Approaching Gu Miao was not as easy as expected.
Every day, as soon as class ended, Cheng Chu's desk was surrounded by people.
They seemed to have countless curiosities about her, bombarding her with all sorts of questions.
Thinking about having to interact with these classmates for over a year, Cheng Chu patiently answered each and every one of their inquiries.
Yes, Cheng Chu had unilaterally chosen to stay in this class, regardless of whether or not she would have the opportunity to return to the advanced class in the future.
In her past life, being "exiled" to a regular class had left her with a chip on her shoulder, believing that going from an advanced class to a regular class was a disgrace.
So for the past two months in this class, she had put all her effort into studying and hadn't really focused on building relationships with her classmates.
This had also led to her not being very familiar with anyone in the class. In her distant and faded memories, she recalled the class leader and a few particularly active classmates, but hardly had any impression of the others.
Their enthusiasm, however, warmed her heart.
Soon it was time for dismissal, and the last class was a self-study session. As soon as the bell rang, everyone rushed out of the classroom like a swarm of bees.
Cheng Chu had intended to turn around and say a few words to Gu Miao, but the homeroom teacher called her directly to the office.
There were only a few teachers sitting sporadically in the office.
Homeroom teacher Lin Yue adjusted her glasses and kindly asked, "Cheng Chu, how was your first day in the class?"
"It was great," Cheng Chu smiled and nodded. "My classmates were all very nice to me."
"That's good. There's no need for you to come here if there's nothing urgent. I was just worried that you might have trouble adjusting to your new class. It's getting late, so you should go home now," said Lin Yue.
She had a soft spot for this student and had treated her with special care when she taught her in her first year of high school.
As Cheng Chu walked out of the office, the sky was filled with a crimson sunset. The clouds were layered one on top of the other, like something out of a fairy tale.
His phone vibrated twice in his pocket. Cheng Chu opened it and saw that it was a text message from Aunt Zhao. She said that her son was sick and asked if she could take two days off.
Cheng Chu replied with a "okay" and asked if her son's illness was serious and if she needed any help.
Aunt Zhao replied gratefully, saying that her son had only been injured and needed someone to take care of him, but it wasn't too serious.
A chilly breeze blew through the campus as Cheng Chu walked and texted. When she finished the conversation, she realized that she had already arrived at the school gate. The sky had already darkened, and warm yellow street lamps filled the streets.
Across from the school were many snack shops, each with colorful LED signs that made people dizzy.
Among this group of "flashy and cheap" shops, one shop stood out.
Unlike the others, it didn't try to pile on all the colors in its sign. Instead, it chose an extremely bright red, which made it even more eye-catching.
Cheng Chu remembered this shop. She had eaten there once in her sophomore year, and the food was delicious. But when she tried to go back later, she found that the shop had closed.
Aunt Zhao had taken the day off, so Cheng Chu had to take care of dinner herself. Without hesitation, she walked into this shop with light steps.
The shop was empty, probably because Cheng Chu had left the school gate very late and missed the mealtime. In front of the cash register, there was only a young man lazily sitting there. When he heard footsteps, he slowly put down his phone.
He saw Cheng Chu and his eyes lit up.
He stood up and was very courteous, saying, "Student, what would you like to eat?"
Cheng Chu looked at the menu and said, "Three Fresh Rice Noodles with a fried egg."
The young man scratched his head apologetically and said, "I'm sorry, we're sold out of fried eggs today. How about trying something else? Our braised tofu is also very popular."
Cheng Chu was used to eating noodles with a fried egg and wasn't interested in the braised tofu.
"That's okay, I'll pass on the egg," she said.
The young man didn't try to persuade her any further and said confidently, "Okay then, just sit and wait. It won't be long."
To maintain a fresh atmosphere in the dining area, the cash register and kitchen were separated by a small window used to deliver food.
Standing in the misty kitchen, Gu Miao briefly doubted his own ears. How else could he have heard her voice?
He bent down and looked out the small window, where he saw her slender figure.
The girl was carefully wiping the table with a few pieces of tissue paper, her high ponytail swaying with each movement, stirring Gu Miao's heart.
It was really her!
Gu Miao's cold black eyes flickered, and he stood rooted to the spot. The steam and mist in the kitchen covered his glasses with a hazy layer, making his vision blurry. He took off his glasses and slowly approached the window.
Suddenly, a bald head with a greenish tint appeared in his line of sight.
"One bowl of three fresh rice noodles, you heard it just now, right?"
As Gu Miao came to his senses, he returned to the stove in a daze and boiled the rice noodles in the pot, stirring them with long chopsticks.
The boiling water in the pot rose and bubbled like little fish.
Gradually, Gu Miao's scattered thoughts became clear as he looked at the rice noodles in the pot. Suddenly, he remembered the girl's words.
Did she say she wanted a fried egg?
The fried eggs in the shop were indeed sold out, but there was a convenience store on the next street that should sell raw eggs.
If he ran faster, he should be able to make it.
With this in mind, Gu Miao didn't even have time to take off his apron. He opened the kitchen's back door and ran into the vast night.
The wind at night was blowing, and it messed up Gu Miao's hair. He felt as if his heart had floated up to the sky, stepping on the light and fluffy clouds.
He ran so fast that he could make it there and back in just a few minutes. When he returned, not even the cashier noticed that he had gone out.
The noodles in the pot were cooked perfectly, and Gu Miao placed the freshly fried egg on top of them before ringing the bell.
"Hey, there are eggs in the shop? Did you just fry them?" The cashier leaned in at the small window, looking puzzled.
Gu Miao pursed his lips and nodded. The shop was filled with the rich aroma of rice noodles.
"Thank you." Cheng Chu took out his chopsticks from the table and only then noticed the fried egg in his bowl.
She asked in confusion, "Hey, didn't you say there weren't any?"
The cashier smiled apologetically, "The kitchen suddenly had some, so we fried one up fresh."
Usually, the fried eggs in noodle shops are pre-cooked and left there for anyone who orders them.
Cheng Chu stirred her noodles and smiled, "Well, thank you to the chef then."
The shop was empty and quiet. Gu Miao stood behind the small window, listening to her clear and pleasant voice.
His fingers trembled slightly.
The white mist that surrounded him suddenly turned into warm feathers, brushing against his cheeks one after another.
The warmth and itchiness seemed to penetrate his heart, causing it to tremble uncontrollably.
There was only one customer in the shop, Cheng Chu. Gu Miao stood silently until she paid and left with her backpack, and only then did he snap out of his trance.
The temperature difference between day and night in the coastal city was significant. It wasn't until nightfall that the city was enveloped in the cold of winter.
In the pitch-black darkness, Gu Miao lay on his bed, staring blankly at the ceiling, with the girl's smiling face echoing in his mind.
The cold wind seeped through the window crack, filling the already small room with a sudden chill. As Gu Miao thought of her, he felt a fire ignite within him, causing his entire body to feel hot and feverish.
For a year, two months, and three days, he had been secretly in love with Cheng Chu. Finally, he had the courage to speak to her again, even if it was just two short words.
The first time he saw Cheng Chu was at the freshman welcome party. She sat behind a grand piano, her head slightly bowed as she played a beautiful melody.
She seemed to radiate a natural glow, captivating everyone's attention with just her presence.
Gu Miao stood among the crowd, gazing at her like she was the moon on a dark night, beautiful but unattainable.
They were two people from different worlds, destined to never cross paths.
But he couldn't help but pay attention to her news. He learned from others that she was a music special enrollment student with excellent grades. Just a month after entering school, many boys had already confessed to her.
Gu Miao was often saw Cheng Chu in the corridor, and there was always a group of people around her like stars. He hid in the dark and didn't even dare to say a word to her.
Because he stuttered.
He was not born with a stutter. Before junior high school, although he was quiet, he could still communicate smoothly with others.
But on a normal evening, the hallway was filled with the smell of food, and Gu Miao, who had returned home from school, stood in front of his door and smelled a strong smell of blood.
He opened the door and saw his parents lying in a pool of blood, already breathless. As a newly enrolled middle school student, he was so scared that his hands and feet were trembling, his mind was blank, and even breathing became difficult.
It wasn't until a passing neighbor noticed something was wrong that the police were called.
The police quickly caught the criminals, a gang of home invaders who happened to run into Gu Miao's parents and accidentally killed them during the struggle.
Witnessing the tragic scene of his parents left a deep scar on Gu Miao's heart, and he didn't speak a word for half a month.
It wasn't until his not-so-close uncle took him in that he finally spoke, but his sentences were broken and halting.
Gu Miao knew that his psychological trauma had caused his speech impediment.
He retreated into his shell, avoiding speaking to anyone. He used to be the top student in the school, but his grades plummeted. Although he barely managed to get into the top high school in the city, he couldn't make it into the honors class.
During his first self-introduction at the new school, he immediately exposed his stuttering problem.
Amidst the laughter of his classmates, Gu Miao felt a deep sense of despair.
His new classmates isolated him because of his stuttering, often imitating his speech behind his back for laughs.
During group projects, they would impatiently urge him on and sometimes even silence him to save time.
He was assigned to work in the kitchen of a noodle shop because he didn't need to talk there and it wouldn't waste anyone's time.
Gu Miao felt like he was trapped at the bottom of a dark abyss, wandering like a lost soul. He gazed longingly at the shining light in the distance, filled with a deep desire to reach it.
Never did he imagine that one day, that very light would break through the layers of dark clouds and shine down upon his lonely cliff.
As he looked up at the bright full moon in the sky, Gu Miao felt a happiness he had never experienced before. It was as if time had stopped just for this moment.
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.