When you're 12,000 miles away from home, don't speak the language and have already landed on the bad side of the local mean girls, a girl could really use a friend--that he's super cute and sweet is the cherry on top!
"It's easy," Guiran told her, balancing on his skateboard like he'd been born with it beneath his feet. "All you have to do is trust yourself not to fall."
Mei snorted. "Sorry, but I put my trust in Sir Isaac Newton and a little thing called gravity. There's no way you're going to talk me into getting on that thing. I'll kill myself."
"Come on. Give it a try." His grin was huge, infectious, but Mei refused to let it get to her. She'd come to China to find her birth parents, no play around on a four-wheeled death trap with a cute guy.
Not that there's any reason I can't do both, a little voice in the back of her head whispered. Mei ignored it. She was only going to be here for another month.
Guiran boarded ahead a little, then did a one-eighty, with lots of air, before landing a couple of feet in front of her.
"Come on, Mei. Just try it once. I promise I won't let anything happen to you."
Against all odds, and her better judgment, Mei felt herself relenting. "Is it really so important to you that I get on your stupid skateboard?"
"Because you look like you've just lived through the most miserable six weeks of your life. I think you could use a little fun."
"Playing guitar is fun. Shopping is fun. Acing a test is really fun. Getting on that death trap, not so much."
"Fine. Tell me the last time you did any of those things and I'll leave you alone."
"I'll have you know I bought a very nice belt a few weeks ago," she answered.
"Wow. A belt. Big spender," he teased.
"I play guitar every day," she said.
"Okay, then. What I meant was, when was the last time you tried something new?"
When she didn't immediately answer, Guiran's smile grew wider. "See, you need a challenge. That's what keeps life interesting." He stepped off the skateboard. "Try it. If you don't have fun, I promise I won't ask again."
She wasn't sure if she was happy about that promise or not--she had gotten to the point that her time with Guiran was the complete highlight of her day, so much so that she found herself watching the clock--and the grounds outside her dorm room window--at least an hour before he was supposed to show up. The practical side of Mei was a little worried about her dependence on him. After all, it was never good to put all your eggs in one basket, and if this friendship didn't work out between them, then she'd be totally screwed. Without his wicked good translating skills, she didn't know if she was ready to tackle the four and a half hours of public transportation required to get from Shenyang to Dalian. China had seemed smaller when she was back home, planning her trip.
At the same time, though, the impractical side of herself--the one that dreamed of running off with a rock band instead of going to MIT--refused to be concerned. Guiran was a good guy, it told her. She should just relax and enjoy the time she got to spend with him.