10 - Don't call me
This was the first time Wei Ruxia had tried to harvest lotus roots, so her technique was a bit sloppy. The first few she dug up were broken, but eventually she dug out a few complete one’s with Luo Tang’s help.
The lotuses in the pond were planted by Li Suhe. On weekdays, a gardener would come regularly to take care of them and the lotus roots were in good shape.
After harvesting the lotus roots, Wei Ruxia took Luo Tang to the tap in the front yard to wash their feet. Wei Ruxia first rinsed Luo Tang down with the hose, the water splashing on his legs and reminding her of the time when she went fishing with her friends up north.
The memory made Wei Ruxia smile.
Luo Tang washed away the silt on his feet and looked up just in time to see her smile. He took the hose from her hand and asked, "What are you smiling at?"
The flow of the water from the hose was smooth and cleanly washed away the silt on Wei Ruxia's legs. Gradually all of the mud was washed away and her legs became white again. Wei Ruxia replied, "Nothing."
After washing her legs, Wei Ruxia also washed the lotus roots. After everything was clean she put them in a small bamboo basket. Wei Ruxia raised her head and asked Luo Tang, "Can you help me try it later? I haven't eaten it before so I don't know whether it will taste authentic or not."
Luo Tang didn’t immediately agree to come over later but he followed Wei Ruxia to her kitchen and watched her make sticky rice stuffed lotus roots.
Song Suyun was hospitalized in the first half of the year, and Wei Ruxia had been taking care of the meals. Before she was hospitalized, Wei Ruxia had never cooked, but if she followed a recipe, the food she prepared was always delicious food. Wei Ruxia had since felt that she had a bit of a talent for cooking.
She cleaned the lotus root, cut off one end, and stuffed the soaked glutinous rice into the lotus root. Beside her, Luo Tang was sitting on a chair behind the small dining table in the kitchen, looking at the Ancheng local recipes that Wei Ruxia had bought.
The steps in the recipe were very detailed, but they were also too generic. After reading it, Luo Tang watched Wei Ruxia carefully considering the amount of rock sugar.
"It would be better to find someone to teach you." Luo Tang suggested to Wei Ruxia as the rock candy was put into the pot, splashing in the water.
Wei Ruxia also picked up five red dates and put them into the pot. She said to Luo Tang, "I’ll go to my grandma's on National Day, and she can teach me a bit. My dad likes to eat what she makes."
Seeing her serious look, Luo Tang raised his eyes slightly, and asked, "Do you want to learn how to cook for Uncle Wei?"
"Yeah." Wei Ruxia didn’t shy away from the topic in front of Luo Tang. They were neighbours, and he already knew that she was the daughter of Wei Zi, and that he didn’t treat her very well. Wei Ruxia brushed the osmanthus petals off her hands, and said to Luo Tang, "If I want to improve our relationship, I have to take the initiative."
After speaking, Wei Ruxia set a timer then gave Luo Tang a vivid metaphor.
"It's like the girls taking the initiative to write love letters to you."
Although she may not be liked by Luo Tang even if she writes the love letter, it was better than nothing. This was the same as how Wei Ruxia treated Wei Zishan.
Since she brought up the topic, Wei Ruxia asked again, "Why do you burn all the love letters you receive?"
His eyes were as black as ink, and bottomless as Luo Tang said calmly, "To stop them from holding onto hope."
With regard to feelings, if you didn't have any plans to reciprocate, it was better to nip them in the bud.
Wei Ruxia understood Luo Tang’s intent, and thought of her own situation. She blinked and looked at the rice cooker next to her, then said slowly, "Then I guess I’ll cook for my dad and my dad will just burn it. He probably won’t even look at it."
When she said this, she turned her face to Luo Tang, her fringe scratched her face as it was blown by the breeze outside the window. Luo Tang watched her wind swept hair and closed the recipe book in his hand. He said, "Then you can bring it to me and I’ll eat it all."
Looking back at Luo Tang, Wei Ruxia laughed.
After the rain stopped on Monday, it was clear on Tuesday. The last class in the afternoon was physical education and as the math class ended, the whole class ran to the playground.
Within the heavy workload of high school subjects, Music, Sports and Culture were the cruisy classes that students looked forward to most.
After the baptism of autumn rain, the running track had become less hot. In the first semester of high school, the physical education curriculum was football training. After the teacher supervised them for the first half of the lesson, he let the students practice on their own.
Their practice was basically equivalent to free-time. After Luo Tang and his group left, a second batch and eventually a third batch of students gradually left the playground.
Wei Ruxia and Hu Yinyin were in the third group to leave. After physical education they had chemistry. Hu Yinyin pulled Wei Ruxia and insisted on going to the shopping strip outside the school to buy bibimbap.
Wei Ruxia didn't want to go out in the sun, but couldn't bear her begging and eventually agreed.
"Yay, I’ll treat you to an ice cream!" Hu Yinyin smiled happily, "Sister Zhang's Bibimbap usually has huge lines after school and it takes forever to get in. If we go now, we don’t need to line up after school."
Hu Yinyin was a foodie, which was why she thought she couldn't lose weight. But some people's happiness was to be thin, and some people's happiness was to eat whatever they liked, and she belonged to the latter group.
Ancheng No. 1 High School was located in the school district of Ancheng. The concentration of students had spawned a large shopping strip with a night market and shopping centres. Sister Zhang’s Barbecue Bibimbap was on a street called Yan’an Street, and it was the largest restaurant district in the area. Before dinner time, there would be large numbers of students flocking to the street. Not just students from No. 1 High School, there were also students from the Sports School and several others.
Sister Zhang’s Barbecue Bibimbap opened before school ended and the shop was cleaned. They had to take a number for the Bibimbap, and already several students from the Sports School were waiting on the dining chairs inside. Everyone had their mobile phone out and was playing games. Seeing them coming in, several people glanced at Wei Ruxia's legs unconsciously.
Hu Yinyin took a number and brought Wei Ruxia to sit at a table. The store had air-conditioning, and in addition to the ice cream Hu Yinyin bought, Wei Ruxia wasn’t so hot anymore.
The barbecue restaurant was filled with the aroma of freshly grilled meat. Wei Ruxia was listening to the Sports students next to them playing on their phones, when Hu Yinyin suddenly spoke up.
"What do you think of Xu Xian?"
Biting her ice cream, Wei Ruxia raised her eyes to look at Hu Yinyin, who looked back at her with a smile, her expression the same as usual.
All Wei Ruxia knew about Xu Xian were the few words he said when they met last Saturday, she had no understanding of him in general.
The fan blades of the air conditioner hummed, and Wei Ruxia asked, "What happened?"
Wei Ruxia looked calm and gentle, as if nothing was in her mind, but in fact she felt that she was stepping onto delicate ice. Hu Yinyin broke eye contact first, then met her gaze and shook her hand coquettishly, "Nothing happened! You’re the first friend I've ever brought to see him. I always wanted to ask you but I didn't find a chance until today."
After listening, Wei Ruxia took another bite and said to Hu Yinyin, "I’m your friend, if you like him, I’ll naturally trust your judgement."
Hu Yinyin smiled sweetly and squeezed Wei Ruxia's face then blew her a kiss.
The exchange was like a filler episode and was quickly skipped. The competition between the sports students on the opposite side was in full swing, when someone’s ringtone went off suddenly, and a boy shouted.
"Fuck, Xu’ge went to find our sister-in-law again."
As soon as he finished speaking, not only the Sports School students who were playing games, but Wei Ruxia and Hu Yinyin also looked over.
"Which one? Which sister-in-law?"
"Who do you think, it’s Li Yawen, the flower of Gaoling!"
"Five barbecue meals for number 10 are ready!" The clerk yelled.
As soon as the meals came out, a few boys grabbed their bags and ran out of the shop in a hurry. Seeing their desperate rush, it seemed they were going to join the fun.
"Is Li Yawen for real?" Hu Yinyin watched the five boys run away, and said to Wei Ruxia, "Xu Lingzhou was beaten by Luo Tang so bad that he wouldn’t dare come back, but she was the one who sent herself to his door. "
Han Junsong had a big mouth and had told this to Hu Yinyin. He also told her that Luo Tang beat Xu Lingzhou that time, because Xu Lingzhou tried to block him on the way to school one day, it had nothing to do with Li Yawen.
The name Li Yawen was a bit familiar. Last time in the Golden Palace Shopping Centre, she must have been there when Luo Tang beat up Xu Lingzhou. Although there were people from all schools in this place, they were mostly Sports School students, Li Yawen was indeed a sheep in the wolf’s mouth.
When Hu Yinyin's barbecued bibimbap was done, she linked arms with Wei Ruxia and chatted about her National Day holiday arrangements while they went back to school.
Wei Ruxia's National Day plans were decided last week. Friday afternoon was a holiday and on Saturday, she’d stay at home for the day. After the weekend was over, her grandma would come to pick her up in the afternoon, and then she would stay at her grandma’s house and stay there until next Thursday.
The closer it got to the end of school, the busier the street became.
Yan'an Street was often called Snack Street, but it wasn’t all snack bars, there were also drink shops and Internet cafes. The Internet cafe was in the middle of Snack Street, and there were a few motorcycles parked around the entrance. Several boys from the Sports School were sitting on the motorcycles. Between them were two girls holding hands. One of the girls still had red eyes.
She couldn't recall what she looked like from her name, but seeing her face, Wei Ruxia remembered. The girl with red eyes, who was staring at Xu Lingzhou with annoyance, was Li Yawen.
Her stare, when she got angry, it was all so pretty, Xu Lingzhou felt like she was staring into his heart.
The girl holding Li Yawen glared at Xu Lingzhou and said, "Xu Lingzhou, let us go, otherwise Luo’ge won’t let you off."
He took a puff of his cigarette, and his tone was a bit like a guest persuading a prostitute to behave, full of love, “Luo Tang is so strong, he didn’t even lose to Huang Wei. What Luo’ge, I think he should be called Tang Tang from now on.”
The words ‘Tang Tang’ were full of ridicule, and the others from the Sports School burst into laughter when they heard him.
"What? You like sweets, right? Or do you prefer meat?" Xu Lingzhou smiled wryly and said to Li Yawen, "The meat mustn’t taste good without sugar!"
As soon as Xu Lingzhou’s dirty words were spoken, everyone immediately started making a fuss. Amongst the din, a figure suddenly appeared in the crowd. The figure moved quickly and violently. He lifted his foot and kicked. Xu Lingzhou was caught off guard. He was kicked from the motorcycle to the ground, eating a mouthful of mud.
"Who the fuck!" Xu Lingzhou stood up from the ground with a ferocious look, and turned around to see who hit him. His heart dropped.
Damn it, where did Luo Tang come from?
The teenager standing in front of him was handsome and pale with a cold temperament. After Xu Lingzhou finished asking, Luo Tang answered with an uppercut. He was tall and thin, and his movements were clean and beautiful when he hit people. With his face and temperament, the scene was beautiful to behold.
"What the hell are you guys standing around for? Come on!" Xu Lingzhou was beaten across the ground and quickly summoned his followers to fight Luo Tang.
However, he didn't fight back, and most of his followers snuck away. After a few minutes, Luo Tang had taken care of all of them, and Han Junsong, who had followed him, didn’t even have a chance to make a move.
Those on the ground were beaten into a mess, but Luo Tang was still clean and tidy, with no evidence he’d been in a fight. As soon as he finished the fighting, Li Yawen cried out to Luo Tang.
Luo Tang ignored her, he raised his eyes and glanced at the crowd of onlookers. Then he straightened up and walked in a certain direction.
As he passed by, the crowd of onlookers immediately stepped aside. Hu Yinyin also wanted to step aside, but Luo Tang headed directly towards her and Wei Ruxia. She didn't know why Luo Tang came over, but having just watched Luo Tang fighting, she was a little scared of him now.
When he fought, he looked very different from how he usually did. He was swift and decisive, and his calm expression while hitting someone was really shocking.
When Luo Tang walked to Wei Ruxia's side, the ice cream in her hand had warped a little from the excitement. Wei Ruxia wasn’t aware of Luo Tang’s movements, so she was licking the melted ice cream on the cone, when she raised her eyes and met his gaze.
The boy's eyes were as dark as ink.
His throat moved and Luo Tang glanced down at the icecream she held in her hand. He asked in a steady voice, "How much did you hear?"
Xu Lingzhou's words were extremely filthy, and Wei Ruxia was standing nearby, presumably she had heard everything.
When he asked, Hu Yinyin was quick to pick up his meaning, and quickly said, "We didn't hear anything, Xia Xia and I just got here. Right, Xia Xia?"
After Hu Yinyin finished speaking, she poked Wei Ruxia with her elbow. Wei Ruxia didn't mind her though. She looked at the clean and gentle boy in front of her, savouring the sweetness in her mouth, and her eyes curled as she smiled calmly.
"You mean... Tangtang?"
Hu Yinyin, "!!!"
Luo Tang's eyes shifted slightly. Wei Ruxia's voice was like a fine pick, plucking a string in his heart. Watching the smile on the girl's lips, Luo Tang frowned slightly, and lowered his voice to make his words a little quiet.
"Don’t call me that." Luo Tang said.
The author has something to say:
Tangtang: I want her to call me when I’m hard.
Today's Tangtang is still sweet~