The night in the city was silent and still.
Gu Miao lay in bed with his eyes tightly closed, his furrowed brow revealing the intoxication of his emotions. It was already the second night in a row that he had dreamt of the girl.
The hazy and beautiful dream was like a light and fluffy cloud, and he lay inside it, almost feeling his blood vessels bursting with comfort. The cold and lonely winter night outside the window was forgotten.
The first ray of sunlight in the morning shone into the room, and Gu Miao opened his eyes, feeling the dampness beneath him.
He almost closed his eyes in self-disgust. The kiss from the night before seemed to have been etched into his soul.
He had almost forgotten how he had made it home that day. All he remembered was that in his dream that night, he had done even more outrageous things.
The sound of water flowing from the sink was loud, and his hands were numb from the forceful scrubbing. Looking at the bedsheet in his hand, a sense of self-disgust and shame quietly crept into his heart.
The veins on his cold, pale hand trembled slightly, and he wished he could slap himself hard.
Every movement and every breath in his dream seemed like a violation of the girl.
He hated these uncontrollable dreams and despised the shameless version of himself in them.
The bathroom door was slammed twice. "Are you done? You've been in there for so long, don't other people need to use it?"
"Okay, okay." Gu Miao tidied up a bit and hurriedly walked out.
On the second day of the New Year's holiday, Cheng Chu slept until noon.
The household servants were all on vacation, and her parents and brother were busy with their own things, not coming home for several days.
Cheng Chu made herself a cup of honey water, opened her phone, and prepared to order takeout. She was having a bit of decision-making difficulty, flipping through options for a long time without being able to make up her mind.
Sitting on the small balcony on the second floor, basking in the warm afternoon sun, Cheng Chu stretched lazily.
"Woof woof woof." A burst of urgent barking broke out.
Cheng Chu lowered her gaze and saw three little dogs in the garden next door on the first floor, fighting over something, chasing and biting each other, making a mess.
In just a few seconds, Lin Qifeng rushed in wearing pajamas, grabbing the back of two of the little dogs' necks and shouting loudly, "What are you all barking for? Be quiet!"
The two little dogs were caught by their necks, flailing their limbs, while the little dog on the ground stuck out its front paws, constantly tugging at his pants, whimpering in grievance.
Fortunately, they all quieted down.
Cheng Chu poked her head out and shouted at him, "Did your little Hu give birth? Why are there suddenly so many of them?"
Lin Qifeng looked up, the noon sun shining brightly.
He squinted his eyes and said loudly, "Yes, she gave birth to three little babies. They're so active that I want to tear down the house."
The two yellow little golden retrievers were still jumping around.
Cheng Chu said, "Are golden retrievers always this lively?"
"Who knows, maybe they mutated," Lin Qifeng gently put down the two golden retrievers.
Perhaps they had learned their lesson, the three little puppies didn't make any more noise and ran off quietly like chickens.
The three little dogs were still small, not even knee-high, with short legs that made them adorable.
Lin Qifeng's garden was filled with fragrant flowers.
Cheng Chu looked at his bird's nest-like hair and said, "Did you just wake up?"
He scratched his head, still half asleep. "How did you know? I was sleeping soundly until those three brats woke me up."
Cheng Chuyang held up his phone. "Want to order takeout together?"
Half an hour later, the two of them were sitting in Cheng Chu's small garden, eating spicy hot pot.
Lin Qifeng's mouth was oily and swollen from the spiciness. He picked up a piece of tripe with his chopsticks, then hesitated.
"Um, I'm sorry about that," he said, his tone low.
"What?" Cheng Chu still had beef in her mouth, making her words unclear.
Lin Qifeng scratched his head. "I mean, about Song Xinyu. I'm really sorry. I think she came to bother you because of me."
"Oh, it's no big deal. It's not all because of you. We already had some issues between us," Cheng Chu said nonchalantly.
"Looks like another boy in your class got caught up in this. Next time, I'll apologize to him. But what's the deal between you and him? He actually fought for you." He teased.
The strong aroma of hot pot covered the floral scent in the garden. As she watched the bubbling pot, Cheng Chu couldn't help but think of that unexpected kiss.
On that cold winter night, his lips were hot like fire as they pressed against her slightly cool cheek, causing her heart to race.
She looked at the boy's panicked face, trying to hide her own panic. She clenched her fists, trembling slightly, and finally managed to calm herself down.
She lowered her eyes, her eyelashes trembling, and her face turned red involuntarily.
"What's going on? Do you two really have something going on?" Lin Qifeng looked at Cheng Chu's blushing cheeks and exclaimed dramatically.
"Nothing, nothing, don't ask," Cheng Chu lowered his head, almost burying it in the pot.
But it was just a kiss on the cheek, what's the big deal?
At their wedding in their past life, they even exchanged kisses.
Although, it was forced...
"Okay, I won't ask," Lin Qifeng took a sip of his Coke and lay back in his chair, watching the three crazy dogs playing in the garden with a sigh.
"If anything happens, you have to tell me, okay?" He rubbed his temples and suddenly asked, "By the way, do you want a dog?"
The New Year's holiday passed by quickly.
It seemed like her classmates hadn't fully recovered from the holiday yet, either sleeping at their desks or burying their heads in their homework.
The morning sunlight poured into the classroom, and when Cheng Chu entered with her backpack, the room was already full of people.
"Good morning, Chuchu," Luo Qianqian poked her head out from under a pile of homework.
Cheng Chu smiled, "Good morning, Luo Qianqian."
She turned her head and spoke softly to the boy with his head down, "Good morning, Gu Miao."
The morning breeze lifted the corner of the curtain, causing the boy's hand holding the pen to stiffen and his ears to turn red.
He didn't even dare to look up, his voice trembling, "G-good morning."
The girl put down her backpack and sat down slowly, her faint fragrance still carrying the chill of winter.
Gu Miao's heart tightened, and he buried his face even lower.
He remembered that unexpected and inexperienced kiss, and the restless nights that followed.
He didn't dare to look at her, afraid of revealing his true feelings.
The classroom was noisy, but he heard the girl move her chair closer to him. The air around him seemed to thin out, and Gu Miao clenched his hands, feeling his heart tremble with numbness.
What was she going to say?
Gu Miao's dark eyes revealed a shy hopefulness, shining like a mouse that had just stolen a grain of rice.
He felt the scent in the air getting closer and closer, almost touching his heart that was filled with emotions.
Perhaps it was only a few seconds, or maybe a few minutes, but when he felt like he could hardly breathe from nervousness, he heard the girl's clear voice say, "Gu Miao, can I borrow your chemistry homework?"
The classroom was quiet and cold, and Gu Miao's tightly clenched hands suddenly relaxed.
He lowered his gaze, his eyelashes trembling, and silently took out the chemistry paper from his desk drawer.
"Thanks." The girl lowered her head, a few strands of hair falling on her porcelain-like face, as she focused on her chemistry homework.
Gu Miao felt like his heart had collapsed, his hopes crumbling away with the small hole that had opened up in his chest.
He closed his eyes, bitter thoughts swirling in his mind.
Why did he still cling to hope, even though he knew he shouldn't?
The classroom was noisy, the winter wind beating against the windows, as if hitting his heart over and over again.
He remembered that night, when the girl had covered her face and looked up at him with surprise in her peach blossom eyes.
The soft touch of her cheek still lingered on his lips, touching his heart. He was frozen, unable to speak a word.
For a long time, the girl looked at him, unsure of what to do.
She smiled as if nothing had happened and said, "Oh, it's okay. Accidents happen. Let's go quickly."
She seemed to brush it off as something ordinary, like a cold wind blowing in winter or leaves falling in autumn.
But she didn't know what it meant to him.
Gu Miao pursed his dry lips and unconsciously lowered his head, looking at the English book spread out on the table without saying a word.
"I'm done, thank you." Cheng Chu's slender fingers held the paper and handed it back to him.
Gu Miao's dark eyes were hidden, his shoulders drooping as he silently took the paper.
"What's wrong? Are you unhappy?" Cheng Chu asked, propping up his head.
Gu Miao shook his head.
Someone opened a small crack in the window, and the cold wind brought in the refreshing scent of dust.
Cheng Chu smiled and leaned his head on his arm, resting it on the table as he looked up at her. The girl's eyes were clear and bright, like the sweet mountain spring water in the summer, reflecting only his shadow.
"Don't be unhappy," she said, her delicate eyelashes fluttering as she spoke.
Gu Miao lowered his gaze to her eyes, feeling as if a piece of candy had been stuffed into his mouth, sweet enough to melt his heart.
Loving her was his own business, and all the sweetness and bitterness could only be silently hidden in his heart.
He never expected any response, so why bother getting upset now? Gu Miao thought to himself with a hint of self-mockery.
He pulled the corners of his mouth, revealing a forced smile, "No, I'm not unhappy."
Cheng Chu looked at him and felt that his forced smile was uglier than crying.
She pursed her lips, turned around, and took out a plastic box from her backpack, handing it over. "Here, for you."
The plastic box seemed to be filled with cold air. Gu Miao's fingertips trembled as he looked down and saw several mango pancakes neatly arranged inside.
"I made these. Why don't you try them?"
She made them? Gu Miao looked at the plastic box in his hand, and his heart exploded with countless fireworks.
Footsteps echoed in the hallway.
Cheng Chu looked up with a smile in her eyes. "You must love mangoes, right?"
She remembered that in her past life, the nanny at home always bought mangoes as the most common fruit.
Gu Miao raised his eyes in disbelief and asked in a low, hoarse voice, "How did you know?"
In the early morning, a few rays of sunlight shone on the girl's fair face.
She propped her head up with one hand, her crescent-shaped eyes sparkling mischievously as she said, "I just know."
"Come on, try it. It's my first time making it, so I don't know how it tastes," she said, taking out a delicate little box from her backpack and handing him a fork.
Looking up at her with tender peach blossom eyes, the girl always seemed to easily sway his emotions with just a few words, making him feel alive and then dead again.
The exquisite fork glinted in the sunlight as Gu Miao obediently took it. The mango pancake tasted great, with the sweet mango flesh balancing out the slightly cloying cream.
It wasn't a particularly difficult dessert to make, and besides, Cheng Chu had used only the most expensive ingredients. Gu Miao felt that this was better than any delicacy he had ever tasted.
The sweetness seemed to flow down his throat and gradually seep into his heart. All the anxiety, confusion, and disappointment from before melted away like winter snow under the warm sun.
The books on the table rustled as the wind blew, and Zhou Ran suddenly poked his head out, grinning. "What are you eating?"
Cheng Chu looked at his smiling face helplessly. "Mango pancakes. Do you want some?"
"I want some too, Chuchu!" Luo Qianqian chimed in, joining them.
Gu Miao's hand tightened, and his dark eyes silently watched as the two of them completely ignored his gaze and took the box from his hand, huddling together to share the remaining mango pancakes.
He pursed his lips and looked at Cheng Chu, as if the grievance was about to overflow from his dark eyes.
"Next time, I'll make it just for you," Cheng Chu whispered, her voice low.
The sweet smell of cream filled the air, and Gu Miao blushed, his eyes dark and satisfied, his lips curling up involuntarily.
The author has something to say:
Gu Miao: I really hate these two gluttons!
Translations during sleepless nights. I can sleep when I'm dead! ...Please let me sleep. Happy readers keep me awake, and lots of love and a huge thank you for supporting my hobby!
Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@ypeels.