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Chapter 1.2 — The beautiful girl is grown-up! No worries and no fears!
(translated by nutty & edited by hoju)
When He Zhi Zhou returned to the dormitory and set the cup of lime black tea down in front of his roommate, Lin Yu Tang, the other two roommates, Monkey and Brawny (壮汉 – Zhuang Han in Mandarin which means strong, strapping guy) both protested. “Leader, you only bought it for Third (老三 – lao san, which actually means ‘ol’ three’, meaning third in rank in the dorm).”
Monkey: “Playing favorites!”
Brawny: “There’s a dirty trick somewhere!”
He Zhi Zhou’s eyes swept over the two who were complaining, and those two both turned their heads away, continuing to watch their movies and critique on “chests” and “legs.”
He Zhi Zhou’s mood today had already been out of sorts because of that dinner. Then in the end, when he came back here, he had made that mix-up too, so now his mood was a little unexplainably sour. He said to Lin Yu Tang, “A girl asked me to bring this to you.”
Monkey and Brawny sighed aloud, “Envious.”
A quick glance at the cup of lime black tea and Lin Yu Tang already knew whom it was from. The corner of his lips suddenly turned up briefly and then returned to normal again. He looked at He Zhi Zhou. “Shen Xi knows you?”
“I had dinner with her.” He Zhi Zhou answered him directly, then grinned at Lin Yu Tang.
Lin Yu Tang, of course, did not believe He Zhi Zhou. He was able to generally guess why and asked, “The birthday party you went to tonight was for Shen Xi’s roommate?”
He Zhi Zhou spread his hands out, palms up, and then patted Lin Yu Tang on the shoulder. In his head, however, that endearing greeting of “Zhi Zhou––“ suddenly popped up, and he got the shivers. He pulled out a package of cigarettes from his drawer, went outside onto their dormitory balcony, pulled out the lighter in his pocket, and flicked it alight. The solid black box made a crisp click sound, and a flame flashed briefly. What followed were curling wisps of white smoke that escaped from his nostrils and lips as well as several trails of smoke floating up from his long, slender fingers.
The sweet, fresh smell of tobacco plus the ability of nicotine to ease the nerves allowed He Zhi Zhou to lean relaxedly against the balcony railing. Soon, there were two more people there at the railing, each of them holding a cigarette in his hand. One of them sighed to He Zhi Zhou, “These smokes are pretty good.”
Monkey called Lin Yu Tang, who was still inside, “Lin Yu Tang, come have one, too.”
The only person in the dormitory who did not smoke was Lin Yu Tang. Lin Yu Tang smilingly declined. He Zhi Zhou indolently hooked his arm around Monkey’s shoulder and told him, “Smoking is not a good thing. Don’t be a bad influence on Third.”
This sentence…… In the whole dormitory, the one who had the biggest smoking addiction was He Zhi Zhou.
When Shen Xi returned to the dormitory, she did some leg stretches while watching some senseless soap operas, and she even had a facial mask on her face. First to come back was Dou Dou. Shen Xi lithely arched herself into a backbend and looked at Dou Dou while upside down. “So early?”
“They didn’t go singing.” Dou Dou spread her hands out in a shrug. “Wei Ye and Chen Han went shopping. I felt bored and came back.”
Shen Xi straightened her body, inhaling and exhaling deep, gentle breaths, and threw away the mask on her face. As she was about to turn away, Dou Dou had already neatly fished off her bra that had been on the inside, pulled it out, and tossed it onto the bed with a shout of, “Feels good!”
After Dou Dou had taken off her own, her pair of devil’s claws came up in front of Shen Xi. Shen Xi jumped in fright, and the two of them romped about for some time. Even when it was lights out and time to sleep, Xia Wei Ye and Chen Han still were not back.
The next day, Shen Xi saw Xia Wei Ye slouched on top of her desk eating starch jelly (凉粉 liang fen). From the smell, she could tell it had even been bought at S University’s House of Good Food. Her gluttonous nature seemed to be slightly aroused. Sprawled on her bed, she was gazing longingly at Xia Wei Ye’s back. But the relationship between her and Xia Wei Ye was poor, and she could not just freeload food off of her.
Shen Xi propped her cheek up on her hand and said to Xia Wei Ye, “Hi, um… The birthday present from me is on your desk.”
Bemused, Xia Wei Ye turned her hand and finally noticed that on her desk, there was a bottle of liquid foundation that she had wanted to buy for a long time. Xia Wei Ye’s palm seemed to burn up a little bit, and she hemmed for a long time before she answered, “You’ve got too much money.”
Shen Xi’s mood improved somewhat, and she happily got out of bed. She was wearing only a tank top and shorts and had a head of disheveled hair and strands that were pasted against her forehead. She smoothed at her hair with her fingers and went into the bathroom to wash up. Chen Han was not in the dormitory, and Shen Xi saw her in the morning workout room doing some flexibility training. Out of the four in their dormitory, Chen Han’s flexibility was indeed the worst.
However, Chen Han was also the most diligent. Her high kick combined with a 180o swivel were already done quite beautifully, but the coach, Teacher Wen was still not quite satisfied with it. Shen Xi had been called over to demonstrate the move a couple times for Chen Han.
When Shen Xi had completed two swivels, Teacher Wen patted her on the back. She still did not offer any encouraging words, but in comparison to Chen Han, it was already much better: “Okay, it will work. Shen Xi, oh Shen Xi, if you had Chen Han’s tirelessness, I would have no other real requests of you.” She carried on over to Chen Han. “You two are in the same dormitory. You need to learn from each other, understand?”
Shen Xi grinned. Sometimes, she thought Teacher Wen was even worse with words than she was.
After morning practice was finished, Chen Han’s expression seemed a little unpleasant. Shen Xi also felt bored and slipped away to have starch jelly at S University. Since she was at S University, of course she called Lin Yu Tang, and coincidentally, he happened to be near House of Good Food. When Shen Xi called Lin Yu Tang over to sit down, she noticed that there was more than just him. His two roommates, Monkey and Brawny had also come over.
None of them had eaten breakfast either, and they each ordered something to eat. Shen Xi’s starch jelly was served, and she added a spoonful of red chili flakes on top. Lin Yu Tang took one look at her and made one criticism: “You need to eat less spicy.”
Monkey grinned and grinned at Shen Xi, but his words were directed at Lin Yu Tang. “So ah, what is the relationship between you two anyway, huh?”
Lin Yu Tang did not say anything. Shen Xi unhurriedly answered, “You can’t tell what type of relationship we have?”
Monkey nodded. “Got it, got it.”
Actually, Shen Xi may have said that, but she also did not know what exactly was her relationship with Lin Yu Tang. They had grown up together, and she had liked him first. She had also been the one to take the initiative to confess her feelings. However, it seemed like he only accepted that she existed in his world and took an approach of neither welcoming nor resisting.
She was at least rather pretty. Could he not be just a little happier?
They were all eating and drinking together. Shen Xi had always had a good relationship with Lin Yu Tang’s roommates, but she truly never really had much contact with He Zhi Zhou. When she first arrived in this university town to study, He Zhi Zhou had just gone to the United States as an exchange student.
When everyone was almost finished eating, He Zhi Zhou came over. His hands were carrying a tray, and he walked over and casually sat down. His presence was particularly strong and immediately, the whole table was silent.
Shen Xi set down her chopsticks. Lin Yu Tang asked her whether she had registered to take her CET-4 (College English Test, Band 4. Nationwide, standardized English test in China, mandatory for post-secondary education and usually taken in second year). She bowed her head somewhat dejectedly. “Registered. But I feel like I won’t pass.”
“What’s the big deal? When it comes time, let me, your big bro, tutor you,” seeing Shen Xi so dismayed, Monkey slapped his own chest and said.
Brawny interrupted, “You actually aren’t embarrassed to say that? In our entire dorm, you are the only one who hasn’t passed CET-6.” (College English Test, Band 6. Must past CET-4 first.)
Monkey looked seriously at Brawny. “The guy who barely squeaked by a passing grade in CET-6, I feel like you’re quite pleased with yourself.”
“I am proud. Making you so envious you could die.” Brawny smiled “coquettishly” and twisted his head to say to He Zhi Zhou, “Leader, you don’t know Shen Xi yet, right? Why don’t you meet each other now?”
He Zhi Zhou raised his head and swept his eyes to look at Shen Xi and Lin Yu Tang sitting together, answering directly, “We met yesterday.”
Shen Xi smiled, and at the same time, Monkey cleared his throat. He looked beamingly at her and said, “May 1 Labor Day holidays, remember to come with Lin Yu Tang to Qingdao Island to play.”
Monkey was a rich boy. This was something Shen Xi knew, but after hearing Brawny’s explanation, she still asked, “Are you all going?”
“Of course. We can’t leave behind even one. Firstly, we want to welcome our Leader back into the embrace of his home country. Secondly, it happens to be a holiday so we can all relax a bit.” Monkey placed an arm around He Zhi Zhou so it rested on top of his shoulder. He Zhi Zhou remained silent, not denying this little outing of heading out for some time on the sea.
Shen Xi carefully thought over Monkey’s proposed plan for a fun trip to Qingdao, and then she discovered a problem. How come Lin Yu Tang had never told her about it?
Walking back to her college campus, Shen Xi was still a little unhappy and did not talk to Lin Yu Tang on the way. Finally, not content to let the matter rest and still unhappy, she opened her mouth. “Lin Yu Tang, do you not want to go away on a trip with me?”
Lin Yu Tang stood across from Shen Xi, a wry smile in his eyes. “Because my May 1 holiday plans did not include going with them to Qingdao. But you ended up promising them first.”
Shen Xi stared at Lin Yu Tang, her tone softening several notches. “Then what plans did you have?”
Lin Yu Tang handed the bag of fruit from the supermarket over to Shen Xi. “Didn’t you say last time you wanted to go to Dunhuang?”
“You wanted it to be just us two, ah?” Shen Xi understood, and she beamed ecstatically.
Lin Yu Tang raised his eyebrows and said quietly, “Mm-hmm. But alas, didn’t you already promise Monkey you would go with them?”
Shen Xi felt a little regretful and annoyed with herself, and her happy smile immediately disappeared. However, the next second, she was cheery again, and her eyes seemed to twinkle slightly. She hugged Lin Yu Tang’s arm and said, “Actually, I don’t mind displaying our affection towards each other in front of your roommates, ah.”
Wearily, Lin Yu Tang glanced at Shen Xi and told her in a voice that was still cool and clear like spring water, “Tomorrow is Friday and we will be heading out. Also, I need to go to the lab tonight and can’t have dinner with you. I’ll text you what you need to bring for tomorrow.”
Shen Xi was thrilled inside, like a spring breeze was blowing into her heart. Nice and warm. Despite Lin Yu Tang’s manner toward her being neither cold nor hot, he was still pretty good to her. For example, when they were kids, he would give her his pocket money to spend, and when boys would try to stop her and she couldn’t get home, it was him who would rush over to rescue her. Even her bed, on the first day of college, had been made by him.
At the time, the other three in the dormitory had been crazy with envy…
As the girlfriend-to-be, she needed to forgive this boyfriend-to-be who was not good with words
Friday was the start of the May 1 Labor Day holidays, so that night everyone in the dormitory was talking about where they were going to have fun. Dou Dou was going with her parents to tour some famous mountains and Xia Wei Ye was going to Xiamen with friends. When Xia Wei Ye asked Chen Han where she was going, Chen Han’s voice was a little cool. “I’ll probably stay in the dorm.”
Xia Wei Ye glanced at Shen Xi still packing her things, and seeing her put a swimsuit into her suitcase, she curiously asked, “Shen Xi, you’re going somewhere by the ocean, too?”
Shen Xi took two long dresses and asked Dou Dou to choose one. Dou Dou carefully considered for a moment. “Taking into account you are going with Lin Yu Tang, I think the one on the left is better because it shows more skin.”
“Makes sense.” Although Shen Xi said this, she did not listen to Dou Dou and chose the one on the right to put in her suitcase.
“Shen Xi, where’s it you’re going?” Xia Wei Ye asked another time.
“Qingdao,” Shen Xi answered, continuing to organize all her sun protection things.
Xia Wei Yi fell silent all of a sudden and only after a long time, said, “With He Zhi Zhou’s whole dorm, right? I knew about it. I know Monkey quite well. Last time, he even asked me to help him find some girls to join along and have fun together but I refused. If something happened, who would be responsble?”
Shen Xi exchanged a look with Dou Dou, ignoring Xia Wei Ye’s words, and then continued packing her bag according to what Lin Yu Tang had written in the text message he sent her.
The next day, after all classes were over, Shen Xi went to meet up with Lin Yu Tang. On Lin Yu Tang’s end, there were only five people in total – the four in their dormitory, plus a short-haired, pretty girl, who was the pretty maiden Brawny’s WeChat (messaging and calling app) messages had managed to shake out. Shen Xi was walking beside Lin Yu Tang. Monkey jealously said one thing: “Just me and Leader don’t have a girlfriend. So sad.” When he finished saying it, he needed to pull He Zhi Zhou into this, too.
It was apparent He Zhi Zhou did not want to associate himself with Monkey’s rubbish, and though he didn’t say anything, his entire presence was like a haworthia plant as his long legs strode away up front.
Flying from S City to Qingdao took more than an hour in total. The 5:00 afternoon flight arrived at Qingdao only shortly after 6:30. When the group stepped out of the airport, the colorful sunset clouds were overhead and caused the entire city to take on a reddish glow. The rays of refracted sunlight had a spectacular and grand beauty.
Monkey used the excuse of striking up a conversation to find a pretty female tourist to take a group photograph for them as a souvenir. Naturally, Shen Xi stood next to Lin Yu Tang, and on her other side, the person closest to her was He Zhi Zhou.
They were all arm in arm or had hands around each other’s waists. Shen Xi was not a stickler when it came to these little things. Her left arm hugged Lin Yu Tang’s waist while her right arm very naturally wrapped around He Zhi Zhou’s as well, and she smiled sweetly at the camera.
Everyone’s good friends – eggplant! (Eggplant is qie zi in Mandarin and is phonetic to “cheese.”)
The result was, before the camera had even clicked, He Zhi Zhou had already removed her hand off of himself in distaste.
This guy was just… So arrogant for what! Shen Xi pulled her hand back from He Zhi Zhou’s waist, slapped it down neither lightly nor firmly on his shoulder, and then continued to nonchalantly let her arm hang there from his shoulder.
The beautiful girl is grown-up! No worries and no fears!