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TMCTM Chapter 22

Tao Xi went to the bathroom to wash his face before returning to the classroom, and then rubbed the soup stains on his sleeves with hand sanitizer.

 

He raised his head and looked at himself in the mirror, pressing the corner of the eye with a wet finger to make sure that the eye was not red before walking to the classroom. On the way, he ran into people from the art club and said hello just like usual.

 

He walked into the classroom softly with a shopping bag, and the setting sun was laid on the desk, like a thick layer of late maple frost.

 

There were more than a dozen people in the classroom, most of them buried in their desks to catch up on their homework. No one noticed him coming in and even if they noticed, they wouldn’t look up either.

 

But Tao Xi saw Lin Qinhe, whom he didn’t know when he had come back, sitting in the last row, looking up at him in the twilight between orange red and greyish purple.

 

Many years later Tao Xi still remembered that evening when Lin Qinhe looked at him in the twilight, and when he thought of it, the twilight would faintly appear in the corner of his eyes.

 

He lifted his foot and walked quickly towards the seat in the last row and sat down. He briskly said to Lin Qinhe, “Didn’t you go to the meeting? I thought you would not be back to school today.”

 

Lin Qinhe looked into his eyes and answered flatly: “I left early.”

 

“The meeting must be very boring.” Tao Xi turned his face slightly. He was a little afraid of Lin Qinhe’s gaze, as if he would be able to see something. He paused before putting the bag in his hand on Lin Qinhe’s desk, and said in a calm tone:

 

“This is a gift from Yang Duole’s father. He didn’t come today. You can bring it back to him.”

 

Lin Qinhe raised his eyebrows. He looked at the shopping bag, his voice became darker: “How did you meet Yang Duole’s father?”

 

Tao Xi pursed his lips. He heard Lin Qinhe’s displeasure and pretended to say disapprovingly: “I met him at the gate. He called Yang Duole and no one answered him, so he asked me to help bring it.”

 

Lin Qinhe didn’t say anything and threw the shopping bag into the school bag without a care, as if it was just a piece of insignificant rubbish.

 

Tao Xi breathed a sigh of relief.

 

He didn’t want to remember what happened in the evening, nor the people he met.

 

He took out his pen, lowered his head as usual, and started writing math papers. His heart seemed to be so calm and chaotic that he forgot about adding Lin Qinhe’s WeChat account for the day.

 

Tao Xi quickly worked on the question on his hand, trying to forget everything through continuous thinking and calculation, but then he suddenly heard Lin Qinhe ask: “Tao Xi, what’s wrong with you?”

 

It was still indifferent, but it seemed like he understood all of his emotions.

 

Tao Xi paused, looked at Lin Qinhe with a smile and said, “What’s the matter? I’ll just do my homework. You don’t know yet, right? During the day, Teacher Zhou assigned three more math papers. “

 

He didn’t know that there were still wet drops of water hanging on his eyelashes, and there was a faint red at the corner of eyes that could not be concealed by the twilight.

 

Lin Qinhe looked into his eyes, and Tao Xi’s gaze flickered away.

 

Then Lin Qinhe looked at the math paper he was working on and said, “Choose C for the third question. You don’t usually answer it wrong.”

 

Tao Xi was startled and looked down at the question. It was a very simple question. He didn’t even know how he calculated it just now.

 

“Thank you, I’ll fix it.” He lowered his head and hurriedly took out the correction tape from his pencil case. He felt Lin Qinhe looking at him, and it made his hand movements more awkward for a while. It took him a while to cover up the wrong answer, and then took the pen and circled the C.

 

Then he heard Lin Qinhe slowly speak: “I remember I told you, you can talk to me directly if you have something, and I will listen.”

 

Tao Xi tightened his grip on the pen, and his eyelashes fluttered.

 

“Tell me, did you encounter something?”

 

His voice was low and even a little soft, as if to induce him to say something.

 

Tao Xi’s fingers couldn’t stop trembling, he squeezed the pen firmly, his chest was sore.

 

But what could he say?

 

Saying that his father, who had “raised” him for sixteen years, asked him for living expenses and was a bloody scolding dog?

 

Said that he met his biological father and he asked him to help hand over gifts to his precious son?

 

But this fucking was more ridiculous and funnier than drama.

 

He could say nothing.

 

“I didn’t encounter anything.” Tao Xi lowered his head, staring at the gel pen in his hand, and pressing his lips tightly.

 

“Tell me.” Lin Qinhe’s voice became deeper, with irresistible pressure.

 

Tao Xi was silent for a moment and suddenly looked at Lin Qinhe. His eyes were completely red. He suppressed his voice and said, “If I tell you that I want to cry now, but there is no place to cry, are you satisfied?”

 

Lin Qinhe frowned slightly and looked at him, but said nothing.

 

Tao Xi lowered his head again and scolded himself fiercely in his heart.

 

It was not good to make up a reason, and he actually said that he wanted to cry.

 

He never cried in front of people.

 

It was too damn humiliating.

 

Tao Xi just wanted to take the regret pills. He picked up the pen in a panic and was about to continue working on the problem when his right wrist was suddenly held tightly by one hand, and then came Lin Qinhe’s cold voice: “Follow me.”

 

Before he could react, Lin Qinhe pulled him up from his seat, and with such force that he staggered a few times.

 

“What are you doing?!”

 

“Don’t you want to cry? Find a place to cry for you.” Lin Qinhe’s tone sounded impatient, he didn’t even look back.

 

In a few words, Tao Xi had been dragged out of the back door of the classroom. At this time it was approaching the evening self-study time so a lot of people were walking into the classroom. Some of them looked over strangely, thinking that they were going to fight.

 

Lin Qinhe took a few steps and then released his hand. Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe’s tall figure and squeezed his hand, not daring to follow.

 

“It’s time for night study.” He said.

 

“Skip.” Lin Qinhe said.

 

Tao Xi felt that Lin Qinhe seemed to be angry again, but he never understood why Lin Qinhe was angry.

 

Maybe it was just because he disobeyed him and didn’t tell him the truth.

 

But who let Lin Qinhe always poke him in the heart.

 

Tao Xi followed Lin Qinhe silently all the way, like an escorted prisoner, being taken to the top floor of Qiushi Building. He couldn’t help the surprise on his face when he saw Lin Qinhe took out the key to open the door.

 

“What did you bring me to the concert hall?”

 

“Can you hold your tears here?” Lin Qinhe asked as he opened the door and turned to look at Tao Xi.

 

Behind him was a huge concert hall that was empty and unmanned. The long French windows on a whole wall stood still, and the purple and grey mist were quietly burned by the last setting sun. It burned into the concert hall through the long window, burned on the silent black piano in the hall, and burned in Tao Xi’s eyes.

 

Tao Xi seemed to hear something beating violently in the silence. His nose suddenly became sore, and his eyes were scorching hot, but his mouth bravely said, “I don’t want to cry.”

 

On the way to follow Lin Qinhe, those things seemed to have blown away with the evening breeze in October, leaving only a shadow on his heart.

 

He wanted to cry now, but not because of those things.

 

Lin Qinhe looked at him without speaking.

 

Tao Xi suddenly remembered that he was hiding outside the concert hall that day and saw Lin Qinhe playing the piano. He awkwardly imitated Lin Qinhe’s gestures with his fingers, his eyes greedy and hot.

 

“But I want to hear you play the piano.” Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe, with a clear and gleaming expectation in his eyes, “Can you?”

 

Lin Qinhe was silent for a moment, and said to him, “Can.”

 

He walked to the piano chair and sat down. He opened the piano lid and looked at Tao Xi, “What do you want to hear?”

 

Tao Xi didn’t know anything about music. He only knew “To Alice”, which made him a little embarrassed. He entangled his fingers and said coyly, “I want to listen to the music you played that day.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Lin Qinhe stretched out his fingers, and unfamiliar but also familiar music overflowed under his slender fingers.

 

The setting sun hanging down from the long window suddenly broke free from the twilight. The red-gold twilight shot through the glass, intertwined and jumping on the deep side of Lin Qinhe’s face with the last afterglow of the setting sun.

 

Tao Xi reacted violently in the twilight, he didn’t tell Lin Qinhe which day it was.

 

Then he finally heard that the violent beating sound was coming from his chest, getting bigger and louder, resonating with the piano in the empty concert hall, and flashing together in the last afterglow.

 

Standing in the center of the concert hall, Tao Xi looked at the person playing the piano in front of him, and seemed to be dreaming a dream more magnificent than the twilight.

 

He thought.

 

Only he could hear this tune.

 

This person, he also wanted to own him alone.

 

“What is the name of this song?” Tao Xi asked after Lin Qinhe stopped his finger.

 

“‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’.” Lin Qinhe put down his hand and replied.

 

Tao Xi was stunned, thinking the name was strange. He watched as Lin Qinhe covered the piano, and got up from the piano chair, he said in a very low voice that only he could hear: “My birthday is also on Christmas.”

 

It was a snowing Christmas.

 

Lin Qinhe didn’t seem to hear it, he asked him, “Are you in a better mood now?”

 

Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe. In the dim light, the corners of his mouth curled up more and more. He said, “Lin Qinhe, do you want to comfort me so you drag me here?”

 

Lin Qinhe frowned and walked towards the door, leaving a dark back and a cold voice: “It’s just because it’s ugly to look at you trying to hold your tears.”

 

Tao Xi was stunned, and hurriedly followed, for fear that he would lock himself in.

 

The door of the concert hall was quickly closed, and the last trace of the setting sun and the piano lingering sound were also locked inside. Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe’s hand locking the door, he lost his courage again, and said like a kid: “I know, usually if you’re in a bad mood, you will definitely come here to hide and cry, right.”

 

Lin Qinhe glanced at him coldly and walked towards the stairs with the key, without speaking.

 

Tao Xi hated that he couldn’t get rid of the stinky problem of forgetting his roots when he was happy, and asking for an inch when he was proud.

 

“I have a mobile phone, can I add your WeChat?” Tao Xi took out the mobile phone he had forgotten for a long time from his pocket. Turning on the flashlight of the phone, he dangled the light in the dim corridor.

 

But Lin Qinhe still ignored him, with a cold face that was very arrogant.

 

It was over.

 

Couldn’t coax him back.

 

Tao Xi followed Lin Qinhe all the way back to the classroom with grief. As soon as he entered the door, Bi Aoxue’s cold eyes were fixed on the spot.

 

“The former and current champion of being late for English class, are you two planning to win the double challenge for night study absenteeism together?” Bi Aoxue chuckled slightly with her arms in her arms.

 

Tao Xi took the initiative to admit his mistakes with a very positive attitude: “Teacher, I was wrong, and he was also wrong. We will never do it again.”

 

Lin Qinhe still had a cold face, with a very negative attitude.

 

Bi Aoxue didn’t expect Lin Qinhe to admit his mistakes so she replied slowly: “Just know that you are wrong. Go back and write an English essay for me.”

 

Tao Xi breathed a sigh of relief and returned to his seat with Lin Qinhe.

 

Bi Chengfei in the front row couldn’t help turning his head back and Bi Aoxue coldly snorted: “Some people don’t use their heads, they can donate it to those in need.”

 

Bi Chengfei turned back silently.

 

Tao Xi quickly wrote an English essay. While Bi Aoxue was out, he took out a paper from the drawer and started to draw his comics, thinking of what to draw for a while but he still didn’t have an idea.

 

He turned his head and looked out of the window. The setting sun was long gone, only the last bit of burnt blue ash was left in the deep purple sky. An icy moon slowly rose from the horizon, and was gently wrapped by a group of thin and soft pale white clouds, revealing a hazy and gentle light yellow color.

 

He bowed his head and drew on the paper.

 

In the evening, Lin Qinhe returned to the room with his backpack. He took out his mobile phone and made a call.

 

“Have the guard call up the surveillance record at the gate from 5:30 to 7 o’clock this evening, send it to me.”

 

After hanging up the phone, he used a marker to circle the next date on the calendar on the desk. Then he opened an English novel, took out a piece of paper from it and opened it.

 

The protagonist in the painting had returned to the original moon and meteorite.

 

Little meteorite: “There is a cloud in the sky, can I eat the heartbroken moon?1I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to a song from Guo Jiayu‘s 溏心月亮 / Táng xīn yuèliàng’. The translation of the lyrics:
The world is bitter, only I am the sweetest
Whole sugar, de-icing, soak cubes and crispy biscuits
If you encounter, the shining star
Just treat it as sesame seeds
The heartbroken moon, pluck it off and make dinner

 

Moon: “No.”

 

Little meteorite: “Then sprinkle a handful of salt on me and eat the little meteorite baked with salt, ba!”

 

__________________________

 

T/N: I actually love the Bi aunt and nephew interactions lol

 


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  • 1
    I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to a song from Guo Jiayu‘s 溏心月亮 / Táng xīn yuèliàng’. The translation of the lyrics:
    The world is bitter, only I am the sweetest
    Whole sugar, de-icing, soak cubes and crispy biscuits
    If you encounter, the shining star
    Just treat it as sesame seeds
    The heartbroken moon, pluck it off and make dinner
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