The pair walked hand in hand until the sound of the amusement park was nothing but a distant echo. Li Yundong suddenly pulled them to a halt. He sniffed and wiped the corner of his eyes, then cleared his throat. "Say, Su Chan," he said. "The stuff you said earlier nearly made me cry in public you know. Dang, you really have a knack for tear-jerking speeches!"
Su Chan giggled. "Do I?"
Li Yundong smiled. "Hell yeah!" Suddenly, Li Yundong looked away sheepishly. "Um... Do you think I'm pathetic? I mean, I'm a man, yet I'm standing here about to cry..."
Su Chan giggled, then jumped onto Li Yundong's back. "No way! If you are pathetic, then everyone else in the world is worse than manure!"
Sounds of mirth burst through Li Yundong's lips. "Want me to carry you? Very well, milady! Your wish is my command! Besides, you've stood up for my honor today. I'll reward you by carrying you all the way home!"
Su Chan rested her chin on Li Yundong's broad shoulder, then burst into giggles. "Is that a promise?"
Li Yundong chuckled. "It's not like I have a choice now. You're already on top of me!" Li Yundong shifted Su Chan higher up his back. "Now! Enough chatter! Time to go home and have some lunch!"
"Where the hell is Li Yundong!" Feng Na growled, practically tearing the backstage apart in search of the star of her show. "We need him to be ready in an hour! Why the hell hasn't he shown up yet?"
Feng Na glanced around a few more times, then she saw Sun Li at the far end of the backstage, helping one of the performing students put on make-up. Feng Na rushed over and grabbed Sun Li by the shoulder. "Where's Li Yundong!" she yelled, shaking Sun Li slightly.
"Wait, he isn't here yet?" Sun Li asked.
"You're his class rep, and you're asking me that?!" Feng Na yelled hysterically.
"But I did call him earlier! And he told me he'd be here!" Sun Li said, raising her voice as well.
The mere thought of Li Yundong's penchant for causing trouble drove Sun Li mad. Sun Li stopped one of their female classmates who was passing by. "Hey, have you seen Li Yundong?"
The girl shook her head. "No idea. Isn't that what he does? Disappear from lectures and such?"
Sun Li moved on and asked a few more of her classmates, all of whom answered her inquiries with headshakes. Sun Li stomped her foot in anger. "Damn it! How could this bastard go AWOL on such an important day! Where is his sense of responsibility!" she yelled.
"Wait, are you guys talking about Li Yundong?" said a girl who had just entered the backstage.
"Yes!" Sun Li said, turning towards the girl anxiously. "Have you seen him?"
"Yeah! This morning!"
"Where?!" Sun Li and Feng Na said at the same time.
"In front of the campus gates," said the girl. "He was there with his girlfriend. He was in a pretty heated exchange with a professor though..."
"And then what? Where did he go after that?" Sun Li asked.
The girl shrugged. "No idea. Probably left after the confrontation with the professor."
Feng Na did a facepalm.
"This guy..." Feng Na said, releasing a heavy sigh. "What was he even thinking?"
"Thinking?" Sun Li snorted. "We wouldn't even be in this situation if he was thinking!"
Feng Na glanced at Sun Li. "Call him again?"
Sun Li glared at Feng Na.
"This is your responsibility," Sun Li said, holding out her phone to Feng Na. "Why don't you call him yourself?"
Feng Na smiled at Sun Li. "Oh, come on. You're his classmate! You know him better than I do!" Feng Na pushed the phone back towards Sun Li. "Come on, come on! Hurry up and call him. He might make it in time if he comes now!"
Sun Li huffed, then dialed Li Yundong's number, but nobody picked up. Feng Na urged Sun Li to try again, which she did. When her sixth call attempt went unanswered, Sun Li nearly smashed her phone to the ground. "Ugh! This good-for-nothing bastard!" Sun Li growled. "Why won't he pick up his damn phone?!"
Feng Na covered her face and groaned loudly. "Argh! What am I gonna do this time. I'm screwed. I'm so screwed..."
"Hey! What are you two still doing here! Aren't you supposed to be getting ready?"
"AHHH!!!" A chorus of screams shook the backstage as the girls scrambled around to cover themselves.
"Professor Liu, this is the backstage and the girls' changing area! What are you doing in here?" Feng Na said, giving Professor Liu a wide-eyed stare.
"Old pervert..." one of the girls mumbled.
Professor Liu kept his expression neutral, though he kept sneaking glances to one of the girls who was still scrambling to make herself decent. He cleared his throat. "I was just here to see if you girls are done getting ready," he said. "Also, you mentioned Li Yundong just now. What did he do again?"
Feng Na looked at Professor Liu warily. "Li Yundong didn't do anything, professor," she said, choosing her words carefully. "Why? Did he offend you in some way?"
Professor Liu's face twisted in anger. "That guy has no respect for us professors at all!" he said. "Not to mention his complete disregard for university regulations! How dare he bring random people onto campus grounds and then walk around as though he owns the place! He even raised his voice against me! Me! A professor and his superior! I have no choice but to kick him out today!"
"Huh?!" Feng Na nearly fell flat on her butt.
Feng Na glared at Professor Liu as though he was the most obnoxious creature in existence. If looks could kill, Professor Liu would be dead several times over by now.
Feng Na couldn't believe that everything she'd done in preparation for today's performance was about to go up in flames. Convincing Li Yundong to take Zhao Yujian's place was already hard enough, not to mention she nearly had to sleep with that slimeball Director Qian to prevent him from expelling Li Yundong! And now everything was about to be ruined just because this idiotic pervert of a professor had decided, on a whim, that it was a good idea to kick Li Yundong out of the campus on the day of the frigging exchange visit when the guy was supposed to be onstage kicking boards!
Oh, how she wanted to castrate that pervert, gouge his eyes out, and then shove his balls into his eye sockets.
When Feng Na stepped forward, she felt firm grip on her arm.
"Professor Liu," Sun Li said, clutching Feng Na's arm tightly. "Li Yundong is the star of the Taekwondo Club's performance tonight. The performance can't go on without him!"
Professor Liu visibly blanched. "What do you mean the performance can't go on without him. Why can't you all just get someone else to replace him! Having a student like him on stage was a bad idea in the first place! He would just ruin the university's image!"
"Professor Liu..." Feng Na growled. "Do you have any idea how much time and effort I've invested to set everything up perfectly tonight! Do you know that the vice-chancellor himself had given us the green light to let Li Yundong perform on stage! And do you know that the Deputy Mayor himself had mentioned that he is looking forward to our performance? Do you!" Feng Na paused, glaring at Professor Liu. "Despite his flaws, the fact remains that we need Li Yundong tonight! Our club's performance would have to be called off if he doesn't show! The entire exchange visit will be ruined! When that happens, it will be on you!" Feng Na roared, jabbing a finger at Professor Liu. "And how could you? How could you say such baseless things about your own student! Yet you call yourself a professor!"
Professor Liu's lips trembled slightly, his face as white as a sheet. After that, he turned around with an abrupt flick of his sleeve, then stormed off.
"This is outrageous!" Professor Liu grumbled as he walked. "Absurd! Absurd is what it is! I can't believe students nowadays—"
THUD! THUD! THUD!
There was a whimper, then silence.
The girls in the backstage looked at each other.
"This is what I call karma! He had it coming!"
"I hope he falls to his death, then goes directly to hell, that stupid old pervert! He'd been staring at my boobs non-stop since the moment he came in!"
Sun Li sighed and looked at Feng Na. "I hope you have a back-up plan, Senior Feng Na. Otherwise, you're done for," Sun Li said. "Li Yundong is still a no-show, and now you've just disrespected a professor..."
Admittedly, Feng Na was starting to regret her earlier outburst. Still, she decided to act tough. "Hmph! What can he do to me? Expel me?" Feng Na said. "Sun Li, just keep calling Li Yundong! Wait! Isn't he staying at the dorms?"
"Nah. He's not," Sun Li said, scrolling through her contact list again. "Besides, with a girlfriend that pretty, staying at the dorms is probably the last thing he would want."
"Then do you know where he lives?" Feng Na tried again.
Sun Li put the phone to her ear, then shook her head. "The guy has always been a loner. He never really hangs out with other people from class, and nobody knows where he lives. Argh, this is such a pain—" Sun Li's eyes went wide. "Wait! He picked up!"
"Hello? Hello?! Li Yundong?!" Sun Li yelled at the phone.
However, instead of Li Yundong's voice, Sun Li heard a sweet, feminine voice: "Yundong! I think there's a person hiding inside this thing! And she seems to be speaking to me!"
Seconds later, Sun Li heard Li Yundong's voice, which sounded soft, as though Li Yundong was far away from the phone: "Ask her who she is!"
"Yundong wants me to ask you who you are?"
Sun Li tamped down her anger. "I'm his classmate," Sun Li said patiently. "My name is Sun Li. Can you hand the phone to him, please?"
The line was silent except for the patter of footsteps in the background. Sun Li shared a glance with Feng Na.
"Put it on loudspeaker," Feng Na said. "I wanna hear the conversation."
Sun Li put the call on loudspeaker. The clear sound of running water filled the backstage. Seconds later, Li Yundong's voice blared through the speaker: "Hey! Hey! I'm taking a shower! What the heck are you doin' in here! Put that thing away, you idiot! The phone isn't waterproof!"
Feng Na and Sun Li forgot their anger and burst into laughter right then and there. The other girls in the backstage formed a circle around the pair, each of them wearing an excited look on their face.
"Your classmate wants to speak with you..." Su Chan's melodious voice filled the backstage. "And you think I wanted to come in here and watch you perform your ablution? Pooh! As if! So ugly! Look at you, soooo hairy!"
Perform your ablution?! Hairy?!
"Hey... What's that I'm hearing from the phone? Is that... Hey! Why are so many people laughing over the phone! Argh! Fine! Fine! You win! You win! Now hurry up and go outside so I can finish up in here... Hey, hey, leave the phone, silly!"
Feng Na and Sun Li kept laughing their heads off until Li Yundong's voice sounded from the speakers: "Hello? Hello?"
Sun Li stifled her laughter. Barely.
"Hello, Li Yundong!" Sun Li said.
There was a dejected groan.
"You again, Madam Class Rep?"
"What do you mean by me again? Have you forgotten all about tonight's event?"
"No, I haven't," Li Yundong said with a sigh. "It's some exchange visit performance night whatchamacallit... With the foreign students from the University of Penny.... something."
"Oh... so you do remember!" Feng Na yelled. "Then get your ass over here, dammit!"
"Ha. You see, I wanted to. In fact, I already went this morning," Li Yundong said nonchalantly. "Apparently, a certain someone thinks I don't have the right to attend."
"Shut up, you asshole. Do you know what I just did? I had an argument with that idiot Professor Liu just now!" Feng Na yelled. "If you don't want me to have another argument with you, then you better get your ass over here! Now!"
The line was silent for several moments.
"You had an argument with Professor Liu?" Li Yundong asked quizzically. "Why?"
"Because of you, you idiot," Sun Li snapped.
"Huh? Because of me?"
Sun Li sighed. "Feng Na found out that it was Professor Liu who kicked you out. So she stood up for you!"
"O my great heroine Feng Na! I thank you from the bottom of my heart!" Li Yundong said. "Give me a moment! I'll be there after I finish my shower!"
Feng Na felt a little bit better after Li Yundong's words of assurance. "Finish your shower? Don't bother. Get over here now!"
"Oh, come on! At least let me rinse off these soap suds!" Li Yundong yelled.
Feng Na guffawed. A teasing grin slowly took form on her lips as she shared a glance with Sun Li.
"I don't know, pal. It might be a good idea to keep the suds," Feng Na said. "Might help cover up your hairiness!"
"What? What hairiness? What the— Yo! You guys overheard... The heck? How did you guys hear my conversation with Su Chan? Hello? Hello? Anyone there?! The f*ck? Why are there so many people laughing... Hello! Hey! Say something will'ya? How the f*ck did they... Wait a minu... Loudspeaker?! Holy shit! You were on loudspeaker this whole time? What the! Argh! I can't believe this shit! Girls these days! This is sexual harassment! I could sue you girls you know! Say something!!!!!"