Cao An sat on the sofa to take a good look at the room. After looking closely at the wallpaper, he could tell it was probably his big brother’s work. Only big brother would choose a blue wallpaper for a girl’s room.
He probably didn’t even know how to spell the word “cute.”
Speaking of white, that little kid looked really cute when she didn’t show her sharp tongue. But why was she so vicious with him?
Cao Xing said it was because of his cheap mouth…
Pui! Translated by The Novelst
Actually Xia Rou was not originally the type who could speak so sharply, but in the past she had become used to arguing with Cao An and they roasted each other regularly. That was why when she was in front of Cao An, there weren’t any burdens on her heart. She became relaxed and the words came naturally when she opened her mouth.
Cao An found it quite novel, though.
Even in childhood he had a quick wit, and every time his sharp tongue got him on his brothers’ bad sides, they would then handle him in one of three ways——
One of them would beat him up.
Two of them would beat him up.
Or sometimes he would be beaten up by a mix of the three.
After that, when everyone was all grown up, the two elder brothers were too lazy to bother to raise an issue with it, so they usually would choose to deal with it verbally – to command Cao Xing to beat him up.
But no one ever talked back to him.
Xia Rou didn’t take long to change.
Actually, she was very happy to be able to wear Nan Hua’s uniform in this life, so she really wanted to show it off for someone. But, ehem… This kind of action was quite childish and she wasn’t really a little girl… So she was kind of embarrassed about it.
Luckily there was still Cao An in the house, and he could see right through her.
“How does it look?” She twirled in a circle. “Is it pretty?”
“This version of Nan Hua’s uniform, I don’t think they’ve changed it in the last ten years. It’s literally the same as when we went there.” The 23-year-old man lamented at the passage of time, how time flew, as if he’d aged in the blink of an eye. Then he pulled here and there, looking at the details. “Take it off and give it to me.”
The small potato had a shocked expression: “Y-you also want to try?”
Cao An: “…”
He almost stuck out his middle finger!
Xia Rou laughed as she ran back into the closet.
Gosh, this small potato was playing around with him!
The fourth master of the Cao Family took the uniform and left feeling stuffy.
Saturday morning he returned to throw the uniform at her: “Try it on.”
Xia Rou went to the closet to change and when she came out she was delighted. “It’s so pretty!”
Cao An had narrowed the loose uniform around the waist and the plaid skirt that had reached her knees had been adjusted to be an inch shorter. The ordinary school uniform looked much different than it used to.
Xia Rou was worried: “Will the teachers say anything about it?”
“They won’t,” Cao An said, unworried. “It’s a tradition for girls to alter their uniforms. It’s been like that from when we went to Nan Hua; so long as you don’t overdo it the teachers will turn a blind eye.”
“Alright,” breathed out Xia Rou in relief. Then, very sweetly, she said, “Thank you, Brother Cao An.”
Cao An: “…Tsk.”
He turned his head away.
A smile played at the corners of her mouth and her footsteps floated like feathers as she walked back into her closet to change.
In the past, both she and Cao An were like two immature children; quarreling and sulking was common for both of them. But everytime one got mad, the other would definitely become soft. As long as one reached out to try and make up, the other person would get off of the donkey*, the two then reconciling.
It was already an old routine.
It was now just a repeat of their past.
She was finally able to rediscover the feeling of familiarity with Cao An.
“You’re leaving?” asked Cao An, seeing her change her outfit.
“I’m going to go to the hair salon,” Xia Rou touched her fringe. “Are there any nearby?”
Too much had changed within the ten years, so she wasn’t able to remember it all clearly.
“I’ll drive you there since I’m going to see Chengzhe anyway. There’s a pretty nice salon by his house.”
Cao An drove Xia Rou to the salon. “Tell them my phone number and look for Johnny, I made you an appointment.”
Then he asked, “How long will it take?”
Xia Rou thought before speaking. “One hour and a half, or two hours maybe?”
“So long?” Translated by The Novelst
“My hair is too stiff, I want to make it softer.”
“Alright, just wait for me here after you finish. We can go eat together.”
Xia Rou tried to adjust her bangs and went into the salon.
It was natural for a girl to strive to be beautiful. In the past when she was already 25, Cao An always directed her in her clothing and appearance, so by now she had developed good taste.
Now that she looked at her 15-year-old self, not having straightened nor curled her short hair, she found herself quite rustic.
At this time, some hairstyles and skills hadn’t yet been invented. She found Johnny and taught him to use some techniques that wouldn’t be developed until ten years into the future, and permed her roots and bangs.
Although her hairstyle still looked like a student’s, it was much more natural and gave out a sense of spiritedness.
When Cao An and He Chengzhe came by to pick her up, they both whistled at her. Two handsome guys driving a nice car drew attention – even the hair-washing lady and the other female customers were staring out the window at them.
However, Xia Rou’s expression seemed a little ambivalent.
“What’s wrong? Aren’t you glad to be prettier?” Cao An teased her.
Xia Rou got in the car. “I sat for too long. My back hurts.”
“You’re just a kid, what do you mean your back hurts,” Cao An laughed at her.
Xia Rou smiled in respond.
In the early days, they used to bring Xia Rou along to play, bringing her out to eat delicious food and experience interesting things.
But after they’d broken up a few times, the three gathered less and less.
And soon enough, every time she met He Chengzhe it was never a happy occasion.
Since she was really the only person who knew their story, He Chengzhe would sometimes invite her out alone to have tea.
“I’m very jealous of you,” he said once. “At least you can go around openly; you can even like someone openly if you like them.”
“Xiao Rou, do you have someone in mind? Do you know the feeling of liking someone but having to hide your feelings?”
Xia Rou had held her teacup, trying to imagine the feeling he was describing.
But she was a little lost. Translated by The Novelst
*Get off the donkey / End the donkey 借坡下驴: make use of an opportunity to do something. In this context, give a person an out so they could come down from the stairs to make it less embarrassing.
Proofread by: Hannah