Chapter 6: Christmas date (pt. 1)
She likes his hugs: they feel warm and firm, clean and reassuring. She wants to close her eyes and stay in his embrace forever.
On Christmas Day, Shu Yawang spends her day like any normal day; drinking some milk while looking out to the corridor. It’s really cold today, so she decides to not ride her bicycle. Instead, she waits for the school bus that picks up underage students. She is the only one in her department that is thick-skinned enough to ride the school bus. She steps up the familiar bus steps, and all the students in the bus recognize her. They all smile and greet her.
“Good morning, Yawang jiejie.” She will wave back and rub their heads while heading towards the back of the bus. She sits in the last row and falls asleep, hearing the shouts of the young students once in awhile. Suddenly, the whole bus is silent, making Yawang opening her eyes in curiosity. She sees a young man walking up the steps, his body covered with a large black coat. He lowers his head, his fringe covering his eyes so you can only see his handsome nasal bridge and sharp chin. She don’t know why, but the warmth of the bus seems to dip down when he enters. He lifts his head up slightly, his dark circles evident for everyone to notice. He starts to walk down the aisle, his footsteps echoing in the bus. When he gets to the last row, a girl smiles radiantly at him and pulls him to her side.
“Did you eat breakfast yet?” Yawang asks him with a yawn. Xia Mu shakes his head. Yawang retrieves two buns out from her bag, and hands a cream bun over to him.
“For you.” He shakes his head. She narrows her eyes at him. Xia Mu purses his lips, then takes the bun from her. He slowly uncover the packaging and reluctantly bite into it.
“Are you eating poison? Eating it so forcefully.” She laughs.
“I don’t like eating sweet food.” He murmurs. Yawang looks at him in disbelief. It seems like he’s holding a grudge with that tone of his. With that emotionless expression too, it’s so cute! I really want to hug him! Xia Mu lowers his head while eating the cream bun. He sticks his other hand into his coat pocket, feeling the edges of a small, hard box. He bites into the area where there’s very little cream.
“Today is Christmas.”
“Uh huh, what about it?” She asks, getting another bun out from her book bag. It’s a dried pork bun, she hands that over to Xia Mu and takes his cream bun. He looks at the dried pork bun in his hands, then looks at Yawang who is eating his cream bun. The hand in his pocket is slowly rising up, his fingers wrapped around the box tightly.
“It’s Christmas, and?” She asks as she bites into her bun. It’s rare when Xia Mu starts a conversation. His hand starts to rise up from his pocket, revealing the corner of the box. It’s a green box with no wrappings, simple yet elegant.
“Umm…” His palms start to sweat and he can feel his cheeks start to burn. He is about to pull out the box when the bus suddenly stops. They arrive to his school, and Xia Mu stiffly looks out the window.
“Xia Mu, we’re at your school now.” Yawang nudges him.
“Oh.” He loosens his grip and the box drops back down to his pocket. He regretfully picks up his bookbag and stands up, walking down the aisle. He makes a couple of steps before turning his head back, looking at Yawang. She looks back at him and calls out.
“Xia Mu, what time do you get off from school today?”
“5:40.” Yawang nods her head in satisfaction.
“Okay, Jiejie will pick you up.” Xia Mu looks at her suspiciously. Yawang laughs, revealing a slight evil grin.
“It’s Christmas, how about watching a movie with jiejie?”
“I don’t like to watch movies.” She looks at him in disappointment. My mom got me two movie tickets for Christmas Day and all my friends have plans already, who else is going to watch movies with me?
“Remember to pick me up.” He says before walking towards the door.
“Didn’t you said you don’t like watching movies?” He turns his head back.
“I said I don’t like watching, didn’t say I won’t go.” He replies with a slight smirk. Yawang notices, when Xia Mu is in a good mood, he will give a slight smirk. It’s as if he is trying to suppress his smile. She looks at his back and murmurs to herself.
“You brat, why can’t you be more straightforward? You obviously want to go.”
Yawang walks into her classroom when she arrives to school. There’s only around twenty people in her class. As the weather turns colder, less people come to school. When the school bell rings, her professor walks into the classroom and starts marking attendance with her head down. Even though there’s only twenty people in the classroom, all forty-five students are marked present. Yawang tries to stifle her giggles when people answer to other students’ names behind their books and changing their voice. She starts to wonder whether she should dorm next semester, so she don’t need to wake up so early.
Halfway through lecture, her phone starts to vibrate. She cuts the call and texts the person back.
What are you doing? I’m in class.
Hehe, miss class flower, do you have any plans for tonight? She reads Zhang Jing Yu’s text and wants to laugh at his playfulness.
Yeah, going to watch a movie with a handsome boy. Her phone starts to vibrate again and she cuts the call.
What are you doing?
It can’t be. Xiao Tian only left for a bit and you’re moving on already?
Screw you, I’m just joking about it and you believe in it?
That’s good, let’s meet up this evening. I haven’t seen you much in school and I start to miss you.
Quit grossing me out, what is it that you want me to help you?
You know me so well, can you come out around 4? I need your help in something.
Marriage. Yawang looks at his reply in shock. Don’t tell me this guy is interested in a girl and wants me to help out. She ponders at that thought for a moment, since she is meeting Xia Mu at 5:40, she decides to help out Jing Yu.
Okay, I’ll contact you later.
She didn’t receive a call from Jing Yu until around 4:30pm. That guy tells her to meet him in an excited tone. After she hangs up on him, she packs away her stuff and grabs her bookbag before leaving. She walks leisurely to the park where Jing Yu tell her to meet him in. The view of the park in the winter is indescribable; it’s just so pale and white. She walks a few more steps forward, hearing the rustling of the leaves she steps with her feet. She turns her head and looks around and narrows her eyebrows slightly. This guy tells me to come here and yet he’s not here yet?
She takes her phone out and looks for Jing Yu’s number. Before she presses the call button, she feels someone standing behind her. When she is about to turn her head to look, a large hand covers her eyes.
“Zhang Jing Yu.” She said calmly. The person behind her did not reply back, but the hand gives a slight shake, it’s as if the person is trying to stifle back their laughter.
“Zhang Jing Yu, do you want to get beat up?” She asks, raising her hand to pull down the hand that is covering her eyes and turning her head back. The angry words in her mouth is about to explode until she sees who’s standing behind her. She is shocked, she can’t believe her eyes. It’s a tall and skinny man wearing a fitted green army uniform, displaying her favorite smile.
“Yawang.” He’s still like this; pulling her close by holding onto her hand and calling her name softly.
“You…you…why is it you?” She is so excited, but don’t know what else to say, so she grips onto his hand tightly, their palms pressed against each other’s.
“Hehe, surprise!” Jing Yu shouts out from the back. “Do you still want to beat me up, Yawang?”
“Haha, next time you ask for my help, I’ll know that it’s Xiao Tian coming back.” Zhang Jing Yu shakes his head in disagreement.
“No, no. Next time if I ask you for help and you show up all excited until you realize that Xiao Tian did not come back, you’ll beat me the crap out of me.”
“How can I? Am I that type of person?” She asks, smiling sweetly at him. Jing Yu gives a her look, Aren’t you? Yawang ignores his look and tugs on Xiao Tian’s arm.
“How did you come back? I thought new recruits don’t have vacations?”
“Mmm, the army lets us go deliver some things in the military zone of T City. We were supposed to stay in T City overnight after we finish delivering, but I want to see you, so I secretly sneak out.”
“Oh, I see.” It’s about an hour driving distance from T City to S City.
“Then don’t you need to leave right away?”
“Mmm, I’m going to take the 4am train back to T City, then go back with Big Brother in 7am.”
“So you can only stay for one night?” She looks at him, her hands unconsciously rocking his hand. Tang Xiao Tian don’t get a chance to reply back with Jing Yu interrupts them.
“You can do a lot of things in one night, hehe.” He pats Xiao Tian’s shoulders afterwards, giving him a meaningful look. Xiao Tian hurriedly pats Jing Yu’s hands away, his face steaming red.
“You…you stop with these nonsense.”
“Hehe, what nonsense? Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it, look at how red your face is.” Jing Yu elbows him, enjoying the teasing. Xiao Tian’s face turns more red and he looks at Yawang while shaking his head.
“Yawang, I didn’t…”
“Oh really?” Jing Yu interrupts. “Oh! Right, Shu Yawang, you’re not attractive enough!”
“Do you really want to get beaten up?” She walks forward, pulling Xiao Tian away and glaring at Jing Yu. She sticks out one finger and starts shaking it up and down.
“Go, leave, get away you third wheel. We do whatever we want tonight, we don’t need your instructions.” I’m the only one that can make Xiao Tian blush. Besides her, no one else have the permission to do so.
“Wow Yawang, you’re too much! You think you’re the only that misses Xiao Tian? I was thinking of eating dinner with him tonight!”
“Xiao Tian won’t go.”
“Xiao Tian.” Both of them look at Xiao Tian expectantly. Xiao Tian raises his eyebrows and looks at them.
“Yeah, I’m not going.” Jing Yu shakes his fists. How can he?!
“Brother, you disappoint me! Don’t contact me ever again.” He babbles out, looking hurt.
“See you.” Xiao Tian replies back with a smile.
“You guys are ruthless, I will remember this!” Jing Yu’s face crumples with a hurt expression before leaving. However, he’s actually happy that he don’t need to spend money for tonight’s dinner.
“Are we too extreme?” Yawang asks, looking at Jing Yu’s back warily.
“No, he’s not that fragile.” Xiao Tian knows his friend too well, Jing Yu is probably happy right now that he don’t need to pay for tonight’s dinner.
“Oh, then I will be more ruthless next time.” Yawang said, rubbing her chin and displaying an evil grin.
“Stop bullying him.”
“Who tells him to bully you first?” Xiao Tian just remembered what Jing Yu had said earlier and starts to blush again. Yawang looks at his flushed face.
“What are you thinking of?”
“Nothing.” He answers, rubbing his nose, trying to conceal his lie.
“You haven’t been thinking of anything? What are we going to do tonight then? Stay out here?” He gives an awkward smile.
“Let’s go to somewhere warm.”
“Mmm.” Yawang agrees, pulling his hand to lead him to their school library. Besides the gymnasium, T University’s library is the second most beautifully designed building. There are a total of nine floors; the first three floors are self-study areas, the fifth to seventh floor* have reading rooms, and the eighth to ninth floor are computer areas. Ever since school started, Yawang pass by this grand library many times, but never actually went inside.
She tugs Xiao Tian to an empty self-study room to sit. They sit across from each other near the windows, looking out to the paths that the students are taking to get to other buildings. The winter wind will blow some fallen leaves up to the air, and students will pass by while laughing, but none of these catches their attention. They only see each other; when he talks, she listens, when she talks, he listens.
*The number four is known to be an ominous number in Chinese culture so it’s most likely that the fourth room of the library is empty.
Use arrow keys (or A / D) to PREV/NEXT chapter