On the other side, Wen Yu was already drinking in the private room of the clubhouse. The lighting was dim, and pretty girls dressed in revealing clothes wandered among the men, flirting and laughing.
“Is Xiao Yu a junior now?” someone asked.
“I’m in my third year,” Wen Yu replied.
Wen Yu’s social circle outside of school consisted of a group of second-generation rich kids. Among this group, Wen Yu was the youngest, still in school. The oldest among them were already twenty-six or twenty-seven. Wen Yu was a bit younger than these guys.
Although Wen Yu was young, he had been working as an intern in his family’s business during summer and winter vacations since high school, concealing his identity and working in various departments as an intern.
He began to officially work in the company during his freshman year. Now, only in his third year in university, he had already completed two medium-sized projects independently. In the circle, he was definitely “the son of someone else’s family,” making a group of dads envy and hate him.
As a result, Wen Yu was much more mature and stable than his peers of the same age. Therefore, the older guys often hung out with him, treating him as their peer.
“It’s September, the new freshmen should be entering school, right?” someone laughed and asked, “How are they? Are there any decent girls among this batch of freshmen in your school?”
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Eld Zw kxxlekyvlzu vbswtbv sq Kk Gddkdt’p lulp tzkxxlakdt yv bkx kd vbl nya vbyv lhldkdt. Tl rywple okvb vbl tzypp kd bkp byde.
Jkaep sq vbl pyxl qlyvbla, qzsnj vstlvbla. Vlsrzl obs nyd tlv vstlvbla yal zkjlzu sq pkxkzya jkdep. Eld Zw’p pvaydtldlpp oyp kxxlekyvlzu dsvknle.
“Xb? Fs vblal alyzzu yal psxl elnldv sdlp?” vbl svbla rlapsd pyke. “Ebld yal usw tskdt vs cakdt vblx swv qsa wp vs pll?”
“Wsatlv kv,” psxlsdl pyke, “Mbl qalpbxld obs fwpv ldvlale vbl wdkhlapkvu yal yzz pxyzz-vsod tkazp. Mblu byhl vs oykv wdvkz psrbsxsal sa fwdksa ulya vs zssj y ckv elnldv. Ps usw alxlxcla obyv Zkdtukdt zssjle zkjl zypv ulya?”
Zkdtukdt oyp vbl tkaz bl oyp nweezkdt okvb, yde wrsd blyakdt vbkp, pbl kxxlekyvlzu rasvlpvle, “Tlu! Zsw’al vbl sdl obs’p dsv tsse-zssjkdt!”
Mbl rlapsd cwapv swv zywtbkdt.
Fsxlsdl zywtble yde pyke, “Gp zsdt yp bla qynl zssjp tsse, ol nyd fwpv ryu qsa bla vs zlyad bso vs ealpp wr. Jwv vbspl obs nyd tlv kdvs uswa ralpvktkswp wdkhlapkvu xwpv byhl tsse caykdp. Tlu, R zkjl pxyav tkazp. Dkys Zw, qkde y qlo rlsrzl qasx uswa pnbssz vs bydt swv okvb wp.”
“Ls oyu.” Eld Zw vssj y pkr sq bkp eakdj yde zywtble rashsnyvkhlzu. “R’hl yzalyeu pyke kv clqsal, R’hl xyajle xu vlaakvsau blal kd Twyey (wdkhlapkvu).”
“Go to hell, are you a dog marking your territory by peeing?” The person laughed and cursed, lifting his hand to hit Wen Yu on the back of his head.
Wen Yu laughed and dodged, pushing the girl next to him into the other person’s arms. “Here you go, here you go. Isn’t this beauty right in front of you?”
After some playful banter, the alcohol from earlier started to kick in and Wen Yu went to the bathroom to relieve himself. When he came back out, he saw men and women in the private room, reveling in the dim lighting and red wine. He couldn’t help but wonder what Ji Anning was doing at the moment.
Was she walking around the tables in her beer girl outfit, working hard to sell drinks and earn money?
“What are you staring at over there?” someone called out to him.
Wen Yu walked back and sat down among them, pushing away the girl who had leaned in close. He took out his phone and sent Ji Anning a message: “Which one on South Bridge Road?”
After a while, he received a reply: “NL.”
NL, a large establishment with strict security. Ordinary people wouldn’t dare cause trouble there. Well, it’s good, at least she knows how to choose a good place.
The people around him called out to him and Wen Yu put his phone down, joining in with them.
He sprinkled some salt on the tiger mouth (TL: The area between the thumb and the index finger), the tip of his tongue licked it, then gulped the tequila in one fell swoop. The girl beside him quickly stuffed a slice of lemon into his mouth. The clean saltiness of the salt, the sourness of the lemon, and the spiciness of the alcohol mixed together to create an indescribable taste.
As they drank more and more, the alcohol went to their heads and they began to talk more.
“There’s this girl, a freshman,” he said, taking a drag of his cigarette. “I fell for her at first sight.”
“With your picky taste, she must be a fairy, right?”
Wen Yu was a little tipsy, and his eyes looked brighter than usual. “She’s especially enchanting.”
“Really?” his friend became more interested and asked, “How is it? Have you made a move yet?”
“No… she’s a poor student, very stubborn, afraid of getting too close to me.”
“Hmph,” his friend sneered. “Is she pretending to be high and mighty?”
I don’t have a lot of things, but self-reliance is one of the most valuable.
Wen Yu remembered the bitterness in Ji Anning’s eyes when she said that. She was only eighteen years old, just coming of age, with no innocence in her eyes, only a calm and mature outlook that had been polished by the vicissitudes of life.
Maybe the word “pretending” should be removed.
“Who knows?” he said, exhaling a puff of smoke. His dark eyes were deep and his lips curled into a cool smile. “I plan to just leave her hanging.”
Ji Anning received a message while she was changing clothes in the NL locker room. She knew that even if she didn’t say anything, Wen Yu would be able to find out. She replied to him: “NL.”
Wen Yu is no stranger to NL. She worked here part-time on weekends, selling drinks. He often brought his friends here. He also knew the owner and the manager would always come over to say hello when he arrived.
Ji Anning thought that with Wen Yu’s persistence, he would probably come to see her tonight. She couldn’t help but look for him among the tables of customers, quickly glancing at the open booths as she passed by.
But Wen Yu never showed up, even after she finished work.
Ji Anning was working here for the first time today, and the supervisor had been staring at this new and beautiful girl. She was thin and weak, and probably wouldn’t have been hired if she weren’t so pretty.
Selling alcohol is a much harder job than people think. The supervisor was worried that she couldn’t handle it and that she didn’t have the experience to deal with the male customers who might harass her.
But to his surprise, Ji Anning looked very adept. She knew how to sell and how to handle those male customers who were tempted by pretty girls. She even knew how to choose her customers.
The supervisors could tell at a glance which male customers would be troublesome and difficult to deal with. Ji Anning wouldn’t approach them even if they looked wealthy and would let other girls take the business instead.
After observing her for a while, the supervisor felt relieved.
The weekend night shift didn’t close until four or five in the morning, but the last bus was at 11:05 pm.
When Ji Anning applied for the job, she had negotiated on the working hours. She finished work at 10:40 p.m. and quickly changed out of her shiny red and white short skirt and boots, put on her own clothes, and ran to the bus stop at the intersection of South Bridge Road, catching the last bus home.
Exhausted, she leaned against the window, closed her eyes, and lightly pounded her sore legs with her fist.
The cool night breeze blew in through the poorly sealed window crack and brushed against Ji Anning’s face.
Ji Anning suddenly opened her eyes.
She remembered that although Wen Yu later relentlessly pursued her, at the beginning, when he was first rejected by her, he sent flowers and gifts, pursuing her ardently. Then, suddenly, he ignored her for a while.
After being cold for awhile, he became passionate again. But from the beginning, he had touched Ji Anning’s bottom line. Ji Anning had always resisted him in her heart, restrained herself, stayed true to herself, and was not blinded by his money.
At that time, Ji Anning was just following her instincts and responding naturally.
But now, looking back, Ji Anning could almost see the “taming” tactics that Wen Yu was trying to use on her.
Ji Anning smiled bitterly.
Later, when Wen Yu saw that those tactics didn’t work on her, he became persistent and annoying, until he suddenly disappeared from school.
Ji Anning couldn’t help but wonder where he had gone at that time. She had heard some rumors that something had happened to his family. But at that time, she was just glad that he had left and never thought to inquire about what had happened.
She died not long after.
She had always thought she was smart and clear-headed. Later, she realized that being smart and clear-headed was not enough to protect herself.
As soon as he was gone, the demon reached out its claws at her.
On Saturday, Ji Anning received a call from Shu Chen.
He was full of energy and seemed to want to take credit: “My mom introduced someone. She has a middle school daughter who is weak in math, especially geometry. If you have time this afternoon, you can meet her first.”
Ji Anning went in the afternoon, gave the little girl a trial lesson, and the mother listened on the side.
When she left, she promised to confirm with the mother later. In the evening, Ji Anning hadn’t left yet when she received a call from the mother, who had already scheduled the time for future classes.
At the coffee shop, she thanked Shu Chen.
Shu Chen smiled and said: “You’re welcome. My mom called me and praised you for teaching well. That little girl in their family said you speak with a clear mind and she understands you well. She also said…”
Shu Chen’s mother said: “The little girl you introduced is quite interesting. She hopes your aunt Fang can be there when she attends classes.”
Shu Chen didn’t understand: “What do you mean?”
Shu Chen’s mother was speechless for a moment and said: “I’m afraid that if only the male parent is there, there may be harassment, or the female parent may misunderstand something.”
“Is Xiaoyun still there?” The silly otaku asked.
“Xiaoyun is still young. If a man has bad intentions, he can always divert the child’s attention. You, on the other hand, are less experienced than a little girl. You’ve wasted so many years.” Shu Chen’s mother was tired. Her son only knew how to play in the virtual world, when would he start living in the real world?
Shu Chen hung up the phone but couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Do normal little girls have such vigilance? No, they don’t, right? He was a bit silly, but shouldn’t the little girl of Ji Anning’s age be even sillier and less experienced than him?
Unless she had gone through something and gained some wisdom.
“Also,” Shu Chen changed his words, “My mom said she will help you find other families. She knows many families with children.”
This was true.
Shu Chen’s mother said: “Although I haven’t met them, your aunt has been praising you all along, saying that you have good abilities and character. So I’m relieved. I’ll show her other families and see if there are any more.”
In her past life, Ji Anning encountered harassment from a male parent, and after resigning from that job, she mentioned it to a girl who was working with her at the store. When Shu Chen heard about it, he took the initiative to help her and introduced her to some reliable private tutors.
Later, the several families that Ji Anning had been working for were all introduced by Shu Chen’s mother, and they were all very nice.
Upon hearing this, Ji Anning smiled charmingly and said, “Thank you. Let me treat you to a meal sometime.” She and Shu Chen were not as close as they were in their past life, and since she had taken the initiative to ask for help, she should express her gratitude.
Shu Chen was originally going to say “no need”, but as the words were about to come out of his mouth, he looked at Ji Anning’s beautiful and bright face and changed his mind, saying, “Sure, I’ll be waiting.”
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