I touched my head a bit embarrassed. Then I grabbed my cap from the stands and put it on.
I have pretty thick skin. I usually strut around with my bald head out in the open, without feeling at all uncomfortable. On the other hand, those three rascals who were pretending to be nice after causing all of this, felt that they’d gone overboard. They even discussed buying me a wig. I just waved away the idea and told them, “Forget it. Just treat me to a meal. I haven’t had hot pot in a while…”
But however thick my skin was, Lu Zijian was still my idol. I should try to look good in front of my idol, to be a bit reserved. That’s why I put on the cap to cover up my bald head. Then I smiled at Lu Zijian. “Senior Lu, I’m participating in the hoop-shooting competition next week. Can you give me some pointers?” I’m certain that if I had done this glance-over with a smile while I still had my beautiful, black hair, I’d have come off as a moving beauty. But right now… Oh well, forget it. I could only bother Lu Zijian a bit. If he really were to give me some pointers, I’d be able to sweep away the competition and the reward would be in the bag…
Lu Zijian dribbled his ball, and with a smile, he nodded. I’d heard that Senior Lu was very amicable, and indeed, he lived up to his reputation. And naturally, hearts shot out of my eyes again.
That’s when a chilly voice sounded in my ear, “I really admire your confidence.”
I turned to see Zhong Yuan looking at me. The corner of his mouth was raised as he made his snide remark, like he was watching a joke.
I glared at him and then happily ran over to Lu Zijian’s side.
Get lost, pretty boy! Get lost, possessed guy!
I looked at the beads of sweat on Lu Zijian’s forehead. Then I said, “Senior Lu, let me treat you to a drink!”
Lu Zijian chuckled and replied, “How could I ask you for that?”
“No, really, don’t treat me like such an outsider, Senior Lu. I have to thank you today,” I said as I headed to the drink shop near the court.
I grabbed three cans of cola, and in the corner, I crazily shook one up. Then I went to the counter to pay.
After walking out the shop, I handed one can to Lu Zijian. He smiled and thanked me.
Then I held out the special can in front of Zhong Yuan. With a bright smile, I said, “About before… I’m sorry.”
Zhong Yuan gave a nod and accepted the cola.
I turned to open my own can of cola, and then I turned back to see how Zhong Yuan looked after being irrigated in cola.
I waited and waited, but before Zhong Yuan did anything, Lu Zijian asked, “Hey, Zhong Yuan, why aren’t you drinking?”
Surprised, I turned to Zhong Yuan. He couldn’t have figured it out, could he…
That’s when Zhong Yuan replied lightly, “I hurt my wrist earlier, so I can’t open it.”
“Why didn’t you say so earlier?” Lu Zijian said. He kindly gave his own cola to Zhong Yuan and took the other can…
I wanted to stop him, but it was already too late. With the click of the tab, Lu Zijian’s head and face ended up covered in a brown liquid. A lot of cola splashed on his clothes too…
I looked down as invisible tears rolled down my face. You really couldn’t look down on carbon dioxide.
Then Lu Zijian gave his face a wipe. He complained, “So Zhong Yuan, you play these kinds of childish jokes?”
I stole a glance at Zhong Yuan, who was glaring at me. His lips curled up and there was a glimmer in his eyes. When I saw them, a chill suddenly climbed up my body, as if I’d done a bad deed and was already caught…
It’s just my imagination. Must be. I turned my head to avoid his gaze, and loudly but guiltily declared, “Yeah. Senior Zhong, you’re really something. I stopped playing these kinds of jokes when I was 10 years old. Haha, hahaha…”
Zhong Yuan didn’t say anything and instead just looked at me, somehow smiling and yet not.
His gaze scared me a bit, so I trembled as I pulled out a napkin to help Lu Zijian clean up. As I wiped away the cola, I slyly said, “Senior Lu, you don’t think Senior Zhong would try to push the blame onto me, do you?”
Lu Zijian shook his head. “Don’t say that. Zhong Yuan’s not that kind of person.”
I didn’t dare turn to Zhong Yuan. I just kept my head down and helped Lu Zijian. A bit guiltily, I said, “Senior Lu, why don’t I help you wash your clothes?”
Lu Zijian politely shook his head. “That’s OK.”
“Don’t you think you should be helping to wash my clothes too?” Zhong Yuan’s voice came again.
My eyes swept over his dirt-patterned jersey. I turned back to Lu Zijian and laughed foolishly. “Senior Lu, look. Senior Zhong is such a jokester.”
Lu Zijian was puzzled by my smile. He quickly jumped in to uphold justice, “Zhong Yuan, it’s enough that you tease me. Don’t go teasing the younger students.”
I turned to Zhong Yuan and stuck out my tongue. Seeing that gloomy expression on his face as he couldn’t speak out his grievances, I suddenly felt a lot more carefree.
When I thought back on my history of crossing swords with Zhong Yuan, I realized that this was the only time I’d had a complete victory.