"Hang in there. A true hero's ambition knows no bounds. The darkness before you is not really darkness." The sports teacher was getting tired from squatting and sat down on the ground. He checked the time and blew his whistle.
He Chao had only just pushed himself up, but now he had to lower himself back down again. He paused for a moment and realized that he couldn't keep staring at a certain little friend. If he did, he wouldn't be able to do even ten push-ups. So he turned his head slightly and his Adam's apple bobbed up and down involuntarily.
This time, He Chao didn't pause for too long. He hurriedly finished the push-up.
The two of them avoided eye contact, with He Chao staring intently at the floor of the gymnasium as if he could see flowers blooming there. He remained focused until Xie Yu asked him, "How many have you done?"
"Ah," He Chao's mind couldn't turn, and he had no interest in keeping count. "I don't know, you didn't count either?"
Xie Yu tilted his head, his eyes only able to look up diagonally. There were several beams on the top of the gym, and above them were grid-like glass panels. Xie Yu paused before saying, "No."
"There should be more than ten by now."
After He Chao finished speaking, he realized he couldn't keep his eyes on the ground. His gaze began to wander and slowly landed on Xie Yu's neck, where he unexpectedly found the line to be beautiful. Finally, he didn't know if he was talking to himself or to Xie Yu when he said, "...endure a little longer."
He could endure.
Xie Yu wanted to lift his knee and throw the person on top of him off when he first lay down. He felt like a fool, there was a test paper he could be doing but he left it untouched and came to attend a physical education class.
After calming down, he began to think about who he should kill first when he got up later.
Luo Wenqiang, who had forced Xie Yu to come to the sports class by threatening to kill himself, was training on the exercise ground. He felt a chill behind him and rubbed his arms, lamenting how much the temperature had dropped.
Although He Chao was usually very touchy-feely, he seemed quite restrained at this moment...Xie Yu felt a sense of restraint in He Chao, as if he wanted to escape and could leap away at any moment.
Xie Yu didn't know if the pounding in his ears was his own or He Chao's - especially when He Chao bent down and the two of them were briefly pressed together.
Looking at the beams above, Xie Yu vaguely felt that something was not quite right, or rather, this feeling of something being off had been present for a long time, but it was particularly strong today.
It was like there was a wild beast living in his hearts, usually dozing quietly, but today it suddenly roared fiercely and almost savagely, making him uneasy, yet inexplicably boiling with excitement.
The PE teacher used his whistle to replace all the numbers in between, making people suspect that he wanted to secretly give them more exercises. Just as they were silently grumbling, the PE teacher blew his whistle again and announced a number: "Twenty! Very good, keep it up!"
One student questioned, "Teacher, why only twenty? I feel like I did thirty."
The PE teacher remained calm and collected, "This student, you're mistaken."
Regardless of whether it was twenty or thirty, there were two groups of boys who were completely exhausted and couldn't do any more.
Even though there was a male classmate lying beneath him, and it would be a tragedy for their arms to weaken and fall directly down, it was still better than continuing to suffer through push-ups. One of them lowered their head and said, "Mr. Know-it-all, I can't do it anymore."
Wan Da: "How can you give up? How can you be so easily defeated by just fifty push-ups?"
"...I really can't do it."
More and more students gathered around. Excluding those who had been playing badminton in the gym earlier, a large group of students from different grades had joined in. Liu Cunhao also squeezed his way in, saying, "Wow, you guys are intense."
Xie Yu raised his hand to cover his forehead, feeling a headache coming on.
"Can you guys stop standing around and watching?" He Chao turned his head and said, "Especially you, Liu Cunhao. As class representative, can't you protect the dignity of our Class 3?"
Dignity? The students in Class 3 had lost all their dignity long ago.
Despite this, they still have a chance to redeem themselves with their push-up abilities, especially with several younger female students watching. It's like playing basketball and discovering girls watching from the sidelines - even if you're out of breath, you still have to show off your strong physique.
Wan Da watched as his brother above him, who had just said "I can't do it," suddenly release one hand and began doing one-handed push-ups with his left hand clenched into a fist: "..."
He Chao was amazed: "Wow, impressive! Next week, can you help our class win first place?"
Liu Cunhao led the applause: "Fu Pei, come on! Do fifty more!"
Fu Pei tightened his whole body, gritted his teeth, and continued to work hard with his head down.
Xie Yu turned his head to look and after a moment, suddenly asked, "Fu Pei? Was there someone in Class 3 with that name?"
He Chao was only three away reaching his set of fifty. As he leaned down, he took the opportunity to lean in close to Xie Yu's ear and said, "He's in the row next to ours, second to last row. He was called in by Old Tang for a talk at the beginning of the school year because of an online dating issue."
Xie Yu searched his mind but came up empty, his face showing two big words: no impression.
"I knew you wouldn't remember," He Chao propped himself up and took a breath before saying, "You've been in our class for over a month now, but what do you remember?"
From Xie Yu's angle, he could see the boy's prominent Adam's apple and the slightly messy collar of his school uniform.
After doing fifty of them, there was no way he couldn't feel anything. Plus, his nerves were on edge. After finishing the last one, He Chao felt really damn tired. He exerted force in his arms and fell to the side, landing next to Xie Yu. He said slowly, "...Fifty of them, is your brother strong or what?"
Xie Yu moved to the side and said, "Get lost. My mom only gave birth to one child, me."
Fu Pei was the best in the whole room. He managed to do over twenty one-armed push-ups and then stopped, secretly asking Wan Da, "Are there any girls watching me?"
Wan Da didn't have the heart to tell him the cruel reality. The reality was that all the onlookers, regardless of gender, were watching the two famous and outstanding boys in their class.
"If you think there are, then there are," Wan Da patted Fu Pei's shoulder. "It's time to get up."
Originally, they were supposed to switch positions, with the odd-numbered students on top for the next set of fifty push-ups. But the PE teacher clearly didn't time it well, as the bell rang just as they were about to switch.
The PE teacher looked at his stopwatch and said somewhat regretfully, "Class is over, alright now, let's call it a day."
The even-numbered students began to lament their bad luck, while the odd-numbered students didn't know whether to be happy or not. After all, they had just been lying there for half the class, but being asked to do push-ups on top of someone else didn't seem like something to look forward to.
After returning to the classroom, He Chao and Xie Yu didn't speak to each other for the entire class.
The atmosphere wasn't exactly awkward, but before, He Chao would always come over and talk endlessly. Now, He Chao suddenly became quiet, occasionally saying a few words to Xie Yu. But as soon as the conversation started, He Chao would look at Xie Yu and seem to have a brain blackout, unable to say anything.
"What exactly do you want to say?"
Xie Yu was disturbed several times, and every time He Chao just called out his name - Xie Yu, Old Xie, Deskmate - rotating through these names, but after calling him, he wouldn't say anything, which was giving him a headache.
He Chao opened his English book, pointed to it, and tried to find a question to ask: "Which page are we on?"
"The third section," Xie Yu said.
He Chao said, "Oh," and then fell silent again.
The two classmates sitting in front of them didn't know what to do, passing notes to each other: Are they having a fight? Arguing?
The note was passed all the way to the class representative Liu Cunhao. He remembered how the two school bullies were so lovey-dovey during the last PE class. While the English teacher was writing examples on the blackboard, he quickly wrote back: No, they were still glued to each other last class.
He Chao was staring at his English book like a lunatic for a while before he realized that he shouldn't be paying attention in class. He should be playing on his phone.
So Xie Yu, who was determined to fulfill his mission of playing on his phone every class, chatted with Zhou Dalei. As he was scrolling through his messages, he saw that He Chao had updated his personal signature to: Ahhhhhhhhh.
Xie Yu: "..." Did this person go mad.
Before the sports meeting, the class's uniform order had arrived as well. Old Tang specifically asked them to try on the clothes to see the effect. Then he came over from the office holding an old-fashioned camera.
The class uniform was a customized hoodie that you could just slip on. To decide what words to put on the hoodie, the class held a voting activity. There were all sorts of suggestions, such as 'Time doesn't age, we won't disperse' and 'Youth never fades'...
In the end, the voting turned into a battle between artistic and arrogant styles.
"I'm the coolest!"
"Youth never fades!"
"I'm the coolest!"
They argued until it was chaos, but then Old Tang, the Chinese teacher who had just entered middle age, came over and gave them three words: 'Love and Peace.'
He Chao took out the hoodie and shook it open. It had a plain and ordinary design, but the three words 'Love and Peace' on the back were particularly eye-catching.
Xie Yu hesitated for a long time, he didn't really want to wear it.
However, the most troubled person was Luo Wenqiang. He couldn't go to the men's restroom to change into a skirt. He Chao put on the hoodie and, with Liu Cunhao and the others, formed a human wall around him. "Don't be afraid, brother. Change boldly."
Xie Yu came back from the restroom and Wan Da shouted at him, "Brother Yu, come help us block this gap."
"Brother Chao, your little friend," Wan Da whispered to He Chao after the cold and ruthless west building boss walked by, "Do something about him?"
He Chao put his hands in his pockets and rubbed his fingers on the candy wrapper. Suddenly, he laughed and said, "I really can't do anything about him...it's more like he can do something about me."
Wan Da suddenly had the words 'henpecked husband' pop into his head, which startled him. Luckily, Luo Wenqiang had already changed his clothes and was still hiding in the corner, too embarrassed to show his face. This caught everyone's attention.
"You've changed, come out already! Hurry up, are you a man or not? Stop dilly-dallying."
He Chao took two steps back and returned to stand at his own seat. With his retreat, a certain large creature that had been curled up in the corner was completely exposed to everyone.
Luo Wenqiang scratched the wall in frustration. "...I don't want to live anymore. You cruel people have deprived me of the possibility of having a high school sweetheart. I can't find a girl in my three years of high school life."
He Chao laughed as he sat on the table.
Xie Yu also found it funny, but he felt more sympathy and decided to give the sports committee member the last bit of respect and held back from laughing.
He Chao saw him and reached out to pat his head, "Little friend, feeling unhappy?"
"Go to hell, what little friend."
Xie Yu couldn't hold back his laughter after saying that, "I don't want to be too cruel."
Tang Sen stood at the classroom door with his camera, smiling as he took a picture of them.
It wasn't a serious class photo, everyone wasn't in formation and were scattered at the back of the classroom. Luo Wenqiang cried for a while until Wan Da handed him a mirror, and he couldn't cry anymore as he was amused by himself. Xu Qingqing stood on the side with her phone, taking pictures while everyone laughed uncontrollably.
The moment was frozen in time.
This was a moment where everyone had a smile on their face, full of boundless energy and youthful exuberance.
And there were two boys in the back row.
Although only seen from behind, the two were sitting very close together, especially He Chao who was sitting on the table with a relaxed posture, without any respect for the rules and regulations.
He Chao leaned to the side, revealing half of his profile, with his fingers resting on Xie Yu's head, his fingertips lightly inserted into his hair, and a slight smile on his lips.
Meanwhile, Xie Yu seemed to have "cold and indifferent" engraved on the back of his head.
The sunlight poured in from outside the window, the almost dazzling light was covered by the curtains, and the wind blew the curtains up, revealing the desks and chairs that were never aligned, the blackboard filled with chalk writing, and all the students in the classroom, all shining brightly.
They were both wearing the same hoodie with four big words on the back: Love and Peace.