Blue Moonlight
Blue Moonlight: <-Chapter 28

28. Open the window

Yu Xinqiao specially brought a small stool he found to school today, just so he could stand high and see far.

However, although Xu Yanhuan appeared, he didn’t approach, as if he didn’t see him, and instead went straight to the teaching building without looking in his direction.

On his way back to the classroom with the small stool, Yu Xinqiao started reflecting on whether he wasn’t eye-catching enough today.

Perhaps he should wear the light yellow hoodie tomorrow, with the school uniform wide open, impossible for Xu Yanhuan to miss!

A few days later, another opportunity arose. The results of the piano competition Yu Xinqiao participated in during the summer vacation were announced, and he won first prize without any suspense.

Originally, the award shouldn’t have been presented by the school, but it was reported by their homeroom teacher, Teacher Yang. The school leaders attached great importance to it, considering it as an excellent opportunity to showcase the comprehensive qualities of the school’s students. Therefore, during the Friday break time, Yu Xinqiao was invited to the stage and once again received the trophy in front of the entire school.

Putting aside the “public confession” he made on the radio station last semester, this was the most prominent moment for Yu Xinqiao at Xuncheng No. 2 Middle School.

It was so significant that even Chen Yang, the Class 3 monitor who always held himself high, came to find him at noon and said that there would be a class dinner tonight, specifically to celebrate him.

Yu Xinqiao modestly said, “But it’s just a first prize. There’s no need to make such a big fuss.”

Chen Yang said, “It was Teacher Yang’s idea. It happened to be the beginning of the senior year, so let everyone relax.”

Yu Xinqiao agreed. When he learned that the dinner expenses would be covered by the class fund, he bought several cases of beverages with his own money and, with the help of Wang Kun, moved them to the restaurant. When they opened the boxes, they found a wide variety of drinks, including sports drinks, various types of milk, and even Evian mineral water.

The happiness of youth is simple. As long as there is food and drink, they don’t worry about the future.

The atmosphere during the meal was lively. Classmates sang, played drinking games, and rolled dice. Taking advantage of the homeroom teacher’s temporary absence, they brought all the beer to the table. Their aim was to have an empty beer bottle in the middle of the table for a game of “Truth or Dare.”

The bottle stopped spinning and pointed to Xu Yanhuan, who was sitting in the corner. The noise ceased, and silence filled the air.

This was Xu Yanhuan’s first time attending a class dinner. Therefore, some classmates speculated on the way there that he hadn’t participated before because he hadn’t paid the class fee.

Ever since Xie Fei’s big mouth spread rumors about Xu Yanhuan’s father owing high-interest loans in school, and with Xu Yanhuan himself working part-time jobs, everyone in the school knew about his poor family background. Combined with his previous solitary behavior and excessively excellent academic performance, he had long become a topic of discussion among the students at Xuncheng No. 2 High School.

Of course, the main reason Xu Yanhuan received so much attention was also his appearance.

Yu Xinqiao stretched his neck and looked over at the next table. He saw Xu Yanhuan lower his gaze and purse his lips, looking out of place among the surroundings. With a flick of his eyelids, deep brown pupils were revealed, and his indifferent gaze swept casually, leaving people unable to help but gasp.

“This is so unfair,” Yu Xinqiao thought. With such looks, who could bear to punish him?

Wang Kun could bear it.

Ever since they started playing basketball together, Wang Kun considered Xu Yanhuan as one of his own. He had advised him before to not accept Yu Xinqiao’s pursuit but not make a scene.

Although he was still a bit afraid because he had witnessed Xu Yanhuan easily knocking Xie Fei to the ground.

Pushed by the crowd, Wang Kun stepped forward and said, “Um, you know the rules of the game, right?”

After a two-second pause, Xu Yanhuan uttered a soft “Mm.”

With more confidence, Wang Kun exchanged a glance with the person beside him, He Tangyue, and cleared his throat to ask, “Do you have someone you like right now?”

This was one of the most common questions in the game of “Truth or Dare,” with a frequency comparable to rain during physical education class.

But no matter how common the question was, it wasn’t so common when it came to Xu Yanhuan. After all, besides his family background, everything else about him was a mystery.

Some even thought of the incident last semester when his grandiose confession on the school radio was stood up. The atmosphere stagnated for a moment, with half of the classmates waiting for Xu Yanhuan’s answer and the other half stealing glances at Yu Xinqiao’s reaction.

Yu Xinqiao pretended not to react, picked up the drink on the table, and drank slowly, but his ears were pricked up, afraid of missing any sound.

And in the midst of the anticipation of the crowd, Xu Yanhuan remained expressionless. Just as he was about to speak with his lips slightly parted, some good-natured classmates had already opened their phones to record a video. Xu Yanhuan raised his right hand, picked up the full glass of beer on the table, and drank it all in one go.

As the dinner came to an end, everyone was exhausted and huddled together, stumbling and leaning.

Liang Yi treated this dinner as the final celebration before the college entrance examination. He had a few extra drinks, resulting in needing Shen Da also’s support to walk.

Before leaving, he didn’t forget to wave back to Yu Xinqiao and say, “Bye-bye, Qiao. I won’t go to school tomorrow, I’ll go to work and make money.”

Yu Xinqiao rolled his eyes, “Tomorrow is Saturday!”

He had also drunk some beer, and an unnatural blush appeared on his cheeks. At first glance, his gaze seemed a bit vacant.

Unfortunately, he encountered two athletes from the neighboring class at the entrance. They knew about Yu Xinqiao’s preference for boys and saw his silly and easy-to-play appearance, so they playfully blocked him on the roadside, asking for his phone number.

Their language was vulgar and crude, with remarks like, “What do you eat to have such fair skin?” and “I think you look like a little girl. Are you disguised as a boy?”

Xu Yanhuan purposely lingered and saw Yu Xinqiao being cornered by the two delinquents.

Before his brain even issued the command, his footsteps had already hastened. However, before he reached them, he saw Yu Xinqiao tip-toeing, raising his arms high, and pressing down forcefully on the back of the two individuals’ heads, bringing them together in the middle.

I heard a loud “bang,” and the two athletes held their foreheads in pain, retreating and colliding with each other, almost falling headfirst.

Yu Xinqiao was extremely satisfied with this outcome. He took out a tissue from his pocket, wiped his hands as if they were dirty, and cursed, “Stupid straight guys, I’m the real man here.”

Watching Yu Xinqiao’s small figure walk away with a slight bounce, Xu Yanhuan couldn’t help but let out a light laugh in his throat.

As the two guys approached, grumbling and cursing, Xu Yanhuan stretched out his leg and tripped one of them, causing him to fall. He grabbed the arm of the other guy and pulled him down as well. Taking advantage of their inability to see, he swiftly kicked each of them from behind.

Yu Xinqiao admitted that he was a zero, but he would never admit that he was a weak zero.

He believed he played the piano well, was skilled in the kitchen, had excellent English grades, and didn’t hold back when it came to fighting.

He was even brave enough to attempt unclogging the drain. During the dinner, he absentmindedly didn’t eat enough and ended up making a bowl of noodles at home. However, he felt full halfway through and remembered Yu Hanzhang’s advice not to pour a large amount of wet garbage down the sink to avoid clogging. So he poured it into the toilet instead.

But it still got clogged.

Faced with the overwhelming smell of fermented cabbage filling the entire bathroom, Yu Xinqiao chose to open the window. He rolled up his sleeves, picked up a plunger, took a deep breath, and was about to start when he heard a loud noise, and the bathroom door was blown shut by the wind.

Yu Xinqiao’s heart pounded with fear, and even the plunger became crooked.

After a few unsuccessful attempts, the water level remained high. Yu Xinqiao started to retreat and contemplated the likelihood of successfully calling his father for remote guidance.

In any case, it was better to save face in front of family members than outside. After much hesitation, Yu Xinqiao dialed Yu Hanzhang’s phone number.

After three rings, Yao Qiongying answered the call.

She was still angry about Yu Xinqiao insisting on staying in Xuncheng, so her tone wasn’t very pleasant. “Didn’t we say not to interfere? Why are you calling?”

Yu Xinqiao awkwardly replied, “…I was calling Dad.”

When Yu Hanzhang took the phone, he mentioned that they had just finished attending a banquet. Yu Xinqiao inquired about the current situations of their relatives and friends, and Yao Qiongying interjected, “Your Uncle Liu’s son returned from studying abroad and is now a department manager in a large company. Your Aunt Chen’s daughter also went abroad. She’s studying violin. Originally, you two were supposed to be classmates…”

Yu Xinqiao couldn’t stand hearing these things and interrupted, “We’ll still be classmates next year.”

In Yao Qiongying’s eyes, his current behavior was a waste of time. Unable to hold back, she retorted sternly, “If you had gone a year earlier, you would have returned a year earlier. You yourself know how short an artist’s golden time is. If I knew you were so indecisive, I should have given birth to another…”

Yao Qiongying had said such things before, but always in a joking manner. Today, she said it with a serious tone, inevitably hurting Yu Xinqiao.

Yu Xinqiao wasn’t in a good mood either and angrily hung up the phone.

While complaining to himself about how distance didn’t make beauty, Yu Xinqiao clenched his phone and planned to go out and seek help from the property management. However, he tried turning the doorknob several times but couldn’t open the door.

It seemed like it was locked too tightly, and the latch had fallen off.

He tried a few more times, putting all his strength into it, but still couldn’t open it.

Yu Xinqiao silently returned to the toilet, looked down at the plunger floating in the water, and with a sound, a tear fell into the murky instant noodle soup.

If someone were to interview him at that moment and ask what it meant to be a real man, Yu Xinqiao’s answer would undoubtedly be: “No matter how strong you are, you can’t withstand a single blow.”

Being alone for most of the year, dealing with everything on his own, the bitterness he could only bear himself surged up at that moment. Yu Xinqiao sat down next to the sink, lit up his phone, opened WeChat, and sent a crying emoticon in the class group.

He waited for three minutes before someone replied.

Wang Kun: What’s wrong, Little Fish?

Perhaps for convenience, the classmates in the group all referred to Yu Xinqiao as Little Fish.

Yu Xinqiao wiped away a tear and replied: “I locked myself in the bathroom.”

Wang Kun: What should we do, call 119 for help?

Yu Xinqiao wanted to ask if he could come over. He was tall and might be able to climb in through the window. Although he could also call the property management, it involved privacy and safety, so it would be more reassuring to rely on someone familiar.

Wang Kun quickly replied: “My parents and I are on our way back to our hometown. Otherwise, I would come and help you.”

He mentioned a few close classmates in his message, including Liang Yi and Shen Da Ye, but they didn’t respond, probably because they had fallen asleep after drinking too much.

Even Chen Yang, who rarely spoke in the group except for sending notifications, chimed in: “It’s better to call 119. Last time, my neighbor’s cat was stuck in a high place, and the firefighters helped rescue it.”

Yu Xinqiao felt a little embarrassed, thinking to himself, “Have I really stooped so low that I’m as dumb as a cat?”

He exited WeChat and decided to sit for a while longer before making the distress call at nine o’clock.

This could also be classified as one of his peculiar rituals, allowing himself to reveal his embarrassment a little later.

The current situation felt familiar, reminiscent of the last time he crouched here during a power outage and thunderstorm. Xu Yanhuan appeared out of nowhere without warning.

They even kissed, though it resulted in their lips getting bruised.

As his fingertips gently touched his lips, Yu Xinqiao’s thoughts drifted back to that night, and he couldn’t help but wonder if Xu Yanhuan had been asked by his mother about the injury to his mouth after returning home.

If he were asked, how would he answer?

Bitten by a little dog?

Then am I a cat or a dog after all?

Outside, the night darkened, occasionally interrupted by the sounds of insects and rustling leaves. With his head resting against the cabinet door, Yu Xinqiao felt drowsy, but suddenly, he heard the doorbell ring.

It only rang twice and stopped, as if knowing that no one would come to open the door. Then footsteps sounded outside the bathroom window, stepping on the grass and fallen leaves with a firm sound, instantly alerting Yu Xinqiao. He wondered who it could be at this hour. The property management wouldn’t enter the yard without the owner’s permission. Could it be a thief?

Holding his breath, he walked to the window, leaned out with half of his head, and looked down.

The second-floor bathroom window was higher than the first floor, and Yu Xinqiao crouched at the window ledge in an awkward posture. Just then, his phone rang, and his hand trembled, nearly throwing the phone out.

He quickly withdrew and leaned against the wall before answering, trying not to startle the “thief” outside. Yu Xinqiao’s voice was barely audible: “Hello?”

He didn’t even notice the caller ID.

There was silence on the other end for a few seconds, followed by a cold voice: “Open the window.”

Yu Xinqiao couldn’t find words for a long time. The message contained so much information that he didn’t know what to ask first.

How did you come here? Or, which window should I open?

The person on the other end of the phone made the decision for him.

“Didn’t you say you were trapped?” Xu Yanhuan said. “Just open the window.”

Once Yu Xinqiao regained his senses, he stood up and pushed open the window, seeing a slender figure downstairs.

Xu Yanhuan was still wearing his school uniform, the blue and white blending into the thick darkness of the night. Even when looking down at him, there was a lonely and desolate sense of elevation.

But it’s not autumn yet.

Along with the gust of evening wind, there was also a strange sense of déjà vu that came to mind.

When I was very young, I read a Grimm fairy tale about a girl locked in a tall tower. One day, she let her long hair down through the window, and the prince climbed up using it.

Although Yu Xinqiao didn’t have long hair, and the second floor was far from being a tall tower, at this moment, he couldn’t help but think of the story of Rapunzel.

Secretly, in his heart.

Xu Yanhuan was tall with long legs and dexterity. He brought a trash bin over, stepped on it, grabbed the decorative trim on the edge of the wall, and climbed up with a few swift steps.

As Xu Yanhuan entered through the window, Yu Xinqiao nervously supported him. The two of them were suddenly very close, close enough for Yu Xinqiao to catch a faint smell of alcohol on him.

He remembered the large glass of beer that Xu Yanhuan drank at dinner to avoid speaking his true feelings.

So it wasn’t that he didn’t have someone he liked, but rather that he didn’t want to say it.

Acidic bubbles started to rise in Yu Xinqiao’s heart, even more sour than old pickled cabbage.

And Xu Yanhuan also noticed the unidentified liquid in the toilet, his expression revealing a speechless reaction without saying a word.

Yu Xinqiao took the initiative to explain, “I tried to unclog it, but I wasn’t successful.”

Xu Yanhuan didn’t say anything. He picked up the plunger nearby, vigorously plunged it a couple of times into the drain, and then flushed the toilet. Whoosh! The miscellaneous mess inside instantly disappeared.

This made Yu Xinqiao feel extremely embarrassed. “It seems I didn’t find the right spot earlier… or you’re just more skilled.”

Xu Yanhuan remained silent, not accepting this awkward praise.

The locked door couldn’t be opened by Xu Yanhuan either. Without any suitable tools at hand, using brute force might break the lock.

They had to find another way in and out.

When Yu Xinqiao heard they had to climb out of the window, he initially refused. “It’s so high. What if we break our legs from a fall?”

Xu Yanhuan cast a glance at him and noticed a smudge of dirt on his right cheek.

He didn’t know when it got there.

As someone with a cleanliness obsession, Yu Xinqiao was very sensitive to others’ gaze. He immediately asked, “Is there something dirty on my face?”

Xu Yanhuan responded with a simple “Hmm,” pointing to the right side.

Yu Xinqiao tried to wipe it away with his hand, but he couldn’t clean off that smudge. Perhaps because Xu Yanhuan was standing in front of him, the more anxious Yu Xinqiao became, the more his brain seemed to short-circuit, and he even forgot that there was a mirror right next to him.

After a few more attempts to wipe it off, Yu Xinqiao looked up and asked, “How about now?”

Xu Yanhuan examined him for a moment and said, “Almost there.”

As he said that, he reached out his hand, and with the pad of his thumb, gently wiped away the dirt on Yu Xinqiao’s left cheek that he had picked up while climbing through the window.

Yu Xinqiao didn’t expect him to personally take action, and he couldn’t help but freeze, momentarily unable to distinguish left from right.

With both hands gripping the window frame, one leg already on the windowsill, Xu Yanhuan turned his head and saw Yu Xinqiao with symmetrically dirty cheeks and eyes widened. A barely noticeable smile tugged at the corner of Xu Yanhuan’s mouth.

“Let’s go,” he said. “I’ll catch you down below.”


Certified member of the IIO(International Introverts Organization), PhD holder in Overthinking and Ghosting, Spokesperson for BOBAH(Benefits of Being a Homebody), Founder of SFA(Salted Fish Association), Brand Ambassador for Couch Potato fall line Pajama set.

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