In the dim bedroom, there was a quilt curled up on the soft and spacious bed.
The mobile phone that was thrown under the bed had been ringing for almost half an hour, and it was still ringing reluctantly at that moment. Lin Mian was dying, struggling under the covers for several seconds, before she finally stretched out her arm and fumbled under the bed and fished the phone up.
After answering the phone, the other party's voice was chilly, "Mu Mian-lǎoshī, do you know what the day after tomorrow is?"
Lin Mian was so sleepy that she couldn't open her eyes, her entire face was buried in the pillow. She put the phone loosely against her ear and said in a dull voice, "Auntie, I didn't get to bed until four or five in the morning. There is true love to be found everywhere in the world. Can’t you spare me?"
The editor on the other end refused, "No, if I spare you, who will spare me? The editor-in-chief has had a knife at my neck the past two days. He said that he can't put off your manuscript anymore, so he sent me to check up on you."
After her spiel, she followed up with some questions, "Why do you go to bed so late? Do you still have writer’s block?"
"Last night, I wasn’t..." It hurts to think of it. Lin Mian turned over, and with a soft nasal voice, "I was thinking about how to write a review last night."
"Write a review???"
Lin Mian faintly replied, "It's been a long time since I’ve written one, so I'm a bit rusty."
She wrote two reviews when she was so old, and both were because of the same person.
After hanging up the phone, Lin Mian stayed in the bed like a salted fish for five minutes, before finally struggling to touch the button on the bedside. The curtain slowly opened and the sun was already high outside the window.
She pulled her slippers out from under the bed and stepped onto the thick soft carpet. At a glance, it could be seen that the carpet was littered with messy drawings and several open DVD cases.
Lin Mian couldn't fall asleep in the middle of the night yesterday, so she actually turned on her computer and carefully wrote out three thousand words of her sleeping review. She opened an online guide 《500 Model Essays for Elementary and Secondary School Students》and copied the words with love and sincerity and the words were weeping blood. She really didn't make it up. Then she paused to look for a few movies to watch, and finally fell asleep to the sound of The Ring in the background.
Que Qingyan's stern and indifferent expression flashed in her mind, and she thought wistfully, why didn't he let her write about insomnia? She was good at insomnia, and the number of words she could write would be doubled.
Lin Mian stooped to put the discs away and place them in the drawer of the bedside table. Then the discarded manuscripts on the floor were cleaned up and thrown into the waste paper basket. After doing all this, she dialed another number, and after it rang twice, it connected.
Lin Mian said affectionately, "Xuxu!"
Fang Xuxu was taken aback, and then responded affectionately, "Lǎoshī!"
"Xuxu, I miss you so much!"
"..." The sudden confession was ruthlessly cut down, "Lǎoshī, isn’t it time for you to submit the manuscript the day after tomorrow? Were you reminded to call me after you were harassed by your editor?"
"Xuxu, it turns out you think so little of me." Lin Mian was hurt, "I just woke up and saw the brilliant morning light outside the window and the first thing I thought of was you. The morning sun shines as brilliantly as you..."
"The morning sun is long gone, it's almost noon, lǎoshī."
Fang Xuxu had long been accustomed to her nature. When she’d been hired as Mu Mian’s personal assistant right out of university, she was over the moon and had imagined countless kinds of idols and the possibility of a successful life.
But she was wrong, ridiculously wrong.
The two met for the first time in an apartment rented by Lin Mian. Before being greeted at the door, Fang Xuxu had imagined an exchange straight out of a comic book or a dream. Who knew that as soon as she entered the living room, she came face-to-face with a white-clothed ghost who was paused on the TV screen. The mature and intellectual Mu Mian-lǎoshī of her fantasies apologized softly to her, "Sorry, I was watching a horror movie just now and I forgot to turn it off."
Fang Xuxu looked at those watery apricot eyes, and instantly felt that she wasn’t here to be a manga artist’s assistant, but as a little girl's nanny.
Mu Mian, a best-selling shàonǚ mànhuà artist, regularly serialised comics in a well-known teenage magazine Sugar Heart, which ranked first among teen girl magazines all the year round, and her published short story was even more popular.
And this shàonǚ mànhuà artist’s hobby turned out to be watching thriller horror movies, no one would believe it.
Lin Mian had changed the address of her apartment recently. For convenience, she’d rented an apartment not far from K University. Usually Fang Xuxu finished her work and would simply send the drawings to Lin Mian over the Internet, but in the final days when the deadline was approaching she went to Lin Mian’s place to help her in person.
Fang Xuxu got the new address, but when she rushed over, she was stopped by security at the gate of the community.
The location of the apartment was in a quiet suburb near the centre of the city, the environment was low-key, and the security was stricter than at other places. Fang Xuxu could only call Lin Mian. Lin Mian had just finished her first meal after waking up. Without combing her hair, she put on a coat and grabbed a few boxes of milk before going down to pick her up.
Fang Xuxu was given a box of milk from Lin Mian and the two entered the elevator in the apartment building. Just as Lin Mian pressed her floor, the elevator door was opened again.
"I have a tricky case in my hand, an economic lawsuit involving upstream and downstream capital chains. A win would be a huge payout." The talking suit and leather shoes, wearing a champagne tie, spoke to someone as he entered the elevator. "You haven’t taken a case for half a year. I've been begging you for so long, you have to at least think about it, right?"
The voice of the responder was very familiar, "Are you here to talk to me about the case today?"
Champagne tie said "Wow. An old friend recounts the past and you just want to talk about what happened in the case, Master Que, you are so ruthless!"
After seeing the other person who entered, Lin Mian choked on a sip of milk. Her shoulders shook as she coughed vigorously for more than ten seconds.
"Lǎoshī, what's wrong with you?" Fang Xuxu was frightened by her and patted her back, "Are you all right?"
Lin Mian coughed and couldn't say a word, she could only clap the other person's arm suggestively, beckoning her not to speak any more.
Fang Xuxu thought she was distressed and needed to drink a few sips of milk, and said, "It's okay. I still have more here. Lǎoshī, did you choke?"
What lǎoshī! ! !
Who is the lǎoshī! ! ! ! !
Lin Mian finally calmed down, coughing with tears in her eyes. She looked at her assistant seriously, and whispered, "I was just kidding in the dormitory, I only taught you to play mahjong once, you don't need to call me lǎoshī anymore. ..."
Fang Xuxu, "..." What the fuck?
While she had the tone of a whisper, the volume was controlled to be within the range that anyone in the elevator could hear. Then Lin Mian looked at Que Qingyan, and with a little surprise in her eyes, "Professor Que, what a coincidence to meet you here."
Her reaction was so fast and the acting was so natural, Lin Mian awarded herself a perfect score.
Fang Xuxu followed along, her eyes straight ahead.
Que Qingyan seemed to have just returned from some official business. He was dressed very formally. His shirt and trousers added a bit of length to his already tall and slender figure, and his brows and eyes held a deep brilliance, and an unconcealable maturity and charm. He looked down at Lin Mian and said, "Are there no classes today?"
He wasn’t a very cold person, but his temperament was quite perfunctory and even if he talked more, he still made people feel that there was a sense of distance, much like that between a superior and their inferiors.
"There aren’t any classes," Lin Mian shook her head sincerely, then explained happily, "I just moved out of the school to share a house with two roommates, and we rented an apartment here. I didn't expect to meet you."
Although the apartment building only had single room apartments, the price of such a location and environment was ridiculously high, and the rent wasn’t cheap. To say it was herself and two roommates, a total of three people, who shared a high-priced bachelor pad near the school, was very reasonable.
Lin Mian gave herself a perfect score again.
Fang Xuxu, "..." What? The hell? Is she? Playing?
During the conversation, Que Qingyan selected his floor, and the numbers went up floor by floor. Lin Mian glanced quietly and noticed that both the eighth and tenth floors were lit.
She lived on the eighth floor, so he must live on the tenth.
Lin Mian looked at the two floors close together, her heart still, and the mind of a shàonǚ mànhuà artist imagined countless possibilities in an instant.
The closest to the water tower gets the moon.
The closest to the water tower...
Lin Mia’s head tilted, and a clear sentence flashed in her mind: Near the water tower, closer to the truth, 20,000 words.
The fluttering little heart was retracted in a snap.
The elevator stopped steadily on the eighth floor. Lin Mian looked back at Que Qingyan and said, "Professor Que, we’ll be off first."
Fang Xuxu watched the elevator doors slowly close, and then asked Lin Mian with a bewildered expression, "Lǎoshī, have you enrolled in a class recently?" What professor? What class?
Lin Mian felt lingering, and tore open the packaging of another box of milk, "Almost, I just wrote a review of twenty thousand words."
If Que Qingyan knew that she wasn’t his student at all, and even remembered who she was... then it might be more than twenty thousand. She was afraid that she would need more than two hundred thousand words to reflect.
Fang Xuxu vowed that she had never seen Mu Mian-lǎoshī behave like she had just now since she had started as an assistant. She asked, "Lǎoshī, are you afraid of that man?"
As Lin Mian's door was halfway open, she shook her head and sighed in melancholy.
Not only was she not afraid of him...
She even felt like sleeping with him.
She only thought about it, she didn't think she was breaking any law.
The elevator was still going up, the champagne tie guy, who held a gift box in one hand and had his other hand in his trouser pocket, casually joked, "You have such a cute student. She reacted so much just seeing her professor."
The elevator door opened on the tenth floor, Que Qingyan took a step forward and laughed imperceptibly, "I scared her before."
It was near the deadline for the end of the month. Lin Mian spent two days in her apartment, rushing to complete the manuscript. Fang Xuxu also ran back and forth for the two days, until finally handing in the manuscript on time.
On the night of the deadline, Lin Mian submitted the manuscript, changed her WeChat signature to ‘MIA, leave message if you need something’, then personally unplugged the network cable, turned off her phone, and rolled into her bed for more than ten hours.
When she woke up again, it was already late at night the next day. At this time, the convenience stores in the community weren’t open, and there was nothing to eat in her refrigerator. Lin Mian sighed while boiling milk.
It was miserable, so miserable.
She flipped through her messages, and suddenly remembered that there was something even worse.
She had only written three thousand of her twenty thousand word review.
She hadn't finished writing, but she wanted to go to the class. Lin Mian made up her mind this time to find a small hidden corner to hide and sleep in. It would be best if she was in a blind spot of Que Qingyan's line of sight. If he couldn’t see her, she could sleep at ease.
Lin Mian planned it all out. When she went to class that day, she didn’t reserve a seat a few hours in advance as usual. Instead, she arrived at the lecture theatre fifteen minutes before class. She was just searching for a seat in the back row when she caught a glimpse of someone beckoning to her.
She thought about it for ten seconds before realizing that he was the student who sat next to her last week.
"God of Sleep!" The boy pointed to a seat, "Here! I have a seat for you."
He was in the third row, right in the middle, and had reserved a seat for her.
Lin Mian, "..."
Who is the god of sleep? ?
The boy thought for a while, then changed her name, "Xuémèi, here!"
"..." I prefer the God of Sleep, thank you.
Lin Mian spoke with the tender face of a xuémèi, "No need, thank you, xuézhǎng."
Uhhhhh this novel is way heavier on the idiom and titles than my previous ones. /sweats
This line: Lin Mia’s head tilted, and a clear sentence flashed in her mind: Near the water tower, closer to the truth, 20,000 words.
Actually had two idioms but the second would've required a mile long footnote so I just left it out.
I'm vaguely aware that leaving in so much Chinese might make it a little less readable, but I think it's about the same amount as Japanese manga I used to read in high school, so it should be fine? It's just things like laoshi/sensei, xuemei/fem kouhai, xuezhang/senpai, etc. Anyways if you get super lost let me know. I may be a shitty MTLer but I do try to make it a somewhat pleasant reading experience.
Also, if anyone is confused Mu Mian is her penname.