“Li Wei, I am already your girlfriend. We have a long time ahead of us.”

    When she said the word “girlfriend”, the youth’s body trembled and he turned his face to look at her in disbelief after a moment.

    His eyes held such a bright light, full of ecstasy.

    “Girlfriend?” He asked back, afraid he’d misheard.

    God knows, when he heard these words, his whole body suddenly felt like being struck by lightning, and he couldn’t say anything.

    He thought he was lucky that she liked him, but what did she just say? 

    She was his girlfriend now?

    She was already his? She is his?

    Zhang Man took this opportunity to push him away to see his frozen look and pouted, “Did you think I would let you hold me for so long if I wasn’t your girlfriend?”

    –She forgot that she had hugged him for a long time before too, when she wasn’t.

    She wanted to tease him again and said in a regretful tone, “You don’t think so? Then forget it…”

    But the next second, she was wrapped around her waist and picked up. It was one of those hugs where her feet were off the ground, and he picked her up and carried her in a gentle circle.

    Zhang Man could see in his eyes that there seemed to be many, many stars shining so brightly.

    The youth’s heart began to feel painful again.

    He felt that he had become so greedy and if one’s greed for a world has a fixed value, then his former desire to talk, to be indifferent, to give up, suddenly seemed to accumulate because of her.

    –It turns out there is such a person in the world that whenever you see her, you want to hold her in your arms. And when you really hold her, you still want more.

    He let the girl in his arms down and pressed against her forehead as he approached cautiously, almost uncontrollably, to kiss the corner of her lips, but paused when he came closer.

    No, we have to take our time.

    He never had much luck and couldn’t use it all up tonight. Like she said, there’s a long time ahead.

    ……

    When the two walked back from the field, Zhang Man only felt that the road was extraordinarily long, and she didn’t know where to put her hands and feet. They’re obviously already boyfriend and girlfriend, and she wants to go over and hold his hand but she can’t move her hand no matter how her brain commands it.

    Just then, she felt the back of the youth’s hand come over and touch hers. It seemed that after sensing that she wasn’t dodging, it went around to her palm and gently took her hand.

    Ten fingers interlocked.

    She was led forward, her heart suddenly racing, and in the darkness, the corners of her mouth curled up while her eyes twinkled looking at the back of the youth’s head.

    Holding hands is a very peculiar thing. Although there is obviously not as much touching as hugging, the tactile sensitivity of nerves in the fingers is so sharp. She could feel his knuckles wrapped around her, the dry warmth of his palms, and the gentle force with which he tugged her forward.

    Everything is too gentle for words.

    But it didn’t last long, Zhang Man is still too thin-skinned. When they reached a crowded place, she talked her way out of it, and the youth finally agreed to let go. But when he let go, his eyes then began to stop looking at the road and stare firmly at her.

    It was as if she would disappear in the next second.

    “Li Wei, I’m not going to take extra lessons tomorrow.”

    As soon as the words left her mouth, the youth stood still and came over to take her hand again, his voice a little nervous: “Why? Is something wrong?”

    The corners of Zhang Man’s mouth curved up, and she gently squeezed his palm: “Because tomorrow I’m going to spend your birthday with you.”

    The youth froze for a long moment.

    “Birthday?” He has no recollection of a birthday, nor has he even reacted to the fact that tomorrow is his birthday.

    But she just said that she was going to celebrate his birthday tomorrow. The youth’s expression suddenly lit up, and he lowered his head to look at her, his voice very soft: “Zhang Man……can I call you Man Man from now on?”

    Zhang Man’s heart was on fire, her whole heart was pounding. She looked at him and nodded with a smile.

    In the winter night, the evening breeze is bleak and there are not many people present outside the school building at this time, the dim streetlights on the campus stretch the shadows of both of them.

    The youth, who was usually cold in nature, pulled her to stand by the wall next to the school building and called her one after another, “Man Man, Man Man—“

    These two words were different from Chen Feier and Zhang Huifang when they came out of his mouth. His hoarse voice carried an endless blaze of heat and a little repression, almost as if it could burn her heart.

    ……

    When Zhang Man returned home that day, Zhang Huifang had only been back for a short time and was watching a family soap opera that was very popular in China this year.

    Since that time when the two made their words clear, the relationship between mother and daughter seems to have been sublimated, and although the pattern of getting along is still the same, each knows in their hearts that the other is cherished.

    “Zhang Man, you said last time you were going to play in Z City tomorrow, right? Wear more, it will snow there tomorrow.”

    Zhang Huifang then came over and gossiped, “Who are you going with? Is it the boy who sent you home last time?”

    When Zhang Man nodded helplessly, Zhang Huifang’s eyes lit up and she took a pile of bills from her wallet, “Take it and spend it.”

    Zhang Man took the money and was somewhat speechless. This…typical outlook of her mother, when can she change it…?

    She originally planned to wait for Li Wei’s birthday to confess, so secretly bought two tickets to Z City. Z City has the largest oceanarium in the country, featuring a long underwater tunnel which Zhang Man wanted to go to in the previous life, but never had this opportunity.

    Her heart melted into a puddle when she thought of the youth who had just walked her downstairs and hugged her and wouldn’t let go.

    Her original intention was to confess her love to him at the oceanarium on his birthday. But to her surprise, he came to her in a hurry, bringing it all forward by a day.

***

    This year N city is not yet open to high-speed rail and it is more convenient to go to Z city by bus.

    Because it was a weekend and it was almost the end of the year, there were many people in the bus station. Both bus stations and train stations are similarly repaired, with large floor-to-ceiling windows and rows of humble seats.

    Outside the window are Zhang Man’s most hated rain and snow. It’s cold and damp, and the water has accumulated on the ground, causing her pants and feet to be half wet. She looked sideways at the empty seat next to her, guarding the simple luggage of the two.

    Because it was a short trip, both of them only brought a backpack. Zhang Man sat dazed, and rubbed her face for a second.

    They are not yet used to these things, and when they come to mind, they can’t help but giggle.

    — Just last night, he became her boyfriend, and today is his birthday as well as the first day since they got together. It’s also their first time to go out.

    It’s like having a honeymoon of sorts.

    After a while, the youth returned from buying breakfast and sat down beside her.

    He carefully padded her legs with several paper towels and put two layers of plastic bags to insulate and prevent dirt. He also opened the lunch box and broke up the disposable chopsticks for her.

    “Man Man, you should eat. It will be a three-hour bus ride later.”

    He said and stroked her hair tenderly.

    Zhang Man looked up at him, the youth today wore a thick gray jacket and a black baseball cap on his head. He just came back from buying breakfast outside, and his whole body is still covered with a cold water vapor.

    But there was clearly warmth in those eyes.

    He might actually have been a meticulous person but perhaps due to the fact that he was used to living alone, it wasn’t apparent. Unlike those reckless teenagers who know nothing about life at a young age, he has taken care of himself for so many years and has a lot of experience on how to live in detail.

    Such a person, if he wants to be good to a person, he can do it very, very well.

    Her heart was slightly sour and slightly sweet, smiling as she took a small dumpling and brought it to his mouth.

    “Ah—open your mouth.”

    The bun hit his lips, it was warm and soft and had an elastic wrapper.

    The youth opened his mouth helplessly.

    Zhang Man watched him eat it and didn’t mince words with her compliments, “What a good boyfriend you are.”

    When the youth heard her words, the temperature in his eyes became more and more intense and the corners of his mouth were smiling as he came over to hold her hand. He wanted to hold it for a long time like yesterday and was now familiar with it.

   Zhang Man dodges and quickly puts a bun into his mouth.

   “Stop it. Let me eat first and when I’m done, we’ll hold hands, okay?”

    After saying that, she laughed at herself. She wonders if everyone who has just fallen in love is like this. Such trivial things will be discussed as if they were serious matters.

    The youth was silent for a moment, looking at her puffy cheeks, and had to nod in compromise.

    The bus soon departs.

    The two people’ seats are leaning back, and it’s a good thing this bus has soft and adjustable seats. Zhang Man adjusted the seat to a comfortable angle, intending to start catching up on sleep.

    She was up almost all night last night from excitement—recalling every detail of their time together. In fact, excluding the evening study, it was obviously only a few minutes of hand holding, hugs, crying, and him whispering her name in her ear.

    But it was long enough for her to remember it ten times longer.

    Who knows that after two minutes of sleep, two children in the bus began to cry out. The bus compartment is closed and there is so much space in total that the child’s cries echo in every corner within, reflecting on every plane it touches again and again.

    Zhang Man frowned. She just wanted to open her eyes but was suddenly pressed gently on the head.

    The youth let her put one ear against his shoulder, then looped his right hand around her neck and gently covered her other ear. The warmth of his palm over her ear isolated a large part of the noise, as if he had enclosed a quiet, safe little world for her.

    Zhang Man turned her head sideways and the fresh smell of his jacket was at the end of her nose. She asked him in a soft whisper, “Li Wei, aren’t you going to sleep? Wouldn’t this be uncomfortable?”

    “No, go to sleep.”

    The girl’s soft hair rubbed against his neck which tickled him a bit. Li Wei’s hand around her shoulder tightened, and the other hand went over to take her hand.  

    How could it be uncomfortable? He wanted to touch her every moment he could. Holding hands wasn’t enough, and hugging didn’t seem to be enough either. Whenever he saw her, it was like he was starving for physical contact.

    Zhang Man at this angle could only see the youth’s hard jawline so she couldn’t help but rub the top of her head against his chin, and began to fall asleep contentedly.

        Opening her eyes until dawn last night, her eyes can’t help but close this time. After a second or so, Zhang Man leaned on the shoulder of the youth and slept very deeply. She was still sleeping like a log even when the bus was about to arrive.

    The bus has gotten off the highway.

    With the windows condensed in a thick mist of water, the child in the front seat reached out and wiped the fog off the glass, probing his head to look out.

    There was already a heavy snowfall outside the window and the building and vehicles were covered with a thick roof of snow. Pedestrians on the road are either walking or running, leaving no more than a few steps for those figures to be hidden in the wind and snow.

    Li Wei’s shoulders tingle slightly, the girl’s breathing rang regularly in his ears as he gently turned his head and looked at her lovely hair swirl.

    It’s not every year that he remembers his birthday, but for the years that he does remember, it’s the same as today, a late winter with heavy snow.

    To him, there’s nothing wrong with a snowy day.  It’s always been quiet on the road and there won’t be the hustle and bustle he always hates. Furthermore, it will never make him feel that he’s out of place, in this world.

    But now there’s her by his side.

    In his hand, he still holds her hand which is warm and soft.

    He thought in a trance. “It turns out that in winter, there can be such a temperature.”

    The warmth is just right and makes his heart, just about to melt.

    The youth gently curved the corners of his mouth, lowered his head, so carefully on her hair swirl and drop a kiss.


Translator’s Note:

These two are so adorable~


Mei
A Japanese language student that decided to translate Chinese Novels during the pandemic. If you want to support us, you can buy us a ko-fi. To maintain the site and support the translators as well. Thank you for reading!
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Thank you so much for this chapter.

Translator-sama, thank you so much for the chapter and yes they’re really cute like omg😍☺🤧

Now I know why Man Man missed him so much.

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