Chu Zhi couldn't fall asleep.
There was construction happening on the floor above hers; she had been trying to put up with it since daybreak. When she fell asleep during a respite earlier, the construction had kicked up again and wrenched her out of her dream.
After tossing and turning in bed for a while, Chu Zhi finally couldn't stand it anymore. She let out a muffled scream and yanked the blanket down from over her head before sitting up.
Her sunken eyes and disheveled hair made her the unfortunate epitome of a grumpy, sleep-deprived woman.
As she stared at the foot of her four-poster bed, she wondered if she should go upstairs and knock on her neighbor's door. In the end, after thinking about how early the construction workers had started working and how hard their work probably was, she decided to let the matter go.
Still, no amount of sympathy could dispel her frustration. She pulled at her hair before reaching out to grab a scrunchie from her bedside. After putting her hair into a messy ponytail, she huffed and grumbled like a small animal before letting her head fall back onto her pillow.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
The sound of a nail being hammered into a wall.
She resignedly climbed out of bed.
Several days ago.
The freshmen of University A were scheduled to arrive and settle into their dorms.
Chu Zhi was one of the last to move in. Because her family lived in the same city that the university was in, she didn't bring much; a suitcase and backpack were enough to hold everything she needed.
By the time she arrived, it was almost noon. The sun was at its highest peak when a taxi pulled up in front of University A. Chu Zhi got off and made her way into the campus, luggage in tow. She stopped in front of a noticeboard showing a map of the school.
The straps of her backpack had slipped off her shoulders. She was using both of her hands to drag along her luggage, so she had to free one side before she could pull her straps back up.
Once she finished readjusting her straps, Chu Zhi raised her head and surveyed the map for the locations of the registrar's office, as well as the girls' dormitory.
A girl and her parents brushed past Chu Zhi. The former paused and exclaimed in amazement, "Mom, look! What a tiny freshman. She looks like a high schooler!"
What' tiny freshman'? Rounded up, she was a full one meter sixty(5'3"/160cm), okay?!
Chu Zhi huffed and looked up.
The girl and her parents were already a distance away. Their entire family consisted of slender individuals with long and straight black hair. Chu Zhi stared at the back of their figures. They all looked tall enough to be models.
She couldn't tell for sure, but each family member looked to be at least one meter seventy (5'7"/170cm). She wouldn't know. To her, that height range was a territory shrouded in mystery. She reckoned even the air quality up there was different.
Chu Zhi suddenly became as quiet as a baby chick. Swallowing back her pique, she turned her attention back to the map of the campus.
Her sense of direction had always been bad. Just the night before, Mrs. Chu had called and spent three hours on the phone giving her detailed instructions on every little thing she could give instructions on.
In the end, Mrs. Chu had hollered at Mr. Chu to book her a plane ticket home because she couldn't stop worrying about her daughter.
Mr. Chu was also a daughter-con, and he believed that entering university was one of the most important moments of one's life. Flying back to China had already been on his mind, so as soon as he heard his wife's order, he dashed over to the computer.
However, Chu Zhi had stopped him and refused on the grounds that it was too late to book the tickets. She'd also empathized several times that she would be fine.
But... despite her confidence from the night before, she found that there was one teeny little problem.
She slumped her shoulders and scrunched up her nose. Turning her head, she did a sweep of her surroundings. Right across from her, under the cool shade of a large tree, were a few upperclassmen wearing orange volunteer t-shirts. They were all busy giving directions to the other lost freshmen that approached them.
Compared to the other volunteers, there was one student who seemed very idle. There was a short physical distance between them. He was in the middle of a conversation with a volunteer, yet he looked like he was living in his own little world as he drank from a can of cola.
Instead of an orange volunteer shirt, he was wearing a black hoodie and jeans. He didn't look like a freshman. The can of cola obscured most of his countenance, leaving only a pair of eyes to be seen.
Right at that moment, the man's line of sight fell on Chu Zhi. However, just as their eyes met, a tall and beautiful girl approached him. Shyly, the girl held out her phone and said something to him. He shifted his attention to the girl and quietly listened to her before revealing a smile.
When he put his cola down on the table, Chu Zhi was finally able to see his entire face.
No wonder the beautiful girl wanted to get his number.
He accepted the girl's phone and lowered his head as he typed in his number, his expression still calm and collected. The girl carefully leaned closer and said something else to him. He returned the phone to her but didn't respond.
Instead, his pretty peach blossom eyes curved slightly as his thin lips arched into a faint but mischievous smile.
This was Chu Zhi's first time seeing such a teasing playboy smile. She blinked, but before she could react, the upperclassman he had been talking to started to walk toward her. The upperclassman was wearing an orange volunteer t-shirt, and like a moving carrot, he arrived in front of her.
Chu Zhi withdrew her gaze from the man in black and raised her head. Tilting her head slightly to the side, she gave her attention to the carrot.
The carrot grinned, bright and handsome, and asked, "Junior sister, do you need help?"