We sneak a peek into Yun Jin’s budding romance with Ju An. If anyone cares to know, I quite like the fellow myself.
The sophomore year ran a tighter schedule than year one. Yun Jin shuttled tirelessly between classes, tutoring lessons and the department office. This Qing Ming, she didn’t return home to sweep her father’s grave; her mother had phoned up and told her she would see to it herself.
Mother no longer choked up when mentioning Yun Jin’s father. Indeed time was a great healer. Mother also added that due to someone’s connections, she was able to find work in the largest textile factory in the county. While it was tiring, the pay was adequate and she hoped Yun Jin wouldn’t push herself so much.
“It’s alright. I’m used to it.” Yun Jin replied. As compared to the prospect of not having to work so hard, she was happier over the fact that her mother had overcome the worst grieving stage.
Another matter weighed heavily on Yun Jin’s mind – now that Shen Ju An was in Year Four, he would graduate in a couple of months. By this time, most of the graduating class had already signed on with companies. For a period, there was a rumour that the Professor had wanted Ju An to join the academic staff but their negotiations fell through ultimately. Yun Jin wanted to know where he was headed and so on a day when both were free, she asked to meet him at the library.
It was already past three in the afternoon by the time she reached the library. Thus, there were few students present and the long benches in the reading lounge were only occupied by a few people. She identified Shen Ju An’s back from afar. She walked over quietly and found that he was actually bent over the table, asleep with a book half-covering his face.
Yun Jin found this hilarious. It was the first time she saw how he looked while sleeping. The April breeze blew past them. When it swept past a person, it created a sort of dreamy ambience. It was indeed a suitable time for a nap.
Yun Jin gingerly lifted the book off his face. His clean features was mesmerizing. The wind lightly tousled his hair and Yun Jin slowly but purposefully swept apart the hair covering his forehead. The moment she touched his face, his hand that was originally resting on the desk flew up and grabbed her fingers. Then he opened his eyes and smiled at her.
Yun Jin froze. Seeing that he had no intention of loosening his grip, she was also in no hurry to withdraw her hand. She smiled back and they gazed at each other quietly as their fingers intertwined. Finally, a person passing by coughed lightly and it was only then that Shen Ju An slowly released her hand.
Yun Jin placed her hand beneath the table and asked after a moment’s beat “I heard that they wanted you to sign on here. How come they’ve approached someone else now?”
Shen Ju An touched his jaw and said dispassionately “I rejected their offer. I have no intention of remaining here.”
“Then …” Yun Jin prodded carefully.
“I’ve signed on with Yong Kai.” He replied blandly.
Yong Kai? The name was familiar to everyone. Even in this city flooded with enterprises and national companies, Yong Kai’s name was common knowledge. It was even rumoured that it was highly selective of its candidates yet Ju An had managed to sign on with little fanfare.
“I had always thought teaching was more suitable for me.” Yun Jin commented with a tinge of regret.
“Trust me. I know what I’m best suited for…” It wasn’t clear if it was because he had just woken up from a good dream but Shen Ju An had on a lazy smile, one that Yun Jin was unaccustomed to.
“… Whether it’s work or people.” He looked directly at her and added on the last statement quickly.
“Yu Hua, tell me I’m not dreaming.” Yun Jin had recounted the day’s events to her with a pounding heart.
Yu Hua’s voice was full of mirth “I can only say … congratulations!”
“But it doesn’t feel in the least bit real.”
“What does it matter how it feels? As long as you feel blissful, that’s all that matters.”
“Blissful?” Yun Jin savoured this description. Was she really? Who would say otherwise?
She had just hung up Yu Hua’s call and was lying on the bed when the dormitory phone rang once more. After a dormitory mate picked up, there was a yell “Yun Jin, it’s for you again!”
Yun Jin sat up quickly and received the call with an energetic hello. However, she was greeted with silence on the other end. She assumed the connection was poor so she checked the cord twice and even repeated her hello but the other party still remained quiet. She was about to hang up when a thought emerged. She unconsciously gripped the phone tighter.
“… Is it you?” She asked uncertainly.
There was no response.
Yun Jin was also silent. After a long while, she could just discern a faint sigh before the line cut off abruptly.
The phone did not have caller-identification so Yun Jin queried the hostel mate who had answered the call.
“It was a boy. His voice was really nice too.” Her hostel friend replied.
Yun Jin couldn’t understand why she thought of him. Furthermore what was the likelihood that it really was him? This was especially since his expression the other day was so cold.
Could it really be him? Surely it cannot be …
That night, Yun Jin’s mind was a whirlpool of thoughts. When she finally entered dreamland, she didn’t realise but one of her fingers was slightly caressing her lips.