Chapter 25.2 (TL: Bara Chou)
Xia Meng took her phone out to check what it was.
She frowned after the initial reaction of surprise.
|[Ruan Lin]: @[Xia Meng]! Are you there, dearest? Is it true that Ruan An’an is in University C? She’s at your school? Have you seen her?|
This was in a group chat she hadn’t checked in a while.
There wouldn’t even have been a notification if she hadn’t been pinged.
Xia Meng opened the chat and replied after contemplating for a bit.
|[Xia Meng]: I haven’t, why do you ask?[Ruan Lin]: It’s nothing… I was just thinking about how she studied at University C in her first year, told my dad that she was going to study abroad, only to return to the same university three years later!
[Ruan Lin]: Just now, we were discussing, maybe she couldn’t even graduate from a foreign diploma mill, so she came back again…
God knew where she got all that information, but the way she put it…
Xia Meng questioned her intelligence.
|[Xia Meng]: … Did you forget how good her grades were? Why would she go to a diploma mill?[Ruan Lin]: Who knows? Don’t you need 1-2 years of preparatory courses if you’re studying abroad? Which reputable university will give you a degree after 3 years?
[Ruan Lin]: I haven’t even told you about the last time she was home.
Xia Meng wanted to correct her.
Preparatory courses weren’t mandatory since they were meant to ease the change for certain foreign students.
Also, most foreign university programs were based on credits.
Although it wasn’t common to graduate a year early, there were still plenty of cases every year.
With some logic, it wouldn’t be hard to come to a reasonable conclusion.
Yet, she chose the most improbable and illogical explanation.
Logical explanations were no use to someone trying to smear another’s name though.
Plus, Xia Meng didn’t want to waste her energy on this.
Ruan Lin had hated Ruan An’an for years, there was no way she’d take anything positive about Ruan An’an nicely.
Just like when Ruan Lin insulted Ruan An’an endlessly in the past, although Xia Meng didn’t agree, she simply stayed quiet.
She knew it was no use to try and change her friend’s mind.
Everyone around Xia Meng was perplexed by why she stayed friends with someone like that – for she had a terrible personality and was from a family of lower status.
Xia Meng knew this too.
But she was stubborn.
She would use her whole life to repay a small kindness from a long time ago.
The Ruan family did indeed benefit from the girls’ friendship.
Even though the collaboration opportunities the Xia family had offered were simple favors in their eyes.
But the Ruan family had benefited more than enough.
Xia Meng was a frequenter of the school forums.
She thought back to the screenshots showing the scores of Ruan An’an’s team, and how the young lady she saw minutes ago became even more bedazzling after three years.
|[Xia Meng]: I’ve been fairly busy, maybe not anytime soon.|
After declining, she contemplated and decided to add:
|Ruan Lin, I think you should hold off on commenting when you don’t know the full picture.|
The music had stopped by the time Ruan An’an returned to their private room.
The mood lighting also changed from karaoke-style to brightly lit.
People were talking over each other, as if in a lively marketplace.
Unable to make out heads or tails of the conversation, she inquired Gu Jue as she sat down beside him.
He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and replied, “They’re discussing what to play.
It’s between Truth or Dare, Werewolf, and Spyfall.”
Ruan An’an acknowledged it with an “oh.”
She was indifferent.
She knew all three games but hadn’t played any of them much.
Ruan An’an turned to observe Gu Jue but couldn’t tell much from his expression.
“Which one do you prefer?”
“…” Gu Jue wasn’t interested in any of the games, but if he had to pick, “probably Truth or Dare.”
It would be nice to learn some secrets about his little girlfriend.
Just as their conversation ended, the others reached a decision.
Chen Song called over, “Gu God! Bring your girlfriend over for some Truth or Dare—”
The couple rose for their sofa.
Gu Jue said, “I don’t care much about the others, but I want to hear some truths about you, remember to not pick Dare.”
“Nice try,” Ruan An’an wasn’t about to let him get his way, “I’ve decided to pick only dares!”
“Dares it is,” Gu Jue laughed, “what do you think they’ll come up with? I’m guessing it’ll be between kissing me in front of everyone and initiating a kiss with me.”
“…” F̲u̲c̲k̲, those do sound plausible.
“So, pick Dare if you wish, no need to hold back.” Gu Jue patted her hair, “I’d be more than happy to display our affections.”
Everyone was assigned a number for Truth or Dare.
A random number would be picked each round, using an app on the Sports Committee member’s phone, which was now placed in the center of the table.
There were over 20 people present.
Due to the lack of space both physically around the table and on the app, they couldn’t all play at once.
Of course, Ruan An’an and Gu Jue were among the first batch of players.
Ruan An’an was chosen on the second round.
She was afraid of Gu Jue’s predictions, so after 3 seconds of deliberating, she picked Truth.
“What we want to know is,” the Sports Committee member’s face was dead serious, “Is Gu God your first love? It can’t be, right? Can you tell us how many exes you have?”
“Why can’t it be?” Ruan An’an’s eyes widened, “He is my first love.”
3 more rounds later, it was Gu Jue’s turn.
The Sports Committee member didn’t believe in fate, so he asked the same question, “We can all tell how experienced Gu God is.
He’s so practiced at flirting and showing PDA.
So, please tell us, how many exes do you have?”
“Sorry to disappoint.” Gu Jue tapped on the table with his finger.
“This is also my first love.”
Everyone stared with disbelief.
Even Qiu Yan was shocked.
“Fi, first love… An’an, you’ve never dated before? Gu God too? You’re both so good-looking—”
“Right?!” The Sports Committee member slapped his thigh, “Who would believe you’ve never dated before with looks like that? Don’t you know how many suitors you have?”
Chen Song: “I don’t believe it! If I had Gu God’s face, I’d have 3 soccer teams’ worth of exes! I don’t believe it!!!”
Ruan An’an coyly rose her hand, “I really haven’t… of course, it’s mostly cuz the love hormones never hit me during puberty…” It even took her over half a year to realize she had a crush.
Gu Jue rose his hand too, “Without considering how I had so much schoolwork back in my town, that there was no time to date…” He used Ruan An’an’s words, “Even if my love hormones did hit, I was waiting all these years for her.
What of it?”
His tone was casual, but you couldn’t miss the sense of dominance.
All the single dogs present: …
All the shippers: … Ahhhhhh! F̲u̲c̲k̲! Mutual first love! Too f̲u̲c̲k̲i̲n̲g̲ sweet!
Another four or five rounds went by.
The game seemed to be avoiding Ruan An’an and Gu Jue, making the gossip-loving crowd anxious.
It wasn’t until the end of their booked time, after a server had come to remind them, that Ruan An’an was chosen again for the final round.
The Sports Committee member had been wounded too deeply before and wanted to inflict the same pain on Gu Jue.
So, he racked his brain to come up with one question, “Is Gu God the first person you crushed on?”
The wording of this question was actually very well chosen, but due to being pressed for time, the others weren’t able to appreciate the cunningness of it.
“OMG Sport Committee, you’ve wasted another chance! She already said this was her first love! Who else could it be for her first crush!”
“Right?! I thought it was going to be something explosive.
We’re done here, we’re done…”
“In the end, we’re still being stuffed with their sweetness…”
Even the Sports Committee member thought he had messed up.
No one realized how the question was left unanswered and how Ruan An’an breathed a sigh of relief.
After karaoke was dinner.
The restaurant was merely 200m away.
The group arrived after a few minutes of walking.
For members of the generation that would secretly buy drinks even when eating out during high school, now that everyone present was of age, the boys promptly ordered a dozen bottles of beer.
The Sports Committee member reminded everyone, “You should know your weight.
Just remember to be sober enough for the cab back to the school.”
Ruan An’an knew her tolerance was low, so despite her taste for alcohol, she controlled her pace and stopped before she even finished a bottle’s worth.
On the other hand, Gu Jue drank a decent amount but appeared unaffected.
Due to the meal being paid for, everyone enjoyed it to the fullest.
Chatting and sipping drinks for three hours before they decided to head back.
Once Ruan An’an got in a cab with Gu Jue, she couldn’t help recounting the fun moments from today’s event.
“Ahahaha! Did you see? Just before we left, Sports Committee suddenly clung onto Chen Song, saying ‘Qiu Yan, please tell me what type of guy you like’, and Qiu Yan was standing beside them dying of laughter.” Ruan An’an wasn’t drunk, but she was decently buzzed.
“Ahaha I’m also dying of laughter…”
“I saw.” Gu Jue played along.
Ruan An’an leaned over to talk.
Her strength was gone and had no place to prop herself up.
He righted her in her seat, “Sit properly, or else you’ll have to lean on me.”
Unexpectedly, she immediately replied with “Then I’ll lean on you, it’s comfier.”
Gu Jue made a pause and felt a weight against his shoulder.
Ruan An’an even grabbed his arm with her own, leaning her entire upper body on him.
She also rubbed her head against him, giggling, “This really is comfy…”
Gu Jue went stiff.
His Adam’s apple moved visibly.
He turned his hand to interlace hers.
“Are you drunk?”
“No…” Ruan An’an knew herself well, “If I was drunk, I wouldn’t be able to answer you.
I’d be completely lost in my own world.”
Gu Jue hummed a reply.
After a while.
“I’ll tell you a secret,” Ruan An’an whispered.
Her voice was soft as a feather, tickling Gu Jue’s heart.
“I may not be drunk, but my friends told me, alcohol works like truth serum on me.”
Gu Jue was having trouble hiding his mirth, “Then, I’ll have to interrogate you later.”
9’o clock in the evening was rush hour.
The traffic was slow.
The couple remained silent as the cab slowly made its way through the streets.
Ruan An’an’s brain jumped from one thought to another randomly.
She remembered the last question the Sports Committee member had asked before they went for dinner.
It was a question that she never answered, but she wanted to know Gu Jue’s answer.
“Hey, boyfriend.” She called to him, “Sports Committee’s question from before, can you answer it? Am I the first person you crushed on?”
Gu Jue paused.
Wasn’t this already answered in the “first love” question?
“Yes,” he quickly nodded, and directed it back to her naturally, “you?”
Even if he had already heard her answer the first time, he wanted to ask again.
After all, the answer sounded like music to his –
“Not for me…” was the softly-spoken answer of the person leaning on him.
Gu Jue was petrified.
No? What the f̲u̲c̲k̲ was “not for me”?
“Didn’t you say I am your first love? Why are you going back on it now?” Within moments, Gu Jue thought back to her words, and realized, “Or did you lie during Truth or Dare, and you’re only telling the truth now?”
“Huh? I didn’t lie,” Ruan An’an blinked, “first crush is first crush, first love is first love.
It’s only a first love when you date them, isn’t it? Then, my first love is you.”
Gu Jue considered her words.
In that logic, “first crush” and “first love” really were two different things.
Gu Jue hesitated.
He didn’t want to ask this question, but he couldn’t control himself, “So, you’re saying… you’ve liked someone before, but never dated them?”
I guess I kind of liked someone before,” Ruan An’an avoided this topic before, but after they became a thing, she was able to understand her feelings for Brother Mask.
It was all in the past now anyway, so she admitted to it cleanly.
“But that was a long time ago, during high school… I had a one-sided thing for this boy.”
Gu Jue: …
Three heavy hits on his heart.
Gu Jue leaned back in his seat, unable to make out his own emotions.
It was as if neatly placed threads were suddenly knotted into a mess.
Before long, he heard a rhythmic breathing at his side.
… to fall asleep right after dropping a bomb…
Gu Jue could hold his alcohol, but at this point, he could feel the effects of alcohol, as well as anger, swell up inside him.
Moments later, he calmed down somewhat.
Carefully took out his phone and opened his browser.
He entered a few keywords: high school, crush, boy.
A list of results showed up—
|“First secret crush during my school years”“Will a first crush affect a girl for life?”
“You’ll always remember the boys you’ve crushed on during high school”
“High school, the era of unforgettable crushes”
“…” Is it really that bad?
To hell with being calm. Gu Jue could feel a chill running down his spine.
He tapped on a random result and was met with all sorts of artful confessions.
Stuff like “my love for you is mine only”, “experiencing the despair of unrequited love once is enough”, or “I’ll hide you in my heart for the rest of my life”…
Hide the f̲u̲c̲k̲ for the rest of your life! If he’s in there for the rest of your life, where do you put your current boyfriend??
Gu Jue became more agitated the more he read.
He opened another article.
The first line:
|Seasons came and left; days went by.
I will always remember the image of you studying, leaning against the window.
I’ll remember the chalk smudge on your face when you cleaned the board, and how you always knocked on my bookstand on my desk whenever you passed by…
The last line:
|We may never meet again, but all my future loves will resemble you.|
After this beautifully written piece, maybe it was the alcohol, but for the first time in his life, Gu Jue felt an emotion called despair.
He eyed his girlfriend who was sleeping soundly against him… And back to that glaring line of “all my future loves will resemble you”.
Gu Jue: …
F̲u̲c̲k̲! Is this for real?
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