35 – Thirty-Five is Too Late
While Fang Mo spoke, he covered his right ankle with his hand. It seemed like he had accidentally fallen down the stairs and sprained his ankle.
Xu Xiran hurried over but didn’t immediately reach out his hand. He squatted down in front of Fang Mo, looked down at his ankle, and asked, “Does it hurt?”
Fang Mo nodded, “A little bit.”
“Let me see.”
As he spoke, he reached out his hand, slowly rolled up Fang Mo’s pants, and carefully pulled down a small section of his sock, exposing his bare ankle.
Fang Mo’s hand froze in mid-air and didn’t dare to move. He spoke with a worried tone, “It’s not swollen, is it?”
Xu Xiran looked at it back and forth from different angles, “Right now it looks okay, just a little red. Are you not able to move it at all?”
“I can move it, but it hurts when I move.” Fang Mo said.
Xu Xiran thought for a while, then reached out his hand, “Let me help you back to your dorm first.”
Just after going down two steps, Fang Mo’s face turned red.
Seeing his panicked expression, Xu Xiran felt very concerned, “Does it hurt a lot? Do you want me to carry you?”
The way they were moving now was that Fang Mo’s left arm was hooked around Xu Xiran’s neck, with his right hand holding onto the stair railing, and Xu Xiran was holding his left arm with one hand and hugging his waist with the other to help him keep balance and to let him jump one foot at a time.
This seemed quite dangerous.
“No need,” Fang Mo shook his head without looking at him, “This is fine, I can do it.”
Hence, Xu Xiran could only continue to support him and watch him wobble and jump down step by step.
“My clothes are even dirtier now,” he complained to Fang Mo in a low voice, “Were you just sitting on it with your butt?”
Fang Mo was now holding that poor shirt in his hands. It was not only dirty, but also very wrinkled.
“You’re really annoying,” Fang Mo said as he carefully watched the steps under his feet, “I’ll buy you a new one, okay?”
“Alright, you said it,” Xu Xiran was intentionally not being courteous to him, “Then can I choose?”
“No,” Fang Mo jumped down from the last step, “I choose and you wear, whether you like it or not.”
From then on, the flat walkway was much more convenient to move on.
Xu Xiran supported Fang Mo all the way to the door of 301. He wanted to turn the doorknob, but Fang Mo stopped him.
He frowned, raised his hand, and asked in a low voice, “Although it’s a little dirty… why don’t you first…”
“Ah?” Xu Xiran was puzzled for a moment.
Before Fang Mo could explain, the bedroom door in front of him opened.
The person at the door was planning to go out, but when he suddenly saw the two of them, he was very taken aback.
“What are you two doing?!” He asked the two people who were half-hugging each other outside the door with his eyes widened.
“First let us through,” Xu Xiran said to Fang Mo’s roommate, “Fang Mo sprained his ankle, I’m helping him in.”
The other immediately turned to the side to make way for passage.
Once Xu Xiran put Fang Mo in the chair, as he stood up straight, he found that the eyes of the other three people in the dormitory were all glued to him.
This was very strange. Their roommate, Fang Mo, had sprained his ankle, so why didn’t they care? Why were they still staring at Xu Xiran, a kind-hearted person with his own style, without saying a word?
“…Where did he fall?” asked the person who had just opened the door.
“By the stairs,” said Xu Xiran, “On the corner of the stairs between the third and fourth floor. Do you guys have any…”
He originally wanted to ask “do you have anything cold for him to apply”, but his voice gradually died out.
The people were still staring at him, with each expression stranger than the next. Facing the indescribable stares of the three, Xu Xiran was about to ask something else, when he suddenly realized what the problem was.
His upper half was still naked. His dirty shirt was now a mess, and was still held in Fang Mo’s hand. He hadn’t noticed before, but now that he looked at it closely, he realized that Fang Mo had probably pulled on his clothes when he had fallen and created a tear, as there was a noticeable hole.
“The stairs? At the corner of the stairs? You two were in that kind of place?” The roommate was in disbelief. “Is it that exciting? Why not at least the fire escape?”
“No, I…” Xu Xiran was in anguish, “I wasn’t there when he fell, I only heard his sound…”
It was apparent that no one believed him. Even Liu Xiaochang had disbelief written all over his face.
He looked Xu Xiran up and down, and asked, “In order to support him, did you tear off your clothes?”
“I…” Xu Xiran got stuck.
There was no way to explain this. These people had already set their minds to believe that they ended up this way because they were doing things that were inappropriate for children at the corner of the stairs.
He looked down at Fang Mo. Fang Mo’s face was all red, and he looked at the ground and said nothing.
“…Do you have anything that’s cold?” Xu Xiran simply gave up on explaining, and chose to deal with more urgent matters, “Something for him to apply.”
Liu Xiaochang jumped off his bed, “I’ll go get a towel with some cold water.”
This was an emergency solution, but Xu Xiran was still not at ease. He thought for a bit, then leaned down and said to Fang Mo, “I’ll go to the shop downstairs, wait for me.”
Before heading downstairs, Xu Xiran rushed back to his dorm to put on some clothes.
He bought a few popsicles from the small supermarket outside of the dormitory area and took them back to 301. When he opened the door, Fang Mo’s roommates were surrounding him, discussing something in a low voice.
“I bought a popsicle, want to wrap it in a towel and apply it on?” He walked in with a bag in his hand.
Fang Mo’s leg with the sprained ankle was rested on another chair. He was bending over, using his hands to secure the folded wet towel around his ankles.
Xu Xiran walked up to him, picked up the towel, unfolded it, and wrapped the popsicle with its packaging inside. Soon, he found that such a big hard lump couldn’t fit on Fang Mo’s skin, and it was inconvenient to apply it like this. After thinking for a while, he took out the popsicle again, crouched down, and carefully smashed it on the ground before wrapping it in the towel again.
When he finally put the towel wrapped in crushed ice on Fang Mo’s ankles, he suddenly found that the whole dormitory had become quiet once again. Everyone was silently staring at him.
Xu Xiran’s voice and body were stiff, “…What?”
“N-nothing,” One of the roommates unnaturally turned his head, “I just checked it for him, and seems like he just pulled a muscle, so it’s nothing serious. A bit of rest and he’ll be fine.”
When Xu Xiran heard this, he let out a sigh of relief, lowered his head, and said to Fang Mo, “Be careful next time, you understand?”
Fang Mo’s roommates then all quietly dispersed and returned to their places, acting as if nothing had happened in a very deliberate manner.
Xu Xiran started to feel embarrassed again.
These days, it seemed like every subconscious and unintentional move he made with Fang Mo would be misinterpreted. It was unfortunate that if they didn’t ask, he wouldn’t even have a chance to explain. But once he thought about it again, he felt that it was probably useless for him to explain now.
“Apply it like this for now,” he said to Fang Mo, “If it’s not getting better, or if it’s inconvenient to go in and out by yourself, just call me.”
Fang Mo nodded.
Xu Xiran felt that it was time for him to leave, but he was worried for him. After hesitating for a while, he found something to say, “Did you take a shower yet? Are you able to take a shower by yourself later?”
As soon as he said this, he immediately felt several gazes from behind.
“No, it’s…” One of Fang Mo’s roommates said in a tangled tone, “It’s still a public place after all, can we all be considerate to each other? Can you…”
Xu Xiran didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “I was just worried it’ll be inconvenient with his foot like this. Otherwise, why don’t you help him wash?”
“Nononono,” the other person waved his hands repeatedly, “That’s not what I meant, don’t get me wrong, don’t worry.”
“I already showered!” Fang Mo interrupted loudly.
When Xu Xiran looked down at him again, he raised his hand and gave Xu Xiran a hard pat, “You can go back now.”
When Xu Xiran finally returned back to his dorm and took a shower, it was already getting late.
On his phone was a message from Fang Mo.
[“Sorry for today, thank you.”]
Xu Xiran froze for a moment, then smiled. As of late, Fang Mo has seldom been this polite in front of him, and he must have suddenly sent this because he really felt sorry.
This moment was supposed to be comforting, but Xu Xiran couldn’t help but take the opportunity to tease him.
[“What are you thanking me for? What are you sorry for?”]
Not long after sending his message, a typing indicator appeared on the top of the messaging screen. Xu Xiran was laying in bed as he patiently waited for a response, and smiled as he watched as the typing indicator move up and down.
Fang Mo kept typing for maybe two or three minutes, during which the typing indicator would disappear and then reappear time and time again. Xu Xiran couldn’t help but imagine how Fang Mo looked like when he carefully considered every sentence on his phone, which made him want to laugh even more.
He didn’t think that when a new message finally appeared, it would only contain six short words.
[“If you don’t know forget it”]
There was not even any punctuation in his message.
Xu Xiran furrowed his brows and stared at the words for a while, then replied, [“Is it inconvenient for you to type with one hand while holding your towel with the other?”]
If not, then how would it take so long to write six words?
After thinking about it, he added, [“You can send a voice message.”]
Fang Mo fell silent and the typing indicator disappeared, without even sending back an emoji.
Half an hour later, Xu Xiran sent Fang Mo another message before going to sleep, concerned about his situation.
[“Has the swelling gone down?”]
This time, the response came quickly. Fang Mo sent him a picture of his ankle. Xu Xiran glanced at it, and four slightly inappropriate words involuntarily popped into his mind.
White touched with red1This literally means red inside the white, and is usually used to describe someone’s complexion or rosy cheeks, though it can be used to describe other parts as well 😉.
Fang Mo’s skin was naturally fair, and this part of his body was rarely in the sun, but now that it was slightly swollen, a part of it was unnaturally red. Lately, this shade of red has also been appearing on his cheeks. Similar to the slightly swollen ankles in the photo, his face was slim, and he looked rather cute with a hint of blush.
While he let his imagination run wild, Fang Mo sent him another message.
[“It’s still a little swollen, and it hurts when I move.”]
[“Then be good and try not to move. Do you have class tomorrow?”]
Xu Xiran pressed send, thought for a while, then added another sentence.
[“How are you typing so fast now? When you’re done taking a photo, hurry and put it back on.”]
After sending it over, he felt that what he said was incomplete, so he added, [“Is the popsicle all melted now? Do you want me to buy some more?”]
However, at this time, the curfew for this dormitory has long passed. There was also no 24-hour convenience store in the school, so it was quite troublesome to go out to buy more.
Fang Mo started typing again.
Xu Xiran waited patiently for a long time, but the words that finally appeared on the screen had nothing to do with his question.
[“35 is too late, let’s make it 30.”]
Xu Xiran was at a loss, replied with a question mark, and added, [“Did you send wrong?”]
Fang Mo replied back with two lines.
- 1This literally means red inside the white, and is usually used to describe someone’s complexion or rosy cheeks, though it can be used to describe other parts as well 😉