Chapter 2: Chase

For the next week, Elle was met with kind persuasion and coercion to call JZ.  The media kept running the story, with the vast majority containing interviews of people who ran into Elle and tried to persuade her.  One grandma saidto call him because it was the polite thing to do.  Girls of all ages started out telling her to call JZ because she was lucky to be chosen by him, but when Elle showed an indifference, they told her to hand over the number and they would call him, no doubt for themselves.

Elle wondered herself why she was chosen by him.  “He hardly said anything and neither did I,” she thought, “what made me so special?  There are many girls who look like they are from good families, speak the language, are more than willing to go out on a date with him, and most of them are very attractive.”

On the final day of the week, JZ spotted Elle on the streets of downtown Beijing again.  He walked briskly to catch up to her but not abnormally fast to catch attention.

Stopping right in front of her with a coy smile on his face, JZ said, “Hi.”  Elle was stunned momentarily.  She opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out.  She walked on to avoid attention.  JZ grabbed her arm, looked into her eyes, and asked, “Why haven’t you called me?”  She, again, was stunned but took back her arm and continued walking.

JZ went in front of her again, but this time, Elle said, “I don’t like you.”  JZ was confused because he had not done anything to this girl but she disliked him, however, he was persistent to know why she felt the way she did.

In a sweet voice, he said, “Go out with me right now and I can change your mind.”

“Thank you, but no,” Elle said nicely and walked away.

The persistent JZ made his situation public once again by calling to attention the people around him.  “I found the girl!” he shouted and pointed.  They surrounded him and whipped out their phones to record him.  “She’s right there and does not want to go on a date with me! Do me a favor and get her to go on a date with me!”

Elle’s brisk walk turned into a sprint to lose the mob chasing her.  For the next two hours she ran through alleyways, restaurants, laundromats, streets, and markets, and then began a three-hour-walk back to her apartment.  By then, she was too exhausted to repel to the various people who had heard JZ’s announcement, so she kept on walking.  It was 9pm.  She looked in her run-down fridge, saw the leftover fried noodles, ate it cold, and fell asleep.


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