Seeing her calm reaction, Li Ming was rather optimistic about Xiao Na’s character. Well, it was a small victory but it did remind him that other than Zhi Bao Yu, there would be eleven other participants. How often would he really have to do with her? Not to mention that this was only one course.
If today worked out well in general — irrespective of this short episode, at least —, then he would join Zhu Yi for both groups of the self-defense course starting next week. Zhi Bao Yu was only in one of them and she likely couldn’t ruin the whole experience either. So he didn’t have to worry. And when this program was done, she definitely wouldn’t return for the next course so … he only had to deal with her for a limited amount of time.
Thinking about it from that perspective, Li Ming cheered up and his expression returned to normal. “If you just came to Shanghai, I can imagine that it can be overwhelming. It’s definitely a change to adapt to.” He himself had grown up in the city so he was used to it but he had heard the same sentiment from others so he wasn’t too surprised.
Xiao Na smiled when Li Ming’s attitude turned better toward her. She had noticed his previous expression and worried a little but she had almost figured that it had to do with Zhi Bao Yu. “It is indeed. Well, I have a few friends that came to the city earlier than me and some relatives also live close by. So there has always been somebody to show me around and tell me what to take note of. That has definitely made it easier.”
She turned to Zhu Yi after saying that, smiling brightly. “To be honest, a lot of this was just me being scared as well even though there was nothing to worry about. This course has given me a confidence boost so everything seems a bit easier now. I guess it’s just a matter of feeling like I did something about my own weaknesses and learned to tackle matters.”
Zhu Yi nodded happily. “Then it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do!”
Before they could continue, the next participants strolled in. This time, Li Ming didn’t know them and once again tried to hang back. It wasn’t that easy though. With Zhu Yi, Zhi Bao Yu, and Xiao Na being familiar faces, the only new person would naturally be obvious at a glance. Not to mention that he stuck out like a sore thumb in his suit.
He glanced at everyone else who was dressed in sportswear and couldn’t help but sigh to himself. He got what Zhu Yi was going for but in this situation, he felt … odd about it. Maybe pretentious would be the better word for it.
It was like he was only wearing this suit to drive some kind of point home or maybe seem like one of those guys in movies who would save people left and right or deal with the evil mastermind. That definitely wasn’t how he saw himself though. He liked his job and he thought it was important but it wasn’t how the movies made it out to be. Well, no matter what he thought, it was Zhu Yi’s decision.
Zhu Yi also saw how the others looked at Li Ming when the other participants arrived one after the other but he wasn’t worried about it. Instead, he even felt that this just showed what an awesome idea he had had. After all, didn’t this just mean that Li Ming had a difficult to ignore presence? That was absolutely a plus point!
No matter how the two of them felt, matters had already been set in motion and soon, even the last of the participants arrived. Now, there really was no turning back, not that either of them had entertained the idea. Li Ming might have been shocked when he saw Zhi Bao Yu but he was professional enough to overlook past matters where it concerned work. Otherwise, he would have quit at the railroad station much earlier than he had done.
Zhu Yi went to close the door, took his usual spot, and then smiled even more brightly than he usually did when thinking of the surprise he was going to announce. Even though Zhi Bao Yu knowing Li Ming had almost thwarted the plan, he could still proceed almost as he had originally wanted to.
He cleared his throat to drag everyone’s attention back from the man in the suit and then started to explain. “Welcome to today’s lesson, everyone! As you can see, we have a guest today so before we start, let me introduce you guys.” He turned to the side, looking at Li Ming with sparkling eyes. “This is Li Ming. He usually works as a security guard but today, he is joining me for the demonstrations and to help you guys out if you have trouble.
“I hope that you will see this as an exciting opportunity to interact with somebody who knows how to defend himself and others very well and learn more. If everything goes well, we might welcome him here again next week, and even turn him into a regular guest. So … to get started, I thought you might want to ask Ah Ming a few questions to get to know each other. Who wants to go first?”
Zhu Yi looked excitedly at everyone but his expression almost collapsed when he saw who had raised his hand. Whether it was this group or the other one, they consisted almost only of women. In this group, there were two men though and one of them was the one he constantly butted heads with. Of course, that had to be the one who had now volunteered to go first.
Zhu Yi gritted his teeth and forced a smile. “Ah Huang, what would you like to know?”
The man in question grinned. “So, are the two of you dating?”
Li Ming looked at him and then glanced at Zhi Bao Yu who was on the other side of the group. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but huff. Huh, surprisingly enough, there were actually two of them.