After returning from Pingcheng, Cheng Chu noticed that her "Old-Fashioned" had become more proactive.
The shy young man began to clumsily express his love, sometimes with a silent kiss, sometimes with blushing words of affection.
Winter turned to spring, and a new semester came and went. Before they knew it, they were already in their third year of college.
Gu Miao had moved to a new house.
It was a large house, conveniently located near both of their schools. Cheng Chu often brought Meow Meow to visit, but despite his efforts to change, her "Old-Fashioned" still had a reserved nature.
The full moon hung high in the sky, casting shadows of trees in the distance. The summer night breeze carried a refreshing coolness, relieving the heat from their bodies.
"I'll walk you back to school," Gu Miao said, grabbing his keys. Suddenly, he remembered something and went back into the room to fiddle with something. When he came back out, he was holding a beautifully wrapped bag.
He handed it to Cheng Chu, "Here."
"What is this?" Cheng Chu looked a bit stunned as she took it and opened it up to find a valuable skincare product.
It was the brand she often used, and a whole set would cost over ten thousand yuan.
The young man lowered his gaze, his eyelashes trembling as he said somewhat embarrassedly, "It's a gift for you."
He didn't know if she would like it or not.
Cheng Chu pursed her lips. The packaging was clearly bought at the counter and was several thousand yuan more expensive than buying it through a purchasing agent.
When she was a freshman, several senior students from the computer department at Haishi University started a business together and recruited Gu Miao because of his talent.
This company had connections and was full of top students from prestigious schools.
Shortly after its establishment, it received several major projects and began to make a name for itself in the industry.
The box in her hand was heavy, like a big stone pressing on Cheng Chu's heart. She blinked, feeling her eyes start to sting.
No one understood how hard Gu Miao worked better than her. He often stayed up until the early hours of the morning, sometimes going a whole month without getting enough sleep. One day, while they were eating, she noticed his hand shaking as he held his chopsticks, and even his glasses prescription kept increasing.
Every penny he earned was hard-earned with his blood and sweat.
Next to their apartment was a phoenix tree, and in the summer, cicadas chirped incessantly.
Cheng Chu sniffled, trying to hide her bitterness, and said with a smile, "Then I'll accept it."
The boy's face relaxed when he saw her accept the gift.
"I'll carry it for you," he said, taking the heavy bag with one hand and naturally holding the girl's hand with the other.
Haiyin's dormitory was close by, only a ten-minute walk away. The campus was quiet on this summer night. The two of them held hands and chatted for a while before arriving at their destination.
"Goodnight kiss." The girl looked up, her bright eyes sparkling with stars.
The trees cast shadows next to the dormitory, and the boy's dark eyes were hidden in the night, revealing a strong desire. His Adam's apple rolled as he leaned down and gently kissed her.
Cheng Chu lived in a four-person dormitory, but one of her roommates moved out during their freshman year, leaving only three people in the room.
When she pushed open the door, the lights in the dormitory were still on. Lu Jiaojiao was lying in bed, scrolling through her phone, while Ji Mingyue was sitting at the desk applying skincare products.
"Sleepover failed?" Ji Mingyue pumped some essence and dabbed it on her cheeks, turning to ask.
Cheng Chu shrugged. "It won't succeed for a while."
"I've never seen someone so chaste before," said Lu Jiaojiao, poking her head out. "She's such a beauty, and they've been together for over a year, yet nothing has happened."
"He's just a bit shy," replied Cheng Chu, placing the skincare set on the table and pulling out some pajamas from the cabinet.
"I could tell in high school," said Ji Mingyue, putting away the essence and turning to the box on the table. "Wow, is this La Mer? A gift from Gu Miao?"
"Yes," nodded Cheng Chu.
"I'm so jealous," exclaimed Ji Mingyue, plopping down on the bed. "Lin Qifeng, that straight guy, gave me sneakers last time and it made me so mad."
Cheng Chu chuckled. "You know, those sneakers cost about the same as this set."
"Ugh," sighed Ji Mingyue. "He should have just given me a violin instead."
"Next time, try to talk to him gently," Cheng Chu opened the balcony door. "Are you two going to sleep soon? Will it bother you if I take a shower?"
"It's okay, it's okay," the two replied in unison.
Cheng Chu nodded and was about to close the balcony door when she heard Lu Jiaojiao say, "Oh, by the way, Chuchu, Professor Lin asked you to go to his office tomorrow morning."
Without much thought, Cheng Chu casually replied, "Got it."
Professor Lin was the head of the piano department at Haiyin University and had always valued Cheng Chu. Whenever there was a concert or other opportunities, he would strongly recommend her.
Cheng Chu thought she was going to discuss the end-of-semester concert, so she went to see him the next day without any worries.
"Cheng Chu, come, come, have a seat," Professor Lin greeted her warmly when she arrived.
Professor Lin was always serious and rarely smiled, which made Cheng Chu feel a bit nervous as she sat down and asked in a small voice, "Professor Lin, is there something you need from me?"
Pushing his glasses up, Professor Lin replied, "Well, our school is collaborating with K University this year on an exchange program for two years. Are you interested?"
"K University?" Cheng Chu's eyes widened.
"Yes, K University," Professor Lin nodded with a smile. "There's only one spot available for the entire department, and I recommended you. They looked at your profile and watched the video of your solo concert, and they were very impressed."
It seemed like Cheng Chu was expected to agree, as Professor Lin straightforwardly said, "Go back and ask your parents for their opinion. If they're okay with it, we can start the procedures."
"This is the application form, and there are also some school introductions, but I think we don't need to say much about the reputation of K University," Professor Lin handed over the materials.
Cheng Chu took the papers, which felt as heavy as millions of kilograms, even though they were just a few light sheets.
Walking out of the office, the corridor had no air conditioning, and the hot air made her throat dry, even her footsteps felt light.
Returning to the dormitory, Lu Jiaojiao heard the news from somewhere and happily jumped off the bed.
She came from a small place, and her family was not wealthy. She had put in a lot of effort to get into the top music school in the country, Haiyin University.
This school was full of hidden talents, and when she first arrived in the big city, the unfamiliar environment and academic pressure made her life difficult.
She relied on these two friends in the dormitory to help her. So when she saw Cheng Chu get this opportunity, she didn't feel jealous, only genuinely happy.
But when she saw Cheng Chu's expression, the smile on her face involuntarily faded.
"Chuchu, you're not thinking of giving up, are you?" She looked surprised, "This is K University, only so many people are accepted worldwide each year. Which orchestra wouldn't fight to have you after you come back from the exchange program in two years?"
Her voice gradually lowered, and she sat silently in her chair.
The dormitory was very quiet, the air conditioning hummed softly as it circulated.
It seemed like a long time had passed, or perhaps it was only a brief moment.
Cheng Chu pursed her lips and said with difficulty, "I don't know."
Lu Jiaojiao hesitated and asked, "You're not doing this for your boyfriend, are you? Two years apart shouldn't be a big deal. Maybe you should talk to him, he might want you to go. It's such a great opportunity."
Cheng Chu lowered her gaze, her nails sinking into her flesh at some point, causing a dull pain. But a glimmer of hope gradually emerged in her anxious heart.
Two years, it's neither long nor short. Will he understand?
The summer evening was beautiful, the sky dyed crimson by the clouds, looking like a fairy tale world from afar.
The trees in the community provided shade, and a few old men sat under them shouting and playing chess.
Gu Miao stood outside the building waiting for her, the soft sunset casting a gentle shadow behind the young man.
He saw the girl's figure from afar, and his furrowed brows softened into a gentle expression.
The house was cleaned up very neatly. Gu Miao pushed open the door and asked, "Didn't you say you were bringing Meow Meow today? I prepared dog food for him."
"Um." Cheng Chu absentmindedly replied, "I forgot, I'm sorry."
Gu Miao lowered his gaze, and the dark circles under his eyes were very obvious.
He had worked late into the night yesterday, only sleeping for a few hours before getting up for class. After class, he had just gone to the market to buy beef that the little dog loved to eat.
"It's okay." His voice was low, "Wait for me to make it and you can take it back for him to eat."
"Okay." Cheng Chu nodded.
The young man looked at her with dark, gentle eyes and said, "What's wrong? Are you unhappy? I made crayfish today, I peeled half for you. If you're hungry, go eat some first."
Even energetic girls have sad moments, but often just eating something can restore their vitality. But this time, it seemed different.
Gu Miao stood in the kitchen, looking out through the glass door. The mist outside made everything a bit blurry.
The girl lowered her gaze, and her movements were slow and absent-minded.
Gu Miao's fingers hesitated, and he felt a sense of unease. He suppressed his exhaustion and quickly turned off the stove, hastily plating the final dish.
The restaurant was quiet, and the porcelain bowls made a crisp sound as they were placed on the glass table.
"What's wrong today? Is there something bothering you?" Gu Miao sat next to her, his tone soft and cautious.
She hesitated, pursing her lips and clenching her fingers tightly.
Gu Miao saw that she didn't answer and didn't press the issue. Instead, he took out a brochure from the table and handed it to her.
"What's this?" Cheng Chu looked down and saw that it was a brochure for a real estate development.
Gu Miao cleared his throat and awkwardly touched his nose. "What do you think of this type of layout?" He opened a page and his knobby fingers lightly tapped a corner.
"Are you buying a house?" Cheng Chu asked.
His tone lowered, "Still saving up."
But Cheng Chu knew he was reserved and wouldn't mention anything unless it was a sure thing. Especially not to her.
The summer night breeze was cool, seeping through the window crack and gently lifting the gauze curtain.
A glimmer appeared in the young man's dark eyes. "This neighborhood is pretty good. It's close to your school and one of the rooms can be your music room."
His voice lowered, resonating in the quiet night. "If, if you ever can't make it back to the dorm, you can, you can stay here."
He seemed extremely shy, as he spoke those words and then suddenly lowered his head. The bright light highlighted the redness of his ears even more.
In the quiet night, the sound of cicadas was particularly noticeable.
The young man felt as though his heart was suspended in mid-air, trembling slightly in the cool night breeze.
He felt like he always had to take the initiative.
Although his current apartment was large, it only had one room, so he couldn't let her stay there.
But this new apartment was spacious enough, with enough rooms. If she didn't mind...
A few lonely stars dotted the night sky.
The young man looked up, his melancholic eyes shining with anticipation as he glanced at her, but then quickly lowered them again, trembling slightly. The night wind brought a chill, and Cheng Chu's heart sank like the darkness outside the window.
The words she had been brewing all day were stuck in her throat.
He was planning their future together, but she couldn't help thinking about how to leave.
The author has something to say:
Gu Miao: I don't know why she's unhappy. Maybe if I talk to her about this, she'll feel better.
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.