Bai Lu sat on the bench with her head down in a daze.
She was a little sleepy, and the noisy gongs and shouts around her did not lift her spirits.
Bai Lu was feeling very drowsy. She went back her home late last night.
After eating, Sun Yuhe and Huizi left, leaving Bai Lu and Xu Hui to wander around the pedestrian street.
She looked at the time and said she had to go.
Xu Hui casually hailed for a taxi at the intersection for Bai Lu but she refused and said, “I’ll take the bus.”
“Oh.” Xu Hui replied carelessly.
The driver saw that no one came up and so drove away.
Watching the taxi leave, Xu Hui suddenly asked, “Are you busy tomorrow?”
Bai Lu didn’t reply. Xu Hui glanced at the silent Bai Lu and suggested, “Come over to my house.”
Bai Lu was distracted for a moment and finally replied in a whispery voice, “I can’t, I have something to do.”
Xu Hui narrowed his eyes on her and asked, “You’re going to your part-time job?”
“Well, something came up.”
Xu Hui’s tone sounded dissatisfied as he dropped Bai Lu off at the bus stop.
Bai Lu thanked him and Xu Hui gave a ‘hmm’ in return.
When Bai Lu said goodbye to him before leaving, Xu Hui stopped her.
“That’s all you have to say?”
Xu Hui couldn’t help but frown seeing her perfunctory attitude. How silly this girl could be?
Bai Lu couldn’t understand what else he wanted to hear so she slightly lowered her head. Xu Hui let out a sigh and muttered, “I really have high expectations from you……”
Seeing him sighing like that, Bai Lu asked a little cautiously, “Are you angry?”
“No.” Xu Hui replied.
“Then don’t smoke.”
Xu Hui who was about to press the lighter glanced at Bai Lu. Bai Lu raised her hand and pulled out the cigarette that Xu Hui had put in his mouth.
“You just finished eating, don’t smoke again now.”
Xu Hui raised his brows and asked curiously, “Why?”
Bai Lu explained,”The digestive system will be in full motion after eating, gastrointestinal peristalsis and blood circulation will be accelerated. If you smoke this time, the body absorbs more harmful substances than usual.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it then.”
Bai Lu raised her eyes in question. Xu Hui smiled and said, “One pack of this cigarette costs more than ten dollars. Even if I smoked more, the ‘harmful substances’ you talked about is little here. So there’s no problem in smoking now.”
Bai Lu looked at him quietly for a while before half-heartedly nodding, “Okay ……” and inserted the cigarette back into Xu Hui’s mouth.
Xu Hui played with the cigarette, a wide grin stretching on his face.
But the he didn’t lit the cigarette.
He pressed his hand on Bai Lu’s head and rubbed furiously a few times.
“You are really stupid……”
Bai Lu shrunk her neck to hide from his hand.
The bus came, Bai Lu rushed forward before turning back and said, “Bye.”
There were a lot of people in the bus. Bai Lu put her bag in front of her and looked out the window through the gap between two fat women in front of her.
Her eyes landed on Xu Hui. When the bus started, he turned around.
The bus rode past him, Bai Lu saw a cigarette lit on his mouth.
“Hey …… hey hey hey hey!”
Bai Lu looked up and saw Wu Hanwen, he was sweating profusely in front of her.
It was the second day of the sports meeting, most students were not wearing school uniforms, but the teachers didn’t say anything. Wu Hanwen wore a light yellow basketball shirt, holding a pile of things in his hands.
“Are you finished?”
Wu Hanwen still had his number plate attached to his body.
As a member of the school’s study committee, he had to take the lead in arranging the sports. Wu Hanwen stamina wasn’t good so running was something impossible for him. He reluctantly signed up in the high jump and long jump, but he was eliminated in the first round.
“Don’t ask, don’t ask ……”
Wu Hanwen huffed and puffed as he sat beside Bai Lu with a bottle of glucose mixed in water.
“Yo, Study Committee President, you’re back from jumping from the waterfall*?” Two boys passed by, seeing Wu Hanwen’s wretched appearance, they couldn’t help but joke.
[T/N: They were joking that Wu Hanwen’s jumping was like he jumped from a waterfall.]
“Go away.” Wu Hanwen waved his hand and said.
“We saw you jumping directly on the pole from afar, right?”
“I said go away.” Wu Hanwen was embarrassed and couldn’t help but scold them for mocking him.
Wu Hanwen also knew that he didn’t have a single athletic cell on his body. He was teased by the boys until his face was red in shame.
The boys laughed and went away. Wu Hanwen who was relieved for them leaving him wiped the sweat from his face and turned his head at Bai Lu.
Compared to him, Bai Lu was very clean and dry.
The day was nice with a brisk autumn breeze and warm sunlight.
Bai Lu’s hair was blown by the wind and her bangs fell on her eyes. She pulled out the chocolate she brought for Wu Hanwen and gave it to him.
“Here’s your chocolate.”
“You remembered? I was just kidding.” Wu Hanwen was embarrassed but still took the chocolate in his hand.
It was a round small box of Dove’s silky milk chocolate. Wu Hanwen felt his heart beating wildly inside his ribcage and his breathing became erratic. He really got a box of chocolate from Bai Lu. His hands were almost shaking in excitement and happiness.
“Thank you for helping me.” Bai Lu said.
Wu Hanwen quickly calmed his breathing, took a deep breath and said, “Okay, okay. It was not a big deal.”
“I’ll stay and help you. Don’t you have to clean up?”
“Yes, I have to clean up ……” Wu Hanwen muttered before looking at Bai Lu, “but it is not compulsory. Only the members of the Students Committee must stay, do you still want to help? But you have to wait ……”
“I’ll help.”Bai Lu cut off his rambling and said.
Wu Hanwen nodded his head, “Okay then! I’ll have to go to the podium to hand out the prizes. You have to wait for me here for a while.”
The school was closed after Sports Day. The temptation of the holiday was hard to resist so the last eight members of the committee sneaked away. Now, there is only an extra Bai Lu, and Li Siyi who ran the 3,000 meters and was lying on the ground paralyzed.
“You are really an oddball.” Wu Hanwen said to Li Siyi while picking up the trash from the ground, “It was the first time I encountered a race where the referee begged the athletes to get off the field.”
In the three hundred metres marathon, Li Siyi only ran three hundred metres, and walked the rest of the way.
One by one, the students in front of him either ran out of stamina or withdrew from the race, and in the end he was the only one who was left alone. He kept walking round and round, and in the end the P.E. teacher couldn’t bear it anymore and went up to beg him to get off the field.
“What do you know, that’s called persistence.”
“Yes, yes, I really don’t know anything.”
“Don’t talk to me ……” Li Siyi slumped at the top of the bleachers and said, “I’m just a ball of organic matter right now, with no ability to think …… “
“You old coot, lie down and rest well.”
Bai Lu took a large garbage bag and filled it up with confetti and empty bottles. Wu Hanwen went to her side to help, “I’ll pick them up, you just hold the bag.”
After more than half an hour of work, everything was tidied up. All the students organized their things and prepared to go home.
“Hey ……”(Bai Lu)
The two opened their mouths at the same time. Wu Hanwen scratched the tip of his nose and said, “You say first.”
Bai Lu: “Let’s go have a meal.”
Wu Hanwen was caught off guard and had a momentary relapse, “Huh?”
Bai Lu: “Or do you have something to do?”
Wu Hanwen immediately replied, “No.” He looked up at her embarrassedly before looked around as if checking the weather and said, “It’s getting dark. I haven’t eaten anything yet and I’m starving.”
Bai Lu said generously , “Then I’ll treat you.”
Wu Hanwen didn’t refuse, “Okay.”
The cafeteria was closed since most of the dormitory students went back their home. So Bai Lu and Wu Hanwen went to a nearby fast food restaurant in the Tesco supermarket and sat by the window. They could see the campus of their school across the street.
The sky was painted orange and red outside. Soon, the glow of the twilight will be over and it would be dark.
The end of a cheerful day had left with an afterglow of exhaustion.
Wu Hanwen sat opposite Bai Lu with the foods he ordered.
Bai Lu looked at his plate and said, “You eat so much.”
Wu Hanwen smiled and said, “Ah, today it was my body who worked.”
Bai Lu stared at him for a moment before suddenly remembering something,
“How’s the competition? You got any news on it?”
The corners of Wu Hanwen’s mouth curled up more as he said,, “It wasn’t bad, I will let you know when I’ve confirmed the result.”
Wu Hanwen waved his hand and said, “Don’t congratulate me now. Let the results come first.”
Bai Lu only ordered a bbq pork bun, wrapped with soft paper. She took a bite before asking, “Your results have always been good since middle school, right?”
Wu Hanwen gulped a mouthful of rice and said, “Not bad. In fact, my results at the beginning of junior high school weren’t particularly good. The Middle school I was in wasn’t divided in groups, so my results were a little bad compared to now.”
“The students were mixed.”
Bai Lu nodded indifferently and took another bite of the bun. Wu Hanwen saw her biting on her bun and couldn’t help but say, “Your mouth is very small, just like a kitten. How long does it take to eat a bun?”
Bai Lu pursed her lips and lowered her head. Wu Hanwen thought he had spoken too rashly and quickly added, “But it’s good to eat slowly. According to scientific analysis, a meal should take more than twenty minutes for it to digest properly.”
Bai Lu stared at her bun and whispered, “Oh yes, I suddenly remembered that you mentioned that the boy from the vocational high school that Jiang Ru liked, was in junior high school with you, right?”
Wu Hanwen let out an ‘ah’ and nodded, “Xu Hui? Yeah, right. He was my classmate.”
Bai Lu looked at Wu Hanwen and said, “He must have been very good at messing up, right? But you still managed to get into the Sixth Highschool in such an environment. You are really great.”
Wu Hanwen paused eating before shaking his head.
Bai Lu put down the bun and asked in puzzlement, “What?”
“It’s nothing ……,” Wu Hanwen whispered, “Actually, he was, not ……”
Bai Lu stared at him, “Xu Hui? What’s wrong with him?”
“That.” Wu Hanwen took another mouthful of rice, gulped them before suddenly laughing out loud. “Hey, if I told you that his results were better than me in junior high school, would you believe me?”
Bai Lu was stunned: “What?”
Wu Hanwen nodded and said, “It’s true, in the first and second year, his grades were the best in the whole grade, and since he was handsome, he was very popular in school.”
Bai Lu laughed a little and asked, “Then what happened for his grades to deplet?”
Wu Hanwen recalled, “Something happened to his family.”
Bai Lu asked curiously, “What happened?”
Wu Hanwen rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders, “Why are you asking about this?”
Bai Lu also shrugged her shoulders and said carelessly, “Just casually asking. I just didn’t believe it when you said he studied better than you.”
Wu Hanwen laughed in embarrassment. “You think too highly of me ah ……”
When Wu Hanwen was immersed in happiness for being complimented by her, Bai Lu returned to the topic at hand, “What happened to his family?”
“Ah …… I heard it from someone.” Wu Hanwen replied instinctly, “Everyone knew that his family conditions were very good. He was young at that time and liked to show off. He often treated or bought birthday gifts for people. Sometimes even lent his friends money. He always pretended it was not a big deal.”
“What does hid family do?” Bai Lu probed more.
“His father seemed to have a big company. I’m not quite sure of the information since he never mentioned much about his father. But then ……”
Wu Hanwen wanted to say something but suddenly stopped. Hesitation could be seen on his face. But Bai Lu still asked, “What happened later?”
“Xu Hui’s mother died of an illness when he was in elementary school, and in his second year of junior school, his father married another woman ……” When talking about the privacy of other families, Wu Hanwen was slightly embarrassed.
Bai Lu asked a little unsurely, “That’s it?”
“No, there was more drama than that.” Saying this, Wu Hanwen lean down and whispered, “I heard his father had a mistress whom he had been hiding for a long time. They even had a child. His father married that woman after his mother died. Everyone at the school also knew about it. You don’t know, Xu Hui was a complete mess at that time. His attitude also became bad amongst the students.”
“So his results depleted?”
“Not exactly ……” Wu Hanwen put down his chopsticks and said, “Actually, something happened at that time.”
Bai Lu raised her brows in question as Wu Hanwen continued, “His half-brother, who was more than four years younger than Xu Hui, liked Xu Hui a lot……At that time, Xu Hui was good both in study and sports, he was also good-looking and handsome, so all the boys and girls liked him. He just behaved casually with his brother and his brother started to cling him every day. His brother even followed him to school one day. We’ve all seen him.”
“And then? What happened?”
Wu Hanwen licked his dry lips. The foods he was eating with enthusiasm was left aside, without him noticing it.
“In junior year on his birthday, Xu Hui may have not wanted to take his brother to him to celebrate his birthday, so he lied to him and said that he was going to celebrate his birthday at night in school. But he actually invited a dozen of his friends to a club to celebrate his birthday. That night when Xu Hui didn’t return, his brother secretly went to school to find him. And then, something happened.”
Wu Hanwen raised his hand and gestured, “When his brother came to school to find him, the gate was already locked, so he went to climb the back door. At that time, our back door was under construction, and there was a pit in the ground. The little kid didn’t pay attention and since it was too dark, he fell into the pit.” He pointed to his head and said, “He was knocked hard to the head. The injury was very big. It was even in the newspaper.”
Bai Lu opened her mouth slightly in astonishment, “It was that serious?”
Bai Lu suddenly remembered that hot summer day at that day in the hospital.
The gray and black hallway.
Rehabilitation ward of the Neurology department.
Wu Hanwen didn’t notice Bai Lu’s distraction and continued explaining, “It was very serious. He was sent to the hospital but he never got better …… It was actually very pitiful and sad. His brother was found with a robot model he made for Xu Hui in his arms.”
Wu Hanwen said this and sighed.
“Xu Hui has completely changed from that time on.”
Bai Lu sat on the bench with her head down in a daze.