Chapter 1: Reunion
At six o’clock in the morning, a sparrow on the telephone pole flaps its wings, disrupting the tranquility of the alley. Since it had just rained the night before, the sweet-scented osmanthus was beaten into pieces, like a spilled honey jar lying on the wet ground.
The humidity came in through the gap in the window. Xu Sui laid her head on the table, her shoulders shrinking subconsciously. She raised her head with difficulty, stretched out her hand, and rubbed her face to make herself more awake.
Yesterday, Xu Sui had just finished two operations, plus a night shift to stay until now; her long black eyelashes could not hide the tiredness of the eyelids.
In the bathroom, Xu Sui had a mint-flavored mouthwash in her mouth, turned on the faucet and took a handful of water, and simply washed her face.
At 7:50 AM, the number of people in the department gradually increased, and everyone said good morning to each other. Xu Sui quickly finished eating a croissant, with a black coffee placed next to her. Someone suddenly took it away and replaced it with a bottle of milk.
Xu Sui raised her head. It was the new intern doctor. The guy scratched in embarrassment: “Doctor Xu, drinking coffee is bad for your health.”
“Thank you.” Xu Sui smiled, she glanced at the clock. “Let’s go. It’s time for the rounds.”
Most of the patients in the inpatient department like Doctor Xu as she’s gentle and listens to their occasional complaints.
Several interns followed Xu Sui as she checked the ward one by one. Finally, Yi Jue raised a corner and looked down at her; she had a blue certificate pinned on her left chest—Puren Hospital surgeon Xu Sui.
When a girl was found during the ward round before, the patient just had her appendix cut off two days ago, and Xu Sui specifically asked her not to eat and just to rest.
The little girl was young, and soon after the operation, she regained her vitality. She raised a pair of big eyes and said that she would die if she ate this kind of food that looked like it had come out of a bird.
“Doctor Xu, can I drink milk tea?” the little girl asked cautiously.
Xu Sui held out a blue folder with her signature pen; paused, then raised her eyes to a pair of expectant eyes and replied, “Only a little bit.”
“Why, but I prefer to drink Yihetang.” The little girl looked distressed.
The intern behind her couldn’t help laughing; Xu Sui spoke blankly, with a harsh voice: “Now you can’t even drink a little bit.” The little girl reacted afterward; she regretfully said, “I was wrong!”
After the inspection, Xu Sui went back to the office with her hands in her pockets. She ran into the surgery director, who also happened to be the teacher who taught her before.
“Xiao Xu, just finished checking the room?” the director asked her.
“Yeah,” Xu Sui nodded and looked at her teacher, who looked like he had something to say. She directly asked, “Teacher, what can I do for you?”
“You are really busy these days, no doubt one of the most hardworking people in this department. You had the same energy as I had back then.” Director Zhang smiled, with a kind expression on his face, “But you also need to pay attention to the balance of work and rest. Your mother even called me and asked me to worry about your romantic affairs.”
Xu Sui was stunned. The consequence of refusing a blind date was that her mother found the director to suppress her. Then, after settling her thoughts, she asked, “Teacher, do you know what my mother’s dream is after her middle age?”
“Being a matchmaker, she is deciding to first practice her skills on me.” Xu Sui pointed at her innocent self.
“This child,” Director Zhang laughed, with a tone of helplessness, then he turned around, “There is a young man in the family yard where I live; he has a pretty good background….”
Xu Sui’s eyes swayed at him in a circle, “Teacher, why do I smell cigarette smoke on you? It’s quite strong.”
Everyone in general medicine knows that Dr. Zhang has superb medical skills and authority, but he is also notoriously afraid of his wife. Dr. Zhang’s wife is the head nurse of the pediatrics department and often checks the post. Every time his wife smelled cigarette smoke from his body, she threatened to break his hands if it weren’t for the fact that his hands could be used to rescue the wounded.
“I haven’t had time to smoke today. It might have come from a patient’s family.” Doctor Zhang grabbed his collar and sniffed, panicking, “Don’t say anything; I’ll go wash my hands first.” The director then left.
It was eleven o’clock in the morning; Xu Sui finally got off work.
She went home to make up for her sleep and fell asleep in a dark place. When she woke up, the sky was utterly dark, and the stars were already lit up in the distance.
Xu Sui got up and closed the window. Then, she played a very annoying rock song using the Bluetooth of her mobile phone to connect the speaker and stepped on the finger pressure pad to relax.
Most people think that it may be painful on the acupressure pad, but for Xu Sui, it was an excellent way to decompress. The phone then made a “ding” sound; Xu Sui sweated a little on her forehead and directly sat on the finger pressure pad to get the phone.
Xu’s mother sent a bunch of messages, which meant Xu Sui would have to go on a blind date.
Yun Dan Feng Qing: 【This time the guy is really good. He is two years older than you and a lawyer; also quite a successful person and has good looks. The introducer said that he is a responsible and good guy.】
Yun Dan Feng Qing: 【See you tomorrow? Don’t make excuses, I know you won’t be on duty tomorrow night.】
Yun Dan Feng Qing then sent the man’s contact. Xu Sui opened up his profile picture and casually complained: 【This photograph gesture with both hands across the chest doesn’t look like a successful person to me, more like someone who engages in sales.】
When Mother Xu saw Xu Sui’s complaint, she knew that she wanted to get through as usual. This attitude was problematic. Naturally, Mother Xu was a little angry but was too lazy to type this time, so a series of voice messages were sent to Xu Sui.
Yun Dan Feng Qing: 【You’re 27 this year, almost becoming an old woman, why are you still not in a hurry?】
Xu Sui replied: 【Mom, I still don’t want to get married yet.】
At least her current reasoning is like this: being single is relaxing, plus on top of being busy at work, she really doesn’t have the energy to focus on relationships.
Yun Dan Feng Qing: 【Then what do you want to do?】
Before Xu Sui had time to reply, Yun Dan Feng Qing sent another message: 【Then do you want to be a nun?】
Xu Sui was about to reply when a message popped up on the phone screen, she clicked into it. After many years, someone still liked her and replied to her comment on a post.
The post asked: “What was the funniest thing you did as a student when you had a crush?”
Xu Sui replied anonymously on a whim at that time:
When I was in the second year of high school, a foreign film was released. I liked it so much that I bought a blue T-shirt for the film.
On the first day, I wore it to class, I suddenly found out that he was also wearing a blue T-shirt. Although he was wearing an ordinary T-shirt, it was blue. The colors made it look like it was matching outfits for couples. Her heart beat at the thought. Maybe God saw how hard I was crushing on him, that he deliberately sent me a sweet coincidence.
Since then, I have often worn this shirt. During the night before school, I would always wonder if he would wear a blue T-shirt the next day. He sits in the second-to-last row, and I sit in the front-second row. In order to get a better look at him every day, I would go in through the back door and pretend to walk by him casually. Occasionally, I could catch a glimpse of him lying lazily in his arms, his hair messy and thin. When I glanced at his shoulder and saw that he wore a blue shirt, my heartbeat sped up and I would be inexplicably happy all day.
Later, I found out that his girlfriend casually bought the shirt in a supermarket for 9.9 yuan. He was such a simple boy, didn’t even mind wearing it every day.
I immediately became clear and seemed to understand one thing: he never even looked at me.
Xu Sui’s reply to the question was ranked first in the number of likes, and many people replied to her. It’s not funny at all. I feel so sad that I should be comforted, she thought to herself. She was about to hide her answer when a new reply popped out: Do you still like him now?
Xu Sui looked at the reply and was taken aback.
Her eyes deepened. She sat on the acupressure pad, and for some reason, there was a sharp pain in her limbs all over her body; she felt breathless.
Xu Sui did not reply but closed the app. She then replied to her mother: 【Okay.】
The next night, Xu Sui dressed up for the blind date. She headed to the address given by her mother and appeared at the restaurant. The other party was already waiting there.
The man’s name is Lin Wenshen, who works in a law firm. His impression is much better than that of the photos given to Xu Sui. Lin Wenshen’s facial features are fairly well-rounded, and he looks like someone who treats others with humility.
The two had a fairly good conversation.
After the meal, Lin Wenshen asked if they should go take a walk nearby. Xu Sui thought about it: since she was already out for a blind date, there was no need to be difficult, so she finally nodded.
At ten o’clock at night, the moonlight was bright white. Xu Sui and Lin Wenshen walked side by side, and they spoke a few words from time to time. The atmosphere was fairly comfortable.
The street was filled with snack stands, blue and red curtains staggered in a row.
Eggplants are placed on the grill with tin foil. The boss sprinkles a handful of cumin, and it makes a sizzling sound under the oil fire. The color of the charcoal-grilled saury gradually changes. Yellow, fresh and tender aroma overflowing.
The light bulb hangs above the head, and the fine dust floats on it, dimming the light.
Cheng You took a plate of skewers and sat down in front of the man. The two drank a little wine and started chatting with each other. Cheng You handed him a skewer of beef, his tone was a little cautious: “Boss, don’t be too pressured, this time…you should take a break.”
Zhou Jingze was biting the skewer, raised his eyelids and glanced at him, and chuckled: “What pressure can I have?”
“It’s good that you don’t.” Cheng You breathe a sigh of relief.
Zhou Jingze sat opposite Cheng You, with his feet stepping on the horizontal bar at the bottom of the table. He had not sat down here for a while and had already attracted the attention of several girls at the table next to him.
However, he was too lazy to lift his eyelids, with a cigarette between his fingertips, and the smoke rose slowly, making him look attractive and cold.
Cheng You, who was with him, had already felt the attention from all directions; naturally, he would be proud. In addition, he likes to talk when he drinks: “Hey, boss, let alone, the past few years as a pilot, I’m always flying around the world in the sky. So I didn’t take a closer look. The place with a lot of beautiful women is in our Beijing North City.”
“Oh, look at those legs,” Cheng You sighed.
Zhou Jingze didn’t look up and sneered: “Look again, and I’ll tell Ma Zi.”
Cheng You retracts his gaze, his eyes brighten halfway, and he pushes Zhou Jingze’s arm: “Boss, look, there’s a fairy across the street, just by a glance it’s a southerner.”
When he heard the word “southern”, Zhou Jingze subconsciously raised his head, swept across his pair of dark eyes, and then froze for a moment. The other party is a typical southerner, with a white complexion, full apricot eyes, wearing an apricot-colored knitted dress, two thin straps, and white shoulders exposed.
“Tsk tsk, she has a boyfriend, but just by looking at the atmosphere, it looks like they had just met each other, probably on a blind date, but the two of them have a gentle temperament and look quite compatible,” Cheng You commented.
When Cheng You spoke, he felt a sudden chill in the air around him, and he was a little nervous. He glanced at Zhou Jingze and saw him snap a bamboo chopstick with his bare hands without saying a word.
Xu Sui didn’t notice the movement and walked side-by-side with Lin Wenshen through the street. Near the end of the road, a few sounds were coming from the alley.
It turned out that an old lady selling Tong sui was entangled by a few drunk bastards, and the bastard was about to smash her stall. Xu Sui had no intention of meddling, but the old lady’s pleading voice bore a resemblance to her grandmother.
Xu Sui was about to walk over, but Lin Wenshen pulled her back, with a shrewd tone: “Don’t go there at this time. It’ll be bad if you get tangled up with the gangster or an old lady.”
“I like getting involved.” Xu Sui replied. She looked at Lin Wenshen to draw his hand, and he let go in embarrassment.
The old lady was pushed to the ground by the leader. Xu Sui walked over to help her, in a calm voice: “How much money? I will pay.”
The red-haired bastard saw Xu Sui’s eyes light up. He put his hands on her bare shoulder: “Since it’s a pretty sister begging for mercy, we’ll let it go. Have a drink with us instead.”
“Don’t… mess around. I’m a lawyer… Let go…” Lin Wenshen shifted his eyes, too nervous to say any more words.
Seeing that Lin Wenshen was weak, several gangsters waved their iron rod and asked: “Why, want to fight?”
Lin Wenshen took a step back, glanced at Xu Sui, and ran away gritting his teeth.
The leader’s hand rested on Xu Sui’s shoulder, and he rubbed it presumptuously. In less than a second, Xu Sui twisted his wrist with her backhand and made a “click” sound.
“Fck—” The red hair let go of his hand painfully, his face sank completely. He raised the palm of his other hand, and when he was about to throw a punch at Xu Sui, a slender hand with clear joints appeared out of thin air. The hand intercepted the fist of the leader.
It was Zhou Jingze.
“I thought it was a woman’s hand, weak and soft.” Zhou Jingze commented in a defiant and frivolous tone.
His words were a provocation. The other party swung his hand, but Zhou Jingze leaned sideways, grabbed the leader’s arm, and punched him to the ground. The red hair let out a painful scream.
A few people behind the leader gathered around and fought all at once.
Xu Sui bent down and helped the old lady pack her things. She sent the lady away without saying a word.
The fight came and ended fast. Zhou Jingze was left with a one-on-four, but a few gangsters panicked and left. He stood under the streetlamp, casting a long shadow in front of him.
Xu Sui raised her eyes and looked at him carefully.
Zhou Jingze was wearing a flight jacket with four bars on his shoulder. His neck and head are straight with a sense of oppression. He has single eyelids, extremely short hair, a sharp profile, and a fresh, red blood mark on his chin. His pair of dark, piercing eyes were staring directly at Xu Sui.
When Xu Sui saw Zhou Jingze watching, she winced and subconsciously took a step back. At this moment, a cool breeze blows, and the leaves and garbage bags on the roadside are rolled into the air, tumbling.
Seeing her familiar appearance, Zhou Jingze pressed his tongue against his left cheek and smirked.
The man turned his head to spit saliva tainted with blood, then took out a cigarette from the cigarette case. His slender fingertips twisted the end of the cigarette; lowering his head, he bit on the cigarette, and the silver lighter made a “click” sound.
The man still had that same foolish and careless look.
He was waiting for permission to speak.
Xu Sui looked away, and her tone was unexpectedly alienated: “Thank you for tonight. I’m leaving now.”
She imagined countless times where the two would meet again, but she didn’t expect it to actually happen, where they even omitted the greetings.
Xu Sui turned around and wanted to leave.
Zhou Jingze took a step closer. The cigarette smell on his body was obvious, a bitter smell that makes people unable to move.
Looking at the ground, his shadow surrounded Xu Sui. His eyelashes drooped, and under the projection of the light, it cast a faint haze. Then, in a somewhat gritted tone:
“Are you on a blind date?”