Chapter 7: This man is dangerous (pt. 1)
Qu Wei Ran asks: “Do you really hate me?”
Shu Yawang nods her head: “Yes, I really hate you.”
Qu Wei Ran looks at her with a seemingly distressed face: “But what should I do? I’m attracted to you.”
Time seems to fly by unknowingly; with a blink of an eye, Shu Yawang is graduating from college, Xia Mu is in high school, and Tang Xiao Tian enrolls into a military academy in Xi’an. Everyone’s life is seemingly going down in a smooth path. Even though Yawang and Xiao Tian are in a long-distance relationship, they are still very much in love. Xiao Tian don’t have much vacation days, so they will spend each and every second together whenever he comes back. Shu Yawang already decided to follow Xiao Tian wherever he is positioned to be stationed in, she don’t want to continue dealing with the pain of separation.
She shakes her head to get those thoughts out of her way, right now, she should be thinking about getting a job. Through a classmate’s connection, she is hired into a landscape company. Yawang majors in interior design, and it have no connections with landscaping whatsoever, but it’s hard to find a job, so she accepts the offer. During that time, the company recently wins the bid of the Go-Green construction project of a highway. Everyone in the company is extremely busy from the project, Shu Yawang being no exception even as a rookie.
Today, the manager lets her go to the construction site to retrieve the blueprint from the Hyde Industrial Group they will be collaborating with in the project. She goes to the office from the directions her manager gives to her and knocks on the door before opening it. The man sitting behind the desk looks busy, with his head buried down in piles of paper.
“Hello, I’m here to retrieve the blueprint for the No. 3 Highway.” The man shuffles the files before propping the blueprint and a receipt on the table.
“Sign.” She retrieves the blueprint and signs her name onto the receipt. She thanks the man and turn her heels to walk out of the office, but got stopped by the man’s voice.
“Shu Yawang.” She turns her head and sees the man lifting his head. He have a handsome face, the pair of glasses making him look mature. He gives her a light smile.
“Tang Xiao Tian’s Shu Yawang?”
“Who are you?”
“Who do you think?” He asked with a crooked grin. He runs his long finger across Shu Yawang’s signature before getting up from his seat. He is really tall, and as he walks closer towards Yawang, she feels like she’s being cornered. She takes one step back as she narrows her eyebrows, trying to lengthen their distance. They are no more than three feet away from each other. He lowers his head, the sunlight reflecting his glasses, making her unable to see his expressions, but she can feel his playfulness.
“Still can’t guess who I am?” He leans down, trying to close their distance. Yawang feels really uncomfortable, it’s as if something is preventing her from breathing. She shoots him a sharp glare and yells out,
“How am I suppose to know who you are?!”
“You do know.” He chuckles, leaning down again. She panics, but she don’t want him to see that.
“Qu Wei Ran?” The man smiles, his smile displaying a mysterious aura. He lifts his hand and tilts his head, reaching for her hair. Strands of her long hair runs through his finger as he brings his hand down. He rubs the ends of her hair with his fingers.
“Nice to meet you, Yawang-ah.” Shu Yawang’s heart skips a beat and her face flushes. Ever since Tang Xiao Tian left, very little men will stay this close to her. With this kind of a distance, it’s hard to keep your head straight. She walks back a step, pulling her hair away from him.
“Nice to meet you too, Mr. Qu. I’m sorry, I need to bring the blueprint back, excuse me.” She turns her heels and is about to walk out when he stops her by blocking the door. She do not stop in time and hits her face against his chest. She jumps back in surprise and he catches her by holding her steady by the waist. After she regains her balance, she yanks his hand off from her and gives him a glare.
“What are you doing?” His eyes bring a smile and the corners of his lips lift up slightly.
“I just want to bring you back.” She walks back a few steps more and turns her head to the side.
“There’s no need, I can take the bus.”
“Why are you putting your guard up on me?” He asks in a playful tone.
“I am not.”
“Can I call you?”
“I don’t have my phone with me.”
“I know your number.”
“You won’t be able to reach me.” Qu Wei Ran suddenly laughs, it’s not loud, but it’s clear. Yawang raises her head and looks at him before leaving. This time, he do not block her way, but she can feel him staring at her as she walks away. She do not dare to turn her head back and it’s not until she exits the building that she exhales a sigh of relief.
She do not expect meeting Qu Wei Ran here, she remembers Xiao Tian telling her that before Wei Ran enlists to the army, he was a junior in a brand name university. He is pretty popular in school, from freshmen to seniors, there is not one girl he haven’t dated in those classes. After he’s tired from dating, he takes a break from school and enlists in the army. After he finish his military service, he goes to back to school to receive his college diploma and now helps out in the family business.
Wow, such a small world! She don’t know why, but she don’t like Qu Wei Ran. She don’t like how he smiles at her, don’t like how he looks at her, she just thinks, this man is dangerous.
In one hot day in September, Yawang struggles to find the construction site after getting off from the bus, it takes her nearly half an hour to find it. She hands over the blueprint to the manager, and it’s not even been five minutes that the manager tells her to come out from the air-conditioned room and go to the construction site. She uses a tape measure to accurately measure the distances and uses a white chalk to draw out the lines, splitting the sections and marking each tree species with a different sign.
There are barely any women working out in the construction site other than the aunt that cooks for them. The only other woman working that day is Xiao Xue from the accounting department. Yawang realizes that she tends to be in places where there are more men than women. The workers treat Yawang with enthusiasm, striking up a conversation with her as they dig the soil to plant the trees. Yawang have a nice temperament, always answering back to their questions with a smile. After working for a day, she’s already so exhausted that she don’t want to move.
“Yawang, let’s go, we’re done.” Xiao Xue calls for her by the door with her bag. Yawang nods her head and grab her things, asking Xiao Yue as she follows her.
“Xiao Xue, do we still need to go to the construction site tomorrow?” Xiao Xue is older than Yawang by two years and have been working in the company for at least a year.
“Mhm, we have to go until the construction is complete. What is it, you’re tired?” She asks as she turns her head to look at Yawang. Yawang smiles sheepishly.
“Your job is exhausting. Most of the landscape designers are men, isn’t it disadvantageous for women?”
“It’s alright, I think it’s pretty interesting.” Yawang laughs in reply. The two walks down the street when Yawang’s phone starts to ring. It’s an unknown number, but she didn’t hesitate to pick it up.
“Hi, Yawang.” She recognizes the voice to be Qu Wei Ran’s. She wants to hang up, but feels it will be rude of her to do that.
“What do you want?”
“I just want to treat you to dinner.”
“I’m sorry, I just got out from work and I’m really tired, I want to rest at home.”
“Oh, is that the case?”
“Then can I take you home?” Right after he said that, a navy blue sedan drives up to her. The driver lowers the window and Qu Wei Ran looks at her from inside. Shu Yawang hangs up in annoyance.
“How did you get here?”
“I’m just passing by.” He answers smoothly with a kind smile on his face.
“Get in the car, I don’t want the sun to burn the delicate skin of these two beautiful ladies.” Xiao Xue looks at Yawang with desperation, she don’t want to walk for another half an hour to reach to the bus stop. Yawang narrows her eyebrows, she’s really tired and don’t want to walk anymore as well, but she really don’t want to get in the car. Qu Wei Ran gets out of the car and opens the door for them like a gentleman. Xiao Xue thanks him before going in the car. Wei Ran arches his eyebrows to Yawang, waiting for her to go in. She hesitates for awhile, and decides to go in. It’s been a long day and she’s exhausted. Qu Wei Ran sits on the driver’s seat and quickly starts his car, dropping Xiao Xue off first.
When it’s just them two in the car, Wei Ran will look at Yawang through the rearview mirror. She will avoid his glance and he will smile whenever she does that. They reach the front gates of the military compound, and Yawang thanks him before grabbing her bag and stepping out of the car. He also follows her out and blocks her way.
“Is there something else you want?”
“Let me walk you home.”
“There’s no need, you can’t just enter here leisurely.” She dips her head down out of respect and bids good-bye. He grips onto her as she walks away and laugh.
“Do you really don’t want to eat dinner with me?” Shu Yawang tries to pry his hand away from her, but he’s gripping onto her tightly.
“Don’t be so rushed, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“What is wrong with you?! Always moving and touching.” Yawang is infuriated with him, and she is about to call the security guards out when a bicycle is heading straight towards Wei Ran. He reacts quickly and immediately let go of Yawang to have the bicycle drive pass through them. However, the bicycle stops abruptly in front of Wei Ran, hitting his body harshly.
“You brat, do you know how to ride a bicycle?” Qu Wei Ran asks as he glares at the teenager that separates him and Yawang with his bicycle. The teenager who is wearing a summer school uniform didn’t even bother to look at him. He glances over to Yawang and said,
“Get on.” Yawang looks at the teenager and smiles brightly.
“Xia Mu.” Xia Mu, a teenager with a face that is more handsome than a Korean star, lifts the corners of his lips into a smile. He adjusts the bicycle to have Yawang sit behind him. She grabs onto his clothes and he kicks his shoe against the ground before biking. At that time, Qu Wei Ran laughs out of frustration. Xia Mu turns his head back and shoots him an icy, cold glare.
“Such a fierce glare.” Qu Wei Ran comments as the two bike away from him. He rubs his finger against his lips.
“Interesting, really interesting.”
“Who is that guy?” Xia Mu asks. Shu Yawang stifles out a yawn and answer back lazily.
“A despicable guy.”
“And yet you let him drive you home?”
“I have no choice, I’m so tired from work, too lazy to walk.” She rubs her legs and thinks out loud,
“If only the military compound have a bus…”
“You wish.” He sneers in reply.
“Ah, such a bitter life.” She gives a long sigh.
“Why do I have to work with the worker uncles after I graduated from college?” She rubs her nonexistent tears away.
“Everyday, my face looks towards the soil and the sun shines onto my back, digging and planting, digging and planting. Ah! So bitter! Kid, you have to study hard, or else you’ll end up like jiejie.” Xia Mu stops the bicycle when they reach Yawang’s home.
“You’re really that tired?” Yawang jumps off from the bicycle and walks over to Xia Mu.
“Smell it.” He lowers his glance and leans forward to smell obediently.
“Can you smell it?” He shakes his head. Yawang hits his head slightly with her knuckles.
“Stupid, how can you not smell the scent of dirty sweat?” Xia Mu glares at her.
When they arrive to Yawang’s home, no one is there, they don’t know where her parents head out to. Yawang drops her bag onto the couch and looks at Xia Mu.
“I’m going to take a shower first and then I’ll cook something for you to eat.”
“Okay.” Xia Mu is a common guest in the Shu household, it’s like as if he’s returning to his own home. He takes off his shoes and gets his personal slippers to wear before sitting on the couch. Yawang is already to used to him following her home when he have nothing else to do. She goes to her bedroom to retrieve the clothes she’ll change into.
“There are apples in the fridge, you can eat those.” When she reaches the door of the bathroom, she turns her head back.
“Help me wash one.”
“Okay.” He takes out two apples from the fridge and washes them, walking out to the living room with the apples. At that time, he hears water coming out from the bathroom, so he places the apples on top of the coffee table and sits down on the couch, reading a book.
After a long, hot shower, Yawang steps out of the bathroom wearing a bathrobe. She steps out barefooted with her wet hair and walks towards to the living room. At that time, Xia Mu is studying with his head down. Yawang walks to the couch and sits down next to him, sweeping her long hair to the front, making small droplets of water splash onto Xia Mu. His eyes glance towards his hand and he brushes the water away from it. Yawang notices the two apples on top of the coffee table.
“Waiting for me so we can eat together? Hehe.” She bends her waist down to grab the apples, but her hand is still wet from sweeping her hair, causing her to drop one apple down to the floor.
“Ah!” She yelps out, causing Xia Mu to turn his head. At that time, she is reaching down to grab the apple. His eyes slant downwards for a second, and then he quickly turns his head back, his face a little flushed. She grabs the fallen apple and hands over the apple that didn’t fall to Xia Mu.
“Hey, for you.” His eyes do not dare to look at her. He accepts the apple with his head down, his hands gripping onto the apple nervously.
“What is it?” Yawang asks, puzzled at Xia Mu’s behavior.
“Nothing.” He shakes his head.
“Nothing? Then why is your face so red?”
“No….it’s nothing.” He shakes his head nervously. Yawang leans closer in curiosity.
“Really? Your face is turning more red.” She is already sitting close to him, but as she leans forward, he can smell the light, sweet fragrance from the body wash. Xia Mu bites his lips with his head still down. He suddenly grabs onto the apple and all you can hear from him is the crunching sound he makes from biting into the apple. Yawang tilts her head to the side, a bit confused. She looks at the apple in her hand and thinks to herself, does the apple taste that good?
She bites into her apple and stops questioning Xia Mu. She reaches out for the remote.
“If you’re going to study, go to my room. I’m going to watch TV.”
“Oh, okay.” He replies with a soft voice. He fumbles while gathering his books as he stands up from the couch. He closes the door when he enters her room, leaning his back against the door with his head down. He uses the back of his hand to rub his lips, his face flushed as if he is having a fever. After awhile, he finally lifts his head up and looks at the room. He have been in the room so many times, but he don’t know why, this time, this room, her scent, can make one’s heart beat so fast.
Shu Yawang is leaning half her body against the couch, flipping the channels with the TV remote. She stops in the entertainment channel, looking at the celebrity rumors; seeing who broke up with who and which movies are going to play soon. She starts to get sleepy as she watches the news, her eyelids slowly drooping down, slowly entering into dreamland on the couch.
Today, she dreamt about Xiao Tian. In the dream, he kisses her softly. His lips are really soft, touching onto her lips lightly like a feather. It’s a bit ticklish, but comforting; it feels so real that it don’t seem to be a dream.
By the time Yawang’s parents arrive home, Yawang is still asleep on the couch, a thin blanket draped over her body, the volume of the TV turned down, and the temperature of the air conditioner adjusted so it don’t feel hot or cold. Yawang’s mom shakes her to wake her up.
“Yawang, go sleep in your bed.” She rubs her eyes and sits upright on the couch.
“You guys are back? What time is it?”
“Nine. Did you eat dinner yet?”
“How old are you already? You don’t bother to eat when Mom’s not home?”
“No, I was about to, but I fell asleep.” She stretches her body as she stands up, then she realizes that Xia Mu didn’t eat yet either. She turns her head and walk towards her room.
“Xia Mu?” She opens the door, but finds no one inside. She scratches her head in confusion. When did he leave? Without me knowing?
In the crowded city center, a handsome teenager wearing a summer school uniform walks by himself on the streets. Maybe it’s because of the humidity of the summer night, his face is flushed red. Under the lamplight, he looks out to the bustling crowd. Then, he thought of something and heads straight to the nearby shopping mall. He goes up on the escalator, the drop down glass window reflecting his skinny frame.
He walks to the toiletries section and looks at the hundreds of bottles of body wash displayed in front of him, all with different colors and scents. Xia Mu walks up and grabs a bottle, lifting the cap open and sniffing at its scent. Then, he puts it back and grabs another one. He does that from one end of the row to the other end of the row. As he reaches for the last bottle, the same bottle that is being commercialized in a TV ad, the corners of his lips lift up as he smells its scent.
In her room, Yawang casually eats her food while laying on top of her bed when she hears her phone rings. She squints her eyes and look at the phone number, it’s an unknown number, but she picks it up.
“What are you doing?” She flips her body over.
“Sleeping.” The person on the other line chuckles.
“Really, sleeping this early?”
“If there’s nothing else, I’m going to hang up.” She really don’t like to talk to him.
“Why are you always so cold to me?”
“Do you have the prince syndrome? Why do I need to act passionate towards you?”
“Yawang-ah.” Qu Wei Ran’s voice sounds nice, it’s like a low whisper. She trembles whenever he says her name.
“What is it?”
“Let’s have an one-night stand.” He speaks lightly with an alluring tone. Yawang’s mind turn blank, she is unable to react. She can’t believe what she had just heard! She is shaking in anger, she swears if this man had said that right in front of her face, she would have slapped him twice. Slap away his arrogant smile!
“You…you…..go die!” She yells out this curse to him, hanging up her phone and throwing it onto her bed. Fuck! So detestable! Who does he think I am? So dirty! She have never met such a dirty person before. How can Xiao Tian call him Big Brother? Complimenting him? And worshipping him?! She bites her nails in frustration. Her phone rings again and she notices that it’s Qu Wei Ran. She answers the phone and starts to yell.
“You are sick! Are you crazy? If you’re so thirsty, go to a hotel and find someone! I wish you will win the grand prize!”
“Wow. I just said one line and you’re this angry. So innocent.” He chuckles through the receiver.
“Qu Wei Ran!”
“Yawang-ah, don’t tell me…that you’re still a virgin.”
“What does that have to do with you?”
“So you still are. It will be painful if you leave it for Xiao Tian.” Yawang inhales deeply, trying to control her shaky tone.
“Qu Wei Ran, don’t ever call me again. Xiao Tian is still considered to be your comrade. You hitting on me, I don’t know is it because you have no character or no moral. I scorn at your appearance, so don’t even bother mentioning an one-night stand, I’m just disgusted by looking at you. Please, stay away from me.” She hangs up and shuts off her phone before he gets a chance to react. I’m never picking up his calls again! So despicable!
The next day, while Yawang is taking her lunch break, Xiao Xue walks over to her side and asks if the handsome man from last night was Qu Wei Ran. When she hears his name, she loses her temper slightly.
“Don’t mention this guy in front of me, I’m annoyed of him.”
“Really? How? He is messing with you?” She picks the Chinese cabbage in her lunch with her chopsticks, telling everything about her and Qu Wei Ran to Xiao Xue.
“He really said that?” Xiao Xue asks, alarmed. Yawang nods her head.
“Cheap!” Xiao Xue agrees, nodding her head vigorously. She takes a bite of her lunch and tells Yawang,
“Yawang, you have to stay away from him. Let me tell you a secret, a friend of mine was his lover.”
“Lover?” Xiao Xue nods her head.
“When I saw him yesterday, I felt like I seen him before. Later when I arrived home, I remembered seeing him in my friend’s home once. He would go to my friend’s home two or three times a month, like an emperor visiting a concubine’s chamber.”
“No way, why is your friend like that? Is there no other man in this world?” She asks in disbelief.
“What about my friend? Before she met Qu Wei Ran, she is even more cold and indifferent than the Little Dragon Girl.”
“Then how did she fall under his grasp?”
“These experienced players have their methods, it took him three months to win my friend.”
“How long have they dated?” She asks as she eats her lunch.
“Date?” Xiao Xue twitches her lips. “They never dated, he was just playing. At the end, he don’t even bother to have her as his lover anymore, but my friend still pesters him.”
“No way.” She is so shocked that she forgot to chew her food. A woman pestering a man just to remain as lovers? To her, it just seems ridiculous. Xiao Xue picks at the fat part of the meat and throws them onto the pit in front.
“That’s why I say, when a bad man wins over the mind and body of a woman, her life will go down to the bottom of the pit, no one else can bring her back up.” She looks at Yawang afterwards.
“He won’t drag me down, I’m disgusted of him.” She shakes her head violently.
“That’s what my friend said before.”
“I won’t answer him.”
“That’s what my friend did too.”
“I have a boyfriend.” Xiao Xue retrieves a napkin from her pocket and wipes her mouth with it.
“To him, a woman with a boyfriend is a challenge, it can stimulate his desire to conquer. Do you know why he enlists to the army? It’s because there are so many male students that want to kill him in university.” Yawang leaves the chopsticks in her lunch box and throws the whole thing out.
“Hey, why do you have to make it sound so scary?”
“Just giving you a warning, I don’t want you to follow my friend’s footsteps.”
“Definitely will not.” She don’t know why, but when she said that, her heart feels uneasy. She really wants to call Xiao Tian at this time, even a text message is better than nothing.
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