After finishing their physics exam, the students didn't have much time to celebrate before the monthly exam arrived.
During lunch break, many people chose to stay in the classroom, gathering in small groups and whispering to each other.
"Hey, Chuchu, do you want to drink milk tea?" Luo Qianqian tugged at Cheng Chu's sleeve.
"Sure, do you want to order delivery?" Cheng Chu replied.
Luo Qianqian nodded and turned to Zhou Ran at the back of the class, asking, "Do you want to drink milk tea? The three of us can order together and get a discount."
Zhou Ran rubbed his eyes and said, "Sure."
Luo Qianqian immediately opened the delivery app and started selecting.
At noon, the curtains in the classroom were drawn, and a few rays of warm sunshine shone through the cracks in the curtains.
Cheng Chu looked at the empty desk of Gu Miao and said, "Qianqian, can you order two cups for me?" Luo Qianqian asked curiously, "Are you drinking two glasses by yourself?"
Cheng Chu pursed his lips and whispered, "Order a glass for Gu Miao too. It's not good for just the three of us to drink alone. Let me transfer the money to you."
"You're treating him?" Luo Qianqian squinted her eyes.
Cheng Chu replied, "He helped us a lot during the group discussions these past few days. It's only right to treat him, don't you think?"
Luo Qianqian nodded in agreement, "You make a good point."
Somehow, the cold and icy teenager had also joined their group discussions.
Although he usually stumbled over his words when answering their questions, he was still a valuable addition.
Zhou Ran chimed in, "Yeah, he's actually a pretty nice guy. I asked him some questions these past few days and he was really patient with me."
"Really?" Luo Qianqian was skeptical. She was always nervous around Gu Miao, let alone speaking to him or even looking at him.
Afternoon always made people feel drowsy.
When Gu Miao came out of the noodle shop, his mind was still a bit foggy. He checked the time and realized there were only ten minutes left until class.
He grabbed his backpack and ran towards the classroom.
A few days ago, he had applied to switch shifts with the boss due to cleaning duties at night, so he had to make up for it during lunch this week.
The winter wind was bone-chillingly cold, and Gu Miao felt his face being scraped raw.
As soon as he stepped into the classroom, the bell for preparation rang.
When he moved his chair, he noticed a cup of hot milk tea on the desk.
Gu Miao touched the cup and felt the warmth spread through his fingertips.
He turned his head in confusion and asked Zhou Ran, "What is this?"
Zhou Ran was reading with his head down, but he lifted it up when he heard him and replied. "We just ordered bubble tea delivery, buy three get one free."
Cheng Chu had instructed to say this because he had a strong sense of pride, and if she had directly asked the other boy to treat him, he would have refused.
The warmth from his fingertips was like a small stream, slowly flowing into the other boy's heart.
Gu Miao pursed his lips and said, "Thank you."
"Hey, what are you thanking me for?" Zhou Ran patted his shoulder.
After a few days of getting to know each other, Zhou Ran realized that this boy, who always seemed gloomy, was not as cold as he had originally thought.
He was like a small flame burning, and only those who were willing to get close to him could feel the weak but powerful warmth.
Zhou Ran felt a twinge of guilt in his heart. He remembered when Gu Miao was insulted by Yu Yin, he had stood coldly behind him and chosen to watch from the sidelines.
He wasn't a particularly enthusiastic person, nor would he be like Cheng Chu, fearlessly standing up to accuse those who were unfair and bullying.
But if it was his friend who was being bullied, he was willing to put aside his indifference and cowardice, stand up with courage and defend them.
After the monthly exam, the atmosphere in the class not only didn't relax, but became increasingly tense.
Today was the day to receive the results, and Cheng Chu arrived at the classroom early in the morning.
She didn't expect to be able to return to the top class, so she didn't feel particularly nervous about the results.
But others were different, especially those who were often in the top three of the class. If they entered the top 60 of the year group, it meant they had obtained a ticket to enter the top class.
A chilly wind drifted in from outside the window, but Cheng Chu, wearing a thick down jacket, didn't feel cold. As she heard the soft footsteps behind him, Cheng Chu turned around and saw Gu Miao bending down to put his backpack in its place.
In the bright morning light, the handsome young man's face was a bit pale. He was only wearing a thin jacket, and his breath seemed to carry the chill from outside.
Cheng Chu quickly stood up and closed the window, then turned to greet him. "Good morning!"
"Good...good morning," Gu Miao replied, a bit uneasy.
He lifted his gaze slightly, and the girl's smile was as bright as the winter sun outside.
Gu Miao struggled to suppress his emotions, his lips dry and slightly cracked, causing a slight stinging sensation.
He knew today was the day the grades were released. If she could make it into the top sixty of the grade, she would leave.
The time he spent with her was like a short-lived dream, as fleeting and illusory as a rainbow after the rain. It was magnificent, but disappeared in an instant. And now, it was time for the dream to end.
People like him were born to rot in the gutter, slowly decaying and becoming putrid, calmly waiting for the inevitable end.
The dazzling sun in the sky was not something he could hope for, perhaps even quietly approaching it would be burned by its intense heat.
But he was like a moth to a flame, willingly sacrificing himself without complaint.
In the depths of Gu Miao's dark and hopeless heart, a dark fantasy emerged - what if she didn't do well on the exam and couldn't return to the advanced class?
His fingers tightened slightly, and his heart was slightly relieved by this shameful fantasy.
But the next second, he wanted to slap himself.
She was such a kind and warm girl, never mocking him for his flaws, always thinking of ways to help him. Looking back at himself, he realized that his own selfish thoughts had led to such disgusting and dark ideas.
Gu Miao felt that his heart had never been so cold before. The overwhelming self-disgust was like a hazy net that trapped him tightly.
He felt as if his throat was being weighed down by a heavy and suffocating net, making it difficult for him to breathe.
After a while, he avoided eye contact and stared blankly at the empty table, motionless.
The front door of the classroom was pushed open by someone from outside, and the class monitor walked in with the grade report.
The students rushed to surround the aisle, making it impossible to pass through.
Gu Miao sat in his seat, his eyes firmly fixed on the distant crowd, his dark eyes cold and indifferent.
The class monitor's loud voice came from the crowd, "Everyone return to their seats, I will distribute the grade reports one by one."
In an instant, the noisy classroom fell silent. Everyone sat obediently in their seats, waiting for the distribution of grades.
From the beginning, Cheng Chu had not moved. She knew that she did not do well on this exam, at least not compared to her past self.
Beside her, Luo Qianqian had also been sitting still from the start. She was a standard underachiever and didn't even dare to dream of entering a top-tier class.
Luo Qianqian curiously glanced at Cheng Chu and asked, "Chuchu, aren't you curious about your own grades?"
The group of high-achieving students in the class had already surrounded the teacher to inquire about their scores.
Cheng Chu shook her head. "I'll find out eventually."
"Yeah, you're right," Luo Qianqian pouted.
Someone quietly opened the window, and a slight chill blew into the classroom.
When the class monitor approached Cheng Chu, his bangs were slightly blown up by the breeze. He reached up to adjust his bangs and casually glanced at Cheng Chu's grades, his eyes showing some surprise.
"Here." The class monitor handed her the grade slip, pursed his lips, and awkwardly added, "Don't be too upset."
Cheng Chu didn't say anything, just lowered her head to look at her own grades.
Eighth in the class, one hundred and thirtieth in the year level.
She had never ranked outside the top thirty in her year level before, with her worst grade being twenty-eighth.
Cheng Chu silently put the grade slip into her pencil case and calmly said to the class monitor, "It's okay."
Luo Qianqian was curious and wanted to ask, but after hearing their conversation, she didn't dare to. However, her eyes still curiously darted around.
There was a momentary pause in the air, and the class monitor didn't know what to say. He could only silently walk to the back and hand the remaining two grade slips to Zhou Ran and Gu Miao.
Gu Miao took the test results and glanced at them casually before setting them aside. His heart was tight, and his eyes were fixed on Cheng Chu's back without blinking.
The girl kept her head down and didn't say a word.
Was she sad because she didn't do well on the test? Gu Miao's black eyes flickered.
For a moment, he despised himself even more for his wicked intentions. Why was it that things were going the way he wanted, but he couldn't feel happy at all?
It was like a knife had been inserted into his heart, not a very sharp one, even a bit dull, but it slowly ground against his heart. He felt his heart being slowly ground down, oozing blood, inflamed, and the cold wind seeping into the wound, making it both painful and bitter.
He suddenly realized that what he didn't want to see more than the girl leaving was her being sad and upset. He wished for her to always smile, like the bright and dazzling sun.
In the classroom, the murmurs of discussion gradually grew louder, and Gu Miao faintly heard the cautious voice of Luo Qianqian.
"Chuchu, don't be sad. If you can't go back this time, there's always next time."
"Yeah, I'm fine." Cheng Chu's voice was faint, but Gu Miao could sense that she was trying to be strong.
His heart ached even more.
Translations during sleepless nights. I can sleep when I'm dead! ...Please let me sleep. Happy readers keep me awake, and lots of love and a huge thank you for supporting my hobby!
Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@ypeels.