“Were you staying up to wait for me, or do you usually sleep this late?”
Chen Yunsheng was still feeling incredibly nervous a moment ago, but somehow, hearing Ji Fanyin’s voice calmed him down. “You didn’t reply to me for the entire day, so I got a little worried and couldn’t sleep.”
“I’m a bit busy right now, so I might not be able to answer your messages quickly.” Ji Fanyin paused for a brief moment before continuing on, “However, there are some things that are better relayed in person than through words. It’d be ideal if we could meet up for this, but I’m currently abroad.”
Chen Yunsheng started to get nervous once more. He pressed his lips tightly together before asking, “Should I have not sent you a red packet?”
“That’s your way of expressing your well wishes. I know that you don’t have any ill intention at heart,” reassured Ji Fanyin. “But I won’t accept it. That’s because our relationship… I don’t want to complicate it with money.”
Chen Yunsheng lowered his head to look at his wiggling toes. “… I was thinking of sending you flowers, but it’s already late and you have been busy recently.”
“Mm…” Ji Fanyin was quiet for a few seconds. “This is also the matter I wish to talk to you about. You have been very honest with me, and I think it’s only right for me to accord you the same level of respect.”
Chen Yunsheng immediately knew what Ji Fanyin was going to say. He cut right in before Ji Fanyin could continue on, “You aren’t interested in dating right now―big sis, if that’s what you want to say, I already know it.”
He heard Ji Fanyin’s chuckle right after.
“I’m sorry. It looks like I’ve been underestimating university students of your generation,” she said. “However, I’m glad that my actions haven’t caused any misunderstanding.”
“… How could there be any misunderstanding,” grumbled Chen Yunsheng grudgingly. “I know that you’ve been treating me like a kid ever since our first meeting. You’re only two years older than me!”
Ji Fanyin chuckled once more, her voice carrying the tolerance and gentleness of an elder. Yet, that gentleness felt so distant, almost like the unreachable sun beyond the clouds.
“Thank you for liking me and constantly thinking of me. These are things that I currently lack.” She continued with an equally calm but unwavering voice, “But I don’t want to exploit you. I can’t trample on a clean and earnest heart. That’s something very precious in the world we live in.”
“So what if it’s precious? You don’t want it anyway,” Chen Yunsheng complained with a murmur.
“Something as precious as that shouldn’t be given to a bad woman like me,” replied Ji Fanyin in amusement. “Save it for someone more fitting.”
“I don’t want to.” Chen Yunsheng tried his best to compose himself and speak like a mature adult. “Big sis, it’s fine with me that you don’t want to date now. I’m in no hurry. I’m still young. I’m willing to wait for you… I know how to keep my distance. I won’t irritate you. I won’t be too clingy and disturb you from your work. As long as you need me, I’ll be there.”
“I’ve seen many who chose to humble themselves in a relationship. They rarely end well, so I hope that you won’t ever go there,” said Ji Fanyin. “We’ve only met each other thrice. Why do you like me? Is it my appearance? My personality? Those are things that you’ll find from others in the future.”
Humble themselves for their feelings? Things I’ll find from others in the future?
Chen Yunsheng put together everything Ji Fanyin had said thus far, and it suddenly struck him.
Big sis doesn’t believe in love. She has been through a terrible relationship. Someone must have hurt her deeply in the past.
Chen Yunsheng took a deep breath and said, “I’m a grown up. I can bear the consequences of my own feelings. You can’t just make decisions for me.”
He blurted out those words in a single breath, only to be horrified when he thought back on them.
“No, wait! Forget what I’ve just said! It doesn’t count. It’s not a confession!”
The world’s worst confession!
On the other end, Ji Fanyin burst into laughter upon hearing his words. “Yes, I can’t make decisions for an adult like you, but…”
Her words suddenly trailed to a halt here. Chen Yunsheng heard a series of knocks from the other side, followed by the distant voice of a man.
He couldn’t hear it clearly, but the clues were enough to tell him that a man was harassing Ji Fanyin at this ungodly hour.
“―It’s work. I need to go,” said Ji Fanyin. “Regarding your happy birthday wishes today… they mean a lot to me. Thank you.”
The phone hung up there.
Chen Yunsheng grasped his phone tightly as he stared at the notification informing him about his failed bank transfer. He quickly pulled himself together and returned to his dormitory room.
“Done with your call?” His roommates turned to look at him, curious about how it went. “Judging from your expression, it seems like it didn’t go well? Tell us about it. We can figure something out together.”
“…” Chen Yunsheng sat down on his bed, but he didn’t satisfy their curiosity. He simply let out a series of ambiguous words. “I think she used to be in a relationship with a scum.”