Chapter 12: You detained my person here.
On the weekend, Xu Sui went to Shen Yanjia’s house half an hour earlier to tutor because she had to attend the rehearsal later. She didn’t want everyone to wait for her because of her schedule.
When she arrived in Sheng Yanjia’s room, Xu Sui announced: “I have to do something later, so we can’t play games together at the end of the lesson.”
Sheng Yanjia immediately laid his head on the table, looking dejected: “It’s been a week since I last played games. I’ve been waiting for Teacher Xiao Xu to play with me.”
“Today, we’ll just have an hour of math lesson. Although we won’t be playing games,” Xu Sui replied and patted him on the shoulder, “We’ll use the remaining one hour to watch a movie.”
He immediately became energetic and changed his tone: “Teacher Xiao Xu, I can’t wait to explore the world of mathematics.”
Xu Sui then taught him for an hour, and after the session was over, Sheng Yanjia immediately turned on the projector. With a look of excitement, he asked: “Teacher, what will we be watching? Avengers or Lord of the Rings?”
“Neither, let’s watch Friends,” Xu Sui shook her head with a smile.
As most people know, “Friends” is one of the model films for learning English. Sheng Yanjia wanted to bang his head on a wall and faint.
After the one-hour movie was over, and on top of the two pages of math papers Xu Sui left for him, Sheng Yanjia complained, “This was all a trick! Teacher Xiao Xu, you’re so mean!”
Xu Sui checked the time and said with a smile: “Well, the mean teacher has to leave now.”
Xu Sui packed up her things and hurried downstairs. She exited the living room and finally ran into Aunt Sheng, who was playing cards.
Aunt Sheng was wearing a water-blue colored qipao, with a woolen shawl around her shoulders. She looked beautiful. As Xu Sui was about to exit, Aunt Sheng was looking for one more player to play. When she saw Xu Sui, her eyes lit up: “Xu Sui, come and play cards.”
“I still have something to do,” Xu Sui said apologetically.
Aunt Sheng then walked over to her and took her hand: “Ten minutes, only ten minutes. The old man next door went to the bathroom, so you can temporarily replace him.”
“But I don’t know how to play,” Xu Sui objected.
“It’s okay. I’ll teach you.” Aunt Sheng dragged her to the table.
In the center of the wooden square table was a plate of fruits and roasted watermelon seeds, shining obliquely in the sun. There were sounds of hearty laughter and scolding from a few visitors sitting together playing cards.
Kratos, Zhou Jingze’s German Shepherd, was lying at Aunt Sheng’s foot. While they passed out the cards, Xu Sui sent Zhou Jingze a WeChat message: 【I might be late. You guys can rehearse first.】
In less than a minute, her phone displayed a message from ZJZ: 【Where are you?】
Xu Sui lowered her head to look at her phone and responded to the text message: 【Still at Aunt Sheng’s house. She dragged me into playing cards, and I’m not very good at it.】
While passing out the cards, Aunt Sheng looked at Xu Sui and laughed: “Xu Sui, don’t look at your phone. Concentrate on the round instead of sending a message to your boyfriend.”
Xu Sui, who wanted to laugh, put her phone aside. She only knew a bit of how to play poker. She watched her uncle play cards every New Year with the rest of her family and learned some basic rules, but she was still a rookie at it and had no chance of winning.
Ten minutes in, Xu Sui realized that her luck was terrible. On the other hand, it was a breeze for Aunt Sheng. Xu Sui carefully glanced at her phone without being caught. Zhou Jingze only sent a one-word reply: 【Wait.】
Wait for what? Is he going to find someone to rescue her or call Aunt Sheng to let her go?
Xu Sui tried to guess what he meant. When she finished playing around with her rookie card skills, the old man Li next door still hadn’t appeared yet. But, everyone was in a joyous mood, so she could only go along with it.
In the second round, her cards weren’t very good again. When she was hesitating whether to put down a card or not, a low voice said:
“Put this one down.”
Xu Sui quickly turned his head. Then, Zhou Jingze appeared out of thin air wearing a black jacket and gray pants.
“Jingze, why are you here?” Aunt Sheng asked.
“You detained my person here, so I naturally would have to come,” Zhou Jingze gave a lazy smile.
Aunt Sheng’s eyes brushed between the two, and then she smiled: “Okay, old rules as always. Two wins in three games. You guys can leave if you beat me twice.”
Xu Sui’s tone was a little anxious: “Aunt Sheng, we really have to rehearse…”
“It’s okay, it’ll be quick,” Zhou Jingze interrupted her.
During the next round, Xu Sui was even more distracted than before because Zhou Jingze was standing behind her, leaning over to give her guidance from time to time.
His arm was placed on Xu Sui’s right side, and his shirt brushed her shoulders. He seemed to have just washed his hair. His body carried a smell of mint.
A pair of hands stretched out, pulling out a card, and he asked: “Why are you in a daze?”
His fingertips accidentally touched Xu Sui’s hand. It was a very light touch, like snowflakes falling. She secretly told herself to keep her composure and pretend not to care, but her heart was fluttering.
Under the guidance of Zhou Jingze, Xu Sui won two games in a row. Then, Aunt Sheng took out the money she lost and pointed at him, “Hurry and leave. If you stay any longer, I’ll go bankrupt.”
Zhou Jingze smirked. He took out a cigarette and lowered his head to meet Xu Sui’s hesitant eyes: “The money…”
“Take it to buy candy,” Zhou Jingze answered her.
The two walked out of the courtyard side by side. Zhou Jingze, smoking, walked a little faster than her with a cigarette between his fingertips. Xu Sui stared at his shoulder and said, “The matters regarding Bai Yuyue, thank you.”
Zhou Jingze turned around, raised his eyebrows, and asked: “How did you know it was me?”
“It was a guess,” Xu Sui answered.
“Okay,” Zhou Jingze kicked the stone under his feet and chuckled, “Then how do you want to thank me?”
Xu Sui wanted to say, “If there’s anything I can help you with, feel free to ask me,” but Zhou Jingze, who had his black eyes tightly locked at her, added in a meaningful tone:
“Or, do you want to invite me to drink milk tea?”