"Teacher Tang, could you turn off the fan?" Xu Xia said as she picked up the test papers. "...The noise is too loud and it might affect the English listening exam later."
Tang Sen nodded and walked over to turn off the fan.
Xu Xia held the test papers in her hand and from her angle, she only needed to slightly lift her head to see the bottom of the table.
As Xu Xia was about to stand up, Xie Yu suddenly recoiled his hand as if he had been electrocuted.
He Chao was slow to react and watched as Xie Yu lowered his head to continue answering the questions. He then blinked his eyes, closed his fingers, and once again held the paper in his hand.
Xu Xia didn't notice anything wrong.
After picking up the test papers, she looked around and then opened her book to start reading again.
Tang Sen noticed a classmate trying to cheat by flipping through the Chinese textbook to find answers for the poetry fill-in-the-blank questions. He stopped by the student's desk without saying a word and knocked on the corner of the table as a warning.
The fan slowly came to a stop.
In front of Xie Yu were four other students who were feeling anxious because the promised answers had not been passed on yet. They were running out of time to copy them.
Finally, the student at the front couldn't resist and hinted to the person behind him, "...Where are the goods?"
The person behind him replied that he didn't know and asked, "Is it still with Brother Chao? When can we get it?"
"I don't know," he replied.
"Hurry them up. We don't have time to wait anymore."
The fourth student was given a heavy responsibility, but he didn't dare to ask. Xie Yu's legend still circulated around the school. He suggested, "Why don't we just use our actual abilities..."
With the determination to showcase their true abilities, the four brothers no longer held any hope for the answers. However, He Chao was still loyal and waited for a few minutes before poking Xie Yu's back and asking, "The answer, hurry up."
Xie Yu gifted two words in response, "Get lost."
"How heartless," He Chao said. "Look up and see the melancholic and sorrowful figures of these four comrades. Doesn't your conscience ache? Don't you have any thoughts in your mind?"
"It's none of my business," Xie Yu replied.
He Chao: "..."
"There's still ten minutes left, everyone needs to hurry up," Tang Sen reminded them, glancing at his watch. "For those who haven't finished their essays, be mindful of the time and start wrapping up."
Tang Sen turned around and walked towards the podium.
During this break, Xie Yu didn't turn around. He reached back and, unlike He Chao who was fumbling around underneath, he openly pressed his hand against the edge of He Chao's desk and impatiently demanded, "The answer."
He Chao was stunned for a second before realizing what was happening and handed the crumpled paper to Xie Yu.
After receiving it, Xie Yu threw the paper forward, landing perfectly on the desk of the student in front.
He Chao came back to himself and suddenly felt like laughing.
He lowered his head, his test paper already completed, and propped his elbow on the composition paper, covering one eye with his hand. He thought to himself: This friend who says that it's 'none of his business'...is kind of cute.
Ten minutes later, the bell rang.
In the morning, they had two exams, this one was followed by an English test. No one in the exam room needed to go back and review their books. Except for those who needed to use the restroom, after everyone had turned in their papers, they continued to stay in the exam room.
Once the two invigilators had collected all the papers and arranged them in order by exam number, the students in the class stood at the door and waved to the two teachers, shouting in unison, "Friends, goodbye, friends!"
The class was chaotic, with some students playing Fight the Landlord with poker cards.
"Brother Chao, do you want to join us?" The one with the poker cards asked while dealing.
He Chao stood up and waved his hand, saying, "No, you guys play."
Xie Yu was still estimating his score, adding and subtracting on a piece of paper several times.
He Chao walked over to Xie Yu's side and bent down to take a look, but before he could see anything, Xie Yu flipped the paper over.
"What did you write? You're so stingy," He Chao didn't care and changed the subject, casually asking, "Do you need to go to the bathroom?"
Xie Yu couldn't quite understand why some people liked to go to the bathroom in groups, was it that they couldn't pee alone or what. In a poor mood, he put down his pen and sneered, "...What for? Do you need someone to hold it for you?"
His deskmate was too heartless, so He Chao rubbed his nose and went by himself.
After washing his hands, he wandered around outside for a while, greeting at least ten people along the way. The level of familiarity was as if the whole grade was his buddies.
"Brother Chao," someone else poked their head out of the classroom and called to him. Leaning against the window, he said, "Haven't seen you in so many days."
He Chao stopped in his tracks and glanced at the class number before leaning against the wall to talk to him. "Taking the exam in Class 5? You're doing pretty well, kid. Your grades have improved a lot."
"Not at all, not at all, you know me best. The bigger the courage, the higher the grades. Last time, I accidentally copied too much during the exam."
As he spoke, the man pulled out a box of cigarettes from his pocket and gestured to offer him one. "Want one?"
As he was about to pull one out, he suddenly exclaimed, "Fuck!" and stuffed the cigarette back in.
Xu Xia walked past the door of Class 7 in high heels.
After Xu Xia had walked away, he wanted to take out the cigarette again, but He Chao waved his hand. "I don't smoke."
He Chao said again, "I quit."
There were still more than ten minutes before the next exam began.
He Chao didn't go back to the classroom. Instead, he went to a deserted area near the academic affairs office and found a random step to sit on. He took out a lollipop from his pocket, with an orange outer layer, and tore open the candy wrapper in just a few tugs before stuffing it into his mouth.
With the lollipop in his mouth, He Chao lowered his head to send a text message to Xie Yu.
It was just a cold joke he had seen online, one that was both cold and awkward. He could already imagine what Xie Yu would say if he sent it - "Boring, blocked, go away."
Before he could send the joke, he heard footsteps approaching from behind, gradually getting closer. The sound of high heels tapping on the floor made a rhythmic "tata" sound.
He Chao didn't turn around, but the person who happened to pass by stopped in their tracks.
"He Chao, what's going on?!" Xu Xia held the exam papers and stood at the staircase.
Since the incident with Yang Wenyuan, Xu Xia has been holding a grudge against He Chao. In her mind, Yang Wenyuan was a separate matter, and she just misjudged him that time. But He Chao's image in her eyes has never changed - he is a notorious delinquent.
Xu Xia couldn't hold back her anger and said, "What do you think this school is? Can you smoke in school? I turned a blind eye to you in the hallway just now, don't you have any self-awareness? Look at yourself, what kind of person do you look like?"
She saw a student giving cigarettes to He Chao in the hallway, and now she vaguely saw him holding something in his mouth at the staircase. Xu Xia didn't take a closer look, but her intuition connected the dots.
Before Xu Xia could finish her sentence, she heard He Chao suddenly laugh.
The young man stood up against the wall with one hand, tall and thin, pleasing to the eye. His school uniform was loose, and you could vaguely see his waistline following the movement of the fabric.
"Self-awareness?" He Chao was two heads taller than Xu Xia. He walked down a step and looked at her. "...What kind of person do I look like?"
He Chao's tone was sweet but not so pleasant: "Teacher Xu, is your eyesight not very good?"
Seeing that it was candy, Xu Xia couldn't say anything more. She avoided He Chao and took two steps forward, wanting to go downstairs directly.
He Chao blocked her way: "You're in a hurry, and I'm in a hurry too. Why don't you quickly apologise."
"You apologize," He Chao said again, "and also for last time, say sorry before you go."
Xu Xia really looked down on He Chao from the bottom of her heart. How could she humble herself like this?
He Chao smiled and said, "Is it really that difficult? As they say, teachers should be role models. Can't you even say three words of apology when you make a mistake or say something wrong?"
Xu Xia stood there without saying a word.
On the radio, Head Teacher Jiang began actively broadcasting the precautions for the next exam: "Teachers of each class, please check the listening equipment. We will first play a segment of an English broadcast and adjust the volume..."
Although He Chao smiled on the surface, his eyes were full of anger, and his whole body was filled with sharp and dangerous energy, as if the strength he usually kept hidden had all been released.
Xu Xia felt a strong sense of oppression.
Just when she thought He Chao was about to explode, the young man suddenly stepped back two steps to the side and leaned against the wall, making way for her.
He Chao crunched the candy in his mouth, leaving only the stick.
After a few seconds of hesitation, Xu Xia walked past him and turned the corner halfway down the stairs. Suddenly, He Chao called out to her again, "Is it because of my poor grades?"
Xu Xia looked up at the corner of the stairs, but from her angle, she couldn't see He Chao's expression.
He Chao held the white plastic stick and said, "Is it because of my poor grades that you see me as that kind of person?"
Suddenly, Xu Xia felt as if invisible hands were choking her neck. She wanted to speak, but couldn't.
The English invigilators were Tang Sen and the history teacher from the next class.
He Chao was ten minutes late.
As soon as He Chao walked in, the whole class could tell that something was off about him. Tang Sen wanted to grab him and ask why he was late for the exam, but He Chao didn't waste any time with small talk and just said at the door, "Latecomers can't take the exam?"
This left Tang Sen speechless, "Uh...no, it's just that next time..."
He Chao walked past him and went straight to his seat.
"Damn, he's so cool."
"What's up with Brother Chao's mood..."
"...What's going on?"
"The test papers have been handed out, check the listening section, it's about to start." Tang Sen said while looking towards He Chao. He repeated the question he had asked earlier when He Chao wasn't there, "For the reading section, in passage A, question three, there are two repeated options, change option C to the one on the blackboard."
Xie Yu leaned back a bit and asked, "What's wrong with you?"
He Chao knew he had lost his composure just now, not only that, but his emotions were also quite childish. After the emotions were released, he calmed down a lot. He scratched his hair and said, "It's nothing, just a small matter."
After he finished speaking, he raised his hand and said to Tang Sen, "Teacher, I will definitely pay attention next time."
This emotional transition was as fast as a tornado.
Tang Sen was also really unable to figure out this child, and could only say "okay" thrice in a daze.
Halfway through the exam, He Chao had already finished the test paper and was about to lie down and take a nap. Just as he rested his arm and closed his eyes, he heard two knocking sounds coming from below.
He half-opened his eyes and didn't move, "Little friend, what are you doing?"
Xie Yu used his finger to knock twice, making a crisp sound, "Hand, down there."
He Chao reached down and found a piece of paper.
Opening it, he saw only a question mark.
This was probably the highest level of care from his cold-hearted desk mate.
He Chao was content.
He thought he could write a long passage reflecting about how moved he was from being cared for by the "cold-blooded killer", filling the entire paper. But when he picked up the pen, he paused, the ink spreading out into a blot. He hesitated, and in the end, only wrote six words.
- What kind of person am I like?