After buying the skirt, Zhou Kao’s mind was filled with nothing but Wen Le the whole night.
He frequently spaced out and was absent-minded. Although he drank the drinks offered to him, he often responded slowly during conversations with his senior. When the senior asked if he had something on his mind, Zhou Kao refused to talk about it.
By the time they dispersed, it was already late. Zhou Kao walked alone on the dimly lit path of the campus, carrying his shopping bag. There were not many people on the road, and it was quiet around, with only the sounds of insects chirping and the rustling of leaves in the evening breeze.
As he looked at the streetlights, Zhou Kao couldn’t help but drift off again, recalling Wen Le’s appearance when they reunited on the university campus.
At that time, Wen Le had also been wearing a red skirt; slightly intoxicated by alcohol, she had been exuding an irresistible charm.
Zhou Kao couldn’t help but smile; he realized that he had never been able to get over his infatuation with Wen Le.
From the moment he was captivated by Wen Le at first sight to the moment he kissed her forehead, every moment between him and Wen Le flashed before his eyes.
Under the influence of the slight intoxication, Zhou Kao found himself standing in front of the women’s dormitory building.
He understood why Wen Le had rejected his kiss.
She should have refused it.
The consecutive two days of dancing, the lights, music, and the atmosphere created during the dances would have led to a kind of artificial confusion and infatuation.
Being in such an environment, even Zhou Kao couldn’t tell whether it was the influence of the surroundings or if his feelings had already accumulated to the point of eruption.
Zhou Kao once shared the same viewpoint as Wen Le, thinking that the intense desire, yearning, and the chaotic heartbeat that night were just momentary infatuation.
Perhaps, after they separated and calmed down, they would return to their previous state.
But Zhou Kao had stayed calm for three or four days, thinking he could face Wen Le calmly, yet after imagining her tonight in that red skirt, his mind was still filled with thoughts of her.
So, Zhou Kao finally realized that he was deeply infatuated with Wen Le and couldn’t forget her.
It was that simple, but it was difficult to admit.
Apart from their pride and so-called rationality that stood between them, there was also that damn sense of competition.
Zhou Kao stood outside Wen Le’s dormitory building for a long time, smoking two cigarettes, and then he decided to call her.
The call connected.
The surroundings were quiet, and Zhou Kao spoke softly, “It’s me.”
Wen Le was momentarily stunned, and after a moment, her voice came from the other end of the phone, “Zhou Kao?”
Zhou Kao replied with a faint “Yes.”
There was a brief silence on both ends, and they could hear each other’s quiet breathing through the phone.
From Wen Le’s side, there was a soft closing of a door.
Then Wen Le spoke in a polite tone, “Is there something you need?”
This polite yet distant question instantly blocked the words Zhou Kao wanted to say.
He opened his mouth but suddenly didn’t know how to start. After a moment, he finally said, “I have something to discuss with you. Can we meet and talk when you have time?”
Wen Le seemed somewhat surprised and asked, “What is it?”
Zhou Kao replied, “It’s hard to explain over the phone. Let’s talk in person. When are you available?”
Wen Le said, “Sunday.”
Zhou Kao hung up the phone, and in the darkness and smoke, his expression was indiscernible. After a while, he extinguished the cigarette and turned to leave.
This weekend, Wen Le had no specific plans. She had thought about checking out some dance classes, as suggested by her aunt. However, just half an hour before Zhou Kao called, her little brother messaged her, saying he was in Beijing and asked if she had time to meet up on Saturday.
So, Wen Le made plans to meet with her little brother on Saturday.
Although Wen Le now appeared gentle and elegant, she was actually quite wild and unruly when she was younger.
From elementary school to junior high, Wen Le was essentially unbeatable in fights at school. She was a wild and fierce girl whom everyone feared.
Wen Le had been beautiful since she was little. In elementary school, boys would express their liking for girls by teasing them, like pulling girls’ hair or snatching their books and pens. These mischievous boys often angered the girls and even made them cry.
But Wen Le was different.
The little warrior Wen Le responded to these mischievous and malicious pranks with extremely cruel and severe retaliation.
A little boy tried to get Wen Le’s attention by pulling her hair, but Wen Le immediately turned around, pressed the boy down before he could run away, and ruthlessly yanked his hair while sitting on his belly, making the boy cry.
A little boy tried to get Wen Le’s attention by snatching her pencil case. Wen Le chased the boy up for two floors, and the boy got scared and threw the pencil case away. But Wen Le continued to pursue him relentlessly, eventually catching him and giving him a good beating.
Girls develop earlier than boys. Wen Le grew tall in elementary school and was unbeatable. In junior high, she earned a black belt in taekwondo and also learned some martial arts and jujitsu, but the boys still couldn’t beat her.
Even in ninth grade, Wen Le’s old classmates occasionally witnessed scenes of her overpowering boys.
With her formidable combat abilities, Wen Le gained a large group of followers, and even now, she maintained good relationships with some of her “little brothers.”
The ones who came today were the little brothers who followed Wen Le since junior high, and some of them had known her since elementary school. Some attended vocational high schools, while others followed Wen Le to the same high school, but their relationship had always been strong.
They met at a restaurant near Wen Le’s school.
During the meal, Zhang Hao asked, “Sis, you still don’t have a boyfriend? I told you not to be so fierce. Look at how fierce you are, who would dare to date you?”
Wen Le playfully slapped Zhang Hao on the head and said, “Nonsense, which part of me is fierce? Now, who doesn’t call me a gentle lady when they see me?”
Zhang Hao rubbed his head and grinned, “See, you just said you’re not fierce. If you weren’t fierce, would you still be single?”
Wen Le pretended to hit him again, and Zhang Hao quickly covered his head and dodged.
The group laughed and joked as they always did, maintaining their close relationship.
From afar, Zhou Kao watched them laughing and playing, but for some reason, his mood felt a bit sour.
Today, he and his friends happened to pass by this restaurant, and through the glass window, he spotted Wen Le’s figure.
Two of those boys looked somewhat familiar to Zhou Kao, and it reminded him of scenes from high school, making him feel annoyed as he lit up a cigarette.
The first time Zhou Kao saw Wen Le, she had been in her school uniform with short hair and no makeup, standing on the flag podium giving a speech, she was exuding pride and confidence, like a wild rose blooming in a desolate corner, stunning at first sight.
Later, in high school, there had been a sudden rain shower in the evening, and Wen Le had been in front of the library searching for an umbrella in her backpack. Zhou Kao had passed by her.
Wen Le’s hand had already touched the umbrella’s handle, when Zhou Kao had seen the corner of a light yellow item pressed between some books.
But for some reason, Zhou Kao had acted as if he hadn’t noticed and had walked up to Wen Le, saying, “Let me walk you home.”
Wen Le had looked up at Zhou Kao with surprise filling her beautiful eyes.
After a moment, she had quietly pushed the umbrella back into the innermost part of her backpack, pretending she didn’t have one, she had nodded.
As the heavy rain poured on Zhou Kao’s umbrella, they had walked very close to each other but had still kept a slight distance, not touching each other.
They hadn’t exchanged a single word the whole way, and had only focused on walking. When they parted, they said thank you and you’re welcome.
But on that day, the mutual attraction between the boy and the girl was revealed by themselves and to each other. At the moment they had turned around, the smiles that appeared on their lips spoke volumes.
It was a youthful and beautiful first crush.
Afterward, Zhou Kao recalled the scene that made him suppress his feelings for Wen Le.
It was one afternoon when Zhou Kao and some boys from his class passed by a small alley behind the school. They saw the usually well-behaved and gentle girl execute a graceful side flip, kicking a boy to the ground.
Wen Le coldly looked down at the boy on the ground, followed by four or five unruly-looking little brothers. The scene resembled that of a delinquent girl mingling with a gang.
Zhou Kao’s gaze met Wen Le’s as she turned her head back. Wen Le seemed to be slightly surprised but said nothing.
Zhou Kao and his classmates left, and one of the boys next to him teased, “Oh, the big sister is beating people up again. I wonder who’s the unlucky one this time.”
“Don’t make a fuss, she’s been bullying people for a while now.”
The first time Zhou Kao’s young and tender heart was moved, it suffered a great impact.
From that moment on, Zhou Kao started to distance himself from Wen Le and later transferred to another school due to his father’s job transfer, leaving without saying goodbye.
Thinking about the past, Zhou Kao felt a bit overwhelmed and lit a cigarette.
He received a call from the teacher before he could finish the cigarette. The competition he had signed up for was scheduled for Monday.
Zhou Kao hung up the phone and put out the cigarette.
After a while, he sent a message to Wen Le.
He would be leaving on Monday, but he was to meet with Wen Le on Sunday to clarify things. Leaving for the competition would mean being away for half a month, and everything felt too rushed.
He needed the right moment to talk to her.
Wen Le was chatting with her little brothers when her phone vibrated. She glanced at it and saw that Zhou Kao had cancelled their Sunday meeting, saying he had some last-minute matters.
Her face darkened, and she turned the phone screen facedown on the table without replying.
Wen Le couldn’t help but think about the phone call two days ago.
Zhou Kao’s ambiguous attitude on the phone, coupled with their interactions during the dance, made Wen Le overthink. She didn’t know what business Zhou Kao had that required him to bother her so late at night and yet he couldn’t discuss it over the phone.
Though Wen Le sounded calm on the phone, she was in a daze after hanging up. Zhou Kao’s call had left her restless for several days.
But just when it was about to happen, Zhou Kao suddenly said he had something coming up and canceled their meeting.
Wen Le was filled with anger, gritting her teeth as the fury surged within her.
Yes, it was her fault. She knew Zhou Kao was always good at backing out at the last minute, yet she still had hope.
High school was no different; he had left without saying goodbye, and now he had suddenly cancelled their meeting.
Clearly, Zhou Kao was always the one making the first move, but he was also the first one to run away.
You’re a coward, Zhou Kao.
Wen Le thought to herself, if she gave him another chance, she would be a dog.
No, she swore to herself, she’d be a fucking ugly dog!
TN: Oh nooo, that’s not what ZK intended 🙁