17th -【Bear with it】
WTF, what is this? Is this a fucking declaration of love?
Wei Guanglei nearly dropped the can in his hand.
Although when he observed Lu Shi carefully, he found that he seemed… not quite right?
There wasn’t any sprouting of spring in his heart1Stirrings of love., the brilliance of love, or the uneasiness due to hidden feelings. Inside Lu-Ge’s eyes, it was always dark and cold, as if nothing could be seen; there wasn’t the least bit of light nor a trace of waves.
He didn’t know why, but Wei Guanglei felt an inexplicable hint of chill in his heart as he recalled his words just now.
On the other side, Chu Yu and Zhu Zhifei stood at the door of the beef house, waiting for Uncle Yang to make tea.
They originally wanted to take just a pot and leave, but Uncle Yang insisted they wait two minutes while he made another pot.
Zhu Zhifei got bored while waiting. He used his toes to grind a leaf that had fallen on the ground and chatted, “Don’t mind the store’s small size because their flavor is really good! After all, Uncle Yang has had this restaurant for over ten years. Whenever the adults in our family are too busy to cook, Shitou and I would come here to eat in our childhood. Uncle Yang always prepares a few extra pieces of meat for us, saying that if we eat more we’ll grow taller by an additional two centimeters.”
“Yeah, the stewed beef was really delicious!” Chu Yu was puzzled again. “What about Lu Shi?”
“Lu-Ge? You’re asking why Lu-Ge wasn’t with us?”
Seeing Chu Yu nod, Zhu Zhifei smiled and answered, “If I were to say that Shitou and I have, in reality, only known Lu-Ge for a little more than a year, would you believe it?”
Chu Yu was a bit surprised.
“Thought we grew up together?”
“Well, yeah, I just assumed… you three live near each other so you’re neighbors who played and went to school together. You’re all very familiar with each other and each other’s parents. When you came to find Lu Shi after school yesterday, I heard you say your mother asked him to come to your house for a meal.”
“I’m not lying to you, Lu-Ge truly moved here more than a year ago, around summer vacation of our third year in junior high. I heard my mother say that she, Shitou’s mother, and Lu-Ge’s mother were best friends who had grown up together. More than ten or twenty years have passed since they last saw each other but their friendship still stands strong.
“Lu-Ge moved into the house his mother lived in before and became our neighbor. My mother and Aunt Rou told me and Shitou to take care of Lu-Ge, familiarize him with the surroundings and make sure he wasn’t lonely.”
Zhu Zhifei’s voice lowered a little. “Unfortunately, my mom and Aunt Rou were very naive! How could Shitou and I take care of Lu-Ge? It’s obviously Lu-Ge who covers for us both!”
Chu Yu asked quietly, “Covers for you two?”
“Sure does! Even up till now our mothers don’t know that when Lu-Ge moved here to Qingchuan Road,” Zhu Zhifei held out a finger and shook it, “he got into five fights the very first week, and he’s been famous on Qingchuan Road since then.2The literal translation was magpie rise in fame. Thought I’d put this here since next sentence says ‘chickens’. Those weak chickens can only call him daddy while on their knees! As you can imagine, Shitou and I were stunned and called him Lu-Ge right then and there! If that isn’t what a brother should be, then what is a brother?!”
Hearing the last sentence, Chu Yu remembered. “Our class rep, Zhang Yueshan, said something similar to what you just did.”
“Similar? What did he say?”
“If Lu-Shen isn’t a god, then what is a god?!”
An orange cat lazily walked past beside their feet. Sunlight broke through the clouds and sprinkled patches below, mixing with the water vapor and making it a bit stuffy.
Zhu Zhifei pulled at his collar to take a breath, then continued talking. He spoke, “Fucking hell, speaking of Lu-Ge’s study god status, it’s so confusing! Doesn’t Lu-Ge live alone? There’s no one to cook for him at home so my mother and Aunt Rou worry all day long about him studying too hard until he’s exhausted! Whenever they make something delicious, their first reaction is to call him over to eat. They’re all about Lu-Ge everyday, giving priority to him, while Shitou and I are no different from some kids picked up off the side of the road.”
Chu Yu felt that he now understood and added, “Plus, Lu Shi is pretty good-looking.”
Zhu Zhifei covered his heart and raised his head up towards the sky, laden with grief. “Ai, I, this pitiful one, how to vie for favor over him?!”
A black iron teapot, filled to the brim with herbal tea, weighed heavily as they carried it. The two walked back to the small courtyard and found that the atmosphere was a bit… weird?
Chu Yu sat down beside Lu Shi.
Zhu Zhifei took the teapot and filled their cups one by one. “After a short walk, I once again possess infinite combat power. Chef, serve another plate of fat cow!”
Wei Guanglei got up and asked Lu Shi, “Lu-Ge, what else do you want to eat?”
Lu Shi shook his head. “Nothing.” He flipped his palm upwards, bent his knuckles, and rapped on the table twice while looking at Chu Yu. “What about you?”
Chu Yu quickly shook his head. “I don’t need anything either, I can just eat fruit.”
Wei Guanglei went into the kitchen and no more than two minutes later, came out with a plate of beef.
Then they fired up the burner and cooked it.
Zhu Zhifei stared at the meat, and without lifting his head said, “By the way, Lu-Ge, Dream-Ge called this morning and asked if you wanted to play basketball with the guys from your class. You’re sleeping here tonight anyway so if you make an appointment, you can just return to school earlier.”
Chu Yu had been at school for a week, but was unwell for several of the days. He’d been muddle-headed and disoriented, in no mood for meeting new classmates. Two days ago, the aftershock he suffered was tremendous so he was still a little confused.
All this considered, in his whole class – except for the students he knew from before – Chu Yu only knew Zhang Yueshan and Li Hua who sat in front of him, as well as the study committee member Fang Ziqi who asked him to hand in his homework every day.
“Dream-Ge? He’s your class’ sports committee member, Luo Jiaxuan. Back in a branch school, he and I were in the same class.” Zhu Zhifei pushed up his glasses. “That guy is surprisingly lacking in basketball skills, but his passion is like fire. He aspires for the NBA so he could lead the national team to walk the world’s pinnacle.”
Chu Yu was shocked by this grand dream, and after thinking about it carefully, he was slightly impressed. “Then why call him Dream-Ge?”
“Come come come, it’s time for me to tell this beautiful and moving story once again!” Zhu Zhifei coughed twice to clear his throat. “It was the beginning of the first year of high school. For his lofty ideals, Dream-Ge played basketball during lunch break and after school. He played so much that his stamina wasn’t able to keep up, so he tended to fall asleep in class.
“One day, he was called upon by the chemistry teacher who asked, ‘Luo Jiaxuan, why do you always sleep in the classroom?’ Guess what this brother answered?”
Chu Yu held a grape and shook his head. “What did he say?”
“This brother said, ‘Sir, because in the classrooms is where dreams begin!’ This answer was too dope3太绝了: this is a slang meaning too awesome/cool. I took the liberty to translate it as dope which could mean both silly and amazing hihi., henceforth, he obtained the title Dream-Ge!”
With swift eyes and quick hands, Zhu Zhifei picked up a piece of beef and dipped it in sauce, then swallowed it in two mouthfuls. After that he asked, “Lu-Ge, if you’re going, I can pass on the message.”
Lu Shi replied, “Mm, I’ll go.”
Zhu Zhifei asked again, “What about you, young master, do you want to play with us?”
Chu Yu himself was bored at home, and he also didn’t enjoy joining He Zhihao and his clique’s fun. He glanced at Lu Shi then nodded. “Okay, I’ll see you at school early tomorrow afternoon then, but I’m not that great at basketball.”
Back in junior high, Chu Yu was obsessed with basketball for a period of time. He even specially invited a professional basketball coach in his determination to dominate the court.
But one time, when they were playing a friendly match with students from the next class, he was deliberately bumped which caused him to fall to the ground. Contrarily, it wasn’t painful, but his cheek had been grazed.
From then on, Chu Yu stayed away from the basketball court— his face couldn’t stand such harm!
“It’s fine, it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the court or not! Then it’s set, the basketball game will be at two o’clock tomorrow, and the venue is the basketball court!”
Chu Yu had packed several comic books into his school bag over the weekend, and was able to head straight to school.
There was a traffic jam on the road so by the time he arrived, Lu Shi and the rest were already playing.
Jianing Private was all-inclusive, with standard indoor and outdoor basketball courts. The sun was a bit hot, causing the court outside to emit a synthetic smell.
Chu Yu carried his school bag and found a place under a tree’s shade to sit down, and realized afterwards that he wasn’t the only audience. On the other side of the court, there were many girls standing around.
This was Chu Yu’s first time seeing Lu Shi play basketball.
The way Lu Shi played was a bit similar to how he fought, that is to say, he was imposing and aggressive; agile with good physical strength. When on the offense, his opponents couldn’t guard him at all. He dribbled the ball past the others, resembling drifting clouds and flowing water.
He took a few steps, aimed, and scored!
“Ahh— Lu-Shen is so hot! So handsome!!”
Many girls screamed from the other side and Chu Yu understood that they were all here to see Lu Shi.
After all, Lu Shi was indeed pleasant to watch.
And good to eat too.
Rubbing his belly, Chu Yu sighed. So hungry.
He half-squinted his eyes in the sun, contemplated, then pulled out a comic book from his bag to read.
The sun shone through the gaps between the branched leaves, and the mottled light and shadows fell on the book’s pages which swayed along whenever the wind blew.
Chu Yu hadn’t read two pages yet before a shadow loomed over him.
He looked up just in time to see Lu Shi – who wore a loose basketball uniform and stood in front of him – lean over to pick up the bottle of mineral water behind him.
On his left wrist was a black wristband which contrasted with his cold, white skin; it was indescribably handsome.
It was only a brief moment.
But in that moment, he was so close that Chu Yu could even feel the scorching heat emitting off of Lu Shi’s body, as well as the scent of hormones exuding from his skin due to the vigorous exercise.
Lu Shi unscrewed the cap, held up the water bottle, and drank more than half of it in one breath.
Sweat dripped along his temple, past his jaw, down the side of his neck, and finally over his clavicle, gradually vanishing beneath his collar.
Chu Yu’s head faced upwards with his soft hair turning light brown under the sun and moving lightly with the wind as his line of sight fell on his wrist. He appeared in a trance.
Lu Shi saw this and raised his eyebrows. “What’s wrong?”
Chu Yu felt a little dizzy from the sunshine as his body burned hot in addition to his hunger.
Staring at the blue-green veins on Lu Shi’s wrist, he licked his lips and unconsciously blurted what was in his heart, “…Wanna bite.”
Lu Shi’s throat overflowed with husky chuckles. Stretching out his hand, he rubbed the corner of Chu Yu’s lips with his thumb. “Yeah, bear with it and wait, I’ll feed you later.”
- 1Stirrings of love.
- 2The literal translation was magpie rise in fame. Thought I’d put this here since next sentence says ‘chickens’.
- 3太绝了: this is a slang meaning too awesome/cool. I took the liberty to translate it as dope which could mean both silly and amazing hihi.