"Does any friend want to help protect our safety?" Wan Da hinted frantically. "Brother Yu, are you busy?"
Xie Yu replied, "I'm not a friend, and I'm busy."
Wan Da: "..."
Cold, as always, cold.
Wan Da looked at Xie Yu who had said his piece, but still got up and found a seat by the window. He couldn't figure out what this cold boss was thinking.
Was he willing to keep watch for them or not?
He Chao smiled and said, "You guys go ahead and play, he's keeping watch."
Wan Da was shocked and didn't quite believe it. "How do you know? How can you tell?"
Xie Yu was a lonely and proud person, extremely unsociable, and had a bad temper that would explode at the slightest provocation.
He was just one step away from having "Don't mess with me" written on his face.
During the time when the building was divided into two sections, the leader of the west building, Xie Yu, scared off countless people with rumors of his black nail polish, making him sound like a gloomy and creepy weirdo.
When Wan Da asked a question, He Chao didn't answer.
He climbed in through the window and stepped on a chair, thinking to himself, I just know.
Xie Yu was still playing with his phone, occasionally looking up outside but not noticing anything unusual before lowering his head again.
He Chao sat down in front of Xie Yu's desk, facing away from the blackboard. He looked at the people playing Fight the Landlord and then glanced up at the latest issue of the blackboard drawing from Class 3, 'My Dream.'
The blackboard drawing from Class 3 was particularly perfunctory. Looking around the entire class of over thirty students, there wasn't a single talented artist. Since they wouldn't be selected anyway, it was better not to waste time on it.
The idea was quite innovative. Each student wrote a wish on a piece of paper and stuck it with tape to form a crooked heart.
Tang Sen treated it like a treasure and took several photos with his camera.
He Chao looked away and then back at the person in front of him.
The leader of the West Building wore his school uniform with a jacket on top, probably because it was getting colder. His hands were half-hidden in his sleeves, revealing only his fingertips as he focused on tapping on his phone screen.
Xie Yu sometimes did things that made people feel particularly soft, like when he woke up during morning self-study, still drowsy and half-asleep, and said, "What does it matter to me?"
But after a while, he would gesture over a question mark to him.
His slender and fair fingers curled, with his pinky lightly hooked on the edge of his sleeve.
He knocked on the table, "Hey little friend, what's your dream?"
Xie Yu paused his conversation with Aunt Mei, asking her if the sales volume in Guangmao was high lately and suggesting to hire more people if they were short-handed. Suddenly, the topic changed and he didn't react in time, "Huh?"
Then he followed He Chao's gaze and looked back at the blackboard.
The paper was filled with random dreams, written in a heart shape and displayed for all to see. It was too cheesy for Xie Yu's taste. Besides, as a high school student, the whole world revolved around the words "college entrance exam".
When Wan Da received the blank paper, he just laughed it off, "Dream? Fudan University is my dream!"
"Never mind Fudan University, at least you can still have Fudan milk tea," Liu Cunhao mocked him, but then started to daydream himself. "As for me, I want to save the world."
Wan Da patted his head. "You should just come drink Fudan milk tea with me, stop thinking so much."
During the period of growth, one's self-identity is not yet clear, and dreams can seem quite distant.
He Chao continued to ask.
Xie Yu finished writing and then forgot about it. After thinking for a moment, he remembered, "To get rich."
He Chao thought he was being insincere by writing about world peace, but he didn't expect to be sitting next to such a talented person, "To get rich?"
Xie Yu asked, "...Do you have a problem with that?"
"No problem, that's a good dream," He Chao said. As he spoke, he remembered that he still had a personal photo that he hadn't received yet, so he knocked on the table and asked, "Where's my handsome photo?"
"Are you annoying or what? What handsome photo?"
"I posed so hard, why didn't you take a picture?"
The phrase 'posed so hard' brought Xie Yu back to that embarrassing moment when he was trying to look cool but failed miserably. "Are you kidding me?" he retorted.
"How am I kidding you?" He Chao replied. "You couldn't resist taking a picture of me."
Xie Yu thought to himself, fuck you, who couldn't resist what.
He posted the photo into his friends circle, and He Chao insisted on seeing it.
Xie Yu handed it over, and He Chao complimented, "Not bad, you have some skills. Of course, it's mainly because I'm photogenic..."
He Chao's words trailed off as he accidentally scrolled down to the comments section. To his surprise, Xie Yu, who usually kept to himself, had over fifty comments on his photo.
Looking at the names, there were aunts and mothers, grandmothers and even one labeled as "Mother Wang from the breakfast shop next door".
Aunt Mei: Son, who's that handsome guy in the middle?
XY replied to Aunt Mei: He's an idiot.
Dalei: Oh my, why does this guy look so familiar?!
XY replied to Dalei: Just a common face.
After scrolling down, He Chao realized that this friend of his was happily insulting him.
"Never mind the common face, you even told your mom that I'm an idiot?"
Xie Yu seemed to have forgotten about this comments and calmly said, "That's my godmother."
Xie Yu rarely talked about his family, so the sudden mention of a godmother in these fifty-plus comments showed that this group was made up of quite an unusual social network. He Chao asked, "You have a godmother too?"
Xie Yu gave a brief introduction, "She's my godmother, a local boss, and a street thug."
He Chao then pointed to a guy named Dalei and asked, "What about him?"
Xie Yu replied, "You met this one in the police station before."
Feeling annoyed, Xie Yu didn't know how to explain his relationship with the owner of the breakfast shop next door, so he casually said, "You're handsome, and you don't have a common face." In this way, the matter was settled.
Before returning Xie Yu's phone, He Chao quickly added his WeChat account, "I noticed you haven't even opened your QQ space. Add me as a friend?"
Xie Yu responded, "You already added me, why are you asking me."
He Chao replied, "I'm just being polite."
Xie Yu and Dalei got used to using WeChat after Aunt Mei and the others started using it.
Anyway, there weren't many classmates that needed to be contacted. In his first year of high school, he was the kind of person who completely lost touch with the rest once he exited the school. He was always offline and couldn't even receive notifications from teachers.
But now, something...seems different.
For example, his contact list has more and more friends.
And then there's the fact that Xie Yu never thought he would one day sit by the window, keeping watch for his classmates just so they could play Fight the Landlord without any worries.
'Damn, did my temper improve?' Xie Yu thought to himself.
Wan Da's self-evaluation was not an exaggeration. Not only was he unlucky, but his card skills were also terrible.
"I really admire you for being such a noob," Xu Qingqing said, winning back all the money in no time. She was satisfied and said, "Our friendship can last a lifetime."
Wan Da didn't mind losing so badly and replied, "It's my honor, Miss Xu."
He Chao sat at the desk by the window, also helping to keep an eye out for a while. "How much longer are you guys going to play?" he asked.
"Just one more round, Brother Chao. Soon," Wan Da was very excited, but he looked at the lousy cards in his hand and said, "Soon I'm about to lose."
He Chao clicked his tongue. "You seem pretty happy about it?"
Xie Yu casually remarked, "Losing every round can also be a skill."
"Yes," Wan Da nodded, "that's the feeling. I feel like I have some talent for it."
They had been keeping watch for a while, and the Mad Dog didn't show up. However, Shen Jie had been kept behind by the teacher to be scolded, and the teacher had been lecturing him since the end of class until now. Finally, when the teacher came out of the office and passed by Class 3, he stopped to watch for a while and asked, "What are you guys doing?"
Shen Jie stood by the window, looking inside and was shocked to hear Xu Qingqing shouting "Four with Three" with great enthusiasm.
"My god, a gambling den?" he exclaimed, amazed by the talent of his classmates in Class 3.
"What are you doing?" He Chao asked in response. "Aren't you going back?"
Shen Jie replied, "Wasn't there a math test this afternoon? I...had a little accident."
Wan Da didn't have any cards to play and was distracted. "I know, he got caught cheating on the math test this afternoon," he said.
Shen Jie had planned to change the subject, but Wan Da directly pointed it out. Helplessly, he said, "How do you know everything?"
Wan Da smirked and said, "In this world, there's nothing I don't know."
"Come on, stop it. You sound so smug just from eavesdropping at the wall," Shen Jie said before leaving. "Oh, by the way, Brother Chao, you mentioned something about...being, being in love..."
Shen Jie couldn't shake off the feeling that something was off about the "been in love" message He Chao had sent him. He happened to run into him and wanted to ask him about it in person. But before he could even say the word "love," he saw his Brother Chao froze. As if he had hit a nerve, he almost jumped up, half of his body leaning out the window. "Shut up, you."
"No, I just wanted to ask you," Shen Jie was confused. "About that...being..."
Xie Yu tilted his head, not sure what these two were up to. "Being?"
He Chao directly flipped out of the window, looking very nervous. His back was tense as he bent down to jump. As soon as he landed, he covered Shen Jie's mouth and took over the conversation, "Let's chat, you wanted to chat with me, right?"
Shen Jie wanted to say it was not about that, but about love. However, all that came out of his mouth were muffled sounds.
And so, he was dragged away by He Chao, still making sounds all the way.
Xie Yu: "..."
"What are they doing?" Wan Da's bragging was immediately shattered, "I feel like something's up."
Xu Qingqing said, "You just focus on your cards, you gossip king."
He Chao didn't know where to take Shen Jie. He felt like nowhere was the right place to talk about this. In the end, he just took him back to the dormitory.
Shen Jie sat in his chair, gasping for breath. Not only had his mouth been covered the whole way, but He Chao had also forcefully covered his nose. "...Brother Chao, do you know I almost suffocated to death?"
Still trying to catch his breath, Shen Jie heard He Chao ask, "So, a crush is also fine, tell me more about it?"
"What's there to tell about a crush?" Shen Jie replied. "It's like a can of Fanta, all fizzy and bloated. Or like a can that's been shaken too hard, ready to explode at any moment. And when someone finally opens it, it'll spray all over their face."
He Chao: "..."
This metaphor was quite vivid.
But he couldn't help feeling like his own can of soda was about to burst, without anyone even needing to open it.
Shen Jie walked out of the boys' dormitory and headed to the bus stop on the other side. The autumn wind made him sneeze, but he still couldn't figure out what kind of game He Chao was playing. Instead, he started craving a drink.
As he thought about it, Shen Jie realized that despite knowing He Chao for so long, he had never seen him in a relationship.
It should be easy for someone as good-looking as He Chao to find a partner, but he had been single for over a decade.
Shen Jie had even witnessed girls approaching He Chao on the street, but he would simply brush them off with a curt response, "Are you selling something? I'm not buying."
"Whenever God opens a door for someone, He will always close a window," sighed Shen Jie. Just then, the bus arrived and he fished out his transportation card while muttering, "Being handsome is also useless."