The mid-term exam lasted for two days. After the math exam was finished on the first afternoon, Tao Xi saw Bi Chengfei gather a group of people to discuss answers as soon as he entered the classroom, as if he couldn’t wait to tell the world.
“I chose C for the last multiple-choice question. What did you choose?”
“Absolutely B, the class monitor also chose B!”
“It’s over, I’m dead!”
Tao Xi covered his ears and returned to his seat.
He was the most annoyed to discuss answers after the exam. The exam was like spilled water1泼出去的水 – sth that can not be retrieved and discussing answers would only add to the anxiety.
Tao Xi was lying on the table to cover his ears, though, the effect was not good. He looked at tomorrow’s subject review materials while silently reciting “not listening, not listening, the tortoise chant Buddhist scripture”2from this meme:
, and suddenly, a hand bent its finger and knocked on his desk twice.
He suddenly looked up and found that Lin Qinhe was standing by his desk, looking at him with his head down and knitted eyebrows, and asked in a low voice: “Did you have a problem with the exam?”
The look and tone seemed a bit nervous.
Tao Xi’s eyes lit up and he hurriedly stood up, whispering quietly to Lin Qinhe, “I seem to do it well.”
He did feel he did okay in both the Mathematics and Language exam today.
“But I’m so nervous listening to their answers to the questions, I’m afraid it’s an illusion that I feel good.” Tao Xi raised his chin in the direction of Bi Chengfei not far away, complained to Lin Qinhe, and then covered his ears again.
Lin Qinhe’s slightly wrinkled brow stretched out, he looked at Tao Xi who was covering his ears for a while, the corners of his mouth slightly raised, and said to him, “Put your hands down.”
Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe blankly and obediently put down the hand covering his ears.
Then Lin Qinhe suddenly took a step closer to him, and the distance abruptly narrowed. His breathing was stagnant, and his eyelashes trembled lightly as he looked at Lin Qinhe’s face close at hand.
Lin Qinhe lowered his head, raised his hand to insert his white wireless earphones into his ears. His cool fingertips touched his earlobe during the action.
The rhythm of the music soon began to slap on the eardrums.
Tao Xi was dumbfounded. He felt his right earlobe was gently pinched, and immediately trembled like a frightened rabbit. He stared at Lin Qinhe with his eyes wide open, but he couldn’t say anything.
Lin Qinhe withdrew his hand, rubbed his index finger and thumb together and asked Tao Xi calmly, “Can you still hear it?”
Tao Xi shook his head ignorantly.
He couldn’t hear the voice of Bi Chengfei’s group discussing the answers, nor could he hear the music coming from the earphones, he could only hear the increasingly violent beating in his chest.
He didn’t need to cover his ears, but he wanted to cover his hot face.
Tao Xi lowered his gaze in a panic, whispered a “thank you” and quickly sat back in his seat, lying on his desk and continuing to read the notes, his head buried very low.
Lin Qinhe looked down at Tao Xi’s red ears and returned to his seat. He smiled silently, took out his phone and changed to a more cheerful song, turning the volume up a bit.
Then, as expected, the person sitting over there trembled.
The two-day exam soon ended. The paper grading efficiency of Wenhua No. 1 High School was not generally high. The score would be available on the third day after the exam, and the complete score ranking would be posted in the first floor hallway of the teaching building early in the morning.
Of course, many parents who were eagerly concerned about their grades would ask the head teacher about their grades and rankings in advance.
The night before the announcement of the results, Zhou Qiang worked overtime in the office until ten o’clock, during which he received at least twenty phone calls from the parents of Class 1 students, including one from Lin Qinhe, who had never called him before.
That night, Xu Ziqi also called his mother in the dormitory. Tao Xi was sitting and working on a question. He raised his eyes to look at Xu Ziqi and saw that the expression on his face went from anxiety to shock to frustration in a way that was visible to the naked eye, as fast as a change of face in a Peking Opera.
“What? How could this happen?!” Xu Ziqi’s face looked angry3面如金纸 (lit. Face is like golden paper) to describe an angry look. His face turns yellow like golden paper. as he flew out of the dormitory door.
Pan Yan snorted, took out his cell phone and played a song “A Spray of Plum Blossom” publicly, very gloating.
Tao Xi was not in the mood to be happy. His face was calm, he turned the pen in his hand, turning faster and faster, and finally flew out directly.
He was going to die of nervousness.
Even more nervous than when he was waiting for Qingshui County’s final entrance exam results.
He had a dream that night, dreaming that he had not entered the top fifty, and went to the second class with Xu Ziqi,and then saw Lin Qinhe and Yang Duole walking into Class 1 together, laughing and talking.
In the dream, he shouted out to Lin Qinhe, who turned around and said indifferently to him, “You’re not worthy to be my tablemate.”
Tao Xi woke up feeling cold and sweaty. After washing, he rushed to the score list in the first floor hallway of the teaching building without eating breakfast. There were already many students huddling in front, and there were bursts of ghost crying and howling and shouting for joy.
Tao Xi had a hard time squeezing in, and the first thing he saw was the name of Lin Qinhe hanging high on the achievement list, 27 points higher than the second place Huang Qing.
Someone exclaimed, “Lin Qinhe is really perverted, it’s scary enough that he scored 20 points higher than the second last time, but this time he is even higher!”
Another person tsk-ed, “This is too much to give face to the second place, is there any grudge?”
After confirming that Lin Qinhe was the first, Tao Xi began to look for his own name. Starting from Lin Qinhe’s name, he looked down, his breath breaking with nervousness.
No. 42 was Tao Xi.
The moment he saw the ranking, Tao Xi first did not catch his breath, and then he took a long breath out, his heart was beating painfully.
He could continue to be Lin Qinhe’s tablemate!
Tao Xi completely relaxed and continued to see Bi Chengfei ranked 50th, the lucky bottom.
Yang Duole, 51st.
Tao Xi left the results list expressionlessly, but couldn’t hold back a gloating laugh as he went up the stairs.
As soon as Lin Qinhe entered the classroom in the morning, he saw Tao Xi’s two eyes looking at him like a light bulb, almost like a tail wagging behind him. He paused in his steps and walked in at a slower pace.
Tao Xi diligently helped Lin Qinhe pull out his chair, and as soon as he sat down, he leaned over and grabbed Lin Qinhe’s arm and shook it excitedly, “Lin Qinhe, I can stay in Class 1 now!”
After saying that, he suddenly realized that he was too excited, and immediately put down his hand in embarrassment and stepped back a bit.
Lin Qinhe glanced at Tao Xi’s retracted hand, his expression remained unchanged. He asked: “How many?”
Tao Xi knew that Lin Qinhe hadn’t looked at the results list. He pursed his lips and said, “42, much better than I expected.”
Lin Qinhe nodded and said calmly: “You did a good job on the exam, congratulations.” After he finished, he took a pile of papers out of his bag and put them on the desk.
Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe, the light in his eyes dimmed. He felt that Lin Qinhe’s reaction to his results was too flat, and couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.
He suddenly thought that he was so excited to continue to be Lin Qinhe’s tablemate, but it might not be a big deal to Lin Qinhe.
Moreover, would Lin Qinhe be upset because Yang Duole dropped out of Class 1?
After all, they were friends who had been like brothers for so many years.
And he and Lin Qinhe had only known each other for a little over two months.
Tao Xi simply can’t control himself to think about this problem. Once Yang Duole was involved, he was like a frightened bird suffering from gains and losses, and his joyous excitement instantly sank to the bottom of the lake.
He lowered his eyelashes, was silent for a while and still couldn’t help but tentatively asked Lin Qinhe:
“I saw Yang Duole ranked 51th, will you be angry? If it weren’t for me coming here, he would be exactly fiftieth.”
“Why should I be angry?” Lin Qinhe asked almost immediately. Looking at Tao Xi whose eyebrows were drooping, he put down his hand that was getting something from his school bag and continued.
“You can stay, he can’t. It only means that you work harder and better than him, doesn’t it?”
Stunned, Tao Xi lifted her eyelashes to look at Lin Qinhe and heard him say in a softer voice.
“And, you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone. I only know that you can stay in the first class and continue to sit next to me. I am very happy.”
I am very happy.
Tao Xi breathed lightly, looking at Lin Qinhe, his throat seemed to be blocked by a ball of wet cotton, the corners of his mouth gradually rose up, but his eyes were a little sour.
Lin Qinhe was always like this, making him want to cry and laugh at the same time.
A heart would go from left to right, go up and down, and eventually fall into the warm water, soaking it sour and swelling.
Tao Xi bit his inner lip and was speechless. He saw Lin Qinhe take out a black velvet quadrilateral box from his bag, put it in his hand and said to him:
“This is the midterm reward I promised you.”
Tao Xi was startled. Looking down at the exquisite gift box in his hand and carefully rubbing the soft velvet with his fingers, as if his heart was scratched by the fluff, he whispered: “But haven’t I already…”
Asked for a self-initiated hug in advance.
“That doesn’t count.” Lin Qinhe said firmly, then lowered his voice again, “You open it and see, do you like it?”
Tao Xi listened and opened the box. Inside the box was a bracelet woven with red rope, strung with a candy-sized turquoise stone.
The turquoise stone was carved into a small planet, as if the unique blue and green light shines in the bright galaxy.
Even if Tao Xi didn’t understand gems, he knew that this turquoise must be very expensive. He stared at the turquoise for a long time, and heard the heart beating in his chest, and a sour feeling welled up in his nose.
“Don’t like it?” Lin Qinhe asked him softly.
Tao Xi immediately shook his head. He took out the bracelet and tried to wear it on his right wrist, but his left hand was a little inflexible, and it took a while for him to wear it.
Lin Qinhe stretched out his hand and put the bracelet on Tao Xi’s right wrist. The red rope was brighter on his white, slim wrist, and the turquoise seemed like a star flying in orbit around his wrist.
Tao Xi looked at the bracelet on his right wrist, blinked a few times before raising his head and smiling at Lin Qinhe:
“Thank you, I like it very much.”
As long as it is from you, I like it all and can’t let go of it.
Lin Qinhe glanced at the red rope and turquoise stone on Tao Xi’s wrist. He had noticed that Tao Xi cared too much about the red string with a peace knot on Yang Duole’s right hand. Thinking he liked the red string bracelet, he used the red string to string the turquoise stone together.
He looked at Tao Xi’s eyes that fell full of stars again and whispered, “I heard that turquoise signifies peace and good luck, can you do well in the next final exam?”
In fact, he did not say that turquoise was also the birthstone of December, and he not only wanted to wish him a smooth ending, he also wanted to wish him who was born in December a peaceful life, good luck and worry-free.
Tao Xi nodded vigorously and raised his chin slightly, looking satisfied and confident: “Don’t worry, now that I have a good luck bracelet, I will definitely do well in my exams every time!”
In fact, he wanted to say that he had used almost all his luck to meet him.
Didn’t dare to ask for more good luck.
Sixteen years ago, when his mother was pregnant with him in Taoxi Bay, she weaved a string of red peace knots for him, wishing him no illness, no disaster, and happiness.
But he failed to get the string of peace knots.
Now, the person he liked, gave him a string of red rope woven turquoise, wishing him peace and good luck.
Tao Xi looked at Lin Qinhe, obviously very close, but he seemed to be looking at this person with great effort, as if many, many years have passed, and he missed him all those years.
He was thinking that there would be someone in this world who would be willing to bless him besides his mother.
He liked this person so much
This person might also like him.
Tao Xi’s left fingers gently fiddled with the turquoise stone on his right wrist, he took a deep breath and suddenly asked Lin Qinhe, “Can I take a college entrance exam with you in the future?”
He pressed his lower lip nervously, and continued to add: “I mean, I want to go to the same university as you, I’ll apply for whichever one you apply for, no matter how hard it is, I’ll definitely try my best to get in, okay?”
I can work hard for you to enter Wenhua No. 1 High School and work hard enough to stay in Class 1, and I can definitely work hard enough to go to the same university as you.
He did not say, not only the university, I want to work hard to walk into your life and hold hands with you on the same path for the rest of your life.
Lin Qinhe looked at Tao Xi’s eyes that were so nervous that his eyelashes fluttered lightly, he curled his fingers into his palm and was silent for a while, as if he had made a big decision in this very short period of time, and whispered.
Tao Xi’s face instantly blossomed into a smile, his eyes were as bright as evening stars, and the corners of his eyes and eyelashes were adorned with smiles.
Lin Qinhe looked at those smiling eyes for a while, turned his face sideways and retracted his gaze. He lowered his head and took out the pen and put it in his hand to play with, rubbing the cold pen with his fingers.
But Tao Xi obviously didn’t intend to let him go, and leaned close to him again, so close that he could smell the faint smell of shower gel on his body, he turned his head and asked him:
“So, do you prefer Tsinghua or Peking University now? When the time comes, the two schools will definitely fight for you, ba. If it is me, I’ll go to whoever gives me more bonuses.”
Lin Qinhe looked at the pen in his hand and said, “I haven’t thought about it yet.”
Tao Xi let out an “Oh” and could not resist grabbing Lin Qinhe’s arm again, he anxiously said: “Then you must tell me in advance when you have thought about it!”
Lin Qinhe glanced at Tao Xi holding his hand. The wrist of that hand was wrapped around the bracelet he had given him. He turned his face back and smiled: “Yes, but you have to continue to improve your grades. Only then will there be more choices.”
Tao Xi was stunned, and immediately nodded and said: “No problem, I’ll definitely do better next time!”
Then Tao Xi saw Lin Qinhe put a stack of papers that he had taken out of his school bag on his desk, and said to him, “This is another midterm reward. Give it to me when you finish it.”
Tao Xi was dumbfounded.
Could it be that Lin Qinhe promised to give him three midterm rewards in wholesale?
He took a deep breath, clenched his fist and said, “Okay! No problem! Isn’t it just the paper? I can definitely finish it!”
Without saying anything, Tao Xi began to write papers with a pen.
Being able to go to the same university as Lin Qinhe made his whole heart fly, as if soaked in a soft bubble, and when he thought of it, he was so happy that he wanted to spit out bubbles too.
He buried his head in writing the papers, writing a question and looking at the turquoise stone on his right wrist for a few seconds, and then starting to do the paper again after a few seconds.
After repeatedly being distracted, a sudden burst of happiness came to his mind.
Tao Xi suddenly turned his head to look at Lin Qinhe who was reading a book, squinted his eyes and asked, “Since you don’t know my ranking, how come you still have a gift for me?”
Lin Qinhe’s hand flipping through the book paused, and after a few seconds of silence, he said flatly: “Even if you didn’t get in, I still want to give it to you.”
Tao Xi was startled, and his ears began to redden uncontrollably.
He uttered an “Oh”, quickly lowered his head, and began to write the paper for a while, then watching the turquoise for a few seconds.
But the heartbeat seemed to be more irregular.
T/N: LQH actually heard it when TX said his birthday is on Christmas!
- 1泼出去的水 – sth that can not be retrieved
- 2from this meme:
- 3面如金纸 (lit. Face is like golden paper) to describe an angry look. His face turns yellow like golden paper.