Chapter 114 – Xia Menghuan x Liao Zhenyu VIII (Translated and edited by Xing)
It was a tragic fact that Xia Menghuan’s balance was worse than the average person . It was only towards the end of the school term that she could skate properly and not fall without having someone to hold her .
In actual fact, a large part of why she picked it up so slowly was due to Liao Zhenyu . Most people’s journey to learn skating started with falls . However, being worried that Xia Menghuan would fall, Liao Zhenyu was extremely protective towards her on the ice . This caused her slow learning curve .
After mastering how to skate at the end of the school term, Xia Menghuan found that she could finally take off her gloves .
At this point in time, however, there was no need Liao Zhenyu to hold her hand anymore .
You huge liar… QAQ
Liao Zhenyu spent the bulk of his summer break in Rain City . Because of this, his father even called, trying to find some gossip on his son . “Rascal, are you dating someone?”
“No,” Liao Zhenyu replied . “Didn’t I tell you—I signed up as a summer volunteer for the club . ”
This was one of Dauntless Dragons Club’s events to bring greater awareness to ice skating . Due to the scorching summer heat, they were promoting skating with the help of synthetic ice rather than actual ice .
Synthetic ice was a polymer material made from polyethylene . The material itself came lubricated and mimicked the qualities of real ice . It was said that good synthetic ice had a similarity of up to 95% when compared to real ice . A synthetic ice rink was not only cheap and environmentally friendly but could also be used all four seasons . It was a pretty marketable product, save that the awareness of its existence was rather low among the general public .
The boss of the Dauntless Dragons Club was an ice sports enthusiast . He had collaborated with the government to organize an event to bring synthetic ice into residential neighbourhoods . That summer break, they brought four non-profit, synthetic ice rinks into residential areas and made it free for the residents to access .
The volunteer work that Liao Zhenyu signed up for was to assist at these ice rinks . He had to help the residents use the synthetic ice rinks and to spread its awareness .
He naturally did not forget to ask Xia Menghuan along when signing up .
To be honest, Xia Menghuan did not like volunteering . It was a hot and tiring job that was not very rewarding . The temperaments of the public varied . Some were extremely polite while others took themselves as royalty and treated volunteers like servants .
But Xia Menghuan liked doing things with Liao Zhenyu .
When doing things with the person you like, there was a breezy sweetness that could make up for all the pains .
Occasionally, young punks with bleached hair who wore plastic gold chains and loose, gapping shirts would pass by . When they saw Xia Menghuan, they would whistle at her .
When this happened, Liao Zhenyu would drape an arm over the ice rink railing and smirk at the punk . “Yo, sweetheart, nice figure . ”
The punk ignored him .
Liao Zhenyu carried on, “How about I’ll treat you to a movie, sweetheart?”
Liao Zhenyu did not get annoyed even at being scolded . He sneaked a peek at Xia Menghuan who was beside him .
He refused to admit that he was becoming more and more shameless after hanging out with Xia Menghuan…
A few days later, Liao Zhenyu took a week’s break . As for why he took the break, well…
One random morning, he woke up to the sound of water in his dorm . The entire room felt damp . Puzzled, Liao Zhenyu sat up and stretched languidly before planning to get off his bed .
The moment he stuck his head out, however, he was so shocked that he nearly fell down .
The floor was flooded with water that he gauged was at least 20 cm high . The room had become an ocean and his plastic slippers were floating on the water like two helpless boats in the sea .
What was this! Why did it feel like the world had changed after a night’s sleep? How frightening!
Liao Zhenyu was utterly dumbfounded . At first, he thought that the pipes had leaked . This was until he got off his bed and glanced heedlessly out of the window . The world outside had become an ocean as well .
Right, he knew what had happened .
He switched on his phone and searched the news . As expected, a huge storm descended on the city last night . The drainage system was unable to cope with the rapid pour of rain and was waterlogged .
Being located on the first floor, Liao Zhenyu’s dorm room bore the brunt of the results and was flooded .
The rain had currently stopped but it would be back later in the day .
He waded through the water and headed out of the door, wanting to grab breakfast . The dormitory was built on a foundation that was several centimetres higher than the ground outside . If the water in the building was 20 cm high, it meant that the water outside was at least 50 to 60 centimetres high . Liao Zhenyu wasn’t sure if the canteen was in operations . If it was, he might have to swim over .
Liao Zhenyu was not in a good mood . Holding an umbrella, he trudged through murky water to the building entrance . When he pushed open the door, he immediately saw an…inflatable boat floating outside .
Xia Menghuan sat on the boat, smiling till her eyes were curved into crescents . She waved to him . “Liao Zhenyu!”
The sky above remained darkly overcast . However, this very moment, the sun came out in Liao Zhenyu’s heart .
There’s nothing more wonderful than having the person you like waiting for you .
She even rowed a boat over too… this made him even more touched .
Liao Zhenyu got onto the inflatable boat and saw that Xia Menghuan’s cousin was there as well . He greeted him . “You’re here too . ”
The cousin was utterly speechless . “A large, living person like I am and you only noticed me now?”
Xia Menghuan thrust a thermal lunch box into Liao Zhenyu’s arms . “Breakfast, for you . ”
“Thanks . ” Liao Zhenyu’s heart was filled with warmth . He looked down and opened the lunch box . Inside was steamed stuffed buns, a fried egg and bacon . The fried egg and bacon was shaped like hearts .
When Liao Zhenyu saw the heart-shaped food, his heart stirred . He wasn’t certain if this was something typical of most girls or…
As he ate the breakfast, he asked, “Why are the two of you here?”
The cousin was thinly amused . “Ask her!”
Liao Zhenyu looked at Xia Menghuan .
Xia Menghuan explained, “I saw on the news that a crocodile farm was flooded and numerous crocodiles escaped . ”
Right away, Liao Zhenyu understood what she was trying to convey . He asked, “Don’t tell me you’re afraid that I’ll get eaten up by a crocodile . ”
Xia Menghuan did not reply . She merely turned her face and gazed at the building that they had left in the distance behind them .
Liao Zhenyu burst into laughter . However, it wasn’t appropriate to be too mirthful . He tried his best to curb his laughter while eating the hearts that she made . Hearing his low, stifled laughter, Xia Menghuan was somewhat embarrassed . “Am I wrong? Isn’t it possible that the crocodiles could have swam their way into the city? Even if they couldn’t have swam over, couldn’t they have been swept here by the flood? Afterwards, could they not just so happen to swim into the school? And just so happen to chance upon you? Isn’t this possible?!”
“Yes, yes…” Liao Zhenyu quickly nodded .
“Then why are you still laughing?”
“Cause you’re adorable, all right?”
Xia Menghuan was stumped . She looked away with a reddened face and stopped talking .
After school reopened, they welcomed their second year of university . Liao Zhenyu’s assignments increased drastically, to the point that he was unable to sustain all other extracurricular activities . Thus, he left all his clubs and only kept his part-time job at the ice rink .
In the new semester, Xia Menghuan had a new goal .
—She wanted to be an ice rink crew .
This was a challenge as being an ice rink crew was quite physically demanding .
Luckily, Xia Menghuan had been practicing skating actively the past few months . Her body had improved vastly from before .
The bustle of life made time flew . When Xia Menghuan finally passed the club’s physical and skills tests, and obtained her certification to become an ice rink crew, it was already November .
It just so happened that the day she obtained her cert fell on Singles’ Day .
Liao Zhenyu bought beer and some snacks . The two of them sat on the steps outside the back door of the ice stadium to celebrate .
Xia Menghuan was in an exceptionally good mood . Her petite face was rosy and her eyes were radiant . Looking at her, Liao Zhenyu felt like pinching her cheeks .
Xia Menghuan rarely drank . At present, she cracked open a bottle readily and toasted it to Liao Zhenyu . “Liao Zhenyu, thank you . ”
Liao Zhenyu looked at her eyes . He felt that at that moment, her eyes brimmed with life and were absolutely mesmerizing . Holding onto his beer, he grinned and asked, “What are you thanking me for?”
“Do you know, there are some things that I wouldn’t even have dreamed of doing in the past?”
“Seriously? It’s only just being an ice rink crew . ”
Xia Menghuan shook her head . “It’s special to me . Originally, I was really timid and my body was quite weak . I had a low self-esteem as well . ”
Liao Zhenyu exhaled slowly . “Actually, having low self-esteem happens to everyone . It’s rare for people to be like my boss and to be dauntless from birth . ”
“Yeah . ” Xia Menghuan nodded . She then continued, “But I’m the kind of person who needs someone to hold my hands and pull me along before I’m able to persevere on . Do you get what I mean? Liao Zhenyu, I’m only able to persevere until now because you kept holding my hands . This is why I’m thanking you . ”
Liao Zhenyu startled . A surge of poignant feeling swirled in his heart . He did not feel like he had pulled her along . He felt that they had journeyed along side by side, hand in hand, traversing both nights and days and weathering through rain or shine .
However, he did not say these thoughts out loud . He merely took another swig of beer and looked at her with an eyebrow raised . Smiling, he said, “So how do you plan to thank me?”
Xia Menghuan tilted her head to one and looked at him with a smile as well . “Well, what do you want?”
Liao Zhenyu did not reply . He gazed into the distance and drank his beer slowly .
Xia Menghuan puffed her cheeks and did not speak .
Often, speculations, indecisions and hesitations are how we deal with feelings as we try to sound things out . Though our hearts may be in a turmoil, our faces seem as if we are without a care in the world .
We know to observe and analyze things . However, what we lack is simply that tiny bit of courage to admit how we feel .
Just like this, both of them drank in silence for a while, periodically putting down their beers to eat the edamame . Xia Menghuan wasn’t someone who rushed . She took her time peeling and eating the edamame . By the time she took to finish two or three beans, Liao Zhenyu had already finished a handful .
She glanced at him surreptitiously as she snacked on the edamame .
Then, she personally witnessed him reached for the beer and picked up her drink instead .
“That’s mine,” Xia Menghuan reminded .
Liao Zhenyu let out an “oh” . He put down the half full can of beer and picked up his own one instead .
Xia Menghuan suddenly said, “Liao Zhenyu, you’re being sneaky . ”
Liao Zhenyu was about to take a swig from the can . When he heard her words, his movements stilled and he studied at her without batting an eyelid . “Mm?”
She leaned over languidly and took her sweet time getting closer to him .
Liao Zhenyu’s heart tensed . His nerves were tightly strung as he watched her pressed closer and closer . Though nervous, he did not plan to retreat . He merely put his hands behind him to prop himself up as he gazed at her eyes .
Having drank, Xia Menghuan’s eyes were now slightly clouded and not as glistening clear as earlier .
Finally, she was so close to him that she was almost plastered against him . Liao Zhenyu’s body retained its memories of her . Now, feeling her soft, petite and warm body pressing closer, his mouth dried . His Adam’s apple bobbed and his breathing quickened chaotically .
Seeing him this way, the two corners of Xia Menghuan’s lips lifted .
Then, she stretched her neck and swiftly landed a kiss on his lips .
“I’ll kiss you again if you’re still so sneaky,” she whispered .
Liao Zhenyu could not discern whether she was threatening or teasing him . He only knew that because of this one gesture, fireworks had exploded in his head . By the time he gathered his soul back from the remnants of the fireworks and wanted to return her kiss, she had already stood up and left with her beer .
She skipped off with merry steps .
Looking at her somewhat staggering figure, Liao Zhenyu mumbled to himself, “So is she drunk or not?”
Soon enough, Liao Zhenyu had his conclusion: This brat isn’t drunk .
This was because she was actually roleplaying with his boss in their group chat . Being the drama queen she was, she was saying all sorts of nonsense . However, the logic behind her words was perfectly clear .
In short, she was not drunk! This chapter is a labour of love that should not be found outside of teafragrance[dot]wordpress[dot]com .
This was originally something worth celebrating . However, the very next day, Liao Zhenyu received distressing news .
The person who kissed him forcibly yesterday was actually bringing up going matchmaking with the ice hockey team today!
Ahhhhhh, what matchmaking! A person should be more responsible than this!
Liao Zhenyu criticized her righteously .
After that, still feeling anxious, he dashed to the mall and bought a delicate gold chain .
Good grief, he needed to secure this rascal .
He tossed the chain to Xia Menghuan and she hefted it with her hand .
Liao Zhenyu said, “Get what I mean?”
“Yes . ” Xia Menghuan nodded docilely . “It’s not plastic . Feels like it should be real gold . ”
Liao Zhenyu nearly vomited blood . “Scoundrel, I’m asking you to be my girlfriend . ”
Xia Menghuan’s movement of hefting the chain froze . She stared at his eyes and, all of a sudden, smiled .
No one knew that she had fallen for him at first sight .
One year, two months . Four hundred and thirty six days . This was how long she had been living in the shadow of this secret .
Now, he was asking her to be his girlfriend .
“You should have said so earlier . ”