Chapter 16 – Rabbit’s ear and shoes
When Su Yi got onto the car she’d already saved this address.
Most people love to shop at malls, there’s plenty of brands there and the things tend to be of better quality. Su Yi wasn’t most people though, and she preferred these little streets instead.
And Chu Ying, this one was completely out of touch with even the idea of shopping.
If he had the time, he’d rather run a few more rounds, but he did see that little spark in Su Yi’s eyes.
It’s just shopping…
Su Yi looked all around her as she walked out of the shop and went straight into the little stall opposite the chiropractor’s and came back with two Cornettos.
She held the two in front of Chu Ying and asked, “Do you prefer chocolate or strawberry?”
Chu Ying’s frown deepened, the distaste obvious on his face.
Just as he was about to speak, he saw that the person in front was staring at the chocolate flavoured cone on the right, as if afraid that he’d choose it.
In a blink of an eye, her right hand was empty.
The guy took away the chocolate cornetto, saying, “Let’s go.”
Su Yi was speechless.
The ice cream was a childhood memory. When he ate it again, the flavour had improved plenty; Chu Ying took a bite, the icinesss spreading in his mouth.
Thinking about Su Yi’s basket of vegetables when eating out with him, Chu Ying reminded her. “There’s plenty of calories in ice cream.”
Su Yi instinctively pursed her lips. “I know that.”
She unwrapped her ice cream, but didn’t eat it – instead, she took a picture with her phone.
It’s uncertain whether she intended for the other’s shoes to show up in the frame.
After taking the photo, Su Yi scooped out as much ice cream as her little spoon could take and threw the rest into the rubbish bin by the road. Then she pulled her mask down and, carefully, started licking the ice cream on the spoon.
Chu Ying wanted to laugh, but looking at the way she was eating, even his own ice cream started tasting better.
Su Yi asked, “Was that chiropractor just now your friend?”
“He’s an ex comrade too?”
“No,” Chu Ying said. “We met outside of camp.”
“During a mission?”
She had really guessed it.
The master’s previous clinic was their little town’s biggest shop, with plenty of students and a reputation for being really good at what they did. Plenty of people from the city would willingly make a trip to go find him for a massage. No thanks to a landslide, not only was the clinic gone, but the people were also trapped inside.
It’s fortunate that they weren’t there for long before they were saved, with Chu Ying being the leader of that search and rescue team.
However, Chu Ying didn’t answer her and Su Yi didn’t continue asking. After finishing her ice cream she pulled her mask back on.
They were both really tall, which, together with Chu Ying’s rather out-of-place suit, made sure they really stood out in the crowd.
They passed a shop selling ornaments.
Su Yi took a turn and entered first. Chu Ying paused for a moment before following her in.
The shop was small, one person took up half of the aisle by just standing there. They had to walk sideways to get into the shop. They were standing so close to each other – in a stall so poorly ventilated – that Chu Ying could clearly smell the light scent on Su Yi. He couldn’t quite place the fragrance , but it smelled good.
Su Yi picked up a headband, put it on in front of a mirror and asked, “Do I look good?”
The headband had two rabbit ears on it. By the time Chu Ying got ahold of himself, he’d already finished going through the livestream yesterday in his head once.
He nodded. “Yes.”
Su Yi changed it for one with bear ears with a smile, asking, “Which looks better?”
Chu Ying was silent for a while. “I don’t know.” He picked up the rabbit ear headband that had just been put back, placed it into the basket the shop’s tenders had just placed in his hand. “Let’s get both.”
Naturally, Chu Ying paid the bill.
There and then, Su Yi put on the rabbit headband.
The two headbands that were worth twelve dollars each had made her happier than that first paycheck she’d received.
Barely a while after leaving the shop, Chu Ying’s phone rang.
“I’ll take the call.”
Su Yi nodded. “Sure.”
Chu Ying took the phone to a quieter place while Su Yi waited for him. She took out her phone and, sure enough, there were already a few missed calls from Wu Xue on top of plenty of WeChat messages.
[Wu Xue: You’re not at home???]
[Wu Xue: OK, you’re the best and the greatest, we’re not even done with Liang Bo when there’s a new mysterious guy.]
[Wu Xue: Answer my call!]
She was thinking about replying something when she realised there were a few people standing in front of her.
She looked up – it’s three guys.
Three redneck punks, in tight pants with a row of studs and checkered jackets. None of their hair was black, and all were shorter than Su Yi. It didn’t feel like they were cornering her.
“Little rabbit,” the yellow-haired guy in the centre called her with a smile. “Alone today?”
In this era, there still exist people who’d dare to try behaving like hoodlums on the streets in bright daylight?!
Su Yi’s expression remained unchanged. “No.”
“Oh, it doesn’t matter if you are alone.” The blondie crooked a finger at the green-haired follower by his side, and immediately he started searching through his bag for something.
When Chu Ying returned, the sight that greeted him was Su Yi being surrounded by a few guys.
He frowned, quickening his steps.
Just as he neared, the yellow-haired guy’s voice drifted over.
“Really Sister, that’s how you enter the big shops?”
Because she had on a mask, the lady’s voice was rather muffled. “Believe it or not.” When she finished speaking, she turned, ready to leave, but she was held back by the trio behind her.
“Not so fast, Sister, we’re listening to you, please tell us more.”
Su Yi let out a nasally laugh, then turned around and continued, “After graduating from a hairdresser academy, of course you won’t become a hairdresser immediately. The first thing you have to do is to wash your customer’s hair, earn some quick change. After half a year to a year, when you’ve done enough time, you’d get a chance to learn from the hairdresser as an apprentice…”
She spoke confidently, fluently and naturally.
The few guys listened obediently, occasionally chiming in with ‘So that’s how it is’ and ‘Sister, you’re really amazing’.
“Who are you calling Sister?” Su Yi waved a hand. “I’m done, you can go. Oh, and take this flyer with you.”
Taking back the flyers for their salon, the few men turned and walked away while thanking her.
After witnessing everything, Chu Ying slowly made his way over.
Once she saw him, Su Yi had on a smiling face once more, her ‘lady boss’ attitude completely gone.
She did not mention a single word about the incident earlier, and after a few steps, Chu Ying asked, “How old were you when you started acting?”
“Twenty.” Hearing this, Su Yi thought about something, before she turned around and asked, “How old are you?”
Chu Ying said, “Twenty-eight.”
Su Yi slowed down, and started counting with her fingers.
Chu Ying turned his head. “What about it?”
After getting a number, Su Yi smilingly shook her head. “Nothing.”
In the time they spent shopping – less than an hour – Chu Ying’s phone rang several times.
When the two of them left a pastry shop empty-handed, his phone rang again.
This time, Chu Ying didn’t avoid Su Yi, he just picked it up and said, “That you need to call me so many times for a single project has me questioning your abilities.”
He was used to giving orders, and when saying something like this, unconsciously he would sound sterner than usual.
The staff on the other end was almost scared into tears. However, the Su Yi by his side was almost about to faint with joy at that very tone.
That familiar voice, exactly just like that time.
She quirked up the corner of her lip, looking around, trying to see if there were any more shops she could go into.
Although there were many shops, they were all proper shops.
Now that the security was tighter, those street shops are almost extinct. Even those that did appear only did so around midnight.
Thus, that one street shop not too far away stood out on this street. It was not really a street shop, just an old grandma and one pushcart with plenty of accessories on it accompanied by a ‘Three dollars a piece’ sign.
Two policemen stood by her.
Su Yi pursed her lips, taking big strides without pause. Her rabbit ears shook with her steps, appearing really cute when viewed from behind.
Over the phone the person spoke urgently. “Hey, hey? Boss, are you still listening?”
Chu Ying hung up, catching up to the woman ahead of him.
The grandma had her hands together as though praying, she was saying something.
Su Yi could hear it clearly once she neared.
“No choice, I really have no choice.” Her hair was in a mess, tears pooling visibly in her eyes. “My grandson needs to go to school and there’s no one at home, just me. The money I’m getting every month is only enough for us to eat, not for school, what about his future?”
The city guards were two young lads who looked as caught as they felt. One of them said, “Granny, we can’t do anything either, it’s a rule that you can’t do things this way.”
“I won’t go,” she said really softly. “I cannot go, young lad.”
The two of them were silent, then they discussed something in a low volume before coming up with five hundred dollars.
“Granny, take this money, please pack up.”
“Granny, how old is your grandson?” A muffled voice sounded behind them.
The three looked that way. It was a tall woman in a huge facemask, dressed up casually but meticulously.
The grandmother said blankly, “My grandson’s in primary two now.”
Su Yi took the notepad used for some unknown purpose from one of the city guards, tore out a blank page, took the pen, and wrote something on it.
“Granny, this is an address and a phone number.” Su Yi walked up and put that paper in the elderly’s hand. “Contact that person, say I told you to call, that’s my name,” she pointed at the two words below, and said, “She’d get your grandson into a school without any fees, it’d be free, no need for any money.”
The grandma stared in a daze, caught off guard. “It’s free?”
“Yes.” Su Yi helped her keep the note. “Please hurry home now, and pack what your grandson would need for school.”
The granny was at once surprised and hesitant. “Little girl, you’re not trying to trick me into going back, are you?”
“No, granny, she’s a celebrity.” One of the guards recognised her. “A pretty known one, if she says it’s possible, it’s definitely possible.”
The granny’s tears started flowing even more fiercely then. “Really? Thank you little girl, really, thank you, I’d kowtow to you…”
Su Yi was frozen to the spot, but before she could reach out, the person beside her had already helped the old lady up.
“Where do you stay at,” Chu Ying said as he collected the ornaments hanging on the cart and returned them to the trolley. “We’ll send you back.”
edited by Larkspur