Editor: merahmapple 🍁
On one hand, Du Yongjin treated Wang Bailu as his enemy. His words were sharp and extremely mean against this person. On the other, Wang Bailu was open and held no grudge.
Still, no matter how much Qu Zhengyan favored Du Yongjin, he was not someone who could not distinguish right from wrong; he was not an unreasonable person.
Therefore, there was always a form of incomprehensible guilt whenever he faced Wang Bailu. Occasionally, he would give some weak objections towards Du Yongjin’s excessive words against her.
However, this aroused Du Yongjin’s antipathy against Wang Bailu instead.
It was like a vicious circle.
What’s more, Qu Zhengyan could not understand why Xiao Jin started to desperately dominate his time, every day he wanted to play together with him. Even if he was addicted to playing table tennis with others on one side, Du Yongjin would stay beside him, not wanting to sit about alone.
He did like to be with Xiao Jin, but when things went beyond a certain limit, it left him rather troubled.
First of all, his study was certainly affected. Several of his grade test scores dropped noticeably.
Secondly, some of the after-class homework was sloppily done. Qu Zhengyan fruitlessly wished to divide himself into several parts to be able to pay attention to all aspects of his life. But such a superhuman campus hero could only exist in romantic youth novels.
When he returned to school on Sunday for a regular student union’s meeting, Qu Zhengyan’s work plan was singled out for some omissions. Frowning, he noted down, pondering which class period he could use to revise it. As the meeting drew to a close, everyone relaxed a little and had a quiet discussion with their pairs. Wang Bailu came over and sat down beside Qu Zhengyan.
Qu Zhengyan looked up at her. He gave an embarrassed smile. “I’m sorry.” He didn’t do well with the work given to him.
Wang Bailu did not respond to his words. She asked, “Do you have a tutorial class in the afternoon?”
Qu Zhengyan hesitated. “ I… have something else on in the afternoon.”
Du Yongjin followed him to school in the morning and he was now surfing the Internet in an Internet bar near the school as he waited for Qu Zhengyan.
Wang Bailu was silent for a moment. “Qu Zhengyan, you… you… ” She ruminated for a while, trying to phrase her words. At last, she simply laughed. “I’ll copy my notes for you later. It’s a little haphazard and doesn’t look impressive, but there are a lot of things within.”
This was a subtle reminder not to affect his lessons.
Qu Zhengyan looked at her gratefully and whispered, “Thank you.”
Wang Bailu shook her head as she left. Qu Zhengyan saw her worried and helpless expression, unwilling to comment further. His heart fell.
To be frank, Xiao Jin stubbornly wanted him to leave immediately after the meeting and refused to give in at all this time. Qu Zhengyan was a little upset with him.
As a student, especially for a high school student facing the college entrance examination, they had to set a limit for playing. Look at Wang Bailu and other high school students. They had goals in their life. They were filled with a mission to make progress every day. Their dressing, youthful and attitude, generous.
On the other hand, Xiao Jin, who played every day, spent money lavishly and dressed flamboyantly. His circle of friends was all glib and frivolous.
It was rare to make Qu Zhengyan felt unhappy and that happened was because of the gang he met in the gaming hall yesterday.
Although that guy didn’t wear a school uniform, Qu Zhengyan recognized him from No.3 High School at a glance. His face had a playboy air, his eyes were bewitching and his words were arrogant. Qu Zhengyan hated him.
Thinking about what he did before, Qu Zhengyan’s hatred for him deepened.
Originally, he wanted to pull Xiao Jin and leave, but Du Yongjin was too noticeable that the rest immediately came over to say hello, seemingly rather familiar with Xiao Jin.
The boy named Guo Minghua from No.3 High School seemed to be the leader of these teenagers.
Qu Zhengyan stood with them, feeling more and more uncomfortable.
But Du Yongjin hadn’t realized it. He had even forgotten that Qu Zhengyan had met Guo Minghua before and introduced them to each other.
Then, Du Yongjin mentioned that there was a newly opened dance hall at the club. Instantly curious, he wanted to go over to have a try.
All night long, Qu Zhengyan stood beside him, neither talking nor laughing. He merely looked on coldly. Du Yongjin danced with these so-called friends, drank beer, and criticized the females. He followed Guo Minghua to the DJ’s compartment to try his hand. He even smoked…
Qu Zhengyan pulled Du Yongjin to a corner and whispered to him that he wanted to leave. “Ah?” Du Yongjin was surprised. “But we haven’t played for very long!”
“I’m tired!” Qu Zhengyan said with a stiff face, “If you want to play, you can continue. I want to leave.”
He was seldom like this. Du Yongjin stared blankly. He tilted his head to look at him and looked back at the others. In addition to Guo Minghua, the others were playing happily and they didn’t notice them. Guo Minghua kept looking over. Catching Du Yongjin’s eyes, he raised the beer bottle in his hand and shook it.
“Don’t be like this,” Du Yongjin told Qu Zhengyan. “This is Xiao Guo’s treat. If you leave, you aren’t giving him any face.”
Qu Zhengyan became faintly annoyed. In a fit of pique, he stated aloud, “There is a meeting in school tomorrow morning. I will leave first!” Then he turned around and left.
Du Yongjin was startled and immediately held onto him. “Okay, okay. It’s just leaving. Give me a minute to tell them.” He waited as Qu Zhengyan squeezed out a ”En” before turning back and informing the rest. As the two guys spoke, Guo Minghua’s eyes swept to Qu Zhengyan several times and nodded. Du Yongjin came back, held onto one of Qu Zhengyan’s shoulders and said, “Let’s go.”
On the way back, the atmosphere between them was incredibly oppressive. Seeing that Qu Zhengyan never spoke a word, Du Yongjin finally got impatient, “What’s wrong? Why are you so angry?”
“…Why did you play with that guy?”
Qu Zhengyan turned to look at him, expression distressed yet serious, “Xiao Jin, he’s not a good person.”
Du Yongjin was stunned. “… You mean Guo Minghua? What’s wrong? He’s very straightforward and loyal.”
“That person’s character is not good. You always stay with such people. You’re following the bad examples! Look at you right now… ”
Du Yongjin frowned. “What’s wrong with me?”
Qu Zhengyan stared back. “Is it okay to drink and smoke?”
“It’s not as if I’m doing it every day. It’s just when I’m in the mood. Besides, we are all friends. What’s wrong if someone hands me a cigarette?”
“It’s a bad habit! It’s because you play with bad people!”
“You think I’m a bad person?” Du Yongjin rushed out.
“You don’t remember it yourself?” Qu Zhengyan was angry. “Before, when you set up Wang Bailu, wasn’t that Guo Minghua who helped you? How good can he be if he could do such a thing? I thought you learned your lesson but you’re still mixing with him!”
Du Yongjin stood still. He turned and glared. “You’re planning to defend Wang Bailu again?”
“It’s not about Wang Bailu. I just want to tell you that I don’t like your friend. He is not a good man!”
“Then Wang Bailu is a good person, and my friend is not a good person?” Du Yongjin flared up. “What’s so good about this stinky woman that you always defend her?!”
“I’m not defending her!” Qu Zhengyan was also irritated, “Don’t bring others into this. We’re talking about you!”
Du Yongjin squinted his eyes. “…Then you think that I’m not good?”
The stubborn young men stared at each other silently for a while. Finally, as per usual, Qu Zhengyan retreated first. He exhaled heavily and continued to walk along the sidewalk. After a while, he heard the footsteps coming up behind him.
It was really…really… baffling! Damn it!
That night Qu Zhengyan stayed at the Du’s house, but they bathed and slept separately, not acknowledging each other.
The next day, Qu Zhengyan prepared to return to his school while thinking that Xiao Jin would ignore him. Qu Zhengyan didn’t expect that although Du Yongjin kept mum, he washed his face and rinsed his mouth together with him, left the house together, and took the bus along the river together. At the school gate, Qu Zhengyan stopped and looked back at Du Yongjin.
Du Yongjin did not look at him. He looked around and walked to a nearby Internet bar.
“After the meeting, there are still tutoring classes in the afternoon,” Qu Zhengyan called behind him.
Du Yongjin’s steps paused, then continued towards the Internet bar.
Qu Zhengyan looked at his back for a long time. He sighed. Forget it. After the meeting ended, he would come out to find him.
Once, twice, thrice, forth… Such small quarrels slowly increased.
With their different personalities, different ideals, different values of life, no matter how good their feelings were, constant abrasions would leave marks on them.
Such contradictions only made these two children feel uncomfortable. Yet, unsure where the problem laid, they were at a loss on how to resolve it.
The first person who noticed Qu Zhengyan was becoming depressed and grumpy was Mrs. Qu. She wanted to talk to Qu Zhengyan a while ago about Qu Zhengyan’s declining academic achievements. Hence, one day after dinner, the mother and son pair went out for a walk.
Mrs. Qu asked lightly, “Are you planning to go on like this?”
Qu Zhengyan had not understood at first. He gave his mother a puzzled look.
After Jing Yunlin mentioned it, Qu Zhengyan then understood.
The decline in his academic performance was because he spent less time and attention on it. His time and attention were spent more on playing as he tried to spend more time together with Du Yongjin. Hence, this led to him not focusing on his study. And when it came to Du Yongjin, Qu Zhengyan became despondent.
Summarising her son’s words, Jing Yunlin drew her conclusion and had nothing to say. Her son was clear, that even if he was no longer happy, he could not break up with Du Yongjin in a short time.
Their friendship and loyalty cultivated since childhood can sometimes obscure rationality.
Maybe after a few years, Qu Zhengyan will understand that he was not a simple passer-by with Du Yongjin.
But whether this duration of “several years” will be long or short, and how much youth and future will be wasted by her son, who can tell?
At this moment, Jing Yunlin could only generally encourage “Good friends should encourage each other to progress together”, or “Since he has shortcomings, find ways to help him correctly” and other phrases. What she didn’t expect was that Qu Zhengyan listened to her advice very carefully and secretly made a plan in his heart.