The morning reading class at Haishi No. 1 High School always starts earlier than other schools, with the preparation bell ringing at 7:10 and the class starting promptly at 7:15.
Cheng Chu almost rushed into the classroom with the sound of the bell.
She had slept late last night and, in a daze, had turned off her alarm clock without the urging of Aunt Zhao.
When she opened her eyes, it was already 6:50 and she didn't even have time to eat breakfast. After hastily washing up, she grabbed her backpack and ran all the way to school.
The classroom was already full of people. Although Class Three was not an advanced class, most of the students were still gathered together, chatting in low voices and not fully focused on their studies.
Cheng Chu put her backpack on her seat and noticed that the seat behind her was empty.
She thought that Gu Miao might just be running late, but even after the first class ended, the seat remained empty.
Cheng Chu couldn't help but ask the class monitor, "Hey, did the homeroom teacher say why he took a leave of absence?"
The monitor looked at her in surprise, as if amazed that Cheng Chu would care about someone who was completely unrelated to her. "Oh, he just said he was taking a leave of absence, but didn't tell me why," the monitor replied.
"Okay, thanks," Cheng Chu absentmindedly thanked her and returned to her seat. High school courses were not difficult for her, but it had been a long time since she had studied them.
Even if she wanted to pick them up again, it would take some time.
Cheng Chu had always been a diligent and serious student, but today in class, she couldn't concentrate for a moment, always worrying about Gu Miao.
Why did he take a leave of absence? Was he sick?
Her thoughts were in turmoil, and she couldn't stop thinking about it until the end of class, when a boy from the next class came in and asked where Gu Miao was sitting, and took all his weekend homework with him.
Cheng Chu slung her backpack over her shoulder and chased after the boy, calling out to him.
"Hey, classmate! Were you helping Gu Miao with his homework? Is he sick?"
The boy stood there, holding his homework and test papers, looking stunned for a few seconds before answering, "No, his cousin got injured. His family couldn't spare the time, so he had to take a leave of absence to take care of him."
Even after the boy's figure disappeared down the hallway, Cheng Chu still couldn't quite wrap her head around it.
When did Gu Miao get a cousin?
All she knew was that Gu Miao's parents had passed away, and his only relative was his elderly grandfather.
It seemed like she really didn't know much about him at all.
The sunset's glow spilled into the hallway, casting everything in a crimson hue.
Cheng Chu was lost in thought, her head bowed, when someone suddenly slapped her on the shoulder.
"Waiting for me here?"
Upon hearing the familiar voice, Cheng Chu's heart, which had been pounding with fear, suddenly calmed down.
She turned around and gave the boy in front of her a glare. "Can you please stop scaring me from behind every time?"
Lin Qifeng's forehead was still covered in sweat, and he was drenched as if he had fallen into a ditch. He casually wiped his forehead with his sleeve and said nonchalantly, "That's called scaring you? It was just a light tap."
He probably just finished playing ball, as he reeked of sweat.
Cheng Chu took a few steps back and said, "Can you stand a little further away? You smell terrible."
"Okay, okay, Miss Cheng, you are truly precious. Let's go, the car is waiting at the school gate. Do you want me to carry your backpack?" He had a sly smile on his face, and his words were quite irritating.
However, Cheng Chu felt a sense of nostalgia for this lively and energetic boy. She smiled and didn't say anything else, her tone becoming gentler. "Let's go."
Lin Qifeng raised his eyebrows in surprise and followed her footsteps.
On Friday evening, it seemed like everyone's steps had become lighter. Cheng Chu and Lin Qifeng walked out of the school gate and a low-key Bentley was parked at the street corner.
The driver saw the two of them and quickly got out of the car to open the door for them.
The house next to the school was bought by Cheng Chu's father for her convenience in going to school. Usually, only Cheng Chu and her nanny lived there.
But every weekend, Cheng Chu would return to her old home to spend time with her family.
Lin Qifeng and she were neighbors and had grown up together. Every Friday, the driver from Lin's family would come to pick him up and also give Cheng Chu a ride.
The car didn't have the heater on and a small gap was left open on the side window, letting in the refreshing breeze. As Cheng Chu gazed at his handsome profile, she was lost in thought.
After graduating from high school, Lin Qifeng's family business declined, and they immigrated to another country.
They rarely saw each other, only occasionally talking on the phone.
But during her toughest and darkest days, this seemingly carefree young man silently supported her.
It had been a long time since Cheng Chu had seen him up close like this.
The evening breeze blew through the young man's hair, and his eyes were a light brown, always revealing a hint of tenderness when he looked at people.
"Why are you staring at me like that? Do you suddenly think I'm handsome?" Lin Qifeng saw Cheng Chu looking at him and smirked mischievously.
Cheng Chu looked away and chuckled, "Hehe."
He really was still the same arrogant guy.
The car slowly entered the villa area, and Cheng Chu's old family home was just as she remembered it. Cheng Chu put down her school bag and saw a pair of black leather shoes placed at the entrance.
Her heart skipped a beat and she urgently asked Aunt Yang, "Has my brother come back?"
"Yes, the young master just got off the plane and is still in the study handling business," Aunt Yang replied.
Cheng Chu ran up the stairs barefoot, with Aunt Yang chasing after her and repeatedly calling out, "Miss, put on your slippers, don't catch a cold."
The wooden stairs seemed a bit fragile, making a muffled sound as she ran up.
Cheng Chu ran into Cheng Yue on the second floor.
He was wearing a white shirt without a single wrinkle, and his hair was neatly combed. He didn't look like someone who had just gotten off a long flight, except for the slight fatigue between his handsome eyebrows.
"Brother!" Cheng Chu hugged him, tears streaming down her face and staining his clean and tidy white shirt.
Cheng Yue panicked and clumsily touched her head, then patted her gently while speaking cautiously, "What's wrong, Chuchu? Did something happen at school?"
"No," Cheng Chu sniffled and looked up at him with a soft voice, "I just missed you."
It's so good that her brother is still alive.
Cheng Yue chuckled softly, "I heard from my secretary that you couldn't find me these past few days and even called him. Communication from overseas is not easy, you know."
He put his arm around Cheng Chu's shoulder and pushed her a few steps, "Come on, let's go to my room. I have a gift for you."
Cheng Chu didn't really care about the gift, she just wanted to talk to her brother.
But when Cheng Yue took out the jewelry box, she couldn't help but widen her eyes in surprise. Under the warm yellow light, the diamond necklace in the shape of musical notes shone brilliantly.
"Do you like it?" Cheng Yue asked gently, lowering his gaze.
Cheng Chu nodded repeatedly, "Yes, I really like it."
She wanted to try it on, but suddenly heard Aunt Yang calling from outside the door, "Young Master, Miss, come down for dinner!"
Cheng Chu had to quietly put away the necklace and go downstairs with Cheng Yue.
At the dinner table, everyone was happy and Cheng Chu couldn't take her eyes off her radiant parents and her gentle but upright brother.
Everything was perfect.
The long-lost sense of belonging enveloped her anxious heart like warm water.
Cheng Chu lowered her head to hide her reddened eyes and secretly decided that in this life, she not only had to make up for Gu Miao, but also do everything in her power to protect her brother's life.
The next day, early in the morning, she brought her older brother to the hospital.
Cheng Yue was a workaholic, working overtime and staying up late was the norm, and forgetting to eat while working was a common occurrence.
Cheng Chu knew that her brother would die in a plane crash a year later, but before that, he had been hospitalized several times due to stomach problems.
So a few days ago, Cheng Chu made an appointment for a full-body check-up online.
A full-body check-up requires fasting, so they couldn't have breakfast.
Cheng Chu was worried about her brother's stomach, so as soon as the blood test was done, she ordered breakfast delivery.
The restaurant wasn't far away, and the delivery person called after just over ten minutes.
Because only the hospital address was written, without a specific floor, Cheng Chu had to run to the hospital entrance to pick up the delivery.
The morning air was filled with the scent of grass, and Cheng Chu walked quickly into the hospital gate with two bags of porridge.
As she turned the corner, a familiar figure caught her eye. It was Gu Miao, tall and thin as ever.
Cheng Chu couldn't resist sneaking closer, and sure enough, it was him.
In the bustling hospital, Gu Miao weaved through the crowds with lightning-fast steps, carrying a bag in one hand and wearing a loose, black coat that hung off his bony frame like a plastic bag on a tree branch. He silently climbed the stairs to the third floor and slipped into a corner room.
The door was slightly ajar, and Cheng Chu peeked inside. In the small room, Gu Miao carefully unpacked a bag of disposable chopsticks and handed a bowl to a young patient in bed.
The boy looked at him with a haughty attitude before reluctantly taking the bowl and eating slowly. He took a few bites and suddenly put down his chopsticks, pointing to the basin next to him and saying something to Gu Miao.
Cheng Chu's heart ached. She knew that the young man must be Gu Miao's cousin who he took leave for to take care of. But the way he treated Gu Miao was nothing like how one would treat a relative.
He was bossy and domineering, more like how one would treat a servant.
In the hospital room, Gu Miao silently lowered his head for a while before getting up and picking up the basin on the table, walking towards the door at a fast pace.
Cheng Chu didn't have time to dodge and met his deep, dark eyes head-on.
But Cheng Chu quickly calmed down and smiled, "Hey, Gu Miao, what a coincidence to run into you here!"
For a moment, Gu Miao felt like he was seeing an illusion. He tightened his grip on the basin, his black eyes filled with emotions.
After a moment of hesitation, he pursed his lips and whispered, "Mm."
Even though he had a thousand words in his heart, he still only replied with one word. He was afraid that if he said more, he would start stuttering again.
The hospital lights were bright, and Cheng Chu could clearly see the heavy fatigue in his brow, with even the whites of his eyes tinged with red.
Her heart ached as she thought of the simple sofa bed next to the hospital bed. She suddenly realized that Gu Miao must have taken care of his cousin all night, maybe not even closing his eyes.
And the breakfast that was bought, it seemed like he didn't even have a share.
The two stood in silence, Gu Miao's grip on the basin tightening.
It was only when Cheng Chu softly asked, "Have you had breakfast?" that he snapped out of his disbelief at seeing her after a sleepless night.
Upon hearing the question, Gu Miao shook his head almost instinctively.
Cheng Chu sighed and lifted his gaze slightly, handing him the bag in his left hand.
"No," Gu Miao shook his head unconsciously.
Cheng Chu pursed his lips and added, "I bought too much, can't finish it."
The hospital was filled with the faint smell of disinfectant, but Gu Miao only smelled the sweet aroma of porridge, warm and comforting like a cup of hot water in the winter, pouring into his cold and numb stomach.
He lowered his head slightly.
Under the hospital lights, the girl's peach blossom eyes were clear and pure, as if they were stars.
There was no pity in them, only shallow and pure kindness.
In an instant, his exhaustion was wiped away, and Gu Miao's heavy and gloomy heart began to beat wildly.
He knew that he could never refuse such a pair of eyes.
Just like he couldn't help but fall completely in love with her.
His heart belonged to her and he couldn't resist it.
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.