The third period was an English class. Halfway through the lesson, the teacher asked everyone to pair up with their desk mate and read words to each other.
Cheng Chu couldn't get Yu Yin's hurtful words out of her head. She didn't understand when Gu Miao started stuttering.
In her past life, although Gu Miao was quiet, he never had any problems speaking.
The classroom was noisy, and Cheng Chu's desk mate, Luo Qianqian, was flipping through the pages of the book to find the word list.
Cheng Chu nudged her with her elbow and pointed to the blank space on the page with her finger, gesturing with her eyes.
Luo Qianqian moved over a bit and saw Cheng Chu's neat handwriting - "Just now Yu Yin said that Gu Miao stutters, is that true?"
Luo Qianqian nodded and whispered in her ear, "It seems so. I heard it from someone else too. But I've been in the same class as him for over two months and I've hardly heard him say a complete sentence. It's mostly just 'yeah', 'oh', 'okay', one or two words like that."
Cheng Chu lowered her gaze, her butterfly-like long eyelashes trembling slightly.
She remembered the first time she met Gu Miao, he only said two words to her.
"Nice, to, meet, you." He spoke slowly, pausing slightly in the middle, as if trying to restrain something.
And on the weekend at the hospital, he only said "no" and "yeah".
All answers that could be solved with just one word.
Cheng Chu thought he was just naturally cold and didn't like to talk much, but she didn't expect it to be for this reason.
She wanted to ask more, but the English teacher had already walked over slowly. The classroom was filled with all kinds of noises, chaotic and noisy.
Cheng Chu listened attentively as Luo Qianqian read out the words, unaware of the silence behind him.
Zhou Ran and Gu Miao had been sitting together for over two months, and since Zhou Ran was not a talkative person, he had adapted well to Gu Miao's silence.
But now that the teacher had come over, remaining silent was like seeking death.
He had to move the book towards Gu Miao and whispered, "The teacher is here, I'll read first."
After speaking, he read the words to himself.
Meanwhile, Gu Miao kept his head down, his dark eyes fixed on the textbook, looking very serious.
But in reality, ever since he was bullied by Yu Yin earlier, his thoughts had been uncontrollably chaotic. Many groups had finished their tasks, and the once noisy classroom had become much quieter.
Gu Miao raised his head and looked at the slender figure of the girl. His anxiety grew like wild grass, uncontrollable and fierce.
His heart was restless, and a hint of violence gradually rose within him. He wished he could give Yu Yin a beating, but he also wanted to be able to rebut loudly and confidently.
But he couldn't. He couldn't even form a complete sentence.
Gu Miao didn't want to embarrass himself in front of the girl.
If he spoke, he would stutter and become the laughing stock of the whole class. She would probably look down on him too.
Gu Miao tightly pursed his lips and gripped his pen so hard that his fingers turned slightly white. His thoughts drifted uncontrollably, and he wondered if ignoring it silently like this would make Cheng Chu think he was rude. He knocked over someone else's books and water bottle, but didn't even say sorry.
Gu Miao weakly closed his eyes, his handsome eyebrows revealing a hint of annoyance.
The English teacher began to lecture again, and the classroom fell silent.
Gu Miao opened his eyes and tried hard to force himself to listen attentively. He had missed a day of school last week and had fallen behind on a lot of homework. He couldn't indulge himself like this anymore.
It wasn't until the end of the English class that his heart finally calmed down a bit.
But Yu Yin didn't seem to want to let him off the hook. As soon as the teacher left, he stood up and strolled slowly to Gu Miao's desk.
He lifted one foot and kicked Gu Miao's desk hard.
With a loud bang like thunder, the whole class instantly quieted down.
The textbooks that Gu Miao had placed on the corner of his desk were shaken and scattered on the ground.
"Stutterer, aren't you going to apologize?" Yu Yin shouted.
Cheng Chu pursed her lips, turned her head, and coldly said, "Are you done yet?"
"Am I done yet? He was the one who bumped into me and still had the nerve to not apologize," Yu Yin turned around and continued to arrogantly demand an apology from Gu Miao.
Gu Miao stood up, veins popping on his forehead, his usually calm eyes now like small flames.
Despite his thin frame, he stood tall with the pride of a young man.
Yu Yin took a step back, feeling a bit uneasy. After a moment, he forced herself to take another step forward.
Tension filled the air, and the conflict was about to erupt.
At that moment, the teacher's stern voice came from the door, "What are you all huddled together for?"
The onlookers scattered.
Yu Yin glared at Gu Miao and obediently returned to his seat.
The homeroom teacher walked up to the podium with her textbook and removed the USB drive.
She looked around before speaking, "Don't cause any more trouble for me. Last time, the fighting got so bad that it reached the principal's office. I was so embarrassed."
Her gaze was cold and piercing, like a sharp sword. "Especially you, Yu Yin, don't try any more tricks."
When Yu Yin felt the homeroom teacher's eyes on him, he lowered his head like a frightened rabbit.
Cheng Chu saw his comical expression and sneered. It seemed like this wasn't the first time Yu Yin had caused trouble, and maybe even the recent incident was his doing.
After the homeroom teacher finished speaking, the bell rang. The students prepared their textbooks and began a new lesson.
Perhaps it was the words of the homeroom teacher that had an effect, as after class, Yu Yin did not come to cause trouble.
Cheng Chu's heart, which had been hanging, finally relaxed a bit.
The day's classes ended quickly.
During break time, Cheng Chu tried to talk to Gu Miao, but all she received were perfunctory responses like "Hmm" and "Okay."
She didn't know if Gu Miao didn't want to talk to her, or if he was afraid of stuttering and being laughed at.
But Cheng Chu was not someone who easily gave up.
They still had plenty of time, and the future was long.
Cheng Chu thought that this matter had been suppressed by the homeroom teacher.
But during a long break that day, Cheng Chu returned to the classroom with water and just sat down when she heard Yu Yin's loud and raucous voice.
"Zhou Ran, have you ever heard Gu Miao speak?" He grabbed Gu Miao's desk mate, looked around, and asked loudly.
Zhou Ran was pulled and couldn't break free, so he shook his head.
"I'll tell you, my good buddy, he was in the same class as him in his first year of high school. When he introduced himself, he spoke like this, 'H-h-h-hello everyone, my name is Gu Miao.'"
He laughed exaggeratedly, with a face full of undisguised malice, leaning forward and backward, even slapping the table.
A small group of people around him also laughed along.
Yu Yin continued with even more pride, "This stutterer really cracked me up, hahaha."
Although it was not cold in the autumn of Haishi, Cheng Chu felt a chill rising quietly from the soles of her feet.
She pursed her lips, stood up suddenly, and gave Yu Yin a cold glance. "Is it funny?"
"Tsk." Yu Yin turned his head and gave Cheng Chu a sideways glance, saying sarcastically, "The defender of justice has appeared again."
These past few days, Cheng Chu had been ignoring him, but now, after hearing a few bad words from him, she couldn't help but argue back.
Yu Yin felt both jealous and angry.
He suppressed her anger and lightly turned his head, touching the water kettle on the corner of the table. He sneered, "Don't just pretend to be kind. Let me tell you, that rude and poor guy broke my water bottle and didn't even apologize. Do you really think he'll appreciate your help?"
There were many people in the classroom, but Gu Miao was nowhere to be seen.
Yu Yin glanced at the door. People were coming and going in the hallway, and the homeroom teacher had just called Gu Miao out. It was unlikely that she would come back anytime soon.
So he continued to curse without restraint, "That's why I advise you, stop speaking up for him. He's an ungrateful person, and if you help him, he probably won't even be able to say thank you."
Cheng Chu tightly pursed her lips, her beautiful peach blossom eyes flashing with anger.
Seeing this, Luo Qianqian quickly pulled her back, signaling her not to get involved in this mess.
Yu Yin was a member of a small gang in their year, and usually caused trouble in school. The teachers had to intervene several times before he calmed down, and getting involved with him would only bring trouble.
Moreover, it was for someone who had nothing to do with them.
But Cheng Chu didn't care about any of that. Although she was a good-tempered girl, she was not someone who could swallow her pride. If someone crossed her bottom line, she would not hesitate to strike back fiercely.
She turned slightly and looked at the water bottle on Yu Yin's table. It was a black thermos, with the edges of the lid worn off some paint, probably from the day it accidentally fell to the ground and got scratched.
"Is this what you call breaking the water bottle?" Cheng Chu sneered, walking quickly to Yu Yin's table, lifting the thermos and smashing it with all her might onto the ground.
There was a dull thud.
Yu Yin looked down and saw that his black thermos had been dented and rolled to the front of the podium.
"What the f*ck, man? What are you doing?" Yu Yin's face turned red with anger as he shouted at Cheng Chu without hesitation.
Cheng Chu glanced at him contemptuously, then ran to the podium, kicking the cup back like a soccer ball.
The cup scraped and scratched the floor, making a piercing sound.
The black paint was worn off and there was a deep dent in the bottom.
Cheng Chu leisurely picked up the water bottle and placed it lightly on Yu Yin's desk, saying softly, "This is what it means to break a water bottle, understand?"
Yu Yin was so angry that he couldn't even speak.
Cheng Chu sweetly smiled and whispered in a voice that only the two of them could hear, "Don't think I don't know, last time he fell because you tripped him."
Yu Yin's face froze for a moment.
Cheng Chu grinned and took out a few hundred yuan bills from her pocket, slapping them on Yu Yin's desk and saying, "Here's your compensation, go buy a new one yourself. But don't go around saying that I kicked your water bottle and didn't compensate you."
The classroom was silent, and everyone was stunned by Cheng Chu's smooth and effortless actions.
Cheng Chu turned her head and smiled gently at Luo Qianqian, "Let's go, didn't we just say we were going to have breakfast?"
"Oh, right!" Luo Qianqian snapped out of her shock and pulled Cheng Chu's sleeve as she ran out, saying excitedly, "Wow, that female warrior act was so cool! You're not angry because I told you yesterday that Yu Yin deliberately tripped Gu Miao, are you?"
Cheng Chu was dragged along for a few steps.
The bright morning light filled the corridor, and Gu Miao stood in the sun holding a pile of homework.
The morning breeze blew his hair, and his eyes, hidden behind black-framed glasses, were fixed on her without blinking.
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.