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101 I’m Not an Animal

 Mei Xiawen's expression had visibly darkened.

He held his head in his hands, his elbows propped on the table. There was a hint of sorrow in his voice. "I was young and stupid, and took her for granted. She was headstrong and stubborn, and I was too proud to give in to her. After she left the country, she was all alone in a foreign land. She needed someone to help her, but I was too far away to do that..."

Gu Nianzhi suddenly realized what he was saying. She was very surprised. "She got a new boyfriend?"

Mei Xiawen looked at her with a wry smile on his face. "Nianzhi, c'mon, you don't have to be so blunt about it. I have my pride, too, you know."

Gu Nianzhi had wanted to ask whether his ex-girlfriend had gotten a new boyfriend before the breakup, or after...

If it had happened before the breakup, then Mei Xiawen's first girlfriend had cheated on him.

She looked at Mei Xiawen, and noted how reluctant he was to talk about it. Gu Nianzhi guessed that he had been cheated on; it was written all over his face.

Gu Nianzhi was a little more sympathetic towards Mei Xiawen now.

"Let's eat. You like beef, don't you?" Gu Nianzhi grabbed the serving chopsticks and picked out a tender beef pentagon for Mei Xiawen. "Eat up."

Mei Xiawen smiled. He said, "Feed me," and opened his mouth expectantly.

Gu Nianzhi's hand froze in mid-air. She said, laughing, "I better not - my wrists are made of jelly. You might end up with food all over your face." As she said that, her hand shook, and the tender beef pentagon dropped into the small bowl in front of Mei Xiawen.

"You wriggled out of it again. I'm not going to let you off so easy next time..." Mei Xiawen put his hand over hers and winked at her.

Gu Nianzhi nonchalantly pulled her hand out of his grasp, and picked up the spoon for her porridge. She began to eat, relishing every bite.

The two of them quietly finished their dinner. When they were done, they ordered a pot of tea. They sat facing each other as they digested their dinner.

Mei Xiawen got up and sat beside her. He whipped out his phone. "Here, look. I was bored waiting for you this afternoon, so I made a Weibo account. Let's use it together."

Gu Nianzhi looked at his phone. The name of the blog was "Always On My Mind (Nian Zi Zai Zhi)."

The first and last characters combined to form her name.

She could not help blushing at this. She laughed, and said, "We're sharing a Weibo account? We're not that close, are we?"

"Don't play dumb." Mei Xiawen was all smiles as he sent the Weibo username and password to Gu Nianzhi's phone. "Keep it. You can vent on the blog whenever you have something you need to get off your chest. Let it all out, no one will know it's you."

Gu Nianzhi thought to herself: I have so many anonymous, duplicate accounts for that. Why on earth would I post my private feelings on a blog that literally spells out my name?

"I'll post my feelings, too." Mei Xiawen logged into the account. He asked Gu Nianzhi: "What's your Weibo username? Let's follow each other."

Gu Nianzhi smiled and shook her head. "I don't have Weibo. I don't even have a QQ account."

"In that case, this Weibo account is all yours," said Mei Xiawen quickly. "I'll help you manage it. How many followers do you want? Give me a number, and I'll buy them for you."

Gu Nianzhi: "...You just said I can write anything I want on the blog and nobody will know...."

So what was all this about buying followers?

"Haha, I'm talking about zombie followers, bots with no one behind the accounts. The followers are just there so you won't feel lonely again." Mei Xiawen's smile was open and sincere. His gold-rimmed glasses made him look all the more refined and handsome.

The other young ladies in the restaurant could not stop looking over at Mei Xiawen. They were obviously smitten with him.

Gu Nianzhi had not registered anything Mei Xiawen had said, aside from "you won't feel lonely again." The words had hit a little too close to home.

"Why do you say I'm lonely? I have three lovely sisters living with me in the dormitory, and when I'm out and about you're always there for me. So how exactly am I lonely?" She refused to admit it.

Mei Xiawen smiled and said nothing. The dark eyes behind the gold-rimmed glasses were gentle as they watched her.

Something very strange happened - Gu Nianzhi was suddenly overcome with a feeling of contentment. Everything seemed perfect; she was at peace with the world.

There was a large picture window, so big it took up an entire wall. She sat beside Mei Xiawen, watching the bright lights and the frenzied hustle and bustle beyond the window. She smiled.

Mei Xiawen saw her smile, and could not help smiling either. "I'll write something for you and post it when I get back. I hope you'll take the time to read it, and post what you think about it afterwards."

"Oh no, I can't do that. I'm a reader, not a writer." Gu Nianzhi shook her head. "I'm not like you, Class Rep. You're a real poet."

Mei Xiawen humored her. "It's okay, you can just read my posts then. Give me a call when you've read them, and tell me what you think, won't you?"

"I will - if the writing is good enough." said Gu Nianzhi slyly.

The two of them finished the tea and left the restaurant. They returned to their respective dormitories.

Upon returning to her room, Gu Nianzhi took a bath and washed her hair. After that, she picked up the hair dryer and began to blow-dry her hair. She was so preoccupied with what she was doing she completely forgot about Yin Shixiong.

She had wanted to call Yin Shixiong before going to bed, and ask if he had gotten ahold of Huo Shaoheng, but this was not to be: she was so tired she nodded off to sleep as soon as her hair was dry,


After ending his phone call with Gu Nianzhi, Yin Shixiong quickly called Zhao Liangze.

The two of them chatted idly for a bit. A few minutes into the conversation, Yin Shixiong brought up what Gu Nianzhi had told him over the phone.

"When you get the chance, ask Mr. Huo if he's okay with Nianzhi interning at the United States Congress for half a year, after she graduates." Yin Shixiong deliberately skipped over most of the details.

Zhao Liangze and Huo Shaoheng were in Europe, and Yin Shixiong was communicating with them via satellite transmission. None of them could say for sure how secure their connection was; it was therefore necessary for them to be as vague and cryptic as possible.

Zhao Liangze was very surprised. He could not contain his burning curiosity. "That Professor He - isn't he being a little too nice to Nianzhi?"

"He's been very nice to her, yes. But then again, our girl Nianzhi is the real deal: she's beautiful, smart, cute, and charming. Who wouldn't be taken in by her?" Yin Shixiong's voice was full of pride. "Show me a man who can resist her charms, and I'll show you he isn't normal!"

A tall figure was now standing behind Zhao Liangze, right in the camera's blind spot.

Zhao Liangze suddenly gave a violent cough.

Yin Shixiong had not seen Huo Shaoheng come over. He was talking animatedly and enthusiastically now, as though Gu Nianzhi were his precious daughter: "...Little Ze, men are all the same. It doesn't matter if they're 18 or 80; they all have the same standards when it comes to women. Nianzhi is beautiful, and curvy in all the right places. And she's barely an adult! Can you imagine what it's going to be like when she's fully grown and mature? Hooboy, men are going to drop at her feet like flies!"

"...What about you? So you like Nianzhi, too? Or are you not normal?" A deep, resonant voice suddenly sounded from Zhao Liangze's side of the connection.

Yin Shixiong wasn't really paying attention; his brain automatically assumed the question had come from Zhao Liangze. He waved his arms about, furious. "I'm not like those other men, okay?! I'm Nianzhi's guardian! I watched her grow up! Why would I think of her that way?! I'm not an animal!"

Huo Shaoheng stepped forward and revealed himself to the camera, his arms folded and his expression deadpan. He jabbed a finger at Yin Shixiong and said, "Good answer. You're not as hopeless as I thought."

Yin Shixiong almost had a heart attack when he saw Huo Shaoheng's devastatingly beautiful face appear on the computer screen.

He gave a loud shout and lost his balance. He rolled off the sofa and onto the floor, landing on his butt with a loud thump.

"So what's this about an internship at the United States Congress?" Huo Shaoheng seated himself beside Zhao Liangze. He took over the mouse, and seized control of the computer.