Blue Moonlight
Blue Moonlight:<- Chapter 29

29. Also moonlight on the mountain ridge.

Late at night, Yu Xinqiao rubbed his arms as he walked slowly on the road. He saw Xu Yanhuan walking ahead, taking off his school uniform jacket and draping it over his arm. His hands were in his pockets, seemingly unaffected by the cold. Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but shiver.

Before long, Xu Yanhuan took out one hand from his pocket, and his school uniform hanging in his hand fell to the ground. Yu Xinqiao quickly stepped forward and picked it up, but when he handed it over, Xu Yanhuan didn’t take it. He said without much emotion, “Hold it for me.”

Yu Xinqiao didn’t care about cleanliness at the moment. He shook it a few times and draped it over himself, feeling much warmer.

After walking for a while, Yu Xinqiao started to replay the events that had just happened and asked, “How did you come to my house?”

“I saw it in the group chat.”

“I mean, why did you come?”

After a moment of silence, Xu Yanhuan finally replied, “You helped me find a job, so it’s just a way of returning the favor.”

He was referring to the “job” of helping Shen Da with math tutoring. Yu Xinqiao nodded, relieved that he didn’t misunderstand the situation, as it would have been awkward otherwise.

The process of climbing down from the second-floor bathroom window unexpectedly went smoothly. Although Yu Xinqiao was not as tall as Xu Yanhuan, being around 1.7 meters, he easily escaped with Xu Yanhuan’s assistance.

However, once they were outside, it became difficult to get back in. Yu Xinqiao changed into his home clothes as soon as he arrived home, and the key to the front door was left in his school uniform pocket. They stood at the door for a while, but couldn’t find a way to get inside.

At one point, Xu Yanhuan suggested climbing the balcony connected to the bedroom, but Yu Xinqiao rejected the idea. “I locked the sliding door from the inside. I live alone and I’m always cautious.”

So they had to give up on that idea.

They obtained the locksmith’s number from the property management, but since it was too late, Yu Xinqiao decided to call them the next day. Therefore, the immediate issue to be resolved was where they would stay tonight.

Their initial thought was to book a hotel room nearby, but Yu Xinqiao was underage, and Xu Yanhuan didn’t have his ID with him.

Yu Xinqiao then thought of going to an internet cafe for an overnight stay, but Xu Yanhuan frowned and asked if he often went to such places. Yu Xinqiao felt inexplicably guilty and truthfully replied, “I’ve never been… but don’t some boys in our class go there frequently? I heard it’s only three yuan per hour.”

Xu Yanhuan didn’t agree and gave the reason, “It’s too noisy there.”

Yu Xinqiao then suggested going to Liang Yi’s house for the night, but Liang Yi’s phone was unreachable, most likely because he had fallen into a deep sleep.

Finally, with no other options, Xu Yanhuan said, “Let’s go to my place.”

Yu Xinqiao thought he had misheard. “What?”

“It doesn’t matter where we stay.” Xu Yanhuan glanced at him and said in a calm tone, “If you don’t want to, forget it.”

How could Yu Xinqiao not want to?

After pursuing someone openly and secretly for so long, he finally got the chance to enter his personal domain. Yu Xinqiao’s heart raced, and various intimate scenes flashed through his mind, giving him a sense of accomplishment.

However, it turned out that Xu Yanhuan didn’t even have his own room. The two of them passed through a narrow alleyway and climbed up the rusty outdoor stairs to the top floor. Xu Yanhuan took out a key and opened the dilapidated security door. As he turned on the ceiling light after entering, even though Yu Xinqiao had mentally prepared himself, the cramped and narrow space that greeted him still made him pause for a moment.

In a space of less than fifteen square meters, the functions of a kitchen, living room, and dining room were crammed together. The sink and electric stove were against one wall, while the opposite wall had a makeshift cabinet and a fabric wardrobe. A square table with two chairs was placed in the center, and a stack of books sat on the only windowsill that led to the outside.

Out of politeness, Yu Xinqiao complimented, “Your home is so tidy,” his wandering gaze finally settling on the green plant next to the windowsill.

Xu Yanhuan walked in, moved the table against the wall, and placed his backpack on the floor, gesturing for Yu Xinqiao to sit.

Yu Xinqiao walked over without looking askance and sat down with some restraint. Suddenly, he heard a voice say, “That’s scallion.”

Yu Xinqiao withdrew his gaze and looked at Xu Yanhuan, “Huh?”

“I said that’s scallion, used for cooking.”

“Oh, I see.”

Realizing that Xu Yanhuan’s explanation implied that he didn’t even recognize scallions, Yu Xinqiao’s self-esteem took a hit. He tried to salvage his pride, saying, “I know that’s scallion. Not only do I recognize scallions, but I also know garlic and ginger. Their purpose is to season and remove the fishy smell.”

It was reminiscent of a kindergarten child eager to show off their extensive knowledge, and it made Xu Yanhuan, who had regretted bringing him to his own home, relax. He responded cheerfully, “Oh, that’s impressive.”

Though it seemed a bit odd, it was the first time Yu Xinqiao had received praise from Xu Yanhuan.

He was even happier than winning first place in a piano competition.

It was already getting late, so Xu Yanhuan brought the bedding piled against the wall and laid it on the floor. Yu Xinqiao squatted down to help him, smoothing the bedsheets while asking, “Has your mom not come home yet?”

Just as the words fell, the door to the only room in the house was pushed open from the inside, and Bai Wei, wearing a coat, peeked out. “Why did you just come back?”

Almost immediately, Yu Xinqiao jumped up from the floor and followed with a ninety-degree bow. “Hello, Auntie. I’m Yu Xinqiao, Xu Yanhuan’s classmate. I forgot my keys and couldn’t get into my own home, so I came here to stay for one night. I’m sorry for the inconvenience!”

He explained the whole situation, sparing Xu Yanhuan from having to explain.

Xu Yanhuan said, “Mom, go back to sleep. We’ll sleep soon too.”

Not sure if it was a misunderstanding, Yu Xinqiao felt that Xu Yanhuan’s mother was quite surprised by his arrival. She had been staring at him for a long time just now.

She even came out specifically to offer him fruit, politely and apologetically saying, “We don’t have apples, so let Yanhuan peel this pear for you.”

Once Bai Wei went back to her room, Yu Xinqiao couldn’t help but sincerely praise, “Your mom is so beautiful.”

Even at her age, one could still see that she was a beauty. Xu Yanhuan’s upper face, especially his eyebrows and eyes, were almost a carbon copy of her.

But then, the more he thought about it, the more something felt off. Yu Xinqiao couldn’t keep it to himself and asked, “Hey, did you badmouth me to your mom?”

Xu Yanhuan placed the newly taken out pillow on the inner side and lightly patted to fluff up the cotton inside.

“Yeah,” he casually replied, “I did.”

Feeling like he was facing a great enemy, Yu Xinqiao pressed on, “What did you say? Did you say I’m picky and won’t eat this or that? That’s not true, I can eat anything. I’m easy to please!”

Having finished making the bed, Xu Yanhuan stood up and said with a slight smile, “Got it.”

They should have already gone to sleep, but Yu Xinqiao remembered that he hadn’t taken a shower today, which explained why he felt uncomfortable all over.

However, Xu Yanhuan’s house didn’t even have a bathroom, let alone a shower room. Despite his reluctance, Yu Xinqiao couldn’t accept a gap in his perfect attendance for 365 days of showering. In a low voice, he negotiated with Xu Yanhuan, “Is there a public bathhouse near your house?”

He had never been to a public bathhouse before and only knew that it was a place for bathing.

Xu Yanhuan glanced at him and said, “No.”

After a momentary pause, he added, “If you really need to wash, you can use a basin.”

At eleven o’clock in the late night, Yu Xinqiao held a basin and followed Xu Yanhuan, who was carrying a hot water bottle, through the dark corridor, tiptoeing their way to the public restroom in the apartment building.

Perhaps due to diligent cleaning by the residents on this floor, the restroom had an acceptable smell, and all the facilities were in working order.

Placing the basin in the sink, they mixed hot and cold water. Yu Xinqiao reached out his finger to test the water temperature, saying, “It’s about right.”

Xu Yanhuan capped the hot water bottle and placed it on the floor. He handed over a new towel that he held in his arm, and as he looked up, he saw Yu Xinqiao undressing.

Yu Xinqiao was wearing a home outfit covered in prints of curly-haired puppies. He lifted the hem, revealing a slender and fair waist.

Xu Yanhuan instinctively averted his gaze.

Sensing the awkwardness, Yu Xinqiao stopped halfway through undressing and put his arm down. “What if someone needs to use the restroom?”

Xu Yanhuan turned around and walked towards the door. “I’ll stay here and watch. You hurry and wash.”

“Okay!” Yu Xinqiao readily agreed and quickly took off his clothes.

The early autumn weather was slightly chilly, not suitable for staying outdoors in thin clothing for too long.

Yu Xinqiao only took a ten-minute bath. He wetted his body, applied shower gel, and rinsed off quickly. After a hasty towel dry, he called out, “I’m done, it’s your turn!”

They switched places. Yu Xinqiao, who was keeping guard, heard the sound of rushing water behind him. Unable to resist his curiosity, he discreetly glanced over while pretending to sneeze. He saw Xu Yanhuan under the dim yellow light of the restroom, raising his hand to take off his white T-shirt, revealing well-defined shoulders, arms, and distinct abdominal muscles.

Yu Xinqiao looked at him enviously several times, thinking that some people were just naturally attractive.

When he turned his head, he realized that the temperature of his cheeks was abnormal. He touched it with his hand and found it scorching hot.

Xu Yanhuan finished washing even faster and came out with wet hair in less than five minutes.

On the way back, Xu Yanhuan walked in front, holding both the basin and the hot water bottle. Yu Xinqiao’s hands were empty, and he looked around the corridor, occasionally asking how many households lived here or commenting on how surprising it was to have mosquitoes in such cold weather, complaining about an itchy belly.

In the distance, they saw another brightly lit shop downstairs in another building. Next to it was a sign that read “Convenience Store” in a lightbox. Yu Xinqiao’s mouth began to water, “Do they sell ice cream there?”

Xu Yanhuan didn’t turn back. “I don’t know.”

“I’ll go check it out.”

Yu Xinqiao was about to leave when he was stopped by Xu Yanhuan.

He turned around and handed something in his hand to Yu Xinqiao, saying, “You take this, I’ll go.”

Watching his back as he went downstairs, Yu Xinqiao was afraid he would spend too much and reminded him from behind, “Don’t get the ones with rose hats, just get the regular ones!”

Xu Yanhuan still bought the cute ones with rose hats, saying the convenience store didn’t have the regular ones.

Yu Xinqiao trusted him and opened the package, taking a big bite that sent a chill from his stomach to the top of his head.

Fortunately, he had good teeth and could savor the taste of summer.

Xu Yanhuan only bought one ice cream, and while Yu Xinqiao was eating, he took out a mosquito coil from a plastic bag, set it up on the ground with one hand, and used a lighter to ignite a wisp of smoke with the flint.

Yu Xinqiao had only seen this mosquito-repelling method once during a summer camp in his childhood. Unable to resist, he walked over and squatted down, observing the mosquito coil that had turned red like lava and suddenly dropped a pile of ash.

There was also Xu Yanhuan’s face, serene and melancholic in the dim light.

Suddenly, he felt the strangeness of time. After all, this time last year, Yu Xinqiao was still far away in the capital, surrounded by relatives and friends, bustling and completely unaware that he would meet a young boy in Xun City a year later. Since then, the changes of the world and the passage of time had nothing to do with him. He just wanted to stay with him in this dim and narrow corner, even if it meant wasting half his life.

Fearful of falling asleep and waking up to find it’s the next day, Yu Xinqiao remained awake, moving a chair to sit by the window sill and bask in the moonlight.

While looking, he nibbled on the pear Xu Yanhuan had peeled for him. Having just eaten an ice cream, he felt he couldn’t eat a whole pear. Xu Yanhuan had originally planned to cut it in half, but he firmly objected, “Pears shouldn’t be eaten in halves, they’ll separate.”

Xu Yanhuan went along with him.

Later, Yu Xinqiao reciprocated by peeling a pear for Xu Yanhuan. Although it was rough and didn’t look good, Xu Yanhuan still ate it.

The moon on the tenth day of the lunar calendar was not quite round, and the sparse clouds came and went, reminding Yu Xinqiao of an old song.

He hummed a few lines and asked Xu Yanhuan, who was sorting books under the desk lamp, “Have you heard this song?”

Xu Yanhuan said he hadn’t.

Yu Xinqiao shrugged and thought, “Then you definitely don’t know the tune I played for you on your birthday, called ‘Moonlight’.”

He continued to hum in his voice as light as a cloud, “Look, look, the moon’s face is secretly changing.”

The moon’s face is secretly changing.

After a while, the mosquito bite on his belly started to itch again. Yu Xinqiao scratched it for a while, remembering an old advertisement: “Mom says there are no mosquitoes on the moon.”

Xu Yanhuan had heard of this one. He took out a bottle of peppermint oil from the drawer and handed it to Yu Xinqiao. The pungent smell made Yu Xinqiao sneeze repeatedly, and before he could find the mosquito

 bite, he rubbed his own eyes and couldn’t open them.

He had to seek help, “Can you help me wipe it?”

“Do it yourself,” Xu Yanhuan said firmly.

Yu Xinqiao was almost in tears from the irritation. “Help a person in need to the end, just help me a little.”


Helpless, Xu Yanhuan put down the book in his hand and took the emerald green bottle, nodding.

In order for him to see clearly, Yu Xinqiao straightened his chest and lifted his clothes. From Xu Yanhuan’s perspective, all he could see was a vast expanse of white skin.

The peppermint oil quickly touched the pink mosquito bite, and Xu Yanhuan turned away as he twisted the cap.

“Is it better?” Yu Xinqiao lifted his clothes again, leaning forward. “But it still itches. Can you apply a little more for me?”

“It’s the same no matter how much you apply.”

“I don’t believe it. It must be more effective if you use more. Don’t be stingy.”

Yu Xinqiao leaned forward with force, rubbing his chest against Xu Yanhuan’s arm.

Before this, Xu Yanhuan had never known that his family’s cheap discounted shower gel could make someone’s skin so smooth.

It emitted a faint fragrance.

He hurriedly stepped back, torn between instinct and order, and warned in a low voice, “Don’t provoke me.”

Yu Xinqiao didn’t hear clearly and thought he didn’t want to help. He let go of his clothes and sat back, muttering, “If it still itches later, you have to help me apply it again.”

That night, no one slept.

The two of them occupied separate sides of the bed, with an imaginary line dividing them.

Yu Xinqiao lay on the right side, thinking that since Xu Yanhuan didn’t know the piece of music called “Moonlight,” he would create another section of everlasting moonlight for him.

Xu Yanhuan lay on the left side, slightly pressing against his heart, as if afraid that his voice would be too loud and reveal the secrets in his heart.

Closing his eyes, a scene appeared within the frame of a phone camera.

As the later part of the night cleared, the outline of the moon became distinct.

Yu Xinqiao leaned his chin on his hand, sitting by the window. The silhouette of the young boy seemed slender and frail, but it contained a vibrant and energetic spirit.

Turning his head, he saw Xu Yanhuan holding his phone, examining something intently, without blinking.

“Don’t play with your phone,” Yu Xinqiao called out to him. “Come and look at the moon, it’s so beautiful.”

Xu Yanhuan stood still, his expression partially concealed by the darkness of the night, partially obscured by the phone screen. The faint light from the screen illuminated his deep eyes.

“I’m looking,” he said.

The youth on the screen raised his head and gazed at the vast sky, his neck slightly tilted. He embodied both the snow in the mountains and the moonlight on the ridges.

Brighter than the stars.

And in everything, there are cracks where the light shines through.


Author’s Note:

The song is “Ni Kan Ni Kan Yue Liang de Lian” by Mandy Wei.

“The cracks are where the light gets in” is a quote from Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem,” and the original line is “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”


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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