Cactus in Distress Chapter 20

Chapter 20

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After dinner, the guests left his home one after another like a receding tide. Chen Rui stood by the window, picked up the sailboat and examined it carefully, hoping to find its flaws, but unfortunately everything was in perfect order. He had planned to dismantle and rebuild it, but he changed his mind and placed it on the shelf instead.

When he met Sun Yutan at school again, something seemed to have changed between them compared to before.

Chen Rui had encountered various types of girls since childhood, including the elegant and reserved type like his sister who maintained a proper demeanor in front of others, the domineering type like Huang Shuyu who bossed people around, and the delicate and vulnerable type who would hide their face from the wind. Sun Yutan was quite refreshing compared to them. Chen Rui thought she was smart and they could be friends, but she seemed unable to perceive his change in attitude. Every time they met, she would just say “hello” and pass by as if it was routine. She was used to his lack of response, and now she didn’t need or want his acknowledgement. Her politeness was just a formality.

As the movie continued on the screen, the main characters kissed goodbye as if the world was ending the next day. They exchanged deep, passionate kisses with the sounds of their entanglement echoing throughout the theater. The boys, prone to impulsiveness at their age, had varying reactions to the scene. Chen Rui suddenly pictured Sun Yutan, whom he had seen earlier, wearing a camisole.

To be honest, Sun Yutan’s figure wasn’t that great. Her arms and legs were thin, and Chen Rui estimated he could grip her waist with both hands. He got up to pour himself a glass of cold water, interrupting his bad thoughts.

To make matters worse, he had taken off that camisole with his own hands during that night. Upon waking up, Chen Rui was furious. He didn’t think he had even the slightest bit of affection for Sun Yutan. It was just a dream, something he couldn’t control.

His resistance to the idea was manifested by his refusal to pass by the building where Sun Yutan lived. However, the more he tried to avoid her, the higher the chances were of them running into each other, almost as if he had seen a ghost.

One Sunday afternoon, Chen Rui was playing basketball in the park when he suddenly heard a high-pitched girl’s scream. He turned his head and saw Sun Yutan sliding down the slope on a skateboard. Her hands were raised on both sides to maintain balance, her fingers were tense, and she kept yelling, looking like a fool.

Chen Rui felt like he had run into bad luck, as he couldn’t believe he had met her here. He couldn’t help but sneer. The next moment, Sun Yutan slid onto level ground but didn’t cushion her fall, and was instead caught by a tall guy who lifted her by the waist and spun her around. Sun Yutan, still shaken, held onto Wu Junzhe’s shoulder and exclaimed, “It’s so scary, too fast! I’ll cherish my life and never slide down a slope again!”

“What are you afraid of? I’ll catch you down here.”

“What if you don’t catch me?”

“Tsk, you’re such a chicken. Sun Yutan, believe it or not, you’ll definitely improve by leaps and bounds if you fall twice. Look at that cool sister over there, she also fell before. Besides, you’re wearing sturdy kneepads, it won’t be easy to hurt yourself even if you fall.”

Sun Yutan not only saw the cool girl who was skateboarding like a pro, but also a familiar cool boy.

Chen Rui was really conspicuous in the crowd. Sun Yutan looked away and punched Wu Junzhe. “I don’t believe you, put me down.”

“Don’t let go. Why are you so light? Do you even eat every day?”

“Hey, how long are you two going to hug like that?” Tang Guo had returned on her skateboard at some point without anyone noticing. She had just finished peeping on her crush and was all smiles as she spoke.

Wu Junzhe put down Sun Yutan and opened his arms wide. “Are you jealous? Come on, give us a hug, little candy.”

Tang Guo rolled her eyes, tapped her toes on the ground, and floated away lightly.

Looking around, there was only Sun Yutan, who needed Wu Junzhe to teach her step by step, hand in hand and foot by foot, on the square. Fortunately, she was a fast learner. When she learned to walk through the crowd somewhat sloppily, Master Wu let her go.

Chen Rui couldn’t have fun anymore.

He knew Wu Junzhe, who was in the same year but different class. They had worked together and competed against each other on the court before. In his impression, Wu Junzhe was a very outgoing and flamboyant person.

Chen Rui restrained himself from looking in an unrelated direction, but his mind didn’t listen and was filled with images of Sun Yutan being held by someone else. He felt suffocated and irritable, and his movements became more aggressive. The sudden change in his playstyle startled the person he was facing, and even Yuan Zheqi bumped into his arm and said, “Hey, Chen Rui, did you take the wrong medicine?”

Chen Rui slowed down, and while dribbling the ball, he glanced at a certain direction again. It had been so long, but those two people were still lingering together? Chen Rui’s face turned cold. He jumped high and slammed the ball in, but there was no joy in his heart.

At the last New Year’s Eve party of her high school years, Sun Yutan made a great sacrifice by playing an airhead in the class’s rehearsed play. The cultural and entertainment committee member Li Mingyi personally did her hair in twin ponytails.

After the styling was done, she looked at Sun Yutan in the mirror and didn’t speak for a long time.

Sun Yutan rested her chin on her hand, “Is the Director satisfied?”

Li Mingyi touched her cheek and said, “It’s not quite what I had in mind.”

“Oh?” Sun Yutan looked around and asked, “Not dumb enough?”

“Yes,” Li Mingyi envisioned it as a silly and foolish hairstyle, but it turned out to be cute and lively.

“It’s okay.” Sun Yutan turned on her toes, facing Li Mingyi. “I can make up for it with my acting.” She grinned widely, her cheekbones rising. The image fit the role like a glove.

“…It’s not necessary to go to such lengths,” Li Mingyi said.

After thinking for a moment, Li Mingyi revised the script, and when Sun Yutan saw it, she was relieved to find that her part was now much easier. She only needed to stand in one corner of the stage, looking blankly at the audience. Li Mingyi couldn’t help but applaud.

Li Mingyi chuckled, “Look at how little ambition you have.”

When it was time to go on stage, although Sun Yutan’s role was not heavy, the burdens of the main characters were all around her, and they cooperated one after another, making the teachers and students in the audience laugh uncontrollably.

Amidst the applause, the talented Li Mingyi stood in the corner and gave them a thumbs up. Sun Yutan breathed a sigh of relief as she returned to the backstage. Wu Junzhe handed her a cup of hot milk tea, complimenting her for performing naturally and doing a good job.

Sun Yutan was too lazy to pay attention to him and raised her hand to untie her hair. However, Wu Junzhe stopped her and said, “Don’t don’t don’t, don’t untie it. It looks pretty, really pretty.”

“Haven’t you seen enough?” another girl beside them teased him.

“Not enough.”

“But we have to change clothes now. Wu Junzhe, are you still staying here to watch?”

Wu Junzhe quickly closed his eyes and shielded his face, leaning sideways and constantly saying, “Don’t take it off, Sun Yutan!”

Sun Yutan then put her hand down.

After coming out, she and Wu Junzhe returned to their seats. Coincidentally, they sat in a row in front of Chen Rui. When Sun Yutan saw Chen Rui, she hesitated for a moment about whether to greet him or not. After all, everyone around them knew each other, and if she was ignored by him again, it would be awkward. Besides, he looked so displeased, clearly saying, “Dare to call me and you’re dead.” Also, the people around him were all acquaintances. He definitely would not want to be called out by a girl who had just played a silly character.

So she casually averted her gaze and sat down with Wu Junzhe.

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