When dinner was almost over, the men began to chat and smoke.
Xia Rou wasn’t really paying attention.
Her hand was suddenly grasped and her body couldn’t help but turn stiff as a board.
“What do you think, which one is better?” Cao Yang turned to ask her.
Xia Rou knew she couldn’t shake it off so she didn’t waste any energy by struggling, instead quietly allowing him to hold her hand under the table.
She wasn’t listening to the conversation at all, so she didn’t know what Cao Yang was speaking about, so she simply answered, “Both are good, very similar.”
Cao Yang then smiled. Translated by The Novelst
He pulled her hand up and put it on the table. Flagrantly, under the full gaze of all, fingers interlocked.
Xia Rou stopped breathing for a moment.
The dining room fell silent.
Cao Xiong and Cao Bin glanced at their joined hands and cool as cucumbers, continued speaking with Cao Yang.
Cao An’s face said ‘oh my gosh, I knew it.’
Only Cao Xing still had his eyes wide and opened his mouth a few times, but every single time his amiable big brother would smile and look at him, so he would feel a chill at the back of his neck and shut his mouth.
Xia Rou remained silent the entire time, looking down quietly without saying a word.
Usually when a girl had that kind of expression, men would naturally interpret it as embarrassment. After all, she was still young.
They were afraid she might feel awkward, so no one questioned her.
On Sunday, Cao Yang drove her back to school, kissing her in her car for a very long time before letting her go.
The dark night, the cramped space, this was all the easiest trigger for a man’s desire, so his hand…
Xia Rou couldn’t stop him but could only press his hand, biting her lips to say: “You’ve said before that if I’m not willing you will not touch me. You told me yourself.”
Little girl, using his own words to checkmate him! Cao Yang grit his teeth.
But he indeed had promised, and he was also afraid he might scare her off. So his hand slipped out of her shirt and let her go.
He kissed her until her lips became swollen, and only then did he send her back to the hostel.
When he left, Xia Rou’s shoulders relaxed. Her eyes looked down at her feet as she went up the stairs.
Inside the room, her roommates were talking. Zhuang Xiao was obviously unhappy.
“What happened?” Xia Rou asked.
“So annoying. I’ve even filled out the form already, but my mother went back on her words. She won’t let me register anymore,” she gloomily replied. “She said she’s worried for me to be alone outside the country.”
“But really, she’s already promised me, and now she changed her mind again! I was happy for nothing,” she continued.
“Alright, alright, even if she promised you, do you think you’ll be approved just for registering? Do you even know how many people have registered?” Xia Yun splashed a cold dose of reality on her.
Of course Zhuang Xiao knew, she just wanted to vent.
“Xia Rou, did you register?” she asked.
Xia Rou put down her bag. “What?”
“The student exchange program. How do you not know? I did some research and it’s a really good program,” Zhuang Xiao handed over a form to Xia Rou. “Take a look. You can grab a form too. It doesn’t guarantee you a spot, but at least you’ll be lucky to be chosen.”
Xia Rou held that form and remained silent for a bit before saying, “Let me think about it.”
Initially Cao Yang thought that once Xia Rou didn’t reject him so harshly, and she was willing to accept him, everything would slowly improve.
He was also confident in believing that Xia Rou would get along with him much better than that inexperienced kid Wei Qi. His meticulous care and love for her was not something a little boy could match.
But soon he realized he had been assuming too much.
After Xia Rou left Wei Qi and got together with him, she didn’t become any happier. In contrast, she became more and more quiet as time went on.
The bright smile she had in the past had disappeared. Instead, there was a hint of loss in her gaze. Every time he looked at her she would become quiet and obediently lower her head.
Cao Yang was helpless. Translated by The Novelst
He had seen the sweet look on her face when she was with Wei Qi. That was her childhood sweetheart and the relationship had ended abruptly because of him. It was inevitable that she would feel sad and hurt.
He would help her slowly recover from these small little wounds of the heart.
He wanted to ask Xia Rou to stay home so he could see her every day. Xia Rou refused. Allowing her to stay at campus was something he had promised her. Cao Yang had always kept his word.
Xia Rou kept this to refute him whenever he became impulsive. She would checkmate him and defend herself with the promise.
Cao Yang was very annoyed but it couldn’t be helped.
Xia Rou didn’t put down her past slowly, nor did she become cheerful again as Cao Yang thought she would.
After that, when he would think back, he became very regretful that he took that period of time as her youthful growing pains, rather than taking it seriously.
He had been too carried away by the happiness of having her, like a young kid. That was how he had missed the subtle signs.
Like after he kissed her, she would open her eyes and look at him, a hint of confusion and listlessness in her eyes.
Or, under his touch, while she was obviously aroused, she would cry out of nowhere.
And making assumptions, and giving him what-if scenarios, like if she was a girl who liked to split hairs and her personality was hard to get along with, she would ask him how he would treat her then.
When Cao Yang thought back on these details as he smoked, he could only hate himself for his own obliviousness.
But the thing he most regretted was… that night.
Proofread by: Hannah
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