Translated by: DMlations/Zryuu
Edited by: FistFullOfDollars and Amelea
The three of them discussed Chen Yekai for awhile. Yu Hao recalled the words that Chen Yekai had said to him. Perhaps this form teacher of his, who shone with the resplendence of a male god, was someone who knew what he wanted out of life a long time ago ba.
“But the academic circle is really messy too.” Fu Liqun peeled his shrimp as he answered, “All those papers and plagiarism, teacher-student relationships, and they would even fight and scheme against one another.”
“He’s not that kind of person.” Yu Hao said.
“Do you idolize him a lot?” Zhou Sheng scrutinised Yu Hao. Yu Hao quickly said, “No, I idolize you the most.”
“Why does that sound so sarcastic?”
“No no, I truly meant it.”
Yu Hao and the rest ate so much that they had to hold onto the wall for support as they walked out. He thought about where he should go next to find a part-time job — he needed to earn enough for his food and board expenses for the winter vacation, as well as the winter clothing he would need soon. Not long after the end of their final examinations, winter vacation would begin and everyone would be going home. Yu Hao didn’t have a home he could return to, so he could only stay in the dormitory over the New Year.
It’s good if everyone leaves anyway. It’ll finally be peaceful, then it would be perfect for me to read some books to prepare for my next semester. Most shops lack staff at the end of the year, so it’ll be easy for students to find a part-time job too. It’s too cold to be a delivery man, frying fries at KFC seems like a better option.
They had just passed by the fourth floor of a shopping mall when the three of them suddenly saw Chen Yekai eating Western food with a couple.
“Who’s that?” Zhou Sheng’s interest was piqued. On the opposite side of Chen Yekai sat a middle-aged man around fifty years old, and a woman who looked like she was around forty. The woman looked very classy and wore pearl-shaped earrings.
“Don’t look at them anymore.” Yu Hao wanted to get Zhou Sheng to leave quickly. He thought that Chen Yekai didn’t join them tonight because he needed to entertain some friends. He had his own circle, yet he also cared for them in his capacity as their form teacher, so it wouldn’t be good if they constantly bothered him.
Zhou Sheng had even wanted to go over to greet Chen Yekai, but he was hauled away by Fu Liqun and Yu Hao. Yu Hao planned to return to his dormitory after their dinner, but the other two dragged him to the city center to watch the countdown. All three of them held an inflatable stick that they used to knock one another with.
“Aren’t you guys going to accompany your girlfriends?” Yu Hao asked.
Fu Liqun was currently hitting them both with his inflatable stick, but he suddenly smiled, “Introduce one to your bro here?”
Zhou Sheng shot him a look, signaling Yu Hao to let it drop. Yu Hao thought, wah that’s such big news, they broke up? Then he looked at Zhou Sheng again, and thought that Zhou Sheng probably didn’t invite anyone out tonight because he wanted to accompany Fu Liqun and distract him. Yu Hao tactfully stopped asking further.
The large clock tower in the city center sounded. Yu Hao watched over his grandmother on New Year’s Eve last year as the clock struck midnight. In retrospect, he felt like he experienced many things over the past year.
Balloons rose up into the sky one after the other — it was an incredibly spectacular scene, yet Yu Hao’s thoughts suddenly turned to General. When they had bid farewell to each other, he was almost certain that General was human. He wondered if, at this moment, he was celebrating the New Year just like them.
“Happy New Year!” Zhou Sheng and Fu Liqun knocked Yu Hao at the same time. Yu Hao snapped out of his daze and let out a cry, then the three of them started hitting one other with their inflatable sticks while laughing happily.
Suddenly, all their phones rang out at the same time. Fu Liqun and Zhou Sheng quickly took their phones out and either picked up a call or replied to the messages they received. Zhou Sheng put on his earphones. He listened to the sounds coming from the other side and laughed handsomely in response.
Meanwhile, Fu Liqun looked down as he replied to his WeChat messages.
Only Yu Hao didn’t bother to check; he thought that no one would send him any New Year greetings. This was when Zhou Sheng hung up.
Zhou Sheng, “Whose message are you waiting for?”
Zhou Sheng’s gaze was a little strange, as if he was concealing a smile. Yet at this moment, what Yu Hao was thinking about was whether General would cross the boundary between dreams and reality to say ‘Happy New Year’ to him? But after he thought about it, he knew it was impossible. General wouldn’t have the means to contact him.
But what if……it was someone who he knew in reality? Yu Hao didn’t know where this bold thought suddenly came from.
He took his phone out and was looking at the messaging box when the other party sent him a message first.
“Happy New Year. A new year signifies a new life. Don’t forget about your song.” Chen Yekai had even sent him a red packet.
“Why are you the only one who got a red packet!” Fu Liqun glanced at Yu Hao’s screen. Yu Hao quickly said, “I’ll give you guys some!”
“We only got a mass text from him!” Zhou Sheng said, “This is too unfair!” They only got 8.80 yuan in their red packets.
Fu Liqun shouted angrily again, “Who gives a crap about this!”
“Right! We both don’t give a crap!” Zhou Sheng grumbled with a bellyful of discontentment. Yu Hao had to send them each a red packet to quell their dissatisfaction.
“Happy New Year——”
“Happy New Year——”
Yu Hao hugged Fu Liqun, then when he was about to hug Zhou Sheng, Zhou Sheng pushed back against his chin to keep him away.
“Don’t be so corny!”
The three of them laughed aloud. Ying city was instantly drowned in an ocean of balloons and hearty laughter.
Yu Hao thought, Happy New Year, General. No matter where you are.
During the three-day holiday for the New Year’s, Yu Hao found a job riding an electric bicycle during the holidays and weekends. He rode it to the various claw machines in shopping malls to refill them with dolls, and after he ran about for the entire day, he was so exhausted he felt like he was going to collapse. He thought that couples in this city really seemed to like claw machines. He didn’t know where the huge volume of dolls kept disappearing to. He was waiting at a red light alongside other electric bike riders who were delivering takeout and express deliveries. When he looked at the endless stream of people in front of him while he wore a pair of thick gloves and a face mask, he often thought that they seemed just like the NPCs in the dreamscapes.
Everyone was used to placing an order and having their takeout and express deliveries sent right to their doorstep. As he watched the bustle of the people working in the service industry come and go, it was as if they had, much like the trees by the roadside, the traffic lights and the sewer covers, become part of the public facilities in this city. When he cooked the fries at McDonald’s before, he felt like an automated, intelligent robot whose function was to take orders — in the eyes of his customers, he was merely a part of a cash register.
And Chen Yekai, the one who had taught him to “pursue the life he wanted”, would probably never need to experience these things.
Everyone wanted to break through their stratum and stop struggling at the bottom of the social ladder.This is something that people always strived for. But really, how much could this world change because of him?
During the last few days of their final examinations, heavy snow could be seen through the windows. Ying city was situated in the south, so it didn’t have much warmth. Everyone’s hands were frozen stiff. Zhou Sheng sat not too far away from Yu Hao. Occasionally, Yu Hao would catch a glimpse of him from behind and it would seem like Zhou Sheng was in the midst of racking his brains — especially when it came to the English exam. Yu Hao was more nervous for Zhou Sheng and Fu Liqun then he was for himself. When he saw Zhou Sheng sprawled on the table for a nap before even an hour had passed, he shouted angrily in his heart, why are you sleeping?! Get up and answer those questions!! And check your answers once you’re done!
“I really did know how to answer them all!” Zhou Sheng said impatiently, “Aren’t you the one who said not to get too hung up about English? And that I might change my answers from right to wrong if I rework them?”
“You really finished everything?” Yu Hao shot Zhou Sheng a suspicious look.
“It’s all done!” Zhou Sheng put his arm around Yu Hao and brought him to the canteen to eat, “I’ll definitely pass!”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Yu Hao asked again, “You finished writing your composition too?”
“P olclrtfv la!” Itbe Vtfcu rjlv, “Qts jgf sbe yflcu rb oerrs?”
Coafg atflg Scuilrt fzjwlcjalbc fcvfv, atflg ijra reypfma lc atf joafgcbbc kjr Llutfg Zjatfwjalmr. Dfobgf atfs fcafgfv atf fzjwlcjalbc nfcef, Itbe Vtfcu revvfcis rjlv ab tlw, “P kjccj afii sbe rbwfatlcu, Te Ljb.”
Te Ljb, “?”
Dea Itbe Vtfcu pera jr delmxis vlrwlrrfv la, “Mbgufa la, ifa’r ajix jybea la ijafg.”
Yu Hao was absolutely bewildered. They sat separately for Higher Mathematics. When Yu Hao saw the paper, he thanked the heavens that Chen Yekai was so skilled at explaining mathematical concepts. He could do most of the questions, but he still didn’t have enough time to finish the paper in the end……when he handed in his paper, Yu Hao had exhausted all the strength in his body so he collapsed while he was on his chair. He was wondering about what Zhou Sheng wanted to tell him when he saw the message Chen Yekai sent him.
【Come and see me, I’ll be waiting for you in the dormitory.】
“I’m going to Chen Laoshi’s dormitory!” Yu Hao quickly went downstairs and said to Zhou Sheng, “I’ll be getting paid for my part-time job tonight, so I’ll treat you and Fu Liqun to a meal tomorrow!”
Zhou Sheng’s head popped out around the corner as he said, “What?! You’re going to Kaikai’s dormitory? Can’t you guys talk in his office? Is he going to take advantage of you?!”
Yu Hao, “……”
The college had arranged for Chen Yekai to live in a dormitory set aside for young teachers. It was located in the West-most side of the school and had a pretty good environment. Even though there were insufficient applicants and qualified teachers for this educational institution, financially it was still quite well off — they collected money from the students, received their allocation of public funds and could even sell land. Teachers who lived outside the college enjoyed family resettlement allowances and similar benefits, while those who resided in the college like Chen Yekai had their own lavish single-person suite.
Chen Yekai’s house was very tidy; a nanny would come over every day to clean it. Yu Hao waited at the door for awhile. Chen Yekai had just returned, and he opened the door for him, “Let’s talk inside. Do you want anything to drink?”
Yu Hao seldom went over to a friend’s house. The first thing he thought of when he entered was that he was afraid of dirtying Chen Yekai’s house. Chen Yekai took off his jacket and got a pair of slippers for Yu Hao before offering, “Sit.”
“I don’t need anything to drink…..”
“Drink ba.” Chen Yekai turned on his coffee machine and made a cup of coffee for Yu Hao. He sat down at one side. There was a huge stack of PS4 games below the TV, as well as chocolates brought back from abroad. Chen Yekai passed the chocolates to Yu Hao, “This kind of chocolate goes well with coffee.”
Chen Yekai’s apartment looked like it belonged to a wealthy bachelor. Yu Hao had been curious about it before — Chen Yekai wore a different set of clothes every day, so wouldn’t it be a hassle to wash?
“That guy definitely gets someone to collect them at his doorstep with just one call!” Zhou Sheng had actually remarked then, “You don’t need to worry about something like that for him, just worry about washing my clothes clean.”
Fu Liqun’s answer was, “Rich people throw their clothes away after wearing it once, don’t you know that?”
Okay then, my poverty has really limited the powers of my imagination. Yu Hao looked at the myriad of things in Chen Yekai’s suite and couldn’t even comprehend what most of them were supposed to be used for. Yu Hao could wear one parka for three days in a row. He would be so exhausted by the time he got home that he couldn’t even bother to wash it before collapsing onto his bed. Now that he was just sitting here like this, he felt extremely uncomfortable. When Chen Yekai opened the shoe cabinet just now to find some slippers for him, Yu Hao saw a pair of limited edition sneakers that had a sky-high price, so he awkwardly made some small talk.
“Laoshi, do you play basketball too?”
“I’m not good at it.” Chen Yekai said, “I’m okay at soccer though. It gets busy at the end of the semester, but let’s play a game during the next winter vacation.”
Yu Hao was even more of a noob. He knew that Chen Yekai’s so-called ‘not good at it’ was equivalent to a curve wrecker’s ‘I screwed up my exam again this time’. When Zhou Sheng wasn’t around the last time and Chen Yekai was the one leading him in Glory, he had also said “I’m not very good at this game so don’t laugh at me” but he got 20 over kills in the end. Yu Hao only felt like he was following behind a lawnmower, and after the game ended, the two of them had even been reported for using an add-on.
“I’ve never seen you play soccer before.” Yu Hao said.
Chen Yekai held up his cup of coffee, “I was in the team for our department during my undergraduate years, but I stopped playing as often when I started my postgraduate studies. Don’t keep calling me Laoshi anymore, just call me Kaikai like Zhou Sheng and the rest.”
Yu Hao thought I knew it, even though you said you were just ‘okay at it’. I should just call you Male God like the girls in my class do ba…….but he really couldn’t say these words out loud. When he sat opposite Chen Yekai, he didn’t know why but he felt like he had been brought in to learn about the unspoken rules of the trade.
“As for what we talked about the last time, have you thought it through?” Chen Yekai asked.
Yu Hao, “……”
Why is our conversation beginning to sound more and more like the lines out of a TV drama, Yu Hao thought.
“No.” Yu Hao thought about it for a bit before he said this, somewhat confused.
Chen Yekai, “……”
Yu Hao, “?”
Chen Yekai, “You haven’t selected a song yet?”
“Oh, that!!” Yu Hao immediately said, “I’ve chosen one! And I’ve reported it to the League Committee! I selected a song before our exams started.”
He actually thought that Chen Yekai had begun to care about his life vision and plans for the future so he felt a little out of sorts, but now he was smiling as he said, “You should have said that much earlier! I was wondering what you wanted to talk to me about.”
A form teacher had called a student over to his house alone and asked “have you thought it through”… Yu Hao relaxed at once. But it was impossible for Chen Yekai to have taken a fancy to him. This male god form teacher of his — whose handsomeness transcended the heavens — was shrouded in mysteries — his family origins and sexual orientation were riddles that others haven’t figured out yet. Some people say that he likes the Older Sister type, while some people said that he was already married. And there were some people who said that he was gay.
If he really wanted to take advantage of me…….
……..then that would be great of course! That’s exactly what I’ve been wishing for ba!
Yu Hao thought this in his heart. But he had never actually thought of such fantasies before.
He didn’t know why, but ever since he began liking General, he had been constantly tortured by his hyperactive hormones. He decided that after the upcoming Spring Festival, he would try to find a boyfriend. After all, it was a brand new beginning for him. He will no longer isolate himself, and he will attempt to understand and love someone else. That person might be someone from college, or someone already working, but it definitely wouldn’t be Chen Yekai.
He wasn’t worthy of him, and of course, Chen Yekai wouldn’t date a student. Besides, he didn’t even know if Chen Yekai was gay or not. If he ever gets a boyfriend in the future, he hopes that his boyfriend wouldn’t be such a dazzling person as it would make him feel way too insecure.
“What song did you choose?”
Yu Hao was checking his phone, and Chen Yekai leaned in closer to take a look. He had a very faint scene of cologne on his body which made Yu Hao a little nervous, so he suddenly changed his mind and said, “Is it okay if I don’t sing it now?”
“Won’t you still have to participate in the dress rehearsal anyway?” Chen Yekai smiled and got up, “You’ll have to sing then. But I can walk away first without listening to it.”
“Dress……dress rehearsal?!” Yu Hao was stunned, he didn’t expect the rehearsal to be so early.
Chen Yekai, “You’ll have to go on stage tomorrow night. I didn’t bother you about it before because I didn’t want it to affect your exams. Come over here.”
Yu Hao had barely practiced, so he was instantly even more nervous than before. Fortunately, Chen Yekai didn’t mention it to him beforehand, or else he definitely would have screwed up his exams. He followed Chen Yekai and entered a room. Chen Yekai opened up a wardrobe and said, “Have you picked what you want to wear? You can choose something you like from here ba.”
Yu Hao was 176cm, while Chen Yekai was 180cm, so Yu Hao could wear his clothes. There were a few suits in the wardrobe that looked way too formal. After Yu Hao thought over it for awhile, he said, “I should go buy one for myself ba?”
“It’s okay, you can just wear mine.” Chen Yekai said, “You don’t need to spend your money on one.”
It’s not like Yu Hao could go up on stage like this. Also, he knew that Chen Yekai was doing this for his sake, so he nodded gratefully. He had never cared very much for his dressing, and it wasn’t like he could afford the expenditure anyway. He probably wouldn’t be used to wearing such formal attire all of a sudden, so after pondering it briefly, he said, “I won’t wear the blazer, just the shirt will be fine.”
Chen Yekai said, “Up to you.”
“Is this one okay?” Yu Hao took out two shirts that were hung together — the one outside was a navy blue, while the shirt inside was white. The white one looked a bit worn out, and didn’t look like it was made out of a very expensive material. So he took the navy blue one off and compared the white one against him.
“That shirt……” Chen Yekai said, “You should choose a better one ba.”
Yu Hao, “This one ba, white shirts go well with suit pants.”
Chen Yekai was surprised, “You like this style?”
Yu Hao said, “I liked it the moment I saw it.”
So Chen Yekai didn’t press Yu Hao any further. He said, “Try it on?” After casually throwing the navy blue shirt into another wardrobe, he then found a pair of slim suit pants to pass to Yu Hao. He looked at his watch, “Hurry, I’ll take you to the dress rehearsal.”
After Yu Hao changed, he wanted Chen Yekai to take a look at it. Chen Yekai was looking at his phone in the living room, and said without even lifting his head, “Looks good.”
Yu Hao, “You haven’t even seen it yet!”
Chen Yekai looked up. The two of them suddenly fell silent for awhile.
“Okay.” Chen Yekai said, “Wear that then. After you put on some light makeup and trim your eyebrows, you’ll look quite handsome.”
Yu Hao intuitively felt that Chen Yekai seemed a bit angry — perhaps it was because he had chosen the cheapest shirt. But he didn’t do so out of a sense of inferiority, but because he felt that……
“Chen Laoshi.” Yu Hao kept the clothes in his bag as he spoke apprehensively.
“Un.” Chen Yekai had both his hands stuffed into his pockets and was pacing around. He turned around to look at Yu Hao.
“I was just thinking, that I wanted to let the real me stand on stage to sing.” Yu Hao explained, “So……so……”
“Attractive people look good no matter what they wear.” The corners of Chen Yekai’s lips were slightly upturned, “You’re pretty confident in yourself now.”
Yu Hao laughed. Chen Yekai took him to the auditorium for the dress rehearsal. The League Secretary was there too, and she nodded at them.
Yu Hao looked at his watch. He needed to finish his last job before 8pm today, then settle his wages with his supervisor, so he wondered if the dress rehearsal could conclude successfully by then. However, the dress rehearsal seemed to go on and on without an end in sight. That was when Yu Hao realised a very serious problem — dress rehearsals usually took longer than the actual performance.
He kept looking at his watch, and finally, Chen Yekai asked, “What’s the matter?”
Yu Hao explained his situation. Chen Yekai said, “You haven’t had dinner yet.”
Yu Hao was afraid that his supervisor would be in arrears with his salary, so he said, “What if I make a trip down first?”
“Go ba.” Chen Yekai notified the student union. The president wore a bewildered expression and said, “Then what do we do?”
“I’ll sing for him then.” Chen Yekai said, “I’m a bit tone deaf, so I hope everyone wouldn’t mind it too much.”
Everyone immediately ignored Yu Hao as they said in unison, “Okay okay!” Yu Hao thought, thank God, I’m finally free.
He rushed to the place as fast as he could and refilled the claw machine with dolls for the day. In the meantime, Zhou Sheng kept messaging him to ask him where he was and what time he would be returning to school. Yu Hao replied to him saying that he was working. Zhou Sheng called him, but Yu Hao was propping the glass cabinet up by himself at the time to keep it from falling down, and he was fumbling around as he tried to fill it up with dolls as well.
“I’ll be really late!” Yu Hao said, “What on earth is it? I’m still refilling dolls, so I’m hanging up now!”
Zhou Sheng, “Why are you working again?”
“If I don’t work I’ll have to go cold and hungry!”
“Could you hurry up?!” The couple waiting for the claw machine became angry, so Yu Hao could only say, “I’ll be right on it!”
“Complain about him!” The customer said, “He’s been on his phone……”
“Don’t!” Yu Hao quickly tried to appease them, “That number’s for repair, not for complaints! Okay okay, I won’t use my phone anymore.” This could be complained about too? He would be getting his wages today, so it would be horrible if his boss used this as an excuse to dock his wages.
Yu Hao tried his very best to persuade them, and after he hung up the phone, he apologised to the customers again before running to the next mall. He busied himself for an entire night, and after he successfully received his wages, he sent a message to Chen Yekai to ask if the dress rehearsal was over. Chen Yekai didn’t reply to him.
Crap, he must be angry. Yu hao rushed to the auditorium before lights out. The auditorium was already locked and it was pitch-dark inside.
After he returned to his dormitory and lied down, Chen Yekai replied him.
【If you screw up tomorrow night, you’re dead.】
Yu Hao quickly apologised. Chen Yekai still ignored him, but Zhou Sheng’s call came.
“What the hell are you doing?” Zhou Sheng’s voice travelled through the phone, “Laozi’s gonna start beating someone up! Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for you?!”
Yu Hao was completely baffled. He didn’t arrange to meet up with Zhou Sheng today?
Yu Hao was dead tired, but it was pointless no matter how much he tried to explain. Zhou Sheng continued, “What did Chen Yekai ask you to do again?”
“I was working!” Yu Hao huddled under his quilt. His roommates had all gone out to play after their examinations were over, “I didn’t do anything else!”
“I’m angry!” Zhou Sheng said, “I’ve been waiting for you the whole night!”
“Why were you waiting for me?” Yu Hao said, “We weren’t supposed to meet up today, right??”
Zhou Sheng stopped talking. Yu Hao didn’t know what to say at all. He hadn’t eaten dinner, so his stomach was suffering from an unbearable hunger, yet he still had to get scolded wherever he went. He didn’t have a very good temper now.
“Then look for me again after your anger dissipates ba.” Yu Hao said.
“Open the door!” Zhou Sheng shouted angrily outside the door.
Yu Hao, “……”
Yu Hao quickly got up to go open the door, Zhou Sheng entered his dormitory and casually threw a packed dinner on the table. Then he turned around with both hands stuffed into his pockets and left.
“Zhou Sheng!” Yu Hao was about to chase after him when a cold wind blew in from outside. Yu Hao hurried back and put on his trousers, then ran downstairs. The lights in the dormitory buildings were all out. He could only see Zhou Sheng jump over the railings of the second floor and sprint back to his own dormitory after he landed.
Yu Hao jumped down as well, but after Zhou Sheng passed the courtyard, he jumped onto the railings behind their dormitory and — as if he was doing parkour — he jumped a few times up to the second floor on the opposite dormitory and entered his own dorm.
Yu Hao stood in the courtyard, completely dumbfounded. He couldn’t jump onto the opposite building. Fortunately, another guy from his own dormitory had returned, so after shouting for half a day outside the entrance downstairs, the dorm supervisor finally opened the door and Yu Hao managed to return to his own dormitory.
The meal that Zhou Sheng had packed for him was already cold. Yu Hao was so ravenous that he wolfed it down in a hurry. He called Zhou Sheng, but he didn’t pick up. He messaged him too, but he didn’t receive a reply. Yu Hao suddenly remembered that Zhou Sheng had something he wanted to tell him today, so he could only apologise to him first. Actually, he didn’t know why he had to apologise in the first place. In the end, he fell asleep in a dreary mood.
He didn’t need to work, go to class or do any revision the next day.
From the start of New Year’s until the 17th this month, Yu Hao had managed to save a total of 2200 yuan. This would be enough to tide him over for the winter vacation. Prices during the Spring Festival period would skyrocket, but he still had to buy some clothes for himself. He decided that in the near future, he would go to the supermarket to find a part-time job as an inventory clerk.
General’s existence had gradually begun to fade away. When he recalled his dreamscape from half a month ago, it was enshrouded in a hazy fog. But he still tried his best to remind himself over and over again that the person from his memories was real.
Yu Hao prepared a cup of instant noodles for himself in his dormitory. Then he looked at his phone and opened up Changba to practice the song that he would be singing on stage tonight. He believed that he would be able to sing it well, even though he hadn’t sang in awhile. He practiced all the way till noon and wanted to ask Zhou Sheng out for lunch, but Zhou Sheng never sent him a message.
He asked Fu Liqun out for a meal after the performance tonight, and Fu Liqun replied:【I’m not in school today, do your own things ba.】
Yu Hao suddenly felt a little lonely. He never felt this way when he kept to himself in the past, but after he made a new friend like Zhou Sheng, he felt like something was missing after Zhou Sheng started to ignore him.
Yu Hao thought that maybe he was hated now, so he could only return to how it was before and eat in the canteen alone. After he took a bath and changed into the shirt and suit pants that Chen Yekai had loaned him, he put on a down vest and went to the auditorium for today’s performance at the appointed time.
The performance was scheduled to start at 3pm. The Dean gave the opening speech, and introduced Professor Lin along with his spouse. She then reported on the development of the academic atmosphere in their college for the past year, and discussed how she looked forward to the college’s future goals in the new year.
“It’s you?” The League Secretary said when she saw Yu Hao.
Yu Hao peeked out from the gap while he was backstage, and realised that Professor Lin and his spouse were the couple who had dinner with Chen Yekai on New Year’s Eve. He hurriedly apologised to the League Secretary for not attending the dress rehearsal, and everyone backstage all said that it was understandable. They might have said that ‘it was understandable’, but there was a vague sense of estrangement in their eyes. Yu Hao was used to enduring such gazes, and didn’t say anything. Everyone in the literary arts department knew one another. They were all gnawing on melon seeds, eating snacks or chatting away happily while they waited for their turn on stage, but Yu Hao merely stood to the side.
“It’s too cold there.” The League Secretary said, “I’ll comb your hair and put on some light makeup for you.”
Yu Hao allowed them to handle his hair. He heard Chen Yekai’s voice outside, “Is he here yet?”
The League Secretary answered that he was here, and Chen Yekai didn’t even come in to take a look at him before he said, “It’s fine as long as he’s here.” Then he turned around and left.
After Yu Hao’s hair was styled and light makeup had been applied to his face, he returned backstage. Everyone fell silent.
“Does it look weird?” Yu Hao said.
The girls all remained silent for awhile, then expressed in succession, “You look quite handsome.”
Yu Hao laughed. He took a chair over and sat down on it, and didn’t notice the gazes of the people around him. He wore his earphones as he played the song that he was about to sing over and over again.
Zhou Sheng finally sent him a short message as he asked, “Have you eaten?”
Yu Hao answered, “I have a performance tonight.”
Zhou Sheng sent him an angry QQ expression:【I know, I’m asking if you’ve eaten yet.】
Yu Hao quickly said that he had eaten, then Zhou Sheng replied:【Sing properly, don’t go out of tune.】
Yu Hao was never afraid of going out of tune, but now that Zhou Sheng mentioned it, he began to dread that he might actually go out of tune. Zhou Sheng asked what he was singing, and who he was singing for. Yu Hao answered:【For a friend.】
【Oh?】After Zhou Sheng sent this message, he didn’t say anything else.
As the time for his turn on stage approached, Yu Hao began to tense up uncontrollably.
“Don’t drink water all the time.” The League Secretary reminded.
Yu Hao had already finished drinking two bottles of water, but his throat still felt dry. He was worried that his voice would sound hoarse on stage.
“I’ll go to the bathroom for a bit……” Yu Hao said as he trembled.
“Don’t be nervous.” The League Secretary said, “It’s just a performance anyway, nothing much would happen even if you mess up. Is it your first time performing on stage?”
Yu Hao waved his hand and ran away to pee, by the time he rushed back, the backstage staff were urging him, “Hurry, hurry! It’s your turn!!”
“Take off your down vest!” The League Secretary got him to take off his down vest before passing the microphone to him, “Don’t pat it and don’t say ‘wei’. When you get on stage, welcome Professor Lin to our college first, then just sing straight away. After you’re done singing the first sentence, the accompaniment will follow. Don’t be nervous!”
“Watch out for the steps, don’t trip!”
“Don’t raise your head when you’re singing! It’s not a good angle for camera shots!”
When Yu Hao stepped onto the stage, he inadvertently looked up and the first person he saw was actually Zhou Sheng. He was standing at the last row of the auditorium.
Zhou Sheng watched the performance from the last row of the auditorium. He bowed down slightly and sloppily leaned on the railings, while his girlfriend stood beside him — that beautiful girl who helped to warm Yu Hao’s hands up on that cold, winter day.
All of the nervousness that he had accumulated throughout his life reached a certain peak and collapsed — just like the snow that had gathered on a snowy mountain peak for thousands of years. It all fell down on him now, submerging him with a loud rumble.
T/N: HAOHAO’S GONNA SING!!!!!!!!!! Also, if you guys were as confused about this part as I was: “As he watched the bustle of the people working in the service industry come and go, it was as if they had, much like the trees by the roadside, the traffic lights and the sewer covers, become part of the public facilities in this city.” Ame and Fist had a very insightful discussion that helped me see the light: