Sponsored Chapter by: Sara
In the crowded bar, colorful, low-lighting lights darted across the dance floor, but beyond the dance floor was a dark, safe environment.
Bass drums, loud music, wild dance moves, booze… Young men and women enjoy the night’s characteristic revelry and exuberance under the influence of alcohol.
And in some dark corner, on the large leather card table, a pair of young people is embracing, people passing by have thrown them ambiguous eyes but seeing such scene can’t be called unusual either.
Such forgetfulness and indulgence are not uncommon here, and there are many more than this.
The youth’s chin rests on the top of the hair of the young girl in his arms, concealing the corners of his lips in the dim light with a smile that no one can see; his eyes seem to be slightly drunk.
He hugged her tightly, feeling her warm and soft body, feeling her breath through the thin knitted shirt, spraying the skin of his chest one by one. Such an embrace relieved the inexplicable impatience in his heart.
The rich smell of alcohol in the air seems to be absorbed by the body through the pores, and while he clearly has not touched a drop of alcohol, he feels drunk.
This feeling is very strange.
As a matter of fact, he grew up with an aversion to being touched by others.
—Such as the group of children in the orphanage.
When he first went to the orphanage, he was subjected to many touches. A group of children older than him heard from somewhere that he was “crazy” and since then had him as a target for teasing and entertainment. They used to catch earthworms and throw them into his collar, pour ink on his clothes, or sneakily burn his hair with a lighter.
The calmer he was, the angrier the kids seemed to get.
People are like that. They take the trouble to do something and always want to achieve the desired result, and all they want is to see him go crazy.
Later, the rumors spread to the elementary school he attended, and the same thing continued to happen.
Until one day, he put one of the boys into an abandoned toilet on the second floor of the school, and taped his lips to prevent him from calling for help.
He shut him up all day.
After that, curiosity and teasing turned into fear and dread, and everyone shied away from him, and no one came back to trouble him or touch him again.
He used to think that human touch was as unpleasant as the earthworm that was put into his collar back then, but it changed completely after he met her.
–It was like having a soft dream, lying atop a cloud and surrounded by it.
The youth quietly held the young girl in his arms, smelling the fresh scent of her hair and counting his own increasingly rapid heartbeat.
Four hundred and ninety-eight, four hundred and ninety-nine, five hundred… It’s time to wake up from this dream.
“Zhang Man, get up, your mother is gone.”
His voice had a slightly drunken hoarseness to it, like a bassline played on the bass.
Zhang Man heard his words, and breathed hard as she let go of him. She lifted her head and glanced nervously at the bar door.
Sure enough, no one was there.
She was relieved. If this was caught by Zhang Huifang, she really didn’t know how to explain.
When a person relaxes, the body’s memories begin to flow back.
She blushed as she remembered the minutes-long hug she just had.
His embrace was really warm… and his heartbeat was in a crazy acceleration for a while from just now. It was so fast that it was almost suffocating.
She exhaled gently and adjusted her breathing, fortunately Zhang Huifang did not continue to stay for a while, otherwise she might have a sudden cardiac arrest.
Zhang Man’s cheeks rolled hot, but its okay since the bar is so dimly lit, he… probably didn’t notice. She raised her eyes to peek at the youth beside her, but saw that his gaze was faint, his expression did not fluctuate in any way, and his good-looking fingers held the transparent glass to his mouth, seemingly wanting to drink water.
Zhang Man slightly froze, and suddenly her heart was balanced.
—His glass had no water in it at all.
Zhang Man felt like laughing a little. He looked so calm, but he must have also felt it in his heart, how to say it… Ah! He looks like one of those good little girls in the movies when they’re embarrassed!
In order to ensure that they would not run into Zhang Huifang on the road, the two waited a while longer before leaving the bar. Li Wei did not say anything and walked straight to the station, apparently intending to send her home.
The two stood under the station sign and waited for the bus. The stations in N City this year only had rudimentary stop signs and seats, unlike later when they were all built to be enclosed and sheltered from the wind and rain.
It’s almost 9 o’clock and winter, combined with night, is the worst kind of bitter cold.
Zhang Man rubbed her cold fingers, looked at the side of the youth’s face, and had some doubts in her heart: “Li Wei, what did you say to the bouncer back there, how did he let you in?”
“I said I came to see my friend.”
“Huh? I said that before too, but he didn’t let me in.”
The youth paused and patiently explained, “I’m talking about the owner of that bar.”
Zhang Man was surprised: “You still have such friends? When did you meet them?”
She seems to have heard people mention that the bars in this area are opened by the most powerful group of people in N City on the road. It is surprising that he still knows these people…
How come she never knew about these things?
Hearing her question, the youth pursed his pretty lips, and his Adam’s apple moved slightly.
“Not really a friend, we just met back in the old days at the orphanage.”
He is just a person who does not hate him or exclude him as much as others, so he could not be considered a friend.
Zhang Man listened to his lighthearted sentence, but in her heart, it was like she was being scratched by a cat.
So she did not stop there and continued to ask: “Li Wei, tell me, how did you two meet?”
The youth was silent for a moment: “…you really want to know?”
Zhang Man nodded vigorously, she wanted to know all about him.
The youth said a few words succinctly, generalizing very well, as if summarizing some physical formulas.
“The owner of that bar is 7 or 8 years older than me, and he was also living in the orphanage at the time. I did him a favor when I was a kid, so the relationship was okay, and he got out of the orphanage before he was an adult. He made some breakthroughs in his career in N City and Z City, and when I was in middle school he also went back to the orphanage to find me once, seeing that I have no friends, he asked me if I wanted to follow him. I did not agree because our paths are not the same, but I heard that he is doing well now.”
“So… why did you later get out of the orphanage and live on your own?”
The youth lowered his eyes, without much expression: “… The orphanage was too busy for my liking. I applied for several years until my sophomore year in middle school. When the institution finally agreed that I had the ability to live alone, only then did they give me a certificate.”
That said, if the orphanage would have approved it earlier, he would have wanted to come out and live alone.
Zhang Man’s heart gripped tightly, how unhappy was he to prefer to stay alone and escape from that place? He said it lightly, but it was as if there were waves of fear in his heart.
Who doesn’t like the hustle and bustle? But the hardest part is that all the buzz and revelry around him has nothing to do with him.
She felt conflicted.
It was clear that she wanted to know everything about him, but didn’t dare to continue asking, because every time he said something, her heart felt harder. She suddenly felt that it would be good if she could go back a bit in time when she was reborn. She wanted to be by his side from the very beginning, to hold the little one in her arms and say to him: “Don’t be afraid, I will always be by your side and would never, ever leave you.
Mei has something to say: