Chapter 5 – “Did you not apply your lipstick properly this morning?”

In the early morning, Xi Ning had been awakened by the gentle sound of her phone alarm.
She got up, pulled back the curtains, and left the bed.
The dormitory had been very quiet, and there had been no sign of anyone else getting up yet.
The sky outside the glass sliding door had been pitch black, even darker than usual at that time.

After washing up, she had remembered the rainfall rate mentioned in the news and had put an umbrella in her bag before leaving the dormitory.
As she had passed by the closed door of the neighboring room, she had skipped it due to Tu Xiaoyuan’s morning grumpiness and habit of sleeping in.
Su Yuqi had rented a house outside the school because she had not been used to living in a dormitory.

With earphones in her right ear and energizing music playing, Xi Ning had gone downstairs alone.
The road to the teaching building had been deserted, with few students around.
The sky above had still been gray, but much brighter than when she had first woken up.
At least she had been able to see people’s faces while walking on the road.

“Hey, can you help me?” The slightly hoarse voice of a girl with a hint of laziness had sounded familiar to Xi Ning, who had hesitated and stopped.

At that moment, she had been standing on the edge of a small path, with a wall separating her from the main road outside the school five meters to her left.
Through a sparse canopy of leaves and branches, she had seen Kong Nianxi sitting on a wall that had been taller than a person.

Kong Nianxi had not been wearing a school uniform, and her loose sleeves had revealed a slender, white wrist.
Her fingers had been long and delicate, like white jade, lightly tapping on the stone wall beneath her.
The thin shoulders of the girl had been about to collapse in the cold morning light, as if she would fall off the wall in the next second.

Xi Ning, who had a slight fear of heights, had felt a tightness in her heart and furrowed her brows.

There had been a commercial street near the school, with internet cafes, pool halls, cinemas, KTVs, and restaurants of all sizes, serving students from several nearby schools.
Xi Ning had often seen girls who had climbed over the wall to return from the other side of the wall near the female dormitory in the morning.
However, it had been the first time she had seen Kong Nianxi, perhaps because she had not paid attention before, or because it had been the first time she had been called out by her.

However, Kong Nianxi might not have been calling her.
There had been other people on the road, and they had not been familiar with each other.

Xi Ning had looked back and had seen a boy with a backpack slung over his shoulder also looking at Kong Nianxi not far behind her.

“Sister Xi! Did you go out with your sisters again last night?”

Xi Ning had withdrawn her gaze and had continued on her way.

Fortunately, she had not overthought it…

“Student Xi?”

Hearing a light chuckle, Xi Ning had been slightly surprised and had turned her head to look.

Kong Nianxi had been looking straight at her, with a smile on her lips and a hint of playfulness in the upturned corners of her eyes.
She had raised her hand and had pointed below, “It’s a bit high.
Can you help me?”

Xi Ning had been first stunned, and then her gaze had followed Kong Nianxi’s hand as she had lifted it, and her brow had furrowed a little.

Perhaps due to her own fear of heights, she had become nervous when she had seen others in high places.

Moreover…staying out all night and leaving school without permission had not been good behaviors in Xi Ning’s subconscious.

“She’s a girl, let me help you, Sister Xi.” The boy with the backpack had stepped forward, grinning.

Kong Nianxi had glanced at him sideways, her lips slightly curved, and had waved him away, “You go away, I want a girl to help me.”

The boy had taken a step forward and then had retreated, scratching his head and saying, “Oh,” curiously looking at Xi Ning before running away.

Xi Ning had stood still for two seconds until the boy had been far away, then had walked towards Kong Nianxi under her gaze.

“How…can I help you?”

The flat land under the sparse weeds in the corner of the wall had nothing to step on.
Kong Nianxi had blinked and her gaze had fallen on the girl standing below, looking up at her.
It had been a common trait for tall girls to wear short skirts that had exuded a sweet feeling, but Xi Ning’s uniform had given off a strong sense of elegance, especially with the straight-angled shoulders of her suit jacket, which had made Kong Nianxi inexplicably want to lean on her.

Her breath had caught, and her tongue had pressed against the roof of her mouth as she had been startled by her sudden thoughts.
Had her mind not been clear enough because she had stayed up all night last night?

But then she had remembered the milk tea that Xi Ning had sent her during last night’s self-study session…

Kong Nianxi had licked her lips and had adjusted her brown hair before her mouth had curved into a smile.
“If I can’t stand steady later, just help me.”

Xi Ning furrowed her brow as she assessed the height of the wall.
It wasn’t too high, but there was still a risk of getting hurt if she jumped down directly.
Although Kong Nianxi had been put on her “blacklist” at the beginning of the school year, they were still classmates, and there was no animosity between them.
Since she had chosen to help, safety had to be ensured.

“I’ll catch you,” Xi Ning said.

She walked a few steps closer, opened her arms, and looked up at Kong Nianxi with a calm expression.
Although her tone was light, it was firm.

Kong Nianxi, who was sitting on the wall, was taken aback.

Xi Ning glanced at the time and pursed her lips.
She was already five minutes late, and if she didn’t hurry, she wouldn’t be able to finish her listening practice during the early self-study period.

“Can we hurry?” she urged in a low voice.

Kong Nianxi glanced at Xi Ning’s open arms and inexplicably felt her heart skip a beat.
She lightly pushed off the wall and landed in Xi Ning’s warm and soft embrace, which was even more comfortable than she had expected.

Feeling safe in Xi Ning’s arms, she relaxed.
Xi Ning took a step back to ease the impact and found that Kong Nianxi was light enough to handle the height.

However, when their breaths collided and their bodies touched, a warm sensation inadvertently brushed against Xi Ning’s cheek, making her feel tingly and soft.
Her hands around Kong Nianxi’s waist stiffened, and she widened her eyes.

“Why are you hesitating, Nianxi? You used to jump down without hesitation.
Why do you need help this time… Oh my god!”

At this moment, a boy climbed up from outside the wall, revealing half of his body.
When he saw the two people hugging each other, he screamed in shock.

Xi Ning regained her senses and found that Kong Nianxi was still leaning on her.
She took a step back and pulled away, creating some distance between them.
Kong Nianxi stood up straight, straightened her messy clothes, and ran her red nails through her hair.
“Thank you, you…”

“No problem,” Xi Ning interrupted her, nodded at Kong Nianxi, and turned to leave quickly, ignoring the stunned face of the boy on the wall behind her.

With only ten minutes left until morning self-study ended, the sound of reading in the classroom had already died down.
Everyone was waiting for the bell to ring so they could go eat.
Xi Ning finished the last listening question, took off her headphones, and the empty seat next to her was pulled open.
Tu Xiao Yuan walked over from the back row and sat down.

“Wu wu… why hasn’t Zhuai Zhuai replied yet? I wanted to eat Hangzhou Xiaolongbao this morning~”

Thanks to Su Yuqi being a day student, Xi Ning and Tu Xiao Yuan didn’t have to eat the school cafeteria’s terrible breakfast.
They relied on her to bring them food from outside of school.

“Maybe something came up,” Xi Ning said, putting the cap back on her pen and looking at her.

“Haha, Xi Ning, what’s with your…” Tu Xiao Yuan suddenly pounded the table and burst out laughing.
Xi Ning was stunned for a moment, then took out a mirror and saw a faint but very obvious lipstick mark from her lips to her cheek.

Of course, it couldn’t be hers.
She didn’t have the habit of putting on makeup early in the morning.
It could only be…

She couldn’t understand why Kong Nianxi had stayed up all night at the internet cafe and even put on lipstick before leaving.

But now was not the time to think about that.
Thinking about the lipstick mark left on her face during morning self-study, Xi Ning’s blood flowed backwards, her heart beating like a drum, and her hands trembled as she vigorously wiped it off with a tissue.

Tu Xiao Yuan laughed again, but stopped when she saw Xi Ning’s cold gaze.

To change the awkward atmosphere, Xi Ning picked up her phone to send a few more messages to Su Yuqi, but saw Xi Mu’s profile picture suddenly pop up at the front.

【Xi Mu: Buddha bless! How was the milk tea last night? It wasn’t thrown away, was it?】

Xi Ning was in a bad mood and replied to him.

【Xi Ning: Why would it be thrown away?】

【Xi Mu: ! Did she accept it? Ahhh!!】

She couldn’t understand his pounding teenage heart, and was even more speechless about his overflowing excitement.
It was just a cup of milk tea, wasn’t it? And he didn’t even know that she was the one who sent it.
What was there to be happy about?

【Xi Ning: She thought it was from me.】

She thought she had poured cold water on him, but Xi Mu’s reply seemed even more excited.

【Xi Mu: That’s great! Have you become closer with her?】

Xi Ning: “…”

“Did Zhuai Zhuai reply yet?” Tu Xiao Yuan suddenly leaned over and pressed her shoulder.
Xi Ning quickly put her phone away and said, “No, not yet.”

Noticing her deliberate avoidance, Tu Xiao Yuan immediately raised her eyebrows mischievously.
“Xi Ning, do you have something going on? Who are you sending those messages to that you don’t want anyone to see?”

“Ahem…” Xi Ning turned her head, cleared her throat, and prepared to find a topic to divert the conversation.
But Tu Xiao Yuan suddenly hugged her right arm and said, “Ah, I’m so hungry.
I really want to eat Feicui Tangbao too!”

Tu XiaooYuan looked in the direction of the front door and howled with envy.
A boy from another class walked in through the front door and put a bag of buns from a certain chain bun shop on Kong Nianxi’s empty desk, then turned and left.

Kong Nianxi didn’t come to morning self-study, but because they were only two rows apart, Xi Ning could clearly see her desk.
In addition to the bag of buns, there were also a few loaves of bread, two bottles of milk, and a few lollipops.

“He’s a sports student from the next class.
He hasn’t given up yet.”

“Why are there so many people sending breakfast today? It’s like a battlefield.”

“What battlefield? The bread was sent by a male best friend, and the milk and candy were left by a girl.
I saw it all.”

“Although Kong Nianxi is very friendly, isn’t it a bit too much to have such good relationships with so many boys?”

Hearing the gossip from her classmates, Xi Ning subconsciously thought of her cowardly brother, Xi Mu.
She had never really cared about his crush on Kong Nianxi.
She knew her twin brother too well.
He was always enthusiastic about everything he did, but it was probably just a momentary impulse.
Even though this was his first time pursuing a girl, it was probably just a passing fancy.

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