Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Quite a few days had passed after WangHao’s drunken stupor. With the exams (National College Entrance Examination) creeping up, any kind of movement made in the classroom was done quietly, so as to not disturb the students from resting in between classes. In contrast, XiaYao got more and more relaxed as the days passed. That was because he knew that the nearer the exams were, the more he had to stay calm. Besides, he had gone through the exams in his past life, so the level of stress he had wasn’t as huge as before.
The exam guide had been distributed. After studying it for a while, XiaYao turned behind to take a look at ZhouDu. WangHao was listless ever since the day he skipped school. ZhouDu thought he was just upset about going to America, so he didn’t read too much into it.
After the self-study, WangHao swung his bag to his shoulders, preparing to leave. ZhangYang, who sat beside him, snatched his wrist, “Let’s talk.”
WangHao’s expression changed at once. As though he hated being touched by ZhangYang, he jerked his hand away. Due to the over exertion of force, his body banged against the desk of a nearby classmate. “Don’t touch me.” He lowered his eyes before sprinting out of the classroom without even a glance back at ZhangYang.
The commotion attracted everyone’s attention. The gloom on ZhangYang’s face vanished as quickly as it appeared. ZhangYang began packing his bag expressionlessly, seeming as if nothing had happened. XiaYao tilted his head, deep in thought as he observed ZhangYang.
ZhouDu walked to his side and tapped on his shoulders, “Let’s go home.”
While walking side by side with ZhouDu, XiaYao questioned, “Is ZhangYang fighting with WangHao?”
“No idea,” ZhouDu replied without any interest.
After a slight hesitation, XiaYao inquired again, “Aren’t you going to ask them?”
ZhouDu sighed, “Though WangHao always seems like a nitwit, he actually keeps things to himself all the time. Even if I went over and asked him now, he will still keep mum about it. He will just spill it out whenever he feels like it. Besides, ZhangYang, he and I were classmates in junior high. The number of fights they had is uncountable. It’s alright; it will be fine a few days later.” Nevertheless, XiaYao found the situation to be not as simple as what ZhouDu said.
As expected, WangHao didn’t turn up to school the next day. The thing that befuddled XiaYao was that First Lady just went on with his routine and patrolled around the classroom, seeming as if he didn’t notice WangHao’s absence. Seeing that ZhouDu had an indifferent look on his face, XiaYao presumed he thought too much about it. Furthermore, there were only five days until the exams, so he didn’t have much energy to poke his nose into others’ business.
WangHao only returned to the classroom a day before the exams. There were no classes for all third years that day, only one last class meeting conducted by their homeroom teachers. In the class, the girls who were more expressive started weeping silently. XiaYao felt tears welling up a little in his eyes too. After the emotional farewell, First Lady straightened his face again, giving out various exam pointers to everyone before letting them off to their holidays. It was the last holidays for the third years, which marked the end of their senior high school lives.
Once XiaYao got out of the exam room after his last paper, he spotted his mother, who had waited for a long time outside, so he hurried over. XiaYao’s mother didn’t ask about the exams at all. Instead, she just told him that he had worked hard and started dragging him back home. However, XiaYao couldn’t help but to take a glimpse back at the exam room. He knew ZhouDu was inside too but had no clue if he had gotten out.
ZhouDu, as though he had detected his yearning, appeared suddenly in front of XiaYao from the crowd. “Godmother,” he greeted XiaYao’s mother warmly. The back of XiaYao’s mother froze straight away. She turned back slowly and gave him a smile.
Currently wearing a beautiful skirt, ZhouDu’s mother approached them, walking in her high heels. “Big sis.” With her fashionable style and light makeup, she looked more like ZhouDu’s sister than his mother. “The two rascals are finally done with their exams; why don’t we go celebrate together?”
“No, there’s no need.” XiaYao’s mother smiled courteously at her, “You should go on and celebrate. XiaYao and I have something on, so we’ll be going back home.”
“Oh, is that so?” ZhouDu’s mother revealed a twinge of disappointment on her face, before replacing it with a grin, “It’s fine. The holidays are long anyway. When the results are out, I’ll hold a celebration for XiaYao.” After politely dodging around her invitation, XiaYao’s mother left with XiaYao. ZhouDu gazed at XiaYao’s back wistfully. ZhouDu’s mother gave his son a contemptuous look, “Your eyeballs are about to fall from the staring. Let’s go home~”
XiaYao finally picked up on the change in attitude his mother had towards ZhouDu. Although he couldn’t quite put his finger on it, he felt something off about it. XiaYao was a little anxious as he asked his mother, “Mom, you don’t like ZhouDu?”
“Of course not; he is handsome, smart and polite; a really endearing kid.” After calming her stiffened heart down, XiaYao’s mother assured her son. “But,” she continued with difficulty, “they are well to do after all. XiaXia, we are poor; they are out of our reach. I’ll treat your bone marrow donation to them as us doing a charity. Don’t ever believe what they say. How many people among the rich are trustworthy?” It wasn’t known whether the last sentence was directed to XiaYao or herself.
XiaYao tried to placate his mother, “Mom, he won’t; ZhouDu isn’t like that.”
“He’s still a young, innocent student now; of course he isn’t someone like that. But that will change once he steps into society. People always change.” XiaYao’s mother got agitated all of a sudden.
XiaYao responded hastily, “Alright, I got it, mom. I’ll take note of it.” His mother’s grasp on his hand tightened more and more. In spite of the pain, XiaYao let his mother continue clutching without a word.
Only when they were about to reach home did XiaYao’s mother discover the few red streaks she made on XiaYao’s wrist. “Silly boy,” her eyes reddened, “does it hurt?”
“No.” XiaYao flashed a grin at his mother, revealing two rows of white teeth. As the mother and son headed home lovingly, an unannounced guest stood by their doorway waiting for them.
By the time ZhouDu got back home with his mother, the Zhou family’s nanny had already whipped up a sumptuous dinner. ZhouDu’s father was still at work. After taking a look at her sleeping daughter, ZhouDu’s mother fished out her phone to give her husband a call. ZhouDu plopped down the sofa, a little sulky.
Noticing how gloomy her son was after she hung up the call, ZhouDu’s mother kicked his leg, “What is it? Made a slip this time?”
ZhouDu cast an eye on his mother before mumbling dejectedly, “I think XiaYao’s mother doesn’t like me.”
“Oh my. Why? Do you think you are a flower; that everyone likes you? It should be normal for her not to like you. Take a look at you and then at XiaYao. Why would she like a cheapie like you when she has such an obedient son?”
The bad-mouthing from ZhouDu’s mother made ZhouDu even more sullen. He turned around and went up the stairs.
ZhouDu’s mother sat on the sofa and turned the TV on, before calling out to ZhouDu, “Go take a shower and change your clothes. We will start our dinner when your dad is back. The three of us will drink till we drop tonight, alright?”
ZhouDu slammed his door shut, irritated.
Upon entering his room, ZhouDu stooped down and leaned his back on the door, his long legs slightly bent.
[How was your exam?] He sent a message to XiaYao.
The other party didn’t respond even after a good while. [What are you doing?] He sent again. A few minutes had passed, but there still wasn’t any reply from XiaYao.
ZhouDu glowered at his phone and hurled it to his bed beside him, before throwing himself onto his bed. I want to see XiaYao so much. He held his pillow in his arms, muttering to himself, “Why aren’t you XiaYao?”
Once he ended his sentence, he flung the pillow aside. The pitiful pillow plunked down the ground after two bounces on the bed.
ZhouDu lied on the bed with his legs outstretched. His hand phone beside him vibrated suddenly. Surprised, ZhouDu grabbed it and took a look, only to find out that it was a call from WangHao. The excitement in him vanished into thin air as he picked up the call aloofly.
“Are you at home?”
“I’ll go to your house later at night.”
“What is it?”
“I…I have something to tell you. I can’t figure it out myself, and it’s hard to hold it inside. I guess you are more experienced in it than me.”
ZhouDu found it strange. What did he have more experience in as compared to WangHao? Oh right, studies. He told the caller, “What? The exams are already done. You still want me to give you tuition?”
“It’s not about tuition!” WangHao barked at ZhouDu, before lowering the phone and hanging up.
ZhouDu glanced at his handphone, which call had just been hung up, and muttered, “Nutcase.” Then, he crawled out of bed and sauntered toward the bathroom in his room.
ZhouDu’s father got home the moment ZhouDu finished showering. “Good work.” His father gave him a smile and waved to him, “Come over and sit down.”
The whole family sat around the table harmoniously; the nanny sat beside ZhouDu too.
ZhouDu’s father inquired, “How is it? Have you decided on the university you are going?”
“S Uni,” ZhouDu replied.
“Heh. Well, aren’t you cocky?”
ZhouDu’s mother was piqued at once, “What’s wrong with my son picking S Uni? I gave him such a clever little brain, getting in S Uni will just be a piece of cake for him. Right, my boy?” ZhouDu didn’t care to reply back.
ZhouDu’s father continued, “I heard WangHao is going to study in America. How is it? Any thoughts about studying abroad?”
“Nope.” ZhouDu rejected swiftly, “I don’t want to go to America, I just want to go to S Uni.”
“Okay.” ZhouDu’s father seemed delighted at his son’s answer. He raised his wine cup, addressing to ZhouDu, “In that case, I wish you success.” With that, he drained the wine cup in one gulp.
ZhouDu peered at the white wine in his glass. Holding his breath, he followed his father’s lead and downed the wine.
After dinner, ZhouDu was about to return to his room to call XiaYao when WangHao unexpectedly showed up. Seeing that WangHao was indeed troubled, ZhouDu brought him up to his room. Once they were in the bedroom, ZhouDu pulled out his desk chair and motioned at WangHao with his chin, “What’s up?”
WangHao only started asking ZhouDu after hemming and hawing for a long while, “Have you fucked XiaYao before?”
ZhouDu froze, “What did you say?”