From the way those three rotten girls were acting, I started to come to the realization that, with regards to my new work relationship with Zhong Yuan, things had settled into place. At the least, their tones grew a bit playful. As for everyone else that I ran into, they seemed convinced that Zhong Yuan and I had become a couple! Oh god, why?!
I asked Zhong Yuan what we should do about it, and he simply replied, “We’ll prove it to them with time.”
His words were reasonable. Mm, as time passed, the rumors would naturally become discredited.
But before we’d had enough time to prove things, a challenger came knocking.
There was going to be a meeting to showcase the club’s camping trip. Zhong Yuan was busy so he couldn’t make it, but as team three’s photography chair, I was, of course, honored to be present.
After the presentation, Senior Ling Ling called me back. I asked if there was something wrong, but then she spoke out sternly, “Mu Er, I want to challenge you.
I scratched my head, not sure what she was talking about. “What?”
The stragglers who were still around suddenly paused and slowed their departures.
Senior Ling Ling looked at me arrogantly and replied, “I want to challenge you. If I win, Zhong Yuan is mine. You have to let him go.”
I had such a headache from the rumors going around the past few days, but right then, I replied, not entirely respectfully, “Zhong Yuan isn’t mine. If you want him, feel free.”
Senior Ling Ling clenched her fists. An ominous glint in her eyes, she asked, “What do you mean by that? Are you looking down on me?”
Startled, I took a step back. “Senior, calm down. Zhong Yuan and I really aren’t…”
Senior Ling Ling waved away my words and impatiently, said, “You two have already done all the things you should and shouldn’t do. Can you honestly say that there’s nothing between you? Mu Er, I didn’t know you were so pretentious.”
This felt so unfair. What did the two of us do? We didn’t do anything… Also, how am I pretentious?!
Senior Ling Ling continued to tower over me as she asked, “Anyway, do you accept my challenge?”
I found Senior Ling Ling’s logic very hard to understand. Putting aside the fact that there’s nothing going on between Zhong Yuan and me, even if we were going out, if she liked him, she should pursue him on her own. If she really stole him away, then it would have been because I didn’t have enough charm. The problem here was, why was she so aggressively seeking me out, demanding a battle?
Senior Ling Ling continued staring at me, seemingly unwilling to rest until she bore a hole into me. A shiver ran down my spine, and then I chuckled. With a quick, “Goodbye, Senior,” I disappeared from the lecture hall like a wisp of smoke.
When I got back to my room, I told the girls about what happened, and they seemed rather understanding. What? How come I couldn’t understand it at all?
But this ordeal hadn’t finished yet. The next day, I received a call from a member of the club, Little Jie. She asked mysteriously what Senior Ling Ling and I would battle on.
I found it ridiculous and told her, “I don’t know.”
Little Jie was already lost in her own little world. She didn’t pay attention to what I said, instead, continuing, “Everyone’s betting on who will win between you and Senior Ling Ling. I want to make a bet, but I don’t know who to pick. What kind of battle can you have with Senior Ling Ling?”
Oh my god. Why did it feel like something was wrong with everyone in this club lately…?
When I didn’t reply, Little Jie continued, “Mm, everyone else is betting 20 yuan. Maybe I should bet 20 too. But the club president is betting 100…”
I swallowed. “B-betting… money?”
Little Jie said, “Yeah. Did you just find out?”
I wiped my sweat. Didn’t this just start last night? Who’d have thought that the Environmental Alliance members had a better news sense than the Journalism Club? If this group of gossips were to take over that tired, old club, it would turn into something truly unrecognizable…
No, wait, I’ve gone off track again. I made a quick calculation and asked, “Hey, what is Senior Ling Ling really good at?”
Little Jie thought for a moment and answered, “Taekwondo, probably? I heard that she’s a third-degree black belt and she’s even won competitions.”
Taekwondo… That sounded rather scary, no?
Whatever. Men died for riches the way birds died fo food. I clenched my teeth and said, “OK, then I’ll compete with her in Taekwondo.”
An alarmed Little Jie asked, “Are you crazy?”
“Listen, I’m not crazy.” I smiled a bit. “Little Jie, can you put in a 250 yuan bet, under your name? You know who to put the bet on, right?”
Little Jie was quiet for a long while, but she finally sighed and said, “Mu Er, you’re so ridiculous.”
A wicked smile appeared on my face. I just had to suffer a beating and I’d win some money. That wasn’t an opportunity that came every day!
And so, I very confidently told Senior Ling Ling that I’d accept her challenge. Moreover, I wouldn’t compete with her unless it was with Taekwondo. We agreed that, whatever the outcome, we would take on the consequences.
I didn’t dare tell Zhong Yuan about any of this. After all, he was at the center of this gamble, though the bet was a bit ridiculous. Fortunately, the club wasn’t so big that too many people would find out about the matter. There was no need for this news to get to Zhong Yuan.
Actually, I was worried that if he found out, he would deduct my wages.
We agreed to hold the competition on Saturday afternoon. It just so happened that Zhong Yuan would be at H University that day for an intercollegiate soccer match. Initially, he’d asked me to go to the game and cheer for the team, but when I said I had a headache, he didn’t force me to go.
I arrived at the practice room at 3 o’clock, where there was already a group of people waiting.