As the crimson sunset spilled over the evening sky, intermittent and slightly unpolished notes drifted from the music room.
It was different from her usual playing!
Glancing around with his black eyes, Gu Miao walked in without a word.
The evening breeze lifted the curtains, and through the gap, Gu Miao saw the girl hunched over her phone, then lowering her head to play the keys with clumsy determination.
He breathed a sigh of relief and stepped back a little.
Yellowed leaves from the parasol trees littered the ground, a few twirling in the air before landing on Gu Miao's shoulder.
Unaware, he gazed at the window in the distance, his eyes as indifferent as the night sky, yet with a faint glimmer.
Once upon a time, the last class on Wednesdays and Thursdays was the happiest time of his week. Amidst the chaotic campus life, he found solace outside Room 8, listening to the beautiful piano melodies. It was the only place where he felt close to her.
Standing there, even his dull and lifeless heart seemed to come alive, swaying with the fluctuating notes. Today's music was strange, unlike the usual smooth and pleasant tunes.
But Gu Miao's heart couldn't help but tremble. He felt like a shameless eavesdropper, hiding in the corner and listening to music that didn't belong to him, dreaming of a person who didn't belong to him.
As the sun began to set, the piano abruptly stopped, and a woman's voice could be heard. "Class is almost over. Let me check how you've been practicing."
The piano room fell silent for a moment.
Gu Miao heard Cheng Chu's low voice, "Teacher, I haven't practiced that one well yet. Can I do it next week?"
"No, I already gave you so much time just now." The woman's voice was stern.
The dim street lamp lit up on the roadside.
A few seconds later, the piano room emitted the not-so-coherent sound of the piano.
That sound had only lasted for a few seconds before it was interrupted.
"Stop, stop, stop. What are you playing? Cheng Chu, even if you don't practice for a week, it shouldn't be this bad."
Gu Miao's heart tightened, then she heard the girl's low voice, "Teacher, I'm sorry, I didn't practice last week."
"What's wrong with you? You're usually the most diligent. How did you become like this? If you play like this, don't even think about going to Haiyin. No music school will accept you." The woman's voice was loud, sharp, and stern.
Gu Miao stood a few meters away and could hear her clearly. His hand trembled slightly.
"I'm sorry." He heard the girl sniffle, her voice sounding a bit aggrieved.
"Is saying sorry to me useful? Stay after class and practice for another half hour before going home."
The door slammed shut with a loud "bang," and a few seconds later, the sound of the piano resumed in the practice room.
In the distance, the bell signaling the end of class rang faintly, mixed with the sound of the piano drifting out of the practice room.
After half an hour, Cheng Chu finally closed the piano lid.
Ji Mingyue came to find her after class, carrying her violin.
After hearing the whole story, she said she would wait for her at the door, but Cheng Chu persuaded her to go home.
When she walked out of the practice room, it was already dark outside. The dim light from the street lamps spilled into the corridor, and Cheng Chu's footsteps were heavy.
The classroom was empty, with desks and chairs neatly arranged, devoid of any signs of life.
Cheng Chu walked to her seat and lazily began packing her bag.
As she reached into her drawer, she felt a plastic-wrapped package.
The classroom was dimly lit with only one light, but Cheng Chu lowered her head and saw a package of strawberry-flavored milk candy in the drawer.
It was her favorite brand.
Cheng Chu pouted and tore open the packaging, the sweetness of the candy melting in her mouth, washing away all the bitterness in her heart like a gentle breeze and rain.
She sniffled and looked out the window, feeling the moonlight had become tender.
The next day, Cheng Chu met Ji Mingyue on her way to school.
She patted Ji Mingyue's shoulder and gratefully said, "Thank you for the candy yesterday."
"What?" Ji Mingyue blinked her big eyes in confusion. "What candy?"
Cheng Chu furrowed his brow. "The candy in my drawer yesterday, wasn't it put there by you?"
Ji Mingyue shook her head, indicating that she had no idea.
Then she mischievously tugged at his sleeve and said, "What candy? Hehehe, was it put there by a boy who secretly likes you?"
"Okay, stop talking nonsense." Cheng Chu, who was half a head taller than her, easily put her arm around her shoulder and said, "Let's go, or we'll be late."
Who else could it be if not Ji Mingyue?
Ji Mingyue was in the liberal arts class and not on the same floor as Cheng Chu. After they parted ways, Cheng Chu walked into the classroom alone.
There were still more than ten minutes before morning reading class, and only a few scattered students were sitting in the classroom.
Cheng Chu saw Gu Miao sitting there, reading with his head down.
The morning breeze blew his hair up, and the familiar scent wafted over his nose.
Gu Miao's eyelashes trembled.
"Good morning, Gu Miao," Cheng Chu smiled at him.
Gu Miao looked up, a hint of light shining in his dark eyes. He curved his lips and gave her a smile. It was a very faint smile, as light as the mist on a distant mountain, fleeting.
Cheng Chu was stunned, her heart filled with joy. This was the first time Gu Miao had ever smiled at her!
Like a child receiving a gift, Cheng Chu happily moved her chair back and asked, "Are you reading?"
"Chinese textbook, this section of 'Wandering Beyond the Boundaries' is so hard to memorize, have you memorized it?"
"You're so amazing, have you memorized the next section, 'Song of the Pipa'?"
With every question, she only received a cold "mm" in response. Cheng Chu felt like a police officer interrogating an uncooperative suspect.
For a moment, she almost thought that the fleeting smile from before was just her imagination.
Feeling discouraged, Cheng Chu turned around and stopped talking. Several people entered the classroom, rudely dragging their chairs and making a grating "squeak" sound.
Gu Miao hung his head low, once again disgusted with his stutter. If only he could speak normally, he could at least say a few more words to her and look at her a little longer.
He pursed his dry lips and looked up at the girl's back, his dim eyes filled with bitterness. Clear bird chirping could be heard outside the window, and soon the classroom was filled with people.
After morning reading, the first class was supposed to be English, but instead the chemistry teacher arrived.
He adjusted his glasses and said, "I switched classes with Teacher Luo today, and we're having a lab session. Everyone, tidy up and come with me to the chemistry lab."
The whole class erupted with excitement. Compared to the dull classroom lectures, everyone clearly preferred the more engaging lab sessions.
Cheng Chu carried her chemistry book and walked shoulder to shoulder with Luo Qianqian towards the lab building.
"Chuchu, who are you going to partner with?"
Cheng Chu was a bit confused, "Isn't it a free choice?"
Luo Qianqian said, "No, it's based on student numbers. For example, number one partners with number two, number three with number four. The teacher said it's easier for him to record the experiment scores this way."
"Oh? I see." Cheng Chu had only recently joined Class Three and was not familiar with the rules.
She knew she had taken over the student number of the classmate who had left Class Three, which should be number three.
So her partner would be number four. Cheng Chu tugged on Luo Qianqian's sleeve and asked, "Who's number four in our class?"
Luo Qianqian had a complete list of student numbers and pulled it out of her textbook, her finger stiffening as she pointed to the name. "It's Gu Miao."
The autumn leaves were falling gently, creating a melancholic atmosphere with the yellow leaves scattered all over the ground. But Cheng Chu felt as if a flower had bloomed in her heart.
This was a great opportunity to get closer to Gu Miao!
The little person in Cheng Chu's heart spun around with joy, and her steps became lighter as her eyes sparkled.
Luo Qianqian looked at her new desk mate curiously, thinking that she was a bit strange. The previous person who partnered with Gu Miao always avoided him. Luo Qianqian had even seen that girl talk to the chemistry teacher many times, trying to switch partners.
But why was Cheng Chu so happy to sit with Gu Miao? Luo Qianqian scratched her head in confusion.
As they walked to the laboratory at the back of the classroom, almost everyone had already paired up and sat in front of their respective experiment stations.
The laboratory was spacious, and Gu Miao sat alone at the back, lost in thought as he gazed at the equipment before him.
His indifferent eyes were like the night, concealing all complex emotions.
In fact, Gu Miao had known that his partner was Cheng Chu for a long time.
Ever since she entered the class and took over another girl's student ID, he had fantasized about this day countless times in his heart.
But he never expected it to come so soon.
He didn't even have time to practice speaking properly.
Communication was inevitable between experiment partners, and he couldn't just reply with simple words like "uh," "oh," and "okay" anymore. The bright sunlight outside shone through the window, but Gu Miao felt his inner fear growing like wild grass.
His hand quietly clenched.
The chair next to him moved slightly, making a barely audible sound.
Gu Miao's hand trembled as he lowered his eyes, avoiding looking at the textbook.
"Hey, Gu Miao, I didn't expect to be partners," Cheng Chu opened the textbook and casually glanced in Gu Miao's direction, saying, "I'm not very good at chemistry, so I might have to trouble you a bit later."
Gu Miao nodded silently.
The classroom was large, and the teacher didn't bring a microphone, so he had to shout loudly to explain the experimental precautions.
But Gu Miao couldn't concentrate on a single word.
All of his attention seemed to be taken away by the girl next to him.
Even if she just turned her pen lightly, it could catch his attention.
"Alright, you can start the experiment now," said the supervisor.
As if receiving a pardon, the quiet laboratory suddenly erupted with excitement.
Today's experiment was to prepare a 100ml, 1mol/L solution of sodium chloride.
Before starting the experiment, they needed to calculate the required amount of materials.
Cheng Chu turned to look at Gu Miao, her peach blossom eyes shining with tenderness.
"Can you calculate it? I'm not very good at it," she asked.
Gu Miao breathed a sigh of relief, knowing he could answer with just one word.
So he nodded and said softly, "Yes."
The laboratory was brightly lit, and as Gu Miao looked at the girl's profile, he felt as though all the light in the world was shining into his heart.
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.