30 – A Storm of Jealousy
The girl looked quite skinny from head to toe over most of her body.
The only part that protruded was her chest, which bounced with every step.
Fang Mo and Zou Shun turned their heads in a daze and with their mouths open, and followed her steps for a short distance, then turned to look at each other.
“Who’s this?” Zou Shun asked.
Fang Mo shook his head.
He was certain that if his unrequited anime wife ceased to exist, Xu Xiran would have no one else for him in the real world. However, with him suddenly appearing alone with such a girl in this sacred dating place near the college town, it was hard not to overthink. This made Fang Mo make a sour face.
What made his chest feel even tighter was that when he turned his head again, he found that the two of them had stopped.
The girl’s shoelaces had become loose. She was wearing a pair of preppy leather-laced shoes, and the lace of one of her shoes was hanging loosely on the ground. Because her skirt was a bit short, it was inconvenient to squat down, so she raised her head in embarrassment and said something to Xu Xiran.
Xu Xiran nodded when he heard her words, he then lowered his body and began to tie her shoelaces.
Fang Mo felt a mouthful of blood accumulating in his chest, and nearly died on the spot.
“Who the hell is this person!” Zou Shun said again. This time, he was obviously not asking.
Seeing that Xu Xiran had already tied her shoelaces and that they were about to move on, Zou Shun reached out his hand and patted Fang Mo.
“Quick, reply to his message, tell him that you’re also nearby, and ask him to meet up!”
“Now?” Fang Mo frowned awkwardly, “Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?”
“It’s not,” Zou Shun said with a serious face, “Don’t you want to ask about your enemy?”
Fang Mo struggled for a while, then glanced in Xu Xiran’s direction from afar.
Xu Xiran didn’t walk far, and was holding his phone to take pictures of a small shop that was full of people lined up at the door by the roadside. After he was done, he lowered his head and quickly typed away with his two thumbs while he chatted with the girl beside him.
Just as Fang Mo’s mood was getting worse, his phone vibrated again. He checked his phone, and it turned out to be the fresh hot photo that Xu Xiran had just taken.
[“Do you want some brown sugar cake? This is the most famous shop here. You haven’t been here too long so you probably haven’t tried it yet!”]
Fang Mo closed his eyes and scratched his hair with his other hand.
“What’s wrong?” Zou Shun craned his neck to look at his screen.
“What kind of torture is this,” Fang Mo wailed. “Why is this man like this…”
Unconsciously giving him a slash of the whip but also handing him a sweet jujube made him feel miserable yet unable to stop.
Seeing that Xu Xiran had reached the end of the line still outside of the shop, Fang Mo finally mustered up the courage to reply.
[“Turn around and look across from you.”]
On the other side of the street, Xu Xiran quickly lowered his head to check his phone, then immediately raised his head and turned to look in Fang Mo’s direction.
After searching for a while, their eyes finally met. Xu Xiran immediately laughed, and his eyes squinted from smiling as he revealed a row of white teeth. He waved his hand at Fang Mo, and shouted a few more words. Fang Mo couldn’t hear any of it through the glass of the dessert shop.
Seeing Fang Mo’s blank expression, Xu Xiran smiled again, raised his phone, and waved it at Fang Mo. With that, Fang Mo’s cell phone rang.
When the call connected, Xu Xiran’s voice clearly sounded like he was smiling: “What a coincidence, why are you here? Are you alone?”
Xu Xiran completely ignored the feelings of the person sitting opposite Fang Mo.
“No, Zou Shun is with me.” Fang Mo said.
Xu Xiran’s expression immediately froze. He turned his eyes slightly, then he noticed Zou Shun who was less than a meter away from Fang Mo.
Zou Shun raised his hand and waved to him, and he immediately smiled and nodded in greeting.
Then, he lowered his voice on the phone, “Did he invite you out here?”
“Eh…” Fang Mo hesitated, wondering if he should tell the truth.
Xu Xiran interpreted his hesitation without authorization, “It’s inconvenient for you to say, right? Don’t worry, just wait for me, I’ll come over as soon as I buy this dessert. It should be quick.”
Fang Mo nodded, “Oh, then I’ll wait for you.”
“I’ll hang up then?” Xu Xiran said.
“Wait,” Fang Mo cleared his throat, “Why are you also here?”
Xu Xiran sighed, his expression and tone seemed a bit helpless: “I’m accompanying my friend to buy things.”
“You mean, the one next to you?” Fang Mo asked.
Xu Xiran glanced at him from a distance and suddenly showed a somewhat strange smile. He lowered his head and asked softly, “Isn’t she pretty?”
Fang Mo sorted out his emotions for a bit, then stiffly replied, “… She’s alright.”
“Wow, this handsome guy’s standards are that high?” Xu Xiran teased with a smile.
This meant that he thought she was very pretty. Fang Mo became even more depressed and kept his mouth shut.
The girl stood right beside him, and not knowing how much she understood, she reached out her hand to pull Xu Xiran’s sleeve and said something to him. Xu Xiran covered the phone’s microphone when he answered, so Fang Mo couldn’t hear clearly.
Soon, the girl turned her head to look at Fang Mo and Zou Shun and smiled at them while making a finger heart.
“…So cheesy!” Zou Shun whispered.
In the meantime, the people in front of Xu Xiran had just paid. Xu Xiran gestured at Fang Mo, then hung up the call.
“Don’t be so tense,” Zou Shun reassured him, “Take a deep breath and calm down. When they come over, you can ask what their relationship is. Look at the girl’s dress, she should be from their club, right?”
Fang Mo said in a low voice, “Mn.”
In addition to the brown sugar cake, the two of them also bought a lot of other snacks, and they filled up two whole large bags. The quantity was astonishing and it looked quite heavy. After paying, they walked to the side of the road and Xu Xiran fished out a small bag from the two large bags, then handed the rest of the heavy bags to the girl.
The two said a few more things to each other, then the girl turned around, smiled and waved at Fang Mo and Zou Shun from a distance, and then walked away alone with her bags. Xu Xiran, who was left carrying a small bag, quickly ran across the road and walked into their dessert shop.
“Hi~!” Zou Shun waved his arm up high to greet him when he saw him, “Come sit here!”
Xu Xiran quickly to the table, sat next to Fang Mo, and put the small bag on the table.
“The brown sugar cakes at this shop are really good,” he said, “Try it.”
Fang Mo was in no mood to think about food. He absent-mindedly fiddled with the bag and asked, “Where’s your friend? Why isn’t she here with you?”
“She had something to do and had to hurry back,” Xu Xiran said, then urged, “Quick, eat it while it’s hot, try it!”
Fang Mo had no other choice but to distribute out the cakes in the bag one by one.
“You two bought so much, and this kind of sticky rice dessert is quite heavy. You’re going to just let her carry it all back alone?” Zou Shun asked.
“It’s fine, it’s not that heavy,” Xu Xiran refused to accept, then asked Fang Mo who had already taken a bite, “Is it good?”
It was good. The sticky rice was sweet and soft, slightly sticking to the teeth, and with the distinct flavor of brown sugar, it was filled with a nice aroma. However, right now, no matter how sweet the delicacy was, he still felt that it didn’t taste right.
Seeing that Fang Mo was only weakly nodding, Xu Xiran was a bit disappointed and even quietly complained.
“You’re just picky.” After saying that, he suddenly thought of something and asked, “Are you unhappy that she left?”
Fang Mo was taken aback, then immediately denied, “What, no!”
His reaction was too fierce, which aroused suspicion instead. Xu Xiran looked him up and down a few times, then smiled.
“Just then, you said that she was only alright,” he said.
Fang Mo turned his head, “…she’s not my type.”
“I don’t believe you,” Xu Xiran said firmly, “Don’t you also like girls like Xiaoyao?”
“What does it have to do with her?” Fang Mo frowned.
“Hey, don’t you think they look alike?” Xu Xiran said.
Fang Mo was stunned. He hesitated for a moment, then glanced at Zou Shun who had been silent across the table. Zou Shun pursed his lips and looked at the two of them expressionlessly, and Fang Mo couldn’t tell what he was thinking.
When Xu Xiran had said that Zou Shun looked exactly like the male lead, Fang Mo couldn’t understand. When he now said that the girl was like Xiaoyao, Fang Mo also couldn’t understand. For him, the wall between two and three-dimensional people was too big. Who could possibly be like those anime characters whose eyes occupied half their face?
But because Xu Xiran felt they were similar, this was a serious problem.
“As you mentioned before, the girl in charge of cosplaying Xiaoyao, is her?” Fang Mo asked.
“Yes,” Xu Xiran nodded excitedly, “Their appearances are very close, right!”
Fang Mo nodded with difficulty. Although it was hard to say for other places, her chest was incomparably just like the original character’s. Maybe for straight men, this meant she was already 99% similar.
Xu Xiran was very satisfied with his reaction, then said with a smile, “She’s cute, isn’t she?”
“I have a question,” Zou Shun suddenly raised his hand, “As such a lovely girl, is it really okay for you to leave her and let her carry such a heavy thing back by herself?”
His expression was very tangled, probably because he really thought that Xu Xiran’s actions were not right.
But after hesitating for a moment, Xu Xiran had a different interpretation.
“You don’t want me to come?” He said.
He began to overthink.
Zou Shun was stunned for half a second, then he burst out laughing with a “puchi” sound. Seeing this, Fang Mo quickly kicked him under the table.
“That, I mean…” Zou Shun worked hard to control his expression, cleared his throat again, then said, “It’s strange for you to accompany someone to buy things together, only for you to run off halfway, isn’t it? Momo, what do you say?”
Xu Xiran didn’t say a word and looked at Fang Mo.
In his eyes, this may have become an Asura Realm1The Asura Realm refers to one of the six realms of reincarnation in Buddhism. The Asuras are demigods that are known to be competitive, jealous and violent, and the Asura Realm in this context can be taken as that of a hostile battleground of jealousy, and Fang Mo needed to declare where he stood.
“Uh,” Fang Mo was in a dilemma for a while, and decided to take the initiative to avoid trouble, “Actually, there’s nothing wrong with letting her come over to sit here and chat for a bit.”
When Xu Xiran heard this, his expression suddenly became tangled. He moved a little closer to Fang Mo’s direction, and then softly asked, “You really don’t have any interest in her?”
“I don’t!” Fang Mo loudly denied.
With the same reaction as before, Xu Xiran came to the same conclusion. But this time, he no longer had the same joking manner and expression.
“You better not like them2 Starting here in the text, Xu Xiran uses the pronoun “he” but since “he” and “she” are pronounced the same in Chinese, Fang Mo and Zou Shun are not able to tell yet. To show this, I’ll use the neutral they/them pronouns until it’s revealed,” he said in a serious tone.
“What is it?” Zou Shun immediately interjected, “Are you afraid you won’t be able to compete with our handsome guy?”
“That’s not it,” Xu Xiran was a little embarrassed, then waved his hands dismissively and lowered his voice, “Their breasts are all fake, they’re padded.”
“How do you know!” Fang Mo was alert and asked sternly.
Zou Shun also interjected, “Da-ge3Means big brother and can be used to call other guys around the same age, don’t you think your way of thinking is quite vulgar?”
“Where are your minds at?” Xu Xiran didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “You really can’t see it at all?”
“What?” Fang Mo couldn’t understand.
“Ai,” he sighed, “They specifically told me not to tell you two since they wanted to scare you the next time you two are at the club. Now I can’t not betray them.”
Fang Mo was confused and curious, “What do you mean?”
Xu Xiran raised his head and seemed to be holding back a smile, “Do you still remember when I told you there was a boy in our club who couldn’t stop crossdressing as a woman?”
Fang Mo blinked his eyes twice, unable to digest for a while, “…So?”
After he spoke, before Xu Xiran could answer, he suddenly realized. And was dumbstruck to the core.
- 1The Asura Realm refers to one of the six realms of reincarnation in Buddhism. The Asuras are demigods that are known to be competitive, jealous and violent, and the Asura Realm in this context can be taken as that of a hostile battleground
- 2Starting here in the text, Xu Xiran uses the pronoun “he” but since “he” and “she” are pronounced the same in Chinese, Fang Mo and Zou Shun are not able to tell yet. To show this, I’ll use the neutral they/them pronouns until it’s revealed
- 3Means big brother and can be used to call other guys around the same age