Cool Slowly
Cool Slowly: Chapter 9

9: “I have no money.”

Two months later, Yu Yue encountered Xu Yuanzhe for the third time.

It was already winter, and Yu Yue had just come across a newly opened cat café nearby on his phone. After school, he decided to go there alone to check it out. However, he couldn’t find the right path and ended up in a dimly lit alley.

The alley was a labyrinth of interconnected paths, surrounded by run-down residential buildings. While he was still trying to find his way, he heard muffled sounds and people cursing not far away.

Perhaps it was instinct or something else, but Yu Yue had a gut feeling that someone was getting beaten up.

He might have been a bit too naive, but he turned and rushed toward the direction where the sounds were coming from, with his phone in hand, thinking that he should call the police if something was wrong.

It was an even darker alley and a dead-end, with four burly men cornering another person at the end. They were throwing punches and kicks and using sticks to hit the defenseless individual relentlessly.

The victim was unable to fight back and was trying to shield his face and head with his arms. He was covered in blood and mud, looking extremely distressed.

Yu Yue stood at the entrance of the alley, ready to call the police.

But in the next moment, he saw the man holding a stick pull the victim by the collar and pin him against the wall. It was in that moment that Yu Yue recognized the battered face of the person getting beaten up.

It was Xu Yuanzhe!

Xu Yuanzhe’s face was already bruised, blood was dripping from his mouth, his hair was disheveled, and he had his head lowered, not making a sound, while his chest heaved heavily.

Yu Yue’s hand trembled.

He was about to step forward, but someone beside him suddenly grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

Yu Yue turned around and found a girl who was about his age looking at him with concern.

The girl nervously warned Yu Yue, “Are you trying to get yourself killed? Don’t go over there! Those debt-collectors are crazy!”

Yu Yue asked, “Collecting… debts?”

The girl furrowed her brow and said, “That person… he owes money! We all know him. He’s from a poor family, and this time, it seems he borrowed money from some people outside because his grandmother is hospitalized, and he couldn’t repay it. Please don’t go over there; you might get hurt.”

“How much does he owe?” Yu Yue asked.

The girl hesitated for a moment and said, “I don’t know…”

Of course, she didn’t know.

Yu Yue shrugged off the girl’s hand and said, “He’s my classmate!”

With that, he rushed into the alley without any hesitation, shouting, “Stop! If you keep beating him, I’ll call the police!”

The men in the alley hesitated and turned around when they heard Yu Yue’s shouts.

Xu Yuanzhe’s eyelids twitched, and he looked up to see Yu Yue running towards him, carrying his school bag.

Xu Yuanzhe didn’t even have time to say, “Don’t come closer,” before Yu Yue arrived. He forcefully pried the hands of the man who hadn’t reacted yet and stood in front of Xu Yuanzhe.

Yu Yue was a head shorter than these men, but he didn’t show any fear in his eyes. He said, “Tell me, how much does he owe? I’ll pay it for him!”

Xu Yuanzhe was taken aback.

The intimidating men looked puzzled, but their leader soon responded with a mocking tone, “Kid, how much money do you have?”

Yu Yue calmly replied, “You tell me first, how much does he owe you?”

One of the men spoke in place of their leader, “Fifty thousand.”

Xu Yuanzhe gritted his teeth, his voice hoarse, filled with suppressed and desperate anger, “I only borrowed twenty thousand, and they promised that the interest would be just ten thousand!”
When Yu Yue heard the amount “fifty thousand,” he was momentarily stunned as well. Fifty thousand was just his monthly allowance. He didn’t need that much every month, and he had saved quite a bit in his bank account, totaling hundreds of thousands of yuan. But now was not the time to think about that.

In front of the intimidating men, Yu Yue opened his school bag, took out a bank card, and said to them, “I have fifty-eight thousand in this card, and the PIN is 123456. Take it if you want. Consider it as me repaying his debt, and you’re not allowed to harm him anymore.”

Yu Yue kept his eyes on the leader of the group, and he wouldn’t have known that Xu Yuanzhe, standing behind him, was trembling slightly, staring intently at the bank card in Yu Yue’s hand.

Fifty-eight thousand was an amount Xu Yuanzhe would find it hard to save even after working for a year.

Yet, Yu Yue took it out effortlessly.

The debt collectors seemed skeptical, and Yu Yue asked, “Do you want me to go with you to withdraw the money?”

Their leader just snorted, dropped the wooden stick he held, and left without saying a word. He snatched the bank card from Yu Yue’s hand and turned away.

Yu Yue watched them leave the alley, then followed them secretly. He saw them leave the area entirely, and only then did he return to find Xu Yuanzhe.

Xu Yuanzhe had already tidied himself up.

He fixed his disheveled hair, and apart from the wound at the corner of his mouth, he looked almost unscathed. However, Yu Yue knew that he must be injured all over, just short of breaking any bones.

As soon as he returned, Yu Yue grabbed Xu Yuanzhe’s wrist and said, “I’ll take you to buy some medicine.”

But Xu Yuanzhe leaned against the wall and didn’t move.

It was already getting dark, and this area was in complete darkness with no streetlights. Xu Yuanzhe looked at Yu Yue, then down at the hand gripping his wrist. After a long pause, he said, “Aren’t you afraid I won’t be able to repay your money?”

Yu Yue, on the other hand, replied casually, “If you can’t repay it, then so be it. I’ll consider this fifty thousand as lost; it’s not that much.”

After he finished speaking, he quickly corrected himself, “I mean…”

But Xu Yuanzhe lowered his eyes and gave a faint smile, which tugged at the wound at the corner of his mouth, making him wince. His eyes reddened slightly in the darkness, and in a slow, hoarse voice, he said to Yu Yue, “We’ve only met a few times, and you’re helping me like this.”

Yu Yue said, “Classmates should help each other.”

After a pause, he gave Xu Yuanzhe’s wrist a stronger pull. “Let’s go get some medicine, or maybe go to the hospital.”

Xu Yuanzhe didn’t choose to go to the hospital because he didn’t have the money. He used the little money he had left to buy the cheapest medicine he could find at the pharmacy. Yu Yue, however, thought that wasn’t enough and bought him another bag full of medicines, stuffing it into Xu Yuanzhe’s arms.

“If there’s anywhere that still doesn’t feel right…” Yu Yue looked at Xu Yuanzhe’s body with concern, “make sure to go to the hospital, okay?”

Xu Yuanzhe lowered his gaze and looked at Yu Yue.

It seemed like it might have snowed that day, but Xu Yuanzhe wasn’t entirely sure if it had snowed or not. He remembered seeing white snowflakes on Yu Yue’s eyelashes, making him look like an angel.

In the end, Xu Yuanzhe could only hand over the yellowed paper and slightly greasy pen he used for taking orders. He asked Yu Yue to write down his contact information so he could pay him back later.

Three days later, Xu Yuanzhe was working at the newly opened cat café nearby, and once again, he encountered Yu Yue. ad planned to visit the cat café three days ago but was unable to make it due to Xu Yuanzhe being harassed for the debt. So, he came a few days later when he remembered.

Yu Yue didn’t expect to run into Xu Yuanzhe at the cat café. Xu Yuanzhe was allergic to cat fur, but he still took the part-time job for the money. When Yu Yue saw Xu Yuanzhe, he was wearing a mask, cleaning the cat café, his sharp and beautiful eyes slightly narrowed beneath his lowered brows. He was wearing an apron, and his entire body was covered in cat fur.

Yu Yue was holding a Ragdoll cat and gazing at Xu Yuanzhe. By the time he reacted, Xu Yuanzhe had already approached him.

Yu Yue, holding the cat, asked softly, “Why are you… taking on so many part-time jobs?”

He had even forgotten about the 50,000 yuan that Xu Yuanzhe owed him.

Xu Yuanzhe lowered his eyes, glanced at the Ragdoll cat’s eyes, then looked into Yu Yue’s eyes. He felt that the pair of them looked quite similar, one resembling a feline aristocrat, the other like a little prince.

Xu Yuanzhe didn’t answer Yu Yue’s question. Instead, he reached out, lightly plucking a cat fur from Yu Yue’s face. After a long pause, Xu Yuanzhe said, “Because I don’t have money.”


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.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


error: Content is protected !!