Xu Hui slowly quieted down. His breathing and anger, both became like a puddle of water. As if the one who was agitated wasn’t him.
He ignored Bai Lu, and even ignore himself.
Dragging his feet to the windowsill, he slowly dropped himself on the ground sat down leaning on the wall.
He bent bent his knees, rested his elbows on them and he lowered his head, his face buried between his arms.
It was already dark outside.
The rain was still pouring down, as if the dam of the sky has broken, it had no intention of stopping at all.
Bai Lu let go of the door handle and turned around to enter the house.
She sat next to Xu Hui.
It felt a little strange. The environment, the person in front of her and them, everything was strange, like a dream where you lost yourself and couldn’t find the way back. It wasn’t nightmare but it wasn’t far from it either.
Xu Hui was sitting a dozen of centimeters away from her. His face still buried in his arms, his breath shallow but warm.
Bai Lu also leaned on the wall like him and hugged her knees. The ground was cold but for some reason, it didn’t feel much cold to her. Both of them were sitting on the cold ground, side-by-side like two friends and listening to the rain outside.
“My friends said it wasn’t my fault ……,” After a long time, Xu Hui slowly spoke in a whispery voice. But the house was so quiet that Bai Lu could hear him clearly.
His voice that was muffled because his head buried in his arms sounded low and out of energy.
“I blame you.” Bai Lu said simply, her gaze looking straight ahead.
Xu Hui turned his head sideways to look at her, showing one of his mesmerized black eyes from the crook of his arms. His half opened eyes looked at her for a moment before looking at the ground.
“Don’t blame me …… It’s their fault …….”
Bai Lu turned her head to him. The eyes behind the glasses that turned misty looked clearer than ever.
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“Did you like your brother?”
Xu Hui rubbed his eyes and turned his head back, not saying a word. The gloominess emanating from him said he didn’t want to talk about it.
Seeing him not answering, Bai Lu asked, “How about I ask you in a different way? Did you ever love your brother?”
Xu Hui buried his face more to his arms, as if he wanted to block her voice and escape the current situation. He might have also wanted to escape from the world too. From his own guilt and emotion. Xu Hui squirmed slightly, like a chick trying to shrink into an egg. Like someone who wanted to erase his sense of existence.
“…… Never.” Bai Lu looked at the person who answered her question after a long time before asking a series of questions one by one.
“Then, why would he like you so much? Why would he like to cling to you? Always run around you? Heed every word you say and treasure them?”
Xu Hui hugged his knees more tightly, clenching his hands into a fist, his breathing getting heavier and heavier, as if he ran a marathon.
The veins on his exposed neck stood out, they looked particularly scary on his icy white skin, like a blue snake crawling over his neck and wrapping itself around his head.
Bai Lu watched quietly and said, “You know you’re different.”
Xu Hui sneered, his body moved lightly as he slowly uncurled himself from his curled position and sat up straight. His once bent legs spreading in front of him, his hands falling beside him, as if he had lost all of his strength.
But a cold smile bloomed on his once agitated face.
He asked carelessly, “How am I different? Do I have two heads?”
Bai Lu’s whispered, her voice fell on top of Xu Hui’s slightly drooping eyelashes and caressed his ears.
“You know it’s easier for people to fall for you.”
Xu Hui was froze. He was too stunned to let out a reaction. He couldn’t understand what should he feel. Flattered? Embarrassed? Angry? Or…guilty?
Alcohol made his face look much more amiable, an air of bewilderment lingered around him as he silently sulked and fumed.
Bai Lu continued, not letting this chance escape from her hands which she desperately wanted.
“You are arrogant. If you like something, you take it. If you don’t like it, you throw it away. Have you ever thought of the consequences?”
Xu Hui collected his thoughts and raised his eyes. But he still didn’t look at Bai Lu, his voice sounded angry as he let out a typically sulky sentence.
“Don’t talk to me.”
Bai Lu also craned her neck and tried to look him in the eye. But Xu Hui didn’t let her fulfill her wish and stiffly looked away before she could meet his eyes.
Bai Lu’s gaze followed him closely, her body turning sideways as she tried to look at his eyes but failed. Although her voice was not loud, every word drilled into Xu Hui’s ears and reached to his head.
“Have you ever looked back once? Even it wasn’t your fault, shouldn’t you feel how they were feeling and see their suffering?”
Xu Hui’s voice became steeply louder as he looked up to glare at her.
“Won’t look! Why should I look!? Why should I feel their suffering!? It has nothing to do with me! They asked for it!”
Bai Lu looked at him without blinking Xu Hui was even more irritated by her look. He spoke all his grievance to her like a volcano that has errupted after accumulating years of frustration and guilt.
“Did I make him like me? Did I force him to give me a birthday present? I didn’t even promised anything. He went there by himself, so why would they blame me when things went wrong? Why was it my fault? I didn’t do anything!”
Bai Lu couldn’t help but smile, her sudden smile caught him off guard. But Bai Lu ignored him while she nod to herself and laughed.
“Hmm. You are right.”
Xu Hui’s clenched his teeth.
Bai Lu looked up at him, as if suddenly remembered something and asked softly: “Your brother was ten years old at that time, right?”
Who knows if it was the word “brother” or “ten years old” that broke the dam, but there must have been something in this sentence that shattered him the moment it left her lips.
Xu Hui’s breathing became uneven, his shoulders slumped, and his eyes burned like fire, but he still held back.
Before the tears fell, Xu Hui stood up from the floor and pointed at the door.
“Get out …… don’t come here, ever.”
Bai Lu patted her clothes to remove the dust and walked to the door with her head down. She left the house without looking back, as if the person inside the house had nothing to do with her.
The rain had eased a lot, Bai Lu opened the umbrella, slowly step into the rain.
But after a few steps, Bai Lu steps stopped.
She was standing under that telephone pole and couldn’t help but remember that day, the day she first saw Xu Hui in person.
Dim street lights, falling rain, a boy without an umbrella. Has so many times passed already?
Bai Lu looked at the place under the pole as her senses came back to her little by little. The dim street light became a little brighter and the boy who was once standing under the pole without an umbrella was replaced with a boy holding an umbrella. And it was also someone who she was pretty familiar with.
He seemed to be in a hurry and was surprised by seeing an unexpected person and stood frozen.
Bai Lu only paused for a second, then continued walking on as if she hadn’t seen him.
She passed by Wu Hanwen, who was carrying a large school bag. He finally reacted and tried to call out to her, but his voice was muffled by the rain and the passing cars.
Bai Lu walked past him with her head down. Wu Hanwen closely following behind.
The footsteps following her were understandably a little heavy. Wu Hanwen was addicted to learning and always carried a twenty pounds school bag to and from school every day. So his steps sounded heavier than other people.
Bai Lu knew that Wu Hanwen had the habit of coming to the school’s library at night to study, but she didn’t know why it would be so late.
After entering the school gate, Bai Lu headed for the dormitory building.
“Hey!” Wu Hanwen called out to her and finally managed to catch her attention. Bai Lu stopped, she knew there was no escaping since he found out.
She turned around and asked in puzzlement, “What’s wrong?”
The lights on the campus looked even darker, so Bai Lu couldn’t see his face. Before he could speak, she asked, “Why are you here so late at night?”
“Ah, I was at school during the day to help Mr. Bao correcting the test papers, but I left something and came back to get it.”
Bai Lu nodded understandingly and advised,”It’s too late, be careful on your way back.”
“…… It’s okay, my family lives close.”
Bai Lu nodded and turned to leave.
Wu Hanwen for some reason didn’t call her back.
The autumn rain was a cold, the next day in the early morning when the rain stopped, the campus was full of flowers and fallen leaves, and finally had the atmosphere of autumn.
The class was extraordinarily quiet.
Bai Lu didn’t like to talk much, and Wu Hanwen, who used to like to chat with his classmates, also buried his head in books from morning to night. Even Li Siyi only came to ask him about some question and went back once the answer was given.
Li Siyi tried to joke a few words and lighten the mood. But when he found that the atmosphere was not right, he made his mouth shut.
When it was lunch break, students went to the cafeteria one after another. Bai Lu turned a corner on the way to the cafeteria but stopped when she heard her name being called.
Turning around, and unsurprisingly seeing Wu Hanwen, Bai Lu smiled.
“You want me to treat again?”
The expression on Wu Hanwen’s face looked serious. He frowned, like their class teacher, Bao Jianxun.
“What’s going on?” Wu Hanwen asked.
Bai Lu asked back in puzzlement “What’s going on?”
Wu Hanwen: “You know what I’m talking about.”
Bai Lu quietly lowered her head. Wu Hanwen got a little anxious, “What’s going on? Why did you get out of there?”
Bai Lu raised her eyes, “Why? Why can’t I be there?”
“There –” Wu Hanwen hesitated before saying, “It’s, it’s his house.”
Wu Hanwen took a deep breath and replied, “Xu Hui’s house.”
Bai Lu said, “How do you know he lives there?”
“My house is near there, I’ve seen him staying there since junior high school-” Wu Hanwen explained and suddenly felt something was wrong. He quickly led the topic back.
“I’m asking you! How did you get out of his place? You know Xu Hui?”
Bai Lu pursed her lips and gave a soft hmm.
“I know him, as a friend.”
Wu Hanwen was shocked by her light-hearted attitude, “No, you, you …… him ……”
Bai Lu said, “We knew each other by chance.” She took a step towards the cafeteria while saying, “Why don’t you pretend you didn’t see anything?”
Bai Lu stood still.
His IQ was not used only for study. He knew something was wrong. After going back home yesterday night, he thought about it for a long time. And the cool autumn breeze woke up his rationality more.
“You’re not friends.” Wu Hanwen said this with certainty.
His brain was nimble, and his thoughts flew apart quickly in this short period of time.
Bai Lu realized he found out everything and so tried to interrupt him.
“Don’t think about it. Forget it”
“No, no ……” Wu Hanwen raised his hand as he remembered more and more things, he joined all the hints and couldn’t help but sweat in the cool weather.
“You also asked me about him when we were having dinner that night, you asked me on purpose, right?”
When the pieces of puzzle came in his hand, it gave his eighteen-year-old mind a smothering blow.
“You were going to ask him out, weren’t you?”
Bai Lu pursed her lips.
Wu Hanwen walked in front of her and again asked: “It’s true, right? You didn’t participate in the sports because….you went to meet him.”
Bai Lu did not speak, but her clear and calm gaze has given the answer.
Wu Hanwen hand pinched his nose, his anxious face wrinkled together as he said in disbelief.
“How can you get together with him!? You still don’t know what kind of person he is? and you forgot what he did to Jiang Ru? Thanks to me, I even helped you hide it from Mr. Bao!”
Bai Lu shook his head, “You are thinking too much.”
“What do I think about too much? Yesterday at night, you came out of his house. Tell me then, what would I think if not this?”
Bai Lu looked at him wordlessly as Wu Hanwen’s gaze gradually grew stern.
“You have to explain?”
Bai Lu: “It’s better for you to explain first.”
Wu Hanwen was stunned, “I explain? What would explain?”
Bai Lu: “Why do you care about me so much?”
Wu Hanwen seemed to suddenly choke on a steamed bun, his eyes darting around and he stammered while answering.
“I, I just, just casually asking.”
“Is this kind of thing to casually ask?”
“…… You are my deskmate after all.”
Wu Hanwen looked at her and saw Bai Lu’s gaze, “Thank you for caring about me.”
Her tone wasn’t mocking, and Wu Hanwen gradually settled down.
“It’s not what you think.”
Wu Hanwen met Bai Lu’s gaze and was finally able to find his voice.
“What did I think?”
Bai Lu raised her eyes, “Those kind of thing.”
“But you wouldn’t go for nothing-” Halfway through the sentence, Wu Hanwen suddenly stopped, his eyes brightened for a moment as if he found his answers.
Bai Lu had seen such an expression on his face many times before, a look that would only appear when he solved a math problem.
“Because of Jiang Ru.”
Wu Hanwen was hesitant when he guessed, but the moment the words were finished, he was suddenly convinced.
“Because of Jiang Ru, right?”
After a long time, Bai Lu said in a soft tone, “You are really awesome, President.”
Wu Hanwen, who had just been praised by her felt like he was floating in the sky, but suddenly remembered that he wasn’t doing the test paper and she had no reason to praise him. Except what he guessed was true.
Pinching his nose again, Wu Hanwen paced back and forth, feeling that there were so many things he wanted to say, but he didn’t know where to start from for a while.
Bai Lu couldn’t help but asked, “Don’t you feel dizzy?”
“No!” Wu Hanwen glared at her before continued pacing.
Seeing him pacing back and forth, Bai Lu sighed and said, “Then I’ll go first.”
Bai Lu turned back, “Lunch time is going to be over soon.”
Wu Hanwen glared as he exclaimed, “You still have the heart to eat!”
“Aren’t you hungry?”
Bai Lu waved her head, “Come, I’ll treat you.”
Wu Hanwen stood on the spot. Bai Lu urged him again. Standing there for a while and scratching his head, he speechlessly followed her to the cafeteria.
When the two walked together towards the canteen, Bai Lu opened her mouth “Ah ……”
“Don’t ask me about Xu Hui anymore! I won’t say anything!” Wu Hanwen snorted as he looked away and sulked.
Bai Lu’s mouth was only half open and she looked at Wu Hanwen in surprise, “What?”
Bai Lu’s expression made Wu Hanwen feel like a stupid person, he looked at her in embarrassment, “No, no, what’s wrong? What did you want to ask?”
Bai Lu: “Oh, what do you want to eat?” After asking it, she smiled and said, “Don’t choose something too expensive, I can’t afford.”
“Don’t worry!” Wu Hanwen said righteously, “I won’t.”
Wu Hanwen began to talk about the next exam.
Lowering her head and stepping on the white tiles of the cafeteria, Bai Lu listened to Wu Hanwen’s words with her lips pursed.
Xu Hui slowly quieted down. His breathing and anger, both became like a puddle of water. As if the one who was agitated wasn’t him.