Translated by Lia of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When ZhouDu stormed home in a huff, Mrs. Zhou was playing with ZhouZhou with her in her arms. All of a sudden, she caught sight of her son running upstairs with his head hung low.
“ZhouDu.” She rose and yelled, “Did you bring XiaYao home yet?”
ZhouDu responded with a quick “Um-hmm” while his footsteps could be heard steadily ascending the stairs.
Mrs. Zhou found it a little strange. She passed ZhouZhou over to the babysitter and followed ZhouDu up the stairs.
She walked over to ZhouDu’s room door, reached out and knocked; she inquired with concern in her voice, “Son, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing.” ZhouDu replied in a muffled voice.
“If it’s nothing, what are you doing locking yourself in your room for? Open up.”
The room fell silent. Just when Mrs. Zhou believed that ZhouDu wasn’t going to let her in, the door was unlocked. ZhouDu’s eyes were still a little pink.
Mrs. Zhou had never before today seen her son with that kind of expression across his face. She immediately edged her way into the room and closed the door behind her. She asked softly, “What happened? Talk to your mother.”
ZhouDu held his neck stiff and kept silent. Mrs. Zhou took her son by the arm and sat them both down on a chair, “Is it a quarrel with XiaYao?”
ZhouDu continued to remain silent and Mrs. Zhou sighed to herself. She knew her own son, something must have happened on the way when he sent XiaYao home. However, what really surprised her was the fact that this was the first time she’d ever witnessed ZhouDu with such an expression, like he felt wronged and hostile. Like he didn’t know whether to be upset with himself or with XiaYao.
“You boys aren’t children anymore, it’s perfectly normal to quarrel. If you’re to blame, then cool off and go apologize to XiaYao tomorrow. If XiaYao was the one in the wrong…”
“It’s all my fault.” ZhouDu interrupted his mother with a hoarse voice, “I said some terrible words, and I did some terrible things.”
Mrs. Zhou frowned, “Was it a fight?”
ZhouDu shook his head and balled his hands into fists. He confessed after a moment, “I smashed something of XiaYao’s.”
Mrs. Zhou’s brows furrowed even more, she looked up at her son and said to ZhouDu solemnly, “I won’t ask for the reason that caused the quarrel. But the behavior that you exhibited, breaking XiaYao’s things are beyond immature. Are you aware that it was an act of violence?”
ZhouDu lowered his head and said nothing.
Mrs. Zhou carried on, “During a fight, in the heat of the moment, you may say things that you don’t mean but you were venting your anger through smashing XiaYao’s property? ZhouDu, you do understand that was violent behavior, right? Where’s XiaYao now? Where did you two quarrel?”
ZhouDu was overcome with regret the moment he up and left; he regretted and feared. His regret stemmed from the outrageous things he said to XiaYao, along with shattering the phone that he gifted him right before his eyes. His fear stemmed from the likelihood of XiaYao never speaking to him again.
“He probably went home…” ZhouDu’s voice caught a hint of whimper.
Mrs. Zhou sighed and patted her son on the shoulder, “There, there, as long as you understand that the way you reacted wasn’t right, it’ll be fine. Just make sure it doesn’t happen again, okay? Go to school tomorrow and formally apologize to XiaYao. Mom believes that to be simply an act of impulse on your part, but you must learn to control your emotions in the future.”
She got up once she said what she needed to say. When she walked over to the door, Mrs. Zhou turned and said, “Cool your head off in your room. Think about how you’re going about this apology tomorrow.”
ZhouDu sat alone in the empty room, staring at the tie that XiaYao gifted him.
The classroom on Mondays always looked dead. Everyone had yet to adjust from the comfort of the weekend, but was forced to sit in the classroom with the dark circles from staying up late the previous night. XiaYao was writing down English vocabulary from memory as a listless Chubby sat down next to him.
“Morning.” He turned his head to greet XiaYao.
XiaYao collected himself and smiled at Chubby, “Didn’t sleep so well last night?”
Chubby eyed XiaYao glumly, and only then did the events that unfolded at Jiang Shiwen’s on Saturday come back to XiaYao. Chubby witnessed his goddess get together with another boy with his two eyes, it’s not presumptuous in the slightest to assume that it must’ve hit him hard.
“You,” XiaYao consoled Chubby, “You shouldn’t be too upset. As they say, ‘there are plenty of fish in the sea.’ It’s impossible for a person to only like one single person in their lifetime. There will definitely be a girl out there for you.”
Since XiaYao had his face to Chubby, he failed to notice ZhouDu who passed by just in time to overhear those words; his face instantly paled.
Chubby sighed and weakly dug out his English book, afterwards, he laid on the table spacing out.
When ZhouDu returned to his seat, his head was full of the words that XiaYao said earlier –
It’s impossible for a person to only like one single person in their lifetime.
He suddenly panicked. If XiaYao didn’t like him anymore, what should he do?
Due to the current state of things, he could no longer bring himself to apologize to XiaYao anymore. He had no idea of knowing if XiaYao would choose to ignore him. He was afraid to hear those words come out of XiaYao’s mouth again, ‘ZhouDu, I don’t actually like you.’
Once the thought of losing XiaYao came to be; ZhouDu discovered that they were like brambles that grew like wildfire, the thorns embedded themselves deep into his heart. Drawing a breath had to be done with great care because it hurt. He was preoccupied all day. When he finally chanced upon XiaYao in the corridor, XiaYao kept his head low and passed him by as if he were invisible.
“He actually ignored me.” At that moment, that was the only thought on ZhouDu’s mind.
But little did he know, the exact same thought went through XiaYao’s head as well.
The instant the after school bell rung in the afternoon, ZhouDu packed up his things right away. He stared at XiaYao’s back and saw him standing up so he quickly followed behind.
Just as XiaYao emerged from the school gate, a girl in the same class suddenly rushed over to him and said, “XiaYao, there’s a boy at the school gate looking for you. I think he was asking around for you just now.”
XiaYao was somewhat surprised. He thanked the girl and asked, “Where?”
The girl pointed, and XiaYao followed her finger to find a familiar figure at a glance.
It was Fang Zeyu.
XiaYao stopped in his tracks and hesitated for a moment, unsure whether or not to approach him.
Fang Zeyu, however, noticed XiaYao. He flashed a dazzling white-toothed grin at XiaYao as he waved at him.
XiaYao stood in place and Fang Zeyu ran up to him, “I finally found you.”
“What’s wrong?” XiaYao stepped back and kept a little distance between them.
Fang Zeyu lifted the bag in his hand and said, “When you left yesterday, you left your reference books behind. I tried to call you when I noticed, but no one answered. I tried to reach you again in the evening but I couldn’t even get through then.”
That’s when XiaYao realized the whole point of Fang Zeyu’s trip was to return his books.
“Thank you.” He thanked Fang Zeyu with some embarrassment.
Fang Zeyu handed the bag to XiaYao, “Luckily, Yaoyao knew which school you go to. I was afraid that you might need it right away, so I skipped my last class to send you it.”
Once he registered those words, XiaYao felt even more embarrassed. He thanked Fang Zeyu again.
Fang Zeyu cocked a brow and said, “Don’t mention it. My last class is also training, anyway. So it doesn’t matter if I miss a day or two, but if you insist, then I don’t mind a drink.”
At that, XiaYao quickly fell silent. Fang Zeyu’s request wasn’t unreasonable. He came this far to bring him his books. There was nothing wrong with buying the guy a drink, but… XiaYao didn’t understand why. Even if he knew that there was nothing between him and Fang Zeyu, he hesitated when he thought about how ZhouDu’s reacted yesterday.
Fang Zeyu noticed XiaYao’s silence, and immediately brushed it off, “Um, I was just kidding. I’ll head back first, see you around.”
XiaYao looked at him, “I’m terribly sorry.”
Fang Zeyu smiled and said nothing. He left riding his bicycle.
ZhouDu had been standing behind XiaYao the entire time, and only when WangHao sauntered over and smacked him on the back, did he come out of his trance.
WangHao bounced backwards reflexively. Normally, at this time, ZhouDu would have definitely retaliated with a swift kick. To his surprise, ZhouDu threw a glance at him and left without a word.
WangHao found it odd. He jogged to catch up with ZhouDu, “What’s with you today? Feeling down?”
ZhouDu remained silent.
As if something suddenly came to mind, WangHao said, “Right, why didn’t you go home with XiaYao today? Don’t you usually wait at the gate before class even ends? Where’s XiaYao?”
He raised his head to scan the crowd, only to find that XiaYao had already crossed the street. ZhouDu headed the other way, and the two marched on in two completely opposite directions. Only then did WangHao begin to realize something was off between ZhouDu and XiaYao.
He followed ZhouDu and bumped him on the shoulder, “Hey, you two quarreling?”
ZhouDu ignored him.
WangHao knitted his brows, “There’s no way you two broke up?…”
ZhouDu turned around fiercely and glared at WangHao.
“Fine, fine, fine, I’ll shut up now.” Seeing that ZhouDu wasn’t paying him any mind, WangHao continued talking to himself, “And ZhangYang too. I don’t know what’s up with him lately, he’s been distant. Say, the both of you don’t tell me anything, do you even see me as a bro anymore.”
ZhouDu had enough of it; he snapped angrily at WangHao, “You’re noisy as hell.”
WangHao patted his shoulder and sighed, “I get it. People who’ve been dumped are always in a bad mood. It’s fine, I understand. Come into my arms if you need to cry. Brother will comfort you. ”
ZhouDu hadn’t paid attention to what WangHao had been blathering. He had a lot on his mind, all that he could think about was XiaYao and Fang Zeyu.
When he saw XiaYao and Fang Zeyu at the ice cream shop yesterday, he was shaken up there and then.
XiaYao explicitly told him that he had nothing going on in the weekend, and yet he was having ice cream with Fang Zeyu behind his back. In any case, he wouldn’t go eat ice cream with any person other than him. Should XiaYao not have requested him to take him and Guo Dongdong that day, he wouldn’t even have gone to Jiang Shiwen’s birthday party.
Ever since he started to go out with XiaYao, he had even been vigilant to maintain some distance between himself and WangHao. He didn’t want to leave any room for misunderstanding, but XiaYao, he would…
At the thought of that, ZhouDu clenched his fists.
Truth be told, he didn’t hate Fang Zeyu, but rather, he was afraid of him. ZhouDu was afraid that XiaYao would have a better choice for a partner.
When XiaYao got back to his apartment complex, he was just about to go up the stairs, but the familiar limousine that appeared at the door made him think twice. He glanced at the car and slowly made his way up the stairs.
A musty smell permeated the dilapidated corridor all year round. A feeling grew in the pit XiaYao’s stomach as he continued.
When he reached the front door, he was ready to unlock it with a key when a strange female voice arised from behind the poorly sound-insulated wooden door. “Sooner or later, he will have to return to his father’s side.”
XiaYao’s fingers that were ready to open the door hesitated.