Chu Yu didn’t leave his house again until the beginning of the school term.
When Uncle Chen drove to pick him up from Qingchuan Road, Chu Yu had almost sobered up, and since he hadn’t gotten black-out drunk in the first place, vague memories remained in his mind. He’d taken the initiative to settle the bill and thanked both Wei Guanglei and Zhu Zhifei, then hesitated for two seconds, before finally troubling them to thank Lu Shi for him.
Wei Guanglei joked around and said that the next time he came for a meal, they should eat together again at the same table if they met by chance.
Chu Yu responded with agreement, but thought in his heart that there was no chance of this happening again.
He wasn’t stupid. He could feel that Lu Shi really didn’t like him.
The person was being so obvious with his dislike towards him so why would he continue to bother him?
Although Chu Yu was fairly popular anywhere, he knew that it wasn’t to the point where everyone who saw him would love him— and when it came to this so-called ‘popularity’, he knew deep in his heart that it had something to do with Chu family’s reputation one way or another.
Just dislike him then, it wasn’t like they would have much contact in the future anyway.
After returning home, Aunt Lan simmered some chicken soup but Chu Yu didn’t eat much. Unexpectedly, he vomited everything in the middle of the night again. Scared, Aunt Lan hurriedly called the family doctor.
Chu Yu lay on his bed, that feeling of his whole body being roasted in fire had returned. His blood vessels tensed as if they were about to burst and he was terribly parched, but even drinking three glasses of water didn’t quench him.
The doctor did a general check-up and the results showed that everything was normal, he couldn’t be healthier. But Chu Yu firmly stated that he was feverish and his entire body was scalding hot. In the end, the doctor diagnosed him with neurological dysfunction and no medicine was prescribed.
But Chu Yu really felt weak.
He Zhihao called and asked Chu Yu if he wanted to attend a get-together with some people he knew. Everyone was taking advantage of the opportunity to play all night before school started.
Hearing the loud noise on the other end of the phone, Chu Yu rolled half a circle on the bed very slowly with his phone in hand. He stared at the crystal lanterns on the ceiling and refused weakly, “I’m sick, I’ll pass. The noise on your end makes my ears hurt.”
Their families were business partners while the two of them had been in the same school and class, and even hung out together for several years. He Zhihao moved to a quiet place, sounding worried. “You’re really sick? Have you seen a doctor? What kind of illness is it?”
“Damn, how awesome, that sounds so fucking serious. Chu Yu, will you be able to get out of bed when school starts?”
“Buzz off. I love studying so much, I’ll make it to school even if I have to crawl there and hand in my summer homework!”
He Zhihao laughed heartily. “Our Young Great Yu, when that time comes, I’ll definitely be there to watch!”
“Let’s stop talking about this. He Zhihao, I wanna ask you something, have you—”
Chu Yu pondered for a while but still didn’t ask. “It’s nothing, forget it. Have fun over there and see you at school.”
Letting go of the phone, Chu Yu licked his dry lips.
The words he didn’t say were supposed to be— ‘have you ever dreamed of the same person for several nights?’
He’d been dreaming of Lu Shi for a handful of nights already.
Every time it would be that twisted alley, Lu Shi staring at him, and his left arm trickling with blood from the wound.
School began on the first of September and Chu Yu reported to school one day early. Uncle Chen drove him there and Aunt Lan also came along— the dormitory hadn’t been occupied for two months, so everything inside it had to be changed.
As the car drove onto the street outside Jianing Private, it got stuck in a bumper to bumper traffic. This happens every year on the first day, and last time, Chu Yu didn’t feel like waiting so he’d gotten out of the car and walked to school by himself.
However, now his strength was drained from feeling feverish these last few days. He leaned against the car’s glass window, staring weakly with a blank gaze.
Aunt Lan spoke to him.
“Early this morning, the elder young master and young miss called. They heard that the young master still hadn’t woken up, so they instructed not to disturb you and let you sleep properly.”
“Hmm.” Chu Yu pursed his lips. He slowly blinked twice then hesitantly asked, “My mother?”
Aunt Lan replied gently, “Madam didn’t call, she was probably too busy, but Madam is definitely thinking of you in her heart.”
Chu Yu understood better than anyone else that his mother never thought of him in her heart at all.
When it was just a street away, the car crawled for half an hour before stopping at the school gate.
Presumably, the school gate had been newly painted during the summer vacation as it was glistening golden in the sun. Chu Yu walked in his school uniform, bypassing the spouting sculpture fountain and its rushing water, all the way to the school building.
The rows of trees beside the path were tall and lush, and there were many people crowding in front of the bulletin board. Chu Yu didn’t squeeze in because the second year students had been redistributed earlier today and the principal had sent his new class and floor information to his phone in advance.
The thing that Jianing Private School didn’t lack the most was money. It was clearly located within the second ring road1I suppose this is Beijing’s Second Ring Road, a relatively busy and medium-sized area, full of expressways. See 二环 on the image: but it covered an astonishingly large area. It didn’t run short of a library, soccer field, basketball court, tennis court, and even swimming pool. It also had a luxuriously built-in racecourse and a botanical garden with a glass greenhouse, and so on. Essentially possessing a range of facilities brimming with the decadent atmosphere of capitalism.
The school building was a magnificent European-style building with exterior walls and spires of red brick, giving it a strong academic ambiance. There were five floors in total with an elevator connecting them.
However, as far as the elevator capacity was concerned, it was better to climb the stairs than line up, unless you were a fool.
Chu Yu was that fool today.
He told himself that he was sick, and if he passed out halfway up the stairs, then he’d be a genuine fool.
When the elevator arrived for the fifth time, he was finally able to take it to the fourth floor.
Second Year Class A, Chu Yu’s new class.
By the time he arrived, the preparation bell had already rung and there were only two or three seats left in the classroom. Carrying an empty school bag, Chu Yu weakly shouted to the homeroom teacher standing on the podium, “Reporting.”
The homeroom teacher was Mediterranean, slightly middle-aged, and approximately after two years, the three-finger-wide belt would no longer be able to cover the protruding girth of his potbelly.
“Are you Chu Yu? Come in, the teachers have already arranged the seats in advance, so yours is the last one in the column by the window.”
Chu Yu politely thanked the teacher and walked past the podium to the last row.
Many people were watching him as he walked through the aisle, and there were also bits and pieces of discussions that could be heard. Chu Yu didn’t have the strength to lift his eyelids anymore— at this very moment, he just wanted to weakly hurry to sit down.
After sitting in his chair, Chu Yu realized that the seat next to him was still empty, his deskmate was tardier than him.
The homeroom teacher began to speak from the podium.
First, he turned around and wrote three characters with beautiful forms on the blackboard. “Hello students, my surname is Ye, Ye Zhouqing from Dongpo’s famous saying, ‘One leaf boat is light, two oars are great and shocking’. I am your homeroom teacher and I will be teaching you Literature and Language for the next two years. I am very happy and honored to share with you your most precious and memorable school years!
“Our class possesses the most optimal potential in the entire grade. 42 students, each of whom have passed the comprehensive assessment… Students who came from other branches may not be quite familiar with our main school yet. I hope all of you students can help each other…”
Chu Yu still had a low fever, so he laid down on the table as soon as he sat in his chair and listened to the homeroom teacher’s start of school speech without a word. The boy sitting in front of Chu Yu was even less attentive than him. He was spinning a Rubik’s Cube with lightning speed under the table while chatting with his deskmate at a very quiet volume.
“Goddamn, the school flower is sitting behind me? Quickly pinch me! Is he really the legendary school flower? His face looks really good, much more beautiful than those sisters I met while going upstairs earlier! Wait, should the word beautiful be used to describe boys?”
His deskmate joined him, “It cannot be used as an adjective for other boys, but for the school flower, it surely can!”
“Yeah, I know right, it’s reasonable!”
“But isn’t the school flower a slacker? Why’s he in Class A?”
The voice of the person who was turning the Rubik’s Cube lowered a bit more, “Didn’t you listen to the homeroom teacher? Everyone passed the comprehensive assessment. The school flower has a goldmine at home, while other students attend school, he just gets sponsored by donating a gym or a swimming pool. If the school flower’s family didn’t come with this set, they probably bought the school directly! If even the school’s young master can’t join Class A, what awaits us mortals?”
His deskmate took a breath and muttered two words, “Fuck me!”
Chu Yu’s head was aching and his body was akin to a crackling, blazing bonfire, making him extremely restless. Even with just breathing, he felt uncomfortable inside and out. The homeroom teacher’s impassioned speech on the podium, and his classmates’ little conversations, all made him feel agitated and want to burst out in anger.
There was a sudden silence in the classroom.
The teacher’s voice on the podium hadn’t stopped and was concluding with, “I hope everyone will make the most of their time and live up to their youth-,” when he was interrupted by a “Reporting.”
Chu Yu’s ears tickled. He felt that this voice was somewhat inexplicably familiar.
He propped his head on his hands, sat up, and raised his eyes to look— what the hell!
He’d only dozed off for a second.
Why was that gangster at their classroom’s door?
He focused his eyes and found that Lu Shi was wearing a white shirt and black school pants, while his hair was a bit messy and the corner of his lips was split. He looked like he’d been through a lot, as if he’d just come out from a fight, his eyes still held a bit of unresolved hostility.
The classmate who was twisting the Rubik’s Cube in front was excited. Suppressing himself, he spoke at lightning speed, “What the hell is this luck, Lu-Shen2God Lu is in our class? That’s not right, how could Lu-Shen not be in our class! Fuckshit, we’re in the same classroom? Do you think it’s possible for me to absorb light from the study god’s shining halo and advance 20 places in the next exam?”
His deskmate sighed. “Being both the study god and school grass, classmate Lu Shi has really worked hard.”
Chu Yu thought to himself, this gangster is also the study god? Doesn’t he have three titles3Lu Shi’s three titles are study god, school grass, and gangster then? He’d seen the school bully of their school, and before Lu Shi, he would last 20 seconds at most, nevermind a full three rounds.
The homeroom teacher had a good temper and gently asked, “Student Lu Shi, is it? Why are you late?”
Lu Shi didn’t answer, instead, a tall, thin boy wearing glasses scuttled forward from behind him whom Chu Yu knew. It was Zhu Zhifei.
Zhu Zhifei pushed up his glasses. “Reporting to Teacher. I was hurrying to school this morning when a group of delinquents stopped me near the school and wanted to rob my pocket money! Just as I was about to surrender under the threats of evil forces and lose my pocket money, this classmate happened to pass by. Seeing my peril, he helped his fellow classmate by fending off the delinquents and saved me from disaster!”
“So it was like that!” The homeroom teacher didn’t have any doubts and nodded with gratification. “Lu Shi is quite good, helping his classmate.” He looked at Zhu Zhifei again. “This student is not from our class, is that not right?”
Zhu Zhifei nodded. “I’m from the class over, Sir. I’ll go back now!”
The homeroom teacher scanned Lu Shi. For a young person at his age, he was distinctively slim and tall, with a straight back. His expressionless face made him appear cold and indifferent, but he was handsome with an outstanding temperament.
He nodded. “Come in, and remember to go to the infirmary after class to get examined. The teachers have already arranged the seating arrangements, thus you’re to sit in the last row of the column by the window as student Chu Yu’s deskmate.”
Lu Shi looked over.
The two boy’s eyes met.
Lu Shi had no superfluous reaction as he indifferently withdrew his gaze.
“Sir, I don’t want to share the same table as him.”
“Sir, can you change the seating arrangement?”
Chu Yu and Lu Shi both spoke at the same time.
The classroom fell silent and the other 40 students in the room suddenly felt suffocated.
The homeroom teacher was also stunned, but he quickly responded, “In that case, let’s make a compromise. Student Lu Shi can move his desk behind student Chu Yu.”
Lu Shi, carrying a black school bag on one shoulder, walked from the door to the back row and effortlessly lifted the table.
He was slender and meager in build. The long sleeves of his white shirt were folded casually, exposing his arms, and one could see the light blue-green blood vessels beneath his cold, white skin. At this moment, he lowered his head, highlighting a high nose bridge. His fine fringe naturally hung low, concealing his slightly deep black brows and the long, narrow tails of his eyes.
It was quite difficult to see when he was fighting – it was too chaotic – but with this neat appearance of his, one could tell that his jawline was sharp and refined.
Chu Yu retracted his gaze and didn’t look at him anymore.