STT – Chapter 19

Will Jiang Huaixi make her lose?

In the evening, Lu Zizheng took a bath and sat on the chair in her study. She turned on the computer and selected her favorite music radio station. With closed eyes, she let her thoughts wander, humming softly along with the music.

After a captivating segment by the radio host, Fan Xiaoxuan’s “Snowman” began to play: “…I foolishly, foolishly wait, for the snow, piece by piece, to weave our destiny. My love exists because of you, your touch reveals my heartache… snow, piece by piece, quietly and colorfully in the sky. Spring is approaching, and I, I will no longer exist…”

Lu Zizheng opened her eyes, leaning against the back of the chair, gazing at the full moon outside the window. She listened quietly, as the song’s melody warmed and saddened her heart.

She pulled the chair closer to the desk, and the swivel chair glided slowly across the floor, producing a muffled sound that blended into the beautiful melody.

Lu Zizheng opened the drawer of her desk and retrieved the photo that Jiang Huaixi had given her. The snowman was still smiling.

“…snow, piece by piece, quietly and colorfully in the sky. Spring is approaching, and I, I will no longer exist…”

Spring will eventually arrive, and the snowman will ultimately melt. The awaited end is nothing but a futile endeavor…

However, Jiang Huaixi said to her, “Here, the flowers nurtured with happiness will never wither…”

In the midst of disappointment time and time again, she had come to understand the maliciousness of the concept of eternity. Yet, hearing these words from Jiang Huaixi’s lips, someone who rarely spoke kind words, stirred something within her.

Just like the perfectly round moon she saw in this moment, often it appears as a crescent, but you cannot deny the existence of a full moon just because you’ve seen more crescents. It is a matter of probability and luck.

Lu Zizheng contemplated in her heart. Perhaps, Jiang Huaixi was that round moon, and maybe she could be that rare stroke of good luck in her life.

Over the years, there were moments when Jiang Huaixi stirred something within Lu Zizheng, but she lacked the courage to try…

The more emotions accumulated and suppressed, the more they clamored to burst forth. After years of interacting with Jiang Huaixi, today, sentimentality finally began to overpower rationality, gaining the upper hand…

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What if she tried again? What if she had the courage to believe once more, to believe that Jiang Huaixi was different from others? If she had the courage, what if she staked everything, risking that Jiang Huaixi was her one-in-a-million stroke of luck?

Would Jiang Huaixi make her lose?

Lu Zizheng gazed at the full moon outside, a faint smile playing at the corners of her lips. She flipped over the photo and retrieved a marker pen from the pen holder on her desk. On its back, she carefully and earnestly wrote: “May we stay together forever, even if a thousand miles apart.”

As she finished writing the last character, “娟,” intending to place a satisfying period, her pen tip had just touched the paper when her phone on the desk began to vibrate intensely.

Lu Zizheng halted her action, casting a fleeting glance with the corner of her eye. The smile on her lips gradually faded away…

On the phone screen, the caller ID flashed the name “Lian Xuan” in bold letters.

She gripped the pen, staring at the two words “Lian Xuan,” her response delayed. She couldn’t help but anticipate that the next second would bring an end to the phone’s vibrations, causing those two words to vanish, and the phone to return to tranquility, restoring everything to its original state. However, the phone continued to vibrate persistently, unyielding…

In the end, she reluctantly set down the pen and compromised, picking up the phone.

Lian Xuan’s voice carried an unmistakable excitement. “Zizheng, you finally answered my call…”

Lu Zizheng’s voice, however, sounded politely unfamiliar. “Miss Lian, it’s late. Is there something you need?”

“Zizheng, must I have a reason to reach out to you?” Her voice held a hint of sorrow that Lu Zizheng could discern.

Lu Zizheng remained unmoved. “Miss Lian, is there a reason for your call?”

Lian Xuan let out a bitter laugh, her voice tinged with a hint of sadness. “Zizheng, I want to see you. I’m outside your residential area. Could you come down and meet me, please?”

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Lu Zizheng couldn’t help but sneer inwardly. She couldn’t decipher Lian Xuan’s game anymore. After experiencing the heartbreak and tears caused by Lian Xuan’s callousness in the past, she had finally come to understand. But now, with Lian Xuan’s multiple attempts at reconciliation and entanglement, she couldn’t comprehend their purpose.

Was it guilt towards someone she had hurt all those years ago? No, even now, she behaved as if they were ordinary classmates who had never experienced any unpleasantness.

Was it an insinuation towards someone she had once liked? How ridiculous. The young man who stood by her side during the recent festival was proof enough.

Regardless of whatever thoughts Lian Xuan was hiding now, Lu Zizheng no longer had the energy or interest to decipher them. She was about to coldly refuse when Lian Xuan seemed to sense it and softened her voice, pleading, “Zizheng, please don’t reject me outright. Today is my birthday. Just consider it as granting me one wish, please…”

Lu Zizheng had never heard Lian Xuan adopt such a pleading tone. When the clock struck midnight on December 26th, she remembered, but it was just a memory.

“Zizheng, can you meet me?” Lian Xuan’s voice tonight seemed unusually fragile, carrying a hint of tears.

Lu Zizheng couldn’t bear it any longer. Biting her lip, she softly responded and agreed.

There was no snow tonight, but the wind was stronger than the previous night. Step by step, Lu Zizheng walked slowly towards the entrance of the residential area. From afar, she could see Lian Xuan standing by the car, watching her approach with every step. Lian Xuan’s once cool cheeks blossomed into a sweet smile the moment she caught sight of Lu Zizheng.

She wore a red off-the-shoulder evening gown, her long hair gently swaying in the wind, and her body trembled with a shiver.

As Lu Zizheng approached, she saw Lian Xuan’s eyes shining like stars, and her lips had turned pale from the cold. “Zizheng, you came after all,” Lian Xuan said.

Lu Zizheng replied calmly, “Get in the car first.” She was wearing a sweater and a coat, yet still felt the bone-chilling cold. She wondered how Lian Xuan managed to stand in the wind with her thin off-the-shoulder gown.

Lian Xuan’s smile grew brighter as she swiftly turned and went to the other side of the car, opening the door for Lu Zizheng. After making sure she was inside, Lian Xuan closed the door and returned to the car.

Once inside the car, Lian Xuan rubbed her hands together and glanced at Lu Zizheng with a smile. “It’s so cold. If you had come any later, I might have frozen to death by the car.”

Lu Zizheng, without looking at her, replied calmly, “You could have waited for me in the car.”

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Lian Xuan curved her eyebrows and revealed a cute dimple on her cheek. “I couldn’t wait. I wanted to see you the moment you appeared,” she said.

Lu Zizheng remained silent, and Lian Xuan didn’t mind. She started the car and changed the subject, asking, “Do you still like the flowers I gave you on Christmas Eve?”

Lu Zizheng was slightly surprised. At that time, she hadn’t even considered the possibility that the flowers were from Lian Xuan.

She looked at the rapidly receding street scenery outside the car window and said softly, “You’ve gone to great expense, President Lian.”

Lian Xuan furrowed her brows and corrected her unhappily, “Zizheng, we’re no longer in a hierarchical working relationship. Please call me by my name.”

Lu Zizheng simply smiled and turned her head to look at Lian Xuan. “Our relationship with President Lian hasn’t reached a point where I can address you by your name.”

Upon hearing this, Lian Xuan trembled slightly, bit her lip, glanced at Lu Zizheng, and fell silent.

The rest of the journey passed in silence. Lu Zizheng didn’t inquire about Lian Xuan’s destination, and Lian Xuan didn’t disclose it. Lu Zizheng turned her face to the side and focused on watching the scenery outside the car window. They went from bustling streets adorned with streetlights to a wide, straight road with only the flow of traffic, and then, with a series of quick accelerations, they unexpectedly entered the highway…

Lu Zizheng decided to close her eyes and wait for Lian Xuan to make the final stop.

After an unknown duration of the tireless car journey, Lian Xuan finally brought the car to a stop. She rolled down the window and presented some form of identification to a security personnel. As the car gradually slowed down and entered, Lu Zizheng closed her eyes, awaiting their destination.

Lu Zizheng opened her eyes and felt a strange sense of familiarity with the scenery outside the car window, yet she couldn’t recall where she had seen it before.

Finally, Lian Xuan spoke again, “Zizheng, do you still remember this place?”

She parked the car, smiling and gesturing for Lu Zizheng to get out. They stood before a vast expanse of grassland, their faces filled with nostalgic expressions.

Lu Zizheng looked around and, after seeing the signboard of “Tianxin Gardens,” finally recognized the place. Lian Xuan had unexpectedly taken her on the highway, driving for at least three hours to reach this city situated between Linzhou and Juzhou. It was the “Tianxin Gardens” they had visited during their high school trip—an occurrence that completely surprised Lu Zizheng.

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She stared at Lian Xuan in disbelief, but Lian Xuan simply smiled calmly in return, gracefully walking up the grassy slope in her slender high heels and delicate evening gown, shivering in the cold.

Lu Zizheng stood motionless, gazing at Lian Xuan’s retreating figure, her mind filled with countless thoughts.

Lian Xuan turned around, her smile radiant. “Zizheng, come up here…”

Lian Xuan’s slender and graceful figure on the high slope gradually merged with the image in her memory. That year, Lian Xuan had stood there just like this, softly calling out to her, “Zizheng, come up here…”

Unconsciously, Lu Zizheng responded to her call and looked at her, taking step by step towards the top.

Lian Xuan, with a slight wobble in her high heels, reached the highest point of the slope. She adjusted her evening gown and sat down on the ground. Looking up at the night sky, she spoke with an excited tone, like a child. She pointed at the sky, tilted her head, and smiled at Lu Zizheng, saying, “Zizheng, look, those two stars are still there.”

Lu Zizheng followed her indication and looked up. Tonight, the moon was full, and the night sky had only a few faint stars. Far away from the moon, there were indeed two stars shining exceptionally bright. They looked so similar to the stars she and Lian Xuan had gazed at while lying here all those years ago. The distance between the two stars remained the same, as if over the years, they had stayed together, never apart.

Lu Zizheng sat down beside Lian Xuan, observing the smile on her face. As the wind blew, her fine bangs covered her bright eyes. Lian Xuan hugged herself, shivering from the cold. Lu Zizheng reached out and took off her own coat, draping it over Lian Xuan’s trembling form. She couldn’t help but shiver as well.

Lian Xuan tightly held onto the coat, her eyes fixed on Lu Zizheng. Her gaze was filled with unspoken words, as her eyes shimmered with emotions.

With just a single glance at Lian Xuan, Lu Zizheng averted her gaze to the night sky. Her voice, cold and clear in the darkness, became even lonelier. “They are different. The ones I see from my eyes have gone far, far away. They are distant, very distant.” She lowered her head, staring into the vast darkness in the distance, and whispered softly, “It’s as if they remain in their original positions, yet the distance between them has changed.”

Lian Xuan’s gaze gradually dimmed as she stared into Lu Zizheng’s eyes. She held onto the coat that Lu Zizheng had draped over her, but she felt increasingly cold. She shifted closer to Lu Zizheng, opening the coat. One side hung over Lu Zizheng’s shoulder, while the other wrapped around her own arm. Lian Xuan gently leaned her head on Lu Zizheng’s shoulder and said, “Zizheng, can I tell you a story?”

Lu Zizheng didn’t push her head away and allowed Lian Xuan to whisper on her shoulder. Her gaze fell upon the withered grass beneath her feet, lost in deep thought.

Beautiful flowers don’t bloom forever, and pleasant scenes don’t last. The grass that withered this winter will regain its greenness in the coming spring, but it won’t be the same vibrant clump as before. The scenery here remains unchanged, and Lian Xuan is still beautiful by her side, but there are certain things that are no longer the same.

Listen, her heartbeat is now so steady, so orderly.

Lu Zizheng earnestly pondered, has Jiang Huaixi’s burning desire faded away?

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LX whatever your name is, it’s time to move on. Stop being so greedy. Omg.

Little Panda
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