Wu Hanwen promised to help Bai Lu and started teaching her all sort of techniques to study better.
Bai Lu also learned the fighting ability of the schoolmaster from him and gave all her attention to study.
According to Wu Hanwen, she has a clear mind and clean concept of every subjects. She just had to get used to the rhythm of studying and make some study plans, she would be able to get better results in no time.
Bai Lu hadn’t opened her phone since it was turned off last time. It was both for her study and mental health.
Time flew fast. The winter also fully showed it’s presence.
The snow on the ground was getting thicker day by day, absorbing the sounds of heaven and earth. The campus also became more deserted as day passed, very few people would be seen outside after the nightfall.
Wu Hanwen’s study method worked very well, Bai Lu’s grades steadily improved. To thank him, she invited him to the cafeteria for a meal from time to time, which Wu Hanwen gladly accepted.
“Thank you for helping me.”
“Why are you thanking me?” Wu Hanwen said while waving his hand. “You worked hard, that’s why you improved.”
It was snowing outside, and there were not many students studying in the library, everyone was sitting sporadically under the warm atmosphere. Wu Hanwen and Bai Lu were sitting side by side, next to them was the window, which was blanketed with snow.
“Take your time, your foundation is fine, just study according to the plan.” Wu Hanwen suggested like an old teacher.
Bai Lu nodded. She was about to return to study when Wu Hanwen propped up his elbow and asked her, “Have you decided which university you want to go?”
“It’s almost the end of the semester, you should quickly choose one. You won’t have time later.”
Bai Lu lowered her head and whispered, “no, ah ……”
Her voice was soft as usual, like a feathery whisper itching on his ears. Seeing her expression Wu Hanwen let out a cough and calmly said, “You see, I think you should go to Shanghai……”
Bai Lu raised her eyebrows in annoyance. Wu Hanwen immediately changed the tone of his words and said, “OK OK, I won’t say anything, I know you are tired of listening.”
Bai Lu nodded and said seriously, “At least twenty times.”
“Absolutely not, don’t lie.” Wu Hanwen firmly denied. There’s no way he had said the same thing so many times without him knowing.
Bai Lu also said strongly, “I’m saying the truth. You said it twenty times.”
Wu Hanwen choked on his spit before saying roguishly, “Then think about it. You don’t want me to tell you the same thing for twenty first times, right?”
Bai Lu’s returned her attention to the book. Although her eyes were on the book, she didn’t forget to refute Wu Hanwen’s advise.
“The universities in Shanghai are very good and need high score.”
“You can get in.” Wu Hanwen said confidently, as if it was him whom he was talking about.
Bai Lu glanced at him in disbelief, “To Shanghai Jiaotong University? I’ll just go there in my dreams.”
Wu Hanwen ‘tsk’ed and slapped the table, “You have so little confidence in yourself!”
“I really can’t get in.” Bai Lu said helplessly.
“If you can’t get admitted to Jiaotong University there’s also other universities ah. Like Finance and Economics University, Donghua ah ……”
Bai Lu sighed as she said, “I won’t take the test.”
“Why would you not-“
Wu Hanwen stopped, Bai Lu looked at him expressionlessly as she whispered, “It doesn’t matter where I go.”
Wu Hanwen was stunned and asked in disappointment, “Why?”
Bai Lu shook her head, but didn’t say anything. She turned her head and started to pack her things.
Wu Hanwen became quiet after their confrontation and didn’t pester her anymore.
Time flew, in the blink of an eye, it was time before the college entrance examination.
Bai Lu was more than satisfied with her final grade this time. She had improved just as she expected. Seeing her result, all her past resentment flew away like dust.
“We have Tense this year too? It’s not fair.” When Mr. Bao was assigning holiday homework, Li Siyi muttered in the back in a dissatisfied tone.
The Winter Vacation for Sixth Highschool for college entrance examination candidates is similar to that of working employees. It would end after the seventh day of the first month.
On New Year’s Eve, Bai Lu followed her parents to her grandparents’ house. Although they all live in the same city, her grandparents’ home was in a relatively remote area. Plus her grandmother likes to walk in afternoon and the place was ideal for that. So her parents would go to see them at least once a month.
Bai Lu’s grandmother is from Sichuan, who came here from the countryside and married Bai Lu’s grandfather. Her grandmother’s cooking is very good, her grandfather usually has a thick taste, he didn’t like foods from any restaurant and likes to eat home-made foods.
On New Year’s Eve, Grandma made Bai Lu’s favorite eight-pot rice. The dish just came out of the pot and was served onto a plate in a circle. It looked very appetizing and delicious.
“This year you will take the college entrance examination, so we are cheering Lulu ah.” On the eve of the New Year, the whole family sat together to drink and wished for Bai Lu’s good results in the college entrance exam.
Bai Lu nodded her head, “I will definitely do good.”
Her grandparents weren’t young anymore, but they still insisted on staying up on New Year’s Eve.
The Spring Festival host stood in a row and started counting down.
When the countdown was over, the bells chimed, and fireworks flew in the sky, everyone cheered along with the bells and sound of fireworks.
Her cell phone suddenly vibrated.
Bai Lu couldn’t help but shudder. Her intuition was telling her not to pick up the phone, but her heart couldn’t bear to.
The feeling that had been separated for a long ago also came crashing down on her.
It wouldn’t be a friend or a classmate who would call her on New Year. At most, they would send her a New Year’s greeting. So Bai Lu already knew who it could be.
She took the phone and went to the balcony.
Her grandparent’s house was an old building, there was a big balcony to the outside. Because it was winter, the balcony had been closed. There were abandoned miscellaneous things put there, snow and dust laying a thick layer on top of them.
When the door of the balcony was opened, the cold wind blew in with the sound of firecrackers.
The phone was still vibrating, Bai Lu pressed the phone.
There was a long silence on the other side of phone. Bai Lu looked back, her parents were in the living room, busy texting their friends and hadn’t noticed her coming to the balcony.
“Is something wrong?” Bai Lu held the phone in one hand and bowed her head while whispering, “Xu Hui.”
She herself did not expect that pronouncing his name after such a long time would feel so hard. As if a cotton was stuffed in her mouth and she couldn’t spit it no matter how much she wanted.
“I want to see you ……”
From the other side came the defeated voice of Xu Hui. His pleading voice made a shudder run down her spine, and her hands started to tremble. She didn’t know whether it was because of the cold, or something else.
“You are drinking again.”
“Bai Lu ……” He was so drunk that he didn’t know what he was saying. His voice sounded much more desperate because of the hoarseness in his voice.
Bai Lu thought maybe he himself didn’t know he was calling her, and it was a completely subconscious move on his part.
He seemed to be dreaming, nothing more left his mouth except for her name “Bai Lu ……”
“Do you have someone with you? Is Sun Yuhe there?” Bai Lu whispered, “Or are you out by yourself?” Her tone was concerned, but she wasn’t sure if he was even listening to what she was saying.
“Bai Lu ……”
He kept calling her, no matter what Bai Lu said, he only called her name in a daze. He couldn’t hear what she was saying, the contents of her words were irrelevant to him, only her voice was something that soothed his wounds.
Bai Lu knew, if he was awake, he wouldn’t have called this number.
She stayed silent while standing on the balcony. When the light of fireworks started to dim little by little, she whispered softly, “Xu Hui, Happy New Year ……”
Another fireworks bloomed in the sky, changing colors and shining brilliantly before slowly turning into ashes and scattering on the wind.
Just like their youth and time, there was no time to wait, and it was too late to look back.
“And I’m sorry ……” Bai Lu’s head was bowed, clutching the phone hard, she whispered with guilty conscience, “I’m sorry, Xu Hui …… sorry ……”
Xu Hui still called her name vaguely and repeatedly. After a few moments of listening her name leaving his mouth again and again, Bai Lu hung up the phone.
“Lulu, come and eat some wine stuffed dumplings, grandma just warmed them up.” Her Mom shouted from inside the house. Seeing her standing on the balcony she asked, “What are you doing running outside? What if you catch a cold?”
Bai Lu returned to the house, “I just went to watch the firecrackers.”
“How old are you still watching firecrackers? You’re about to go to college.” Her Mom brought the bowl as she teased her, “Eat something and warm up a little.”
The year is finally over, and the days coming would be more intense.
“The real battle is coming!”
The teachers of the senior group were all injected with chicken blood, their eyes were blazing like fire.
The study tasks doubled in weight and length, everyone was soon ushered in the first mock exam.
Then came the 100-day pledge meeting.
The entire senior class was pulled out onto the playground, surrounded by red flags and banners, and each person was given a red band to tie around their head with the word “win” written on it.
“What the fuck.” Li Siyi said to Wu Hanwen from behind, “It’s like a cult.”
Wu Hanwen put his finger to his mouth, “Keep your voice down, keep your voice down dumbass ……”
Bai Lu received a message from Xu Hui for the last time that day.
To be precise, it was a message from Sun Yuhe but it was sent through his number.
The message was brief and contained only one sentence.
[Enduring Winter: Xu Hui went out of town and still hasn’t come back.]
When she saw the message, the Principal was shouting slogans on the red flag platform, the students below were shouting vociferously along with the Principal.
Li Siyi, who had previously been complaining that it was like a cult assembly, was the one who shouted the slogans most fiercely in the class. He shouted so hard that his mouth scooped and his eyes narrowed into slits.
Standing among the crowd of students Bai Lu slowly put down the phone and switched it off without much emotional fluctuation.
Senior year is a state that only comes around once in a lifetime.
But it was a time that passed the quickest.
This whole year was like a dream.
Enrollment counseling, pre-test counseling ……and whatnot was done in a hurry.
The numbers on the board glued on the wall were getting lesser and lesser every day.
Some people say that high school candidates are like machines with strings behind them, it is tightened little by little, just waiting for the release of those last days when they will be able to move to their fullest and give their best.
The tighter the string, the greater the power when released.
Bai Lu’s time slowly stabilized.
Her family also gathered for a small meeting to discuss her college and majors to apply for.
Her Dad suggested mathematics, science and chemistry.
“Bai Lu is very good at math. These subjects will help her in the future to get better jobs.”
“Who said that?” But her Mom disagreed, “you only know to say the same old thing, why does she need to apply for Physics and Chemistry? To be a researcher? I don’t recommend it. My daughter is already so thin, she will die if she chooses these majors.”
“Then which major do you think should she choose?”
“How about doctor?”
“Isn’t that still tied to medicine? And how can it be better than chemical engineering? Let’s listen to Lulu.”
So after bickering back and forth, both of them turned back to Bai Lu.
“I’ll choose whatever you want.”
Bai Lu thought about it and replied, “No …… .” There really wasn’t anything particular that she liked.
Hearing her answer, her mother showed a hurt face as she said, “My baby girl, how come you don’t have a hobby?” Her mother lamented as she sighed in helplessness. Her daughter was so invest in study that she never developed any hobbies.
Bai Lu suddenly interjected her mother’s thinking so she asked, “What’s wrong?”
Bai Lu remembered not long ago, when she was on her way home from campus and passing an alley she saw a very ordinary but beautiful thing.
The Lonicera bush.
The flower were so delicate and fragile, still they stood in front of that one doorway, preserving peace and empty silence of that place.
Bai Lu’s mind instantly made a kind of escape mentality, she didn’t want to see that house again neither the resident of that house. She wanted to delete those memories forever from her mind
“I want to …… go farther.” Bai Lu whispered, “Since I studied not too far from home, I want to choose a college that is far from home.”
Her Mom and dad both expressed their approval of the proposal.
“Good, while you are still young, you should travel around a little. Mom and Dad support you.”
The college entrance examination finally came.
And it also came on a hot summer day.
The weather had been warming up day by day, so the teachers advised to wear casual summer clothes. That’s why, a large number of senior students were wearing T-shirts and jeans.
Teacher Bao was doing the final mobilization.
“Remember! When you get the question paper in hand, read it properly first! Set a number which you want to answer first before starting, it’s okay even it takes a little time. But no one is allowed to turn in their papers early-!”
The entrance to the examination venue was full of parents.
This examination venue was actually a key high school for students. The students from the Sixth Highschool was majority in number, so the main road in front of the school was spontaneously closed up by the parents of the candidates.
The traffic police knew that the day was special, so they didn’t bother with the parents.
Wu Hanwen, who didn’t need to take the exam since he was already admitted to a university per his good result in the Chemistry Olympiad, but he still came and stood with Mr. Bao.
There were too many people so the entrance of the venue was crowded. Before Bai Lu entered the examination room, she looked back and saw that her mother and father were also in the crowd.
She waved at them and inadvertently glanced at Wu Hanwen.
Wu Hanwen was standing high up with his arms raised, waving at her from afar, and when he saw her looking at him, he paused for a moment, then put his two hands together, turning them into two raised thumbs up.
Bai Lu smiled at his silly behaviour and went into the examination room.
The exam time was of two days. Bai Lu felt that perhaps it was because she had done too many papers, and it led to a little mental numbness when answering the exam questions, so she couldn’t grasp the time.
Especially the last section of English, the time went as if flying high-speed. Many students couldn’t finish all the questions.
But everyone still remembered the teacher’s teachings and did not turn in their papers early and struggled till the end.
In the afternoon, the sunlight was so gentle that it made people drowsy. Many could not open their eyes in such a lazy afternoon, especially the parents waiting for their children.
After the exam was finished, the students in the room finally breath a sigh of relief.
The invigilator also smiled with understanding and teased.
“You guys are finally going to be liberated.”
The sound of drumming in the hallway grew louder.
Finally, the bell rang –
Twelve years of hard work were over.
••••••••••••••••End of Volume one••••••••••••••
T/N: Finally! The first volume is over! I’m going to take a break, probably for a week or so to edit the chapters of Volume one. I’ve seen a lot of grammatical errors in my chapters so I’m thinking of fixing them before starting the second volume.
And…. although I know it’s embarrassing but I started translating because I was in need of money. But I’m not earning as much as I thought I would. So I would be really happy if you guys could help me through buymeacoffe or at least leave a good review on NU. Only of course if you like my work.
Happy reading ❤️❤️
Wu Hanwen promised to help Bai Lu and started teaching her all sort of techniques to study better.