By the time the evening study session was over, it was fully dark.
When Bai Lu came back from the bathroom, Jiang Ru was still lying on the table, surrounded by a circle of girls.
Her own seat was taken, so Bai Lu sat at the back and waited.
The conversations of the girls surrounding Jiang Ru came to her ears.
“Don’t cry Ru Ru, it’s all over school.”
“Okay, don’t be sad.”
“There are still a few days before the exam, you can’t affect your results like this.”
“Yes, the exams are the important thing.”
Bai Lu took the time to take down the school bag she hung on the table and closeed the zipper. She carried the bag on her shoulder, her shoulder shook slightly, but she adapted to the weight of the school bag and moved forward.
She came to stand at the edge of the group of girls.
In this group, she was the most inconspicuous and average looking, not tall, had small features, with a pair of large glasses on her eyes, covering almost half of her face.
Bai Lu’s hair was light in color, especially noticeable in the sunlight, a light blonde. Many times she was called out of line by the head teacher in gym class and asked if she had dyed her hair.
In fact, she was just mildly malnourished.
The group of girls had not yet dispersed, and were still chattering, or should she say comforting the girl whose face was buried in her arms as her shoulders shook. It was obvious that she was crying.
Unfortunately, these science and technology female high school students were not very good at comforting people. They just whispered not to affect the result again and again. Their cheering up effort only went to vain.
Time passed as Jiang Ru kept crying and the group of girls kept doing their vain efforts of comforting her.
“Hey? What’s going on?” Liu, the class teacher of the next class, came in and started probing, “It’s so late, why are you still dilly-dallying?” He waved his hand, “Hurry up and go home. Whatever you want to say, say it tomorrow.”
The teacher came to drive the students away, so the girls had no choice but to listen.
“Then we’re leaving.” A girl turned her head, and only then did she found Bai Lu standing next to her, still waiting.
“Oh, Bai Lu.” Several other girls also turned around and looked at Bai Lu, although they were leaving, they didn’t forgot to instruct her.
“Please persue Ru Ru more later on.”
“Yeah, you guys are in the same dorm.”
A girl leaned down and whispered in Bai Lu’s ear, “Tell her not to be sad, that boy is so bad, he is not worth it.”
Bai Lu: “……”
This is a big deal, if you want to break the pot, don’t break it in front of her.
Sure enough, the girl started to cry even more miserably.
The girls wanted to persuade again, but the bell rang. That was the last bell of the day. Bai Lu glanced at the wall clock, it has been nine forty.
Looking at the group of girls who were hesitating to leave, Bai Lu suggested “Go home, it’s too late.” After a pause she added a sentence, “I will persuade her.”
The girl all left, only Bai Lu and Jiang Ru were left behind.
Bai Lu touched Jiang Ru’s arm and whispered, “Let’s go too.”
The girl was still sobbing, not knowing if it was because the classroom was empty, but her sobs became more pronounced.
Bai Lu sat beside her, patiently waiting for her friend to finish crying. After a while when she glanced at the clock, it was ten o’clock already. She looked at sobbing girl and asked, “Stop crying. Don’t you want to go to the dorm?”
Jiang Ru did not move, Bai Lu sighed as she said, “I will tell auntie to keep the door open then, so that you can enter if -“
“Then you go!” Jiang Ru suddenly yelled as she tilted her head from the desk to look at Bai Lu.
Bai Lu thought looked at the pair of swollen eyes and couldn’t help but contemplate if she(Jiang Ru) was actually glaring at her or not. She should be glaring at her, but because she had cried too many times recently, her eyes were swollen into a peach-like shape, and the glaring became a pitiful stare.
There’s a lot of people could be found in the world who are not able to get a good deal on a lot of things. Jiang Ru was one of them, specially if she was angry.
“Bai Lu, I’m sorry ……” she stuttered as she said word by word, “I’m sorry ……I shouldn’t be mean to you… …”
Bai Lu sighed, “What are you apologizing to me for?”
Jiang Ru looked like she lost her soul. Seeing her figure that was sitting like a dummy, her hair a messy, Bai Lu couldn’t help but feel pity. She took her hand as she nudged Jiang Ru, “Come on, get up.”
Jiang Ru did not move from her seat. Bai Lu nudged her again, “Let’s go back to the dormitory and talk.”
Bai Lu was small and her voice was also small. Her delicate tone seemed to have a calming effect, Jiang Ru felt like she was hypnotized by her as Bai Lu pulled her up.
“Let’s Go.” Bai Lu said.
Sixth High School is the provincial key high school, gathered nearly two thousand outstanding high school students of the province.
Because not all students are local, Sixth High School has a student dormitory building. The rent was pretty cheap, only eight hundred yuan a semester, four students in a room. A expensive rooms are twelve hundred yuan, two students can live there.
Bai Lu and Jiang Ru were roommates in a double room.
When walking towards the dormitory building, Jiang Ru kept her head down. Bai Lu held her and walked in front of her so that she wouldn’t hit the street light directly.
After a few steps, Jiang Ru suddenly stopped walking.
Startled, Bai Lu turned back.
Jiang Ru was a little taller than her, but also very thin. She had a long and thin neck, that looked like a little duck.
Bai Lu still remembered the first time she saw Jiang Ru. She looked the least conspicuous among all the students with a ponytail tied behind her head, big eyes and a wide smile, along with a smooth forehead.
The teacher introduced her before praising, “Look at her, her appearance is so neat and tidy. She must be a smart kid.”.
Jiang Ru smiled shyly, and for some reason, sat down beside Bai Lu and got along with her.
Bai Lu looked at the current Jiang Ru whose gaze was stuck on the ground. Her previous sunny smile and youthfulness was gone. Now standing under the dim streetlights of the campus, she looked like a long dark shadow that was just beneath her feet.
“I want to go ……,” she whispered.
“Go where.” Bai Lu asked in puzzlement.
“I want to go……” Jiang Ru didn’t say more and stubbornly repeated the same sentence.
It was late at night and only the cafeteria was still lit in the distance. Since it was summer vacation, the students of their school were catching up on progress with the examination. High school students would start classes again in August.
Because school ended too late, the school had to supply night snacks to the residential students who stayed up late for study purpose. So, the cafeteria is usually open until 10:30.
Bai Lu remembered the time as she suggested, “How about going to eat something first? I’ll treat you.”
Jiang Ru let go of her hand and shook her head, “No, I’m going out, go back if you want.”
“It’s so late, you won’t be able to enter the dormitory if you go out now, what about the night bed check?”
Jiang Ru was determined, she said what she wanted to say and refused to go back to the dormitory.
She simply turned her back and headed to the school gate. Bai Lu looked at her leaving back, dumbfounded.
Jiang Ru walked, feeling an extra presence of a person behind her. When she looked behind, she saw the tiny Bai Lu holding the strap of her school bag with both hands and walking behind her.
Jiang Ru stopped as she turned around and asked, “Are you coming with me?”
Bai Lu did not say anything, but nodded her head.
The summer night was warm but restless and calm. Jiang Ru smiled at Bai Lu and took the initiative to reach out and hold her hand.
“Bai Lu you are so nice.”
Bai Lu also pulled the corners of her mouth in a smile.
They left the campus and reached to the street in front of their school. There were not many vehicles on Huanghai Street at the entrance. Bai Lu turned back, looked at the dormitory building, thinking that tomorrow, it would be hard to wake up. Not to mention the explanation that they have to give to the teachers for staying out so late at night.
Jiang Ru didn’t think so much and kept walking. She looked more energetic after coming out of the school as she started speaking enthusiasticly.
“Let’s go to his school.” Jiang Ru said, “Do you think it’s okay if I call him to come out?”
The “he” in Jiang Ru’s mouth, Bai Lu heard about him many times. She also saw his photo in Jiang Ru’s cell phone, but did not see him in person.
Jiang Ru started talking to Bai Lu about ‘him’ more than two months ago.
That day, she ate at the wonton store in front of the school next door, but she forgot to bring money and her phone was out of battery. She was so embarrassed that she didn’t know what to do. But then, a boy, who was also eating dinner at the store helped her.
He was Xu Hui, a high school student at a vocational and technical college two blocks away from the Sixth Highschool.
Whenever Jiang Ru mentioned him, a smile would bloom on her face.
She said she was fond of him and liked to hold his hand. Whenever they were together, Jiang Ru would always hold his hands.
Bai Lu looked at the Jiang Ru who was smiling and looking far from the girl who just cried a moment ago. Jiang Ru had dimples, and the smile of the women with dimples looked extra sweet.
They have been together for two months, but in the last week, Jiang Ru’s smile suddenly disappeared.
When Bai Lu asked her what happened, Jiang Ru said that a woman had snatched Xu Hui away.
The woman was in Xu Hui’s class, and Jiang Ru gnashed her teeth every time she mentioned about her.
“Shame on you! Stealing someone else’s boyfriend!”
Bai Lu whispered curiously, “Is he that handsome?”
Jiang Ru controlled her anger again and gave a half-hearted answer in a whisper, “Very handsome.”
Bai Lu had seen Xu Hui’s photo, he was indeed very handsome.
Jiang Ru and Xu Hui only had one photo, and that was also in Jiang Ru’s phone. The Jiang Ru in the photo pulled Xu Hui to take the picture, but the boy in the the picture did not show a smile. He was wearing a blue and white school uniform, his hair slightly messy.
Bai Lu had no difficulty understanding that Jiang Ru was charmed by him. Xu Hui had an aura not quite like a young man of seventeen or eighteen – whether it was pretend or real.
While walking with her head down, Bai Lu suddenly felt Jiang Ru reach over.
She looked forward and saw Jiang Ru with her mouth slightly pursed. She was helping her to straighten the collar of her school uniform.
“Why is your collar always crooked?” Jiang Ru’s voice was soft but stern, “I saw it many times when I was doing lunchtime exercises.”
Bai Lu lowered her eyes and replied, “I don’t know.”
Jiang Ru smiled, “You’re too thin, this is the S size school uniform, but it’s still big on you.”
Bai Lu also smiled, “You’re skinny too.”
Jiang Ru’s smile faded a bit and sighed softly, “I think I’m getting fat ……”
Jiang Ru started lamenting, “You don’t know, the girls in his school are good at dressing up.” She said as she sighed again.
Bai Lu couldn’t understand what should she say, so she just asked faintly, “Is that so…..”
Jiang Ru kept blabbering as she let all her heart out to Bai Lu, someone who was only good at listening, “I used to think that studying is the most important thing for girls, the girls who study are always good girls. But ……” Jiang Ru suddenly paused, the corners of the eyes became a little red as she spoke, “Now I think that girls who like to dress up can be good too……”
Bai Lu did not say anything, but Jiang Ru keep talking to herself, “Even if you don’t look good, you still have to be able to take care of yourself.”
Bai Lu gazed upward and saw Jiang Ru’s braided up hair.
Jiang Ru used to only wear ponytails, but recently began to study various kinds of hair style.
She had long, enviable hair that was dark and straight, and looked much prettier than Bai Lu’s malnourished, light-colored curls.
The girls of Sixth Highschool also liked to take care of their beauty and dress up. Every day Jiang Ru would find out her favourite hair style from fashion magazines and compare the length, color and softness of her own hair with those of the models, while Bai Lu would sit next to her and watch her calculate with a puzzled face.
Understanding her insecurity, Bai Lu tried to comfort her, “Don’t be sad. Love and breakups have to be experienced, you ……” she thought of the wording in her mind before saying, “you have to get a hold of yourself now. In the future when you will recall about it, you will laugh it out, thinking how silly you were. “
Jiang Ru pursed her lips as she whispered in a low voice “I don’t want to break up. Two months from today is his birthday …… September 6. I want to give him a birthday present.”
“There is almost a month.” Bai Lu counted the days and replied.
After crossing the road, they took a shortcut through an old-fashioned neighborhood, which was faster than walking from outside.
The neighborhood was quiet and much darker than the road.
Bai Lu held Jiang Ru’s hand and walked forward in silence.
She gradually smelled a fragrance, the fragrance was completely unmatched in the quiet summer night and the dark road.
Jiang Ru seems to feel something as suddenly whispered, “flowers.”
Bai Lu turned her head, Jiang Ru looked deep into the darkness, as if she was trying to look at something that was unable to see in the dark.
Before Bai Lu had a chance to ask where she was looking, Jiang Ru had already pulled her over.
The fragrance grew stronger.
Jiang Ru led her to the roadside, the path was flanked by households. Because it was an old-fashioned neighborhood, all the homes had their doorsteps to circle the flower garden.
The flowers were small and tiny, moon white and pale yellow in colour. Blooming together and hidden in the dense bushes, they looked like a group of fairy dancing along the wind.
Maybe it was good to have live and light fragrance flowers. People here had thought the same thing and planted the same kind of flower on both sides.
“Smells nice, doesn’t it?” Jiang Ru said, “It smells good.”
Bai Lu asked as she looked at the flowers, “You know this flower?”
“Of course I know it.” Jiang Ru bent down, picked up a small flower from the ground, and blew on it. She had a sweet face as she described how she came to know about the flower, “He was the one who told me about it.”
The flowers were in two colours, one white and one yellow. Jiang Ru separated the two small flowers, the white one was inserted in Bai Lu’s hair, and the yellow one was kept for herself.
After inserting it, she took a half step back to admire how it looked on her(Bai Lu). Bai Lu looked at the yellow flower behind her(Jiang Ru) ear and asked, “What’s the name of this flower?”
Saying this, she suddenly snorted and let out a laugh, “Bai Lu, you look so dumb ah.”
Bai Lu looked at her but did not say anything.
Jiang Ru patted the back of her hand and said softly, “You are really nerdy.”
Bai Lu slowly smiled, as she was inexplicably smiling when she first met Jiang Ru.