Chapter 25: I miss you every day
Translated by Andrew of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When he sent XiaYao home again, ZhouDu felt more confident. The two walked side by side, and every few seconds, ZhouDu would use his eyes to secretly peek at XiaYao next to him.
XiaYao tightly clutched the straps of his school bag, his heart thumping erratically. His house wasn’t that far from the school. On the other side of a large and busy road, past an empty alley, you could see the small and slightly shabby-looking house that he lived in with his mother.
ZhouDu remembered what Jiang Shiwen had told him – when walking, you must say some words to lighten the atmosphere, so he asked XiaYao, “What did you do last night?”
XiaYao didn’t dare raise his head to look at him and deliberately left some distance between them, fearing that other people would be able to see the unusual pink atmosphere between the two. He paused for a moment, lowered his head and softly said, “Nothing much, I read a book.”
ZhouDu couldn’t wait to ask the next question. “Then, did you miss me?”
XiaYao blushed and nodded.
ZhouDu quickly said, “I missed you too.” After saying that, he couldn’t help but add, “I miss you every day.”
“Stop talking,” XiaYao interrupted in a flustered manner, “If someone heard that, it’d be bad.”
ZhouDu, immediately unhappy, quickly walked in front of XiaYao, stopped him and said, “Why can’t I say it? I really like…”
“ZhouDu,” XiaYao looked at him in horror. There were crowds everywhere. Occasionally, some students coming home late would brush past the two of them. XiaYao grabbed ZhouDu and ran a few steps forward until they turned into a small and empty alley.
When everyone was gone, XiaYao finally stopped and said to ZhouDu, “We’re both men.”
ZhouDu heard and stared at XiaYao with a frown. “I know.”
“So, in front of other people, we can’t be too reckless, do you get it? We… in places with lots of people, can only be ordinary classmates.” After XiaYao finished speaking, he nervously looked at ZhouDu.
ZhouDu had never thought about this before. He pondered for a moment, “But I just like you. Even if you are a man, I still like you.”
His words inadvertently caused XiaYao to have a lump in his throat. In a choked voice he said, “You aren’t afraid that other people will call us gay?”
“I’m not afraid,” ZhouDu said, stepping closer. “What’s wrong with being gay? If liking you makes me gay, then we’ll be gay together. If anyone dares to say anything against you, I’ll pummel them.”
XiaYao swallowed back some of the bitterness. Lifting his head to smile at ZhouDu, he said, “If you aren’t afraid, then I’m not afraid, either. However, when we’re at school, we should still be careful. Let’s discuss this after we graduate, okay?”
ZhouDu saw that XiaYao really seemed to care about this, and could only nod his head in agreement with his request. XiaYao saw that he had persuaded him and felt relieved. Then he seemed to remember something else and asked, “Can you give me back the letter An Pengpeng wrote to me?”
As soon as he finished speaking, ZhouDu’s hackles raised. He reached into the pocket of his school uniform and holding the love letter tightly, he guardedly asked, “What are you trying to do? Let me tell you, you can’t like anyone else right now, you can only like me.”
XiaYao didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and explained, “You think too much, I just wanted to return that letter to her.”
ZhouDu was relieved at this, but still made no move to return the letter to XiaYao. “Isn’t it fine if I stick it in her desk tomorrow? Don’t tell me you want it back so you can peek at what it says?”
XiaYao thought to himself, that letter was addressed to me. Even if I look at it, there’s nothing wrong with that. How can it be considered peeping? Of course, he would never say such things to ZhouDu’s face. He shook his head and said to ZhouDu, “Tomorrow’s no good.”
“Why not?!” ZhouDu raised his eyebrows, “Could it be possible you really want to take it back and read it?!”
XiaYao quickly explained, “No, it’s just that there are only two days left until the monthly exam. I want to give it back to her after we take it – otherwise, it’ll affect her frame of mind during the exam.”
Hearing this, ZhouDu was still unsatisfied and muttered, “What’s there to be affected by?” Although he said that, in the end he nevertheless handed the love letter to XiaYao. Finally, still uneasy, he warned, “You mustn’t look at it.”
XiaYao nodded his head repeatedly, assuring that he would not look at the letter. At this, ZhouDu finally allowed his expression to relax.
Every so often, a few small children would run about through the alley. XiaYao glanced at his watch and said to ZhouDu, “It’s getting late, you’d better head home.”
ZhouDu still wanted to stay with XiaYao for a while, but the other had already been walked home, and there didn’t seem to be a reason to stay anymore. He hung his head, let out a disappointed oh, and turned to leave.
XiaYao stood behind him, staring at his silhouette for a moment. He was unable to stop himself from shouting, “ZhouDu!”
ZhouDu turned back, looking at XiaYao in puzzlement. XiaYao, raising his hand and waving, smiled and said, “See you tomorrow.”
ZhouDu’s mood suddenly brightened. That’s right, he could see XiaYao again tomorrow.
The XiaYao whom he liked.
When ZhouDu’s shadow could no longer be seen, XiaYao finally turned to walk home. Today had been the happiest day of his two lives, and he felt like he was walking on air.
When he was almost at his front door, XiaYao noticed a black sedan parked nearby across the street. Most of the building’s inhabitants were labor workers, so when such an expensive car suddenly appeared, XiaYao couldn’t help but turn his head.
While he was walking up the steps, an elegant woman wearing exquisite makeup started coming downstairs. XiaYao flattened himself against the wall, wanting to let her go first. Unexpectedly, the woman stopped when she reached XiaYao.
In the shabby old corridor, the stairs were narrow and crowded. As soon as she stopped, the distance between her and XiaYao almost disappeared.
With her perfume slowly circling XiaYao’s nose, she smiled politely yet coolly. “XiaYao?”
XiaYao looked at the woman before him in astonishment, wondering how she knew him.
“Excuse me, you are?”
The woman did not answer XiaYao’s question and only smiled and nodded at him before she turned and continued down the stairs.
XiaYao watched the woman get into the expensive car, then he slowly went upstairs and went home.
The front door was unlocked and when XiaYao approached, he could smell the same scent that had been on the woman coming from inside the house.
XiaYao’s mother was currently sitting in the narrow living room, and when XiaYao came in, he found a cup of tea sitting on the small table.
“Mom,” XiaYao stood at the door and shouted, and at this, XiaYao’s mother was brought back to reality.
“School’s over?” XiaYao’s mother pulled out a smile for her son, then stood up and asked, “Are you hungry? I’ll go cook for you now.”
XiaYao, while going to put his school bag back in his room, asked, “How come you’re back so early today?”
XiaYao’s mother didn’t say anything, so XiaYao thought she didn’t hear and asked again, “Did someone come in a few minutes ago? I met a woman in the corridor.”
XiaYao’s mother did not have a very good look on her face. She picked up the apron hanging on the wall and hummed absentmindedly.
XiaYao continued to ask, “Who was that person? Why did she seem to know me?”
XiaYao’s mother paused in putting on the apron and said flatly, “She’s a friend whom I haven’t seen in many years. Today, she came here from afar for some business and stopped by to see me.”
XiaYao had followed her into the kitchen at this time. He bent down and turned over some potatoes that were on the floor, then looked up at his mother and said, “Let’s eat these tonight.”
XiaYao’s mother smiled and said okay.
XiaYao, after all, was someone who had lived two lives. He could see at a glance that his mother seemed to be a bit absentminded. While peeling the potatoes he said, “How come I’ve never heard of you having such a rich friend before?”
XiaYao’s mother suddenly tightened her hand around the spatula she was holding. She paused for quite a while before asking XiaYao, “YaoYao, do you feel miserable living here with your mother?”
XiaYao’s heart was moved. He smiled and said, “Mom, what are you saying? You’ve raised me all by yourself for so long, shouldn’t you be the one who’s miserable? What do I have to be miserable about?”
XiaYao’s mother laughed bitterly, bending over to pull up XiaYao who was still crouched on the ground. “All right, you don’t need to help out here. Go back to your room and study.”
XiaYao knew his mother had a stubborn personality, and hearing this, he put down the potatoes. He turned on the faucet and rinsed his hands, and while shaking them dry, he said to her, “Okay, I’ll go read my books since the monthly exam is in two days.”
XiaYao’s mother frowned at this and said, “Why didn’t you tell me a few days ago? There’s no meat at home today; I’ll go to the supermarket right now to see if they still have any.”
“Mom, don’t go.” XiaYao grabbed his mother’s arm. “It’s already this late, not to mention there might not be any meat left, and even if there is, it certainly won’t be fresh either.”
XiaYao’s mother felt that what he said made sense. “Then tomorrow morning I will buy some large bones to make soup for you.”
XiaYao knew he couldn’t stop his mother and could only nod in agreement.
ZhouDu crawled into bed after showering. He leaned against the headboard, and in his hands, he held the diary XiaYao gave him.
While reading, he couldn’t help but laugh giddily. Suddenly, his cell phone rang.
ZhouDu picked it up and saw that WangHao was calling. Just as he hit the answer button, he heard WangHao bellow through the phone, “ZhouDu, where are you right now?! Come here, quick! ZhangYang got beaten up!”
ZhouDu stood up from the bed and bent down to pull open a drawer. While stuffing the diary inside, he said, “What happened? Speak slower, where are you two right now?”
WangHao seemed to have a lot of people over there with him. It was very noisy, and after a moment, he finally bellowed at ZhouDu again, “We’re by the entrance of the internet café, at the snack street behind the school, come quick!” As soon as he finished talking, he hung up.
ZhouDu inwardly cursed at WangHao, ‘dumbass,’ and quickly changed out of his pajamas.
When he ran downstairs, ZhouDu’s mother was currently holding ZhouDu’s younger sister and walking about the kitchen. She saw that ZhouDu seemed to be in a hurry, raised an eyebrow and asked, “Where are you going so late?”
While changing shoes, he said to his mother, “WangHao called me about something, I’ll be back soon.”
ZhouDu’s mother swept her eyes over him and said, “It’s already this late, what business could be so urgent? You aren’t going out to do something bad, right?”
ZhouDu pulled open the front door, turned his head to his mother and said, “No, it’s just a small thing. Help me keep this a secret from dad?” After saying that, he disappeared like a gust of wind.
The family nanny took baby ZhouZhou from ZhouDu’s mother’s arms, and looking worried, she said, “Madam, it’s almost nine o’clock.”
“It’s nothing.” ZhouDu’s mother sat down on the sofa and reached for the honey water that the nanny had steeped for her. She took a sip and then said, “You know kids, it’s better to be a bit naughty.”
The nanny, seeing that even his mother didn’t care, could only close her mouth and stop talking.
ZhouDu hastily called a taxi and rushed toward the school. He sat in the car and called WangHao over and over, but never got an answer.
“Sir, please go a bit faster.” ZhouDu couldn’t help but rush the driver in front of him.
The cab driver swept his eyes at ZhouDu through the rearview mirror and said slowly, “No matter how fast I go, the car still only has four wheels. Did you want it to fly as well? What’s happened this evening that’s got you so anxious?”
ZhouDu was not in the mood to chat with the driver. Seeing this, the man closed his mouth and turned his head forward again.
After nearly twenty minutes, ZhouDu finally made it to the black Internet café behind the school. As soon as he showed up, someone yelled at the top of their lungs, “ZhouDu!”
t/n: Black Internet cafés operate illegally, do not restrict online users and Internet content, and usually have labor workers and students as customers.
At this, ZhouDu discovered WangHao and ZhangYang sitting in the corner.
“What happened?” ZhouDu ran up to them and asked anxiously.
WangHao looked like he had been punched in the corner of his mouth, the bruise starting to spread. He curled his lip in a sneer and said, “Just got beaten up.”
“Who beat you?”
WangHao didn’t say anything, but next to them ZhangYang suddenly lifted his head and said hoarsely, “Liu Sanqiang and his friends.”
Every school has a few ignorant bullies. Liu Sanqiang was one of them. He was often criticized by the school bulletin, but he still did what he wanted. ZhouDu and his friends would normally not have anything to do with him. That was because this Liu Sanqiang fellow had already become unsatisfied with acting like a tyrant at school, and was often seen hanging out with gangsters.
“What did you go and provoke him for?”
“I didn’t!” WangHao hurriedly explained. “After school today, I wanted to come here and play some games to relax for a bit.” He said, looking guiltily at the nearby ZhangYang.
WangHao’s test scores were the worst among the three of them. ZhouDu was a person who didn’t care too much about grades, so he never really paid attention to this aspect of WangHao’s. However, ZhangYang was not the same. Before each exam, he would help WangHao cram so that his scores would not be too bad.
WangHao himself was an individual who didn’t like learning. Every time ZhangYang pressured him to study, he would never say anything, but in his mind he was actually very resistant.
ZhouDu had always felt that this was their own business, so he never interfered. It seemed like today, WangHao stealthily evaded ZhangYang and ran here alone to the Internet café to play games.
“How did the fight start?” ZhouDu, with one hand each, pulled up the two people sitting on the ground.
When ZhangYang stood up, ZhouDu could now see at a glance that he was more seriously injured than WangHao. One eye was completely swollen, his face was black and blue, and it seemed like some mottled bloodstains were still visible.
“How could it be this serious?” ZhouDu’s eyebrows knit in a frown. He pulled ZhangYang’s arm and said, “Quickly come with me to the hospital.”
“Don’t touch him!” WangHao shrieked. He slapped ZhouDu’s hand away and said, “His arm is injured.”
ZhouDu gave WangHao a dirty look. “I’ll get even with you later, first I have to send ZhangYang to the hospital.”