Something hot was surging in Zhiyuan’s chest. It made his heart beat faster and his throat became inexplicably dry.
The emotion he wanted to express and whatever he wanted to say was on the tip of his tongue, but there was always a hint of clarity in his mind.
“I… I…” He finally said, “I also think it’s best not to fall in love in high school.”
Yansheng’s mouth opened and closed.
Zhiyuan felt his face heat up but he still added, “Learning is more important. We only have 900 days.”
Yansheng stared at him for a few seconds, then suddenly covered her face.
It was not a disappointment, she just thought it was funny.
“You…” She couldn’t help but laugh.
Zhiyuan was embarrassed as he also thought he was funny. He wanted to hold back from laughing, but couldn’t, so he bit his lips hard.
The two of them laugh at each other in the night and under the light.
When Zhiyuan said those words, he was worried that Yansheng would be disappointed or something. But when he saw her laugh, he knew she had completely seen his forceful change of stance.
But she was neither disappointed nor angry, so she certainly understood what he was feeling in his heart, and at the same time, she also understood that what he said was right.
Yansheng was indeed in such a state of mind.
She didn’t expect that the young man’s mind would be so clear at such a hazy and charming moment as he experienced his first love.
There was no point in being angry. That little bit of expectation was a disappointment, but it also brought her an unstoppable laugh.
When the two had laughed enough, Yansheng said, “You are right, so don’t fall in love early, okay? Q University is still waiting for you.”
Zhiyuan looked up to the sky. “Don’t put pressure on me.”
Yansheng smiled and was about to speak again when she suddenly heard a woman’s voice behind him.
The youthful hormone and atmosphere dissipated.
The two looked over at the same time and saw a middle-aged woman crossing the small iron gate embedded in the big iron gate, she asked hesitantly, “Didn’t you say you’re going downstairs to take out the garbage? Why did you get here?”
Zhiyuan called out to her, “Mom, I’m just talking about something with my classmate.”
The middle-aged woman looked over and Yansheng greeted her politely, “Auntie.”
The middle-aged woman responded and asked, “Why are you still out so late? What’s the matter?”
Strictly speaking, there was actually no problem asking those questions when she saw the two outside at this hour.
However, the problem was her vigilant tone and cautious attitude.
Zhiyuan saw that the smile that had naturally appeared on Yansheng’s beautiful face had disappeared. Instead, it was replaced with a reserved and indifferent smile.
So, he immediately spoke, “Mom! We will finish talking soon, so you can go back first.”
Yansheng glanced at him, a little surprised by his tough tone.
He said before that he had been too aggressive when talking to Lichen, but Yansheng didn’t really believe it. Because in their class, the girls basically had an impression of Zhiyuan as ‘tall, gentle, and handsome’.
In particular, he was extremely patient with Yansheng. The slower speed of speech and the lighter voice while discussing a topic made people feel his gentleness. It even reached the point where Yansheng felt that his character was a bit warm.
Now, it seemed that he really had a strong side.
“We’re finished talking, I will go home now.” Yansheng still gave Zhiyuan a face and said politely, “Goodbye, Auntie.”
“Be careful on the road,” said Zhiyuan.
Zhiyuan’s mother asked in surprise, “You don’t live here?”
She thought that this girl, like them and a few other classmates, rented an apartment in Dongfeng Dongli for the convenience of going to school.
“No,” Yansheng replied, then she raised her head to look at Zhiyuan. “I’ll go now.”
However, Zhiyuan’s mother was a bit hesitant for a moment.
At night, for such a beautiful girl to be alone—as an adult, Zhiyuan’s mother thought it was best if someone could send her home, but as a mother, she didn’t want her son to have more opportunities to be alone with the girl who was running around outside at night and even came to see her son.
Just as she was hesitating whether to send the girl by herself, the girl had already stridden across the small road.
The driver of a black Mercedes-Benz on the opposite side got out of the car and opened the door for her, then the car drove away.
Zhiyuan’s mother was even more surprised.
“Your classmate’s family is quite well off, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Uhh, maybe. I don’t know,” Zhiyuan replied.
High school students would usually not pay attention to these things. Well, Mercedes-Benz was very popular so Zhiyuan knew it. But if Yansheng was to ride in the Rolls Royce or Bentley that her family owned, he might not be able to distinguish these car brands.
He wouldn’t know and he wouldn’t care.
The two walked back silently. Zhiyuan’s mother didn’t say anything and didn’t ask Zhiyuan why he ‘threw the garbage’ outside the community.
There were some things that she understood in her heart and it was not good to talk about them.
However, she couldn’t help but say, “That girl is very beautiful.”
Zhiyuan smiled and said, “The boys in our class are always jeering, saying that she is the current school flower.”
The mother observed her son’s expression and said, “High school—”
Zhiyuan sighed and interrupted her. “I won’t fall in love. I have more important things to do.”
His mother believed him. When she was looking for her son and found him at the gate just now, she heard what Yansheng said that she agreed not to fall in love and that Q University was waiting for Zhiyuan.
These words were quite pleasing to the ear as if the two of them were indeed not secretly dating.
After taking a few steps, she couldn’t help but speak again, “She seems to be a girl with a big temper. I didn’t say anything wrong just now, did I?”
The change in Yansheng’s attitude could even be felt by Zhiyuan, and as an adult, she will not fail to notice it too. She just thought that Yansheng was a very proud young lady and it was probably possible that beautiful young ladies all had that air of arrogance—this was the general perception of parents.
Zhiyuan was silent for a while, then said bluntly, “Don’t do that to my female classmates in the future.”
His mother asked, “Do what?”
“Don’t guard against others like thieves,” Zhiyuan said helplessly, “I know that I’m the only treasure in your heart but I am nothing to others. No one will care about it.”
His mother became angry. “What are you talking about?”
But that kind of defense against others had become her instinct and it was not something that could be changed in a few words, so Zhiyuan didn’t respond.
However, his mother spoke again, “It’s not that I will not allow you to fall in love, but not now. When you get into the university, then we’ll talk again. You only have three years in high school to prepare for the college entrance examination which is like a plank bridge crowded by thousands of troops and horses. An exam is a lifetime event and it can determine your life—”
These were all clichés, so Zhiyuan interrupted her again. “I know, so you don’t need to say it repeatedly.”
“You kids, you know that you do things that always make your parents worried,” his mother said, “I have to talk to your dean again next week. We can’t just leave this matter at that. I heard from Shuqing’s mother that the boy in Class 8 has already been punished previously. Doesn’t this prove that he is a problematic student? I’m sure you didn’t do anything wrong so why take half of the responsibility, why should you be punished?”
“If you only listen to me when I told you not to call the police, then nothing would have happened.”
His mother finally stopped talking, looking sad.
She also regretted it.
In her heart, her son was a ‘good boy’ who was beaten by a student from the same school and it should be the other student’s fault, but she didn’t expect that other people thought differently.
The dean said that the video only showed two students talking and then they started fighting. At first, they pushed each other. Later, even though Zhiyuan was ‘beaten’, it could only show that the other child fought hard, but it did not mean that he was fully responsible.
Therefore, he called both students for questioning to clarify the situation. But who would have thought that they would say the same thing? After the dean counseled them for a long time, her son didn’t change his words. In the end, the responsibility was divided in half for each of them.
She regretted it to death.
Zhiyuan turned to look at her and saw the regretful and sad expression on her face. She had grown old very quickly in the past few years and she had a lot of gray hair on her sideburns. She always said that she wanted to dye it but she didn’t, and she didn’t spend money on herself for something unnecessary.
There were many things left at their home, so she didn’t want to rent it out fearing that the tenant would ruin the house. Therefore, for the next three years, they had to bear the additional rent in Dongfeng Dongli. Since many customers like them would rent houses for their children to go to school, the rent there was high.
As they walked back, Zhiyuan stretched out his arms to cuddle his mother.
He surpassed her in height when he was in middle school. As you looked from behind, hugging her like this would seem that she was the child and he was the adult.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, “I have talked with our homeroom teacher and she said that the punishment can be revoked. Our whole class has also talked with the dean and he agreed not to put it in my record as long as I entered the top class. It will be withdrawn for the reason that I have made great progress in my studies, so don’t worry.”
In the dim night, there was the sound of the young man chattering endlessly.
“Why did you come down to find me? I only came down for a short while.”
“Didn’t you work overtime again today? Why haven’t you gone to bed yet?”
“I’ll sleep later. I have a set of questions I haven’t finished yet.”
This son was filial but tough.
“You and I are the only ones left in the family. If there’s something in the future, can you discuss it with me before doing anything?”
His mother replied helplessly, “Okay, I know…”
Then, the two went home.
After the second class ended on Monday, everyone went out one after another to go to the playground.
Lichen blocked Yansheng at the door of Class 2’s room. Under the sidelong gaze of the classmates, the two of them fell behind and talked.
“I went to the dean’s office after the first class,” Lichen said, “it’s done.”
He took the initiative to take over all the responsibilities and the dean probably saw him so pleasingly for the first time. Moreover, the dean’s tone while counseling him was gentler than usual and he smiled at him for the first time.
Lichen got goosebumps.
Yansheng took a look at him.
No.1 High School required uniforms to be worn on Mondays.
Even if No.1 High School was such a good school, the appearance of the school uniform couldn’t escape the look from the outside because it was so ugly.
Lichen, who put away his playful smile and was wearing a school uniform, was actually no different from other boys except for his handsome appearance.
“Oh.” Yansheng said, “Okay, I got it.”
Then, she walked away but Lichen grabbed her arm. “It was a fair deal.”
“You want to talk about it here?” Yansheng glanced at him. “Wait for me at the subway station after school.”