MW Chapter 23: Can you start liking me again?
Translated by MengHu of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
ZhouDu reached the classroom early on the following Monday. To his surprise, XiaYao, who’d usually reach school early, had yet to turn up.
He reached for the phone in his pocket and checked the time; there was still 50 minutes before class started. ZhouDu stood up from his own seat and shifted into Chubby’s, such that XiaYao would be able to spot him immediately when he entered the class.
ZhouDu has already made up his mind – after school today, he was going to confess his feelings to XiaYao. Of course, he would also apologise for his actions the other day, and wait patiently for XiaYao to accept his confession before kissing him.
The unfortunate thing was, even when Chubby arrived to school, XiaYao did not appear.
XiaYao only appeared exactly when the bell rang, so ZhouDu had no choice but to return to his seat.
When XiaYao entered the class, he took his literature book out and started taking notes quietly.
ZhouDu kept his gaze solidly on XiaYao’s back. The First Lady was observing everyone’s morning study from outside the classroom, and the first thing she saw was ZhouDu, who had his hands free.
“Ahem!” The First Lady cleared her throat while she continued to stare in ZhouDu’s direction. His tablemate reacted in time and gave ZhouDu a knock with his elbow. Only then did ZhouDu finally return to his senses.
“The monthly tests are on the day after tomorrow, can you guys put some heart into it? Don’t think that you can let your guard down just because you came in first a few times. If the top place is taken by the other class this time, I’ll see how you come up with an explanation for that.”
Everyone knew who the First Lady was talking about, and all eyes turned to ZhouDu. ZhouDu, on the other hand, acted as if it were none of his business and started flipping through his English textbook casually.
To ZhouDu, there was nothing was more insignificant than tests and examinations. In elementary school, he would still brag about how he scored full marks for the paper; now, even topping the school couldn’t sway him in the slightest.
What ZhouDu’s mother always told him was, “Studying is something you do for yourself. If you like it, you’ll eventually put in the effort, but if you don’t like it, then there’s no use in forcing you.”
ZhouDu couldn’t put a word on if he liked studying or not, he only knew that studying was part of his life – it was something as common as eating or wearing clothes. To him, getting the topping in a test was the same as scoring the lowest mark in class.
However, ever since XiaYao told him about how he admired his intelligence and excellent results, ZhouDu, for the first time in his life, felt that coming in first was quite useful. After all, he could grab XiaYao’s attention with them, right?
With these thoughts, ZhouDu adjusted his posture.
It was the Monday where their class was in charge of flag raising, and ZhouDu was dragged by the class representative to be a flag carrier.
To be truthful, ZhouDu was extremely unwilling to take on the job, because if he did, he wouldn’t be able to catch XiaYao before they were released from the venue.
The sports representative showered him mercilessly with praises, also bringing up random things like class pride or stuff of the sort. ZhouDu couldn’t stand his endless ramblings, so he had no choice but to take on his request.
When lessons for the day finally ended, ZhouDu stood outside the class and waited patiently to walk XiaYao home. XiaYao however, didn’t even spare ZhouDu a look before walking straight pass him.
ZhouDu wanted to call out to him, but XiaYao picked up his pace and caught up to An PengPeng, who was on logistics duty today. XiaYao walked up to her and said, “I’ll stay back with you today.”
An PengPeng blushed immediately, and she stood there, staring at XiaYao with sparkling eyes.
And so, the two walked off together, leaving ZhouDu alone behind. He told himself to keep his anger down while tagging quietly behind the two.
“I see that you have no troubles with walking now, is your leg recovered?” The sports representative said jokingly when he saw ZhouDu.
ZhouDu replied with a half-hearted “yeah”.
The sports representative continued to say, “Wanna race?”
ZhouD finally turned to look at the person before him.
“Why not,” ZhouDu answered as he started stretching his arms and ankles. XiaYao wasn’t leaving anytime soon anyway, there was no harm in racing a few times with the sports representative. After all, he was a participant in the school athletics festival. He had never gotten top three in the past long-run events, and this time, due to the injury on his leg, he hadn’t been training for quite a few days.
“Come come come,” the sports representative was unusually excited as he dragged ZhouDu onto the track. When both of them got into their positions, the sports representative shouted ‘start’, and both males dashed forward.
Although XiaYao was helping out beside An PengPeng, all of his attention was caught by ZhouDu. As a result, when he attempted to pass the bottle of mineral water in his hands to An PengPeng, the bottle slipped right through his hands and fell onto the ground.
“What’s with you?” An PengPeng bent down to pick the fallen bottle up. “You’re spacing out.”
XiaYao threw her an apologetic smile and shook his head to deny what she just said.
Before everyone else, XiaYao felt that he was much older than them, since after all, he had lived so many more years than them. Once he saw ZhouDu, however, XiaYao could feel himself turning back into the him back then, who was hopelessly in love. He wanted to get closer to ZhouDu, but at the same time, he was afraid of rejection.
The sport players who had just finished their trainings finished all the mineral water they brought over. An PengPeng took a look and said, “Should we get more from the equipment room?”
XiaYao nodded, there was no reason to involve girls in physical jobs such as carrying bottled water. A classmate, who was resting aside, stood up and said, “I’ll go.”
An PengPeng rejected his offer bashfully, “It’s okay, you should rest since you just finished your run. We won’t be carrying a whole box here so we’ll be fine.”
That person was probably really tired as well, so he gave up insisting shortly after hearing what An PengPeng said.
Upon completing two rounds around the track, ZhouDu returned to where XiaYao was the last time he saw him, but XiaYao was nowhere to be found. Horrified at the thought that XiaYao might have gone home early, ZhouDu ran hurriedly towards the audience seats where the sports players were resting.
“Where’s XiaYao?” he asked, out of breath.
That guy turned his own mineral bottle shut and pointed towards the equipment room, “He went off with An PengPeng to collect water.”
ZhouDu glanced in the direction of the equipment room before running straight towards it. When he ran past the track, he brushed past the sports representative, who was making his way back to the track.
“Eh, what’s with you, not running anymore?” The sports representative turned back to ask as he continued walking.
ZhouDu signaled a ‘no’ to the latter and sprinted his way to the equipment room without looking back.
When he reached the bottom of the flight of stairs leading of the equipment room, ZhouDu paused to regulate his breath. The equipment room was on the second floor, and this part of the school was usually empty. ZhouDu thought that if he could send An PengPeng away later, he would confess to XiaYao here.
As to what to say for the confession, ZhouDu had practiced it countless times over the span of the weekend, so he was confident that there would be no problems.
ZhouDu inhaled deeply and started making his way up the stairs. With the sound of his own footsteps echoing in the empty staircase and the nearing equipment room, ZhouDu started feeling nervous.
He clenched his fist and stood outside the door of the equipment room, ready to enter.
From within the half-opened door came the voice of a shy girl saying, “I-I like XiaYao.”
ZhouDu thought his head exploded, and without much thought, he kicked the door to the equipment room wide open.
The door hit the wall and bounced back with a loud ‘bang’. The couple in the room turned their attention to the door simultaneously in fright.
ZhouDu was the last person An PengPeng had expected to see. When he appeared, she could almost bleed from the blush on her face, and slid a piece of pink paper folded into the shape of a heart into XiaYao’s palms before running straight out of the room.
ZhouDu squeezed his fist tightly shut as he stood by the door, his eyes boring into XiaYao without uttering a single word.
XiaYao suddenly felt as if he was caught red-handed for cheating, and the love letter An PengPeng placed into his hands felt like a piece of hot sweet potato – he didn’t know what to do with it.
ZhouDu started reducing the distance between them by talking small steps into the room. He walked slowly, but every step seemed to trample XiaYao’s heart.
XiaYao’s instincts told him the situation was dire. He clenched the love letter in his hands and moved slightly.
“I-I’ll be going first.” He didn’t have the guts to look at ZhouDu in the eye, so he kept his head low and tried to flee from the room.
Unfortunately, ZhouDu didn’t give him the chance to escape. With an easy pull with his hands, ZhouDu forced XiaYao towards himself.
“Take it out.”
Terrified, XiaYao glanced up at ZhouDu. He didn’t know what he was supposed to ‘take out’.
ZhouDu looked at An PengPeng’s love letter which XiaYao was desperately clinging to, and he felt as if the fumes would make him lose his reasoning soon.
He pulled XiaYao’s wrist towards him, further closing up the space between himself and the other male. He then peeled XiaYao’s fingers off and retrieved the letter from his hands.
“So, all the talk about not liking me anymore, it was because of her?” ZhouDu placed the letter before XiaYao.
“No…” XiaYao opened his mouth, but he couldn’t seem to find the right words to say.
“Then, why do you not like me?” ZhouDu held his face close to XiaYao, close enough for XiaYao to feel ZhouDu’s breath on him whenever he spoke. “Now I know, the reason behind it was because you had a change of heart.”
XiaYao’s eyes started turning red. He stared at ZhouDu’s face which was dangerously close, and spoke in a cracked voice, “ZhouDu, please. Please give me a break from this.”
ZhouDu gritted his teeth, “I won’t, you’re the one who said you loved me first.”
XiaYao’s eyes started to water. ZhouDu hadn’t expected XiaYao to cry from this, so he was at a temporary loss of what to do.
“Isn’t it your fault?” ZhouDu let go of XiaYao’s wrist and mumbled to himself.
“It is my fault,” XiaYao’s face was pale as he spoke with trembling lips, “I shouldn’t have met you, shouldn’t have loved you, shouldn’t have returned to this place. Why was I not the one who died then, ZhouDu, why?”
ZhouDu couldn’t understand what he was saying, but when he heard that XiaYao wanted to die, his heart shrank, and his chest started hurting so much it was hard to breathe.
“So, you want to die? Do you hate me that much?” ZhouDu couldn’t hold himself back from roaring, “If you didn’t like me, why did you write that kind of diary, why did you say those words in the hospital?!”
XiaYao’s eyes widened. ZhouDu knew, ZhouDu knew everything.
“I…” ZhouDu looked nervously at XiaYao before he opened his mouth again, this time his tone was pleading.
“Can you stop liking An PengPeng?”
XiaYao didn’t say anything. He simply stood there and shook his head vigorously.
ZhouDu’s heart hurt. He couldn’t stand it any longer, and spread his arms out to pull XiaYao into an embrace. He buried XiaYao’s head in his chest, and said, “Can you stop liking An PengPeng? I like you, XiaYao, can you start liking me again?”
Upon hearing those words, XiaYao, who was buried in ZhouDu’s arms, finally started crying.