Chapter 16 — Skirts (4)
Lu Rong’s fingers were cool to touch, and his scent was not that of soap. Lin Mu could not recognize it, but he felt that it smelled very good.
The male uniform of Kunqian was a white shirt, and most students would order two sets and wear them on rotation. At night, Lin Mu rubbed at the sweat stains on his collar, even looking closely at it. Lin Zhao came out from her Go room, glancing at him while walking past, and she was baffled.
She signed, “What are you looking at?”
Lin Mu could only say, “I’m looking to see if the collar is damp.”
“Of course it’ll be damp after sweating. Are you stupid?”
Lin Mu had no reply.
All the first-year students would be measured for their uniform together in turns, during the period for the self-study sessions. Mo Xiaoxiao looked at the sample photos, noticing that the uniform for girls was a short skirt, and she suddenly became nervous.
Lining up behind her, Li Zi glanced at her.
When it came to Mo Xiaoxiao’s turn, abruptly, she spoke to the person taking measurements with a low voice, “I… I’m getting pants. “
Holding the measuring tape, the person froze. She watched at Mo Xiaoxiao bend over and roll up the leg of her pants, and immediately understood.
“This is nothing,” said the tailor with a smile. “There’s a third-year boy who lost his left arm, but in the summer, he still wears a short-sleeved shirt.”
Mo Xiaoxiao did not speak, and hesitation seemed to enfold her.
The tailor placed the measuring tape across her shoulders, taking her measurement as she convinced, “All girls look very nice in skirts.”
She looked at Mo Xiaoxiao, “How about this. I’m going to take two measurements for you. Later, you can choose whether you’ll prefer to wear pants or skirts.”
After having his legs measured, Lu Rong spread his arms open. The tailor exclaimed in wonder, “Oh wow, every part of you is so long.”
The boys around him cracked up in laughter, and plenty of girls looked over here, yet Lu Rong’s expression remained bland. He left the area after the measurements were taken, sitting by the side with Meimei. Mo Xiaoxiao and Li Zi had their measurements taken already as well, and the two were talking with each other.
“You don’t want to wear a skirt?” Li Zi asked Mo Xiaoxiao.
Mo Xiaoxiao looked conflicted. “I’ve never worn a skirt in front of so many people before.”
Then, in a whisper, she continued, “I do own some skirts, sometimes I’d wear them secretly at home.”
Li Zi’s facial features were on the aloof side. “Just wear them if you like them, don’t think about so many things.”
Mo Xiaoxiao was tempted after hearing what she said. With a slightly blushing face, she asked, “What if I don’t look nice in it?”
“How can you not look nice?” Li Zi looked at her seriously, then turned to ask Chen Meihua, “Does Meimei think she’ll look nice?”
Chen Meihua’s expression was very solemn. She looked at Mo Xiaoxiao. “Girls are the cutest when they wear skirts.”
Mo Xiaoxiao laughed. She was still a little shy about it, feeling worried over many things.
Just as Li Zi was about to speak again, Lu Rong stopped her by shaking his head.
“You don’t have to care about what we think,” Lu Rong told Mo Xiaoxiao. “It’s your right whether to wear a skirt or not, you don’t have to care about what others think.”
The uniforms needed some time before they were ready, and Mo Xiaoxiao was awaiting her new uniforms with eager anticipation. Li Zi saw her secretly looking at shoes to match the skirt, seeming as though she wanted it to fit her prosthetic as well.
Lessons did not stop them from discussing the length of Mo Xiaoxiao’s skirt. Mo Xiaoxiao even drew a draft, feeling that she had made a smart choice as she told Li Zi, “I asked them to make the skirt a little longer for me.”
Li Zi looked down, patiently asking, “How long will it be?”
Mo Xiaoxiao gestured at her prosthetic, “It’ll be a little below my knee, concealing where my limb is fitted into my prosthetic. It’ll look better.”
Li Zi’s eyes were gentle. “That’s so cool. You’d look just like a cyberpunk.”
Mo Xiaoxiao burst into laughter and even showed Lu Rong her draft. Before Lu Rong could see it properly, the drawing was snatched out of his hand by his grandmother.
The three “girls” gathered together, discussing about skirts. Lu Rong stared at them, resting his head in his hand. All he could hear were the girls chattering away, but he did not find it noisy, and he could not help but smile.
Lin Mu, too, was eagerly anticipating the first-year’s new uniforms. His relationship with Lu Rong currently seemed to have finally improved. A good-looking junior was truly not easy to deal with, but with enough, a relationship could still be built.
Lin Zhao usually spent the evening self-study sessions at the Go institute, whereas Lin Mu would tutor Cao Zhan in the special education class, as well as making use of every bit of available time to talk to Lu Rong. As a matter of fact, they did not share many common topics; they were in different grades, and so they could not discuss their homework. However, Meimei loved talking to Lin Mu, stubbornly calling him “Jiejie”.
Lu Rong corrected her a few times, but realizing that it was useless, he gave up.
Lin Mu believed that his acting ability was off the chart, and he continued patching up his lies confidently. “My sister and I are twins. It’s very normal for Meimei to mistake me for my sister. It’s not just me saying this, a lot of people have mistaken us wrongly before too.”
Lu Rong’s eyelashes were very long. When he focused on someone, his eyes seemed filled with emotions, and easily made one’s heart softened. Even Lin Mu would sometimes feel that lying to Lu Rong was a great sin he was committing.
“Lin Zhao and you don’t look alike at all,” Lu Rong said calmly. His words sounding deliberate, he added, “I can differentiate between the two of you.”
Lin Mu was a little tentative. “R-really?”
Lu Rong gazed at him in silence. Suddenly, he reached out and pinched Lin Mu’s earlobe. “This is different.”
Lin Mu covered his ear. His mouth fell open, his ears reddening.
Lu Rong suddenly laughed. “Why are you feeling shy?”
Lin Mu naturally could not be able to explain why. He did not want to keep talking about Lin Zhao with Lu Rong, but if he did not talk about her, he did not know what else they could talk about.
As time went by, the two people continued chatting like this. Lin Mu would find a conversation topic, and Lu Rong would spend most of his time listening. He often needed to pause and take care of Meimei, and during moments like this, Lin Mu would wait quietly by the side.
Unable to think of something to say, Lin Mu would often end up looping the conversation back to Lin Zhao, praising her for her skills at Go, how many wins she had during her competitions, and how many sessions she did as a mentor. During the conversation, Lu Rong listened very seriously, and Lin Mu could not tell if it was because he was listening to him, or because of the topic.
Once, after listening to them, Xu Yilu could not help but ask Lin Mu when Lu Rong was not around. “Why do you keep talking to him about your sister? Does he like her?”
Lin Mu froze, and immediately, he denied it without thinking, “Of course not. The two of them met each other during the community sessions; they’re just good friends.”
But right after Lin Mu finished, he found his words were utterly absurd. He was the one who attended the community sessions and eventually met Lu Rong, and he was also the one who believed that they were good friends, but in the end, it was all done under the name of Lin Zhao.
Xu Yilu could not see, but his hearing was very sensitive. Chuckling, he said, “You say they’re both good friends, but why do I feel that the two of you are closer to each other?”
Lin Mu could only say abashedly, “Well, look how enthusiastic I am, always trying to fire up the conversation.”
There was not much busy work to do during the evening self-study sessions for the special education class. They had a special education teacher present, so if any of the students had any questions, the teacher would guide them along with one by one. When Cao Zhan finished stumbling through his homework, he decided he wanted to play on his phone.
“What would you like to do?” Lin Mu asked.
Cao Zhan thought for a while, and finally decided on looking at the school forum.
Lin Mu then opened the school forum page for him.
Lin Mu did not pay much attention to their school forum. This was due to the posters being anonymous, and with the nature of the school, there would occasionally be some malicious posts appearing. Although the moderator would quickly remove any posts that discriminated against the special needs students, Lin Mu would feel very upset when he saw even one of such posts.
Lin Mu had to hand it to Cao Zhan for liking to browse the forum. But on second thought, some of the thread titles were simply enigmatic insinuations. With Cao Zhan’s ability, he might not have been able to understand them.
Just like now, he had tapped into a post titled, “Some of the girls in our school are really very brave”. There was only a photo attached to it; it was Mo Xiaoxiao bending down and trying on a pair of shoes. It was evident that this photo had been taken secretly, only revealing her rolled-up pants.
“Who took this photo? What is this girl thinking about? She wants to show off her legs? But this leg is a fake one.”
“I remember there’s a special needs student in Class Five of year one, with a prosthetic right leg?”
“She’s in the class next door, I can see her every day. She really wants to wear the uniform skirt?”
Only then did Cao Zhan realize that something was wrong in this forum thread. After some hesitation, he left a comment, “Why can’t she wear a skirt?”
Someone replied to him immediately.
“Are you joking? After seeing such a leg, who wouldn’t get a nightmare?”