Yang Duole was waiting at the school gate with his schoolbag on his back. The Lin family driver who came to pick him up with Lin Qinhe had been there for a while, but Lin Qinhe hadn’t come out yet.
After waiting for about two or three minutes, Yang Duole finally saw Lin Qinhe coming.
“Qinhe ge, what did you do when you went back to the classroom? The group leader went to find you to continue playing the piano.” Yang Duole followed Lin Qinhe and walked towards the parking lot.
“Left something in the classroom.” Lin Qinhe said.
“What is it so important?” Yang Duole asked subconsciously. He glanced to see Lin Qinhe’s expression and knew that Lin Qinhe didn’t want to answer him.
After all, they grew up together and knew each other too well. Although he and Lin Qinhe had a good relationship, he could never ask what Lin Qinhe didn’t want to say.
The two drove back to Lin’s villa. A tall woman in a long black dress was waiting at the door. She had a black shoulder-length hair and a faint smile appeared on her face when they got out of the car.
“Mother Luo!” Yang Duole rushed over and hugged Luo Zhengyin, his voice was sweet.
Luo Zhengyin was Lin Qinhe’s mother, a well-known pianist in Wenhua City. She called out “Le Le” first, smiled and hugged Yang Duole, then looked at her son and asked, “Qinhe, why school ended late today?”
“Something was delayed.” Lin Qinhe carried his and Yang Duole’s schoolbags. He changed his shoes and walked into the house.
Luo Zhengyin sighed slightly. Aside from being good at playing piano like her, her son was more like his father. He was indifferent to most people. Even when facing his relatives, he was never warm.
She didn’t ask anymore and said: “Let’s eat first, ba.”
The food on the table was very rich. Naturally, it was made by the nanny at home, Luo Zhengyin had always loved her hands.
After the three of them were seated, Yang Duole talked with Luo Zhengyin about the school happily while eating. Luo Zhengyin responded with a smile while Lin Qinhe could hardly speak during the meal.
In fact, in the Lin family, they really couldn’t talk when eating. Lin Qinhe’s grandfather, Lin Weiliang, was the secretary of the Wenhua Municipal Party Committee. The old man had a rigid personality. The eldest son Lin Zeqiu was the current Secretary-General of the Provincial Party Committee. The younger son Lin Zeshi founded the Ruize Group, mainly engaged in real estate.
Lin Zeshi was Luo Zhengyin’s husband, but Lin Zeshi generally worked out of town and rarely came home.
“Lele, you are now transferred to Class 1, are you sitting next to Qinhe?” Luo Zhengyin asked.
Yang Duole was in the same class as Lin Qinhe from kindergarten to middle school, but after Wenhua No. 1 High School sorted their students according to the results, the two were not in the same class. In the past year, Yang Duole studied hard, Lin Qinhe also tutored him a lot, and finally he became a classmate in the second year of high school.
After the final grades came out, Yang Duole kept talking about being Lin Qinhe’s deskmate after school started.
Yang Duole lowered his mouth, glanced at Lin Qinhe on the side and said to Luo Zhengyin with a bit of complaint and coquetry: “Mother Luo, Qinhe ge has another deskmate.”
Luo Zhengyin was a little surprised. She knew that Lin Qinhe didn’t have deskmate because he did not like being too close to people and having physical contact. Even if she was his mother, the two had never been as intimate as she and Yang Duole.
“Is it a former classmate?” Luo Zhengyin couldn’t think of anyone besides Yang Duole that could sit next to Lin Qinhe.
Yang Duole continued: “No, didn’t you and Uncle Lin sponsor the remote live broadcast class in Qingshui County? Now the first in Qingshui County has come to our class and the homeroom teacher asked the new classmate to sit next to Qinhe ge. “
Luo Zhengyin was stunned. In addition to the linking with government for the remote live classrooms in Qingshui County, they did have funding from the Lin family, but she did not understand the specific funding details.
Knowing that Yang Duole wanted to sit next to Lin Qinhe, she said, “Aren’t you free to choose deskmate in your class? Next time you change seats. Lele, you and that new classmate will just change.”
Lin Qinhe, who had not spoken all the time, suddenly said, “No need.”
Luo Zhengyin and Yang Duole were taken aback at the same time.
Yang Duole was a little angry and muffled: “Don’t you think that Tao Xi hates me a little? I kind of don’t want you to be friends with him.”
He could clearly feel Tao Xi’s hostility towards him. Although he didn’t know why, he had neither disliked him, nor liked him. He even hated him a little bit more to balance his heart and he subconsciously had inexplicable guard against Tao Xi.
Lin Qinhe was his best friend. If he became friends with Tao Xi, he would feel betrayed.
Luo Zhengyin guessed that Tao Xi was Lin Qinhe’s deskmate, but it was not easy for her to talk about the contradiction between the children, so she didn’t speak.
Lin Qinhe put down his chopsticks and said in a cold voice: “Lele, not everyone will follow what you want.”
The atmosphere of the dining room was stagnant for a moment.
Luo Zhengyin seldom heard Lin Qinhe say such serious words to Yang Duole. She always loved Yang Duole as her child, and in the subtle way, Lin Qinhe loved Yang Duole as much as she did.
She had to relax the atmosphere and said: “Don’t talk about it. Lele, I bought the new game you mentioned last time. It has been installed in the game console. Go play with Qinhe later.”
There was a special entertainment room at home, where they could watch movies and play games. Last year, she bought a whole set of VR game equipment for Yang Duole’s birthday, although Yang Duole got bored after playing a few times.
“I don’t really want to play, Mother Luo, I’m going to take a nap.” Yang Duole put down his chopsticks and left the dining room, obviously still sulking.
But Luo Zhengyin wasn’t too worried. The child’s temper was quick to come and go – just say a few sentences to him.
Lin Qinhe also stood up, but was stopped by Luo Zhengyin: “Qinhe, let’s talk with mom, ba.”
Luo Zhengyin seldom called herself ‘mom’ in front of Lin Qinhe. If she said so, it usually meant a little pleading.
Lin Qinhe looked down at his mother and did not refuse: “Okay.”
The mother and son went to a studio on the second floor. This studio was very large but did not have any painting tools. There were just a lot of paintings hanging on the wall, most of which were obviously by the same person.
Holding a cup of coffee, Luo Zhengyin walked to a painting. After looking at it for a while, she smiled: “Today I heard Lele talked about Qingshui County and suddenly remembered this painting. I don’t know if the real scene there will be as beautiful as in the painting.”
It was an oil painting. In the painting, a clear stream was winding in a mountain col. The peach blossoms along the stream were like clouds and brocades, and the peach blossoms on the stream drifted away. A black-tiled and white-walled farmhouse halfway up the mountain was filled with smoke. The painting was quiet and peaceful, with a small “Sui” written in the lower right corner of the painting.
“You can go and take a look.” Lin Qinhe said indifferently. He also looked at the painting, but he seemed to look at something else through the painting.
Luo Zhengyin sighed lightly, his expression was a little gloomy. She walked a few steps away to look at the other paintings and talked about the matter: “Lele’s father has recently come back, so Lele is not in a very good mood. He is still a child and is far less mature than you. Don’t get angry with him.”
Lin Qinhe was silent for a while before he asked, “How many days has Uncle Yang been back?”
Luo Zhengyin frowned, as if he didn’t want to mention this person. She said coldly: “It’s been two or three days, so I asked you to bring Lele back. The father and son will be quarrelling when they meet, and they will also make Uncle Fang’s house uneasy.”
Yang Duole grew up in both Fang Zuqing’s house and Luo Zhengyin’s house. His father, Yang Zhengming, was engaged in the medical business. He was busy with his career during his early years and hardly cared about Yang Duole. In recent years, he suddenly wanted to have a good relationship with his son. He went to Yang Doule’s grandpa house every other time. Only Luo Zhengyin never dared to go there.
“You don’t know, last time Yang Zhengming brought a new lover back. She looks like… Well, she was seen by Lele anyway and he was annoyed for a long time.”
Luo Zhengyin rolled her eyes with disgust, bowed her head and took a sip of coffee.
Lin Qinhe knew that his mother had not gotten over it. After Fang Sui died, Yang Zhengming was decadent and muddled for two years and only started his career after being scolded by Fang Zuqing. Although he had not been married for so many years, but in recent years there had been many lovers and each one had the shadow of Fang Sui.
After all, it was a matter of the previous generation, Lin Qinhe couldn’t say anything.
Luo Zhengyin did not continue this topic. She walked to a child’s painting, and after seeing it for a while, she smiled and said, “You and Lele both learned to paint when you were young, but unfortunately you are always impatient. Lele wanted to learn but always can’t paint well. In the end, he gave up. This is really not like his mother.”
At the end of the talk, Luo Zhengyin’s tone became a little darker and her eyes widened.
Lin Qinhe looked at the painting that Yang Duole drew when he was eight years old. The picture showed a child holding the hands of his parents. The mother had long black hair and a paintbrush in her hand. All three of them had happy faces.
He walked up to the painting with peach blossoms and flowing water, looked at the painting as he said, “Not everyone has to have her shadow, not me, nor is Lele.”
Just like this villa, if he hadn’t been allergic to pollen, the garden would have been full of white roses that the woman liked the most.
Luo Zhengyin was stunned and did not speak for a long time.
Tao Xi left the school in the afternoon. He entered a bookstore near the school and was going to buy English listening tapes because Lin Qinhe asked him to go back to practice English listening.
Tao Xi had a cassette player that he bought in the first grade. The buttons were a bit hard to press, but it still barely worked.
However, after searching in the bookstore for a while, he still did not find a listening book with a tape, until the owner of the bookstore asked him: “Classmate, what baby are you looking for?”
“I want to buy tapes for high school English listening practice.” Tao Xi said.
The bookstore owner was an uncle in his early forties, wearing a pair of plastic slippers. He looked surprised: “Who still uses tape to listen to English?”
Tao Xi was taken aback, what would he use without tapes?
The boss glanced at the school uniform that Tao Xi was wearing and said, “Doesn’t your Wenhua No. 1 High School have electronic devices? They all use mobile phones or tablets. They can listen to them at any time. The tapes are so inconvenient.”
He said while pulling out an English listening book from the bookshelf and pointed it to Tao Xi: “When you buy the book, it will give you a download URL and QR code of the audio file. You can download it by scanning it with your mobile phone. “
Tao Xi remembered the wireless earphones Lin Qinhe often wore and said in a bewilderment: “Okay, I’ll look at other teaching materials first.”
He was about to turn around and walk when he was pulled again by the boss: “Hey, wait. I’ll go to the warehouse and maybe I might be able to look through the backlog of tapes before.”
The boss searched for a while and finally found the audiotapes and books that were not sold years ago. He patted the dust on them with his hands and said with a smile: “Actually, I think the tapes are better. Students can’t help but play games and chat when using their mobile phones. Who knows if they are listening to English or listening to music?”
Tao Xi nodded. Just as he was about to pay for it, the boss waved his hand and said, “I gave it to you. It was meant to be thrown away.”
Tao Xi didn’t want to take it for nothing. The two pushed a few times, and in the end, Tao Xi bought some other learning materials from the bookstore before accepting the free listening book and tape.
He returned to the empty bedroom and took out the old-fashioned cassette player. At that time, he saved a lot of breakfast money to buy the player. After buying it, he carefully affixed a sticker and wrote his name on it, for fear of being taken away. This was his only electronic device besides the electronic watch.
After pressing the power button several times, the cassette player started to work slowly. He put the newly bought tape in, plugged in a broken earphone, and heaved a sigh of relief when the sound came out.
After an hour of doing English listening, Tao Xi worked on the more difficult topics in the newly bought supplementary books according to the key points of each subject that Lin Qinhe had planned in the morning. If he didn’t understand, he circled the question number, then fold up the pages of the book, and wait for tomorrow’s lunch break to ask Lin Qinhe.
Thinking of Lin Qinhe’s helping him at noon the next day, Tao Xi couldn’t help but lie on the table and laugh in a low voice. There was no one in the bedroom, but he seemed afraid of being heard.
Just like when he was a child, Guo Ping would occasionally bring a lollipop to Tao Le when he came back from town. He would sometimes get a lollipop, but he would never eat it like Tao Le did. He always kept it in his bag for a long time. From time to time, for fear of being seen by Tao Le , he quietly took out to take a look and smell it and waited until the candy paper was sticky and couldn’t be torn off before eating it.
Except for going out at night to buy a shou zhao bing1Taiwanese chicken BLT wrap and ate it, Tao Xi only studied in the dormitory throughout the afternoon and evening, and before going to bed at night, he wore one earphone and listen to nine pounds and fifteen pence2This is the part of the test before the English listening of the college entrance examination. Someone will recite an English question and then explains it in Chinese. The question remains unchanged for thousands of years. It is a question about the price of shirts. Many school mock exams will also play this recording in order to appear real (cr: baidu).
He thought he would have no dreams after studying for a whole day, but he had a dream that night. He dreamed that he was sitting in the classroom during the day and watching Lin Qinhe who was next to him helping him marking the paper. Suddenly Lin Qinhe’s cell phone vibrated. After he answered the phone for a while, he said, “Okay, I will take Tao Xi home later.”
Then they took the bus home together but it took a long time to arrive. Tao Xi was wondering why they hadn’t arrived yet. The bus finally stopped. He and Lin Qinhe got out of the bus and took a look. It turned out that it was not Lin Qinhe’s home but Qingshui river in Taoxi Bay.
There were peach blossoms on the mountain col and on the stream, and there were orioles on the branches.
He invited Lin Qinhe to sit at his home halfway up the mountain, but Lin Qinhe frowned and said, “I don’t like it here.” Then he turned and left.
He chased after him vigorously, shouting how about I cut the peach blossom tree, but he couldn’t catch up like a ghost hitting a wall.
After waking up, Tao Xi felt like he had run two hundred miles, and drank several sips of water.
The author has something to say:
No hurry, it will be sweet
- 1Taiwanese chicken BLT wrap
- 2This is the part of the test before the English listening of the college entrance examination. Someone will recite an English question and then explains it in Chinese. The question remains unchanged for thousands of years. It is a question about the price of shirts. Many school mock exams will also play this recording in order to appear real (cr: baidu)