying finished the last stroke.
The moonlight outside the window was bright, and everything was silent.

She stretched her waist and let out a long sigh of relief.
“The mural is finished!”

Yun Xian gave her some water to drink.
“You’ve worked hard.”

Jiang Ying rubbed her sore shoulders, and her exhaustion disappeared because of Yun Xian’s smile.
No matter how hard it was, it was worth it.

They stood side by side, which happened to be just like the two figures on the wall.

“He’s not alone now.”

“Yeah, not alone anymore.”

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