Without even realizing it, Xie Yu's irritation and impatience faded away from his expression.
He folded the note back up and hesitated for two seconds before deciding not to throw it away in the nearby trash can.
There was something special about He Chao.
Despite his lackadaisical attitude and poor grades that left his teachers scratching their heads, He Chao still managed to impress with his carefree charm.
After class, Wu Zheng would occasionally invite him to play soccer on the field: "Hey kid, what was that you said during math class? Come to the field at noon and I'll teach you a lesson."
This had nothing to do with Xie Yu, but for some reason, every time He Chao was called out for criticism, it always seemed to involve him.
Wu Zheng pointed at Xie Yu again, "You, kid, you come too."
So, after lunch, he was taken to the exercise ground by He Chao, and even Wan Da and Luo Wenqiang came to join in to make up the numbers.
Wu Zheng's team was strong, with not only Old Tang and the history teacher from the next class, but even Head Teacher Jiang was there.
Wu Zheng was skilled at throwing chalk, but his ball skills were terrible. After all, sitting in the office every day without exercise and getting older, his body couldn't compare to young people.
"Let's do this, we'll go easy on them later." He Chao whispered during halftime, "Let the Mad Dog's side score a few more goals."
Wan Da said, "Brother Chao, this is a bit difficult. Their skills are really bad. I can't compare to you. The acting is too hard, I don't think I can act it out."
He Chao squatted down and patted Wan Da on the head, "It's not difficult, let me teach you. When he scores, you kneel down like this, and then punch the ground in deep regret for your mistake on the field..."
Wan Da listened, feeling a bit dazed, "Isn't that too exaggerated?"
"It's just an act, you can act it out yourself." Xie Yu squatted beside them, holding a bottle of water and putting the cap back on. "Don't involve others."
"This requires everyone's cooperation," He Chao continued, "You're not just anyone, you're my desk mate."
Before Xie Yu could respond, Luo Wenqiang was the first to stand up and express his disagreement, "Match-fixing seriously violates the spirit of sports! I don't agree!"
He Chao: "..."
Taking into account Old Wu's experience playing ball, they still went easy on him and followed He Chao's advice, even resorting to fake falls. But Luo Wenqiang refused to hold back, so He Chao had to play the role of a "pig teammate" and suppress Luo Wenqiang's development with all his might.
Luo Wenqiang was in agony, "What are you doing, Brother Chao? Which team are you on...Brother Yu, can you do something about him?"
Xie Yu replied, "Why me? It's none of my business."
In the end, Wu Zheng and the others played ball with great vigor and felt like they were back to being 18 years old.
They even made an appointment for the next game.
The voices in the study gradually faded away.
After listening to their argument for a long time, Xie Yu finally understood what it was about. In summary, when Zhong Jie was a child, his mother bought him a pen that was accidentally knocked to the ground by Zhong Guofei, breaking the tip and rendering it unable to write with.
For three years, this problem that had never been solved erupted at this moment.
Zhong Guofei couldn't believe that Zhong Jie, who was already so grown up, was still behaving so childishly like this.
"You two need to calm down. Arguing like this won't solve anything," Gu Xuelan chased after them from the study.
Zhong Jie grabbed his car keys and headed out. "Calm down? I'm perfectly calm."
Zhong Guofei was also angry, especially since Zhong Jie had said some really hurtful things in his rage. But he couldn't help standing at the staircase and asking, "Come back, where are you going? If you're not living at home, where would you stay?"
Zhong Jie didn't even turn his head. He was determined to be a depressed bar boy, reeking of alcohol and loneliness.
To be honest, staying at home wasn't very exciting either. After dinner, he would just retreat to his room and occasionally play games with Dalei.
Just like the post Wan Da made on his social media after returning home: "Home, becoming a salted fish, lazing to death."
"Don't go over there, can you help me out?" Zhou Dalei knew Xie Yu's gaming habits. He had never seen a player more suited for solo play than Xie Yu. He knew it, but he still couldn't get used to it after all these years. "Can't you see I'm about to die, Boss Xie? It's not you getting hit, so you don't feel the pain...Ah, fuck, I'm dead I'm dead."
Xie Yu remained unmoved. "You're noob."
"I'm noob?" Zhou Dalei joked, "It's all because of you. Who can handle a teammate as cruel as you, even more merciless than the enemy?"
Xie Yu played two rounds, checked the time, and said, "You play, I'm logging off."
Zhou Dalei felt like he had forgotten something, until Xie Yu mentioned going offline. Then he slapped his forehead and remembered, "It's Aunt Lan's birthday today."
"I almost forgot. Help me give my regards to Aunt Lan and wish her all the best, may she become more beautiful and everything goes smoothly for her," Zhou Dalei starting complaining again, "Why didn't you remind me earlier."
The guests downstairs had not left yet.
Although Madam Gu explicitly stated that there was no need to hold a special birthday banquet for her, quite a few people still came to the house one after another, and gifts were piled up on the table.
With Zhong Guofei's position in the business world, even if not many people had thought well of this wife of his, they still had to show proper etiquette.
"Why do I need to remind you?" Xie Yu closed the game interface, propped one leg on the edge of the chair, and felt a little sleepy after staring at the computer for so long, "Are you planning to give her plastic flowers again?"
"Never underestimate plastic flowers," Zhou Dalei said. "Although they may be fake, they never wither. I always give practical gifts."
"Then is it practical to give a scarf in the middle of summer?"
Zhou Dalei refused to admit any flaws in his gift-giving skills and slyly replied, "...Winter will come sooner or later."
"Then should I praise you for your skills?"
By six or seven in the evening, most of the guests had left.
The house became quiet as the servants cleaned up the fruit platters, mopped the floors, and wiped the tables. Zhong Guofei went out to see the guests off.
Feeling a bit tired, Gu Xuelan was about to go upstairs when she passed by the kitchen and saw Xie Yu inside. Xie Yu was wearing an apron around his waist, rolling up his sleeves, and carefully washing the vegetables under the tap.
The water in the pot was boiling just right, with steam rising continuously. Xie Yu used one hand to lift the lid and then added the noodles. He was very skilled in his movements, without any hesitation.
Xie Yu was no stranger to the kitchen. When Gu Xuelan was busy with work and had no time to take care of him, he either went to Mother Lei or Aunt Mei's house for dinner or cooked something simple for himself, like a bowl of noodles or fried rice.
Gu Xuelan didn't say anything and stood at the kitchen door watching.
It was a simple bowl of noodles with green vegetables, chopped scallions, and a fried egg.
The young man lowered his head, his eyes full of concentration.
Gu Xuelan couldn't help but feel emotional as she watched, her eyes becoming moist. She turned around and covered her eyes with her hand.
Xie Yu didn't say much, waiting for Gu Xuelan to finish the noodles before finally saying, "Mom, happy birthday."
Gu Xuelan nodded and responded softly.
She couldn't think of anything sentimental to say, so she simply said, "It's getting late, go to bed soon, you have class tomorrow."
Tomorrow was Monday again. Xie Yu lay in bed, about to turn off his phone, when two notifications popped up on the top of his screen, perfectly timed.
They were from his friend on WeChat, "He Chao."
- Old Xie, I found something good.
- Add WeChat 1502xxx7043, check out the homework writing service.
Xie Yu's fingers froze on the screen, and after a moment, he typed a question mark: ?
He Chao: It's for our grade, professional ghostwriting.
He Chao: Shen Jie said this person has strong professionalism, fair prices, and can even imitate handwriting so well that not even Head Teacher Jiang can tell.
He Chao: And they offer a ten-to-one compensation if caught.
Xie Yu: So what?
Xie Yu realized that his understanding of academic underachievers was still too limited, and he was simply not qualified.
- Can I use the voice chat to talk to you, is it convenient now?
Although not very interested, Xie Yu still perked up and replied: Okay.
The next second, He Chao sent an invitation.
Xie Yu didn't look closely and thought it was just a regular call.
But after confirming, He Chao appeared on the screen, having just finished showering and wearing only underwear.
He Chao hadn't even dried his hair and was barefoot on the ground, bending over and rummaging through his clothes by the bed. His shoulder blades and back were slightly tense as he moved, and a red string hung around his neck, exuding the unique energy of youth, almost exuberant.
After two seconds of silence, Xie Yu said, "What are you trying to do? Show off your sexy black underwear?"
"Fuck," He Chao was also startled, turning around with his clothes in hand, "...What's going on."
He Chao was busy getting dressed. He meant to send a voice call, but accidentally sent a video call instead.
Over on Xie Yu's end, the lighting wasn't great and it looked like he was lying in bed. He Chao quickly put on his clothes and said, "My hand slipped, don't make that face. You clearly took advantage, my body..."
"If there's nothing to say, I'm hanging up," Xie Yu replied.
He Chao stopped boasting about his body and said, "Actually, there is something. That thing about the ghostwriter."
Xie Yu didn't understand why He Chao needed to talk to him about a mere ghostwriter, so he casually asked, "Does he give a discount if we go with two sets of assignments?"
"No, that's not it," He Chao said, "That piece of paper I gave you, do you still have it? What kind of assignments was it? I can't even understand what I wrote."
With a calm demeanor and no foul language, Xie Yu "greeted" He Chao, telling him to basically fuck off and prepared to end the video call.
"You should give it a try, who knows, maybe you and my handwriting are fated for each other."
"You should ask your ghostwriter if he has such fate with your handwriting. See if he can write something as ridiculous as you," Xie Yu replied.
After finishing his sentence, Xie Yu hung up directly. The phone screen flashed back to the desktop, and the Wisdom Fruit icon, which he had forgotten to uninstall, was still quietly lying in the "Games" category, its green color particularly eye-catching.
Unconsciously, it had already become dark outside the window. The wind blew in from outside, bringing a slight chill.
Xie Yu closed his eyes, his consciousness becoming weaker and weaker, but he knew that summer seemed to be passing by quickly.
The hot and stuffy summer, when Zhou Dalei shouted "Fuck, stealing my Ziwu" on the phone and He Chao laughed while taking off his black mask, saying "I'm a mixed-blood of eight countries", is coming to an end.