I would rather waste than settle

On Christmas Day, the translation agency showed a touch of humanity by allowing their employees to leave early.
As the clock struck four, everyone hurriedly packed up their things, grabbed their bags, and made a swift exit.

Lu Zizheng calmly tidied up everything before making a phone call to let Jiang Huaixi know that she had already finished work.
Earlier, Jiang Huaixi had agreed that she would call her when she was about to leave, and she would come to pick her up.

However, at this moment, Jiang Huaixi found herself in a bit of a dilemma.
Something unexpected had come up, and she couldn’t leave at the moment.
After hesitating for a while, she honestly admitted, “I might be a little late.
There’s something urgent that came up at the company.”

Lu Zizheng smiled and didn’t let it bother her.
Understanding the situation, she kindly replied, “No problem.
You take care of what you need to do.
Are you still at the office? I’ll come over and wait for you.” The translation agency wasn’t far from Jiang Huaixi’s company, just a twenty-minute walk away.

Jiang Huaixi glanced back at her colleagues who were still discussing things in the office.
Considering the distance between the restaurant where they had made reservations for the evening and her workplace, she reluctantly agreed, saying, “Alright then.
When you arrive downstairs, give me a call, and I’ll come down right away.”

After agreeing, Lu Zizheng hung up the phone and grabbed her coat before leaving the translation agency.

The streets were filled with a festive atmosphere, with shops adorned with lights and decorations.
Young people carrying bouquets of flowers could be seen everywhere, their faces radiating an unmistakable happiness.

Lu Zizheng tightened her coat, braving the chilly evening breeze that accompanied the setting sun, and strolled leisurely towards Jiang Huaixi’s company.
She felt a twinge of guilt.
Throughout the years of their friendship, it seemed she had always made Jiang Huaixi wait for her.
Surprisingly, Jiang Huaixi, who appeared impatient on the surface, had never shown any signs of anger or impatience while waiting for her.

Lu Zizheng was not someone who enjoyed waiting, but in this moment, step by step, she made her way towards Jiang Huaixi’s company, silently counting the passing seconds and minutes.
She thought about the end of this wait, where Jiang Huaixi would be standing, and unexpectedly, it didn’t seem so bad.

She thought, after making Jiang Huaixi wait so many times, it was about time she returned the favor, wasn’t it?

Throughout the many years of Lu Zizheng’s life, she had never liked owing anything to anyone.
She always wanted to keep everything clear and balanced, never willing to take advantage of others even in the slightest.
However, Jiang Huaixi was an exception.
The dynamics between them had long become too complex to calculate.

The biting cold wind stung Lu Zizheng’s cheeks, causing her to lower her head and take long strides forward.
Just around the next corner, she would be able to see Jiang Huaixi’s company.

As she turned the corner, Lu Zizheng continued to walk with her head down, lost in her own thoughts, until she sensed that she was about to arrive and lifted her head.

However, as soon as she raised her head, she unexpectedly caught sight of Jiang Huaixi standing not far from her at the entrance of the company.
Lu Zizheng couldn’t discern her expression clearly, but she saw Jiang Huaixi reach out and accept the flowers from a young man in front of her.
Then, her red lips moved as she spoke something, and the young man reluctantly turned away and walked off.

Lu Zizheng stared blankly, her hands involuntarily clutching the corners of her coat at her sides.

As if sensing her presence, Jiang Huaixi suddenly turned her face and immediately spotted Lu Zizheng.
Then, her eyebrows furrowed tightly.

With the roses in her arms, Jiang Huaixi descended the steps and walked step by step toward Lu Zizheng.
As she passed by a nearby trash bin, Jiang Huaixi reached out and unhesitatingly threw the roses into it.
With her hands freed, she continued walking while loosening the scarf around her neck.

Standing in front of Lu Zizheng, Jiang Huaixi naturally untied her own scarf and placed it around Lu Zizheng’s neck, teasingly remarking, “Your face is as red as a monkey’s backside from the wind, truly ugly.” After speaking, she turned her body around and said, “Let’s go, the car is up ahead.”

Lu Zizheng followed behind her, with the familiar scent of Jiang Huaixi lingering on the scarf around her neck.
She watched Jiang Huaixi’s slender and graceful figure steadily walking step by step in the cold wind.
Unable to resist, Lu Zizheng spoke up, “The flowers were pretty.
Wasn’t it a pity to throw them away? The guy didn’t seem bad either.” The moment the words left her mouth, Lu Zizheng knew she had crossed a boundary, and she was probing for something.
Instantly regretting her choice of words, she realized it was too late to take them back.

Sure enough, Jiang Huaixi abruptly stopped in her tracks, turned her head back, and gazed at Lu Zizheng with her ink-like eyes.
She gently curved her lips and said, “I think you’re not bad either.”

In that moment, Lu Zizheng was scorched by the intensity hidden within Jiang Huaixi’s gaze.
Anxiously, she averted her eyes, unable to look at her.
The bustling noise of the busy street disappeared, and Lu Zizheng could only hear the sound of her own heartbeat, one beat after another…

Jiang Huaixi let out another soft laugh and added, “In this world, I find most people decent, and I think most flowers are beautiful too.
But that’s as far as it goes.
Would you eat a cake that looks good but doesn’t suit your taste?”

Lu Zizheng lifted her head and looked at Jiang Huaixi, remaining silent without answering.
She saw Jiang Huaixi lower her eyelids, casting long lashes that created a lovely shadow.
Her expression turned cold, her tone resolute, as she said, “I’d rather waste than settle.”

Lu Zizheng relaxed her furrowed brow and smiled silently, pursing her lips.
Taking a few steps forward, she stood beside Jiang Huaixi and jokingly said, “Well then, let’s go.
I wonder if the cake you ordered for tonight will suit your taste.”

Jiang Huaixi subtly furrowed her brow and raised an eyebrow, asking, “Should it suit your taste? If it suits your taste, would you eat it?”

Lu Zizheng, however, confidently responded, “When it comes to desserts, there’s no such thing as ‘suiting my taste’ or not.
If it’s presented to me, I’ll eat it.”

Jiang Huaixi let out a disdainful snort, took a few steps toward the car, opened the door, and left a remark, “Sorry, I didn’t prepare to order a cake,” for Lu Zizheng.

Lu Zizheng walked to the passenger seat on the other side, raised an eyebrow, smiled, and got into the car.

The roads during the holiday season were inevitably crowded.
Their car got stuck halfway, and in the moments of waiting, Lu Zizheng pulled out a small white rabbit plush toy from her handbag and placed it on Jiang Huaixi’s dashboard.
The white rabbit had the words “Peace” embroidered on its body.

Jiang Huaixi glanced at it and immediately mocked, “Where did you buy such an ugly thing?”

Lu Zizheng’s hand froze as she placed it on the dashboard, feeling indignant.
“Maybe you have an issue with your taste.
Whether it’s ugly or not, it’s your Christmas gift.
Take it or leave it.” In order to make this rabbit look nice, to showcase the words “Peace” beautifully, her hands were almost pricked like a beehive, and yet Jiang Huaixi dared to find it ugly?!

As the privileged young lady from a wealthy family, Lu Zizheng knew that Jiang Huaixi probably lacked nothing.
Over the years, the gifts she gave Jiang Huaixi were never measured by their value.
Every gift she gave was a genuine expression of her heart, a sincere gesture.
Whether Jiang Huaixi felt it or not, she wasn’t sure, but she knew that as long as she felt worthy of their friendship, it was enough.

The traffic started to move, and Jiang Huaixi gazed ahead as the car slowly drove forward.
She replied calmly, “Considering I let its owner, who is so ugly, get in my car, well, the rabbit is just normally ugly.
I can tolerate it, so let it stay in my car for now.”

But it wasn’t over yet! Lu Zizheng glanced at Jiang Huaixi and reached out to retrieve the rabbit.

However, Jiang Huaixi’s movements were faster than hers.
With keen eyes and quick hands, she snatched the rabbit and placed it just out of Lu Zizheng’s reach.
“Once something has been given as a gift, how can you take it back?” she retorted.

Lu Zizheng scoffed, “But you found it ugly, didn’t you?”

“Even if it’s ugly, it’s still mine,” Jiang Huaixi replied, glancing at Lu Zizheng’s displeased expression and then at the ugly rabbit.
A faint smile curved her lips.
“Take a closer look; it’s actually quite adorable.”

Lu Zizheng: “Hmph…”

As the sky gradually darkened, the city transformed into an ocean of lights, with vibrant hues illuminating the night.
Amidst the flickering lights, Jiang Huaixi’s profile appeared exceptionally gentle, a sight that softened Lu Zizheng’s heart.
Often, Lu Zizheng would indulge in whimsical thoughts, imagining how wonderful it would be if the road had no end.
Like the one they were on at this moment.

However, after half an hour, they eventually reached their destination.
Hopes, in the end, remained hopes and didn’t become reality.
Lu Zizheng had long understood this.

As they got off the car, they realized that the first snow of the season had silently arrived in Linzhou at some point, draping the earth and everything in a shimmering silver coat.

Jiang Huaixi and Lu Zizheng walked side by side towards the restaurant, snowflakes gently falling on their heads and bodies, mischievous yet tender…

However, within just a short distance, the snow had almost whitened their heads.

When they reached the entrance of the covered restaurant, unexpectedly, Jiang Huaixi reached out from behind and held Lu Zizheng’s hand, causing her to stop in her tracks.

Lu Zizheng turned around, perplexed, and looked at Jiang Huaixi, not understanding the reason behind her action.

Jiang Huaixi lifted her hand, but in the instant that Lu Zizheng turned around, her movement ceased.
Her eyes blinked incessantly as she stared at Lu Zizheng, her expression distant and dreamlike.

If one day Lu Zizheng’s hair turned gray, would she resemble the person before Jiang Huaixi’s eyes now? A trace of pain flickered across Jiang Huaixi’s face, but Lu Zizheng, oblivious, failed to perceive it.

However, in a moment, Jiang Huaixi regained her usual composure and resumed her actions.
With her hand, she gently brushed away a strand of Lu Zizheng’s hair, causing snowflakes to fall to the ground.
“I wonder if the snow will feel cold when it melts.
If we catch a cold after having a meal and return, how can I face Auntie?”

Lu Zizheng didn’t respond verbally but extended her hand to help Jiang Huaixi brush off the snowflakes from her body.
Then she turned around, muttering, “You’re such a busybody.
We can leave now.”

Jiang Huaixi silently watched her from behind, a smile on her lips that seemed bittersweet and yet knowing.

Could it be that on a snowy day, without an umbrella, we can walk together until we grow old?

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