“Your face looks pale lying on the bench. Are you feeling unwell?”
Yan Shi waved her hand and said, “I’m fine. I just wanted to take a quick nap. Senior, don’t just stand there. Please take a seat.” She patted the empty spot next to her on the bench.
Liang Ziqian sat next to her, making her freeze, unsure where she should place her hands.
Although Liang Ziqian didn’t have a large body like Nan Fengyi or as aggressive as Bei Xingyan, he was still a young man standing at about 180cm. At a close distance, Yan Shi could feel the difference between her and Liang Ziqian. He had broad shoulders and large hands.
“Glad that you’re fine.” Liang Ziqian smiled. Yan Shi was stunned by his smile.
His face looked so delicate and handsome, matched with charming, crystal eyes and a sharp, pointed nose. His lips were just the right size above his perfectly chiseled jawline.
On close scrutiny, his facial features were pretty sharp and attractive, sprouting a pair of flirtatious eyes that were hidden behind his golden framed glasses, giving him a more friendly and gentle aura in his light-colored hair.
“What’s wrong?” Liang Ziqian waved his hand in front of Yan Shi, waking her up from her trance.
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Although she was embarrassed about her mobile phone, she still took it out and exchanged numbers with him.
“I’m sorry. I don’t have Weixin or QQ. 1微信(WeChat) and QQ are both frequently used social messaging platforms in China.” Yan Shi looked at Liang Ziqian apologetically and dreadfully.
She was afraid that Liang Ziqian would look down on her. During her middle-high school, her classmates found out that her grandmother would gather recyclable rubbish for a living. Their piteous or disdainful eyes were like knives stabbing through her heart.
Yan Shi didn’t think it was humiliating. They didn’t do any wrongful deeds, and they worked hard to earn well-deserved money. But it didn’t mean that other people thought the same way. They still looked down on her regardless.
Yan Shi carefully looked at him. Liang Ziqian seemed to notice the change in her feelings and gave her a gentle smile. “It’s alright. We can message each other through SMS.”
Yan Shi heaved a sigh of relief, a smile forming on her face.
The two of them chatted under the tree for a long time. Yan Shi felt relaxed and comfortable talking with him and started revealing more information on her family background.
Half an hour before her next class, they finally bid farewell to each other.
Yan Shi returned to her class, leaving her notebook behind. Liang Ziqian picked up her notebook, his slender fingers brushing across her name.
“Yan Shi…” He said with an enigmatic grin.
Later, Liang Ziqian returned the notebook to Yan Shi. Since then, they were officially friends.
She didn’t want to top-up money to use SMS, so Yan Shi downloaded a QQ app and borrowed her roommate’s hotspot to surf the internet.
Although her mobile phone couldn’t receive images and could only send texts, she felt happy enough to text Liang Ziqian.
Slowly the two of them became closer. Half a month passed until Liang Ziqian asked her out.
He asked her if she wanted to go to a library by the suburbs. The library kept a lot of good manga that had been out-of-print.
Yan Shi was unable to reject the invitation. She loved to read manga, and there weren’t many people that shared the same interest. She could only borrow mangas from the bookstore to read, but those bookstores only offered top-selling mangas, and she’d already finished reading them.
She immediately replied in QQ: “Sure! When? Where should I wait for you?”
Liang Ziqian replied: “Two o’clock this Saturday, at the school entrance. You must be excited. I know you love manga, so I asked around and found this place.”
Yan Shi happily rolled around in her bed. She typed on her phone: “I am excited! Senior, you’re the best! (v ^_^ v) !”
She could not send images, so she sent an expression instead, but it still fell short of how she actually felt.
On the D-day, Yan Shi changed her clothes hastily, afraid that she might be late. Her grandmother reminded her to bring her umbrella as it might rain today, but she was in a rush and just replied absentmindedly.
She put on her new clothes, especially for today. She bought the clothes before entering high school, which consisted of only a simple white T-shirt and a pair of loose light blue jeans.
Although she still looked plain, it was still the better choice of attire she could find aside from her school uniform.
Yan Shi arrived at the school entrance twenty minutes earlier. Although Yan Shi knew she was there before time, she still couldn’t help looking around for Liang Ziqian.
And little did she knew, she’d actually saw him.
Liang Ziqian waved his hand at her from far away and then made his way towards her.
“I wanted to come early to wait for you, but I didn’t know you’re here earlier than me.” Liang Ziqian smiled.
Yan Shi took a quick glance at him before lowering her eyes. “I’m scared I might be late, so I came out promptly. I’m here too early instead.”
“Well, since we’re already here, let’s go.”
“Okay.” Yan Shi nodded.
If only she wasn’t a ‘boy’ now, Liang Ziqian would be such a good boyfriend, she thought. But it was just in her imagination.
As the library was located in the suburbs, it would take a long time to get there through public transport. So Liang Ziqian requested his own driver to take them there.
Once they arrived, Yan Shi realized that the library was really deep in the suburbs. There were only a few cars on the road.
There was a lot of great out-of-print manga in the library, just like Liang Ziqian said. Yan Shi was so excited that her face turned red, as she grabbed his hand and couldn’t stop thanking him.
Liang Ziqian smiled lightly. “No need to thank me, you’re my friend, and this is no biggie.”
“I still want to thank you.” Yan Shi let him go and flipped a yellowish page of a manga. Her eyes brightly shone as she read.
Liang Ziqian rubbed his digits together. He could still feel the sensation of her soft fingers on his skin.
He’d already figured out her gender when he met her the first time, but he didn’t expose her.
As Yan Shi continued reading the manga, it started to rain outside. Liang Ziqian leaned against the window with a book in his hand.
The rain started pouring down, as the world outside was engulfed in an icy mist. Liang Ziqian narrowed his eyes as his lips slowly curled upwards.
There would be a storm today, according to the weather forecast. The rain came as planned, with Yan Shi still engrossed in the world of manga, oblivious of what was going to happen.