“Yu Xinqiao was stunned for a moment, ”No, I’m help-”
But he suddenly remembered He Tangyue’s advice, and abruptly stopped talking, almost choking himself.
However, Xu Yanhuan had already obtained useful information. He assumed that the letter came from another class, took it over, turned around, and with a flick of his wrist, the pink envelope flew accurately into the trash can in the back row.
He Tangyue, who was watching the whole process,”…”
The bell rang and everyone returned to their seats.
Yu Xinqiao felt increasingly guilty and couldn’t wait for the break. He immediately wrote a small note for Liang Yi to pass to He Tangyue in front of him.
Fortunately, He Tangyue had cast a wide net and wasn’t bothered by just one guy.
She replied: “It’s okay, it was just a test of luck. The next one will be more obedient~”
The note even ended with a wink emoticon.
Yu Xinqiao felt relieved and drew a grinning face in response.
He Tangyue then drew a sexy big mouth, and Yu Xinqiao used a red pen to turn it into flaming red lips.
After a few rounds of exchanges like this, Liang Yi, the “messenger,” couldn’t take it anymore and wrote a few large words on the paper with a highlighter: “Can you two add each other on WeChat and chat already?!”
The class was quiet for half a lesson, and then Liang Yi suddenly remembered something he had ignored earlier. He tore off another piece of paper and passed it to Yu Xinqiao: “Wait a minute, you called him Huanhuan and he didn’t get angry?!”
Yu Xinqiao didn’t think too much about it. After all, Xu Yanhuan’s focus at the time might not have been on the name, but on the letter.
Later, Yu Xinqiao secretly observed that whenever a letter from another class was delivered, Xu Yanhuan would throw it away on the spot. But if it was a classmate from his own class, he would put it in his backpack instead.
He left some face for his own people and didn’t embarrass them in public. Maybe it was a rule on the street.
Finally, after enduring until the weekend, Yu Xinqiao was thinking about the piano and invited Liang Yi to go to Shen Daye’s music store together.
Although they said they were just going to browse, they arrived at the end after only two steps. The store was small, with only one row of shelves, and most of the instruments were hanging on the wall. After hearing that Yu Xinqiao wanted to buy a piano, Shen Daye’s mother put down the melon seeds in her hand and pointed in the southwest direction of the market: “There’s a shop over there that specializes in second-hand pianos, the one with a black and white door curtain.”
Shen Daye’s small two-story house was located behind their family’s store. Opening the back door and passing through an alleyway would lead you there. Liang Yi was eager to go and play Shen Daye’s newly purchased game, so Yu Xinqiao had to go see the piano by himself.
Before leaving, Yu Xinqiao reminded the two classmates, “*Daye, don’t just take Xiao Yi to play. Remember to have him help me with my homework.”
*A respectful term for an older gentleman/Uncle.
Liang Yi’s figure suddenly twisted as he turned around and shouted, “Can you change your habit of giving people strange names?”
If you added a few more twists and turns to that “Daye,” it wouldn’t be any different from how a brothel girl greets her customers in a TV drama.
Shen Daye actually had no problem with this nickname and responded excitedly, “Hey, don’t worry, I’ll take care of it!”
Yu Xinqiao wasn’t worried about anything. He didn’t transfer to this school to study anyway.
Walking along the bumpy cement road to the west, Yu Xinqiao looked around at this piece of land, where rows of small storefronts and two-story buildings with different styles were built close together. It was probably a common problem with old-fashioned mixed-use buildings.
Although it was run down, it was still a mature commercial area. Everything that Yu Xinqiao could think of for daily necessities was sold here. In addition to various department stores, there was also a small food stall on the street. At this moment, it was time for them to set up their stalls. Plastic stools and folding tables were scattered all over the ground, and smoke rose, filling the air with the bustling atmosphere of human life.
The second-hand piano store was at the end of the street. When Yu Xinqiao entered, the owner was not there. Several upright pianos were scattered around the store, including Yamaha, Kawai, and Zhujiang, all practical and economical brands.
It was unlikely that he could find a Steinway here, but it would be nice to be able to pick up a second-hand piano to play.
Yu Xinqiao waited in the store for a while, but the sun was already setting and the owner had not appeared. He asked the owner of the neighboring store, who told him, “The owner of this shop stayed up all night watching football yesterday. He’s probably still sleeping at home now.”
“How do you know?” Yu Xinqiao asks.
“How could I not know? My husband was watching the game with him.”
Helpless, Yu Xinqiao followed the neighbor’s instructions, wrote a note with his name and phone number, and stuck it on the cover of the piano. He played a few keys out of curiosity and left.
When he got to Shen Daye’s house, Yu Xinqiao raised his arm and a piece of paper fell to the ground.
He picked it up only to realize that it was the note he just stuck on the piano cover. He must have accidentally bumped into it while leaving the crowded shop.
Yu Xinqiao immediately retraced his steps.
Back in the store, he used transparent tape to stick the note to the door and checked it several times to make sure it wouldn’t fall off.
Stepping out again from behind the black and white curtain, it was already dark outside.
“If you’re hungry, just grab something here. The food cooked by vendors in this area is clean and tastes good,” the owner of the neighboring shop said as she stood up from behind the counter, taking her keys and preparing to go home.
She was a businesswoman, how could she not see that Yu Xinqiao was worth a lot of money from head to toe? Just the watch he revealed from his sleeve when he reached out was worth a year’s rent on this side. So what she said was well thought out. The young masters from wealthy families who come here just want to try some cheap street food, it’s almost the same as trying it out at a roadside stall.
After all, no matter how fresh the street food is, it can’t compare to high-end cuisine made with precious ingredients.
However, Yu Xinqiao didn’t hear the other layer of meaning in her words, or maybe he didn’t have the time to ponder over them.
After the initial dazzle, everything in front of him appeared particularly clear under the illumination of the lights, including the person standing in front of the barbecue grill.
Muttering in his heart, Yu Xinqiao blinked hard, then looked again – handsome face, broad shoulders, long legs.
…It’s really Xu Yanhuan?
Xu Yanhuan hadn’t planned on working today.
His mother hadn’t fully recovered, and their neighbor had gone out again, so he was worried about leaving his mother alone at home.
Later, his mother got up from the bed and gave him a hundred yuan bill from the drawer, saying, “It’s rare to have a break, don’t stay at home, go out and play.”
Xu Yanhuan refused to go out. His mother suggested, “How about playing ball? Didn’t some classmates used to ask you out to play ball? Or, how about watching a movie? If you don’t have enough money, I have some here.”
Seeing her stubbornness, Xu Yanhuan verbally agreed and put on a random piece of clothing before walking to the wholesale market.
The night market on weekends was the busiest. In the past, he could always find work to do when he came, and today was no exception.
The owner of the barbecue stand was a middle-aged man who sometimes brought his six-year-old daughter to take care of the stall. When he saw Xu Yanhuan, it was as if he saw a savior, “Xiao Xu, you came at the right time. Table 2 wants a crate of beer.”
Xu Yanhuan immediately went under the rain shelter, took off his coat, and got to work. When he opened the beer bottles, he looked at the clock tower in the distance. It was five minutes past six. He could earn 120 yuan if he worked until midnight.
Here, he was mainly responsible for serving dishes and drinks.
As soon as six o’clock passed, the wholesale market turned into a night market, and people gradually started to fill up. Xu Yanhuan shuttled between different tables and was always able to clean up the table within three minutes after the customers left. He also responded promptly when someone called for a drink.
He had been working here for about six months. The owner trusted him very much and would occasionally ask him to help as the cashier when he was too busy cooking.
Just when Xu Yanhuan was standing next to the grill, helping the owner with the accounting and collecting money, a teenager who looked out of place here stopped in front of the barbecue stall.
Xu Yanhuan sorted the bills he received according to their denominations and put them in the owner’s iron box. He looked up and met with Yu Xinqiao’s eyes for less than half a second before shifting his gaze to other customers.
Yu Xinqiao didn’t know why he came over.
At first, he just wanted to say hello to his classmate. But when he got closer, he felt that he was being presumptuous. Maybe the other person didn’t want to run into him in a place like this at all.
But since he had come, he might as well support his classmate’s business. Yu Xinqiao couldn’t stand the smoke from the barbecue stall and discreetly moved to the side before asking, “How much does the drink cost?”
Xu Yanhuan asked, “Which one?”
Yu Xinqiao stretched his neck to look inside and said, “The yellow can.”
Xu Yanhuan closed the iron box and reached into the plastic basket at the side with his other hand, taking out a can of drink and handing it over, “3 yuan.”
He didn’t even lift his eyelids during the entire transaction.
Taking the drink, Yu Xinqiao searched through all his pockets but couldn’t find any money. Feeling embarrassed, he asked, “Can I use Alipay?”
“No,” said Xu Yanhuan.
At that time, online payment was not yet popular and the store owner had not yet started to accept QR code payments.
Yu Xinqiao was stuck. He held the bottle of locally-produced yellow drink as if it were a hot potato, not knowing whether to drink it or put it down.
People tend to become confused when they are in a hurry, and Yu Xinqiao was no exception. He completely forgot that Shen Daye’s home was nearby and was afraid of being accused of trying to dine and dash. He quickly negotiated with Xu Yanhuan, “Can you credit the money and I’ll bring it to you next Monday?”
Xu Yanhuan finally lifted his head and gave him a fleeting glance, “Next Monday?”
How cold and distant his gaze was, with a hint of detachment as if he were a stranger.
Yu Xinqiao finally understood – it turned out that he didn’t even remember that they were classmates!
Realizing this, Yu Xinqiao was deeply shocked. Looking back at his first 17 years of life, he was not necessarily loved by everyone, but at least he had never been ignored because he looked too ordinary…
Is it because this person is face-blind, or am I really just a nobody?
Yu Xinqiao was lost in thought, but managed to maintain his composure on the surface, “Xu Yanhuan, we are classmates, and you and I are…”
Before he could finish, he was bumped by someone next to him. Yu Xinqiao stumbled and almost lost his balance.
“Xu Yanhuan, right?” A rough-voiced middle-aged man pushed forward and asked, “Where’s Xu Zhen?”
“I don’t know,” Xu Yanhuan replied coldly.
“You’re his son, don’t you know where he is?”
“I don’t know.”
“He hasn’t paid back the money he borrowed this month.”
“You’re not saying anything, huh? If you don’t speak up, I’ll go to your school next time. Don’t think I can’t find you just because I’m always on the move…damn it!”
With a loud “bang,” Xu Yanhuan knocked the plastic basket and empty bottle on the middle-aged man’s head.
Then he ran out of the aisle surrounded by the crowd and disappeared around the corner.
Xu Yanhuan was used to running and hiding in the east and west, and his running speed was comparable to that of an athlete.
But wait…he could still hear footsteps.
Xu Yanhuan, who had turned into a narrow alley, looked back alertly and saw a skinny figure suddenly flash in the dimly lit entrance of the alley.
One step forward and the streetlight at the entrance of the alley made his shadow even longer, like a scene from a movie where one person walked towards another person, a fateful moment.
At this moment, Yu Xinqiao was thinking that he might die here today.
He had just listened to the conversation between Xu Yanhuan and the rough-voiced man but didn’t understand what was going on, and then he found that Xu Yanhuan had already run far away.
Before he could finish his sentence or even pay for his drink, Yu Xinqiao chased after him in confusion, running and running until he couldn’t see the fierce-looking big men behind him or hear the noise of the night market, but Xu Yanhuan still didn’t stop.
Now, Yu Xinqiao didn’t even have the strength to question why Xu Yanhuan was running so fast. He stood still less than a meter away from Xu Yanhuan, one hand against the wall, gasping for breath.
In his other hand, he still tightly held the can of drink as if it could save his life.
Under Xu Yanhuan’s seemingly inquisitive gaze, Yu Xinqiao finally caught his breath and was about to speak when Xu Yanhuan covered his mouth with one hand and looked towards the entrance of the alley: “Someone’s coming.”
Yu Xinqiao’s eyes widened, and he held his breath in cooperation.
There were indeed jumbled footsteps approaching.
Yu Xinqiao was in a panic, thinking that if he had to choose, he would rather suffocate to death than be beaten up.
In contrast, Xu Yanhuan calmly observed his surroundings and saw a gap between the wall and the house at the end of the alley.
Yu Xinqiao, who could only move his eyes, also saw the gap that was wide enough to hide a person.
The hand covering his mouth loosened, and he was about to speak when Xu Yanhuan grabbed the back of his collar and threw him into the gap like a little chicken. “Go in and don’t make a sound.”
Yu Xinqiao: “…”
Fine, you’re tall, big deal.
Although the gap was narrow, it was deep enough. After Yu Xinqiao squeezed into it, Xu Yanhuan followed.
With walls on three sides, it was like entering a closed space without windows, and the outside noise was barely audible.
On the contrary, every tiny detail inside the closed space was amplified infinitely, including their arms touching each other and the lingering scent in the air.
Yu Xinqiao twitched his nose and sniffed, puzzled. Although he had just come from a barbecue stall, why was there no smell of oil and smoke? Instead, there was a light and refreshing scent, similar to a certain type of soap.
Soap is usually used to wash hands.
About half a minute later, Yu Xinqiao finally realized that he had just been silenced by Xu Yanhuan, and the scent was left from that moment. It lingered on his nose, cheeks, and even his lips.
No wonder it didn’t go away for a long time.
When Yu Xinqiao first discovered his sexuality, he had read posts on a gay forum where people described the scent of men and the feeling of being close to them. The words were bold and elusive, and he had thought those old gays were really perverted at the time.
Now, he felt that the more perverted ones were the young gays, which included himself.
Fortunately, Xu Yanhuan was around the same age as him and not yet a real man.
Yu Xinqiao exhaled and tried to clear his jumbled thoughts. He listened carefully and confirmed that there was no one outside before asking Xu Yanhuan in a whisper, “Can we go out now?”
Xu Yanhuan nodded, and the two of them began to move slowly towards the door.
Perhaps due to holding their breath for too long or being too nervous, Yu Xinqiao lost his balance when he stepped outside, and his head fell forward uncontrollably.
He had intended to fall onto Xu Yanhuan’s shoulder, but Xu Yanhuan had already turned around. As a result, Yu Xinqiao fell onto his neck and chest.
This time, the sensation was warm because Xu Yanhuan was only wearing a T-shirt, and there was only a thin layer of fabric between their skin.
“As it turns out, it was you,” came a deep voice from above.
Xu Yanhuan’s voice was low, and the vibrations in his chest were clearly transmitted to Yu Xinqiao’s already fragile heart.
Yu Xinqiao looked up blankly, “Huh?”
To accommodate Yu Xinqiao’s height, Xu Yanhuan slightly bent down and elongated his tone as he said, “You, please, come in.”
Xu Yanhuan, Yu Xinqiao said you’re not a real man, can you tolerate that?!
ML went from delinquent to lawyer. Oh how the turns have tabled!