Still some time needed to adjust to the change in relationships.
Chapter 9.3 — Do Not Use Your Pride to Hurt Her (3)
Lin Yu Tang’s presence had not been invited, and his sudden appearance caused the whole dance practice room to fall into a strange atmosphere. The noise and fun a second ago had now, in the next second, become silence.
Seeing Lin Yu Tang at the door, Monkey and Brawny’s kind and thoughtful nerves were stirred again. They had actually been so cruel to leave Third all alone in the dorm room. Not only had they not said anything to him to let him know where they were going, which was bad enough, he even had to come here to find them. It must be that Third, who was forcing himself to put on this happy front, wanted to take this opportunity of treating them out to eat to try to win their favour. Oh, what should they do? They felt so guilty.
Lin Yu Tang did not immediately walk in and instead merely leaned against the side of the door, waiting. There was a naturally reserved composure about him. Light reflected faintly off the glasses that rested on the bridge of his nose. Behind them was a pair of eyes that was even more elegant than a girl’s.
He Zhi Zhou was the first to speak, and his tone was very natural and open. “Where are we going to eat?”
“You guys decide.” Step by step, he walked toward them until he finally was in front of Shen Xi. Looking at her, he asked, “What do you want to eat?”
Shen Xi lifted her eyes and, in a small voice, gave her request. “Is crayfish okay?”
Lin Yu Tang glanced toward Monkey and Brawny and also He Zhi Zhou, using his eyes to ask them for their opinions.
Monkey and Brawny were very clear that their role was to provide company while eating. Immediately, they nodded cooperatively. “No problem. We all love crayfish!”
It had been several days since Shen Xi had last seen Lin Yu Tang. After that time when she had told him she did not want to marry him, they had not seen each other again. Lin Yu Tang had not come to find her, and she also did not know how to talk to him. The comfortable atmosphere between them, where they could do whatever they pleased, had already disappeared.
How could Lin Yu Tang not know what Shen Xi was thinking? And hence, this scene where he had suddenly appeared here at night had occurred. He knew better than anyone else that if he carried on not coming to find Shen Xi, they would only drift further apart. She was his childhood friend. No matter how aloof his temperament was, he still did not want Shen Xi to completely walk out of his life and just become a mark somewhere on the timeline of these years of growing up.<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, this translation has been taken without consent of the translator.
If you walked out the east gate of S University and took two stations over, in a small alley, there was a late-night snack streetside stall that was especially good. The crayfish there, in particular, was a specialty, where they were killed on the spot and cooked. They stepped out at eight o’clock. People who were out eating a late meal at this time were mostly people already in the working world. Of course, there were also a few tables of students from the university.
He Zhi Zhou and Lin Yu Tang even knew all the people at one of the tables and greeted them when they walked by. Amongst this group was one person who looked particularly mature, and Shen Xi thought he was a teacher. He Zhi Zhou told her, though, that he was a current doctorate student, but for the last three years, his thesis had not passed and now even his kid was old enough to go buy soy sauce. The sounds of voices seemed to be roiling excitedly, with people playing drinking games, some people bragging, and a large floor fan whirring as it blew out air. So lively and cool.
Brawny, the second-generation rich kid, was a regular here. Shen Xi knew of this place because Brawny had told her about it. Last month, using He Zhi Zhou’s identity, she had ordered from here twenty jin [10 kg] of crayfish to go. As a result, the instant He Zhi Zhou showed up, the owner greeted him with a warm smile. “Zhou Zhou, long time no see!”
Zhou Zhou…<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
He Zhi Zhou was speechless for a moment. With a glance at Shen Xi, who was beside him, he nodded at the owner and added. “Boss, remember to give us a discount later.”
The owner of the stall: “Of course!”<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
Watching as He Zhi Zhou pretended to be very familiar with the owner, Shen Xi was secretly amused. With a flourish of her hand, she cried, “Tang Tang, our little rich guy, is treating. Boss, I’ll have five bottles of beer and six jin [3 kg] of crayfish.”
“No, ten bottles of beer!” Brawny doubled the number of bottles before finding the cleanest table and sitting down.
Shen Xi was the second person to take her seat, which was separated from Brawny’s by two empty seats between them. Then Lin Yu Tang walked over. He did not sit down beside Shen Xi and, instead, sat in the seat beside Brawny. There now was one empty seat between them, like it had been purposely left for He Zhi Zhou. He Zhi Zhou flicked a glance at that empty seat but did not sit down in it either. Wordlessly, he ambled to Shen Xi’s other side and sat down.
Looking at that empty seat on her left, Shen Xi blinked. Fortunately, Monkey very cleverly inserted himself in that space between herself and Lin Yu Tang, which helped to avoid the awkwardness that had been looming.
Monkey turned his head to look at Brawny. “Hey, can you finish off two dozen bottles of beer? I’ll warn you now. If we can’t finish them all, you’ll have to be the one to polish all of them off.”
Brawny laughed. “All of us, we’re not going back until we’re drunk.”
He Zhi Zhou turned this down. “No. Shen Xi still needs to go back to her dorm.”
Brawny was a little disappointed. Since they were all out already, he really did not want to go back. And plus it had been a long time since they karaoked through the whole night. Once again, he made a suggestion, proposing that after their late-night snack, they would go karaoking all night.
Monkey was a little tempted. They were in the last semester of third year university now, and the people supervising the male dormitories were not particular strict. With late returns or even not returning to the dormitory the entire night, a simple phone call to the lady who was the dormitory supervisor would be enough.
But with Shen Xi…<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
Hence, Brawny’s suggestion was only something that they could just listen to.
However, Lin Yu Tang ended up asking Shen Xi, “Can you not return to the dorm at night?”
Shen Xi looked toward Lin Yu Tang. Seeing his serious expression, she nodded. Actually, it would be no big deal if she did not return to the dormitory. She only needed to send Dou Dou a text message.
Pressing his lips together, Lin Yu Tang stated, “Then tonight, we will go singing after this.”
Feeling bad if she did not give Lin Yu Tang face, Shen Xi immediately beamed and answered in a light tone, “Sure!”
He Zhi Zhou shifted his gaze to land on something in the distance, all the while not saying a single word.
The crayfish had not been served up yet, but Shen Xi was already able to smell the aroma. Halfway through, she was constantly turning her head to stare with a longing look at the stall owner’s tall figure as he stir-fried the crayfish. Unable to handle seeing this, He Zhi Zhou stretched out his arms and turned her head back around.
Shen Xi therefore could only put her elbows on the table and set her chin in her hands, waiting. The beer came. Turning to look at Lin Yu Tang, Shen Xi opened her mouth and asked, “Tang Tang, why are you suddenly treating everyone?”
Lin Yu Tang opened two bottles of beer. “No real reason, just that I got back the money that I had lent out a while ago.”
Shen Xi paused, understanding what the money Lin Yu Tang was referring to was. She did not really know how she should respond to this. Lin Yu Tang voluntarily explained, “Last semester, Ling Chao Xi’s dad was in a car accident, but the culprit ran off. I lent her some money that they needed urgently. The insurance company has reimbursed everything back now.”
“So that’s what it is.” Monkey gave a pat on Lin Yu Tang’s shoulder. “Understood.”
Shen Xi bowed her head. “What about now? Is her dad okay?”
Lin Yu Tang turned his eyes on her, the look in them insipid. “I’m not really sure.”
Shen Xi pressed the edges of her lips together. Then, she began scratching at her calves. The one bad thing about eating a late-night meal outside was that there were a lot of mosquitoes. While she was scratching away, He Zhi Zhou suddenly stood and strode in the direction of the stall owner. Soon, he returned with two dishes of mosquito-repelling incense.
Shen Xi was touched, her eyes blinking.
From his pants pocket, He Zhi Zhou fished out a metal lighter, lighting up each dish of incense. One dish he set beside Shen Xi and the other he put somewhere in the middle of everyone.
The boyfriend was being so thoughtful. Pressing her hands to her slightly warm cheeks, Shen Xi sat quietly beside He Zhi Zhou, instantaneously becoming a docile, gentle, and dependent little lady. Her older [female] cousin had once said something: women will play different roles in front of different men. In front of “little” men, a woman will, without even knowing it, take on the role of a strong, able woman. But in front of some men, she needed only to be an endearing little kitten, and that would be enough.
Right now, she felt that here in front of He Zhi Zhou, she only needed to be a kitten. Meow, meow, meow…<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, this translation has been taken without consent of the translator.
The crayfish was served up. In addition to crayfish, there were also several dishes of appetizers. With the food and drink here, they chatted away on all sorts of things. Since Monkey and everyone else were approaching a turning point in their lives, the topic turned to plans for next year.
Everyone had a different plan, but there was one common point: each was heading onto his own path, pursuing his own course.
Monkey and Brawny were both able to drink, and beer bottle caps fell one after the other to the ground. Each time Shen Xi opened one, she would look inside the cap, but the hateful thing was, they all only said, “Thank you for your patronage.”
By the sixth bottle, after she once more flipped over the cap, with Brawny’s hopeful eyes on her, she beamingly declared, “Whoa! It actually says, ‘Have another bottle.’”
“What?!” Brawny immediately stuck out his hand. “Hurry! Give it to me, give it to me.”
“Just forget it. We don’t care for that!” Shen Xi said, and then she tossed the cap into the air.
Dang it! So conniving! Brawny’s eyes followed that beer bottle cap as it fell from the sky to the ground. Leaving his seat, he dashed over, his heart aching as he picked up that cap again. Then, in front of an outdoor lamp, he read the small print on the underside of the cap—“Thank you for your patronage.”
Having successfully played a prank on someone, Shen Xi high-fived Monkey. “Monkey, I got revenge for you!”
Monkey immediately raised his glass to her. Picking up her own glass, Shen Xi was about to take a drink, but before the glass could even touch her lips, He Zhi Zhou had blocked its path. “Do you have any self-restraint?”
Shen Xi pouted out her lip.
Monkey, of course, did not force her. Sitting down, he nudged the person beside him with his elbow. “Just look. So protective.”
Lin Yu Tang: “Ha ha. Of course he’s protective.”
Eh, why was it Lin Yu Tang? Monkey touched his head. He had nudged the wrong person! He had originally wanted to nudge Brawny.
Lin Yu Tang merely smiled. All of a sudden, his mobile phone rang, and standing, he answered it. As he stood beneath the light, talking on his phone, a smile touched his lips and the corner of his eyes showed a fine sense of gentleness that moved a person’s heart.
Lin Yu Tang was on the phone for about five minutes and then returned to the table. Shen Xi, while eating her crayfish, told him, “If you hadn’t come back soon, we would have eaten it all. See the one in your bowl? I had to fight to get it for you.”
Lin Yu Tang looked down. Sure enough, inside the white bowl in front of him was a little red crayfish. Smiling, he said, “No worries. We’ll order another few jin [1 jin = 0.5 kg] in a bit.”
“We’re all done and full. Don’t need to order any more.” Brawny, the one who could eat the most, also waved his pudgy hands.
Setting his white mobile phone on the table, Lin Yu Tang told them, “No, it’s not that. I have a friend coming in a bit.”
Monkey: “Huh? What kind of friend?”
Lin Yu Tang leaned back into his chair, a smile on his face, and in the end, spreading his hands, he answered, “A girl. I’m in the midst of trying to woo her.”<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, this translation has been taken without consent of the translator.
43 of 65 Chapters segments
0 of 2 epilogues