”…Street food? Really? ”

Lin XiaoYi stared at the plate of fried noodles placed before her, then lifted her head, looking incredulous.

”Surely you didn ’t think I would splurge on a fancy meal at a restaurant just for you? ” Bai Zhi rolled his eyes as he reached for a pair of chopsticks.
”Come on, I ’m just a poor boy from a poor family.
Restaurants are all overpriced anyway, can ’t beat the value of a nice roadside stall! ”

”But it ’s so hot out here… ”

The sun was out in full force and it made Lin XiaoYi quite distressed.

”How about the small diner? They have air conditioning. ”

” ’Kay, if you ’re paying. ” Bai Zhi didn ’t wait for a reply before starting on his food.

Lin XiaoYi was speechless.
For the next hour.
she struggled through the hardest meal of her life.
She swore on her life that she had never had a meal quite so unforgettable.

Even though she ’d put on a nice dress, and makeup, no less, and happily gone up to her crush to ask him out, not only did this lunch ”date ” do nothing to advance their relationship, it left her sweating buckets and worst of all, her date never looked directly at her the entire time…

The way he had treated her got her so boiling mad that, once she was back in the dorms, she furiously downed three bottles of water in a row to cool down.

All her life, she had been the one pursued, never the pursuer.
She, who should have had no trouble reeling in a man, found herself unexpectedly foiled at every corner, her every attempt at romance nipped in the bud.

Despite the fiery passion with which Bai Zhi had pursued her before, he had done a 180, and now he acted as frigid as an iceberg.

things can ’t go on like this… ”

The one on the bed with her face firmly planted into her pillow was none other than our dear, thoroughly despondent campus belle.

”He ’s completely cut himself off from me after getting rid of that monster who was stalking me…
Oh, did you have to be so harsh? Even if you ’re not loaded, I could share…! ”

Lin XiaoYi ’s face darkened as she recalled the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad lunch earlier.

Just then, the door opened and in walked Xia Wen, her hair tied up in a ponytail and a sun visor* on her head.
She looked dispirited and was repeatedly muttering something like, ”One million? One million… ”

”Hmm? What ’s got you down, Wennie? ” asked Lin XiaoYi, immediately recognizing something off about her roommate.
She raised her head and looked at Xia Wen quizzically.

”Where ’ve you been all day? ”

”Gurl, I was so wrong. ” Xia Wen let out a heavy sigh as she sat down at her desk and looked in Lin XiaoYi ’s direction.

”Those things you were telling me…
might be true after all. ”

”Ayo? What ’s this? ” Lin XiaoYi sat bolt upright, hanging onto Xia Wen ’s every word.

”Didn ’t you say you wanted to ask Bai Zhi out? As your bestie, I cannot let you be hypnotized by that scumbag and led past the point of no return! ”

Xia Wen sighed again.

”According to my sources, that Bai Zhi dude is completely destitute.
The only reason why he dated his girlfriends was to scam them for money.
He survived by mooching off women! And now he ’s after you—or should I say, your money! My books often talk about this! Scumbag knocks up his girlfriend, then uses it as an excuse to siphon away her entire fortune.

”Y ’know, I braved the risk of getting hypnotized myself to tail him, just so I could snap you out of his hypnosis…
Bitch I risked my life for you! ” Xia Wen puffed out her chest proudly as she said it.

Lin XiaoYi shot her a scathing look.
”You shouldn ’t read those books so much, you horny pervert. ”

”Fie! Do I peruse those volumes in pursuit of porn?! Nay! ’Tis for the artistry! ’Tis research! As the famous scientist Lu Xun once said, ’the closer we come to the true source of things, the more we shall be indifferent to their forms ’.
Please don ’t disparage my noble pursuit of Art with your narrow, dirty mind! ” Xia Wen said with a righteous air.

”…That wasn ’t Lu Xun, that ’s Nietzsche. ”

”Ayo? For real? I always thought it was by Lu Xun, though? ”

”For real. ”

Lin XiaoYi gave the flabbergasted Xia Wen a derisive smirk.
She quickly changed the subject to avoid getting dragged down to Xia Wen ’s level.

”So, you were saying, you secretly tailed Bai Zhi, and? What did you see? ”

”Oh, I spied with my little eye, as I was enjoying my delicious lunch at an air-conditioned restaurant, two shitheads eating fried noodles just across the road. ”

Xia Wen nodded gravely.

”As the cool air of the air-conditioner washed over me, the comfort and relaxation I felt was truly worlds away from the experience those two were having… ”

Lin XiaoYi stayed silent, but she picked up the bunny-shaped cushion on her bed and slowly but surely scrunched it into a ball…

”Uh, ahem, ahem! ” Knowing that she was about to get something thrown at her, Xia Wen quickly coughed and continued, ”Well after that, I put on my visor and secretly followed that guy, thinking I might snap some photo evidence if I caught him in the act of betraying you or plotting to steal your money.
I happened to see him head into the bank—naturally, I wasn ’t about to pass up the chance of a lifetime, so I pushed bravely on… ”

Xia Wen trailed off.
When she didn ’t continue, Lin XiaoYi couldn ’t help prodding.

”And, and? ”

”Before I continue, I have one question. ” Xia Wen looked dead serious as she put her arm out and raised one finger.
”Did you, or did you not, give him any money, bish? ”

”Are you kidding me? If I had, do you think we ’d be eating street food at that roadside stall for lunch? ”

At the thought of that travesty, Lin XiaoYi could not stop the tone of resentment that crept into her voice.

”I mean, I did want to, but I just couldn ’t find a good excuse! It was so hot out there, like, even the small diner would have been a better place to go than that dump! He was just too broke for it… ”

” ’Scuse me, ’broke ’? ”

Xia Wen awkwardly fished her phone out and pulled up a photo on it, then passed it to Lin XiaoYi.

”Shyeah, he ’s broke, alright.
He ’s only got a million yuan on his card… ”

Lin XiaoYi could not believe her eyes.

*A type of headgear consisting only of a brim to shield the eyes (visor) and a band as a way to fasten it around the head.

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