Edited by Elv
Wen Le was running on the school track with her earphones when suddenly her music was interrupted by a phone call. It was Zhou Kao calling.
Wen Le slowed down her pace and walked towards the center of the field to catch her breath on the grass.
Thinking about it, she realized it had been two or three days since Zhou Kao had dropped her off on Sunday, and they hadn’t seen each other since. Zhou Kao seemed to have been quite busy recently, and they had only been in touch through WeChat and phone calls.
She checked the time, and it was around the time they usually talked on weekdays. She answered Zhou Kao’s call, and his voice came through, “Hello.”
Hearing Wen Le’s slightly heavy breathing, Zhou Kao asked, “What are you doing?”
Wen Le regulated her breath and replied, “I’m jogging.”
Zhou Kao recalled that Wen Le had mentioned signing up for this year’s sports meet. He asked, “Why did you sign up for events this year? You didn’t participate last year, did you?”
Wen Le explained, “I was holding up a signboard in my freshman year, so I didn’t participate.”
Thinking about her freshman year made Wen Le chuckle. Back then, the school assigned a photographer to take pictures of each signboard model, and they initiated an online vote for the most beautiful signboard holder. She ended up winning with the highest number of votes. Despite the Economics faculty not having an absolute advantage in terms of population, many male students from other faculties secretly voted for her when they heard about the competition between the faculties. It was said that the counselor from the Business School was quite frustrated about it for a while.
Wen Le playfully scolded, “You didn’t know? I was quite popular back then.”
Zhou Kao rubbed his forehead and said, “I was busy at the time. I didn’t even participate in the sports meet, so how could I have known all that?”
But then, Zhou Kao’s voice lowered, “But if I had participated in the sports meet back then, maybe we wouldn’t have had to wait until our sophomore year to meet…”
His voice sounded downcast, and his mood seemed to have soured a bit due to this regret.
In reality, it was impossible not to regret it.
Talking about the past…
Wen Le took a couple of steps on the grass, sat down, and gazed at the dark track. The field was dimly lit by a few faint lights. In the dim environment, hidden thoughts could easily emerge and dwell. In a secretive corner of her heart, Wen Le harbored a question that she had never asked before. But at this moment, amid this darkness, those emotions buried deep within her memories seemed to quietly resurface.
Sitting on the grass, Wen Le hugged her knees and spoke softly, “Zhou Kao…”
Zhou Kao softly hummed in response, and Wen Le continued, “In our first year of high school, I thought that we…”
She couldn’t bring herself to say it all, but she asked, “Why did you leave without saying goodbye?”
Her voice was quiet, and when she spoke of the past, there was a hint of grievances in her tone.
The night breeze gently brushed a strand of hair across Wen Le’s cheek. She tilted her head slightly, her eyes appearing somewhat dim in the glow of the lights. Her fingers subconsciously twisted the artificial grass on the lawn, circling it between her fingertips.
Zhou Kao’s breath caught at Wen Le’s words. On the other end of the call, his expression turned a bit awkward, tinged with regret and remorse.
There were reasons he couldn’t put into words, and he suddenly felt that even the mistakes made in youthful recklessness shouldn’t be forgiven so easily. Yet, here Wen Le was, just as he had hoped, not questioning or making a fuss, and giving him another chance.
He felt grateful, yet also sad.
Wen Le was a kind-hearted girl. He had wasted one chance, and he still held regrets for the foolishness of his past actions. Thinking about those three years that slipped by, Zhou Kao’s heart wasn’t at ease.
He didn’t speak, because the real reason was both stupid and absurd. He couldn’t say it out loud.
Wen Le didn’t press for details. It was as if she could sense Zhou Kao’s remorse through the phone. She didn’t chastise or get angry; instead, she gently asked, “Zhou Kao, do you regret it?”
After a moment, Zhou Kao gave a slight nod, then realized that Wen Le couldn’t see him. He replied in a husky voice, “Yes.”
Wen Le continued, “So you know: once bitten, twice shy.”
“You need to remember well what caused us to miss three years.”
“If you make the same mistake again, you’ll be a big fool. You’ll be a big fool not worthy of another chance or forgiveness.”
Although her words seemed a bit petulant, they held a sense of warmth and cuteness that Zhou Kao found endearing. A gentle breeze seemed to brush across his chest as if Wen Le’s words were a soft caress. Suddenly, he felt a bit relieved.
Zhou Kao’s voice was low and strained, “So, can you forgive me?”
Wen Le’s voice was crisp and resolute, “I won’t forgive.”
“I want to leave this thorn in your heart. If you ever make another mistake, I’ll prick it a bit to make you feel some pain.”
“And if one day, when I prick that thorn, you don’t feel the pain anymore, then I’ll know that you probably don’t like me anymore.”
“Then, I might do what you did to me back then: leave without a word.”
At Wen Le’s words, his heart suddenly ached, as if he could truly feel a thorn lodged in his chest.
“It won’t come to that day. It’ll keep hurting.”
Zhou Kao’s voice was gentle, “Wen Le, please don’t leave me.”
Wen Le’s lips curled slightly, “Will you be a good boy?”
Zhou Kao seemed to lose his pride, becoming like a dejected puppy, “Yes, I will be.”
Wen Le’s smile was triumphant.
She laughed heartily, dissipating the tiny cloud of gloom that had lingered in the deepest recesses of her heart.
“Listen, Wen Le…” Zhou Kao tenderly called her name.
Zhou Kao said, “I really love you.”
TN: This whole section really got me in the feels ….before our female lead ruined it hahaha
Wen Le felt a sweet sensation in her heart, her lips curling into a smile. However, she remarked, “The love during the honeymoon phase doesn’t necessarily carry a high level of credibility.”
Zhou Kao, rubbing his temples, complained, “Wen Le, do you have to be so rational at a time like this?”
Wen Le defended herself, saying, “What can I do? It’s because I’m a science major.”
Zhou Kao sighed, looking utterly disoriented.
Wen Le thought, I hope I didn’t crush his spirits too much…
Just as she was thinking this, she heard Zhou Kao muttering to himself, “I can already foresee my future – a life with no status and no say… all thanks to you eating me alive…”
Wen Le couldn’t help but picture a scene in her mind: Zhou Kao wearing an apron, humbly kneeling on the floor, scrubbing it diligently, while she sat on the sofa, comfortably eating fruits that Zhou Kao had peeled and diced, watching TV.
Wen Le couldn’t hold back a chuckle but quickly realized how absurd her imagination was. She cleared her throat and said seriously, “Don’t think too far ahead, we’ll see how things go with your performance.”
Zhou Kao let out a soft sigh and changed the topic, asking, “When is the competition? Can I come and watch you?”
Wen Le replied, “It’s on Friday.”
The sports meet spanned two days, Thursday and Friday. Thursday was primarily for freshmen, while most of the sophomore events were scheduled for Friday.
Zhou Kao smiled and said softly, “Alright, I got it. What about Thursday? Do you have any plans?”
Wen Le thought for a moment, shook her head, and replied, “No. There are no classes on Thursday due to the sports meet, but I’m not sure if I’ll have any events. So, no plans for now.”
Zhou Kao asked, “Since that’s the case, how about you spend the day with me tomorrow?”
“Where to? Doing what? Aren’t you busy with the sports meet too?”
Zhou Kao nodded, “Yes. Tomorrow is Thursday, and I have a meeting at my company. Have you ever been to my workplace?”
When it came to Zhou Kao’s workplace, Wen Le was indeed a bit curious. “No, I haven’t.”
Zhou Kao said, “Come and accompany me tomorrow. I’ll pick you up.”
“It’s been a few days since we met. I miss you.”
Wen Le felt her heart flutter a bit and readily agreed, “Okay.”
They set a time, chatted for a while, and then Wen Le returned to her dorm. The sweat she had worked up during her run had already been dried by the wind.
When Wen Le got back to the dorm, Ai Fei had already returned. Cheng Hui asked, “Why are you back so late today?”
Wen Le simply replied, “I went out late today.”
Cheng Hui nodded, “Ah that’s right too.”
She glanced at Wen Le’s black sports leggings and teased, “Why aren’t you wearing your sports shorts?”
Wen Le said, “There are a lot of mosquitoes in the field at night.”
Cheng Hui replied, “No way, it’s November, and there are still mosquitoes?”
Wen Le playfully stuck out her tongue at Cheng Hui.
Man Qingxuan poked her head out from the bed and asked, “We don’t have classes on Thursday, what are your plans? Let’s go out and have some fun.”
Cheng Hui rolled over and said, “Sure.”
Wen Le remembered her plans with Zhou Kao and felt a bit embarrassed, “I have something to do tomorrow.”
Bao Xiaofan also raised her hand and said, “I’m going home tomorrow.”
Man Qingxuan chuckled, “Are you going home or are you going to see a handsome guy?”
Bao Xiaofan grinned at Man Qingxuan, “I’m going home.”
Man Qingxuan made plans to go out with Cheng Hui, while Wen Le went to take a shower.
After showering and drying her hair, Wen Le lay on her bed. Her phone vibrated, and it was a message from Cheng Hui.
Human Microscope: Are you going on a date with Zhou Kao tomorrow?
Human Microscope was the nickname that Wen Le had given Cheng Hui.
Human Microscope: Tsk tsk.
Human Microscope: Tsk tsk tsk.
Wen Le seemed to recall something and got out of bed to find the long skirt that Zhou Kao had given her.
She decided to wear it tomorrow.
On Thursday morning, Wen Le was awakened by the noisy commotion outside the dormitory building. The women’s dormitory was close to the school’s main sports field, and students heading to the sports meet had to pass by the women’s dormitory. The sports meet was an exciting event for the students, especially the freshmen, who were full of energy. Therefore, early in the morning, it sounded like a flock of sparrows chirping outside.
The noise not only disturbed Wen Le but also the other occupants of Room 307. Being woken up from a deep sleep was quite annoying, and someone let out an irritated sound, followed by the creaking of bed frames as they turned over.
Wen Le couldn’t fall back asleep after being awakened. She played with her phone in bed for a while before quietly getting up to wash and get dressed.
She had a date with Zhou Kao at 8:30 in the morning.
Wen Le washed up and changed into a white cotton linen round-neck shirt paired with the red skirt that Zhou Kao had given her. She wore white ankle socks and round-toe flats, giving her a demure yet charming look. It was a style that was both eye-catching and understated.
She applied light makeup, curled her hair, had a slice of toast and a small bottle of yogurt for breakfast. Checking the time, she realized she had half an hour left before her meeting with Zhou Kao. Wen Le sat at her desk, playing with her phone.
Then, Wen Le received a WeChat message from her dad.
Dad: Your grandfather mentioned that you called and inquired about those two keys a few days ago?
Dad: It seems like you’ve finally figured it out.
Dad: I’ll have Xiao Yang send you the addresses of the two properties.
Dad: If you have time, you can go take a look.
Soon after, Wen Le received a message from Xiao Yang.
Wen Le briefly glanced at the addresses and then saved them in her notes.
Wen Le didn’t know when Cheng Hui woke up, but she found Cheng Hui sitting next to her with a box of chewing gum in her hand. Cheng Hui looked at the ring on Wen Le’s hand and then at her red skirt, smiling meaningfully as she formed a silent question with her lips, “A date?”
Wen Le blushed and nodded.
Cheng Hui placed two pieces of chewing gum in Wen Le’s hand, smiling suggestively.
Wen Le immediately understood and blushed even more, putting the chewing gum in her mouth.
Cheng Hui mischievously stuffed the entire box of chewing gum into Wen Le’s bag and patted it, implying her point.
Wen Le’s face turned beet red.