Sunlight spilled into the hallway as Cheng Chu sat on a nearby sofa.
After a moment, the door to the room burst open with a loud "bang."
A young man stood nearby, his pale cheeks still wet with water and a few strands of hair sticking to his forehead. His silver-framed glasses were loose on his nose.
"Okay, it's fine now," he said in a hoarse voice, his ears turning red.
Cheng Chu smiled and pursed her lips. "I made porridge, let's have breakfast first."
The pot was large and heavy, so she wrapped a layer of heat insulation cloth around her hands.
Gu Miao took a few steps forward. "I'll do it."
The window in the room was open, and the morning breeze after the rain carried a faint scent of grass.
The two sat facing each other, and the young man thought of his embarrassing moment earlier, wishing he could bury his head in the ground.
But Cheng Chu just smiled and opened the lid, scooping porridge for him as if nothing had happened.
"I'll do it." He hung his head and dared not look at her, but stubbornly tried to grab the spoon.
Cheng Chu separated his hand. "Okay, you sit down. It's just pouring some porridge, not a big deal."
The young man quickly sat up straight, his waist straight, and his hands folded on the table like a well-behaved elementary school student.
The porcelain bowl was placed on the table, making a soft sound.
"Okay, let's eat." The porridge was cooked with red shrimp and green onions, and the aroma was delightful.
Gu Miao scooped up a spoonful and the fresh and sweet taste melted in his mouth.
"Is it delicious? Is it delicious?" The girl propped up her head, her peach blossom eyes sparkling.
The young man nodded, "It's delicious."
The girl suddenly smiled, and joy climbed up to her eyebrows, making her peach blossom eyes curve into a small crescent moon.
"This is my first time making it, and I didn't expect it to be quite successful." As Gu Miao's hand paused, warmth spread down his throat and slowly reached his heart.
This was the first time someone had made him breakfast since his parents had passed away.
The young man lowered his head, hiding his reddened eyes, and took several sips.
The small porcelain bowl was emptied in just a few spoonfuls.
"Is it really that good?" She happily refilled his bowl. "Then drink more."
The young man's lowered eyelashes trembled slightly as he lifted the bowl to his mouth, spoonful after spoonful.
The morning after the rain was no longer hot and humid. The mist from the seafood congee had not yet dissipated, and half the pot was already empty.
The young man cleaned up his dishes, pondered for a moment, and stood up. "I should go now."
He had very little money left, and his top priority was finding a place to live.
Cheng Chu tugged on his sleeve and whispered, "Where are you going?"
The train ticket had long been torn to shreds, but she still asked with a lingering fear in her heart.
Gu Miao pursed his lips and didn't tell her that he had been kicked out of his house.
The girl's heart was as soft as cotton, and she didn't know how sad she would be when she heard these words.
His cold eyebrows furrowed as he said, "I found a job and I have to work today."
"I'll go with you," Cheng Chu quickly said, "I have nothing to do at home anyway, I want to follow you."
Gu Miao's dark eyes showed some hesitation.
"Forget it, maybe I'm too noisy and will affect your work," Cheng Chu said.
"It's not that," Gu Miao quickly denied, "It's just that I have something important to do today. How about next time, I'll take you with me next time."
Cheng Chu obediently nodded, "Then don't ignore my calls anymore. I get really worried when I can't find you."
"I lost my phone a few days ago," Gu Miao furrowed his brows and spoke in a deep voice, "that's why I couldn't answer your call."
He lowered his eyes and his trembling eyelashes revealed a hint of apology, "I'm sorry."
"Oh, I see," Cheng Chu smiled lightly, and a shallow dimple appeared on her cheek, "but how can I find you now that you don't have a phone?"
"I'll buy one after work and text you," Gu Miao hurriedly replied.
"Okay," Cheng Chu nodded, "but since you lost your phone, you must have lost all the numbers in it, right?"
She took a pen from the pen holder beside her and said, "Give me your hand."
The morning breeze blew the curtains, and the young man obediently extended his hand.
The girl lowered her gaze, and her long eyelashes fluttered like a fan, "I'll write my number on your hand."
The young boy had large palms with distinct lines, and his thin pen tip felt like feathers, causing a ticklish sensation in his heart.
'How could he forget her phone number?' he thought to himself.
But the boy obediently held out his hand, leaning in slightly.
"Okay," the girl said softly, leaning in to blow on his palm.
Gu Miao's heart tightened.
He withdrew his hand stiffly, involuntarily clenching his fist.
"Hey, hey, hey," the girl stepped forward, grabbing his hand and urgently saying, "Don't clench it, the words will smudge."
The boy awkwardly opened his palm and dumbly said, "Oh."
Several gardenia flowers were planted in the garden, and a light fragrance filled the room with the gentle breeze.
Cheng Chu took Gu Miao to her doorstep while Housekeeper Song was not paying attention.
The brilliant morning sun shone down, and the girl lifted her head, her bright peach blossom eyes scattering into tiny rays of light.
"Are you still leaving?" She pursed her lips and repeatedly confirmed with a hint of fear.
Beside her, Gu Miao clenched his hand, overwhelmed with regret.
"I'm not leaving."
Even if everything was just empty and meaningless, he was willing to indulge in it forever.
In a few days, it would be Cheng Chu's birthday.
The grand and luxurious coming-of-age ceremony for her 18th birthday was held at the entire Intercontinental Hotel, with almost all of her friends invited.
The air was filled with the fragrance of clothes and the shadows of people, and glasses clinked together.
Ecuadorian roses flown in filled the entire venue, and the dazzling crystal chandeliers reflected the delicate light. Even the seemingly casually placed pastries on the table were exquisite.
People came to chat one after another, and Cheng Chu held her brother's hand, smiling politely.
When the moon rose to the treetops, this exquisite and luxurious coming-of-age ceremony finally came to an end. The black Bentley silently drove into the night.
The hotel entrance was brightly lit, and a slightly hunched figure could be vaguely seen.
Cheng Chu's heart skipped a beat.
The cool night breeze blew into the car, and she quickly said, "Stop the car."
The driver slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road.
"What's wrong?" Fu Rong asked.
Cheng Chu's eyes flickered, "I think I left something at the hotel."
Fu Rong didn't pay much attention, "Then call the hotel and have them send it over tomorrow."
Cheng Chu looked back.
The thin figure was huddled in a dark corner, the cold wind blowing the boy's clothes, causing the figure to tremble slightly.
She turned back and said, "No, that thing is very important, I'm afraid they won't be able to find it."
Fu Rong waved her hand helplessly, "Then go find it, we'll wait here for you."
"I don't need it, really." Cheng Chu quickly said, "You guys can go back first. I'll find a taxi myself."
After much persuasion, Fu Rong finally nodded.
As she got out of the car, the chilly wind brushed past Cheng Chu. She shivered unconsciously in her sleeveless dress.
She walked in her high heels, holding up her skirt, and ran towards the corner.
"Gu Miao--" Her clear voice echoed in the night.
In the dim corner, the figure suddenly froze.
The young man turned around.
The moonlight was gentle, and the girl ran towards him, holding up her skirt.
The crimson skirt swayed in the cold night breeze like flowers blooming in early spring.
She had a faint fragrance on her, with a hint of coolness from the summer night, which made the young man's heart tremble.
"Did you come to wish me a happy birthday?" The girl looked up, and the starry sky was reflected in her captivating peach blossom eyes.
The young man lowered his gaze, his eyes unconsciously sweeping over her shoulders and neck, which were as white as snow, causing him to feel a jolt like an electric shock.
His Adam's apple rolled involuntarily, and his emotions surged within him.
"Mm." He pursed his lips and lifted his gaze to softly say, "Happy birthday, Cheng Chu."
The smile in the girl's eyes gradually spread to her lips. "Thank you."
"But." She paused before saying, "You should call me Chuchu."
The moon was just right tonight, and the young man's wildly beating heart suddenly stopped.
The two words "Chuchu" seemed to carry fire, rolling recklessly in his heart and at the corners of his mouth.
The girl raised her eyebrows, her red dress accentuating her bright eyes and radiant smile. "Say it again."
He moved his lips, his emotions churning within him.
The stars in the dark night blinked, and the young man's deep voice was very, very low.
"Chuchu, happy birthday." The bright lights from the hotel shone through, illuminating the dim corners.
"Do you have a gift?" Cheng Chu asked, her eyes full of anticipation.
The not-so-expensive watch still lay in his bag. Gu Miao closed his eyes, hiding the embarrassment in his gaze.
"I'm sorry, Chu Chu, I-"
"It's okay," Cheng Chu interrupted him.
She understood the boy's predicament. He could only afford a second-hand phone, let alone a gift.
Next to the hotel, the lush trees shed a few leaves in the night breeze.
Gu Miao's fingertips stiffened, his lips turning white.
Never before had he despised his poverty so much.
The cold and long summer wind blew on his heart, which trembled at the sight of the girl.
The hot blood flowing in his veins gradually cooled down.
He lowered his eyes, tightly clenching his fists.
In the next moment, a warm sensation spread through the cold bones of his hand.
The girl lowered her head and wrapped her fingers around his tightly, saying softly, "It's okay, you don't have to blame yourself."
He looked up slightly, his clean and bright peach blossom eyes flowing with a gentle light of tolerance.
The scorching affection spread instantly in his heart.
In the darkness of the night, the girl blinked and said, "Actually, you still have a gift you can give me."
Gu Miao's breath was slightly stagnant, "What?"
The girl leaned in, her layered skirt swaying gently, as bright as fire.
Her crisp voice contained a hint of shyness, "Kiss me."
In the deep darkness of the night, Gu Miao's black pupils contracted, his voice trembling, "Wh-what?"
"On my eighteenth birthday, give me a kiss as a gift from you."
A hint of shyness floated in the girl's voice, "Would you like to?"
Something exploded in his heart, as time quietly slipped away. Gu Miao didn't know how long had passed before he finally found his voice amidst the chaos of his heartbeat.
"Okay," he said in a hoarse whisper.
A car drove by in the distance, its bright headlights piercing through the layers of flowers and trees, casting tiny specks of light in the dim corner.
The young man's face turned crimson as he held his breath and slowly leaned in to kiss the girl's lips.
The car gradually disappeared, leaving the corner in darkness.
The girl let go of her skirt and quietly wrapped her arms around the young man's neck.
On her eighteenth birthday, she received her favorite gift - a kiss.
The author has something to say:
Gu Miao: The moonlight tonight is beautiful.
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.