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ISTIL Chapter 44

Bus

Shi An finished the homework and test questions that he had missed some time ago and began to sort out the set of wrong questions as usual.

He liked to use loose-leaf papers to copy wrong questions, which could be added or corrected. It was very convenient.

He forgot to buy loose-leaf paper. Shi An found the plastic bag for loose-leaf paper but it was empty.

“Shen Qiaoqiao,” Shi An tapped his knuckles on the desk of his tablemate, “Do you have any loose-leaf paper? Twenty-six holes.”

“Ah, yes.” Shen Qiaoqiao put down her pen and nodded, “Wait.”

She was about to bend down to go through the book storage box when Yan Liang’s voice came from behind her head, “Shi An Shi An, I have I have, I’ll give it to you.”

Yan Liang reached out and flicked the back of Shi An’s head, repeating, “I have, I’ll give you, ba.”

Shen Qiaoqiao had already found the paper, looked at Yan Liang, and blinked

“Thanks. I’ll just use his.” Shi An nodded and went out of the classroom through the back door.

Yan Liang put his arm around his shoulders and took the person over.

“What’s wrong with your class teacher? Don’t change your seat?” Yan Liang led him forward, bending slightly and lowering his voice in his ear, “Why are you still her deskmate?”

“Class teacher?” Shi An thought about the seating chart that hadn’t changed since the first year of high school, “He’s lazy.”

He heard Yan Liang knocking his teeth hard.

“?”

Shi An tilted his head sideways to look at him.

“She likes you,” Yan Liang lowered his arm and lightly bumped his shoulder against Shi An, “I heard it last semester, at the stairs.”

Shi An was stunned, and a highly unlikely but most plausible idea popped into his head afterwards.

Yan Liang went to the classroom and pulled out a dozen of loose-leaf papers and trotted over, making the hem of his jacket floating.

“I bought a lot of new ones,” Yan Liang said, gently tapping the paper on Shi An’s head, “Come back to me when you’re running out of it.”

His bangs were a little long, cutting past his beautifully curved eyelids.

Shi An subconsciously lifted his fingers to lift the tip of Yan Liang’s hair, his consciousness became distant in the daze.

“Shi An, do you have anyone… you like?”

“Can you… tell me who it is?”

“If someone you don’t like confessed to you, what would you do?”

“Why are you… not with her?”

He remembered Yan Liang’s jaw line that looked stiff and indifferent at a certain moment, his desire to say something, his eyes that had intentionally or unintentionally hidden into a void somewhere.

There seemed to be more than one fool.

It seemed to have been missed more than once.

Perhaps tossing and turning on the same night

“Yan Liang,” Shi An retracted his hand and his fingers leaving the soft tips of Yan Liang’s hair, “Take the bus home tonight.”

Yan Liang was slightly stunned, his smile faded a little: “What’s wrong? Are you in a bad mood?”

Only when he was in a bad mood, he liked to take the bus. This was a habit that Shi An had had very early on.

Sitting in the position closest to the window, the heavy bus slowly passed the quiet and busy street corner of the town, the street lights stumbling yellow and hazy.

At this time, Shi An would always put his forehead against the window, and the tip of his slender eyelashes almost touched the glass.

He was quiet as a shadow.

“No, it’s just that the bus is slower.”

“Oh,” Yan Liang smiled again, “So you want to spend more time with me?”

Shi An actually nodded.

“God, I,” Yan Liang was a little surprised. He blinked for a long time and said, “Well, it’s time for class. Go back to the classroom first.”

Shi An just walked two steps and Yan Liang followed him again.

“?”

“I,” Yan Liang touched the tip of his nose, “I’ll send you.”

“…”

Only two steps.

“Send with your eyes.” Shi An stretched out his hand to block, and Yan Liang stopped.

“It’s over, Shi An, we’re so childish.”

 

 

It had been a long time since he took the bus back to Qingjiu Alley after a night study class and the feeling of waiting had become a little strange.

“Listen to a song? I brought my earphones.” Yan Liang’s fingers kept moving, trying to straighten the messy earphone cable, but it was getting tighter and tighter.

Shi An took the earphones, picked his fingers back and forth a few times, and the slipknot was untied gently and skillfully.

Yan Liang put one earphone into Shi An’s ear, and the 56 bus came slowly along with the tune of “Anchor”.

“Can you take No.56,” Yan Liang asked, “to get to Nanxing.”

Shi An nodded.

“The kids are out of school?” The last bus was empty. The driver leaned back in his seat, his fingers idly tapping the steering wheel.

“It’s so late, it’s hard to study.”

“Isn’t it?” Yan Liang bent his knees slightly and jumped into the car with a thud, “You’re off work too, right?”

“The last one. I’m going to have a drink after work,” the slightly fat middle-aged man shifted his body happily, “Ah, where do you get off?”

“Nanxing.”

“Then how can you take No. 56? It has go a big circle.”

“It’s good to go around,” Yan Liang turned around and touched a handful of Shi An’s hair: “Slow enough, isn’t it?”

Shi An looked down at the book in the dim light of the car, his head was covered by Yan Liang’s palm.

“Don’t read books in the car, it hurts your eyes.” Yan Liang took the history textbook from his hand.

Shi An let go of his hand and walked to the last row and sat down by the window.

“Do not sit in front? Won’t you get dizzy?” Yan Liang sat down next to him.

“It’s okay.” Shi An’s fingers pinched the lake blue curtain and gently pulled it open to the lights of a city.

The town was sleepy and lazy at night, with ancient street trees, old school covered with vines, dyed cloth hanging high in the dyeing workshop, and the occasional stray cat leaping through the streets.

The bus swayed and moved with its bulky body, and the ring handle swayed slowly.

Shi An turned his head to look out the window. He took his headphones off, and said, “Yan Liang.”

“Eh.” Yan Liang leaned his head on the back of the seat and turned to look at him.

“I’m sorry.”

“Huh?” Yan Liang was dumbfounded and blinked his eyes, “What sorry?”

“It’s just that I thought…” As if he didn’t know what to say, Shi An turned his face sideways. Yan Liang could only see the silhouette of his thick eyelashes. The frequency of blinking seemed to be faster.

“I thought that as long as I hid well, it wouldn’t…” Shi An frowned slightly, as if thinking, “bother…you.”

“…”

“I’m just, kinda afraid, afraid that if you find out, we won’t be able to be friends anymore.” Shi An stretched out his fingers and rolled the curtain around his index finger. “That feeling is not very good. It’s very painful. I may also make you, feel not very good.”

Shi An rarely said so many words in one breath.

He turned his head back and looked at Yan Liang, the end of his eyes curved gently: “But I’m really lucky.”

Yan Liang pursed his lips and didn’t speak, staring at the back of the front seat.

Shi An heard him sigh.

“Shi An,” Yan Liang tilted his body and rested his head gently on Shi An’s shoulder, “So you want me to die of heartache.”

Afraid of pressing Shi An, he was reluctant to exert himself. The neck was very tense and his neck soon became sore.

Yan Liang had to straighten up again.

“You, when…that is, how long has it been?” Yan Liang smoothed the end of Shi An’s hair with his fingers.

Shi An was still looking out the window. The lights in the bus were very dim, and the handsome dark silhouette of the young man was fainted by the streetlight outside the window.

He put his finger on the glass, his voice was very soft as he said: “I can’t remember…it’s been a long time.”

Yan Liang remembered this scene for a lifetime.

“Then, how long have you known?” Shi An turned his head back.

“Not long, to be honest…just, this summer break.”

Perhaps this summer break was not a good memory for Shi An, his eyelashes trembled very slightly.

After being quiet for a while, he said: “Then you, how do you know?”

“I… accidentally, accidentally ah, read one of your books.” Yan Liang remembered that sultry midsummer night, the very lively Nanxing Bridge, a string of frozen grapes stuffed by who knew who, and the hardcover book with the teenage heart in Jiang Yuan’s room.

The emotion at the bottom of his heart was sticky and soft.

Yan Liang stretched out his hand and drew a shape: “It’s a hard copy, it’s such a big one.”

“Book?” Shi An frowned. “What book? I don’t remember.”

“Do you want to see it? It should still be there.”

Shi An nodded.

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