There Is No One Like YouChapters List
Chapter 5: You Seem Nervous
"Huh? What a coincidence," Li Zhi exclaimed, his voice a little loud, waking up the lazy cat that had been napping beside him. He reached out and stroked its fur before saying, "I really didn't expect this."
Chen Yi's response to such coincidences was nonchalant. He leaned over and scooped the cat into his arms, his well-defined fingers gently stroking its back. The blue veins on the back of his hand faintly appeared as he moved, and after a moment, he asked, "How did you meet Ruan Mian?"
"You don't remember?" Li Zhi looked at him as if he had seen a ghost.
Chen Yi's hand paused in its petting, and he lifted his gaze to meet Li Zhi's face. After a few seconds of contemplation, he followed up, "Remember what?"
"We've met Ruan Mian before. It was during your last visit to the internet cafe for barbecue. She got lost and ended up at the entrance of the cafe, mistaking me for a skewer vendor."
Chen Yi had visited Li Zhi's internet cafe for barbecue many times during the summer, and with so many people coming and going every day, he had no recollection of this particular memory.
Li Zhi couldn't help rolling his eyes. "With your terrible memory, I seriously suspect you bribed your school teachers to get first place in the grade."
In the end, it was about someone insignificant, so Chen Yi didn't bother to dwell on this long-forgotten memory he had no recollection of. With a casual tone and a straightforward retort, he shot back, "If that's the case, then you must remember everything since you didn't get first place, right?"
After dinner, Li Zhi returned to tend to his shop, and Chen Yi accompanied him on the way to buy some items. Before leaving, the housekeeper (aunt) asked him to bring back a few packets of salt.
Coming out of Pingjiang Residence, they turned a corner and arrived at Pingjiang West Lane. The cool night breeze rustled through, and the various shops on both sides of the street were brightly lit.
The young figures were adorned with a touch of brilliance amidst the glamorous lights and shadows.
Walking into the alley felt like stepping into another world, where daily chatter and household affairs filled the air. The warm tones of the light added a touch of fireworks to this ordinary night.
Li Zhi unlocked the door again. His father took his grandfather to visit relatives in the countryside and would return tomorrow. The shop remained just as it was before they left.
Chen Yi walked in and reached for the light switch on the wall, flicking it down.
With a "click" sound, the tungsten filament inside the light bulb flashed twice before being fully powered, illuminating the room brightly and quickly attracting a swarm of insects.
Li Zhi went to the counter and reminded him, "The salt is on the third shelf from the bottom."
"No rush." Chen Yi took out a reclining chair from the corner and placed it next to the counter. Lying down with his fingers crossed on his stomach and eyes closed, he asked, "When will Uncle Li be back?"
"Unless something unexpected happens, he'll be back tomorrow." Li Zhi took out some coins from the drawer and arranged them in groups of ten, casually asking, "Why aren't Uncle and Aunt at home today?"
"Mom has a performance with her troupe, and dad went to support her." Chen Yi's mother was a dancer, a prominent figure in the military art troupe when she was young. Over a decade ago, she was transferred to the Pingcheng Grand Theater along with her husband due to job changes and was now a top-tier national-level actress.
After chatting for a while, Li Zhi felt thirsty and walked out from behind the counter to the kitchen to fetch some water. He asked Chen Yi if he wanted tea or plain water.
Chen Yi reclined on the bamboo lounge chair, using the small pillow it came with, and held his phone in front of his face. The screen's glow illuminated his expression as he shook his head and said, "No need, I'm not thirsty."
"Then keep an eye on the shop for me."
At this time, everyone was in a hurry to return home for dinner. Bicycles rang their bells as they passed by the supermarket entrance, sometimes accompanied by the revving of a few motorcycles.
After Ruan Mian got home, she took a nap. She woke up to take a shower downstairs. When she came out of the bathroom with wet hair, she ran into Zhao Shutang, who had just returned from outside.
Ruan Mian was well aware that Zhao Shutang didn't like her, but so far, she hadn't seen her do anything particularly offensive. At most, she treated her as a stranger living under the same roof. As long as Zhao Shutang didn't cross her bottom line, Ruan Mian didn't bother to engage with her.
The two passed each other in the living room in silence.
Ruan Mian had her dinner early, so she was feeling a bit hungry now. After drying her hair, she went to the kitchen, but there was nothing in the fridge except for watermelon and leftovers.
Wearing slippers, she went upstairs to change out of her pajamas and took some change before leaving the house.
Zhao's home was located at the far end of the alley, where the lively scene could only be seen when walking out. On the way, Ruan Mian bumped into Duan Ying, who was visiting neighbors with Zhao Shuyang. She stopped and called out, "Grandma."
The surrounding conversations quieted down. Duan Ying flicked off the melon seed shells from her lap and looked up at her. "Why are you going out so late?"
"Well, I'm going to the supermarket up ahead to buy some things," Ruan Mian replied.
Hearing that she was going to the supermarket, Zhao Shuyang, who had been squatting and playing marbles, immediately stood up and ran to Ruan Mian, clamoring, "I want to go too!"
Duan Ying scolded him, "What are you going for?"
Upon hearing this, Zhao Shuyang pouted and began to complain. Ruan Mian patted his head and smiled, "It's okay. The supermarket is just ahead. I'll take him with me."
"He's used to it." That's what Duan Ying said, but in the end, she relented, "Just don't buy him whatever he asks for."
As the siblings walked away, the person who had been sitting down watched them leave, resuming the consumption of melon seeds. The gossip had now shifted from discussing whose son and daughter-in-law were disrespectful to their father to talking about Ruan Mian.
The aunt in a summer blouse asked, "Is this the daughter brought by Da Wei's new wife? She looks quite sensible, she knows how to call someone."
Duan Ying lowered her eyes, patting the dust off her trousers, and said, "Sensible? She hasn't even greeted the elders."
A few women exchanged glances and echoed with a few words, moving on from this topic.
Li's supermarket was just around the corner. Ruan Mian led Zhao Shuyang over. There were two steps at the entrance, and Zhao Shuyang shook off her hand and climbed up using both hands and feet.
The shop was brightly lit. As Ruan Mian approached, she saw a person lying behind the counter. The glass counter, a little over a meter wide, concealed the upper body but not the lower body.
Two straight and slender legs sprawled casually, the pants rolled up to reveal an exquisitely beautiful ankle with distinct bone structure.
Thinking it was Li Zhi, she called out, "Li Zhi."
"Li Zhi is not here." The person lying down heard her voice, sat up while answering, and suddenly revealed his face to the light, unexpectedly appearing before Ruan Mian.
He stood up from the reclining chair, his tall figure causing his eyelids to droop slightly, as if seeing Ruan Mian here didn't surprise him at all. "Get what you need by yourself."
Ruan Mian was completely stunned, her mind frozen in place. It took her quite a while to remember to speak, but by then, Chen Yi had already laid back down.
Missed the opportunity, she would seem abrupt and embarrassed if she spoke again, so she let Zhao Shuyang lead her to the shelves.
The sudden encounter with Chen Yi was too overwhelming, and Ruan Mian had completely forgotten Duan Ying's instructions, allowing Zhao Shuyang to grab many items, only to realize at the checkout that she didn't have enough money.
The Li's supermarket at that time was different from typical convenience stores; they had a specialized cash register machine where each item was scanned.
Ruan Mian clutched the few banknotes tightly, her face turning red with nervousness, and her palms became sweaty. "Sorry, can I return some items? I don't have enough money with me today."
"Sure." Chen Yi pressed a few keys, clearing all the items entered into the machine. "You can see what you want to return."
"Oh." Ruan Mian removed about a third of the items from the table. "That's enough."
Chen Yi glanced at the remaining items on the table and took away a few more. Then he resumed scanning. Throughout the entire process, Ruan Mian never looked up, keeping her gaze fixed on his hands.
Finally, the total came to 103 yuan. Chen Yi even needed to give Ruan Mian 2 yuan as change. He took out two coins from the cash box and placed them on the table.
Ruan Mian reached out to take them but, due to nerves or something else, the coins seemed to have grown claws and refused to be picked up.
The more anxious she got, the harder it became to pick them up.
Seeing this, Chen Yi retrieved two more coins from the box. Instead of placing them on the table, he held them in his hand and handed them over. "Stop struggling. Take them."
Ruan Mian had no choice but to look up and met his gaze, forcing herself not to look away. She extended her hand and said, "Thank you."
But instead of giving them directly, Chen Yi pinched the coins and rubbed them a couple of times, his voice unusually calm, "Classmate Ruan."
"Hmm?" Ruan Mian didn't expect him to suddenly call her. Even in a monosyllabic response, there was a hint of nervousness.
"You seem quite nervous, are you afraid of me?" As he spoke, Chen Yi also loosened his grip on the coins, and the two coins fell into Ruan Mian's open palm, producing a crisp sound upon impact.
"...No," Ruan Mian closed her hand, feeling the coins with her fingertips, as if she could still sense the warmth left by Chen Yi a few seconds ago.
"No?" Chen Yi stared into Ruan Mian's eyes.
She forced herself to appear composed, even though her breathing seemed to halt. "Um, no."
Chen Yi didn't reply further. He reached over and picked up the two extra coins on the table, his easy movements seemingly mocking Ruan Mian's lack of frankness.
"You should head back soon." After saying this, he put the coins back in the drawer and turned around to lie back on the reclining chair, hiding most of his figure, with his long legs resting on the floor this time.
Ruan Mian stood still for more than ten seconds before finally gathering her belongings and leading Zhao Shuyang out of the store. At the entrance, she peeked back inside, finding the young man still in the same position.
Zhao Shuyang was eager to go back, pulling Ruan Mian's arm from the front.
Feeling like she had lost half her soul, Ruan Mian was dragged forward, unable to articulate her emotions. She only felt a heaviness in her chest, as if her breath was being stifled.
That night was cool, with the moon casting a serene glow. Ruan Mian experienced for the first time the bitter taste of losing control of her heartbeat due to a single sentence and gesture.
Not long after Ruan Mian left the store, Li Zhi came in from the backyard. He had gone to fetch water and used the restroom.
"Did anyone come to buy something?" he asked.
Chen Yi responded with a sound, pocketing his phone. "A total of 103 yuan. The money is in the drawer. It's getting late, I'll head back first."
"Alright." Li Zhi put down his water cup and walked to the shelves to get a few packets of salt for him. "Don't forget this."
Chen Yi reached out to catch them and then tried to find his wallet in his pocket, only to remember that he had changed his clothes and forgot to take the wallet out.
He grabbed a bag and put the salt in it. "I forgot to bring money. I'll give it to you tomorrow."
But it was only a few dollars. Li Zhi thought he was making a fuss. "Forget it. The money spent on dinner tonight is enough to buy you a whole box of salt."
"A deal's a deal." Chen Yi walked out with the bag of salt and casually grabbed a lollipop at the entrance. "We'll settle it tomorrow."
Li Zhi laughed and scolded, "Such a stickler."
Chen Yi stepped out of the store, standing at the entrance and inadvertently looking towards the adjacent alley. It was a straight alley, mostly lined with shops, and many people were walking on the road, with no end in sight.
He shifted his gaze back and carried the bag of salt, recalling Li Zhi's words from the afternoon. He turned back to take another look at the brightly lit supermarket entrance, where figures were moving.
The lights seemed to flicker, but Chen Yi didn't dwell on it any further.
For him, the memories of that night were ultimately just an inconsequential dream, and now that he had awakened, not a single word or phrase remained.
Translator has something to say:
Flustered by his presence, unable to even claim the change from his hand. Another falls for the charms of the elusive Pingjiang heartthrob, destined for nothing but unrequited love.
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