Bai Lu was having dinner.
Bai Lu said it was her who would treat him for helping her and also cheer him for his upcoming competition. But when they reached the cafeteria, Wu Hanwen didn’t let her took out her meal card.
“Don’t, I was embarrassed when you said you would treat me.” Wu Hanwen gave a tray to Bai Lu’s and added, “Take what you want to eat.”
Bai Lu didn’t brush off Wu Hanwen’s kindness. While taking the plate she half-jokingly said, “President must have gotten a lottery”
“Don’t look down on me. I can at least afford to treat you.”
The canteen snack was quite sumptuous, but Bai Lu had a small appetite and couldn’t eat much. She only took a bowl of dumpling and a pancake as her dinner.
Wu Hanwen filled his plate with full of rice. Bai Lu looked at it and asked, “Why do you eat so much?”
“Brain works a lot which can consume physical strength.” Wu Hanwen did not wait for Bai Lu and started eating. They didn’t talk much while eating.
The cafeteria at night was quiet and almost empty. The senior students who stayed up late were sitting in various corners in groups.
“What time is the exam tomorrow?” Bai Lu broke the silence.
“In the afternoon.” Wu Hanwen said.
“Why is it so late?”
Wu Hanwen shrugged, “Who knows, we have to follow the rules they arranged.”
Bai Lu lifted her head from the bowl of dumplings and looked at Wu Hanwen quietly before asking, “Are you nervous?”
Wu Hanwen smiled, vaguely hiding his pride.
“Not nervous, not even a little.”
Bai Lu said, “Then if you really won the first prize, from Peking and Tsinghua, which university you want to go?”
Wu Hanwen was a little embarrassed. He rubbed his neck and said “Don’t expect so highly of me. Even if I won, it doesn’t have to be these two. My vision has changed. I may also go to Zhejiang and Shanghai university.”
Bai Lu nodded. Seeing her calm attitude, Wu Hanwen stopped his chopsticks, looked at her and asked, “What about you? Which university do you want to go to?”
Bai Lu took a bite of the dumpling, pondered a little before replying.
“Wherever I can go.”
“You don’t have any goal? You must be embarrassed to say, right?”
Bai Lu shook her head and replied, “My grades are average, the most I can get in the college entrance exam is six hundred points.”
“Then there are still many options. Do you want to stay in the north or go to the south?”
Bai Lu took a shallow breath, looking at the slightly cloudy soup in the bowl she said softly, “I don’t know, when the time comes–“
Her phone suddenly vibrated which cut off the rest of her sentence.
Today she happened to be place the bag on the table. So Bai Lu immediately felt the vibration. Good thing the phone was on silent mood and the vibration also was little, so Wu Hanwen didn’t feel it.
Wu Hanwen was still waiting for her to finish when Bai Lu picked her bag and bowed her head, “Wait a moment.”
She took out the phone and without looking at the caller, answered the phone.
“Where are you?”(Xu Hui)
It was the low voice again, hoarse and lazy.
Bai Lu’s head was bowed and back was bent. Her bang fell on her eyes, almost blocking her eyesight.
“You went to drink again?”(Bai Lu)
Wu Hanwen’s hand that was moving around stopped before continuing to eat again in silence.
“Why did you drink?”(Bai Lu)
“Just felt like it.”(Xu Hui)
Xu Hui paused for a moment before saying “Whatever, can you……”
Bai Lu immediately understood why he called. Before he finished, she quickly answered, “No.”
Xu Hui felt a little funny. How can this little girl’s brain be so big? Although he heard her answer, he still stubbornly said, “You come.”
“No, I can’t ……”
Ten meters away from the seat, seeing them dilly-dallying, the cafeteria cleaning aunt suddenly shouted towards them.
“Eat quickly, it’s going to be closed!”
A gruff voice suddenly burst out of the quiet environment, and Bai Lu’s shoulders shrank unconsciously. Wu Hanwen saw it and hurriedly turned his head to shout back at the aunt.
“Right away, right away, we’ll be done soon!”
There was a pause of several seconds on the phone.
Bai Lu buried her head and fiddled with her fingers. She herself didn’t know why she was feeling so nervous. It’s not she was cheating on him or something. They barely had any relation, then why…..
He snapped briefly.
Bai Lu, who was thinking of the reason of her feeling that way was caught off guard at his sudden question. His voice brought her back to her senses, “Hmm?”
There was another pause of a few seconds, then a short of laughter came over the phone.
Xu Hui whispered.
The phone was hung up.
Bai Lu put the phone back into her school bag and raised her eyes, just in time to meet Wu Hanwen’s pair of eyes, he seemed to be waiting for her to say something.
Bai Lu didn’t want to talk about anything else, she turned the spoon on the soup a few times before eating the dumplings.
“It’s getting late, you go home. Don’t you have to wake up early tomorrow for the competition?”
Wu Hanwen put down his chopsticks, stretched his arms before suddenly sitting straight. As if he was going to say something very serious.
The summer uniform of the Sixth Highschool of boys was a white cotton woven half-sleeve lapel shirt and dark gray pants. Because it was too hot, Wu Hanwen’s first button was unbuttoned and his collar could be slightly seen.
“Encourage me.” Wu Hanwen said, a little embarrassed, “A little more formally.”
Bai Lu also straightened up, “How formal do you want it to be?”
Wu Hanwen shrugged his shoulders and said, “Just ……be yourself and say it.”
Bai Lu’s eyes slowly turned in a crescent moon, a smile blooming on her face as she looked at Wu Hanwen. Wu Hanwen raised his eyebrows and waited for her to speak.
Wu Hanwen waited a few minutes, thinking that she may want to say something more. But seeing her not opening her mouth, he asked doubtfully: “Finished?”
Wu Hanwen scratched behind the ear, “OK.”and said to himself before laughing out and saying meaningfully, “I just wanted you to cheer me up……”
They went back to eating again, each with different thoughts.
It was midnight.
Xu Hui was lying on the sofa.
There were no lights in the house, but it wasn’t dark. One of the advantages of the lower floors near the road is that the house would be lit even there was no lights. The streetlights outside the house would give ample amount of light for it not to be too dark.
The phone on the table kept on ringing but Xu Hui did not move.
The caller was a friend who was still playing at the KTV.
Three hours after he left, the people who were playing happily finally realized that the birthday boy was missing.
The phone kept ringing until it ran out of battery and automatically shut off.
The whole world went silent.
Xu Hui turned around, curled up and faced the sofa with a tight frown, and fell asleep.
He was woken up by a knock on the door.
Because of the sudden waking up, his fingers were a little tingly and he couldn’t open his eyes, as if they were glued shut.
“Ah Hui! I’m Sun Yuhe, are you in there?”
The door was knocked loudly.
“Hey! Are you okay? Ah Hui-?”
Xu Hui slowly got up from the sofa and went to the door.
When he opened the door, Sun Yuhe was covered in sweat and panting heavily.
“Why aren’t you answering the phone?”
Xu Hui shook his head. Silently saying, ‘Didn’t want to’.
“I thought something happened to you. Don’t scare me like that so much, okay?”
Xu Hui turned his head and went in.
Sun Yuhe followed behind him and watched him sit on the sofa and took a cigarette from the table.
“I sneaked you out from there but was almost killed by them. Xiao Ye made a scene, saying she wanted to come to you, but she was stopped by me. She gave me a good pinch in the process. Look at my hand……” Sun Yuhe lifted up his sleeve and showed the red marks left by Xiao Ye to Xu Hui to see. But seeing that the house is too dark for Xu Hui to see anything, he retracted his hand and asked, “Hey …… Why aren’t the lights on? So dark.”
Sun Yuhe looked around and said with a frown, “And it smells of alcohol too. I’m opening the window.”
Xu Hui ignored him, lowered his head and smoked. Sun Yuhe looked at the silent Xu Hui for a while, sighed lightly, leaned forward and also took out a cigarette.
“Why don’t we call Xiao Ye to come over?”
Xu Hui finally spoke: “No.”
Sun Yuhe: “I say big bro, it’s your birthday today. Don’t make such bitter face, okay? Be happy.”
Xu Hui stared at the space for a long time but didn’t say anything. Sun Yuhe lowered his head, only to find a small envelope placed on the table.
“A birthday present.”
Sun Yuhe looked at Xu Hui, “Who gave it to you?”
Xu Hui smoked on his cigarette, and a smile suddenly revealed from his tired face.
Sun Yuhe immediately understood the meaning of his smile. He asked with certainty, “The girl who has the same birthday as you, right?”
Xu Hui inadvertently glanced at him.
“How did you know it would be her?”
Sun Yuhe himself didn’t know, so he just shrugged his shoulders, “A wild guess, it’s really her?”
Sun Yuhe leaned over to take the envelope while muttering, “let me see what did she send……”
Xu Hui was quick. He picked it up before Sun Yuhe could touch it and placed it beside him.
Sun Yuhe stared at him dumbfounded, “Hey? What’s going on? You aren’t going to show me?”
Sun Yuhe went to get it again but Xu Hui kicked him back to the sofa.
Sun Yuhe nodded and raised his hands, “OK, OK, Xu Hui, brother, I won’t touch it okay? I was afraid that you died suddenly of alcohol poisoning, and took a taxi in the middle of the night to come here. But you didn’t even let me see a birthday gift, you are really…..”
Xu Hui snorted, “Why did you come?”
Sun Yuhe ignored his question and raised his chin, “No kidding, what is in their? The envelope is so thin. Is it a love letter?”
Xu Hui opened the envelope and pulled out a piece of paper from it.
An A4 paper, it was sealed.
Sun Yuhe snatched it from Xu Hui’s hand and looked over.
It was actually a pencil sketch.
The sketch was of a small branch of a short tree and tangle of leaves, laying on top of each other. Seeing such ordinary sketch, Sun Yuhe couldn’t help but tease him.
“How does it feel to get a sketch of leaves on your birthday?”
Xu Hui gave him an impatient stare and explained, “There is a flower there.”
“Where did the flower come from?” Sun Yuhe asked with a puzzled expression.
Xu Hui raised his hand and casually pointed to a place where the flower was.
Sun Yuhe squinted hard and finally found a small flower in a bush, on top of a branch. Its petal curled beautifully.
“This ……” Sun Yuhe stared hard at the flower before lamenting. He wanted to experiment the sketch more but it was jerked away from his hand.
Sun Yuhe laughed at his behaviour and asked, “Does the flower bear any meaning ah?”
Xu Hui put the painting back into the envelope and said indifferently, “What?”
Sun Yuhe kicked his legs, “Don’t pretend ah.”
Xu Hui put the envelope on the table and casually leaned on the sofa. Sun Yuhe also leaned on the sofa beside him and suddenly opened his mouth, “This girl is interesting, you said she doesn’t look ugly, right?”
Xu Hui turned his head and answered, “she is not beautiful but also not ugly.” Suddenly he remembered something and muttered, “not only average but also dishonest ……”
Sun Yuhe suddenly pointed at Xu Hui and exclaimed, “Look at your expressions!”
Xu Hui pulled the cigarette from his mouth and flung it to Sun Yuhe but Sun Yuhe dodged.
“Is there no picture of her? Let me have a look.”
Xu Hui didn’t answer. Sun Yuhe laughed seeing him so overprotective of some girl he had just met and said, “What is our relationship? How many times have we slept in the same bed? Do you think I still don’t know you?”
Xu Hui gave him a look of disgust and said, “Don’t disgust me.”
Sun Yuhe pointed his finger at Xu Hui, who reluctantly took his phone out and flipped out the photos.
The photo of Bai Lu was taken secretly.
That day, when Bai Lu came here to make honey-lemon, Xu Hui was watching her at the door. When Xiao Ye’s phone came and he finished talking with her, Xu Hui casually took the picture.
When the picture was taken, Bai Lu had just turned her head and tilted her head to look at him. Her eyes were opened in surprise making her expression a little dull. A few strands of curly hair rolled down on both sides of her face. Her large glasses hanging on the bridge of her nose, shining brightly.
“So tiny ah ……” Sun Yuhe looked at the photo and muttered.
Xu Hui took another cigarette was about to smoke when Sun Yuhe snatched it from him.
“Stop smoking.” Sun Yuhe put the cigarette down, “don’t you have anything to do except for smoking?”
“Who says I don’t have ……”
Successfully diverting his attention from the cigarette, Sun Yuhe spoke, “She isn’t particularly ugly. Its just, she is a little messy. Her face and body is still okay. If she cleans herself a little bit and dress up a little, she would look really good.”
Xu Hui shrugged his shoulders, full of carelessness, as if what Sun Yuhe said didn’t matter to him much.
“You are still embarrassed to chase her.”
Xu Hui looked at him absurdly, “Who is chasing her?”
“Then why did you take her picture secretly?”
Xu Hui looked away. No one could understand what he was thinking from his blank face.
“Is it like that?”
Xu Hui fell into a deep thought and whispered, “It’s not like that…… Its ……”
Sun Yuhe probed more: “Then what is it?”
Xu Hui himself could not say clearly why did he took her picture. He was quiet for a long time before murmuring, “just felt like ……”
There was no reason to take her picture, no thoughts of why he did that.
They just bumped each other coincidently and he helped her out of his kindness.
“She looks really average.” Xu Hui still hadn’t sobered up. His head was dizzy. He couldn’t find the difference between confusion and reality and didn’t know what he was muttering.
He rubbed his head furiously, rubbing it till it became a bird’s nest.
Sun Yuhe knew why he(Xu Hui) was behaving like that. But he(Sun Yuhe) still kept quiet and let him(Xu Hui) explain his monologue.
“I hadn’t even taken her seriously, but then …… something bloomed inside. There is also a feeling ……this feeling….I usually don’t feel it around her but sometimes, I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way. Everything is a mess”
Sun Yuhe could not understand his(Xu Hui) gibberish, but still nodded, “Well well, the mess could be solved. Do you want to dislike her?”
Xu Hui looked over, “When did I say I dislike her?”
“You-” Sun Yuhe took a long breath to control his temper and said, “OK, OK, OK, you didn’t say anything.”
Xu Hui hung his head, looked at his palms and whispered after a long time.
“It just happened.”
Bai Lu was having dinner.