The winter vacation came and went quickly this year, and Cheng Chu had only just returned to school before it was time for another break.
The weather forecast predicted that this year, Haishi city might see its first snow in a decade. But even when spring arrived, there was still no sign of snowflakes.
Cheng Chu's results for the entrance exam were out, and she had achieved the top score in the city.
Cheng Yue was so happy for her that he gave her a big red envelope, and even Fu Rong, who had originally opposed Cheng Chu's decision to apply for a music college, couldn't stop calling everyone to share the good news.
Spring had arrived at No. 1 High School, and the roadside was lined with vibrant yellow flowers.
Before the hundred-day oath-taking ceremony, the teacher asked each student to write down their ideal university on a small piece of paper.
Almost half of the class wrote down Haishi University.
Haishi University was one of the most famous universities in the country and almost every student in this city dreamed of studying there.
Cheng Chu curiously asked Gu Miao, "Did you also apply to Haishi University?"
"Mhmm," Gu Miao nodded, gazing at the girl with a gentle expression.
He couldn't pass the entrance exam for the music school, so he just wanted to go somewhere closer to her.
Cheng Chu smiled happily, "Then we can see each other often in the future."
Haiyin and Haishi University were very close, only a ten-minute walk away.
The word "future" seemed to have a magical power, causing Gu Miao's heart to tighten. A glimmer of light shone through his dark eyes, and his cold and stern expression softened.
Finally, the teacher posted everyone's notes on the bulletin board next to the blackboard. Over forty dreams of youth and vitality shone brightly on this spring day.
The countdown to the college entrance exam in the black-bordered corner decreased day by day.
On the last day of class before the exam, the teacher's eyes turned red as she spoke on the podium. The sun was shining brightly outside the window, and the cicadas were chirping in chorus.
Everyone understood that in a few days, they would all go their separate ways, and some of them might never see each other again in their lifetime.
Cheng Chu turned to look at the young man beside her, her gaze warm.
Those who truly care will always stay by your side.
In the scorching heat of June, the sun was baking the earth.
As they left the exam hall, the sunlight filtered through the holly trees.
In the hallway, everyone was waiting for the police line to be lifted. Some faces were beaming with smiles, while others looked gloomy.
Looking at the lush holly trees not far away, Cheng Chu's heart was calm, as if in an instant, all her hard work had paid off.
She asked Gu Miao, "How did you do on the exam?"
The young man smiled at the corner of his lips, "Not bad."
"I'm going home to prepare the venue, would you like to come with me?" Cheng Chu asked.
A few days ago, Lin Qifeng complained about the stress of exams and urged her to have a wild party after the test. Since his home was too far away, the attention naturally turned to Cheng Chu.
Gu Miao nodded, "Okay."
The crimson sunset filled the earth, and the two walked home side by side.
Housekeeper Song had already marinated the chicken wings, beef, and lamb. Cheng Chu and Gu Miao were cutting vegetables in the dining room.
However, Cheng Chu had never done any work since childhood, and the potatoes were cut crookedly and unattractively.
"I'll do it," Gu Miao took over. His well-defined hands held the knife and cut quickly.
The potato slices were evenly sized and neatly arranged.
Cheng Chu blinked her big eyes, as if there were stars twinkling, "You're so amazing."
"Ahem." Gu Miao blushed and lowered his eyes, feeling embarrassed.
'There's nothing impressive about it, just slicing a potato.' He thought to himself, but couldn't help feeling happy and embarrassed at the girl's words, causing his ears to turn red.
"You, why don't you go string something?" He hung his head, and in his nervousness, he stuttered again.
"Okay." Cheng Chu walked over with a smile and began stringing potatoes. Gu Miao would slice one and she would string one.
Meow Meow played around their feet, occasionally tugging at Cheng Chu's pants.
"Our little Meow Meow is hungry." Cheng Chu squatted down with a string of ham sausage and fed it a bite.
The little puppy gobbled it up, looking like it hadn't eaten in days. After swallowing a piece, it continued to stick out its tongue, its dark grape-like eyes shining pitifully.
Cheng Chu stood up and handed another string to Gu Miao. "Why don't you try feeding it?"
These two, the person and the dog, never got along. Whenever they met, they would ignore each other.
Gu Miao frowned in distress, but when he met Cheng Chu's hopeful eyes, he couldn't help but take the leash from her.
He lowered his gaze and looked at the small, pale yellow dog squatting in front of her, pursing his lips.
After a moment, he stared into the girl's bright eyes and slowly crouched down.
"Here." He thrust the ham skewer in front of the dog's face, his tone harsh.
The dog tilted its head, let out a disdainful "woof," turned its head, and walked away on its short legs.
Meanwhile, Gu Miao was still crouching on the ground, holding the intact ham sausage in her hand.
"Ha ha." Cheng Chu couldn't help but burst out laughing.
She looked at the gloomy Gu Miao and kindly comforted him, "Maybe it's just shy. Once it gets to know you, it will stick to you."
Gu Miao gritted his teeth inwardly.
Who wants it to stick to him anyway!
The setting sun cast a slanted glow on the terrace, and the fragrant smell of barbecue filled the air.
One by one, the classmates arrived, some even bringing lots of beer and drinks.
As soon as Lin Qifeng entered, Meow Meow flew from the terrace to the door. It eagerly bit onto a slipper and placed it in front of Lin Qifeng.
"Number Five has gained a lot of weight," Lin Qifeng said as he picked up Meow Meow, the little chubby yellow dog happily wriggling in his arms.
"It has a new name now, it's called Meow Meow," Cheng Chu solemnly corrected.
Lin Qifeng lowered his gaze and stroked the fluffy head of the little dog. "Okay, Meow Meow, do you miss your original owner?"
On the side, Gu Miao was cutting tofu and his eyes showed a hint of sadness.
It turned out that he was the one who gave the dog away.
Meow Meow snuggled in Lin Qifeng's arms, barking playfully and giving him face. Laughter filled the entire room in an instant.
Everyone quickly gathered on the large terrace.
Yu Xinlu and Lin Qifeng, the two lively individuals, became the life of the party. They sang and joked, quickly bringing together friends who were not very familiar with each other.
In the night breeze, only Gu Miao stood in the corner, quietly grilling meat.
"I'll help you," Cheng Chu walked over and said softly.
The summer night breeze was slightly cool, and the young man's hands were flipping chicken wings on the grill, with small beads of sweat on his nose.
The temperature by the grill was high, and his handsome face looked like it had been soaked in water, with a rosy blush on his cheeks. His dark eyes showed a hint of fatigue.
"It's okay," he said softly. "Go chat with them over there."
As the night breeze blew gently, Gu Miao lifted his gaze slightly and looked at Lin Qifeng in the crowd. The young man stood among the crowd like a star surrounded by admirers, his lips always curved into a smile that could warm anyone's heart.
"Let's grill together," Cheng Chu quietly took the bamboo skewer from his hand and asked, "Which seasoning should we use first?"
Suddenly, Zhou Ran appeared out of nowhere and snatched the skewer from Gu Miao's hand. "Let me try grilling too, I haven't done it before."
The strong aroma of cumin filled the air as Gu Miao watched the dwindling skewers in his hand, feeling a growing warmth in his heart.
People who were chatting nearby noticed Cheng Chu's absence and rushed over to help, eager to lend a hand.
The once empty barbecue pit was now surrounded by a bustling crowd.
Luckily, there was plenty of food and several grills, so no one went hungry.
After a satisfying meal and drinks, Yu Xinlu organized everyone into a circle again.
She found an empty bottle and slammed it onto the ground, saying, "Let's play Truth or Dare. Whoever the bottle points to gets to choose between truth or dare. If they refuse both, they have to drink five shots."
"Sounds good!" everyone cheered eagerly.
"Alright then, if no one objects, I'll start spinning the bottle," Yu Xinlu said, glancing mischievously at Cheng Chu.
Lin Qifeng cheered from the sidelines, "Hurry up, hurry up!"
"Okay, here we go," Yu Xinlu said, and the living room fell silent except for the faint hum of the central air conditioning. The glass bottle spun rapidly on the ground.
Everyone held their breath, one second, two seconds... The spinning bottle finally slowed down and came to a stop.
All eyes turned to Lin Qifeng, following the direction of the bottle's mouth.
Although it didn't land on her desired target, she still squinted happily.
"Truth or dare?" someone asked.
Lin Qifeng answered decisively, "Truth."
"Draw a card for yourself," Yu Xinlu handed him a special deck of cards.
Without hesitation, the young man flipped over a card.
It read, "Is there someone here who makes your heart skip a beat?"
"Ohhh!" someone started laughing.
Lin Qifeng lowered his eyes, revealing a shy expression that was unusual for the usually confident student council president.
But he admitted without hesitation, "Yes."
The room fell silent for a second before exploding with excitement. "Good job, brother!" someone grabbed Lin Qifeng's neck and praised loudly, "You're a real man."
"Oh my god, this is so cool!" a girl covered her mouth, her eyes shining with excitement.
In the crowded room, almost everyone's eyes were intentionally or unintentionally looking at Cheng Chu.
Yu Xinlu quickly stepped forward to take control of the situation, "Great, great, our classmate Lin showed great courage. Next, next, let's begin."
Her hand holding the glass bottle was shaking.
God knows she just wanted to provoke Gu Miao, why did Lin Qifeng suddenly appear out of nowhere!
Taking advantage of the gap when the bottle was spinning, Yu Xinlu looked up at Gu Miao sitting in the corner.
The young man hung his head, his silver-rimmed glasses sliding down to his nose, looking dejected and despondent. He found a small wine glass from somewhere and drank it one by one. Yu Xinlu was filled with regret and wanted to slap herself.
"What a mess," she thought to herself.
Luckily, the rest of the game went smoothly and everyone laughed together at Yang Kai's big adventure, forgetting about Lin Qifeng's "confession" earlier.
As the moon rose high in the sky and it was almost midnight, the group reluctantly said their goodbyes.
One by one, people started to leave after seeing others go.
Cheng Chu noticed that Gu Miao seemed uninterested the whole night, perhaps due to Lin Qifeng's "confession". Gu Miao sat alone in the corner, drinking quietly.
He was the first to suggest leaving.
Cheng Chu didn't know how to explain herself. Lin Qifeng didn't even say it was about her, so anything she said would seem presumptuous.
She watched the slender figure of the young man walking away and felt uneasy in her heart. The lively house suddenly became quiet in an instant.
Lin Qifeng was the last to leave.
Before he left, he handed a delicate bag to Cheng Chu. "Your 18th birthday is coming up in a few days. This is from my mom. She's going on a tour abroad soon and might not be able to attend your birthday party."
Cheng Chu took the bag and said, "Thank you to your mom for me."
The young man nodded and entered the elevator.
"Wait." Cheng Chu suddenly spoke up.
The young man's footsteps halted, and he turned to ask, "What's up?"
The light at the stairwell was shimmering, and Cheng Chu lowered her head, tightly clutching her clothes.
"Um, that, that person you mentioned, is it me?" She bit her lip and asked.
"Pfft." The young man suddenly burst out laughing, his white teeth sparkling in the light. "It's not you. Don't flatter yourself."
Cheng Chu let out a sigh of relief. "It's all good now. You should go home and rest."
She pushed the young man into the elevator and waved happily as the doors closed.
The boy shouted in frustration, "Wow, you turn on me so quickly!"
The motion sensor lights in the hallway suddenly went out, but Cheng Chu walked back to her apartment with ease.
Standing in the entryway, she opened the gift. It was a watch, and she knew it must have cost a fortune.
As she admired the watch, she heard faint footsteps in the hallway.
Thinking it might be a classmate who had forgotten something, she quickly opened the door.
The night air was cold and long, and Gu Miao stood in front of her with his back slightly bent and his usually bright eyes now dark as the night. He walked over, the scent of alcohol mixed with the coolness of the summer night.
"Cheng Chu," the low and hoarse voice echoed in the darkness, causing Cheng Chu's heart to tremble for no reason.
The numbness from the alcohol seemed to have numbed his sensitive heart.
The young man forgot about his cowardice, forgot about his poverty, and even forgot that he used to be a pitiful stutterer.
The surging emotions in his heart had nowhere to go, burning like a raging fire, almost causing him to collapse.
The surroundings were quiet, with only the faint fragrance of flowers drifting from the balcony.
The girl looked up, her voice soft, "Hmm?"
There was a hint of anticipation in her eyes.
"I..." He lowered his gaze slightly, but his eyes caught sight of the delicate watch on the girl's wrist.
It was like a bucket of cold water had been poured on him, instantly sobering him up from the alcohol.
He was still the poor, humble, and penniless young man.
The author has something to say:
Gu Miao: I am not worthy of her.
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.