Yu Xīnqiao: “…”
He didn’t learn anything at all. It could be said that the essence was completely lost.
There was no need to correct him either. Yu Xinqiao cleared his throat and said, “Just knowing me is enough.”
Xu Yanhuan remained silent and instead looked at the deformed soda can in Yu Xinqiao ‘s hand.
Yu Xinqiao followed his gaze and lowered his head, his eyes lighting up.
He happened to be thirsty.
He raised the soda can and swiftly pulled the tab. Xu Yanhuan lifted his hand as if to stop him, but he was too late. There was a “pop” sound, and the pressurized carbonated beverage, shaken by the release, couldn’t withstand the pressure and gushed out with a rush of gas.
Yu Xinqiao, caught off guard, was sprayed all over his hands, chest, and face. He quickly used his other hand to retrieve tissues from his pocket and hastily wiped himself.
After using five sheets of tissue, he suddenly realized that he had also sprayed someone else. He pulled out a new tissue and handed it over, saying, “You wipe yourself too.”
Xu Yanhuan didn’t take it, his hands already in his pants pocket.
Yu Xinqiao leaned over to look and saw the yellow drink stains splattered on the white t-shirt, making a distressing sight. He couldn’t stand dirtiness and almost instinctively used the tissue to wipe the stain. Just as he was about to touch it, Xu Yanhuan retreated half a step towards the wall.
Yu Xinqiao choked.
Don’t tell me he thought I was trying to take advantage?
Thinking about the “intimate contact” just now, the recently dispelled distractions seemed to return to his mind. Yu Xinqiao raised his hand and touched his earlobe. He noticed that the temperature was off and realized that the sticky syrup he hadn’t cleaned off his hand had gotten on his ear.
This is just too embarrassing.
As Yu Xinqiao struggled with whether to find a faucet to wash his hands first or to throw away the dirty tissues in his hands, Xu Yanhuan brushed past him and walked towards the alley entrance.
Yu Xinqiao attempted to call him back, but just as he was about to say “Huán,” Xu Yanhuan , who had taken only a couple of steps, turned around, his gaze cold as he looked back.
“Huán, Classmate Xú.” Yu Xinqiao’s tongue took a turn, “Should I bring you the money for the drink on Monday?”
Xu Yanhuan stood still, looking at him intently for a moment, then opened his lips and said, “No need,” before turning and walking away.
Watching that seemingly cold figure fade away, Yu Xinqiao took a while to snap out of it.
“No need,” what does that mean?
Was he treating me to a drink?
There was still about half a can of the drink in his hand. Yu Xinqiao brought it to his mouth and tilted his head back, finishing it in one gulp.
During the break on Monday morning, Yu Xinqiao walked to the corner of the classroom’s last row and took out three coins from his pocket, neatly placing them on Xu Yanhuan ‘s desk.
Just as he returned to his seat, Liang Yì grabbed him and whispered, “Why are you giving money to Xu Yanhuan ?”
“Repaying a debt,” Yu Xinqiao replied.
“When did you owe him money? Why didn’t I know?” Liang Yì asked.
“There are many things you don’t know,” Yu Xinqiao said.
Liang Yì felt annoyed for a while and asked, “Is it related to you staining your clothes yesterday? Did you meet him?”
After returning to Shen Deye’s home yesterday,Yu Xinqiao immediately took off his coat and put it in the sink. Only after being reminded by Shen Dáye’s mother did he realize that wool coats couldn’t be washed with water. He hurriedly took it out and sent it to a nearby dry cleaner’s.
This flaw of lacking common sense in life was fully manifested on the same day.
Yu Xinqiao didn’t want to bring it up again. “I did meet him, but staining my clothes had nothing to do with him. Don’t make wild guesses.”
Shen Deye, who was sitting in the front row, joined in the conversation, “What are you guys talking about? Who did you meet?”
Liang Yì said, “Xu Yanhuan .”
Shen Dayethought of Xu Yanhuan’s fierce gaze and the pain of falling on his head, and shivered, “Why did he go to the wholesale market? It’s not because of me calling him ‘Huán Huán’ last time, is it?”
Yu Xinqiao chuckled and said, “He’s not that petty.”
Liang Yì noticed something, “How do you know he’s not petty? What happened yesterday?”
Xu Yanhuan was like a mystery. Not only fellow students, even the teachers couldn’t help but be curious about him.
Recalling yesterday when Yu Xinqiao saw Xu Yanhuan working at a barbecue stall and even getting into a fight, he decided to help keep his secret.
He first asked Shen Daye, “Hey, don’t you usually buy food from the market?”
Shen Dayereplied, “My mom says the food at those small stalls isn’t clean, so she never lets me buy from there.”
Yu Xinqiao nodded, “I guess Xu Yanhuan ‘s mom doesn’t really care about him. Yesterday, I just saw him passing by the market. He was probably going to eat something.”
Liang Yì and Shen Daye: ?
Yu Xinqiao shrugged, “After all, the food there is delicious and cheap.”
That day, Yu Xinqiaocouldn’t go home on time after school.
He entrusted his weekend homework to Liang Yì, but this guy was too busy playing games and hadn’t even finished his own work. He only managed to complete the multiple-choice questions for Yu Xinqiao’s portion.
They were all filled with “C.” When the English teacher finished grading the assignments, she called Yu Xinqiao to her office and asked him, “Are you too lazy to even open your eyes when you randomly fill in the answers?”
After school in the afternoon, Yu Xinqiao was forced to stay in the classroom and redo the weekend English test. During that time, he received a message from Liáng Yì on WeChat, a dog holding an umbrella for another dog. Yu Xinqiao replied with a dog taking the umbrella and said, “Thank you, I really like it,” then put his phone back in his pocket.
Actually, Yu Xinqiao’s English grades were decent. Before transferring to Xúnchéng, he attended an international school where there were more people speaking English than Chinese. As a result, he could finish his test papers quickly and even had time to take out his earphones and listen to some music.
He used the iPod that Yao Qiongyīng gave him many years ago, with 8GB of memory. Besides piano compositions, there was only enough space for a few classic English songs.
As a melodious song with a gentle prelude played, Yu Xinqiao relaxed his body along with the music and looked out the window.
His gaze crossed the corridor and fell on the playground bathed in the evening sun. A young boy claimed the basketball court before it got dark, standing tall yet lonely.
Yu Xinqiao heard the lyrics in his earphones:
Feel my feet above the ground
Hand of God, deliver me
The young boy on the playground started jumping, his feet lightly leaving the ground. The basketball traced a parabola against the backdrop of the golden sunset and landed precisely in the center of the hoop.
After packing his bag, Yu Xinqiao slowly walked outside and locked the classroom door.
The road to the school gate passes through the playground, so when Yu Xinqiao saw the person who was shooting hoops earlier, he was now picking up his backpack from under the basketball hoop.
Standing up straight, their eyes unintentionally met. Yu Xinqiao hesitated whether to say hello or not, but then he saw Xu Yanhuan casually shift his gaze away, just like yesterday at the barbecue stall, as if he didn’t recognize him at all.
Yu Xinqiao decided to pretend he hadn’t seen Xu Yanhuan and turned his face away, earnestly studying the honor roll displayed in the showcase next to him.
It was the overall class ranking for the first semester of the second year. By chance, he spotted Xu Yanhuan’s name in the first row, fifth place.
No wonder he can sleep in class and get into fights after class.
No wonder so many people write love letters to him. High school students have similar aesthetic standards, and who wouldn’t like a good-looking guy with good grades?
Yu Xinqiao now had a clear understanding of what Liang Yi meant by “decent grades” and involuntarily began to recall the accident from yesterday.
He didn’t know what happened to that loud-voiced man. Did he suffer any injuries?
Yu Xinqiao remembered the man saying that he would come to the school to find Xu Yanhuan, but lending money at high interest rates is illegal, so they shouldn’t dare to make a big fuss, right?
If they really did come, the school security guards are old and have aging limbs. Can they stop them?
Lost in thought, Yu Xinqiao caught a glimpse of the person walking in front of him stopping.
Xu Yanhuan put down his backpack, took out a stack of unopened envelopes from it, and tossed them all into the nearby trash bin.
Yu Xinqiao: “…”
So, these are the love letters given by their classmates. This is their final destination.
He wondered how long these letters had been accumulating there when he saw Xu Yanhuan swing his backpack over his shoulder and, in one swift motion, turn around, startled by a small dog wagging its tail beside him, which appeared out of nowhere.
The reason Yu Xinqiao concluded that Xu Yanhuan was scared was because his sudden and swift step back was quite unexpected.
He almost bumped into the trash bin.
The dog seemed surprised by its own power, tilting its head and looking at the bulky human rummaging through the trash in front of it.
The scene was somewhat comical.
Yu Xinqiao chuckled, unable to hold back his laughter, and redirected Xu Yanhuan’s attention from the dog to himself.
On Xu Yanhuan’s previously icy face, there was finally a different expression, although the change was so subtle that it was hard to describe.
Feeling awkward, Yu Xinqiao searched his mind for something to say and brought up an old topic: “Did you receive the money for the drink?”
When he placed the coins on Xu Yanhuan’s desk, Xu Yanhuan was asleep.
He can sleep so much during the day, what does he do at night?
Yu Xinqiao couldn’t bring himself to ask that question.
Xu Yanhuan responded with a soft “En.”
Perhaps worried that the person five meters away couldn’t hear him, before turning away, he added in a nonchalant tone, “Thank you.”
Even when Yu Xinqiao returned home, he still couldn’t figure out what the “thank you” was for.
But it didn’t matter. What mattered more was that Xu Yanhuan’s face lost color when he was startled by the “vicious dog.”
Humming a song, Yu Xinqiao went to the kitchen to prepare a bowl of noodles for himself. The cook will be on duty next week, and the housekeeper came in the afternoon. As Yu Xinqiao slurped his noodles, he wiped the table with his fingers, rubbing his thumb over it, and not a speck of dust remained—a clean and tidy environment as rumored.
In a rare good mood, his phone rang, and the screen displayed “Mrs. Yao.”
Yu Xinqiao put down his chopsticks, wiped his mouth with a tissue, and answered the call with a low voice, “Mom.”
Yao Qiongying went straight to the point, “Your father told me that you want to buy a piano there?”
“Yes, I can’t stop practicing.” Yu Xinqiao said, “I’m planning to use the red packet money I saved to buy a second-hand one. If I don’t need it anymore, I can…”
Before he could finish saying the words “sell it,” Yao Qiongying interrupted him, “Seems like you’re adapting well. I thought you wouldn’t be able to handle that kind of place.”
This was the first phone call Yu Xinqiao had with his mother after arriving in Xuncheng.
He really didn’t want to make her angry at all.
“Xuncheng is quite nice.” Yu Xinqiao tried to maintain a calm tone, “The air is fresh, classmates are friendly, and the cost of living, including meals, is cheaper than in the capital.”
He heard Yao Qiongying snort on the other end of the line.
“You can go ahead and be stubborn with me. In the end, it’s you who will lose.” Yao Qiongying was a high-level executive of a listed company, and she always had the final say, whether at work or at home. Even when facing her own son, her attitude remained strong. “Without the educational resources of the capital, without your parents’ care, I want to see what kind of situation you can make for yourself.”
Yu Xinqiao also had a stubborn spirit of not wanting to lose. After enduring and enduring, he couldn’t hold back anymore and said, “Then you just watch and see what kind of person I can become!”
This phone call freed Yu Xinqiao from the shackles and concerns of his rebellious youth, officially entering the boiling climax.
He first contacted his father, Yu Hanzhang, and told the two housekeepers not to come anymore. Then he sent back the bank card that Yu Hanzhang had given him through express delivery.
The red envelope money he received from various elders throughout his life was enough to cover his daily expenses in Xuncheng, and it was even sufficient for him to buy a decent second-hand piano. As for the house, Yu Xinqiao decided to brazenly continue living in it. After all, it was a gift from his father, Yu Hanzhang, and had nothing to do with his mother, Yao Qiongying.
Although he was still nine months away from adulthood, because he was a minor, his parents still had the obligation to support him, so it was not unreasonable for him to take advantage of them.
Would a mother really kick her child out of the house just because he was open about his sexual orientation? Mrs. Yao, being such a mature person, not only lacked open-mindedness but also lacked understanding. She went on a hunger strike, causing him to worry for several days.
At night, curled up in his bed, Yu Xinqiao wiped away the tears that welled up in the corners of his eyes, feeling wronged and indignant. Since you look down on my choices, I am determined to live a splendid life here!
I will happily go to school and joyfully play the piano!
I insist on becoming someone!
I want to fall in love too! With the most handsome guy in the whole school!
So, on Tuesday, other classmates from different classes knocked on the window near the corridor, asking Yu Xinqiao to help deliver love letters. Yu Xinqiao grinned widely and said, “Sorry, I can’t help.”
Liang Yi found it strange and asked why he couldn’t help. Yu Xinqiao replied solemnly, “Being kind to enemies is being cruel to oneself.”
Liang Yi: ?
This week, they started having morning exercises between classes.
Xu Yanhuan, being tall, stood at the end of the line.
Normally, this position should provide a panoramic view and make it difficult for others to observe you. However, today, during a flag-raising speech followed by radio gymnastics, for about fifteen minutes, he felt like he was being closely watched.
As a result, when they returned to the classroom, Xu Yanhuan not only didn’t lie down to sleep but also remained mentally tense, afraid that a little dog would come out and rub against his pant legs and lick them.
Instead of the robust vicious dog, he encountered a slender… human.
During the fourth period in the morning, when the class ended, students went out in groups to find food. Xu Yanhuan noticed a figure approaching his desk, and when he lifted his eyes, he met a pair of curved smiling eyes.
Yu Xinqiao had big eyes, fair skin, and a contrasting dark and bright iris. When he was focused, he easily exuded deep affection.
That day, in the alley of the wholesale market, Xu Yanhuan noticed this.
Therefore, he had to be even more vigilant.
Leaning back, arms crossed, Xu Yanhuan used body language to ask, “What’s the matter?”
Yu Xinqiao didn’t beat around the bush and took out a light blue envelope from his pocket and handed it over. “For you.”
Xu Yanhuan glanced at the envelope and asked, “What is it?”
“A love letter, I wrote it.”
Having never written a love letter before, Yu Xinqiao was actually very nervous, his legs felt weak.
He originally wanted to place the letter on the desk but felt it was unsafe. After observing for a while, he pinched the corner of the envelope, and discreetly tucked it into the bend of Xu Yanhuan’s arms crossed in front of his chest.
Xu Yanhuan: “…”
In order to prevent this love letter from ending up in the trash bin next to the playground tonight, Yu Xinqiao already had a trump card in his hand.
He leaned forward, using a volume that only the two of them could hear, and threatened Xu Yanhuan with determination, “If you dare to throw it away, I will reveal the fact that you’re afraid of small dogs!”
Xu Yanhuan: You scared me. (With an indifferent face)
The song is “Mystery of Love.”
The first half of the story has more flashbacks. Let’s return to the present timeline in Chapter 7.
What to take from this chapter: Being kind to your enemies is being cruel to oneself.