Today is the last day of the semester.
Haishi No. 1 High School has always been generous with their vacation time, perhaps because they understand how eager the students are for a break. The school even skipped the usual review of exam papers and went straight to the closing ceremony.
The grades haven't been released yet, but the teachers say they will be sent to parents' phones via text message during the break.
The students are all complaining, saying they would rather die than wait any longer.
But all in all, the Spring Festival is just around the corner.
The closing ceremony was held in the small auditorium, and after it ended, everyone returned to their classrooms. The teachers handed out winter break homework and said a few symbolic words before announcing the end of the semester.
The classroom erupted into chaos, with noise and excitement filling the air.
Cheng Chu leisurely packed up the things in the storage cabinet, because the classroom was going to be renovated during the holiday, and everything had to be cleared out.
She usually liked to stuff things into the cabinet, so it took her a lot of time to tidy up.
Most of the people in the class had left, and the empty classroom was filled with the cold winter wind. Cheng Chu crouched on the ground, shivering from the cold.
Suddenly, Gu Miao walked up to her.
He pursed his lips, crouched down, and silently helped her tidy up the useless test papers.
The winter school uniform at No. 1 High School was actually not warm enough. In the harsh winter of the coastal city, it was as thin as paper. Many people would wear a down jacket over their school uniform or wear a thick sweater inside.
However, Gu Miao did not have one. The loose and thin winter school uniform he was wearing highlighted his already slender figure. He crouched on the left side of Cheng Chu, facing the windy corridor, blocking most of the cold wind for her.
"I'll do it myself." Cheng Chu looked at his slightly pale lips and reached out to take the roll of paper from his hand.
But Gu Miao was quick and dodged it in one move.
He lowered his eyes and looked at her messy locker, saying, "It's okay, let's do it together and finish quickly."
Cheng Chu knew that rejecting him would only waste time.
He was always stubborn, and unless he voluntarily gave up something, others could not force him. She pursed her lips, lowered her head, and silently accelerated her movements.
The two of them worked together to tidy up and the speed was indeed much faster. In no time, the pile of waste paper was sorted out.
"I'll walk you home, you can go now," Gu Miao said.
This was probably the last time he would walk her home.
When the next semester came and she returned to the advanced class, there would be no chance again.
The city rarely snowed, but the January wind was damp and cold, and the chill seemed to seep into their bones.
They walked side by side.
The holly trees along the path were still lush and green.
Gu Miao didn't ride his bike today, he thought that maybe this way they could walk together for a longer time.
The winter sun shone through the holly trees, casting a warm glow around the two of them.
Cheng Chu felt her body warming up a bit.
She looked up and asked Gu Miao, "Do you work at the milk tea shop yesterday?"
A few rays of sunshine shone on the young and handsome face of the boy.
He lowered his eyes and nodded slightly.
Because it was located next to the school, the noodle shop usually didn't open during winter and summer vacations, so he had to find a new job.
"Yesterday's bread was delicious, thank you," Cheng Chu smiled.
When she got home yesterday, she found several loaves of bread stuffed in the bag that held her records.
"Did you make these?" she asked curiously.
Gu Miao shook his head. He had just been hired by a milk tea shop yesterday, but he knew how to cook, make noodles, and bake bread.
In the winter, his eyes shimmered like ripples on a calm lake.
"Next time, I'll bring you some that I made," he said in a low, husky voice, his eyes filled with anticipation.
Would she be willing to eat them?
A few green leaves from the holly tree on the side of the road fell and twirled, landing on the girl's shoulder.
A faint smile spread across her bright peach blossom eyes.
"Sure, remember to bring it to me," she said.
Gu Miao lowered his head, his fingers curling unconsciously.
The start of the school year...
The hope in his eyes gradually faded.
Would he have a chance to see her again after school started?
Like a thief stealing time, he immersed himself in joy, like an addict addicted to drugs. The happiness that gradually rose within him burned away what little rationality he had left.
He gradually forgot how despicable he was.
Like a rat in a sewer, he lived humbly in the darkness, never seeing the sunlight.
Gu Miao's hand, which had been hanging at his side, was already clenched so tightly that his knuckles turned white.
The pain was like the rising tide, gradually surging up to the tip of his cold heart.
He lowered his gaze and looked at the girl.
The morning light shone through the holly trees and fell on the girl. Her bright peach blossom eyes were like clear water, reflecting his figure brilliantly.
Gu Miao's heart trembled.
He spoke, his voice hoarse with suppressed emotion, "Um, I'll bring, it to you at school."
Cheng Chu's house was very close to the school, so close that Gu Miao felt like only a few seconds had passed.
The morning community was clean and bright, with a fountain at the entrance spraying clear water, creating a beautiful halo in the sunlight.
"I'm here," Cheng Chu said.
The young man's pale face was hidden in the shade of the trees. After a while, he looked up at her.
Those eyes, like the quiet darkness of the night, seemed to pass through the cold wind of January in the city and gently enter her eyes.
Cheng Chu couldn't understand the melancholy emotion in his eyes, as if it was about to drip with water.
"Is it because we couldn't meet during winter break that you can't bear to part?"
She lowered her head slightly and pulled out a CD from her backpack, handing it to him.
The boy seemed surprised as he looked down at the CD in his hand. "What's this?"
"It's a gift for you, for the new year," the girl's eyes sparkled like the bright winter sun.
It was a beautifully packaged CD, with the words "Chopin Nocturnes Complete Works" written in bold on the plastic wrap.
The girl's clear voice echoed through the cold winter day in the city, "It has the song I played for you last time. If you like it, you can listen to it when you go back."
The boy's hand trembled as he held the CD, his Adam's apple bobbing a few times before he spoke heavily, "I...I haven't prepared a new year's gift for you yet."
He hung his head and his dark eyes were filled with disappointment and self-blame. "You can consider the bread you gave me yesterday as a New Year's gift," Cheng Chu said with a smile.
Gu Miao Wei pursed her lips. "But, how can that be?"
It was too hasty and not valuable enough to be considered a gift.
"If you feel it's not enough, just bring me the bread you make yourself when school starts next semester," she said with a clear and joyful voice, as if the cold wind around them had suddenly turned warm.
But Gu Miao's heart was filled with a bitter pain.
The words "next semester" felt like a poisonous knife that stabbed into his heart, making him feel a crushing pain with every breath.
Not far away, the mist from the fountain seemed to brush against his face, bringing a slight chill.
He lowered his gaze and after what seemed like a long time, he hoarsely said, "Okay, I'll bring it to you next semester."
The holiday had only just begun when the grades were released.
Cheng Chu unexpectedly ranked second in the class and fiftieth in the grade. This score was enough to enter the key class.
Upon seeing the results, Fu Rong was overjoyed and immediately transferred 100,000 yuan to Cheng Chu as a New Year's gift and bonus.
After hearing the news, Cheng Yue, her older brother, also transferred 100,000 yuan to her.
In just one day, her account had a lot more money.
Feeling like she was on top of the world, she forwarded the text message of her results from Fu Rong's phone to her own and read it over and over again.
The first place in the class must be Gu Miao!
She was ecstatic as she looked at the small number 2 behind the class ranking.
After the exam, the two of them also checked their answers for the English test.
It was no surprise that Gu Miao could score over 100 in English, as his Chinese was always average and he excelled in all the science subjects.
Therefore, he must be the one who got first place.
Thinking about the scene of transferring to the prestigious class together next semester, Cheng Chu excitedly rolled on the bed.
Fu Xun knocked on the door and said, "Auntie said guests have arrived and asked you to come down."
During the Spring Festival, there are always visitors coming to pay their respects.
The Cheng family has a large business and countless business friends. They usually choose to visit the family before the Spring Festival.
The family that came today is surnamed Dong.
The middle-aged man with a red face smiled kindly when he saw Cheng Chu, "It's been so long, Chuchu has grown taller and lost weight."
Fu Rong quickly added with a hint of pride in her tone, "Oh, our Chu Chu is just too diligent in studying. Usually, she studies until midnight every day."
"Oh my, I envy you so much. Our child is driving me crazy, never studying and always playing games."
Fu Rong smiled so much that the corners of her eyes crinkled. "Your child is only in junior high, no need to worry. They haven't matured yet. Just like my eldest, his grades were not good in junior high, but once he reached high school, it was like a lightbulb turned on. He even got into a prestigious university."
Cheng Chu couldn't help but roll her eyes. Her brother had always been a good student.
Mrs. Dong chuckled at Fu Rong's words.
"Your words put me at ease. Our little troublemaker may have a sharp mind, but lacks patience. Take piano for example, he only studied for two days before giving up. Unlike Chu Chu, who has persevered until now."
From the moment Fu Rong's mouth curled up, she never stopped smiling. Now, after hearing what Mrs. Dong said, she was even happier.
She beckoned to Cheng Chu, "Come on, Chu Chu. Since all the adults are here, why don't you play a song for Uncle Dong and Aunt Dong?"
Cheng Chu never expected to have to perform for parents at her age.
Four pairs of eyes stared at her, leaving her with nowhere to hide. She stiffened her body and sat down at the grand piano in the living room, playing the simplest tune.
The crystal chandelier in the room reflected a dazzling light. As the music gradually faded, Mrs. Dong was the first to applaud.
"You played so well!" she exclaimed, praising Cheng Chu repeatedly. Then she turned to Fu Rong and asked, "I heard that Chu Chu has won many awards since she was young. Is she preparing to audition for the Haiyin Conservatory or another music school?"
"Music is a tough road to take. I just hope our children can have a stable life and attend a regular university," said Fu Rong.
There was a moment of silence in the living room.
Cheng Chu's hands stiffened, feeling helpless after hearing Fu Rong's words. She stood in the corner, dazed and didn't say a word for a while.
"Indeed, indeed," Mr. Dong nodded in agreement.
After the two left, the spacious living room became empty and lifeless.
Cheng Chu bit her lip and said to Fu Rong, who was cleaning the tea set, "I want to apply for the Haiyin Conservatory."
Fu Rong's hand trembled, and her tone was unnatural, "Let's talk about this later."
Cheng Chu was already in her second year of high school. If she wanted to apply for a music academy, she should start preparing now.
Cheng Chu's stubbornness arose, and she said coldly, "Why should we talk about it later?"
"Chuchu," Fu Rong suddenly put down her teacup, the white porcelain cup making a crisp sound as it hit the glass table.
"How can you talk to your mother like that?"
"I'm doing this for your own good. Learning piano is so difficult, and there are so many talented and hardworking people out there. Only a few can succeed. You should just go to a regular university, graduate, work in our family's company with your brother and father's protection, find someone from a similar background to marry, and live a stable life. Isn't that better?"
"No, it's not." Cheng Chu cried out, holding back her tears. "That's not the life I want."
Fu Rong always arranged Cheng Chu's life according to her own wishes, without understanding what Cheng Chu truly wanted.
It was like a long time ago, when Cheng Chu had already received an offer from a music school.
The day she received the news, the sky was clear and sunny.
She ran home with joy in her heart, not even taking off her backpack before rushing into the bedroom to tell Fu Rong the news.
But Fu Rong only smiled with relief and advised her to go to a better high school.
She was unwilling, but Fu Rong said that she could still play the piano as a music special talent student.
So in the end, she compromised.
But it wasn't until today that Cheng Chu realized that from the beginning, Fu Rong didn't support her continuing to play the piano.
To her, the piano was just a pastime, a tool to show off to friends after dinner.
A mixture of grievances and anger surged up in Cheng Chu's heart, and a slight wetness appeared in her eyes.
She lowered her head to conceal her emotions, wiped her eyes, and quickly ran back to her room, slamming the door shut with a loud "bang". The world suddenly fell silent, so quiet that she could almost hear the sound of plum blossoms falling in the garden.
Cheng Chu lay on her bed, feeling the pillow gradually becoming damp.
The room was heated, and the temperature was comfortable, but Cheng Chu inexplicably felt short of breath and chest tightness.
She sat up, wiped away her tears, took her wallet and phone from the table, and walked out of the room.
"Where are you going?" Fu Rong sat elegantly on the sofa on the first floor, holding a freshly brewed cup of rose tea.
The light in the living room reflected on her well-maintained face, and she looked up at Cheng Chu.
Her peach blossom eyes, so similar to Cheng Chu's, were filled with a hint of coldness.
"Just going out for a walk." Cheng Chu pursed her lips, put on her snow boots, and turned around, slamming the door shut with a loud "bang".
The chill of winter felt like knives slicing through Cheng Chunen's delicate face as she boldly stepped into the icy cold of the city wearing only a thin sweater.
Behind her, the door opened and Fu Xun chased after her.
"Where are you going?" The usually lazy teenager's voice was now filled with urgency.
"I'm just taking a walk. You go back," Cheng Chunen replied.
"Your aunt will worry about you like this." Fu Xun looked at the girl's usually smiling face, now filled with coldness, and spoke cautiously. "I'll have the driver take you."
As he spoke, he immediately called the driver.
Cheng Chunen shivered from the cold, but going back inside now would be too cowardly.
Although it was noon, the weather today was gloomy, with only the sound of the cold wind whistling by.
The driver quickly pulled up and got out of the car to open the door for Cheng Chu.
"Don't follow me," Cheng Chu said coldly as he got into the car and saw Fu Xun bending down to get in as well.
"My aunt asked me to follow you," Fu Xun replied.
Cheng Chu's rebelliousness surged up and she slammed the car door shut with a loud "bang". Through the crack in the window, she spoke loudly and clearly: "Don't. Follow. Me."
"Go to Changming Road," she turned her head and spoke to the driver in a softer tone.
The driver's hand on the steering wheel stiffened and he hesitated as he looked at the young master standing outside the car.
Should he drive or not?
Unexpectedly, the young master said nothing, put his hands in his pockets, and turned to walk away.
The car was filled with a light floral scent from the car diffuser as Cheng Chu absentmindedly watched the crowds outside rushing by.
Despite the pleasant aroma, she felt stifled and restless.
"We're here," the driver said cautiously, observing Cheng Chu's cold expression through the rearview mirror.
Cheng Chu snapped out of her daze and replied, "Thank you."
Without waiting for the driver to open the door for her, she got out of the car.
The chilly street was sparsely populated with people bundled up in thick clothing, hurrying along. As the Lunar New Year approached, the bustling city shed its flashy exterior, revealing its serene beauty.
The howling wind caused the dry branches on the roadside to tremble slightly. Cheng Chu hugged herself and stepped into the milk tea shop on the corner.
The shop was empty except for a few people sitting in the corner.
"Hello, may I take your order?" the polite cashier asked.
Through the glass window, Cheng Chu saw the young man with his head down, his cold eyebrows slightly furrowed, and his knobby hands vigorously kneading the snow-white dough.
"I'll have a taro milk tea," Cheng Chu said, looking down.
He's working, I shouldn't disturb him, Cheng Chu thought to herself.
On this gloomy winter day, the bright lights in the shop strangely lifted Cheng Chu's mood.
"What time do you guys finish work?" she couldn't help but ask, looking at the young man working diligently through the glass window.
The shop assistant was a bit surprised, looking at the beautiful young girl in front of him.
Under the bright lights, her porcelain-like face was slightly tilted upwards, with a few strands of hair half-covering her face. The most beautiful thing about her were her peach blossom eyes, with the corners slightly upturned, carrying an indescribable charm.
His cheeks couldn't help but turn red, "Probably around 6 pm."
"Oh." The girl nodded with disappointment. "It's so late."
"Is everyone working late, including the ones making bread inside?" The girl suddenly looked up and asked.
"Ah, him? He can leave at three in the afternoon," he replied, glancing at the clock on the wall.
It was only 1:10 pm. There was only less than two hours left.
Her frustration vanished in an instant, and a smile spread across her face.
"Okay, thank you." She held her freshly made taro milk tea and took a few steps before turning back. "Don't tell him, okay?"
The cashier watched the girl sitting in the corner and pouted with disappointment.
Turns out she was waiting for someone.
Soft music flowed through the shop, and a hanging spider plant with long green leaves blocked Cheng Chu's view from her seat. Sipping on her milk tea, she peered through the leaves at the bright and clean kitchen.
The young man wore a snow-white chef's uniform that accentuated his clean features. His dark eyes were lowered, like obsidian that concealed his radiance.
In fact, he was quite handsome, with a youthful charm that differed from the silent and imposing Chief Gu that he would become in the future.
Cheng Chu remembered when they had just gotten married and moved into his new villa.
In the living room, there was an antique grand piano that she thought was just for decoration. It wasn't until one day during dinner that the usually reticent Gu suddenly spoke up.
He furrowed his brows, tightened his jaw, pursed his thin lips, and pondered for a while before asking, "You've never played the piano downstairs, have you?"
Cheng Chu only glanced at him in surprise and coldly said, "I don't like playing the piano."
He listened to her response, lowered his head, and didn't say anything more.
Later, she learned that the piano was specially bought for her by him, who had gone to great lengths to persuade an antique piano collector overseas to get it.
He had bought the piano with great difficulty, but had never played it himself.
The milk tea in her hand had long lost its warmth, and tasted a bit dull and sweet.
Cheng Chu's heart was gradually filled with bitterness. She looked up at the clock on the wall and realized it was already 3:10.
The tall figure of the young man was no longer visible through the glass window.
Cheng Chu put down her milk tea and anxiously stood up.
The door next to the cashier's desk creaked open, and Gu Miao walked in with a paper bag in hand. Despite the weariness in his eyes, he was caught off guard by the sight of the girl in front of him.
His hand trembled involuntarily, causing the fragile paper bag to shake and rustle.
She wore a simple beige sweater, and her long black hair flowed like ink. Her sparkling peach blossom eyes seemed to capture the entire brightness of winter.
The winter days in the city were gloomy and gray, but she stood there, vibrant and alive, like the only ray of light in a dark world, crashing into his heart.
Gu Miao's heart trembled, and he blinked, as if trying to confirm whether everything in front of him was real.
"Gu Miao," the girl ran up to him, looking up at him with a smile. "Are you off work?"
The crisp sound entered his heart slowly and leisurely.
It was actually true.
The weariness seemed to melt away like winter snow touched by sunlight, and the trembling in his heart had not yet subsided.
He answered softly, "Mm."
"When, did you come?"
"Not long ago, about ten minutes. I didn't want to disturb you since you were working," Cheng Chu smiled.
Gu Miao lowered his gaze, his eyelashes trembling uncertainly. "Next time, just call me when you come."
"Okay." The girl nodded seriously. "Where are you going next? Have you had lunch? Let's go eat together."
A series of questions left him at a loss for how to answer, so he could only stare at the girl dumbly and say, "Anything is fine."
As long as I'm with you, anything is fine.
He looked at her with lowered eyes, his gaze full of affection. There was a tenderness that was absent in the winter day.
Cheng Chu's heart trembled under that gaze.
"Let's go, let's go. Did you ride your bike today?" She asked hastily, trying to hide her feelings.
"Then I want to sit on the back of your bike."
Gu Miao: She actually came to find me on her own. Is this real??
Let's plan a date next.
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.