Bai Lu did not ask why Xu Hui was crying or if he really was crying or not.
Actually, she didn’t need to ask. Because she could clearly hear his sobbing voice, which couldn’t be more clear on a silent summer night where time felt frozen.
Xu Hui cried and talked to himself for a long time on the phone, and finally, slowly his voice became a small murmur before stopping completely. Only what remain was his steady breathing.
“Are you asleep?” Bai Lu asked.
He didn’t answer, of course.
“Xu Hui, are you asleep?” Bai Lu still didn’t heard anything coming from the phone. She glanced at the clock on the table, it was already midnight.
“What a aste of phone bill.” Bai Lu said with a shaking head and sigh as she hanged up the phone.
Seniors had to go bed before twelve but Bai Lu was delayed because of Xu Hui’s phone. After hanging up the phone, she quickly finished her night routine and went to bed. Early the next morning, Bai Lu woke up at six thirty, went to the bathroom, took a shower and went to school with a refreshed mind.
Wu Hanwen arrived earlier than Bai Lu today, but instead of studying, he was drinking a bottle of milk. “You came out before your hair was dry. Did you forgot you that just got well from a cold?”
Bai Lu sat down, ignoring his sarcastic words and took out her books. Wu Hanwen again asked, “Are you going to your home this afternoon?”
“Mm.” She glanced at Wu Hanwen and asked “Are you free now?”
Wu Hanwen drank a mouthful of milk from the milk carton before replying “Not free.”
Bai Lu immediately turned her back. Wu Hanwen hurriedly said to appease her, “Okay, okay, I was joking. Yes, I’m free.”
Bai Lu took out the math book, opened a page for Wu Hanwen and pointed to a certain question.
“How do you do this one?”
“Tsk.” Wu Hanwen clicked his tongue and glanced over the question she pointed while saying, “What did teacher Bao say, when asking help from someone, you have to be humble. Otherwise, the person you are asking help from may not help you properly.”
Bai Lu turned the chair over and sat facing Wu Hanwen. She folded her hands and put them neatly on her lap. Facing the test book like this, her small appearance looked well-behaved and quiet.
Wu Hanwen was actually joking. But seeing Bai Lu taking it so seriously, he also honestly started doing the question.
“Oh, you can’t do this math?” Wu Hanwen turned on his schoolmaster mode, propped his glasses, took a pen and started doing the question. The question was solved step-by-step in no time.
Bai Lu looked at the solved math while Wu Hanwen looked at her.
She was so focused in the math that she didn’t notice someone was watching her. The morning light outside the window began to shine on Bai Lu’s hair, as if a layer of golden powder was scattered on the top of her head. The spectacle on her face were reflecting the light like two transparent glasses.
Wu Hanwen suddenly felt his face burned. He rubbed his neck, coughed twice, and said: “Actually, there are some simple general solutions to such questions where the summation of a series is reduced to a certain constant. Though they may not be applied to all problems.”
Bai Lu looked over and Wu Hanwen immediately turned his eyes away. He didn’t know why suddenly he started to feel very shy and awkward. As if he had done something shameful.
“That …… I’ll write down the formula for you.” Wu Hanwen wrote down the formula while speaking, “This formula is currently applicable to series that do not contain a root sign. Those that contain a root sign are a little more troublesome.”
Bai Lu took the pen and wrote on her notebook to memorize it later. Once she was done, she looked up at Wu Hanwen with her eyes shining brightly.
“You are really awesome.”
The redness on his face spread to his neck and ears. He quickly turned his face sideways, fearing that Bai Lu would notice something and stammered.
“This …… this this …… this is called grade inequality. There are many deflation methods for proving grade inequality, such as analytic general term method, equal ratio deflation method, split term deflation method, integral deflation method, tangent deflation method, binomial deflation method ……”
Passing by them, Li Siyi squinted at the flustered Wu Hanwen, walked to the back row to his seat, and sighed quietly.
Wu Hanwen heard his, clenched his fist and hurriedly closed his mouth.
Bai Lu could not understand his rambling. Her attention was on the formula that was just summarized.
The students came to classroom one after another and the short morning study session on Sunday began. Bai Lu also went back to her seat.
Bai Lu reread last night’s problem, turned her head to Wu Hanwen, and said sincerely, “Thank you.”
Behind him, Li Siyi gave a ‘heh’ and said, “Thanks for what? who doesn’t know that our President -“
Wu Hanwen turned around and glared him. His eyes seemed to say ‘Finish what you are saying and I will sew your mouth’. Li Siyi shivered before continuing blandly, “Who doesn’t know that our President is selfless and loves to help students.”
Bai Lu averted her attention from him and asked Wu Hanwen, “When is the competition starting?”
Wu Hanwen: ” September 7th.”
Bai Lu quietly murmured, “September 7th?”
Wu Hanwen nodded and said, “It’s coming very soon.”
Bai Lu looked at the calendar board hanging at the class and said softly, “Yes, very soon.”
When the school was finished at noon, Bai Lu went home with her backpack. Her home was far from school. It took nearly two hours to get there and she also had to change the bus twice.
Bai Lu lived in an ordinary neighborhood, the house was bought about ten years ago by Bai Lu’s father, and now it is very old. But Bai Lu’s mother is diligent, the house is well maintained and cozy. A sweet and warm home.
When she arrived home, it was mealtime. Bai Lu’s mother served the dishes on the table and were waiting for her arrival.
“You came? Are you hungry? Come an eat first.” Bai Lu’s Mom led her to the dining table, her dad was already seated there.
“Is there anything going on at school? How is your studies going?”
Bai Lu shook her head and replied obediently, “Nothing much, studying’s going fine.”
“Do you need any help from mom and dad?”
“Do you still have enough money for this month?”
Bai Lu’s parents looked at their daughter sitting in her seat and eating quietly. They looked at each other, and couldn’t help but sigh. Both of them were a little helpless when it came to Bai Lu.
Bai Lu is very well behaved, but grew up to be introverted, and this character of hers is slowly coming to the surface as she grows older.
She does not often communicate with her parents, but that doesn’t mean she is rebellious. She passed elementary school, middle school and high school very peacefully without giving them any problems……. Now, she will sit for the college entrance examination soon and may go to the college in future. Her pace was not fast or slow, everything was in order.
But parents know their children after all. Bai Lu’s parents vaguely felt that their child were not the kind of nerds who only like to study. During the junior high school period, they observed her carefully over and over again, but there was no sign of anything out of the ordinary.
Later on, Bai Lu got into the best high school in the city, so her parents did not look into it anymore.
Bai Lu said, “I don’t need much money.” Usually only two hundred or one hundred yuan per week would suffice her.
“Take some. Studying must be very tiresome. Buy some good foods and drinks to eat in the break time.”
“Okay.” Bai Lu took the money and put it in her bag.
After the meal was over, Bai Lu went to the kitchen and helped her mother wash the dishes. During which her mother tried several times to have an in-depth mother-daughter conversation with Bai Lu, but as she talked, hearing her daughter’s perfunctory answers, she stopped talking. Thus, the conversation inexplicably broke off.
The kitchen was cleaned, so Bai Lu and her mother headed for the living room, and on the way her mother couldn’t help but mumble.
“Lulu, sometimes mommy really doesn’t know what you’re thinking.”
She said it in a very small voice, and maybe Bai Lu didn’t heard it because she didn’t respond or said anything. The two of them went into the living room to take a rest, and eat fruits while chatting.
While watching TV with her dad, Bai Lu’s phone vibrated.
Feeling the vibration, Bai Lu stood up and whispered an excuse, “I’m going to the toilet.”
Passing her parents, Bai Lu went to the bathroom and closed the door behind her.
On the screen was a text message from Enduring Winter, which could be mean one person; Xu Hui.
[Enduring Winter: What did I say last night?]
Bai Lu looked at the message, pondered for a moment before writing a reply.
[Bai Lu: You just slept.]
She used an excuse that may satisfy him. Soon, Xu Hui’s message came.
[Enduring Winter: Oh.]
Bai Lu didn’t type anything more, and after a while, Xu Hui sent another one.
[Enduring Winter: Are you free tonight?]
[Bai Lu: Why?]
[Enduring Winter: Come out for inner.]
Not waiting for Bai Lu to reply again, Xu Hui sent another one.
[Enduring Winter: On me.]
Bai Lu glanced at the time, she usually stays at home on weekends till eight o’clock, and goes back to school before the closing time of the dormitory door.
It was now less than six.
Bai Lu thought about it and replied to him with one word.
[Bai Lu: Ok.]
Bai Lu was thinking of putting the phone away when his call came. She picked it up, her voice lowered. “Xu Hui?”
Xu Hui’s was having a hungover so his voice was groggy and hoarse.
“What time are you arriving?”
“What time do you want me to come?”
“…… Not now, I have some unfinished business at home.”
Xu Hui’s said in a hoarse and low voice, “You have so many things to do at home.”
“Forget it, come before eight o’clock, bring two bottles of water over.” He muttered, “There is no water in my house ……” Bai Lu felt that he may be still a little confused and drunk. She replied in affirmative and hung up the phone.
Bai Lu returned to the living room and told his parents that her friends had called and she had to go back early.
“Friends from where?”
Bai Lu’s parents never suspected Bai Lu. They knew very well that Bai Lu had very few friends. Since Jiang Ru left, she had not mentioned any friends at home for a long time. Today since she mentioned another friend, her parents didn’t ask anything about it, even urged her to go back early.
“Get along well with your friends.” Her Mom said.
Bai Lu put on her school bag on her shoulders and replied before thinking for a while.
Bai Lu left with some parting words. Her parents came to the door to send her and went back once she left.
Before rushing to Xu Hui’s house at exactly eight o’clock, Bai Lu bought two bottles of mineral water on the way.
Once the door was opened, Bai Lu smelled the strong smell of alcohol. The pungent smell almost choked her. She couldn’t help but take a step backward rather than entering.
“Come in.” Xu Hui eyes was bloodshot, his hair disheveled. Although, he rested well, he still looked unrest.
Bai Lu entered the room and saw two large plastic bags on the coffee table.
“You ordered take-out?”
“Well.” Xu Hui yawned, “Just called, see what you want to eat. If you don’t like anything, then order something else.”
Bai Lu put the water away, sat quietly on the sofa and whispered, “I can eat anything.”
Xu Hui rubbed his face and said, “You didn’t even look and said you can eat anything.”
Xu Hui sat on the sofa and picked up one of the boxes. He casually unwrapped the bag, inside was a premium sashimi combo.
Eastern star grouper, iceberg mussel, oyster shrimp, saillions, fresh octopus ……
The sashimi meats were neatly cut and well plated, with a layer of crushed ice under the big plate and flowers and bamboo leaves on the sashimi as decoration.
Bai Lu glanced at the sign on the plastic bag and recognized it as a high-quality Japanese restaurant across from the Sixth Highschool.
Next to it was a bag with special sushi and small dishes desserts. The freshly made dishes were colorful and wafting sweet aromas.
Xu Hui lit a cigarette and gestured, “Eat anything ah.”
Bai Lu pursed her lips but didn’t make a move. To be honest, she had never eaten such a high-class Japanese food.
Xu Hui saw her not move and asked, “What?”
Xu Hui looked at Bai Lu, who was sitting quietly. There was a rare smile on his tired face.
“Oh, are you still embarrassed?” He stretched his body, his muscles and bones moved. Because he had not rested well, his joints rattled. “I haven’t seen someone so dull ……”
Xu Hui put the cigarette on his mouth without lighting it. He reached to open all the take-out boxes, seasoning and put them into the plates, the chopsticks were also removed and brought to Bai Lu.
Bai Lu did not take.
Xu Hui looked at her with a sideways glance, “How do you like to be served Miss Bai?”
Bai Lu’s ears got a little red.She bowed her head in embarrassment.
Xu Hui stuffed the chopsticks into Bai Lu’s hand and went to light his cigarette.
Bai Lu: “Don’t you want to eat?”
“I will eat later.”
Bai Lu put down her chopsticks and said softly, “Then I’ll eat later too.”
Xu Hui turned his head to gaze at Bai Lu.
Tiredness made him look extraordinarily quiet.
There’s a cool air emitting from the sashami plate. Xu Hui looked looked at her quietly before, slowly leaning over.
He reached out and went to pick Bai Lu’s glasses, but was still stopped by Bai Lu.
This time Bai Lu held his wrist.
His joints were clean, and his young skin carried a few of the boy’s unique delicacy.
Xu Hui whispered, “Can’t you even take it off?”
Bai Lu shook her head.
Xu Hui’s tone was calm and emotionless. “Don’t you like me?”
Bai Lu again shook her head.
Xu Hui sneered, “You look average but your heart is okay. Your appearance is so messy. People may not hate you but they won’t like you either. How can you say you don’t like me? Am I not your liking?”
Bai Lu looked at him quietly without speaking. The night also gave her a little strength to resist him.
Xu Hui expression was unchanged, “Are you still do not admitting? You don’t like me, do you think I am stupid?”
At this time, Bai Lu suddenly spoke, her voice was flat and light, without much emotion.
Xu Hui was startled. Bai Lu looked at him and said in a serious manner.
“I think you are stupid.”