When Qian Wei ran downstairs from her dorm room, she found Lu Xun standing out under a street lamp not far from the girls’ dormitory, and all the girls that passed by were helpless sending second glances his way.
Qian Wei walked forward and opened her mouth to say something to him, but then she noticed that he was carrying a bottle of milk tea in his hand.
“Here, for you.”
Even though he said that he hadn’t planned to come and see her, it seemed that he had come fully prepared, with even a bottle of milk tea as a gift… Qian Wei gave him a meaningful look as she thought of that, but Lu Xun just averted his eyes and said, “The moon seems rather good tonight, would you like to take a walk together?”
Qian Wei looked up at the sky, where there was a dense shroud of clouds covering the sky and completely obscuring the moon, and snorted. She pointed up at the sky and said, “The moon seems rather good? Are you serious?”
Lu Xun’s face didn’t change at all, he just looked into Qian Wei’s eyes and said, “You are like my moon.”
This was really… Qian Wei couldn’t help but wonder if there was any awkward scene that Lu Xun couldn’t smooth over?
However, even though she was complaining in her heart, for some reason even those complaints felt sweet. It was a chilly winter night and the wind was brisk and cold, so there weren’t many pedestrians out and the ones there were all seemed in bleak and hurried moods. So Qian Wei walking side by side with Lu Xun and drinking warm milk tea seemed somewhat out of place, but right now she somehow had the illusion that it was actually spring all year round these days… she sort of wondered if maybe her brain was broken.
After walking a few steps, Lu Xun moved closer and took her hand. Of course, they had obviously already been boyfriend and girlfriend for a while now, but Qian Wei still couldn’t help but show some of the same shyness and desire that she had felt for him at the very beginning even now, so when his fingers touched hers she felt a small throbbing in her heart.
However, at the same time, Lu Xun didn’t forget to offer up a serious excuse: “My hand feels a little cold, let me borrow your hand to warm it up.”
Qian Wei couldn’t help but laugh. She had never known that Lu Xun could tell such obvious lies so confidently. Wasn’t it clear that he was the one who had warmer hands?
As the two people walked they unwittingly found themselves at the school’s famous ‘Lover’s Slope’ where, because of the evergreen turf used by the school, there was green grass flourishing even now in the wintertime. Nearby the Lover’s Slope, there was also A University’s famous ‘Moon Bay’, which was a natural lake that had a crescent-shape. It was not far from A University’s main library and, in fact, there was a beautiful view overlooking the lake that could be seen from that library that the students of A University all loved to enjoy. Generally, it was always pretty lively around the lake but, of course, on winter nights like tonight there usually weren’t people out and about, however, tonight seemed to be an exception for some reason.
That was because, as soon as Qian Wei and Lu Xun reached the top of Lover’s Slope, they happened to hear some sounds coming from not far away. There were vague voices coming from the direction of the Moon Bay, the sounds of a girl crying and complaining and also a messy male voice. From the sounds, it was probably a couple that was quarreling. Of course, Qian Wei and Lu Xun had no interest in going over to watch the excitement.
“Let’s go back.”
However, just as Qian Wei began to walk back with Lu Xun, a piercing cry broke the tranquil night.
“Qian Chuan! You’re already single! Why won’t you accept me?!”
Huh? Qian Chuan? Hearing Qian Chuan’s name, Qian Wei’s indifference disappeared and her expression tightened.
A moment later, Qian Wei and Lu Xun moved over to the Moon Bay and found that there was a semi-circle of people standing around near the lake, many of whom still had books in their hands. They looked to be people who had just finished doing self-studies in the main library and were on their way to return to their dormitories.
Qian Wei struggled to push through the crowd, and when she got to the center she found that Qian Chaun wasn’t the only one in the center of the big circle of people, Liu Shiyun was also next to him. Qian Chuan and Liu Shiyun were both standing near the side of the lake and, opposite them, standing on the big observation platform that jutted out over the lake, there was a girl whose face was hard to make out because of the darkness. However, Qian Wei could see the outline of the girl’s figure and saw that she was a fat girl.
“Qian Chuan, I’m asking you, do you agree to be with me?” There were tears in the fat girl’s voice, but her tone was strong. “Before you rejected me because you said you had a girlfriend, but I’ve asked around and I know that you’ve broken up since then and that you’re single now! So there’s no reason for you to refuse me!”
“Are you kidding me? She says that there’s no reason to refuse her, does she think she’s some sort of celestial being that is impossible to refuse? She’s so fat but she still wants to force a boy to accept her? How big is her face? Just looking at her, she must weigh at least two hundred jin, right? Who would dare to be with her? Wouldn’t they be afraid of being crushed to death…”
“Even if that guy is single now, he still wouldn’t be with her. Hasn’t she ever looked in a mirror?”
The fat girl was standing alone and shouting despite the cold wind, but the people all around were mostly just responding with ridicule and mockery.
It seemed that public opinion on the situation was entirely on Qian Chuan’s side, and he could probably just give any random response without being rebuked.
Qian Chuan, for his part, looked like he obviously had a headache. He shouted to the girl, “Li Linlin, come down here first!”
‘Li Linlin’… those three words stirred Qian Wei’s memory a bit. She thought about it and… wasn’t that the same girl who was chasing Qian Chuan before? The one who kept expressing her love wildly regardless of the time or place?
On the side, Lu Xun also had an obvious reaction when he heard that name. After all, it could be said that Li Linlin’s actions were what had led to the dismal end of his first confession. He probably had his own feelings about this woman…
“I’m not coming down!” Li Linlin sounded adamant, “If you don’t agree to be with me today, I’ll jump down from here!” As she spoke, she made a gesture as if she was about to jump.
Qian Chuan could only try to stabilize the situation: “It’s true that I’m single now, but I’m really not interested in falling in love at the moment. You come down first, okay?”
“You’re lying! If you’re not interested in falling in love, then why did you come to the Lover’s Slope in the middle of the night with that woman next to you? And why were you holding hands with her just now!” Li Linlin’s voice began to tremble as she shouted, “It’s obvious that I was the one who has been patiently waiting for you to be single again.”
Qian Chuan’s reply sounded very helpless: “Love isn’t that kind of thing that gets settled by who was first!”
Although she seemed to be making threats with her life on the line, Li Linlin’s logic and rationality seemed to be firmly intact because she quickly pointed out the discrepancy in Qian Chuan’s words: “Didn’t you just say you weren’t interested in falling in love? Why did you change and start talking about how love isn’t a matter of who came first all of a sudden?! You were just lying to me all along! You just don’t want to fall in love with me, right?! Then I might as well die!”
She wasn’t really bluffing. The water of the Moon Bay was actually known to be very deep and there had been accidents before when people from outside the school would secretly come to swim on a warm summer night and then ended up drowning. If Li Linlin really jumped, considering how dark it was right now and the winter temperature, it would be really dangerous. Even if people dove in immediately to save her, since the water was so cold it would be easy for them to end up with leg cramps and the like that would hamper the search.
Qian Chuan wanted to cry but had no tears. He really didn’t know how he had provoked Li Linlin, this evil spirit: “Haven’t you heard that a melon that is forcibly twisted off the vine isn’t sweet…*”
“It doesn’t matter. Even if it’s not sweet I’ll just twist it off first.”
Qian Wei quietly moved to Qian Chuan’s side and asked: “What’s going on?”
However, Qian Chuan didn’t even look at Qian Wei, instead, he directly turned to Lu Xun who was behind her and said plaintively: “Brother-in-law! What should I do?”
Qian Wei thought to herself, ‘Why does it seem like Qian Chuan, this bastard, has been more and more dismissive of her ever since she got together with Lu Xun… now, whenever something happens, people would think Lu Xun was the one who was actually his sibling…’
Lu Xun pondered on the problem for a moment while looking up at Li Linlin on the observation platform. Meanwhile, because she had threatened to jump into the lake, more and more onlookers were gathering, and there were even people watching her from the windows of the big main library building. The crowd was twittering and making all kinds of remarks, some kind people were advising her to let things go and come down, while others who just wanted to add to the excitement were yelling at her to quickly jump. For her part, Li Linlin just stood there in the cold wind without the slightest look of fear on her face and, on the contrary, her mood seemed to become even more excited because of all the attention she was receiving. She even took a few more steps towards the edge of the observation platform, really pushing the envelope.
Qian Chuan looked miserable: “How can I persuade her to listen to me?”
Liu Shiyun also seemed flustered: “Why don’t we go around behind her and then quickly drag her back down.”
“No.” Lu Xun looked up at Li Linlin coldly. “Don’t persuade her anymore.”
Qian Chuan: ???
“You have nothing to do with her at all. If she wants to die, that’s her business. Even if she jumps into the lake and dies, it has nothing to do with you. Since she wants to die so badly, what’s the point of trying to persuade her?” Lu Xun’s tone was cold, and his eyes slowly swept the circle of onlookers. “Anyway, it’s the middle of winter, who has so much free time that they want to stand around here and watch this farce? Moreover, it’s already getting late and the dorms will be locking up soon. On top of that, the weather forecast said there will be rain tonight, so we should just go back.”
Qian Chuan was a little surprised: “But what about Li Linlin…”
“The police have already been called, they will arrive soon and handle this situation.”
Lu Xun, as a rare exception, had actually raised his voice when he said all that. His icy tone and nonchalant expression caused many of the onlookers to exchange sheepish looks and start to disperse.
After all, it really was the middle of the night and it was very cold standing here by the edge of the Moon Bay. Those words seemed to wake people up a bit, and they suddenly felt that standing here in the cold and watching someone seeking death really did seem a bit boring.
After a while, the recently formed semicircle of people had largely dispersed, leaving only a few onlookers standing around and, those people, probably feeling a little embarrassed, soon also began to walk away one after another.
When Li Linlin saw that everyone was leaving, sure enough, she started to look a little shaken. She shouted at Qian Chuan, “I-I’m really going to jump!”
“Even if you jump, Qian Chuan still won’t like you and, if you die, the idiots at our school with too much time on their hands will discuss you for a few days at most. But then, after about a month or so, absolutely no one will remember you. Also, considering that it’s such a cold day, I’m not sure whether you will drown or freeze to death first but, in either case, your dead body will have to be fished up out of the lake, all swollen and bloated by the water with the eyeballs popping out and the flesh turned green. Probably your face will be blown up to the size of a basketball and your belly will bulge from the rotten gas inside, and maybe it will even explode while your body is being dragged out of the water…”
Hearing all that, not to mention Li Linlin, even Qian Wei, Qian Chuan, and Liu Shiyun had their faces turn green.
“Ugh…” Liu Shiyun was the first one who couldn’t stand it anymore. “Lu Xun, stop talking. Why do you know all this stuff? I feel sick just thinking about it…”
“In our forensic science course, don’t the textbooks have pictures of how corpses develop over time and in different circumstances? You shouldn’t sleep so much in class.”
At any rate, Lu Xun’s words seemed very effective because Li Linlin really wasn’t able to stand it and she took a few steps away from the edge. Also, since the crowd had dispersed and no one was watching, her mood had gradually stabilized a bit. At that moment, Lu Xun made a subtle gesture, and Qian Chuan took the opportunity to sneak around behind her and then pull her forcibly away from danger.
With that, the farce finally came to an end and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Qian Chuan’s heart finally settled down and he took off his coat before throwing it over the lightly dressed Li Linlin’s shoulders. Then he said: “Don’t do this kind of thing next time. You should know that love can’t be forced, and hurting yourself to draw attention really doesn’t make any sense at all. After all, what if something really went wrong? What would your parents do?”
Li Linlin tightly clutched Qian Chuan’s coat in her hands but said nothing.
Qian Chuan didn’t press the point either, he just sighed and said: “Forget it, we’ll take you back to your dormitory.”
“They won’t care.”
Li Linlin bit the corner of her lip and said, “My parents won’t care about me. Maybe they won’t even care if I was dead.”
Qian Wei didn’t expect her to say that, but before he could react Li Linlin was already continuing: “They only care about my younger brother, and they don’t ever care about me or what I’m doing. It’s only when I act out exaggeratedly that they will share a little of their attention with me.”
As Li Linlin spoke, she began to sob. Qian Chuan had never been able to just coldly look on when a girl was crying, so he hurriedly comforted Li Linlin and handed her a tissue. However, his gentle behavior seemed to somehow open the floodgates and Li Linlin’s tears only poured out even more powerfully.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! It’s all my fault…” She choked out while crying. “I know that I’m the one who’s sick, I know it was wrong, but I just couldn’t help it…”
Li Linlin was crying so hard that Liu Shiyun couldn’t help but pat her back sympathetically: “What’s the matter? What do you mean by that?”
“At home, my parents never paid me any attention, they always treated my brother as if he were the only real member of our family while I was just an outsider. And, ever since I got sick in junior high school and had to take medication that caused me to suddenly gain weight, they’ve always acted even more ashamed of me. Normally when it’s time to go out as a family they’ll take my younger brother out but leave me at home. However, after a while, I discovered that if I acted out a bit they would care about me, at least a little bit. That’s why, in order to get their attention, I’ve subconsciously gotten used to acting out.”
Qian Chuan asked: “So you unwittingly turned this sort of acting out into a habit?”
Li Linlin nodded and continued to cry: “At first I would only do it at home but as time went on I found myself doing it at school too. I don’t know why but whenever I get attention from other people, even if the ‘attention’ is them scolding me, I feel very happy inside. As if it’s the only way to assert that I’m here! That I’m another real, living person, and not just air that can be ignored.”
Qian Wei was also a little surprised to hear all this because she had never thought too deeply about the way Li Linlin would act out exaggeratedly all the time. After all, it was easy to just label such a person as an ‘oddball’ and move on, so she had never known that there was such a story behind Li Linlin’s behavior.
Qian Chuan was also quite surprised: “So that’s why you keep chasing different boys all the time so exaggeratedly? Just for the attention, because it gives you some kind of psychological pleasure?”
“I’m sorry, Qian Chuan, you really are a very nice person.” Li Linlin slowly wiped away her tears. “Among all the boys I’ve chased, you were the only one who was always very gentle in response. Most other boys would either throw my love letters away on the spot or just mock me about it behind my back, but you were the only one who has always been very polite and patient with me, and the only one who never mocked me for my weight and appearance. But because of that gentleness, I harassed you even more and gave you so much trouble.” Li Linlin’s tone was pained. “Last time I clearly told myself that I wouldn’t do this anymore, but today I just couldn’t help it. I don’t know why, but when I bumped into you on the Lover’s Slope today, I couldn’t help doing it again… and I was sure you would definitely be completely tired of me after all this, but you still kindly gave me your coat just now.” Li Linlin plucked up her courage and continued, “So I thought that, no matter what, I wanted to tell you these things and sincerely apologize to you. I’ve really gone too far.”
“It should be Histrionic personality disorder, right?”
Unexpectedly, Lu Xun spoke up from the side. Li Linlin looked up at him with surprise and said, “You recognize it too? Actually, I’ve gone to the hospital and that’s what the doctors diagnosed me with. I’ve always been taking medicine but the doctors told me that once Histrionic personality disorder takes root it’s difficult to cure completely with current medical science. They can only rely on drugs and psychological counseling to control the symptoms a little bit.” Speaking to this point, Li Linlin became very depressed, “So I don’t know whether I might get sick like this again.”
“You can’t help but have a desire to perform, right?” Qian Wei suddenly asked.
Li Linlin looked over at Qian Wei and nodded.
“So you enjoy having everyone’s attention?”
“Once your desires to perform and get attention are satisfied, will you be able to control yourself a little more?”
Qian Wei had an idea and said, “Then would you like to try joining the drama club recently set up by the student union?” She looked over at Liu Shiyun. “Weren’t you saying the other day that the drama club was recruiting new members?”
“Anyway, since you have the desire to perform and be noticed, you might as well release that desire in a healthy way like in the drama club. There, the more exaggeratedly you act, the more you will gain recognition and applause from the audience, and you will be able release the pressure you’re feeling without disturbing other people. If you do that while slowly working with your doctors and taking your medication, I’m sure you can control this thing.”
Li Linlin was stunned into silence, and she looked a little moved, but then hesitance crossed her face: “But… with my figure… who would want to see me perform? Even if I signed up, I’m afraid no one would be willing to act with me.”
“Then I’ll sign up and join the drama club with you!” Liu Shiyun patted Li Linlin on the shoulder in a friendly manner. “It just so happens that the student union wants me to work hard to publicize the drama club and attract more members, and joining myself is a good way to do that. On top of that, I can also accompany you to exercise to keep fit and lose weight! After all, you actually have very beautiful features, so if you slim down a bit you will be a great beauty!”
Li Linlin finally smiled through her tears: “Thank you.” She looked at Qian Chuan again. “Then… if I lose weight and become more beautiful, Qian Chuan, can I chase you again?”
Qian Wei was very surprised because that firm refutation didn’t come from Qian Chuan, but rather from Liu Shiyun.
Everyone stared at Liu Shiyun and she seemed to realize that she had said something weird. She uncomfortably played with her hair and tried to explain: “Didn’t Qian Chuan say that he just wants to study hard and not bother with love anymore now that he broke up? So how can Li Linlin chase him? That would just destroy his efforts, right?”
Qian Wei seemed to realize something. She looked at Liu Shiyun and said meaningfully, “Wait a minute, first, please explain something to me. Didn’t you just tell me earlier that you were heading to the student union? Isn’t the student union obviously in the opposite direction from here? Why did you suddenly appear on the Lover’s Slope with Qian Chuan at this time of night instead?”
From the side, Li Linlin interrupted with some sadness and anger: “I’ll report right now that when I bumped into them these two were holding hands. It was actually because of that great stimulus that I couldn’t control my sickness…”
Facing Qian Wei and Lu Xun’s measuring gazes, Qian Chuan blushed and brazenly said, “I just suddenly felt like comparing who had bigger hands between Liu Shiyun and I.”
Qian Wei looked down at Qian Chuan’s hands that were obviously at least twice the size of Liu Shiyun’s hands, and said, “Big Brother, can’t you think of a better excuse? You wanted to compare who had bigger hands? Isn’t it obvious just by looking?”
Qian Chuan spoke righteously, “I don’t know what happened just now, but I actually suddenly went blind for a bit.”
Then Liu Shiyun, in order to divert attention away from this topic, forcibly turned the gunfire back on Qian Wei and Lu Xun: “But Qian Wei, I also have to ask you, what are you and Lu Xun doing here at Lover’s Slope in the middle of the night? I’ve heard that certain couples do things in the bushes around after the sun goes down. Don’t think I don’t know about it! What you’re thinking of is very dangerous! Be careful not to cross the line!”
When she heard Liu Shiyun talk about ‘crossing the line’ Qian Wei felt her face blushing uncontrollably.
However, Lu Xun was quite calm. He glanced over at Liu Shiyun and said slowly, “Qian Wei and I are properly boyfriend and girlfriend so whatever we might do is appropriate, unlike some people here who aren’t lovers but are still hanging around Lover’s Slope. I’m afraid that we aren’t the ones who are toeing the moral bottom line here.”
Liu Shiyun couldn’t take that lying down, of course, so she began to argue with Lu Xun. The bickering between law students was always bloody, and when Qian Chuan pitifully tried to join the war he was immediately stopped by Liu Shiyun with a firm: “You are too stupid, let me do it!”
Finally, Li Linlin couldn’t bear to watch any longer, and she said tentatively from the side, “This… why don’t you guys keep talking, and I’ll just go ahead first?”
*you guys have probably heard this idiom but if not it just means that a forced romantic relationship isn’t enjoyable for either party.