Posted 2018.06.27
Updated 2018.07.11 (15:07)

9.2

Teasing Is A Skill

I quickly bumped into someone. Even after I walked into them, they stood as steady as Mt Tai. Because I was worried this person might be female, and I might accidentally touch her chest, I sought out their arm and felt up from there. This person’s hand was coarser than mine, and harder too. Our group didn’t have a girl as powerful as this, which meant this was a guy. My hands found their way to his shoulders, which were about as high as my head. So he was probably between 178cm and 187cm tall. I thought about the heights of the boys in our group, and… There were five who fit that description? Which meant that I had just eliminated 14 people.

My hands moved past his shoulders, briefly lingering at his neck. He had an Adam’s apple, reaffirming the fact that he was male. And more interesting, his Adam’s apple seemed to move.

Following his neck down, I moved to his chin. Nothing out of the ordinary. Following his neck back, I found his earlobe. I remembered that one of the guys in our group had an earring… There was no earring here, so I eliminated another person. I moved back to his face. It was a bit hard, without the soft baby fat that my face carried. But his skin seemed pretty good, and he didn’t have any acne. OK, that eliminated another two guys.

The two remaining suspects were Zhong Yuan and a second-year student, who will be known as Senior A for the time being. Both guys had similar hairstyles. I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference by touch. I tried to recall the differences in Zhong Yuan and Senior A’s facial features, but my mind was a bit muddled and I couldn’t think of anything. If anything was to be blamed, it was my lack of attentiveness for others’ appearances. While I racked my brain for any little details, I carelessly ran my hands over his face. Eyebrows? Mm, very dense. Eyes? He had really long eyelashes; they even made my fingers itch a bit as my hand glided over them. Nose? Very straight. Lips? …Lips!

I suddenly realized that his lips were curved into a slight smile. A sinister smile flashed in my head. If I wasn’t wrong, then this person was…

Just as I was about to name him, a familiar voice sounded in front of me. In a slightly strained voice, he asked, “Blockhead, are you done feeling around?”

“Zhong Yuan!” I blurted out.

But I was a moment too late. Because Zhong Yuan had spoken first, everyone was certain that I only guessed correctly because I’d heard his voice. I tried to explain my train of thought, but no one believed me.

The cultural committee member held up the punishment box and, with a smile, taunted me to pick one. I glanced at Zhong Yuan. He had zero intention of moving. Fine, I’ll pick one.

I hardened my skin and reached into the box. Then I pulled out the sheet of paper and unfolded it. In a very humane move, there were two options to choose from.

The first was dancing. That was a definite pass. The second was… Thirty-degree tease.1 The subject must be male. This… What the hell was this???

‘Taking liberties’ was already a frightening phrase, but the person also had to be male? But I was concerned with what the ‘thirty degree’ part meant. I asked the committee member about it.

She very enthusiastically explained it to me. Apparently, the idea was to imitate a certain action from a movie. In the movie, there was a man who leaned forward and lifted a woman’s chin up. The scene was really funny because the man was leaning at a very wide angle.

I wiped away my sweat. I had to take liberties with Zhong Yuan? And I even had to lift his chin? This was too challenging an act… And what about that very technical thirty-degree lean? Are you trying to kill me here?!

My fingers pinched at the paper as a troubled frown appeared on my face. The committee member urged me to get on with it, so I could only glare at Zhong Yuan. “This is all your fault!”

He looked at me helplessly. “You picked it by yourself.”

He was so suffocating! I angrily crumpled the piece of paper and shouted, “You, come here!” Come let me harass you!

Zhong Yuan stepped in front of me in a show of cooperation. He even bent down a bit and tilted up his chin right in front of me.

Just then, the committee member respectfully corrected, “That’s not it. You have to give in to Mu Er and lean back thirty degrees.”

I took a bit of delight at his misfortune as I leaned forward and raised my hand to hold his chin.

Zhong Yuan leaned back slightly, looking at me with an ambiguous expression.

My fingers trembled a bit, but I managed to hold his chin.

Around us, everyone started roaring. The other photography committee member took advantage of the timing for a photo.

“No, no, the angle needs to be bigger!”

“Mu Er, you have to lean forward! Right, lean more!”

“Zhong Yuan, lean back or else Mu Er will end up right on top of you.”

“Don’t pretend to be bashful now.”

“Watch your expression! Mu Er, do you need to look so torn?”

“Zhong Yuan, why do you look so happy being harrassed?”

I felt very uncomfortable with all their shouting. I snuck a glance at Zhong Yuan, who actually looked quite happy and content. A smile hung on his face. The anger inside me started to rise. I decided to lean forward and pull back quickly, but Zhong Yuan didn’t cooperate. When I moved forward, I bumped into him, putting him off balance. And then he fell backwards to the ground.

What’s worse though, is that he pulled me down with him. On his way to death’s door, he dragged himself a companion. Don’t you think he’s treacherous?

And like that, the two of us landed on the ground.

Zhong Yuan lied on the ground with his arms spread out on either side, an innocent expression on his face. He blinked and then laughed. “Blockhead, you’re quite the passionate one.”

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