“Uncle Wang was so nice. Why did you ignore him?” The girl seemed to be disappointed by Zhang Yang’s lack of manners.
“He’s nice. I never said he wasn’t nice.” Zhang Yang blanked, unable to come up with a better excuse.
The girl looked at him, confused. “Then why did you run away?”
“That…You don’t understand…Let’s go eat first. I’m really hungry. We’ll talk while we eat.” Zhang Yang was lazy; he didn’t want to waste the effort and brainpower needed to properly explain what had happened.
“En…  How about this shop?”
The two had hardly walked more than 20 meters past the gate before the girl pointed at a small restaurant, asking for Zhang Yang’s opinion.
“Sure, it’s just a meal. Anywhere is the same to me.” Zhang Yang was not very picky when it came to food. As long as it filled his stomach, he was satisfied.
They approached the restaurant.
“Shopkeeper, food please,” she timidly shouted.
As Zhang Yang watched her, he guessed that she probably very rarely went out to eat. In these kinds of restaurants that were near the school, the kitchen would be right by the door with grease smoke billowing about the entrance. However, it gave a great view of the hot and fresh food being prepared; also, the price was cheap, making it a popular option for students. The students who were slightly well off would often head to a shop like this to eat.
“If you wanna eat, just eat! What’re yelling for!? What do you want, huh? Today I had a fight with my wife and she went back to her parents’ house, so I don’t have time for your nonsense.” The cook was a fat and shirtless man. He was so busy cooking in the heat of the kitchen that his entire back was glistening with sweat. The cook didn’t even spare the two of them a glance as he continued to focus on the food in front of him, an unhappy expression etched onto his face.
“So, what do you want to eat?” Zhang Yang looked back and asked.
“You can decide.” The girl said, lightly scrunching her brow as she stared at the cook. She seemed concerned that the sweat on his brow would drip into the wok.
Zhang Yang spoke to the fat cook. “Uh, one tomato egg drop soup, one pork and chile stir fry, and one pan fried eggplant. Yeah, just these, though the number of dishes is a little high…Oh, by the way, are there still any couple’s booths left?”
The girl’s face, after hearing Zhang Yang say “couple’s booth,” instantly turned bright red. Unable to properly react to this sudden event, she could only open and close her mouth in surprise. She had noticed as soon as they had entered the shop that while there were four tables in the main dining area, three of them were already occupied by students from their school. They were all eating and drinking, their faces red from alcohol. Luckily, they hadn’t noticed her and Zhang Yang coming in.
“There’s still one left at the very back. You can go there yourself. I’m too busy right now. Bowls and chopsticks are right over there.” The fatty still hadn’t looked up; the sound of his ladle hitting the wok let out loud clangs.
“Okay.” Zhang Yang quickly ran over to the cutlery cabinet, grabbing a pair of bowls and chopsticks, and then he led the girl further into the restaurant to a private room. This kind of private room was jokingly called a couple’s booth by the students because the narrow space only left enough room for two people to sit inside. Even then, their legs would be cramped.
After sitting down, the girl scrunched her whole body up, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t keep her legs from touching Zhang Yang’s. The space was just too small. Seeing the uncomfortable expression on the girl’s face, Zhang Yang had no choice but to stick his legs out into the hall. Only then were the two able to avoid physical contact.
“What’s your name?” Zhang Yang asked.
“Ah…Du Xue…” The girl was caught unprepared by Zhang Yang’s sudden question.
“Why not Du Kang ?”
“Hehe, it’s just a joke. Oh, right. Why haven’t I seen you around the campus before?” Zhang Yang laughed and asked.
“Although I’m a third year student, I’ve only been here for half a year. Normally, I’m always in my dorm or reading…” The girl’s voice was very delicate, giving Zhang Yang a comfortable feeling.
“Ah, no wonder…”
Another wave of silence engulfed the booth. Zhang Yang wasn’t a very talkative person in the first place, and Du Xue was clearly a quiet and reserved girl who didn’t like to talk too much. With the two of them together, there wasn’t much to be said.
“Zhang Yang, you’re really strong.” That girl felt that the silent and awkward atmosphere was a little wrong; after all, she did invite Zhang Yang out to this meal.
“Uh…” Zhang Yang didn’t know how to respond. If he weren’t actually strong then that day on the train would have been a display of miraculous bravery, and if he were actually strong then right now he wouldn’t be so weak that a slight breeze could blow him over.
“Would you kill someone for real?” The girl suddenly asked.
Zhang Yang nearly choked in surprise. “Why would you think that?”
“I don’t know. That day it felt like you would really kill him; I was really scared…” The girl’s eyes shot open as if she still felt lingering fear from that day. She had been sitting right next to Zhang Yang, so naturally she was the one who had received the greatest amount of his killing intent
“I don’t really know myself. Oh yeah, where did you study before this school?” Zhang Yang tried to change the topic.
“At the capital.”
“Why did you transfer to C City? This school is really bad.”
“No real reason. I just wanted a change in scenery.” The girl seemed like she didn’t want to talk about her history.
The two fell into silence once again as they fiddled with their chopsticks. Zhang Yang’s attention turned to the girl’s hands. They were very full and plump, as well as flawlessly white. Their allure made Zhang Yang really wanted to just take a bite…
“Tomato egg drop soup, pork and chile stir fry, a pan fried eggplant…what’s wrong? This little couple playing the silent game?” The fat cook came in, carrying a large tray. Seeing Zhang Yang and Du Xue sitting silently, he laughingly teased them.
Zhang Yang was speechless.
“… No no, we’re just fellow students, we’re not a couple…”
Although Zhang Yang didn’t say anything, Du Xue frantically denied their relationship. Her already rosey cheeks took on an even brighter hue.
“I understand. Everyone here is from the same school so who isn’t a fellow student? I get it…” The fatty placed their food on the table while nodding his head in understanding before leaving.
Du Xue unhappily glared at the back of the cook as he left the booth. The more she explained the situation, the worse it looked.
“Come on, let’s eat. It’s self-serve rice over there. My mom used to say, a man shouldn’t serve a girl rice…” As soon as the fat cook left, Zhang Yang ran out and scooped himself a bowl of rice. As soon as he came back, he started scarfing it down; he really had been hungry for a while.
The girl stared blankly at Zhang Yang before walking out and getting her own bowl of rice.
“Why shouldn’t a man serve a girl rice?” She asked curiously.
“My mom said ‘If a man could serve rice to a girl, then he could fill their feet washing basin. And if he could fill their feet washing basin, then he could cook for them. If he could cook for them, then he could babysit for them…’”
“And then?” The girl stared at Zhang Yang with wide eyes. She couldn’t believe that a simple serving of rice could lead to so many things.
“There’s no more…Mmm…These dishes are pretty good. That’s because, that man is no longer a man.”
In this short exchange, the rice bowl in Zhang Yang’s hand had already emptied. He ran outside for another refill.
“Eat! Why aren’t you eating?” Zhang Yang buried his face in his rice bowl, furiously scooping rice into his mouth. In contrast, Du Xue hadn’t even picked up her chopsticks.
Zhang Yang was like a ghost released from the Starving Hell. In the blink of an eye, he had already finished off three bowls of rice. Only then did his stomach feel satisfied. Comparatively, Du Xue’s small bowl of rice had only slightly diminished.
“Ah so comfortable…” Zhang Yang stretched out while patting his stomach and let out a satisfied groan.
Seeing Zhang Yang’s actions, Du Xue couldn’t help but let out a giggle. This giggle was akin to hundreds of flowers blooming in the spring. Her beautiful and tender face was like a flower, causing Zhang Yang’s heart to thump wildly in his chest. As he gazed upon her beautiful and innocent face, Zhang Yang realized his resistance to women was nonexistent.
“What are you looking at…” Seeing Zhang Yang staring fixedly at her face, Du Xue’s face became flushed once more as she hurriedly lowered her head and started eating.
 “En” is an expression that is used to show assent or affirmation. In this situation, she is using the expression to say “yes.”
 A famous poet