Translator: Let4, Renkun27
Junior high is a delicate age when everything begins to stir. It is when you begin to learn to be rebellious, begin to learn to be sentimental, start to envy the freedom of the grownups, and start to do regrettably foolish things. Ke Bu was a rather lazy fellow. He pushed everything to the last minute before he was willing to do it; whether it was doing the laundry or other things; even when it came to peeing, he would hold it in until he reached his limit before he would be willing to stand up.
It had been a month since he had been in contact with Zhi Li. As if nothing happened, his life still went on. He thought about it and still felt it was quite inconceivable. The precious pretty boy of the entire female population in school actually took the position of his lover. Ke Bu pushed the review materials aside. Bored to death, he leaned on the window. As boisterous voices could be heard incessantly from downstairs, Ke Bu’s gaze fell on a pair, boy and girl. The childish boy was teasing the girl he liked by pulling her hair, making her chase after him angrily. At the age in which curiosity about love was high, everyone was eager to try something. Innocence could not withstand the test of time. Fantasy, desire, and strong attachment would gradually become more and more obscure. Those bygones would only stay in the past. Ke Bu had prematurely gotten rid of his naivety. He even despised the children around him who thought that the world was beautiful. This kind of contempt was mixed with envy and contradiction.
Ke Bu gazed further into the corner where a beautiful boy was sitting on a bench. He had fair skin and long eyelashes which flickered with every movement of his eyes. His delicate and attractive face was the epitome of beauty. The teen sat in the shade with his legs bent and a sketchbook on his lap. His face was expressionless, showing neither joy nor anger, unpredictable yet had great appeal. Even Ke Bu could not help but lament. He was clearly a boy but was more beautiful than any girl. Ke Bu could not envision what kind of a man would this Zhi Li blossom into in a few years. It was only now that he found out that Zhi Li likes to draw. It seemed as though he did not know Zhi Li at all: what he likes and what he does not like. Before he met Zhi Li, Ke Bu never knew that it was possible for two boys to be in a relationship. After encountering Zhi Li, he did not hate it and did not hate maintaining this nominal and weak relationship between the two of them.
He grabbed the review material on the table, aimed it toward Zhi Li’s and the material fell down on Zhi Li’s feet. Zhi Li did not even lift his eyes and continued to draw. Ke Bu pursed his lips and picked up another review material. When everything he did was ignored by Zhi Li, Ke Bu could not bear it any longer. “Hey, the one downstairs.”
“I won’t engage in an ill-mannered conversation,” Zhi Li said indifferently,
This guy’s character is worse than I imagined!!
“Zhi Li, lemme ask you a relatively important question.”
“Do you still remember my name?” Strange, what’s with this slight nervousness?
When Zhi Li finally looked up, Ke Bu’s shadow fell upon his face and their eyes met. Ke Bu was leaning out of the window upstairs and Zhi Li was holding his sketchbook downstairs. He paused for a while. “Who are you?” He forgot? He really forgot. Don’t tell me this guy’s the naturally slow type from the legends? Was there an error in my initial judgement?
Ke Bu was somewhat angry. He grabbed another set of review material and threw it down. “I’m your long-lost father!!!”
Zhi Li sized Ke Bu up. “Is that so? But we don’t look alike.”
He actually went along with my joke!! This made Ke Bu unable to make a timely rebuttal, so he could only forcefully shut the window. He was the only idiot who remembered their pact. As disappointment was piling up somewhere in his body, Ke Bu grabbed the clothes on his chest. This is bad.
After school, the students rushed out of the classroom with their schoolbags. As the student on duty, Ke Bu feebly walked up to the platform and began to clean the blackboard. Half of the chalk fell on Ke Bu’s feet, so he stooped to pick it up. He held the chalk and hesitated for a second before writing Zhi Li’s name on the board. He vented his anger as he drew a cross on it, “Go and die. Go and die. Go and die. Go and die. Go and die.”
“How much do you really hate me?” Zhi Li leaned against the door and looked at Ke Bu.
“What are you doing in here?!”
Zhi Li waved the review materials in his hand and threw them on the table.
“No need for you to fake kindness. I don’t even know you.”
Zhi Li did not take offense. He walked toward Ke Bu. With his back facing the lectern, he placed both of his hands on top. “You’re being difficult.”
“Who, who’s being difficult?”
What a heinous school. Must you place the blackboard so high up? Are you mocking my growth? Ke Bu stood on tiptoe to reach the top of the blackboard and strenuously wiped. A hand grabbing the wiper reached out from behind to wipe the blackboard. Ke Bu turned back to look at Zhi Li who was helping him wipe the blackboard and his beautiful side profile. Unwilling to accept, Ke Bu opened his mouth, “I’ll grow up very tall in the future. Just wait and see.”
“I really can’t tell.”
“Stop looking down on people.”
After the blackboard returned to its clean state, Ke Bu went back to his seat to pack his backpack. Just as Zhi Li reached the classroom door, Ke Bu called him, “Hey, uhm, see you later.”
Zhi Li lazily waved his hand. “See you later, Ke Bu.”
The books in Ke Bu’s hands scattered as his name was called by that beautiful voice, which resonated throughout the classroom. He shouted out, “You did that on purpose. You definitely did that on purpose!!”
On a certain day a week later, Ke Bu was sneaking around with his homework. He was done for. All he did yesterday was play. He initially intended to do his homework in the evening but ended up sleeping until the next morning after lying on the bed. He would be dead if the teacher catches him. Why was there such a cruel thing as assigning homework to students in this world? Ke Bu hid in the comfort room cubicle, making the best use of his time before handing in the homework. Zhi Li entered the comfort room. As he was about to wash his hands, he could hear murmurs of grievances coming from the cubicle. Zhi Li pushed the unlocked compartment door open and saw Ke Bu squatting inside with his homework pasted on the wall and biting his lips. The whole scene was very wretched. Seeing Zhi Li, Ke Bu was momentarily stumped before dragging him into the cubicle and locked the door. “We’ll be caught by the teacher!! You came at the right time. How do you solve this problem? Have you guys studied this in your class?”
“Your idiocy already exceeds my imagination.”
“I can put up with your attacks. Hurry up and tell me the answer.”
“Don’t just give the answer!! What about the formula?”
Outside the window was the scorching sun roasting the school. The narrow cubicle could not escape the heat. Ke Bu’s sweat trickled down from his forehead. “Stupid weather. I’m hot to death. Hurry up.” Behind was absolute silence. Ke Bu turned around. His back became inexplicably cold. Zhi Li’s face became more expressionless as he looked at Ke Bu indifferently.
“What are you calling me for? Get a move on.”
“But I don’t know this question.” It felt like Zhi Li was a bit more irritable and his whole body was emitting a dark aura.
Zhi Li squinted his eyes at Ke Bu as if he was looking at garbage. “You don’t know? Then why are you still attending school? Quickly pack your things up and go back to farming.”
“I also don’t know how to farm,” Ke Bu weakly said and his vigor became weak.
“Stop rambling to me. How long do you want to keep me here?” Zhi Li pulled open the button on his collar and frowned. “It’s too hot.”
“Then, the answer to this question is 14?”
Zhi Li gave Ke Bu a firm slap on the back of his head. “Wrong, calculate again.”
“It hurts? You bastard, are you qualified to complain?”
“Then 15?” As soon as he spoke, he waited a bit, then he continued, “If not, then it’s 16.”
“You’re guessing again. If you guess once more, I’ll stuff the workbook in your mouth.”
“What? Don’t think I can be easily bullied. Let me tell you, I…” Before Ke Bu could finish his threat, Zhi Li had pressed his head on the workbook. “What about it? Less with the nonsensical talk.”
Every now and then, a few phrases overflowed in the small cubicle.
“12. This time, it should be right. Ouch, that hurts.”
“Since it’s correct, why did you hit me!!” Ke Bu roared furiously.
“It’s a habit.”
“Your habits are developing too fast!!! You’re a devil, you’re definitely a devil!!”
After the inevitably painful process, Ke Bu collapsed and said, “Finally, the last question. This here uses this formula, right?”
“Then, it’s that one.”
“Then which one?”
Zhi Li impatiently clicked his tongue to show his disdain. He leaned forward and grabbed Ke Bu’s writing hand. “Use this one.” The manipulated hand wrote a twisted formula on the workbook. Even in the sizzling weather, Zhi Li’s fingers were still slightly icy. Ke Bu’s heart trembled a little as the temperature seeped in from his fingertips to his heart, then from his heart, going to his brain which was a total blank space. Ke Bu only came around when Zhi Li released his hand. He breathed out, “It’s finally done. I’m safe!!”
“Make sure to repay me well,” Zhi Li said indifferently and left. Ke Bu looked at Zhi Li leaving. Not good. This was really not good. The heart that should have stayed unwavering and unsympathetic was actually having a chemical reaction toward Zhi Li! Plus, this confusing and irritating chemical reaction was kept hidden, suppressed, and ignored by Ke Bu.
When the bell rang, Ke Bu opened his sleepy eyes. When did he fall asleep? Dreaming about the past gave rise to a wave of warm emotions. We were so young back then. Time is such an inconceivable thing. As the students departed, Ke Bu walked up to Zhi Li’s side and looked directly at him. He had shed off that soft and immature appearance and now had a beauty that was not as delicate as before. He was now even more attractive and manly.
“Zhi Li, I did grow taller right,” Ke Bu said proudly.
“I really can’t tell.”
“That’s because you’re also growing!! Personality-wise, nothing’s changed!!”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Ke Bu smiled a very sweet smile. Even when he was reprimanded, he still smiled sweetly. “Not telling you.”