An Ziyan pushed Mai Ding: “Now go.”
Mai Ding came back to his senses, then he nodded woodenly and slowly: “Okay.”
When Mai Ding walked into the building and took the elevator to the third floor, he discovered that the company was not that big at all. Several people rushed back and forth in front of Mai Ding and no one was paying attention to him, not even as much as a glance. Mai Ding awkwardly held his resume in his hand and did not know who to ask. After standing for a while, he finally walked over to an older sister who looked friendly: “He…hello. I’m Mai Ding. I came for the interview today.” The woman lifted her eyes up and measured Mai Ding with her eyes from top to bottom. Mai Ding‘s stomach tightened because he was nervous. The woman turned to ask her colleague: “Is the company recruiting?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t heard if we are.”
The conversation between the two made Mai Ding even more embarrassed. Everyone looked unconcerned. He became an uninvited guest who disturbed other’s work. There were no warm and friendly colleagues nor harmonious atmosphere like the ones he saw previously on TV. The entire office was lifeless and the expression of the employees was apathetic as they were minding their own business.
“I‘m going to help you ask the manager,” The woman said to help Mai Ding — who did not know what to do — out of his difficulties. She took the resume in Mai Ding’s hand and walked into an office. It did not take a while before she came out, then she yelled and called for a middle-aged man in his thirties at the corner, “Gao Guo, the manager asked you to bring in the newcomer.”
The man unwillingly muttered: “Why does it have to be me?”
Mai Ding saved a few steps and was admitted into the company without question. Later on, after listening to their conversation, Mai Ding found out that one of their colleagues in the company asked for a maternity leave, so they had no choice but to look for an intern who could temporarily substitute for the colleague on maternity leave in a hurry. Mai Ding was like a student who had just entered the school and was ignorantly standing beside the teacher. He was closely staring at Gao Guo who was busy with his work: “Excuse me, may I ask how I can help you?” Gao Guo did not even lift his head. He grabbed a stack of materials next to him and he sounded a bit impatient: “Go to the side and arrange the data by time. By the way, help me pour a cup of coffee.”
The newcomers in the company had become the targets that were the easiest to boss around and take advantage of. Everyone pushed the odd jobs like pouring coffee and ordering meals to Mai Ding. Without doubt, his performance was not satisfactory. Because Mai Ding wanted to do things better, it seemed that he became more nervous so he spilled a few cups of coffee. He was also unable to work properly on the task that Gao Guo had given him. Mai Ding was somewhat frustrated, thinking that An Ziyan must be sitting in the classroom at this moment, while putting his legs on top of his stool, which Mai Ding could not help but admire. However, Mai Ding immediately shook his head. He could not let An Ziyan underestimate him. If he did not do it well, what would he do later on if An Ziyan scolds him. Did he work hard only for this reason?
During lunch break, after everyone went out to have their meals, Mai Ding finally placed the documents on Gao Guo’s desk neatly and tidily. He reached out for his phone and dialed An Ziyan’s phone number.
“Why didn’t you call me to ask whether I got accepted in the job or not?”
“With that small company, why should I ask if you got accepted or not? Anyway, they’re short of hands. It’s suitable for you to gain work experience and there won’t be too much pressure,” An Ziyan said lazily on the phone.
“Say, you seem to know all about it.” Just after Mai Ding finished his words, it came to his mind that there was something strange. He did not tell An Ziyan the address of the company, yet this morning, An Ziyan drove him directly to the right location. At that time, he was too nervous and did not pay attention to it. “What did you do behind my back?” Mai Ding questioned him.
“I just asked someone to look into it. Too bad. It’s just a regular company. I was hoping it would be a human trafficking gang that can send you away to let me free.”
“Can’t you just use your free time to study hard?!” Mai Ding tried his best to make himself sound dissatisfied. Fortunately, it was only a phone call; hence, An Ziyan could not see his expression.
“Studying hard sounds really stupid.”
“Tsk tsk, look at what you’re saying. Although I’m not there for the time being, you as a dependent of a student committee member should cover for me and be a good example. Does everyone miss the time when I built a good learning atmosphere in class?”
“They already don’t remember who you are.”
“Was my presence so weak?!” Mai Ding distrustly asked.
“Yes, maybe it’s only me who can remember you.” Here we go again. He randomly went on with his surprise attack. Before Mai Ding could decide on what to answer, An Ziyan asked him: “Have you eaten?”
“Are you that stupid so that you’d need me to order you to eat?”
After he hung up the call, Mai Ding wrinkled his nose at the phone and bounced his way out of the company. Mai Ding thought he would never be able to get used to the way An Ziyan expressed his emotions. He was like restlessly groping in the dark. He did not know when or where a warm light would suddenly come out. However, he was more and more precipitated. He could secretly smile in the darkness, because now, he knew for sure that no matter what, An Ziyan would not abandon him.
On the first day of his work, Mai Ding’s rusty performance garnered him a lot of freezing irony and burning satire from Gao Guo. Gao Guo was a serious and rather old-fashioned man. He really could not withstand inconvenience. The manager handed Mai Ding over to him and soon afterwards, he saw that Mai Ding did not do well in every aspect. This made him feel a little resentful. On top of that, apart from Mai Ding‘s inability to grasp anything, Gao Guo also had no patience to teach him. As for his other colleagues, they could neither hate nor say that they liked Mai Ding. After all, it was hard for others to feel like old friends with another person during their first meeting.
It was only after work that Mai Ding’s tightened stomach could slightly relax, but his mind was still muddled by everything that had happened today. It felt rather surreal. He felt that, not long ago, he was still a student who sat in the classroom. He still had not adapted to this sudden change in his life. In a split second, he felt that he became a real adult. Mai Ding’s bag was dangling from his hand as he walked back home. He was smart enough to send his resume to a company that was not too far away from home.
It took him more than twenty minutes to walk home. When he got upstairs, he heard footsteps coming from the stairs below. He looked down and found that An Ziyan had come back from school. He could not help but evilly laugh a few times. He hid in the corner, planning to jump and scare An Ziyan. Even after a long time, he still had not given up on finding ways to play tricks on An Ziyan, and avenge himself for all of the humiliation he had suffered in the past, especially on April Fool’s Day! As soon as An Ziyan came to this floor, he noticed there was a pair of feet that had not been hidden in the corner above.
Mai Ding was still very pleased with himself. The easiest time to scare people was when their guards were down. After this, if An Ziyan’s face becomes pale as he covered his mouth and screamed, that image of him would definitely be something hard to come by. To his surprise, An Ziyan’s voice was heard from below: “We can’t tonight. Mai Ding will be back soon. You can come again tomorrow after he leaves. There’s nothing left in the bed, right?” It seemed that he was on the phone. Mai Ding often heard experienced people talk about coming home early to pleasantly surprise their boyfriends, but was shocked when they discovered that their boyfriends have a secret affair. Mai Ding did not expect that this would happen to him. Who was that person on the other end of the line? Was it a man or a woman? How long have they been together? This time, it was Mai Ding’s turn to cover his mouth as he became pale. He could not stop himself from rushing out the corner with a sad face: “This isn’t true, how could you…” His words came to a stop. It was indeed not true. He saw that An Ziyan was not actually on a phone call. He was holding nothing except for books in his hands and he was not even surprised when he saw Mai Ding rushing out.
When he realized this, he pointed at An Ziyan and shouted: “Aren’t you childish and immature!? You think I’ll be fooled with your little tricks!?” Just now, who was the guy who was obviously fooled and had a sad face? Then he whispered, “I lost again. Dammit.”
“What do you take me for?”
They went up the stairs, side by side. Of course, Mai Ding had no courage to admit it. He just said, “Nothing, I knew you wouldn’t cheat on me.”
“If I had an affair, how could it be find out by you?” An Ziyan‘s tone was scornful.
“You really have an affair?”
“Don’t admit it so easily!” Mai Ding climbed two steps at a time. An Ziyan asked from behind him: “Don’t you believe it?”
“I don’t believe it.”
Mai Ding turned his body around. With his hands clasped behind his back and his eyes half squinted: “Because you never admit what you’ve done, just like when you never admit that you’re good to me.”
“Who’s good to you?” An Ziyan blurted out, just like his usual self.
“See.” Mai Ding said as he was thinking of pouncing on An Ziyan. Just when he was about to to jump lightly, An Ziyan pushed his shoulders down, preventing Mai Ding from completing the action: “Don’t even think about it.”
“You actually see through me.”
“How’s the job?”
“Not too good and not too bad.”
“Aren’t you the same?” Mai Ding did not understand An Ziyan’s words. Just when he was about to ask, An Ziyan continued his sentence: “You never complain about what really bothers you.” Mai Ding always complained about unimportant/insignificant things like An Ziyan’s habit of sleeping late, throwing things, and so on; however, every time he was really thinking about something, such as the fact that his job was horrible because he was ordered around by his colleagues, he never wanted to complain to An Ziyan. He did not want An Ziyan to worry about him.
For Mai Ding, An Ziyan was like the sea that was changing with the seasons, cold for one minute and hot on the next. As long as he jumps in him, he could wash everything away.
Perhaps, time was also not that bad. It allowed them to be more familiar with each other, like the sensation of when their skins touched, like the emotions in their eyes, like the words in their mouth; they were getting more and more familiar with each other…