After spending the weekend at her sister’s place, Baobei returned to school. The moment she stepped into her dorm and saw her three roommates, realisation dawned on her: this was the start of another lascivious week!
In the room, Fang Jie was busy getting ready to meet her boyfriend.
Xiaoxi stood at the balcony, fidgeting with her fringe as she grumbled, “I should get a haircut soon, I almost twisted my neck trying to flick my bangs”.
Jiahui shook her head as she packed her books. “Salons nowadays are not serious about giving good haircuts. All they do is nag at you to take on a membership, get you to buy their products, or entice you to do special treatments. The moment you walk in, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a host club. The ones washing your hair are all punks, and the hairstylists all sissies whose names are either Andy,Tony or Eric. What’s most scary is that they would come up with some weird hairstyles and still insist that it's fashionable.”
“Baobei might be blunt, but you are not too far off”, Fang Jie said laughingly.
“You flatter me.” It was Baobei who replied.
Fang Jie left the dorm after she finished getting ready.
Jiahui also left to look up books at the library.
Only Xiaoxi and Baobei were left in the room.
Xiaoxi opened her wardrobe and placed all her freshly laundered clothes and bedsheets back in place. When she saw Shi Xiaoxi check her Weibo out of boredom, and later started cutting her hair with a pair of scissors, she decided to tease her.
“Let me ask you a question”.
“Sure!” Xiaoxi said generously.
“Three women each bought a banana. They had different ways of eating the banana - licking it, biting it, and sucking it. Guess which one of the women is married?
This was obviously a lewd question, but Baobei asked the question with a straight face.
Shi Xiaoxi thought hard and replied, ‘The one sucking the banana”.
Baobei turned over and rolled her eyes, “It should be the one who is wearing a ring on her left ring finger”.
Shi Xiaoxi was stunned.
“Shi Xiaoxi, you are such a pervert”. Baobei paused, then said, “But I like your train of thought.”
Ten seconds later, a loud shrill exploded from Room 408, before the door opened. Shi Xiaoxi ran out, her face full of tears, and continued shouting.
“I’ve been dallied with! I’ve been dallied with!”
It was almost a month into the semester. The Law of Obligations module was the last to start, and this incurred the wrath of her two other roommates. How could anyone not be affected if they had to attend classes but Baobei and Xiaoxi could slack in their room because of the lecturer’s schedule?
Baobei’s other elective was a module from the Literature department, on the Appreciation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In her mind, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms was not unfamiliar to her, as she had read the book, and watched the dramas and movies on it. Hence, the module should be a piece of cake. The lazy Shi Xiaoxi and Fang Jie also sneakily took the module so that they could leech off her.
Lessons were held once a week. As the male lecturer was physically short, within two weeks, the number of students had dwindled to half the original number.
The lesson today was a brief overview of the situation in the three kingdoms. Of course, the lecturer was better at the topic academically, but for the students who had played games and read novels on the Three Kingdoms, the side stories were more exciting and interesting than the historical aspect. Instead of paying attention to the dry and boring materials, they were more interested in sharing their understanding of the Three Kingdoms, in order to salvage the worldview of the lecturer.
At the end of the class, the lecturer invited the students to sum up the Three Kingdoms in a sentence.
Oops! While everyone was physically in class, they were not actually listening. Fang Jie had been texting, Shi Xiaoxi had been playing mobile games, and Baobei had been stoning.
When the lecturer called on a student number, they knew they were done for.
Baobei stood up.
The lecturer looked at the class register. “A student from another faculty, are you interested in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms?”
She was a pretty girl, and naturally attracted more interested looks.
Baobei shook her head.
“This class gives more modular credits”.
Laughter filled the class. Wasn’t this how everyone felt about this class?
The lecturer was taken aback by her response, then smiled, “This honesty is brutal”.
“Xia Baobei of the Law School, please use one sentence to summarise the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.” The lecturer chose to return to the question.
Baobei pursed her lips.
“Do you mean it?”
“I’ve already called your number, why would I be kidding around?” The lecturer frowned.
“The men in Eastern Wu are lolicons, Cao Wei forced himself on others’ wives, and the people in Shu and Han are all gays.” Her voice was loud and clear, and reverberated across the entire lecture hall.
Baobei looked around, then sat down without waiting for the lecturer’s response.
She was not wrong. This sentence accurately summarized the Romance of the Three Kingdoms from another perspective. However, the lecturer’s face was turning green.
Baobei thought about her course credits. She did not want to retake the exam or the module, and hence stood up again. This time, in a solemn tone, she said, “All the powers in the world would undergo cycles of unity and separation. In terms of the Three Kingdoms, it’s either a case of the lord choosing his subjects, or vice versa. This is history immaterial of time. In my opinion, if Cao Cao was the most formidable man during these troubled times, then Liu Bei would only be a scoundrel. It can also be interpreted as, the beauties survive, while the heroes fall”.
She supplemented her explanation with another line, “Professor, I’ve gone beyond more than one sentence. You can keep the change.”
She finally sat down.
Shi Xiaoxi was still laughing when they were making their way back to the dorm.
“Baobei, I think you are going to be famous”.
Baobei shot a look at her, but did not reply.
“Xia Baobei, I have to say, you are hilarious”, Fang Jie joined in the laughter.
“I’ve had a pretty normal life before meeting all of you, and it’s all changed now, because I’ve been trying to accommodate all of you. In this world, there are many who would watch while you act stupidly, but few would share your silliness. Please cherish the friend who would match your silliness - that’s me”. Baobei pointed to herself, and slung her arm over Xiaoxi, indirectly insulting the two who were laughing at her.
“What the?! I’ve been dallied with again!” Xiaoxi looked furiously at Fang Jie.
As they walked past the Business School, a white BMW M5 cruised past them. Shi Xiaoxi immediately channeled her anger into sleaziness, as she whistled at the back of the car, as if she were a hooligan.
“Another second-generation rich kid”, Fang Jie pouted. This young lady had become more resentful ever since she moved to Beijing.
“I think it’s fine”, Baobei smiled. “He’s driving slowly in school, and is careful when driving through puddles; even if he’s a second-generation rich kid, he’s a good kid”.
“Oh my!” Shi Xiaoxi exclaimed, and quickly hid behind Baobei and Fang Jie.
At a glance, the M5 had stopped, and was reversing towards them.
“Shi Xiaoxi, you’d better take responsibility for this!” Fang Jie said in a low voice.
“It’s time to show your loyalty to the sisterhood! Cover for me!”
In the end, Baobei was pushed to the forefront.
The car stopped by their side, and the window wound down.
“Hi!” She unconsciously raised her hand and uttered a greeting. Then she immediately regretted her actions.
If it wasn’t Mr Jiang, the man who had gone to her sister’s house for two consecutive days over the weekend for meals?
“Hi, Baobei”. Jiang Moxiu smiled faintly. Under the streetlights, his expression was focused, and his smiling eyes were deep and pretty.
Baobei heard the intake of sharp breath from behind her, followed by a fit of coughing; Shi Xiaoxi had choked on air.
Baobei was pleased. It looked like she had a higher immunity to good looks.
“What brings you here?” Baobei started acting cute again.
“I’m here to settle some things. What about you?” Jiang Moxiu stepped out of the car, but this action appeared to be especially graceful. He was really tall. He stood in front of Baobei, both hands in his pockets, and Baobei had to look up in order to face him directly.
“Classes just ended, so we are on our way back to our dorm”. Baobei started to feel awkward again.
“Let me give you a lift”. The tone he used was polite, but Jiang Moxiu had already walked over to the passenger side to open the door, showing that he would not take no for an answer.
“Okay”. Baobei did not see a need to reject the offer. What ran through her mind was, since he had already freeloaded for two days, it’s already a steal if he could be their driver.
After Baobei exchanged a look with Shi Xiaoxi and Fang Jie, Fang Jie happily slid into the backseat. The dorm was still quite a distance away, why would anyone reject a free ride?
During the short drive, Jiang Moxiu drove quietly, and exchanged a few words with Baobei about trifle issues. It was silent but not awkward. The dim yellow light in the car and the warm heater made the journey very comfortable.
At the entrance of their dorm, Shi Xiaoxi and Fang Jie shamelessly said their goodbyes and left, leaving Baobei alone to thank the man in the car.
“You don’t have to be this cordial towards me”, Jiang Moxiu smiled.
Baobei smiled as well, and lowered her head. She was wondering what else she should say before alighting the car. She felt that this was one dubious man. She was an aloof person who could always be comfortable even in front of strangers. But she couldn't feel the same with him, and only had feelings of reservation towards him.
“Hmm?” She raised her head to look at him.
Do you really not remember who I am?”
“Ah?” Baobei was at a loss.
Jiang Moxiu sighed.
“My name is Jiang Moxiu, and I’ve lived in Boston since I was a child”. When a flicker of recognition showed in Baobei’s eyes, Jiang Moxiu raised his brows and nodded, “Boston”.