Chapter 36 – I Am the Only One She Has
The sound of leather shoes tapping against the ground could be heard all over the campus as students made their way out of the school.
Yin Zhao-an's heart felt empty as she looked at the nearly-deserted classroom before her.
She felt as if someone was wantonly kneading and squeezing her heart, and she couldn't help but get the urge to cry.
With a dazed expression, Yin Zhao-an walked into the classroom.
The students on duty had already tidied up the classroom, so every desk and chair were neatly arranged.
Yin Zhao-an broke the harmony of tables and chairs, pulling out a particular chair and taking a seat.
This was Tang Yu's seat.
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Of those remaining in the class, a few surrounded the lectern, chatting and laughing among themselves.
There was also a girl scribbling an innocent love confession on the blackboard, the girl writing her own name followed by another person's name before drawing numerous hearts using pink chalk.
Yin Zhao-an's eyes were dark and dull.
With a tired face, she leaned back against the chair.
Then, through the edges of her vision, she suddenly spotted a familiar object.
Yin Zhao-an took out the bottle of goat's milk forgotten in the drawer.
The milk had sat in the drawer the whole day, so it had long since cooled to room temperature.
Though in Yin Zhao-an's hands, the bottle felt like a block of ice, its coldness penetrating her bones.
Does Tang-Tang…hate me now?
Yin Zhao-an walked home by herself, her feet stepping on the sidewalk's neatly arranged bricks one after another.
As usual, the sun stretched her shadow as she walked home.
Unlike usual, though, there were no other shadows next to hers.
But then, all of a sudden, the long and thin shadow gained a companion.
Yin Zhao-an lifted her head in joy, calling out, “Tang—”
Mixed feelings filled Zhao Yu's heart when he saw Yin Zhao-an's depressed expression.
“Oh, it's you.” Yin Zhao-an's joy instantly turned into disappointment.
Then, she walked past Zhao Yu and continued her way home.
“Tang Yu has a new friend.”
Yin Zhao-an slowed her footsteps to a stop, her expression turning chilly.
Then, in an unwavering voice, she said, “I am the only friend she has!”
“You're just deceiving yourself!”
“It's none of your concern.” Yin Zhao-an turned around and narrowed her eyes at Zhao Yu.
Then, her lips curling upward, she arrogantly said, “Don't forget how I used to beat you up! I don't mind refreshing your memory!”
Zhao Yu wanted to say something more, but his words got stuck in his throat.
Eventually, he couldn't help but smile bitterly.
Looking at the distancing figure, Zhao Yu gradually tightened his grip on the bookmark in his pocket.
It was a bookmark carved from solid bamboo.
There was a light-gray tassel tied to one end, giving the bookmark a refined look.
He didn't know if Yin Zhao-an would like it, but he liked it very much.
He was eager to share everything he liked with Yin Zhao-an, but…
Maybe next time…
The thought of keeping her distance from Yin Zhao-an was deeply ingrained in Tang Yu's heart, so she could wake up early, even without an alarm clock.
Then, she would hide in the bushes and wait for Yin Zhao-an and Yin Changcheng to jog past her hiding spot before happily going on her way to have milk oatmeal at the nearby breakfast shop.
Milk oatmeal was one of the surprising discoveries she made recently.
It happened a few days ago.
The breakfast shop's proprietress happened to open shop late that day, so the steamed buns were yet to be ready.
So, while she was waiting, the proprietress served her a bowl of milk oatmeal.
It was sweet and fragrant, and she instantly took a liking to it.
The proprietress was from the countryside, her Mandarin mixed with a heavy accent.
“Little girl, up so early again today? Your school won't even be open yet!”
“I can't sleep,” Tang Yu said while feeling the warmth coming from the bowl of oatmeal in her hands.
While deftly draining some vermicelli, the proprietress responded, “You're still a child, yet you already have insomnia? You best have your mother take you to the hospital to get a look.”
The proprietress giggled at Tang Yu's spirited response, saying, “So you know how to act cute as well?”
Tang Yu smiled in embarrassment.
The proprietress was so overly friendly that she had forgotten to control her tone properly, making it look like she was acting cute.
At this time, beeping noises appeared as the electric steamer's timer went off.
After wiping her hands on her apron, the proprietress opened the steamer's lid with a damp rag.
Immediately, steaming heat surged upward, and a sweet fragrance filled the small shop.
After taking two steam baskets out of the steamer, the proprietress grabbed a steaming bun with a pair of tongs and offered it to Tang Yu, saying, “Here you go.
Will you be having it here or taking it with you?”
Tang Yu glanced at the sky outside and saw that it had already transformed from a dull gray into a piercing white, she said, “I'll take it with me.”
The bun was a little hot to the touch but not unbearable.
However, when Tang Yu bit into it, the meat juices in it scalded her to the brink of tears.
“T-That… I think I'll finish it here before leaving,” Tang Yu weakly said, her eyes reddening a little and giving her a pitiful appearance.
“Have a seat, then! Don't worry, and take your time!”
Office workers and students started their day at almost the same time.
So, at a certain point in time, Tang Yu got to experience what it felt like to be a sardine.
After finishing her bun, Tang Yu picked up her schoolbag and headed out of the shop.
Before she left, though, she didn't forget to bid goodbye to the proprietress, saying, “Thank you, Auntie.
I'm off now.”
Despite being busy with work, the proprietress did not ignore Tang Yu's farewell.
Instead, she beamed a friendly smile at Tang Yu and said, “Okay, take care.”
Tang Yu finally got a breath of fresh air when she squeezed her way out of the crowded shop.
However, before she could make her way to school, she heard a “deadly” call coming from behind.
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